said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If the Compulsory Church Rate Abolition Bill became law, whether it would deprive, or not deprive, the Vicar of Stockton-on-Tees for the time being of the sum of £20 a year, which was settled on him "for ever hereafter" by an Act of Parliament passed in the reign of Queen Anne?
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, in reply, that he had to thank the hon. Member for kindly sending him an extract of the Private Act under which he thought this sum was levied. Having examined that Act, and taken an opportunity of conferring with his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General upon it, he had to state that they had no doubt at all that it was entirely beside the purpose of the Compulsory Church Rate Abolition Bill. It appeared to relate to a sum which was to be raised by authority of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace, and which was not at all dependent upon any vote of a parochial community. The intention of the Bill was solely to affect funds raised by the parochial community, and consequently the Government thought the Act was entirely outside the provisions and purview of the Bill. If the hon. Gentleman should see reason to doubt the soundness of that opinion and should think it necessary to insert any words having relation to such cases, there would be every disposition to give them a fair consideration when they got into Committee on the Bill.