HC Deb 11 May 1838 vol 42 cc1161-5

The House resolved itself into Committee on the Benefices Pluralities Bill. On the 68th Clause, empowering the bishop, where he had reason to believe that the duties of a benefice were inadequately performed, or where there was more than one church or chapel belonging to a benefice, to require the appointment of a curate, having been read,

Mr. Goulburn

objected to the power. There were many cases in which a clergyman possessing a benefice was able to perform the duties of two churches or chapels; and it would be hard to compel him to appoint a curate at the sacrifice of a fourth of his income.

Lord John Russell

did not think the clause would work any of the evil which the right hon. Gentleman apprehended from it. It merely gave to the bishop the power of requiring the appointment of a curate. Where the duties were adequately performed, it was not probable that the power would be exercised; but, although one clergyman might be assiduous in the discharge of his duties, he might have a successor of a different character.

Lord Stanley

also supported the clause, as power was given to the bishop to exempt parishes, in case he thought fit, from the celebration of two full services on every Sunday.

Sir R. Inglis

objected to the clause, because it was a Parliamentary interference with the regulations of the Church, which would not be tolerated by any Roman Catholic, Baptist, or Independent congregation. He concurred in the opinion, that the subject ought to be left to the discretion of the ecclesiastical authorities.

Colonel Sibthorp

remarked, that in some parishes, during the winter, if two sermons were preached, there would be no one to hear the second sermon but the preacher himself, the clerk, and perhaps the sexton.

Mr. Milnes

was of opinion that the most important part of a clergyman's duty was that of preparing his parishioners to join with advantage in the observances of the Sabbath, and not of preaching sermons. He admitted that sermons were very, attractive, but they should recollect that clergymen of a great age would not be able to preach two sermons in a day, as preaching was often painful to the lungs. Besides, he did not think that such a regulation could be enforced. He recollected an instance where a clergyman who held two small livings near one another was in the habit of preaching a sermon at one of them, and reading the evening service of the Church at the other. The Archbishop of Canterbury remonstrated with the incumbent, and told him that he ought to preach a sermon at both churches, and when he was at last forced to comply with the mandate, he used to boast that he had jockied the Archbishop, and that he used to preach one half of his sermon at the one church in the morning, and the other half at the other in the afternoon.

Mr. Goulburn

said, that as the opinion of the house seemed not to be in accordance with his own, he did not wish to put hon. Members to the trouble of dividing, though he still retained his own opinion.

Amendment withdrawn. The clause agreed to.

On Clause 94 (licences to curates and revocations thereof to be entered in the registry of the diocese) being read,

Sir R. Inglis

objected to the registrar being entitled to receive from the incumbent of a benefice ten shillings for every copy of the grant of a licence or revocation to a curate. He should move an amendment to this part of the clause.

Lord John Russell

said, that if the fee was not paid by the incumbent it must be paid out of the church-rates, to which he most strongly objected.

Sir E. Sugden

suggested, that the fee be reduced to two shillings.

The Committee divided on Sir Robert Inglis's amendment: Ayes 47; Noes 49: Majority 2.

List of the AYES.
Bagge, W. Ellis, J.
Bailey, J. Estcourt, T. G. B.
Blennerhassett, A. Fellowes, E.
Bolling, W. Filmer, Sir Edmund
Bramston, T. W. Freshfield, J.
Broadley, H. Goulburn, H.
Bruges, W. H. L. Grimsditch, T.
Burroughes, H. N. Halford, H.
Clerk, Sir G. Heathcote, Sir W.
Cole, Viscount Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Courtenay, P. Hodgson, R.
Darby, G. Hope, G. W.
East, J. B. Hughes, W. B.
Egerton, Sir P. Kemble, H.
Law, hon. C. E. Round, J.
Lygon, hon. General Sibthorp, Colonel
Mackenzie, T. Sugden, rt. hn. Sir E.
Marsland, T. Vere, Sir C. B.
Moneypenny, T, G. Vernon, G. H.
Mordaunt, Sir J. Wood, T.
Morgan, C. M. R. Young, Sir W.
O'Neill, hon. J. B. R.
Pusey, P. TELLERS.
Rickford, W. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Rose, rt. hon. Sir G. Nicholl,—
List of the NOES.
Abercromby, hn. G. R. Palmer, C. F.
Adam, Admiral Parker, J.
Aglionby, H. A. Pechell, Captain
Attwood, T. Philips, Mark
Bannerman, A. Rice, E. R.
Beamish, F. B. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Berkeley, hon. H. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Briscoe, J. I. Russell, Lord John
Brocklehurst, J. Salwey, Colonel
Bulwer, E. L. Seymour, Lord
Collier, J. Stanley, W. O.
Craig, W. G. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Dalmeney, Lord Stuart, Lord J.
Evans, Sir De L. Style, Sir C.
Evans, G. Tancred, H. W.
Evans, W. Thomson, right hon. C. P.
Fergusson, rt. hon. R. Cutlar
Thornley, T.
Hastie, A. Turner, E.
Hawes, B. Turner, W.
Hobhouse, right hon. Sir J. Williams, W.
Williams, W. A.
Howick, Visct. Winnington, T. E.
Lefevre, C. S. Wood, G. W.
Lushington, C.
Macleod, R. TELLERS.
Maule, hon. F. Labouchere, H.
Morris, D. Smith, V.

Clause agreed to.

On Clause 22, a postponed clause, embodying the enactment of the 57th George 3rd, cap. 99, which restrains spiritual persons from entering into any trade or dealing,

Mr. Courtenay

moved an amendment, to strike out so much of the clause as rendered void bargains made by spiritual persons engaged in trade, and adding to the clause a proviso exempting from the operation of the Bill such cases of trading or dealing on the part of clergymen as shall be carried on by or on behalf of any number of partners exceeding six, or where any trade or dealing, or share in any trade or dealing, devolves on spiritual persons by demise, bequest, settlement, marriage, bankruptcy, or insolvency, The hon. and learned Member put several hypothetical cases in illustration of the hardships to which clergymen were exposed by the present law, as embodied in the proposed clause, and stated, that his amendment had been framed after great deliberation, and with the assistance of eminent legal authorities.

Mr. Law

submitted to the House, whether it would be worth while, merely for the purpose of preventing clergymen from unjustly engaging in secular pursuits—a supposition which he did not think they were fully justified in entertaining—to enact a prohibition which could only have its operation in a few unimportant instances, while, by vitiating contracts of companies of which clergymen might happen to be members, it would place in jeopardy the commercial interests of the country. If the noble Lord was determined to maintain the clause, he would support the amendment of his hon. Friend.

Sir E. Sugden

admitted, that the clause had been introduced with a good object, but did not think that that object would be attained by the clause as it stood at present. He felt, that it should be qualified, and with all deference to his hon. Friend who had moved the amendment, and without wishing to impose upon the noble Lord his (Sir E. Sugden's) view of the subject, he would, upon the third reading of the Bill, propose a clause having the same object as the present one, but in a modified shape.

Amendment negatived. Clause agreed to.

Colonel Sibthorp

rose, to move a clause of which he had given notice, to the effect, that the widow or representative of a deceased incumbent should have the power of residing, free of all charges, &c., in the glebe-house, and keeping possession of such land as might have been in the actual occupation of the incumbent at his death, not exceeding ten acres, for the space of three months. The period might be less if the House thought proper, but possession for some time should undoubtedly be granted, to afford to the widow of an incumbent time to settle herself elsewhere. The hon. and gallant Officer mentioned an instance of a patron having held out threats against an incumbent who disobliged him, which he carried into effect upon the incumbent's death by immediately dispossessing his widow and family of their place of residence.

Sir C. Burrell

supported the clause, and thought it expedient and just, that some provision should be made for the widows of clergymen.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 36; Noes 95: Majority 59.

List of the AYES.
Bagge, W. Mackenzie, W. F.
Bailey, J. jun. Marsland, T.
Blackstone, W. S. Meynell, Captain
Broadley, H. Monypenny, T. G.
Brownrigg, S. Morgan, C. M. R.
Bruges, W. H. L. Morris, D.
Burrell, Sir C. Perceval, Colonel
Canning, rt. hn. Sir S. Pusey, P.
Cole, Viscount Sinclair, Sir G.
Colquhoun, J. C. Somerset, Lord G.
Copeland, Alderman Stewart, J.
De Horsey, S. H. Talfourd, Sergeant
D'Israeli, B. Vere, Sir C. B.
Eaton, J. Williams, W.
Estcourt, T. Wood, G. W.
Freshfield, J. W. Young, Sir W.
Grimsditch, T.
Hodgson, R. TELLERS.
Lygon, hon. General Clerk, Sir G.
Mackenzie, T. Sibthorp, Colonel
List of the NOES.
Abercromby, hn. G. R. Hobhouse, T. B.
Adam, Admiral Holmes, W.
Aglionby, H. A. Hope, G. W.
Baines, E. Houstoun, George
Beamish, F. B. Howard, P. H.
Bentinck, Lord G. Howick, Viscount
Berkeley, hon. H. Hughes, W. B.
Blair, J. Hutt, W.
Bramston, T. W. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Brocklehurst, J. Johnstone, H.
Brotherton, J. Kemble, Henry
Bryan, G. Law, hon. C. E.
Bulwer, E. L. Lefevre, C. S.
Burroughes, H. N. Lockhart, A. M.
Campbell, Sir J. Lowther, J. H.
Chetwynd, Major Macleod, R.
Childers, J. W. Marsland, H.
Courtenay, P. Martin, J.
Craig, W. G. Maule, hon. F.
Darby, G. Melgund, Viscount
Davies, Colonel Morpeth, Viscount
Dennistoun, J. Murray, rt. hon. J. H.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Palmer, C. F.
Dundas, C. W. D. Palmerston, Viscount
Dundas, Captain D. Pechell, Captain
Egerton Sir P. Perceval, hon. G. J.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Philips, M.
Evans, Sir De Lacy Phillpotts, J.
Evans, W. Pringle, A.
Ferguson, right hon. R. C. Protheroe, E.
Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Filmer, Sir E. Richards, R.
Gillon, W. D. Rolleston, L.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.
Greene, T. Russell, Lord John
Hill, Lord A. M. C. Salwey, Colonel
Hindley, C. Scholefield, J.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J. Seale, Colonel
Smith, R. V. Waddington, H. S.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Wallace, R.
Steuart, R. White, A.
Stuart, H. White, S.
Strickland, Sir G. Williams, W. A.
Style, Sir C. Winnington, T. E.
Thomson, rt. hn. C. P. Winnington, H. J.
Thornely, T. Wood, T.
Townley, R. G.
Verney, Sir H. TELLERS.
Vivian, right hon. Sir R. H. Parker, J.
Solicitor-General, the

Clause rejected. The House resumed. Report to be received.