HC Deb 07 July 1863 vol 172 cc364-6

rose to move for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the law relating to the recovery of church rates. The noble Lord said, it would be in the recollection of the House, that before the second reading of the Bill brought in by the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock (Sir J. Trelawny) for the abolition of church rates, he had given notice of Amendments to be moved in Committee, which he had not an opportunity of bringing forward, the Bill having been thrown out on the second reading. He had been advised to place his Amendments before the House in a more substantive form, and he had done so in the Bill which he now asked the House to allow him to introduce. The principle he wished to establish was this—that no penalty should henceforth attach to the non-payment of church rates, leaving the machinery for making and levying the rates as it at present existed. This Bill would, therefore, repeal all forms of levying a distress on any individual who might object to the payment of church rates, from any motive whatever. It might be said, this would amount to the abolition of church rates; but he did not think so. The parishioners would still meet in vestry and agree or not, just as at present, to a church rate. The whole principle of the connection between Church and State and the parochial system of self-government would still be preserved; but the Dissenter who objected to the payment of church rates would not have a penalty enforced against him. He believed as much money would thus be collected as at present, while the invidious system of "ticketing" Dissenters would not raise a barrier against their return to the Church. The system he recommended was already in operation and fast extending itself in all well regulated parishes. He did not, of course, anticipate that any progress would be made in the discussion of the measure this Session; but it might be quietly and dispassionately considered during the recess, and, if re-introduced next year, might form the basis of a settlement which would meet the views of moderate men, who did not wish that a question so deeply affecting the interests of the Church of England should be made the pack-fox, to be perpetually hunted from side to side. He begged to move for leave to bring in the Bill.


seconded the Motion.


said, he did not wish to interfere with the attempt of the noble Lord to settle the question of church rates, but he was afraid he could not give him much hope of success in ab- rogating all penalties in cases where parties refused to pay. He could not consent to the establishment of a principle which would deprive the parishioners of the means of recovering church rates, because it would be depriving them of the right of recovering that which was a charge upon property. He had always advocated the right of the parishioners to deal with that portion of the charge upon property, and could not consent to any measure which would deprive them of that right.


said, his noble Friend did not ask the House now to assent to the principle of the Bill. In assenting to its introduction no Member would be held committed to the principle of the measure. His noble Friend only wished that the Bill should be laid on the table for consideration during the recess, and on the understanding that the Bill was not to proceed further this Session he should not object to its introduction.

Motion agreed to.

Bill to amend the Law relating to the Recovery of Church Rates, ordered to be brought in by Lord ALFRED CHURCHILL and Mr. JOSEPH EWART.