§ THE EARL OF MINTO
asked the Lord Steward, Whether, on moving the Second Reading of the United Parishes (Scotland) Bill, he would be prepared to state to the House the names of the united parishes (specifying the counties in which they are situated) in which there is more than one glebe forming part of the benefice, and the names of such united parishes having more than one glebe as may be affected by the provisions of the Bill; and also the annual value of each glebe in the united parishes with more than one glebe? The noble Lord said, that the Bill to which his Question referred had come to their Lordships' House from the House of Commons, having passed through its stages there sub silentio. Those Scotch Members of Parliament from whom he had desired to hear something about it had no knowledge of it. He believed the Bill was founded on a sound principle, but would be of very limited application. He thought it would not be right that it should be proceeded with in their Lordships' House in absolute ignorance of its scope and bearing. The position of quoad sacra parishes had become a question of great importance within the last week or two in consequence of a judgment recently pronounced by the Lord Chancellor upon an appeal from Scotland on that matter. He therefore made no apology in asking the Question.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
said, he did not complain of the remarks of the noble Earl, but it was an unusual course to make comments upon a Bill which stood for reading on a future day. As regarded the statement made by the noble Earl, that the Bill had passed through the House of Commons almost without discussion, he believed that it was by no means unusual that measures intended only for Scotland passed through the House of Commons without receiving at the hands either of the English or Irish Members those criticisms which Scotchmen often gave upon measures affecting other parts of the Kingdom. But the fact that Scotch legislation often passed through the House sub silentio contributed another proof of the singular sagacity of the Scotch Members, because by means of meeting together and 58 discussing their measures, they were enabled to carry them through the House of Commons without raising any very long discussion upon them. It had always been his custom, when introducing any Bill to their Lordships' consideration, to give them every possible information upon it, and also to address to them such arguments as he considered were necessary for the support of the Bill, and he saw no reason for supposing that he was about to depart from that custom in reference to the present Bill. The noble Earl had asked him whether he was prepared to give him the number of the united parishes having more than one glebe which would be affected by the Bill, and the assumed value of each glebe. He believed that full information would be given in respect to the number, but he wished to guard himself from stating the annual value of the united parishes where there was more than one glebe, because many of these glebes were very small, and he could not at present give any detailed information on them. But he assured the noble Earl that when the Bill came on for a second reading, all the information possible for him to give would be rendered, and he had no doubt that he should be able to persuade their Lordships to read it a second time.
§ THE EARL OF MINTO
said, he had not meant to charge the noble Earl with doing anything wrong; he merely wished to elicit information.
§ House adjourned at Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.