HC Deb 09 February 1897 vol 46 cc27-63
*MR. SAMUEL SMITH (Flintshire)

rose to call attention to the evils resulting from the union of Church and State, and to move: That it is expedient to Disestablish and Disendow the Church of England both in England and Wales. The hon. Member said he had undertaken a difficult task, for which he asked the indulgence of the House. He had ventured to call in question the usefulness of one of their oldest institutions, one deeply rooted in the habits, traditions, and affections of the English people, nor was it possible to do justice to this theme without touching on some of their most sensitive nerves. The House would, he was sure, extend to him fair play and patient attention whilst he laid before it the reasons which had led many of them to the conclusion that the cause of religion stood best upon its own merits, unaided alike by State patronage and unhampered by State control. The Motion he had drawn covered the whole ground of the union of Church and State, and the Resolution he begged to move was at least free from ambiguity. They had in recent years debated both the Welsh and the Scottish Disestablishment questions. The previous Parliament affirmed both those principles, but the question of English Disestablishment had not been submitted to the judgment of Parliament for many years—not since 1873 by the late Mr. Miall; yet the questions it raised were of far greater importance, for they went to the very root of the subject, and demanded the most drastic treatment. The union of Church and State was a survival of mediaeval times. It arose in ages when absolutism was the rule both in Church and State; it arose before the growth of human liberty, before the individual man was conceived of as having rights of his own, and when he was merged in the society or state to which he belonged. The perfection of the system was reached when autocratic Popes dominated Western Christendom, and when the State was regarded rather as the appendage of the Church than the Church of the State. Exactly as human freedom extended, so the alliance between the Church and State weakened, and to-day, at the close of the nineteenth century, it had become an anachronism and was as certain to pass away in Western Europe as it had passed away in the United States and the British Colonies. He submitted that the evils of the State Establishment in England were more keenly felt now than in former ages, when the abuses were really much greater. For nearly 300 years the National Church was buttressed by cruel and unjust disabilities imposed both on Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters. These had been removed, little by little, always against the strongest opposition by the Anglican Bishops; yet to-day there was more dissatisfaction with the abuses of the Established Church than ever before. A large section within the Church was now calling out for Disestablishment, that it might carry sacerdotal doctrines still further; and a much larger section outside the Church demanded Disestablishment that it might free the nation from complicity with these doctrines. The fact was, the national conscience was more sensitive than it formerly was, and was becoming more and more alive to the moral blemishes of the present system. He would summarise the chief objections which Protestant Nonconformists, and many Churchmen as well, had to the present system. They held that the Christian Church was a spiritual body, responsible only to its Divine Head, that it should be free and self-governing in all spiritual things, that religion lay between the individual soul and God alone, and that no secular authority was entitled to intrude into this sacred domain. Now what was the actual relation between Church and State in this country? The Sovereign was by law the Head of the Church; the Bishops were appointed by the Prime Minister of the day; the formularies and ritual of the Church have all been settled by Act of Parliament; the appointment of the clergy was in the hands of patrons, some private, some public; the right of advowson was a valuable pecuniary privilege which was bought and sold like any other form of property. The support of the Church was mainly drawn from national property allocated by the State in Roman Catholic times, and continued to the Reformed Church in the sixteenth century. He could not conceive a constitution of the Church more repugnant to the principles laid down in the New Testament. It bore some analogy to the Jewish system, but not the faintest resemblance to the Christian dispensation. At every point the secular power overrode the spiritual. In proof of this he would quote the Bishop's oath of homage as given by Earl Russell in a letter to The Times:— I, ….., Doctor of Divinity, now elected, confirmed, and consecrated Bishop of …., do hereby declare that your Majesty is the only Supreme Governor of this your realm in spiritual and ecclesiastical things, as well as in temporal, and that no foreign prelate or potentate has any jurisdiction within this realm; and I acknowledge that I hold the said Bishopric, as well the, spiritualities as the temporalities thereof, only of your Majesty. And for the same temporalities I do my homage, presently to your Majesty. So help me God. Surely no one nowadays could defend so naked a subjection of the spiritual to the secular power; but this subjection was of the essence of the system. The recent election of Bishop Temple to be Archbishop of Canterbury had brought out the farce of giving a Congé d'élire to the Dean and Chapter. The Chapter offered a prayer for Divine guidance and then read the "letter missive," in which the Sovereign designated the person to be elected: the statute required the Dean and Chapter "with all speed and celerity to elect and choose the person named in the said letter missive and none other" under peril of incurring the penalties of prœmunire. It was not to be wondered at that a reverend clergyman once used these words:— It was painful to think of the real act of blasphemy which was committed against the Holy Ghost every time a Bishop was appointed. He recently examined the official documents relating to the appointment of Bishops, and in them were directions to the Dean and Chapter that they were to invoke the Holy Spirit in making a right and proper choice. He was sure that of late years the Prime Ministers of this country had used their great powers of appointment under a deep sense of responsibility; but this did not obviate the damning fact that the character of the National Church largely depended on the accident of who wits the head of a secular administration. Lord Palmerston, advised by Lord Shaftesbury, appointed an Evangelical Bench of Bishops: subsequent High Church Premiers had almost revolutionised the Bench in an opposite direction; some subsequent Premier might be a Freethinker, and might appoint Broad Church Bishops. Could anything be more opposed to the teaching of the Divine Head of the Church? Nothing but long habit had reconciled us to this scandal, and the time was near at hand when the conscience of the nation would not endure it any longer. He would ask the House to allow him to make one quotation from the Diary of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, which drew the curtain aside and disclosed how the Apostolic Succession was carried on in this ancient branch of the Christian Church:— Much talk with the Dean of Windsor. He talked with great reserve about the late appointments, but said: 'The Church does not know what it owes to the Queen. Disraeli has been utterly ignorant, utterly unprincipled; he rode the Protestant horse one day, then got frightened that it had gone too far, and was injuring the county elections, so he went right round and proposed names never heard of. Nothing he would not have done… Disraeli recommended—for Canterbury, but the Queen would not have him; then Disraeli agreed, most reluctantly, and with passion, to Tait… Disraeli then proposed Wordsworth for London. The Queen objected strongly,… then she suggested Jackson, and Disraeli chose Jackson. The Queen would have greatly liked—, but Disraeli would not hear of him. You cannot conceive the appointments he proposed and retracted, or was overruled… He had no other thought than the votes of the moment; he showed an ignorance about all Church matters, men, opinions, that was astonishing, making propositions one way and the other, riding the Protestant horse to gain the boroughs, and then, when he thought he had gone so far as to endanger the counties, he turned round.' He was sure there was not a Member of that House who did not feel the shame of this exposure; yet he was certain that such scenes would recur, again and again, till the unholy alliance between Church and State came to an end. Next to the choice of bishops, he impeached the election of the parochial clergy as utterly contrary to the teachings of Christianity. No Church that he knew anything of exacted so small a modicum of theological knowledge from candidates for the ministry; it was trifling compared with the long and thorough curriculum that Presbyterian ministers had to pass through, nor were the safeguards for moral and religious character any more thorough. The Bishop of Liverpool said:— It cannot be denied that numbers of young men take Orders every year who are thoroughly unfit for the sacred office they enter. It is mere affectation to ignore these things; every man of common sense knows them. The Rev. Baptist Noel said:— Chosen by Peers and squires, by colleges and Church corporations, by chancellors and State-made prelates, many are made pastors by a corrupt favouritism, many are allured to an uncongenial employment by the income which it offers them, and many embrace the profes sion of a pastor because they are too dull, inert, or timid for any other. The fact was, so long as the patronage of livings was a marketable commodity, often held by men of no religious character, it was impossible to keep up a high standard of clerical fitness. Did the House realise the fearful evils which resulted from the traffic in livings? A feeble attempt was made to cure it in the Bill of last year, but it encountered so much opposition—even from Churchmen—that he much doubted if any successful attempt would be made hereafter. Would the House allow him to quote from the evidence of Mr. Emery Stark, one of the principal clerical agents, given before the Royal Commission of 1878? He said:— The Commissioners are well aware that the sale of an advowson with the understanding that immediate possession is to be given, is, according to the law, illegal. Three-fourths of the patrons with whom I have come in contact, and among them clergymen of the highest standing, do not recognise any moral crime in an infraction of the present law of simony, and the consequence is that they freely and unhesitatingly sell and purchase advowsons with the understanding that immediate possession is to be given, not looking upon it as any sin. When I say clergymen of high standing, I have had business with ex-colonial Bishops, Canons, and other dignitaries of the Church, who, of course, would be above suspicion in every way. Mr. Stark was asked by the Bishop of Peterborough (Dr. Magee) whether these "pious and good clergymen deliberately break the law," and he answered "Yes, men of the highest standing." Pressing the witness further, the Bishop asked— These moral clergymen, who first ask you to break the law, then take an oath that they have not broken the law? The answer was "Yes;" and the Bishop added:— so that every one of these clergymen of high standing and of high moral character has been guilty of wilful and corrupt perjury. The whole case is so well put by the late Dr. Magee, Archbishop of York, that I must ask leave to quote from one of his charges:— First there are one hundred patrons in England, not presumably better or wiser than other patrons, who have the right to keep the parishes in their gift as long as they please without a pastor, who, when he is appointed, need produce no evidence that he is even in Holy orders, no testimonial as to his character, and who may buy from one of these patrons the right, without cheek, hindrance, or so much as question from any human being, to enter upon a cure of souls, and who, moreover, by that purchase, may have been enabled to complete some nefarious transaction respecting some other piece of Church preferment, of which he may be the owner.… Again, it is a fact that a certain number of patrons are in the habit, whenever their livings fall vacant of selecting the oldest and most decrepit clergymen they can find, after the most careful search and inquiry, and putting them into their livings, in order to enhance the selling value of these in the market—a proceeding which I regard as one of deliberate and enormous wickedness, and yet which, at present, may be, and is, adopted in defiance of parishioners and of Bishop, for there are absolutely no limits in law to the age or decrepitude of a presentee.… Again, it is a fact that any parishioner knowing of any immorality in the clergyman about to be appointed to his parish, dare not represent it to the Bishop through dread of an action for libel.… Again, it is a fact that immoral and scandalous clerks are sometimes presented, as I personally know, to Bishops for institution by patrons who are well aware of their character.…Again, it is a fact that an infant in his cradle may be nominated to the largest and most populous parish in England, that it shall be kept open for him by a resignation bond until he attains the ripe age of twenty-four, when he forthwith enters upon the duties of the parish, the temporary incumbent being turned out to make room for him; or, if he is not at once removed, remaining the life-tenant of the patron, and liable to ejectment at any moment. He need not add a word more to show the intolerable evils of the present system of patronage; that religion in the Anglican Church had survived them was a singular proof of its vitality. Certainly the union of Church and State had not done much to keep it alive, and no real reform of this shocking state of things would come to pass till that unholy alliance was dissolved. It might be said that public patrons exercised their powers better. There were nearly 6,000 benefices in the hands of public patrons, such as the Crown, the Lord Chancellor, the Bishops, Cathedral Bodies, and the Universities. No doubt they were free from some of the grosser evils of private patronage, but they were marked by other evils nearly as bad. One of these was that much of this patronage was bestowed for political purposes. He had seen it stated that in some of the Cathedral Bodies it was customary to cast lots for the right of presenting to the livings in the gift of the Chapter. He condemned the whole system of patronage root and branch as a upas tree which poisoned the National Church, and he saw no chance of removing it except by separation of Church and State. But there were other and very weighty grounds upon which he condemned the entire system of State establishments or religion. He asserted that they were in their genius and essence hostile to freedom and popular rights. No one who knew anything of English history would deny that this was true of the Anglican Church. In the days of the Stuarts it was the servile advocate of the divine right of kings; during the Hanoverian period it stoutly opposed any relaxation of the civil disabilities of Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters; up till 1828 no one could sit in a Town Council or hold an office of trust under the Crown, without taking the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England; the Bishops vehemently opposed the abolition of this test; they opposed the anti-slavery movement in its earlier stages; they opposed the reform of the criminal code when its severity was extreme; they opposed Catholic emancipation, the Great Reform Bill, the commutation of tithes, the repeal of the Corn Laws; they opposed the repeal of Jewish disabilities, the opening of the Universities to dissenters; they opposed the Burials Bill, and the marriage of dissenters in their own places of worship. There were three distinguished historians who had scats in that House who had described in classic language the reactionary character of the National Church. He was tempted to quote an eloquent passage from the writings of the learned Member for Dublin University (Mr. Lecky):— It is to Puritanism that we mainly owe the fact that in England religion and liberty were not dissevered; amongst all the fluctuations of its fortunes it represented the alliance of these two principles, which the predominating Church invariably pronounced to be incompatible. The attitude of this latter Church forms indeed a strange contrast to that of Puritanism. Created in the first instance by a Court intrigue, pervaded in all its parts by a spirit of the most intense Erastianism, and aspiring at the same time to a spiritual authority scarcely less absolute than that of the Church which it had superseded, Anglicanism was from the beginning at once the most servile and most efficient agent of tyranny; endeavouring by the assistance of temporal authority, and by the display of worldly pomp, to realise in England the same position as Catholicism had occupied in Europe, she naturally flung herself on every occasion into the arms of the civil power. No other Church so uniformly betrayed and trampled on the liberties of her country. In all those fiery trials through which English liberty has passed since the Reformation, she invariably cast her influence into the scale of tyranny, supported and eulogised every attempt to violate the Constitution, and wrote the fearful sentence of eternal condemnation upon the tombs of the martyrs of freedom. Could anyone explain this chronic hostility to liberty except by the blighting influence of National Establishment? The Church had produced many great, noble, and pious men, whom Nonconformists honoured and even loved, yet its influence had commonly been cast on the wrong side. Surely the inference was obvious; it was no wonder that kings always preferred Prelacy to Presbytery, for the one made for privilege, and the other for freedom. What he might call a subsection of this argument was the tendency to arrogance and exclusiveness which National Churches showed to their nonconforming brethren and other bodies of Christians. It was difficult for one brought up in this country to conceive how much sweeter was the religious life of the United States and our great colonies, from the footing of equality on which all religions stood to one another. The odious words "dissent" and "non-conformity" were unknown there; it was like living in a different world, and he believed, if the experiment were tried here, after a short time no one would wish to go back to the reign of privilege and assumption. No one wished to do so in Ireland they knew. On this ground alone the gain to charity and brotherly love would be incalculable. He passed over many counts in his indictment for want of time, but he must call the attention of the House to what, in the eyes of many, was the crowning evil of the Anglican Establishment—he referred to the portentous growth of Roman doctrine and ritual. A revolution had taken place in the last fifty years which had practically stamped out the Protestant character of the Church in most of the parishes of the land. Doctrines were taught and ceremonies were practised which were in absolute contradiction to the 39 Articles, which every clergyman had solemnly subscribed; those very practices which the Prayer-book stigmatised as "blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits" were taught in thousands of pulpits. The greater part of the clergy repudiated the word Protestant, notwithstanding that the Coronation Oath bound the Sovereign of this country, who was by law the head of the Church—[Cries of "No!"]—to the maintenance of the "Protestant Re-formed Religion." He would read to the House the formula employed on this occasion. The Archbishop said:— Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the Gospel, and the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? The Sovereign answered, "All this I promise to do," and then took a solemn oath to that effect. In addition to this the Sovereign also subscribed a declaration against Transubstantiation, a doctrine which was taught to-day in thousands of pulpits. [Cries of "No!" and "Hear, hear!"] It would be hardly becoming to refer to this point more fully in that House, because the subject was too sacred. ["Hear, hear!"] No historian would deny that the Church settlement in the time of Elizabeth was a Protestant settlement, yet now a great part of the clergy disowned the Reformation of the sixteenth century and eagerly longed after reunion with Rome. In a great many Anglican churches the service was now practically Roman. They saw the Confessional set up, and the Mass, and the invocation of saints, and prayers for the dead, and other practices which were forbidden by the law of the Church, were observed without let or hindrance by most of the Bishops. Lest anyone should think that he was exaggerating, he asked permission to quote from Cardinal Vaughan:— The doctrines of the Catholic Church, which had been rejected and condemned as being blasphemous, superstitious, and fond inventions, have been re-examined and taken back, one by one, until the Thirty-nine Articles have been banished and buried as a rule of faith. The real presence, the sacrifice of the mass, offered for the living and the dead—some times even in Latin—not infrequent reservation of the sacrament, regular auricular confession, extreme unction, purgatory, prayers for the dead, devotions to Our Lady, to her immaculate conception, the use of the rosary, and the invocation of saints, are doctrines taught and accepted with a growing desire and relish for them in the Church of England. A celibate clergy, the institution of monks and nuns under vows, retreats for the clergy, missions for the people, fasting and other penitential exercises, candles, lamps, incense, crucifixes, images of the Blessed Virgin, and the saints held in honour, stations of the cross, cassocks, cottas, Roman collars, birettas, copes, dalmatics, vestments, mitres, croziers, the adoption of an ornate Catholic ritual, and now recently an elaborate display of the whole ceremonial of the Catholic Pontifical—all this speaks of a change and a movement towards the Church that would have appeared absolutely incredible at the beginning of this century. And what is still more remarkable is, that the movement has been stronger than the rankest Protestantism, stronger than the Bishops, stronger than the lawyers and Legislature. A spasmodic protest, a useless prosecution, a delphic judgment, and the movement continues and spreads, lodging itself in Anglican homes and convents, in schools, churches, and even cathedrals, until it is rapidly covering the country. These statements of the Cardinal were, perhaps, exaggerated, but no one denied that they were very largely true, and in his opinion they were ominous of great danger to the nation. In such an assembly as this they could not enter into theological argument, but this, at least, was relevant to the case: the Church of England, as by law established, was a Protestant Church; her Articles denounced in the strongest terms the doctrines and practices of Rome; she held her vast national endowments on these conditions; she could not alter a line of her Articles and formularies without the consent of Parliament; yet she acted as if she could ignore the Protestant Reformation, in spite of Parliament, and in spite of the great majority of her own laity. The position to which they had come was this. They had a National Church, enjoying an enormous revenue and immense prestige from its union with the State. It held its property and its privileges on condition of observing its side of the contract. Yet it had broken it in the most flagrant manner. Where was redress to be found? He knew of no place but the High Court of Parliament. He knew it was a most unfit Court to decide cases of theology; but this was one of the consequences of having an Established Church; the State could not wash its hands of it; it had but two courses open to it, either to reform the Church or disestablish it, either to mend it or end it. He was convinced that the days of reformation by the State had passed away, never to return. This Parliament would never again frame a Confession of Faith; but there was one thing this Parliament would do, perhaps not to-day or to-morrow, it would refuse to consent to the destruction of our Protestant faith, even should it cost the Church Establishment. He concluded in the words of the late Dean Alford:— Whether years or decades of years, be taken for the accomplishment of the severance of the Church from the State, however it may be deprecated and however opposed, accomplished it will certainly be. History has for ages been preparing its way; God's arm is thrusting it on and man's power cannot keep it back. [Cheers.] He moved the Resolution standing in his name.


in seconding the Motion, hoped that no words of his could possibly be found to excite any kind of resentment on the part of Churchmen in the House. He had been brought up in the Church of England, and he was now a member and communicant of that Church; and, if he believed that the policy of Disestablishment, if carried out, would ruin or even injure the Church of England as a spiritual body, though he might be compelled by a sense of justice to advocate it, he should necessarily do so with the deepest possible pain. It was, however, his conviction, founded he thought upon the teaching and experience of history, that disestablishment, so far from weakening or injuring the Church of England would, he believed, free it for still greater efforts and still greater strides in its spiritual progress in future. They were not altogether without experience even within the Church of England itself. Of all matters of progress which had been so marked during the long reign of the Queen, there was probably no line of progress which had been more remarkable than the progress made in what he might call the spirituality of the Church of England. He supposed that everyone, whether Churchman, Dissenter, or Agnostic, would admit that during the past 60 or 70 years the Church of England had enormously improved in character, in earnestness, in efficiency, and in the excellence of its work. ["Hear, hear!"] Not only had the Church of England progressed in that way, but the constitution of the Church of England and the relation of the Church itself to the State had very largely changed in that time. In earlier days no office could be held by anyone who was not a member of the Church of England, either as Town Councillor, officer of Excise or Customs, or parish constable; and he could not hold office unless he proved his membership by actually taking the sacrament before entering upon it. He called attention to a speech of Lord John Russell, in 1828, in proposing the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, wherein he described the common scandal that attended the process of "qualification" for office. Men collected in beer-shops near a church when service was going on. A messenger would come in from the church and would say to the assembled people—sometimes in a half-drunken condition—that the time had arrived for them to "qualify," and then they would enter the church to take the sacrament. They, with their experience of the Church of England today, looked back to those times with a sense of horror; but, concomitantly with the improvement in the Church of England during the Queen's reign, there had gone on a partial disestablishment of the Church of England. The Test and Corporation Acts had been repealed; the disabilities against Dissenters, Catholics and Jews had been repealed; and the Church of England could no longer he held to be establshed in the detailed and minute manner of earlier years; and he maintained that this partial disestablishment which had been going on, Measure by Measure, during the past 60 years was the most important motive power which had brought about the increased spirituality of the Church of England itself. [Cheers.] They heard it said that the dissenting bodies of this country subscribed for their church purposes sums of money which might put to shame the members of the Established Church. To some extent that was true, because, no doubt, the bodies who subscribed most were for the most part distinctly poor, like the Wesleyans. Nevertheless, it was the fact that the amount raised by free subscriptions within the Church of England by its members was far larger than people generally supposed. The late Archbishop of Canterbury, in a speech delivered a few years ago, mentioned the astounding fact that within the last 50 years upwards of £100,000,000 of money had been raised in subscriptions. This was at the rate of £2,000,000 a year for Church extensions, buildings, new en dowments, and other Church purposes. Where had that money been raised? If they looked abroad it would be seen that the Church of England had its strongest hold in the large towns of the country which had grown up in the last 150 or 200 years. If he were asked to lay his finger on the spot where the Church was probably strongest in the hearts of the people, he would point to the city of Manchester. Why was this? The fact was a strong argument in favour of disestablishment. In pre-Reformation times, when the old endowments of the Church had been already given and completed—["No!"]—he had the authority of the Bishop of Oxford for the statement—there were practically only two large towns in the country, London and Bristol. The vast majority of the population existed in the country districts. Therefore the old organisation of the Church was fitted and planned for the country districts mainly. All the modern endowments and all the fitting out of the Church in those towns where she succeeded in carrying out her mission with the greatest success had been effected under the influence of that voluntary enthusiasm which be desired to invoke through the whole Church by the process of disestablishment. [Cheers.] He denied that disestablishment would involve a certain loss of dignity to the Church. This year there was to be celebrated the 1,300th anniversary of the formation of the See of Canterbury, and on the throne of St. Augustine the Archbishop of Canterbury would preside over a pan-Anglican synod. That synod would be composed of members nearly all of whom represented sees which had been created within the reign of her present Majesty. No longer would the Archbishop preside over bishops from 31 sees within England and Wales; he would preside over upwards of 150 bishops from 150 sees, and exactly 130 of these would be bishoprics within the limits of the British Empire itself. Those 96 bishoprics outside England and Wales, nearly all of which had been founded within the reign of her Majesty, and all of which had been founded within the limits of the empire, represented every one of them a free Church in a free State. [Cheers.] The spiritual energy of the Anglican Church certainly had not been diminished in Ireland by disestablishment, and certainly it was not less strong in the free bishoprics which exist in every one of our great self-governing colonies. These examples and illustrations convinced him that the Church would lose nothing whatever by the process of disestablishment. He as a loyal Churchman felt aggrieved that establishment seemed to have diminished to some extent the moral enthusiasm and moral energy of the leaders of the Church of England. ["No!"] Nothing was more remarkable in the course of the present reign than the popularising of the great institutions of the country, the progress of democracy. At every point that progress had been opposed by the Bench of Bishops. In such moral questions as the abolition of slavery, again, reformers had had to meet at every step the opposition of the Bishops in the House of Lords. [Cries of "No!"] The Resolution, of course, made no reference to endowment. [Cries of "It does," and laughter.] He was afraid he had seen an early draft of it—[Ministerial laughter]—and was under that impression, but the circumstance made no difference to his argument—[laughter]—because he recognised that disendowment was the logical consequence of disestablishment. On this point his contention was that as the State gave the tithe, so the State could take it away. He was utterly at a loss to imagine how any hon. Member could deny the fact that the State should as a matter of fact by legislation endow the Church with the tithe. ["No."] He admitted there were many high authorities on this subject in the House, but even the collective learning of the House on a question of English ecclesiastical history could scarcely equal the learning and the authority of Dr. Stubbs, who was, it was well known, in political agreement with hon. Gentlemen opposite. Dr. Stubbs pointed out that— The recognition of the legal obligation of tithe dates from the 8th century both on the Continent and in England, and that after that time "it was enforced by not infrequent legislation." How then was it possible to say that the State did not endow the Church? From apostolic times the clergy of the Church had been accustomed to preach that it was the duty of the people to give a tenth to the Church, but it was not done, and the clergy did not even venture to enforce it by ecclesiastical penalties, and then came in the State and made it a matter of law. The thing was as clear as could be. The argument therefore, that it was robbery to take away the money given to the Church under these circumstances could not hold. The State gave it, and the State could take it away. ["Hear, hear!"] There was no proposal to take away the great endowment which had grown up in the course of the present century. As he had already pointed out, over one hundred millions of money had been raised in 50 years to aid the Church in the large towns, where its work was most valuable, and where it had the strongest hold on the hearts of the people. He at least, as a Churchman, was not going to believe that in the richest country in the world the Church that was possessed of the richest members of the community was likely to be allowed to fail in its spiritual efforts, and in the spiritual good it did, for want of more money, which could be easily raised amongst its own people. He looked upon the Resolution, not as an attack by enemies on the Church, but as a policy by which, if successful, the Church would be free to be animated by and inspired by those voluntary efforts which within the last 50 years had enabled it to do great good; and he looked upon it as a Measure that would finally remove from the Church of England the last trace as a branch of the Civil Service and leave it simply and solely what it was—a branch of the Church of Christ. [Cheers.]


who was loudly cheered on rising, said: We have but little cause to complain of the tone of the last speaker, at all events. But I think everybody who has sat through the two speeches which have just been delivered must admit that this Debate is little better than a sham. ["Hear, hear!"] We had a brief discussion the other night on the advantages of giving to the House of Commons occasionally the opportunity of discussing abstract resolutions, and that it may be an ad-advantage now and then I am prepared to admit; but I deny that it can be an advantage to discuss, as we are discussing to-night, the propriety of carrying through what is little short of a great political and social revolution—["hear, hear!"—in a House constituted as this is at the present moment. ["Hear, hear!"] The occupants of the front Opposition Bench were, through the whole of the speech of the Mover, and through nine-tenths of the speech of the Seconder, conspicuous by their absence. [Cheers.] Hardly the faintest interest appears to be shown in the Debate by those who might be supposed to be in favour of the Motion, and who in different circumstances might be expected to come down and support it by their presence and by their cheers. When, therefore, I look upon the deserted state of the Benches opposite it seems to me the House of Commons is wasting its time, and is neither adding to its dignity nor to its efficiency in occupying itself with arguments of which., for the most part, it would be far too high a compliment to say that they were academic. [Laughter and cheers.] The Mover of the Motion spent the greater part of his speech in one of two occupations. He was either making an inaccurate survey of the past or he was hazarding the most perilous prophecies for the future. [Laughter.] I do not propose to travel with him over the very difficult, lengthy, and controversial questions of ecclesiastical history that he has raised. But I must say, parenthetically, that I dissent when he and the Seconder agree in describing the present position of the Church of England as the result of State endowments.


No, tithes.


I beg pardon. In saying that the tithes of the Church of England are the result of State endowments they have against them not only every authority—I was going to say every investigation into the subject—including the present Bishop of Oxford, who has been so courageously quoted by both hon. Gentlemen—[laughter and cheers]—but they have also against them, a great authority in itself, but an authority that ought specially to appeal to hon. Gentlemen op posite —I refer to the late Home Secretary, who, I remember, in the Debate on the Welsh Church, gave specific and categorical utterance to a doctrine on the subject of tithes the very opposite to that we have heard to-night. [Cheers and cries of "No!"] I think every one who refers to the Debates will see that, though I quote from memory, I am not misrepresenting what was then said by the late Home Secretary. ["Hear, hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman, however, is here to answer for himself. But that is a parenthesis. I do not mean to go into the wearisome details of the subject. The two hon. Gentlemen who are responsible for this Motion, and especially the Mover, expended a great deal of eloquence in attacking what were described as the vices of the Church of England. Sir, an institution which, like the Church of England, has lasted for these many hundred years, which has been bound up, like the Church of England, with the growth of a great country, of course has episodes in its history which we should wish otherwise. ["Hear, hear!"] After all, every assembly composed of men must be liable to some of those weaknesses into which an assembly composed of men must inevitably fall. But because the Church of England has been less zealous sometimes for the spiritual welfare of the people of England than we should wish; because some members of the Church have sometimes advocated causes of which we disapprove, are we to rake up all those ancient occurrences and say, because they at one time happened, therefore we are now to deprive the Church of a large part of the machinery by which she does her work among the people of this country? [Cheers.] The hon. Gentleman appears to conceive that there is something in the condition of Established Churches—I think he meant all Established Churches—which make them the natural supporters of slavery, of tyranny, and of all things which we regret—[laughter]—whilst, on the other hand, he asserted that throughout the history of Nonconformity in England it was quite obvious that the members of those religious bodies which had separated themselves from the Church of England were one and all—from the very nature of their religious creed—advocates of toleration and liberty. [Laughter.] If the hon. Gentleman will give a deeper study to the history of this country and will examine more in detail precisely what has been done by non-ecclesiastical bodies in England when they had the power of the State behind them, he will be able to check the view he has expressed to-night—[cheers]—and he will probably come to the conclusion to which all impartial historians have arrived—namely, that all religious bodies, all communities, religious and irreligious, have worked themselves up to their present views of freedom and liberty of thought by a gradual and painful process; and that it is the height of historical injustice—I will go further, and say it is the height of historical absurdity—to make the Church of England responsible in the present day for the errors—if errors there were—she has committed in common with the whole of the rest of the civilised world. [Cheers.] The hon. Gentleman having surveyed in his own peculiar fashion and with his own peculiar views the ample held of history, went on to indulge in prophecy. [Laughter.] He said we ought at once to disestablish a Church in which the Bishops are appointed on the advice of a Minister of the Crown, because a time would certainly come when that Minister of the Crown would be an atheist, and that, therefore, we might expect to see persons holding these negative views appointed to the highest offices in the Church. [Laughter.]


I said we might see a free-thinking Prime Minister, and that it was possible he would appoint Broad Church Bishops. [Laughter.]


Well, we have no reason to believe that Broad Church Bishops would hold views more in harmomy with the late Mr. Bradlaugh, who was the particular statesman quoted by the hon. Gentleman, than the present occupants of the Episcopal Bench. [Laughter.] I have not myself the gift of prophecy with which the hon. Gentleman is endowed. [Laughter.] I do not pretend to be able to say from what class the Bishops of the remote future will be appointed, what opinions they will hold, or what character of men they will be. But I would ask the House, can anything be more exquisitely ridiculous than to ask us to disestablish and disendow the Church of England at the present moment because in some remote and unknown future that Church may have placed at its head by Ministers of the Crown Bishops unworthy of their position? [Laughter and cheers.] What we are concerned with, if this Resolution means anything at all, is not with the remote past nor with the remote present, but with the actual present, and on the actual present we heard not a word from the Seconder, and nothing at all, until he got towards the end of his speech, from the Mover. But we have to judge the merits of a Resolution by seeing what would happen if it were carried out. This Resolution—as the Seconder to his surprise discovered at the end of his speech—[laughter]—proposes the disendowment as well as the disestablishment of the Church. It is a remarkable fact that of the few Gentlemen on the other side of the House who think it worth while to come and listen to the Debate, the one who, next to the Mover, might be supposed to take most interest in it was unacquainted with the terms of the Resolution. [Laughter.] I am sure the hon. Gentleman has by this time discovered that he is asking us to vote not merely for the disestablishment of the Church but for its disendowment. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] Now it has dawned on the Seconder of the Resolution that the endowments of a Church or its possessions are necessary instruments in its utility; for he pointed to the great towns in this country and said, "There the Church is doing a great work, and is liberally supported by modern contributions. There, places of worship have been built; endowments have been provided, and in consequence of those endowments and through the medium of those places of worship, a great religious work is being done among the working classes." I fail to understand why an endowment given 50 years ago is of such enormous value, and an endowment given 1,000 years ago is of no value at all. [Cheers.] The hon. Gentleman seems to think that it is very desirable, very proper to encourage Churchmen to make large endowments to the Church to which they belong, and that the best way to induce Churchmen to endow the Church now is to deprive the Church of all the endowments which Churchmen in former ages gave to the same body. [Cheers.] The hon. Gentleman said that nobody contemplated taking away the more recent endowments. I see no limitations in the Resolution, which I have read, though he has not. [Cheers and laughter.] I am not aware that the hon. Gentleman who moved the Resolution means to except modern endowments. He did not hint at it, nor did he suggest a date on the one side of which endowments are to be spared and on the other side of which they are to be ruthlessly sacrificed. But I am sure that the Mover of this Motion will feel that its Seconder has really given the case away. [Cheers.] It is not an absurdity to say that the Church is doing splendid work in the towns because there is there a clergyman and a church, but is doing no work in the country, although there is there precisely the same machinery—[cries of "No!" and cheers]—for carrying out precisely the same great task. I do not understand the arguments of the Mover; but I understand his object. It is to destroy the Church. [Cries of "No!" and cheers.] That is a simple, plain, and intelligible policy, but I protest that I do not understand the motives which animate the Seconder. He, a member of the Church, a man that boasts that he has the in terests of the Church at heart and who believes in the actual value of the work now being done by the Church—he wishes to deprive every agricultural parish in this country, however poor it may be, of the existing means of carrying out religious work within its limits. [Cheers.] And when the hon. Gentleman says that the whole work done in the towns is by modern endowments which are quite equal to the task, I traverse his facts altogether. The work done in the great towns is largely done by precisely the same machinery and the same endowments as the work done in the country districts; and those endowments, whether they be old or new, are, I grieve to say, most inadequate—[cheers]—for the great work which the Church has to carry out. There is nothing, in my opinion, which Churchmen ought more earnestly to do than to meet the growing needs of the growing population, and to say that, great as has been the liberality of the Anglican communion compared with that of any communion on the face of the earth, it still lags far behind the necessities of the case, and we still owe it to the Church to enable it to meet the ever-growing demands on its energies which arise from the ever-growing populations in our great centres of industry. [Cheers.] I have been dragged, somewhat against my will, into discussion on the merits of the Resolution before the House. When I got up I had intended to dismiss them even more summarily than I have done. I beg the House to show its harmony with the sentiments of the country—[cheers]—by dismissing speedily and effectually this Resolution which has been brought forward to-night. [Cheers.] That the country is prepared, or in any measurable period will be prepared, to accept a Resolution of this kind I, for one, do not believe. [Cheers] So long as the Church of England possesses, as it now possesses, a clergy devoted on the whole to the labours: so long as it possesses a clergy whose work is not merely or chiefly among the rich and well-to-do, but who extend the sphere of their labour to the poorest and most helpless of the population; so long as the great body of the Bishops are what even the Mover has admitted them now to be—men of untiring industry, men of great spiritual elevation; so long the Church, which has been intertwined with the memories of the people for all these centuries, will have a perfectly secure basis in their protection. [Cheers.] For my part I should wish, if I spoke merely as a politician, that the hon. Gentleman opposite should drag behind him into the Lobby that front Bench and that body of its supporters who show so prudent an anxiety to be absent on the present occasion. [Laughter and cheers.] But if I consider this matter, not as a Party politician—and I gladly dismiss all lower objects and considerations from this Debate—but as one anxious and ready to aid, as the hon. Gentleman is himself, the growth of true religion and the spread of spiritual life in all classes of the community, then I say that a greater blow could not be struck at the religious interests of this country than to deprive the greatest religious body in the country of so large a portion of the means for carrying on its allotted work. [Cheers.] I trust that we shall waste no more time—[cheers]—either in discussing the antiquarian tales so dear to the heart of the hon. Gentleman, or in following out the prophecies in which he indulged with so much courage; but that we shall by an overwhelming majority, and with no unnecessary delay, show the country that this House of Commons at all events represents their deepest feelings and their strongest convictions, and that it will not tolerate, longer than it can help, even the consideration of a Motion which is so diametrically opposed to all their wishes and hopes. [Cheers.] I shall not myself move an Amendment to this Motion, and I shall not suggest to any hon. Gentleman that he should do so. Let us meet it in the only way it deserves to be met—by a direct negative, and let it be uttered in no unmistakable tones. [Cheers.]

*MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts,) Mansfield

said that this Motion might have been met with savage hostility or supercilious contempt. Perhaps the former was still to come. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman gave an example of the latter. This was not the first time that he had heard the occupants of the Front Bench deprecate discussions on great public questions, and declare that they wasted the time of the House. But dozens of great Measures now on the Statute Book had been placed there by such discussions as that on which the Leader of the House had sought to pour contempt. He would not "rake up the forgotten past," but would refer to existing facts, and to abuses which sprang from the existence of the Church, not as a religious institution, but as a political establishment. He hoped the House would not be deterred by the exhortation of the First Lord, but would continue to discuss this question, in which large numbers of persons took the deepest interest. When they were told that the country cared nothing about the question, he would remind the House that in the last Parliament a Measure for the disestablishment of the Church in Wales was carried by a substantial majority; and no one could say that the next Parliament would not contain a majority in favour of disestablishment both in Wales and in Scotland. It was asked, Why draw a distinction between ancient and modern endowments? He thought both were evil, and exercised an injurious influence on the religious communities which possessed them. But the ancient endowments were the property of the whole people; and the people were entitled to dispose of them as they thought fit. Modern endowments, however, were the gift of members of the existing Church of England, and, having a strict regard for equity, those in favour of disendowment did not wish to take such endowments away. Of course, in the main, the religious work in the large towns was carried on in the same way as in the country; but the majority of the established clergy in the large towns were maintained, not by endowments, but by voluntary offerings. They were in that respect in the same position as Nonconformist Ministers. He called the attention of the House to the curious history of the Amendment which was to have been submitted to the House, but which had not been moved. As it first appeared on the Paper, it insisted on the necessity of having a resident minister in every parish in the country, and declared that a serious blow would be struck at religion if that minister were removed. It also deprecated the diversion of Church endowments to other purposes. Probably the hon. Member for the Tunbridge Division was advised that that was rather a meagre programme to put forward as a defence of the continued existence of a Church Establishment. Or, perhaps, he remembered that only a few days before there had been a discussion in the Lower House of the Southern Convocation, in which it was contended that incumbencies in small parishes, with a diminishing population, afforded no real scope for the development of clerical energies, and were a waste of the Church's resources. As a resolution was adopted that the law relating to pluralities and the union of benefices ought to be amended, he assumed that the views of Convocation in regard to a resident clergyman were less strong than those of the hon. Member. Then, it probably occurred to him that it would be thought very odd if there were no allusion in his Amendment to a subject which was now agitating the minds of many Churchmen—viz., Church Reform, as in the second edition he expressed anxiety that "all needful Church reforms should be carried without delay." Perhaps the present perilous position of the Benefices Bill suggested some painful reflections in connection with Church reform; so the resident minister and Church reform, and even Church property, finally disappeared in the third edition, and the House was to be simply asked to give an emphatic negative to the Resolution now before it. In all probability the Motion would be negatived; but he thought that some of those who would enter the "No" Lobby would do so with a good deal of misgiving. The fact was, that this question of Disestablishment occupied a very different position from that in which it stood half-a-century ago. At that time the existence of a Church Establishment was defended on the grounds of Scripture, reason and expediency. Now the defenders of the institution were content to occupy much lower ground. Now they admitted that, if we were creating a constitution for this country, and were beginning de novo, no one would think of setting up a Church Establishment; but said that the institution existed, and, in spite of all anomalies, worked well, and it would be difficult and riskful to abolish it. Did the established system work well? If it did, how was it that the Established Church at that moment was the unhappiest, and the most complaining, of all the religious bodies in England? That was a question very easily answered. The Church of England had, during this century, wonderfully progressed. As the result of a great growth of spiritual life, it had increased in numbers, energy, and enterprise. It had, however, in one respect, stood absolutely still; for the Church had but little more liberty now than it had in the dark days of spiritual lethargy and of administrative corruption. The late Archdeacon Denison once said: "All England is free to do its proper work. The one thing that is not free to do its own proper work is the Church of England." The Bishop of Liverpool had also given a fuller and more diverting description of the position of his Church. "I dare not," he said, shut my eyes to the fact that my Church is sadly wanting in elasticity and power of adapting herself to circumstances. Its organisation is stiff and rigid, like a bar of cast-iron, when it ought to be supple and bending like whalebone. Like some old fossilised country squire who lives twenty miles from a railway, and never visits London, the poor dear old Church of England must still travel in the old family coach, shoot with the old flint-locked single-barrel gun, and wear the old jack-boots and long pigtail. And all this time Dissent is netting and bagging the Church's children by scores, and laughing in her sleeve at the old gentleman's folly. He could give dozens of quotations from the writings or speeches of Churchmen which, if less graphic, were equally forcible and equally true. Much had been heard of late of "Church Defence"—though it had not been the Church which had required defence, but only its establishment by the State. When Churchmen were called upon to assist the cause of Church Defence, they sometimes asked what it was they were asked to defend—was it the anomalies and abuses which had already been referred to? He was a diligent reader of the reports of the proceedings in Convocation, Church Congresses, and the Diocesan Conferences, and that course of reading had enabled him to compile, not a complete, but a considerable, list of the changes which were declared to be essential to the future prosperity of the Church, and to which he hoped the House would kindly listen:— 1. Power to Convocation to frame schemes of Church reform, subject only to a Parliamentary veto. 2. A reform of Convocation. 3. Creation of diocesan and parochial Councils for the management of local Church affairs. 4. A multiplication of Bishops, their choice by the Church, and the abolition of the mockery of the Congé d'elire. 5. Removal of Bishops from the House of Lords. 6. Reform of the Patronage system. Power to the laity in the appointment of the parochial clergy, and the abolition of the traffic in livings. 7. Means to prevent the admission of unfit persons to the ministry, the displacement of incompetent or negligent clerics, and the abolition of the parson's freehold. 8. The superannuation of aged, or disabled, clergymen. 9. Improvement in the position and prospects of curates. 10. A re-distribution of Church revenue, to prevent waste, and to secure the more equitable remuneration of the clergy. 11. The relief of the clergy from burdensome exactions in connection with rates, ecclesiastical fees, the dilapidations of parsonages, &c. 12. Cathedral reform: to make the cathedrals more useful. 13. A modification of the parochial system, and the union of parishes with few parishioners and small clerical incomes. 14. A revision of the Prayer Book—either to free it from sacerdotalism, or to obtain elasticity in the services of the Church; or both. 15. A relaxation of the restrictions of the Act of Uniformity. 16. Repeal of the Act of Submission of the Clergy. 17. Means for securing 'godly discipline,' as regards both clergy and laity. Sydney Smith once said: "All establishments die of dignity. They are too proud to think themselves ill and to take a little physic." If that were true in his time, it certainly was not true to-day, when the Established Church appeared to be suffering from a complication of disorders, and was embarrassed to decide what kind of medicine would best suit her case. On that list of Church reforms he had to offer but a few brief remarks. The first was, that no other religious body in the country required such changes, in either their constitution or their administration. The reason, of course, was, that they were not, like the Church of England, established by law. It followed from that that the evils pointed at all sprang from the same source, viz., Establishment. Many of them would, as a matter of course, cease with Disestablishment, and all the rest would be got rid of by the free action of disestablished Churchmen. The great dilemma of Church reformers was described by the late Mr. W. E. Forster—who was a Churchman as well as a Parliamentarian—when, as far back as 1881, he described the Church of England as being the only great institution in the world which has to go on almost without the possibility of reform; because it can only be reformed by Parliament, and Parliament cannot effectively reform it. Why could not Parliament effectively reform the Church, or even reform it ineffectively? The reasons were notorious. That House was so constituted as to be absolutely unfit to undertake the task. The Church of England was Protestant, Episcopal and Trinitarian—could anything be more anomalous than that it should be legislated for by Roman Catholics, Presbyterians and Unitarians —to say nothing of Jews, Nonconformists, and even avowed unbelievers? Yet so long as that Church was a national institution, all these must possess equal rights, and discharge equal duties, in regard to the legislation which came before it. He did not wonder that an increasing number of Churchmen had come to regard further legislation for the Church with positive dread. "None but the most short-sighted," said Lord Carnarvon in 1881, will look to legislation as a remedy for our present difficulties. The conditions of Parliament, as now constituted, are incapable of wise and just legislation on Church questions. There is scarcely a line on this subject in the Statute-book of recent years which would not be better out than in; and whatever our difficulties, and even our contentions, the less we have of parliamentary interposition the happier we shall be. The present Bishop of Worcester, when Dean of Peterborough, said of a proposed alteration in the Prayer Book, it would be disastrous if the sacred things of the Church were to be tossed to and fro in debate by men of all religions and of none in the House of Commons, And, conscious of the dilemma involved in that admission, he added— We must go to Parliament simply because we are an established Church, and if anyone says at all costs abstain from going to Parliament,' that is practically saying we must be disestablished. If Churchmen were reluctant to bring their complaints and demands before Parliament, that House was equally reluctant to entertain them. It was idle for Church reformers to assert that the chief obstacle in the way of Church reform was the obstruction of malignant Liberationists. The Governments of past times showed the same indifference as Governments of to-day. The late Archbishop Magee, writing on his own abortive efforts to reform the system of private patronage in the Church, said of a Conservative Government (March 29 1875):— The Cabinet is sick of all Church questions, and hates the very idea of Church Bills in the Commons. Only a few days ago the Bishop of Salisbury made exactly the same complaint as Archbishop Magee, when he said:— He was sorry to add that, whether there was a Conservative or a Liberal Government in power, they were thwarted in that matter. When a Liberal Government was in power people thwarted their Measures for Church reform because they were afraid the Church would become too strong, and when a Conservative Government was in power the reforms in question were thwarted by a defence of the rights of property, so that the Church was equally badly treated by whichever Government was in power. There was a final reason why it was useless to look to Parliament for any substantial Measures of Church reform, and that was that the time of the House was totally inadequate for the purpose. Every Session the arrears of strictly secular legislation were increasing, and Parliament was in danger of falling into disrepute because of its inability to meet the demands—the reasonable demands—of large masses of the people. How long did Church reformers think it would take to effect all the changes enumerated in the list which he had read? Would seven Sessions suffice, even if seven Sessions could be wholly given to the gigantic task? He greatly doubted it; but had no doubt that, even if it could be accomplished, a large number of Churchmen would be thoroughly disgusted with the practical result. ["Hear, hear!"] The honourable Member for the Tunbridge Division had lately had a little experience as a Church reformer, and knew that the question of Church patron-age had been before Parliament at various times for a quarter of a century, and that the Benefices Bill of last year was the 17th of a series. Who was responsible for that long delay? Not Liberationists, but, in past times at least, the Peers, the Bishops, and the clergy, as the life of Archbishop Magee clearly showed; and last year the Bill was killed by the representatives of the private patrons who sat on the Ministerial side of the House. Well, if that reform—which was said to be the ripest of all Church reforms—had taken so long to accomplish, when were they likely to witness those other and still larger reforms which he had enumerated? There were some Church reformers who thought that they had discovered a short cut to the reform they desired. The newly-formed Church Reform League proposed that Convocation should prepare schemes of reform, to be laid before Parliament, and that, if not vetoed by Parliament, they would become law. Unfortunately for that proposal, it was admitted that before Convocation could reform the Church it must be itself reformed; because it very inadequately represented the clergy, and did not represent the laity at all. ["Hear, hear!"] But, supposing that that preliminary and formidable difficulty were overcome, did anyone seriously believe that Parliament would place the Church on a voluntary basis, as regarded government, while allowing it to retain all its rights and privileges as a national institution? They might depend upon it that Parliament would not lose its grip upon the Church so long as it was in the enjoyment of millions a year of national property, and would no more allow the Church to govern itself than it allowed the Army and the Navy to govern themselves. ["Hear, hear!"] That fact was now so deeply impressed on the minds of many Churchmen that, to secure a real reformation of the Church they had lately formed "The Churchman's Liberation League;" which organisation was described in one of their publications as being open to Churchmen of any Party in Church or State who recognise that the existing connection between Church and State in England has become injurious to the spiritual interests of the Church, and a hindrance to the progress of true religion, and are prepared either to advocate or support the disestablishment of the Church from within. They, too, felt "the need of freedom on the part of the Church to manage its own affairs;" but they also recognised "the impossibility of expecting Parliament to deal properly with such matters." They therefore declared that "the great issue which lies before the Church of England" was perfectly expressed in the words of Mr. Gladstone, written nearly half-a-century ago:—"You have our decision: take your own: choose between the mess of pottage and the birthright of the Bride of Christ." Nor were the members of this League the only Churchmen who had made up their minds that the hope of the Church lay in its disestablishment. He believed the opinion of Churchmen in favour of disestablishment was rapidly growing; not only because of their discontent with the existing state of things, but because they had become distinctly conscious that the recent expansion of the Church—which was with them an object of legitimate pride, and with Christians outside the Church an object of admiration—["' Hear, hear!"]—had not been the result of the action of the State, but of their own efforts. What had the State done for the Church during the last 50 years? It had clone something for the Nonconformists, but little or nothing for the Church. It was generations since the State voted any money for Church purposes, and all the Church extensions of modern times had been the result of voluntary zeal. In conclusion, he referred again to the meeting of the Anglican Bishops which would assemble at Lambeth in the summer, and quoted the language of one of them, Bishop Ballarat, the senior Australian Bishop, who had lately said in Dublin:— He was here to-day, after living for twenty years within and helping in the administration of an unendowed and unestablished Church, and he would say that, however great the disadvantages of such a condition of affairs were to the State, he was not prepared to say that they were a disadvantage to the spiritual well-being and prosperity of the Church itself. He for one would be very sorry to take any price he could think of for the freedom of administration and government which they enjoyed, the power to promote reform, and the power of adaptation, more difficult to secure when there was State connection. He hoped that those honourable Members who in their hearts believed that the connection of Church and State was injurious, but stood shivering on the brink of Disestablishment would derive courage from those assuring words, and if they did not see their way to supporting the Motion, would at least refrain from voting against it. [Cheers.]

MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)

said that in supporting the Motion he wished to make it quite clear that the Welsh Members did not in any way withdraw from the position they had taken up for years past—namely, that Wales had really the first claim on Parliament in the matter of the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church. The Amendment as it originally stood on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Kent referred to the impossibility of maintaining the cause of religion without the help of an endowed established Church, and the Leader of the House also referred in his speech to the necessity of an established Church in the interests of the people of the agricultural parishes throughout the country. What he wished to make clear was that this argument would not apply to Wales, for the Nonconformists were quite prepared to carry on the work of religion in every parish throughout the Principality. ["Hear, hear!"] The cause of religion in Wales would not suffer in the slightest degree if the Motion was carried. Assurance of this might be gathered from the fact that while there were 970 parishes in Wales, with 970 established clergymen, there were no fewer than 2,314 ordained Nonconformist ministers in service in the Principality; that the chapels were three times more numerous than the churches, and that the amount paid by Nonconformists in support of their religious principles was very largely in excess of that contributed by Churchmen to the Church. However much advantage the Church might have, owing to its social position and wealth, in Wales, and to other things to which he need not now refer, the fact remained that the great majority of the people did not avail themselves of its ministrations. On a certain Sunday, a few years ago, there were assembled in all the churches of the Church of England in nine Denbighshire parishes 133 people out of a total population of 4,500, or three per cent. of the whole population, whereas the chapels in those districts were filled. Last year, in a particular parish in Denbighshire, there were only four persons in church on Easter Sunday out of a population of 1,200, whereas the numerous chapels in the parish were filled. He desired to lay these facts before the House to prove that there was no danger whatever of the cause of religion suffering one iota from the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church in Wales. He felt confident that whatever the result of the division might be with reference to the question generally in England, the Liberal Party having once pledged itself to Welsh disestablishment that reform would sooner or later be carried by a large majority.

*MR. JOHN LOWLES, (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

speaking with personal knowledge of the work done in the East End of London by the Church of England and her devoted clergy, said that it would be an enormous loss to the toiling masses of that portion of the metropolis if the Church were disestablished and disendowed. In the East of London the feeling was distinctly in favour of the maintenance of the parochial system, and the Church was established there in the best possible manner—in the very hearts of the people. Representing an East End constituency, and knowing precisely what the feeling of the people was, he hoped the House would, by a decisive majority, reject this abstract Resolution, which, if carried, would materially affect the toilers of the country.

The House divided:—Ayes, 86; Noes, 204.—(Division List—No. 21—appended.)

Allan, William (Gateshead) Jacoby, James Alfred Perks, Robert William
Arch, Joseph Joicey, Sir James Pickard, Benjamin
Balfour, Rt. Hn. J. Blair (Clckm.) Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.) Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Barlow, John Emmott Kearley, Hudson E. Pinkerton, John
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Kilbride, Denis Pirie, Captain Duncan Vernon
Brigg, John Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth Priestley, Briggs (Yorks)
Broadhurst, Henry Kitson, Sir James Provand, Andrew Dryburgh
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Labouchere, Henry Roberts, John Bryan (Eifion)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumblnd.) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Cameron, Robert Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington) Roche, Hon. James (East Kerry)
Channing, Francis Allston Leng, Sir John Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lloyd-George, David Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Crilly, Daniel Logan, John William Souttar, Robinson
Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal) Lough, Thomas Stevenson, Francis S.
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) Lyell, Sir Leonard Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Davies, W. Rees (Pembrokesh.) Macaleese, Daniel Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)
Davitt, Michael MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Ure, Alexander
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles McCarthy, Justin Wallace, Robert (Perth)
Dillon, John McDermott, Patrick Walton, John Lawson
Doogan, P. C. McEwan, William Wayman, Thomas
Dunn, Sir William McKenna, Reginald Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Fenwick, Charles McLeod, John Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)
Flynn, James Christopher Maden, John Henry Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)
Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbrough)
Gourley, Sir Edward Temperley Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Young, Samuel
Griffith, Ellis J. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Yoxall, James Henry
Harrison, Charles O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES, Mr.
Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Samuel Smith and Mr.
Hazell, Walter O'Keeffe, Francis Arthur Morton.
Hedderwick, Thomas Charles H. Parnell, John Howard
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Charrington, Spencer Forstor Henry William
Aird, John Chelsea, Viscount Forwood, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur B.
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Clarke, Sir Edward (Plymouth) Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)
Arnold, Alfred Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Coddington, Sir William Fry, Lewis
Arrol, Sir William Coghill, Douglas Harry Gedge, Sydney
Ascroft, Robert Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans.)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Gilliat, John Saunders
Bailey, James (Walworth) Compton, Lord Alwyne (Beds) Godson, Augustus Frederick
Baillie, James E. B. (Inverness) Cook, Fred Lucas (Lambeth) Goldsworthy, Major-General
Balcarres, Lord Cranborne, Viscount Gordon, John Edward
Baldwin, Alfred Cripps, Charles Alfred Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r) Curzon, Viscount (Bucks.) Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. G'rg's)
Balfour, Gerald William (Leeds) Dalbiac, Major Philip Hugh Goschen, George J. (Sussex)
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Dalkeith, Earl of Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs)
Bartley, George C. T. Darling, Charles John Gretton, John
Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. H. (Bristol) Denny, Colonel Greville, Captain
Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull Digby, John K. D. Wingfield- Gull, Sir Cameron
Bethell, Captain Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. Dixon Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.
Bhownaggree, M. M. Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Hanson, Sir Reginald
Biddulph, Michael Doxford, William Theodore Hardy, Laurence
Bigham, John Charles Drage, Geoffrey Heath, James
Bill, Charles Drucker, A. Helder, Augustus
Blundell, Colonel Henry Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord Arthur (Down)
Brassey, Albert Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Hill, Rt. Hn. A. Staveley (Staffs.)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Mane'r) Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampstead)
Bullard, Sir Harry Finch, George H. Hopkinson, Alfred
Butcher, John George Finch-Hatton, Hon. Harold H. Howard, Joseph
Campbell, James A. Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Hudson, George Bickersteth
Carson, Edward Fisher, William Hayes Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes) Fison, Frederick William Isaacson, Frederick Wootton
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire) FitzGerald, Sir R. U. Penrose Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick
Cecil, Lord Hugh Flarmery, Fortescue Jossel, Captain Herbert Merton
Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Fletcher, Sir Henry Johnston, William (Belfast)
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r) Flower, Ernest Johnstone, John H. (Sussex)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Folkestone, Viscount Jolliffe, Hon. U. George
Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. More, Robert Jasper Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Kenny, William Morgan, Hn. Fred. (Monm'thsh.) Smith, Abel (Herts)
Kenyon, James Morrell, George Herbert Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)
Knowles, Lees Morrison, Walter Smith, Hen. W. F. D. (Strand)
Lafone, Alfred Mowbray, Rt. Hon. Sir John Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)
Laurie, Lieut.-General Nicol, Donald Ninian Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Lecky, William Edward H. Northcote, Hon. Sir H. Stafford Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth)
Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Stephens, Henry Charles
Leighton, Stanley Penn, John Stewart, Sir Mark J. McTaggart
Llewellyn, Evan H. (Somerset) Phillpotts, Captain Arthur Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swns'a) Pierpoint, Robert Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham) Pollock, Harry Frederick Sutherland, Sir Thomas
Long, Et. Hn. Walter (Liverpool) Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Lorne, Marquess of Pryee-Jones, Edward Talbot, John G. (Oxford Univ.)
Lowles, John Purvis, Robert Taylor, Francis
Loyd, Archie Kirkman Rankin, James Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Lucas-Shadwell, William Renshaw, Charles Bine Tritton, Charles Ernest
Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Rentoul, James Alexander Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard
Macdona, John Cumming Richards, Henry Charles Warkworth, Lord
Maclean, James Mackenzie Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir Matthew W. Warr, Augustus Frederick
Maclure, John William Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson Webster, Sir R. E. (Isle of Wight)
McCalmont, Maj-Gen. (Ant'm N) Round, James Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E.
McKillop, James Russell, T. W. (Tyrone) Whiteley, H.(Ashton-under-L.)
Malcolm, Ian Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse) Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Martin, Richard Biddulph Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Saunderson, Col. Ewd. James Wodehouse, Edmond R. (Bath)
Milbank, Powlett Charles John Savory, Sir Joseph Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard Wyndham, George
Milward, Colonel Victor Seely, Charles Hilton Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Monckton, Edward Philip Seton-Karr, Henry
Monk, Charles James Sharpe, William Edward T. TELLERS FOR THE NOES Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants) Simeon, Sir Barrington