HC Deb 13 February 1833 vol 15 cc623-5
Mr. O'Connell

said, that upon the Motion of the right hon. member for Cambridge, a return had been last night ordered "of all benefices in Ireland in which divine service, according to the forms of the United Churches of England and Ireland has not been celebrated within the three years ending the 12th of February, 1833." Now, as benefices frequently consisted of two or more parishes in Ireland, he (Mr. O'Connell) would move for an amended return, by moving for a return of" all the parishes in Ireland" in which divine service had been celebrated within the period specified, so as to obtain that information which it was desirable the House should have upon the subject.

Mr. Goulburn

said, that such a return would afford a most fallacious species of information, as in the case of two united parishes attached to one benefice divine service could be only performed in one of them, though the parishioners of both parishes had the means of attending it. As he understood the proposition of the noble Lord last night, it was that where, in the instance of a benefice, no duty had been performed during the last three years, it would be in the power of certain Commissioners to suspend the appointment to such benefice, and it was for the purpose of obtaining accurate information upon that point that he (Mr. Goulburn) had moved for the return that was ordered. He did not understand the noble Lord to apply his proposition to parishes.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that the result of the two returns being made would be, that they would have correct information both as to the performance of duty in the benefices and in the different parishes. He knew, himself, of one benefice which was more than twenty-six miles in extent. There were about sixty Protestants in the parish at the extreme point of it, and in the other parish of which it consisted there was neither a Protestant nor a Protestant Church.

Lord Althorp

said, that his proposition certainly applied to benefices, and not to parishes, and there could be no doubt that where two or three parishes were united under one benefice, divine service might be, as he believed was usually the case, only performed in one of them; therefore it did appear to him that the return moved for by the learned Gentleman would give a fallacious view of the case. There might certainly occur extreme cases, such as that which the hon. and learned Gentleman had just mentioned, but the return he had moved for would not point out such cases, while it would enumerate parishes in which divine service had not been performed, though the parishioners might have had full means of attending divine service in the parishes united to them.

Mr. O'Connell

would withdraw his Motion for the present, for the purpose of shaping it in such a way as that the information which he desired should be laid before the House.