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tleman's reasoning was, that by the freedom of election, could they acceding to the motion, the com- be deaf to such a charge? mittee would be placed in an awk- The Atlorney-general opposed ward situation. But whose fault ihe motion, on the ground that it was that? Had they not done so would afford a precedent of the themselves by overlooking this fla- House's entertaining by way of apgrant invasion of the freedom of peal, matters which by an act of election? The royal duke had got parliament were referred to a comthe writ into his possession, inmittee. The act proved, that it breach of one of the annual reso- was the intention of the legislatore lutions of the House. He then to refer all matters concerning the informed the electors that he wish- election to the committee. By the ed them to vote for his friend, and method attempted to be introduced to induce one of them to do so, he by this motion, every individual wrote to him that he had had some might be compelled to state bis communication with lord Liver. opinions as to the evidence before pool about a place which that the committee. elector wished to procure for a . Mr. Ponsonby said, that the act relation. He had also written to of parliament was elaborate in its another, promising him his inter distinction between those matters est with Lord Liverpool to obtain on which the committee were callhim a place. It further appeared ed on their oaths to decide, and that the duke of Cumberland had those on which it was quite discregot connected with the borough tionary for them to report or not. by being trustee under a will, in As to the evils of an appellant juwhich trust three commoners were risdiction, it should be recollected partners with him, but that he that such jurisdiction already existtook upon himself the sole ma- ed in every case where a committee nagement. Here was influence and reported specially. The report was interference of the most palpable not binding, and it remained with kind.
the House to say whether the comMr. Macdonald had no hesita- mittee was right or wrong.
The tion in saying, that if the transac- present was a question of propriety tion alluded to had been com- 66 Was it fit that the House pleted, and it was completed as far should interfere ?" He conceived as depended on his royal high- that it was their imperative duty, ness, it would have amounted to where any peer meddled with the direct bribery; and he believed rights of election ; but they were there was no doubt in the mind of more peculiarly called upon to act any member of the committee (of when the interference was not whom he was one) that the con- merely that of a peer, but of one duct of his royal highness was of the blood royal. He was conindecent and improper. The ques- vinced that unless the House now tion before the House was exexpressed its sense of the transactremely narrow. When a member tion, they would soon have more of parliament stated that he was dagrant instances of such interable to prove a gross violation of ferences. the privileges of the House, and of The House divided. For the mo
tion, 57; Against it, 105: Majo- 'appointed to take the petition into rity, 48.
consideration. On April 7th, the order of the Mr. Bathurst said, that the peday standing for receiving the re- tition was founded upon a misconport of the Weymouth election 'ception of the measures to be bill, Mr. Macdonald presented a adopted on the subject of the Weypetition from the inhabitants of the month election; and he could see borough of Weymouth and Mel- no good from complying with the combe Regis. The general tenor prayer of the petitioners. of it was, to express their regret Mr. Abercromby supported the that none of the clauses introduced petition. He thought it became to the consideration of the House the House to inquire into the case, provided any adequate means to lest by the present bill they should abolish the existing abuses, but make the borough one of the closest rather to perpetuate and strengthen in England. The best way to opthem. It stated the means by pose those who called for a reform which the late sir W. Pulteney in that House, would be to show had appropriated to himself the themselves friends to the extenmajority of freeholds in the bo- sion of the elective franchise. rough, and the manner in which Several other members spoke on they were now fallen into the each side the question; those hands of the four trustees of the against the petition contending, will of the late sir J. L. Johnstone, that the bill having no other object the duke of Cumberland being than to correct the abuse of splitone, who has ever since nominated ting votes, it was unnecessary to members, and supported'a system enter upon any other consideraof corruption in the borough ; and tion; while those who supported that it was for the purpose of coun- it held that it would be unjust in teracting this overbearing influence parliament to remedy one species by enlarging the number of voters, of abuse, and refuse to hear evithat several individuals had devised dence respecting another. The their property among their rela- House at length divided. For the tions and friends; and that such motion 37; Against it 102: Maincrease of voters destroying the jority 65. power of the patron, an agent of The report on the Weymouth his had avowed, that at the pa- bill," with its amendments, was tron's desire, he had made wills brought up on April 8th, when its upon his own property, and frau- opposers objected to the novelty in dulently manufactured votes to the legislation established by it, of extent now complained of. They subjecting wills to the decision of concluded with requesting to be the House of Commons. Replies heard by their counsel, and pro- were made to this objection, and ducé evidence at the bar of the an order was inade for the third House in order to substantiate the reading of the bill. above facts.
It afterwards passed into a law Mr. Macdonald then moved, without further discussion. that a select committee should be
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 Liver, 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 pera sion, 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 baving, 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 not 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. 100l. 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. One 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 nizance 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 sạid, 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 un