HC Deb 05 July 1848 vol 100 cc137-9

Order of the Day for the Committee on this Bill read.


would state very shortly the course which, as an individual, he intended to pursue in reference to this Bill. In a former Parliament, as well as during the present Session, he had taken the liberty of stating fully to the House the objections which he entertained to the principle of this Bill. Those objections remained unaltered, and, he believed, unalterable, He did not think that any modification the Bill could receive in Committee would remove the objection which he felt to its principle. Moreover, he did not think it expedient, considering that the House, after a full discussion on a former occasion, had decided in favour of going into Committee on the Bill, to obstruct the Speaker's leaving the chair, and to prevent those who were in favour of the measure from changing it as they thought fit. He believed that the Bill was resisted generally by the Established Church of Scotland, and he had reason to believe that it was resisted also by all the Dissenting bodies in Scotland, with the exception of the Free Church. He certainly would take no part in the discussion in the Committee, but should reserve any observations he had to make till it came out of the Committee in its amended form, when he would be prepared to resist its further progress at a subsequent stage; believing that, in addition to the support of the Estab- lished Church and the Dissenters of Scotland, he should then have the support of the Free Church also, in resisting the Bill passing into a law.

House in Committee.

On the 1st Clause being proposed,


said, that as that clause at present stood, it would allow the members not only of every Christian congregation, but of every association whatever, who chose to take a religious form, to compel landlords to sell their land on which to build their places of meeting. Now, he wished to move an Amendment confining the operation of the measure to the relief of the parties at present labouring under the grievance complained of. Now, what was that grievance? That grievance was a single grievance, confined to a limited number of persons in certain localities. It was not a grievance which was suffered by the whole Free Church, or anything like the whole Free Church. It was confined to some twenty or thirty congregations, composed of some 12,000 or 14,000 persons. But the grievance was nevertheless a great and intolerable grievance, and one which called loudly for redress. That grievance had been represented to the House by their own Committee as an intolerable grievance; and in the present state of things it was actually dangerous to the health both of the ministers and of the congregations who were exposed to it. Through the winter and summer these congregations were at present compelled to worship in the open air, or, at any rate, under very insufficient covering—exposed to frost and cold and heavy falls of rain. He appealed to hon. Members how they would feel if they and their families were obliged to attend public worship under these great hardships, and if they had no remedy but that of absenting themselves from public worship altogether? He thanked God that his countrymen, under no hardship or deprivation, would do that. They would go to a place of worship even if they had to stand up to the knees in snow, and if they had no more comfortable place to go to. Every Member must see that that could not be done without very great danger to the health of those congregations; and it was impossible but that already many persons should have fallen victims to the refusal of these sites. This ease was different from anything that could happen in England or Ireland, for in Scotland there were in the hands of a few proprietors properties that more resembled little sovereignties than private estates, some of them extending fifty or sixty miles in length; and it was impossible to get one acre of that land without the consent of the individual to whom it belonged. It had been objected that this should be the subject of a private and not a public Bill; but they had been engaged in that House in passing a measure for enabling land to be taken for securing the public health; and as that Committee had reported that the health of the congregations where sites were refused was suffering in consequence, this was properly made the subject of a public Bill. He did not rest this upon the claim of the Free Church, for that church had nothing to do with it, and he confined his remedy entirely to the grievance which had been reported by the Committee. That grievance was solitary, confined to a certain number of persons and certain localities, and he was sure was temporary only. His proposal, therefore, was that they should so legislate as that, the grievance being proved, they should give redress for that grievance only; and, that being done, that they should put an end to the law, and there should no longer be any remembrance of what passed. If they accomplished that end, he thought they would put an end to the ill feeling that now existed in Scotland on this subject. The hon. Member moved— To leave out the words, 'the members of any religious congregation in Scotland,' in order to insert the words, 'any congregation or congregations of the Free Church of Scotland.

After a brief discussion,

The Committee divided on the question, that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question:—Ayes 58; Noes 55: Majority 3.

List of the AYES.
Adair, R. A. S. Ellice, E.
Anderson, A. Evans, W.
Baines, M. T. Fagan, W.
Bellew, R. M. Fergus, J.
Blake, M. J. Forster, M.
Boyd, J. Fox, W. J.
Brotherton, J. Freestun, Col.
Clifford, H. M. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Clive, H. B. Gordon, Adm.
Cobden, R. Hall, Sir B.
Crawford, W. S. Hastie, A.
Dalrymple, Capt. Hastie, A.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Henry, A.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Hume, J.
Devereux, J. T. Jackson, W.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Kershaw, J.
Drummond, H. Lushington, C.
Duff, G. S. M'Cullagh, W. T.
Duncan, G. M'Gregor, J.
Dunne, F. P. Meagher, T.
Matheson, Col. Scully, F.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Melgund, Visct. Stuart, Lord J.
Milner, W. M. E. Thicknesse, R. A.
Milnes, R. M. Traill, G.
Mitchell, T. A. Watkins, Col.
Mullins, J. R. Wawn, J. T.
Ogle, S. C. H.
Perfect, R. TELLERS.
Prime, R. Bouverie, hon. E. P.
Robartes, T. J. A. Ewart, W.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, C. B. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Anstey, T. C. Macnaghten, Sir. E.
Bateson, T. Matheson, J.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Meux, Sir. H.
Bourke, R. S. Miles, W.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Morpeth, Visct.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Morison, Sir W.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Mure, Col.
Christy, S. Napier, J.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Packe, C. W.
Conolly Col. Paget, Lord A.
Craig, W. G. Raphael, A.
Denison, J. E. Reid, Col.
Dod, J. W. Richards, R.
Duncuft, J. Russell, F. C. H.
Dundas, G. Rutherfurd, A.
Edwards, H. Sheridan, R. B.
Farnham, E. B. Spearman, H. J.
Farrer, J. Spooner, R.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Talfourd, Serj.
Fortescue, C. Thompson, Col.
Frewen, C. H. Trelawny, J. S.
Greene, T. Verner, Sir W.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir J. Verney, Sir H.
Heald, J. Wilson, M.
Hobhouse, T. B. Wyvill, M.
Hodgson, W. N. TELLERS.
Hood, Sir A. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Ingestre, Visct. Wortley, rt. J. S.

MR. ELLIOT moved the insertion of the following clause:— And be it enacted that this Act shall continue and be in force for the space of two years from and after the passing thereof.

Clause read first and second time. On the question that it be added to the Bill, the Committee divided:—Ayes 46; Noes 58: Majority 12.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Farrer, J.
Bagge, W. Fellowes, E.
Bankes, G. Fitzgerald, W. R. S.
Bateson, T. Fortescue, C.
Boldero, H. G. Frewen, C. H.
Bourke, R. S. Gordon, Adm.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Greene, T.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Hobbouse, T. B.
Cayley, E. S. Hodgson, W. N.
Christy, S. Hood, Sir A.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Ingestre, Visct.
Conolly, Col. Lacy, H. C.
Dod, J. W. Macnaghten, Sir E.
Duncombe, hon. A. Meux, Sir H.
Duncuft, J. Mullings, J. R.
Edwards, H. Napier, J.
Farnham, E. B. O'Brien, Sir L.
Packe, C. W. Verner, Sir W.
Paget, Lord A. Wilson, M.
Richards, R. Worcester, Marq. of
Sheridan, K. B. Wyvill, M.
Spooner, R.
Thompson, Col. TELLERS.
Trelawny, J. S. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Tufnell, H. Dundas, G.
List of the NOES.
Anderson, A. Lushington, C.
Baines, M. T. M'Cullagh, W. T.
Barrington, Visct. M'Gregor, J.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Matheson, A.
Blake, M. J. Matheson, J.
Bowring, Dr. Matheson, Col.
Boyle, hon. Col. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Brotherton, J. Melgund, Visct.
Cobden, R. Miles, W.
Crawford, W. S. Milner, W. M. E.
Dalrymple, Capt. Mitchell, T. A.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Pechell, Capt.
Duff, G. S. Perfect, R.
Duncan, G. Phillips, Sir G. R.
Ellice, E. Pigott, F.
Evans, Sir De L. Raphael, A.
Evans, W. Reynolds, J.
Fergus, J. Russell, F. C. H.
Forster, M. Rutherfurd, A.
Fox, W. J. Scully, F.
Greene, J. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Hall, Sir B. Stuart, Lord D.
Hastie, A. Stuart, Lord. J.
Hastie, A. Thicknesse, R. A.
Hayes, Sir E. Watkins, Col.
Hayter, W. G. Wawn, J. T.
Henry, A. Williams, J.
Hume, J.
Jackson, W. TELLERS.
Kershaw, J. Beuverie, hon. E. P.
King, hon. P. J. L. Ewart, W.

House resumed. Bill reported.