Skip to main content

Committee

Volume 221: debated on Wednesday 29 July 1874

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Order for Committee thereupon read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—( Mr. W. S. Smith.)

, in moving the adjournment of the debate, said, he hoped that they would have an explanation of the proposition of the Government. It was intended to found on the Resolution to be proposed, or another, a clause relative to the salary of the Judge, and it would appear that the Judge was to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund. That was a course to which he strongly objected. The Judge must be a member of the Church of England, and he was to be appointed by the Archbishops; and further, as the Bill itself was one purely for Church purposes, it appeared to him that the funds necessary for the carrying out of its provisions should come from the coffers of the Church itself, and not from those of the nation. He maintained that the Bill was a Church Bill, for in Committee he desired that Dissenters should be allowed to make representations to the Bishop of certain practices in the Church, and that was refused. He had no desire to impede Public Business; but he felt that this Bill involved so wide a question that it deserved that time should be given for its consideration. He would, therefore, move the adjournment of the Debate.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—( Mr. Dillwyn.)

I hope the hon. Gentleman will not persist with his Motion. It is not easy to give an explanation until we get into Committee; but, as I am on my legs, I may state that it is necessary to carry this Resolution in order that I should bring in a clause with reference to the salary of the Judge. I will then give all the information for which the hon. Gentleman asks, and that is the legitimate opportunity for discussing the question. It will be brought forward when the House is full, and when the hon. Gentleman will have ample opportunity of raising any objection to it. It is a Form, and a wise Form, of the House, that all these proposals should originate in Committee; but it is not usual to discuss them at this stage. The arrangement is not of the simple character which the hon. Gentleman anticipates; but it would be more convenient to postpone the discussion of it until I have had an opportunity of explaining it to the House.

respectfully thought the right hon. Gentleman might at once inform the House whether the money was really to come out of the Consolidated Fund or not.

, as a friend of the Bill, would be sorry to do anything to impede its progress, but he would feel bound to protest against any proposal to make the public pay the expense of carrying it out. The idea that this salary should come out of the Consolidated Fund was not shadowed forth during the discussions on the Bill, which was one of a sectarian character, and therefore the sect—the Church of England—should provide the salary.

thought that the more convenient course would be to allow the Speaker to leave the Chair. When the House was in Committee a proposal would be made; and if it was thought desirable to discuss that proposal, it would be in the power of hon. Members to do so. His right hon. Friend at the head of the Government gave Notice last night, that he would bring in a clause with reference to the salary of the Judge; and when that clause was before the House there would be ample opportunity of discussing it on its merits.

pointed out that the present proceeding was merely preliminary, to enable the Government to make a certain proposition, and that the proper time to discuss the matter would be when that proposition was made.

trusted his hon. Friend would not press the Motion, and that the House would be allowed to go into Committee.

hoped that it was not supposed that he was attempting to throw any obstacles in the way of the Government, from a desire to obstruct the work of the Session. He much regretted that he could not withdraw his Motion.

Question put, and negatived.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Matter considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

moved the Resolution relating to the salary of the Judge and officers to be appointed under the Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That it is expedient to authorise the payment, out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, of the Salary of any Judge, and, out of moneys to be provided by Parliament, of the Salaries and Expenses of any Officers, appointed under any Act of the present Session for the Regulation of Public Worship." (Mr. William Henry Smith.)

I will now state what the proposal of the Government is. It will, of course, be more minutely entered into when the clause I have to move is before the House. We propose that for a limited period, not exceeding three years, a sum not exceeding £3,000 a-year should be charged on the Consolidated Fund for the payment of the salary of this Judge; and, at the same time, that certain sources of supply which will arise from fees and from the extinction of offices now existing, shall be paid to the credit of the Consolidated Fund. Our object is, to secure at the present moment a salary for the Judge, and that a certain time should be allowed in order to make those arrangements which are in contemplation, by which the office will be made self-sustaining. We have thought it expedient to secure that important result by a proposal that for a limited period, not exceeding three years, there should be charged an annual sum not exceeding £3,000 for the salary of the Judge. We hope, however, that long before that period elapses, the arrangement contemplated will have been effected, and the Consolidated Fund relieved of this charge. We also propose that for the three years there should be carried to the credit of the Consolidated Fund the amount which will accrue on the extinction of judicial offices about to expire, and also from fees.

said, the scheme proposed by the right hon. Gentleman was altogether new, and of such a character as to require some little time for consideration. He (Mr. Dillwyn) might not have objected to a payment out of the Consolidated Fund, if the Public-Worship Regulation Bill had not limited the definition of "parishioners" so as to make the word mean none but members of the Church of England; but that being so, he objected altogether to throwing the payment of the Judge on the Consolidated Fund in any shape whatever, or for however temporary and limited a period. The Public Worship Regulation Bill was a Bill passed for the purposes of the members of the Church of England, and they ought to bear the expense of carrying its provisions into operation. He should, in order to allow time to consider the question before the House committed itself to any proposition whatever, and in order that the scheme might be presented in black and white, move that the Chairman report Progress.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—( Mr. Dillwyn.)

pointed out that there would be two opportunities of considering the subject, if the Resolution, which was only the foundation of a Bill, was agreed to, and that therefore the hon. Gentleman could not be taken by surprise. It would have to be considered in Committee, and again on the bringing up of the Report. The House would not be at all pledged to that particular mode of providing the salary of the Judge by allowing the Resolution to pass, while they would do much to forward Public Business at this late period of the Session. The present proceeding was one of the salutary Forms of the House, and he hoped his hon. Friend would not persist in the course which he proposed.

explained, that he did not intend to insinuate that the Prime Minister had taken the House by surprise.

regretted that the right hon. and learned Recorder had withdrawn the proposal to charge the costs of the Court to the funds of the Church. That proposal was perfectly sound in principle, and he (Sir William Harcourt) had failed for his part to feel the weight of the objections urged against it. It had been stated that the fees paid to various Ecclesiastical Courts would soon recoup any expenditure connected with the appointment of the Judge, therefore the proposal now made by the right hon. Gentleman was very different from what they had been led to expect. He had always desired that the Bill should be a means of reconciling Nonconformists to the Church, rather than of increasing the differences already existing; but knowing how strong was the feeling on the part of Dissenters with regard to anything which bore the shape of an additional endowment, he feared they would not view with favour the proposed payment from the Consolidated Fund. The Church could well spare the amount which was required, and he hoped the proposal which the right hon. and learned Recorder had withdrawn would be revived on the Report.

said, he did not think it would much matter, if they were told that by-and-by the Consolidated Fund would be recouped. He had been assured by a high authority that the sums to be put to the credit of the Consolidated Fund would be sufficient to cover the salary of the Judge; but on inquiring into the matter, he had found there was some mystery as to the sources from which those sums were to be obtained. If that point was cleared up satisfactorily, there could be no objection to making the charge in the first instance upon the Consolidated Fund. He thought, however, it was doubtful, if the salary was once fixed upon the Consolidated Fund for two or three years, whether it would ever be taken off again.

also objected to any payment necessary under the Bill coming out of the Consolidated Fund. It ought to come out of the fund of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, or out of the Bishops' incomes.

considered that there was no objection to the proposal of the Prime Minister, as the money to be advanced would be recouped. As a Church-man, he thought that all those expenses should be borne by the property of the Church.

hoped that his hon. Friend would persist in his Motion to report Progress. The Bill was purely a sectarian matter, and the Committee had refused to make it any other, there-fore no money ought to come out of the Consolidated Fund for the purposes of the Bill. If the security was so good as represented, why did not the right hon. Gentleman offer it in some other quarter, instead of drawing upon the Consolidated Fund? Why did not the Church accept the security itself?

asked whether, if a sum should be required by any body of Dissenters, the Committee would grant it out of the Consolidated Fund? To be consistent, he maintained they ought.

said, that that was not a Government Bill, and it might be well to postpone the question until the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Recorder of London should be present. But the Bill related to the national Church, and he considered that as the funds of the Church were national, so the nation ought to provide for these expenses. The nation employed a certain number of Bishops and clergy to carry on a war against sin and immorality, and they used national funds for those purposes. The Bill might be considered as nothing more than an Ecclesiastical Mutiny Bill, for it was to regulate the discipline of the clergy.

confessed that he would prefer that the money wanted should not come out of the Consolidated Fund, but should come out of the Bishops' incomes, as they would be saved great expense in not having to maintain lawsuits; and besides, to a certain extent, the Bishops were responsible for the state in which the Church was at present. But the Resolution before them would not bind the House, and time for further discussion would be afforded thereafter. He protested against the use of the word "sectarian" in reference to the Church of England. The Church of England was the national Church, and funds ought to be provided for the purpose of enforcing its laws. He thought that members of the Church of England ought not to sit silent when they heard that Church described as a mere sect.

said, the difficulty he had to deal with in connection with this question was, that he did not remember on any previous occasion on which he was asked, even for a temporary purpose, to vote money from the Consolidated Fund to support the national Church. He objected to such a proposal, and therefore thought they ought to report Progress.

supported the proposition of the Prime Minister, as he considered that the fees now paid to certain officials whose offices would be abolished would be more than sufficient to recoup the moneys paid out of the Consolidated Fund.

said, he would suggest that the salary should be guaranteed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; and to meet the objection that they had no fund for the purpose, he would propose that they should borrow from the Public Works Commissioners a sum, to be repaid from fees, &c., that would eventually come into their hands, and were expected to be sufficient to meet the expense. It would be better they should borrow a small sum, say, £9,000, at 3 per cent.

cordially supported the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman below him, and asked the hon. Member not to press his Amendment to a division. If the salary of the Judge were not paid out of the Consolidated Fund, there was no fund out of which that salary could properly be paid.

, as one of the Public Works Loan Commissioners, objected to the salary of the Judge being paid by that body. He, however, believed there was no doubt that the fees and other funds which would be receivable under this Bill would be ample to pay the salary of the Judge. He believed that the country was anxious to see this measure put into operation, and he supported the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman.

said, although the sum might be small, a large principle was involved in this question. If the salary of the Judge were paid out of the funds of England, then the people of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland would have to contribute to the payment of that salary. He believed that a more national measure than this was never proposed. They all wanted to see it passed. He believed that the surplus fund of the disestablished Irish Church would be very large, and that the salary of £3,000 a-year might be easily obtained from that fund. However that might be, he did not think the passing of this measure should be risked for the sake of a salary of £3,000 to the Judge who would have to carry it. out.

said, he thought hon. Gentlemen had lost sight of the exact position of the question at that moment. What the Committee were asked to decide was not, whether £3,000 or £9,000, or any sum whatever should be paid out of the Consolidated Fund. The question which was put to the Committee was, whether his right hon. Friend should be put in a position to make a proposal on a future occasion for the consideration of the House. The Committee had power to say how they considered that salary should be paid; but when the Bill came before the House on a future occasion, the House would be able to take a different view of the matter. The proposition that the salary should be paid out of the funds of the Irish Church struck him as a proposition to add insult to injury. However, all the suggestions which had boon made as to the source out of which the salary should be paid could be submitted to the House when the Bill was under consideration. The carrying of the Motion to report Progress would have the effect of postponing the consideration of the Report of the Bill until Monday, whereas it was desirable and was intended that the Report should be considered on Friday next. All that the Government now asked was, that they should be enabled to make a proposition in regular form so that the Report might be considered on Friday next. It had been said, and he could not understand why, that that proposal was of a sectarian character, and that the measure was framed entirely for the purposes of the Church of England, and that therefore the Church of England should bear, in some shape or other, the expenses of the machinery which it contemplated. But he would remind them that although this Bill related to England, the discussion upon it had been by no means confined to members of the Church of England. It was one in which the House appeared to have taken considerable interest, and many hon. Gentlemen who were not communicants of the Church of England had expressed their anxiety that it should pass; and therefore it was quite reasonable to suppose that it was regarded by them as of national importance, and that some national assistance should be given it.

said, the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) was mistaken in supposing that Wales was not included in the Bill. The salary of the Judge must be paid out of some fund. If it could not be paid out of the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners—a proceeding which had been strongly objected to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich—or out of the Consolidated Fund, then he could see no source out of which it could be paid, except out of that universal refuge of the destitute, an annual bazaar.

regretted extremely that he should be obliged to divide the House upon that question; but he felt bound to do so in order to prevent an objectionable principle being adopted.

said, there were no funds of the Irish Church out of which the salary of the Judge could be paid, and if there were, he should decidedly object to such a course being-taken.

could not understand on what grounds the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman was objected to. He would not express any opinion as to the source out of which the salary of the Judge should be paid, but he thought the House ought to agree to the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman that means should be provided to pay the salary of the Judge and to defray the expenses of carrying out this measure. If the Motion for reporting Progress were carried, the House would to-morrow be in precisely the same position as it was now—that was to say, no progress would have been made on this question of providing for the payment of the Judge's salary. The Amendment of the hon. Gentleman was evidently made for the mere purpose of delaying the passing of this measure. The House was most desirous to see the Bill become a law, and to provide that it should be enforced in a most efficient manner, and why the hon. Member for Swansea should object to that being done to-day which would have to be done on a subsequent day, if the measure was to be passed, he (Mr. Serjeant Spinks) could not understand, unless the motive of the hon. Gentleman in proposing his Amendment was simply to cause delay. He trusted the hon. Member for Swansea would withdraw his proposition.

contended that the proposition of the Government that the payment of the salary of the Judge should be secured out of the Consolidated Fund, on the condition that fees to be received in the carrying out of this Bill should provide a fund for that payment, could not be fairly controverted. The Judge who would be appointed under the Bill would discharge by far the largest share of the legal business at present done by persons occupying the positions of Ecclesiastical Judges, and therefore it appeared to him that the proper source from which to take the salary was the income at present applied to the maintenance of Ecclesiastical Courts. The Bill proposed to do that gradually. When they were appointing a new Judge, they must, before their arrangements were perfect, guarantee him an income, and in adopting the ultimate course of throwing it upon this particular fund, they were resorting to the natural and legitimate source from which the Court should be supported. What was proposed was not an absolute grant but a temporary loan, and with regard to the question of principle, raised by those who objected to Church endowment, money had been advanced to persons of every form of religion, for the building of glebe houses, and if the money was ultimately repaid he could not see that any sacrifice of principle, even for those who held such views, was involved in the matter.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 34; Noes 72; Majority 38.

Original Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 74; Noes 42; Majority 32.

Resolved, That it is expedient to authorise the payment, out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, of the Salary of any Judge, and, out of moneys to be provided by Parliament, of the Salaries and Expenses of any Officers, appointed under any Act of the present Session for the Regulation of Public Worship.

House resumed.

Resolution to be reported To-morrow.