The Marquess of Londonderry
said, he had a variety of petitions to present with reference to the Bill relative to the Bishopric of Durham, which stood for a second reading that evening. Looking to the petitions on this subject which he had already presented, as well as to those which had been laid before the House by the noble Duke opposite (Cleveland), and, lastly, the petition from the archdeacon and clergy of the diocese, which had been laid on the Table by a right reverend Prelate on the preceding evening, he believed he might fairly say that there was not one part of the country which had not come forward to express its sentiments as to the probable effect of this measure. It was not his intention, to state the contents of these petitions in detail, nor to enter into any argument on the general question; he should reserve his observations for the proper occasion. He should now move, that the first petition which he was about to present should be read at their Lordships' Table—the prayer of the others was pretty nearly the same. The first petition was from the City of Durham and its vicinity, and was very numerously and respectably signed.
1172 The petition was read at length by the clerk. The petitioners stated, that they had seen with unfeigned alarm a measure recently introduced into Parliament on the subject of the see of Durham, and they particularly objected to those parts of it which put an end to the local jurisdiction, and which provided that a portion of the revenues of that see should be appropriated, not to the benefit of its inhabitants, but for the benefit of the country at large.
§ Lord Lyndhurst
wished to know what reason could be assigned for abolishing the Durham Court of Common Pleas? He had never heard any complaint against that court; on the contrary, he understood that it was a great benefit to the country. Justice was adminstered there, he believed, both speedily and cheaply.
§ The Duke of Cleveland
presented a petition against certain parts of the Bill from Sheldon, in the county of Durham. The petitions which the noble Marquess had presented, appeared generally to be of a twofold character, one part relating to the separation of the jurisdiction, and the other to the appropriation of the revenues of the see. Now, the Bill before the House had reference solely to the former point.
The Marquess of Londonderry
differed entirely from the noble Duke, when he asserted that this Bill only referred to the separation of the palatine jurisdiction, and the abolition of certain courts. If the noble Duke would look at the last two clauses, he would find that they related, in an especial degree, to the ecclesiastical revenues. By the last clause it was provided that the revenues should be placed, for three years, at the disposal of Parliament; and they all knew that the Ecclesiastical Report directed that surplus revenues of sees should be disposed of in a certain mode and manner. Now, seeing that provision, he felt that if he allowed this Bill to pass without animadversion, it might hereafter be said to him, "Why, you presented your petitions, and said nothing upon this point. Why did you not make your stand when the principle of the Bill was stated? Why did you not then raise your objection? You did not do so, and you are now too late. You are shut out, for you have already admitted these revenues shall be placed for three years under the control of Parliament. The time is, therefore, past for you to offer your objection." The Bill, he contended, went to effect such an en- 1173 tire change of principle with reference to the appropriation of ecclesiastical revenue, it introduced a system so entirely different from, and opposed to, any system that was ever known in any part of the kingdom with respect to that revenue, that he felt imperatively called on to oppose it. The petitions which had been presented from the county and from the clergy of the diocese, who well knew what the situation of the diocese was, and how much it stood in need of spiritual aid, demanded the serious attention of their Lordships. When he showed, from letters which he had received, what the present state of the diocese was, and what would be its situation if 40,000l. a-year was abstracted from its revenues by the passing of this Bill, which had gone through the other House of Parliament without notice, he thought noble Lords would feel that he was justified in opposing the measure. The duty of advocating the cause of the county was thrown upon him, and it was impossible for him to suffer it to proceed through a single stage without calling their Lord ships attention to the petitions which had been intrusted to him, and endeavouring to open their eyes to the cruel, the unparalleled, situation in which the county would be placed if this Bill succeeded. In an interview which he had with a noble Earl opposite, that noble Earl had expressed an opinion, that the present was not the most proper time for him to state his objections. But the case was of such vital importance, that he felt it would be wrong if he lost any opportunity of recording his sentiments. With respect to the assertion of the noble Duke, the two last clauses of the Bill completely negatived it. Indeed, it was most extraordinary, if he had read those clauses, that the noble Duke should have arrived at such a conclusion. But, perhaps, he was looking to the new patronage which he would derive under the Bill, and being so absorbed and lost in its contemplation, though the noble Duke had read the clauses, he did not understand them. He knew that the first clause merely went "to put an end to the separate palatine jurisdiction of the county palatine of Durham." It said not a word about the revenues. But the 29th and 30th Clauses did relate to the revenues. They were to be placed for three years under the authority of Parliament, and were to be subjected to any law which Parliament chose to adopt. It was per- 1174 fectly clear, when they looked at these clauses, that it was impossible for any person to say that this Bill did not relate to the ecclesiastical revenues of the See. Now, he would ask, was it wise, prudent, just or fair, to agree to such an arrangement. In taking this course he felt him self placed in a disagreeable situation; but many petitions had been placed in his hands, and he would do his utmost to support their prayer. He certainly should move his amendment as applicable to the whole Bill—namely, that all matters connected with the See should be referred to the consideration of a select committee. He must say, that the proceedings of the Ecclesiastical Commission, composed as it was of men of great talents and ability, did not satisfy him. Their inquiry was not conducted with that degree of circumspection and patient investigation of detail which ought to have distinguished it before such a Radical alteration was re commended as that which was now proposed. If the noble Duke really was anxious for the prosperity of the county of Durham, and was desirous that it should have the advantage of extended spiritual aid, he would not afford his sup port and assistance to this measure.
§ The Duke of Cleveland
said, that he was deeply interested in the welfare of the county of Durham, of which he had been Lord-Lieutenant since 1792. He was rejoiced that the noble Marquess, who had of late years become connected with the county—a connexion by which he had so much benefited—should be so anxious to secure its prosperity.
§ Earl Grey
said, the noble Marquess had been pleased to allude to him with reference to a recent application that had been made to him on this subject. He did not mean to complain of the circumstance, as the noble Marquess had certainly a right, if he thought fit, to notice it. He (Earl Grey) did not know of any objection to the proposed measure with respect to the alteration of the jurisdiction; and all he had ventured to suggest, on the occasion alluded to, was that the mode proposed by the noble Marquess did not appear to him to be the most proper one for bringing for ward the objections which he entertained, which objections related to the alienation of a considerable portion of the revenues of the See of Durham from that See. Now, the present Bill related to the separation of the palatine jurisdiction of the county 1175 palatine of Durham, and, in his opinion, none of the objections which the noble Marquess had advanced, respecting the situation of the clergy, the injustice done to the inhabitants of the See of Durham, by using a portion of the revenues belonging to the See for the instruction generally of the people in other parts of the kingdom, applied to any part of this Bill, which merely went to separate the palatine jurisdiction from the authority of the Bishop. Hereafter they would have to consider in committee how far it would be right to separate that palatine jurisdiction, and whether it would be proper that any of those courts should be preserved. With respect to one of them, the Court of Common Pleas, he understood that a noble and learned Lord (Lyndhurst) opposite objected to its abolition. Knowing the great inconvenience which arose from the delay that often took place when subjects were irrelevantly introduced, he had suggested to the noble Marquess to postpone his opposition relative to the revenues of the See until the proper occasion arose, when that question was brought regularly before them. The noble Marquess had, however, argued, that the two last clauses—29 and 30—raised the question. The first of the clauses to which the noble Marquess objected contained a reservation to the Bishop of all the profits of the See, and though the last clause contained provisions reserving the right to Parliament, within three years, to regulate the revenues of the diocese of Durham, yet it did not state the manner in which they were so to be regulated. It, therefore, did not raise the question of the application, or proposed application, of those revenues; and he repeated, that all it did was to reserve to both Houses of Parliament the power of regulating the bishopric, notwithstanding the appointment of the Bishop. He believed that such a reservation had been thought necessary, because many persons held it to be necessary that some Parliamentary regulation should take place in respect to the great revenues of the diocese of Durham. The noble Marquess had spoken as if the full enjoyment of the whole revenues of the See was given for three years certain. That period, he (Earl Grey) begged to say, was merely nominal; and as a proof that it was so, he believed there was a Bill now before the other House for the regulation of those revenues, which Bill would shortly be 1176 submitted to their Lordships' consideration. Under such circumstances, he must repeat, that he could not but think the objections raised to this Bill by the noble Marquess opposite were ill-timed: his arguments had reference to matters which the Bill now on the Table did not contain, and were, therefore, inapplicable to it. He hoped the noble Marquess would defer his objections until a more fitting opportunity. The present Bill was preliminary to a measure for the regulation of the revenues of the See of Durham; and he was anxious that it should pass as early as possible, because until it was law the confirmation of the appointment of the Bishop could not take place.
The Marquess of Londonderry
put it to the noble Earl who had just sat down, whether he did not know, from the Reports now on the table, that it was contemplated to apply the revenues of the See of Durham to other than ecclesiastical purposes? The noble Earl was wrong in supposing that he (the Marquess of Londonderry) objected to this proposition only; on the contrary, he objected also to the proposed alteration in the courts of county palatine. With respect to those courts, he was not giving his own individual opinion of them when he said they were extremely beneficial to the interests of the whole county of Durham, in respect to the speedy administration of justice. He stood there the advocate for the whole county, protesting against the alteration; and though he might not perhaps be sufficiently instructed, yet he had the opinion of every solicitor in the county against the propriety of the proposed change, except the solicitor employed there by the Government. Those individuals entreated that House to consider whether there existed any necessity or expediency in carrying forward a measure which would be attended with the greatest disadvantage to the interests of the county at largo. To the two last clauses of the Bill he must still object, for, like his Majesty's Government, the sting was in the tail.
The Archbishop of Canterbury
observed, that the objections of the noble Marquess opposite embraced two points wholly distinct and separate. The object of the present Bill had been most accurately and pro- 1177 perly stated by the noble Earl near him (Earl Grey), and that object was the separation of the palatine courts from the jurisdiction of the bishop of the diocese. These provisions might be wrong or right in their general principles—he would not pretend to judge upon the question; those acquaint ed with the county itself and the most pro per mode for the administration of the laws were the most competent to deal with the details of those provisions. Of course, the noble Marquess had a right to object to them and to the Bill generally, but it was extremely inconvenient that he should, in a discussion of a bill referring to the palatine courts, mix up that matter with the other point of objection—namely, to the application of the revenues of the See, even though the present Bill contained some allusion to them in the last clause. On this point it was scarcely necessary that he should say anything, after what had fallen from the noble Earl near him (Earl Grey.) He, however, would state, that as he apprehended every person who held property of this description enjoyed it under the permission of the Legislature, therefore he had not felt certain that the last clause of the Bill was at all necessary. It was, however, introduced, because it was held by authorities more competent than himself to judge of the matter—the law-officers of the Crown—that such a clause was unquestionably necessary. Still, he must observe that the clause as it stood did not at all raise the question of appropriation generally. The noble Marquess had also stated with great energy, but at the same time with his usual good temper, that immense mischiefs would follow the adoption by the Legislature of the recommendations of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He (the Archbishop of Canterbury) did not apprehend any such consequences as the noble Marquess had suggested as likely to arise, and as for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, he must say, that he did not believe any one of them contemplated such results as the noble Marquess had anticipated from the adoption of the recommendations contained in their Report. There was another point to which he must also refer. The noble Marquess had imputed to the Com missioners a want of that due and diligent inquiry, and investigation of the circum stances which were absolutely essential to the proper discharge of their important trust. He (the Archbishop of Canterbury) must be permitted to say, that the noble Marquess could form no judgment on this matter of fact. The noble Marquess could not know 1178 in what manner the Commissioners had been employed, or the means they had taken to ac quire information. He could not know the communications they had received—the full accounts of the revenues of the diocese of Durham which had been submitted to them; neither was he aware of the labours which day after day were devoted by the Commissioners to the inquiry placed under their management. It was after the fullest examination that the recommendation was added to the Report of the Commissioners, and he admitted, that the changes so recommended deserved and demanded the serious consideration of Parliament. While he admitted this, he must add that the noble Marquess had no right to impugn the mode in which the inquiry had been conducted by the Commissioners. For himself, he would also say, that he would not have been a party to the recommendations contained in the Report, if he could have thought the carrying them into effect would have conduced, or been calculated, to subvert the efficiency or the safety of the Church. Whatever might be his own opinion on the other point of objection raised by the noble Marquess, he felt that nothing could be more inconvenient than on this occasion to mix up the two questions together, and he there fore humbly submitted to the noble Marquess the expediency of now withdrawing his opposition, and of reserving it until the other Bill came regularly under the consideration of the House.
§ The Marquess of Lansdowne
said, that in moving the second reading of this Bill, the debate which had already, though irregularly taken place, relieved him from the necessity of saying more than a very few words in explanation of the expediency of now proceeding to the second reading of the Bill. He was relieved from the necessity of long trespassing on the attention of the House, because his noble Friend, not now in his place, but who had spoken on this question with the weight which at all times belonged to him, had so fully stated the objects of the measure, and because the most rev. Prelate had so fully explained his views of the propositions contained in this Bill. He (the Marquess of Lansdowne) had therefore only to state his confirmation of what had fallen from the noble Earl and the most 1179 rev. Prelate. Although as a member of his Majesty's Government, and also one of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, he was prepared to defend those propositions contained in the Reports now on their Lordships' table, and contemplating a great alteration in the revenues of the See of Durham, and although he was also prepared to suggest the importance of carrying out those principles also recommended in the Reports with regard to the state of the other different episcopal sees in the kingdom, he was not at present bound to ask the concurrence of their Lordships in the whole of those recommendations, because their Lordships would find that from this Bill the latter part of the proposed arrangements had been most carefully excluded. In fact, that arrangement to which the noble Marquess opposite least objected, was the only one sought to be effected by this measure. The present Bill was strictly limited to the object of enabling the change recommended with regard to the county palatine courts to be effected. In this respect their Lordships were only called upon to deal with the county of Durham in the same way as both Houses of Parliament had already dealt with other similar jurisdictions, and to assimilate the administration of the law throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, and at the same time to relieve and exonerate future Bi shops of the diocese from the exercise of functions which, if not incompatible with an office of a religious and Episcopal nature, at least interfered with the time for devotional and other duties annexed to the sacred character. It was for the purpose of placing the future Bishops of the diocese of Durham in the same position as other diocesans, and to guard them from being prevented from exercising the high duties committed to their charge, that the Bill had been introduced. The noble Marquess opposite had stated his objections to the Bill, and in the conversation which had already taken place had anticipated his arguments against the measure. The noble Marquess objected to the two last clauses. By those clauses, however, it was simply proposed, not that any change should take place—not describing what that change should be, but to leave it within the power of Parliament—unfettered by any of those scruples which otherwise might prevail, and which did exist, with regard to alterations in the 1180 condition of any description of property, to deal with the revenues of that See at any time within the space of three years. It might not be that Parliament would so interfere; but still, however, the power was reserved to the Parliament to do so, and considering the recommendations contained in the Report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were the result of inquiries instituted under the sanction of his Majesty's Commission, he thought their Lord ships would hardly so prematurely condemn those suggestions as voluntarily to preclude themselves from dealing with those revenues or carrying those suggestions and recommendations into effect. It had been truly stated, that a Bill for that object was already contemplated; but it would be time enough when submitted to their Lordships for them to say whether they would concur in the expediency of those suggestions which had for their object, not the abstraction from the county of Durham of the whole of the revenues heretofore enjoyed by the Bishop, but after first securing to future Bishops that sum which might be thought necessary for the purpose of maintaining them in that splendor and rank which belonged to their high station, to employ the remainder for the benefit of the clergy of the diocese, the maintenance of the college, to which the late Bishop of Durham gave so liberal and generous a support, in that pre-eminence and utility which had already been found to belong to its existence, and to other purposes connected with the county itself. This "abstraction of the revenues" (as the noble Marquess had termed it, but which he would designate as an "improved application" of them) was, however, not the question immediately before the House. The question was, whether their Lordships would proceed with this Bill, in order to enable such an arrangement to be made with respect to the county palatine courts as would make the practice of that county conformable to the general system of administration of the laws of the country. The noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Lyndhurst) had communicated to him that the Court of Common Pleas in Durham stood on a different footing from the rest of the courts, and that its continuance might be found advantageous to the inhabitants of the town of Durham. [Lord Lyndhurst: To the whole county of Durham.] To the whole county, perhaps. But the pro- 1181 priety of the maintenance of that Court was a question which would properly be open for discussion when the Bill was in Committee. He had the satisfaction of proposing this Bill with the entire concurrence of the right rev. Prelate lately appointed to that See. The noble Marquess concluded by moving the second reading of the Bill.
§ Lord Lyndhurst
concurred with the noble Marquess who had just sat down, that the question as to the propriety, or otherwise, of maintaining the Court of Common Pleas, was proper for discussion in Committee on the Bill. He should, in that stage, move the exemption of that Court from the provisions of this Bill, if, on consideration, he found he could do so without contravening the other parts of the measure. When the noble Marquess, however, said, that the Bill was to assimilate the administration of justice, he ought to recollect that in the case of the County Palatine of Lancaster the Common Pleas Court had been excluded from a Bill similar to that now before the House.
The Marquess of Londonderry
said, that as there appeared to be a general impression that the measure merely related to the alteration of the county courts, and that it in no way gave rise to the question of appropriation, he should not persevere in his opposition to the second reading. To prove, however, that it was the opinion of the great body of the inhabitants of the county of Durham that the measure was calculated to affect the revenues of the see of Durham, he should take the liberty of reading to their Lordships some letters he had received from individuals of some importance in that district. The noble Marquess read the following letters:—Vicarage, Pittington, May 28, 1836.MY LORD—Although personally unknown to your Lordship, I take the liberty of addressing you, on account of the extensive interest which you have in my parish, and the view which it appears your Lordship takes of the measures introduced into Parliament in accordance with the recommendation of the Church Commissioners.I forwarded some time ago a memorial to Lord Melbourne on the subject, which had received 1,000 signatures in my parish, but of which the receipt has never been acknowledged; and in consequence of this want of official courtesy, proving that little or no attention was given to the memorial, I would now have sent a petition, having double the number of names, with a request that your 1182 Lordship would present it, had there been time to get it prepared.Your Lordship has, no doubt, perceived that the Reports of the Commissioners furnish sufficient evidence that much labour has been bestowed, and little information sought for or obtained. In fact, a great portion of the third Report consists of corrections of the two former; and if a fourth were to make its appearance, after practical men having local information had been examined, I am quite sure that much would yet be found to need correction.The recommendations of the Church Commissioners, and any measure founded upon them, which would sanction the alienation of a portion of the ecclesiastical revenues from this diocese, is a virtual subversion of the general principles on which property is held, and of the intentions with which clerical wealth was given or acquired; and are quite as unreasonable as a proposal from the agricultural societies of Darlington and Morpeth would be to relieve the suffering farmers of Durham and Northumberland by the imposition of a district land-tax upon the equally distressed counties of Kent and Essex. And the worst part of the measure is, that the proposed alienation would be, in a great measure, made for purposes which are absolutely unnecessary. For if Richmond and the adjoining eastern part of Yorkshire were annexed to the see of Durham, the Bishop would still have less than an aver age number of clergy, and the remotest parish so annexed would be twenty miles nearer to the city of Durham than some of the parishes of Northumberland are, which already belong to this diocese. If, again, the bishopric of Carlisle were enlarged, so as to include the whole of Westmoreland and part of Lancashire, that diocese would not after all be of great extent, and thus, by means of these natural arrangements alone, no new bishopric would be required, except for the purpose of patronage. The Commissioners have manifestly attended only to the amount of population, without paying at the same time due regard to superficial extent; whereas, the true way of estimating the relative amounts of the duties of any two incumbents, is not to consider them as standing to each other in the ratio of the respective populations, but rather in a ratio compounded of the ratios of the respective populations and of the superficial extents; and so also with respect to the relative duties of any two Bishops, only substituting in this case incumbents for populations. The calculations of the Commissioners, there fore, which led to the recommendation of two new bishoprics, did not proceed upon legitimate principles.But, whatever be the wants elsewhere, surely those within the diocese have the best title to be supplied. The 45th Clause of the Commissioners' third Report provides for those cases in which the Bishop had given or promised to give augmentations; but this is doing 1183 very little. In almost all these instances the Bishop is patron; but there is a multitude of other parishes (in some of which the Bishop holds property) which stand equally in need of augmentation and the means of religious instruction. I give my own case as an example. About 5,000 acres of the parish of Pittington are the property of the Bishop and Dean and Chapter of Durham, and extend over the most valuable coal-field in England. Until the year 1827 the amount of population connected with this clerical property was only 500; it is now about 6,000, and is rapidly increasing; the parish is of considerable superficial extent. A division of it, by the formation of a chapelry, is most desirable and was agreed to by the Bishop of Durham; but matters had not proceeded so far as to involve any such promise as would bring the case within the 45th Clause. A chapel must be built and endowed; the church ought to be enlarged, and at least two schools established on an extended scale; and surely it would be an act of extreme injustice if the wants of such a population, by whose labour upwards of 200,000l. (and when carried to London 500,000l.) worth of coal and surface produced is brought annually to a marketable state, were not amply provided for, both as regards religious and moral instruction, before any portion whatever of that wealth be applied to purposes elsewhere. The case of Pittington is the case, mutatis mutandis, of many other parishes in this diocese. In fact, no measure can pass for the application of any portion of the clerical wealth lying within this diocese (unless a previous inquiry be made into the extent of local wants, with a view to their supply) without being attended with much serious injury.I do not know whether any part of this letter will be of any use to your Lordship, but I thought it possible that the case of Pitting ton might suit your Lordship's views as a specimen of our local wants. Your Lordship has much to forgive, for I have both taken a great liberty, and troubled your Lordship with a letter of unreasonable length.I have the honour to be, my Lord,Your Lordship's most obedient and humble Servant,J. MILLER.South Shields, May 10, 1836.MY LORD—The following particulars may afford sufficient data to point out the loss that will be sustained by the abstraction of the episcopal and chapter revenues from this diocese, without first making a due inquiry and suitable ecclesiastical provision for the diocese itself. I should think the Bishop distributed, in one shape or other, on an average during the time he held the See, at least 6,000l. or 7,000l. a-year in the diocese. Last year, it has been publicly stated, that he gave 13,000l., and, in the year 1831, his late secretary, Mr. Faher, told me, that out of an income of 15,000l. the produce of the see that year, the Bishop gave 4,000l. to various charities.1184His charities flowed in every channel that was opened of a benevolent description; but I will endeavour to bring them under a few specific heads.1. As regards churches.He augmented small livings and endowed nine churches in the gift of the see by alienating episcopal property to the amount of about 1,000l. annually; and he had plans in contemplation, and some in actual preparation, by which he purposed alienating an annual sum of 1,200l. more for the same object. These latter plans were not completed before his death, and consequently remain in the same state. Besides this he was in the habit of paying the whole or a portion of the salaries of curates in populous parishes, where the emoluments of the livings were too small to meet such expenses. At Hartlepool, he paid the salary of the curate 75l.; at Barnard Castle, he gave the same sum, to which some addition was made by the inhabitants. In the former case the curate is necessarily discontinued, and in the latter it is doubtful; but in all probability it will terminate in the same way, I mention these two places as being well known to me, but the Bishop aided other poor incumbences in the same way. He was also in the habit of making provision for poor livings in case of the incumbents being rendered unable to take the duty of their parishes from sickness or infirmity, so that it had indirectly the effect of augmentation. He was always ready to subscribe liberally towards the erection of churches, and not unfrequently made up deficiencies in the funds when most other sources had been exhausted, and when without such additional aid the erection of churches would have been very much impeded, if not prevented.2. He was also equally benevolent in affording aid towards the erection of schools for the education of the poorer classes; and, when erected, he frequently became an annual subscriber towards their support. It is impossible to say to what extent his charities ex tended in this respect; but I may say, that few schools were built in the diocese without application being made to the Bishop for sup port, and I believe he rarely refused such applications.3. He gave 2,000l. annually to the Durham University, towards the current expenses of that establishment.4. He was also a liberal contributor to our Church-Building Society, the District Committees of the Christian Knowledge Society, and every other ecclesiastical charity in the diocese.5. He gave largely towards the support of the widows and orphans of clergymen left in distress, or with very limited incomes—to our infirmaries, dispensaries, indigent sick societies, and other local charities, which are too numerous to be mentioned.In this way the episcopal income has been made available for the general good of 1185 the diocese; and if that revenue and the revenues of the Dean and Chapter were to be abstracted without due provision being made to meet those wants, the diocese will suffer very severely. We shall not only feel the loss of the sums actually given, but also the influence the Bishop's liberality had in the encouragement it gave to others to follow his example. The erection of a church, or the building of a school was frequently owing to the promised aid of the Bishop. Without such promised aid we should have been afraid of commencing, and the persons to whom application for assistance was made, would have thought the scheme visionary. But with the aid of the Bishop and the Chapter's revenues, encouragement is given, which usually ends in success.When all these wants are fully supplied, I believe the clergy, as a body, as well as the majority of the laity, would not object to any remaining surplus being applied for the pro motion of the general interests of the establishment of the country at large. The great object is, that these revenues should not be abstracted, and the diocese from whence they are taken, be placed only on an equal footing with other dioceses, which have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Let our wants be ascertained and first supplied, and then the question of abstraction may be fairly considered. Bishop Barrington was so very be nevolent and liberal, that it is hard to say whether he has been exceeded by Bishop Van Mildert. They are both examples worthy to be followed in their acts of benevolence.Stockton Vicarage, May 28, 1836.My LORD—At the request of my parishioners, I take the liberty of placing the in closed petition in your Lordship's hands, and of soliciting the honour of your Lordship to present it to the right hon. the House of Lords.Knowing the constitutional principles which have ever distinguished your Lordship in and out of Parliament, I feel it necessary to solicit your Lordship's support in a cause which has been so ably advocated by your Lordship and the hon. Member for Durham.In the return of the number of churches endowed, and livings augmented, in the diocese of Durham by the late venerated Bishop, Dr. Van Mildert, no mention is made of the sums of money given by his Lordship annually to the incumbents of poor populous livings, to enable them to engage assistant curates. A few of these I recollect Barnard Castle 751. per annum; Hartlepool 751.; Garrowgill, in the parish of Alston, 80l. (I believe). Etherley, in addition to the deed of grant and annexation of fifty-five acres, worth, I suppose, 701. a sum sufficient to make Mr. Watson's income 200l. There are several other places which were benefitted by his Lordship's munificence, independent of money given to assist in building churches, &c.; 200l. to Stockton; 1186 a sum to Etherley, and another to Shildon. A correct account could, if required, I believe, be supplied by his Lordship's secretary, Mr. Gresley.In the years 1818, 1819, and 1820, I was deputed by Bishop Barrington to make arrangements for founding schools and chapels in Weardale: and from my own personal knowledge, I can vouch for the good effect produced in that extensive mining district by these establishments.I well remember the state of Weardale when insubordination generally prevailed during a season of great distress; and I can contrast it with the good conduct and peaceable demeanour of the lead-miners in the present day—a circumstance well known to the Bishop of Exeter, whose active exertions and residence at Stanhope were attended with the happiest consequences.MY intimate acquaintance and general connexion, as the master of a large public school, with every part of this diocese for up wards of thirty years, enable me to say, that the want of moral and religious instruction is greater in this part of the country, especially in the populous towns and mining districts, than is stated in the petition.In the wisdom and sound discretion of the right hon. the House of Lords, every true friend to his country places implicit confidence: the agitation of the day will, I hope, speedily pass away, but the gratitude we owe your most honourable House can never be effaced; and the sera now passing must form a memorable epoch in the annals of British history. Had more time been allowed me for obtaining signatures, the petition would have been more numerously signed, as I can assure your Lordship it has the hearty support of all my respectable and worthy neighbours.I am, my Lord, with sincere regard, your Lordship's most obedient and humble servant,GEORGE NEWBY.He would not have trespassed on their Lordships at such length but he thought that his duty to the country required that he should bring these facts before their Lordships.
The Archbishop of Canterbury
thought it was rather premature for the noble Marquess to take the course which he had on that occasion. The noble Marquess was mistaken if he supposed that the circum stances detailed in the letters which had been -read were unknown to the Commissioners. All these facts were before the Commissioners. He could bear testimony to the truth of the facts which the noble Marquess had detailed—facts which must, he thought, serve to impress the House with a due sense of the princely munificence by which the two last prelates of Durham 1187 were distinguished. He had the honour, of being intimately acquainted with both these prelates. The agent of Bishop Barrington (Mr. Butler) related the fact which served fully to support the character which he had received; for he stated that above 200,000l. had passed through his hands, which had been subscribed by Bishop Barrington for charitable purposes. There never was a man who did greater honour to the station which he filled, by his private virtues, by his regard for the Church, by the talents with which he maintained the cause of Christianity, and by his exertions to pro mote, in every way, the interests of true religion and of the Church. But in liberality he was pre-eminent. He had listened with great pleasure to a speech which the noble Marquess had some time ago delivered, in which he expressed an eloquent panegyric on the virtues of his lamented and deceased friend. The letters which the noble Marquess had read on that occasion merely supplied the foundation on which that eulogium was founded. So far, however, were the Commissioners from being ignorant of the circumstances which had been mentioned in these letters, that they were also fully acquainted with the sacrifices which had been likewise made by the Dean and the Chapter of Durham, and by every one of the Prebendaries, in the establishment of an University, by which they suffered a defalcation in their incomes. A systematic arrangement had also been entered upon for increasing the small livings in the diocese. Nothing could be more honourable to those who were parties to this than such proceedings; and he regretted that considerations of propriety prevented the Commissioners from laying before the public those details which made so strong an impression on their own minds. Part of the Bishop's intentions would be carried into effect, namely, that which regarded the improvement of several small livings, the names of some of which had been mentioned in the letters which the noble Marquess had read. He most sincerely regretted the necessity which prevented an opportunity for a like exercise of munificence by the successor of the late bishop, who, he might venture to say, was only precluded by want of means alone from following the example which had been set him.
§ The Duke of Wellington
was anxious to state the grounds which induced him to vote for the second reading of this Bill. The arguments of the noble Marquess—at 1188 least those which he used on the last occasion when he addressed their Lordships—did not, in his opinion, affect the second reading of the present Bill. Those arguments went to another Bill which would come under the consideration of the House, and were founded upon the construction put by the noble Marquess on two clauses of the present Bill, which must come under discussion in Committee if the House should consent to the motion then before it for a second reading. There was no one who concurred more heartily than he did in what had been said relative to the character of the Bishop of Durham, and particularly what had fallen from the most rev. Prelate with respect to the benevolence and peculiarly excellent conduct of the late Bishop. There was no one in the country who had a higher respect than he had for such acts and qualities as those which had been alluded to; and he must say that he lamented that the circumstances of the times had rendered it necessary to deprive the See of Durham of continuing such benefactions and charitable acts as those which had been detailed. The details, however, which the noble Marquess had gone into might be very properly considered when another measure came before them, but not upon the present occasion. It should be recollected that the entire of this Bill had been recommended by the Commissioners. He was a party to re commending his Majesty to establish that Commission. It was his duty to support the recommendation of that commission in Parliament, reserving only the consideration of that part of the subject which had been referred to by his noble and learned Friend (Lord Lyndhurst), and which might fairly be brought under discussion in Committee. With respect to the two last clauses of the Bill adverted to by the noble Marquess (Londonderry), the 29th was necessary on account of the appointment of a new Bishop. If that clause were not inserted in the Bill, the Bishop must be supposed to be deprived of ascertain part of his revenues. Then, if the 30th clause had not been inserted, the Bishop of the diocese would be in possession of all the lands and property belonging to the See, and Parliament would be precluded from interference, notwithstanding the recommendations of the Commissioners and not withstanding that there was a Bill before Parliament relating to that and oilier dioceses. It was on this principle that he believed these clauses were necessary, 1189 and that he was disposed to support them in Committee. But whether necessary or not, this was not the stage of the measure when they should be brought under their Lordships' notice, they being now merely called upon to give a second reading to the Bill recommended by the Commissioners, to whose appointment he had been a party. Under these circumstances, he felt bound to give his support to the second reading of this Bill.
§ Bill read a second time.