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Universities in this respect; and in the College to which I belong— Trinity College, Cambridge—I believe that the anticipation of this measure has had an injurious effect.
My Lords—Looking at the originators of this Bill, I hope I may assume that it is intended as a direct benefit to the Church. I therefore may consider the question, “What are the wants of the Church at this day?" My Lords, I believe that the want most experienced is that the Church should be felt as a living power, and a principle of active beneficence; that there should be a complete and sound organization, and, above all, unity of action, in the Church. And I am convinced that, in this view, these institutions should be revived and put into action, instead of being dealt with as this Bill proposes ; and that the Church will never be restored to its true condition till that is done. Will it be said that all I have alleged may be admitted, and yet that it nowise bears on the present question, for that all the functions of Chapters may be equally performed with their numbers as reduced by this Bill ? My Lords, I answer that it is impossible seriously to maintain this. Four Canons may, perhaps, perform the duties as they have lately been measured ; but assuredly not their full functions, as I contend that, according to their constitution, they should be executed. The Bill itself shows that this could not be intended ; because, if it were, the number of Canons in each Diocese, instead of being uniform, would vary according to their different sizes : if four is enough for a large Diocese, it must be too many for a small one. For the same reason, I hope your Lordships will think that I am absolved from the task of attempting to answer the arguments of the Most Reverend Primate and the noble Viscount, which all proceeded on a much lower view of the duties of Chapters than I am inclined to take. The noble Viscount, indeed, considers all these duties most unfit for such bodies. But he merely stated his opinion, which will, of course, go for much more than mine. I have endeavoured, on the contrary, to show to your Lordships that these functions are essential to the Church.
There is, however, one argument of the Most Reverend Primate, which is so strange that I will just notice it. He thinks this Bill will be an example to others to come forward to contribute towards the same objects. My Lords, how should this be ? Confiscation operate as an encouragement to endow! How should any man devote his means to endowment when he does not know whether his endowment may not be diverted at any time to purposes quite different from what he intended ?
My Lords—Unquestionably some contribution, even in money, may be fairly demanded of these bodies towards the objects of this Bill. But in what way? I conceive the true principle was indicated by the noble Earl opposite (Lord Harrowby), in an able pamphlet, written thirty years ago, and republished in 1831, and upon which was founded a bill introduced by the Most Reverend Primate-namely, that of drawing from their incomes contributions towards those parishes whose tithes are appropriated to them. This is a sound principle, and I regret that the noble Earl who indicated it is now one of the most powerful supporters of this Bill.
My Lords, at the least and worst, if these revenues are to be abstracted, there is yet another point which I would most earnestly press upon your Lordships. Parliament may have the right—at all events I have not been disputing it—to deal with the revenues as it chooses. But I do most emphatically deny the right of Parliament to destroy the offices themselves. A Right Reverend Prelate, some time ago, laid it down, with the apparent approbation of your Lordships—certainly with the expressed approbation of some of the ablest supporters of this Bill—that Parliament ought not to interfere with anything but the temporalities of the Church. The same has been admirably maintained by Mr. Manning, in a pamphlet, with every word of which I agree ; and I, for one, will not allow this Bill to pass without attempting to persuade your Lordships to retain the offices even without emolument.
My Lords, it is under the greatest discouragement that any attempt is made to resist this bill. We know that it is introduced by those to whom, for every action previous to the formation of this Commission, the whole Church feels the deepest gratitude, and the most entire confidence. But it is no consolation to us to know that so dangerous a measure to the Church is promoted by those who have been her ablest defenders. Rather, when I look at this measure of wild and baseless confiscation, and see the venerable authority under which it is introduced, I cannot but tremble—I do not say for the Church, or for the establishment of the Church-I tremble for none but those who do wrong—but for the nation that does this evil; for the age that has produced such a portent.
SPEECH IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS
THIRD READING OF THE AUSTRALIAN COLONIES
GOVERNMENT BILL.—July 5, 1850.
(Published for the Society for the Reform of Colonial Government.)
MY LORDS—This Bill has been to some extent altered, and, I suppose, improved, in the Committee. But it is still so far short of what, as it seems to me, a Bill should be for the government of the Australian Colonies, that I am anxious to take this, the last opportunity that will occur, of making some remarks on the general question involved in it.
My Lords, I have certainly seen the progress of this Bill with much disappointment and regret, because I believe that in passing it we are losing the best opportunity that has ever occurred—an opportunity that we may never have again—of introducing a real reform in our Colonial system. I am adverting, and shall advert, mainly to one point in such a reform, because, by universal admission, and particularly by the repeated declarations of the noble Earl (Lord Grey) opposite, it is instar omnium—and this Bill, as I will attempt to show, makes no approach to it : the concession to the Colonies of real self-government in their own local affairs.
My Lords, this principle is not only important in what evidently and directly belongs to it, but because almost all the rest of the question depends upon it.
The best illustration of this is to be found in that important point of detail which has been already matter of discussion in this House—the question of a Second Legislative Chamber in the constitution of a Colony. One objection to the establishment of such a chamber in the Australian Colonies has been, that there are no adequate materials in their societies for its composition. But it is precisely because we have not given them self-government–because our Colonists have not felt, in going out to and settling in the Colonies, that they have taken with them that which is the pride and birthright of Englishmen at home, and admitted to be a main source of the excellence of our institutionscontrol over their own affairs—that the composition of their society has fallen short of what we should wish to see it, and therefore affords (if it be so no sufficient materials for a Second or Upper Chamber. Whereas, if we really gave them self-government, we might hope that all the rest would follow, both as to this particular point, and as to fitness for all other political privileges.
My Lords, that the Colonies have not this power of self-government, as long as an official department at home has an universal power of disallowance over all their local enactments on all subjects, great and small, is to me so self-evident, that I do not know how any argument could make it clearer than it is. It is unaccountable how any one can suppose that it is any answer to this statement to allege, as the noble Earl did the other night, that, in point of fact, of a given number100 or 120—of Bills passed by the local Legislatures, only a small proportion, five or six, were actually disallowed by the Colonial Office. The point is, not that a