HC Deb 06 July 1832 vol 14 cc152-3
Mr. Goulburn

wished to put a question to the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, relative to a subject upon which he had before asked for information—he meant with respect to the deanery of Down. Two or three years ago, his Majesty had appointed an Ecclesiastical Commission in Ireland, consisting of several eminent persons, amongst others, of the Lord Chancellor, the Archbishop of Armagh, and the Master of the Rolls. Their duty was, to examine what unions could be separated, so as to avoid pluralities. These Commissioners stated, that there were many parishes united with dignities where the working clergy had small incomes, while Deans and other dignitaries possessed large revenues from the same livings, although they were complete sinecures. In this condition stood the deanery of Down, producing to that dignitary, 1,200l. per annum, to which were annexed six parishes, in which the clergy had incomes averaging from 95l. to 99l., and the Commissioners recommended, that on the next avoidance these livings should be separated from the deanery. Last October that had taken place on the removal of Dr. Knox, and Mr. Plunkett had, notwithstanding the former decision of the Commissioners, been appointed to it. His question was, had the recommendation of the Commissioners been carried into effect by this appointment of Mr. Plunkett? The Lord Chancellor of Ireland was now here, and, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite had an opportunity of consulting with him, he was now probably able to answer his question.

Mr. Stanley

I agree in the general principle that has been laid down by the right hon. Gentleman; but when it is remembered how voluminous the documents are to which he has referred—that the Commission was only signed in April last year, and printed in July—and that it was in September last year that the vacancy in the deanery occurred, I trust that there will not be much blame attributed to us, when I candidly confess, that, when this appointment was made, the Government did not advert to the recommendation of the Commissioners; in the propriety of which, however, I most entirely concur. Let me also add, that at the time the present Dean was appointed to the deanery, he gave up in consequence a more valuable living; and certainly no such arrangement as that alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman was entered into with him on the occasion. It is, however, but justice towards him and the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, to state that, although he had made this sacrifice, on adverting to the report of the Commissioners he had signified, that there would be no objection made on his part to the Legislature taking such steps as it might think necessary for carrying into effect the recommendation of the Commissioners. The right hon. Gentleman must be aware, that there would be great difficulty in passing an Act on the subject during the present Session; but I pledge myself, next Session, if connected with the Irish Government, to bring forward a bill for the purpose of making the proper arrangement.