§ Order of the Day for the second reading read.
§ THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY
, in moving the second reading of the Bill, said, that its object was to amend and enlarge an Act passed some years ago, called Peel's Act, whereby populous districts might be formed into parishes. There was a body called the Church Building Commission, which had been appointed for the purpose of portioning out such districts and building churches therein, and that Commission having expired, the present Bill had been introduced for the purpose of transferring its powers to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, of enabling those Commissioners to build churches, and of assigning to them various rights and jurisdictions which they had not hitherto been entitled to exercise. At present, the greater part of the services of baptism, marriage, and burial took place in the mother church of the parish, and in populous districts great confusion and disorder were thereby caused in the sacred edifice, while much dissatisfaction was felt on the part of those who were obliged to travel a long distance to take part in the marriages and burials. In the collegiate church of Manchester, as many as sixty marriages had sometimes taken place on a Sunday; while in St. Pancras, London, there were sometimes between thirty and forty. It was important to the Church of England that there should be an easy access to all its services, and that there should be a multiplication of districts enjoying the full power of performing all the services of the Church. The Bill now before their Lordships would, it was hoped, contribute to induce people to come forward and multiply these districts.
§ Moved, That the Bill he now read 2a.
THE BISHOP OF OXFORD
said, he had much pleasure in supporting a Bill which would enable the Church to develope itself according to the spiritual needs of the population, and should rejoice to see the Bill become law.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
said, he was disposed to give his assent to the second reading of the Bill, but, since there were many details in it which required great consideration, that it was desirable that it should be referred to a Select Committee where they could be examined. He did not wish to interpose any delay, but the measure was not one that ought to be passed hastily.
§ THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY
, said, 948 he had no objection that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee; but, at this late period of the Session, there was some danger in adopting the suggestion of the noble Earl. The measure was one of vital importance, and he was authorised to say that it had the entire sanction of the Lord Primate. He trusted that if the Bill were referred to a Select Committee, they would meet to-morrow, so that no time should be lost.
§ LORD REDESDALE
thought that the appointment of a Select Committee need not delay the passing of the measure in the present Session.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read 2a accordingly, and referred to a Select Committee.