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It was formerly held that clergymen sit- | as a Churchman, and as one who did all ting in Convocation were not privileged he could for the Church ; and he asked to sit in the House of Commons, because the House to say that the clergy should they claimed the right of taxing them- not be treated as a different social order selves through Convocation, instead of from the rest of the community. He through the House of Cominons, and it was quite satisfied it would be benefiwas felt that they ought not to have a cial to the Church if some clergymen double voice; but in 1846 the powers of were to come within an arena like the Convocation were abolished. Clergymen House. were now eligible for all civil offices and
Motion made, and Question proposed, functions, and why should they be ex
" That the Bill be now read a second cluded from the House of Commons ? time.” -(Sir Gabriel Goldney.) Why should they be ostracized from all political feeling and action? They per- MR. BERESFORD HOPE, in moving formed all the ordinary duties of citizens, that the Bill be read a second time that and became Guardians of the poor. It day six months, congratulated his hon. might be said that it was inconsistent to Friend on the array of authorities he be in the pulpit one day and in the had pressed into his service. Even the House the next; but this applied with venerable "Brother Bragge," of political equal force to officers in the Army and poetry, had made his appearanee; and Navy. It might be said that they ought he presumed that Brother Bragge and not to be in the House of Commons, but Brother Hiley were kept in reserve. The performing their duties as officers, and present state of matters was that clergylooking after their men. Nonconformist men, whether with or without a cure of ministers also could sit in the House souls, could not sit and vote in the House, without any objection being taken on and his hon. Friend wished to alter that the ground that political life was incon- state of things. On previous occasions his sistent with clerical functions. The his hon. Friend promoted a Bill to allow tory of the disabilities of the clergy was clergymen who had not a cure of souls to remarkable. For instance, at one time sit and vote in the House. He (Mr. Beresclergymen were excluded from hunting, ford Hope) thought there were sufficient on the ground that it was inconsistent reasons even against that measure, and with their duties; but a statute was he had the satisfaction of carrying the passed which declared that it was neces- House with him. There were already sary they should have that excellent plenty of elements of disturbance in the exercise for the purpose of carrying on House, plenty of heart-burnings, plenty their duties more efficiently, and it was of faction-he was not accusing one side one of the prerogatives of the Crown or the other, but only that human nature, that when a Bishop died his pack of of which they were all sharers-plenty of hounds should go to the Crown, or that misunderstanding, plenty of class grievin lieu thereof compensation should be ances, plenty of everything which dispaid.
In the performance of secular tempered debate and paralyzed wise duties clergymen were admirable ex- counsels. Was it desirable, then, to amples to the rest of the community. introduce fresh elements of discord by Nearly a third of the Bills in the Journals bringing in what he must as a Church of the House dealt with subjects—such man, a Christian, and a citizen say as Augmentation of Benefices, Burial would be a most pestilent specimen of Fees, Church Patronage, Ecclesiastical tho genus citizen-namely, the political Endowments, Marriage Law Amendment parson who woulil use his partizanship Act, Poor Removal --in the discussion for his political advantage? He might of which clergymen would be able to either be a rich rector, with aspirations, take part and give to the House the or a discontented curate, with a grievadvantage of their knowledge and expe- ance. In either case, he had his pulpit rience. He thought Parliament ought to preach in, his school to lecture in, his to abolish an Act that was passed for parish vestry, his meetings for mothers, the purpose of excluding a man whose for fathers, and for uncles, and did they political opinions were adverse to the want to introduce that man into ParliaMinister of the day. Being unable to ment also ? Did they want to have the exclude him individually, they excluded scandal of a man being able to spend the whole body of clergymen. He spoke his Sunday mornings and evenings in
Sir Gabriel Goldney
preaching his political speeches from | if necessary, have its 201st division that
Amendment proposed, to leave out
" and at the end of introduction of "political parsons” to the Question to add the words “upon the House as a fresh scandal to good this day six months.”—(Mr. Beresford order and religion and piety. His hon.
Question proposed, “That the word and traversed by clerical Members. He
'stand part of the Question.” (Mr. Beresford Hope) prophesied, how- MR. THOROLD ROGERS, in supever, that if clergymen were admitted porting the second reading of the Bill, in sufficient numbers and of sufficient said, he would not attempt to follow the variety of clerical opinions to influence heated rhetoric and habitual prophecies a debate, the non-clerical Members of of the right hon. Gentleman who had the House would rise in revolt against just sat down. He could not, however, them. In order to attain his hon. share in the apprehensions entertained Friend's Utopia, half-a-dozen High, by that right hon. Gentleman as to the half-a-dozen "Low, and half-a-dozen dangers that were likely to arise from Broad Church clergymen would have to the possible introduction of a clergyman be secured. It was urged that it was into the House if a constituency could be hard that there should be no clergy- found to return him. He thought, moremen in that House, seeing that there over, that if any clergyman were to resort were Bishops in the House of Lords; to the objectionable means to acquire a but it should be remembered that a seat in that House which the right hon. clergyman would enter the House of Gentleman had so graphically described, Commons after a contested election the constituency would know how to and with constituents at his back. The deal with him and would emphatically election of a Bishop, on the other hand, reject him. He maintained, further, that was a ceremony which might be very Horne Tooke's Act, which it was now abhorrent to the hon. Member for proposed to repeal, was entirely unconGloucester (Mr. Monk), but it had not stitutional, having been directed, not much effect on his position in the House only against an individual, but against of Lords afterwards, and he had no con- | the privileges of a class without the stituents. The Bench of Bishops in the smallest justification. All persons who other House might be a valuable part were liable to be taxed for their lay posof the Constitution or it might not. sessions were in justice and on consti. That was not the question before the tutional grounds eligible to be returned House now, but it depended on totally to Parliament if they were untainted by different considerations; and to attempt crime and subject to no legal disqualifito darken counsel and mix up that cation. This was the result of the armatter with the present discussion was rangement made between Clarendon and only to show how trivial and imaginary Archbishop Sheldon in 1655, as was was the grievance alleged in the case proved by the cases cited in Bragge's and how weak was the ground for the Report of 1801, for all the cases in which Bill. In conclusion, he trusted that the clergymen, having spiritual fees, had House, considering the present state of been elected and were disqualified by Public Business, would not encourage vote of the House occured before 1655, even so respectable a Member as his and all cases, notably those of Gordon hon. Friend to air his crotchet at and Rushworth, in which their seats the expense of the national time; but were unchallenged, occurred after that that the House, which had already, be- date. Horne Tooke himself had stood fore gettiag into Committee upon the twice for Westminster before he was one single Bill of importance, taken elected for Old Sarum, and no 200 divisions during this Session, would, thought of saying that votes given to
him were thrown away. The clergy had | Act; they had only to consider that the ceased to be represented, for purposes Preamble expressed the mind of Parliaof taxation, in Convocation, and, there- ment in passing it. Persons who found fore, they got votes for the House of that they had made a mistake in enterCommons and were eligible for seats ing the Church had already been relieved there. Mr. Horne Tooke had been a by the Act of 1870; and the present clergyman. He had abandoned his Bill was intended to carry that Act a living at an early period, and he took step further in a direction which he did a very active part in politics. He was not think would be indorsed by the opia very considerable politician, as well nion of the House. The Bill was de
a very considerable scholar, and signed to admit beneficed clergymen as also a great advocate of constitutional well as unbeneficed to the House, and if progress and reform.
The passing of it passed they might have Dean Stanley the Act against him was à scandal, sitting in the House both as Dean of and being dictated by antipathy to a single Member for Westminster. The Canon individual. It was intended that the Law and the Common Law were brought Act should be confined to the clergy of into accord by Horne Tooke's Act; but the Church of England, or rather to the by passing the present Bill the discord united Church of England and Ireland; between the two systems of law would be and the question might well be raised restored. There was, he maintained, no whether the united Church of England necessity for the change, inasmuch as and Ireland, having now ceased to exist clergymen were now represented in their as it did before the Irish Church was lay capacity by their local Representadisestablished, any person could really tives, and in their clerical capacity in be brought under the penalties of the Convocation, and in the House of Lords. statute. That, however, he said only by This Bill was principally promoted, as the way. The Scotch Presbyterian mi. was well known, in the interest of an nister was somewhat differently placed individual. He objected to that. He from the Anglican clergyman, not being objected to the alteration of the Oath to a minister when he left his benefice. He please an individual, and he opposed held, however, that a clergyman was not that Bill on the ground that it was ina clergyman in the eye of the law or tended to meet the scruples of an indiwithin the range of spiritual authority vidual or of a few individuals. The unless actually in possession of a cure of only argument that he could see in souls. After Catholic Emancipation was favour of the Bill was that if they were conceded the same disabilities as attached to have the Member (Mr. Bradlaugh) to the Anglican clergy were extended to who had taken up so much of the time Roman Catholic priests, and he would of the House introduced, it might be not have the least objection to see a desirable to have a countervailing eleprovision inserted in the present Bill ment in the presence of some of the stating that if an Irish constituency clergy. They might, if this Bill were elected a Roman Catholic clergyman to passed, have the hon. and rev. Augustus that House their choice of such a Re-Smith, M.P., advertised to preach in presentative should be respected. The some Northampton church on the text passage of Horne Tooke's Act was an "Fear God and honour the King." He invasion of the rights of a section of the must oppose the second reading, seeing community, and he hoped to see the day there had been no Petitions or meetings very speedily arrive when it would be in favour of this measure. repealed.
MR. HINDE PALMER said, he was COLONEL MAKINS said, he did not as anxious as any Member to open the desire to enter into any historical dis- portals of the House to every man whom cussion of Horne Tooke's case. It was a constituency might think it right to enough to say that the Preamble of the return, without imposing on him any Act which it was now sought to repeal religious disabilities; but he was sorry declared that it was passed to remove that it should have been thought necesdoubts which existed as to the eligi- sary by the hon. and gallant Gentleman bility of persons in Holy Orders to sit in who had just spoken to impart into the that House. They had nothing to do present discussion any reference to the now with the motives which might have unpleasant scenes which the House had induced men to vote for or against that witnessed with regard to the hou. Mem.
Mr. Thorold Rogers
ber for Northampton. At the same | Holy Orders, if he had ceased to hold time, he could not see his way to support preferment, should not be required to the Bill, which would admit into the divest him of his reverend character House clergymen having the cure of before obtaining admission to that souls. That would be a very incon- House ? If a clergyman became a gruous state of things. They might Peer he could enter the House of have a clergyman using his pulpit as a Lords without divesting himself of his rostrum on Sundays to preach an elec- clerical character, and he tion address. That would be a scandal. reason why the House of Commons He was very much opposed to clerical should not be placed in the same justices of the peace, and had formerly position as the other House in that introduced a Bill to disqualify them, respect. Why should they compel a and he must oppose the present pro- clergyman to divest himself
of his black posal. If clergymen felt" anxious to coat before entering that House ? He enter the House, there was an Act, did not see that the House would havo to which he (Mr. Hinde Palmer) was suffered in any way if the hon. Member a party-already in the Statute Book for Southwark (Mr. Thorold Rogers) of which they could avail themselves. and the hon. Member for Waterford Holy Orders imposed certain disabilities County (Mr. Villiers-Stuart), who had on clergymen, and unless they divested resigned Holy Orders to become Memthemselves of their clerical character he bers of the House, had not been comcould not agree to the removal of those pelled to do so, and had, if they pleased, disabilities. The Bill before the House attended in their places in clerical coshe regarded as unqualified in its nature, tume and retained the title of “Rev." uncalled for, and one that ought not to Therefore, he saw no objection to the receive the encouragement of Parlia- repeal of Horne Tooko's Act, but on ment.
the conditions he had named as to ex. MR. HIBBERT said, the Clerical Discluding beneficed clergymen. So long abilities Act of 1870, which he had been as the Church of England was instrumental in passing, had in every nected with the State, it would not be way successfully carried out the inten- right that clergymen of the Church tions of its promoters, and had not only should be placed in the same position as enabled a large number of gentlemen ministers of other Denominations. Whento retire from the Church, but had ad ever the Church was separated from tho mitted three or four Members to that State-and he hoped that time might House. Although ready to vote for the be far distant—then they might agree second reading of this Bill, he could not to place clergymen of the Church in give it his entire support unless clergy. exactly the same position as those of men holding cures of souls or offices other Denominations. under State appointment were excluded SIR JOHN MOWBRAY said, the from its operation. It was said that hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) this Bill was aimed at one person, and said that the Act of 1870 had worked the hon. Gentleman opposite said he exceedingly well. Why, then, alter it ? should oppose it on the same grounds This Bill proposed the repeal pure and that he opposed the Oaths Bill. But simple of Ilorne Tooke's Act. But a Bill the opposition to the Oaths Bill was without reservations or restrictions or liaimed, not at the admission, but the mitations would only bring the law back exclusion of one person. If, however, to the state of confusion which existed it had been permissible to pass Horne before Horno Tooke's Act was passed. Tooko's Act for the purpose of excluding The hon. Member for Southwark, who one person, the Houst might fairly be always addressed the House with perasked to pass a Bill to admit one per- fect contidence, laid down as a fact son ; but he supported the measuro on about which there was no doubt that, broader grounds. He desired to see a whatever the law, clergymen had sat in disability removed. The Clerical Dis the House.
no doubt abilities Act required the person taking about the question, how was it there advantage of the relief it gave to retiro, had been so many inquiries before from the Church; but he wanted to Select Committees Horne Tooke's Act know whether thoy could not go a step was not passed in a day or a week. It further, and provide that a person in was the result of inquiry, grave delihe.
ration, and animated debates. He found legislation for that purpose from sitting it laid down that, from the time of in the House. Edward I. to the year 1800, neither SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT said, that House nor the Constitution of the the arguments that had been advanced Realm had ever recognized the right seemed largely to preponderate in favour of clergymen as such to sit in Parlia- of the second reading of the Bill; but ment. If clergymen had in fact sat, it he could not support it on the ground was because the House had not recog- adopted by some hon. Members. He nized them as such. But whenever the could not adopt the grounds advanced House took notice of the return of clergy- by his hon. Friend the Member for men it declared the return void. Refer- Southwark (Mr. Thorold Rogers), or by ence had been made to Rushworth's the hon. Member who had just spoken. case; but it would, he thought, be found They had put it on the ground that that that completely broke down. Rush- clergymen were entitled to sit in that worth was ordained a deacon at 21, and House until Horne Tooke's Act was only exercised his calling for two months, passed. He believed the opposite opiand the Committee which seated him nion was the true one, and he had expressly distinguished his case. As looked carefully into the matter. He to the Bishops in the other House, believed that the greatest Parliamentary they had been placed there either by names were found in favour of the disstatute enactment or in great official tinct and clear declaration that clergy. capacities; therefore, the case of the men were ineligible to sit in the House Bishops was no argument at all. They of Commons. He might mention the did not go through contested popular names of Addington, Sir W. Scott, Mr. elections; they did not sit for Maccles- Law (afterwards Lord Ellenborough), field or Boston, or even so immaculate Lord Eldon, and Mr. Charles Williams a city as Oxford. He would remind Winn; and this weighty roll of disthe House of the words used by Lord tinguished lawyers declared clearly on Temple, who, in 1801, said
this point. As to the present Bill, it “I conjure you to pause well . . before
would be necessary that it should be you allow priests to desert their pulpits, to altered. They could not take it for search for fame on the benches of the House granted that but for Horne Tooke's Act of Commons, and force them to leave the plain clergymen would be entitled to a seat and beaten road of religion, to wander in the in that House if elected. The ground crooked and uneven paths of politics; and finally, before you sink the sanctity of the
on which he would support, generally, clerical character in the chicanery of private the second reading was not because the prejudices, of party, and of faction.”—[Parl. law had been so hitherto, but because Hist. xxxv. 1368.]
he was against the principle of religious He hoped the House would reject the Bill. disabilities interfering with seats in that
MR. GREGORY said, he did not at- House. That was the principle on which tach much importance to the argument the Party to which he belonged had that clergymen would be damaged by constantly acted; and step by step, and taking part in contested elections. What degree by degree, they had removed all they were really dealing with was Horne the disabilities which existed by the Tooke's Act. They could not ignore the law of Parliament or the Statutes of the circumstances which led up to that legis- Realm. He must ask, however, with lation; on the contrary, he thought they regard to this Bill, what the promoters must take them into their present con- meant to do with the disabilities of the sideration. Clergymen had sat in that Roman Catholic clergy? Because it was House previous to Horne Tooke's Act, impossible to pass this Bill in its present but no objection was ever taken to them form without dealing with the 9th secbefore. He asked, was this a time for tion of the Emancipation Act. Under continuing that disability ? He believed that Act, Roman Catholic priests were there was nothing to apprehend from subject to certain penalties if they sat the introduction of clergymen to that in that House; and it would be imposHouse; and as the law at present stood, sible to admit one class of priests and it operated against those who were too exclude another. He thought, before the conscientious to relieve themselves of Bill went further, this was a point which Holy Orders, whilst it did not prevent the hon. Member in charge of the Bill others who availed themselves of recent must very seriously consider. No doubt,
Sir John Mowbray