HL Deb 22 March 1836 vol 32 cc446-7
The Bishop of Bath and Wells

presented a petition from certain holders of ecclesiastical leases in the county of Somerset, against the Ecclesiastical Leases' Regulation Bill. They complained that their interests would be materially injured by the measure, and they prayed their Lordships not to pass it into a law. The petition was well worthy of their Lordships' serious consideration.

The Bishop of Gloucester

said, this bill had emanated from the labours of the Church Commission, and was a measure of very great importance. When they were looking forward to measures of reform and improvement in the church, it was impossible that they could proceed without introducing some measure of this nature. The petitioners, it appeared, were holders of leases of ecclesiastical property granted for lives, and were apprehensive that their interest would be injured by this measure; but he did not know how such property would be destroyed or deteriorated by the remedy for certain abuses which was provided by this bill. The petitioners prayed, because they objected to one particular part of the bill, that the bill itself should not pass. Now, this appeared to him not to be very fair or reasonable. A multitude of petitions had been laid on their table, objecting to one part of the Ecclesiastical Courts Consolidation Bill, but the petitioners never thought of praying that their Lordships should reject the measure altogether. It would, therefore, appear that the petitioners had some particular object in view when they called on their Lordships not to pass the bill. No wish existed, on the part of the Church Commission, that any improper restriction should be placed on the rights of lessors; and he would say, that those rights could not be affected in any manner whatever by this measure. If anything really objectionable could be pointed out in the bill, he was convinced that those who drew it would not be slow to remedy the defect.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells

had taken this opportunity to present the petition, because, if he did not present it now, he would be too late when the bill had gone through a Committee. He had also presented it, because he knew those from whom it came, and he was certain that they entertained no other object or motive save that which was set forth in the petition. The right rev. Prelate declared, that, in his opinion, the petitioners were justified in stating that the measure would be prejudicial to their interests.

Petition laid on the table.