HC Deb 02 February 1837 vol 36 cc84-6
Lord John Russell

rose for the purpose of moving for leave to bring in a Bill, to suspend for four months the operation of two Acts passed last Session, for the registration of births, marriages, and deaths. The Poor-law Commissioners had represented to him, that great inconvenience would ensue from putting these Acts in force at present, and they expected that by the 1st of July, about 1,300 parishes, not now in union, would be so, when the provisions of these Acts might be immediately carried into effect. This was a sufficient reason to induce him to postpone the operation of the Acts; and another was, that it would give those officers who were to carry the provisions of the Acts into effect, sufficient time to enable them to perfect themselves in the duties which, under the system of registration proposed in those Acts, they would be called on to perform. On these grounds, he would move for leave to bring in a Bill, to suspend the Acts of last Session, relating to the registration of births, marriages, and deaths, for four months.

Sir Robert Inglis

wished the noble Lord had prolonged the term of their suspension. The object originally intended by those Acts was, the conciliation of the Dissenters: this object had not been obtained; and he could assure the noble Lord, neither had they conciliated the members of the Church of England.

Mr. Wilks

must take leave to state, that the Dissenters expressed great gratitude to his Majesty's Government for those enactments, and though some few persons might differ from the general body, and think there were a few imperfections in them, yet these were like the spots on the sun, and he had no doubt the House would obliterate them.

Mr. Baines

had heard a great deal on the subject of these Bills, and had always understood that the Dissenters, as a body, had accepted them, and felt grateful to Government for acceding to their wishes. Respecting the observation of the hon. Gentleman, he supposed that few Bills passed that House which gave entire satisfaction to all persons who were concerned.

Mr. Potter

said, that the Dissenters of Lancashire and Cheshire had met at the Unitarian Chapel, Manchester, and had expressed their satisfaction with the Bill. He thought that the postponement might be productive of inconvenience to persons who were waiting to be married.

Mr. O'Connell

had that morning had an interview with four prelates, of a religion that was deeply affected by the Bills. He thought that a little amelioration and amendment might be advantageously introduced, but that they were deeply grateful for what they had obtained. He spoke of the professors of a religion that was now much increasing.

Mr. Ewart

said, that the Bills had given great satisfaction among his constituents.

Lord John Russell

said, that however the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis) might put himself forward as the organ of the University of Oxford, he hoped he would not again appear as the organ of the Dissenters of England.

Motion agreed to. Bill brought in, and read a first time.

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