HC Deb 18 June 1907 vol 176 cc348-55
MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.)

asked leave, under the ten minutes rule, to introduce a Bill to appoint a Commission to inquire as to the need for the inspection of monastic and conventual institutions.

MR. J. MACVEAGH (Down, S.)

rose to a point of order and asked whether the motion of the hon. Member did not amount to an abuse of the rules of the House. A year ago the hon. Member brought forward the same Bill, and he wished to call attention to Mr. Speaker's ruling on the point then raised by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool. Mr. Speaker, speaking on that occasion, said that the frequent repetition of the use of the form of introducing Bills would have a tendency to become an abuse, but so long as it was only put into use occasionally it could not amount to an abuse of the forms of the House.


I do not think I can hold that a Member bringing in a Bill once a year amounts to an abuse of the rules of the House.


But it is an abuse of the ten minutes rule.


If the time of the House was constantly being occupied by private Members making speeches under cover of bringing in Bills under the ten minutes rule then it would be an abuse; but as far as I can recollect we have not yet bad a speech from the hon. Member for North Down, and I think he is entitled to introduce his Bill.


I regret to have to inform you we had to endure a speech from the hon. Member upon this i subject twelve mouths ago.


said he had not made a speech on the subject before, because on the last occasion he was so interrupted by hon. Members below the gangway that he was unable to do so. He felt therefore that he was entitled to make another appeal to the House to reconsider the decision they then took, but he would not occupy even the narrow limits allowed under the ton minutes rule. First of all he wished the House to understand that the Bill was not a Party one, and he looked forward to, and, indeed, expected, as much support from the opposite side of the House as he would got from his own. He did not expect much support from the Front Benches on either side, because those in power on the Front Bench generally voted against the Bill, and those on the Opposition side abstained from voting altogether. The only Loader he could remember as having voted for him upon the issue was one whose absence he was sure they all deeply deplored, viz., the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. The Bill proposed that a Commission should be appointed to inquire into the need for inspection of conventual and monastic institutions. There were now, in connection with the Roman Catholic Church alone, twenty of those institutions for every one that existed fifty years ago. There were also, as recent events had proved, a very large number in connection with the Church of England. He had no desire to say one bitter or provocative word about the Roman Catholic Church or the Ritualistic section of the Church of England, nor did he wish to say anything against the idea of monastic or conventual life. He believed in absolute liberty being given to every man and woman to worship God according to his or her lights. What he did say was that no man or woman should be held in bondage against his or her will. That was a state of things which existed in no other country, except Spain, and even there was a kind of partial instruction given. He trusted that no individual would be invested with power to keep in bondage young men and women who had entered such a state of living, without, perhaps, having fully considered what the circumstances of that life were. He appealed with confidence to that sense of justice and love of freedom which he believed were characteristics of the British race. He was quite sure, taking into account a! I the facts, which were well known to anyone who had studied the subject, that the Bill would be approved by the House.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to appoint a Commission to inquire as to the need for the inspection of Monastic and Conventual Institutions." —(Mr. T. L. Corbett.)


thought it would have occurred to most hon. Members that it was strange, to say the least of it, if the hon. Member for North Down was so anxious to have legislation passed on the subject dealt with by his Bill, that he had deferred its introduction until so late in the session. He could not have the slightest expectation that, under any circumstances whatever, the Bill could become law this year, even if it received the support of every Member of the House, which it did not. Therefore, he thought that many hon. Members would be forced to the conclusion that the hon. Member had introduced his Bill without any hope of its making progress or becoming law, but that it had been introduced rather in the nature of a demonstration which was now becoming to be regarded as an annual institution. Exactly twelve months ago the hon. Member introduced a similar measure, and his speech upon that occasion was somewhat similar to the statement they had just heard. Leave to introduce the Bill was then refused by an enormous majority. He had not the slightest doubt that a majority equally large would register the same opinion when a division was taken that afternoon. The hon. Member for North Down had appealed to hon. Members opposite on the ground that the Bill was not a Party measure nor intended to give offence to any section; on the contrary, he said it was a measure having for its purpose the prevention of the holding in bondage in convents or monastic institutions in this country. He thought he need hardly tell hon. Gentlemen opposite that these periodical attacks upon monastic and conventual institutions, in Ireland more particularly than in England, invariably emanated from the same quarter, which represented that narrow section of opinion known as "Orangism" in Ireland. The insinuation contained in the proposal of the hon. Gentleman carried with it the grossest offence and insult to the vast majority of not only the Catholic population of those islands, but of the "population of all religions. If the hon. Member's Bill meant anything at all it meant that at the commencement of the 20th century things were being done in monasteries, convents, and religious institutions which were unable to bear the light of day, and required the strictest investigation. He thought it was necessary, on behalf of the people of Ireland and England, to say that they resented that insinuation in the strongest possible manner. Everyone knew that the most magnificent work, educational and otherwise, was done by the inmates of those convents and schools; and it was altogether too late in the day to hope to succeed in arousing sentiments of bigotry and intolerance in that House, the Members of which, he was sure, would show by their votes that they believed there was

nothing wrong or scandalous done in those institutions. Unfortunately for Ireland, however, there were always at this time of the year demonstrations to arouse intolerance and bigotry. Last year, in June, a similar Bill was introduced in view of the approach of the 12th of July in the North of Ireland. There could be no one in that House so ignorant of Irish affairs as not to know that, unfortunately, in the section of Ireland represented by the hon. Member for North Down, on the 12th July the bitterest feeling of sectarian animosity was aroused, with the result that men and women who lived in perfect peace together in their own country the great part of the year, when the month of July arrived were often seen to be in conflict, and crime and violence occurred. The direct result of bringing forward a Bill of this kind was to prepare the way for those miserable and wretched disturbances and riots, which in a greater or less degree marked the month of July in the North of Ireland. Speaking as a Catholic, like the majority of his colleagues, he believed that there was nothing they more earnestly desired in Ireland than that the dead past should be allowed to rest, and that Catholics and Protestants should be allowed to live side by side in their own country in a spirit of tolerance and good faith. An attempt was about to be made once more to blow into a flame in Ireland the embers of religious and sectarian strife, and he asked the House to give a vote which would show that they believed that Catholic and Protestant alike were entitled to respect, and that it did not lie with the House of Commons or any of its Members to sanction a measure which was considered an insult, and which in its effect could only have the worst possible results in Ireland.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 125, Noes, 121. (Division List, No. 240).

Abraham, William (Rhondda) Barker, John Bignold, Sir Arthur
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Barlow, John Emmott(Somerset Black, Arthur W.
Anstruther-Gray, Major Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Boulton, A. C. F.
Arnold-Forster. Rt. Hn. Hugh O Beauchamp, E. Bowerman, C. W.
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Bellairs, Carlyon Bowles, G. Stewart
Brace, William Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Richards, Thomas(W.Monm'th
Bramsdon, T. A. Hervey, F. W. F.(Bury S. Edm'ds Richards, T. F.( Wolverh'mpt'n
Branch, James Higham, John Sharp Rickett, J. Compton
Bridgeman, W. Clive Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury Ridsdale, E. A.
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Hills, J. W. Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Carlile, E. Hildred Hodge, John Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Castlereagh, Viscount Hope, W. Bateman(Somerset, N. Roberts. S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- Idris, T. H. W. Roe, Sir Thomas
Clark, George Smith( Belfast, N. Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Rogers, F. E. Newman
dough, William Jones, Leif (Appleby) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Kekewich, Sir George Sears, J. K.
Corbett, CH(Sussex, E. Grinst'd Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hon Col W. Shemeld, Sir Berkeley George D.
Cory, Clifford John Kimber, Sir Henry Sloan, Thomas Henry
Courthope, G. Loyd King, Alfred John (Knutsford Snowden, P.
Craig, Charles Curtis.(Antrim, S. Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Soares, Ernest J.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Steadman, W. C.
Craig, C. James(Down, E.) Lamont, Norman Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Crossley, William J. Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Lee, Arthur H.( Hants., Fareham Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S. Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt,-Col. A.R. Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Lowe, Sir Francis William Tuke, Sir John Batty
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Turnour, Viscount
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Maclean, Donald Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard
Dunne, Major E. Martin(Walsall M'Micking, Major G. Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Everett, R. Lacey Massie, J. Wardle, George J.
Fell, Arthur Money, L. G. Chiozza Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Ferens, T. R. Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Whitbread, Howard
Fletcher, J. S. Nicholls, George Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Freeman-Thomas, Freeman Parkes, Ebenezer Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Gill, A. H. Paulton, James Mellor Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Goddard, Daniel Ford Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington Wilson, Henry J.(York, W. R.)
Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Percy, Earl Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras. S.)
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Pirie, Duncan V. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Radford, G. H. Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Hazel, Dr. A. E. Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Helmsley, Viscount Remnant, James Farquharson Mr. T. L. Corbett and Mr.
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Renton, Major Leslie Hugh Barrie.
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Fardell, Sir T. George Lever, W.H. (Cheshire, Wirral)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Fenwick, Charles Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham
Ambrose, Robert Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Lundon, W.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Flavin, Michael Joseph Lupton, Arnold
Astbury, John Meir Flynn, James Christopher Macdonald, J. M.(Falkirk B'ghs
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Fullerton, Hugh MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Barnes, G. N. Glover, Thomas MacVeagh, Jeremiah(Down, S.
Barran, Rowland Hirst Grant, Corrie MacVeigh, Charles(Donegal, K.
Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Gwynn, Stephen Lucius M'Killop, W.
Billson, Alfred Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Masterman, C. F. G.
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Hall, Frederick Meagher, Michael
Boland, John Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis Meehan, Patrick A.
Brigg, John Harwood, George Molteno, Percy Alport
Brooke, Stopford Hayden, John Patrick Mooney, J. J.
Brunner, J.F.L. (Lanes., Leigh) Herbert, Colonel Iver(Mon., S.) Murray, James
Bryce, J. Annan Hobart, Sir Robert Nolan, Joseph
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Byles, William Pollard Hogan, Michael O'Connor, James(Wicklow, W.)
Cameron, Robert Hope, John Deans(Fife, West) O'Dowd, John
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Horniman, Emslie John O'Grady, J.
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Jacoby, Sir James Alfred O' Kelly, James(Roscommon, N.
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Johnson, John (Gateshead) O'Malley, William
Coats, Sir T. Glen( Renfrew, W.) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Joyce, Michael Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Delany, William Kennedy, Vincent Paul Power, Patrick Joseph
Edwards, Frank (Radnor) Kilbride, Denis Price, Robert John(Norfolk, E.
Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Kitson, Rt. Hon. Sir James Pullar, Sir Robert
Esslemont, George Birnie Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Raphael, Herbert H.
Evans, Samuel T. Lea, Hugh Cecil(St Pancras, E.) Redmond, William (Clare)
Faber, G. H. (Boston) Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington Rees, J, D,
Roche, John (Galway, East) Straus, B. S. (Mile End) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Rose, Charles Day Summerbell, T. Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)
Russell, T. W. Sutherland, J. E. Williams, Osmond (Merioneth
Scarisbrick, T. T. L. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid )
Scott, Sir R. (Marylebone, W.) Taylor, John W. (Durham) Wilson. J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Seely, Major J. B. Thorne, William Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Sherwell, Arthur James Ward, John(Stoke-upon-Trent
Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Waring, Walter TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) Wason, Eugene(Clackmannan) Mr. Patrick O'Brien and
Soames, Arthur Wellegley White, J.D. (Dumbartonshire) Captain Donelan.
Stanley. Hn. A. Lyulph(Chesh.) White, Luke (York, E.R.)

Question put and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. T. L. Corbett, Mr. Hugh Barrie, and Mr. Harmood-Banner.

While the hon. Gentleman was walking up the floor of the House to present the Bill to the Clerk at the Table—

MR. JOYCE (Limerick)

I hope that will be known in Jarrow. We will show you what Irishmen can do in Jarrow.


That puts an end anyhow to the Liberal alliance.

MR. KILBRIDE (Kildare, S.)

There is sixteen more years of Tory rule for you.