HC Deb 27 May 1824 vol 11 cc918-9

The report of this bill being brought up, Sir J. Newport moved a clause, providing, that an incumbent should vacate his benefice in case of accepting Ecclesiastical Preferment to the amount of 400l. per annum.

Mr. Goulburn

strongly opposed the clause, which could not, he said, be tacked on thus slightly to a clergy-residence bill, but ought, if adopted at all, to be made a specific subject of legislation.

Mr. Plunkett

said, he must object to the clause. Though he was strenuously opposed to any interference with the property of the church, he did not carry that opposition to the extent of denying that there might be a beneficial modification with respect to pluralities. Should his right hon. friend introduce any measure of that nature, he should be most happy to give it his support, so far as a sense of public duty would permit. But his right hon. friend must be aware, that his clause not only ought to be made the subject of a specific enactment, but that it must also be accompanied with a peculiar and effective machinery to put it into action; for, according to the present state of the Jaw, it would, if brought in by itself, produce the strangest confusion in the property of church livings. What, for instance, would be likely to happen to the patron of a living who should present one of these clergymen already possessed of another living of the value of 400l.? If he did not know it beforehand, the presentation would be void, and the right would lapse to the next in succession to the freehold property which he had in presenting. The law, as it would then stand, would leave him without remedy against this evil. If, on the other hand, he did know of the other living, and still persisted in presenting, he would be troubled with a quare impedit, and all the other vexations which could be brought against him at the instigation of some one who would most certainly start up to claim the exercise of the patronage by lapse.

The House divided: For the clause 38. Against it 75.