The MARQUESS of BLANDFORD
then rose, and spoke as follows:—Sir, I rise to propose the question of which I have given notice, and I need not say that I feel it is encompassed with numberless difficulties. First among these I may place my own inexperience in matters of this nature, both as regards the question itself, and as regards the manner in which it may best be laid before the attention of the House. With regard to the question itself, whatever amount of research may have been made into a subject so prolific, enough remains yet to be discovered; so that years would scarcely suffice to obtain an accurate knowledge of all the powers 31 of our ecclesiastical system, and as regards I the manner in which it may best be brought under the attention of this House. It is enough to feel the deep importance of this subject to be filled with a trembling anxiety lest one's own inadequacy to the task one has proposed to one's self should only mar an object which ought to be upon the hearts of all good men, and have a leading place in their desires and aspirations. These, Sir, are some of the principal difficulties that meet one in one's outset; and as far as they are concerned, they are personal ones. But, Sir, I feel that there are others, and not less weighty ones—those which arise from the varied opinions of men upon these subjects. Could we, Sir, obtain a united feeling upon this point, we might joyfully contemplate the great stride that might be made in an onward direction—could we, Sir, with a unanimous vote of this House, agree at once upon a course that would give increased efficiency to our National Establishment—one calculated by great and mighty effort to supply adequate means of instruction to thousands of our perishing fellow-countrymen, it would indeed, Sir, he a grateful task to endeavour to bring forward such a proposition, and to feel that it would have the power of authority and the permanence of law. But, Sir, taking the fact as we find it, it is not so; the interest which is shown in ecclesiastical affairs is not great, and what there is is sadly interrupted by party interest and divided feelings. Fears on the one hand, of giving undue power to the ecclesiastical body, and jealousies on the other, arising from alienated interests, have not only, I venture to affirm, placed a terrible hindrance in the way of Church extension, but they have also, by permitting us to see what she is under certain disadvantages, proved the justice of those laws and the strength of that Establishment which our ancestors purchased with their lives, endowed in consequence by their piety, and secured by their collective wisdom. Sir, in endeavouring to treat upon this question, I will not place it upon no better basis than my own bare opinion. I have here extracted a small portion from a speech of the late Sir Robert Peel, which I have happiness in quoting upon the present occasion, and will read it, with the permission of the House, as it expresses in his own language the idea which I am now endeavouring, though feebly, to enlarge upon, and which may be 32 the type of opinions than which a better ornament cannot attach to a public man:—Above all, the advantage that I anticipate is that by this proceeding I shall place the Church of England in a favourable light before the people of this country, and conciliate towards it that favour and affection to which I believe it to be so justly entitled, and lay the foundations of extended usefulness. These foundations must be widened. It is in vain that you have splendid cathedrals and bishops highly endowed—in vain you have dignitaries and splendid edifices, if you fail to impress upon the people the conviction that great practical advantages are to be derived from them—unless in populous districts you bring the ministrations of the Church within the reach of the people it is in vain that you support its dignitaries, for the polished columns of the temple will not be secure unless you widen the basis on which they rest. Here is the point in which the Church of England is wanting at present; her parochial constitution was made in other times, and suited to other states of the people. You must divide parishes and bring ministers' into them, and you will add at once to the respectability, to the influence, to the prosperity of the Church by applying her present property to strengthen her position and increase her influence.Well then, Sir, it is upon this foundation, and keeping this point in view, that I am desirous of proceeding. I shall ask the House to be indulgent to my inexperience. I will endeavour, to commend what I have to advance, to find concurrent testimonies for its practicability and support. I would rather seek to disarm opposition than cope with it when raised, feeling most deeply that more or less remotely we are all interested in the success of these measures; and, above all, I would follow the rule laid down by that exalted statesman, that it is to our parochial constitution, which was made in other times, and suited to other states of the people, and where the Church of England is principally defective, that we should at once direct our attention. Sir, an Address has been presented to Her Majesty, which is the subject of my present remarks, and is one which generally embodies this very thing; it presents us with statements founded upon those two reports of Commissioners appointed by Her Majesty for inquiring into episcopal and capitular revenues, and for the practicability of the subdivision of parishes; these, Sir, are most useful reports, to which I am very glad to draw the attention of the House; for, occurring nearly as they do together, they seem admirably adapted one to the other, for, while one discloses the evil, the other points out the remedy. It is not my purpose to interfere with or allude to any ex- 33 press measure which may spring from those reports; but, Sir, I do wish to draw the attention of the House and of Her Majesty's Government to incidental passages which they contain. I do hope to find that this House does not confine itself only to the consideration, though very necessary, of a solitary measure, but is willing, upon receiving the evidence of those passages as to the existence of a great and pressing want, to record an opinion favourable to and most necessary for its removal. Sir, the address to which I allude has received the signature of, and contains the prayer of, some of the highest in the land. It might have been easy to have obtained an overwhelming number of signatures, but it was considered best to restrict them to Peers spiritual and temporal and Members of Parliament. They, Sir, I believe, represent the feelings and opinions of thousands of thousands of Her Majesty's subjects; and I rejoice in the acknowledgment that those connected with a Legislative Assembly are thus content to make—that the time has arrived when, in the capacity of private individuals, they are resolved to lay the wants of the people at the feet of Her who in this country is the fountain of worldly honour, ecclesiastical as well as civil. Well, Sir, taking the foundation that has been laid down by Sir Robert Peel—namely, the parochial system—I am desirous of grounding the remarks which I have to make to the House upon this basis, and I will endeavour to enlarge as well as I can upon the topics adverted to in this Address, which may best be done by considering—first, the great and pressing want that exists; secondly, the means that are readiest at hand for supplying it; and thirdly, the desire on the part of the people that it should be supplied. I must necessarily enter somewhat into detail and statistics; I trust I shall not weary the House, and I shall confine myself to those points which are most illustrative of the different points. Now, Sir, with regard to the first point, either there is a want, or there is not; if there is not, we have spoken in vain; but if there be, how weighty is the responsibility which rests with the Legislature of removing the obstacles which still impede the free and extended operation of the Established Church in all her pastoral capacities. I read in the Address—It has been ascertained by Your Majesty's Commissioners appointed to inquire into the practicability and mode of subdividing all densely-peo- 34 pled parishes in England and Wales, that there is a pressing demand for the creation of 600 new churches, which should in most cases have parishes assigned to them, and these of course involve the appointment of one clergyman at least to each; 600 additional churches, therefore, with as many clergymen attached to them, is the first great want towards rendering effective our parochial system.Now, Sir, in the year 1843, Sir Robert Peel based principally the arguments upon which he founded his measure upon this passage from the Second Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners appointed to consider into the state of the Established Church:—The evils which flow from this deficiency in the means of religious instruction and pastoral superintendence, greatly outweigh all other inconveniences resulting from any defects or anomalies in our ecclesiastical institutions; and it unfortunately happens that while these evils are the most urgent of all, and most require the application of an effectual remedy, they are precisely those for which a remedy can least easily be found.In order to remedy in some measure these evils Sir Robert Peel brought forward his scheme, and I shall be prepared to show, Sir, how much yet remains to be accomplished. It will be a subsequent part of my subject to advert to those means which now appear to be available. At present I will turn to the fact, I believe admitted on all sides, of great spiritual destitution. Since the year 1843 much has undoubtedly been done; up to the last report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, 228 districts have been constituted, and a large number of churches have been built and enlarged by the Church Building Society. I see from a return which I hold in my hand that the cost of works in which that society has been engaged amounts to 1,246,308l. Since the year 1840 the Curates' Aid Society has been engaged in operations to the amount of 179,652l. The Church Pastoral Aid Society has not been backward either. This society now aids 319 incumbents with grants to provide stipends for 294 clergymen, 96 lay assistants to labour among an aggregate population of 2,295,284, or on an average above 7,000 souls to each incumbent, the average amount of whose incomes is only 200l., and 173 of them without parsonage houses. Such, Sir, are some of the private efforts that have been made, but we have yet much before us. I have here a selection of some few places out of many, showing how urgent is the need that still exists for increased church accommodation. In St. 35 Anne's, Limehouse, there is a population of 25,121, with church accommodation for 2,000, or one-twelfth; in St. John's, Waterloo-road, a population of 30,000, with accommodation for 3,560, or one-ninth; in St. Martin's, Birmingham, a population of 45,000 has only church accommodation for 3,900, or one-eleventh; St. George's, Southwark, 50,000, with accommodation for 4,650, or one-eleventh; St. Giles, Durham, with a population of 5,000, has only accommodation for 300, or one-sixteenth; Middlesborough, with 10,000, accommodation for 600, or one-sixteenth; Salton in Ashfield, population 6,863, with accommodation for 500, or one-fourteenth; Swansea, a population of 30,000, accommodation for 2,500, or one-twelfth. These are a few instances which it may be well to specify; but, Sir, here is also a list of 131 places or parishes in different dioceses of England and Wales, containing an aggregate population of 3,972,852, from which, deducting about 450,000 for Nonconformists, we find that there are 543 churches to supply a population of 3,522,852 souls; or allowing, on a very liberal calculation, that one church is sufficient for 3,000 souls, we should have 1,893,852 immortal beings with neither encouragement nor opportunity for entering the house of God. Again, Sir, when we come to teat the efficiency of our parochial system, as far as pastors are concerned, I shall be prepared to show how inadequate is their number to the population among whom they dwell. Now, Sir, it is generally admitted by those best conversant with a minister's duties, that a charge of 2,000 persons is as many as he can effectually attend to. Well, Sir, in thirteen great parishes of the metropolis, all of them with a population above 10,000 souls, and some of them four times that amount, containing an aggregate population of 762,383 souls, we find a body of 141 clergy, leaving a deficiency of 240, or 480,000 souls nearly uncared for in thirteen great parishes of London alone. How far this same deficiency extends generally throughout all our largo towns may be inferred from these facts—that in the parish of Manchester, on the same calculation, there is a deficiency of 52 pastors; Liverpool, 93; Leeds, 29; Sheffield, 21; Wolverhampton, 22; Bristol, 27; Birmingham, 52; Newcastle, 23. So that we may say there is not one populous place in this great country where, if we will only take the trouble of comparing the number of 36 churches and pastors with the amount of the population, we shall not find the same alarming deficiency. And, Sir, when we remember the great things that have been done towards meeting the demands of our increasing population, both by Government and private societies—when we take into consideration what was the population of these places in 1801—that church accommodation and pastoral care were then inadequate, and that the increase of population has far outstript all the increased extension of our parochial system—then, Sir, we may indeed assent to the proposition of the late Sir Robert Peel, that that system, as it existed in 1843, was suited to other times and other states of the people, and was that point in which the Church of England was principally defective. I next, Sir, read in this Address this paragraph:—The overwhelming duties which now devolve upon some of the bishops, owing to the enlarged population, and the happy circumstance of an increase also in the number of clergy, appear to make it desirable that there should be a corresponding increase of the episcopate, and if your Majesty, in your wisdom, should see fit to recommend such a measure, the revenue and residence of the deanery in some places might be made available where fitting circumstances concur.It appears to me, Sir, that there has scarcely been one subject upon which greater misapprehensions have existed than upon this in the minds of those who are at all adverse to the proposition. I will not, however, now enter upon that point, but I will endeavour to prove how much an increase in the episcopate is really needed in order to place the Church of England upon an efficient basis; and, first, Sir, must be placed that great and incontrovertible fact, that with a population of four times the amount of that which existed at the time of the Reformation, and with a number of clergy that have borne some proportion to that increase, the number of bishops, to all intents and purposes, remains the same. The present number of clergy would give, on an average, upwards of 500 to every bishop, while some of the larger sees average 800, and one upwards of 1,000. It has been very well remarked, Sir, that the bishop is of course liable to receive and answer communications from every one of his clergy; to be added to this, the secularities of his diocesan duties may be said to absorb very nearly the spiritual character of his office. Let ns follow him to London, and we shall find him in his seat in Parliament; at the board of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; at that of Queen Anne's 37 Bounty; at that of the Church Building Commission, solicited on every side by private societies for his presence and support; there is a demand upon his time, and his thoughts for business and labour, which no human strength could adequately supply. Now, Sir, there are two points adverted to in the First Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of the Established Church as things to be considered in estimating the condition of dioceses; one is, the inequality which exists between different dioceses, which is always increasing, through the immense and partial growth of the population. Another is in these words:—The extent of the episcopal duties, while it increases in some degree with the population, is also materially affected by the number and distances of benefices within each diocese.Bearing this in mind in order to form an estimate of the charge which is imposed upon some of the bishops, let us take the Bishop of Winchester's diocese, comprising, with the Channel Islands, a population of 937,682; clergy, 824; benefices, 631; and area, 1,493,030 acres. The Bishop of Exeter—population, 874,739; clergy, 853; benefices, 652; area, 2,491,220 acres. Norwich—population, 727,737; clergy, 1,105; benefices, 911; area, 2,211,060 acres. Lincoln—population, 612,512; clergy, 865; benefices, 793; area, 2,189,650 acres. Lichfield—population, 782,721; clergy, 764; benefices, 618; area, 1,399,470 acres. It would be very easy, Sir, to proceed to a similar comparison with all the dioceses. These are some of the most striking instances, and appear most amply to bear out the two points alluded to by the Church Commissioners—viz., the amount of population, partly to be attributed to rapid increase, and partly to their immense extent, and also the number and distance of the benefices. It would be easy, Sir, to enlarge upon the increased blessings which are found practically to result from any increase in an episcopate, narrowing their separate operations and enlarging their united action. These effects, Sir, must always bear a relation to the wants and peculiarities of each locality. In the colonies it is found to result in a greatly increased number of clergy; in this country we should feel it, doubtless, in a far higher degree. This may be exemplified by a statement which has been put into my hand, showing what has been done in the diocese of Ripon since it was separated 38 from York. The statement proceeds to say—Showing an increase of about 100 additional churches and chapels, 130 additional clergymen, and 55 additional parsonage houses, in about 14 years; there have been also 13 churches entirely rebuilt from the ground, with such an alteration of sites as to require fresh consecration. Among those are the parish churches of Leeds and Keighley. The additional accommodation secured by rebuilding these 13 churches exceeds 4,000 sittings, and may be reckoned equal to three new churches. I have no calculation of the additional sittings secured by enlargement of existing churches, where fresh consecration has not been required, but I have clearly ascertained that the general increase of church accommodation in the diocese more than meets the increase of population, and is to a slight degree gaining upon the arrears existing when the diocese was formed. These results are attributable to the establishment, in the year 1838, of the Ripon Diocesan Church Building Society, which has spent from its own funds in aid of the building and endowment of churches and the erection of parsonage houses, more than 50,000l. to meet a total outlay of 300,000l., provided partly by grants from other societies, but principally from private contributions. This is exclusive of at least 90,000l. more spent in the erection, and in some cases endowment also, of 17 churches and chapels, solely at the cost of private individuals or of mercantile firms. I have no accurate calculation of the additional facilities for the education of the poor in the dioceses since 1836; but from an estimate which I made in 1847, and which I published in my charge of that year, it appeared that during the previous ten years we were gaining, in this department also, on the increase of population in the dioceses, and I do not doubt that the same is still true. The secretary of the National Society informs me that the grants since 1836 to the diocese of Ripon, for school purposes, have been 24,335l.; the outlay connected with this must have amounted to considerably above 100,000l. Whence it appears that since the year 1836 there has been expended for Church purposes in the diocese of Ripon a sum not far short of 600,000l."But above all, it would be felt by the clergy themselves. The class of bishops which I should like to see introduced into the Church need not be possessed of any seat in the Legislature; it must be necessary that the ecclesiastical body should be represented by some of the bishops in Parliament, but it need not be by all; and were this increase thus effected, we might then hope to see the ancient type of a bishop in the Church, a pastor among pastors, primus inter pares, one who by constant communication and residence among his clergy might diffuse over them the same blessings which they diffused over their flocks. I very well remember, Sir, the eloquent description given of a bishop by my hon. Friend the Member for Cocker-mouth. He said— 39In the earlier days of the Church the bishop's dwelling was in the cathedral city: there did he live, the centre of the religious life around him—the leaders of the Christian religion, the depositaries of the fire, the faith, the fervour that animated men warring through this world to an eternity which it was their commission to preach. The history of those from whom the office had come down, was familiar to them all. Their images were painted in colours that could never fade—their ardent enthusiasm, their unshrinking self-sacrifice, their heroic endurance of every toil and every suffering, and their utter forgetfulness of worldly interest, and worldly advancement, and worldly good of every kind, when compared with the magnitude of those higher interests to which their whole soul owed devotion.In this description, Sir, we must all most fully concur. This alone can raise the usefulness of the episcopate—this alone can be effected by increasing their numbers. The effect of that increase would not be, as has been supposed by some, to increase the dimensions of a body, at the same time giving it no different characteristic from that which, through adverse circumstances, has rendered some of its offices now too secular: but the effect of it would be this, as has been described by Bishop Latimer, whose words were quoted by the Bishop of Oxford:—Did they remember," said he, "the sentiments of Latimer, that honest-hearted man, who spoke, in his strong Saxon dialect, words to which all England as one man responded? That venerated man said that the bishops by their fewness were raised to such a height above the people as had deprived them of the power of exercising those functions which wore inherent in their office; and the first measure of reform which ought to be carried was one for giving a great increase to the number of those bishops.Well then, Sir, this increase might be effected with very little alteration in the existing arrangements. It might be effected by making the dean's income available for the new bishopric. In some instances the dean might be made both dean and bishop; and in others, as the deaneries become vacant, their income might be taken for the new bishopric, making the existing bishop dean in his own cathedral city. We might then hope to see a class of bishops who might be chosen by the Minister not for any political considerations, but for those far higher qualifications—for practical experience and known efficiency, for sympathies obtained by long intercourse among the various classes of the population. And let me remark, Sir, in passing, that it would be an object well worthy of the contemplation of this House, if, with growing churches and increasing congregations, and resources 40 capable of an increase—little, perhaps, imagined by some—we might also see the episcopate thus developing itself, and testifying, with every other extended branch of our parochial system, to the faith and to the wisdom of a Legislature which felt how much its own security was united to, and associated with, the prosperity of the Established Church. I now come to the second part to which I proposed to draw the attention of the House—namely, the means which appear most available towards supplying in some degree the spiritual wants of the people. I have already stated that the first step towards this appears to be the building of 600 new churches. It is calculated in the Second Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners for the subdivision of parishes, that these churches should cost a gross sum of 2,100,000l., but that if 1,000,000l. could be placed at the disposal of the Church Building Commissioners, the rest might be raised from private liberality. The Address to the Crown thus alludes to the means that are proposed for obtaining that sum:—In the first place, it is proposed that the patronage of a portion of the benefices in the gift of the Lord High Chancellor of England should be resigned in favour of the proposed new parishes, and the value of the advowsons applied in successive years to the erection of churches.Now, Sir, Her Majesty's Commissioners, in the progress of their inquiry, seem to have had their attention directed to these livings owing to the facilities that some of them offered for making new arrangements for their increased endowment, facilities which did not exist in cases of private patronage. It appears from the report that these livings amount in all to 777; of these 330 were under 200l. a year. They therefore propose that these should be sold, and the purchase-money, or so much of it as would suffice to raise their annual value to 200l., should be applied to that purpose. Of the remaining 447 they suggest that a sufficient number should be disposed of by private tender as would produce a sum which united with private contributions would insure the erection of 600 new churches. That sum, Sir, as I before stated, is estimated at rather more than 1,000,000l.; and the Commissioners, proceed to state:—If the annual income of the 777 benefices be estimated at 200,000l., and the value of the advowsons at from seven to ten years' purchase of the net value, after making the deductions necessary to such a calculation, the sum ultimately 41 raised, were all the advowsons to be sold, would probably be more than sufficient for both the objects in contemplation—namely, the augmentation of the smaller benefices, and the erection of 600 new churches; our proposal, therefore, does not necessarily alienate from the Great Seal all the church patronage now by law attached to it, but it is perfectly compatible with the reservation to the Lord Chancellor, if it is thought fit, of a certain amount of Church patronage.The origin of so large a portion of patronage being vested in the Lord Chancellor appears to have been derived from the time when that office was held by an ecclesiastic, and these livings were entrusted to the Lord Chancellor for the purpose of rewarding the clerks in Chancery; and the Commissioners appropriately remark—This state of things having entirely passed away, there is no reason, as far as the origin of the custom is concerned, for its retention, and we think it well worthy of consideration whether any other reasons exist for its continuance sufficient to counterbalance the great advantages which, as it appears to us, may be gained by the adoption of the proposition which we submit to Tour Majesty.I have thus, Sir, endeavoured as concisely as possible to point out the recommendations which have been made by Her Majesty's Commissioners; and I am well aware that objections have been raised to them. It has been stated that to part with such a large portion of ecclesiastical patronage would lessen the influence of the Crown in the Church, and weaken its union with the State. To this I reply, that if I at all anticipated such a result, I should be the last person to propose this measure. I do not, however, anticipate that this need be feared. To place these livings in episcopal patronage might be one thing, but to offer them to laymen would be to give them to that patronage which is admitted generally to be the best that is administered; and I think that it would materially, though indirectly, maintain both the influence of the Crown and State. But if a more direct influence wore required, I believe that a very large compensation would be found to exist if this Crown would erect a number of new sees, according to my previous suggestion, which would be an unspeakable advantage to the working of the parochial system, and would prove a new and permanent source of union and dependence between the Crown and the ecclesiastical community. Another objection is, that they might fall into improper hands; and I answer that, except where the patronage would be vested in an undying body, no stress could be laid upon this argument; for I need scarcely point out that 42 no calculation could be made beyond the existing generation of patrons. Seldom are the successors of one mind with their predecessors; and here is one of those great compensating provisions of nature which appear to render further argument upon this head unnecessary. Lastly, Sir, objections are raised upon conscientious grounds, and those, perhaps, are the most difficult to reply to. Much, however, as I have thought upon this subject, I cannot see any grounds for scruples where it is the right to present, and not the thing presented, which is made a marketable article, and where the ancient law of the land, which so often bears such a mark of imposing wisdom, has not thought fit to prohibit it. But supposing that I am not able to answer fully all the objections that may be made, is the case less strong or the occasion less urgent? Are we to pass at once to perfection, and escape from the lot of our common condition, which is too often to make a choice of evils. Bring whatever arguments you can against it, and there remain but a choice of evils. I have shown that want of church accommodation exists, and spiritual destitution, which are evils of no ordinary magnitude, and sufficient to endanger the well-being of a State. Year after year thousands are voted for the education of children; and is nothing to be done for parents, who are often as ignorant as their childern? Is this mass of evil to remain uncared-for, and be a blot upon our Christian name; or are we to devise some measures to arrest its onward progress? And if so, what other measure can I—may I not say, dare I propose? Weighty, indeed, is the obligation which a Church united to a State imposes upon her consort. It is acknowledged by the Minister in every appointment in the Church which he makes; and I therefore feel that when, by my present Motion, I broadly assert that the spiritual destitution of a people is one of the most fitting objects for the parental solicitude of the Sovereign, I shall secure an echo in the heart of every reasonable and thinking man. But, Sir, in addition to all this, in the year 1843, when Sir Robert Peel introduced his measure for church extension, the noble Lord at the head of the Government proposed this very thing. He said—It occurred to him that there was a means by which some money might be obtained for the object they had in view. There were about 600 livings in the gift of the Lord Chancellor. Now, there were many reasons for patronage being vested in the Crown, but he knew of none for its being 43 in the gift of the Lord Chancellor. He would, therefore, suggest that some of the livings over which that functionary held control should be sold, and the proceeds placed at the disposal of the Church Commissioners.Well, Sir, the time has now arrived not only when this advice may be most beneficially acted upon, but when the noble Lord is in a position to carry out his suggestion; and having reminded the noble Lord of his opinions, I have no right to assume otherwise than that he will be prepared to give effect to a proposition which only awaits his sanction in order to be converted into a source of untold blessings upon many thousands of our fellow-countrymen. Well then, Sir, concurrently with this, in order to provide endowments for these 600 new churches of 100l. each, together with a sum of 50l. for the maintenance of the fabric, would require an annual sum of 150,000l. Now, it appears from the First Report of the Commissioners upon Episcopal and Capitular Revenues, that the yearly value of the tithe-rent charges belonging to the Church is estimated at 650,000l. Of this about two-sevenths, or 180,000l., is enjoyed by the Church as lessor, the remaining five-sevenths by the lessees, and they recommend that these leases should not be renewed; but in order to provide for the sum now accruing to the Church, a similar sum, say 200,000l., would have to be borrowed for a period of twenty years, which is the time computed for the greater part of the leases to fall in. This might be done at 3½ per cent upon the security of a like annuity to commence from the close of that period, and to continue for forty years. Again, Sir, we find that the interest now enjoyed by the Church as lessor in lands and houses, &c, amounts to 300,000l. a year; but by a more equitable administration of the leases, which might be immediately adopted, this might be increased about 60 per cent, making its yearly interest about 480,000l. The calculation would then stand thus, were these arrangements adopted for the next twenty years:—
44 to be applied in the manner now suggested. This surplus would still be subject to a charge of 50,000l. a year, which is paid to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for vacated cathedral preferments, leaving in round numbers the sum which we require. The probable reduction of the septennial averages will to a certain extent cause some further diminution in this sum, but sufficient will surely be left to make what I have now advanced a fair and feasible proposition. It is necessary, Sir, that I should now in a few words proceed to the third division of my subject, as it involves a principle upon which Sir Robert Peel, in the introduction of his measure, laid considerable stress. Sir, it is the manner in which we may expect that private activity will be excited by a large sum placed in the hands of Commissioners to meet those that are locally subscribed. A very few instances will suffice to prove how admirably such a plan succeeds. The estimated cost of the various works promoted by the Church Building Society in seven years amounts to 1,246,308l. Of this 260,908l. have been contributed from various funds, while the sum raised by private contributions alone has been 905,400l. In like manner, the sum raised to meet grants for incomes from the Curates' Aid Society amounts in ten years to 50,305l.; sum voted for endowments by the society, 10,150l.; sum raised locally to complete them, 33,353l. Well then, Sir, it is worthy of remark, if for church-building purposes the sum of 260,908l., spread over seven years, produces from private sources 985,400l., how great might be the result that we might expect would flow if a sum such as I have before suggested, and such as has been recommended by Her Majesty's Commissioners, could be devoted to church-building purposes. And, Sir, the operations of another society, which provides grants to incumbents—the Church Pastoral Aid Society—prove how liberality is excited in another manner equally important by the stimulus given to it through increased religious instruction. I will quote one example to the House:—
Yearly sums borrowed to meet the non-renewal of leases £200,000 Interest of the Church as lessor in houses, &c 480,000 £680,000 Sum required by Act of Parliament to provide incomes for bishops, deans, and cathedrals, &c 480,000 Leaving a surplus of £200,000A remarkable instance of good effected is given by another incumbent, who, upon leaving his parish for a new and more laborious sphere, remarks—For a moment just look at this parish, as it was before any grant (nine years ago), and as it is now:—45
I have thus, Sir, as far as their extended nature has permitted me, endeavoured to enlarge upon some of the topics alluded to in the Address to the Queen, and I trust, that I have been enabled to show how great is the spiritual destitution that exists, and, also, that there are moans by which that destitution may be relieved. Upon us, Sir, lies that weighty responsibility—with us rests that important question—whether we will duly acquit ourselves of so great a charge, by rendering available for the use of the Established Church the property which belongs to it, or whether we will permit this present Session to pass by, not only in indifference, but in denial of so fair and just a claim. I have not asked for a grant of public money. Much as I might regret it, I see too much around me not to convince me of the inutility of such a demand; but, Sir, is the Church of England to languish in consequence? for languish she must, if with growing stature and increasing population she has no supply of inward strength. Indeed, Sir, she need not, for I can perceive, with providential reference to these contingencies, that she possesses in herself a source from whence that strength may be derived. Her temporalities have been bequeathed to her by the piety and liberality of our ancestors. They were destined to the spiritual uses of the people, and ought surely to enjoy that administration which may render them serviceable to the purposes for which they were virtually intended—they were intended to promote the interests of religion, and for the united benefit of every member in the Established Church, and all who desire her ministration; and 46 the great body of the poor who cannot afford to contribute to a voluntary system ought to be able to see in them the source of some of their most precious privileges: and therefore, Sir, I assert that the Church of England is essentially a poor man's Church. I do not plead her cause for the purpose of widening the foundations or enlarging the fabric of a merely gaudy edifice; but, Sir, I do desire that if she be seen in her breadth, it may be that her usefulness may be felt; or if she be seen in her wealth, it may be found that there is no sum, however small, left uncalled for, and not tending to promote the eternal happiness of the people and raise their temporal condition by giving them juster views of the aims and purposes of life. I do not hesitate to avow, that we have all an interest in the success of these measures, for the security of property depends upon the maintenance of public order; and abundant testimony is not wanting to prove how salutary has been the influence which has been exerted through the offices of the Established Church in calming the people in periods of excited feeling, and rendering them contented in seasons of distress. I do not expect that those hon. Members who differ from the Church of England will come forward to support measures which are for the benefit of a system with which they are at variance; but I may at least make this appeal to them, in common with every other hon. Member of this House, if the plea has been so often urged, and successfully urged, that the food of the people of this country might 'be cheapened, and their comforts increased, surely I may now plead that they may have increased means of religious consolation, free of charge, by such an administration of ecclesiastical property as will involve no detriment to any class of Her Majesty's subjects. I advocate no party policy—it is broad as the land on which we dwell, and reaches to every class of the inhabitants of this country; it embraces alone that Conservative feeling which patriotism and loyalty must ever demand at the hand of subjects; for, in the harmonious union of our Church with our State, to enhance the religious efficacy of the one, is to deepen the affections of the people for the Throne; and I may conclude by saying that a Government, by adopting it, would indeed strengthen their hands by not fearing to promote a righteous cause. Events are hastening onwards, and to any reflecting mind the presages of the future must be accompanied with anx- 47 iety and doubt. In the maturest councils there may be a mistaken policy; but in this, at least, we may be sure that there can be no mistake: for a period which has been marked by any considerable progress in the Reformed religion, like that glorious epoch which once shone and still sheds its light upon our land, with all the deepened and more mellowed colours of its increasing age—I say, Sir, that a period which has been so marked will, in like manner, impart its own memorial to other days—it will be a glorious page in history—an inestimable gift from Him who is the source of every blessing—the monument of a statesman's highest wisdom—and its voice will long be heard among our descendants in the deep and heartfelt recollections of a nation's love and freedom.
"BEFORE ANT GRANT. "AS IT IS NOW. "One church. "Two churches, well attended. "Six schools (we mustered last Whitsuntide at least 450 children and teachers). "Two parsonages. "About 300 people out of 4,100 in church. "Six hospitals for old women above 63 years, each endowed with 4s. per week (about 63l. per annum). "Not a farthing contributed by them for any good purpose whatever. "The schools of the district, maintained by voluntary contributions, not costing less than 190l. per annum. "A good library of 200 volumes. "A clothing club for the poor, in which they save about 80l. in the year for the clothing of their children."
The noble Marquess then concluded by submitting the following Resolution to the House:—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to take into Her consideration the state of spiritual destitution existing throughout England and Wales, with a view that Her Majesty may be pleased to direct the adoption of such measures as She may deem expedient for affording more efficient relief to the spiritual wants of the people, and for an extension of the parochial system corresponding to the growth of a rapidly increasing population, by the help which may be drawn from the resources of the Established Church itself.
§ LORD ROBERT GROSVENOR
rose to second the Motion. He said that he had listened with great satisfaction to the speech of his noble Friend who had just sat down; and he was sure that not only those who agreed with the noble Marquess, but many who in same degree differed from him, had been gratified by the comprehensive spirit, the ability, and the tone which he had displayed in introducing the subject now before the House. He would, therefore, not detain the House by any lengthened observations; but he wished to impress on them, first, that this was no abstract resolution, vaguely proposed in order to attain some remote object which might at some time or other be gained by it, but it was a practical measure, practically proposed, and which sought to put in motion no new or untried experiment, but to carry out that which had been originated by the late Sir Robert Peel. The proposition had been vindicated by him, in the first instance, in 1834. It was reiterated by him in 1843, and since that period it had been productive of signal advantage to this country. He held in his hand numerous documents which either aggravated 48 or confirmed the statement of existing evils adduced by the noble Marquess, and which never had been, and he was sure could not now be, denied in that House. But all he should say was this, that making every allowance for the exertions of those who differed from the Church's communion, it must yet be allowed that there were thousands and tens of thousands—he feared he might say hundreds of thousands—of the people at the present moment who were receiving no spiritual instruction whatever. If any one doubted that statement, he could refer them to that very important authority the London City Mission Magazine; and also to the reports of the chaplains of our gaols and penitentaries, which furnished only too abundant testimony confirmatory of the lamentable fact. One chaplain alone had stated that no less than 600 prisoners who had passed through his hands had never so much as heard the name of the Saviour of the world. The evils being admitted, the question resolved itself into this:—Was our parochial system the best means of combating them? What that parochial system was, is perhaps best defined by a gentleman who was universally respected by all who knew him—he meant the Rev. Mr. Dale, vicar of St. Pancras, who had endeavoured to reduce to practice the system as he had defined it. Mr. Dale defined that system to be the not leaving one house in the parish unvisited, not one open sinner unadmonished, not one necessitous person unassisted, or a single child uninstructed. How had that system been carried out? Since the adoption of Sir Robert Peel's Act in 1843, the multiplication of churches, with additional ministers, which had taken place, had not only promoted the religious improvement of the people, but had very considerably advanced their moral and material well-being. He had in his hands a vast number of letters from various parts of the country, giving him information on this point; but he would not trouble the House with any more than one, which he would adduce as a fair sample of the rest. [The noble Lord then read the document in question, which referred to a district near Leeds, where, previous to the consecration of the new district church, there had been no school, whereas now there were three—one for boys, another for girls, and a third for adults. There was also a parsonage now built close to the church and the schools; and out of a population of about 3,000 souls, there were now 500 children receiving instruction in the schools.] The noble Lord continued: If the noble Lord at the 49 head of the Government were present, he (Lord R. Grosvenor) should earnestly implore him, if he could not controvert the statements made by his noble Friend (the Marquess of Blandford), to give his support to the present Motion, and to render available those resources of the Church which ought to he applied to advance the best interests of the people at large. His noble Friend opposite had alluded to various methods of making the property of the Church available for that object; but he should only advert to that one of them which involved the large question of Church patronage. The noble Lord at the head of the Government himself had twice stated that the maintenance of the large number of livings in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor was not necessary; and this very Session the noble Lord had proposed to transfer all that patronage from the Lord Chancellor to the existing Government. True, the Bill which proposed to do that had since been withdrawn. But, at all events, what the noble Lord's opinion was had been clearly shown. The late Sir Robert Peel was favourable to the sale of these livings; and he understood that the noble Lord at the head of the great party on the other side of the House (Lord Stanley) entertained a similar view. The House was well aware that these livings were originally entrusted to the Lord Chancellor, because formerly he was generally an ecclesiastic, and because they were sources of direct pecuniary benefit. That state of things had, however, now passed away, and the patronage which was not ecclesiastical was sufficient to engage all the attention of the Lord Chancellor, and enable him to administer it with discrimination. He did not say that a Lord Chancellor would ask any man seeking a living how he gave his vote at an election; but with his multifarious other occupations it was impossible that he could exercise a rigorous control over his ecclesiastical patronage, and he must be guided by some other person who was not responsible to the public. Again, a great number of the livings in the gift of the Lord Chancellor were so small that there was great difficulty in getting proper persons to take them at all; and if this class of livings were sold they would probably fall into the hands of some respectable laymen resident in the neighbourhood, who would procure increased stipends, and see that the duties of the incumbency were properly fulfilled. Then, if the Government would consent to 50 that suggestion, three great advantages would accrue: first, there would be increased means of spiritual instruction provided; next, the poorer class of stipends would be increased; and, thirdly, there would also be a better chance of the patronage being better administered. He regretted that they were not all of one mind with regard to doctrine and church government; yet he was firmly persuaded, that by mutual concessions, instead of thwarting each others' exertions, they might all combine in doing their utmost to carry on the conflict with that common enemy of all denominations of Christians—infidelity. If he had believed that the succes of this Motion would have the effect of giving a triumph to either of the parties who unhappily divided the Church, he should not have stood up with the great pleasure -which he now did to second a Motion for the extension of the Established Church. But, believing, on the contrary, that a few who were most violent made the greatest noise, and, in consequence of that, a very exaggerated idea was entertained of their numbers; believing that the great body of the laity and clergy were sound, and that they wore willing to conciliate, rather than farther to alienate, those who wore most estranged from them, he had cordially undertaken to support a Motion calculated to promote that parochial system which he considered the best, or, at all events, the easiest, means for grappling with those social evils which had been often stated, but whose existence had never been denied in that House.
§ MR. HUME
said, he had given notice of an Amendment, not in opposition to, but with the view of forwarding the important object intended to be carried out by the Motion of the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Blandford). He thanked the noble Marquess for the trouble he had taken in bringing this question before the House; and he thought he had shown, by the manner in which he had delivered his speech, that he was sincerely anxious to see the course he pointed out adopted, and also that he was an attentive observer of what was passing in the Established Church. He concurred with the noble Marquess as to the existence of the evil; but he could not agree with him as to its cause. The noble Marquess took the whole population of the country, and, taking no account of the other religious communities, he set down as totally destitute of religious instruction all those who do not belong to the Church of England. 51 Just let him show the error of this by pointing out two cases. He (Mr. Hume) would instance Lancashire and Wales as an example, and he begged the noble Marquess's attention to the facts he was about to adduce. His authority was Mr. Baines's tables for 1841, which gave the best information extant respecting the number of Dissenting chapels, and the extent of accommodation they afforded for religious purposes. In 1841 the population of Lancashire was put down according to the census, 1,667,000. The number of episcopal churches was 189, having sitting accommodation for 214,436; whilst the number of dissenting chapels was 544, with sittings for 290,547 persons. In Wales the population in 1841 was 911,321. The episcopal churches in North Wales numbered 309; whilst the number of dissenting chapels was 430; and since the census of 1841 the amount of dissenting accommodation had been increasing in its former ratio. Let the House therefore not suppose because the people did not attend the Established Church they were necessarily destitute of all religious instruction. His object in moving the Amendment was to show to the noble Marquess that he might carry out increased religious instruction under the Church of England with smaller means than the Church already possessed, if they would only properly employ her present amount of means for strictly religious purposes. His (Mr. Hume's) complaint was that the property of the Church had been improperly administered; so that he too might well quote the passages from Bishop Latimer, to the effect that their bishops had been so far removed from their flocks in being made lords and peers of Parliament, and placed so much above the classes whose spiritual instruction they ought to superintend, that they had been of comparatively little use during the last two centuries of the Church. Indeed, it might be said that if there had been no bishops at all, the Church would have been benefited, because they had been the greatest protectors of abuses in the Church. When the noble Marquess spoke of additional clergymen, he would remind him how often he (Mr. Hume) had urged the putting down of pluralities, and the abolition of church rates, so as to place the Church in a position in which she would neither be envied nor regarded with bitter hostility by the Dissenters. The ground which he (Mr. Hume) as a supporter of the Church 52 took in 1837 was exactly what the noble Marquess now proposed to do; but in 1837 his (Mr. Hume's) Motions against pluralities were rejected, and only received support from minorities of 23 and 42 out of 658 professed friends of the Establishment. On the 14th of July, 1836, he proposed a resolution to the effect that, until adequate provision had been made for the payment of parochial clergy to supply religious instruction to those parts of the country which were stated in the reports of Commissioners to he destitute, the salary of the Archbishop of Canterbury should be 8,000l., the Archbishop of York 7,000l., and that the other bishops should have 4,000l. each. The Bishop of Norwich of that day—a venerable and most excellent man—found fault with him because he allowed the bishops too much; and as a friend of the Church, that worthy prelate (who said he administered his own diocese in a most praiseworthy manner for 3,000l. a year) wished that the allowance should he fixed at no more than 3,000l. Well, what was the result of the division on his Motion on that occasion? Why, only 44 voted for it, and 82 against it. So that what was now proposed was what he had been regarded as an enemy to the Church for proposing long ago, although he had only been anxious to see the funds of the Church applied in a legitimate manner for promoting that religious instruction amongst the people which was necessary in every well-regulated society. He had always been convinced that an irreligious people must of necessity be an ignorant people, and that an ignorant people became a criminal people. The following statement was taken from the report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, appointed by Sir Robert Peel's Government, for 1835. The revenue of the archiepiscopal and episcopal sees was 181,631l.; that of the cathedral and collegiate churches, 284,000l.; that of dignitaries of cathedral and collegiate churches, 75,000l.; that of sixty-two sinecure rectories, 80,000l.; that of the parochial benefices (upwards of 10,000 in number), 3,150,000l.; making a total of 3,770,631l. of annual revenue for the support of the Church. The returns quoted in that report showed, also, that there were 5,230 curates actively employed in 1831, whose incomes averaged only 79l. per annum; so that the active duties in nearly one-half of the benefices were performed for less than 420,000l. out of the immense Church re- 53 venues of 3,770,631l. By a return on the table of the House it appeared that the sums limited by Parliament for purposes of Church extension amounted to 2,753,000l., including a sum of 153,000l. for drawbacks of duty on the building materials of the churches. Yet, in spite of the public liberality, the underpaid curates had been retained, the pluralities had been continued, and, contrary to the Act of Parliament, the bishops had divided among themselves a large portion of the monies properly belonging to the Church. It appeared that on the 31st of December, 1831, the net income of the twenty-four bishops and two archbishops amounted in all to 157,737l., the Archbishop of Canterbury receiving 19,182l., the Archbishop of York 12,629l., the Bishop of London 13,929l., and the Bishop of Durham 19,066l. It was provided by the Act the 6th and 7th of William IV., c. 77, that the sums to be paid after the death of the individuals then holding the sees should be—to the Arch bishop of Canterbury 15,000l.; to the Archbishop of York, 10,000l.; to the Bishop of London, 10,000l.; to the Bishop of Durham, 8,000l.; to the Bishop of Winchester, 7,000l.; to the Bishop of St. Asaph, 5,000l.; to the Bishop of Bath and Wells, 5,000l.; to the Bishop of Worcester, 5,000l.; to the Bishop of Ely, 5,500l.; and to the remaining bishops, 4,500l. a year each; the whole amount of the incomes thus settled being 142,700l. a year. It appeared, however, from a return which had been laid on the table of that House within forty-eight hours, that the amount actually received by the bishops, on the average of the last seven years, had been 194,000l., instead of 142,000l., in consequence of the continuance of the system of fines. He (Mr. Hume) submitted to the Government that the lands for which those payments were to be made, should be placed in the hands of laymen, responsible to that House, and accountable for their deeds, instead of being left in the hands of the bishop of the day. But, instead of regularly paying over a fixed amount from this fund, the bishops had been allowed to put their own interpretation on the matter, and they stated the amount of their incomes at the lowest possible rate, without allowing for the increase which had taken place in the course of circumstances; and they paid to the Commissioners only the difference between the salaries of 1831 and those limited by the Act of Parliament. The 54 funds intended for the support of the minor clergy had been applied contrary to law; and any hon. Member who had been present at the discussions of that day would hear him out in saying that the interpretation which the bishops had given to the Act was not the interpretation intended. He contended that the moment Government found that that interpretation was given to the law, they ought to have brought in a Bill to correct the abuse. He had no hesitation in saying that many of the livings belonging to the Church were inadequate for the support of any man. In 1823 and 1824 he had proposed that all holders of livings in Ireland having above fifty of a congregation should receive 300l. a year; he had proposed also that every clergyman in England who had a living should receive 300l. a year; and this he thought would have been a better plan than that of building palaces, which, in the words of Latimer, raised bishops above their duty. He approved of the noble Marquess's Motion, as the first and most important step towards a desirable object; if the noble Marquess would only direct his attention to the part of the subject on which he (Mr. Hume) had touched, he was sure it would be of great use. So long as they allowed the present system of education in the Universities to continue—a system fitted only for the middle ages, and made for monks—was it to be wondered at that the clergy should be going over to the Church of Rome? Did they hear of any Dissenters going over to that Church? For what use did bishops and regulations of discipline exist? If there were men who attempted to carry out the Romish ceremonies under pretence that there were some such rubrics in the Prayer-book, it was the duty of the bishops to prevent them. He hoped church rates would be put an end to, as they were so great a cause of discontent and heartburning. He wished for the prosperity of the English Church, as a means of promoting education, moral and religious, and he was perfectly satisfied that no Dissenter in this country would grudge the application of any proper means to ensure that prosperity; but he had been unwilling to see money that was left for the benefit of all applied to the particular advantage of individuals. He hoped and trusted that the noble Marquess and himself had both the same object in view. He thought the course taken by the noble Marquess a fit and proper one, and it was with that view 55 he was anxious to make the addition to it he proposed, pointing out the mode by which the Legislature might attain a knowledge of the means belonging to the Church. It might appear surprising that sectarian extremes meet—a Radical like himself, and a Conservative like the noble Marquess; but he hoped both had the same object in view, the good of the people.
Amendment proposed, at the end of the Question, to add the words—
And also, that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to direct that there he laid before this House, an Account of all lands, houses, mines, tithes, and all property of every sort or kind whatsoever, belonging to the Church of England, or to any Bishopric or any Capitular or Ecclesiastical Body or Corporation, sole or aggregate, setting forth the nature and extent of the property, and where situated; in whose possession, or to whom leased, and the date of such lease and by whom held; the period for which the lease was granted; the fine, if any, taken at the time of granting the lease; the names of the parties by whom that fine was received, and the amount paid to each party; also, the rent reserved, and the annual value at which such property is now rated to the relief of the poor; and if tithes, the amount of the same; or if commuted, the annual rent charge; the Return for each Bishopric and Ecclesiastical and Capitular Body to be given separately.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ SIR BENJAMIN HALL
said, he was most anxious to offer his sincere thanks to his noble Friend the Marquess of Bland-ford for bringing forward the Motion. He felt confident the Motion was so framed that it would be the only practicable method of carrying out the desirable object which the noble Lord had in view. He might say that he had himself taken a leading part in reference to Church affairs, with the view of effecting some change in the abuses that existed; and he thought that if the Motion of the noble Lord was carried, that it would have the effect of remedying those abuses. He could also agree in the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, feeling satisfied that the funds at the disposal of the Commissioners would be found sufficient and available for all the purposes required. In the course of the observations which his noble Friend had addressed to the House, he referred, among other documents, to Parliamentary Paper No. 241 of the present Session: "The copy of an address to Her Majesty of Prelates, Lords of Her Majesty's Hon. Privy Council, and others, members of the United Church of England and Ireland, on Church Extension, presented to Her Majesty by 56 the Archbishop of Canterbury." It was there suggested by two archbishops, seven bishops, and ninety-eight laymen, that with the view of subdividing all densely-peopled parishes in England and Wales, and providing for their spiritual instruction, a sum of about one million sterling could be supplied from some general fund. Now, he certainly should oppose any Parliamentary grant for the purposes of church extension, and he presumed that his noble Friend, although he referred to the matter, had no such view. The next proposition was, that the patronage of a portion of the benefices in the gift of the Lord Chancellor should be resigned in favour of the proposed new parishes, and the value of the advowsons applied in successive years to the erection of churches. He objected to such an arrangement, as he heard no sound or substantial reason assigned for it. If, at any future time, such a proposition were made, he would give it careful consideration; but at present he could not consent to its adoption. He thought that when the archbishops and bishops printed this address, they might have called attention to the number of livings of which they had the patronage; and if they were so desirous of the sale of church livings, some of their own might have been sold for that purpose. He was not aware that the Lord Chancellor's patronage was bestowed on less deserving individuals than those on whom the patronage of the bishops was bestowed. On the contrary, he believed that the gentlemen appointed by the Lord Chancellor were zealous and efficient in the discharge of their offices. There were about seven hundred livings in the gift of the Lord Chancellor. By reference to a small book he found that the number in the gift of only four bishops was as follows:—Archbishop of Canterbury, 174; Bishop of Durham, 61; Bishop of London, 127; Bishop of Winchester, 86—making a total of 448 livings, not one of which "they were desirous of disposing of." The patronage in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury, it was said, amounted to about 80,000l. per annum, the sale of which would produce nearly the million asked by the prelates as a grant for church extension. He (Sir B. Hall) saw no reason for attacking the benefices in the gift of the Lord Chancellor. The next proposition of the Commissioners was the adoption of a better system of managing Church property, whereby not less 57 than half a million per annum might he obtained in the course of a few years; and the address went on to say—"It rests with Your Majesty's Government to sot the scheme in motion; it will remain for the people to press it forward." Now, he did not think that they would get the people of England to press forward, unless they put the whole Establishment on a better and more satisfactory footing; better as regarded the interests of the Church, and more satisfactory as regarded those who attended the Church. When he spoke of the Church, he wished it to be understood that he did not speak of the clergy. He knew that when an attack was made upon the emoluments of the superior and overpaid dignitaries, many persons were disposed to say, "You are an enemy of the Church." He disclaimed being an enemy of the Church. He could not be an enemy to the community to which he belonged. All he desired was to make the clergy, who were the servants of the Church (the laity being the Church) good and efficient ministers for the performance of their sacerdotal duties. His noble Friend had said that he believed
58 there were ample funds within the Church for the purposes of the required extensions. He (Sir B. Hall) had a document before him, the contents of which would astonish them. He had long endeavoured to obtain from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners this return, which he had asked for month after month, until he was wearied by the frequency of his applications. That return was ordered on the 2nd of May last year, but it was not presented until the 22nd of June in the present year. By this return it appeared that the Church, property was of immense value, and yet the whole value was not given. That abominable system of taking fines upon leases was still continued. It would be impossible to ascertain the full value of the property, unless the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose was carried. What was most important in the return was in regard to the real value of the property. He hoped the House would bear with him while he stated what the archbishops and bishops of the Established Church had received, according to the document so tardily furnished by themselves. 59 The result of the whole was, as they had heard, that the gross income for the last seven years amounted to the enormous sum of 1,535,976l. The net income was 1,344,170l. The average income of the seven years, giving a net income to those bishops, was no less than 192,024. This was only on the episcopal property. Would it be believed that the fines received from leases granted for lives and for terms of years, amounted to 636,387l.? Now when they took fines upon such leases, they robbed the Church. He would take one case as shown by this return. The Bishop of Winchester had, it appeared, actually received 20,681l. in fines within the last year: this was an instance of only one bishop in only one year. The House would recollect that by an Act of the Legislature in 1836 it was intended that the archbishops and bishops should have fixed revenues, varying from 4,200l. to 15,000l. a year; and in order to effect this object, a return is made every seven years of the net income of each see; and if that income shall be larger than the sum assigned to the see, the surplus shall he paid over to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; and if, on the other hand, the average shall fall short of the sum assigned to the see, the deficiency shall be made up by the Commissioners; and at the next avoidance of the see the scheme was to take effect; and the public had been led to believe that the income of the bishop would be confined to the sum set down for the see. Many of the laity, however, protested against leaving the property of the see in the hands of the bishops, and desired that the whole should be placed under the control of commissioners, and that the bishop should receive, as annual net income, the exact sum assigned to the see. The bishops, on the other hand, objected to any such proposition, one of its most strenuous opponents being the Bishop of London. The bishops desired the entire management of the property; and the result has been that some of the bishops on the new foundation had received an enormous sum beyond the income assigned to the see, and that others have not only taken annual sums from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to make up a contemplated deficiency of income, but have received large sums by taking fines upon granting leases and other sources, making on the whole an income very far greater than it was ever intended they should enjoy; and there were other bi- 60 shops who, having to pay over to the Commissioners a contemplated surplus, had refused to pay over that surplus, because, as they alleged, they had not been able to make it out of the see. All this appears in Parliamentary Papers, Nos. 153 and 400. Thus, it seems, that when it suited their pecuniary interests they adhered to the letter of the statute, but when they found they were not gainers they demurred to its provisions, and consequently deprived the common fund of the sums which were to have gone to the augmentation of small livings. He would now proceed to illustrate the several cases. He would first show what had occurred in six sees:—
Name of the See. Gross Income for Seven Years. Net Income. Income from Fines for Seven Years. Seven Years' Average of the See. £ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d. £ s. d. Canterbury 210,134 8 4 160,984 7 8 83,951 12 7 22,907 15 4½ York 100,468 5 4¾ 89,946 13 11¾ 60,245 0 8 12,849 10 6¾ London 123,985 10 11 115,591 19 11 31,868 13 3 16,513 2 10 Durham 207,562 1 6 187,507 12 0 100,710 18 1 26,786 16 0¾ Winchester 101,130 1 1 85,511 1 0 54,358 2 7 12,215 16 3¼ St. Asaph 53,667 0 5¾ 40,868 18 2¼ 6,088 13 4 5,838 8 3½ Bangor 44,058 10 11 32,025 13 5 4,068 0 0 4,575 1 9¼ Bath and Wells 44,648 15 7¾ 39,737 17 1¾ 21,978 17 0 5,676 16 8¾ Carlisle 27,092 12 10 20,399 1 10 12,758 15 1 2,914 3 1¼ Chester 28,086 3 0 25,407 3 3 12,883 14 2 3,629 11 10½ Chichester 32,382 11 9 30,630 8 10 9,051 14 9 4,375 15 6½ St. David's 43,939 18 9 39,125 14 11 9,672 13 5 5,589 7 10 Ely 60,064 4 1 54,839 10 3 35,279 13 6 7,834 4 3¾ Exeter 13,667 4 6 10,561 6 3 4,146 14 0 1,508 15 2 Gloucester, &c, 33,603 2 10 32,142 5 7¾ 18,682 2 4 4,591 15 1 Hereford 43,001 11 10 40,493 15 4 20,699 7 0 5,784 16 5½ Lichfield 36,337 3 10 30,811 9 5 8,020 6 6 4,401 12 9¼ Lincoln 31,119 16 9 28,405 17 0 9,865 7 4 4,057 19 6¾ Llandaff 11,404 9 6½ 10,635 15 10½ 3,310 0 0 1,526 10 10 Norwich 42,898 12 11 39,575 18 1 27,581 13 3 5,653 14 0 Oxford 36,601 4 11 33,695 13 11 11,049 13 0 4,813 13 5 Peterborough 37,075 7 2 32,615 0 2 15,461 13 4 4,659 5 8¾ Ripon 33,781 17 6 31,037 7 8 8,599 6 4 4,433 18 2½ Rochester 28,029 9 4 27,493 17 4 5,661 1 0 3,927 13 10¾ Salisbury 45,311 11 2 41,961 14 3 22,149 19 5 5,994 10 7¾ Worcester 65,853 18 3¾ 62,114 14 6¼ 38,238 14 10 8,873 10 7¾ Total of Sees 1,535,976 7 5½ 1,344,170 18 0½ 636,387 15 9 192,024 7 11½* *In many instances the bishops have, in addition to their sees, several other sources of Ecclesiastical Preferments; for instance, the Bishop of Exeter is treasurer and canon of his Cathedral, value 1,198l. per annum. Rector of Shobrook, 280l. per annum; Canon of Durham, 2,600l. per annum; total, 4,078l. net income besides his see.
In the seven years ending December last the Bishop of Chichester had received 1,230l. more than was assigned to his see; the Bishop of St. David's, 6,626l.; the Bishop of Norwich, 8,075l.; the Bishops of Oxford, Rochester, and Salisbury, in similar proportions. The result was, for seven years these bishops had received, as net income, 199,500l. in the whole, or 27,100l. more than was allotted to the sees, and the amount fixed as their annual incomes. Now, if any other persons were to act in this way, he should be disposed to call it a robbery of a fund. If a man assented to a certain fixed income being paid him for his services, and he took more than the sum assigned to him, he took what he knew did not belong to him. But this, however, these and other bishops had done. There were also bishops who had to pay certain sums of money to the ecclesiastical fund. They had speculated upon their sees, and had not made a good bargain. They have refused to pay the amount they were ordered to discharge. These were figures taken from the returns for which he had moved, in consequence of the Report of the Ecclesiastical Com- 61 mission. The Archbishop of York owed to the Commissioners 2,317l.; the Bishop of St. Asaph, 1,661l., notwithstanding certain deductions allowed to his Lordship, which he (Sir B. Hall) contended were illegal; the Bishop of Bath and Wells, 3,495l. (but this sum has been lately paid); the Bishop of Ely, 9,242l.—all these making a total now due by three bishops alone of 14,225l. He declared that if any person looked at the Paper No. 153, which had lately been laid on the table of the House, they would be astonished to find how any gentlemen could suffer themselves to be dunned in the way in which the bishops had been dunned by the Secretary of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. What with some bishops taking more than they ought to have taken, and others not paying what they really owed, there was no less a sum than 42,500l. due to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, which should have been available for increasing the incomes of small livings, and paying, for instance, poor Welsh clergymen, who had scarcely sufficiety to support their existence. He would now pass to three of the great sees. He would begin with two that were on the old foundation, namely, London and Winchester. On Saturday, the 30th of May, 1837, it was decided by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, that the incomes of those sees on the next avoidance should be 10,000l. and 7,000l. a year respectively. It was a remarkable fact that there was no one single instance of any of the bishops, during their lifetime, having given up anything for the benefit of the Church. These two bishops (London and Winchester) determined that their successors should have for their incomes 10,000l. and 7,000l. a year respectively. Now, if these incomes were good for their successors, why were they not equally good for themselves? These bishops had two palaces each, irrespective of their incomes. In fourteen years the Bishop of London would thus have received 140,000l., but he had received 217,259l., or 77,259l. more than he declared was sufficient for his successor! The Bishop of Winchester, for the same number of years, should have received 98,000l., instead of which he had received 151,166l., or 53,166l. more than he thought sufficient for his successor! These two prelates had, therefore, taken from the Church in these fourteen years no less than 130,425l. more than they themselves had declared was sufficient for the maintenance of their respective posi- 62 tions. But it had been said that these were bishops of the old foundation, and the new incomes were not to apply until the next avoidance. He would take a case of a new foundation. In 1836 the Bishop of Durham was appointed to his see at an income of 8,000l. a year, assigned to it. In fourteen years that prelate should have received 112,000l., instead of which he had taken 191,658l. or 79,658l. more than he should have done. These three prelates, therefore, deprived the Church of 210,083l. within fourteen years. But there was another point connected with this Motion which he was anxious should not he forgotten. Let them look at the immense sums of money which several of the clergy annually received, and the comparatively insignificant services they rendered. He should take a district in the diocese of Ely for an illustration, and they would see what was required to be done before they could expect people to come forward with large subscriptions in aid of Church extension. In Wisbeach the Rev. H. Fardell was the vicar. From St. Peter's he received 1,311l. 10s., and from St. Mary's 879l., making a total of 2,190l. 10s. Besides, he was prebend of Ely, with an income of 700l., and vicar of Waterbeach with 500l., amounting in the aggregate to 3,390l. This gentleman was absent from his duties for six months in each year. He was son-in-law of Bishop Sparkes. In Wisbeach St. Mary, with a population of 1,600, there was no resdent clergyman. In Wolsoken the Rev. J. Blockey, the rector, was non-resident; but the value of the living was estimated at 1,293l. In Leverington, Mr. Sparkes, the rector, was non-resident, value 2,099.; canon of Ely, 700l.; rector of Gunthorpe 534l.; total 3,333l., son of a former bishop. Tyd St. Giles's, Rev. Mr. Watson, rector, nonresident; value, 1,200l.; this gentleman resides in Guernsey, and pays his curate only 120l. per annum; population 900, very few attend the church. Tyd St. Mary's, Rev. Mr. Bouverie, rector, nonresident; value 1,200l.; prebend of Lincoln, 1,000l.; rector of Woolbrading, 227l.; total, 2,327l. Here, then, they had four clergymen receiving 8,153l. 11s. 4d., and not doing any duty; and one clergyman receiving 3,390l., and doing duty only when it suited his convenience. This occurred in the neighbourhood of Wisbeach. Now, he asked if such a state of things as this was not truly scandalous? And let him ask—and he did it with grief and with 63 shame—would the Roman Catholics do these things? And yet, asking this question, he must say with grief and with shame, that in the Church of England these things were going on from one end of the kingdom to the other. There was, also, the see of Rochester, which had of late become rather notorious. The present Bishop of Rochester had been appointed in the year 1827. This prelate had held the deanery of Worcester and some other benefices, which he resigned in 1846, upon receiving the 5,000l. a year, being a larger income than he before had. But having shown what was the income of the bishop, he had now to show how his duties were performed. One of those duties was the triennial visitation of the cathedral. By the statutes of the cathedral he was bound to make that visitation. (He (Sir B. Hall) had made anxious inquiries into the subject, and he found that the bishop had never made one of these visitations of the cathedral; and not only ought he to do this, but he had sworn to do this. He understood, too, that the bishop had seldom preached in the cathedral, except upon Easter Sunday last. It might be said that if he were a friend to the Church, he would not labour in collecting these facts. His only answer was, that they lived in an age when, if abuses were not put prominently forward, there would not be any chance of redressing them; and therefore it was that he would persist in exposing them, in the hope that some day he would be able to effect their correction. But having now shown what was the conduct of the bishop, he had next to look to the conduct of the capitular body. The dean preached twelve times from December 1st, 1850, to April 1st, 1851, and attended service four times on week days, and received 1,426l. a year. One canon preached twelve times in two years of residence, and received 680l. a year. Another canon received 680l. a year, and he also took an additional stipend of 100l. a year, which he obtained from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, because the duties of the canons were declared to be so onerous that it was impossible to perform them unless there was another 100l. a year given. Another of the canons had not been in Rochester for three years, and had sold off his goods and left the place. Such, then, was the state of the ecclesiastical body in Rochester; but, in order to bring their conduct up to the present time, be had to mention that, up to the end of 64 June, which closed the day before, no canon had preached in the cathedral, not even on Whit Sunday, although one did on Ascension-day. This was the manner in which the canons performed their work, and now the cathedral was to be closed in a few days, so the bishop and the chapter would be entirely free to enjoy themselves. They had amongst them 10,900l. a year for doing little or nothing, and they had from other sources of preferment an additional income of 7,740l., making a total of 17,640l. per annum, while the minor canons did the work, for which two of them receive 150l. a year, and the others only 30l. a year each! The case of Rochester was curious in other respects; but that portion of the case to which he would not now refer, was pending in the courts of law. His attention had, however, been directed to one fact in connexion with it, which he found in a pamphlet published by Mr. Whiston, and in consequence of it he had moved for a return. There were six men, who were called almsmen and bedesmen, who were to have 40l. a year. This grant had been made long since; the payments had been confided to this ecclesiastical body, and by the return there appeared to be no such persons in existence. He was anxious to know when there had been an almsman appointed, and he found that in August, 1774, there had been a bedesman named Featherstone appointed, and that there had been no bedesmen since 1790, so that 2,400l., intended for the purposes of the charity, were taken and divided by the chapter amongst themselves; and yet, would they believe that the chapter clerk went through the farce each quarter-day of crying out, "Thomas Featherstone, come forth and receive your annuity;" "Cornelius Ryan, come forth and receive your annuity;" and this abominable imposture was actually performed before the eyes of the dean and chapter, who well knew that both Thomas Feather-stone and Cornelius Ryan, who were thus called upon, had been in their coffins for years. But the consequence of the exposure by the return had done something in the way of good. New appointments of bedesmen were made. Six poor men were appointed, whose ages varied from sixty-five to eighty years. One of these had served with Lord Howe, and another had been at the battle of Waterloo—men of excellent character. They were to receive the 40l., and yet, would the House believe that, a few days ago, when 1l. 10s. 10d. 65 was paid to each of these poor men, the chapter clerk of that body which had 17,700l. a year, actually deducted a 10s. fee from their 1l. 10s. 10d.? This corporation, though for a space of forty or fifty years it had engrossed this large revenue, deducted thirty per cent in this way from the small pittances of those poor men. But that was not all, for the Dean of Rochester had appropriated the money intended originally for the maintenance of the hospital called the Lepers' Hospital, the funds of which, in consequence of the moral leprosy that had prevailed, had been taken from charity for the benefit of the dean. He asked the House how they could expect the people to press forward for the extension of the Church, when they saw these abominations going on day after day, and they were obliged to get up with disgust to point to those acts of their bishops, who ought to be the ministers of God, and to do good to their fellow-subjects? Now let them look at this diocese of London, and consider for a moment the duties of certain prebends of St. Paul's. There were seven of them, and their duty was, to preach twice a year. There is a property in the borough which he had the honour to represent, which was rated to the relief of the poor at about 208,000l.; yet all that the Dean and Chapter now received out of that vast property was only 300l. a year, in consequence of their having disgracefully consented to its alienation for a heavy fine. It is now called the Southampton estate. That was the way the Church had been robbed. [Mr. GOULBURN: Hear, hear!] He was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say "Hear, hear," to that. It was a gross case that he had stated, and the right hon. Gentleman acknowledged it to be so. Yet that was going on every day; nor had the right hon. Gentleman, either in office or out of office, ever attempted to check the continuance and repetition of these gross proceedings. What was the case with the Bishop of Winchester last year? Did he not grant a lease on a life, or for years, and take a heavy fine? Why, that in itself was a robbery of the Church. If he had been content with the property of his see, there would have been no occasion to take a fine, and alienate the property of the Church. But the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn), being an Ecclesiastical Commissioner, must be aware that there was a commission appointed, called the Ecclesiastical Capitular Revenues 66 Commission, the object of which was to get rid of fines on leases; and the Earl of Carlisle brought in a Bill in another place the other day, to do away with them. The-greatest opposition that could be employed to frustrate this measure was resorted to against it—and by whom? By the bishops who received the fines! Nothing, consequently, this Session, could be expected to be done with reference to this subject, which so much demanded reform. It was only by the exposure of such abuses that any useful result could be attained; and it was only on an occasion like this, when his noble Friend had made a Motion in favour of Church extension, that they were able to move those personages, and to make them remember that they were, not the masters, but the ministers of the Church, of which they (the laity) were the vast community. He now came to a diocese with which he was well acquainted—and if any one wanted to see the destitution of the Church—the neglect of the Church—or the disgrace of the Church—let him go into the diocese of St. David's. The Bishop of St. David's was a bishop of the new foundation, with a fixed salary of 4,500l. per annum, and in order (as it was asserted) to make up which amount he received 1,600l. a year from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. But what was the result of the return now in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman? Why, that instead of the 4,500l., that prelate had received 5,500l.; and in order to make as great as possible every deduction which could seem to diminish the amount of the gross income, the right hon. Gentleman would see that there was not a single item of expenditure that could enter into the mind of a bishop, that had not been deducted, even down to a sum of 12l. 4s. to poor clergy for stipends, and one of 2l. 4s. for pension. And now let the House see what were the offices of the Bishop of St. David's, and how he discharged the duties of them. He was dean and treasurer of the collegiate church of Brecon. The property of that establishment amounted to 7,213l. 10s. per annum. They had always been told that the duties of a dean included that of presiding over his church, and of seeing that the funds were properly applied in keeping it in repair and general efficiency for divine worship. Now he would read an extract from the description given of this place by a recent writer—a gentleman who had held au official situation under Government for fifty-one years, 67 who retired only a few days ago, and who had been held in such high estimation that a piece of plate was presented to him as a mark of respect. This gentleman's name was Jesse, and he made his visit in 1847. He said—
Name of See. Fixed Annual Income. Seven Years. Bishop has Received. Surplus beyond the Stipulated Income. £ £ £ £ Chichester 4,200 29,400 30,630 1,230 St. David's 4,500 31,500 38,120 6,626 Norwich, late and present Bishop 4,500 31,500 39,575 8,075 Oxford, 5 years 5,000 25,000 26,918 1,918 Rochester, 4 years 5,000 20,000 22,279 2,279 Salisbury 5,000 35,000 41,972 6,972 172,400 199,500 27,100There is one place at Brecon, to which the wandering angler's attention should be directed. It is the interesting old cathedral, now fast mouldering away, neglected, forsaken, and almost unknown. Who can see it without feelings of the deepest regret? No solemn anthem now ascends to heaven, no choral praise is heard. The insidious ivy creeps through the roof, the floor is damp, and the old oak stalls with their curiously carved miseres are fast falling to decay. And why is this? Are there no funds to keep it in repair? No estates attached to its original foundation? Where is the dean who occupied the stall on which his name is inscribed, or the precentor or prebendaries who sat in the others? Did they resign the ecclesiastical duties, because decaying incomes kept pace with the decay of the sacred edifice? Nothing of this sort is the case. The Bishop of St. David's is the dean, and there are no less than fifteen prebendaries, all of them (the Bishop included), deriving considerable incomes from this neglected place. Yet the estates flourish, the rents are paid, and the dean and prebendaries pocket the money. The livings which pious men left to this church are still held by them, and yet it is all decay, ruin, and desolation.Now, this was the description of the collegiate church of Christ Brecon, of which the Bishop of St. David's was dean. And he would ask the House whether the Roman Catholics would suffer this? Would they not, if they had a good and solid foundation, employ it for the benefit of their community in the district? Who can wonder, when the Pope of Rome saw all these things going on in the diocese of St. David's, that he should appoint a prelate of his own to preside over it? Who could wonder that in front of the still remaining, but recently unglazed, window of that church, there should arise a Roman Catholic place of worship well calculated to meet the wants of the Catholic inhabitants of the district? Let him now show the House what was the state of the parish churches in the diocese over which the Bishop of St. David's ought to exercise a rigid system of discipline. He would, therefore, read extracts from the Report of the Commissioners appointed about six years ago, by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, who, when Secretary of State for the Home Department, deemed it advisable to have a commission to inquire into the state of education in Wales, and this commission visited many churches, because the schools were 68 often held in churches. He (Sir B. Hall) read extracts from the Report, because the House might require the corroboration of a Parliamentary paper to enable them to believe in the possibility of what he could afterwards state from the Report of his own Commissioners only a few months ago with regard to the manner in which the ministration and services of the Established Church were allowed to be neglected, and the consequent natural and general alienation of the people from the Church. Here the right hon. Baronet read as follows:—Kemys Hundred.—In the whole country between Fish Guard on the North, and the Precelly Mountain on the South: there is no day school, the state of the church exemplifies the neglect in which the population of these parishes are left. Churchwardens are never appointed. The churches of Llandeilo and Maenchlochog are in ruins. I entered that of Morfyl; the panes of the chancel window were all out; inside of the church wet as if just rinsed with water, as indeed it had been, for the afternoon was raining.Hasguard.—School held in the church, where the master and four little children were ensconced in the chancel, amidst lumber, round a three-legged grate full of burning sticks, without funnel or chimney for the smoke to escape. How they bore it I cannot tell. There had been no churchwarden in the parish for the last ten years, nor, it is believed, for a much longer period.Llanafan Fechan.—Mr. Rees, farmer, who lives close to the church, informed me that divine service was very seldom performed here unless there are banns to publish, a wedding, or a funeral.Llandulais.—This church is a barn-like building with large holes in the roof, evincing every symptom of neglect and discomfort.Llanfihangel, Abergwessin.—No service performed in this church five out of six Sundays for want of a congregation.Llanfihangel Bryn Pabuan.—Divine service not often performed here, except a wedding or funeral takes place. The vicar rides by on a Sunday afternoon, but seldom has occasion to alight and do duty from the want of a congregation.Llanfair tref Helygon.—The parish church was in ruins many years ago, the oldest inhabitant does not remember it standing.Llandegly.—The clergyman is forbidden to have his horses in the churchyard, but he puts in two calves; the school is held in the church, into which the belfry opens, which is open to the churchyard. Calves are still turned into the churchyard, and I was told still sleep in the belfry.He would not now further trespass on the attention and indulgence of the House by reading the remaining papers he held in his hand, which contained extracts from the Reports of his own Commissioners, who had also visited the localities above mentioned, and many others in addition. He would content himself with repeating, that what he had just read was not the report 69 of the persons he had himself employed lately to make inquiries into the real state of things, but merely that of the persons appointed by Government, which he hoped intended to find a speedy remedy for such melancholy neglect as existed with respect to the spiritual ministrations of the Established Church; and in consequence of the official report above alluded to, he (Sir B. Hall) had himself employed persons to go round the diocese and see how far it was correct; and if he was to publish all the facts he had received from his own sources of information, it would fill a very large pamphlet, and would exhibit, as far as the dignitaries of the Church were concerned, a more disgraceful state of things than he believed had ever existed before in the discipline of any religious body, whether heathen or Christian. It might be said that there were four archdeacons, and that they ought to assist the bishop, and that all these abuses were not to be laid to the charge of the bishop alone. It was very true there were four archdeacons, and he (Sir B. Hall) had applied to one of them, and asked why such neglect was suffered to exist; and he had been assured that the archdeacons were prevented or forbidden to act. For these reasons he contended there must be an inquiry; and if bishops continued to be sent into Wales to promote the interests of the Established Church who understood and cared little or nothing about the language, the manners, or the character of the natives, they could not be surprised that dissent was most popular, and Romanism becoming rampant; and the latter was decidedly rapidly increasing in the Principality, which was the result of the systems so long pursued by Anglo-Welsh bishops. A fair question might be put, which was that he was very ready to state abuses, but what remedy could he propose? He (Sir B. Hall) could not have looked over these things Session after Session without endeavouring to apply his mind and understanding to find some remedy for these gross, and he would add deliberately followed-up, abuses. His plan was this—he would say: Take the whole of the property of the archbishops and bishops, deans and chapters, whether sole or aggregate, and let the real working clergy have a good and proper income. The Archbishop of Canterbury had an income of 15,000l. a year, with two palaces—an income which many sovereign princes did not possess. He would say, let him have the same income as the Prime Minister of 70 the Crown. His noble Friend had very truly observed, that the secularities of the bishops diminished very much the efficacy of their spiritual functions. He quite concurred in that opinion; his remedy, therefore, would be to send them out of the House of Lords, and make them attend to their dioceses. He would give between two and three thousand a year to the bishops, and he would raise the position of the minor clergy. He would get rid of such miserable examples of ecclesiastical poverty as were exhibited by clergymen in his own country, who were obliged to live on from 25l. to 30l. a year, and who had to walk five or six, seven or eight miles to perform the services of the Church, whilst those who received the large incomes were seldom qualified to perform them, and lived at a great distance from what ought to be the scene of their labours. There were 353 churches in the diocese of St. David's, and only 454 services; whilst in some there were no services at all. Let them, therefore, pay the working clergyman, and get rid of the absentee incumbent, who did nothing, and took the money. He would have no clergyman receive less than 200l. a year, and none receive more than 500l. or 600l. a year. And as to church extension, he believed that within the Church itself there were ample means not only of promoting that object, but of entirely getting rid of church rates, which were productive of so much dissension, and were so objectionable in themselves. His object was, in fact, to make the Church efficient and useful to the community, so that the people could respect it—to make the Church of which he was a member a blessing to the country at large; but if there were dignitaries in the Church, who received enormous incomes, whilst the working clergy were kept in a state of miserable poverty—if there was such a want of discipline and consistency that a bishop could one day at a great public festival not only sanction the acts but pronounce the most exaggerated laudation upon the conduct of one of his clergy, and the next desire his dismissal from the benefice for the same conduct which he had previously so much applauded—if a bishop could one day consecrate a cross, and the next day order its removal—if a bishop could one day say that flowers were not to be used at the altar, and the next say they might if they were not used in too great a profusion—if a bishop said one day that his clergy should preach in white surplices, and the 71 next that they must mount the pulpit in black gowns—when they saw these gross inconsistencies, this total want of all steady principle of action, and when they had also such instances of extortion and neglect as was demonstrated in some of the cases he had brought forward, while there was such a determined system of peculation as regarded Church property, how could it be supposed that the Church Establishment would be respected, or how could the bishops suppose (as set forth in their address to the Queen), that whilst such abuses were unreformed, that the people would press forward in favour of Church Extension?
§ MR. MORRIS
said, with respect to the remarks of the last speaker, with reference to the Bishop of St. David's, that the manner in which his Lordship discharged the duties of his high office, his unbounded charities, his attention to everything that could contribute to the advantage of his diocese, formed a striking contrast to his predecessors. He had performed a task in which very few succeeded; that of obtaining a complete mastery over the Welsh language; and he had observed him several times extort praise even from the Dissenters. He wished that the charges brought forward by the hon. Baronet (Sir B. Hall) had been made in the presence of the Bishop of St. David's, so that he might have had an opportunity of replying to them. The collegiate church at Brecon was in a dilapidated state long before the present bishop came into the diocese; and he believed that its condition was at present somewhat better than it had been. But the bishop had no more to do with it than any Gentleman in that House, for if he did not derive his income from that source, it was paid by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Any one who knew the high character of that excellent Prelate, his private worth, his learning, and his high attainments, would join him in protesting against the attack of the hon. Baronet.
MR. A. B. HOPE
said, that, in rising to make a few observations upon the Motion before the House, he must add his sincere tribute to the admirable tone and temper and to the great ability with which the noble Marquess brought forward this most interesting question. No one could have heard his statement without feeling the sincerity with which he had brought forward his scheme, and without desiring to co-operate with him as far as possible. He (Mr. A. B. Hope) did not think, however, that that scheme was as complete 72 as it might have been made; there were various features in connexion with it which the noble Marquess had not explained so fully as he might have done; and there were various provisions, various measures of Church reform, which he (Mr. A. B. Hope) thought that the noble Marquess might have adopted to a greater extent and with greater boldness than he had done. His scheme divided itself into two parts—parochial extension, and episcopal extension. With regard to parochial extension, all must feel the miserable deficiency of our parochial ministrations, and must sympathise with the poor of our Church; but he very much doubted if any scheme so purely technical and statistical as building 600 additional churches throughout England, adding nineteen clergymen in one town, and fifty-two in another, could ever meet the evil. There was not that want of more churches or more parishes so much as there was required that more opportunities should be afforded to the poor man of going to church. They wanted more clergy—they wanted more services—not services only between half-past ten o'clock and eleven o'clock, but services at all hours that would most meet the convenience of the poor man, whose time was not his own, but was taken up by administering to the luxuries and comforts of others. He would call their attention to the effects of multiplying in their towns a body of men who were as hard worked and underpaid, and in every respect as deserving of attention, as the curates of country places—he meant the overworked perpetual curates in large towns—men who were planted in a neighbourhood where the ground was not broken, to sow the seed with a miserable income and with bad arrangements, perhaps in alienation from the Church on account of the too lordly bearing of the incumbent of the undivided parish. If there was any system that would tend to weaken the Church, it was the system of indiscriminate parochial division. It divided their strength, and scattered one man here and another there, without the means of doing good—frittering away their money in building churches, when, by the endowment of two or three more clergymen in existing churches, they would do what would prove more efficacious. No person could believe that he was opposed to the multiplication of churches; but the idea that that great work would be done when they built five churches, and twice as much would be 73 done when they built ten, was a fallaciou idea. Let them increase the staff of curates, let them have chapels of ease, depending upon the mother church, and securing something like co-operation and unity; let there be something like elasticity in the application of their funds, so that they might bring them to bear where most wanted—so that they would bring to bear the exertions of the clergy in every part of the parish at certain times, and they would do something more efficacious and lasting, because more centralised, than could be done by this system of a district church here, and a district church there, which were inefficient, because the one clergyman, overworked during the week, cannot give his attention early and late on the Sunday, at those hours when religious instruction would he thankfully received and accepted. Again, in large towns there were meeting-houses and Roman Catholic chapels where there were services at various hours, according to the requirements of the people. Did not the ministers of religion connected with those chapels go forth to meet their flocks half-way, and lead them into the fold, and not merely open the doors of the fold at hours that had become traditionary, because they were devised for the advantage of certain classes of society (the rich), who seemed to have a patent of heaven? But instead of going to the root of this evil, and seeing how the Church might become more efficacious, it was merely proposed to double the number of existing churches without 'any inquiry or arrangement. Then, again, he would call attention to the plan of building and endowing churches by means of the Lord Chancellor's livings. To that he had strong objections. It was true that livings were now saleable, but it was a different thing to say they were saleable, and to say it was desirable, because livings were saleable, that 600 livings should be brought at once into the market. The evils arising from the sale of livings might be great, or they might be little; but if they were not great, it was occasioned by the state of the market. Cases of flagrant corruption had arisen from the disposal of this species of merchandise; and if they brought into the market the Lord Chancellor's livings, they would, at the same time, bring to bear the wildest speculation on the most sacred things. Let them create speculation with regard to those livings, and it would be like the speculation in fashionable chapels 74 —one of the greatest blots on the Church. They would bring the evils resulting from that system at once to bear in an aggravated shape on the Church, by bringing all those Lord Chancellor's livings into the market at once. He could not conceive anything more objectionable, or that would tend more to alter the feelings of respectable laity than this sale of the Lord Chancellor's livings. They would call the people, in these times of religious division, to whom they looked for a disinterested support of the Church, into the market as competitors, raising, as they must do, the passions of men—making them in self-defence bid against each other for those livings. That was what they must do, if they enabled the more unscrupulous members of the different parties to come into the market to bid for those livings. They must swamp the Church on the one side or on the other by the sale of livings which were established for the promotion of the gospel of peace and truth. With respect to the proposal regarding the incomes of deans and bishops, he confessed he did not very clearly understand what that was meant to do. He did not know whether it was meant to gather the funds from the present deans into a common stock, and then divide them again amongst the bishops, or whether the deans were actually to be converted into bishops, keeping the present bishops as they are, so that they would have twenty-seven master-bishops and twenty-seven curate-bishops—the former with the present incomes, the latter with the much smaller ones of the deans. If that were the proposal, it appeared to him to be a very clumsy and ill-advised method of increasing the episcopate. If the episcopate was to be respected, it must be brought back, as the hon. Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall) had stated, to the condition of a working episcopate—an episcopate of which each bishop would be the head and centre of his diocese, and all equal (the bishops as distinguished from archbishops) among themselves; but if they adopted a bad arrangement, they would only bring the episcopate into contempt. If they multiplied their bishops, they must multiply their cathedrals, and they must not be cathedrals, as they were now, where the canons might or might not attend, as they thought proper. There must be working bishops at the head of the working mother churches of the district allotted for each diocese. The improvement must not be 75 effected by a half measure, which would only defer that inevitable day when, if episcopacy was retained amongst them, it must be retained as a practical and working body. Well meaning though the scheme which had been brought before them was—well intentioned as it was—brought forward as it was with the purest motives, he could not at all regard its two main features as being more than timid expedients to heal over a wound that had sunk too deep for such remedies. The bishops, clergy, and laity combined—that corporation of the Church of England was every day more moved by the deep feeling that they ought to have some voice in its control; and they had seen that already the Bishop of Exeter had hold his synod, while the Record had pronounced the question of synodical action one of great and growing importance. He did not think that the House of Commons—composed of Churchmen who were unwilling to interfere in the concerns of this denomination, and of members of other denominations, who, as honourable men, were unwilling to interfere in the concerns of the Church of England—would find itself competent to form a scheme for the reform of the Church of England; and he did not think the Church of England would thankfully receive such a scheme. The great cause on trial now was one on which the Church had a right, legally and morally, to speak for herself. The cause was so great that they had seen both parties claiming for themselves a fair hearing as members of the Church of England in deciding what that Church really is. In such a time as this, when men's hearts were stirred to their very bottom—when plausible palliatives and all the devices of a less earnest generation were clearing away, a scheme prepared by a Commission, however respectable, and carried by a Vote of that House in one night, could not meet the requirements of the Church of England. The Church would have her convocation so soon as the Sovereign chose to give effect to the promise that it should he called together whenever occasion required; and causes were in operation—causes on which the existence of the Church depended—that would lead men of both parties in the Church to claim the right to meet and decide for themselves, and by themselves, what the circumstances of the Church demanded. The noble Marquess had done great justice to the subject in the speech he had made. That 76 speech was listened to with attention, and having made that statement, he trusted the noble Marquess would consider he had done all that was right, and would not press his Motion to a division.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, that having listened attentively to the speech of the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford) who had proposed the Resolution now before the House, he must express the great satisfaction with which he had heard it; and he concurred in the observation made by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, that no doubt would be entertained of the earnestness and sincerity of the noble Marquess in promoting the important object he had in view. That object, as described in his Motion, was to address Her Majesty to direct the adoption of such measures as She might deem expedient for affording more efficient relief to the spiritual wants of the people, and for an extension of the parochial system corresponding to the growth of a rapidly increasing population, by the help which might be drawn from the resources of the Established Church itself, Before, however, the House could agree to this address, he thought it ought to be made fully aware of the nature of the step which it was now called upon to take. The question it became them to ask was, what was the specific measure which the address pledged the House to adopt. It certainly had occurred to him, on reading the address as it stood on the paper, before the speech of the noble Marquess was delivered, that in its terms it was indefinite and vague; and, considering what had already been done upon this question, he thought it undesirable to address the Crown again in such terms, unless there were pointed out specific measures that could be taken by the Crown, or by Parliament at the suggestion of the Crown, tending to promote the object the noble Marquess had in view. In the course of his speech, however, the noble Marquess did state some measures which he thought it would be proper to adopt. He began by alluding to the spiritual destitution existing among a large por, tion of the people—a destitution which he (Sir G. Grey) thought could not be denied, whatever opinion might exist as to its causes. He could not enter upon the question whether, as suggested by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), the noble Marquess had made sufficient allowance in his calculations for the religious instruction communicated by those who dis- 77 sented from the Church of England; but he must say that, after making liberal allowance on that head, they must come to the conclusion that a large number of the inhabitants of this city, and of other large and densely-peopled districts of the country, were most inadequately provided with the means of religious instruction, whether within the Established Church, or among the Dissenting community. But the question arose—was there any legislative practical remedy for that destitution? Was there any particular measure Parliament could adopt that would apply a remedy to the evil? He admitted the vast importance of the moral and religious instruction of the great mass of the people, not merely with reference to those higher interests that were involved, but also with regard to others of a more subordinate character, such as the maintenance of order and peace throughout the country through the existence of a well-conducted moral and religious population; and he thought that every exertion ought to be made to promote that great object. No exertion for the attainment of that object could be too great if it were made with discretion. The noble Marquess had referred to the existence of spiritual destitution, and he next referred to the means available for relieving that destitution; and he (Sir G. Grey) concurred with the noble Marquess in thinking that, in so far as an improved management of Church property, with the view of making it more valuable, could accomplish that object, it was one which it was in the highest degree desirable to carry out. They must all admit that if the property vested in the Church did not produce sufficient funds, or if they were not applied to the spiritual wants of the people, it was desirable that a remedy should be applied: but how was Parliament to provide for the accomplishment of that object? On retracing the history of the last few years, it was obvious that this was a subject that had occupied much of the attention of that House. When the Ecclesiastical Commission was established in 1835, the purpose aimed at was the same as that now before the House, namely, to render more available the property of the Church towards providing for the spiritual wants of the people—to introduce reforms in cases where persons were receiving large revenues, and not performing duties, and to restore those revenues to channels in which they might be made useful for spiritual purposes. He would not enter into a 78 discussion as to the manner in which the business of that Commission had been conducted, but would simply say that much had been done to accomplish the object which the Commissioners had in view. Following up that step came what was called Sir Robert Peel's Act—a most valuable measure—by which a large sum borrowed from the Commissioners of Queen Anne's Bounty was placed in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to provide district clergymen in various parts of the country. From a return made to the House it appeared that the augmentation of small livings by the Commissioners amounted to an annual sum of 44,000l., drawn from capitular and other property, and representing a capital equal to 1,400,000l. In addition to this sum about 31.000l. a year had been provided under Sir Robert Peel's Act, making an annual sum of 75,000l. towards the relief of spiritual destitution. There were, besides, voluntary grants from private funds to meet grants made by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Independently of these two measures to which he had adverted, two Commissions had been recently appointed—one a Commission for inquiring into the best mode of subdividing large parishes, and the other to inquire into episcopal and capitular revenues, in order to render them more available for Church purposes than at present. The first of these Commissions had made a report, and a draught of a Bill had been prepared, based upon their recommendations, relative to the subdivision of parishes. That Bill now stood for the second reading. The Commission on Episcopal and Capitular revenues had presented two reports, and a Bill founded upon them had been brought before the other House, having for its object to remedy the evil so much complained of by the hon. Baronet (Sir B. Hall), namely, the taking of fines on the renewal of leases. That Bill had been sent to a Select Committee; but it was of course doubtful whether it could be carried through Parliament this Session, because he must remind the House that it was not merely the dry question of whether the property of the Church might be increased in value, that they had to encounter, but many other questions, as to the rights of lessees and their property—rights, not strictly legal, but equitable in their nature, and of very long standing. Looking to the terms of the Commission which had been issued, it would seem that one 79 of the principal means to which the noble Marquess looked for the attainment of the end he had in view, was in progress of accomplishment; and if the Motion was agreed to, and the address was carried to the Throne, he was not aware that they could receive any other answer, than that the Crown had already taken the measure which was contemplated by the address. There would then be this objection to the Motion, that it implied those measures had not been taken which in effect were in progress; nor had the noble Marquess shown any short method by which they might arrive at the solution of the difficulties which were already under the consideration of a Committee of the House of Lords, which, if it did not report in time for the Bill under their notice to become law this Session, would clear the ground for its consideration next Session. The noble Marquess went on to state that the only other means to which he looked was the adoption of the recommendations contained in the Second Report of the Committee on Subdividing Parishes, that there should be a sale of Church livings in the gift of the Lord Chancellor to raise a fund for the erection of churches. If the object of the noble Marquess was to pledge the House to the principle of that recommendation, and to ask them to take measures to carry it into effect, the proposition should not be made indirectly, the House should have the subject brought clearly before them, and it should not be implied by an address so very general in its terms as that which had been moved by the noble Marquess. With respect to this question, however, he must observe that while he might concur in the recommendation of the report, if limited to the sale of some of the smaller livings, with a view to induce private persons to endow them on account of the patronage; he strongly objected to the whole of the Chancellor's livings being sold by what, in effect, would be public auction. First, such a proposition would take away the patronage which the Minister exercised on the part of the Crown; and, as had been observed by the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. A. B. Hope), in the present state of the Church there would be this further objection, that parties would be bidding against each other for those livings, and that associations would be formed for their purchase, which he thought very undesirable. The sum, moreover, stated by the Commissioners, 80 would not be sufficient for the erection of the 600 churches they contemplated; and he did not think the House ought to express an opinion in favour of such a recommendation, unless the question were distinctly brought before them in its whole bearings, and fully investigated. He agreed very much with what had been said by the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. A. B. Hope), that building churches was not the most important object to be attained. It was a feature in the Act of Sir Robert Peel, that it did not contemplate the building of churches by the funds which it provided. The whole of the sum borrowed from Queen Anne's Bounty funds was applied to the maintenance of additional clergymen; and the result was, that the sums being so applied, churches were built by private funds. The hon. Member for Maidstone had said, the increase of clergy was more desirable than the increase of churches; and in that view he (Sir G. Grey) concurred. He also thought that great power existed in the hands of the authorities of the Church for providing further means to meet spiritual destitution, by sanctioning, under episcopal control, the agency of laymen as assistants to the parochial clergy. Having shown the House that the Crown had taken those measures which the noble Marquess called on them to take, and having expressed his opinion that they ought not to pledge themselves to an approval of a recommendation of doubtful policy, he was disposed to meet the Motion of the noble Marquess by moving the previous question; not because he (Sir G. Grey) did not concur in his object, but because the Motion would lead to an erroneous view of the opinion of the House, and they might be supposed to have pledged themselves to a course they were not prepared to take. As to the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Hume), he admitted it would be desirable to obtain the information, but it would be years before they could obtain it. They would have to apply to every individual connected with Church property, to lessees and others, and after all they could only get a very imperfect return; while the Commission had, he believed, obtained much of the information the hon. Member desired, though they had experienced the same difficulties, as the House would find, in getting it. With regard to the speech of the hon. Baronet (Sir B. Hall), he must confess himself unable to follow him through the minute details of particular cases he had thought it his duty 81 to lay before the House. He could not go into the particulars of the revenues or of the conduct of bishops and cleans, which did not necessarily relate to the Motion of the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford), but would rather confine his remarks to that Motion. He would say, however, that to many of the evils alluded to, a prospective remedy had already been applied by Parliament. The present mode in which the income of the Bishops was regulated, was, no doubt, open to great objection; but the hon. Baronet had not adverted to the fact that in the Act of last year provision was made, as far as possible, for remedying that evil. [The right hon. Baronet then read the 17th clause of the Act of 1850.] He felt bound to object to the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Hume); and, whether the House adopted it or not, he would move the previous question as to the Motion of the noble Marquess.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, he very much regretted the decision to which the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) had come, because, he thought, if the nature of the Motion before the House was such as to admit of a doubtful interpretation, that doubt must have been removed by the temperate manner in which the Motion had been introduced by the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford), and by the very able advocacy which it had received at his hands. The name of the noble Lord was already identified in an illustrious manner with the history of this country, and he (Mr. S. Herbert) was certain, if the noble Marquess, applying himself to the subject which he had that night brought forward, should succeed—and by perseverance he would undoubtedly succeed—he would earn the gratitude of this country to a degree not less than that which had been already awarded to the name which he bore. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) said, in estimating the amount of the spiritual destitution in England, they had omitted to make any allowance for those persons and classes who had the advantage of the ministrations of the different dissenting persuasions. Now he (Mr. S. Herbert) was not disposed in any degree to undervalue the zeal by which those ministrations had been conducted. He held, politically, all nonconformity had a claim not only to the widest toleration, but to the most extensive and uninterrupted religious liberty; and he rejoiced to see those different denominations push- 82 ing forward and developing themselves for the purpose of carrying the lights and the consolations of the gospel into parts of this country which they had not reached. But the noble Marquess said the Church of England was one persuasion out of many. The noble Marquess claimed no other consideration for the Established Church from that House. The noble Marquess did not say to the Dissenters, "We are the Church, and you are not the Church;" but he said, "Let us develop our own resources to the utmost extent to which they will go. If we can make proselytes from heathenism, so much the better; if we can make proselytes to the Church, that is our right; all we ask is a fair stage and no favour, and the right to extend our own influence with our own resources, so far as they will go." It was perfectly true that the Commission which was appointed on the Motion of his noble Friend the Earl of Shaftesbury had made a report which was to a certain extent embodied in the Bill which the Government had laid on the table of the House. That Bill had a most important object in view, because it would give independence to such of the clergy as were working on small stipends in very large and populous districts, and who were obliged to pay over the dues which they received to the incumbents of the mother church, the principle being that each should be paid for the work he had done, and that no one should be paid for the work done by another. But the Commission made a further report, of which the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) disapproved. In that report they recommended, that the livings now in the gift of the Lord Chancellor should be sold for the purpose of creating a fund, with a view to Church extension. The right hon. Gentleman said—and he (Mr. S. Herbert) agreed with him—that it would be better to apply the proceeds of that sale to the increase of the clergy and to the multiplication of congregations, rather than to the building of churches. He (Mr. S. Herbert) thought, of the two, the former was the preferable object. To have congregations must be the first consideration. A church was rather a luxury to religion than a necessity, and they must first have congregations. The right hon. Gentleman must pardon him if he differed from him entirely as to the propriety or the impropriety of the sale of these livings; the sale of them would not deprive the Crown of its patronage. The 83 livings which were nominally in the gift of the Prime Minister were the Crown livings, but these were not Crown livings; it was the patronage of the Chancellor, quasi the Chancellor. If the House thought they ought to remain with the Lord Chancellor, then he (Mr. S. Herbert) said, the proposal of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London was an answer to that; for, in his first Chancery Bill, he proposed to take them away from the Lord Chancellor. If they were to remain in the gift of any official functionary, he (Mr. S. Herbert) preferred that they should remain in the hands of the Lord Chancellor rather than of the Prime Minister. He recollected the perfect storm of indignation which was raised in the House of Lords when somebody objected to the Lord Chancellor giving a living in Wales to a man who could not speak Welsh; but the greatest amount of malversation that could be brought against the Lord Chancellor in disposing of his Church patronage was, that when some lawyer deserved well of the Lord Chancellor, who was not of sufficient distinction in the profession to obtain a high appointment, he had some brother, or other relation, a most respectable and eligible person, who answered very well for a Chancery living, and thus Church patronage was administered for the benefit of the law. [Mr. B. OSBORNE; What is the case of the bishops?] We are not proposing to increase the patronage of the bishops. The Lord Chancellor necessarily used his patronage for the purpose of furthering the advancement of the profession over which he was placed; and he thought the Lord Chancellor might conscientiously administer Church patronage for the benefit of the law. But if the House turned that patronage over to the Prime Minister, he greatly feared that it would become virtually the patronage of the Secretary of the Treasury, and they could do nothing which would more shake the confidence of the public in the Church than to place the Prime Minister in a situation which would enable people to say—he (Mr. S. Herbert) did not say justly or truly—that any appointment which he made in the Church was made for such and such political services. For his part, he should greatly rejoice to see that patronage diffused throughout the country; for he thought the connection between the laity and the Church might be strengthened by such indirect means. If these livings were sold, he should 84 be glad to see persons who in their localities were most zealous in these matters, and, in looking after these matters, purchase them. He very much doubted that the effect would be, as had been argued, that in the present excited state of feeling, parties of extreme opinions would purchase advowsons to advance their opinions. That would be an argument against Sir Robert Peel's Act, and against any Church extension; but the fact was, that the value of advowsons had never been so low as during the last six or seven years, since there had been so much excitement in the Church. He put his vote on the ground that there was a great and lamentable deficiency in the religious instruction of England; and he said every denomination and every Church had a right to fair play in pushing their opinions. At this moment they had a Church pressing forward in the most energetic manner to propagate opinions which a great portion 01 hon. Members in that House, of whom he was one, held to be unscriptural and unsound, and to have a most deleterious effect on the constitution of society. If the House was going to meet the creation of bishops of a hostile Church by no other measure than by saying those bishops should not call themselves by certain names, the House would not be the winner of that game. They must have recourse to measures something more energetic and something more likely to meet the difficulty, than that to which he had alluded. Of the two noble Lords—the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell) and the noble Lord behind him (the Marquess of Bland-ford), the two champions against Papal aggression—give him (Mr. S. Herbert) the noble Lord behind him (the Marquess of Blandford). Such a Motion as the one before the House was the proper way in which that aggression ought to be met. Everybody might have seen in that morning's papers a statement that was made of the zeal which animated the head of that Church, and how the methods formerly in use, of selling indulgences, were to be carried on for the purpose of Church extension for the Roman Catholic Church in London. Was the House prepared to sit still, and make no counter movement? The noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford), in the Motion he had submitted to the House, expressed their willingness to make such a movement. The right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) said the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford), and those 85 who acted with him, had brought forward no specific measure. The right hon. Baronet could not have forgotten that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) only last year proposed a measure of episcopal reform; that right hon. Gentleman last year proposed a great extension of the Episcopate, for the purpose of giving to the bishops the power of really exercising episcopal functions, instead of making them isolated beings, of a rank so high, on the one hand, that their clergy could not approach them, or, on the other, of giving them so much work that their clergy could not see them. He did not say that was an accurate description of all their bishops. His right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford made a proposal on the purely voluntary principle. He proposed to contribute funds for the propagation of the doctrines of the Church of England, and to create bishops without any charge whatever to the State. The question whether they should increase the number of bishops in the House of Lords was insignificant in comparison with the object which his right hon. Friend had in view. He (Mr. S. Herbert) did not think it any advantage either to increase or diminish the number of bishops, so that the action of episcopacy might be increased. He himself likewise ventured to propose to the House a plan for the restoration to their right and proper duties of the chapters in England. He said those were institutions expressly created for this very purpose, but which were allowed to slumber in comparative inutility; and he asked the House to assist him in endeavouring to infuse the ancient vigour into those establishments, and again to apply them to the purposes for which they were originally created—namely, the diffusion of religious and secular education throughout the country. But he was not successful in that Motion. He contended, therefore, that the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) ought not to say that hon. Members on his (Mr. S. Herbert's) side of the House had brought forward no specific measures on this subject. He, and those with whom he acted, had distinct and clear ideas how the Church of England ought to be reformed, and how her ministrations and her pure scriptural doctrines ought to be carried not only into every cottage, but into every cellar, court, and alley in the great cities of this country. They made the proposal now under consideration; and he hoped 86 the House would think that the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford) was not travelling beyond the province of an independent Member of Parliament in making this Motion, which he (Mr. S. Herbert) trusted the House would, on a division, affirm.
§ SIR ROBERT H. INGLIS
said, that he should not be thought presumptuous in asking the attention of the House for a few moments on the subject of Church Extension; for, as the hon. Member for Montrose had reminded the House, Church extension was, some years ago, a subject which he (Sir R. H. Inglis) had taken the liberty to bring before it, with some hope of success; and though he was defeated on that occasion, it was by a majority no larger than seventeen. When he brought that question before the House, he asked not for Church extension founded on Church means, but Church extension as a national object; and all the Members of Her Majesty's late Government voted with him on that occasion. His right hon. Friend the Member for Wilts (Mr. Sidney Herbert), had stated in his admirable speech, that in the present instance, the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford) asked for nothing more than the development of the Church for her own special purposes; but the larger part of the debate thus far had proceeded not so much on the importance of Church extension, nor even as to the best mode of effecting it, as upon certain alleged abuses which had occurred in respect to the management of the capitular and episcopal estates, and in respect to residence in Wales and non-residence in Ely, and in the different districts and parishes of the country—subjects which were not at all introduced by the Motion of the noble Marquess. But the whole matter of the former debate, in which the hon. Gentlemen the Members for Marylebone and Montrose took so prominent a part, turned upon the question of property or no property, of salary or no salary. Salary was the word which the hon. Member for Montrose applied to the income of the bishops. The hon. Member might as well say the income of all the dukes in England was their salary; for whatever might be said as to the higher obligations on which the bishops or individual clergymen held their property, this at least was clear, that they held it on the same tenure as the dukes in this country held their estates. The hon. Member for Marylebone talked first of "robbery," and then he softened the word down to "pecu- 87 lation." He alluded to the way in which the Bishop of London dealt with the property of which he became possessed when he was consecrated a bishop. That particular property—at least, that at Fulham, indeed, was the very oldest property of which we had any record in this country, and the income was as legitimately his as that of any noble Lord in the land. The hon. Member introduced an element into the discussion calculated to mislead parties. He (Sir R. H. Inglis) heard some one near him say, that the Bishop of London had only a life-interest in his property. That was very true; but what were the interests of the Dukes of Devonshire, Bedford, and Rutland, in their estates but life-interests? Then there was another fallacy introduced into the discussion, with reference to the year 1836, when the agreements were made on which so much stress had been laid. But he (Sir R. H. Inglis) would ask his hon. Friend (Sir Benjamin Hall) whether it was not true that the two individuals on whose crimes he had dilated in so touching a manner, with a view to excite the indignation of the House, held at that time, and irrespective of the later arrangements, the very sees which they now held? The hon. Gentleman had stated that the Bishops of London and Winchester had each received by a large amount a greater sum than their successors would ever receive from the emoluments of their sees; but the hon. Gentleman had kept out of view the fact, that those receipts were not taken under the terms of the agreements made in 1836. He was on the Commission for inquiring into the Episcopal Estates; but though he had been placed on that Commission at the request of a dignitary of the Church, he had never brought himself to sign the report, for he considered they had no more right to inquire into the property of these Prelates, than they had into the property of any other individual. He would ask, had not the labours of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners resulted in ascertaining an amount of tabular information on which hon. Gentlemen might dilate and found their complaints? They had done more than that. They had furnished the hon. Member for Montrose, and the hon. Member for Marylebone, with materials for heaping the greatest possible amount of obloquy on the Bishops of England. Bearing that in mind, he (Sir R. H. Inglis) could be no party to any proceedings carried on with reference to the Church by those hon. Members. But he 88 desired other hon. Members to form their own opinions, and decide for themselves. He would pay his tribute of praise to the temper and talent displayed by the noble Marquess in his speech; but he would ask the House to read carefully the last lines of the noble Marquess' Resolutions, and then to say whether they did not contain such propositions as that House could not assent to in their present form. If hon. Members looked to the last lines of the Resolution, they would find that the House was called upon to make an invidious distinction between the livings held by the Crown, and those in the gift of the Lord Chancellor. The livings which were in the Liber Regis above 20l., in the gift of the Crown, were given away by the Prime Minister; but the livings under 20l. were in the gift of the Lord Chancellor; but in both cases they were alike connected with the authority and prerogative of the Crown. He begged to be understood to say that, to his own knowledge, the present Lord Chancellor had exercised his privilege with an anxious desire to discharge his own responsible duty to the real wants and benefit of the Church. It was but just to the present noble Lord who occupied the office of Lord Chancellor to say that he had done so. An hon. Gentleman had referred to certain statistics which had been furnished by a leading Dissenter in respect to the number of Dissenters and members of the Church of England; but he had the strongest reasons for distrusting those calculations. Whatever might be said of the proportion of Dissenters to Churchmen in some large towns—a proportion greatly overrated—this was clear, that I in 8,000 parishes dissent had made no progress at all. Therefore, supposing church accommodation were needed there, Dissenters had done nothing to provide it. Admitting that church extension was wanted, there were several modes suggested by himself on a former occasion, by which that want could be supplied. One was by the multiplication of the number of ministers, another by that of churches; another by the multiplication of church services. On the Statute-book there was an Act which conferred a discretion on the Crown to create twenty-four suffragan bishops. This would, no doubt, be a valuable power to exercise. But the point at issue was as to the best plan of Church extension. One plan proposed the sale of a large portion of the patronage of the Crown; another a I forced sale of the patronage of capitular 89 preferments, which patronage was to be torn from the management of its owners. The first of these might be advantageous, though, individually, he was himself most strongly opposed to it; the other he should certainly regard as an act of spoliation. He trusted the House would not, by a side-wind, give such a proposition either sanction or encouragement. He could not support the Resolutions, but must record his vote in favour of the Amendment of his right hon. Friend.
§ MR. ALCOCK
said, he was decidedly averse to the proposal of selling the livings in the gift of the Chancellor for the purpose of building churches in other parishes. Such a proceeding was contrary to every principle of justice and sound policy. The proceeds from the sale of the advowsons ought to be applied to the livings themselves. To take the case of Ludlow, where the living was only 160l. a year, and where there was a population of 5,000, surely it would he most unfair to apply the money which might be obtained by the sale of the benefice to another part of the country. He believed that the country required 600 new churches; but he strongly objected to the mode proposed by the noble Marquess for raising the funds necessary for their erection. He believed that if the voluntary system were properly put in force, the people of this great country would cheerfully contribute the necessary funds. With regard to the observations which had been made respecting the Lord Chancellor's livings, he would merely remark that the fact was notorious, that those livings were amongst the least improved livings in the kingdom. How could it be otherwise, when the Lord Chancellor took no interest in them? The Commissioners set the annual value of those benefices at upwards of 200,000l., and represented that they would sell for ten years' purchase; but this was an entire fallacy, for many of the smaller benefices would not realise more than two or three years' purchase.
§ MR. GOULBURN
said, that while he felt he was not competent to enter at any length into the subject, he could not help expressing his cordial approbation of the tone and manner in which the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford) had introduced the question; and he was the more rejoiced at that tone and manner, considering the high personal character of the noble Marquess. He (Mr. Goulburn) felt sure that he was only expressing what 90 must be the general feeling of the House, when he expressed the gratification which he had derived from witnessing one filling so high a station, and possessing so commanding an influence, as did the noble Marquess, manifest so deep an interest in the welfare of the great body of the people of this country. He trusted that the noble Marquess would emulate the conduct of a noble Lord who had now been called to another place—he meant the Earl of Shaftesbury—in his desire to diffuse religious instruction throughout the country. The object of the Motion, as he understood it, was to promote the usefulness of the parochial clergy and the sphere of operation of the Church. He (Mr. Goulburn) thought that if, after the manner in which the noble Marquess had introduced this subject, the House showed an anxiety to get rid of it by dividing upon the previous question, the country would naturally impute to them a disposition to entertain feelings at variance with those which had been expressed by the noble Marquess. If, on the other hand, the House proceeded to divide upon the Motion of the noble Marquess, and he should succeed in carrying his Motion, feelings of bitterness might be created in the breasts of the opponents of the Motion. He, therefore, thought that the course likely to be productive of most good would be that of adopting the Motion without division. As he had not been prepared for the statement of the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall), he was not in a position to enter into it fully, but there were some portions of it to which he would address himself. He did not doubt the hon. Gentleman was actuated by the feeling of not misrepresenting or mis-stating facts, but the hon. Gentleman had, notwithstanding, erred; and as the error might have a prejudicial effect, he (Mr. Goulburn) thought it necessary to correct him in some particulars. The hon. Member for Marylebone said, and no doubt truly, that in the statements he made he was solely actuated by a desire to promote the interests of the Established Church; but those statements would scarcely appear to other friends of the Church calculated to effect that object. The greater portion of the hon. Baronet's statements applied to a condition of things, to a state of the law, which no longer existed, and the recurrence to which as a topic could only lead to angry feelings, unproductive of any practical result. The hon. Gentleman had gone into details with 91 respect to the Ecclesiastical Commission, and the conduct of those who had acted under it, and he stated that a certain number of bishops received a larger income under it than they had returned; but the discrepancies in the returns did not arise from the acts of the bishops, but from the fault of the Act of Parliament. The Act which constituted the Commission did not apply to the then existing incumbents, but was made prospective, and was to apply to future incumbents; and the hon. Baronet, as a Member of Parliament, was more to blame for the defects of the Act, than the bishops who made returns under it. The hon. Baronet had particularly complained of the returns made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishops of London, Winchester, and Durham, and of the smallness of their contributions to the fund placed at the disposal of the Commissioners; but he had neglected to mention that they had expended a sum of not less than 64,000l. for the objects of the Commission. The hon. Gentleman had also made some severe remarks with respect to tithes in the bishopric of Ely, and directed those remarks against the present holder of that see, forgetting that the present Bishop of Ely had nothing to do with them, and that the cause of complaint had been anterior to his holding the living, and he was therefore entirely innocent with respect to the complaints made. Again, with regard to the Bishop of London, the hon. Gentleman censured that prelate for not giving a proper return, also forgetting that the Bishop of London was in possession of the see before the Act of Parliament came into operation, and that the Act was to have a prospective effect. The hon. Gentleman ought to test the efficacy of the Bishop of London's proceedings not by referring to returns alone, but by looking at the altered state of the important district placed under his spiritual superintendence—he alluded more particularly to Bethnal Green and other poor districts, and by drawing a comparison between the time when the bishop commenced his spiritual control, and the present. The state of his diocese was very different now from what it was some years ago; and although he had received a large income, he had not devoted it to luxurious expenditure, but principally for the purpose of erecting churches and providing means for the spiritual instruction of the poorer classes. Then, again, with respect to the Bishop of Winchester, it was said that he received the same sum 92 now which he did before the passing of the Act of Parliament; but in his case also the appointment had taken place before the passing of the Act. He then came to the Bishop of Durham. In the case of that right rev. Prelate the hon. Baronet had not stated the important fact that, during seven years, he had expended for the purposes of the Church a sum not less than 30,000l. Under these circumstances he thought the hon. Gentleman was not justified in making an attack on those prelates. The charge against the Bishop of Rochester, as to his not having visited the Cathedral of Rochester, might be most easily disposed of. Although the bishop was designated as the visitor of the Rochester Cathedral, yet it was not on that account his duty to be continually paying visits to that edifice. All that was implied by the expression "visitor" was, that the bishop was the party to deal with any complaints that might be made with regard to that ecclesiastical institution. The hon. Baronet had also said that there was no instance of any bishop giving up any of his income for the public good; but from what he (Mr. Goulburn) had already said, it appeared that the hon. Baronet had but little foundation for making that statement. The Bishop of Salisbury, said the hon. Baronet, had never given up anything in his own person for the promotion of the public welfare; but that very bishop was the first that expressed his approval of the proposal to reduce the episcopal incomes. Then, again, with respect to the Bishop of St. David's. It was stated that he had not discharged his duty, inasmuch as he had not provided for the repairs of the Cathedral of his diocese. Now with respect to that point great legal difficulties had arisen, which the Commission of which he (Mr. Goulburn) was a member, had under their consideration, and with which the bishop was not at all chargeable. The bishop had done all in his power to remove those difficulties, but had, like the Commissioners, been unsuccessful in his endeavours to place matters in a satisfactory state. In fact, he (Mr. Goulburn) contended that nearly all the abuses which had been pointed out would be found to be of a date antecedent to the accession of the present holders. The hon. Baronet said that he would have no bishops and no clergymen with incomes above 500l. a year. Desirous as he was, therefore, for an extension of the parochial system, he was not prepared to accept it 93 at the expense of the sacrifice which the hon. Gentleman called upon him to make. He could not agree that 500l. was a sum which no clergyman's income should exceed; neither could he, as a member of the Episcopal Church, which had been from the earliest times connected with the State, consent to the abolition of that order in whose efficiency, he believed, consisted the main instrument for the civilisation of this country, nor to refuse them an income which should occasion them to be respected by all classes of the people. It was because we had rescued ourselves from abuses formerly existing, and were now contributing with one heart and voice to advance the interests of the Church and of the country, that he could not consent to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose.
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, that all that could be said in favour of the Motion of the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford) had been so well said by him, and all that could be urged in favour of the Amendment had been so well said by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), that he would not have ventured to present himself to the House but for the observations of the last speaker (Mr. Goulburn). All that had been said divided itself into two propositions: first, that there was spiritual destitution in the Church; and, secondly, that there were means in the Church itself for providing for that destitution. He believed that it had been fully and satisfactorily proved that while we had a Church the most richly endowed of any in the world, we had also a population the most neglected that any Christian country could exhibit. The revenues of the Established Church could be shown, by Parliamentary returns, to be very nearly 5,000,000l. a year. With the exception of the five most powerful States in Europe, namely, England, France, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, he doubted if there was any European country whose revenues, for the support of its army, navy, and civil establishment were greater than those of the Church of England. We had also a population in a condition so destitute and deplorable that all the efforts of all the societies which have lately in so laudable a manner been established for the purpose of ameliorating it, had failed to overtake the evil. That was the fact. Then how did the case stand? There were resources in the Established Church. Then why were they not applied 94 to remedy this state of things? His hon. Friend (Sir B. Hall) had shown that the cause lay in the maladministration and in the bad distribution of those funds, so that they were rendered inefficient. What did the returns show? They had placed before them various suggestions by which this destitution might be relieved. The hon. Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert) would excuse him for saying that he would only embarrass himself and the House so long as he passed by the plain and obvious remedy to give them others far more far-fetched, and complicated, and questionable, in place of those immediately at hand. What was the obvious remedy? They had these revenues administered by certain parties, ecclesiastical dignitaries, of whom it was plain that they had too much power, and too little responsibility, and of whom the noble Marquess who brought forward the Motion said that they had too many secular and too few spiritual functions to which they could attend. Well, the dignitaries of the Church were the administrators of those revenues, and they administered them in such a manner as to intercept them on their way to the poor. That was the statement of his hon. Friend behind him (Sir B. Hall), and he (Mr. Hors-man) thought that he had proved it clearly. Let them take the case of the highest dignitary of the Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury. 15,000l. a year was the Parliamentary income of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he was possessed of two palaces so magnificent that it was matter of notoriety that it had cost him between 20,000l. and 30,000l. to take possession of them when he was appointed. The value of all the benefices and other pre-ferments in his gift, amounted to between 60,000l. and 70,000l. per annum. Well, they were told that they might sell the Lord Chancellor's livings; that they might run out the leases of lessees; nay, more, they had even had a Bill before them which proposed to take away the free sittings from the poor, and put them up for sale; and these were the remedies that were suggested for the removal of existing evils. But the plain and obvious remedy of taking off that superfluity, respecting which every one in that House was pretty well agreed, was passed over. He believed that every man, with the exception, perhaps, of the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis), had made up his mind that 15,000l. a year for a bishop of the Church was more than 95 any other country in the world would allow for such a purpose. Then came 10,000l. per annum, 7,000l. per annum, and so on, until within seven years we had a sum of 600,000l. received by the Episcopal bench in fines alone. The first remedy then, he maintained, was to take away that superfluity from the dignitaries at the head of the Church, and distribute it among the poor who were in want of it. He might be told that he was not a friend of the Church for making such a proposition; but he would affirm that it was not in the statement of abuses, but in the becoming champions of those abuses, that the real danger to the Church arose. It was said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn), that his hon. Friend (Sir B. Hall) had attacked the Bishop of London and the other bishops for having received incomes which were given to them by Parliament; while with the enacting of the law that gave them those incomes, they had had nothing whatever to do, yet that they were held responsible for it. But that was a statement very different from what his hon. Friend did say. What he asserted was that the Bishop of London had been one of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the revenues of the Church of England, and that he was one of those who signed the report of the Commission, recommending what the income of the bishops should be; that in that Report it was recommended that the future income of the Bishop of London should be 10,000l. a year, and that that recommendation had been adopted and carried into effect; but that, notwithstanding, the Bishop of London retained for himself a much larger income, while he approved of a diminution in the case of his successors. That was what his hon. Friend stated. He (Mr. Horsman) had no wish to dispute the justice of the encomiums that had been passed upon the Bishop of London; but when they were about to test the generosity of a prelate, they must consider, not what he gave, but what he retained. If, out of an income of 15,000l. a year, a Bishop of London gave 10,000l., he then retained, and deserved some credit for retaining, perhaps, not above twice as much as a bishop ought to be contented with; but if a Bishop of London, out of an annual income of 50,000l., gave away 10,000l., he would not give him credit for as much generosity. Then it was said his hon. Friend had referred to bygone abuses; but that if he could show any 96 such great abuse existing at present, he would be more justified in stating them. Well, he (Mr. Horsman) would give an instance of very great and flagrant abuse existing at this moment; and he really thought that the circumstances of the case which he was about to reveal required some explanation. Notwithstanding the startling statement that had been made by his hon. Friend near him, he would venture to say that the House would pronounce the proceeding he was about to mention, one of the most extraordinary ever known of any bishop, or ever sanctioned by any public assembly. He had yesterday put a question to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, respecting the estate of Horfield, a matter which he had more than once brought before that House, but with regard to which he had never been able to obtain a satisfactory explanation; and with the permission of the House he would now state what were the facts of the case. The estate of Horfield was situated near the city of Bristol. It was let upon a lease of three lives in 1817 by the then Bishop of Bristol. Two out of the three lives dropped in 1831, when Bishop Gray was Bishop of Bristol. Bishop Gray did not renew the lives when they first dropped; he attempted to do so afterwards, but not coming to terms with the lessee, he gave up the idea of renewal, and said that he would leave the remaining life to fall in for the benefit of the see, instead of his own family. Bishop Allen succeeded Bishop Gray in 1834. Bishop Gray's determination had been made known to Lord Melbourne, who is said to have repeated it to Bishop Allen, on his appointment, and to have stipulated with him that he should not renew the lease which Bishop Gray had anticipated would fall in to enrich the see. Bishop Allen is stated to have accepted the bishopric on these terms. He was translated from that see to Ely in 1836, and on leaving it he wrote a letter to the Ecclesiastical Commission, which was read before the Committee, in which he stated that it was his opinion that the estate should be allowed to lapse to the see. Then the present Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol was made bishop of the united sees, and he took possession of his diocese in 1836. Thus there was an understanding that the lease was not to be renewed, and the understanding was so clear that no pledge was asked of the new bishop, and nothing was said to him on the subject. Nothing was done from 1836 until 1842, when the one remaining life, 97 Dr. Shadwell, was taken ill, and there were then rumours afloat that the bishop intended to renew the lease. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners, upon hearing the rumours, told their secretary to communicate with the bishop on the subject, which he did, reminding him of the understanding that had been come to, and hoping that he would not think of renewing the lease. The bishop replied that he felt insulted by the suspicion—that if he renewed, he thought he should be doing something unbecoming a bishop, and that would leave a lasting reproach to his family; and he said that he was sorry that the Commissioners could suspect him of acting so very—a blank is then left for a word or epithet—and the sentence concludes "a part." The Commissioners, on the receipt of the bishop's letter, desired their secretary to write and tell him that they were sorry for having wounded his feelings, and, apologising for what they had done, concluded by saying they were much comforted by the assurances contained in his epistle. This took place between 1842 and 1847. In 1847 the Ecclesiastial Commissioners had to make an arrangement about the future income of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. They found that the see would be able to produce more than 5,000l. a year, and they decided that a contribution should be made by the future bishop of 700l. a year to the Episcopal fund; they determined also to take possession of Horfield, and passed an Order in Council for that purpose, vesting the estate in themselves after the next vacancy. Under these circumstances, the Commissioners might well be surprised, at the commencement of the year 1848, when they received a communication from the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, telling them it was his intention to renew the lease, and giving them the refusal of it, provided they paid down a sum of 11,500l. They were astonished, for they had already written to the bishop, reminding him of the moral obligation under which he lay not to renew. The bishop's reply was in effect this, "I know nothing of this moral obligation; I have a legal right; the fine is 11,500l.; pay it, and save the estate, refuse it, and I will renew the lease and alienate the property from the Church." The Commissioners, acting no doubt from good motives, but, in his (Mr. Horsman's) opinion, most improperly, agreed to deal with the bishop, and to pay the 11,500l.; but they endeavoured to carry the arrange- 98 ment into effect, not openly and in public, but by a private transfer. The matter was submitted to their solicitor, who, however, declined to sanction that transaction; he refused the responsibility, and told them that they must prepare a scheme, and procure an Order in Council. The scheme was prepared, and placed in the hands of the Attorney General, and it was supposed to be within twenty-four hours of being ratified when the matter came to his (Mr. Horsman's) knowledge, and he questioned the Attorney General in the House on the subject. He did not get a satisfactory answer; and he then appealed to the noble Lord at the head of the Government not to sanction the order until he had read the evidence which had just been give before a Parliamentary Committee. The noble Lord consented, and in the end he refused to ratify the scheme. But the worst was still to come. Last year Dr. Shadwell died, and now they had it in evidence, by a Parliamentary return, that the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, by his own act and deed, had renewed that lease, his own secretary being the lessee, and his own children being, as it was reported, the lives put in the lease. Was there any other public department in which such a transaction would be permitted? Was there any man, except a dignitary of the Church, that would venture to carry out such an act with so total an indifference to the opinion of the public? He (Mr. Horsman) had not yet been able to obtain any explanation of the terms on which the renewal of the lease had taken place; but he knew that Mr. Finlayson calculated that three young lives put into the lease depreciated the value of the property 90 per cent. To the noble Marquess opposite he felt grateful for the Motion which he had proposed. These questions demanded and would obtain serious consideration. Public opinion out of doors would soon override all Parliamentary majorities or Ministerial Amendments on this important subject. A feeling was spreading far and wide that we must reform our Episcopate, or have no Episcopate at all—that we must reform our Church establishment, or have no Church establishment at all. There were many Churchmen both in that House and out of it who, before a few short years elapsed, unless these crying abuses were rectified, would make up their minds that it was better to have religion independent of an establishment, than to have an establishment administered in such a manner as to make it independent of religion.
§ MR. LOFTUS WIGRAM
said, he regretted that the present occasion should have been used for indulging in personal reproach and recrimination. Certain subjects had been introduced into the discussion unjustly, because it was most improper to bring forward charges against individuals without previously giving notice. Everybody knew what colour might be given to an ex parte statement. He admitted the existence of the statements in the blue book to which he observed the horn Baronet (Sir B. Hall) referred; but if notice had been given that charges were to be founded upon those statements, parties in that House would have been prepared to meet them. The Bishop of Winchester had been selected as one against whom certain charges might be made; but he believed it would be found upon inquiry that that prelate had abstained in many cases from disposing of leases or patronage of great value. And with regard to the Bishop of Ely, any one who visited the cathedral there would bear testimony to the propriety which distinguished everything connected with it. He hoped, therefore, that the House would not allow itself to be borne aside by the collateral discussion which had taken place, from the real subject under consideration. The noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford) showed that a strong necessity existed for more relief for the spiritual wants of the people; and an extension of the parochial system. Upon that proposition the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had moved an Amendment, to which he (Mr. L. Wigram) could not give his support; because years must elapse before the inquiries suggested by the hon. Gentleman could be completed, and the object of the noble Marquess would be entirely defeated. With regard to the Motion, he must leave it to the noble Marquess to say, after the suggestion which had been made to him, whether he should press his Motion. He (Mr. L. Wigram) thought his object might be sufficiently answered by the expression of opinion which it had elicited; but if he went to a division he should support the Motion; at the same time not considering that he should be committing himself with regard to any specific vote upon the disposition of the Crown revenues. If the Motion was carried, it would give a practical impulse to the object at which it was aimed; if rejected; the benefit of that impulse would be lost, and a damp would be thrown upon the object Which the noble Mover had in view.
§ MR. BOOKER
regretted the absence of his hon. Friend the Member for East Somersetshire (Mr. W. Miles) on this occasion, because he thought the statements which had been made as to the conduct of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, and the charges brought against that right rev. Prelate, were enough, if unanswered not only to damn the character of any member of the Established Church, but to damn the character of any man. He hoped, however, that the House would pause before they came to any verdict upon the conduct of the right rev. Prelate; and he (Mr. Booker) might be allowed to remind them of the circumstances to which reference had been made. Hon. Gentlemen would remember that some years ago there occurred in the city of Bristol most revolutionary riots, and that during those riots the episcopal palace in that city was destroyed by the mob. He (Mr. Booker) recollected that after the amalgamation of the sees of Gloucester and Bristol difficulties occurred in providing for the prelates of those sees an episcopal residence; and he believed it was after combating those difficulties as far as he could, that the present right rev. Prelate—than whom a more learned, a more pious, a more exemplary; or a more efficient Prelate did not exist in the Established Church—was thrown back upon his original right in the estate of Horfield. He was satisfied that that right rev. Prelate would be able to vindicate his character most triumphantly; and he must express his regret that any elements of discord had been introduced into this debate, which was commenced in a spirit of the greatest kindness and good feeling.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
agreed with the hon. Gentleman, that after so grave a charge had been made on the authority of a Member of the House of Commons, no time ought to be allowed to elapse unnecessarily without some answer or contradiction being given to that charge. He believed it was in the power of a right hon. Gentleman then present to give some information to the House on the subject; and he begged to ask the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn), in his capacity of an Ecclesiastical Commissioner, whether, having heard the statement, he would be content to sit silent, or was prepared totally to deny the charge?
§ MR. GOULBURN
said, that as an Ecclesiastical Commissioner, he had no 101 more cognisance of the manner in which the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol disposed of any lease he might have to renew, than he had of the mode in which any other bishop or person might dispose of property. All he knew was, that the arrangement the Ecclesiastical Commissioners intended to make with the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol for the purpose of securing by a legal enactment the manor of Horfield to the see in perpetuity was put an end to; and of what had since been done he (Mr. Goulburn) had no idea.
The MARQUESS of BLANDFORD
, in reply, said he had to thank the House for the patience with which they had considered the subject, and the nearly unanimous feeling which had been expressed as to the importance of the question. He concurred in. the greater part of the opinions expressed by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), who, he believed, was actuated by a sincere desire to see efficient reforms effected in the Established Church. He entirely concurred with the hon. Gentleman in the principle of his Amendment, that it was desirable, as far as possible, to obtain an insight into the property of the Church; but he thought, after the opinion which had been expressed by several hon. Members, it might be better if the hon. Gentleman would consent to withdraw his Amendment, at least for the present. He must say, in reply to the observations of the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary, that there was no definite proposal before the House, that he thought in the course of the discussion a number of very definite propositions had been made. He did not wish by his Motion to bind hon. Gentlemen to any particular views, but merely to put forward a broad proposition that the spiritual destitution of the people was a most fitting subject for the consideration of that House. He would, therefore, take the sense of the House on the Motion.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, there had been a very general consent on the part of the House to the principle involved in the Resolution, that it was desirable, as far as possible, to promote the more efficient relief of the spiritual wants of the people, and to extend the parochial system by means drawn from the resources 102 of the Church itself. He had before said, that if this Resolution pledged the House to adopt the recommendation for the sale of the Crown livings, he thought it would be most Inexpedient to adopt it. The right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge had objected to that recommendation, but at the same time expressed an opinion that the principle of the Resolution might receive the assent of the House. On the distinct understanding, then, that no opinion was expressed favourable to that recommendation, and regarding the Resolution as merely expressing ah opinion in which he believed they all concurred, that every practical means should be taken to effect the object of the noble Marquess, though he did not think it possible that Parliament would at present take other means beyond those now in Operation, he would not offer any opposition to the Motion.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.