HC Deb 21 July 1881 vol 263 cc1464-5

asked the Secretary of State for India, with reference to his view that the Government of India do not appear to have paid sufficient attention to their promise to revise ecclesiastical expenditure, If it is true that no fewer than eleven chaplains have been appointed on the Bengal Establishment alone in the one year of 1880, being as many as were appointed by the late Government in the four years, 1875 to 1878 inclusive, and greatly in excess of the average of many years?


Sir, in 1880, nine Bengal Church of England chaplains were appointed, as against six in 1879. From 1875 to 1878 inclusive, 15 such chaplains were appointed, making for those four years an average of nearly four per annum. In order to obtain an average of many years, it is proposed to give the number of chaplins appointed since the last revision of the Establishment in 1859, when the existing number was fixed at 90. From 1860 to 1880 inclusive, 107 chaplains were appointed. The average of these 21 years is more than five per annum. No new chaplain is appointed except when a vacancy occurs. The Government of India, in reply to my inquiries, recently forwarded a Report from the Bishop of Calcutta, in which they stated they generally concurred, to the effect that the number of chaplains was not in excess considering the duties to be performed. I have addressed a despatch to the Government of India, requesting them to state specifically their own opinion whether the number of chaplains goes beyond the obligations of the Government reasonably understood. The Scotch chaplains are not included in the above figures, as it is believed that the inquiries of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Baxter) were not intended to embrace such chaplains. I may, however, state that on the Bengal Establishment there are five Scotch chaplains.