HC Deb 09 July 1858 vol 151 cc1187-8

I said, he wished to call attention to the existing position of the church-rate question. The House, after repeated discussion extending over a lengthened period, had sent up a Bill to "another place" for the settlement of the question, but it was there rejected. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, upon the discussion of the Bill in "another place," stated that he thought it desirable that Dissenters should be relieved from the payment of church rates, though the manner in which he proposed that should be done was somewhat ungracious and ungenerous. It was not for the interest of the Church that the question should be thus trifled with, nor was it to the advantage of the magistracy, who had to administer the law under great uncertainties, and since there yet remained one or two months of the Session—he thought the Government were bound to do something towards bringing about an immediate settlement of the dispute. He did not think the smell of the Thames had so much to do with the anxiety of hon. Members to get away, as the smell of the sea or the heather, and the Government need therefore have no apprehensions on that score; it ought not to preclude their making an attempt at an immediate compromise, which would not involve a larger sum to the State or the Church than £75,000. After the opinions expressed on this subject by a noble Lord in another place, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department in that House, he felt that the Government were bound to make some attempt at legislation; if they did not, they were not fit for their places, and he begged to inquire whether they proposed to fix a period for the termination of the Session without recommending Parliament to adopt a measure in which their views on this question should be embodied.