§ House in Committee (according to Order).
§ LORD CAIRNS
moved to omit from the Preamble the words—And such revised Tables have been considered and approved of by the Convocation of the province of Canterbury, and by a committee of the Convocation of York.
said, that last year he could not have supported the Bill had it not been considered by Convocation; but, as it had been so considered, and as the recital was to be omitted, solely on the ground that Convocation had not received the special licence from the Crown necessary to enable them to do so legally, he should not oppose the Amendment. Admitting the impossibility of legislating on the other recommendations of the Ritual Commission, on account of the difference of opinion which prevailed among them on important points, he would suggest that Government might follow the constitutional course by giving Her Majesty's licence to Convocation to consider the Reports of the Commission. There 1970 would thus be a chance of divergencies being reconciled, and of some agreement being arrived at as a basis for legislation. It was most desirable that the Government should do what it could to secure unity of feeling. He would remind their Lordships that when, in William III.'s reign, the Government proposed legislation on the Report of a similar Commission, a Resolution was carried in this House affirming that a licence should first be given to Convocation to express its opinion on the subject.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that the recital was inserted in conformity with the precedent of 1662; for though in the Act of Uniformity the approval of Convocation was not recited, it was distinctly stated in the Preface to the Prayer Book which that Act stamped with its authority. He did not think a licence from the Crown was necessary in this case, as Convocation passed no Act nor anything that required to be carried into effect, but simply expressed approbation of the Lectionary. To avoid, however, any difference of opinion on the point, he was willing to omit the recital.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, he would not say whether or not Convocation was justified in expressing an opinion; but, if Parliament thought proper to take notice of anything it had done, care should be taken that such action had been preceded by the usual licence or request from the Crown. In the absence of such a licence or request the recital ought to be omitted.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
thought Convocation had been rather hardly used. There was much force in his noble and learned Friend's (Lord Cairns') objection; and, as want of time was assigned last Session as the reason for the non-issue of the licence, it would have been only decent this year to issue the licence and obtain the opinion of Convocation in the proper form. The insertion of the recital and then its unceremonious omission would appear an undeserved slight on the clergy, such as would not conduce to the peace of the Church. He hoped that in the event of more important legislation care would be taken to obtain the properly authorized opinion of Convocation.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
also feared that the Amendment would lead to some misunderstanding out-of-doors on the part of persons who looked up 1971 to Convocation as the representative of the Church. There was, however, a good deal of force in the objection to the recital in the present case.
THE BISHOP OF LONDON
regretted that the opinion of Convocation had not been obtained in the proper way; but hoped it would be distinctly understood that the recital was omitted purely on formal grounds.
§ Motion agreed to:—Amendment made.
§ The Report thereof to be received on Thursday next.