§ SIR WILLIAM CLAY
said, he rose to move for leave to bring in a Bill for the Abolition of Church Rates, the Bill to be limited to total abolition of such rates, and a provision saving existing legal obligations. The Bill, he said, had not only the same object, but was identical in terms with the measure which he had introduced on the same subject during the last Session of Parliament, and the only difference was that a portion of the former measure was omitted from the present Bill. He therefore felt it unnecessary to trouble the House with any observations, but when he moved the second reading he would explain the reasons which had induced him to make the omission to which he had referred, and he would also feel it his duty to comment upon the important return relating to the subject which had been laid upon the table in compliance with the Motion of a noble Lord opposite.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, he did not rise to offer any opposition to the Motion of the hon. Gentleman; at the same time he hoped that it would not thereby be supposed that those with whom he generally acted gave their assent to the measure. He hoped, however, that the Government would now state what their intentions were respecting it. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department had already declared that the Government had no Bill of their own to introduce upon the subject; and further, that they were not prepared to say whether they intended to move an Amendment to a Bill not actually before the House. The nature of the present measure was now clearly explained; it was absolutely and unqualifiedly for the total abolition of church rates. It would be most satisfactory to the country to learn at once whether the Government were prepared to give their assent to a Bill for the unqualified abolition of church rates or not.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
observed that his right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department had stated on a former occasion that the Government had no intention of introducing any measure on this subject during the present Session; but he said that when the question was brought before the House that would be the proper time for the Government to declare what course they intended to pursue. He (Mr. Labouchere) hoped the hon. Gentleman would not expect the Government now to go out of the way to express their opinion, as the proper time for so doing would be when the second reading of this Bill came on, and then no doubt his noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) or the Home Secretary, would state the views entertained by the Government.
§ Leave given.
§ Bill to Abolish Church Rates ordered to be brought in by Sir WILLIAM CLAY, Mr. HUTT, and Mr. MIALL.
§ Bill read 1o.