HC Deb 25 July 1866 vol 184 cc1464-6

Order for Committee read.


took occasion to explain that its provisions—which had, he said, been much misrepresented—were based not on any general principle applicable to the whole country, but on specific grounds, having reference to the metropolis alone. The Church in London was formerly endowed with a large extent of land which now formed part of the area of the metropolis, and a good deal of that property had, he regretted to say, by the countenance of the ecclesiastical authorities on the one hand, and lay persons of influence and station on the other, been alienated from the Church, so as to be no longer available for the maintenance of its ministers. There were two or three fields, however, which were fortunately not so appropriated in the parish of Finsbury, which, owing to the extension of the metropolis, had become covered with houses; and the Bill proceeded upon the principle that the monies resulting from the increased value thus created should be spent, in the first instance, in the relief of the spiritual wants of the inhabitants of London whereas those funds had hitherto been made available by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to meet the spiritual necessities of the whole kingdom. It was said, indeed, that the metropolis had been so benefited by the action of the Commission that the proposal contained in the Bill was unreasonable; but when it was borne in mind that the Commissioners were deriving from metropolitan property an income of £52,000 a year, and that up to the 1st of April, 1865—the date of the last Returns on the subject—they had laid out in contributing to the wants of the metropolis only some £19,400 a year, he did not think the House would be disposed to regard it in that light. Under the circumstances of the case, it appeared to him that the poorer classes of the metropolis had the best claim upon the property in question, and that their spiritual necessities ought to be provided for out of it in preference to those of the country at large. He had intended to press the Bill through all its stages this Session, under the belief that if it were not passed immediately the funds might be appropriated by the Commissioners in such a way as to render it impossible to accomplish the object which he had in view. He had, however, within the last few days, received an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary that nothing would be done with the property before the middle of next Session, and that ample opportunity would thus be afforded for again discussing the question before it was too late. Under these circumstances he should move that the Order for going into Committee on the Bill be discharged.

Order discharged: Bill withdrawn.