HC Deb 08 May 1838 vol 42 cc997-1024
Mr. Baines

rose to move, that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration the propriety of abolishing the First Fruits of the Clergy in England and Wales, and the more effectual rating, and the better collection, of the Tenths applicable to the maintenance of the poor clergy. In adopting this course to bring the subject under the consideration of the House, he followed the precedent established upon the occasion of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) bringing forward the subject of the Irish Church Temporalities. On that occasion, it was decided, that a resolution of a Committee of the whole House was requisite as the foundation of every measure in any way affecting the taxation of the people. He feared he could not propitiate the House, by promising to trespass but a short time on their attention; for the subject was most important, as involving the interests of a most influential and useful body of men—the working clergy. The principle of first fruits and tenths, was of a date as ancient as the establishment of parishes. The hon. Member traced the history of first fruits and tenths from the period of their earliest institution down to the well known Act of Queen Anne, and read the addresses presented to her Majesty by the convocations of Canterbury and York, to shew what were its objects, and the benefits that were expected to be derived from it to the poor clergy. They were as follow:— Address to her Majesty Queen Anne, from the Archbishops, Bishops, and Clergy of the Province of Canterbury assembled in Convocation, on the 15th Feb., 1704. We, the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England, together with the Clergy, do most humbly beg leave to express the great and deep sense that we have of your Majesty's most tender compassion for the poor clergy of this Church, who have hardly wherewith to support themselves in the exercise of their ministry, and of your Majesty's gracious intentions, even by bestowing your own revenue, to make a provision for them, in such a manner as you were pleased to declare in your Majesty's late message to the House of Commons. We cannot be thankful enough for so singular a blessing as we enjoy, in a Queen who has recommended our holy religion to her subjects, by the great example she has set them; and, particularly, by such signal instances of piety and charity, as not only render her the joy and delight of all true Christians of this age, but leave those effects behind them for which her Majesty will be blessed in all succeeding generations. The Clergy of the Convocation of York also presented to her Majesty an Address, in which they said— Your Majesty not only takes care to preserve our religion in purity, and to protect our Church in all its rights and privileges, but has further taken care also that the ministers of it shall, in due time, have a competent maintenance, the want of which provision was the great, if not the only blemish of our Reformation; and, therefore, doubly blessed will your Majesty's memory be in all succeeding generations. As we are sure that this pious and charitable act of your Majesty is highly acceptable to God, so we cannot but hope, that it will have its proper effect upon all your Majesty's subjects, and especially upon us the clergy. That Act of Queen Anne, he contended, had been a miserable failure, having achieved anything but the object for which it was intended. What was the consequence of the failure of Queen Anne's Bounty? The list of small livings, taken from the Report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, which he would now read, would show:— There were 11 livings under 10l. a-year; 19, from 10l. to 20l. a-year; 31, from 20l. to 30l.; 63, from 30l. to 40l.; 172, from 40l. to 50l.: making 296 livings under 50l. a-year.—There were 305, from 50l. to 60l.; 307, from 60l. to 70l.; 254, from 70l. to 80l.; 354, from 80l. to 90l.; 396, from 90l. to 100l. total, 1,616, making 1,912 livings under 100l. a-year.—There were 1,602 livings from 100l. to 150l. a-year; and 1,352 from 150l. to 200l. a-year; so that there were 4,868 livings under 200l. a-year. Besides these, there were 5,280 curacies, varying from 40l. a-year to 160l., and averaging 81l. per annum each. Now, in what way did this happen, and why had the Act so greatly failed in its purpose? He did not mean to give any offence to those connected with the subject, but, in his opinion, the governors of the Queen's Bounty had not done their duty, and had not attended to the solemn trust which had been reposed in them for the benefit of the poor clergy, by the munificent spirit of Queen Anne. In addition to this, there were some equivocal expressions in the Act, which rendered its meaning difficult to be properly understood. He alluded to the passage in the 6th section of that Act, in which it was said, "that the First Fruits and Tenths shall hereafter be assessed and paid by the clergy, according to such rates and proportions only as the same have been hitherto rated and paid." He thought, however, that this ought to be corrected, for where any law operated oppressively on any portion of the people, it was the duty of Parliament to revise its enactments, so as to be just towards all. He certainly must say, that he considered the governors, as trustees of the bounty, and as having received from the Queen a royal injunction, guilty of a great dereliction of duty, in not construing the Act to the advantage of the poor clergy, as was enjoined by the charter of Queen Anne, appointing governors for dispensing the Bounty Fund. In explanation of his plan, the hon. Gentleman said, that he proposed, in the first place, that first fruits should be altogether abolished, because he considered, that the payment of first fruits acted oppressively on the clergy during the first year that they held their livings. He would not, however, stop there; and he further proposed, that all livings under 300l. should be exempted from the payment of tenths, and that all livings above 300l., of yearly value, should be charged with one-tenth of their net value. He would further state, that it was not his intention to apply these regulations to the livings of clergymen now in possession. He proposed, that they should remain as they are at present, and that the regulation he suggested should only take effect on clergymen to be hereafter appointed. What, it would be asked, would be the effect of this scheme on the fund devoted to the support of the poorer clergy? By a calculation he had made, he found that a tenth of the annual value of the whole livings of the clergy would amount to 250,000l., and that that sum would be at their disposal instead of only 13,500l., the amount at present derived from first fruits and tenths. That amount, however, could only be obtained by the gradual operation of the plan he proposed, and not all at once, because, no clergyman at present in possession of a living, would be affected by his proposal; and it was only on future presentations to benefices that his plan would take effect on those benefices. The next question was, as to the application of the fund to be thus raised; and, in his opinion, the first object they ought to have in view was, the augmentation of the livings of the poor clergy. He wished, as the chief object of his measure, to increase those livings, and to give to the working clergy a clear annual income of not less than 200l., and he wished also, that no curate should have less than 150l. a-year. Of course, various objections would be made to any legislative interference on the subject. He would advert to some of the most prominent. From the valuation, as returned by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, it appeared, that the clear yearly revenues of the church amounted to 3,500,000l. Deducting 500,000l. for discharged livings, and livings not liable to payment of tenths, the amount would be 3,000,000l. The tenths of which sum would yield 300,000l., and the first fruits 200,000l., making 500,000l. The tenths and first fruits now yielded only 13,500l., leaving a deficiency of 486,500l., being less than a thirty-seventh part of the actual first fruits and tenths. But this part of his plan did not rest on his authority alone. Last year, a Select Committee was appointed by the House, to consider the mode of payment, and the application of first fruits and tenths, and the Report of that Committee recommended the adoption of measures similar to those which he had proposed. This Committee recommended, that the first fruits should be abolished. But, whenever that should be done," said they, "we incline to the opinion, that in place of the present tenths, a moderate and graduated impost, according to a valuation more nearly representing the actual income, and upon the scale adopted for the Irish livings, by the 3rd and 4th William 4th., c. 27, might be charged upon all future holders of benefices above the yearly value of 300l., the produce of which impost might be advantageously applied to the more speedy augmentation of small livings—the provision of a retiring pension for infirm incumbents of small livings—and to assist in the endowment of new churches in the various parts of the country in which the increase of population will never cease to create a necessity for extraordinary aid. His plan differed from that suggested by the Select Committee in one particular only, namely, that while the Act regarding Irish Church Temporalities required the payment by a graduated scale, varying from five to fifteen per cent., he adhered to the ancient tenths, as snore definite in their name and character, and as claiming the sanction of a higher antiquity. The House might inquire what would be the effect of his plan? What it would produce annually for the poor clergy might be thus stated:—The total clear income of the Church, as stated in the Report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, was 3,500,000l. Deduct 1,000,000l. for livings under 300l. a-year. The tenths of 2,500,000l. would be 250,000l. The sum now produced by first fruits and tenths was only 13,500l. The annual increase would therefore be 236,500l. This full income would not be attained immediately, but would proceed at the rate of 20,000l. a-year, till it reached its consummation. Amongst the several objections to the plan he had now the honour to propose, the first was, that there were no petitions on the table from the poorer clergy, complaining of their situation—that there were no manifestations of discontent:—nor was it necessary to establish this fact by petitions. He would merely ask, if it was possible that a gentleman, or even a mechanic, could live upon an income of 10l., 20l., 30l., 40l., or 50l.? It was scarcely the remuneration given to the lowest mechanic. But the poorer clergy knew how much they depended on clergy of the higher order. They abstained, therefore, from petitions, complaining of their condition, because they apprehended they might give offence to those whom they desired not to offend, and on whose favour they had to depend for future preferment. He wished hon. Members could look into his bureau. They would there see vast masses of letters, which clearly showed what the feelings of the inferior clergy were on the subject. Their complaints were not loud, but they were deep. He would, with the leave of the House, read a letter which he had received on the subject from a clergyman, dated March 15, 1837. It was as follows:— Sir—I sincerely hope that one of the pur- poses contemplated by your motion for a return of the sums paid as first fruits and tenths by the bishops and the higher beneficed clergy, is the improvement of the condition of the poorer clergy, who are not in circumstances to help themselves, and whose interests have been grossly neglected by those who ought to have shown themselves anxious protectors of them. While the tithes have been, for years, taken by bishops, rectors, and impropriators, according to the improved value of land arising from the employment of increased capital and skill in its cultivation, the first fruits and tenths, which form the fund for the augmentation of the small livings, or starvings, of the poor clergy, are paid according to a valuation made in the reign of King Henry 8th.—that is, in simple truth, the actual tenths are received, but in most cases, not one-tenth of them, or of the first fruits, are paid to the fund in question; and, while one portion of the church possesses an absurd and superfluous revenue, the other is left in a state of degraded poverty. It was the duty of the bishops, and other governors of Queen Anne's Bounty to propose, from time to time, new valuations of the benefices, and other offices, and to give thus to the poor incumbents, a benefit of which the dignitaries, and others who did not want it, so largely partook. * * * Have they discharged this duty? To Edward Baines, Esq., M. P. Another letter stated, that the writer was a married man, with a large family; that his wife was in bad health; that his income was only 40l.; and that he was in a state of miserable penury. That last fact the writer need not have stated. The only wonder was, that he did not go to the first union workhouse, and apply for relief. Another letter, which he (Mr. Baines) would take the liberty of reading to the House, was a letter which he had received from a beneficed clergyman, containing an account of a few of the rich livings, with their real values, as returned by the clergy themselves, in 1835; together with the values thereof respectively, as stated in the Liber Regis. The letter was as follows:— Sir,—I thank you for the manner in which you have taken up the subject of Queen Anne's Bounty Fund, and the cause of the poor clergy of the Established Church. The eyes of the public only want to be fairly opened upon this subject, to secure speedy and ample justice for those whose cause you advocate. Go on fearlessly. You have a righteous cause in hand, and success will, ultimately, crown your efforts. I rejoice, that amongst the laity, yea, even amongst the dissenting laity, men are to be found who will stand up for the rights of the long-oppressed poor clergy. You have their good wishes, I am sure, though many of them are so circumstanced, that they dare not come forward boldly to defend themselves: it is from this cause that the evil has been allowed to attain so great a head. I send you a list of a few of the rich livings in various parts of the kingdom, merely as a specimen of their real value, as stated by the clergy themselves, in their returns to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, which returns were made to the King in 1835, and laid before both Houses of Parliament; and I accompany it with the value of those livings, as they stand in the King's books, that is, in the time of Henry 8th, and upon which valuation, instead of upon the real value, the incumbents pay their tenths and first fruits.

Selection of Benefices with the real value of each, and their respective values as returned in the Liber Regis.
Name of Living. County. Clear yearly value. Value paid upon. Sum paid as Tenths. Real Tenths.
£. £. £. £.
Aldingham Lancashire 1,093 40 4 0 109
Aldington Kent 1,014 38 3 16 101
Algarkirk Lincolnshire 1,310 50 5 0 131
Allcannings Wilts 1,100 31 3 2 110
Alvechurch Worcester 1,025 24 2 4 102
Alverstoke Hants 1,287 21 2 2 128
Ashton-un-line Lancashire 1,407 26 2 12 140
Aston Warwickshire 2,075 21 2 2 207
Attleburgh Norfolk 1,226 19 1 18 122
Barwk in Elmet Yorkshire 1,352 33 3 16 135
Bibury Gloucestershire 1,023 13 1 6 102
Bingham Nottinghamshire 1,503 44 4 8 150
Bothall Northumberland 1,484 25 2 10 148
Bury Lancashire 1,937 29 2 18 193
Chatteris Cambridge 1,370 10 1 0 137
Chelsea Middlesex 1,003 13 1 6 100
Doddington Cambridgeshire 7,306 22 1 4 730
Edgcomb Salop 2,600 46 4 12 260
Feltwell Norfolk 1,207 14 1 8 120
Hatfield Bishops Lincolnshire 2,097 36 3 12 209
Hilgay Norfolk 1,291 10 1 0 129
Halifax Yorkshire 1,628 84 8 8 162
Lambeth Surrey 2,277 32 3 4 227
Leverington Cambridgeshire 2,099 25 2 10 209
St. Botolph without Bishopsgt. London 2,290 20 2 0 229
Mepul Cambridgeshire 1,267 3 0 6 126
Pulborongh Sussex 1,376 19 1 18 137
Ross Herefordshire 1,284 38 3 16 128
Rochdale Lancashire 1,730 11 1 2 173
Rowley Yorkshire 1,465 20 2 0 146
Sheffield Yorkshire 1,285 12 1 4 128
Stanhope Durham 4,843 67 6 14 484
Upwell Norfolk 3,855 16 1 12 385
Winwick Lancashire 3,616 102 10 4 361
64,775 1,014 100 4 6463
These livings yield to the clergy, who are in the enjoyment of them, a clear income of 64,775l. a-year, the tenth of which sum is 6,463l., but instead of paying that sum for the better maintenance of the poor clergy, they pay only 100l. 4s a-year, being about one sixty-fourth part of the real tenths, exclusive of first fruits. To this statement the higher orders of the clergy will be ever ready to say, 'We have paid our first fruits and tenths, as the law has directed us, and therefore we have withheld from the poor clergy nothing which they had a just right to claim.' But have they no just claim on the increased value of these livings? Do the tenants who hold glebe, &c., under the incumbents, pay their rents on the valuations of 1534, or according to the valuation of 1834? Let the above statements answer that question. If, then, the incumbents of those livings have a just right to the increased value since 1534, have not the poor clergy an equal right to their increased value? Undoubtedly they have; and yet they have been long and shamefully deprived of it. Will the lay members and friends of the Church suffer this system of spoliation to continue any longer? Will the Conservative party any longer remain silent under this gross injustice? Or will they not at once come forward, and demand justice for the poor clergy? —Parsonage-house, May, 1837. "To Edward Baines, Esq., M. P. It might be said, that a change in the value of livings had taken place in the interval that elapsed between the time of Henry 8th., and the reign of Queen Anne, which change, whatever it might be, was wholly overlooked, or entirely disregarded in the statute of the latter sovereign. It would appear, however, that the change in the value of Church property was not very great at the time, for within four years from the passing of the Act of Queen Anne, the bishops applied for an alteration of its provisions, upon the ground "that the first fruits and tenths then paid by the archbishops and bishops amounted to very nearly the full value thereof." That was in the time of Queen Anne. He would now show to the House how far the archbishops and bishops of the present day were from paying the full value of the first fruits and tenths; he would shew how some paid only one-fourth of the value, many only one-sixth, others only one-eighth, not a few only one-twelfth, and how one paid only one-thirtieth of the real value. The hon. Gentleman then read a statement of the present incomes of the hierarchy, together with the amount paid by each of them for first fruits and tenths. From this statement, it appeared, that the income of the Archbishop of Canterbury amounted to 19,182,l., whilst the amount paid by him for first fruits was only 2,682l. leaving a deficiency of 16,500l. The income of the Archbishop of York was 12,629l., whilst the amount paid by him for first fruits was only 1,449l. being a deficiency of 11,180l. The first fruits of the several bishoprics he stated as follows:—
SEES. Clear Annual Revenue. Payments as First Fruits. Difference.
London £13,929 £901 £13,028
Durham 19,066 1,638 17,428
Winchester 11,151 2,873 8,278
Bangor 4,464 118 4,346
Bath and Wells 5,946 479 5,467
Bristol 2,351 294 2,057
Carlisle 2,213 478 1,735
Chester 3,261 378 2,883
Chichester 4,229 609 3,620
Ely 11,105 1,921 9,184
Exeter 2,713 450 2,263
Gloucester 2,282 203 1,999
Hereford 2,516 691 1,825
Lichfield and Coventry 3,923 503 3,420
Lincoln 4,542 828 3,714
Landaff 924 139 785
Norwich 5,395 834 4,561
Oxford 2,648 343 2,305
Peterborough 3,103 373 2,730
Rochester 1,450 322 1,128
St. Asaph 6,301 168 6,133
St. David's 1,897 383 1,514
Salisbury 3,939 1,246 2,693
Worcester 6,569 929 5,640
He maintained, that a system which admitted of such a deviation from the spirit of the Act of Parliament was inadequate, unequal, and unjust. Bishop Burnet said, that in his time, the payments for first fruits and tenths amounted to from 16,000l. to 17,000l. a-year; whereas, at the present time, notwithstanding the increase in the value of property, they amounted only to 13,500l. a-year, being an actual depreciation since the time of Queen Anne, of twenty-five per cent., to the disadvantage of the poor clergy. It was said, that if the payment of a real tenth were demanded from the clergy upon all livings above the annual value of 300l., Parliament would be acting very oppressively towards them. He denied the accuracy of that proposition. In the first place, it would not at all apply to present incumbents, and with respect to those who came hereafter, it certainly could be considered no hardship if they were admitted to a good living, with the knowledge that they must contribute one-tenth of its income, for the purpose of benefitting their poor brethren. The hon. Member for the University of Oxford some time since took an objection, which certainly must be admitted as having some force; he said, that many persons had come into possession of advowsons under an impression that they were, at all times, to pay the first fruits and tenths, according to the rate fixed in the reign of Henry 8th. He acknow- ledged, that there was some force in that argument—he could not deny it; but, at the same time, he begged leave to ask the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire (Lord Stanley), if the same argument was not equally applicable to the proposition which the noble Lord brought forward in 1834 with respect to the Irish Church Temporalities, and which received the sanction of Parliament. Another objection, which had been urged for nearly three centuries, was this—namely, that there was no other valuation upon which to ascertain the amount of first fruits and tenths, except that of Henry the 8th. That objection was now no longer applicable, because in the year 1835, a new valuation was made by the clergy themselves, who were not likely to over estimate the amount of their livings. The hon. Gentleman read an extract from a work by Mr. Johnes, who had instituted a searching inquiry into the management and application of Queen Anne's Bounty in Wales, with the view of accounting for the rise of dissent in the principality. Mr. Johnes said:— The first-fruits and tenths, since they have come into the hands of the clergy, have been a source of great wealth to the rich clergy, but for the poor clergy they have done scarcely anything. What will be thought when it is stated, that a vast portion of these revenues have been added to the wealth of the highest dignitaries of the land? I say added to their wealth, for such is practically the effect of relieving them, in whole or in part, from the charge of paying their own curates. Of all the abuses in the Church, the grossest is the system of relieving bishops and sinecurists from the maintenance of their own curates by grants out of Queen Anne's Bounty. All the parishes in the county of Carnarvon which belong to the bishops, the dean, and the archdeacon, exhibit these abuses. We are not to consider the present possessors of these benefices as the authors of the abuses alluded to; but it is to be attributed to the system which has lavished the funds of Queen Anne's Bounty, miserable as they are in amount, upon not the poor livings, but the rich livings, to save the pockets of the dignitaries and pluralists of the Church from the payment of their own curates. The parishes of Holt and Iscoed, like Gresford, are in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of Winchester, who derive from them 900l. per annum. Here abuse is added to abuse, and their endowments are eked out by Queen Anne's Bounty: The curate of Iscoed has an income of 200l. a-year, of which no part whatever is paid by the Dean and chapter; it consists entirely of Bounty money. In point of fact, it will be found that the most liberal grants of Queen Anne's Bounty are those which have been made to parishes in the hands of bishops and sinecurists. Amongst the grievances complained of in North Wales are these: the exemption of the wealthy clergy from the payment of the first-fruits and tenths according to the strict ancient proportions, the universally low salaries of the bishops' curates, and the practice adopted by the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty of applying the Bounty fund in relieving the bishops from the support of their own Curates. Of course he pledged himself for nothing contained in that statement, but he had inquired diligently as to whether Mr. Johnes was a gentleman upon whose statements he might implicitly rely, and many Members of the House had answered him in the affirmative. He must also add that the work itself bore strong internal evidence of accuracy and truth. The hon. Gentleman then referred to the proceedings of the Committee which met upon first-fruits and tenths, and called the attention of the House to the evidence of the Treasurer of Queen Anne's Bounty, who, upon being asked whether a poor clergyman, who had only a single benefice of 60l. a-year, would have any better chance of having his living augmented than the clergyman who held two livings, one of 60l. a-year and the other of 800l. a-year, answered, "No; he would have only the same chance." He thought that this did not accord with the letter or the spirit of the Act of Queen Anne, which was entitled an Act "for the augmentation of the maintenance of the poor clergy;" and surely a pluralist with 860l. a-year could not fairly come under that designation. He hoped he had now established the three propositions he was anxious to press upon the conviction of the House: first, that it was the intention of Queen Anne that her bounty should afford competent livings for all the poor clergy—secondly, that it had entirely failed to produce that effect—and, thirdly, that it was high time some remedy should be applied. The remedy he had suggested to the House he hoped was conceived in moderation, and would receive the approbation of those Gentlemen with whom he should be very happy to co-operate, or into whose hands he should be very glad to confide the whole matter, because it was from no personal ambition nor any selfish object that he had been induced to take it up. But finding, year after year and age after age, the same abuses going on and no member of the Church coming forward to redress them, he had at length volunteered his services, impertinently perhaps, in the cause of the poorer clergy. He had only to add, that he looked with a confident expectation to receive the support of that (the Ministerial) side of the House. From the time of the Reformation to the present hour no ministry had done so much for the Established Church as the Ministry who now held the reins of Government. If anybody doubted the accuracy of that observation, he would undertake at any time to make it good. To a Ministry, then, which had done so much for the cause of reform and for the benefit of the Church he looked with a confident expectation of support, when he brought forward a proposition so fraught with justice to those who took the labouring oar in the Church, and who, notwithstanding their poverty, discharged all the duties of their holy office conscientiously, and with great ability. He repeated, that he confidently expected the support of the present Ministry, and a period was now arriving—the coronation of the Queen—which would afford them a fit opportunity of enabling our young and gracious sovereign, Victoria, to give fresh vitality to the benevolent principles laid down by Queen Anne. He would not say whether the Government would or would not violate its duty if it did not seize the approaching occasion to perpetuate the memory of our present Queen, and to transmit her name to posterity as an equal benefactress to the Church with Queen Anne. When he said, that the present Ministry had done more for the Church than any Government since the time of the Reformation, he must say, that the reason why the same opinion was not shared by every Gentleman in the House, was this: that whilst the present Ministry had done so much for the Established Church, they had also, through their influence, done a great deal for the Roman Catholics and the dissenting body generally. It was because they had not confined their favours to any one particular denomination that it was sometimes imputed to them that they were the enemies of the Church. In the Irish Church Temporalities Bill they had asserted an important principle, from which he was satisfied the Church, as well as the rest of the community, would ultimately derive the highest advantages,—he meant the principle which declared that property rather than persons ought to be made to conduce to the payment of the clergy. If he looked with confidence to the Ministerial side of the House, he looked with not the less confidence for support to the opposite side of the House, where he saw many professed, and he doubted not very sincere, friends of the Church. How could they promote its prosperity or increase the happiness of its members better than by acceding to such a proposition as that which he then brought under the consideration of the House? Apologising, with great sincerity, for the length of time his statement had occupied, the hon. Gentleman concluded by moving, "That the House do resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration the propriety of abolishing the first-fruits of the clergy in England and Wales, and the more effectual rating, and the better collection of the tenths applicable to the maintenance of the poor clergy."

The Solicitor-General

, although he could not fulfil the expectations of his hon. Friend by supporting his motion, felt bound to state, that he did the most complete justice to the sincerity of his hon. Friend's motives in bringing the subject forward, as well as to the temperate tone and manner in which he had introduced it to the House. He was perfectly persuaded, that in undertaking the subject, his hon. Friend had but one object in view—that of promoting the spiritual happiness of the community at large, by the introduction of a just, legitimate, and useful reform. The grounds, however, upon which he felt bound to oppose his hon. Friend's motion, were shortly these: if the motion had been founded upon the general question of the right and expediency of Parliament to make a more equal distribution of Church property for the benefit of the community at large, he should be ready to say, that he would give to such a subject his most serious attention; but it must be an attention quite unfettered by any consideration that might arise out of the question of first fruits and tenths, or any point that might arise out of the statute of Queen Anne. His hon. Friend, throughout the whole of his address, appeared to have confounded the general abstract question with the question of right under the statutes of Queen Anne and the act of Henry 8th. In order to clear the way before him, he (the Solicitor-General) would call the attention of the House, to what those statutes really were, because it appeared to him to be clear to demonstration that the clergy had now under those statutes all that they ever were entitled to. The hon. Gentleman was perfectly right in saying, that by a statute passed in the reign of Henry 8th, the first fruits and tenths of all ecclesiastical benefices became payable by the clergy. The question, then, was, how the amount of the property was to be ascertained; and the statute provided, that it should be lawful for the Lord Chancellor to issue a commission to inquire into the value of livings. The Commissioners were directed to make their return in a certain specified form; and from the return so made, the value of the first fruits and tenths was to be taken. From the terms of the statute of Henry 8th, it was not easy to determine whether it were intended that the amount of the value then ascertained was to be regarded as an amount of value that should remain fixed and unalterable, or whether it were intended that the Crown from time to time should direct the Lord Chancellor to issue fresh commissions, with the view of making the amount of first fruits and tenths keep pace with the general increased value of property. His hon. Friend maintained, that the latter was the intention of the act; and, for the sake of the argument, he (the Solicitor-General) would assume that it was so. He would assume, that the Crown had the right, from time to time, to issue fresh commissions; but, in point of fact, it had never done so. When Queen Anne came to the throne, she had the right, subject, of course, to the approbation of Parliament, to deal with these first fruits and tenths; and, being so entitled, she exercised her right, and placed them in the hands of a certain corporation which she then established for the purpose of augmenting the income of small benefices. It was part of the Act of Parliament whereby Queen Anne gave up this fund, that the value should be taken at the old and not at the increased rate; that was one of the provisions of the act. Therefore, if his hon. Friend were to succeed in showing that there ought, by the statute of Henry 8th., to be a new valuation from time to time, the result would be, that the surplus would belong to the Crown, and not to the poor clergy. He was aware that his hon. Friend had referred to an opinion of Lord Eldon, expressive of some doubt as to the construction put upon the act of Queen Anne. Now, it was his fortune for ten years of his life to practise before that learned judge, and he believed there never was a subject upon which it was not the pleasure of that learned judge, from his great ingenuity, to justify the expression of a doubt. He believed, that if that learned Lord had to express an opinion of the character of Henry 8th. himself, he would say of him, "That some of his opinions were, perhaps, rather harsh and arbitrary." What, he would ask, was the meaning of any doubt on the present subject? When a bond was given, it was to conclude the subject, and even to set forth what the sum of money was that should be secured by that bond. The act said, that a bond should be required for the payment of the first fruits and tenths, and which said first fruits and tenths should be paid according to such rates and proportions only as heretofore they had been paid. But if there were any doubts as to the meaning of this act, subsequent acts had entirely and in the most distinct manner removed all such doubts. It appeared to him perfectly clear, therefore that upon the law of the case, the first fruits and tenths now receivable by the governors of Queen Anne's bounty were exactly the same which they always had received, and as he had stated on a former occasion, in answer to a similar motion to the present, the governors of Queen's Anne's bounty at the present day had no more power than his hon. Friend had to alter by one farthing the amount of the sum so received. That being so, the question was whether or not it were fit that some alteration should be made. But if any alteration were to be made, it must be made irrespective of Queen's Anne's bounty. It must be by some such measure has had been adopted in respect to the Irish Church temporalities and it ought not to be in the slightest degree fettered or encumbered by any of the provisions of the act of Queen Anne. He, therefore, felt himself bound in justice to give his opposition to the present motion.

Mr. Gaily Knight

said: Having been personally alluded to by the hon. Member for Leeds, I feel myself called upon to say a few words; and as the hon. Gentleman distinctly states, that his intention is to apply his substitute for tenths, absolutely and entirely to the same purposes to which the tenths are now applied, namely, to the augmentation of poor livings, I cannot but offer him my humble support. Had the necessities of the Church not been great, had there not been a great number of ministers inadequately provided for,—had there not been on all sides, a loud and increasing demand for the extension of spiritual instruction, we might have been content to suffer things to remain as they are; but when we know that there are not less than 3,528 benefices under 150l. a-year, that there are 2,878 benefices on which there is no house of residence, and that the actual produce of the tenths, by the help of which this state of things has to be amended, averages only 14,000l. a-year, is it not manifest that it is most desirable to increase that fund, if it can be done without injustice? And, I must confess, that the hon. Gentleman is completely borne out by the fact when he states, that the manner in which the tenths are levied is most unsatisfactory—for not only does it bear no reference to the original impost,—not only does it bear no reference to the present value of the benefices, but it is most unequal in its pressure and distribution. Out of 10,498 benefices, only 4,898 pay tenths at all; and those which do pay, only pay according to what was the value of the benefices in the time of Henry 8th. How immensely those benefices have increased in value since that time, the House has already heard. I hold in my hand a few extracts from the returns made to the Commissioners in 1835, which, when compared with the Liber Valorum, confirm the statement made by the hon. Gentleman. I find, for example, that Halsal, which, in the time of Henry 8th was worth 24l. 11s.d., in the time of William 4th is worth 3,095l. a-year. Stanhope, formerly 67l. 6s. 8d. is now 4,875l. Hawarden, 66l. 6s.d. now 3,286l. Winwick, 102l. 9s.d. now 4,220l. Bishop Wearmouth, 89l.18s.d. now 3,346. Doddington, 22l. 5s. 0d. now 7,781l. Lambeth, 32l. 15s.d. now 2,481l. Clapham, 8l. 10s. 0d. now 1,299l. When the change of value is so immense, if it be, as, after the statement of her Majesty's Solicitor-General, I must not deny it to be, consonant to law, is it agreeable to common sense, that the tenths paid now should be the same as when the benefices were of so little comparative value? But this is not all—the payment is not only disproportionate: it is also unequal. The benefices have by no means increased in equal proportion. Mines, manufactures, harbours, agricultural improvements, have greatly added to the value of some livings, whilst others, less fortunately circum- stanced, have increased in nothing like the same ratio; yet the benefice which has increased fifty-fold, may pay no more tenths than the one which has only increased twenty-fold. Some benefices are altogether exempted, whilst others of inferior value remain in charge. By the Act of Queen Anne, all benefices not worth more than 50l. a-year, were exempted from the payment of tenths—many of these are now worth 300l. a-year, whilst many of those, which in the time of Anne were worth just above 50l. a-year, and which, therefore, were not exempted, have not had the good fortune to rise in the same proportion. But her Majesty's Solicitor-General tells us that, however different may be the value, however unequal the burthen, the book was finally closed by the Act of Anne, and cannot be opened again. It is perfectly true, that the Act of Anne says, that all benefices remaining in charge shall continue to pay their tenths according to such rates and proportions as they had been accustomed to pay before—which expression has ever since been construed to mean, according to the valuation made in the time of Henry 8th; but this is at variance with the spirit, at least, of another clause, which, speaking of the first fruits of bishops, says they shall continue to pay the same as before, because what they pay is not far from the real value. Having regard to this expression, should it not appear that it must have been imagined that the tenths were also much nearer the real value than was actually the case? and the real value was not ascertained, because a return was only demanded of such livings as were at that time below the value of 50l. a-year. Admitting, however, this law to be correctly interpreted, I am not aware that Parliament, having once legislated on the subject, cannot legislate again; that Parliament, after the lapse of above a century, is precluded from again considering the question. If a case of injustice and unfairness is made out, I cannot admit that the door to amendment is irrevocably closed. But I am asked, where is the justice of taxing a particular kind of property? In the first place, I am not seeking to impose a new tax, but to adjust one which exists at present; and in the second place, I frankly confess that, in foro conscientiœ, I consider no Church property, not even advowsons, or lay tithes, to be unconditional property. All Church pro- perty partakes of the nature of a trust, and Is accompanied by the condition of spiritual instruction. Firmly opposed as I am, and ever shall be, to the secular principle; firmly opposed as I am, to every thing like spoliation, I am not opposed to changes within the Church herself, which would be calculated to increase her efficlency. I cannot belong to the Noli me tangere school; who, if they pushed their principle to the extreme, might at once be surrounded by victims of plethora, and of destitution. The precedent, which has been adduced by the hon. Gentleman, of what was done in Ireland, appears to me exactly in point, and, indeed, that graduated scale was the example which is recommended for imitation in the report of the Committee, to which allusion has been made. The proposition before the House interferes with the income of no living person, because it would only take effect on a real presentation. It relieves all the clergy from the inconvenient and expensive burthen of first fruits. It relieves all benefices of 300l. a-year from tenths altogether—and it proposes that the tenths of benefices above that value, should be commuted for a per centage, the amount of which is left for the decision of the House. About the amount of that per centage I am not so anxious as that it should be equal. I certainly am of opinion that, in the present unfortunate state of the poor livings, it is not unreasonable to require of the larger livings, something more like their original liabilities, in aid of the unrequited labourers in the vineyard. But I candidly acknowledge that, whilst I wish to assist the poorer clergy, it is no part of my wish to hurt or humiliate any; or to reduce the Church of England to the level of her northern sister. The Church which has been preferred by the people of England, has much less decoration about her than the Catholic, but something more than the Presbyterian, and in my mind, has caught the happy mean between the two extremes; nor will I lend myself to any thing which would materially change her character, or alter her position. But, the poor livings may be assisted without materially affecting the prizes in the lottery of the Ecclesiastical profession. The tax may be made more equal without being oppressive to any, and a more satisfactory system may easily be introduced. Even in the moderate way in which I should desire to proceed, a considerable addition to the funds for the poor livings may be obtained. But we shall still want whatever more can be obtained for the building and endowment of new Churches, and the ever growing spiritual wants of a rapidly increasing population.

Mr. Hume

hoped his hon. Friend would not trouble the House to divide on this occasion, because it was perfectly evident from what the Solicitor-General had said, that there was no power of proceeding in the way his hon. Friend had suggested. It was undoubtedly in the power of Parliament to pass a bill and new model these matters altogether; but did his hon. Friend think that the Government, after their proceedings of yesterday and the few previous days, in which they had used their utmost efforts to continue pluralities in the Church, and to deprive the poorer clergy of those means which the Government had it in their power to give them—did he think that such a Government would at all listen to his common sense view of this question? It was only a repetition of the late trials he and a few others had in vain made, to induce the Government to act upon the principles of common sense in respect to the establishment of the Church. Could any man consider the Government to be sincere in their wish to put the Church upon an equitable footing after the changes that had recently taken place. The commutation of tithes had given to the Church, according to their own showing, no less than 3,500,000l. a-year, but which he (Mr. Hume) believed would amount to more than 4,500,000l. a-year. If, having that immense amount to deal with, there was any disposition on the part of those who pretended to be the friends of the Church to enable every incumbent in the country to possess an income of 200l. a-year, it was at this moment perfectly practicable for them to raise every small living to that value. He considered, therefore, that the Government and those who pretended to be the friends of the Church were to blame for the present unsatisfactory state of things in regard to Church livings, because they refused to avail themselves of the means that were in their power for removing the grievance, and it was almost a farce for him and those who concurred in his views to attempt to proceed further until they could obtain a majority on the question.

Mr. James Stewart

was of opinion, that under the statute of Anne, a Commission could be issued at this day. If so, then, the Act of Queen Anne gave everything that was reserved to the Crown by the statute of Henry the 8th; and so far from the latter Act being repealed by Queen Anne's Act, it was by the second section expressly confirmed; and he contended, that every right that was possessed under the statute of Henry the 8th existed at the present day under the statute of Queen Anne. He did not think, that because a general inquiry was pending, that they were not to have a particular inquiry into the particular grievance arising out of these revenues.

Mr. Goulburn

entirely concurred in what had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Solicitor-General, and objected to the view taken on the subject of first fruits and tenths by the hon. Member for Leeds. He denied that Parliament had any authority or power to take away those imposts for the purpose of applying the money to the use of poor clergymen. He asked if hon. Gentlemen were satisfied as to the justice of the original position, and whether they had weighed the effect which this motion, if successful, would have on other questions connected with the same subject? He did not believe, that any man who had attended to the early circumstances under which first fruits and tenths were imposed could approve of the tax. But by whom was this tax imposed? Why, by the Pope; and it was by him collected, notwithstanding Parliament and the clergy had constantly declared, that its imposition was an act of great injustice. It was well known, that more than half the tax was never paid, and if so, how could it be asserted, that in Roman Catholic times the payment was made according to the full value. At the period of the Reformation, this tax was taken by the Crown; but Queen Anne restored it to the Church for the purpose to which it was now applied—namely, the augmentation of small livings. The question whether or not a property tax ought or ought not to be generally imposed was one which must depend upon a very different footing from the subject of first fruits and tenths. From the hon. Member for Leeds' own showing, it would appear, that to adopt his principle would be to raise the taxation on this description of property from 13,000l. per annum to about 2,50,000l. He concurred with the hon. and learned Solicitor-General in thinking, that the discussion of the question of first fruits and tenths afforded no argument in favour of the proposition of the hon. Member for Leeds. That hon. Member contended, that because many of those livings varied considerably from what they were in the time of Henry the 8th, therefore the taxation should be augmented; but he did not see that any argument had been adduced to support that proposition. It was well known, that there were many properties bound in a similar way, and subject to burthens which bore a comparatively greater proportion to their value than these burthens did in their present state of improved value. Now, surely no one would attempt to say, that a proposition to increase the burthens on such property beyond the terms of the old lease and proportionately to the present value could for one moment be supported. Surely the analogy was complete, and if they increased the burthens that were fixed at the time of Henry the 8th to the present improved value, he did not see on what principle they could refuse to subject other property, under similar circumstances, to additional taxation. Well, then, there was another point. According to the law of this country advowsons were considered to be private property. They were repeatedly sold, and it was well known that individuals purchased that description of property on the faith of Parliament, which told them that this was a very safe investment of property; and on what ground could the House feel justified in diminishing the amount of that property? He, on the grounds he had stated, as well as on other grounds, objected to the motion of the hon. Member for Leeds, and fully concurred in the view of the law respecting the question which had been taken by the Solicitor-General. That view was not new to him. At various times, in discussions which had taken place on subjects connected with the property of the Church, he had expressed the same opinions. However, he would, on the present occasion, be content to rest the argument of the case upon the speech of the Solicitor-General, repeating his determination to oppose the motion.

House divided:—Ayes 48; Noes 27: Majority 21.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Bewes, T.
Barnard, E. G. Blake, W. J.
Briscoe, J. I. Pryme, G.
Brocklehurst, J. Roche, D.
Brotherton, J. Rundle, J.
Butler, hon. Colonel Salwey, Colonel
Cayley, E. S. Stanley, W. O.
Collier, J. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Curry, W. Stewart, J.
Duncombe, T. Stuart, Lord J.
Grimsditch, T. Stuart, V.
Hawes, B. Strickland, Sir G.
Heathcote, J. Style, Sir C.
Hindley, C. Talfourd, Sergeant
Hughes, W. B. Thornley, T.
Hume, J. Turner, W.
Humphery, J. Vigors, N. A.
Lemon, Sir C. White, A.
Lister, E. C. White, L.
Lushington, C. Williams, W. A.
Marsland, H. Wood, G. W.
Ord, W. Yates, J. A.
Parker, R. T.
Pease, J. TELLERS.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Baines, E.
Philips, M. Knight, G.
List of the NOES.
Acland, T. D. Nicholl, J.
Bagge, W. Palmer, R.
Barrington, Viscount Palmerston, Viscount
Brughes, W. H. L. Perceval, Colonel
Compton, H. C. Pusey, P.
Estcourt, T. Rice, right hon. T. S.
Estcourt, T. Richards, R.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Round, C. G.
Freshfield, J. W. Thomson, right hon. C. P.
Goulburn, rt hon. H.
Hinde, J. H. Vivian, J. E.
Hobhouse, rt. h. Sir J. Wood, C.
Hodgson, R.
Houston, C. TELLERS.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Maule, F.
Maunsell, T. P. Solicitor-General, the
Mr. Baines

moved, that the Speaker do leave the Chair.

Sir R. Inglis

certainly had not anticipated the result at which the House by its division just now had arrived. He owned he was surprised to see the hon. Member for Ashton (Mr. Hindley) and others who ordinarily supported most zealously her Majesty's Government, vote against them on this occasion, and leave no less than four Cabinet Ministers in such a minority. His objections to the motion might be confined to two or three sentences. He objected to the levying a property tax upon one class of her Majesty's subjects, which would be the result of the proposition of the hon. Member for Leeds. Again, he objected because such a tax would be an absolute and unvarying tax, unlike the former general property tax. The only point in the speech by which the hon. Member for Leeds had advanced his views was, that even under existing statutes, it was competent to deal as he proposed with first fruits and tenths without the aid of any further act of Parliament. In reply to that position, he placed his reliance and confidence in the view of the law taken by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (the Solicitor-General), and if he required any confirmation of that view of the law, he could cite the opinions of the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland and of Mr. Justice Crampton. If still higher authorities were required, he would call in aid the opinions of Lord Coke and Mr. Justice Blackstone, and from all these authorities he drew the conclusion that until the speech of the hon. Member for Leeds no person ever contended that the existing law unaltered would give the right of interference which the hon. Member contended for. But the hon. Member had endeavoured to prove that it the existing law were insufficient, to create a new law; and in aid of that argument the hon. Member had read a long list of livings, with their value as set down in the King's books, with their present value, in order to show that the value of some was formerly 300l. to 400l., and that now they were 3,000l., to 4,000l. This was quite unnecessary, but at the same time the observations of the hon. Member were very well ad captandam. It should not be forgotten, however degrading the consideration might be, that advowsons had been made the matter of sale and purchase in the same way as manors and other property, and the purchases had been made on the calculation that the payment out of first fruits was fixed and invariable. He would not take this subject further out of the the hands of the Government; but he was unwilling to go to another division without thus shortly expressing the general view he took of the subject.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

would say only one word in reference to this matter. He had voted in the minority on the subject the motion of the hon. Member for Leeds, simply on the grounds stated by the learned Solicitor-General, that, even assuming the subject must be considered in reference to the wants of the clergy, the House had no right to put that construction on the acts which was suggested. He had heard nothing in the course of the debate which in the slightest degree tended to undervalue the importance of the pro- position; but at the same time undoubtedly on the previous discusions in reference to the same subject, the same rule had been laid down which had this evening been stated to the House. It was shown that, under the statute of Anne, the parties were protected and it was not just to draw the conclusion of the hon. Member for Leeds, either by legal or logical reasoning. But the House had decided the question of going into Committee, and he should therefore like to know what the hon. Member expected from it. The motion it was true, had been carried, but unless coupled with the speech of the hon. Member it imported nothing. It was "a Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration the propriety of abolishing the first fruits of the clergy in England and Wales, and the more effectual rating and better collecting of the tenths applicable to the maintenance of the poor clergy." But it would be a question whether this were intended to apply to the existing tenths or to those which might be established under any new scheme. He was clearly of opinion that it would be the better way to decide the question and not to divide again on the question of going into Committee; for, as the Committee had been carried, he saw no reason for objecting to it.

Mr. Baines

observed that the right hon. Gentleman did not seem to be aware that there were certain resolutions to be proposed, which was already prepared.

Mr. Goulburn

presumed that the hon. Member intended to propose the resolutions in committee. He hoped it would not be supposed, from the few observations he had already made; that he agreed with the proposition of the hon. Member. The matter would be fully discussed in Committee, and he would then express the opinions which he entertained.

The Speaker left the chair. House in Committee.

Mr. Baines

said, that after the discussion which had taken place on the subject it scarcely seemed necessary that he should detain the House by any further statements. His object was to submit to the House in Committee certain resolutions which he had taken care should be placed in the hands of every hon. Member before he moved them. He would now hand the resolutions to the Chairman, with a desire that they should be proposed by him to the Committee, and it would be for the Committee to deal with them as it thought proper. The hon. Baronet the Member hon. Member for the University of Oxford, appeared to have fallen into an error, which he must correct. He appeared to have misconceived the object which he had in view, and to think that the tax was to be an unvarying tax. That subject, however, was left open for the consideration of the House.

The first resolution was put in the following terms:—"That it is expedient, that a better provision for the maintenance of the poor clergy of the Established Church of England and Wales should be afforded than that which at present exists, to be derived from the revenues of the said Church."

Mr. Estcourt

, without meaning at all to question the truth of the resolution proposed, would suggest to the Committee the propriety of the Chairman reporting progress on receiving the resolutions to be proposed, and of asking leave to sit again; and he should conclude the observations which he had to make, with a motion to that effect. Many hon. Gentlemen he knew were impressed with the same feeling, that it was impossible under the old law such a proposition as that made by the hon. Member could be carried, and he thought, that after the opinion expressed by the learned Solicitor-General, there was no question that the law was as they supposed. He could not but express his surprise, that so many had voted with the hon. Member, because if one proposition were more doubtful and important than another, it was the proposition which that hon. Member had made, that this was an adjustment only of the old tax, and not the introduction of a new tax. He believed, that it had been stated that out of the 10,400 livings there were only 4,300 which did pay tenths, and yet the imposing the tax on all livings above the value of 300l. a-year, was called only an adjustment of it. There were already many livings of this value, and some below this value, which now paid the tenths; and could the application of the tax to some new cases, and the removal of it from other cases, be called merely an adjustment of the old system? It was not necessary, however, to go into the whole question at that movement; and he should content himself with moving, that the Chairman should report progress and ask leave to sit again.

Mr. Hume

said, that the objection of the hon. Member for Oxford University would apply if any difference of opinion existed on the subject of the resolution now before the House. The resolution, however, was merely "That it is expedient that a better provision for the maintenance of the poor clergy of the Established Church of England and Wales should be afforded than that which at present exists, to be derived from the revenues of the said Church." He would ask whether any hon. Member could do otherwise than agree with the terms of this resolution? If that were carried perhaps no objection would be offered to the course suggested by the hon. Gentleman opposite.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

would ask the hon. Member for Leeds whether, under the circumstances, it would be politic to take the opinion of the Committee, when on the face of the case the House would appear, to a certain extent, to have been taken by surprise? [No, no!] Hon. Gentlemen said "no, no!" but he should like to know how they accounted for the very general absence even of their own friends, when a subject of so much importance was to be discussed? But supposing there was no surprise in the matter, then he had objections to urge against the motion; but he should at the same time suggest to the hon. Member, that under the circumstances he would gain very little by taking a vote of the Committee on the resolutions which he proposed to bring forward. The hon. Member, by adopting the course suggested, would lose nothing, for he might at a future time obtain a vote of the Committee on the subject, the course proposed being merely, that the Committee should now rise, and that the Chairman should ask leave to sit again. The hon. Member for Kilkenny, however, said, "Let us pass this resolution now, and take the others at another time:" but he thought that the course recommended by the hon. Member for the University of Oxford was more simple, and that it would be impolitic for the Committee to adopt one resolution, and to leave the others to be confirmed at some future time. For his own part, too, he should be extremely unwilling to give his sanction to resolutions on which a measure might be framed, and which, from the loose manner in which they might be worded, perhaps would not carry out his views. He thought, then, that it would be better for the hon. Member to accede to the suggestion thrown out by the hon. Member opposite.

Mr. Cayley

would also recommend the course suggested by the right hon Gentleman who last spoke. He had had great pleasure in voting with the hon. Member for Leeds in favour of his original motion, and although at present he saw no ground for adopting one only of several resolutions, yet he must protest against the suggestion of there being any surprise.

Sir R. H. Inglis

differed entirely from the sentiments expressed in these resolutions, and although the beginning of that which was now proposed to be adopted did not certainly present any point very decidedly to be objected to, yet the last clause which it contained, that the funds were "to be derived from the said Church," was one to which he could not agree. He should support the proposition, therefore, of the hon. Member for the University of Oxford.

Mr. Aglionby

agreed, that the further consideration of the subject should be postponed, but not in consequence of the ground that had been urged by the hon. Baronet and the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, namely, that the House had been taken by surprise. He denied, that this was the case, for the notice had been on the books several weeks, and it had that night been a considerable time under discussion, and, therefore, the friends of the Church had ample opportunity of being present if they had thought fit. Rather, however, than prejudice the question he would recommend his hon. Friend to consent to the Chairman reporting progress. The truth was that 100,000l. a-year had been voted for several years as an addition to Queen Anne's bounty until a stop was put to this grant by the exertions of his hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny. It was made on the ground, that the Church was unable to provide adequately for its poorer clergy, and he could only consider the proceedings in this matter as getting money under false pretences.

Mr. Baines

denied, that he had done anything that could be construed into taking the House by surprise, for he had given notice of his intention to propose his resolutions upwards of three months ago. He had no wish to avail himself of any paltry advantage by proposing his resolutions at that moment, and, therefore, if it were more consonant to the feelings of the House, he would consent to the Chairman reporting progress, and asking leave to sit again, and to let all the resolutions stand over for consideration on a future occasion.

Mr. Freshfield

said, that in a Parliamentary sense there was no surprise, but in point of fact there had been. When hon. Members saw the hon. Member for North Warwickshire withdraw his motion, it was considered that there was no prospect of success for the motion of the hon. Member for Leeds, and that if left to itself it would defeat itself. He believed that that was the feeling of the greater number of Members who were now absent from the House, and that that feeling would be testified by the House when this question was again brought under discussion.

House resumed—Committee to sit again.