HC Deb 15 March 1900 vol 80 cc995-1019

Order for Committee read.

MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)

said his object in submitting the Instruction standing on the Paper in his name was to get separate Bills for England and Scotland as was the case in previous censuses. He understood from what the President of the Local Government Board told him recently that the proposal to include both countries in one Bill was to save time, while the Lord Advocate, speaking subse- quently in the debate, threw over the President of the Local Government Board, and said he was not at all going to rely on the question of saving time, and it was because of the observations made by the hon. and learned member on that occasion that he now brought forward this motion with the view of inducing the Government to pass separate Acts for Scotland and England. The Lord Advocate the other day asserted that this was not a retrograde, but a forward movement as far as legislation was concerned, and that the Government considered it the better method of procedure. He entirely joined issue with the Lord Advocate with respect to that contention. The hon. and learned Gentleman was of opinion that, wherever possible, legislation should be uniform for the three kingdoms. He perfectly agreed that was the case where Parliament was legislating on new subjects, as for instance in connection with commercial legislation, but in the matter of the census, they were not legislating on a new subject. During the whole century every ten years when there had been a census separate Acts had been passed for England, Scotland, and Ireland. As he read the Bill now before the House it did not in any way assimilate the census of Scotland to that of England, and one of the objections to this method of legislation was that it would require a very practised lawyer to understand the full effect of the Bill.

Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present (Dr. Tanner, Cork County, Mid). House counted, and, forty Members being found present,


(continuing) said he did not see the advantage to be gained from the form of legislation that was being adopted here. The Lord Advocate had said this was the right method of legislation for Scotland, and that the Act could be made to apply to this country by an interpretation clause. He entirely contested that principle. In Scotland they had been long-suffering during the past few years with respect to this method of legislation. Two years ago the Government introduced the Teachers' Pension Bill for England, and a clause was introduced to make it apply to Scotland. Down to that time the educational legislation for Scotland

had been distinct from that of England. If it was intended to have separate census for England and Scotland the proper method to carry that out would be to have separate Acts in England and Scotland. He thought that the tendency of the present Bill was to complicate and obscure Scotch legislation and make it more difficult to understand.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to divide the Bill into two Bills, one extending to England and the other extending to Scotland."—(Mr. Buchanan.)


I hope I may be able to dispel the doubts of the hon. Gentleman. I distinctly said on the Second Reading of the Bill that this was included at the request of the Scotch Office, and in order to save time, as it was feared that there might not be much opportunity for legislation this session. The hon. Member complains of the Bill because he says it is beyond the ordinary intelligence of the people who, generally speaking, have to deal with it. To the person of ordinary intelligence "Great Britain" includes Scotland. All the provisions relating to Scotland appear in the different clauses until you come to the particular clause which makes it directly apply to Scotland, and provides machinery for that purpose under the Bill as it stands, the coming census for Scotland will be as full and complete as any former census.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 52; Noes, 125. (Division List No. 69.)

Abraham, William(Cork, N. E.) Donelan, Captain A. Maddison, Fred.
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Doogan, P. C. Morton, Edw. J. C.(Devonport)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Duckworth, James Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Evans, Sir F. H. (Southampton) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Barlow, John Emmott Fenwick, Charles O'Malley, William
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Flavin, Michael Joseph Power, Patrick Joseph
Billson, Alfred Goddard, Daniel Ford Provand, Andrew Dryburgh
Broadhurst, Henry Gurdon Sir William Brampton Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Burns, John Hogan, James Francis Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Burt, Thomas Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea) Sinclair, Capt J. (Forfarshire)
Cameron, Robert (Durham) Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland) Souttar, Robinson
Channing, Francis Allston Macaleese, Daniel Steadman, William Charles
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) M'Crae, George Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Dewar, Arthur M'Laren, Charles Benjamin Tanner, Charles Kearns
Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.) Wilson, Frederick W.(Norfolk) TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Ure, Alexander Wilson, John (Falkirk) Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Caldwell.
Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbrough
Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Garfit, William Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Allsopp, Hon. George Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans) Pierpoint, Robert
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Gilliat, John Saunders Pilkington, Rich.(Lancs Newt'n
Arnold, Alfred Goldsworthy, Major-General Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Arrol, Sir William Gordon, Hon. John Edward Plunkett, Rt. Hn Horace Curzon
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Balcarres, Lord Goulding, Edward Alfred Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Green, Walford D. (Wednesb. Pusvis, Robert
Bartley, George C. T. Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord Geo. Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Beckett, Ernest William Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Renshaw, Charles Bine
Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe Heath, James Richards, Henry Charles
Blundell, Colonel Henry Helder, Augustus Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. White
Bond, Edward Hickman, Sir Alfred Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Brassey, Albert Howell, William Tudor Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Bullard, Sir Harry Hudson, George Bickersteth Round, James
Butcher, John George Johnston, William (Belfast) Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Cavendish, V. C. W.(Derbysh.) Keswick, William Rutherford, John
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Lafone, Alfred Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Lawson, John Grant (Yorksh. Sharpe, William Edward T.
Charrington, Spencer Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. Edw. H. Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Clare, Octavius Leigh Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Coghill, Douglas Harry Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverp'l Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Lonsdale, John Brownlee Stone, Sir Benjamin
Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Lowe, Francis William Strutt, Hon. Chas. Hedley
Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow) Lowles, John Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W. Loyd, Archie Kirkman Thornton, Percy M.
Cripps, Charles Alfred Lucas-Shadwell, William Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Macartney, W. G. Ellison Tritton, Charles Ernest
Curzon, Viscount MacIver, David (Liverpool) Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Denny, Colonel M'Arthur, Charles (Liverp'l) Wanklyn, James Leslie
Dickinson, Robert Edmond M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.) Warr, Augustus Frederick
Donkin, Richard Sim M'Killop, James Webster, Sir Richard E.
Dorington, Sir John Edward Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Tau'n)
Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers- Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton Whiteley, H. (Asht'n-under-L.
Doxford, Sir W. Theodore Monckton, Edward Philip Williams, Jos. Powell- (Birm.
Fardell, Sir T. George Monk, Charles James Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward Morrell, George Herbert Wodehouse, Rt Hn. E. R.(Bath)
Field, Admiral (Eastbourne) Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford Wortley, Rt Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Muntz, Philip A. Wyndham, George
Firbank, Joseph Thomas Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute
Fisher, William Hayes Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Fison, Frederick William Parkes, Ebenezer Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Galloway, William Johnson Penn, John

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]


The Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wigan is not in order. It is beyond the scope of the Bill.

SIR F. S. POWELL (Wigan)

That applies to the whole of my Amendments.


said he understood from the President of the Local Government Board that, although the Bill as it stood only provided for one census, there would be a separate census for England and Scotland. That being so he was unable to see why the Committee should not accept the Amendment he proposed. He merely desired to make that point clear.

MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

pointed out that Great Britain included Ireland, and if only one census was to be taken Ireland ought to come within the scope of the Bill. But in the case of Ireland there was a separate Bill. The difference in the present case was that the census in England would be taken under one Local Government Board, and that of Scotland under another. Under the circumstances he deprecated any alteration in the procedure of the past when separate Bills were introduced for England and Scotland.


asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he would give an assurance that under the Bill the Government would not alter the method that was previously adopted for taking the census in Scotland.


Certainly the most unqualified assurance in the world.

Clause 1:—


moved that the census should be taken on Saturday, 30th March, and not on Sunday, 31st March, as provided in the Bill. He drew attention to the fact that when he raised this point on a previous occasion, the President of the Local Government Board stated that Sunday was taken because it was the most convenient date to take the census, as on that day it was most likely the greater number of people would be at home. The change of date would not cause any inconvenience. His Amendment was based on the ground of sentiment, which was deeply implanted in the people. There were many people, especially in the part of the country with which he was acquainted, who thought it was inappropriate to fill up these returns upon the Sunday.

Amendment proposed— On page 1, line 7, to leave out 'Sunday.' and insert 'Saturday.' "—(Mr. Herbert Roberts.)


The first Sunday in April, 1901, happens to be Easter Sunday, and that being so it might possibly be that a great number of people might be away from home. But with regard to the Sunday, that date was chosen because the assumption was, taking the majority of people in Great Britain, it would be found that the one day on which they were at home was Sunday. The papers could be filled up on the Saturday or the Monday. Sunday has always been the day on which the census is taken, and I cannot see that any reason has been advanced for altering it.

MR. LOWLES (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

appealed to the President of the Local Government Board to alter the day from Sunday to Thursday. The census was taken on the number of people sleeping in the house on a certain night, and the practice of the week-end out of town was greatly on the increase. He made the request on behalf of a large body of men living in the central districts of London who were in the habit of spending the week-end away from home.


I can quite understand that the appeal made by my hon. friend might have some weight at certain times of the year. I have very little doubt that there is a great deal of force in his argument, but I can hardly believe that it has much weight in the month of March. The Committee must remember that the census is not only for central London. It is for the whole of Great Britain, and I have heard nothing to lead me to change my opinion as to the appropriateness of the date in the Bill.


said the difficulty to which he had drawn attention would be removed if instructions were given in the papers. The papers should not be collected earlier than mid-day on the Monday, so that those who did not care to fill up the papers on Sunday could do so on the Monday.


said it was perfectly obvious that the paper could not be filled up on the Sunday, because it would not be a true account of the people who slept in the house on the Sunday night. It would have to be filled up on Monday morning, in any case.


said he could not pledge himself to the particular hour at which the papers should be collected, but he would take care that the papers should be collected at such a time as would give the people an opportunity of filling them up on the Monday morning.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3:—


, in moving to insert words providing for the taking returns of the religious professions of the people, said: I think this is a perfectly reasonable matter to bring before the House. I believe that in almost every other country a religious census is taken, and in Ireland, for some reason which I have never understood, a different custom prevails there than in England, for a religious census is actually taken in Ireland. Although I do not intend to press the matter to a division, I think the subject is one which should be brought before the Committee. We are told sometimes, and may be told to-night, that a religious census is an inquisitorial proceeding. I would point out that a religious census is taken in Ireland, and why should it be regarded as inquisitorial in England? Sometimes we are told that there are Nonconformists who have had the greatest possible dislike to letting it be known what their religious belief is. That seems to me to be a very striking circumstance. I understand that all communications made to enumerators are confidential, and I can hardly conceive that there are any Nonconformists who would not desire to call themselves such to any enumerator, and to show in an un mistakeable form what their religious belief was. We are told that a Nonconformist does not like to incur the social penalties which would fall upon him by declaring his religious belief. He has a motive for not desiring to declare his religious belief, and this motive, singularly enough, does not allow him to declare his religious belief in any other way. If it did, there would be no reason why he should not declare it to an enumerator. Why does this singular motive operate against enumerators, and why is this the one occasion on which he refuses to declare his belief? I am a bit sceptical about this, and I am inclined to believe that the majority of Nonconformists would have no reluctance at all to state their religious belief. In itself the matter is not ecclesiastical, but the subject has been given a peculiar interest, not by Churchmen, but by those who advocate disestablishment. It has been said that the Church should be disestablished because it no longer represents a majority of the people of this country. This has been said in England, and I believe it has also been said in Scotland. Of course, we should not admit that disestablishment was just, but we have said that the Church of England contains a great majority of the people of England and Wales, and that it is an increasing majority. That, I know, is sometimes disputed; but, if my statement is disputed, the proper way of settling the question is to have a religious census, and therefore we consider it our duty to demand a religious census as a reply to that argument. Of course, if there is any great objection to this Amendment I shall not press it, because disestablishment is so unlikely to arise within the next ten years that it is unnecessary to produce arguments against it. Having regard to the weakness of disestablishment, and to the fact that it is undesirable to do anything which may be deemed offensive to any part of the country, I shall not press the Amendment to a division. I only move it to show that it is not the Church of England which shrinks from this, but it is the Liberationists who shrink from the ordeal, and I wish all the world may know that we are prepared to go to the test and that our opponents are not.


The noble Lord moves an Amendment, and when he introduces it he says he is not going to press it to a division. It is, therefore, a bogus Amendment, and the noble Lord knows it.


I do not press it, having regard to the feelings of my opponents.


What kind of feelings? I say this motion is a reflection upon that charity which ought to be dear to the noble Lord. He has pictured before this House an imaginary Nonconformist who declined to own to the census enumerator what his religious belief was, because it might bring him down a little in society.


No, no. The whole point of my observation was to throw ridicule on that argument.


Why do you take up an imaginary Nonconformist who holds a religious belief different from your own, and then exhibit him to ridicule?


I did not do so.


Such an accusation is quite unworthy of the noble Lord.


The hon. Member has failed to understand the whole course of my argument.


Why do you create this imaginary person and trot him out on an imaginary Amendment which you have not the courage to press to a division? The noble Lord is making use of this occasion to throw reflections, and most unworthy reflections, upon a large proportion of the people of this country, and he is doing so in the narrowest spirit. I have no sympathy whatever with these imaginary persons who loom so largely in the narrow imagination of the noble Lord, who decline to own when it is necessary to own their religious convictions. What right has the noble Lord or any individual to ask me my religious belief?


What right have you to ask the people of Ireland?


At present we are discussing the Bill before us, and I am perfectly ready to discuss the Irish Bill when it arises. The noble Lord has come here suggesting an Amendment, but not daring to move it.


I have moved it.


But the noble Lord says he is not going to press it to a division, and he followed that statement with a speech in which he held up to ridicule some persons in whom he did not believe. He made some observations upon Disestablishment which I thought were hardly germane to the Bill we are now discussing. I think that it is hardly worthy of the noble Lord or the Church to which he belongs to take an opportunity under a Bill of this kind to make a covert and unworthy attack upon a large number of his fellow subjects in this country.


I have listened to the speech of the noble Lord, and I think he expressed his views very temperately. I fail to see what he has said to call forth the heated remarks of the hon. Member who has just sat down. The noble Lord has stated very distinctly that he does not intend to press this Amendment to a division, and he has no object further than that of having his proposal discussed. If I might make a suggestion it would be that the Committee should accept what the noble Lord has said, and that he should be allowed to withdraw the Amendment. The fact that this proposal has called forth such heat is the best practical argument against inserting religious questions in the census.


I must say that I agree what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. I do not know whether the noble Lord is now entirely satisfied with his incursion in this debate. If he is I should think he stands alone in that satisfaction. I do not know whether he is satisfied with the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board. The noble Lord speaks for the Church of England.


No, I am speaking for myself.


The noble Lord was advancing arguments in favour of the Church of England as a religious establishment, and refuting arguments which he put into the minds of hon. Members opposite. He has now disclaimed any right to speak for the Church of England. The question of disestablishment is not a religious question, and it is not even an ecclesiastical question, but it is a political question. It is a question in which the members of the Church of England are as free to vote for or against as any Member of this House. I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill that this Amendment has perhaps imported more heat than its importance deserves.


said that twenty years ago he had the honour of supporting the First Lord of the Treasury, who was then a private Member of the House, and who then took the same view. Looked at from an abstract point of view, there was nothing to be said against a religious census at that time, and he still adhered to that position. His ideas of logic were, perhaps, old-fashioned, but he could not understand why they should not have a religious census in England when such a census was taken in Ireland, not a country certainly of weak religious feeling, whilst even their self-governing colonies had a religious census, and they could not be called retrograde communities. He thought that whatever was done in the colonies in this matter might at least be done in Great Britain. If we might not speak of an imaginary Nonconformist, then there must be a substantial one. The Church of England claimed that they had a majority of the people in their Church, and they did not object to a religious census. He could not understand what was the reason why Nonconformists did not like to have a religious census. If it was not a social reason, what was it? Were they afraid of the facts? He thought he was almost justified in saying that the British Isles were the only civilised country in which there was not a religious census.


And in which there is an Established Church.


Where there was an Established Church was it a wrong thing for that Church to ask for an enumeration of the persons who belonged to it?

MR. WILLIAM JONES (Carnarvonshire, N.)

The right hon. Gentleman has stated that a religious census is obtained in Ireland and the colonies, but he forgot to mention the important fact that in Ireland and the colonies there exists no Established Church. I desire to point out that Nonconformists are not afraid of the facts, but what they contend is that the real facts cannot be obtained by a religious census. I am going to challenge the noble Lord as to the facts, and I ask him, would he be willing to take a census of the bonâ fide members or communicants of the Church of England and Nonconformist bodies? Will he take the Church year-books and compare their number with that of the communicants and members in the Free Churches of England and Wales? That would be a fairer and a more straightforward test of the numerical strength of church and chapel than the one proposed. I heard the noble Lord cast a reflection upon Nonconformists regarding Disestablishment, but the Nonconformists do not base their objection to the Establishment upon its numerical strength. Their objection is that the relation of the State to the Church has vulgarised and materialised the Church, and has not given it the power to purify and ennoble the State. If the noble Lord opposite would take a census of the communicants and members, the Free Churches would not be afraid of that. But what has the Church of England hitherto done? Various Churchmen have taken a religious census here and there, and paraded the figures to the disadvantage of Nonconformists. In this census they have included prisoners in gaols, a majority of the inmates of workhouses, demoralised paupers and degenerates, who neither properly belonged to church nor chapel, and yet they were returned as Churchmen. Such a census will be opposed by every fair-minded Gentleman in this House, because it is a hollow thing and a sham.

*MR. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)

I am perhaps one of the few Members of this House who steadily read Nonconformist literature and articles, and I may inform the hon. Member who has just spoken that since 1851 our Nonconformist fellow citizens have, from time to time, endeavoured to take what they call a religious census. The census taken in 1851 by Mr. Horace Mann was an attempt to show what is the accommodation in mission rooms not connected with the Established Church. I have not a word to say against any efforts my hon. friend takes in that direction, but it is very hard, when we want to know the number of members in the Church of England, that we cannot have a religious census. I challenge hon. Members opposite to deny that in all the self-governing colonies a religious census is taken every five or ten years without the slightest objection. The remarks of the last speaker are altogether beside the question. He knows as well as I do that in Scotland there is a position quite different from that of communicant—the position of whether a man is an adherent of the Established, the Free, or the United Presbyterian Church. The proposition put forward to-night that none but communicants should be reckoned is a most extraordinary one. I have often heard it put forward by those who share my views, but never before from the other side of the House. What we have been told in the organs of the Liberation Society is the provision the Free Churches of England make for the worshipping public, and year by year they have printed in their handbooks not the number of communicants, not the number of attendants, but the number of places they provide. They appeal to that as a proof that the Established Church is not meeting the wants of the country. In 1850 they took the first step in endeavouring to get a census of those attending church and chapel. We have from time to time been favoured with what is called a religions census in large towns of the number of persons present at the morning and evening services in the Established Church, and in what are called the Free Churches. I would not vote for any proposition which would cast any slur upon my Nonconformist friends, some of whom are my best supporters. But if my noble friend goes to a division I am quite prepared to tell with him. We want it to go forth to the country that now there is an opportunity of knowing in England and Wales what we know in Ireland—the religious aspect of the country. Instead of having these bogus censuses provided by amateur reporters there is now an opportunity, if the President of the Local Government Board can see his way to do this, of knowing once and for all whether the Church of England is in a minority in this country.


I have already made one appeal to the Committee, and I must apologise for appealing again. Do let me remind hon. Members of what is the position. An Amendment has been moved in regard to which it is stated by the mover that it is not proposed to take a division. That Amendment has led to a somewhat heated discussion, and I would suggest that it should now be withdrawn, in order that we may proceed with business. I do again suggest that the discussion in which we are now engaged, although keenly interesting to some Members, is really a waste of time. Therefore I hope the Amendment will be withdrawn and business proceeded with.


While I have the greatest sympathy with the right hon. Gentleman, and believe that he wishes to proceed with business, we are in the position that the noble Lord has commenced what I may call a sham fight, and a good many arguments have been put forward which are entirely unsound, and an opportunity should be allowed for those arguments to be answered. A great deal has been said about the different treatment meted out to Ireland; the colonies have also been referred to; and we have been urged to consent to a census in order that the facts might be laid before the country. No one wants anything but the facts, but we know, as a matter of fact, that while there is a political question pending you cannot have the facts brought out in a census of religious beliefs ["Why not?"] The position of the Church of England and of the Church of Scotland is not the position of other churches in those countries. Before you can obtain an impartial census of the people belonging to the different churches and the different beliefs you must put those churches and beliefs on an equal and the same footing. Facts are worth nothing unless that preliminary step is taken. I, therefore, deprecate this discussion, which is calculated only to mislead public opinion.

MR. SOUTTAR (Dumfriesshire)

I wish to express my astonishment at what I may call the noble Lord's want of knowledge of the heart of the Nonconformist. There is no such Nonconformist in the world as the one conjured up by the mover of this Amendment. No Nonconformist in the concrete is ashamed of his convictions, or afraid to put them on a census paper. Why, then, do they object to the taking of a religious census? Because such a census would be entirely fallacious. I have been engaged for a good many years in working amongst poor people, and I know of a certainty that no matter how poor a man is, and no matter how bad a man may be, he is always, speaking generally, a local Churchman. Men who have betrayed every friend who ever trusted in them, men who are drunk every day of their lives—the worse they are the more loyal to the Church. I have visited houses with a clergyman of the Church of England, and we have said to a man, "You go to chapel, I suppose?" "No, I was never in a chapel in my life." "Were you ever in a church?" I have asked. "Well, no, I cannot say that I was," has been the reply. But on a census paper such a man would put himself down as a Churchman. Every tramp in a thieves' kitchen, every convict in the prisons, would write himself down as a Churchman, and the result is that a census return would be absolutely fallacious and entirely unfair to Nonconformists.

MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)

It is quite true the noble Lord does not propose to go to a division, and that is the only reason I intervene in this debate. The only object of such a debate is to enable the noble Lord and his friends to say, "We offered to have a religious census, but you refused." It is not really intended that this Amendment should be carried. ["Yes."] Very well, in that case we have got to contest it, and the matter should be fully and fairly discussed. A proposition similar to this was made when the last Census Bill was before the House, but it was not carried. The object then was merely that which I have stated. No one knows better than the noble Lord himself that such a test would be perfectly fallacious. But there is a test. Take London, for instance. It is a well-known fact that if every church and chapel was crowded every Sunday there would not be one-fifth of the population in attendance. If the right hon. Gentleman likes I will say that one-half of the people of London do not attend the churches. What becomes of the other half? As far as that half are concerned, from the cradle to the grave they never go inside a church or chapel. They are not Churchmen or religious people at all. But if there was a census they would return themselves possibly as Nonconformists, but more probably as Churchmen. Would that be a fair test? I ask any real and sincere Churchman, such as we all recognise the noble Lord to be, would he regard a person who had never been inside a church, or who for ten years had not attended when he might have done, as a Churchman? Would it be an honest return on the part of that man? In Nonconformist churches we have a test. If a person does not attend for a certain space of time, unless there is some valid reason for his absence, he is struck off the rolls and is no longer regarded as a member of that church. That is a real test, and one which can be applied to any community. If you have a census at all you want an honest census. Look at the census returns for prisons. Take Wales. A vast majority of the persons in prisons in Wales, which is a Nonconformist country, return themselves as Churchmen. I am not going to suggest that this is because Churchmen are the scum of the population in Wales. What I suggest is that these people are people of no religion at all. The residue—I will not say the residuum—of the population will always label themselves of the religion of the bulk of the population—the State religion. The same thing applies to workhouses, and, I believe, to lunatic asylums. Would the noble Lord say that because these returns show a larger proportion of Churchmen that therefore the majority of lunatics are Churchmen, or the majority of Churchmen are lunatics? I venture to say that the object of the Amendment is really not worthy of the noble Lord. He wants an honest return; he really wants to know officially what is the real strength of Nonconformity and of the Church in this country, and if there was a means of arriving at it I quite agree with him it would be exceedingly desirable to get it. In the Disestablishment controversy we have had statistics given on either side, but there has been no means of testing them. The time will come when the Disestablishment issue will again be a vital one, as when this war craze has passed away the people of the country will return to deeper issues. It is, therefore, important to have reliable figures. The only way of getting them would be to get the denominations to return a register of their own members, and those figures could be tested. Churchmen give us an aggregate number, but when we ask for the figures for any single parish they decline to give them. That is the real test. If the noble lord can suggest any means of arriving at the facts, by which the return should be a fair, honest and reliable one, I will heartily support it, and I believe the bulk of Nonconformists would do the same.


(who was indistinctly heard): was understood to say that he did not intend to reflect injuriously upon the religious convictions of anybody. He had a sincere respect for all religious people. A religious census was not asked for for the purpose of estimating the religious force of the various denominations in the country. Such statistics would neces- sarily be inaccurate and misleading. The census was desired for the specific purpose of meeting the numerical argument against the Establishment. This was not a bogus Amendment; it was a bona fide offer, and he was quite ready to go to a division. On its merits it was a reasonable proposal. It was not so much out of consideration for the feeling of hon. Members on the other side of the House as out of consideration for the feelings of Nonconformists as a body that they did not wish to do a gratuitously aggressive thing by forcing this proposal upon them by a division. He therefore asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment put, and negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 4:—


said he wished to move the omission in Section (d), Clause 4, page 2, line 5, the words "in the case of Wales or the County of Monmouth." He wanted to extend that schedule to the whole country. There was a very large Welsh population in England, and if his amendment were adopted it simply meant that a language column would be added to all the English as well as Welsh papers. This suggestion was made at the last census, but too late, and there was a promise that it would be considered when the next census came round. If it were found on report that

it would be impossible to carry out his suggestion, the clause could be restored as it now stood.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 5, to leave out the words 'in the case of Wales or the County of Monmouth.' "—(Mr. Lloyd-George.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed be left out stand part of the clause."


said he did not think the hon. Member quite appreciated the enormous additional labour that would be caused by his proposal, and there was no reason why that additional labour should be imposed on the enumerators.


hoped that the suggestion would be further considered. There were thirty-five churches in London in which Welsh was spoken, and quite as many in Liverpool and Manchester; and such a return would give a great deal of interesting information.


hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider the point, because as time went on there would be a gradually increasing number of Welsh-speaking people in England.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 164; Noes, 54. (Division List No. 70.)

Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Chamberlain, J. A.(Worcest'r) Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.
Allsopp, Hon. George Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J (Manch'r
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Charrington, Spencer Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)
Arnold, Alfred Clare, Octavius Leigh Finch, George H.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Coghill, Douglas Harry Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Firbank, Joseph Thomas
Balcarres, Lord Colomb, Sir John C. Ready Fisher, William Hayes
Balfour, Rt. Hn A. J. (Manch'r) Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Fison, Frederick William
Banbury, Frederick George Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg'w Fletcher, Sir Henry
Bartley, George C. T. Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W. Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D. Fry, Lewis
Beckett, Ernest William Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Galloway, W. Johnson
Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe Cubitt, Hon. Henry Garfit, William
Bill, Charles Curzon, Viscount Gedge, Sydney
Blundell, Colonel Henry Dalrymple, Sir Charles Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)
Bond, Edward Denny, Colonel Gilliat, John Saunders
Brassey, Albert Dickinson, Robert Edmond Godson, Sir A. Frederick
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Dilke, Rt. Hn. Sir Charles Goldsworthy, Major-General
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Gordon, Hon. John Edward
Bullard, Sir Harry Dorington, Sir John Edward Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon
Butcher, John George Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Goschen, George J. (Sussex)
Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson- Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Goulding, Edward Alfred
Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbysh.) Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore Green, Walford D (Wednesbury
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Faber, George Denison Gurdon, Sir William Brampton
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Fardell, Sir T. George Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Ld. George
Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert W. Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W.F. Rutherford, John
Heath, James Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton Seely, Charles Hilton
Helder, Augustus Milward, Colonel Victor Sharpe, William Edward T.
Hickman, Sir Alfred Monk, Charles James Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Howell, William Tudor Monckton, Edward Philip Simeon, Sir Barrington
Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice- Morgan, Hn. Fred(Monm'thsh. Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick Morrell, George Herbert Stone, Sir Benjamin
Johnston, William (Belfast) Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford) Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Kenyon, James Muntz, Philip A. Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G.(Bute) Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Ox.Univ.
Kimber, Henry Murray, Charles J. (Coventry Thornton, Percy M.
Lafone, Alfred Nussey, Thomas Willans Tomlinson, Wm. E. Murray
Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn Palmer, George Wm.(Reading) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.) Parkes, Ebenezer Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.
Lecky, Rt. Hon. William E. H. Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n Warr, Augustus Frederick
Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Phillpotts, Captain Arthur Webster, Sir Richard E.
Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Pilkiugton, Rich.(Lancs N'wt'n Welby, Lt. - Col. A. C. E (Taunt'n
Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Platt-Higgins, Frederick Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-
Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham) Plunkett, Rt. Hn. H. Curzon Whiteley, H. (Ashton-undr-L.)
Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool Pollock, Harry Frederick Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Williams, Joseph P. (Birm.)
Lowe, Francis William Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Lowles, John Purvis, Robert Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Loyd, Archie Kirkman Rasch, Major Frederic Carne Wilson-Todd, Wm. H.(Yorks)
Lucas-Shadwell, William Richards, Henry Charles Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R (Bath)
Macartney, W. G. Ellison Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. Stuart-
Macdona, John Cumming Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson Wyndham, George
MacIver, David (Liverpool) Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall) Robson, William Snowdon TELLERS FOR THE AYES
M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinb'gh W.) Round, James Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
M'Killop, James Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Goddard, Daniel Ford Richardson, J. (Durham, S.E.)
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Jenkins, Sir John Jones Roberts, J. H. (Denbighsh.)
Barlow, John Emmott Kilbride, Denis Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)
Billson, Alfred Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Lough, Thomas Souttar, Robinson
Broadhurst, Henry Macaleese, Daniel Steadman, William Charles
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn M'Crae, George Strachey, Edward
Burns, John M'Kenna, Reginald Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Caldwell, James Maddison, Fred. Tanner, Charles Kearnes
Cameron, Robert (Durham) Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport) Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.
Channing, Francis Allston Norton, Capt. Cecil William Thomas, David Alfred (Merth'r
Donelan, Captain A. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Ure, Alexander
Doogan, P. C. O'Malley, William Wilson, Frederick W.(Norfolk)
Duckworth, James Pease, Jos. A. (Northumb.) Wilson, John (Govan)
Evans, Sir Francis H (South'ton) Pickersgill, Edward Hare Yoxall, James Henry
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Price, Robert John TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Fenwick, Charles Provand, Andrew Dryburgh Mr. Lloyd-George and Mr. William Jones.
Flavin, Michael Joseph Redmond, William (Clare)

Question put, and agreed to.


wished to draw attention to section 4 of Clause 4 in reference to tenements and dwelling-houses. He knew of a case where 350 different flats were recorded by the Registrar General as seven inhabited houses. That materially affected the grants under the Equalisation of Rates Act. Every separate tenement should be returned as a definite dwelling-house in that schedule rather than the blocks.


said that one of the difficulties about applying this Bill to Scotland was that in Scotland a tenement was a whole block of buildings, and in England it was each individual house or suite of apartments in a block; and when they went to the interpretation clause they found no definition of a house or tenement. There was, therefore, ambiguity as to how this particular sub-section was to apply to Scotland at all. Formally he moved to omit sub-section 4.

Amendment proposed— On page 2, line 23, to leave out sub-section 4."—(Mr. Buchanan.)

Question proposed, "That sub-section 4 stand part of the clause."


said that sub-section 4 applied to Scotland in precisely the same way as in England. It said that— Where a dwelling-house is let or sub-let in different tenements or apartments, and occupied distinctly by different persons or families, a separate schedule shall be left with or for and shall be filled up by the occupier of each such distinct tenement or apartment.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 5:—

SIR T. G. FARDELL (Paddington, S.)

moved to insert in page 3, line 5, after the word "parishes," the word "wards." It would, he contended, be far more satisfactory for health purposes, especially in boroughs, if the particulars were furnished by wards rather than by parishes. He understood that instructions were to be given to the enumerators to take the particulars by wards instead of by parishes if necessary, but no harm whatever would be done if that were put in the Bill.

Amendment proposed— In page 3, line 5, after the word 'parishes' to insert the word 'wards.' "—(Sir T. G. Fardell.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'wards' be there inserted."


said he would be very glad to accept the Amendment if he thought it was necessary, but that was not the case. The word "ward" was not in the old Act, but under Clause 10 power was given to enable the authorities to prescribe that the census should be taken by wards, and that was what was done in all boroughs. The Government would see that that was also done on this occasion by instruction.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 6, 7, and 8 agreed to.

Clause 9:—


moved it page 3, line 33, to leave out "may, if he thinks fit," and insert "shall." The meaning of his Amendment was that at the request and cost of any county council, borough, or urban district council abstracts containing any useful information in the census returns with respect to that county, borough, or district council should be supplied by the Registrar General on demand. He could see no reason why this important information should be kept at the discretion of the Registrar General.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 3, line 33, to leave out 'may, if he thinks fit,' in order to insert the word 'shall.'"—(Mr. Herbert Roberts.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause."


could not accept an Amendment which would make it compulsory on the Registrar General to furnish these returns. There would be no unwillingness whatever to grant any reasonable information; but some discretion should be left to the Registrar General, for otherwise demands might be made upon him which would be quite unreasonable.


said that although he himself thought it would be better if the power were not left in the hands of the Registrar General absolutely; still he assumed that the Local Government Board would see that the local authorities were considered, and on that assurance he would withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clauses 9, 10, and 11 agreed to.

Clause 12:—


asked why in the application of the Bill to Scotland, "Secretary for Scotland" should be substituted for "Local Government Board."


There has been no change in the policy of taking the census since the last time. As a matter of fact, from the constitution of the staff in the office, it is very much more convenient that the work should be done in the office of the Secretary for Scotland than in the office of the Local Government Board. There is really an advantage in having it done in the former office. The office of the Secretary for Scotland is more in consonance with the office of the Local Government Board of England than is the office of the Local Government Board of Scotland.

Clauses 12 and 13 agreed to.

Committee report progress; to sit again upon Monday next.