§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ SIR HUGH CAIRNS
, in moving the second reading of the Bill, said, it was introduced for the purpose of removing a manifest defect in the existing law in reference to benefices in Ireland. As the law stood at present, when parishes were too large and populous for ecclesiastical arrangements a division might be made and a church built in what became a district parish, and if any person subscribed money for the purpose the patronage of the new church might be vested in trustees to be appointed by them. But in the working of the various Acts of Parliament on the subject, this difficulty had arisen, that the actual transfer of the new church to the patronage of trustees could not be made until the church was completely built and the first incumbent appointed. The result was that there was no security beforehand that the transfer of the patronage would actually be made; and the reason being because there could be no transfer of patronage without the consent of the rector or vicar of the parish and the bishop of the diocese for the time being. It might be that both rector and bishop might be 51 willing to make the transfer, hut it by no means followed that after the lapse of a few years, when the church was built, the same vicar or bishop might be there, and the succeeding vicar or bishop was at liberty to say that he took a different view of the matter, and refuse to give the arrangement his sanction. In England no difficulty of the kind could arise, for there it was provided that agreements might be made by the vicar and bishop for the time being which should bind their successors; and thus persons who subscribed their money upon the faith of having the patronage transferred had ample security that the arrangement would be carried into effect. The first object of this Bill, therefore, was to assimilate the law of Ireland to that of England with respect to this transfer of patronage. The Bill also provided that in all those district parishes the fees which were paid for church services—that is, for baptisms, marriages, and burials—should be paid to the incumbent of those parishes, and not to the incumbent of the mother Church. That was the law already as to marriages in Ireland by special legislation. In England it was the law in regard to all the church services, and upon this point also it was intended to assimilate the law in both countries. The same arrangements as existed in this country with regard to the money collected at the offertory were also provided for in the Bill. He trusted the House would consider the provisions which he had described free from objection, and that it would assent to the second reading of the Bill, which he now begged leave to move.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed for Wednesday next.