HC Deb 21 March 1836 vol 32 cc444-5

The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved for leave to bring in a Bill "for more perfectly uniting to the Crown the County-Palatine of Durham, and for the commodious administration of justice within the same." The Bill was intended to carry into effect the recommendation of the Commissioners of Inquiry relative to the See of Durham, which exhibited a strange anomaly, having civil as well as ecclesiastical functions attached to it. The object of the Bill was to separate these functions. A reduction of about 10,000l. a-year would take place in the revenues of the bishopric—4,000l. of which would be taken from the income of the Bishop, leaving him 9,000l. a-year; and the Dean and Chapter would be left in the administration of about 30,000l. a-year for the instruction of the children of the diocese. He hoped, therefore, that every true friend to the Establishment would assist the Ministers in availing themselves of the first opportunity of carrying the recommendation of the Church Commissioners into effect.

Mr. Arthur Trevor

being one of the representatives of Durham, he trusted the House would permit him to offer a few words on a subject in which he and his constituents were so deeply concerned. He hoped this Bill would do nothing to lower the dignity of the Church. He was persuaded, that neither the noble Lord nor the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer could have, personally, any such intention; but such would be the consequence if they narrowed the income of the Bishop of Durham to 9,000l.—a sum totally inadequate to meet the calls made on that prelate. The right reverend Gentleman who lately presided over that See, by his admirable conduct and acquirements, was not only an honour and an ornament to his diocese and the county, but to the Church in general and the world at large. The other hon. Members for that county and city, though differing from Mm on points of politics, would, if present, heartily concur with him in that tribute, and in protesting against a reduction which would make the revenues of the dicoese totally inadequate to the calls upon them. The late Bishop gave not less than 2,000l. a-year out of his income towards the support of an infant institution in Durham. And besides many other such donations, he contributed largely to several charitable houses throughout the North of England, and even in London. He might safely say, that if the reductions proposed in the Bill were effected, so great would the disproportion he between the episcopal revenue and the expenses of the See, that in a few years it would be impossible to find a worthy divine ready to enter into the latter. Taking into consideration the numerous claims on his munificence which the late Bishop had to meet, and which his successor would be expected to act up to, 8,000l. or 9,000l. a-year,—however ample an allowance for a private gentleman,—would he found far short of what would be sufficient to support the honour or even the usefulness of the See.

Leave given.