HC Deb 05 June 1805 vol 5 cc172-4

Sir J. Newport rose in pursuance of the notice he had given relative to the residence of the clergy in Ireland, and stated, that it was desirable a bill similar to that passed for the same purpose in this coun- try should be passed for that. The honourable baronet stated the object of these motions to be, that the house should be put in full information previous to the discussion of the measure for enforcing the residence of the Irish clergy, which a learned gentlemen (Dr. Duigenan) had given notice of his intention to bring forward next session, but the adoption of which he had expected this session. If the learned gentleman should not bring forward this measure early in the next session, he felt it so material to the interest of the protestant establishment, that he should himself conceive it his duty to bring it before the house. The non-residence of the Irish clergy was a great grievance, but the union of the parishes was still as mischievous. This practice of uniting parishes, merely in order to increase the revenues of individual clergymen, was such, that in some cases there were fourteen parishes under one pastor of course there was but one protestant church in that district, in which there were 14 catholic chapels. He submitted to the house whether such a state of things was calculated to forward the interest and doctrine of the church. establishment. The hon. bart. concluded with moving, "that there be prepared, a return of the names of every dignity, prebend, benefice, donative, and parochial chapelry, within the several dioceses of Ireland, and of all the persons possessing the same who shall not have resided on such dignity, prebend, benefice, donative, or parochial chapelry, during one year last past, so far as the several archbishops or bishops may be informed thereof, in order to the same being laid before the house early the next session of parliament, by the registers of the several dioceses; distinguishing such persons as have received licence or permission from their diocesans for their non-residence." Also, "that there be prepared, by the registers of the several dioceses of Ireland, returns of the names and number of parishes comprized in each union of parishes within their respective dioceses, the period of time when such respective parishes were united, and the authority under which such union was effected, the number of acres of glebe which appertain to each parish, awl whether any glebe house is erected thereon, and the distance at which such respective parishes so united lie from each other, when such parishes are not contiguous; and whether any, and what number of churches in which divine service is performed, are now severally thereon, or were at the time when such parishes were united, so far as the same can be made out, in order to the same being laid before the house early in the next session of parliament."

Mr. James Fitzgerald warmly supported the motion. He thought it evident that the protestant religion must decline in a country where there were catholic chapels for every parish, and where many parishes were without protestant places of worship.

Mr. Vansittart did not purpose to oppose the motion. He could not, however, but remark, that the returns to the order would of necessity be very imperfect, as it was not long since the practice of making diocesan returns was established in Ireland. He was decidedly against any innovation, by which the constitution of the church of Ireland might be altered. As to the other topic mentioned by the hon. baronet, namely, that of the consolidation of livings in Ireland, he believed it would be found, on enquiry, that the method was extremely salutary.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated, it was the full intention of an hon. and learned gent. (Dr. Duigenan) to propose the manner alluded to by the hon. mover for enforcing the residence of the Irish clergy.

Mr. Alexander said, that bishops in Ireland often divided parishes that were too extensive for the attendance of one rectory.

Sir George Hill bore testimony to the regular residence and laudable demeanour of the clergy in three dioceses of the north of Ireland, with which he was [...]ell acquainted.—Both the motions were agreed to.