§ "Page 1, line 6, after 'valid' insert 'if it has been for any monetary consideration; nor.'"—(Mr. Carvell Williams.)
* MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts, Mansfield)
It is not because I wish to perpetuate any of the abuses found in the Church establishment that I submit the Amendment which stands in my name. On the contrary, I claim to be a more determined opponent of abuses in that Church than the promoters of this Measure. They are simply seeking to abate what they call the grosser scandals in patronage. I am for getting rid of them altogether, by striking at the root of the evils complained of—namely, the permission of the right of sale. I am for ending that, and not for mending it, which is the object of this Bill. Honourable Members who support this Bill have convinced 826 themselves, I presume, that there is a difference between the sale of next presentations and the sale of advowsons. They have not convinced me. I feel satisfied that they have not convinced the public. The public consider that selling is selling, whether the sale be that of right of next presentation only, or whether it be a sale of the right to present in perpetuity. The only difference between the two seems to me to be this: one is selling wholesale and the other is selling retail. This Bill admits that the right of presenting ministers of the Gospel to parishes in this kingdom is property; and, if I am not mistaken, the right of appointing ministers of the Establishment is the only right which is purchasable, now that we have got rid of purchase in the Army. It is surprising that those who profess to desire the good of the Church should look on this Measure as one of great importance, and yet I find that the Church Reform League says with reference to this matter that it—does not regard the Bill as in any way a final settlement of the question, but it is of immense value in that it secures legal recognition of the principle that ecclesiastical patronage is not mere property, but essentially a trust to be exercised for the advantage of the Church, and not for that of the patron and holder.How is it possible that this Benefices Bill can establish the principle that the right of presentation is a trust, and not a property? All that the Bill attempts to do is to minimise the mischief of the existing system, but in the very act of doing that the Bill gives a new sanction to the practice complained of. I 827 cannot help, Mr. Speaker, expressing the opinion in regard to one point, that this is an insincere Bill, and I make that remark in reference to the second subsection in clause 1 of the Bill. I observe that the Bishop of Wakefield, speaking in York Convocation, said that this Bill would get rid of the scandals connected with sales by auction, but the Bill does nothing of the kind. This subsection of clause 1 says—It shall not be lawful to offer for sale by public auction any right of patronage.Then it goes on—save in the case of an advowson to be sold in conjunction with any manor or hereditament.It allows a distinction to be drawn between sale by auction in one case and sale in another. Where the possessor of advowsons has estates there may be sales by auction, but the possessor of advowsons and no estates is denied that right. If the Bill passes in its present form sales by auction will not be prohibited, but will continue. And not only so, these advertisements with regard to the sale of advowsons, which I admit scandalise honourable Gentlemen opposite quite as much as they do those who sit on this side of the House, will also continue; and so you will find, after this Bill is passed, in the Miscellaneous column of the Times, among the advertisements of the sale of old china, secondhand plate, and talking parrots, the announcements of the sale of advowsons, and, in addition to that, the traffic will go on as busily as before in the offices of the private agents. I have spoken of the privileges given to the owners of estates when advowsons are associated with the estates, and that leads me to say that in my opinion this is a rich man's Bill. There are nearly 7,000 curates in the Establishment. How many of these 7,000 gentlemen will have the best chance of promotion? Will it be the man of the most brilliant talents, the greatest piety, or the greatest zeal? No, it will be the man who has some rich relative; a father-in-law or friend who has money to go into the market and purchase an advowson. So those who have the advantage of rich connections will, in very many cases, have a greater chance of securing the best offices in the Church 828 than those who are less favoured by fortune. Now, I admit that the supporters of this Bill have shown that they are conscious of the difficulties they have in defending it. It is alleged that you cannot totally abolish the practice unless you provide means of compensation. But it does not lie in the mouths of the supporters of this Bill to advance that argument. It comes consistently enough from the honourable Member for Lowestoft to urge that the Government by this Bill are diminishing the value of the rights of patrons without giving them any compensation. There has been circulated among Members of this House a statement, which contains this passage—The Government Bill, it is true, does not deliberately, and in so many words, take away the whole rights of vested property, nor forbid the sale and purchase of such property. That would have been too barefaced without compensation. It provides a more subtle and plausible argument, that it is not taking away rights; it is only introducing regulations as to the exercise of those rights—in other words, it is whittling them away. The advowson owners are to be improved off the face of the earth.So that the promoters of this Bill are practically admitting that it is intended to interfere with these rights of presentation and to diminish their value without giving compensation to the owners, and in doing that they have provided a precedent which will be of great value at some future date. Unless you remodel the whole system of Church patronage you will take away altogether the more careless and indifferent patrons. So far from being an inducement to the owners of patronage, and as regards the exercise of it, the owner of an advowson, if this Bill should pass, would be obliged to hold on to it for the purpose of recouping himself. Mr. Speaker, I am quite sure that I am advocating principles which are held by a large number of members of the Church of England, and I have evidence of the fact. Mr. Torr, speaking at the Shrewsbury Church Congress in October, 1896, gave out this sentence, which I highly commend to the consideration of the House—I will only express the very earnest hope that when the recent Benefices Bill next comes before us, its authors, warned by past failure, 829 will have done with half measures, and base their Bill firm on the fundamental principle that spiritual patronage is not property at all, but a trust, and therefore subject to the doctrine governing all trusts—to wit that it is immoral for the trustee to derive any pecuniary benefit from his trust. The prohibition of all sales of advowsons, as well as of next presentations—this is the only sound principle worth fighting for.I have no doubt a great many Gentlemen opposite concur in these sentiments, and this, I hope, will afford them the opportunity of giving expression to their views, and so enable this Bill to become a genuine measure of reform.
§ SIR R. B. FINLAY
Mr. Speaker, I hope I shall be pardoned if I address myself for a few moments to the question raised by the honourable Gentleman as to the sale of an advowson being prohibited. The effect of those remarks, if carried into effect, would be to produce an absolute stagnation in advowsons in the eyes of those who at the present moment, happen to hold them. You may have the case where a man holds land in the parish where the benefice is situate. As circumstances change, and that is the principle of your parish—the advowson could not pass into the hands of those who acquired property—
§ SIR R. B. FINLAY
The honourable Member asks why could they not transfer it. I think if you could transfer it for any valuable or pecuniary consideration the effect would be to put it into stagnation if the advowson were to be sold along with the other. If you say the advowson cannot be sold, the advowson will in 99 cases out of 100 be exempt from sale, and it will remain in the hands of those who have no particular interest in its welfare. The truth is that a proposition of this sort is only put forward as part of a larger scheme. If you bring forward a scheme like, this you must devise some new machinery to work it altogether different from that which you at present have; and the abolition of the sale of advowsons, apart from some such constructive measure as that, will not merely be useless but positively mischievous. In the 830 advowson lies the privilege of exercising a trust. The trust is that, as vacancies from time to time occur, the owner of the advowson may present some suitable person to the bishop for this institution. That is the nature of an advowson. Then, apart from that is the privilege of exercising this trust from time to time. It is a privilege one nay well desire to exercise, particularly if one is resident in the district where the benefice is situate. Now, I would appeal to the House to say whether there is any difference in the world between presenting the privilege to a man who acquires in perpetuity, and who from time to time is appointed as the vacancy occurs—whether there is any difference between him and the conduct of a man who retains the adowson merely in order that he, as his successor in title, may, from time to time, sell the right of exercising that sacred trust. The two things are absolutely and entirely distinct. All the worst scandals in the Church have been connected with this sort of thing; all the worst scandals in the way of advertisement have been in connection with these sales, and the reason is not far to seek. The man is a sort of milch cow, who sells it as the right of presentation. What we propose to do is to abolish the sale of presentation as a source of scandal in the Church.
MR. BRYN ROBERTS
I venture to say that, so far as it is intelligible to me, the attempt of the honourable Member to make his meaning clear is not apparent to a single person in the House. He called the sale of a next presentation a right, while he called the sale of an adowson a privilege. Then he says there is no distinction. The case is simply this: both are a trust; a next presentation is a trust, and a subsequent presentation is also a trust. There is no possibility of making a distinction between one and the other. The only possible distinction that I can see is that one may take place this generation, and the subsequent presentation in the subsequent generation. But to say that that is a distinction is, to my mind, entirely unsound. Mr. Speaker, it has come upon me entirely as a matter of enormous surprise that in matters ecclesiastical there seems to 831 be a tone of utterly low morality. I ask the House to consider how matters of this kind would be regarded if they were to be introduced into legal affairs. Supposing the right of appointing county court registrars were sold by auction, and an attempt was made to distinguish between the right of next presentation to a county court registrarship and a perpetual registrarship, one would be as ridiculous as the other would be absurd. There is not a lawyer in the world that would attempt to make a distinction between the two, and I ask the House, is the administration of the law less sacred than the cure of souls? I ask, is it more important? I say you must not dream of such a thing. I have no doubt that hundreds of years ago there were appointments made in consideration of pecuniary payments; but the tone of morality in affairs in every walk of life is raised except in matters of ecclesiastical importance. It is the duty of this House to alter this state of things, and to infuse into matters ecclesiastical the same high tone of morality that we find elsewhere; and if the Church Members, whose duty it is to look after the interests of the Church, hear me, I would urge them, whatever following they belong to, and my honourable Friend in particular, to strive to endeavour to instil these higher principles into the affairs of the Church of England.
§ MR. LEWIS
I make that Motion, Mr. Speaker, and I suggest its being put in that form, as the word "value" is wider and more appropriate than the word "monetary." I am sure what my honourable Friend desires is to do all he can to strengthen his Amendment, so as to put the law in a very much more satisfactory position than it is now. I would ask my honourable Friend whether, under the circumstances, he would not accept the Amendment which I now suggest.
* MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS
I quite recognise the distinction which my honourable Friend has drawn between the use of the two words. My Amendment would have reference simply to the payment of money. His Amendment would cover more than that, because it is possible to conceive that a consideration for an advowson might be the gift of land or of other property. Therefore, I cheerfully accept the Amendment.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I understand the honourable Member wishes to withdraw his Amendment in order to substitute the other.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Page 1, line 6, after 'valid' insert 'if it has been made for valuable consideration.'
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
There is one point made by the learned Solicitor General which I think was not referred to by my honourable Friend. He argues that the effect of the Amendment of my honourable Friend would be to stop the sale of advowsons in connection with the State—what he calls a stagnant barter. That has been dealt with, Sir, effectually. That is exactly what we propose to do—to make this market as stagnant as possible, to put an end to it. We object to the sale of livings altogether. We object to abuses in the Church of England; and whenever we criticise a Bill like the Clergy Discipline Bill or the Benefices Bill, although we propose Amendments, we never oppose in the sense of opposing them altogether. We simply aim the Amendments in the direction of strengthening the Bill. Every Amendment we moved to the Clergy Discipline Bill was to that effect. Every Amendment on this Bill has been in that direction. Every Amendment has been designed to prevent the nefarious sale, the traffic in presentations to livings. I would point out that this Amendment would not necessarily have that effect, and that, consequently, the objection made by the Solicitor General would not be valid. What he is afraid of is this: 833 that if an estate passes from one family to another, unless you give the right of selling the advowson you will have the right to present to a living in a parish in the hands of one family which has no interest in the parish, which has disposed of every acre of land it held in that parish, and which, consequently, has absolutely no interest in the welfare of the people there more than anybody else in the kingdom. I point out to the honourable and learned Member, and to the House as well, that it would not have that effect. If you sold an estate, I have not the remotest fear that if an advowson were attached to it that would be an element in the transfer of that estate. If it were known that on the sale of the estate the advowson would be transferred, without any nominal consideration, because that would be contrary to law, but that the advowson would follow as a matter of course, the result would be that it would be taken into account in fixing the price to be paid for the estate. I am simply answering the argument advanced. You would avoid the scandal, there would be no public sale, and yet the advowson would pass. There would have been no market, but there would have been a transfer. It would pass exactly as the scenery passes; that is not a tangible thing. You cannot sell a good scene, but, at the same time, it is an element which you take into consideration when you fix the value of the property. You cannot sell the contiguity of the estate to a particular industrial district, and yet that is an element which passes at the same time. In the same way, exactly, the advowson would pass. It would be an element in the consideration when the value is fixed, and, therefore there would be no stagnation at all except in the market.
§ MR. LEWIS
Mr. Speaker, I must say, Sir, I am greatly astonished that there are Members only on this side of the House who are opposed to traffic in livings. There are a great number of Churchmen outside the House who are very strongly opposed to it, and who have expressed their opposition in the strongest possible terms. Sir, it is a long time since we have seen the abolition of purchase in the Army, and it is an astounding thing to me that purchase 834 in the Church should be maintained up to the present day. I hope that honourable Gentlemen opposite will see that they have an opportunity on the vote that they shall give now of putting an end to the greatest scandal in connection with the Church. I daresay that honourable Gentlemen opposite will not believe, perhaps, that Nonconformists would like to see that Church purified from this scandal. Sir, there are Nonconformists who would desire to see the Church purified in that respect, and I hope that there are honourable Gentlemen opposite who will feel, in the depth of their consciences, that there is something utterly wrong with this trade in livings and appointments to livings. There are honourable Gentlemen who scoff at it on the other side of the House, but I would ask, is it consonant with the spirit of Christianity, is there a single grain of Christianity in it? How can it be justified on Christian principles? There is not a word from the beginning of the New Testament to the end that would justify the continuance of a scandal such as this is in connection with the Church of Christ. I hope, Sir, that honourable Gentlemen opposite will even now take this opportunity, an opportunity which lies within their grasp and within their power, of abolishing, once for all, this nefarious traffic in livings. Alas, that the name of living should be attached to it! It should be a vocation, and nothing but a vocation; and when every living in the Church has become, not a living but a vocation, then only the Church will occupy a higher position than she has ever occupied before in the history of this land.
§ MR. S. EVANS
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, that honourable Members who desire to prepare the way for reform in the Church have not the courage of their convictions. Now, Sir, I desire to make it perfectly clear to the House and to the country what everyone will do who will vote against the Amendment of my honourable Friend. Every Member opposite who goes into the Lobby against my Friend's Amendment will be voting for the continuance of the traffic in livings in the Church. What will be the result of a small peddling Measure like this Rill being brought forward? 835 The result will be that those who desire to see the Church really reformed, not merely on the surface but down to the roots, will come to occupy the time of Parliament again next year and again the year afterwards. It is well known that most of us who sit on this side of the House have our views as to the right reform, the most thorough reform that is needed. We believe that you will never get the reform that many desire until you disestablish and disendow the Church; and I agree that the present is not the time when we could expect the Church to be either disestablished or disendowed; but I protest, when Members come here with Bills of this kind, against the time of the House being wasted with small Measures—I protest that when we desire that the reform should be real we should be told from the other side that we desire to defeat the Bill, and not to see any reforms carried at all. Now, you come here, and you say, There are certain sorts of livings—
§ MR. S. EVANS
I am glad to hear the sonorous voice of the honourable Baronet behind me, but notwithstanding that he desires to depart for an evening meal I have a few observations to address to the House. Now, you come here and say, we will prevent certain small trafficking. At the same time you say, we will allow certain great abuses to remain in the Church without any effort at all to deal with them. You say in this Bill, we desire that you should prevent sales by public auction. Yes, whiten the sepulchres by all means. Let there be no sale by public auction, but traffic as much as you like in any other way. Do not let the auctioneer's hammer be used, but use public advertisement as much as you like. Now, do the Churchmen desire to see a continuance of that state of things? Now, Sir, I have a few in stances, not many, given by the late Archbishop of Canterbury. The late Archbishop of Canterbury, dealing with this matter in the year 1893, said—When a man buys an advowson and presents himself it is very often because he takes a fancy to the house and garden attached to the 836 living, and to the shooting and the fishing of the neighbourhood, and he puts himself in possession of those means and opportunities of sport, and having put himself in possession of that sport by a violation of the law, he very often re-sells the living to someone else.Now, do you desire to see that state of things continue? If you do, vote against the Amendment of the honourable Member behind you; if not, vote for it. Then he goes on—I admit that a good man may under this system put himself into a living with the firm resolution of exercising his ministry most purely, but that is no reason why we should sanction evasion of the law. Even a good man who buys himself into a living in that way starts upon his ministry with a taint, and he never gets over the taint. Whatever other reasons his parishioners may have for thinking ill of him or lightly of his influence, they are extremely aggravated by the fact that he is exercising the office of priest among them"—how?—"by purchase. The existing state of things leads, of course, to the establishment of shops for the sale of benefices.Now, we have heard about the open door in other parts of the Empire; you desire to keep these shops open for the sale of benefices which we desire to see shut. "The livings," says the archbishop, "are sold to the highest bidder." These livings are frequently sold by public auction, and the practice was condemned in the strongest terms in the House of Lords in 1893. Now, under this Bill, these abuses are going to be continued. Now, we desire to put an end to these abuses, and prevent the purchase of livings altogether; but honourable Members opposite say: Let there be these abuses; let there be purchases by public auction and traffic in livings as long as you like. Other advertisements announce—An attractive living, not far from a fashionable sea-side resort"—and—Population 1,500; congregation small.That is the kind of thing put forward; actually gloating over the inefficiency of the place which is offered as an inducement to an idle man. Another advertisement runs—The price is £2,500; the age of incumbent, 76; but we hear this morning that he is very seriously ill.837 Of course, it may be said, and no doubt will be said, by the supporters of the Measure that in some degree you deal with that kind of advertisement in this Bill, and you prevent the sale of the next presentation. That is the state of things. Another reads—The doctor says he cannot possibly last more than six months.Now, Mr. Speaker, really Session after Session, ever since I have had the honour of being a Member of this House for eight years, since 1890, we have had introduced in the House of Lords or in the House of Commons Bills of this kind. But now you have gone back upon the Bill of 1893, which was more far-reaching than the Bill you now bring forward. And yet you tell us, with regard to the abuses we desire to remove, that we are obstructing reforms of the Church when we bring forward these arguments for reforms, the effect of which would be to purify the Church. Is the noble Lord himself one of those who desire that there should be no sales of livings by public auction?
§ MR. S. EVANS
If the noble Lord brought in a Bill to abolish the sale of these livings I could support it, but who are the people who are now preventing reforms in the Church of England? Why, those on the Ministerial side, because honourable Members on this side would support such a Measure. If the Government are afraid to bring such a Measure forward, they are afraid of honourable Members on their own side of the House. I am sorry to have kept the honourable Baronet behind me waiting so long, but I repeat that I wish to make it clear to the House and to the country that everybody who votes against this Amendment of my honourable Friend on this side of the House will vote for the continuance of these abuses in the Church of England, which we, at any rate, desire to see done away with.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 74; Noes 182.—(Division List No. 147.)839
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Holburn, J. G.||Samuel. J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Allen, W. (Newc. under-Lyme)||Holden, Sir Angus||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorks)||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Shee, James John|
|Baker, Sir John||Kearley, Hudson E.||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Billson, Alfred||Kinloch, Sir John George S.||Souttar, Robinson|
|Brunner, Sir J. Tomlinson||Labouchere, Henry||Steadman, William Charles|
|Burns, John||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Strachey, Edward|
|Burt, Thomas||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Caldwell, James||Leng, Sir John||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lewis, John Herbert||Tennant, Harold John|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lloyd-George, David||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Clark. Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Logan, John William||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Colville, John||Lough, Thomas||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Macaleese, Daniel||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Maddison, Fred.||Walton, John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Morrell, George Herbert||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Denny, Colonel||Moss, Samuel||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Paulton, James Mellor||Wilson, J. W. (Worc'r, N.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Philipps, John Wynford||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbro')|
|Doogan, P. C.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Woodall, William|
|Duckworth, James||Priestley, Briggs (Yorks)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Pryce-Jones, Edward|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Randell, David||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Carvell Williams and Mr. Spicer.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale-||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Aird, John||Gedge, Sydney||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (C. of Lond.)||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Ambrose, William (Middlex.)||Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||More, Robert Jasper|
|Arnold, Alfred||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gilliat, John Saunders||Mount, William George|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Godson, Augustus Frederick||Murdoch, Charles Townshend|
|Baird, John Geo. Alexander||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Myers, William Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Newark, Viscount|
|Banes, Maj. George Edward||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert T.|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Bethell, Commander||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W.||Pym, C. Guy|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Helder, Augustus||Rankin, James|
|Bigwood, James||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Bond, Edward||Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Hobhouse, Henry||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Holland, Hon. Lionel R.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Brassey, Albert||Houldsworth, Sir W. Henry||Rothschild, Baron F. J. de|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Howard, Joseph||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Bucknill, Thomas Townsend||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Butcher, John George||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Johnstone, J. H. (Sussex)||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Kimber, Henry||Stock, James Henry|
|Clarke, Sir Edw. (Plymouth)||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Knox, Edmund Francis V.||Sturt, Hon. Humphry N.|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lafone, Alfred||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Laurie, Lieut. -General||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)||Talbot, Rt Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Uny.)|
|Colomb, Sir J. Charles Ready||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Thorburn, Walter|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Lees, Sir E. (Birkenhead)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)||Leigh-Bennett. Henry Currie||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)||Tomlinson, Wm. E. Murray|
|Curzon, Rt Hn G. N. (Lanc, S. W)||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Loder, Gerald Walter E.||Ward, Hon. Robt. A. (Crewe)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool)||Warkworth, Lord|
|Dane, Richard M.||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Lowe, Francis William||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||Lowles, John||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Fellowes, Hon. A. Edward||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)||Maclure, Sir John William||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||McArthur, C. (Liverpool)||Wodehouse, Edmd. R. (Bath)|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Marks, Henry Hananel||Wyndham, George|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.|
|Flannery, Fortescue||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Milner, Sir Frederick George|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Milton, Viscount|
§ * MR. H. S. FOSTER
I beg leave to move—Page 1, line 8, leave out 'two' and insert.840 The object of my Amendment is for the purpose of extending the time of registration in sub-section A of clause 1, from 841 two months to six months. The Bill provides—A transfer of a right of patronage of a benefice shall not be valid unless it is registered in the prescribed manner in the diocesan register within two months from the date of the transfer, or within such extended time as under special circumstances the bishop may think fit to allow.I think the Government will probably agree that the time-limit may be fairly extended without in any way impairing the object of their Bill. I find that the Archbishop of Canterbury in Convocation himself expressed the opinion that two months was not sufficient, and he said that for his own part, whether it was two months, three months, or four months, in his opinion it was not a serious matter. He mentioned cases, and other members of Convocation mentioned cases in which it would be advisable if the two-months rule had been extended. The Archbishop said that really there might be cases in which it is a mere formality that he has to go through, and it is not necessary at all, and there might be many other cases such as the man being abroad. That is the point I wish to submit to the Government, that two months is not a sufficient and reasonable time to make inquiries; but if the Government think that six months is too long, possibly they will meet the case by suggesting a shorter period. Now, the matter is not one upon which I wish to detain the House. The point is whether, instead of compelling the parties, as they may have to do in most cases, to go for an extension of time, the Government will not meet the case by extending the time, and save them the trouble of making such applications. I beg leave to move my Amendment.
§ SIR R. B. FINLAY
The extended time of two months has been selected as quite adequate. With regard to the observations which my honourable Friend has made, I have to repeat that he seems to have overlooked the part of the clause in which it provides—within such extended time as under special circumstances the bishop may think fit to allow.That will meet every case of possible hardship. I hope the House will agree 842 with me that registration under these circumstances should be properly carried out, and I ask my honourable Friend not to press his Amendment.
§ MR. D. BRYNMOR JONES (Swansea District)
By way of remedying the evils which my honourable Friend apprehends, I should like to call attention to the word "may." The case, I think, that my honourable Friend opposite has in view is the case of some miscarriage of a letter, or accident which might cause some injustice if the clause remains as it is. I should like to see the word "shall" introduced in case of accident or mistake.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
The honourable Member is rather anticipating matters. The present proposal is two months.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. LEWIS
I beg leave to move—Page 1, line 8, leave out from 'transfer' the following words, 'or within such extended time as under special circumstances the bishop may think fit to allow.'The Solicitor General has said that the transfer should be prompt, and the honourable Gentleman opposite has stated that in the event of the registration not being effected the transfer would be invalid. But, however that may be, it is quite unnecessary to add these words, because two months is a reasonable time, and will cover every possible contingency, and if the words were left in the clause they would only encourage laxity.
§ * MR. GEDGE
Seeing that the matter will remain in equity in reference to another transfer which may be registered after the time, the parties mil be put to a little expense, and that will be enough to make the transferee careful to get his transfer done as soon as he can, and therefore what the honourable Member who has just sat down anticipates will not result.
§ SIR R. B. FINLAY
I hope the honourable Member will not press his Amendment. I agree with him that the registration ought to be looked well after, but there will be only cases of accidental delay. Under these circumstances there would be a little hardship if there were no power of extending. That is the view of the clause as it stands, and I would respectfully ask the House to adhere to that view.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I do not see how these words will have the effect claimed for them. If it is the transferor, then it is two months after the execution, of the document. It may be that two months will not be sufficient. If it is the transferee, then the document will be in another position, and it is for him to see that the thing is carried through. These are words which might be taken to cover a much wider area, and they cover all sorts of things. They have simply to send an application if they are satisfied that there ought to be an extension. It may be a pure indulgence on his part, and it may be favouritism, and that he is anxious to help some particular individual, some transferor or transferee. But in this Amendment there is an absolute limit to his discretion. In ordinary cases I quite admit the force of the remark of my honourable and learned Friend. It is possible that the solicitor's clerk may put by the document and forget all about it, but in those cases there are regulations at Somerset House covering them especially, and you must prove almost by a declaration that something of the kind has happened. Then there is a certain indulgence given in certain limited cases, but those are specifically enumerated by the Somerset House authorities, where you are told of the cases that are applicable, and you must have your declaration elaborately 844 prepared to prove to the authorities that it is not a case of fraud. Now, what provision is there made in the Bill to guard against fraud? There is no regulation made, and it is left entirely to the bishop. A letter may be written by the transferee saying, "I have made a mistake; I wish you to extend the time." That is all that is necessary, and the Chancellor may say, "This is a very hard case, and we might grant an extension." Now, that is absolutely inconsistent with the whole object of the Bill, which is to put an end to the sale of next presentations. The Government have anticipated that there will be every possible attempt made to evade the Act by bringing in all sorts of provisions about two months, six months, and 12 months. Now what is the object of all these terms? Why, to prevent any evasion of the Act. Here you will have the door open for all kinds of subtleties to creep in. Therefore I support my honourable Friend the Member for Flintshire in moving the omission of these words, and if the Government propose to introduce other words they ought to support it upon the authority of an affidavit and declaration which would make a person liable criminally for any false statement he made. It is to prevent any evasion of the Act that you want an Amendment of this kind in this matter. That is really, a very important illustration, and it is a case in point. In the case of a bill of sale you say that you must register within five or seven days. But there you can have no extension of time. That contention is perfectly right, and you cannot go outside of it. They are commercial deeds. A great many of them are bonâ fide, and in a great many cases they are very desirable for commercial purposes; but the law thinks these bills of sale lend themselves to commercial fraud, and therefore they say, "We are going to stamp these commercial transactions which bear the impression of fraud, and in order to do that we lay down a rigorous rule, outside which you cannot travel, that these bills of sale must be registered within so many days." But have they done so? That is very germane to this Bill. You lay down a rule that they must be registered within seven days, so as to prevent the bills of sale being executed after, say, an act of 845 bankruptcy. Now, everything depends on the date. The date is vital when you come to inquire whether the transaction is a fraudulent or bonâ-fide one. Is that not an analogous case to the one we are dealing with? It is not an act of bankruptcy, but the death of the holder of the living for the time being, and you have to inquire into the whole transaction. Now, if that is important in the case of a bill of sale, it is a hundred times more important in the case of the sale of a living of this kind. If you are going to prevent fraud you must make a rule, and a rigid one, and you must not allow the discretion of any person, however important or whatever confidence you repose in him, to interfere. I am not suggesting that the bishops should lend themselves to any conspiracy to defeat the Act. I am perfectly willing to believe that they are in favour of this proposal, as it enlarges their powers. But that is not the point, for there are many bishops who might be taken in by the assurances given and the circumstances of the bill of sale under which it is transferred, for it is a bill of sale transaction, under which it may be executed. They might be taken in by a false statement, which they might probably accept, and I do not think the bishops ought to be put into that position. I am sure if you would consult the bishops themselves they would say that they would prefer the Bill as it was originally drafted, and I think the Government themselves must have unforeseen this point. That was the form in which they originally applied the Bill. According to the admissions of the Attorney General which have been discussed in this House, the Government themselves must have contemplated the danger which would arise unless they
§ had a rigid rule for one or two months fixed, and in response to the pressure brought to bear upon them by the owners of advowsons the Government have introduced words of this character, which, I venture to say, will make the Bill from that point of view perfectly worthless.
§ MR. S. EVANS
There is one point I should like to put. If a bishop refuses to extend the time, can he define what are, or are not, special circumstances? For my part, I hope that the Government will strictly adhere to the words of the Bill.
§ SIR R. FINLAY
I do not think it is possible to define what are special circumstances; I think it must be left to the discretion of the bishop. But, if it can be shown that there are special circumstances which would justify the suggested course, the Government may consent to it.
§ MR. BRYNMOR JONES
I hope the Government is not going to yield to my honourable Friend's proposal, and that the words will remain. My point is that the words do not sufficiently protect against accidents or mistakes. Instead of leaving the matter to episcopalian discretion, I should like to have some definite words put in saying that if the delay in registration is due to accident it shall be the duty of the bishop to rectify the error. I do not think, approaching the matter from that point of view, that those words are sufficient to meet the possible circumstances of the case.
§ The House divided: —Ayes 163; Noes 52—(Division List No. 148.)847
|Aird, John||Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Bullard, Sir Harry|
|Ambrose, Wm. (Middlesex)||Bethell, Commander||Cecil, Lord Hugh|
|Arnold, Alfred||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Bigwood, James||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bond, Edward||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Clare, Octavius Leigh|
|Baird, John Geo. Alexander||Bousfield, William Robert||Cochrane, Hon T. H. A. E.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r)||Brassey, Albert||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Brookfield, A. Montagu||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bris'l)||Bucknill, Thomas Townsend||Colomb, Sir John C. Ready|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M.W.|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Johnstone, J. H. (Sussex)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Dane, Richard M.||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kimber, Henry||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Shee, James John|
|Fellowes, Hon. A. Edward||Lafone, Alfred||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)||Stock, James Henry|
|Flannery, Fortescue||Loder, Gerald W. E.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Lowe, Francis William||Talbot, Rt Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Uny.)|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Lowles, John||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Gedge, Sydney||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Thorburn, Walter|
|Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H. (C. of Lond.)||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Maclure, Sir John William||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Gilliat, John Saunders||McArthur, C. (Liverpool)||Ward, Hon. Robt. A. (Crewe)|
|Godson, Augustus Frederick||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Warkworth, Lord|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Melville, Beresford V.||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. G'rg's)||Monckton, Edward Philip||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Goschen, Geo. J. (Sussex)||More, Robert Jasper||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morrell, George Herbert||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morrison, Walter||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Mount, William George||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Wilson, J. W. (Worc'r, N.)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Myers, William Henry||Wodehouse, Edm. R. (Bath)|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W.||Nicholson, William Graham||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Helder, Augustus||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wylie, Alexander|
|Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert T.||Yerburgh, Robt. Armstrong|
|Hobhouse, Henry||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Holland, Hon. Lionel R.||Pollock, Harry Frederick||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Houldsworth, Sir W. Henry||Pryce-Jones, Edward|
|Howard, Joseph||Pym, C. Guy|
|Hozier, Hon. J. H. Cecil||Rankin, James|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale-||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Hedderwick, T. Charles H.||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Allen, W. (Newc.-under-Lyme)||Holburn, J. G.||Souttar, Robinson|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Kearley, Hudson E.||Spicer, Albert|
|Baker, Sir John||Knox, Edmd. Francis Vesey||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Lloyd-George, David||Tennant, Harold John|
|Billson, Alfred||Logan, John William||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Burt, Thomas||Macaleese, Daniel||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Caldwell, James||McLaren, Charles Benjamin||Wallace, Robt. (Edinburgh)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Maddison, Fred.||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Moss, Samuel||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Colville, John||Philipps, John Wynford||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)|
|Daly, James||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Woodall, William|
|Denny, Colonel||Priestley, Briggs (Yorks)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Doogan, P. C.||Randell, David|
|Duckworth, James||Rickett, J. Compton||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Herbert Lewis and Mr. Samuel Evans.|
|Farrell, T. J. (Kerry, S.)||Roberts, John B. (Eifion)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir W.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
§ After the usual interval,848
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I have satisfied myself that there are 40 Members within the precincts of the House.
§ * MR. H. S. FOSTER
This sub-section provides—It transfers the whole interest of the transferor in the right except as hereinafter provided.No especial information has been given for that provision beyond the general statement that, in the first place, there are certain evils which have arisen in connection with the sale of advowsons; and secondly, that those evils are supposed to attach themselves more particularly to the sale of a part interest—namely, the sale of next presentation. If that be so, and if there be any of those evils existing, what I desire to know, and what the House is entitled to ask, is that before steps be taken to abolish what is undoubtedly an existing right, and abolish it by Parliamentary enactment, some clear statement should be made to the House to justify the very strong course which it is proposed to take. I hold that, however strong the case may be, and however expedient it may be to abolish the sale of next presentations, it ought not to be done, seeing that it is a legal property, without fair treatment to the owners of those next presentations, and, at any rate, some cause should be shown if the abolition is to take place, either with or without compensation, beyond the mere statement which has been made. Some honourable Members who have spoken have advocated the abolition altogether of the traffic in reference to advowsons, but that will not be done away with under the Bill. This clause does not propose to abolish the right of sale, or any evils that may attach to that right, and I believe the reason given is that it cannot honestly be done without compensation. At any rate, that would be an intelligible proposal, and it would be a whole-hearted proposal, which, if it provided that justice should be done in this way, would command the support of honourable Members on this side of the House as well as on the other side. For my own part, I should be glad to see 850 some proposal brought into the House which would abolish entirely the right to sell a presentation of a fit and proper person for the cure of souls. The proposal is that, if a person does sell, he shall not sell a part of his interest, but shall sell the whole of it. But, before a proposal of that kind is seriously put to the House, I submit some further grounds should be given. We should be told what are the abuses which attach to the sale of a partial interest, and something else than the whole of the life interest of the person selling, or what advantage will be gained by a clause of this kind. The object of one clause of the Bill we shall have to discuss is to ensure the fitness of the presentee. What I wish to ask the Attorney General is, if he is going to reply on behalf of the Government, to tell us how the provision will secure the presentation of a better man to the bishop, or introduce a better man to the living. Unless that is ensured, all that is being done is without any corresponding advantage, or the correction of any abuse. If the result of the introduction of a clause of this kind can be shown to be that we shall have a better class of men presented than those who are presented under the existing powers, then, high-handed as these proceedings may seem, there will be some moral grounds to urge in favour of it. Up to the present time no statement has been made in this House, or in the Committee, to show what were the abuses which this sub-section was designed to remedy. For these reasons, and because I think that, under any circumstances, to take away a right of this kind without just treatment of the persons affected is very unjust, however expedient it may be thought, I object to the section.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid)
I think we ought to have some reply from the Attorney General on this question, on the evils that may be said to apply to the sale of next presentations. I ask him, does it apply equally to the case of presentations altogether, and if what applies to one applies equally to the other? Now, as I always understood the policy of 851 honourable Members opposite, it is never to interfere with vested interests without giving compensation. That was always the principle of the Tory Party. Now, what are you doing here by this clause? Why, you are undoubtedly interfering with the vested interests of the people, and you are not giving any compensation. The right of a patron is not merely to present now and for ever, but to present at the next presentation. That is his present right, and are you going to take away his right? You are going to say, "We will restrict you from a right which by law you have at the present moment." It is very fair to ask the other side this question—Are you now going to establish a precedent that you are going to interfere with the rights of property? I am opposed to any interference with the rights of property, and when we come to an Amendment of this kind and find them dealing with the right of property, and taking away the right to sell the next presentation, or part of it, we are perfectly entitled to ask the question—Do you propose to do that without compensation? Is there any thing in your Bill to give compensation? No, there is not a word about it. Now observe another absurdity. What is the effect, supposing a man does give a next presentation for a certain sum of money? You propose to say that that sale shall not—
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
I beg to call your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that there are not 40 Members present.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
This is the second time that my attention has been called to the fact since the resumption of the Debate, and I have already satisfied myself that there are 40 Members within the precincts of the House.
MR. CALDWTELL (resuming)
Of course, if a man at the present moment is the owner of a legal contract he still will have the right of presentation. You have not any clause in your Bill to the effect that in the event of him gelling his right—?
§ DR. TANNER
Mr. Speaker, I beg to call your attention to the fact that there are not 40 Members present.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! If the honourable Member persists in interrupting the proceedings of the House I shall have to request him to withdraw.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I do not think there is anything in the former part of this Bill which will take away his right of presentation, but if he is required to enter into a contract, such contract will be illegal; he can make the presentation in his own name, and if he makes the presentation in his own name I do not find anything in this Bill, or anything in law, that would be contrary to an arrangement of that kind; and therefore there is no way he can get over the difficulty and circumvent it. He might sell the whole thing to the purchaser, and after the presentation is made you have no provision for him reselling it back to the original holder. Everyone knows perfectly well that transactions of that kind are perfectly competent to be made. A man may make the presentation on the suggestion of another, and I do not think you have made any provision for that. There is nothing to prevent him from transferring the whole right, and then in a year or two after, or whatever the time may be, it might be transferred again. It does not seem to me that there is any particular reason why you should strike at next presentations specially, because everything that can be said against the sale of next presentations applies with equal force against the sale of advowsons.
§ Question put.
§ * MR. H. S. FOSTER
I move the omission of sub-section "c," and I desire to point out that, beyond that exceedingly short debate upon the Second Reading of this Bill, the House has not had an opportunity, as a whole, of consenting to this proposal. I do think, Sir, it is dud to the House that some reason should be given for the alteration which it is proposed to make in this sub-section. The sub-section proposes that a transfer shall not be valid unless more than twelve months have elapsed since the last institution or admission to a benefice. That may be a very good or a very bad proposal; at any rate, the House is entitled to know upon what ground the Government propose to make this grave alteration in the law. The question is a serious one, for this reason, that, although it is proper for the bishop to prevent what I may call a quasi-corrupt bargain, yet we ought to have something more than a mere statement. But, assuming that the clause is drawn up for the purpose of preventing these so-called corrupt bargains, it may at the same time affect a number of innocent people. From the very nature of the case, from the uncertainty of human life, it must occasionally happen that these vacancies arise through sudden illness, or through the death of an incumbent, apparently in good health and vigour. The result will be under the provision of this clause, in connection with which there is no saving proviso, that, if a vacancy arises by reason of death, or some unexpected or unlooked-for change, a transfer is not to be valid, if that vacancy arises within twelve months since the last institution. No matter how fitting the patron of the living may be to exercise the right of patronage, yet, as this clause stands, an ironbound clause without any exception or saving rights, that man is to be deprived of his rights of exercising patronage. In cases of that kind, what is to happen? The clause proposes that, when the right has been acquired and a vacancy arises, a transfer shall not be valid unless more than twelve months have elapsed since the last institution or admission. To whom is the right to go? Let me take a case that would arise under the Bill. 854 "A.B." is the patron of a property. A vacancy arises, he presents to the living, and his presentee is admitted. Within nine months, say, his presentee dies. Upon what ground is it to be said that A.B. has not the right again to present a fit person to that benefice? And to whom is the right of presentation to go? I assume the answer is, to the predecessor in title. But supposing that a transfer has been executed, that "A" has transferred to "B," but that for some reason, namely, the reason given in sub-section "c," "B" cannot register his transfer, and it is, therefore, invalid. Being invalid, I assume it will revert to "A," but if the title does not revert to "A," who, ex hypothesi, has transferred to "B," upon what principle is it to be said that you are likely to get a more fitting person as presentee from "A," who has parted with his interest, than from "B"? It appears to me that a provision of this kind is a dangerous one. The very man whose right you want to preserve under this Bill will be affected by the restrictions you propose, but the unfit patron, the man who at present, ex hypothesi, is guilty of making a corrupt bargain, his conscience will not be in the least degree affected; he will find means of evading the restrictions. It has been said that a carriage and four can be driven through any Act of Parliament ever framed, and the remark applies to these restrictions. They will prove unreal and illusory for the purpose of preventing any real abuse, and will hurt and injure these men who, the Government will admit, are the last men whose rights they desire to restrict. I cannot conceive for what purpose, for the reform of what abuses, and with what possible advantage to the Church, the Government has adopted this private Bill, and I have heard no good reason why this subsection should be inserted. I maintain that harm will come from it and no sort of good; therefore. I move its rejection.
§ Question put.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER,) Isle of Wight
As this question has been discussed before Committee, it is scarcely necessary to go through it all again. I would remark, however, that the honourable Member 855 who has moved the rejection of this subsection, does not quite appreciate its purpose. It says that a transfer shall not be valid unless more than twelve months have elapsed since the last institution to the benefice. The honourable Member asks, "What will become of the rights of the patron in the case of the death of the presentee?" The answer is, if the transfer is invalid, the rights will remain with the person who has effected the transfer. I think this is a really important section of the Bill, and I ask the House to accept it.
§ MR. CALDWELL
The Attorney General has admitted the fact that if a transfer is invalid the right will be exercised by the original transfer. Let me show the absurdity of this. The man who is the original patron of the living sells to another man. He sells for, say, £100, and gets the money, but when a vacancy arises within 12 months the seller, who has already pocketed the £100, will be able to present again. Take a case in which a vacancy occurs within 12 months. The patron who has already sold the presentation and pocketed the money will have the right to make the next presentation.
§ MR. BRYNMOR JONES
The real question raised by this sub-section is, why should the honour and right of patronage be limited in the way proposed? The Attorney General says the sub-section will be a check upon dangerous simoniacal practices. If that, be the case, and if this sub-section will act as a check upon these practices, I think it ought to remain part of the clause. I have only this qualification to make—and honourable Members on the other side will no doubt think this is a curious remark to come from an occupant of these benches—that the proposal of this section constitutes a very serious interference with the rights of property and with the rights of patronage. You are not bringing under these transactions the very people who, in my judgment, ought first of all to be considered—I mean the congregation and the parishioners.
§ Question put.
§ Clause, by leave, withdrawn.856
§ * MR. H. S. FOSTER
I do not propose to move the next Amendment, but I move the one following—Page 1, line 14, at end, insert 'or such lesser period as under special circumstances the bishop may think fit to allow.'Circumstances might arise in which it might be better for the interests of the parish that the proposed transfer should take place, that perhaps a weak patron should be replaced by a strong patron, that one who had left should be replaced by one who had taken an interest in the neighbourhood, or other circumstances, in which the authorities might be of opinion that, notwithstanding the 12 months had not elapsed, it would be in the interests of the parish to allow a transfer. I hope the Government will not consider this Amendment in any sense hostile to this Bill.
§ Question put.
§ SIR R. WEBSTER
The honourable Member will see that there is no necessity, public or private, for this Amendment. If there were any real necessity the Government would consider the Amendment, but there is none.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. LEWIS
moved—Page 1, line 15, leave out sub-section (2).He said: I have had considerable doubt as to what was the right thing to do in connection with this sub-section; whether, in any circumstances whatever, cue was justified in taking any part in allowing the continuation in the Church of such an open and flagrant scandal as the sale of the cure of souls by public auction.
§ MR. LEWIS
Well, the sale of advowsons. As a matter of fact the traffic, in my humble judgment, is in itself so bad that it ought to be kept before the public, as it is now, so that public feeling might be allowed to sweep it away altogether. That is a right and just view to take with regard to questions of this kind. At the same time I admit I am open to conviction upon this question, 857 and I should like to hear the views of other honourable Gentlemen upon it. We are now going to abolish sale by public auction of the rights of patronage, and in doing that the Government do not propose to carry their proposals to a logical issue. They do not propose to abolish the sale of the rights of patronage by private treaty. If the traffic is so bad that the Government are thoroughly ashamed to lay it bare in public, why in the world should they continue it in private? I do not believe they will ever abolish the advertisements which appear, and which give a certain amount of publicity to the sale of livings. If it is such a shameful traffic that you are obliged to banish it from the open market, why not abolish it altogether by abolishing sale by private treaty?
§ Question put.
§ MR. BRYNMOR JONES
My difficulty is as to how this is to be enforced. Subsection 2 states—It shall not be lawful to offer for sale by public auction any right of patronage, save in the case of an advowson to be sold in conjunction with any manor or hereditament.With regard to the patronage covered by the clause, the word used in other parts of the clause is the word "invalid." I do not understand that if a right of patronage is offered for sale by public auction, and is sold as a result of public auction, that the sale is invalid. It says it is not to be lawful. What is the sanction for this provision? That is the difficulty that I have in regard to this sub-clause. I do not know that I am greatly impressed by the observations made by my honourable Friend. I do not think that there is any such great scandal connected with the transfer of advowsons and rights of patronage, but I cannot help thinking that it is inexpedient that they should be transferred with all the circumstances which usually attend public auctions. It is not the substance of the clause that I object to. My objection is that in this clause I see nothing excepting mere verbiage. According to the provisions of sub-clause 5—If any clergyman is knowingly party or privy to any transfer, presentation, or agreement which is invalid under this section he 858 shall be guilty of an offence in respect of which proceedings may be taken under section 2 of the Clergy Discipline Act, 1892.The effect, therefore, of taking part in a sale by auction is not to make the transaction invalid, but to make it unlawful. Therefore this sub-section 2 does not come under clause 5, and I cannot discover any sanction for this merely mechanical provision.
§ SIR R. FINLAY
I think I can satisfy my honourable and learned Friend as to this clause. If any act is forbidden by Act of Parliament, then, if you commit that act it is unlawful, and people who offer for sale by public auction any right of patronage are liable to indictment, and people who enter into any contract for a sale by auction are also liable to indictment, inasmuch as that is in pursuance of an unlawful act.
§ MR. MOSS (Denbighshire, E.)
In making my first speech in this House upon a Bill of this character I had much rather that we had before us a Bill further reaching, and one which went deeper into the matter than the Bill which is now before us. I would much rather that we should look upon a citizen—upon a member of the community—merely from the view of citizenship rather than that we should regard him from any religious standpoint whatever. While there remains a connection between the Church and the State I think no apology is due from me in interposing very shortly upon this subject. The Bill proposes, as I take it, to stop the sale by public auction of the right of patronage. Why does the Bill propose to stop the sale of rights of patronage by a public auction? Is it because the sale is wrong, or is it because it is only wrong when there is a sale in public? It seems to me that if the principle of the Bill goes to the fact of the sale of advowsons being wrong at all, it ought to provide for prohibiting the sale of advowsons altogether. You may, if you like, permit private sales, but so long as you have this Bill condemning the thing as wrong in principle it seems to me that it is falling short of the remedy which is demanded by the most ardent reformers in your Church when you 859 allow the sale by private treaty to continue. It seems to me, as has already been said by the honourable Member for Glamorganshire, that you are really allowing a sort of perpetuation of a whited sepulchre. You are perpetuating what is absolutely wrong in principle, and you are establishing by this Bill that which every ardent reformer of the Church, as I understand it, condemns.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS (Herts, St. Albans)
May I be permitted to say one word upon this whited sepulchre argument? I observe that that argument has come out again. Of course, it looks very effective at first to honourable Members, but when they use it they overlook the fact that when a man sells a thing by public auction he sells it to the highest bidder, however unfit that man may be to exercise the rights of patronage. When, however, he sells it by private contract, it may, I think, in charity, be assumed that he takes the trouble to see that the man is a fit and proper person to exercise patronage, and in my opinion there is a very broad distinction between the two; and when honourable Members allege that in supporting this Bill we are recognising what they call the sale of the cure of souls—really the sale of advowsons—they should remember that if they stop the sale of advowsons altogether the inevitable result would be that they would drift sooner or later into the hands of men who could not dispose of them, and who would not be able to part with them to a man who would be more fit to exercise that patronage. They also assume—very unfairly—that every time a man sells a right of patronage he does something of which he ought to be ashamed. Let us take the case of a man who has been in a place a long time, and has exercised his patronage worthily. Circumstances change, and he leaves the country—he sells his property. That man is going to cease to have any connection with the place at all. He wishes to sell the place, the advowson, and everything belonging to it, and to go to America and to Australia. Why should not he be allowed to dispose of that property, provided that he recognises that he has got to see that the next holder 860 of the advowson is a proper person to administer it? I would ask honourable Members to consider the matter, and approach it from the point of view which I have ventured to suggest.
§ MR. ALLEN (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
The honourable Member for St. Albans has tried to draw a distinction between public and private sales, and he has tried to make us believe that members of the Church of England holding advowsons are so careful in selling to those who would buy them, that there would not be any danger of their getting into unfit hands in the future; but the very fact of people owning these advowsons, and putting them up to public auction, shows clearly that there are those who wish to get hold of the next right of presentation. The only care of those wishing to sell is to get as much money as they can into their own pockets, and it is to guard against this selling of advowsons—to guard against the advowsons of the Church of England being sold for money, and to ensure men being put into the various churches throughout the country who go there, not simply because they have money to buy the livings, but because of their love for the work—that my honourable Friend has moved this Amendment; and everyone who votes against this Amendment is voting for the sale of livings, he is voting for men being put into the churches of this country who have got the longest purses; and we on this side, who are opposing that state of things, are voting for purity in the Church and for the best interests of the Church of England itself.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
The honourable Member who spoke last on the other side, as my honourable Friend has already pointed out, did endeavour to distinguish between public auction and private treaty, but I will put to him, one point which I think he will approve of, if he has any acquaintance with the conditions of sale generally attached to public auctions, and I have not the least doubt but what he has seen such things. In a sale by public auction the property goes to the highest bidder, but the honourable Member must know that the very first condition—at any rate, it is so in every condition of sale that I have ever seen—is 861 that the highest bidder shall not be the purchaser. Surely that can apply to an advowson, and, if so, the point of the honourable Member is absolutely wrong. His sole point was that the highest bidder is the purchaser in the case of a public auction. That is not the case; in the case of the sale of any property, the vendor has the right to decline to accept the bid of anyone, although he may be the highest bidder for the time being and in the case of a sale of an advowson by public auction, it is perfectly competent for the auctioneer to institute inquiries as to who the person was who had made the bid, and as to his fitness to be patron of any living. I do not think the honourable Member gets rid of the difficulty by substituting private treaty for public auction. My honourable Friend has pointed out at the present time that you have the sale of advowsons now carried on by means of an advertisement inserted in the Church papers. I ask the honourable Member what will happen in a case of that kind? You insert your advertisement, you invite tenders, you give all the circumstances, you give the particulars. At the end of the advertisement you say: "For further particulars apply to Mr. So-and-so, Solicitor, or Commission Agent," as the case may be. The particulars are applied for. There may be a dozen people who are anxious to purchase an advowson, and who send in tenders. We contend that in a case of that kind there will be the same dangers as exist in the case of a public auction. Supposing one man offers £1,500, another offers £2,000. Is not there the same inducement to the commission agent to accept the £2,000 offer as there would be to the auctioneer in a public auction? The fact of the matter is this: that in the case of public auction you are in a much better position to judge of your patron. What happens in the case of a private treaty? You are dealing with a man you never saw. You have simply got letters from your agent, or somebody else, saying, "I have got a client, and I am prepared to offer £2,000 for the advowson." You are dealing with a man whom you do not know, and whom you have never seen. You may institute inquiries about him, but it is a case simply of an agent acting 862 for an unseen person. At a public auction the person is present, you see whom you are dealing with, and you are in a much better position in that respect.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
If not, why not? In what better position are you in the case of a private treaty than if you are dealing with an agent in the case of a public auction? All that solicitors and agents are concerned for is to get the price, and as long as the money is good sound money that is all they care about. They are bound to do the best they can for their clients, and consequently they will accept the highest offer. That is what happens in the majority of cases with regard to the sale of these advowsons by private treaty, and not by public auction. But then, the honourable Member says if you do away with this subsection altogether, you cannot transfer an advowson. As I understand his argument, it is this: Supposing a man owns an advowson which he has in connection with an estate. He leaves the country; he goes to Australia, or America, or elsewhere, and if you cut this section out the honourable Member says he can never part with this advowson. A man who is in Australia, or who is going to Australia, wishes to part with every interest he has got in the community, and my honourable Friend says, cut this section out, and he cannot sell his advowson. Surely the honourable Member cannot have read this Bill, or he would not have come to this conclusion. The Bill says—"It shall not be lawful to offer for sale." That is not parting with his interest. Of course, he could not advertise the sale of his advowson, but there is nothing to prevent him from transferring it in connection with the estate.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS
The honourable Member is saying things which are nonsensical, because he is stating as my argument that which I did not say.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I am trying to state the argument of the honourable Member, and I said that it was subject to correction. Calling my argument nonsense is not a correction, nor is it a courteous interruption. However, perhaps it is worthy of those whose support is given to this Bill.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I will accept that. However, I still say that I am unable to apprehend his argument; but, if what I have stated is his argument, there is nothing in the point at all, because if you cut this sub-section out there is nothing to prevent the parting with an advowson. All you do is to prevent the scandal of these things being advertised, and I say that that is as great a scandal as a public auction. Take the case mentioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury when he introduced the Bill into the House of Lords. That was not a case of public auction, but of private letters by commission agents, in answer to private inquiries which were instituted. Not one of these cases will the Bill deal with at all, and it is on those grounds that I support the Amendment of my honourable Friend, because this Bill does not touch those scandals of which we have heard so much.
§ * COLONEL MILWARD (Stratford-upon-Avon)
Honourable Members opposite are very anxious to make it clear that we who are against the Amendment are arguing in favour of the retention of the sale of livings in England. I do not suppose that any person on this side of the House is, in the abstract, in favour of the sale of livings or of the cure of souls; but on the other hand they are amongst the things which have been handed down to us from our forefathers, and we have to consider other questions besides the mere abstract question, and the most important consideration is that of the unfortunate persons who are the owners of the property. It is not as if we were only considering the case of large estates, or heads of colleges or of the Crown itself. We have, in addition to these, to consider the cases of a great 864 many private individuals, whose fathers, perhaps, 40 or 50 years ago bought for them the advowsons of livings which are, perhaps, now the only property they possess. Personally, I should be only too glad to abolish the sale of livings altogether, but when you consider the question of abolishing the sale of livings there comes in the question of compensation, and then the question arises where is the compensation to come from? That is the practical point at issue under this Bill. This Bill is not all we could wish, but it goes a long way. At any rate, we have restricted the sale of livings to this extent, that they cannot be sold by public auction, and they cannot be given away for a certain number of months after the sale has taken place, and that you cannot sell a next presentation; and this, we believe, is to go as far as a Bill can at present go in a spirit of reform. If it were possible, we should be only too thankful if it could be made to go further, but the fact of the matter is that private rights and private interests must be regarded, and it is simply impossible to go at this moment further than this Bill goes. We are already dealing heavily with property in advowsons, and I for one am certainly not prepared to go further than that. I venture to appeal to honourable Members opposite not perpetually to throw across the floor of the House the insinuation that if we do so-and-so we are voting in favour of perpetuating certain abuses. It may as well be said that because we voted against, say, the Motion brought forward by the honourable Member for Flint, saying that the question of ritual is altogether outside the scope of this Bill that we approve of the extravagant ritual which takes place in certain churches. I believe the fact to be exactly the opposite. Members on this side of the House tell me privately that they would only be too glad if the question of the sale of livings and other questions could be dealt with, but in this Bill we are going as far as we can, and we hope by this Bill to stop those scandals which are taking place. At present we are not prepared to entirely do away with those rights of private property in advowsons which have grown up with our 865 ancestors and which we are powerless to touch.
§ * MK. McLAREN (Leicester, Bosworth)
I think that the speech of the honourable and gallant Gentleman admirably justified the Amendment of my honourable Friend. We are accustomed in this House to hear the rights of private property spoken of as something altogether sacred, but I must say that I never heard before a more unblushing statement of the principle that in a matter so sacred as the sale of a cure of souls the rights of property are to be considered more sacred still. The honourable and gallant Member admitted the argument which we used on this side of the House, that this sale of advowsons is a wrong and a scandalous practice, and yet he says that he feels unable to do away with it altogether because the rights of property are paramount. We say that either the sale of livings is right or it is wrong. If it is right, why do you touch it by this clause? If it is wrong, why do not you do away with it altogether? Why do you put in this sub-section, which practically, by making legal a certain form of sale, justifies and gives the sanction of this House to every other form of traffic in livings whether publicly or privately. There seems to be some magic in the minds of the promoters of the Bill which attaches to the words "sale by public auction." As my honourable Friend the Member for Carnarvon points out, the mode of sale is of no importance at all. You can advertise the sale of livings, you can say that on such and such a day the vendor will at tend at a certain hotel, and there he will discuss the price with any purchaser who likes to offer himself by the operation of private tender. You now effect the same tiling as you would if the auctioneer mounted the rostrum and offered the advowson under his hammer. I do feel, Sir, that this clause justifies the criticisms that have been passed upon this Bill—that it is not a sincere attempt to deal with what is called a scandal. It is a miserable attempt to gloss over certain facts which are unpleasant to the laity as well as to the clergy of the Church of England, but I deny that it is an attempt—an honest 866 attempt—to do away and abolish altogether the admitted evil. I suppose that among the constituents that many of us represent on this side of the House there are many who regard a race-horse or a horse-race as as great an evil as some honourable Members regard the sale of advowsons. There are plenty of people who would consider it wrong to allow any dealings in a horse that is intended to run a race. I know that it seems absurd, but there are thousands of people who take that view. But what would they say if we should bring forward a Bill and say that although the sale of a racehorse privately is allowable, it shall be an indictable offence to send a racehorse to Tattersall's to be sold? That seems to me to be exactly the same state of things as will exist under this Bill. You profess by this Bill to put a stop to the free exercise of the sale of advowsons, and yet you put in a clause, the effect of which is not to interfere with it excepting in one of its most remote incidents. The learned Solicitor General in his speech said that this clause will make the sale of advowsons by public auction an indictable offence, that everybody concerned in the sale will be liable to prosecution at quarter sessions—but it is a very dangerous distinction to draw, because the person attending any sale which may be held to be a sale by public auction—the landlord in whose house it was held—the lawyer who attended it on behalf of his client—all might be chargeable under this section, if the judge of assize or the chairman of quarter sessions held that an offence had been committed. I think that we ought really to take a division upon this Amendment for the purpose of showing who of the Members of this House are in favour of the sale of advowsons and who are honestly in favour of doing away with them altogether.
§ MR. LOGAN (Leicester, Harborough)
The honourable Member has said that those who vote against this Amendment would be voting in favour of the principle of the sale of advowsons. As I understand the Amendment, it is to leave out the words—It shall not be lawful to offer for sale by public auction any right of patronage, save in the case of an advowson to be sold in con junction with any manor or hereditament.867 It is admitted on all hands that it is desirable to do away with the sale of patronage if possible, and this proposal under the Bill at any rate is a step in the right direction. I regret very much that the Government have not seen their way to put an end to the sale of advowsons by private treaty, as well as by public auctions, but if I vote against this Amendment as I intend to do, it must not be understood that I am in favour of the sale of these livings at all. I wish personally that the Government had gone further, but as they have gone one step in the direction in which I desire them to go—as they have gone one step in showing that the sale of these advowsons is not right, I feel bound to support them, and I also feel bound to enter my protest against the statement made by the honourable Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, that in voting against this Amendment I shall be voting in favour of the sale of patronage.
MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh)
I am going to vote for the Amendment, because, after listening to the speeches, it seems to me that this clause is really a piece of surplusage, because from the distinction drawn by the honourable Member for St. Albans, it seems to me that it will be of no good whatever. He drew a clear distinction between the sale by public auction and the sale by private treaty, and I drew from his distinction the conclusion that persons who put up advowsons for sale by public auction are a very much less conscientious class of people than those who enter into private negotiations for the disposal of that species of private property. The honourable Member thinks that a sale by public auction implies almost necessarily that the person selling it was only anxious to get the highest possible price and that he would give it to the highest bidder without inquiring into his character or his reliability for the exercise of the rights which he has purchased. Well, Sir, supposing that public auction were abolished, would that alter the character of the person who wanted to sell by public auction?—because it is there that the pinch of the question arises. I admit that there are patrons who really endeavour conscientiously to discharge a duty under very difficult circumstances 868 —to sell by public auction according to the principles laid down by the honourable Member opposite. But I want to know what effect will the abolition of sale by public auction make upon the character of those who are engaged upon such a sale, or who if they had the opportunity would engage in such a sale. That seems to me to be the true position of the matter, and, therefore, to abolish sale by public auction is really no tribute whatever to the faithful discharge of the duties of the patron, and I am driven back to the conclusion that by the abolition of sale by public auction you will do no good whatever between the faithful and the unfaithful exercise of the right of patronage. The man who would have sold by public auction will just be the same class of man in point of moral character, although they are compelled by your legislation to enter into a private bargain, and in the case of their being driven by your legislation to private treaty, they will act in precisely the same manner as they would have done had public auction been open to them. They will strive to get the very highest price possible, irrespective of the character or the trustworthiness of the person to whom they sell. I am one of those persons who do not want to waste my time in doing nonsensical things. I do not want to waste my time by helping to pass a clause like this. It is useless—it is worse than useless, because it is a pretence held up before the public as an endeavour to whitewash that which in itself possesses no colour at all, because it is black.
MR. PHILLIPS (Pembroke)
The honourable Member opposite, and my honourable Friend the Member for Leicester on my left, have said that they intend to vote in favour of this clause, because it is a step in the right direction. If I thought that this clause was a step in the right direction I should vote for it myself, but it seems to me, as far as I understand this Bill, that the whole Bill is based on the theory that a sale of Church preferment is wrong in itself, and, that being so, we, on this side of the House, are prepared to go the whole way, whilst right honourable Gentlemen and honourable Gentlemen on the other side of the House are not 869 prepared to go the whole way. Now, Sir, for these reasons, if the Bill did away with one sale of one living, it would, to that extent, be a step in the right direction, and I should not be prepared to vote against it. But this clause, if passed, would not do away with one single sale. If you abolish sales in one county—in Middlesex, or Wiltshire, or any other county you like, pro tanto—you will be doing good; you will be ending, in that county, the sale of ecclesiastical preferment, and you will be taking a step in the right direction; but by this Bill you do not end one sale—you do not prevent the sale of one living, and, therefore, you do not take one step, however small, in the right direction, or, indeed, in any direction at all. You do one thing, and one thing only—you hide the knowledge of the evil. We all admit that these sales of rights of patronage are an evil, and what honourable Gentle-
§ men opposite are doing by this clause is this, that while they are not taking the smallest step to lessen the number of evils, they are taking a step to hide up the evil.
* MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS
I wish to say that this is an Amendment that I shall support, because the clause seems to me to be very contradictory. If you read the second part first, it contradicts the first part, and if you read the first part it contradicts the second. I regard the sub-section as a piece of hypocrisy. It will allow the doing of that in secrecy which could not be prudently done openly.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 192; Noes 69.—(Division List No. 149.)871
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.|
|Arnold, Alfred||Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cranborne, Viscount||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Helder, Augustus|
|Baird, John G. Alexander||Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dane, Richard M.||Houldsworth, Sir W. Henry|
|Balfour. Rt. Hn. A. J.(Munch.)||Denny, Colonel||Howard, Joseph|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Donkin, Richard Sim||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Doughty, George||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Drage, Geoffrey||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r)||Johnstone, J. H. (Sussex)|
|Bethell, Commander||Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George|
|Bigwood, James||Fisher, William Hayes||Jones, David B. (Swansea)|
|Bill, Charles||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Kemp, George|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Flannery, Fortescue||Kimber, Henry|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Folkestone, Viscount||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Brassey, Albert||Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Lafone, Alfred|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Fry, Lewis||Lawrence, Sir E Durning- (Corn.)|
|Bucknill, Thomas Townsend||Garfit, William||Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)|
|Butcher, John George||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)||Gilliat, John Saunders||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh||Godson, Augustus Frederick||Loder, Gerald W. Erskine|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Logan, John William|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. G'rg's)||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Lowe, Francis William|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lowles, John|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Colomb, Sir John C. Ready||Greene, W. Raymond- (Camb)||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Gull, Sir Cameron||Maclure, Sir John William|
|MacNeill, J. Gordon Swift||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Thorburn, Walter|
|McArthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Maple, Sir John Blundell||Richards, Henry Charles||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Tomlinson, W. Edw. Murray|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J.||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Ward, Hon. Robt. A. (Crewe)|
|Monckton, Edward Philip||Round, James||Warkworth, Lord|
|More, Robert Jasper||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Chelt'm)||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Whiteley, Geo. (Stockport)|
|Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Morrison, Walter||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. Myles||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Savory, Sir Joseph||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Mount, William George||Seton-Karr, Henry||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Murdoch, Charles Townshend||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Murray, C. J. (Coventry)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Wilson, J. W. (Worc'r, N.)|
|Myers, William Henry||Sidebottom, W. (Derbysh.)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks)|
|Newark, Viscount||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wodehouse, E. R. (Bath)|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Souttar, Robinson||Yerburgh, R. Armstrong|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Pollock, Harry Frederick||Stock, James Henry||Younger, William|
|Pryce-Jones, Edward||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Pym, C. Guy||Strauss, Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Rankin, James||Talbot, Rt Hn. J.G. (Oxf'd Uny.)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Holburn, J. G.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Allen, W. (Newc. -under-Lyme)||Horniman, Frederick John||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Austin, Sir J. (Yorkshire)||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Shee, James John|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Kearley, Hudson E.||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Baker, Sir John||Kinloch, Sir J. George Smyth||Spicer, Albert|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Kitson, Sir James||Steadman, William Charles|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Knox, Edmund Francis Vesey||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Lambert, George||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Billson, Alfred||Leng, Sir John||Tennant, Harold John|
|Brigg, John||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Burt, Thomas||Macaleese, Daniel||Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)|
|Caldwell, James||McLaren, Charles Benjamin|
|Cawley, Frederick||Maddison, Fred.||Wallace, R. (Edinburgh)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Moss, Samuel||Williams, John C. (Notts)|
|Colville, John||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbro')|
|Daly, James||Power, Patrick Joseph||Woodall, William|
|Doogan, P. C.||Priestley, Briggs (Yorks)||Woods, Samuel|
|Duckworth, James||Randell, David||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Evershed, Sydney||Roberts, John B. (Eifion)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Lloyd-George and Mr. Philipps.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale-||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Hazell, Walter||Roche, Hon. J. (East Kerry)|
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE,
in moving, on behalf of Mr. Lewis, the insertion of the words to provide that "any agreement for the resignation of a benefice in favour of any person" shall be invalid, said that at the present time the law allowed a person to enter into a living for a certain period upon his signing an agree- 872 ment. The Bill as it at present stood proposed to abolish any agreement for the nomination of any particular person. So far as it went the Bill was no doubt good, but in his opinion it wanted strengthening in one particular. These agreements, entered into for the purpose of compelling the resignation of a person 873 appointed to a benefice, were simply for the purpose of enabling a person under age at the time of the nomination to step into that position when the time arrived. It might be that the person intended for the living was a relative of the patron of that living, and that that living was secured to him without any qualification. He might not possess the spiritual or moral qualifications for the cure of souls, and yet it might be part of the family arrangement that he should be appointed to the living when the time came. He might not be ready at the time the living became vacant, in which case another person was put in as a sort of warming-pan, and had to resign when the time arrived for the other person to take his place. He thought such things ought not to be allowed. A person should be appointed to a living on the ground of fitness, and if he was fit for a period of six months he was equally fit for six years. Yet a person who was qualified for the living was inducted upon the understanding that he should resign in a few months in favour of a person who might, or might not, be fit for the position.
§ SIR R. B. FINLAY
said it had been decided by the House of Lords that resignation agreements were invalid—that it was contrary to the common law of the country for a clergyman to give a bond to resign his living, either generally or in favour of any particular person. In 1828 a law was passed rendering it valid for a clergyman appointed to a living to give a bond to resign at a certain time, but that Statute was rather repugnant to their ideas of justice, and he, on behalf of the Government, was prepared to accept the Amendment, which, in effect, repealed the old law of 1828.
§ The Amendment was agreed to.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
moved that at the end of the sub-section should be added—Before the declaration set forth in the schedule to this Act is taken, sections 1 and 2 of the Clergy Resignation Bonds Act and section 1, sub-section 3, of this Act shall be read to the person making the declaration.
§ SIR R. B. FINLAY,
in opposing the Amendment, said he hoped that the House would not accept it, as it was quite unnecessary to insert words of that kind—that, if these matters were to be dealt with at all, they had better be dealt with by rule. The honourable Member could not suppose that the law would be made any clearer to the clergy by this Amendment. If the sections referred to were to be read by anybody, it had better be the person making the declaration.
§ MR. LEWIS,
in supporting the Amendment, said that the Solicitor General had pointed out that, if this matter were dealt with at all, it should be dealt with by rule. He would suggest to the Government that if they made rules to govern this matter the Amendment might be withdrawn.
§ MR. S. EVANS
pointed out that the Amendment could hardly be considered a good one, because it had been brought clearly to his mind that if a clergyman made a false declaration he was liable to punishment as for perjury.
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 82; Noes 202.—(Division List No. 150.)877
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Burt, Thomas||Doogan, P. C.|
|Allen, W. (Newc. -under-Lyme)||Caldwell, James||Duckworth, James|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Cawley, Frederick||Evershed, Sydney|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Channing, Francis Allston||Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)|
|Baker, Sir John||Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Clough, Walter Owen||Hazell, Walter|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Colville, John||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.|
|Billson, Alfred||Crilly, Daniel||Holburn, J. G.|
|Brigg, John||Daly, James||Holden, Sir Angus|
|Horniman, Frederick John||Owen, Thomas||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Philipps, John Wynford||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Kinloch, Sir J. G. Smyth||Pirie, Duncan V.||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Kitson, Sir James||Randell, David||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Knox, Edmund Francis V.||Rickett, J. Compton||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Labouchere, Henry||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Lambert, George||Roberts, J. H. (Denbighs)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Williams, John C. (Notts)|
|Leng, Sir John||Robson, William Snowdon||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Lloyd-George, David||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbro')|
|Logan, John William||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Woodall, William|
|Macaleese, Daniel||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)||Woods, Samuel|
|McArthur, W. (Cornwall)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|McLaren, Charles Benjamin||Souttar, Robinson|
|Maddison, Fred||Spicer, Albert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Herbert Lewis and Mr. Moss.|
|Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Steadman, William Charles|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Strachey, Edward|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Sullivan Donal (Westmeath)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Dalbiac, Col. Philip Hugh||Howell, William Tudor|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Dane, Richard M.||Hozier, Hon. James H. C.|
|Arnold, Alfred||Denny, Colonel||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Doughty, George||Jameson, Major J. Eustace|
|Baillie, J. E. B. (Inverness)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse|
|Baird, John George A.||Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Balcarres, Lord||Drage, Geoffrey||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r)||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Johnstone, J. H. (Sussex)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r)||Kemp, George|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Finlay, Sir R. Bannatyne||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Fisher, William Hayes||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Lafone, Alfred|
|Beresford Lord Charles||FitzWygram, General Sir F.||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Bethell, Commander||Flannery, Fortescue||Lawrence Sir E Durning- (Corn.)|
|Bigwood, James||Folkestone, Viscount||Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)|
|Bill, Charles||Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Lees, Sir E. (Birkenhead)|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Fry, Lewis||Legh, Hon. T. W. (Lancs)|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Garfit, William||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Brassey, Albert||Gedge, Sydney||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. Sit. John||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Loder, G. W. Erskine|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Gilliat, John Saunders||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)|
|Bucknill, Thomas Townsend||Godson, Augustus Frederick||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Lorne, Marquess of|
|Butcher, John George||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Lowe, Francis William|
|Carlile, William Walter||Goschen, Rt Hn. G. J. (St. G'rg's)||Lowles, John|
|Carvill, Patrick G. Hamilton||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh||Graham, Henry Robert||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||McArthur, C. (Liverpool)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs)||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Clarke, Sir E. (Plymouth)||Greville, Captain||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gull, Sir Cameron||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J.|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Colston, C. E. H. Athole||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Milner, Sir Frederick G.|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Hardy, Laurence||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)||Hatch, Ernest F. G.||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Helder, Augustus||Monk, Charles James|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.||Hermon-Hodge, R. T.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hobhouse, Henry||More, Robert Jasper|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Houldsworth, Sir W. H||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Round, James||Warkworth, Lord|
|Mount, William George||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Murdoch, Charles Townshend||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Chelt'm)||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Murray, C. J. (Coventry)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. Myles||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Myers, William Henry||Savory, Sir Joseph||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Newark, Viscount||Seton-Karr, Henry||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Wilson, J. W. (Worc'rsh., N.)|
|Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Sidebottom, W. (Derbysh.)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks)|
|Pollock, Harry Frederick||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wodehouse, E. R. (Bath)|
|Pryce-Jones, Edward||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Rankin, James||Stock, James Henry||Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Strauss, Arthur||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Renshaw, Charles Bine||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Younger, William|
|Rentoul, James Alexander||Thorburn, Walter|
|Richards, Henry Charles||Thornton, Percy M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
Page 2, line 18, after 'passes' insert 'or a transfer to trustees of rights of patronage when there is no power of sale.'
§ * MR. H. S. FOSTER
Mr. Speaker, the Amendment which I now desire to bring forward is one which the Solicitor General stated to the Committee the Government would be glad to consider between the Committee and Report stage. The object of it must, I am sure, commend itself to every Member of the House. It is to except from the definition of the term "transfer," within the meaning of the Bill, not only the appointment of a trustee, where no beneficial interest passes, but also the transfer to trustees of rights of patronage, when there is no power of sale. The object of the exception is to protect such bodies as the Church Patronage Trustees, and other similar bodies, who acquire rights of patronage, but who have no powers of sale, and who, having no powers of sale, cannot be under any of the disabilities which the provisions of the Act are designed to check. The object of these restrictions is to prevent improper and corrupt bargains. Where such bodies as the Patronage Trustees, having no powers of sale, acquire rights of patronage, there can be no possible public object in requiring them to be put under the restriction as to dealing and trafficking. The Committee showed a very strong disposition to insert the proviso, and the Solicitor General stated 878 that between the Committee stage and the Report stage it should be considered.
§ SIR H. B. FINLAY
I hope my honourable Friend will not press this Amendment. He proposes to except the transfers to trustees when there is no power of sale from the operation of this section. What object is there in authorising such trustees as my honourable Friend has in view to purchase the next presentation? As a matter of fact, they will never want to purchase the next presentation. If they want to buy at all they will buy the whole advowson, and my honourable Friend will see, I am sure, that it will be very undesirable to authorise the sale of next presentation to such trustees. The only possible provision excepted is the provision as to 12 months since the institution by the bishop to the benefice. I do not think that a provision which can be taken to have any serious consequences, but I do suggest to my honourable Friend not to press this Amendment, for this reason; I am not at all sure that, as it is framed, it provides for the bodies my honourable Friend has chiefly in view. In a good many cases the trustees who buy these advowsons must have power to sell, because they might be desirous of getting rid of one advowson in order to obtain another where there might be more necessity for the appointment of a fitting man to the living. I would suggest to my honourable Friend that, having regard to the 879 extremely limited effect of the Amendment, and to the question whether it would not introduce a most invidious distinction between certain classes of trustees and other trustees, he should hot press this Amendment.
§ MR. S. EVANS
Is it not the fact that the whole of the first clause of this Bill would be defeated if this Amendment were carried? All the transferor of a right to next presentation would have to do would be to transfer the right to next presentation to trustees, taking care to provide in the instrument of transfer that the trustees shall have no power to sell. Thereupon, the section would not operate at all. That would defeat the whole object of the section. I would urge, therefore, that the Amendment should not be sanctioned.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE,
in moving to omit the last words of the clause—"or in a mortgage the reservation of the right of redemption"—said he objected to the words because they contemplated the principle of mortgaging an advowson. He objected to them because all the way through he had a very great objection to anything in the nature of a traffic in presentations, and their being used for money-lending purposes. To mortgage, particularly, a spiritual work, for the benefit of some impecunious squire, or somebody who happens to be financially in a bad way, ought not to be allowed. The person presented might be more or less competent, but it gave an opportunity for a person to enter into the vocation of a clergyman by a wrong method. First of all, a property was created in a right of presentation to a living, in a man financially bad. He goes to the Jew money-lender—it was the case before the Money-lending Commission over again—and it was mortgaged to a Jew moneylender for the purpose of this impecunious person. It was the worst form of trafficking imaginable. Persons, as a rule, would go to a money-lender to mortgage an advowson, or they might go to a financial corporation or bank. Fancy a board of directors having to consider such a question as who should be the clergyman for a particular living which had fallen into their hands. He thought it would 880 be most advisable if the Government would accept the Amendment. He did not know what the usual practice was as to the valuation of property for the purposes of mortgaging it, but he doubted very much whether it was of a form which would commend itself to the House of Commons. They might find the right to a presentation to a benefice put upon the same footing as sporting rights, and a valuer might be sent down to value it in the same way as the sporting and other rights appertaining to the estate. Then, again, if it was mortgaged, it would be to someone who had no interest in the community beyond the interest upon his money, and he would make the most of it. He moved the Amendment, in the first place, because he did not think the mortgage of a living ought to be permitted, and he urged the Government to accept it, and by that means prohibit absolutely the power of mortgage; and, in the second place, because he thought that the exercise of a right of this kind, in the hands of a clever solicitor, might lead to an evasion of the provisions of the Bill, for there was nothing at present to prevent a transfer in the shape of a mortgage. The Attorney General was of opinion that the Amendment would not have the effect and attain the object that its proposer had at heart, and the suggestion that to leave out those words would prevent the traffic that existed was a mistake. There were oases where the owners were the incumbents, and borrowed money for the purposes of repairing the parsonage house and other buildings connected with the church, and the words of this clause were absolutely necessary to preserve existing rights.
§ MR. BRYNMOR JONES
said he was not quite sure that the Attorney General was right in his suggestion that there was no meaning at all in the Amendment. Surely, if it were read in connection with sub-clause 7, it would be seen that the words were most important. If, however, a right to sell advowsons were going to be conceded, he did not see how the right to mortgage them was going to be withheld. The argument he adopted was that the system of lay patronage had not worked badly upon the whole. 881 He admitted there were scandals, but if it were looked at from all sides there was something to be said in its favour, having regard to the fact that it was exercised by all sorts and conditions of people.
§ MR. ROBSON (South Shields)
pointed out that the Attorney General had not said a word in defence of the mortgage of advowsons. All he did say was that they were indefensible. He thought the instances of the mortgage of an advowson mentioned by the right honourable Gentleman must be very rare, so much so that they were almost inconceivable. He did not see any great utility in preserving a right which was in itself indefensible, such as this was. The only question, so far as he was concerned, was whether it would not be advisable to evolve some scheme by which could be promoted the borrowing of money upon advowsons. Whatever scandal there had been in the sale of next presentations, there was no less in the sale of advowsons. He did not think that they should be a subject for traffic, and should therefore support the Amendment.
§ * MR. GEDGE
I am inclined to think, after the speeches we have listened to, that "there are more things betwixt heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the philosophy" of the honourable and learned Member for South Shields. Had he practised upon the equity side of the courts, instead of upon the common law side, he would know that an express proviso for redemption is not essential to mortgage. The court on being satisfied of the real nature of the transaction, of which slight evidence is sufficient, will give effect to the intention of the parties, and allow redemption. But it is better to insert a proviso, stating the exact terms of redemption, than to leave it to the court to determine them; and if the honourable Member, instead of being a distinguished Queen's counsel, were a solicitor, he would have known that these mortgages, instead of being inconceivable, are of common occurrence, especially where the incumbent is himself the patron. It is the commonest thing in the world for the incumbent under those circumstances to borrow money for the purpose of repairing the chancel, or the 882 rectory house or for the purpose of building a new one. I can assure the honourable and learned Gentleman that the Amendment before the House will not stop the mortgaging of an advowson.
MR. BRYN ROBERTS
Clause 1, subsection (b) says that it transfers the whole interest of the transferor in the right excepting as provided for hereafter; so that if there was any reservation that was not expressly permitted, that would make the entire transfer invalid. The transferor must transfer the whole interest. That, I think, meets the point raised by the honourable Member for Walsall, who seems to suggest that the word we now object to would still enable a mortgage to be made only by the method of reserving the right of redemption in another document, or reserving it verbally. That is not so, and therefore the declaration in the schedule to this Bill makes the transferor say that he is not aware of any breach of the law, or any breach of this Act, which would be an effectual stoppage in the case of an honest man at any rate, and we trust that the clergy will be honest enough not to make a declaration which was not true. It seems to me, therefore, that the objections raised by the other side against this Amendment are totally unsound.
§ MR. S. EVANS
I think it would be very undesirable if the arguments were to become purely legal because there is really a very broad argument underlying the Amendment of my honourable Friend. We have taken the position both in Standing Committee and in the House, that clause 1, so far from being limited at all, ought to be extended in its operation. We desire to prevent the sale of certain rights, namely the rights of next presentation. We desire to extend the clause still further, and say that you are not to transfer them by way of mortgage. Now, it is perfectly obvious that if the right of redemption is permitted to exist, there would never be a mortgage of these advowsons at all.
§ SIR R. WEBSTER
The mortgage would be within the words of the clause a transfer of rights. There can be no mortgage of next presentation.
§ MR. S. EVANS
The clause, as I understand, and the Bill as I understand, is not a Bill dealing with advowsons at all. It deals with the transfer of next presentations, and although you prevent the sale of right of next presentation, you allow the mortgage to be executed to the reservation of right of redemption to the next mortgagor. Do you desire that it should be permitted to patrons in the future, as in the past, to mortgage their right of next presentation? Do you, or do you not? If you do, then you ought to specifically say so; if you do not, then you ought to have no difficulty in accepting the Amendment of my honourable Friend. The effect of the acceptance of the Amendment would be that you would really never have a mortgage at all. That would have the effect, no doubt, of limiting the traffic in these livings. The learned Attorney General said that it was a useful thin to be able to mortgage advowsons, but as a matter of fact, or rather as a matter of law, the mortgagee has no right to make any pecuniary profit out of the transaction at all. That has been the position of things for many generations. The legal position is this, that the mortgagor may get money upon his mortgage, but that the mortgagee has no right to make anything out of it, and the mortgagor still in law has the right to nominate, although the right to transfer has gone to the mortgagee.
§ opinion is given without due consideration; mine is given after due consideration of the opinion of the honourable and learned Gentleman behind him, the Member for Gloucester. I said that the mortgagor reserves the right to nominate, although the right to present is transferred by the mortgage to the mortgagee. That is so. I said it was the law and had been the law for a very long time, that the mortgagee ought not to make any profit out of these rights. What was the case before Lord Hardwicke? Why it was distinctly laid down that the mortgagor ought not to make any pecuniary advantage out of the presentation. I am very much afraid that I have been drawn into a somewhat legal argument, but I will now revert to the position taken up by my honourable Friend behind me, that if you adopt the Amendment now before the House, you will be giving the death blow to the mortgaging of the rights of these advowsons. My honourable and learned Friend the Member for Swansea does not desire that to take place. I have known him to be an Erastian in these matters for years, and he is perfectly right to argue that if you have the power of sale you ought to have the power to mortgage. I think the mortgage ought to be accepted because it will extend the operations of the Act, and consequently will limit the power of the patron to the traffic in these livings.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 209; Noes 83.—(Division List 151.)887
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Bethell, Commander||Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Bill, Charles||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Arnold, Alfred||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chelsea, Viscount|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bond, Edward||Clare, Octavius Leigh|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Clarke, Sir E. (Plymouth)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bousfield, William Robert||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Bagot, Captain J. FitzRoy||Brassey, Albert||Colomb, Sir John C. R.|
|Baillie, J. E. B. (Inverness)||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Colston, C. E. H. Athole|
|Baird, John G. Alexander||Brookfield, A. Montagu||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bucknill, Thomas Townsend||Cook, F. Lucas (Lambeth)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r)||Bullard, Sir Harry||Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Butcher, John George||Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Carlile, William Walter||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Barnes, Frederic Grorell||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Cecil, Lord Hugh||Curzon, Rt. Hn. G. N. (Lanc S W)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Dalbiac, Colonel P. Hugh|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Chamberlain, Rt Hon J. (Birm.)||Dane, Richard M.|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Denny, Colonel||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Rankin, James|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Johnstone, John H. (Sussex)||Rasch, Major Frederic C.|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Doughty, George||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kemp, George||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)|
|Dyke, Rt, Hon. Sir W. H.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lafone, Alfred||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lawrence, Sir E Durning- (Corn.)||Robertson, E. (Dundee)|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r)||Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)||Robertson, H. (Hackney)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert B.||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Robinson, Brooke|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Legh, Hon. T. W. (Lanc.)||Round, James|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Royds, Clement M.|
|FitzWygram, General Sir F.||Llewellyn, E. H. (Somerset)||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenh'm)|
|Flannery, Fortescue||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Loder, Gerald Walter E.||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Sharpe, William E. T.|
|Fry, Lewis||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfr'w)|
|Garfit, William||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Sidebottom, W. (Derbysh.)|
|Gedge, Sydney||Lorne, Marquess of||Smith, J. P. (Lanarks)|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Lowe, Francis William||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Gilliat, John Saunders||Lowles, John||Stock, James Henry|
|Godson, Augustus Frederick||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Thorburn, Walter|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. Geo's)||Maclure, Sir John William||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||McArthur, C. (Liverpool)||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Tritton, C. E.|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Verney, Hon. Richard G.|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Milbank, Sir P. C. J.||Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)|
|Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Warkworth, Lord|
|Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs)||Mil ward, Colonel Victor||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Greville, Captain||Monckton, Edward Philip||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Monk, Charles James||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G.||More, Robert Jasper||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Morgan, Hon. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Hanson, Sir Reginald||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Hardy, Laurence||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.||Mount, William George||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Helder, Augustus||Murdoch, Charles T.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Wilson, J. W. (Worc'sh. N.)|
|Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Wodehouse, E. R. (Bath)|
|Hobhouse, Henry||Myers, William Henry||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Houldsworth, Sir W. Henry||Newark, Viscount||Wylie, Alexander|
|Howell, William Tudor||Newdigate, Francis A.||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Hozier, Hon. James H. C.||Nicholson, W. Graham||Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)|
|Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Younger, William|
|Hudson, George B.||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Pollock, Harry Frederick||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Pryce-Jones, Edward|
|Jebb, Richard Clayerhouse||Purvis, Robert|
|Abraham, W. (Rhondda,)||Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Hazell, Walter|
|Allen, W. (Newc.-under-L.)||Clough, Walter Owen||Hedderwick, T. C. H.|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Colville, John||Holburn, J. G.|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Holden, Sir Angus|
|Baker, Sir John||Daly, James||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Doogan, P. C.||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Duckworth, James||Kinloch, Sir John G. S.|
|Billson, Alfred||Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Knox, Edmund F. Vesey|
|Brigg, John||Evershed, Sydney||Labouchere, Henry|
|Burt, Thomas||Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)||Lambert, George|
|Caldwell, James||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Leng, Sir John|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale-||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Logan, John William||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Macaleese, Daniel||Roberts, J. H. (Denbighsh.)||Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)|
|McArthur, W. (Cornwall)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|McLaren, Charles Benjamin||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. Myles||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Maddison, Fred.||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Morley, C. (Breconshire)||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Moss, Samuel||Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Williams, John C. (Notts)|
|Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Souttar, Robinson||Woodall, William|
|Owen, Thomas||Spicer, Albert||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Hudd'rsf'ld)|
|Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Steadman, William Charles||Woods, Samuel|
|Philipps, John Wynford||Strachey, Edward|
|Pirie, Duncan V.||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Robson and Mr. Lloyd-George.|
|Randell, David||Tennant, Harold John|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan)|
§ MR. MOSS
I beg to move an Amendment pro formâ, in order to ask the Attorney General a question in regard to a clause of the Bill, and my Amendment is—Provided always that every sale of an advowson may be subject to the same provisions as to registration as a transfer.I am not quite sure from the meaning of the Bill whether these Bales are to be registered, because I notice that clause 1 says—A transfer of a right of patronage of a benefice shall not be valid unless (a) it is registered in the prescribed manner in the diocesan register within two months from the date of the transfer, or within such extended time as under special circumstances the bishop may think fit to allow; and (b) it transfers the whole interest of the transferor in the right.I do not wish to take up the time of the House, if the Attorney General says that the mortgage shall be registered.
§ SIR R. WEBSTER
Under clause 1, sub-section (a), the transfer of a right of patronage must be registered.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I would point out to the learned Attorney General that it is a little doubtful. The clause deals with the transfer of the right of patronage unless it is registered in the prescribed manner in the diocesan register, or unless more than 12 months have elapsed since the last institution or admission to the benefice. "Transfer" refers not to transfer by way of mortgage, but to a transfer of the whole interest. Later on, the clause says—The expression 'transfer' in this section shall include any conveyance or assurance, and so on, but shall not include (a) a transmission at marriage, death, or bankruptcy, or other- 888 wise; nor (b) a transfer on the appointment of a new trustee where no beneficial interest passes,and finally the clause says that nothing in this section shall prevent the reservation of a right of redemption. I venture to suggest at any rate that it is a little bit doubtful as to whether that does not exempt the mortgagee from all burdens placed upon him which would otherwise be imposed upon him by this section, and if the learned Attorney General says that a mortgage ought to be registered, there can be no objection to my learned Friend's Amendment being inserted. There seems to be a doubt upon the point; it is not perfectly clear, and I cannot see what possible objection there can be to accepting the Amendment.
§ SIR R. FINLAY
The words cannot be accepted, and there is not the slightest reason to doubt that the opinion of the Attorney General is correct, and, besides that, to insert these words relating to registration only would suggest that the other provisions of the section did not apply as they now do apply.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.