HL Deb 29 June 1858 vol 151 cc590-2

rose to ask the most rev. Prelate (the Archbishop of Canterbury) whether he intended to introduce a Bill for improving Church Discipline and the law of Sequestration, with a view to deter incumbents from getting into debt, and persons from advancing money to them on loan on the credit of their livings, or giving them unreasonable credit, and to compel and enable them to reside and perform their duties although their livings were under sequestration.


thanked the noble and learned Lord for having called the attention of the House to this subject, and for having given him an opportunity of making a statement relative to the subject to which the noble and learned Lord referred. The Bench of Bishops had long been aware of the imperfections of the present law regulating the discipline of the Church; and a few months ago they took great pains and devoted much time to the preparation of what they believed to be a considerable improvement of the law as it now exists, with the full hope that they would be able to lay it upon their Lordships' table, and send it, after it had received such consideration and amendment as their Lordships might deem proper to bestow upon it, to the other House of Parliament during the present Session. Having consulted, however, with those who were most competent to advise them, they were informed that, in the then state of the public business, there was very little chance of such a measure passing through both Houses in the course of this Session; consequently the Bishops were obliged to be content to postpone the Bill until next Session, when they hoped to be in a position to submit it to Her Majesty's Government for their approval, with the further hope that it might then receive the sanction of Parliament, and prove to be a considerable amendment of the law. Among the alterations contemplated by that Bill, there was one which he thought would prove to be a valuable improvement on the existing law. It was a provision that in cases of sequestration, where the clergyman was necessarily absent from his cure, a much larger and more adequate stipend should be given to the curate than was now allowed, and that the curate should have possession of the parsonage house. Further than that he thought they could not venture, and it was hardly within their power to go. When, in the next Session of Parliament, however, the question came before their Lordships in the shape of a Bill, the Bench of Bishops would be greatly obliged to the noble and learned Lord for any assistance he might favour them with in making the measure as perfect as possible. He was in hopes himself that the particular case of sequestration to which the noble and learned Lord had recently called their Lordships' attention was an exceptional one. For his own part he believed there were very few such; but any alterations which the noble and learned Lord might propose would not, he was sure, be more stringent than his right rev. Brethren would themselves desire to see effected, provided they put an end to the evil of which there was such reason to complain.


defended the right rev. Bench from any blame in reference to the cases of sequestration. If a clegyman would but reside in his parish, his living might be sequestrated, but in the case supposed the living was already under sequestration.


said, his object was to compel residence by monition or by some other means.


Suppose he will not answer to the monition?


Then power should be given to take the living away from him.


did not mean to say that in every instance of a clergyman getting into difficulties the living should be taken away; but when those difficulties were of such a character that they could not be met by any reasonable arrangement, he thought the living ought to be declared vacant, and some other person instituted who could command the respect of the parishioners.


said, he had proceeded against two clergymen for gross immorality, and had only been able to obtain sentences of two and three years' suspension. Such instances were rare, but he desired that when they did occur the scandal should be removed by a power of deprivation, which the Bishop did not at present possess.

House adjourned at a quarter past Seven o'clock, till To morrow, half past Ten o'clock.