HC Deb 10 December 1830 vol 1 cc998-9
Mr. Long Wellesley

said, that in rising to move for the returns which he should read at the conclusion of his observations, he was actuated by no feelings of hostility towards the Church, but by a sincere desire to render it as pure and useful as its best friends could wish. His object in moving for them was twofold. He wished in the first place to ascertain the number of clergymen who did not reside on their benefices, in order to devise some general measure to compel their residence—a consummation which was highly desirable, as he could state from his own personal experience that in all parishes where the clergymen were resident, the condition of the poor was much better than in those parishes where the clergymen were not resident. He wished in the next place, if the information obtained by these returns should warrant it, to found upon it a measure for the better payment of the working clergy, similar to that which a noble Lord had carried through the other House of Parliament, with equal credit to his head and his heart. The hon. Member then moved, for "a return of the annual separate estimated value of every Vicarage, Rectory, Living, or other clerical benefice in the gift of the Crown, with the name and description of each benefice, and its value in the King's books, as contrasted with its actual value; a return, with the name and description of every Living on which there is no clerical residence whatever;—a return of those Livings upon which there is a suitable clerical residence, and whether such residence is or is not in repair, and to what purpose converted;—a return of the number of the parochial benefices in the gift of the Crown, the duties of which are performed by those to whom the benefices have been given, or by Curates, and whether those Curates be resident upon such benefice, and if non-resident, where residing;—a return of the income which each Curate derives bona fide from his Patron, Vicar, or other superior, for the annual performance of his professional duties."

Mr. Leader

suggested that these returns ought also to be made regarding the value of every benefice in Ireland.

Mr. Long Wellesley

could not agree to the suggestion, because he believed that a commission was now inquiring into the value and amount of Church property in Ireland.

Mr. Fyler

hoped, that the returns would be demanded, not merely from the incumbents of all benefices in the gift of the Crown, but also from the incumbents of all churches throughout England.

Mr. Long Wellesley

could not agree to this suggestion, any more than he could to that which had been already made to him. He would candidly admit, that his reason for moving for these returns was his belief that there was ground of complaint as to the non-residence of the secular clergy. He had limited his inquiry to the Livings in the gift of the Crown, because he did not wish to give offence to the hierarchy, and because he had observed that inquiries which were very large in their nature, were not in general productive of any beneficial result. His object was, to collect a mass of information so condensed and specific in its nature that a practical measure could easily be founded upon it.

Returns ordered.