§ Order for Second Beading read.
§ MR. FREWEN
moved the Second Beading of this Bill. It appeared from a recent return, that there were 589 cases in which clergymen had been appointed to two livings since the passing of the last Act on this subject. This afforded a strong case for passing a Bill in order further to check the practice. He saw no objection to clergymen holding two livings when they were adjoining eadh other, and the population of both was small; and there were many cases of this kind where no inconvenience was sustained, because the people of one parish could attend the services of the other. He would ask the House to affirm, by their assent to the second reading, the principle that the present law was not sufficiently stringent, and that it was desirable it should be made more effective. The Bill which he had had the honour to introduce last Session on this subject passed a second reading; but, on account of the lateness of the Session, he was unable to carry it further. He had since received many letters from clergymen in different parts of the kingdom in favour of his Bill, one in particular from the prebendary of one of our cathedrals, pointing out abuses 1128 which existed from prebendaries and their connexions getting possession of livings in their own families. He proposed that the Bill should extend to Ireland, and he trusted the House would allow the Bill, like that of last Session, to pass a second reading.
§ SIR G. GREY
had no objection to make to the second reading. He believed that both the Primate of Ireland and the Archbishop of Canterbury were very desirous that some measure should be passed making an alteration in the law regarding benefices and pluralities. The Bill might, therefore, be read a second time; but the House must not be asked to go into Committee on the Bill until he had had an opportunity of consulting with others, with the view of proposing certain alterations in the Bill which would make it satisfactory.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
said, there was no difference of opinion as to the desirableness of having a resident clergyman in every parish in the kingdom. It was easy to say that no two livings ought to be held together by the same person the aggregate value of which should exceed a given sum, except they were contiguous: but he saw in a recent return a case where six livings were held by one clergyman, the united income of which did not amount to more than 300l. per annum. If the right hon. Baronet were not prepared to adopt the principle of the Bill, why should he consent to go into Committee?—and if he were favourable to the second reading, why should he require a long interval before going into Committee?
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
considered that there were very considerable practical difficulties in the way of dealing with pluralities, especially in cases where no house was provided for the clergyman, and where the income was small. All that the House would do now by voting for the second reading was to affirm that further restrictions in the law permitting pluralities were requisite. His right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department had intended to bring forward a similar Bill to the present, and he should therefore like the Committee on the Bill to be postponed, until time had been given to the Government to consider the subject and confer with the Archbishop of Canterbury thereupon.
§ MR. HORSMAN
wished to see the principle of doing away with sinecures and pluralities carried out to the utmost extent in the Church. His objection to the Bill was that it did not go far enough. He held it to be most important to give every parish a resident teacher, by which means a great stimulus was given to private benevolence. Where parishes were small, he would unite them into one for quoad sacra purposes, but not keeping them under one incumbent.
§ SIR H. WILLOUGHBY
thought that the better course would be to withdraw the Bill than to allow it to pass a second reading, when there was every probability that alterations might be proposed in Committee which would entirely alter the character of the Bill.
§ CAPTAIS JONES
did not think the Bill at all suited for Ireland, and considered that even if the present Primate of Ireland was favourable to it, his successor might not be so.
§ MR. FREWEN
, in reply, said a communication was made to the Archbishop of Armagh last Session, and he was aware that it depended upon his Grace whether pluralities should exist in Ireland. He was happy to say that for the last twenty-two years not a single faculty had been granted by the Primate for the holding of pluralities in that country.
§ Bill read a second time.