HC Deb 24 May 1852 vol 121 cc1052-3

said, that on Friday evening he had given notice that, unless in the meantime he should be otherwise advised, he would on Monday ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question with respect to the appointment of the Rev. J. W. Bennett to the vicarage of Frome. He was sure it would give the right hon. Gentleman pleasure to know that he had been otherwise advised. He (Viscount Castlereagh) had had no previous communication with the rev. gentleman whose name had been implicated in an accusation brought against him in that House on the authority of Battersby's Catholic Directory. That morning, however, he had received a communication from the Rev. Mr. Bennett, stating that he could give a very satisfactory explanation on the subject, namely, that there was not one word of truth in the statement in Battersby's Directory respecting his having joined the Romish Church, and that he (Viscount Castlereagh) must be aware that the writer was in holy orders, and in communion with the Church of England, from the fact that he was at present vicar of Frome, and hoped to continue so. The reason why he (Viscount Catlereagh) had intended to ask any question on the subject was, that he was apprehensive lest the character of the Rev. Mr. Bennett might suffer from the unauthorised report which had obtained circulation through the pages of Battersby's Catholic Directory, and the rather as the inquiry instituted by the Government had not resulted in the vindication of the rev. gentleman, but was simply directed to a legal and technical point. He would warn hon. Members against placing too much reliance on the statements of Battersby's Directory, so far, at least, as conversions were concerned, for he held in his hand a letter from another cler- gyman, who, though differing from Mr. Bennett on some ecclesiastical points, had been, reported in that publication to have joined the Roman Catholic Church, whereas the fact was, that he was still a clergyman of the Established Church, and was in possession of his living, and likely to re-roam so.