HC Deb 17 July 1843 vol 70 cc1213-5
Mr. Wallace

said that he had given the following notice:— To inquire of the First Lord of the Treasury, Sir Robert Peel, whether it is the intention of her Majesty's Government to endea- vour to carry one or more bills through Parliament during the present Session (already advanced to the 17th day of July) respecting the Government of the established Church of Scotland, which bill or bills have not yet been introduced into the House of Commons, although they may have the intention, and, if carried, may have the effect of materially altering, if not that of changing the existing laws under which the rights of property in patronage to livings in the established Church of Scotland are governed, as well as the division of parishes, and the endowment of a class of clergymen hitherto unendowed in that country. He certainly should most strenuously oppose proceeding with such a measure at that period of the Session. This measure, and the other measure to be introduced in that House, had reference, in the first place to the appropriation of property in Scotland; secondly, they interfered with the right of patronage to livings in Scotland; and thirdly to the division of parishes; all these provisions were matters of very great consequence. When the right hon. Baronet and his friends were in opposition they never would allow Lord Melbourne's Government to pass any measures relating to Scotland which were introduced after Easter, as it was always thought desirable that they should be sent to Scotland, and time allowed for considering them. He had repeatedly, as well as other Members, put questions to the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department respecting the progress of measures relating to Scotland, and he never was able to get a satisfactory answer; he had therefore thought proper to put his question to the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government.

Sir R. Peel

could not acquiesce in the justice of the grounds of censure which had been passed by the hon. Member on his right hon. Friend, for he believed that no one could be more courteous in his bearing, or more anxious to perform his public duties in a way to give satisfaction to individual Members, than his right hon. Friend. With respect to the questions put by the hon. Gentleman, he would observe that her Majesty's Government had introduced a bill into the other House with reference to the Church of Scotland. This was a bill to remove doubts as to the appointments of ministers to benefices, and if it should pass the House of Lords, and be brought into that House, it was the intention of her Majesty's Ministers to use all the influence and power they possessed in that House to induce the House to pass it. It was also the intention of his right hon. Friend near him to introduce a bill into that House to facilitate the subdivision of parishes which were too large, and also to facilitate the endowment of parishes, but he did not intend to do so out of the public funds. The bill, however, would be introduced without delay; and if strong objections should be raised to passing it into a law, in consequence of the late period of the Session, the Government would be induced to consider the force of those objections. With respect to one observation of the hon. Member, he had never heard of such a rule that no bill should be brought into that House relative to Scotland after Easter, to pass the same Session. He could assure the hon. Member not only that he had never acted on any regulation of the kind, but that he had never heard of the existence of any such regulation; nor could he admit that the absence of the Lord Advocate from the House was a sufficient reason to prevent legislation.