House Of Commons
Wednesday, July 13, 1864.
MINUTES.]—PUBLIC BILLS — Resolutions in Committee—Fortifications and Works.
Ordered—Armagh Archiepiscopal Revenues * ; Justices Proceedings Confirmation (Sussex) * ; Westminster Bridge Traffic * ; Drainage and Improvement of Lands (Ireland)* ; Supplemental Bank Notes, &c., Signatures* ; Public Works (Manufacturing Districts)* .
First Reading — Armagh Archiepiscopal Revenues* [Bill 202]; Justices Proceedings Confirmation (Sussex)* [Bill 203]; Public Works (Manufacturing Districts)* [Bill 204]; Westminster Bridge Traffic* [Bill 205]; Bank Notes, &c., Signatures * [Bill 206]; Drainage and Improvement of Land (Ireland) Supplemental * [Bill 207].
Second Reading—Uniformity Act Amendment [Bill 134], negatived; Scottish Episcopal Clergy Disabilities Removal [Bill 161] ( Lords).
Committee — Insolvent Debtors [Bill 20] (No Report); Poisoned Flesh Prohibition, &c. ( recommitted) [Bill 199]—R.P.; Expiring Laws Continuance* [Bill 193]; Militia Ballots Suspension* ; Criminal Justice (1855) Extension* [Bill 190].
Report—Expiring Laws Continuance* [Bill 193]; Militia Ballots Suspension * ; Criminal Justice (1855) Extension * [Bill 190], and re-committed.
Considered as amended—Highways Act Amendment* [Bill 177]; Isle of Man Harbours Act Amendment* [Bill 185].
Third Reading—Ecclesiastical Courts and Registries (Ireland)* [Bill 174] ( Lords); Trespass (Ireland)* [Bill 195], and passed.
Withdrawn—Superior Courts of Common Law (Ireland)* [Bill 86]; Court of Queen's Bench (Ireland)* [Bill 123]; Married Women's Acknowledgments* [Bill 122]; Poor Law Guardians Election* [Bill 153]; Potty Offences Law Amendment [Bill 121]; County Voters Registration* [Bill 112]; Jersey Court [Bill 48]; Election Petitions Act (1848) Amendment* [Bill 182].
Uniformity Act Amendment Bill
Bill 134 Second Reading
Order for Second Reading read.
, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, he would explain its nature and effect as briefly as he could. The Bill itself was very short and simple in its provisions. Its object was to repeal certain portions of a certain section of the Act of Uniformity of Charles II.—that section which required certain dignitaries of the Church, and other persons enumerated, amongst whom were Fellows and Tutors of colleges, to make a declaration that they would conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England. That provision, so far as it related to the Fellows and Tutors of Colleges, the Bill proposed to repeal. The effect and intention of this measure had been misconceived and had been much misrepresented—unintentionally no doubt. That he could quite understand, for the state of the law and the facts to which the law applied were somewhat complicated, and it required some little research and knowledge of what had been done in recent years thoroughly to comprehend what was the present state of the law. The fact, moreover, that the law on the subject applicable to Oxford and Cambridge was different had tended somewhat to complicate the question. He would endeavour to explain how the question stood with respect to oaths and declarations in the University of Cambridge. In Cambridge there never had been required any declaration of religious belief, or oath of any kind, from those who sought merely admission to the University. But up to 1856, upon taking a degree a declaration was required. Until 1776, upon taking a degree, a declaration was required of adhesion to the three articles contained in the 36th Canon, which, as was well known, involved a declaration of the Queen's supremacy, adhesion to the Thirty-nine Articles, and a declaration that the Liturgy contained in the Prayer Book contained nothing contrary to the Word of God. In 1775 or 1774, as far as regards the degree of Bachelor of Arts, an alteration was made by the University by which all that was required of a member of the University seeking a degree was a declaration that he was bonâ fide a member of the Church of England; but as regarded all other degrees the three articles were still required. In 1856, however, that was all changed by an Act of Parliament which he (Mr. Bouverie) had the honour of introducing, by which it was provided that as regarded all degrees except theological degrees, no oath, declaration, or subscription of any kind whatever should be required. He should have stated that the previous requisition of a declaration of religious belief and of adhesion to the Liturgy and Articles of the Church had never been a Parliamentary requisition, but was purely a University regulation imposed by a University statute. That requisition, however, was repealed by the Act of 1851, which, however, went considerably farther; for, while the Bill was passing through the House of Commons, a clause was inserted providing that as regards scholarships or exhibitions held by under graduates no oath or declaration of religious belief should be required. The House would, therefore, observe that both as regarded the University which conferred degrees and the Colleges which gave those exhibitions to undergraduates no oath or declaration was required in Cambridge. But scholarships and exhibitions in a college were the first steps to a fellowship. Nobody, according to the Cambridge system, and he believed according to that of Oxford, with which, however, he was not so well acquainted, could become a Fellow of his college unless he had previously obtained a scholarship, and the latter was now obtained in Cambridge without any person taking it being required to make any declaration of religious belief of any kind or form. The position of any one going to the University of Cambridge was this, that he was required to take no oath and make no declaration on his admission, or on competing for scholarships and exhibitions; or on taking a degree, unless he wished to proceed to a theological degree; but if he wished to compete for a fellowship, then declarations were imposed on him. These were of a triple character. With respect to the greater part of the colleges at Cambridge, and the whole or nearly the whole of the colleges at Oxford, it was a condition that every one on becoming a Fellow should declare in one form or another that he was a member of the Church of England. This, however, was not the case with respect to all colleges; it was not the case with respect to the most important college of Trinity. Now, he did not propose to make any change in that respect. The Bill did not deal with the College Statutes at all; but what he proposed was, that Parliament should not compel colleges to elect as Fellows only those who made such a declaration. That was one of the difficulties which a Nonconformist graduate at the Universities met with. He was, moreover, obliged under the Act of 1 George I. c. 13, to take the oaths of allegiance, supremacy, and abjuration, which had now been fused into one by the 21 & 22 Vict. Lastly, a person on obtaining a fellowship must, under the Act of Uniformity, make the declaration which the present Bill proposed to repeal, that he would conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England. He made that proposition on three grounds. He contended that such a provision was unjust to the vast body of Protestant Nonconformists, who were thereby precluded from obtaining fellowships; that it was injurious to the Universities themselves; and that it was detrimental to the interests of the Church, which it was supposed to protect. It was unjust to the Nonconformists because the colleges were in no respect clerical seminaries for priests of the Church of England, and the great bulk of those who received education in them were not destined to be ministers of that Church. Why, then, should the Nonconformists be excluded from competing for fellowships, which were simply prizes for intellectual and scientific attainments, and the competition for which ought not, therefore, to be limited to persons professing one particular form of belief? Why should the colleges be compelled by Act of Parliament to exclude him from a benefit, which was open to him, under the wills of the founders in some of those colleges; and he (Mr. Bouverie) had to observe that he did not propose to disturb in any way the arrangements laid down by the founders of those establishments. It was Parliament that created a disqualification by the passing of the Act of Uniformity, and his only object was to have that disqualification removed. This exclusion of Nonconformists from the competition for fellowships, besides being unjust, was injurious to the Universities themselves, and upon this latter point he had the authority of a number of gentlemen interested in carrying on the educational system at Cambridge. Two years ago he presented to that House a remarkable petition, setting forth that the operation of the clause in the Act of Uniformity requiring Fellows to declare their conformity to the Liturgy of the Church of England was injurious to the best interests of the University, and they therefore prayed that it might be repealed. And who were these petitioners? Were they persons animated by any desire to upset the Church of England? By no means. The petition was signed by seventy-four resident Fellows of the University of Cambridge, a majority of the Fellows of Trinity College, and a majority of the Fellows of Christ's College, as well as a majority of the Tutors and Assistant Tutors in the University. These were the men who petitioned for the repeal of a provision which had the effect of excluding from the only real prize in the University those Protestant Nonconformists who formed so important a portion of the middle class of this country. With the exception of the reputation of the distinction attached to a Wrangler, these persons were deprived of all inducements to go to the University. These men being excluded, the competition was, of course, very much less, and those who were tempted by ambition or a desire to profit by the advantages in the way of learning which the University afforded to her undergraduates, if they succeeded in getting high degrees (and who in the natural course of events would become Fellows if they took the declaration), were now shut out, and the University was deprived of their assistance in carrying out the instruction of the University. The immediate occasion of the petition to which he had referred being presented was, that the Senior Wranglers of two successive years, men of the highest distinction in the mathematical tripos, were excluded from competing for a Fellowship, because they were unable conscientiously to make the required declaration. One of these gentlemen was a member of the Scotch Church, and, as an undergraduate, he had so far conformed to the Liturgy as to attend chapel; but he scrupled, as any high-minded and conscientious man would, when he was called upon to formally subscribe to it. In what conceivable way, he asked, could the Church be injured by such a gentleman devoting his services as a Tutor and Fellow in teaching mathematics to the undergraduates? It seemed to be argued that it was the duty of the Tutors and Fellows to teach religious dogmas and doctrines; but Cambridge must have been greatly changed since his day if such was now the practice. Her Tutors, he believed, never took part in the religious instruction of the undergraduates. The undergraduates were expected to show themselves acquainted with Paley and Bishop Butler's sermons; but they did not receive religious instruction there in the sense that children received it from their parents, or little boys from the masters of private schools. The declaration was really detrimental to the Church itself. If the effect of such a declaration was substantially to exclude every one who was not conscientiously a member of the Church of England, and illustrated the purity of her doctrines by his own life, then he thought something might be said for its continuance, and it might be urged as some reason for maintaining it. But was that really the case? The declaration did not exclude the unscrupulous, the indifferent in religious matters, the sceptical, the profane; but it did occasionally exclude men who entertained a high sense of conscientious duty. This test was not a test of belief in the credibility of any of the dogmas, or a belief that the Thirty-Nine Articles and the Liturgy contained nothing contrary to the Word of God; but it was a mere declaration that the person making it would conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England. And he asked some hon. Member to state what the effect of such a declaration was? If its true moaning was that a man would not object to attend the services of the Church of England, then any one could take it; but occasionally there was found a conscientious man, who, from a sense of duty, or because he occupied a high position, and was known in his youth to belong to another religious body, scrupled to take it, and that man, above all others, was the man who ought to be admitted to a fellowship. He did not think, on striking a balance of the losses and gains, that the Church could really come to any other conclusion than that the losses were far more than equivalent to the gain of insisting on this condition. All that the Church could possibly gain by insisting on it was the petty and paltry satisfaction of robbing some man of the just reward of his industry and ability, who was either too proud or too conscientious to make a declaration which he conceived was in some way an abandonment of the Church of his fathers. The loss, however, was very considerable, for by it the Church lost the chance of obtaining the goodwill and attachment of a large portion of the Protestant Nonconformists of the country. They were now without her pale, which those who called themselves the friends of the Church studiously did everything they could on every occasion, both in the University and elsewhere, to make it as difficult to get over as possible. That, he regretted to say, had been the policy of the so-called friends of the Church for the last 200 years. It had proved a signal failure. He now recommended the House to try the other plan, and to see whether by freely giving equality of civil rights in every respect to Nonconformists, and admitting them to every advantage and privilege not inconsistent with the maintenance of the Established Church, they would not conciliate the goodwill and attachment of this influential body of their fellow-countrymen, and thereby greatly add to the stability of the Established Church. He knew that his proposal had been regarded by the clergy with alarm; and, looking to the petitions that were presented last year against it, every word in the English language which expressed fear had been introduced into them as expressing the opinions of the clergy. But these expressions were simply an emanation of the clerical mind. Lord Clarendon, one of the greatest statesmen of this country, and who was neither a Liberal nor a Whig statesman, had declared it to be the result of his experience that the clergy were the worst advisers Parliament could look to or follow on questions of this kind; and that observation had just been strongly confirmed. A few days since, the Bishop of London, in speaking on Lord Ebury's Motion for a Royal Commission relative to the Burial Service, said—
He entirely agreed with Lord Clarendon and the Bishop of London, and he asked the House to apply it to his proposal, namely, that the clergy were not safe counsellors or advisers on questions of this kind. The chief petition presented last year against the Bill was one from the University of Oxford. Now, he undertook to say—though he had not carefully studied the signatures to the petition—that the great bulk of them would be found to be the signatures of the clergy of the Established Church, who were naturally averse to change, and who were unnecessarily alarmed at anything which they thought might endanger any of the securities of the Church. The petitioners said—"It was desirable not to disregard the feelings of the clergy, but it was also desirable not to attach too much importance to them. The fact was that the clergy were necessarily, from their profession—and he was very thankful for it— averse to change, and changes for the better did not receive from that body the consideration and favour which they deserved. It was doubtful whether, with regard to the abolition of non-residence and other reforms which had taken place in the Church, if the decision had rested with the whole body of the clergy, that properly Conservative spirit which animated them would not have led them to say that the safer course was to leave things as they were,"
Well, this would be a good objection if the test now excluded that class of people. But did the test at present exclude sceptics and heretics? His case was, that the test admitted sceptics and heretics; that it professed to afford a security against the admission of improper persons, but afforded none. The petitioners went on to say that,"The removal of the only test now required of Tutors and Fellows would tend to give the control, government, and instruction of youth into the hands of persons of divergent religious creed, or of no creed at all."
But what security was afforded by a man promising to conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England? What security did this give as to doctrine, creed, or religious faith? Look to the various classes of persons who had taken that test. They were "wide as the poles asunder." Dr. Pusey took it, and would take it again. Dr. Jowett took it, and would take it again. Dr. Newman took it, and would take it again. Bishop Colenso took it, and would take it again. Whether he would or would not, when men of such opposite opinions as Dr. Pusey, Professor Jowett, and Bishop Colenso took the test without scruple, it was a farce to talk of the test being a security. The petitioners went on to speak of "the relations between the Fellows of the colleges being intimate," and expressing an opinion that"Consistently with the Articles of the Church of England, the Church could not intrust her future instruction to persons who had given no security for the soundness of their faith."
Were the petitioners not such "potent, grave, and reverend signors," he would have thought this a joke. Had the relations between Fellows of colleges been disturbed by the difference of opinion that already existed? And were there differences of opinion likely to exist wider than those to which he had adverted? In fact, men of the widest differences of opinion could and did meet in harmony and good fellowship, and so they would if the test were abolished. Then it was said, "These men are engaged in the instruction of youth, and you would not intrust the education of your children to men who would not declare their adherence to the Liturgy of the Church of England." But he denied that parents scanned so nicely the religious belief of the Tutors as to feel any difficulty, after the repeal of the declaration, in sending their sons to the Universities. Moreover, the Tutors were selected by the Heads of Colleges; and the Heads of Colleges worshipped in the College chapel, here the worship was required by the Act of Uniformity to be conducted according to the Liturgy of the Church of England. Honourable and conscientious men would not attend a religious worship in which they did not coincide, and it was only the honourable and the conscientious that the test would catch. In all this, then, there was ample existing security against the Tutors teaching heterodoxy. He did not believe that the Church of England derived the smallest benefit from this test. On the contrary, he believed that whatever resulted from it was to her disadvantage. He believed that if she was left free from the trammels imposed by past Parliaments she would gain in strength. What had been the effect of removing from time to time the restrictions against Nonconformity? Had not the Church gained in strength by the repeal of the Tests and Coporation Act? Were not objections urged, usque ad nauseam, against even the admission of Dissenters to the Universities? But they were admitted, and what he now asked was, that the House would take this trifling step farther. He believed, moreover, that the Church incurred great ignominy by the attempt to monopolize the benefits of the great educational establishments of the country."The harmony at present existing must be disturbed by the admission of persons differing on the most important of all subjects."
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—( Mr. E. P. Bouverie).
said, that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie) would have done well if he had followed the course he took last year, and had not pressed the second reading at this period of the Session. If the measure would, as the right hon. Gentleman said, make no difference whatever as far as the Universities were concerned, where was the necessity for pressing its adoption upon the House? The right hon. Gentleman withdrew the Bill last year on the ground that the Ses- sion was too far advanced to allow him to proceed with it. It was then the 24th of June, and it was now the 13th of July; so that the same reason for withdrawing the Bill applied with more strength on the present occasion. He believed, however, that there was a much stronger reason for withdrawing the Bill last year—and that was that the right hon. Gentleman felt that the objections raised to it by the Universities could not be answered, and that there was a strong disinclination on the part of Members on the Ministerial side of the House to pass a measure of the kind, which, if it were to have any effect at all, would introduce into the Universities, now based on one denominational system of religion, a variety of creeds and a religious confusion which might end in withdrawing from secular education that foundation of religious instruction upon which the country desired it should stand. The petition to which the right hon. Gentleman alluded as having been presented two years ago was got up privately, without the knowledge of the members of the University of Cambridge generally; though he admitted that it was signed by some few most distinguished men there. But the great majority of the members of the University were opposed to its prayer. Last year the matter was brought before the Convocation of Oxford University, and a petition under the common seal of the University against the Bill was adopted by a majority of 182 against 51. In the Senate House of the University of Cambridge there were against the Bill 120, and only 25 for it. [Mr. E. P. BOUVERIE: How many residents?] He would tell his right hon. Friend how many residents. At Oxford more than 1,000 bachelors and undergraduates were against it, while there were 2,000 non-residents also on the same side. At Cambridge all the heads of houses but two, almost all the resident tutors, several Bachelors of Arts, and a large body of undergraduates, were against the measure. In the face of such facts as these, he could only say that if his right hon. Friend was going to rest his Bill on petitions, there was an end to it at once. His right hon. Friend had urged three principal reasons against the present system—that it was unjust, that it was injurious to the Universities, and that it was, moreover, injurious to the Church. Now, he wished the House to observe that all the old arguments which used to apply to the case no longer existed. Before the University Acts passed, there might have been some ground for saying that, as a large body of persons could not obtain a University education by reason of the religious tests applied on matriculation, there was sonic degree of injustice done to those persons. Even before that time, however, that injustice was, in point of fact, removed by the establishment in 1834 of the London University, which afforded to all who did not conform to the Established religion the fullest opportunity of obtaining a University education. Dr. Arnold was one of the chief promoters of that institution, and being anxious that it should not be purely secular and altogether without the religious element, he proposed to get over the difficulty by having lectures on general Christian topics, without going into any denominational views. When the authorities of the University came to consider this plan with the view of carrying it out they found that it was an impossibility, because the religious teaching which would be given in such a case would be sure to take its complexion from the particular bias of the lecturer. It was therefore determined to establish the University on the basis of an institution for literary and scientific objects, and not connected in any way with religion. These two circumstances, therefore, deserved notice — that the grievance of the Dissenters in not having a University education was almost entirely taken away by the erection of the London University, and that it had been found that the latter University could not be open to all unless religion were excluded. Therefore, to allow the adoption of any measure which would deprive the Universities of their substratum of religious education was a proposition which neither the Universities nor the country over ought to sanction. From the London Universities the Dissenters received every benefit except one. There was something in the education furnished by the older Universities which gave it a certain prestige, and no doubt this was an advantage to a man in his professional career. That last grievance, however, was removed by the University Acts; for there was now nothing to prevent a Dissenter from having his son educated at either of the older Universities, and securing for him all the benefit, not only of the teaching, but even of the endowments in the shape of scholarships and exhibitions—in fact, to enjoy all the privileges except taking part in the control and management. If what the Dis- senters wanted was only to secure the advantages of University education, then their claim had been satisfied; but if they were not content with that, and were seeking a share in the management of the Universities, he denied that there was any justice in that demand — unless, indeed, it could be held that everybody was entitled to come into these institutions on his own terms and in disregard of chartered rights, and that they ought not to be connected with the Established Church. The question really resolved itself into this—were they to have an Established Church at all? If there was to be one, then the House had no more right to introduce new elements into institutions founded on the principles of the Established Church and intended to be connected with it, than they had to place any Dissenting or Roman Catholic colleges in the hands of those who did not belong to the denomination which had founded and endowed it. On this point he could cite the opinion of one who was a great advocate of freedom of education and who had done much to secure it — Lord Brougham. In 1834, when Lord Brougham was Chancellor, the question of subscription came before the House of Lords; and on that occasion the noble Lord said —
Not only was the education of the Universities open to the Dissenters, but Parliament had provided the means whereby they could establish in the one University private halls, and in the other hostels for those who were unwilling to conform to the services of the Church of England. The wise and sound principle laid down in the University Acts was the only one on which they could safely take their stand—it was that the Universities should be open for the education of all, but that the government of these institutions should be confined to those who were connected with the Church of England. The next argument of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Bouverie) was that the present system was injurious to the Universities themselves. It was rather extraordinary that they should be asked on that question to accept the measure of injury from those who desired to invade those institutions, rather than from those who desired to uphold them. Surely the Universities themselves were the best judges of what was or was not an injury to them. It was said that some were excluded from the higher prizes of the Universities at present, and that might be so; but how many would practically be excluded if the measure of his right hon. Friend were carried? Would it not deprive many of confidence in the University system if every variety of creed were introduced, thus involving the necessity of doing away with religious education altogether? Why it would destroy the Universities. His right hon. Friend's Bill itself showed how much he felt the difficulties of the case. It proposed to remove the declaration required from Fellows and Tutors, but it did not touch the Masters of Colleges. On what principle were the Masters to be subject to the declaration, if it was right that that test should be removed from the Fellows? His right hon. Friend would no doubt say that as the Master was the chief person in a college, he was responsible for the religious education. But if there was an injustice in preventing young men from becoming Fellows, was there not tenfold injustice in withholding from a man who had served long and faithfully as a tutor the great prize of a mastership? The reason why his right hon. Friend would not venture to abolish the declaration in that case was because he knew that there must be some one to superintend the religious education of the students. At Cambridge his right hon. Friend said that generally speaking there was no statutory ban, but that the restriction was of a legislative character, and imposed 200 years ago. Both at Trinity and St. John's the Master and Fellows had to subscribe a form of words which his right hon. Friend described as a general declaration of Christianity; but a particular religion was distinctly pointed at in the statute which said, that if any Fellow should openly secede from the Church of England, the Master should thereupon summon the seniors, and the Master and seniors together should proceed to inquire into the case, and if the fact were established should declare the fellowship vacant. The very fact that the Masters were not included in the operation of the Bill was, in itself, an admission of the difficulty which beset those who supported the measure. He had dealt with two of the main arguments of his right hon. Friend. Need he refer to the third—that the existing system was injurious to the Church of England? He agreed with his right hon. Friend, that the National Church must necessarily comprehend men who might disagree in opinion on certain points not fundamental, but who agreed on those which were fundamental. Reference had been made to the admission of such men as Professor Jowett, Dr. Newman (but the latter would, of course, be excluded now), and others; but his answer to that was that the Church of England had always been a comprehensive Church, and was intended to embrace within its pale all those whose divergence of opinion did not relate to fundamental matters. It was not a narrow Church; but although it admitted a great variety of opinion, it did not admit a variety of creed. It was liberal in the truest sense in tolerating a difference of view on certain points; but it would sink into indifference and infidelity if it did not care for the preservation of the fundamental doctrines of our faith. His right hon. Friend put it to them, that if they would only give way here and give way there, they might do much for the reform of the Universities. There lay the broad difference between the two sides of the House. Hon. Gentlemen opposite were always assuming that the institutions of the country were bad and required alteration. On his side they assumed that our institutions were good; and while they were willing to adopt improvements where defects could be shown, they were not willing to innovate for the mere sake of introducing a new idea. His right hon. Friend, who was a great reader of Bacon, would pro- bably remember the passage in the Essays where he said that "it is reformation that draweth on to change, and not the desire to change that leadeth to reformation." If any improvements could be indicated as necessary to be made there would be, on his side of the House, the fullest desire to carry them out; but they felt bound to oppose measures which were proposed for the mere sake of innovating on the present order of things, and which would have the effect of, he would not say destroying, but undermining these institutions. It was the desire of change which led in the present case to the project of reform; and he therefore begged to move that the Bill be read a second time that day three months."There is another matter connected with the admission of Dissenters to the Universities, which, I think, is much more encumbered with doubt, but still, I throw it out for consideration. I refer to the expediency and the justice of admitting persons not belonging to the Established Church to all the privileges consequent upon their attendance at the Universities, besides the right to obtain degrees. And here I particularly allude, not to their acquiring any share in the government of the Universities — that is a matter which might be easily arranged — but to the right of having fellowships and scholarships. The difficulty upon that point is considerable, and I have no hesitation in saying, strong advocate of the Dissenters as I have ever been, that I see opinions expressed in some of their petitions which show that these excellent persons, in putting forward their claim, have not well weighed the reasons for which fellowships were, for the most part, endowed. The Dissenters have no more right, strictly speaking, to admission to fellowships and scholarships, endowed by the founders for the benefit of the Established Church, than any member of the Church of England would have a right to share in the endowments founded at Highbury or Homerton, Maynooth or Stonyhurst, or any other dissenting college, Catholic or Protestant. — [3 Hansard, xxv. 866–6.]
Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—( Mr. Walpole.)
Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
said, he hardly expected that the point for discussion would have been whether we should substitute for the denominational system of the Universities a mixed system of education; and was astonished to find that he had been mistaken in the scope of the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman. Having laid down the principle that the change he sought to make did not touch religion, but merely removed certain civil disabilities to which those that did not belong to the Church of England were subjected, the right hon. Gentleman, thirty-three or thirty-four years after the passing of the Emancipation Act, wished to continue these disabilities so far as they touched Roman Catholics, and to place them on a pinnacle to be pointed at by every person of any religion or no religion; and yet he presented himself with professions of liberality on his lips, whilst endeavouring to perpetrate what, on his own principles, was a monstrous injustice. He (Mr. Monsell), if he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman's premises, should protest against a course which would place his co-religionists in so degrading a position. He, however, took other ground. He felt strongly that it would be an enormous advantage to all Her Majesty's subjects to have admission to the national Universities. The only limitation recommended by the Cambridge Commissioners was this—that those who were not members of the Church of England had the right to ask from the Univer- sities the fullest privileges that could be given without an infringement of the fundamental principle on which the University was founded, and that was that education and religion should not be dissociated —that religion should be at the basis of all education. He thought those who were not members of the Church of England had a right to ask that every privilege which did not infringe on that principle should be given to them, and he thought it was a matter that ought not to be left in the hands of a private Member. He trusted, therefore, that Her Majesty's Government would introduce early next Session a measure for obtaining that object. This Bill however, in his opinion, involved a fundamental change in the whole system of the Universities. If it were passed they might have such men— he would not name an English name because that might be invidious—such men as M. Ernest Renan as a Fellow of the colleges to which the Bill applied.
He could not be, because he is a Frenchman.
said, his right hon. Friend must be hard driven to make such an observation as that. M. Ernest Renan, if he were an Englishman, might under this Bill become a Fellow of the University; and that was another instance of his right hon. Friend's liberality. How many Members of that House would send their children to a college where they would be likely to meet such tutors? How had the system, sought to be now introduced, worked in other countries? The system had been tried in Belgium, and the religious people of that country in 1830 rose up against the King of Holland. What was the case in France? What was the Comte de Gasparin's opinion? He was a Protestant, and he had shown the evils of the system at the Lycée; as also had Montalembert. In France the religious classes were abandoning the Government Lycées and establishing institutions of their own. This Bill was the first step to the principle of dissevering religion from education, and such as it ought to be resisted. Let them reject it now, and he called upon hon. Gentlemen opposite to assist in passing a measure which would allow those who were not members of the Church of England to found colleges of their own within the Universities; thus on the other hand giving them the opportunity of enjoying the inestimable advantages of University education, and on the other in no degree weakening the con- nection which existed between religious and secular education.
said, that the ritual and creed of the Church of England were framed so as to open wide the doors to a considerable variety of opinion. At the same time, the Church was intended to be a spiritual garrison against the aggressions of a foreign political power under a religious disguise—a wolf in sheep's clothing. Unfortunately the Universities had of late years served too much as a bridge from the Church of England to the Church of Rome. From Oxford, at any rate, a great number had found their way to Rome. The remarks of the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken showed that the Catholics believed the present system to be to their advantage, and that was a very suspicious circumstance. He supported the Bill because it would tend to dilute a dangerous element in the Universities.
said, that Roman Catholics might be justified in arguing that the endowments of the Universities did not belong exclusively to the Church of England; but such a plea did not lie in the mouths of individuals who had accepted the modified Church which had been established by Act of Parliament. The same Act that settled the Church settled all the subsidiary and educational arrangements. He would remind the House that there were private institutions in connection with the Church which were founded for the express benefit of the Church of England. In his opinion it was most undesirable that the barriers which now excluded those who were not members of the Church of England from all interference with such institutions should be broken down. If the Bill were passed, the Universities would be precluded from taking into consideration in the election of Fellows whether the candidate was a member of the Church of England or not, and if he had passed the best examination they would be bound to elect him. The result would be that they might have Fellows and Tutors of colleges who would be precluded from becoming members of the governing body. As the law now stood persons were allowed to leave money for the propagation of Roman Catholic and Dissenting doctrines, and the trustees of such endowments could protect themselves from the intrusion of members of the Church of England. But if this Bill passed, it would deny to members of the Church the same right of protecting themselves from the intrusion of Dissenters which the law now conceded to the Dissenters themselves. The right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill said the test was too mild, and not sufficiently stringent; but, although it could not secure a perfect identity of faith, it secured an identity of worship. Under these circumstances, he should vote against the second reading of the Bill.
Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
The House divided—Ayes 101; Noes 157: Majority 46.
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
Bill put off for three months.
Scottish Episcopal Clergy Disabilities Removal Bill Lords
(No 161) Second Reading
Order for Second Reading read.
:* Sir, I rise to move that the Scottish Episcopal Clergy Disabilities Removal Bill be now read a second time. Before I enter on the argument for the Bill, permit me to justify myself for presuming to take charge of it in this House. When I was asked to do so my first impression was that the removal of a grievance bearing entirely on Scottish clergymen would be more fitly committed to one of the Scotch Members of the House, among whom there are many men of eminence and ability capable of stating any arguments which may be adduced in favour of the Bill much better than I can, and with a general concurrence of opinion, although they sit on opposite sides of the House. There was, however, one consideration which weighed with me—and I hope it will weigh with the House—in leading me to believe that I was not intruding myself where I had no right, and that was, that although it is a Scotch grievance, it is really an English question. The disabilities which it is the object of this Bill to remove were imposed originally by English jealousy. The Scotch Established Church never moved for them, and at the time they were introduced the Scotch Members of Parliament were against them. They were introduced so lately as 1792 with reference to supposed interests of the Established Church in England, but without the sanction of the Prelates of that Church. They were due entirely to one man, who, whatever his eminence may have been as a lawyer, or his notoriety as a politician, is proved by his speeches on this subject to have been ignorant of the facts and the principles involved in its discussion. I refer to Lord Chancellor Thurlow. Under these circumstances, and considering that no small amount of English oppression has been inflicted upon Scotland, I think there is a special propriety in an English Member endeavouring to remove it, and above all in one who, as representing one of the Universities, stands in an intimate relation with the Church of England. Perhaps the House will now allow me to make a short statement of the facts of the case, and to show how it was that these disabilities were, at a late period, and with extraordinary inconsistency on the part of the Legislature, for the first time imposed upon the Scottish clergy in the very same Act which recognized that they were no longer to be viewed with suspicion. After the Restoration, in 1660, the Episcopal Church was restored to its position as the Established Church of Scotland. At that time nearly all the Bishops of that Establishment had died out—in fact, only one remained. Four Scotch clergymen went up to London to be consecrated, and then went down to set the restored Church in motion; so that even so late as the time of Charles II. the Scotch Episcopal Church received its orders from the Anglican branch of the Church. That went on until after the Revolution in 1688, when most of them being non-jurors politically opposed to the Government of King William III., the Episcopal Church was displaced from its position as the Established Church, and its clergy were, from political suspicion, placed under severe restrictions in the exercise of their ministry in Scotland. But there was even then no disposition to question their spiritual character or to fail to recognize their orders. Let them come to England, and they were received and recognized just as much as clergymen of English ordination. Considering that so many of them were nonjurors, and that their employment in England implied their taking the oaths, it is rather remarkable that the instances are so numerous, but a few or even one would have proved their recognition. But, in fact, this recognition was not scanty, nor as it were in a corner, or by stealth, but occurred in the cases of eminent men, who were prominently before the world. To say nothing of members of the priesthood presented to benefices and to cathedral dignities in England, and one at least who was chaplain to King William III., there were English Prelates of no less mark than Archbishop Tillotson, and Bishop Burnet the historian, who had received Scottish orders; and Dr. Cairncross, who had been a Scotch bishop, was translated in the time of William III. to the bishopric of Raphoe, in Ireland. In 1707 came the Union, on which the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Kinnaird) means, I believe, to rely, which confirmed the position of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland. After the Union, in 1712, there was an Act passed which relaxed several of the stringent regulations that were imposed in King William III.'s time. In the discussions on this Act of 1712, a doubt was raised whether this relaxation was consistent with the Act of Union, and there was a more plausible show of reason for that doubt than can be alleged now; first, because those restrictions which were relaxed in 1712 applied to Scotland only, and it might be alleged that they had been imposed in favour of the Established Presbyterian Church; secondly, because they had been imposed before the Union, and it might be suggested that they had been in the view of the Parliament which passed that measure. But these objections were overruled by the very generation who passed the Act of Union, and knew well what it meant; and I shall show that there is not a shadow of pretence for importing them into the present discussion, which is concerned with disabilities imposed long after the Union, and with reference not to the Established Presbyterian Church in Scotland, but to the Established Episcopal Church in England. After Queen Anne's time came the darkest period of the history of the Church in Scotland. When George I. and George II. were assailed by insurrections in Scotland, the greater part of the Episcopalians were Jacobites, and they became the objects of great jealousy to the Government. They were dealt with as political enemies, and were restrained by severe regulations. A series of Acts affecting them were passed between 1718 and 1748; and in 1748 the severity culminated in this remarkable circumstance, that whereas the great hostility to these men proceeded from the fact that they would not take the oaths to Government, an Act was passed which rendered it impossible for them to do so. It was enacted that no Episcopal clergyman should perform service in any congregation (except in his own house), unless he took the oaths and registered his letters of orders; but it was also provided that no letters of orders should be registered unless they had been conferred by a Bishop of England or Ireland. That went on until the extinction of the House of Stuart, about 1788, when the last of them, I believe, died. By that time the loyalty of the Scottish Episcopal clergy and their flocks had been transferred to the reigning Sovereign; and although up to that time they had been treated almost as criminals, there had not been the slightest attempt to question their spiritual character, or to interfere with the discharge of their spiritual functions anywhere except in Scotland. There was nothing to prevent them from officiating in England, or from being appointed to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, as Archbishop Tillotson had been before. It was not until the Act of 1792, which recites that they are no longer objects of suspicion, and that all the disabilities upon them ought to be removed, that they were for the first time subjected to other and new disabilities, being such as no one had ever proposed to impose upon them in the times of sharpest persecution. This marvellous inconsistency was no part of the Act as originally introduced, but was grafted upon it in a remarkable manner. The Government found the Episcopal clergy and their flocks loyal, and looked upon them with favour; the Scotch Presbyterian Church had no wish to oppress them; Dr. Robertson, the historian, and others, came forward in their favour; the Scotch Members in both Houses supported the Bill as it was first introduced; and the celebrated Bishop Horsley, on the part of the English Church, was its warm advocate. If it had passed as it was introduced, with this great concurrence of authority, the condition of the Scottish clergy would have become in 1792 what we wish to make it now. In the House of Lords, however, they had one great enemy, who was so powerful that it was necessary to conciliate him in every way, and that was Lord Chancellor Thurlow, who put a clause into the Bill in Committee, having reference to the position of the Scottish clergy in England. He did it craftily, having drawn it so as to be harmless, and such as might have remained to the present day and hereafter, without complaint; being merely to the effect, that under the Act no greater powers should be given than already existed for the employment of the Scottish clergy in England. This would have left to them the freedom in that respect which they enjoyed before, and all that we now ask, and the promoters of the Bill of 1792 were accordingly thrown off their guard. On the third reading, however, a most important Amendment was introduced into this clause; silently, without attracting observation, and without even the usual description in the Journals of the House, by which it was put into its present stringent form, and has for more than seventy years excluded the Scottish clergy from their just rights. At the time, however, the repeal of the laws which were actually penal was thought too important to be risked by a resistance in the House of Commons to a provision framed by so powerful a Member of the House of Lords and of the Government, who would have insisted on maintaining what he had done, and perhaps have been able to defeat the Bill if he was not conciliated. So it remained till 1840, when these restrictions were so far relaxed as to abandon all semblance of a defencible principle on which to ground them; all pretence of absolute disqualification was thrown aside, and the Scottish clergy were admitted, under stringent limitations, to officiate in English churches. This concession admitted as much as what we now seek, the validity of their orders, and the completeness of their communion with us. But although this concession gave up the principle, it was narrow in its extent, and, moreover, was clogged by a new restriction, then added for the first time, in respect of Ireland. Ireland had been always perfectly free to the Scottish clergy, notwithstanding the exclusion from England which the legislation of 1792 had introduced. But in 1840, for the first time, Ireland was closed against them, except under the limitations within which the partial opening of England was conferred. Again, in 1840, for the first time, penalties in respect of the performance of spiritual duties beyond the prescribed limitations were imposed. This retrospect of previous legislation brings us down to the present time, and to the disabilities which now affect the Scottish clergy, and from which it is my duty to ask the House to relieve them. What are the facts of the case? Here there is a clergyman ordained by a Bishop, in communion with the English Church, from which was derived, at no distant date, his own consecration — a clergyman of a Church which adopts the English formularies; yet if he asks to be admitted to a curacy or benefice in England, to which he may be presented, it is not that the English Bishop may refuse him, but he must. The Bishop may know that he is the best man in the world for the post, but, nevertheless, he must refuse him. He says, "I can ordain you if you are a Dissenter, I can receive a Roman Catholic, I can receive a person belonging to the Greek Church— let them come and profess conformity by making the different subscriptions which are necessary, and I can receive them without difficulty." It is sometimes said that this is because they go through a process of recantation—but it is no such thing. There is nothing like recantation, except this, that so far as any previous opinion is inconsistent with those which are embodied in our Articles and formularies, the clergyman who adopts those Articles and formularies must, by implication, abandon what is inconsistent with them. So far there is a recantation. There is only this difference between the Scotch clergy and others, that the Scotch clergy do it at the beginning of their ministry in their own country, and have never held anything inconsistent with our Church; whereas the others, whom you will receive without any questions, do not do it until you admit them, having been previously opposed to you. That is the state of things, and it is a state of things involving the almost incredible absurdity that the very conditions which would seem to make exclusion impossible are precisely those which, under the statute, make the exclusion of a Scottish clergyman inevitable and irremediable. The first condition for his exclusion is, that his orders should be recognized by us as valid and complete, and therefore incapable of repetition. If he was a minister in some communion where he had received ordination other than Episcopal, be might receive ordination at the hands of an English Bishop, and such cases frequently occur. The second condition for his exclusion is, that his Episcopal ordination, valid, indelible, and incapable of repetition, shall have taken place in a church with which our own is in communion. If he had received his ordination in the Roman Catholic Church, which actually excommunicates our Church, then, upon his testifying his conformity with us, an English Bishop could receive him without let or hindrance. And what is the remedy we propose? The remedy we propose is not the simple repeal of these disabilities, so as to place the Scottish clergy in precisely the situation of clergy in English orders. That, perhaps, would seem to be what mere justice would require. But we are willing to take precaution against abuses, possible, however improbable; and to give to the Bishops in England the power of refusing to receive a clergyman in Scottish orders absolutely and without cause assigned. We do not seek to compel the English Bishops to receive the clergy of Scottish ordination, but only to enable them to do so. We are to be met, it seems, by an Amendment, in which the hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Kinnaird) will suggest fears lest the Union with Scotland should be damaged, by conferring what he calls "privileges" on the Episcopal clergy. The Union with Scotland! The hon. Gentleman might as well refer to the Heptarchy, so far as any connection with this Bill is concerned. The earliest of these disabilities which we seek to repeal was not enacted till near a century after the Union, and the others were very much later. And as to "privileges," he cannot point to one line in this Bill which confers any privilege at all. It only seeks to remove an oppression which weighs down the Scottish clergy, and not in any way to exalt them above the rest of their countrymen. And then the hon. Gentleman tries by his Amendment to hold out a bribe to the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which shall induce them to concur in an ungenerous opposition to this relief. I venture to predict that they will not fall into his trap. The Presbyterians of Scotland took a more generous view of this subject in 1792, and again, at the present time, having considered this very Bill in a Committee of their General Assembly, they have come to the conclusion that it is not one which they ought to oppose. They know that it is a Bill which in no way touches the status of the Episcopal clergy in Scotland, or regulates their conduct there, but only in England; and that the penal enactments which had existed in Scotland were long ago removed by the very Act of 1792, which imposed the English restrictions which we now seek to remove. Nor is the Established Presbyterian Church of Scotland likely to forget that their Episcopalian fellow countrymen are owners of a large part of the lands of Scotland, and as such have cheerfully, and with the respect due to the law borne the burden of maintaining not only the churches, but the schools and parsonage houses, of the establishment to which they do not belong, and have never raised the anti-Church rate cry with which we are so familiar in England. And the hon. Gentleman does little justice to the acuteness of his countrymen if he thinks that they will fail to discover that there is not even the very slightest analogy between the enactments of this Bill and his proposed dealing with the Act of Uniformity. The hon. Gentleman raises the question, whether the Act of Uniformity should be altered so that Presbyterian orders should be recognized here as well as Episcopalian orders? But the provision of the Act of Uniformity is only a recognition of an essential principle of the Anglican Church; what we want to get rid of is a statutory interference with that very principle. What would the hon. Member for Perth say to this — if it is right that the Episcopal Church should be prohibited from employing in its service other episcopally-ordained clergy, fellow-subjects of the Queen, who come from the other side of the border, is it not equally right to prohibit the Presbyterian Church of Scotland from employing, if they think fit, ministers who have been ordained by Presbyteries in London or Belfast? But there are objections taken from an English point of view, on which I will say a few words. We are told—and that is a favourite topic — that if this Bill were passed, and these Scottish clergymen were employed in the Church of England, we should have an inferior race of clergy. Now, the Scottish Episcopal clergy, excepting in the Highland parishes, are educated at the old Scotch Universities; and, in addition, there is for many of them a special training at the College of Glenalmond, under an eminent scholar and divine from the University of Oxford. I doubt whether it is becoming in English Bishops, and especially those in the northern dioceses who look much to St. Bees and Birkenhead for their supply of clergy, to throw stones at Scottish education. There is another objection entirely destructive of the last, namely—that the number of the Scottish clergy preferred in England will be so great as to interfere with the expectations of the English. This implies that private lay patrons (it cannot possibly apply to others) will think the superiority of the Scottish over the English clergy so great as to outweigh all the claims of family connection or personal intimacy. I really think that objection is not worth talking about. The whole number of Episcopal clergy in Scotland is only 160, and of these men more than one-half of them are of English ordination, and can return and be employed there whenever they please. There remains one more objection, resting as I think on no foundation of fact or reason, which however is, I suspect, the only one which really operates on the minds of those who oppose the Bill. The English Prayer Book is the recognized Prayer Book of the Scottish Church, prescribed by its canons, and necessarily used at ordinations and other solemn occasions; but there is in that Church an alternative office for the Holy Communion, which may be used in such congregations as desire it, and which is, in fact, used in about one-fourth of the whole number of the congregations. This office is viewed with suspicion by some, on the allegation that it is of a Romanizing tendency. This allegation is unfounded in fact, and beside the question, if true. This is not the place to go into controversy on the shades of difference between theological terms; but the authority, on that point, of the present Bishop of St. David's (Dr. Thirlwall) will not be questioned; and he has given it as his opinion, in a charge delivered in 1857, that the Scotch office is in itself unobjectionable and more irreconcilable with the peculiarities of Roman belief than our own. In truth, I believe that a Roman Catholic Priest might use the English office though he would think it inadequate and falling short of the truth, but could not use the Scottish office without implying what he would consider to be deadly error. But if the fact were otherwise, and if this office did wear a Roman aspect, what would follow from it? If a clergyman is an actual Roman Catholic you do not exclude him. Is he to be excluded because he was ordained in a church in which there is an alternative office which you dislike, permitted, but not used by more than about one-fourth of the clergy? But if this ground is shifted, and it is said that the objection is taken not to the permission to use but to the actual use, and to those clergy who do use it, then it will follow that the mere rejection of this Bill will not answer the purpose; but there must be an extension of the existing disabilities to English clergy also, if they ever accept a cure in Scotland. Of the favourers of the Scottish office in Scotland the larger number are of English, orders; and they will be equally free, whether this Bill is passed or rejected, to return to England and accept preferment without any hindrance from any Bishop, except on cause shown, according to Ecclesiastical Law; while, on the other hand, if the Bill passes, the Bishop to whom a Scottish clergyman shall first present himself will have absolute power to reject him, even on suspicion, and without reason assigned. On the other hand, this absolute veto is not unnaturally distasteful to those who most fully recognize the identity of character which unite the English and Scottish clergyman, and who accordingly desire to put them on a footing of absolute equality. I am prepared to justify the veto: first, on the ground of principle and reason; second, on that of practical expediency. The first ground is supplied by the analogy between the first admission to ministerial functions by ordination, and the first admission to the same of an applicant ab extra who is already ordained. A candidate for Holy Orders is subject to absolute rejection by the Bishop to whom he applies, without reason assigned; and it does not seem unreasonable that a stranger already ordained in another branch of the Church should satisfy the Bishop that he is such a one as that Bishop would have ordained; and as after ordination by one Bishop within the English Church no other can summarily reject from a benefice, so after one admission of a Scottish clergyman to a benefice, rejection, in case of presentment to another, must be on reason assigned, and not summary. Again, there is this power in the Bishop in the case of clergy ordained in the colonies, and also, if I read the statute rightly, in the case of clergy of Roman or Greek orders who may conform. The second ground is this. The Bill, as it now stands, is the result of deliberation in a Select Committee of the House of Lords and of compromise, to overturn which might be fatal to its success. The petitioners for it may be trusted to know their own case, and they are most anxious that it should pass in its present form. I trust the House will send back the Bill to the House of Lords with as few Amendments as possible, and retain the restriction which is in favour of those who object to the Bill. I think I have now said all that is requisite in support of the Bill; and will only add, in conclusion, that this subject has sometimes come before us in the shape of Private Bills, in cases which were certainly cases of aggravated injustice which it was considered desirable for the Legislature to remove. The last time such a Private Bill was before the House it was not agreed to, the House being of opinion that such a subject ought to be dealt with by the Government; and Sir George Lewis said that he could not conceive any argument for maintaining the present condition of the law. I believe you will find the great weight of authority on that side of the question; and I hope that the House will not make an angry struggle, but that English Members will combine to do away with the injustice which is inflicted on Scotland by England, and that Scotch Members will combine to rescue their fellow countrymen from the position in which they now stand with regard to this question.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this Bill be now read a second time."—( Sir William Heathcote).
rose to move, as an Amendment,
His reasons for proposing that the subject should be referred to a Select Committee were — First, that the Bill dealt with a constitutional question. To a certain extent it set aside the provisions of the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland, by giving an adventitious advantage to an episcopal body in Scotland dissenting from the Established Church. And for what purpose? Not to supply a want in England; for already they were overburdened with clergymen who had insufficient incomes, because the endowments did not suffice to give them all a real maintenance, and thousands of curates had little hope of ever obtaining preferment; but to give the sanction of the State to episcopacy in Scotland. They heard a great deal south of the Tweed of the evils of schism, and yet by that Bill they were doing what they could to foster division in every parish of Scotland, by forcing on episcopacy, and giving the sanction of the law to the assumption of territorial titles now forbidden by law; and he could not but have a shrewd suspicion that to attain that end was one of the concealed objects of the Bill. His second reason was that the question gravely affected the Church of England as bylaw established. At present one of the main safeguards given to the congregations in communion with it was the ordination of clergymen by Bishops bound to certain articles of doctrine, and pledged to the supremacy of the Crown. That safeguard was effectually removed by the present Bill, which provided for the introduction of a body of clergymen who, for aught they knew, might still subscribe the Thirty-nine Articles, with the qualification expressly drawn up in 1792 by the then Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, of "every subscriber explaining them to himself." And might be ask whether the Canons of that Church still required the following declaration to be signed by candidates for Holy Orders?"That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire how far any Privileges which may be conferred upon the Clergy of the Episcopal Church in Scotland would interfere with the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland, and into the expediency of removing at the same time from the Ministers of the Established Church of Scotland the disabilities imposed on them by the Act 13 & 14 Charles II. c. 4."
That was, in the decisions of the seven Bishops—a complete despotism. Again, the Scotch Bishops were, or were up to a very late period, pledged to the following declaration:—"I, —, do hereby solemnly promise that …. I will not appeal from any sentence to a civil court, but acquiesce in the decisions of the ecclesiastical authorities."
If, then, that Bill unhappily passed, it would render necessary some law giving a veto to congregations for their protection against strange doctrines. But the Bill removed a second safeguard; for whereas at present before even the Colonial clergy could be admitted to the Church of England, the consent of the Archbishop of the province and the Bishop of the diocese must both be given, that Bill provided for the removal of that double safeguard with reference to a body whose doctrine and discipline were at variance with those of the Church of England, and which had no permanence in either. How differently did they act when the Irish Protestant Episcopal Church was united to that of England! The Act of Union expressly provided for unity of doctrine and discipline. Did they not see how easy the road from Rome to England might thus be made? Suppose, for example — what was not an impossible supposition — that they should have even one Bishop not ill-affected towards the Church of Rome or the Greek Church. There was nothing of a legal kind to prevent the Episcopal Church in Scotland allying itself as a sister with those Churches, and taking their ministers into its communion, without requiring the renunciation of their special doctrines. Then that Bill would make it perfectly easy to introduce them into the diocese of that Bishop, if they would only sign the Articles and other documents, according to the plan adopted in 1792 of every subscriber explaining them to himself. And now let him call attention to a clause in the Bill which provided that once admitted by a Bishop into his diocese, every other Bishop must receive the Scotch nominee without any of the special guarantees provided by the Bill; for it enacted that the provisions of section 4, which contained those guarantees, should not apply to any person who should hold, or should have held, any benefice or ecclesiastical preferment in England or Ireland. At present, by the 3 & 4 Vict. c. 33, Romish orders were under a ban, and those holding them forbidden to officiate in the Church of England. But he had a third reason to urge against the Bill, and that was, that it affected the Church of Scotland as by law established. That Church had hitherto religiously observed the terms of the Treaty of Union, and studiously abstained from pushing her jurisdiction south of the Tweed. The Free Church, also, which claimed to be the rightful Church of Scotland, though separated by what they deemed an unwarrantable encroachment by the State on their liberties, had likewise abstained from extending its jurisdiction into England. But that Bill was an intrusion upon the Established Church of Scotland, as it virtually raised the Scottish Episcopal Church to form a part of the English Establishment; and that, as he had said, altered the Constitution of the country. But if it were thought expedient to do that, and to remove so called disabilities from a body consisting of some 25,000 persons in the whole of Scotland, there were, he thought, other disabilities which ought also to be removed. It certainly was a great anomaly, that whereas Her Majesty's English Chaplains could officiate in her Royal Chapels in Scotland, Her Majesty's Scotch Chaplains could not do the same in England. The Act 13 & 14 Charles II. c. 4 prohibited it. If, therefore, this Bill should pass, he should propose to remove that stigma from the Presbyterian Church. There would be nothing unconstitutional in doing so; for the Act of 1662 was a grievous hardship newly imposed upon the Church of Scotland, in revenge for the conduct of the English Presbyterians during the Commonwealth. If, therefore, the offence of the Episcopal Church in Scotland of the last century of non-allegiance to the House of Hanover was to be condoned, the offence of the English Presbyterians of the previous century visited upon the Scotch ought to be condoned also. It was a new thing to have a claim of sisterhood advanced on the sole ground of episcopal ordination. That belonged equally to the Church of Rome, from which they dissented, and the Church of England. The true ground of unity was unity of doctrine. But he believed that that Bill was part of a great scheme to establish at any cost episcopal claims foreign to their Protestant Church of England, dangerous to the peace of the community, and also to the very existence of the Church of England. In another place it had been said that "the spiritual jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church in Scotland had continued uninterrupted," though it was put under a ban for disloyalty. In other words, it claimed then, and it claimed now, to rule all Scotland in spiritual matters, despite the State and the Established Presbyterian Church, which it dignified with the name of a schism. Its pretensions were akin to those of the Church of Rome, which claimed to rule England spiritually. It had consequently parcelled out Scotland into territorial dioceses, for which a civil sanction was now indirectly sought. It was the granting of that sanction to which he demurred. The hon. Gentleman read a letter from Dr. M'Crie in support of his argument, and stated that the Bill was viewed by persons in Scotland as the first step towards recognizing and establishing episcopacy in that country, contrary to the Treaty of Union. On these grounds he hoped the House would consent to the Bill being referred to a Select Committee, in which case he was prepared to consent to the second reading, with the understanding that they were not thereby pledged to the principles of the measure."I will co-operate with my colleagues in supporting a steady adherence to the truths and doctrines by which our Church has been so happily distinguished, and particularly to the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, as laid down in our excellent Communion Office."
seconded the Amendment.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "a Select Committee be appointed to inquire how far any privileges which may be conferred upon the Clergy of the Episcopal Church in Scotland would interfere with the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland, and into the expediency of removing at the same time from the Ministers of the Established Church of Scotland the disabilities imposed on them by the Act 13 & 14 Charles II. c. 4,"—(Mr. Kinnaird,)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
Sir, I think it may perhaps tend to shorten this discussion, and may assist myself, and probably other hon. Members, in coming to a decision, if some of the hon. Gentlemen who are particularly interested in this question would be kind enough to explain to the House what would be the precise status of a clergyman of the Scottish Episcopal Church admitted under the provisions of this Bill to an English benefice, supposing the measure to be passed. I think that is necessary and material to the question we are going to vote upon; and as my own opinion is not quite made up as to how I should vote, I wish to state what my difficulty is. The point which I wish to have cleared up is this—Will an Episcopal clergyman of the Church of Scotland who has been admitted to an English benefice be at liberty to go back to Scotland, and officiate as a clergyman of the Scottish Episcopal Church? My hon. Friend (Mr. Kinnaird) seems to be under some apprehension that there is some attempt to effect a sort of amalgamation between the English and the Scottish Episcopal Church. I do not know whether such a scheme is on foot, but I think it would be a very mistaken policy. It would be creating a sort of spiritual Schleswig-Holstein in Scotland, and indeed a more uncomfortable state of things could hardly exist. I understand the law to be that at present an English clergyman is not at liberty to go into an Episcopal Church in Scotland and read the Scotch Communion Service; that is a point about which there is a good deal of jealousy in this country, and I want to know whether under this Bill a Scotch clergyman coming into England, and appointed to an English benefice, will be at liberty to go back to Scotland and officiate as a Scotch Episcopal clergyman in Scotland. If that be answered in the negative, I shall have no difficulty in supporting this Bill; but I should deprecate any arrangement which would leave the Scotch clergyman at liberty to go back to Scotland and officiate as a clergyman of the Scotch Episcopal Church, That is a point on which my hon. Friend offered no explanation, but if it were cleared up it would do away with the doubts of some English Members.
The difficulty which has been raised by the hon. Member for Berks is not a very serious one. Indeed, at this moment, a large proportion of the clergy of the Scotch Episcopal Church are in English orders, and amongst these are several of the best known Bishops. It is not often, Sir, that I agree with the hon. Baronet opposite, and I am accordingly all the more pleased to be able to do so on this occasion. I am not myself a member of the Scotch Episcopal body. I have no sympathy with the opinions which are popularly attributed to many of the gentlemen whom this Bill is intended to relieve. I object, however, in the strongest possible way to allowing the odium theologicum to be mixed up with political questions. And this, Sir, is a pure political question. The disability which we are asked to remove is not an ecclesiastical disability. It is a civil disability. As far as regards the objections of my hon. Friend the Member for Perth, they are easily disposed of. This Bill was brought before the notice of the General Assembly of the Established Church of Scotland by one of its most distinguished members, who said that his attention had been called to it by his correspondents. It was referred to a Committee. It was examined by that Committee, and the Committee reported that the interests of the Established Church of Scotland were in no wise affected by it. The Assembly adopted the Report, and it hardly lies in the mouth of an independent Member of this House to say that a Bill is dangerous to the Established Church which has not appeared dangerous to it in the eyes of the General Assembly. As for this Bill being a first step to the re-establishment of episcopacy in Scotland, who that knows Scotland is not aware that a notion more crazy —more absolutely insane—than the notion of its being possible to re-establish episcopacy in that country, never entered into the brain of mortal man?
said, I am aware that there is a desire to suppress all expression of individual opinion upon this side of the House; but I am not likely to submit to the complete suppression of opinion which is desired. My attention has been called for a considerable number of years to this subject. I am perfectly willing to leave the interests of the Church of Scotland in this matter in the hands of the hon. Member who has moved the Amendment (Mr. Kinnaird), confident that in his hands the interests of the Church of Scotland will be duly guarded. As the House well knows, I am an attached member of the Church of England; but the apprehensions which I feel in regard to this Bill in its present form are not entertained by me alone. On the contrary, the objections which I feel have been felt and expressed by some of the most eminent Bishops and clergy of the Church of England. The proposal now before us is this —I speak not presumptuously on my own authority, but on the authority of those who, if I were permitted to name, would command the respect of the House. But the proposal appears to amount to the incorporation of the Episcopal Church of Scotland— not being an Established Church, bound by any legal obligation to observe the rights of the laity or the rights of the Crown—into the Church of England, in which the laity have securities constantly re-affirmed (as they have been by the decision of the House to-day), that no strange doctrines will be imported into the Church or inculcated on an unwilling congregation. What are the facts of the case? There are doctrines taught in the Communion Office of the Scotch Episcopal Church which, as shown by my hon. Friend (Mr. Kinnaird) are alien to the doctrine of the Church of England, and which may in this way be imported into that Church. It has been urged that the Scottish Episcopal Church accepts the articles of the Church of England and the Communion Office of the Church of England, and only retains the Communion Office of its own service as an alternative. The House would be totally mistaken if they were to accept this as a valid security. In the case of a congregation belonging to the Church of England, but located in Scotland, connection with the Scotch Episcopal Church was formed on condition that in this congregation the Communion Office of the Church of England only should be used. Dr. Skinner, the Primus of the Scotch Episcopal Church, insisted on the clergyman (Sir William Dunbar) using the Communion Service of the Scotch Church. On his refusal, the Primus excommunicated this clergyman, as an indication of his determination that that peculiar Communion Office should be used. That Communion Office, in the opinion of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, favoured, if it did not affirm, the doctrine of tran- substantiation, which is the peculiar doctrine of the Church of Rome. The primary and essential difference between the Church of Rome and the Church of England, is clearly recognized in our own Articles — it springs from the acceptance of the doctrine of transubstantiation by the Church of Rome and its repudiation by the Church of England. The difference, therefore, between the qualified acceptance of that doctrine by the Episcopal Church in Scotland and its absolute rejection by the Church of England is not a small difference. It is an essential difference. And what is proposed in this Bill is, that the Episcopal Church of Scotland shall be incorporated into the Church of England, because incorporation into the Church of England in the sense of an Established Church is accomplished by admission to benefices. Now, a Church cannot remain established except she has distinctive doctrines, for you cannot recognize a Church except by that means. The distinctive doctrines of the Church of England are expressed in her Formularies, her Articles, and especially in her Communion Service; and that is the point touched by the present Bill. The House of Lords did not deal with this matter lightly. They referred the question to a Select Committee; and the point which we have to consider is, whether the securities introduced by that Committee are sufficient to protect the laity against the surreptitious introduction of erroneous doctrine, and whether these securities are not so framed as to be in themselves objectionable? Now, I state—not on my own authority, but on the authority of high authorities in the Church of England—that this Bill would enable any Bishop upon his own will and judgment to admit a clergyman of the Episcopal Church in Scotland to a benefice within his diocese, or to refuse to do so without assigning any reasons, independently of all archiepiscopal supervision. This is a most unconstitutional power when exercised without any supervision. Now, Sir, I stated that, not as an opinion of my own, but an opinion entertained by some of the highest authorities in the Church. And, Sir, the opinion of these authorities also is, that these securities, as they are termed, which were introduced by the Committee of the House of Lords, are insufficient to guard the Church of England from the introduction of the foreign doctrines, to which I have alluded, and that it is unsafe for the laity of the Church of England to invest any Bishop, at his own discretion, without regulation or appeal, with a power of this kind, independent of the Archbishop of the province in which the diocese may be situated, and independent of the jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Courts. And I happen to know that these securities were purposely framed to evade the jurisdiction of the Archbishop, and to evade also the jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Courts. Therefore the question at issue is not a small question, and it is for that reason that I begged the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir William Heathcote) to afford this House a fair opportunity of considering this Bill, which was considered gravely by the House of Lords upon its second reading, and by the House of Lords was referred to a Select Committee, who introduced provisions that I state upon high authority are unsatisfactory to some of the highest authorities in the Church of England. The Bill seems not to have been discussed on its third reading in the House of Lords. Sir, I shall vote for the Committee suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Perth (Mr. Kinnaird). I think it duo to the people of Scotland that this Bill should be so considered, because if we take this long step towards recognizing an Episcopal Church as established in Scotland, we do virtually recognize that Church as established in Scotland; we actually recognize the establishment of a second Church in Scotland. And, Sir, if we vote for the establishment of a second Church in Scotland, we establish a precedent for the establishment of a second Church in England. It is well to look these matters in the face; the beginnings appear to be small. It is, Sir, because the difference between the doctrines of the Episcopal Church of Scotland and of the Established Church of England appears qualified and is concealed as far as possible, that I consider the danger great. If, Sir, it was openly proposed that without any adequate security, priests from the Church of Rome should be admitted to the benefices of the; Church of England, the proposal would at once be scouted; but the danger is this— that the House may be induced to pass an Act which will accomplish the purpose without being aware of the dangerous door which we open for admission to the benefices of the Church of England; and I pray the House gravely to consider whether when we sanction the incorporation of these clergy into the Church of England, we may not be affording an opportunity for the introduction of opinions and of doctrines which, by the Articles of the Church of England, we, as members of that Church, distinctly repudiate. I wish that we had been spared the consideration of this subject. I have every reason to wish that; but, at the same time, seeing in this Bill an approach to that which may prove a source of many dangers of no small magnitude, I think it my duty to represent them to the House. One danger is this—that this Bill will be the means of sowing division in the Church of England, by establishing a difference of practice among her Bishops. It is perfectly well known that there are Bishops of the Church of England who, using the latitude of opinion which the Church of England permits, would admit to benefices within their dioceses men of opinions which other Bishops would think utterly unsound. Sir, I do not wish to see this difference between the opinions of the Bishops of the Church of England aggravated. I do not wish to see that difference established before the people of this country. I do not wish to see the Bishops separated from each other, and driven apart for the mere sake of admitting a few Episcopalian clergy into the benefices of the Church of England—benefices for which there are thousands of poor curates in our Church only too anxious and ready — sound, honest, hardworking clergy, but kept in poverty by the paucity of the opportunities for their preferment. If there were not cases of this sort, there might be a plea for the provisions of this Bill; but there are thousands of clergy notoriously kept in poverty by the disproportion between the numbers of the clergy of the Church of England and the benefices to which they can be admitted; and, although, not by any means exclusively on that ground, still upon that ground also, I object to this Bill. I object to this Bill as not guarded, as I consider it ought to be, and as insufficient on the grounds I have stated. I object not upon my own authority, but on very high authority in the Church of which I am an humble member; and I shall, therefore, vote for the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Perth.
Sir, I am desirous of stating in a very few words my reasons for supporting the Bill now before the House. I have had the privilege and pleasure of being acquainted with some of those in whose interests this Bill has been intro- duced, and I will say this for them, that they are as loyal, as learned, as charitable, and as pious as their brethren in England. I must say that I consider that a great deal that has been said on this question is entirely away from the point. Let us consider what the question is—What are the grievances of which the Episcopalian clergy of Scotland have to complain, and why were they imposed upon them? The fact is, that these penalties were imposed upon the Scotch Episcopalians not on account of their religious sentiments —these had nothing to do with it—but it was in consequence of the high church sentiments they entertained in regard to the Divine right of kings. They considered that the Stuarts were the legitimate and the only legitimate Sovereigns to whom they should pay homage, and in consequence of their opinions both in a political and in a religious point of view they did not think they were warranted in praying for King George, and refused to do so. Consequently, the Legislature imposed very heavy penalties on them for their disloyalty. But the fact is that, since the death of the last of the Royal Family of the Stuarts, in 1780, they have been the most loyal of the loyal in Scotland, and the ground upon which those penalties were imposed upon them is entirely done away with. Now, what is it that is proposed to be done? It may be demonstrated that they are decidedly innocent of the crime for which they are punished. It is said that may be all very true, but though innocent of the crime of which they are accused, they may be guilty of something else, and it is better to continue to punish them. These penalties were imposed in consequence of their political tenets, and they are now continued because it is said they are not altogether of the same religious views as their Episcopal brethren in England. I do not know that there is very much difference. I do not pretend to understand much about the different shades of religious opinion prevailing amongst the various sections of the Church of England; but I have no doubt that there are a great many in England entertaining the same views with many of the Episcopalian clergy of Scotland. The hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) has stated that if you were to admit the Scottish Episcopalians to benefices in England, it would make another establishment. Why, the Church of Scotland does the very same thing, without making a second establishment. If there are any Presbyterian clergy in England, and there are such, well qualified for the ministerial office, they do not hesitate to admit them to benefices in Scotland. It is the very thing they do, and the proper thing they should do. I say that the Scotch Episcopalians, equally with their brethren in England, are qualified for the ministerial office, and that you should continue disqualifying statutes against them is quite discreditable, and a species of persecution. I wish to give full freedom to all. Provided, only, that they are worthy of the situation to which they are appointed, I do not see that there can be any fair objection made to this Bill.
, with reference to the Question put by the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter), said, that eighty-five—the majority of the Scottish Episcopal clergy—were in English, and seventy-nine—the minority — in Scotch orders; and that the effect of the Bill, if passed, would be to place the seventy-nine clergymen in Scotch orders on the same footing with the eighty-five in English orders, who at present are allowed, and to whom no English Bishop would refuse permission to officiate in any parish, or to accept any benefice or charge in his diocese, and who are at liberty to return to Scotland to officiate there. He was glad to find that on both sides of the House and by all varieties of religious opinions the Bill had been favourably received. He, therefore, hoped the second reading would be assented to.
said, I only rise for the purpose of expressing how deeply I feel—a feeling which, I am sure, is shared in by a large majority of the Scotch Members—the kindness of my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, in having taken this matter up, and to thank him for the admirable speech in which he introduced the second reading of the Bill —a speech on which he may fairly rest the success of the measure, and which has been wholly unanswered by the speeches that have been made in opposition to the Bill.
As a Scotch Member I entirely concur in the Bill.
It seems to me a very extraordinary fact, that one denomination happening to dwell on one side of the Tweed should entertain the same sentiments as another class of Christians dwelling on another side of the Tweed, and yet should have no communication whatever. That is a remarkable fact. But there is worse than that. The Establishment of England and the Church Establishment of Scotland hold no communication whatever. One of the most eminent men in the Church of Scotland told me not many months ago, when he came to England, that every pulpit of the Nonconformists was open to him, but not one of the Church Establishment. At this time there is no communication between these two Establishments—both Church and State—supported by the Legislature of the country. That is an anomaly which Christian men cannot understand. It is a disgrace to Christianity. Some of the most eminent men the country ever produced are not permitted to enter the pulpits of the clergymen in this country; and more than that, no clergyman is allowed to enter the pulpit of a Nonconformist. If they were we should value many of them; but they are not allowed, and, in fact, the language they employ concerning us is of a most objectionable character. A Bishop, writing to one of our most eminent Ministers—one of the most eloquent and one of the most esteemed men in this kingdom—said—
For these reasons you will allow no communication with us nor between the Established Church of England and the Established Church of Scotland; and an Act of Parliament is necessary in order to allow 160 clergymen of your own denomination in Scotland to be introduced into the Established Church of England. These are elements in the Church of England that are convulsing it. There are more divergences among them than among the Dissenters. The party known in the Church of England as the Puseyite party will be strengthened by the addition of these 160 Scotch clergymen."I felt that neither the power of your intellect, nor vigour of your reason, nor mighty eloquence, nor purity of life, nor suavity of manners, nor soundness in the faith would justify me in departing from the rule of the Church of England, a tradition of eighteen centuries, which declares your orders irregular, your mission the offspring of division, and your Church system — I will not say schism— but standing apart."
I shall vote for this Bill, which stands on the same ground as that which I had the honour of moving this afternoon. This is a matter affecting civil and not spiritual privilege. By Act of Parliament, a number of persons have been deprived of that which is a common right of Her Majesty's subjects, and on that ground I shall vote for this Bill; and on that ground I do not think the hon. Member for Sheffield can refuse to vote for the Bill. Here is my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford proposing to introduce into the Church of England a set of gentlemen eminent for their piety and training and character, who have, by his own statement, been brought up in a University where there is no doctrinal test—where there are none of those safeguards which the Church of England insists upon in this country. I wish my hon. Friend would profit by my example, and that when I bring forward my Bill again he will give me his support.
explained that his allusion to Dr. Lee was quite incidental, and that if that gentleman, for whom he had great respect, was opposed to this Bill, he could only say he was sorry for it. The hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Kinnaird) would not, however, dream of denying that the account of the proceedings in the General Assembly which he (Mr. Grant Duff) had given, was, as far as his argument was concerned, strictly correct. He desired farther to explain, in reply to other speakers, that the Scotch Office was now merely a permitted use, and he would refer those who raised a difficulty about the Thirty-nine Articles to the proceedings which took place before the passing of the Act of 1792.
said, he would not give the House the trouble to divide on his Amendment.
Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Bill read 2o , and committed for Friday.
Insolvent Debtors Bill —Bill 20
Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
appealed to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. Paull) not to proceed further with the measure in the present Session. The Bill related to a subject which was included in a measure proposed by the Lord Chancellor to the other House, and which measure had been withdrawn in consequence of objections that were made to certain portions of it. The Lord Chancellor was not satisfied with the present state of the law as regarded commitments by County Court Judges, and intended to consider whether a Bill might not be framed which would put an end to the injustice which now existed, and which would not be open to the objections that had been raised to the Bill he had recently introduced. He therefore moved, that the Chairman do leave the Chair.
said, that a very strong remonstrance had been sent from Liverpool against this Bill, and, therefore, he would urge the hon. Member not to press it at this late period of the Session.
also recommended that the Bill be withdrawn. He greatly regretted the withdrawal of the Lord Chancellor's Bill, and trusted that next Session an effective measure would be introduced to put an end to grievances which were admitted to exist. He was opposed to imprisonment for debt in any form, and in the case of small debtors especially imprisonment was often ruinous to the debtor, and was seldom or never beneficial to the creditor.
said, that they had received very strong remonstrances from their constituents against the Bill.
said, he was sorry to find that the Government were not prepared to support the Bill, which only proposed a simple act of justice to the people, and ought not to be rejected solely because Chambers of Commerce, which had obtained a bankruptcy law to their liking, objected to a measure which would benefit other classes.
denied that the Government were opposed to the principle of the Bill. The Lord Chancellor adopted the principle of this Bill, and was only desirous of considering whether the objections made to it could be met.
said, he would have liked to have adopted the course pointed out by the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton), but after the opinions which had been expressed by other Members, he should not ask the House to go on with his Bill at present. It had none of the objectionable features of the Bill of the Lord Chancellor, but instead of curtailing the credit of the working classes it would extend it. He should at an early period of next Session introduce the same Bill.
Petty Offences Law Amendment Bill—Bill 121
Order for Second Reading read.
, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said, its main object was to be found in the first clause, which provided that—
He had ventured to propose that change in the law because he knew that the late Attorney General had contemplated the introduction of a clause to a similar effect in a Bill of a wider character. The amendment of the law he proposed was in conformity with the tendency of law reforms in recent times. As the evidence of parties was admissible in civil causes, there could be no objection to extend the practice to petty offences. Cases sometimes occurred in which the police exceeded their duties, and it was only right that the parties accused should be allowed to state facts. Another clause in the Bill provided that where the charge should consist wholly or mainly in annoyance to the public or to individuals, other evidence than that of the police should be adduced."In all cases where any person shall be charged with any offence punishable by summary conviction before Justices of the peace or a magistrate, the person so charged and his wife or her husband, as the case may be, shall be competent to give evidence on the hearing of such charge."
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—( Mr. Whalley.)
thought this was a Bill which the House could not sanction. The first clause proposed a fundamental alteration in the law of evidence by permitting criminals to give evidence. If criminals were allowed to give evidence on their own behalf, they must be liable to be cross-examined against themselves. Then if it was enacted that a criminal might give evidence, the practical effect would be that he must give evidence, or his abstaining from doing so would be construed in his disfavour. The second section was very remarkable. It was that—
He would like to know what annoyance to an individual meant. If a man was robbed of his money, that would be an annoyance, and so again if he were as- saulted. The clause went on to provide that, in such cases,"In cases where any persons shall be charged with any offence which consists wholly or mainly in the annoyance occasioned to the public or to individuals."
By that provision a gang might set upon a policeman alone and nearly kill him, and there would be no evidence against them. Then there was a clause giving to policemen power to determine what sum of money should be deposited with them by a prisoner to insure the appearance of the latter to answer a charge. That provision was objectionable. He thought he had said enough to show that the Bill was one which ought not to be adopted. He would, therefore, move that it be read a second time on that day three months."It shall be necessary to adduce evidence to the satisfaction of the magistrate other than that of the police or constable by whom any person shall be apprehended of such annoyance having been occasioned."
Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—( Mr. Solicitor General.)
Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
thought the Bill was an excellent one, and only carried out a principle which was already acted upon in civil causes.
thought the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General had not fairly represented the nature of the Bill; but in deference to the general feelings of the House he would not trouble them to divide.
Amendment, and Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Jersey Court Bill — Bill 48
Committee Adjourned Debate
Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [22nd June], "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
Question again proposed.
said, he was aware of the difficulty there would be in proceeding with this Bill, but he thought the House ought to have some distinct statement of the intentions of the Government.
said, this was a subject that the Government ought to take up. For fifty years past the system in Jersey had been condemned, and he contended that the Government ought to make this an Imperial question, and not leave it in the hands of a private Member.
, on the part of the Government, said, he could assure the hon. Gentleman that the attention of the Secretary of State would be seriously given to the subject.
said, that on that understanding he was willing not to press the Bill, but he hoped that the Government would do more than consider the subject, and that in the next Session they would be prepared to deal practically with it.
thought it was desirable that the States of Jersey should themselves take up the question, and he hoped that they would do so before next Session.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Poisoned Flesh Prohibition Bill &C (Re-Committed)—Bill 199
Order for Committee read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
LORD E. HILL-TREVOR moved that the Speaker leave the Chair that day three months.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon this day three months, resolve itself into the said Committee,"—(Lord Edwin Hill-Trevor,)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
desired to assure the House that he was influenced by higher considerations than the mere desire to protect foxes, and he should therefore support the Amendment, because he believed that the Bill would prevent the owners of sheep in Ireland from protecting their flocks against the large number of dogs which committed so much havoc among their stock.
said, he would support the Bill, which he regarded as supplementing a measure of his own which he had been fortunate enough to pass, and which he was satisfied had been attended with the happiest effects.
said, he should support the Amendment on the score of humanity, as he regarded the Bill as being most objectionable.
believed the Bill would be found as pernicious in England as in Ireland. The only advantage that would attend the passing of such a measure would accrue to the informer, who would thus have an object in going into woods, and, even if he thought proper, might be induced to place poisoned flesh there and charge the keeper with being the culprit.
denied that he had brought in the Bill merely for the protection of the foxes, though he believed that if the fine and manly sport of foxhunting were once dropped the character of the English and Irish gentleman would deteriorate. The reason why he had brought it forward was because he had received numerous statements, from which he learnt that dogs and even pigs had been killed, owing to the practice of using poisoned food. Many shepherds' dogs and valuable pointers had fallen victims to the practice, and human life even had been endangered. He was not disposed to deny the right of any one to get rid of vermin, or even foxes if they so pleased, but such riddance should be effected by means of traps, and not of poison. He believed that the House, too, had a perfect right to prevent gentlemen from preserving game at the expense of the community.
said, he thoroughly approved the object of the Bill, but thought it was framed in a manner which needed considerable alteration. He believed that it ought to have been sent to a Select Committee. He could not resist the statement which had been made with reference to the destruction of sheep in Ireland by dogs, but he thought at the same time that poisoned meat ought only to be resorted to with certain restrictions. He believed, moreover, that the Bill was very little calculated to preserve foxes, because by the third clause of the Bill a man was at liberty to place any poison in a dwelling-house, building, rick, or stack, for the destruction of vermin. Now, as a foxhunter, he certainly did not look upon foxes as vermin, but, as a farmer, he viewed them in an entirely different light.
Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
The House divided:—Ayes 60; Noes 38: Majority 22.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Bill considered in Committee.
Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.
Fortifications And Works
Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON moved a Vote for £150,000, on which to found a Bill. He would give an explanation of the Bill upon its second reading
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That, towards providing a further sum for defraying the expenses of the construction of works for the defence of the Royal Dockyards and Arsenals, and of the Ports of Dover and Portland, and for the creation of a Central Arsenal, a sum not exceeding £650,000 be charged upon the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, and that the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury be authorized and empowered to raise the said sum by Annuities, for a term not exceeding thirty years; and that such Annuities shall be charged upon and be payable out of the said Consolidated Fund."
asked, if the money was required towards the construction of a central arsenal?
said, it was not.
asked, if it was intended to take a Vote for that purpose this year?
said, there was no such intention.
Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.
Armagh Archiepiscopal Revenues Bill
On Motion of Sir HUGH CAIRNS, Bill for adjustment of Charges on the Revenues of the Archbishopric of Armagh, ordered* to be brought in by Sir HUGH CAIRNS and Mr. WHITESIDE.
Bill presented, and read 1o . [Bill 202.]
Justices Proceedings Confirmation (Sussex) Bill
On Motion of Mr. DODSON, Bill to confirm certain proceedings of the Justices for the county of Sussex, ordered* to be brought in by Mr. DODSON, Colonel BARTTELOT, and Mr. COBBETT.
Bill presented, and read 1o . [Bill 203.]
Westminster Bridge Traffic Bill
On Motion of Mr. COWPER, Bill for the better regulation of the Traffic on Westminster Bridge, and for the prevention of obstructions thereon, ordered* to be brought in by Mr. COWPER and Mr. BARING.
Bill presented, and read 1o . [Bill 205.]
Drainage And Improvement Of Lands (Ireland) Supplemental Bill
On Motion of Mr. PEEL, Bill to confirm a Provisional Order under "The Drainage and Improvement of Lands (Ireland) Act, 1863," ordered* to be brought in by Mr. PEEL and Sir ROBERT PEEL.
Bill presented, and read 1o . [Bill 207.]
Bank Notes, &C Signature Bill
On Motion of Mr. PEEL, Bill for impressing by machinery Signatures of Names on Bank Notes and certain Bills on the Bank of Ireland, ordered* to be brought in by Mr. PEEL and Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER.
Bill presented, and read 1o . [Bill 206.]
Public Works (Manufacturing Districts) Bill
On Motion of Mr. VILLIERS, Bill to extend the powers of the Public Works (Manufacturing Districts) Act, 1863, ordered* to be brought in by Mr. VILLIERS and Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER
Bill presented, and read 1o . [Bill 204.]
And it being Six of the clock, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House till Tomorrow, without putting the Question.