HC Deb 09 February 1899 vol 66 cc344-460

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Main Question [7th February], That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as followeth:— Most Gracious Sovereign,— We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament"—(Captain Bagot:)—

Main Question again proposed:—Debate resumed:—

Another Amendment proposed, at the end of the Question to add the words— And we humbly represent to Your Majesty that, having regard to the lawlesness prevailing in the Church of England, some legislative steps should be taken to secure obedience to the law":—(Mr. Samuel Smith:)—

* MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)

I was asked yesterday in the course of the Debate to give the names of the theological colleges which are under Ritualistic control, and the books and manuals taught in them, and I am now prepared with the information which has been desired. I find that the Bishop of Oxford is patron of St. Stephen's House, Oxford, a very High Church theological college. In the chapel the eastward position is adopted at Holy Communion. The mixed chalice is in use, "altar lights" are burnt in the daytime, and the Romish Vestments are worn. The Principal, the Rev. C. E. Plumb, is a member of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, and of the English Church Union. I find also that the Bishop of Ely is Visitor of Ely Theological College. In its chapel the eastward position is adopted at Holy Communion, the mixed chalice is in use, and "altar lights" are burnt in the daytime. Its principal, Canon B. W. Randolph, is a member of the English Church Union. The Vice-Principal, the Rev. F. W. Hutchinson, is a member of the English Church Union, and so also is the Chaplain, the Rev. A. H. 0. M'Cheane. And I wish to the Pope, with Bishops and "Abbots," House to this fact— The Lesser Hours of the Sarum Breviary, translated and arranged according to the kalendar of the Church of England, has been adopted for the Ely Theological College. It claims that the festival of Corpus Christi, in honour of the transubstantiated wafer, is to be observed. The book is saturated with Mariolatry. In a Latin Litany in this book precedence is given to the Pope, with Bishops and "Abbots," over the Queen.


By authority?


I am informed that the book is used in the College. I am informed that the Bishop of Oxford is Visitor of Cuddeston College, a nursery of extreme Ritualism, also of Dorchester Missionary College. Its Vice-President, the Rev. R. U. Potts, is a member of the English Church Union. In addition to the above, the following Theological Colleges in High Church hands are under Episcopal patronage—viz., Lichfield Theological College, Salisbury Theological College, Scholæ Cancellarii, Lincoln, Truro School of Divinity, and Burgh Missionary College; also St. Aidan's, Birkenhead; St. Alphage, Southwark; and St. Mary Magdalene, Paddington. It will, no doubt, surprise many to learn that such a large number of Theological Colleges for training the future clergy are in High Church or Ritualistic hands. The grave nature of this evil cannot easily be over-estimated. If the wells are poisoned, who shall have, pure water? It is most important that Protestant parents who intend their sons to become clergymen should be careful not on any account to send them to theological colleges where-the teaching staff are more or less Ritualistic. In the choice of an examining chaplain each bishop has a free hand-Unhappily many members of the Episcopal Bench have selected for this high and most important office clergymen who are zealous partisans of the sacerdotal party, and members of societies of a Romanising character. The late Archdeacon Denison, when Examining Chaplain to a former Bishop of Bath and Wells, refused to pass for ordination any young man who did not profess his faith in Baptismal Regeneration and the Real Presence. Subsequently he gloried in acting thus. And I may say at this particular point that unless a young man held these particular ideas he would not be able to pass the examining chaplain in many of these theological colleges. I am informed that if Bishop Ryle was a candidate for the ministry, holding the views he has done, it would be impossible for him to pass the examining chaplain in several dioceses, also the Bishops of Worcester and Hereford. Now I was asked, in addition to this, to give some information about the books—the text-books—which are recommended for the use of these young men, and I will now supply this House with some information upon that point. A very popular book is called "The Parish Priest of the Town," by the Right Reverend John Gott, D.D., Bishop of Truro. It is recommended by the Bishops of Bath and Wells, Chester, Manchester, Southwell, St. Albans, Truro, and Wakefield. To quote one little paragraph from this—the para- graph on the desirability of joining the Bible Society. It says— Don't join Dissenters on religious plat-forms.…It is wrong in principle. You will soon be asked to attend a meeting of the Bible Society.…The Church is the Bible Society.…Therefore I cannot go to a Bible Society which annuls its own teaching, discredits its true witness, and does not know its own keeper."—(p. 153–4.) Bishop Gott also gives in this volume a list of "exceptionally valuable" books for the clergy; he gives a list of books for a "town curate's bookshelf." He writes— A fairly complete list would be cumbersome, and I only write down those that I have found exceptionally valuable to myself." Amongst the books thus highly commended—and the recommendation is now, alas! endorsed by seven Bishops—are 'The Priest's Prayer Book' and 'Dr. Pusey's Manual for Confessors.' The former of these has forms of prayer for driving the devil out of salt and water, and a host of other superstitions, together with the most advanced Popery to be found within the Church of England. The latter work for Father Confessors is outrageously Popish, being, in fact, translated, with adaptations, from a genuine Popish book, by the Abbé Gaume. "The Parish Priest of the Town," which is recommended by Bishop Gott, has the endorsement of seven other Bishops, and that is most important when we consider that the books recommended in it are text-books, the object of which is to show-young men who are training for the Ministry what they must become acquainted with. Another book which is recommended specially to these young men is a book by Dr. Pusey, "The Truth and Office of the English Church," strongly recommended by the Bishop of Lincoln. This book recommends the reunion and intercommunion with the Church of Borne. Dr. Pusey's views are explained in a very few words, because they are the foundation of much of the High Church teaching. Dr. Pusey said in his wrork— I have never expected to see that external unity of intercommunion restored in my own day, but I have felt it to be an end to be wished, for and prayed for. I doubt not that the Roman Church and ourselves are kept apart much more by the vast practical system which lies beyond the Council of Trent—things which are taught with a quasi-authority in the Roman Church—than by what is exactly defined. Explanations which, so long as they remain individual, must be unauthoritative, might be formally made by the Church of Rome to the Church of England as to the basis of re-union. In other words, Dr. Pusey accepts the whole of the doctrines of the Council of Trent, and simply rejects what he calls "unauthoritative explanations." He goes on to say— My own conviction is that our Articles deny Transubstantiation in one sense, and that the Roman Church, according to the explanation of the catechism of the Council of Trent, affirms it in another. "Studies in the History of the Book of Common Prayer," by H. M. Luckock, D.D., is another book which is recommended by the Bishops of Bath and Wells, Ely, Lincoln, Southwell, and Wakefield. It treats of Auricular Confession, Sacrificial Terms, Vestments, Altar, and Real Presence. It says— When we open the Communion Office (in the second Prayer Book of Edward VI.) we are confronted with the same reckless indifference to Catholic doctrine and practice, and an ever-widening divergence from the lines laid down by the first Revisionists. And then there is "An Explanation of the Thirty-nine Articles," by A. P. Forbes, D.C.L., the Bishop of Brechin, recommended by the Bishop of Lincoln, which is one of the most extremely Roman works I have heard of. It teaches Purgatory, Intercession of Saints, Seven Sacraments, Extreme Unction, Transubstantiation, the Sacrifice of the Eucharist; in fact, the whole of the doctrines absolutely condemned by the Thirty-nine Articles. PURGATORY.—We must come to the con viction that it was not the formularised doc trine, but a current and corrupt practice in the Latin or Western Church, which is here declared to be 'fond' and 'vainly invented.' INTERCESSION OF SAINTS.—If the inter cession of believers on earth may be invoked without injury to the honour of Christ as Mediator, why not also the intercession of the saints in heaven? Had this been all, the article never could have been written. EXTREME UNCTION.—The unction of the sick is the lost pleiad of the Anglican firmament. One must at once confess and deplore that a distinctly scriptural practice has ceased to be commanded in the Church of England. TRANSUBSTANTIATION.—If 'substance' means no more than its Greek equivalent, 'essence'; and if the term 'is transubstantiated' means no more than those old words 'becomes' 'is'; and if, by it, the Roman Church only means to guard with greater accuracy our Blessed Lord's words, 'This is My Body,' not contradicting anything which we know by experience; there is nothing in such a statement which our Article denies or which could form a difficulty to any soul which believed the Blessed Presence of our Saviour, 'of His Body and His Blood.' THE SACRIFICE OP THE EUCHARIST.—'The Sacrifice of the Eucharist is substantially the same as the Sacrifice of the Cross, because the Priest is the same in both, and the Victim is the same in both.' Let the House mark this fact. All these books which are in conflict with the present Articles of the Church are textbooks for the use of the young men in our theological colleges, and they are largely used. "An Introduction to the History of the Church of England," by Henry O. Wakeman, which is recommended by the Archbishop of York, and the Bishops of Bath and Wells, Ely, Oxford, Rochester, St. Albans, Wakefield, and Winchester, is now largely taught in schools. It says— The vast majority of the English Protestant Martyrs who suffered in the reign of Queen Mary were not people of religious influence, but were illiterate fanatics. Again it says— The Evangelical Churchmen interpreted the Prayer Book by the light of their own prepossessions; they cared little for its history and tradition, ignored much of its teaching and ritual, and valued it chiefly for the devotional beauty of its language. Again— Newman argued that there was no Catholic doctrine, and hardly any theological Roman doctrine condemned by these Articles, but only popular exaggerations and misrepresentations of Roman doctrine current at the time when the Articles were drawn up. Most men would now admit —and I would beg the House to mark this— that for the purpose 'which he had in hand Newman's argument was, in the main, sound. I might quote many other passages of Romanising works, but I confine myself to one which is the most startling of all, and that is associated with the Society of the Sacred Mission, of which the Bishop of Ely is the visitor. This mission was formerly under the patronage of the Bishop of Rochester, but is now under the direction of the Bishop of Ely. Early in the year 1898 this society of the Sacred Mission issued privately a circular to the Ritualistic clergy, in which they offered grants, at a reduced rate, of a new "Catechism of Faith and Practice," printed at their own private press, for use in Sunday Schools. It is one of the most thoroughly Romish Catechisms to be met with, as the following brief extracts will prove— Where is our Lord Jesus Christ? Our Lord Jesus Christ, as God, is everywhere; as God and man, He is in Heaven and in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. What is Christ doing for us in Heaven and in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar? Christ is offering Himself to God for us in Heaven and in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar? By what means are sins forgiven? Sins are forgiven chiefly by Baptism and Penance. Where do the souls of the good go after death? After death the souls of the good go to be purified from sin. How many Sacraments are there? There are seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Penance,. Holy Orders, Matrimony, Holy Unction. What is the Sacrament of Penance? Penance is the Sacrament by which sins after Baptism are forgiven. What is Confession? Confession is to accuse ourselves of our sins before a Priest. Is it a grievous sin to hide what we have done wrong in Confession? Yes, it is a very grievous sin to hide what we have done wrong in Confession. It is to lie to the Holy Ghost. What is Unction? Unction is a Sacrament in which sick people are anointed with Holy Oil. For whom must we pray? We must pray for all men living, and for the souls of the faithful dead. Mr. Speaker, these terrible doctrines are being inculcated to multitudes of little children at the most critical period of their life, when the mind is most receptive, and their minds are being debilitated for life and they are being made the slaves of the priests. I must call attention to one more manual, published for the use of candidates for confirmation, entitled, "A Book of the Children of God" (Knott). I merely quote this to show the House how deeply such teaching is resented by Nonconformists. It says— The Catholic Church is the home of the Holy Ghost. It is His only earthly home. He does not make His home with any Dissenting sect. Sometimes people quarrel with the Church, and break away from her, and make little sham churches of their own. We call these people Dissenters, and their sham churches sects. The Holy Ghost does not abide—does not dwell—with them. He goes and visits them, perhaps, but only as a stranger. Dissenters can never be quite sure when the Holy Spirit will come to them, or when He will stay away. But He is alway in the Church. Our Lord said, speaking to the Apostles—'He shall abide with you for ever.' Again this book says— The Bible is the Book which Cod has given to His Church alone, and not to any Dissenting sect. No one but a Catholic can safely read the Bible, and no Catholic can read it safely who does not read it in the Church's way. The Church knows what the Bible means, because the Holy Ghost teaches her its meaning; and directly any one tries to put a meaning of his own upon any part of the Bible, or to get any doctrine out of it which is not Church doctrine, that person begins to go wrong. Remember this, and if ever it should happen when we are reading the Bible that a thought comes into your mind which seems to go against the Catholic faith, put that thought away at once. Don't stop to argue about it. Don't say it is in the Bible. The Bible is the Book of the Church. The Church is the keeper of the Bible, and the Holy Ghost is the teacher of the Church. The Church and the Bible never contradict each other. If they seem to any one to do so, it is because he does not understand. I make one more quotation from this book— When the Priest begins the Prayer that which is on the Altar is Bread and Wine. When the Priest ends the Prayer That Which is on the Altar is Christ's Body and Blood: it is Jesus; it is God. How is it done? I cannot tell you, and the Priest does not know himself how he does it. It is a work of God, and no one knows how God works. If we were to ask the great St. Michael, he could not tell you. If you were to ask the Blessed Mary, she could not tell you. It is God's own secret—a knowledge which belongs to Him and to no one else. I have one more subject of this kind to which I wish to draw the attention of this House. A club, called the Alcuin Club, which has for its president the Bishop of Bristol, and comprises among its members the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Salisbury, and the Bishop of Oxford, is issuing a series of pamphlets and tracts. The object of one of these tracts is to show that there is practically no difference between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Mass, and the others advocate very advanced Roman practices. I have gone into this question so fully in order to clear the ground and show the House where we stand. Our duty as the High Court of Parliament is to give our decision justly, and it is very important that we should know the exact state of things. I say that these men have gone behind the Reformation and gone back to pre-Reformation times; but of all the evil that is being done by this Romanising teaching, the circulation of these documents for the young seems, from my point of view, to be the most pernicious. And I repeat that, in my opinion, nothing can be so dangerous as instilling such things into the minds of children at the receptive period of their life, and I believe that if we allow this thing to go on for another fifty years—that unless a tremendous effort is made to check the domination of the priests over the rising generation, we shall have to count on a very large number of our population going over to Rome in the next century. Of the clergymen in the Anglican Church two-thirds are now in sympathy with this movement, and if you leave them there and allow them to have the training of the young, in the next fifty years England will become largely a Catholic and not a Protestant country. But I believe the nation is now beginning to understand what this means, and that it will take steps to effectively check this Romanising system of educating the young which has continued for too many years. Our Roman Catholic friends know perfectly well where this is going to end. They look on with great satisfaction to see what is taking place in the Church. As Cardinal Vaughan has truly said of the Ritualists— They are doing our work much better than we ourselves could do it. They are sowing the seed, while we with folded hands are standing by waiting to reap the harvest. I believe it is the Confessional more than mere questions of doctrine which will wreck the Anglican Church if it cannot be stopped. Lord Salisbury once said in the House of Lords— We know that, besides its being unfavourable to what we believe to be Christian truth in its results it has been injurious to the moral independence and virility of the nation to an extent which probably it has been given to no other institution to affect the character of mankind. This is the sturdy conviction of the vast majority of the British people. They hate casuistry, and they have the deepest repugnance to the Jesuitical maxim of Dr. Pusey—quoted from Pope Eugineus IV—that the Father Confessor— As a man may swear with a good conscience that he knows not what he knows only as God."—("Pusey's Manual for Confessions," p. 402.) This whole priestly system was cradled in deception, and is largely carried on by such means still, as the Rev. W. Maskell, a Ritualist priest, who afterwards went over to Rome, said— What can we think of the moral evils which attend upon a life full of shifts and compromises and evasions: a rule of life based upon the acceptance of half one doctrine, all the next, and none of the third.…upon the practice of this or that particular duty, but secretly and fearful of being found out, doing it as if under the pretence of not doing it, if questoned explaining it away, of answering with some dubious answer, creeping out of difficulties—anything, in a word, but what is sincere, straightforward, and true. (second letter on the present position of the High Church Party in the Church of England, 1850). Is not this an echo of the language of Lord Falkland in the time of Land?— It seemed their work (the Bishops') to try how much of a Papist might be brought in without Popery, and to destroy as much as they could of the Gospel without bringing themselves into danger of being destroyed by the law. Some of them have so industriously laboured to deduce themselves from Rome that they have given great suspicion that, in gratitude, they desire to return thither, or at least to meet it half way. Some have evidently laboured to bring in an English, though not a Roman, Popery. I mean not only the outside and dress of it, but, equally absolute, a blind dependence of the people upon the clergy, and the clergy upon themselves, and have opposed the Popery beyond the sea that they may settle one beyond the water—namely, at Lambeth. Nay, common report is more than ordinarily false if none of them have found a way to reconcile the opinions of Rome to the preferments of England, and be so absolutely, directly, and cordially Papists that it is all £1,500 a year can do to keep them from confessing it. Is it any wonder, in view of the dishonest and underhand tactics of the Romanising party, and the secession of so many of their leaders to Rome, that some of our ablest thinkers trace the hand of the Jesuits in this movement? One result of this discussion, and that not a small one, will be to warn this Government and all future Governments, that so long as we have an Established Church we expect ecclesiastical appointments in conformity with the Coronation Oath, which runs as follows:— The Archbishop shall say to the Sovereign— 'Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the Gospel, and the Protestant reformed religion established by law? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and clergy of this realm, and to the churches committed to their charge all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain unto them or any of them?' The King or Queen shall say— 'All this I promise, to do.' After this the King or Queen, laying his or her hand upon the Holy Gospel, shall say— 'The things which I have promised I will perform and keep, so help me God.' Then the King or Queen shall kiss the book. We have a right to expect that the Government will give a clear declaration of policy in the course of this Debate; they have too long trifled with this question; if they do not take care it will rend their party to pieces, and also rend the Church to pieces. I close in the weighty words of warning addressed by Sir William Harcourt to the Romanising clergy, some 230 of whom met in the Holborn Town Hall last month and defied the Bishops— I find some of these lawless gentlemen talk very glibly of Disestablishment. I do not know if they have reflected that Disestablishment will come in a very different shape from that which they contemplate at their ease. An unoffending clergy which is disendowed on the principles of religious equality is naturally and properly treated with liberality and generosity. But those considerations do not apply to a body of men who axe dismissed by the nation on account of their lawless conduct. They need not lay the flattering unction to their souls that they are going to carry off the Protestant plant of the National Church in order to carry on their Romish manufactures. They are not to be allowed to occupy the parish churches, or the cathedrals, in which to erect confessionals and celebrate without restraint their High Masses. They are not to be secured by life incomes as commutation or compensations in the work of accomplishing the I conversion of England' out of the funds of the Protestant Establishment. These are considerations on which the Bishops and the Clergy may with advantage reflect. Their time is short, their sands are running out; if they continue pusillanimously to shiver on the brink, their impaired authority will be finally extinguished, and the existence of the Church they have so ill-tended will be, and indeed is to-day, at stake. And will conclude my speech by asking that I may be allowed to move my Amendment in a slightly different form to that in which it appears upon the paper, and thus make it possible for the Conservative members of this House to vote in its favour as well, as Liberals. It is an exceedingly important and grave matter, and I think in the way in which it is now worded it will meet with the views of all sections of the House. I beg to move that Motion as follows— And we humbly represent to your Majesty that having regard to the lawlessness prevailing in the Church of England, some legislative steps should be taken to secure obedience to the law.

COLONEL SANDYS (Lancashire, Bootle)

I desire to second the Motion of my honourable Friend the Member for Flintshire. I consented to do so at very short notice, and I do not know that I should have consented when I cid had it remained in its original form. But I presume that the amended Motion as moved by my honourable Friend is one which commends itself to the judgment of the House, otherwise I should have prefaced the few remarks which I desire to make by saying that I did not intend by my action to-day in seconding the Motion to in any way imply or impute any censure upon Her Majesty's Government. It is very far from my intention to do any such thing, but I certainly do think that this is an occasion upon which in this august assembly those of us who, in this great national crisis which has overtaken us, have taken an active part in enlightening the mind of the country as to the position in which it stands, may be allowed to unburden our minds and place before this House our views upon the subject. When my honourable Friend the Member for Flintshire approached me with the suggestion that I should second his Motion, and invited me to do so, I immediately- responded, and I will do so as well as it lies in my power. Let me therefore proceed by referring to the spirit of the original Motion, which I take to be that the condition of lawlessness now prevailing in many parts of the Protestant Church of England has caused a great amount of anxiety to a very large section of Her Majesty's subjects. I think I may certainly say that the position is this. There are certain clergymen in the Church of England who have entered the Church under certain conditions, and who have pledged themselves to support certain doctrines, and who have not adhered to the conditions under which they entered the Church. Instead of supporting entirely the doctrines which they pledged themselves to hold they have taken the advantage of the position which they hold in the Church to use their high office for the purpose of practising acts which were formally repudiated by this country at the time of the Reformation. There is no secret about the matter; in point of fact, many of these gentlemen make it their proud boast that they are undoing, or endeavouring to undo to the best of their ability, the work of the Reformation. Under the name of Protestants they endeavour to help and further the Godless work which was put an end to by this country in the year 1542. Mr. Speaker, that is a condition of things which those who love the present and reformed Church of England, and revere it as the Church of the nation cannot look upon without consideration and grave anxiety. We have had allusions made to this state of things, by the honourable Member for Flintshire, who has said that he does not consider that this House is an Assembly which is most suited for the discussion of questions of doctrine and ritual, and, in a sense, with that statement I agree. I do not think that this is a question upon which the House of Commons will approach the matter 'with any special knowledge of the subject. But I sin sure of one point, which is that the House of Commons will approach the question of upholding, and will uphold, the obligations entered into by the Legislature, and will maintain the integrity of the National Church with all the power at their disposal. The honourable Member for Flintshire says he wished to afford an opportunity to honourable Members of this House to record precisely the views they take upon this subject at this crisis, and I feel perfectly sure that when the opportunity is afforded a very large number of the honourable Members of this House will avail themselves of it in order to record their votes on the state of the affairs of the National Church. Now, the ground has been well covered by my honourable Friend the Mover of this Motion, and it is very difficult to pick out any point upon which he has not touched in his address, but there is one point which I should like to bring before the notice of the House. The Church is composed of two bodies, the Clergy and the Laity, and each body has equal rights in the Church. Both are amenable to the law of the land, and are subject to he decisions of the Courts of the country in all matters not specially with reference to doctrine. What is the position at the present time? At the present time we have a section of the Clergy who assert that the Courts of the land are not competent to try them in their office. That is one of the latest doctrines of the Clergy of this country. This is a recrudescence of the old form of ecclesiastical dominion—to set the Church above the law of the land. Not only is it so in a general sense, but a certain portion of the Clergy, the over seers of the Church, generally designated as Bishops, have arrogated to themselves and have, I regret to say, had given to them by Parliament a right or a power, I should say, to forbid access to the Courts of Law, thus denying justice to persons who wish to have their cases fairly tried out. I venture to ask the House to give special attention to this point. It is not the wish of all the bishops, I might almost say it is not the wish of the majority of the Bishops, that these people should be denied what is a primary right of every British subject, which is access to the Courts of Law, for trying out cases that may affect them. But the Bishops do arrogate to themselves the power of forbidding this access to the Courts of Law, and we trust that when Her Majesty's Government makes a declaration of policy upon this question, one of the cardinal points of the declaration will unmistakably be to take away this power from the Bishops. There is one particular point in this matter where, I think, the Bishops have been debarred from relaxing the supervision which they hold in this respect, and it is that, up to the present time, the costs of the proceedings have been thrown upon the Bishops themselves. I trust, therefore, that one of the remedies will be this small measure of justice to the Bishops, namely, that the Bishop carrying out the duties placed upon him by the Church, shall not be compelled to pay for so doing out of his own pocket. Very well, so much for the question of the Bishop; but the point to which I wish to draw attention with reference to this matter is, that assumption by the Clergy of any superiority over the Laity. The Laity is a co-ordinate branch of the Church of England. The clergyman has a peculiar sanctity in connection with his office, but it is purely a reflected sanctity, on account of the office which he holds and the duties which he carries out. When those duties are put on one side, he is on a level with the Laity of the Church of England, and, therefore, in my humble opinion the reform which is most needed in the Church is that the Laity should have some voice in the government of the Church, and that they shall be able to speak upon matters regarding its interior working, and especially with regard to those ministers who are appointed to the care of the churches and have vices to which attention ought to be paid. Opinions have been expressed in various quarters as to the bearing on the Church of England of the action of certain persons. I think if the House will allow me, I will quote for an authority on the position of the Church of England in this country, Mr. Cobbett. Naturally he is not an author whom a Conservative would probably like to quote, but as the honourable Member for Flintshire has put forward, and with which sentiment I heartily agree, in this question, with regard to the Church of England, we are neither Liberal nor Conservative, we are free from all party ties, and we take our stand upon the fundamental principles of the Protestant religion. Cobbett says— I am convinced that the Church of England, while she is an honour and a blessing to the nation, is the principal pillar of the State. He also says in his Political Register— I am thoroughly persuaded that if the Church of England Establishment should fall, the Monarchy will not survive. Now, Sir, I make this remark intentionally, because certain of our friends may think that the Disestablishment of the Church of England is the remedy we are in search of to put an end to these evils of which we speak. I venture to state definitely and positively that we do not for one single moment entertain any idea of the Disestablishment of the Church of England. We consider it is the duty of the Government of this country to pass such laws as will bring the Church under the general laws of the land, so that there shall be no need for Disestablishment in any shape or form whatever, either now or at any subsequent time. If sufficiently strong measures are taken to enforce discipline in the Church, there will be no necessity for disestablishment at all. Should Disestablishment come, it can only come after every other remedy has failed. But there is one point which is absolutely essential to the Church, and that is that the Bishops of the Church of England should do their duty with regard to the lawless Clergy under their charge. If they do not do so for want of power, we must strengthen the law, and put the power in their hands, but while doing that it shall not toe optional for the Bishops to put the law into operation, but where an offence is clearly proved, not to his satisfaction, tout to that of ordinary men, he shall forthwith put the law into operation, and carry it out to its just conclusion. While apologising to the House for dwelling so long upon this question, I may observe that a Bill has been drafted with very great care by three more or less influential bodies in this country which will shortly be before the House, and which will have for its purport the strengthening of the law, as we think, in a proper direction; but, having been unfortunate in the ballot, I fear we shall not get a very good place for it. Therefore I venture to give the House a certain amount of speechifying upon this question to-day. There is nothing which repeats itself in the same way as history does. If we study the history of the past, we get an infallible guide to the present,' and at the present time we must look back upon the history of the Church of England to see what is happening now. Influences have ever been at work to undermine and weaken the integrity of the Protestant Church of England in this country, and influences are still at work in that direction, and in this connection I wish to thoroughly endorse the expression of opinion which fell from my honourable Friend the Member for Flintshire. I hold in my hand an extract from The Times newspaper of the day before yesterday, in which the Pope of Rome, the Red Pope—because there are two popes, Red and Black, but the Black one is never seen—says that he has striven to recall the people of England to the ancient faith. That shows that there is an influence emanating from Rome which is being exercised in this country in order to promote a return of this Protestant nation to the faith of the Church of Rome. They have some justification for saying that they have been successful up to one point, and they are encouraged to greater hopes by the fact that up to the present time our Government and our Bishops of the Church of England are either unaware of what is going on, or are negligent upon the subject, or, (and it is a dreadful supposition, which we must accept in view of the fact of what has occurred) that some of them are more or less favourable to that particular movement. The Bishops certainly have had it in their power to repress the Romanising practices of the Church of England, but, with one or two exceptions, up to the present time, they have taken no special action in the matter. In support of the theory which I have put before the House, that foreign influences are being exercised here for the purpose of bringing Romanish doctrines into the Church of England, I must ask the indulgence of the House while I read a letter which I cut out of the newspaper, and which appears to me to be so very remarkable upon this particular point, that I trust the House will pardon me if I read it. It is written by a Spanish ex-priest in England to the editor of the Liverpool CourierAs a priest of the Church of Rome, converted during last year to the Christianity of the Gospel, my attention is drawn to a matter which is sufficiently important in itself to call for serious investigation as one of the greatest of contemporary events. All Protestant nations have left Roman Catholic peoples very far behind in the road of human progress, England herself being conspicuously prominent as the standard bearer of the most advanced civilisation. Can it be said that Romanism is incapable of developing greater perfection in man? It cannot be denied that in past ages, the religion of the Pope conferred signal services on infant humanity, when simple people lacked that light and liberty, which might enable them to form a sound judgment, and to make progress by their own efforts. The error of the Roman Church, writes a profound thinker, is to regard humanity as in a state of perennial infancy, and to apply to the emancipated societies the modern times' methods which at one time were right and suitable for nations in a state of tutelage. The absurd phrase of the French free-thinkers that 'Chrisanity has had its time,' ought to be substituted by the statement that 'Romanism has had its time.' Rome, with her characteristic dogmas of images and relics, of saints and indulgences, of transubstantiation and auricular confession, and, above all, of Papal infallibity and omnipotence, cannot give life, still less impel new organisations in the direction of progress. If she still does anything, it is in spite of her peculiar doctrines, and in virtue of the evangelical element which can be traced in them; and it is by making use of the Word of God as though it were gold dust, to seduce simple people and make them swallow the deadly pills of fallacious doctrines…Englishmen, you are great, and you figure as great before the civilised world, because, having broken the chains of the religious slavery of Rome which corrupts and degrades human dignity, you have for centuries been feeding on the saving faith of Christ and His Holy Gospel. This is the true foundation of your greatness. The day that your enemies succeed in tearing this book from your hands and this faith from your hearts, and manage to sow the tares of Popish inventions, it will happen to you as to Samson of old, after Delilah had succeeded in discovering the secret of his strength. And is not this precisely what is aimed at with your great nation? Do you not know what strenuous efforts are being put forth to command success. Are you ignorant of the means which Rome is employing to this end, by slandering and ridiculing your generous character? What perfidy! What hypocrisy! The Pope himself flatters you, but the bishops nominated by him to rule over you have, in conjunction with lay and professional Jesuits, spread a thousand and one snares to entrap you. Among your own bishops men are not wanting who knowingly or innocently admit young men, saturated with Romanism and equipped by the Roman sect with the special object of propagating with subtlety and persistency the anti-evangelical theories of Rome. Are you not aware of the secessions from your National Church to Romanism which are constantly taking place? Do not these songs of triumph awake you with which English Jesuits, aided by the Press, celebrate the victories which are every day obtained over your fundamental institutions. And do you not see your Church hastening with a giant's strides to fall into the embraces of the Roman Church, even at the cost of her life. There is much more in that letter, but the import of it all is this, that this ex-Roman Catholic priest, who signs himself "Friend of England" is, I believe, convinced of evil that will happen to us if we allow our National Church to be overshadowed or undermined by the doctrines and work and the teachings of the Jesuits in our land. Of course, it is well known that there are Jesuits, both clerical and lay. An Italian writer said that there are more Jesuits in England than there are in Italy, but I think that honourable Members are not aware of the fact that the Jesuits have marked out England into districts and provinces, with an organisation and a chief to each one, and if honourable Members will write to the Secretary of the Protestant Alliance in the Strand, they will be able to obtain a book which will describe it much better than I could possibly do. The honourable Member for Flintshire spoke about the dangers which may result from the education of the young in our schools under Romish auspices. That is a very great danger. The adult individual with a mind trained up and robust in argument, is not to be convinced by mere sophisms of any kind; but the young who are taught from manuals from which quotations have been made by my honourable Friend, are easily influenced, and once this influence has made an impression, it can never be eradicated. Therefore, now is the time to make a stand. Every year that goes on increases the power of the Romanizing section of the clergy of the Church of England. Every year adds to the number of children who are trained in these wrongful and harmful teachings; the Government must decide to make the law as to the Church of England so clear as to the way in which it is to be carried out in the future, that it will be impossible for the teachings of the Romanizing section of the Clergy to go on as heretofore. This country of ours is a free country. Every man has a right to hold and to carry forward whatever doctrines he thinks right and fit, but what we complain of is, not that these men hold and teach the doctrines they do, but that they should hold and teach them in the Church of England, and what we hold the Government responsible for is to see that it shall not go forward any further, because it is a danger, not only to our Church, but to our State and to our in stitutions. And let me tell the Government that this is no time for paltering. This matter has been pooh-poohed and has been placed in the background year after year. The promotions of the Church, the Bishoprics, the posts of honour and dignity connected with the Church, have been given without hesitation to men of one school of thought. If I may be pardoned for one moment for saying so, I have been for fifteen years a supporter of Her Majesty's Government. I have asked for many livings for Evangelical men; I have never got one. If I had asked for a living for a Ritualist, I have no doubt I should have had a dozen. The point we have come to is this, that Her Majesty's Government were returned to their present position with a majority unprecedented in modern times because it was considered by the people of this country that that Government would maintain and uphold unflinchingly, and defend the grand institutions of our country. Our National Church is dear to us—it is among the dearest of our national institutions, and Her Majesty's Government must now take up the cudgels. Far be it from me to take any action against Her Majesty's Government. I am a very old supporter; I wish them well, and I trust that I may be able to support them as long as I sit in this House. The people of England, who gave the Government that majority, are daily awakening to the fact that the Church is being undermined by those who are not truthful in the way they serve that Church, and unless the Government will listen to the voices of the people who placed them in their present position, such a tumult will arise in this country, and such dissatisfaction as may sweep away both majority and the Government when the time comes. Far be it from my wish or the wish of most of us that that should happen. I believe that the Government will carry on the affairs of the country as they should be carried on. What we look to them now for is to see our National Church of England no longer permitted to be in danger, but that the Government should show a firm front and turn a deaf ear to all influences which will put them in the wrong path, and that they will make our National Church as free from Romish doctrines and as free from Romish teachers as it was when it first became the Reformed Protestant Church of England at the Reformation.


There is nothing in the tone in which my honourable and gallant Friend's speech was delivered that anyone of us could take exception to, but I do not altogether agree with it. The subject is so wide and so solemn that I confess I shrink a little from the duty I feel incumbent upon us to discuss such subjects in the House of Commons, and I may say what I have said before, that I have no sympathy whatever with the extreme practices of many members of the Church of England which have been the subject matter of these conflicts. No, Sir, I do not sympathize with them, least of all do I sympathize with them in the action which some of them have felt it their duty to take towards their ecclesiastical superiors but as a loyal and law-abiding Churchman, I am placed in the very difficult position, the same as many others are placed in, in this controversy, because, although we have no sympathy with this clerical disobedience, yet we must repudiate the methods which have been delivered. We must dissociate ourselves with what we hold to be a mistaken view of the constitution of the Church of England. I am sorry to say that some of the weapons which have been used are altogether unworthy to be used upon a matter of this description. I appeal to the honourable Member for Flintshire. Does he think it a worthy method of endeavouring to convert Ritualists to his view to threaten them that if they do not give way the Disestablishment of the Church will follow? Does he imagine that that is the kind of argument which high-minded men, however mistaken they may be, would be convinced with? It is little short of an insult to them. I give the honourable Gentleman credit for good motives, but if he will forgive me for saying so, I cannot accept him as the representative in any way of the Church of England. He has not only-posed as the representative of the Laity of the Church of England, but he has, if I understand him aright, positively posed as an opponent to Disestablishment. The words of the honourable Gentleman which I have heard seem to me to be pretty clear, for he said, "The foundations of the Establishment would be shaken to pieces, and along with it the peace and social well-being of the country." I imagine that, like all other law-abiding citizens, he is very anxious for the social well-being of the country. Am I to believe then, that he thinks that Disestablishment will carry with it the destruction of the peace and social well-being of the country? Because, if so, I am bound to say that is a new light in which to contemplate the honourable Gentleman. The honourable Gentleman is an opponent of the Establishment. He dislikes it, and has said so, and, therefore, I again say that I cannot accept him in any respect as a representative of the Laity of the Church of England, or as the defender of the Church of England as established by law. The honourable Gentleman has made, I think, many mistakes in his speech, and I think I may say with all respect that his information has come to him secondhand. What can he know of the Church of England? What can he know of the spirit of the Church of England? What, indeed, can he know of what actually and clearly goes on in a thousand parishes and ten thousand churches in this country? He spoke, for example, of the absence of men in the congregations of the Church of England. I am not quite sure whether I heard him aright, but I gathered that he foresaw the time when there would be a complete abandonment, by men, of worship in the Church of England. I do not know what churches he attends, but for my own part, that is not my experience. He has not got to go far to see that what he says is contrary to the fact. Let him go to the great Cathedral of this City—let him go to St. Paul's on any Sunday morning at 11 o'clock, and let him see there the vast congregation—I was going to say mainly composed of men, but certainly composed of as many men as women, gathered together to hear all that is most dignified and best in the ritual and doctrine of the Church of England. Then he spoke last night of a case where there had been a particular ceremony in connection with All Souls' Day, and he told us that this ceremony had taken place, and that the Bishop had taken no notice of it. In fact, he is entirely in error, and he ought to know that that is so because the Bishop did take notice of it the very next day. It was the very occasion upon which the Bishop of London wrote to St. Albans, and remonstrated about the manner in which the service there was conducted. There was another church in which there was a ceremony of a candle and some water. Ho said that took place a few weeks ago, but that church has been pulled down for months.


I think I stated in reference to the water incident that that took place a month ago; my informant, Mr. Walsh, mentioned the time he attended that service last month.


Perhaps the honourable Gentleman will remember in future not to place too implicit a reliance upon what this gentleman says. The honourable Gentleman has to-night gone into detail with regard to a good many practices in which he said that the Bishops of the Church of England are responsible. Sir, I have the honour of being on familiar terms with many of these Bishops, and I unhesitatingly deny although I have not had an opportunity of reading the book which he has read, that he will find anything in the utterances of the Bishops of Bristol or Rochester which are opposed to the doctrines of the Church of England. I would invite the House to carefully scrutinize what the honourable Gentleman says before it is carried away by his utterances. I will not deal with the more sacred matters with which he has dealt, but there is one of them on which I will say a word, and which I think will illustrate where his error has crept in. He told us last night that the clergy of the Church of England were taught that they possessed certain powers of a prodigious kind, one of which was the power of the remission of sins. Well, sir, that may be so. There are many extreme manuals no doubt in print, but I would suggest to the honourable Gentleman that what he has perhaps got hold of is but little more than the rendering of the utterances which take place every day in the morning and evening services, in which we are told that God has given power to His Ministers to "declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins." That power undoubtedly is entrusted by the Church of England every day to its Ministers, and I think if many of the statements of the honourable Gentleman are investigated, it will be discovered that he has been deceived in the same way as he has been in this connection, and has attributed to the Church of England doctrine not accepted by her. Last year I recollect he accused the Bishop of St. Albans of having advocated Transubstantiation. That turned out to be wholly untrue, and the honourable Gentleman was compelled to withdraw it, and I do say that he ought to be more careful in the charges which he makes against the dignitaries of the Church of England. There was a book he quoted yesterday, which he also quoted last year, and I took the trouble to procure it to see whether it contained such very pernicious matter as he said it did. I have not the book here, but I venture to say this, that it contains an express repudiation of Roman doctrines—express repudiation of what is said to be taught as to the necessity of Confession. I have said these things in order to show the House of Commons that they must not be too ready to believe all the assertions given them, even though given by so sincere a man as the honourable Gentleman the Member for Flintshire. It is obvious to anyone who listens to the honourable Gentleman, that the area of attack against the Church of England is widening and changing from a mere attack upon certain gentlemen who carry out extreme practices, to an attack upon the Bench of Bishops and the whole High Church Party of the Church of England. I shall be surprised indeed if he gets much support in that respect from many of my honourable friends sitting on this side of the House, even those who are Low Churchmen. There is no question that the High Church movement is the great religious movement of this period. It has not always been so. There was a great Evangelical movement, and before that there was a great Methodist movement. This High Church movement is an expression of the zealous religious principles of the people of England, and now we see it has spread its power for good in so many parts, and in so many ways. It has fed the poor, it has helped the ill and the sick, it has comforted the miserable, and it has extended the work of the Church of England in every part, not only of London, but of England, and all over the Empire. As in days gone by, in a physical sense, so now in a moral sense we may say that the deaf hear, that the lepers are cleansed, the dead raised, and the poor have the Gospel preached unto them, and this is done, Sir, by that great energy which is called the High Church movement, which has spread, and has gathered strength in all parts of London and the Kingdom. Am I to be asked, are any of us to be asked, to do anything to hinder that movement? No, Sir, we will do no such thing. We may repudiate extreme practices, and I believe extreme practices are repudiated by both High, Broad, and Low Churchmen, but we will do nothing to hinder that great work to the glory of God which we see is being done around us. Sir, I have condemned, myself, very frankly the extreme practices which prevail, and I may be asked what have we to say by way of remedy? In this connection may I observe what was said in a speech made by the honourable Baronet the Member for Berwick, who made one or two remarks upon this question. He said that— Either the State must dictate to the Church what its doctrine should be, or the State must disestablish the Church; if the Church could not manage its own affairs these are the only two alternatives for the country. In point of fact, there are three alternatives proposed. There is the dictation of the doctrine of the Church by the State, there is Disestablishment, and there is the management of the Church, by the Church, of her own affairs. The honourable Gentleman speaks of the idea of the dictation to the Church by the State. That I presume is the policy—well I will not go so far as to say it is the policy, but it is the idea of the right honorable Gentleman the Member for Monmouth. He committed himself to the statement that the State should change the doctrines of the Church of England as it liked. I do not think the honourable Gentleman will find any Low Churchman to agree with that—not one—nor any other Churchman. How could it possibly be? The doctrines date back to very much earlier times than the history of Parliament. That therefore appears to be out of the question. In the words of the Royal Commission of 1883, the Church of England is a spiritual society dwelling under civil conditions, and as a spiritual society it has an existence wholly independent of the State and which the State cannot vary in the slightest degree. I do not believe that any serious body of men will pretend that the remedy for the state of things to which attention has been called is to be found in the State dictating to the Church what its doctrines shall be. I will next take the proposed remedy of Disestablishment, and I only take it to drop it at once, because if there is one thing more clear than another it is that Disestablishment will help the Ritualists more than it will hinder them. They do not depend upon the Church for their living, nay, they rather give more to the Church than they take, so that Disestablishment will not in any way affect ritualistic practices. Then, therefore, we are reduced to the last alternative, namely, that the Church should manage its own affairs. That is a plan which I hope the Church will adopt. A spiritual society cannot be managed by Parliament, and I wish honourable Gentlemen would realize it, especially those who, like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouthshire, are always calling out about the unfairness of the law as regards ritual. Those points of ritual are, of course, only important because of the doctrines which they embody. Do honourable Gentlemen imagine that the doctrine is made up and bound up with the ritual? Supposing the honourable Member for Flint had everything he desired, not only the extreme practices which he wishes to see swept away, abolished, but all the other ritual which prevails in High Churches; does he think that that would prevent a High Churchman from teaching the doctrine he inculcated before? If you have to depend upon the law alone, you are powerless. I know that the House of Commons often thinks itself omnipotent, but in matters of religion it is very weak indeed. If I and those who think with me had only the law to rely upon, we might indeed despair; but we rely upon stronger things than the law. We rely upon the personal influence which we believe may be most strongly and effectually used against what is mistaken. We rely upon the loyalty which these Gentlemen undoubtedly feel towards the Church to which they belong, and in spite of everything trust their superiors. We rely upon their own convictions as members of an Episcopal Church, and, more than that, we rely upon public opinion. I have heard it said that the Bishops are greatly to blame because they have not moved before there was an agitation. I say that the Bishops are bound to take into consideration the condition of public opinion. I think this is perhaps the last place in the world where a different view will be held. We, Mr. Speaker, live upon public opinion. Most of us, I am afraid, study public opinion a great deal too much. There is hardly anything that a politician will advocate unless he is fully assured of the support of public opinion. (No, no.) Honourable Members say "No, no," but I must say that it certainly does not lie in the mouth of anybody in the House of Commons to commence to abuse those who look to the verdict of public opinion. The Bishops are bound to have regard to public opinion. The Bishop of Bristol gave utterance to this opinion the other day, and that is a view which appears to me to be perfectly sound. When I speak of public opinion I of course mean the public opinion of those who are qualified to, form an opinion. I do not think, if I may say so, that the public opinion which is represented by the honourable Member for Flintshire is a public opinion that ought to weigh. My idea of public opinion upon this question is the public opinion of Churchmen. That is an opinion which ought to weigh and which does weigh with the Bishops of the Church of England, and I believe that as that public opinion is brought to bear upon the Gentlemen who indulge in extreme practices it will be found it is the most potent of all weapons which can be used' in order to persuade them to desist. I should like to say a word as to what the Bishops have done. I have ventured to express to the House that in my opinion we must rely upon the Bishops, because we have nothing else to rely upon than their influence and the exercise of a proper public opinion. What have they done? I may here, perhaps, say one word about a set of Resolutions to which reference has been made by the honourable Gentlemen the Member for Flint, at what is called 1he "Holborn Meeting" the other day. I have nothing to say in defence of those Resolutions, but I invite the House not to regard them too seriously. I remember when I first came into Parliament that I used to be rather horrified every year by the Resolutions passed at the Trades' Union Congress, because they were always of a most violent kind — Communistic, Socialistic, and Anarchistic; but experience has shown me that they never meant them, and I now know that one ought not to take mere Resolutions too seriously. Gentlemen who are not ac customed to passing Resolutions do not weigh as carefully as they should the meaning of the words to which they agree, and I am confirmed in that view by having read a very admirable letter in which a Member of that Holborn assemblage explains that the meaning of the particular Resolution was that those gentlemen considered that they had a right, before they were called upon to give up certain practices, to be heard in their own defence. That is a reading of the Resolution which I frankly admit I should never have found in the Resolution itself, but that is the view that he takes of it, and that undoubtedly was the intention of a largo number of those who were present. I do not sup pose there is a man in the House who will not agree that these men should be heard before they are called upon to give these practices up. The Bishops have been a great deal blamed, but I would like to warn the House of one thing. It has been maintained by the opponents of the Established Church, because they have read very little of what the Bishops have done, that therefore they have done nothing. But from the very nature of the case and in order to produce the full effects of their efforts these things must be done in confidence. It is essential that the names of all persons who have been accused of breaking the law should not be published. I think the House will see that there would be imminent risk of their action defeating its own object if the names were given to the public. But I shall be able to show the House one or two things which I think will convince them that the Bishops have not been idle, and let me say that I think that in the submission to the Bishops which has been shown in almost every case these Ritualists have exhibited a very proper spirit. Aft>r all we must sympathize with them. Most of them are extremely holy men—very good men, and they have pursued many of these practices for a long time, and have suddenly been called upon to abandon them, and I think it shows an excellent spirit that they gave them up as willingly as they did, and I think that the House of Commons, which is always very generous, will give them every credit for what they have done. Let mo give one or two cases. I shall appeal to the House not to press me to give names, for it will be no good, as I am under an obligation. Here is one instance— In his diocese there were, so far as he can ascertain, only five men who used 'Reservation for the sick. Four of these have already obeyed his direction to discontinue it, and the fifth man is, he thinks, likely to do so. He is now in correspondence with him. Three men have at his request given up 'Children's Eucharist. A considerable number of men have at once, at his request, modified or dropped special services to which he took exception. No single man has declined to obey his direction in that matter. He believes that the obedience rendered to him in these cases is largely due to his intercourse with the clergy on the matter having been, in the first instance, of a friendly and confidential character, and not through the agency of a court or as a public censure on his part of men who had no intention of acting disloyally.


Has this occurred recently?


Oh, yes, quite recently. Here is another report from a different diocese— Whenever any complaint has been brought before me I have always sent for the clergyman, and the line I have taken has been this. If the practice was clearly illegal I have pointed this out. If the practice was not in itself illegal, but had given offence to members of the congregation, or was otherwise (as, e.g., 'Children's Eucharist') a novelty, having no authority, but rather at variance with the spirit of our Liturgy, I have urged the unwisdom of retaining it, and I am thankful to say that in every instance but one, so far as I know, I have been obeyed—at any rate, obedience has been promised. To give instances, one clergyman has given up the ceremonial use of incense, two or three have given up 'Children's Eucharist,' two the Reservation of the Sacrament, and the Stations of the Cross, and the Crucifix in the Church. I hope I am not wearying the House with these reports, but there is one from another diocese— Less than 20 cases of objectionable ritualism, and only five were advanced. The great majority have at once acceded to the wishes of the Bishop. All submit to the Bishop's directions as to the Sacrament, including, among other things, the removal of all books and cards containing forms other than those in the Prayer Book from the altar, the ceremonial mixing of water and wine, the elevation of the elements, the use of the words 'Mass,' requiem, etc. All loyally accept the 22nd Article. All condemn compulsory confession. Here is another. I "won't read it ail because I am afraid of wearying the House, and I will read the part about additional services— As to additional services in this diocese the Bishop has asked for returns from all parishes. He has received returns from 400. There are more to come in. Of those received there are less than 10 which contain any doubtful matter. Several of the clergy also sent in their manuals of private prayer. The Bishop has objected in four cases, and in each case I is advice was at once accepted. I think the House will be convinced already that this matter has received some attention from the Bishops. Perhaps I ought to give one or two instances where I can give the name. Here is one from the diocese of York— Very few cases of extreme practices. In one or two cases where practices such as Reservation and incense existed the Archbishop interfered, and the clergy submitted. Here is an example:—Mr. Cooper, of St. Paul's, Halifax, has intimated that, in obedience to the Archbishop of York's Pastoral, it is his intention to discontinue the tolling of the bell at the moment of consecration on the Communion Service. The Commandments are not to be omitted at the daily celebrations of the Holy Communion. Making the sign of the Cross in the pulpit is to be discontinued, and bowing to the altar will also to a great extent be discontinued. And, most imporant of all, there is one from the diocese of London— The Bishop has revised occasional services in more than 200 churches. There has been practically no opposition. I apologise to the House if I have to use words which are not very well known, but that, of course, is the nature of the case— He has stopped the ceremony of Asperges. It probably is not practised now in the diocese at all. He has enforced that the Communion Service should be used without additions or omissions, which is the most important matter. Churches about to introduce incense have been induced not to. The carrying of lighted candles in processions has been stopped. Manuals of devotion which are not in accordance with Anglican teaching have been stopped. Take the case of St. Alban's, Holborn. Mr. Suckling writes December 21st— The Bishop of London has sent for and revised all the additional services that we have been accustomed to use in the church, some of them for many years. He has made many emendations in some, and some he has refused to sanction altogether. Of course, as ordinary, it is entirely within his rights to make these changes, and, whatever it may cost us, it is entirely within our duty loyally to obey. No case of erroneous teaching has been submitted to the Bishop except one, which appears to have occurred in a sermon three years ago by a curate no longer holding his licence. I have ventured to trouble the House with these details because I was convinced that in the public mind there is an absolute misconception growing up, and they imagined that the Bishops were doing nothing, which is entirely untrue. The Bishops have been acting, and have been acting vigorously, and I think that their efforts have been most loyally seconded by the clergy in a most praiseworthy manner. In every diocese which has come under my notice over and over again the Bishop has testified to the loyal acceptance of his advice by nearly every clergyman in the diocese, and taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration, I think they are entitled to every praise for having acted in such a moderate manner. That, of course, does not exhaust what the Bishops have done, for, as everyone knows who has read The Times this morning, the Archbishops have decided that they will, in cases of difficulty, give every opportunity to gentlemen whose conduct is called into question of fully stating their case in Court in the most convenient and fullest manner, either by themselves personally, or by their counsel, in all forms so that it can be properly considered, and then they will render judgment. Under these circumstances I must say that any charge against the Bishops of not doing their duty does not appear to me to be fair. I earnestly hope that so far as this House is concerned, and so far as the country is concerned, they will leave this good work in operation, and I ask them not to interfere. I am certain that if this House tries to interfere with a spiritual body, governed as it must be by spiritual men and spiritual sanction, if they try to interfere it will end in nothing but disaster. I therefore urge the House to reject the Amendment which is now before it.

* MR. J. W. MELLOR (York, W.R., Sowerby)

I wish I could agree with the noble Lord who has just sat down in his opinion that the information given by the honourable Member for Flint was inaccurate. I am afraid I cannot accept that statement, because all the information that has come to my knowledge is of a nature that makes me think that, so far from these statements being exaggerated, they have not been sufficiently strongly stated. Suppose my honourable Friend is inaccurate in one or two matters. The noble Lord mentions one or two matters in which he states that the honourable Member for Flint was clearly wrong. But I can only say that if half what my honourable Friend has told the House is accurate, it is ample justification for his indictment, and I cannot accept the noble Lord's assertion that these matters have been exaggerated. The object of this Motion is not to censure the Government; it is not put before Parliament as a vote of censure. The object of this Motion is to enable every Member of this House in his individual capacity as an independent Member to protest against this state of things. That is the object of this Motion. Well, now I do not for a moment suggest that this is a Party matter. My right honourable Friend the Member for Monmouth last year distinctly told the House that he would not make this a Party matter unless he was driven to it, and I can only say to-night that there is not the slightest desire on the part of those who have interested themselves in this Motion to make it a Party matter, or to do anything more than call the attention of the Government to the present state of things, in the hope that the Government may see their way to give it some consideration. It is absurd to suggest that this is a matter between Liberals and Conservatives. It is nothing of the sort. There are as many people who sympathise with us on the Conservative side as on the Liberal side. With regard to this agitation which some people seem very anxious to stop, it comes more from those who generally act with the Conservative Party than with the Liberal Party. I beg to reiterate now what I have said before, that this is intended as no attack whatever upon Roman Catholics. I have never said anything, I have never intended to say anything that could in any way wound their susceptibilities, and I wish to appeal to the Catholic Members of this House and to say this: that I do not see why they in their individual capacity as Members of Parliament should not join in this protest, because I cannot conceive that a state of things in which you find the ministers of a Church who have sworn to obey the Law, and to obey the Articles of the Church, deliberately professing and teaching doctrines which are contrary to all their declarations—I cannot conceive that that is a state of things which will commend itself to the- Catholics any more than to the Protestants, and I am sure that there are Catholics who will object to it as strongly as I am doing at the present moment. Now what is the position in which we find the Clergy of the National Church, some of whom come one day and make a solemn contract with the Church, and take the most solemn oath that anyone can take, to obey the Articles of the Church, and who distinctly takes that oath not only at his ordination but afterwards—for every man who holds a living has to take that oath three times? I ask the House how is it to be justified that a man who can do such a thing—who can take that oath and then proceed to break it—should the allowed to remain a minister of the National Church? What I want to do is this: I want this House to declare that people who do these things—people who teach doctrines which are not legal, and who break the Law of the Church by teaching doctrines and performing ceremonies which are absolutely inconsistent with the Law—I want a declaration that these people should no longer remain ministers of the National Church. Now let us just see what the position is here. The Roman Catholic priest obeys the law of the Church; he obeys its authority, and he is under its authority. But next door to him may be a ritualistic clergyman who, while he has promised most distinctly to obey the law of the Church of England, is teaching the doctrines of the Church of Rome, and is at the same time performing ceremonies unknown to the Church of England, which yet may be perfectly lawful according to the doctrines of the Church of Rome. What right has he to do this? He remains in the National Church and takes his emoluments; what right has he to break the law? The Roman Catholic priest gives up everything he has for his faith, and very often has to undergo a good deal of poverty and suffering. I can sympathize with him. But is it not rather hard upon a Roman Catholic priest that next door to him there should be a man who professes to be a clergyman, and who professes to teach the particular doctrines of the Church of England, but who imitates the Roman Catholic priest in everything he can, even to the most minute detail of his dress? Well, it strikes me that that is a state of things which cannot commend itself to Roman Catholics, because with regard to these practices, and with regard to these ceremonies and doctrines taught by the Ritualist, both Churches have decided that they are invalid and illegal; and that they have no authority to teach them either from the Church of England or from the Church of Rome. Some time ago the Pope decided that their orders are invalid according to the law of his Church. From what, then, does their authority spring? Now, the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury said last year that the House of Commons was never at its best in discussing these matters. The right honourable Gentleman did not then point out where we were to discuss them if we were not to discuss them in the House of Commons. If the Government will provide us with a house in which the Laity can be heard, if they will give us some reasonable share in the government of the Church, then the right honourable Gentleman: may say to us that the House is not at its best in discussing these matters when they can be discussed elsewhere. But why does he say that we are not to discuss these matters in the House of Commons, when by the law of Constitution of this country the House of Commons is the only place in which we have a right to discuss them?


Is the right honourable Gentleman attributing this statement to me? I never said it.


The right honourable Gentleman gave expression to the statement last Session that the House of Commons was never at its best in discussing this matter. The inference was that the right honourable Gentleman did not like these matters discussed in the House of Commons. I do not wish to impute to the right honourable Gentleman anything that he did not mean to say, and I have not the slightest desire to exaggerate this matter. I do not want to over-state the case in any respect whatever, but I was merely pointing out to the House, Mr. Speaker, this fact, that there is no lawful place for a layman to ventilate this matter except in the House of Commons if he is to speak or act with any authority. The question is, what is the best thing to be done? Now, the Motion of my honourable Friend suggests to the Government that they might take some step—that is to say, that they might bring in some Bill. For my part, I should like to see the veto of the Bishops taken away. I can assure the noble Lord who has just spoken that I have hot the slightest desire to make any indiscriminate attack upon the Bishops. I do not want to do anything of the kind. I know he has said that my honourable Friend the mover of this Amendment is not a good representative of the Church of England? I do not know what the noble Lord will say about me, but I beg to assure him that I am not only a member of the Church of England, but I am also a churchwarden, and perhaps I may speak with a little more authority than my honourable Friend, although I do not for a moment suggest in this House that this is not the business of every individual. Why, Mr. Speaker, I have heard it said and suggested that the Nonconformist Party would not stand by the Protestants of the Church of England on this occasion because it has been said that the Nonconformists are so anxious to attack the Church Establishment that they won't care about anything else, and consequently they will support the Ritualist. Could anything more absurd be suggested? I should like to point out that this matter affects the Nonconformists in many ways. Most of the people in the country parishes, as a rule, have to send their children to the National Schools; Nonconformists and Protestants alike have to send their children to the National Schools. Very well, are they to be subjected to this kind of ritualistic treatment? Are they to be taught doctrines which are absolutely inconsistent with the faith which their fathers professed? It is said, I know, that there is a Conscience Clause, and that is a very good thing. I am not speaking against National Schools, but what I am speaking against is these illegal practices. I complain of people, of Ritualistic clergymen—who have got that influence in the National School which such a man ought not to have, and who is by reason of his position able to do infinite damage by preaching doctrines which he has no right to teach. Nonconformists are interested because at all events their children should be taught the Protestant faith if taught religion in the National School, and the labourer or the small farmer who lives in the parish cannot, as we all know, successfully resist the doctrine or the teachings of the clergyman, however much he disagrees with him, because it is obvious that the labourer, ill instructed and without any influence in the place, has very great difficulty in resisting the influence of the clergyman. Is it not desirable that something should be done? Now, what I suggest is this, that the veto of the Bishops should be taken away. I do not say that for the purpose of making any attack upon the Bishops. I want to open the Courts in order that we may have the protection of the law. The law on the subject has been in existence ever since the passing of the Church Discipline Act, which provides that no prosecution and no proceedings can be taken against the clergyman without the sanction of the Bishop. The Bishop is thus given a veto to stop proceedings. This veto was intended originally to stop frivolous and vexatious acts; but the veto has been used and exists for the purpose of stopping all prosecutions, and my suggestion is that this veto should be abolished, and that the people themselves should be allowed to proceed in the proper courts in regard to dealing with these subjects. The whole matter is a subject of considerable importance, because this kind of law breaking has been going on since 1834, and to suggest that any more time is wanted does strike me as a very undesirable mode of answering those people who complain. The thing has been gradually increasing in spite of all the action or inaction of the Bishops in the matter to which the noble Lord has referred, and it has now reached a stage in which an immediate answer is necessary. I read a report of what the Archbishop said last night, and it seems to me perfectly clear that the Archbishop of Canterbury—and I wish to speak of him with the greatest respect—has not the slightest conception of the pressing importance of this matter. In his speech he says that this agitation is not deep, and will soon subside. I really do not think the Archbishop of Canterbury understands in the slightest degree how deep the Protestant feeling in this country is. In the Church of England, amongst the Protestant Laity, the Protestant feeling is deep and decided, and I think it is most desirable that, whether by a Motion of this kind or by public meeting, that fact should be brought home to the Archbishop as clearly as possible. Last night the Archbishop went on to describe a tribunal which is going to deal with the matter, but I do not know at present what authority the Archbishop has to hold any such Court. He said that he would sit as judge in the matter with the other Archbishop sitting as assessor. Speaking without having gone very deeply into this matter, I may say that I do not think the Archbishop has any authority to hold such a Court, although I may be wrong. At all events, the Court is new to me, and one that I have never heard of before. But I want to say this: the important thing is that we should try the Courts that exist, which we could do if it were not for the Bishop's veto. Why should we not try the Courts provided by law? What is the necessity of this new Court? Is it to be said, because there are certain clergymen who object to the supremacy of the Queen, for that is what it comes to, that we are to sweep away the Privy Council and substitute some Ecclesiastical Court? As far as I am concerned, I hope I shall never see such a slate of things. I think it is most desirable to protect the supremacy of the Queen. That ought to be the rule of the law, as it is the rule of the Constitution, and I hope the day will never come when in the National Church we shall see the Court of the Privy Council and the Supreme Courts set aside, and an Ecclesiastic Court, composed I know not how, which will deal with these matters from altogether an ecclesiastic's point of view. Now, Mr. Speaker, this Motion means that the Laity, the Protestant Laity of the Church, are determined in this matter to protest against the inaction of the Bishops, and it means this, that if the powers of the Bishops are not sufficiently strong for the purpose of securing law and order in the Church of England, these powers ought to be strengthened, and the onus and responsibility for doing this rests upon Her Majesty's Government.

* MR. A. S. T. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN (Kent, Tunbridge)

Mr. Speaker, I agree with one thing that the right honourable Gentleman has just said, and that is as to the gravity of this matter. I think that when the affairs of the Church are discussed as freely as they have been, both in the Press and in the House of Commons, the matter is essentially a very grave one; and that is the only reason why I claim to speak upon a matter about which I would very much prefer not to have spoken at all. Now, Sir, in dealing with this matter I wish first of all to make clear to the House that I speak in no sense as a partisan. I disapprove entirely of the extreme practices which have been mentioned with so much disapprobation by honourable Members on both sides of this House. I am not myself a Ritualist. I do not for a moment associate myself with those who introduce practices alien both to the letter and to the spirit of the Common Prayer Book, and I entirely disapprove of any inclination which may have been observed on the part of any clergy to disobey the instructions of their ecclesiastical superiors. In fact, I confess I find it very difficult to understand how any body of people who are High Churchmen can really wish to go against the spirit of the Prayer Book, or to disobey the Bishops. I have always understood that the Oxford movement—the old High Church movement — attempted to bring back the Church nearer to the teaching of the Prayer Book, and the one authority the leaders of that movement always wished to obey was the authority of the Bishops themselves and no other. I confess that I do not in the least sympathize with any who, departing from that spirit, have introduced those practices, or have been unable to obey the Bishops. But Sir, while I wish to disapprove of those who are disobeying the Bishops, I also disapprove of much that has been said and done by the extreme party on the other side. What has happened? We have had an agitation against extreme Ritualism; certain practices which are undoubtedly illegal have been violently protested against. Those who have made those protests have not confined their attack merely to illegal practices. They have gone much farther; they have attacked roundly the whole High Church position, and they have attacked many of the practices which are absolutely legal, but which they happen themselves to object to. By so doing I venture to think they have very largely weakened their position, with the result that the whole High Church Party, who in themselves were absolutely loyal to the Church of England, are gradually being driven by them to support those principles of Ritualism which otherwise they would have dissociated themselves from. It will, therefore, be seen that I approach the matter from a perfectly non-partisan attitude, and I hope I may claim to take up simply the position of a loyal son of the Church of England who wishes the best done for the Church as a whole. Well now, Sir, what is the position we are in to-day? We have a Motion brought forward by an honourable Gentleman, in whose good intentions I have the most perfect confidence, who is not himself a member of the Church of England, asking Parliament to interfere with regard to the doctrine and ritual in the Church of England. Now, is that a Motion that ought to be carried? Let us consider the circumstances. We have had this agitation, and the suspicions of the Laity have been aroused. I believe myself that those suspicions are largely the result of this agitation. I believe that these practices have prevailed to a very much smaller degree than has been represented by Gentlemen on the other side. I myself cannot claim, like the right honourable Gentleman who has just sat down, to be a churchwarden, but I can claim to be a regular church-goer, and owing to that fact I have attended churches on different Sundays in a great many different parts of the country, and I have, perhaps, had very good opportunities of observing the character of those services. Well, Sir, I have never once been in a church where there was an illegal service except on one occasion, and that was in Chicago. It was a church belonging to the Episcopalian Church of America, a Church which is not' established; and this, to my mind, is important, because it goes to prove that if honourable Members think they are going to prevent Ritualism by Disestablishment they are mistaken. It is not the clergyman who is the frequent offender; it is often the congregation. The congregation in many cases drags the clergyman to extremes which he would never have taken himself. If you had Disestablishment undoubtedly you would get congregations taking the Clergy into much greater extremes, and inasmuch as under Disestablishment the Clergy would be more or less dependent for their stipends upon the congregations, you may be sure that the extremes would be far greater than they are under the present system of Establishment. The experience I have given is, I am perfectly satisfied, that of the great bulk of Members of this House— that if you go through the country you will find very few churches where these extreme practices are observed. On the contrary, you will find that the bulk of the clergy are absolutely loyal to the letter and the spirit of the Church of England, and you will find, as my noble Friend has pointed out, that in the few instances where they may not have been very willing to observe those laws, now that the Bishops are acting, they are willing to conform to them, though the practices observed have been adopted from conscientious motives. Now, Sir, what has happened? This agitation has taken place, and, as I say, the country is roused to a certain extent. The cry goes out, "Why do not the Bishops act?" Well, Sir, the Bishops are acting. They have begun to act, and have acted so far with a large measure of success. But before they have had sufficient time an honourable Member asks the Govern- ment to interfere with legislation for putting down certain practices. Now, is that fair to the Church? Can you expect the Bishops to act successfully if, before they have had time to do so, the House of Commons interferes? I say, Sir, it is a perfectly impossible position for the House of Commons to take up. I know my honourable Friends who support this Motion will say, "Oh, but the Bishops were so slow in acting." Why, were they so slow in acting? Because the public was so slow in agitating. These practices did not come on all of a sudden last Easter; they have been going on undoubtedly for a long time. My noble Friend the Member for Rochester said the Bishops could not act without public opinion behind them. I would remind the House that public opinion was entirely against prosecution on the part of the Bishops until quite recently, and I say the Bishops were undoubtedly right in not taking action—at all events, any public action; whatever they did, they did privately, and I know for a fact that a great deal has been done privately which will never be published, because in these cases their action has succeeded, and only those cases where their action has failed become known. I rejoice myself that the Bishops did not act until the country was ripe for such a step. I say now they are acting with success. Surely the very way to cause Disestablishment is for the House of Commons to adopt a Motion giving legislative powers which the Bishops themselves have not asked for. Sir, I go much farther than that, and I venture to deny, whatever legal right this House has got —and, of course, it has got a legal right —I venture to deny that the House has got any moral right to interfere in a matter of this sort, unless the heads of the Church have asked the House to do so. We are constantly told that we are a State Church. Well, a State Church, as I understand it, only means that Parliament has sanctioned changes which were made in the first instance by the Church itself. Take an illustration; take the Thirty-nine Articles, which are now-established by Act of Parliament. These were passed by Parliament in 1570. They were passed by Convocation eight years previously—i.e., 1562—and therefore Parliament; merely ratified what convocation and the Church itself had done beforehand. And so it has been in every case in which great changes have been made in Church doctrine or ritual. Take even the Act of 187. Take the unfortunate Public Worship Regulation Act, which is a dead letter. Why, Sir, the Act itself was brought in by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and supported by the whole bench of Bishops, and yet now on this occasion you are asking the House of Commons, without any authority from the Church, without any demand on the part of the Bishops, without any suggestion on the part of Convocation or of any of the leaders of the Church, to interfere. I deny, as a Churchman, that the House of Commons has a moral right to interfere at the present moment, and I venture to think interference would cause the very disruption in the Church which we would deplore. Well, Sir, I would like to ask, if the House of Commons is to interfere, in what way it should interfere. You say it ought to put down those practices, that it ought to enforce absolute obedience to the rules. Well, these are not matters which can be judged very easily. It is not very easy to say exactly what should be done. You say you want to put down certain High Church practices. Are there no practices on the other side which are not entirely in accordance with the Rubrics? Supposing, Sir, we are to have a Bill to enforce every Rubric exactly as we read it; what changes would have to take place! Changes would have to take place which, I venture to think, would astonish a good many Members of the House of Commons. In the first place, there is a Rubric which demands that in afternoon services children must be brought into church and catechised after the second lesson. Well, that may have been a convenient process at one time, but it is scarcely convenient now. It is never done, and I ask, are we to enforce that Rubric among many others? Then, again, as far as I know, the word "hymn" is never once mentioned in the Prayer Book at all. Are we to cut out of our service all that beautiful singing of those hymns which have added so much to the richness and the beauty of our services? Take, again, the Athanasian Creed. A large number of clergymen, from conscientious reasons, refuse to read it, and yet it is now laid down in the Rubrics that the Athanasian Creed is to be said thirteen times every year. Or take one other point. Take that one point which used to cause so much controversy—the question of the black gown, in respect of which it cannot be said that the High Church Party abuse the law. Is there any mention of the black gown in the Book of Common Prayer? Is it anywhere laid down that sermons are to be preached in anything but surplices? The same vestment is to be worn which is worn in the course of the service; and without going the length of saying that the black gown is an illegal vestment, at all events you must, on the same principle that you condemn a large number of practices because they are not specifically mentioned in the Rubrics, apply precisely the same principle to the black gown. I say, Sir, that to attempt to interfere with the letter of the Rubrics would be an exceedingly difficult thing, and I say that for Parliament to interfere at the present moment would be most disastrous. The only thing that can be done is to trust the Bishops, and give them time. The Bishops have already attempted—and not without success—to put down those practices that we all condemn. The Bishops have not come and asked us for any legislation. When they do come and ask us for legislation, then, I say, it is time for us to consider any legislation that may be desirable. Until they do that, until they feel that their existing powers are not sufficient to cope with the evil, I say we have no right to interfere at all. I hope, therefore, this Motion will be defeated. I trust the Government will not give any countenance to what is suggested. I hope they will adhere to their position of refusing to mention this matter in the Queen's Speech, and of refusing to support any legislation which is brought forward. I believe, Sir, the Clergy at the present moment are disposed to obey the Bishops. I believe that if time is given this crisis we disappear. But I believe that if you attempt to force legislation now, you will be imposing a law which would be repugnant to a great body of Clergy; that the secession from the Church which is talked about will very possibly take place; that Disestablishment and Disendowment will occur, and, what is worst of all, disruption. Therefore, Sir, I oppose this Motion, and trust that the Government will oppose it to the utmost of their ability.

* MR. BIRRELL (Fife, W.)

It is some illustration of the many difficulties that beset this burning question, and of the necessity of the House of Commons behaving rationally and keeping its head, that I, a Nonconformist of the Nonconformists, who cannot subscribe to the articles of faith of any of the sects which hitherto have made their appearance in the classic pages of Whitaker's Almanack, nevertheless find myself quite unable to support the Amendment of my honourable Friend, and although recognising the gravity of the question find myself rather more in sympathy with many of the observations which fell from the noble Lord the Member for Rochester than I do with the tone of the fiery speech of the learned churchwarden who sits on the Front Bench. Mr. Speaker, the honourable Member for Flint, who speaks with a sincerity we all respect, and, with a knowledge upon the subject which evidently distresses him, is—and he does not conceal it—in a great fright. He is honestly afraid for the Protestantism of this country. His imagination sees mediævalism and monks all around him— saints, shrines, holy wells, and water— and, being in a fright, he does what so many men before him when they are in a fright have done and will continue to do—he runs to this House and says, "Give me at once some law to put down those opinions which I do not happen to share." Well, I quite agree with the honourable Member that there is a very grave question before the country at the present time. The noble Lord the Member for Rochester has said, what, indeed, everybody who has kept his eyes open has seen, that during the last forty years there has been throughout the length and breadth of England, and even in Wales, an enormous revival of Catholic doctrine, Catholic feeling, Catholic sentiment, Catholic expression. It has worked a revolution in our own time in the Church of England. We see it not only in the services of the Church which are so brilliantly defended by the honourable Member who has just sat down, and who, indeed, appeared before us as a kind of Mr. Griffith Boscawen.

expert on Church services, but we see it in Church literature, in Church history, in all the books that are placed in the hands of the Clergy, in the training Colleges and Universities. There has been a great revolution of thought and feeling in this matter. The old race of Evangelical clergymen, with whom we were, many of us, accustomed to associate, or, at all events, were well acquainted with in our boyhood—the nice old clergyman who preached in a, black gown an Evangelical sermon which was not always his own, but which was not, perhaps, any the worse for that, and who would laugh in your face if you asked him if he honestly believed that he was a descendant of the Apostles: who paid very little attention to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, who did not attach too much importance to the rite of Confirmation; who spoke of the Communion or the Lord's Supper invariably as a commemorative service, and who never hesitated to express his regret at the tone of the Offices of the Visitation of the Sick—there can, I say, be no doubt this type of clergyman has entirely disappeared. He is almost as extinct as Parson Adams or the Rev. Mr. Primrose. I can remember the time when the Clergy of all denominations in Liverpool used to meet the Nonconformist ministers once a year. It was only once a year, but still once a year they met on the common platform of the Bible Society. We used to have our meetings, and a former Bishop of Chester was accustomed, in a most dignified manner, to preside, and, with an iteration which was, perhaps, a little wearisome, they repeated to one another the famous apothegm, the historically inaccurate apothegm of Chillingworth, that the Bible, and the Bible alone, was the religion of Protestants. But, when Mr. Gladstone filled up the See of Chester by appointing the Chairman of his Election Committee at Oxford, the Bishop of Chester no longer presided over this interesting auxiliary meeting of the Bible Society. He probably had no mind to be told, once, twice, or thrice, that the Bible, and the Bible alone, was the religion of Protestants. Since those days—and it is a very longtime ago, I am sorry to say—the clerical pace in the Church of England has been tremendous, and although it is very difficult to express confidently any opinion—although, there are still a great many Evangelical clergymen in the Church of England, although there are still in London large congregations every Sunday to hear Evangelical divines,— (do not let us pretend that there is only one school of thought in the Church of England). I do think it is now a rare thing—not an impossible thing, but still not a common thing— to meet a clergyman of the Church of England under 40 years of age who does not as a matter of course, and as the natural result of the training he has received, the company he has kept, and the books he has read, hold views on the priestly character and Church authority which, 30 or 40 years ago, would have made him a marked man. But, Mr. Speaker, this Catholic revival is not the only movement of thought that has happened during the last 30 years. The educated Laity of the Church have not stood still "marking time" they, too, have had their thought movement; they, too, have altered. Mr. Matthew Arnold would have shuddered if anybody had told him he was a Nonconformist— me of those vulgar persons who are always trying to thrust somebody's corpse into a churchyard which does not belong to them. He was a bonâ fide lay member of the Church of England, yet he did not hesitate to write books, and to publish them, in which he ridiculed the very conception of a personal God, expressed his complete absence of any assurance of a future life, and gently put aside the miracles both of the Old and New Testaments as so many fairy tales. Yet he remained, in his opinion at all events, a bond fide member of the Church of England. Well, Mr. Matthew Arnold, to my great personal sorrow, is long since dead; but you may read in the current number of the Quarterly Re-view—that organ of Toryism and High Church principles as they used to be understood—a most interesting article on the ethics of religious conformity, in which the writer, who was both a philosopher and a Churchman—probably more of a philosopher than a Churchman— starts with the assumption that a majority of the educated laity of the Church of England have long since found it impossible to believe in the Creeds after the manner, at all events, as they are commonly expressed and expounded by the Clergy. But this philosophical gentleman is not going to become a vulgar Nonconformist. Far from it. He has discovered a better way than that, a way in which you can remain in the Church and not believe in any of its Creeds so long as you are willing to believe that there is something behind them which may some day be revealed. Meanwhile, there is no reason why you should not, so he says, piously repeat expressions in the Creeds, which expressions some day or other will have to be overhauled or recast. Well, this philosophical Gentleman also urges upon us all the duty of remaining devoted members of the Church of England. I would ask my right hon. Friend the Member for Flintshire whether he has anything to say with reference to these counter revolutions and reformations which are so prevalent in these days. I am sure he does not share these opinions; I am sure he abhors them as much as he does the practices to which he has referred. Indeed, he would be much happier in the company of Canon Gore and of Canon Body than in discussing the Trinity with Mr. Arnold or whittling away Creeds with the Reviewer. But, of course, what honourable Members say is, We are not making war on any man's opinions; we cannot interfere with opinions—people must be allowed to hold their own opinions—but we take our stand upon the law. Now, I want to know what right my honourable Friend has to speak of what the law is on a matter of doctrine. The matter of doctrine is far more important and vital than the ceremonial use of incense or things of that kind. The honourable Member laments, as I do, the spread of sacerdotalism in the Church of England. But what law is there in the Church of England against sacerdotalism? What law is there against the very highest possible views anybody can entertain of the Sacraments of the Church? What law is there against Church authority? What law is there against what he calls priestly assumption? None whatever. Why, to hear my honourable Friend's attack, the Church of England might suddenly have become, for the first time in its history, a sacerdotal body. If so, why in the name of conscience did our ancestors—so many of them—become Nonconformists? People did not become Nonconformists for the fun of the thing. They certainly did not do so in the olden time. It is not very amusing, Mr. Speaker, even now. But in the olden time your life was at stake. If your life was spared you, your liberty was endangered. If you were spared your liberty, your property was taken away. And long after life, liberty and property were no longer in jeopardy, for generation after generation Nonconformists had to see themselves cut aloof from the main currents of national life, denied admission into the Public Schools and Grammar Schools, forbidden to enter the Universities, and they had not only to see themselves deprived of those things, but what to the paternal heart is sharper and more bitter, they had to see their children deprived of the advantages with which their contemporaries were endowed. Yet they would not bow the knee to Baal. Why? Because they saw sacerdotalism writ large over all the formularies of the Church of England from beginning to end. That was the reason why they were Nonconformists, and that was the reason why those who paid any attention to these things in these degenerate days remain Nonconformists now. Mr. Speaker, we see all these things very plainly, and I really do not know what good there is in my honourable Friend coming down to this House and harping upon the Reformation. He speaks of it as glibly as though it was something like the Norman Conquest, which happened obviously and had such very plain results. I once asked, some years ago, what did happen at the Reformation? I never got an answer. This is one of the most difficult and vexed questions which can engage the attention of the ripest scholars. I have my own opinion. It differs in toto from the opinion entertained by the Bishop of Oxford, at whose feet, in matters of history, I am usually content humbly to sit. I am not going to give up my opinion in deference to his, though he has probably devoted to this intricate question, evolving the study of many documents, more hours than I have minutes; but though I retain my own opinion, I should be little-short of a fool if I did not readily admit that when there was such a difference, between two such men, the subject must be one of much complexity honourable Friend harps away again on the Thirty-nine Articles. He wishes to bind all the clergy of the Church of England down to the Thirty-nine Articles. Well, as for the Thirty-nine Articles — it is foolish not to say it — not only the Church, but the nation, has outgrown them. Why, I remember perfectly well only last Session, when my honourable and learned Friend the Member for one of the divisions of Edinburgh poked what I thought was very good-humoured fun at the Member for Flintshire on the ground that it was difficult to say from the look of him whether he was a sub-lapsarian or a supra-lapsarian. I remember the Lobbies were afterwards crowded by curious Members asking one another what on earth were the meanings of these strange and fantastic terms. If they had lived at the time when the Thirty-nine Articles were compiled, they would have known them as familiarly as they now know the slang of the Stock Exchange. They are terms intimately connected with the Augustinean doctrine of Predestination, which, when the Articles were compiled1, was accepted by all parties in the Church, Catholic, Anglican, and Puritan alike. There was no person calling himself a Christian who, at that time, did not hold strongly by that very doctrine of Predestination. Now we have travelled so far from it that there are many theologians who are not well acquainted with its technicalities, or, indeed, able to state it in very intelligible language. That only illustrates what I say, that it is not fair to pin down the clergy to the Thirty-nine Articles. 'You must judge them by all their formularies, and you must read those formularies by the light of their history as a complete and entire whole. It is no use confining your studies to reading Bishop Ryle and the Rev. Charles Simeon, or even extending them to the semi-Arians of the 18th century. You must carry your investigations back a little further. Read the works of Archbishop Laud, and the letters of Bishop Ken; read the theological writings of Bull, and Hammond, and Thorndyke, who expressed the opinions of the High Church Clergyman of the present day in language which the High Church Clergyman of the present day cannot command. You will find the same opinions, the same views about the Sacraments and about Church authority expressed in these writings, and, after all, these authors were very much nearer to the great period of the Reformation than we are ourselves. Mr. Speaker, I altogether decline to have anything to do with any legislative Measures having for their object the harrying of any particular school of thought within the Church of England at the bidding of any other section— I will not have anything to do with such a movement. I concur with what fell from the noble Lord the Member for Rochester, in the opening remarks of his speech. He put Disestablishment lightly on one side, but I think his speech—the earlier part of it—was so admirable an argument in favour of Disestablishment, that I hope my Friend, the Secretary of the Liberation Society, will take care to see that it is printed and circulated amongst the faithful. I am not afraid to express my opinion, my deep-rooted conviction, that Disestablishment will be found to be the only cure. My honourable Friend the Member for Flint did not put Disestablishment into his Motion—or into his Amendment—because he wanted to get the votes of some Gentlemen opposite. I ask him whether that is not practising a little of that reserve, of that economy, he deprecated so severely in Catholic theologians? I will have no part in any such Jesuitical practices, which, for all I know, may emanate from a Foreign Power. I say I am perfectly persuaded that the only final solution of the difficulties confronting us, will be found in Disestablishment. And why do I say that? I say that because I see now plainly—I have seen it for many years—that there is a great rift, a great gulf, between the opinions of the dominant party in the Church of England, the most active, the most eloquent and zealous of the Clergy of the Church, and the opinions of the great body of the Laity. I say there is a great gulf between them which I do not believe can be bridged over. We have now seen—as I have said, as everybody admits—a great revival in the Anglican Church. Speaking as a man who rejoices in the religious spirit, and who would be very sorry to see this nation deprived of it, I do not look with any apprehension or any terror upon that growth of spiritual feeling, life, and vivacity within the Anglican Church. But we now see the Anglican Church asserting her claim, asserting her authority, in the very language and manner in which she claimed to assert it in the time of Laud. She makes no bones about it. She asserts herself and her priests to be supernaturally endowed, Apostolically descended. She asserts that, and nothing this House can do can prevent that assertion being made. Her priests assert that they are able to perform daily the miracle of the Mass. I care nothing about words, the counters of wise men, the money of fools. The Mass, supposed now to be a word of terrible and evil meaning, may be found in the Prayer Book of King Edward the Sixth, that sweet Protestant youth, where it is mentioned as "The Communion of the Last Supper, commonly called the Mass." It was expunged from subsequent Prayer Books. Wherever there is a priest, wherever there are the elements, wherever there are the words of consecration, there is the Mass, call it by what name you choose, and the re servation of the Sacrament for the use of the Sick and Dying—I speak of it with the reverence that it deserves— seems to me a small thing as compared with the now widely scattered belief, the confidently asserted opinion, that the clergy of the Church of England do every day, by virtue of their Holy Orders, perform this living sacrifice. Shocking things are said to be going on in many or the churches of the Establishment. I do not like to use the word shocking, but if anything is shocking it is the belief in the Church of England of the miracle of the Altar, and not that a few energetic and enthusiastic clergymen claim the right to reserve the Sacrament for the purpose of carrying the Sacramental wafer to the bedside of the sick or the dying. If there is a miracle, if there is a sacrament working er opere operato, why in the name of humanity and common sense should it not be carried to the bedside of the sick and dying? And yet if you were to sit up all night and 'pass some wonderful Act of Parliament, the very most that you could do would be that you might, if the Bishops assisted you, put down the ceremonial use of incense and the reservation of the Sacrament for the use of the sick. It does not matter a bit. What you can put down is nothing that matters. What you cannot put down arc the things which do matter, and these are the things which are growing daily. It used to be said that the Church of England ought to be maintained as an Establishment because it was the true Church, the only Church to which anybody ought to belong, the one Church to which it was one's duty to go. Attendance at Church was, in those days, a civil as well as a religious duty. Nobody now will get up and assert that he supports the Establishment for that reason; but a via media was, of course, constructed. There was something to be said for it. The Church of England, so it was urged, though not the Church of the whole people, was yet so moderate in its doctrines, so mild in its pretensions, so acceptable in its ritual, that the great bulk of the people of this country, though not actually belonging to it, could, nevertheless, share in its services and accept it as a recognition of the Divine principle which we all desire to see upheld. That may have been true once. I am not quite sure that it was ever true. I am certain it is not true now. I am satisfied that the only way in which the religious spirit can be maintained and danger done to nobody's faith is as soon as may be to set your house in order and prepare for Disestablishment. A severance of the Church and State will not do the State any harm. The State will not be a penny the worse. I defy rely upholder of the union of Church and State to mention a single instance in our history when the State has been infected with religious zeal, either by Bishops in another place or by any other of the consequences which follow from the connection of Church and State. I can mention thousands of instances in which the State has secularised the Church. I cannot remember one in which it can be honestly said that the influence of the Church has consecrated the State. I am certain the noble Lord is afraid of nothing. His confidence in the Church forbids him to be afraid of anything, and, indeed, the devout and pious Churchman must feel that it will be a great day for him and his Church when it recovers its proper voice in Convocation, when it is rid of this most detestable House of Commons, and of a succession of Prime Ministers, and gets for ever quit of that bloodcurdling doctrine, the Royal Supremacy, at the foot of which the learned churchwarden on the Front Bench prostrates himself so devoutly. I confidently look forward to the day when the Church, letting go her hold on faithless men and worldly assemblies, will fearlessly entrust the precious freight of Truth it is her duty to transmit from generation to generation to the sole and eternal guardianship of Almighty God.


I will detain the House but a very few moments in explaining the difficulties that I, in common with many of my friends, find myself in. Sir, I and a great many Gentlemen upon this side of the House sympathise with many of the sentiments expressed by the Mover of this Amendment. Of course, Sir, I am aware, and my Friends on this side of the House are aware, that the Hon. Gentleman and his Nonconformist Friends are influenced by a double motive in the action which they take in this matter. They desire, I have not the least doubt, to oppose any introduction into the Protestant Church of Romish doctrine, which they dislike. But they also have, I think, another object in view, and that is, not simply to improve, but, if possible, to destroy the Church of England. Well, Sir, with this latter desire I feel no sympathy. I must say, Sir, that at the same time, it struck me as a strange thing to listen to the speech of a Gentleman like the honourable Member for Flint, and hear how bitterly opposed he is to allowing Romish influence to interfere with the system of British Protestantism, though a very short time ago he and his Friends were quite willing to hand over Irish Protestants to the tender mercies of the Church of Rome.


No, no.


The honourable Gentleman says "No, no." We prevented it taking place, or it would have happened. If the honourable Member calls for a Division, which I hope he will not, I say it will be a Division upon a false issue, for nothing can divest this motion, to my mind, of being a vote of no confidence in the Government. It is an immemorial practice in this House that an Amendment to the Address, no matter how modestly it may be framed, and how it may be expressed to catch the votes even of supporters of the Government, is bound to be regarded as a vote of no confidence; and although I sympathise with the honourable Member in, at any rate, some of his motives, yet certainly on the present occasion I cannot support him. Sir, I can understand the position that the Government will take—at least, I imagine I can. I read the speech of the right honourable Gentleman the Leader of the House, at Manchester, and I conclude that the attitude he will take is this: "You must give the Bishops time." Well, Sir, I really think that is an argument that it is very hard to overcome. The Bishops are interested now, are taking action. I asked my honourable Friend, in his speech, when he said that you ought to give considerable credit to these Ritualistic clergymen—he said they had been going on for years at these practices, but now they have come in, and more or less bow to the authority of the Bishops—I asked him, when was that authority exercised? and ho said in the immediate past. Well, Sir, what moved the Bishops? I venture to say that if these motions had not been made in the House, and if a great agitation had not taken place in the country, the Bishops would not have moved one inch. But, I think, Sir, unless they are deaf, unless they are blind, instead of being as I imagine very intelligent Gentlemen, they will see at the present moment there is a movement in this country which cannot be ignored. This movement cannot be minimised as a "No Popery" movement. It has nothing to say to the Roman Catholic religion. Certainly, it is "No Popery" in this sense. It is "No Popery" inside a Protestant Church; and I think nothing proves the change which the Ritualists have brought about more than this, that only last year in the Debate that occurred in this House on the motion of the honourable Gentleman the Member for Flint, in criticising the actions of the Ritualistic clergy in the Church of England the honourable Member for Clare got up and said that he could not sit quiet when he listened to these horrible insults that were being hurled at the Roman Catholic Church. So the Ritualist must so closely resemble the Roman Catholic that he is mistaken for the real article by the honourable Gentleman. Our contention is this: if a clergyman of our Church preaches doctrines absolutely opposed and subversive of the Church which he has sworn to obey, I would not put him in prison, I would not make him a martyr; but I would turn him out. I should like to ask any honourable Gentleman opposite of the Roman Catholic faith if he went to a Roman Catholic Church and heard a Roman Catholic priest get up and preach a Protestant sermon, what would happen? Why, he would have a fit. And what would immediately ensue would be that that priest in the course of a week would be turned out. I do not wish for summary measures of that kind in the Church of England, but I say that unless you give the Bishop power to turn out of his benefice a clergyman who chooses to preach doctrine diametrically opposed to the Church to which he belongs you will have these continued scenes recurring in our churches, which I think do very little credit to the civilisation of the age.


May I ask what ho would do with the clergyman if he would not go out of the Church?


I would turn him out! I do not wish to go all through the speech of the honourable and learned Gentleman, who seems to have in view a Church of his own, but I would ask, What sort of doctrine would that Church profess? What sort of regulation would exist in that interesting building? And what kind of order would exist in a Church in which apparently Mr. Matthew Arnold and gentlemen of that school had the framing of a certain number of Articles? We do not on this side share the honourable and learned gentleman's opinions. What he wants to do is to destroy the Church of England.


No, no.


To disestablish it, to pull it down until it cumbers the ground. We wish to spare it another year, that it may have opportunity to grow in strength, and the Government, I suppose, will decide. I have had considerable experience on this point. When we reconstructed the Irish Church I happened to be one of the laymen chosen to form a Committee which drew up the formularies and facilitated the whole internal arrangements of the Church, and we contemplate the possibility that in the future troubles might arise in Ireland of the kind which unfortunately are too prevalent in this country, and we determined that we should establish in the Episcopal Church in Ireland a tribunal which should be perfectly fair and not too expensive. Now, let me ask the House to consider this matter. We often blame the Bishops for doing nothing until they are forced to act by the voice of public opinion. How can they, at the present moment in this country, without spending enormous sums of money which they do not possess? We know that Ritualistic clergymen, who are very popular amongst the highest aristocracy, who are possessed of friends who will supply them with any amount of money, can practically defy a Bishop, because if one of our Bishops attempts to turn a clergyman out of his church it is a very long and a very expensive operation. Now, I say, if the Church of England is to get the Bishops to keep order it must enable the Bishop to do so without fining him possibly the whole extent of his fortune. I see the Bishops are going to introduce a Bill. They do not appear to me, at any rate, to be inclined to go too fast. The Archbishop of Canterbury says there is no particular hurry, and the Bill they are going to introduce in another place is a Bill which has been in existence—or rather I should say in a dormant condition—for ten years. They are going to revive this Bill, not with any hope of making it the law of the land, but, they say, as a basis for further consideration. So, I think, if the Bishops are left to their legal operations in this way, possibly m the time of our great-grandsons we shall have some real remedy introduced. What I should like to hear the Government say is this; that if, in the immediate future—let us say a year or so—the action of the Bishops has not been found to satisfactorily maintain that order in the Church which we have a right to expect, then they will feel it to be their duty to produce legislation on the subject. I am of opinion, as I believe most Members of this House will be of opinion, that this is not a satisfactory assembly in which to deal with some of these very important and solemn subjects. But, Sir, it is the only place where the Laity can speak. The noble Lord spoke about public opinion. Why, this is public opinion. This House represents public opinion.




Certainly it does. Perhaps the honourable Gentleman does not. I do not know how he was elected. I think we my fairly say we represent the public opinion of this country, and therefore I say it is the only place in which we can take steps to bring to the ears of the Bishops our opinion. Debates of this kind in the House of Commons are, to my mind, of the greatest possible value. I think it will be a great mistake if the Government, and if the Bishops, undervalue the forces of this wave of public opinion that has started in this country. This is a great Protestant nation, however honourable Gentlemen may forget it. We give liberty to all, perfect freedom to men of all creeds, but we have not ceased to value our own; and in our opinion it is because we are a Protestant nation that we have become great, and prosperous, and free. Sir, when we look at the system of the world, when we look at the present history of nations, we learn this lesson, that all nations that have bowed down to the sacerdotal yoke have gone beneath the level; whereas those who have not, stand on the same level as before. As a Protestant nation we have become great and prosperous, and we will not patiently suffer, unless I mistake the feeling of the British people, the Protestant religion to be trampled under foot by men who do not deserve to be called honest. Feeling as I do the vast importance of the subject, and sympathising with the honourable Member in many of his views, I cannot, however, support his Amendment, because if it were carried it would be a vote of want of confidence in the Government.

MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

Mr. Speaker, the substance of the arguments used by my honourable and learned Friend appears to be totally foreign to the subject in hand. I think his speech may fairly be stated to amount to this—that all religions are nonsense, and that it really did not matter very much whether you adopted one form or another, and that it was foolish to waste the time of the House in discussing the matter. It seems to me that is not an unfair description of the speech of my honourable and learned Friend.


I must say I never heard a more unfair description.


The argument of my honourable and learned Friend was in favour of freedom of thought and freedom of expression of that. No one objects to that. The expressions of opinion by Matthew Arnold and by public journals quoted by the honourable and learned Member everyone has a right to use. Take my own case. Would it be right for me, a firm Liberal, to endeavour to obtain access to the membership of a Conservative club, and to use the privileges of that club for the purpose of undermining Conservatism and spreading Liberal opinion, and having been discovered, to refuse to leave, and say I was acting in the interests of freedom of thought? Is there any difference in that and what we are discussing now? We simply say that where an organisation has fixed principles and rules, any person joining it should be bound to carry them out. The first duty of any person in such an organisation who cannot conscientiously agree with it is not to remain in it, but to leave it. That was what the Nonconformists did in past times. They disagreed, but they were as much entitled as the present High Church to say, "We love the Church, and revere it; we are unwilling to leave it; we will remain and introduce Nonconformist services; we will insist on carrying on the Church in our own way, and if any persons object, we will fight them if the law is invoked and put in force." But the Nonconformists did not adopt that course. They adopted views which were inconsistent with the views of the Church of England, and they did the only right and honest thing, and went out of it. We are not attacking any form of religion or opinion; we are only attacking dishonesty in officials of an orgnisation. The noble Lord made what he considered an answer to the charge of the honourable Member for Flint, but it was a most damaging admission. He referred to one diocese where he said only five clergymen exercised the practice of reservation, which is really a Roman Catholic practice, totally opposed to the Protestant Church. To admit that five clergymen have made use of their position as dignitaries of the Church of England in order to introduce a practice belonging to a rival and a hostile Church was treason. What would be thought if allegations were made that treason against this country permeated the ranks of the higher officials in the Foreign Office, and the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs stood up in this House and replied that only five officials had been guilty of treason with France or Russia? Sir, the fact that one clergyman is admitted to have exercised these practices is an absolute justification of the speech of my honourable Friend. We are not interfering in the slightest degree with freedom of opinion, but the law of the Church must be carried out. My honourable Friend near me says that because there are doctrines which it is impossible to say whether they are actually contrary to the Church of England or not, therefore, every doctrine ought to be allowed to be broken. I should like to hear my honourable Friend address that argument to any judge in court. Let him endeavour to support a client who is endeavouring to commit a breach of the law by pointing out how Courts of Appeal have been established because of different decisions on questions of law, and how differences of opinion occurred between most eminent judges, and let him, therefore, ask the Court to allow his client to break the law in a matter which is perfectly clear and not disputed. The argument seems to be utterly unreasonable, because we are only asking that in matters in which it is perfectly clear and not disputed that the law is broken, it should be enforced. The same means of ascertaining what is contrary to law exists as in the case of a dispute between commercial men. Under those circumstances, therefore, I think the speech of my honourable and learned Friend, brilliant and able though it was, was fallacious and unsound.


In venturing to ask the indulgence of the House to take part in this Debate, I can assure the House that I will not add to the bitterness of the controversy; rather would I desire that the parties concerned would have a greater mutual understanding of each other's position, when there might be removed a great deal of the present bitterness about motives and intentions. Anyone who reads the history of the Church of England carefully must be convinced that the Church of to-day is the same Church which always existed in this country. The Church is the same as the Church before the Reformation and before the Conquest. What occurred at the Reformation was not that a new Church was established or founded, but that an old national Church exercised its inherent right to reform itself and to bring its doctrine and practice more into accord with the earlier Church. The result was that the Church of England, which up to the Reformation was entirely Catholic—I use the word in the larger sense, not merely as so many honourable Members use it, to describe the Roman Catholic Church—after the Reformation the Church became not only Catholic, but Protestant, and, as a result, there have been two schools of thought constantly struggling within its fold. There is an old fable which seems to me to accurately represent the attitude of those two parties. There were two knights who entered a wood from different points of the compass. They both came across a shield in the centre of the forest, and neither saw the side the other did. One declared the shield was gold, the other that it was silver. From words they came to the argument of blows, and in running the tilt they changed places, with the result that each saw the side the other had been looking at, and both recognised they were right, for the shield had a golden and a silvern side. The Church has had its golden and its silvern, side since its Reformation, and my own opinion is that those who are taking part in the controversy at the present time are like the two knights who each only saw one side of the shield. My own belief is that if honourable Members and those who are so thoroughly interested in the controversy would ride round the field and see the other side, they would acknowledge that the Church of England is not only Protestant, but also Catholic. Let me illustrate my belief that this was the intention of the Reformation. In an Act of Parliament passed in the reign of King Edward VI., in 1548, I find expressions with regard to a word which is a constant stumbling-block to persons interested in this controversy. I refer to the word "Mass." In the first chapter of that Act I find the words, "Holy Communion, commonly called the Mass," "Celebration of the Lord's Supper, commonly called the Mass," "Holy Communion called the Mass." From this I think it is apparent that the Reformers looked upon the word "Mass" simply as another word for the reformed services of the Church of England. This Act was, of course, passed by a thoroughly Protestant House of Commons. In 1549 the first Prayer Book, which had been reformed and revised, was passed. That also contained the words, "Holy Communion, commonly called the Mass." In 1552 another Act was passed, which did not condemn the Prayer Book, but was for the purpose of explaining it. It said that the former Act was to remain in full force; and surely, if there was anything superstitious in the wording of it, it would be removed in the second Act. We may then see that the Reformers looked on the word "Mass" as in no way superstitious. If you refer to the Thirty-nine Articles it will be found that it is said there is no statement superstitious or ungodly in the Prayer Book. Again, the consecration of a Bishop is inseparably bound up with the "Holy Communion, commonly called the Mass." Whether it is advisable that a word which has come to be identified with the Latin service in the Roman Church should be used in our Church is another question. Honourable Members are constantly finding fault with the use of the word "Mass" as regards the Holy Communion, but I fail to see on the authority of the Articles and an Act of Parliament that its use is illegal, however unsuitable it may be. What may Justly be called the furbishing up of the golden side of the shield is very often put down to a question of men's millinery. That may be useful in controversy, but I venture to think that those who look below the surface see a deeper cause. At the present time we are face to face with scepticism and unbelief. To face all those difficulties of thought men want something more than the mere negation which formed so much of the foundation of Protes- tantism. I say it is a craving for more definite dogma and doctrine which has been the true foundation of what is called the High Church movement of the present day. I can assure honourable Members, speaking for myself, and I think for all who share the belief that the Church is not only Protestant, but also Catholic, that if we thought for one moment that the spiritual yoke of Home was going to be reimposed on the Church of England and the people of this land, we should be the very first to stand up, as our forefathers stood up, for liberty of conscience and liberty in Church and State. We believe the Church of England is Catholic, we contend also we are Protestants.

MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Notts, Mansfield)

Mr. Speaker, I will not make any attempt to add to the voluminous and probably accurate statements of the Mover of the Amendment. I am of opinion that the time for description and denunciation is pretty nearly passed, and that the time for action has arrived. The right honourable Gentleman the Member for Monmouthshire, whose absence from this Debate I very much regret, lately threw out a suggestion that there might be a system of espionage established in various parishes in the country, to collect information with regard to irregularities, for use in Parliament and elsewhere. It strikes me that that is a very belated suggestion. We have been deluged with information for many months past. The facts are pretty well known, but I think the speeches made to-night on the other side have not been very satisfactory, and will not tend to diminish anxiety in the public mind with regard to the state of things in the Church. The right honourable Gentleman made a further suggestion that there might be formed a new society, to make use of the information he wishes to have collected. All I can say is that if the large number of societies which combined together to organise that great meeting at the Albert Hall are not sufficient to safeguard the Church, then the Protestantism of the Church must be in a very parlous state indeed. I am not going to fling about any of the stinging epithets so plentifully employed during this controversy. The fact is, I have a considerable amount of sympathy with all parties in the Church in this discussion. I even sympathise with the Bishops; recognising as I do the enormous difficulties they have to contend with, and their lack of power, to which the Primate made such a pathetic allusion in his visitation charge. But I own that my sympathy is somewhat diminished by the fact that they are very largely responsible for the state of things complained of to-night. They have made appointments when it was notorious that the appointees were clergymen who had either been guilty of Ritualistic exercises, or were likely to be so, in the parishes to which they were appointed. The Bishops have consecrated churches in which they were morally certain irregularities would take place. They have also taken part in services which they themselves are now obliged to condemn. The fact is, the Bishops have allowed the sacerdotal system to grow up unchecked. They had knowledge of it. It did not require a Mr. Kensit to reveal the facts of the case. Remonstrances were from time to time addressed to the Bishops, but in vain, and I do not wonder that their inaction had a very misleading effect on the Ritualistic portion of the Church. The Ritualists came to look upon their position as perfectly secure, and they have gone from step to step with the greatest boldness. Now, both the Bishops and the High Church section are called upon to abandon practices in which they have taken part for years, and to suppress, if not to surrender, their most conscientious and deeply cherished convictions. I do not wonder that these clerics feel somewhat aggrieved at this sudden state of things, and that they are inclined to rebuke the Bishops, in now resisting practices they had connived at, if they did not approve them. It is said that Rome was not built in a day, and it is quite certain that Romanism in the Established Church is not going to be expurgated in a day. I have sympathy also with the Evangelical section of the Church. The Ritualists say, "We are asked to abandon our practices, but if our irregularities and excesses are to be suppressed by the Bishops and the law, the same must be done with practices which differ from ours." That is very natural and reasonable. Consequently the Evangelical clergy will find themselves driven to return to practices they have abandoned. They will be called on to have a daily service which no one wants, and to read the Athanasian Creed, which some of them abhor. This attempt to enforce uniformity, if it succeeds, will have certain effects highly unfavourable to the Church. The Primate has stated, and so have others, that the increased life of the Church has necessarily brought with it new efforts to promote the spiritual and social good of the country. It is agreed that more liberty is required, in order to give full expression to the Church feeling of to-day. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have even gone so far as to suggest that the Act of Uniformity has become obsolete. They have expressed the opinion that the sooner the Act is repealed the better. The Legislature has in recent years recognised the necessity of giving greater liberty, by the Uniformity Amendment Act passed in 1873, which was intended to give liberty, but has become a fresh source of disputation in the Church. The effort to secure uniformity in the Church will fail, or succeed. I will not now say anything of failure; but the consequences of success will be that Erastianism will have achieved a new triumph, and the fetters of the State will be laid on the Church more heavily than before. There are strong objections in many quarters to Parliament making any attempt to find a remedy for the evils in the Church. Well, I recognise, as much as anybody else, the unfitness of this House to deal with these evils; and though I have not sat many years in Parliament, I think I am correct in saying that there is throughout the House an absolute disinclination to deal with Church matters. There is a desire, if it were possible, that we should get rid of them altogether. This dislike of Churchmen to legislation is not a new thing. In 1855, Mr. Gladstone wrote to Bishop Wilberforce—"No good to the Church will come from Parliament. It must be developed from within." Another devoted Churchman—now deceased—the late highly respected Earl of Carnarvon said, several years after—in 1881— None but the most short-sighted will look to legislation as a remedy for our present difficulties. The conditions of Parliament, as now constituted, are incapable of wise and just legislation on Church questions. There is scarcely a line on this subject in the Statute Book of recent years which would not be better out than in; and, whatever our difficulties, and even our contentions, the less we have of Parliamentary interposition the happier we shall be. Well, if these reasons were strong in the year 1881, they are stronger still to-day. At any rate, they are expressed in still more emphatic terms by Canon Scott-Holland, who says that "the Church would rather die than accept legislation from the House of Commons." A High Church journal, writing in the interests of the Establishment, puts the matter still more strikingly. It declares— We should absolutely decline to take the slightest notice of any Act of Parliament which sought to coerce the Catholic clergy. We should resist its provisions at whatsoever cost to ourselves. That certainly does not afford encouragement to this House to embark on legislation. But still, the Church of England is a national institution; and the House of Commons, as the National Assembly, is charged with the interests of all national institutions, and it cannot assume an attitude of indifference towards them, and shirk the responsibility imposed upon it. Assuming that legislation takes place, what kind of legislation is it to be? It is quite certain it will not satisfy the desires of some Members on the opposite side of the House, and who represent a party out of doors, who are declaring that— The Church must be purged from the leaven of Romanism, not merely unlawful practices, but false doctrine as well. Sacerdotalism must be extirpated root and branch. That means nothing else than the expulsion of the High Church party from the Church of England, and that is a task which neither this Parliament nor any other Parliament is likely to attempt. There are certain things that Parliament might attempt to do. Whether we shall hear from the leaders of the Government presently what suggestions they have to give for the guidance of the House on this matter, I cannot say, but I can imagine that Parliament might pass an Act to abolish the Bishops' Veto, which has been so generally denounced. Parliament too, can substitute deprivation of benefices for imprisonment, and Parliament might undertake the very difficult task of reconstituting the Ecclesiastical Courts, But all these three expedients rest on the same principle. The object that they all aim at is coercion; and the instrument of coercion is to be litigation. I beg to ask the House, Is either coercion or litigation a desirable instrument to employ with the view to promote efficiency and good order in any Church? I need not say that no High Churchmen are desirous of coercion. I may appeal to some honourable Gentleman opposite, such as the Member for Honiton, who, out of doors, has expressed, and possibly will again express, the opinion that litigation would be only a source of misfortune for the Church, and that it would accomplish its object with a great amount of heart-burning and bitterness. May I not appeal to honourable Members of this House on both sides, whether past experience of Church legislation has not been too discouraging to induce us to make further attempts in the same direction? Take the case of the Clergy Discipline Bill, or the Public Worship Regulation Bill: I ask whether any honourable Member wishes for a repetition of the scenes that took place when these measures were being passed through the House, or a repetition of the incidents which followed the passing of these measures? Well, Sir, if that be a correct forecast of the future; if this House is not likely to pass the measures demanded of it, but if it does pass them they will prove utterly inefficacious—as I believe they would be—what remains? It has been referred to to-night. It has been presented in a journal not very favourable to the cause to which I am attached. The Times, the other day, said— The time must come when either common honesty compels the advanced clergy to abandon their position in the Church of England, or the nation will determine that, if the Church sanctions such teaching and practices, it must be as an independent body. Well, that of course is an indirect and mild way of describing Disestablishment. I have been glad to notice that, on the part of High Churchmen as well as Low Churchmen, they are convinced of the necessity of great changes in the constitution and administration of the Church, and that they candidly acknowledge that, if those changes cannot be made, there will be no other course left than for Parliament and the Church to adopt Dis- establishment. As to the average citizen: I believe his feeling is that if Parliament cannot compose the quarrels of the Church; if the Clergy of the Church cannot be held in check; if no means can be taken to secure obedience to the law, then the best thing would be to wash our hands of the whole business. Whatever blunders might be committed by the Disestablished Church; whatever evil consequences might follow from those blunders, the nation, the State, this House, would not be in the slightest degree responsible for them. How would the Disestablishment of the Church lead to that purgation of the Church which so many desire? Even if sacerdotalism remained in the Church the prestige and authority of the State would be withdrawn, and the national resources would no longer be available. But the main advantage that would follow the Disestablishment of the Church would be the new position in which the laity of the Church, would be placed. I am glad to see it acknowledged that the present position of the laity is unsatisfactory, and that there is a general concurrence of opinion that the laity of the Church should have a share in the management of the Church. My belief is that the laity of the Church—the majority of them—would be staunch supporters of Protestantism in the Church. I am able to point to what Bishops and others from Ireland have told us in regard to what happened in Ireland after the State-Church in that country was disestablished. The Bishops of the Irish Church have come over to this country and expressed their gratitude that the Irish Church is not deluged with Ritualism, and they attribute it to the fact that the Church is disestablished and has made provision against it. My opinion is that when the Church of England is freed from the fetters of the State, that object will be secured here, and we shall witness the spectacle of a great Church, free from the restrictions of the State, and better able to carry on the work of God in the land.

Upon the return of Mr. SPEAKER, after the usual interval,


I have no desire to take up the attention of this House for more than a very short time. I have listened with great interest to the remarks which have been addressed to the House by the honourable Member, who might be said to represent what may be termed the Liberation Society in this House, and I gathered that his speech was one that was scarcely germane to the question raised by the Motion before us, but was simply one in favour of the Disestablishment of the Church of England. I do not in any way wish to cast any imputation upon the sincerity of those on these Benches who are opposed to the Government in this matter. There are some honourable Members on this side of the House who have taken up an extreme Protestant position on this matter, although when we go to a Division they will probably be found voting against the Motion. I have always felt a very great sympathy with the earnest members of the Evangelical Party, especially in the country districts where they find doctrine and ritual to which they are unaccustomed suddenly introduced in their parish church; but I have not the slightest sympathy with the howling mobs who attend some of the large public Protestant meetings. Neither have I any sympathy with the Nonconformists, who appear to me to have no reason to be dissatisfied with the Established Church, to the endowment of which they have not contributed one single shilling. I notice that the right honourable Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth, has stirred up a great deal of agitation in the country, and has raised the "No Popery" cry, but now the question has come before this House he has retired to warmer and more genial climes. I have read with very great interest every letter written by the right honourable gentleman; but as time went on I noticed that the letters became more indefinite and more vague in their character, and I think the whole thing was summed up in his last letter, in which he plainly shows that the only possible way in which the question can be dealt with, in his opinion, is by Disestablishment. He is opposed apparently to all legislation at the present time. He says that if these Bishops do not do their duty, then their veto must be abolished; he added that the abolition of the veto means Disestablishment. Although the honourable Member for Flintshire attempted to speak in the interests of the Protestant Party in the Church of England, it is perfectly clear that he holds in reserve a policy of Disestablishment. Now, Mr. Speaker, I propose to address a few words to the House on this subject as a Churchman and a Conservative. As a Conservative I heartily agree with the policy of the Government as I understand it. It may be described as a policy of masterly inactivity, and, in my humble opinion, that is the best policy to pursue at the present time. We want to wait and see what is going to be done. We must wait and see what the Bill which is to be brought in by the Archbishop is going to produce, and then we can take such action as may be necessary in the matter. I hope that the Government will, neither now nor at any future time, legislate in this matter, because I think that the reform should come from the Church, as a spiritual body, and from Convocation. As a Churchman, and I am not ashamed to say as a High Churchman, I thoroughly approve of the wise policy of the Government. I was very glad to hear the honourable Gentleman the Member for Flintshire allude to the antiquity of the High Church Party. He alluded to the fact that that great historic party existed in the times of Charles I. He might have gone further back even than that. I think it was the First Lord of the Treasury who said that the High Church Party had as much right to be in the Church as the Low Church Party. It seems to me that it is perfectly monstrous, that it is a perfect scandal that Parliament should deal with the doctrine or ritual, either directly or indirectly, of the Church of England. How absolutely absurd it would be for the House of Commons, composed as it is of men of various beliefs, and some possibly of no belief at all, to decide what is God's truth and what the Bible does or does not teach! I ask this honourable House, would the Presbyterian Church of Scotland tolerate for a single moment the idea that their doctrine should be decided for them by the House of Commons? Those who are agitating this matter will bring about a great disruption in the Church of England. I see an honourable Member of this House sitting opposite who is probably a Member of the Presbyterian Church; I should like to hear what his opinion is upon that subject. I should like to refer to what the Duke of Argyll said in a letter to The Times in September last; also to what has been written, not by a Presbyterian, but by a member of the Church of England, a clergyman associated and connected with the Evangelical school of thought, Dean Lefroy, who said that if the House of Commons was composed of Churchmen or even Christians, it might take part in legislation, but as matters stood it appeared to him it would be the highest wisdom to avoid appealing to the Imperial Parliament. I believe many of the Evangelical Party are opposed to Parliamentary interference, and consider that it would be most disastrous. While I deplore certain unauthorised services which have recently been brought before the notice of the public, and I acknowledge that there is a great want of discipline in the Church at the present time; I contend that this attack is an attack, not only on the "extreme section," but upon the High Church Party itself as a whole. I have followed the whole of the agitation very closely, and I do not think that there has been a single meeting of which I have not read the report as it appeared in the Press, and in my opinion this is an attack upon the High Church party with the object of suppressing that party, and with the result of bringing about disruption in the Church. I think the Government are very wise, as a question of policy, in refusing to be intimidated into hasty legislation on this subject. I believe that if we only trust to the Bishops, this extremity will pass away, and if there is to be levelling down there must also be an appreciable amount of levelling up. I believe the Church will be the stronger for the crisis which it is going through, more earnest, and will have greater power for carrying out the duties of her sacred mission.

* MR. C. MCARTHUR (Liverpool, Exchange)

In this matter I entirely concur with the Member for Flint Boroughs in the matter he has put before the House, and I hope that it will not be treated as a Party question, but that Members on this side of the House more particularly will be permitted to vote according to their conscience. I think that in all the speeches that have been delivered on this subject, the existence of a serious evil in the Church of England has been admitted, and the only difference has been as to the extent of the evil, and the remedy to be applied. The only exception is the one contained in the brilliant speech of the Member for West Fife, in which he said that the Church was in a sound and healthy position; but he added that Disestablishment was the only remedy; and, I ask, how can there be a remedy without an evil? No apology has been offered to-night for extreme Ritualism. The honourable Members who represent the High Church Party here, and more particularly the noble Lord the Member for Rochester, displayed no sympathy whatever with the Ritualistic Party. The honourable Member who last spoke said, in the course of his speech, that he considered the intention of the Evangelical Party, in seeking for legislation on this question, was to attack the High Church party as a whole. I beg altogether to disclaim that intention, for we have no quarrel whatever with the High Church Party. I venture to say that the Evangelical section of the Church are proud of its comprehensiveness, and we should be sorry to see it changed. If the Church is not sufficiently comprehensive, let her be made so. What we ask for, however, is fair play for all its sections, and we ask that whatever limits are attached to the Church, those limits shall be faithfully observed. The noble Lord, in the course of his speech, told us that the Bishops were doing a great deal, and that already their action had been attended with considerable success. Well, we are very glad to know that, and we are glad to hear that the Bishops are at last bestirring themselves, but the noble Lord, however, omitted to give us the other side of the picture. He did not dwell to a very great extent upon the case of those 220 incumbents who met a short time ago in the Holborn Town Hall, and who disobeyed the distinct requirements of the Bishops. Nor did he allude to the fact that the leader of the Party he represents had publicly repudiated, on behalf of his Party, the authority of the Crown, Parliament, and the Privy Council in spiritual matters, and had declared that the authority of the Bishops is subordinate to the authority of the whole Catholic Church, and must be supported. Now that is the great ground of this difference between us. If I was asked to express the religion of the Church of England in a phrase, I should say that it was the Prayer Book based on the Bible. What the Ritualists have done, however, is that they have taken the Bible from beneath the Prayer Book, and they have put in its place that vague and nebulous thing, "the authority of the Catholic Church." But after any amount of special pleading, I think we must all be satisfied, whatever Party or Church we belong to, that there is a deplorable state of lawlessness existing in the Church, amounting to little short of anarchy, and that is the outcome of a movement now sixty years old, the object of which has been to obliterate the distinctive features which were implanted in our Church at the time of the Reformation. This has been done little by little at a time, until it has amounted to this, that Protestant sentiment and opinion has been outraged beyond toleration, and we find ourselves face to face with this dilemma; that the compromise between the different parties of the Church upon which that Church was based has been strained almost to breaking point. We find that the bond of union by which the State has connected together the various parties has now become a bond of disunion. Now I think a great deal of harm has been done by the way in which some of our leading authorities on Church and State have endeavoured to minimise this evil. I cannot help thinking that when they say this evil is confined to very few people and churches, that they are really, in effect, insulting common sense. Is it likely, if these evils are of such a trivial character, that the heart of England would be moved by them as it has been? We have been asked if Protestantism is in danger, and we have been told that it is not, and that it is no more in danger of a conspiracy against Protestantism than there would be of a conspiracy against the law of gravitation. That seems to me rather an unfortunate illustration, because the law of gravitation means that the smaller bodies are attracted to the larger ones. I think that that, to a great extent, is the real cause of the difficulties, in which we are placed, because the smaller bodies, and particu- larly our own Church, is being attracted by the force of gravitation to that greater Catholic Church from which it broke. All these attempts to minimise the evil seem to me to be playing with the fringe of the question, and they do not grasp the real crux of the difficulty. I can assure this House that popular feeling on this question is now deeply and thoroughly aroused. I represent one of the Divisions of the city of Liverpool, in which there is a very strong and deep feeling upon this question, more particularly among the working classes, and I will refer, as an illustration of this, to a great body called the Liverpool Working Men's Conservative Association. The question was formerly asked if there was such a thing as a Conservative working man, but if honourable Members will go to Liverpool, they will see 8,000 of them all subscribing members of this Association. Upon what question are they deeply agitated at the present time? It is not a question of bettering their own condition. Are they seeking to obtain old age pensions or employers' liability legislation, or anything to better their own position in life? No; they are deeply concerned, on one subject, and one subject alone, and that is the danger to Protestantism and the danger to the national Church. They are staunch Conservatives, but they place their religion above politics. They are Churchmen, but they will not support the Church of England if it ceases to be the Protestant Church, and if they find that the party to which they belong is not to be trusted in this matter, they will know the reason why. Now the question is, what is the remedy for this evil? A remedy has been proposed to-night by some of the speakers on the other side of the House in Disestablishment, but we are not on this side of the House prepared for that. We desire to reform and strengthen the Church, and not to disestablish her. I am one of those who think we need for our Church a comprehensive scheme of reform. We want self-government for our Church, and we want restored to the Laity their legitimate right in the management of the Church. But what we have to do now, is to restore order in the Church, and to restore the supremacy of the law. The noble Lord, the Member for Rochester, asked whether were going to submit to State dictation. I ask how there can possibly be State dictation -when the State is united to the Church? Is not the Queen the head of the Church and the head of the State? How, then, can he speak of Church dictation when we are only endeavouring to restore the supremacy of the Ecclesiastical Court, which should govern the Church? Who is to administer that remedy? No doubt we shall be told that we are to leave it to the Bishops. I do not wish to say a word—and, indeed, I should be the last person to do it—disrespectfully of the Bishops, having regard not only to their high position, but to their piety and their learning, which we all revere, but we must not shut our eyes to facts, and I think that we have to acknowledge this fact, that, lamentable as it is, the Bishops have ceased to enjoy the confidence of the people as a whole. The Bishops are no doubt beginning to see that a change is desirable, but only twelve months ago the Bishop of London was telling the parishioners that if they did not like to go to one church they could go to another. The Bishops are anxious to remedy this, and they are anxious to be placed in the position of arbitrators and judges. But there is this qualification wanted in a judge, and that is, that he should have the confidence of those among whom he administers Justice. We have this difficulty with regard to the Bishops, that they are not men of trained judicial minds, and they are not accustomed to dealing with controverted points. Not only this, but they are swayed by theological basis. It is quite right and proper that they should be, but that, to my mind, disqualifies them for the position of judges to decide such questions as these. Then, again, the Bishops are all so divided in opinion that there is no security for equality of treatment. In one diocese a matter might be decided in one way, and when you go to the next diocese you will find it decided in another way. What we want is one law administered by a perfectly impartial court. There is one other disqualification of the Bishops to which I should like to refer before leaving this matter, and that is the feeling that they have to a large extent, been mixed up with the practices upon which they now have to pronounce judgment. We have heard that the Bishops are about to introduce a Bill to reform the Ecclesiastical Courts. In this matter I venture to say that it would be a mistake to rely upon the Bishops, and I believe that if the Government—and I say it with great respect—are relying upon the Bishops to put an end to this crisis, I believe they are leaning on a broken reed. I do not see any other remedy than that the matter should be dealt with by Parliament. I ask the Government, how are they going to deal with this matter? Are they going to allow it to drift? If they do it will get from bad to worse. Are they going to take the matter into their own hands to deal with it as they think necessary in the interests of the Church as a whole? If not, are they going to allow facilities to private Members to deal with the matter? There is an impression abroad that the agitation will subside. The Archbishop of Canterbury's words have been alluded to, and I will quote them. The Archbishop said— He did not believe that the agitation was so deep as sometimes it was supposed to be. It was rather hot, no doubt, but he thought the heat would evaporate after a little while. I am convinced, however, that in this case the wish was father to the thought, but the heat will not evaporate until the evil is redressed. I claim, therefore, that the Government should tell us what they intend to do, and I venture also to say that nothing will satisfy the Protestant Laity of this country but prompt action to restore and maintain the supremacy of the law.


All I have to say I will say in a very few words, because the discussion deals with a question in whch I am not closely interested, and with a Church to which I do not belong. I do not propose for a single moment to offer any opinion as to whether the charges made by the honourable Gentleman the Member for Flint are rightly made or not. I do not desire to discuss the question as to whether the recklessness indulged in by a section of the members of the Church of England is legal or illegal; but I desire, in a few words, briefly to enter a protest against the thoroughly unfair, and, I am bound to say, extremely irritating way in which the Church to which I belong has been dragged into this discussion, and into other discussions of the same kind. I listened this afternoon with great respect to the speech of the honourable Gentleman the Member for Flint, and I felt as I listened to that speech, as I am sure every other honourable Member of the House did, that he was actuated by high conscientious motives, and he believed that he was doing what he considered to be his duty. I did, however, deeply regret that, not for the first time, the honourable Gentleman the Member for Flint, in endeavouring to reform, as he thinks it ought to be reformed, his own Church, the Church of England, did not hesitate to make references, not intentionally, I have no doubt, of an insulting nature, to the Church to which a not inconsiderable section of Members of this House belong. The honourable Gentleman, from time to time, made references of an extremely irritating character to the Catholic Church. He referred over and over again to that Church in what I must describe as somewhat contemptuous terms. Well, really, Mr. Speaker, I wonder what would be the effect if some other Member of this House, in a speech, were to make slighting and sneering references regarding the Church of England. I have no intention of doing so, but I know if I referred in a sneering way to the fact that the head of the Church of England is the Queen of this country; if I asked how it could be expected that she, in spiritual matters, was an authority in the Church of England; if I asked these questions, or made these references, Protestant gentlemen in this House might, I think, with some reason, have cause to complain that I was saying something which was not acceptable to them, and which I ought to have left unsaid. In the same way, in discussing this question of how the Church of England is to be governed and ruled, Catholic Members in this House have some right to expect that references of an irritating and sneering character should not be made with regard to the head of the religion to which they belong and to which they owe allegiance.


I think my honourable Friend is mistaken, because nothing was said by me to irritate the feelings of any Roman Catholic. I may say that I strove to my very utmost to avoid doing that, and I do not think that I made any irritating references to Popery. I did read some quotations, and possibly the irritating language was contained in them, but in my own remarks I did all in my power to avoid saying anything calculated to injure the feelings of Roman Catholics.


The honourable Gentleman will do me the justice of remembering that I stated, at the commencement of my remarks, that I acquitted him of any intention of being either irritating or even insulting, but his remarks, not only in this Debate, but in other Debates on the same subject, have had that effect, and very widely have had that effect amongst large numbers of the people of this country, and also of Ireland and other portions of the Empire. The honourable Gentleman and his friends claim that certain practices indulged in by certain Ministers of the Church of England are illegal. They claim that these Ministers have acted in a way which is not in accordance with their ordination vows. That may be so for all I know. The charge may be perfectly grounded, and that objection should be taken to certain practices of the Church of England which are against the law of the country may be perfectly just and perfectly reasonable. But I think I am entitled to say that the charges made by the honourable Gentleman, the Member for Flint, and his friends have not been confined to an objection to these practices which an illegal in the Church of England, but they have gone beyond that, and with regard to these practices generally they have used observations of a most insulting kind to those people who in their own religion practice these things. For instance, the honourable Gentleman, by inference, and his friends, have cast ridicule upon practices which may be wrong in the Church of England according to the law, but which are practices that are legitimate and sacred in the Catholic Church. I think, without entering into the question as to whether the Ministers of the Church of England are right or wrong in adopting these practices, that when Catholics hear these practices misrepresented, whether inside or outside the Church of England, they are entitled to point out these misrepresentations. An inaccurate interpretation has been put upon a certain religious practice by the honourable Gentleman the Member for Flint. By inference he has passed the greatest ridicule on certain practices, with regard to which he has even used the word "tomfoolery."


I used that expression not in connection with these practices, but solely in connection with the "Benediction of the Holy Fire," which was conducted in the dark in a London church. That paragraph was left out of The Times report, and the word "tomfoolery" appeared to apply to something else. All I did was simply to apply it to this particular service.


There is nothing farther from my intention than to misrepresent anything in the slightest degree which the honourable Gentleman has said. What I wish to do is to enter my emphatic protest, as a Member representing a constituency almost wholly Catholic, against observations of a character which are calculated to bring into public ridicule practices which are indulged in and largely upheld in this country and in this Empire generally. Now, for instance, the honourable Gentleman has referred sneeringly to the worship of images, and he has instanced that as a reason why he should claim that certain sections of the Church of England are going, as he calls it, Romeward. I say it is a most insulting and outrageous thing that, at this time of the nineteenth century, a Gentleman in the position of the honourable Member for Flint should say that there is such a thing as the worship of images indulged in by the Roman Catholics of this country. I say the charge is that the Roman Catholics of this country and the Empire are indulging in what would be little short of absolute idolatry, and that to-day is a monstrous misrepresentation and injustice. I say we no more worship images than any other Members of this House indulge in idolatry when, in passing by the statue of Her Majesty in the House of Lords, they show a certain amount of reverence for her. I say it is a monstrous thing to charge us with idolatry, and I protest against it. I have heard the honourable Gentleman the Member for Flint refer to the worship of the Virgin. I Challenge the honourable Member in this House to substantiate that statement, or to give one iota of proof that the people who avow the Catholic religion do anything of the kind. No such thing is ever done in the Catholic Church, for anything of that kind would be contrary to the elementary doctrines of the Catholic Church. It is a hard thing that Catholic Members should be obliged to sit here and hear the religion of their forefathers and their country misrepresented in this way. The honourable Gentleman has also referred to the confessional. I don't say whether the confessional is a legal thing in connection with the Church of England or not, but what I do say is this, that any self-respecting Catholic would utter a word of protest when a Gentleman in the position of the honourable Member for Flint does not hesitate to get up and describe the confessional as "a demoralising institution," and declares that the practice of it is calculated to lead to underhand methods among the population of the country. The honourable Gentleman the Member for Flint said these things. Now the confessional is practised in the Catholic Church, and what I say is that he should have confined his observations to that institution as practised in the Church of England, and he should have left it perfectly clear that his colleagues in this House and his fellow subjects in this Empire who follow a religion which believes in the confessional as a vital institution of their Church, that they should not be subjected to taunts and annoyance on that score. The honourable Gentleman, in his speech yesterday, wound up by referring, as he has referred frequently, to the convents in this country. Well, I must say, and I am not at all ashamed of it, that I was tempted to make these observations especially by the references of the honourable Gentleman to the convents of this country. It is not the first time that he has so adverted, in the course of his speech as reported in The Times, to convents, and he refers to an outrage, which he declares took place in a convent in this country, in which an unfortunate woman he describes was brutally flogged with a cat-of-nine-tails, and with a cruelty he had never heard surpassed before; and he calls upon the Government to have an official inspection made of the convents in this country.


The convent to which I referred was that of Father Ignatius, of Llanthony Abbey, who is a Ritualistic priest.


I gather from the honourable Gentleman's explanation that he was not referring to a Catholic convent. It is perfectly well known that in this country the great majority of convents are Catholic convents, and it is perfectly well known that when reference is made outside this House to such institutions it is generally understood that the reference is made to Catholic institutions. As reported in The Times, the honourable Gentleman's reference to this particular case of outrage, which he says occurred in a Ritualistic convent, does not distinctly state in the context that he was referring to an Anglican or Protestant convent, and the general acceptance of his statement would be that he was referring to a Catholic convent. And I say this especially in view of the fact that we know that charges of this kind have been made upon most disreputable and perjured evidence with reference to Catholic convents, for many years past, by people totally unworthy of belief. I am glad, even if the honourable Gentleman did not refer to convents of the Catholic Church, that I have made this speech, because I have drawn from him the statement that he was not referring to the convents of our religion. Had he not given that explanation I would have appealed to gentlemen who represent this Government in Ireland to say whether it is not the fact that the convents so frequently sneered at by gentlemen in this House, in Debates on the government of the Church, have borne the greatest part in works of charity and utility throughout not only Ireland, but this country and other parts of the Empire, and so far from their being commented upon in a sneering way, every one must admit that Catholic convents have been characterised above everything else for the excellence of their management and for the magnificence of the public service which they have done for the educational work of this Empire. I have myself many dear and near relatives in these convents in this country, and I know the work that they are doing. I think it would be outrageous if I, as an Irish Catholic, did not, under the circumstances, utter a protest against what has been said in this Debate. The honourable Gentleman who seconded the Amendment made some references to the deep intrigues of the Church of Rome in this country, and to the subtle influences that are at work everywhere to undermine the religious convictions of the people here. That was a grave statement to make, and I must confess that I listened with no little interest and curiosity to see what evidence he would adduce to prove it. But the only testimony, evidently, which he had to give the House in support of it was a letter which he said he casually observed last evening in a Liverpool newspaper—a letter written by an ex-Spanish priest, a gentleman whose name he did not even give us, but who, he stated, had left the Roman Catholic Church. He asked the British House of Commons, and he asked Her Majesty's Government, to base their opinion and to come to a conclusion as to the alleged iniquity of the Church of Rome on a letter which he found in a Liverpool newspaper, written by some precious ex-Spanish priest, with regard to whose career, as well as his capability of forming an opinion, he left us completely in the dark. We know perfectly well about these ex-priests. We know very well about those escaped nuns who, having become unworthy, have been dismissed and repudiated by their co-religionists, and who go through this country preaching the most infamous lies with regard to the Church out of which they have been drummed for their bad conduct. All this may go down very well in certain districts, among ignorant audiences, but I mistake the House of Commons very much, after 15 years' membership, if it would come to any conclusion, or arrive at any opinion against the Church to which I belong, on the unsupported evidence of a certain ex-Spanish priest who, having left his own country for probably his country's good, comes to England and writes letters to a Liverpool newspaper. I apologise for having spoken at such great length. I will conclude by saying that, while it is no part of my business, or, as far as I can see, the business of any gentleman professing the Catholic religion, to say, one way or the other, how the Protestant Church is to be governed, or what practices are to be put down, it is our business, and I do not apologise as a Catholic for having attempted to refute some of the misrepresentations which have been introduced into this Debate with regard to our religion.


The honourable Gentleman complains that our statements are unsupported by evidence. I should like to have the evidence for the statements he has made.


The honourable and gallant Member wants evidence of my statements with regard to the interpretation which has been put upon the action of the Catholic Church. I should be glad, if I had time, to give him a little education. I do say, however, that when a gentleman makes an attack upon the doctrines of a Church he ought at least beforehand to make himself acquainted with the most elementary teachings of that Church. And with regard to evidence of statements I have made, if he can show me, at any time or place, that any such things as the worship of images, the worship of the Virgin, and the demoralising character of the Confession are practised in the Catholic religion, I will admit that I am wrong. But he knows perfectly well that he cannot prove it. Some gentlemen have asked for penal legislation to prevent certain practices. I will give them the benefit of our experience in Ireland with regard to Acts of Parliament directed against religious practices. By penal legislation you cannot change men's opinions, you cannot change their consciences, you cannot upset their deep-seated convictions on matters of religion; and I tell you here that you will not be able to put down the lighting of candles or the sprinkling of water, or any of the other practices which are so stirring the Church of England at the present moment by any number of Acts of Parliament. The forces of Parliament were used, and everything that savagery and cruelty could suggest was tried in the way of penal legislation in Ireland against our Church. It was banned under the law, we were not allowed to practise anything connected with our religion, but the result of all your penal legislation in regard to those things you objected to, and against which you directed your Acts of Parliament, is that they are now more freely practised in Ireland than they would have been, probably, had they not been attacked. When we see the House of Commons, with its duty of managing the affairs of this Empire, having its time taken up by such momentous questions as when candles are or are not to be lighted, or as to what particular dress is to ha worn at a particular ceremony, or whether any special dress is to be worn at all—when we hear these things debated in Parliament, and when we find that these matters are the cause of strife and confusion in the Church of England, we, as Irish Catholics, can only feel more pride and satisfaction than we have ever felt before that we have always adhered to the rock of our religion, which is not to be distracted by the contemptible and trifling things now threatening the Church of this country.

* MR. CRIPPS (Gloucestershire, Stroud)

I do not think that any Member of this House has spoken merely with the object of attacking the Roman Catholic Church. What has been said has been put forward on conscientious grounds, and certainly the points which have been raised by the honourable Member for Flintshire are of exceeding importance to those who hold the faith that I hold, and who believe that the future of the English Church is to a great extent bound up with the proper settlement of these questions. There cannot be any doubt in the mind of anyone who desires the permanence of the English Church that in the interests of peace and conciliation, as against bitterness and strife, these questions should be settled. It is of extreme importance, therefore, to understand what the present issue is, and to endeavour to ascertain what is the best remedy to be applied. There have been two lines of thought running through the discussion this evening. There has been the wider line of thought which occupied part of the brilliant rhetorical effort of the honourable Member for East Fife, who appeared to arrive at the conclusion that the spiritual revival which was now actuating a great many men in this country could only find its development under the system of Disestablishment. I do not think that this is the occasion to discuss a great question of that kind, and with all respect for the brilliant wit and rhetoric of the honourable Member, it did seem to me that his speech was but little germane to the discussion to-night. I should like to say this in answer to him, that I think it has been apparent in the whole course of this Debate that there is within the limits of the Church of England such a broad tolerance that no one who has listened to the discussion can come to any conclusion other than that you could hardly have a system or constitution under which earnest thought and opinion could have freer play. I think it is extremely important—and in this, probably, every Member of this House will agree—that lawlessness should be put an end to. We cannot tolerate men receiving remuneration from the emoluments of the Church of England and at the same time breaking their ordination vows. But a great distinction must and ought to be drawn between matters of opinion which come within the wide field of our Church's constitution, and matters of lawlessness which take its members outside that constitution. And unless we keep these two points distinct, instead of Debates of this kind being of value, and, I believe, of great value, as regards the future of the Church, they may stir up a spirit of dissidence and strife. The Amendment of the honourable Member for Flintshire suggests that, having regard to the lawlessness prevailing in the Church, some fresh legislation is necessary, and it is to this that I wish to direct my observations. Before I come to the question of the extent to which this lawlessness prevails, let me appeal to the opinion which he appealed to more than once—I mean the opinion of the right honourable Member for West Monmouth. And what did the right honourable Member say? What did he say after having a fuller knowledge, perhaps, of these topics than almost any other Member of this House? He said, "I have never advocated fresh legislation. I regard it as superfluous." These are the words of the right honourable Gentleman the honourable Member for West Monmouth, to whom the honourable Member for Flint appealed in the course of his speech. And he went beyond that in his later letter: "The law as it stands is amply sufficient." And he made that statement because, according to his own view, public discussion upon this question and the public opinion which had been raised would be sufficient to put into force the ample powers which the Bishop possesses at the present moment. That was his deliberate opinion, and I would ask the honourable Member for Flint, who said he was guided by the opinions of the right honourable Member for West Monmouth, Whether, in the face of that, he can press this Amendment, which not only deals with prevailing lawlessness, but asks for fresh legislation in the very teeth of the opinion of the right honourable Member to whom he appeals. Now, Sir, let me say a word or two first of all on the question of prevailing lawlessness. I for my part believe that the extent of this lawlessness has been very much exaggerated. I quite agree that there are different opinions upon this point, but I should like to say one or two words upon what was said by the honourable Member for Flint, and quote a passage from a declaration of the Archbishop of York, a passage which was accepted by the right honourable Member to whom I have already referred. What was said by the honourable Member for Flint opposite? Did he bring forward an indictment which in any sense proved his case as to the widely-prevailing spirit of lawlessness in the Church? I listened, I believe, to every word he uttered. He read extracts from a large series of publications, and I appeal to any Member of this House whether mere extracts of that kind obtained from publications, some of which have no weight at all, can be appealed to as though they confirmed the honourable Member opposite as to the extent of the prevailing lawlessness in the Church at the present moment. And what were the assertions he made? I think perhaps in an examination of his statements we may apply the touchstone of truth as regards his indictment as a whole. I heard him, to my astonishment, make one statement. He said in the southern counties so much did this lawlessness prevail, that so far as the Laity of the Church was concerned, they must either go to a Nonconformist place of worship or abstain from going to Church at all. I should like to know how any honourable Member desirous of presenting a true picture could have made a statement of that description. I am acquainted, at any rate, with two of those southern counties, and I doubt whether in either one or the other there is a single case of lawlessness at all. And I may mention for the benefit of the honourable Member—perhaps it may appeal to him—that in one of those counties, where my constituents are, I had a case brought to my notice. It was not a case of lawlessness; it was a case of extreme Low Church, and the objection made in that case was that you might as well have a Nonconformist as the particular clergyman who was performing the service at the church. My answer to that was, and I think it would be the same in many cases, that it was not a case of lawlessness at all; nothing that that clergyman had done was not within the limits of the constitution of the Church of England. It is merely that the view which he formed was that of the extreme Low Church Party. I will never myself be a party to any legislation which would drive out of our Church either one party or the other. The great mass of members of our Church are moderate men. They are men who love the Church for the good it has done; they love it for the position in which it stands—half way perhaps between the extremes on either side—and as moderate men they are content to allow the fullest possible liberty of conscience. At the same time they are determined to put an end to anything like lawlessness or disobedience of the ordination vows. Now, Sir, starting from that point of view, let us see how the matter stands. I have not heard one single speaker tip to this point deal with the question whether existing powers are sufficient or whether fresh legislation is required, I want to appeal to the House on this point. I agree with the right honourable Member who has spoken, and who has written so many letters on this subject, that there is ample power at the present time; that no fresh legislation is necesary, and I think that this would be a disastrous time to suggest fresh legislation. Let us deal with the power as it is at the present moment. In the first place, anyone who knows the constitutional law of the Church of England must draw a distinction between the coercive powers of the Bishops and the disciplinary powers which they exercise in order to keep the Church within the true limits and constitution of its doctrine. The noble Lord the Member for Rochester gave striking examples of what has been done by the authority of the Bishops, and it is to that authority that I look for the future safeguarding of the Church of England. Now what has been done in Convocation by the Archbishop? What was done yesterday in Convocation? I do not think the House could have understood the real meaning of the step which has been taken. It certainly was not understood by some honourable Member on the other side who referred to this matter as if he thought that the Archbishop had not any right to take any such step. Of course, as far as the coercive power of the State is concerned, the Archbishop has no power to act as a coercive agent. He proposes to exercise his power from a different point of view, and to exercise it, to my mind, from a much more effectual point of view. There are a large number of matters in connection with the doctine and ritual of the Church of England that can be dealt with in the best way, not by coercive legislation, not by a system of penalties, not by invoking the arm of the State, but by appeals made to those who are the ecclesiastical superiors, the chief guardians of the honour and ritual of the Church. The Archbishop has simply strengthened this position, and I admit I look for the greatest benefit from what he is proposing. It has been stated to-night that the different Bishops in their different dioceses may take different views on questions of doctrine and ritual, and that there may be some excuse if a clergyman in one diocese is unable to agree with the particular views of his Bishop. The proposal of the Archbishop is to promote uniformity in the exercise of ecclesiastical powers, and I believe myself that one of the most effective steps has been taken which could be suggested in order both to put down lawlessness and to preserve the true doctrine of the Church of England.

Now this, of course, is a non-coercive power. It is a power which has been exercised in the past, and which is likely to be a still more fruitful source of unity and conciliation in the future. There have been two points touched upon tonight upon both of which I should like to say one or two words. The veto of the Bishops has been criticised, and criticised very freely, by the right honourable Gentleman who spoke from the Bench opposite. I should like to know what his experience or knowledge has been as to the extent to which the veto of the Bishops has been exercised. I should like to know whether he read the statement made only yesterday by the Archbishop of York as to the number of times the veto has been exercised. As one who has had experience in legal matters connected with the Church, and whose knowledge extends to questions of this kind, I do not believe that statistics could be obtained showing that the exercise of his veto by a Bishop has been any source of danger or difficulty. I should like to say one other word upon this point. You would have a regular chaos as regards Church government if you do away with the veto of the Bishops. This veto is not a matter which was started in the Act of 1840. It is not a matter settled in the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874. Everyone who has studied the canon law of this country, and who knows what the constitution of this Church really is, knows that from the time of the Reformation— I do not go back before that date, it is not necessary—down to the present day, there has always been, and properly been, this power of veto by the Bishops in order to protect the Clergy against vexatious action. It is hardly possible, after the expression of opinion which has been given to-night, to see how the Church could be administered in the best way if a veto of this kind was in any way interfered with. I am perfectly satisfied that no one who has had experience in these matters, no one who knows what the course of litigation has been during the last few years on this question, will come forward and assert that from his experience and knowledge the veto of the Bishops ought to be taken away. Now, Sir, there is only one other point as regards the powers of the State at the present time. I admit that upon this point. I take a different view from that expressed by the noble Lord the Member for Rochester, if I followed him correctly. I think it is right that there should be a Court such as the Privy Council representing the supremacy of the Queen, and Her Majesty's supremacy is undoubtedly to be recognised as much in matters ecclesiastical as in matters civil. The Archbishops and Bishops of our Church have not been agreed on matters of dogma. Up to the date of the Reformation there was always an appeal to Rome. In the time of Henry VIII. the appeal was charged to the King, and how was this appeal exercised? Up to the date of William IV. it was exercised by the King appointing a special Court in each case, called the Court of Delegates. From the time of William IV. the Privy Council was the Court, and then as late as 1876, when a committee was reconstituted for this purpose, it was reconstituted in such a form that it should contain a large number of ecclesiastical assessors. But let me make this one further point. It is a great mistake to suppose that any Court, whether the Privy Council or any other, declares what is the doctrine or ritual of the Church. That is neither the duty nor the right of any Court. What the Court simply does is to interpret the intention of the Church Constitution. That is an entirely different matter from creating the doctrine or the ritual. I do not see the honourable Member for Flint in the House at the present moment, but let me appeal to any other Nonconformist present. Take the case of some Nonconformist community with reference to which there is a trust deed. If a question arises whether the particular doctrine of the community is in accordance with the terms of the trust deed under which it is created, that is a matter which must be decided by an appeal to the regularly constituted tribunal. But that authority does not create; it merely interprets. To that extent it seems to me you must have the supremacy of the King or the Queen in matters ecclesiastical as well as in matters civil. I should like to make my own view thoroughly clear that the Court does not create or decide what the doctrine or ritual is to be, but takes the doctrine or ritual as laid down, and declares the true Interpretation. Under these circumstances I want to know what is the need for fresh legislation? Because that is the gist of the Amendment of the honourable Member for Flint. The right honourable Member for West Monmouth thinks fresh legislation is not necessary. He thinks there are ample powers at the present time, and that it would be a mistake to suggest that fresh legislation is necessary. And why? He says that public opinion has been stirred up on this point, and that public opinion reacting upon the Bishops will bring about all the control that either Clergy or Laity desire on questions of this kind. I will quote for a moment what was said by the First Lord of the Treasury when speaking, I think, at Manchester. He said that nothing was wanting at the present moment except power and discretion on the part of the Bishops. We ought to realise that there are difficulties in questions of this kind, that there are nice points to deal with, and that the Bishops to whom the Church of England has committed all questions of this kind ought to act not only courageously, but with every possible discretion. Now, Sir, in these circumstances I should deprecate any mention in the Queen's Speech of any fresh legislation. I look to a great future in the Church of England. I look upon the Church as a great element for good in the education of the people of this country. I reverence her for the good she has done, and I reverence her for the good I expect she will do; but I think that her influence may be interfered with, I think Disestablishment may be brought about, if, in a lit of panic, and because undoubtedly there are some evils at the present moment, we disregard the great historical past, disregard the legislative powers that are in existence, and introduce others which are not only not wanted, but such as may operate for harm and the destruction of the Church herself.

* LORD E. FITZMAURICE (Wilts, Cricklade)

The honourable and learned Member who has just sat down has, I think, introduced a new and, to a certain extent, unexpected element into this Debate, because, until he rose, every honourable Member of the House, on whichever side he sat, had at least agreed that the question before the House to- night was a very serious one, and one which required the earnest and immediate attention of the House and the country, because of its extent and gravity. The whole speech of the honourable Member was directed to minimising the situation; to an attempt to prove that there is nothing which could not be settled with a little legal and ecclesiastical rose-water. But, Sir, I do not require to go beyond what we have read in the papers this morning, on the highest ecclesiastical authority, in order to find an answer to the honourable and learned Member. It might be out of order for me to allude to what has taken place' in the proceedings of another place, but I may be within the limits of order in alluding to a discussion which took place yesterday at the Church House. What brought all the great authorities of the Church together yesterday? In one account of the proceedings they are described as an interesting mixture of things mediaeval and things modern: the Archbishop on his throne; the surrounding Bishops on wicker chairs. The question discussed was of the most urgent and pressing necessity; and why, Sir, in the House of Commons at the very commencement of the Session, when no one would desire otherwise than to give facilities to the Government to proceed with the ordinary business, and why, also, in another place, are discussions upon this question now going on? Why, except because in this House and also in the country at large, which we represent, the situation is felt to be of the most extreme gravity, and requiring immediate attention. Therefore, Sir, I pass by the specious argument or" the honourable and learned Member, when he told us that all we have got to do is to have a little patience and to trust to the wisdom of the canon law and the ecclesiastical lawyers. Will the honourable Member pardon me if I relate an incident which happened a few years ago, when the late Lord Chancellor Westbury was still alive? There was a discussion in another place, and somebody quoted the canon law. And what did that great legal authority say in reply? He described it as an "oily and saponaceous nothing." Yet we are asked by the honourable and learned Member to trust the settlement of this question to the tender mercies of the canon law, which has been described as an "oily and saponaceous nothing." Sir, I do not wish to enter upon a discussion of the intricate points, some of which have been touched upon by the honourable and learned Member, nor do I wish to take up the time of the House, especially at this hour of the evening, by reading long extracts, either from the proceedings of the English Church Union or from any other books introduced into this Debate, because I am inclined to think that what the House thinks is that it is not a matter of small detail, but that we are concerned to-night with broad and grave issues. If we are to indulge in the refinements of casuistical and theological argument, we may perhaps resemble rather a Church House than a House of Commons. We have heard, Sir, the general feelings of the people of this country upon the issues before us. If we desire enlightenment upon the smaller details of the controversy we know where to find it, but here to-night we approach this question be cause throughout the country, as I believe, irrespective of Party, there is a strong desire that here in this House it should be put on record in some way that we believe that if the Church of England is to maintain its position as an Established Church, it must also maintain its Protestant character. Now I hope that the honourable Member for East Clare will not think that because I say that I am, therefore, by implication making an attack upon the Roman Catholic religion. The honourable Member may rest assured that we in this Debate on this side of the House know perfectly well how to distinguish between a Church like the Roman Catholic Church, which has its Own theology, and its own system, and its own Courts, and which obeys them, and those parts of the Church of England which are now, if I may use such an expression, rising in rebellion against the whole to which they owe their position and their life in this country. The Roman Catholic Church exercises, no doubt, a stern discipline over the priests who belong to it. That is its own business. The complaint against the Church of England is that it does not know how to control the recalcitrant priests of its own "body, and my honourable Friend who put down this Amendment desires to ask Her Majesty's Government, as he is fully entitled to do, what measures they intend to take in order to restore order within the Established Church. There is nothing inconsistent in his attitude, if I may be allowed to say so, with that of my honourable Friend the Member for West Fife. Everybody, like the honourable Member for West Fife, is perfectly entitled to hold that the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church is in the long run the best way out of its difficulties, but at the same time he, as a practical man, might be perfectly ready to say with the honourable Member who has put down this Amendment that at this moment we are not within immediate sight, to say the least, of Disestablishment. Does any Member of this House, whatever his opinions are, expect to see the Church Disestablished this year, or next year? Does he even expect that a majority in favour of Disestablishment will be returned at the next Election? It is possible, but we are not dealing with possibilities, but, as practical men, we are dealing with probabilities. Now, I am one of those who before now has voted for Disestablishment, and I would be perfectly prepared to vote for it again, but I am not able to say that because I am in favour of Disestablishment, and believe it to be the true remedy, therefore it is my duty to refuse to the Church of England the power of reforming itself, or to refuse to join my honourable Friend who has moved this Amendment in calling upon the Government—who are not, and tell us they never will be, in favour of Disestablishment—to put their house and the house of the Church of England in order. Those who are in favour of Disestablishment are fully entitled to call upon the Government—which is opposed to Disestablishment, which Ave may assume will never, either collectively or individually, propose Disestablishment—to take the only alternative to Disestablishment, unless the condition of the Church of England is to continue to be a public scandal. Does the honourable Member for Stroud, for example, deny that excesses have taken place with regard to ritual? Does he deny—does anybody deny—that doctrines—broad as the theology of the Church of England is, I admit—materialistic doctrines in regard to the Sacrament have been preached? Does he deny that books of devotion containing the most extreme sacerdotal views have been circulated at the expense of influential Church societies, with the greatest names upon their committees—and circulated not only among grown-up persons, but also among persons of tender years I Does he deny that the practice of Confession has assumed an extent and importance in the Church which in former years was unknown? Because, if he denies any of these things, it would be possible immediately to confront him with admissions upon the same subjects from the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England themselves. I said a moment ago that I am the first to admit that the theology of the Church of England is a broad theology, and if you compare the position of the Church of England at any two periods of history you can without difficulty show, as my honourable Friend the Member for West Fife indicated, that the prevalent theology, the prevalent atmosphere, of the Church of England at different times—you can measure it almost by the centuries—has very greatly varied. I quite admit that the theology of the time of Queen Elizabeth was not that of the time of Charles II. I admit that the divinity of the time of Charles II. was not the almost Unitarian divinity of the last century; and I admit that the broadness of the theology of the last century contrasts very much with both the Evangelical revival in the early days of this century and the High Church revival that we have seen in our own day. I admit that it may fairly be argued that within the Rubrics and Canons and Articles and Prayer Book of the Church of England you can find a certain amount of justification for the inclusion of all these views. But notwithstanding that, there are certain things which, I believe, despite the opinion of my honourable Friend the Member for West Fife to the contrary — there are certain things which you can show overstep the line. There are certain things which, broad as the theology of the Church of England is, can be shown to be contrary to law, and that is the opinion of the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England themselves; and therefore it is that my honourable Friend who has moved this Amendment, who is not himself, as I understand, in favour of Disestablishment—




Well, he said not at present—asks the head of the Government, the representative of the Government in this House, who is not in favour of Disestablishment also, what measures he intends to take in the immediate future to prevent a state of things which those who are in favour of Disestablishment and those who are against it both agree, though starting from different points of view, to be objectionable and dangerous to the State. I say objectionable and dangerous, because what can be more objectionable, what can be more dangerous, than that you should find a large number of men who have sworn in the most solemn manner, on the three occasions when a clergyman has to take his ordination bath, to obey the law in a certain manner, and then break that law? It is an old saying that you cannot have your loaf and eat it also. That is what a large section of the High Church clergy are desiring to do, and it is that which is a public danger, it is that which is an open breaking of the law— an open defiance of the law. And there is yet another aspect of this question, and it is one which comes home to those who sit on this side of the House, irrespective of opinions on Disestablishment and Disendowment; I mean the part which the High Church Clergy, especially in our rural districts, take in regard to the education of the people. Let us bear in mind that there are 8,000 parishes—I believe that number at least—in this country, where the whole school accommodation is under control of the Clergy of the Church of England or persons immediately nominated by them. Well, can it be doubted that that gives a most formidable power—a power subsidised by the State—to enable the Clergy of the Church of England, under the ægis and protection of the State, to disseminate those doctrines which, even if they be dragged by some subtle interpretation within the theology of the Church of England, are nevertheless essentially distasteful to the people of this country, and especially to those who believe that the doctrines of the Church of England are not these new-fangled doctrines, but the old-fashioned doctrines in which they themselves were brought up? I am told that there is a conscience clause. That is a poor protection to give a child—to give a child the choice of getting no religious instruction at all, or a religious instruction which is disagreeable to his parents, and probably cannot be comprehended by himself. But what I cannot help saying is, to me, a dweller as I am in the country, one of the most objectionable features of this new ecclesiastical movement is that the religious instruction which has been given in our schools under the control of the Clergy is a religious instruction which, in nine cases out of ten, is so complex that it is impossible for the children to understand it. These High Church doctrines are things which may be comprehended by grown-up people and by theologians, but to attempt to drag all these things into the education of the young, and, above all, of the very young, is a thing which, in my opinion, is calculated to undermine the very foundations of education and religion itself. Therefore, Sir, I think that nobody can complain of my honourable Friend having brought forward this Amendment. It is intended, we all admit, to draw from Her Majesty's Government a clear statement as to what course they intend to pursue. We have been told by the right honourable Gentleman opposite that a conspiracy against Protestantism is as ridiculous to think of as a conspiracy against the law of gravitation. Now, I cannot help thinking that that comparison was a little unworthy of the great abilities of the right honourable Gentleman, because, after all, he must know perfectly well that a comparison drawn from the world of exact science—of mathematics, or any science of that kind of an exact nature—applied to the shifting and uncertain world of morals and politics, is one of the most absurd comparisons and analogies which you can well invent. A conspiracy against the law of gravitation, of course, is an absurdity; it is impossible; but a conspiracy against the Protestant religion is not an impossibility, and it might not be an absurdity, and therefore I trust that if he addresses the House he will not attempt to pass off this question by mistaken analogies drawn from fields in which, no doubt, he has great superiority. I think, Sir, that what is felt on this side of the House is that the Laity of the Church of England and the people of this country at large will ask themselves, and are asking themselves, what measures the Government intend to take to maintain the Protestant character of the Church as an Established Church; and if the answer to that is in the negative, then I believe that the movement in favour of complete equality, which many years ago was initiated in this House by the late Mr. Edward Miall, will in all probability again start into a new life, and that many who at that time, or even now, would refuse or regret to have to join in such a movement, will feel that their only choice, their only chance, of avoiding the danger which they think greater than Disestablishment and Disendowment will be to throw themselves into that cause, and that the whole of the Protestantism of this country should unite in one common effort to protect the liberties, civil and religious, of this country against the false shepherds who, having obtained an entry into the fold, have used their privileges and position to betray the trust which has been confided to them.

SIR JOHN KENNAWAY (Devon, Honiton)

Nobody who has watched public opinion during the last six months can wonder that this subject has found entrance into our discussions here at the earliest possible day, and I think we may congratulate my honourable Friend opposite upon having taken this early opportunity of introducing it—an opportunity of which he has availed himself, on the whole with moderation. I think that, perhaps, the mistake which he made last year has on this occasion led him to keep himself very carefully to the point. I see a state of things existing of a very serious character, which I regard entirely from the same aspect that he does. We have had a speech from my honourable Friend the Member for Rochester, who drew a delightful picture of active Bishops and obedient Clergy, minimising the whole situation. No doubt it is well that matters should be looked at from both points of view if we are to have a true statement of the case. And then we had a speech from the honourable and learned Gentleman the Member for West Fife—a very interesting picture, drawn by a master hand, of the growth, of public opinion and of modern thought in the direction of casting aside the old-fashioned trammels. But the really practical point before us, I think, is this—whether the admitted comprehensiveness of our Church of England has not been strained beyond what it ever can bear, and whether the claim for toleration of every kind of religious opinion, ritual, and practice is not one that must result in bringing about fatal results to the Church of England itself, or the Church of England as established. We must really rceognise that there is, and has been for a long time, what was denounced long ago by the late Dean Hole as an attempt to de-Protestantise the Church of England, and to bring it back to where it was before the Reformation settlement. We glory in that Reformation settlement as casting out the excrescences and bringing the Church back to what we believe it to have been —to its pure and apostolic character. And now it cannot be wondered at that the present attempt—this attempt which has been going on in wilful disregard of the English Liturgy and the religious conviction of the English nation—has roused a very strong feeling throughout the country. I am sorry that the Archbishop minimises that feeling. A very eminent prelate told me, on the contrary, that in a very few weeks the growth of the outburst of Protestant opinion had been a perfect eye-opener to himself, and he had no idea of its existence before it showed itself. I think when the Debates upon this subject raised on the Benefices Bill last summer were going on, the magnitude of this question was very imperfectly realised by the people of this country, but we have been educated a good deal since then, and there has been an awakening of the old spirit which showed itself in Reformation times, and again still more strongly when King James II. sought to drive out Protestantism and bring back Popery, and in so doing initiated the movement which cost that monarch his throne. So I think we have all been a good deal educated in this matter, and the Bishops have begun to realise in a way which they would not have done before what was expected of them. It has been said, and very truly said, that they could not have gone ahead some year or two back; it was too much to expect. But we have no right to allow them to say that they are to be guided entirely by public opinion. It was their duty to keep a vigilant watch upon those matters, and especially to keep their eye on the training colleges, which, I am afraid, have been seminaries of a good deal of what has grown towards Ritualism. And, without mentioning any particular diocese, no doubt there are dioceses which could be pointed out where no check whatever has been placed on the growth of these practices to which we are now becoming alive. But I am bound to say that during these last six months we have seen individual charges of the Bishops, we have seen the united pronouncement, which we welcome so much, made just before Christmas, and I know myself—from personal information I am aware of the fact—that individually they have done, and are doing now, an enormous amount in the way of checking those extravagances, which must tend, sooner or later, to a very great improvement of the situation, and I hope it cannot but make itself felt for good. Well, the question really for us is this: Will you give them time to carry out themselves what I believe they are now bent on carrying out, or will you rush into legislation, and thereby run the risk of bringing about a disruption of the Church of England? And those who remember what happened in Scotland in 1843 may well regard it as a warning. Rushing into litigation all over the country of a very painful character is no light matter. I have heard honourable Gentlemen outside this House speak as if disobedience was to be put down as a matter of military discipline, and the instance was given of the Sirdar, who, when some chaplain refused to conform to the orders that were given at a public service, gave him five minutes to consider, or he was to be marched back; and they would have the Clergy of the Church of England dealt with in the same way. I do not think public opinion will stand that for a moment, and I consider it would be hateful to think of anything of the sort. It would be very easy to make martyrs, and to turn public opinion, which is now I think, in our favour, to exactly the opposite direction. Therefore I hesitate very greatly to do anything which will bring on litigation, and I believe that would be deleterious to the Church, to the cause of Protestantism, and very dangerous indeed to the Establishment. Our minds have been greatly exercised by what has been called "The Revolt of the Two Hundred and Twenty Clergy" at the Holborn meeting, though the noble Lord tried to explain that away— it meant nothing at all! I do not think it can be so. I would ask the House, Are we, for the sake of two hundred and twenty Clergy, or even twice that number, to launch a legislative craft upon the sea of Parliamentary controversy, inviting a storm and hurricane of which no one can see the end? I cannot be a party to any such action. Nor can I fight with my honourable Friends opposite who openly avow that their end is Disestablishment. I would rather trust to the good sense of the English people; I would rather trust to the good feeling of the Clergy themselves. I would appeal to them in the words of Archbishop Tait, in 1877, when he urged upon them carefully to consider their present position, lest they have been misled and are contending for matters which have no warrant in the Word of God or the decisions of the Apostolic Church. I would gladly secure them all fair liberty within the Church. I desire that we should retain the services of their earnestness and self-devotion and bring them back simplicity. The dangers which threaten Christianity are sin and infidelity; they are too common for us to regard with indifference divisions within the Church itself. I fear lest the intemperate acts of earnest men may do the cause of Christianity indelible mischief. I hope these earnest men will consider their position, will be prepared to fall in with the line of Episcopal direction. They are not satisfied with the Courts as they are at present, and we know the Archbishop is trying to bring in a new Bill. Well, if there is to be an Ecclesiastical Court, ecclesiastical jurisdiction, what can they desire better than the pronouncement of the whole body of the Bishops which has been given in regard to some of these controversies? No one can say that that is an attempt of the State to force doctrine or ritual on the Church. Surely when the Church has pronounced, through its leaders themselves, it will be their duty, and I hope it will be their pleasure, to obey.

* MR. GEDGE (Walsall)

Sir, I will not stand between the House and the reply of my right honourable Friend the First Lord of the Treasury more than three minutes, but two things have been left on which I wish to say a few words. I have noted that Lord Salisbury has been very unfairly attacked not only in this House, but throughout the country, and especially in the Evangelical papers, for the exercise of his patronage in the matter of appointing Bishops. I have gone very carefully through the list of Bishops whom his Lordship has recommended for preferment, and—I am speaking roughly—I find that about one third of them belong to each party in the Church—the High, Low, and Broad Church Parties. He seems to me to have acted with singular fairness all round. I think that, considering his Lordship's position, representing as he does the whole body of the Church and State in the matter of these appointments, he has acted with careful discrimination and fairness. Now, I wish to urge upon my honourable Friend the mover of this Amendment not to press it to a Division. My honourable Friend the Member for Flint knows that I fully sympathise with the object which he has in view, and I think, considering that the matters which are being complained of more than anything else tend to bring about the Disestablishment of the Church of England, and that he is well known as an advocate of Disestablishment, he has taken a noble part in nevertheless trying to remove from the Church that which is the weak part of her. And I think also that he, as a Nonconformist—and every Nonconformist—has as much right to call the attention of the House to these questions as has any member of the Church of England, because it is a National Church, in which every citizen and every subject has an interest, and I rejoice that he should do so as a fellow-Protestant and a fellow-citizen. I would not deny that right to anyone. I think the discussion and Debate must have been highly satisfactory to my honourable Friend; it was impossible that it should be more so. At the same time, several Members, like my honourable and gallant Friend the Member for North Armagh, who are in sympathy with him, are nevertheless obliged to go into the Lobby against him, because they will not give a vote which they think might jeopardise the existence of the Government. ["Oh! oh!"] Well, the honourable and gallant Gentleman said so, and I do not dispute his view. I also, on that ground, should be obliged to follow the honourable and gallant Gentleman into the Division Lobby against the Amendment, because, great as this evil is, I think it would be much worse if the effect of carrying his Amendment was to overturn the Government; that, I think, would be much worse than the defeat of the Amendment, from which no practical consequence could follow. There are others who, like myself, while sympathizing with the object of this Amendment, are yet satisfied, like my honourable Friend who has just spoken, that further legislation is neither necessary nor desirable, at all events at present, and, therefore, quite apart from the question of the existence of the Government, could not support the Amendment. I therefore ask the honourable Member to be content with the expression of opinion already given, which must be most gratifying to him, and not to force a Division, which would be taken upon another issue, and would be read throughout the country by those who do not understand these things as meaning that this Protestant movement has been defeated in this House, whereas the very opposite is the case.


This is not the first time it has been my duty to address the House of Commons upon one of the most difficult of all subjects upon which a politician can be called upon, in a mixed assembly like the present—namely, a question in which the religious convictions of vast masses of our fellow countrymen are so intimately bound up. I have been charged on previous occasions with underrating the gravity of the crisis through which we are now passing. I know not any expression of mine that can have justified that conclusion. Certainly, from the very first moment, when somewhat inopportunely, from a Parliamentary point of view, this subject was first mooted within these walls in the course of last Session, down to the present, I can most truly say that I have never for one instant underrated the greatness of the forces with which we have to deal. The truth is, Sir, that the whole history of this world unhappily proves that theological disputes are, of all disputes, those in which all charity, all sense of moderation, and all sense of proportion are most easily and most rapidly lost; and almost anyone who ventures to make an appeal to any of those three guiding principles of conduct is apt to be described as one who is indifferent to results, instead of being, as he very likely is, only careful and anxious that the means should be well suited to obtain those results, and that they may not carry in their train evils greater than those which it is sought to remedy. We are all apt on these occasions to narrow down the religious categories and the religious descriptions which we ourselves accept to a very narrow point of orthodoxy, and extend our damnatory clauses to the utmost possible limits. There is the honourable Gentleman the Member for Flintshire, to whose conscientious motives almost every speaker has paid a tribute, and certainly I should be the last to call in question. I think he has now become accustomed to use the word "Protestantism" in a sense so narrow that even Luther himself would be excluded. At all events, I am convinced that if my honourable Friend will refresh his memory upon what Luther's views were on the Eucharistic controversy, he will find that that eminent theologian had a great deal to learn from other and later theologians. These epithets are bandied about; these categories into which Christians are divided, are used as controversial weapons until we are really in danger of forgetting that we all do, after all, profess a common faith, and our whole attention is concentrated, not on these fundamental matters on which we agree, but upon those doubtful, involved, but far less fundamental matters upon which, unhappily, the progress of events has caused us to differ. Sir, let me say that on this point I see no reason why we should not speak with even greater frankness than some of the speakers have indulged in. The honourable Gentleman himself, and others who have spoken on that side of the House, have turned round at intervals to the Benches below the gangway, and explained that, after all, they have no objection to Roman Catholics who are avowed Roman Catholics, but their objection is to those who call themselves Anglicans, and who, nevertheless, are nearly, if not quite, in agreement, in the view of the critics, with the doctrinal views and opinions and liturgical practices of the Roman Catholic Church. Well, Sir, after all, we all know that this is not a perfectly accurate presentation of facts. The objection is not simply the objection which honourable Members profess; it is not simply and it is not principally that Clergy of the Church of England are, as I fear they are, in some cases approximating, disloyally approximating, to another creed—that is not their only objection. Their main objection, to put it plainly, is to the Roman Catholic doctrines, and if the stretching of the law were in an opposite direction, I am perfectly convinced that neither the honourable Gentleman, nor any of his friends would be found moving an Amendment to the Address in reference to this question. It is just as well to put the thing quite plainly on an occasion like this, and I do not think anybody who honestly examines his own conscience, or studies the whole controversy here, or what is moving public opinion abroad, can doubt that what I am saying is accurate; and the fear which is animating the multitude outside who are asking us to legislate, and those who represent them in this House, is a fear lest the people of England are approximating to the doctrines and the ritual of the Church of Rome. I cannot honestly say that that fear is one, as regards the bulk of the English Church or the bulk of the English people, which I have been able seriously to entertain. I think now, as I have thought throughout, that these fears are illusory. The noble Lord opposite has criticised tonight a metaphor, which I used at Manchester, which no doubt partakes of rhetorical exaggeration; still it accurately represents the fact that you might as well conspire against the law of gravitation as against the Protestantism of England and Scotland. That does not mean that I underrate the gravity of the facts which recent controversy has brought to light within the bosom of the English Church, and it is on the remedies which ought to be applied to that state of things that I propose now to say a very few words. Sir, there are many points—many vital points—on which Members of this House rely. I think there is one point upon which we are all in absolute agreement. We are all absolutely agreed that what is popularly called lawlessness in the Church and disobedience to the law of the Church by those who have sworn to obey the laws of the Church, and should be by their profession loyal sons of the Church, should be put an end to. I think you might separately examine almost every shade of opinion on both sides of the House, men of all religions and all political creeds, and they would be found to be unanimous in expressing their assent to the view which I have given expression to, namely, that the law of the Church should be obeyed by the Clergy of the Church. Two or three questions, however, after we have reached this general agreement on the Motion, of great importance arise. In the first place, I should like to ask the honourable Gentleman who moved this Amendment, and some of those who have supported it, whether it really is the lawlessness in the Church, and that alone, at which they aim. They use language which I confess I find difficulty to accurately interpret. They scatter about such vague epithets as sacerdotalism in a way which makes me suspect occasionally that they are not aiming simply at requiring those who are in the Church to obey the law of the Church or leave the Church, but that they are aiming at expelling from the Church a body of opinion in the Church with which they and I may not be in agreement, but which has every bit as much right, historically and legally, to be in the Church as any gentleman who sits on either side of the House. There is a great want of precision in the language which the honourable Gentleman has used. He seems to me sometimes to attack doctrines which certainly may have a legitimate place in the Church, and if he asks me, either directly or indirectly, by word or deed, to associate myself with anything which will drive out of the Church those that have a right to be in it, then I say that, whatever the consequences may be, nothing in the world shall induce me to make myself a party to a policy which would be destructive not only to the Church of England, but also of all true, sound, and broad-minded religion. We suffer in this controversy, and we have always suffered for centuries, from two modes of thought, both of which are legitimate, but both of which can be exaggerated, and are exaggerated, to a point which makes them, I think, in the highest degree pernicious. There is the point of view, for example—a point of view with which I am heartily in sympathy—which looks back at the period of the Reformation as the period from which we date the great doctrinal reforms in the Church, and the great purification of its liturgical practice. But, Sir, there are persons who hold that view with such a narrowness and such an intensity occasionally, that to hear them discuss theological questions, you would almost suppose that Christianity began in the year 1570, while in the whole thousand years preceding that date, years no doubt in which, according to our view, and according to the Protestant view, many unhappy practices spread in the Church, and many doctrines became included in the Church with which we could not agree—those thousand years not only appear to have been years, as they were, of error and religious deterioration, but also, in some sense, of religious decay, and they fail to see in the vast theological work that was done any merit, and they, were wholly deficient in sympathy for those great divines who made many of those years illustrious. If the view of those persons was to be taken, we should really estimate the worth of any doctrine more by the extent to which it differed from the doctrines of the Church of Rome than by any intrinsic quality of its own. The honourable Gentleman let drop a phrase which indicated his dismay that any modern divine could find the differences separating theologians in the 16th century were not quite so great as those theologians themselves supposed. Well, I am so oppressed by the divisions of Christianity that I think, unhappily, no ingenuity will show that those divisions are not now deep and almost unbridgable. Still, I rejoice at anybody who can show that men who have been violently opposed, or who have thought themselves violently opposed, should find, after all, not so much difference in fundamentals as they themselves happen to believe. But while that is an exaggeration of one school of thought, there is an exaggeration of another school of thought at this moment even more pernicious. While the gentleman whom I have just been criticising can see nothing behind the Reformation at all, the gentlemen whom I am now about to criticise have so intense a sympathy with the continuous life of the Church from the earliest date to the present that, in that general view, I fear their loyalty to the communion to which they belong sometimes almost evaporates, or, at any rate, is very difficult for even the most sympathetic stranger to perceive. They forget that the English Church, of which they are members, has itself a great and long tradition behind it; they seem to me perpetually to be pressing against the bonds which unite them to that Church, as if they wished to break them. They, by preference, use a language which is not the language of that Church, but which is the language of the Church from which, doctrinally and otherwise, we are unfortunately profoundly divided. They chafe and they strain at the conditions of life in the English Church until, as it seems to those who loyally accept the traditions of that Church, they are only kept there by some almost invisible bond of speculative union, and that all their genuine sympathies lie outside its limits. Now, I venture to say that is a most dangerous frame of mind. I may give a wrong diagnosis of it, I am looking at it from outside, but that frame of mind, if I have rightly diagnosed it, is the frame of mind which has produced all these troubles. It is not the High Church doctrine as distinguished from the Low Church doctrine, or the Evangelical doctrine; it is not a doctrinal matter at all; it is this straining after liturgical practices and liturgical language which are not liturgical practices and liturgical language of the Church to which they belong which has produced this great outbreak of public feeling, and has brought the Church to this trouble in which we now see it. But I would earnestly deprecate any course taken under the inspiration of a religious, or, at all events, a natural resentment against these proceedings which should have the effect of alienating in the smallest degree the sympathies of any single section of the English Church. Let me remind the House of two episodes in the history of the English Church which, I think, are instructive. The honourable Gentleman the Member for West Fife, in a speech of singular eloquence and brilliancy, alluded earlier in the evening to the controversies centring round the words "pre- destination" and "election," and ho said with a certain amount of truth that those controversies had now largely lost their significance and their interest for men of the present generation. Well, I will not argue now whether the controversies to which I allude were not of greater importance, did not deal with vaster problems, than some of the matters about which we are now so deeply perturbed; but, without going into that question, it is sufficient to say that, from the time of St. Augustine down, at all events, to the end of the last century, these controversies divided every Church in turn; they divided the Latin Church in the Middle Ages; they divided the Lutheran, the Reformed, the Anglican, the Roman Catholic, the Methodist, and it was round them that some of the bitterest modern theological disputes have raged in the last two or three centuries. Now in 1595 no doubt the general bias of the English Church was in what is now commonly called a Calvinistic direction, and there was then an attempt made so to modify those Articles out of the Thirty-nine Articles which dealt with this question in the Calvinistic sense as to exclude everybody who held what were subsequently known, somewhat loosely and inaccurately, as Arminian opinions. This attempt at driving out a section of the Church was happily defeated, and Ar-minianists and Calvinists, to use those two not very fortunate expressions, continued to live side by side in the Established Church. Time went on; nearly two centuries passed away, and about 1775 a man, who afterwards became well known in his generation—Bishop Porteous, of London—proposed to the Episcopal Bench, that they should modify those Articles in the other sense. He said it was so plain that the meaning was Arminian and not Calvinistic, that he proposed the wording should be so altered that Calvinists should not be able to find a footing in the Church. That attempt was again fortunately defeated, and both opinions can still be legitimately held. But observe, on each occasion, men of undoubted probity, feeling that they had the Church opinion, and not merely ecclesiastical opinion, behind them, attempted to narrow the doctrine of the Church to which they belonged, and to exclude persons with whom they differed on religious questions. If either of those attempts had succeeded—if the Arminians had been excluded in 1595 or the Calvinists in 1775—it would have evidently aimed a blow at the comprehensive character of the English Church, from which she would not even now have recovered. Take care that no such mistake as this I have mentioned is made by us. Let no action of ours alienate the sympathies or drive from our ranks those from whom, though, it may be, we differ, are yet in every respect as much legitimate members of the Church to which we belong as we ourselves, and let us preserve undiminished that broad toleration which has been the characteristic mark of the English Church from the very time of the Reformation, and which is, I think, one of its most glorious heritages and most useful attributes. I have now answered the first of the two questions I put; let me now answer the second. The second question I have to ask is this: If we are all agreed that the law is to be obeyed, and if we have no ulterior object in the sense of driving out from the Church those from whom we differ, I want to know whether any mere modification of the Statute Law of this realm would carry out the objects of the mover of this motion, or those who have supported it. I say that no such modification would carry out their objects. With these objects I largely sympathize. I have no doubt that in the honourable Member's statements yesterday and to-day there were those inaccuracies and exaggerations which I think he has been guilty of on previous occasions. I am sure that, with the best intentions, he is evidently too eager or too ready to believe what he hears, not at first hand or by his own observations, but what he is told by 'somebody else who had been told by somebody else; still when every deduction is made from his statements, we may say with him that there are at this moment prevalent in certain churches and among a certain section of the Clergy practices of which we all strongly disapprove, and which are, in our view, inconsistent with the law of the Church. But would those evils, admitted on all sides, admitted by the Bishops, admitted by the honourable Gentleman, and, as far as I know, by all who have spoken, really be cured by any legislation which the ingenuity of honourable Members can suggest? Would they in particular be cured by depriving the Bishops of their veto? I am not going to discuss the evils which attach to that veto, but I am going to point out that all at the most that the removal of the veto would do would be to prevent certain ceremonies, illegal ceremonies, from taking place in Anglican churches. But the complaint of the honourable Gentleman went far beyond, and rightly went far beyond, any mere ceremonial observances. The honourable Gentleman discussed the text-books which he said were read in theological colleges, he discussed the character of those theological colleges, and he discussed the inducements to confession in which it is alleged, and I fear in some cases truly alleged, some of the Clergy indulge. Well, you cannot stop this by Act of Parliament; you cannot prevent students reading what books they like, you cannot prevent them from holding what opinions they choose, you cannot prevent, by any operation of a Court of Law, a clergyman from recommending those who are under his influence to go to confession. You are driven back from these things, which are incomparably more important than any mere ceremonial; you are driven back, and must be driven back, upon the public opinion of the Church, and upon the legitimate authority of the Bishops. And if you are driven to the legitimate authority of the Bishops in order to do that which you admit is the most important thing to do, are you consistent in destroying, at the same time, the authority of the Bishops, which can only deal with something which is relatively of less value? I confess I see no answer to that. It may be—I do not think it is—but it may be that the Church of England has hopelessly committed herself to the wrong path. It may be that the Church of England is going to desert its historical traditions, and that the Bishops are powerless to stay its headlong career towards destruction. I do not think so, but it may be possible. But, if it is so, no abolition of the veto can have any effect in dealing with the important section of these grievances and difficulties. No abolition of the veto will prevent the private circulation of such books as those of which the honourable Gentleman complained, and which, I confess, I look upon with horror; and no abolition of the veto can prevent a clergyman urging to the best of his ability, so long as he does not make it obligatory, his parishioners to go to confession. Now, Sir, I think the honourable Gentleman, when he told us that the question of confession was, after all, the crucial point in this Debate, was not far wrong. I think it is that which more than anything else moves the passions and the feelings of those who look with fear and dread upon this ultra-Ritualistic movement. I dislike these discussions. Let me parenthetically observe that it is almost impossible to say what one believes without saying something which may hurt the feelings of those who differ from one in matters of this sort. Let me say personally I agree with the honourable Gentleman in thinking that no greater calamity could happen to this country than that the practice of private confession should become general among the Laity. That is my firm conviction, and I hope the expression of it will not be thought offensive by those who are listening to me who, I know, think entirely differently. But, holding that view, I ask the honourable Gentleman how the abolition of the veto is going to help us? What is that going to do for us? Nothing. If the abolition of the veto did all that its best friends hoped for it, if, at the cost of much bad blood, much bitterness, infinite litigation, infinite expense, and possible schism, it did put down this or that relatively unimportant illegal ceremonial practice, it-would still leave untouched those other matters which are the really important questions we have to consider. For this you must depend in the future, as you have depended in the past, upon the public opinion of the Clergy, upon the public opinion, of the Laity, and upon the action of the Bishops.


And the appointment of the Bishops.


No abolition of the veto will alter the appointment of the Bishops. Nor, let me add in justice to this much-abused Episcopal Bench, is there the slightest symptom that the Bishops will for a moment shrink from the duty placed upon them by their office, and to which they are urged by public opinion—the duty, namely, of suppressing not merely illegal ritual, but those other wider matters of which I have ventured to speak to the House. I heard cries of satirical derision from the other side of the House when I said we might have confidence in the Bishops. Well, Sir, I do not ask the House to repose confidence in the Bishops, or, at all events, not complete confidence in the Bishops, until they see the result of the Bishops' work. But I myself firmly believe, not only that the Bishops have the requisite authority to carry out the policy we all desire to see carried out, but that they mean to exercise that authority. There was a speech delivered by the noble Lord the Member for Rochester earlier in the evening, to a much thinner House, which has not, in my judgment, received that attention it deserves. Whether the honourable Gentlemen who spoke subsequently to him have come down with a fixed view of the Bishops' action which no eloquence will shake, or not, I will not venture to say. But the noble Lord gave in great detail, on what I gathered was the best authority, from a very large number of dioceses in England, detailed accounts of what the Bishops had done and the measure of success which attended their efforts, and, Sir, that measure of success was of the most encouraging description. The extreme Ritualists show themselves to be what I hope they will always show themselves to be—men loyal to the Bishops whom they have promised to obey, and anxious and ready to receive the guidance which1 those Bishops are not less ready and not less anxious to give. If that spirit, indicated in the facts laid before us by the noble Lord, is really the spirit in which the extreme members of this Party are going to act, then, I think, we may confidently look forward to a period not removed from us by any greater distance of time when these unhappy events which have given cause for such just suspicion, and have caused such undoubted anxiety over the whole country, will finally be put an end to. Does it seem so weak and timorous a course to trust the Bishops? If I have shown, as I think I have shown, that it is the Bishops alone who can do this, it would be folly surely to interfere with them until their impotence is manifest. When it is manifest, and if it is manifest, and I think it 'will not be, then undoubtedly it will be our duty to strengthen their hands, to see that they are given powers, not at present possessed by them, which will enable them to carry out that discipline in the Church without which neither the Church nor any other organisation can hope to lead a healthy and useful existence. If by violating every principle of sound policy we assume at once that the Bishops cannot do what it is their duty to do, if we rush in before the necessity arises and attempt legislation, and if by that legislation we really weaken their authority—the only authority which can affect the public opinion of the Church, though, no doubt, the policeman may affect the ritual of the Church—if that is our view, I confess I think we are widely trespassing from the paths of sound statesmanship. And who is it we should please most by such a course? Is it the members of the Low Church, or Evangelical Party? I imagine that they cannot have more trusted spokesmen than the last two members who have addressed the House, and they have given their verdict emphatically on grounds of sound Church policy against the hasty legislation which the honourable Member has proposed. If I may, as I think I may, take them as spokesmen of the Low Church Party, and if I may assume from their speeches that that Party, at all events, does not desire immediate legislation, who is it will be pleased by it? I have listened to the speeches, and I have gathered that there are two sections of opinion in the House which are anxious to see it. There are those who are opposed to the principle of Voluntary Schools, and there are those who desire an opportunity to see Disestablishment in the Church. I need not say that I make no question of the sincerity and disinterestedness of their motives, but that those motives are mixed they themselves would be the last to deny, and if they did deny it the speeches which they have made to-night are amply sufficient to prove it. I cannot imagine two Gentlemen more divergent in everything except a common Liberalism than the honourable Member for West Fife and the honourable Member for Nottingham. They look at all things, I should have said—literary, political, and theological —from an absolutely different standpoint, from a completely different plane of culture. Yet both these honourable Members, those Gentlemen who spoke in immediate succession, made Disestablishment speeches, and Disestablishment speeches only in connection with this Motion. It is perfectly true that the honourable Member for West Fife is going to vote against the Motion, and the honourable Member for Nottingham is to vote for it; but each of them regards the issue of the present position of affairs as 'Disestablishment, and Disestablishment alone. I consider that if we are hastily and unnecessarily to embark on legislation, which by our own confession cannot carry out our own objects, and if by that means we hurry schism in the Church or Disestablishment of the Church, we have our own blood upon our own heads, for we have listened to the advice of those who, whatever friendship they may profess, and genuinely profess, for the Church as a religious organisation, never conceal their desire to see it Disestablished and deprived of all the material means of carrying out its great work. These are not allies with whom I desire to work. These are not aims which I desire to further. I have with them the fullest and the amplest sympathy when they make their protests against these illegal perversions of the traditional doctrine of the Church of England, but when they ask me to carry out a concrete Measure which, even in their view, on cross-examination, would have no effect, or but little effect, to attain their avowed

object, but would have clearly a great effect in carrying out their unavowed object, then they must allow me to separate myself from them. It is the business of every man, be his theology what it may, to do his best at these periods, when theological passions run high, and all the unhappy accompaniments which cannot, unfortunately, be divorced from theological passions—it is their business to exercise a moderating influence upon those with whom they act when the action proposed is not likely to carry out the real objects which all must have in view; and if I ask the House this evening to reject this Amendment, it is not only because an Amendment to the Address is a vote of censure on the Government, which would entail the destruction of the Government; it is not only for that reason or mainly for that reason, but because I believe that if this House now prematurely and unnecessarily commits itself to a policy of legislation, we shall deal a serious blow, not merely at the interests of the Established Church, but at the interests of Protestantism itself.

Question put— That those words be there added.

House divided—Ayes 89; Noes 221. —(Division List No. 2.)

Allan, Wm. (Gateshead) Griffith, Ellis J. Price, Robert John
Allen, W. (Newc.-under-Lyme) Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale- Provand, Andrew Dryburgh
Ascroft, Robert Hazell, Walter Rickett, J. Compton
Balfour,Rt.Hn J. Blair(Clackm) Hedderwick, Thomas C. H. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Barlow, John Emmott Holden, Sir Angus Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Horniman, Frederick John Robson, William Snowdon
Billson, Alfred Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Broadhurst, Henry Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Schwann, Charles E.
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire) Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Burt, Thomas Kay-Shuttleworth,Rt.HnSirU. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Buxton, Sydney Charles Kearley, Hudson E. Souttar, Robinson
Caldwell, James Kinloch, Sir John George S. Spicer, Albert
Cameron, Robt. (Durham) Lambert, George Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Langley, Batty Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Cawley, Frederick Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land) Ure, Alexander
Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W. Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington) Wallace, Robert (Perth)
Channing, Francis Allston Lewis, John Herbert Walton, John L. (Leeds, S.)
Clough, Walter Owen Lloyd-George, David Warner, Thomas C. T.
Colville, John M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall) Wedderburn, Sir William
Cozens-Hardy, Herbert H. Maddison, Fred. Weir, James Galloway
Crombie, John William Maden, John Henry Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Dalziel, James Henry Mellor,Rt. Hn J. W. (Yorks.) Williams, John C. (Notts.)
Davies, M. V. (Cardigan) Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Willox, Sir John Archibald
Duckworth, James Morton, E. J. C. (Devonp't) Wilson, Hy. J. (York, W.R.)
Ellis, T. E. (Merionethshire) Moulton, John Fletcher Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbro')
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Norton, Capt. Cecil William Woods, Samuel
Fenwick, Charles Nussey, Thomas Willans Yoxall, James Henry
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund Paulton, James Mellor
Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.) Perks, Robert William TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Fowler, Rt. Hn. Sir. Henry Pickersgill, Edward Hare Mr. Samuel Smith and Colonel Sandys.
Goddard, Daniel Ford Pirie, Duncan V.
Ambrose, W. (Middlesex) Gilliat, John Saunders Murray,Rt.Hn.A.Gr'h'm(Bute)
Arnold, Alfred Godson, Sir Augustus F. Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Goldsworthy, Major-General Myers, William Henry
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Gordon, Hon. John Edward Newark, Viscount
Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. Nicholson, William Graham
Baird, John George Alex. Goulding, Edward Alfred Northcote, Hn. Sir H. (Staff.)
Balcarres, Lord Graham, Henry Robert O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.J.(Manch.) Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds) Green, Walf. D. (Wednesbry) Pease,HerbertP. (Darlington.)
Banbury, Frederick George Gretton, John Penn, John
Barnes, Frederick Gorell Greville, Hon. Ronald Phillpotts, Capt. Arthur
Barry,Rt. Hn. A.H.S.(Hunts.) Haldane, Richard Burdon Pilkington, Richard
Barry, Sir F. T. (Windsor) Hall, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. Curzon
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Hamiton, Rt. Hon. Lord G. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Beach, Rt. Hn. SirM. H.(Bristl.) Hammond, John Carlow) Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)
Beckett, Ernest William Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Purvis, Robert
Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe Hanson, Sir Reginald Pym, C. Guy
Biddulph, Michael Hardy, Laurence Rankin, Sir James
Bigwood, James Hare, Thomas Leigh Rasch, Major Fredc. Carne
Bill, Charles Hayden, John Patrick Redmond, William (Clare)
Blundell, Colonel Henry Heath, James Richards, Henry Charles
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Heaton, John Henniker Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlpl.)
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Helder, Augustus Ridley, Rt. Hon Sir M. W.
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. Sir John Henderson, Alexander Ritchie Hon. C. Thomson
Bullard, Sir Harry Hermon-Hodge, Robert T. Robertson, H. (Hackney)
Butcher, John George Hill, Sir E. S.(Bristol) Rothschild, Hon. L. W.
Cavendish, R. F. (Lncs., N.) Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead) Rounds, James
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.) Hoare, Samuel (Norwich) Royds, Clements Molyneux
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Gr'nwich.) Hobhouse, Henry Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Chamberlain, J. A. (Worcr.) Holland, Hon. L. Raleigh Rutherford, John
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Howell, William Tudor Ryder, J. H. Dudley
Charrington, Spencer Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Scott, Sir S.(Marylebone, W.)
Chelsea, Viscount Hutton, J. (Yorks, N.R.) Seton-Karr, Henry
Clare, Octavius Leigh Jackson, Rt. Hn. W. Lawies Sharpe, William Edward T.
Clarke, Sir E. (Plymouth) Jeffreys, Arthur Fredk. Shaw-Stewart, M.H.(Rnfw.)
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Jenkins, Sir J. Jones Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Johnstone, John H. (Sussex) Sidebottom, W. (Derbyshire)
Colston, C. E. H. (Athole) Kemp, George Sinclair Louis (Romford)
Compton, Lord Alwyne Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H. Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Kenyon, James Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford) Keswick, William Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)
Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W. King, Sir H. Seymour Smith, Hon. W.F.D.(Strand)
Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H. Knowles, Lees Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)
Cranborne, Viscount Lawrence, Sir E. Drng (Corn. Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset)
Cripps, Charles Alfred Lawson, John Grant (Yks.) Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Cross, Herbert S. (Bolton) Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. E. H. Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead Stock, James Henry
Curzon, Viscount Leighton, Stanley Strauss, Arthur
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Llewellyn, E. H. (Somerset) Strutt, Hon. C. Hedley
Daly, James Llewelyn SirDillwyn- (Sw'sea Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Denny, Colonel Loder, Gerald, W. E. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P. Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool) Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox.Univ.)
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Lopes, Henry Y. B. Tennant, Harold John
Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers- Lowe, Francis William Thorburn, Walter
Doxford, William Theodore Loyd, Archie Kirkman Thornton, Percy M.
Drage, Geoffrey Lucas-Shadwell, William Tully, Jasper
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Valentia, Viscount
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir W. H. Macalccse, Daniel Ward, Hon. R. A (Crewe)
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Macdona, John Cumming Warde, Lt.-Col. C E. (Kent)
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph D. MacIver, David (Liverpool) Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)
Fardell, Sir T. George MacIvre, Sir John William Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Fergusson,Rt.Hn.Sir J. (Man.) M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edin., W.) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Finlay, Sir Robert B. M'Killop, James Williams, Joseph Powell-(Bm.
Fisher, William Hayes Malcolm, Ian Willoughby, de Eresby, Lord
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Massey-Mainwaring,Hn.W.F. Wilson Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)
Flower, Ernest Mellor, Col. (Lancashire) Wodehouse, Rt.Hon.E.R.(Bath
Folkestone, Viscount Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J. Wortley, Rt. Hn. C.B. Stuart-
Forster, Henry William Monckton, Edward Philip Wyndham, George
Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Monk, Charles James Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Galloway, William Johnson Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants.) Young, Com'ndr. (Berks, E.)
Garfit, William More, Robert Jasper
Gedge, Sydney Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Gibbs, Hn.A.G.H.(City ofLon.) Mowbray, Rt. Hon. Sir John Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Giles, Charles Tyrrell Murnaghan, George