HC Deb 25 July 1845 vol 82 cc1089-90
Mr. Sheil

begged to put a question to the Home Secretary, of which he had given him notice. His noble Friend the Member for Arundel had on a former occasion put a question to the same effect; but the answer then given to him by the right hon. Baronet was not considered in Ireland to be as explicit as it should have been: he, therefore, wished to ask the right hon. Baronet whether it were the intention of the Government, early in the next Session, to bring in a Bill to amend the Charitable Bequests Act?

Sir J. Graham

said, he was most anxious that the answer should be explicit. It was expedient that it should be so; and he thanked the hon. Gentleman for having given him notice of the question. There were two points as to which he proposed to alter the Bill next Session. The first related to matters affecting the doctrine and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church. By the Act as it now stood, if there was a bequest in favour of a dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church, or of a parish priest, and a dispute arose as to the title of the party claiming it, such a case was now, as the Act stood, referred to the decision of the Commissioners. It appeared, however, that by a canon of the Roman Catholic Church, such a question must be decided by an authority exclusively ecclesiastic. The Government intended to remove that difficulty by making the certificate of the ecclesiastical authority conclusive as to the rights of the parties. The next point as to which the Government proposed to make an alteration, was this:—the monastic orders in Ireland considered themselves injured by one of the provisoes at the end of the 15th Clause. He had stated when he introduced the Bill, that it was not intended, either directly or indirectly, to affect the position of the monastic orders. Whether that was or was not carried out in the Bill, it was the intention of the Government explicitly to declare that the monastic orders were not affected by the enactments of the Bill. There was also another point as to which it was intended to vary the enactments of the Act of last Session. By that Act, the Law of Mortmain was extended to Ireland, where, in fact, it operated with more weight than it did in this country; so that it was impossible for a party to leave any quantity of land, however small, for the site of a chapel, glebe house, or hospital. The Government proposed to relax this provision so as to allow land, not exceeding five acres, for instance, to be left for such purposes. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would think this answer sufficiently explicit.

Subject at an end.