§ LORD ST. LEONARDS
, according to notice, called attention to a petition as to Church Rates, presented on the 29th of June last, from Surbiton, and said, that in his opinion those persons who contributed to support district churches ought not to be called upon to pay church rates to the mother Church. A clause in the Bill introduced by the noble Duke on the cross benches (the Duke of Marlborough) would so far remedy the evil; but as there was some doubt on the point he thought some amendment of the clause necessary. It was a grievance that persons should be called upon to support another church in their own parish than that which they attended. It was a grievance which operated most injuriously, because it divided members of the Church into two parties. He believed that most of those who divided against the Church Rate Bill the other night desired to see some compromise on the matter, and he hoped it would receive the attention of the noble Earl at the head of the Government.
§ THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH
agreed with the noble and learned Lord in the great importance of the subject, and he felt grateful to him for having brought the subject under the notice of the House. The noble and learned Lord was, however, mistaken in saying that the subject had not been alluded to in the recent debate on the subject of church rates; for he (the Duke of Marlborough) had then endeavoured to show the practical evil of the present system in obliging a man to contribute towards the repair both of the mother church and the district church. He would be rejoiced to see any ambiguity removed which there might be in the Act of Parliament, for it would be the means of removing a large amount of discontent on the subject of church rates which now existed among members of the Establishment.
§ LORD PORTMAN
said, the noble Lord appeared to have forgotten what had taken place in a recent debate, because he (Lord Portman) had then used very strong language with reference to this very hardship. Under a clause in the Act known as Lord Blandford's Act, it was possible for the Bishop and the patron of a living to give to a district the power of rating themselves for a church rate; and the consequence was, that wherever a district church was established the mother Church was deprived of all the support of a church rate so far as that district was concerned. This was not done directly, but indirectly; and, in his opinion, involved a great injustice. He concurred with his noble and learned Friend in hoping that the noble Earl would direct his attention to the subject. It was worthy of notice, that in a recently published letter on spiritual destitution, Dr. Hook said that the revolution under the Marquess of Blandford's Act was proceeding at such a rate that it was high time that something should be done. It was, indeed, high time that this church rate question should be settled; and he was himself inclined to follow the example of the noble and gallant Earl opposite (the Earl of Lucan). The noble and gallant Earl had come forward as an outsider, and proposed a settlement of one troublesome question relating to the Jews; and he (Lord Portman) thought that he too would come forward as an outsider, and endeavour to settle this other troublesome question. He would endeavour, before the end of the Session, to lay a Bill on the table for the consideration of the House and of the right rev. Bench; and if there was not time before the proro- 1152 gation for maturing this Bill, he hoped to be able, at least, to shadow forth to the noble Earl at the head of the Government a scheme which might be ultimately made satisfactory to all parties.