§ [BY ORDER.]
§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed. "That the Bill be now read a second time."
I beg to move, as an Amendment, to leave out the word "now" and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."
I should not have risen at this particular moment if the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Nicholson) was prepared to move the Second Reading of this Bill in a speech because I feel that a great deal has to be said in favour of this Bill before anybody who has read it will venture to give it any support at all. I should very much prefer to have spoken after something had been said in support of the Bill. Not wishing, however, to give up my right to speak upon this matter, I must proceed in the ordinary course of debate. This is a very remarkable Bill, the like of which I have not seen before in this House, and I trust the House by giving it a very emphatic rejection will lake care we do not have the like of it again. My attention was called to it some time ago, and after some degree of difficulty I procured a copy of the Bill. When I read it I must say I was extremely surprised that a Bill of this character should ever have been introduced by way of a private Bill, because it raises matters of the very highest importance, though it raises them it is true only in certain individual cases; but they are matters of such importance that in my opinion they should only be carried out in a public Bill after the House had had full opportunity of discussing them, not only upon Second Reading, but also in detail in Committee. I think it is only fair to the House to say that this Bill has behind it certain very great weight and authority. It is a Bill introduced by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
I am very glad to hear that, because it is a private Bill which apparently might have the support of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It has not got that support, and I am extremely glad to hear it. But that does not explain the curious fact that two Ecclesiastical Commissioners stand as special sponsors to this Bill, and are doing all they can to carry it through. It does not explain why they have under this Bill to produce a sum of £14,000, and pay it over to the owner of a certain advowson. There is no doubt whatever that this Bill was hatched, if I may say so, in the office of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. That, I suppose, cannot be denied.
As that is denied, it gives me all the more hope and confidence that the good sense of the House will reject it. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are a very respected and representative body, and they are well represented in this House by two Gentlemen of great weight—one sitting upon the Government side and the other upon the Opposition side. This Bill proposes that the advowson of St. Mary's, Prestwich, should be bought for money, which will be provided by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to the amount of £8,700. If they provide that £8,700, it means that they take that sum away from funds which they might have devoted to the support of poor parishes, or to the augmentation of livings or to the building of churches, or to some other objects in which that money would find an immediate sphere for helping the work of the Church and for the social and religious elevation of the people. That money will be at once subtracted from the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and will be handed over to a private owner. For what reason? In order that that advowson of the living should pass from his hands and be handed over to the Bishop of Manchester. It is, in fact, a Bill for the sale of a living to the Bishop of Manchester. First of all I disapprove of that because I think the bishop has plenty to do without thinking who they will appoint to livings, and I disapprove altogether of the principle that if a living is taken out of private ownership it should be handed over to the bishops. If handed to anybody it should be handed over to some represented body, such as a body of churchwardens or a committee formed out of the communi- 318 cants and the congregation of the church, so that there might be some proper representations, and so that the living should be given to a clergyman, when it. became vacant, who was sympathetic with the traditions of the place and agreeable to the general mass of the congregation. Instead of that this Bill hands this living over to the Bishop of Manchester. I can conceive a case where somebody might say: "We have had such scandals in the past that it is much better to hand it over to the bishop." As a matter of fact this living has been filled for a long time past, so my information goes, with most suitable and admirable occupants. The vicar has, for years and years past, been a highly respected and energetic man, a very model of a parish priest, and there has been no scandal whatever at the way in which this patronage has been conferred. Why, then, should a bribe be offered that the man who owns this living should hand it over to the Bishop of Manchester? I contend that the price which is being paid for this living is nothing else but a bribe. It is so excessive in its-nature that it can only be regarded as a bribe to an unwilling seller to part with his property.
I must ask the House to give attention to one or two figures in order to realise what an exorbitant sum is being asked for this living. The net income of this living at the present time is £1,000. I remember one of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, not very many years ago, when I quoted to him the figures given in Crock-ford, saying to me, "You must not quote that to me because the figures there as to the net value of livings are almost always in excess of the real value.'' Therefore, for a living staled in Crockford to be £l,000 net it is an enormous sum to give £8,700 for the advowson. In the advowson market the usual price is three years' purchase, therefore £3,000 would be a proper price for this living. I am aware that the promoters of this Bill have sent to most hon. Members of the House a statement of what they consider the value of this living. They have, not done me the honour of sending it to me, although I trust my Whip against this Bill has been sent to them. According to their statement the net income is £2,129. It is curious that there is such a discrepancy in their figures and those given by Crock-ford. Even if £2,120 is the real net value of this living to-day they are giving a great deal more than three years' purchase. As a matter of fact, they are 319 giving over four years' purchase for an advowson that anybody who knows the district will tell them is excessive. Upon their own figures they stand condemned and I trust that fact will have its weight with the House.
The more I look into this question the worse it looks. The Earl of Wilton, who is mentioned in connection with this Bill, is a very respected peer, and for the information of hon. Members opposite who have come here to support this Bill I should like to say that the Earl of Wilton is a Conservative in politics and a member of the Carlton Club, and, therefore, he is not likely to introduce revolutionary persons in the church. Moreover, a short time ago he was a Conservative candidate, and we all know that Conservative candidates must hold proper opinions upon Church and State. Moreover, he has one of his seats in the near neighbourhood of Manchester, in close proximity to this parish. Therefore he possesses local knowledge. [An HON. MEMBER: "NO, no"] I am sorry if I have made a mistake, but I turned up the last edition of Burke's Peerage in order to be quite correct, and what I have stated is to be found there. At any rate he was a local man and he was a Conservative candidate in the locality, and it cannot be said that he knows nothing about the wants and wishes of the people there. The advowson is in the hands of an admirable gentleman who has performed his duty very well. He is not of my political party, and therefore I give him all the more respect and credit. I think that fact makes it patent why such an exorbitant sum has been offered for this advowson. If this deal is perpetrated it is not the ecclesiastical funds of the country that will have to pay, but the poor people of Prestwich itself.
The statement which has gone out in favour of this Bill sent by the promoters, lays stress upon the fact that the population of this parish is rapidly increasing. Why then substract from the endowment of this parish £470 a year in order to pay a sum of money to the Earl of Wilton. If the parish is poor and if it is a great manufacturing industrial parish rapidly increasing, why impoverish it by taking nearly £500 a year out of its funds. That is a point which absolutely cannot be met by any adequate reply. You are proposing to impoverish the ecclesiastical funds of this parish at the rate of nearly £500 a year in order that the man who has exer- 320 cised the advowson well in the past shall not do it in the future, and you are proposing to hand it over to a man as to whose proclivities in connection with church affairs you may be quite ignorant. May I remind the House that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the diocesan authorities and other high authorities in the church possess large powers by which parishes may now be cut up. Where a large parish exists you have power to carve out a subsidiary parish, and as a matter of fact, that has already been done. That process ought to go on in this district, and it is quite possible for this parish to be undertaken by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and others without any such Bill as this.
Therefore, although we may reject this Bill, as I hope we shall, I venture to say that the parish itself will not suffer, but if we pass it we shall have given out votes in this Parliament in favour of a traffic in livings which I believe most of us feel if it goes on at all ought to go on in the dark, and not in the open light. Moreover, I am sorry indeed that a body like the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, although they say they have nothing to do with the promotion of this Bill, are so mixed up with it as to be ready to advance money in favour of it. May I point out who the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are? They consist not only of two Archbishops out of thirty-four Bishops, but there are also five Cabinet Ministers members of the Commission. I am glad that not one of them is present this evening. I should be indignant if I could tell the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer what I think of this conduct in this connection. Then there is the Home. Secretary; he is an Ecclesiastical Commissioner. I doubt whether the right hon. Gentleman has ever heard of this Bill or whether he knows anything about it. I doubt if he knows whether the Commission of which he is a Member is going to provide £14,000 if this Bill passes for a great landowner. In conclusion I will say that the House will do credit to itself, no injury to this parish, and it will be doing credit to the religion of the land if it rejects this Bill.
§ Mr. LEACH
In rising to second the rejection of this Bill I do not intend to detain the House very long. Though I am accustomed to speaking much outside this House, I have not yet gained that confidence which the mover of this Resolution seems to have gained. I am still a student anxious to learn all I can of the rules and 321 forms of this House, but perhaps the House will bear with me for a few moments while I tell them how this iniquitous, this irreligious and this sacreligious Bill appears to me. As I understand it, and I have read it many times, it proposes by a joint arrangement between the Noble Lord mentioned, the Rector of St. Mary's, Prestwich, the Bishop of Manchester, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to give to this Noble Lord by this one Bill £8,500 for his right of presenting the next clergyman to this living when it is vacant. A more discreditable piece of business and a worse case of simony I have never known. It does not matter whether you look at the parties to this transaction, at the proposal itself, or whether you consider the inhabitants of Prestwich, I say the Bill is bad and ought never to receive the sanction of this House, and it ought never to have been introduced in the name of the parties which it bears.
Suppose we look first at the patron. I accept all that has been said by the mover as to the character of the Noble Lord, and I confess I am perhaps to be pitied because I first saw his name in this Bill. I had never seen or heard of him before. I say this person betrays a most sacred trust. I take it the right of presenting a clergyman to a living is one of the most sacred trusts that could be given to a man. It is his duty, as I understand it, if the living is vacant, to find a good man, a moral man, and an educated man suitable for the high office of rector of the parish of Prestwich and to place his name before the Bishop for appointment to the rectory. Instead of this he betrays his trust and sells his sacred privilege for £8,500, or for £14,000 under the two Bills. Instead of presenting the clergyman when the time comes, he has made this bargain, which I can only regard as a piece of business traffic in the cure of souls. If for some good and noble purpose it had been arranged to give this Noble Lord £8,500, we might have been more disposed to listen to him, but it is entirely for his own selfish interest. He may use this £14,000 for any purpose whatsoever. He may use it, as an hon. Member said, for horse-racing or for gambling at Monte Carlo. He may even use it, if he likes, and I wish he would, in employing lecturers to go about preaching the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Established Church. I want to know what sense of honour, what sense of religion, what sense of the spiritual need of the people, and what respect he can have for his own church 322 when he bargains to sell the cure of souls for £14,000. If the Head of the Church in whose name this business is carried on could read this Bill, if He who overturned the tables of the money-changers could look at this Bill, I think He would use the same bitter, scathing words of these four parties that He used in ancient days in the temple at Jerusalem.
If I turn from the patron to the priest. of the parish, it docs not seem to me to be very much better. Again, I confess ignorance as to the name of the clergyman, until I saw it in this Bill, though I notice that for a time he was in charge of a parish in Halifax, a town with which I have some connection, and in which I lived in early life. This clergyman, a Master of Arts of Oxford University, was ordained priest, I believe, in 1884, and between that year and 1900, a space of sixteen years only, he occupied five or six appointments in connection with the Church of England. That suggests to me, at any rate, he was somewhat restless in the appointments ho held. It was not until 1900, when he was appointed to this rectory, that he found a resting place. He is a party to this transaction. That cannot be denied. His name appears in the Bill. I am told he is a very good man. I do not question that for a moment. I have no right to question it. I am told he is a very unselfish man. I will not question that statement, as some would have me do. I will look at it in my own way. I am told he is giving up so many hundreds per year of his stipend. When I was told that, I asked at once what is behind it all? It is seldom a clergyman or even a Nonconformist will give up £500 a year of his stipend without there is something behind it. When I gave up £500 per year stipend, it was that I might gain a seat in this House. I gained it, and I think it is worth the sacrifice. I immediately asked, when I was told this good man was sacrificing so many hundreds per year of his stipend, if he expects to be made a bishop. I was told at once, "No, it is a purely disinterested act on his part." I would believe in that if the Bill did not provide he was to have his fingers in this pie. The moment this Bill passes he could resign his living, and he would be entitled to a pension of £500 per year. Is that an unselfish act, done without hope of reward? It is rather a respectable pension to gain after some twenty-seven years in the Church of England. He could resign the moment this Bill is passed, and receive £500 per annum as long as he lives.
323 I should like to know on what ground of religion, or on what teaching of Divine he bases this act of his and gives consent to this Bill. A clergyman to be a party to it strikes me as very remarkable. I can understand in some sense a man of the world, as I am told this good nobleman is, making the best bargain he can, but, when this clergyman was ordained he had to make a promise, as every clergyman in the, Church of England has now to promise, to lay aside the study of the world and the flesh. I see no evidence of his carrying out that promise in this remarkable Bill. In order to secure a pension for himself he is a consenting party, and without him the thing would not be done on the basis of this Bill. He is a consenting party to this piece of impertinence and wickedness for providing £8,500 for this nobleman. Having enjoyed the benefits of this living for some years—£2,100 per annum and a growing income—he is a party to depriving his successor of £l,000 per annum. Those who have read the Bill will see it is there. I am not giving fancy stories. I should like to know by what right of equity or religion this House can be a party to this transaction which is to provide money for this nobleman and a pension for this clergyman. Prestwich is to be robbed apparently of money which belongs to it. How is this income of £2,100 to be derived? From what does it come? I am told it is distinctly derived from ground values and ground rents created by the community. The Noble Lord has done nothing to create these values. This clergyman has done nothing to create them, and yet Prestwich is to be deprived of the values thereby created! While these men slept, and while they enjoyed their stipends Prestwich has been a growing community, and the result of its increase are to be taken away and to be given to the nobleman, the, clergyman, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. I should like to suggest that it might be well greatly to reduce this stipend. I think the £2,100 per annum—and it is to be a growing income—is too much for any clergyman, just as much as I think that the proposal to give £400 per annum to Members of Parliament is excessive, and just as much as I think that the perpetual and political pensions paid by the Government are too large. Let the money be devoted rather to the benefit of the parishioners of Prestwich.
This Bill insults our intelligence. It contains the words "with the view of pro- 324 moting the spiritual interests of the inhabitants." Promoting the spiritual interests of the inhabitants, forsooth! Does it promote the spiritual interests of the community to give a nobleman £14,000? Does it promote the spiritual interests of the community to give this proposed pension to the clergyman? Does it promote the spiritual interests of Prestwich to deprive it of the money which belongs to it? Does this traffic in the cure of souls promote the spiritual interests of the Church? I wonder that this Bill has been brought forward. If you want to promote the spiritual interests of Prestwich you had better bring in another Bill. You had better give the people a right to elect their own clergyman and to support him. You had better devote the surplus fund to the provision of scholarships for sharp boys and girls in the elementary schools. You had better let it be used to provide social institutions where the people may spend their evenings intelligently. You had better let it be devoted to giving additional comforts to the aged poor and, if you do that, you will fill your church with grateful parishioners, and you will afford an example which will put to shame those who indulge in this unrighteous traffic.
§ Sir F. CAWLEY
I may tell the House, in the first place, that the Urban District Council of Prestwich, have unanimously passed a resolution in favour of this Bill, so that the inhabitants, through their representation, may be said to be in favour of the measure, because they think it will be to their interest. The speech to which we-have just listened might well be described as one in favour of the Disestablishment of the English Church. I must confess I never heard a more terrible charge than that which has been brought by an ex-Nonconformist minister against those who are associated with this Bill. It is one of the most objectionable charges I have ever heard in this House. While I think the price which is to be paid is rather high, it must be remembered that one result of. this Bill will be to take the patronage of this living from the hands of trustees and place it in the hands of a Committee to be controlled by the churchwardens and other people.
May I ask if the hon. Member is in order in referring not to the Bill but to something which may be the result of a conference between the parties interested?
§ Sir F. CAWLEY
The hon. Member knows perfectly well that it is proposed the control of this living should go into the hands of a committee.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
Other hon. Members might have protested against what the hon. Member himself was stating. We cannot carry on a Debate in this way.
§ 9. 0 P.M.
§ Sir F. CAWLEY
As I was saying, one of the reasons I am supporting this Bill is because it is understood that the patronage should go into the hands of a committee. Those who follow will be able to say whether I am right or wrong on that point, but, at any rate, I came away from that meeting and I was entirely convinced that the idea of putting the patronage into the hands of the bishop alone was given up. It is no use talking of the infamy of selling the living. The advowson can, under the present law, be sold, and it will be sold to somebody. All this Bill does is to place the patronage in the hands of people who will have the interests of Prestwich at heart, and not in the hands of anybody who may sell it for the purpose of promoting a particular purpose or of promoting some High Church ritual. It must be remembered that I he patron has in his gift nine other livings, so that any person who bought this living for the purpose of party organisation and put a man in charge of it has in the neighbourhood nine other livings to help forward that particular party organisation. The rector of Prestwich conies forward and says, if you will allow this thing to go through I will forego £630 of my stipend in order that the living of Prestwich shall be once for all placed in the hands of a committee who will have the interests of Prestwich at heart, and not of a stranger, who only thinks of the interests of a party organisation. My hon. Friend says that is not in the Bill, but that, of course, it cannot be. We must take the law as it stands, and unless this Bill passes the trustees will sell this living, and it is desirable in the interests of Prestwich that 326 the living shall be so dealt with as to prevent its going into the hands of other people who are strangers to Prestwich. It is for that reason that I vote for the Bill to-night. I do not know that I have anything else to say. I know nothing about the negotiations which have taken place about this Bill. I speak only as coming from Prestwich and knowing the necessities of the case. I have been in communication the people of Prestwich since the Bill was brought forward, and I support the Second Reading.
§ Mr. HARWOOD
As one who is living in this neighbourhood, and knows something of the church affairs of the diocese, and also as one who supports the National church, perhaps I may be allowed to say why I oppose this Bill most strongly. I most earnestly beg the House to reject the Bill. I do not think that the House has been dealt with quite fairly in this matter by my hon. Friend who has just sat down. All we can go by is the Bill. We have neither knowledge nor cognisance of any private arrangements which may be suggested in a room either here or elsewhere. If it was thought desirable to make those arrangements they should have been in the body of the Bill, because they are vital to the Bill. My hon. Friend has said that it is proposed that the patronage should be vested in some committee. Why is that not in the Bill? The House will stultify itself if it acts upon rumours of private arrangements. I have been too long in this House to deal with Bills in that fashion. All that this House can do is to go by the words of the Bill, and what are they? It sets out in the Bill that, it is desirable that the contract of purchase shall be confirmed, and the advowson and perpetual rights of patronage shall be transferred to and vested in the bishop for the time being. There is no mention here of anyone else having any power, and if we pass this Bill it is by the words of it by which we shall be judged, and that is the point to which I wish to address the remarks T desire to offer to the House. I do not say for one moment—those who know local affairs will not say for one moment that it is not desirable that some re-arrangement of this living should be made—that it is not desirable that it should pass out of the hands where it at present rests, and that it would not, be more in harmony with modern requirements if some re-arrangement should be made.
327 I do not care to go into the financial aspect of the matter which has been alluded to. As we know it must have a financial aspect, and the advowson can be sold according to the law. Therefore, I will not dwell upon that, but I do dwell most strongly upon this particular matter of patronage. I dwell upon it because I feel myself strongly opposed, first of all, to any increase of ecclesiastical patronage uncontrolled in any diocese whatsoever. There is a tendency now to regard the bishops and the clergy as if they were the Church. They are not the Church. The people are the Church, and according to the old phrase, they are the servants of the people, they are the servants of the Church, and I say that it is not for the good of the Church to increase this ecclesiastical patronage. It is a bad thing. It is bad for the clergy, it is not dignified that the clergy should have to kowtow to the bishops as they have to do. It is not good for the Church in other ways. That is to say it narrows the width of the Church. As a churchman, and as one who has always held by the national principle, I have held by that principle because I believe that the system of a national Church, if properly administered, guarantees what I call the breadth of our religion. According to this system quite the reverse happens. I do not want to say anything about the Bishop of Manchester, but we must be frank as he has been so frank in his pretensions in this matter. I should oppose this in any case, but I should particularly oppose it in this particular case, because it is well known in the diocese of Manchester that the power which is now resident in the hands of the Bishop is exercised—I had almost said in a tyrannical manner—in the way of limiting every hope of advancement and every hope of preferment to those who belong to the particular school of thought of the Bishop. I have friends of my own who are being treated by him most unfairly. I have friends who for more than a couple of years have not been licenced to a curacy because they would not submit to dictation by the Bishop, which is not recognised by the law of the land. I fight here for the breadth of the Church, I fight here for a broad limit; I do not care two straws what is a man's particular school of thought, but if ever the Church of England is to become the Church of any one school of thought, then its doom will have been sounded. If we pass this Bill we have recognised a principle which will be fatal to the Church.
328 But there is another principle which is of even more importance. I know the question of disestablishment is in the air. I have made throughout my life perhaps some personal sacrifices for the democratic principle, and I have done so, and I cling to that principle now because I believe that if it is properly applied it gives a chance of perhaps the most democratic religious organisation that is possible. We hear the rumblings of a storm in the distance, and I am certain that that storm will break over the national Church and will destroy it unless we save it by retaining for it its democratic character. We must more and more bring the people to participate in the control of the Church. This is, as it appears now, one of the most flagrant instances of opposition to that principle. Here are these people handed over like sheep to the ecclesiastical tyrant in the Greek sense of the word without one word of protest or one guarantee of participation in future interest. My right hon. Friend can, perhaps, explain those words away, but I beg him not to attempt to explain them away by telling us of some arrangement made behind that Chair. If some arrangement has been made behind that Chair, it ought to be embodied in the Bill, and let a Bill be brought in which does embody it, because that is the most vital principle of all. Therefore, as the Bill stands, it would be, in the County of Lancashire, the greatest blow to the cause of the establishment that could possibly be delivered. We should have here an instance of what I may call ecclesiastical aggrandisement of the most flagrant kind coupled with absolute carelessness and neglect of the rights of the people, and therefore those who have the true welfare of the Church at heart, those who care for the principle of the establishment and of the national Church, will do well to oppose this Bill, and they need not fear that any harm will be done. We may be told it is necessary for the good of the Church that this Bill shall be passed now. Out of this parish of Prestwich thirty-four parishes have been carved. There is, therefore, now an organisation for providing for an increase and utilising the funds of this Bill. Let it be remembered that the means now that we have of doing it are means which better secure the participation of the people in the control of this patronage. Therefore I do not think those who care for the Church need hesitate because they will be doing any harm by delay, but I beg them not to pass a 329 Bill which, on the face of it, is a violation of the most fundamental principles of Liberalism and of a democratic Church.
§ Mr. THEODORE TAYLOR
As one who is in favour of the disestablishment of the Church of England, I am going to support this Bill. I know that the real motive of a great many of my Friends behind is that they think it will take part of the steam out of the boiler in favour of disestablishment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I know it is so, and they know it is so. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name?"] You know your own names. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is your motive?"] My motive is to assist a real reform in the Church of England. I am a dissenter. I am not a supporter of the establishment; but whilst I give my Friends credit for being supporters of religion, it is in the name of religion that I support this bill; it is because I care for spiritual religion as much as the hon. Member (Mr. Leach), who doubtless speaks just as honestly in favour of religion as I am doing, that I am willing to see small and partial reforms introduced into Church of England management short of the overwhelming reform of disestablishment, which will come by and by. What is this Bill going to do? It is not a question whether this living is going to be sold or not, so that this argument about simony and the terrible evils—and no doubt they are very reprehensible, which come from the sale of livings is beside the point. This advowson will be sold, it is in the market; the law of the land permits it. The question is, shall it in future be in the hands of trustees, and I must ask the hon. Member (Mr. Harwood) to allow me to assume that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who are parties to this Bill, though I understand not technically the promoters of it, are honest men when they say, as they will, I believe, later on, that they are quite willing to give that popular control that he and I desire.
§ Mr. T. TAYLOR
We are aware of that, but we are also aware that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are men of authority.
§ Mr. T. TAYLOR
They have power to agree to a modification of the Bill in Committee, and I beg the hon. Member to assume for a moment that this Bill may be altered in Committee. He says he wants the Church of England to have a democratic character. I want the same, as a 330 friend of the church, not as a friend of the establishment, but as a friend of true religion. I believe with the hon. Member that the church would be enormously strengthened if the people had more voice in the control of its affairs, and the effect of this Bill will be to give the members of the Church of England locally more control of their own affairs, and surely all who care for this democratic principle ought to support the Bill. It is a practical question. I was not at the meeting, though I was called into the matter, I believe, because I am Member for the adjoining constituency of Radcliffe, and as the next Bill relates to the rectory of Radcliffe I claim some little right to speak on the matter, because I quite feel that both these Bills are being decided on general principles, and it is not the particular circumstances of either that we are discussing, but the general principle. This Debate will have served a most useful purpose if it does nothing but advertise the evil of that system. Though I am an opponent of the sale of advowsons, I recognise that the practical result of this Bill will be to put into the hands of the people locally the gift of this living instead of into the hands of one individual. I may be allowed to inform the House what are the conditions, though the Ecclesiastical Commissioners will no doubt speak later on and tell us what they are. I believe it is an open secret that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the bishop are all quite willing that the gift of the living in future should not be in the hands of the bishop alone, but that there should be trustees in whose hands the gift of the advowson is to be. The proposal is that it should be in the hands of two churchwardens of the parish, the chairman of the district council, if he happens to be a member of the Church of England, or, if not, his nominee, who shall belong to the Church of England, the bishop, and the chancellor of the diocese, thus giving to local churchmen local control, instead of the living being, as now, in the hands of a private individual, because he happens to be the patron. The proposal is that there should be in future a lay majority.
In the interest of the democratic government of the Church of England I am anxious to popularise the government of that church. I was sorry that the hon. Member for the Colne Valley (Mr. Leach) used such adjectives as "iniquitous," "sacreligious," and so on. Ho condemns the patron of the living for his breach of trust. We are not responsible for his 331 breach of trust, if there be one. It is common knowledge—and it is in accordance with the law of the land—that these advowsons are offered for sale continually. This living of Prestwich is a particularly influential one. The rector of Prestwich has in his gift nine other livings, three of them are in the large and populous borough of Oldham. The patronage of the living will make it very attractive to some other rich man or aristocratic gentleman to come forward and buy the advowson for the sake of the patronage. [An HON. MEMBER: "All the better."] My hon. Friend says, "All the better." I think it would be all the worse. I think that a living of so important a character as this should be in the hands of public trustees, and I beg the House to consider this Bill alike in respect of what has been and what will be promised by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. They are pledged publicly to do certain things when the Bill goes to Committee. I can speak for the Bishop on this subject. The Bishop is quite willing to agree to the conditions. I beg the House, which I am sure must be in sympathy with the general object and intent of the Bill—[An HON. MEMBER: "NO."] I believe hon. Members on both sides of the House are in favour of taking the patronage of the Church of England out of private hands of those who use it for private purposes, and putting it into public hands to be used for public purposes. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not in the Bill."] That is a mere technical objection. To reject the Bill on that ground is merely putting people to more expense. I beg the House to vote for the Second Beading of the Bill in the interest of religion. I know that the people in the constituency unanimously desire this thing. The people who are likeliest to know are those living in the neighbourhood. Surely it is a right and Christian thing that large livings of £l,500 and £2,000 should be more equalised with smaller livings and taken out of private hands where that can be done.
The rector of Prestwich voluntarily gives up £630 a year without any recompense. It cannot be said that a retiring allowance of £500 a year is any recompense to a man of forty-eight years of age who is already receiving £2,130 a year with a prospect of increase. What greater hostage can a man give of his bona fides than the fact that he is giving up £650 for the remainder of his life for the Christian 332 and righteous purpose that clergy in poorer districts may have their livings increased by money taken from him and future rectors? By way of illustration may I say that the same principle applies exactly to the other Bill. I am not a member of the Church of England, but I know that there are vicars in my own Constituency who are poorly paid. They are in parishes that have been carved out of the original parish, and it is a fair, righteous, and Christian thing, and not a sacreligious or irreligious thing, that their livings should be increased. It is a result we all desire. It is a matter of notoriety that many of the stipends of vicars and rectors in the Church of England are not by any means in proportion to the amount of the work done. This Bill is a small step in the direction of equalisation. [An HON. MEMBER: "NO."] My hon. Friend says "No." I assert unhesitatingly that it is a step in the right direction. This is desired by the people of the district. This is not a question of simony or not. It is not a question whether the living shall be sold or not. It is a question who in future shall have the gift of these livings, and it is a question of the welfare of the Church of England. I have the greatest pleasure in supporting the Bill, and I hope the House will vote for it on the understanding that it will be amended in Committee in the way indicated.
§ Mr. CHARLES NICHOLSON
I speak on behalf of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and I support the Bill. I am surprised at the kind of criticism which has been offered by hon. Members, who are trying to destroy the Bill at the present time. I find that the hon. Member for Colne Valley cannot find words bad enough to express his opinion. Surely those who are opposing the Bill might-have come with one mind. The hon. Member tells us that it is our duty, instead of advancing money for livings, to provide money for Christian institutes and things of that kind. I may say that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are willing when opportunity offers in any way to enhance the position of a parish. The Member for Colne Valley has made an accusation against the rector of Prestwich which I cannot let pass without some sort of protest. This gentleman has made an enormous sacrifice in surrendering £630 a year in order that this arrangement should be carried out, and the suggestion is thrown out that this is because he expects to get a pension. I should like to point out that 333 he is entitled under the Incumbents Resignation Act to retire and to draw certain proportion of the income of the revenue as a matter of right, and he could do it now. There is no reason to believe that he is going to retire, but if he retires under the Incumbents Resignation Act he will get a pension.
This Bill itself is a very simple matter, and I am astonished that it should be so misunderstood. It seems to me that there are only three points on which there can be any possible difference of opinion. The advowson or perpetual right of presentation to this living is in the hands of the Earl of Wilton. He wishes to sell it. The Bishop of Manchester, in view of the fact that this parish is in his diocese, is anxious to buy it. He has no fund of his own by which he can buy it, and he comes to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and says: "Will you advance me the money required on loan secured on the income of the living?" If this arrangement is carried out, the right of presentation will no longer be in private hands, but in public hands. And, in addition to this, as soon as the loan made by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners has been paid off we shall be able to distribute among the poorer parishes all round the district the surplus income, which will go towards augmenting the incomes of the incumbents or increasing the salaries of curates or in other ways. The income of this living has increased considerably and possibly may increase very much more in the near future. At the present moment the gross income amounts to something like £2,800 per annum. After paying rates and taxes it comes to £2,170, and there is a charge imposed by previous vicars on the parish amounting to £340 per annum, which reduces the net income to £2,130, and as I have said the present vicar has undertaken to surrender £630 voluntarily out of this amount, and if he had not made that sacrifice, the arrangement recommended could not possibly be carried out.
The first and by far the most important of the objections raised to this arrangement, is that to a certain extent it expresses approval of traffic in the cure of souls. It is perfectly true that we are proposing by this Bill to purchase the right of presentation to this living, but I may also point out that if the House sanctions the arrangement, this will be the last time that the right of presentation to this living can be in the market. The right of presentation will be transferred to a body which will not have the power of sale. 334 Nobody approves of the sale of presentation of livings. This is an effort in this particular living to extinguish that right once for all. My own view of the matter is that if private presentation were abolished altogether, it would be a good thing for the church, but if this is true, anyone who opposes this Bill on the ground that it is trafficking in the cure of souls, is doing his best to prevent this improvement in administration. Supposing this arrangement is not sanctioned, there is nothing to prevent the Earl of Wilton selling to any other person who is under no obligation to extinguish the right of private patronage or do anything for the benefit of the poor livings in the neighbourhood. I do not think that the House would allow such an opportunity as this to be lost, especially when it is quite possible that in the near future the income of this living will be considerably greater. The next objection taken to the Bill is that the price fixed is of high. The actual sum named in the conditional agreement is £8,700. The net amount of the living is £2,130, so that the price paid approximates to something like four years purchase, and it must also be borne in mind that the owner will be responsible for the upkeep of the chancel in future. Generally speaking, I believe that the number of years purchase of a doctor's income is two and a. half, and a doctor's income is a much more precarious thing than the income of such a living as this. So I think it will be agreed that the price is not too high.
But even if it were this is a matter which we can discuss perfectly well in Committee, and if the opponents of the Bill believe that this is an unreasonable sum to pay surely those who are endeavouring to promote the Bill will be only too willing to consider any suggestion. One other point has been raised. It has been suggested that the money required for the payment of the loan should not be withdrawn from the living. It is difficult to see what other fund it could possibly be charged upon. If it is admitted that public patronage is a good thing and private patronage is a bad thing, the living will gain this advantage, and could, therefore, be justifiably called upon to bear this charge. The only other difficulty is in whoso hands should be the patronage. There are many forms of public patronage which does not carry with it power of sale—the Crown, the Lord Chancellor, the Bishop, and certain bodies of trustees. We are proposing in this Bill as it stands 335 that patronage should rest in the hands of the Bishop of Manchester, for he is the person who is promoting the Bill. There, again, the question is one that may perfectly well be considered in Committee. I am aware that more than one suggestion has been, made as to the method of dealing with this question of patronage. Somebody has suggested that it should be in the hands of the Bishop, the Chancellor of the Diocese, two churchwardens, and Members for the devision. Other people suggest that it should be the Bishop, the Dean of Manchester, two churchwardens, and some other person living in the neighbourhood—the chairman of the county council, if he should be a churchman, or his nominee if he is not a churchman. These are the various bodies that have already been suggested. We should be perfectly willing to discuss these matters in Committee. I hope the House will give a Second Reading to the Bill, and thus enable this arrangement to be carried out, for it will in future be a means of improving the surrounding parishes. This is not the first time an arrangement of this nature has been made. In 1891 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners purchased the advowson of Handsworth, which is £1,500 a year. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners advanced £20,000 for the purchase—an enormously larger sum than we are being asked to advance in these two cases—and the whole of the loan has now been paid off and a sum of £500 a year is handed over to the poorer parishes out of the surplus revenue. I think the House may be quite sure that the proposal we are making now is reasonable, and one which ought to be carried out. For these reasons I support the Second Reading.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I am very glad that the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Nicholson) has cleared up certain points in a way which I am sure shows very clearly that the hon. Member for Somerset is justified in his statement. The hon. Member for Don-caster has entirely disposed of the contention that any one Committee was agreed upon at some time or other. I submit that the statements of the hon. Member for Prestwich (Sir F. Cawley) and of the hon. Member for Radcliffe (Mr. Theodore Taylor) seem to show that in some mysterious way they know more of the minds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners than the Commissioners know themselves, and it is said that the Commissioners were willing to make some arrangement.
§ Mr. T. TAYLOR
May I, by courtesy of the House, state that I understood this distinctly from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners themselves.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I have no doubt the House would like to know something from an hon. Member who was there, and not about what the policeman said to the soldier. I submit that hon. Members ought not to enter upon a discussion and attempt to give their own friends sitting behind them an erroneous statement by submitting an imaginary account of an interview at which they were not present. I hope I may be excused from following the various chimeras and fancies of those hon. Members. The hon. Member for Don-caster suggested that there were three kinds of Committees which might be set up, and this shows that no Committee was agreed upon. I submit that the hon. Member for Somerset (Mr. King) and the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Leach) and myself would not have taken the responsibility of putting Motions on the Notice Paper with respect to this Bill unless there was good ground for doing so. Being in some difficulty we consulted the Speaker's counsel, and the advice we got was that we should deal with proposals embodied in the Bill. I am bound to say that the hon. Member who spoke as a member of the Church carried the House entirely with him in protesting against the discussion being turned on to matters talked about in one of the Committee rooms. I was summoned to that interview, and I went. I was no party to any arrangement, and it would take a great deal to make me a party to any arrangement. I am quite prepared to be bound by what is done across the floor of the House. I went to the interview to hear what was said. Some reference has been made by hon. Members as to what was said at that interview; but it was never disclosed who was the promoter of the Bill. It was not until the hon. Member for Doncaster spoke that we knew that the promoter of the Bill was the Bishop of Manchester.
§ Mr. CHARLES NICHOLSON
I said that we would never have heard of the Bill if it had not been for the Bishop of Manchester.
§ Mr. BOOTH
The hon. Members who moved and seconded the rejection of the Bill were in doubt as to who was possibly responsible for its promotion, and now we know that nothing would have been heard of it except for the Bishop of Manchester. 337 The Bishop of Manchester has shown his hand very clearly, that the patronage of this living and of nine subsidiary livings should rest entirely with himself. I know something of this particular district, having spent all my youth there. I know something of the feelings of its inhabitants, for I have received letters from them protesting against this transaction. One of the great problems with reference to the Church in Lancashire dealt with at conferences, is, Why do not working-men attend the church? It is because of Bills like this. Here is a church founded by a Working Man, born in a stable, His feet amongst the shavings—I say it with all reverence—working as a carpenter at the bench. Surely it is to be lamented, in these days, that working men should be the particular class who decline to do Him honour, and who decline to enter upon His worship. What is the reason? It is because they hear these stories of thousands of pounds changing hands. I say to my hon. Friends who represent the constituencies of Prestwich and Radcliffe, that the payment of £14,000, which is to be taken from the control of the church and handed over to a nobleman who can speed him to the ends of the earth is among the reasons why working men do not attend the church.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I have no doubt, but they are elected to look after sewers and drains and roads, and to perform other public duties under Acts of Parliament. We are not here to look at the matter in this narrow parochial sense, and I must ask hon. Members to leave the parish pump, and apply their minds to particular propositions embodied in this Bill. What is the main principle of this Bill? It is the fact that £14,000 in this Bill and the next £8,700 under this one Bill, passes from the possession of the church, that church which sends a distinguished representative here at the opening of our proceedings to tell us to lay aside partial affections. We are to pander to the partial affections of other people, and to take £8,700 of the money belonging to this particular church and hand it over to a private individual. I look in vain through the Bill for some restriction, or for some indication, shall I say, of how that £8,700 is to be spent by the Earl of Wilton or this mysterious Frederick Johnston. The point here is that this distinguished nobleman, or this 338 representative of his, who is in some mysterious relation to him, is to take this money and to do with it what he likes. I look in vain in the Bill for some indication. that he should put it to a good purpose. There has been nothing in the speeches to suggest that it will be spent on a good object. Will he erect baths for the working people, found scholarships, relieve the poor, or give to churches where it is needed. There is no indication. It is for his sole private use, and he can do with it what he likes.
Therefore we come back to the principle which I say no one who has any reverence for the Christian religion, can endorse, namely, that a sum of £14,000 is to go from church funds into private funds. If any private person buys a living ho finds private money and there is no harm done, and this House is not brought into the transaction. If the Earl of Wilton sold to another private person the House would not like it, but I should not be a party to it. This Bill is brought in here, and whether we like it or not, those of us who have any reverence for the foundation beliefs of Christianity are obliged to become parties to this transaction. I protest against it in the name of the Founder of our Christian faith. I do most decidedly. Hon. Members at any rate will give me the credit that I am somewhat in touch with the democracy in Lancashire, and whether you believe it or not, I say that the working men in particular are kept away from the ministrations of the church by these colossal transactions in the transfer of money. They cannot understand it, and they cannot reconcile it with the teaching of the Man who called upon His disciples to give all they had to the poor. I do beseech the House to defeat these Bills. I am not making this appeal in the form of a disestablishment speech at all. I speak, of course, as an attender of my parish church, and as one who has some pride in its history. I would ask hon. Members whether the spectacle presented by this Bill and this transaction is the sort of thing to recommend the church to the Members from the Principality of Wales? I say that we as English churchmen, if we endorse this transaction, after our proceedings have been opened by prayer, how can we expect the Nonconformists of Wales any longer to be content with the church which has such transactions with, their own country?
I must ask hon. Members opposite if they want the church to be preserved 339 and strengthened to put their feet down on transactions of this kind. The concessions hinted at are, as hon. Members are aware, on the most shadowy description. There is a committee to be formed under this Bill by the Bishop of Manchester, and with him in the chair it would be the Bishop of Manchester Committee. We know enough about the bishop for that. I would ask the promoters of this Bill who are in the House, the bishop is not here, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners whether they are prepared for the effect of their own charter, and make this committee one entirely of the trustees. If their object is to keep the bishop at the head of this committee, why is that to he done? Is it that clergymen, in seeking to get the livings will have to make their peace with the bishop? Do you imagine that a committee of this description consisting of the Bishop, the Dean of Manchester, the Vice-Chancellor, two churchwardens who are humble individuals in the locality, and some other persons to be nominated by the chairman on the district council; do you imagine that those people meeting, say, at a bishop's palace, with a bishop as host, will do anything else but what he wants.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I do not think that this committee is being framed to be independent of the bishop, and therefore if there is anything at all in this point of public patronage, I say choose a committee which will be independent. A bishop is a great authority and power. People go to his garden parties when they want preferment. I do not blame them. I happen myself to be living in a diocese with one of the finest bishops ever on the bench, that is in the Diocese of York. I am exceedingly proud of him. I have not the same confidence in the Bishop of Manchester. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."] I say I have not the same confidence in him, because I do not know him. There have been bishops in Manchester, and there may be bishops in Manchester again, to whom I would not give the patronage of nine livings, or of ten, as I understand it is in this case, and I beseech the House to defeat these Bills. I do so particularly as a low churchman myself—I am a low, broad churchman—and I ask what chance is there under such a Bill as this, with the patronage vested in the bishop, of any man being presented 340 to a living of the type I particularly like. I had this point brought home to me recently when a clergyman came to me and had tea on the Terrace. I asked him about his neighbouring parishes, and I found that in three neighbouring parishes they were having confessionals and swinging incense, so that you could scarcely tell them from a Catholic Church. I do not object to Roman Catholicism in its right place, but I say honestly that, following the Prayer Book, I am physically and mentally incapable of getting any good from sham Catholic services of the ritualistic fashion professing to be within the borders of the Prayer Book. All those three clergymen who were breaking the law have been appointed by the bishop. It is notorious that some of the cases which cause most pain in the Church of England are those of men who have been appointed to their positions by bishops. I am not saying this out of any ill-will to the Bishop of Manchester. He is a good deal better than some. Laymen might possibly appoint a Low Church clergyman or a Broad Church clergyman, but these bishops never do. I have spoken to several hon. Members opposite to-day, and I find them, one and all, exceedingly strong against any increase of patronage being transferred to the hands of the bishops. I think the Protestant section of the Church are entirely with me upon that point.
I hope we shall get away from any idea that this Bill is going to equalise livings, In my opinion it will do nothing of the kind. The one broad impression which I carried away from the interview to which I was summoned, and which I did not enjoy, was the admission of the promoters of the Bill that the period when any grant would be made to help the smaller livings was so remote that we need not take it into account for present purposes. What the Bill does immediately is that it reduces the livings and presents the amount so saved, a large sum, to the Earl of Wilton. I would not mind if the amount went into some scheme for the benefit of these livings. If the people are minded, as they ought to be, and were willing to perform their duties in the Church, why do they not all meet round a common table and agree to re-arrange matters in a proper way? If these men have the right spirit in them they will voluntarily rearrange matters. It is when the spirit of greed comes in, when the desire to possess £14,000 is aroused, when the bags of gold loom before the eye, and the Bishop of 341 Manchester sees a chance of getting the patronage of ten livings—it is when these things come before them that we see a concoction of this kind produced. I appeal to hon. Members opposite to get away from Prestwich and Radcliffe, and to get to these first principles of equity, justice, and right dealing. We must not do ill in order that good may come. We have no right to be engaged in an immoral and degrading transaction in order that at some ultimate time far removed some little benefit may be done in some imaginary way to a small vicar.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
No one agrees more heartily than I do with the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Booth) in wishing that for the purposes of this Bill the measure did not necessarily place this large sum of money at the absolute disposal of the private owner. The only other really damaging speech made in opposition to the Bill was that of the hon. Member for Bolton (Mr. Harwood). But ten years before he was called to the bar, and fifteen years before he entered Parliament I was advocating in this House the abolition of the sale of patronage in the Church of England. I wish it was not necessary for the purposes of this Bill and for the good Church effects it is going to produce to provide a private individual with this large sum of money. But, unfortunately, we cannot shake ourselves loose from the fact that whatever we do, especially if this Bill fails to pass, the one thing that is certain is that in all probability this private individual will be able to get in the open market for his own absolute disposal a larger sum than this Bill proposes to give. Under these circumstances it may be said that we are sanctioning evil in order that good may come; but, at least, we shall be putting a stop to the practice complained of in the case of these two large and important livings of high value, involving in the appointments to them the cure of souls of tens of thousands of our toiling countrymen in Lancashire. Under these circumstances I think it is a good thing that we shall be able to say if this Bill passes that never again will it be possible for these livings of Prestwich and St. Mary Radcliffe to change hands and to be dealt with as mere counters between speculative investors, who either want to effect a re-sale at a profit, or to put into these important and influential places in the Church persons who have been chosen with no regard for 342 the benefit of the diocese, of the district, of the mother parish, or of any of the smaller parishes.
It is true that the Bill says upon the face of it that the patronage is to be transferred to the bishop. The hon. Member for Somerset said that this Bill was promoted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and hatched in their office. I deny that statement. But I make the admission that at this moment I do not know who, in the technical language of the Private Bill procedure of the two Houses of Parliament, would be called the promoters. Either House has to be moved by petition, but I do not know who signed the petition to the other House, in which this Bill originated and from which it comes to us. In this House you have the guarantee of the names of two Members. Therefore, though I cannot deal with the form of the hon. Member's statement, I am entitled to deal with its substance, which was that the Bill had been hatched in the office of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. This Bill was not hatched in the office of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. I do not know whether it was hatched or not by the machinations of the Bishop of Manchester. I believe it to be due to a force which the hon. Member cannot resist, which I do not think this House ought to resist, and which has been neglected by every opposing speaker. This Bill is promoted by the zeal, energy, and devotion of Lancashire churchmen, who understand what they are about when they address themselves to improving the business organisation of that great church in that great district.
Another statement which I think ought not to have been made was that this Bill takes out of the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners money which but for this Bill would go to the improving of poor benefices and the building of churches elsewhere. Nothing of the kind is the case. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have no power to do anything of the kind. This Bill does not ask to give them power to do anything of the kind. All that will happen is that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners will advance, at a strictly commercial rate of interest, with a strictly commercial provision for the gradual extinction of the debt over a terminable period of years, the necessary funds, without which it would be impossible to carry this operation into effect. In so doing they will lend money, receive interest, and get their money back on exactly the same terms as they are from day to day lending 343 out their surplus of invested money to local authorities and other borrowers all over the country.
Let me not answer the question as to who are the real promoters of this Bill, as to who is to be the ultimate depository of this patronage, without saying something more. I do not care who technically are the promoters of this Bill. What I do know is that we have here two Members for the two county divisions in which these two parishes stand supporting this Bill. We have here, too, my old esteemed colleague, the Member for Doncaster, who represents the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in this House. I am in a position to say that the Bishop of Manchester, when approached in respect to this Bill, and as regards the ultimate disposal of the patronage, himself at once freely consented that the patronage should not be vested in his own hands, and replied to our proposals by proposing a local trust in which laymen should be in a majority. If I may presume at this moment to speak for the two hon. and respected Gentlemen on the other side who represent the two county divisions principally concerned, and my hon. colleague who represents the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to speak in their names, as well as my own, I can give the pledge which everybody knows has to be given in this Debate, and the existence of which hon. Members who have spoken against this Bill are so anxious should be kept from the knowledge of this House. It is a pledge the nature of which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bolton ought to know the value of, for it is a pledge without which no private Bill is ever discussed in this House, or ever passes this House, unless it is given in the course of Debate, for very often it cannot be given till the Debate has been originated. I pledge my honour as one of the oldest Members of this House that I will see to it, so far as I can, and I know my friends who have spoken will see to it, that the patronage shall not remain in the sole hands of the Bishop, but shall remain in the hands of a Trust in which the parishes themselves will be represented and on which the lay element shall have a majority.
After that, what is the use of asking whether this Bill will or will not improve the organisation of the Church in this district? You find if you look into this Bill a Clause provided in the strongest terms that the first call upon the surplus pro- 344 duced by this transfer of funds shall be the needs and exigencies of the two parishes principally concerned; that the second call after those needs have been satisfied shall be the needs of other parishes, equally necessitous, equally populous, equally crying out for assistance within the same diocese in which these parishes stand. I am in a position to say that taken at the most sanguine figure you can possibly imagine that there is absolutely no prospect in human expectation that any of the funds gained by this transfer of patronage or this reduction of the present income, or this pledging of the future income, can benefit any of the parishes outside the Diocese of Manchester. They do not run to it. Therefore the assertion falls that this is taking money from the parish of St. Mary, Prestwich, for other places. It is merely a redistribution of church resources within this most deserving district, a district which deserves better of this House than hon. Members who have spoken on this Bill have asked this House to treat it.
It is true that you can redistribute these resources according to existing law without recourse to a private Bill like this. That is perfectly true—on one condition: that you have the money to do it with. Unfortunately we cannot in this case get those monetary resources without this Bill. As to the action of the hon. Member for the Come Valley Division let me say that I think he might have shown a more Christian spirit in connection with the present incumbent of St. Mary, Prestwich. It is said that in giving up £630 for life, or during his encumbency, that he is not giving it up in a disinterested way, but is giving it up for value. This Bill gives him a pension under the Incumbents Resignation Act, 1871, it is true, without satisfying the ordinary conditions of that Act, but there is one condition which he has got to satisfy. If in future he takes duty anywhere else for which he is remunerated his pension of £500 a year under the Act of 1871 will be either locked up or taken away from him, so that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley cannot even start his argument against this incumbent who has shown this public spirit except by assuming that he is going to give up the well-secured £l,600 a year, which this Bill would still leave to him for life, in order to change it for a mere pension of £500 a year.
The fact is that this incumbent has promoted this excellent arrangement in the interests of the church to which he has de- 345 voted himself. I think he might have received worthier treatment at the hands of hon. Gentleman opposite. No, this Bill carries out upon well-established principles the beneficial operation of the redistribution of the resources of the church, and applies them where they are in a particular place in excess of the actual needs of the place in satisfaction of similar needs in other contiguous, equal, and, very often, very necessitous places. I therefore ask the House to treat the Bill in a reasonable spirit. We all wish to get this money at a cheaper rate. We wish we could get it without giving so much to a private individual. But in the certainty that that private individual could get this money, and more elsewhere to-morrow, I do ask the House to help the church—whatever their feelings towards the church may be—in its efforts to purge itself, first of all, of the scandal of the sale of livings, and, secondly, of the scandal of the unequal distribution of its resources, and to make it possible for the Church in Lancashire, no less than in other places, to provide for its poorer children, to purge itself of the scandals, and to face with Christian courage the constantly rising standard of criticism which we hope will ever be applied to all its works.
§ Sir GEORGE WHITE
I am sure we all give the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down credit for his very earnest advocacy of the cause which he has befriended to-night. His past history in connection with this question warrants us also in giving the most sincere attention to the arguments which he has advanced. In my judgment, and from my point of view, the whole question is embodied in the fact that if this House passes this Bill it compromises absolutely on the question of the sale of livings. The right hon. Gentleman says that the good effect which will be obtained under this Bill cannot be obtained without it. That may be. Although I have some doubt whether the bulk of these good effects could not be obtained in another way that does not remove my objection. The results, which might be obtained from this way of doing it, are not sufficient to do away, in my judgment, with a sanction which this House will give to the principle to which so many of us are entirely opposed to.
It is said that if this House does not sanction the sale of this advowson, it will still be sold. My answer to that is: let it be sold! I can take no part whatever in transactions which I believe to be con- 346 trary to the spirit of religion and contrary to the best interests of the inhabitants themselves. So far from agreeing with the right hon. Gentleman in the case he puts before the House that, so far as these livings are concerned the sale of them will be stopped for ever, I say that may be so far as this particular living is concerned, but I ask what will be the effect and the example of this House if it passes this Bill upon many other livings in exactly the same position. I say if we pass this Bill we are asserting a principle to which we should be entirely opposed. I venture to think my hon. Friend below me, though we generally agree on most things, is taking a very inconsistent position to-night in his attitude on this Bill in advocating the sale of these livings, because of the results which will follow. We are urged to pass this Bill because of certain conditions that may be enforced in Committee. My hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster found some fault with what he described as the disagreement between the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment, but I do not think that the two representatives of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have both put the case for the Bill quite in the same way before the House to-night. The hon. Member for Doncaster declared that the Bishop of Manchester had not the money to buy this living, and that he came to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and asked them to lend him the money to purchase it.
§ Sir GEORGE WHITE
I took down the words of my hon. Friend to the effect that the Bishop of Manchester was anxious to buy this living, and that he went to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to ask them to find the money for the purpose. If that is not promoting the Bill, I do not understand myself what promoting a Bill means. Then we are told that it does not touch the resources of the church, that it is a mere redistribution of these resources. As I understand it, £14,000 will come into the hands of Lord Wilton or into the hands of the trustees of the Wilton Estate. That £14,000 will not find its way again into the coffers of the church or anything connected with the church, and therefore it must be paid out of the funds of the church itself. I do feel that this House is in a serious position. I am speaking the sentiments of a great number of churchmen in this House when I say they are very anxious to see this system 347 abolished. Is it the way to abolish it by asserting a principle which we are very anxious to see abolished? I cannot feel that, however good the ends may be which this Bill sets before it—and they may be good, and I do not deny they have some good purposes—that the end in any sense justifies the means.
We are told that the incumbent is very anxious that the responsibilities of this living should not be disposed of so as to come into the hands of one school of thought in the church. But what was the object of the Bishop of Manchester in desiring to purchase these livings? It is no reflection upon him if I imagine that his object was that these livings might be got into the hands of one school of thought alone. I admire his zeal, but I deprecate the means by which he tries to carry out his plans. I desire to impress upon the House the view that if we pass this Bill we shall be sanctioning a principle which I believe is contrary to the very first principles of our religious belief and to the conscientious feelings of the great bulk of the Members of this House, and therefore in no sense, in my belief, would we be justified in passing this Bill.
§ The CHAIRMAN of WAYS and MEANS (Mr. Emmott)
I hope hon. Members, after this long and interesting debate, will be prepared to come to a decision upon the measure. To-night I speak in a double capacity. I shall have something to say in my capacity as Chairman of Ways and Means with reference to the conference in my room, about which so much has been said to-night; but for the moment, I speak in my capacity as the Member for Oldham, because Oldham is by far the most populous part of the ancient parish of Prestwich—I believe the ancient name of the parish is "Prestwich-cum-Oldham." Oldham at one time was a very insignificant village in this parish, but it has now grown into a great manufacturing town, which is the chief centre of the cotton spinning industry of Lancashire, and the greatest cotton spinning town in the world. Oldham is still part of the ancient parish of Prestwich. I notice that twenty-four of the parishes affected are in my Constituency, and although they are not all in the municipal borough of Oldham they are all in the Parliamentary borough. Therefore I have a great personal interest in the Bill.
I am going to support the Bill. I am glad that the opponents of this Bill have 348 not come from Manchester at all. Hon. Members who are most immediately interested have already spoken in favour of the Bill. The hon. Member for Bolton, only opposed the Bill because it was drawn in such a way as to increase the ecclesiastical patronage in the hands of the Bishop of the Diocese. The opposition has came from immediately over the border, and not from the Members immediately within that border. As the Member for Oldham I have not received a single letter in opposition to the Bill, and all the letters I have received have been in favour of it. I can quite understand hon. Members having such a loathing and detestation of the practice of the sale of livings that they decline to sanction the Bill. I can understand that feeling, but I do not sympathise with it, because this Bill is really to put an end, as regards these two great parishes, to the practice of the sale of livings for evermore. What will happpen if the Bill is passed? The advowson can never be sold again. What will happen if it is not passed? The value of this living will go on increasing quickly or slowly, and as far as the present incumbents are concerned that increase will go into their pockets. The value of the advowson will go on increasing as the present incumbents grow older. That being the ease, if we reject the Bill at this stage, we shall be doing something to increase the value of these particular advowsons and to increase the chance of the sale of advowsons. If we pass this Bill in the form in which it is presented to the House or in something like it, then we do something to check the sale of advowsons.
No hon. Member who has spoken against the sale of advowsons has a stronger feeling in regard to the matter than I have. I hate and detest the whole system. I shall be very thankful when we can put an end to it. I must remind hon. Members—I think I am correct in saying it—that when the Irish Church was disestablished lay patrons were compensated, and I do not see how we are to get rid of lay patronage without compensating those who are now the holders of it. If I saw any way of doing it, I should be glad to do it. Sooner or later, when we do away with this practice of the sale of livings, these men will have to be compensated. Just as the owners of slaves had to be compensated, so these men will have to be compensated. I should be glad if we could honestly get rid of the system in any other way; but, 349 if we cannot, then there is certainly no immorality in this Bill. It is not, as some hon. Members have said, an irreligious or sacreligious Bill. I regret this £14,000 goes, I do not know to whom, whether to Lord Wilton or Sir Frederick Johnstone. That does not much matter. It goes to the trustees of Lord Wilton's estate. I regret the money should go in that way. On the other hand, a great public benefit will be done under this Bill, I think, eventually; and, if this is the only way we can arrive at that result, then I am perfectly ready to follow it. I must say I regret the attack of the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Leach) on the personal character of the rector of St. Mary, Prestwich. It so happens, although he is apparently a neighbour of my Constituency, in which I used to live, I have never had the pleasure of meeting him; but I have heard of him from many people, and everybody from whom I have heard of him expresses the highest admiration of his character, and his saintly life, and of his devotion to church and religion.
§ The CHAIRMAN of WAYS and MEANS
I withdraw the words "attack on the rector's private character." It does not matter very much. What the hon. Member now says is that all he desired to say was that although the rector is giving up under this Bill immediately an income of £630 per year, he obtains a quid pro quo, which I understand is supposed to be its full equivalent, in the fact that he will have a pension of £500 when he resigns the living. As a financial transaction, I leave it to the judgment of the House. Honestly, I cannot believe, from what I have heard of the rector of Prestwich from everybody who knows him, that any selfishness actuates him in regard to this matter. I know he has always been the most generous of men, and, although as I say, I only speak from hearsay, I do feel bound to defend his character to-night. I have only one other word to say, and that is in my other capacity as Chairman of Ways and Means. A conference was held in my room and to that conference I invited, as usual, all the 350 Members who I knew at that time were opposing this Bill. I asked the two hon. Members who were supporting the Bill, the hon. Member for the Prestwich Division (Sir F. Cawley), and the hon. Member for the Radcliffe Division (Mr. Theodore Taylor), and I also asked, of course, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. First of all, I asked the hon. Member for North Somerset (Mr. King) to state his objections to the Bill. His objections, so far as I can remember, as stated in my room, were Committee objections. The question of increasing ecclesiastical patronage was raised as well as the question of the usage of surplus funds outside the bounds of the parish of Prestwich. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners said, immediately with regard to lay patronage that the Bishop of Manchester had already consented to a Committee including the Bishop, the Chancellor of the Diocese, the two churchwardens, and the Member for the Parliamentary Division, if a churchman, or a nominee who must be a churchman, and I understood that the composition of that Committee was agreed to by those who were present at the conferenc3 in my room. I think the hon. Member for North Somerset agreed that that was a reasonable compromise, seeing that the Committee was one, the majority of which were laymen. I, for one, do not want to see ecclesiastical patronage too much in the hands of the clergy. I should like to see laymen have a considerable say upon it—indeed, I should like to see the Bishop of Manchester dealing with the hon. Member for Pontefract. I feel sure the hon. Member would be quite able to hold his own as against the Bishop. I am confident 110 Committee would dream of getting the Bill through without the alterations which have been agreed upon.
The other point is as to the question of funds and the suggestion that any surplus might be used anywhere in the diocese of Manchester outside Prestwich. But it is very unlikely the funds will be used outside the parish. Moreover, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners stated, and their legal adviser assented to the suggestion that any user of the funds outside the parish of Prestwich should be struck out of the Bill, and the whole of the funds should be retained for the use of the parish of Prestwich. Again, that alteration certainly will be made in the Bill when it comes from the Committee. This being the case, I do ask the House to pass the Second Reading of this Bill and to send it 351 to a Committee. The House will retain absolute power over it, when it comes down from the Committee, they will be able to object to it on the Report stage and Third Reading, and to reject it then if they choose, but I hope that at this stage at any rate they will not do so.. I believe the Bill is a good one. I have stated, in the frankest possible way, that I should be very glad if there was any other solution, but, as the matter stands, I can see no other solution better than this, and, without any hesitation, I ask the House to pass this Second Reading.
Mr. CLEMENT EDWARDS
There have been speeches made ostensibly on this Bill from two points of view. The whole of the speeches which have been made in opposition to the Bill have been directed to the actual contents and provisions of the Bill, and, without exception, every speech that has been made ostensibly in favour of the Bill, has not been made in favour of the Bill at all, but in favour of the same vague, mysterious arrangement that took place in some committee room or other. Supposing it were possible by the rules of the House within the four corners of this Bill, to include the arrangement to which allusion has been made, I should be still opposed to the Bill, but I do respectfully suggest, and I do with bated breath, in view of the statements of the right hon. Gentleman the Chairman of Ways and Means and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield—I do suggest that the particular arrangement which they indicate has been arrived at to make this Bill satisfactory from the point of view of the person or persons who shall exercise the patronage, cannot possibly according to the rules of the House be included within the four corners of this Bill. If the right hon. Gentlemen will look at the title of the Bill they will see apart from other things that its object is "the transfer of the advowson to the See of Manchester," and I suggest by the rules of the House that it is impossible in the face of that being the object of the Bill to hold the advowson in the hands of a commission or a committee coming from a particular parish with the addition of the Bishop of Manchester. I suggest that that is so, and I appeal to the House not to be misled with regard to this very vague proposal, which it is impossible, I suggest, to include within the four corners of the Bill.
352 It is a very remarkable fact in regard to the promoters, whoever they are, that no one who has spoken in favour of the Bill can tell us who is promoting it. They do not know whether it is the Bishop of Manchester or not, and when his name is fastened upon we are told that he is not the promoter, but it is true the Bill would not have been introduced but for him. We do not know at this moment who is the promoter of the Bill. We do not know whether the whole thing has not, as I suggest, been promoted at the instigation of the mortgagee of the interest of the estate. But be that as it may, those who are the promoters of the Bill and those who know what the powers are in regard to the inclusion or non-inclusion of this suggested new provision have sent a circular round to Members of the House, and in that circular there is not to be found one single word or suggestion of this alleged arrangement. Then it is admitted universally, not a single note of exception has been taken by anyone speaking in favour of the Bill, that the price that it is proposed to pay for this advowson is an excessive price. It has even been said by one speaker supporting the Bill that it is a scandalously excessive price. What power have the Committee upstairs to alter the terms of the contract which constitutes a very vital part of this Bill? They will either have to pass the Bill upstairs with the present price, which is scandalously excessive, or they will have to reject it. It is agreed that the price is excessive, and I suggest that the right course to adopt is not to waste the time of any Committee upstairs, but to reject the Bill here and now. We have had two speeches—one from the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Cawley) and another from the hon. Member (Mr. Theodore Taylor). They were both speaking in strange and wondrous voices from the Liberal benches. Their statements hardly coincide with what one has regarded as the true spirit of Liberalism in regard to these measures. They rather reminded me of those lines from the Biglow Papers:—I du believe in Freedom's causeEz fur away ez Paris is.Apparently this principle of religious freedom is excellent except in their own particular constituencies. I can quite understand, with the active organisation of the Church in these constituencies, that they are faced with considerable electoral difficulties, and that we should look upon their attitude a little tolerantly and a little charitably.
§ Sir F. CAWLEY
I have not had any communication from my Constituents about this Bill in any shape or form, except a resolution passed by the Urban District Council in its favour.
Mr. C. EDWARDS
I understand in this matter the hon. Baronet does not know whether he is representing the view of his constituency, but he is quite sure he is representing the views of the Urban District Council. It is a mistake for us in matters theological and in matters appertaining to great interests of this sort that the House of Commons, even though so distinguished a representative as the hon. Baronet, should be dictated to by a mere urban district council. I hope on larger and wider grounds of principle that this Bill will be rejected. I am surprised that there should have come from the opposite side of the House this perfectly flagrant proposal to disendow one or two parishes. We have a terrible time in Wales just now because it is suggested that the Government have it in their minds to bring in a Bill to take away endowments from this and the other parish, but we shall have this consolation, that if this Bill should become law with the support of hon. Members opposite, we shall have an endorsement of the principle, the establishment of a precedent for the disendowment of parishes, which we will use with great effect.
§ Mr. R. PEARCE
There is one point of view from which this Bill has not been regarded yet. The hon. Member for the Hallam Division of Sheffield (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) spoke as if this were a Bill merely for the redistribution of the resources of the church. That is not the state of affairs. The property affected by this Bill is the property of the parishioners. The minister and incumbent of the parish are merely trustees for the parishioners. It is a singular thing in relation to this Bill that we have had no representation from the parishioners that they desire that the Bill should become law. I think that is a very significant fact. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have very high powers. I have frequently been in communication with them on the union and division of parishes, the redistribution of incumbents' livings, and matters of that sort, and I know that their powers are wide enough to cover any legitimate object that might be desired by the parishioners. The scheme in the Bill, so far as it goes, is an admirable one to enable the Ecclesiastical 354 Commissioners to get back their own. The sacrifice which the rector is making is praiseworthy, but I venture to urge upon the House that the real spirit of the objection to the Bill is lost sight of. It is not that the arrangements are improper, or that they propose rather more than they ought to do. The real thing which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lost sight of is the spiritual need of the parish. They have lost sight of the spiritual interests of the inhabitants. The proposed redistribution does not in the least degree minister to the spiritual interests of the inhabitants, and it is on that account the Bill is opposed. The spirit of the opposition is to any trafficking whatever in the sale of livings. The House cannot be expected now to lend itself to any transaction where the sale of a living forms a part. A man has the patronage of appointing a pastor, and the fact that the Church should consent to it for the sake of money is a scandal which we have still to deplore. That can still be done under the forms of law. That the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who have charge of the finance, and the Bishops, who have charge of the spiritual interests of the Church, should consent to this is a breach of trust. It is a misapplication of parish money for the purpose of paying out the owner of an advowson, and that is a thing which the House should not lend itself to. It may be proper enough for Earl Wilton and his advisers to say that they will sell the living because the law empowers them, and his trustees may say that he cannot neglect his interests in the matter, but for the Bishop of Manchester and for the authorities of the church to consent to pay money for the purchase of a living is a thing that revolts us on this side of the House who believe in the spiritual interests of the Church and believe that they should be wholly free from any kind of suspicion of being tainted with such considerations. I ask Churchmen and I ask Nonconformists not to be parties to the transfer by sale of a living, and to the disgrace of selling the cure of souls for the sake of money.
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
This Bill is remarkable in more respects than one; remarkable because we do not know who is the promoter, or who is the owner of the advowson, or what we are asked to vote for. whether for the Bill or for an agreement. It is most remarkable of all for the fact that nobody has ventured to defend the black-and-white terms of the Bill as it is 355 printed. The Bill is so bad in itself that every apologist for it has dangled before our eyes some agreement which can have no validity beside the terms of this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) declared on his honour as a man and as a statesman that we should not have this Bill, but that we should have some other scheme which he was prepared to tell us would be given force to. Everyone in this House who knows his record will accept the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. His statement rests, however, on the authority also of Bishop of Manchester, and we have a right to remember that the Bishop of Manchester is the cleric whose ideas of business, let us say, were declared openly in the House of Lords in the wear-and-tear clause. Under those circumstances we ore entitled to say that we prefer to vote upon the Bill as we find it here. I ask hon. Members to turn to page 13 of the Bill and read the introduction to the second schedule, and let us understand what the British House of Commons is asked to be a party to. It runs:—
"An agreement made the 3rd day of December, 1910, between the Right Hon. Arthur George Earl of Wilton (hereinafter called "Lord Wilton") on one part and the Right Reverend Father in God Edmund Arbuthnot, by Divine permission Lord Bishop of Manchester "—
What has he Divine permission to do?—
"And whereas Lord Wilton as such tenant for life as aforesaid is willing to sell to the Bishop the said Advowson of the said Rectory free from incumbrances at the price of £8,700"—
How many pieces of silver would that represent? [Interruption.] It is very interesting to note who are the parties to this Bill. Turn to page 15 —paragraphs 7 and 8:—
"The Bishop and his successors will use his and their best endeavours to
§ obtain the passing of the before-mentioned Bill into an Act during the next; ensuing Session of Parliament."
§ That is one party to the Bill. The other is paragraph 8:—
§ "Lord Wilton and his sequels in title will use his and their best endeavours to obtain the passing of the before-mentioned Bill into an Act during the next ensuing Session of Parliament."
§ This is an agreement between a bishop and a peer, and there hardly seems much left for the House of Commons to say, except that this is a Bill which is going to put the matter into the hands of a cleric who represents a school of thought in the Church of England most persistently opposed to anything like liberty of action or spiritual freedom. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order, order."] Most persistently opposed to freedom of action and to the spirit of that school which has done a very great work in strengthening the whole of the Church of England with the people of this country. For my part I would rather see the gift of this living in the hands of a layman than I would see this cure of souls, or the choice of a cleric, handed over to the Bishop of Manchester. I do believe that the spiritual liberties of the people of these parishes would be more secure if you left the gift of this living in the present hands than they will be if you hand it over to the bishop. But anyhow you are asked to be a party to this transaction to sell this cure of souls as if the people were so many cattle. You are asked to transfer this cure of souls, or the gift of this advowson, from one hand to another as if you were merely dealing with a bale of goods.
§ Mr. CHARLES NICHOLSON rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 125; Noes, 102.357
|Division No. 252.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Burgoyne, Alan Hughes|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Barnston, H.||Burn, Col. C. R.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Campion, W. R.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Carilie, E. Hildred|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Beauchamp Edward||Cassel, Felix|
|Armitage, Robert||Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Cautley, Henry Strother|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Cave, George|
|Baird, J. L.||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Bird, A.||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Boscawen, Col. A. S. T. Griffith-||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Boyton, James||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesaill)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Horne, William E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)|
|Croft, H. P.||Ingieby, Holcombe||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Dawes, J. A.||Joynson-Hicks, William||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Denman, Hon R. D.||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Keswick, William||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Doughty, Sir George||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Spear, John Ward|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Emmott, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Fell, Arthur||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Fleming, Valentine||Middlebrook, William||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Forster, Henry William||Morrison, Captain James A.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Toulmin, George|
|Gastrell, Major W. H.||Mount, William Arthur||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)|
|Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Nield, Herbert||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)|
|Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Hardy, Laurence||Peto, Basil Edward||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Pirie, Duncan V.||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Hillier, Dr. A. P.||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Stuart-Wortley and Mr. C. Nicholson.|
|Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Rawson, Col. Richard H.|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Munro, R.|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Barnes, George N.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Barton, William||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Helme, Norval Watson||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Higham, John Sharp||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Hinds, John||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Pringle, William M. H.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Radford, G. H.|
|Chancellor, Henry G.||Hughes, S. L.||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Chappie, Dr. W. A.||Hunter, W. (Govan)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Illingworth, Percy H.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||John, Edward Thomas||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Johnson, W.||Rowlands, James|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, W. S. Glyn-(Stepney)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Crooks, William||Keating, M.||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Kellaway, Frederick George||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Lansbury, George||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Leach, Charles||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Webb, H.|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Wedgwood, Josiah S.|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||M'Callum, John M.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Furness, Stephen||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Gill, A. H.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Glanville, H. J.||Martin, Joseph||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Millar, James Duncan|
|Goldstone, Frank||Morgan, George Hay||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. King and Mr. Harwood.|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
Bill read a second time, and committed.