HC Deb 27 May 1850 vol 111 cc408-9

Motion made, and Question proposed— That a sum, not exceeding 3,640l., be granted to Her Majesty, to defray a portion of the expenses of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.


said, this vote ought not, in his opinion, to appear in the miscellaneous estimates. The Committee which sat on those estimates in 1848 had declared that the expenses might fairly be defrayed out of the funds at the disposal of the Commission. On the 15th of March, 1844, the Commission, in a reply addressed to a communication from the Treasury, agreed to throw on the property entrusted to them such portion of the salary and expenses as might be considered to be immediately connected with its possession and management; and as all the proceedings connected with the Commission had to do cither with the possession or the management of the property, that was virtually a consent to defray the entire cost of management. Since the report of the Committee of 1848 was made, the Ecclesiastical Commission had not been exhibited in such a light before the public as to justify the present demand. The time was come when they might very fairly ask the Commissioners to take this expense upon themselves. His only reason for not opposing the vote was, that there was a Bill pending with regard to the Ecclesiastical Commission, and that it was not desirable to raise the question involved ill that Bill on that occasion. It was desirable, however, that the House should have some information with respect to the Bill to which he referred.


agreed with his right hon. Friend that the House should be informed when the Bill would be proceeded with. They should have as little to do with the Commissioners as the Commissioners desired to have to do with them. Three years had elapsed since the Commissioners had made any report. From the moment that the hon. Member for Cockermouth, in 1847, made any observations on the mode in which the Commission was managed, the Commissioners had declined making, as they were bound to do, their report to the House. On the first of that month orders for returns were agreed to by the House; within a few days after those orders were issued to the episcopal body from the Office of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, but as yet there was no result. Similar delay occurred last year. His hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield having moved for certain returns with regard to Welch bishoprics, nine months (not a very uncommon period of gestation) elapsed before those returns were obtained from the Bishop of St. David's. It was understood that the noble Lord at the head of the Government would bring forward the subject of the Ecclesiastical Commission on Monday next, and this vote ought to be postponed until the Bill had been discussed. The episcopal body had expended 143,014l. in building their own palaces in eight dioceses, and during the period which had been thus occupied, they had applied only the miserable sum of 8,000l to the augmentation of the smaller livings.


said, that with regard to the Bill which had been referred to, he could assure the House that there was not the slightest intention on the part of the Government not to proceed with it. Whether they should do so or not on Monday next, must depend on the state of public business. As the subject of the Ecclesiastical Commission had arisen, he was quite willing that the vote should be postponed until after the Bill had been discussed. With respect to the returns referred to by the hon. Member for Marylebone, he must say they were returns with which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, as such, had nothing whatever to do; they were to be obtained by the bishops from the clergy of their respective dioceses.

Motion withdrawn.