§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Charles Forster.)
§ MR. CAINE
, in moving that the Bill be read a second time on that day six months, said, he would explain as briefly as possible the reasons which induced him to move the Amendment. The Bill dealt with the Vicarage of the parish of Walton-on-the-Hill, in the neighbourhood of Liverpool. The population of the Vicarage and Rectory of Walton was 18,872. In 1871 it was only 6,459, so that the population of the district had trebled during the last 10 years. According to Crockford's Ecclesiastical Directory, the Vicarage was worth £2,100 a-year, and the Rectory £1,000, making a total income together of £3,100 a-year available for the payment of the clergy of the district of the parish of Walton. But he wished to point out to the House that although the population of the parish had so greatly increased from 6,000 to 18,000, there had been no increase whatever in the Church accommodation of the parish during the last 10 years. The present Bill proposed that the Trustees of the Liverpool Bishopric Endowment Fund should be authorized to apply a portion of the fund to the purchase of the advowson of the Vicarage, and also to the benefit of the spiritual interests of the parish. The sum which it was proposed to take from the Liverpool Bishopric Endowment Fund for this purpose was £30,000. The Bishoprics Act of 1878 authorized the foundation of a Bishopric of Liverpool, and directed the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of England to receive all contributions made by the public for the purposes of the endowment of the Bishopric, and to carry the amount of such contributions to a fund to be called the Endowment Fund of the Bishopric. The same Act enacted that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners should provide out of the Liverpool Bishopric Fund a net annual income for the Bishop not exceeding £4,200 a-year; and the surplus, if any, was to be applied to the benefit of the 1085 spiritual wants of the inhabitants of the parish of Walton. He quite admitted the need of money for the latter purpose, because the present church accommodation of Walton only provided for about 10 per cent of the population; and the Bishop of Liverpool himself, in a charge which he recently delivered in the diocese, stated that it was necessary that 12 new churches should be built in the diocese, and four of them were to be situated within the parish of Walton. The question which would naturally arise, under these circumstances, was, how much money would be available for the spiritual needs of the parishioners of Walton under this Bill? According to the authority of Canon Hume, the present income of the Bishopric amounted to the sum of £3,200 a-year. At some distant period, dependent upon the life of the present Bishop of Chester, a sum of £300 a-year would be added to the income of the See, making altogether £3,500 a-year; but from that was to be deducted the interest upon the purchase money of the advowson—£30,000 at 4 per cent, or £1,200 a-year. Deducting that sum from the Bishopric of Liverpool, outside the Vicarage of Walton only £2,300 a-year would be available for the income of the Bishop; and, therefore, to provide a net annual income of £4,200—the amount proposed by the Bishoprics Act as the maximum amount of the Bishop's stipend—it was clear that £1,900 would have to be taken from the income of the Vicarage of Walton. The income of that Vicarage was stated in The Church Directory to be £2,800 a-year; but he was told by one of the promoters of the Bill that its present value was only £1,500 a-year, and he was unable to say how the figure of £2,800 was arrived at. Perhaps the matter would be explained presently. He was told by the same authority that five years hence—in 1887—the value of the Vicarage would £2,900 a-year, owing to—
§ Message to attend the Lords Commissioners;—
§ The House went;—and being returned;—
§ Mr. Speaker reported the Royal Assent to two Bills.