HC Deb 21 March 1838 vol 41 cc1119-22

Mr. Barron moved the second reading of the Charity Commissioners (Ireland) Bill.

Mr. Shaw

objected to having a subject of so important a nature hurried forward in so precipitate a manner. He trusted that a sufficient time would be given for the consideration of the present measure, which affected important interests in Ireland. He hoped that the noble Lord would not concur in hurrying on the second reading of this Bill.

Viscount Morpeth

said, that, having concurred in the first reading of the Bill, he was not disposed to throw any obstruction in the way of the second reading. However, he did not by any means feel pledged to the details of the Bill, and would be happy to concur in any useful alterations that might be suggested in Committee. Were it not that the Government had so many important propositions in their hands, this was a subject which might, perhaps, have been more properly brought forward by a member of the Government.

Sir E. Sugden

thought, this was a subject which ought not to be brought forward by a private individual. He thought that the Government were bound to show to the House some grounds for proceeding with this Bill. There was already a charity commission existing in Ireland, and they had heard nothing to show that that commission was not sufficient to do all that was requisite in this respect. The present Bill contained a machinery which would confer new and very extensive powers. Was it intended to establish a new charity commission in Ireland? He was willing to place confidence in her Majesty's Government to this extent, that if they, upon their responsibility, asserted that there ought to be a new commission, he would allow the Bill to be read a second time, reserving to himself the right to examine the provisions when the Bill was in Committee.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that in voting for the second reading, and thus supporting the principle of the Bill, he did not feel bound to affirm the mode in which the principle was to be worked out. A Committee had been appointed by a former Government to inquire into the subject, and of which Committee the noble Lord, the Member for South Lancashire (Lord Francis Egerton), was chairman, and that Committee appeared to entertain the opinion, that the present charity com- mission in Ireland, as well as the whole law relating to the subject, required remodelling and amendment. The present charity commission was composed of ex officio members, who had other important duties to perform, and which were sufficient to engross their attention. It was composed of the judges and the bishops, and it seemed to have been generally admitted, on a former occasion, that they ought not to impose the additional labour of these trusts upon individuals so engrossed by their own important duties. The present Bill was, in all respects, similar to one which had already been passed for England, and he, therefore, considering that a similar measure for England had already received the sanction of both Houses of the Legislature, did not think it unreasonable to ask the House to affirm the principle of the present Bill.

Mr. Goulburn

was not disposed to obstruct the second reading of the Bill. At the same time, considering the nature of its provisions, he thought it might hereafter have to encounter considerable opposition.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that the present commission was composed of all the judges, and bishops, and Protestant rectors in the city of Dublin, and the provost of Trinity College. The commission was exclusively Protestant, and he thought that a commission ought to be so formed as that no religious jealousy could possibly be supposed to exist. When it was considered that the Catholic Church was un-endowed (and he was glad it was so), and when all the charities from which it derived support were administered by a commission of this kind, he thought it important that they should have the most impartial tribunal. He thought the Bill ought to be read a second time, and when it went into Committee its provisions could be fully canvassed, and any alterations effected.

Bill read a second time.