§ Bill considered in Committee (according to Order).
§ On the Bill being reported, without Amendment—
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
asked the noble Lord (Lord Lyttelton), who had introduced the Bill, to give their Lordships some idea of its object. Nobody on his side of the House appeared to know anything about it.
§ LORD LYTTELTON
said, the object of the measure, as he had fully explained on a former stage, was to remove a flaw in former Acts respecting the transfer of patronage. There were in his neighbourhood some small livings, of which the patron wished to augment them; but being unable to contribute the quota required by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the case of benefices in private patronage, he desired to transfer the patronage to some public body. At present, however, an unintentional defect in former measures on the subject was an obstacle to such a step. The Bill there- 570 fore provided that the patronage or advowson of benefices so circumstanced should be included within the powers of the former Acts, and might be made either from or to any ecclesiastical corporation, aggregate or sole, notwithstanding any Statute of Mortmain.
THE BISHOP OF LLANDAFF
said, that he would mention a case in his own diocese which showed the necessity for this change in the law. In 1861 a district parish was separated from the mother parish of a large and populous town in his diocese—Merthyr Tydvil. That district then contained 5,288 persons, and during the nine years which had since elapsed the number of its inhabitants had doubtless greatly increased. A church was built by means of private liberality, aided by grants from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Queen Anne's Bounty, and a sum was raised for endowments which gave an income of £79 a year. An application was made to the Commissioners to increase that small sum, and they agreed to make it up to £300 a year, on condition that the patronage of the Church was made public. The incumbent raised a sufficient sum to purchase the advowson. The Commissioners proposed a scheme; but the Law Officers made an objection to it, and it was cancelled. The result was that this clergyman, who besides his own church had four licensed schoolrooms, each with its separate minister, had been left for nine years with a stipend of £79 a year. That was surety a sufficient illustration of the need there was for the Bill.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, he had thought it his duty to examine the Bill by the several statutes referred to, They were very clumsily worded, and though the defects which had been pointed out were of a somewhat microscopic; character, he thought that they might as well be cured.
§ Bill to be read 3a To-morrow.