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The non-residence of the paro- The Earl of Harrowby supported chial clergy, and the necessitous the original enactments of the bill and degraded condition of those as necessary to ensure to curates who were hired to do their duty, performing parochial duty an adehad long been a subject of scandal quate support
. The earl of Livera and regret to the friends of the pool and lord Grenville spoke on church, and various plans had been the same side; and a division takin contemplation for remedying ing place, the amendment was nethe evil. That of augmenting the gatived by 17 against 15. stipends of curates, and making On May 17th, the House prothem bear some proportion to the ceeded to the consideration of the livings, was one of the most obvi- report on the Curate's bill. ous; and a bill of this kind was Lord Redesdale made a warm introduced into the House of Lords attack on the lower orders of the by the earl of Harrowby, who clergy, complaining of their resimoved its second reading on March dence far from their parishes in 11th. The Bishop of London hav- market towns; of their riding with ing observed that it went materi- indecent speed from church to ally to alter the constitution of the church; and hurrying through the church, and that opportunity ought service with unbecoming levity; to be allowed for its full discus- and he imputed the imperfect persion, the mover proposed that it formance of the sacred duties to should go to the committee pro- the inattention of the dignitaforma, and that the discussion · ries. should take place upon re-com
The Archbishop of Canterbury mitment. The second reading then repelled this charge with much took place.
vigour, and expressed himself as On March 23rd, after some re- greatly hurt by the imputation. marks upon the bill, its commit. Several other prelates joined in the ment was ordered without oppo- vindication of the clergy, superior sition.
and inferior. The clauses of the The House having, on March bill were then gone through, the 29th, resolved itself into a com- report was agreed to, and the bill mittee on the bill, several of its was ordered to be printed. clauses were read over and dis. On the order of the day for the cussed. On the reading of the third reading, May 21, the Bishop clause for fixing the salaries of the of London stated his objections to stipendiary curates, the Bishop of the bill. He argued that it would London urged a variety of objec- destroy the subordination of ranks, tions to it, conceiving that it would so necessary to the well-being of operate oppressively by the gene- the ecclesiastical government ; that rality of its enactments; and he the curate would be at variance moved an amendment to fix the with the incumbent, and an interfesalary, at the discretion of the bi- rence of the lower with the higher shop, at a sum pot exceeding 1001. orders of that class of clergy would per annum, including house and be perpetually recurring. In cases glebe; but on the suggestion of where the living was not more than the two archbishops he raised his 801. 1001. and 1201. a year, the maximum to 2001.
whole, according to this bill, might
be appropriated to the curate. He fending the bill, expressed his diswas convinced that the part which sent from the opinion of lord was intended to leave discretion Redesdale, that the church was to the bishops would not cure its rich enough, and that its duties defects; and he concluded with were more neglected than formermoving, “ That the bill be read ly. He praised the system of hiethis day three months."
rarchy in this country as being unThe Lord Chancellor made many equal, and of a mixed complexion, objections to the bill, founded on and therefore more consistent with the hardships that in various cases the other parts of our constitution. might result from it, and its in- He thought the principle of the competence to attain the ends pro- bill was perfectly simple, and that posed.
it was well calculated to produce Lord Redesdale defended both the desired effect of residence. the principle and the provisions of Lord Ellenborough attributed the the bill. He did not consider the non-residence of the clergy to the property of the church in the light want of houses, the poverty of the that some others appeared to do, benefices, and pluralities; evils that as private property belonging to would be augmented by the bill, individuals, but as belonging to the which he regarded as a bill of church as a whole. Much had been confiscation and forfeiture of the said about the poverty of the church; smaller livings. Although he was but, in his opinion, it was rich confident that such was not the enough, and the only defect was object of the noble lord who introin the unequal distribution. Une duced the bill, yet he had no doubt of its indispensable duties was, to that several had in view the reprovide a resident clergyman for duction of the value of the small every parish in the kingdom, livings in order that they might be which was the principle of the purchased by a fund which he knew present bill, and its provisions were to be busily employed in purchasing well calculated to produce the livings, with the view of filling effect. He had asserted that there them with persons holding docwas a great decrease in the per. trines most injurious to the church formance of duty by the lower of England, and, he would add, to orders of the clergy, and his obser- sound Christianity, vations had been commented upon The Earl of Harrowby stated with warmth by several of the that the poverty of the church was bishops; but he knew it to be fact not the cause of non-residence, nor in many places. His lordship then of pluralities, for they abounded made various other remarks in most upon the richest benefices. favour of the bill.
A division now taking place, the The Bishop of Worcester spoke numbers were, For the third readin opposition to the bill, and con- ing of the bill, 37; against it, 22; sidered any interference of legisla- majority, 15. tive authority to be of dangerous On July 5th, the order of the day consequence to the ecclesiastical standing in the House of Commons constitution,
for going into a committee on this The Earl of Liverpool, in de- bill,
it was opposed by some members as being an encroachment on he had brought into parliament in the freehold property of the church, the last session. Leave was acand an invasion of private pro. cordingly granted. perty, and defended by others on On the order of the day, May 21, account of its necessity. The com- for going into a committee on this mittee was then formed, and a bill, the mover proposed several clause was introduced on the mo- alterations, one of which was, to tion of the Chancellor of the Ex- continue to inferior ecclesiastical chequer for empowering the bishop courts the power of excommunito deduct a part of the curate's sa- cation, in consequence of the diflary for keeping the parsonage ficulty he had found in accommohouse in repair.
dating that part, as it originally On July 8th, the report of the stood, to all the variety of local bill being taken into consideration, circumstances throughout the kinga debate ensued, in which the for, dom. As abuses of this power mer arguments on each side were were what first called the attenrepeated, and the motion for the tion of members to the subject, third reading was carried by 37 the proposal of continuing it navotes against 7. This took place turally occasioned disappointment; on July 13th, after a division in and Sir Samuel Romilly said, that its favour of 66 to 9; after which he thought such an alteration of some new clauses were added by the bill was depriving it of its chief way of rider, and the bill passed value. He also wished that the into a law. (For its principal bill had gone much further. He enactments, see our Abridgment.) could see no good reason why
In the parliamentary report of spiritual courts should take cogthe last year it was noticed that pizance of defamation; and he Lord Folkestone having moved for knew that great abuses existed in a committee to inquire into the this part of their jurisdiction. state of the jurisdiction of the in- Sir Wm. Scott regretted the hon. ferior ecclesiastical courts, he with gentleman's disappointment, but drew his motion upon the engage- he had deliberately weighed the ment of Sir William Scott to bring subject, and was convinced that in a bill for that purpose. The the greatest inconveniences would right hon. and learned gentleman result from retaining the clauses as in consequence introduced a bill, they now stood. He acted from which the dissolution of parlia- an overwhelming necessity, and ment prevented from being carried did not think it worth while to through in that session.
incur so much practical difficulty On April 9th, Sir Wm. Scott as would ensue from them. The rose in the House of Commons to amendments and alterations were move for leave to bring in a bill then agreed to. "for the better regulation of the When the report of the bill was ecclesiastical courts in England, brought up for consideration on and for the more easy recovery of June 16th, Mr. Western said, that church rates and tithes," which he it appeared to him not to accomstated to be a revival of that which plish the object which it was understood the right hon. and learned deserved imputation on the bishops gentleman had in view. He ob- with regard to these appointments; served, that it had originated in a and that it was impracticable, inmotion made by lord Folkestone, asmuch as persons of the descripin consequence of a number of tion there stated, could not be grievances to which persons were found to undertake the office. He liable from the proceedings of the therefore moved to strike out the ecclesiastical courts; and a parti- clause. cular instance was given in a case The Lord Chancellor spoke in of defamation. In this case the de- defence of the clause; but the fendant had been acquitted before arguments of the bishop were supthe commissary court of Surrey, ported by lord Ellenborough, who, but was afterwards found guilty in after instancing several eminent the court of Arches, and condemn. churchmen who had acted as chaned to do penance; and then came cellors of dioceses, or had been the a dispensation for performance, for authors of valuable works on ecwhich he had to pay 95l. The bill clesiastical law, affirmed that the provided no remedy against the clause'would confine the appointrecurrence of such a circumstance, ment to advocates in the court of nor did it cake away the conse- Arches, who would not be qualiquences of an excommunication.
fied to render bishops that assistSir W. Scott made some remarks ance which they ought to derive in defence of the ecclesiastical from their chancellors. courts; and after some other mem- The clause was in consequence bers bad spoken on each side, the struck out; and nothing material House resolved itself into a com- further occurred with respect to mittee, when sir S. Romilly pro- the bill, till its passing into a law. posed two new clauses; one, that no person should be appointed a In the discussions on the Cathojudge of any consistorial court, lic Bill, though several members who had not practised as an advo- had manifested an intention to supcate in the court of Arches, or, if port all those exclusions from place a barrister, had not practised three and power which the Constitution years in Westminster-hall; the had enjoined against separatists other, that after passing the bill, from the established church, yet no action for tithes should be the most extensive and liberal brought, or suit instituted in any principles of toleration had been civil court, unless brought within generally professed. Hence, prosix years after such tithes should bably, the time was chosen for an have become due. Both these attempt to relieve from the pains clauses were agreed to.
and penalties still legally impendOn July 1st, the order of the day ing over them, those Christians in the House of Lords standing for who impugned the doctrine of the a committee upon this bill, the Bi- Trinity. shop of Chester objected to the On May 5th, Mr. William Smith clause above-mentioned respecting moved for Jeave to bring in a bill judges in the consistorial courts, for this purpose.
for this purpose. Its object, he contending that it conveyed an un. said, was solely to remove certain [57 penalties imposed upon persons
Lord Castlereagh said, he cerwho denied the doctrine of the tainly did not see any reason to obTrinity; and who were not in- ject to the principle of the bill ; cluded in the Act of king William, and the House, on the suggestion commonly called the Toleration of the Speaker, going into a comAct. In the 19th year of the pre- mittee, leave was obtained to bring sent reign an act had passed for ' in the bill. the relief of those persons, by No further proceedings concern. which they were exempted from ing it are reported in the House of the necessity of subscribing the 39 Commons. articles of the church of England, On the third reading of the bill and a declaration of belief in the in the House of Lords, July 30th, holy scriptures was substituted. the Archbishop of Canterbury and The acts of king William, however, the Bishop of Chester, each said a had not been repealed, by which few words, not with
intention persons, who in conversation or of opposing it, but affirming that writing deny the existence of any it had not been called for by any of the persons of the Trinity, are attempt to inflict penalties upon, or disabled on conviction from hold- to impede the worship of, the Uniing any office, civil, ecclesiastical, tarians. The bill was, then read a or military; and if a second time third time and passed. convicted, are disabled to sue or That no voice of bigotted zeal prosecute in
any action or informa- was heard in either House on this tion, or to be the guardian of any occasion, may be deemed a pleaschild, and are liable to imprison- ing proof of the progress which the ment for three years. He there- principle of religious toleration has fore moved, “ That leave be given made within a short course of years. to bring in a bill to grant further It is also affirmed upon good aurelief to persons differing in opi- thority, that the positive determinion from the church of England, nation of the ministry, that no opwith respect to certain penalties position to the bill should meet imposed by law on those who im- with encouragement on their part, pugn the doctrine of the holy came in aid of the general spirit of Trinity."