HC Deb 14 April 1806 vol 6 cc741-3
Mr. Perceval ,

in pursuance of a former notice, moved for leave to bring in a bill, for making more effectual provision for the maintenance of Stipendiary Curates, and for their residence on their cures. He trusted it would not he necessary to trouble the house at much length on the expediency of the bill which he now proposed. A bill to the same effect had lately passed this house, but in consequence of certain alterations which it had undergone in the lords, and which were not agreed to by the house, the bill had, at that time, been lost. He trusted, that the bill which he now proposed, would meet with the concurrence of the house, as some alteration was rendered still more necessary than ever, by the rise in the value of livings, in consequence of the improvements in agriculture, and particularly by the depreciation of money of late years. He was convinced it would appear but reasonable, that, where a living was beyond 400l. a year, more than 75l. a year should be granted to the Curate.

Lord Parchester

said, that it appeared to him, from what had fallen from the hon. and learned gent., that the proposed bill was founded on the same principle as the former: a principle which, he trusted, would never be recognised by the house. This bill was to give the Bishop the power of rating the income of incumbents, and assessing them according to his pleasure. It communicated an uncontrouled power which was liable to abuse, and authorised an invasion of the property of the subject. Besides, it would be premature to introduce such a bill, while a committee had been lately appointed to obtain information respecting the residence and situation of the Clergy. These enquiries should be completed before any such measure was brought forward.

Mr. Perceval

replied, that he had heard nothing that ought to prevent the introduction of the bill. It might be brought in at present, and the house might pause before the bill received a final discussion, till the report of the committee was received. It could not be said that the power of the Bishop would be uncontrouled, since an appeal would lie to the Archbishop. The alteration in the value of money was such as must convince every man that 75l. per annum was not au adequate stipend to be paid to the officiating Curate by the non-resident Rector. The value of some livings in England amounted to 2000l. a year, and it was surely not unreasonable that the Bishop should have it in his power to increase the stipend of the Curate in some degree of proportion to the value of the living. The great object of the bill was to give such a power to the Bishop as might enable him to make adequate provision for the officiating Curate, who performed the duties of the non-resident Incumbent.

Lord Porchester ,

in explanation, said, no case had been produced to shew that the Louse should adopt this novel proceeding.

Mr. Secretary Fox

said, he did not rise to oppose the bringing in this bill, but to observe that, in his opinion, the allowance to the Curate ought not to be proportioned to the wealth of the rectory, or living, but to the duty he would have to perform, and the relative situation in which, in other respects, he stood in the parish.—The question was then put, and leave granted to bring in the bill.