HC Deb 27 February 1878 vol 238 cc406-39

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen.)


, in moving that the Bill be read a second time that day six months, said, that the right hon. Member for Sandwich had taken a course which he had no right to complain of in not giving reasons for or explaining the provisions of the Bill, as it was in accordance with the Rules of the House; but it placed an opponent in some difficulty, in consequence of not having the case for the Bill before the House; and, as the matter stood, there was no reason given for this measure except that stated in the Preamble of the Bill— namely, that certain laws had been passed by the Colonies in Australia and sanctioned by the Imperial Government; that other laws of the same kind might be passed and might be sanctioned by the Imperial Government; that doubts had arisen as to the status and legitimacy and rights of succession of the issue of marriages under those laws to property in this country, and therefore it was expedient that such doubts should be removed and the rights of such issue distinctly declared. There were three propositions in the Preamble of the Bill—that Acts passed by Colonial Parliaments had received the sanction of the Imperial Government, that doubts had arisen as to the status and rights of persons affected by those Acts, and that those doubts should be removed. He would state shortly what was the legal status of the parties concerned, the alterations proposed to be made in the law, and the consequences which would follow upon such alterations. By the 5 & 6 Vict. c. 76, power was given to the Governments of New SouthWales and Van Diemen's Land to pass laws for those Colonies; but it was provided that every Bill passed by the Councils shouldbe presented to the Governors of the Colonies for Her Majesty's assent; and it was declared that, according to their discretion, the Governors should assent to it in Her Majesty's name, or reserve it for Her Majesty's pleasure to be made known thereon; and by the 33rd section of the Act it was provided that no Bill should have the force of law until the Governors had signified that it had been sanctioned in the mode required. There were subsequent Acts creating Legislatures in the Australian Colonies, and they contained provisions with regard to the assents to be given to Bills passed by the Houses on the same terms as he had mentioned to the House. That was the foundation of the Legislatures of these Colonies, and similar Acts had been passed for other Colonies. The Australian Colonies, having legislative powers, had, no doubt, passed the Acts which were referred to in the Bill, and he believed that they were the only Colonies which had at present done so. There was another Act, passed in 1865, to which it was necessary to refer—namely, the 28 & 29 Viet. c. 64, which was intituled "An Act to remove doubts as to the validity of certain marriages contracted between subjects of Her Majesty," and it was provided that that law should be deemed to have a certain force and effect in all parts of Her Majesty's Dominions; but that such law should not be applied to persons where, according to the law of England, it was not lawful for persons to contract such marriages. It appeared to him that the last Act had a very important bearing on this subject, as it showed that the attention of the Colonies was directed to the question that no marriages would be recognized in this country where the parties were under the legal disability known in this country, and that the feeling of the Legislature of this country upon this question was that the Colonies should not alter the law in that respect by any Acts of the Colonial Legislatures. That was the present position of the matter. It was now proposed by this Bill to enact that all marriages which had been or should thereafter be contracted by persons domiciled in the Colonies were lawful, and that the issue of all such marriages should enjoy, and be entitled to, rights of succession and otherwise, as they would have been entitled to if the persons had been lawlully married, and the issue were legitimate in the United Kingdom—that was to say, that the issue of such marriages contracted under the Acts of the Colonial Legislatures should, notwithstanding the Act of 1865, be considered legitimate as successors and heirs to real and personal property in this country. The words of the Bill were, in effect, to legalize all such marriages by persons domiciled in the Colonies where such marriages were lawful. He presumed that that meant domiciled at the time of such marriages, and that then the issue should inherit or succeed. But the Bill did not distinctly state this, and suppose some persons who had contracted these marriages should abandon their domicile in Australia and acquire a new one, would their issue be under this Bill legitimate? He thought it would leave them in. a very awkward position in case there should be a new domicile; but, apart from the question of domicile, it should be remembered that succession to real property was governed by the lex loci. He did not know any principle of the law of England better established than that, and he believed that it was the general law of civilized countries; and he ventured to think that there should be very strong grounds shown for altering that law. The Bill also contained a provision that the property in possession of any person should not be affected by the operations of this Act; but he would point out that a person, though not in possession of property, might have a vested interest in it, and might alienate, charge, and assign it; and unless the Bill was altered or modified in this respect, it might operate most unjustly to parties having those vested interests, or on third parties to whom they had been conveyed. Now, the ground put forth by this Bill was that as certain Colonial Legislatures had made valid certain marriages which were not valid in this country, therefore, as much inconvenience might be felt by the issue in not succeeding to real estate in this country as if they were legitimate, the law should be altered to remove that inconvenience. Another ground put forward was that the laws of the Colonies had received Imperial sanction. He was quite prepared to admit that Bills had been passed on this subject by Colonial Legislatures, and that they had been sanctioned by the Imperial Government; but that they were to be applied to any other part of the world than the Colonies themselves he would deny. He could conceive the case of a Colonial Legislature passing an Act which, however it might be required by the special circumstances of the Colony, would be so objectionable in principle that it could never be applied to this country; and he knew of a Colony having passed an Act which absolutely transferred the property of owners to the occupiers, and which left those owners to be remunerated or compensated by Commissioners appointed under the Act; and the owners were compelled to do what was required of them. That Act was sent home, and he believed that for some time the Imperial sanction was refused to it; but it was ultimately sanctioned, because it was considered necessary in the actual state of, and for the purposes of, the Colony; and, so far, it might be considered as in pari materia with the Colonial Acts under consideration. Another argument used in favour of the Bill was that it was greatly desired by the Colonies themselves; but there was no evidence that such was the case. They did not hear of any strong representations from the Colonies on the subject, nor did it appear that the Bill would apply to a large number of persons. In fact, it was only to a few persons, the issue of these marriages, who had inherited landed estates in England, that this change in the law would apply. Now, if once we altered our laws at the desire of the Colonies, we should find it difficult to stop. If we accepted the principle of altering our laws to suit the legislation of the Colonies, what could we say to the law of Scotland? It was well known that in Scotland issue antecedent to marriage was legitimised by subsequent marriage. If we passed this Bill, we should have people in Scotland saying—"We are part of the United Kingdom, and more so than any Colony, and on what grounds can you now refuse to recognize in England such issue as legitimate?" We might then have claims made to certain Peerages in this country by Peers in Scotland, born out of wedlock, but legalized according to the Scotch law. It would be also impossible to refuse to acknowledge foreign marriages between persons incapacitated here. He objected, therefore, to a Bill which would introduce such important changes into our law for the benefit of a limited number of persons. He could not believe that the reasons on which this Bill was supported embodied the real objects of its promoters. This measure was part of a much larger question, and one which had been frequently discussed. The Bill, though ostensibly introduced for the benefit of a few persons in the Colonies, was brought in by those who had been knocking at the door of this House for many years without success, and who had violated the law by marriage with their deceased wife's sister. He thought the Bill was a flank movement on a position which had been assailed in front in vain, and he believed that if it were passed, and that the House thereby established the principle for the Colonies, similar legislation for this country could not be avoided. For these reasons, he moved that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.


, in seconding the Amendment, observed that, whatever opinions might be entertained respecting the desirability of changing any of the marriage laws of this country, it would not be denied that any alteration which affected their general policy ought to be the result of a full and careful discussion. It was not a subject to be decided on a side issue, such as he believed this to be. The partial success which the Bill met with last year was owing to the circumstances that its real nature was hardly understood by the House. Judging from its title only, the Bill was a very innocent one. Anyone, reading the title, might imagine that it in no way affected the marriage laws of the mother country; but it involved the repudiation by Parliament of its deliberate policy when this question was fully discussed on a former occasion. The main argument which had been used last year in favour of the Bill by his right hon. Friend the Member for Sandwich (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) was that because Her Majesty had not exercised her Constitutional right of vetoing the Acts passed by certain small Colonial Legislatures; therefore, Her Majesty approved of the measure itself. But the simple fact was, that Her Majesty was advised that, having given to those Colonies full legislative powers, she ought not to refuse her assent to any Bill which they might pass, so long as great Imperial interests were not involved; but it could not be argued that the non-exercise of the power of veto indicated the approval of this law by the Queen. The present was not a fit occasion to argue the general question of marriage with a deceased wife's sister; but it was impossible to deal with the Bill without touching on that subject, and, as had been shown again and again, the question could not rest with the abolition of one particular prohibition; but it involved the consideration of the prohibition of all the relations of affinity. The Colonial Legislatures might think fit to do away with other prohibitions, but he could not believe that the House was prepared to follow them in such a course. In deciding this matter, therefore, they were not only dealing with Colonial marriages, but with the general question. He did not see how the question of Scotland could be omitted from this legislation. He did not think they should alter their laws to suit the legislation of the Colonies, when they would not do it to suit the law of a country so much nearer them. Why should Scotland be insulted by being left out in the cold when the Colonies were to be treated so tenderly? Then, again, the advocates of the change proposed were constantly asserting that Parliament had so often agreed to their principle that before long the prohibition was certain to be removed in this country also; but the fact was, this question had been submitted to Parliment eight times since the year 1841. [Mr. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN: Not this Bill.] He repeated that the general question had been considered eight times. The Parliaments of 1841, 1859, 1865, and 1874 had rejected the proposal; while, on the other hand, his right hon. Friend was entitled to claim that the Parliaments of 1847, 1852, 1857, and 1868 had approved it. His right hon. Friend, however, was not entitled to speak of the general proposal as one which had been approved over and over again; because, in point of fact, it had been rejected as many times as it had been approved. The objection raised by Lord Carnarvon that those who wished to evade the law here might, if this Bill passed, trip to the Colonies, stay there just long enough to become naturalized—not a very difficult process, he believed—and then avail themselves of the law of Australia, remained in force. Last year, in reply to that objection, the promoters of the Bill, feeling the difficulty, promised to insert words to meet the case; but he looked in vain this year for any such words. Believing that no fresh reason had been brought forward on this occasion to justify the proposed serious alteration in our law, he seconded the rejection of the Bill.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the work "now," and. at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—{Mr. Gregory.)

Question proposed, "That the word ' now ' stand part of the Question."


desired to say a few words in favour of the measure, especially from a Colonial point of view. The hon. Member for East Sussex (Mr. Gregory) had expressed a belief that this measure was merely a covert attempt to bring about an alteration of the marriage law of this country. He (Mr. Baxter) knew nothing about the origin of the Bill, or the motive of the parties who introduced it into the House; he judged the Bill upon its merits, and considered it to be one of very considerable importance so far as the Colonies themselves were concerned. There had been a great deal of discussion both in that House and the country as to our relations with the Colonies; and those who were interested in the question might fairly enough be divided into two parties—one believing in the eventual separation between the mother country and the Colonies, and the other believing that a permament federal connection might be kept up. There were many in this country who thought that Australia, New Zealand, the Dominion of Canada, and South Africa, were too vast and too distant, and had interests too much at variance with those of the mother country to enable them in the long run to keep up any political tie; while there were others who held the contrary view, and believed that there was nothing to prevent the present connection being maintained in the future. He admitted that to the people who took the first of these views, and whom he might be allowed to call the separatists, this Bill was of very little consequence indeed; but it did strike him that this was a measure that must be regarded as of very great importance by those who took the opposite view. Surely hon. Gentlemen who cherished the idea of a perpetual union between England and her Colonies should take every means in their power to remove anything that would have a tendency to disturb the good feeling existing in the Colonies towards the mother country. They ought to see that no kind of justice was denied to the Colonists, and that they had the same rights and privileges as were given to other subjects of the Crown. He did not say for a moment that there were not arguments, and strong arguments, against this Bill; but, however strong might be their objections, those who opposed this Bill were taking a course anything but calculated to promote a continuance of the union between this country and its Colonies. ["No, no!"1 That was his opinion. He had been brought in the course of his life very much in contact with Colonists; and his testimony was that that portion of them, being the majority, who looked forward to a continuance of the union, and who were disinclined to fall under the description of foreigners, regarded this Bill with favour, and were most anxious that it should pass; because they were afraid that if the law were not altered the question would soon give rise to contention and angry feelings. The hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of the Bill had criticized that clause which provided for it having a retrospective effect. That was a suitable question when it went into Committee, and if the words were not sufficient to carry out the whole intention of the Bill, it could be altered. Putting aside that, there remained certainly very few arguments against the Bill. The hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Heygate) had revived the old argument which he had thought was exploded—for the hon. Member for East Sussex did not use it— the holiday argument; and stated distinctly that a person residing in this country might, under the operation of this Bill, visit the Colonies with the object of such a marriage, and so evade the marriage law of this country, and he objected to the Bill that it was not sufficiently definite on the subject of domicile. He (Mr. Baxter) thought they might trust to the Courts of Law in this country to give such a bonâ fide interpretation of the word "domicile" as would render absolutely out of the question any such attempt to evade the law as that mentioned by the hon. Member for South Leicestershire. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last had mentioned the differences that existed between the law of England and of Scotland, and had said that they would next be called upon to legalize in England certain Scotch marriages. He (Mr. Baxter) confessed that our marriage law was very discreditable to us as a nation, and also that it was not to our credit that our marriage laws had not been assimilated long ago; but two blacks did not make a white. He asserted that they must deal with each question on its merits as it arose. It was no answer to the Colonists to tell them that the wisdom of our great legal luminaries had not been sufficient to remove the anomalies existing in the marriage law of the two countries. It was said this was a mere sentimental affair, got up for a particular purpose, and that no practical difficulty had arisen. He might state that the first of the Colonial Acts they were now considering was only about six or seven years old; and he was certain that very knotty questions would necessarily arise, and therefore he was anxious that, acting upon the principle that prevention was better than cure, they should pass this Bill, and so prevent a collision between this country and her Colonies. This question, if left unsettled, was more likely to cause a separation than all the arguments used by those who desired to see the Colonies no longer dependent upon us. The hon. Member who had seconded the Amendment said there was no interest taken by the Colonists in this subject. That was not his own experience. A great many Colonists who were friends of his had asked him very particularly with regard to the chances which the Bill had of passing; and, if he was not mistaken, Memorials had been presented in favour of the Bill from South Australia. He believed if the Bill were not passed the House would hear more about the feelings of the Colonists, for he was of opinion that its rejection would be more likely to bring about a separation than anything else. He had great pleasure in supporting the second reading of the Bill.


Before proceeding to deal with the Bill, I must entirely dispute the position taken up by the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken—namely, that those who oppose this Bill are taking a course not calculated to promote a continuance of the union between this country and the Colonies. I oppose this Bill; but I yield to no one in my desire to strengthen in every way the links that bind the Colonies to the mother country; and only last Session I ventured to support the principle of Confederation on the ground that, if we could by this means secure central Legislatures, we might look forward to having such Legislatures directly represented in this country. I oppose the Bill with some reluctance, because I admit there is a primâ facie case in its favour. There is a primâ facie case in favour of the contention that the issue of a marriage which would be lawful in a Colony should stand on the same footing as the issue of a marriage which would be lawful in this country. But, on the other hand, I hold that the inconvenience of bringing the law of this country into harmony with the law of not all, but some of the most important of the Colonies, in this matter, would be greater than any arising from the present state of things, and affords a complete answer to the apparently reasonable wishes of the Colonists. I am not disposed to lay much stress on "the thin end of the wedge" argument—namely, that if this Bill should become law, it would afford strong grounds for altering the marriage law of this country. Doubtless all the supporters of this Bill will be found in the ranks of those who advocate a change in the marriage law of England. But that measure must be judged and decided on its own merits; and the conditions and relations of a Colony are so different from those of this country, that no reasonable man can contend that a law which is just and proper for a Colonyisnecessarily just and proper, or suited to the requirements in the mother country. It will be observed that the House is asked to legislate in exactly the converse direction to what one would expect. I can understand that if a law is passed in this country, and proved to be beneficial in its operation, the Colonial Legislatures might well be pressed to adopt some such measure, not only with a view to secure to the Colonies the benefits of such legislation, but also to secure uniformity of legislation throughout the Empire. But we are now asked to alter an old established law of England—a rule of inheritance which may affect every honour and all the real property of the realm—because certain Colonies have passed a marriage law directly contrary to the existing marriage law of England To establish such a precedent, a very strong case of hardship must be made out; and such a case the supporters of this Bill have failed to show—whether we look to the number of persons likely to be affected by the existing law, or to the extent to which they will be affected. First, as to the number of persons. It is not to be assumed, because these marriages have been allowed, that there will be any great number of them; nor that in every case there will be issue of such marriages; nor that the parents of children will leave the Colony, break up their domicile there, and commence a new one in England; nor, further, that the parents will buy freehold land here, and then die without making a will. This simple statement serves to show how very few persons, at least for very many years to come, are likely to be affected by the existing law. Secondly, as to the extent of the hardship created by the law. There may be laws of such a harsh and penal character, affecting one class of persons to that degree, that those persons might be excused if they evaded the effect of such laws, even by means not strictly legal. But we aredealing with a well established law of succession, fair in principle, and applying to all persons of all classes. And the effect of it can be got rid of, in all cases where land has been purchased, by a well-known and simple legal step —namely, the making of a will. For reasons with which I need not trouble the House, no hardship can arise in the case of personalty; and the children of these Colonial marriages would be so far on the same footing in this country as the children of marriages legally contracted here. It is only in the case of real property that the lex loci rei site prevails. The extent, then, to which the issue of these Colonial marriages can be injuriously affected, is very small from the pecuniary point of view. There remains the "sentimental" side of the question; and, in using the word "sentimental," I use it in no ironical or disparaging sense, as I can quite understand and sympathize with the feeling of the Colonists when they complain that the taint of illegitimacy attaches to the children of these Colonial marriages. But too much has been made of this complaint. It has been pressed beyond its legitimate bounds. The taint of illegitimacy only attaches when title or succession to realty here are in question, and then only in a modified form, as the marriage itself is recognized as valid, although the consequences which would flow from it in the Colony will not flow from it here. That a marriage validly contracted according to the law of the country by persons bonâ fide domiciled there is valid throughout Christendom is established by such high authorities as Lord Stowell, Chief Justice Tindal, Lord Cranworth, and others; and therein the case differs from that of a marriage contracted according to the laws of a foreign country but by persons domiciled in this country, and who have gone abroad for the purpose of evading the law here, and contracting a marriage which is forbidden here. There is no doubt, I apprehend, that in the former case, if a man came over here, and married again, his second wife being still alive, he would be liable to be tried for bigamy. This being the case, it can hardly be contended that the taint of illegitimacy attaches to the issue of these Colonial marriages. They are treated as legitimate, but they have no capacity to inherit land here, as not born of a marriage which can be contracted in this country. The case of Scotch marriages presents a somewhat close analogy. The Scotch marriage is recognized as valid; but the consequences that flow from that marriage in Scotland —namely, the legitimizing a child born before the marriage—would not be allowed in England where a question of succession to real property arises. What, then, is the state of the case? The Colonist secures in the Colony all the advantages which the Colonial law contemplated, and which the Queen in Council, when sanctioning that law, intended to give, as no Colonial law can have effect beyond the limits of the Colony in which it is passed. He comes over here and finds a well-known and well-established law of succession. We are asked to change this law and to bring it into conformity with the law of the Colony—a law, be it observed, which is contrary to the marriage law of England. If we create this precedent, where are we to stop? We are asked, moreover, to remove one anomaly, although by doing so we shall create a much greater anomaly. At present, in this country, all issue of marriages of deceased wife's sister are on the same footing as to succession and inheritance. We are asked to put the issue of such marriages, if contracted in a Colony, on a different footing. I contend that no case has been made out for altering the law of this country, and for creating a precedent which may prove hereafter very inconvenient.


said, he should have thought the hon. Baronet who had just sat down would have hesitated to give a vote which cast a slur on the Colonies, because it was throwing a slur on them to say that what was the law in Australia would not be right in England. The hon. Baronet objected to the alteration of the law because the persons who suffered from it were very few; but that was an argument which he had great difficulty in hearing with patience, because, if a thing was unjust, the wrong ought to be redressed, whether the persons who suffered from it were to be counted on one's fingers or by thousands. He was glad his hon. Friend did not lay much weight on "the thin end of the wedge"argument—an argument which was most illogical, for it came to this—that they were not to do a thing which was right, because at some future time it might be used as an argument for doing that which was wrong. According to the law it was proposed to change, if a man who contracted a marriage with a deceased wife's sister in Victoria or South Australia, where it was perfectly valid, returned to England, he carried with him his Colonial status for every purpose except the inheritance of real property. Suppose he invested his money in the funds, the children of the second marriage were perfectly legitimate with regard to it, and if he bought the lease of the house in which he lived, the case was the same. But if he bought a piece of freehold land—say for the purpose of building a stable— then he might be a married man within his house and a widower outside it, and his children might be legitimate inside the house and bastards when they went into the stable. That was an anomalous state of things. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on a former occasion, had spoken of anomalies as if they were good things in themselves, like the knots of a tree, which only gave it strength. But they were not to preserve an anomaly because it was an anomaly. It might be said a man need not die intestate. That was an argument always put forward to defend a most unjust law of inheritance. But surely—to say nothing of the descent of settled property — a man ought not to be punished because he had died—it might be accidentally —before he could make a will. It was the duty of the law to make such a disposition of a man's property as he ought to make, and if he had done his duty would have made for himself. For all these reasons, he would support the second reading.


said, he considered the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Denbighshire simply amounted to a begging of the question. The hon. and learned Gentleman had assumed that the ground which the opponents of the Bill had taken up was unjust, that then they declared the injustice so small that it need not be regarded, and that they objected to the introduction of a juster law because it was the thin end of the wedge. Such was not the true state of the case. The opponents of the Bill held that the view of its advocates as to what the law ought to be was an erroneous view, and they considered that the proposed change, though small in itself, would open the way to larger measures of the same description, and, therefore, they felt bound to resist it. He agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman that if an injustice, whether great or small, were done to the Colonists, it ought to be remedied, with this reservation, that it was not worth while for Parliament to legislate about grievances reduced to a minimum. Fortunately a custom had grown up of hon. Members sending round circulars on subjects in which they were interested, giving all the arguments, or nearly all, on their side of the question. One circular last year said that of course it was intolerable that a man should be legitimate for all purposes in Australia and illegitimate for some purposes in Great Britain, and this year the same thing was said in slightly different language. He agreed with his hon. Friend (Mr. Gregory), who had moved the rejection of the Bill, that if we adopted its principle it would be impossible to refuse redress to foreigners who had contracted marriages not in harmony with the law of this country. Foreigners contracted those marriages in ignorance of the laws of this country; but the marriages with which this Bill dealt had been contracted within the last 11 years by Colonists with their eyes open, who fully understood what the law of England was. He asked, was it a proper use of language to apply the term "unjust" to a system which had existed for 500 years, because this country would not change its attitude and bring its legislation into accordance with a law made in some Colonies quite recently? If we were to alter our law owing to a grievance which was admitted to be very small—and he wished some hon. Member would be kind enough to state how many persons it affected—-where was this principle of accommodating our law to the law of the Colonies to stop? The hon. and learned Member spoke of injustice to the Colonies; but our Colonies had come into this position because we had given them Legislatures with liberty to make their own laws, and we were now told unless we made our legal system in all respects coincide with theirs we should be doing them injustice. He must take exception to that line of argument altogether. It was said that the opponents of this Bill showed a want of sympathy with the Colonies; but he entirely repudiated such an idea. He could not help thinking this Bill, if passed, would open the door to endless litigation; and if there was no other reason for opposing the Bill than this, he should say that the peace and quiet, the safeguards which were necessary to the enjoyment of property and the maintenance of the most intimate relations of life which had hitherto existed in this country, rendered it necessary to oppose the Bill.


observed that there could be no difficulty on the question of domicile, because until that was determined, until it was proved that a man was in a condition to contract such a marriage in the Colony, his marriage was not valid. It was a mistake to suppose that the promoters of the Bill were seeking to alter the English law. No alteration was sought to be made in the law of succession to realty or personalty. They had a certain number of persons whose marriages were perfectly valid where they took place, which began to be doubted when they left their own shores, and which ended in having no validity at all when they came to the mother country. It was no answer to say that the Scotch was different to the English law of marriage, for the Scotch was an ancient law, which had grown up no one knew how. The marriages now under consideration were good and valid, having received the sanction of the Queen in Council; and what the Bill did was to place the parties in the same relation to the English law of succession as if their marriage had been contracted in this country. Nothing could be more reasonable. The laws authorizing such marriages were passed in the Colonies; they were reserved for consideration by the Queen in Council; and, that consideration and sanction having been given, what the Bill asked was that, having received the sanction of Colonial law and Imperial law, the parties should be placed on the same footing as if they had contracted marriage in this country. This was not a mere question of property, but of status, which was far more important; and it ought to be settled by a declaratory Act of Parliament stating that, for all purposes, legitimate offspring in the Colonies should be placed in as good a position as the offspring of marriages contracted under the laws of this country.


pressed upon the House to consider how thoroughly fallacious was the allegation confidently put forward that the "domicile" recited in the Bill would be any safeguard against its being misused for personal ends by couples who really belonged to the United Kingdom and not to the Colonies. They all know the courage of the hon. and learned Member for Marylebone (Sir Thomas Chambers), and yet all that he dared to assert in defence of domicile having some calculable value as a protection, was that it was "a difficult question of fact." A difficult question of fact, indeed! When he said that, he gave up the whole case. Nobody assorted that it was a question of imagination; while it was on the difficulty of disproving the alleged fact that the danger arose, and upon which the complication of the whole controversy turned. He claimed, quoting a saying of Sir James Graham, to rise out of the region of Nisi Prius, and deal with the question as one of broad and general policy. He desired to point out some considerations which he was sure must have escaped the attention of hon. Members and others who were tempted to believe that the principle of relaxation, which lay at the bottom of the Bill, was not a matter of first-class importance, as it would only have reference to communities who were more or less English born or English descended; and who might, therefore, be trusted to frame these relaxations in the spirit of English law, English social feeling, and English morality. As to this he contended that the present Bill, although claiming to deal with only one degree, would, if it became law, involve the gift of carte blanche to the Colonies to settle their own marriage law for themselves in every relation. How far, then, would this reputation of English "flesh and blood" continue to operate as a safeguard? He must point out that even if the pet Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Marylebone, entitling a man to call his wife's sister his wife, were to become law, England would still stand unique in the limitations of its marriage law among the nations of Europe. It would be still Marylebone against the Continent — Athanasius contra mundum. The promoters of this measure were now fighting under a mask to legalize for England the alliance with the wife's sister. But in every country of Europe where that union was tolerated, so was that with the brother's widow, and with the man's own niece, and the man's own aunt, sometimes with the formality of a dispensation, sometimes without. Such was the case in Holland, to which the Cape had to say something; and such in France, to which Canada was not un-affined. The present law in France was an Act of the Legislature in the early days of Louis Philippe, dated April 16, 1832. It was short, being simply— The Article 164 of the Civil Code is modified as follows:—Nevertheless, it is permissible for the King [for which, of course, we must now read the Chief of the Executive] to remit for grave causes the prohibitions attached by the Article 162 to marriages between brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, and by the Article 164 against marriages between the uncle and the niece, the aunt and the nephew. These marriages had previously been impossible. As to the professed gravity of the causes, the Lenten Pastoral of the present Archbishop of Paris for 1877 complained of the facility by which such dispensations could be procured, and which had made marriages of the kind dangerously and painfully common. He must note the phraseology of the French law—it was beau-frére and belle-sceur simply, brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Neither France nor any other foreign country recognized, even in its legal language, the differ-once between the wife's sister and the brother's wife. Once any Bill—take this one—passed, it would be one effectual for all the Colonies, not for Australia only; so that French Canada, the Mauritius, the Cape, and ultimately India would lay down the marriage law and marriage customs for Great Britain and Ireland. Could it be supposed that our Colonists of non-British blood would submit to be bound by what they might deem merely British prejudices? They would be agitating for leave to call in Great Britain aunts wives, and uncles husbands, while the man who had boldly faced consequences in England and taken his wife's sister to himself, would find himself cut out in the inheritance entailed upon his race by his younger brother, who had pleased to link the sister of his dead wife to himself in the Antipodes. This was a question on which the House must not allow the Colonies to ride roughshod over the mother country, and dictate what should be the law to regulate the most momentous, delicate, and sacred relations of English private life. He hoped, therefore, this Bill would meet with such a reception as would remove it from the Order Book for the rest of this Session. MR. FORSYTH had been disappointed in not hearing from the most energetic and earnest opponent of this Bill stronger arguments against it. The hon. Member (Mr. Beresford Hope) had talked of the law of domicile as fruitful of litigation, but there was no more difficulty in applying the law of domicile than any other part of English law. It was a mere question of fact to be determined by an English jury. It was necessary, under the Bill as it now stood, that the parties should be domiciled in the Colony—it was not enough that they should have gone there to avoid the law. They must have gone there with a bonâ fide intention of remaining and residing in the Colony. He could see no possible objection to such a law passed by the Colonies and sanctioned by the Queen in Council. There was a great fallacy in the argument that if pressed the Bill the Colonial Legislatures would over-ride the Imperial Legislature, inasmuch as there was no conflict at all between admitting that certain consequences would follow a marriage in Australia, and that different consequences would follow a marriage in England. If there was any conflict at all, it existed now in allowing our marriage law to declare a marriage invalid which we had allowed Colonial Legislatures to declare valid. It was a glaring anomaly that subjects of the Queen should be legitimate in one part of Her Majesty's Dominions and that they should be illegitimate in another. It was only upheld to keep up the old feudal notion about the importance of land. Surely anyone seeking to maintain that extraordinary discrepancy was bound to give the strongest reasons for taking that course. He had himself been unable to discover what possible harm could result from passing this Bill. Nothing was more important than to conciliate the Colonies in every possible way. We held them, not by force of legislation, but by sentiment and feeling; but was it possible to wound in a more sensitive point the feelings of their brother-Colonists and fellow-subjects than by attaching to them as a consequence of a marriage which this country itself had sanctioned the stain and disgrace of illegitimacy? Unless strong reasons to the contrary could be shown by the other side, justice, expediency, and propriety warranted them in saying that this measure should pass.


said, he was unable to concur in a great deal that had fallen from his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Marylebone (Mr. Forsyth). He thought the question of the relative position of England and the Colonies on this matter had been misunderstood. The question really stood thus—The right of succession to property in this country was part of the law of this country; and this was a Bill which, under the guise of doing something for the Colonies, and of giving them rights, attempted in truth to treat the law of England as being subordinate to that of the Colonies. It was admitted that there was a conflict of law on the subject between the Colonies, Scotland, and England; but why was the mother country to give way? Was there to be no right in this country to have its laws respected and its right of succession regulated according to its own law? Suppose this country were to attempt to force upon the Colonial Legislature some law of succession which would give a title to land different from that conferred by the law of the Colony, what would hon. Members, speaking on behalf of the Colonies, say? They would immediately say that this country was endeavouring to tyrannize over her Colonies which it ought to conciliate by every means in its power, and to force upon them a law of succession which their laws and their Constitution did not recognize. Why was not the same argument to be applicable to this country? It was not, as the hon. and learned Member had suggested, keeping up the old feudal notion about the importance of land; but the law of real property was based upon the, to him, perfectly intelligible principle that there was a difference between moveable and immoveable property. Were the Colonies to be permitted to legislate for the mother country upon such a question as this? He could not help thinking that this grievance was not much felt in the Colonies, but that the question was now introduced as one step towards the introduction of another measure which had frequently been before the House. There were some persons who looked upon marriages with a deceased wife's sister as immoral; and though he did not at present state his own opinion on the question, it must not be assumed that the subject was incapable of argument on the ground taken by those who adopted the view to which he had referred. Then it had been said that questions might arise from the conflict of the law which would give rise to serious and painful inquiries, and in that he quite agreed. It was easy to say that the law of domicile was as easily applied as any other branch of the law; but they must remember that two juries often took opposite views of the same set of facts, and, indeed, that there was a liability to constant conflict over matters of real property; and, under this Bill, they would probably be called upon to determine 20 or, perhaps, 30 years after the event, whether a person had gone abroad with the bonâ fide intention of taking up his domicile there, or for the purpose of evading the law. Domicilo might be roughly described as a man's home; but where a man had two establishments, it would have to be argued long after the death of the parties which of the two was the place he elected to make his home. Thus a door would be opened to all kinds of difficulties; and, in the absence of any demand for the change from the Colonies, the House would certainly be justified in resisting it. It had been said that by the existing law persons had been entrapped into positions they never thought they would occupy, but was that really the case? Was any person ever debarred from the right of inheritance in this country by the operation of the present law? No such case had been shown. Surely, when they tried to force on the country such a law of succession, it was relevant to consider whether there was anyone that suffered; for, if not, the Bill was not a genuine Bill for the purpose it aimed at, but a Bill intended as a step to the ulterior end of legalizing marriage with a deceased wife's sister. The hon. and learned Member for Marylebone had misunderstood entirely the argument as it had been used in regard to the law of Scotland. No one had advanced so foolish an argument as that the anomaly between the Scotch and English law justified the maintenance of another anomaly. But it was argued that if Scotland chose to keep up a certain marriage law, and if England and the Colonies chose also to maintain a different law, each had the right to say what should be the law of succession—what was immoveably fixed in either.


said, there was no analogy between the case of Scotland and that of the Colonies. The Bill was justified by the glaring anomaly it proposed to remove. He should be sorry to speak lightly with reference to such marriages, because he had known them to prevail among the most moral communities in the world. They had had such marriages among sections of the people whose domestic life was an example of purity, and it was too late now to take up the argument of morality against the passing of this Bill. It had been said that the passing of this measure would create various complications, but the fact was that those complications existed under the present state of the law. It was in the interests of morality, justice, and right that the Bill should pass, and he should, therefore, give his vote for the second reading.


said, the very ground of the objection to this measure was that it proposed to deal with the most ancient system of jurisprudence that existed in this country. It could not be too deeply impressed that the question ef marriage with a deceased wife's sister did not operate here. The question really was this—a law of a particular character having been passed in the Colonies, they were in England to alter their own jurisprudence in deference to the convenience of a few persons living on the other side of the world, who might have the good fortune to inherit land in this country. They had given the Colonies a certain amount of independence; but were they, therefore, bound immediately to give effect in this country to all the laws passed in the Colonies? He thought not. If it were held that it was otherwise, he contended that then an end would be put to the independence with which the Colonial Governments were entrusted for passing laws for local purposes; because in this Bill they were virtually submitting to the Imperial Government a local Act for approval. It had been said that we ought to alter the law of inheritance; but no sufficient reason had been given for making any change in that part of our system of jurisprudence. Although there was a provision in the Bill that it should not have a retrospective effect, he believed that it would materially interfere with rights which at present existed. He held, however, that if this Bill were passed it would not deal with the parties to the marriage; it would only affect the issue of the marriage. The Bill did not affect the status of the person who who was the wife in the Colonies, and, consequently, this great grievance was one which would not be touched by the Bill.


said, that although the Bill was an attempt to begin legislation at the wrong end, and that they should have first dealt with the question of marriage with a deceased wife's sister in this country, he would vote for the second reading. The Bill before them, no doubt, proposed that they should deal with those who had least claim upon Parliament before dealing with those who had the most claim upon them; but he could not admit that that was a sufficient reason for rejecting the Bill if the claim on which it was founded were in itself a just one. It was only asked for our Colonists that marriages lawfully contracted in the Colonies should be placed on the same footing that foreigners were placed in in this country in respect to marriages contracted in foreign countries, and he had heard no argument which fairly answered that demand.


said, that if the arguments of the Solicitor General were duly carried into effect, then the act of justice proposed by this Bill ought to be done to the Australian Colonies. This law as to marriage with a deceased wife's sister had been sanctioned already, and every woman so married in Australia was duly married, and the issue was legitimate. But what would be the consequence of a rejection of this Bill? In his opinion, it would be considered as an insult to the Colonies; and the moment a man landed in England, he would be able to leave his wife, who, with her children, might go to the workhouse.


said, that if the Colonists were likely to consider themselves insulted he should look upon the question in a different view from that which he now entertained. His hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Mr. Alderman Cotton) had, in effect, said that if a person were married in one part of the British Empire according to the law which now prevailed that marriage would not confer certain rights upon his children, and therefore that person had a grievance, and would consider himself insulted. Surely such an observation, if it applied to that case, would also apply to the differences which existed between the marriage laws of England and Scotland. A man married, in Scotland, in circumstances which did not give his children a right to inherit property in the Kingdom of England. If such a man— as was not unfrequently the case— possessed property in Scotland and England, when he died his property in Scotland would go to his children, according to the Scotch law; that in England would not go to his children, because they were not legitimate according to English law. No doubt that was an exceedingly inconvenient state of things, and one which fairly required serious consideration; but still it was quite impossible to say that it constituted an insult to Scotland. If it was not an insult in the case of Scotland, neither could it be said that an insult was passed by England upon Australia because the law existing in the latter gave rights which the law of the former did not give, and that Parliament refused to alter the law of England. They were bound to consider the matter on two distinct grounds—first, as to whether there was any Imperial necessity for altering the present law; and next, as to what sentimental argument could be adduced in its favour. He used the word sentimental in the way it was always used in that House, and not at all as a term of reproach; for he believed that in a matter of this kind sentiment was to be observed and respected. He ventured to think, however, that if sentiment should be observed on the one side, it should be respected on the other also. The Bill did not seem to touch the question which had been raised by a great many hon. Gentlemen as to the status of the married persons themselves when they came to this country. It was said what a grievous thing it was, that when certain persons who were legally married in Australia came to England they should be placed in a position which was extremely painful, socially. Well, it was supposed that the Bill would cure that grievance. It appeared to him that the title of the Bill was one which could not be justified. It was called a Bill to legalize certain Colonial marriages. He was unable to see how the Bill legalized any Colonial marriages at all. It dealt with rights of succession, and was intelligible in reference to that subject; but it did not seem to him to touch the question of legalizing marriages. He did not say whether a person coming to this country, who had married his deceased wife's sister in Australia, would be liable to an action for bigamy if he married another woman in England, or to penalties if he deserted his wife. That was a question for lawyers. The Bill left it as it was, and only, in his view, applied to the right of succession to a particular kind of property. If that were so, the sentimental ground was put very much into the background, and they should consider the matter on the ground rather of practical convenience. But surely on that ground it was a question which most obviously had two sides, and was the balance of inconvenience on the side of not passing the Bill? As had been well pointed out by his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General and the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge (Mr. Marten), the proof of domicile a long time after the marriage and death of the person married involved great difficulty and great uncertainty as to the results in suits which might arise upon it. Then, again, there would be great inconvenience and great injustice in the case of a man first in succession losing his right because his father had contracted in England a marriage precisely similar to that which was contracted in Australia by the father of a man second in succession. Not only would great inconvenience be sustained in such a case, but grievous wrong and great injury would be inflicted. But while the argument as to inconvenience was urged in favour of the passing of the Bill, it should be remembered that the inconvenience was one which could be remedied by the simple act of making a will. Then, as to what had been said in reference to the relations between the Colonies and the mother country, he wished to put the question before the House in what appeared to him to be the proper point of view. There had been in this country a controversy as to the propriety of legalizing a marriage with a deceased wife's sister. That controversy had been going on for a great number of years, and was likely to continue. Without expressing any opinion on the merits of that subject, he might say it was one on which there were strong feelings on both sides of the question, and up to this time the country had refused to alter the existing law. Upon the question an opinion was strongly expressed in one of our Colonies, and prevailed in its Legislature, which passed an Act which came home to the Sovereign for acceptance or rejection. Was the Sovereign to reject that Act on the ground of personal objection to it, and overrule the wishes of Parliament in South Australia or elsewhere? That was a serious question. Or was the Crown to decide in accordance with the feeling in this country? The Sovereign said it was an Act which related only to the internal affairs of the Colony, and seeing that it was desired by the Colony and by the Legislature there, the Sovereign confirmed the Act. If she were to refuse on Imperial grounds to give her assent, the Colony would have a right to complain. But if, when the Act had been sanctioned simply for Colonial purposes—it was used as a lever to bring about an alteration of the laws of England, would not the effect be, as had been said by the Solicitor General, to subordinate the law of the country to the law of the Colony, and the Legislature of this country to the Legislature of the Colony? Could anyone doubt that the passing of the Bill would stimulate to renewed exertions the advocates of a change in the law of England in reference to the marriage with a deceased wife's sister? And the consequence would be that when Acts came from the Colonies for approval and rejection, the Crown would have to look beyond the four corners of the Act, and consider what would be the incidental effect of approval upon legislation at home; so that the result might be to put greater restrictions than at present existed upon legislation for the Colonies. The effect of the course of legislation now proposed would be to disturb the excellent principle of self-government which prevailed in the Colonies; and, upon that ground alone, he was prepared to give his most earnest opposition to the Bill.


said, that during a somewhat lengthy Parliamentary experience he had always noticed that, however plain and simple might be the issue before the House, the moment it was dealt with by legal minds it became enveloped in mystery. For once in his life, therefore, he would take the advice of his hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope), and, leaving the region of Nisi Prius, deal with the question before them as one of broad and general policy. He could not but observe that this year, as last year, most of the arguments against the Bill rested upon small points which might well be considered in Committee, while the main principle of the Bill had scarcely been touched at all. It had been a subject of comment that he had not stated his arguments in favour of the Bill on moving the second reading. It scarcely lay with those who did not come down to the House till a quarter-past 1 o'clock to complain that he had not made a speech to which they had evidently had no intention of listening. But he had, he confessed, another reason for postponing to the end of the debate the few observations he proposed submitting to the House. When moving the second reading of the Bill last Session, he had advanced arguments which he believed to be sufficient until something new was said in reply to them. They were arguments which, addressed to a House of Commons of which the large majority were his political opponents, were considered rightly and justly, not upon any political or Party grounds, but upon the grounds of common right and justice, and secured a majority of 51 for the second reading of his Bill. But, on asking his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to facilitate further discussion on the Bill, he had replied that, although he could not do so, he should like to have addressed the House and urged some arguments against it which had not been adduced. Therefore, this year he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) had awaited with feelings bordering on anxiety the new arguments which might be adduced by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But, after all, he had only found one new argument. His right hon. Friend objected to the title of the Bill. With great respect to him, the objection was hardly worthy of his right hon. Friend. It was not, he said, a Bill to legalize marriages at all. Well, the answer was, that its effect, if passed, would be to legalize the marriages to which it referred in the only way in which they could be legalized—namely, by legitimizing their issue in this country. Much had been said as to subordinating the law of England to the law of the Colony. He did not think that that was a fair description of the effect of the Bill. It would not, and he did not seek that it should, subordinate the law of England to the law of the Colony; but it would relax its operation in one particular point, not with regard to British subjects who had committed an illegal act in England, but with regard to British subjects who had committed a legal act in the Colonies. It was a matter purely affecting persons resident in the Colony, and would remove a grievance which they felt and of which they complained, and that without touching a single Enghshman resident in this country. And in all these questions it was impossible to lay down a general rule. They must be dealt with each as it arose; and if, without injuriously altering the laws of England, they could in any respect be made to harmonize with Colonial legislation, the tie between mother country and Colonies would be strengthened. But it was said, how could the Colonial question be touched without an alteration being made in the law of Scotland? That was an old argument, and one which had been urged against every reform which had ever been attempted. The Colonies had demanded that the question should be brought before the British Parliament, and Scotland had not. It was said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Sussex (Mr. Gregory) that a child born in Scotland before wedlock could, by the subsequent marriage of its parents, be rendered legitimate, and that that was not so in England. In that case the law of Scotland condoned an immoral act, while the law of England did not. What the Bill asked the House to do was to sanction an Act which was not immoral, and which was approved by the law of the Colony. To object to this, as the Solicitor General had done, because Scotland had not asked for the same thing, was as if, when a patient went to a doctor and complained of the gout, he should be met with the reply—"It is true that you have the gout, but your neighbour has also the rheumatism, and until he comes here and asks me to prescribe for his rheumatism, no prescription shall you have for your gout." If the people of Scotland asked him to propose an alteration in their marriage laws, he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen), though he should hesitate to interfere in the affairs of a people so well able to manage their own business, would give the matter his best consideration; but he could not wait until they did so before attempting to aid the Colonists. But it was always the same with those who resisted reforms. If you tried a general measure they said it was too large a question to be considered as a whole; and if you attempted to take it in detail, you were told that the details should be considered together as one question. Why were they to refuse this boon to the Colony? Because, it was said, the grievance complained of could be removed by the simple formula of making a will. He was surprised to hear that argument from his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst (Sir Henry Holland), of whom he would say in passing that he had regretted to hear his speech against this Bill, having hoped that during the years they had worked together at the Colonial Office he had learned to take a more broad and generous view of these matters. But how could his hon. and learned Friend advance such an extraordinary argument? Had the House never heard of such a thing as entailed property? How could the making of a will affect the law of entail and settlement? And even where there was no entail, a will would not prevent the grievance to the son of having to pay 10 per cent succession duty as if he were an alien in blood. A good deal had been said as to the bearing the passing of the Bill would have upon the question of marriage with a deceased wife's sister in this country. He had never attempted to deceive the House on that subject. They all knew the exact effect the passing of the Bill would have on that question; but he would remind the House that, although on the one hand it might in one sense advance the larger question as regarded England, the passing of the Bill would have this effect on the other—the stopping of agitation as to it in the Colonies, and the sending to this country of Memorials praying for an alteration of the law. He wished, also, to call attention to the strange attitude of the Church of England upon this question as compared with that of the Church of Rome. The Roman Catholics in that House generally supported the Bill. They recognized the dispensing power of the Pope to allow these marriages, although forbidden by their Church, and they would not inflict a civil disability upon their fellow-countrymen. But the Church of England, and her special champions in that House, denying the Pope's dispensing power, called in the civil power to punish those who disobeyed her supposed doctrine on this point, and caused the result that this was the only Protestant Power in Europe in which these marriages were not lawful. But he argued the passing of the Bill simply as a matter of justice. In the Colonies marriage with a deceased wife's sister was a legal act, and why should they punish people for doing that which was a legal act? And when it was said the Bill would change the law of England, he answered it would do no such thing. If they punished a man for committing an illegal act in England, they should not punish a man for doing a perfectly legal act in Australia. The question had passed through a variety of phases. Once it was opposed on Biblical grounds. That time had passed away, and now it was opposed on the ground of social inconvenience. But if there was social inconvenience, it would all have arisen in the Colonies, so far as this Bill was concerned, and the Colonists had settled that matter for themselves by legalizing the marriages there. Therefore, that argument did not apply to the Colonial Bill, and he asked them, on the other hand, to support the Bill on the ground of justice. Let them suppose the case of two brothers—one, being in possession of an entailed property, remained in England, the other proceeded to Australia and there married his deceased wife's sister; the brother in England died, the other returned to this country with his son, and what did that son find? Brought up in the Colony as the recognized eldest son of his father, treated there as a legitimate child, with no bar against his name or birth, where and when did that bar arise? He should like to hear from some of the learned casuists who opposed this Bill the precise place between Australia and England at which legitimacy ceased and bastardy begun. But what was it that this poor boy would find? He found that the moment he touched the shores of England—a country which he had been taught to regard as the cradle of liberty—a stigma was fastened on him, and that his social status was entirely changed. Was that state of things tolerable? It was not. It was a grievance to the Colonists and a scandal to our civilization. Why, he asked again, should they inflict a penalty upon a man for doing a perfectly legal act? That question had not been and could not be answered. The hon. and learned Member for Cambridge (Mr. Marten) had begged him not to alter these laws because these laws were 800 years old. But if an injustice was shown, and an improvement could be made, it mattered not whether a thing were eight years old or 800—let right be done. The Bill which, as a measure of justice, he hoped they would read a second time, would do no one in this country the least harm, while it would be welcomed and heartily appreciated in the Colonies.


said, that the Bill contravened a fundamental principle of the conflict of laws—the principle that the laws of each country was, as a general rule, exclusive within its territory; so that no country was required to allow a foreign law to be imported within that territory, contrary to the policy of its own law. In the Sussex Peerage case that principle was affirmed by the House of Lords. The Duke of Sussex had contracted a valid marriage abroad. It was primâ facie valid in England, being valid by the lex loci. But it was in contravention of the Royal Marriage Act, and, therefore, void in England as contrary to the policy of English law. So these Colonial marriages were contrary to an English Act of Parliament. He was prepared to meet the question of marriage with a deceased wife's sister. But that question ought to be brought directly before Parliament and solemnly decided, and not brought in indirectly by giving effect in England to a Colonial law which for the present purpose must be considered a foreign law. If the Bill were passed, persons might go to the Colony and acquire a domicile there for the purpose of marrying their wives' sisters, and afterwards return here; and, thus, any number of these marriages might be rendered valid here, contrary to the law of this country and contrary to the intentions of Parliament.

Question put.

The House divided: —Ayes 182; Noes 161: Majority 21.

Adam, rt. hn. W. P. Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.
Amory, Sir J. H. Duff, M. E. G.
Anderson, G. Duff, R. W.
Anstruther, Sir R. Dundas, J. C.
Backhouse, E. Edwards, H.
Barclay, A. C. Egerton,Admiralhn.F.
Barclay, J. W. Eyton, P. E.
Barran, J. Fawcett, H.
Baxter, rt. hn. W. E. Ferguson, R.
Bazley, Sir T. Fitzmaurice, Lord E.
Beaumont, Colonel F. Folkestone, Viscount
Beaumont, W. B. Forster, Sir C.
Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C. Forster, rt. hon. W. E.
Biddulph, M. Gardner, J. T. Agg-
Biggar, J. G. Goldsmid, Sir F.
Blake, T. Goldsmid, J.
Brady, J. Gordon, Sir A.
Brassey, T. Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.
Bright, J. (Manchester) Gourley, E. T.
Bristowe, S. B. Gower, hon. E. F. L.
Brooks, M. Grey, Earl de
Brown, A. H. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Brown, J. C. Gurney, rt. hon. R.
Burt, T. Hankey, T.
Cameron, C. Harrison, C.
Campbell - Bannerman, H. Havelock, Sir H.
Hayter, A. D.
Carington, Col. hon. W. Heath, E.
Cartwright, W. C. Herschell, F.
Cave, T. Hibbert, J. T.
Chadwick, D. Hill, A. S.
Chamberlain, J. Hinching brook, Visct.
Chambers, Sir T. Holland, S.
Childers, rt. hon. H. Holms, J.
Clifford, C. C. Holms, W.
Cole, H. T. Holt, J. M.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hopwood, C. H.
Collins, E. Howard, hon. C.
Colman, J. J. Hughes, W. B.
Corbett, J. Hutchinson, J. D.
Cotes, C. C. Ingram, W. J.
Cotton, W. J. R. Jackson, Sir H. M.
Courtney, L. H. James, Sir H.
Cowan, J. Jenkins, D. J.
Cowen, J. Johnston, W.
Cross, J. K. Jolliffe, hon. S.
Delahunty, J. Kavanagh, A. MacM.
Denison, C. B. Kay - Shuttleworth, Sir U.
Denison, W. B.
Dickson, Major A. G. Kensington, Lord
Dilke, Sir C. W. Lawrence, Sir J. C.
Dillwyn, L. L. Lawson, Sir W.
Dodds, J. Leatham, E. A.
Leeman, G. Rathbone, W.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Redmond, W. A.
Legard, Sir C. Reed, E. J.
Leith, J. F. Rendlesham, Lord
Leslie, Sir J. Richard, H.
Lloyd, M. Ritchie, C. T.
Locke, J. Russell, Lord A.
Lorne, Marquess of Rylands, P.
Lowe, rt. hon. E. Sandford, G. M. W.
Lubbock, Sir J. Seely, C.
Lusk, Sir A. Sheil, E.
Macduff, Viscount Sheridan, H. B.
M'Arthur, A. Simon, Mr. Serjeant
M'Arthur, W. Smith, E.
M'Kenna, Sir J. N. Stacpoole, W.
Maitland, J. Starkey, L. R.
Mandeville, Viscount Sullivan, A. M.
Marjoribanks, Sir D. C. Tavistock, Marquess of
Marling, S. S. Taylor, D.
Martin, P. W. Taylor, P. A.
Mellor, T. W. Tollemache, hon.W. F.
Monk, C. J. Tracy, hon. F. S. A. Hanbury-
Morgan, hon. F.
Morgan, G. O. Trevelyan, G. O.
Morley, S. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Mundella, A. J. Waddy, S. D.
Muntz, P. H. Wait, W. K.
Noel, E. Waterlow, Sir S. H.
O'Clery, K. Watkin, Sir E. W.
O'Conor, D. M. Weguelin. T. M.
O'Donnell, F. H. Wheelhouse, W. S. J.
O'Shaughnessy, R. Whithread, S.
Palmer, C. M. Whitwell, J.
Pease, J. W. Whitworth, B.
Pennington, F. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Perkins, Sir F. Yorke, J. R.
Philips, E. N. Young, A. W.
Plimsoll, S.
Potter, T. B. TELLERS.
Powell, W. Knatchbull - Hugessen,
Price, W. E. rt. hon. E.
Ralli, P. Forsyth, W.
Adderley, rt. hon. Sir C. Christie, W. L.
Allen, Major Churchill, Lord E.
Anstruther, Sir W. Close, M. C.
Arkwright, A. P. Cole, Col. hon. H. A.
Arkwright, F. Coope, O. E.
Assheton, R. Cordes, T.
Balfour, A. J. Corry, hon. H. W. L.
Baring, T. C. Corry, J. P.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Crichton, Viscount
Bates, E. Cross, rt. hon. R. A.
Bateson, Sir T. Cubitt, G.
Beach, rt. hn. Sir M. H. Cuninghame, Sir W.
Beresford, Colonel M. Oust, H. C.
Birley, H. Davenport, W. B.
Blackburne, Col. J. I. Denison, W. E.
Bourke, hon. R. Digby, Col. hon. E.
Bousfield, Colonel Douglas, Sir G.
Bowyer, Sir G. Dunbar, J.
Broadley, W. H. H. Dyke, Sir W. H.
Bulwer, J. R. Dyott, Colonel R.
Burghley, Lord Edmonstone, Admiral Sir W.
Burrell, Sir W. W.
Cameron, D. Egerton, hon. W.
Campbell, Sir G. Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H.
Cartwright, F. Eslington, Lord
Cave, rt. hon. S. Ewing, A. O.
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Fellowes, E.
Chaine, J. Floyer, J.
Forester, C. T. W. Onslow, D.
Freshfield, C. K. Paget, E. H.
Garnier, J. C. Pell, A.
Giffard, Sir H. S. Pemberton, E. L.
Goldney, G. Pender, J.
Gorst, J. E. Peploe, Major
Greenall, Sir G. Percy, Earl
Hall, A. W. Plunket, hon. D. R.
Halsey, T. F. Price, Captain
Hamond, C. F. Raikes, H. C.
Hanbury, R. W. Ramsay, J.
Hardcastle, E. Repton, G. W.
Hardy, rt. hon. G. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Hardy, S. Round, J.
Harvey, Sir R. B. Sackville, S. G. S.
Hay, rt. hn. Sir J. C. D. Salt, T.
Herbert, hon. S. Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.
Heygate, W. U. Scott, M. D.
Hick, J. Selwin - Ibbetson, Sir H.J.
Hildyard, T. B. T.
Holier, Sir J. Severne, J. E.
Holland, Sir H. T. Smite, General
Hubbard, rt. hon. J. Sidebottom, T. H.
Isaac, S. Simonds, W. B.
Johnson, J. G. Smith, A.
Kennard, Colonel Smith, S. G.
Learmonth, A. Smith, rt. hon. W. H.
Lee, Major V. Spinks, Mr. Serjeant
Legh, W. J. Stanhope, hon. E.
Lewis, O. Stanhope, W. T. W. S.
Lindsay, Col. E. L. Stanley, Col. hon. F.
Lloyd, T. E. Stanton, A. J.
Lopes, Sir M. Starkie, J. P. C.
Lowther, hon. W. Stewart, J.
Macartney, J. W. E. Talbot, J. G.
Mackintosh, C. F. Taylor, rt. hon. Col.
M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J. Thwaites, D.
M'Lagan, P. Thynne, Lord H. F.
M'Laren, D. Twells, P.
Majendie, L. A. Verner, E. W.
Makins, Colonel Walker, T. E.
Malcolm, J. W. Wallace, Sir E.
Manners, rt. hn. Lord J. Walpole, rt. hon. S.
Marten, A. G. Watney, J.
Merewether, C. G. Whitelaw, A.
Mills, Sir C. H. Williams, Sir F. M.
Monckton, F. Winn, R.
Montgomerie, R. Woodd, B. T.
Montgomery, Sir G. G. Wroughton, P.
Moray, H. E. S. H. D. Wyndham, hon. P.
Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Newdegate, C. N. Yeaman, J.
Noel, rt. hon. G. J.
North, Colonel TELLERS.
Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H. Gregory, G. B.
Hope, A. J. B. B.

Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.

Main Question put, and agreed to.