HC Deb 16 May 1855 vol 138 cc692-7

Order for Second Reading read.


said, that, in moving the second reading of the Bill, he would explain the circumstances which had led to its introduction. The City of Carlisle, which contained a population of 30,000, was divided into four parishes, the dean and chapter were the lay impropriators of the tithes of these parishes, and derived a very large income from them, the dean about 1,600l., and the four canons about 750l. a year each; the only payment made by them out of these various revenues to the four incumbents who discharged the parochial duties was a sum of 21l. 6s. 8d. a year, and the incumbents were obliged to depend for their support on what they could get from pew rents and some other sources, but in no case did any of their incomes exceed 150l. a year. The cathedral church of Carlisle had formerly been a priory, and when it was erected into a cathedral the incomes of the canons was fixed to 22l. 5s. a year, the sum allowed to the incumbents of the four parishes was 21l. 6s. 8d.; that miserable stipend had never since been increased, whilst the incomes of the canons had advanced to 750l. each; the incumbents had a right to have received a proportionate advantage from the increase of the revenues of Church. The Bill had been prepared in pursuance of resolutions adopted at a public meeting of the citizens of Carlisle; it proposed to suspend one of the canonries at the next avoidance, and divide the income between the four incumbents. The Act of 1840 had recognised the principle of suspending canonries and devoting their revenues to other purposes, and there could, therefore, be no objection to the Bill on that ground; if the Bill was adopted it would remove one of the greatest nuisances that now disfigured the Church, and provide for the spiritual wants of a large and increasing population. He begged leave to move the second reading.

Motion made, and Question proposed—"That the Bill be now read a second time."


said, he trusted the hon. Gentleman would not press the second reading of the Bill. The subject had been, by an Address of that House, referred to a Commission which was now sitting to inquire into ecclesiastical property. That Commission, he believed, would shortly present their Report, and it was natural to assume that they would recommend some mode of dealing with the canonries with which the present Bill purposed to interfere. He hoped, therefore, that the hon. Member would acquiesce in the Amendment which he moved that the Bill should be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


said, he should oppose the second reading of the Bill, as he considered it a direct attack on the entire system of cathedral institutions. The chapter of Carlisle possessed the great tithes of the town of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and the inhabitants of that town had quite as much claim on the funds as the people of Carlisle.


said, he thought a strong case was made out for this Bill, and did not believe the chapter of Carlisle had paid sufficient regard to the spiritual wants of the City. He must, however, except from this censure the dean, as he was aware of his experience in teaching and his zeal as a minister to do good in the city. The Bill was a very moderate one, and there were pressing reasons why it should pass.


said, that if the House should agree to the second reading the Committee might be postponed for a fortnight, until the Cathedral Commissioners had made their Report.


said, he thought it an act of rashness to decide upon the principle of suspending canonries in an isolated case. The hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Ferguson) appeared to be against all canonries. He was against all idle canons and pluralist canons, but he was not against canons who devoted themselves to the regular ministrations of the cathedral and the spiritual instruction of the people. The hon. Member had pronounced what seemed to be a censure upon pew rents as a source of revenue in great towns, and he, therefore, thought the hon. Gentleman had committed a little inconsistency in having supported the Bill of the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Sir W. Clay).


said, he should support the Bill. The tithes were set apart for the spiritual instruction of the people, and a case of hardship had been made out in Carlisle which he thought justified the Bill.


said, he must contend that if they legislated upon the principle of this Bill for Carlisle they must be prepared to pass similar measures with respect to other cathedral cities. It could not be said, with any truth, that the dean and chapter of Carlisle had done little for the spiritual interests of the people under their charge, as he happened to know that no curate exerted himself more for the benefit of those under him than did the dean of Carlisle for the benefit of the inhabitants of that city.


said, he must explain that he had endeavoured to make an exception in favour of the dean, from the sense he entertained of the laudable efforts of that dignitary.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 102; Noes 98: Majority 4.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 2°.

The House adjourned at a quarter before Six o'clock.