HL Deb 28 June 1844 vol 76 cc99-100
Lord Wharncliffe

moved the second reading of the Parishes of Scotland Bill.

Lord Campbell

was sorry to be obliged to detain their Lordships at that hour of the evening; but, having presented a petition against the Bill, it was his duty to urge some objections which appeared to him to be of a very serious nature. No one could doubt the object of the Bill to be very laudable, namely, the promotion of religion in Scotland; but the question was, whether the means taken were expedient and just. The main enactments in the Bill to which he wished to draw attention were those which related to the division of parishes and the endowments of the new parishes. He should have thought at this time there could be no pressing necessity for multiplying parishes in Scotland. In almost every populous parish in Scotland there was now a new church called the free church. One of the objections to the proposed division was the mode in which it would operate on titheowners, because three-fourths of the heritors had it in their power to appropriate any unappropriated tithes to that division of the parish, and there might not be among them a single person who was a tithe owner. It ought to be made a general burthen, and not fall on any class of proprietors. But there was also another objection which arose out of the 10th section, and he begged particularly to call the attention of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack to it, because he would be bound to say that such a provision was never introduced into any Bill before.

The Lord Chancellor

You need not call my attention to it. It has been already called to it.

Lord Campbell

It has passed through the House of Commons with the objectionable clause—

The Lord Chancellor

I can't help that.

Lord Campbell

proceeded to say, that in the section referred to, the Clause he complained of enabled any trustee or tutor of a minor to give away property of which he was trustee for the site of a church or a manse or glebe, so that it did not exceed four acres, without any compensation whatever. It seemed to him, that this was an interference with the rights of property which could not be justified. A similar power was also given to tenants in tail, and this was obviously an extension of the injustice. Upon these grounds he must object to the Clause.

The Earl of Minto

could not say, that the Bill was altogether uncalled for, considering the present state of the Church of Scotland, nor would he oppose it; but there were some provisions to which he pointed out objections, and he also thought it highly desirable, that the clergy should be required to know Gaelic.

The Earl of Dunmore

said, that there were only four clergymen for 16,000 people in the Islands' districts with which he was connected, and not 100 of them could speak English.

The Earl of Haddington

supported the Bill, as important to the Church of Scotland. He did not see how any better provision could be made for the religious worship off the Highlanders in the lowland districts than that provided by the Bill. He believed that if the Bill passed, it would heal a great many sores.

The Duke of Richmond

approved of that part of the Bill which looked at the size of districts as well as population as the criterion for further church accommodation; but he did not see how the funds were to be provided without interfering with private rights.

The Duke of Buccleugh

said, that the Bill gave a greater facility to the payment of teinds, which were subject to the full extent fixed in the time of Charles I., to be applied to the supply of the spiritual wants of the parish, and as they had been purchased subject to liability to this full application, there was no interference with the rights of private property.

Bill read a second time.

House adjourned.