HC Deb 20 June 1808 vol 11 cc956-8

On the motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the third reading of this bill,

Mr. Barham

repeated the arguments so often urged by the opposers of this measure. He considered it extremely dangerous to the interests of the Church, by granting such considerable power to the bishops, which would not fail to produce contention amongst the whole body of the clergy. The bill, moreover, was altogether inefficient to its purpose, as it was at best but a partial remedy to the great evil of non-residence, and finally he objected to the existence of the fact presumed to exist, on which this bill stood, namely, the respective values of Church establishments.

Mr. Hawkins Browne

supported the bill, and was happy to find that the economy and guardianship of the Church had fallen into such good hands. He lamented the spirit of opposition which had so uniformly displayed itself on the other side of the house, to a measure calculated to secure the dearest interests of the Church and the comfort of all descriptions of the clergy.

Lord Milton

dreaded the terrific influence the present bill must necessarily give the superiors of the Church over their inferiors, and the operation of this influence, through the medium of the minor clergy, upon the public mind at large.

Mr. Tierney

thought the bill could be brought into operation only by the negligence of the rector; a supposition on which he did not think it dignified to act.

Mr. Windham

followed on the same side: he said the bill was not content to let the Church remain 'militant here on earth,' but it wished to render it a Church 'litigant' also.

Mr. Stephens

supported the bill as tending to cause the parochial duties to be performed by persons whose indigence would not disgrace their profession.

Dr. Laurence

objected to the bill, that it tended to destroy the principle upon which not only ecclesiastical but property in general was founded. He was of opinion, there was no necessity for legislative interference on this subject, and that it would be better to leave the appointment of curates salaries to the diocesan. He considered it to be a great defect in the bill, that it did not apply to lay impropriators.

Mr. Whitbread

stated, as a matter of complaint, that the bill was intended to extend to Ireland. This was contrary to the understanding which prevailed when it was referred to a committee. It was with him a very great objection to the bill that it gave a discretionary power to the bishop. The instances were so few in which the principle of the bill could be made to apply, that they were not worth legislative interference.—The house then divided on the question, that the bill be now read a third time: Ayes 73; Noes 20; Majority, 53.—While strangers were excluded, lord Porchester tendered a Clause, by way of rider, upon which another di- vision took place: Ayes 7; Noes 61.—Majority against the Clause 51. The bill was then passed, and ordered to the Lords.