HC Deb 30 March 1886 vol 304 cc293-355
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

, in rising to move— That, in the opinion of this House, the Church of Scotland ought to be Disestablished und Disendowed, said: The Church Question in Scotland is the burning question at the present moment. Public feeling in regard to it is so divided that it is undesirable in the extreme that its settlement should be unnecessarily postponed. There are two antagonistic proposals for its settlement before the country. One is zealously supported by the Church Party, and consists in what is called the reconstruction of the Church—that is to say, such modification in its relations to the State as is hoped may enable it, by the advantage in the shape of endowment, gradually to disintegrate and absorb the Nonconforming Presbyterian communities. The second proposal for the settlement of the question is in the shape of Disestablishment and Disendowment, which, by placing all the Churches of the country upon the same footing, would enable them all to work out their future and their destinies for themselves, without being interfered with by means of State favouritism or State control. Now, Sir, this House recently pronounced on the first, on the reconstruction scheme. I ask it now to consider the other alternative. But there is, however, this practical difference in the manner in which the two schemes are brought before the notice of the House—that the reconstruction scheme of the hon. and learned Member for the Inverness Burghs (Mr. Finlay) was embodied in a Bill. If that Bill had passed, the scheme would have come into operation without delay. I bring forward the other alternative in the shape of an abstract Resolution, affirming simply the principle of a practical application of religious equality; and the Resolution may be supported without committing its supporters to any expression of opinion as to the time or opportunity when it should be carried into effect. Now, Sir, the Established Church in Scotland has long ceased to fulfil the considerations in connection with which, in a bygone age, it was established and endowed. So far from being the Church of the majority of the population, three-fifths of the entire population in Scotland are to be found outside its walls. It is not the Church even of the entire Presbyterian community of Scotland; on the contrary, a moiety of the Presbyterians of Scotland are to be found in other Churches, and they regard the continuance of the privileges enjoyed by the Establishment as inexpedient, unjust, and an obstacle to the development and harmony and usefulness of their common religion. I am a firm believer in the doctrine laid down by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, in his address to the electors of Mid Lothian, as a fundamental principle of Liberal policy—that nothing should be done by the State which could be as well or better effected by voluntary effort. I maintain that the experience, and notably that of the past 40 years, has shown that the development and maintenance of the Presbyterian Church can be better effected by means of voluntary effort than by anything which could be done by the State in connection with it; and as the logical corollary to the principle laid down by the Prime Minister I ask the House to support the Resolution which I submit. The Presbyterian Church in Scotland is divided into three great bodies—the Established, the Free, and the United Presbyterian Churches. Between them these Churches maintained over 3,000 places of worship; and of these almost exactly one-half belong to the Established Church and the other half to the Nonconforming Presbyterian Churches. Of the belonging to the Nonconforming Churches, over 1,000 have sprung into existence in the 40 years which have elapsed since the Disruption. The joint income of the three Presbyterian Churches from all sources amounts, in round numbers, to £1,750,000 sterling per annum. Of that sum, over £1,000,000 sterling represents the joint income of the Free and the United Presbyterian Churches, and under £750,000 the revenues of the Established Church. Now, one-half the revenues of the Established Church are derived from voluntary sources; and it will be thus seen that the endowments received from the State constitute a mere fraction of it in their amount. As I have shown, the income of the Nonconforming Presbyterian Churches of Scotland is 33 per cent greater than that enjoyed by the Establishment from all sources, including endowment; and this is the more remarkable, because the Established Church claims to possess a considerably larger membership than the other Bodies combined. If I were to bring forward figures regarding the relative strength of the three Churches those figures would at once be challenged, and we should be plunged into a maze of statistics whence there would be no exit. Hence it is that I prefer to refer to financial results. As I have said, the revenues of the Nonconforming Presbyterian Churches are very much larger than those possessed by the Establishment, and that is the more remarkable, because the Established Church claims to possess a very considerably larger strength. The other Bodies deny that it is so large as it claims to be, and they assert that their numbers are as great, or greater, than those in the Establishment. But it is admitted that, at least, they are not far inferior in point of numbers. If they are inferior, so much the stronger a case, it appears to me, is made out for asserting the efficiency of voluntary effort for the support of Presbyterian Churches in Scotland, and for asserting that the effect of the endowments which it receives is simply to depress the private liberality of individuals connected with it. Here you have, practically, two Churches—one endowed and established, the other self-supporting—in the same country and maintained by the same people. The Establishment is the richer Church and the Church which claims to be more numerous. Well, under ordinary circumstances that Church should show a greater amount of liberality, and its revenues from voluntary sources should be greater; but besides the sums which its members voluntarily give, it receives from the State somewhere not far short of £400,000 a-year. The effect of that should be enormously to increase the advantage that it enjoys in point of revenue; but, so far from that being the case, so chilling and depressing is found to be the effect of this State endowment, that even with all that the total revenues of the Established Church, fall far short of the amount received by the Free and United Presbyterian Churches, whose membership is poorer, and whose numbers are asserted, to be very considerably less. I have quoted the figures for the year 1884–5. I observe a statement issued on behalf of the Church of Scotland, which contains statistics regarding its income for the last 13 years. I have not been able to institute any comparison with similar statistics with other Churches of this period. But some time ago the first portion of the figures were made public—those ending for the nine years in 1880—and these have been compared with similar figures of the same time with regard to Nonconformist Churches. The result showed that during the nine years ending 1880, a period in which the Established Church received a great windfall in the shape of the Baird Bequest of £500,000, its revenues from all sources amounted to only £7,000,000 sterling. During the same period the revenue raised by the Free and United Presbyterian Churches amounted to £8,250,000, showing an excess of £1,250,000 over the Established Church. Could there be any more startling proof of the fact that Presbyterianism in Scotland could be as well, or better, maintained by voluntary effort than anything that State support can do in connection with it? How do the Bodies that constitute that large and active section of Presbyterianism which is self-supporting—how do they regard the present system of Establishment and endowment as bearing on the interests of their common religion? They regard the attitude of the Establishment as one of danger and menace towards them. They have seen it of late years, not content with the advantage it enjoys, seeking to modify its relations with the State in such a manner as to extend its field of operation at their expense. They have naturally resented that, and taken up, in self-defence, the position which they occupy of demanding the Disestablishment of the Church. What says the Free Church, as the larger of the two Nonconforming Bodies, on this point? I have no doubt we shall hear something of the theoretical opinions of the Free Church on this subject; but it appears to me this is a matter in which, as practical politicians, we have nothing to do. What we have to do with is, what is the practical attitude of the Free Church towards Disestablishment as a political question? The views of that Church are set forth most tersely and distinctly in a single sentence which I shall quote from a deliverance of the Free Church Assembly in 1884—a Resolution carried by a majority of six to one—and I quote the sentence in question simply because it sets forth most concisely the gist of a number of Resolutions on the same question, passed by the same Body over a long series of years. The sentence I refer to is this— That, in the opinion of the General Assembly of the Free Church, with a view to justice, peace, and the healthy action of the Churches, Disestablishment and Disendowment are essential; that the settletment of this question has been too long delayed; and that the time has come to press it energetically on the Legislature. That, as I have said, was carried by a majority of six to one. It is said the laity do not share in the view thus set forth; but I cannot see how, in a self-supporting Church like the Free Church, the clergy could long maintain themselves their congregations without being made fully aware of it. Besides, it is a feature of the Presbyterian Church government that the laity is fully represented in the Church Courts, and the sentiment I have just quoted was endorsed by the laymen members and the elders of the Free Church by a majority of 149 against 28. That sentence is the official declaration of the Free Church on the subject, and it is perfectly consistent with similar declarations made by the Free Church over a period of more than 10 years. As to the attitude of the United Presbyterian Church, it is essentially, in practice and principle, a voluntary Church. The United Presbyterians regard an Established Church as un-Scriptural, and consider it unjust. These views on the subject of the State Establishment in Scotland are not confined to these two Dissenting Churches, but are largely shared by the other Churches outside the Establishment. There is only one exception among the Churches who regard the question in a different light, and that is the Episcopalians in Scotland, who are a very small body. Nor is the question one which interests simply Churchmen and Church Courts; it largely moves the general public in Scotland, and a very decided opinion has been arrived at, especially among the Liberal political Bodies in the country, regarding it. In September last there was held in Glasgow a conference of delegates from a large number of Liberal Associations throughout Scotland, and at that conference a Resolution in favour of Disestablishment and Disendowment was adopted by an overwhelming majority. Later on, in October, when the question was still more prominently before the Scottish public, and had been debated all over the country in a most exhaustive fashion—in this month of October another meeting of delegates from the Liberal Associations was held, this time in Perth, under the auspices of the Scottish Liberal Association, and at that conference this Resolution was passed— That the time has now come for making Disestablishment a plank in the Liberal platform, and that the question should be dealt with in a fair and generous spirit at the earliest opportunity. At a public meeting, held in the evening of the same day, the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary of State for War (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) was one of the principal speakers, and he said— It was not so much a question of time as a question of this great object being recognized as one of those for which the Liberal Party, as a body, were to strive; and he ventured to say that the events of that day marked a decided step in advance towards the settlement of this great question. There were other Members present who are now Members of the Government, and they were committed to Resolutions that pronounced quite as strongly in favour of religious equality as those adopted earlier in the day. As to the sentimental arguments for and against, they may be sot up one against the other. The only practical one I have come across consists in the alleged insufficiency of the voluntary principle to maintain the Presbyterian religion of the Scottish people. We are told that there exists in Scotland 360 parishes in which there are no Free or United Presbyterian places of worship; but we are not told in how many of these parishes there are places of worship belonging to these Bodies conveniently adjacent or immediately across the Border. I believe that is the case in many instances, and that in many of these parishes the wants of the members of Dissenting communities are amply provided for. But in any case we do not propose to abolish any existing Church, but simply to withdraw from one Church the exceptional support and advantages which that Church at present enjoys—to place her precisely on the same footing as the other Churches of the land; and there is not the smallest reason to believe the result of such an operation would be more disastrous in her case than it has proved in the Nonconformist Churches. She would find herself launched on a new career under circumstances vastly more advantageous than they were launched on theirs. She would find herself with an organization already to her hand, with the life interests of her clergy carefully guarded, and would experience gradually the effect of the Disendowment to which she would be subjected. Under those circumstances, to my mind, it is inconceivable that the Establishment would abandon any field where she found she could labour profitably; and if she were to do so, I am perfectly certain that other Churches in Scotland would not be long in stepping forward and occupying the ground left vacant. We are not left to argument to show the insufficiency of the endowment system to provide for the wants of the poorest community in Scotland, neither are we dependent on argument to show the sufficiency of the voluntary system to do so. In the very poorest districts—namely, in the Highlands and Islands, there it is precisely that the Established Church is in such a condition that its continuance is most indefensible, and there a Nonconforming Church is found the strongest. In four of the Northern counties of Scotland the number of members of the Established Church is only one in about 60 of the population, and the cost in the shape of endowments of maintaining Established Churches for this small minority is over £6 10s. for each communicant on her roll. I can name five Highland parishes in which the population is over 12,000, and in which the number of the communicants of the Established Church is returned as only 22, or one in about 560 of the population, and the cost of maintaining churches for that small minority out of public endowments does not fall far short of £50 per member. In the Highlands and Islands the Free Church members form the vast majority of the population; and though in many cases these Highland congregations are not self-supporting, yet their wants are liberally supplied from the funds of the Church to which they belong, and there is not the smallest ground for State interference on the excuse that there is any lack of money. In fact, it is precisely in those districts that the endowments of the Established Church have been for years most completely thrown away and wasted. The Established Church itself is, to a large degree, supported from voluntary contributions. Half its funds come from that source. Those recent extensions which it has made, and of which it is so justly proud, have all been made through the voluntary munificence of its members; and it is precisely in those of its congregations which are not in the smallest degree dependent on endowments that the churches are found in a healthy and flourishing condition. The only effect of the subsidy from the public funds which the Established Church enjoys is to repress the private liberality of its members, to promote strife between it and its brethren, to render impossible that union between the Presbyterian communities of Scotland which, if the Church were disestablished and disendowed to-morrow, would, I am convinced, be certainly brought about in the course of a few years. When the Church of Scotland was established, it was practically set up as a Department of the State; and it rendered service to the State, or what was at that time considered to be service, in consideration of which it may have been natural and proper that the State should see to its maintenance and support. In the last century its Courts performed the functions of a sort of moral police of the country. They laid down rules for the conduct and guidance of the populations in which they were planted. With the concurrence of the Civil Authority they punished breaches of their discipline by means of fines, humiliations, and, in extreme cases, by banishment from the parish. They acted generally as Local Authorities, maintained the poor, and performed duties now performed by the Parochial Board. Their Courts had the sole right of determining what should constitute regular and religious marriages, and their clergymen had the sole right of performing religious marriages. On them devolved the duty of looking after the national education of the country, and superintending and controlling the orthodoxy of the Professors in the Scotch Universities and the schoolmasters of the parish schools. All these duties have long ago been taken from the Church of Scotland; and I maintain there is no reason why the emoluments granted in connection with these services should be retained by her. Such figments of her ancient duties and privileges as she now retains are not in any single instance necessary, either to the public interest or to her efficiency as a Church. She retains a restricted jurisdiction in the matter of marriage, which will be swept away on the first reform of our Marriage Laws that takes place. She retains the right of the representation of her kirk session on the Parochial Boards of the country; but that right will be abolished the moment any rational system of local self-government is erected in the counties of Scotland. Her ministers claim the very questionable right of exemption from the payment of rates for the support of the poor. ["No, no!"] Well, they have—they do. It is said her churches possess the sole legal right to use bells for summoning the congregations to worship, and she enjoys the distinction of having her General Assembly attended by a Royal High Commissioner, who is the Representative of the Sovereign. ["Hear, hear!"] Well, I do not know whether the Lord. High Commissioner is to be regarded as a privilege; for, as a matter of fact, he was in the first instance thrust upon the Church, and was received very reluctantly. None of these distinctions or privileges are, in the smallest degree, conducive to the public interest or to the efficiency of the Church. Now, coming to the question of Disendowment, I understand by Disendowment in this Resolution a resumption by the State for public purposes of public funds which are at present monopolized by a Church which comprises a mere section of the community. I have no doubt that in the course of this debate reference will be made to the Bill that was introduced last Session by Mr. Dick-Peddie, and I may say at once that my Resolution has nothing whatever to do with that Bill. There are many of the details of that Bill of which I never approved.


Your name was on the back of it.


That is quite true; but my name was on the back of it only as approving of the general principle of the Bill, which was Disestablishment and Disendowment. In any case, that was a Bill of last Session, and this Resolution is one which speaks for itself, and must be considered on its own merits. If this Resolution were adopted by the House, and effect were given to it by the Executive Government, the Government would deal with the question in its own way; and I think there can be no question whatever that they would deal with it in a manner very different to that proposed in Mr. Dick-Peddie's Bill. Now, so far as I am concerned, I have not the smallest desire to take from the Church of Scotland any of the property which she possesses, which has been contributed to her by the private munificence of her members. I have not the smallest desire, in resuming the public monies which she at present enjoys, to resume them without the most strict and generous regard for the life-interest of those ministers who are paid out of these public monies. The public endowments of the Church of Scotland amount to somewhat over £350,000 a-year; and as regarding the public nature of some of the items of those endowments there cannot be a shadow of question. For instance, there is some £23,000 a-year received out of the public funds of various towns in Scotland. There is another sum, of about the same amount, paid by the Exchequer, part of which goes to augment the livings of some of the smaller clergy, and part towards the payment of the expenses of the General Assembly and the salary of the Lord High Commissioner. There cannot be the smallest question that these sums are public money; but the most important item of the property enjoyed by this Church at the present moment consists in the stipends of her ministers, which are paid out of teinds or tithes. The stipends so paid amount, at the present time, to about £240,000 a-year, and they are increasing at the rate of £800 per annum. Now it may be said that these teinds or tithes constitute a charge on the land, and are virtually the private property of the Church. I admit that they are a charge on the land; but I maintain that they are a public charge, which Parliament is perfectly entitled to deal with as it thinks proper, and in which the Church's interest rests on a Parliamentary sanction, and can be brought to an end whenever Parliament thinks fit to bring it to an end. I have seen, again and again repeated, a statement to the effect that these tithes originated in the founders of the old Caledonian Church, and that the Presbyterian Establishment was the natural heir of that Church. As a matter of fact, however, according to the best and most unbiassed authorities, such as Burton the historian and Mr. Cosmo Innes, it appears certain that teinds were unknown in the ancient Caledonian Church, and that they were first introduced in Scotland during the 12th century, for the support of the Roman Catholic religion. It is also equally certain that those tithes, along with other property, were appropriated partly by the State and partly by the Nobles of Scotland. For some years after the Reformation the Established Church received nothing. In John Knox's time the subsidy was almost nil, amounting only to some £2,000 per annum. Indeed, it was not for many years after that anything like a substantial sum was paid for the maintenance of the Established Church, and at the time it was paid I believe the Church was Episcopalian. The amount of these teinds, as I have said, is annually increasing, and they give rise to much litigation and friction; and it is very desirable that this portion of the ecclesiastical system should be overhauled. In some cases the persons who are compelled to pay suffer very substantial injury. The church and manse rate, for building operations for the maintenance and repair of churches and manses, is another source of income, which averages over Scotland about £42,000 a-year. It is levied on feuars and heritors at irregular intervals, and on all creeds alike; and it is never levied without giving rise to the greatest heart-burnings and dissatisfaction. As to the right of Parliament to deal with this source of revenue there cannot be the smallest question. As the functions of the Church of Scotland as a Department of the State have diminished, her endowments have increased, and the circumstances under which they were granted to her are entirely altered; and I maintain that the time has come when they should be withdrawn and applied to some public national use, such as education, in the benefits of which all classes of the community would participate. The Treaty of Union provided for the maintenance of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland; but the provisions of that Treaty had hardly become dry when they were broken by the imposition of lay patronage; again, when tests were abolished in the case of Professors; and, again, when the care of national education was taken out of the hands of the Church. The General Assembly recognized this, and said that it was as much within the competency of the Legislature to abolish the Presbyterian and establish the Episcopal polity in Scotland, as to abrogate the connection between the parish schools and the Church in Scotland. It is, therefore, too late in the day to bring up the Treaty of Union as a reason why we should not have further reform. My hon. Friend the Member for West Perthshire (Sir Donald Currie) has an Amendment, in which he objects to my Motion, as it strikes me, on rather curious grounds. When my hon. Friend was before his constituents, he informed them that he would move an Amendment to my Motion affirming the principle of religious equality, which unfortunately he has neglected to do on this occasion, and that he would pray for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the wishes of the people of Scotland in regard to the Established Church, and the future application of teinds in the event of its being disestablished. Well, my hon. Friend recently asked the Prime Minister whether he would agree to such a Commission; and the reply was that he would do no such thing. In the course of his reply to my hon. Friend the Prime Minister indulged in a phrase of somewhat Delphic significance; but that phrase is very far from setting before the House in any complete fashion the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman on the question. The Prime Minister has said, again and again, that the matter is one for the decision of the people of Scotland; and the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) said that this was a matter in regard to which the Liberal Party would be prepared to act whenever the Liberal Party in Scotland had made up its mind. Because the Prime Minister refuses a Royal Commission my hon. Friend urges the House not to sanction my Motion, and objects to my taking means to ascertain, in a very obvious fashion, the opinion of the towns of Scotland on the subject. I cannot see how you can possibly get at the opinion of Scotland, unless we either bring the matter before Parliament, or unless we have a Commission, or unless we have a plébiscite. I do not know whether the Party opposite will support the Amendment of my hon. Friend; but if they do it appears to me they will find themselves committed to the attitude of the Prime Minister on the subject—that is to say, to an attitude which some months ago Lord Salisbury denounced as most pernicious and dangerous. If they decide for the Amendment, and carry it, they will have made such a distinct advance in the direction of Disestablishment as will repay me for any defeat I may sustain from the coalition of their forces with those of my hon. Friend. It is said that the Prime Minister pledged himself to no legislation adverse to the Establishment during the present Parliament. That is perfectly true, and my Motion now before the House does not amount to any proposal for legislation on the subject. I propose nothing of the sort. I merely ask the House to affirm an abstract principle, and I do so for the purpose of enabling the country to commence expressing its opinions on the subject. No amount of Petitions, signed by persons above and under 15 years of age, and got up in such a way as to call for remark from the Select Committee on Public Petitions, could afford any reliable indication, and neither could the feeling of the people be ascertained by means of a Royal Commission. To carry out a plébiscite would require an Act of Parliament; and that Act, as being the first step towards Disestablishment, would be as vigorously opposed as a Bill for carrying out Disestablishment itself. There is only one way in which public opinion could be effectually constitutionally known, and that is at the polling booths. Of course, after the position taken up by the Prime Minister with regard to Disestablishment, I understand that no practical result can come from this Resolution of mine, even if it is carried by a large majority. That, of course, is perfectly understood; but I bring it forward because I think it is only by preliminary Parliamentary action that constituencies can be enabled to ascertain how far their views move in accord with those of their Representatives in this House. Whatever the result of this debate may be, I have every confidence that sooner or later the Liberal electorate of Scotland will, through their Representatives here, make their opinions effectually felt in favour of that solution of the Church Question proposed in my Resolution, and in support of the practical application of those principles of civil and religious liberty which so long have constituted one of the most essential articles in the Liberal creed.

MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)

, in rising to second the Motion, said, he must make one admission to the opponents of the Motion. He must admit that, to a certain extent, the discussion partook of an academic character; for it was well understood at the General Election that, although the question would be brought up in the House of Commons for consideration and discussion, yet, whatever the result of that discussion might be, no practical step would be taken in the present Parliament for the Disestablishment or Disendowment of the Church of Scotland. But that reserve did not interfere with a free exchange of opinion between candidates and constituencies upon the subject of Disestablishment; and in the county and town of Aberdeen public opinion was expressed in the most decisive manner by returning to Parliament the Disestablishment candidates by overwhelming and greatly-increased majorities. It seemed not impossible to hope that they might have a more thorough and exhaustive discussion on this subject, inasmuch as hon. Members, relieved from the fear of any immediate consequences, might be disposed to take a calmer and more dispassionate view of the question.

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present: House counted, and 40 Members being present,

MR. HUNTER (resuming)

went on to say that the question of Disestablishment in Scotland was fortunate in one respect—it was not embittered by animosity. The Established Church in Ireland presented a striking contrast to the religious feeling of the Irish people; but in Scotland the Established Church was in doctrinal unity with the leading non-Established Churches. It was not an alien Church representing a hostile creed. It was the old Church, which at one time embraced within its fold the entire united Presbyterian community in Scotland. It was a Church that was regarded, even by those who did not belong to it, without the smallest particle of anything like animosity. Its clergy were a hard-working and learned body of men, whose emoluments did not err on the side of excess, and it was not encumbered with overpaid and underworked dignitaries. All its clergy met on a footing of democratic equality, and its laity, equally with its clergy, shared in the government of the Church. Its history every Scotchman could read with pride. It shared in the struggles of the Scottish people for their civil rights and national independence, and its fall was the signal of national humiliation and degrading servitude; its rise was the sure sign of the restoration of the national liberties. But he could not admit that the happy memories that clustered round the "Auld Kirk" were the sole and exclusive property of its present members. The other great Presbyterian Bodies equally inherited those traditions; and it was not impossible, if a measure of Disestablishment were passed, that the influence of those traditions and the circumstances of the different Churches might lead once more to a re-united Church of Scotland. But though their feelings towards the Church were not those of animosity, they felt bound to condemn it as a political institution. They objected to the establishment of the Churches of England and Scotland, on the ground that the idea for which they were established had long since ceased to be approved by any Party. Those who founded Established Churches entertained a theory of the connection between Church and State that was now universally discredited and abandoned by all Parties. That theory was that the primary and most important function of a Government was to discover the true religion, and that, having discovered that religion, their primary duty was to teach it to their people, and not only to teach it, but to punish with imprisonment, and even with death, any persons who presumed to uphold or preach any different doctrine. It was only necessary to refer to that fact to show how completely out of place an Established Church was in a free modern community. Fortunately, they were able to deal with this question in a friendly spirit and on broad grounds of political justice. In the present state of society there were only two courses open to any Government in dealing with Churches which were at all consistent with justice between man and man. One course was to level up by endowing and supporting all Churches, and the other was to endow and support none. They ought either to level up or to level down. The difficulty in Scotland in the way of levelling up was that there was no money to do it with. The teinds were a fund limited and already appropriated, and any further endowments must come from the Imperial Exchequer. There was, however, no chance of that, and the present endowments of the Established Church were not sufficient for the wants of that denomination; much less did they admit of being spread over the various Religious Bodies in Scotland. But even if the money could be found to level up, there was this insurmountable obstacle—that some of the largest Religious Bodies would refuse such subventions; for experience had convinced them of that which, in the absence of experience, might have been open to doubt—that a Church was never in so healthy a condition as when it relied for its support upon the Christian liberality of its people. He asked those belonging to the Established Church to consider the question as practical men, and say whether they could believe in a privileged Church as a permanent institution in a free country? Let them examine what Disestablishment practically meant, and say whether, as Churchmen desiring the welfare of the Church, that process had any real terrors for them, or what harm would be done to them by a reasonable scheme of Disestablishment and Disendowment? Suppose that Parliament should, in a fit of economy, refuse to pay £2,000 a-year to a Lord High Commissioner to give tea parties and dinner parties during the sitting of the Assembly, would that be a serious injury to the true work of the Church? Whatever he might say in that House and elsewhere on that subject might, he hoped, tend in the direction of a settlement; because, in his opinion, this was a question which ought to be settled by reasonable concessions on both sides. What were the present privileges of the Established Church? There were only two privileges which were of serious importance which had not been alluded to by his hon. Friend (Dr. Cameron). One was the power of the Established Church, at the present moment, with regard to parish churches and manses needing repairs. That power was one whereby the minister, instead of going to his own congregation for money to defray the expense, falls upon the feuars and heritors in the parish; and these men—Free Churchmen, or Congregationalists, or Baptists, or Roman Catholics—had to find the money for a church they never entered. Church rates had already been abolished in England; and there was not much chance of their being long maintained in Scotland, for no one could believe that a practice so inconsistent with common fairness could be maintained for ever. The answer to the question might be found in a Bill introduced into that House that Session by the hon. Members for the Inverness Burghs and Linlithgowshire to put an end to ecclesiastical assessments in Scotland. It was similar to the Church Rates (English) Bill. When staunch friends of the Establishment like those hon. Members adopted such a course, it required no gift of prophecy to fortell that before long Church rates in Scotland would be abolished, and therein one of the chief privileges of the Established Church. There was another privilege, which was undoubtedly of considerable consequence to the Established Church, and that was the possession of the Theological Chairs in the Scotch Universities. Those Chairs presented a remarkable contrast to other Chairs. In the Faculties of Arts, Laws, and Medicine men of any religious denominations, or of none, could be appointed Professors, and students of all denominations listened to their lectures; but while the Universities were useful Institutions largely supported by taxes paid by the whole community, the Theological Chairs were only open to clergymen of the Established Church, and consequently nobody attended those lectures except students of the Established Church.


I beg your pardon; that is not so.


said, he did not know whether his hon. Friend, in his early days, was endowed with any extreme desire to attend those classes; but the attendance of members of other denominations was extremely rare. In point of fact, these University endowments had been diverted to what was nothing more or less than a private theological seminary for the education of ministers of one denomination in Scotland; and he would ask—How could anyone justify such application of University funds? During the present Session the Scotch Universities would probably come to Parliament asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer to provide money to establish new Chairs. With what conscience could hon. Members from Scotland do so while the existing funds were diverted from a national to a purely denominational use? Before granting fresh money it was probable that the House would say that it was desirable to utilize the money now wasted upon the training of ministers of one denomination for the benefit of the whole of Scotland. How did the friends of the Established Church think that the peculiar abuse of the Theological Chairs in the Universities could be long maintained? Let the House now inquire what Disendowment involved. The property that had to be considered for the purpose of Disendowment consisted substantially of the fabrics—the churches and manses—and the stipends paid out of teinds or public funds. In so far as any of the churches and manses had been built out of funds bearing a private character, such as the Baird Trust, they would be exempt from Disendowment. But in so far as churches and manses had been built out of moneys raised by way of taxation from land, they might well be considered to partake of the same public character as the taxes themselves. At the present time public opinion was in a very favourable condition for dealing with that question. It might not be so if a long and bitter controversy took place upon the subject; but certainly at the present moment the disposition of all parties was to make a very generous arrangement for the Established Church, much more generous than that which, the Established Church made with those who went out of it in 1843. Perhaps he might be allowed to give the House an instance of what happened in that year. The church to which his father belonged was built by public subscription. At the time of the Disruption all the members of the congregation seceded, and there was not a remnant left to form the nucleus of a new congregation. It was impossible to utilize the building for the purpose of religious worship, and it might have been thought that the Established Church would stretch a point to come to terms with the congregation by allowing them the use of the building. No terms were made, the Church authorities preferred to lock it up, leaving it idle, rather than to sell it at a cheap rate, or let it to the congregation that had worshipped in it for so many years, and the result was that they were turned out, and for 20 years the building remained in a dilapidated and windowless condition, a miserable memento of the pitiless logic of the Establishment. At the end of that time the persons who had legal authority over the building took possession of it, and compassionately converted it into a music-hall, which function it continued to fulfil. [Sir ARCHIBALD ORR-EWING: It had not been a parish church.] No; it was a chapel-of-ease church. That was an instance of what happened universally with regard to both churches and manses in Scotland in 1843. The churches and manses constituted by far the largest part of the wealth of the Established Church; but he found no desire among the friends of Disestablishment to repay the Established Church with the application of its own logic. On the contrary, all were willing that the Church should retain its churches and its manses. What was the annual value of the churches and manses he had no information that would enable him to state with precision; but the Parliamentary Returns showed how much was the annual cost of renewals and repairs. Taking the 10 years ending the 31st of December, 1879, the total paid by heritors for the building and repairing of churches and manses was £420,827, or, as had been previously mentioned, an annual average of £42,000 a-year, levied from Church rates. But since that time this sum showed an alarming tendency to a rapid increase. The average for the two years 1882 and 1883 was not £42,000, but £51,249. The Returns did not enable them to distinguish between building and repairs; but, with the exception of two items, amounting to £3,000, the smallness of the sums in other cases led to the inference that it was repairs rather than building. If the annual repairs were taken at the low figure of £40,000 a-year, the annual value could hardly be less than ten times as much, which would give an annual value of £400,000. Next to fabrics, the only property to be considered was the stipends paid out of teinds. That might be taken as under £250,000 a-year. He would not enter into any legal or historical argument to show that the money derived from teinds was property over which the State had a free disposing power. Hitherto the State had sanctioned the appropriation of these funds to the maintenance of a part of the clergy of the Established Church. That the State, having due regard to life interests, might properly alter the destination of those funds was a point that was fully considered in the case of the Episcopal Church in Ireland, which the Parliament of 1868 disestablished and disendowed. What he would like to point out to the members of the Established Church was the extreme smallness of the damage which they would sustain by a scheme of gradual Disendowment. No one contemplated that during the lifetime of any minister the stipend payable to him would be taken from him; and consequently the stipends would continue for the lives of the existing ministers, the Church losing this endowment, not at once, but by degrees as the present ministers died out. How much in the shape of voluntary contribution would it take to supply the absence of the teinds? The sum was ridiculously small. He would assume that one-third of the people of Scotland belonged to the Established Church. If, as some contended, the proportion was larger, so much the lighter would the burden be. During the first year after Disestablishment, suppose that ministers died whose stipends amounted to £10,000. To pay that amount would require a contribution of 2d. per head during the whole year. When the whole of the stipends had fallen in that 2d. would become 4d. in the second year, 6d. in the third year, and so on, until it ultimately amounted, assuming there was no increase in its numbers, to 4s. per head per annum, or a weekly contribution of barely 1d. per head. If anyone were to tell him that to withdraw this limited sum from the Establishment in that manner would be destructive to the efficiency of the Church, he should regard the statement as one that seemed to him to partake of the nature of a libel on the members of that Church. To say even that it would involve an appreciable strain on the resources of the members was equally ridiculous. In conclusion, he would venture to say that the parties were so very near to each other, there was so little practically to divide them, that he did not despair that before the end of the controversy members of the Establishment would see it to be their interest to make terms with the other Churches, for there Was nothing in this question which did not admit of a reasonable approximation to an agreement by all parties. He begged to second the Resolution.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, in the opinion of this House, the Church of Scotland ought to be Disestablished and Disendowed."—(Dr. Cameron)

SIR DONALD CURRIE (Perthshire, W.)

I rise to move the following Amendment to the Motion of the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Dr. Cameron)—namely:— That, having regard to the declaration recently made by the First Lord of the Treasury, with reference to the appointment of a Royal Commission on the subject of Disestablishment in Scotland, to the effect that, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, 'this important question of the continuance and circumstances of the Established Church in Scotland should be left as much as possible to the spontaneous action and consideration of the Country,' this House declines to entertain a proposal for the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Scottish Church until the wishes of the people of Scotland in relation thereto shall have been ascertained. I do not propose to discuss the general question of Church Establishments, or to enter into the arguments for or against the maintenance of an Established Church in Scotland. This House has repeatedly, in recent years, adopted Resolutions and legislative proposals giving effect to the principle of religious equality; and if we had now to discuss the propriety of establishing a Church north of the Tweed, I would not be prepared, any more than my hon. Friend, to vote for such a measure. But what the hon. Member wishes to do is to disestablish and disendow the Church of Scotland without loss of time; while, on the other hand, I would suggest that, even accepting the principle of religious equality, there are many weighty reasons why the hasty action he proposes should not be carried out. The Motion of my hon. Friend has had a varied and peculiar history. Towards the close of last Parliament he gave Notice that he would move in this Parliament— That the Church of Scotland should forthwith be Disestablished and Disendowed. But my hon. Friend seems, since that time, to have had some doubt whether the Motion might not be considered as too precipitate, and he has accordingly deleted the word "forthwith." My hon. Friend publicly intimated very plainly that he would, in one way or another, secure the attention of the House to this subject, and that the opportunity would be found in the new Democratic House of Commons, where very few Scottish Members would have the courage to oppose him. But the question was put in the proper light, during the General Election, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), in the speech made by him in Edinburgh on the 11th of November. The Prime Minister, on that occasion, said that he wished the settlement of the Church Question left to the people of Scotland, because no settlement could be satisfactory which was not the offspring of genuine Scottish sentiment and Scottish conviction; and he urged that Disestablishment should not be made a test question in the Election which was about to take place. Answering in anticipation a question that was to be put to him, as to whether he would support the Motion of the hon. Member for Glasgow, the right hon. Gentleman said he declined to raise false expectations by committing himself to that Resolution; and he gave it as his opinion that no such Resolution could be accepted as indicating the opinion of Scotland. My own position on the Church Question had been declared to the electors of West Perthshire a month before the right hon. Gentleman spoke in Edinburgh, and was completely in harmony with the views which he afterwards expressed. In my electoral address I repeated the words which I had used in 1880—namely, that the Church Question should Be considered with caution, and settled by the voice of the people of Scotland, with a view to the promotion of their religious welfare. With all respect to the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow, I venture to submit that his course of action on this subject has not been altogether consistent; for in the debate upon the second reading of the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for the Inverness Burghs (Mr. Finlay) he referred to the Prime Minister's declaration in Edinburgh as an argument against that measure. These were the words used by my hon. Friend— The position taken up by the Prime Minister was reluctantly acquiesced in by those who desired the settlement of this question on the lines of Disestablishment. My hon. Friend, consequently, argued that the hon. Member for the Inverness Burghs was not entitled, in view of the attitude taken up by the Prime Minister, to bring forward a measure of a remedial character, intended to benefit the Church of Scotland to the disadvantage of its opponents. If the hon. Member's argument is worth anything, it must apply both ways; and if the Prime Minister's declaration is accepted as effective against the Bill of the hon. Member for the Inverness Burghs, it must be equally effective against the present Motion of the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow. I have referred to the change which the hon. Member has made in his Motion by the omission of the word "forthwith;" but another evidence, that even his own mind is not so very clear upon this question may be found in the course which he followed with reference to the Bill of the hon. Member for the Inverness Burghs. First of all, he gave Notice that when that Bill came on for second reading he would move— That, in the opinion of this House, it is inexpedient to pass any measure having for its object the perpetuation of an ecclesiastical establishment in Scotland; but when the Bill came before the House he altered his Motion, and proposed— That the Bill be read a second time this day six months. Is it not somewhat inconsistent on the part of my hon. Friend, before a fortnight of those six months has expired, to ask the House to lose no time in disestablishing and disendowing the Church of Scotland? When this Disestablishment Motion was first given Notice of, the Amendment which I put on the Paper was in the following terms:— That this House, having regard to the history of Scotland, the present position of its ecclesiastical affairs, and the guarantee of Presbytery under the Treaty of Union, humbly prays Her Majesty to issue a Royal Commission to inquire into the wishes of the Scottish nation in regard to Disestablishment, and the future application of the teinds in the event of Disestablishment being desired by the people of Scotland, and decided upon by Parliament. The day fixed for the discussion fell within the period required for the formation of the new Ministry; and in the expectation that my hon. Friend would be unable, at any rate for some time to come, to obtain another day for his Motion, I asked the Prime Minister whether he would appoint a Commission to inquire into the subject; and the right hon. Gentleman replied to the effect quoted in the Amendment which I have now the honour to submit to the House. This was a confirmation on the part of the Prime Minister, as head of the Government and Leader of the House, of what he had said as candidate for Mid Lothian; and I take it for granted that my right hon. Friend will support my Amendment, as carrying out his own declarations; in other words, that having withheld his support from the Bill of the hon. Member for the Inverness Burghs, he will, upon the same grounds, refuse to assist the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow to alter the present position of affairs. The main argument in support of the course which I would press upon the House is that this is exclusively a Scottish question, and that no clear and definite indication has yet been obtained of the wishes of the people of Scotland upon the matter. The Church of Scotland has played so important a part in the history of the nation that she is entitled to more considerate and deliberate treatment than the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow proposes to apply to her. It may be somewhat unfashionable in these days to lay great stress on the Treaty of Union; but if there is such a thing as a "fundamental law" it is that part of the Treaty of Union between England and, Scotland under which the Presbyterian form of Church government was "established and confirmed," and it was declared that— The said Presbyterian government shall be the only government of the Church within the Kingdom of Scotland," and should "continue without any alteration to the people of this land in all succeeding generations. I quite admit that the Treaty of Union may be discussed in the Imperial Parliament; but surely any alteration of its terms ought to be considered with a due regard to the judgment of the two parties to the Treaty. But, granting that the people of Scotland are entitled to consideration in this matter, and that it is a question for them to decide, how are we to ascertain their views? That is exactly what I ask the Prime Minister and the Government to consider, if this question is to be raised at all. I maintain that we have no right, by a vote in Parliament, to disestablish the Scottish Church without, first of all, taking some steps to find out, in an unmistakable manner, what the people of Scotland, whose interests are involved, really desire. It might be possible to learn their views at a General Election in which the Church Question was put as a distinct issue. That was not the case at the last Election; and it is not likely to be the case at the next Election. The opinion might also be obtained by a Royal Commission, authorized to take such means as they might think proper to that end. That is the course which I have already proposed to the Government. Again, the opinion of the Scottish people might be learned by a plébiscite, or by the Constitutional mode of public Petitions. In a very light and airy way, my hon. Friend and others say that Petitions, particularly those from Scotland against Disestablishment, are really not to be trusted. For my part, I look upon Petitions addressed to Parliament as expressing, in a Constitutional way, the desires of the people. Now, I have to say, for my own county, that last year I presented 74 Petitions against Mr. Dick-Peddie's Disestablishment Bill. Those were signed by nearly 30,000 persons in Perthshire, out of a population of 90,000. On the other hand, I have presented this Session 32 Petitions, signed by 8,000 people in Western Perthshire, out of a population of 45,000, in favour of the Bill of the hon. Member for the Inverness Burghs, The Petitions in favour of that Bill over the whole country have been 595, signed by 177,000 persons. Where are the Petitions in favour of my hon. Friend's Motion? If he had been able to get up Petitions over the country, the House would have had some guidance as to the views of the people of Scotland. My hon. Friend probably thinks that the votes of Scottish Members in this House ought to be taken as fully and adequately representing the opinion of the people on this subject. I do not think so. But, supposing that were admitted, what is to be said of the division on the Declaratory Bill of the hon. Member for the Inverness Burghs, when 36, or exactly one-half of the Scottish Members, voted against the Bill, and of the other half 15 voted for the Bill and 21 abstained from voting? I do not, as I have already said, discuss the question of Disestablishment on its merits; I do not believe that religion and Christian liberality would lose by Disestablishment, or that it is essential to the Church in Scotland to have an official connection with the State. What I contend is this—the matter is one essentially for the decision of the Scottish people; and we are bound, in fairness, to wait until we have taken steps to find out what the genuine sentiment of Scotland is. I left the Established Church, with my minister, at the time of the Disruption, and I am still a member of the Free Church of Scotland. My sympathies, consequently, might be expected to be in favour of Disestablishment; but I claim fair play for the whole people of Scotland in this matter, and they can well judge what they require. I appeal to the Government to give no support to the Motion of my hon. Friend; to the House of Commons to pass no hasty judgment upon uncertain data; and I would ask hon. Representatives from Ireland to allow the people of Scotland to decide what concerns their interests, remembering that that principle guided the Scottish people at the General Election of 1868, when the question of the Church in Ireland was being discussed. My great desire is union amongst the Presbyterians of Scotland; I am convinced that before long, whether through Establishment or Disestablishment, this will be secured, for I believe that the people of Scotland will take the settlement of the controversy out of the hands of the clergy and politicians, so that their ecclesiastical interests may no longer be made the play of sectional rivalry or of political partizanship. This is not a Party question; it is one which affects, and should be considered from a regard to, the religious welfare of the people of Scotland, and dealt with in conformity with their wishes and decision. I beg leave to move the Amendment which stands in my name upon the Paper.


, in rising to second the Amendment, said: I certainly am not going to follow the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) through the jungle of religious statistics into which he led the House. Nor am I inclined to imitate the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter), who said that the discussion was, in his opinion, entirely academic. I do not object to the general principles as to the relation of Church and State which he laid down; but what right had he to say, as the Disestablishers are continually saying, that the Church of Scotland would be generously dealt with, and that she would be allowed to retain her fabrics? But who gave my hon. and learned Friend the right to deal with the property of the people of Scotland in that way, and what right has he to be generous in the matter? Passing from that, I would say that I, and those Scotch Members who think with me, have some claim to a little indulgence on the part of the House, because, to some extent, we occupy a special position with regard to this question. Most of the hon. Members from Scotland have come here pledged out-and-out either to Establishment as a principle, or to Disestablishment as a principle. Everybody knows, also, that hon. Members on the other side of the House are pledged to the maintenance of religious Establishments everywhere; it does not matter where; it does not particularly matter what. Like a leading light of the other House in former days, they say to the Churches—"Get yourselves established, and we will support you." With that principle I have no sympathy; neither have I any sympathy with those who come to this House pledged out-and-out to Disestablishment at any hazard, at any cost, and without regard to any circumstances whatsoever. The positions of those two Parties are the two extremes between which I think a large portion of this House is inclined to steer. I, at any rate, belong to neither of those extreme Parties; for I hold that the principle upon which this House, as representing the whole of the country, ought to proceed, is to disestablish a Church, if the people want you to do so, and only when the people want you to do it. The question of the Church Establishment in Scotland, above all others, must be dealt with in that way, and no other way. I have not found a single Disestablisher who does not agree with that principle. As far as I have read the speeches of out-and-out supporters of Disestablishment, from the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow downwards, I have not found that one of them is prepared to go to a Scotch audience and say that he is going to disestablish the Scotch Church, unless the Scotch people wish it, or that by the aid of English Liberationist and Irish votes he is going to force Disestablishment down the throats of the people of Scotland. Why, then, does the hon. Member bring in this Resolution? He has given a strange answer. He supports it, he says, because it is an abstract Resolution which is not meant to be the basis of legislation, and as to which it is not necessary that it should have any effect in its passing now. The hon. Gentleman must have supposed he was addressing the Glasgow Parliamentary Debating Society when he made such, a statement; but I will tell the hon. Member that the House is not to be called upon to support an abstract Resolution, the Mover of which has not the courage to act upon it, neither has it sunk as yet to the level of a mere debating society, in which any abstract resolution it may pass would have no force whatever. If this Resolution is passed, it will have a most tremendous effect on the discussion of this question in Scotland. It will stimulate it, and bring it to settlement. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes; and I will tell you directly why that is not desirable. But the hon. Member says this is to be a test of Scotch opinion. Is it not trifling with the House to say that he is to invite the whole House to a division, in which the only effective votes will be the votes of the Scotch Members? I say that is not a satisfactory way at getting at what Scottish opinion on the question is. I have laid down the principle upon which I approach this question—that we are bound to take the opinion of the Scotch people in a more effective way. My hon. Friend has referred to the fundamental law of the Treaty of Union; and one conclusive reason why the House should follow the course I propose is to be found in the words of the Treaty of Union, which speaks of the holding and observing at all times of the Presbyterian Church in its present form as a fundamental and essential condition of any Treaty of Union between the two countries. Of course, I do not pretend that this House cannot deal with that or any other fundamental law; for there is no fundamental law beyond the scope and authority of the Imperial Parliament. But I say that when a Treaty has been made between a stronger and a weaker party, and where a provision has been put in at the instance of the weaker party, it should not be broken—and it has not been touched in the essential particulars of the Scotch Establishment from that time to this—I say it should not be broken until the House has satisfied itself that the nation, for whose benefit it was intended, desires it to be broken. That is the law which the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow invites us, by this Resolution, to abolish, without consulting the people of Scotland or ascertaining their opinions; but I am certain that it will not, in such a serious matter as this, act without a clear regard to the will of the nation concerned. I would deal with the Church of Scotland in relation to the Treaty of Union precisely as I would with any proposal to take away the jurisdiction of the Court of Session, and bring Scotland under the jurisdiction of the English Courts. Something has been said about the history of the hon. Gentleman's Resolution. There is no doubt this Resolution is a diminutive offspring and representative of the notorious Dick-Peddie Bill of last Session; but the hon. Member does not dare to stand up and defend that Bill, neither do I think anyone would stand up and defend its provisions in any open public meeting in Scotland now. The hon. Member has said he meant only to support the principle of the Bill; but surely the dignity of this House requires that an hon. Member who puts his name on the back of a Bill ought not to do so without a full sense of his responsibility for all that it contains. If I felt at liberty, I could tell a very interesting tale of how the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow tried to force this Resolution down the throat of every Liberal candidate whom he could get a chance of attacking. He tried to make it a test question; and with what disastrous results? There are, I believe, five Conservative Members in this House who owe their seats to the disinterested opposition of the hon. Member. I must say it is an unusual thing to see on the Front Bench opposite two ex-Law Officers of the Tory Party. The normal condition of things in Scotland is for the Tory Law Officers never to be able to find a seat in this House; and the two hon. Gentlemen opposite have been drawn from that gulf of disgrace by the influence of the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow. I noticed that the hon. Member obtained some cheers from the Opposition Benches, and I suppose the cheers were dictated by a sense of gratitude. I have counted 10 Scotch Tories to-night on the Benches opposite. That is an entirely abnormal and unnecessary number; and I maintain it is to the hon. Member and this preposterous Resolution of his that these Gentlemen owe their seats. There is a constituency in Scotland which hitherto has preserved an unsullied Radical reputation—I mean the constituency of the Kilmarnock Burghs—which was formerly represented by the Gentleman who gave his name to the Bill of last Session; but, in his absence, the hon. Gentleman the Mover of this Resolution went down to help him, but ended by defeating him, and put the present Member in. What I have said is sufficient to put the House in possession of the character of the agitation which the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow has carried on. The Prime Minister went down to Mid Lothian, and in a speech at Edinburgh in November, in answer to a question whether he would vote for this Resolution, if it received the support of a majority of Scotch Members—more wary than the right hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain), who had previously been caught in the trap—he, the old Parliamentary hand, said he would not accept such a vote on this Resolution as any indication of the opinion of the Scotch Members on the subject, because he would strive to send up Liberal Members on quite different issues. That put an end to the Resolution for the time being; but the right hon. Member did not succeed in reducing his Colleagues to loyalty. In my opinion, therefore, the opinion of Members on the point is a matter of private interest only; it is not a matter of present public importance. Yet the Scotch Disestablishment Association deliberately and emphatically repudiated the authority of the Leader of the Liberal Party in a letter which the Secretary then issued; and an offensive circular had also been sent to Members the other day, threatening that if they did not vote for the Resolution their constituencies would be worked up against them. I do not hesitate to say that the hon. Member and his Friends, in formulating and pushing this Resolution, have exhibited disloyalty to the Liberal Party, and have not been faithful to the most elementary rules of Party discipline. I would solemnly appeal to Liberal Members not to believe that the hon. Member on this question represents either Scotch or English Liberalism by bringing it forward when it can only be done at the risk of a great Party division. He couples the Resolution with fine principles of religious equality; but some gentlemen who have supported it in the country have said that, while they are to destroy Establishments at home, they are to maintain them abroad, at the expense of the State, wherever the State has a representative—Army or Navy. But there are two denominations which are to have no benefit—namely, the Roman Catholics and the Unitarians. That will show that, in voting for this Resolution, hon. Members will be supporting principles and practices which are entirely inconsistent, not merely with religious equality, but, what is ten times more important, religious liberty. I entreat my hon. Friends around me not to suppose that, in voting for the Resolution, they are voting with the true and tried champions of religious equality all over the world. Then, I want to appeal to hon. Members from Ireland. Their influence in this House is considerable, and I have to thank them for the support they have given to a Motion in which I am deeply interested. I want them to consider the bearing of this Resolution on the general situation of politics in this House. The hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow cannot carry his point, except at the risk of breaking up the unity of the Liberal Party, which at this moment is as important to them—the Irish Members—as to any section of the House. If they permit the hon. Member to carry his Resolution, those who have been rebellious before will become perfectly impracticable, for they will push this small measure of Disestablishment forward into every constituency in a reckless manner, utterly regardless of what the future consequences maybe. It is therefore to their interest to watch narrowly the course taken by the hon. Member, and not to suppose that, though he represents on this occasion views that are sometimes associated with the Radical Party, they will be doing the right thing for that Party, or for themselves, in giving support to the Motion. Let me remind the House also that what I claim for Scotland and the Church of Scotland is that, in the interpretation of the solemn contract between England and Scotland, the Scotch people alone should be allowed to interfere. I have not said a word in defence of Establishment as a political principle; but I say that, looking to the history of the Treaty of Union, it is not fair to Scotland, or the Church of Scotland, or the people of that country, that this House should pass a prejudicial Resolution affecting the question until the people of Scotland had been consulted. I would appeal to the Government, first, because of the statements of the Prime Minister, to which my hon. Friend has alluded, and also because of the position the Government took up the other day in reference to the Bill of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay). The speech on that occasion of the then Secretary for Scotland (Mr. Trevelyan) was a reiteration, on the part of the Government, of the views of the Prime Minister, and a declaration that they would abide by the terms of what the right hon. Gentleman called the "truce of God" on the question. But if there is to be any truce, it must be a two-sided truce; and as the Government have applied it the other day against the hon. and learned Member for the Inverness Burghs, so I call on them now to observe it against the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow. But I would also appeal to the Government to do something to take this question out of its present position. It is the duty of the Government to stick to the declarations of their illustrious Leader; but I think they should at once shoulder the obligations those declarations impose—namely, that having declared that the public opinion in Scotland is the only test by which this question is to be settled, they should take upon themselves the duty of finding out how the public opinion of Scotland lies in regard to the question. There is only one Party in the House which can gain by Disestablishment, or by leaving the question in its present position of uncertainty. Hon. Members opposite would gain by Disestablishment, because a large number of Liberals would at once walk over to their ranks. That is an undeniable truth. But, next to Disestablishment, hon. Members opposite will profit by the question being left a burning and an agitating question. They are not particularly anxious to have it settled. Their attachment to the Church of Scotland is singularity disinterested, because the greater portion of them do not derive any particular spiritual benefit from its ministrations; but, being an Establishment, they would dearly like to have the question whether it is to be disestablished or not pressed on the people at every Election. Various plans have been proposed to the Government, and I would offer a suggestion that the question of Disestablishment—in other words, the partial Repeal of the Union between England and Scotland—should be submitted to the people in the form of a Constitutional Amendment. I have had ample opportunity of watching the working of the Constitution of the United States of America; and if there were a question like this in any of its 30 or 40 Republics, I do not believe there is one of them in which the Legislature would undertake to settle it, except by referring the question directly, yes or no, to the whole voters of the State. That plan is spoken of as the plébiscite; and, though I do not like the name, or its associations, I leave its defence to those who wish to apply it to the Liquor Question; yet, on the question now before the House—in other words, the question of the partial Repeal of the Union between England and Scotland—it is precisely the kind of question which, in the United States of America, is submitted under the name of Constitutional amendment to the votes of the entire population. I have seen the principle in operation, and I can say it works as easy as anything. This is the practical suggestion which I venture to make to the Government. I know that, until something of that sort is done, the duty of this House as a whole is perfectly clear. Considering not merely the national, but the international, title by which the Church of Scotland holds its place in the country, it is clearly the duty of this House not to summon that Church to answer at their Bar until the whole people of Scotland appear as prosecutors.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "having regard to the declaration recently made by the First Lord of the Treasury, with reference to the appointment of a Royal Commission on the subject of Disestablishment in Scotland, to the effect that, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, 'this important question of the continuance and circumstances of the Established Church in Scotland should be left as much as possible to the spontaneous action and consideration of the Country,' this House declines to entertain a proposal for the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Scottish Church until the wishes of the people of Scotland in relation thereto shall have been ascertained,"—(Sir Donald Currie) —instead thereof.

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

MR. J. A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)

said, that he had listened with pleasure to the eloquent speech of the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson), and had to thank him for the effective onslaught he had made on the Motion now before the House. He (Mr. J. A. Campbell) joined him in his opinion of the Motion, although not upon exactly the same grounds. He thought that, so far, they had no reason to complain of the tone of the debate; and he was glad to say that no religious animosity had been evinced during its progress. He thought, however, the House should be careful not to proceed to deal with this question without accurate information, and without a clear understanding of what was the issue before them. They had listened to eloquent references to the history of the Church, and to the benefits which the Kingdom of Scotland had derived from the Church of Scotland. The hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Dr. Cameron), however, had referred, in support of his Motion, to the position of the Church now and recently, rather than to the history of the Church in the distant past, and had referred especially to the last 40 years, as if that would strengthen the position he had taken. He (Mr. Campbell) had no objection that special regard should be directed to the last 40 years, for he thought that a consideration of the history of the Church, not during past centuries, but during the last 40 years, would itself be sufficient to justify the House in rejecting the Motion Forty years ago the Church of Scotland received a very heavy blow by the great Secession which then took place; and if there had been nothing in the Church, and nothing in its position as an Established Church, to gain the confidence of the people, they would have seen the Church unable to rally from that blow. But what had the result been? They had seen the Church gradually and rapidly recover its strength, and at the present moment it was stronger than it had ever been. His hon. Friend asked if that was not a proof that the Church could do largely without its endowments? He (Mr. Campbell) did not know that it could be said that the old endowments had not been of considerable use during the last 40 years; but what he maintained was that its position as an Established Church had much to do with the manner in which it had rallied. The hon. Member referred to the numbers connected with the Church. On the question of statistics, the country would have been better informed to-day if it had not been for the action of the Party opposite, who effectually opposed the inclusion of religious connection in taking the Census. That being so, there was no alternative but to take such statistics from the Churches as were available. He would not enter into the statistics further than to say that, notwithstanding the way in which the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow had spoken, the Church of Scotland was not a mere section of the population, but had a larger membership than the other two great Presbyterian Churches in Scotland put together. The defenders of the Church did not conceal the fact that it was very weak in the Highlands; but what they said was that, even in the Highlands, it was not nearly so weak as it formerly was. And he asked how many of the people in the Highlands had the least sympathy with the Motion of the hon. Member? Than the Highlands there was not a place where there was more determined opposition to the idea of dispensing with the Established Church. He appealed to those who knew Scotland, and would ask was it not the fact that the Church of Scotland was really the increasing Church at the present moment? His hon. Friend had said that the United Presbyterian Church held that the connection of Church and State was un-Scriptural and unjust. Certain members of that Church might hold that opinion, but it was not an article of the creed of the Church; and he asked his hon. Friend if he was not aware that many members of the United Presbyterian Church, especially among the laity, had no sympathy whatever with so extravagant a view? The question was—what was the attitude of the people of Scotland now? He was not afraid of ascertaining the wishes of the people; but he maintained that their wishes had already been ascertained. The agitation on this subject, which was not, by the way, of native growth, but was prosecuted at the instigation of a great society in England—the Liberation Society—was not a successful one, as had been shown in various ways. It took its origin in England through the Liberation Society, and was not received with enthusiasm in Scotland. The evidence of want of success of that movement was given last year in the manner in which the Bill which had been referred to of Mr. Dick-Peddie was received in Scotland. The hon. Gentleman had reflected upon that Bill, and said that, in some respects, its provisions were indefensible. That might be so; but was that Bill not defended—was it not advocated—by the Liberation Society? It received their sanction; and they had no reason to suppose that the Society would in future have much better ideas of how to deal with this question than they found formulated in that Bill. He would not refer further to the Petitions against that measure. The House was already familiar with the statistics regarding them. But he would remind them of the careful statistics taken sometime ago in Mid Lothian, where it was found, not amongst children of 14 years, but amongst the electors—men of full age—that there was no less a proportion than 69 per cent who formally signed a declaration that they were opposed to the Disestablishment of the Church. Reference had been made to the revenues of the Church. Some hon. Members had spoken of the old revenues of the Church, amounting to something like £370,000 a-year, in a way that was hardly defensible. They had spoken of them as something that Parliament had entire control over, as if they were public funds in the ordinary sense of the term. Those old endowments were what remained of the religious patrimony of the people. They were all that was left to the Church from the scramble which took place at the Reformation by Nobles and others who helped themselves to what was the property of the Church. Some hon. Members said it was not the property of the Church of Scotland—but that it was the property of the Roman Catholic Church. But there was no doubt that a considerable portion of those teinds belonged to the Church long before the time when the Romish Church held sway in Scotland. At the Reformation not the Parliament, but the people of Scotland, declared themselves, as a body, in favour of the Reformed principles; and they then rescued all that remained of the Church property, and applied it in a manner which, in their estimation, better fulfilled the purpose of the original donors than leaving it in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church. These teinds, under the sanction of Parliament, were set apart for the religious instruction of the people. What money came from the State, again, and was given to the Church—some £17,000 a-year—was merely a part of what the State had taken from the Church, and was, therefore, only a restoration of Church property. In like manner the £23,500 a-year which the Church received from burgh funds might be held to come from Church property, which was made over to the burghs. The hon. Member spoke of the incomes of the three Presbyterian Churches, and said the joint income of the Free and United Presbyterian Churches was £1,000,000, and of the Church of Scotland £750,000, half of which came from voluntary sources. That, however, required some explanation. The hon. Member spoke of these figures as if they referred to similar things, which they did not. Taking first the statement as to the Free and the United Presbyterian Churches, while he (Mr. J. A. Campbell) did not complain of the way the accounts were kept by these Churches, yet it was necessary to observe that part of the £1,000,000 consisted of interest on investments, pew rents, and miscellaneous receipts of different kinds. These were not voluntary contributions. He found that the Free Church of Scotland reported receipts in 1884 to the sum of £626,000. Now, that was a noble sum; and he did not wish in any degree to detract from the credit due to that Church in respect of its liberal giving. The Free Church had done great service, not only to other Churches in Scotland and England, but to the whole world, by the example it had set of liberal giving. But they must take care they did not do injustice in the way they used those figures, which included its whole receipts from every source. In the sum reported for 1884, upwards of £33,000 was from interest on invested funds, which were not voluntary givings of that year. Then, again, the Free Church was credited with £21,883 for education; but the amount of the contributions for that object was only £2,688, and the balance of £19,000 odd was composed of Government grants, fees, and other receipts at the training colleges and schools. The figures which were quoted for the Free and the United Presbyterian Churches represented their total revenue from all sources, and not voluntary gifts alone. With reference to the item of interest for investments, which he already noticed, he would remind the House that if the sums were added together so as to show what had been done in a number of years, in the course of 20 years they would take credit twice for all the invested legacies and donations. Passing from that figure of £1,000,000, which was accurate as to the total amount raised by the Free and the United Presbyterian Churches, he would ask the House what the hon. Member compared with it? The hon. Member said the voluntary gifts of the Church of Scotland were half of its whole revenue, which revenue, he said, was £750,000. The hon. Member's authority for that statement was a Report of the Church, which, however, referred to an entirely different thing from the total receipts. It was a Report of the voluntary liberality of the Church, and contained only the new gifts of the year. The sum in that Report for the year referred to was £304,000, which did not include interest on investments, new endowments, grants from different trust funds, or seat rents. If these were added, with miscellaneous receipts connected with Missions of the Church, the sum of £304,000 would have to be raised to £501,265. He apologized for detaining the House with those explanations; but the figures given by the hon. Member for Glasgow would have been misleading if not explained. He now asked what was the meaning of this Motion? This Motion went further than the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church of Scotland. It was not aimed against the Church of Scotland on any special grounds, such as that it had failed to discharge its functions and was unworthy of the confidence of the country. The whole drift of the Motion and of the speech of the hon. Gentleman was that all connection between Church and State should be put an end to. It was, therefore, plain that this Motion closely touched the Church of England as well. The gentlemen who had, with much assiduity, travelled through Scotland on the Disestablishment crusade had made no secret that it was their aim to secure the Disestablishment of the Church of England as well as that of the Church of Scotland. If the Church of Scotland was attacked on general principles and with arguments that struck at all Establishments, the Church of England also was directly menaced. The effort which the Prime Minister made at the General Election to keep the questions of the two Churches separate would not succeed if the Church of Scotland was attacked on the principle of having religious equality. If the Motion received the support of the House it would affect the whole Christian Constitution of the country, because they had a Monarchy with a distinct religious Constitution; and if the principles of absolute religious equality were to be introduced they could not maintain that position. The union of Churches had been spoken of as an argument for the Motion. If the position of the Church as an Establishment was a bar to union, why, in the name of common sense, were those Churches which were not established not united? Why was there a variety of non-established Churches? It had been said that they must either level up or level down. But there was another course, and that was to recognize and support a Church that had the confidence and sympathy of the people. The hon. Member said that if the Church of Scotland was disestablished it would become more vigorous than ever. He did not at all agree with that statement. It was true that the Church did not depend on Establishment, and did not depend on endowments; but it would suffer seriously by Disestablishment. But what would be the result to the State? If they were to have a State without a Church, it would mean—as the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department said—the severance of the tie between the State and Christianity. The hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen had argued that the present privileges of the Church were very slight; he stated them to be that assessments could be levied on the heritors of a parish for church and manse repairs, and that its Theological Professors were supported from the Universities' funds. Now, he (Mr. Campbell) did not dispute that the provisions for church and manse repairs in the old parishes was of value; but he was surprised to hear it brought forward in so prominent a way; and as to the Theological Chairs, he would refer the hon. and learned Member to the Treaty of Union, in which he would find how important a place is given to the maintenance of the Universities with a view to teaching of religion; and he would remind him that the Theological Professors were chiefly paid from teinds, not from University general funds, and that, in point of fact, they did not teach only Church of Scotland students. What the members of the Church regarded as the greatest of its privileges was that it secured to the poor man in every parish the services of a minister. He had had an Amendment on the Paper to the Motion now before the House; but he had allowed it to drop. His reason for doing so was that, because of the attitude taken up by the Government on a recent occasion, he gathered that they would not interfere in an active way in asserting the position of the Church of Scotland, and, therefore, would not have supported his Amendment. He, therefore, contented himself with opposing the Motion, in which he expected the support of the Government, after the declaration of the Prime Minister. As to the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for West Perthshire, he was not afraid of a reference to the people of Scotland; but, as he had already said, he did not see the call for it, and he considered that neither as regards the present position of the Church of Scotland nor the wishes of the people of Scotland was there any reason why such a proposal as that now before the House should be entertained.

MR. C. S. PARKER (Perth)

At this late hour I will not detain the House by going over any of the arguments which we have lately heard from both sides of the House. The hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Dr. Cameron), who brought forward the Motion, made a most frank avowal in regard to it—namely, that he has introduced it purely as an abstract Resolution, and that in the present Parliament, in his opinion, he could see no way of taking action upon it. That being the case, the hon. Member stands in the position of asking the House to affirm this extremely abstract proposition—that, in the opinion of the House, a certain thing ought to be done which he admits cannot be done during this Parliament, and to declare its definite opinion that the Church of Scotland ought to be disestablished and disendowed. In considering that question, I think the English Liberal Members of this House will be disposed to ask what is the opinion of the people of Scotland upon the subject. They know perfectly well that the people of Scotland are capable of managing their own affairs, and especially their own ecclesiastical affairs. I do not find from history that the interference of England in the ecclesiastical affairs of Scotland has ever been of a fortunate or satisfactory character; and if, therefore, the English Liberal Members wish to be guided by the opinion of the people of Scotland, they will find that in Scotland that opinion is divided, and somewhat equally divided. I was asked just now by an English Member—"Why do you not make up your minds on this question as you do upon others, and then we would vote with you?" Why we do not do so I cannot say. But the fact that we have not done so was very much emphasized at the time of the General Election by the words which fell from my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, whom we are all glad to see in his place listening to this debate, when he gave it as his definite judgment upon the state of opinion in Scotland that the subject was not ripe for action. The question of the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church of Scotland was not an issue raised at the General Election in such a way that the votes of the Members returned at that General Election could be regarded as determining the question with any degree of certainty; because, naturally, when it was known that nothing was likely to be done in the present Parliament, the attempt to sway the allegiance of Liberal Churchmen to their Party stopped. It was the fact that when, a short time ago, the House was called upon to discuss a Bill, the general tenour of which was to impugn the position of the Established Church of Scotland, we were told from the Treasury Bench that we should remember—those of us, at least, who had given pledges on the subject—that there were certain obligations which must be observed in the truce which had been entered into; and that if, on the one hand, nothing was done to disestablish the Church of Scotland, on the other hand nothing must be done to improve the position of the Established Church at the expense of other Churches. I believe that was a consideration which was very influential in the division which took place on the Bill of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay); and probably, if that Bill had been brought forward under better circumstances, it might have had a different fate in store for it. In looking closely at the words of the Motion we are called on to affirm tonight, I see there is in it one expression—not ambiguous, it is true, in the mind of the hon. Gentleman who moves it, but which has a certain practical ambiguity about it—I mean the expression "The Church of Scotland." If by the Church of Scotland were meant only the Established Church, I, for one, should feel disposed to give my vote for the Resolution in the sense of the first reason which is given for it in a paper circulated by the hon. Member (Dr. Cameron)—namely, that as a large majority of the Scottish people are Presbyterian, and as the Presbyterian Churches are closely allied in government and discipline, there is no adequate reason—and I should say there would be no justification—for maintaining one of those Churches in exclusive possession of the endowments, and all the privileges of a connection with the State. If that were to go on as it is, I, for one, would certainly be found voting for the Resolution. But I say that there is a larger sense to be attached to the words "Church of Scotland," meaning the whole Churches of Scotland—not of all denominations, but those which hold the Presbyterian form of government, and having identically the same standards of doctrine, have practical unity, although it has, unfortunately, been broken up for a time. But we are told on both sides that there is a desire for union. We are told by the Resolutions of the Assembly of the Established Church that there is a desire for union on their part; and we are told by the congregations that there exists a strong desire for the union of all the Presbyterian Churches. But how is that union to be brought about? The one side desire to bring about that union by Disestablishment; and the other side, those belonging to the Established Church, think it should be brought about by a modification of the Establishment, so as to suit those who are at present outside of it. Well, but upon any question of the alteration of the Establishment it seems to me the principle might be laid down that all the Presbyterian Churches of Scotland ought to be consulted, and consulted through their recognized governments, before any definite course of action is taken. The hon. and learned Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay), in bringing in his Bill, made the mistake of attempting to alter the conditions of the Establishment before all the Churches concerned had been brought into frank and free communication with each other in reference to the subject. If these Churches tell us that they desire union, I think we may call on them to enter into conference with each other. Some eight years ago an attempt was made to see what Parliament could do in the matter, and an endeavour was made to obtain an inquiry conducted by Parliament itself, not merely into the wishes of the people of Scotland, but an inquiry into the principles which were keeping the Free Presbyterian Churches of Scotland apart; but at the time there was no response from public opinion, or from Parliament itself, and the proposed inquiry fell to the ground. To-night, on the other hand, we are asked to assent to the proposal for a Royal Commission to inquire not into principles, but into the wishes of the Scotch people. I think, if there is to be any inquiry of the kind, it should be into principles; and the proper mode to conduct it, whether the inquiry were made by a Royal Commission or by a Committee of this House, would be to call on the leaders of the Free Presbyterian Churches to come together and state their views, and then either a Commission or a Committee of this House could sit in judgment on their proposals. But, failing Parliamentary action of that kind, I would humbly venture to suggest, in the first place, to the Established Church of Scotland, that their proper course, instead of bringing in Bills and endeavouring to pass them without reference to the other Churches, would be to make overtures—however such overtures might be received, whether frankly or with coldness—to the other Churches, to enter into conference with them, and see whether anything could be done to bring about an agreement as to the terms—just as the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church very nearly, but not quite, succeeded in arriving at terms with each other. If the Free Presbyterian Churches of Scotland would take that course, I believe the House would see its way to assisting them to a conclusion which would be acceptable to the whole of the Presbyterians of Scotland. In the meantime, I feel that I cannot give my support to this Resolution that the Church of Scotland ought to be disestablished and disendowed, not only because it is a very curt and short way of dealing with the Act of Union in regard to Scotland, but also because, to my mind, the Church of Scotland bears a larger meaning than the Established Church; and I am not prepared to say that there are not terms of union by which an Established Church, in Scotland might not be maintained. I thank the House for the attention with which it has heard me.


I hope the House will allow me to say a few words upon this question, which is one upon which I feel very deeply. The hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) has introduced a direct Motion for Disestablishment on the old Liberation Society lines. I do not think the hon. Member had anything new to say, and his argument fell with flatness on the House. Of course, the hon. Member does not believe in an Established Church, nor does he believe in its having any claims; nor is he a party to that truce which is recommended for this question from high places. Not one of these points were raised at the General Election; but they were allowed to stand over until a more convenient opportunity. The hon. Member is to be commended for his straightforwardness; for it is better to meet an open enemy than a false friend. The House ought, therefore, to come to a direct issue on the question raised by the Motion of the hon. Gentleman. Do not let us have this question put off from day to day and from year to year; while, in the meantime, those who support Disestablishment attempt, by every means in their power, to discourage and weaken one of the great institutions of the country. Why should there be a breach of neutrality now in regard to the Church which the country, by the Act of Union, is bound to maintain, and the Church of which the Sovereign is the head? Surely there ought to be an attitude of friendliness so long as that institution remains. I will not trouble the House with any reply to the arguments of the hon. Member on the point of Disestablishment. I think my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Glasgow (Mr. J. A. Campbell) has done that very effectively; but there is this to be said for the Church of Scotland—that it was not content to stand still, and to do nothing in its best interests. I would appeal to all who know anything of the matter whether it has not been the case that, year by year, it has been not only adding to the number of its members, but increasing in liberality, in efficiency, and in the means of religion which it provides for the people? I would rather have a direct attack upon the Established Church than have it praised so faintly as by the hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for Perth (Mr. Parker). The hon. Member thinks it better to let the Church alone this year; that it is not a good time for dealing with it; and he says, in the meantime, let us try and ascertain what the wishes of the people of Scotland are on the subject. On that point I wish to address this question to the hon. Gentleman—How are the wishes of the people of Scotland to be ascertained, unless through their elected Representatives? It is a marvel to me how distinguished statesmen can present themselves to Scotch constituencies, and not have an opinion whether the Church of Scotland ought to be maintained or not. I should have thought that the Prime Minister, of all others, ought to have had an opinion of his own on this subject. Surely it is not for him to wait until public opinion is pronounced, but to guide and lead public opinion; and yet, when he went down to Mid Lothian last November, he said he had no opinion of his own, and he was content to wait until the wishes of the people of Scotland were pronounced. I come next to my right hon. Friend who now represents East Edinburgh (Mr. Goschen), and he, also, has no opinion on the subject. Indeed, he seemed to have so little knowledge of the question that, when pressed, he was in a great difficulty about giving an answer to the questions put to him. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, who represents South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers), also, has no opinion on the subject. He, too, is willing to wait for the opinion of the people of Scotland to be expressed—Heaven knows how. So that here you have three Members of the Privy Council, three distinguished statesmen representing Scotch constituencies, who have no opinion on this question. How on earth is the opinion of the people of Scotland to be expressed, except through their elected Representatives? And then let me remind the Prime Minister that he, of all living men, owes a debt to Scotland, and to the Church of Scotland, in this matter; because he is the last of a distinguished band of statesmen who took a very fatal step in respect to the Church of Scotland. It was through a grave mistake of Lord Aberdeen and of Sir James Graham that the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843 took place. I have known this question from my boyhood, and I remember the deep regret which was expressed by many who still adhered to the Church at being obliged to part with many valued members whose consciences constrained them to leave it, because Sir Robert Peel would not give them the relief which they claimed. If a different course had been taken by the House of Commons we should have never had the Disruption of 1843. The Church of Scotland has since had to recover by slow and painful steps the crushing blow she then sustained; and we have seen in 1884 steps taken which even went much further than those asked for by Dr. Chalmers, and those who went out from the Church with him, to have the Church of Scotland set really free from all the hindrances which have for so many years hampered her usefulness; until now, and not by State control, the Church of Scotland was among the freest in Christendom; and it has that absolute freedom of choice in its own ministers which is one of the most precious birthrights of the people of Scotland. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson), who made, in some respects, a very remarkable speech, called upon the Government to take the lead on this question. The House has a right to ask the Government to state what they are going to do in the matter, and what lead they are going to take. The Prime Minister has promised—and I think his declaration was most distinct—that he will oppose any Motion for Disestablishment in this Parliament; but we have a right to ask for more than that from the right hon. Gentleman. We want something better than neutrality towards a National Institution; some words, at least, which will not cripple or hamper the Church of Scotland in her work, but which will enable her to face the day when the question is put to the people of Scotland for decision with confidence and strength. The right hon. Gentleman has had a remarkable answer from his own constituency on this question. As my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Glasgow has referred to it, I would like to say one word more upon the matter. I believe that a paper was presented to every elector of Mid Lothian for his signature, stating whether he was in favour of Disestablishment or not. Deducting those who had left their houses, or who could not be found, and deducting, also, three parishes, one of which contained more than 1,000 electors, seven-twelfths of the whole constituency signed the papers issued to them against Disestablishment. There was not a single parish in the county in which there was not a majority against Disestablishment varying from 55 to 89 per cent. If that is not a distinct answer from the Metropolitan constituency of Scotland, represented by the right hon. Gentleman himself, I do not know how an answer is to be obtained. The hon. Member for Dundee also made an appeal to the House on the question which I desire to meet. The hon. Member said the House ought to deal with the question in some way, because, if it is left unsettled, the Conservative Party of Scotland would be the gainers either way. They would gain by a declaration in favour of Disestablishment, because they would drive many Liberals into their camp; and they would thus naturally gain a Party triumph, and they would also gain by the absence of a declaration which left the question still unsettled and in doubt. Now, I say with all sincerity that, for my part, I seek for no Party gain or triumph, in this matter. Not long ago I attended a great meeting at Glasgow, presided over by the Earl of Stair, which was addressed by the Duke of Argyll and others, and nearly every man who addressed it was a Scotch Liberal. It cannot be said, therefore, that those who are opposed to Disestablishment do not represent the true views of the Liberals of Scotland. But, Sir, I am ready to join heartily with the Liberals on this question. I should deeply deplore if the fate of the Church of Scotland was to rest with the Conservative Party, and that the Liberal Members of that Church should desert her in the hour of trial. We are told that the Conservative Party have pressed this question before the constituencies, and it is denied that Liberals have wished to raise the question. We were driven to do so by the attitude taken by our opponents; because if we had not pressed it before the notice of the constituencies we should have allowed judgment to go by default. It was, therefore, absolutely necessary to do so. The result was that it was made a test question at the General Election so effectually that it became almost necessary for the most Liberal Members to say to their constituents that they were not in favour of Disestablishment, in this Parliament at least. I have no wish to detain the House at any length; and I shall only say one thing, more, which presses strongly on my mind, before I sit down. The reconstruction of the Church must be gradual. We cannot expect men to come out of the Free Church in great bodies, and we have no wish to gain a triumph over the Free Church. I think we ought to open our doors wide, and to let men feel that they can return to the Church of their fathers and ancestors without degradation. We say that the Church of Scotland has been opening its doors very wide, year by year, for the last 15 years. We have made a liberal declaration of the terms on which we can receive all separated brethren; and there is pending in the coming year a measure by which the ministers of all the Presbyterian Churches will be enabled to enter the Church of Scotland, and accept the benefits of that Church absolutely without degradation, or the renunciation of any of their professions whatever. In the debate which took place on the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay) a very remarkable declaration was made—a declaration that will sink deeply into the mind of the people of Scotland, although that Bill was defeated. I hope that that debate, and the adoption of that Bill by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, who possess full legislative powers, will have the effect of showing how the principles held by the Free Church of Scotland are equally in the possession of the Established Church. I sincerely trust that the result of the debate to-night will be to give new life and hope to the Church of Scotland, and to put an end for many years to come to such disturbing and dangerous Motions as that of the hon. Member opposite (Dr. Cameron).


I wish, Mr. Speaker, to say a few words on this question, partly in answer to the appeal of the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Fergusson), although I am afraid I shall not be able to give him entire satisfaction. Certainly, when he calls upon me to administer words of comfort and relief to the Church of Scotland, by acknowledging her zeal and efficiency in the prosecution of her work, I have no difficulty in meeting him, and in freely using such words. But then I cannot use them to the Church of Scotland exclusively. I am bound to extend them to the other Presbyterian Bodies, which have so long and so greatly contributed to the work of religion in Scotland. Then, Sir, the right hon. Baronet thinks there is special ground of appeal to me, as a party in procuring the passing of the Act of Parliament which, in 1843, led to the Disruption of the Scottish Church. That Church, undoubtedly, before the Disruption, commanded the adhesion of a very large majority of the people of Scotland, and its ministers were distinguished not only by general zeal and devotedness, but by having among them a number of most remarkable men, the large majority of whom, undoubtedly, joined the Free Church when the Secession took place. I had, however, nothing to do with the preparation of that Bill. I was not a Member of the Cabinet of Sir Robert Peel at the time it was prepared. I was in the Government, it is true, but I had no connection with the preparation of it; and although on most subjects I had the happiness of agreeing with my noble Friend the Earl of Aberdeen, for whom I did then entertain—and for whose memory I do now entertain—the most profound respect and affection, yet at that time I did not agree with Lord Aberdeen upon the question relating to the Disestablishment of the Church of Scotland. On that ground, therefore, I cannot meet the appeal of the right hon. Baronet. But then the right hon. Baronet says he thinks it is the duty of Gentlemen prominent in the Liberal Party to lead opinion in Scotland on these ecclesiastical subjects. Well, Sir, but the people of Scotland have been accustomed, on these ecclesiastical subjects, in a very eminent degree to think for themselves—they have not been accustomed to seek leadership, or to accept leadership at the hands of political partizans. It appears to be, in the view of the right hon. Baronet, a great error that neither of the two right hon. Gentlemen representing divisions of Edinburgh (Mr. Goschen and Mr. Childers), nor I myself, have undertaken to teach the people of Scotland what is their duty and what is their interest on this important question. Well, Sir, that may be his opinion; but our opinion—certainly my opinion—is directly the reverse. My opinion is that there never was a people on the face of the earth so highly educated, so perfectly organized in respect of the means of giving effect to their religious convictions through the medium of an established ministry, as the people of Scotland in this generation of ours. I am not at all disposed to think that we can teach them what appertains to their interest, or to their duty, beyond what they know themselves. I am prepared to pay great respect to an authentic intimation of their opinion; but I am not prepared to depart from the grounds distinctly laid down by my noble Friend the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) many years ago, when he stated, on his own behalf, and on behalf of the Party generally for whom he spoke, that they were not disposed to interfere, as a Party, in the matter, but that they would be disposed to lend the greatest attention to the genuine and clear conviction of the people of Scotland, whatever it might be. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow University (Mr. J. A. Campbell) has stated, with great fairness, that this question may be discussed on either of two grounds—whether there ought, or ought not, to be a connection between Church and State; and it may also be discussed, as the House will candidly admit, upon the ground of circumstances peculiar to the Church of Scotland. Well, Sir, my own view has been that, in many cases, these questions ought to be decided rather with reference to the peculiar circumstances of the case than with reference to an abstract principle. In the case of the Church of Ireland, it appeared to me—and it appeared, I think, to the majority of this House—that, without pronouncing any opinion upon the question of Church Establishment generally, it was quite clear that that was not a case where the Establishment ought to be maintained. In attachment to the principles of Church Establishment, it appears to me it would have been perfectly consistent to recognize the fact that the maintenance of the Church, as an Establishment, was not for the interests either of religion or of the people Ireland. In the same manner, I confess I think that the case of the Church of Scotland is one which may be very fairly discussed. I do not say it may not fairly be discussed on the ground of broad abstract principles; but I think it is one which may fairly be discussed on its special circumstances, because those circumstances are very peculiar. You will not find a case upon the face of the earth where there is a particular Body established in the common sense of that term, and endowed, and where by the side of that Body are two other Bodies not established and not endowed, and both of them maintaining the very same doctrine, the very same government, and the very same discipline as the Established Church, but, if possible, maintaining them with greater rigour and precision, and having either quitted the Church of Scotland, or, as in the case of the Free Church, been driven out of the Church of Scotland—["No, no!"]—because of their most faithful, and strict, and uncompromising adherence to principles which they were then told were totally incompatible with the principles of Establishment at all, by the Government of Sir Robert Peel, but told, I am bound to say, with the general concurrence of political Parties in Scotland; and those are the very principles which we are now told are compatible with, and loudly professed by, the Church of Scotland. These are the circumstances as to which I differ from the right hon. Baronet; and I do not think it desirable in any interest, either religious or political, that the Leaders of political Parties should become the Leaders upon such a question as this. I do not think the intervention of political Parties, as such, does always sweeten the atmosphere. We are performing our duty more wisely and faithfully by keeping the question open on the ground taken up by my noble Friend the Member for Rossendale than we should do if we accepted the advice of the right hon. Baronet opposite. But, Sir, I admit that the question before us is an intricate question. It does not involve any of those great considerations which, undoubtedly, may be brought into the debate upon their merits, and in the deepest sense of the word as to whether there ought, or not, to be a secular establishment of religion. We have before us at present what lies upon narrower grounds. The hon. Gentleman the Mem- ber for the University of Glasgow states that the Government is pledged upon this subject to oppose the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Dr. Cameron). That I do not think is strictly accurate, and for this reason. When I spoke on this subject in Scotland I did not speak on behalf of a Government, for I did not belong to one; and I had not that degree of power which would enable me to bind my Friends and Colleagues. ["Oh, oh!"] I beg hon. Members' pardon; but I have had as much experience in considering the relations of politicians as they have, and I think I am right when I say—I do not mean to push my proposition to extremes—that the case is one perfectly distinct from the case of a declaration made on behalf of a Government by the Chief of that Government. But, as far as I am concerned, I acknowledge the engagement which the hon. Gentleman has quoted. I do not seek for one moment to depart from it. Perhaps I ought to have fulfilled it three or four weeks ago by voting against the Bill which was proposed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Inverness Burghs (Mr. Finlay) in a speech which, though I could not concur with the conclusion at which it arrived, was a speech of admirable ability. It was my disposition to avoid entrance into controversies of this kind which made me refrain from taking any part in the debate which took place on that occasion. My impression is that most of those who are now pleading for the maintenance of a truce in regard to the question of Establishment, and are calling upon the Government on that account to oppose the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for the College Division of Glasgow, did, on that occasion, entirely forget the doctrine of the truce, and did give a warm and vigorous support to a Motion which was far from being founded on the principle of truce, the principle of neutrality, or the principle of postponement, but sought to give a new and most solid and substantial confirmation to the principles of Establishment. I own it appears to me that great inconsistency marked the conduct of hon. Gentlemen who gave that vote on a former night, and who now desire that we should oppose the Motion of my hon. Friend on the ground that this question of Disestablishment and Dis- endowment is not a question which can be handled practically in this Parliament. But this inconsistency in them will not justify me in acting inconsistently myself, and I wish to act in strict consistency with the declaration I made at the General Election. The effect of that declaration it is for others to estimate. It may have been small or great—upon that matter I will not enter. I contended that the question of Establishment ought not to be made a test question, just as strongly as hon. Gentlemen opposite, standing for English constituencies, contended that it ought. On that principle I mean to act to-night. I am in the unfortunate condition of not being able to vote either for the Amendment or for the original Motion. I agree with the statement of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, the hon. Member for the University of Glasgow, in the statement he has made that it is impossible that the votes of Members of this House may be considered, and legitimately considered, as evidence with regard to the opinions of those who sent them here; and if I cannot follow the Amendment of my hon. Friend behind me the Member for West Perthshire (Sir Donald Currie), it is because it appears to deny that an expression of opinion conveyed through that medium can ever be an authentic expression of opinion. The Amendment of my hon. Friend says— This House declines to entertain a proposal for the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Scottish Church until the wishes of the people of Scotland shall have been ascertained. I think that Amendment is open to the reply on the part of the Friends of the Motion that this is exactly one of those occasions, and exactly one of the means, by which some evidence may be given as to the opinion of the people of Scotland. Therefore, I am afraid I cannot support the Amendment of my hon. Friend. With regard to the original Motion, I must adhere strictly to what I said at the General Election. I admit that my hon. Friend the Mover of it (Dr. Cameron) did everything he could to cast his net wide on this occasion, and to diminish any difficulties weaker brethren might feel in following him into the Lobby; because he assured us, in the opening sentences of his speech, that the mere voting for the Motion would involve no pledge or engagement whatever with regard to circumstances or time. For example, if that were the case, a man might vote consistently for this proposal now in the 19th century, and yet with perfect consistency might express the opinion that the 20th century may be the best time for Disestablishment in Scotland. But, as far as I am concerned, even were I in an unofficial position, and undoubtedly, as I stand for the moment in an official position, the question I should be bound to ask myself—a question I have no alternative but to ask myself—would be, what will be the practical effect, what will be the impression, what will be the just and legitimate interpretation, of a vote given for the Motion of my hon. Friend by me on this occasion. It would be an engagement on my part to set about disestablishing the Church of Scotland. It would be for me—I do not attempt to lay down rules for others of which they are the best judges themselves—but for me I feel it would be a departure from the engagementinto which I have already entered, and which was entered into so long ago by my noble Friend the Member for Rossendale, and accepted by myself, that I would stand aside from this question and leave opinion to ripen and declare itself among those who are so perfectly competent to deal with it, and more competent to deal with it, in my opinion, than me. I have not the least hesitation in saying that it is the opinion of the people of Scotland that ought to determine the existence of the Church of Scotland. I acknowledge fully what has been said by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. J. A. Campbell) of the very strong manifestation of opinion which has taken place among my own constituents, especially in the landward or country parishes in the county of Mid Lothian, showing that there are large bodies of opinion at this day favourable to the continued existence of the Church of Scotland. I have no fear of their progress on this question in the manner their legitimate convictions may indicate to them; but, for myself, it is plain I have nothing to do but to avoid taking a step which would involve a substantial departure from the opinion expressed by me at the General Election—that this was not a question upon which mainly judgment was to be taken by the constituencies from the candidates. And, above all, I ought to avoid giving a promise to act in this manner, which promise I have no intention, even if I had the power, of taking up.

MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)

The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister having addressed the House, I presume it is the desire of hon. Members that the debate should be brought to a close. I wish, however, to say a few words, both in regard to the general scope of the discussion and also in regard to the remarks which have been been made by the right hon. Gentleman. I think that everyone who has listened to the debate must have come to the conclusion that it has been a debate which has hardly come up to the importance of the subject, though, in saying that, I say nothing against the ability which has been shown by the speakers who have addressed the House. I should be ungrateful indeed if I did not express the pleasure I had in listening to the maiden speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson), if he will allow me to call him my hon. Friend, seeing that he is a brother barrister. I should be extremely ungrateful, after hearing the speech of my hon. and learned Friend, if I were to imply that the speeches in the course of the debate have not been able and excellent; but what I desire to say—and I imagine most hon. Members on both sides of the House will agree with me—is that the debate has hardly come up to the dignity and importance of the subject. That, Sir, is no aspersion, because I think everyone will agree with me in that opinion. I think that even the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) will agree with me that this Motion of his was not intended as a real movement in the battle, but is rather in the nature of a reconnaissance in force for the purpose of keeping his troops in good heart and spirit. The whole tone of the debate has taken a form of unreality, and therefore I think the House will concur with me that it can lead to very little practical good indeed. If I may take the liberty of saying so, I think that the last speech which was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister has not contributed anything at all to raise the tone of the debate. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of the question as being an ecclesiastical one, and one on the merits of which the people of Scotland are well able to judge, and are already well informed. But I think there can be no question whatever that this is not merely an ecclesiastical question, and that the people of Scotland, and the people of England also, would have been glad to hear what the Prime Minister's views are on the question of the Disestablishment of the Church of Scotland, which, in the minds of a great number of the Members of this House, is nothing less than a stepping stone to the Disestablishment of the Church of England. The people of Scotland want an answer to that question—aye or no. It is not, therefore, an essentially ecclesiastical or a purely ecclesiastical question; but what we want to know is whether we are to be called upon to proceed further than we have proceeded already in abandoning the principle which the country has held for a long time, and the great mass of the people hold still, I believe, that the union of Church and State shall be upheld for the welfare of the nation and its own good? We maintain that there are strong grounds for resisting the severance of the union between Church and State; and the Prime Minister admits that it would require exceptional grounds, although he says there were exceptional grounds in the case of Ireland, to induce him to depart from the principle of the Union. That being so, I would venture to ask the House whether the Prime Minister, and those who sit with him on the Front Bench, are entitled to escape from giving instruction to the public mind on this matter, on the mere ground that the Scotch people are well educated and able to judge for themselves? I do not think the people of Scotland are as yet quite as well educated upon the matter as that; and I am certain that the Liberals, who form so large a majority in that country, are not quite so well educated on subjects of great national importance which come before this House, that they do not require to receive some instruction and help from the right hon. Gentleman. But it is not merely a question of instructing and educating the mind of the mass of the people of Scotland that is involved in what has been mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Glasgow (Mr. J. A. Campbell). It is rather this—that if the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues are satisfied that this question is causing a great dispeace and disturbance of the public mind in Scotland, the House is entitled to expect from them that they will do something, by their utterances, either to allay that controversy, or state some means by which they propose to bring that disturbance to an end. It is not—and I believe I am expressing the opinion of the House—it is not the general course for statesmen to give no guidance or leading to the public mind on great public questions. It is an unusual thing, and a novel thing in the history of this country, or indeed in the history of any civilized State, for statesman after statesman, when asked to give an opinion of their own on a great public question by a constituency for which they are standing, to declare that they have no opinion whatever, and do not mean to form an intelligent opinion for themselves, but consider their whole duty to be to stand by like an executioner with his axe, waiting until the sans culottes of an ecclesiastical salut public shall bring them their victim. It is quite new in the history of this country that this should be so. Can the Prime Minister recall any occasion on which, on a great question like this, primarily concerning the fundamental principles of the Constitution of the country and the union between Church and State, the Prime Minister and those with whom he is associated, one after the other, refuse to give the slightest aid to public opinion, either for the purpose of bringing the controversy to an end, or having that controversy placed on a sound and just basis? Therefore we are placed in this position—that we receive no guidance at all from those who ought to direct public opinion, in this House and in the country. From the Government we get no guidance whatever as to what their views and intentions are. And when the right hon. Gentleman says that the Motion of the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) may be held to have no effect during the whole of the present century, he might have remembered that not long ago, when we were led to entertain views that a very long vista was a head which might run to the end of the century, he was led to say that that long vista would close with the end of the existing Parliament. It may be a similar vista now, capable of being shortened by the shutting up of the telescope. There is only one other matter which I should like to allude to, because it is one of the things upon which we have received instruction from a right hon. Gentleman who, until a day or two ago, sat on the Front Bench opposite (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain). In a speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman at Inverness, after expressing himself in favour of Disestablishment, he held out as one of the bribes to the inhabitants of Scotland for the purpose of inducing them to support Disestablishment that when the Church was disestablished the money which would be set free could be devoted to the purposes of education. I think the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow expressed himself to-night much in the same way as to the manner in which the Church funds would be diverted from the purposes for which they were originally intended. They were originally devoted to the purposes of religion, and they are now employed for the advancement of that religion which is professed by those who are endeavouring to disestablish the Church, and we are asked no longer to consent to the funds being applied to religion. As to the morality of the proposal I will say nothing; but I will say that if the money is to be devoted to the purposes of education from which religion is to be excluded, I am sure that I express the opinion of the vast majority of my countrymen and countrywomen, to whatever Party in politics they may attach themselves, when I say that any proposal to remove religious instruction from our schools would be received by them with detestation and abhorrence. This, which is in accordance with the strictest logic, would necessarily follow—that if the money belonging to the Church was no longer to be devoted to religion, but to be devoted to the purposes of education, the first step would be taken towards driving religion from the schools altogether. There is one point on which I think those who sit on these Benches will concur with the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and it is that we must vote both against the Resolution and the Amendment. As that is rather a complicated process to work out, I suppose we had better follow the instructions given to us by the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day, by voting in the first place on the Question "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question" against the Amendment; and, when the Main Question is put, voting against that also. By taking that course we shall express our opinion most emphatically that the Church of Scotland has done nothing to justify her being deprived of that which she has held so long, and that no grounds have been shown why the old-established constitution of the Church and State in Scotland should be destroyed. It is the last argument which should be used in this House for destroying the union between Church and State that those who at present support the union hold the same doctrine and the same teaching as those who wish to bring about the severance. I say, Sir, that that is the last argument which should be used. It may be that there are difficulties in the way of an effective union between the Established and the Presbyterian Churches, and those difficulties have been already noticed to-night; but the two Churches which have come together to destroy the Church of Scotland have not yet succeeded in uniting themselves together, and I am quite certain that, however sincere the supporters of Disestablishment may be in hoping to produce peace by the destructive action upon which they are entering, if ever they do succeed in disestablishing the Church, instead of bringing about peace they will produce the impossibility of union, and instead of effecting that which they profess to desire they will really stir up feelings of bitterness and animosity which are now gradually soothing down and becoming softer and kindlier. I do hope that the day is far distant when so vague and general a Resolution as that which has been moved by the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow will ever receive the support of the Government in this House; and I venture to predict that if Her Majesty's Ministers wait until the people of Scotland really express an opinion in favour of doing anything of the kind proposed, no such measure will ever be brought in by any responsible Government at all.

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

Main Question put.

The House divided;—Ayes 125; Noes 237: Majority 112.

Abraham, W. (Glam.) Illingworth, A.
Acland, A. H. D. Ingram, W. J.
Allen, W. S. James, C. H.
Arch, J. Jenkins, Sir J. J.
Armitage, B. Johns, J. W.
Asher, A. Johnson-Ferguson, J. E.
Ashton, T. G.
Atherley-Jones, L. Jones-Parry, L.
Barbour, W. B. Kenrick, W.
Beaumont, H. F. Lawson, H. L. W.
Beith, G. Leahy, J.
Bickford-Smith, W. Leatham, E. A.
Blades, J. H. Lyell, L.
Blake, T. M'Arthur, A.
Bolton, T. H. M'Culloch, J.
Borlase, W. C. Mason, S.
Bradlaugh, C. Mather, W.
Bright, W. L. Morgan, O. V.
Brocklehurst, W. C. Morley, A.
Brown, A. H. Noel, E.
Bruce, hon. R. P. Otter, F.
Brunner, J. T. Paget, T. T.
Bryce, J. Pickersgill, E. H.
Buchanan, T. R. Picton, J. A.
Buckley, A. Powell, W. R. H.
Buxton, E. N. Price, T. P.
Campbell, Sir G. Priestley, B.
Campbell-Bannerman, right hon. H. Pugh, D.
Ramsay, J.
Chamberlain, rt. hn. J. Rathbone, W.
Chamberlain, R. Rendel, S.
Clark, Dr. G. B. Richard, H.
Cobb, H. P. Roberts, J.
Cobbold, F. T. Roberts, J. B.
Coleridge, hon. B. Robson, W. S.
Colman, J. J. Roe, T.
Conybeare, C. A. V. Russell, E. R.
Cook, E. R. Salis-Schwabe, Col. G.
Cook, W. Saunders, W.
Corbett, A. C. Sellar, A. C.
Cossham, H. Shaw, T.
Cowen, J. Sheridan, H. B.
Cozens-Hardy, H. H. Shirley, W. S.
Craven, J. Spicer, H.
Cremer, W. R. Stevenson, F. S.
Crossley, E. Swinburne, Sir J.
Crossman, General Sir W. Thomas, A.
Trevelyan, rt. hon. G. O.
Davies, R. Verney, Captain E. H.
Davies, W. Vivian, Sir H. H.
Dillwyn, L. L. Warmington, C. M.
Ellis, J. E. Wayman, T.
Esslemont, P. Westlake, J.
Everett, R. L. Will, J. S.
Finlayson, J. Williams, A. J.
Fry, T. Williams, J. C.
Gaskell, C. G. Milnes- Wilson, H. J.
Goldsmid, Sir J. Wilson, J. (Durham)
Gourley, E. T. Woodall, W.
Grey, Sir E. Woodhead, J.
Haldane, R. B. Wright, C.
Hayne, C. Seale- Yeo, F. A.
Henry, M.
Holden, A. TELLERS.
Holden, I. Cameron, C.
Hoyle, I. Hunter, W. A.
Addison, J. E. W. Dixon-Hartland, F. D.
Agg-Gardner, J. T. Douglas, A. Akers-
Ainslie, W. G. Duckham, T.
Allen, H. G. Duncan, Colonel F.
Allsopp, hon. C. Duncombe, A.
Allsopp, hon. G. Dyke, rt. hn. Sir W. H.
Ambrose, W.
Anstruther, Sir R. Eaton, H. W.
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Edwards-Moss, T. C.
Baden-Powell, G. S. Egerton, hn. A. J. F.
Baggallay, E. Egerton, hon. A. de T.
Baily, L. R. Ellis, Sir J. W.
Baird, J. Evelyn, W. J.
Balfour, rt. hon. A. J. Ewing, Sir A. O.
Balfour, G. W. Farquharson, H. R.
Bartley, G. C. T. Feilden, Lt.-Gen. R. J.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Fellowes, W. H.
Bates, Sir E. Fergusson, right hon. Sir J.
Baumann, A. A.
Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks- Field, Admiral E.
Finch, G. H.
Beach, W. W. B. Finlay, R. B.
Beadel, W. J. Fisher, W. H.
Bective, Earl of Fitzgerald, R. U. P.
Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C. Fitz-Wygram, Sir F.
Beresford, Lord C. W. De la Poer Folkestone, Viscount
Forwood, A. B.
Bethell, Commander Fowler, Sir R. N.
Bickersteth, R. Fraser, General C. C.
Bigwood, J. Gardner, R. Richardson-
Birkbeck, Sir E.
Blaine, R. S. Gathorne-Hardy, hon. J. S.
Blundell, Col. H. B. H.
Boord, T. W. Gibb, T. E.
Borth wick, Sir A. Gibson, J. G.
Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C. Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T.
Bristowe, T. L. Gorst, Sir J. E.
Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F. Green, Sir E.
Gregory, G. B.
Brookfield, Col. A. M. Grenfell, W. H.
Brooks, Sir W. C. Grey, A.
Burghley, Lord Grimston, Viscount
Campbell, Sir A. Gunter, Colonel R.
Campbell, J. A. Hall, A. W.
Cavendish, Lord E. Hall, C.
Chaplin, right hon. H. Halsey, T. F.
Charrington, S. Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.
Churchill, rt. hn. Lord R. H. S.
Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Clarke, E. Hamilton, Lord F. S.
Coddington, W. Hamilton, Col. C. E.
Cohen, L. L. Hamley, Gen. Sir E. B.
Commerell, Adml. Sir J. E. Hanbury, R. W.
Hankey, F. A.
Compton, F. Hardcastle, E.
Cooke, C. W. R. Hardcastle, F.
Corry, Sir J. P. Heaton, J. H.
Cotton, Capt. E. T. D. Herbert, hon. S.
Cranborne, Viscount Horvey, Lord F.
Cross, rt. hon. Sir R. A. Hickman, A.
Cross, H. S. Hill, Lord A. W.
Cubitt, right hon. G. Hill, A. S.
Curzon, Viscount Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T.
Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P.
Holmes, rt. hon. H.
Dawson, R. Hope, right hon. A. J. B. B.
De Cobain, E. S. W.
Denison, E. W. Houldsworth, W. H.
Denison, W. B. Howard, E. S.
Dimsdale, Baron R. Howard, J.
Howard, J. M. Pearce, W.
Hughes, Colonel E. Pelly, Sir L.
Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C. Percy, Lord A. M.
Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.
Hunt, F. S. Pomfret, W. P.
Hunter, Sir G. Powell, F. S.
Hutton, J. F. Price, Captain G. E.
Isaacs, L. H. Puleston, J. H.
Jackson, W. L. Ritchie, C. T.
James, rt. hon. Sir H. Robertson, J. P. B.
Jennings, L. J. Robinson, T.
Johnston, W. Ross, A. H.
Kennaway, Sir J. H. Round, J.
Kenyon, hon. G. T. Russell, Sir G.
Kimber, H. Sandys, Lieut-Col. T. M.
King, H. S.
Knatchbull-Hugessen, hon. H. T. Saunderson, Maj. E. J.
Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.
Lawrance, J. C.
Lawrence, Sir T. Seely, C.
Lawrence, W. F. Selwin-Ibbetson, rt. hon. Sir H. J.
Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Leighton, S. Seton-Karr, H.
Lewisham, Viscount Sidebottom, T. H.
Llewellyn, E. H. Sidebottom, W.
Lloyd, W. Sitwell, Sir G. R.
Long, W. H. Smith, rt. hon. W. H.
Lowther, hon. W. Smith, A.
Macartney, W. G. E. Smith, D.
Macdonald, rt. hon. J. H. A. Stafford, Marquess of
Stanhope, rt. hon. E.
Maclean, F. W. Stanley, rt. hn. Col. Sir F.
Maclean, J. M.
Macnaghten, E. Stanley, E. J.
M'Calmont, Captain J. Stewart, M.
M'Iver, L. Sturrock, P.
M'Lagan, P. Sykes, C.
Makins, Colonel W. T. Talbot, J. G.
Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R. Tipping, W.
Tollemache, H. J.
March, Earl of Tomlinson, W. E. M.
Marjoribanks, rt. hon. E. Tottenham, A. L.
Trotter, H. J.
Marriott, rt. hn. W. T. Tyler, Sir H. W.
Marton, Maj. G. B. H. Vincent, C. E. H.
Maxwell, Sir H. E. Walrond, Col. W. H.
Mildmay, F. B. Watkin, Sir E. W.
Mills, hon. C. W. Watson, J.
Milvain, T. Webster, Sir. R. E.
Morgan, hon. F. White, J. B.
Mount, W. G. Whitley, E.
Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R. Winn, hon. R.
Wodehouse, E. R.
Mulholland, H. L. Wolmer, Viscount
Muncaster, Lord Wortley, C. B. Stuart-
Muntz, P. A. Wroughton, P.
Murdoch, C. T. Yorke, J. R.
Newark, Viscount Young, C. E. B.
Norris, E. S.
Northcote, hon. H. S. TELLERS.
Norton, R. Currie, Sir D.
O'Neill, hon. R. T. Robertson, E.

House adjourned at a quarter after Twelve o'clock.