§ On the order of the day for going into a committee on this bill,
§ Mr. James
said, he must protest against the uncharitableness of alleging, that all those who thought with him were hostile to the established church. In that religion he had been born and educated, and that religion he should continue to respect; but he was decidedly opposed to spending the public money on such purposes, whilst such ample revenues remained in the hands of the church. How was it that the Dissenters were able to build chapels and meeting-houses for the maintenance of religion? Were the Protestants less zealous? He believed the fact was, that the exertions of the Protestants were mainly impeded by ecclesiastical regulations. He would mention the circumstance illustrative of his opinion, which had occurred in Liverpool. There was in that town a reverend gentleman of the name of Bragge, regularly educated at Oxford, who built a chapel at his own expense. He was a most excellent reader and preacher, consequently he was much followed, and brought about him an extensive congregation, from which he derived a handsome property. This vocation he continued to follow for the space of twenty years; when the then bishop of Chester sent to him, telling him he would be very happy to come and consecrate his chapel. Mr. Bragge very respectfully declined the honour. Shortly after the bishop proceeded against him for preaching in an unconsecrated chapel; in consequence of which Mr. Bragge took out a 1081 license as a Dissenting clergyman, and continued to preach for many years the doctrines of the church of England. When he died the chapel became the property of his heirs, and now it was a sugar-house, and at present a boiler stood in the place of the pulpit. It was with these feelings that he now objected to the present proposition; and his hostility would not be diminished, even if the people were in affluence. He should, therefore, move as an amendment, "That this bill be committed on this day six months."
§ Mr. Hume
seconded the amendment. He thought there never had been a measure so ill-timed, and particularly after the statement that no part of this money was to be applied for three years. Let churches be built by those who required them, and let the existing regulations with respect to building churches be revised, and there would be no necessity for calling on the public money.
§ The amendment was negatived, and the bill went through the committee.