HL Deb 07 March 1856 vol 140 cc2033-4

My Lords, I am desired to present some Petitions to your Lordships, which all concur in praying your Lordships not to con- sent to the abolition of church rates without an equivalent being provided. I heartily concur with these petitions in their prayer, and shall be most thankful if an equivalent can be found, and its efficiency secured. It is true that I laid a Bill on the table of the House last year, which it afterwards appeared that this House was not competent to originate—a Bill founded on a different principle. But it must not be supposed that those who proposed that measure approved of it as the measure that was the most desirable, though they agreed to it as the best measure that seemed practicable. On these grounds only was it proposed by the Bishops who were at that time in London without, as well as I remember, any difference of opinion. My Lords, no measure can be defended as right in principle which exempts a large part of the property of this country from a payment to which it has been subject from time immemorial, and subject to which every proprietor has received or procured it. I cannot wonder that many insist on this principle, and am surprised that any one should surrender it. I can only repeat that I shall be most thankful to those who, under present circumstances, will show how it can be maintained.

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