§ LORD HENRY THYNNE
said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will, in case of the passing of the Irish Church Bill, provide that the Episcopal Clergy shall be placed on an equality with their Dissenting brethren, by removing the disability to sit in this House now imposed upon them?
Sir, I think that the noble Lord has put this Question to me under some misapprehension as to the actual state of the law. His question appears to rest upon the supposition that by the law of this country the clergy of established Churches are prohibited, or precluded, or disqualified, from sitting in this House, and that the clergy of non-established Churches are not. That, I apprehend, is an erroneous supposition. The fact I take to be this—that it has been ruled and decided that no clergyman in Episcopal Orders can sit in this House; but that is quite irrespective of the fact, whether he is established or non-established. No clergyman of the Episcopal communion in Scotland can have a seat in this House, although no person is more entitled to the character of a non-established than he is, for there were cures in 1467 Scotland—not now, but some time ago—in which the regular income was so low as £2 a year. In the same way the Roman Catholic priest is disabled from sitting in this House; but I believe I am correct in saying that it has never been determined that the Presbyterian clergymen of the Established Church of Scotland cannot sit in the House. I do not give a definite opinion. This may be a fair subject for consideration, and I do not say that the disestablishment of the Church may not afford a proper opportunity for raising the question; but it is no part of the question of disestablishment and disendowment; and moreover, if it be raised, it cannot possibly be limited in its operation to the clergy of the Church of Ireland.
said: Upon further consideration, I wish to say that I am doubtful whether I was correct in saying that it had not been ruled that a Presbyterian clergyman of the Established Church in Scotland could not sit in the House of Commons. I think it possible, and may have been ruled. All that I stated with regard to the clergy in Episcopal Orders was, I think, quite correct.