HC Deb 11 August 1836 vol 35 cc1127-31
Mr. Baines

observed, that the professed object of the House of Lords was to prevent clandestine marriages. Now, not only would those marriages not be prevented by the amendments which their Lordships had introduced into the Bill, but the means of effecting them would be afforded in two ways, instead of one.

Mr. Hindley

, adverting to the recent conference, observed, that it was just as dumb as those conferences which were not termed free. The hon. Member proceeded to state his objections to the amendments made by the House of Lords in the Bill under consideration, and proposed that those amendments should be rejected.

The Attorney-General

begged to make a few remarks in answer to those hon. Gentlemen who appeared to be disappointed at the course pursued with respect to the free conference. It was impossible to continue any negotiation with the House of Lords, as to the Bill, in question except by asking for a free conference. But the conference which had that evening taken place was not all. The play was not over; only the first act had been performed. There must be a second conference; unless (as he was not without hopes might be the case) the House of Lords should abandon the obnoxious clause, and pass the Bill without it. He repeated, however, that there might be a second conference, and that then the wishes of hon. Gentlemen might be gratified.

Mr. Arthur Trevor

defended the amendments which had been made by the House of Lords in the Marriage Registration Bill. He conceived that the Bill, in its original shape, was one of the most deadly blows that had ever been aimed at the Established Church.

Mr. Brotherton

, on the contrary, did not think that the Bill was at all calculated to injure the Established Church. In his opinion, it was merely a matter of money. Although the amendments were not such as he entirely approved of, still he would not oppose them.

Mr. George Palmer

characterised the Bill as destructive of the peace and harmony of private families. He should think himself lost to all sense of his duty to his constituents, and to the public, if he did not do all he could to prevent it from being passed into a law. It would lead to infidelity; for what greater encouragement could be given to infidelity than to induce young people to show indifference towards religion.

Mr. M. Philips

could not approve of the amendments introduced by the Lords; but at the same time, conceiving an important principle would be gained by the Bill, even as it then stood, he, for one, should not risk its loss by opposing the amendments.

Mr. Borthwick

entertained the most insuperable objections to the Bill. Even in its amended form, he thought it would tend to promote illegal marriages, and therefore, with the view of defeating it altogether, he should move that the Lord's amendments be read a second time that day three months.

The House divided on the original motion:—Ayes 63; Noes 3: Majority 60.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Sir C. Lynch, A. H.
Aglionby, H. A. Mackinnon, W. A.
Alston, R. M'Leod, R.
Bagshaw, J. Mangles, J.
Bentinck, Lord W. Marjoribanks, S.
Bewes, T. Morrison, J.
Blake, M. J. Murray, rt. hon. J. A.
Blamire, W. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Bowring, Dr. O'Loghlen, M.
Brady, D. C. Palmer, General
Bridgeman, H. Palmerston, Viscount
Brotherton, J. Philips, M.
Browne, R.D. Potter, R.
Callaghan, D. Pusey, P.
Chalmers, P. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Chetwynd, Captain Rippon, C.
Cockerell, Sir C. Robinson, G. R.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Crawford, W. S. Russell, Lord J.
Dennistoun, A. Ruthven, E.
Donkin, Sir R. Smith, B.
Duncombe, T. Stuart, Lord D.
East, J. B. Tancred, H. W.
Ewart, W. Thompson, Colonel
Fitzroy, Lord C. Thornley, T.
Gladstone, T. Villiers, C. P.
Gordon, R. Warburton, H.
Grote, G. Whalley, Sir S.
Hawes, B. Wilks, J.
Hawkins, J. H. Young, G. F.
Horsman, E. TELLERS.
Hume, J. Lushington, Dr.
Humphery, J. Stanley, E. J.
List of the NOES.
Hindley, C. TELLERS.
Law, hon. C. E. Trevor, A.
Palmer, G. Borthwick, P.

On the motion that the amendment to the 4th Clause be agreed to,

Mr. Hindley

rose to enter his protest against it. If the members of the Established Church were allowed to marry after the publication of bans in their own churches, he did not see why the Dissenters should not also be allowed to marry after the same form had been observed in their own chapels. It was only common justice that the publication of bans should be allowed in Dissenting places of worship, as well as in the Church of England.

Lord John Russell

confessed he was surprised at the objection now stated by the hon. Member, because in the former Bill which he (Lord J. Russell) introduced upon this subject he proposed to allow the publication of bans in Dissenting chapels; but this proposition no sooner became known than he received a communication from a Dissenting minister, declaring that the Dissenters would never consent to have their places of worship desecrated by the observance of so unholy a form.

Mr. Hindley

withdrew his admendment, and the Lords' amendment was agreed to.

On the amendment to clause B being read,

Mr. Wilks

declared, that if he stood alone he would divide against it. The clause, in its amended shape, required the superintendent of the district to send to the clerk of the Union the names of all persons, being Protestant Dissenters, who should notify that they had an intention of being married, that he should enter the same in a book kept for that purpose, and that the entry so made should be read over weekly for three successive meetings of the guardians of the poor. This was a degradation to which the Dissenters would never consent.

Lord John Russell

stated, that the amendment had been made by the Lords because their Lordships thought the Bill, in its original shape, did not provide a sufficient publicity in the marriage of Dissenters. He certainly did not think the amendment necessary, but, at the same time, he could not regard it as imposing anything like a degradation upon Dissenters.

Mr. Hume

hoped, that the hon. Member for Boston, seeing the position in which the measure then stood, would not press his objection to a division. There was no doubt but that the clause, as it then stood, would place the Dissenter in a degrading situation; but this was a fault which might afterwards be amended. He should be sorry to follow any course that might hazard the loss of the Bill, and for that reason, although he felt the full force of the objection taken by the hon. Member for Boston, he should not be disposed to divide with him.

Mr. Brotherton

declared, that it would be regarded by the Dissenters as intolerable.

The House divided on the motion that the Lords amendment be agreed to:—Ayes 47; Noes 9; Majority 38.

List of the NOES.
Alston, R. Robinson, G. R.
Baring, F. T. Thompson, Col.
Brotherton, J. Trevor, hon. Arthur
Brownrigg, S. TELLERS.
Butler, hon. P. Mr. Hindley
Duncombe, T. Mr. Wilks

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

The other amendments agreed to.