HC Deb 09 March 1886 vol 303 cc305-67

, in rising to move the following Resolution:— That, as the Church of England in Wales has failed to fulfil its professed object as a means of promoting the religious interests of the Welsh people, and ministers to only a small minority of the population, its continuance as an Established Church in the Principality is an anomaly and an injustice which ought no longer to exist, said, that the Church of England prided itself on being the Church whose ordinances and discipline commended themselves to the majority of the people of the country. It might be that the Church of England commended itself to the majority of the people of that country; but, at any rate, no Church could justify its position as the Established Church of a country unless it was the Church of the majority. He now proposed to bring this question before the House, solely on the ground of the nationality of Wales and of the Welsh Church. So far as the English people were concerned, he did not intend to say anything with regard to their wishes. As a Welshman, representing a Welsh constituency, he well knew that, whatever the position the Church of England might hold in England as the National Church, it was not the National Church in Wales in any shape or form; and if the Welsh people had their way it would be swept away without any delay. The principles upon which a Church should be maintained as a National Established Church were well laid down by the present Prime Minister on a former occasion. The right hon. Gentleman, after stating that a Church should only be retained as an Established Church when it was the Church of the majority of the people and in sympathy with them, went on to say that— An establishment that neither did nor was doing work except for a few, and those few a portion of the community whose claims to public aid were the smallest of all, an establishment severed from the mass of the people by an impassable gulf and a wall of brass—an establishment whose good offices would be intercepted by a long unbroken chain of shameful recollections—an establishment leaning for support upon the extraneous aid of a State—a Church which had become distasteful to the people—such an establishment would do well for its own sake to devote itself, as soon as it might, to shaking off the trammels that surrounded it, and commence a new career without assistance from without, but seeking its strength from within. He accepted that as the definite ground on which the Welsh Church should be disestablished, and he would show that in the case of Wales all the conditions laid down by the Prime Minister were entirely fulfilled. He should show that the Church of England in Wales had not fulfilled its duty, and that at the present day it was severed as though by an impassable gulf and a wall of brass from the Welsh people. As for many years there had been no Religious Census, they had no means of knowing exactly the number of members of the English Church in Wales. Some conception of the numbers could, however, be gained from a debate in that House in 1870. The discussion turned upon the relative numbers of religious denominations in Wales; and the Prime Minister stated, though not on his own authority, that the members of the Church in Wales were as one in four. Even one in four would not, he (Mr. Dillwyn) thought, justify the position of the Church in Wales; but his right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Osborne Morgan) afterwards alleged, and he believed, much more justly, that the number was one in seven, and his own information went to prove that the proportion was much smaller than that. A letter appeared the other day in a North Welsh paper which gave the attendance at church, based on a careful analysis of the proportions between the two Churches, as one in eight. That was nearly his own opinion. But they did not rest their conclusions altogether on the estimates of others. The Nonconformists of Wales had made a very careful calculation as to the numbers of the different religious denominations of that country, from which it appeared that there were 253,016 Congregationalists, 250,274 Calvinistic Methodists, 144,307 Baptists, 78,506 Wesleyans, 17,767 Primitive Methodists, and 8,000 of different small sects, making a total of 751,944. Taking the number of Nonconformist children at 223,871, of those who professed no religion at 100,000, of Roman Catholics at 50,000, there would be a population of 1,125,825 out of a total Welsh population—according to the Census of 1881—of 1,343,227, leaving about 217,400, or about one-eighth of the whole, who were professed members of the Church of England. The case against the Church of England in Wales was really underrated by these figures, inasmuch as many of those who were dependent upon the territorial and wealthy classes were induced to curry favour with their masters by professing that they were members of the Church of England, whereas, in fact, they were Nonconformists at heart. A discount must also be made from the number of the Church of England members in Wales on account of the English foreigners who were resident in the country. The overwhelming majority of the Welsh population, therefore, consisted of Nonconformists. He was now speaking in the presence of Welsh Members. He hoped those hon. Members would speak in the debate. If they did, they would be able to say whether he was over-stating or under-stating the case. At all events, he had, as far as he was able, only submitted facts to the consideration of the House. He perceived there were two Amendments to his Resolution. One of those stood in the name of the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Raikes), who opposed the Resolution with a direct negative. Then there was another by the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. Albert Grey), who proposed to leave out the words after the word "population," and to insert the words— This House is of opinion that the time has arrived for introducing, without delay, into its organization such reforms as will enable it to adapt itself more effectually to the religious needs and wishes of the Welsh people. His right hon. Friend knew little of Wales. If he knew as much about that country as he (Mr. Dillwyn) did, he would be aware that among the Welsh people there was no hostility between Nonconformists and Churchmen as such. The disinclination of the people was not towards the members of the Church, but to an Establishment at all, which was repulsive to their habits and thoughts. What was once said by the Prime Minister on this subject was quite true— namely, that a wall of brass had been raised between the Church in Wales and the general body of the inhabitants, who could never forget the long chapter of persecution which had characterized the Church in its relations to the people. For 200 years the Church had been in possession of Wales, and during that period, in spite of her power and status, she had undoubtedly betrayed her trust. The Church first came into existence there in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, but so disgraceful was the apathy, drunkenness, and vice of the clergy that the people took refuge in Nonconformity. Amongst the Church clergy in those times was a man named Henry, who denounced the scandalous and evil lives of the clergy, and who endeavoured, as far as he could, to introduce reforms. But what was his reward? He was put on his trial, and paid the penalty of his zeal and temerity on the scaffold. This was one instance of the persecution which attended efforts of reformers, and there were numerous cases of a similar nature. The evidence which he (Mr. Dillwyn) would now submit to the House, showing how the Church in Wales had failed completely in her mission, would not be drawn from Nonconformist sources, but from the testimony of Churchmen themselves. Those instances he would refer to in the briefest terms possible. The Prime Minister had said that the bitter and unhappy memories of the Church's history in Wales had raised a wall of brass between that institution and the people of the country. The Church had at all times so conducted her ministrations as to maintain that wall of brass. In 1681 a magistrate in Oswestry, addressing Nonconformists, reminded them that the magistrates had acquired power, which, by the grace of God, they would keep, and not allow to rust. That was not the tone by which the Church would recommend itself to poor people. Yet that was the tone which was adopted, and which finally had ended in thoroughly alienating the Welsh people from the Establishment. During the recent elections, and for some time previously, he had gone a great deal among the people of Wales, and he found that the utmost enthusiasm and unanimity of opinion prevailed among Welshmen on this vital question. He did not think that any attempt would be made to controvert the facts he had stated. One objection which had been raised was that it would be impossible to separate the Welsh and the English people, because they were practically one people, and that it would be impossible to abolish the Church without, at the same time, causing a separation between the two peoples. That objection had been raised in former years, and had been fully answered by Mr. Justice Williams, an able lawyer, who gave it as his opinion that the abolition of the Church in Wales was quite feasible, and that there would be no more difficulty in abolishing the Church in Wales than there would be in abolishing it in Norfolk, Lancashire, or any other county of England. Those who contended that Wales and England were practically one country did not really understand the character of Welshmen. In his opinion the Welsh were quite different from the English people in thought, character, and feeling, as well as in religion and language. No one could doubt that there were wide differences, and the differences of language, so far from diminishing of late years, was, he believed, rather on the increase than on the decrease. It must be remembered, too, that this country had acknowledged that there was a difference between the two countries. Within his memory he could remember that the Welsh had a different system of judicature from that of England; their Turnpike Laws were different, and their Sunday Closing Law was different from that which existed in England. He thought, therefore, that it could not be denied that Wales was practically, both in fact and by law, a separate nationality. In this matter of religion they appealed to the justice and the sense of fair play inherent in the English people. It was not a question of liberation, or of policy between one religion and another; it was a claim on the part of a weak and small country against a powerful ruling country. He need hardly point out that Welshmen were loyal and law-abiding. They had not given the authorities in this country any trouble; on the contrary, on all reforms and improvements favoured by England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, Welshmen had always been found ready to assist in carrying those amendments of the law into force. Neither had Welshmen given much trouble on account of any grievances from which they might suffer. They had been content to cast in their lot with the inhabitants of this country, and they were still quite content to do so; but the question of religion would not be allowed to stand where it was in Wales. The Welsh people were thoroughly in earnest about this subject; and although hitherto they might have been disinclined to force it on the attention of Parliament in consequence of other pressing business, they were now determined to press it, if they could, to a solution. Welshmen were deeply religious in sentiment; but they wished to have their own religion. A few days ago he observed the sale of an advowson in Liverpool, in which a living was sold, after a sharp competition, between High and Low Church. That system of handing over the entire population of a locality to the highest bidder was one which the Welsh people could not and would not tolerate. Some time ago a Commission was appointed to inquire into the subject of education in Wales. The Report made by that Commission was that the Welsh were a deeply religious people, and that they had covered the whole country with their chapels, which they supported and maintained. He would not now say any more. He was speaking in the presence of his countrymen, who, he hoped, would speak and vote on this question, and he would conclude by moving the Motion which stood in his name— That, as the Church of England in Wales has failed to fulfil its professed object, as a means of promoting the religious interests of the Welsh people, and ministers to only a small minority of the population, its continuance as an Established Church in the Principality is an anomaly and an injustice which ought no longer to exist. He would ask Members on this side of the House, and he ventured to ask Members on the other side of the House, if that was a right state of things? They all, he knew, wished to do as they would be done by; and, that being so, he would ask Members of the Church of England, if such a state of things existed in England as existed in Wales, would they allow it to continue for a single moment? He would move the Resolution standing in his name on the Paper.

MR. RICHARD (Merthyr Tydvil)

, in seconding the Resolution, said: I must own that I approach the subject which engages our attention this evening with some reluctance, because I know how difficult it is to discuss questions of this nature without giving some pain to good men whom one honours and esteems, and with whom we may be in sympathy on many points of higher importance than those which pertain to the externals of religion. I wish especially to avoid casting any opprobrious imputation upon the present members of the Church of England in Wales. If some of the things we have to describe in connection with the past history of that Church are grievous and scandalous, the responsibility does not rest upon them, but upon that system of ecclesiastical rule adopted and pursued by the English Government towards the Welsh Church—a system which, I think, presents as deplorable an illustration as can be found anywhere of the evils which flow from making a Christian Church a mere creature of the State, dependent upon its caprices, and subservient to its unscrupulous worldly designs. Like my hon. Friend, I am not going to argue this question on the abstract principle as to the justice, wisdom, or expediency of civil establishments of religion. My hon. Friend has put his Motion in a purely practical form. Our contention is, that the Church of England in Wales is not, and never has been, the Church of Wales; that it has failed to win the love and loyalty of the people, and has never discharged, in anything approaching a satisfactory manner, its own professed function as the religious instructor of the nation. For a large part of its history it has partaken very much the character of an alien institution, imposed upon the country from without for purely political purposes. A significant indication of this is afforded by the fact that to this day, in the common parlance of the people, it is known, not as the Episcopal Church, or the National Church, still less as the Church of Wales, but invariably as the Church of England—eglwys Loegr—a designation probably importing traditions of repugnance and hostility from the time when England was the enemy of Welsh freedom and independence, and the Church of England was the Church of the invader and conqueror. And, indeed, for generations the Church was employed, especially under Norman rule, as an instrument for the extinction of the Welsh language and the suppression of Welsh nationality. For this purpose English Bishops were forced upon the British Church—men of arrogant temper and boundless rapacity, whose sole inspiration was hatred towards the native Welsh. We have a very curious and a very touching illustration of this in the appeal, still extant, which was sent by the Welsh Princes to Pope Innocent, in the Reign of Henry III.— The Archbishop of Canterbury, as a matter of course, sends us English Bishops ignorant of the manners and language of our land, who cannot preach the Word of God to the people, nor receive their confessions but through interpreters. And these Bishops that they send us from England, as they neither love us nor our land, but rather persecute and oppress us with an innate and deep-rooted hatred, seek not the welfare of our souls; their ambition is to rule over us, and not to benefit us, and on this account they do not but very rarely fulfil the duties of their pastoral office. And, whatever they can lay their hands upon, or get from us, whether by right or wrong, they carry into England, and waste and consume the whole of the profits obtained from us, in abbeys and lands given to them by the King of England. This stupid policy, of course, failed, as it richly deserved to fail. The hatred of the alien episcopate towards their flocks was cordially reciprocated. Some of them could maintain their position only by being surrounded with a body of armed retainers; and whenever the British arms prevailed the Norman ecclesiastics had to scuttle over the Border, while the people showed their detestation and scorn for them by burning their episcopal palaces. But how did it fare with the Welsh Church after the Reformation? Some of my clerical countrymen indulge in a fond historical dream to the effect that, after the accession of the Tudors, there was a golden age for their Church, when it was ruled by native Bishops, and enjoyed a season of great spiritual prosperity. But it is only a dream, with which the reality does not correspond. There was, no doubt, a certain number of Welsh Bishops then appointed—as many as 30 in 157 years. But that brought little improvement in the religious condition of the country—so far otherwise, that I venture to say it is scarcely possible to exaggerate the utter—one might almost say the contemptuous— neglect with which "Wales was treated during the early years of the Reformation. To begin with, what surely must be regarded as the first duty of a Protestant Church—that of supplying the people with the sacred Scriptures in their own language—how does the account stand with the Welsh Established Church in this respect? Dr. Llewellyn, in his account of the "Welsh versions of the Bible, tells us that— For upwards of 70 years from the settlement of the Reformation by Queen Elizabeth, for near 100 years from Britain's separation from the Church of Rome, there were no Bibles in Wales, except in the cathedrals and parish churches. In the year 1563 an Act of Parliament was passed ordering the translation of the Scriptures into Welsh, the Preamble of which recites that— Her Majesty's most loving and obedient subjects of Wales, being no small part of this Realm, are utterly destitute of God's Holy Word, and do remain in the like or rather more darkness and ignorance than they were in times of Papistry. Well, the same Act ordered the Welsh Bishops, under heavy penalties, to translate the Bible into the Welsh language within three years. But this was not done until 25 years later, and then it was done not by the Bishops, but by the simple vicar of a parish in Denbighshire, Dr. William Morgan, whose name and memory deserve to be held in lasting and grateful remembrance by the people of Wales. In the absence of the Scriptures, there was all the more need of an earnest personal ministry among the clergy. But what was the case? I believe for 100 years there was scarcely any preaching or teaching of the people in the churches. Strype, in his Annals of the Reformation and his Life of Archbishop Parker, gives us some curious and very melancholy glimpses into the state of the Welsh Church in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. He says that for two or three years Llandaff had no Bishop at all, and the great dilapidations had so impoverished the See that nobody liked to meddle with it. Bangor was out of order, there being no preaching used, and pensionary concubinacy openly continued; which was, allowance of concubines to the clergy by paying a pension, notwithstanding the liberty of marriage granted. In 1587 Dr. Hughes, Bishop of St. Asaph, was charged with misgoverning his diocese; and, an inquiry being made, it was found that he himself held 16 rich livings in commendam; that most of the great livings were in possession of persons who lived out of the country, and only three preachers resided on their livings. If we come down to the Reign of James I., we have the testimony of a most admirable man, himself a clergyman of the Church, known and venerated to this day in Wales, as Vicar Pritchard, of Llandovery. He says that in his time not one in a hundred of his countrymen could read the Bible; that no copy of the Scriptures was to be found even in the mansions of many of the gentry; that the country was sunk in ignorance and immorality of every description, while "the clergy were asleep, leaving the people to sin unwarned and unrebuked." If we come down lower still, we find that in the year 1623 Dr. Baily, Bishop of Bangor, paid a visit to the parishes, or some of the parishes, in his diocese, in Anglesea, Carnarvonshire, Merionethshire, and Montgomeryshire. His report of what he found is still partially extant. In parish after parish the reports are these— There have been only two sermons here for the last 12 months;" "No sermon here for five years;" "Never any preaching here;" "Only two sermons in a twelvemonth;" "The curate here spends his time in taverns, is a public drunkard and brawler. We come down a few years later. In 1651 a clergyman of the name of Edwards translated an English book into the Welsh language. In his preface he deplores the neglect into which the Welsh language had fallen among the instructors of the people, and declares that among the Church clergy scarcely one in 15 knew how to read and write in Welsh. Following down the chain of evidence, we come to 1677, when another work was published, it is supposed by a clergyman of the name of Thomas, called The Welshman's Friend, in which he says— It pains me to be obliged to say that in each of the Welsh Bishoprics 40 or 60 churches may be found without anyone in them on Sundays, even in the middle of summer, when the roads are driest and the weather finest. And this he ascribes to "the utter-neglect which prevails among us Welsh Churchmen." I have come down nearly to the end of the 17th century. Did matters mend at the beginning of the 18th century? In 1721 the Rev. Erasmus Sanders published his View of the State of Religion in the Diocese of St. David's, in which he draws a most deplorable picture of the state of things then. He describes several churches, which he specifies by name, as totally decayed— They only serve for the solitary habitations of owls and jackdaws. The Christian service," he goes on, "is totally disused in some places; in others half-served, there being several churches where we rarely, if at all, meet with preaching or catechism, or the administration of the Holy Communion. Well, about the middle of the 18th century there arose in the Church a most admirable man—the Rev. Griffith Jones, of Llanddawror—who was the founder of the celebrated circulating schools. In one of his writings he speaks of the— Lazy vicars and rectors who have led a careless life from their youth, and have set their minds on keeping company and going unsteadily from tavern to tavern, and who are— as ignorant of their mother tongue as they are of Greek and Hebrew; and, therefore, without sense of shame, preach in English in the most purely Welsh assemblies throughout the country. After the Revolution the English Government reverted to the old policy of attempting to extinguish the Welsh language and nationality by appointing only English Bishops to Welsh Sees. For 150 years not a single Welshman was raised to the Episcopal Bench in his own country. To understand the full significance of this fact, it must be borne in mind that during the whole of that time the overwhelming majority of the people were Welsh-speaking, and knew no other language but Welsh. The Prime Minister, in a speech quoted the other night by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington, estimated the number of people in Wales now who speak hardly anything but their own tongue at 800,000. But, for the far greater part of the period to which I have just referred, the proportion of the people of Wales who spoke only Welsh must have been much larger than it is now, for then there was far less intercourse with England than there is at present, and there were very few schools in which the English language was taught. Now, I ask the Members of the Church of England in this House to imagine—if, indeed, so monstrous a supposition is conceivable—how they would have felt if for 150 years all the Episcopal Sees in England had been filled with Frenchmen, or Germans, or Italians, absolutely ignorant of the English language. What were the fruits of this extraordinary system in Wales? The alien Bishops, as a rule, lived wholly apart from the people, and even from the clergy. Some of them did not reside in the country, and one, at least, during the whole term of his episcopate, never once set his foot in his diocese. But while neglecting their spiritual duties, they displayed the most rapacious spirit as regards the temporalities of the Church. The apostolic injunction that Bishops should not be greedy of filthy lucre did not seem to have attracted their regard; but there was another precept to which they paid the most religious heed, that— If a man provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he is worse than an infidel. They lavished honours and emoluments with the most shameful prodigality upon their own relatives and friends, to the utter neglect of the native clergy; and thus nearly all the highest offices in the Church were in the hands of men who were ignorant of the language of the people to whom they were to minister in holy things. The daring extent to which this system of nepotism was carried was almost incredible. So late as the year 1836, Mr. Benjamin Hall, afterwards Lord Llanover, stated in this House that in the diocese of St. Asaph a relation of the then late Bishop had 11 sources of emolument, producing between £6,000 and £7,000 a-year, and that the total amount enjoyed by the Bishop and the relations of former Bishops was £23,679, and exceeded the whole amount enjoyed by all the other residents and native clergy put together. At length this scandalous system attracted the attention of this House; and in the year 1835, by a small majority, a clause was inserted in the Pluralities and Non-Residence Bill, to the effect that no person who did not possess a thorough knowledge of the Wesh language should be appointed to any Bishopric or living in Wales. But the House of Lords, whose function it is, we know, to impose a check upon the rash and hasty legislation of this House, exercised their function on that occasion, and erased that part of the clause that related to the Bishops, as they did not think it necessary that the primary pastors of the Church should have any knowledge of the language of the people over whom they ruled. And so this system of alien Bishops continued until some 14 or 15 years ago, when the present Prime Minister, infinitely to his honour, broke in upon this dismal monopoly of incompetence by appointing, for the first time in more than 150 years, a thoroughly Welsh-speaking clergyman to the diocese of St. Asaph. I suppose that the other part of the clause referred to proved inoperative, for I find that in 1838 another Act was passed against the appointment of clergymen to vacant benefices in Wales without a previous competent knowledge of the language of the parishioners. But this led to a state of things in some respects worse than before. Englishmen were still presented to Welsh benefices, who, after a few months' study of the language, tried to preach in Welsh, but in the attempt committed such gross and ludicrous blunders as taxed to the utmost the gravity of their hearers, and turned religion into burlesque. In order to help them, a clerical agent in Wales sent round a circular to this effect— Sir,—We have been requested by influential parties to publish, from time to time, sets of sermons in Welsh for the assistance of the clergy in Wales. …. They will be very plain and practical, and translated in a popular, preachable style by an able translator, and one accustomed to instruct the poor. Owing to the extra expense necessarily attendant upon translations, &c, 12 sermons will be charged 30s. and single sermons 3s. each. Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that everything fell into neglect and disorder; that the churches got into a ruinous condition; that even Sunday services were often omitted for weeks and months, and, when performed, were performed in a manner that provoked ridicule, and then something which I refer to with reluctance—the clergy themselves fell into disreputable courses. I do not like to dwell on this. They were my own countrymen; they were placed in circumstances that exposed them to temptations for which we must make great allowance; pone of their ecclesiastical superiors took the slightest interest in them, or exercised the slightest supervision over them—they were abandoned to themselves, and no wonder that they fell into habits I would rather not characterize. I will only read an extract from a speech delivered by Mr. G. B. Hughes at the Church Congress in 1879, in which he described the state of things as it existed within living memory— The Holy Communion was administered at most four times a year—rarely that. The churches were miserably out of repair, ruinous in some intances; always damp, mouldy, and unwholesome; the pews fast falling into decay, in many cases incapable of occupation; but, alas! seldom put to the test. …. The services were slovenly and irreverent, the congregation—what wonder?—miserably small. The singing was often confined to a painful solo, executed by the 'Amen' clerk. In one parish a woman was clerk. Save at the Bishop's visitation, the clergy were never brought together. The archdeacons never visited, and ruridecanal meetings were unknown. It is a painful and humiliating picture to present to you. I have not, I think, exaggerated it. No wonder to find Dissent in nearly every parish nourish and abound. …. What the clergy were I hesitate to say; but we are met to hear and speak the truth. If a clergyman was sober, moral, and respectable, it was, I fear, an exceptionally fortunate parish that claimed him. Lord Aberdare followed this speaker, and a more competent witness could not be found, for he has been from his youth a steadfast and zealous friend of the Church in Wales, and has done much to promote its reform. He bore similar testimony, and said the account just given in no way exaggerated the state of things, such as he himself remembered them when a young man. The House will observe that all the testimony I have cited, from the Reformation to our own time, is testimony from members of the Church of England. I might cite the testimony of Nonconformists equally explicit; but I carefully avoid doing so, confining myself to testimony of members of the Establishment. Thus I have illustrated a period of 300 years; and during the whole of the time I maintain, and I think I have proved, that the Church of England has failed or disregarded its professed duty as the religious instructor of the Welsh people. Yet, in spite of all this, there is probably at this moment no part of the United Kingdom—I think I might say no part of the world—so amply supplied with the means of religious worship and instruction as the Principality of Wales And I think I may venture to add that the inhabitants of Wales are as intelligent, as religious, as moral, and as orderly a people as can be found in any quarter of the globe. To what is the country indebted for its Christian civilization? Beyond all doubt mainly to the labours of the Nonconformists. Nonconformity originated in Wales in the Reign of Charles I. by a few Puritan clergy, who were driven out of the Church for the excess of their zeal. During the short period of the Commonwealth they displayed great activity. But when the Restoration came persecution was renewed with redoubled severity. Nowhere was the penal legislation of the Reign of Charles II. more pitilessly enforced than in Wales. Mr. Arthur Johnnes, the author of a remarkable work On the Causes of Dissent in Wales, though a zealous Churchman, pays this generous tribute to the zeal and courage of their ministers— Even in the persecuting times of the Stuarts the Nonconformist pastors still continued to traverse the wild hills of the Principality, braving all dangers for the sake of their few and scattered followers. Their congregations still met in fear and trembling, generally at midnight, or in woods and caverns, amid the gloomiest recesses of the mountains. And whenever there was a lull in the tempest they did more. They promoted education. They printed and disseminated religious books, and were specially active in the printing and circulation of the Bible. During the half-century following 1630 the persecuted Nonconformists published nine editions, consisting of about 30,000 copies of the whole Bible, and 40,000 of the New Testament alone. About the middle of the last century the Methodist revival arose, and added an immense impulse to the activity of Nonconformity in Wales; and their efforts to provide the means of religious instruction, which had been so grievously neglected by the official Church, were indefatigable. The Nonconformists were, especially in the early part of their history, for the most part a very poor people. Yet, have they not succeeded in covering the whole face of the country with the means of religious instruction? To show the rapidity with which this was done, let me cite the following figures of the number of Nonconformist places of worship in the Principality at five different periods. In 1742 there were 105; in 1775, 171; in 1816, 993; in 1861, 2,927; in 1884, 4,200. But not only have Nonconformists provided the religion for the people; they have provided the literature for the people of Wales. An interesting and exhaustive Paper was read at the Church Congress at Swansea in 1879—the production of a clergyman, the Rev. David Williams; and he, speaking of the periodical literature of Wales, said they numbered 12 weeklies, two quarterlies, and 18 monthlies; and out of that number the Nonconformists supported the two quarterlies, 16 monthlies, and 10 weeklies— The native Press is almost entirely in the hands of Dissenters, the proportion in publications being the same as in the populations between Churchmen and Nonconformists. Out of 32 Welsh periodicals the Church claims the significant number of four. This number is the exponent both of her history in the past and her strength in the present. I am happy to add that within the last 25 or 30 years there has been a great improvement in the Church in Wales. I readily and ungrudgingly acknowledge that. Dilapidated churches have been repaired or rebuilt, and new ones erected, and the services are conducted with far more earnestness and zeal; and we have seen clergymen devoting themselves zealously to the duties of their high calling, ready to go forth into the streets and byways and compel wanderers to come in, and not unwilling to tempt a stray lamb from the Nonconformist fold. But it is too late. We are obliged to say to these good people—"Others have laboured, and ye are entering into their labour." In many parts of Wales the literal truth is, clergymen had nothing to do but to try and pervert Nonconformists. I turn to the latest official statistics—those of 1851, when Wales had a population of 1,180,944. The Established Church had provided Church accommodation for 301,897, or 30 per cent; the Nonconformists 699,232, or 70 per cent; and, assuming with Mr. Horace Mann that the Church should provide 48 per cent, it followed that the Church fell short of its requirements by 387,672, while the Nonconformists exceeded their supply by 2,879. The same Return showed in the attendance at public worship—Churchmen, 22 per cent; Nonconformists, 78 per cent; and the difference, I believe, is now greater than in 1851. A similar proportion existed in regard to Sunday Schools and general education. I appeal to the candour and justice of hon. Gentlemen opposite whether this is not an anomaly that cannot be tolerated? The only argument I have heard against the proposal of my hon. Friend is that, except for conventional purposes, there is really no Welsh Church—that it is only a part of the Church of England, and, therefore, cannot be dealt with alone. Well, I am not very much dismayed by this difficulty. We can remember the time when the same reason was urged to show the impossibility of touching the Irish Church. Properly speaking, we were told there was no Church of Ireland, but only the United Church of England and Ireland—the two Churches having at the time of the Union been joined together by a compact so solemn and binding, that Her Majesty the Queen could not give her consent to any measure for dissolving that compact without incurring the danger of committing perjury, and bringing her Crown into jeopardy. And as for providing legislation for Ireland distinct from England, the suggestion was scouted as an absurdity. Ireland was as much a part of the United Kingdom as Yorkshire or Lancashire, and must be governed by the same laws. The sense of justice, however, and the urgent necessity of the case, triumphed over these foregone conclusions as respects Ireland, as they will triumph as respects Wales. The Welsh are an eminently loyal people. Every soldier in Wales might be taken out of it, and the country would still be quiet and tranquil. If anything could disturb the loyalty of Wales and engender discontent it would be to be told that their union with England would hold them in bondage to this alien system. Therefore I say—"For your own sakes look fairly and candidly at this matter." I appeal to the justice and generosity of Englishmen to liberate the Welsh people from what they feel to be an anomaly that ought to be swept away, and they will gain a thousand fold by the gratitude and loyalty of my countrymen.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, as the Church of England in Wales has failed to fulfil its professed object as a means of promoting the religious interests of the Welsh people, and ministers to only a small minority of the population, its continuance as an Established Church in the Principality is an anomaly and an injustice which ought no longer to exist."—(Mr. Dillwyn.)

MR. ALBERT GREY (Northumberland, Tyneside)

, in rising to move, as an Amendment, to leave out all the words after the word "population," in line 4, and to insert the words— This House is of opinion that the time has arrived for introducing, without delay, into its organization such reforms as will enable it to adapt itself more efficiently to the religious needs and wishes of the Welsh people, said, he had listened with interest and also with some surprise to the speech made in support of the Resolution by the Mover and the discursive historical lecture of his hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil. Those speeches had been directed against the past and the present form of the Establishment; but not one word had been directed against the principle of a National Establishment itself. That was a fact of great significance, considering that this was the first move of the Liberation Society in this Parliament. He understood the hon. Member for Swansea to say that what the Welsh people objected to especially was the establishment of a Church of England in Wales, and that they would not object to the establishment of a Welsh Church.


, interposing, said, the hon. Member had misunderstood him. He had said nothing about the establishment of a Welsh Church.


said, the hon. Member had confined his attack to the present application of the national principle in Wales; and this being so he would be wasting the time of the House were he to attempt to defend the principle of Establishment, inasmuch as it had not been attacked by either of the hon. Members who had spoken. If he should succeed in proving that the evils which the hon. Members attacked were the results of causes which were not essential to Establishment, and which were capable of being removed without recourse to the drastic remedy of Disestablishment, he hoped that the hon. Members would accept his Amendment, if they could do so without running the risk of being misunderstood by their constituents. He admitted the substantial accuracy of the facts which the hon. Members had adduced. He admitted that among the bulk of the Welsh people the National Establishment was regarded as an alien Church—as a Church of conquest which had supplanted their own native Church; as an instrument of conquest of which use had been made to try and win the Welsh people from their native tongue, and to Anglicize rather than to evangelize the people. It could not be disputed—and he made this statement with great reluctance—that the revenues of the National Establishment intended for the religious education of the whole people had been appropriated to the exclusive use of a small minority, chiefly drawn from the wealthier classes. The Dean of Bangor, speaking on this subject before the Church Congress at Swansea in 1879, said— The Church in "Wales has lost five-sixths of the Welsh-speaking people, and her strength survives among the English-speaking upper and middle classes. It was monstrous and indefensible that the revenues intended for the religious instruction of the whole people should have been appropriated to the exclusive use of a small and wealthy minority. But when all this was granted, it by no means necessarily followed that a case for Disestablishment had been made out. It followed that there was an irresistible case for the immediate passing of such reforms as would make the National Establishment the "Welsh Church and not the Church of England in Wales. He entreated hon. Members opposite, inasmuch as it was impossible for them to controvert these facts, to give a little generous consideration to proposals of reform that might be made by a friend of the Church, because the existing evils were so scandalous and indefensible, that unless reforms were speedily initiated and pushed through the House, it would be almost impossible for any power in the House, either on the Treasury Bench or the Benches opposite, to avert for even a short period the Disestablishment of the National Church in Wales. He therefore accepted the first part of the Resolution of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn)— That the Church of England in Wales has failed to fulfil its professed object as a means of promoting the religious interests of the Welsh people, and ministers to only a small minority of the population. Could he have anticipated the speeches that had been delivered that evening, for the words "Church of England in Wales" in the Resolution he would have proposed to substitute the words "National Establishment for the support of religion." He would have done this because the term "Church of England in Wales" was rather misleading. It implied a sectarian institution, irrevocably pledged to immutable forms, protected and privileged by the State because of its sectarian character, and governed by an ecclesiastical hierarchy independent of State control. Now, such a view of the Church was not warranted by the facts. What was called the Church of England in Wales was only the National Organization through which, under such conditions as Parliament might impose, religious ministrations were offered gratuitously to everyone willing to accept them. He agreed with the hon. Member for Swansea that the application of the whole income derived from Church property to support the religious services of a small minority was a monstrous injustice and scandal. What, then, it might be asked, was the difference between that hon. Member and himself? While the hon. Member thought that the scandal was one which could only be removed by Disestablishment, he held that it could be removed by a policy of Church reform. The hon. Member advocated the displacement of the National Establishment; he was in favour of its development by such reforms as would make it the Church of the Welsh people, to be controlled by them, under such conditions as Parliament might impose, for the religious advancement of the whole community. From what source were the large revenues of the National Establishment in Wales derived? He was sorry that his hon. Friend the Member for Leicester (Mr. Picton) was prevented from bringing in his Motion for a Select Committee to inquire into the revenues of the Church, and he hoped that although that Motion was blocked, it might still be brought on. These revenues represented the accumulated gifts of private individuals. [Cries of "No!"] Well, that was one of the interesting points which a Committee of Inquiry would clear up. His contention was that the revenues represented the accumulated gifts of individuals ranging over several centuries which had been handed over to the State for the support of the national religion. The position of the State was that of trustee, and two main conditions regulated its great and sacred trust. The first was that these revenues should be administered by the State for the spiritual education of the people at large; and the second, that they should be administered in such a way as to insure the greatest possible result. The State had from time to time changed the conditions regulating the administration of the funds of the National Church, and there was nothing to prevent its doing so again. There was every reason why it should do so whenever such charges as had been made that evening could be substantiated. He might be told that that was an Erastian proposition which could not be countenanced by true Churchmen. In this connection he might draw attention to a recent correspondence between the Bishop of St. Asaph and the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Rendel) upon the subject of the Church of Wales. The Bishop in that correspondence said that he freely admitted that it was the duty of the Legislature to enact laws to promote the best use of ecclesiastical endowments for the glory of God and the spiritual welfare of the people. He would like to ask what care the State had taken in the past to see that these Church revenues should be properly administered? The House had been told by the hon. Member for Swansea that the State had so administered its trust as to divert the Church revenues from the mass of the people, and appropriate them exclusively to one-sixth of the people at large. That fact alone showed that the State had neglected and betrayed its trust. It stood up before the country in the character of a negligent and faithless trustee. It had taken no precaution to secure that the Church funds should be used in the best way to promote the spiritual well-being of the people at large. This was the the charge which was brought against the State; but so far from this charge being a justification for the abandonment of the trust committed to it, it was, in his (Mr. Albert Grey's) opinion, a reason why the State should see to the fulfilment of the trust it had so long neglected. The betrayal of a trust could not be made a reason for its abandonment. What was the present position of the Church in Wales and in England also? The people for whom the Church existed had no voice whatever in the management of the affairs relating to their own parish churches. The parson and the patron alone had power. The patron of a living might put any man he pleased into that living, and the people had no power to remonstrate; and the clergyman, when once appointed, had the power of doing whatever he liked. They had in the National Church an aristocratic and sacerdotal form of government, the result of which, in this democratic age, had been to turn the people away from the Church, and to prompt them to seek for the spiritual consolation they might require, not in the churches belonging to the National Establishment, but in Nonconformist chapels. How was that state of things to be remedied? By placing the churches in the hands of the people for whom they existed. The people should have some voice in the appointment of the minister, and they should also have some control over the minister when he was appointed. In Wales there certainly could be no question that the aristocratic form of government had absolutely failed. Let them, therefore, abandon this aristocratic form of government, and go in for a church democracy. It might be said that that would be a dangerous policy, and that license and riot might ensue. It would be easy to devise safeguards against this possibility. The law of the land carefully defined the limits within which the services of the Church should be conducted, and within those limits there were many different ways of conducting the services. His complaint was that at present the clergyman, who was an irresponsible and powerful autocrat, could alone exercise any choice in the matter. That was not right. The people, for whom the Church existed, in conjunction with the clergyman, should be allowed to settle what services allowed by law should be held in the parish church; whether the national service should be in Welsh or English; at what hour the English service should be held; at what hour the Welsh service should be held; what hymn book should be used, and all other such points There were two arguments which might be adduced against that proposal. One body of objectors said that that was too great a power to intrust to the people; while others said that the power was not sufficient, The first body of objectors, however, must remember that, even if the people in the parish were given the power now enjoyed by the minister, it would be absolutely impossible for them to overstep those limits which were carefully laid down by Act of Parliament. To the second body of objectors he would say that if, after the people had been enfranchised, after they had got the power of managing their own Church affairs, it was even then impossible for them to get services congenial to their own tastes and feelings, it would be in their power to bring pressure upon Parliament to relax somewhat the Act of Uniformity. He did not, however, wish to pursue that subject further. He only wished to point out that it would be in the power of future Parliaments, should the people desire it, to relax the Act of Uniformity in such a way as to allow of greater flexibility in the use of the Book of Common Prayer and the enrichment of it by additional offices He wished particularly to draw the attention of the House to the point that, whereas the hostility to the National Establishment in Wales had been owing to its aristocratic and feudal and Conservative government, if it was the desire to win back the people to the Church, they must be prepared to give them, under such conditions as Parliament might deem it right to impose, a share in the control and management of the affairs of their own parish churches. He might be asked what hope there was that such reforms as these would bring back the Welsh people to the National Establishment. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard) had delivered an interesting historical address; but he was going to quote against the hon. Member another Member of the House, whose opinion would be accepted on all Church matters as of great authority—the Prime Minister, whom, he regretted to hear, was absent through indisposition. In a speech the right hon. Gentleman delivered in 1870 he said that it appeared from history that so long as the sympathies of the nation were cultivated the Church had been perfectly acceptable to the people of Wales. The Prime Minister declared that the proposition was completely sustained by history that the people of Wales had been the staunchest Churchmen so long as their Church was administered in a spirit of sympathy with the national feeling. The fact was that the people of Wales had been alienated simply because the National Establishment, since the Revolution, had been working in opposition to the prejudices of Welshmen. Was there any reason, then, to suppose that if they gave to the people of Wales the management of their own Church they would not become the same staunch Churchmen as they were in the days of yore? In Switzerland formerly the Church was most unpopular. The patron, as in England and Wales, regarded his patronage as a means of making his son rich or the husband of his daughter rich. [Ironical cheers from the Opposition.] He did not understand the cheers of hon. Gentlmen opposite; but he might state that this interested dispensation of patronage in Switzerland alienated the common people from the Establishment; the clergy were out of sympathy with them, and the Church was hated by the majority of the Swiss nation. But now in Switzerland they had adopted democratic reforms in the Church; the people had a voice in the appointment of the ministers, and a control over the services of the parish churches. The result was that the ministers were in close sympathy with the people, and Dissent had almost disappeared. He hoped he had made his position clear. It was his hope that reforms of a popular and democratic character would be adopted in time by that House, which would transfer to the people a large share of the power which was now monopolized by the patron and parson. That policy was, he believed, infinitely more in accordance with the rising Liberalism of the present day than the destructive policy of Disestablishment. He stood at an advantage as compared with the hon. Member for Swansea. In his Amendment he proposed a policy liberal and democratic. What was the policy of the hon. Member for Swansea? He had listened in vain for any intimation of what the hon. Gentleman intended to do; and had the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil supplied the deficiency? Not at all. Was the hon. Member going to disestablish without disendowing? If he was, it would be an infamous act of robbery, because it would be depriving the people of Wales of a great national inheritance, and be giving money belonging to the nation to a sect. He was confident that neither the people of Wales nor that House would ever consent to this. Well, then, was the hon. Member going to disendow as well as disestablish the National Church in Wales? If so, how was he going to appropriate the endowments? Was he, as proposed by Mr. Justice Williams, going to divert them to secular purposes? The people of this country would never consent to the secularization of revenues and desecration of fabrics devoted to the religious education of the people. Well, then, if the hon. Gentleman was not ready with a policy, why not accept the policy which he had suggested? [A laugh.] Hon. Members might laugh; but he would say he compared favourably with the Mover of the Motion in that he had a clear and intelligible policy, while his hon. Friend had come without a scheme or a policy to ask the House to pass an abstract Resolution. He hoped the House would give his Amendment a favourable consideration, and that hon. Gentlemen opposite would recognize the importance of reforming the Church without delay. He had heard ugly rumours in the Lobby that if by the favour of the House his Amendment should be carried, hon. Gentlemen opposite would then vote against the amended Resolution. If they did they would render themselves liable to the accusation that they were not only against Disestablishment, but against all reform. There was nothing in his Amendment that need frighten hon. Gentlemen opposite. They need not read his views in it. The hon. Member for Swansea said that a wall of brass divided the Church of Wales from the people. Well, if they wanted to break down that wall of brass let them introduce the principle of local self-government; let them nationalize the Church; let them make what was called the Church of the English in Wales the Church of the Welsh; let them make it not only the Church of the clergy and of the wealthy minority, but the Church of the people, governed and controlled by the people in each parish, as the people acting through their representatives might decide, always provided such control did not conflict with the regulations laid down by Parliament. It was a Liberal and Democratic Amendment, and as such he, with confidence, submitted it to the consideration of that Democratic Asssembly. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Amendment which stood in his name.

MR. MACINNES (Northumberland, Hexham)

seconded the Amendment, and, in doing so, said, that everybody knew how unsatisfactory had been the position of the Church in Wales for ages past. The hon. Member who introduced this Motion had proved abundantly what little sympathy there was at present between the vast majority of the people of Wales and the Church as it now existed in that country. But as the House had listened to the two interesting speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Resolution, and heard of the vice, drunkenness, and immorality in connection with the clergy of the Principality in years gone by, as well as the gross system of nepotism that prevailed, surely it must have occurred to many hon. Members that if the case had been stated mutatis mulandis, the same thing would have applied to other parts of the country besides Wales. And, therefore, perhaps the House would listen to a few observations from him, although he could not claim to be the Representative of a Welsh constituency. His hon. Friend below him (Mr. Albert Grey) acknowledged that the present state of things in Wales involved an anomaly and an injustice that must be dealt with. The question was, how the Church should be dealt with? This matter was not to be dealt with as hon. Gentlemen opposite were about to deal with it, by meeting the Resolution with a direct negative, but they should try to obtain a measure of reform that would meet the necessities of the case. They might be told, perhaps, that it was now too late—that the time was past for reform. Those were fatal words to write over the door of any institution, and any institution over which they were written was inevitably doomed. He trusted, however, that it was not too late to reform the Church in Wales. His reason for seconding the Amendment of his hon. Friend was because he thought that on this, the first occasion which any matter of Church discipline had come before a new House of Commons, it was well that those hon. Members who felt strongly on matters of reform should see one more effort made to introduce a scheme of reform—so bold, generous, and farreaching—that they might try whether in this matter it might not be possible once more to do good by amending and reforming rather than by destroying any institution in the country. It was for that reason he begged to second the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Northumberland.

Amendment proposed, To leave out all the words after the word "population," in line 4, and insert the words, "this House is of opinion that the time has arrived for introducing, without delay, into its organisation such reforms as will enable it to adapt itself more efficiently to the religious needs and wishes of the Welsh people,"—(Mr. Albert Grey,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

MR. RAIKES (Cambridge University)

said, he was sure that hon. Members on that side of the House would join with him in the expression of satisfaction at seeing the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) sufficiently restored to health to take part in this debate. He hoped to imitate the candour with which the Mover and Seconder of the Motion had handled their arguments. As to the Amendment which suggested Church reform as a universal panacea, it was really more embarrassing to him than the Motion, for he did not entirely disagree with the principle underlying it. But the proposition was not really germane to the subject now under discussion, and was only calculated to lead the House away from the real question raised by the Motion. He quite agreed with the hon. Gentleman who proposed the Amendment, that the second part of the Motion was exceedingly vague. The assertion that— The continuance of the Church of England in Wales as an Established Church in the Principality is an anomaly and injustice which ought no longer to exist, appeared to be characterized by intentional vagueness. Some years ago the late Mr. Watkin Williams brought forward a Motion which in its first part was very like the present Motion; but in the second part it declared that Disendowment ought to follow, and that the funds ought to be devoted to secular purposes. But the present Motion was so vague that it would be open to some of its supporters to say that they were not in favour of Disendowment; while others said that, though in favour of Disendowment, they were not in favour of applying the funds to secular purposes; and a third set of its supporters might assert that they were in favour of Disendowment and of the funds being applied to secular purposes. There was some ground for complaint that the Motion had been brought forward at all. He thought that, by common consent, hon. Gentlemen opposite were not to raise Church questions in the present Parliament. ["Oh, oh!"] He did not refer to individual Members; but there was conveyed to the minds of the Opposition the impression that, following the lead of the Prime Minister, the Liberal Party had taken up the attitude of postponing for the next few Sessions of Parliament the consideration of Church questions. ["No, no!"] At all events, a great many Members of the present Parliament owed their election to an attitude of that description. He feared he must describe the observations of the hon. Member for Swansea as being of too general a character. Nor did he think the hon. Gentleman went into the question with that closeness of argument which the House would have expected from him. He (Mr. Raikes) objected to his phrase, "Church of England in Wales." That phrase in this connection he thought misleading, and represented an opinion for which there was no foundation. It represented that the Church of England was regarded in Wales as an alien and intrusive institution. ["Hear, hear!"] There might be Welshmen who thought so; but he had lived in Wales for 35 years, and had heard many arguments against the Church, but never this one. He also objected to the reference of the hon. Member for Swansea to the fact that he was a Welsh Member, and that the Welsh Members generally were of certain opinions on this subject, as if upon this question a Welsh Member stood in any different position from that of an English Member. Retrograde as our policy might be in the future, we had not yet gone back so far as to regard Wales as a Principality and entity separate from England. It would be a fatal day for Wales if such a thing came to pass. The hon. Member pointed to the fact that Wales once had its own Chief Justice, though this office was now abolished; that there were Turnpike Acts which applied to Wales and not to England—but that was due to particular local circumstances not at all affecting the Welsh counties at large — and that a Sunday Closing Bill had been passed for Wales. But this last fact did not show that Wales was to be treated as a separate entity. It was merely due to the circumstance that the Welsh people were willing to accept it, while the English people were not. The hon. Member had referred to some remarks made by the present Prime Minister in 1869 on the Irish Church Bill; but in 1870, when speaking on Mr. Watkin Williams's Motion in favour of Church Disestablishment in Wales, the Prime Minister pointed out that the whole history of the case in Wales was entirely different from that in Ireland. Whatever view might be taken of the anomaly of the Established Church in Wales, it would be, said the Prime Minister, the greatest exaggeration to represent the attitude of the Dissenting bodies in Wales to the Established Church as similar to that of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland to the Established Church in Ireland. He need not dwell at any length on the interesting historical review which the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil had given them. The hon. Member was well informed on all Welsh questions, having paid special attention to them, and he always listened to him with interest. But when the hon. Member spoke of the Church in Wales as being an "alien institution," and the "Church of the invader and conqueror," the hon. Member was too good an antiquary not to know that the Church existed in Wales long before the English arrived there, or, indeed, in any part of this Island. The hon. Member must be aware that the ancient British Church existed in the mountainous districts of Wales before St. Augustine came to Canterbury, St. Patrick to Ireland, or St. Columba to Scotland. To represent the Church in Wales as the Church of the invader and the conqueror, appeared to him to be an entire misrepresentation, which, while no doubt unintentional, was calculated to mislead those outside the House who did not know the facts so well as the hon. Member. Reference had also been made by the hon. Member to English Bishops being forced on the Welsh under Saxon and Norman rule. He should like to know any instance of a Bishop being forced on the Welsh by Saxon Sovereigns, for, as a matter of fact, they were not able to establish their authority over the Welsh, who had their own Archbishop. But even if these matters were as the hon. Member represented them, he should like to know what practical bearing they had on the question before the House. As he did not wish it to be supposed that he had allowed anything to go by default, he would now state clearly the position he took. With reference to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. Albert Grey), he should feel bound to vote ultimately against the Amendment of the hon. Member if it should become the substantive Motion, because it accepted the premisses of the first part of the original Motion. For his part, he was not prepared to assent to the proposition that the Church in Wales had failed to perform its professed object to minister to the religious interests of the Welsh people. He did not know what object it professed; but he could show that the Church had been far more successful in ministering to the religious interests of the Welsh people than the hon. Member would have them believe. Nor did he believe that the Church ministered but to a small minority of the population. He admitted the Church was in a minority; but he denied that it was in so small a minority as had been represented. Therefore, he objected as strongly to the admissions of principle conceded by the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northumberland as he did to the conclusions of the original Motion. There was one contribution to the discussion of this question which should not be unnoticed in addition to the speeches they had heard that night. In November last an interesting contribution to contemporary literature on this subject proceeded from the pen of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies. In that paper he gave no uncertain sound in advocating the proposition now put before the House; and it was remarkable, having regard to the confidence which the right hon. and learned Gentleman had in the views of the Welsh population towards the Established Church, that he had not recently seized an opportunity of being reelected. One or two subjects alluded to by the right hon. and learned Member he should like to notice. He stated that the chapels were crammed to suffocation, and that the churches were empty. On referring to a newspaper called Y Goleuad, one of the organs of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, he found various facts set forth with reference to chapel building. He could not go into all the figures, but he would select some of the instances given. In the parish of Trimsaran he found that a chapel had been built with 500 sittings at a cost of £1,200, of which £1,100 was unpaid, and the congregation numbered 40. At Blaenrhondda, which the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard) might know something about, as it was in his district, a chapel to seat 550 had been built at a cost of £1,740, and the debt upon it was £1,765. The number of the members of that congregation was 79. He could run through a long list of similar cases, but he would merely rely upon the last, which was at Penmaenmawr, where he found that a chapel had been built containing 230 seats at a cost of £1,200, of which £940 remained unpaid, while the congregation numbered 18. He ought, in justice, however, to remark that he was referring only to communicant members of the congregation; but he believed that if the communicants were multiplied by four, it would give a fair average of the attendants at the services; and 18 multiplied by four gave 72, which could hardly crowd to suffocation a chapel with 230 sittings, unless the Welsh were a very peculiar people. He had no disposition to throw discredit upon the very laudable and honourable exertions of the Welsh people to provide chapel accommodation for themselves, because they deserved the highest praise for the earnestness and zeal with which they had endeavoured to supply in even more than sufficiency their religious wants. He wished, however, to point out how unreliable the statistics were that had been put forward by hon. Members opposite, doubtless with perfect good faith in their accuracy. He wished now to come to the large and broad question of the possibility of separating the Church in Wales from the Church of England. Hon. Members opposite spoke glibly enough on the subject; but he doubted whether they could define what they included in the expression Wales. Was it a geographical Wales, an ethnological Wales, an ecclesiastical Wales, or the Wales that was included in the registration districts? Of the four dioceses into which Wales was divided two—those of Llandaff and St. Asaph—included portions of England. Were only those parts of those dioceses that were in Wales to be disestablished, and were those portions which were in England to remain established? With regard to the statistics put forward by hon. Members opposite, he absolutely declined to accept them as in any respect final or reliable, inasmuch as the allies of those hon. Members had frustrated the endeavours of Parliament to obtain an accurate religious census of the country. In such circumstances, it could not be right to accept the unofficial religious census which they had put forward, and which had been drawn up by irresponsible persons. These statistics were noticeable for the discrepancies which occurred in those put forward by different Nonconformist bodies. He wished to point out the original manner in which the number of Churchmen in this instance was ascertained by Dr. Rees and other gentlemen. They found that there were 253,000 Congregationalists, 250,000 Calvinistic Methodists, 144,000 Baptists, 78,000 Wesleyans, 17,000 Primitive Methodists, and so on; but, after going through the list in this manner, Dr. Rees found that he had got about 500,000 persons left. Instead, however, of making the Church a present of the residuum he was pleased to put all those persons down as of the non-religious order. Dr. Rees, having had his attention called to this curious feature of his calculations, was also apparently informed that there were some Roman Catholics in Wales; he therefore took off 30,000 for Roman Catholics. Having done this, he seems to have thought that, on the whole, the fairest thing to do with the 470,000 people left was to give 220,000 to the Church, and 250,000 to the non-religious order. But how, why, when, and in what manner he arrived at that distinguishing line which separated the parties in such nearly equal proportions could not be gathered, because, unhappily, Dr. Rees was no longer alive, and his statistics could not be explained by any living person, except, perhaps, the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Hussey Vivian). The hon. Member for Swansea, when he made his speech in 1883, estimated the number of Churchmen on somewhat the same principle, putting the number down as 142,000, and the non-religious 150,000. That evening, however, the hon. Member had estimated the number of Churchmen at 217,000, as against 100,000 non-religious persons. Taking the hon. Member's figures, therefore, the House would see that he himself had made out a very small excess on behalf of the largest Nonconformist denominations as compared with the number he was willing to allow to the Church. Even on the statistics which had been submitted to the House by hon. Members opposite—taking their accuracy for granted—he thought a fair case had been made out for assuming that the Church was still considerably the most numerous denomination in Wales. Dealing next with the failure of the Church in Wales, he stated that he had been at pains, in view of this discussion, to enter into communication with the clergy in North Wales as to certain points. A certain number of questions were put to the clergymen, and he found from the replies which had been returned to his inquiries that in 164 parishes in the diocese of St. Asaph there were 201 Church schools at the present time and 76 Board or British schools. He also found—and this was perhaps the most remarkable and instructive fact which could be found in connection with the attitude of Welsh people towards the Church—that since the Burials Act of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies had been passed, there had been celebrated under the provisions of that Act by Nonconformist ministers in these 164 parishes 666 funerals; while there had been 11,384 funerals according to the rites of the Established Church. He should say that those figures admitted of being largely supplemented, because of the parishes which sent in returns 16 had failed to send in the number of Church funerals. Another question which had been put to the clergymen was with regard to the attendance of Nonconformists on special occasions, such as harvest festivals, public thanksgivings, Christmas Day and New Year observances. He had found that without a single exception Nonconformists frequented the churches in large numbers, and, judging from his own experience in his parish church, he should say that the church, containing from 1,200 to 1,300 persons, was filled at a New-Year's Eve service with a great majority of Nonconformists. Then, again, with respect to the expenditure of the Church in the last 10 years. In the 164 parishes already mentioned be found that £159,550 had been spent on church building and restoration; £14,177 on mission rooms; the increase in endowments from private liberality being £69,963. In 272 parishes in North Wales he found that the total number of Church schools was 321, the number of Board schools 205; the number of funerals under the Burials Act of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, 1,441; the total number of funerals according to the rites of the Established Church, 20,598; the total sum spent in 10 years on church buildings and restorations was £249,046; on mission rooms, £30,740; and the increase in endowments from private liberality £124,349. Having received these statistics, and believing them as he did, he would be wanting in his duty if he allowed the statement to go forth unchallenged that the Church had failed in its object of furthering the religious interests of the Principality, or that it ministered to a mere minority of the population. Church progress had been even more remarkable in some respects in the populous diocese of Llandaff, the particulars of which might be found in the official Year-Book of the Church. The statistics relating to the diocese of St. David's were in nearly the same proportion as those of the diocese of Llandaff. He had one other great fact, which he humbly offered as a basis for computing by a positive method the number of Church people in Wales. He entirely repudiated the system adopted by hon. Gentlemen opposite in estimating everybody they could for their own particular denomination and leaving the balance to the Church. In nine parishes of the diocese of Bangor, not including the seaside towns, there were 1,227 communicants to a population of 9,028, and in a similar district of the diocese of St. Asaph the proportion in entirely rural districts was the same — about one-ninth of the population being communicants. In the diocese of Llandaff the proportion was a little larger, and in that of St. Davids it was about the same. From these figures it might well be judged that the number of the population belonging to the Church were something like one-third. But he did not stop there. In Wales there was a great many Nonconformists who were extremely unwilling that the Church should be disestablished. In Swansea, which might be regarded as the Mecca of Disestablishment, an unknown Conservative candidate polled 2,500 against a Member so long known and respected in that House. The returns of the last elections in Wales showed that the Church, which they were told claimed one-seventh or one-ninth of the population, brought up to the poll 67,593 voters, as against 98,593. It was, he thought, very desirable that their side of the case should be given, because it showed that the House could not accept implicitly the statement on which the Motion was based. He asked hon. Members to take a charitable and liberal and impartial view of this matter, and not to be led away by any question of sectarian jealousy, or denominational vexation, or personal feeling. They should look at the question, not as Welshmen, Cornishmen, or Yorkshiremen, but as Englishmen, and look at it as a great question affecting the greatest glory of our land and the greatest blessings of our people.

MR. RENDEL (Montgomeryshire)

Sir, my hon. Friend's Resolution has come on so unexpectedly late this evening that I am sure that none of its friends will risk our arriving at a division upon the substance of it by prolonging this debate. It is, indeed, needless that we should attempt to set out the arguments for the Disestablishment of the English Church in Wales, partly because that has been already done to our complete satisfaction by my hon. friends who have moved and seconded this Resolution, and partly because we have reason to believe that the great mass of the Liberal Party already recognizes and accepts the fact that the Establishment in Wales is perhaps the most crying injustice that still calls for remedy at the hands of Parliament. But it is necessary that something should be said by the Welsh Representatives in reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Raikes) who has just spoken in opposition to the Motion. He has founded his main objections to the Motion—first, on the inadequacy and incorrectness of the statistics of my hon. Friend; and, secondly, on the supposed impossibility of dealing separately with Wales in this matter. Deeply as I should desire, in common with so many other Members from Wales, to enter far more fully into the merits of the case, I will trespass on the indulgence of the House only for the purpose of meeting to the best of my power the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman. Now, Sir, the House need not fear that I shall trouble them with statistics; indeed, I somewhat deprecate the use of ex parte statistics at all in this matter. I ask what end is really attained, what minds that are open are really convinced by the setting forth of such figures as the right hon. Gentleman has produced? He has, perhaps, amused his Friends with them, and at the expense of some needless pain to other people. But who supposes that a great question of this kind is going to be determined in this House by a nice adjustment of the exact ratio of Nonconformists to Churchmen in the Principality? Whether it is four to one, or six to one, or eight to one, will our decision turn on the exact proportion? Surely it is enough to say that the Welsh are notoriously a Nonconformist people. It is the Prime Minister himself, I believe, who has called them "a nation of Nonconformists;" and since an Established Church must at any rate be National, how can an Episcopalian Establishment be justified in Wales any more than it was in Scotland or in Ireland? The Welsh are too religious to be the enemies of the Church of England; but they are opposed to its establishment in Wales as an injustice and a spiritual monopoly. Their quarrel is not with the Church, but with its establishment, and they would be quite right even as friends of the Church in Wales to be the enemies of its establishment there, for nothing is plainer than that it was the Establishment that destroyed the Church in Wales. It was the civil and political control of the Church by means of Establishment which alone caused the Church to be used as an instrument of state for denationalizing and Anglicizing Wales. No Church and no people were ever more cruelly and more wickedly used than when, by means of an Establishment, the Church and the people of Wales were refused all religious ministrations by the State except at the sacrifice of their native tongue. In the result, as we know, the language was preserved, but the Church as a National Institution was destroyed. But, Sir, I should suppose that adequate evidence was furnished to this House of the numerical proportion of Nonconformists to Churchmen in Wales by the representation of Wales in this House. Out of 30 constituencies no less than 27 are in favour of Disestablishment. It is said that Disestablishment is not a question for the present Parliament, that it was not an issue at the late General Election; but that is not true of Wales at least, if even true elsewhere. My hon. Friends near me from Wales will all agree that the Disestablishment Question was in the very front rank at the last Election. In fact, it was the first, if not the sole, question at many places, and must continue to be so until that measure is conceded. The right hon. Member adduces figures to show that, after all, the Conservative vote at the General Election compares not so very unfavourably with the Liberal vote, and is a truer indication of the relative strength of Church and Nonconformity than Nonconformist returns of chapel and church attendance. But when the right hon. Gentleman put the Liberal vote at about 100,000 and the Conservative vote at nearly 70,000, he failed to remind the House that four Liberal Members were returned unopposed by some of the very largest constituencies in Wales. He thus omitted no less than 33,000 votes from his calculation. The right hon. Gentleman, however, considers that it is impossible to treat Wales as a separate country; but the House has been already reminded that Wales has been, in more than one case, treated individually and as a distinct country. There is not only the Sunday Closing Act—there is also the Intermediate Education Bill, and the much more important case, as it appears to me, of the County Franchise Act. Now, Sir, there is no doubt that had Wales been treated as one with England for the purposes of the franchise, Wales would have been far from entitled to retain the whole of her 30 Members, and the Prime Minister—whose absence on this occasion Wales has so much reason to regret—was careful, in introducing the measure, to lay down a principle under which Wales was to be entitled to treatment as a separate country for the purpose of the franchise. He said, in introducing the measure on November 6th, 1884— Further—and to this I attach immense importance—it must be equitable and liberal as between the great divisions of the country—and in speaking of these great divisions I have avoided the term 'the three countries' known to the Constitution, because it is not unnatural to substitute the number four for the number three, and speak of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales."—(3 Hansard, [293] 1126.) If, then, Wales was entitled to be regarded as a separate country for the purpose of representation in this House, it seems clear that Wales is entitled to separate treatment for any purpose for which Parliament exists. I submit that the representative and Parliamentary rights of Wales being admitted to be rights belonging to her as a separate country, she is entitled to be recognized here as a separate country in all matters over which Parliament has control. The right hon. Gentleman considers that there is no clear line of boundary between England and Wales, and no plain and sufficient distinction; but it might be contended, on the other hand, that Wales is separated from England by a clearer and stronger barrier than Ireland—that is, not only by the barrier of race but of language; a separation which, for the purposes of religious ministration, is of the sharpest and most insuperable nature. No doubt the friends of the English Establishment are utterly opposed to any course which may lead to piecemeal or Local Option Disestablishment; but I earnestly ask the House to consider whether the friends of the Church of England are justified in supposing that Disestablishment in Wales would be any blow to the Church of England. People sometimes forget that the Church of England and the Establishment are not in the least coincident or co-extensive. The Church of England extends far beyond the Establishment—I am not now speaking of the Sister Churches such as those in Ireland and in Scotland and in America. I am speaking of the Church of England as a single Church. For example, the whole of the Colonial Church is one with, and is an integral part of, the Church of England. So much is this the case, that for a great many years it was thought that the Colonial Church was a part of the Establishment. It was in that belief that the Crown appointed the Colonial Bishops. I believe the Crown still appoints in the Crown Colonies. Not until Lord Kingsdown's judgment in 1862 did it appear by the decision of the Privy Council that Ministers and Parliament had been mistaken all along, and that the Colonial Church was not a part of the Establishment, though it was a part of the Church of England. Well, Sir, has the Church or the Establishment suffered in the smallest degree by this very important decision and change? So little is this the case, that I believe a great many persons are as ignorant as they are indifferent on the question whether this great and growing Colonial Church is or is not Established. You have its Bishops consecrated in this country by our Bishops, and, as we have lately seen in two instances, the Colonial Churches send their Bishops to us; so that not only do Holy Orders run interchangeably between the Unestablished and Established portions of the Church of England, but even the Home and Colonial Episcopate are interchangeable. How, then, would Welsh Disestablishment injure the English Church; or how should it be alleged that there is any insuperable difficulty in abolishing Estabment, so far as the Principality of Wales is concerned? Will the Church in Wales be one whit worse off than the Church in any part of our Colonies? Will it not, in fact, be enormously benefited, as it is in the Colonies, by being given the management of its own affairs? In no part of the Empire is it so necessary as in Wales that the Church should have the management of its own affairs, and be enabled to adapt itself to the special condition of the Principality, and, above all, to the bilingual difficulty. If, however, Wales is to be met by a simple non possumus; if the grievance is admitted by the great bulk of the Liberal Party and its Leaders, yet the interests of the English Establishment are to stand in the way of justice; if Wales, while remembering how the Episcopalian Church was long ago disestablished in Scotland, and was recently in Ireland, is to be told that she, with a nationality certainly not less pronounced than the Scotch or Irish, is nevertheless to submit to a gross and palpable grievance affecting her dearest and nearest—that is her religious—feelings and interests; and if Wales is to submit to this cruel wrong at the hands of, and in the interests of, England alone—nay, not in the interests of England alone, nor even of the great Church of England, but of those of an Establishment commanding the assent of not half of the English people—then I think the demand of Wales for separate treatment will and must grow more and more urgent. Wales is notoriously law-abiding, loyal, and even long-suffering. Wales is given to no violent courses, and is on the best terms with England; but in the circumstances, and without meaning thereby to convey the slightest appearance of threat—for the Welsh are not given to threats—I must declare that you are inviting, if not forcing, Wales to have recourse to those Parliamentary expedients by which the will of a compact and united body of Representatives may secure satisfaction. Wales is determined to have her national aspirations recognized, and is resolute that matters so intimately affecting her own welfare should receive the attention of Parliament. If Parliament rejects a claim enforced by 26 out of 30 constituencies, and Constitutionally urged in this House; and if the only ground for such rejection is the refusal to recognize any separate rights on the part of Wales, then you are inviting Wales to put separate recognition and separate treatment in the very forefront of her political programme, and to send up to this House men whose first, whose perhaps sole duty it would be to direct all their political action to this object. No one will regret such a state of things more than many of the best Liberals that Wales has. But I entreat the House to believe that the question of Disestablishment is not an artificial or superficial one in Wales. It is the one question — the burning political question—in every part of Wales; and I trust that the division to be shortly reached in this House will give Wales ample evidence that in this matter of justice she has the sympathy of this Assembly.

MR. W. ABRAHAM (Glamorgan, Rhondda)

I may be allowed to say, with the Mover of this Resolution, that I do not view this question from a Liberationist point of view, although I am able to attest that the principle of complete religious equality is rapidly gaining ground every day. But I view it as a Welshman, and a Welshman that feels that the Church of England in Wales, for several reasons, has entirely failed to meet the religious requirements of the people. It has failed as an evangelizing agency, and it has failed to justify its nominal position as a National Church. In my own district, including Pontypridd — Pontypridd and the two Rhonddas—I find, by a Return made to this House in November, 1882, that in that year the Church only provided for the whole district, with its 100,000 population, 12 places of worship; while the other denominations provided no less than 87. This being so, is it not evident that the Church of England, in that part of Wales, has utterly failed to meet the religious requirements of the people? On the other hand, the religious wants of that district, with its immensely increased population, have been met, and fully met, by the Nonconformists. Had it not been so, the people, by thousands, would have been lapsing into heathenism; because the Church would never have thought of doing anything for them. But the Dissenters came to the rescue; for as soon as a colliery was sunk in any remote part of the district—for it should be known that it is a colliery district—a population rapidly sprang into existence. But even before the long rows of colliers' houses were built, a few earnest men met in the carpenter's shop, the engine shed, or, possibly, an old barn on the side of a hill, and these joined in prayer. As the population increased and became stronger, they would build a simple chapel, which, in a few years, would be enlarged, and ultimately attain the cathedral dimensions that characterizes a number of those edifices in that district. And in this manner, simple as it was, the Nonconformists met the religious requirements of the district; and it is they—and they alone—that we have to thank for saving the mass of people I speak of from infidelity. I would give the House some statistics to demonstrate the overwhelming majority of Nonconformists over Churchmen in the Rhondda Valley and Pontypridd district. The following figures of attendance at all the places of worship in the Ystrad and Pontypridd urban districts, on Sunday, March 4, 1884, were obtained by a committee, of which Mr. J. Griffiths, of Perth, was the secretary, and of which I myself was a member. The number of attendances at the morning services was at church 1,464, at chapel 19,238; and the attendances at the evening services were at church 2,485, at chapel 32,474. The total attendances, morning and evening, were at church 3,949, at chapel 51,712, which gives a proportion of Nonconformists as against Churchmen of 13 to 1. If the Church of England in Wales has failed to do its duty, it is not because it has been too poor to pay its clergy. This Church, which has so completely failed in Wales, has four Bishops, whose stipends amount to £17,000; it has Deans and Canons drawing £19,530, and clergy receiving £229,240. These figures give a total of £265,979. Yet, with all its wealth, this Church has lost the people. Certainly it cannot say now, as did the Apostle of old—"Silver and gold I have none;" neither can it point to the fact that by it the poor have the Gospel preached to them. Indeed, it would be hard to find that it ever, in Wales, made a profitable proclamation, except that which was to tax the whole country. One further point on which I wish to say a few words is that of language. It appears to me, as a new Member, that hon. Members have treated this matter somewhat indifferently. In addition to all this I have mentioned, the Church has omitted and neglected to provide means to teach the people the Word of God in language that they understand. I should like to be able to illustrate to hon. Members in this House the difficulty and the folly of trying to evangelize people in a language they cannot understand. What would hon. Members think if, before the commencement of our proceedings, the chaplain were to utter these words— Ein tad yr hwn urft yn y Nefœdd, Sancteiddier dy enw-deled dy Deyrn. They would think it a blasphemy perhaps, and yet it would be nothing more than the first words of that most beautiful of prayers of Divine origin—"Our Father which art in Heaven," and in the language of my countrymen. In the course it has adopted, the Church has forgotten the cardinal principle of getting at peoples' hearts through their understanding. Let me ask the House, seeing that it is the Free Churches, although unaided and unprotected by the State, which have done the work that the Church failed to do, is it fair that the Principality should still have that Church imposed upon it, and be compelled to contribute towards the support of that which has failed to do it any good, while also it is of the greatest importance that it should contribute handsomely to the support of those who really have done the work? At present the National Church in Wales is but one form of religion among the many. Its doctrines are disputed by other Churches, its services rejected, and its religious administrations available to a very small section of the people. And all that we ask for is that we should be placed on an equal platform with another branch of the Celtic race—our Irish brethren; and I appeal to the Irish Members here to aid us in attaining this desirable position.

MR. KENYON (, &c.) Denbigh

I cannot agree with the facts of the hon. Member who has just sat down. They may be South Wales facts; but they certainly are not facts such as we are cognizant of in North Wales. The Nonconformists claim too much for themselves in thinking and saying that they have been the only propagators of religious truth in Wales. I know there are some hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House who think they are the legitimate successors of Cromwell and his band of patriots, who in times past made themselves extremely unpleasant to your Predecessors, Sir, and even ventured to lay violent hands on the "bauble." As a matter of fact, that pedigree is a very ill-established one, for the origin of Nonconformity in Wales is quite modern. The Wesleyan Body, which is, perhaps, the oldest, dating from 1735, was not firmly established until 1797; and the Calvinistic Methodists, which, I believe, is the largest of the sects in Wales, did not receive its Deed of Trust until 1811. So that, in reality, the origin of Nonconformity is comparatively recent; and I think, if that is the case, it is rather hard, when we call upon people to support the Church of England as a barrier against atheism and infidelity, that we should be taunted with the question—"Where would you have been but for Nonconformity?" We may as well say—"Where would the people of England and Wales have been throughout all the Dark Ages if it had not been for the light of the Church of England?" ["Divide!"] Hon. Members cannot deny that the founders of their own Nonconformity, the great teachers of Nonconformity, were Church of England men. Daniel Rowlands, of Llangeitho; Thomas Charles, of Bala; and John Elias—these were all Churchmen; and not only were they Churchmen, but they implored their followers never to forsake the Church of England. John Elias said— No Methodist is opposed to paying tithes or any such impost. No true, sincere Methodist can be opposed to the Established Church. Its ministers were the most celebrated instruments in the commencement of Methodism in Wales. When circumstances arose which obliged Methodists to set apart some of the elder preachers to minister the ordinances, it was not intended to make an essential alteration with regard to the form and order of the Body. It was merely a setting apart of some to assist ministers of the Established Church; and everyone who was ordained was called on to confess and declare that he most truly, from his very soul, approved and accepted the present order and constitution of the "connexion." The translation of the Bible was the gift to you of the Established Church, as long ago as the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Sir, I have to add my expression of regret to those which have already been made that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister is not in his place; because I should have liked to appeal to him to support us to-night in opposition to the Resolution of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn). He did support us Churchmen in 1870, in opposition to Mr. Watkin Williams, and in doing so made some rather valuable statements in defence of the position which we occupy. It is rather late to-night to bring forward the statements which the right hon. Gentleman made on that occasion; but as allusion has been made in the course of the debate in some quarters of the House to the similarity between this Motion and the Motion for the Disestablishment of the Irish Church, made some years ago, I would venture to ask the House to listen to what the Prime Minister said in speaking on the Motion of Mr. Watkin Williams in 1870. The right hon. Gentleman, whom we all respect in Wales, said that he had, on a previous occasion, clearly stated that the question of the Church in Wales was not at one with the question of the Church in Ireland. He said there were some points of resemblance; but he added that they were capable of great exaggeration; and then he went on to say that the last half-century had been a period of the most active religious life known to the Reformed Church of England. Again, the right hon. Gentleman on the occasion referred to appealed to hon. Members to support the position of the Welsh Church upon the footing that it was an integral part of the Church of England. Well, Sir, to those remarks of the right hon. Gentleman I need add nothing; but perhaps the House will allow me to quote the words of a great authority, and a man who, I believe, no one in England will consider a bigot. I allude to the Dean of Llandaff, who has said that the Constitution of England knows no Church of Wales but as an integral part of the Church of England. Sir, I think that the real strength of our case is that we are not anxious, whatever other hon. Members may be, for Home Rule. We are contented, and wish to remain members of the dear old Church of England. I am not here to deny that the time has been when the Church of England in Wales has been slack and has not done her duty; but that time of sloth and somnolence has long passed away; and, in spite of all that hon. Gentlemen opposite may say, she is now doing her duty in the Principality—she only wishes to co-operate in the cause of Christianity; she is spreading out her arms, and inviting all denominations to join her in her strife with error, infidelity, and atheism, and in her labours for the spread of Christianity. For that reason I invite hon. Members to pause before accepting the Resolution of the hon. Member for Swansea, which, I believe in my heart, will, if it be carried out, do infinite harm to the cause of Christianity which we all have at heart.


Sir, I am sure that hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House will entirely concur in the regret expressed by the hon. Member who has just sat down, and others, as to the enforced absence of the Prime Minister to-night. There is perhaps no question upon which, eminent as the authority of the right hon. Gentleman is on all questions—["Oh!"]—well, that is my opinion, and even the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Kenyon) has invoked his aid to-night on behalf of the small Party to which he belongs and with which he acts; and therefore I hope, at all events, that in referring to the Prime Minister his name may not be received in the manner it was received in just now. Sir, I was going to say that upon no subject was the authority of the right hon. Gentleman more eminent than upon a question connected with Wales and connected with the Church. ["No!"] I should think that the hon. Gentleman who expresses his dissent from that opinion, is probably not a Welshman; if he were, he would not deny, I think, that the Prime Minister is an eminent authority on that matter. I will stand but a few minutes between the House and the division. I have only to say on the part of the Prime Minister how he regards the position that he would have to occupy with reference to this question. Now, Sir, I have no opinion whatever to express with reference to the merits of the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn). So far as it expresses an abstract opinion with reference to the condition of the Church of England in Wales—if the Church of England in Wales stood upon the same footing as the Church of Ireland or the Church of Scotland—that is to say, if there were separate Churches in separate parts of the United Kingdom, I confess myself I should not be here to argue against the proposition of the hon. Member for Swansea. I think he has made out a case which has hardly been disputed on the other side of the House. [Dissent.] Well, Sir, I have heard nothing against it worthy of the name of argument. My mind is formed on that point, and unquestionably it seems to me that the case of Wales with regard to the Church is at least as strong as that of the Church of Ireland. Therefore, Gentlemen opposite who take a different view as to the Church of Ireland may take a different view upon this question, and no one can complain of that. But equally they cannot complain that we should think that the Church which represents only a small minority of the people of a country ought not to be an Established Church in that country. But what is the view of the great majority of the people of Wales has been expressed in the speech of the hon. Member for the Rhondda Valley (Mr. Abraham), which I am sure must have struck the House generally as it struck me very much by its fervour, eloquence, and by its evident sincerity. Well, Sir, that being the case, I must also admit with my hon. Friend the Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Rendel) that in many respects Wales does represent a separate Nationality—that the people of Wales have a language and feelings of their own—but that they have not been up to this time, and are not now, separate in respect of the question of the Church Establishment. Therefore, however much truth there may be in my hon. Friend's view, this I think he will admit—that the Church of England in Wales is so much an integral part of the Established Church of England that it is not merely difficult, but I will say impossible, to raise the question as a separate one, and that you cannot deal with the one question—I do not mean by Resolution, but practically in legislation—without involving the other. I think that this is a proposition which will commend itself to every man's mind. If you raise the question of the Church in Wales, you raise the whole question. Now, what is the position, I do not say of all Gentlemen on this side of the House, or even of a majority of them—I am not speaking at all in their name; but what is the position which the Prime Minister took on the question of the Disestablishment of the Church at the recent Election by which this Parliament was called together. The right hon. Gentleman stated very distinctly that it was desired or intended to raise the question of Disestablishment. [Dissent.] I do not know that Gentlemen opposite have a particular claim or right to hold him to that statement, because they absolutely refused to receive it at the Election; and when they were beaten they said it was the question at the last Election, and that they would not allow anybody in opposition to say it was not. But, whatever may have been the position of hon. Gentlemen in that respect, the position taken up by the Prime Minister was that it was not the intention to raise the general question of Disestablishment as a question for the present Parliament. Now, Sir, I do not say that this in any way precludes my hon. Friend from making this Motion on the subject, and taking the opinion of this House upon it; but the position of Members of the Government with regard to it is somewhat different from his. The Government are not in the position in which private Members stand with reference to general Resolutions of this character; they cannot, according to the established and necessary proceedings of Parliament, support such Resolutions unless they are prepared to take upon them definite and early action. That has always been the practice; and no one has ever enforced it in this House with greater earnestness than has the Prime Minister, over and over again. Therefore, with reference to this question, it is quite impossible for the Government to take up the Resolution of my hon. Friend as a Government, and support it, because they are not prepared to give it early effect by legislation. Now, as I said before, if it had been possible to distinguish upon this subject as between England and Wales, in my opinion it would have been a totally different matter; but, for the reasons I have endeavoured to state, it seems to me that the two questions are incapable of being separated for the purpose of action; and, therefore, I do not find myself able to support the Motion of my hon. Friend.

SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS (Lancashire, S.W., Newton)

Sir, I am not about to detain the House for more than a few minutes, because, in the debate which has taken place, we have listened to all that has to be said on this question by hon. Gentlemen from Wales, and it is the desire of the House that we should come as soon as possible to a division. I should not allude to the case of the last Election at all, were it not for the words which have fallen from the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir William Harcourt), who said that the question of the Church was raised and decided against us at the last Election, although the Prime Minister had withdrawn it from the constituencies as a question for this Parliament. I should like to put ourselves right with reference to that matter. We say that the Radical Party raised the cry against the Church, and we say that responsible persons belonging to the Liberal Party joined in that cry; and we say, further, that when we defended the Church they found that the cry was not answered, and that when it was found that it was not answered the Prime Minister withdrew it. Sir, we have had from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer two statements which, I think, are worth remembering. He says that the Prime Minister knows all about Wales, and all about the Church Question. Therefore, I would strongly recommend to the consideration of the House the words of the Prime Minister in concluding his speech on the Motion of Mr. Watkin Williams in 1870—words which he would probably have used had he been in his place on the present occasion. The right hon. Gentleman said he would deal with his hon. Friend's Motion by a simple negative; that separate legislation would be mostguilty, most unworthy, and most dishonourable; and that the Government did not intend to go in that direction, and that they would regard legislation of the kind as a national mischief. I presume that these are the words to which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has referred to to-night. No one regrets more than I the absence of the Prime Minister from his place on the present occasion. I hope he has sent a copy of his speech to every Member of the present Government; and here I may say that I wish I could see the Members of the Government in their places. I want to know where they are? As the right hon. Gentleman suggests that the Prime Minister knows more about Wales and the Church Question than anybody else, I presume that when the Division Bell rings all the Members of Her Majesty's Government will vote as the Prime Minister said he should vote on the Motion of Mr. Watkin Williams. But, Sir, there have been one or two statements made which, anxious as I am not to detain the House, I cannot pass over without a few words of comment. I refer to some remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn)—if he will allow me to address him in that way, whom I have known so long—who said that there was not a National Church in Wales; that the question was not one of ordinance; that the hostility shown in Wales was against the Establishment; and that he based his argument on that ground. Now, I venture to say that a more unsound ground, or, rather, that a ground having less shadow of foundation, could not possibly have been taken. I shall also refer to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who seconded this Motion, because in the course of his speech he said that the Church of England in Wales was never known as the Established Church—that it was known and called by the name it had ever borne—that is to say, the "Church of England." Well, Sir, I say that that declaration is opposed to the words of the hon. Member for Swansea, which were that, because it is the Established Church, it is opposed to the feelings of the people of Wales. But this question is not a new one; it was raised in the course of the debate which took place in 1870, and it was specially alluded to by the Prime Minister in the speech which he then delivered. What the right hon. Gentleman said was this— It has not been a question with regard to National Establishments of religion that has had anything to do with the growth of Welsh Dissent. That is an historical challenge which I hold out to my hon. and learned Friend."—(3Hansard, [201] 1294.) It is clear to anyone who knows the history of the Church in Wales from the beginning that no hostility to it was ever created from the fact that it was an Established Church. Well, we will come to the grounds presently as to how that hostility arose. There was another remark made by the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) which it is necessary for us to take notice of. He specially alluded to this being a question simply of Wales, and he put Wales forward separately as a Nationality. The hon. Member evidently wanted to divert the attention of the House from the great question of the Church of England, to which the right hon. Gentleman so pertinently alluded; but he could not refrain, before concluding his speech, from expressing a wish that Monmouthshire could be included. Consequently, his speech was not confined to Wales, for he wanted to include Monmouth; and it is obvious that what he wants eventually is to work round to the Disestablishment of the Church altogether. The Seconder of the Resolution gave a long historical account of the Church of Wales in the Saxon and Norman times. Now, when we come to the time of the Revolution I am willing to admit that the action, not of the Church, but the action of the State—the action of King William III.—was injurious to the condition of the Church of Wales. It was his action, because he knew perfectly well that the Welsh Church was devoted to the cause of the Stuarts—because it was an original Church and not an alien Church—that he made the mistake of forcing Bishops who could not speak Welsh upon the Church of Wales. It was from that action of the State that all the evils which afterwards existed in the Church in Wales are to be derived. Therefore, I am not concerned, any more than the Prime Minister was in 1870, to deny all the abuses which followed, from the action of the State, and not from the action of the Church itself. But I say that has nothing to do with the present state of things. I should like to take the House through the matter ["Oh!"] If this Church is worth attacking, surely it is worth defending; and I ought to be allowed to say a word or two in its defence. I only want to allude to the time when Bishop Thirlwall went to Wales. He was a great scholar, and a very learned man; he realized the position in which he was placed, and learned Welsh so thoroughly that he was able to preach in it as if it were his native tongue. Since that time Welsh Bishops have been appointed, some by the present Prime Minister, though the example was set by the late Earl of Derby. Then, again, if anybody will look into Church history and see the amounts that have been collected for the Church and for Education, they will be struck by the enormous growth of the Church since Bishop Thirlwall's days. In every diocese hon. Members will find how the Church increases in numbers, and how great is the number of baptisms, and especially of adult baptisms, which now takes place. I cannot help thinking that there is a good deal of jealousy arising from the action of the Church in Wales; it has become so active; it is doing its duty so well, that I cannot but think there is a great feeling of jealousy. From all the inquiries I have made—and they have been many—I do not believe that there is among laymen in Wales any feeling against the Church, although I think there is considerable feeling against it in the minds of many ministers of various denominations there. It is all very well to talk about the number of Members opposed to the Church of Wales returned to this House; but the statistics which were produced by the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Raikes) as to the number of persons polling at the last Election for each side ought to be considered, if we are going to consider figures at all, and they are very significant. If a vote were taken on the question of the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales or not, I believe it would be found that the friends of the Church were in much greater numbers than hon. Members opposite would make believe, and that those who supported the Church were in the proportion of 67 to 98. When it is next proposed that a that a Religious Census should be made, I trust hon. Members opposite will not be afraid to have the facts brought out. I was somewhat struck with the manner in which the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) brought forward his statistics, counting all the Calvinistic Bodies first, then other denominations, and giving what remains to the Church. In regard to what has been said by the hon. Member for the Rhondda Valley (Mr. W. Abraham) and others who went into statistics, all I have to say is that, if we are to have statistics, let us have them in an authorized form. I was very much struck by the way in which the statistics were brought out by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard). If he will allow me to say so, it reminded me of the party who went out shooting, and when they returned they said to one another — "How many did you shoot?" Well, each of the guests said so many, and when the figures were counted up it turned out that the host had shot considerably less than none at all. The hon. Member for the Rhondda Valley has made an appeal to us. He has said that what the men of Wales want is to manage their own Church. They have got that; they have shown how they can do it. I have no doubt that at the present time those for whom we speak build and manage their own chapels and churches very well; but if Welsh Churchmen prefer another form of Church discipline and ecclesiastical government, I cannot see any harm in their being allowed to worship in their own way. If the Nonconformists of Wales have built their chapels, they do not ask for endowments for themselves. Why should they wish to deprive of their endowments those who are admittedly doing excellent work, not only in the interests of their own body, but for the cause of general moral teaching? I do not know whether anything could show the value of Church work more than the education she is giving. The accuracy of the statistics contained in the Blue Books issued by the Education Department on this subject is beyond question; and they show that in the diocese of St. Asaph there is accommodation in the Church schools for 31,127 scholars, in the Board schools for 15,698, in the British schools for 2,312, and in the Roman Catholic schools for 1,406 scholars. The average attendance in the Church schools is 19,389, in the Board schools 8,854, in the British schools 1,329, and in the Roman Catholic schools 882. The amount of the grant which all these schools collectively earned is by the Church schools £17,492, by the Board schools £7,373, by the British schools £1,149, and by the Roman Catholic schools £722, showing that the Church schools in this diocese are educating considerably more than half as much again as all the other schools put together. The average amount of grant earned per head on the average attendance has been by the Church schools 18s., by the Board schools 16s. 7¾d., by the British schools 17s. 3½d., and by the Roman Catholic schools 16s. 4¼d. I think, therefore, that I have shown that the Church in Wales is doing, and is capable of doing, great and good work. If we look at the importance of the work, I think I have a right to ask the House to agree with me in declaring that the Church of Wales is doing good work, which it ought to be allowed to continue. Therefore, if the other denominations are perfectly free to follow their own course, I do implore the House to stay its hand and to pause before it passes a Resolution of this kind, which was deprecated in 1871 by the Prime Minister, and which was then rejected by a large majority. I hope the House will take a similar course to that which it took on that occasion.

Question put.

The House divided:—229; Noes 241:Majority 12.

Abraham, W. (Glam.) Davies, R.
Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.) Davies, W.
Deasy, J.
Acland, A. H. D. Dillon, J.
Allen, W. S. Dixon, G.
Armitage, B. Elliot, hon. A. R. D.
Ashton, T. G. Ellis, J.
Atherley-Jones, L. Ellis, J. E.
Barbour, W. B. Esslemont, P.
Bass, Sir A. Everett, R. L.
Beamont, H. F. Fairbairn, Sir A.
Beith, G. Fenwick, C.
Biddulph, M. Finlayson, J.
Blaine, A. Finucane, J.
Blake, J. L. Flynn, J. C.
Blake, T. Foley, P. J.
Bolton, J. C. Forster, Sir C.
Bolton, T. H. Foster, Dr. B.
Borlase, W. C. Fox, Dr. J. F.
Boyd-Kinnear, J. Fry, L.
Bradlaugh, C. Fry, T.
Bright, right hon. J. Fuller, G. P.
Bright, W. L. Gaskell, C. G. Milnes-
Brocklehurst, W. C. Gibb, T. E.
Brown, A. H. Gilhooly, J.
Bruce, hon. R. P. Gill, T. P.
Brunner, J. T. Gladstone, H. J.
Buchanan, T. R. Goldsmid, Sir J.
Buckley, A. Gourley, E. T.
Burt, T. Gray, E. D.
Buxton, E. N. Grey, Sir E.
Cameron, C. Haldane, R. B.
Cameron, J. M. Harcourt, rt. hon. Sir W. G. V. V.
Campbell, Sir G.
Campbell, H. Marker, W.
Carbutt, E. H. Harrington, E.
Carew, J. L. Harris, M.
Chamberlain, R. Havelock - Allan, Sir H. M.
Chance, P. A.
Channing, F. A. Hingley, B.
Childers, rt. hon. H. C. E. Holden, A.
Holden, I.
Clancy, J. J. Howell, G.
Clark, Dr. G. B. Hoyle, I.
Cobb, H. P. Hunter, W. A.
Cobbold, F. T. Illingworth, A.
Cohen, A. Ince, H. B.
Condon, T. J. Ingram, W. J.
Connolly, L. Jacks, W.
Conway, M. Jacoby, J. A.
Conybeare, C. A. V. James, C. H.
Corbett, A. C. Johns, J. W.
Cossham, H. Joicey, J.
Cowen, J. Jones-Parry, L.
Cox, J. R. Jordan, J.
Craven, J. Kelly, B.
Crawford, D. Kenrick, W.
Crawford, W. Labouchere, H.
Cremer, W. R. Lane, W. J.
Crilly, D. Lawson, H. L. W.
Crompton, C. Leake, R.
Crossley, Sir S. B. Leatham, E. A.
Crossley, E. Leicester, J.
Crossman, Gen. Sir W. Lyell, L.
Currie, Sir D. M'Arthur, A.
Davies, D. M'Carthy, J.
M'Culloch, J. Salis-Schwabe, Col. G.
M'Donald, P. Samuelaon, Sir B.
M'Donald, Dr. R. Saunders, W.
Maitland, W. F. Seely, C.
Mason, S. Sellar, A. C.
Mather, W. Sexton, T.
Menzies, R. S. Shaw, T.
Molloy, B. C. Sheehy, D.
Morgan, rt. hon. G. O. Sheridan, H. B.
Morgan, O. V. Shirley, W. S.
Mundella, rt. hn. A. J. Simon, Serjeant J.
Newnes, G. Spensley, H.
Nolan, Colonel J. P. Spicer, H.
Nolan, J. Stack, J.
O'Brien, J. F. X. Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.
O'Brien, P. Stevenson, F. S.
O'Brien, P. J. Stevenson, J. C.
O'Brien, W. Strong, R.
O'Connor, J. (Kerry) Stuart, J.
O'Connor, J. (Tippry.) Sullivan, D.
O'Connor, T. P. Swinburne, Sir J.
O'Hea, P. Talbot, C. R. M.
O'Kelly, J. Taylor, F.
Paget, T. T. Thomas, A.
Parker, C. S. Tuite J.
Paulton, J. M. Vanderbyl, P.
Peacock, R. Verney, Captain E. H.
Pease, H. F. Vivian, Sir H. H.
Pickersgill, E. H. Wardle, H.
Picton, J. A. Warmington, C. M.
Potter, T. B. Watson, T.
Powell, W. R. H. Wayman, T.
Power, P. J. West, Colonel W. C.
Power, R. Westlake, J.
Price, T. P. Weston, J. D.
Priestley, B. Wiggin, H.
Pugh, D. Will, J. S.
Pyne, J. D. Williams, A. J.
Ramsay, J. Williams, J. C.
Rathbone, W. Williams, P.
Redmond, J. E. Wilson, H. J.
Reed, Sir E. J. Wilson, I.
Reid, H. G. Wilson, J. (Durham)
Rendel, S. Winterbotham, A. B.
Roberts, J. Wodehouse, E. R.
Roberts, J. B. Woodhead, J.
Robertson, E. Wright, C.
Robertson, H. Yeo, A. F.
Robson, W. S.
Rogers, J. E. T. TELLERS.
Roscoe, Sir H. E. Dillwyn, L. L.
Russell, E. R. Richard, H.
Rylands, P.
Addison, J. E. W. Barttelot, Sir W. B.
Agg-Gardner, J. T. Bates, Sir E.
Ainslie, W. G. Baumann, A. A.
Allen, H. G. Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks
Allsopp, hon. C.
Allsopp, hon. G. Beach, W. W. B.
Ambrose, W. Beadel, W. J.
Amherst, W. A. T. Bective, Earl of
Anstruther, Sir R. Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Bethell, Commander
Baden-Powell, G. S. Bickersteth, R.
Baggallay, E. Bigwood, J.
Baily, L. R. Birkbeck, Sir E.
Baird, J. Blundell, Col. H. B. H.
Baker, L. J. Borthwick, Sir A.
Balfour, rt. hon. A. J. Bourke, right hon. R.
Balfour, G. W. Brand, hon. H. R.
Bartley, G. C. T. Brassey, Sir T.
Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C. Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T.
Bristowe, T. L. Gorst, Sir J. E.
Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F. Gregory, G. B.
Grenfell, W. H.
Brookfield, Col. A. M. Grimston, Viscount
Bullard, H. Grove, Sir T. F.
Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B. Gunter, Colonel R.
Gurdon, R. T.
Burghley, Lord Hall, A. W.
Campbell, Sir A. Hall, C.
Campbell, J. A. Halsey, T. F.
Cavendish, Lord E. Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Charrington, S. Hamilton, Lord E.
Clarke, E. Hamilton, Lord F. S.
Cohen, L. L. Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.
Commerell, Adml. Sir J.
Compton, F. Hamilton, Col. C. E.
Cooke, C. W. R. Hanbury, R. W.
Corry, Sir J. P. Hankey, F. A.
Cotton, Capt. E. T. D. Hardcastle, E.
Cranborne, Viscount Hardcastle, F.
Cross, rt. hon. Sir R. A. Hartington, Marq. of
Cross, H. S. Hastings, G. W.
Cubitt, right hon. G. Heaton, J. H.
Curzon, Viscount Herbert, hon. S.
Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P. Hervey, Lord F.
Hibbert, rt. hn. J. T.
Dawson, R. Hill, Lord A. W.
De Cobain, E. S. W. Hill, A. S.
Denison, E. W. Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T.
Dickson, Major A. G.
Dimsdale, Baron R. Holmes, rt. hon. H.
Douglas, A. Akers- Hope, right hon. A. J. B. B.
Duckham, T.
Duncan, Colonel F. Houldsworth, W. H.
Duncombe, A. Howard, J.
Dyke, rt. hon. Sir W. H. Howard, J. M.
Hughes, Colonel E.
Eaton, H. W. Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C.
Ebrington, Viscount
Edwardes-Moss, T. C. Hunt, F. S.
Egerton, Adml. hon. F. Hunter, Sir G.
Egerton, hon. A. de T. Hutton, J. F.
Egerton, hn. A. J. F. Jackson, W. L.
Ellis, Sir J. W. Jennings, L. J.
Evelyn, W. J. Johnston, W.
Ewing, Sir A. O. Jones, P.
Farquharson, H. R. Kennaway, Sir J. H.
Feilden, Lt-Gen. R. J. Kenyon, hon. G. T.
Fellowes, W. H. Ker, R. W. B.
Fergusson, rt. hn. Sir J. Kimber, H.
Field, Captain E. King, H. S.
Finch, G. H. Knatchbull-Hugessen, hon. H. T.
Finch-Hatton, hon. M. E. G.
Knightley, Sir R.
Fisher, W. H. Lawrance, J. C.
Fitzgerald, R. U. P. Lawrence, Sir T.
Fitzwilliam, hon. W. J. W. Lawrence, W. F.
Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Fitz-Wygram, Sir F. Leighton, S.
Fletcher, Sir H. Lethbridge, Sir R.
Folkestone, Viscount Llewellyn, E. H.
Forwood, A. B. Lloyd, W.
Fowler, Sir R. N. Long, W. H.
Fraser, General C. C. Lowther, hon. W.
Gardner, R. Richardson- Lubbock, Sir J.
Lymington, Viscount
Gathorne-Hardy, hon. J. S. Macartney, W. G. E.
Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.
Gent-Davis. R.
Gibson, J. G. Maclean, J. M.
Giles, A. Macnaghten, E.
M'Calmont, Captain J. Saunderson, Maj. E. J.
M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J. Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.
Makins, Colonel W. T. Selwin - Ibbetson, rt. hon. Sir H. J.
Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R.
Seton-Karr, H.
March, Earl of Sidebottom, T. H.
Marriott, rt. hn. W. T. Sidebottom, W.
Marton, Maj. G. B. H. Sitwell, Sir G. R.
Maxwell, Sir H. E. Smith, rt. hon. W. H.
Mildmay, F. B. Smith, A.
Mills, hon. C. W. Smith, D.
Milvain, T. Stanhope, rt. hon. E.
More, R. J. Stanley, rt. hn. Col. Sir F.
Morgan, hon. F.
Mount, W. G. Stanley, E. J.
Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R. Stewart, M.
Sturrock, P.
Mulholland, H. L. Talbot, J. G.
Muntz, P. A. Temple, Sir R.
Murdoch, C. T. Tipping, W.
Newark, Viscount Tollemache, H. J.
Norris, E. S. Tomlinson, W. E. M.
Northcote, hon. H. S. Tottenham, A. L.
Norton, R. Trotter, H. J.
O'Neill, hon. R. T. Tyler, Sir H. W.
Paget, Sir H. H. Valentine, C. J.
Pearce, W. Vincent, C. E. H.
Pelly, Sir L. Walrond, Col. W. H.
Percy, Lord A. M. Walsh, hon. A. H. J.
Pitt-Lewis, G. Waring, Colonel T.
Plunket, rt. hon. D. R. Watson, J.
Pomfret, W. P. Webster, Sir R. E.
Powell, F. S. White, J. B.
Price, Captain G. E. Whitley, E.
Puleston, J. H. Wortley, C. B. Stuart
Raikes, rt. hon. H. C. Wroughton, P.
Ritchie, C. T. Yorke, J. R.
Robertson, J. P. B. Young, C. E. B.
Ross, A. H.
Round, J. TELLERS.
Russell, Sir G. Grey, A.
Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. M. MacInnes, M.

Question proposed, "That those words be there added."


Before we take a division on this Motion, I think we may, in the first place, congratulate ourselves that we have defeated the attempt of my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), in spite of the support of Her Majesty's Government. I was rather surprised, after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir William Harcourt), in which he deprecated the passing of abstract Resolutions which he did not feel himself in a position to carry out, that he and the few of his Colleagues who are present on the Treasury Bench should have followed the hon. Member for Swansea into the Division Lobby. But when I see among these Colleagues the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan), the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone), the hon. Member for Cardiff (Sir Edward J. Reed), and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), who are known supporters of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Swan sea—


I deny it.


Then I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on having changed his opinions, because, if he refers to the Division List of 1870, he will find that in that year he supported the Motion of Mr. Watkin Williams. Seeing, however, the bias of most of the Colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman who are present, I can quite understand that he felt some difficulty in carrying out the pledge of opposing the hon. Member for Swansea, which, we understood, he had given to the House. But what I am now anxious to ask is, perhaps, a somewhat remarkable request after what has happened. I am going to ask that the House may have the benefit of the guidance of Her Majesty's Government. We have now another abstract Resolution before the House. It contains, to some extent, principles with which we agree, and which we are as anxious as the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey) to carry out as early as possible—for it demands such reforms in the Church of England, including the Church of Wales, as may make that Church more efficient for its work. But I see something else besides reforms of that nature in the Motion of the hon. Member for Northumberland, for I think my hon. Friend has in his mind the establishment of that nondescript institution, a Church without dogma, which has been very well likened to a body without bones. There are hundreds of thousands of members of the Church of England who, however much they hate the idea of Disestablishment and Disendowment, would prefer even these evils to being made members of a Body which would not be a Church, but a National Institution for the teaching of all or no religion. Therefore, Sir, although we have voted with my hon. Friend the Member for Northumberland, in order to defeat the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, it is now our intention to oppose the substantive Motion as you have put it from the Chair. The question I am anxious to ask is this—Whether we may on this occasion anticipate that right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench will, having divided against the Motion of the hon. Member for Northumberland, vote now in favour of it?


The right hon. Gentleman has taken a course not at all unusual—of asking advice from people which he has not the slightest intention of following. Considering the number of years the right hon. Gentleman has been a Member of this House, he has rather presumed upon the want of experience of those who have not sat so long in it, when he expresses surprise at the course I took in the last division. Anybody who knows what the usual course is, is aware that when a Member intends to vote against two Resolutions, one of which is an Amendment, he votes first of all against the Amendment, and then against the Resolution. I am bound to say it is a very astute proceeding on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, who is opposed to both the Amendment and the Resolution, to vote for a body without bones only for the purpose of breaking somebody else's bones. But that is not the ordinary proceeding. On the contrary, I took the ordinary and, I venture to say, the more straightforward course. ["Oh, oh!"] I do not say that as any reproach to the right hon. Gentleman. What I say is, that anybody who has sat here for any length of time knows perfectly well that if a Member is opposed to two propositions he votes against them both. ["Oh!"] The hon. Member who cries "Oh" has, I think, sat in the House about three weeks. It has certainly been the practice, according to my observation, for many years past. If I oppose two propositions I vote against them both, and I do not support one in order to defeat the other. I voted in the Lobby with my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) because I intended to oppose the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey), and I intended afterwards to vote against the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea, and I venture to say that is the usual course of proceeding. Disapproving, as I do, of the Motion of the hon. Member for Northumberland, I shall vote against it now that it has become the substantive Motion before the House; and the reason I give is that the Government are not prepared to undertake the reform of the Church in Wales any more than they are prepared to entertain at this moment the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales. I shall, therefore, vote against the Motion.

MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)

Now, Sir, that the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey) has become a substantive Motion, I think it is of importance that the House should see the position in which it is placed. The Amendment has been used as a means of defeating the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn); and now I suppose hon. Gentlemen opposite, with perfect candour, will vote against it. What is it that the House is asked to do? It is to declare— That the time has arrived for introducing without delay into the organization of the Established Church in Wales such reforms as will enable it to adapt itself more efficiently to the religious needs and wishes of the Welsh people. Sir, that is the revolutionary proposal of my hon. Friend; but may I remind the House of the manner in which my hon. Friend's proposals have been received by the adherents of the Church of England? The other day Lord Halifax said that he and many others in the Church of England would a thousand times sooner have Disestablishment than these reforms which the hon. Member proposes. In a few days the House will have a proper opportunity of finally deciding the question of Disestablishment; and under the circumstances, therefore, I think the Government will do well to oppose the Motion now before the House.

MR. RAIKES (Cambridge University)

I apprehend, Sir, that if the House, in order to avoid having two more divisions, consents to allow the words of the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey) to be added to the Main Question without a division, it will then be possible to take a division on the Main Question as amended?


The right hon. Gentleman has correctly interpreted the situation. If the Motion of the hon. Member for Northumberland is negatived now the only proposal before us would be— That as the Church of England in Wales has failed to fulfil its professed object as a means of promoting the religious interests of the Welsh people, and ministers to only a small minority of the population. The House should allow the words proposed to be added to be inserted, and then vote upon the whole as a substantive Motion.

MR. ALBERT GREY (Northumberland, Tyneside)

I only wish to make one observation. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Raikes) pointed out in his speech that his only objection to the Resolution as amended by my Motion would be owing to the fact that it contained an objectionable preamble; but now I understand that the hostility of the Party opposite is owing to the fact that my Amendment makes a deliberate declaration that reform is wanted. Well, there is now no question of Disestablishment before the House. That question has been disposed of. The only question is whether the National Church Establishment shall be reformed or not; and there is no reason why any person who is in favour of one single iota of reform should not vote for this Amendment.

MR. PULESTON (Devonport)

I must protest against the remarks of the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey), because, in the speech in which he moved his Amendment, he took credit for having put before us a definite and distinct policy, and a scheme in all its details; and I apprehend that in voting for this Resolution we should be accepting the policy which he indicated in his speech. Therefore, I think the Opposition are justified in voting against the Amendment. I cannot tie myself to the policy indicated in the hon. Member's speech, although I yield to no man in my desire for the reform of the Church of Wales.

SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)

I entirely disagree with what has fallen from the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Puleston). The Amendment does not commit us to any particular form of policy; but it does commit us to the opinion that some reform should take place. I am not surprised at the attitude taken up by the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Illingworth), because he is always opposed to the Church of England, and resists any reform by which she might be strengthened. It is, however, certain that sooner or later we shall have to choose between Disestablishment or reform, and I wish to impress on hon. Members opposite that there are many on this side of the House who have opposed Disestablishment in the hope that some reform will be undertaken by the Church of England. If the House resists reform now, they will have before long to face the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church.

MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

I wish to say, Sir, that I shall support the Motion of the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey), because it seems to me to be practically a question of an absolute vote of reform in the Church or no reform. Believing reform to be necessary, I shall support the Motion. I think the time has come when we, on the Opposition side of the House, should speak out freely and boldly in favour of reform, and that when we have the opportunity we should not shrink from doing hero what we have pledged ourselves on the hustings to try and carry out.

LORD JOHN MANNERS (Leicestershire, E.)

I merely rise to say, Sir, in regard to what has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Raikes), that there is no objection on this side of the House to allowing the addition of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey) to the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn). A division can then be taken on the Motion as amended.

Question put.

The House divided: — Ayes 251; Noes 152: Majority 99. — (Div. List, No. 25.)

Main Question, as amended, proposed.

MR. PULESTON (Devonport)

I wish to say but a very few words of explanation with regard to the vote I am about to give, and that I think I have a perfect right to do, notwithstanding the interruption of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Sir, I wish to state that I should have been one of the most willing followers of the hon. Member for Northumber- land (Mr. A. Grey) in voting for the Amendment he proposes, were it not for the fact that the portion of the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea which is anterior to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northumberland makes that course impossible for me to take.

Main Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 49; Noes 346: Majority 297.—(Div. List, No. 26.)

House adjourned at a quarter after Two o'clock.