§ Order read for resuming adjourned Debate on Amendment [13th March] proposed to be made to Question, "That the Bill be now read a second time;" and which Amendment was to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
SIR JOHN BULLER
said, he considered that it was very desirable that Torquay should have additional church accommodation, which could only be obtained by such a measure as the present. It was a place with a large and increasing population, and some time ago a proprietary chapel and a new church at Upton were erected, for which latter Sir Lawrence Palk gave the site and a stipend of 150l. a year for the minister out of the great tithes of the parish. In consequence of the increase of the town, the new districts were at a distance from all the 562 places of worship, the road between them being hilly and difficult of access for invalids, and Sir Lawrence Palk now again gave the land and a similar endowment for another church, as he had done for that at Upton. The only real question was whether further church accommodation was desirable, and as of that there was no question, he hoped the House would agree to the second reading of the Bill.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
said, his hon. Friend had not answered the objections that had been on a former evening made with respect to this measure. There was no doubt that a church was needed, and the efforts of Sir Lawrence Palk for that purpose were highly laudable; but the real point was, that what was demanded might be effected by the existing law, and that where this Bill differed from the existing law, it did so for the worse, and sought to lay down a precedent which the House ought to guard against. The Bill gave a power to levy Church Rates, and also to mortgage the pew-rents in the first instance for the expenses of the Bill, and then for repairs, and the charge of the officers of the church, leaving the stipend the last charge, whereas it was usually the first. With regard to the right of presentation, no doubt it was reasonable that the endowers of the church should have it; but that could be done under the existing Acts. He objected to precedents being made in directions against which the House had set its face, and with regard to which it had rather shown an inclination to retrace its steps. On these grounds he felt bound to oppose the second reading.
§ MR. SOTHERON
said, he thought that no private Bill should be refused a second reading, unless it was shown that its principle was so objectionable that it could not be amended in committee.
§ MR. APSLEY PELLATT
said, he should oppose the Bill, because it would establish a church rate, and would thus effect a local advantage at the expense of a great principle affecting the whole kingdom.
THE MARQUESS OF BLANDFORD
said, he should support the Bill, as being a measure promotive of religion in a district 563 of the country which was at present destitute of church accommodation.
said, he must admit that it was desirable there should be additional church accommodation at Torquay and its neighbourhood, but it appeared to him that the 16th clause of this Bill would have the effect of increasing the church rates. It was not prudent that, while on the one hand, they were anxious to put an end to that vexed question, they should, on the other hand, pass a Bill that would have the effect of not only continuing, but increasing, that objectionable impost. If the 16th clause were taken out of the Bill, he was not prepared to oppose considering the Bill in Committee; but, unless that were done, he should vote against the second reading of the Bill.
SIR JOHN BULLER
said, he could inform the noble Lord and the House, that he had had a communication with the agents of the Bill, and that there would be no objection to withdraw the 16th clause in Committee.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 125; Noes 74: Majority 51.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 2o, and committed, and referred to the Committee of Selection.