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BISHOPS IN THE HOUSE) OF LORDS, WELSH M.P.'S MOTION FOR THEIR EVICTION. In the House of Commons on Tuesday, on the conclusion of the debate on the Address, Mr. HERBERT LEWIS (R., Flint Boroughs), who had precedence, it being a private members' night, was received with Opposition cheers on rising to call attention to the posi- tion of the bishops in the House of Lords, and to move "that the legislative power of bishops in the House of Peers in Parliament is a great hindrance to the discharge of their spiritual functions, prejudicial to the Commonwealth, and ought to be taken away by Bill. presence of the bishops in Parliament was, he believed, an anomaly and an injustice-preju- dicial to the interests of religion, and inimical to those of the community. He dealt with the history of the movement for the removal of the bishops from their seats with the temporal peers from its beginning in Commonwealth times, and, after remarking that he had received communications in support of his motion from many Conservatives and Church- men, said the reasons which he assigned for the motion that day were the same as were advanced by the House of Commons in 1641. Their attendance in the Lords was now, as was stated 200 years ago, a very great hin- drance to thei rministerial functions, a though the facilities of travel had. of course, greatly increased, yet the population of the dioceses had also greatly grown. It was also urged by the House of Commons in 1641 that the bishops' expectation of translation to places of greater profit rendered them in some degree- unfitted to sit in the Lords. He was afraid that that reason was connected in many minds with the attitude of the bishops towards some of the most beneficial legislation that had ever been carried through. Why had the bishops so seldom raised their voices against unjust wars? He specially re-called a case in which, in Lord Beaoonsfield's time, six bishops came down to Westminster to vote for the Afghan War. It was then rather unkindly suggested that a great see was vacant. (Laughter.) He did not attribute any motive except that of loyalty to the existing Government. (Renewed laugh- ter.) But he asked whether it was wise that the heads of the English Church should be in a position where their votes gave rise to strong it undeserved, suspicion. (Hear, hear.) With regard to the record of the votes of the bishops, he declared that for the most part they had voted when they should not have voted, and held aloof when they should have voted. They had voted, for instance, against the removal of the disabilities of Roman Catholics and of Jews, and against the pro- posals to admit Nonconformists to the univer- sities and to other rights of citizenship. Even now there were coming before Parliament year, by year questions which seriously affected the interests of Nonconformists, and he asked whether it was right or fair that a House which did not contain a single Protestant Dis- senter for England or Wales should be the ultimate judge in matters of that sort. (Hear, hear.) With reference to purely political questions, he reminded the House of the part the bishops took in the early days of the anti- slavery struggle and in reference to the great Reform Bill, and he mentioned, as an instance of their views as to the rights of property, that seven bishops voted for and none against a Bill for the abrogation of the death penalty for the theft of goods worth 5s. He denied that the motion was one for Disestablishment, declaring that it was only directed against a specific anomaly and grievance, which was felt by a large number of persons—Churchmen and Nonconformists alike—and which might, he believed, be removed with the best results both to the Church and the State. (Opposi- tion cheers.) Mr. STEVENSON (R., Suffolk, Eye), in seconding, said the bishops might have held a reasonable and even useful position in ihe House of Lords at a time when schism was practically unknown in Great Britain, and when ihere were scarcely any differences of religious opinion throughout the kingdom, bat in the state of affaire which now prevailed their presence in the Upper House was logically quite untenable. He laid stress on the manner, in which the bishops had to absent themselves from their dioceses, sometimes for no other pur- pose than that of taking their turn at reading prayers in the House of Lords, even though the subjects under discussion at the time might be quite unconnected with Church matters. He regarded it ao on several grounds undesirable that the bishops should te identified with party politics, and he insisted that, instead of the bishops having beea the leaven to spiritualise the House of Lords the House had rather tended to materialise the bishops. (Cheers.) Mr. GEDGE (U., Walsall) agreed that neither the Church Establishment nor the existence of the Church as a spiritual body depended in the least degree on the presence of its bishops in the House of Lords, but yet there were decided advantages in their presence there. For -nstance, the bishops in their own dioceses exercised tremendous influence, and it was, perhaps, desirable that they should come into contact in Parliament with those who were socially their equals, and in some cases intel- lectually their superiors. (Laughter.) Mr. S. MACNEILL (N., Donegal, S.), speaking as an Irish Protestant, said the bishops became a useful force in politics at the time of the Reformation. The bishop of the thirteenth century founded churches and cathedrals, and the bishop of to-day only founded families. (Hear, hear.) The difference between them was enormous. When Mr. MACNEILL was speaking the Bishops of Chester and St. AsapH entered the peers' gallery, and the hon. member turned in that direction and appeared to be addressing his remarks to their lordships. He remarked he did not wish to say anything about gentlemen who were present. The SPEAKER: Order, order. The hon. mem- ber mist address himself to the Chair. Mr. MACNEILL said it would benefit the Eng- lish clergy and the English Church if bishops were removed from their present position, and allowed to be the chief pastors of their flock, and not mere politicians. Sir E. CLARKE (U., Plymouth) remarked that it was a pity the subject should not be dealt with more seriously, and he regretted that no member of the Cabinet thought it worth while to be present. (Opposition cheers.) The Church was as essential a part of the State as Parlia- ment itself, and unless it was represented in the House of Lords it would not be repre- sented at all. He challenged both the proposi- tions of the resolution, and he asserted that the bishops spoke with at least as much autho- rity as any elected member of the Lower House. He did not agree with all that the bishops had done in the House of Lords. On more than one question he thought their action had not been in accordance with the dictates of sound reason. But that was a very insufficient reason for suggesting that their presence there was prejudicial to the common- wealth. The resolution raised the constitu- tional question whether the various elements of thought and influence were to be represented by the Church in the greatest and most prominent of all our institutions. It was urged that the Church should speak, at all events, in one of our great deliberative Assemblies, and for that reason he resisted the amendment. Mr. CARVELL WILLIAMS (R., Notts, Mans- field) said the removal of the bishops from the House of Lords would do no injury to the bishops or the Church, and it would be a gain to religion and to the country at large. Lord HUGH CECIL (U., Greenwich) said he did not think the Church as a Church ought to have anything in the way of a privilege. The idea that the Church was to be singled out from all other denominations and to be given special advantages and privileges was, he thought, a vicious idea-(hear, har)-and ho saw no reason why other religiodf denomi- nations should not be represented. This might be made the first step in a radical change in the constitution of the House of Lords, so ad to make it more completely representative of all the better educated classes of the community He moved an amendment expressing the desirability of adding other peers to the House, and especially those who represented the greater religious denominations other than the Church of England. Mr. SHARPE (U., Kensington, W.) seconded. Sir R. REID (E., Dumfries Burghs) said the noble lord who moved the amendment dis- sented from the high Tory doctrines of Sir E. Clarke, who seemed to imagine that there belonged to the Church of England the exclu- sive privilege of exceptional representation. That was the only argument brought forward from the other side in favour of the presence of bishops in the House of Lords, and it had been satisfactorily demolished by the noble lord. Any attempt to strengthen the House of Lords by leaving its powers unimpaired, and simply adding a few more persons owing their position to selection by the Crown, would meet with very vigorous opposition from those who wished something better in the way of reform. But he did not think the divines would be any better than the bishops. There had as yet been no attempt to show that the bishops were a useful factor in the House of Lords. They had in former times been against the abolition of slavery, and at the present time they had done nothjng to prevent slavery as it existed in Zanzibar. They had not protested against the rule of the Sultan and the Turks in Armenia. (Hear, hear.) The amendment was one that none of them could support, and he did not think Nonconformist divines wished to be represented in the House of Lords. Sir R. WEBSTER (Attorney-General) said the hon. member had adduced very unfortunate instances of the work of the bishops. It was wholly unfair to assume, after the information that had been given to the House, that there was any slavery in Zanzibar which the Govern- ment could put down. Then, with regard to Turkish rule in Armenia, the hon. gentleman had no right to charge the bishops with enter- ing the political arena. Sir ROBERT REID, interrupting, said he had made no reference to the political arena. All he said was that they were members of a political Assembly, and that if they had used their influence in the direction of showing their abhorrence of the oppression of the Christians under Turkish rule, that oppression would by now have been rendered impossible. (Hear, hear.) Sir RICHARD WEBSTER said that if that was not entering the political arena, he did not know what was(Ministerial clieers)—and he thought the bishops could not have dis- cussed even the outline of the questions which had been suggested without practically com- mitting themselves to a side in party politics He deprecated the suggestion of the mover of the resolution that the votes of the bishops might be influenced by the hope of preferment, and he thought that suggestion was not made any better by the apparent disclaimer of the hon. gentleman that he "imputed no motives." (Ministerial cheers.) Mr. HERBERT LEWIS: I did not impute motives. I only said it was unfortunate that the bishops should be placed in a position motives. I only said it was unfortunate that the bishops should be placed in a position which rendered their motives liable to miscon- ception, and even suspicion. (Opposition cheers.) Sir R. WEBSTER, proceeding, characterised as a slander the contention that the bishops neglected the duties of their dioceses for the attractions of London society, or even for attendance at the House of Lords. He ventured to say, indeed, that ninety out of every hun- dred hours of a bishop's time was given up to the duties of his diocese. (Ministerial cheers.) He went on to inquire whether there were not matters in which the presence of the bishops in the Legislature was not of value? For his own part, he regarded their attitude on the great questions of education and temperance as almost justifying their presence there, even if there had been no other ground for it. (Ministerial cheers.) Mr. A. BALFOUR pointed out that the amend- ment raised a point which, though interesting in itself, would tend to confuse the Govern- ment. Personally, he would not object to the raising of certain Nonconformists to another place—(laughter)—but, under the circumstances, he trusted the amendment would be with- drawn. Lord HUGH CECIL thereupon asked leave to withdraw his amendment, but this was refused, and the amendment was formally negatived. Mr. Lewis's motion was then put, when the numbers were:- For the motion 129 Against 200 Government majority 71 j

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