§ Viscount Melbourne,
in moving the second reading of the Ecclesiastical Preferments Suspension Bill, said, that the object of the present bill was to suspend for one year the appointment to cathedral preferments, except under certain specified circumstances, so as to allow time for further inquiry, and to give Parliament in the next Session time to carry out the measures recommended by the ecclesiastical commissioners.
The Bishop of Exeter
would briefly state the grounds on which he should move, that the bill be read a third time that day three months. The noble Viscount had laid no ground for calling on their Lordships to assent to the bill. The ground that Parliament had passed similar bills before was no justification of this, because no hope was held out that the inquiries would be more complete, or that Parliament would be better prepared in the next Session to pass the measures alluded to than it was in the present. Much injustice would be inflicted on tenants and lessees of church property if their Lordships passed this bill. No leases which might fall in could be renewed. The only evil that could possibly accrue, if the bill were not passed, would be to fill up vacancies which might arise, till the commission could bring forward a bill. The right rev. Prelate concluded with moving, that this bill be read a second time that day three months.
The Bishop of Rochester
thought the bill most unjust to the whole of the clergy and to the welfare of the Church. The bill ought not to be brought forward at this period of the Session. He considered this measure as a precursor of a more general one.
The Bishop of London
concurred with his right rev. brother, who had just sat down, in what he had stated about bringing forward the bill at that period of the Session. He thought, however, that it should be continued. He would not give his vote for the second reading, if it were not for the understanding that her Majesty's Government would submit early in the next Session of Parliament the Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues Bill to their Lordships.
The Earl of Wicklow
thought they might do away with the prevention of renewing lessees, and put an end to one of the most powerful objections against the measure.
The Archbishop of Canterbury
said, that a rectory preferment in Berkshire now vacant, would still be suspended till the bill that was proposed to be brought in for the suspension of sinecures was passed. If that bill were brought in, and did not pass, that sinecure rectory must be presented to, and it would be continued for the life of the person who received it. He was speaking in this instance against his own interest, because that sinecure was in 930 his own gift. That, and another sinecure, of very considerable value, had been placed at the disposal of the commissioners, and were to be disposed of in the way they might direct, by Act of Parliament. He considered that the mention of that circumstance would rather operate as an inducement to their Lordships to pass this Suspension Bill for this year. He hoped that the bill respecting collegiate churches and sinecures might be submitted to Parliament next Session; because, if not brought forward, he really did not see how their Lordships could be called on to pass another Suspension Bill.
§ Bill read a second time.