« PreviousContinue »
would go beyond what was needed; and if not successful it would do nothing at all. He objected particularly to the establishmentwhich the Bill favoured-of two different classes of Bishops. It was also to be apprehended that, under a voluntary system like this, the patronage would virtually be in the private founders, as had been the case with various colonial bishoprics. He thought the nomination should be solely and actually in the Crown.
Lord Carnarvon feared the Bill was clogged with provisions which would render it nugatory. In the first place, it depended too much upon large voluntary contributions, which, under present circumstances, persons would scarcely feel secure in providing for ecclesiastical foundations ; but, at the same time the Bill did embody a sound principle, viz. that the Episcopate ought to grow with the population, for whose needs the Church was answerable. He would not share the responsibility of rejecting the opening which this Bill afforded for carrying out that principle.
The Archbishop of York maintained that the Bill must be nugatory. Its machinery required an amount of contributions which would hardly be forthcoming, particularly at the present time, for such an object. But, if inoperative, it was worse than nothing, since it would tend to hinder any thing being attempted for the supply of the real need of three or more new bishoprics which was admitted to exist.
Lord Portman expressed objection to “subscription bishops." He thought that 25001. was inadequate to the proper support of a Bishop, who might become a Peer of Parliament. The Duke of Somerset expressed similar objections, and the Bishop of Gloucester intimated bis dislike to the project of instituting bishoprics by voluntary subscriptions. Earl Stanhope urged Lord Lyttelton to withdraw the Bill.
Lord Nelson dissented from certain provisions of the Bill, especially the rota system with regard to seats in the House involved in the Bill, but was cordially in favour of it, as substantially a Bill for the increase of the Episcopate. He was personally of opinion that every large town ought to have a Bishop. He did not suppose, however, the rest of the House would share his views.
The Bishop of London, from the circumstances of his former and his present diocese, would be likely to accept gratefully any alleviation of Episcopal responsibility. But this Bill would not be of any utility. Excessive complications must arise from having, for instance, more than one Bishop in a single town, however vast. The new dioceses to be created by the Bill would themselves, too, he feared, be placed at a disadvantage, although the Bishops, whose incomes were in any case, whether large or small, held only on trust, might not be.
Lord Cairns was in favour of an increase of the Episcopate, but he opposed this Bill—1, because he thought it would be inoperative on account of the expense; %, because it would create two distinct classes of Bishops; and 3, on account of difficulties connected with the provision for laying any scheme before Parliament.
The Lord Chancellor, who declared himself very friendly to the objects of the Bill, added his earnest recommendation that it should be withdrawn, and Earl Granville seconded the advice, intimating that certain defeat would be the alternative. Lord Lyttelton, however, declined to withdraw it, and the Bill was rejected on a division by 43 to 20.
Another measure, the necessity for which was grounded on the peculiar circumstances of the Episcopal Bench at this time above referred to, was the Archbishop of Canterbury's Bill for making provision for facilitating the resignation of aged or incapacitated Bishops. This measure was introduced by the most rev. prelate at a late period of the Session, but it met with little obstruction in its passage through the two Houses. The Archbishop, on moving the second reading, explained that his Bill consisted of two parts, one relating to the resignation of Bishops, and the other to an amendment of the 6th and 7th Victoria, chapter 62. The first part of the Bill provided that the revenues of the see should be employed at once for the benefit of a retiring Bishop and his successor, it having been found impossible to obtain any income for a retiring Bishop from any other source; and though temporary inconvenience might arise from the division of the revenues between the retiring Bishop and the Bishop exercising full jurisdiction, it would not be so great as that which attended the absence of any provision for resignations. The second part of the Bill followed as nearly as possible the precedent of the former Act, applying compulsory powers in cases of mental incapacity. Under that Act a Commission might issue in such cases, and on the report of the Commission another Bishop holding a see in England and Wales would be appointed to administer the diocese. Such a Bishop being fully occupied with the duties of his own diocese, the Act provided that a fifth part of the revenue should be assigned to him, in order to meet the new expenses which he would incur; but it was undesirable to impose the charge of a second diocese on a prelate who had already quite enough to do. This it was now endeavoured to meet by providing that, instead of a person who already had a see in England and Wales being entrusted with the charge of a second diocese, a Bishop coadjutor should be appointed, with the right of succession at the next vacancy. There were various clauses for securing this, which their lordships would no doubt consider carefully in committee, and, having regard to the inconveniences arising from the present state of things——inconveniences felt by none more keenly than by those charged with the administration of the several dioceses-he hoped their lordships would give the Bill a second reading
Lord Nelson regretted the necessity of such a Bill, which arose, he believed, from the excessive size of the present dioceses. He censured the provision of the Bill which left the see-house to the retiring Bishop. He criticized, also, the difference between the provisions for the replacement of a Bishop and for that of an Archbishop, the interests of the latter being, he was of opinion, indifferently cared for.
The Archbishop of York defended the Bill against Lord Nelson's comments, as did the Bishop of London against those of the Duke of Cleveland, who, while approving the Bill generally, had intimated an opinion that in some particulars it did not go far enough.
The Duke of Somerset would have liked some compulsory provision, to meet the case of infirmities other than mental; and the Bishop of Gloucester admitted this point deserved consideration.
Lord Carnarvon criticized minutely certain of the provisions, particularly those respecting the proportion of emoluments left to the retiring Bishop, which he thought excessive, and those relating to the constitution of the tribunal for ascertaining the mental incapacity of a Bishop.
Earl Powys suggested that three-quarters of the proposed salary of the incoming Bishop should be provided by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
Lord Cairns pointed out various difficulties of detail in the machinery provided for proving episcopal lunacy, and suggested emendations. He objected, however, altogether to the appointment of a Coadjutor to an Archbishop. It would be preferable, he argued, to insist in such a case on resignation.
The Lord Chancellor said that it should be borne in mind that this was in every respect a voluntary Bill. It was not intended to effect by any compulsory procedure whatever the resignation of any Bishop. If a man was absolutely incapable of acting, evidence as to his supposed mental incapacity was to be submitted to one of the Secretaries of State, and then it remained for the Crown to make or not to make the appointment of a coadjutor as it should think fit. Under such circumstances there could not be any contemplation of doubtful cases, or such as involved serious difficulty in investigation. As the Bill had for its object simply to provide for the discharge of necessary duties in the one case at the desire of the Bishop, and in the other where there was a clear case of incapacity, it seemed to him very desirable. .
The Archbishop of Canterbury, in reply, pointed out that several of the criticisms that had been made upon the Bill applied equally to the 6 and 7 Vict., c. 62, on which it was founded. He was satisfied that the Bishops now afflicted would thankfully accept the alternative offered by the measure.
The Bill passed a second reading in the House of Commons with little or no discussion. It was suggested, however, by Mr. Henley, that it should be made temporary and limited in its operation to two years. On the committal of the Bill, Mr. Gladstone explained its general objects, and intimated that the Government would accede to Mr. Henley's proposal, as the time so limited would be sufficient
to test the soundness of the measure, and to determine how far the principle could be carried.
Mr. Hadfield moved the rejection of the Bill.
Mr. Dickinson criticized its arrangements, and urged the Government to withdraw it and take time to devise a more comprehensive
Mr. Kinnaird and Mr. Dalrymple also raised objections to the scheme.
Mr. Bouverie opposed the Bill. Limited as it now was in duration, it could only be meant to apply to two cases, Winchester and Exeter, and he objected to a scheme which, he showed, in one case would give a retiring allowance of 60001., and in the other of between 50001. and 60001. a year.
Mr. Mowbray, Mr. T. D. Acland, Mr. McLaren, and other Members spoke in favour of the Bill as the best mode that offered of meeting an urgent necessity, and the House having resolved to go into a Committee by a majority of 112 to 26, the clauses were agreed to with the amendments which Mr. Gladstone had indicated.
The Bill received the Royal Assent on the last day of the Session. Shortly afterwards the Bishop of Winchester, who had been for some months in a state of partial incapacity from paralysis, announced his intention to resign his see. His example was followed not long afterwards by Lord Auckland, the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Another Bishop, the oldest on the Bench, Dr. Phillpotts of Exeter, who was also incapacitated for duty, and whose retirement under the provisions of the Act was generally expected, was removed by death. It was somewhat remarkable that the Primate himself, the author of the measure, was, to the general regret of the members of the Church of England and of the public, attacked shortly before the close of the year with a most serious illness, which for a considerable time completely disabled him from the duties of his office.
MISCELLANEOUS MEASURES — The Bankruptcy Bill brought in by Sir R. Collier, the
Attorney-General—Character of the Measure-It meets with general approval in the House of Commons, and, after much discussion, is sent to the House of Lords Statement of the Lord Chancellor on moving the Second Reading - Remarks of Lord Cairns—
The Bill is referred to a Select Committee, and finally passed - Consideration of the Habitual Criminals Bill by the House of Commons-Criticisms upon and Amendments made in the Measure before it is passed — Legislation on Trades Unions - Mr. T. Hughes brings in a Bill to modify the Combination Laws in favour of these bodies-Debate on the Question—The Bill is not proceeded with, but the Secretary of State for the Home Department carries a Provisional Measure to protect the Funds of the Unions-Life Peerages-Earl Russell brings in a Bill to authorize the Crown to create Peers for Life, subject to certain restrictions— It is much discussed, and passes through all stages till the Third Reading, when it is thrown out on the Motion
of Lord Malmesbury, Earl Grey proposes a Bill to alter the mode of Electing Scotch and Irish Representative Peers, but it is not proceeded with—Protection of Property of Married Women-A Bill for this purpose is brought in and carried through the House of Commons by the Recorder of London-It is taken up in the House of Lords by Lord Penzance, supported by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Romilly, Lord Cairns, and Lord Shaftesbury- The Bill is read a Second Time, but is not proceeded with, Mr. Locke King renews his attempt to assimilate the Succession of Real to that of Personal Property in cases of Intestacy – He obtains a majority for the Second Reading of his Measure, which is then withdrawn- Marriage with Deceased Wife's Sister-Question again mooted by Mr. Thomas Chainbers, who brings in a Bill, which is carried by a large majority on the Second Reading, but meets with repeated postponements, and is finally abandoned— The Permissive Bill restricting the Sale of Liquors-Again introduced by Sir Wilfrid Lawson, but thrown out on a division by a great majority-The incident of the Mayor of Cork—Extraordinary conduct and intemperate language of that functionary–His sympathy with the Fenian cause, and expressions respecting the attack on the life of the Duke of Edinburgh— The Government determine to take proceedings to deprive and disqualify the Mayor, and propose a Bill of Pains and Penalties — Various opinions expressed by Members of the House of Commons upon that mode of procedure - Leave given to bring in the Bill – Further proceedings are put an end to by the voluntary resignation of the Mayor - Foreign and Colonial Policy -- Paucity of Discussions on these topics—The Alabama Controversy – Rejection of the Reverdy Johnson Treaty-Brief allusions to the subject in the two Houses by Lord Stratford de Redcliffe and Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer- Answers of Lord Clarendon and of Mr. Gladstone, who deprecate discussion-Debates on Imperial Policy towards New Zealand-In the House of Lords Lord Carnarvon, and in the Commons Viscount Bury, bring the subject under discussion-Summary of opinions expressed in both Houses— The Prorogation of Parliament on the 11th of August by CommissionHer Majesty's Speech-Retrospect of the Session and of the principal events of the year--The Disestablishment of the Irish Church, and other leading Measures of the Session-Serious increase of disturbance and disaffection in Ireland-Release of some of the Fenian convicts by the Government–Their return for the indulgenceStrengthening of the Military Force in Ireland - Review of the Commercial features of the period - Continued dulness of Trade, and increase of destitution in some districts - Partial agitation against Renewal of the French Treaty, and in favour of Commercial Restriction-Similar agitation in France on the same subject— More hopeful Commercial Prospects for the New Year-Symptoms of Revival of Trade, and greater confidence in the Employment of Capital - Board of Trade Returns of Imports and Exports—Fluctuations in the Public Stocks, the Bank Rates of Discount, and the Prices of Staple Commodities— Public Losses by Death during the Year-Decease of the Earl of Derby-His career and character.
The question of the Irish Church, though it overshadowed the whole Session by its magnitude, did not, however, so entirely absorb the time of Parliament as to preclude legislation on some other subjects. Several useful Acts were passed, and other subjects were advanced, though not carried to their consummation in a legislative form. of the former class the Bankruptcy Bill deserves prominent notice. For several Sessions the difficult questions involved in this branch of the law had demanded solution, and attempts had been made to grapple with them, but it was reserved for the Session of 1869 to pass an Act embodying what was regarded as promising experiment in the right direction, if not a satisfactory settlement of this difficult subject. The Attorney-General, Sir R. Collier, is mainly entitled to the credit of this achievement, he having introduced and carried the Bill through the House of Commons, where it was very fully discussed, but was not materially altered in its progress from the original draft. The first step of moving for leave to bring in the measure was taken on March 5,