HC Deb 18 July 1831 vol 4 cc1409-10
Mr. Hume

said, he should next beg leave to solicit the noble Lord's attention to the opportunity of introducing a partial Church Reform, in consequence of the vacancy recently occasioned in the see of Derry, by the death of the Bishop of that diocese. Reform, he submitted, should be introduced there as well as elsewhere; and, to be effectual as a conciliatory measure, it should be immediate, or a sweeping and universal measure of Church Reform must be the consequence. As they stood much upon precedents in that House, he was happy to be enabled to supply one, which would sufficiently authorize the course he had recommended. In 1807, long after we obtained possession of the Island of Malta, the Bishop of that diocese died, on which Sir Alexander Ball had recommended, in a letter bearing date the 1st of May, that the income should be reduced from 3,800l. per annum to 2,000l., proposing at the same time, that the surplus should be appropriated, partly to the education of the people, partly to increase the salaries of the inferior clergy, who were not sufficiently well provided for, and partly to other charitable purposes. To which advice Lord Castlereagh had assented without hesitation, and directed, that the Bishop's income should be limited to 2,000l. In a subsequent despatch, Sir Alexander Ball informed the Government, that he had carried this arrangement into effect, and that it had given general satisfaction. Now, the income of the Bishoprick which had just become vacant amounted to from 14,000l. to 20,000l. a year, besides forty-two perferments in the gift of the Bishop of various amounts, from 450l. to l,400l. per annum, including many glebes, some of which consisted of not less than 900 or 1,000 acres. In this instance he thought that his Majesty's Ministers could not do better than follow the example of Lord Castlereagh, and as it was not often that he could adduce that statesman as an example for imitation, he was happy, on that occasion, to say that his authority was in favour of a most important principle. By following it, he was sure Ministers would occasion as much rejoicing in Ireland as his Lordship had formerly produced by a similar reform amongst the inhabitants of Malta.

Lord Althorp

did not consider the case quoted as one in point, and, therefore, did not recognize the propriety of the comparison.