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a ceremony performed by the Vicar-General of the Archbishop of the province, and until lately almost always regarded as a merely technical function. In view, however, of somewhat noisy proceedings which had recently taken place at the “confirmations" of one or two bishops, against whom too great height or breadth of views had been alleged, it was determined that in future the ceremony of confirmation of episcopal elections should take place at the Church House, Westminster, instead of in Bow Church, as heretofore. In the case of Canon Gore it was soon known that objection to the confirmation of his election to the See of Worcester would be raised both on grounds of alleged heterodoxy of views in regard to the inspiration of the Scriptures, as expressed in the article by him included in the series of essays called Lux Mundi and published under his editorship about 1890, and also on account of his alleged Romanising” tendencies as shown in his membership until lately of the English Church Union, the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, and other societies. The order of procedure observed was that on January 16 a citation was read at the Church House on behalf of the Primate, summoning all opposers of the confirmation of Canon Gore's election to appear there before the Primate or his Vicar-General or Surrogate, on January 22, when it was intended to proceed with the confirmation, and requiring all intending objectors to send in written notice of their objections before 4 P.M. on the 21st. When, however, having sent in their notices, they did present themselves before the Vicar-General (Mr. C. A. Cripps, K.C., M.P.) on the appointed day, he firmly refused to hear any of them, on the ground, as he carefully explained, that their objections all related to points of doctrine, and that in accordance with a decision of his predecessor, Sir Travers Twiss, in the Temple case, the only objections which could be entertained were such as related to defects in the form or manner of the election, or as alleged that the person presenting himself for confirmation was not he on whom the choice of the Crown had fallen.
Strong protests were made against this decision by Mr. Kensit, who appeared as an individual objector, and others; and counsel on behalf of the Church Association and other strongly Protestant bodies asked for an adjournment of the proceedings in order to allow of an application to the King's Bench Division. The Vicar-General, however, put aside the protests, and, refusing the adjournment requested, proceeded, amid cries of “Farce!” and “ Fraud ! to read the decree of confirmation. On January 24, however, application being made to the King's Bench, on behalf of the Church Association and the Imperial Protestant Federation, for a rule nisi for a mandamus to the Primate and his Vicar-General to hear and consider the objections put forward by those bodies against the confirmation of Canon Gore's election, the Lord Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Darling granted the rules asked for, saying
139 that the matter appeared to them one that ought to be discussed. The case came on for further hearing in the King's Bench Division on February 3, the Lord Chief Justice being again present, and the arguments lasted through three days. On February 10 judgment was given against the parties claiming to have their objections heard. The Lord Chief Justice read an elaborate judgment, in which, for reasons which he fully set forth, he held that there was nothing in the Act of 25 Henry VIII., c. 20, to show that the Archbishop or VicarGeneral could in any way question the fitness of the person nominated to a bishopric by the Crown, and that, therefore, they could have no jurisdiction to consider objections to the fitness of such person on doctrinal grounds. He, therefore, decided that the rules must be discharged, and Mr. Justice Wright and Mr. Justice Ridley having read judgments to the same effect, the rules were accordingly discharged. The Lord Chief Justice accompanied his judgment by the natural remark that it seemed to him worthy of consideration whether the form of public citation, which ought to be retained for some purposes, should not be modified so as to meet the real case and remove the possibility of the observation that it was a temptation to people to raise questions at an unsuitable time and place.
The judgment gave general satisfaction, as removing all further obstacles in the way of the consecration of Canon Gore. His elevation to the Episcopate was approved by the great majority of Churchmen, and was looked upon sympathetically by many Nonconformists; but he had very properly deferred presenting himself to be consecrated until the legal questions raised had been determined. At the same time it was recognised that the decision tended to emphasise the formal character of ceremonies seeming to enshrine the residue of a greater freedom once enjoyed from State supremacy by the Church, and a certain irony was felt to attach to the fact that such emphasis should have been evoked in connection with the accession to episcopal office of a clergyman very specially associated with the advocacy of larger independent activities on the part of the Church of England.
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THURSDAY, January 30, was a notable Parliamentary day, for it witnessed the description by Mr. Balfour of the Ministerial scheme for the reform of the procedure of the House of Commons, and the introduction and exposition by the Ministers respectively in charge of them of the Government legislative projects dealing with the supply of water in London and the sale of alcoholic liquor in England and Wales. The general ground taken up by Mr. Balfour was that the existing system of Parliamentary procedure, while it might have been quite suited to days when, as in the middle of the eighteenth century, the only considerable Parliamentary difficulty was to induce the stream of oratory to flow, had distinctly ceased to be suited to our own times. Having cited figures to show how immensely the work of the House had increased of late years, he went on to indicate first a number of minor alterations which he proposed with a view to economising Parliamentary time. Thus it was proposed to restrict the right of challenging divisions on various occasions. The first reading of ordinary Bills would be granted as a matter of course. It was also proposed to simplify the procedure on the report stages of Bills which had been considered in committee of the whole House. An assistant-chairman was to be appointed to take the place of the chairman of committees when necessary, and to exercise all his powers, whether as chairman or Deputy-Speaker. (At present only the Speaker or chairman of committees could put a motion for closure.) Questions of privilege not arising out of
[41 controversies between the two Houses would, instead of giving rise to immediate and very possibly protracted debate, be referred, on the motion of a Minister of the Crown, to the Committee of Privileges.
The next set of changes dealt with breaches of Parliamentary order and decorum. It was proposed that the suspension for disorderly conduct should in future last twenty days for a first offence, forty for a second, and eighty for any subsequent offence—these to be days on which the House actually sat, and the penalty not to be affected by adjournment or even by prorogation. Moreover, the Member so suspended would not be allowed to resume his seat till he had apologised to the Speaker for his conduct. In case of a "scene,” the Speaker would have authority to suspend a sitting for such time as he deemed expedient.
Coming last to suggested alterations in the general arrangement of the time and business of the House, Mr. Balfour explained that Ministers had had two objects in view ; first, the convenience of Members, who might reasonably claim to know, like their fellow-citizens generally, when they could expect to dine and to sleep; and secondly, the introduction of the element of certainty into public business. It was proposed, he said, that on every working day except Friday there should be two sittings. The first would begin at two o'clock and private business would be taken till twenty-five minutes past two ; if it was not concluded by that time it would stand over till the evening sitting. Five minutes would then be allowed for urgent questions about the business of the House, and public business would begin at half-past two, continuing till a quarter past seven. Questions would then be proceeded with, and might go on until eight o'clock; such questions as were “starred” would be answered orally, the answers to the others being printed and circulated with the votes of the House. The sitting would be suspended at eight and resumed at nine, when carried-over private business would be continued ; and afterwards public business would be transacted until twelve, when “starred ” questions not previously disposed of would be answered. In every week before Easter one whole day (Thursday) would be given up to Supply. The afternoon sittings on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays would be taken for Government business. Monday evenings would also be taken. After Easter the Government would ask for two evening sittings, and after Whitsuntide they would take the whole time of the House, except on two days to be set apart for the consideration of private Members' Bills. There would be no evening sittings on Fridays, which would take the place of Wednesdays under the existing arrangement. Members might ask for leave to move the adjournment of the House at half past two on any day; but if they obtained leave they would have to bring the motion on at the beginning of public business at the evening sitting. At evening sittings the House was not to be counted out before ten o'clock. The rule allocating a certain number of days to Supply was to be made a standing order.
Mr. Balfour then moved a resolution giving precedence to the consideration of the new rules on the days (excepting Wednesdays) when they should be set down for discussion, and the motion was carried by 289 to 98.
Thereupon Mr. Long (Bristol, s.), President of the Local Government Board, introduced the Bill for establishing a Water Board to manage the supply of water within London and certain adjoining districts and for transferring to the Board the undertakings of the metropolitan water companies. Calling attention to the fact that as the population of London grew the outer parts of the metropolis must become more and more thickly peopled, Mr. Long insisted that any body appointed to administer“ Water London ” must be representative of the whole area interested. The County Council—towards which he disclaimed any unfriendly feeling on the part of Ministersrepresented inner, not outer London. The plan of the Government was to take the sanitary authorities for all the area of “ Water London," and to impose on them the duty to select representatives who were to form the new Board. The authorities selected were the metropolitan boroughs, the City, the urban sanitary authorities for the outside areas, the London County Council, and the County Councils of the adjacent metropolitan counties. Of the twenty-eight metropolitan boroughs, six were to have two representatives on the Board, and the remainder one each ; the City, two; the Essex County Council, one ; West Ham, two; East Ham, Leyton and Walthamstow, one each ; the County Councils of Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, Hertfordshire, and the Conservancies of the Thames and Lea, one each ; the London County Council, ten. The urban districts in the outside areas would be grouped, and each group would be represented by a member. The total number of representatives would be sixty-seven, and there might be, in addition, a chairman and vice-chairman elected from outside their ranks. The metropolitan boroughs, the City, and the London County Council together would have a majority of two-thirds on the Board. A member of the Board must be a member of the Council that appointed him. The first Board would be elected for four years, but afterwards the Board would go out of office at the end of three years. The Local Government Board was to have power to vary the constitution of the Board by provisional order. It was made the duty of the Water Board to purchase the undertakings of the London water companies within an appointed time. The purchase was to be by agreement or, failing that, by arbitration. The arbitrators would be Sir E. Fry, Sir H. Owen and Sir J. Wolfe-Barry. The usual allowance of 10 per cent. for com