§ Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [13th May], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Which Amendment was, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—[Mr. Frederick Edwin Smith.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question." Debate resumed.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The House is now drawing near the close of a long and interesting Debate in which Members on both sides have spoken with great fullness and with great power. I am anxious to avoid repeating without necessity points which have already been quite sufficiently made and I will therefore say very little about the question of the Dismemberment of the Church of England, which was fully dealt with by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. E. Smith) and the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Cave). I only wish to add one thing to what was said by those Gentlemen. The matter, grave as we consider it from the point of view of ecclesiastical feeling and respect for the organic unity of the Church, has also a real practical bearing. It may very well be the case, if this Bill passes, that the governing authority of the Church may be placed in this difficult position, that when it sits as a legal body in Convocation it may have a majority of its members of one way of thinking and when it sits as some voluntary organised body, such as the Representative Church Council perhaps, which would still comprise the Welsh bishops and clergy, the majority may be of another way of thinking, so that it is not at all improbable even that there should be an actual discrepancy in the judgment of the legal authority of the Church of England and that body which nevertheless would have a moral authority by reason of including 1295 the old Members of the Province of Canterbury. I do not think it is a reasonable thing for Parliament to set up such a state of things as that. It can only pave the way to the Disestablishment of the whole Church of England, because it is manifest that you could not permanently conduct the affairs of a Church on a basis like that. It must be contemplated, I think, and it has been admitted by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Masterman) and others, that many of those who support the Bill contemplate going further and disestablishing the whole Church of England. I think where you are dealing with a matter admittedly of great gravity, which stirs feeling very deeply, it is not proper to deal with it piecemeal. If you believe in Disestablishment, as many hon. Members do, and as a certain number of Liberal Churchmen do on principle, then Disestablishment ought to be applied to the whole body, when of course the difficulty to which I have adverted will not arise.
What is the reason for this piecemeal treatment of the subject? The reason is, of course, that Wales is believed to be strongly opposed to the continuance of the Establishment within her borders. I am not going to deal with the vexed question whether a Welsh nationality exists or not, or what is the true significance of the word "nation." I avoid discussing that difficult question with persons of Liberal opinions. It is rather like navigating chaos, which readers of "Paradise Lost" will remember, even Satan himself found very difficult. One's impression is, first, that hon. Members opposite do not know what they mean and, secondly, that they have not a meaning to know. It is not necessary to go into that because Establishment is, after all, not the relation between a nation and a Church, it is the relation between a nation organised as a State and a Church. It is the relation between the State and the Church, and both in theory and in fact the relation of the Establishment, whether in England or Wales or Scotland, or in old times in Ireland, has always been a relation between the United Kingdom and the Church established, whatever it is. The relation has always existed between the State and the different Churches concerned, has always therefore been a relation to the organised State. Wales is not now, of course, a State. The Government contemplate perhaps, in a future more or less 1296 remote, making it into a State, but now there is no dispute between us that Wales, whether it be or be not a nation, is certainly not a State, and as a matter of fact it certainly is not the party which enters into these relations which, taken together, we sum up as Establishment. Let me take by way of illustration, the three or four points mentioned by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ellis Griffith) as privileges which he regarded as characteristic of the Establishment. Take the Coronation of the Sovereign. That is a relation which the; United Kingdom is a party to. The Sovereign is crowned King of the United Kingdom, and the ceremony is performed here in London as the capital of the United Kingdom.
Then take the presence of the bishops in the House of Lords. Again the House of Lords is an Imperial and not a local assembly. No one suggests that the House of Lords is part of the nation off Wales, or is the organ of the nation of Wales. It is the organ of the United Kingdom. Take the intermixture of ecclesiastical and civil law—the law is the law of the United Kingdom, or at any rate it is the law of England and Wales. It is certainly not the local law of Wales. If a dispute arises about a legal point, the appeal is taken to the Courts in London, and if one of the parties does not accept a decision in the Court of King's Bench, the appeal from that decision, where appeal lies, is taken to the House of Lords, as the highest judicial authority for the whole of the United Kingdom. Therefore, in all its aspects—one might go over the whole subject of control—the relation established is the relation between the United Kingdom and the Church. What this Bill will do, therefore, is to sever the relation between the United Kingdom and the Church in respect of the Principality of Wales.
Supposing the Government had postponed this matter, as perhaps in strict logic they ought to have done until the Welsh nation was set up with a Parliament of its own and could therefore be regarded as a State, even then they would probably have found that it was in accordance with their own principles to leave the matter to be dealt with as Imperial and not local. I think in the Irish Government Bill similar questions are treated as Imperial and not local. As a matter of fact, persons outside of Ireland are acutely and keenly interested in the Irish religious 1297 question, and therefore the Government says it is a matter for the Imperial Parliament. In this instance of the Welsh Bill, there are persons throughout England who are undoubtedly interested in the question of the relation between Church and State in Wales, and therefore by parity of reasoning one would expect that it would also be made an Imperial and not a local question. Nevertheless, I should be the last person to deny that the opinion of the Welsh people, whether you regard them as a nation, or, as I do, a most interesting and remarkable race, are beyond all doubt entitled to be considered in a matter quite relevant to the question we are discussing, and it is quite reasonable to say that the Parliament of the United Kingdom ought to have regard to that opinion.
When we come to this question of Welsh opinion we are at once referred to Welsh opinion as expressed purely in the representation in this House. It would-indeed, lead to a very far-reaching discussion if I asked hon. Members opposite to consider whether this House is really and morally representative of the people. But I put this to them: is it not a matter of common experience to us all that the exact party point of view is imposed on individual candidates and individual Members of Parliament by the keen party men of their constituencies, and that therefore their views by no means necessarily and certainly represent on any particular issue the views of the whole of a constituency, or even a preponderating majority of a constituency. What they represent is what the ardent partisans or wire-pullers—that is a disrespectful word, perhaps, but I cannot think of a better at the moment—put before them as the party programme. No one disputes that the active Liberals of Wales are strongly in favour of Disestablishment. But it seems to me it is hasty to feel quite sure that because Members of Parliament from Wales are in favour of Disestablishment that is not due merely to the emphasis laid by the active Liberals who choose the candidates and do the work of the constituencies on the subject of Disestablishment, but is due to the natural and spontaneous opinion of the whole of the Welsh people. What the representative system means, as we know it, is this: candidates are chosen because they are liked better than others who might be candidates, and not because their views are approved seriatim by the country. The Welsh Liberal Churchman votes Liberal, taking Disestablishment, no doubt, with the rest of the Liberal pro- 1298 gramme, but he does not necessarily feel keenly about that question. It may be some other question which really determines his vote. He very likely feels keenly on some other question which is in the Liberal programme, and he has no choice except the elementary choice of accepting that programme. I put that argument no higher than this. He prefers the Liberal programme, not because he prefers Disestablishment, but because it contains other questions. It would be very rash indeed to assume that there is the same exact proportion of opinion in Wales in regard to Disestablishment, as there is now in this House, or even as there would be if this House were, as I think it ought to be, proportionately elected, when, of course, there would be a far larger number of Welsh Members opposed to this Bill than is the case now.
It is in relation to this matter we come to general numerical argument. We are asked to believe that Churchmen are a small minority of the people of Wales, and a great deal of statistical argument is put before us. We are told about communicants and adherents, and a great many statistics are quoted. I am not going to dispute about these statistics now. The only observation familiar to hon. Members on both sides of the House which must be constantly borne in mind is this: A communicant in the Church of England is not by the public opinion of the community to which he belongs the full equivalent of a full member in a Nonconformist body. A great many persons who adhere to the Church of England do not, as a matter of fact—however much we may deplore the fact—come to Communion. A much larger number in the Church of England than among Nonconformists abstain from Communion. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] Well, I believe that to be true. There is a far larger fringe of adherents outside the communicant body in the Church of England than there are outside the communicant body in the Nonconformist bodies, and that arises from the fact that Communion is placed in a very different position in the Church of England from what it is by Nonconformist bodies. I will give an illustration of this. An eminent Nonconformist told me that he, for his part, could see no difficulty—I am not criticising his attitude for a moment—in giving Communion to a person who is not baptised. That, from our point of view, is an inconceivable attitude. [An HON. MEMBER: "He is not a Welshman."] Yes, he is a Welshman, and an eminent Nonconformist. I do 1299 not wish to mention the name across the floor of the House, but if the hon. Member feels curious I will tell him the name. That shows how differently the thing is regarded by Nonconformists and Churchmen, and therefore we say—we said before the Commission—that in so far as there is value in the numerical argument at all, you ought to have a census. We do not pretend to regard the numerical argument as decisive. We do not appeal to it. It is our opponents who appeal to the numerical argument. But if you are to use that argument at all, can it be reasonably maintained that you are quoting accurate numbers instead of inaccurate numbers in the absence of a census? Surely you ought to get the right value of the numbers, and that can only be arrived at by a census. Hon. Members who build their whole case on the numerical argument say, "You are a small minority," and yet they shrink from a count as something most unreasonable.
There is another consideration when you are dealing in great periods of time with Churches and nations whose lives far outstrip the lives of individuals. You must not take the opinion over ten years, or thirty or forty years, as a decisive criterion. You must look to stability. The Prime Minister, in his very interesting speech yesterday, said there were many points of difference between the Irish case and the Welsh case. One of the points of difference, I think he will probably agree, is that the majority of the Irish people had for a much longer period been much more stable to the Roman Catholic Church than the majority of the Welsh have adhered to any of the Nonconformist denominations, or all of them taken together. Let me deal with the allegation that the Church of England is an alien Church in Wales. When listening to hon. Members you would suppose that at some time in the eleventh or twelfth century the Church of England was imposed by the Normans with, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer thinks, the mailed fist, and that at that moment the Celtic population suddenly became Calvinistic Methodists. That is the sort of picture that seems to be drawn, but nobody has said it, but if it has any bearing on the argument before us, they ought to have said it. But, in not saying it, they preferred truth to controversial effectiveness. What actually happened was that undoubtedly there was a mediæval dispute of a very common type 1300 between the Welsh ecclesiastics and the authorities of the Province of Canterbury. Personally, I could not quite agree that they repudiated the authority of the Province of Canterbury so late as some hon. Members think, but I do not think that is worth arguing. There was a lively dispute between the Province of Canterbury and the Province of York, and hon. Members will remember that it grew to such a height that the Archbishop of York sat on the lap of the Archbishop of Canterbury rather than admit that the Archbishop of Canterbury had the right to sit on the right-hand side of the Papal Legate.
When the dispute was adjusted and the Celtic bishops had accepted the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury, there was no alienation of the Celtic population for centuries. The Welsh Church went on century after century, not only up to the Reformation, but subsequently. It went on right through the Reformation, because Nonconformity did not arise to any sensible extent at the Reformation. It arose in the eighteenth century out of the great Methodist movement. I do not mean to say that all the Nonconformists in Wales were Methodists, but the Methodist movement, not only had a tremendous effect in bringing adherents to its own ranks, but also to other Nonconformist bodies, who increased their numbers, so that up to the period of the Methodist movement it may fairly be said the separating from the Church of England—it is not easy to draw a precise line, but let us say it was in 1780 or thereabouts. Up to that time the Methodists were a body working within the Church. Up to that time the only Welsh Church in existence was the Church of England. It was not an alien Church. You cannot suddenly become an alien Church, and when the Prime Minister and other speakers quite fairly and truly comment upon the corruptions of the Welsh Church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries they are arguing, not their case, but our case. It shows that the revolt of the Welsh people was not against the Church, but against the accidental corruptions of the Church. The Welsh people rebelled against men like Bishop Hoadly and Bishop Watson, and so soon as these corruptions were done away with, as we believe statistics will show, the people of Wales are coming back to the Church. So that we say that this doctrine of the alien Church is untrue, that the Church in Wales has always been through the centuries what it is to-day, 1301 and that a temporary alienation taking place, arising as you yourself say out of the corruption of the Church, is not in the smallest degree a ground for anyone saying that that alienation will be permanent and that we can never look forward to its disappearance.
I would remind hon. Members how short is the period during which the preponderance of Nonconformity has prevailed compared with the great periods that you must consider in dealing with matters of this kind. It is merely a matter of five generations. An old person might remember someone who remembered someone who could very easily know Wales when the Church included in its adherents the great majority of the people, and during that comparatively short period Nonconformity already has undergone one great theological revolution, and is now undergoing a second. The first theological revolution was the departure from the principles of Calvinism. I do not say how far Nonconformist bodies have formally departed from the old Calvinistic position, but that there is no doubt that the practical teachings of Nonconformity have put Calvinism almost altogether in the background. There was a great deal of evidence on that subject before the Commission which showed that the old Calvinistic theology was not taught from the pulpits in Wales to-day, and yet at the beginning of the nineteenth century it was. We had before us a very interesting trust deed in reference to a Nonconformist chapel, and it recited the five Calvinistic points which were set out in the trust deed as the purposes for which the chapel existed. All that has passed away. Even since the movement for Disestablishment has arisen there has been a second great change. Another great movement is by common agreement beginning to influence Wales. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself pointed it out. Those who are engaged in the new movement call it the Liberal Christian movement. The movement towards Liberal Christianity is undoubtedly taking place very largely and is affecting England not inconsiderably. So you are going to alter the structure of your relations between Church and State, not in deference to settled, unalterable, definite Welsh opinion, but, on the contrary, in deference to an opinion that has not lasted very long in any shape, and has already once completely changed its shape, and is now apparently changing that shape once 1302 more. Which of us can tell what will be the religious condition of Wales fifty years hence? The only thing that we can be perfectly sure about is that it will not be in the least like the religious conditions to-day, and that old-fashioned Nonconformity will have had to choose between the new Liberal Christian movement and something in the direction of laying greater emphasis on the sacraments and ministrations according to the Church's teaching. The old-fashioned Nonconformist Bible Christian, as they and a great many Church members call themselves, are plainly withering away under the tendency of modern conditions. Is it not wiser and better from every point of view to wait until that movement has worked itself out, and until we can know what is really the religious condition of the country for which we are legislating and not present as an overwhelming argument that the relationship between Church and State should be severed, the fact for this very short period of time a changed body of opinion, a body already changed and visibly changing, is not at present in favour of the established Church. The argument is a very strong one.
Let me add this further consideration. The case we put is not that we should recognise that particular Church, but that the United Kingdom should recognise a particular Church, and the principle we insist on is that the United Kingdom ought everywhere to recognise the Christian religion. We fully admit that it ought to recognise the Christian religion in different parts of the United Kingdom in a manner acceptable as far as possible to the people of that part. In Scotland it recognises Presbyterianism. In Ireland, in my opinion, it ought to have recognised Roman Catholicism. But the question we are asked to answer in Wales is not whether it is to change its recognition from the Church of England to another body, because however high you put the claims of any Nonconformist body no one has yet claimed that any one individual Nonconformist denomination is more numerous or more representative of the Welsh people than the Church. The Church can fairly claim to be the largest particular denomination in Wales. So if you once accept the principle that the United Kingdom ought to recognise some religious body—and that is a principle as to which I say that the conscience and judgment of the United Kingdom are the only tribunal who are entitled to judge—then it follows that 1303 you must recognise the existing established Church for the purposes of the Principality of Wales. Is it right or fair, where you are considering what the United Kingdom ought to do in pursuance of religious duty, that you should seek to decide the question behind the backs of the people of the United Kingdom? Under your new Constitution what prevents them from pronouncing judgment upon it? Surely it is unworthy of the gravity and seriousness of this question to seek to carry behind the backs of the people of the United Kingdom a particular decision on the question whether they, as Christian people, ought or ought not to recognise religion in the Principality of Wales?
I do not deny the weight of many arguments that are used against the Establishment altogether. The Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Masterman) in very strong-terms declared himself an opponent of Establishment in every case, and the Under-Secretary to the Home Office (Mr. Ellis Griffith) adduced some characteristics of Establishment which I should really think were regrettable characteristics. But all these points as to the way in which Establishment works out in our countries are really topics belonging to another controversy altogether, the controversy of Church reform, as it is called. I am in favour, as I believe the Secretary to the Treasury is in favour, of extensive Church reforms, that is extensive modification, in the existing relations between the State and the Church. I do not like, any more than he does, the existing system of appointing bishops. I take this opportunity of recognising the claim which the Prime Minister very modestly made that the Church patronage has been very well exercised during his tenure of office. We all recognise how conscientiously and with what an elevated sense of duty he has advised the Crown upon Church patronage. We could wish indeed that the advice which he gave to the Crown on other matters had been equally sound. But, in spite of the circumstance that the way in which this power has been used is quite unexceptionable, I am personally of the opinion that it is not a desirable power to leave in the hands of a Minister of State. We may not be always so fortunate as to have a Minister so conscientious as the Prime Minister. Those things, I say, are all modifications which are perfectly consistent with the principle of Establishment. The principle of Establishment is 1304 the recognition by the State of the truth of religion as it is expounded by a particular Church. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the other day that we have the advantages of Establishment even without recognising any particular Church, and he instanced the Investiture of the Prince of Wales. I admire, as he did, that most touching and beautiful ceremony, but I did not like the religious part of it. I would a great deal rather that the religious part had been performed by a single Nonconformist minister, whatever Nonconformist minister most expressed the minds of those present, in order that there might be a unity of devotion on a great, occasion of this kind. I should speak disrespectfully if I said what is in my mind, but I think it is alien to my conception of dignified and sound devotional ceremony to have various contending ecclesiastics each having their share in the entertainment. Therefore I do not admire that feature of the Investiture, much as I admire the general ceremony. What is valuable, however, is the real adherence of the State to a religion. We cannot lightly let that go. It is for that reason, among others, that we are uncompromising on that matter. It is for that reason that we do appeal to hon. Members, in frankness and fairness, to let the United Kingdom speak its mind—for, of course, to its judgment we must necessarily bow—and say whether it does, or does not, wish to go on recognising religion in Wales as it has recognised it hitherto.
I now pass to the question of Disendowment, and on that we say that it is a violation of the rights of property and a hindrance to the cause of religion. First, it is a violation of the rights of property. The hon. Member who preceded me in the Debate somewhat revived a question which I had not intended to deal with—the historical aspect of the subject. He maintained ingeniously, but I thought unconvincingly, that tithe was not merely originally, but was even to-day a tax. It seems to me quite plain that tithe is to-day and I think it always was a property; it is one-tenth part of the productive utility of land. That is the true conception of it, and that is my answer to the surprising economic excursus which the Financial Secretary made. He said that the people had to work longer to produce tithes. If you abolish tithe to-morrow no one will work any less, and the landowner would get a very undeserved increase in his income. The proposition that tithe depends on 1305 labour is only true in the sense that all wealth depends on labour. It is quite true that the utility of land is barren without labour. It is also true that labour is barren without the utility of land, and it is by the coalition of the two that wealth is produced. There is no case to be made here on behalf of labour. The only person concerned is the landowner. What took place was this. A large number of landowners voluntarily, and from religious motives, dedicated the tithe, and the sentiment of the community being strongly that tithe ought to be paid, they did ultimately coerce those who did not pay to pay it. At what precise point the two processes merged we do not know.
I have no doubt that there were two processes. But why did they coerce? Not as a State extorting a tax or levying a tax for its own purposes, avowedly taking the property of someone and putting it into its own Exchequer to conduct the business of the State, which is the conception of taxation. The Witenagemote, or any other assembly which imposed it, would have said, "We compel these people to pay tithe because tithe belongs to the Church by the law of God. We are a Christian people, and it is our business to see the law of God obeyed, and we contend that tithe does belong to the Church by divine will." That was the mediæval conception. What they did was not to levy a tax, but to compel people to give what they conceived to be ordered by the divine will to the purposes of the Church, and from that moment, of course, it was always treated as the property of the Church. Land passed from hand to hand. Each new buyer bought it, knowing that it had tithe levied upon it, and he bought it cheaper on that ground. Tithe has come to be regarded as an ordinary form of real property. As such it is actually rated. As such the Government in this very Bill fully recognises the rights of lay tithe owners, those lay persons to whom the tithe has come from the confiscation of monasteries. Their rights are guarded as ordinary rights of property, and respected. How is that consistent with maintaining that it is a tax? Evidently you cannot pay a tax to individual landowners. But if tithe is property to whom does it belong? Here again I should have thought there would have been very little controversy. It was given by the State, or by individuals—at any rate freely given to that worship of the Christian religion called the Catholic Church. I do not think anyone will dispute that. It was 1306 not given to the Catholic Church because anyone supposed that it was the national Church. To suppose that would be utterly out of touch with the mediæval idea. A great many gave to the Church because it was the Church, because they believed it held the keys of Heaven and Hell, and was the intermediary between man and God, and because of the great authority of religion and its great power of salvation. The final question is, Who represents the Catholic Church to-day for the purpose of the inheritance of this property? Who is the heir of the Catholic Church now? I can quite understand more than one answer being given. The answer of the Anglicans in these days is that they represent the Catholic Church in Wales. The Roman Catholics say, of course, that it is the Roman Church. I can imagine that there are Nonconformists who would say that the Catholic Church is to be found in all the religious bodies put together, but the one solution that is intolerable is that the Welsh County Council is the Catholic Church. I can understand a Bill which proposes to give the endowments back to the Church of Rome, or even to distribute them among existing religious bodies in Wales, but I cannot understand taking them away altogether from religion and giving them to purely secular objects. I do not think anything we were told about the course of the Reformation, even if we accepted it, would really affect that argument. The Prime Minister very interestingly and very surprisingly said that the Reformation was a breach, as I understood him, of the continuity of the Establishment, but not a breach in the continuity of the Church as a spiritual and religious body. I should have thought that was to invert the truth. Roman Catholics believe, of course, that it is a breach in the theological and spiritual continuity of the Church. Our position is better expressed by Dr. Hook than anybody else. When asked by a Roman Catholic, "Where was your Church before the Reformation?" he replied, "Where were you before you washed your face?" That states the Anglican position more concisely than I can state it.
The Reformation was simply the removal of a certain number of corruptions which did not affect essentially the life of the Church. There is no trace of support to be found in it for the theory of allocating the funds of the Church to either new or old religious bodies, but so far as the State interfered at all it 1307 did interfere with spiritual matters of the Church, I think very irregularly, and I have never defended the policy of the Reformation. I think it indefensible. Although the Reformation on the whole was beneficent it was an interference in spiritual matters and not an interference with Church property at all. The Reformers changed the Church, but did not allocate its property. They laid down a new Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles, and it is putting their interference at its highest to say that. But even admitting all the points in dispute in the matter they did not establish a new organisation in any way, or deal with Church property either implicitly or explicitly. No one would have been more astonished than they if they had been told that they were allocating Church funds to new religious bodies. On the contrary, nothing is more humorous—if we can indulge in humour on so grave a subject—than to read the preambles of the great Reformation Statutes, or the preface to the Elizabethan Prayer Book, and see how astonishingly small a matter the Reformation is as sketched out there. It was a trivial alteration of a few duties that had caused offence to some good people, and required to be put right. The Reformers constantly emphasised the continuity of the Church, and never thought for a moment of establishing a new one. Supposing they had done so, how is your case the better? Supposing we do concede the whole of this, how do you gain? The Prime Minister referred to the proceedings in relation to the United Free Church of Scotland, in 1905, when the funds of the Old Free Church of Scotland were redistributed between the Old Free Church and the United Free Church. He conceives that something like that was done at the Reformation; but supposing something like that had been done at the Reformation—I think he is mistaken—but supposing it was done, will anyone justify that this was done, will anyone justify that this House, 300 years hence, should come down upon the United Free Church and say, "Hand over your funds to the Scotch county councils. Although Parliament settled this matter in 1905, we are entitled to go back on that settlement, and give these funds to any scheme or body we choose." I really hope Scotch Members will go to their constituents and assure them that in their view the funds of the 1308 United Free Church have no security of title whatever, and that as soon as a majority of Parliament chooses to assign them to county councils there is no moral objection to their doing so.
The regulating power of the State in all matters of corporate funds is justifiable when the regulations are founded on sound principles as they were in that case, when the Old Free Church could not use the endowments that were legally in its hands, and the legal distinction on which the decision of the House of Lords rested fell far short in the mind of everybody of giving a full and equitable title to the Old Free Church. On two grounds it was perfectly legitimate for the State to interfere, but it would not have been fair for the State to take those particular funds and use them for wholly different purposes and for secular purposes. Carefully disciplined action by the State, where abuses have arisen, and where manifestly the ecclesiastical bodies cannot use the funds for the purposes for which they were designed is one thing; but this free-handed confiscation, this seizing the funds of the Church which it has held for 300 years, and giving them to any secular purpose is wholly indefensible and flagrantly in contradiction to all the principles of equity. Let me turn to the final question, Hindrance to religion. It is hardly necessary to argue that vast sums of money are necessary to carry out the spiritual purposes of religious bodies. Every Nonconformist body in the country is engaged in raising funds for that purpose. They are increasing their organisation, and if you taken away this money from religious purposes, you are injuring religion. Take the rapidly growing populations of Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire. If you raise all the funds you possibly can raise from the Church and from Nonconformist bodies you will not have sufficient for the spiritual welfare of the people. I do not think anyone defends that. How can you defend taking away those funds which are now being used, and which are already insufficient? I am persuaded of this, that the Bill is both an unjust and an irreligious Bill. I do not by that mean that the persons who are advocating it, are unjust or irreligious persons.
Nothing is more notable than that very good people often do very wicked things. Lord Macaulay pointed out that many of the gravest crimes in history have been performed from an exalted sense of public duty. It does not follow that to do wrong 1309 does not do a very serious mischief, both to the community and to the wrongdoer himself. I would earnestly ask Nonconformists to consider whether what they are doing, and pressing their leaders to do in this matter, is worthy of the conscientious standard of life which they have been most honourably and most prominently upholding? I do not always agree with the Nonconformist conscience, but I profoundly respect it. I think it is a very splendid thing that there should be in this country a large body of opinion which upholds the standard of conscience and right doing, and which, from a sense of public duty, endeavours to enforce it. There are many noble pages in the history of the Nonconformist conscience, but the page which they are writing to-day will be looked upon by posterity adversely, and future ages will look back to these proceedings as not redounding to the glory of Nonconformity. To our eyes it seems that what is now being done is only one more chapter in the long and sad history of persecution. In the history of the Church there have been wicked things done by Churchmen to Nonconformists and by Nonconformists to Churchmen. On the way to this House we pass the Star Chamber, where Archbishop Laud urged forward the torture and humiliation of the Nonconformists of his day. Admirers of Archbishop Laud do not look back to that part of his life with complacency now. They rather look to that part of his life when he in his turn suffered wrong, and was brought by cruelty and injustice to his death. It is so throughout history. It is suffering and endurance on behalf of a noble and glorious creed which is looked to rather than the power to enforce disabilities and suffering. I would ask hon. Members to consider, I would ask many Nonconformists who are searching their conscience, to consider whether this Bill conforms to the standard of conscience and righteousness which they support, whether it is right to take away funds from religion which have long been in the possession of the body that is using them, and which are now, by common consent, being used well, and give them to what are secular purposes. When the hon. Member who spoke last tells me that those purposes were really religious purposes in the minds even of those of the Middle Ages, I cannot help wondering whether he thinks that the education as now given in Wales is such as would have been approved of by our mediæval ancestors. Nor when he tells me that the relief of the poor is, at 1310 any rate, a religious purpose, can I, while admitting that it is so, forget that it has always been treated as a subordinate one; or abstain from recalling to him that it was not the most religious of the Apostles who objected that rich ointment ought not to be used in an act of worship, but that it; should be sold and the money given to the poor.
Certainly money that has been given to religion ought not to be lightly taken away, not merely on the grounds of the right of property, but because, as a matter of fact, you are hindering the course of religion; you are fighting against light and for darkness. Do let me then urge on hon. Members, though they have great sincerity and their motives are pure, to ask themselves whether they are not falling victims to an antagonism that has raged against the Church, and which is entirely wrong; and whether it may not be true that the spiritual life of the country may not be hindered, as it certainly will, by any deprivation of funds; and whether it may not be true that the spiritual life of Nonconformity will suffer if the hands of Nonconformists touch unlawfully the use of money. Injustice stains the hands of those who commit it; it does not stain those who suffer from it. We are going to vote on this question. Our votes on this side will at least be given to sustaining what exists, a state of things not unfavourable to the growth of religion, and, as we conceive, just and honourable. How are the votes on the other side to be given? We think that they will be given to persecute a religious body which is doing good work; we think they will be given to put an obstacle in the free course of religious truth; we think they will be given in violation of the dictates of justice. Let hon. Members then vote, but let them suffer us to remind them that it is not by the hands of power these things in the end can be decided. It is so in all controversies, but it is so more directly, more plainly, more quickly in the controversies that exist between Christians and Christian bodies. About those we may say with confidence it is not majorities, it is not power, it is not authority, it is not even the aspirations of nationality, but it is justice and right, and the unspotted hand and the pure heart that can alone prevail.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)
The House has had the pleasure and privilege, and not for the first time, of listening to an eloquent speech from the Noble Lord, 1311 and which throughout the whole length of it was exceedingly moderate. He divided his defence of the present established Church in Wales into two parts. First of all there was the part as to Establishment, and the second was an attack on the Disendowment part of our Bill. What struck me, and I am sure struck all those who listened to the speech of the Noble Lord, was that there could have been no greater proof of the weakness of the case for the established Church in Wales than that he, with all his intellectual gifts, could have presented no stronger argument in support of it. I say so with all respect to the general structure of his speech. He had to descend to highly technical arguments about the establishment of religion in the United Kingdom, and to a very small and very technical point, especially when you come to deal with spiritual matters and with matters which affect the deepest interests of a nation of 2,000,000 of souls. His second argument was, "Why should you do it now there is a process of change going on in the Principality? You yourselves admit it. The theology of to-day is not the theology of fifty years ago. Calvinism is in the background. I am not sure what the theology of to-day is, and I am in still greater doubts of what the theology of to-morrow will be, and therefore why not wait?" Does the Noble Lord, he really being a great authority on these matters, think or suggest that there possibly can be any finality even in theology, and that we ought to wait for that state of repose until a nation reaches a final conclusion to abide, and for ever, by a particular form of theology before we deal with a great question like this?
Suppose you applied that principle even to the Church of England. I take the Noble Lord's view of the Reformation that it was purely purifying the Church of corruptions, and that there was no fundamental change at all. What happened? First of all, you purified the Christian Church of corruption by removing certain doctrines, but not all. In the reigns of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. the reformers proceeded still further. Then came the reign of Queen Mary and the Church went back to the old faith. Then came the reign of Elizabeth, and for some time it was very doubtful whether they were going to become Puritan or Catholic. Perhaps that is not the right definition, but it was a question whether they were 1312 going in the direction of Protestantism or falling back on the old doctrines of the ancient faith. It was really very doubtful for a very long time, and then there was what was really a compromise, and even then it was not final. There was the great Puritan struggle, which became stronger year by year; it became stronger towards the end of the reign of Elizabeth and afterwards through the reign of James I., and you had the great Puritan element in the Church, and the others represented by Archbishop Laud. What happened? The Puritan element triumphed and became the established Church, which remained for some time. It was only after the Restoration that you arrived at anything which produced the present constitution or anything approaching the present settlement of religion. Throughout the whole of that period, I cannot recollect the number of years, but probably it would run to somewhere between a century and half a century, the Church shifted from one attitude of mind to another. She had no definite theology, no definite doctrines, no definite views about things. In the view of the Noble Lord what they ought to have done at the Reformation was to say, "We have not arrived at any definite conclusion, let us wait, let us stick to the old Catholic faith with its old doctrines, although the nation have gone away from it, because there was no determination or finality." If that is the doctrine he is going to apply to-day, why was it not applied in the case of that Church?
The same thing applies to Scotland. In Scotland they left the Catholic faith and swung further in the direction of Puritanism and Calvinism. There were some statesmen who took the view of the Noble Lord, and thought Scotland's decision was purely a sort of temporary aberration, and that Scotland had not definitely decided to leave the Catholic Church. They tried to force on Scotland something which was a compromise between the ancient faith and Calvinism. What was the result? You had a revolt in Scotland which swept that away, and Scotland would have none of that doctrine. Why on earth should it be forced on Wales? For one hundred and fifty years Wales has practically abandoned the position which is now held by the Noble Lord and others quite conscientiously, and the Welsh people, with just the same attachment to their faith, for one hundred and fifty years ask, "Why should we wait for another thirty, or forty, or fifty, or, maybe, a hundred 1313 years, until someone rises in the place of the Noble Lord and says, 'At last Wales has made up her mind about theology.'" That is a doctrine you cannot apply to any nation. The value of that argument is that it is a recognition by a controversialist of the skill and of the power and of the knowledge of the Noble Lord on this subject, that there is nothing better to say for the Establishment in Wales than arguments of that kind. The Noble Lord used a phrase that Wales must recognise the established Church. Has he realised what that means, because I am perfectly certain he has got the interests of religion primarily at heart.
He used one phrase in connection with the Investiture, and I think I would ask him to develop that frame of mind. He said that rather than have warring or competing ecclesiastics spoiling the service or having the appearance, as it were, of partitioning the service to satisfy everybody he would have preferred to have had one Nonconformist divine. He was prepared to leave his own Church out of it altogether. Why? Because he thought the interests of religion on that very important occasion would have been better served. I wonder whether he would carry that attitude of mind a little further. Why should he not say, "Even though my Church as an organisation may be dethroned from the position of supremacy and predominance which it holds now in the eyes of the law in Wales, and though it may be set on one side as the one faith which has got the right to officially represent the Welsh people, yet I would rather in the interests of religion that that should happen than that we should have this warring wrangle and theological controversy over the question of the Establishment?" Why should he not carry it a little further? [An HON. MEMBER: "It is not the same thing."] I think it is. What is the position now? It is not enough to say that the Establishment of religion is a good thing for the country. That does not settle the controversy in the least. You have got to prove an addition to that, that it is in the interests of religion that you should force upon a country a particular form of faith which it repudiates, and force upon it the official recognition of that faith as the national religion. What is a national religion? I may quote the words which fell from the lips of a very distinguished Church lawyer who was opposed to Disestablishment and Disendowment, and who made great sacrifices 1314 for his opinions, I refer to Lord Selborne. What did Lord Selborne say about a National Religion? In opposing the Irish Church Bill in 1869, he said here:—A national religion, as I understand it, is not any provision embodied in law, or forms or ceremonies made by those who are at the head of the Government, but it is the religion of the people who constitute the Nation.5.0 P.M.
Can the Noble Lord sincerely argue, with his years of investigation of the problem, and can he get up in this House and say that the religion that constitutes the religion of the people is the established Church in Wales. If he cannot, then he must own that it is not a national religion in any sense except the legal sense. I asked a question on the First Reading Debate, and I repeat it now because I have had no answer. Is there a single case anywhere of there being forced upon a country as a national Establishment a religion which is not accepted by the majority of the religious people? Is there a single case anywhere? Scotland is not a case. Scotland refused to accept a religion which was not its own.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
But the right hon. Gentleman will admit this. I am not defending the Establishment in Scotland, but there is this very essential difference. After all, the faith of the Establishment, the religious views of the Establishment, the doctrines of the Establishment, are those of the majority of the Scottish people. That is not the case in Wales. Episcopacy is not the religion of the people. As a matter of fact, our religion is far more akin to the religion of the people of Scotland. Yet Scotland, who held practically the same religious views as we do, refused, and refused up to the point of rebellion, to accept Anglicanism as its national religion. Why should we have the Anglican religion or any other religion forced upon us? I am not saying anything to the detriment of Anglicanism; but why should we be compelled to accept any faith which is not the faith of our people?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
That really is a very technical point when you are dealing with the question of this moment. The Noble Lord is willing to accept a very 1315 great responsibility. The higher his opinion of his religion, the more convinced he is of its efficacy as an instrument for saving the people of Wales, the more ought he to be eager to remove the sense of injustice which is created by forcing upon them as an Establishment. Why? He thinks—of course he must do so—that it is a better instrument than anything we have got in Wales as a substitute. He is bound to think that. Is he not doing harm to the Church and to the people of Wales by creating a prejudice in the way of the acceptance in Wales of the Church in which he believes above everything else? He is taking a very great responsibility. After all, individuals have to work out their own salvation. A nation has to do the same thing. What is the Noble Lord doing? He and his associates and friends are undertaking to work out the plan of salvation of a people who do not belong to them. They are undertaking to force that plan upon the people when that people prefer other means. That is a gigantic responsibility. He is doing it without knowledge. What does he know about Wales? He has sat on a Commission investigating certain statistics, but what does he know of the life of the people? What does he know of the people, of how they fashion their life and their character? How can he possibly say what is the best spiritual agency for that people? Yet he is undertaking the responsibility of forming a judgment, and, not only that, but of forcing that judgment upon them against the will of the people themselves, who know best what suits them. He is in the position of a doctor who prescribes without knowing the patient, without diagnosis and against the view of those who have cured the patient once and are still caring for him. I say that that is a responsibility that the Noble Lord ought to shirk.
The real point is, should this religion be forced upon the people of our country against the wish of the vast majority of those who live in that country? I say that it is an undignified position for the Church itself. What is it that the Church of England in Wales says? The Welsh people say, "You are not our national religion." For forty years they protested against it. They came to the House of Commons and said, "This is not our national religion, and we object to its being treated as if it were." The Church of England says, 1316 "Whether you want it or not, we will be your national religion. We insist upon being your national religion." The bishops of the Church are the only representatives of the spiritual life of Wales in the House of Lords. Do they represent it? Not only do they not represent it, but they know that they do not. There is not a single constituency in the diocese of St. David's in which the bishop of the diocese would be returned. Taking the other three dioceses there would be perhaps one constituency in each dioces for which the bishop of the diocese would be returned, with a majority ranging from 200 down to nine. Taking all the other constituencies, more than two-thirds of the people would reject their claims. Is it not really rather undignified to run away to England, and say, "You will not have us for your shepherds; you will not have us as the spiritual exponents of your religious life; but England will compel you to do so." Is not that a humiliating and abject position for a great Church to take? Those who reverence the Church most ought to be the first to help it to escape from that position. The smaller the nation the more undignified the position.
The Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil) spent most of his time in examining the position with regard to disendowment. I shall follow his example in that respect. The argument has been used in these Debates, that even if you Disestablish the Church it does not follow that you ought to Disendow it. I heard the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton (Mr. Harwood), and I agree with him that Disestablishment without Disendowment is a perfectly ridiculous proposition. I am going to give the reason why. If you Disestablished and left the national endowment in the hands of the Church, you would simply be emancipating the Church from the control of the State, whilst at the same time leaving it in possession of endowments which belong to the majority of the nation. That is unfair. The Noble-Lord said: "After all, this is property which belongs to the Church, and whether you Disestablish that Church or not you have no right to take away the property which belongs to it as a corporation." I agree with him that it is not perhaps a very profitable inquiry what the origin of the endowments was, but when you have a claim that property belongs to a corporation as such for its own uses, and not in trust for the nation, you are bound to 1317 examine the origin of its claim. When I come here I find myself confronted with this difficulty. If any hon. Member on this side quotes any authority, however distinguished, if the authority happens to be detrimental to the case of the Church, we are at once told that he is antiquated, that he is not an authority on this particular subject. I ventured in the course of my First Reading speech to quote one of the highest authorities on English law, Mr. Justice Blackstone, but I am told that he is no good. Hon. and learned Members opposite who as lawyers were probably fed on Blackstone, say that he is no longer to be trusted. The Higher Criticism has destroyed Blackstone. Then I ventured to ask the hon. and learned Member opposite whom I was to quote, and the reply was, Trust in Maitland. So I fled to the shrine of Professor Maitland. The right hon. and and learned Member for Walton (Mr. F. E. Smith) gave me another of the apostles on this subject—namely, Selden. I shall give him a little Selden before I am done.
First of all take Professor Maitland. I found him a regular mine, and I am infinitely obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman. One of the first nuggets that I discovered was on a point which interests the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil), and is a direct answer to one of his propositions. The Noble Lord said that the Church owns this property. Professor Maitland says that the Church owns no property; that there is no such thing as a Church as a legal entity. The property is vested in the incumbents and bishops in trust. But they are not trustees for the Church. The incumbent is the trustee for his parish, and who is it that has controlled this trust? It is very rarely that you can get the documents which created the trust, but you have a few, and there is not one of them that will support the contention of the Noble Lord. Where you have the document, if the document had been taken to a Court of Law by any litigant, he would not have secured the verdict if he had only the case which the present Church has. Who is it that has directed this trust? Parliament has directed the limits of the trust, varied the nature of the trust, the subjects of the trust, the objects of the trust, and the conditions of the trust. It has altered them, and varied them, right through the history of the country. Mr. Gladstone in his speech on 23rd 1318 March, 1869, laid down a proposition which Professor Maitland, amongst others, has endorsed. 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 impressed 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 all time for the benefit of the entire population of the Kingdom.That is the proposition laid down by Mr. Gladstone. I would venture to lay down another proposition: that Parliament has invariably, when the majority of the nation, owing to altered conditions, ceased to enjoy the benefit of a trust in its then form, has undertaken to change that form so as to adapt it to the needs, views, and wishes of the bulk of the people for whose advantage it was created. That is the case of the Reformation. That is the case of the Scottish Church. That is the case of the Irish Church. There are two points to consider in connection with this property: this trust. First of all, the nature of the endowment which constituted the emoluments and property of the trust; and, secondly, the general character of the trust itself. As to the emoluments, the Noble Lord only dealt with tithe. He said tithe is a property. I say tithe is a tax. It is certainly a tax in Wales. The Noble Lord said that when you buy and sell land you buy and sell land subject to this charge upon it. So you do with a Land Tax. I am referring generally to the Land Taxes. Land is bought and sold constantly subject to the Land Tax. The Land Tax is received by the Imperial Exchequer, whereas this is received by somebody who for the moment is enjoying the property.
Whatever was the case in England there is no doubt that in Wales this impost was a tax. There is a Churchman who has written an interesting book on the Celtic Church. I think, on the whole, he is perhaps, the greatest authority on that Church except Professor Rhys. There is also the book by Professor Williams, but it does not come down late enough to be of much value to either side in this controversy. Mr. Willis Bund—the authority to whom I refer—has studied the matter for years, and made it the subject of original research. He is a Churchman, and a strong Churchman; and also a very strong Conservative. When I quote him 1319 I am not quoting an authority that is partial to our side. Will the House listen to what he says about tithes in Wales?Tithes were a mere payment imposed on the Welsh by the conqueror, and were not one of the incidents of the nature of the Church in Wales. The conqueror imposed them on the conquered as a mark of his victory, and of their subjection. Whatever else Wales owed to the Normans and the Plantagenets, she certainly owes the general legal imposition of tithes. The payment of tithe may be of Scriptural authority, but the payment of tithe in Wales is a mark that remains to this day of the conquest of the Celtic Church by the Latin.The power and the authority that could impose that tax can either take it away or alter its object. That is all we claim. I will deal with the Noble Lord's other argument. Parliament has treated tithe as if it were a tax. It has altered its incidence, its method of collection, its character, its amount, and its objects. Even a Ministry supported by the Noble Lord treated it as a tax. In 1891 there was an Act carried called the Tithe Act. What did that do? Will the House just consider what was done in that case? There were parts of England where the tithe sometimes exceeded the rent; even approximated to the rent in amount, and the result was that the landlord got nothing out of it. If it were a property what would that matter? A mortgage is a property, and if you have a mortgage on land, and the value of the land goes down, the equity of redemption is wiped out, and the rent is absorbed in the interest, you do not come to Parliament and say, "This is very unfair, and you must reduce the interest on the mortgage." No, a mortgage is a property! What did Parliament do? By Section (8) of that Act it indicated "that whenever the tithe amounted to more than two-thirds of the annual value of the land under Schedule B, that the rest of the tithe should be wiped out." Is not that robbing God? And in whose interests? That third was taken away. Confiscation is the only word that properly describes it. It was taken away from the service of the altar and given to the landlord.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The land does not go out of cultivation when a mortgage amounts to the rent. I could understand it being said that if the tithe exceeded the total value of the land, then we shall forgive the rest. That is not what they did. They said two-thirds, and that one-third must go to the landlord. It is a tax, 1320 whenever the interest of the landlord demands it to be treated as a tax! It is a property whenever the interests of the poor and of the nation demand that it should be treated as a tax! We are examining what is a very important proposition, and that is the question of Disendowment. If this property does not be long to us, not merely ought not we to take it, but I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it would be an act of pillage to take it. Therefore I am examining the proposition as to who it belongs to. I say it belongs not to the Church, not to the parsons; it belongs to the inhabitants of the country for the benefit of whom the trust was created. We are appearing on behalf of the beneficiaries to claim the restoration of it. I said first of all that there is every evidence to show that it has been treated as a tax, and that Parliament invariably treated it as a tax. Come to the other question, the character of the trust. We are the beneficiaries. It is not the Church, because the Church never appears. It is not the parson; he is a beneficiary so long as he holds office. He is the legal owner, the trustee, who derives the profits of the tithes so long as he holds office. But Parliament has taken to itself the power of dismissing him from the office of trustee. You cannot dismiss a landlord when he gets drunk. The point I am referring to now is this: The Clergy Discipline Act was in itself an Act which imposed conditions of trusteeship of this property which you would not impose upon any man who had property—
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I have already entered into that point, and I am not afraid to meet it again, but I do not want to be drawn into argument away from my present point. Parliament has always exercised full authority in controlling this trust, directing it, guiding it, stating what it is to be for. One moment it has used it for this purpose, then altered it for another purpose, and has done that right throughout history. I agree with the Noble Lord when he says that there is one general, specific purpose that has dominated the action of Parliament. The trust has always been used for the service of God. But Parliament has been the supreme interpreter of what the service of God meant for the time being. My only complaint against the Noble Lord and those who agree with him is that they take too narrow a view of that circumstance. 1321 Their view was never adopted by the founders of the Church. It was never adopted by the reformers. When Parliament recast the trusts of the Church at the Reformation they used them for the purpose of founding colleges and schools, hospitals, libraries, almshouses, and for the maintenance of the British Navy. Part of Church funds went to the latter purpose. Another religious service for which the money was given was to endow deserving members of the British aristocracy. All was included in the service of God! For my part I am willing to accept the interpretation put by the founders of the Church upon this service. The Noble Lord said, "Yes, undoubtedly; it was used partially for the poor, but that was always subordinate to other uses."
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I never said Church endowments were for the poor. I said the service of the poor was a religious service, but a subordinate religious service.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I do not agree with the Noble Lord, and I will give him my reasons. St. Augustine does not agree with him.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
But the Noble Lord will, I think, regard that authority with a certain amount of reverence. What did St. Augustine say? And here let me say I am indebted to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Walton (Mr. F. E. Smith) who begged me to study "Selden on Tithes." I found it very useful and he will see the service he has rendered when I read out one of the first things I found was the result of that very useful hint. This is what St. Augustine said:—Tithes are required and a due, and he who refuses to pay them has invaded other people's property. A man who does not pay his tithes will appear before the tribunal of the Eternal Judge charged—with what?with the murder of the poor who die of hunger in the place in which he lived since he has kept back for his own use the substance which God has assigned to the poor.Who robs the poor? Is it those who give the substance back to the poor or those who keep back for their own use the substance which God has assigned to the poor? And may I say this to the Noble Lord: The Church that accumulated these endowments, the Church that built up this great property was the Church that 1322 accepted that interpretation of the service of God. Take the monasteries, who owned most of this property? I say the Church that built up these endowments was the Church that accepted that interpretation of the service of God. What were the monasteries who owned most of this property? They were the advisers and teachers of all. They performed the duties now undertaken by the guardians, the relieving officer, the parish doctor and the schoolmaster and others, and these were the objects for which these endowments were used by that Church. I could give the Noble Lord a good many other quotations of the same kind. There is a quotation from Dr. Hatch, one of the most learned historians of Church institutions who says that the Divine right to the tithes and the obligation to give a portion of that tithe to the poor stands or falls together. As a matter of fact, the share of the poor has been annexed, has been alienated, not by those who are now charged on this side of the House with pillage and plunder, but by their accusers. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Glamorgan the other day quoted a Statute of Richard II. in which Parliament had actually to enact that portion of these tithes should be given to alms, and Blackstone in explaining that says it is because that custom had fallen into deseutude, though it was part and parcel of the law of the land up to the date of the Reformation. Now the provision has fallen into deseutude. The mere fact that you are using this property now to pay the ministers of the Church does not mean that is the only trust consistent with the character of the foundation. There is a passage again in Selden which I would commend to the right and learned Gentleman upon this very subject. Selden was rather answering the clergy when he made these observations. They said, "you have taken away the tithes which ought to belong to us; you ought to restore it." This is the answer which Selden gives:—It is ridiculous to say that tithes are God's part and therefore the clergy must hare them. Why so say they are if the layman has them. It is as if one of my lady Kent's maids should be sweeping the rooms and another of them should come and take away the broom, and tell for a reason why she should part with it; it is my lady's broom. As if it were not my lady's broom which of them so ever had it.We shall be sweeping away poverty, distress, ignorance, disease, wretchedness by the money due to us. That is our claim in this Bill. The Noble Lord said that at the Reformation nothing in particular happened except that you got rid of certain 1323 corruptions. Is that really all that happened at the Reformation which bears upon this question of property? Professor Maitland said very great changes happened, and I quote him because he is above suspicion. The first thing that he said happened at the Reformation was that the Church was established as a State Church for the first time. What is the second change? He stated that at that time the Church severed its connection with Rome. These are both vital and fundamental changes in the trust. The Noble Lord will hardly deny that. What happened to the Church which was independent in doctrine, in ritual, in discipline, and which was absolutely self-governed? It became a State Church. Its very prayers are settled by Act of Parliament. I believe that purgatory was abolished by the casting vote of the Speaker. You cannot discharge a transgressing clergyman without the authority of the Act of Parliament. The ritual, doctrine, rubrics, everything of that kind in the Church, are matters for the control of Parliament, and according to Professor Maitland that happened at the Reformation. Surely that is a very vital change in the character of the trust. What is more, the Noble Lord does not challenge the proposition of Professor Maitland that the Church at that time severed its connection with Rome; that surely is a very vital matter that a Court would take cognisance of. Suppose you had trust property now given to an institution in connection with the Church of Rome and the trustees became members of the Church of England, if they went to the Courts, is there any judge in this land who would say, "It is the same thing." There is only one thing they would give a title to an Anglican trustee who had formerly been a Catholic and that is an Act of Parliament, and it is an Act of Parliament that gives it now and therefore it is a statutory and Parliamentary title. What is more, some of the very doctrines which helped to build up its endowments are doctrines which are denounced as damnable heresy by the present Church. That is a very vital thing when coming to consider trust property. What happened to those who still stood by the ancient faith at the Reformation? Was there a life interest given to them? Were they treated generously? What happened to them was they were reduced to beggary or sent to herd with criminals, they were tortured, and sent to the gallows and the 1324 block. That was what happened to the people who stood by the ancient faith. Will the Noble Lord state there was practically no change except ridding the Church of a few corruptions. I will give him one of the few documents still extant. He will find it in the ancient annals. It is a very interesting document, and it will be all the more interesting to him because it deals with the very diocese in which he lives, and I am sure that it does not deal with the very parish in which he lives. It is the foundation of Peterborough. What happened there? When the trust was first of all founded there, what happened? The King sent the bishop to Rome to get a rescript from the Pope. He got a rescript from the Pope. Then the King summoned his Witan and summoned it at Hatfield, a place very interesting to the Noble Lord, and this was what happened at Hatfield. After the Witan had assembled they read the rescript of the Pope, and they all assented to and fully confirmed it. Then said the King:—All these lands I give to St. Peter and his ministers, as freely as I myself possess them, for the good of their souls as well as for the good or my own, so that none of my successors take anything therefrom. If anyone should do so, let him have the curse of the Pope of Rome and the curse of all the bishops and of all those who are here witnesses.This was the rescript; it ends:—Now will I say the words: that whoso does not observe this rescript, let him be excommunicated and thrust down with Judas and all the devils in hell until he turneth to repentance. Amer.Where are these lands now? Let the Noble Lord look up these names. They are very interesting. The Bishop of Peterborough got some, not with the consent of the Pope of Rome. There are some worthy people who got the rest, and if we come to grief for parting with the Church we shall share our destiny in very good company. We shall have the Bishops of Peterborough since the Reformation and some very noble persons in the Eastern Counties. What is the good in face of a document of that kind of saying, "You only got rid of little trivial corruptions here and there." I could quote some of the Welsh documents of the same character. I have them here. You have there a long list of parishes. I will not read them out, but I do not think that they convey very much. You have a huge tract of territory given to a Benedictine or Cistercian Abbey or Monastery for the benefit of his own soul and the souls of his parents.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The Noble Lord has put a question to me, and I will answer him now. I think if you make the Welsh county councils trustees they will at least discharge the obligations of the trust more honestly than some of those who have held them before. You may depend upon it that if the Welsh county councils are set up as trustees for the poor they will not turn it to their own uses. I am dealing now with the trust of those parishes given for the benefit of his soul and the souls of his parents, and nobody stood more in need of it. Excommunication by the Archbishop of Canterbury! What for? For deeds which have ennobled Robert Bruce in history. What has happened to the monastery? There it was planted in the hills, not merely looking after the spiritual needs of the people, but also their temporal needs—they were the doctors of the community on easier terms. What happened to them? They have all gone. One of these parishes I find to-day with a tithe, and probably the land was owned by gentlemen who, when I was down there twenty years ago, was the anti-disestablishment candidate for that district. What is the good of talking about it? Whoever else has got a right to complain of Parliament not being authorised to deal with this trust; the present Establishment has no right, and the present House of Lords has no right. Property which was used for the sick, for the lame, for the poor, and for education, where has it gone to? Part of it went to the Navy, and part of it to the privy purse of the Crown, but the bulk of it went to the founders of great families. It is one of the most disgraceful and discreditable records in the history of this country. I do not want to go into all these cases, but I am bound to take note of one, because I think it is specially offensive. The Duke of Devonshire issues a circular applying for subscriptions to oppose this Bill, and he charges us with the robbery of God. Why, does he not know—of course he knows—that the very foundations of his fortune are laid deep in sacrilege, fortunes built out of desecrated shrines and pillaged altars. Why, the property taken away from the Church which is now enjoyed—I am not trying to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children. [An HON. MEMBER: "Limehouse."] Can the hon. Gentleman tell me of a single fact I am giving which is not true, and if he can let him say so?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Member interrupted me when I was making a statement, and I challenge him to say that that statement is not true.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I think I am entitled to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, who has been speaking for a very long time—
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
If the Noble Lord is interrupting to correct any statement I have made I can understand his interruption, but he knows perfectly well it is utterly impossible to carry on a Debate if he makes interjections and interruptions and argues in the middle of a Debate. I listened to his speech without interruption—
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Really, I think the Noble Lord might allow somebody else to grace his oratory. [An HON. MEMBER: "Go on about the Duke of Devonshire."] I have been elected to come here by people who rejected the hon. Gentleman who interrupts me, and I have been elected by the people who knew me best when he was rejected by those who know him best. He has no right to make discourteous interruptions when I am speaking. Here is a charge which is brought against a nation of theft and larceny, and I am not entitled to investigate it. Nay, more than that, when a charge of felony is brought against a criminal, at any rate he is given a right by law to challenge the panel of the jury, and that is what I am doing. I say that charges of this kind brought against a whole people—[HON. MEMBERS: "No,"]— at any rate they ought not to be brought by those whose family trees are laden with the fruits of sacrilege. I am not complaining that ancestors of theirs did it, but they are still in the enjoyment of the same property, and they are subscribing out of that property to leaflets which attack us and call us thieves. What is their story? Look at the whole story of the pillage of the Reformation. They robbed the Catholic Church, they robbed the monasteries, they robbed the altars, they robbed the almshouses, they robbed the poor, and they robbed the dead. Then they come here when we are trying to seek, at any rate to recover some part of this pillaged property for the poor for whom it was originally given, and they venture, with hands dripping with the fat of sacrilege, to accuse us of robbery of 1327 God. I say that Parliament has declared these trusts. It has altered these trusts and varied them, and used them very often for purposes which were discreditable to Parliament itself, but at any rate it has never altered the trust in a way which is more beneficial to the majority of the beneficiaries themselves than it will if this Bill is carried.
I will give an illustration with the leave of the House, of three parishes which I know well. I will show how it will work there. What happens? The Member for Bolton (Mr. Harwood), and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour), said, "Ah! well, Nonconformity, I have no doubt, can look after the villages and towns, but it has not got the equipment to look after the spiritual interests of those sparsely populated districts up in the hills, and there you must have an endowed Church." I know something about the hills. Most of Wales is of a mountainous rugged character, sparsely populated, and if that charge is true—and I know it is not—it is a serious one. I am a Welsh Highlander. I will give three or four parishes I know. I gave the adjoining parish last night, and I was very glad to say that the rector whom I am proud to call a friend of mine, although he controverted my argument, did not challenge the facts I gave. I will give the other parishes. You could not have a better sample of the arguments used by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London and my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, or a better refutation of their arguments than the parishes of this kind. Two of them are parishes with an area of forty square miles and a population of 1,400. The House will gather from that the sort of country it is. The other is a parish of twenty square miles, with a population of under 600—wild, rugged, and bleak. Two years ago, in the next parish, which is no bleaker, two expert mountaineers in London, in the month of August, crossing a sheep-walk, where men living in these valleys in the ordinary course tend their flocks, died of exposure. [Laughter.] That may be a matter of laughter to hon. Members opposite, but I do not know why they laugh, because I am reciting a very serious proposition, which affects the argument. This is the kind of country it is. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London that if the people who are living under these conditions 1328 cannot get spiritual comforts, except from Establishment or Endowments, it is a serious indictment of our Bill.
What are the facts? The aggregate population is 2,000, and the aggregate tithe is £370. There are three Churches, and they are all down in the valleys, in villages sheltered. If you go to the uplands, you find the Church of England, with all its endowment of £370 a year, has not got there even a mission room. Who is looking after the spiritual interests of these shepherds, miles away from the villages, down below. Those who live in the Highlands know the sort of country. There are twelve chapels there, built by these men themselves. Go amongst the crags, and you find a chapel there, which they have built themselves, living a hard life, which only by the sternest frugality enables them to pay rent, rates and tithes, and live. They have built these twelve chapels. The Church of England has in one parish, with its two Churches, 110 communicants, and in the other parish it has twelve communicants. The Sunday school, in the first parish, has fifty-five, and the Sunday school, in the other parish, has five, with three persons over fifteen; and yet you have an endowment of £180 a year in one parish and £190 in the other. The Nonconformists in their chapels have 1,100 communicants. They have 1,100 members in their Sunday schools, and some of them are most brilliant in the severe theological examinations that take place in those schools. The subscriptions in a year of this poor population amount to £1,100, three times the amount given in the way of tithes. But still more. Almost without exception they are the people who pay the tithes. Any time in any year for the last 150 years if you had gone there you would have seen the same thing going on. They do not even ask for their share of that endowment. I will tell the House why. It is a very important point. They know that, although it might temporarily help them, it would do infinite harm. They know that patient, unwearied, well-ordered sacrifice which has endured for five generations, and which has enabled them to build twelve chapels and to maintain them is making a new nation. It is that spirit, that discipline, which has enabled the people who, a few years ago, were the worst equipped in educational matters in Europe to have the best system of democratic education in the Empire.
1329 Take their secondary schools and their colleges. Who built them? There were rich men and we owe gratitude to them, but we should never have had them built had it not been for hundreds of thousands of peasants, quarrymen, miners, and labourers all contributing their best. They have been built by the people, and it is that training which has enabled them to do it. What do they want? They do not want them taken away from the service of God, but they think the ministry of the sick is part of that service, and anyone who has lived in these mountain regions knows what sickness means there. There are miles of track, broken and rutted by the winter rains, before you ever reach the high road. They never send for medical aid for petty ailments. The doctor is not even summoned for important family events. He is only called in when life is in jeopardy. Here in this district you have got fifty square miles without a doctor. Ask anybody who has lived on a wayside farm in these districts or in the villages in the valleys, and they will tell you that one of the most vivid memories of their youth was to be wakened up in the dead of night by hearing the clatter of a horse ridden furiously past in the dark, and everyone knew there was a dire struggle for life going on in the hills.
What do these people ask? They simply ask that endowments which were given for the benefit of the whole of the parishioners should be utilised for the advantage of those who create the tithes under these hard conditions. In the Highlands this kind of population has been cleared out. We have still retained it in Wales, and some of the best men produced by the country come from these districts. You meet them everywhere. They simply ask for justice at the hands of this House. I do not pretend they ask for generosity, but I do entreat the House to remember what generosity is. Who benefits by it, and at whose expense? It is a generosity that endows, that spares the pockets of the rich who reside in these districts, and who, if they paid in proportion to their tenantry, would endow the Church with twice the amount she now receives. At whose expense? At the expense of the comfort, the life, the amenities, and the consciences of this hard-working peasantry. They come here to the House of Commons to appeal for justice, for equal rights, and for fair treatment for the Faith which has done so much for their native land, for the Faith that cured it when the 1330 Priests and the Levites of the State Establishment passed by. They have appealed for that justice for forty years, and they are at last being heard.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I should like to add my humble testimony to the moderation, and, indeed, often the generosity, which has distinguished the speeches of many hon. Members behind the Treasury Bench who had spoken on the other side; and if sometimes the expressions used from these benches have been bitter it must be remembered we are being attacked, and that we conscientiously believe we see in this Bill an attempt to do a grievous wrong to those of our Faith who are poorest, and who are the least able to defend themselves. In venturing to say this, I should like to utter one word of comment, not only on the speech we have just heard, but also on the speech we heard last Tuesday from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Masterman). I listened with the closest attention to the oration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I confess I have failed to get very much help upon the specific subject we are considering in this House at the present time. His history may be accurate and it may not. He has been able to find passages in books which, with the true instinct of the lawyer, he is able to quote in favour of his case, leaving other passages, which I am quite sure he or I could find bearing a different complexion, not unnaturally unsaid. I should like to say one or two words about the speech of the Financial Secretary, and I must say how deeply, as a Churchman, I resent his contribution. That the hon. Gentleman should defend the Bill is right and proper, but surely it might have been done without mentioning a particular Church, sneering at its services, and questioning the intelligence of its worshippers. Neither need he have emphasised the statement, which I believe to be utterly unfounded on fact, that no established Church has ever been on the side of the poor, with the obvious inference that the Church of England has not the interests of the poor at heart. As one who professes a particular knowledge of the conditions of the poor in this great Metropolis, he should have been the last to decry the splendid and self-sacrificing work done by the clergy of the Church of England. The hon. Gentleman advertised himself as a loyal member of the Church of England. I can only say from loyalty such as his may Heaven defend us.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
My hon. Friend is absent, but I heard his speech, and I am quite certain he never decried the work done among the poor by the clergy of the Church of England. I am sure he could not have done it, because I know nobody has a greater admiration for that work than he. I think the hon. and learned Member must have been mistaken.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I took the trouble to read the words before I made the statement. The hon. Gentleman quoted with approval a saying, I believe of someone else, to the effect that in all history the established Church had been the enemy of the poor. That is what I said. The obvious inference, and the inference he intended us to draw, was that the present established Church is not the friend of the poor. I say that is a statement not founded upon fact, and, coming from one who has knowledge of the conditions of the poor and must know the splendid self-sacrificing work done by the clergy of the Church of England, it was an ungenerous, an ungrateful act, and, coming from a Member of the Church of England, it was an indecent thing to have said.
I have gathered from the speeches of many hon. Members on the other side of the House that their real objection to voting against this Bill is they are of opinion that in some form the property which it is proposed to take away is national property. I want to put a few arguments before such Members of the House on the assumption, first of all, that these endowments constitute national property, though I do not admit and I do not believe it is so. The Home Secretary who introduced the Bill succeeded in persuading himself that tithe payment was in the nature of a tax. Let me point out at once that, if it is a tax, it is not a tax for general purposes like the Income Tax. It can only be a specific tax levied for a specific object. If the tax has failed, that might be an excellent reason for remitting the tax altogether, but it is no reason for continuing the tax and devoting it to an object altogether foreign to the purpose for which it is levied. As a matter of fact, we know the tax, if tax it be, is to go on. If this argument has any foundation at all, let me point out before you take away State endowments which have been enjoyed for over 250 years and in reliance on which Churches have been built, parishes have been formed, and the development often the costly development. Of religious activity has been encouraged that you 1332 can only do it in common sense and common justice on one of two grounds. You must either satisfy yourselves that the object of the endowment has ceased to exist, or that although it exists the funds are being so misused and so fail of their object that it is legitimate to take them away.
One subject upon which everybody in this House is agreed is that the Church in Wales is alive, active, and growing, and that it is magnificently utilising its resources and spending what it has in the highest possible form of Christianity by administering not only to the spiritual needs, but to the bodily necessities of the poor. If that be so, as it is by common admission, it does not come within either of the two definitions which alone would justify taking away the endowments of the Church. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says that those endowments belong to the majority, and if you have left the Church to which they were given you are still, as a member of the majority, entitled to your share of them. But if you leave the Church of your own free will and enter another Church surely you leave it with all the consequences which in common sense and in common justice appertain to such a change. The Home Secretary justifies this by what I venture to think is a very peculiar argument. I would like to ask what is the result of taking away these State endowments? Out of 984 incumbencies, 220 are left with nothing at all, and 75 retain less than 5s. a week. Can it be suggested that that will not cripple the utility and well-being of the Church? What have these men done to you that you should treat them in this way? What is the argument of the Home Secretary? He says, really it is a good thing that this should be done. It is really for the Church's good. These words are very striking, and I have here the actual words used by the right hon. Gentleman. Speaking of a period of forty years ago, he says:—During those years the Church if it, as it will do, takes advantage of its freedom, will be able to effect such a better organisation of its resources that without in the least imperilling its spiritual work in Wales it will be able to effect economies which will leave it probably quite as well off as it is to-day."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd April, 1912, col. 948.]I do not wish to speak offensively, but I do suggest that that is a hypocritical argument. Say you have £400 a year. What would you think of anyone who suggested "I will improve your financial position. I will take £200 a year from you, and give it to the county council, and, when I have taken that £200 a year from you, you will 1333 be able to effect so many economies—you will be obliged to effect them—that in time you will be much better off with £200 a year than hitherto you have been with £400." I wonder with what gratitude Members of this House would receive an argument of that kind, whether it came from those who sit on this side, or from those who sit on the Treasury Bench who have endowed Members of this House with an income more than double the average income enjoyed at the present time by the clergy in Wales. If the proposition is true, if it is a financial advantage to have your endowments taken away, why not extend it to the Nonconformists? Why not improve their financial status by taking away their endowments?
Are these tithes national property at all? What is the argument in favour of that? It is said that the tithes are created by the tillers of the soil. It is nothing of the kind. Tithe is an imposition on the land. It is taken into consideration in fixing the rent, and it is nothing more or less than part of the rent which the occupier pays. Abolish it and the rent would be proportionately less. It is the landlord who would profit by its abolition and not the tiller of the soil. If anyone creates tithe it is the landlord, and that perhaps is the reason why it is not to be abolished. The tiller of the soil pays tithes as a part of the rent, but he is no more the creator of the tithe than he is of the loaf of bread which he buys for his home. It is said that the Welsh tithes, although perhaps voluntary, have become national property, at any rate so far as they were given for the performance of a rite which consisted of praying for the souls of the dead. An instance was given of a gentleman with the appropriate name of Smith who paid certain sums for that object. It was suggested that the object is not being carried out at the present moment, and that, therefore, the tithe ceases to be the property of the Church. That is not a true argument at all. The money was left to the Church, and, in recognition of that gift, a particular rite had to be carried out. The rite has changed but the Church remains. One might just as well say that if a gift is made to a hospital for the purpose of buying surgical appliances for a particular operation, and, by the development of the science of surgery, that operation is found to be no longer required, therefore the gift should be taken from the hospital and devoted to other purposes altogether. At the present time 1334 many of the large hospitals in England have departments which are occupied in research into the origin and nature of one of the most terrible scourges to which modern humanity is liable. If, in God's mercy, in time, a cure for that terrible illness is discovered, and research is no longer required can it be suggested that you are entitled to take the funds devoted to that purpose from the hospitals and hand them over to the County Council? No, Sir. The tithes if they have failed of their particular application in that respect, remain the property of the Church, and they ought to continue in the hands of the Church.
There is a further argument which has been adduced. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says that these gifts were made to the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England in Wales is not the Roman Catholic Church: therefore these gifts do not belong to that Church. The Prime Minister, in the splendid speech which he made last night admitted that the spiritual life of the Church has continued as it was at the time of its creation down to the present time. What is the life of a Church but its spiritual life? The Chancellor of the Exchequer says these gifts were made to the Church of Rome. His argument is that the Church in Wales is not the same Church. If he believes that, why not give this money back to the Church of Rome? Surely his position is not consistent. It is said that the tithes did not exist until the thirteenth century. We have listened to a brilliant and interesting discussion, in the course of which various theories have been advanced as to its origin. I do not care in the least whether the tithe dates from the ninth century or the twelfth century. This is the twentieth century, and for the last 300 years tithes have existed and have been spent by the Church. Who is going to take them away? The Home Secretary says that the payment of tithe was preached as a duty. Did he mean by that that the faithful were exhorted to give this tithe? If so, the duty is still preached by every religious denomination in the world, and as long as human nature remains what it is among the most disagreeable tasks ministers of religion will have will be that of being constant beggars at our doors. The mere statement that tithes had to be preached in itself refutes the suggestion that they are a creation of the law. It has been admitted over and over again that tithe in its origin was a voluntary 1335 gift. All that the law has done has been to enforce the voluntary obligation undertaken at the request of its donors, and that surely is proof of the fact that Parliament considers the obligation a sound one. Why should this Parliament come to a contrary conclusion?
The last argument advanced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech on the First Reading—and I admit it was a brilliant effort—was that the Church of England does not suit the Celtic nature. Does he mean it does not suit the hon. Member for Swansea? What has anybody got to advance against the services of the Church of England? The Celtic nature is emotional, earnest, and fervid. In what respect does the Church of England fail to satisfy that? Side by side with Nonconformist ministers the clergy have worked in relieving distress and in the great battle against sin and crime. They are self-sacrificing, earnest, and persistent. The services of the Church are as beautiful as it is possible, with their meagre funds, that they should be. The national love of music finds full expression, and I shall never forget a meeting which I attended at Pontypool, when I heard 5,000 people sing Welsh hymns in such a way as could not fail to touch the heart of the most stubborn. In what respect, then, does the Church fail to satisfy the Celtic nature unless it be that she refuses to lend her churches for the holding of political assemblies? If she fails to satisfy the Celtic nature, why do her adherents outnumber those of any other denomination in Wales? No, Sir, an argument such as that, coming from such a source, is, I fear, founded on antipathy to the Church. The truth is ministers of all denominations are doing splendid work, but they are all of them miserably underpaid. It is difficult to do good work in any cause, however inspiring, if you are harassed by the daily necessities of life. The Congregationalists are at this very time attempting to raise a fund which shall ensure to their ministers a minimum salary of £80 a year. The Calvinistic Methodists are doing the same.
Much as I distrust this scheme, much as I detest this scheme, I would rather see these funds, if they are to be taken away, go to the general cause of religion than passed on to county councils and museums. The Government lack the courage of their political necessities. They lack the courage of their convictions, and no such 1336 suggestion has been made. At any rate, if that were done, we should feel that funds which are being so well utilised now were not being divorced from the great purposes for which they exist. In conclusion, one cannot forget the time chosen for the attack. I know it is the political necessities of the Government which force them to choose this time. They cannot help it. But they might consider the harm they are going to do to the Church. What is the present position? Paganism is rife. In many countries religion in any form is ceasing to be a national observance. In this country atheism is rampant, and is increasing every day. There are schools in this great Metropolis where little children are taught atheistic so-called creeds. There are many in this House who quite conscientiously believe that it would be a good thing to divorce religion from the education of the young—a suggestion which many of us regard as nothing less than a national misfortune. From every pulpit in the land the cry at this moment is going forth to save the country from the danger of unbelief, and from the apathy with which it is threatened, and this is the time which you choose to strike a blow at an earnest, hard-working, deserving Christian community, whose only offence is that, with increasing devotion and increasing energy, they are doing the work of the Master. I believe that this scheme is an unjust one; I believe that when it is thoroughly understood in this country it will fail. I make an appeal to those hon. Members on the other side who have spoken with so much conviction and so much fairness, who are hesitating, who have openly said that if they could convince themselves that it is a scheme which would do harm to any branch of the Christian faith, I appeal to them to get over this argument, if they can, that you are taking—to set aside the other arguments—from a Christian body that which it is utilising for the purposes of Christ, and you are devoting it to purposes altogether foreign to those of the donors. If you convince yourself of that, you should have the courage of your convictions, and vote against this Bill. If you cannot, I suppose, legitimately, you must support it, but when it is through, I believe it will be one of the greatest misfortunes of our country in modem times.
§ Mr. EDGAR JONES
As a member of one of the Nonconformist Churches in the crowded industrial areas of South Wales, I am glad to have an opportunity of putting before the House our case for this Bill, 1337 on what may turn out to be rather different grounds than those upon which the case has been yet put by anybody on this side of the House. Before I come to the particular line of treatment that I am going to submit to the consideration of both sides of the House, I am compelled to refer to certain remarks that were made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Walton Division (Mr. F. E. Smith), who I am sorry is not in his place—it is no fault of mine—as to certain remarks of my own many months ago. The right hon. Gentleman was chastised yesterday by the Prime Minister for not verifying his references. I am very sorry that he is not here, but I want to say this: that the right hon. Gentleman, first of all, referred to some Convention at which I had spoken. There never was any such Convention. He referred to certain proposals that I made. I never made any such proposals. He referred to some meeting on the following morning, which was never held; and he referred to a speech by the hon. Member for Swansea (Sir Alfred Mond), which was never delivered. I probably will satisfy the right hon. Gentleman that he had better take care, on future occasions, to verify the references he uses in this House of a personal character. That is by the way. The hon. Member who spoke last has repeated the argument made from the other side over and over again. They have said to us, "Granted that these historical arguments of yours are true; granted that tithe is a tax; granted that there were abuse and misuse in the Middle Ages and throughout the eighteenth century, what is now the grievance of Nonconformists? Why do you do this at the present time? Why will you proceed with it, and why will you not wait for another twenty or another forty years?
I am going to try, as well as I can, to put the present argument and the present grievances of Nonconformists. Anybody who is a member, as I have the honour to be, of a great industrial constituency in South Wales, has necessarily in these days to deal with things of the immediate present, and it would be of no use at all to our cause if we simply dwelt upon various debateable points with regard to old abuses. In order that I may possess the minds of hon. Members with my own point of view, and the point of view of these industrial constituencies of South Wales, I am compelled to refer very briefly to certain historical landmarks. I want to bring the whole case within the ambit of what 1338 is, after all, the central fact of this controversy so far as we are concerned. Very peculiarly, that central fact has not yet been emphasised and brought home in the course of this Debate. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour) and, among others, the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord Hugh Cecil) have stated that all our arguments would apply equally to England. I am going to show the very special character of the Welsh case. It is absolutely useless for hon. Members to contend that what we say of Wales is applicable to England, or that the consequences of this step in regard to Wales are inevitable in England. The whole difference is this: It is a difference of language. It is due to the fact that, down to the time when this demand for the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church was openly and publicly formulated by the Welsh people, the Welsh people, in many districts entirely, and over the length and breadth of the land were Welsh speaking, and could not understand the English tongue. Hon. Members have said when we have referred to the Normans, and said rightly, "The Normans came and took the land and the possessions and the endowments of England." Yes, but these Normans in England, in the course of a generation or two, acquired the language of the people they were ministering to, but the whole complaint from the very commencement in Wales was that these Normans appropriated the land and remained absolutely incompetent to minister to the people at all. The hon. Member for Dudley (Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen) and others who have taken an interest in this particular controversy probably know of the existence of an old petition. Whether the petition actually went to the Pope or not, is a debateable point, into which I do not wish to enter, but this is the old controversy. This document was written in the twelfth century, and you have here what still remains the kernel of the whole grievance. They stated in this old petition of the twelfth century that—the Archbishop of Canterbury, as if it were a matter of course, sent among us English bishops, ignorant alike of both our customs and language, who could neither preach the Word of God to the people nor receive their confessions except through interpreters, and whatever they can lay hold on or obtain from us, whether justly or unjustly, they take away to England, and there live luxuriously and wastefully upon the wealth derived from the monasteries and lands given to them by the Kings of England.Whenever the Welsh people broke out in an organised revolt and any kind of 1339 national expression appeared on the surface of history, it was always the same complaint that an English power, an English political power, for political purposes, had laid hold of these endowments and tithes and property of the old Church, and were using them for their own personal enrichment, and using them in a way that was not consistent with the purposes for which they were given. For instance, when dissent began in Wales, early in the eighteenth century, and the great revivalist clergyman in the Church of England, Mr. Griffith Jones, broke through the bad practice, etiquette of his superiors, and wishing for no preferment or anything of that sort, began to preach to the people in his parish in a plain simple dialect that they could understand, the result was that he had to shift his pulpit first into the churchyard, and then into the fields outside. The Archbishop of Canterbury of that day wrote to him to ask for an explanation of this extraordinary revival when dissent was spreading like a disease all over the land. Griffith Jones wrote a long book in reply, a document which can be read by anyone who wishes to see it by going to any central library. In that document there is this particular statement:—They generally dissent at first for no other reason—I ask hon. Members to mark this:—than the want of a plain, practical, personal and zealous preaching in a language and dialect they are able to understand.One would have thought that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church authorities of the day would have been only too delighted to adopt so very simple and so practical a method to keep the people from dissent as that which Griffith Jones had found so successful, but, instead of doing that, instead of taking Griffith Jones' hint and following his methods, it turned out to be the very worst thing Griffith Jones could ever have said. To suggest that the Church of England at the time should proceed entirely in a simple Welsh dialect with the services of the day, was regarded as a dangerous policy, and he was tyrannised over, he was oppressed, and he was almost persecuted, and had it not been for a philanthropic lady, with influence and wealth at her command, his great work would have become impossible. I have here a book written by Archdeacon Bevan—one of the ablest defenders of the Church—on past and present Welsh 1340 Dioceses. It is published, by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. It would do hon. Members opposite good to read it through. It tells of the neglect into which Churches had fallen, how meetings could not be held in wet weather because the roofs were leaking and so on, and in particular that plurality and absenteeism reached in the eighteenth century, a pitch which it had never reached in England. It is said that we had plurality and absenteeism during the eighteenth century in England. Yes, but to nothing like the same extent. Let hon. Members realise the position of a clergyman sent from Oxford or Cambridge by the Lord Chancellor or some college or some chapter in England, to a Welsh district, and when he arrives he finds there is no one there with whom he can converse or whom he can understand. Is it any wonder that these people sought the first opportunity to go back to England where they could associate with people who spoke their language? That accounted very largely for this remarkable state of things.
These absentee incumbents drew, in the diocese of St. David's, in some cases hundreds of pounds a year from their incumbencies, and lived in England on the fruits of these endowments, leaving behind in Wales curates to comply with the legal technicalities of the Prayer Book. Hon. Members can judge of the quality of the curates by the list given by Archdeacon Bevan. The amounts per annum paid to the curates for maintaining the services in the parish Church were £4, £3, £5, £5, £6, £2—the minimum wage of curates in the eighteenth century. There were 110 parishes in the diocese of St. David's alone, in which the total annual payment was £6 10s. It is around this one historical fact that I want to put my case. In 1870 another Churchman, Dean Edwards, of Bangor, wrote a remarkable letter, which will remain a classic in the literary productions of the Welsh people to Mr. Gladstone, in which he retailed these facts with an eloquence which very few people can command at present, and he put to Mr. Gladstone the whole question as to the futility of appointing Englishmen in Wales because for 155 years only one Welshman, Bishop Lloyd, had been appointed to a See in Wales. So that this question of abuse, of misappropriation, of neglect, and of misuse, is not an antiquated thing. It was a condition of things at the 1341 time when the Welsh people as a body formulated their open, public demand for Disestablishment and Disendowment. In 1864 the first great Convention met at Swansea to formulate this demand, and in 1868 the first representatives under the extended franchise, of the Welsh tenant farmers were sent up to this Parliament with that one essential demand, and practically that alone, that the Church should be disestablished and disendowed.
What was the condition of things at that time and right down to 1870? There and in many districts, it lasted till 1886. There were poor peasantry at a period of agricultural depression, so serious that even the Welsh landlords were remitting rents, and when they were remitting rents there were coming down to these people from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and from colleges in England, like Eton and Winchester, bailiffs and auctioneers to sell the last cow and the last pig of the starving peasant. In 1886 there were great tithe riots in Wales, and Parliament had to appoint a Commission to inquire into them. Here were these people distrained upon and sold up under these conditions to pay this tithe to some college, to some pluralist, to some absentee incumbent in England whom they never saw—I do not say it in any spirit of recrimination; I say it in sadness of spirit—men who were dissolute and worthless in a spiritual sense. I remember as a boy, and I am not very ancient yet, vicars in Wales taking their hunting dogs with them into the Church. One lady who turned up at a service had the choice of a sermon or a shilling, and she was pleased when she chose the latter, and found it better to repent when she brought three others with her the following Sunday, who got a sermon rather than a shilling. That is the sort of thing that the voters in Wales knew of, and that the younger voters remember from the lips of their parents. I put it to hon. Member's opposite that when that was the state of things in 1870, was it not inevitable that the Welsh people should say: We must get some trust or some organisation which will use these funds for the people of the parishes to whom they were given and not for the personal licentiousness of individuals as they are being used at present? That was the demand then, and that demand has remained ever since, and the Welsh people will persist in demanding that these old endowments and trusts shall be put into the hands of some other body.
1342 Now we are met with the argument that the Church has improved since then. I am prepared to admit that with certain reservations, but it is owing to the Disestablishment agitation. English Members forget when they talk about their great reforms that they would not have had the Ecclesiastical Disorders and Churches Discipline Bill in England if it had not been for this agitation in Wales, and the threat that was hovering over the head of the Church. Hon. Members forget another thing, that not only were the endowments practically useless as spiritual ministrations for the causes I have mentioned, but we have to remember that this policy has been persisted in. Hon. Members have probably already been asking why these authorities in Canterbury were so foolish as to persist all through the years in imposing on Wales Englishmen who were perfectly useless. It was the same old reason from the beginning. The Normans were sent for political purposes and the bulk of them have been sent ever since. The explanation of the 155 years of English bishops is a political explanation. The Butes and the others wanted to keep Whig bishops in Wales because they suspected we were Catholics, and they took care to appoint to incumbencies those of similar character to themselves, and there is therefore associated with this tithe and with the other endowments in the mind of the Welsh people a long period of political oppression and an attempt to denationalise the people and to Anglicise them. While this tithe remains there will be upon it that same stigma, and the Church will be very well advised to make some sort of arrangement and to get someone else to gather the tithe for her, and to get rid of it for ever, because it will take not fifty and not 100 years for the Welsh nation to forget this story of misguided, personal, selfish, political misuse of the moneys which were given by the pious founders of whom we have heard so much.
We are told that the Church has made great progress during the last few years. I doubt it, and I am sorry that the Prime Minister has assented to it, and that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ellis Griffith) almost lent himself to it, because we must speak of progress relatively and not absolutely. I quite agree that absolutely the Church has made astonishing progress. I suppose I have spoken at more Disestablishment meetings in Wales in the last five years than anyone else, and I have never forgotten to make it clear that I admire immensely the skill with which the Church 1343 of England has reformed itself during the past thirty years, the sincerity of the efforts of the clergy, their ability and their effectiveness. I think the Church now has in Wales as fine a personnel as Nonconformity or anyone else could wish to get. But in spite of all these efforts, in spite of the great kindness of the English who have come to the rescue of this ancient Church, in spite of the kind bishop like the Bishop of London, who declared yesterday that he was leaving the East End to go down to save the old Church of Wales, they have not made real progress, that is to say, the progress that counts in a controversy like this. Let me analyse exactly the progress the Church has made in Wales. I really think hon. Members opposite should look very carefully at this particular analysis. First of all, let me make one preliminary point clear. When you discuss the position in Wales and compare the figures of Nonconformity with those of the Church, and when you discuss the question whether the Church is equal to one denomination or another, you have at once to make certain geographical deductions. Hon. Members opposite who know Wales will agree that I am putting this matter quite fairly when I say, if you deduct from the Church figures those of the Border counties—constituencies such as those represented by the few Conservatives here, and the only ones Conservatives have ever represented since the Welsh people have had the vote—and deduct also towns like Cardiff and Swansea, which are cosmopolitan and have a new population, the cathedral towns, one or two of the old garrison towns like Brecon and Carnarvon, and take Wales, which is Welsh, the Church does not count at all, and hon. Members cannot deny that. I say she has made great progress, and all honour to her for the efforts she has made; but I am going to ask whether these efforts are worth while considering, and whether they are relative in this controversy. What is the progress the Church boasts of in the dioceses of Bangor, St. Asaph, and St. David? I have read all the pamphlets and booklets issued by the Church Defence Committee for many years, and I am quite willing to admit that I have received a considerable amount of mental satisfaction and instruction from them. I observe the points they made are these: The Church has spent so much in these dioceses, repaired so many churches that had fallen into 1344 ruin, rebuilt so many churches, built parsonage houses, re-endowed some particular church and augmented the salary of this particular incumbent. Yes, but what is the good of all that? An empty new church is as useless as an empty old church. The result is that in spite of all the efforts, though you have built new churches and augmented your incumbents, you have not the people, and therefore your administrations are not of much use to them.
I could quote figures given in the Church Commission Report which are most astonishing. They show as regards communicants in the rural deanery of St. Asaph that there are parishes with 15, 40, 12, 12, 12, 4, 5, and 10. When there are parishes of that character throughout the length and breadth of Wales, what is the good of boasting that you have built new churches? In that sense and from that point of view, the Church has not made the progress her friends are endeavouring to establish for her. Taking the industrial districts of South Wales, which I know myself, I find the Church boasts that it has made remarkable progress there. Glamorganshire has been used, as it was used throughout the Church Commission Report, as a great example of the virility and power of the established Church in Wales. It is a peculiarly happy circumstance for my case that they refer to the case of the Rhondda Valley. They put it forward as a remarkable example. I have read the speeches of bishops and others delivered in English towns with this kind of peroration: "Look here, so many churches have been built, representing an increase of 170 per cent." They have gone to English people, and asked in what diocese in England can you show an increase of 170 per cent. in twenty years? Yes, but the astonishing to me is that they stop at that statement. You might as well claim ten thousand, a million, or a billion per cent., for I say that to put the figures absolutely is no test and no guidance at all. You have to put them relatively to the progress of Nonconformity.
For three years I was concerned with the Welsh Church Commission, and I am afraid I was largely responsible for many of the disputes that took place while the Commission was sitting. What was at the back of it all? I was determined to get into the Commission's Report, side by side, the figures for the churches and chapels. I struggled for three years to get that done, and, although we took the 1345 figures from the Church witnesses, the chairman of the Commission stood out to the very last and said, "They will not be put side by side. We will put one set of figures in one volume and the other set in another volume." In that way the people would not see them together. They were scattered about. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am putting the case roughly. [HON. MEMBERS indicated dissent.] Then, why else did you keep them out? The House will see what the figures are, for I will put them side by side. I am dealing with the claim made by the Church of remarkable progress as shown by increases of 170 per cent. and 200 per cent. in South Wales. I will take the Rhondda Valley as a convenient illustration. It was agricultural and sparsely populated until 1861, when the population was 3,065. It had then two established Churches, and four Nonconformist chapels. After 1861 there poured into that district a mixed population from every county in England and Wales, and foreigners came up from Cardiff. That conglomerate mass had to be brought together into a civic community and fashioned into the life of decent citizenship and they had also to be brought under religious influences. One would have thought that in a district of that kind the established Church would have been of use. The population which in 1861 was 3,065 had in 1881 increased to 55,632. What provision did the established Church make for that increase of over 50,000 in twenty years? At the critical time when the civic life of the district was dependent upon the religious services provided, they built three more churches, bringing up the total to five. What did Nonconformity do—this voluntary principle which, it is said, will not sustain the religious requirements of the country? They built seventy additional chapels. In 1905 when the population had increased to 125,000 what progress had the Church made? They had built twenty-seven stone churches and seven temporary iron churches, while the Nonconformists had built 151 chapels. During these twenty years of immigration into that district of a mixed cosmopolitan population, it was the voluntary contributions of Nonconformity that moulded, fashioned, and conquered the life of that particular community. I mention these facts to show the security upon which this House can rely in regard to the operation of the voluntary principle in Wales. With the exception of two of the twenty-seven 1346 churches which were built by the established Church and to which half-a-dozen people contributed, those churches were given from weathercock to the lock on the gate by one landlord as a present to the Church. I do not think that in the history of the 151 Nonconformist chapels you will find that there have been five subscriptions of £100. The whole lot have been built out of the earnings of colliers, and they are maintained by working men.
Let me compare the sitting accommodation. In 1905 the number of people speaking English only in the Rhondda urban district was 36,754. What provision did the Anglican Church make for these people who came into the valleys and hills? They had provided sitting accommodation for 9,721. What accommodation had the Welsh Nonconformists provided for the English strangers who came into their midst? They provided sitting accommodation for 23,941. Take the Welsh-speaking population of the district. Here you find the Church has forgotten nothing and learned nothing. The people speaking Welsh numbered 65,747, and the provision made for them by the national Church was 2,625. The provision made for them by Nonconformity was 64,471. I really cannot understand how Gentlemen like the hon. Member for the Oswestry Division (Mr. Bridgeman) and others who look at these facts and admit the neglect that had taken place down to 1870, unfortunately for the Church and everybody, and who look also at the fact that religion has been maintained in Wales, and has held a grip over the working masses which the Churches, Nonconformist or otherwise, have never been able to get in England, can say that the neglect has not gone on. Hon. Members must remember that our Churches in Wales are the Churches of the labourers. I have belonged to a Church since I was sixteen years of age, and I am the only person connected with it who is not a working collier. I have been there among them in their consultations, and I know that among the people, there are strong men who carry on the work there. You talk about resident ministers! We do not want them in Wales. They are not indispensable; they are only secondary, and they only assist. I have been in that church through many a year when there was no minister, and these collier deacons, putting their own shoulders and their own eloquence into the work, conducted the services and ministered to the sick and did everything 1347 so well that the church prospered infinitely more during the period of their voluntary effort than when the minister was there. In view of all this, I cannot understand the reluctance of the hon. Member to say that it is Nonconformity that saved Wales and raised it from the ruck and has kept its religion alive.
It is all very well for the hon. Member and others to say that the Church neglected its work; that it did not keep Welshmen to minister to the people in a language which they could understand, but that somehow religion was kept alive. It is like the man who came back to us in the revival, and said to us, "Even though I have been had up very often for drunkenness and disorderly conduct, for beating my wife and poaching, yet, thank the Lord, I have kept my religion through them all." I put it to the hon. Member that, after that, at any rate, he ought really to admit that it is these voluntary efforts which have kept religion alive. There are hon. Members on this side who seem to have some doubts which have been expressed in this Debate, and who say that they would be prepared to vote for Disestablishment, but they cannot vote for Disendowment, or they have doubts about it, and they are not very enthusiastic. Allow me, with very great respect, to say that when they talk about Disestablishment without Disendowment they are confusing things and are not quite clear as to what they are talking about. What really does Disestablishment mean for us Welshmen? It means getting rid of the control over the endowments of the persons who now control them, getting rid of Ecclesiastical Commissioners, of Eton College, of Winchester College, of Keble College Trustees, of the Lord Chancellor, and all the private patrons. You have got to remove their control of the endowments before you can get Disestablishment at all; and therefore Disendowment is the only way to Disestablish in that sense.
The Noble Lord (Lord Wolmer) is laughing prematurely. What it means is this. After you have removed the control of these people who now control them, then you have to determine what you are going to do with the funds. The real issue between us and this House is whether we should restore to the new Church the money equivalent of these funds, or whether we should not, as in the proposal of the Bill, retain it for the county councils and other purposes. That is the point 1348 that we shall have to decide in Committee—and I commend that to hon. Members on this side too—and it is not essential to the principle of the Second Reading how much of it we will give back. Originally, we were giving back down to 1703. Now it is down to 1662; and as the Prime Minister said, and I say it myself, and a large number of Welsh Members say, if, when we come to that particular question hon. Members can put to us a strong case and a reasonable case, we shall not stand against any great national settlement on a question as to how much of this, that, or the other ought properly and reasonably to be transferred to the new body for the future work of the Church; I put it to hon. Members on this side, therefore, that that particular question is a question which will be settled in Committee. Disendowment as such, as a principle, is absolutely necessary for Disestablishment, and you cannot talk of voting for Disestablishment without voting for Disendowment as the one and only process of Disestablishment.
Hon. Members mistake, when they think that this demand is merely the demand of Members of Parliament or of a few agitators. If they had lived among the masses of very, very zealous Nonconformists, men who spend the whole of their time on week night after week night as well as on Sunday in their chapel and in their Sunday school, men whose one hope and interest in life is that of the success of religion as such, whether of their own particular sect or that of the Church, they would find that deep down in the hearts of those men is the unshakable conviction that these things in the past have been used and misused, and that we cannot trust the Church any more with them as an organisation. That point lies at the bottom of it all. Then there are the others, Nationalists, who make out that these are national property. Those arguments have been sufficiently developed. The whole mass of the Welsh people is as determined that it is right upon this point as it ever can be upon any point. Will hon. Members say that the whole of the people through these thirty or forty years have sought to do a great injustice, through sordid means and base motives, as was suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Walton (Mr. F. E. Smith)? The fact is that the whole mass of the people is unshakable on this point and that the people would eject from his seat to-morrow any hon. Member for South or North Wales who did not stand firm 1349 upon this particular question. Hon. Members must really consider seriously that this settlement is inevitable and has got to come later if it does not come now. The people have been accustomed to rely upon the voluntary principle. Religion was not revived in Wales and has not been maintained in Wales by any elaborate organisation either of Nonconformity or of the Church. We may be a very peculiar people. You may fail to understand us, but you cannot dispose of these remarkable social and religious phenomena of the people themselves.
The great fact which stands out is this, that religion has been advanced in Wales not by systematic organisation, but by recurrent tides of religious revival coming like a great movement, whence nobody seemed to know. Anybody who has been through the middle of the last revival a few years ago, as I went through it, in the hearts of these people, when every single soul was brought into the hand of the Church, when old reprobates, dissolute old fellows, conquered their craving for drink and everything for months, will know that though we had no organisation, yet for a period of three years it affected the whole population without almost any exception in many of the crowded towns as well as the villages in South Wales, and though we Nonconformists do not pretend that we have any organisation that will hold them all for ever and prevent every old steeped, hardened individual going back again, as some of them have gone back, yet the astonishing thing is this that there remains a great permanent increase from the last revival as from every other revival, and it is upon that that the Welsh people after all have been relying mainly. They do not rely upon their own organisation. They do not want in Wales, and from the experience of the past they do not look for the future of religion there to an elaborate system of spiritual irrigation from a central State river. The people there go on in a very simple and very crude way, tending the soil and waiting for the coming of the great tide, which is sure to come in its period and in its cycle, and when it comes the remarkable thing up to the present is this—that there has always been one barren spot, that the steps of the Establishment have been dry and untouched; and what the Welsh people hope is that the Church will be able to set herself in the way of these currents, so that the flood will be her flood as well as the flood of the others, and if she can find any kind of organisation that will help 1350 us to control the ebbing tide, then every Welshman, whatever his creed, and whatever may happen in this controversy, will bless her for the service she has rendered in the cause of religion.
Mr. MONTAGUE BARLOW
This Debate has been on the whole conducted in a reasonable and moderate spirit. There have been one or two exceptions, such as the speech of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury yesterday and the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-day. In reference to the speech of the last hon. Member we are anxious on this side to listen to all reasonable arguments, but the arguments must be pertinent to the subject. It is, after all, the position of the Church to-day and the position of Nonconformity to-day which we have to consider, and not the position of the Church in the twelfth or seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. Nor is it the condition of a portion of Wales which we have got to consider. The Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Edgar Jones) made great play with the figures for the rural portion of Wales, but surely Glamorgan and the industrial centres are just as important an integral portion of Wales as the rural areas.
Mr. M. BARLOW
The hon. Member laid great emphasis on the fact that he was excluding for certain purposes the industrial area.
Mr. M. BARLOW
Not in one particular portion of your speech, while dealing with this question of Disestablishment and Disendowment. Curiously enough Disestablishment usually comes first while Disendowment comes second. But we on this side feel quite certain, and the hon. Member has reiterated the point, that if it had not been for what we consider the plunder of Disendowment we should never have heard anything of the policy of Disestablishment. It has been stated over and over again that Disestablishment without Disendowment was not worth asking for, and certainly was not worth fighting for. We have had the argument as to numbers, and the argument as to electoral decisions. I do not want to say very much about numbers, but there are two things to be noted. First of all, it is very difficult for those who are conversant with statistics to take very 1351 seriously the figures which were submitted to the Welsh Church Commission on the part of the Nonconformists. They were not prepared for the purpose, they were taken mainly straight away from the year books of the various bodies, and the definitions of adherency varied. Not only that, but some of the figures, especially for instance those of Sir John Williams, were in various items distinctly misleading. For instance, there is quite a considerable number of cases in those figures in which a larger number of adherents is actually claimed for Nonconformity in certain areas than there are men, women and children living in the area. The second point is that until hon. Members opposite will adopt the only possible course, the course adopted by Mr. Gladstone in 1868, and give us a formal census of the country it is impossible for us to take these figures very seriously. It is not we who are relying on the figures, it is hon. Gentlemen opposite who do so, and as long as they do that they cannot expect us to treat their figures with any great amount of attention, if they refuse the only test which is possible, a full religious census. The one salient fact which remains, however, is that the Nonconformist forces in Wales are on the decline, while the forces of the Church are very much on the increase. I should like to read a very short quotation from a much better authority than I am:—A practical test of successful religions work shows that there has been a slackening of grip of Nonconformist Churches on the people, which has continued in some cases for the past five years. Whilst Free? Churches have suffered less in some cases for three or four years, in the case of the established Church, taking the three years 1907–10, there is a steady growth in each department.That is not on the authority of a Church of England witness; it is on the authority of a leading Radical paper, the "Westminster Gazette," whose principal proprietor, I believe, has recently contributed a very large sum towards the Disestablishment fund. I do not think anyone can say that this is prejudiced evidence on our side. Then I desire to say a word or two about the electoral decisions which were referred to by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil. It is an argument to which I attach some considerable importance. The Home Secretary, in moving the introduction of the Bill, and in moving the Second Reading, said there had been eight decisions of the electorate in Wales in favour of Disestablishment. I am not a "Welshman, but I must form my opinion 1352 on the best materials open to me. It does seem to me, if the case is so strong in regard to the decisions of the electorate, that this argument was not used to a greater extent in the constituencies; as a matter of fact, it was very little used at the last election. I think only eleven Members, including the Member for Swansea, referred to it at all. I shall be told, of course, by hon. Members opposite that the issue of Welsh Disestablishment was raised by Members on this side of the House. The same argument was used by the Prime Minister in regard to Home Rule. Do hon. Members opposite really mean to suggest that the Government of the day leave to their opponents the choice of policy they have to adopt? That is what it comes to. By parity of reasoning, it would mean that the policy of the party opposite should consist of disruption of the Empire, of destruction of the Navy, of wasteful finance, and of unjust administration, because they have been charged with every one of those things in the Tory electoral addresses. The argument is really nonsense, and it could not possibly be put seriously.
Very little of Welsh Disestablishment was heard in Wales, and still less in this country. Of the Government's supporters only three mentioned Disestablishment in their election addresses. We might be entitled to urge, as against the argument on the other side, that in the one case Welsh Disestablishment has been put to the people of this country, namely, in 1895, it was rejected by an enormous majority. I should like to treat Members on the other side in a spirit of fairness and equality. What does Establishment mean? You have Disestablishment in Scotland, but the link of the Church of Scotland with the State is so small as to be represented only by the High Commissioner. The State has no control in any way over either the judiciary, the legislative, or executive body of the Scotch Church. It is not so with the connection of Church and State in this country. That connection consists of three things. It consists, first, of all of the Executive—that is to say, great officers of the Church are appointed by the State; the bishops and deans are nominated by the Prime Minister of the day. For the legislative portion of the Church the connection means that Convocation cannot either initiate or promulgate legislation without the consent of the Crown. Convocation cannot define the 1353 doctrines of the Church of England, or even make a new service of any kind, not even a harvest service without the consent of the Crown. As to the judicial portion of the Church, it means that the Church's Courts are recognised and the Church's law are enforced by the State. I wish to treat hon. Members opposite with all fairness, but I would point out that in most of these matters to which I have referred they mean not enlargement of privileges for the Establishment, but limitation of power. Of privileges, in fact, there are only two—the right of certain bishops to sit in the House of Lords and the recognition of the Church's Courts. There have been occasions in the history of the English Church when both parties in the Church have objected to decisions of the Privy Council; there have been occasions when the Low Church party objected to judgments, and also when the High Church party objected; but I think that the Church has gained in strength in having the Privy Council to give those decisions.
I submit, then, that the privileges to which hon. Members refer mean restriction, but whatever be the meaning of privilege I would gladly give it to the Nonconformist bodies. [An HON. MEMBER: "We will not have it."] That is not the point; the point is that we are prepared to offer it; whether you decline it or not is another thing. So far as we Churchmen are concerned, in religion or in education, we ask nothing for ourselves which we are not willing to concede to others. We want the co-operation and the elevation of religious bodies. We do not want the degradation of one religious body, and that the most venerable of them all. I want to make an appeal to certain hon. Members in this House, and to other persons in the country, and I am sorry I cannot include in that appeal a certain number of people like the Under-Secretary for the Home Office, who used language such as this:—The Church has been the parasite of aristocracy and the agent of oppression.That seems to me a kind of language that decent people do not have anything to do with. I do, however, make an appeal to three classes of persons—first of all, the leaders of organised labour, both in the House and outside. Many of them are personal friends of mine, and they have been engaged in religious work. We have that remarkable book, "Christ and Labour," and I do not think anybody who knows the work which is being done by Members of the Labour party can fail to realise that 1354 the face of organised labour will be turned, not away from, but in the direction of religious work. In the second place, I want to make an appeal to earnest-minded Liberals, and I appeal to the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil as a result of the speech which he made, as to support of the Church so long as she is righting against sin and immorality. A large number, I know, do feel strongly about religious things. At the last meeting of the Congregational Union, held about three or four days ago, the Rev. T. Williams moved to delete reference to the Insurance Act and the Minimum Wage Act from the report, as he wanted to prove they were a religious body and not a body that might be accused of political action. The great army of the Catholic Communion is fighting a magnificent fight for a non-material ideal of life in the poorest quarters of many of our great towns. They have great experience in dealing with the work of some of the poorest slums of this country, and one has to remember that they uphold an ideal of spiritual life among the poorest and those of the least opportunity in the great centres of our industrial life. I should like to quote a word or two from those two great teachers of their Communion, Manning and Newman, who were heartily with us in supporting Establishment. Newman said:—The Establishment has even been as a breakwater against Unitarianism, Fanaticism, and Infidelity.And Manning said:—To join in a political agitation in union with multitudes animated by all kinds of animosities against Christianity and with men, many of whom believe little, and many more believe nothing, of the truths of Revelation, is in itself a revolutionary action, directly tending to destroy what remains of Christian belief among the people.To all three, I would say you cannot, you dare not rob the forces which are making for spiritual progress by handing over Church property from its present purposes to secular purposes. I am not for the moment talking of the twelfth, or the eighteenth century, but of the twentieth century, and I repeat that you cannot and dare not take away money which is being used for what you yourselves admit is good, earnest, and devoted religious work, in order to apply it to what? Apparently nobody knows. The present suggestion is that it should be devoted to housing or some, other objects of which I do not complain, but they are objects not to be compared with the objects for which the money was originally given, 1355 and is now being beneficently used. We have got great industrial centres like Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire. They constitute half the population of Wales, being 1,000,000 out of 2,000,000. Their population has grown with great rapidity in the last few years. Their housing and social conditions admittedly are not satisfactory. Not only that, but on the evidence of a large number of witnesses before the Commission in those industrial areas neither church nor chapel is really in possession.
We have had during recent times most unsatisfactory, perhaps inevitable but nevertheless unsatisfactory, outbreaks of industrial unrest. We have had instances like Tonypandy. Is this a time, when we have got those great dangers to face, for hon. Gentlemen opposite, who take those things seriously, and who are what a distinguished Canon of the Church called "men of good intent," to weaken, if not destroy, the forces for spiritual good in the community, and forces which, whether you agree with the Establishment or not, stand not for the doctrine of sordid selfishness but for the ideal of what I may be allowed to call the "Sermon on the Mount." We are told very often that the Church is reactionary. Do hon. Members realise, and I am sure some do who are conversant with recent movements, that all the movements in the religious world are directed the other way. I know that some of them are familiar with the Student Volunteer Movement, which is composed on the principle of unity through diversity, and of co-operation of different schools of religious thought and not degradation. In that Student Volunteer Movement you have ordained ministers of all parties in the Church. You have distinguished Nonconformists and you have foreigners all joined together in a determined and successful attempt to see that each denomination and each branch of religious thought gets good from the other branches, and does not spend its time in trying to cut the throats of the other branches. Take even a more remarkable feature, and that was the great Edinburgh Missionary Conference of a year ago. That was presided over by a leading American layman whom we should call in this country a Nonconformist. You had ministers and bishops of all denominations there, and Nonconformists and other distinguished leaders, both of the Church of England and other religious bodies, all meeting together to work out a 1356 conjoint plan of action to carry out what is after all the greatest command in the world. Cannot hon. Gentleman opposite see that this is an attempt to weaken and destroy that work, because that is what it comes to. How reactionary that is in face of all those big religious stirrings and combinations which are based on an entirely different principle, not the principle of pulling down, but the principle of building up.
I believe it was the boast of the Home Secretary on another occasion and in another connection—namely, as to education—that he came not to bring peace but with a sword. I am not personally in favour of strong language. I do not believe it does very much good, though it may excite some enthusiasm and amusement at the time, but I do say this that if this appeal which we are making to you for combination and co-operation, and we gladly give you anything that would put things on a better basis, if that appeal is discarded and thrown away then we are bound to fight, and I have no hesitation in saying that there will not be any hesitation on these benches. There is in certain circles a great tendency to quote scripture, and there is a text which says those who take up the sword are apt to perish by it. I say this, we are willing to give you all we can, and I personally join in what was said a little while ago, that I would far rather if you are bound to take the endowments of the Church that you would take them for a definite and religions work, and if you took them to wipe off those enormous debts on the Welsh chapels, of which we have heard, I would far rather that you would take them for purposes of that kind than that you should take them for purely sordid secular purposes, and that you should devote them to what must be in the end relief of the rates. If you neglect our appeal, if you refuse the hand which we hold out of equal fellowship and equal co-operation then we are bound to resist, and I believe we shall resist successfully. Just let hon. Members remember that as a result of this you will have instead of growing sympathy and growing possibilities of co-operation all the wreckage of ill-feeling and antagonism which it will take many many years to obliterate and remove.
Mr. SILVESTER HORNE
I am quite sure nobody on this side of the House will feel that he has any complaint to make about the whole tone and temper of the 1357 speech that has just been delivered. I would like to say how very gladly we recognise the obvious sincerity of the words spoken by the hon. Member, especially in regard to the possible co-operation of all Christian people, but I am bound to think that the particular illustration that he gave us was one that is rather an argument on our side of the House than his, because it is a remarkable illustration of the fact that freedom and co-operation go together, and that the more perfect freedom you have amongst religious bodies the more probable and the more certain is ultimate co-operation. The hon. Member certainly suggested that there are certain privileges which he as a Churchman would share with those who represent the Nonconformist Churches. I am bound to say I do not quite follow the scheme he seems to have in his mind. He seemed to think it might be possible to have a scheme that would result in the Establishment of all the churches. Whether he has ever tried to work out a scheme of that kind I do not know, but I am perfectly certain of this that so far as the Free Churches of to-day are concerned that the last thing they would desire would be that they should be established in the same sense as the Ecclesiastical Church is to-day. With regard to the hon. Member's last suggestion the last thing those Churches would agree to would be that the endowments should be taken to pay their debts. I believe that if there is one thing on which they pride themselves it is that, although their debts sometimes are a burden lasting for years, they always in the long run pay their own debts.
I desire to take up a little time in speaking as an advocate of what the right hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of this Bill called the academic theory of the Liberation Society. I speak in support of a principle which I with many others am astonished was treated, if I may so, with contempt even on the Liberal side, namely, the principle of a Free Church in a Free State. I am speaking in favour of a principle which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Walton Division said once in his youth he accepted with enthusiasm, the principle of a fair field and no favour so far as the Churches of this country are concerned. I want to point out that the movement represented by that society has been a long and honourable movement in this country. It is a movement that has had a very fruitful history. It is a movement that to-day is practically victorious 1358 outside this particular Island in every part of the British Empire. It is a movement that has had great international consequences, and it is a movement which I venture to think no one who has been associated with it need be ashamed of for one single moment. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), who we all very much wish were present once again in this House, was for many years a leading champion of that particular principle. I do not know whether he has changed his mind, but I am perfectly certain he has not changed his motives. His motives in those days were motives for doing the best that he thought, could be done alike in the interests of Church and State. If the motives that have been alleged in regard to some of those who took part in this agitation of malice, spite, and cupidity, apply to-day they must have applied far more to hon. Members on the other side of the House, who were allied to a scheme far more drastic so far as endowments are concerned than the scheme which is now before the House.
I do not believe that really and truly in their hearts hon. Members opposite believe that those who are advocating what they believe to be the principle of religious equality are animated by motives of that kind. I welcome the assertion of the Noble Lord (Lord H. Cecil) this afternoon in which in the frankest way he disclaimed that idea. If I may mention in this connection I am quite certain that nobody who has ever been associated with him in this House would accuse the late hon. Member for North-West Norfolk (Sir George White) of cupidity or of malice. He was a man of supremely disinterested life, and a man who throughout that public life was absolutely devoted to the particular principle that we are advocating at the present time. Therefore I want hon. Members opposite to realise that this is not a new movement. It is quite true that we are asking to-day for the application of a principle in connection with a situation which we believe to be peculiarly ripe and favourable for the application of that principle, but so far as the advocacy of the principle is concerned that principle is certainly not a new one in the history of the Liberal party or of the Free Churches of this country.
There are two propositions contained in this Bill which I take everybody opposite will agree are at any rate arguable and tenable propositions. The first is that so far as the people of Wales are concerned 1359 they have the right as a people to clothe themselves in those religious forms and in those forms of faith and of worship which they believe to be appropriate to their own life, and that they do not believe that it is in the power of any outside authority to impose upon them as a people forms of worship and forms of faith with which they are out of sympathy. In the second place, and this is perhaps a more disputable proposition, but one which has had very sound experience behind it, we believe that tithe is, as has been maintained, essentially a tax; that it is imposed by the State; that it is recoverable at law, and that in connection with a resettlement, it is within the power of the State to consider whether a tax which it levies may not be, in its application, devoted to other uses that might be more to the general interests of the community. Those are the two propositions contained in this Bill. I venture to suggest that they are perfectly honest and straightforward propositions, and, at any rate, we may advocate them without being accused of such motives as have been stated from the other side. What has been the history of this particular principle which we are maintaining in this Bill. The hon. Member for Bolton (Mr. Harwood) indulged in certain criticisms and certain suggestions, some of which, I am bound to say, struck me as being extremely curious. He argued the legitimacy and even the necessity of the State Church in Wales on the ground that the Founder of Christianity was the author of the Labour party. I am bound to say that if I thought that the Labour party was the result of the State Church principle I should be somewhat shaken in my principle, and I think that hon. Members opposite would be even more shaken in theirs. The most surprised people of all probably would be the Members of the Labour party, who know quite well what they owe to those free Christian communities in connection with which nearly all of them have been brought up, and who certainly have derived their ideals not from the State Church at all, but from the bodies with which they were associated in their early life among the Nonconformists. The hon. Member for Bolton used an even more extraordinary epigram than that. He said, "If you separate Church and State your religion becomes unreal and your politics immoral." In saying that he insults every single 1360 Christian underneath the British flag outside these Islands wherever they have, separated Church and State. The hon. Member really ought to tell us whether he thinks that the members of our great Dominions have a religion that is unreal and politics that are immoral. I spent part of last summer in Canada. The most remarkable religious movement of to-day, to my mind, is the way in which the Free Churches of Canada are covering the great West of Canada, with all its incoming population, with places of worship, staffing them with ministers, and pouring out thousands upon thousands of pounds in order that the religious situation may be met. All I can say is if that is unreal religion, I wish there was a little more unreal religion on this side of the water. I wonder if the hon. Member for Bolton would seriously maintain that the politics either of Canada or of Australia, where they have separated State and Church, were really immoral? At any rate, I think most of us can agree that their politics are quite as moral as ours. What is one of the consequences of this situation? It is that out there they are all favourably and confidently talking about Christian union. There, under their freer conditions, all classes of the Christian Churches are coming together to plan their strategism and to consider how they can best cooperate one with another. Christian, union, everybody will tell you, is distinctly in the air.
The right hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. A. J. Balfour), in a phrase which I do not think he would press, rather suggested that we Nonconformists have practically no right to discuss the condition and position of the Anglican Church; but, at any rate, I think he would agree that this is a bigger question than any one that merely concerns Anglicanism and Nonconformity. What is the principle of those who take the Nonconformist and Disestablishment view on this side? We hold that, the State cannot by its action make a single doctrine, either false or true. We hold that the State cannot by its action make any ministry, Apostolic or non-Apostolic. We hold that the State cannot by its action make any sacrament, either valid or invalid. We hold that you cannot establish Christianity simply by a majority in the "Aye" Lobby. In other words, we hold, and hold it as a principle that is absolutely fundamental to our whole religious position, that the State can do nothing for real religion in a country. We think that 1361 the religion of a country can do everything for the State, but the State can do practically nothing so far as religion is concerned. Some, while agreeing with this proposition, would say that, at any rate, the Establishment can very considerably help the cause of Christianity in the country, and that it does have a great effect upon the popular mind. Let me ask hon. Members to consider, not the case of Wales, which has been so well argued from that point of view, but an illustration which has not been advanced in this Debate, but which, to my mind, is exceedingly striking, and which, as it happens, I can use in this House without offending the feelings of some hon. Members opposite, who would say, "Oh, yes, you are talking to us about what would be good for our Church just at the time when you are proposing to Disestablish it." Take the States of America. In America, as the House knows, for many generations there were two established Churches. The Church to which I belong, the Congregational Church, was the established Church of New England. The Episcopal Church was the established Church of the Southern States. It was Dr. Pusey who said that the Episcopal Church in America first struck root when it was deprived of all State aid. Then, and not until then, did the Episcopal Church begin to exercise and to wield the influence which to-day it undoubtedly does wield in the American States.
Now let me put this fact, which is much more striking. If hon. Members have ever seen the list of the great Christian communions that hold the people of the United States within their borders, they will have noticed that at the bottom of the list numerically stand the two Churches that were once established. The Congregational and the Episcopal Churches are at the bottom of the list, and the Free Christian communities, that came in with no State power behind them and simply flung themselves upon the affections and voluntary suffrages of the people, outnumbered the Episcopalians and Congregationalists, sometimes two, three, or four to one. In the face of a fact like that, which is to me extremely striking, I wonder if hon. Members opposite really believe that the mere fact of Establishment helps a Church so far as the people of the country are concerned. I should like to make one quotation on this question from an interview in November, 1892, by the special commissioner of the "Western Mail" with the 1362 Right Reverend Lord Plunket, Archbishop of Dublin. I do not give the whole of the advantages which he said the Irish Church; reaped from Disestablishment. I confine myself to this:—… the move favourable attitude as regards our influence upon the surrounding population which we occupy because of our severance from any State connection … the gain outweighs the loss.As a matter of fact, he had discovered that from the action of Disestablishment the Church in Ireland has gained in influence over the surrounding population exactly as the Churches are gaining which have been through the same process in other lands. But let me complete this part of what I want to say by referring to the-latest instance of Disestablishment. I do not know whether I am speaking to hon. Members who have seen anything at all of the very poor small Protestant communities in France. I have myself visited some of these Protestant communities. We know their history. They were pitifully small up to the time of the severance of Church and State. These bodies, equally with the Roman Catholic bodies, received State grants, and it was a very great question whether, in the face of the sudden withdrawal of those sums, these little Protestant communities would be able to survive. Last week London was visited by perhaps the most distinguished member of the Protestant community in France, Dr. D'Aubigne, who gave these facts about that case. He said that they had got through the crisis not only without harm, but with distinct gain to the Churches. Their churches were in a better position than they had been for the last fifty years. The loss by Disestablishment to the Protestant Churches had been £80,000 a year. They thought at first it would be necessary to abandon a number of their churches, but from the very first year the £80,000 was made up. They were now getting £40,000 more than they received from the Government. The curious thing was that immediately they were disestablished the salaries of the ministers rose. That is the very latest example of what the right hon. Member for the Walton Division (Mr. F. E. Smith) called the academic theory of Disestablishment. Do not hon. Members opposite look upon this question with a not sufficiently brave heart? They cannot believe so little in their Church as to think that the Anglican Church in Wales will not respond to its opportunity as nobly as those Huguenot Churches in France or the Churches across the water to which I have referred.
1363 We have been asked more than once what it is that the people of Wales can possibly get out of this Bill. I quite agree that if it were simply a matter of pounds, shillings, and pence, the whole thing would be as paltry or pitiable as the right hon. Member for Walton said. In dealing with this point, I am quite conscious of the difficulty of the situation. I am quite conscious that I am treading on somewhat delicate ground, and that it is a position which is not easily susceptible of treatment in an Assembly like this. But I am somewhat encouraged by the noble way, if he will permit me to say so, in which the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil) presented his case to an admiring House this afternoon. I want to put our side just as frankly as he put his. Everybody knows that there are two supreme interpretations of Christianity, and that up to now it has not been possible for any man skilled in Church statesmanship, however wise he may be, to engineer successfully a bridge that shall cross the gap. One is the sacerdotal and the other is the unsacerdotal interpretation of Christianity. One is the priestly and the other is the unpriestly interpretation. Both of these have had very distinguished adherents and exponents. Both in their time have had the devotion of large sections of the British people, and to-day they represent still, as centuries ago, two practically separate camps in the Christendom of our time. This would matter little, I confess, if it were a religious organisation within a people who cared very little about religion. People who thought that all religions were equally true or equally false would probably take very little stock of whether the Church were organised on sacerdotal or on non-sacerdotal lines. But the Welsh people are not like that. They are perhaps in all the world the people the keenest and most eager upon questions of religion. Wherever you go in Wales you find the people ardent and anxious to come together to listen to you on religious questions. Their young men read religious books; they are always thinking out religious problems. Wales has taken her side, and the side she has deliberately taken is the unsacerdotal interpretation of Christianity. There is one thing that a nation like that feels more than anything else, and that is the misrepresentation of its religion. If you make the representative Church of a people like that a Church that is founded upon the 1364 sacerdotal interpretation of Christianity you offer them a Church which they feel utterly misrepresents their faith.
There is no use disguising the fact that the State Church in Wales, the Church that has the sign and seal of State approval, is the Church that unchurches their members and invalidates their ministry. That is the reason—and I desire to say it with perfect frankness—that the people of Wales feel intensely the existence of this particular Church in their midst which, singled out by the State for its approval, misrepresents them. I will only say this in closing. I believe personally that there probably will be for a little while, a soreness of spirit, of which, I think, the Secretary to the Treasury spoke. I cannot recall the exact words, but they were words that have become famous. They were used by Archbishop Alexander the Primate of Ireland in regard to the effect of Disestablishment there. I am not misquoting, although I am not giving the exact words, but Archbishop Alexander said one of the great things that had happened to them was that now they found an increasing unity so far as the bishop and the clergy of the Church were concerned with all the representatives of other Christian bodies. It may perhaps seem a hard thing to say that freedom has got to be won like this. There is no chance of unity except through freedom. I believe as I am standing here, that when as many years have passed over the Church of Wales as have passed over the unestablished Church of Ireland, her bishops and archbishops will be telling their country, and telling the world, that Christian unity came to them on the day when ecclesiastical freedom was established.
§ Mr. MOUNT
Several hon. Members on this side of the House have opened their remarks by a recognition of the spirit and tone of speeches which have been made by hon. Members on the other side of the House in this Debate. I do not suppose that any hon. Member who has risen on these benches has had to reply to a speech the tone of which we have had so little to complain of as the speech to which we have just listened. I shall endeavour to compress as shortly as I can the remarks I desire to make on this Bill, because I know that in the short time allowed there are a large number on this side—and no doubt on the opposite—who desire to express their opinion. I want to deal with 1365 this point of view: During the discussion, to which I have listened with considerable attention, I have failed to hear any, or hardly any, attempts on the other side to show how the passage of this Bill is going to improve the condition and spiritual health of the Church, and religious matters generally in the districts in which the Bill will probably operate. We have been told by hon. Members, and by the ton. Gentleman who has just spoken, that the Disestablishment of the Church of England in Wales will make that Church stronger. I hope I shall not be considered in any way offensive—I do not intend in the least to be offensive—if I say I do not think that the knowledge or experience of hon. Members on the other side who have made that statement entitles us to give their opinion any very great weight. At any rate, I think I can say that that is not, was not, and will not be the ground upon which this Bill will be recommended by the Welsh Members to their constituents. I can hardly imagine the hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon, or the hon. Gentleman the Member for Merthyr Tydvil who spoke at considerable length and with considerable eloquence to-day, going down to their constituencies and saying that they are supporting this Bill in order to strengthen and help the Church.
It has been stated, and it was stated by the last speaker towards the close of his remarks, that he believes that the Disestablishment of this Church would, after a short period of time, promote better relations between it and other bodies. We have had quoted certain matters in connection with the Disestablished Church of Ireland. That is an excellent example for us to take. I should like to point out to the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken what was said by the Archbishop of Dublin forty years after the Disestablishment of the Irish Church. The Archbishop of Dublin, writing in connection with the Debate on the Bill in 1909, said:—The spiritual mission of the Irish Church, in my opinion, has not been assisted by the removal of prejudices and antipathies. They still remain in strength and exercise a baneful influence upon the social and religious life of the people. In some quarters they have increased rather than diminished.I am bound to say that I cannot help feeling that that would be the result of this Disestablishment and this Disendowment of the Church in Wales. I cannot help thinking, too, that it is a great compliment that you are paying our Church 1366 if you think that when you take away, as you are going to take away a very large proportion of the money which we have, money to which we believe we are rightly entitled, money that we have long enjoyed, and which we believe to be inadequate for the work we have to do, if, I say you take away a large proportion of that money, that we are likely to look with increased favour on those who are instrumental in doing this. The real burden of the Debates has been: "Wales asks for this Bill, and because Wales asks for it we must grant it." That is the real cry, the real burden. It has been repeated by almost every speaker, and so long as it is repeated by speakers on the opposite side, speakers on this side will have to repeat that we hold that England and also the Church in England is interested in this question.
We have had arguments used which would be equally applicable to the Disendowment of the Church of England. It has been admitted by no less a person than Dr. Clifford, whose influence over a certain section of the party opposite is admittedly great, that the Disendowment of the Church in Wales creates another argument for the Disendowment of the Anglican Church. He was not content with Disestablishment in Wales, and in Scotland. In spite of what was said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Merthyr, who said that there were special reasons which made this Bill applicable to Wales, I think the arguments of the last speaker were more conclusive in the opposite direction. The words that he used and the tone in which he used them I think made it perfectly clear that arguments used for the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church of England in Wales will be equally used and equally applicable to the Disestablishment of the Church of England in England. We are told that the Nonconformists have a grievance in this respect. I should, for one, be only too ready and glad to remedy any real and just grievance which Nonconformists may have in regard to the established Church. We try to see what that grievance is. Let us turn and read what is said by the Under-Secretary for the Home Office. In his speech on the Second Reading, he said:—The question is not one of pounds, shillings, and pence. The question is whether the privileges which the Church now enjoy are fair to the other Churches and the other religious bodies in the Principality.He went on to point out what those privileges are. I do not think any hon. 1367 Member who heard the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London will forget the way in which he exposed certain of those privileges. I should like to put another test with regard to these privileges which it is said that we of the Church of England enjoy, and the enjoyment of which is said to be a grievance to the Nonconformist body. I do not think it is unfair to ask whether there is any reality or whether there is any justice in the grievance as to the enjoyment of privileges by another body unless those who feel the grievance are ready to accept privileges for themselves if offered to them. I would like to ask again whether the privileges, or so-called privileges, of the Church of England, if they were offered to the Nonconformists, would be acceptable to them. I do not think there is an hon. Member sitting on the benches opposite who would rise in his place or who would, in addressing his constituents, say that the Nonconformists would accept the so-called privileges which we of the Church of England are said to enjoy. The whole of the privileges enumerated by the Under-Secretary were incorporation of the laws of the Church in the laws of the land, the right of the bishops to sit in the House of Lords, the control exercised by the State over the Church. Speaking for myself, I am perfectly ready and willing to offer to the Nonconformist body these same privileges which we are said to enjoy, and if the representatives of the Nonconformist bodies will not accept, and refuse to accept privileges which they say we enjoy, I venture to think that they cannot say that it is a real or just grievance if we enjoy them ourselves; but there is a further matter connected with those privileges referred to by the Under-Secretary for the Home Department. He said, perfectly truly:—We are living in a democratic age and all the tendency of democracy is towards freedom and equality.I agree with what he said, but I would point out that many of the disabilities which formerly were suffered by members of the Nonconformist bodies have been removed, and the Under-Secretary asked that this Bill might be passed so that we might still walk along the path opened up by the removal of these disabilities. I venture to say that the Under-Secretary forgot that the true path of democracy lies not in imposing restrictions, but in 1368 removing disabilities. By removing disabilities which were removed by the Test Act and the Corporation Act and the admission of Nonconformists to universities-and so on, we are moving along the path of progress. The proposals of this Bill to Disestablish the Church in Wales are not removing a single disability from the shoulders of the Nonconformists, although it is doing that to which the Church of England very strongly objects. I should like to remind the House that the privileges of the Church, the same as the privileges of an individual, bring with them liabilities and responsibilities, and if you take away privileges from the Church, whether it is the Church in England or the Church in Wales, you take away from that Church liabilities and responsibilities which now, lie upon it.
At present with an established Church it has always been found you get a greater comprehensiveness and a greater breadth of view than in a non-established Church. It is the duty of the established Church, in my opinion, to embrace within its fold as many as it possibly can. I ask any hon. Member opposite whether he does not believe that it is an advantage for a Church to be as comprehensive as it possibly can and to draw within its fold as many as it possibly can. Then there is another question in connection with the comprehensiveness of the Church and the responsibilities which lie upon it, and it is this: It is the duty of the established, Church, in my opinion, to provide, so far as it possibly can, in every parish throughout the district it serves, a resident minister to look after and minister to the people who live in that parish. I do not blame, and I hope I shall not be supposed to be blaming, in any way the Nonconformist body when I say that I know their theory in regard to this question of the resident minister is not the same as mine. I feel most strongly that the work of a clergyman or minister in any district or parish is not, and should not be, confined to work upon Sunday. You will find in many districts in the rural part of England that the clergyman who leaves the greatest impression upon the people among whom he works, is not the man who is the best preacher, but the man who knows his people best, knows their homes in a way which no one who is not resident amongst them can do, and unless you have got an established Church you have no Church whose duty it is to supply the parishes throughout the districts it serves with the resident 1369 minister. The established Church is not merely the Church of England; it is the parish Church. The minister is not the minister of the Church of England, but he is the parish minister, and I venture to think that this is a great benefit and a great advantage to any country. May I just read one quotation from a great Churchman and a great statesman, Lord Selborne. I venture to think it is particularly applicable in a time when the State undertakes so many responsibilities which formerly it did not consider to lie upon its shoulders. Lord Selborne said:—If the law giver was devising ideal institutions for a nation. I do not think he could imagine one more beneficial than that in every such place as our parishes there should be at least one man, educated, intelligent and religious, whose life should be dedicated to the special business and duty of doing to all the people of that place all the good he can, ministering to their souls and ready always to be their friend and counsellor.If you take away from the Church of England in Wales the privileges which you propose by this Bill to take away from it you take away at the same time its liabilities to provide, so far as it can, in as many localities as it can, a resident minister. Not only do you take away from it these liabilities and duties, but you take away from it at the same time £173,000 a year which may enable it to carry out what then it will be no longer obliged to carry out as an act of duty. We have been told by many speakers throughout this Debate that the Church of England will get over this loss, that the generosity of Churchmen will make up this deficit which is imposed upon the Church if you take away this sum of £173,000. That very argument seems to me to show that hon. Gentlemen opposite who use it realise the necessity of the Church to have this money in order to carry out its work, and I should like to point out, taking once again the villages and the example of the disestablished Church in Ireland, how that Church, though no doubt the same argument was used and the same prophecies made that that Church would recover the loss and disaster of Disendowment, was affected by Disestablishment and Disendowment. May I first of all remind the House that the Church of Ireland was before Disendowment far better off than the Church of England in Wales. There were some who said that these endowments were excessive, but there is no one who would suggest that the endowments of the Church in Wales are excessive for the work she has to do. The proposals made when the Church was 1370 disestablished in Ireland were far more generous than they are under this Bill. We were told by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that we shall have to find £100,000 a year for some period, and that we should then be in the same position as we are now. The Church in Ireland in ten years found £5,000,000, and although the Church in Ireland was much better off than the Church in Wales. Though the provision was more generous in the case of Ireland, and though this vast sum of £5,000,000 was provided by loyal Churchmen in Ireland to make up the deficit, yet the result of Disestablishment has been that there has been a great diminution in the number of resident ministers throughout Ireland, and a great diminution in the amount of spiritual work which is able to be done by the established Church. The Bishop of Ossory, thirty years after the Disestablishment of the Church in Ireland, said:—I know that in my diocese men have to walk seven Irish miles to Church and back again, so many churches have been closed and so many parishes have been united together.With regard to the loss of ministers in Ireland, let me point out that in 1869 there were 2,050 resident ministers throughout Ireland, and now there are a little over 1,460, a loss of very nearly 25 per cent. of the resident ministers in Ireland. I have heard that in one district eleven parishes have been joined into one, that is one resident minister where there were eleven before. Is there any hon. Member opposite who believes—as I think many of them must believe, because this question of resident ministers in the parishes and in the districts throughout this country, is an important one—that we can pass this Bill and take away from the Welsh Church £173,000 without reducing the ability of the Church to carry on the philanthropic work which it has done in the past, and which we believe it ought to be allowed to continue to do in the future. I do not want to argue as to the inequality, unfairness, and injustice of taking away this money which we believe we are justly entitled to, but I wish to say a word or two with regard to the objects with which this money is to be applied. This money was in the main given for religious purposes, and it is going to be taken from religious purposes, and devoted to secular objects. I should like to remind the House that this is not the first Bill which has been introduced dealing with the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church of England in Wales. In 1895 and 1909, and again 1371 now, measures of this kind have been introduced, and one would have thought, as 1895 is not a very long time since, there would not have been a good deal of change, or no change at all, in regard to the object to which this money could be devoted. There has not been much change in this respect, but there is an important change in the Bill which we are now discussing.
In the former Bills, in 1895 and 1909 the charitable and eleemosynary objects to which the parochial benefactions were to be devoted were to be those for which provision is not made by Statute out of the rates. Under this Bill those few words have been omitted, and it is a somewhat singular omission. Are we to understand that this money, which was given in the old days undoubtedly for religious and spiritual purposes, or a large proportion of it is to be devoted to other objects for which money would naturally be found out of the rates of the country. In other words, is this money to be devoted not to religious purposes, but to the relief of rates? I think it is difficult to avoid that conclusion. May I make, in conclusion, an appeal to hon. Members opposite who, while they are in favour of Disestablishment yet, if this question was one of Disendowment alone, would vote against this Bill. Let me ask them to consider whether they feel justified in shuffling off the responsibilities which lie upon their shoulders if they vote for this Bill, which takes away from the Church the money with which it is admittedly doing good work for which there is a need, and for which there is room—are they justified in taking away the money which the Church so urgently needs?
§ Mr. THOMAS RICHARDS
The hon. Member who has just sat down has made a very interesting speech. I would like to give him some of my experiences in regard to the Welsh people's religious needs, and how they have been met without the two great essentials which he says are necessary, the established Church or the parish priest. I should like to thank the hon. Member for Ipswich for the splendid vindication he has given to this House of the conscientious motives by which Welsh Members are actuated in their prosecution of this measure being the mouthpiece of the Labour party, I am glad to have this opportunity of saying why they are voting for the Second Reading of this Bill, and I can assure the House that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Walton 1372 Division was wrong when he said the Welsh miners had ceased to take any interest in the religious inequalities in Wales. I have the honour of representing in this House a Division in which there are employed over 30,000 miners. Of necessity these men must be interested in industrial reforms, but during the eight years I have represented them in this House I have not attended a single political meeting at any time or place where the subject of Welsh Disestablishment and Welsh Disendowment has not been enthusiastically referred to.
During that time four General Elections have taken place, in two of which my seat has been contested by a supporter of the Establishment. I am not going to say here that on that occasion other issues were not before the electors, but I had a majority of over 10,000 the last time my seat was contested, and I have no hesitation in saying that this was largely due to the enthusiasm there was amongst the Welsh people because of their strong belief that I was going to support the Government when they brought the Disestablishment Bill before the House. My experience is the experience of every Member from Wales with the exception of the trinity, who, I believe, the hon. Member for East Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) told the House represents the intellect of Wales, and I may add the trinity who have a majority averaging 120 each. Surely it is futile at this late hour to contend, as some hon. Members do, that this demand, which has been so persistently pressed for a long series of years by the Welsh people, does not, whatever may be the merits of it, represent an overwhelming majority of Welsh opinion. For twenty-seven years the representation in this House for and against this question has been as 29½ is to 4½, and, when it is said it was not before the Welsh people at the last Election, I should like to quote a statement from the speech of the Prime Minister at the Albert Hall in December, 1910. The Prime Minister said:—The long delayed claim of the Welsh people for religions equality will, I believe, be put forward at this election with as much energy and conviction as ever before, and with strong proof that it represents a real national demand.I hope now that the Government has seen fit to introduce the measure, there will be no turning back until it becomes the established law of the country. I listened with a great deal of attention, and with a desire to learn—if there was anything to learn—to the eloquent speech of the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil), 1373 who, I suppose, is the greatest exponent of the merits of this question from the Establishment point of view on that side of the House, but after listening to that speech I am still satisfied that the suppression of the ancient Welsh Church was brought about by the civil and military authorities, and that Parliament is fully entitled to restore to it its ancient liberty. I am also satisfied from my own research and from a careful study of everything that has been said for and against this question during a great number of years that, after the control of the Church had passed into the hands of Canterbury and into the hands of the King, it abused its civil and religious power to stifle and destroy all the noblest ambitions of the Welsh race. I have no need, however, to study historical records for ancient abuses in order to justify my vote for this Bill. My experience in the little village in which I was born, and in which I still live, is sufficient justification for voting for this measure, not for being vindictive, because otherwise I would be justified in taking very much stronger measures. In my boyhood days the parson, the publican, and the manager of the works, practically dictated the method and manner of the civic life of the village. That is not going back into musty, ancient records.
I remember during a General Election going home from school with other boys wearing the Liberal colours and singing the usual ditty. We were met in the street by the parson and the manager of the works, who not only very summarily stopped our song and seized our colours, but also took the names and addresses and the employment of our fathers for future references. Although in those days they had such great powers, almost of life and death, over the civic life of the village, they failed to check the religious fervour of the people. Before I was born the proprietor of the works—there is generally some rich proprietor of works or a rich absentee landlord who has been responsible for the great increase in Church building, and not for the religious fervour of the people at all—had built a church for the people to worship in, but, instead of building it in the village, he had built it in the suburbs, with the result that the villagers never attended the services. Anxious that they should have some religious ministration, they held the services in the long room of a public-house accommodating about 100 out of 4,000 inhabitants in the village. But even in 1374 those days the Church had attempted to to supply a need that was not felt. Already the workpeople of the village—out of their scanty wages and by their own personal efforts and exertions—after a long day's toil in the mines they would go and carry bricks and mortar to build a chapel— had erected ten chapels and provided seating accommodation for every man, woman, and child resident in the village. "Oh, but," they say, "these things have passed away, and the Church is now fulfilling its proper functions," and, as the Noble Lord said, "Churchpeople are now coming back."
I always like to be fair in these matters, and I have taken the trouble to ascertain whether they are really going back in this little village. It is true the Church has built two churches since those days, not because the buildings were needed—because they had more than sufficient accommodation in this long room and there were ten chapels with sufficient seating accommodation for every man, woman, and child—but because some rich outside-patron was prepared to show that the Church was alive in this little village. They have dedicated those churches to two nonresident saints, St. David and St. Andrew. I thought "how we have progressed since those days," and on Sunday evening, 14th January, without letting the Church-people or the chapel-people know anything of my intentions, I secured counters to count the people going to evening worship. There was no question of any such subtle distinction as the Noble Lord tried to draw between communicant and communicant and between baptised and unbaptised. They simply counted the people who took advantage of the facilities afforded for going on Sunday evening to public worship. Therefore the established Church and the Nonconformist chapel are treated alike in counting the number of worshippers. These are the figures. In St. David's Church there were fifty-six; in St. Andrew's Church, thirty-three. I have already told the House that, prior to the building of these two churches, the services were held in a long room at the hotel, in which there was accommodation for about one hundred. Here you have eighty-nine attending in the two newly built churches, while in the ten Nonconformist chapels there were 1,400. That is to say, fifteen to one in the chapels as compared with the established Church, which we are told is the largest denomination in Wales. Is it any wonder, after 1375 this experience, that we treat with scorn the assumption that this Church has any title to be called the national Church in Wales, and that we ask Parliament to say that the powers and privileges it has so long enjoyed and abused shall cease?
I cannot sit down without a word upon another matter. "Let us stick to the money," said the right hon. Member for the Walton Division. I agree with him thus far. I am not very much enamoured personally of the Government method of disposing of this money. But the Noble Lord opposite sneers and asks, "Is the county council a Church?" I am almost ready to retort that it is as much a Church as many of the Churches in Wales, because it performs functions quite as religious as those performed by some of those Churches. The county councils look after the sick and feed the children in a great number of instances. Why has the "poor curate" been brought into this discussion? It reminds me of the poor widow of the Licensing Act, and of the poor market-gardener of the Budget. Why should we not approach some of the higher Church dignitaries? The Poor Curates' Fund might well be enriched out of the salaries of the Welsh bishops, who could still have respectable amounts left to them. What I have been impressed with is the absence of any attempt, either before the Welsh Church Commission or during these Debates, to prove the title of the Church, as at present constituted, to the use of these funds. The attitude of the right hon. Member for the Walton Division appeared to me to be very much like that of the burglar who was caught with the swag in his possession, and who turned round to his captors and said, "Take the blooming stuff." What we say is that the Church has absolutely failed to administer the trust committed to its care in the interests of the Welsh nation. We do not want your money. We support our churches and we pay for our religion. I believe it has been pointed out that we pay £7 for every £1 contributed to the established Church, but in the interests of the nation we say that that Church, as it has not discharged the trust committed to its care, must surrender it. It is therefore in the interests of the nation that I support this Bill. What is the position in Wales of Welshmen in connection with this matter? The educationalist churchman is separated from his educationalist fellow by this quarrel. The temperance reformer supports the candidate for the liquor trade because he is 1376 opposed to Disestablishment. The churchman among the workers favours the labour movement in the interests of the established Church. I say remove these barriers and we shall have a united Wales and secure the highest and best interests of the nation.
§ 9.0 P.M.
EARL Of RONALDSHAY
I feel bound to make one or two observations with regard to the speech delivered two days ago by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. I regret that the hon. Gentleman is not in his place, and I regret still more that he should have thought it necessary to introduce into his speech a peculiarly offensive allusion to a church which happens to be the parish church of the parish in which I myself reside; on behalf of the clergyman and congregation of that church, I deeply resent and repudiate with all the force at my command the insult which the hon. Gentleman flung at it. Quite apart from that, I think that any effectiveness which his speech might otherwise have had was destroyed by the violence of the tone which he thought it necessary to use towards a church which, in the earlier part of his speech, he told us he loved so well. We know what the position of the hon. Gentleman is. He is one of a minority, a very small minority, of the High Church party who, for reasons of their own, desire to see the Church Disestablished throughout the length and breadth of the land. If anybody wishes to know for what reasons he desires to see the Church Disestablished he can easily find out by referring to the powerful and impassioned speech which the hon. Gentleman delivered in this House one Friday afternoon three or four years ago, when moving the rejection of the Ecclesiastical Disorders Bill. The hon. Gentleman in his speech said that those who had supported the Bill from the Government Front Benches were members of the Church of England. If by reliance on that fact he desired to create an impression in the minds of those who listened to him, that there is a considerable body of feeling in the Church itself which desired Disestablishment, I think he must have been grievously disappointed. We all know that the members of the Church of England who desire Disestablishment are in a very small minority.
May I say a word as to the argument based on the popular demand. That is tin argument which would carry very much 1377 greater weight with me if the principle on which it was based were to be given general application. What is the principle upon which the argument is based? It is this, that the demand of the majority of the population in any particular circumscribed area in the United Kingdom, however unusual that demand, and however unpalatable to the population of other parts of the United Kingdom, must be conceded. But is that principle to be given general application? Certainly not. It is to be applied in the case of Wales, and of Wales only. Let me illustrate what I mean by giving a concrete example. I suppose that the hon. Members in this House who represent constituencies which lie within the diocese of Wakefield are almost without exception supporters of the present Government, and, consequently, the Radical programme, including, of course, Disestablishment and Disendowment.
It may be said, with precisely as much truth, of the majority of the people who live in the diocese of Wakefield, as it can be said of the majority who live in the four Welsh dioceses, that they demand and have demanded for years past the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church in that diocese. Do the Government propose to accede to that demand in the case of the Church in the West Riding of Yorkshire? Certainly not. They only propose to accede to the demand of the people in Wales. Why is this arbitrary and illogical distinction drawn? Is it suggested that the quantity and quality of the work done by the Church in the West Riding of Yorkshire is such that the Church in that part of the country is worthy to retain its establishment and endowment, and that the quantity and quality of the work done by the Church in Wales is so inferior that it is not therefore worthy to retain its establishment and endowment? I do not think that would be suggested, at any rate, by any responsible politician. That argument has been killed by the testimony which has been borne by the Prime Minister himself to the work that is being done by the Church in Wales. That testimony is testimony for which all Churchmen are grateful, all the more by reason of the fact that they know it is true. I will not quote the words of the Prime Minister. They have already become famous in this controversy, and I think they are in some danger—the danger to which all famous sayings are liable—of becoming hackneyed. But I think they are likely to become famous in the same 1378 sort of way that the testimony of another prophet in another controversy became famous. I mean the prophet Balaam, the son of Beor. As I listened to the speech of the hon. Member this afternoon I could imagine him addressing the Prime Minister in the words of Balak, and asking, "Did I not call thee to curse these people, and behold thou hast blessed them altogether."
The analogy is not altogether an inapt one. It may be carried yet a step further. When Balaam went forth to curse the Israelites he rode upon an animal usually docile and content to do her master's bidding, but when the eyes of the ass were opened and she realised the true state of affairs, she lifted up her voice in protest and in warning. The Prime Minister has ridden into power largely upon the backs of Liberal Churchmen, content and willing to do his bidding by reason of the fact that they believed the promises that were given to them in the Preamble of the Parliament Bill. But, Sir, the eyes of Liberal Churchmen have since been opened, and what are they doing? They are raising up their voices in protest and in warning, and it is a warning which I think the Prime Minister will do well to take heed of. It is certainly not by reason of the failure of the work on the part of the Church in Wales that the Bill is brought forward. Is it then suggested that while the work of the Church in Wales is a good work, the work being done by the Nonconformist bodies is a far greater one. Even if that could be proved, I do not think it is a good argument for doing away altogether with an established Church. I am quite certain it is not a good argument for despoiling that Church of its endowments. It can at least be claimed for the Church of England in Wales that it is the largest single denomination in the Principality. Nobody, I think, will deny that it is one that is steadily increasing in size, at any rate the figures—I do not quote them—that I have seen as to the number of the communicants of the Church of England in Wales during the past few years show that it is making great strides, and taking once more a great hold upon the Welsh people. On the other hand, I have been shown figures indicating that the Nonconformist bodies are by no means increasing their hold upon the people, but very much the reverse. I have seen figures which show that the numbers of the chief Nonconformist bodies have fallen 1379 by some thousands since the Welsh revival took place some few years ago. I remember reading an extract from the "Westminster Gazette" in 1911, which said:—The ordinary test of successful religious work shows that there is more slackening of grip by the Nonconformist Churches on the people.I know that a great parade is made in this matter of the amount of seating accommodation provided by the Nonconformist bodies for the people. That has been mentioned by several hon. Members in this Debate. The hon. Member who immediately preceded me told us of a case of a village he himself knew, in which the Nonconformist bodies have provided seating accommodation for every man, woman, and child in that district. That was a modest record compared with the record which can be shown by the Nonconformist bodies in other parts of Wales. There are many parts of Wales in which the Nonconformist bodies have provided far greater seating accommodation than can possibly be necessary for the total population of those districts. I have here a leaflet published and scattered broadcast in the constituencies by the United Campaign Committee for Welsh Disestablishment and Disendowment, in which this very point is raised. I should like to read the words of the leaflet. We are told thatin Wales, there is a population of 1,767,000 of five years of age or upwards.The next thing we are told is thatin their chapels the Nonconformists provide seating accommodation for 1,550,000 people.I think the estimate which was made many years ago by Mr. Horace Mann, himself a Nonconformist, that not more than 58 per cent. of the population could attend Divine Service at any one time, is generally accepted by controversialists on both sides. Let us apply that percentage to these figures. Fifty-eight per cent. of 1,767,000 is approximately 1,025,000 people. Therefore, on their own showing, the Welsh Nonconformist bodies have provided upwards of half a million of seats which cannot possibly be used, even supposing the whole population of Wales were ardent and zealous adherents of one or other of the Nonconormist bodies, and that there are no members of the Church of England, no members of the Roman Catholic Church, and no persons who do not go to any place of worship. We are told in this leaflet to look at this splendid Nonconformist record.
§ Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
These Churches do not belong to the same denominations, but to various denominations, holding different creeds.
EARL of RONALDSHAY
That may be quite true. I am dealing with the leaflet circulated in the country by friends of the hon. Member. In my opinion this is not a splendid record, and if it proves anything at all it proves a perfectly stupifying lack of business capacity on the part of those who are responsible for managing the affairs of the Nonconformist denomination.
§ Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
The Churches are of different creeds. Surely the Noble Lord will not suggest that if a man maintains a different creed from another Church he is bound to attend that particular Church.
EARL of RONALDSHAY
I do not think the hon. Member quite sees the point. As he is unwilling to take my view of this question, let me give him the opinion of a man who, I am sure he will admit, is an authority on the question and who is not tainted with partiality, at any rate, towards my side. Let me refer him to a very interesting article written not very long ago by a Welsh Liberal Member of this House, the hon. Member (Mr. Llewelyn Williams). It appeared in the "Westminster Gazette."
§ Mr. TIMOTHY DAVIES
It is the same name as the Member of Parliament, but is quite a different Gentleman.
EARL of RONALDSHAY
I accept the correction. I was misinformed. But at any rate the Mr. Llewellyn Williams who wrote in the "Westminster Gazette" will not be accused of partiality towards my side of the case. I will quote what he says in regard to the matter:—My investigations justify me in stating that the number of new places of worship erected during this period is not less than 2,800, and that the number of additional seatings reaches 1,000,000. All interested in the progress of religion will rejoice at the energy and enterprise exhibited by the Churches, but immediately one begins to examine the financial aspect of its moral growth, the less ready is one to conclude that it calls for unreserved congratulation.Then he points out the enormous debts which Nonconformist bodies have incurred in this large extension of chapel building. He says:—What the situation demands is that leaders in all the Churches cease to countenance, apologise for or excuse unwise or too hasty Church extension. Not until the leaders, local and national, realise the importance of curbing foolish display and extravagant expenditure will Church extension cease to carry with it consequences which modify the aim and purpose of those who promote them.1381 I think there is a great deal of truth in what is said in that article. The hon. Member (Mr. Ellis Griffith) also touched upon the question, and he selected Liverpool and South Lancashire in order to illustrate the large amount of accommodation provided by the Nonconformist bodies as compared with that provided by the English Church. What is the result of this enormous extension of chapels for which there is really no demand? I take the following from the "Liverpool Daily Post":—Three Welsh chapels in the slums have been disposed of for a bottling store, a synagogue and Protestant propaganda, whilst four English dissenting chapels have been sold—three to the Romanists and one for a picture theatre.I am not surprised, if the Nonconformist bodies provide buildings at this amazing rate, that we come across instances of that kind where the buildings can be sold for purposes which are very alien to their objects. If this Bill is passed into law it will unquestionably inflict grave injury upon the national Church. That is a matter which I should deeply regret, but after all it is a small matter compared with the destruction which will inevitably take place upon the carrying of this Bill into law by other people. It is in the camp of those who are warring against Christianity that the greatest rejoicings will be raised if the Bill passes into law, from the very fact that money which has been for centuries past devoted to the work of God is to be alienated by order of Parliament in this country from this purpose to secular purposes. It will be regarded as a triumph by the materialistic school. There are not signs wanting that that danger is coming home to the people of this country irrespective of parties and of denominations. I believe as the discussion over this Bill goes on it will bring home to the people, Nonconformists as well as members of the Church, the great danger to which they are subjecting Christianity in this country if they succeed in forcing this Bill on the Statute Book Brief and transitory as his period of office as Prime Minister of this country must necessarily be there does nevertheless rest upon the right hon. Gentleman's shoulders a grave responsibility. Let me ask him to try and understand that the position which is being resisted and which will be resisted under this Bill is not a position which is based upon ordinary party or political considerations, but it is the expression of a deep-rooted religious conviction—a conviction, that is to say, which 1382 through all history has influenced more widely and more profoundly than any other factor the feelings and the actions of the human race.
§ Mr. GEORGE THORNE
I wish to urge one point which supremely governs the vote I am going to give to-night on this important matter. I realise that in giving that vote we are not so much to compensate for the wrongs of the past as to make provision for the needs of the future and consequently the appeals which have come from the other side, and to which I, for one, have listened with the greatest interest, have been those appeals which specially came from the Noble Lord (Lord Robert Cecil) and yesterday from the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Balfour) whose peroration is one which we on this side will ever remember as one of the noblest utterances ever made in this House, an appeal made to us to look at this great issue not from what has taken place, but rather from what is to take place in the future. It is from that very standpoint that my vote will be given. It is from that standpoint that I desire to address the few remarks I wish to make. I look forward to the future of this country desiring that we shall promote its welfare to the very utmost. I respond therefore with all my heart to those appeals which have been made to us on the other side, that we should join with them in such co-operation as is possible to promote our country's welfare, and if I thought that the vote we are going to give to-night for Disestablishment would stand in the way of the real and lasting progress of this country, no vote would be given by me on that behalf. But it is because I am one of those who believe the Establishment stands in the way of progress and of the necessary unity we are bound to secure both in religion and politics tending to promote the welfare of the country, that I for one am bold, from that very standpoint, to give my vote in favour of the Bill.
What is the essential condition of bringing us together? The one essential condition is unity, and unity can only be secured by unity in spirit. The idea of an Establishment as an Establishment and one form of religion comes in to destroy the unity of spirit which would bring us together. Uniformity was the initial idea of the State Church, and uniformity in present circumstances is an absolutely impossible ideal, and it is because I believe the State Church stands in the way of 1383 that unity, and makes a dividing line in our religious outlook and in our political outlook, that I regard the State Church as injurious to us in the highest aspects of our public life both religious and political. Holding that view, and having to give my vote upon this Bill which is demanded, as I believe, by the overwhelming desire of the Welsh people, and which the great majority of the representatives of Wales tell us is essential to the unity both of religion and of politics in the country, I feel I have no alternative but to give my vote in favour of the Second Reading of the measure. I earnestly trust that some of the feeling which has been engendered in this Debate may die down, that we may realise we have more in common than has been manifested during the course of our discussion, and that the money question will not be allowed to interfere with the influences which should govern our vote as Christians on this great issue. I appeal that both here and in the country in the discussions which must come now in the months before us we shall have higher considerations in reference to the views we take in this House and outside of it, and that we may find a common meeting ground where in the interests of religion and politics we shall find that unity which may best promote the public welfare.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I am very sorry the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not here to listen to the appeal which has just been made by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. George Thorne) to let us discuss this question in a friendly and brotherly spirit. I have listened very carefully to most of this Debate. I have heard many speeches in favour of the Government proposals, and so far I have heard no answer, at least it seemed so to me, to the question put early in the Debate, and which I think is the real question, and that is, what good is this Bill going to do to Wales, or to any man, woman, or child in Wales? There is another peculiarity which has struck me in connection with this Debate, and that is the remarkable difference from every point of view in the speeches made on the opposite side of the House by English and by Welsh Members, and nowhere is that distinction more strongly marked than in the speeches made on the Government Bench itself. I do not say, for I do not believe, that English Members, especially Members of the Government, have not real conviction in this matter, but I do say that to judge by their speeches they approach 1384 this subject in what is more or less an apologetic frame of mind, and that, to put it mildly, they are not particularly proud of their proposals. Of this spirit there could have been no better example than the speech delivered yesterday by the Prime Minister. There was, indeed, one exception. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Masterman) did make a speech which was sufficiently in earnest. He attacked the Church he loves so well with a bitterness which surprised me, coming from him, and which I am bound to say, as I listened to his speech, went much further than he felt and probably than he intended. But, after all, that was not really an exception, because the speech of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury was not a defence of Disestablishment in Wales; it was an attack, pure and simple, upon the established Church in England. When we turn to the speeches of the Welsh Members on the Treasury Bench, what a different atmosphere we come to. They are sufficiently in earnest. No one will doubt that. The hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Home Department (Mr. Ellis Griffith) made two speeches which I admit were very moderate in tone and contrasted rather with speeches which I have not read, but of which extracts were given, and which were made outside. But, in spite of the moderation, it was quite easy to see the spirit by which he was actuated. The Chancellor of the Exchequer's position is even clearer. In his first speech he did endeavour to exercise extreme restraint upon himself, and at the beginning of his speech this afternoon the restraint was so evident that it was almost painful, but later on, unfortunately for him, the Speaker had in this case no such power as he says was exercised by a Speaker once before. The Speaker was quite unable to save him from purgatory, and he let himself go.
After listening to these speeches, I am sure there is no Member of this House, wherever he sits, who will think I am exaggerating or putting the case unfairly when I say it is perfectly evident that the motives of the Welsh Members in the Government, at least who support this Bill, is not a desire to strengthen the Free Churches in Wales, but a determination at all costs to weaken the Anglican Church. I am sorry to say that I have really no hope of throwing any new light on this discussion. I must travel over ground which has been traversed already, and all I shall try 1385 to do is to put my case clearly and briefly before the House. The first thing I want to do is to deal with the argument, for there is only one, which has been adduced in favour of this Bill. That argument is that the overwhelming majority of the Welsh Members are in favour of it, and that, therefore, if we are a democratic people, we must do what this majority wishes. I admit that an overwhelming majority of the Welsh Members is in favour of Disestablishing the Church in Wales. But I make that admission with some qualification. In the first place, I notice that the assertion was made from these benches more than once, and I do not think it was contradicted on the other side, that there are a good many people in Wales who pay tithe and who would be glad if they could get rid of the necessity of paying tithe. Others were under the impression that if the Church is disestablished they will escape that assessment. Even in this House there were references by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to the peasant toiling and out of his toil having tithes paid, which gave us some kind of indication of the eloquence in that direction which would overflow on the platform. I think it is not unreasonable to suggest that if these particular people realised that they would have to pay tithes just the same whatever happens to this Bill their enthusiasm might be a little diminished.
Then it must be qualified in another way. The majority of the Welsh Members are in favour of Disestablishment, but Wales is, and always has been, strongly Radical in politics, and it is rather difficult at a given time to say how much that Radical representation in Wales is due to general sympathy with the policy of the Government and how much it is due to any particular issue, and, at all events, hon. Gentlemen who used that argument should not forget that they are apt to press it too far. That if they claim they are here solely to represent the desire of the Welsh people for Disestablishment then they have no moral right to vote for Home Rule or any other of the proposals of the Radical party. But in support of my suggestion—and that is all I mean—that this overwhelming support is not due entirely or mainly to Disestablishment, I would point out that at the one General Election in recent years, when this was clearly the main issue, and I believe that all the Welsh Members mentioned it in their addresses, if they did not do it at the last election, on that occasion the Radical majority was smaller than it ever 1386 was before or since, and, what is more, if Members had been returned by a system of proportional representation—and in judging of what the people of Wales think that is obviously the only fair test on that particular question—the majority would have been by no means so overwhelming. Then there is another consideration of the same kind which I would like to bring before the House. The statement of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) that Welsh Disestablishment must come has often been quoted in these Debates. These words were used nearly twenty years ago. As it happens, I was myself brought up with relations who were passionately attached to the State recognition of religion, and who looked with horror upon what they called the Godless state. For that reason perhaps, at all events whatever the reason, I myself always believed in a State-established body in Scotland and England; but had I been asked that question twenty years ago I should have said, as a matter of opinion, that the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales was bound to come. I do not think so now, and I do not think so, because, in regard to this matter, there has been a great change in public feeling. That was admitted by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Indeed, he went out of his way to tell us that the demand for Disestablishment in England during the last thirty years had largely died down. Everyone knows that that is true, but what, in my opinion is more remarkable is that in Scotland, where the conditions as regards the numbers who are members and adherents of the established Church much more nearly resemble those in Wales precisely the same thing has happened. I am speaking only from memory, but I think I am right in saying that both Mr. Gladstone and the Marquis of Hartington, as he then was, were compelled rather against their will to adopt Disestablishment in Scotland as part of the Liberal programme. For many years it was the burning question in Scotland. It has ceased now absolutely to be an issue, and I doubt whether any Scottish Member mentioned it in his election address at the last election, or if any of them were asked a single question in regard to it.
§ Mr. M'CALLUM
Fifty-four Members in Scotland are pledged to Disestablishment, and more than half of them mentioned it in their addresses at the last election.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I can speak from my own experience. I was a candidate in Scotland so recently as 1906, and I was never asked a single question in regard to Disestablishment. There are many reasons why this issue has died down in Scotland. One of them, and a not unimportant one, is that the Radical party found that it was not good electioneering. They found that there were many members of the Church in Scotland who were Liberals, but who yet had the feeling, and did not hesitate to express it, "The Church is doing no harm, why not leave it alone?" and they have been rather inclined to leave it alone since then. But there is another reason. The Secretary for the Home Office told us, in answer to an argument of my right hon. Friend the Member for Walton, that this Bill is today an anachronism, a statement with which I profoundly agree. In answer an hon. Member said that we are more democratic than we have ever been, and that religious equality is one of the essences of a democratic government. I take a different view. I believe that it is owing to the advance of democracy, that it is owing to the increasing interest in Parliament of the working classes that this has ceased to be a burning question, both in England and in Scotland. The struggle between Church and chapel in England and between the kirk and other churches in Scotland was always a middle-class struggle. The working classes never took much interest in it, and it is precisely because of their increasing influence in politics that this question was allowed to fall into abeyance. But there is another reason which I think much more important. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury told us that this demand had died down because of indifference to religion. Really I do not think that that is the main reason. I doubt if it is any reason at all. I think it is due to other and far higher causes. I think it is due to causes which were developed so closely by my right hon. Friend the Member for the City. It is due to the fact that men of all religious denominations are feeling that the increasing advance of science requires more and more that all Christian denominations should readjust themselves to these new conditions, and it means also this, that the change of the conditions of the working classes, the way in which they are more and more concentrated into towns and the tendency from them to drop 1388 out of all religious connection has made earnest men of all creeds realise that the differences which used to seem to them so large are, after all, insignificant in comparison with the points of agreement. We can realise, after all, that the Christian denominations, though they may wear different uniforms, though they may be collected in different regiments, are really part of the same army, and are fighting the same battles. Therefore none of the funds, which are too small for religious work of all kinds, should be diverted to other purposes. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that this question has ceased to be a live issue in England and Scotland, and I cannot believe—though I do not profess to know much about Wales—that the current which is running so strongly through the rest of the Island, is leaving Wales untouched. There is some proof, I think, that Wales is touched by it. Someone sent me a newspaper which I received this morning with a letter giving an interview with a Nonconformist minister in Wales. I give it for what it is worth. The gentleman who was interviewed was a member of the Wesleyan Church, the Rev. Rogers Jones, and he voted against this Bill. In his interview he really developed precisely the same argument which I have now been trying to put before the House. He said:—As a Socialist, he believes there are more urgent questions demanding solution. Religion was now engaged in a hard and partly unsuccessful combat with materialism and worldliness, and in view of that fact, he seriously doubted the wisdom of weakening any branch of the Church of Christ.There is evidence which is quite apparent to us all, and that is the different character of the different Bills which have been introduced for the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales. The first Bill actually proposed not to allow the Church to have the use even of the cathedrals. That was so mean that it was said, and I believe with truth, that Mr. Gladstone withdrew his favour from the Government in consequence. The next Bill gave them the cathedrals but gave them only 1s. 6d. in the £ of the endowments. The present Bill is going to give them 6s. 8d., and the Prime Minister yesterday afternoon indicated that even that might not be the limit of their generosity—with other people's money. All that is a very clear indication that the general current is affecting the Government, whatever it is doing in Wales. This Bill proposes three things. It proposes to Disestablish the Church in Wales. We are always told, and I believe it is true, that the Welsh 1389 are a religious people. I find it difficult to believe that on its merits, taken by itself, they are in favour of State separation from religion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer this afternoon, rather curiously, I thought, indicated that their desire to Disestablish the Church in Wales was no proof that they were in favour of separating religion from the State. If there is to be a State religion, what grievance really is there in connection with the present arrangement of the Church in Wales? That there is none is proved very conclusively by the action of the Under-Secretary for the Home Department, who could give no definition that would touch the emotions of the most emotional man alive. That there is no particular grievance is proved conclusively by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He pointed out that mayors could select their own chaplains, whatever denomination they belonged to. He pointed out, also, that in the Investiture of the Prince of Wales all religious denominations were represented in proportion to their strength in the Principality. It is obvious to everyone that unless there is some State establishment of religion, there ought to be no religious service in connection with State functions such as that, if there were, men belonging to every creed or no creed at all, who could say, "You have no right to offend me by having religious services." If there is to be an established Church at all, whatever doubt there may be about other facts, the Commission has undoubtedly proved that the Anglican Church in Wales is a larger body than any other single Christian denomination, and that both on the ground of history and of numbers they are more entitled to give expression to a State connection than any other denomination.
The Bill proposes also to dismember the Church. I do not say that is the most injurious part of the Bill, but it does seem to me to be the most unjustifiable. You are punishing the Church of Wales in two ways. You are punishing her by Disestablishing her, and you are punishing her also because you have not Disestablished the Church in England. That is quite evident. No one would dream of saying that no other religious denomination should be entitled to form any connection, close or loose, such as it pleases, with a similar denomination, yet you do forbid this liberty to the Church of England in Wales. You forbid it, and you obviously would not dream of forbidding 1390 it unless the Church in England were an established Church. The Prime Minister yesterday—I am doing him no injustice—did not attempt to touch on that or to justify it, but he did point to the analogy of Ireland, and said himself that it was purely technical. He said that the Church in Wales could form the same sort of connection with the Church of England as the Episcopal Church of Scotland and the Anglican Churches of the Dominions have with her. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who also tried to justify it, said he could not imagine why a Church which had become free—against his will, by the way—should want to have connection with a Church that is still bound by the State connection. That is all very well for him. That is his view, but it is not the view of the Church in Wales. What right has he to force it to adopt his view? It is really an interference with liberty which could not be tolerated in any other connection that anybody can imagine. It is the proposals to disendow which have really, in my opinion, shocked the sense and good feeling of the people of this country. How can they be justified. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary (Mr. McKenna) was the first to attempt to justify it. He gave us some information about the origin of tithe in Wales. I was rather sorry to find this afternoon that he was not the originator of that discovery, but that it was made by somebody else, whose title to be regarded as an authority is perhaps just as great as that of the right hon. Gentleman. It does not interest me very much, but to me it is absolutely incredible that in Wales, where the Christian religion was kept alive at a time when it was submerged in England by the arrival of Pagan hordes—it seems to be incredible that tithe in Wales did not grow from the voluntary offerings of Christians in precisely the same way as they grew, not only in England, but throughout the whole of Christendom. It is to me quite incredible, but really it does not interest me. I do not know anything about Giraldus Cambrensis, and however long I live I am not going to study him. It does not matter to me, or, I think, to anyone, whether tithes were imposed or grew up voluntarily, whether they came into operation in the tenth or eleventh or twelfth century, or whenever it was. That really has nothing to do with it.
Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer tried is hand. I am sorry he is not here, because I am going to say something 1391 about him. He tried the same sort of argument about tithes, and he quoted a lot of legal authorities which, I hope, were more understood by the Gentlemen behind him who cheered him than they were by me. But what did it all amount to? It amounted to this, as I understood him, that he proved to his own satisfaction that tithe was a tax, and that therefore the State was entitled to take possession of it. If that is true, why do you leave tithe now in the hands of lay proprietors. Why does not the Chancellor of the Exchequer look on it as a henroost to which he should direct his attention. I am not going to say much about the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I am sorry he is not here to hear what little I am going to say. I must say something about his attack upon the Duke of Devonshire. It seemed to me the most extraordinary attack which I have ever heard in this House, and, though the right hon. Gentleman has done something like it on the platform, this is the first time he has given us a sample of any thing like it on the floor of this House. What was the charge against the Duke of Devonshire? It was that he was the heir—and I do not know whether the thing is true or not, and I do not care—that he was the heir to some property which had been improperly seized at the time of the Reformation. That is possibly four centuries ago, if the thing is true. Twelve generations have passed since, and surely that is visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children with a vengeance. And what really does it mean? Does it mean that a prescription of four centuries is not enough to give a man a title to his property? Does it mean that he thinks that the Duke of Devonshire should have handed over that property? It must mean that, for it surely cannot mean that his offence is that he has attacked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and that he would be entitled to all his property as long as he left the Chancellor of the Exchequer alone. I put it to any fair-minded man, could there be anything more unfair than to attack any man on that ground? If the Duke of Devonshire has done anything which he ought not to have done, then he is entitled to be condemned for it, but to condemn him for what was done by his ancestors four hundred years ago is certainly beneath contempt. I have the greatest belief in the ability of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I am sure he would never have made a 1392 speech of that kind unless he had thought it was agreeable to the followers behind him. I had an advantage which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not. I could look at the faces behind him, and for once I think he misunderstood the feelings even of his own party. The Chancellor of the Exchequer not only defended this on the ground of title, but he defended it on another ground. He said the doctrine of the Church has entirely changed from the time of the Reformation, that it is not the same Church, and that therefore it is not entitled to the property which was given to it then. Yet, strange to say, in the same speech he had told us that even in his own lifetime the sermons of the denomination to which he belongs, and my own experience bears him out, were entirely different to what they used to be twenty or thirty years ago. If there is a change in the sermons there is probably a change in the doctrine. And does he suggest that because of that change of doctrine this House is free, if it likes, to take away the endowments of Nonconformist bodies and to transfer them to any object it likes.
Then the right hon. Gentleman had recourse to another form of argument, we will call it, of which he is very fond, an appeal to sentiment and to rhetoric. He said the Anglican Church was entirely contrary to the spirit of the Celtic temperament. I do not know anything about the Celtic temperament, except what I have seen in this House, and I do not understand why that should be so. Is it because of the doctrines of the Church of England, or is it because of the liturgy of the Church of England? The liturgy, to my belief, reaches a higher level of spiritual life, and is expressed in nobler language than is to be found in any other book in the English language, except the Bible. Is that the reason? I do not believe it is true, for the Church is making progress in Wales, but even supposing it were true, what is there in it? The Church exercises no compulsion on anybody. No Welshman need attend her ministrations unless they like, and, if they do not like, why does not the Chancellor of the Exchequer wait until there are no Welsh people taking advantage of it, then come to this House and say, as he could say with effect, and I would listen to him, "They cannot use their endowments, let us take them away from them."
The next to try his hand in defending the indefensible was the Prime Minister. 1393 How weak his case was nobody knew better than himself, and he showed it clearly in the first argument he addressed to the House. He quoted with great approval the opinion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bolton (Mr. Harwood), that Disendowment and Disestablishment go together. I always listen to the speeches of the hon. Member with pleasure, even if they are not on my side. He has that natural frankness of disposition that he is certain whenever he speaks to injure his own side quite as much as the other. I listened to his speech with great pleasure, and it was distinguished more by being interesting than logical, and if the Prime Minister was going to quote him he might have quoted something else which he said, and which evidently came from his heart. He pointed to his Friends on the opposite side, and he said something like this: "I know you are dissembling your love, but why do you pick my pocket?" The right hon. Gentleman did not think it worth his while to quote that phrase of his hon. Friend. The next argument of the Prime Minister was an appeal to the Irish Church. He said that it is no longer a question of morality or anything of that kind; it is all settled by what happened in connection with the Irish Church. That is his view. Was it the view of the men who disestablished the Irish Church? I happened by accident, not in connection with this controversy, to be reading the other night a speech by John Bright made at Birmingham at the time of the Irish Church controversy. He said that he was in favour of Disestablishment as a principle, but that the ground on which the Irish Church was disestablished had no connection whatever with the ground on which an attack on the Church of England or of Scotland would be based. But I can appeal to a greater authority, that of Mr. Gladstone himself. This is what he said on the Second Beading of the Irish Church Bill:—We never can admit that an Establishment, which we think in the main, good and efficient for its purpose, is to be regarded as being endangered by the course which we may adopt in reference to an Establishment which we look upon as inefficient and bad.That is the analogy to which the Prime Minister appeals. Yet he himself told us that this Establishment is neither inefficient nor bad. Then how can he appeal to the Irish Church as a justification for what he proposes to do here? I am willing to give hon. Gentlemen opposite all their Historical arguments up to and including the Reformation. I base the claim of the 1394 Church in Wales to its endowments on prescription, on the one right to property which has always been recognised in every civilised country in every age. It has been recognised by this House. The Prime Minister mentioned the Dissenting Chapels Act. What did it do? It said that Nonconformist bodies with an uninterrupted title for twenty-five years were to have an indefeasible title to their property. Twenty-five years is good enough for a Nonconformist Church; 300 years is not good enough for the Church of England. I admit at once that the right of the Church or of any other corporation is not the same as the right of a private individual. Parliament has often taken money away from trusts, and is entitled to do so when those trusts are not being properly used, but you cannot make that claim here, for the Prime Minister has himself admitted that they are being properly used at the present moment.
I have always had for the forensic ability of the Prime Minister the greatest admiration, but I never admired it so much as I did yesterday. The cause of the admiration was the way in which he turned the analogy of the Free Church of Scotland case, which is the strongest possible condemnation of the proposals of this Bill, as an argument in their favour. I am quite sure that, at the time the right hon. Gentleman was still devoting to the Bar those talents which he has since given to mankind he might have used that argument in addressing a jury, but he would never have used it in pleading before a judge. What are the facts in connection with that case? The Free Church went out from the established Church at the time of the disruption, and they went out on Establishment principles. They desired to unite, and they did unite, with a voluntary Church. There was a minority which still adhered to the old principles of that Church. They appealed to the Courts of Law, and the Courts gave them the property of the corporation. What happened? The Government of my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Mr. A. J. Balfour), with the approval of all parties in the country, said, "That is the law. But this Church really has a title to a large part of these endowments, because she has enjoyed them so long, and because she uses them well." What Parliament then did therefore was to give to that Church a title to endowments, which title it did not enjoy legally because the endowments were being well 1395 used. What the Prime Minister is now doing is to ask Parliament to take away from a Church which is using them equally well endowments to which it has a legal title.
The whole of these Disendowment proposals are alike in this. It is a small thing, but nothing seems to me more marked than that the Government should say to dissenting bodies which received Parliamentary Grants at the beginning of the 19th century, "You spent them, therefore we will not say anything to you," while they say to the Anglican Church, which had received them in precisely the same way, "Because you have invested them and are using them well we will take them from you." It is a small thing, but it is an indication of the spirit of this Bill. The whole financial mystery in connection with this matter is really very great. I will not refer to the remarkable expressions of the Chancellor of the Duchy, of which I am sure he is not proud now, after the criticisms which have been passed upon them. The Home Secretary himself showed financial legerdemain almost equally remarkable. He told us that existing incumbents were to be compensated. One would think that if the money was to be used for that purpose it might have been left as it was. But in another part of his speech the right hon. Gentleman said, "We are giving back to the Church £68,000, the capitalised value of this compensation." The thing is ridiculous, but I am going to assume that the right hon. Gentleman was right. The Government are taking from the Church £173,000 a year. They are giving back £68,000. That leaves a total of a little over £100,000. Then they tell us that somebody or other may give the Church £31,000 more. I think that is a childish way of dealing with a subject like this. Either they should say that the money is to be given, or they should not talk about it at all. But let us assume that the £31,000 is given. That reduces the amount of which the Church is deprived to something like £80,000. Eighty thousand pounds is taken away from the Church by a Government which spends £180,000,000 a year. It is not quite one-third of the amount which we voted so generously and with such indecent haste to ourselves. I think it is unworthy. The Chancellor of the Exchequer once spoke about some criticisms which he did not like of the Insurance Act as the meanest agitation he had ever known. 1396 Here is something meaner than that. The Prime Minister said yesterday that this was entirely a question of expediency. I do not agree with him at all; but if he is right, is it worth while to take so small a sum, which means so little to the nation, but so much to the Church? Is it worth it? What good can it do anybody? It will not help the Free Churches unless, as I absolutely decline to believe, the mere fact that you are going to weaken the established Church is regarded as an advantage to the Free Churches. I really do not think it will be, although you do hear hon. and right hon. Gentlemen speaking as if they were the representatives of rival firms engaged in business, and that they cannot stand on any terms any one firm having an advantage over their competitors. They forget that in this competition is to the business of improving the moral and spiritual condition of the people. Is it worth while? It will, in my opinion, positively injure the Free Churches. I read the other day that some denominations pay their ministers not more than 20s. per week. Surely the standard, poor as it is, which is held up by the Church in Wales is an incentive to the Free Churches to treat their ministers more decently. There would be less chance of their being treated decently if that model is taken away. The Prime Minister told us that we would get rid of religious animosity. Did anyone ever hear anything more absurd? He told us yesterday that nations have long memories. So have Churches! Are you going to get rid of religious animosities by inflicting upon one branch of the Church an injustice and meanness which, I think, is stinking in the nostrils of the country at this moment? I have a great dislike, a dislike almost morbid, of saying anything that savours of cant. I dislike almost as much to give expression to views which may seem to sympathise with words which were quoted by the Financial Secretary the other night—words of Gibbon, I think:That to the philosopher all religions are equally false; to the magistrate all equally useless.I dislike that. There has been during the last thirty years a remarkable change in the people of England. When I was a young man some of the greatest intellects of our time were devoting their talents and genius to destroying the foundations of the Christian religion—men like Huxley, Tyndal, and others of even greater eminence whose names I will not mention because they are still living. Men of the same intellectual calibre are not doing 1397 that now. Why? Because they, in my opinion, believe that the world is materialistic enough already, and that there are better uses to which they can devote their intellect. Is this, then, the time that any Government is justified in taking from any spiritual organisation funds admittedly too small which are being used earnestly and efficiently to try to point the mind of men to higher things?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
No one who has followed this Debate, as I have done, will fail to have been struck by the evident sincerity of feeling of hon. Members who have taken part in it. There has, of course, been some of the foam of controversy which is always to be found floating on the surface in a matter of this kind, but I for one recognise that on both sides of the House the feeling, both for and in opposition to this Bill, is a genuine, sincere, and a powerful thing. I should be spared reconciling the opposing views were it not for one fact. Those who have opposed this measure have never directed their minds to the case of Wales. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, if he will allow me to say so, delivered what was to me a most interesting speech which I thoroughly enjoyed, but from first to last he never mentioned Wales. He began by addressing to the Government a question which he said had been frequently asked before in the course of the Debate, but not answered, and to which he hoped to get an answer, "What good," he said, "is this Bill going to do to Wales"? [HON. MEMBERS: "You said he never mentioned Wales."] If hon. Members do not intend to give me a fair hearing, let them say so. If they do, they should not take small points like that. The right hon. Gentleman asked what good this Bill is going to do to Wales. I ask him how does he measure the good? What does he mean when he says, "What good is this Bill going to do to Wales?" Is it an English measurement or a Scotch measurement, or a Welsh measurement? If he asks me, as a Welsh Member, or any of my colleagues in this House what good is this Bill going to do to Wales, we answer that in Wales it will make the outer appearance of things correspond with the inner reality of things in the life of Wales. That is a good thing for a people amongst whom materialism has made no way, a people of sentiment, a people of religion, and a people who abhor the principle of Establishment. One characteristic of the 1398 Debate has been the complete inability to appreciate the real and fundamental difference between the English and Welsh people in matters of religion. The right hon. Gentleman said that of late years there has been a great change in public opinion in regard to religion in Scotland, and in England, which he knows, but there has been no similar change in Wales. There has been no change in the devotion of the Welsh people to religious doctrine, religious ritual and religious life.
I regret I have to quote figures. My authorities are official; they are from the Year Book of the Church of England, the Free Church Statistics compiled by Mr. Howard Evans, and the Report of the Royal Commission—respectable authorities which will be accepted in all quarters of the House. What do these authorities say with regard to the established Church in Wales? We know what the strength of the Church of England in England is. The Church of England is equally strong in Wales. In proportion to population, there are as many communicants of the Church of England in Wales as there are in England. That is a startling fact. We know what is the strength of the Nonconformist bodies in England. We speak of that with respect, but in England add together the whole of your practising members of the Church of England and the whole of your practising members of Nonconformist bodies and you will find in proportion to population that in Wales the members of the Free Churches alone are double the number. What do these figures mean? You speak of the growth and the spread of materialistic ideas in this country, you admit that in England the Church and Nonconformist bodies alike have been unable to cope with the spread of the spirit of materialism, but in Wales the Free Churches have accomplished the task. Let me give the House some more figures. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] I apologise for doing so, but there is no other way in the short space of time at my disposal than for me to state the facts about Wales. It is the establishment of the Church in Wales with which we are dealing. I now take the case of the Sunday schools. There we have an institution, Welsh in origin and development, which covers the whole country. There are in Wales at the present moment 685,000 children under fifteen. That includes children of all ages. It includes infants who could not be in attendance at Sunday schools. Out of that total of 685,000 there 1399 are no less than 440,000 in weekly attendance at the Sunday schools. What do those figures mean? They mean of the children in every class of life, nearly the whole of them of school age, are in attendance at Sunday school. It shows that throughout Wales religion is taught in the most systematic manner to all the children of every class of the people. Have you anything like that in Scotland or in England?
When you discuss the question of the Church in Wales you must gather your experience in Wales alone. The question has been asked in the course of the Debate if the Church is Disestablished who will minister to the poor. Words convey meanings to us according to our antecedent impressions and associations, and in this House, immediately that question is put to an audience consisting almost entirely of English and Scottish Members, the picture is conjured up of some Church of England missionary going down to the slums of our great cities teaching and winning the poor over to the Christian faith. Is that a picture of what happens in Wales? Who does the slum work in the cities of Wales? We have a movement in Wales known as the Calvinistic Methodists' Forward Movement. The objects of that movement are described as to reach non-Church and non-chapel-goers, to lead them to Christ, to rescue poor and neglected children, to provide Christian nurses for the sick poor, and to get all to abstain from the use of strong drinks. I will take the city of Cardiff, and I will ask you to compare the work of the Calvinistic Methodist For ward Movement with the work of the Church of England. And when you are dealing with Wales and ask who is to minister to the poor, you have to conjure up to your mind not the work of the Church of England, but the work of the Free Churches. The Calvinistic Methodist Forward Movement in Cardiff alone has no less than twenty-two halls and a Preventive Home. The halls have accommodation for 10,000. What are the corresponding figures for the whole of the Church of England throughout Cardiff? There are but thirteen churches of the Church of England in Cardiff, and to anybody who knows Cardiff—there is not a Welshman who doubts it—the whole of the work of the Church of England in Cardiff is not comparable to the work done by one Free Church alone, the Calvinistic Methodist.
1400 A great deal was made of a quotation from a book written by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary (Mr. Masterman) in order to show the need for endowments in big cities. My hon. Friend was writing about England—I think he was writing about London—and I do not dispute the force of his argument in relation to London. We have but one big city in Wales, we have Cardiff. What is the argument to be drawn from the endowments in Cardiff? The total endowments in that city amount to just over £3,000, and the amount taken by this Bill will not, so far as I can get at the figures, amount to more than £700 per year. The whole of that great argument, based upon the quotation, from my hon. Friend, given no less than three times in the course of the Debate, depends upon a maximum sum of £700 per year. When it is remembered that upon Disestablishment the Church will be able to reallocate its funds and to use its money where its needs require it, I have no doubt that £700 a year can be very well made up from other districts of Wales where the endowments are not now well spent. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where."] I am coming to the point. The right hon. Gentleman has stated, as a fact, that it was admitted on this side of the House that the endowments in Wales were not abused. If he uses the words "not abused" inasmuch as they are honestly administered, I agree; but, if he uses the words in the sense that they are well used, I do not agree with him. These endowments, as is to be seen from the figures quoted by my hon. Friend (Mr. Ellis Griffith), are in many districts squandered. Churches are maintained at a cost of £10 per year per communicant, a rate which would never be paid if it were possible for the Church to redistribute its funds. We cannot be supposed to admit the right hon. Gentleman's statement, that the funds are in fact well administered. Another point which was pressed with great force was that in Wales there is a clergyman in every parish. That, again, was an argument put forward by an English Member quite unacquainted with the facts in Wales. The parochial system in Wales is rapidly breaking down. In one diocese alone, that of St. David's, there are now no fewer than 107 parishes in which there is no resident clergyman. The whole argument addressed to this House was as to the need to minister to the poor in every parish, and I would ask hon. Members how are the poor ministered to in these parishes?
§ Mr. McKENNA
Precisely, and that is what the Nonconformists have done. It was used as an argument against the Nonconformists that they have not got a resident minister in every parish, but then they have recognised what are the real circumstances in Wales. They have realised that you have to take as the centre of work the centre of population. The Church of England, contrary to opinions expressed in this House, has, in Wales, followed the example of the Nonconformists, and is reorganising its work, not on the basis of the parochial system, but on the basis of reorganising parishes, concentrating them and making the populations suit them. I would remind the House of the growth of Free Churches in Wales that has taken place within the course of this century. Here you have a phenomenon without parallel in the modern world. You have a real living Church. In this connection I am entitled to speak of the Free Churches in Wales as one Church. Hon. Members may say "Oh," but there is less difference of doctrine and ritual between the Free Churches in Wales than there is between the different parties in the Church of England, although you may be satisfied to resolve yourselves into one body for the sake of enjoying the national endowment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] If I have given offence to hon. Gentlemen I will withdraw at once. I have no desire to give the smallest offence. It cannot be regarded as offensive to assert that the Free Churches in Wales are in as close connection with each other, and as united in doctrine and ritual, as the different parties in the Church of England. That is not offensive. But it is true. I have a right to assert that the Free Churches, in a real and living sense, represent the Welsh people. They have taken a leading part in every characteristic development of Welsh life, and there is no movement of national feeling in which Welshmen do not look with hope and confidence to the guidance of the Free Churches. If you ask me again what good will it do to Wales if this Bill is carried, I say that the good it will do is that it will be the recognition by the State of the real living facts of Welsh life, and the acknowledgment that the Free Churches are the Church of Wales.
I pass to the subject of Disendowment. The principle of Disendowment, as my 1402 right hon. Friend the Prime Minister stated yesterday, was settled in the case of the Irish Act. Let me quote some authorities, very briefly, to the House, upon the subject of the principle. On the Irish Act, Mr. Gladstone said:—I suspect, if we were to examine these endowments, we should find that they were all given to the national established Church, because it was the national established Church, and therefore the endowments must follow the fate of the national Establishment.That is as true of the Welsh Church as it was true of the Irish Church. I next quote from the Bishop of Oxford in 1869. He said:—If Disestablishment is settled, as I believe it to be, then I think it follows that it is impossible for us to give the whole of what now belongs to the established Church to the disestablished Church.A great dignitary of the Church, he recognised in the case of Ireland, that so far as endowments are concerned—and the circumstances in this case are precisely similar. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Not as to amount perhaps, but the question of principle is precisely the same—that the question of principle was settled. Lastly, let me quote an historian who has been quoted frequently by hon. Gentlemen opposite—Mr. Freeman. He said:—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.The theological parties to whom Freeman referred were the rival theological parties within the Church of England. Such being, as I submit to the House, the accepted principle of Parliament in 1869, that Disendowment in some degree should follow Disestablishment, how do we stand with regard to the present Bill? I admit to the full the force of the objection that private benefactions to a particular Church ought not to be touched. I agree that they should be held as sacred in the case of the Church of England as they would be held in the case of any Nonconformist body, and I agree, also, that antiquity would neither increase nor diminish the sacredness of the trust. All you will have to look to will be whether the trust is being fulfilled. Having admitted so much as regards the sanctity of private benefaction, we have to ask as regards the tithe, which is the great subject of controversy. Was the tithe in Wales at any time a private benefaction? The right hon. Gentleman used, as an argument in support of his view, that tithe was a private benefaction, that he could not conceive that it, should have been otherwise. He assured himself, and endeavoured to assure the 1403 House, by calling attention to the argument which I addressed to the House on the First Reading. It is necessary to show that tithe is a tax, and that it never was in Wales a private benefaction. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. E. Smith), referring to what I said on the First Reading, quoted three English historians, with the object of showing that if tithe in Wales ever had the legal origin which I attributed to it, the historians would have disclosed the fact. Certainly they would if they had ever written about Wales. It is not that Freeman forgot it. He never wrote about it. It is not that Stubbs never suspected it. He never inquired into it. It is not that Selden did not know about it. He did not write upon it. If the right hon. Gentleman had quoted Welsh historians and said they had never suspected it or had forgotten it, there would have been some point in his argument. There was one leading Welsh historian quoted by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lloyd George), who lays down clearly the theory of the legal origin of tithe in Wales. I am content rather to rely upon the authority of those writers who have written about Wales than those who have never investigated the subject.
A great deal has been said of the authority of Giraldus on the subject of tithe. I gave Giraldus in answer to an interruption as one of my authorities on the subject of tithe. In controverting the view which I addressed to the House the hon. Member (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) read a quotation from Giraldus, and so forcible was it found to be that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Wyndham) represented that my argument had been blown sky high. This is what the hon. Member read on the authority of Giraldus:—They gave a tenth of all their property, animals, cattle and sheep. This partition of their property they called the great tithe.That was regarded as proof conclusive that there was tithe in Wales, as we understand the term "tithe," in the 12th century. What are the facts of the case? The real quotation is as follows:—They give one-tenth of their property, animals cattle and sheep, either when they marry, go on a pilgrimage, or by the counsel of the Church are persuaded to amend their lives.What are we to think of methods of controversy by which the hon. Gentleman, with a quotation in front of him, does not even wait for a full stop, but breaks off in the middle of a sentence, and thereby absolutely perverts the whole meaning of 1404 the passage. That is not all. The hon. Gentleman's next authority to prove, as he thought, conclusively that tithe had a voluntary origin in Wales was a quotation from the laws of Howell the Good. There are several manuscripts in which the laws of Howell are written. They do not all agree. In the one usually accepted by scholars as, I understand, to be the most authoritative there is no mention of tithe. In a later, but generally regarded as a corrupt manuscript, tithe is mentioned. The hon. Member quotes the laws of Howell as his authority for the origin of tithe, but quotes one manuscript only—
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
I mentioned three manuscripts, and stated that tithes were mentioned in two and not in the other. I said the authority and the age of these three manuscripts were uncertain and that the controversy is still going on about all three. I left the matter open.
§ Mr. McKENNA
If the report of the Debate is turned up, it will be seen that everything I have stated is absolutely correct. With regard to tithe, there is no genuine document of an age either before or contemporary with the acknowledgment of the Primacy of Canterbury by the Welsh Church which contains any mention of tithe in Wales, and it must pass beyond dispute that tithe has no origin as a private benefaction, that, it is the creature of law and Parliament, and that Parliament ought not when the Welsh Church is Disestablished to continue to impose this tax upon Welshmen for the support of a Church which is not the national Church. The last words I have to say—[Interruption.] There is the courtesy of hon. Gentlemen! Let me tell my hon. Friends that that is quite characteristic of the treatment of Nonconformists in Wales. Let my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton note this. When the hon. Member for Denbigh Boroughs, on the First Reading Debate, wished to use a contemptuous epithet of the speech made by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer how did he describe it? He described it as a chapel speech.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to quote me accurately. He has deliberately misquoted what I said. [HON. MEMBERS: "Quote."]
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
Is an hon. Member in order in saying that a Member of this House has "deliberately misquoted" him?
§ Mr. McKENNA
I would ask my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton before he makes up his mind not to vote with his party on this Motion to remember what has been the course of the two parties throughout history in dealing with small peoples. England has rightly got the name of sympathy with and understanding of other nationalities, and the Government of our Empire has been conducted with an understanding of different races which is without parallel in the history of the world. I would ask the hon. Member to remember whether that sympathy and understanding have been characteristic of the party who occupy the benches opposite, or whether they have been character-
§ istic of his own party; and I would ask him, now when he is going to give a vote, if it be so, against the demand, the persistent and urgent demand, of a small people who ask at the hands of Parliament for equality of religious treatment, to hesitate before he votes that that demand should be refused.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 348 Noes, 259.1409
|Division No. 88.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)|
|Abraham, Rt. Han. William (Rhondda)||Cory, Sir Clifford John||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cowan, William Henry||Gulland, John William|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Hackett, J.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Crooks, William||Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Crumley, Patrick||Hancock, John George|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Cullinan, John||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)|
|Alden, Percy||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Dawes, J. A.||Harwood, George|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||De Forest, Baron||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Delany, William||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Barnes, George N.||Devlin, Joseph||Hayward, Evan|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Dewar, Sir J. A.||Healy, Maurice (Cork)|
|Barton, W.||Dickinson, W. H.||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, East)|
|Beale, W. P.||Dillon, John||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Donelan, Captain A.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Doris, W.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, S. George)||Duffy, William J.||Henry, Sir Charles S.|
|Bentham, G. J.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Hinds, John|
|Black, Arthur W.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Boland, John Pius||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Hodge, John|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Elverston, Sir Harold||Hogge, James Myles|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Holmes, Daniel Turner|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Brace, William||Essex, Richard Walter||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)|
|Brady, P. J.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Falconer, J.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Farrell, James Patrick||Hudson, Walter|
|Bryce, John Annan||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Hughes, S. L.|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Ffrench, Peter||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Field, William||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Fitzgibbon, John||John, Edward Thomas|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||France, G. A.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Furness, Stephen W.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Carr-Gomm, H W.||Gelder, Sir W. A.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Gill, A. H.||Joyce, Michael|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Ginnell, Laurence||Keating, Matthew|
|Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Kellaway, Frederick George|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Glanville, H. J.||Kelly, Edward|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Clough, William||Goldstone, Frank||King, J. (Somerset, N.)|
|Clynes, John R.||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Lamb, Ernest Henry|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G (Devon, S. Molton)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Lansbury, George|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||O'Doherty, Philip||Sheehy, David|
|Leach, Charles||O'Donnell, Thomas||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||O'Dowd, John||Shortt, Edward|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Ogden, Fred||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Logan, John William||O'Grady, James||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Smyth, Thomas F. Leitrim, S.)|
|Lundon, T.||O'Malley, William||Snowden, Philip|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Lynch, A.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||O'Shee, James John||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|McGhee, Richard||Palmer, Godfrey||Summers, James Woolley|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Sutherland, John E.|
|MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Tennant, Harold John|
|M'Callum, John M.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|M'Curdy, C. A.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|M'Kean, John||Pointer, Joseph||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Pollard, Sir George H.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Manfield, Harry||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wadsworth, John|
|Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Primrose, Hon. Nell James||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Martin, Joseph||Pringle, William M. R.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Radford, George Heynes||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Wardie, George J.|
|Meagher, Michael||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's County)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Middlebrook, William||Reddy, Michael||Webb, H.|
|Millar, James Duncan||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Molloy, Michael||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz||Rendall, Athelstan||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Money, L. G. Chlozza||Richards, Thomas||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Mooney, J. J.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Morgan, George Hay||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Morrell, Philip||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Muldoon, John||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Williams, Llewellyn (Carmarthen)|
|Munro, R.||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Roch, Waltar F. (Pembroke)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Neilson, Francis||Rowlands, James||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Rowntree, Arnold||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Winfrey, Richard|
|Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Nuttall, Harry||Samuel, J. (Stockton)||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|O'Brien, William (Cork)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. W. Jones.|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Benn, Ion H. (Greenwich)||Cator, John|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Cautley, Henry Strother|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Cave, George|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William B.||Beresford, Lord Charles||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Bigland, Alfred||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Bird, A.||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.|
|Astor, Waldorf||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Chambers, James|
|Baird, J. L.||Boyton, J.||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Burdett-Coutts, William||Clive, Captain Percy Archer|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Burgoyne, A. H.||Clyde, J. Avon|
|Banner, John S. Harmood.||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Butcher, J. G.||Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Cooper, Richard Ashmole|
|Barnston, Harry||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Coulthorpe, G. Loyd|
|Barrie, H. T.||Campion, W. R.||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cassel, Felix||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Castlereagh, Viscount||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninlan|
|Cripps, Sir diaries Alfred||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Rawson, Col. R. H.|
|Croft, H. P.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Jackson, Sir John||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Joynson-Hicks, William||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Doughty, Sir George||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Royds, Edmund|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Kerry, Earl of||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Keswick, Henry||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Knight, Captain E. A.||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Fell, Arthur||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Larmor, Sir J.||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Lawson, Hon H. (T. H'm'ts, Mile End)||Smith, Rt. Hon. F, E. (L'p'l, Walton)|
|Fltzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Lewisham, Viscount||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Fleming, Valentine||Lloyd, George Ambrose||Stanler, Beville|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Forster, Henry William||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Gardner, Ernest||Lonsdale, Sin John Brownlee||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Gastrell, Major W. H.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Steel-Maitaland, A. D.|
|Gibbs, G. A.||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Gilmour, Captain J.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hn. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington)|
|Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Lyttelton, Hon. J. c. (Droitwich)||Swift, Rigby|
|Goldman, Charles Sidney||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Mackinder, H. J.||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Macmaster, Donald||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||M'Mordle, Robert||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Grant, J. A.||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Greene, W. R.||Magnus, Sir Philip||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Gretton, John||Malcolm, Ian||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Touche, George Alexander|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Moore, William||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hall, Marshall (Liverpool, E. Toxteth)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Mount, William Arthur||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)||Newdegate F. A.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Newman, John R. P.||Welgall, Captain A. G.|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Nield, Herbert||Willoughby, Col R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Helmsley, Viscount||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, -Mid)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Winterton, Earl|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Hill, Sir Clement L.||Parkes, Ebenezer||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Hills, J. W.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hohler, G. Fitzroy||Perkins, Walter F.||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Peto, Basil Edward||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Younger, Sir George|
|Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Horner, A. L.||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord Balcarres and Mr. Bridgeman.|
|Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Hunt, Rowland||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."1410
§ The House divided: Ayes, 348; Noes, 267.1415
|Division No. 89.]||AYES.||[11.12 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Barton, W.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Beale, W. P.|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Beck, Arthur Cecil|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Bentham, G. J.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Bethell, Sir J. H.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine|
|Alden, Percy||Barnes, George N.||Black, Arthur W.|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Boland, John Pius|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Griffith, Ellis J.||Manfield, Harry|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Brace, William||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Brady, P. J.||Gulland, John W.||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Martin, J.|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Hackett, John||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Hancock, J. G.||Meagher, Michael|
|Burke, E. Haviland.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Middlebrook, William|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Millar, James Duncan|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Molloy, M.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Montagu, Hon. E. s.|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Mooney, J. J.|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Hayden, John Patrick||Morgan, George Hay|
|Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Hayward, Evan||Morrell, Philip|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, East)||Muldoon, John|
|Clough, William||Helme, Norval Watson||Munro, R.|
|Clynes, John R.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Henry, Sir Charles||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Neilson, Francis|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Higham, John Sharp||Nolan, Joseph|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hinds, John||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hodge, John||Nugent, Sir Walter R.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemonth)||Hogge, James Myles||Nuttall, Harry|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Crooks, William||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Brien, William (Cork, N.E.)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Cullinan, J.||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Hudson, Walter||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Dowd, John|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs, Louth)||Illingworth, Percy H.||Ogden, Fred|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Grady, James|
|Davies, M. Vaughan. (Cardiganshire)||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburghshire)||O'Kelly. Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Dawes, J. A.||John, Edward Thomas||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|De Forest, Baron||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Malley, William|
|Delany, William||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Jones H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Shee, James John|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Jones, W. S. Glyn. (T. H'mts, Stepney)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Joyce, Michael||Palmer, Godfrey|
|Dillon, John||Keating, M.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Doris, W.||Kelly, Edward||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Duffy, William||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||King, J.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molton)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lansbury, George||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Leach, Charles||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Levy, Sir Maurice||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Falconer, J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Primrose, Hon. Nell James|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Logan, John William||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Radford, G. H.|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Ffrench, Peter||Lundon, T.||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Field, William||Lyell, Charles Henry||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Lynch, A. A.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Reddy, M.|
|France, G. A.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Furness, Stephen W.||McGhee, Richard||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Maclean, Donald||Rendall, Athelstan|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Richards, Thomas|
|Gill, A. H.||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Ginnell, L.||Macpherson, James Ian||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Glanville, H. J.||M'Callum, John M.||Roberts. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Curdy, C. A.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Goldstone, Frank||M'Kean, John||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Summers, James Woolley||Wedgwood, Joslah C.|
|Rowlands, James||Sutherland, J. E.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Rowntree, Arnold||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Tennant, Harold John||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton)||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Scanlan, Thomas||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.||Toulmin, Sir George||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Williams, Llewellyn (Carmarthen)|
|Seely, col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Sheehy, David||Verney, Sir Harry||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Wadsworth, John||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Shortt, Edward||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Walters, sir John Tudor||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)||Walton, Sir Joseph||Winfrey, Richard|
|Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Snowden, P.||Wardle, George J.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Warner, sir Thomas Courtenay||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Spicer, Sir Albert||Wason, Rt. Hon. (Clackmannan)|
|Stanley, Albert (Starts, N.W.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. W. Jones.|
|Strauss, Edward A. (Southward, West)||Webb, H.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Clyde, J. Avon||Harris, Henry Percy|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham)||Harwood, George|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Ashley, W. W.||Courthope, George Loyd||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Hewins, William Albert Samuel|
|Baird, J. L.||Craig, Norman (Kent)||Hickman, Col. T. E.|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Craik, Sir Henry||Hill, Sir Clement L.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Hills, J. W.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. j. (City, Lond.)||Cripps, Sir C. A.||Hill-Wood, Samuel|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Croft, H. p.||Hoare, S. J. G.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood.||Dairymple, Viscount||Hohler, G. Fitzroy|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Dalziel, D. (Brixton)||Hope, Harry (Bute)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Denniss, E. R. B.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Barnston, Harry||Dixon, C. H.||Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)|
|Barrie, H. T.||Doughty, Sir George||Horner, Andrew Long|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc, E.)||Du Cross, Arthur Philip||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilton)||Duke, Henry Edward||Hume-Williams, W. E.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Hunt, Rowland|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Faber, Cast. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Falle, B. G.||Jackson, Sir John|
|Benn, Ion H. (Greenwich)||Fell, Arthur||Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Jessel, Captain H. M.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Joynson-Hicks, William|
|Beresford, Lord C.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr|
|Bigland, Alfred||Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||Kerry, Earl of|
|Bird, A.||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Keswick, Henry|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Fleming, Valentine||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Bascawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith.||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Forster, Henry William||Knight, Capt. E. A.|
|Boyton, J.||Foster, Philip Staveley||Kyffin-Taylor, G.|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Gardner, Ernest||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gastrell, Major W. H.||Larmor, Sir J.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Gibbs, G. A.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Gilmour, Captain J.||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Lee, Arthur H.|
|Butcher, J. G.||Goldman, C. S.||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Goldsmith, Frank||Lloyd, G. A.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)|
|Campion, W. R.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Carille, Sir Edward Hildred||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Grant, J. A.||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee|
|Cassel, Felix||Greene, W. R.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm, Edgbaston)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Gretton, John||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)|
|Cator, John||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)|
|Cautley, H. S.||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. G. (Droitwich)|
|Cave, George||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Haddock, George Bahr||Mackinder, H. J.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Macmaster, Donald|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxtech)||M'Mordle, Robert|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)|
|Chambers, J.||Hamersley, A. St. George||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Malcolm, Ian|
|Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Rees, Sir J. D.||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
|Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Remnant, James Farquharson||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Rolleston, Sir John||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Moore, William||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Rothschild, Lionel de||Touche, George Alexander|
|Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Royds, Edmund||Tryon, Capt, George Clement|
|Mount, William Arthur||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Neville, Reginald J. N.||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool., W. Derby)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Newdegate, F. A.||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Newman, John R. P.||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Newton, Harry Kottingham||Sanders, Robert A.||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Sanderson, Lancelot||Wards, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Nield, Herbert||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Paget, Almeric Hugh||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Spear, Sir John Ward||Winterton, Earl|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Stanier, Beville||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Starkey, John R.||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Perkins, Walter F.||Staveley-Hill, Henry||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Peto, Basil Edward||Steel-Maitland, A. D.||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Stewart, Gershom||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Pollock, Ernest Murray||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Swift, Rigby||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Quilter, Sir William Eley C.||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)||Younger, Sir George|
|Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Talbot, Lord E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord Balcarres and Mr. Bridgeman.|
|Rawson, Colonel R. H.||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next (20th May).—[Mr. McKenna.]