HC Deb 15 February 1856 vol 140 cc895-7

said, he would now move for leave to bring in a Bill to appropriate the income of such one of the canonries of the Cathedral Church of Carlisle as shall next fall vacant to the augmentation of certain ecclesiastical incumbencies in that city.


said, this was the third time this measure had been brought before the House. He thought it was desirable the Government should state to the House whether it was their intention or not to support private Members in bringing forward Bills involving such important principles as the Bill in question. If the House acceded to the principle of the Bill, it would be competent for any hon. Member to introduce a Bill affecting the various cathedral establishments of the country, and to appropriate the revenue of the canonry of St. Paul's, which was, from the accounts he had read in the papers, likely to become vacant. Two opinions were entertained with reference to cathedral establishments—one was that they were useless sinecures, and ought to be abolished; and another was, that owing to their bad patronage they had been made sinecures, and failed to discharge the duties which they ought to perform. He was one of those of the latter opinion, and believed they were still to be made of great advantage to the country. He entirely disapproved of the principle of the Bill now sought to be introduced.


said, he hoped the House would not assent to the introduction of the Bill. It was part of a great subject so important in its bearing, and so complicated in its details, that the House had already placed in the hands of a properly constituted body the arrangement of all matters connected with it. If the House assented to this kind of legislation it would be inviting the inhabitants of every cathedral city in the country to make similar applications. But there did not appear in the present case to exist any strong necessity for a measure of this description. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners had at their disposal property to the amount of £3,200 a year, which was applicable to the ecclesiastical purposes of the city of Carlisle alone.


said, he considered it would be most unusual and ungracious to oppose the introduction of a Bill which had been on former occasions discussed and passed through some of its stages without an adverse vote of the House; and which would now have been the law of the land if it had not been introduced at too late a period of the Session.


said, he hoped the House would support the hon. Member for Carlisle, at least so far as to allow him to introduce the Bill. He himself knew of a similar case to the one which it was the object of the Bill to relieve. He had applied to the Church Commissioners on behalf of an unfortunate rector whose income was only £100 a year, but he could obtain no assistance from them. It was highly necessary that there should be a better arrangement and distribution of the revenues of the cathedral churches throughout the kingdom, and this was a measure which in a small degree would promote that desirable object.


said, he would suggest to his hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Liddell) that it would not promote his object to divide the House on the present occasion. The Bill was one the object of which all must admit to be excellent; it was also a Bill which had been entertained by the House, and to the principle of which no vital objection could be taken, because it was undoubtedly a matter open to consideration how far in certain cases the revenues of cathedrals might be made available for the purposes of the cities in which the foundations were situated. That such might be done was a principle which with due limitations he was disposed to regard with favour. At the same time he must confess that he had the greatest possible doubts as to the expediency and convenience of legislating in this form; and the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down, and who had said that the case of Carlisle was not the only one with which the House would be called upon to deal, had rather increased than diminished those doubts. It would be very inconvenient for the House to be called upon to deal with each case by a separate Bill. This was a subject as to which the House ought to be placed in a position to take a comprehensive view. There were thousands of cases in which assistance was required, and the House ought to have all the cases before it in order that it might judge where it was expedient to apply a remedy. He was far from promising to support the Bill upon the second reading, but he thought that it would hardly be consistent with courtesy to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ferguson) to object to its introduction.

Leave given.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. FERGUSON, Mr. MARSHALL, and Mr. CHARLES HOWARD.

The House adjourned at a quarter before Twelve o'clock till Monday next.