HC Deb 10 May 1850 vol 110 cc1302-9

Bill, as amended, brought up for consideration.

MR. GOULBURN moved an Amendment to the effect that the salary of the canons should be 750l., in place of 600l., as proposed by the Bill. He considered that the rule under which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners acted, was to make the incomes of the canons equal to one-half of those of deans, and, as the dean in this case had 1,500l. a year, he held that the canons ought to have 750l., particularly as they had to provide curates for themselves out of that income. It was true that an additional endowment was to be provided for the future canons, but that was not likely to come into operation for some years, and when it did come into operation the pew-rents were to be abolished.

Amendment proposed, page 12, line 34, to leave out the words "six hundred," and insert the words "seven hundred and fifty," instead thereof.

Question put, "That the words 'six hundred' stand part of the Bill."


, on the part of the promoters of the Bill, felt bound to resist the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman, in the statement he had made to the House, had omitted one branch of the question, which, in fact, involved the ground upon which this measure had been submitted to Parliament. The object of the Bill was to apply the parochial revenues of Manchester to the general parochial wants of Manchester; and if they gave so large a sum to the canons as was now proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, they would materially trench on the surplus from which alone could come the provision for the poorer clergy in the numerous other parishes of Manchester which were not otherwise provided for. This would be inconsistent with the whole principle of the Bill, and he therefore must decidedly oppose it.


said, that the right hon. Member for Manchester assumed the whole question at issue implied that there was no other object to be regarded than the spiritual provision of the parish. He (Lord J. Manners) denied that the Committee to whom the Bill was referred gave any opinion upon the much-disputed question of cure of souls. That part of the right hon. Gentleman's argument, therefore, with respect to the justice and equity of the case, ought not to be considered then. He should support the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge.


said, it seemed to him the question was whether the sum to which the extra 150l. a year would amount, should be appropriated to the canons, or the working clergy. In the former case, the provision for the spiritual destitution of the parish would be diminished; and he thought that was not desirable.


said, that the amount of salary for the canons had been fully discussed in Committee, and the sum inserted in the Bill was thought amply sufficient. There was one cathedral church in Manchester, and fifty-three district churches, all of which were to be provided for; and he thought it hard that, after so full and careful a deliberation in Committee, the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge should come down and ask for 750l. a year for the canons, to the detriment of the inferior clergy. When such a proposition was made, he thought it was time to inquire what the conduct of these canons had been, and how the cathedral funds had been disposed of. It was a very great question with him whether they should have even 600l.; and if the right hon. Gentleman alleged that, in other eases, the salaries of deans had been settled at 1,500l., and of canons at 750l., it would seem that the proportion was as two to one, so that, as in this case, the dean was to have 1,000l., the salary for the canons ought to be but 500l. He begged the attention of the House for a moment to the conduct of the canons of Manchester, and to the manner in which the collegiate funds were disposed of. The state of the collegiate church of Manchester was a singular one. The clerk was appointed by a Roman Catholic, who sells the situation when vacant. Humphery Nicholls was now clerk. He bought the place, and sold it to one Davenport, who now held it, and appointed a deputy named Andrews, who had a sub-deputy named Chadwick. That was one half of the clerkship. One Richson, clerk in orders, was appointed by the dean and canons, and did not do any duty of clerk, but did the duty of the canons, and they paid him 75l. out of their annual income, which amounted to 6,000l. a year, the dean having 2,000l., and the canons 1,000l. each. That was according to the Act. The dean resided at Manchester. Canon Wray resided at Snedley, near Manchester; Canon Sergeant lived at Broughton-in-Furness, near the Lakes; and it was utterly impossible that he could do any duty at Manchester. Canon Parkinson was President of St. Bees, and had a living; and Canon Clifton had a living in Bedfordshire. Mr. Remington, a minor canon, had not been at Manchester for ten years, and he (Sir B. Hall) had been informed that he was paid 400l. a year to stay away. He had a deputy, whom he paid 200l. a year. Now, what had been the intentions of the dean and chapter with respect to the great collegiate church of Manchester? They had intended to shut up the whole church, except the baptistery. They had intended to take not only the church, but all the private chapels, and to let them out in pews. All was to be closed to the public except the baptistery, a space of 85 feet by 25, and that was to be the whole church accommodation for a population of 33,000 souls. What was the amount of duty performed by the canons? He had been informed, that when the bishop called upon them to perform their duty, they appealed to an ambiguous clause in a statute of Charles I., and under that clause offered to pay a fine of 17l. 5s. for non-performed duty, contending that, if they paid that fine, they were exempt from all duties of any sort whatever, except that of receiving their salaries. It was now proposed to give them an income of 750l.; and here was an instance of how they performed their duty. The churchwardens of Manchester were required by the dean and canons to visit the cathedral district in October, 1849, to request some shopkeepers to close their shops on the Sunday. They visited several persons, induced them to close their shops, and then ascertained that not one of the parties had ever been visited by any of the clergy, although each person professed to be a churchman, and lived close to the cathedral. He would give them another case. Mr. Morrell was appointed by the Government to examine the charity school in connexion with the collegiate church, Manchester. The following was his report:— This school is one of those relics of former times which are now happily disappearing under a more just idea of the nature and importance of education properly so called. The instruction is as narrow as it is very well possible to be, sewing and reading are the only things taught. The children repeat a collect or two, and parts of the catechism by rote, but there is a lamentable want of enlightenment. Moses and David were given as two of the disciples of Christ; and by several other answers equally unintelligent, I fear this was not an exaggerated instance of their general want of all correct knowledge of Scripture history and facts. There is no method at all. Such had been the instruction given by the dean and chapter to their poor parishioners. He next came to the amount of property which they had administered, and would state it, taking the value from the ratebook. Newton estate, assessed to the poor, 14,800l.; Kirkmanshulme, ditto, 2,119l. 5s.; Rusholme, ditto, 786l. 3s.; Manchester, ditto, 7,331l. 10s.; Salford, ditto, 3,869l. 8s.; amount of assessment, 28,906l. 6s.; tithe of the parish, 3,029l. 17s. 7d.; interest on money invested, 972l. 8s. 4d.; rental of three glebe-houses, 826l.; glebe-house at same rate; one ditto sold, and included in money out at interest, 275l. 6s. 8d.; making a total of 34,029l. 18s. 7d. He did not mean to say that the chapter had realised that sum, as he believed that through their mismanagement the receipts had been only 7,000l. or 8,000l., but he asserted that that was its rateable value. In his opinion, instead of giving them large incomes, they should be reduced to low stipends, and be compelled to perform cure of souls. If this property were taken out of their hands, and properly managed, there would be funds amply sufficient for the spiritual wants of the district. In his opinion this Bill was a great improvement on the present state of things, and he believed that for it the public had mainly to thank the bishop of the diocese, who had had a hard struggle with the capitular body.


said, that the facts which had been brought forward by the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone had no bearing whatever on the present question. There had, unfortunately, been some disputes about the ecclesiastical property of Manchester, and whether it ought to be applied to the cure of souls; but, whatever might be the opinions of hon. Members on that subject, this Bill settled that prospectively, and as vacancies occurred, the funds should be applied to the spiritual cure of souls. The Bill was a valuable Bill, and he should be sorry if it did not receive the sanction of Parliament. With respect to the immediate question, it related entirely to the income of the future deans and canons. The existing deans and canons had no personal interest in it whatever. It was only as vacancies arose that the proposed incomes were to be attached to the canonries. The Bill proposed to assign 1,000l. a year to the dean—not 1,500l., as had been supposed. He was only to receive 1,000l. a year as dean, but he was to receive another 500l. in consideration of the cure of souls that was attached to the deanery. With respect to the canons, the Bill proposed 600l., together with the pew-rents and surplice fees; but power was given to the Ecclesiastical Commission to augment their incomes 250l. and to abolish the pew-rents. The Committee to whom this Bill had been referred, having, after mature deliberation, decided that the salary should be 600l., instead of 500l. as originally proposed, he should be disposed to abide by that decision, unless some very strong grounds were given for setting it aside.


, as chairman of the Committee, begged to state that the decision of that body in favour of 600l. was far from unanimous. He himself was in the minority in favour of 750l., which he did not think at all too much for the duties the canons had to perform. He regretted that the hon. Member for Marylebone had alluded to certain parts of the evidence affecting the personal character of gentlemen who came before the Committee; first because, as had been said, they were not to be affected by the operation of the Bill, which was merely prospective; and, secondly, because he believed the evidence would not bear out the statements which he had made.


said, that the majority of the Committee had been strongly in favour of reduction. The surplus even under the Bill would be hardly sufficient, as it would require not 50, but 100, clergymen to supply the spiritual wants of Manchester, with its 400,000 inhabitants.


said, that the House had every reason to be satisfied with the manner in which the Committee had discharged their duty. He accepted the Bill as generally satisfactory, and he hoped the House would not agree to the Amendment proposed. This was not a question of payment, but of apportionment, of distribution; and the House must bear in mind that every 150l. added, as the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge desired, to the income of the canons, deprived the people of Manchester of an additional clergyman.


said, that from long knowledge of the canons of Manchester he could speak in the very highest terms of their zealous performance of their duties. It was true that Canon Clifton had a living in Bedfordshire; but he could positively state that Canon Clifton was scarcely ever absent from Manchester. The fact might be a subject of complaint with the parishioners in Bedfordshire; but the matter in hand was the conduct of the canons of Manchester as such. It was also true that Canon Sergeant, as was stated, spent a portion of his time at Furness; but the reason was that the canon, being delicate in his chest, required change of air, for the benefit of his health.


wished to know what parochial duties the canons performed—and how it could be pretended that they performed any when they themselves had contended that they were not bound to discharge any. Really there was no one ever convicted of misconduct or neglect of duty for whose character some one was not ready to come forward and bear testimony in that House.


said, the hon. Member for Montrose seemed to think it hard that absent people could not be assailed in that House unvindicated; but he thought the fact very creditable to the House. This was not a Bill of pains and penalties, as the right hon. Member for Manchester wanted to make it, but merely a prospective measure. He should have been most ready to carry out to the fullest extent the views of the Legislature expressed three years ago, which would give to the canons of Manchester an income greater by one-fourth than that proposed in his right hon. Friend's Amendment; but as it was he should cordially support the Amendment. It was surely not too much to ask that the heads of the Church in a millionaire city like Manchester should be enabled to live like gentlemen in the society with which they were connected.


said, it was idle to talk of "justice" to parties who might be the future holders of these canonries, the measure being, as had been stated, purely prospective. The question of pluralities was not an ecclesiastical one, but one of common sense and common honesty. The system was not allowed in any service but that of God. It was perfectly monstrous to hear of a body of "priests," in a population of 400,000 souls, having "no parochial duties to perform." They had utterly neglected their duties. They ought to have had in their collegiate church services every hour of the day, at least all the canonical "hours." It was for such purposes that these cathedrals had been built—not to furnish sinecure situations for gentlemen to live among their equals, but to conduct the worship of God in a way in which it could not elsewhere be conducted, and as it never would be conducted by these canons. He was sorry the Amendment had been brought forward, and should vote against it and support the Committee.


did not think that the duty which attached to these offices in past times had anything to do with the question; some indeed might be of opinion that if the same duties were now to be performed by these canons, the less they had of salary the better. The object of the Bill was to apply large funds—and they would be much larger when better managed—to the payment of certain clergymen who had no cure of souls in the parish, and to accumulate a fund from the surplus to raise the salaries of the working clergy of the parish. It appeared to him that the Committee on the Bill had done what any eight or ten sensible men would do when having to consider the apportionment of money under such circumstances; and he was quite sure their decision would give a large amount of satisfaction to the people of Manchester. It was well known that he was a Dissenter; but he wished, if possible, to look upon this matter with the feelings of a Churchman, or, at all events, with the feelings of a Member of Parliament, and to remove, if possible, what undoubtedly was pointed at by Dissenters as a proof of the manner in which the affairs of the Established Church were managed. Now, if they raised the sum in this case to 750l., or 975l., as the Chairman of the Committee wished it to be—the higher they raised the sum to be paid to the canons, the longer would they defer the time when any fund would accumulate for which alone the Bill was brought in for giving a share of the emoluments to a number of working clergymen who had hitherto been shut out from any portion of this property. If Parliament wished to free the Church at Manchester from a charge which the Dissenters now justly brought against it, they would pass the Bill in the shape in which it had come from the Committee.


had brought forward the proposal he had submitted, believing that it would reconcile conflicting interests.

The House divided:—Ayes 193; Noes 60: Majority 133.

List of the NOES.
Alexander, N. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Barrington, Visct. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Benbow, J. Jones, Capt.
Bennet, P. Legh, G. C.
Bentinck, Lord H. Lewisham, Visct.
Beresford, W. Lockhart, W.
Bernard, Visct. Long, W.
Boldero, H. G. Mackenzie, W. F.
Bramston, T. W. Mahon, Visct.
Bremridge, R. Manners, Lord J.
Broadwood, H. Maunsell, T. P.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Meux, Sir H.
Carew, W. H. P. Miles, P. W. S.
Chatterton, Col. Miles, W.
Christopher, R. A. Mundy, W.
Christy, S. Palmer, R.
Cocks, T. S. Prime, R.
Colvile, C. R. Stafford, A.
Compton, H. C. Stanley, E.
Dickson, S. Stanley, hon. E. H.
Disraeli, B. Turner, G. J.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Vesey, hon. T.
Edwards, H. Waddington, D.
Egerton, W. T. Waddington, H. S.
Forbes, W. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. Welby, G. E.
Fuller, A. E. Worcester, Marq. of
Galway, Visct. Wrightson, W. B.
Hodgson, W. N.
Hood, Sir A. TELLERS.
Hornby, J. Goulburn, H.
Houldsworth, T. Deedes, W.

Bill to be read 3°.

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