§ LORD ROBERT GROSVENOR
said, he rose to ask, according to notice, the First Lord of the Treasury whether, supposing any members of the band now ordered to play in the parks on Sunday afternoon should object to do so either from conscientious motives or from a desire to enjoy their Sunday holiday, they would be released from that duty. As it had been announced that the system of the military bands playing on a Sunday was to be extended, no doubt some substantive Motion would be brought forward relating to that subject; and he would, therefore, on the present occasion, compress his remarks into a very small compass. He had long ago come to a conclusion that many of our social evils had their origin in the excessive toil which the working classes in this country were compelled to undergo. He had always endeavoured to obtain some limitation of that toil by shortening the time for labour, by opening the parks and other methods, and by preserving to the labouring classes their Sunday as a complete holiday. He was aware that it was the opinion of some persons that it would be advisable to follow the example of continental States with regard to the observance of Sunday, but such was not his opinion, nor did he think that it was the opinion of that House. If the Government, however, were of opinion that it was desirable to provide musical entertainment upon the Sunday, upon the ground that the lower orders would thereby be withdrawn from more questionable proceedings, the proper course for them to adopt would be to come forward in that House and ask for a grant of money to defray the expense of those bands. Whatever might be the opinion of the Government upon that subject, he trusted they would agree with him that no person ought to be compelled to take part in those musical entertainments on a Sunday who felt a conscientious objection to doing so, and to have his religious liberty coerced by the stern power of military discipline. 1912 He believed that to sanction such a course would be repugnant to the feelings of that House and of the country, and wholly inconsistent with the principles of civil and religious liberty. It should be borne in mind that it was impossible to provide amusement for one part of the people on the Sunday without trenching upon the religious liberty of another part, and that it would be much more desirable to establish a half-holiday on Saturday and provide musical entertainments on that day than to sanction such proceedings on the Sabbath. Perhaps the noble Lord at the head of the Government had taken no part in this movement, and it was only a freak of the right hon. Baronet the Chief Commissioner of Works; hut still he trusted that the noble Lord would not treat the question as one of military discipline, but would give the House an assurance that he would communicate with Lord Hardinge upon the subject, and endeavour to obtain from him a promise that the members of the bands should not be forced to perform on Sunday against their will.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
said, that he had the highest respect for the motives by which his noble Friend who had just sat down was actuated in putting his question, neither did he yield to his noble Friend in his respect for the principles of religious liberty. He must, however, say, that the remarks of his noble Friend wore little less than an invitation to soldiers to object, upon one pretence or another, to the performance of any military duty whatever upon a Sunday. Surely the noble Lord might have left the subject of his observations to be dealt with at the discretion of the Commander in Chief. He (Sir De Lacy Evans) understood that the Chief Commissioner of Works had obtained the assent of that noble and gallant Lord to the playing of the bands in the parks on Sunday, and considering that such was the case, and that soldiers had many important duties which they must perform upon the Sabbath, he did not think it desirable that a question which tended in any way to interfere with their necessary discipline should be discussed in that House.
§ SIR JOHN TROLLOPE
said, he wished to correct a mistake into which the right hon. Baronet the First Commissioner of Works had fallen when referring to that subject the other evening. The right hon. Gentleman had given the House to understand that it was with the entire concurrence 1913 of the commanding officer of the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards it had been determined that the band of the regiment should play in the park on Sundays, and all the arrangements for carrying out that determination had been adopted. Now, he (Sir J. Trollope) was authorised to state, that although Colonel Williams, the officer in question, had assisted in carrying the resolution into effect, he had had nothing to do with its adoption; and he had, in fact, merely obeyed the orders he had received from the authorities at the Horse Guards in the matter.
THE MARQUESS OF BLANDFORD
said, he felt bound to enter his decided protest against the principle laid down the other evening by the right hon. Baronet the First Commissioner of Works, with respect to the Government affording amusement to the public of a Sunday. It was his solemn conviction that if that principle were once admitted, one of the most important rights of this country—the right of every labouring man to have one day of rest in the seven—would be seriously imperilled. It might be said that the soldier was hired to obey implicitly the orders of his officers in every military matter, that in fact was the argument of the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster (Sir De L. Evans), but he should observe that he did not think that performing in the parks on a Sunday was a point in which a question of military discipline was involved. If compensation was to be made to the bandsmen for their time and trouble, in that case it was clear there must be a distinct contract entered into between them and the Government, independently of their contract with the Crown for the performance of military duty. It should be remembered that if the men were under military discipline the colonels of regiments were also under military discipline. But suppose a colonel should object on conscientious grounds to that use of his band, in what position would he be placed? Let him (the Marquess of Blandford) call attention to the strange state of things which might then arise. It was well known that the Government did not pay for all the bandsmen; and if one man was withdrawn from a band the whole body might be broken up. If such an order as that he was then considering was issued to a colonel who had conscientious objections to the performance of military music on Sunday, might he not withdraw a portion of the band, or might 1914 he not send the band out without instruments, for the instruments were provided by the officers and not by the Government? A case had actually occurred in which the commander of a regiment, having been ordered to send a band to some place of which he did not approve, sent them with their swords but without their instruments. The Government might thus, in carrying out that new practice, help very considerably to bring military authority into disrepute. Some colonels would rather cut their right hand off than offend their religious scruples; and thus might often happen instances of disobedience to the orders of the Commander in Chief. Another inconvenience which he thought would arise from that measure was, that it would destroy that quiet in the park which many people wished to enjoy there on Sundays. He was anxious to see as many parks as possible provided for the innocent recreation of the people; but he would ask the Government to consider the inconvenience which must follow from the collection of some 60,000 or 70,000 people in a single park on a Sunday, creating what many persons would consider a nuisance and a subject of great offence. He was aware that it was the practice for the Governments of foreign countries to provide amusements for the people; but in this country the duty of providing public amusements had hitherto been left to private individuals. A new system, however, had just been introduced among them; and he wished to know whether that innovation had been considered by the Government in its collective capacity, and had been made a Cabinet question? It was the introduction of an important principle, which the right hon. Baronet intended, according to his own statement, to carry into far more extensive operation, and in his (the Marquess of Blandford's) opinion such a change ought not to have been made without the most careful consideration on the part of Her Majesty's Government. What was the reason that the Crystal Palace could not be opened on Sundays? It was because by the terms of the charter they could not be allowed to take money at the doors on Sundays. The House had likewise decided that the British Museum and the National Gallery should not be opened on the Sabbath. But if the Government were to adopt the principle that they might enter into arrangements by which they would pay bandsmen 1915 for playing on the Sunday, why might they not equally pay the Crystal Palace Company for throwing that building open on the same day? Under those circumstances he wished to ask the noble Lord at the Head of the Government whether the steps taken for providing public amusement for the people on the Sundays at the public expense had been considered, or would be considered, by Her Majesty's Ministers sitting in Cabinet Council?
§ MR. OTWAY
said he had never heard a more singular argument than that which had just been advanced by the noble Marquess. The noble Lord stood forth as an advocate for popular recreation; and had said that he was most anxious that the parks and other open spaces where they might enjoy pure air should be accessible to the people. And yet, while supporting that argument, he complained that by the parks being opened to the populace, the performance of the bands attracted so many thousands of the inhabitants of this metropolis to the parks that it disturbed the privacy of himself and other gentlemen living in the vicinity. There was another inconsistency also on the part of the noble Lord. The object of the noble Lord, as just stated, was that the parks should be open for the recreation of the people on a Sunday; but that, of course, implied the necessity of many persons, as park-keepers, for instance, being in attendance at the parks. The noble Lord, however, did not extend any portion of that sympathy to those individuals which he had so largely and, as it appeared to him (Mr. Otway), so unreasonably extended towards the regimental bands. The noble Lord had stated that on one public occasion the hand, being partially under the control of the colonel of the regiment and of the officers in their corporate capacity, was sent without their instruments, and with their swords only. He had no reason to doubt that circumstance, as he had the honour of holding a commission in the regiment in which it took place. But that was a matter very easily to be dealt with, according to the rules of common sense. If it were necessary for military purposes to have a band attached to a regiment, the band ought not to be provided at the partial expense of the regiment itself; but the whole expense ought to be provided for by the country. The officers, who already received very small pay for their services, ought not to be mulcted of thirty 1916 days' pay in order that the regiment might have a band. He could not resume his seat without expressing his thanks to the right hon. Baronet the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works, and also to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, for the great service and benefit they had conferred on the people of this metropolis by the innocent recreation which had been afforded to them by allowing the military bands to perform in the parks on a Sunday for their amusement and recreation. He trusted the right hon. Baronet would would not be deterred from pursuing his present course by what had fallen from the noble Lord the Member for Middlesex (Lord R. Grosvenor), for whose motives he (Mr. Otway) entertained the most profound respect, but who, he believed, was advocating views that were altogether opposed to the wishes of the people. He sincerely hoped that the Government would allow this innocent means of recreation to continue, and that they would soon see the 70,000 persons who now attended the parks turned into 140,000.
§ MR. WIGRAM
said, the hon. Gentleman was in error in supposing that the object of the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford) was to keep the parks quiet for his own privacy. It was also quite a mistake to suppose that this was a question whether it was consistent with the due observance of Sunday to visit the parks and listen to music on that day. The question involved was of supreme importance to the working population of the whole empire. In a busy country like England there necessarily existed a great temptation to employ working men on the Sunday. Any one acquainted with the great shipping ports of Southampton and Liverpool must be aware that the labourers and others were compelled to work in the docks during the whole of Sunday, owing to the great zeal and zest with which the making of money was pursued, and that evils arose from the practice of a most lamentable and serious character. One thing which had hitherto suppressed the practice was the prevalence of sound religious opinion as to the observance of Sunday; and the important point in the present question was, whether the Government were, by the force of their example, in employing persons to work for amusement, to establish the principle à fortiori that they might be employed for purposes of profit. He saw no distinction 1917 between the two. He thought it impossible to exaggerate the importance of the matter to the labouring classes. It was useless to talk of military duty. The proposal came from the Woods and Forests, and he could not see what difficulty there could be in the Chief Commissioner informing the House whether he would take care due regard should be had for the conscientious scruples of those soldiers who were asked to play on the Sabbath.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, he wished to point out that the noble Lord (the Marquess of Blandford) had put a very grave and legitimate question—not whether it was a point of military duty that the bands should play, when ordered, on Sunday as any other day, but whether the right hon. Baronet the First Commissioner of Works could justify contravening a principle laid down by a recent vote of the House of Commons. It was not the Sunday question, but a grave constitutional question. He understood the Vote of the House, taken under the influence of a powerful speech by the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer), laid down the principle, that while nothing was more proper than that parks and public grounds should be thrown open to the public on Sunday, yet that anything like concourses of people, or a large organisation of spectacles, theatrical representations, and all that class of public amusements belonged to the customs of other countries, but was dissonant to the habits, customs, and feelings of this country. That principle was affirmed by a large majority of that House, and no one could doubt that the decision was impelled by the very prevalent feeling of the community. That being the case, he was going to say it was "a dodge," but, at all events, it was cheating the House out of the principle they had affirmed, for a Minister of State to take upon himself to institute, organise, and to say he intended more largely to organise these concourses of people in the parks. Having succeeded so well with the attraction of music in one park, this amusement, with the addition of refreshment booths, was to be extended to every other park in the metropolis. However consonant the plan might be with the feelings of the people, he called upon the First Commissioner to state whether he considered that his proceedings were consonant with the constitution of England? No doubt, a band of music would draw a great rabble of people anywhere; but, judging 1918 from the petitions to the House, the better classes were not favourable to such an arrangement. It appeared to him that the right hon. Baronet had taken a step which—to use the mildest language—might be considered presumptuous. He was aware that the First Commissioner was connected with high and distinguished families in Prussia, and perhaps, having seen their customs abroad, the right hon. Gentleman thought it far more philosophical to introduce the Prussian mode of keeping Sunday into England. But he felt convinced that the people of England took a different view of that system, and he thought it humiliating to hear the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Otway) thank the Government, as if it were their duty, as in ancient Rome, to afford games for the people. He would suggest that the noble Lord (Lord R. Grosvenor) should bring the House to a distinct Vote upon the question, before it became a settled institution, at the mere will and pleasure of the right hon. Baronet, and in opposition to an opinion so recently expressed.
§ MR. H. DRUMMOND
said, that so far from thinking it was beneath the dignity of an administration to provide circenses as well as panem for the people, his opinion was that the Government of this country had gone a great deal too far in the opposite direction, and had too much allowed the old amusements of the people to die out without introducing any new amusements in their stead. It appeared to him that some Gentlemen did not properly apprehend the difference between a festival and a fast. But he had risen principally for the purpose of referring to a military question involved in that discussion. Two friends of his, who were officers in the Artillery at Malta, having received an order to fire a salute during the celebration of what some persons would call an idolatrous worship, had disobeyed the order; they had in consequence been censured by their immediate superiors, and the Duke of Wellington, under whose notice the matter had been brought, had thought the matter one of so much importance, that he had directed these officers should be tried by court-martial. The result was, that they had both been broken. He (Mr. Drummond) had entered a good deal into communication at the time with the late Sir George Murray, then Master General of the Ordnance, upon the subject of that court-martial and its verdict. But he had to confess that it appeared to him the 1919 ground upon which the Duke of Wellington had put the case was unanswerable. The noble Duke said—If I were to allow Protestant officers to disobey their orders, because they think that by executing them they would be assisting at what they considered an idolatrous ceremony, what should I have done with the Spanish, or the Portuguese, or even the Irish regiments at Badajoz, if the besieged forces had held out a banner of the Virgin in front of them, and those regiments had refused to fire on it?He (Mr. Drummond) believed that a military man ought not to be allowed to disobey orders for conscientious scruples. If a soldier did not wish to conform to the rules of his profession, let him leave the service. It was troublesome enough to have to deal with the consciences of civilians, but let that House, in Heaven's name, have nothing to do with the consciences of military officers.
§ SIR BENJAMIN HALL
said, he was anxious to say a few words in consequence of the attack made upon him by the hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley). The hon. Member stated that, presuming on some power he might have as Minister of the Crown, he had contravened a Vote of the House of Commons given very recently. He denied any such allegation. He was not aware that the question now before the House was brought at all under discussion when that Vote was taken. [Mr. ADDERLEY said, he had stated that the principle of the Vote had been contravened.] He would go back to that, and would call attention to what took place previously to the Vote being considered in the House. He would remind the House that last autumn he took the course which he was now following. No objection was made to it. He believed, on the contrary, that the great mass of the community—and it could not be supposed they were all irreligious—cordially approved of it. The hon. Gentleman had taunted him because he was connected with some Prussians. He was proud to be immediately connected with one of the most distinguished men in Europe, M. Bunsen, who was his brother-in-law. What the hon. Gentleman meant to say, he presumed, was, that in consequence of that connection he had taken the course which since last autumn he had pursued. He also denied that allegation. The noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Marquess of Blandford) said, that it was the practice and almost the duty of foreign Governments to provide some recreation for the people on Sundays; but 1920 that it was the first time that recreation had been offered to the people of this country on Sundays, and that expenses had been incurred in reference to that object. He denied that allegation also. He remembered when it was first proposed to open Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens on Sundays. Precisely the same objections were made to the intentions and acts of the First Commissioner of Works when those public places were opened on Sundays which were taken now to the course he had adopted. Since that period Votes had been granted for the purpose of paying persons to watch and protect property, so that the public might be admitted without damage to those places of public resort. But, although great objections were taken at the time to the opening of Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens on Sunday, and although the number of visitors on a Sunday at Hampton Court was frequently 20,000, and to the Gardens 14,000 or 15,000, yet he would undertake to say that from the time they were opened to the present moment, no Member of the House of Commons had got up to complain of the recreation thus afforded to the public by the First Commissioner of Works. And if any hon. Gentleman should get up and propose to shut up those places of resort on Sundays, he ventured to say he would get very little support in that House. The noble Lord also complained that a great nuisance was created by the number of persons assembled in Kensington Gardens on Sundays. Now, he certainly did not think that any such nuisance had been created. To him it was one of the most pleasurable sights to see the great masses of the people thus collected. There was a distinction between a mob and a crowd, and he must express his conviction that the crowd collected to hear the bands had conducted itself in an admirable manner. But had there not been other assemblages in Hyde Park. A great deal had been said depreciatory of the conduct of that assemblage, which amounted, indeed, to a real desecration of the Sabbath. But he did not view the assemblage of persons to hear the music of the military bands in the same light. He could assure the House that he had received communications from every part of the metropolis thanking him for the course he had taken—urging him to continue it, and begging him not to allow himself to be diverted from his intentions, or to suppose that the people who went to the parks to listen to this music 1921 were actuated by irreligious feelings or a desire to desecrate a day set apart for better purposes. He declined to go into the question of military discipline; but there was one point touched upon by the hon. Baronet the Member for South Lincolnshire (Sir J. Trollope) to which he must refer. What he (Sir B. Hall) stated previously was, that he had communicated with the Commander in Chief, requesting him to allow the bands to play, and leaving it to him to communicate with the commanding officers of regiments. All that he had stated with regard to Colonel Williams was, that those arrangements which were made subsequently to the order received by him from the Commander in Chief had obtained his concurrence. All he hoped was, that we had not come to a time when we were to be deprived of those recreations that had always been regarded as innocent.
said, that the objections to the course which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Commissioner of Works was pursuing were very strong. The House had recently voted, by a large majority, that places of amusement under the control of the Government should not be opened on Sundays. The right hon. Baronet would allow him to remind him, also, that the petitions presented with reference to that question almost all expressed an opinion against allowing the bands to play in the Royal parks on Sundays. He heartily concurred in the hope expressed by the right hon. Baronet that the time was not coming when we were about to be deprived of our most innocent recreations, for he thought that a Puritanical Sunday was one of the last things to be desired, and was a thing which England, he trusted, never would adopt. But there was a broad distinction between interfering with private persons in their innocent recreations, and introducing a new custom which was not palatable to a very large portion of the public of this country. He knew that this opened up the general question as to what the House of Commons ought to do with reference to the observance of the Sabbath, into which he did not purpose to enter. But his notion was that the observance of the Sabbath ought to be left to the private consciences of individuals; but he thought also that the nation, as a nation, and the Government, as a Government, ought never to require from its public officers an abandonment of a day of rest. That was the only ground which the 1922 Government could take, as a Government. That was a plain, broad, and distinct line, and all the rest ought to be left to the conscience of individuals. The hon. and gallant officer (Sir De L. Evans) had deprecated any interference between a Commander in Chief and the soldiers under him. Upon that subject he, as a civilian, had hardly the right to give an opinion; but it seemed to him that it had nothing to do with the question, for the question was not whether the House of Commons should interfere between the soldier and the commanding officer, but whether the civil authority was to put the military authority in motion to operate upon the commanding officer and the soldier in a manner very unpalatable to the public. Reference had been made to the case of two officers who had been broken some twenty years ago for having refused to salute upon the elevation of the host at Malta, and his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Westminster had for many years endeavoured to have those officers reinstated, because that was a kind of discipline that ought not to be enforced. He did not wish to enter into that particular subject, but the question was whether, before these new customs were introduced, the Government ought not fairly to come down to Parliament and propose the introduction of these practices, and take the sanction of the House if it were disposed to give that sanction; but not to introduce them by the arbitrary power of a Minister of the Crown against the wish of the House and the people.
said, he hoped that the noble Viscount at the head of the Government would not, at the invitation of hon. Members, draw the line and say when the soldier ought to obey the orders of his commander. The band of a regiment was composed of private soldiers, and if they disobeyed the commands of their officers they were liable to be returned to the ranks and do duty as private soldiers. He did not know what would become of the army if they carried this liberty of conscience into the ranks. A colonel of a regiment might be ordered to an attack, and might think he had 500 or 600 soldiers ready to follow him to the death; and then he might find that 500 of them would not pull a trigger, because, in the exercise of their liberty of conscience, they objected to take the lives of their fellow-creatures. People were not obliged to enter the army unless they liked it, but having entered it, 1923 they must abide by the rules and discipline of the service. Suppose soldiers were to refuse, from conscientious motives, to fight on Sundays, what, then, would have been done at Waterloo or Inkerman? If they once allowed such a system to be introduced into the army it would not end with liberty of conscience in religious matters, but every soldier would be told that it was a violation of the liberty of the subject to oblige him to return to his quarters at a certain hour.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, I agree with my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Westminster in thinking that it would be exceedingly inexpedient—to use no stronger word—for this House to take upon itself the administration of the discipline of the army. It would be very inconvenient, and not altogether expedient, excepting in very rare and peculiar cases, for this House to interfere in any act of the military authorities enforcing the regular discipline of the service; and I must say that, if the House please to assume and to discuss hypothetical cases as to when the soldier ought or ought not to obey his superiors, it will strike a very severe blow at the necessary discipline of the army. The question put by my noble Friend the Member for Middlesex is simply a question of military discipline, however he may otherwise consider it; for he asked what course would be pursued by officers commanding regiments, or by the higher authorities at the Horse Guards, if certain members of regimental bands were to decline, on conscientious grounds, to obey an order to play in the parks on Sunday.
§ LORD ROBERT GROSVENOR
I beg the noble Lord's pardon, but he has not stated the purport of my question quite accurately. What I asked was, whether the noble Lord would communicate with the Commander in Chief and obtain a promise from him that no soldier should be compelled, against his will, to play in the parks on Sunday?
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Well, Sir, that is not only inquiring what the Government would do in a certain case, but asking them to pursue a particular course. I must respectfully decline to enter into an explanation upon such a point, the case being altogether hypothetical. But I feel it right to say, after what has taken place, that if any responsibility attaches to my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Works for the course he has pursued, that responsibility falls equally upon 1924 myself; for my right hon. Friend communicated fully and unreservedly with me before he took any steps in the matter under consideration, and he acted with my entire concurrence. Nor do I, by any means, conceive that the course pursued by my right hon. Friend is at variance with the decision of the House upon the Resolution for opening the British Museum on Sundays; for, if one thing remains in my memory more strongly than another, it is that those who opposed that Resolution, in which I myself concurred, drew a distinction between the opening of the Museum and permitting free and unrestricted access to the parks and other public places on Sunday. It is said that the playing of bands in the parks is a new thing. I deny altogether that assertion. My recollection must greatly mislead me if I do not remember that, in early times, bands used to play in Kensington Gardens on Sunday. A band plays regularly at Windsor on Sunday, a custom which has existed from the time of George III., who was a monarch known to be attached, above all others, to the religious institutions of the country, and therefore there is no novelty in the matter. Again, I must dispute the conclusion at which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) has arrived, that the presence of instrumental bands in the parks is the first step toward the employment of the labouring classes on Sunday. But I maintain, Sir, that the reverse is the fact. Anything that gives to the labouring classes in this great metropolis an additional value to the Sunday—that may induce them to resist any temptation which their wages may offer for the employment of their labour, so far from being a step in the direction stated by the right hon. Gentleman, is a fresh barrier opposed to Sunday labour. Of course, a great deal must depend upon the will of the working classes themselves; and if you give them a new motive for reserving the Sunday free from labour you throw an additional obstacle in the way of those who might be interested in inducing them to give up that day to purposes of toil. I attach as much value as any man to the preservation of that religious distinction which has been established between Sunday and the other days of the week; but I cannot think that affording to the population of this great city the means of some intellectual amusement, combined with the recreation of air and exercise in those open spaces which 1925 Parliament, as the guardian of the public purse, has provided for such purposes, is a thing that deserves the censure and disapprobation of the House of Commons. I think that my noble Friend the Member for Woodstock (the Marquess of Blandford) was rather unfortunate in the objection he made, that the accumulation of large numbers of people in those open spaces on Sunday was a departure from the purposes for which they were designed. My noble Friend argued that by drawing great masses of people there we prevent the few from enjoying that contemplative solitude which induces them to believe that they are in some remote region of the country, and not in the immediate neighbourhood of a vast metropolis. I would say, on the other hand, that the greater the number of people attracted thither the stronger the proof that the creation of such places has been a wise and proper application of the public money to provide such outlets for those who, during the rest of the week are confined to their workshops, their narrow alleys, their unwholesome rooms, and the insalubrity of their places of hard and habitual exertion. If I think, as I have stated that I do, that it would be inexpedient for the House to consider questions of military discipline, I certainly regard it as of more importance still that we should abstain from discussing questions of religious doctrine. Let the people act, as has been said, according to their consciences. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Works does not compel any man to go to Kensington Gardens or the parks to hear the band play. Those who go, do so because they think there is no harm in it. Multitudes do go, and therefore it is manifest that multitudes concur with my right hon. Friend in thinking that there is no desecration of the Sabbath in going for a couple of hours, after the performance of their religious duties, to enjoy an intellectual pleasure, combined with the recreation of air and exercise.
§ Subject dropped.