717 (of Alderley), having presented three petitions against the Weaver Churches Bill, observed, that on a former evening a noble and learned Lord had said, "that he would never consent to any proposition for taking money from any person or persons, which was vested in them by Act of Parliament." Now, the operation of this bill would be to appropriate money for the building of churches, in defiance of an Act of Parliament. The petitioners declared it to be their conviction, that if the bill were passed, no property in land, however ratified by Acts of Parliament, would be safe.
The Bishop of London
had some reason to complain that the noble Lord had not made his statement when the bill stood for a second reading. It was said, that the object of this bill was to permit one hundred persons to violate a trust reposed in them by repeated Acts of Parliament. Now the fact, stripped of all colouring, was, that those parties thought it right to provide the means of public worship for a very large number of people employed on the Weaver Navigation. For that purpose, it was proposed to take a very small, a very insignificant portion of funds, amounting to 15,000l. per annum. It was proposed, with the sum thus raised, to build three churches within two hundred yards of the banks of the canal, for the convenience of the labourers. It was said, in petitions, that 30,000l. were to be taken for this purpose. But it was easy to get up petitions; and, when parties spoke of 30,000l., they might just as well have said 40,000l., 50,000l., or 100,000l. He believed that about 3,000 persons had petitioned against the measure, which was not a striking proof of its unpopularity.
(of Alderley) said, the petitioners against this bill were far more numerous than the right rev. Prelate supposed. In the House of Commons, three petitions had been presented, signed by 10,000 persons.
§ Petitions laid on the table.