§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
MR. HARVEY LEWIS
said, he rose to move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. The object of the measure was to turn the old burial-ground into 492 glebe land for the rector, which would lead to the desecration of the graves and the conversion of the open space into a mass of buildings. There was a very strong feeling in the parish of St. Pancras that the Bill would materially interfere with the vested rights of a number of persons, and the Bill contained no clause to give them compensation. The parishioners of St. Pancras likewise contended that the Bill was opposed to the policy of the Metropolis Local Management Act, which discouraged the grant in any one parish of such rights as were sought to be obtained under it.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and to insert at the end of the Question the words "this day six months."
§ MR. MASSEY
said, that it was impossible to contend that the rector would acquire, under the provisions of the Bill, any power of dealing with the consecrated portion of the ground; except, indeed, of keeping it in repair. All parties would remain in precisely the same position under the Bill as under the existing law, the only difference being that instead of being paid by the churchwardens their claim would be upon the rector of St. Giles's. It was only in respect of the portion of the ground appropriated to building purposes that a beneficial occupation could be enjoyed. Having been connected with the administration of the Burial Acts, he had an opportunity of observing the extreme hardships inflicted upon the parochial clergy, and especially the clergy of the Metropolis, by the operation of those Acts. While other parties came clamouring to that House for compensation and obtained it, the clergy of the Metropolis had submitted in dignified silence to a most serious loss. The effect of the Bill would be, that an income of about £200 a year would be derived from a small portion of the ground which had never been consecrated or used as a graveyard. Out of that income, however, he would be liable to make compensation to the parish of St. Pancras, and to keep the consecrated portion of the ground in repair. The rector would then have an income of about £150 a year. It was a just and equitable Bill, and he should vote for the second reading.
§ LORD FERMOY
said, he should oppose the second reading of the Bill. He would beg to remind his hon. Friend who had just sat down that the present rector of St. Giles was appointed in 1857, subse- 493 quent to the passing of the Burial Act, and he therefore accepted his benefice with its disabilities, and consequently, as an individual, could not claim to be indemnified. There was no clause in the Bill that would compel the rector to maintain the burial-ground simply as a burial-ground. He contended that the rector ought not to be allowed to increase his income in the manner proposed by this Bill, which would enable him and his successors, if they thought fit, to cut up the whole of the ground for building purposes. If the Bill were carried, it would be impossible for those who had vested rights in the graves to prove them.
§ MR. DEEDES
said, he should support the Bill, which conferred no power which could lead to the desecration of the burial-ground.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he believed that the 12th clause was sufficient for that purpose; but he would promise, on the part of the promoters, to consent to the insertion of any further restriction which might be deemed necessary.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 142; Noes 39: Majority 103.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 2o.