HC Deb 06 May 1805 vol 4 cc611-3

—On the second reading of the Stipendiary Curates' bill being put,

Mr. Western

rose, and said, that the subject was one of the greatest importance, and entitled to the fullest investigation. He conceived the object of the bill to be no less than a direct attack on the church establishment, and an invasion of ecclesiastical property. He could not assent to the power proposed to be vested in the bishops, which he considered sufficiently great already. He highly disapproved of any measure which subjected the clergy to the absolute dominion of those spiritual lords; and would not this be the case, if they had the power to grant the fifth of the incumbent's property to the curate, and set an arbitrary valuation on the glebes which they were to occupy. With a view, therefore, of giving the incumbents, and other persons concerned in church property, a fair opportunity of considering the principle and application of the bill, he should conclude with moving, that the second reading be postponed to this day fortnight.

Mr. Creevey

seconded the motion. He said, that although this bill professed only to encourage the residence of curates, the effect of it would he to transfer to the curates. above one-fifth of the whole revenue of the rectories. He particularly objected to that clause which proposed to empower the bishops to let out the glebe to the curates, at any rent they pleased.

The Attorney. General

defended the principle of the bill. The principle was the same with that of several laws on the statute book. A similar bill had passed the house of commons twice lately; from which the present differed only in as far as it was framed to obviate the objections of the upper house of parliament. The grants to the curates were in consideration of residence; and both by the common law and canon law the incumbent was obliged to do the duty of the church, or forfeit by non-residence. There was nothing in the bill subversive of the principles of the constitution of the church of England, whose property and rights no man living would be more ready to uphold and assert than himself. None as there were several clauses in the bill unfilled up, if gentlemen would consent to its going into a committee, to fill up the clauses, he should propose that the report should be received on Wednesday se'nnight, a period of delay which he hoped gentlemen would allow to be quite sufficient.

Sir W. Scott

could not bring himself to think that there was any danger to be apprehended to our church establishment from the passing of this bill. When the duty was performed for the incumbents, they ought not surely to deal out with a niggard hand the stipend for that service.

Sir j. Wrottesley

did not object to the principle of the bill, but he wished the right hon. gent. (the Attorney General) to consider the propriety of giving glebes to the curates under the provisions of the bill as it now stood; if the glebe ground was in tillage, it might be ruined in a short time, or if in grass, it might be so much injured in a few years, that the loss to the incumbent would be irreparable, He had no objection to the curates having the glebe, house, and garden, but he could not give his consent that the glebe be disposed of according to the valuation of the bishop.

Lord Porchester

expressed himself against the bill, and observed, that although it was compulsory on the incumbent as to the payment of the fifth of his income if over 4.001. yet that the curate was not obliged by any clause of the bill to do the duty.

Mr. Fellowes

thought that the bill did not go far enough.—Mr. Western then withdrew his amendment; after which the bill was read a second time.—Adjourned.