§ 1. In devising the best mode for providing for the cure of souls, and in making a new distribution of Church property for this purpose, ought not the ecclesiastical revenues of each diocese and county to be first directed towards the supply of the spiritual wants of the parishes and districts out of which they now arise, before any part of them be appropriated to other places?
§ 2. Will the arrangement for securing an adequate income to the parochial Clergy be complete unless regard be had to local circumstances as well as to population; on the same principle as that already proposed in the Commissioners' first report, in reference to episcopal revenue and duty?
§ 3. Does not a scattered rural population present a charge as laborious to a Clergyman as a population much more numerous, but more condensed, in a town?
§ 4. Are not the scattered inhabitants of small hamlets, and of remote farmhouses, more destitute of the common means of acquiring knowledge, and less desirous of acquiring it, than those of towns? Being also at a greater distance from the place of public worship, are they not more in want of a 368 Clergyman's admonitions and instruction id be brought to their own doors?
§ 5. Are not the resources of a country Clergyman fewer in number, as to libraries, book clubs, society, &c.? Are not his opportunities of having access to books, except by purchase, more limited; and are not his general and necessary expenses larger than those of the Clergy of towns? For example, the keep of a horse, which is indispensable if his parish be large; the price of fuel, and the carriage of every article which he receives into his house. In application of these principles to the distribution of the revenues of the Church of Durham a table is appended to this paper, showing the condition of nine parishes in the diocese of Durham, on the borders of Scotland. They are selected because they are contiguous and form one large district; because almost all the great tithes belong to the Dean and Chapter, and because the incumbent of each parish is presented by that body. These nine parishes are a sample of many others in the same diocese, similarly situated as to extent, contiguity, population, patronage, and spiritual condition. The Dean and Chapter of Durham have 38 benefices in their gift, from which they draw the great tithes; 26 of these are under 300l. a year, and nine of them have no parsonage houses. Many of these parishes are very populous, and extend over large tracts of laud. It would require not less than 4,000l. per annum to augment these livings in the gift of the Dean and Chapter so as to give a proper maintenance to the incumbent; and not less than 5,000l. to build the parsonage houses that are wanted, to say nothing of provision for church accommodation, which is also required. It may be added that the populous towns of Darlington, Stockton, Sunderland, Monkwearmouth, North and South Shields, Newcastle, Chester-le-street, and Alnwick, with the wide spreading parishes of Lanchester, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Gainford, Earsden, Newburn, Whittingham, Allenton, Hallyston, Carham, Kirknewton, Warkworth, Hartburn, Long Horsley, Simonburn, Falston, Allandale and others, neither of which extend over less than 10,000 acres, are all in the diocese of Durham, and require funds in aid for spiritual purposes. Can the Church of Durham, there-fore, be said to have a surplus revenue which will admit of appropriation elsewhere before the spiritual wants of those places are supplied?"
§ These were the questions submitted to the late Bishop of Durham.
§ He would apologies for having troubled the House at such length; but he could not reconcile it with his duty not to call the attention of their Lordships to these facts. The subject was one foreign to his habits, and the importance of the question was undoubtedly great; but his intention merely was to direct their Lordships' at- 369 tention to the peculiar hardships of the case, and, having urged as well as he could the view which he took of it, he should conclude by moving that "a select committee of the House be appointed, that the petitions from the county of Durham and the statements of the Clergy be referred to it, and that it report whether, under the peculiar circumstances of the diocese, it would not be expedient to make further inquiries as to the spiritual wants of the see previous to the abstraction of its revenues for general purposes, and delay any legislative measure affecting the revenues of the see until the next session of Parliament."
The Archbishop of Canterbury
was obliged to express though he did it with reluctance his dissent to the motion of the noble Marquess. If the bill which was before the other House of Parliament came up to their Lordships they would then have a proper opportunity to discuss this question.
§ Viscount Melbourne
denied that there, had been any communication between himself and a noble Duke who had been adverted to by the noble Marquess, with respect to the appropriation of the revenues of Durham. The motion now submitted to their lordships by the noble Marquess was one calling upon them to reconsider a subject which had been already fully considered by the ecclesiastical commissioners, and upon which they had given an opinion deliberately and carefully formed. If their lordships were to reconsider the question upon the grounds which had been stated by the noble Marquess, it was clear that the whole of those reforms in the church which it was proposed to effect would be endangered and that they could not possibly be completed. But he should not go into the question; he would content himself with saying that it was better to put the whole church establishment upon a more reasonable and just foundation, than to preserve a state of things in which certain advantages might be enjoyed by the clergy, as the noble Marquess had represented, but which were entirely dependent upon the accidental disposition of those particular persons who might happen to fill the superior situations of the see in question. As their lordships would soon have the whole question before them, he should now go no further than to say, he could not agree to the motion.
The Bishop of Gloucester
said, some remarks had been made by the noble Mar- 370 quess respecting the church commission, of which he had the honour to be a member, of a kind that he could not permit to go forth to the public without some reply. The ecclesiastical commissioners had been accused of precipitation, and a want of due caution in their proceedings. To that accusation he thought their Lordships would not be disposed to give much attention, when they called to mind how many months this subject remained under the consideration of the commissioners, and, he would add, under their very careful, anxious, and daily inquiry; and further, that no part of the subject had been inquired into more minutely than the revenues of the see and chapter of Durham. The only ground which he could understand the noble Marquess to have taken was, that the revenues of this see and chapter ought to be appropriated in the first place towards the increase of all the small livings in Durham, to the amount of not less than 300l.; and the noble Marquess had kindly supplied their Lordships with some statistical information on the subject. But the noble marquess was mistaken if he supposed that subject had escaped the attention of the church commissioners; they had had the whole question before them; every thing was analyzed and looked into with the greatest care and anxiety. With regard to the particular point under discussion, in the statement of the commissioners he counted 17 livings in Durham under 70l. a-year, but he should also observe that 15 of those livings belonged to private patronage. Was it to be expected that those livings should be raised to the amount of 300l. out of the public patronage of the Crown, or out of that of the bishopric? What probability was there that their Lordships would at any time sanction such a proposition? [The Marquess of Londonderry spoke of 11 livings under 70l.] he begged pardon of the noble Marquess, but he adhered to the accuracy of the paper he held in his hand. Without entering into the question as to the source from whence the revenues of the see of Durham were derived, he would ask was it not true, that at that moment there were one Welsh and two English bishoprics deriving considerable assistance from the revenues of the see and chapter of Durham? Indeed, he knew not that they could be better disposed of than to enable persons who were in possession of very inadequate revenues to meet the expenses and demands which were consequent 371 upon their station. By the increase of the small bishoprics the necessity of commendams would be superseded, and the revenues of the stalls of Durham would go for those very purposes. The noble Marquess ought not to think that the local wants of the see of Durham would not be attended to; such an assumption was unjustifiable. He was aware that these topics would again come under the consideration of their Lordships and therefore he should say no more than that he dissented from the statistical observations of the noble Marquess, and the inference which he had drawn, that the spiritual wants of Durham were greater than those of other parts of the kingdom; as the motion of the noble Marquess would go at once to stop the progress of all church reform, he should oppose it.
The Marquess of Londonderry
said, that after what he had heard, and seeing that the feeling of the House was against him, he should withdraw his Motion, feeling satisfied, however, that he had done his duty in bringing the subject under their Lordships' attention.
The Bishop of Gloucester
said, if the noble Lord would look into the returns again, the noble Lord would find that he was right in stating, that there were 17 livings in Durham below 70l. a-year of which 15 were connected with private patronage.
The Marquess of Londonderry
believed that there were 11 livings under 70l. a-year not connected with private patronage.
§ The Motion was withdrawn.