§ Mr. Tennyson D'Eyncourt
said, he had two petitions to present from St. Mary's, Newington, complaining of Church-rates. It appeared from the statement of the petitioners, that sixteen years ago an Act was passed for building two new churches in that parish, and they com- 1041 plained of the heavy expense that had been thereby incurred, and of the heavy amount of rate that had been imposed on the parish to meet that expense. The petition was signed by 3,000 persons. It was held out at the time the Act passed, that only 10,000l. would be charged on the parish, and that the remainder of the expense would be supplied by the Commissioners for building new churches. Since the Act was passed 34,000l. had been levied off the parish in the shape of Church-rates, for building and furnishing these two churches. The trustees were in debt, besides, 20,000l. and the Church Commissioners had paid 16,000l., making altogether 70,000l. for the building and outfit of these churches. So that, after deducting what had been paid by the Church Commissioners, an expense of 40,000l. had been incurred over and above what the inhabitants of the parish could be justly called upon to pay. At present, the maintenance of these churches cost the parish 1,000l a-year. He apprehended that there had been a misappropriation of the trust money on the part of the trustees. The only remedy the Act gave was an appeal to the Quarter Sessions, and that was no remedy at all. There was no knowing to what an extent this expenditure might go, if Parliament did not interfere. The trustees were self-elected, and they considered themselves irresponsible. Great distress had been occasioned in the parish by the heaviness of the rates, and no less than 2,000 distress warrants had been issued to enforce them. The affair had created in the parish such an alienation from the Church of England, that last week at a vestry, when there were 800 present, they came to a resolution not to pay any more Church-rates. In this parish, with a population of 50,000, there were not less than 30,000 Dissenters. The petitioners prayed for redress, and that the trustees should be made elective by, and responsible to, the parish.
§ Mr. Williams Wynn
apprehended that, if the parish had anything to complain of, it could obtain redress by an application to the King's Bench,
§ Mr. Wilks
said, that many similar local Bills had been passed, of which the same complaint was now to be made. Ten times the amount of money contemplated by such Acts had been afterwards levied on the parishes, and they had no remedy but that most inefficient one—of an appeal to the Quarter Sessions.
§ Petitions to lie on the Table.