HC Deb 21 April 1834 vol 22 cc1012-60

The House, on the Motion of Lord Althorp, went into a Committee on Church-rates.

Lord Althorp

said, that he had taken the opportunity, prior to entering into the ensuing discussion, to present the different petitions which had been committed to his care by several bodies of Dissenters, praying for relief from the peculiar burthens which had been imposed upon them, in order that the petition for redress, and the measures of relief, might come before the consideration of the House as nearly together as possible. He considered that the Dissenters were perfectly justified in bringing forward the detail of their grievances at this particular juncture, on this particular point, inasmuch as he thought, that there was a great difference, in point of principle, between the payment, by Dissenters, of tithes and Church-rates. Church-rate was a tax laid on at the discretion of others, as far as regarded its amount; and the Dissenters, who were compelled to pay it, felt, that they were compelled to pay for the administration of worship under a system they did not approve. For this reason, in his opinion, the Dissenters had a right to complain of it; and he thought, further, that the Legislature was bound so far to relieve them. But while the system of Church-rates, as the law stood at present, was grievous to Dissenters, it could not be, in any way, satisfactory to the members of the Establishment. The payment of Church-rates had been refused in different parishes; and the remedy given to the Church had not been found sufficient to enforce the demand. For these reasons it seemed to him, that the Legislature was called upon to adopt some measure, not only to remove the grievances of the Dissenters, but to place the maintenance of parochial churches and chapels on a better footing. Different measures had been suggested for that purpose. The first was the recommendation from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, which, however, did not profess, in any way, to remedy the grievances of the Dissenters. The sole object of it was, to adopt such a course as would give a more easy and effectual mode of collecting Church-rates. The adoption, therefore, of that proposition would not effect, at least, one of the objects he had in view. Another proposition took a middle course; and whereas the main expenditure of the rates had been upon the internal decoration of the Church, in future to provide in this method merely for the maintenance of the fabric, while other means were found to pay for necessary decorations in the performance of the service. It had been constantly stated in Parliament, by those who advocated the cause of the Dissenters, that it was not so much the amount of which they complained as the principle of compulsion. This second plan, therefore, though it might diminish greatly the sum raised by Church-rates, would not satisfy the object. Another proposition, which would certainly satisfy the object, was, to continue Church-rates as at present, but to exempt Dissenters from the payment of them. As far as the Dissenters were concerned, this would, of course, satisfy them; but it would be detrimental in the highest degree to the interests of the Established Church. If any person could exempt himself from the payment of Church-rates by saying he was a Dissenter, he apprehended that the number of Dissenters would be greatly and rapidly increased. For this reason, he could not prevail upon himself to bring forward a proposition contrary, as he thought, to the plain principles of justice. Another proposition was that of the hon. member for Exeter, which was to abolish Church-rates, and to substitute nothing for them, leaving the money necessary for upholding and repairing churches to be raised by voluntary contributions. Those voluntary contributions might, or might not, be sufficient—in some cases no doubt they would be sufficient,—but he was far from certain that this would generally be the case. While the Dissenters had a right to call upon the Legislature not to require them to pay money for a Church which was contrary to their principles, the members of the Establishment had a right also to say, that their interests should receive all due attention, and that their principles should be respected. One of those principles certainly was—one of the consequences of having an Established Church was—that means should be provided by the Legislature for the support of the fabric of the Church. On these accounts he could not concur entirely in any of the plans to which he had alluded. In the course of the discussion, he believed, of the Motion of the hon. member for Exeter, statements were made, which he was happy to find concurred very much with the principles of the plan he was about to have the honour to propose. The hon. member for Boston (Mr. Wilks), who might be considered to speak the sentiments of the Dissenters, said, that it was not the amount, but the principle to which they objected; and he defined that principle to be, the compulsory payment of a tax for the express and immediate purpose of supporting the Established Church. In the same debate the hon. Member for Oxford (Sir Robert Inglis) had stated that, in his opinion, it was essential that the Legislature should provide certain funds for the support of the churches of the Establishment. It had been very satisfactory to him (Lord Althorp) to hear these statements from hon. Gentlemen so well informed upon their different sides of the question, because he was desirous, that the plan of Government he should have the honour to propose should be in accordance with both those suggestions. The plan he had to propose was, that Church-rates should be entirely abolished, and that in lieu of them the sum of 250,000l. should be annually charged upon the Land-tax, to be applied in the manner he would state ["No no!"]. The hon. Member said, "No, no!" but he would endeavour to show, that his proposition ought to be adopted. The mode in which he suggested, that the sum should be expended was not that it should be applied to all purposes to which Church-rates were now applicable, but merely to the maintenance and support of the parish churches and chapels. For this purpose he would pay that sum into the hands of the Commissioners for building churches,—a body now existing only under a temporary Act, but whom it would hereafter be necessary to render permanent. Under their direction the money was to be laid out, and he apprehended, that it would be amply sufficient for the purpose. By the Returns upon the Table of the House, it appeared, that the sum hitherto yearly expended upon the fabric of the churches was 249,000l.; but to the sum of 250,000l. to be derived from the Land-tax might be added about 50,000l. which was obtained from landed property belonging to the Church. Hence he had no doubt, that the sum he had mentioned would be found amply sufficient; but, in making this arrangement, it was necessary to recollect, that, in a certain number of instances, the Church-rates had been mortgaged, and he proposed that the mortgagees should have the first lien upon the 250,000l. Yet, he apprehended, it would be sufficient, because the whole amount thus circumstanced and outstanding with the knowledge of the Commissioners of New Churches was 84,000l. There might, indeed, be other sums—he knew that there were other sums—but they were far from considerable, and would all be covered by far less than the amount of 250,000l. to be taken from the Land-tax. The House was aware, that as the law at present stood, besides the fabric of the Church, the rector, or the lay impropriator, in consideration of the great tithes, was bound to maintain and repair the chancel. It was the intention of Ministers to relieve him from this charge by placing the chancel on the same footing as the main fabric of the Church. But while he was relieved from this burthen, it was intended to impose upon him the duty of providing all that was absolutely necessary for the performance of divine service. The amount of these necessaries would not be great; and in making this alteration he did not think that the Rector, or lay impropriator, would be placed in a worse situation than at present. In this way he apprehended he should be enabled to provide for all those expenses at present paid out of the Church-rates. Upon the sum to be paid into the hands of the Commissioners would be charged the maintenance of the fabric of the Church, the repair of the chancel, and of the fences of the Church-yard. The articles to be provided by the Rector, or lay impropriator, he need not enumerate; they would be contained in a schedule to the Act he should introduce; and he did not think that the burthen would be found onerous. Other matters of detail he might briefly advert to—such as the support and preservation of the pews in parish churches and parochial chapels; and he thought it would not interfere with the proposed arrangement, if he made those who used them, also keep them in repair. He was informed that such was, at present, the law with respect to what were called faculty and possessory pews; and if it were the law with respect to the rest so much the better, since no new enactment would be necessary. With regard to the visitation fees, he believed that, legally, they were very small; but, undoubtedly, the attendance of Churchwardens at visitations occasioned a large expense to parishes. As far as he could ascertain, their attendance did not seem absolutely necessary, and he proposed to dispense with it; enabling the parochial clergyman to swear them annually, as was now done at visitations, but not taking from them the power of making presentments. The Committee would feel, that in making this change, it would be necessary to impose some fresh check on the expenditure of the money to be placed in the hands of the Commissioners. The present check had been found very insufficient; it was, that when a Vestry decided upon the necessity of making some repair, alteration, or improvement of a church, in voting the money for the purpose, they, in fact, taxed themselves, as they were some of the parties who paid. Under his plan, the reverse would be the case; the money would not be paid by the parish, and without some check the expenditure might be too lavish. The first check would be, that the sum of money to be applied to the purpose would be limited. If the Commissioners found that the calls upon them were greater than they had funds at their disposal, they would be under the necessity of refusing and returning the claim; but, in addition to this first check, it was intended to establish a second, of this nature:—That when the Churchwardens and Clergyman of a parish thought any repair of the fabric necessary, the surveyor of the county should be called in to examine the Church, and to decide whether the opinion was well or ill founded. The surveyor would have to report the result of his examination of the Church to the Quarter Sessions, and the certificate of the Quarter Sessions would be required, in order to warrant any advance by the Commissioners. He believed, that the Surveyors in the different counties of England were almost invariably men of high respectability, and it was the interest of the Quarter Sessions, who had the appointment of them, to take care that they were men upon whom they could rely. This control, together with the limitation of the sum, he believed, would amount to a sufficient check upon unnecessary and extravagant expenditure. It might be said, that he had made no provision for organs, for a large number of bells, or for anything of that kind which might be considered a religious luxury. This was true; and it might be urged, that where these luxuries already existed, it was necessary to preserve them; where it was necessary, he had no doubt they would be preserved by voluntary contributions. It was possible, not to say very possible, that the proposition of the hon. member for Exeter, that the whole should be left to voluntary contributions, would be sufficient; but in the present state of the Church of England, and looking at the principle on which it existed, he did not think it would be consistent with that principle to leave the support of the various fabrics merely to voluntary con- tributions. He knew not in what spirit or mode the proposition he had just opened was likely to be received; he would not admit, that any man was more sincerely attached to the Church than he was; but he was not at all aware in what way such as were more peculiarly to be looked upon as its advocates and supporters would accept this plan; for the same reason he was ignorant how the Dissenters would take it, but he was perfectly confident that it would place the maintenance of the fabric of the Church upon a better footing than that it had hitherto stood upon. Of this he was sure, that if the existing law remained unamended, the greatest difficulties might arise; if, indeed, the consequence were not that ere long the Churches of the kingdom would be without the means of due repair. The Dissenters admitted that they did not object to the amount, but to the principle of Church-rates; they objected to pay money for the support of a Church in the doctrines of which they could not agree. As far, therefore, as both parties had expressed an opinion, this measure would probably be satisfactory to both. Another point not immediately relevant to the question, but which the Committee would not fail to take into view, was, that the effect of the new plan would be, not only to relieve Dissenters from their scruples, but the people of England from a considerable amount of taxation. It was proposed to apply 250,000l. from the Land-tax; but the sum hitherto annually expended upon churches and chapels in England and Wales, and raised by Church-rates, was between 500,000l. and 600,000l.; it was 560,000l. by the latest return upon the table. The relief from taxation pressing upon the body of the people would thus be important, and would amount to the difference, or nearly so, between 250,000l. and 560,000l. The expenditure had, no doubt, been extravagant in many instances, for sometimes the Churchwardens, and vestry, who ought to have guarded the interests of the parish, were benefited by the expenditure. This year a Churchwarden procured an order for something he thought ornamental, with a view to the perpetuation of his name, and next year, perhaps, a tradesman had influence enough to procure some other expenditure which would be to his advantage. For all these reasons, from what- ever cause proceeding, every person who had looked into the subject with whom he had conversed, was of opinion, that by the new plan, extravagant expenditure would be checked and controlled. He had now explained to the House the course Ministers intended to pursue upon this important subject. What might be the objections of the hon. member for Middlesex, who had in the beginning clearly intimated his dissent, he (Lord Althorp) did not know; he could not imagine what ground of resistance the hon. Member would be prepared to take, especially when the proposition went to relieve the people from a large part of the taxation they sustained, by diverting a part of the money now raised by Land-tax to a purpose to which it had not hitherto been applied. He should wait to hear the hon. Gentleman's arguments, contenting himself, at present with moving the following Resolution:—"That it is the opinion of this Committee, that from and after a time to be fixed, the payment of Church-rates shall cease and determine—that in lieu of them, his Majesty be empowered to grant out of the proceeds of the Land-tax a sum not exceeding 250,000l. to be applied to the fabrics of the parish churches and chapels in such manner as Parliament may direct."

Mr. Hume

said, that he could not but confess the disappointment which he felt in the proposal submitted to the House by the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He did not think that the country would feel satisfied with it. Nay, more, he thought that even those who supported the Established Church would not be pleased with the noble Lord's plan. The noble Lord appeared to him to have had the Bench of Bishops for advisers in drawing up his plan; for no layman could have ever proposed that the sum thus to be raised should be put under the control of the Commissioners for Building and Repairing Churches. He thought they had seen enough of that Commission. It had, by its acts, done more to shake the stability of the Church of England than almost any Commission which ever sat. The result of its operations, in almost all parishes, was, that it had created a strong opposition to Church-rates. He protested against continuing the establishment of this new clerical body, as altogether improper, impolitic, and unnecessary. The next question was, why this matter was brought forward at all? The noble Lord had told them, that the reason was, because the Dissenters objected, on principle, to pay for the support of the Established Church. But had the noble Lord, by his plan, altered that state of things? No; the noble Lord had merely changed the manner in which the payment was to be made. It was merely paying the money out of one pocket instead of out of the other. It was evident, that the Bench of Bishops had been the noble Lord's advisers, from the choice made of a source from which the future revenue for the building and repair of churches was to be drawn. It was to be drawn from the Land-tax—the most secure and least variable of all sources of revenue. The noble Lord had admitted, and he was astonished that the admission should be made, that the greatest extravagance had been practised in the expenditure of the money raised as Church-rates, yet he still proposed to intrust the money to be raised under his proposed Bill in the hands of those very persons who had already, by his own admission, misapplied the funds intrusted to them. He would suggest it, as a more advisable plan, that the clergy should give up the whole of their revenues to the State, and allow the State to provide for them as they ought to be provided for. If they were called on to make a change, he would have a change based on intelligible principles, and not such a mixed proposition as that brought forward by the noble Lord. If the clergy were to enjoy all the revenues which they now possessed, they ought also to build and keep in repair the churches, for those revenues were given to them not for their support only, but also for the support of the poor, and to build churches. He would beg the noble Lord to say, whether the funds left by our ancestors were not sufficient for those purposes? The noble Lord had not stated that they were not sufficient, neither had he stated one sufficient reason why that House should vote 200,000l. of the public money for the purpose of building and repairing churches, without knowing whether the Church had or had not sufficient funds for the same purpose. This ought to be inquired into before they proceeded to pledge the House to any course. He objected strongly to the source from which the fund was to be drawn, on account of its inequality. The Land-tax fell most unequally on the people, As an instance of that, he would merely state, that in the county of Lancaster, one of the largest and wealthiest in England, the Land-tax amounted to only 12,592l., while in the county of Norfolk, a county far inferior to the former in wealth and importance, it amounted to 69,792l. In Warwick it amounted to 25,000l.; while, in Somersetshire, it was no less than 48,000l. This showed the inequality of the tax, and he would, therefore, put it to the House whether they could adopt that part of the noble Lord's proposition? In his opinion, the plan proposed would not give satisfaction to any class. So far would it be from tending to satisfy the Dissenters, that it would show them there was no intention of relieving them of the burthens of paying for the support of the Established Church; but, on the contrary, that the intention was, to lay heavier taxes on them; for, undoubtedly, the effect of the noble Lord's plan would be, to oblige the Dissenters to pay more towards the Church than they had hitherto paid. A local would be converted into a general tax. He firmly and confidently hoped, that while Episcopal England would decline the proposition of the noble Lord, Catholic Ireland and Protestant, Scotland would each enter its protest against being called on to pay a proportion of the expense of a Church with which they had nothing to do. He was convinced that there might be found means by which the funds necessary for this purpose might be raised without levying any additional burthen on the country. They might abolish those sinecures with which the Church abounded. He saw no reason why the sinecures of the Church should be protected and kept up, while those in the civil and military establishments of the country were in the course of being abolished. And what were the Deans and Chapters but a nest of sinecures, whose existence was in no way necessary to the well-being or security of the Church? If these and other sinecures were done away with, the revenues which they now enjoyed would be amply sufficient for the purposes of the measure proposed by the noble Lord. If that plan were not approved of, let the clergy then give up all their revenues to the State, and trust to the liberality of the country for their support. In doing so, they would only follow the example of his Majesty, who gave up the whole of his hereditary revenue; and he saw no reason why the Church should not do the same. On these grounds, he considered the plan proposed by the noble Lord to be most inconsiderate. He was glad when he heard, that the Government meant to bring forward a proposition for the abolition of Church-rates; but he could not deny, that he hail expected a plan totally different from that which had then been laid before them. He had expected a plan by which Dissenters would he relieved from the burthen of supporting the Church; but being disappointed in that, and finding that Ireland and Scotland, both of which had formerly been exempt from this burthen, were now to pay their share of it, he could not but say, that the proposition was to him most unsatisfactory, as he had no doubt it would be to the country at large. The question then was, what they were to do with the Resolution proposed by the noble Lord? He observed, that by the first part of it it was declared, "that it is the opinion of this Committee, that from and after a time to be fixed, the payment of Church-rates in England and Wales shall cease and determine." To that part of the noble Lord's Resolution he gave a cordial assent; but to the last part, which stated that, "in lieu of them, his Majesty be empowered to grant, out of the proceeds of the Land-tax, a sum not exceeding 250,000l., to be applied to the repair of parish churches," he was as decidedly opposed. He would, therefore, simply move, as an Amendment, "That it is the opinion of this Committee, that from and after a time to be fixed, the payment of Church-rates in England and Wales shall cease and determine."

Mr. Gisborne

thought, that the feeling as to the necessity of a Church Establishment for the propagation of religion, was most erroneous. They might as well propose a national medical establishment, and oblige every one to pay for its support. Whether sick or well, all would then be called on to pay the State Physician. If that was an erroneous principle, as regarded a medical establishment, he was prepared to show, that it was not more so than that on which they now supported a national Established Church. The question before the Committee now was merely one as to payment, and what they had to consider was, whether that payment was just or not? It was evident to every one, when the Government made a gift of the Church Rates to the people of Ireland, that the people of England would not be satisfied until they were similarly favoured. That had turned out to be the case, and the only thing they had now to look to was, whether the measure proposed for England was similar in its effect to that which the Irish had obtained. To him the proposition, as explained by the noble Lord, appeared to be a mere trial of the gullibility of the Dissenters. It was like one of those plans of finance somehow propounded by ingenious statesmen, the object of which was to make the people believe that when they did not pay money directly out of their pockets, though the same amount was raised indirectly from them, they did not pay it at all. Now, what did the Dissenters complain of? They complained, that their money was taken out of their pockets to support the Established Church of England. Would the noble Lord's plan relieve them of that payment?—No.—The money was to be taken out of the general bulk of taxation, to which the Dissenters paid their proportion, and the consequence would be that they should have to pay just as much towards the support of the Church after this measure was adopted as now. This proposition was but a second edition of the Dissenters' Marriages' Bill, which the noble Lord who promoted it said, was to have given satisfaction to the whole body of Dissenters, but which turned out unsatisfactory to all. He agreed with the hon. member for Middlesex, in approving of the first part of the noble Lord's Resolution, which simply declared that the payment of Church-rates should cease; and he thought that the best course which the noble Lord could have pursued, would have been to have brought in a Bill for that purpose; and that henceforth churches should be supported by those only who used them. He totally differed from those who thought that this would be offering a premium for dissent. Either the church should be supported by those who used it, or funds should be raised for that purpose out of the revenues of the Church itself. It was generally admitted, even by the supporters of the Church Establishment, that there were several useless sinecures in it which might be abolished without impairing the sufficiency of the Church itself. The Deans and Chapters, for instance, might be abolished; and he was convinced that, however much the destruction might interfere with the festivities of the clergy, it would not affect the real object, nor impair the utility of the Church Establishment. From this source, then, an ample fund for the repair of Churches might be derived. It could not be said, that the revenues of the Church were too small, and could not afford this burthen on them. There were some thousands of clergymen in the Church wholly without employment, and it was clear, that the revenues must be large which would draw so many more than the necessary number of labourers to the same vineyard. There was another view of the subject, which showed the wealth of the Church, namely this: that for a man of average abilities, the Church was a better speculation than any other. If he had a stupid son—which he thanked God, he had not—with whom he did not know what he should do, he did not know how he could lay out 3,000l. or 4,000l. for his benefit, better than in the purchase of a presentation to a Church living. It was therefore evident, that the revenues of the Church itself were sufficient not only for the support of the Clergy, but also for the other expenses connected with the Establishment. He regretted that the noble Lord had not brought forward a proposition to which he could have given a hearty assent. He might have brought forward a measure which would have given satisfaction to all parties; but instead of that, he had thought proper to bring one forward which he might predict, without claiming the merit of being a prophet, would be rejected by the House and the country.

Sir Robert Inglis

said, that before entering upon the question, he wished first to understand clearly the nature of the noble Lord's proposition on one important point. In the Resolution, it did not appear whether the vote which the noble Lord recommended of 250,000l. to be charged upon the Land-tax was to be a permanent allocation of that sum, not requiring the annual vote of Parliament, or whether it was to be an annual grant to that amount. He believed, that the former was to be the case, and, if that were the principle upon which the arrangement was proposed, his objections to it would be considerably modified. He owned, that the noble Lord was placed in a situation of some difficulty, in having to answer objections which would come, as it were, at the same time from the north and the south; for while those of the hon. member for Middlesex might be represented as coming from the north, his would certainly be of the most opposite and contrary character that could be conceived. At the same time, he was bound to say, that his objections to the measure were not so serious as he had expected them to be. He objected to the proposition; but yet he gladly saw in it a principle which he was most happy to find adopted by the noble Lord, namely, a recognition of the great and paramount duty of the State, as undoubtedly it was of all States, to supply a public provision for the worship of Almighty God. He hailed the presence of that principle with deep satisfaction; and he was desirous of saying so in the outset, because, however little his Majesty's Ministers might value any approbation coming from him, yet they had acted so contrary to his expectations, in making this recognition, which he conceived to be a high part of their duty, that he should not feel that he was doing justice either to himself or to them, if he did not tender his acknowledgment of their having done so. This, he regretted to say, was the full extent of the approval he could conscientiously bestow upon the measure; for, although the Ministers gave this amount of the public revenue for the support of the Church, yet they could not so fetter the future Acts of that House, or of any other House of Commons, as to place the rights and claims of the Church upon so secure a foundation as that upon which it now rested. He did not believe, moreover, that any benefit would be derived from the measure in the way of conciliating those who had been loudest in the outcry against Church-rates, because their chief objection to the payment was not on account of the amount, but of the principle. ["Hear, hear."] He understood the cheer of the hon. member for Boston to mean, that it was not the amount, then, which created the objection. He would undertake to prove that disapprobation had no honest or just foundation. He would ask the hon. Member to tell him, whether any Dissenter had ever purchased or taken a lease of a house, without the charge of Church-rate having been taken as an element in the calculation of its value, as much as the Land-tax, or Poor-rate, or Water-rate, or any other charge whatever? And, he would then ask him, if that were so, whether that person paid the Church-rate as a Dissenter, or as the owner or occupier of number 10 or 12 in such or such a square? It was precisely and strictly as an element of charge upon his property, as he had bought it, that a Dissenter, as well as every other man, was called upon to pay his proportion of Church-rates. If the amount had been raised by a poll-tax, then the Dissenters might have complained of being included in its operation; but he could not understand, how any person upon the principles of honesty, as between man and man, he having purchased a house or land, with certain liabilities calculated in its value, could come forward and claim to be relieved from those liabilities, upon the ground of holding certain opinions upon points, on which he had, perhaps, changed his mind since the period of making his purchase. He thought those remarks disposed of the question of right and justice. He contended, that the Church-rate was a tax upon property, not upon individuals, and that the Dissenters acquired their property liable to the payment. Another argument on which the noble Lord had rested the necessity of a change was, the spirit of resistance which had been manifested against the making of rates. The noble Lord had not stated what was the extent of this resistance. He should like to ask him how many instances of successful resistance to Church-rates had occurred within the last half-year? From a statement which he had seen, and which he had great reason to believe was a true one, there were not more than fifty parishes in which Church-rates had been successfully resisted within that period. He would ask the House, therefore, to compare these cases with the 12,000 other parishes in which the rate had not been resisted, or where the resistance had been unsuccessful, and then he would ask them whether this was such a manifestation of public opinion, as called for any change? Then, as to the amount paid by the Dissenters, he did not believe that it could amount to anything which could so press upon their resources, as to be deemed a grievance on that account. The whole amount raised by Church-rates in England and Wales, was 566,000l. a-year. He would ask any Gentleman, whether the Dissenters' share of this payment could be estimated at more than one-twentieth of the sum? He was sure he might safely say, it was not more than a fortieth. He had very strong reasons for believing, that, whatever proportion of Dissenters might be in the towns, the very great preponderance of the number of the Church throughout all the rest of the population, would give that difference. The Church-rate amounted to about 3d. in the pound upon the whole landed rental of the kingdom; and, he would ask any one, whether the Dissenters could be supposed to pay more than one-fourth of a farthing in the pound upon the rental? Why, then, if the amount they were called upon to pay was so trifling, he came again to the position, that the objection of the Dissenters was not to the pecuniary burthen, but to the necessity of their supporting the Church. This being so, how, he asked, would their case be changed by the proposition of the noble Lord? The only difference it would make to them, would be, that instead of paying the Churchwarden, they would have to pay the tax-collector. Instead of being relieved in point of amount, he believed that they would have to pay more; but whether they paid more or less, the burthen on the conscience would be just as heavy as before. For refusing to admit this claim of conscience, he gave the noble Lord full credit. He admitted the doctrine, that no man's conscience ought to be bound by the conscience or views of another. But, on the other hand, he held that no doctrine was so subversive of public and social justice, as that one man's conscience should be allowed to limit another man's rights. He would ask, then, what right of conscience could the Dissenter put forward as a justification of his refusal to pay that charge, which he had agreed to pay, when he purchased his house or his lands? This charge of Church-rate upon such property was one of the most ancient upon record. It was a custom of the Saxons in the time of King Ina, when Church-scot or Church-rate was levied by law. This was a title as good as any Statute could make it; and, until he was taught that fourteen centuries of possession was not a good title to property, he should continue to say, that the Dissenters were bound in conscience, as well as in law, to pay Church-rates. But the hon. member for Middlesex said, that there was another point, besides that of conscience, which hurt the Dissenters, and that was, that they were called upon to pay for uphold- ing an institution from which they derived no benefit, and that he considered to be an unjustifiable act. Why, did the hon. Member mean to say, that no man in the State should be called upon to pay for what conferred upon him personally no benefit? If the hon. Member deliberately abided by that proposition, he would only ask him, whether he meant to contend, that no man in London ought to be made to pay for the police in London, but the thieves in London? He assured the hon. Member he meant nothing personal by the illustration; but to put it more directly, he would ask if the hon. Member would have no persons pay towards the expenses of our Law Courts, who never went to law. He really believed it to be a fact, that in point of numbers, whatever might appear to the contrary, in any particular towns or districts where the principles of Dissenters prevailed, the vast majority of the population of England had been bred up, and were living in communion with the Established Church. He begged it to be understood, that he did not use the word "communion" in an ecclesiastical or sectarian meaning. He meant merely to assert, that a preponderating number of the population of this country professed the religion and doctrines of the Established Church. That there were towns in which Dissenting principles appeared to predominate was certainly true. He would mention, however, only one instance, to show, that these formed the exception and not the rule. It appeared, by a Return upon the Table of the House, that the total amount of Lancashire was 1,056,000 persons; of whom only 255,411 were Dissenters, including members of the Church of Rome. The members of the Church of Rome were 144,244, and the Dissenters, or persons not members of the Established Church, 111,167. Another point in the question was, the amount of incomes of the two classes. Upon this point, though he was fully prepared with evidence and arguments, in case of necessity, he did not wish to enter, unless called upon so to do. His firm conviction was, that both in respect to numerical amount and civil condition, the Dissenters of this country were a very inconsiderable portion of the aggregate community. With such conviction upon his mind, he could not but think that the extent of the grievances complained of had been grossly exaggerated, In conclusion, however, he would unfeignedly thank the noble Lord, for the principle which he had admitted, that the people should be called upon to pay for the support of the Church Establishment of the country.

Mr. Divett

said, that he believed, contrary to the remark of the hon. Baronet who had just taken his seat, that the evils of the existing system were much under-rated. As to the proportion of Dissenters to Churchmen, he would only say, that though nominally there were more Churchmen than Dissenters, yet a greater number of Dissenters than members of the Establishment attended divine worship. For his part, he thought it was most unjust to compel persons to contribute to the support of a Church from whose doctrines they dissented. He was not a Dissenter himself; but he was bound to say, (and he knew that he was speaking the sentiments of his constituents) that he could not agree to that part of the noble Lord's plan which went to provide the substitute. He admitted, that his noble friend evinced a desire to relieve the Dissenters, but his noble friend had failed in realizing his own wish. But he was quite convinced, that the Dissenters would feel themselves aggrieved by the small part of the Church-rates which the noble Lord had allowed to remain. The hon. Baronet who spoke last, understated the number of cases in which a successful resistance had been made to the levying of Church-rate, but taking the case upon his showing, was it not to be deplored that a contest of this nature should be continually going on between Dissenters and the Church? It was, in his opinion, much to be regretted, that in the whole matter of the Church-rates, there should be any thing of compulsion, and nothing of voluntary contribution. He was sure it would be far more advantageous to the Church, and more satisfactory to the great body of the people, if an opportunity were generally afforded them of doing something similar to that which he had recently witnessed in a country parish, where it was most gratifying to observe the manner in which the call made under the King's letter was responded to—he alluded to the recommendation on the subject of building additional churches. He regretted, that the proposition of the Government was such as to impose upon him the necessity of supporting the amend- ment of the member for Middlesex, which, under the present aspect of the question, ought to be supported on the broad ground that no individual ought to be compelled to pay for the maintenance of a Church from which be conscientiously dissented. He begged, however, that it should be distinctly understood, that the vote he intended to give, was not the result of any hostile feeling towards the Church, but merely from a sense of what, in fairness, was due to the Dissenters.

Mr. Wilks

considered it quite a mistake to view the present as a question exclusively affecting the Protestant Dissenters; and he might be allowed to say, that the members of the Church themselves were deeply interested in the proper, equitable, and satisfactory settlement of that long-contested question. Moreover it was not a question between mere classes of religionists; it was one of great national importance, and should not be taken up on any narrow or limited ground: it was not only a matter of the highest moment in a national point of view, but in one of morals and religion; for what could be more destructive to the right moral and religious feeling of the people at large, than that the body of men from whom they were to derive spiritual consolation and instruction, were to stand towards the people in the light of tax-gatherers? He sincerely regretted, that a more liberal proposition had not been brought forward by his Majesty's Government—that some principle was not recognized, according to which Dissenters might be exempted from contributing to the expenses of a worship which they never attended, and the support of a Church whose doctrines they did not acknowledge. There was, as almost every hon. Member knew, the greatest exaggeration practised with regard to the members of the Established Church. He had means of knowing how the matter stood in the principality of Wales; and he could testify how indignant the feeling was with which the inhabitants there viewed the impost. No fewer than three-fourths of the inhabitants of Wales dissented from the Established Church; and, in the course of the present century, they had established not less than 1,560 places of public worship, every one of which was raised at their own expense, though they endured all the while the grievous burthen of maintaining a Church to which not only they did not belong, but from which they openly dissented. He would ask, upon what ground of justice or expediency could the country be called upon to pay such a sum as 250,000l. for maintaining, building, and repairing Churches? He objected to such a burthen upon the nation, but he objected to it, not alone because the people were already severely taxed, but on account of the nature of the burthen. It was not merely the amount, but the principle to which he took exception. He was surprised to hear the hon. Baronet remark, that the tax would not amount to one-fourth of a farthing in the pound. But what would be the amount of the grant to Maynooth? Not the twentieth part of that fraction of a farthing; and yet the hon. Baronet was one of those hon. Members, who, on a former night, resisted the grant to the College of Maynooth, conscientiously considering that it was at perfect variance with the principles which they conceived it their duty to support. It was not the amount of the tax, but the principle of taxation, which lost England her American colonies. It was not the amount of ship-money, but the principle of extortion, which Hampden resisted. On similar grounds, he should say, that whether the sum were 560,000l., or 250,000l., the Dissenters were equally called upon to resist the payment. As conscientious men, the Dissenters were called upon to refuse contributions to a Church from which they were in their religious capacity as much separated as it was possible. In no point of view could this question of Church-rates be presented, in which it did not appear as a grievous and distressing impost—as an infringement of religious liberty—for the restraint was the same whether it presented itself in the form of a pecuniary payment, or of personal imprisonment. The principle for which the Dissenters contended was, "that every man has a right to worship his God according to his own conscience, and that he cannot be required, consistently with justice, to contribute a do it to the support of a form of worship which his conscience condemns." And if any Dissenters did not act on that principle, they deserved the respect neither of the Established Church, nor of those to whom they professed to belong. And why should the Government, why should this House, why should those attached to the established religion require, even under this modified aspect, any contribution from Dissenters? It was said that to assent to the principle of voluntary payments for the support of religion, would be the destruction of all religion; and that there would be no pious homage to our Creator, if extorted contributions should cease. The best practical reply to that was the fact, that upwards of 3,000,000l., within the last century, had been contributed by Protestant Dissenters, to rear their own places of worship, and maintain their own ministry. Though they might be as destitute of wealth as the hon. Baronet had assumed, and he admitted that they had no sinecures, nor cathedrals, nor palaces; but still they had been able to provide for the worship of their Maker. Nor was the present race, increasing in numbers, less attentive to this. The Dissenters were at this time paying annually from 300,000l. to 400,000l. to support their chapels, to maintain their ministers, to educate the poor, to circulate the Scriptures, and to diffuse Christianity on earth. They were rich in the brightest glory; and in that wealth he trusted they never would decline. But it was not by this comparison, to which he had been provoked by the challenge of the hon. Baronet, the member for the University of Oxford, that he would advocate the cause of the Protestant Dissenters, nor urge his objections to the second proposition of the noble Lord. Even if they were less numerous, less wealthy, less united, less pious, and even if they rendered less assistance to freedom and the laws, and took less interest in the instruction of the people, yet ought they not to be compelled to contribute to the churches of an establishment to which they objected. The present proposition must rather increase than lessen their complaints. Now they had power in vestries to interfere and could often prevent the charge; but of that right, by the proposed boon of the Government, they would be deprived. They objected to an alliance of the Church and the State, which this boon would render firm, and rivet for ever. But the hon. member for the University of Oxford alleged, that the Dissenters' applications against Church-rates were as unprincipled and dishonest as would be a resistance to tithes—that both were charges on property acquired with a knowledge that such charge must be borne. Between tithes and Church-rates the distinction was clear and palpable. Tithes were bad enough; but Church-rates were far more indefensible and harsh. They were imposed in a manner that opened the door to every abuse. No purchasers of property could calculate the amount that, by waste or extortion, they might be bound to provide. They were levied too by an annual vote of Churchmen, and were peculiarly irritating, because the persons taxed derived no benefit from the burthen. Only this day he had presented two petitions on the subject: one was from the town-ship of Over-Darwen, in Lancashire, five-sixths of the industrious inhabitants of which belonged not to the Church. Within the last twenty years they had erected several places of Dissenting worship, and had raised annually many hundred pounds for the maintenance of their own ministers, the instruction of the young, and for benevolent and missionary purposes; and yet this humble, laborious peasantry, distant from the Church, had had, within the last ten years, to contribute 2,500l. towards a new Church at Blackburn; and one of the petitioners alone had paid 350l. The other petition came from the borough of Saffron Walden. There the Dissenters were the most numerous; they paid at least half the Church-rates, and had recently been compelled to meet their portion of a charge of several thousand pounds, towards the erection of a new and needless steeple, determined on at a vestry, in spite of their remonstrances, by a majority of one. With such examples, who could wonder that Church-rates were unpopular, and that Dissenters complained? Nor when the hon. member for the University of Oxford blamed Dissenters for resisting Church-rates, let it be forgotten, that they had on many occasions, evinced such liberality as few Churchmen would evince, and allowed first 1,000,000l. and afterwards 500,000l., to be voted without any remonstrance on their parts, by the Parliament, for the erection of new churches. Far different methinks would be the conduct of those who blame Dissenters most, if they were compelled like them to vote such monies, or pay annual charges towards the building and keeping in repair the chapels and meeting-houses in which their dissenting fellow-countrymen offered their sincere but simple worship to their God. He hoped the Government would not press that part of the measure which would probably occasion it to be repudi- ated with disdain. Let them abolish Church-rates entirely. It had been stated by some hon. Members, that there were ample funds belonging to the Established Church appropriated to no salutary purpose, and out of which this 250,000l. might be raised. To their suggestions he would add, there were upwards of 13,000 or 14,000 parochial churches and chapelries served by clergymen, and attended by members of the Established Church, and supposing the sum of 250,000l. to be raised—then if each clergyman paid his proportion of the aggregate amount, all that he would pay would be annually 15l. or 20l.; and so would be a sufficiency provided without violating the feelings and principles of Dissenters, and imposing on the people of England, Scotland, and Ireland, the payment of this new and objectionable tax. Nor did he believe that even that fair arrangement would be required. Why should he believe the members of the Established Church inferior to Dissenters in liberality and sacred zeal? It were a libel contradicted by experience to make the imputation, and he believed, from the examples he had seen at Brighton and other places, that if the members of the Church were relied on, their voluntary zeal would supply all that was requisite. He saw, therefore, with great pain, the proposition then before the House, by which a measure received the sanction of his Majesty's Government, the introduction of which their friends must ever deplore. He regretted, that the Ministers had pursued a course which made it necessary on the part of the Dissenters to manifest resistance, and consequently, however reluctant, he must give his support to the Amendment proposed by the hon. member for Middlesex.

Mr. Secretary Stanley

said, that the King's Ministers found themselves placed in the painful and embarrassing situation of vindicating a measure assailed by a sort of double opposition, each opposing party at the same time entertaining views diametrically opposite; it would be therefore no easy task for him to shape his arguments so as to meet and answer both. He should begin by observing, that he did not hesitate to say, that the Motion of his noble friend was introduced with the view of affording to the Dissenters a measure of liberal and substantial relief, which no man was more ready than himself to acknowledge they were fairly and justly entitled to, and at the same time it was not less an object with his Majesty's Government to bring forward a measure calculated to afford perfect security to the rights of the Established Church. He should very much regret if the statements which the House had heard from the hon. member for Boston were to be received as evidence of the prevailing sentiments amongst the great body of the Dissenters throughout the country. Highly as he might respect the authority of that hon. Member, he could find better authority—namely, the petitions of the Dissenters themselves—for saying, that they did not desire the severance of the Union at present subsisting, between Church and State, and it was of the very essence of that union that the State should, out of the public funds, defray the expenses of the religion it established. If there was anything more than another which constituted an established religion, it was that. He was perfectly ready to admit such maintenance of an Established Church ought to be conducted upon principles and in a manner the least irritating and offensive to other parties, both as respected the amount and the mode of collection. He was equally ready to acknowledge that Church-rates, as they stood, formed to the Dissenters a serious and substantial grievance. To afford them real relief from that grievance was the object which his Majesty's Government had in view, but his hon. friend, the member for Oxford, objected to the proposed measure as endangering the security of the Established Church. Now, so far was he from participating in the fears of his hon. friend respecting the security of the Established Church, it was his full persuasion that no step could be taken better calculated to fortify its true interests than the proposed measure of his noble friend. His hon. friend appeared quite to mistake the temper of the times when he supposed that the people of England were not decidedly adverse to Church-rates in their present form. His hon. friend had said, (and he appeared to attach considerable importance to the statement,) that it was only in fifty or sixty parishes that anything like successful opposition had been offered to the levying of Church-rates; but his hon. friend had not stated in how many instances opposition had been put down for a time in order to be renewed at a future opportunity, should no proposition be brought forward by the Executive, and submitted to Parliament for the relief of Dissenters and all parties upon whom that burthen might unjustly press. His hon. friend forgot to tell them how many hundred parishes there were waiting to follow the example of those which had successfully resisted, should the decision of the Legislature give them no hope of relief. He would ask his hon. friend what would have been the spirit of disappointment, the effusion of bitterness, with which the news would have been received throughout the parishes of England, if the payers of Church-rates were to be told that Parliament, acting under the advice of his noble friend, had not only determined to adopt no remedy, but were resolved to uphold the original form of Church-rates to their full amount, with all that was vexatious and oppressive in their mode of collection, or unnecessary in their amount? Did his hon. friend think, that the best mode of advancing the true interests of the Church was by maintaining every one of its abuses? Did any man suppose, that those interests were to be promoted by a profanation of the Church itself year after year—by a desecration of the House of God by a squabble about Church-rates at each succeeding Easter? But though he addressed those arguments to his hon. friend, he was by no means prepared to go the length of agreeing with the hon. member for Boston, in not only relieving the Dissenters, but in abolishing Church-rates totally. He was not prepared to leave the Church without the means of defraying those expenses hitherto supplied by the rates. He was not prepared to sacrifice the Established Church: neither did he believe that the great body of Dissenters required any such sacrifice. His wish was (and he persuaded himself that a very large proportion of the Dissenters participated in that sentiment), to have the Church maintained, not in splendour or luxury, but with a decent and becoming convenience suitable to the religious feelings of the people. It was perfectly true that hon. Members objecting to the Motion had dwelt more on the principle than on the amount; but nevertheless, even the amount appeared to be a fatal objection with the hon. member for Middlesex, who talked of the proposition as one imposing an additional burthen on the people. Now, instead of its being an additional burthen, it was a relief to the extent of 310,000l. The present amount of Church-rates was 560,000l., while 250,000l. was the sum which his noble friend proposed in their stead, leaving, as he observed, in favour of the public a balance of 310,000l. But there was not only an actual relief to that extent, but a very considerable diminution, or, he should rather have said, a total removal of all that was irritating and offensive in the mode of collection. The speech of the hon. member for Boston was in its tendency and effect decidedly opposed to the whole system of the Church: and when he urged his objection to the existing rates, the hon. Member aimed obviously at the total separation of Church from State. The representation that the plan of his noble friend afforded no relief was anything but borne out by the fact. Was there no relief in removing the specific charge on individual parishes and spreading the expense over the nation at large? With what consistency did hon. Members who supported the grant to Maynooth College—who agreed to 25,000l. for the Presbyterian clergymen of the north of Ireland—who consented to the support of the academy at Belfast—with what consistency did they come forward and say that the State should contribute nothing in lieu of the rates to be taken away from the Church of England? The hon. Member for Boston seemed altogether to overlook the circumstance that the local and specific grievance was removed by the contemplated plan. He would illustrate his view of the matter by reference to a particular instance. At the present moment the inhabitants of Dublin paid a small fraction in the form of customs, excise, or stamp, towards the 10,000l. or 8,000l. grant to Maynooth, and of that slight burthen they never made the slightest complaint; but let the tax-gatherer come to their doors and tell them—tell the Protestant inhabitants of Dublin—that they were exclusively taxed so much in the pound on the value of their houses for the benefit of Maynooth College, and there would soon be as great a disturbance in Dublin as there was now in England on the score of the Church-rates. The man who before that, thought nothing of the contribution to Maynooth, or if he did think of it did not estimate his contribution at more, perhaps, than the hundredth part of a farthing upon any article paying duty at the Custom-house, would become indignant at the idea of paying so much in the pound on the value of his house for the maintenance of Maynooth College, and he would naturally complain and clamour against maintaining an exclusively Catholic establishment. That, be it remembered, was the species of grievance from which the measure of his noble friend proposed to relieve the country in the matter of Church-rates. That burthen, which before was really a grievance, would now be scarcely felt. If the present proposition should unhappily be rejected, let the House remember, that by such rejection they would be practically refusing to do away with an immense amount of vexation that was found in almost every parish of the land. In rejecting such a proposition, let them remember the immense amount of responsibility which they assumed, the quantity of ill blood and heart-burnings which they perpetuated as well as the annual desecration of the House of God Easter after Easter. He entreated them to consider well before they arrived at any such conclusion. He knew not what others might think on the subject; but if the proposition of the hon. member for Middlesex were adopted, his Majesty's Government could not assume the responsibility of carrying to its conclusion any such measure as the present, for they could in no shape be parties to taking away the only provision which the Church had for a certain description of expense, and leaving it without any substitute. The Government had brought before the House the present plan, because they considered it rational and sober, and such as ought to give satisfaction to the great body of Dissenters as well as to those who were connected with the Established Church; and he trusted there were on the one side and on the other liberal and enlightened men, who, taking a sober and dispassionate view of the question—looking to the manner in which Government had dealt with it—seeing in it an earnest desire to remove practical grievances and real abuses, and to limit the amount contributed by the State to that which was sufficient only for the decent and fair maintenance of the celebration of the worship of the State—(he meant the worship of the Church supported by the State)—whose establishment he considered as founded upon and essentially connected with the interests of religion in the country;—it was to be hoped, he repeated, that regarding the present measure with those feelings, it would receive the sanction and approbation of all enlightened and liberal friends of existing institutions. Sincerely and in every point of view was he anxious to grant to the Dissenters of the country every reasonable concession, and remove every real ground of complaint; but if unhappily they rejected proposals brought forward mainly to conciliate them, and to remove their well-founded objections, the Ministers, at all events, would have the satisfaction of feeling that they had performed their duty by propounding what they considered a fair and reasonable measure, and which ought to have led to the re-establishment of peace and harmony between persons of different sects and persuasions.

Mr. Harvey

The right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House has made an appeal to our sympathy in alluding to the peculiar position in which the Administration, of which he forms so distinguished a member, might be placed, or rather in which it stands. He tells us, on the one hand, that Government have to contend with those, whom he rather insinuates than asserts to be the enemies of the Church; and, on the other hand, with those who are presumed to be the uncompromising advocates of the Church in the whole integrity of its power and resources, and that between these two evils the Government have at length proposed a measure, the result of much reflection, and of which they call on the House and the country to pronounce an opinion of absolute approval. It is the duty of every Member of this House, however painful it may be to him—and of all situations it is probably one of the most painful—that, with every disposition to support the general principles of the Government, he is sometimes placed in the position of appearing as its enemy, by the oft-times false position which the Government so frequently assumes—by making experiments to substitute small stratagems and smaller details for great and enlightened principles. The right hon. Gentleman has stated, that he, he emphatically says "he" is prepared to concede to the Protestant Dissenters all reasonable grounds of complaint. What is, let me ask; the ground of complaint of the Protestant Dissenters of England?— Of those generous and disinterested men, to whom the present Government mainly owe their power? What are the objections raised by those individuals? It is not to the paltry payment of the Church-rate, taking the amount to be full 600,000l., aggravated as their objection to it is by the extravagance of its amount and the profligate manner in which it is expended, but because, as Christians, taking the Bible as the sole source of their faith and hope—as Protestant Dissenters, they are called on to support a Church, from the doctrines or discipline of which, each or both, they conscientiously, disinterestedly, and unequivocally, dissent. I call on hon. Members, whether they be the immediate advocates of the Church, or members of the Government, to stand forth boldly and fearlessly, and grapple with this proposition—as Christians and as Protestants let them do so; for we should ever remember that we are a Protestant country; and what, I ask, is the interpretation of Protestantism? The right of every man to think for himself in matters of religion, taking the Bible as his sole interpreter. On what ground do the Protestants of the Church of England dissent from the Roman Catholics, but as claiming the inalienable right of private judgment in matters purely spiritual? In that respect members of the Established Church are Protestant Dissenters. Or do the Protestants of the Church of England stand on numbers? Are they prepared to say that religion is a mere question of articles, in which all points of faith, doctrine, and discipline are to be tried and settled by the test and voice of numbers? If so, on what principles can you rest your defence of your conduct towards your fellow-citizens in Ireland, whom you compel to support a Church from which, in grave essentials, nine-tenths of them dissent? It would be a gross insult to the understanding and the heart to treat the religion of any man as a mere matter of numbers. The honest profession of any religious opinion, however erroneous in the view of others, cannot fail to impart comfort and consolation to the mind, and for which opinion man is not, and never can be, amenable to any human power. Every human being has within him an altar—the altar of the heart—on which he delights to offer that incense to the Supreme Being which he believes to be the most acceptable—the homage of a grateful spirit to that unerring power to whom he owes his being—to whom he bows in reverence—by whose hopes he is inspired, and by the fears of whose displeasure he guides his course. This is, indeed, a paramount principle; and whenever you depart from it, that moment you cease to be Protestants, and assume the power claimed and exercised by the Church of Rome to impose articles of faith on the human conscience. Concede this doctrine, and what is the next step? If you establish a religion by law, by law you ought and must sustain it, and it then becomes as much a violation of law to dissent from that religion which is established by law, as to violate any other statute whatever that passes the Legislature as a guide for our social or individual conduct. It is loudly asserted, that the Protestant Dissenters of England are enemies to the doctrines of the Established Church. This charge greatly surprises me, especially in this House, the great majority of whose Members, not only from education, but conviction, profess the doctrines of that Church. Let me inquire of these hon. Members whether they are members of the Church of England merely because it is a Church established by law, or because they believe its doctrine and discipline to harmonize with the spirit and injunctions of the Gospel? Am I to understand, that if this House were to dissolve the connection now existing between Church and State, the Church would cease to be an object of your reverence and affection, and that the cessation of that connection is to work the immediate extinction of your attachment—that your religion would fall still-born to the ground, the baseless fabric of your apostacy and desertion? I will not think so meanly of the disciples of your Church. The objection urged by the Dissenters to the Church of England is not its principles, as the hon. member for Boston (Mr. Wilks) most justly says—by far the greater proportion of the Dissenters of this country are essentially of that faith professed by the Church of England, and significantly designated evangelical—but they are opposed to an alliance with the State which they conscientiously consider not only to be unholy and unsanctioned by any scriptural authority, but which they also regard as highly detrimental to the progress and triumph of true religion. I am addressing many hon. Gentlemen to whom it is well known, that some of the most distinguished ornaments of the Established Church—men who have enriched the pages of our literature, and adorned their profession by their lives—have been of opinion, that the alliance of the Church with the State was one of its least envied attendants, and that they should be well pleased to witness its dissolution. But to come more directly to the plan of the noble Lord. Stript of all details, what is it? It is a proposition, if not directly to tax the people to the extent of 250,000l. a-year, at least to take away from the available resources of the country a sum of money to that amount. The right hon. Secretary of the Colonies, in the course of his speech paid a sort of suspicious compliment to the hon. member for Middlesex. and seemed to underrate very much the intelligence of those persons who treated the plan of his noble friend as a financial plan. The noble Lord, in his statement of his budget, said, that he had reserved a surplus of 500,000l. wherewith to meet probable contingencies; but now he takes away from this sum 250,000l., to be deducted from the Land-tax—a tax, be it remembered, which constitutes a part of the ways and means of the country as certainly as any other item. But there are other objections to this plan. Is it not one of the most insulting propositions that could possibly be made to the Protestant Dissenters of this country? For it proceeds upon the degrading supposition, that the Dissenters only desire to be relieved from the name of the tax—that they only wish to have their property exempted from the Church-rate, but are ready to support the Church by any more general measure of taxation. This is cruel mockery. Whatever name the tax bears, or however raised, if raised to build Churches, and support clergymen, the objection is equally strong and decisive. If we are to have an Established Church, it must be supported; for the idea of an Established Church without revenue is as unintelligible and absurd, as the idea of an Established Church without clergymen. But we are not on the present occasion called upon to say, whether there ought to be any Established Church. What we say is, that you have a revenue more than sufficient for the support of the Church and its ministers. An hon. Gentleman who preceded me (the member for the University of Oxford), and who is re- garded as one of the most earnest adherents of the Church, and who is most cautious in making concessions to those who differ from him—so that any thing coming from him as a concession, must by us be taken as little less than a canon—observed, that the State ought to furnish no more for the support of the Church than was necessary. But what do you now propose to do? You now propose to give, by way of tax, a quarter of a million a-year to the Church, keeping us all the while in the dark as to what the resources of the Church really are. Before we can be in any sense called upon to appropriate a portion of the revenues of the country to the maintenance of the Church, it is only decent that we should be informed of the amount of the real available property of the Established Church. And I cannot think, that the noble Lord is acting a friendly part, or evincing the attachment he professes, when he leaves the amount of ecclesiastical revenues as a matter entirely for speculation. I firmly believe, as the result of much laborious inquiry, and from the examination of various documents and testimonies, open to every gentleman, that the revenues of that Church to which the noble Lord proposes we should vote 250,000l. per annum, cannot be any thing short, if fairly valued, of 5,000,000l. per annum. If this be so (and the calculation is warranted by the silence of the noble Lord, and by the absence of those returns which would set the matter at rest) are we to be told, that this Church, which does not gather under its wings one-half of the population of this country—a Christian Church, moreover, the basis of which is, if not the abhorrence, the disdain of all worldly grandeur—whose boast it is, as proclaimed by her ministers, that the kingdom they teach and practise is not of this world. To them the unhallowed attractions of the world have no allurement—that they disdain all those vain and artificial distinctions which are thrown around the paths of worldly-minded men—that their views are directed to things which are unseen and imperishable—that they are ever and meekly tending to that state in which piety and goodness will find an enduring reward—that they drink at that fountain whose waters are deep, pure, and heavenly. If, I say, this be the spirit of the Established Church, can any man stand up and say—will any man honestly assert—that it is impossible to sustain a Church whose ministers are thus inspired, at an annual cost of less than 5,000,000l. a-year? Oh! what a humiliating avowal is this!—the bare declaration is fatal to the Church. If this, indeed, be true, there must be something in the principles of that Church too political to have any connection with that pure and unearthly faith which disdains and denounces the hypocrisy of pride, while it speaks peace, and hope, and joy, to its meek and lowly followers. The right hon. Gentleman who spoke last (Mr. Secretary Stanley) did not attend to some of the suggestions of my hon. friend, the member for Boston, when he said, that by the extinction of Church-rates we should abstract 300,000l. from the service of religion. I would ask by what means the Dissenting Church and its ministers are supported? They have no compulsory rate—they have no distress for tithes—they appeal to the voluntary contributions of those who worship within temples erected and endowed by their own freewill offerings. When the hon. Baronet, the member for the University of Oxford, made his comparison between the two bodies, he endeavoured to show, that the Dissenters were, in point of numbers, insignificant, and in point of wealth beneath consideration—yet we find these persons, so beggarly in resources, so insignificant in numbers (statements, indeed, altogether at variance with facts, when contrasted with the Church of England) raising amongst themselves 1,000,000l. sterling per annum, for the support of their own places of worship, and the maintenance of learned persons, freely chosen by themselves to administer sacred things amongst them. Yet we are to be told, that the Church of England, embodying the pure essence of Christianity, would, if left to itself, and not supported by compulsory provisions, crumble beneath the weight of its own corruptions,—a mighty ruin, unknown to Heaven, and abandoned by man! Where, I ask, is the Attorney-General of England? Where, I ask, is the Solicitor-General, that he is not present to receive instructions to wield that popular instrument of his authority, a criminal information, against the unsanctified being who dares to utter this blasphemous libel against the Established Church, that its pure Christianity—its sound doctrines—its sacred forms—its decent discipline—its comprehensive creed—would all become matters of contempt beneath consideration, while its ancient fabrics, which now adorn the country as monuments of ancient piety, would become crumbling memorials of your impiety and desertion? It is said, that the Dissenters will find themselves relieved by this plan. So they will, in common with all those who now pay Church-rates, and viewed simply as a measure of finance; but it is only to have a new tax, in another name and form, imposed and perpetuated. Yet this is denied. Let me ask, if you were to extinguish tithe to-morrow, and substitute for it a payment of 5,000,000l. annually out of the Consolidated Fund, would not this be a clear and direct dealing with the finances of the country? By either, or both of these measures, you will relieve property at the expense of the people; and thus be doing that which, on former occasions, I have ventured to say we show too ready a disposition to do—namely, relieve ourselves at the expense of others. It was well said by the hon. member for the University of Oxford, that the Church-rate was not less a charge upon property than tithe. This is no fallacy. The Church-rate affects property in the same manner as any other charge. The other day I was called upon to pay 14l. for my house in Great George-street, for the repair and maintenance of a neighbouring Church. Now, if I were to sell my house, would not the purchaser inquire after the Church-rates as well as the Parish-rates, the Sewers'-rates, and all other charges affecting property; and having taken them into consideration, would not the amount of them influence the price? This charge of Church-rates, then, you propose to take from property, and lay it on the people—on the poor—on those who are already bearing nearly all the burthens of the country—and this, too, be it remembered, for the sake and in aid of religion—of that religion which was mercifully designed to relieve, and not to rob the poor. I am anxious to impress upon the Government this fact, that, however much they may attempt to disguise it—however much they may hope to reconcile the Dissenters to it, by telling them that they will now only pay 10s. in the pound, by substituting 250,000l. for 500,000l.—they will see, in spite of the change of name—in spite of the chicanery of the contrivance—that it is a charge avowedly to create a fund expressly for the support of a Church, from whose legal establishment they conscientiously dissent. As far as I am acquainted with the feelings of the Dissenters, and I consider myself to be so, I regard it as my duty to tell the Government that the provisions of this measure will kindle stronger feelings of dislike and resentment than even their odious Marriage Bill. It would be far better to let Church-rates alone. The evil would work its own cure, and that at no distant day. Government ought not to deal and dabble in these inconsistent and paltry contrivances; they are beneath them. As to the suggestion thrown out by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stanley), that the Government had to contend with the opposition of the Church, as represented by the hon. member for the University of Oxford, I will observe, that he could not do otherwise than appear a little adverse to the plan. Decency required this, because the measure has the semblance but not the reality of an attack upon the Church; but if we could enter into the conclaves of the Church, I would venture to say, that we should find the right reverend gentlemen assembled there greatly puzzled to suggest anything against it of which they did approve, but not more cordially than it would be opposed by its authors were they now out of office. This scheme, if successful, is in truth a Godsend to the clergy, for the Church-rate could not last above a year or two at the utmost. The hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Inglis) says, that there has been no general expression of hostility to Church-rates, although, certainly, in some forty or fifty places, some discontent had been expressed. He enumerated Nottingham, and a few other towns, as having manifested some dissatisfaction, but continued to observe, that as to the country generally, it was as much pleased with Church-rates as with Tithes, and that there was no marked discontent with either. Now, if the right hon. Gentleman is waiting till the Dissenters form themselves into some union, and parade down Parliament-street, and pass over Westminster-bridge, in bodies of 40,000 or 50,000, before he believes in the existence of discontent, it may not be very long before he is thus gratified. Indeed, he himself must know very well that the storm has only been hushed—that the good sense of the Dissenters has induced them to wait and see what the Government would do for them, for they have been told "Government are your friends—tarry a while until you see what its wisdom and benevolence will offer for your relief—their intentions surpass your expectations—prepare yourselves to praise and bless them for their kindness!" And what is their plan, so long withheld, so eagerly sought? Here we have it—the thing is proposed to us to-night, and a precious thing it is. Never was a scheme in which good intentions were so perverted, and the wishes of those sought to be pleased so little appreciated or understood. We are cautioned, night after night, not to work willing men to death—that the Government does all it can for us—that we must wait a little longer—that Ministers have only been in office four short years—that they have had many things to effect—that they have yet more in store—that if we will be patient, they will try and do something for us. But surely it would have been better for them to have come forward at once and said, "We are of opinion that the same principles which we have applied to the Church of Ireland ought to be applied to the Church of England; at the same time we are firm and decided friends to the Establishment, and are averse to the experiment of dissolving its connexion with the State." These feelings, honestly expressed, would have been understood and respected by Dissenters, who would have been prepared to make great concessions, and the adoption of the sound principle of making the Church in England, as in Ireland, support its own fabric, would have accumulated upon them the affections and attachment of the Dissenting body. It is true that they would have had to encounter the powerful and unbending resistance of another party, yet this need not have been heeded. All they would have had to do would have been to throw themselves upon the good sense and good feelings of the people. When I speak of the people, I speak not of their physical or numerical pretensions, but of the intelligent and well-informed people of England. These were, in days gone by, their mainstay in a trying hour—through them they triumphed over faction and secured Reform, that great measure, through the success of which they obtained power, and through the possession of which, not only the Dissenters, but all honest people in the country were expecting to derive, and I trust are yet destined to derive, large and liberal benefits. What if Government had found a power out of this House—for I will not presume its possibility in this House—too mighty for them, would they have been afraid to meet it? Do they wish it to go forth to the country that they find office so attractive—that office is to them a bed of roses—that to occupy those Benches is so full of secret delights and solid benefits that they are not prepared to bring forward any measure which may in any way entangle them? If they be not so attached to office, which I will not insinuate—why will they not act a straight-forward and manly part—why will they not be honest to the people? At all events relieve us from suspense. It would be better to know the real state of things than for us to be continually calculating on measures of improvement which are never to be accomplished, raising hopes only to dash them with bitter malignity to the ground; making propositions without principle—disturbing everything—settling nothing—and thus pursuing a course which disappoints all hopes and confirms every species of apprehension.

Lord John Russell

said, he felt it incumbent on him to declare his opinions in opposition to those of the hon. and learned member for Colchester, and to the hon. member for Middlesex. They said, it would give them pleasure, if instead of opposing the measure brought forward by his Majesty's Government, they could have given it their support, which they might have been able to do had it been founded on some broad principle. There were, no doubt, some measures on which the hon. member for Colchester, and the members of his Majesty's Government might agree; yet he should be wanting in candour, if he did not state, that the reason why the hon. and learned Gentleman, and his hon. friend, were continually disappointed at the proceedings of Government, was this: there was a difference of principle between them. The wish of the latter was to preserve and reform; it never would be their object to destroy. The hon. member for Middlesex stated his difference at once. He did not think this a question simply affecting Church-rates. He did not disguise his views, but declared, that if the opinions of the people were prepared for such a change, he would at once bring forward a measure for the separation of the Church from the State. The Ministers acted on a totally different principle. They were of opinion, that the Church was conducive to the promotion of morality, to the maintenance of good order, and to the advancement of civilization: and, moreover, that the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England were consonant to the feelings of the people of this country. In consenting, therefore, to the measure proposed by his noble friend affecting Church-rates, he consented to it on a different principle from those professed by the hon. member for Middlesex and the hon. and learned member for Colchester, who would prepare the way for the abolition of the Church Establishment. He, by removing the grievances in connexion with the Church, desired to maintain the Establishment, which, when adequately Reformed, as he trusted it would be before many years passed over, would, he believed, be again, as it had before been, and as it still was, though not to the extent he desired, conducive to the general welfare of the State. The hon. and learned member for Colchester stated it as his opinion, that if there was a Church Establishment, there must be certain doctrines laid down to which members of the State should conform. This was in effect saying, that in the opinion of the hon. and learned member for Colchester, there could not be a Church Establishment without intolerance. Certainly such was the case with the Church of Rome in former times. In his opinion, however, the reverse was the fact; and he believed it practical to favour one religion, and tolerate every other, as in truth it took place in England. He maintained, that there might be a Church Establishment in the State, supported too by compulsory payments, and yet there might be the most perfect religious freedom. While all contributed towards the support of the Church Establishment, it could not be fairly said, that it benefited one class alone, viz.—that which belonged to the Establishment, but the whole community derived advantage from it. At the same time, he would refuse to enter into the sanctuary of men's consciences: and every man for his belief should be left to his own heart. Every man, too, should be allowed the free performance of those religious observances, and the free profession of that faith which his conscience told him were the best. He would go along with the Dissenters in their efforts to get rid of restrictions on account of their religious belief, so long as they had any such grievances to get removed; but he could go no further. He certainly could not go to the extent of the hon. and learned member for Colchester; and he must express his regret, if in going as far as he was prepared to go—if in removing grievances to the extent to which he was ready to remove them—the Dissenters wished him to proceed further, he must part from them. If he understood the hon. and learned Gentleman, he would not be satisfied with any principle in which an Established Church was recognized; and in that he must at once declare he could not concur. The proposition now before the House was that of setting aside a certain sum out of the Land-tax of England and Wales to be applied to the support of the Church. The funds were to be applied to the keeping of the Church in repair. He did not think that there was in this arrangement anything connected with Divine Worship to which Dissenters could object. Where Dissenters' places of Worship were built, there were invariably congregations in want of them; if the congregations were to fall off, the chapel or meeting-house would be allowed to go to decay. The subscriptions diminishing, the place of meeting would sometimes be removed to some other part of the country. With regard to the Churches of the Establishment it was very different; they were the ancient edifices of the kingdom. The people would be sorry to see their parish Churches falling into decay; yet such would in the majority of cases occur, unless some provision were made for keeping them in repair. The Churches in towns would probably be repaired out of sums that would be raised from private individuals, but in parishes where the population was small, a sufficient amount could not be obtained, and such he believed, would be the regret of Englishmen to see their public buildings perishing, that applications would probably at last be made to that House for votes to supply the necessary funds. The hon. member for Middlesex had offered to the House an argument which, on examination, would be found to be perfectly inconsistent. He said, that the measure would not satisfy the Church: the hon. Gentleman also alleged, that it had the approval of the Bench of Bishops, whose proposition it might, indeed, be considered. Now it must be apparent, that if the Bishops were its authors, and if it had their approval, it was morally impossible that it should not satisfy the Church. But the fact was, that it did not emanate from the Bench of Bishops; there had been no concert—no communication with them on the measure. It was brought forward with the view explained by his right hon. friend, the Secretary for the Colonies, viz., to do away with the perpetual and increasing strife and disputes in parishes, and at the same time to preserve that which his Majesty's Government wished to preserve—the Established Church. He and his colleagues had, of course, little reason to expect the support on this occasion of the hon. member for Middlesex and others, whose object was to destroy; but they did hope to have the support of those who with themselves wished to see the Church maintained, at the same time that they entertained the desire to see its abuses reformed, and all the practical grievances of the Dissenters removed.

Mr. Cutlar Fergusson

wished, before he consented to the Motion, to know the amount of the Church property, and to ascertain if that were not sufficient to maintain the sacred edifices without having recourse to the general revenue of the country. If that inquiry had been made, and the property had been found deficient, he might not have objected to the measure; but, according to the Statute-book, the Church property ought first of all to provide for the maintenance of the fabric of the Church. He could not agree to the principle of the Motion. He would ask, was the Church-rate charged on the land? By the present measure they would give that to the proprietor of land, or whoever paid the rate to which he was no more entitled, by the argument of the hon. Baronet, the member for Oxford, than he was to tithes. The Government ought to take care that these rates fell on the property which bore them at present; but, instead of so doing, they were about to charge them on the revenue of the country; and they would thus be imposed, not on the people of England only, hut, also, on the people of Ireland. The latter had lately been relieved from the Church cess of their own country, and now they were to have imposed upon them a portion of the Church cess of England. In that there was great inconsistency. The measure was said to be confined to England and Wales; but it would affect Scotland also, which country already paid for the maintenance of the fabric of the Scotch Church, and was satisfied with the manner in which that burthen was collected. Why was the Church of Scotland to be saddled with part of the expence of maintaining the English Church? The revenues and property of the Church ought to pay for its support. The effect of the proposition would be to relieve those who had been subject to the tax heretofore, and to place it on those who had never been subject to it. He should support the Amendment moved by the hon. member for Middlesex.

Mr. Gillon

protested against the measure as one of robbery and confiscation on the people, especially of Scotland and Ireland. He could not but characterize it as a contemptible juggle; while they had professed to relieve Ireland of Church-cess, they now called on her to contribute towards that of England. The plan of the noble Lord would impose a substantial tax on Scotland for the purpose of maintaining a dominant Church already gorged with wealth, revelling in the spoils of a former establishment, and supported by unwilling contributions exacted from overburthened and conscientious men, who disapproved of her doctrines, and could not submit to her discipline.

Mr. Wynn

felt disposed to give his support to the resolution proposed by the noble Lord opposite; but at the same time he wished not to be understood as expressing any decided approbation of the ministerial plan. He reserved to himself the right of pronouncing an opinion upon it until he had an opportunity of examining its details when embodied in the shape of a Bill. He admitted, that the noble Lord had laid sufficient grounds for the House to entertain the consideration of the measure; and it was only by the previous adoption of a resolution, such as that now before the Committee, that the Bill could be laid before the House. He agreed with the noble Lord in thinking, that the disputes which had arisen on the subject of Church-rates, in different vestries, were likely, if allowed to continue, to prove prejudicial, not only to the peace of particular parishes, but to the general interests of religion. It was, indeed, said by his hon. friend, the member for the University of Oxford, that the resistance to the payment of rates was confined to forty or fifty parishes; but could any one doubt, that the same spirit, when inflamed both by religious animosity and personal pecuniary interest, would progressively spread itself to a much more formidable extent? Another motive for altering, or at least regulating, the mode of imposing these payments, arose from the abuses which had notoriously grown up, and the improper charges which had been included to swell out their amount. For instance, the parish of Christ-Church, Surrey, had been in the habit of voting an augmentation to the income of the minister out of the Church-rates, to the amount of 400l. a-year. If that were an augmentation consented to by all the parties who paid Church-rates in that parish, it would be highly meritorious and commendable; but if, on the contrary, it should be imposed merely by a majority in opposition to the wishes of the minority, he could conceive nothing more calculated to create irritation and resistance, particularly if that minority were Dissenters from the Established Church. It was obvious, that if such an allowance could regularly be voted, there were no limits to which it might not be carried. He, therefore, felt that it would be desirable that the subject of Church-rates should be considered by the Legislature; and, at least, some provision made to prevent their being applied to other purposes than for the decent and proper performance of divine service, and for the repair of the Churches themselves. There were parts of the plan of the noble Lord that he did not distinctly understand. In the first place, he did not understand how the sum of 250,000l. was to cover not only the repairs to which the Church-rates were now applicable, which considerably exceeded that amount, but, also, the repairs of the chancels. The last expense at present fell upon the rectors and proprietors of great tithes, whether lay or ecclesiastical; and he could not discover on what grounds they were in future to be exempted from the charge, and instead of it be made liable to a small demand for providing the articles strictly necessary for the performance of divine service, such as the sacramental wine, the minister's service, and the books for the reading desk. Neither did he understand how the fund upon which it was intended to charge the repair of Churches could be considered as perpetual or permanent. The Land-tax was liable to redemption; and a large proportion of it, considerably more than one-third, had been redeemed. The high price of the funds had latterly interrupted the purchases, but a renewal of war, or any other cause which depressed the value of stock considerably below that of land, would cause purchasers to recommence, and the land-tax might be completely extinguished, or at least diminished, below the amount now proposed to be charged on it. These, however, were details which might be much more advantageously discussed when the Bill was before the House; there was a question, however, of great importance to be decided by the vote of the House to-night. In consequence of the Amendment which had been moved, that question was,—is it fit, that any man should be called upon to pay towards the support of a particular form of worship in which he does not participate? He answered that question in the affirmative. He said decidedly, that it was fit. It was absolutely necessary, if it was intended to preserve an Established Church—and without an Established Church, he believed it would be impossible to maintain religion in the country—that some fund should exist for the purpose of defraying the charge of repairing the Churches and of providing for the decent administration of divine worship. This object could not, in his opinion, be attained, if it were allowed to individuals to exonerate themselves from any payment in support of the Establishment on becoming followers of Joanna Southcote, professors of the St. Simonian religion, the doctrines of which were at variance with the first prrinciples of society, or adopting any other form of dissent. It was upon this principle, and not because he was a member of the Established Church, that he advocated the connexion between Church and State; for if he were living in a Catholic country, he would willingly contribute to the maintenance and support of the clergy, who taught the doctrines to which the large body of inhabitants adhered. He did not intend to enter into a discussion respecting the comparative amount of the members of the Church of England and the Dissenters; but he wished the House to bear in mind, that the number of dissenting places of worship ought not to be taken exactly as an index of the number of Dissenters. Many dissenting chapels, where the form of worship was not directly at variance with that celebrated in the Established Churches, were frequented by members of the Establishment. He knew this to be the case in Wales, in which part of the empire the Wesleyan chapels, in many instances contained a mixed congregation of Dissenters and members of the Church of England. He certainly was of opinion, that it was the duty of the State to supply to those, whose poverty prevented them from procuring it for themselves, the blessing of religious consolation.

Mr. Robinson

believed, that the ministerial proposition had been brought forward with a sincere desire to relieve the Dissenters from the grievances of which they justly complained; but he was afraid it would not be attended with that desirable effect. He admitted, that the new plan, as far as it went, was an improvement on the existing system, yet it could not be denied, that its chief effect would only be to make the Dissenters pay indirectly, though not to so great an extent, a tax to which they objected on principle, and which they now paid directly. He concurred with the noble Lord, the member for Devonshire, in thinking, that, for the general good of the Protestant interest throughout the country, the maintenance of the Established Church was desirable, and it was with the view of supporting the Establishment, that he wished to see the Dissenters relieved from every grievance. He should, therefore, give his vote in favour of the Amendment proposed by the hon. member for Middlesex, but not for the reasons which had induced that hon. Member to recommend its adoption to the House. If the House should decide, that Church-rates should be abolished, it did not follow, that some other substitute than that proposed by the noble Lord opposite might not be discovered. He objected to calling on the population of Scotland and Ireland, and many thousands of persons in England, to contribute to a rate towards which they at present paid nothing.

Sir Matthew White Ridley

thought the noble Lord's plan the least objectionable that could be proposed. It was not to be denied, that, at the present moment, there existed in the country a strong feeling of discontent against the Established Church; and he, therefore, felt it his duty, as a member of that Church, to assist its support, without infringing on the rights or offending the feelings of his Dissenting brethren. He could not agree with those who thought the ministerial plan ought not to be proceeded with because it did not give entire satisfaction to the Dissenters. Willing and anxious as he was to conciliate them, he was bound to consider, on the present occasion, not what was most agreeable to their feelings, but what was best calculated to remove their well-founded complaints, and at the same time maintain the Established Church in its efficacy. He thought it necessary for the good government of the country, that there should be an Established Church, and he believed, that the separation of the Church and State would tend to weaken the Government and destroy the best institutions of the country, and its pernicious effect would be felt as much by the Dissenters as by the members of the Establishment. He would not, however, throw on the community at large those charges which were incurred for the exclusive benefit of members of the Church of England; and, believing that the plan of the noble Lord would relieve the Dissenters from those grievances of which they complained with justice, while it provided for the maintenance of the Established Church, with which the prosperity of the country and of every institution in it was deeply connected, he should certainly give it his support.

Mr. Wallace

entered his protest against the ministerial plan, which he said was an insidious attack on the privileges and rights of those who belonged to the religion of his country. He considered the admission made by the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the people would not pay for the support of the Church of England unless compelled,—though not very complimentary to the Established Church, as very valuable, inasmuch as it showed with what sort of feeling the Establishment was regarded by the inhabitants of the country. He was sure, that the noble Lord would be unable to carry his plan into execution, and he prophesied, that a general resistance would be manifested throughout England, Scotland and Ireland, to the collection of the tax which the noble Lord had proposed to levy.

Mr. Baines

declared, that the Government plan would not be acceptable to the great portion of the Dissenting community, and believing, as he did, that the Ministers intended to give satisfaction to the Dis- senters, he regretted exceedingly, that such a measure should have been brought forward. The Dissenters possessed at present, to a certain extent, a control over the Church, which the proposed plan would take out of their hands by converting the Church-rate into a charge on the general revenue of the country. He wished to know how the Quakers were to be induced to pay the Land-tax, when it was incumbered with another tax for the support of the Established Church? He should certainly vote in favour of the Amendment.

Lord Althorp

said, that one of the main objects of the Government in bringing forward the present proposition was to give satisfaction to the Dissenters; and he confessed that the mode in which it had been received by those Dissenters who had seats in that House had greatly surprised him. The proposition which he had the honour to submit to the Committee had been treated as if it gave no relief to the Dissenter in point of principle; but he believed there was one class of Dissenters at least, who would not regard it in that light: he alluded to the Quakers. It was well known, that they would not on any account contribute towards defraying expenses incurred specifically for the maintenance of the army, and yet when the army was supported out of the general taxation of the country, he had never heard that they objected to contribute their share. He was well aware, that if Church-rates were converted into a charge on the general revenue of the country, the Dissenters must pay a certain proportion: but he always understood, that the principal grievance of which they complained consisted in being called on to pay money specifically intended for the support of the Established Church. He could not concur with those who said that the plan proposed by him would have the effect of increasing the burthens of the country. In his opinion it would have an entirely contrary effect. It was true, that 250,000l. would be added to the Land-tax, but the country in general would be called on to pay 310,000l. less than it had hitherto paid. It had been objected by the Representatives of Scotland, that by the plan of Government the people of that country would be called on to contribute indirectly towards the support of the Church of England; but the gentlemen coming from that part of the kingdom ought to recollect, that considerable sums were paid out of the general revenues towards the support of the Scotch Established Church, and that an annual grant was voted for the purpose of increasing the revenues of the smaller livings in Scotland. He was ready to admit, that the plan proposed by him would, to a certain extent, diminish the means at the disposal of Government for the reduction of taxation; but the principal argument used that evening was, that no contribution ought to be made by the State for the purpose of maintaining the places of worship belonging to the Established Church. Now, he entirely agreed with his right hon. friend, the member for Montgomeryshire, that it was the absolute duty of the State to provide places of worship for the poorer classes of the community; and he believed it would be found that, in all Dissenting chapels, the poor were accommodated gratuitously. It had been observed, with some sarcasms, that the members of the Establishment were not so willing to contribute to the support of their Church, as the Dissenters were, to maintain their places of worship. He believed that this statement was not correct; but, at the same time, some inconvenience might naturally be expected, if the people of this country were to be called upon for the first time to meet by voluntary contributions what had hitherto been a legal charge. For the purpose, then, of maintaining the Established Church, and on the higher principle of providing places of worship for the poor classes of the community, he thought that some substitute for the Church-rates ought to be found. He was anxious to remove the grievances of the Dissenters, but he would only do so on one condition—which in his conscience he felt bound to impose on himself—that he did not go so far as to destroy the Established Church. He had always been a sincere member of that Church, and he should regret its separation from the State, not merely from religious feelings, though principally on that account, but also for political reasons. He thought it essential to the existence of the Church that places of worship should be provided for the administration of its rites; and though he was aware that by his proposition he had left a great deal for private and voluntary contributions to effect, yet he had nevertheless maintained the principle, which he contended ought to be maintained, of the connexion between the Church and State. On these grounds, hoping that the measure would not be received by the Dissenters out of doors in the manner in which it had been received within that House, he should persevere in bringing it forward, and, with the permission of the Committee, submit it to the consideration of the country. With respect to what had fallen from the hon. member for Worcester, he really thought that the hon. Member was bound, if he considered that a substitute ought to be found for the Church-rates, not to leave the thing to chance, but to point out what he considered a proper substitute.

Mr. Hume

, in explanation, denied that he had advocated the separation of the Church and State, or expressed any wish to have the Churches demolished. His argument was, that it did not become the House of Commons to apply the public revenue to maintain places of worship belonging to a Church possessing ample funds for that purpose.

Mr. Stanley

admitted, that the hon. Member had not advocated the separation of Church and State at the present moment, but he had pretty significantly intimated what his views and intentions would be if he were able to carry them into effect. The hon. Member had observed, that the Church possessed ample means of meeting all its expenses. Now, he begged to observe that if the whole revenues of the Church were equally divided among the ministers of the Church, the income of each would not exceed 300l.

Mr. Hume

said, that all he had observed with respect to the separation of Church and State was, that the present was not the proper time to discuss that question. He intended to press his Amendment; and if it should not be agreed to, he should propose a resolution to the following effect—"that it would be inexpedient to take into consideration any proposition to provide means for the maintenance of the edifices belonging to the Established Church, until the amount of the funds belonging to that Church should be known and found to be inadequate to meet that and other charges."

The Committee divided, on the original Motion—Ayes 256; Noes 140: Majority 116.

Mr. Wilks moved, that the Chairman report progress, upon which the Committee again divided—Ayes 136; Noes 263: Majority against the Motion, 127.

The Resolution proposed by Lord Althorp was agreed to.

List of the AYES on the first Division.
ENGLAND. Foley, J. K. H.
Althorp, Lord Foley, E. T.
Anson, Sir G. Forester, Hon. G. C. W.
Ashley, Lord Forster, C. S.
Astley, Sir J. Fort, J.
Astley, Sir J. D. Fox, S. L.
Bankes, W. J. Fox, Lieut.-Col. C. R.
Barham, J. Fremantle, Sir T.
Baring, A. Gaskell, J. M.
Baring, F. T. Gladstone, W. E.
Baring, H. B. Gordon, R.
Barnett, C. J. Goulburn, Rt. Hon. H.
Beaumont, T. W. Graham, Sir J. R. G.
Bell, M. Greene, T. G.
Benett, J. Grey, Hon. Colonel
Bentinck, Lord G. F. Grey, Sir G.
Bethell, E. R. Grimston, Viscount
Blackstone, W. S. Gronow, Capt. R. H.
Blunt, Sir C. C. R. Guise, Sir B. W.
Bolling, W. Halcombe, J.
Brodie, T. B. Halford, H.
Bruce, Lord E. Handley, W. F.
Brudenell, Lord Hanmer, Sir J.
Bulteel, J. C. Hanmer, Colonel H.
Burrell, Sir C. Hardinge, Rt. Hn. Sir H.
Burton, H.
Byng, Sir J. Hardy, J.
Calcraft, J. Hawes, B.
Carter, J. B. Heathcote, J. J.
Cartwright, W. R. Henniker, Lord E.
Cavendish, Hon. Col. Herbert, Hon. S.
Chandos, Marquess of Hodges, T. L.
Chapman, A. Horne, Sir W.
Chaytor, W. R. C. Houldsworth, T.
Chaytor, Sir W. Hope, H. T.
Chetwynd, Capt. W. F. Hawkes, T.
Childers, J. W. Hughes, W. H.
Clive, E. B. Irton, S.
Clive, Viscount Inglis, Sir R.
Clive, Hon. R. H. Jermyn, Earl
Cooper, Hon. A. H. A. Jerningham, Hon. H. V. S.
Crawley, S.
Curteis, H. B. Johnstone, Sir J. V.
Curteis, Captain E. B. Jolliffe, H.
Crawford, W. Keppell, Major G.
Darlington, Earl of Kerrison, Sir E.
Duffield, T. King, E. B.
Dugdale, W. S. Labouchere, H.
Duncombe, Hon. W. Langston, J. H.
Durham, Sir P. C. Lemon, Sir C.
Eastnor, Viscount Lewis, Hon. T. F.
Ebrington, Viscount Lincoln, Earl of
Egerton, W. T. Littleton, E. J.
Ellice, E. Lopez, Sir R.
Edwards, J. Lowther, Colonel H.
Estcourt, T. G. B. Lumley, Viscount
Etwall, R. Lushington, Dr.
Fazakerley, I. N. Lygon, Colonel H. B.
Ferguson, Gen. Sir R. Lyall, G.
Feilden, W. Maberly, Colonel
Finch, G. Manners, Lord R.
Fitzroy, Lord J. Marjoribanks, S.
Fleetwood, P. H. Marsland, T.
Methuen, P. Wood, G. W.
Milton, Viscount Wood, Colonel T.
Morpeth, Viscount Wall, C. B.
Mosley, Sir O. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Miles, W. Ward, H. G.
Neale, Sir H. B. Warre, J. A.
Nicholl, J. Waterpark, Lord
Norreys, Lord Watkins, J. L.
North, F. Watson, Hon. R.
Paget, F. Wedgwood, J.
Palmer, C. F. Weyland, Major R.
Palmer, R. Whitbread, W. H.
Patten, J. W. Wrottesley, Sir J.
Pechell, Sir S. J. B. Wynn, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Peel, Rt. Hon. Sir R. Yorke, Captain C. P.
Pendarves, E. W. Young, G. F.
Peter, W. Adam, Admiral C.
Philips, C. M. Agnew, Sir A.
Phillpotts, J. Bannerman, A.
Pigot, R. Bruce, C.
Pollock, F. Callander, J. H.
Price, R. Campbell, Sir H.
Ramsden, J. C. Elliott, Hon. Capt. G.
Reid, Sir J. R. Ferguson, Capt. G.
Rickford, W. Grant, Right Hon. C.
Rider, T. Hay, Sir J.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Hay, Colonel A. L.
Rolfe, R. M. Jeffrey, Right Hon. F.
Ross, C. Johnston, A.
Russell, Lord J. Loch, J.
Russell, C. Mackenzie, J. A. S.
Ryle, J. Murray, J. A.
Scrope, C. P. Rae, Sir W.
Sanderson, R. Sinclair, G.
Sandon, Viscount Stewart, Sir M. S.
Sanford, E. A. Wemyss, Captain J.
Scarlett, Sir J. IRELAND.
Scott, J. W. Bateson, Sir R.
Scott, Sir E. D. Belfast, Earl of
Sheppard, T. Browne, D.
Simeon, Sir R. G. Carew, R. S.
Skipwith, Sir G. Castlereagh, Viscount
Slaney, R. A. Christmas, J. N.
Smith, J. Cole, Lord
Smith, R. V. Conolly, Col. E. M.
Somerset, Lord G. Coote, Sir C. H.
Spankie, Mr. Serjeant Corry, Hon. H. L.
Spencer, Hon. Capt. F. Daly, J.
Stanley, Rt. Hon. E. Dobbin, L.
Stanley, E. Forbes, Lord
Stanley, E. J. Hayes, Sir E.
Strickland, G. Hill, Lord M.
Tayleure, W. Howard, R.
Taylor, Rt. Hon. M. A. Lefroy, Dr. T.
Thomson, Rt. Hn. C. P. Macnamara, Major W.
Throckmorton, R. G. Macnamara, F.
Tower, C. T. Martin, J.
Troubridge, Sir E. T. Maxwell, H.
Tyrell, Sir J. T. Mullins, F. W.
Verney, Sir H. O'Callaghan, Hon. C.
Vernon, Hon. G. J. O'Reilly, W.
Vivian, Sir H. Perceval, Colonel
Vyvyan, Sir R. Perrin, L.
Wilbraham, G. Stawell, Colonel
Williams, T. P. Talbot, J.
Willoughby, Sir H. Tennent, J. E.
White, S. Tancred, H. W.
Rice, Hon. T. S. Wood, C.
List of the NOES on the first Division.
Adams, E. H. Ingham, R.
Aglionby, H. A. James, W.
Bainbridge, E. T. Jacob, E.
Baines, E. Jervis, J.
Baldwin, Dr. Kemp, T. R.
Barnard, E. G. Kennedy, J.
Barron, W. Lambton, H.
Belew, R. M. Langdale, H.
Bewes, T. Leech, J.
Bish, T. Lister, E. C.
Blackney, W. Lloyd, J. H.
Blake, M. J. Locke, W.
Blamire, W. Lynch, A. H.
Bowes, J. Martin, J.
Briggs, R. Molesworth, Sir W.
Briscoe, J. I. Nagle, Sir R.
Brocklehurst, J. O'Brien, C.
Brotherton, J. O'Connell, M.
Buckingham, J. S. O'Connell, C.
Bulwer, E. L. O'Connell, J.
Butler, Hon. P. O'Connor, F.
Cayley, E. S. O'Conor, D.
Cayley, Sir G. O'Dwyer, A. C.
Chapman, M. L. O'Ferrall, M.
Clay, W. Oliphant, L.
Chichester, J. P. B. Ord, W.
Dalmeny, Lord Oswald, R.
Dashwood, G. H. Parrott, J.
Davies, Col. Pease, J.
Divett, E. Phillips, M.
Ellis, W. Pinney, W.
Evans, G. Potter, R.
Evans, Col. Pryme, G.
Ewart, W. Richards, J.
Ewing, J. Rippon, C.
Faithfull, G. Robinson, G. R.
Fellowes, Hon. N. Roche, W.
Fenton, J. Roche, D.
Fergusson, R. C. Roe, J.
Fielden, J. Romilly, J.
Finn, W. F. Romilly, E.
Fitzgerald, T. Ronayne, D.
French, F. Russell, Lord C.
Fryer, R. Russell, W. C.
Fitzsimon, C. Ruthven, E. S.
Fitzsimon, N. Ruthven, E.
Gaskell, D. Staveley, J. K.
Gillon, W. D. Stewart, J.
Gisborne, T. Strutt, E.
Godson, R. Sullivan, R.
Grote, G. Sharpe, General
Guest, J. J. Scholefield, J.
Gully, J. Sheil, R. L.
Hall, B. Seale, Colonel
Handley, Major Smith, Hon. R.
Harvey, D. W. Tennyson, Rt. Hon. C.
Hawkins, J. H. Thompson, Alderman
Hodgson, J. Todd, J. R.
Hudson, T. Tooke, W.
Hutt, W. Torrens, Colonel
Hyett, W. H. Trelawney, W.
Hill, M. D. Turner, W.
Tynte, C. J. K. Whalley, Sir S.
Talbot, J. H. Whitmore, W.
Vernon, G. Wigney, N.
Vigors, N. A. Wilks, J.
Vincent, Sir F. Williams, W.
Vivian, J. H. Williams, Colonel
Walker, C. A. Winnington, J. H.
Wallace, R. Wood, Alderman
Walter, J. Yelverton, Hon. W. H.
Warburton, H. TELLER.
Wason, R. Hume, J.