Abbildungen der Seite

bound to pay the metropolitan of the province no other obedience than so far as regarded the canons of the church; and if the metropolitan were to interfere with the bishops in revoking their licences, or granting licences, where they, for reasons cogent in their conception, had refused them; and the fame of difcord should burst forth between the me tropolitan and the bishops, the latter would perhaps refuse to grant any licence or ordination, and tell applicants to go to the metropolitan, and let him take care of all of them. His Lordship said, he was decidedly adverse to the clause, and the more so, as the end could be more effectually anfwered by other means, and in his mind better answered. His Lordship, then read a proviso, which he had drawn up to substirute in the stead of the clause, and which obliged the bishop, who refused one or more licences, to afsign his reasons for so doing in writing, and submit them to the archbishop of the province, who, if he disapproved them, the person so refused a licence might appeal to the King in Chancery; for it was in the court of Chancery that his Max jesty, in virtue of his fupremacy, exercised his ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The proviso contained a variety of guards and sureties, to operate as checks upon the bishop, if he lhould abuse the discretion vested in him. . His Lordship fully argued the subject and sat down.

The Bishop of Oxford began by observing, that he had been personally addressed by the rev. prelate, and therefore, though but little used to public speaking, he felt himself called upon to attempt some reply to what had fallen from a right rev. Lord, of so much more experience and authority than himself. In the first place, he must recur to his former argument, and assert, that the analogy, or scale of relation between the archbishop and the bishop, and between the bishop and his clergy, were funilar and stood upon similar grounds. That the archbishop had always, from the earliest periods of the church of Christ, been held to be the head of ihe church, he could prove from indispu:able authorities, which he had collected, and then held in his hand. The first he would refer to, was of fo early a date as the year 303. It was a canon of the council of Nice, which he read to the Committee in the original Latin, and which stated that the archbishop was, according to the ancient usage, to be cons fidered as the head of the church in all things, and that the bishops were to be amenable and obedient to the archbishop in all things. The next document he referred to, was at the time of the Reformation, which he also read to the Committee; and the next in more modern lines. His Lordthip pointed out the effect of the Pope's affuining the supremacy over the catholic church, and stared the mischievous effe&is of his baneful influence in this kingdom. After dwelling for lonie time on the learned authorities which he had referred io, in order to prove that the archbishops, in all times of the church of Christ, had exercised fovereign authority, as far as related to spiritual affairs, over bishops and their clergy, le faid it was a inistake to consider the cure of souls as solely under the care of the incumbents of livings, or parcchial clergy. The bishops themselves were refponfible for the cure of souls throughout the whole kingdom, and as they could not possibly do the duties of every parish, they sent

heir clergy to perform them. With relpect to wbiat other rev. prelates might think the oath they took to the archbilhop bound them to, was a matter, for them to settle with their consciences; but he conceived, that having taken an oath to be obedient to the archbishop or metropolitan, he was bound to pay him obedience, and submit to his authority in all matters of church discipline. With respect to its being an infringement, he would refer the rev. prelate to the AZ of the 20th Geo. III. commonly called the curates act, where that act was recognized; and the rev. prelate on that occasion had given his full approbation of the measure ; he had even gone farther, and in a public charge to his clergy, had expressly and distinctly made that acknowledgment. The learned prelate then referred to several ancient cases, 10 shew that the right was vested in the archbishop from sine inmemorial.

After having fully discussed this point, his Lordship proceeded to express his wonder, that any rev. prelate thould object to there being, by the enactments of the bill, an appeal to the archbishop. So far from objecting to it, or considering it as any hardship, it was a great confolation 10 bis mind that the exercise of the discreiion with which he was to be invefted, was to be made subject to revision. It fet him at once at rest, and removed all the irksome feelings that would otherwise have goaded him, in the exercise of that discretion. Nor could he by any means consider it as a disgrace. or a degradation of a bishop, that an appeal would Jie against his discretional conduct; indeed, he' had ever con fidered it to be one of the great beauties of our constiujon, that in many cases, and especially in cases of property, the


decisions of the courts of law, nay, the decisions of the first law authority in the kingdom (the Lord High Chancellor) could be, and daily were, appealed from, at the bar of that House; and, did any man living imagine that such appeals operated as a disgrace or degradation of those high characters? Nay, were not the Lord Chancellor and the judges pleased and gratified at having their decisions revised; because, if they had fallen into error in forming their judgments, an opportunity was afforded of setting ihose errors right, if they were proved to be errors, on the heating of an appeal. His Lordship having pressed his argumen's very strongly, sat down, declaring, that if the Committee divided, he thould vote for the clause standing in the bill.

The Lord Chancellor said, he rose chiefly to repel a principle mischievous in iis tendency, which had been introduced by a rev. prelale (the Bithop of Norwich) the preceding day, and still more mischievously applied by the rev. prelate who opened the debate that day. A rev. prelate the preceding day had thrown out an idea, that where the legislature vested a discretion in the bishops, they were to consider it as a legislative intimation of its with. No principle could be more false. A discretional power had been repeatedly delegated by the legislature in cases in which, from their nature and circumstances, no positive rule of conduct could be de. fined or enacted; but could any man imagine, that when it was left 10 his discretion, that he was not freely to exercise that discretion according to the best of his judgment? What was the use of trusting him with the discreional power, if he did not so exercise it? He was responsible for the exercise of it; but if it appeared, that in exercising it, he had not been influenced by any bad motives, no idea of his having abused his trust could be imputed to him. With regard to the extravagant extent to which the rev. prelate opposite to him had pushed this false principle, he was astonished that a right rev. bishop, of his great learning and abilities, should have conceived so strange an idea, that if the metropolitan exercised that authority, which the constitution of the church gave him, of exerciling his supremacy, by revoking the licences granted by a bishop, or by granting licences to pasich priests to whom a bishop or bifhops had refused licences, that ihe bishops would be provoked to such unseemly anger, as to refuse afterwards to grant any licence, but send all who applied for them to the archbishop himself. He could VOL. IV. 1802-3.



[ocr errors]


for a moment believe that such a caprious consequence would be the result of the operation of the clause, which he he had much rather have stand as it was, than accept the rev. Prelate's proviso. But the rev. Prelate had said, the clause was inconftirutional. What, was the object of the bill wholly lost sight of! Was it not to give facilities to spiritual persons, and rescue them from the penal severities of the act of the 21st of Henry the Eighih, at the same time that it was meant to enforce the residence of the clergy? Where the legifla:ure was inclined to grant a benefit to any description of subjects, was it unconstituional to prescribe the condisions on which it granted it? Surely no such argument could be maintained for a moment. . With respect to an appeal being a disgrace or a degradation to a rev. Prelate, were jjot appeals repeatedly brought into ihat House, and was not a considerable part of their Lordships iime occupied most usefully for the public in hearing them? His Lordship concluded by recommending it to the Committee to support the clause as it stood in the bill.

The Bishop of St. Afaph rose to reply to the very learned and able speech, which, he said, had fallen from ihe right rèv. Prelate behind him ; and he could not but observe, that the very first of the learned authorities that that right rev. Prelate had referred 10, was a canon of the Council of Nice

The Bishop of O.xford interrupted the right rev. Prelate 10 remind him, that in that canon were the words “ according to the ancient usages,” which, of course, were to be understood as "usages of the church in times then long past," or the word ancient could not have been of any meaning.

The Bishop of St. Alaph pursued his reply, which was not a long one, and was more an iteration of his former speech than a series of much new argnment.

At length the question was put on this clause, and the Committee divided.

Contents 24-Non Contents 2. The Committee then proceeded to the proviso which follows the clause just agreed 10, and which enads, “that licences may be revoked by the bishop who granted them, or by his successors ;" and after that to the five next clauses, in which several verbal amendments were moved, and various observations were made by the Bishop of London, the Bishop of St. Alaph, Lord Alvanley, and the Bishop of Oxford, which were answered by the Lord Chancellor, who in fome instances declared himself unprepared at that moment to offer the amendments which his Lord'hip said would be necessary to be made in fome of the clauses, and which he would pledge himself to prepare and submit to their Lord, Tips ano'her day.


Lord Auckland made several pertinent observations; and the Bishop of St. Afaph gave notice, that he should move for the rejection of a clause in the latter part of the bill, which actually went to the re-enactment of the gth of Edward the Second, a statute, on a former day, two noble and learned Lords had asserted was, by implication, repealed by the 21st of Henry the Eighth.

When the Committee arrived at the monition clause, (the 230)

Lord Auckland said, that they were got so far in the bill, that, as he understood they were to fit the next day, and as more clauses remained to be discussed, than they could conveniently go through that evening, yet, if noble Losds would attend early, they might accomplish it in two or three hours next day; he submitted it, therefore, to the Committee, whether they might not then adjourn?

The Bishop of St. Afaph said, he thought in one half hour more they might get through the bill.

The Lord Chancellor, being called upon 'by the whole Committee, faid, it was with regret he consented io fit on Saturday, which was a necessary day of rest to him; but if he was asked, whether he would prefer fitting longer that night, or coming to conclude the other clauses the next day, he Tould say he preferred the latter.

The Bishop of Durham said, after what the noble and learned Lord had said, there could be no doubt but that they ought to adjourn.

Lord IFallingham put the usual question ; the Committee Fose, and the House was resumed.

The Committee to fit the next day.

The Lord Obancellor said, a noble Lord, now no more, had in his hearing declared, that when the House was adjourned to tivee o'clock it meant four, and therefore he would adjourn till two o'clock, hoping every noble Lord and right sev. Prelate would be in his place by three.


[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »