HL Deb 28 July 1840 vol 55 cc1068-9
The Earl of Haddington

said, he wished to put a question to the noble Viscount at the head of her Majesty's Government, in consequence of a conversation that had occurred not long ago in another place. From what came out in that conversation, it appeared, that the rev. Dr. M'Gill, who a few years since had been presented with the situation of King's Chaplain in Scotland, bad not received the usual salary or fee of 50l. a year, which was attached to that office. In consequence, a question was put to the proper authority in the House of Commons, and the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was to the effect, that this gentleman had not received, and should not receive, the usual salary, because, in the course of some former discussion, an understanding was come to that no salary should be paid hereafter to any clerical appointment in Scotland to which no duties were attached. He wished to know, whether it were the intention of her Majesty's Government to discontinue this salary of 50l. a year to all the royal chaplains in Scotland? Of these chaplains there were ten in Scotland, and he would ask whether, in the first place, it was intended to keep back this trifling sum of 50l. a year from Dr. M'Gill; and next, whether the usual salary was to be continued or discontinued to her Majesty's other chaplains in Scotland?

Viscount Melbourne

was understood to say, that it was determined not to grant the 50l. a year to Dr. M'Gill, or to the other royal chaplains in Scotland.

The Earl of Haddington

regretted that her Majesty's Government meant to discontinue this miserable pittance of 50l. a year to the ten royal chaplains in Scotland. He could not help expressing his very great regret, as well as surprise, at this determination of her Majesty's Government, which appeared to be founded on nothing more than some incidental expression of opinion in the course of a debate. Considering the way in which the Scotch clergy were provided for, he was astonished that the Church of Scotland could boast of so many men of learning and talent. The sum of 50l. a year was certainly a very small gratuity; but when they considered the trifling provision which was made for the Scotch clergy, and the jealousy with which that Church guarded against pluralities, it became a matter of some importance. In an economical point of view, it was almost a disgrace to mention such a paltry saving. In his opinion, the withdrawing this miserable sum of 500l. a year was unwise as a matter of economy, and, as a matter of policy, he thought that it was extremely shabby.