The Earl of Rosebery
, on rising to move the second reading of the bill for Feuing Entailed Estates for Churches, &c, said, that for some years past, large contributions had been making, contributions which still continued to be made by private individuals, for the construction of Churches in Scotland, but, as was generally known to their Lordships, entails in that part of the country were so stringent, that it was almost impossible, in many cases, although the requisite sums were subscribed, to find sites for 1313 building the Churches for which those subscriptions were contributed. The only resource was in a private Act of Parliament; but this was so expensive a remedy as to be, in most cases, impracticable. It was for the purpose of removing the obstacles which existed in Scotland to the alienation of small plots of ground for Church purposes, and for facilitating the raising of Churches and chapels, where required, and where funds were contributed by the generosity of individuals, that he now introduced this bill. As the same obstacles were found to occur in the erection of schools and school-houses, he had introduced provisions to meet that case also. He had also given power to the heir in possession of entailed estates to alienate property for these purposes, for an adequate consideration at pleasure, but he had guarded this enactment with the restraint, that such heir should not have the power of taking in return any tithe or other consideration than the reserved rent which might be agreed upon, and the whole proceeding would be referred, in all cases, to the sheriff of the county, who was to judge if the bargain were expedient and just, first of all calling upon the next heir for his assent. The bill also gave power to heirs in possession to alienate lands for the erection of Dissenting meeting-houses; but this was guarded by the most stringent provisions that he (Lord Rosebery) could invent, to prevent any other than Christian congregations from partaking of the benefit of the measure. Such was the outline of his plan, which he thought, applying as it did to every corner of the country, ought to have the assent of every noble Lord connected with Scotland. He moved that the bill be read a second time.
§ Bill read a second time.