Motion made and Question proposed:—
That the legislative power of Bishops in the House of Peers in Parliament is a great hindrance to the discharge of their spiritual functions, prejudicial to the commonwealth, and fit to be taken away by Bill."—(Mr. Herbert Lewis.)
§ MR. H. LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
said that in submitting the Motion to the judgment of the House he was not actuated by the slightest feeling of disrespect towards the Spiritual Peers. The object of this Motion was simply to draw attention to their position in the House of Lords, with a view to putting an end to an anomaly and an injustice which was prejudicial to the interests of religion and to the welfare of the community. It was not the first time that this Question had been brought before the House. The Parliamentary history of the Question could be told very briefly. In the year 1611 the House of Commons passed a Resolution in the exact terms which fie now submitted to the House. For that Resolution not only men like Pym, Hampden, Selden, Vane, and Cromwell, but also Falkland, Hyde, afterwards Lord Clarendon, voted. In 1834 and 1836 Mr. Rippon, then Member for Gateshead, 114 moved "That the attendance of the Bishops in Parliament is prejudicial to the cause of religion." In 1837 Mr. Lushington moved:—That it is the opinion of this House that the sitting of the Bishops in Parliament is unfavourable in its operation to the general interests of religion in the country, and tends to alienate the affections of the people from the Established Church.In; 186G Mr. Peter Rylands gave notice of the following Motion—That the right possessed by certain Bishops of the Church of England of sitting in the House of Lords is contrary to public policy, and injurious to public interests,but Mr. Rylands did not obtain an opportunity of bringing on the Motion in the House. In 1870 Mr. Somerset Beaumont moved for leave to bring in a Bill to relieve the Bishops hereafter consecrated from attending in Parliament. That Motion was rejected by 158 to 102. Upon the 21st March, 1884, Mr. Willis moved a Resolution in identically the same terms as those of the Resolution passed by the House of Commons in 1641 and the one he now ventured to submit to the House. There voted for the Resolution 137, against 118. The Resolution was therefore only defeated by a majority of 11. So far as he was aware, that was the last occasion on which the Question was debated in the House, but recent events had raised the Question into considerable prominence, and he (the Mover) had received communications from different parts of the country, chiefly from Conservatives, which showed that considerable public interest had been aroused in the Question. The reasons given by the House of Commons in 1641 for the exclusion of Spiritual Peers from the House of Lords held good at the present time, and would continue to hold good so long as the Spiritual Peers regained members of that Assembly, and, as he had based his Motion on the precedent of 1611, so he would base his argument in support of it on the reasons offered by the House of Commons at that time for seeking to exclude the Bishops 115 from the House of Peers. The first Bill for the exclusion of Spiritual Peers was passed by the House of Commons in May, 1641. After the Committee stage in the House of Lords, a Conference was desired with the Commons, and on the 3rd June the Lords gave their reasons for retaining the Bishops' votes in Parliament, stating that both by the common law, statutes, and constant practice, there was no question of the legality of their giving their votes, and they asked what inconveniences there were that would induce Parliament to deprive the Bishops and their successors of the right of voting. On the following day the Commons offered their reasons, and he should make those reasons the basis of his arguments in the House. The first reason was that it was a very great hindrance to the exercise of their ministerial functions. That applied at the present time, because although facilities of travel had greatly improved, the population of the dioceses had increased immensely since 1641, and one would imagine that at a time when, an addition, to the ordinary cares and responsibilities of the management of great and populous dioceses, the Bishops had abundant cause for anxiety and work, arising out of those theological differences which have been so prominently displayed, their time would be fully occupied in attending to their diocesan work, and he did not think there was a man in the House who said that it would not. It was not to the advantage of their spiritual work that, they should be called upon to take part in the proceedings of the House of Lords. They had done so, and in recent, years, not only where the interests of the Church of England were concerned, but also when questions of general interest had been discussed. In fact, they had often taken part in ordinary politics like ordinary politicians. That had, been greatly resented by the clergy in some dioceses, and if the Bishops were relieved of their Parliamentary work, it would certainly lie to the advantage of their spiritual work in the Church over which they were called to rule. Times were considerably changed since a Bishop wrote to the Prime Minister asking to be nominated for service on Committees of the House of Lords, on the ground that otherwise he would have nothing to do while staying in town. Diocesan work had become 116 far more onerous; and responsible, and Bishops could less than ever afford time for attendanea on Parliamentary duties. The second reason given by the Commons was:—Because they do vow and undertake at their ordination, when they enter into Holy Orders, that they will give themselves wholly to that vocation.Those vows had been referred to lately as being of a very peculiar and sacred kind. It was impossible for them to perform that vow so long as they occupied seats in the Legislature. The next reason was "Because Councils and Canons in several ages do forbid them to meddle with secular affairs." He was under the impression that, in the Church of England far greater regard was paid to the authority of Councils and Canons than was formerly the case, and the appeal of the Long Parliament to Councils of the Church ought, therefore, to apply with all the greater force at the present time. The fourth reason was:—Because the 24 Bishops have a dependency upon the two Archbishops, and because of their oath of canonical obedience to them,which, of course, takes away to a very large extent their independence. He could not help applying this reason, although. Parliament had not so far taken cognisance of the matter, to that correspondence between the Archbishops and the Pope not so long ago, of which no English Churchman, to whatever school he might belong, could think without pain and humiliation. He wondered whether the Bishops approved of that correspondence. Another weighty reason given by the House of Commons for their proposal, and one which would apply in 1941 as well as in 1641, was "Because of Bishops' dependences and expectances of translations to places of greater profit." This was a question to which he we aid rather not refer, but leave entirely untouched. But human nature was exactly the same now as it was 200 years ago, and it had been connected in many minds with the fact that the Bishops had been so often found associated with the rejection of some of the most beneficial legislation ever proposed for this country. Why had they so seldom raised their voices against unjust wars? For example, 117 during the premiership of Lord Beacons field, six Bishops took the trouble to come to the House of Lords and to vote for the policy of the Afghan War. Only one Bishop attended and voted against the Government on that occasion. It was at the time rather unkindly suggested that a great See was vacant, and that, might have in some degree influenced the Spiritual Peers in the votes they had given; but he would not suggest that the attitude taken by the Bishops was due to anything but their unswerving loyalty to the Government of the day. It was well known that Mr. Disraeli looked at the appointment of the Bishops from a political point of view, but he (the speaker) was quite willing to believe that their action was not in any way due to any expectation of preferment, but to loyalty, and that had often led them, closely associated as they were with the temporalities of the State, to take action, which, to say the least, had from time to time made them the objects of strong, if undeserved, suspicion. The next reason of the House for excluding Bishops from Parliament was—That several Bishops have of late encroached upon the consciences and properties of the subjects; and they and their successors will be much encouraged still to encroach, and the subjects will be much discouraged from complaining against such encroachments when they are judges of those complaints. The same reason extends to their legislative power, in any Bill to pass for the regulation of their power, upon any emergent inconveniency by it.Was it not just as true in the present day that "several Bishops have of late encroached upon the consciences of the subjects"? They exercised the rights of patronage, to an enormous extent, and they could impress almost any character they pleased upon the Church—directly by preferring clergymen of one school of thought, and indirectly by the effect of those preferments upon the main body of the Clergy. It was largely by such means that Church doctrine and ritual had been changed, and that Bishops had "much encroached upon the consciences of the subjects." Moreover, the Bishops had taken advantage of their position to continue for as long a time as possible the infliction of odious and painful disabilities upon Nonconformists of all classes. When a Bill for the removal of Roman Catholic Disabilities came before the 118 House of Lords in 1821, only two Bishops voted in favour of it and 25 against. During the following year 23 Bishops voted against the same Bill, and only one for it. In 1829, when, largely owing to the withholding of the rights of citizenship, Ireland was on the verge of a civil war, 19 Bishops voted against the Roman Catholics' Disabilities Bill, and only 10 in favour of it. The same ecclesiastical bias was seen in the case of the Jews. When the Jews' Disabilities Bill was introduced in 1833, 20 Bishops voted against it and only three for it. The rejection of the Bill was moved by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, who urged, that "the moral and intellectual capacity of the Jews was not such as to entitle them to take any share in the Legislature." It seems almost incredible that those words could have been uttered by the saintly and venerated Dr. Howley. Yet he did use them, and they could only be accounted for by the influence of his environment. So late as 1858, when the Bill was actually passed, 11 Bishops voted against it and seven for it. So much for their conduct in regard to the Roman Catholics and the Jews. Now let us come to the case of the Protestant Nonconformists. In 1854 22 Bishops voted against admitting Dissenters into the Universities and only two for their admission. And as late as 1869 three Bishops voted against the Universities Test Abolition Bill and not one in its favour. The admission of Nonconformists to the Universities was delayed for 36 years—from 1831 to 1871—by the House of Lords, and that delay was largely due to the official chiefs of the Church of England, and he did think, having prevented Nonconformists for so long from obtaining University education and culture, it was hardly fair that members of that Church should sneer at them, as they sometimes did, for want of culture. The Bill to abolish the declaration which prevented Nonconformists from accepting public offices came before the House of Lords in the years 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, and 1865. The law, as they must know very well, debarred them from public appointments unless they prejured lie appointments unless they perjured indefensible disability was opposed by 36 votes of Bishops, and supported by only two votes. On the Motion to permit "Christian and orderly services, other 119 than that of the Church of England," in churchyards, brought forward in 1876 and 1877, 50 votes were recorded by the Bishops against the Resolution and only nine in its favour. During the toilsome uphill journey which Nonconformists had to make to attain their political rights to which they were entitled as subjects of Her Majesty for over two centuries the Bishops had thrown obstacle after obstacle in their way, and what he complained of was that those who, by the nature of the position they held, apparently felt it necessary to thwart Nonconformist aspirations in the supposed interests of the Church of England, should be, in the words of the Motion of 1641, the judges in their own cause. In the past it had been prejudicial to the Commonwealth that the Chamber, which, in the last resort, had the power of deciding questions affecting Nonconformists, should contain not merely an overwhelming preponderance of members of the Established Church, but also a number of official representatives of that Church. While questions affecting the rights and the interests of Nonconformists constantly came before the House of Lords, Nonconformists had not a single representative from England or Wales in that Chamber. Surely if it were desired to protect the interests of the Church of England in the House of Lords, the fact that nearly all the members of that Chamber belong to that Church was sufficient, protection. Was it not enough to practically exclude Nonconformists from the House of Lords, although they numbered half of the population of the United Kingdom, without having in addition 26 men whose special business was to look after the interests of the Church of which they were the official heads? By all means let the just interests of that Church be protected, like those of any other Church, but not at the expense of those great independent religious communities whose rights, as subjects of the Queen, ought to be placed on a footing of complete equality with those of the Established Church. One of the most important movements in which Nonconformists had been interested during this century was the abolition of Church Rates. It was an extraordinary fact that the wealthiest religious denomination in the country should have exacted money from Nonconformists, not only for the erection and repair of Mr. Lewis. 120 churches, but for the provision of divine worship in which they took no part. An example of what happened during that controversy was the case of Braintree, where Nonconformists refused to pay the rate, and, while enormous sums of money were raised for the purpose of compelling them to pay, the parish church of Brain-tree was allowed to fall into such a state of dilapidation that, on a wet Sunday, people were obliged to put up their umbrellas during divine service. A great number of Nonconformists all over the country allowed their goods to be sold by auction rather than pay the rates, while others were imprisoned for refusing payment. The question came before Parliament in the years 1858, 1860, and 1867, and Bills to abolish the Church Rate were carried by majorities of 54, 89, and 76. During those years 47 votes were recorded by the Bishops against the Bill, and not one in its favour, and the determined struggle they made to maintain a position which had become as intolerable as it was unjust, showed that the Episcopal Bench would always regard questions of that kind, not from the impartial standpoint of justice to all classes of the community, but from the point of view of the temporal interests of the Church which they represented. This partiality was prejudicial to the interests of the Commonwealth, and the opportunity of exercising it ought to be taken away by the Bill. The action of the Bishops in reference to the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill was well known. That Bill had passed the House of Commons seven times, but it had been rejected in the House of Lords no less than fourteen times, and it was the votes of the Bishops which had prevented it from becoming law. That Bill did not compel any clergyman of the Church of England to marry any man to his deceased wife's sister. It provided that the ceremony should take place either in a Nonconformist place of worship or before the Civil Registrar. But notwithstanding this, the Bishops had invariably come to town in force when the Bill came before the House of Lords, and had defeated a Measure which had become law in every British Colony. Mr. Balfour had defended the delay, in carrying beneficent Measures, imposed by the House of Lords, on the ground that it was "necessary for the smooth working of our institutions." Was it really neces- 121 sary for the "smooth working of our institutions" that Dissenters should have been excluded from the Universities, that they should be compelled to use a separate burial-ground, that they should pay the Church Kate, that they should be forbidden to hold services in private houses for so many years after the country had definitely made up its mind in favour of these urgent and necessary reforms. Delay in matters of this kind often did infinitely more harm than good, and left behind it a rankling sense of injustice and oppression. When the Measure was ultimately passed it was felt that no gratitude was due for it. In such cases delay only inflicted injury upon the body politic. In regard to the votes of the Bishops on general questions, he drew attention to their attitude in the early days of the anti-slavery question and the great Reform Bill, and quoted the opinion of the Bishop of Liverpool, who said that after 40 years' study of the Debates of the Upper House, he was of opinion that they were often present when they ought to have been absent, and absent when they ought to have been present, and that of Dean Plumptre, who said that the record of their votes on questions essentially moral had for the most part been on the wrong side. To take one instance which showed how the official position of the Bishops in the House of Lords had made them upholders to an unreasonable degree of the rights of property, in 1810 seven Bishops voted against the Bill to abolish capital punishment for stealing from shops property to the value of five shillings. On that occasion not a single Bishop voted in favour of the abrogation of the monstrous and barbarous punishment of death for a comparatively small offence. Some might regard that as ancient history, but my point is that in regard to humane reforms and all great reforms Bishops should be leaders of public opinion. If they were out of the Legislature their influence for good in moral questions would be much greater. The Commons' next reason for excluding the Bishops was—Because the whole number of them is interested to maintain the jurisdiction of Bishops, which hath been found so grievous to the three kingdoms, that Scotland hath utterly abolished it——and I don't think there is a Scotchman 122 in the country who would wish to see those Bishops reinstated—and multitudes in England and Ireland have petitioned against it.Scotland had no Bishops in the House of Lords, and would not have them there on any consideration. The Irish Protestant Bishops had left that Chamber 30 years ago, and happily would never return. They had been far better occupied in looking after the spiritual interests of their dioceses than they would have been in meddling in Irish politics in Parliament. While Bishops had been lately interested in extending their jurisdiction by such Acts as the Benefices Act of last Session, which did not touch the question of doctrine and ritual, and concerning themselves in what was very erroneously called the work of "Church Defence"— that is to say, the political defence of the Establishment, and all the privileges and emoluments that went with Establishment—while they had occupied themselves in smashing and mutilating Education Schemes, they had allowed to grow up under their very eyes, practically without check or rebuke, doctrines and practices absolutely subversive of the doctrines and practices of the Church as established by law. The Church of England had during the past 50 years undergone a complete transformation. So far had this transformation been carried, that, broadly and generally speaking, the Clergy were now in one camp and the Laity in another. The Bishops, by discouraging legal action, had as a body abetted and connived at this transformation to such an extent that the great body of the Laity were now in open revolt all over the country. It was useless to minimise the significance or the gravity of this revolt, and it was idle to say that it was the outcome of the irregularities of a few extreme men. The fact of the matter was that the Bishops had spent so much time in fighting for the temporalities of the Church, and for the maintenance of their position in the House of Lords, that the infinitely weightier matters of the law had been neglected. The secret clerical campaign which had been going on, and which had been so admirably exposed, ought to have been well known to the Bishops. Either it was known to them or it was not. If it was, 123 they should have taken prompt means to check it, instead of encouraging; it by promoting the Clergy who were engaged in propagating subversive doctrines. If it was unknown to them, it could only be supposed that they had been paying too much attention to matters which did not specially concern the spiritual interests of the Church. The Attorney-General said they had been supine; the Bishop of Winchester admitted that they had been casual. Was it apathy or sympathy that had caused the Bishops to overlook for so long such widespread and flagrant violations of the law? If it was apathy, then the sooner they were relieved of their duties in the House of Lords the better. If it was sympathy with the lawbreakers, then it was clear that the Bishops, sitting in the House of Lords to legislate for the whole community, represented only a section of a section of the religious world, and that, he contended, was unjust to the other sections, and therefore prejudicial to the Commonwealth. Nonconformity had a far stronger hold on the nation than was commonly supposed. At the beginning of the present reign the Nonconformist bodies provided 3,000,000 sittings. What were called the Evangelical Free Churches in England and Wales alone now provided 7,848,804 sittings, and there were some Nonconformist bodies not included in that estimate. The total number of sittings provided by the Established Church was 6,886,977.That afforded some indication, though not by any means, perhaps, a complete one, of the comparative strength of Nonconformity and the Established Church. If they added to the Nonconformists who did not believe in the retention of the Spiritual Peers in Parliament, the Laity of the Church of England who believed that the Bishops would be far better occupied in carefully watching, and, if need be, repressing the growth of illegal doctrines and practices in the Church of England, than in attending to legislative work in the House of Lords, they would find that the great majority of the nation would prefer to see them, so far as legislative work was concerned, in the position of the Irish Bishops, who did not need to look to the State for either guidance or promotion, and who could give their whole time and energy to the work of their 124 dioceses. The ninth reason of the House of Commons was—Because the Bishops, being Lords of Parliament, it setteth too great distance between them and the rest of their brethren in the ministry, which occasioneth pride in them, discontent in others, and disquiet in the Church.Looked at from the merely human point of view, the fact that the chief ministers of the Church had titles conferred upon them by the State, and had power of legislating, or preventing legislation, for people of all creeds was, in his opinion, not an advantage to the Church, but a great disadvantage. But when the Church was regarded as a divine institution, when they considered all that Scripture said about the Church and the world, about the lives of the first Ministers of the Christian Church, and what the Bishops ought to be, he could conceive of nothing more alien to the spirit of Christianity than that Ministers of the Gospel, however exalted their position in the Church, should have peerages and other temporal prerogatives. And he thought that that was one of the grounds upon which this Motion would commend itself to the House. He had no doubt they would hear in the course of the Debate the argument from antiquity. The House of Commons replied to that argument in 1611 by saying—As to their having votes a long time since, the answer is, if inconvenient, time and usage are not to be considered with law-makers. Some Abbots voted in Parliament as ancient as Bishops, yet are taken away.So that there were precedents, both ancient and modern, for the removal of the Bishops from the Upper House. There were those who would persist in regarding this as a Disestablishment Motion, and there were some who said that if a Resolution of this kind were passed they must make up their minds for Disestablishment, and that meant the destruction of the Church. There were some also who identified the Establishment with the Church, and spoke of it as if it were a house of cards—if one card were taken away the whole edifice would come toppling down. That was an absurd notion. The Church of England was still strong in the affections of millions of people in this country. As one of the Prelates had said, "the water of Disestablishment cannot drown her, the axe of 125 Disendowment cannot lay her low." She had no need to fear the results of Disestablishment; her real danger lay in other directions. But this was not a Motion for the Disestablishment of the Church. It was directed against a specific grievance, felt by a large number of persons, Nonconformists as well as Churchmen, which might be removed with the best results to the Church and the nation alike. It neither did the world nor the Church any good for Ministers of the Gospel to sit by virtue of their office in the House of Lords. Such a position was unnatural, inconsistent with primitive Christianity, injurious to Nonconformists, and prejudicial to the spiritual interests of the Church. It was on these grounds that he hoped the Motion he had submitted would commend itself to the judgment of the House.
§ On the return of Mr. SPEAKER after the usual interval.
§ *MR. F. S. STEVENSON (Suffolk, Eye)
Mr. Speaker, the Motion which has been brought forward by my honourable Friend is one which has come on rather unexpectedly to-night, because it was generally thought, I believe, that the Debate on the Address was1 going to last to a longer period of the evening; and it is somewhat unexpectedly, therefore, that I had been called upon to rise to second the Amendment. But in approaching this question I approach it from a somewhat different point of view from, that of my honourable Friend. My honourable Friend, as a Nonconformist, has pointed out with great force, with great clearness, and, I think, in a very temperate way the grave objections which may be urged from the point of view of feeling that, the principle of religious equality is opposed to the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords. That, Sir, may, on the face of it, appear to be a, matter rather of sentiment than one which corresponds to the solid fact which requires to be taken into account. But I think that when one looks at the matter, not only from the point of view of sentiment, but also of what has been the practical policy exercised by the Bishops in the House of Lords, in the right which they unquestionably have at the present time, it will be seen that the matter goes beyond the boundaries of mere senti- 126 ment. It corresponds to a feeling which is based upon a series of facts which have brought about a condition of affairs which urgently requires to be remedied by the operation of Parliament. Now, Sir, as I have said, I have only been able during a comparatively short time this evening to consider the arguments which have been put forward by my honourable Friend, and the line he was going to take. But there are, perhaps, one or two matters in regard to the reasons which he urged, and which were based upon the proceedings of the Long Parliament—that is to say, the proceedings of the best portion of the Long Parliament—to which I ought to make some reference. One was the fact that he quoted from the Long Parliament an expression of opinion that the position of the Bishops and the position of the Abbots stood very much upon the same footing, and that because the representation of the Abbots in the House of Lords had been abolished, there was exactly the same reason why the presence of the Bishops should also be done away. As a matter of fact, however, the position of the Bishops and the position of the Abbots in the House of Lords stood upon an entirely different, basis. The Abbots were there by virtue of their tenure of Barony. Now, although some distinguished lawyers have, I have no doubt, asserted at different times that the Bishops are also in the House of Lords on the same principle, I think that every historian of note who has looked into the fact has taken an entirely different point of view. Now, it is very likely that the wording of that Resolution is inspired— probably it was inspired—by Seldom Now, Selden held very strongly that the Bishops were in the House of Lords by virtue of the tenure of Barony, and his views were followed by Blackstone, whilst, as a matter of fact, I believe, every historian of note, ending with the present Bishop of Oxford, has come to the 'conclusion that the Bishops were there by virtue of their Ecclesiastical office not only before the Conquest but also' after the Conquest. There is no question as to the grounds on which they occupied seats in the chief Council in Saxon times, but the question has arisen as to what was their position in the great Council of the Nation 127 after the Norman Conquest, and I think the labours of the historians have conclusively shown that they are there by virtue of their Ecclesiastical position,. In those days they were there as the representatives of the Church of the whole nation. That was the time when every Englishman was pleased to belong to' one Church, when such a thing as schism was practically unknown, and when there were practically no differences of religious opinion between one man and another in this country. But that is not the case at the present time, and therefore what might in one age have been useful and perhaps a justifiable provision, is one which;, in the present condition of religious opinion in this country, no longer has its raison détre. Now, I do not wish, of course to labour the point as to the difference between the Bishops and Abbots, but I think those honourable Members who are inclined to look upon the fact will see that over and over again there are instances which have occurred in the course of the Middle Agesi—i.e., in a period, roughly speaking, from the Norman Conquest to the Reformation, where it is shown that the Bishops occupied their seats in the House of Lords by virtue of their Ecclesiastical position. For instance, I believe there is one case which has often been cited in this connection, and that was the case of the Abbot of Osney, who> was very anxious to be relieved of Parliamentary attendance, and he brought forward arguments to show that the Abbey of which he was the head had not been founded by the King; and also some other Abbot at the same time brought forward similar arguments to show that they had not received their appointment from the King, and did not hold from him by any tenure of Barony. At the present, time there is no longer one Church in the nation—there are many sects and creeds, and consequently arguments which might have been very well used in 1641 in the Long Parliament in its best days with reference to the early Constitution of the House of Lords is one which no longer can be used at the present time. Then, Sir, there is one other point which perhaps I can approach, from a somewhat different point of view from that of my honourable Friend. My honourable Friend has approached the question 128 from the Nonconformist point of view, and very clearly, and very temperately, and very forcibly showed what are the grievances that are due not only to the action taken by the Bishops in the House of Lords as against every measure which was in favour of the promotion of religious equality, but, he also' showed what were the grievances that are felt by the nation as a whole on the ground that a certain privilege, a certain legislative prerogative, was in this manner accorded to the heads of one particular religious body which was not extended to other bodies. Now, Sir, I approach this question rather from the point of view of a Churchman, and I desire, therefore, not so much to emphasise those two points, although I entirely agree with them, but rather to insist upon the harm which is being done at the present time to the Church of England and to the feelings of Churchmen throughout the country by the fact that in the House of Lords the Bishops are taken away to a considerable extent from the work of their dioceses, and also, owing to the atmosphere, or owing to the environment in which they are surrounded, or possibly to some faint traces of original sin which may be found even on the Episcopal bench, they have on so many occasions set themselves against progress and in favour of reaction. Now, with regard to the way in which Bishops are taken away from their diocesan work, of course, as my honourable Friend pointed out, and as the Long Parliament pointed out in 1641, the dioceses were very vast and very populous, and if they were vast and populous then, they are certainly more populous now, even if they are not vaster. I do not think that perhaps they occupy so much area as they did then. For instance', the Diocese of Lincoln in those days was larger than any diocese at the present time—it extended all the way from the Humber to the Thames; but at the present time, wing to the increased population, there is no comparison whatever to be drawn between the population of the dioceses in the Middle Ages, or even from the population in the seventeenth century, and their population at the present time. They require constant attention and they require constant work, and even the fact that the House of Lords only sits for a comparatively short time each day 129 makes very little difference with regard to the matter, because the attendance of the Bishops has, especially in the case of those who come from a long distance, been continuous. Not many months ago I had some conversation on the subject with one of the Bishops, who told me that, not only does the legislative business involve so much strain, but also that there are various other matters connected with the functions of the House of Lords which require their attention. For instance, in the House of Lords there is no Chaplain, as in this House, but certain Bishops take it by turn to read prayers for a certain number of days consecutively. Well, it was his turn to perform these functions, and there were some very important matters which were at that time exciting attention in his diocese, which urgently required attention, but, owing to the fact that it was his turn to perform these duties, he was unable to spend those days in his diocese which he ought to have done, and was obliged to; be present at the Debates in the House of Lords in connection with matters in which he took very little interest, and which did not even affect the affairs of the Church. Well, that is perhaps an instance which does not occur very often; but still, if it occurs in one case it may occur in several others. It seems to me that that is not a sort of work which one expects from one who is at the head of a large diocese, and one who has such important duties to> perform as are connected with the pastoral care of so large a flock. One does not expect a Bishop's attention to be diverted in that way from, what may be for the good of his flock, and for them to be left unwatched and uncared for during that time. Then, again, not only is it the fact that they are taken away from the work of their dioceses, but also the fact remains that they are prevented to the same extent from the possibility of paying that attention to the affairs of the Church which they might pay if they knew that they and their fellow-Churchmen were able to do what they wished with regard to the reform and regeneration of the Ecclesiastical body. What I mean is this—that if honourable Gentlemen are of opinion that the Bishops have an important legislative work to do in connection with the Church, why do they not promote the reform of Convo- 130 cation? and why do they not give, subject to the veto of Parliament, increased legislative powers to Convocation? Why do not honourable Members advocate that, instead of removing the Bishops from their proper sphere of influence and mixing them up with other matters and with other persons, with which and with whom, they have really very little to do —an arrangement which is producing in the minds of Churchmen a deplorable effect. Because what they say is this—-these are the chosen leaders of the Church; these are; the men entrusted with the continuity of the Church work; these are the men who are able to exercise within their several spheres an influence second to none, and which ought unquestionably to be paramount. But what is the fact? Instead of their being able to devote themselves uninterruptedly to that work, instead of them standing aloof from party questions, we find they are obliged, from the necessities of the case, to spend so much time in a secular body, connecting themselves with one party by the votes they give and the speeches they make. The effect of that upon the minds of Churchmen is to make them believe that their leaders belong to one party, and to one party only, instead of, as is actually the case, dividing and sub-dividing the members of the Church into the different parties which exist not only in the nation, but also in the Church. That is an evil which will go on even if the Bishops should not continue to vote in the manner in which they have almost continuously voted in the past. Instances have been given in which they have voted and spoken against the spread of the principle of religious equality; but there are other matters which have less to do with the Church on which they took a similar line. We all remember what took place in reference to the Local Government Act, 1894. The effect of the action taken he the Bishops in the House of Lords on that Measure was to render nugatory some of its most valuable provisions. I have no doubt they voted and spoke perfectly conscientiously in the matter, and that they thought that those provisions were derogatory and injurious to the best interests of the Church. I am referring specially to the clauses relating to the charities; but what applies to the Act of 1894 aprlies also to the 131 action of the Bishops on many other occasions. The line taken by the Bishops has been altogether one-sided, and this fact has not only been objectionable and unfair in itself, but it seems to me it must have had a very deplorable effect on the minds of those who, whilst adhering fully to the principles and traditions of the Anglican Church, are at the same time desirous of seeing fair play and impartiality displayed on the parts of its heads in connection with legislative matters, which really ought not to be placed in their hands. Many of the arguments which in former days were advanced in favour of the retention of the Bishops in the House of Lords have no longer any reason for their existence. Not only is the position of affairs different from what it was in the seventeenth century and in the Middle Ages, but we have had that practical experience of the last 50 or GO years not only of what has actually been done by the action of the Bishops themselves, but also what, to my mind, is more important still—namely, the effect which that action has produced on the public mind. There are only two Archbishops and 24 Bishops in the House of Lords, and even if they voted in favour of political progress, their votes would not, make very much difference, and Churchmen would desire that they should, as the spiritual head of a, spiritual body, stand aloof from political and secular affairs. On these grounds it seems to me that there is an entire difference between our position now and the position in which this country stood three, four, five, and six centuries ago. At that time the position of the Bishops among the Spiritual Peers—in the early days they were not in a majority—was one of great importance and value, because the Bishops were more in harmony with the wishes and aspirations of the people. We have only to turn back to what took place in the thirteenth century. The Bishops were then leaders of the people, and it is to their action that we owe the great advance in liberty which was effected at that time. But now the Bishops are not on the side of progress. On the contrary, they are on the side of reaction, and it is not to be expected that men who are induced by their surroundings to act in that way can preserve the influence which they ought to preserve, and which they are entitled 132 to exercise over their flocks, and especially over those who are under them performing pastoral duties. It may be urged that the presence of the Bishops has the effect of leavening the lump of the House of Lords, but it has been very much the reverse. The Bishops have not been able to make much impression upon the House of Lords. They have, on the other hand, been dragged down by those with whom they are acting, and induced to desert the spiritual aspirations which they are bound to represent, and they have sided in every case with those who are opposed to progress and the advance of liberty. Instead of the Bishops spiritualising the House of Lords, the House of Lords has materialised the Bishops. Spiritual force has in that way been wasted. It is the secular force which has prevailed, and which has dragged down those who might otherwise have inspired legislative authority with a higher tone. There is every reason, from, the point of view of a Churchman, that I should support this Motion. I hold that the Church ought not to identify itself with one particular Party in the State, and that the Church, as a spiritual and moral force, ought to be allowed its freedom in the same way as the State ought also to be allowed its freedom. On those grounds, Mr. Speaker, I cordially second the Motion which has been moved by my honourable Friend the Member for Flint Boroughs, and I hope the anomaly and anachronism of the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords will be speedily remedied.
§ *MR. SYDNEY GEDGE (Walsall)
Mr. Speaker, I am entirely of opinion that neither the Established Church nor still less its existence as a spiritual body depends in any sense whatever on the Bishops being in the House of Lords. I am not even prepared to go so far as to say that if the Bishops were not in the House of Lords they would not do their work so well. Probably they would be free from some of the disadvantages under which they now suffer, and which have been very much exaggerated; but I doubt whether it would be as well for the Bishops themselves if they were excluded from the House of Lords. We have heard that one particular Bishop, in conversation with the honourable Member opposite, complained that he was 133 suffering temporary inconvenience from being obliged to act as Chaplain to the House of Lords, and that he would rather be in his diocese. Well, considering that the House of Lords seldom sits more than live months in the year, and that they do not sit every night during those live months, and considering, also, that there are 24 Bishops who take in turn each month the duty of Chaplain to the House of Lords, the inconvenience of being compelled to be absent from his diocese can only happen to each Bishop one month in five or six years. This plan was devised in order to reduce the inconvenience to a minimum, and it certainly is a very small point on which to build a pyramid to exclude the Bishops from the seats in the House of Lords which they have occupied since Parliament has existed. [Mr. MORLEY dissented.] Well, the right honourable Gentleman's historical knowledge is undoubtedly greater than my own, but I think if he went back to the early days of Parliament ho would find that there never was a time when the House of Lords did not consist of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. The preamble of every Act of Parliament will prove that fact. I think, therefore, that my statement, with all deference to the right honourable Gentleman, is historically correct. The presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords has been spoken of as a disadvantage. In my opinion it is an advantage. A Bishop, we are told, has paramount power in his own diocese. No doubt every Bishop, from his position, ability, experience, and character, commands influence, which is increased by the large patronage which he is able to exercise. A Bishop in his own diocese is superior in rank to nearly all other inhabitants of the diocese, and it is important, it seems to me, that the Bishops should come in contact in the House of Lords with those who are socially and intellectually, and in learning, their equals, and in some cases their superiors. It is important that Bishops should be Members of the House of Lords, because they come into contact with men who 134 are not associated with sacerdotalism, and who are accustomed to the administration of affairs, and from whom they can learn a great deal. It is also useful, when occasionally a Bishop has gone wrong, to haul him over the coals, because a little wholesome criticism is good sometimes for Bishops as well as for other people. Now, although we have many democratic institutions, at the same time I think that we are rather an aristocratic people. We have men of high rank, and there is no doubt that there is at tendency, on the part of some Peers to look down upon the Clergy as their social inferiors. I think the Bishops should be men of social rank as well as of high spiritual rank, so that they may hold their own and have influence with the Members of the House of Lords. It has been said that the Bishops are apt to take a one-sided view, and to look upon things too much from the point of view of the Church; and it is said that by their right of voting in Parliament they are set up as judges in their own cause, which they ought not to' be. Well, I never knew any man who' did not take an interest in his own cause which he had at heart. We all do it in this House—take the railway interest, for instance. Then, again, nobody objects to barristers being Members of this House on the ground that Parliament has to make laws affecting barristers, and that those gentlemen must necessarily take a professional view of legislation. Why, then, should the Bishops not be in such a, position in the other House? I would put this further point to honourable Members, that the Clergy are debarred from entering this House. They cannot come here to speak for themselves, and I do not think that many honourable Members on the opposite side can claim to represent the Clergy of their own constituencies. Therefore, if you exclude the Clergy from this House it is only fair and right that they should be represented in the other House by the Bishops who have themselves been parish priests and know their wants. Therefore, on that account, I think there is ample justification for the Bishops being there. The honourable Member who moved this Resolution took 'is back 250 years, but in spite of all the 135 ponderous reasons he has given, the Bishops have remained in the House of Lords ever since, and there has been no serious attempt made to turn them out. If we come to examine the reasons which the honourable Member took as his own, what do they really amount to The first reason was that sitting in the House of Lords was a great hindrance to the carrying on of their spiritual work. Well, of course, if a Bishop is taken much away from his diocese, he cannot, while he is attending to his duties in London, be also personally attending to the spiritual wants of his diocese. But since the days of the Long Parliament we have not only built railways, but we have established the penny post. In olden times correspondence was most difficult, and a Bishop in London then was many days' journey away from his diocese in the north and west of England, and communication by post was infrequent and very difficult. Now, however, we axe connected by the closest possible communication, and except in those matters in which his personal presence is absolutely necessary, he can administer the affairs of his diocese for the time, intermittently, very well indeed while he is in London. Therefore, I cannot conceive that this objection is seriously put forward. I can hardly believe that Nonconformists are so very anxious about it, especially as they claim to represent one-half of the population; and the other half of the population, who are mostly concerned, do not complain that their spiritual wants are not looked after by the Bishops because they have to come to London to attend to their Parliamentary duties. We find that the Bishops, and the leaders in all other spiritual bodies, do not confine themselves entirely to their own place, but they go about preaching in other parts of the country, and therefore I cannot conceive that this is any reason for this House to attempt to interfere in this matter. The next point raised was that the Bishops promised in their Ordination vows to devote their whole time to their vocation. Now, what does that mean? Is the Bishop to be always interfering in the affairs of his diocese? Is he not acting with his duties when he is attempting to exercise a good influence in London society? I should have thought that a spiritual man and a godly man like a Bishop or a Clergyman is following his vocation if he 136 is endeavouring to exercise a good influence amongst those with whom, he come in contact. It is absurd to say that a Bishop is breaking his vows because he does not reside the whole year in his diocese, but does other duties which come within his own vocation as a Bishop. The honourable Member has quoted a number of resolutions of the Long Parliament, the same Parliament which got rid of the House of Lords altogether, and I am amazed that he should now give them as reasons why the Bishops should be turned out of that House, remembering the joy with which a few years afterwards the country welcomed them both back.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS
I never said anything of the kind. I said that argument would appeal to certain minds.
§ *MR. GEDGE
At all events the honourable Gentleman started by saying that he should give the reasons which were given by the House of Commons in. 1641, because those reasons, he said, applied as well now as they did then. Having adopted them; in the wholesale, I was not aware that when he came to the retail that he would excuse himself from responsibility for these reasons. It is not a mode of reasoning which commends itself to a high-minded man, to use an argument to others which has no weight in his own mind. That is a mode of reasoning which most people would be sorry to be guilty of. Then he said that the 24 Archbishops and two Bishops—
§ *MR. GEDGE
I meant 24 Bishops. The honourable Member said there were 24 Bishops, and they were dependent upon two Archbishops. Now is that statement really to be taken seriously? Does he mean to say that the Bishops are in any way dependent upon the two Archbishops? Even in ecclesiastical affairs which sometimes come before the House of Lords, has any Archbishop ever maintained that a Bishop owed him by canonical obedience the duty of following him into the division Lobby and not using his own independent judgment? Another argument was that the Bishops are always looking out for translations to other and more lucrative see. Well, there was a Bishop 137 in the days of William Pitt who disgusted him by applying for a more lucrative Bishopric. The honourable Member does not seem to be aware that the Bishops have nearly all the same income; or, at all events, the difference is so small that it is really no inducement to do what had been suggested. The honourable Member did not cite any instances of Bishops who had been translated, and I can only remember, within the last 25 years, two Bishops who have been translated from one Bishopric to another, except to those of London and Winchester. Next, we are told that the Bishops are all Tories, and belong to one party, that, they identify themselves with and have to please a Tory Minister, and, in fact, that they vote in a way which the honourable Member does not like. Now, the honourable Member's Party have had an equal share of power, though not in late years. Since the first Reform Bill they have been in power for more than half the time, until the last few years, when they lost the confidence of the country. The opposite party had made Bishop after Bishop, and Mr. Gladstone, Lord palmerston, and Lord Russell made many Bishops, and what was the result? Why, as a rule, they selected men of their own political creed. These Bishops went into the House of Lords, and when they got there they became opposed to the Government which had created them. So much was this the case that it became quite a proverb that the first thing a. Bishop did when he got into the House of Lords was to deny his maker. The honourable Member failed to show a single: instance in which it could be alleged against any Bishop that he had ever voted against his convictions. "Why," said the honourable Member, "had they not raised their voices against unjust laws?" And then we heard a number of further instances of the manner in which Bishops have voted, and they have voted not in the same way, perhaps, as they probably would do if the same matters were to come on now, and upon which it is admitted that they voted wrongly. It is perfectly true that Bishops, like many other great men all over England, for the most part, upheld slavery— a thing which we all now loathe and detest. But, at the same time, are we to look back 70, 80, or 100 years to the feelings and opinions of those days, and judge the people of the present day by such 138 opinions? Why, it is like the child who climbs on to his father's shoulders, and cries out, "See how tall I am." It is not for us, because we have had advantages which they did not possess; because the light of Christianity has spread more widely over the world now than it has ever done before^ because men know better what, the principles of good government are; it is not for us to say to our grandfathers, "What ignorant fools you were because you did not think as we do on a number of these subjects." But after all they were in the same position as a large majority of people of this country were at that time, even though it be true that the Bishops have opposed and obstructed some useful and admirable reforms. Then, with regard to the other point that the Bishop's have not voted in the way Nonconformists liked, in regard to some subjects in which they differed from them. Well, I should think it would have been singular if the Bishops had voted otherwise. I do not think the House will take it as a matter of course that everything a Bishop voted for was wrong, and everything a. Nonconformist voted for was right, for I think there have been considerable fault on both sides. Then we are told that, the Bishops make too much distinction between themselves and their clergy. Well, I am not saying that there has never been a Bishop who has been too much of a prelate, but the Bishop who nowadays lifts himself up high above his clergy is likely to find his own level. (Laughter.) I see my right honourable Friend laughs very much at this, but there is nobody, including himself, who may not probably have had the advantage of finding himself with his intellectual equals, if they exist. I thank the House for the patience with which they have so kindly listened to my remarks. I have endeavoured to go through the arguments of the honourable Members who have spoken; I have admitted that there are reasons, not doubt, which could be fairly urged in favour of this change; but I submit that such a change at present is a very undesirable one, and one which would do more harm than good. There are real and positive advantages to be gained from the Bishops being in the House of Lords, both to the House of Lords and to the country, and the inconveniences which have been alluded to compared with 139 these great advantages are very slight. For these reasons I heartily oppose the resolution of the honourable Member.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
My honourable Friend who has just resumed his seat seems to me to have mistaken his destiny. I do not want to say anything unkind of him, but I think he ought to have been a Bishop. As it is, he is a Bishop spoiled in the making. Now I am going to say a few serious words on a serious question. This is the first time that I have spoken upon ecclesiastical matters in this House, and I only do so now because I am a member of the Irish Protestant Church. Now the Irish Protestant Church once had Bishops in the House of Lords, but it has not now. I may say that the Irish Protestant Church is well contented with the change. No one would speak disrespectfully of his own Church, but I rather think the Irish Protestant Church is in the position of a converted attorney who has found out that honesty is the best policy, having tried both. I rise, Sir, under some disadvantage, because the First Lord of the Treasury is out. I expected to see him here, because I wanted to pay him a great compliment. The honourable Gentleman who spoke last said he did not expect that this Motion would be taken to-night. Neither did I, by the look of the paper, but clearly the First Lord thought better of it and repented, and he has allowed the Bishops to be subjected to these criticisms. There are various reasons why I am sorry that the First Lord is not present. On the score of consistency, I think the First Lord ought to be here, and what is more, I shall claim ills vote in this Division—first of all on the ground of consistency, and secondly on the ground of that great hereditary principle of which he is so devoted an apostle. This resolution was passed by the Long Parliament in 1641, and supported by his ancestors, and surely the right honourable Gentleman will not vote against that resolution now. If he is consistent in one case, he must be consistent in the other. But then, again, Sir, we are talking on matters bordering on the hereditary principle, and therefore I claim the First Lord's vote for this resolution which his ancestors supported in the Long Parliament. Even Lord Salisbury's ancestors sat in that Parliament, and voted for this 140 resolution. To speak historically, he sat for the constituency which is represented now by an honourable Member of this House, who, above all others, they would least have expected—I mean the honourable Gentleman the Member for King's Lynn. I shall not be seduced by my honourable Friend opposite to go into anything like historical analogies, but this I do say on this subject, that we might be very easily led aside from the true issues by false analogies and historical reminiscences. Let me say this, that the conduct of the Bishops for some centuries—for four centuries—was everything that was true and elevating. They were for centuries the great bulwark and barrier between the King and the oppressed people. It is no1 secret to say that two of the signatories to the Magna Charta were Bishops of the Church, and so they went down through the ages until the Reformation. Look at the Bishops not merely in their legislative capacities, but closely akin to it; they were ambassadors of great ability, and they built up those great volumes, which we now enjoy, of learning in Oxford and Cambridge and various other colleges. We cannot in the slightest degree contrast these men with their present very degenerate successors. As long as the Bishops were men who had no families, and who had no ambition except the service of the Church and State, that service was admirable. I will now come to their rather worldly successors, who are supported by my honourable Friend who has just sat down, and who seems to act as a kind of crutch to Episcopal respectability. Mr. Speaker, it is exceedingly wrong of any man to compliment himself, and it is equally wrong to compliment the assembly to which he belongs. But we are a tolerant body, and we are only discussing the case of 26 men out of 527. These Bishops only number 26, and why do we mind them? At the present moment the Bishops have brought themselves into prominence, and they have only themselves to thank if we say a few severe words about their conduct. Let us consider how matters stood and how they stand at present in reference to these matters. I say that any person who has the smallest knowledge of the general outline of the question, and only a mere general outline of history, must recollect that since the Reformation the Bishops have actually become a non-useful force in 141 English politics. So far from them being "defenders of the faith," as they were before the Reformation, after the Reformation they became, in the words of one of their own number, "time-halting' and time-serving prelates." Now, let us take these instances. I do not wish to' go through them, all again, but the Bishops have placed themselves, not as they formerly did on the side of liberty, but against it, I do not know, Sir, how I could contrast best or 'more suitably the pre-Reformation and the post-Reformation times, but I will take one instance from the diocese of Winchester. We all know how the Bishop there adorned that diocese, and how he used his enormous influence in founding colleges. But now the Cathedral has gone to ruin. The difference between the Bishops of olden times and the present seems to be this, that the Bishops of the old times founded Cathedrals and colleges, while the Bishops of the present time found families instead, and there is an enormous difference between the crozier and mitre of former days and the cradle and perambulator of the present Episcopal nursery. Now I come to a few other things. We hear a good deal about the time: taken up by the attendance of the Bishops in the House of Lords. Let us take what the present Archbishop of York says. When he was Bishop of Lichfield he issued a public notice that he could not for the present attend to his various diocesan duties, because he had to read prayers in the House of Lords. I was told by one Bishop that if he went through his diocese parish by parish, as he ought to do, it would take him 15 years to get through, and yet all these men who have this tremendous amount of work to do are brought up to London to dance attendance on London Society, with all its attendant evils, which I will not now attempt to sketch. I know another Bishop, though I would not mention his name under any circumstances. He travels third-class in order to mingle with his people and to ascertain their views and so on, and his only pleasure is with his Episcopal work in his diocese. Could you not leave him to his work there instead of bringing him up to read prayers in the House of Lords, which anybody could do who had learned to read at all? I come now to another point, and say that so long as Bishops hold political 142 appointments, as long as the appointments are made more for political reasons than any others, so long will they have seats in the House of Lords. My great objection to the Bishops being appointed for political reasons is that that appointment is taken out of the hands of the people. And the people themselves should have control over these Episcopal appointments. So long as the Bishops have seats in the House of Lords no effort of power will make their appointments subject to public control. The Prime Minister of the day uses the appointment for political purposes, as will be seen from the biography of Bishop Wilberforce, which proved so much. It spoke of the disappointments in not getting some things and intriguing for others, and disclosed a mass of intrigue which it is painful to contemplate. Again, it is said, and, I think, properly said, that the absence of the Bishops from their duties in the dioceses is felt by the public. Look at the Irish Bishops. In their dioceses they know the circumstances of every parish, and they look after their Clergy, regarding them more in the light of brothers and sons, and they belong to them all, and are devoted to their interest. The Irish Church is disestablished; but the present Prelates are as much in accord with their people as the old State Prelates were not. When that Church was disestablished the Bishops were offered the retention of their seats for life in the House of Lords. Not one of them accepted the offer. It was particularly desired that one in particular should retain his seat, and he was pressed, but he actually refused to sit in the House winch ho had so often charmed by his eloquence. I believe that it would benefit the English Church and the English Clergy if the Bishops wore removed from the adventitious position they now hold, and were allowed to tend their flocks.
§ SIR EDWARD CLARKE (Plymouth)
I think it is a pity that this House does not seem inclined to deal with this very serious question in the way in which I consider it ought to be dealt with. It is true that we are here on what I might call a derelict night and no Member of the Cabinet seems to have thought it worth while to be in his place at the present time at a discussion of such serious importance. I do not propose to discuss 143 with the honourable Gentleman who has just sat down the question of the present representation of the Bishops in the House of Lords. There are a good many differences of opinion in this House as to the way in which Bishops have behaved quite recently in connection with an interesting question with regard to the Church; but the matter proposed to the House of Commons to-night is a larger matter than that. It concerns the Constitutional principle, the gravity and importance of which I hope will be realised on both sides of the House. We exclude the Clergy from this House, and do not allow them to become candidates for the representation of a constituency in this House, and unless the Church, which is as essential a part of the Constitution of this country as Parliament itself, unless it is represented in the House of Lords as it is to-day, it is to have no representation whatever in the councils of the nation. I submit that this is a very large question indeed, and I accept the challenges made in the motion this evening, and I respectfully suggest to the House of Commons that the motion is untrue in its statements. It says that "the legislative power of the Bishops in the House of Peers in Parliament is a great hindrance to the discharge of their spiritual functions," and it says, "secondly," that their presence there "is prejudicial to the Commonwealth." Now those are the two propositions, and I challenge both. I say that the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords is not a great hindrance to the discharge of their spiritual functions. There are occasions when the Bishops are called upon to attend upon the House of Lords, and when it is their special duty, as representing the Church, to take part in discussions and divisions in which the interests of the Church are concerned. But a Bishop can well discharge those duties, with all the facilities of communication and travel which now exist, without any very serious derogation from the discharge of his duties in his diocese. And when he was in the House of Lords, if for the time being he was obliged to intermit for a short time what I might call the pastoral duties of his diocese, he is none the less discharging the large duties which belong to him as the representative, under the Constitution of this country, in Parliament of that great body 144 of the Clergy and Laity whom he represents in the House of Lords. The fact is, that the Bishops in the House of Lords occupy a very exceptional position, and one which I should have thought would ensure them the regard of those who entertain the more democratic notions with regard to government. They do not come to the House of Lords by hereditary principle, which I believe to be the soundest foundation of the Second Chamber, but my opinion with regard to which I waive for a moment, because, as I say, it is not in question. They do not come there on the hereditary claim, but they come there because they have been in the administration of the Church, called to great positions of public authority and responsibility, positions which no man can fill unless they have justified themselves in the opinion of those who belong to their Church. They are men who are judged by their intellectual capacity and their pastoral zeal, and who come and bring to the House of Lords authority as representative of the great influence and feeling of the Church, and who are entitled to think and to speak in that Chamber with at least as large an authority as belongs to any member of this House who represents the largest constituency in the country. They are not in the House of Lords by any hereditary title; they are in the House of Lords as representative men, and it is impossible at this moment for anyone to show that the adequate discharge of his duty in the House of Lords by any Bishop demands from him so serious an interruption of this pastoral work as to be an objection to his presence in that House or to be a serious derogation to the services which he renders to the people among whom, he works. But I think it is quite clear, and must be well known to those who know the facts of the case, that the discharge by a Bishop of his duties in the House of Lords does not constitute any interruption or serious hindrance to his Episcopal work. Let me now take the next proposition that "their presence there is prejudicial to the Commonwealth." I hold entirely an opposite opinion. I do not altogether agree with the action the Bishops have taken in the House of Lords. There is more than one question upon which I myself think that their action has not been in accordance with the dictates of sound reason or in the interests of the 145 people. But because I differ with, regard to one or two matters from the conclusions which the majority of Bishops have come to, that is a very insufficient reason for my suggesting that their presence there is prejudicial to the Commonwealth. I believe quite the opposite. Among all the great influences that are at this moment moulding and framing the character of our people, and in moulding and framing the character of our people are making the whole future of our great community, and through us we hope are helping to spread the influences of our race and language throughout the world, the greatest, the closest, deepest, and most effective influence of all is the influence of the teachings of the Church; and it would be a monstrous thing that we should exclude from both Houses of Parliament the ministers of that Church. That we should refuse the ministers of that Church the right to speak through their representatives in the House of Lords, men whose presence in the House of Lords has been coeval with its existence, men who are entitled to represent there in the fullest, in the highest, and most effective sense, some of the greatest influences that affect the people in this; country. It is a trivial question whether in the year 1894 upon the Parish Councils Bill the Bishops were found in opposition to that which the honourable Gentleman opposite vainly called the will of the people on a question in regard to charity. What matters it for a moment if one or more of the Bishops are found thinking that their duty compels them to vote against a popular cry? I am not going back to discuss the question of the 1894 Act or of these charities, but I am not quite sure that in the light of the experience we have now enjoyed as to that. Act that the Bishops have not found a good justification for the attitude which they adopted. But what does it matter whether in 1894 they formed that opinion or not? This is a question of the long continuance of the established, the dignified, the authorised exposition of the voice of the Church in matters which concern the welfare of the country and its administration. And when our opponents on the other side say that of late years the voice of the Bishops has been in the main in opposition to 146 their view in regard to the public welfare, I can only say so much the worse for the honourable Gentlemen. At this moment I am prepared to throw out the challenge with regard to that. The Party which is now in office on this side of the House represents the predominant opinion of the people, and it has represented the predominant opinion of the people for the larger number of years that have passed since, in the year 1867, the great extention of the Suffrage took place. Take it from the time when the Suffrage was extended to Household Suffrage. Take the dates from time to time, and you will find that the Party we represent, the Party to which I belong, and which I shall always call the Tory Party, the Party which represents the true tradition of Bolingbroke, of Pitt, of Canning, and, greatest of all, of Beaconsfield—that Party since the year 1857 has more largely been in harmony with the opinion of the people of the country. You dispute the right of religious dignitaries to sit in the House of Lords and speak there on behalf of the great influence which they represent. Why. Because they are in accord with that which has been the public opinion of the people. Mr. Speaker, I really only rose, because I was very sorry that this Debate, which I look upon as one in, which a great Constitutional question is being raised, has dropped down into a discussion as to what happened in a particular year to a particular Bishop. There are many others in both Houses who think that from time to time the Bishops have been mistaken in the way in which they gave their votes in the House of Lords. We think of late there has been good reason to regret the action taken by some of the Bishops; but do you think we are going to allow a temporary feeling of anxiety or of distrust, even, with regard to the action of the Bishops, to affect our judgment on the effect of a great Constitutional question? The great Constitutional question raised by this amendment is nothing more than this: Whether the Parliament of England shall represent in all its traditional dignity, fulness, and strength the various elements of thought and influence among our people. Among those influences the Church is the 147 greatest, the strongest, and most permanent of all. It is most important that that Church should speak in one, at any rate, of our great deliberative assemblies. It is debarred from direct representation in this House, and, therefore, it is the more important that it should have its traditional representation in the House of Lords; and it is in that spirit and in support of that old Constitutional position that I, for one, will resist this Amendment.
§ *MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Nottingham, Mansfield)
I do not intend to retread the ground which has been travelled over by the honourable Member who has moved this Motion. It has been stated in forcible terms that the agitation has arisen by reason of the anti-popular votes which have been given by the Bishops in the House of Lords. That is, however, an argument that might be urged against the existence of some other members of the House of Peers. But my opinion is based upon quite a different principle. If the whole bench of Bishops belonged to my Party, and were willing to vote as I dictated, I should still object to their being in the House of Lords. We have heard of various proposals for amending the House of Lords, and among them is one by which it is proposed, in order to balance the Bishops in the House, that the representatives of the whole of the Nonconformist bodies should have a seat there. That is to say, the Chairman of the Baptist Union and the President of the Wesleyan Conference, and, I apprehend, of the Roman Catholic Church, would all have a seat, to represent, the bodies to which they severally belong. I can only say that those who made that grotesque proposal must have very little knowledge of the sentiments of the Nonconformists. In the first place, the great body of the Nonconformists have no love for the House of Lords, and they do not wish to see their best ministers turned into bad 'politicians. Why are the Bishops in the House of Lords? As representatives of the Church. But why should that be the only institution that is allowed this particular privilege? 148 why are not the Navy, the Army, and the great railway interests also represented?
§ MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS
Yes! they are all powerfully represented in both Houses; but so is the Church, in precisely the same way. It lacks no friends in this House, and it certainly lacks none in the House of Lords, and all the protection that is needed by the Church would be amply secured without the Bishops in the Upper Chamber. Then, again, there are a large number of Churchmen who object to further legislation on Church matters. They object to legislation for the repression of Ritualism, for instance, and other illegal practices. But there is another reason of great force at the present time, and that is that the Bishops now acknowledge that a course must be taken in the Church, and they solemnly pledge themselves to adopt such measures as are in their power to suppress Ritualistic practices in their dioceses, and if they do so, I am satisfied that the Bishops will have a task which will tax their energies to the utmost, and it will be out of their power to give their attendance in the House of Lords. I think that the lay Peers in the House of Lords would not greatly regret the absence of their Episcopal brethren, and I base that belief upon two passages which I have found in the Life of the late Archbishop Magee. When Bishop of Peterborough:—I think it was in 1877— Dr. Magee said:—I was greatly struck with the tone of suspicion and dislike of the clergy and Bishops that ran all through the debate. If the clergy wish to see lay alienation they should come to the House of Lords.And then in the following year he wrote: —I am thoroughly sick of episcopal life in Parliament, where we are hated by the Peers as a set of parvenus whom they would gladly rid themselves of if they dared, and are only allowed on sufferance to speak now and then on Church questions of a timid and respectable sort.149 And I do not know that the Bishops are more endeared to the lay Peers at the present moment than they were when those words were written by Bishop Magee. Now, we have heard to-night the reasons of statesmen, real statesmen, why the Bishops should not sit in Parliament, and it would be easy to give to the House reasons from very different quarters. I had put into my hands some years1 ago no fewer than sixteen reasons why Bishops should not be Peers of Parliament^ and the reasons were given by a clergyman of the Church of England. Some of the reasons are not of a kind that I should be disposed to press upon the attention of the House, but there are three which I think are quite opposite to the Resolution. They are:1.—Because the example of the Chief Priests, clothed in purple and fine linen, faring sumptuously every day, is unedifying to the Faithful and generally hurtful to the interests of true religion, besides being of itself a reason of their unpopularity amongst the working classes.2.—Because it places the Bishops at too great a distance socially from their presbyters, weakening their sense of fellowship and tending to the general inefficiency of the Clergy.And this is the last reason: —3.—Because a Bishop is little or no acquisition to the Upper House of Parliament. Custom precludes his expressing an opinion upon any subject except a few which are assumed to belong to his profession. His vote is known beforehand to be pledged either to the maintenance of his order and the interests of the Church Establishment, or to the support of the Ministry which appointed him.Now, I am quite sure that these views express the opinions and the feelings of thousands of Churchmen in the present day, and that they would rejoice if this resolution were carried in the House. I am certain that its adoption by the House will do no injury to the Church, but will be a gain to the Church, to religion, and to the country at large.
Amendment proposed, to leave out all the words after the word "Parliament," to the end of the Question, in order to add the words:—
ought to be maintained; but that it is desirable that other life Peers should be added to that House, especially those who would
represent the greater religious denominations other than the Church of England."—(Lord Hugh Cecil.)
§ LORD HUGH CECIL (Greenwich)
I hardly know whether it is desirable that anyone on this side of the House should trouble the House with any observations after the admirable, and it appeared to me almost conclusive, speech of my honourable and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth. Certainly, I think he effectively disposed of almost all the arguments that had been used in favour of the Motion. I cannot, indeed, take very seriously many of the arguments that were put forward by the mover of this resolution. What value is there in an appeal to> the Parliament in 1641, of which we only know substantially this, that it was a Parliament met in revolutionary times, under strong excitement, that it came to a variety of decisions, almost all of which we think were wrong and mistaken, and, most of all, that the position of the House of Lords was utterly different to what it is at the present time. Nor can I attach, much importance to the argument that so much of the Bishops' time is taken up by attention to their duties in the House of Lords that they are unable to look after their dioceses. Many of us think that the House of Lords is a very useful and valuable Second Chamber, but yet its best friends cannot describe it as a very laborious Assembly, and everyone also knows the Bishops are by no means the most regular attendants—quite right and properly—at its meetings. Surely it would be extravagant to argue that the very small part of their time which the Bishops spend in the House of Lords would assist very much to> the spiritual government of their dioceses. And I am afraid it is for the sake of creating prejudice that references are introduced to the current controversies on the Church. Is there a single man of the House who, in his sober senses, really believes that the. Bishops would have taken a different line upon any controversy connected with Ritual, if they had not been members of the House of Lords? I do not, therefore, attach much importance to this argument. But I think there is one argu- 151 ment, or two arguments, which, in different, ways weigh with a good many people, and deserve serious consideration. There is the argument that secular employment, especially that carrying with it any worldly rank and grandeur, is unfitted to those who ought to be regarded as the chief Ministers of a Christian Church. Well, I think that is an argument which deserves to' be treated with great respect; and if I thought that membership of the House of Lords really tended to make Bishops proud or uplifted by their great position, or was that kind of dignity which was incompatible with a really humble life, I quite agree, I should have a great objection to their remaining Members of that Assembly. But everyone knows that at the present time membership of the House of Lords is regarded, and quite rightly, as principally a public duty, and in so1 far as the Bishops are Members of the House of Lords they look upon it only as an opportunity of doing their duty—as some honourable Members may think very badly, but as honourable Members will admit, with an undoubted conscientious intention of zealously doing their duty to the public. How can anyone say that there is anything in such a discharge of public duty irreconcilable with being a Minister of the Church? I confess I think both Bishops and Clergy are somewhat hardly treated, not only on this occasion, but by public opinion generally, in regard to the question of Worldly employment. They seem always to fall upon one side or the other. If they do not join the Parish Councils and the District Councils in the county they are told that they are out of sympathy with current opinion, which thinks that the clergy ought no longer to be only concerned with the spiritual world and the spiritual life, but ought to be the chief ministers for the comfort and worldly good of the poorer classes of the community. If they take, on the other hand, too prominent a part in public affairs, then they are at once told that they are degrading the clerical character by mixing it up with politics. So that one way or the other they are sure to be abused: either they are over-worldly or else they are unworldly, I confess that I think the clergyman who honestly tries 152 to do his duty, whether as a Member of the House of Lords or not, is not in any way degrading or departing from the clerical character, and I cannot conceive that anyone can seriously contend that the Bishops of the present time are morally inferior to' the prelates who' immediately preceded the Reformation. I really wonder sometimes at the variety and the inaccuracy of the honourable Member for Donegal's historical reading. He seems to know a great many things, indeed—mostly wrong. But there is another argument which I think weighs most of all with the honourable Member who moved this Amendment—that is the argument on the unfairness to Nonconformists, the argument that the Church ought not to have any special privileges, above any other denomination. I quite agree with that argument. I do not think that the Church, as a Church, ought to have anything of the nature of a privilege. If the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords is to be defended, it cannot be defended as a matter of right to the Church1, because it belongs to the Church; as a privilege, the Bishops have always been there, and the privilege ought not to be taken away from them. I feel that argument very strongly indeed. The idea undoubtedly used to be held very widely that the Church should be singled out from all other denominations, and should, by reason of its being so singled out, be given special advantages and privileges. But that, I think, is a vicious idea; and I think it is quite right that we should separate the idea of exclusive privilege from the idea of the Established Church, But I think that the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords is to' be defended on quite different ground. I think it is to be defended, not because it is a privilege to the Church, but because it is for the general benefit of the community. It appears to me that the House of Lords, properly to discharge the duties of a Second Chamber, ought to remain, not less representative of the different classes especially the better-educated classes, of the community, but should be more representative. I think we ought to look in 153 the future to gradually changing the constitution of the House of Lords in some respects so as to make it more completely representative of the better-educated classes of the community. Well, here we have in the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords the germ of such an idea; we have here a number of gentlemen who really do represent what is a very important and a very widespread phase of public opinion. A great many votes have been quoted against the Bishops, but does anybody doubt that in the great majority of those votes the Bishops accurately represented the great mass of Masters of Arts? I see the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Montrose is reminded of a speech of his, in which he described Masters of Arts in very much the same terms as, broadly speaking, those in which the Bishops have been attacked to-night. I think, he said, you would find that the working men had voted in favour of all the reforms which the Masters of Arts had resisted in the past. Well, of course it may quite reasonably be said educated opinion is often wrong. I am not upon that at all. But no one can deny that the great majority of these votes of the Bishops really did accord with the great body of educated opinion. Now, is not that the kind of opinion you want represented in the Legislature? If we are to1 discuss the matter from any point of view but the point of view of the lowest partizanship, that is a consideration which ought to have weight. We have the Bishops representing the educated opinion of the Church of England. They are typical men who may fairly be said to be typical representatives of the great, body of Church of England feeling, so far as it is an organised Party feeling at all. Can you not go on, not to take away the seats and the votes of the Bishops, but to add a large number of life Peers, who would to a greater or less extent represent every phase of public opinion, and so immensely strengthen and improve the House of Lords, of which the Bishops are Members. Is not that a much more rational course than the course which 154 has been suggested this afternoon? I believe that would be a more rational: course, and I believe that this is to be dealt with as all these questions of Church privilege ought to be dealt with. They ought to be dealt with not by taking away the privileges of the Church, but by raising the privileges of other denominations up to the level of the privileges of the Church. Because there is always this great consideration to be borne in mind: if you take away particular privileges from the Church, you take them away from the cause of the Christian religion altogether. But if instead of taking them away from the Church, you extend them to other religious bodies, to all schools of thought which deserve representation, then you do not lose the representation of the Church of England. You do not lose any of the weight of religious thought, and you gain all the other elements in the religious thought of the nation to which you give representation. I do not know whether I will get a seconder for it, or whether it will receive any extensive support in this House, but I have framed an Amendment which expresses my view of the true policy in regard to this question of the Bishops in the House of Lords. I propose to omit all the words after "Parliament," and to insert "ought to be maintained, but it is desirable that other life Peers should be added to that House, especially those who would represent the greater religious denominations other than the Church of England." I would very gladly see, in spite of the opposition of the honourable Member, who has just sat down, to this proposal, representatives of the great. Nonconformist bodies—men who are an, ornament to the denominations to which they belong, men like the late Dr. Dale —added to the House of Lords as life Peers, so that they may give it the benefit of their wisdom and advice. I believe that a great feeling of bitterness would: be removed from the Nonconformist mind, and great strength would be added to the House of Lords by the admission of such men. I cannot for the life of me 155 see any argument by which men representing the great religious bodies should not be added to the Second Chamber. Religious questions, after all, lie more at the root of human action than any other questions, and can it be said that it is an unfitting thing to have a formal representation of religious opinion in the House of Lords? Here is, of all things, the wisest and most statesmanlike way you can propose to add strength to the Second Chamber and strength and stability to the Constitution. I do hope, on the one side, that Churchmen will more and more rally to the idea that the proper way to meet Nonconformist attacks is not by an unreasoning non possumus, but by finding out any grievances they may believe themselves to have, and frankly meeting them, not in opposition to those grievances, but in a spirit of reasonable conciliation. If Churchmen do that, I hope that Nonconformists who have seats in this House will use their position as Members of Parliament to prevent interference with objects which Churchman with a single mind and for the good of the Church have at heart, and will co-operate with Churchmen, and that Churchmen will co-operate with them, for the common good of the religious life of the people of this country. I beg to move this Amendment.
§ MR. ALEXANDER CROSS (Glasgow, Camlachie)
I rise with great diffidence to second the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, because I think it contains an idea entertained by many members of this House. I came here with the intention of voting in favour of the Amendment to the Address moved from the other side of the House, but when I began to consider the arguments urged in favour of that Amendment, when I was asked to pledge myself to the fact that because Bishops sat occasionally as judges in secular causes, when I was asked to believe that that was a hindrance to their utility in their profession, or that the presence of such men in the House of Peers was a danger to the Commonwealth, I felt that I could not conscientiously vote for the Amendment. I do not think it is a danger to the Commonwealth that men 156 who are great in religious matters should be asked to decide on public questions. I do not think it is a hindrance to such men in the discharge of their private functions that they should be placed in a position in the House of Peers. We all know that no man in this House can please everyone of his constituents, or that every member of the English nation is always pleased with the action of the Members of the House of Peers. But the question we are asked to look at is, to set forth by a serious Resolution of the House of Commons, that because a man, who is engaged in religious duties, and who sits and acts in the House of Peers, is prejudicing himself in the eyes of the people, is himself a hindrance to his private duties and is a danger to the Commonwealth. Well, Sir, that is a proposition that I fail to find grounds to support. I very cordially agree with the Amendment moved by the noble Lord. I listened to the speech of the honourable Member for Plymouth with intense pleasure. It appears to me that he lifted this discussion into a higher sphere. The Amendment follows his lines. You are asked by the right honourable Member for Plymouth, Why is it that the Bishops are in the House of Peers? And, the answer is that the religious life of the country is the great feature in the formation of our national character, and that it is proper that those men who are charged with the guidance and development of that life should be represented in the House of Peers. When the right honourable Member was speaking it occurred to me—if it be true that the men who are charged with directing and forming the religious life of the country are to represented in the House of Peers—why are the Scottish Clergy not represented? I say it with modesty, of course, in the presence of Englishmen and Irishmen, but I maintain that if there be one country more conspicuous than another by the depth of its regard for religion and its profound religious feeling, it is Scotland. And that is the country which you select for the exclusion of representatives of religion in the House of Peers! I believe that the real reason why this question has not been dealt with sooner is that it was the 157 policy of the high Tory Party to say that things being as they are they should be left alone. It is because the Resolution of the noble Lord proposes to deal with this question in an enlightened, progressive, and generous spirit that I support it. He does not suggest that the presence of clergymen in the House of Peers is a danger to the Commonwealth, but that that great Assembly has been strengthened by the presence of men of character like the Bishops, and he goes on to include in the list of those who ought to be allowed the privilege of sitting in the House of Peers certain members of other Churches. I may as well make myself perfectly plain. I look with a strong feeling of resentment at the English Bishops alone sitting in the House of Peers. I want to know by what title they are there. If the high Tory feeling expressed by the honourable Member for Plymouth prevails, then they won't sit there much longer. The only chance they have of maintaining their place in the House of Peers is to extend the privilege to the representatives of other Churches. I want to plead with honourable Members on this side of the House to support the Amendment of the noble Lord. I apologise for having intruded so long on the attention of the House. I am glad to see that the Front Bench is now better filled than it was, and I am sure the country will look with anxiety to the expression of opinion on this question by those who hold responsible situations in the Government. But whatever Resolution the Government may take on this matter, and whatever decision the House may come to to-night, I am perfectly certain that the reform of the House of Lords will be wise, and one that will carry a larger support in the country if it be a reform passed, not for the exclusion of any great representatives of religious thought, but on the lines suggested in the Amendment of the noble Lord, which I have the honour to second.
SIR ROBERT T. REED (Dumfries Burghs)
I think the House will have noticed that this Debate has taken a somewhat unexpected turn. We thought when we came down to the House that the Debate would be about the presence or absence of the Bishops as the representa- 158 tives of the spiritual authority in the House of Lords. But we now find that the noble Lord—I cannot but think, with great circumspection and prudence—does not find himself able to assent to the high Tory doctrines of the honourable and learned Gentleman the Member for Plymouth.
§ SIR ROBERT T. REID
The arguments of the noble Lord in his very interesting speech were valuable in this respect, that they expressed the very strongest dissent from the high Tory doctrine of the honourable and learned Member for Plymouth, that not only the people of Great Britain and Ireland, who belonged to an exclusive and privileged denomination, were to be represented in Parliament, but that, they should have a double and exceptional representation. The honourable and learned Gentleman pointed out that the Clergy of the Church of England were excluded from the House of Commons. That is true. They are not excluded, however, from voting for Members of the House of Commons, and I do not suppose anyone on this side of the House would offer any opposition to the Clergy of the Church of England being admitted as Members of the House of Commons, if they could find electors who thought fit to send them there. The view of thet honourable and learned Member for Plymouth seemed to be that as the Church is not represented in the House of Commons, if there were no Bishops in the House of Lords this unfortunate Establishment would remain without representation at all. Sir, that is an argument which my honourable and learned Friend signified by the name of a Constitutional argument, but it certainly is new to me that corporations or institutions are represented in the House of Commons. I always thought it was individual electors and constituencies who are so represented, with the solitary exception of the University vote. The noble Lord, no doubt, feelingly pointed out that it was generally for the benefit of the community that Bishops should sit 159 in the House of Lords, because they constituted in themselves the germs of a reform, of the Upper House. For my part I was never aware before: that that august body of opinion could be regarded in the light of a germ for the future reform of the constitution of the House of Lords. The noble Lord felt that so strongly that he had put down this Amendment providing that it is desirable to retain the power of the Bishops. All I can say is, that any attempt to strengthen the House of Lords by adding more persons und anomalies to it, either by heredity or selection, by the Crown, is a proposal which would meet with very vigorous and protracted resistance from those who wish a, better way for dealing with that branch of the Legislature. I do not suppose that it would be better off if we had divines of different denominations silting in that Assembly, because I do not myself think that these divines would be a bit better than the Bishops. I believe that the Lords would very soon secularise Nonconformist divines in the same way as they have secularised the Bishops, and that they would do very little in the way of spiritualising the House of Lords. The real objection, as far as I can see, to maintaining the Bishops in the House of Lords, or any other persons of a distinctly religious type, is that experience has shown that it is an absolute failure. There has not been an attempt in the course of this Debate on the other side of the House to show that a Bishop has, in point of fact, been a useful factor in the House of Lords. No doubt in the old days there were Bishops who rendered great and signal service in the history of the country, but not in the House of Lords. Those services had been rendered in their libraries or in their studies, or, like Bishop Latimer, by preaching throughout the country; but they have done no good in the House of Lords. What has been the attitude of the Bishops on great questions like slavery, the granting of reforms to the people, and the attempts which were made to make the brutal old criminal law more humane? They have opposed those movements. If one can justify the presence of a spiritual body, it must be upon the basis that they have contri- 160 buted some higher tone than otherwise would exist. If I thought that they did that before, or that they would do it now, so much do I feel that we all want a great deal of moral tone, that I should be perfectly prepared to support their remaining in the House of Lords. But what is the fact at the present time? You may say that slavery is an old story; so it is. But are there no slavery questions pending now? Is there no such thing as slavery suspected of existing in British Protectorates now? Have the Bishops ever said a single word for the purpose of putting an end to the status of slavery as it exists at Zanzibar? If the Bishops are to elevate our tone, ought they not to show us an example in questions of that kind? Take another case. There has been of late times a great deal of oppression of Christian populations in the East. For 50 years, until quite recently, this country has, what Lord Salisbury would call, "put its money upon the wrong horse." Now I venture to say that if the Bishops had thrown themselves into questions of this kind, and had protested against the policy of this country being of such a character as to encourage or tolerate the continuance of the horrible rule of the Sultan, they would have been able to prevent that policy from being successful before now. Take, again, the case of war. There have been efforts made by many people to discourage war and to create a healthier tone on that, subject in the community. I am not suggesting for a moment that in this matter the Bishops would have any other feelings than those of pious and good men; but in the House of Lords I say they have taken no great part in questions of that character, which, if they would be of any use in a representative assembly, they ought to have done. It is in consequence of this state of affairs that I am bound to support the Amendment of my honourable Friend. I believe that it is really inconsistent with the essentially spiritual character of their office that Bishops should take part in public legislation in an Assembly like the House of Lords. I believe that experience has shown that they do not, and cannot, have any effect in introducing a higher level in the debates of that 161 House, while experience equally shows that they have not been upon the right side, but upon the wrong side in all great moral questions that have tome before that Assembly. I think, Sir, the Amendment of the noble Lord is too preposterous to be supported. I do not believe Nonconformist divines wish to obtain a seat in the House of Lords. I am quite certain that in Scotland Moderators of the General Assemblies have no such ambition, and I am most certain of all that the people who chiefly support the Nonconformists and who belong to the Presbyterian communities in Scotland have not the slightest desire that any representative of theirs should find a place in the Gilded Chamber. Under these circumstances I beg to support the Amendment, and I sincerely hope that my honourable Friend will find a large body of supporters in the Lobby.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir R. WEBSTER)
I had certainly hoped to have heard from my honourable and learned Friend some attempt to answer the speech of my honourable and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth, because I am sure the House will agree with me that that was a speech which contained arguments which deserved an answer. It was a speech of great discrimination, and it was couched in considerable eloquence, and also bore on it the stamp of conviction. I do not think that the speech of the Member for Dumfries has done the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich justice, because it started by saying that he considered that no speech was necessary against the original proposition of the honourable Member for Flint Boroughs, after the arguments brought forward by my honourable and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth, with which he expressed his entire concurrence, and it is not a fact that he is in any way antagonistic to the arguments of my honourable and learned Friend. The honourable and learned Member for Dumfries said that reference had been made to such questions as Slavery, the Reform Bill, and Revision of the Criminal Law; all of 162 which date back 60 years ago, and they are scarcely germane to the present discussion, and scarcely afford arguments for driving Bishops out of the House of Lords now, and, therefore, the honourable and learned Member had produced modern instances. Those instances which have been given, and instances which he has quoted, are, in my humble judgment, most unfortunate for his argument. What have we heard from the opposite Benches during the early part of this Debate? What has been the most important argument of the Member for Flint and other Members? It has been that the effect of the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords is that they were tempted to abandon their spiritual functions, to have their minds turned away from spiritual work, and to subordinate it for political work. I want to know what the House thinks of the very instances which the Member for Dumfries has said unfit the Bishops for sitting in the House of Lords. Having urged against them that being in the House of Lords unfits them for their spiritual work, he blames them for not having taken part in certain political questions. The first of these questions was the question of slavery in Zanzibar. A more unfortunate instance could not have been possibly quoted. The denunciations as to slavery in Zanzibar have not come from these Benches alone; they have come from this side of the House as well, and it is quite unfair to assume, in the face of the information which has been given to this House, that there is now any slavery in Zanzibar recognised by Her Majesty's Government, and which Her Majesty's Government could put down. He first of all assumes that there is a state of affairs in Zanzibar which facts do not justify, and then he blames the Bishops because they have not rushed hot-foot into the breach and condemned a state of things which did not exist. If the Bishops had thought fit to stand up and assume the facts which my honourable and learned Friend assumes, they would be rushing into that very political arena which every previous 163 speaker has hoped they would soon be clear of. Then the honourable and learned Gentleman referred to the question of Turkish rule in Armenia, and he actually suggests that it should be a part of the known political conduct of the Bishops of the Church of England to be advocates against Turkish rule as compared with some other policy which may for the time being be supported by Her Majesty's Government. Let the honourable Member denounce slavery and the Turks by all means, but he has no right to bring a charge against the Bishops that they have declined to enter into the political arena.
§ SIR K. REID
I never said anything about the political arena. What I said was this: The Bishops were in a political assembly, and I believe that if they had used their influence systematically, year after year, in order to show the public the gross horrors of the rule in the Turkish Empire, they would have been able by now to make that rule impossible, and that is the kind of influence which, if they were of any use in the House of Lords, they would have exercised.
§ SIR R. WEBSTER
I did not intentionally misrepresent my learned Friend, but, having heard his explanation, if that is not entering into the political arena I do not know what is. The Bishops could not have discussed the very outlines of the questions which my honourable and learned Friend has spoken of without entering into the political arena. Now, I come to the last accusation. At what precise period was it the duty of the Bishops to discuss the Rescript of the Czar? What does the honourable and learned Member mean? What is it the Bishops have not done which they ought to have done in connection with war? It is perfectly true that the Mover of this Amendment did say that the Bishops had failed to speak against unjust wars. He did not give us any instances. But my honourable and learned Friend has now endorsed that 164 argument, and says that the Bishops ought to have justified their existence in the House of Lords by entering into what I venture to call the political arena and discussing the question of peace. Before I leave these three questions let me say one word. It was my inestimable privilege to know very well the late Archbishop of Canterbury. No man did more for the Armenians to protect them against Turkish oppression than he did, and, therefore, I think that the honourable and learned Member should not suggest that the Bishops have been indifferent.
§ SIR R. WEBSTER
If he states that the Bishops have not themselves done enough to indicate their abhorrence of what is going on in Armenia, in my opinion that is not in accordance with the facts, and I do not think any fact can be brought forward to justify that statement. Before I pass from the question put to me by the honourable and learned Member who so pointedly put it to me, I want to say a word about the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich. At the same time as it recognises the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords, it enters into a larger subject—rather larger than we care to discuss to-night—as to whether there should be an addition to the House of Lords. That would prolong our discussion to an undue length, and would keep us away from the question which this resolution raises. I come now to the speech of the honourable Member the Member for Flint, and I may perhaps be allowed to say that some of the answers which I should have given with reference to some of the arguments put forward have been anticipated by the honourable Member for Walsall, excepting that, speaking in the year 1899, seeking to justify a change which has been proposed twice during the last 30 years—once in 1870 and once in 1884—the main arguments to 165 be found in the speeches were resolutions of the House of Commons in the year 1641. But passing from that and assuming that the honourable Member for Flint had no better arguments, there are one or two to which I shall refer for a moment. I confess that I think he did himself an injustice and that he did his cause an injustice when he said that the Bishops in the past had been ready to give their votes in favour of unjust war for expectancies and promises to places of profit. I confess that I think that is a little unworthy of such an address as he gave to the House, to indicate that on some particular occasion, which he did not specify, the Bishops voted in favour of unjust war, because one of the archiepiscopal sees was vacant. He accompanied that assertion by the usual statement that he did not impute motives. What is the use of advancing such an argument as that if no motive is imputed?
§ SIR R. WEBSTER
The interruption of the honourable Member justifies the inference which I drew as to the grounds on which he supported his argument. He now calls it a case of strong suspicion. It is a matter of opinion entirely, and perhaps I feel more strongly on this matter than he does, but I should not have thought that it was worthy to suggest that 26 Bishops, or 16, or 20, voted in favour of an unjust war because one of the archiepiscopal sees was vacant. Having said that, the honourable Gentleman then made some references to the recent Ritualistic crisis in the Church. What has the present condition of the law to do with that question? The opinion against practices which are contrary to law has been expressed as strongly by 166 Lord Salisbury, by my right honourable Friend the Leader of the House, and by other leading Members of that Party with whom the honourable Member says the Bishops are associated. I have endeavoured to follow the sequence of the argument in the mind of the honourable Gentleman on this occasion, but I fail to see what possible connection there is between the fact that certain Bishops have been said to be supine and have not encouraged prosecutions to the extent that they ought to have done—what connection is there between that and the fact that they are in the House of Lords? I could not help feeling that if that kind of argument is used, it does bring out somewhat strongly the view that it is not easy to find arguments, at any rate based on modern facts, to justify this Resolution. I was asked a pointed question by the honourable Member. He said he hoped that, if I was allowed to answer for the Government, I should address myself particularly to this question—Is it right that not one single Nonconformist of England and Wales should sit in the House of Lords? May I ask the honourable Member what the presence of 26 Bishops, representing the Church of England, in the House of Lords—what bearing that can possibly have upon the question of whether any peers are Nonconformist or not? The Nonconformist Churches prosper and flourish by the spread of their doctrines, by the genuine character of their work, and by its earnestness. I have often, in this House and out of it, expressed my general approval of the work which the Nonconformist bodies have done in connection with religion. When I say "approval" I mean my appreciation; I have no right to use the word "approval." If I remember aright, there are a good many Roman Catholic peers in the House of Lords, and, as far as I know, I should think it is extremely possible that there are some peers in the House of Lords who are what we call so Low Church as almost to be Nonconformists. I am using the words- 167 "Low Church" to represent a class or standard of the Church, and I believe there are not a, few Presbyterian peers in the House of Lords; so I do not know on what information the honourable Member suggests that there is not a single Protestant Nonconformist in the House of Lords.
§ SIR R. WEBSTER
Well, even in that case, how will the presence or absence of 26 Bishops in the House of Lords prevent the House of Lords from effecting the placing in that body of certain other people of certain other creeds? I confess that I feel that the honourable Member is practically speaking, if I may say so, at a loss to find any argument by which he can support this Motion based upon modern facts. He cited another instance—and he will forgive me if I call it an unfortunate instance—that was the Benefices Bill. He suggests that that was a striking instance of the disadvantage of the presence of Bishops in the House of Lords—that they were judges of their own case, and that either by the introduction of the Bill or by the promotion of the Bill they sought to increase their own powers, and therefore that it was very inadvisable that they should be in the House of Lords. The Benefices Bill, as the House will remember well, was for many years before this House—long before the clause which dealt with the power and jurisdiction of the Bishops was put into the Bill. That clause was put in, not at the suggestion of the Bishops, but against their wish. I remember being for many years in communication with the late Archbishop of Canterbury with reference to that matter, and he was very unwilling that the Benefices Bill should be weighted with this particular clause with regard to the Bishops, because he thought it would increase the difficulty of passing the Bill, and he was unwilling that it should be 168 inserted; he for his part did not desire that further powers should be given to the Bishops. He was not the author of that part of the Bill, nor were any of the Bishops in the House of Lords, but my noble Friend the Member for Rochester, who sits below the Gangway. It was he who, by the force and power of his advocacy, induced the Grand Committee first, and then the House of Commons, to pass those clauses. We are able to say without any fear of contradiction that no part of that Bill was introduced or suggested by the Bishops in order to gain further power. It was an act— it may be wrong—of the House of Commons and not the act of the Bishops, and the suggestion made by the honourable Member who moved this Motion that the Bishops had been unworthy members of the House of Lords does not rest upon a single historical fact. Let me say that there were many of us on both sides of the House who wished to eradicate from the Church those practices which we thought did the Church harm, and I am satisfied that the present Archbishops of Canterbury and of York, from the earliest time that agitation was started, did their best to pass Bills in order to improve the condition of their Church, and so far from the Benefices Bill showing that the Bishops are unable to promote legislation of that character, it is, I think, the strongest argument to us that they approach this question from the point of view of the Laity of the Church, and do their best to put down existing abuses. I will not trespass upon the House by following the honourable Member in other instances he gave of doctrinal practices, which he said are allowed to grow up and set, the laity against the Clergy of the Church of England. It seems to me to have no connection with the absence or presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords. I come now, then, to the only other class of observation with which I shall trouble the House, that is, the grounds which are put upon the Paper in support of this Motion, as distinct from the grounds 169 which are put forward by the honourable Member in his speech. Some of those have been dealt with, if I may be permitted to say so, most admirably by the honourabe Member for Plymouth. I only wish that everyone now present had heard that speech. I will now in a few sentences explain why I do not agree with my honourable and learned Friend. He said that the Resolution suggests that the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords is a hindrance to the discharge of their spiritual function. This idea was destroyed 14 years ago by the speech of the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Monmouth, which I think the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton will remember, but to which no reference has been made to-night; and if honourable Members desire to read a masterly article against a resolution practically in the same terms, I may commend them to the speech of the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Monmouthshire, when he opposed a similar Motion in the year 1881. I do not, of course, desire to make quotations, and I am not going to do so, but I may commend the study of that speech to the stalwart Radicals who desire to show that they have not deserted the principles of their late Leader. But, Sir, let us dispose of it for ourselves from a practical point of view. Do honourable Members who talk so glibly about the time the Bishops spent in the House of Lords ever take the trouble to see how many Bishops attend? I say it is a slander against the Bishops to suggest that they are neglecting the duty of their dioceses for London society or for the purpose of going to the House of Lords. I do not know whether the honourable Member has ever personally investigated the work that the Bishops do. I say here from my place in this House that I am perfectly satisfied—there may be some minor exceptions—that 90 per cent, of every Bishop's time is devoted to the discharge of his duties in his diocese, and to suggest that they allow their position in the House 170 of Lords to prevent them from discharging those duties is not speaking in accordance with existing facts. I say that no gentleman who is acquainted with the true facts of the case can possibly suggest that, whatever may be the constitutional question, the occasional attendance in the House of Lords by the Bishops is a hindrance to the discharge of their duties. I followed with all the attention I could command the speeches of the Mover and Seconder, and, if he will allow me to say so, the somewhat exuberant utterances of the honourable and learned Member for Donegal, which seem to me not to be very germane to the question before the House. But I have throughout the length of this discussion failed to hear of one single instance in which the commonwealth of this country has been put in danger by the action of these Bishops. But I want to ask honourable Members in all seriousness whether there are not questions upon which the presence of Bishops in the House of Lords has been of the greatest practical use, and is still likely to be of the greatest practical use. We have had discussions—very important discussions—during the last 20 or 30 years upon the question of education. Will any honourable Member who values his reputation for political accuracy say that the Bishops have obstructed the question of popular education? I say most distinctly that they have not. Honourable Members opposite may, perhaps, differ from them with regard to the opinions which they have expressed as to the utility and maintenance of voluntary schools, but I challenge them to give an instance in which it can be fairly said that the Bishops have wantonly and improperly given their votes against any reform in education. Take the Temperance question. Has not the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords, when the question of temperance has been raised, been of value to the State? There is no stronger or more powerful advocate of temperance to-day living than the present 171 Archbishop of Canterbury, and it would be lamentable if such a man could not make his voice heard with reference to any proposed temperance legislation. As the House knows, I have always taken deep interest in the laws with regard to the prevention of cruelty to children. There were no more strenuous advocates of that important change in the law which has saved the lives and rescued from misery hundreds of young children than the Bishops in the House of Lords. Take any other question upon which it is thought that the Bench of Bishops ought to state their opinions, and in which they ought to guide those who listen to them. I dismiss, of course, such questions as the Rescript of the Tsar, and the question of Turkish misrule, or any other of those political matters in which I should be very sorry indeed to see the Bishops mixed up; but speaking of these economical questions connected with religious education—the welfare of the poor, temperance, and so on—I say that the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords has never been prejudicial to the Commonwealth, but productive of nothing but good. There are other arguments which I have not noticed that have been dealt with by previous speakers, but I have addressed myself only to those which seem to me to be more striking. It is because I believe in the Christian—(I say Christian in the broadest sense of the word, and not in its priestly sense)—influences of the Church, because I believe it is greatly for the good of the
§ poor, because I believe that the Bishops do not interfere in ordinary political welfare, but do endeavour to bring their influence to bear honestly and honourably in all these matters, that I should deeply regret to see the disappearance of the spiritual influence from the House of Lords, and I hope, therefore, this House will reject this Motion.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I should be sorry if the division to-night should be taken on a side issue. My noble Friend the Member for Greenwich has moved an Amendment for which much might be said, and for my own part I should be glad to see many Nonconformist representatives promoted to the other House; but after all the Amendment is a side issue, and I think we should take a plain division on a plain issue. I suggest to my noble Friend that he should not press his Amendment, but allow us to vote immediately on the main question, though I admit the topic he has raised is one of great interest, and upon another and more fitting opportunity might form an interesting subject for debate.
§ Question put.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Main question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 129; Noes 200.—(Division List No. 15.)175
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Clough, Walter Owen|
|Allen, W. (Newc.-under-Lyme)||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Colville, John|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Burns, John||Commins, Andrew|
|Asher, Alexander||Burt, Thomas||Crombie, John William|
|Baker, Sir John||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Daly, James|
|Balfour,Rt HnJ.Blair(Clackm.)||Caldwell, James||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Davies,M.Vaughan-(Cardigan|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Causton, Richard Knight||Dilke, Rt. Hon Sir Charles|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Cawley, Frederick||Dillon, John|
|Birrell, Augustine||Channing, Francis Allston||Doogan, P. C.|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Clark,Dr.G.B.(Caithness-sh.)||Dunn, Sir William|
|Ellis, Thos. Ed. (Merionethsh.)||Logan, John William||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Evans, Sir Francis H.(S'th'ton)||Lough, Thomas||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Evershed, Sydney||Macaleese, Daniel||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Fenwick, Charles||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund||M'Ghee, Richard||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||M'Kenna, Reginald||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||M'Killop, James||Souttar, Robinson|
|Gladstone, Rt.Hn. Herbert J.||M'Laren, Cnarles Benjamin||Spicer, Albert|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Maddison, Fred.||Strachey, Edward|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Maden, John Henry||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Mellor, Rt. Hn. J. W. (Yorks.)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Hazell, Walter||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Hedderwick, Thos. Charles H.||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Thomas, Alfred(Glamorgan,E.)|
|Holden, Sir Angus||Morley, Rt.Hn. J. (Montrose)||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Moulton, John Fletcher||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Walton, JohnLawson(Leeds,S.)|
|Joicey, Sir James||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Warner, Thomas Ccurtenay T.|
|Kay-Shuttleworth,RtHn.SirU.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Oldroyd, Mark||Weir, James Galloway|
|Kilbride, Denis||Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||Palmer, Geo. Wm. (Reading)||Williams, John Carvell(Notts)|
|Kitson, Sir James||Paulton, James Mellor||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Labouchere, Henry||Philipps, John Wynford||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Lambert, George||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Langley, Batty||Pirie, Duncan V.||Woodhouse, Sir J. T.(Hddrsf'd)|
|Lawson, SirWilfrid(Cumb'l'nd)||Price, Robert John||Woods, Samuel|
|Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.)|
|Leng, Sir John||Provand Andrew Dryburgh||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Leuty, Thomas Richmond||Reckitt, Harold James||Mr. Herbert Lewis and Mr.|
|Lloyd-George, David||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie||Francis Stevenson.|
|Allhusen, Augustus HenryEden||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Charrington, Spencer||Fletcher, Sir Henry|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Chelsea, Viscount||Flower, Ernest|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Folkestone, Viscount|
|Arrol, Sir William||Clarke, Sir Edwd. (Plymouth)||Forster, Henry William|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Gedge, Sydney|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gibbons, J. Lloyd|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gibbs,Hn.A.G.H. (C. of Lond.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn.A.J.(Manch'r)||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Giles, Charles Tyrrell|
|Balfour,RtHnGeraldW. (Leeds)||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Gilliat, John Saunders|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Barry, Sir F. T. (Windsor)||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Cross, Herb. Shepherd(Bolton)||Goschen,Rt HnG. J.(St.G'rge's)|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Graham, Henry Robert|
|Beach,Rt Hn Sir M.H.(Bristol)||Curzon, Viscount||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Davenport, W. Bromley-||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Davies, Sir HoratioD.(Chatham)||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Bethell, Commander||Denny, Colonel||Hall, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Bigwood, James||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord Geo.|
|Bill, Charles||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm.|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Donkin, Richard Sim||Hanson, Sir Reginald|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Bond, Edward||Doughty, George||Heath, James|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Henderson, Alexander|
|Brassey, Albert||Doxford, William Theodore||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Hill, Sir Edwd. Stock (Bristol)|
|Butcher, John George||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hoare, Ed. Brodie (Hampst'd)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (Lancs., N.)||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Cavendish,V.C.W.(Drbyshire)||Fergusson.Rt.Hn.SirJ.(Manc'r)||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Finch, George H.||Hudson, George Bickcrsteth|
|Chamberlain, J.Austen(Worc'r)||Finlay, Sir R. Bannatyne||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Middlemore, JohnThrogmorton||Sharpe, Wm. Edward T.|
|Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Skewes-Cox. Thomas|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Milton, Viscount||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.||Monckton, Edward Philip||Smith, Hon. W. F. D.(Strand)|
|Kenyon, James||Monk, Charles James||Stanley, Hn.Arthur(Ormskirk)|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset)|
|Keswick, William||More, Robert Jasper||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Knowles, Lees||Morrell, George Herbert||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Lafone, Alfred||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptf.)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Mount, William George||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Lawrence,SirE.Durning-(Corn)||Muntz, Philip A.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Lecky, Rt. Hn. Wm. Edw. H||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Talbot, Rt.Hn.J.G. (Oxf.Univ)|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry C'nrrie||Myers, William Henry||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Leighton, Stanley||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Valentia, Viscount|
|Llewellyn, Evan H. (Somerset)||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Llewelyn,SirDillwyn (Swansea)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Webster, Sir R.E.(Isle of Wight|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesh'm)||Plunkett, RtHnHorace Curzon||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Long, Rt. Hn Walter (L'pool)||Pollock, Harry Frederick||Whiteley,H.(Ashton-under-L.)|
|Lowles, John||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Priestley, SirW.Overend(Edin.||Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm|
|Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Pryce-Jones, Lt. -Col. Edward||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Lucas -Shadwell, William||Purvis, Robert||Wodehouse, Rt Hn E.R.(Bath|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Rasch. Major Frederic Carne||Wortley, Rt. Hon.C.B. Stuart-|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Ridley, Rt Hn. Sir Matt. W.||Wyndham, George|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Ritchie, Rt.Hn. Chas.Thomson||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Round, James||Young, Commander (Berks,E.)|
|Maclure, Sir John William||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edin.,W.)||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Malcolm, Ian||Savory, Sir Joseph||Sir William Walrond and|
|Maple, Sir John Blundell||Seton-Karr, Henry||Mr. Anstruther.|