Imatges de pÓgina

zeal of members of the Church; and even built without speedily drawing within its the building of this large number of walls a congregation, and, therefore, I churches does not represent the whole of think the first and most advantageous act the good effected, for church accommoda- in the way of supplying the deficiency comtion was increased to a far greater extent plained of is the building of churches. by the restoration, enlargement, and im- In addition to the want of church accomprovement of the churches which took modation the noble Earl has also appealed place during the same period-the list I to the State in behalf of a sound scriptuhave read being only a record of the ral education. What the noble Earl means churches built. Now, the fact of these by a sound scriptural education is, I supchurches being built by private exertions pose, an education in accordance with the -the private and local exertions of indi- doctrines of the Church of England. I viduals-contrasts strongly with what was agree with him in desiring to see a sound done at the time Government aid was system of education introduced; but beafforded towards the building of churches fore we can hope to see such an education on the proposition of my noble Friend on as this, we must come to some agreement the cross-bench (the Earl of Shaftesbury). with those who have claims also upon the The churches built by the Commissioners State and the Government for the relief under those circumstances were, generally of their wants. We can no longer with speaking, most improvidently built. They truth say that the religion of the Church were built at a most irrational expense, of England is the religion of the people. and the funds were most injudiciously ap- I do not mean to assert that it may not propriated for the purpose. During the enjoy a numerical majority; but, notwithfirst thirty years of the century, 500 standing, the amount of dissent and the churches were built, at a cost of 3,000,000l. number of the various sects and denominasterling, 1,152,000l. being provided out of tions is such as to entitle them to very the public funds and the remainder from great consideration. Those persons are private benefactions. During the follow-good citizens and loyal subjects, and I say ing twenty years there were no public it is the duty of the State to care for their grants for any fresh undertakings, and yet, within that period, 5,500,000l. was spent, and 2,029 churches were built; so that, during the few years since the cessation of public grants, the efficiency of the remedy for the evil complained of by the noble Earl has increased immeasurably, and I must say that a spirit does exist at this moment, with the view of supplying the wants of the labouring classes in respect to religious instruction to a degree that never, in my memory, has existed before. That spirit is still on the increase, and I have no doubt that by the private exertions which will be made we shall meet the evil which exists far more effectually than by Government grants. I quite agree with the noble Earl that this is a great and necessary duty, but noble efforts have been made by individuals in the cause; and in proof of them let me mention to your Lordships the exertions made by the most rev. Prelate who presides over the clerical affairs of the metropolis, who has built more than 200 churches during his ministry, and also to the metropolitan, the success of whose exertions has been not much less. The noble Earl has stated that he thought the building of churches should not be the first object; but I believe that a church has never yet been

education equally with that of the members of the Church of England. My Lords, the difficulty of establishing any united system of education is so great that I begin to fear it must be considered as insuperable. But, my Lords, although the system adopted may not have worked so satisfactorily as could have been wished, I must remind your Lordships that the State has not altogether neglected measures for the education of all classes and all denominations.

Just look at the pro

gress made under this head since the revised system of grants voted by Parliament and distributed by the Committee of Privy Council. I do not know, but I am afraid this is not the most satisfactory mode of dealing with this subject; but, under the circumstances, I believe it to be the only practicable one, and I trust that the manner in which the Privy Council have discharged their duty to the country has given general satisfaction. This system of Parliamentary grants for the purpose of education commenced in the year 1839, when the sum of 50,000l. was voted for the purpose. I will not weary your Lordships by going through the whole of the years, and the gradual augmentation of the grants, but in the last year, 1853, those grants amounted to 260,000l.

I do not say that that is a large sum for such a purpose; on the contrary, if no better system can be devised, I am disposed to think it wise to extend and greatly increase, for such a purpose, that sum, large as it is. But I hope we shall shortly have a better system. There is a Bill before the other House of Parliament for the purpose of establishing a general system of united education in Scotland. Whether that will succeed or not I am unable to say; but it was introduced at least under very favourable auspices, and I must say if it does not succeed I shall be inclined to despair altogether of ever seeing, either in that country or this, a system of united education. We therefore, must do the best we can to supply the wants which have been described, by such a mode as I have pointed out; and I do think that a judicious increase and the judicious application of grants by the Committee of Privy Council offers practically the best mode of meeting the educational wants of the classes to which my noble Friend has alluded. Having said that, I cannot see the advantage of laying on the table a Resolution like that moved by the noble Earl, without any practical result expected or intended to be derived from it. I think there is nothing to be gained by such a proceeding; and it is quite unusual, in a Parliamentary sense, to lay on the table a declaration of that sort from which no particular measure is to ensue. Having said that I sympathise entirely with the feelings of the noble Earl on this subject, I should be very sorry, indeed, to meet such a Resolution with a direct negative; but, under the circumstances, I hope your Lordships will permit me to move the previous question.

EARL NELSON: My Lords, I quite agree in many of the remarks which have fallen from the noble Earl at the head of the Government; and as a friend to the Church of England I would be one of the first to protest against asking aid from the State. We have done a great deal, both in the building of churches and the erecting of church schools, but, notwithstanding all that has been done, we must remember that there is a great want which we have not yet met, and that cannot be met by the means which have hitherto been employed. It is a patent fact that in all our great towns in many of the manufacturing districts there are masses of the population who are virtually not only excluded from the Church, but are untouched either by The Earl of Aberdeen

the Church or by dissent, and who are nearly in a state of heathenism. Although I do not ask Government for any aid towards reclaiming these people, I think a great deal might be done by the appointment of a Commission to inquire into the best mode of meeting the difficulty. Many of the working men in the country consider that it is the duty of the Church to move in this matter. Now there does not appear to be any apathy on the part of individuals to move in the matter. Many solitary efforts have been made from time to time for remedying this admitted grievance, but they have all fallen short of the exigency of the case; and I believe that what is really wanted is some means of acting together to meet the awful deficiency of religious instruction among us. I hope that a Commission will be appointed by the Government, or else that the most rev. Metropolitan will call together some of his right reverend brethren, some of the most influential of the laity, and some of the parochial clergy, to discuss the best mode of supplying the melancholy want of spiritual provision and church accommodation disclosed by the Census returns. I believe that the most effectual method of combating the irreligion which prevails amongst the masses would be to send out a missionary staff of the clergy. We shall never succeed unless we are prepared to treat the people as if they were in a state of heathenism. I believe that the working men of this country are favourably inclined towards the Church of England; and I can state one curious fact in corroboration of that impression. Some time ago, when I was conversing with a very clever working man, I asked him what religious body had the greatest power over his fellow-workmen. He replied, that some years ago he should have said the Wesleyans; but, since they had had a split amongst them, he believed that the Church of England stood next on the list; but that, if we wished well to the Church of England, we ought to do all in our power to procure more clergymen, for it was clear to all that she was more deficient in clergymen in proportion to her people than any other religious body. I therefore am of opinion that the first thing to be done is to employ large bodies of clergy for real missionary work. We should require funds to support them, and more extended means for educating them than the Universities now present. In this respect the Roman Catholics in Ire

land teach us a useful lesson; for the way | plan we go on talking year after year and in which they provide for their priesthood doing nothing; but I believe that by issuis by selecting the cleverest boy in the ing a Commission, or by the adoption of village school and sending him to college the suggestion which I have thrown out for instruction for the ministry. Next to to the Metropolitan, we should be able to the employment of a large missionary devise some efficient remedy for the evils staff of clergy would be the establishment by which we are surrounded. of an organised body of the laity, voluntarily working under the clergy in their respective districts. I cannot refrain from mentioning the case of a friend of mine, the incumbent of Yarmouth, who proceeds on this principle. He divided his large parish into eight districts; these districts are placed under bodies of the laity, and visited by them; they all meet at the beginning of the week, and give a report of their proceedings to the minister, and a regular missionary work is carried on, and with most wonderful success. Next to voluntary organisation of the laity comes increased church accommodation. I do not say always increase the number of churches, because I think when we have to act against such a mass of irreligion as that by which we are surrounded, we ought in the first place to make better use of the churches already in existence. I believe much might be done in our cathedral towns by periodical preachings in the cathedrals, if a sufficient staff of clergy could be provided, and if periodical services could be performed in the naves of those cathedrals, I am sure the people would flock to them. But what is the case at present with respect to the churches in our towns? Most of them are used merely for morning, afternoon, and evening service. In many of the churches services might take place at hours more suitable to the working man than the hours at present fixed. This system is acted upon in the Roman Catholic places of worship. In some of the churches abroad the service of the Church of England is performed at one hour, some other Protestant service at another hour, and at another comes the Roman Catholic service. I have mentioned the points which appear to me to be the most important. I believe there are means by which the Church of England might provide a remedy for the evils complained of, and I am anxiously expecting the Report of the Cathedral Commissioners; and when we have seen what they propose and what the Ecclesiastical Commissioners can do, I have no doubt that a part of any fund that may be required can be raised by voluntary contribution. For the want of some practical

THE BISHOP OF OXFORD said, he hoped that the noble Earl who proposed the Resolution would acquiesce in the suggestion made by the noble Earl at the head of the Government, to dispose of it by the previous question, not because he differed from the noble Earl in the estimate of the great lack of spiritual provision for the people, nor because he differed from him in his estimate of the great importance to us, as a uation, of providing for the religious wants of the people; but because he was convinced that such a Resolution did really point the minds of men in the wrong direction for that relief which was required. He was convinced that in the present state of the population of the country the Church of England could not with propriety or advantage ask for grants from the public funds for the strengthening, encouragement, and development of religious education. Although he lamented the fact of a large portion of the population having separated from the Church, there was still, thank God, the great majority of the population_professing the religion of the Church of England. Even in the Census returns lately given the majority was of this kind-that whereas on the particular Sunday named there attended the Churches of England 2,300,000, the largest attendance of the next largest religious denomination and that a promiscuous one-was only 515,000. Now, although he said that those Census returns were singularly inaccurate in this respect, it was sufficient to show that the members of the Church of England were greatly in the majority. Indeed, he should be thankful if he were allowed to test the accuracy of those returns, not by the general results in the office of the Registrar General, but by the details of those returns sent from the several districts from which the general returns were tabulated. He had himself found many singular inaccuracies in respect to those parts of the country with which he was more particularly acquainted. But even making every allowance for those inaccuracies, he thanked God that the Church of England was the Church of the overwhelming majority of the people of this country. This fact, however, he did

not think would justify her in appealing to Parliament for the means of extending her power by grants of money, and he should deprecate, even if the Government were disposed to assent to such a proposal, the reception of such grants. What the Church of England wanted was increased liberty to adapt themselves to the present necessities of the people. He believed that they could only ask for a continuance of that liberty which they enjoyed by showing that they were deserving of it. He believed that they could only get increased grants by a diminution of their present liberty, and that the result of such aids would be to stir up that inimical feeling towards the Church which was now happily slumbering, and that they would check that flow of voluntary help which had ever been liberally exercised in that Church, and to which the noble Earl called attention by the aid of such a striking array of figures. When they had expended 3,000,000l. by the aid of the Government upon building churches they could only raise 1,900,000l. of that sum by voluntary assistance. They, however, were enabled to raise 5,000,000l. within a very much shorter period, when they had only their own voluntary efforts to depend upon. Although he thought that the Resolution of the noble Earl was influenced by the best intentions, yet its adoption by the House would be calculated to lessen the labours of the clergy, and to diminish their influence in the land. He should be sorry to see the expectations of those who desired to promote the greater efficiency of the Church disappointed, but he hoped that they would turn their attention to those internal exertions which he thought would suffice, with God's blessing, to overcome the difficulty, rather than resort to what he believed was a dangerous and palsying source of revenue, namely, a public grant from the public money of this land.

THE BISHOP OF ST. DAVIDS said, he thought that the adoption of the Resolution would place the important question they were considering upon a totally false and delusive foundation. The noble Earl who proposed this Resolution had, with his usual earnestness, adverted to several calamities and afflictive visitations which had recently befallen this country. The noble Earl had ventured to do that from which he (the right rev. Prelate) would shrink - namely, to assign a cause for those calamities, one which was necessarily hidden from the human mind, and buried The Bishop of Oxford

in the depths of the Divine councils. Now, he would only observe that, in these remarks the noble Earl had fallen into an enormous anachronism, extending to an interval of about 300 years. The noble Earl attributed those calamities to the neglect of the Government which had failed to provide, by grants out of the public Treasury, the means of supplying a remedy for the spiritual destitution under which the people were labouring. The noble Earl had confounded a present effect with a remote cause. If there had been any guilt in this matter, it certainly was not chargeable on any Government in our day, but had its origin in those religious dissensions which broke out about 300 years ago, and had continued down to this day. These dissensions were the palpable cause which precluded the nation and the Government from meeting the evil which they all deplored. He thought, therefore, that when the noble Earl treated the evils which had come upon us as a punishment for a national sin, he should have recollected that this sin was committed three centuries ago, and that it was not in our power at once to remedy the evil. If there was the slightest prospect that the Resolution, if passed, would have the effect of healing those religious dissensions, and of restoring us to that unity of feeling which was broken 300 years ago, then he would most cheerfully consent to it. But inasmuch as we were labouring under evils arising from causes so remote, he thought that the language which had fallen from the noble Earl was much to be deplored, as it could only have the effect of diverting the attention of the country and of Parliament from the remedies by which the evils complained of could be mitigated or removed.

THE EARL OF CLANCARTY: My Lords, having listened with attention to this discussion, I wish, with your Lordships' permission, to say a few words before it closes. The noble Earl at the head of Her Majesty's Government, in objecting to the Resolution of my noble Friend, adverted to the fact, certainly a very gratifying one, that of late years a large and increasing number of churches had been built by the munificence of individuals, and that the yearly increase of church accommodation had been greater from that source than formerly, when the State gave aid to the building of churches; but both the noble Earl and the right rev. Prelate, who spoke last but one, appear to me to attach far too much importance to these church

buildings, as a means of supplying the regulate the rights of property, without spiritual wants of the country. Church the aid and sanction of the Divine law, accommodation is, no doubt, very important without the conviction upon the mind of and much needed; but much more impor- the population, that those laws are founded tant is that religious training of the popu- upon the law of God? Let it be conlation which induces them to resort to sidered for a moment, what would be the places of worship. I therefore deeply re- condition of this country upon the possible gret the manner in which the noble Earl visitation of a famine, or of the vast popunoticed that part of the Resolution and of lation of the manufacturing districts being my noble Friend's speech which referred thrown out of employment, and wrought to the want of adequate provision for the upon by want to combine in insurrection scriptural education of the poor. The against the constituted authorities of the noble Earl could not distinguish scriptural land. What reason is there to suppose from sectarian instruction, and, therefore, that, with such a population, unrestrained could promise nothing. He did not con- by the precepts of the Divine law, Engsider that the Established religion was the land would not witness scenes of bloodshed religion of the masses of the people; per- and outrage similar to those which ushered haps it was not; but the people of Eng- in the French Revolution of 1793, when land, whether members of the Established Paris was in the hands of an infidel mob ? Church or Dissenters, were a people pro- Christianity was then disowned, and men fessing Christianity, and should, therefore, affected to worship the goddess of Reason. not be left in that state of heathen igno- The events of that period should be rerance which had been this evening admit-garded by every Christian Government as ted and lamented on both sides of the a warning against the possible conseHouse. After the manner in which the Government has for so many years disregarded the petitions that have been presented from Ireland for the sanction, aid, and encouragement of scriptural education for the poor of that country, I ought, perhaps, not to be surprised that the noble Earl should receive so unfavourably the representation made by my noble Friend in behalf of the neglected masses of the manufacturing population of England. The noble Earl has so repeatedly affirmed that the godless system of education under the Irish National Board was the greatest blessing ever conferred upon Ireland, that he is only acting in consistency with that opinion in withholding from, or rather in not extending to, the working classes, whose ignorant condition he admits, the means of Scriptural instruction which my noble Friend calls upon the State to provide. But I would warn the noble Earl that such spiritual destitution, such heathen ignorance as has been described as existing among a large section of the population, not only reflects disgrace upon a Protestant Government, but is fraught with danger to the stability of the State. Does any noble Lord think that the restraints of mere temporal power, mildly, as I rejoice to say, that power is exercised in this free country, are alone sufficient for maintaining the harmony and order of society, and for enforcing respect for legitimate authority and obedience to the laws, those laws especially which guard and VOL. CXXXIII. [THIRD SERIES.]


quences of neglecting the religious interests of the people. Be assured that, to uphold the fabric of society, especially in a free country, the restraints of religion are not less essential than those of the municipal law. Hence, I conceive it is that we have in this country the union of Church and State. The one sanctions and supports the other. The Church claims the sanction and support of the State, as the witness and exponent of the truth in this country; and as the State, on the other hand, claims the sanction of the Divine law for the enforcement of its ordinances, it is its duty to support the Church in its mission of disseminating the knowledge of the Word of God throughout the length and breadth of the land. The Church is not to be dealt with as establishment for the rich, or for only a section of the people. If, as the noble Earl remarks, the religion of the Church of England is no longer the religion of the people of England, why is it but because the Church has been wanting in ministerial efficiency, because the causes of the spiritual destitution complained of are precisely those which are set forth in the Resolution? If the Church possesses within itself the means of expansion, it is the duty of the Government to turn those means to account. If its resources are insufficient, then the State should provide whatever may be necessary for extending its ministrations, and teaching to all who are willing to accept of them, but espeG

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