THE EARL OF WICKLOW
said, that although he did not object to the Bill, but, on the contrary, was somewhat surprised that it was not now the law, he thought that some reason ought to have been given why the Bill should be introduced at this particular time. For his own part, he objected to the period at which this measure had been brought forward. He could not help thinking that if it had not been for the Bill of the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury), which was professedly of the same nature, and which had been brought in at a very early period of the Session, the present measure would not have been introduced. As the noble Earl's Bill had been withdrawn, it was left with them to conjecture why either that or the present Bill had been brought forward. He believed the fact to be, that it was intended to meet a case in which a single clergyman in the metropolis had prohibited the hold- 1460 ing of religious services in a public building within his parish. He could not support any Bill brought forward on such grounds; for he thought that the individual in question, so far from having deserved the implied censure of an Act of Parliament being passed against him, deserved the thanks of his parishioners and of the public, and had exercised a sound judgment in having closed the doors of Exeter Hall. It must be remembered that this gentleman did not put his veto on the opening of Exeter Hall for religious services until he had had experience of the effect of those services. When he felt himself called upon to interfere, it was with great reluctance, for he must have known that he was about to make himself unpopular with at least a portion of his congregation, although perhaps the minority; that he was acting in opposition to the views of his diocesan; and that he was rendering himself liable to a very expensive legal process, which was very likely to be commenced against him. He believed that had it not been for Mr. Edouart, Westminster Abbey would not have been thrown open to the public—a step which would, he trusted, soon be followed by opening the doors of St. Paul's. He objected to the words in the preamble:—Whereas it is expedient to enable the Bishops, in their respective dioceses, to make provision in populous places for the preaching of God's Word in any building or buildings not usually appropriated to purposes of religious worship.These words limited the power of the Bishops quite unnecessarily. If it were desirable for the Bishops to exercise the provisions of the Act, why should they be deprived of the power of opening for religious worship buildings which might have been used for religious purposes, although not so used by the Church? There might be chapels belonging to the Wesleyans and other sects, for example, which might be available for special religious services at times when the congregations did not require them. He did not say he would abandon the congregations of the Church of England to the Dissenters; but if he had to choose between Exeter Hall, a puppet-show house, a concert-room, or theatre, and a place where religious worship had already been carried on, he should choose the latter. The omission of those words from the preamble would render unnecessary the Amendment to be proposed by the noble Lord the Secretary for War (Lord Panmure), and he trusted that the 1461 most rev. Prelate would at least explain the reasons why the words in question had been introduced.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
said, he thought he should be able, in a few words, to satisfy their Lordships that there were satisfactory reasons why the Bill had been introduced at the present moment. Of late years attention had been called to the fact, that a very large proportion of the inhabitants of the larger towns were precluded from attendance upon Divine service, partly owing to the churches being in many cases too small for their reception. It had likewise appeared that many of the working classes, who had been in a measure greatly alienated from the Church on this and other accounts, had recently manifested a disposition to avail themselves of the privileges of church attendance in districts where the means of accommodation were wanting. Another reason for bringing forward the Bill at the present time was, that it did appear that the existing ecclesiastical rule, by which no clergyman was allowed to interfere in the parish or district of another, except by his permission, required some such modification as was provided in the present Bill. He thought himself at liberty to leave unnoticed the proposal of the noble Earl, in regard to pressing chapels of other denominations into the service of the Church. He trusted that, after this explanation, the noble Earl would permit their Lordships to go into Committee on the Bill.
preferred this Bill to that which had been introduced by the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) and afterwards withdrawn. The effect of the noble Earl's Bill would have been to put an end to the line of demarcation between Church and Dissent, and therefore he rejoiced that it had not been pressed upon the House. The Bill proposed by the most rev. Prelate was a considerable improvement on that measure, but still he thought it exceedingly ill-timed. It was virtually a reflection on an individual clergyman, who had done no more than discharge a duty which he owed to himself and the order to which he belonged, when he asserted his privilege not to allow services to be conducted in his parish without his consent. He would not oppose the Bill, but he confessed that he should see it pass into a law with great reluctance.
§ House in Committee.
§ Clause 1 (Bishop may permit special services in any city, town, &c, the population of which exceeds).1462
§ LORD WENSLEYDALE
proposed the insertion of words that would embrace ecclesiastical districts not included in the clause.
§ After a short conversation, which was quite inaudible,
§ Amendment negatived.
§ THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY moved to insert "the population of which at the last preceding census have exceeded 5,000 souls."
§ THE BISHOP OF OXFORD moved to substitute 10,000 for 5,000.
§ On Question, That ("5,000") stand part of the Bill, their Lordships divided: Contents 33; Not-Contents 14: Majority 19.
|Canterbury, Archbp.||Winchester, Bp.|
|Cranworth, L. (Lord Chancellor).||Belper, L.|
|Breadalbane, M.||Brodrick, L. (V. Middleton).|
|Granville, E.||Clements, L. (E. Leitrim).|
|Harrington, E.||Crewe, L.|
|Romney, E.||Digby, L|
|Saint Germans, E.||Foley, L. [Teller]|
|Stanhope, E.||Granard, L.(E.Granard.)|
|Eversley, V.||Monteagle of Brandon, L.|
|Carlisle, Bp.||Panmure, L.|
|Chichester, Bp.||Ponsonby, L. (E Bessborough) [Teller.]|
|London, Bp.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Manchester, Bp.||Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.)|
|St. Asaph, Bp.||Wensleydale, L.|
|Manchester, D.||Dungannon, V. [Teller.]|
|Carnarvon, E.||Exeter, Bp.|
|De La Warr, E.||Llandaff, Bp.|
|Derby, E.||Oxford, Bp.|
|Huntingdon, E.||St. David's, Bp.|
|Powis, E. [Teller]||Redesdale, L.|
|Wicklow, E.||Wynford, L.|
then remarked that, as the clause now stood, any clergyman performing any special service was not permitted to "read" as well as to "preach" God's Word. Again, although he would be permitted to read the Litany or any of the Collects, he would not be authorised to read the Psalms, which upon special occasions were peculiarly applicable. The noble Earl concluded by moving that the words "read and" be inserted in the clause.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ THE EARL OF POWIS
then observed, that he saw no reason why the clergyman should be precluded, under the operation 1463 of the clause, from giving out such portions of the Book of Common Prayer as he might think proper; and he should, therefore, move that the words "of the collect contained in" be omitted, and the words "part or parts of" substituted in their stead.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
was of opinion that, taking into account the special nature of the services which it was sought to promote, it would be inexpedient to vest any such discretion as the noble Earl proposed in the officiating clergyman.
THE BISHOP OF OXFORD
also maintained that, the new services being only of an occasional character and instituted for definite purposes, it was desirable they should guard against the idea that they were to be a kind of substitution for the regular Church service; and, therefore, they must be so arranged as to interfere as little as possible with the ordinary services of the Church.
THE EARL OF WICKLOW
contended that, as the necessity for the Bill had arisen out of the want of places for public worship, there was no reason why those to meet whose case the Bill had been introduced, should be deprived of the opportunity of hearing the beautiful liturgy of the Church of England, which they would, in many instances, prefer to listening to a preacher.
said, he had the most sincere respect for the liturgy of the Church of England; but it seemed to him that a slur was cast on that liturgy if parts of it were not to be read. It should be left to the discretion of the officiating minister to select what portion should be read.
did not see why the minister should not be allowed to use, as he thought fit, any portions of the services in the Prayer Book.
§ Amendment, enabling the officiating clergyman "to read and preach God's Word, and to say the Litany, or any part or parts of the Book of Common Prayer," agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ Clause 3, (Laws, &c, now in force as to public services to apply to this Act.)
THE BISHOP OF LLANDAFF
rose to move the addition of a proviso of which he had given notice, to the effect that in those parts of England and Wales in which the population was engaged in mining or manufacturing operations it should be 1464 lawful fur the Bishop to give the permission accorded to the clause to any number of parishes or ecclesiastical districts containing together such amount of population as was provided by the clause, and being either contiguous or adjacent to each other, although they might not constitute a city or town. The right rev. Prelate said, their Lordships, he was sure, would pardon him for entertaining the desire that his own diocese might partake of the benefits which were contemplated by the Bill. As it now stood, it was calculated to meet great and pressing emergencies, and in common with his right rev. Brethren, and he believed also with the great majority of members of the Church, he rejoiced that it was likely to become law. Still he believed that unless its provisions were to a certain degree extended it would not meet the case of those peculiar districts to which his Amendment referred. He confessed, that in such districts he thought it desirable that somewhat of a missionary system should be carried on under proper ecclesiastical superintendence; not in opposition to, but in concurrence with, the parochial system. The proviso he proposed, with the view of meeting this case, was limited to those parishes the population of which was chiefly engaged in mining or manufacturing operations; for he conceived that with regard to the agricultural districts such a provision was not only unnecessary, but would be positively injurious. But in reference to places where the population were engaged in mining operations a feeling had long been entertained that it was desirable to adopt some system additional to that now in operation; and from his own experience he had come to the conclusion that unless they adopted something like a missionary system, corresponding to that pursued by the clergy in the Colonies, it would be impossible to bring home the truths of religion to the multitudes of people who were scattered over the mountain-sides and distant valleys of certain portions of this country. On the three triennial occasions on which he had had the pleasure of meeting his clergy, he had expressed this sentiment. He was happy to find that the same conviction had recently been expressed in strong terms by the Bishop of Durham, who enjoyed long experience as a member of the episcopal body, and whose efforts to promote the spiritual interests of the people of his former diocese of Ripon had been signally blessed. His right rev. 1465 Brother, referring to the migratory character of the population, which rendered it difficult to establish an abiding ministerial influence among them, and useless to erect churches which might be deprived of congregations upon the working out of a mine or the closing of a pit, recommended the establishment of a body of missionary clergy:—The peculiar feature of this portion of my charge is the migratory character of its population, which renders it so difficult to establish an abiding ministerial influence, and would seem to forbid, in many instances, the erection of a church, and the establishment of a regular ministry, that might before long be rendered useless, by the working out of the mine, or the closing of the pit, followed by the dispersion of the thousands who depended upon it for their subsistence. For this special difficulty the remedy would seem to be in the establishment of a body of Missionary Clergy. I believe it will be acknowledged that there is as much need of missionary labour among the busy throng near our collieries as in some of the far-distant regions where the Gospel has but recently been preached.The Report presented to the Upper House of Convocation, by a Committee appointed to "consider and report on the most desirable modes of making fresh exertions for sustaining and extending the Missionary efforts of the Church both at home and abroad"—and which was considered and adopted by that body last week—after referring to certain cases, went on to say:—But these cases, though numerous, are by no means all for which we have to provide. We have to deal with the tens of thousands who have been gathered round some new centre of industry, for the gatherings of populations which suddenly arise and as suddenly disappear where a rich vein of mineral wealth is discovered or exhausted in our distant hill sides and up our remote valleys; and all of these forms of spiritual want require separate treatment for their relief.We would suggest the following measures among those which it appears to us might, under God's blessing, be beneficially adopted:—He had read the passage at length that the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) might see that the Committee had not lost 1466 sight of the principle which he had insisted upon on a former occasion, that such special services were only to be regarded as temporary. He would refer to an-other witness, one of the Inspectors of schools in Wales, who recomended that, with the view of meeting the spiritual wants of large parishes, which in that district sometimes extended eight, nine, or ten miles—he, himself, (the Bishop of Llandaff) had been vicar of a parish which contained 22,000 acres, extending fifteen miles from one extremity to the other—a circulating system should be adopted, which, if conducted with energy and judgment, would, in the opinion of the Inspector, be attended with most beneficial results. He (the Bishop of Llandaff) was most desirous that some system of this kind should be adopted in his own diocese. The vast development of the mineral treasures of the country had led to an increase of the population of that diocese in a greater ratio than had been experienced in any other part of the kingdom. At the commencement of the present century the population of his diocese was 117,000; and it was now 347,000, being more than trebled within fifty years; while the number of the clergy had remained pretty nearly stationary. He believed that in the decennial period between 1831 and 1841 the ratio of increase of population throughout the kingdom had been 14 per cent, while in Monmouth it had been 36 per cent, and in Glamorgan 35 per cent. He was. convinced that by no other plan than the one he suggested could they bring religious truth to the knowledge of these large bodies of people. No doubt it would be better if they could divide large parishes into districts and appoint clergymen to them, but the question arose where were the funds to support those additional clergymen? They could not look to the resources of the Church in his diocese. There was no part of the kingdom on which the hand of the spoiler had been so ruthlessly laid as South Wales. In his diocese there were fifty-three parishes, in which there was no rent charge at all in the hands of those who had pastoral care. Gross rent charge of two counties, £59,605; abstracted, £25,624; leaving for parochial clergy, £33,981. In fifty-three parishes there is no rent charge payable to the clergymen, the whole provision originally intended for his remuneration having been transferred to others. Average benefices, £177; ditto parishes, £140; 1467 sixty-four benefices under £100, thirty-five of these under £75, eight of these under £50, and one under £10. He had received assistance, it was true, from the splendid liberality of many of the ironmasters, for which he could not be too thankful; but he was quite certain they could not provide altogether in that way for the religious instruction which was required. It might be objected that he was introducing a clause which was new in principle; but from that he begged to dissent. It was neither contrary to the principles nor to the ancient practice of the Church of England, it was, indeed, but going back to the fundamental principles of the Church, to adopt some such system as this. It was already adopted to some extent in the Colonies. But even if he could find no precedent for the system, if it were absolutely necessary he thought he was justified in proposing it. This missionary instrumentality had been for a long time unnecessary owing to the parochial system, but now that the necessity for it had again arisen, he could not see why they should not revert to it. It appeared to him that the Church wanted elasticity. The doctrine of the Church was a sacred deposit, which they were bound to hand down as they had received it. The great principles of their ecclesiastical polity were no doubt derived from the first ages, and must therefore be maintained. But as respected the particular mode of bringing the masses of the people into contact with the truths of religion, they must adapt themselves to circumstances. If they could have accommodated themselves more to the wants of the community, in all probability many secessions which they had to deplore would not have taken place, and by making provision now they would most probably bring back many who were not alienated by any real feeling of hostility, but merely because the church was not brought into contact with them.
- "1. First, that Home Missionary Associations be organized in the different dioceses under the Bishop, the Archdeacon, and such clergy and laity as may he brought to consult with them concerning the spiritual wants of the diocese, and the best mode of relieving them.
- "2. That clergymen be sought out who possess special gifts for influencing those who are now unhappily estranged from all religious ordinances; and that such clergy, under due ecclesiastical authority, should minister in temporary buildings till, under God's blessing, they have gathered a flock which may be collected in a church."
Amendment moved to insert the following proviso:—
Provided always, that in those parts of England and Wales in which the population in whole or in part is engaged in mining or manufacturing operations, it shall be lawful for the Bishop to give such permission as is herein-before enacted, for any number of parishes or ecclesiastical district containing together such amount of population as aforesaid, and being either continuous or adjacent to each other, though such parishes or districts may not constitute a city. town, or place.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
said, that this was a very important question, and he had certainly expected to hear some opinion given on it by Her Majesty's Government. Her Majesty's Government, however, seemed to consider it was one of no concern. He had always supposed it to be a part of the duty of the Government, when Bills were brought into Parliament, to ascertain how far those Bills were calculated to effect the objects in view—supposing them to be desirable; but it appeared from the conduct of Government on this occasion that his supposition was an erroneous one. He had not the least doubt of the importance of the object which his right rev. Friend proposed to effect; but he begged to ask, in the first place, whether in those districts to which the clause referred any difficulty was found in obtaining the concurrence of the incumbents to other ministers visiting those districts; whether there was any difficulty in inducing the incumbents to avail themselves of such assistance as might be offered to them by clergymen willing to assist them? If there was no such difficulty there was nothing for the Bill to operate upon. If there was, he would ask the right rev. Prelate to consider the effect of applying to large districts of the country the provisions of a Bill the operations of which were intended to be limited to towns and other places having a certain extent of population. Now, the words of the clause proposed by the right rev. Prelate were so general that, inasmuch as there were very few parishes which contained a population of 5000 persons in which some portion of them were not engaged either in manufactures or mining operations, they would in effect extend to the whole kingdom; so that they might practically supersede that limitation which it was the policy of the existing clauses to enforce. He had no objection to a clause which would properly carry out the objects which the right rev. Prelate proposed to effect; but the words of the right rev. Prelate's clause were wider than, he was sure, he himself intended them to be. He (the Earl of Derby) wished to call attention to the effect of the clause, and also to ascertain whether, in point of fact, any reluctance on the part of the incumbents to avail themselves of assistance made the insertion of such a clause necessary.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
had no objection to the clause. He had supposed it would be useless for him to get up merely to signify his assent to it. He thought it more 1469 desirable that the proposition of the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Llandaff) should be carried out by a separate clause in the Bill. With regard to the proposition itself he believed it would not effect more than what their Lordships thought it most desirable should be effected.
THE BISHOP OF LLANDAFF
said, that as far as he knew no negative had been interposed by any incumbent within his diocese. With regard to the phraseology of his clause, whether it was too wide or not, he should be happy to meet the wishes of the House. It had been prepared solely with reference to the mining population, with whose requirements and wishes he was more particularly connected; and he added the manufacturing districts, in consequence of being requested to do so by another right rev. Prelate. It appeared to him that the Bill introduced a new kind of agency altogether. The clause, as he had originally drawn it, related entirely to the mining population, uncombined with the manufacturing.
thought that there would be. some difficulty in defining what constituted either a mining or a manufacturing district.
THE BISHOP OF MANCHESTER
suggested that the right rev. Prelate should postpone the clause until the bringing up of the Report.
§ THE EARL OF POWIS
said, that the want, which was proposed to be supplied by the Bill, prevailed in both North and South Wales, where the average extent of the parishes was one-fourth greater than those of England, and there were in these mining districts collections of houses which had risen up in places very distant from any church with no municipal organization. There were cases in which the population were five or six miles from the church, where three or four parishes came together, and consequently some clause of this kind would be extremely useful to enable the population to be benefited.
§ Amendment withdrawn, with the understanding that it should be considered on the Report.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ On the Preamble,
THE EARL OF WICKLOW
said, he was still of opinion that it would be desirable to omit from the preamble the words to which he had taken exception in the early part of the evening, so that the Bishop might not be precluded from availing himself of any building already used for re- 1470 ligious worship, although it might be a dissenting chapel.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
rather coincided with his noble Friend; but the words of the preamble were repeated in one of the clauses, and thereby became positively enacted. It would not be enough, therefore, to omit the words from the preamble.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
was of opinion that the suggestion of the noble Earl would introduce so new a principle that he did not think it desirable to introduce it into the present Bill.
§ Preamble agreed to.
§ Report of Amendment to be received on Monday next.
§ House adjourned at Half-past Seven o'clock, to Thursday next, Half-past Ten o'clock.