HC Deb 18 March 1823 vol 8 c615
Dr. Phillimore

asked for leave to bring in a bill to repeal an existing statute which subjected a clergyman to 5l. penalty, if he omitted to read the act of parliament against profane swearing four times a year in his parish church. The statute in question, as well as the custom of reading the act, had long since fallen into disuse, and was only revived occasionally for the purpose of distressing any particular individual. He had known several clergymen, who had succeeded in tithe suits, curried by informers before magistrates, and fined under this statute out of revenge.

Mr. Evans

supported the motion.

Mr. Warre

hoped the hon. gentleman extend his repeal to the reading of the new Marriage act in parish churches.

Sir. J. Newport

thought that no acts of parliament whatever ought to be read in churches. Few congregations stayed to listen to them.

Mr. W. C. Wilson

supported the motion. He had never heard the act against swearing read in a church in his life; and yet he knew a vicar who had been twice fined for omitting to read it.

Dr. Phillimore

said, that the clause in the Marriage act compelling it to be read in churches had been none of his suggesting. On the contrary, he had distinctly opposed that provision. He agreed with the hon. baronet, that it was improper to read any act of parliament in a church; but he called the attention of the House to the act against profane swearing particularly, because he believed it was the only act for the non-reading of which a penalty was provided.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.