(1.) On the date of Disestablishment every cathedral and ecclesiastical corporation in Wales or Monmouthshire, whether sole or aggregate, shall be dissolved. (2.) After the date of Disestablishment no Bishop of the Church in Wales shall be summoned to, or be qualified to sit, in the House of Lords as such. Provided that every person who is at the passing of this Act a Bishop, Dean, or Archdeacon of the Church in Wales, shall during his life enjoy the same title and precedence as if this Act had not passed. (3.) Writs of Summons shall be issued to Bishops not disqualified by this enactment for itting in the House of Lords as if the Bishops so qualified had vacated their seats.
§ Mr. R. W. HANBURY (Preston) Moved in line 18, before "after" to insert "on and."
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fife, E.
assented to the Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.1616
MR. CYRIL DODD (Essex, Maldon) Moved,
In line 20, after "such," to insert "and no bishop, priest, or deacon of the Church in Wales shall by reason of his ecclesiastical position, or of his being a bishop or priest or deacon, be disqualified from or liable to any penalty for sitting or voting in the House of Commons: Provided always, that he holds no benefice or ecclesiastical preferment in England.
At the present time, he pointed out, the clergy could not sit or vote in that House whilst the ministers of Nonconformist bodies could do so. The Act of Parliament which governed the matter was passed in 1801, in consequence of the discussions which took place with regard to the case of Mr. Horn Tooke, a clergyman of the Church of England, who was elected for the borough of Old Sarum. Some doubt had arisen as to whether clergymen of the Church of England were disqualified from sitting and voting in the House of Commons; and that Act enacted that no person having been ordained to the office of priest or deacon should be capable of being elected to serve in Parliament as a Member of the House of Commons. The result would be that when Disestablishment took place, all the clergymen of the Church in Wales who had been ordained ministers of the Church of England would undoubtedly be debarred by that Statute from sitting and voting in the House of Commons. The Act further provided that there should be a fine of £400 for every day on which such clergymen should sit or vote in the House. They had been told that the object of the Bill was to produce equality between the Church and other religious bodies in Wales, and his Amendment was framed with the view of carrying out that object. In the discussion on the Act of 1801 a large number of precedents were discussed, and the weight of evidence certainly was that the clergy of the Church of England were, apart from the Statute, considered as disqualified from sitting in the House. One of the reasons assigned was that the clergy were represented in Convocation and that, therefore, they needed no representation in this House. It was proposed by a later section of the Bill to remove the clergy of the Church in Wales from Convocation, and therefore that reason disappeared. It was rather
a theoretical than a practical reason, because Convocation had no power, unless the Crown allowed it, to transact business. Another reason for excluding clergymen from the House of Commons was because they were amply represented by the Bishops in the Upper House. That, again, was not a very practical reason, because the Bishops were in no sense chosen by the clergy, and in no sense represented the clergy. The third reason was an historical one. The writ by which the Bishops were summoned to the House of Lords contained a clause which was inoperative, summoning Proctors and Deans and Archdeacons. They did not attend, and if they did, the House of Lords would be very much astonished at their appearance. Whether there was or was not at any time a good reason for the exclusion of the clergy from this House, that reason would be entirely lost when Disestablishment took place. It was impossible to say that religious equality was promoted whilst a disability was left weighing on the clergy of the Church of Wales which did not weigh on other religious bodies in that country. In most of the colonies the clergy of the Episcopal Church were permitted to sit and vote in the House of Representatives. In the Colony of Tasmania an Archdeacon was at one time Premier, and was afterwards elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was an able man and did not confine his energies entirely to his archidiaconal functions, but kept for the benefit of his neighbours a pack of hounds. It seemed to him that if they were to deprive the Church of some of the advantages which it obtained from being established they must take care that they did not leave it under any kind of disabilities. The Home Secretary had stated that if there were any disabilities which would weigh upon the Church in Wales in consequence of the passing of this Bill which were not shared by other religious bodies, if they were pointed out to him it would be his endeavour to remedy them, and that at any rate he would give careful consideration to the points which were brought before him. He had added a proviso to his Amendment because it might happen that a clergyman of the Church of Wales might at the same time hold some benefice in England, and so
long as the Church was established it would seem that the clergy of the Church could not be elected to this House. With regard to the general argument, it was impossible that they could approve of the clergyman of the disestablished Church being under any disability which he did not share with his Nonconformist brethren. It was for the electors to say whether they would or would not elect a clergyman to represent them. And there would be no reason when Disestablishment took place, to prevent the Church, if it thought fit, making regulations that all clergymen should be disqualified to sit in the House of Commons. But that was a matter of internal regulation, and the House had no choice but to say, when it reduced the Welsh clergy to the level of ordinary citizens, that at the same time they should have the rights of ordinary citizens. For his part he should be glad to see the clergy in the House; it would be far better that they should be entitled to sit and vote than that the House should get their views at second hand, as it did now. In conclusion, he would remind the Home Secretary of his declaration that he would carefully consider any point in regard to which the clergy were placed under a disability, and would ask him to give his support to his Amendment.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, he could not help regretting that his hon. Friend should have introduced this question at this stage of the Bill, where to him, it did not appear very logically to arise. His hon. Friend had quoted his declaration to which he meant to adhere, and so far as he could to carry it out—that he would not consent on behalf of the Government to the continuance of any disability in the case of clergy of the Disestablished Church, which were not shared by other religious communities. He agreed with his hon. Friend that the disqualification for sitting in this House fell within the category to which he had referred; and so far as he was concerned he should be glad to consent to its removal. He did not think, however, his hon. Friend's words were well chosen for the purpose. The effect of his proviso would be that any clergyman who held a preferment in Monmouthshire would not come within the scope of the Amendment at all. 1619 According to the wording of the Amendment, Monmouth would be excluded from the scope of the clause. He should suggest that his hon. Friend should withdraw the Amendment, and accept some such words as these:—And no person shall, by reason only of being a bishop, priest, or deacon of the Church in Wales be disqualified or liable to any penalty for sitting or voting in the House of Commons.
§ The Amendment having been by leave withdrawn,
§ MR. R. W. HANBURY
pointed out that, if this concession was made, it would have to go a great deal farther. There was another large body of episcopal clergy, namely, the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, who were excluded from sitting in the House of Commons; and if the clergy of the Disestablished Church in Wales were to be exempted from the present disability, so, logically, must the whole body of the Roman Catholic clergy of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He was perfectly willing to see both classes of clergy admitted.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I quite agree; so am I. The only point is that one class is within the scope of this Bill and the other is not. It is the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 which disables Roman Catholic priests from sitting in this House of Parliament, and the clause would have to be repealed before you could remove the disqualification, for which there is no foundation whatever. You cannot do it by means of a clause in this Bill.
§ MR. J. C. MACDONA (Southwark, Rotherhithe)
said, he had an Amendment on the Paper in a similar sense, but he was glad to support that of his hon. Friend opposite. By putting his Amendment down, he wished to draw attention to the fact that clergymen and criminals were the only two classes excluded from aseat in that House.
§ *SIR F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
said, that as one who was the son and grandson of clergymen, and as having many near connections who were in Holy Orders, he felt most strongly that it was not for the benefit of the clergy themselves, nor to the advantage of the 1620 Church, nor for the good of religion, that gentlemen in Holy Orders should mix in the strife of political life. He was quite aware the proposal did not extend the privilege to those who held benefices, but a gentleman might hold a benefice and yet have the intention of becoming a candidate for a seat in this House at an early date. During the interval there would be a conflict in his mind between his duties as a clergyman and his prospects and hopes as a politician. During such time of suspense an election might be near. One knew it was a season involving much thought, much care, much close attention. He was quite sure that during that season the duties of the cure would be neglected and mischief would arise to the cause of religion. And suppose a clergyman did enter the House under this provision: a Member of this House must necessarily become a Party man, having Party associations, and he was quite sure the benefit of his services would be greatly injured by those associations. The law was not now as it was in the time of Home Tooke. The Act 33 and 34 Vict., enabled a gentleman who felt his obligations to be onerous to seek and obtain relief from those obligations. There were now at least two Members of the House, one of them on the Treasury Bench, who had taken advantage of that law, and he maintained that if clergymen desired to enter this House they ought to do so through the portals provided by Parliament. He had another reason which might be of some weight, and that was the obligations imposed by the Pluralities Act. He did not see how a clergyman, who had once placed himself under the obligations of the Pluralities Act, could consistently occupy a seat in the House of Commons. And he had a further argument still, though he did not know what weight might be attached to it—he referred to the vows and obligations solemnly undertaken by clergymen at the time of Ordination. Only last week the Standing Committee on Law had passed a Bill, strengthening the penalities imposed upon clergymen who broke their Ordination vows. He maintained that a gentleman who came under those vows was not free to enter into the struggles and strifes of Parties in this House.
§ SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)
asked the Home Secretary whether he thought the words proposed made it quite clear upon whom the provision would operate. Nobody was disqualified now by reason of being a bishop, deacon, or priest of the Church. What disqualified was the fact of having been ordained. Suppose, after this Act was passed, a man took a preferment in the Disestablished Church in Wales—would that at once have the effect of qualifying for a seat in this House? He was disqualified before because he had been ordained. Was the mere fact of holding a minor preferment in the Church in Wales to qualify him, and would he be enabled to sit permanently, or only so long as he held such preferment in the Church in Wales?
§ MR. ASQUITH
replied that the removal of the disability applied—and was only intended to apply—to those clergymen who hold benefices in the Disestablished Church in Wales, and so long as they do so.
§ *SIR M. HICKS-BEACH
thought it might be well to defer the consideration of this question until the 14th Clause, which referred in a sub-section to the question of Convocation, should have been reached. On the general question he could not agree with the views expressed by the hon. Member for Wigan. The hon. Baronet, he thought, looked at the question too much from the point of view of the Church. From that point of view there might be a great deal to be said against the election of a Bishop or clergyman to the House of Commons. But it ought to be left to the Church body after Disestablishment to deal with that question. It could be provided by that body that no persons holding ecclesiastical offices in Wales should hold them together with a seat in Parliament. But as far as Parliament itself was concerned he was of opinion that they ought to remove this special legal disability as they were now disestablishing the Church in Wales. Therefore, when the proper time should come for dealing with this question he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would not withdraw from the position which he had taken up.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, that he assented gladly to the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion. What he wished to avoid was the possibility of their having two 1622 Debates on this question at different times. If it were the general view of the Committee that this was an inappropriate place for the discussion of this Amendment he would ask his hon. Friend to withdraw it.
§ SIR RICHARD PAGET (Somerset, Wells)
thought it a very singular proposal that the incumbent of a living should be allowed to take a seat in that House and go straight from political strife in Parliament to the performance of his religious duties. Political partisanship must conflict with an incumbent's duties as a clergyman, and would lead to difficulties with members of his congregation. It had been suggested that the Church body after Disestablishment might itself make rules applicable to the case, and might, if it chose, prevent any incumbent of a disestablished benefice coming to that House. He did not, however, understand how that could be done. If a law were passed permitting a man to hold a living and a seat in Parliament at the same time, surely the Disestablished Church in Wales would not be competent to establish a rule in direct opposition to what that House would have declared to be legal. If the disability to sit in that House were removed by Parliament the change must stand, and there might arise a race of political parsons who would not be in touch with the sentiments of their flocks. In his opinion the change would be for the worse both in the interests of the Church and of the people.
§ MR. ELLIOTT LEES (Birkenhead)
thought they ought to understand clearly what the effect of the proposal before them would be. Any young clergyman who might think that it would improve his professional prospects to have a seat in that House would be able to take a benefice in Wales in order to qualify himself for Parliament, and after his election, as soon as he saw a chance of preferment in the Church of England, he could return to that Church. Would not that be the effect of the Amendment? If so, they would, by passing it, be adding insult to injury in their treatment of the Church in Wales. By making that Church a stepping-stone to higher things for ambitious young clergymen they would not be treating her at all fairly. The Amendment would alter the status of clergymen in 1623 Wales, and seeing that it was supported by hon. Members opposite he was very suspicious of it: "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes."
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, that he had recommended the withdrawal of the Amendment on the understanding that the discussion would not be continued. Since then, however, two speeches had been delivered by hon. Members opposite. If the Debate were to go on they must divide, for in that case he could not consent to its resumption a future time.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. HANBURY
moved, Clause 2, page 1, line 20, to leave out "at the passing of this Act," and insert "on the date of Disestablishment." As he under stood the clause, Bishops appointed in the interval between the passing of the Act and the date of Disestablishment would not be allowed to retain subsequently either their titles or their precedence. These Bishops, however, would be Bishops appointed by the Crown, and it would be rather a strong step to deprive them of the titles and precedence enjoyed by their predecessors. The Crown would not under this Bill abandon its rights to confer titles of honour in the interval before the date of Disestablishment. Surely it could not be the intention of the right hon. Gentleman that Bishops appointed by the Crown before Disestablishment had actually taken place should not be allowed to retain their title and precedence. It must be admitted that their position ought to vary very much from the position of those appointed after Disestablishment had taken place. Take the case of a Bishop, not dying, but retiring in the interval between the passing of the Act and Disestablishment. Why should not his successor retain his title and precedence? At any rate, in his first point he believed he was right, and he would like to know what the right hon. Gentleman had to say about it.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, that this provision was taken from the Irish Church 1624 Act. It was a saving clause. The words in the Irish Church Act were—''Provided that every present Archbishop, Bishop, Dean, or Archdeacon shall, during his life, enjoy the same title or precedence as if this Act had not passed.All the interests with which they were now dealing were what he might call vested interests—titles created under the existing state of things, and they had a claim to consideration which could not be urged on behalf of those interests created after the passing of the Act. These words were only put in for the purpose of securing to the holders of these offices their social precedence. New Bishops appointed in the interval between the passing of the Act and the date of Disestablishment would be appointed by the Crown it was true, but not on the advice of a Minister of the Crown. They would be appointed on the petition of the Archbishop. It was clearly a question of what was most convenient, and he thought the Government had done wisely in following the precedent of the Irish Act.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said, there were first those who now held these offices; then the dignitaries appointed between the passing of the Act and the date of Disestablishment; and finally, those appointed after the date of Disestablishment by the Church body. In the interval the right hon. Gentleman had to invoke the aid of the Crown to make these appointments, though it was true that they were not to be made on the advice of a Minister, but on the advice of a very high Church officer. Still, the offices were to be created by the Crown itself, and it would be more respectful to the Crown that the holders should be allowed to retain their title and precedence for life. He could not see how it would do any harm to anyone.
§ Amendment negatived.
MR. R. C. JEBB (Cambridge University) moved in line 21, after "Dean" to insert "Canon." He said, that Clause 2 provided that—
every person who is at the passing of this Act a Bishop, Dean, or Archdeacon of the Church in Wales shall, during his life, enjoy the same title and precedence as if this Act had not passed.
There appeared to be no reason why this provision should be confined to the cases of Bishop, Dean, and Archdeacon. Why, for example, should the same provision not apply to Canons? It would not be disputed that "Canon" was a recognised ecclesiastical title. But perhaps it would be said that the social precedence enjoyed by a Canon, as such, was less definite than that which belonged to a Bishop, Dean, or Archdeacon; that the intention of the words in the Bill was merely to preserve the social status of the persons mentioned; and that, therefore, it was not thought necessary to include Canons. The answer was simple. A Canon, undoubtedly, enjoyed precedence in the cathedral to which his canonry was attached. But, perhaps, they would be told that Clause 2 proposed to dissolve the cathedral corporations, and that when this had happened there would be an end to the most clearly-marked kind of precedence which a Canon, as such, possessed. In refutation of that view, he would appeal to an authority which the Government would not decline to accept—it was that of the Home Secretary himself. For it was recently pointed out by him that the existence of a cathedral chapter did not depend on the legal incident of incorporation; a proposition which the right hon. Gentleman illustrated by the case of the Roman Catholic cathedrals in this country. If, then, cathedral chapters could exist without incorporation, the passing of this Bill, if it should pass, would not necessarily make it impossible that a Canon should have a perfectly definite claim and precedence in the Church of Wales. That being so, such precedence ought to be expressly recognised in the Bill. The words of this sub-section were practically the same as those of Section 13 of the Irish Church Act. But the Irish Church Act left the cathedrals to the Representative Body of the Irish Church; whereas this Bill transferred them to the Welsh Commissioners. Churchmen had all the stronger reason for requiring that the Bill should not ignore the existence of an ancient ecclesiastical title and dignity, which had hitherto been bound up with the corporate life of cathedrals—an office which, by its history and traditions, attested the immemorial and inalienable rights of
the Church in those cathedrals which were reared by Churchmen, and which the piety and liberality of Churchmen had maintained through long generations. The principle involved in this Amendment was one which covered more than the particular case to which the Amendment itself was directed. He maintained that this Bill ought to preserve the title and precedence of everyone who holds any ecclesiastical dignity or office in the Church of Wales. But he was content to have invited the attention of the Committee to the particular defect in the clause, which, as it stood, was a prominent one, a typical one, and one which appeared to him clearly and entirely indefensible. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman might see his way to accept the Amendment.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, he had listened with great interest to what had fallen from his hon. Friend, and he could assure him that the intention of the clause was merely to deal with what he might call the legal interests attaching to certain offices in the Church, and not in any sense to deal with any ecclesiastical scale of precedence—which, he took it, was a matter of internal regulation. They stopped at the point of Archdeacon because that was the point at which this kind of social precedence was generally supposed to stop. He did not, however, wish to have any controversy in a matter of this kind, and, therefore, he would say at once that he would accept the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Wight, which stood lower on the paper, to insert the words "or holder of any ecclesiastical office in." That would cover every case of title attaching to any office.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER (Isle of Wight)
said, he was obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for meeting his hon. Friend so far. Still, he believed, a Canon had a definite precedence now. He was not certain that he did not come before an archdeacon. There could be no objection to inserting the word "Canon" between "Dean" and "Archdeacon."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER moved the insertion of the words, "or holder of any ecclesiastical office in."
§ Amendment agreed to.1627
§ MR. BARTLEY moved to omit the word "title," because the Bill secured it in the present holder of an office, but he would withdraw the Amendment if the Government would accept the next Amendment—a proviso to secure that the successors of the present dignitaries should be entitled to assume the same designations. It ought to be clearly stated that the new organisation would have the power to give these titles.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, the sub-section was a saving clause to preserve to the holders of existing offices the titles they now enjoy. It would be for the Church Body in the future to attach to offices such designations as they thought fit. When they came to the powers of the new Church Body, if there was any ambiguity, it could be removed; but that would be the proper time to deal with the matter.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, that in his opinion it was quite clear already; but, if it were not, when they came to deal with the powers of the new Church Body it should be made so.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
SIR J. GORST moved the omission of the following sub-section:—
(3) Writs of Summons shall be issued to Bishops not disqualified by this enactment from sitting in the House of Lords, as if the Bishops so disqualified had vacated their seats.
He said that this sub-section did not deal with the Church in Wales, and it affected those who were not members of the Church in Wales. If the Welsh sees were destroyed, the law would decide what was to happen with reference to the rights of Bishops in the House of Lords. The Act 41 & 43 Viet., c. 68, passed in 1898, giving power to the Crown to form certain Bishoprics, when certain forms were gone through, provided that a writ was to issue for filling a vacancy in the Bishoprics in the House of Lords if a vacancy was caused by the voidance of any see other than certain sees that were mentioned. This sub-section seemed to him to be a sort of an attempt to make the Bishops the recipients of the spoil of the Welsh
Church, and that was not a proceeding which ought to be formulated by the Bill. He had not heard of any desire on the part of the English Bishops to profit by the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales. He had no reason to suppose that there was any desire on the part of the English Bishops that more of them should be taken away from the dioceses to sit in the House of Lords. If that was to be one of the results of passing the Bill, the misfortune of Disestablishment would be that it would inflict injury on the Church of England. Had the Home Secretary received any representation from the Welsh Bishops that they desired that their places should be taken by English Bishops? If the Home Secretary had not received any such representation from the Welsh or the English Bishops, he had better leave the results of the destruction of the four Welsh sees to the operation of the law, whatever it might be.
§ MR. HANBURY
asked as a point of order whether this sub-section was in order, whether it came within the title of the Bill, as the sub-section would affect not the Church in Wales but the Church in England.
said, that, as the sub-section was in the Bill when it was read a second time, it was in order, and if it did not come within the title of the Bill that could be altered. A clause already in the Bill was in a different category from an amendment going beyond the scope of the Bill.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, the sub-section was inserted because it was believed that without it the representation of the Church in the House of Lords would be diminished, and it was that objection might be taken to such diminution; but the provision was not one to which the Government attached any importance. The omission of the sub-section was to be moved by an hon. Member on the Ministerial side of the House, who did not look at the subject from the same point of view as the right hon. and learned Gentleman; and if it was the general feeling that the sub-section was unnecessary, he should be happy to part with it.
§ MR. T. GIBSON BOWLES
said, it was an extraordinary thing that the right hon. Gentleman should talk in this off-hand manner on a subject which 1629 appeared in the original draft of the Bill. He should have supposed that this matter was clearly outside the title of the Bill; but, whether it was or not, the Government had deliberately put the sub-section into the Bill, and now they proposed to throw it overboard without a word of justification.
§ SIR R. WEBSTER
said, he was entirely against the withdrawal of the subsection on the assumption that the right hon. Gentleman had been advised that it was unnecessary to maintain the present number of Bishoprics in the House of Lords. Inasmuch as the right hon. Gentleman said it was his intention and wish that there should be no cutting down of the numbers, the Government ought to make it clear that there would be no reduction. As long as it was the law of the land that there should be 36 spiritual Peers in the House of Lords, it ought to be provided that the number should be maintained.
§ SIR EDWARD CLARKE (Plymouth)
said, the question really was that four English Bishops would under the present law be called up into the House of Lords in consequence of putting an end to the existence of the Church in Wales. If the Government agreed that the number of Bishops in the House of Lords should not be diminished, it was essential they should put words into this Bill providing that the sub-section should operate as an avoidance under this Statute of the Welsh Sees, in which case there would, under the present Statute, be succession. But if they did not insert the words proposed, the result would be to reduce by four the representation of the Church in the House of Lords. Whether that representation was desirable or not was a large question, upon which he would say nothing at that moment, but it was a question which should not be decided by omitting the sub-section the Government had deliberately put into the Bill. He thought the Home Secretary would admit that it was scarcely fair now to allow this subsection to be struck out. The Committee had debated the subject whether the four Welsh Bishops should sit in the House of Lords during their life, 1630 although the Church in Wales was Disestablished, and it was said:—No, you ought not to have them sitting in the House of Lords, because by the provisions of the Bill there will be four other Bishops called up who will, so far as the representation of the Church is concerned, supply the places of those excluded by the earlier sub-section.It was on the understanding that that was the proposal of the Government in the Bill that the House consented to exclude the four Welsh Bishops. The effect of the change of front on the part of the Government would be that they provided that four Welsh Bishops should not continue to sit, and they were leaving out the sub-section which would secure the presence of four English Bishops in their places.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
suggested that instead of Sub-section 3 this should be inserted:—At the date of Disestablishment the Sees of the Church in Wales shall be deemed to be avoided.If the Home Secretary accepted that he would be satisfied.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, that as the right hon. Gentleman proposed to omit this sub-section, and some of the supporters of the Government also, he repeated, that the Government would not stand in their way. The construction put on the Act that had been referred to as not a sound or correct one, and if the clause had stood with this sub-section the Welsh benefices would not have been avoided. It was for the purpose of leaving the representation of the Church of England in the House of Lords exactly as it was that the sub-section was inserted. The right hon. Member for Cambridge University doubted if his construction of the Act was correct, that the Church of England did not desire what was proposed, and that it was rather injurious that a young Bishop recently appointed should be drawn from his spiritual work to take part in the carnal interests of party politics in the House of Lords; but if there was any alteration it would be rather an advantage than otherwise that the Church of England should be represented by four Welsh Bishops, because, to that extent her spiritual forces would not be depleted, and she would retain 1631 representation for political purposes. He did not know if many Churchmen shared that view. [Opposition cries of "No!"] Then he supposed the right hon. Gentleman represented no one but himself, and certainly not what was called the Church Party on the other side of the House. If that was so, although he should view the decision of the House either way with equanimity, he thought that, having made this proposal, the decision of the Committee should be taken upon it.
§ *SIR.M. HICKS-BEACH
said, he understood the omission of the sub-section was moved because it was considered unnecessary, and the Home Secretary accepted the Motion as if he did not think it would make any difference to the Bill whether the sub-section was in it or not. They were about to strike out the sub-section under that impression, when the learned Members for the Isle of Wight and Plymouth explained that it would make much difference—indeed, that if the words were omitted the result would be that absolutely contrary to the intentions of the Government, the Church in England as well as the Church in Wales would be affected by the removal of the four Bishops from the House of Lords. They now understood that her Majesty's Government did attach importance to these words. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that four Bishops now sitting in the House of Lords would cease to sit there, and that therefore the representation of the Church in that assembly would be reduced by that number. He did not think that it was the wish of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Univerity of Cambridge that that should be the case, and he was quite sure that that was not the wish of the vast majority of Churchmen in that House. He hoped that Her Majesty's Government would adhere to their original proposal, by which he thought they were bound, because throughout the Debate the right hon. Gentleman, on behalf of himself and his colleagues, had repudiated the idea that they desired in any way to interfere with the position of the Church in England.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 297; Noes161.—(Division List, No. 86.)1632
§ SIR R. WEBSTER moved on Clause 2, page 2, line 2, to leave out "enactment," and to insert "Act."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ On the Motion that the clause as amended stand part of the Bill,
§ MR. HARRY FOSTER
said, he felt it was his duty to ask the Committee to reject the clause, by which every Corporation in Wales would be dissolved. The effect of it would be to destroy the present local organisation of the Church in Wales, whilst the Bishops would be deprived of their seats in the House of Lords. He would, therefore, move the ejection of the clause.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 3:—