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informer, though still subject to the superintendence of his proper superior: to allow an exemption from all penalties for clergymen bearing certain offices, during the times required for the duties of those offices: to restore the power of bishops to grant licences for absence in certain enumerated and expressed cases; and in other cases, which cannot be specifically foreseen or provided for, to allow the concurrence and consent of the metropolitan to have that effect. This Bill, which, before it was introduced, had been long in contemplation, was afterwards warmly debated in Parliament, and every point of it maturely weighed and thoroughly discussed. Many of its clauses were very strongly opposed; and, amongst others, the Bishop was himself of opinion, that the exemptions were too numerous, so as considerably to weaken the general good effects of the Bill. "Those," he observes, "which I particularly wished to be omitted, were, in the first class of absolute exemptions, those granted to the Chaplains of the British Factories abroad and to Fellows of Colleges; and, in the second class of discretionary exemptions, those allowed to Masters of Hospitals, Lecturers and Preachers of Proprietary Chapels, or to the Masters or Ushers of Schools not endowed. I also objected to the permission given to persons possessing small benefices to serve curacies in great towns or other places; and to the omission of the Oath of Residence formerly taken. Experience will shew, whether these and perhaps a few other exemptions will not open too wide a door to non-residence, and in some degree defeat the good intentions of the Legislature, and the
great great object of the Bill. I admit however that, in its general frame and structure, it is undoubtedly a very judicious one, and that it reflects the highest credit on the temper, moderation, and distinguished talents of the excellent person who drew it up, and who took upon himself the laborious task of carrying it through the House of Commons."
During the discussion of this question in the Committee of the House of Lords, the Bishop proposed a clause, empowering the ordinary to require a resident curate, wherever the incumbent himself was exempted from residence. This he considered absolutely necessary to remedy the imperfections and render effectual the beneficial operations of the Act. It was thought however at that time that the introduction of such a clause might risk the passing of the original Bill, and that it would on the whole be a safer course, if a separate Bill were brought in for that purpose; which was afterwards done by Sir William Scott, though without, success; for so many objections were made from various quarters, and such unforeseen difficulties arose in the prosecution of the measure, that he at length determined not to proceed with it further. This to the Bishop was a mortifying and severe disappointment: but yet with such an object in view—an object, as he considered it, strictly consonant with every principle of justice, and essentially involving the best interests of religion—he was not discouraged, as I shall soon have occasion to state, from making another effort to carry it into effect.
In the mean time, a question of considerable importance to the London Clergy engaged much of his attention,
and it was, I believe, in no small degree owing to his exertions, that it finally succeeded. The circumstances, in which it originated, were shortly these. In consequence of the fire of London in 1666", eighty-five churches were destroyed; and of these, fifty-one were rebuilt. Instead however of the maintenance of the clergy being regulated, as before, by a rate increasing with the increase of property and the augmented expense of living, an Act of Charles the Second, commonly called the Fire Act, limited their incomes to certain fixed sums, the largest of which did not exceed .£.200 per annum. This, though at the time it was considered, and perhaps might be, an adequate provision, became soon a very insufficient one; and, in fact, exactly in proportion as . their parishioners grew rich, the