HC Deb 08 February 1872 vol 209 cc171-2

, in moving for leave to bring in a Bill to provide for the Resignation of Deans and Canons, said, that a very brief explanation of the measure would be sufficient. It would be in the recollection of the House that three years ago they passed a Bill to provide for the resignation of Bishops, and that last year they passed a Bill to provide for the resignation of parochial clergy. There still remained to be passed a Bill which should include and deal with the case of the capitular clergy, or at least the greater capitular clergy. With regard to the smaller capitular clergy, he understood there was a great deal of difficulty, and that there was no great pressure on the subject. The case of the greater capitular clergy was more urgent, perhaps, than the cases they had already provided for, and more urgent in this respect—that there had prevailed for a length of time—until six months ago he was not aware of it—a practice which he believed to be totally unknown to the House and to the country, and according to which persons received large emoluments as Deans of Cathedrals or as Canons of Cathedrals, when unhappily, overtaken by corporal disability, towards the close of life, having obtained from the Crown a dispensation, supposed to be valid in law, but whether valid in law or not he thought was a question separate from its merits. That dispensation authorized them to continue to receive the incomes of their offices for the whole remainder of their lives, and at the same time liberated them from all obligation whatever to discharge duty. That was a very extraordinary state of things. He believed it was quite unknown to the public at large, and to the Members of the House. Quite apart from that, it was evident the system of resignation which had been found desirable in the case of Bishops, and in the case of parochial clergy, should also be applied to capitular clergy. The method which had been adopted in the Bill was an intermediate one between the case of Bishops, as regarded special provisions, and the case of parochial clergy—that was to say, the consent of the Bishop was made necessary to the resignation of a Dean or a Canon; but the Bishop was empowered, though not compelled, if he thought it expedient, to issue a commission for inquiry into the case, He had no doubt the Bill would receive the attention of Gentlemen connected with the Universities, and he hoped it would also receive the attention of the House. It was not likely that the Bill would produce any serious differences of opinion. He hoped it would be circulated the day after to-morrow.

Motion agreed to.

Bill to provide for the Resignation of Deans and Canons, ordered to be brought in by Mr. GLADSTONE and Mr. Secretary BRUCE.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 23.]