HC Deb 17 March 1818 vol 37 cc1162-4
Mr. Brogden

brought up the report of the Committee on that part of the Prince Regent's Speech, which related to the building of New Churches in different parts of the kingdom. On the motion that it be read,

Mr. A. Browne

was desirous that the power of removing curates should not be taken away from vicars and transferred to the bishops. When any complaint were made against a curate by the parishioners, the delay of appealing to the bishop, and in waiting for his decision, was often very great, and frequently detrimental to the interest of the parishioners. He hoped that some clause would be introduced to remedy so great an inconvenience.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

thought it expedient to delay the consideration of such minute questions for the committee. According to the laws now existing, the rector had no power of removing curates who had been licensed by the bishop; and every curate ought to be so licensed. A rector, however, having a number of curates under him, appointed to different parishes, might remove them from one to another; but that power, by the measure now proposed, would be modified, so that every curate should have a kind of permanent connexion with his particular chapel.

Mr. C. Grant

, sen. was exceedingly happy that such a sum should be voted to so laudable a purpose as that of increasing the number of churches. He hoped the House would see the necessity of extending the benefits of the grant to Scotland. To his own knowledge, there were several districts in the northern part of the kingdom, some of sixty miles in length and twenty in breadth, without a church sufficient to contain the one-twentieth part of the population. He trusted the House would see the necessity of attending to this important subject.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, he heard the observations of his hon. friend with attention, and he had no hesitation in saying, that his majesty's government would have no objection whatever to extend the benefit of the grant to the northern part of the kingdom. But his hon. friend would perceive, that in consequence of the great difference in the constitution of the church of Scotland and that of England, it would not be very convenient to embody the intended grant to both in the same bill. His majesty's government would have no hesitation in supporting any measure which might be thought necessary for increasing the number of churches in the northern part of the kingdom, and he was convinced the same disposition would be found to exist in the House. The aid would be extended, he had no doubt, to all parishes whose extent or population required it. He wished here to correct a misunderstanding which had gone abroad with respect to some observations which had fallen from him on this subject last night. He was represented to have said, that no aid was intended to be granted to parishes, where the population was under 10,000 persons. He had said no such thing. The commissioners to be appointed would have the power of granting aid for the building, or enlargement of churches in all parishes, according to their particular exigencies. What he had 6tated was, that he feared, notwithstanding the liberal grant which parliament had voted, that the commissioners would find it insufficient to meet all the claims which might be made, unless they were assisted by large private subscriptions. He was happy to perceive, that these subscriptions had already commenced on a most liberal scale, and were likely to be followed up in the same generous manner.

Mr. Wilberforce

expressed his decided approbation of the proposed measure, and felt that the public money could not be more profitably employed.

Mr. Forbes

supported the measure, and agreed, that the money would be well laid out in promoting such a purpose.

General Thornton

asked, whether in the cases of divisions of parishes, such as that whereby the parish of St. George, Hanover—square, was divided from St. Martin's, it was intended that the division should be solely for ecclesiastical purposes?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

could assure the gallant general, that it was not intended to propose a division of parishes for civil purposes. But he would distinctly state, what were the objects of the present bill. In the first place, it would empower the king, in council, upon at representation to that effect, to direct the division of a parish, for ecclesiastical purposes, into two or more parochial districts. Secondly, to such divided districts would be assigned each its church and minister. The third provision would extend to the erection of chapels of ease in parishes, the ministers of such chapels to be nominated by the incumbents of the said parishes, subject to the approbation of the diocesan, and without at all deranging the civil or secular rule of such parishes.

The Resolution was agreed to, and a Bill ordered to be brought in thereupon.