HL Deb 23 July 1840 vol 55 cc903-4
The Duke of Wellington

, after presenting a petition from the University of Oxford against the Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues Bill, said, I entirely differ from the petitioners, who indeed show, by some of their own statements, the necessity which exists for such a measure; for they complain of the parochial deficiency of the Church of England at the present time. But it is in vain, my Lords, for any man in these times to expect that that deficiency will be made up out of the public money whilst the Church has in itself resources that maybe applied to the purpose. I say, my Lords, that all the resources which the Church possesses should be applied to supply that deficiency and to remove those inconveniences. The petitioners themselves admit that the evil exists; and it is most desirable, both for the public good and for the good of the Church itself, that those inconveniences should be remedied and removed. I confess, therefore, that I heard with astonishment, that this petition was got up in the University of Oxford, and that these pe- titioners prayed that the bill should not pass. My Lords, I am of a very different opinion from the petitioners. I am convinced that no measure could be devised which could more tend to remedy the evils, and to remove those very inconveniences of which the petitioners themselves complain in this petition, and which they say truly attend the parochial system of the Church in this country. I think, my Lords, the ecclesiastical commissioners did their duty in recommending this bill. I think it highly creditable to the Church that those inconveniences should be removed by the Church itself. I think it highly creditable that the Church should even take the first step in removing those evils, without applying for the assistance of the public money.

Petition laid on the table. Their Lordships afterwards heard counsel at the bar against the bill.

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