§ (1) Any property which consists of, or is the produce of, or is or has been derived from, property given by any person out of his private resources since the year 1602, or money raised by voluntary subscriptions since that year, or voluntarily given since that year out of funds not liable under any statutory provision to be applied to ecclesiastical purposes, shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be a private benefaction.
§ (2) Where, in the case of any property given or money raised since the year 1662, the source from which such property or money was derived is unknown, it shall be deemed to be a private benefaction within the meaning of this Act.
§ (3) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Queen Anne's Bounty as respects any property transferred from them respectively, and the Welsh Commissioners as respects any other property vested in them by this Act, shall as soon as may be after the passing of this Act ascertain and by Order declare what part of the property constitutes private benefactions within the meaning of this Act.
§ (4) Orders of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Queen Anne's Bounty under this Section shall be made with the concurrence of the Welsh Commissioners, and every such Order of the Welsh Commissioners under this Section as relates to a benefice with respect to which the Eccle- 1334 siastical Commissioners or Queen Anne's bounty have sent to the Welsh Commissioners full particulars of any private benefaction made thereto through them, shall be made with the concurrence of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners or Queen Anne's Bounty as the case requires, and if in any case the concurrence required by this Section is not given, the Order shall be made with the approval of His Majesty the King in Council, given on the advice of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment that I propose to take first on this Clause is the one standing first on the Paper. I anticipate that that Amendment will cover the subject of a good many subsequent Amendments; therefore, I think it better not to indicate at the present stage which Amendment I shall take next.
§ Mr. EVELYN CECIL
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "given" ["property given by any person"], to insert the words "at any time."
There are several consequential Amendments lower on the Paper. The object of this Clause is to take away from the Church all private benefactions given before 1662, and to leave to the Church those given after that date. The object of my Amendment is to leave to the Church all private benefactions at whatever time they were given. In the first place, I should like to challenge the date. I should like the Government to explain clearly why they should fix upon this particular date, 1662, rather than any other date. It savours of arbitrariness. A debate of this character was carried on in 1895 in connection with the Welsh Disestablishment Bill of that year, brought forward by the predecessors of the present Government. They proposed the year 1703. That proposal was supported by an eminent member of the Government, Mr. James Bryce, then President of the Board of Trade, in a speech which seemed to suggest that the best year was that of the Revolution, 1689. The Government now go back to 1662. I believe there are others who consider, and with some degree of plausibility, that the date should not be 1662, but some, date about the period of the Reformation, say 1535–40. With these varying opinions among Gentlemen who support the general proposals of this Bill, I should like to ask why should we not go back to some such date as that in the thirteenth century when the Church in 1335 Wales first sent representatives to Convocation of Canterbury, on the alleged pretext—it might be said—that the Church in Wales was distinct from the Church of England. At any rate there is no real strong ground for fixing one date rather than another. Any date is arbitrary. That is the real truth. No date for this purpose would be really historically correct, for the simple reason that there has been no breach of continuity in the history of the Church.
But I challenge a great deal more than the date. I challenge the whole principle upon which this Clause is drawn. It is relevant to ask what is a private benefaction? I am not specially referring to the extremely artificial definition in the Bill. A private benefaction, in general, may undoubtedly consist not merely of tithes, but glebe, of funds, repair funds, burial grounds, and buildings. All such things may have been private benefactions. I cannot suppose that anybody in their senses would seriously suggest that there could be no private benefactions of that character before 1662? Why, then, have a date all? There is no ground for having any date whatever. For that reason I am moving to omit the date, and to put in the words "at any time." I should be the more surprised at the attitude of the Government if they resist my Amendment, were it not that there was a similar debate in 1895 on the Welsh Church Bill of that year in which the Prime Minister took a leading part. Upon a similar Amendment to mine, which was then moved by Sir John Gorst, the Prime Minister said:—It is an arguable position to take up that although tithes became a compulsory tax after a certain date, they were originally a voluntary obligation, and were given by private persons out of their own resources. If the Amendment is adopted it might be contended, and it might be open to a Court of Law to say, that practically the whole of the revenue of the present Established Church passed to the representative body of the Disestablished Church. In other words, this Bill, instead of Disendowing the Church would Re-endow the Church.That is a very valuable admission on the part of the Prime Minister.
§ Mr. EVELYN CECIL
The present Prime Minister. It raises in fact the general question of title. He formally admits that if the subject of the origin of the Church's property were to be submitted to a Court of Law, it might be possible that the Court of Law would say 1336 that the origins of the property were voluntary contributions and not State taxes; that such property was private benefactions and ought to remain in the possession of the Church. The effect of my Amendment would be in practice that the Courts of Justice would have to decide in the case of each parish that the origin of tithe was not private before it could be taken from the Church. That is certainly a question of title. I am the more interested under these circumstances in referring to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary at Pontypool last October. He said:—Let them show me that any part of the money that we are claiming was a private gift and I shall be willing to reconsider the Bill.On another occasion the right hon. Gentleman said:—Welsh tithe is in the true sense of the word, a tax.I want the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider the position. I hope we shall be given time enough to enable him to do so. The main authorities are against him. Selden is against him. Freeman is against him. Freeman says:—The notion of a State Endowment is simply a mistake; the thing never happened.That is a pretty strong statement from a historian who was a strong Liberal in his day.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
He was dealing with England, not with Wales.
§ Mr. EVELYN CECIL
The thing is inextricably entangled, and there is no statement that he was dealing only with England.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. EVELYN CECIL
I am afraid I cannot agree with the right hon. Gentleman. History says nothing of the kind. Selden, Professor Freeman, and Bishop Stubbs are against the right hon. Gentleman. Stubbs says that—The property of the Church in Wales originated beyond the age of record.Even the Royal Commission, which the right hon. Gentleman had a hand in appointing, says:—The whole question is wrapped in obscurity.I do not understand, in face of all these eminent authorities, how the right hon. Gentleman can persist in his theory of the origin of tithe in Church property. First of all he puts on a drastic Closure, so that we have very little time to discuss 1337 it. In the next place, for fear, I suppose, that he should be wrong, he bars inquiry before 1662, and precludes any further investigation by the provisions of this Clause. Both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the right hon. Gentleman are attempting by this Clause to lay down by Act of Parliament what the facts of past history ought, in their opinion, to be. It is a strong order for anyone to attempt so drastic a course. I should have been rather disposed to think that even the power of an Act of Parliament would not have been abused to such an extent as to endeavour to stultify past facts by present legislation contrary to those facts. The general secretary of the National Free Church Council, the Rev. F. B. Meyer, the other day when he was discussing this question, said "That he would prefer if the matter could be submitted to a juristic inquiry." It was very frank of him. I acknowledge the spirit in which he made the suggestion, and I should personally be very willing to accept it. Obviously the right course is to submit the origin of such Endowments in Wales to some such tribunal as Dr. Meyer suggested, and I should think that the most eminent, responsible, and impartial tribunal would have been the Courts of Justice. Why should we not submit the whole of this question to the Courts of Justice instead of enacting such provisions as are claimed in this Clause? I think that is reasonable, and if the Home Secretary refuses to accept proposals to have this matter arbitrated before our Courts of Justice he shows that he has an uncomfortable feeling of weakness in his case, and that he would not be able to prove his theory. I challenge the whole principle of this Clause. The Prime Minister has alleged that there is continuity in the history of the Church; that there was no break at the Reformation, and that the Church has been one body almost from time immemorial. I have never been quite able to make out whether the Home Secretary challenges that or not, but I think we may assume that the Prime Minister, who is, after all, a lawyer, with great and intimate knowledge, has studied this question pretty thoroughly before he made that statement, and therefore we may accept it as one that is accurate.
But supposing you were to take some more common-place case than this extremely vital one of the Church in Wales. I cannot fancy that a Nonconformist com- 1338 munity in a growing town where perhaps the population, which was at first mainly Nonconformist, had within a certain number of years become mainly of some other persuasion, would consent to have its funds alienated from their main object merely on the ground that the majority of the population were against it. It would be a very similar case to what is being done in the present Bill. But let me take even a thoroughly secular case. Let me ask the Committee to go back to 1886. In that year, as everybody knows, there was a division in the Liberal party, and the Liberal Unionists split from the main body on the ground that they disagreed on a particular question of important policy. I do not know what the Prime Minister or the Home Secretary would have thought if the Liberal Unionists made a claim to a large portion of the funds of the Liberal party. The position is precisely the same as regards the Church in Wales. Let me urge still more strongly, whatever historical view may be taken with regard to this question, the right of prescription ought surely to give the property to the Church in Wales. Prescription gives a well-established right. Prescription is an old common law; doctrine which has been enacted frequently by Statute as regards the gaining of property, and I believe I am right in saying—my learned Friends will correct mc if I am wrong—that real property can be hold on prescription and that no action can be brought as regards its title after twelve years. Certainly ancient lights become inalienable after twenty years. Other easements are established after forty years. The Dissenters Chapels Act, often quoted in this House, establish the right of Nonconformists after twenty-five years. Why is the Church in Wales to be treated differently? Why is the prescriptive right by which they have held their property for hundreds of years to be disregarded?
I cannot believe that any Committee which has fairly, thoughtfully, and impartially considered this matter would be disposed to treat the Church in Wales different from that of all other bodies holding property. We say it ought to be given the full benefit of prescription. Those holding its property for hundreds of years ought in these circumstances be allowed to retain it; no argument has really been put forward why it should be treated otherwise, and I should confidently submit to any impartial tribunal that it has the right to retain this property. If the 1339 matter is to be determined by prescription, there can be no doubt whatever, to my mind, as to the result. If it is to be determined by origin of the property, assuming that the question is admitted, the question of origin ought to be determined by a Court of Law, and that is what my Amendment endeavours to secure. There is one other thing I should like to say, because I think it is relevant to this Amendment as it is to others, and that is that I must once more comment on the position of enacting legislation without any effective Second Chamber. Clauses such as this, I venture to say, would have been struck out or amended by any impartial Second Chamber, no matter how constituted. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government know that as well as I do, and I do feel most strongly that it is grossly unfair to all concerned and a fraud upon the nation to attempt to pass a Bill of this kind which is so controversial, and held by many of us to be so unjust without there being any proper Second Chamber to revise or overlook it. I do not myself care what the Second Chamber should consist of; I do not mind even if it was an elected Second Chamber.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Yes, but if the hon. Gentleman goes on those lines others who follow may want to debate the matter.
§ Mr. EVELYN CECIL
I do not need to say more than I have said. Many of us feel the great injustice of this kind of legislation when Clauses of this kind are to be passed without any possibility of revision elsewhere by any impartial body. And that is why I commend this Amendment to the consideration of the House, and earnestly beg the Committee to give it such consideration as a really impartial Chamber would do.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Ellis Griffith)
I am sure we all listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Gentleman which dealt with a variety of topics which are not all of them relevant to this Amendment. I think many of them would be more properly discussed on Clause 8. That is my submission, but I know it is very difficult to consider these 1340 points one from another. The new points the hon. Gentleman submitted were, first of all, the point of date, and, secondly, the principle that underlies the Clause. If I followed his speech aright the ultimate object of this Amendment is, that by getting these words in, the effect would be practically to make Disendowment an empty thing. His view is that if he could insert these words "at any time" he will hi able to preserve for the Disestablished Church all the Endowments she now possesses. That is a very far-reaching Amendment, and, of course, it touches the very point of Disendowment which, in our opinion, was settled in some form or another by the Second Heading of this Bill. The hon. Gentleman quoted Freeman. I dare say he knows the views of Freeman upon this point. He says:—Disestablishment without Disendowment would really come to this, that the temporalities of the Church would be put up to be fought for by contending theological parties. Even setting this theory aside. Disestablishment without Disendowment would seem to be a very dangerous development. Most practical men will he inclined to think that, if Disestablishment is to be, Disendowment must follow.We hear all these authorities quoted for a particular purpose and they are held up to be great men upon the particular points for which they are quoted, but the moment they give a contrary opinion they are to be at once dismissed and to be treated of no more value than the opinions of Nonconformists. [An HON. MEMBER: "That does not relate to secular purposes."] That is extremely remote. We are now discussing the date and the hon. Gentleman suggested three possible dates—1559, 1662, and 1689. You may take 1662 and 1689 the beginning of the Reformation (commencing with Henry VIII.) and the Toleration Act. The hon. Gentleman quoted the present Prime Minister speaking on the Bill of 1895, and if he will allow me, I will also quote the Prime Minister, because if he is to be relied upon for the purpose for which the hon. Gentleman quoted him, I am sure he will attach equal importance to his judgment for the purposes for which I quote him. Here is what the Prime Minister then, said:—The principle on which the Government had gone throughout was this, that property, whether in the form of money or land, which was given to the Church, whether out of public funds or out of private funds at the time the Church was co-extensive with the community, at the time it represented the community organised, as a whole, on the spiritual side, at the time when no other religious body in the country had a legal status, at a time when the Endowment of any other religious body could not be legally effected, that such property was property which under a Bill for 1341 Disendowment might fairly be taken away and appropriated. Whatever might be the precise point at which the dividing line ought to be drawn, there was such a dividing line, when the Church ceased to be co-extensive with the community, and when the legal status of dissenting bodies had been recognised, and anything given to the Church after that date ought to be treated as given to it distinctly from other denominations, and ought to be retained by the Church after Disestablishment.Now that is the position we take up in this Bill, and, if I may say so to the Committee, as far as the financial argument is concerned, as far as the amount of money is concerned, there really is very little difference whether you choose 1559, 1662, or 1689. I submit to the Committee that really the quotation which I have cited from the Prime Minister's speech approves the principle on which we are going, that anything given to the Established Church when it was co-extensive with the community is now to be taken by the people, whilst anything given to the Church, after it become a Church not co-extensive with the community, should be retained by the Church itself. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken about tithe and continuity. With regard to continuity, I shall not say one word, because it will be more properly discussed upon a later Amendment. The hon. Gentleman said there is continuity in the Church, so that whenever tithe or glebe was given it was to the Church now existing as a legitimate successor of the old Church. Really, what happened in 1662 was this: There was an Act of Uniformity passed, but in essence and result it was an Act for the transference of property itself. The Act of Uniformity made it obligatory on the clergymen to give their consent or assent to the Book of Common Prayer. It practically said that nobody shall be a trustee of this property or a beneficiary unless he assents or consents to the Book of Common Prayer. Was there ever such a clear transference of property as that? Suppose it was laid down, for instance, that no man in future was to hold land in Wales unless he assents or consents to the Book of Common Prayer. Under those circumstances no Nonconformist in Wales could hold land.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
Yes, and I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be glad to 1342 learn that out of 2,000 there were 100 Welsh Nonconformists. In the year 1662, whatever may be your view about continuity, there was in effect a transference of property from people who believed one thing to people who believed another thing, and the transfer was quite as effectively carried out in that way as if it had been done by a Statute, transferring it specifically from one portion of the country to another. The hon. Member quoted the opinion of the Prime Minister upon continuity, but nobody on this side of the House doubts the legal and the structural continuity of the Church of England. We have never doubted it, but we say that although there is a legal and structural continuity there was, in essence and doctrine, a tremendous revolution at the time of the Reformation.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Does the hon. Member mean that in any case where a Church has made an alteration in its doctrinal belief it loses its rights in its property?
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
I do not expect that the Noble Lord will agree with me, but the point I put is that, rightly or wrongly, this property was given to certain trustees, and the object of the donor, whether it was the State or a private person, was to benefit the community as a whole. That is our proposition. When land was given to a particular corporation in a particular village, and when the object of giving it was to benefit the community as a whole, we say that directly the community is divided into two different portions, one belonging to one organisation and the other separated from that particular organisation, a new set of circumstances has arisen. The principle is that whatever was given when the nation on its religious side was co-extensive with the Church should go to the nation. With regard to the hon. Member's suggestion that we should go to the Law Courts, I think that opens up a very large vista of litigation.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
I am not so sure about that. I thought there were so many pious ancestors that we should have to examine each particular gift. I agree as far as tithe is concerned one case would settle the whole question, but with regard to glebe the forms are different. Glebe was always looked upon as a dowry to the 1343 Church. I do not agree that we ought to submit every individual case to the Law Courts. We must settle some date, and although it is not of very great practical importance whether the date is 1662 or 1689, we submit that 1662 is the date to be taken into account, because that was really the time when there occurred the great separation of the Church of England from those who are now outside its communion. That was the beginning of the system, and we take that as the date when it may be said that the Church of England ceased once and for ever to be co-extensive with the people of this country. The governing principle is not so much the source of the gift. As far as this point is concerned, that is important, I admit, but the principle of this Bill is the purposes for which these gifts were given. That has been the underlying principle of the Bill. The question we ask ourselves is, was this particular gift given to the Church as a Church and as a spiritual organisation, or was it given to the Church as an organisation representing the whole community upon its spiritual side? Whichever be true, the Church gets every penny it has had for 250 years under this Bill. Our submission is that with regard to property before that date, it was not given to the Church as a Church. There was only one Church then, and with regard to that property it may now be transferred to the people for whom it was originally intended by the original donor. Although there may be some nice points for argument as between these particular dates, I submit that it is absolutely necessary for us to fix some date, and to have some finality as far as this question is concerned. We have put a date in the Bill, and we submit that it is the right date, and all gifts before that date should revert to the beneficiaries for whom they were originally intended.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
We have listened to an interesting defence of what seems to me to be an arbitrary proposal. It is very hard to make the different parts of that defence consistent with the whole of it, or to reconcile them with every argument we have heard before on this point. The last argument was that the Government were not considering sources so much as the purposes to which these funds were allocated. Now the whole of the case of the Government up till now, and probably to-morrow, will turn upon the sources. Every argument they have 1344 adduced is based upon the fact that the source of these moneys, directly or indirectly, was a Welsh source, and that therefore on the national argument any money given from a Welsh source ought not to be applied. The whole argument has been based upon the source of these endowments being a Welsh source. This afternoon, however, we are told that that argument is to be put on one side, that we are not to deal with sources, but that we are to think of the application. If I may give an example, your only case against a Parliamentary Grant or real continuity is that in the remote past they were parts of tithes, and you only take into account those from a Welsh source. The whole of this case has been based on sources up to the moment the hon. Member addressed the House.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
I think the words I used were that on this point it is not so much a matter of the source as purposes.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
At any rate, the case stood on the source's leg until the time the hon. Gentleman rose, because he said that in considering this Amendment we have to think of the purposes. The second defence, which is totally inconsistent with the first, is that you must distinguish purposes, and you must consider only gifts which are for the benefit of the whole community; and that you are enabled to say after the year 1662 that the Church of England and the Church of England in Wales was differentiated by Statute from other religious communities, and then by a sudden jump in the argument you say that no gifts given to that religious body or any other are for the benefit of the community. Is that the hon. Member's case, otherwise his arguments do not apply? We hold that gifts given to the Church, to the Wesleyans, the Congregationalists, or any other religious bodies may very well be for the benefit of the whole community. Indeed, we think they are. The next argument is that a gift given to a Christian body separated by Statute is not for the benefit of the community, but that argument does not appeal to us at all. Our case is that gifts by private persons to laudable objects consecrated by the general procedure of Chancery Law in this country and prescription according to the law of this land, and according to the law of all civilised communities, have a certain sanctity which applies to no other kind of property, 1345 and that unless you can show those gifts so given by private benefactors for laudable objects are not in excess of the needs of those objects and are administered so as to give no room for cavil on the score of abuse those gifts are not likely to be diverted from the purposes for which they were intended.
How on earth does he think the year 1662 applies, and that he can convince us merely because in that year this statutory discrimination was made between the Church and other bodies? Shortly after 1662 another event occurred. He says that in 1662 one hundred incumbents in Wales gave up their life interests in the cures of which they were in charge, because they differed from the views prevailing at that time and embodied in the Act of 1662. Not long afterwards an almost similar number over the whole country gave up their life interests because they were non-jurors. Are we in the year 1912 to read into our action all the great acrimony of these old political controversies? If you are to take the controversy of 1662 and to ignore the controversy of the non-jurors, why do you choose one controversy out of all these barren and bitter controversies of the past in order to bring bitterness into the present? We think it is intolerable that you should try to re-write the political and religious history of the seventeenth century on the pages of the Statute Book of the twentieth century. We take our stand on the fact that by law, by practice, and by prescription money which a private citizen has given to a religious and laudable object ought to remain devoted to that object unless you can prove the amount of money available is in excess of the useful needs that can be served or that those who are at present custodians of that money are abusing their trust.
§ Viscount WOLMER
This Amendment has been brought forward partly in order to test the theory of the Government that tithe is a tax, and especially the theory of the Home Secretary to which he attaches great importance and to which he devoted the major part of his speech on the First Reading of this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman then said that whatever might have been the origin of tithe and glebe in Wales, it was undoubtedly a tax imposed in the twelfth century. All we ask is that the truth of the right hon. Gentleman's theory should be allowed to lbs tested in the Law Courts of this 1346 country. A very noted Nonconformist, for whom I think everyone in this House has the greatest respect, the Rev. F. B. Meyer, has recently written to the "Times" asking that an impartial inquiry should be instituted as to the Church's title to her ancient Endowments. That, I think, is a perfectly fair and reasonable suggestion. All the Church wants is that there should be a fair and impartial inquiry into this matter, but, if the Bill is passed with the year 1662 in it, it will be impossible for us to have that inquiry in the Law Courts which we could have if it were removed. The object of this Amendment is to take away that bar which prevents this question being settled by the impartial tribunals of the land. I venture to assert this Clause itself is a reflection, and a most destructive reflection, on the whole of the Home Secretary's argument on which he apparently has based this Bill. If it is true that tithe is a tax imposed in Wales in the twelfth century, the Government could perfectly well accept this Amendment without the risk of the tithe in Wales going to the Welsh Church after Disestablishment. If there is a word of truth in the argument, and if the Home Secretary thinks the Courts would pay any attention to it, then the whole tithe in Wales would not come under the category of being voluntarily given, but would be handed over to the Welsh Commissioners to be dealt with as a part of national property under this Bill.
Therefore, we venture to urge this Clause is itself an absolute condemnation of the whole of that extraordinary theory on which the Government base their case for this Bill. It is to be remembered that theory was never brought forward until the present Home Secretary introduced it on the First Reading of the Bill. The present Prime Minister when in charge of all the former Disestablishment and Disendowment Bills never alluded to it. We therefore desire to test that argument in the Law Courts, and, if the Government refuse to submit it to their impartial judgment, it shows they are really afraid and know perfectly well it will not hold water. The Government, when tackled on one theory, invariably fall back on another and generally a contradictory one. We are now told by the Under-Secretary they cannot accept this Amendment, because whether the gifts were voluntarily given to the Church in the Middle Ages or not, they were given to the whole community, and not to a Church or to a section of the community. That argument is itself incon- 1347 sistent with the whole of the Home Secretary's theory. The hon. Gentleman told us it is intolerable that money which was given for the use of the whole community should be allowed to remain in the hands of a Disestablished Church which is only using it on behalf of a third or a quarter of the community. How does he square that argument with the way in which the Government have treated that ancient Church property which is at present in the hands of lay impropriators? If the ancient Church property is national property, so is their property national property, and, if it is right it should be taken away from the Disestablished Church, how much more right is it that it should be taken away from those laymen who have that property in their possessions at the present moment!
Part of the reason I object so strongly to the Disendowment proposals of the Government is that it draws an invidious distinction between the ancient Endowments of the Church. The proposals of the Government, in effect, say it is important that those ancient funds of the Church, which are now not being used for the purposes they were originally intended, because they were stolen by Henry VIII., should be left in the hands of the present possessors, but it is quite lawful they should be taken away wherever they have been left to the Church. The Government appear to regard the property held by lay impropriators as more sacred and less fitted to be taken away by the nation than that property which still remains in the hands of the Church and which we believe is being devoted to the purposes for which it was intended. I believe the Government's conduct in this matter is absolutely inconsistent with their theory that all this property was given for the use of the community. That is the argument which the hon. Gentleman has brought forward against this Amendment. He says: "This money was given for the community, and therefore we cannot let the Church have it." I ask him how can he conscientiously say that lay impropriators have got a right to keep it?
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
On a point of Order. Is the Noble Lord in order in calling you sometimes "Mr. Chairman" and at other times by your name?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think that is a matter on which hon. Members may be safely left to discover the right way to 1348 address the Chair. Of course, the correct way is to address the Chairman by his name.
§ Viscount WOLMER
I am sure I do not wish to be discourteous to you, Sir. The hon. Member opposite, with whose interruptions of this nature we are quite accustomed, is no doubt entitled to have the correct language. I wish to press this point, because it seems to me the most scandalous part of the conduct of the Government that they should leave untouched this money that was stolen from the Church or, if you like, from the nation at the time of the Reformation by Henry VIII., and take away from the Church that which was still left to the Church by Henry VIII. That is enhanced by the tactics which the Government have adopted in the country, where they have advocated their Bill on the ground of the spoliation of this property which took place at the Reformation, knowing perfectly well this Bill does not propose to restore to the nation one single penny of that money which was then taken away. The whole of the hon. Gentleman's argument that this is really national property appears to me to be a perfectly fraudulent one. It is national property when it is being used by the Church, but it is not national property when it is stolen from the Church 300 years ago. It may be true the hon. Gentleman says it was given to the Church, but the Church to-day is not the same Church as that to which it was given. He argued that it was given to the Roman Catholic Church, and is now being used by the Anglican Church. It is sufficient in answering that absurd argument that I should quote to hon. Members opposite what their own Prime Minister said on this subject in 1895:—We are often referred on this question to the legislation of the Reformation. It follows from what I have to say I am not one of those who think, as used to be assumed, that the legislation of Henry VIII. transferred the privileges and Endowments of the National Establishment from the Church of Rome to the Church of England. I believe that view rests upon imperfect historical information. I am quite prepared to admit, what I believe the best authorities on history now assert, that there has been amidst, all these changes a substantial identity continued, and a continuity of existence of our National Church from the earliest history down to the present time.That is the opinion of the Prime Minister. I will ask hon. Members in the interests of religious peace to be very careful how they use that argument, because it is a question upon which Churchmen feel very sorely indeed. Hon. Members opposite may not agree with us, but the position of the 1349 Church is that she claims to be part of the Catholic and Apostolic Church exactly the same to-day as she was in the days of St. Augustine. I have not come here to argue theology, but I would say to hon. Members opposite, if they wish to carry this Bill through with the minimum of friction and the minimum of outrage on the feelings of Churchmen, they might at any rate respect the title which the Church claims as a Christian and spiritual organisation. It is a perfectly gratuitous insult to the Church to brand her as a bastard and fraudulent Church, as hon. Members are often doing, sometimes quite inadvertently and sometimes deliberately. To say the Church was a new Church, founded at the time of the Reformation, is an insult bitterly resented by many Churchmen in this country. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman on this occasion did not mean to say anything that would injure the feelings of Churchmen. He has said things in the past quite inadvertently, which have hurt the feelings of Churchmen deeply, and so, too, have other right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I would ask hon. Members to be careful, when dealing with the susceptibilities of the Church in this matter. To some hon. Members opposite that appeal may appear comic or ludicrous, but I can assure them there are many hon. Members here who feel deeply on this question and who would not desire to come to this House to hear their Church insulted.
Our answer to the whole argument that the Church changed at the Reformation is to be found in the Dissenters Chapels Act which enables Nonconformists to change their doctrine or beliefs as much as they like, without losing a single piece of the property they possess under their trust deeds. We claim that if Nonconformist bodies are allowed to possess property which has been in their possession for twenty-five years, then even though the Church was changed at the Reformation, which was more than twenty-five, or even 250 years ago, our right to our property is at least ten times as good as that of Nonconformists under the Dissenters Chapels Act. These are some of the reasons why we are supporting this Amendment. We feel that the whole of this distinction between modern and ancient Endowments is an artificial one, brought in simply for the purposes of this Bill, and brought in in order to secure that the major portion of the property of the Church shall be taken away. The year 1350 1662 is a perfectly arbitrary year. Why the fourth Act of Uniformity, instead of the first, should be taken I cannot conceive? Why take that particular year, when there are many other dates of great crises in the history of the Church. No adequate reason has been attempted to be given for that in the course of these Debates.
But what we protest against more than anything else is that there should be any distinction made in the date of the Endowments of the Church at all. We say that all Endowments have been left to the Church since the Church started in this country, and have been left to one and the same Church. No one opposite dare insinuate that these Endowments have not been used by the Church as they ought to be used. No one dare insinuate that the Church is too rich, or is not making good use of the money. We say they were left to the Church, whether before 1662 or after, and that the money is being used for the purpose for which it was originally given, and, unless you can prove that it is being misused, and that the wishes of the Government are not being properly carried out, then you are not entitled to take that money away. The burden of proof lies on hon. Members opposite. It is for them to prove that the money is not being spent in the way originally intended, or that it is being spent in a way not in accord with the interests of the community at large, and, until they have succeeded in doing that, they will not be entitled to rob the Church in the manner which is proposed by this Bill.
§ Mr. WALTER ROCH
The Noble Lord spoke very feelingly and, I am sure, with all sincerity about his own aspect of this question, but he will probably be the first to admit that, while adopting that aspect, he has no right to speak for the whole Church. His theory, indeed, is not even accepted by that Church, and when he says that the feelings of Churchmen are hurt by what is said on this side, I would remind him of the attitude taken up by one of the hon. Members for Liverpool and others on his own side in a Bill which would interpret the present practices of the Church of England in such a way as would be deeply painful to himself, and would, undoubtedly, result in the ejection of a considerable proportion of the membership of the Church if the Bill became law. There is only one other point which fell from the Noble Lord to which I will refer, and that 1351 was his complaint that we were not dealing with lay owners of monastic lands and tithes. Really that has nothing to do with this Bill, and if he put it forward seriously the only result can be, as I imagine, to make the mouths of some of my hon. Friends water. For myself I cannot agree with the Noble Lord's point of view. I look upon lay impropriators as people, the bulk of whom have paid full value for the tithe, and in that you have a great distinction. They have not been corporations with perpetual rights of succession, and it is not property held for public purposes. It is held for private purposes, and, in many cases, full value has been given for it. Having heard the Noble Lord complain very often that we do not appreciate his case, and having listened to what he has said to-day, I think I am entitled to suggest that he does not appreciate our case, and I will therefore ask leave to put it as plainly and as simply as it appears to me. I hope, at the same time, I shall not say anything to offend his susceptibilities. We look upon this money given by private donors as having been given for the purposes of the whole community, purposes in which the whole community were to share The Noble Lord will perhaps agree with me so far. The whole community did, as a matter of fact, worship in that Church and share in these old Endowments.
§ Mr. WALTER ROCH
It was given to the Church for public purposes, and it was shared and enjoyed by the whole community. Then came the Reformation. What happened? I will not say there was a change of doctrine, but what did happen was, the trust was altered so that what I may call the Roman Catholic part of the population did not feel that they could share in the trust. That was the first narrowing of the trust. It divided them into Protestants and Roman Catholics, or if it would please the Noble Lord better I will call them Catholics and Roman Catholics. Then there came another great Declaration in 1662, as a result of which the Protestant beneficiaries were divided. We had thus two divisions, the first between Catholics and Roman Catholics, and then a further narrowing between one section of Protestants and another. The point I venture to put about this is that it shows that this tendency towards narrow- 1352 ing trusts is a natural development in the alteration of those trusts of money held by the Church of England. Here you had a narrowing of the trust at the Reformation and a further narrowing by the Act of Uniformity. If there is any real alteration of the Rubric in the future, either in a Catholic or a Protestant sense, if there is any strengthening of the Clergy Discipline Act you will get a further narrowing and a further necessity for showing that the whole nation should benefit by this money which was given for public purposes. That becomes more and more apparent as we go on. We have chosen as the last deliberate Act in which the National Trust was narrowed—the Act of Uniformity, 1662, and the Noble Lord must agree that if you Disestablish the Church you must allocate its funds differently. If you leave the Church Established, even if you narrow the trust, it will still be in the hands of Parliament or of the corporations to alter the trust from time to time, as they may think desirable, for the benefit of the whole community. But once you Disestablish the Church the power of corporations or of Parliament to alter the trust is gone. The Church will be perfectly free to interpret its trust according to whatever view Churchmen may take. I have tried to put the case perfectly plainly and fairly, and I hope I have convinced the Noble Lord that there is another side to the view he put forward.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I listened with great pleasure and interest to the remarks of the last speaker. He certainly imparts a healthy tone into the Debate, and he does so in a manner to which no one can take exception. But speaking not as a Churchman, but rather as a student of history, I am obliged to take exception to his historical authority. I do not think it has one atom of foundation in historical fact. It is quite a mistake on his part—I should have thought a mistake of a most obvious kind—to say that the money was given to the Church for public purposes. In the sense that these words bear to it, not a penny was so given in the days of which he was speaking.
§ Mr. WALTER ROCH
I do not think I said it was given for public purposes. I said they were trusts in which the whole community were to share.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I am within the recollection of the House, but at any rate I will accept the hon. Member's words that the money was given to be used for the 1353 community as a whole. That is a total misconception, and I should like if I could to lay before the hon. Member what was probably the point of view of those who made donations of this kind. The last thing they thought of was the term "public" or "national" or "municipal" or "State" or any of those things. I venture to say that not a single citizen of Wales before the year 1500 would have understood what was meant if you said the Church Endowments were given to the community or anything of that kind. They were given to a Church which was conceived, rightly or wrongly, to be a divine institution—the universal symbol of one true catholic body. They were given on strictly spiritual grounds. Men in those days thought and talked of the Church as the agent between heaven and earth, and as if its ministers stood between the individual and the threatened judgment of God and the fires of hell. The benefactor often made the donation in his declining years, and even when he was actually on his deathbed with, as it were, hell-fire hot upon his brow. Conceive, if the hon. Member could by a miracle be transported back to such a scene, his asking that man whether he was giving his donation to the community for national purposes. I do not accuse the hon. Member of a blunder, as I would do if when called upon to present a Latin theme he wrote it in Italian. But I do suggest he is speaking in modern language of things which belong to a wholly different sphere and trend of thought. A very good illustration is the way in which we look upon Church or chapel buildings. When I was on the Welsh Church Commission many questions were asked as to the accommodation provided in these buildings, and the question was put, "Why build so much?" Inquiries were made showing that there is much more accommodation in Wales than can possibly be used. A humorous element was introduced by the discovery that Church architects were in the habit of allowing two inches more per person than architects who built Nonconformist chapels. The whole modern point of view was to provide seats for so many persons, just as a railway company provides so much travelling room. Contrast that with the mediæval way of building a great cathedral or abbey for a quite insignificant population. They were building as an offering to God. The points of view are absolutely different. Wordsworth's well- 1354 known poem on "King's College Chapel" brings out the point very well:—Give all thou canst; high heaven rejects the lore Of nicely-calculated less or more.It was an offering to the Church as a divine organisation; indeed, to God Himself. Viewing it in that light, I can quite conceive a person arguing that the property really belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. I can also quite conceive a person arguing—although I think I could answer him—that in the altered religious conditions of Wales the property ought to be divided among all the religious bodies in proper proportion—that is, what is called concurrent Endowment. The one thing that seems to me incontestably remote from the original intentions of the donors is to treat the property as national property, and to give it to any sort of national or public purpose. I can understand you saying that you do not care what the donor intended, but if you do care for the original purpose of the donor, you must keep it for religion. It is to falsify the whole purpose to take it from the original purpose intended by the donor and to divert it to any secular, municipal, or public purpose whatsoever. I do not know whether hon. Members wish to argue on the occasion of the present Amendment the claim of the Roman Catholic Church, or the claim of the Christian denominations generally, but I would point out to them that they cannot argue alternatively one of those cases and then the other. You must make up your minds.
It is quite open to argument that the Roman Catholic Church is the proper body to whom these funds should belong. Then you must give up calling it national property, for what belongs to the Roman Catholic Church is not public property, because it happens to be one of the smallest portions of the population in Wales. Again, if you say that it belongs to all religious denominations by right, then, at any rate, it is not national property. What I complain of is what has often happened. I do complain that first one argument should sometimes be used, and then sometimes in the same speech the other argument should be used, without any sense of their contradiction. I remember an interesting speech made by the Under-Secretary at an earlier stage, in which he argued that glebe lands were originally given for prayers for the dead. It is quite clear, then, that they were not given to the community. It is obvious that if they were given for the dead they 1355 were not given to the living, yet the hon. Gentleman seems to feel no difficulty in sometimes arguing the one point and sometimes the other. Would it not be better and really more consonant with the intense feeling that is behind part of this Bill that hon. Members should make up their minds to separate the Endowment question altogether from the Disestablishment question? The connection rests on an historical fallacy. It rests on throwing back the ideas, which it is safe to say, never entered the mind of man until the last one hundred or two hundred years, into an age of a thousand years ago. It is a thousand pities that you should confuse this whole question. By contradictory arguments you still go forward on a path which cannot be justified, merely because you have allowed this confusion to grow up, and have allowed two things, which are not connected, to form part of the same Bill. If the Government had been compelled to deal with Disendowment in one Bill and Disestablishment in another, we should have been upon a proper footing, and we should not have had our minds confused by this doctrine of national property. The Under-Secretary, dealing with the question of lay impropriators, said the point made by my hon. Friend gave a weapon to those who were anxious to confiscate the property of individuals. He did not appreciate my hon. Friend's purpose. My hon. Friend did not say that if it is national property it is national property everywhere.
I venture to appeal to hon. Members even now to go as far as the Parliamentary exigencies of the situation allow, to depart from the unsound doctrine that this is national property, to adopt some method by which all the money concerned can be given to religious purposes, and then to approach us in as friendly a spirit as we may be able to meet them in—we have a difficulty about compromising this question—and then try to assign the money to religious purposes in such a manner that no part of the Welsh people should feel that they do not enjoy some part of the benefits of these Endowments. The reason we have a difficulty in compromising is twofold. I must not go into the question of Disestablishment, but our objection to Disestablishment is a religious difficulty, and does not admit of compromise. I do not personally value Establishment from the point of view of the Church alone, but I think it would be wrong on 1356 the part of the State—the State having recognised religion—to cease to recognise religion. So far as Disendowment goes, we believe that this property was really given to the Church, and that as against the State the Church has an absolute title both prescriptive and in the origin of the Endowments. If it were put for the sake of peace and to make an end of the whole controversy that the money should be distributed, in the case of tithes in accordance with the religious convictions of those who pay the tithes, and in the case of other Endowments in proportion to the population concerned, although I should not consider it just, I could conceive it being a settlement which in the end might be acquiesced in for the sake of religious peace.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I congratulate the last two speakers on having consulted the dignity of the Church, and upon having placed the controversy on a higher plane than has been the case in previous Debates. I welcome the hint thrown out by the Noble Lord that there, is a disposition to argue this on a basis of compromise and with some mutual regard for the sincere convictions of those on both sides of the Committee. At the same time I would remind him that while we all willingly yield to his claim to possessing great knowledge of mediaeval Church history, we do not want him to get so steeped in it that he loses touch with present-day matters. I therefore appeal to the Noble Lord to occasionally take a larger grasp of the difficulties of the present day, which were clearly pointed out by my hon. Friend below the Gangway (Mr. Walter Roch). He pointed out that the claim put forward by the Noble Lord (Viscount Wolmer) is the extreme High Church claim, and that the Noble Lord could not claim any authority whatever to represent the various sections in the National Church of this country. It was convenient for him to make this speech in the absence of any hon. Members from Liverpool, as well as in the absence of any hon. Members who profess the Roman Catholic religion. I am certain he will find that the attitude taken up by the last speaker is more reasonable and practical than the line he took himself. I cannot allow the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil) to give the impression to the Committee that these funds and Endowments were all the fruit of death-bed repentances.
§ Mr. BOOTH
The Noble Lord seemed to suggest that he was giving a typical and common case. I differ from him when he suggests that people feeling slightly singed by the brimstone of another world were anxious to make their peace in their last moments on this planet. Surely that is not the case. The Grants which were given and the funds which were accumulated were chiefly given in the vigorous lifetime of those in business or those possessed of property. The origin of the larger share of the Church's wealth in the bygone centuries was not the result of the donors' fear of hell, but their fear of excommunication in this life. Both the Noble Lords went back to the twelfth century. I had no doubt they had in mind the Decree of 1195 of Celestine III., who directed ex-communication against all those who did not pay, not merely tithes upon land, but tithes upon wines, grains, cattle, gardens, hunting and windmills. I would ask the Noble Lord whether these people on a hunting field pursuing the fox, or the miller grinding corn with the full breeze of heaven, when they paid the sums demanded by the Church at that time, were thinking how they would get on in the next world, or how their business would get on in this. I want hon. Members to bear in mind that the Church's claim at that time went much further. They actually claimed a portion of the alms of the beggars and a portion of the reward of the common prostitutes on the streets. I would venture to ask the Noble Lord, as one who enjoys the services of the State Church, whether we can get satisfactory light upon the present problem by going so far back into these obscurities. If we do go back and grant the inquiry asked for by the Noble Lord (Viscount Wolmer), I am certain he will find out a good many things which, as a loyal Churchman, he would like to be forgotten. The fact is that when you go back to these early times you find, when the Church was the whole community in its religious sense, that ideas possessed mankind which cannot be translated into present day terms. It was a time when the public women on the streets made these payments to the Church, in order that they might not be put outside the pale of the community, in which case they would not be able to get a living in that profession. I am not saying that was typical, but it was general. That was a decree which was extended to the whole 1358 Church, because both the Noble Lords who have spoken have claimed that at that time the Church was one and indivisible, and if that be so, this decree was for a universal and indivisible Church, and showed the conception of the Churchmen of that time as regards property.
What is the real truth of the matter? Business men, according to these books, paid large sums to avoid labour troubles and to be secure in their property. They were only too glad to give a tenth of their revenue to the Church, because then they got the sanction of heaven on their particular trade. It is no use shirking the real facts. I would not go back to those dark times. If I went so far back I think I should go a little further. I should go to the founders of our Church, to our Divine Saviour Himself, who knew nothing about Endowments, and who was as far opposed from a modern bishop with thousands a year and a motor-car as it is possible to get, or to the apostle Paul himself, who laboured with his hands that he might not become a charge upon the Christian people to whom he ministered. If we are going back into the mediaeval and dark ages, why not go further back still and try to get some scriptural warrant? I have just risen, as one who tries to enjoy the service of the Church regularly, to protest against a great deal of the discussion which goes on. I want the Church of England in these discussions to take up a dignified position. Many hon. Members on this side who have contributed a great deal from their resources to the Church of England and are now office bearers, have begged me to make this protest. We do not want our Church to be begging charity from Nonconformists and from people who are talking about generosity with other people's money. We want the Church to take a dignified position. Neither do we want to go back to times which were universally Catholic, when the Church of England acknowledged the headship of the Pope. I appeal to hon. Members not merely to have some faith in our common Christianity, but to have some faith in the organisation of our own Church and in our own Prayer Book. Liberals who avail themselves regularly of the services of the Church regret to see the Debate sinking day by day, and it was with great delight that I listened to the two speakers who preceded me. I ask that the recriminations which occasionally break out should now cease. Members on that side ought not to keep pointing to us and shouting to 1359 us as if we were a pack of dissenters waiting to do some harm to their own family. Again and again speeches are made in that way, and they are unjust.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
We are dealing with a most important point on this Amendment, and I am not sure that the dignity of the Debate has been added to by the speech to which we have just listened. I am certain that the views expressed by the hon. Member are not held by 1 per cent, of English Church laymen in the country. I cannot think of anything more lowering to a Debate of this kind than suggesting that funds devoted to religious purposes, for which the Church is now struggling, have come from the earnings of prostitution. That is what the hon. Member suggested. It is a gross insult to every religious denomination.
§ Mr. BOOTH
May I say, as a matter of personal explanation, that the sentiments now being attributed to me by the hon. and learned Gentleman are entirely opposed to what I hold and to what I expressed. I was replying to the Noble Lord, who gave an instance of death-bed repentance. I gave others. I did not say that the main funds came from prostitution. I did it to point out that the attitude of the Church in those days was entirely different from what it is now.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I think I am entirely justified in what I said. I should like to know why the hon. Member referred to a matter of that kind in connection with religious Endowments.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I dispute it wholly. I am going back, if I may, to the speech made by the lion. Member (Mr. Roch), because I entirely agree it is one of those speeches which every Churchman on this side listened to with the greatest respect and attention. I want, if I can, to convince the hon. Member that he is wrong in the attitude he has taken up as regards Church Endowments, because, if he is right, I can quite appreciate why he thinks the proposal of this Bill may possibly be justified. May I, first, associate myself entirely with what was said by the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil). If you deal with religious funds at all, you ought always to keep in mind that they ought to be used for religious purposes only. And if it is true that the community in Wales differs from what it was in the old days in 1360 that it now belongs to various religious communities, whereas in old days it only belonged to one, a complete answer to that, if you want to be just as regards religious thought and religious expression, is not to secularise religious funds, but to divide them on the principle of concurrent Endowment, and I have a very strong view indeed upon that point. Now I want to turn to what was said by the hon. Member (Mr. Koch). He said these funds were national in this sense, that there was a time when the Church and the nation were co-extensive. He thought in process of time you had a tendency for specialisation, so that a particular Church, for instance, the Church to which I belong, has no longer the same co-extensive position as regards the nation as it had in old times. I want to deal with that proposition, and I think I can deal with it quite fairly. We are dealing here, of course, with trust funds admittedly devoted to religious purposes. There I am on common ground with the hon. Member. What is his next proposition? He says suppose the people of whom these funds have been entrusted for religious purposes are carying on their own faith and doctrines in the old way, whereas people who hold a different view separated from them, that, in his view, makes the funds, which up to that point were religious, national. How can he support a proposition of that kind? They were religious in their origin and they are religious in their use. Suppose it is the fact that a particular denomination, namely, the Church here, to whom thousands have been given, is no longer co-extensive with the nation or with the community, how does he draw the deduction? May I ask for the hon. Member's attention? I see the hon. Member next him is endeavouring to divert his attention.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. and learned Member had better allow the Debate to proceed and allow the Chair to look after these things.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I want to know how the hon. Member carries forward his argument that the funds devoted to religion and used for religious purposes became secularised and national because the particular body is no longer co-extensive with the old nation. Surely that is an impossible conception of the nature of trust funds. You have one of two results, either 1361 if we are to deal with them purely legally, as in the case of the Scotch Church, these funds become, under legal principles, the property of the original denomination to which they belong, although other people may have separated from them—that, of course, is the technical position of the Church—and the only other alternative is that, being still religious funds, if you think that the community is not entitled to the whole benefit of them, you must come logically to the principle of concurrent Endowment, but you cannot, from the point of view from which the hon. Member approached the question, ever come to the conclusion that what were in their origin and use religious funds can ever be in any sense of the term what we may call ordinary national funds nor that the community may use them for secular purposes. I want the hon. Member to think of that, as a member of our common Church, in order to sec if he cannot help his fellow Churchman in their main object—that is, to prevent the secular use of funds which have been devoted for centuries to religious purposes only.
May I next deal with the argument of the Under-Secretary? I am not now going into the question of continuity or not. I know there is a difference of opinion amongst Churchmen. Everyone is aware of that. My own view is in accordance with that of the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil). It is because of that difference of opinion, if you look at this in its true light, that such a date as 1682 has nothing to do with the question either as regards the origin or the use of religious funds. In the first instance, this very matter, of course, has been discussed, amongst others, by a most secular and Erastian lawyer, Sir Edward Coke, who laid down in the strongest terms that questions of title to and the use of property cannot depend upon any change of doctrine as regards the community in whose interest the trust has been created. But let me concede what is said about 1662, if I may put it for a moment from the technical point of view but still from the perfectly sound point of view. There was no change as regards title and use of these Endowments either at the time of the Reformation—if you like to say there was not continuity; it does not depend upon that—nor was there in the revolutionary period of Cromwell, nor was there in 1662, nor was there, later, in 1689, because the only question at those dates was this. These tithes belonged as of common right and from long ages past to 1362 the rector of the parish. The rector of the parish may be a layman or he may be a clerical. This Bill only proposes to deal with funds vested in the rector when he is a clergyman and puts on one side entirely the question of these funds when they are invested in a rector who is not a clergyman. The only difference between the two positions is that if it is in the clergyman, the clergyman has to comply with the laws, discipline, doctrines, and so on, of the Church for the time being, whereas if he is a layman he has the funds practically free from any trust at all, and can deal with them like any other private property. I agree with what the Noble Lord said that it is a monstrous proposition on these historical grounds to confiscate what is used under trust funds for religious purposes, and to leave alone what is merely private property with no trust funds or public duty attached to them. That is the only point.
It does not matter for the moment whether the doctrine has changed or whether the ritual has changed. You find that if the rector of a parish complies with the conditions of the law for the time being, that has for ten centuries been the only test as to whether he is entitled to the produce of tithe or not, and those metaphysical distinctions of which we have heard, have nothing whatever to do with that. Under this title, perfectly well known to our common law for ten centuries now, whatever their origin may have been, these parochial tithes in the hands of the clergy have been devoted to a religious trust, the religious trust being that you may have a resident minister, as far as possible, in every parish in this country, however poor it may be, or however crowded it may be in our great cities. I am not going to use the word national in this connection, but from one point of view that is a great national purpose. This word national is used in regard to different purposes. It is not national in the sense that you may secularise a fund or use it for museums, schools, or other purposes. It is national in the sense that it is being used for the good of the nation in accordance with the purpose for which it was dedicated, and for which it is used and wanted at the present, time. There is no nobler purpose than the bringing of religious ministrations within the reach of every citizen of the country. That is the reason why we wish to see how terms are used. If you mean by national pur- 1363 poses, purposes irrespective of the way in which the funds are being used, and irrespective of the religious trusts, then I say no more inappropriate word could be used. If you mean by the word national, that these funds are being used for the best possible purposes and for the good of the nation, then in that sense all funds so used may be called national. That is an entirely different sense. What is of absolutely the first importance is this, we must ask our opponents not to use the word in a variety of senses, but to use it in one sense, and to follow it out logically. If that is done, then I say there is not a shadow of foundation in history, law, or fact in support of the suggestion that these funds should be devoted to national secular purposes, outside of the religious purposes to which they are devoted at the present moment.
As to the question of origin in connection with tithe, I do not think it would be possible across the floor of the House, even if one had more time than we have now, to attempt to put the whole question on one side or the other as to the origin of tithe. I have a very strong view that it was a private donation, and I think it is impossible to say that it was in the nature of a tax or tribute. But what are we asking here? We are not asking the House to decide such a difficult question. I think in a matter of this kind the House is not the right body to be asked to settle such a question as this. I admit that all the authorities are not on one side. It would be a very great mistake for any Churchman to overstate his case. I think there is a vast majority of opinion on one side, but it is not all on one side. What could be more fair than what we are suggesting here, and what was suggested by Mr. Meyer in his letter to the "Times." "There is a difference between us. Let us give every credit to this side and the other side. We are dealing with national funds having a national origin in the nature of a tax or tribute." We deny it. We say, "You are dealing with religious funds given by private donations for religious purposes." I ask hon. Members under those circumstances, there being such a bonâ fide difference of opinion among various sections in this House, is it not right that before we seek finally to secularise the funds which most of us here, all of us on this side of the House, believe had a religious origin, we should, first of all, have it determined by an impartial 1364 tribunal whether they had that origin or not? What is the answer to that? I will assume that the Leader of the Welsh party, the hon. Member for the Swansea District (Sir D. Brynmor Jones) was sincere when he said he wanted to treat this matter in a wide and generous spirit. That is his view. Then the first step in approaching either generosity or justice is to settle this question. You must in the first instance settle the question whether the Welsh Members are right, or whether those who agree with me are right, as to whether the origin of tithe was a religious origin. That settled, then I think we might settle other matters between us, not as regards Disestablishment, but as regards this question. If this property was held to have the origin attributed to it, I should say, under the principle of concurrent Endowment, give a due proportion to all other religious communities in Wales, because on that principle they would be entitled to it.
There was an argument mentioned by the Under-Secretary for the Home Department which has been constantly used by the Solicitor-General. It is an argument well worth attention, and it is one which would be made properly if this Amendment which we are at present discussing were sanctioned. The Under-Secretary said that the whole principle is altered as soon as you Disestablish the Church. He said that Endowments which are properly allowed to an Established Church will not be allowed to a Disestablished Church. He read a passage from Freeman in reference to this matter. Surely the answer to that is this: First of all, if it is true in regard to that matter, it is quite inconsistent to have any such date as 1682 at all. But is it true? The hon. Gentleman indulged in an archaic form of talk. There was a notion fifty years ago that a corporation like an Established Church, after being Disestablished, would be dangerous in its strength if you left it with its existing Endowments. Opinion has been wholly changed since then, and nobody nowadays would seek to use the arguments which were used forty or fifty years ago on this point. The Nonconformist Endowments are necessary to them. It is absurd nowadays to say that if Endowments are wanted for religious purposes, they are only to be held by an Established Community. Any such argument has become an archaism. It is no longer believed by anyone, and least of all by Nonconformists, who, to their honour, are trying to build up Endowments in order to provide fair security for their 1365 clergy. We are dealing now with an extremely important point. It. is a point in regard to which I thoroughly appreciate the view put by the hon. Member for Pembrokeshire. I think he is wrong, and I do appeal to the Committee, if they want to act in the interest of peace, and to realise our view as well as their own, not to attempt to decide the question of the origin of tithe by a vote in this House, but to send it to an impartial tribunal, in order that it may be decided in a manner consistent with peace for all religious communities in Wales in the future.
The hon. and learned Member (Sir A. Cripps) thinks the Law Courts are the best places for fighting out this question of tithe. Surely one of the most inappropriate places you could choose for this question is a Law Court. It is not a question of law, but a question of opinion formed by those who know the facts which are derivable from history, and the Law Courts are no more fit to try that question than this House. I, personally, do not at all approve of the suggestion to submit this question to the Law Courts. It is a question which might be decided by a jury of impartial historians, if such could be found. I have sufficient belief in our case that we should get a majority in our favour from such a jury, but can you get an impartial tribunal on this quest ion in the Law Courts? It is quite possible that after this Bill becomes law we may find on the bench the hon. and learned Gentleman himself. It might be that the Noble Lord the Member for the Hitchin Division (Lord Robert Cecil) would be on the bench. Could either of these two Gentlemen give a really impartial decision on a question on which they had made up their minds before they ever reached the bench? There is hardly a judge on the bench at the present time who1 has not taken some part in politics. [An HON. MEMBER: "There are a large number."] There are very few. There are a large number of judges who have taken an active part in politics before being appointed.
§ Sir HILDRED CARLILE
May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he suggests that judges who have been in politics take a partial view in the exercise of their judicial functions?
I have no intention of saying that any judge acting in his judicial capacity has any desire except that of doing his best. I say that men who have been taking part in a controversy are not the men to decide a case in the way you wish it to be decided, namely, by men who have not previously made up their minds on the subject. When this question came before the Law Courts the only question that would arise would be whether property the Church had before 1662 was to go back to the Church. We on this side of the House believe that private benefactions before 1662 are national property. Then this question of going to the Law Courts does not arise. Hon. Members opposite have first of all to make good their proposition that this property ought to be left to the Church. We have always taken the view that it is national property in the sense that it belongs to the nation as a whole, and that it ought to be used for the benefit of the nation as a whole. We say that the Church was co-extensive with the nation in medieval times when this property became the property of the Church, and in that connection I would like to quote what was said by Freeman in a pamphlet which he wrote on the question of Disestablishment and Disendowment:—The Established Church was necessarily the nation in early times. The Church was simply the nation looked at with reference to religion, just as the army was the nation looked at in reference to warfare.If that was so, the gift to the Church was a gift to the nation. The gift to the nation was national property, and it remains national property now. I would like to add something to what was said by the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Roch), and I am afraid I shall run contrary to what was said by the Noble Lord the Member for Newton (Viscount Wolmer). I am afraid I must deal to a certain extent with the question of the continuity of the Church. That is part of his case, and it is perfectly impossible for him to set aside part of his case and say that we must not controvert it because it will hurt his feelings. I have no intention of hurting anyone's feelings, but it is necessary to deal to a certain extent with the continuity of the Church and show that what was national property and used for the nation as a whole was by the civil power confined at first to one section and then to a still smaller section. I will add to what the hon. Member for Pembroke said: this was done by the State, and not done by the Church. These changes were made, and 1367 some of the most important changes, and were not only done by the State and not by the Church, but were done against the will of the Church.
I agree, in early times the State was the Church, but I am not dealing with those times when I refer to these changes. In support of what I have said I may quote Professor Maitland in his statement about the changes which were made in the reign of Queen Elizabeth:—A radical change in doctrine and discipline had been made by the Queen and Parliament against the will of the Prelates and of the Ecclesiastical Councillors.That is to say that this property, national property, used for the benefit of the nation as a whole, was limited to a certain section of the nation by the State and against the will of the constituted authorities of the Church. I think that every bishop in the House of Lords voted against the Act of Uniformity, and the Lower House of Convocation at the same time passed a resolution in favour of the sacrifice of the mass and papal supremacy, doctrines of the Roman Church. Then Parliament, against the wishes of the Church, passed, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the Act of Uniformity, and limited to a certain section of the Church what had been for the benefit of all. That process was carried a stage further in the reign of Charles II., when that property was settled further and confined to another section of the people in this country.
What we say is that the Church in a limited sense, meaning those people who are now members of the Church of England, has what it has owing to the action of the State and not owing to the action of private individuals. Owing to the action of the State, at the time of the Reformation, it was limited to those particular individuals who together form in England the Anglican Church. For that reason, and no other, they have these endowments to them; and it is impossible for anybody to deny that those funds which have been limited to this particular section by the State are funds which the State has now liberty to use once more for the same beneficiaries for whom they were originally given. The Noble Lord said that they were not given to the State, but they were given to a religious organi- 1368 sation It was a religious organisation of the State, of the whole people of the country, or, at any rate, of the people of the parish, because they were generally given to parishes and not to the State as a whole, and, of course, in the case of Wales, they were very generally given to the tribe for the religious use of the tribe as a whole. But whether it be the tribe or tie parish, or the State, they were given for the religious use of the whole of that community, and, whether large or small, the State limited them to a section of the people, and it is now the right of the State, which has continually changed the doctrines of the Church against its will, and limited those people who are to be regarded as members of the Church to say now that those funds once more must be used for the benefit of all.
§ Mr. CAMPION
I welcome the first portion of the hon. Member's speech because he went some way with us when he said that he would be prepared to abide by the decisions of the Court of Historians on this particular matter. There is one point which I would like to emphasise, as I do not think it has been quite brought out. When such a great change as is suggested in this Bill is before the country it is the duty of the Government thoroughly to justify it. Up to the present I have not seen any sufficient argument to justify that change. Whatever may be said as to the origin of the different Endowments of the Church, there is no doubt whatever as to the prescriptive rights of the Church to those Endowments, and no one has ever suggested that any of the three principles or conditions which justify the Church in maintaining possession of those Endowments have not been complied with. To do so it must be shown either that the trust is unnecessary or that the money is more than sufficient, or that the trust has not seen properly fulfilled. Nobody has ever suggested that any one of those conditions exists. So the real issue is for the Government to justify thoroughly such a great change as is suggested, the alienation to purely secular uses of money that has been voted for religious purposes. The grounds so far brought forward are altogether too flimsy to justify such a precedent, because, if this is allowed, a very dangerous precedent will be created, which will not only apply, if we are to differentiate between such different forms of property on such slender grounds, to property belonging to the Church of England or to any religious body, but will certainly in the 1369 future be applied also to all forms of corporate property.
We heard this afternoon some new definitions to justify this action. We have been told by the Under-Secretary that we are not so much to look at the sources of the benefactions as the purpose for which those benefactions were intended, and his argument, I think, was the argument of the hon. Member for Heywood (Mr. Cawley) that the property originally was given to the Church when the Church and the nation were co-extensive, and was intended for the community as a whole. We deny that. We say that the property was not given to the Church for the benefit of the community as a whole. We say it was given to the particular parish for the upkeep and maintenance of the incumbent of that parish, so that as far as possible in every parish throughout the country there should be a resident minister. I may remark that even if you admit the principle of the money having been intended for the community as a whole when the nation and the Church were co-extensive that is no argument at all for alienating this money for secular purposes, but it is an argument in favour of concurrent Endowment. Some time ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer produced a very different argument to justify this change. He stated that what happened at the Reformation was that the Church was Established as a State Church for the first time.
How is that argument going to square with the argument which was used by the Under-Secretary this afternoon? If the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has any force in it it comes to this, that before the Reformation the Church was not Established by law as a State Church, that consequently the property which it owned before the Reformation was private property, and as a result it is entitled to hold that property, and there should be no differentiation between the property given before and the property given after the Reformation. As to the difficulty that undoubtedly exists as to examining and discovering the precise origin of tithe, glebe, and so on, the Royal Commission itself reported that it did not consider itself competent to examine into and discover the origin of these abstruse and difficult matters, and I think that everybody who wishes to come to a just and fair settlement of this question will agree that it is advisable to accept this Amendment and submit the whole question to an impartial and independent body of 1370 jurors. I end as I began, by emphasising the point that it is not so much for us on this side to justify, though I think we can easily do so, the title of the Church to her Endowments, as it is for the supporters of the Government and those who support this Bill to produce some justification for the very great change that they propose to exert upon the Church and all society in this country. Really, when such a change is suggested, and a change that goes to the root of society, and will create a very dangerous precedent for all corporate property, I think we have a right to ask for some more solid and ample justification than we have yet received from the supporters of the Government.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Sir ALFRED MOND
Speeches in support of this Amendment have covered a large amount of ground. They have covered, of course, not unnaturally all the points of controversy between the opponents and the supporters of this Bill. They have covered the ground of the origin of tithe, the continuity of the Church, and the question whether the Church property is national property, and in Wales the origin of private Endowments. It is a very curious fact that it has not been discovered in this Debate that in the case of the Irish Church Debates in 1869 these matters were dealt with. I sometimes feel inclined to say to hon. Members opposite we really do not see on this side of the House why we should be asked to rediscuss and resettle the questions which both Houses of Parliament discussed and settled so many years ago. I should like to refer to a clear and well-known definition which Mr. Gladstone gave at the time of the Irish Church Bill of what he considered constituted a private Endowment. He said:—To constitute a private Endowment which should he exempted from confiscation, it should proceed from a private source; it should be given to a definite religious body, and not as an Establishment, and that this should be the same body as that which was to retain the benefit of it.On that definition of private Endowment it seems to me that the question of tithe and a good many other points which have been raised in this discussion are surely quite irrelevant. The hon. and learned Member for Bucks (Sir A. Cripps) said that we might occupy a long time in discussing the question of tithe and never convince one another; but I am not satisfied to accept his own account, which he gives in his own book, "Law of the Church and Clergy ":—During the first ages of Christianity, the clergy were supported by the voluntary offerings of their 1371 flocks, but this being a precarious existence, ecclesiastics in every country in Europe claimed, and in the course of time established, a right to the tenth part of all the produce of lands.That is his own explanation, but why should we go back into a mystic period since no historian, no lawyer that I have discovered from Lord Coke and from Blackstone downwards— has ever yet been able to explain the origin of tithe? We have our Statute Book filled with the Acts of this House in regard to tithe, and I think that this House is perfectly competent to make up its mind on what, after all, is by no means such a very complicated question. I will put one simple question to hon. Members opposite who are learned in the law. Supposing a man has to pay tithe, and he is brought before the County Court under the Act of 1891. What argument would counsel address to the County Court judge? Would he talk about the donations of private benefactors centuries ago, or would he rely on the Act of 1549, which seems to me to be the only enactment which is really relevant.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
They would not have to prove title to a property which they have held for 250 years— not in the Law Courts, at any rate, though you may before the House of Commons.
§ Sir A. MOND
I am submitting that there is no other Statute so relevant as the Statute of 1549, and I mention that Statute because it is the one which re-enacted the payment of tithes to the Established Church, and enacted that all waste lands which afterwards became cultivated should become tithable. In Wales, for instance, at that time, there were only about 6,000,000 acres tithable, whereas to-day there are 24,000,000 acres tithable. No generous private benefactor in those days could possibly foresee what would be the state of cultivation in the twentieth century in Wales; therefore, so far as 18,000,000 acres of land are concerned they have become tithable, notwithstanding the law of that period. I have heard no explanation from hon. Members opposite on the question of personal tithes. Tithe on the profits of a merchant or of other persons, just as on the produce of the land, 1372 remained until somewhere in the eighteenth century, being payable on profits which individuals earned, whether derived from the land or not. To deal with this point there must be reference to the question of the continuity of the Church of England. Hon. Members opposite, and I think the right hon. Member for St. George's, Hanover Square (Mr. Lyttelton) do not agree that the present Church of England is the same as the ecclesiastical mediæval Church. Is it or is it not a fact that the validity of the ordinations of the Church of England has never yet been acknowledged by the Vatican. The Church of England has acquired a great deal of property transferred from the Church of Rome to the Church of England at the Reformation. It seems to me that, at any rate, there is a large body of evidence in favour of our argument that the Church established at the Reformation is not the Church that held these funds before the Reformation, and to me it is an incredible position that you should say that a man who left money to his parish church with a definite object for masses for the care of his soul after he is dead, intended to leave it to a Church with which he absolutely disagreed. I am not able to understand how anyone can reconcile his conscience to such an argument. The hon. Member who spoke last took rather a broader line and a more just line. He admitted that we shall never agree about the origin of tithe, but he says that the whole intention of these benefactors is being carried out from the trust property point of view. I do not say that the Church of England in Wales is not doing good work, but I unhesitatingly maintain that the Church does not minister to the whole nation, because there are huge masses of the population who are not adherents of the Church of England. How can you minister to people who will not go into your Churches? How can you carry out a trust in respect of people who do not believe in your doctrines? That is the case to-day in Wales, and that is the case on which we base ourselves. This property was given to the Church for services to all the inhabitants of the parish, yet you maintain that the funds ought to be retained by a small minority to-day, while the vast majority of the inhabitants do not require those services to be carried on for them. I do not think that is a fair thing. You say that you have no more money than you can usefully spend, but that is not an answer to our proposition. 1373 If we are right in our general proposition, which was maintained by no less than three ex-Prime Ministers, Gladstone, Lord Palmerston, and by Disraeli in 1869, in this House, that Church property is national property— if we are right in that contention, we say that not being able to make use of your ministrations, however anxious you may be that they should, you cannot in justice to the people of this country retain the whole of these funds. The answer we get to that is that we ought to have concurrent Endowment. I agree that there is a great deal to be said in favour of concurrent Endowment. It was discussed at great length in 1869, and the same difficulty that you had then appears now. Neither the Roman Catholics nor the Nonconformists wish to be endowed. An hon. Member for Manchester, in an interjection during the course of a speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day, said, "I am not inclined to enrich my Church at the expense of another Church."
§ Sir A. MOND
I am not arguing whether their attitude is correct or not; I am merely stating what it is. There is no use discussing whether it ought to be done when two of the parties refuse to allow it to be done. That is why you come down to the proposals which we shall have to discuss at a later stage of the Bill. I do not think the proposition which I have ventured to put is an answer to the argument which the hon. Gentleman who spoke last put to the Committee—that is, as far as I am able to put it. Our point is that you cannot carry cut your trust, not because you do not want to, or because you are incapable, but because it is impossible to carry it out when the beneficiaries do not wish that trust to be carried out. Thus, when it is incapable of being carried out, we have to consider how it is to be dealt with. Concurrent Endowment is not acceptable and we have to find some other means and to adopt a method which is best for all the people in the Principality, quite apart from their religious convictions, and for the general benefit of the inhabitants, who ought to enjoy or are concerned in the national trust. That is our simple defence to the attitude we take up, and it seems to 1374 me that that is exactly consistent with the view Mr. Gladstone laid down on the 23rd March, 1869, in one of his most celebrated speeches, in which he said:—There is a trust, whether in the legal sense I know not, but in the political, the social, the moral sense, there is a trust imposed upon this property from first to last for the benefit of the nation. It was for the nation that the property was given. It is true it was given to corporations. Yes, but why? Not that they might enjoy it as private property, but that they might hold it on condition of duty. They were only convenient symbols, convenient media, for its conveyance from generation to generation. The real meaning, scope and object was that through them it should be applied for ail time to the benefit of the entire population of the Kingdom.I do not think any argument that can be advanced can add to that broad statement made by Mr. Gladstone in 1869 of a broad principle, which obtains to-day as it did in Ireland in 1869. It is not exactly an analogous position, but it is in its broad, main outline, and we have an Established Church, ministering to a minority of the people, enjoying the whole of what we consider national property. It is on these broad lines we support the Bill and propose this Amendment.
§ Mr. ALFRED LYTTELTON
I do not think myself it is an advantage in this discussion to quote, as the hon. Member has quoted, from the Debates of 1869 dealing with the Irish Church. It is really beside the argument and beneath the dignity of the argument which I think has been sustained this afternoon to say that this is an analogous case, when, as everybody knows, who has attended to this discussion and knows the elements of the subject, there is no real analogy between the Church in Wales and the Church in Ireland, as the Church in Wales, all controversialists agree, is the largest denomination in the whole of the Principality, and the Protestant Anglican Church in Ireland numbered only one-tenth of the people of Ireland. I therefore dismiss that analogy altogether. There are many other matters that have been pointed out so often that I do not propose to go over them again. I agree with one quotation the hon. Member made and that was as to the intention of the benefactor. That is the question which this Amendment raises. What is the intention of the benefactor? And I think you will find that even if it is before 1662, let that intention have its way if it can be ascertained. That is a principle not merely of law, but a principle of morals and ethics. The policy of the State is to encourage liberality among its citizens to all good objects, and, of course, the en- 1375 couragment of religious faith is in accordance with the opinions of all of us an admirable object. The methods by which the State and the Law have always encouraged liberality among the benefactors is to respect, where they can be ascertained, the intentions which have actuated them when the benefactions were made. I do not hesitate to say, though the Noble Lord put it in better language than I can, that the benefactions which were made to the Church from the earliest times, were made, not to the Church as representing the nation, but to the Church as a Church out of love of the Church, and, as he stated, from fear of some sanction of the Church, and I should also say most strongly and in the main degree from reverence for the Founder and from deep conviction of the truths of that which He thought. Those I believe to be the true motives of those who gave benefactions to the Church.
I submit it would be a violation on ethical grounds of that law which I have mentioned and of the policy which has always been pursued by the law if you took away those Endowments left for those motives and used in consonance with those intentions, and gave them to secular objects. It is said, and was said by the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, so far as I could follow his argument with regard to tithes, that they were a tax, and had been recognised as a tax, by the Statute Law of the country. Let me assure him that that really is not so, and is not in the slightest degree conclusive in the matter. Take, for instance, old customary payments such as a copyholder makes. That is a payment made on certain occasions and in the nature of a sporadic gift. That was the first payment. It was only occasionally exacted, but it became more and more continuuosly and generally exacted by the Lords from the copyholder, and it gradually crystallised into a custom, and that which was originally only a sporadic gift became an obligation which the tenant was bound to fulfil, and by a process under which almost all law was made, there was ultimately a title got through the law for that customary payment. The next stage was that the tenant was allowed to commute that payment for a money payment, and the Statute permitted the enfranchisement of the tenant on that footing. No one would be bold enough to say that because the law recognised that custom and that the Statutes 1376 permitted it to be commuted that therefore the origin of that money payment was, in point of fact, different from the custom which I have indicated. The fact that it was a custom originally, and a free gift by the tenant which crystallised into a law which was recognised by Statute, and that those are the steps of the proceeding, cannot and do not alter the true historical origin. Discussing for a moment this tithe question, which we shall have the opportunity of further considering on Thursday, and recalling that which I have put to the House, namely, that those gifts to the Church in ancient times, where from the motives and intentions I have given; and the hon. Member for Pembrokeshire, in his interesting speech said that those gifts were given to the Church then as representing the nation, and that, inasmuch as she is not now coterminous with the nation, the nation ought, at any rate, to have some of her property.
I will not repeat what my Noble Friend said with regard to the community, but I entirely agree with him, and I think it is quite foreign to the notions of those who gave property to the Church to treat it as if it were given to the nation at all. I am prepared to go possibly this length, that some of those who gave to the Church in those days believed that they were giving it, not solely for the purposes of religion as we understand it in the strict sense of the word, but that they identified, in part, religion with the cause and maintenance of the poor. I think that is conceivable. That is, I agree, a thoroughly Christian object, and I can understand the point of those who say, "We, dissentients from the Church of England in the present day, as members of the National Church in old times had a share in these Endowments given partly for the support of the poor. Give us now a share in those national funds, so that they may be administered for the poor."
I do not altogether accede to that presentation of the case, but the intention of the donor might have been the relief of the poor in some instances. If that be so, surely the answer to the hon. Gentleman is not that these gifts should be taken from the religious agencies through whose means it has been given to the relief of the poor, but that those who stand outside the Church at the present moment should have a share in the administration of that property for the relief and maintenance of the poor. Surely that would 1377 be met by the proposal made by my Noble Friend— by concurrent Endowment. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I know that hon. Members say no, and I understand what has placed them in a position of antagonism to the idea of concurrent Endowment. They thought that they would expose themselves to scorn, contempt, and perhaps ridicule, if they demanded a portion of the funds of the Church for their own religious bodies. But the position is entirely altered when, for the purposes of discussion, you have a proposal coming, not from that side, but from this side of the House, which would give some of that which you are taking away to other religious bodies, and enable them to join with the Church of England in more effectively combating forces of evil. That seems to me an absolutely sound proposition. We do not ourselves think that there is any ground whatever for taking property from the Church, but we say in a spirit of conciliation—and I join my Noble Friend cordially in this respect— that if we assume any part at all of the case of our opponents, the case would be met, not upon the basis of taking away and secularising these Endowments, but by proposals on the basis of concurrent Endowment, so that they can share with us what they believe to be national funds. Beyond that it is impossible for us to go. I did not like to leave the proposal made by my Noble Friend without mentioning it from this bench. I make it again in the spirit of conciliation. I trust that speeches such as that made by the hon. Member for Pembrokeshire and conceived in the same spirit, may continue to be made from the benches opposite.
§ Mr. EDGAR JONES
I rise to ascertain exactly what the right hon. Gentleman meant. First of all, I may say again what the hon. Member for Swansea (Sir A. Mond) said, namely, that concurrent Endowment in the sense of conferring these funds on the denominations to be used for their ordinary services and purposes of that kind is impossible, because the religious denominations in Wales as such will have none of it. In that sense it cannot be considered in this House, and it is a waste of time to discuss it. I did not quite understand the purport of the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion just now, and I should like to ascertain exactly what he meant. I took him to say that he was prepared to concede that this money might be used for the purposes of the poor, but lie thought that if it were managed and 1378 administered for the poor, it should be by representatives of the different, bodies. Was that his proposal?
§ Mr. E. JONES
Then he simply wanted concurrent Endowment, in the ordinary sense, to be used by the denominations for religious purposes. The answer to that is very brief. It is useless to discuss it. It has been discussed by the denominations for forty years, and they will have nothing to do with it. Therefore we are only wasting our time by discussing the possibility of it.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Edgar Jones) has certainly shown that when we try to deal with this question in a conciliatory manner and make some suggestion, our proposals are met at once as being utterly impossible. In view of the Debates that we have had, in view of the feeling in the country, and in view of the Government majority, if, not the political members, but the pastors and leaders of the denominations in Wales would come together, meet representatives of the Church in Wales, and go into the question of the large areas where there are no religious ministers except the minister of the Established Church, and consider the needs of to-day, I believe that that old theory of forty years ago in opposition to concurrent Endowment would disappear altogether. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] The opposition to con current Endowment is simply and solely a dog-in-the-manger policy. Our opponents say that they do not want it; that they do not need it for their work, therefore let anybody have it rather than the Church of England. I do not believe that that is the attitude of many of the leaders of Welsh Nonconformity. This offer has been made by Church people. It has been made from the Front Opposition Bench. If you take away these moneys, rather than that they should be spent as you propose on museums, county councils, and so forth, let there be concurrent Endowment. Let us have a conference between the religious people of the Principality, and let them settle the method rather than adopt the policy of the Bill.
I rose, however, to answer the very interesting speeches of the Under-Secretary and of the hon. Member for Swansea, particularly the latter. The hon. Member for Swansea went a great deal into the historical position of the Church, and that, 1379 after all, is what we are discussing upon this Clause. The Under-Secretary laid it down that no matter where the money came from, whether from private benefactions or State benefactions, no matter what was its origin, on this Amendment the attitude of the Government was that all before 1662 was national property, and all after 1662 was not. Therefore the Giraldus Cambrensis of the Home Secretary and the various other authorities on the origin of tithes were passed over by the Government on that point, because their theory and the principle of the Bill is that all funds now enjoyed by the Church which go back in origin to 1662 are to be alienated, not because the objects of the trust were one thing, and the money might now be used for another, but because the Church before 1662 was one thing and after 1662 another. As the hon. Member for Swansea has not returned, I must deal with the matter in his absence. He quoted a Reformation Statute. His argument was that at the Reformation there was this interference by Parliament with the title of the Church and with the private nature of the original Endowments of the Church; that by the action of Parliament at the Reformation the pious ancestors, Giraldus Cambrensis, and all the rest, were struck out, and that if you went to the Law Courts now upon the subject they would not go back to the ultimate origin, but to the Reformation Statute. That was the central point of his speech. He produced very weighty authorities, referring to professors and three ex-Prime Ministers. But he did not give us the quotations from the three ex-Prime Ministers. I should like to challenge every one of them. He said that it had been admitted by Lord Palmerston, Mr. Gladstone, and Mr. Disraeli that the property of the Church is national property. I have been most interested in looking up Mr. Gladstone's utterances upon this subject, but I have never found any sentence the least like it or any assertion by Mr. Gladstone corresponding in any way to what the hon. Member for Swansea said. I do not believe that Lord Palmerston or Mr. Gladstone, or Mr. Disraeli ever committed himself to that statement. The whole case of Mr. Gladstone in the Irish Debates was that the Irish Church was over-endowed, and that it was ministering to an insignficant number of the population. It was an utterly different case from that now brought forward in regard to Wales. The hon. Member for Swansea 1380 laboured the point about Rome and the lack of continuity. I really must quote once more the authority, not of an ex-Prime Minister, but of the present Prime Minister who, speaking on the Welsh Disestablishment and Disendowment Bill of 1895, has laid down absolutely clearly, his view upon that point. He said:—I am not one of those who think, us used to he currently assumed, that the legislation of Henry VIII. transferred the privileges and Endowments of the national establishment from the Church of Rome to the Church of England. I believe that that view rests upon imperfect historical information.Lest I should be accused of making a partial quotation, let me quote the very essence of the speech:—I hold very strongly that it is a historical fallacy to represent the Church of England as ever having been an off-shoot and dependency of the Church of Home. I think the whole of our mediæval history shows that, first of all, our Kings, then our Parliaments, as soon as they acquired a dominant position, kept a tight grip on the governance of the Church, and refused to allow the intrusion of any foreign power, or any outside Ecclesiastical authority in the regulation of our National ChurchIt seems to me that that evidence absolutely contradicts every word said by the hon. Member for Swansea in reference to the Reformation. The Prime Minister himself, speaking in this House, not on the Irish Church Bill, not forty or fifty years ago, but upon a Welsh Disestablishment Bill, of which he was in charge, has laid it down that he does not regard the legislation of the Reformation as transferring the Endowments from the Church of Rome to the Church of England. Can one have a clearer statement or a clearer authority than that upon the point? Let me refer to a case, particularly opposite to this Amendment, from my own Constituency. The Endowment is a peculiar one. It is a very definite case. We have got the original grant of Endowment still in existence, and the original deed whereby the donor bought from two men in London this Endowment. He paid' to these men, Henry Best and John Wells, the sum of £l,558. He then, in a later deed, gave the Endowment to a church in Ruthin. In the clearest possible terms this is a private benefaction. Did it say anything about frankalmoigne or giving the gift to the whole community? The donor said he gave it on this condition: To maintain a minister, who should, as a condition of the trust, reside in the cloisters of St. Peter's Collegiate Church, Ruthin, and attend to church services for the parishioners of Ruthin and Llanrydd. These documents are still in existence and in the possession 1381 of certain people. They are dated in the reign of Elizabeth, early in the year 1592. This is a perfectly clear, private benefaction, and you propose to confiscate it under this Bill. I want to submit this, if the Home Secretary's speech at Pontypool stands, that surely this was given to maintain a minister according to the terms of the trust and according to the terms of the deed— to maintain a Church which has the same rights, the same doctrines, the same system, the same organisation, and the same government now as in the time when that trust was made. It has the same Prayer Book and the same thing in every way; yet you propose to confiscate it!
Everybody knows what happened at the time of the Reformation. A large amount of spoliation took place in Wales. A large portion of the tithe in Wales was taken away from religious objects and given over to secular purposes, as you propose to do in this Bill. Some of the individuals to whom money was given paid back these monastic Endowments; gave them back to the parish churches from which the monks had gone away, and where the ministry of religion had ceased. This was done in Wales. You are going to take all these post-Reformation Endowments and spend them, I suppose, on museums, libraries, and so forth. They were given so a Church with the same doctrines, rights, ceremonies, and Prayer Book as now— a Church carrying out the work which it has carried out. I wish now to come to the argument, "Co-extensive with the nation." There has been two sets of arguments from the other side of the House. One set repeated by the Under-Secretary and by the hon. Baronet the Member for Swansea was, "This property which you have is not yours; you ought not to continue using it, because it was given"— what for? It was given "in frankalmoigne, for masses for the dead." Other hon. Gentlemen get up and say, "This money was given for the use of the whole people of the parish." These arguments are absolutely mutually destructive. If this property was given for masses for the dead, for the soul of the individual donor, how can you come to this House and say it was given to the Church for the poor of the whole parish, for the benefit of everybody in the parish? The thing is perfectly ridiculous, and the arguments which have been used this afternoon in opposing this very reasonable Amendment are, as I say, mutually destructive. I think that the Church can claim to-day to be doing, 1382 according to its means, a national work, a work as co-extensive with the nation as is possible for a Church that has slender means. I maintain that in many parishes in Wales to-day, if it were not occasionally for political questions like this one coming up, that where there is no resident Nonconformist minister you would have Nonconformists going, as they do, in time of trouble to the minister of the Church. Dozens of cases were brought before the Royal Commission where the minister of the Church of Wales is regarded with the most friendly feelings by Nonconformists. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen roars and laughs.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
The hon. Member says it is not true that the minister of the Church of England is regarded with friendly feelings by the Nonconformists.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
Why, the clergy of the Church of Wales are ready to go if they are sent for by anybody, whether their own folk or people from outside. They perform what they believe to be a National Church work. I challenge the hon. Member to produce a single case, from North or South Wales, where a clergyman of the Established Church has refused spiritual consolation, or help, material or religious, according to his means, to any Nonconformist or any member, however poor, however humble, or however rich. The whole character of the parochial system, the whole way in which the Church is organised, indicates that the clergy are taught, are brought up to it, that their work is constituted on a national basis and that they are to fulfil a national work. If their ministrations are rejected that is not their fault. But wherever their ministrations are asked for, wherever they can do any good or help anyone, I maintain that the clergy of the Church in Wales fulfil that trust and that duty honourably and to the best of their ability.
Let me come to the Home Secretary's historical case, which is that a great schism began in 1662. It was a long time before that great schism showed very much signs in Wales. It was not until 1811, 149 years after, that there was any considerable proportion of Nonconformists amongst the population of Wales. Even the year of the preaching of Whitfield, which was followed or was contemporary with the great 1383 revival in the Church itself by Griffith Jones and people of that kind, there was no great schism in Wales, no feeling amongst Nonconformists against the Church. The Nonconformist congregations in the eighteenth century in Wales were very few, and were very slenderly attended. All through the eighteenth century, right down into the nineteenth, you find Nonconformists protesting their love and their adherence to the doctrines and to the traditions of their mother Church. It is a most extraordinary fallacy and an extraordinary misrepresentation to represent that in 1662, the Act of Uniformity, the third or fourth Act of Uniformity, created this great schism or great alteration in the Church. What was the position? The position was that in Wales particularly the Act of Uniformity was re-enacted and reaffirmed because the Cromwellian period had thrown the whole of the religious organisation of Wales into absolute chaos. What had happened? Ministers up and down the country had been sequestered, very often from purely political reasons, because they were loyal to Church and King. They were sequestered, benefices were left empty and nobody put in the place of the sequestered men; no services were held, thousands of pounds of Church money disappeared altogether. In two years the Commissioners of Accounts found that £19,000 out of £40,000 went and nobody knows what happened to it. If you read up the conditions of the parishes and the petitions sent up to this House at that time, you will see the absolute chaos there was in Wales. Not one minister of any denomination was ordained between 1644 and 1660. The Church was Disendowed and the whole thing thrown into utter chaos.
In 1662 the whole thing was reaffirmed, many of the clergy came back. In the diocese of St. Asaph how many were turned out? The records show that only one clergyman— Henry, the curate of Worthenburg in Flintshire, was turned out because of the Act of Uniformity. Two years after only this one curate had been turned out. The Under-Secretary, when I challenged him as to how many out of the 2,000 were rejected in Wales, said, "Oh, about a hundred." I asked him for the names of those hundred. I asked him to get even a rough estimate. We have been searching into these records, and we have not found twenty. I do submit 1384 that the whole of the representations, the whole of the attack, made upon the Church for the year 1662 rests upon not merely imperfect historical information, but upon the grossest travesty of the facts. One or two more points I would like to make. I do wish to bring forward one other date. I think it should be moved, because there are other earlier Endowments. I do want to submit that this question, this suggestion of concurrent Endowment, deserves more attention from the Government than the somewhat "pooh-poohing" remarks that it received. After all, what was the Under-Secretary's whole argument? It was that this money was once used for spiritual and religious purposes for the whole nation of Wales, and that those funds could no longer be used owing to the nature of things. We do want, in a time when Christian work, Christian pastoral work, Christian forward movements, Christian preaching and sacramental teaching of one kind or another is ardently needed to combat the rapid increase in the population and the very rapid change in the character of the community, and, above all, to combat the wave of doubt and difficulty, that that proposal of concurrent Endowment should receive more careful thought and treatment from the Government.
After all, nothing has struck me more recently than when reading the "Manchester Guardian" and other papers to see the position of the Welsh Nonconformist pulpit to-day. Various denominational conferences have been held, and it has been stated that there are great difficulties in the future of the work— difficulties intellectual, scientific, moral, social, economic. All these are aggravated in Wales to-day owing to the poverty of the country. These difficulties, we maintain, might be mitigated if Christian bodies did not run after any theological hares or in the preaching of new doctrines, but held before the people of Wales the banner of their ancient faith— not "the banner of the dawn," but the banner of their ancient faith, founded, if you like, upon the fundamental principles of the Celtic Church, the fundamental creeds and truths of Christianity. We hold that the money should be spent in the propagation of these truths and in the accomplishment of this work, and not upon Welsh museums, to be filled up with ostriches and things of that kind.
§ 7.0. P. M.
§ Mr. HINDS
I would not say anything in this Debate if it were not for the 1385 challenge which the hon. Member has just made. I only want to say that I did not mean to say anything in the way of disparagement in any shape or form on the Welsh clergy. What I want to say is this— I do not think it is exactly the place in this Debate and at this time to deal with this subject— it does not arise under this Clause — that Establishment and Endowment are the means of keeping the clergy and Nonconformist ministers from co-working in religious work. I suppose I am different to any other Member of the House, because I believe in the voluntary system. I am a voluntarist entirely. I think it is more Scriptural and healthy in every shape and form. I am proud of it, and I rejoice in the great work done by the missionary societies and the Churches in Wales. The Church in Wales is not so pagan as hon. Members opposite want us to believe. It is a remarkable thing that these Endowments were given to the Catholic churches and monasteries, and it is also a remarkable thing that since the decay of Catholicism the gifts to the Church practically ceased. Since 1662 the total Endowments given to the Churches, although they have numbers of wealthy landowners, amounted to less than £20,000. The Bishop of St. David's admitted that in 511 incumbencies out of 983, not a penny of Endowment was given since 1662, yet the class which has been so niggardly in supporting the Church professes to be deeply interested in our spiritual welfare. I am proud of the work Nonconformity has done through the free offerings of our people. I hold religion so dear that religious men must part with money and everything for the propagation of religious truth and worship.
§ Mr. HOARE
It is very interesting to find that there is at least one voluntarist left in this House. I venture to remind the hon. Member who has just spoken that the policy, I believe without any exception, of the prominent Nonconformist denominations at the present moment is, as far as I understand it, not to discredit Endowment but to encourage Endowment. I have been very much struck during the course of this Debate by one fact. It was stated by an hon. Gentleman opposite that he believed that an impartial body of jurists would be a very proper assembly to settle the question of historic origin. It seems to me that if this Debate has proved anything at all it 1386 has proved the fact that this House, suited as it is for many purposes, is quite unsuited for discussing historical details of great complexity that need the greatest expert education, and cannot be settled by merely throwing across the floor of the House extracts from particular historians drawn away from their context, and very likely in their original place, proving the exact opposite of what we are asked to believe here. I am tired of these extracts thrown from one side or another, to prove facts which really can only be settled by the most careful and minute inquiry, and I venture to urge the adoption of the suggestion made by Dr. Meyer, I believe both on the platform and in the Press, that questions of historical detail of this kind should be settled by an impartial body of jurists or an impartial body of some kind or another.
Let me go back to the explicit object of this Amendment. The explicit object is to omit the date 1662 and to substitute in its place "at any time." I listened with very great interest to the speech of the Under-Secretary and to the explanation he endeavoured to give as to why 1662 had been selected as the particular date. I own that after his speech I was left in complete doubt as to why this particular year, this annus mirabilis has been selected. He suggested that in that year the Act of Uniformity was passed for the second time, and that the Act of Uniformity differed from what we always imagined it to be, and that it was really an Act of land transfer from one body to another. That is an explanation of the Act of Uniformity that I heard for the first time, and I venture to think, if the question was referred to a body of historians of any kind or description, they would not agree for one moment with his judgment as to the Act of Uniformity. It seems to me that the date 1662 is absolutely arbitrary, and I am borne out by the fact that on the last occasion when a Welsh Disestablishment Bill was introduced into the House of Commons the date taken was not 1662, but I believe was 1703, the year when Queen Anne was born. [An HON. MEMBER: "No, no."] My hon. Friend corrects me. He is right. Let me take rather the year 1714, the year when Queen Anne died. They would be equally well justified in taking the year 1863, when I believe the Chancellor of the Exchequer was born. Surely some further explanation is necessary as to why this year has 1387 been selected, and I hope that when the Home Secretary speaks, as I have no doubt he will before the Debate comes to an end, he will give some further explanation as to why the year 1662 has been selected, and also of the fact mentioned by the Under-Secretary that 100 clergy had been driven from Benefices which we believe they wrongly occupied in that particular year.
I have been struck by another feature of this Debate. Hon. Members opposite have quoted from authorities to prove what they are anxious to prove that a breach took place in the continuity of the English Church in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries. I own that again is an arguable question that could best be settled by historical experts, but it does seem to me to be altogether inconsistent that Nonconformists should hold such a view of history, and should come here and quote the extreme ultramontane and Papist views— I say that in no offensive sense at all— of English history that this breach took place, and that a new body came into existence and the old body ceased to exist. It seems to me altogether inconsistent for those hon. Gentlemen who on other questions take exactly opposite views, that to come here and quote historians like the Abbot Gasquet and other well-known Roman controversialists to prove that the Roman Catholic view is right, and that a breach took place, and that the old Church no longer exists to-day. My hon. Friend the Member for Denbigh quoted a case of an Endowment which took place since this supposed breach happened. I do not admit for one moment that the conditions were in any essential different from what they are to-day. I believe the case he quoted is even more apposite than he made it out. I believe that particular Endowment consisted of two parts. In the first part there is the Endowment to the Church, and in the second place there is an Endowment of a grammar school. I ventured to draw attention to it on the Second Beading Debate. By what process of reasoning can you show in the one case— the case when the Endowment goes to the Church— it was not a private benefaction, and in the case of the grammar school that it was a private benefaction?
Take another case which I ventured to bring to the notice of the Committee a fortnight ago. It is the well-known case of a donation and legacy by George 1388 Barlow, in 1640, to certain parishes in Pembrokeshire. The year 1640 was before the year 1662, at the time of which private benefaction is supposed to begin. Now, in that year in the legacy it is explicitly stated that this individual George Barlow, left the tithe rent-charge which he possessed to certain parishes in Wales. In 1640, Nonconformists were in existence in some considerable numbers. [An HON. MEMBER: "NO."] Let me remind the hon. Member of the Independents, who, I believe, were the predecessors of the Congregationalists, who were a considerable body both in England and Wales at that time. Secondly, let me remind him that the English Church in 1640 was very much what it is to-day. I believe Church historians will agree with me when I say that the views held by the Anglican episcopate at that time were very much what the views are which are to-day held by the bishops of the English Church. By what process of reasoning can you say that this donation in 1640, left in explicit terms to particular parishes, was not a private benefaction? I ask the right hon. Gentleman to deal with that explicitly, and to explain to the Committee by what process of reasoning you can say that George Barlow, when he left his property to the parishes set out in the documents, to which any hon. Member can refer in the diocese of St. David's, did not intend to leave it to the Church, and did intend to leave it to the community. And to go outside cases which refer to the Church, suppose, for instance, you apply your definition of private benefactions to hospitals. Take the case of the oldest hospital in London, St. Bartholomew's. It was founded at a date prior to 1662. At the time it was founded it was the only hospital in London. If you really adopt the principle of this Bill you must say that the funds left to St. Bartholomew's Hospital in the thirteenth century, when there was only one institution, were not private funds, and now should go to all the hospitals that have grown up in the London area since that period. Cases of that kind exist to a considerable degree, and they show how extraordinarily a inconsistent and arbitrary the Government are in taking a particular year like 1662, and saying that at that date private benefactions began, and that until that time individuals had intended to leave their funds to the community. Whoever heard of anybody leaving their funds to the community? You might just as well expect 1389 hon. Members here to leave their money to the London County Council to reduce the rates. Instances might be multiplied to a large extent to show how arbitrary the Government are in taking a particular date, and saying at that time private benefactions began. I appeal to the Home Secretary to deal with the two particular cases which I have brought to his notice, because both of those legacies would be confiscated under the arbitrary distinction which the Government have adopted, and I should like to know by what process of reason they can justify that proposal.
Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
I do not rise for the purpose of taking part in this Debate, but I am anxious to remove an impression which was created inadvertently by the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) who, referring to the origin of tithes, went somewhat into the early history of the Catholic Church. The hon. Member took this book which I now have in my hand and read a passage from it which purported to be an epitome of the decree of Pope Celestine III., and he asserted that that decree authorised the payment of tithes not only of wine, grains, fruits, and other matters, and that there? was in the decree an authoritythat the poor who beg about the streets are obliged to pay one-tenth of all the alms they get, and common women likewise a part of their infamous gain.The statement that was part of a decree of this Pope created a painful impression amongst many hon. Members on these benches, who were somewhat startled by the statement, which was entirely unexpected. I asked the hon. Member for Pontefract if he would be kind enough to allow me to look at this authority, and he was good enough to do so, and handed me this book. I find that this book, instead of containing a copy of the alleged decree of Pope Celestine III. was on the contrary a treatise by an Italian Priest, Father Paul, who had separated from the Catholic Church. It was translated by a Mr. Tobias Jenkins, and illustrated with notes by a Gentleman of the name of Amelot de la Houssaye. I find that the statement that startled us did not purport to be taken from the decree of the Pope, but having enumerated the articles upon which tithe should be paid in the decree, the writer or author of the book goes on to say that certain Canonists appear to have gone much further, and then the statement to which we somewhat objected is referred to. The hon. Member for Pontefract has been good enough to ask me to 1390 make this correction, and it is quite clear that it is an erroneous impression to have created that this was part of Pope Celestine's decree or the decree of any other Pope. I only rose to make that explanation, because I thought it was necessary to do so in view of the painful impression that was made by the mistake. Several references have been made this afternoon to the position of members of the Catholic Church in this Debate, but I am glad to say, and we are all glad to know, that this controversy has been conducted without any references to which the members of our faith could take the slightest objection, and therefore it was that the apparent departure from that in this case created an unpleasant impression which I hope has now been entirely removed.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I confess to a feeling of surprise that the Home Secretary has not thought it right to intervene in this Debate. This is a matter of the greatest possible importance. A great deal might have been said on this subject on this side of the House, and it would have been more courteous if the Government had put up one of their Members to make some kind of answer to our arguments. The Clause with which we are dealing is one which provides that private benefactions shall, in certain circumstances be free from the Disendowment Clauses of this Bill. It sets up, therefore, that however clear and distinct a line is drawn between private benefactions and the other Endowments of the Church, it proposes to confine exemptions to those private benefactions which came into existence since 1662. I want shortly to direct the attention of the Committee to the only case which has been put forward in the whole course of the Debate in defence of the date being 1662. The Under-Secretary made a speech in the early part of the Debate, and without wishing to say anything offensive to the other interesting speeches we have had from the other side, I may say that I do not think they produced any arguments which were essentially different from what we have already heard except the arguments used by the hon. Member for Swansea, which have been adequately dealt with already. I will take the arguments of the Under-Secretary for the Home Department as the basis of the case made on the other side. The hon. Member laid down three propositions. He said in the first place that in dealing with Endowments the source of the gift was not as important as its purpose.
1391 His second proposition was that before the Act of Uniformity of 1662 all gifts were to the community on its spiritual side. His third proposition was that the Act of Uniformly of 1662 was a Parliamentary settlement of the property, and therefore he thought it could be reversed. Let me take those propositions in their order. The hon. Member says that the source of the gift is not so important as the purpose for which it is destined. I really must ask the Home Secretary whether he assents to that proposition, because it is really in the teeth and destructive of the whole arguments upon which the right hon. Gentleman based his defence of the Disendowment Clauses of this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has said over and over again what he said at Bristol that, of course, Parliament has the legal right to do anything, but its moral right to Disendow the Welsh Church depends on the fact that tithe was a tax imposed by the State, and was not a voluntary gift. His whole case has always rested on that proposition, and every hon. Member on the other side of the House will know with what insistence the defenders of this Bill rested their case that tithe was a tax originally imposed by the State, like any other tax; and that, therefore, they had a complete right to deal with it as with any other tax, and if they desired to apply it to a different purpose then the previous beneficiaries of that tax have no right to complain. Is that argument maintained or has it been abandoned? If that is the basis of your Disendowment policy, why not accept this Amendment, because it cannot do you any harm? If your basis is that tithe is a tax, and if you cannot show that that is so, you are bound to assent to our proposition that your Disendowment Clause is utterly unjust. The Under-Secretary said that this Amendment meant the practical destruction of all the Disendowment part of this Bill.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
What I said was that the hon. Member who moved this Amendment said his intention was to do away with Disendowment altogether.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The hon. Gentleman now says that that is our intention, but does the hon. Member agree that that would be the effect of it?
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Then why does he object to it? I think we are entitled to know from the Home Secretary what is 1392 the attitude he now takes up. Does he still stand where he did? Does he still stand to what has been called his freak theory of Welsh tithes? He says that we are not to go into the source. I have always put forward the view that the great strength of the case for the Endowments of the Church is their long possession and their useful and beneficial employment. I am assuming that that is right. I am assuming that all Endowments before 1662 were given to the community and to the Church as a Church. I am not going to repeat the arguments put by several speakers on this side as to the fallacy of that doctrine. I must say, personally, that I could not myself have devised any phrase which would seem to me more appropriate to describe what was done in reference to these tithes than to say that they were given to the Church as a Church. I should have thought that that described exactly what was done. Suppose, for a moment, that the Under-Secretary is right, and that they were given in all cases to the community on its spiritual side. Why, in heaven's name, is that a justification for taking them all away? I can understand that it might lead up to a proposal for concurrent Endowment, but upon what possible ground can you say that this is money and property given to the community on its spiritual side and is not being used by the community for spiritual purposes? Surely it is not suggested that a part, at any rate, of these spiritual purposes was not the preaching of Christianity. Surely that was the main part, whatever view you take. How, in heaven's name, can you justify taking away the whole of those Endowments from religious purposes because you say a part of the community for which they were originally given no longer wishes for the particular form of Christianity to which they are now applied? I say it is utterly impossible to maintain that view. The hon. Member for Swansea (Sir A. Mond) has another view on that subject. He thinks concurrent Endowments is logically a very defensible proposal, but, he says, the Nonconformists will not have it. I should have thought the proper conclusion from those two observations was this: Leave to the Church, at any rate, so much of the Endowments as would belong to her if you had carried out a scheme of concurrent Endowments, and let the Nonconformists give their portion of concurrent Endowments to baths and wash-houses, if they prefer it.
§ Sir A. MOND
I think the Noble Lord, if he will look at the whole scheme of concurrent Endowments, which includes Church buildings and parsonages, will see the Church under this scheme is left with a great deal more than she would have under concurrent Endowments.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The hon. Member thinks the buildings might have been perfectly justly sold and the proceeds devoted to the upkeep of baths and wash-houses.
§ Sir A. MOND
The Noble Lord's point, as I understand, was that under concurrent Endowments the whole of the property would be divided among the different religious denominations, and my reply was that Church buildings and parsonages would then logically be divided in the same manner as the other funds.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I thought it was common ground that the churches and the parsonages were to be left to the Church.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
And that we were only dealing in this Bill with so much of the Endowments as might be regarded as national property. I did not know the hon. Member was prepared to say the churches were national property,
§ Sir A. MOND
I said, if you adopted concurrent Endowments, you could not logically get away from the proposition that the buildings were to be distributed in the same way as the funds.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
That is entirely new. It does the hon. Member's readiness great credit, but it was not at all the theory he advanced, and it depends upon his having the courage, which he has not yet shown, to say "Aye" or "No," whether he regards the Churches as national property. If he will undertake to go and preach in Swansea that the Churches are national property, and are as much at the mercy of the State as any other Endowments of the Church, then he is entitled to make use of the argument, but of course he knows very few even of his own supporters would tolerate such a contention for a moment. Therefore, that part of the argument must be left on one 1394 side. Then comes the third and final proposition of the Under-Secretary. He says that in 1662— and he made a great deal of this— owing to the statutory confirmation of the Prayer Book there was a fresh Grant by the State of the present Endowments of the Church to the Church. I understood him to say that was a transfer of property. If I am not stating it rightly, let me be corrected.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
I said the Act of Uniformity lays down certain conditions. There must be consent and assent to the Book of Common Prayer. Having made those matters of opinion absolutely necessary for the holding of this property, I say that was in effect doing by indirect means the same thing as if in fact the property had been transferred directly.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I do not think I misquoted the hon. Gentleman. He says that in effect it amounted to a transfer of property to the Church. That is to say, it was a fresh Grant by the State of the Endowments of the Church. That is what it amounts to, and I agree with him to some extent.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
The Act of Uniformity said, "If you believe the same things the former Church believed, you can no longer hold this property. You must believe A, B and C." It was a tenure by test.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The hon. Gentleman seems now to desire to escape from his argument, but it is perfectly clear that even now he says the State in 1662 said, "Those people who accept this Prayer Book shall be entitled to this property." That is what he says was the effect of the Act of 1662. The test of their title to this property was the acceptance of the Prayer Book.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
You shall not be entitled to a continuance of the property unless you adopt the Prayer Book.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Then it is a confirmation by the State of the title of the Church to this property so long as it assented to the Prayer Book, and I say, accepting that to the full as true, it is absolutely destructive of the whole previous arguments of the hon. Gentleman, 1395 because here, according to the hon. Gentleman, is a formal, solemn Act of the State, after the existence of Nonconformity, when, as he says, it was possible to single out the Church from other religious bodies in England, and give to it property, not because it was the Established Church, but because it "was a body which held certain doctrines, confirming property to it because it held certain doctrines. I say, if that stood alone, it is the strongest Parliamentary title you could possibly conceive to this property. I am amazed at the views hon. Members hold on this question. Some of them sit constantly on Private Bill Committees. I have had the pleasure in times past of practising before a number of Private Bill Committees, and I venture to say this Bill would be instantly thrown, out on the promoters' case. Indeed, the moment counsel got up and explained that the purpose of the Bill was to take property from a religious body which has enjoyed it by Parliamentary title for 250 years, not because it had failed in its duty or because the Endowments were excessive, but merely because another religious body desired that it should not any longer possess that property, any Private Bill Committee would refuse to listen to his argument any longer. I would take the four most vehement Welsh Nonconformists as my Private Bill Committee. I would ask them to sit in a judicial spirit in a room upstairs, and I venture to say they would throw this Bill out with quite as great indignation and quite as much conviction as if I were to collect four Churchmen and landowners from the benches around me. That is the view I take about this Bill.
Is it not perfectly clear the object of this Bill is to get hold of the Endowments somehow? Is it not clear, if you look at the history of it, that the decision has been taken first "We must have the Endowment," and the reason has been invented afterwards. Take any one particular Endowment and you will find the reasons given for taking that Endowment are entirely inconsistent with and different from the reasons given for taking any other Endowment. Tithe is national property given by the Norman Barons, given for the community, a tax imposed. It must be taken on that ground. That is one reason. When you come to glebe, no one can pretend anything of the kind. No one can pretend glebe was given by the State or 1396 by the Norman Barons or was imposed as a tax or anything of the kind. You must invent something entirely different. Glebe was given in order to pray for the dead, or as the Under-Secretary said, as the dowry of the Church, and, since you cannot any longer pray for the dead in the English Church, we will take glebe. That is an entirely different view, and has nothing to do with the community. Queen Anne's Bounty neither supports prayers for the dead nor is national property, nor was it given before the Church was divided. We must have a new reason for taking that. It is to be taken because it is given by Act of Parliament; and so on. Whatever particular thing you mention, there is a new reason invented totally inconsistent with any other reason, and invented merely because you have already arrived at your conclusion that you must take the property of the Church somehow.
We were asked by the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Silvester Home) to believe there was no hostility to the Church in this Bill. Does he still think that is a credible belief after the debates we have had lately? Let him apply himself in an impartial spirit to the course of these Debates since we have been in Committee. Let him consider the Amendments we have presented, one after the other. Let him remember that on the first Clause we asked for an enlargement of the date, and it was refused; that we were not allowed to discuss Clause 2 at all; that on Clause 3 we asked that our Church Courts should be left, and it was refused; that on Clause 4 hon. Members on the opposite side of the House asked for some mitigation of the Disendowment provisions, and that was refused; and that yesterday we asked that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners should have the power, only the power, to make Grants from English resources to the Welsh Church, and that was refused. It is absurd to tell me there is no hostility to the Church. Every alleviation has been refused. We knew it would be so. We knew quite well that the spirit which animates hon. Members opposite is to injure the Church, and that is the object of the Bill. I should be as greatly guilty of hypocrisy as some of them if I tried to conceal that fact from the Committee.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I should be quite willing to join with the Noble Lord in an appeal to my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich, and I should also like to recall to him precisely the same facts as the Noble Lord has recalled. The Noble Lord 1397 says that on Clause 1 they asked for an extension of time and we refused it. On the contrary, we gave it.
§ Mr. McKENNA
He says no opportunity was allowed them for Debate on Clause 2. Why? Because they insisted on occupying a considerable amount of time in debating an Instruction which was solely for the purpose of giving relief to landlords who pay tithe. Yesterday, he says, I was asked to give power to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to make Grants to the Disestablished Church, and I refused it. I refused it for the reasons I have explained. I understood, perhaps erroneously, that it was not the desire of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners that such an extension should be given, but I undertook to insert this power on Report if I were asked to do so by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The Committee know what has been the tone and temper of this Debate. Every hon. Member knows whence the heat, the objurgations, and the attacks on the Bill have emanated. Hon. Members on both sides can form their own opinion as to that. Personally, I can say I have said and done nothing in the course of this Debate which ought, in the opinion of any fair-minded man, to raise the heat of controversy for a single moment.
I turn now to the question of our refusal to consider the Amendment to-day. What is the issue upon this Amendment? Clause 7 has not been, except by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, kept in mind in the course of this Debate. What does Clause 7 do? It sets aside one class of property, and it says that property coming within that class shall not be alienated. That is what Clause 7 does. As regards the property which hon. Members desire should not be alienated, every item of that can, and I assume will be, discussed on Clause 8. But Clause 7 says that certain properties shall not be alienated from the Church. How is that property defined? The property not to be alienated is defined as private benefactions. How are private benefactions defined? They are defined as property given out of a private person's resources since 1662. But that is not the whole of the Clause. The Committee must remember it is declared in this Clause that any property which has come into the possession of the Church since 1662, the origin of which is not known, shall be deemed to be private property. What would be the 1398 effect of putting in this Amendment? The Noble Lord the Member for Newton (Viscount Wolmer) challenges us as to why we are not willing to submit this point to the Law Courts. What should we be submitting to the Law Courts? That all ancient property, the origin of which cannot be definitely proved, shall be deemed to be private benefactions, and shall not be alienated from the Church. We should go into the Courts of Law with that definition against us, wherever the origin could not be definitely proved, no matter what the historical probabilities were; if the original donor cannot be proved, the property is to be deemed, under the Bill, to be a private benefaction, and is to remain the property of the Church. It is quite obvious that what we have done in Clause 7 is something we have done in the interests of the Church. But do not let any hon. Member say hereafter that I am claiming to be generous or asking for gratitude. I am making no such claim. After all, a Committee of this House is a business Committee. We have to deal with property; we divide it into categories. First, we have taken the private benefactions, which we leave to the Church.
Why have we taken the date 1662? I quite agree that in some senses it is an arbitrary date. In the Bill of 1895 the original date was 1703, but, in the Debates in the House that year, a strong argument was put forward that an earlier date should be taken, and, as a concession to those arguments advanced by hon. Gentlemen who then sat on those benches, the date of 1662 was accepted, and when we reintroduced the Bill we reintroduced it in the form in which it went through Committee of this House in 1895. But the adoption of 1662 does not preclude any other Endowments. Why did we take that as the date subsequent to which gifts should be deemed to be private benefactions, whatever their source may have been? Because that date has been considered by eminent Victorians to mark the most decisive time of any Act of Establishment in the whole history of the Church of England. That is the main reason. It is quite true other reasons can be found. We could have taken 1542, or 1559, or 1689, or 1702, but we have adopted 1662. This is really, in essence, a matter of machinery to determine what property shall pass to the Church of England without question as to whence it came. Tomorrow, when we are discussing Clause 8, we can deal in detail with tithes, and my views on that I shall be 1399 most happy to defend. We shall also discuss the glebe, Queen Anne's Bounty and various other items in which the Endowments of the Church of England now exist. I hope we may be allowed, after this lengthy Debate, which has covered a very wide field, embracing Clause 8 to Clause 18, to take a Division upon the issue— the only issue— that a definite date shall be put into this Bill, after which property, whether the original donor is known or not, shall be deemed to be private benefactions, and not alienated from the Church.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
I have no doubt the speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman was quite necessary as an answer to the speech of the Noble Lord who has just resumed his seat. But I venture to say that those who have watched this Debate from the beginning of this afternoon will consider that there are some general propositions connected with the Amendment now before the House that require at least some little further discussion. We had this afternoon two of the most remarkable speeches delivered during the discussion, one by the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Walter Roch), and the other by the Noble Lord, the Member for Oxford University (Lord Hugh Cecil). I venture to say that those two speeches raised this discussion to a level which the Debate had not previously attained. I want for a moment or two to remind the House, which is now much fuller than when those speeches were delivered, what was the policy of those speeches. I am not going to repeat them. I am only going to deal with one phase of the discussion initiated by the Noble Lord. I have had an opportunity, and I daresay many other hon. Members have had, of considering this subject in the rural districts of the country and especially in the country which is immediately involved, and one gets a fairer idea of what it is that makes this demand so persistent as it has been in the Principality of Wales. It is confessed that in order to bring this Bill into proper focus it would be necessary to have two Bills, one for Disestablishment and one for Disendowment, which could have been separately debated in this House. Unfortunately, however, it has been decided otherwise, and, therefore, that point is no longer open for discussion. Those of us who hold mixed views on the subject, as I do, find ourselves in considerable difficulty, and, for 1400 one reason I am pleased there is a guillotine, because it allows recalcitrant Members to put their spoke in the wheel unless their views are given some chance of expression. I have taken this opportunity of expressing my view.
I agree with Disestablishment because I believe to place a certain section of the community in a privileged position with reference to religious affairs creates a peculiar situation of antagonism in the religious life of the community, a position which it is necessary to get rid of. But we are discussing an entirely different subject to-day, and that is how far we should not only Disestablish the Church but how far we should Disendow it and take its property, which has been used for religious purposes, and devote it to secular purposes. It is not the amount of the property that is under discussion, but the point is what kind of property shall continue to be in the hands of the Church for these purposes. I venture to suggest to those who have been discussing this subject, and especially to my Welsh Friends that they would make this Bill more acceptable to Members of this House and to people in the country if on the monetary side they did not drive their bargain quite so hard as they are doing. I look at it in this way. I am bound to confess as a representative of Labour, a section of the community which is greatly interested in this subject, that there is no getting away from the fact that the average working class is probably the most religious section of the community. It is most swayed by religious sentiment. It is most concerned with religious institutions and no man who pretends to represent that section of the community can do other than admit that fact. Therefore we are concerned in this Bill to a very great extent, and I am going to give expression to our views on this subject, views which have not been given expression to before in the course of these Debates. I wish to point out how an intelligent workman looks upon this matter. We notice that the whole motive power that rules the world is a peculiar soulless materialism—ethics, right, justice, and mercy seem to be only secondary considerations in, as it were, the motive force that guides human affairs to-day, and the only one ethical fact in our human organism that is left, which gives the lie to that, and throws itself athwart that universal tendency to-day— the only one institution is our religious organisation. 1401 Instead of attempting in the slightest degree to weaken all these organisations, we should do all that We possibly can to strengthen them. When one considers the subject of the Established Church in Wales even for a moment or two, one notices that the whole sum of money involved in the question of Disendowment in the Principality—the whole of the money that is devoted by the State to religious purposes, which ought to be the most important affairs of the nation—is possibly less than the income of a great colliery proprietor or a great landowner in the Principality. It has been suggested by previous speakers that if you object to these funds being diverted from the Church and used for the purposes indicated in this Bill, you must concurrently endow the other religious bodies and organisations. I hope there is some mid-way between those two points. I quite see that the Disendowment problem is a difficult one which you cannot shirk entirely, for the simple reason that you find parishes in Wales where all the work is on one side, while all the souls to be saved are on the other, and that you cannot allow an institution which seems to have but very little authority or power to direct the religious life of the community to retain the whole of the monetary power, while the others have to struggle along as best they can on the voluntary contributions of very poor persons. Therefore, I admit there is considerable difficulty in deciding upon Disestablishment without to some extent rearranging the economic relations of the different Churches and religious organisations in the country. But surely it does not pass the wit of man to devise some means by which, while Disendowing the Church so far as it is proved not to require the Endowments it now
§ possesses, the Endowments may be used for the purpose of assisting religion.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member will have his opportunity of raising that point on a subsequent Clause, where we definitely deal with what is to be done with these particular funds.
§ Mr. J. WARD
I hope that that will be so. The only reason I took this opportunity is a fear that I might be excluded, as I have been on many occasions, by failing to take one chance, because the other never came. Considering the area the discussion has covered, and the probability that the Division will be immediately taken, I think I should not be out of order in finishing the observations I wish to make. The sum total of them is that I object, in this utilitarian, materialistic age, to funds that have been previously used for the religious life of the nation being devoted to any other purpose than its religious life. I do not dispute that at present the funds may be in the wrong hands in the case of the Church in Wales, but I should have thought that there is some means by which Churchmen and Nonconformists themselves can meet together, and that while Disestablishing the Church and reducing it to equality with the other Churches in the Principality, and then Disendowing the Church to the fullest extent, at the same time the religious leaders of the community could secure that the funds which have hitherto been solely devoted to spiritual purposes might still be retained for those purposes.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 144; Noes, 271.1405
|Division No. 462.]||AYES.||[8.9 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Dixon, C. H.|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Bull, Sir William James||Doughty, Sir George|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.|
|Anstruther-Gray., Major William||Campion, W. R.||Falle, Bertram Godfray|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Fell, Arthur|
|Balcarres, Lord||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Finlay, Rt. Hon, Sir Robert|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cassel, Felix||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Castlereagh, Viscount||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Cator, John||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Cautley, Henry Strother||Fleming, Valentine|
|Barnston, Harry||Cave, George||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)|
|Barrie, H. T.||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Gardner, Ernest|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Cecil, Lord R.(Herts, Hitchin)||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Gibbs, George Abraham|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Courthope, George Loyd||Gilmour, Captain John|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Bigland Alfred||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)|
|Bird Alfred||Craik, Sir Henry||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Blair, Reginald||Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Croft, H. P.||Gretton, John|
|Boyton, James||Denniss, E. R. B.||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)|
|Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. s.)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Hamersley, Alfred St. George||MacCaw, Win. J. MacGeagh||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Magnus, Sir Philip||Stewart, Gershom|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Malcolm, Ian||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Mount, William Arthur||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Hills, John Waller||Newman, John R. P.||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Hoare, S. J. G.||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Touche, George Alexander|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Nield, Herbert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Ward, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Horner, Andrew Long||Parkes, Ebenezer||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Hume-Williams, W. E.||Peel, Captain R. F.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Hunt, Rowland||Perkins, Walter F.||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Winterton, Earl|
|Kerry, Earl of||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Randies, Sir John S.||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Larmor, Sir J.||Remnant, James Farquharson||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Royds, Edmund|
|Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Evelyn Cecil and Col. Williams.|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Devlin, Joseph||Helme, Sir Norval Watson|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Dickinson, W. H.||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Adamson, William||Donolan, Captain A.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Doris, William||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Duffy, William J.||Henry, Sir Charles|
|Arnold, Sydney||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Hinds, John|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Hodge, John|
|Barnes, G. N.||Elverston, Sir Harold||Hogge, James Myles|
|Barton, William||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Holmes, Daniel Turner|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Bentham, G. J.||Essex, Richard Walter||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)|
|Bethell, Sir J.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Black, Arthur W.||Falconer, James||Hudson, Walter|
|Boland, John Plus||Farrell, James Patrick||Hughes, S. L.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Ruins|
|Bowerman, C. W,||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||John, Edward Thomas|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Ffrench, Peter||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea)|
|Brace, William||Field, William||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvll)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Fitzgibbon, John||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||France, Gerald Ashburner||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Gilhooly, James||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Ginnell, Laurence||Joyce, Michael|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Keating, Matthew|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Glanville, H. J.||Kellaway, Frederick George|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Goldstone, Frank||Kilbride, Denis|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||King, J. (Somerset, North)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Greig, Col. J. W.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Griffith, Ellis J.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'ld, Cockerm'th)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Leach, Charles|
|Clough, William||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Clynes, John R.||Hackett, John||Lundon, Thomas|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Lynch, A. A.|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Hancock, J. G.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||McGhee, Richard|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Hardie, J. Keir||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Crean, Eugene||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Crooks, William||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Cullinan, John||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)|
|Davies, Fills William (Eifion)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs, Louth)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Manfield, Harry|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hayden, John Patrick||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Hayward, Evan||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Dawes, J. A.||Hazleton, Richard||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.|
|Meagher, Michael||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Philipps, Cot. Ivor (Southampton)||Snowden, Philip|
|Millar, James Duncan||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Molloy, Michael||Pointer, Joseph||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Mond, Sir Alfred||Power, Patrick Joseph||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Mooney, John J.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Sutton, John E.|
|Morgan, George Hay||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Morrell, Philip||Priestley, Sir W. E. (Bradford)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Morison, Hector||Primrose, Hon. Neil James||Thomas, James Henry|
|Muldoon, John||Pringle, William M. R.||Thome, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Munro, R.||Radford, G. H.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Needham, Christopher T.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Reddy, M.||Wadsworth, J.|
|Nolan, Joseph||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Nuttall, Harry||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Richards, Thomas||Wardle, George J.|
|O'Brien, William (Cork)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Roberts, Charles H, (Lincoln)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Webb, H.|
|O'Donnell, Thomas||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|O'Dowd, John||Robinson, Sidney||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Ogden, Fred||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|O'Grady, James||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicktow, W.)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wiles, Thomas|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Rowlands, James||Wilkie, Alexander|
|O'Malley, William||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thoams W.||William, John (Glamorgan)|
|O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Shee, James John||Scanlan, Thomas||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|O'Sullivan, Timothy||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Young, W. Perthshire, E.)|
|Outhwaite, B. L.||Sheehy, David|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I beg to move to leave out the words "out of his private resources."
I move this for the purpose of asking a question and eliciting the opinion of the Government as to the meaning of these words. They appear to be words of limitation. I do not understand why there should be this limitation. Surely all that is necessary is to make it clear that any gifts made by any person, whoever he may be, whether a private individual or, as I understand, a corporation or public company, since a certain date shall be regarded as a private benefaction. I am rather afraid if these words are left in they may limit the character of the person who may be held to have made the private benefaction. For example, it is not only a case of property given by private individuals. There have been many cases where corporations or big public companies have built and endowed churches. In the year 1827 the well-known Tredegar Company in Wales built and endwed a church, and similarly, two years later, another church was built and endowed in the same district by the Rhymney Company. If these words are left in, will it have the effect of excluding gifts of that sort which have been made by persons who in this case are 1406 public companies? It might be held that the words "private resources" referred to the private property of individuals. There-I think we ought to make it perfectly clear that it is not the intention of the Government to exclude such gifts as I have indicated. Of course, these gifts are of frequent occurrence. We do not want to exclude gifts of that sort, and as I am rather afraid they may be excluded if the words remain, I beg to move their omission.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The hon. Member will remember that in 1895 there was a very similar Clause to this. It ran:—Any property which consists of, or is the produce of, or is or has been provided from property given by any private person out of his own resources.Objection was properly taken to those words upon the very ground put forward now by the hon. Member, that the effect might be to exclude the gifts of a trading company. In Committee, by general agreement, the form of the 1895 Bill was altered into the form which has been adopted now because, after discussion, it was held that the words as they now stand would not exclude such property as that given by the Tredegar Company. On the other hand, we must have some words of 1407 this kind in the Bill, because, if we did not, it would clearly include the gifts of Queen Anne's Bounty and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and, although we are informed "by those bodies that their gifts to the Welsh Church will be renewed to the Disestablished Church, still in the form of the Bill, we revest in those bodies the money which they have bestowed, out of their English resources, upon the English Church in Wales. The conclusion we have come to is that the form in which the Bill now stands would meet the hon. Member's objection, and would, at the same time, safeguard the rights of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty. I hope, with this explanation, the hon. Member will be satisfied to leave the Clause as it stands.
§ Sir A. GRIFF1TH-BOSCAWEN
If the Home Secretary tells me that these words are sufficient to safeguard the gifts of corporations that is sufficient for me, though it is not quite true that last time, which I remember very well, all of us were quite satisfied that the words were sufficient. I admit they were an alteration, and probably an improvement on the words of the old Bill. If the words are omitted, Queen Anne's Bounty and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners grants would be constituted private benefactions, and I should be very glad if that were so. At the same time, I fully realise that this is not the proper place to raise it. However, I understand it is not the intention of the Government to take away funds given by private trading companies.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. FRANCE
I beg to move after the word "purposes" ["to be applied to ecclesiastical purposes"], to insert the words "granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners or Queen Anne's Bounty to meet an equivalent grant by any person out of his private resources."
In moving this Amendment the Committee will quite clearly understand that I accept loyally the decision arrived at last Friday, although it was numerically significant, and I have no wish whatever to attempt to reopen that question at this stage. In arguing that the funds referred to in this Amendment, those funds which were granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners or Queen Anne's Bounty to meet an equivalent Grant by any person 1408 out of his private resources, stand in an entirely different category from the tithe rent-charge, which I recognise, and always have recognised, constitutes an old and a continuous agreement, I do not want it to be thought that in any way I am going back on the decision of Friday. I noticed on Friday some slight annoyance on the part of the Home Secretary that I did not produce more figures and arguments in support of the proposition I then made. Possibly that annoyance was occasioned by the fact that a stock of ammunition carefully acquired, was not necessary on that occasion, because then the proposal was to take a lump sum of £47,000. I can, however, assure the Home Secretary that I did know how this sum was made up, and the details of which it was composed. I deliberately then took my stand, not on the legal right, but on the policy and motive I had been advocating. I confess I am somewhat apprehensive in going into details, because I was warned by the Home Secretary that as soon as my figures were stated, they would be fired at by him or some other Member. I am most anxious to give reasons, so far as I am able to find them, and to give figures in support of the proposition to which I have referred, but I must candidly confess—and I think the Home Secretary will to some extent agree with me—that it is not easy to find the exact figures represented by this Amendment. That is to say, although it is not difficult to find the figures in which they are included, it is not easy to find the exact proportion represented by sums granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Queen Anne's Bounty. This Amendment seeks to add to the private benefactions of recent date, as provided for in the Bill, the sums added to meet them; that is to say, either to stimulate or assist them, or, as the expression goes, "to meet" them.
I first of all turn to the White Paper issued in May last in regard to the funds administered by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. I think I am right in saying in regard to these figures that by far the greater part of them do not come under the operation of the Bill, and are not to be secularised. They, therefore, do not affect the Amendment in any considerable degree. The remaining sums are rather difficult to ascertain. They are very small indeed, representing only annual interest upon the capital value of accumulated funds of about £8,000. The annual value of such funds is very small indeed. In regard to Queen Anne's Bounty there is a very considerable item divided into the 1409 Parliamentary Grants Fund and the Royal Bounty Fund. These again are subdivided in a way which I do not think I need particularise. I must candidly confess that I find it difficult to discover the exact proportion in these sums, which amounts to something like £15,000, given to meet private benefactions. I am told that about two-thirds of the fund has been given in this way. I think that, whatever may be the exact proportion represented by these sums, there is very little doubt that the intention of these contributions to assist or to meet private benefactions was that they should really go to the same object as the comparatively recent private benefactions went, and not only so, but that they were given for the same purpose as the private benefactions were given. Therefore, I do feel that a strong case can be made out for dealing with these funds at any rate—and this Amendment only deals with these funds—in a different way from the funds to which reference was made in the recent Debate. I feel that there is a strong case differentiating between such funds as these and tithe rent-charge.
I am not alone in that opinion, for I have been looking up rather carefully some of the speeches of the Home Secretary in the country on this subject, and I find that he repeatedly referred to, and almost particularised, tithe rent-charge as constituting nearly the whole, or as being the principal item, of the national Endowments. I may be wrong, but I have not been able to discover any occasion on which he referred to these particular funds as being part of the grievance felt by the people of Wales. I think I am entitled to say that, so far as my reading of his speeches goes, there is not in his mind the same importance to be attached to funds given in this way to meet private benefactions as to those which are really, in his view, national Endowments. These funds have been given to encourage private benefactions, and they have been used, as everyone will admit, for the purpose for which they were intended. I think, therefore, without emphasising the argument, there is a great deal to be said for the words of my Amendment, and that, so far as the particular payments out of these funds have been made to meet these private benefactions, there is a case which does not show itself in other respects. For these reasons I press the Amendment upon the attention of the Committee. I think we are agreed that here, at any rate, is a possible chance of removing what some would 1410 regard as a grievance, if grievance it is, without creating a new one.
I hope I shall not be told that no concession can be made because the Opposition do not promise, upon concessions being made or upon such Amendments as this being accepted or carried, that they will withdraw their opposition to the Bill. I would point out that this Amendment only deals with one very small part of Queen Anne's Bounty, and does not deal with the larger question. It is only to meet one particular point which I think it was the intention of the Government to consider, namely, whether absolute justice did not require that such funds should be regarded as of the same character as funds which the Church in Wales is to retain after Disestablishment. I do not think the Opposition should be expected to withdraw their opposition to the Bill because certain concessions are made. When I ask these things, I am not thinking of the Opposition here or of the Opposition in another House. I am thinking of the effect of the removal of what I regard as inequalities and of defects in the Bill for the purpose of producing a settlement, not so much in this House, but in Wales, and of making such arrangements as shall be in the interests of the future religious life of Wales. However badly I may have expressed my reasons for moving the Amendment, I am not ashamed of my motive in trying to have such improvements made in the Bill. I desire that inequalities should be removed from the Bill, that, so far as possible, the higher tone which has characterised part of the Debate to-day should prevail, and that a spirit of toleration and peace should result on this Bill being carried into law.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend has addressed his arguments, if he will allow me to say so, in much less minatory terms than those which he used on Friday last, though I quite exonerate him from having had any intention of using minatory phrases then. My hon. Friend's case on its merits is not really so strong as at first sight might appear. I quite admit that under Queen Anne's Bounty, which carries out the customary practice in giving a Grant to a particular parish of using that Grant as an inducement to a private benefactor to give an equivalent amount, there would seem primâ facie to be a case of a bargain in which the private benefactor had paid his consideration; the bargain therefore being complete it ought not to 1411 be reopened. The private benefactor gave his gift to the Church. His gift is a modern benefaction. It will therefore be retained by the Church, and it might be argued, as my hon. Friend has argued, that in a case of that sort the Queen Anne's Bounty has really disposed of its interest in the fund, and has used its fund in order to obtain a private Grant. As a matter of fact the circumstances are not exactly that. The Queen Anne's Bounty was under obligation to contribute this money obtained from Welsh sources in any event, and it has only used the fact that it was given this money to distribute in order to get Grants made in particular parishes. It would have given the money anyhow.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Yes it would. So far from that being the case Queen Anne's Bounty has not only given Welsh money to Wales, but it has given a considerable amount of English money; but I am dealing now with the Welsh money. All the private benefactions given by the English money will go back to the Church in any event because these funds would accompany the English money.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
All I wanted to indicate was that the money given by Queen Anne's Bounty was not necessarily given to Wales. It is entirely a matter of discretion whether it will go to Wales, and it is not necessarily given out of Welsh money
§ Mr. McKENNA
It is quite true. Queen Anne's Bounty have the discretion, but no doubt, having regard to the conditions of the Welsh Church, Queen Anne's Bounty would give in Wales at least as much as was obtained from Wales. The fact is that by no means in every case was Queen Anne's Bounty able to get a private benefaction to meet the Grant, and much of the money, contrary to the general rule, of Queen Anne's Bounty in Wales was distributed without any private benefaction being obtained. A portion of the money was used by Queen Anne's Bounty in order to induce private benefactors to come forward, and where private benefactors would come forward in particular parishes, that parish got the benefit of Queen Anne's Bounty, and getting the consideration of private benefactors really had the effect not of bringing the money to the Welsh Church, but of bringing the 1412 money to particular parishes in the Welsh Church. As a matter of fact, what does my hon. Friend's argument touch? So far as I am aware, the Grants of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners out of Welsh money. Therefore, the only Grants which are, in the Bill, alienated from the Church have not yet been paid to meet private benefactions. Consequently, his Amendment, so far as it relates to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, is inapposite. There may be some few cases of money being so paid, but so far as I am aware there are not many such cases. On the other hand, Queen Anne's Bounty, which administers not only Bounty Funds but Parliamentary Grants, in the administration both of fund and Grants endeavours to get private benefactors. The precise amount of private benefactors I do not know. I understand that they are certainly less than half of the whole, and if I was to accept my hon. Friend's Amendment the effect would be that we should have to disintegrate the Queen Anne's Bounty Fund and the Parliamentary Grants, and investigate each item in order to see whether a private gift was made, as a consideration towards the appropriation of that particular part of the Grant towards a particular parish. I think that would be an undesirable course to adopt.
At the same time, I feel it right to say that the argument which in the course of these Debates has been addressed to the Government on the whole subject of Queen Anne's Bounty, whether it related to the Bounty Fund or the Parliamentary Grant, has appeared to the Government to carry very great weight, and if my hon. Friend would withdraw his Amendment now, which deals only with a part of the Bounty Fund, when we get to Clause 8, there are on the Paper already Amendments in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Durham (Mr. Atherley-Jones) and the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Beck). The Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Durham proposes to transfer to the representative body all property which consists of or is the produce of or has been derived from Grants made by Queen Anne's Bounty out of the Royal Bounty Fund; and the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden proposes to transfer all property which consists of Grants made by Queen Anne's Bounty out of moneys provided by Parliament. That is, of course, what is known as Parliamentary Grants. Both those two Amendments are much wider 1413 than the Amendment of my hon. Friend, and cover the whole ground of his proposal. The arguments which have been addressed to the Government from time to time appear to me to have very great weight, and when we reach those two Amendments to which I have referred in the discussion of Clause 8, I shall be prepared to accept them. On that understanding I hope my hon. Friend will withdraw his Amendments now. [An Hon. Member: "Shame!"]
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think I heard an hon. Member cry "Shame" just now. I must point out that it is an unparliamentary expression.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
I rise for the purpose not of saying anything directly relevant to the Amendment of the hon. Member, but after the speech which has been made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, saying that he is going to accept two Amendments on Clause 8, which, in my opinion, are very important Amendments, and the acceptance of which involves a very considerable concession in regard to the appropriation of the funds of these two corporations, "I trust I may be allowed to say a word or two before the Amendment is withdrawn. I should like my right hon. Friend to know that I listened to the latter part of his speech with feelings of disappointment. I am persuaded that when the announcement is known in Wales it will be received by the great majority of Liberals and Nonconformists in that part of the country not only with disappointment, but with very considerable indignation. I am not going to argue or reargue the matter for a moment. We, the Welsh Liberal Members, have considered that the provisions of the Bill in regard to the funds or property to be given to the Disestablished Church were just and even generous.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I have permitted the hon. and learned Gentleman to make a reference to the remarks which the Home Secretary has made, but it is not in order to discuss the point of Amendments which are to come up to-morrow.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
I was asking permission to make these observations. I was not going to argue the matter. I am simply saying what our view was, and we have supported this Bill upon the understanding that the Government were not going to alter it. That is what I wanted to say.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think I ought to make it quite clear that though it may receive the general assent of the Committee that there should be a discussion, it is for the Chair to decide whether discussion can be permitted or not, and I have decided that the discussion should come on to-morrow instead of to-night.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
I bow to your ruling, Sir, and I will say what may be necessary for me to say to-morrow upon the Amendment.
§ Mr. FRANCE
After what has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, and considering what he said with regard to two Amendments on Clause 8 being wider than mine, the larger certainly including the less, I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
As I understand, so far as the right hon. Gentleman referred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, it amounts to nothing at all.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
If that be so, I should not wish to take up the time of the Committee by pressing the right hon. Gentleman further. If this is a very reasonable Amendment, would it not be better to put it in the Bill in the event of there being such a case, so that it might be met? Where the Ecclesiastical Commissioners offer a Grant on conditions that money is subscribed, that such a case should not be exempted docs seem very hard indeed, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman could not tread on the toes of even the hon. Member for Swansea District by accepting so very mild a proposal as that. If the right hon. Gentleman made up his mind on the matter, then I do not think it is worth while resisting the withdrawal of the Amendment.
Mr. MONTAGUE BARLOW
I have had some opportunity of considering this matter, having at one time been connecetd with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. To say that there are no Grants of this kind by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners is incorrect. I certainly understood the right hon. Gentleman to say so.
That is the whole point. Let me put what has happened in Wales. 1415 When a parish is to be formed, or a Church is to be endowed, the machinery provided by the Church Building Act is put in operation; and where the inhabitants come forward with grants either of land for the churchyard or of grants for the Church Endowment, the Commissioners are prepared to meet the amount raised with a Grant. They have done this frequently; and what possible objection can there be on the part of the Home Secretary to accepting the words suggested by my hon. Friend behind me to cover both the Ecclesiastical Commissioners as well as Queen Anne's Bounty. The Commissioners have over and over again, under Acts passed by this House, made Grants. There have been forty or fifty of these Church Building Acts passed by this House, and where persons have subscribed towards the land or the Endowment then the Commissioners have made an equivalent Grant. Directly the land is procured or the Endowment is procured, the Endowment may vest in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, but the land is vested in the incumbent for the time being under the Act of Parliament. It seems to me obviously a case in which the Amendment ought to be extended to the Commissioners.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The hon. Member forgets that all the Grants by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have to be made out of English money; these Grants do not go to the Welsh Commissioners. It is quite true that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have frequently made Grants and benefactions, but they have made them out of English money. Out of Welsh money they have paid stipends and the salaries of the bishops and deans; they have appropriated £14,000 a year to particular parishes, and I am advised that none of that money has been applied in parishes to meet private benefactions. If hereafter there are some cases such as those to which the hon. Member referred, it must not be supposed that I am giving an undertaking that the money should be handed over. I have resisted the Amendment, and I do not want what has been said to be cited as proof that I accepted it.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
On a point of Order. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has made a very portentous announcement, and an announcement which may affect the whole of the attitude of the Welsh Members. If my 1416 right hon. Friend is in order in making that announcement, surely it is in order for us who are immediately and directly affected by that announcement to discuss it.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I can only repeat what I have already said that it is not in order to discuss that to-day as it is to be discussed to-morrow.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
May I ask, then, whether it was in order for the Home Secretary to make that announcement? It is a most important announcement, and probably it will affect the whole course of the Committee stage, and if the right hon. Gentleman is within his rights in making such an announcement I do ask if we are not strictly in order that you should relax the rigidity of the rules so that we may discuss it now?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I regret I cannot accede to the request of the hon. and learned Member, and I must repeat my ruling.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
When objection is taken and any discussion arises subsequently, the Amendment must be put from the Chair.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "purposes" ["Ecclesiastical purposes"], to insert the words "and any property given or raised before that year which, in the opinion of a panel of jurists appointed by Mr. Speaker, was a private benefaction as hereinbefore described in this Section."
The reason why I have to ask the indulgence of the Committee to move this Amendment in manuscript form is that in the discussion on the main Amendment a great many references were made to a letter written by Mr. Meyer, in which he suggested that this proposal should be applied to those benefactions which had existed before 1662.
§ Mr. E. JONES
Have we not already in fixing the date decided this whole question, and was not this whole question decided by the decision of the House on the last Amendment?
§ Mr. E. JONES
Is it not going back on the determination of property previous to the year 1662 when we have decided what is to be done with property up to that year?
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The point is that we have decided that private benefactions, as defined in the Sub-section, made since 1662 shall be preserved to the Church, and the suggestion of this Amendment is that there shall also be reserved any property which a panel of jurists shall decide was property given or raised before that date which was private benefaction, and that it shall be preserved to the Church also. Hon. Members will see, as the Home Secretary pointed out, that since 1662 any property as to which the origin is doubtful is preserved to the Church. My proposition is that where a panel of jurists decide that property is private benefaction before that date, that that property also shall be preserved to the Church. I do not propose to detain the Committee with any lengthy argument, [An HON. Member: "Hear, hear."] The hon. Member, with his usual courtesy and usual good manners and his usual knowledge——
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I desire to know whether it is in order to make such an observation in interruption of a speech?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
No, I think that is not the proper Parliamentary way of addressing criticism to a speaker.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
Is the Noble Lord in order in referring pointedly 1418 to one hon. Member on this side, and ought he not to address the Chair?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The Noble Lord, as I understand, was addressing the hon. Member in the correct Parliamentary way via the Chair.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I will resume the discussion of the Amendment. The point is quite a simple one, and it is this: In order to meet the difficulty that was raised by the Home Secretary and other speakers, that the Church should not have property dating before 1662 unless a panel of jurists appointed by the most impartial authority, as I think we all would admit, namely, the Speaker, shall decide that the origin of that property was in fact a private benefaction. That raises the issue which I think ought to be raised and decided before we conclude the discussion of this Clause, namely, whether the Committee really does desire to take away from the Church property which is unquestionably private benefaction, even though it was given before 1662. It does not raise generally the question as to whether hon. Members opposite are right as to glebes and tithes, and so on. You would have to establish before a particular tribunal, suggested by a very distinguished Nonconformist authority. Mr. Meyer, and to establish affirmatively that such property was, or in all probability that it was, such that it came within the meaning of private benefaction. Surely if right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite really believe in their case as far as tithe is concerned, they can have no objection to accepting the Amendment. I am quite aware that if the Government venture to accept any Amendment some hon. Member from Wales will denounce them and threaten them with all sorts of pains and penalties. But we who have been in the House for some time know what the threats of Radical Members from Wales amount to. They mean a little bad language, generally in the Lobby, and then the Members vote exactly as they are told. Therefore, I do not suppose that the Government will be alarmed by any threats from the hon. Member from Swansea (Sir A. Mond) or any other hon. Member from Wales. I put forward the Amendment as a reasonable one. I admit that it has been discussed already to some extent. Therefore, I will not detain the Committee further, but I venture to ask the Government to accept it as a perfectly reason-Noble Lord in order in referring pointedly I able modification of their Clause.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
As the Noble Lord has just informed us, this matter has really been covered by a previous discussion. If I possessed the nicety of language and the courtesy of controversy which characterises the Noble Lord, I should say that the Amendment was nonsense. I am not at all surprised to hear that the Noble Lord did it in a hurry. If he will look at the reading of the proposal he will find that the more hurry the less success as far as this Amendment is concerned.Any property which consists of, or is the produce of, or is or has been derived from, property given by any person out of his private resources since the year sixteen hundred and sixty-two, or money raised by voluntary subscriptions since that year, or voluntarily given since that year out of funds not liable under any statutory provision to be applied to ecclesiastical purposes, or any property given or raised before that year which in the opinion of a panel of jurists appointed by Mr. Speaker was a private benefaction as hereinbefore described in this Section——That is, it must have been given before, and not after.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I am very sorry that my explanation was so short that it did not succeed in conveying to the mind of the hon. Member the meaning of the words of the Amendment. It is perfectly clear that the burden of proof would be altered. In one case a private benefaction would be a private benefaction, taken with Sub-section (2), unless it could be proved not to be. In the other case it would be for the Church to establish its case affirmatively before a panel of jurists.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
The Amendment says "as hereinbefore described," but Sub-section (2) comes subsequently.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
Even that will not do, because "as hereinbefore described" means as described afterwards; it is at the end of the Sub-section. But I do not want to take advantage of a technical point. As the Noble Lord has said, this matter has been discussed. Hon. Members opposite are never weary of telling us that the Royal Commission was unwilling to study the origin of tithe. Now they tell us that a panel of jurists appointed by Mr. Speaker should settle the 1420 matter. The House of Commons must take the responsibility upon itself. The arguments will be heard on Clause 8. I know that hon. Members opposite treat our historical knowledge and our historical suggestions with very great contempt; but that is significant of the ascendancy party connected with the Church in Wales and in England. The Church party in Wales treat us Nonconformists as if we had no knowledge and no information upon this matter.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
The Noble Lord knows a great deal more about passion, prejudice, and venom than any other man in the House. His language in the whole course of these. Debates has been unworthy of the high position that lie occupies. When he talks about revenge, and spite, and malice, does he really think that he monopolises not only the establishment of religion, but honesty and good conscience in this House? That is the arrogance with which you treat us Nonconformists. If this Bill does nothing else, it will put an end to your pretensions in this respect. [An Hon. MEMBER: "Their right colours now."] We are not ashamed of our colours. We have never accused you of want of sincerity. It is you who have accused us. But I will not go into that; I might be out of order. [An HON. MEMBER: "You are."] After the Noble Lord has interrupted me with a cry of "Revenge," am I out of order in answering that interruption? But to return to the Amendment. This is a fantastical and freak theory—a panel of jurists appointed by Mr. Speaker. Did anybody ever hear of a panel of jurists appointed by Mr. Speaker? Upon whom does the Noble Lord found himself? Upon Mr. Meyer. What deference to show to Mr. Meyer! Mr. Meyer is a Nonconformist.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
We show deference in fact, and not in the lip-service of a dilatory Amendment of this kind. It is the first time the Church party have ever shown any respect to any Nonconformist in this controversy. But, whatever be the merits of this Amendment, can it be for a moment contended—I will not say 1421 that it is meant seriously—because it has been put on the Paper and moved by the Noble Lord——
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Is the hon. Gentleman entitled to suggest that I have used any influence with the Chair?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. and learned Member did not mean that. If he did, it would be out of order for him to say it.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
If I said anything out of order, I withdraw it at once. I did not intend to suggest that the Noble Lord had used any influence of that sort. You chose the Amendment, because you thought it was a right matter to discuss. It is an important matter to decide what are the Endowments, if any, before 1662, which should be preserved to the Church. I do not want to go into the old arguments. We are not limited to one point in this controversy. If we say origin, hon. Members opposite say that we must show purpose. We are entitled to say both origin and purpose in regard to all these matters, and if we say origin with regard to tithe, that does not mean that we may not say purpose as to glebe. It is taking a very narrow view of the controversy to say that in reference to all these different kinds of property our answer must be the same in regard to each. It is not. If the property varies, the argument will vary with the kind of property. It would be ridiculous for the House of Commons to abdicate its own jurisdiction and to submit the whole matter of this Bill to a panel of jurists. Who are jurists? Where will you get the panel of jurists? I know it is suggested that Mr. Speaker should appoint it. The House of Commons must take the matter into its own hands, upon its own responsibility fix whatever date it thinks right, and say that all benefactions after that date shall be deemed to be 1422 private benefactions, and that all benefactions before that date shall belong to the nation for whose ultimate use they were originally intended.
§ Mr. ALFRED LYTTELTON
The hon. Member who has just sat down has thought fit to charge hon. Members on this side of the House, the Church party, with having in this Debate habitually treated Nonconformists with arrogance. I absolutely repel such a charge. It is totally and absolutely unfounded. [HON. MEMBER: "No."] I am perfectly certain if he would ask anyone who has paid attention to these Debates, or even himself in his calmer moments, he would agree with me in saying that not only is it far remote from our intention to be arrogant towards Nonconformists, but I have many times expressly referred to them as our natural allies in these matters. Look at the position. The hon. Gentleman has been what I suppose he would call facetious at the expense of the Noble Lord and other hon. Friends behind me. How is it possible to avoid some such proposals as have been made now? He knows perfectly well that in 1895, when the attitude of the party opposite was the same as now, the Prime Minister, who has been quoted in this matter, repelled the Amendment which was drawn up in order to give the Courts of Justice in this country the right to determine whether or not these gifts arose out of private benefactions. We have been told in the course of these Debates that the party opposite adhere to that position. Therefore the Courts of Justice are not open to us. Is this a matter in which any honest controversialist—well, I will not say honest, but any rational—controversialist can possibly say that the House of Commons is a good judge? The Royal Commission, which consisted of many eminent men of antiquarian and legal learning, deliberately declined, as has been pointed out, to enter into or discuss fully the question of tithe. They asserted in their Report that it was a subject wrapped in obscurity. We have, therefore, this position: The Royal Commissions declaring that this is a matter of such obscurity that although they had abundance of time and evidence at their command, they could not determine it, and the hon. Gentleman opposite childish enough to inform the House that the House of Commons is the proper tribunal to enter upon such a question. What is the inevitable result? It is that the only tribunal with any pretence 1423 of justice or thoroughness we can fall back upon is a tribunal such as that suggested by Dr. Meyer. I do not say the actual constitution of that tribunal has been suggested by the Home Secretary, but what did he say at Pontypool with regard to this matter of origin of property?Let them show him any part of the money that they were claiming was really originally a private gift, and he will be willing to reconsider it.There is a distinct promise which he gave to a large Welsh audience. Is it a genuine promise or not? The party opposite have withdrawn the test. Will the Home Secretary allow this matter to go before the Courts? We have been told, "No." The Royal Commission declined to consider it. What other tribunal can properly consider it? By what other means have we to determine the sincerity of the Home Secretary? There is no other means. I repel as unworthy the taunts and the charge by the Under-Secretary for Home Affairs.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
Speaking on behalf of other hon. Members on this side of the House I entirely agree with the hon. Member who has just sat down, that neither in this House or elsewhere has he said anything in disparagement of Nonconformists. If all his colleagues had imitated his example, we on this side of the House would have had no word of complaint to make as to the character of this Debate. What did we hear only this afternoon from one hon. Member, the Member for Denbigh Burghs? It has never been repudiated, as far as I know, by any hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. That is the only complaint I have to make against the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. He never censures anyone on his side of the House, though he is quite willing to censure my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary when he thinks he crosses the line. What, I ask, did the hon. Member for Denbigh Burghs say this afternoon? He called Nonconformists "dogs in the manger." What did he call me and my hon. Friend only last night? He called us Shylocks out for our pound of flesh. He accused me personally of being guilty of "envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness." I am sorry the hon. Member is not at present here. I pass by his comments with the contempt that they deserve. I have not been very long in this House—only seven years or so—but the hon. Member is in comparison with me only a Parliamentary babe. We all know that infants have a way of at- 1424 tracting attention to themselves by trying to kick and scream. We are constantly taunted, not by the right hon. Gentleman, but the Noble Lords and others on the back benches, with being guilty of all sorts of crime, not only in this matter, but in all other matters. After all, let me refer to the spoliation of the Church, of the intolerable iniquity which is perpetrated against the Church! What have we seen opposite during the greater part of this discussion, the most important discussion that has taken place since the Committee Stage of this Bill has been entered on? Not half a dozen Members present on the opposite side. They are not more than ten now. The Church is in danger. The Nonconformists and the Welsh Radicals are out prowling for prey. Not ten hon. Members come here to defend the Church. If I were allowed to borrow some of the adjectives of hon. Members opposite, I would say it is all humbug and hypocrisy. These are the sort of taunts that have been levelled against us. May be it is due to the natural exigencies over which they have no control. However that may be, this is the most important occasion since the Bill entered Committee, far more important than even last Friday——
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I invite the hon. and learned Gentleman to direct his remarks to the Amendment.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
I was only answering the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for St. George's, Hanover Square, "What, in the mouths of hon. Gentlemen opposite, is but choleric words, is in the mouths of us rank blasphemy." When this Debate was collapsing the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin rushed up to the Chair, when but two or three of his colleagues were in the House, with his Amendment——
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
Some portions of it had already been withdrawn, and other portions of it had been torn into, tatters by the Under-Secretary for the Home Department, but, in order to keep the Debate going while his colleagues were away out of the House——
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
For the first time since the Noble Lord has been here he has apologised for anything he has said. [HON. MEMBER: "Oh, oh!"]
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I really must say that is rather an ungracious remark. The Noble Lord instantly withdrew, in deference to the Chair, and I think the hon. and learned Member should accept it.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
Certainly I accept the withdrawal. Now what is the proposal contained in this Amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I venture to say that hon. Gentlemen who cheer ironically at that statement do not know what it is. They were not here when the Noble Lord moved his Amendment, and not one of them knows what it is about. Let me inform them. It is said that this Amendment relates to private benefactions that were given before the Annis Marabalis, 1662, and it is proposed that Mr. Speaker should empanel a jury in order to try this question whether these benefactions given to the Church before 1662 were private benefactions, in the ordinary sense of the term or not. Whoever heard of such a preposterous proposal as that? Is Mr. Speaker to be sheriff to the House of Commons? He is going to empanel a jury. Is it to be a special jury? From what panel is this jury to be drawn? Is it to be a special jury for Middlesex drawn mostly from publicans?
§ Mr. POLLOCK
On a point of Order. The hon. Member is misrepresenting the 1426 Amendment. Whether the panel is to be a panel of jurors has nothing to do with the Amendment at all.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
The hon. and learned Member must know he is grossly out of order. If he has got anything to say in connection with what I have said, he has no right to interrupt me. He will have plenty of opportunities, for speaking. If he had been here earlier he would have had the whole of his side of the House to himself, and would have had plenty of opportunities of speaking. But he has no right to interrupt me except on a point of Order, and he has not raised a point of Order. I am only asking who the jurors are to be. Are they to be drawn from professors of political economy or are they to be drawn from the Tariff Reform Commission? Or is Mr. Rosenbaum to supply them. This is a ridiculous and dilatory Amendment, and is proposed to waste time because the Debate was going to collapse. I confess that after the announcement made early in the afternoon by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, I had very little heart to continue the discussion to-day or at any future time. The Government has surrendered before a shot had been fired, and for my own part, and I think I speak for a considerable portion of my colleagues in Wales, and I am perfectly sure I speak for tens of thousands of the best Liberals in Wales, I say, we have very little enthusiasm left now for this Bill.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I cannot help feeling surprised at the speech to which we have just listened. The Noble Lord who moved this Amendment expressly stated he did so in as few words as possible in order to take up as little time and to prevent the Amendment being in any sense dilatory. For the last quarter of an hour we have listened to a speech most of which was wholly irrelevant to the Amendment and was entirely dilatory and of no service at all from the point of view of arguments Yet the hon. Gentleman consumed a large amount of time which, if he was sincere in his desire to press forward other Amendments, we might have been spared, and we might have been spared a great many observations made by him, which seemed to be dictated by lack of composure. This Amendment, moved in a few words, dealing with a very important subject, has caused an extraordinary access of feeling both on the part of the hon. Member who-has just spoken and on the part of the Under-Secretary for the Home Depart- 1427 ment. If the Under-Secretary will reconsider what is said, I feel sure he will regret a great portion of it, and will only wish to withdraw his speech as he was able to withdraw the remark he made when he intervened. The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down said that the Under-Secretary has torn this Amendment to tatters. What was the only argument the Under-Secretary used? He said it was nonsense, and that is what has torn this Amendment to tatters. The hon. Gentleman opposite said that the Amendment meant that Mr. Speaker should summon a special jury from Middlesex, and he suggested that the Jury would be a jury of publicans, and he asked: Was Mr. Speaker to be a sheriff to summon a jury? In his lack of composure the hon. Member seems to have forgotten to read the Amendment.
The Amendment is this: That a panel of jurists whom the hon. and learned Gentleman probably knows are persons acquainted with law, who know something about constitutional and historical law, and to these persons, as experts, should be entrusted, as a very learned and much-respected man, Mr. Meyer, suggested, the task of dealing with some of the difficulties that are honourably, reasonably, and sincerely felt by a high-minded body of Nonconformists, so that their doubts may be allayed as to what is to be the procedure and course adopted under this Bill. If this Amendment is adopted, I do not hesitate to say that the actual working of this Bill as passed into law will be smooth, because a large body of feeling which has been aroused in the country among a number of persons by no means belonging to the Established Church but belonging to the Free Churches, and a large body of feeling has been awakened because they feel an injustice is being done to another body of religious men, and that a disservice has been caused to religion. Now we may respect the motives of those who have these feelings, and therefore the Noble Lord who moved the Amendment moved it with the purpose of trying to meet that feeling and to meet that difficulty honourably and conscientiously felt on this matter by a great many persons who are entirely opposed on other matters by those sitting on this side of the House. Let me deal with the Amendment itself. In Clause 7 we are trying to ascertain what is to be deemed a private benefaction. 1428 That is the problem, and it is to be dealt with by Sub-sections (1) and (2). You have got a particular date from which, when it has been inserted and adopted, a certain deduction is to be made. Under Subsection (2) it is provided:—Where in the case of property given or money received since that time the source from which it is derived is unknown or doubtful, then it is to be deemed a private benefaction.What is a private benefaction is settled by Sub-section (1), and a certain presumption is made in Sub-section (2). That does not meet all the cases raised inside or outside the House, and it does not meet the case which has been put in a speech in Wales by the Home Secretary himself. What are the cases which are left out? The cases in which proof could be given, or might be given not in respect of periods very long anterior to 1662. I will assume that there might be cases in which proof might be given after fifty or one hundred years previous to 1662; that proof could be given during that time that a definite sum was given out of private resources, and that it could be proved and established satisfactorily before a tribunal competently formed that there had been benefactions given. I am certain no hon. Member opposite would say if that were established that it was a perfectly fair thing to make a hard and fast line at 1662, and give no latitude of any sort or kind. That is the difficulty felt outside the House, and it is not unnatural that effect should be given to it inside the House. The Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil) proposes that if such a case arises—taking the full onus of proof and requiring that proof to be given by the person who is endeavouring to establish a private benefaction., and he wants to give the latitude by which such a proof could be given, and given satisfactorily, to this panel—then that should be deemed to be a private benefaction. Is that really a matter about which we should feel so strongly that we have to use the extraordinary hard words which have been used during this discussion. Is it not a matter that could be put simply, which has underlying it a basis of justice, and is this not an Amendment which goes far to meet a real point on which misgiving is felt by a large number of persons who are not at all sure as to whether an injustice is to be perpetrated by this Bill. That is the meaning of this Amendment. I If you read the words and see where they 1429 are to be put in Clause 1, you will see that they fall in properly into their place, and to meet that by a cry that it is nonsense is not to advance arguments, and no doubt by a total absence of argument you will arouse very different feelings from those which ought to accompany a plain discussion of an Amendment intended to increase the justice of this measure, if it can be just at all. It is on those grounds that I think this Amendment has been happily conceived. It is impossible for us to suggest that this matter should be tested in the Law Courts, therefore, you want an expert body before whom the question can be tried. Let it be adequately tried. Let the proof be adequate, and if that is done surely it would be an injustice not to allow this body to decide in regard to such property as to whether it should be deemed to be a private benefaction. I heartily support the Amendment which has been proposed by my Noble Friend.
§ Mr. E. JONES
I think there has been a very remarkable contrast between the latter part of this Debate and what took place earlier in the afternoon. Earlier to-day there were signs of a temper that was respectable and at any rate we have not found it so respectable during the last hour. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] The hon. Member who spoke last was not here when the proceedings began——
§ Mr. E. JONES
This is a state of things we have pointed out before, and I wish again in all seriousness to put to the other side that there are occasions when hon. Members opposite might be a little bit more considerate towards certain Members on this side like the hon. Member for Carmarthen Boroughs (Mr. L. Williams) and myself, and a few others. The plain fact is that this is an Amendment to endeavour to secure for the Church more of the money that would otherwise be kept from it. I think the hon. Member who has been supporting this Amendment stated that it would secure a considerable portion.
§ Mr. E. JONES
Really some of us are beginning to feel that the situation is getting absolutely impossible and beyond our forbearance, especially some of us who have endeavoured to exercise a spirit of toleration——
§ The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Whitley)
Unless an hon. Member gives way another hon. Member is not entitled to interrupt him.
§ Mr. GOULDING
The hon. Member says I was out of the House when, as a matter of fact, I was in the House, and I never left it until eight o'clock.
§ Mr. E. JONES
I do not want to quarrel with the hon. Member, and I do not think I said anything of the kind. On this occasion I am speaking more in a spirit of lamentation. The whole point of this Amendment is that hon. Members opposite are pressing for more and more. As a matter of fact, taking this Amendment together with what the Home Secretary has announced to-night and what he gave last night, it means that you are pressing upon us to give up, after introducing our Bill and passing the Second Reading, practically every bit of the property. It is all very well for us earlier in the afternoon to have a debate in which we are asked to come to an arrangement with regard to the bulk of the property to be Disendowed in this and the other spirit, and then the Home Secretary comes down and makes most remarkable concessions which will be received in the Principality of Wales to-morrow with more than consternation, for there will probably be an outburst of indignation unparalleled in the history of the Principality for the last forty years. After we have received here in a very small House on a subsidiary Amendment a most important and vital announcement which, by the Rules of the Chair, we are not allowed to discuss or comment upon, or to meet in any way, the Opposition put up the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil) on a dilatory Amendment——
§ Mr. E. JONES
One usually regards a manuscript Amendment put in like that as such. After an announcement of that kind is made, the Noble Lord is put up to make a most violent and malevolent speech, one of the most offensive and violent speeches that we have had in this House. The Under-Secretary, as a rule, is a person who can maintain his composure under all manner of taunts and abuses, but even he 1431 to-night, was unable to restrain himself under the excessive violence, and malevolence of the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin. I put it to the hon. Member who talked about Members on this side being a little discomposed. If he were a Member of a very small party of a very small country that has been hoping for one thing for forty years, and be were met with a bolt from the blue, giving up what we regard as some of the most vital and important portions of the Disendowment proposals of the Bill, portions almost vital to the very existence and continuance of the Bill, and then an hon. Member on the opposite side were to get up and demand more in a spirit such as that which the Noble Lord has shown, would he be discomposed in a position of that kind? I confess I am very little interested in this Amendment or any other Amendments that may be moved to-night. I say that quite frankly, I stand here in a spirit of defeat, a spirit almost of being absolutely crushed and broken so far as this Bill is concerned. I speak only as one humble Member of the Principality who has not been entirely ungenerous to the Church in anything I have ever said, and I say my feeling is that you can go on with these Amendments, and with others so far as we are concerned, but whether we can sit here patiently and take part in such Amendments as these is a matter we shall be able to decide after reconsidering things. I only say for the present that hon. Members opposite can accept their victory, and hon. Members here can take the price of their pressure. They can glorify and gloat if they like in the success they have obtained, but, at any rate, they should do us the slight service of not getting up in the spirit of the Noble Lord and dropping these taunts, and of returning a little more to the spirit evinced earlier in the afternoon by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord Hugh Cecil) and others.
Sir A. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN
The hon. Member who has just sat down has, at all events, told us the cause of a great deal of the ill-humour on the Welsh Benches this evening.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
It is not the Amendment we are discussing, and it is not the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil), who, as a matter of fact, made a very 1432 reasonable speech. There was nothing provocative in his speech at all. There was nothing provocative until the Under-Secretary charged him with being insolent, or something of that sort. Naturally, the Noble Lord resented a charge such as that, but in the original speech of the Noble Lord there was nothing provocative at all. We see extraordinary ill-humour on the Welsh Benches, beginning with the Under-Secretary, carried on by the hon. Member for Carmarthen Boroughs (Mr. Llewelyn Williams), and continued by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. E. Jones). Why is it? It is not because of this-Amendment. It is because a concession has been made and announced on a previous Amendment by the Home Secretary. I am sure that in a certain sense I condole with the Welsh Members. They are not going to make quite such a big haul as they expected. They thought they were going to rob the Church entirely, and they are not going to be permitted to do so. The good sense of the country, the good sense of many Members of this House, and the good sense of many Liberal Churchmen and many Nonconformists sitting upon those benches, expressed as it was this evening by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent (Mr. J. Ward), has prevailed, and the result is there is not to be the wholesale robbery and sacrilege that was proposed in the Bill, and was so dear to the hearts of Welsh Members opposite. We know quite well why they wanted this Bill. They have said so often. The Under-Secretary has said so. "Disestablishment is a policy with money behind it."
§ The CHAIRMAN
It appears to me we are now discussing some Amendment disposed of when I was not in the Chair. I think we had better deal with the one which is actually before us. I understand it is a point we shall reach to-morrow.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I entirely bow to your ruling, but I submit the speech of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil was entirely upon the announcement which was made on the previous Amendment.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I frankly admit I was not discussing this Amendment, but I was merely doing what other hon. Members have done, and I was 1433 endeavouring to answer what has been said by them. I will, of course, bow to your ruling, and pass on to this Amendment. The hon. Member for Carmarthen Boroughs charged my hon. Friend the Member for Denbigh Boroughs (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) with having said Members on that side of the House were dogs in the manger.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
No, I said the hon. Member for Denbigh Boroughs earlier in the afternoon said the Nonconformists of Wales were acting a dog-in-the-manger policy.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
If you meant it, that is all right. I quite agree he did say they were acting a dog-in-the-manger policy, and they are. They will neither, by concurrent Endowments, take the money themselves, nor let the Church have it. The hon. Member said the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin had put this Amendment down at the very last moment for purely obstructive purposes. He said the Amendment was only hastily written out and put in at the last moment for obstructive purposes.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I beg the hon. Member's pardon. The Noble Lord never said that. I happen to know the history of this Amendment. It was drafted out this afternoon and handed in quite early. A certain alteration had to be made in it, and the draft which was handed to Mr. Maclean after dinner merely contained that alteration. It is quite untrue to say it was hastily drafted for the purpose of filling up time, because as a matter of fact it was drafted as a substantial point this afternoon. Let us come to the Amendment. It has been called nonsense by the Home Secretary, but I venture to say that it contains a very important point. Your argument is that under this Bill property shall be taken from the Church if it is national property. We say that the onus probandi lies with you to show that any property is national property. But in the Bill you beg the whole question. You say that any property given to the Church before a 1434 certain arbitrary date must be national property. That, I say, is most illogical and absurd. Instances have been given of undoubted private benefactions made to the Church before the year 1662, and I need only refer to the example cited by the hon. Member for Denbigh. What does this Amendment involve? Merely this. That there should be some legal tribunal or some competent tribunal of jurists to say what is or is not a private benefaction, and I repeat that the onus probandi lies on the Government to show that these are not private benefactions. Instead of taking an arbitrary date they should welcome the suggestion to set up a competent tribunal to decide what is a private benefaction in each case. The Home Secretary made great sport of the fact that this proposal was based on a suggestion made by Dr. Meyer, the secretary of the Free Church Council of England and Wales. The idea that a leading Nonconformist in that position should have suggested that the matter should be decided, not by the Bill, but by a competent tribunal of jurists should have been an argument to appeal to the Nonconformist Members of this House, instead of which they received it with scoffs and jeers. All I can say is that the Government and their Welsh supporters are much less generous and honest in their support of the Bill than a loading Nonconformist like Dr. Meyer. The Government will not accept this because they are afraid it will be discovered that practically all the property of the Church in Wales consists of private benefactions, and that its property in tithes, glebe, and ancient houses is as much a private benefaction and a voluntary gift to the Church as the last sixpence put into the collection plate last Sunday. The Prime Minister, when Home Secretary and in charge of a similar Bill in 1895, said distinctly he could not accept such an Amendment as this because it was an arguable proposition that tithe was voluntarily given and was therefore a private benefaction. Does not that entirely confirm the position we have taken up from the beginning? It is because the Government are afraid that some tribunal will decide that the suggestion that the property is national property rests upon no foundation, historical, legal or otherwise, that they will not have this Amendment. It is the greater reason why we should press it, and unless it is conceded we can only say you have made up your minds to take 1435 away our property without rhyme or reason, and that your one and sole object is to plunder the Church of every possible penny.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Mr. KING
I repudiate that altogether. I want to call attention to the real effect of this Amendment. It has been suddenly-dumped down on the House in a manuscript form. There are seven other Amendments on the Paper to this Clause, but the Noble Lord, finding himself unable to put in any remarks which would be of effect upon them, brings forward this manuscript Amendment, which apparently has been known to Members of the Opposition for some days.
§ Mr. KING
What is the effect of this Amendment? It proposes that Mr. Speaker should empanel some jury. First, I want to ask the Noble Lord, or rather I should have asked him, if he had had the decency to be here to listen to the arguments—he is always finding fault with the Prime Minister for his absence, but when he introduces an Amendment himself, he dumps it down, he listens to one speech, and then rushes off somewhere out as far as possible from this Chamber—that is his idea of gentlemanly conduct——
§ Mr. KING
It is quite obvious that the merits have no charm for the Noble Lord. The first question I have to ask about this Amendment is this: Has the Noble Lord got the permission or sanction of Mr. Speaker to this proposal? In view of the arduous duties now falling upon 1436 Mr. Speaker, I am not anxious to add to the burdens of his life, and, unless the Noble Lord or someone else can stand up and say that Mr. Speaker is desirous of undertaking this duty, I shall, on that ground alone, oppose this Amendment. Now the Amendment is directed to this point: What is a private benefaction, or what is a benevolent gift or private Endowment? In this connection, it is interesting to consider what really is meant by the words private Endowment or private benevolence, and it seems to me we may do well to consider the words of a great Churchman and politician on this matter. A good many years ago the man who, I suppose, in the last one hundred years was most qualified to say what a private Endowment or benefaction was, speaking in this House, used these words. [HON. MEMBERS; "Name."] Of course I refer to Mr. Gladstone, who, on the 29th April, 1869, used these words:—Let us consider what are the points necessary to make up the definition of private Endowments such as we are justified in keeping from the general mass—that is reserving to the Church.In the first place, it must be an Endowment from the private resources of a private person.That would shut out Queen Anne's Bounty.In the second place, it must be devoted to the endowing of a particular religious persuasion.Inasmuch as tithes were originally largely devoted to the upkeep of the Church and to the support of the poor that would shut out tithes.And if it is to be given to an establishment, it must be given to it, not in its character as an establishment, but in its character of a definite religious persuasion.That would shut out all Endowments which were made at the time when the religious persuasion or religious character of the Church of England was different from what it is at present.And, lastly, it must be a gift to the same distinct religious persuasion as that on whose behalf it is proposed to be severed from the general massAccepting as I do the words of Mr. Gladstone, than whom I conceive there can be no higher authority, I say without hesitation that, even if we were to set up this panel of jurists and throw before them all the Endowments which we are retaining for the State, you would be at once forced to say that not one of these could possibly fall into the class of private benefactions to which the Church might set claim. Therefore I take it that this Amendment is, although I do not wish to be ruled out of order in saying it, really dilatory. 1437 Strictly interpreted and carried out, it cannot add one penny to the money, or the Endowment, or the property which the Church in Wales when Disestablished will possess. It is purely dilatory for the purpose of putting off the day when certain property may or may not be handed over to one party or the other. In view of that fact, and speaking in all seriousness, I do hope that this Amendment will not be accepted. I shall not allow it to be withdrawn, although I think the Mover himself, if he had listened to the Debate, must have seen that the best thing he could do would be to withdraw it, and try again on some other tack. I want to add to the words I have given to the Committee, which I hope they will consider as a not unworthy argument on this point. In my own opinion they are an argument worthy of a better occasion than this Amendment. I want to refer to the question, which is, of course, included in the Amendment, the question of tithe. I assert that you cannot get any panel of living jurists who will be successfully set against the authority of the great jurists and historians of the past. What these have said about tithes and the other ancient Endowments of the Church would completely shut out these branches of Church property from ever being handed over to the Disestablished Church. Let us listen to what Blackstone said. Black-stone was a great man, and also a very great Tory. He did not belong to my party, I am sorry to say, although I very often agree with what he lays down. Blackstone says:—At first the tithes went for the Establishment of the parochial clergy, but the tithes of the parish—that is the general tithe—were distributed in a four-fold division; one-fourth for the use of the bishops, another for the maintaining of the fabric of the Church; the third for the poor, and the fourth to provide for the incumbency. When the sees of the bishops became otherwise amply provided for they were prohibited from demanding their usual share of the tithe, and the division was into three parts only.What I should like the jurists to enlighten me upon is: How is it that the clergy, having originally only one-fourth part, come at the present time, as is the case, to take it all. That is a much more interesting and important point than the imaginary disquisitions to which they would be consigned by the Amendment of the Noble Lord.
§ Mr. KING
I cannot understand a lawyer questioning his authority. I should like to throw a little more light on the subject. I am going to quote another authority of a very different character, but one, to my mind, equally worthy of respect. I refer to a very great historian, writer, and theologian, Dean Milman. It may not be known to all Members of the Committee that he was Dean of St. Paul's. He also wrote several books on Church history, and is acknowledged by everyone who has studied history at all to be a man of very great authority. What did he say?—Tithe was by no means a spontaneous votive offering of the whole Christain people. It was a tax imposed by Imperial authority, collected by Imperial power. It has caused one, if not more than one, sanguinary insurrection amongst the Saxons. It was-submitted to all parts of the Empire, but not without strong reluctance.
§ Mr. KING
It seems to me to be very pertinent to the matter. Perhaps on some-future occasion a panel of jurists can be called together, without being called by Mr. Speaker or by the Noble Lord opposite for some academic purpose, and this is one of the questions into which they might inquire. I think I have said enough, to show that not only does the ridiculous, position in which the Amendment has been placed afford ground enough for defeating: it, but that the whole body of authoritative legal weight and common sense is against its acceptance.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I think this Debate certainly bears quite a different character from the Debate which took place before dinner, and the speech we have just heard, perhaps, hardly has in appearance the seriousness of tone which prevailed on both sides of the House earlier in the day. I should have been very much interested if he had read the full reference to the chapter from Dean Milman's works from which he was quoting, because, merely speaking from what I heard, it sounded as if he was referring to the Imperial Land Tax, which did create great disturbance, but not to the ecclesiastical tithes which prevailed in Britain and elsewhere. I hardly think the passage he quoted really referred to the tithe we are discussing in these Debates. I think when criticisms are made on the propriety of moving this Amendment it is overlooked that Churchmen would have been 1439 in a very false position if they had taken no notice of the very important letter of Dr. Meyer in the "Times." Dr. Meyer is a very able man, and a very distinguished leader of Nonconformist opinion. What he says deserves, both by his personal qualities and by his position among his Nonconformist brethren, respectful attention from all those who are interested in this controversy, whether they agree with him or whether they do not. Supposing no notice had been taken of that letter, might it not have been said that Churchmen were indifferent to a conciliatory proposal made by a distinguished Nonconformist? Surely it is not an unreasonable thing to occupy the House of Commons for not a very long time that an Amendment should be put forward accepting Dr. Meyer's suggestion and carrying it out to the best of our ability. It is really surprising to me that hon. Members opposite, who might be expected to regard Dr. Meyer's authority with even greater respect than we do, have treated his proposal not merely with disagreement, which is quite legitimate, but with the most contumelious contempt. They have spared nothing in derision and scorn and contempt for a proposal which, after all, emanated from a distinguished Nonconformist.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
He is a man who is quite in a position to speak for himself, and whose personal authority carries great weight. Whether he speaks for himself or for others, he is entitled to be heard, and his suggestion is entitled to be considered. All that the Committee has been asked to do is to give some consideration for that proposal. What sort of consideration has been given? Owing to the, in my view, very unsatisfactory system of procedure set up under the auspices of the present Government, by which there is not even the shortest interval in the deliberations of the Committee by which people taking an interest in its proceedings can get dinner, I was not able to be present when the discussion began. It is one of the many acts of this Government showing their thorough contempt for the deliberations of the House of Commons. I understand when this matter was first mooted the Under-Secretary made a very strong speech against the proposal. He treated it as absolute nonsense.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
He did not, I understand, make any alternative suggestion by which Dr. Meyer's proposal could be carried out. I do not think a criticism of that kind is either respectful to Dr. Meyer or very helpful to the Committee, because, if all you say of the proposal is that it is absolute nonsense and you make no alternative suggestion by which the object can be reached, it is obvious that you are not seriously addressing yourself to carrying out or meeting in any degree the suggestion which has been made. Long before Dr. Meyer made this proposal in the "Times" the Home Secretary himself had said, I believe at Pontypool, that if he could be convinced that tithe and other ancient Endowments were not due to the State, he would be prepared to reconsider his proposal in the Bill. How are you going to establish that tithe, or that any other ancient Endowment is not due to the State, unless you have some form of impartial inquiry? We have had now a great many Debates about the origin of these Endowments—many of them have been very interesting Debates—and they have all run on the same lines. We do not agree. When the hon. Gentleman just now said tithe used to be given to the poor he quoted Blackstone. In our view it is an exploded historical theory.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The hon. Gentleman has misapprehended my meaning. I daresay it was very obscurely expressed. At any rate, there is a great disagreement of opinion about that point which is a historical legal point. How can you propose to decide it fairly and legally unless you refer it to some impartial tribunal?
§ Mr. JONATHAN SAMUEL
Will the Noble Lord allow me to read the quotation, which is at page 171 of the book. Referring to the introduction of the Poor Law, he wrote as follows:—It was imposed by religious sentiment, and it was the solution of a difficulty caused by an attack upon the Church. It arose out of the suffering which had been occasioned by the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII., and by consequent cessation of the relief of the poor which the monasteries had been wont to give. Under the Poor Law the State took over the work that had formerly been performed by the alms of the Church.1441 In doing so the State acted under the moral ascendency of the Christian Church. That is the quotation which says that tithes are the property of the State.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
My soul goes out in pity to the ghosts of Giraldus Cam-brensis and other distinguished persons when I find that their views are so misrepresented. It is a pity that the Committee should be detained for a moment by what I have written in a very trumpery book. What I was saying then was that the monasteries, as part of their ordinary charitable work, relieved a great number of people, and especially those who were beggars wandering about, and that when the monasteries ceased to exist these people, having no where to go and no where to look, sank into criminal courses and became pests to the whole country. The monasteries, of course, acted on the general principle of charity, and it was not because tithe was dedicated to them. What they did in their relief work came from the spontaneous generosity and the charitable feeling which all humane people are inclined to share. I am afraid the hon. Gentleman's interruption disturbed the course of the argument I was addressing to the Committee. I was suggesting that unless you have some impartial body, you can never get to an end of these wearisome historical discussions. One man gets up and says one thing, and another man gets up and says another, and both sides are convinced that they are right. The question should really be examined in order to find whether everything that did not come from the State ought to belong to the Church. That is a strictly historical question which might be determined by a body of experts.
In this Amendment we offer to submit the issue to some sort of tribunal of experts. The precise machinery does not matter for the moment. The essential thing is: Are you in favour of submitting these historical or legal questions to an impartial body of jurists, or are you not? In our view the Home Secretary's challenge at Pontypool has been reasonably taken up and adequately dealt with, but I confess I did not anticipate that this Amendment would be adopted by the Government, because we have never seen the slightest sign that they are really prepared to do what they themselves would call justice to the Church. They have always shifted like troops taking cover under a hot fire, running now in one 1442 direction, and now in the other, not caring whether their different positions fit in, in order to carry out these proposals for Disendowment. I am told that some miserable crumb is to be dropped to us to-morrow. I am not allowed to go into that to-day, though I notice that it has produced a great deal of dramatic sorrow on the benches opposite, and tears have rolled down the cheeks of hon. Members at the thought that £15,000 or £18,000 is still to be used for the purposes for which it has been used for centuries. This talk of over-generous treatment as regards Disendowment is as if you had a proposal to strip a man of his clothes, and then having divested him of everything down to his shirt, you said: "We shall have not three-parts of his shirt, but the whole of it." When all the other garments have been taken away you call that an over-generous concession.
I confess that the tears of the Welsh Members do not move me at all. As to their indignation, for my part I quite take the view they have adopted this evening, that occasional indignant debate is a useful public service. I have never shared the opinion that we should always be civil to one another. We are public servants. Our business, always, of course, within the Rules of Order, is in courteous or discourteous language, to say what we think the public interest requires. Therefore I do not at all complain of the strong language that has been used by the hon. Member for Carmarthen Boroughs (Mr. Llewelyn Williams), who has now gone out to consult with his colleagues. All I say is that it does not give me the impression that the Welsh Members really are suffering as they say. I believe that the Government have not given, and never will give, and have never intended to give, any real concession to the Church on these Disendowment Clauses. We shall see what it is tomorrow. Among other things, the scorn of the proposal that we are discussing tonight convinces me of the unreality of their professions. If the Government were guided by the advice of men like Dr. Meyer they would have modified their Bill long ago, and adopted his proposal, and even that would have been unnecessary, because long ago they would have made great concessions. Their purpose is to carry through a Parliamentary manœuvre, and it is only pretence when they talk to us of generous dealing with a religious Church.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."1444
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 181; Noes, 294.1445
|Division No. 463.]||AYES.||[10.30 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Forster, Henry William||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Gardner, Ernest||Mount, William Arthur|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Gibbs, G. A.||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Gilmour, Captain John||Newman, John R. P.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Goldsmith, Frank||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Nield, Herbert|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Goulding, Edward Alfred||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Grant, J. A.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Greene, W. R.||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gretton, John||Peel, Captain R. F.|
|Barnston, Harry||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Barrie, H. T.||Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Haddock, George Bahr||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Pryce-Jones, Col, E.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Randies, Sir John S.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Rawlinson, Sir John Frederick Peel|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Bigland, Alfred||Harris, Henry Percy||Royds, Edmund|
|Bird, Alfred||Helmsley, Viscount||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Blair, Reginald||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, Derby)|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Boyton, James||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hills, John Waller||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Stanier, Beville|
|Campion, W. R.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Home, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Cassel, Felix||Horner, Andrew Long||Stewart, Gershom|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Houston, Robert Paterson||Swift, Rigby|
|Cator, John||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Cautley, Henry Strothar||Hunt, Rowland||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Cave, George||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Ingleby, Holcombe||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Kerry, Earl of||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Kimber, Sir Henry||Touche, George Alexander|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Larmor, Sir J.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Croft, Henry Page||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Winterton, Earl|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Fell, Arthur||Mackinder, H. J.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Malcolm, Ian||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Viscount Wolmer and Mr. Remnant|
|Fleming, Valentine||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Bryce, J. Annan|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Barton, W.||Buckmaster, Stanley O.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Beale, Sir William Phipson||Burke, E. Haviland|
|Adamson, William||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Bentham, George Jackson||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)|
|Agnew, Sir George||Black, Arthur W.||Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Boland, John Pius||Byles, Sir William Pollard|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Booth, Frederick Handel||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Bowerman, C. W.||Cawley, Sir Fredk. (Prestwich)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Brace, William||Chancellor, Henry G.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Brady, P. J.||Chapple, Dr. William Allen|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Barnes, G. N.||Brunner, J. F. L.||Clough, William|
|Clynes, John R.||Holt, Richard Durning||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Philipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hudson, Walter||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Hughes, S. L.||Pointer, Joseph|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Crean, Eugene||John, Edward Thomas||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Crooks, William||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Cullinan, John||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Radford, G. H.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Joyce, Michael||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Keating, Matthew||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Reddy, Michael|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||King, Joseph||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Doris, William||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Duffy, William J.||Lambert, Richard (Cricklade)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Leach, Charles||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lundon, T.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lynch, A. A.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||McGhee, Richard||Rowlands, James|
|Falconer, James||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Farrell, James Patrick||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Macpherson, James Ian||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Field, William||M'Curdy, C. A.||Scott, A MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Sheehy, David|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Shortt, Edward|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Manfield, Harry||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Gilhooly, James||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Gill, A. H.||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Ginnell, Laurence||Martin, Joseph||Snowden, Philip|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Glanville, H. J.||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Meagher, Michael||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, W.)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Millar, James Duncan||Sutton, John E.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Molloy, M.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Thomas, James Henry|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Mooney, John J.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hackett, J.||Morgan, George Hay||Thorne, W. (West Ham)|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Morrell, Philip||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Hancock, J. G.||Morison, Hector||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Muldoon, John||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Munro, R.||Wadsworth, J.|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Needham, Christopher T.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Nolan, Joseph||Wardle, George J.|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Norton. Captain Cecil W.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Nuttall, Harry||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Webb, H.|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Wayward, Evan||O'Doherty, Philip||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Whyte, A. F.|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||O'Dowd, John||Wiles, Thomas|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Ogden, Fred||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||O'Grady, James||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Henry, Sir Charles||O'Malley, William||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Young, William (Perthshire, E.)|
|Hinds, John||O'Shee, James John|
|Hobhouse, Rt Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Hodge, John||Outhwaite, R. L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.|
|Hogge, James Myles||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||Parker, James (Halifax)|
§ It being after half-past Ten of the clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 28th November, to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at half-1448
§ past Ten of the clock at this day's sitting.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 286; Noes, 182.1451
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again to-morrow (Wednesday).