Government have sustained a defeat in the House of Lords,
on the Earl of Powis's bill to prevent the union of the sees of St. Asaph and Bangor. That measure, however, is not a party one, and the defeat would have been quite as likely for the late Government as for the present. Ministers have judiciously ceded to the decision of the Peers, and cease to oppose the bill. Its purpose is good. The parties most immediately interested, the inhabitants of the two sees, deprecate the union, as tending to diminish the efficiency of episcopal supervision ; and although the two together would not exceed the average extent of a diocese in area or population, the difficult nature of the country no doubt pleads for a division of the episcopal labour. But there are secular reasons. The class of resident gentry is not redundant in that part of the country ; and the inhabitants may fairly be allowed the continuance of an extra Bishop towards redressing the balance both in a social point of view and in respect of the income expended,—no small considera- tion for the humbler classes of the neighbourhood. The two argu- ments for the union are by no means conclusive. It is contemplated to establish a new bishopric of Manchester; and the whole scheme of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners involves a kind of transfer of funds, which would be facilitated by having a bishopric the less in Wales : but it is preposterous to suppose that three or four thousand pounds cannot be raised in any other way. Pious do- natives have rather fallen into disuse it is true; but surely the Church of England still has its supporters among the noble and wealthy. The very majority that voted against the fusion of the two sees would not suffer a bishopric of Manchester to fail for want of funds. The other reason is a dilemma : the creation of an extra bishopric involves either the existence of a Bishop without a seat in the House of Lords—not, by the by, an entire novelty—or an addition to the number of Spiritual Peers. What then? It may be, as it has been, a grave question, whether it is well to have spiritual persons in the Legislature at all : but while any Bishops sit among. the Barons, it cannot matter in the slightest degree whether there is one more or less, especially as the number of Temporal Peers has increased in modern times out of all pro- portion. Let Ministers adopt the recent decision heartily,—keep up the two Welsh sees establish the much-wanted diocese of Manchester, and give the new Bishop his seat in the Upper House. Let them be not afraid ; and then let them set off against that act of courage a little boldness in some more broadly popular measure.