Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

attached; from which it may safely be inferred, that, whenever the neceflities of the country adınit of it, the lower orders of the unbeneficed clergy would not fail to experience the kindness of the Legidature. Such a measure, however; must be left for other times, and what he had now to offer was of such a nature as not to be attended with any expence to the public. The regulations he now proposed, only related to the stipendiary cl rgy, who stood in situations very different from those who were beneficed with livings on small salaries, without being provided with parsonage-houses, or in general with any other accommodations at the expence of the public. The persons he spoke of were not supplied by the law with any stations or houses, so had they no other dependence than voluntary agreement, until the statute of Queen Anne gave power to the bihops to allow curates salaries out of their livings, to the amount of sol. annually. A subsequent statute gave bishops the power of extending it at discretion as far as the annount of 751. "leaving, however, some difficulties in the way of its execution. There were Certainly other establishments; of which persons, duly edu. cated and qualified, may avail themselves, but these were but thinly distributed through the country. Modes had been Suggested, by various persons, of affording them relief; but the LegiNature must always consider any plan which tended to equalize them, or that even approached to that system, as perfectly inadmissible. Were any of the church provisions to be perfectly equalized, it would deter men of family, learning and talents, from embarking in that sacred profeffion, and it was also an error to suppose that equalization would have the effect of compelling refidence. The plan he had to propose, was not that of equalizing the living between the rector and his curate, but of making a moderate improvement in the condition of the latter; for the due execution of the system he was induced to leave much to the discretion of the bishops, because, for this purpose, livings were not to be taken at the rated value. Some very small parishes, from the benevolence and liberality of individuals, and other incidental or local circumstances, were frequently more advantageous, though containing only a small number of families, than others, which were larger, and infinitely more populous. Other livings were so extensive as to require many curates, and it would not be reasonable that the rector should be compelled to make them all the full allowances the measure would provide in other cases. There were other considera tions also which ought to be attended to. It might happen that the incumbent might be old, with a numerous 'family, while his curate was young and unincumbered, and vice versa. He then stated the outline of his plan. At present the maximum, which the law paid at the discretion of the bifhop, was to allow a curate 751. a year, making no distinction as to the amount of the living. What he would propose was, to allow him a fair portion of any living of 400l. a-year-beyond that, he was to have a fair fifth of every living. Should the amount of that be 50cl. his fair

would devises

profit would be 100l. a.year, and should the living be 1000l. and there are few beyond that sum in this country, his proportion would be 2001. and in the same rate for'any higher amount. So much for the provision to be made for curates, and he next came to the question of residence. This, he said, must also be left to the discretion of the bishop, according as the necesfity of it varied. The law, at present. pointed out no place for the residence of curates, and the discretion was the more fit to be left to the bishops, as the vicar's house would be an improper place, and if the rector refided in the parish himself, that of the curate became the less necessary; where there was any second parsonage, of course there would be no difficulty at all. Leave was then given to bring in the bill.

CHURCH-YARDS AND PARSONAGES. Mr. Burton moved for the House to resolve itself into a Committee on the bill for permitting perfons to devise, by deed or will, money or lands, to a certain extent, for the purpose of making church-yards, or erecting parsonage houses, when necessary.

Mr. Francis opposed the Speaker's leaving the chair, ob serving, that the tendency of the bill would be mischievous, and may have the effect of suffering weak superstitious peos ple, in their last moments, to bequeath away sums of money to the detriment of their families. He would object to any bill being palled, in this late period, to alter the eftabliched law. It was, he said, the more objectionable, as no previous notice had been given of it, and the House was taken by surprise.

Mr. Burson replied, that it was a subject, which was well and long considered, and had the approbation of persons in the law, and other profellions. The law allowed of such devises from the rime of Queen Elizabeth, till it was probia bited by she statute of 9 George W. which took away the privileges, which every man had of bequeathing and dispor, ing of his personal property, as he pleased. The present bill did not allow of immoderate provisions, as it limited such bequests to five acresof land, or sool. He was aware, he said, of the objections which had been flared, that weak people might, in their last moinents, be prevailed upon to dispule of pro, perty in this way, to the injury of their families; 10 obviale which, he was provided with an amendment, that no bequefts (hould be valid, unless the will was made three months before the death of the teftator. This he conceived to be a very ample Security, as most wills were made during the luft fickness, or just beiore the death, of the majority of people, though some were occasionally executed several years before. He knew that many were prevailed on, in times of supersti, tion, to bequeath, immediately on their death-beds, when priests and monks had many means of obtaining a boundless influence, but that had for ages been far from being ihe case in this Protestant country.

Mr. Courtenay observed, that the hon. Gentleman himself allowed, that it was in the last illness that people were liable to be persuaded to make these devices, and, being now sen. sible of the abuse, he expected him, on this occasion, to divide against his own bill. By allowing that this part of the measure required alteration, he could not conceive why it had been opposed. The Mortmain A& was a wise measure, and had been approved by Blackstone, who observed, that 4 it was apprehended that persons on their death-bed would make large and improvident dispolitions, even for good purposes.” The hon. Gentleman had saken great meriç so himself, because the bill permitted only at the most live acres of land, or sool, to be bequeathed; but he regarded it as the more dangerous on that account.. Small sums were more likely to be bequeathed by the yeomanry of the country; and by mary people of middling furtunes, whore habits and narrow education rendered them peculiarly liable to the in fluence of fuperftition. ; People of superior fortunes, whaiever -might be their orher follies, were certainly not very likely to bequeath their efales to such purposes as the hon. Genileman's bill pointed out. A very pernicious influence, however, might be exercised for the purposes of the bill over weak minds in country parishes. Were the permission once given, it may become the fashion in some parishes for every one to leave lands and money in that manner; for it was a

great

[ocr errors]

great inducement to filly people to have inscriptions to their memory, and their names put up in gilt letters. The bill itself he conceived to convey a libel on the legislature ; for, if parlonage houses and church yards were so necessary, let the public furnish them, and do not apply to exploded fuperItition for the purpose.

Mr. Hurit considered the 91h George II. to have been an excellent tasute; meant, in its own language, to prevent « large and improvident" legacies for such uses. The limi. fation of this bill did not justify it, for the bequest would be very large and improvident for the family of a poor man, which might be a trifle to a rich one.

The consequences might also be nationally very mischievous. Suppoling that only 100 person should be prevailed upon or induced to give fuch legacies in land, the consequences must be, that 500 acres of perhaps the finest land in the country would be taken away fruin agriculture, or other useful purposes, for ever, and, contrary to the laws and constitution of England, that property would never more be free or alienable.

The House then divided on the question for the Speaker's leaving the chair, when the numbers were, Ayes

44 Nues

29

Majority 15 The House then resolved itself into a Committee on the bill (Sir William Dolben in the chair.)

Mr. Morrë muved an amendment to one of the clanfes, that intiead of the will not being valid, unless made three months previous to the death of the teftator, the words twelve nionths Thould be substituted.

Mr 1. 11. Browne opposed the amendment.

The Solicitor General thought that any portion of land devised and become inalienable, in consequence of this measure, ruut neceffarily be fo (mall as to be exceedingly trifling to the public. He considered the object of the bill to be, to oblige the persons to whom the fruit thould be conveyed, to employ it beneficially ; for a man may bequeath his money for cruits which never could answer any uletul purpose.

The amendment was rejected without a division, and the report was ordered to be received on Monday.;

THE IRISH LOAN. Mr. Corry, in confequence of the notice he had given of his intention to lay before the House that day the terms of the

::

Irish Loan, thought it right to take this opportunity of acquainting them, that he ihould have no occasion to submit for their approbation any loan for that country in the present, year. To account for the failure of the loan, he had to in form them of the nature of bidding. The party who came forward in Ireland offered no more than 781. gs for 100l, stock, which would yield, besides the bonus, &c. an interest to the bidder of 61. gs. gd. whereas in the last 1 an, made in England, it was no more than 5l. 25. 10d. a difference su enormous, that he could no: for a inoinent consent to it. He had alla to observe, thai for some time previous to the bidding, the Irish funds experienced very confiderable fluctuations. He did not attribute that to influence or machinations, but with. ed to observe, thar on the Saturday, which was the day of bid, ding for the Irish five per cenis. after some fuctuacion, left off at 861. and a fraction, and after the bidding was over, and the other rejected, opened at gol. on the Monday. There was also on the same day a proportionate rise in 5 and 1: half per cents. which were down to go on Saturday. The House muft therefore be aware that such an offer, and there was but one bidder, must have been indignantly rejected; nor was it without regret that he found himself compelled by his duty 10 make a statement fo deftitute of that fair and honourable intercourse which ought always to subGft between the Govern. ment and the monied interest, and so discreditable an advantage attempted to be taken of what was supposed to be a mala, ter of neceffity in the state. The House, however, must be aware that he was sufficiently careful to have taken what now turned out to be a neceffary precaution, in order to protect the state from the artifices of those who had the prefump. tion to offer such terms; by a bill for raising a million upon Irish Treasury bills for the service of the year, the report of which he now moved to be brought up.

Mr. Alexander then brought up the report of the bill, which was agreed to, and the bill ordered to be read a third time the next day.

Mr. Johnstone observed, shat from what had appeared on former experience, the difficulty of raising the loan in Tree land upon terms agreealle to Government, might have been easily foreseen ; and therefore he thought the present instance would afford a lesson to those who bid for the loan in this country, under the idea that it would be only twelve millions, when in reality it now runs out to be fourteen. He there.

fore

« ZurückWeiter »