HC Deb 03 February 1913 vol 47 cc1885-944

(1) As from the date of Disestablishment, Ecclesiastical Courts and persons in Wales and Monmouthshire shall cease to exercise any jurisdiction, and the ecclesiastical law of the Church in Wales shall cease to exist as law.

(2) As from the same date the then existing ecclesiastical law and the then existing articles, doctrines, rites, rules, discipline, and ordinances of the Church of England shall, with and subject to such modification or alteration, if any, as after the passing of this Act may be duly made therein, according to the constitution and regulations for the time being of the Church in Wales, be binding on the members for the time being of the Church in Wales in the same manner as if they had mutually agreed to be so bound, and shall be capable of being enforced in the Temporal Courts in relation to any property which by virtue of this Act is held on behalf of the said Church or any members thereof, in the same manner and to the same extent as if such property had been expressly assured upon trust to be held on behalf of persons who should be so bound:

Provided that no alteration in the articles, doctrines, rites, or, save so far as may be rendered necessary by the passing of this Act, in the formularies of the Church in Wales, shall be so far binding on any ecclesiastical person having any existing interest saved by this Act, as to deprive him of that interest, if he, within one month after the making of the alteration, signifies in writing to the representative body hereinafter mentioned his dissent therefrom.

(3) The said constitution and regulations of the Church in Wales may, notwithstanding anything in this Section, provide for the establishment for the Church in Wales of Ecclesiastical Courts, and if the Archbishop of Canterbury consents, for appeals from any of the Courts so established being heard and determined by the Provincial Court of the Archbishop, and the Archbishop may, with the approval of His Majesty in Council, give such consent, but no such Courts shall exercise any coercive jurisdiction and no appeal shall lie from any such Court to His Majesty in Council.

(4) The power of making by such constitution and regulations, alterations, and modifications in ecclesiastical law shall include the power of altering and modifying such law so far as is embodied in the Church Discipline Act, 1840, the Public Worship Regulation Act, 1874, the Clergy Discipline Act, 1892, or the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations. Acts, 1871 and 1872, or any other Act of Parliament.

(5) As from the date of Disestablishment the bishops and clergy of the Church in Wales shall cease to be members of or be represented in the Houses of Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, but nothing in this Act shall affect the powers of those Houses so far as they relate to matters outside Wales and Monmouthshire.


I beg to move to leave out Sub-section 5.

The purport of this Sub-section is, after the date of Disestablishment, to break up the organisation of the Houses of Convocation as they exist at present and to exclude therefrom the bishops and clergy of what, if the Bill passes, will be called the Church in Wales. In my view the word "Convocation" is synonymous with provincial Synods, and I want the Home Secretary, when he replies, to say whether he agrees that, so far as this Clause is concerned, it would apply to Convocation in the wider sense in which it is ordinarily used, namely, as a provincial Synod—not that there is any distinction between the two, but the one word is properly applicable to both. Convocation is the recognised constitutional assembly of the clergy of the Church. That, of course, is the position. I only give what is laid down by Bishop Stubbs, the greatest authority, but all constitutional authorities would give the same definition. It is a matter of common knowledge historically that this organisation dates from the time of Edward I., and that there is no substantial difference whatever between its organisation as then constituted and its organisation at the present day; in other words, if we go back to the time of Edward I. we find it was the same monarch whom we know who laid the foundations both of our civil liberties— that is, the constitution of our Parliament —and what I may call our clerical liberties, the constitution of our Convocation, and since that date there has really been no difference as regards the fundamental basis either in one direction or in the other. Before what is known as the Act of Submission it is true that Convocation could be called either propria motu by the archbishop, or, in the first instance, through the King's writ; and there was this change introduced at the time of the Act of Submission, that, in all cases, before the archbishop issued a writ for the summoning of Convocation he had, in the first instance, to get the direction of the King. I want to make it quite clear, because there is often misunderstanding about it, that the writ which summons Convocation issues from the archbishop and is sent by him to the Bishop of London, who is what is called the Dean of the Province, and the bishops and clergy are summoned not what is called coram nobis—that is in the presence of the King—as in the case of the summons to Parliament, but coram nobis— that is, in the presence of the Archbishop himself—so that from beginning to end, and in the earliest times so far as the constitution is concerned, you had the writ issuing from the archbishop and Convocation, or the provincial Synod, as it is sometimes called, is summoned as head or representative of the Church.

I want to give one or two technical words from the writ by which Convocation is summoned, because I am not sure that even all Churchmen thoroughly understand how this position stands. In the first place, the writ which is issued from the King to the archbishop asks him to summon Convocation for this reason, "for the security and defence of the Church of England." You are here seeking to break up a constitution which has endured ever since the time of Edward I. without change of organisation, of which the first principle is the security and defence of the Church of England. It is a monstrous and outrageous proposal, even in a Bill of this kind, that this ancient constitutional assembly should be sought to be broken up in this way. The archbishop issues the writ by which Convocation is actually summoned. It is not summoned by the Royal Writ at all, but by the archbishop's writ, and he summons the clergy to come together, using the words of his writ, "to the honour of God and the good of the Church." Let me deal with another matter in order to show the real position of Convocation. When Convocation is prorogued it is prorogued by the archbishop, and he prorogues it in these words. He says, "He being by Divine Providence Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England and Metropolitan, President of the present Sacred Provincial Synod or Convocation of the Prelates and Clergy of the Province of Canterbury." The Metropolitan, dealing with what is called Convocation, refers to it as either a Sacred Provincial Synod or Convocation of the Prelates and Clergy of the Province of Canterbury. I want to know what right have we, merely as a statutory body, to intervene to prevent the archbishop issuing a writ to the clergy and bishops which has been issued from the time of Edward I., and which he issues at present, either to bring together what is called Convocation or the Provincial Synod. I want the right hon. Gentleman to tell us what reason there is, even in a Bill of this kind, why you should interfere with this organisation, which is the basis of our clerical representative constitution, and which, as far as I can see, might be left entirely alone as far as this Bill is concerned.

In the writ to the Archbishop there is one other word to which I ought to refer. He is told to summon the whole of the clergy, and the effect of this Clause will be that, instead of the whole of the clergy ever hereafter meeting together, as regards their Provincial Synod or Convocation, it will never be possible for them to assemble either in the one position or in the other unless I succeed in my Amendment. I only want to refer to one or two matters of history as regards the position of Convocation. Up to the time of the Reformation I probably need say nothing. Everyone knows the enormous importance of Convocation in those early days. In fact, one of the great contests between Archbishop Winchelsea and Edward I. was as to the constitution of Convocation, so that it might be independent in its spiritual capacity, and since the days of Archbishop Winchelsea down to now that position has never been controverted. To explain the importance of the Reformation period, I will take one illustration from the preface of the Prayer Book which we use now in our services: "We have good hope that what is here presented and has been done by the Convocation of both provinces with great diligence, examined and approved, will be accepted," etc. You cannot have any greater testimony, not only in the value of Convocation, but to the position that it has occupied when our Prayer Book, which we use every Sunday, is commended to our acceptance because it has been "with great diligence examined and approved by the two Houses of Convocation." Churchmen feel this matter very strongly. Churchmen feel extremely strongly that the body to which they have looked for spiritual guidance on all questions of doctrine of this character, the body which is responsible for the Prayer Book itself, should in a Bill of this kind be broken up by the exclusion of the Welsh bishops and clergy, though in our opinion there is no necessity for such act at all.

It is true that from 1717 to 1852, that is for a period of about 135 years, Convoca- tion never did meet for effective business purposes—one of the greatest scandals that ever occurred in the course of our Church history. Of course we know the reason of it was that the Whig Oligarchy in 1715 outraged all our doctrines of representative Government by presenting a Bill prolonging the existing Parliament for a period of seven years. The same Whig Oligarchy, however, managed, by what was really a most unconstitutional act, to prevent its ever meeting for a series of years for business purposes. Of course the underlying spirit of that is perfectly clear. It was that it would be impolitic for the Whig Oligarchy, who wanted above all things to support the Hanoverian Dynasty, to allow a Convention to be called under ordinary circumstances at that time. But what is the result? Through the whole of the eighteenth century the English Church went back. There never was a time when we had greater lethargy or a more unfortunate period as regards our Church history, and everyone will admit that there was no time when the national Church went back more quickly than during the eighteenth century, and most unfortunately the only great religious movement which is connected with the name of Wesley, and with which most of us thoroughly sympathise, was allowed under these circumstances to take place outside the Church instead of being a movement within the Church itself. I need not go into the rest of the history except to say that since 1852, from the time Convocation was again allowed to meet for business purposes, there has been enormous progress as regards the religious energy and development of the Church. I do not think anyone can possibly deny the splendid work which had been done by Convocation as regards the development of religious life in every direction during the last fifty or sixty years. Again, I ask: Are we in a Bill of this kind to have the great representative assembly broken up by the exclusion of the Welsh bishops and clergy when, in my opinion, it was never more needed than at the present day in order to deal with a large number of spiritual matters which affect the Church and all Churchmen?

What is the reason or excuse for the breaking up of Convocation? That is a question which has been asked more than once in the course of the Committee stage on this Bill, although we have never directly discussed this particular matter. What has been the answer? I think it is an answer which ought to have very little weight indeed with us. It is said that this is a dismemberment Bill, and that it differs from the Irish Church Bill and all other measures merely dealing with Disestablishment and Disendowment. We have our views upon that matter, and I am not going to discuss it at the present moment, but it is an entirely different method to seek by compulsory process to dismember a religious organisation against the wish and will, practically, of all its members. That is a matter which differentiates this Bill from every other Bill, so far as I know, which has dealt with Disestablishment and Disendowment since the date of the Toleration Act. The justification based upon this ground appears to be worse than no justification at all. We claim that dismemberment is a great injustice, and we point out that by dismemberment you are going outside the sphere of State action in dealing with religious matters. We say that everybody as regards religious organisation ought to have perfect freedom. We say that no Nonconformist community, such as the Wesleyans, could allow themselves for a moment to be dismembered as regards the organisation which they have selected for themselves, and I have not heard one effective argument during the Debates on the Committee stage by which dismemberment has been justified here, whereas on every principle of religious equity and tolerance it could not be considered in any ordinary case at all. Why are you seeking the dismemberment of the Church in these circumstances? If it is in itself an injustice, it is an additional injustice that you should do it by breaking up the ancient constitution of the Church by excluding the Welsh bishops and clergy. I may put it in this way: You are seeking to justify what appears to us an unthinkable injustice by a greater injustice, because you say it is necessary to break up Convocation in order to carry out a proposal of this kind.

Just think of the quicksand on which you enter by that casuistical argument if you seek to justify the proposal. You cannot justify an injustice because you wish to perpetrate an injustice. There is no greater argument against the proposal on which it is based. You cannot justify the Bill itself, and you cannot carry it out without doing a grave injustice to the spiritual and religious feeling of Churchmen in England by seeking to break up this old constitution which it has had ever since the time of Edward I. I cannot ' conceive that the Government have ever understood the outrage of dismemberment. When this Bill was first brought forward its supporters were constantly referring to the Irish precedent. There is no precedent for this in the Irish case at all. I am naturally, as everyone knows, a great opponent of Disestablishment and Disendowment, but if you want to discuss the question, you ought to discuss it as regards the Church as a whole. You ought not to select a particular portion for the purpose of Disestablishment and Disendowment, and above all, you ought not—for it is mean, petty and unjust—to select for the purpose of dismemberment that portion which appears to be weaker and poorer than any other portion. I have not heard a single justification from beginning to end of this reactionary bigotry of the most intolerant character, namely, not allowing religious people to organise as they like for religious purposes as members of one religious community.

There is only one argument on which I wish to say a word or two. The argument is, "We are bound to do it; it is necessary to do it, because of Welsh national feeling." The question is not whether it is necessary to do it, but whether it is just to do it, and whether national feeling in Wales is making a demand which ought to be conceded and allowed by this House. It is no argument at all to talk about necessity. When I say it is no argument, I mean that it is an argument which condemns the people who use it. You have to show that it is fair and right and in accordance with religious principle to dismember our old national Church on account of the national feeling which exists in Wales. I want to deal with that point quite shortly. In the first place, if national feeling is to determine a matter of this kind, you ought to be quite certain that the majority of national feeling is in your favour. That is quite clear. My answer is that the Welsh Members have disentitled themselves from putting that argument forward effectively. We have asked more than once that by means of a religious census this point should be settled and determined. The objection has come from those who are urging that national feeling is overwhelmingly in their favour. I beg to say if they really thought that national opinion was overwhelmingly in their favour, they would have been ready enough to allow a religious census, and I think until they have allowed a census, they cannot plead, or, at all events, plead effectively that they have got statistics with which they are likely to convince Churchmen that their plea is accurate. There is another answer which seems to me more effective on the question of nationality. Churchmen, of course, do not desire to do anything or to say anything that would be antagonistic to the aspirations of nationality in Wales, because—I say this quite frankly—so far as nationality is concerned, it is a matter outside of religious life, development, and thought. The area of Christian feeling has not been determined by nationality, and the particular forms of religious communities have not depended upon nationalities. In fact, the teaching of Christianity has in most districts come from outside Europe altogether, and one of its factors, one of its great teachings, is outside of nationality, and overrides nationality and geographical divisions.

If you are to go by nationality in this case, there are two nationalities. The Established Church affects English nationality as well as Welsh nationality, and you cannot dismember one Church when you have common members in two nationalities without considering the opinions of both. If you were to take the opinions of both, what would the result be? You would have an overwhelming majority against this proposal of dismemberment, and against the proposal to break up the old Convocation on the spiritual side of the national Church of England. You are not entitled in a matter of this kind to argue from one nationality; you must take into consideration the two nationalities to which Churchmen belong, and give the same consideration to Churchmen in England which you claim for Churchmen in Wales. Yon cannot justify the dismembering of a Church which runs into two nationalities by pleading the opinion of one of these nationalities only. This is a matter which arose early in the Debates on the Bill, but we have hitherto had no chance of concentrating our objections except as regards the proposal now made for breaking up Convocation. I urgently appeal to all Churchmen, whatever else they may think as regards the Bill, to concentrate, at any rate, upon this matter, and say, "We will not allow the old constitutional assembly of the clergy of this country to be broken up, because it is unnecessary to do so," for thereby you would cause the compulsory dismemberment of a religious community, and do that which since the Toleration Act is contrary to every principle of liberal feeling.


I beg to second the Amendment.

To me this seems to be one of the most important Amendments we have yet moved from this side. I can imagine that the only line of argument which can be urged against it is that Convocation is an antiquated assembly, and in some respects unrepresentative of the whole of the clergy; and that therefore there is no reason why we should attach great importance to the fact that some score of clergy from Wales should be members of the Convocation of Canterbury. That line of argument seems to me to be quite beside the point. Convocation may be an antiquated assembly, and it may be unrepresentative to the extent that for an historical reason the unbeneficed clergy are not members of it. But that argument could be just as legitimately urged against this House. My hon. and learned Friend alluded to a further reason why this Amendment should be accepted. He referred to the fact that for more than a century Convocation, although it met, was not allowed to deliberate, but he was perfectly right when he pointed the moral of that unfortunate state of affairs by saying that its being debarred from deliberating involved the Church of England in a period of lassitude and stagnation which we all regret. Those lines of argument might be urged if it was a question of the reformation of Convocation, but they cannot be urged in favour of the exclusion of the Welsh bishops and clergy from this ancient assembly. We attach importance to this Amendment for two reasons; we believe that Convocation is the outward and visible sign of the National Church's unity, and that it is the corporate assembly for expressing the Church's views and promulgating its decrees. On both those accounts we believe it would be a great calamity if that assembly were mutilated by the exclusion of the representatives from Wales. For more than a thousand years, with two brief breaks, the National Church has been one and undivided. I could go into a long historical disquisition, though I would not do so for a moment, to show that for more than a thousand years the Welsh and English dioceses have been one and undivided National Church. Then Convocation is a Church assembly. It is composed of representatives of the Church, and I cannot see how the fact that twenty Welsh bishops and clergy are members of this can inflict a grievance on anybody.

If the presence of these twenty Welshmen in this ancient assembly inflicts no grievance on any Nonconformist or anyone not a member of the Church, why should you not leave it as it is? That leads me to a third point. The English bishops and the English Church wish the Welsh bishops and the Welsh clergy to remain members of Convocation, and the Welsh bishops and clergy wish to remain members of it also. Why therefore should not you allow the Welsh Churchmen to remain members of an assembly when it is their wish so to do? The fact is that the Welsh and English Churchmen realise that the National Church is much stronger when it comprises representatives of both England and Wales. I quite realise the strength of the sentiment of Welsh nationality, but it is incontestable that Churchmen in Wales do recognise that they are much stronger owing to the assistance, for the purpose of consultation and deliberation, of their brothers and colleagues in England. I believe myself that the four Welsh dioceses are too small a unit to stand by themselves. In populaton they only amount to the population of the diocese of Manchester in the English Church. That is too small a unit to plunge into an independence it does not itself desire. In saying that, I am supported by the experience I believe of every one of the Nonconformist denominations in Wales. I believe without exception they desire to maintain their connection with their co-religionists in England. I am supported in that by a paragraph in the Report of the Welsh Royal Commission, in which the evidence of a number of prominent Nonconformists is adduced to prove that they desire to maintain the connection between England and Wales. I will read one or two extracts. I am quoting not from the Report, but from the Memorandum of the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil). The extracts deal with the evidence. The first is:— The Welsh Baptist witness quoted above did not think that the tenacity of the adherence of the 'strict communion' Baptists of Wales to their convictions militated at all against a close union between them and the Baptists in England, and added that several Baptist ministers from Wales occupied very prominent places in English pulpits. Take the Calvinistic Methodists: The opinion of the financial witness of the Calvinistic Methodists was cited, who shortly before he gave evidence in cautioning the North Wales Calvinistic Methodist Association about chapel debts, reminded them that the Calvinistic Methodist denomination was in a sense an isolated one; it had no connection with any wealthy outside denomination in England or elsewhere. He goes on to state the connection which has existed was of importance in his view. More marked still is this:— From a similar standpoint the Swansea Wesleyan witness, who belonged to the English Wesleyan District of Wales, was very clear that the separation of Welsh Wesleyan Methodists from the British Annual Wesleyan Conference would be injurious to Welsh Methodists.ߪ They got such help from English Methodists that I think it would be disastrous. I could quote further evidence from Nonconformist witnesses. Side by side with that let me cite the evidence of the Bishop of Bangor. The Bishop of Bangor, like the Wesleyan witnesses, deprecated separation, and said:— I do not think we are sufficiently large a unit for efficiently working, and I think the benefits we get from being united in the Province of Canterbury very much increase the power of the Church. I should myself be exceedingly sorry to be separated from the Province of Canterbury, and not to have my seat in the Convocation. In view of that evidence I cannot see why you should do in the case of the Church of England what you are not prepared to do in the case of Nonconformist denominations in Wales. Further, I cannot believe that you would venture for one moment to say to the Church in Scotland, which is also an Established Church, that you would interfere with its internal assemblies. Surely, in view of that, it does seem to be an injustice against the Church's will to mutilate Convocation as well as to prevent the Welsh bishops and clergy from coming to take part in its deliberations and receiving the assistance of their English brother Churchmen. Not only are you mutilating what is the outward and visible sign of an ancient Church's unity, but you are also interfering with its spiritual jurisdiction. My hon. and learned Friend (Sir A. Cripps) alluded to the fact that Convocation is a Provincial Assembly. Unfortunately, as one of the results of the Reformation settlement, this idea of Convocation has become somewhat confused. I think I am correct in saying that Convocation is really two assemblies embodied in one. In the first place, it is a spiritual, Provincial Synod. In the second place, it is part of the Constitution which was first recognised by the State as a means of taxing the clergy for the purposes of the Royal revenue. But that idea of Convocation in its civil aspect seems to me to have now become quite out of date, and all we are now concerned with is Convocation in its spiritual aspect as the accredited assembly of the two provinces of the National Church. And when you declare in this Bill that Convocation shall no longer direct what shall be its own membership, and you exclude from it certain representatives who for many centuries always had seats in it, you intrude directly on what is the spiritual domain of the Church. Here, again, I cannot imagine for one moment anyone venturing to do anything of this sort to a Nonconformist body. I cannot imagine your passing some Clause in this House interfering with the constitution of the Wesleyan Legal Hundred. It is a matter of supreme importance to us. It is not a question of fifteen or twenty Welshmen sitting in a particular assembly, but of a direct attack on the spiritual jurisdiction of the National Church. As such, it is a matter of the gravest moment to all of us here, not only to Churchmen, but to members of Nonconformist bodies as well, for I cannot but think that every fair-minded man must resent the unnecessary interference of this House in the internal organisation and management of the spiritual body to which he belongs.

First, we object to this Amendment because it attacks the outward and visible sign of the Church's union, and second, because it intrudes upon the jurisdiction of the spiritual representative body of the Church. In the past this body has been of the greatest value in expressing the Church's views and in promulgating its decrees. I could quote several instances in which it has been of the greatest value to the National Church during the last fifty or sixty years to have this representative body expressing its views. On that account we resent all the more the attempt to mutilate this ancient body and prevent the Welsh bishops and clergy from taking their proper part in the deliberations of the National Church. My hon. and learned Friend described from his great experience the methods by which members are summoned to the two Convocations. Let me ask the right hon. Gentleman to answer this question. As my hon. and learned Friend said, the Archbishop of Canterbury summons by his mandate the bishops in his Province through the Bishop of London. Under this Bill the province of Canterbury, as far as I can see, is left intact. No provision, apart from this Sub-section, interferes with the Province of Canterbury at all; in fact, the Archbishop's rights are in more than one case specifically reserved. If this Bill passes, the Archbishop of Canterbury will still receive the Royal Writ, will still issue his mandate to every bishop in the Province of Canterbury; the Province of Canterbury will be intact, and the Archbishop of Canterbury will therefore be compelled, through the Bishop of London, to issue his mandate to the four Welsh bishops. [An HON. MEMBEE: "No."] Who is going to stop the four Welsh bishops from attending Convocation? Let me remind the right hon. Gentleman that there was a case in the year 1888 with reference to the election of Convocation, and it was then specifically declared that no Civil Court can review or reverse the Archbishop's decision, nor "interfere in any internal affairs of Convocation, an ancient body, as old as Parliament and as independent." I will therefore end my observations by asking the right hon. Gentleman, Who will exonerate the Archbishop from summoning the four Welsh bishops, and who will prevent the four Welsh bishops from coming to Convocation if they so desire?

The CHANCELLOR of the DUCHY of LANCASTER (Mr. Hobhouse)

Both the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down and the hon. and learned Gentleman who preceded him seem, in the course of their argument, to have overlooked the fact that this is a Bill for the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church in Wales. I insist upon what seemed to me that omission for this reason: The whole history of Convocation, so far as I have been able to follow it and make myself acquainted with it, is governed by the predominant fact that it has always, from its earliest stages, certainly from the date named by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, been in strict subordination to the authority of the State. With the leave of the House, I think it will be just as well to briefly trace the history of Convocation. I need not go back to' the time when Convocation originally consisted of diocesan assemblies for purely ecclesiastical business; or even to that other less remote but still far distant time when the provincial assembly met under the summons of the archbishop, also for the purpose of purely ecclesiastical business. When you get to the date of about 1280 or 1283, in the time of Edward I., by which period the constitution of Convocation was as it is now, you find that the King's business was transacted side by side with ecclesiastical business, and that half the business of Convocation was the taxation of the clergy by themselves, and the other half the promulgation of decrees and canons, and the transaction of purely ecclesiastical business. Passing from that period, I think I may say without fear of contradiction that down to the time of the Reformation there was practically no distinction really made in Convocation between the business which was transacted when they met under the King's writ and the business which was transacted when they met in consequence of the summons by the archbishop.


They never met under the King's writ.


They met in consequence of it, and so far I am perfectly willing to submit to the verbal correction. But when you come to the time of the Reformation there was a very considerable change in the legal aspect of Convocation. Everybody in this House is now acquainted with what is called the Act of Submission, by which the clergy themselves expressly declared that they have no right to meet for the transaction even of their ecclesiastical business unless they were summoned to Convocation by and through the issue of the King's writ. There can be no question about that whatever. You then come to this, that the assembly which was first of all an ecclesiastical assembly, passed, as to one side of its character, into a statutory assembly, depending for its authority and for its meeting on the King's writ, until, finally, it could meet neither for the transaction of King's business nor for ecclesiastical business without the Royal authority. Then you come to the later stage. It gave up—I think it was in 1602 or 1603—its power of taxation; it parted with it altogether by an arrangement made through means of the then archbishops. You come, therefore, to this phase of the system, that it has not only to meet for the transaction of ecclesiastical business, but it can only meet for the transaction of that ecclesiastical business under the authority of the King's writ. Therefore, all through the history of Convocation, down to the present time, you find the authority of the State authorising it, controlling all its actions.

It is in every sense of the word, not as the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite said, an assembly of those persons who had perfect freedom in an Ecclesiastical Court of jurisdiction, but an assembly of persons who were controlled in all their actions in ecclesiastical matters by the authority of the State. It is just as well in reference to what was said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelsea (Mr. Hoare), to recollect that there is a considerable gap in its history during which Convocation never met for the transaction of business. The hon. Member said that there was perfect unity in all its transactions, but it is well to remember, in view of that statement, that the reason why it never met during 150 years was that it was so turbulent an assemply— that the Lower House was in such direct and fierce antagonism to the Upper House that on the few occasions it did meet prior to 1715 it had to be prorogued and dismissed in order to prevent quarrels coming actually to a head. It is as well to remember that phase of the history of Convocation, for it ought not to be forgotten. It is also well to recollect, in view of what was said both by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite and the Seconder of the Amendment, that Convocation represents only one aspect of the Church's history and the Church's views. In Convocation itself there is not only no representation of laymen, but there is no representation of the unbeneficed clergy—a fact which, I think, has not been mentioned in this Debate.


I mentioned it.


I regret I did not hear it; certainly it was not dwelt upon. The absence of the unbeneficed clergymen and of the laymen must rob Convocation of a great deal of the authority which it otherwise might reasonably claim to have. When one remembers that in its Parliamentary aspect, Convocation was of course the King's writ summoning it and the King's licence which is necessary to give sanction and authorisation to any canons or decrees, has now become, not a matter for the Sovereign, but for the Sovereign's advisers and therefore Parliament, and therefore the control and authority wielded over Convocation by this House. It is quite clear that in any Bill which Disestablishes the Church provision must be made that between the body, the controlling body, Parliament, and the Church which is Disestablished, there can be no statutory connection of any sort or kind.

What will be the injury done to the Welsh Church by the severance of this connection? There will be no injury done to the internal organisation of the four dioceses which are cut off. The bishops, the deans, the chapters will remain, and the organisation of the clergy of the English dioceses will be in touch. From that point of view there will be no material injury done to those four dioceses. Something was said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelsea that the population connected with the Church in Wales would be too small to stand by itself. It stood by itself during 150 years, when Convocation practically never met. There have been four dioceses, and there has never been, so far as I know, any proposal from Churchmen in Wales to unite those four dioceses into two dioceses, or into one diocese, which would be strong enough to stand by itself. It seems to me that though the population of Churchmen in Wales may be small—and incidentally it is not to the advantage of the case presented to insist upon the smallness of the Church—


I was taking the population of the whole of Wales, Churchmen and non-Churchmen.

8.0 P.M.


Taking Churchmen and non-Churchmen, it does not seem to me that a geographically compact population of two millions of people is a body too small to stand by itself. Reference, I think, has been made to the Free Church organisations in Wales. There is practically no overlapping in organisation. There is, so I am informed, some intercommunication between the Nonconformists in England, but in Wales the Welsh Free Churches stand on an entirely separate organisation and basis. [An HON. MEMBER: "Every one of them."] If that is possible in the case of Nonconformist communities, I see no reason why it should not be possible in the case of the Episcopalian and Church organisations. Then, though I do not dwell upon this very strongly, it appears to me that there are organisations in the Church of England outside Convocation which will still remain open to Churchmen in Wales. There is a great meeting annually of Churchmen, not only from all over the United Kingdom, but from other parts of the world. I refer to the Church Congress, where there is considerable debate and discussion and, though I do not pretend ever to have attended one of those gatherings, it has seemed to me from reading the discussions which have taken place there that nothing could be more full and free, and, from a Church point of view, more satisfactory, than the discussions which took place there, and I should have thought that for all purposes of debate, whether upon doctrine or forms, that the presence of the Welsh clergy at the Church Congress would have been a matter of satisfaction to them as well as to Churchmen in this country. Going from Convocation to the House of Laymen, which is a purely voluntary body, I see no reason why Churchmen in Wales should not attend the House of Laymen, and in answer to a question put to me by the hon. Member for Chelsea, I am informed there is no legal obstacle why, when the Provincial Synod meets, the clergy from Wales should not attend that gathering also. They cannot attend Convocation when it meets for the consideration of its business, but when it meets as a voluntary assembly there seems to be no reason why the Welsh clergy should not attend.

Let me deal with what I thought to be the purely hypothetical difficulty raised by the hon. Member for Chelsea, who said, "What is to prevent the Archbishop of Canterbury through the Bishop of London issuing letters summoning the four bishops in Wales, and, supposing they attended, what is to happen?" Any Act of Convocation, as I pointed out just now, has to receive the Royal Assent and to be approved of by Royal Licence. If it affects the Liturgy, then they have to come here for Parliamentary sanction, but the mere passing of canons requires the authorisation of the King's writ by means of a licence. If the four Welsh bishops attended Convocation, at which they are not legally entitled to be present, whatever other results there might be, it would be quite certain that the assent, the sanction, which was desired by Convocation for any of the business which it transacted, and for which authorisation was necessary, would certainly be withheld from them as being a purely illegal assembly. The persons who are entitled to attend are clergy of the Church of England, and the Welsh bishops in the Upper House would not be members of the Church of England, and therefore the assembly would become an illegal assembly, and would presumably run the risk of all the penalties which are attached. There is one other point as to that, and that is what material harm is going to be done to the Welsh Church. Are they going to embark on some heretical course? I do not see the danger of that. The Irish Church, which never had any connection with Convocation, has, so far as I know, not differed in doctrine or in ritual from the English Church from the date of its Disestablishment to the present time, and it does not now differ from the doctrines which are held in the Church of England. I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite will contend that it has.


It certainly has, but I am not saying rightly or wrongly.


In 1870 or 1871 it did consider and it did make a slight change in the ritual, but very slight change, unless I am completely misinformed. There was one other matter to which I should like to refer, and it is this. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, "Why do you not have a religious census?" More than once he has insisted on that point. I have endeavoured to point out if you had it would not necessarily give you the opinion of the people in Wales or in any part of England on Disestablishment, and for this reason. There are no doubt a very considerable number, let us accept the fact, of Nonconformists who are not in favour of Disestablishment. It is often asserted upon the opposite side that that is so. If you had a religious census which was to determine the question of Disestablishment or non-Disestablishment those persons would be counted from your census as being in favour of Disestablishment. Take the opposite case. There are a certain number, I know not how many, but decidedly a considerable number, of Churchmen who are in favour of Disestablishment, and in your census they would be counted against. The only object of the census would be to estimate the number of Churchmen against Disestablishment and Nonconformists in favour of it. If that is not the object of your religious census, what is the object? The Noble Lord opposite (Lord Hugh Cecil) says "Find out," but what are you to find out? You are to find out, presumably, what is the opinion of the people who are being enumerated, and you estimate Churchmen as against Disestablishment and Nonconformists for it. What else is the object of a religious census? I have never heard any other suggestion as to the use of a religious census except to assume that Churchmen are against and Nonconformists for Disestablishment. I shall be very glad to hear anyone give any other reason.

Sir J. D. REES

Would it not be important to find out how many Churchmen and Nonconformists there are in Wales without regard to their opinions?


We have had the respective numbers of what are called adherents in one Church and communicants in the other given to us by the Welsh Church Commission. If you go beyond that and have a religious census the result must be falsified for the reasons which I have given to the House. Then you say you want religious freedom. As long as you have got connection between the Church and State, a connection which is governed by Parliament, and always has been governed by Parliament, you cannot have religious freedom. That is the great difference and chasm which lies between this side of the House and the other. We have by this Bill proposed that that connection should cease, and cease permanently. We cannot have it revived in favour of one aspect of the Church's government, in favour of Convocation, which, by all its history from the earliest period to the present, shows that it is, and must be as long as it exists, an integral portion of the Government of the State as well as of the Church.


The right hon. Gentleman has made a very interesting speech, but I do not really think he has quite appreciated the case which has been presented from this side of the House against this Sub-section. For example, in connection with the religious census, my hon. and learned Friend used the argument that it was not fair to say that the Welsh Church as now constituted as part of the Church of England was not the National Church of Wales, because no one knew what was, without the help of a religious census, the true proportion of the various religious bodies in Wales, and until you count you cannot tell how many members the Church has in Wales, and, therefore, you cannot say that the Church is a national or non-national body. There is, then, the consideration whether you ought to consult the electorate before this Bill comes into law, and if you consulted anybody you ought to consult the people of England as well as of Wales, because both are interested in whether this Bill passes or not. But, so far as the question of determining whether the Church in Wales is national or not, all you need to do is to count and see how many members there are, as one of the elements to constitute a national Church, and see how many Wesleyans and Methodists and Baptists and other denominations there are. In that way you could really ascertain whether it is fair or unfair to say that the Church is not a national body in Wales. It is certainly very remarkable that Church people have repeatedly proposed that a census should be held, and it has been repeatedly refused by hon. Members opposite and by Nonconformists. A very remarkable thing took place before the Welsh Church Commission. After a time the question was thought, in the view of the chairman, to be too controversial and ceased to be put, but at the beginning Nonconformist witnesses and Church witnesses were asked if they saw any objection to assenting to a religious census. At first, and all through, the Church witnesses said they saw no objection, and at first the Nonconformist witnesses said they had no objection. After a time Nonconformist witnesses took another line and did object. It is impossible not to suspect that that objection was made by the later witnesses in response to some suggestion from their leader that the earlier witnesses had been indiscreet in assenting to our suggestion that a religious census should be held. The inference to be drawn is that there is amongst Nonconformist leaders a suspicion, a sense of timidity, a sense of uneasiness, as to what the results of a census would be. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Then why is it they are so reluctant to have one? It will be remembered that there was, and there is to this day, a census in Ireland. Upon the result of that census the case for Disestablishment was largely founded. It is not a little remarkable that the Liberal party never had any objection to a religious census when the result of the census would help Disestablishment; but they have the strongest objection to a religious census in connection with this Bill. The natural inference is that they are convinced that a religious census in this case would not aid the Bill or support the case they have made to the House. If that is not so, why did they ever consent to a census in the case of Ireland? Why was it fair in Ireland and unfair in Wales? I think the right hon. Gentleman must see that he was inaccurate in saying that the Welsh Church Commission or its researches can possibly take the place of a census. Communicants are not the same as adherents. Every Member must have in the circle of his acquaintances a great many people who are not communicants of the Church of England, but who would, nevertheless, if they were asked, say that they adhered to the Church. It is not fair to take adherents and communicants, and to say that the latter are equivalent to the whole support that the Church enjoys in Wales.

But these are rather side issues beside the main question affecting Convocation. The right hon. Gentleman surveyed the history of Convocation from a very early period. So also did my hon. and learned Friend. I think the right hon. Gentleman very much misapprehended and unintentionally misrepresented what took place under the Act of Submission. I do not think you can give much moral weight, apart from its legal weight, to the Act of Submission. It was, of course, extorted. What happened was that the clergy found themselves accused of having accepted Wolsey's legatine authority, and thereby incurred the penalties of Præmunire. In order to obtain the Royal pardon and escape the penalties of Præmunire-they were driven to make the Act of Submission. Whatever may be thought of Henry VIII.'s policy, it certainly did not carry any moral and spiritual weight; and it is not to be supposed that the moral and spiritual authority of the Church is to be for ever bound by the Act of Submission. That Act, such as it was, certainly did not constitute Convocation a statutory body. No one would say that everything that is regulated or controlled by Parliament ipso facto becomes statutory. The Crown was, in the same sense as Convocation, regulated and limited by the Bill of Rights; but no one would say that the Crown became a statutory authority from the date of the Revolution of 1688, although no doubt it was limited both in respect to succession and policy by that Act. Therefore it is not true to say that Convocation is a statutory body. What is true is that it is a body which has submitted to the authority of the Crown. A further point is that it was to the authority of the Crown as a spiritual person, as Head of the Church, and not to the authority of Parliament, that the submission was made. Henry VIII. did not dream that he was going to entrust to Parliamentary government the great powers which he claimed for himself in the Acts of Supremacy and Submission and other Statutes passed in the Reformation Parliament. He conceived that the powers belonged to him personally as King; as Bishop Stubbs said, Henry VIII. came to be Pope, the whole Pope, and something more than Pope. The powers of the Crown were to be what the Papal powers had been before.

Since that time a series of developments, partly by Henry VIII.'s laying down the full measure of supremacy, partly by the statute abolishing the Ecclesiastical Commission, partly by the Toleration Act and the policy of the Toleration Act, the whole character of the relation between Church and State has been modified bit by bit. At no subsequent period has the Church in any corporate capacity made any further concession to or recognition of State rights in respect to its spiritual character. Confessedly the relation between Church and State now in England and Wales is so far ambiguous that it is very difficult to say what is the precise authority of the State in spiritual matters which ought to be held to be binding by Churchmen in virtue of the concessions made by the Church in former times. It has come to pass—I do not quarrel with this part of the right hon. Gentleman's narrative—that all secular business has passed away from Convocation, and that Convocation is now a body purely concerned with spiritual affairs. I do not agree with the the right hon. Gentleman that that is on account of what took place before the crisis of 1717. There was then a great cleavage of opinion within the Church. The Lower House was High Church while the Upper House was Latitudinarian, and the Crown supported the Latitudinarian bishops. The effect was disastrous on the whole Church. Those 160 years are precisely the least creditable portion of the Church's history, and notably the least creditable part of the Church's history in Wales. When the right hon. Gentleman says that the Church in Wales stood on its own feet in those days without taking part in the proceedings of Convocation, he ought to bear in mind that there never was a period when the Church in 'Wales did worse than between 1717 and 1852.

I think these discussions of history are only relevant in so far as they enable us to say that Convocation is now, whatever it may have been at particular periods of its history, a body whose only effective and important work is that of a body for spiritual guidance—a body mainly exercising consultative powers. Although, as the right hon. Gentleman said truly, there are occasions on which the King issues Letters of Business, and Convocation may proceed to pass canons which have legal force and authority, the by far most important function of Convocation now is to give leadership to the Church by its discussions, and conceivably to give positive and definite pronouncements on questions of doctrinal teaching and the like, which might have very great weight indeed in conceivable circumstances. As far as these consultative functions are concerned, I really do not think anyone can make out any case for excluding the Welsh bishops from Convocation. There is really no reason whatever, if they think they should be summoned by the archbishop, why that should be. The right hon. Gentleman says that if they were summoned under the old law the proceedings of Convocation would be illegal. I do not think that that would be so. All that could be said would be that these bishops and clergy sat there but not as members; that they sat as spectators, or as persons invited by the archbishop, but not as legal members of the assembly. You might have, and as a matter of fact, would have, in a way that I shall show in a moment, an inconvenient discrepancy between the moral Convocation and the legal Convocation. I do not anticipate that the archbishop would actually summon the Welsh bishops and clergy to the legal meetings of Convocation. Archbishops are generally scrupulously careful to keep within the four corners of Acts of Parliament. But undoubtedly the archbishop would summon them to the voluntary meetings of what is called the Representative Church Council, and they would take part in the proceedings there. What would be the result? You would have two bodies, one the moral body and the other the legal body. You would have the bishops and clergy sitting in the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy; you would have the Welsh bishops and clergy sitting there; you would have decisions come to carrying all the moral authority of those clergy. In addition, you would have Convocation, as it were, high and dry, a mere legal body like the Ancient House of Congregation, superseded as the moral authority, and therefore gradually becoming less and less used; because it would be always more convenient to have the opinion of the whole Church rather than the opinion of a part of it. So that in the end the effect of this Clause may really be, would be, a very serious injury to the efficiency of the Convocation of Canter- bury. It may react upon the English Church in the most formidable way. More and more it will come to make the representative Church body a voluntary body, and less and less a legal body. I think that is a very undesirable thing. To begin with it is contrary to the purpose and plan of the Bill. The Bill has made no beginning with Disestablishment or Disendowment in England; yet by this Clause very serious injury is at once inflicted, not on anybody concerned in Wales, but on Convocation of Canterbury as a whole. Convocation of Canterbury as a whole ceases to have the spiritual authority of the past. Its legal character becomes separated from its spiritual character, so that you no longer have the old system, historically connected with the relations of Church and State, not only in respect of Wales, but in respect of England. Is that a reasonable thing to do?

What are the arguments put forward for it? It would not make any difference to the machinery of the Bill if this Sub-section were cut out. For all practical purposes the Bill would be unaffected by the change. Convocation would, if this Clause were left out, conduct its proceedings precisely as now. The Welsh Church, the Welsh bishops, and the clergy, would only have the authority in England that belongs to them now, and the English bishops and clergy would wish that they should have. The affairs of the Welsh Church would necessarily be still controlled, except in so far as they voluntarily submitted themselves to Convocation, by their own Synod, diocesan and national; so that the Bill would not be injured from the point of view of the Government. Is it treating the Church courteously or even fairly and justly to interfere with the character of her assemblies and destroy in respect of England as well as Wales, the character they have borne in the past? And to do that not in order to carry out any principle of Disestablishment or Disendowment, but solely in order that you may drive out of a strictly spiritual assembly members who are summoned there and welcomed there by the authority of the archbishops themselves. Further, you do make the concession on this point in respect to the archbishops' Metropolitan authority. Confessedly, it is a very difficult thing to separate the life of the Church of England from that of the Church in Wales. You meet that difficulty by conceding the point. You allow the archbishops to exercise Metropolitan authority over Wales if the Welsh clergy desire; you do not attempt to destroy the Metropolitan spiritual authority. But you do what is inconsistent in leaving that authority and by destroying the membership of the Welsh bishops and clergy in the provincial Synod. Surely it is a very reasonable attitude to take up that if the Metropolitan authority is worth maintaining it is unfair to the archbishops to do that which is an invasion of his rights by seeming to do anything inconsistent with his Metropolitan authority over the whole province! Why concede no interference with the Synod's rights, with the rights of the whole Synod of Canterbury, and cut out from that Synod the members of the Welsh Church?

My point, the right hon. Gentleman will see, is this, that the Clause is unfair to England and to the English Church. It does not merely do what the Bill proposes to do, Disestablish the Church in Wales; it interferes with the governing authority of the Church in the whole Province of Canterbury. You cannot cut out from an assembly without affecting the position, rights, and authority of the members who remain, and of the Church those members guide or govern. No one would suggest that this House will remain the same if the large number of the Irish Members are cut out. Everyone recognises that that is a matter of legitimate interest to the whole House of Commons, and affects the character of the whole House of Commons. Just in the same way to cut out the legal bishops and clergy from Convocation affects thewhole spiritual body, and in the same way affects the whole people of the Province of Canterbury, who regard Convocation as their spiritual guide and ruler. I cannot conceive why the Government should not make this concession. I do not believe that they will offend a solitary-Nonconformist in Wales or England. They would be recognising the spiritual independence of the Church—and, by-the-by, the right hon. Gentleman said it was impossible for an Established Church to be spiritually independent. A more unhistorical proposition could hardly be laid down. The person who invented, one may say, the conception of the relations of Church and State was the Emperor Constantine. No one who has studied the history of the period will say that the Church during the reign of Constantine was anything but spiritually independent. Certainly the conception of recognition by the State does not imply any degree of subjection of the Church to the State. On the contrary, it is a clear matter of arrangement as to what are the particular relations of the Church and State under Establishment. In Scotland we have an Establishment which in spiritual matters is an absolutely independent Church.

Therefore we cannot agree that there would be anything inconsistent in what is suggested with the spiritual character of the Church. Spiritual independence is a matter on which Nonconformists have always insisted. We have constantly been told that this will be given by the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales. So far as the Church is concerned we have been told Disestablishment is the concession of spiritual independence to Wales, and so far as England is concerned it is the harbinger of spiritual independence. You are treating the Church—by this great invasion of its spiritual rights—in a way in which no Nonconformist body would wish to be treated. It is exercising the authority of Parliament in a manner inconsistent with the matter of spiritual independence. We can thus not only drop this Clause as not being inconsistent with the Bill, while to retain it is inconsistent with the Bill. To retain it is to make the Bill do what it specially professes it does not do: to invade the independence of the whole Church Province of Canterbury. We therefore appeal to the Government to make this concession. We believe—in so far as these Debates are followed at all—that all over the Church of England this concession will be warmly appreciated—I do not say by thoroughgoing opponents of the Bill—but that body of opinion which dislikes much of the Bill, and is not yet theoretically opposed to Disestablishment. Liberal Churchmen who theoretically advocate Disestablishment do not like this particular Bill, which is a matter of dismembering the Church and separating the provincial Synods into two parts. It would therefore not be impolitic and not inconsistent; on the contrary, it would be both politic and consistent if this concession were given: it would be appreciated. Is it too much to ask that the Government, exercising the great authority that they do over Parliament, having the matter fairly within their control, should leave us these provincial Synods, just now, whatever they may have been in historic times, a purely spiritual body, to leave them untouched to do that work that they have been accustomed to do for many years past?


I desire in the few words I wish to address to the House on this Amendment to enter a complaint which I think we are entitled to make particularly with regard to this discussion, and with regard to a great deal of discussion which has taken place in Committee on this Bill. That is this: that we ask for definitions, we ask for intelligent appreciation of terms, and we are fobbed off by certain parrot cries as though they were the conclusion of the whole argument. The whole question is treated as if it were settled by certain text-books or certain elementary questions, whereas what we are dealing with is really a vital matter affecting the religious life of a large number of people. These questions should be considered in the light of reason, and not as matters which are to be swept aside on the ground that the matter is concluded, and no argument is possible. Take, for instance, the point as to the whole position of Establishment. We are told at one time that it is a privilege, and in the next breath we are told it is a burden. It is impossible for us to make out on to which leg of that double-jointed position the supporters of the Bill wish to stand. When they tell us it is a privilege we say, "We will equally share our privilege with you." But they refuse and say, "We would not accept your burden for anything." That means they give away the privilege argument. If they say it is a burden, then surely it is for us to decide whether we shall be released from the burden. Continually hon. Members opposite try to force the position that it is a matter of reasoning and for thoughtful discussion, and we are always fobbed off with these words. We cannot get a reasoned and a logical analysis of what the position is as accepted by the other side.

Assuming for a moment that the position of establishment is a burden—and I take it that from the speech made by the Chancellor of the Duchy that it is on that leg for the purposes of this particular Amendment he wished to stand—that it is a burden from which the Welsh Church is to be released because they are to be no longer members of Convocation—if that is so, then you ought surely to consult the Welsh Church as to whether they wish to be released from the burden before you cut them off. You ought to give them an opportunity of saying whether this Communion and Convocation is a connection of a kind which they think would be to their spiritual advantage or not. You have no right to start the Welsh Church and to thrust it into the world with a certain impress put upon it which you £ay is for its good when the Welsh Church itself might disclaim that position altogether. In other words by this Sub-section you are contradicting a statement made in this House over and over again that what you wish to do is to give freedom to the Welsh Church. I should like hon. Members opposite to remember this. There are certain legislative enactments and proposals in this Bill which may be, from the point of view of what you call a paper constitution, satisfactory Clauses to be inserted in the Bill, but, after all, we are not legislating for paper men. We are legislating for religious men and women, and what you ought to do in a Bill of this kind is, irrespective of words, to try and get at the basic facts of the situation and to legislate for men and women irrespective of mere dogma or mere words, and in relation to the real facts of the situation. We are told over and over again from the other side that it is impossible for a Church, such as the Welsh Church will become if this Bill passes into law, to be in close communion or connection with an Established Church like the English Church will remain. Here, again, we are up against one of those propositions accepted merely, I think, because no attempt is made to analyse it. Why should it be impossible for the Welsh Church to remain in vital and actual connection with the English Church as it has done. Has that not happened in other instances?

Take, for instance, the Churches in the Colonies. A large number of the Churches in the Colonies accept the position that what is the law here is the law for them. Therefore to a certain vital extent they are members of the same religious community as the Church in England. We all know the great Anglican Congresses which meet every ten years, at which all members of the Anglican community are present, and whose pronouncements are of vital importance for the whole Anglican communion, not only for itself, but for the Free Churches in communion with our Church here. We know that with regard to Cape Colony there was doubt at one time whether that Church would accept the decisions in Council, but we know that nine out of ten of the Free Churches in our Dominions do accept these decisions, and are bound by the Church Law of this country as if it was the law they them- selves made. Take an instance that comes under our own eyes in these islands. Heaven forbid anything I should say here would in any way affect what I look upon as one of the most deeply governing religious movements going on in our time, and that is the tremendous rapprochementgoing on between the Established Church in Scotland and the Free Churches. They are joining together on what basis? Not that the Established Church should cease to be established—and I think the movement will be a great success eventually—they are purporting to join together, and the basis of discussion is that the Established Church should remain established and the Free Churches remain as they are.

Take another case, there is going on in India at this moment a tremendous movement, a rapprochementof religious bodies, a movement eloquently described in the pages of the "Daily Chronicle" in an article about a week ago, almost every word of which I cordially endorse. That article laid special emphasis on the fact that that was one of the most amazing religious movements of our day. Yes, but what is the basis of it? The basis of it is that the community of the Established English Church in India and the non-Established communities—Episcopalians and others—should join together on the basis of what? The basis of Disestablishment! Not at all. On the basis of co-operation, and if necesary some kind of legal combination for the purposes of common spiritual effort. Why, therefore, if you take the reason of the thing, is it not possible for us to contemplate co-operation and for certain legal purposes joint action between the Disestablished Church in Wales and the Established Church in this country. When the United Methodist body started on their way with what hon. Gentlemen opposite call a distinctly Parliamentary title, they were extremely careful to do two things, first of all to secure for themselves that their united body should be a body extending its work all over the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. They did not want any severance or dismemberment. There is in Section 30 of that Act a provision which was not considered to be of much importance, but which provided that the united Methodist body was to have power to unite with other Churches. Under that Act it secured the right to hold the property of the three or four pre-existing bodies on a distinct Parliamentary title. Supposing that body, with its Parliamentary limitations as to property, was to exercise its powers under Section 30 and link up with another Church, then clearly you would have a Parliamentary constituted body acting and co-operating with a non-Parliamentary constituted body, and that was clearly contemplated by Section 30 of that Act, and in the nature of the case I can see nothing whatever against it.

Supposing Welshmen like to take upon themselves this burden, why should hon. Members opposite object? If we come to look at the strict construction of Sub-section (3) I am not at all certain that they are not bound by this burden, though it may be in close co-operation with the English Church. By the burden I mean the Act of Submission of the clergy. In this matter everything turns on who are the members. I should like to ask if the right hon. Gentleman considers the Crown a member of the Welsh Church. If so, then the existing ecclesiastical law is binding between members and between the Crown, the bishops, and the clergy of the Welsh Church. If they summon themselves to Convocation, and they are bound to get the consent of the Crown before they can meet in Convocation, they have equally to get the consent of the Crown after passing their canon before that canon can be promulled. There is nothing in the Act to say the Crown is not a member. This is the point I was going to raise earlier in the Debates, but under the very attenuated opportunities given to us we have had no opportunity before this. Under the Irish Act there was a statement in the preamble of the Act saying that the Crown resigned all its rights and privileges in connection with the Irish Church. There is no similar statement in this Act, and I should have thought that the Law Officers of the Crown, who are supposed to be the protectors of the prerogatives of the Crown, would have looked into this matter, and if it is intended that the Crown resigns the prerogatives it should be clearly stated in the Bill. It is true that for one particular purpose the Crown is mentioned as giving up its right of patronage, but there is no provision in the Welsh Act to say that the Crown is resigning all its rights and privileges.

Under the Irish Act it was provided that Her Majesty placed at the disposal of Parliament her interests and other ecclesiastical dignitaries and offices in the Irish Church, but there is nothing of that kind in this Bill, and the presumption is that as the Crown is mentioned as giving up one particular right, namely, the right of patronage, the Crown does not give up the rights which are not specified and retains all its possessions and influence and prerogatives except in so far as they are expressly taken away. That being so, I wish to know if the right hon. Gentleman desires to maintain the position of the Crown as a member of the Welsh Church. Assuming the Crown is a member of the Welsh Church, I wish to know whether, under Sub-section (3), we do not get back to the position that as the Act of Submission of the clergy is partly the ecclesiastical law of the English Church, if the Crown is a member of the Welsh Church then the Crown is to have this very right of restraining the acts of Convocation authorising the promulgation of canons in the Welsh Church as in the English Church? If that is so, what is the burdens from the point of view of the Welsh Church of being subject to this restriction in company with the English Church instead of as a little affair of its own? That is a technical point I should like the Home Secretary to answer, but it is not my main point, and it is only one of the numerous difficulties which arise in the course of this Bill for want of adequate consideration and time for discussion.

My main point is this. Hon. Members opposite must makeup their minds whether they consider Establishment a privilege or a burden. If it is a privilege, as we have said over and over again, we will gladly share it with you. We should be foolish if we demanded more, and we should certainly be wanting in courage if we asked for less. Subject to that, we shall be glad to give any privilege which hon. Gentlemen opposite can demonstrate is at the present time a privilege of the Church of England and share it with Nonconformists, who, I admit, are doing splendid religious work in this country and in Wales. We have shown by our Amendments that we are in earnest when we say we would gladly share any privilege we have with the Nonconformists. If it is not a privilege, why do hon. Gentlemen opposite so strongly object to it? If you say it is a burden then it is for us to decide whether we wish to be relieved of it or not, and you have no right to bring into existence a young Welsh Church without giving it a voice as to whether it wishes to be bound by this burden. I do not know whether I have shown to the satisfaction of hon. Gentlemen opposite that there is nothing logically unsound or inherently impossible in the Welsh Church being allowed to remain connected by Convocation with the Established English Church. You have no right to bring the Welsh Church into being hampered by this restriction on the right of freedom of choice. It has been stated quite clearly and frankly on the other side of the House that hon. Members want the Church to have freedom of choice. If that is so, you must give her freedom of choice in this particular as in others, namely, whether she wishes to remain in legal and vital relation with the Church of England in the future as in the past. I can see no way out of that dilemma, and for the life of me I cannot understand what the objection of hon. Gentlemen opposite is to withdrawing this Clause. I am quite sure the course I suggest will assist in that very freedom of choice which hon. Members have so often emphasised, and I sincerely hope that even at this eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute the Government may see their way to withdraw this Clause.


I have listened with great interest to the speeches of the hon. Member for Oxford University (Lord Hugh Cecil) and the hon. Member who has just spoken, and I could not help thinking when listening to them that they still cannot have appreciated what it is, and what it is only, that this Bill does. I took down their exact words, and I really hope I have understood their meaning. The Noble Lord said: "Leave us the Provincial Synod, which is a purely spiritual body." We do not take the Provincial Synod away. His final request, which ho directed to us in a very interesting, a very moderate, and a persuasive speech, was to leave them something which we do not take away from them. The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken quoted to us the example of the Colonial Churches. He says the Colonial Churches in large part accept the binding authority of the law of the Church of England in this country. That is the model of which he approves, that is what he quotes as an example, and that is the argument he addresses to us now when we are Disestablishing the Church of England in Wales. We do nothing to prevent the Disestablished Church in Wales accepting the binding authority of the law of the Church of England.


I quite agree with the last sentence the right hon. Gentleman has used. I quoted the Colonial instance as showing there was nothing inherently impossible or illogical in having a connection between Free Churches and Established Churches. That connection may be of various kinds and take various shapes. That is only one element. There is no reason why it should not go further.

9.0 P.M.


The hon. Gentleman repeats his argument, and he says there is nothing illogical in a connection between an Established and an Unestablished Church. We all agree with him. He need not force that argument upon us by an illustration drawn from the Colonial Churches. We leave power in this very Bill for the relations to be maintained between the Established and the Unestablished Church. The whole of his speech, was directed to a condition of things that has no relation to this Bill. The Noble Lord and the hon. Gentleman both spoke of the strictly spiritual authority of the Church of England which should remain unimpaired throughout the whole of the Church, including the Disestablished Church in Wales. We agree entirely. There is nothing in this Bill to prevent the strictly spiritual authority of the Church of England being maintained throughout England and throughout Wales. What is the single point of severance? There is a body called Convocation. Neither its constitution nor the authority summoning it, nor its work, is strictly spiritual. Convocation has got an element of the State in it, a civil element. It has no relation to spirituality at all. Convocation is summoned upon the issue of a Writ of the Crown. It is, therefore, a civil body in its summoning, and in its control and authority in the government of the Church it is strictly limited by Parliament. I am not going into the old controversy as to whether Parliament does in fact interfere with the spiritual authority of Convocation, or whether it only claims the right to interfere. I rather agree with the view taken by hon. Members opposite, that Parliament does not in fact interfere with the spiritual authority of Convocation, but that Parliament has the power to interfere is beyond dispute. I am sure we shall meet on common ground here. There is this power in Parliament, and, in consequence of this power, questions affecting the discipline of the Church can come up for discussion in this House. I am speaking within the experience of all of us. We all know that in consequence of the existence of that power Convocation has not got the authority it would like to have over discipline in the Church of England. Convocation cannot be treated upon the same footing as a Provincial Synod. It has no other than spiritual authority. What is it we do under this Bill? We leave it perfectly open to the two Churches to unite together upon all questions which are solely spiritual for the government, if they choose, of the united Churches, but we do not and we will not do what hon. Gentlemen do not ask for in so many words, but which is, nevertheless, necessarily implied in their speeches. We will not leave the Disestablished Church in Wales necessarily to be controlled by the authority of Convocation, and therefore ultimately brought under the authority of Parliament. It would not be Disestablishment if that element of Establishment were still allowed to remain. The hon. and learned Member for South Bucks (Sir A. Cripps) is a fair-minded man, a sentiment which meets with general approval, even including himself. I appeal to him. If the Church, I will not say were Disestablished in England, because the mere mention of it is anathema to him, but if Convocation were free to control the discipline, the ritual, and the beliefs—the creeds—of the Church of England without reference to Parliament, would he not consider that an advantage and a gain to the Church?


I never did think Establishment or Disestablishment had any direct connection with that at all but as a matter of reform I should agree with him.


I will take the hon. Gentleman's own language. "As a matter of reform," he would agree with me.




I would ask him, for the sake of argument, to accept what he calls, and rightly calls from his point of view, "dismemberment" as a fact. Dismemberment having once taken place, that reform would accrue to the English Church in Wales. They would have that very advantage that in their own governing body, their own Synod, their own Convocation, or call it what you please, that they would be unfettered by the control of Parliament. What is the hardship, what is the loss that Wales suffers? It is cut off from the Province of Canterbury. That does not preclude Wales, if she so wishes, from accepting every decree and ordinance of the Province of Canterbury. It is purely and simply a matter for the judgment of Wales. If we accept this Amendment we deprive Wales at once of the reform and the benefit of that reform and of the liberty we give her to say for herself whether she wishes once again to go under the authority of Convocation, which is itself under the control of Parliament. I am not at all sure that if this House had consulted Welsh Church feeling, Welsh national feeling—that is much national feeling in the Welsh Church I am not at all sure that if this question were left to the Welsh Church, that the Welsh Church would decide with hon. Members on the opposite side of the House.


Why do not you leave it to them?


In fact we do. They can remain. They can attend the Provincial Synod. The only occasion on which they are precluded from attending is when Convocation meets to transact business ordered by the Letters of Business, but they can meet all the same in the Provincial Synod when that Synod is transacting what might be termed spiritual business, and the Welsh can share it. We cannot accept this Amendment without depriving them of the liberty of deciding for themselves whether or not they will be governed by Convocation as Convocation itself is governed by Parliament. The hon. and learned Member for South Salford (Mr. Montague Barlow) thinks he has put us on the horns of a dilemma from which there is no escape. He says that sometimes we describe the Establishment as a privilege, and at other times as a burden, and he asks, how can it be both? It can be both, and it is both. In some particulars the Establishment is a privilege, and in other particulars it is a burden, and there is nothing inconsistent in that view. Then he tells us, "So far as it is a privilege we will offer it to you." But he is offering the Free Churches something that they will not accept. They refuse his privileges because they believe it to be contrary to the interests of religion that these State privileges should be conferred upon any sect. It is no answer to us to say, "We will give you the same privileges" when we object to the privileges they enjoy. It is no answer because these privileges in the opinion of Nonconformists are contrary to the interests of religion. Now as to the burdens. He says the Church is willing to accept the burdens. Yes, the Church is willing to accept the burdens in repayment for the privileges, but we do not think that there should be privileges, and we say we will take them away and also take from them the burdens. So far as this Debate has gone I have not observed the slightest desire on the part of the Church of England to accept the burdens without the privileges.

The hon. and learned Member referred to the Scotch example, a most extraordinary example for him to take. "Here," he said, "we have a remarkable religious development. We find a union taking place between the Established Church in Scotland and the Unestablished Churches, and they are joined together on a basis that the Established Church shall remain Established and the Free Churches remain free." That precisely is the union which we suggest might taken place if the Welsh Church Bill so wills it hereafter. Under this Bill, the Welsh Church would be a Free Church; the Established Church in England would remain Established. It is open to them to make exactly the same union upon the basis that the Established Church should remain Established and the Welsh Church should remain free. No, Sir, the pretext which is really put forward in support of this Amendment is that the Welsh Church can be hereafter governed by Convocation. It may be that the Welsh Church hereafter would desire to be governed by Convocation; would desire that the rules which are accepted by the Church of England in Convocation shall be binding upon them. It may be. I do not think it will be myself, but there is nothing in this Bill preventing it. All we are anxious to do is to make the Welsh Church free, and that the Welsh Church shall have liberty to decide for itself whether it will or will not come under the rule of Convocation. One last point. The hon. and learned Member asks me pointedly whether the Crown is a member of the Welsh Church. The Welsh Church will not be an Established Church; the Crown is by necessity a member of a Church as by law Established. The Welsh Church will not be by law Established. I think I have given the hon. Gentleman sufficient ground for an answer to his question, but if he be not satisfied let him turn to Clause 13, where express power is given to hold Synods, and where there is express power of that nature the hon. Gentleman, able and learned lawyer as he is, will know that it will overrule any point as to whether or not Synods shall be held. I hope I have given sufficient ground for satisfying hon. Members that the anxiety expressed with regard to the exclusion of the Welsh Disestablished Church from Convocation has no serious ground upon which to proceed.

Sir J. D. REES

The hon. and learned Member for Carmarthen (Mr. L. Williams) in his speech just now said that these Debates had a great educative effect in the country. It would be odd if they had not, seeing the courage and skill with which this Bill is being fought on this side by a small band of Members. One result of the educative effect is that at a meeting of the hon. Member's own constituents the smallness of the attendance was explained on the ground that as the Government and the Welsh Churches were taking away the Endowments of the Church and cutting them off from Convocation they could hardly with any sense of fairness be occupied in raising Endowments for themselves. That educative effect has certainly extended to the Home Secretary, because he has just said that there is a great deal that is national about the Church in Wales. That shows a great progress in his education. I have always up to the present understood him to deny that the Church in Wales as a national institution.


I said national feeling. A great deal of national Welsh feeling amongst the members.

Sir J. D. REES

If Welsh national feeling does not constitute a National Church I confess I do not understand what language means. The right hon. Gentleman's distinction is far too fine cut for me, and I dare say hon. Members on this side are much of the same opinion. They cannot be accused of missing any point in connection with this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman in his answer complained of what had been said about Convocation being taken away, and he said that the provincial Synod remains. I do not know any argument that could not be met with an answer of that character. No answer to it could be more thoroughly unsatisfactory to those who complain of the loss of Convocation. I understand him to say that under this Bill, if Sub-clause (5) is retained, there will be nothing to prevent one spiritual unified life from prevailing as before in the Church in England, and Wales. He says the objection to the continued existence of Convocation as part of the Disestablished Church of Wales is that Convocation contains a civil element. In what respect does Convocation exercise that civil element now? It may possess certain power, but what is the exercise of it upon which the right hon. Gentleman bases his objection to the omission of this Clause and the retention of the position of the Welsh Church as a member of the Province of Canterbury and Convocation? I confess I do not understand that. Convocation is summoned by the archbishop, who is a spiritual authority. The business it carries on is of a spiritual character. The answer of the right hon. Gentleman in that matter is as unsatisfactory as when he offers the retention of the Synod as sufficient compensation for the loss of Convocation.

If he is unsatisfactory in his answers to those who disapprove of this Bill, the Chancellor of the Duchy was far less satisfactory. He said that the hon. and learned Gentlemen on this side who have addressed the House have forgotten that this is a Disestablishment and Disendowment Bill. He evidently considers that once you have a Bill of this kind every minor ill—the removal of Convocation and all the pains and sufferings which will occur to the clergy and to laymen by the Bill—follow as a matter of course. He says you must put up with the loss of Convocation or any losses which follow upon a decision to Disestablish and Disendow. That is a satisfactory argument for the leader of the legions, but it is no answer to the able speeches delivered to-night upon this subject. The right hon. Gentleman said that Convocation was an imperfect body. That is no reason for destroying it if those who are members of it are satisfied with its imperfections or its merits counterbalanced by its imperfections. He says the Churchmen in Wales have a way of looking upon Church questions in Wales different from that which obtains in England. I dispute that. I have seen no difference between the way in which Churchmen regard questions connected with the Church in Wales and the view taken by Churchmen in regard to similar questions in England. I believe the same view would be taken in both quarters with regard to the Amendment now before the House. The right hon. Gentleman said that if the Welsh bishops and clergy, after the law is as he proposes to make it, seek to sit in Convocation at Canterbury, it will make it an illegal assembly. Supposing the hon. Member for Tower Hamlets (Sir Stuart Samuel) sat and voted in this House, which he might do at a pecuniary peril, that would not make Parliament an illegal assembly. His vote would be invalid, but not Parliament. If the Welsh bishops and clergy attend Convocation on their own account, it would not make it an illegal assembly, and even if they voted, only their votes would be invalid. That is the answer to the right hon. Gentleman.

I should like to ask the Home Secretary what harm would be done to any Free Church by omitting this Sub-section and leaving the position of the Church as regards Convocation what it is now. What Free Church would be a penny the worse from any material or sentimental point of view if the existing position were allowed to continue? No speaker on the opposite-side has addressed himself to that subject. I see an hon. Member for one Division of Glamorgan present, who long balanced one foot in the pulpit and one on the platform. Being a man of great experience, and having now abandoned the sacred for the profane, if he addresses the House perhaps he will explain what harm would be done to any Free Church in Wales by leaving the position of the Disestablished Church in respect to Convocation what it is now and what members of the Church wish it to remain? The fact is, that it is not for the good of the Free Churches, but in order to do harm to the Church that it is desired to make this alteration. One of the speakers on this side, arguing the value of Convocation to the Church whether Established or Disestablished, said that the period when Convocation did not meet was notoriously one of the worst in the annals of the Church. That is no doubt the case. Macaulay points out that during that period the clergyman, both in England and Wales, was the parasite of his patron, and generally the suitor for the hand of the maid of the patron's wife, which he seems to have considered proof of exceeding great degradation, although in classical times Horace was of the opposite opinion, which he was at pains to explain in one of his Odes:— Ne sit ancillæ tibi amor pudori. There is no doubt that it was the worst period in the history of the Church when Convocation did not sit. Under this Bill, it will never have any opportunity of sitting to deal with the affairs of the Disestablished Church. All the evidence of history has been to the effect that Convocation has been a good influence upon the Church, and that during the period it did not sit the Church fell to a lower ebb than it ever had before in Great Britain. That does not seem to be an argument for taking the bishops and clergy outside the jurisdiction of the Convocation of Canterbury.

It was argued that this was a matter in which Welsh national feeling was very much at stake. I would recall the fact that in 1907, when the United Methodist Church Act was passed, it took no account of geographical boundaries of Wales. Neither do any of the Free Churches limit their circuits to Wales. Under the very Act to which I refer one circuit set up was South Wales with its capital at Bristol, and another North Wales with its capital at Liverpool. It was argued in that case that the Free Churches of Wales benefited, and I believe they do, by being part of a larger organisation not concerned with a small Principality, but overleaping its borders and bringing each Free Church into immediate contact with and under the government of a body with a larger outlook and more authority than would attach to one which was confined to the Principality. I think it is a material point in view of the arguments which have been brought forward during this Debate.

Then with regard to the census, it is perfectly clear at present, without a census, that the Free Churches do not represent half the population of Wales. That, at any rate, we know, and I could not understand the argument of the Chancellor of the Duchy that the only use in a census was to find out from each individual resident in Wales what were his view about Disestablishment. As I understand the object, that was not it at all. The object was to find out how each individual in Wales describes himself, whether as belonging to the Church of England or to any one of the several Free Churches. That I always understood, was the object with which the census was made in Ireland and has been repeated since Disestablishment. That is the object, I believe, with which it should be taken, as I believe it should be taken, in Wales. The question of the nationality of the Welsh Church was referred to by the Home Secretary, who says there is a good deal that is national m the Welsh Church. Not only is that not the case, but I believe if anyone in the House familiar with recent history in Wales was asked to find out some one man or woman who, perhaps, was the greatest exponent of Welsh nationality and had illustrated it in a manner which to some people might appear excessive, they would choose, not any Free Churchman, or Churchman, but a distinguished lady who was absolutely the foremost exponent of Welsh nationality and one of the keenest and most devoted Churchwomen in Wales. I speak of the widow of a past Member of this House, Lady Llanover. There you had Welsh nationality and a Welsh Church combined together.


She is a Calvinistic Methodist.

Sir J. D. REES

No; the hon. Member is quite mistaken. She was, to the core, a member of the Church. The movement for cutting the Welsh bishops and clergy off from Convocation is only a piece of the excessive Erastianism which illustrates this Bill. The intention is to lower the pride of the Church, to impair its dignity and to lessen its power for dealing in future with the problem with which it is admittedly so satisfactorily dealing. I was not familiar with the instance from India which an hon. Member behind me quoted, but I can say, from the experience of the British Government in dealing with religious endowments in India, that it compares most favourably with that which is now the policy of the Government at home. They invariably abstain from dealing with endowments. They have always held that they should be administered, and that the bodies who administer them and which deal with their spiritual dogmas should not be interfered with, and everything is left, under the British Government, as it was under the Government from which it inherited those Endowments, which in kind are very similar to those with which the House is now dealing. Having heard the whole of the Debate from beginning to end, and the one which preceded it, I cannot see that any good reasons have been given whatsoever for cutting off the Church in Wales from the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury.


I thank the hon. Member for his kind reference to my being able to balance first on one foot and then on the other. I assure him I can never hope to rival his achievement as a political acrobat. I must confess that I found it very difficult, while listening to him, to remember that he was the same Parliamentary candidate with whom I went to the Montgomery Boroughs on a political campaign.

Sir J. D. REES

My information was that the hon. Gentleman informed each candidate that he was supporting him, but ho had no vote himself.


I should have thought the hon. Member would have looked up the register. I suppose he has not forgotten that I travelled all night and that he thanked me. I have in my possession a letter from him. Moreover he does not forget that I was on his platform.

Sir J. D. REES



What base ingratitude. More than that, some of the most eloquent speeches I have heard were from the hon. Member. He had just returned from India. He confessed, in his opening speeches, that he did not know much about politics.

Sir J. D. REES

Hear, hear.


And we all agreed with him. He made that obvious in his first speech. But he told us—and the speech is still in existence, recorded in the local paper—that he quite understood the demand of the Welsh people for religious equality and that if he were returned for Montgomery Boroughs they would always find him ready to vote for it. I will give him credit for this. He carried out his promise. He voted for the Bill of 1909, a much more drastic Bill than this, right through and came down to the Montgomery Boroughs and claimed full credit for it. If I had known I was to have the privilege of following him in Debate I would have brought some cuttings, because nothing more bitter against the Established Church has ever been said in Wales than was said by the hon. Member, and it is a well-known fact that although he wobbled on most things he never gave the slightest indication of wobbling on this, and to this day there are some people who still believe that he is heart and soul for Disestablishment. It is the faith of human nature I know. I admit that when I hear speeches from the hon. Member (Sir A. Cripps), from the hon. Member (Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen), from the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil), or the Noble Lord (Lord Robert Cecil), when they speak about the Church and show such passion for it I am prepared to give them full credit. They believe in the Church. But if the hon. Member wishes me to believe the same thing about him I must forget some years of my previous existence. He has told us to-night that he finds no difference between Churchmen in England and Churchmen in Wales as to their attitude and way of thinking. I wonder if he forgets that the president of the organisation that adopted him as Liberal candidate for Montgomery Boroughs was, and is, a Churchman. I wonder if he has forgotton that some of the clergymen in Montgomery-shire at the time of his election declared that they were in favour of Disestablishment provided they were given a Free Church.

Sir J. D. REES



I remember. My memory is not so short. We promised that if Disestablishment came in the Church in Wales should be free from the jurisdiction of Canterbury. I have given the hon. Member more attention than I ought to have given him, but the moment I hear his voice it brings back to me happy memories of the past. Let us come back to the Amendment. The hon. Member will not think me offensive if I say I fail to see any bearing of his speech on the Amendment. The Amendment was moved by the hon. Gentleman (Sir A. Cripps), seconded by the hon. Member (Mr. Hoare), and supported by the hon. Member (Mr. Barlow), and each of them urged quite different reasons. The hon. Member (Sir A. Cripps) said, "If you sever the Church in Wales from the jurisdiction of Canterbury it will be a great disaster, it will be a calamity." He based his Amendment on that. The hon. Member for Chelsea said that Wales is too small a unit for ecclesiastical independence, and then the hon. Member for South Salford asked, "Why do you not allow Churchmen in Wales to remain in close and vital connection with the See of Canterbury?" Let me answer these points. In the first place, I shall deal with the hon. and learned Member for South Bucks (Sir A. Cripps). He is a great believer in the connection between Wales and Canterbury, but he did not tell us how it took place originally. He is a learned historian as well as a great ecclesiastical lawyer. From the very outset of that connection the people of Wales were opposed to the jurisdiction of Canterbury. When the first archbishop came with Augustine, who founded the See of Canterbury, he sent an appeal to the Welsh bishops to meet him in order that he might ask them to come into communion with Canterbury. What happened? The Welsh bishops consulted a famous monk. They asked him for advice and guidance, and this is what he said:— Do you contrive that the archbishop may arrive first with his friends at the place where the conference is to be held, and if at your approach he shall rise up to you, listen to him submissively; but if he shall despise you by not rising up to do you honour, let him also be despised by you. The archbishop remained seated. He would not stand up to us then, but some of his followers have always been standing up since. They refused to come into communion with Canterbury, and because Borne sent Augustine to establish the See of Canterbury, and to establish the Saxon Church, the Welsh people were so annoyed with the See of Rome that they remained in isolation for three centuries. I am sure the hon. and learned Member was aware of these facts before, but he had forgotten them for the moment. I should like to quote Archdeacon Pryce, the author of the "Early British Church." He says:— It was the policy of the Norman kings and their successors to stamp out the national character of the Welsh people with a view to their thorough assimilation to their English subjects. Unhappily the episcopate in Wales was made the instrument for carrying out this policy. During several centuries the bishops in Wales were essentially a hostile garrison, bound to the English Crown by lies of gratitude for the past, and of common hatred towards the native Welsh. I would remind the House of another historical matter—the petition of the Welsh Princes to the Pope in 1198, which said:— Be it known to your fatherly goodness, the great sufferings and the danger of living souls that have fallen upon the Church of Wales since by Kingly oppression, and not by the authority of the Bishop of Rome, she became subjected to the authority of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. All through its history the Welsh people have been opposed to the jurisdiction of Canterbury. Even in 1203, Archbishop Hubert said:— Unless therefore the barbarity of this tierce and lawless people—


Hear, hear.


The Junior Member for the City of London believes that we are a barbaric people. I am sure, if he will attempt to change his constituency he will find a little more civilisation down our way— Unless therefore the barbarity of this fierce and lawless people be curbed by ecclesiastical censure and restrained by the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whose Province they are subject by law, they will rise in frequent and unbroken rebellion. I wonder if the hon. and learned Member for South Bucks is prepared to say, as Archbishop Hubert said, that it is necessary for the preservation of law and order in Wales that we should be subjected to the jurisdiction of Canterbury. Does he think that the Archbishop of Canterbury could exercise any jurisdiction whatever over my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer? The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London realises that that is not possible. If he cannot, then the original ground for that jurisdiction in Wales has gone away. We can live apart from the Archbishop of Canterbury. We do not require him for the preservation of law and order. As to the statement of the hon. Member for Chelsea, that Wales is too small a unit for ecclesiastical independence, I should like to remind him of the fundamental distinctiveness of the nationality of Wales. Wales is as much a nation as Scotland or Ireland—I do not care what standard you apply. Both parties in both Houses realise that. In the domain of education, agriculture, local government, and insurance, the nationality of Wales has been recognised. When the Insurance Bill was before the House, no one got up and said that Wales is too small to have Insurance Commissioners of her own. The hon. Member spoke of the Free Churches—the Nonconformist bodies in Wales. I wonder if the hon. Member for Chelsea has been to Wales? He knows very little about the Nonconformists in Wales. The Nonconformist bodies in Wales have organisations of their own quite apart from those in England. A few years ago the Wesleyan bodies had no such organisation. There was one body in South Wales, and another body under the jurisdiction of Liverpool, but the Wesleyans established ' a Wesleyan Assembly for the whole of Wales, and the Welsh Wesleyans are now under the jurisdiction of their own assembly. The hon. Member opposite (Sir J. D. Rees) doubted whether there was any such thing as a national feeling on the part of some of the clergy. He seemed to think that what the Welsh Church people wanted was to keep in communion with Canterbury. I should like to quote the words of one of the most learned of Welsh clergymen. He says:— As the result of the subjugation of Welsh by English Christianity seven centuries ago, the Welsh Church officially ceased to exist. She became merely four dioceses in the Province of Canterbury and as integral a portion of that Province as any other four contiguous dioceses taken at random, so that to-day, although Canterbury recognises the Church of Ireland, the Church of Scotland, the Church of the United States, and even the negro Church of Liberia, yet the Church of Wales is officially non-existent. There is no Church of Wales in the eyes of Canterbury, only a Church in Wales, although that Church existed centuries before Canterbury was created. That is the whole position. We are asking that the Church in Wales shall be separated from Canterbury in order that she may be an embodiment of the national entity in Wales. You have already recognised it in regard to the bishops. The late Dean Howell objected to the denationalisation of the Welsh Church. He said that Englishmen had been appointed to Welsh bishoprics, and the Church had become denationalised. Today even Tory Governments have recognised the distinctiveness of Welsh nationality. We have got as bishops four Welshmen appointed by a Tory Government, and everybody will admit that their Welsh nationality was a factor in their promotion. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for the Home Office called the Archbishop of York to account the other day because he referred to the Bishop of St. Asaph as the controversial greyhound, and the Bishop of St. David's as the fighting terrier. With all respect to my hon. and learned Friend he quite missed the force of the allusion of the archbishop. It was not in reference to the sleuthlike qualities of the one or the pugnaciousness of the other, but to the purity of their Welsh pedigree, which has helped to secure for them their episcopal position. I am glad to think that we have got four Welsh bishops to-day who could not deny their nationality even if they would. Every time they speak they proclaim their nationality, a thing for which we Welshmen are politically grateful. I only wish that their sentiments were as Welsh as their accent. I do appeal to hon. Members opposite to join us in pressing home this fact to a practical issue. You have recognised our nationality to this extent. Go one step further and allow the Church in Wales to be on the same footing as the Churches in Scotland and Ireland, because I am sure the Leader of the Opposition will admit that Wales has as good a claim to nationality as Scotland. For that reason I trust that the Government will resist the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member.


I cannot help feeling that certainly during the last half hour the House has wandered a very long way from the important Amendment which a great number of Churchmen think a very serious and far-reaching Amendment. The House will do well if it recalls the epigram: In essentials we ought to have unity, in non-essentials we ought to have liberty, and in all things we ought to have charity. The question whether or not the Welsh Church should remain in the Province of Canterbury is not to be settled by the political history during the last few years of the hon. Members who has just addressed the House in a very amusing and interesting speech, or whether he associates himself with the hon. Member for East Nottingham, or whether the one or the other supported Welsh Disestablishment. There are Churchmen in this House who feel that this matter goes far deeper, and we desire, in supporting this Amendment to strike a note that is far deeper and far more serious that that suggested by the light and amusing speeches recently delivered. The point is not going to be settled by reference to the ancient history of Wales, or the ecclesiastical origin of the Church in Wales, or by reference, happy or the reverse, to the ancient See of Canterbury; and whether or not in the year 1198 some Welsh Churchmen felt aggrieved at the action of the See of St. Augustine matters very little in what we are considering at present. We want, and hon. Members opposite I know want to give a fair measure to Churchmen and to start the new Church, or the new incorporated Church, as it has been called, with a fair opportunity of doing the good work that lies before it, and we do not want to provoke controversy in the future, because we may regret that history records the fact that there were controversies in the past.

I do not complain of the speech of the Home Secretary upon this occasion. I rather welcome it. It was interesting because I have seldom listened to a speech which contained so much confusion of thought and so limited an idea of what are the functions both of Parliament and of Convocation. The ground on which he resisted this Amendment was that at the base of Convocation there was a connection with the State. Therefore he said if you are to have any relation with Convocation you can look behind Convocation and find the State lurking somewhere in it, and therefore you must have nothing to do with Convocation. I asked him to go a little deeper into this question. Let us assume that the representative body has got its property handed over to it. We all know that the Free Churches have got their property. You will find that at the base of the property which they hold, at the base of the rights which the members of the Church have inter se at the base of the conditions under which that property is held in trust, you necessarily must find the State. You must find the power and authority of the State behind every Church, however free she may be from Establishment, and when we find the Home Secretary saying that he cannot answer my hon. and learned Friend—he must admit that the writs of Convocation are issued by the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury—he says if you go behind these writs somewhere or other you will find the King's name. So you may, and so you will in any matter that concerns the authority of the State over the property that is held by every Free Church throughout the length of the country, whatever it be. Another extraordinary proposition of the Home Secretary requires an answer. He says that Parliament at the present time has control over the Established Church and its beliefs and creeds. That is one of those astonishing statements which you find made. I must not say anything disrespectful of him, but I think I might argue from it the Home Secretary has paid but little attention to the views of Churchmen upon such a vital subject.

Does the Home Secretary really believe that the Church of England by law Established—to use the full phrase—consents to have its beliefs or its creeds set up and determined by this House? It may be that the House may claim to exercise a discipline, a very indirect discipline, in matters of ritual. But the statement that the beliefs of the Church or its creeds are regulated by this House is a statement which would be resented by every Churchman who knows anything at all about it, and will be protested against by those who do not hold a strong view, an Erastian view, of what the condition of the Church is or ought to be, and by all who are sincere and loyal Churchmen and members of the Church of England. The suggestion is that you are entitled to segregate Wales from the Province of Canterbury. I have dealt with the general suggestion by the Home Secretary, that because you can find lurking behind it some reference to the State in the form of the writ or something of that sort, therefore you are to get rid of Convocation. But what is Convocation at the present day? May we leave the controversy of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and sentative body which has to undertake the functions of the Established Church? I think if any hon. Member were to ask any member of Convocation at the present time what the primary duty of Convocation is when it has assembled together, the first answer he would receive would be that the primary duty of Convocation was for the clergy of the Church to meet together for the purpose of prayer. That is the primary duty, and I think every member of Convocation would say so. When you recognise that as the true foundation and purpose for which Convocation meets are you going to say that the bishops from Wales ought not to be entitled to meet their brethren in Convocation? It is all very well to suggest that Letters of Business have been presented to Convocation, that some work may be done which may be of more or less important or of effective character.

10.0 P.M.

It may be important as binding on the members and upon the Church, but effective from the point of view of the State it cannot be until legislation has been passed in respect of it. But hon. Members completely fail to understand it. Members of the Church feel that they receive increased spiritual power and draw benefit from the fact that they are united together. Just as we believe the members of the Welsh Church will be sorry to be cut off from the Province of Canterbury, so will the Province of Canterbury be sorry if the Welsh Church should be cut off from it. It is from that community we all draw spiritual power, and the answers of the Home Secretary and of the Chancellor of the Duchy wholly failed to grasp that. What is the good of the Chancellor of the Duchy telling us that Convocation was turbulent in the seventeenth century? What good is it to anybody to remember it? We look forward to a peaceful future. We do not recall those old times. We might recall the state of Wales, even of Europe, in the seventeenth century. Historically it may be interesting, but here we are opposing a proposal which is to have a great and abiding influence upon the future, not only of Churchmen in Wales, but also upon the future of the Church of England. It is on that ground we regret a step which would be imposed on no other religious body. I am quite sure that if the position were reversed and we were endeavouring to impose this sort of restraint upon the Wesleyan body we should hear loud protests, and very right protests, made from the other side against conduct so arbitrary, so unnecessary, and so unworthy. It is on these grounds that I support the Amendment of my hon. Friend. No answer has been given to the point that Convocation exists for spiritual purposes. No answer has been given as to why a branch of the Church in Wales or in England should be deprived of the support which one gives to the other. No answer has been given except some loose arguments from history, which really do not bear upon the point; and it is because we wish the Church to have more spiritual power and strength that loyal Churchmen very strenuously and very deeply resist this proposal and support the Amendment.


The hon. and learned Member at the outset of his speech struck a note which found a response in all our breasts; but when he descended to the plain of controversy, I cannot help feeling that the dust of the fray somewhat blinded his eyes. He found fault with the Home Secretary because he placed emphasis on the fact that as Convocation could not at present be free in consequence of the issue of the Royal Writ. He said the Home Secretary went back and found lurking behind the scenes the authority of the State. But it was something very much more than that to which the Home Secretary referred, and I think the hon. and learned Member was hardly fair to the House when he failed to realise that it does mean something very much more than that, because, unless Letters of Business are issued, a great deal of the most effective work of Convocation could not be done at all and he is aware that those Letters of Business are issued after the decision of the Cabinet, and not just by the authority of the Church. That, surely, is a very important matter, and I think we on this side of the House, in resisting this Amendment, may feel that we are really giving to the Welsh Church a charter of freedom. We believe that in every matter the Church in Wales will be able to be in full communion with the Church in England, just as is the Church in Ireland and the Episcopal Church in Scotland. The Church in Wales will be able to accept all the decisions of Convocation when she feels truly bound by them, and at the same time claim national freedom of her own just as the Disestablished Church of Ireland retains her national freedom. We really believe that this Amendment if it were carried would restrict the freedom of the Disestablished Church, and would force the Welsh Church to be less national.

I cannot help feeling that the fact that during a large part of this Debate there were very few Members present on the other side and I think hardly at any time during the Debate one Member representing a Welsh constituency, surely shows that Welsh Churchmen do not feel strongly on this point, and that their sympathy, if it could be freely expressed, is probably rather with the Government in resisting this Amendment, because they feel that if the Welsh Church in future is to be free she ought to be independent of Convocation. I think I may appeal to English Churchmen whether they themselves do not recognise that among the parties in the Church there is dissatisfaction with the existing constitution of Convocation. We see proposals put before Convocation and in the newspapers from time to time, and I think there is not a single party in the Church which is satisfied with Convocation as it is. Why bind a Free Church to this obsolescent body, for such it is. It is no part of essential spiritual life itself. We can be sure that the real spiritual life of the Church will continue and grow in the future far more freely, because it is left unfettered by this Bill which you are about to pass. I am quite sure that no one here wishes to resist that unity which will still subsist between the Church in Wales and the Church in England. There is no obstacle any of us wishes to bring against the bishops and clergy and laymen meeting together in prayer and meeting together for discussion and mutual edification. It is simply the legal nature of Convocation that is the obstacle. It is only so far as Convocation is a legal body that we wish to pass this proposal, which will really be for the benefit of the Church-in Wales, in our opinion; and it is because we wish to see the Church left free to be a really National Church in future, as it was in the past, that we all of us unite in resisting the Amendment.

Colonel GREIG

I cannot help thinking hen. Members opposite do not quite realise what must be the effect of omitting this particular Sub-section from the Clause. The first part of the Clause down to Subsection (4), which has been passed, contemplates that the Church in Wales, when it has been Disestablished, will have the full right, not only to settle its own organisations, but also to alter its existing regulations, doctrines, rites and rules; because Sub-section (2) of Clause 3 says that the then existing regulations, doctrines, rites, rules, discipline, and ordinances of the Church of England, shall be subject to such modification and alteration, if any, as after the passing of this Act may be made therein according to the constitution and regulations for the time being of the Church in Wales. Clause 13 substantially says that nothing in any law or custom shall prevent the bishops, clergy, and laity of the Church in Wales from holding Synods or electing representatives, or from framing constitutions and regulations for the general management and good government of the Church in Wales. Let us follow what would happen if this Sub-section were omitted. In that event a certain number of the clergy of the Disestablished Church of Wales would still be called to Convocation by order of the King's Writ. The wording of the King's Writ appears in a very able book, "Law and Custom of the Constitution," by the Senior Member for Oxford University (Sir W. Anson), and if the Church were Disestablished, that writ would still go to the bishops and clergy of the Church in Wales if this Sub-section were omitted. The writ runs:— Present the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty in Council. It is this day ordered by Her Majesty by and with the advice of her Privy Council that the right hon. the Lord High Chancellor of that part of her United Kingdom called Great Britain do, upon notice of this Her Majesty's order, forthwith cause writs to be issued in due form of law for electing new members of the Con vocation of the Clergy, which writs are to be returnable — The Archbishop of Canterbury is commanded to call together the bishops and clergy to meet in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul— to treat, to agree to, and conclude upon the premises and other things which shall then at the same place be more clearly explained on our behalf. If any one of the bishops does not attend on that summons, he is guilty and subject to canonical punishment for contumacious non-attendance. The same authority tells us the legislative powers of Convocation are confined to making, repealing, or altering of canons, and the effect of those canons, unless Parliament confirms them, is to bind the clergy only. The result would be that on the writ issuing to the bishops in Wales, they would go to Convocation, and, ex hypothesi, they have their

own canons in Wales, because, I presume, they would have made regulations, and perhaps Convocation does not agree with them as regards some of the alterations, but the canons of Convocation are binding on them, and they are also subject to their own Convocation in Wales. Thus they will become liable to certain penalties. As for the laity, of course in both countries they are not bound unless Parliament confirms those canons. The result of that would be this: you might have a certain religious tendency in Wales which might lead to an alteration of the rites and ceremonies of the Church, and of its doctrines. That is very likely to occur. On the other hand, you might have in England a contrary tendency, or one which does not go quite so far. Those unfortunate emissaries from Wales might in Wales, according to their own Church have to follow certain canons there, and in England, still being members of Convocation, they would have to obey a number of canons with which probably they would not agree, a position which would be absolutely intolerable. Hon. Members opposite do not understand what is the position of their own Church. Here again let me quote:— The Church of England, like the established Presbyterian Church of Scotland, differs from all other religious societies in this respect, that the conditions of membership are endorsed by the Legislature and cannot be altered without legislative enactment. In this sense the law of the Church is the law of the land. Convocation could not, even with the most ample license from the Crown, alter or repeal any one of the Articles, or vary the rubric settled in the Prayer Book.

The doctrine and form of worship of the Church of England are therefore sanctioned by the State. That being so, the Disestablished Church cannot have it both ways. After they become Disestablished they can, of course, form voluntary association with any other Church in the world, Established or non-Established, but they cannot be an amphibious church, holding to some code of doctrine and rites in Wales, and yet at the same time subject to the Canon Law and amendments which might be passed in Convocation and with which they might not agree.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 242; Noes, 139.

Division No. 567.] AYES. [10.15p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Agnew, Sir George William Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)
Acland, Francis Dyke Alden, Percy Barnes, G. N.
Adamson, William Allen, Arthur A, (Dumbarton) Beale, Sir William Phipson
Addison, Dr. C. Arnold, Sydney Beck, Arthur Cecil
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)
Boland, John Plus Hinds, John Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.
Booth, Frederick Handel Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Hodge, John Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Brace, William Hogge, James Myles Pointer, Joseph
Brady, Patrick Joseph Holmes, Daniel Turner Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Brocklehurst, W. B. Holt, Richard Durning Primrose, Hon. Nell James
Bryce, J. Annan Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) Pringle, William M. R.
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Radford, G. H.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Hudson, Walter Rattan, Peter Wilson
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Hughes, S. L. Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Reddy, Michael
Byles, Sir William Pollard John, Edward Thomas Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Jones, Rt.Hon.Sir D.Brynmor (Swansea) Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood) Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) Rendall, Athelstan
Chancellor, Henry George Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Richards, Thomas
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Jones, Leif Stratten (Rushcliffe) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Clancy, John Joseph Jones, W. (Carnarvon) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Clough, William Jones, W. S Glyn- (Stepney) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Joyce, Michael Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Keating, Matthew Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Kennedy, Vincent Paul Robinson, Sidney
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Kilbride, Denis Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Cotton, William Francis King, J. Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Crumley, Patrick Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molten) Roe, Sir Thomas
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Rose, Sir Charles Day
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Rowlands James
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Leach, Charles Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Dawes, J. A. Levy, Sir Maurice Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Delany, William Lewis, John Herbert Scanlan, Thomas
Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Low, Sir F. (Norwich) Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.
Devlin, Joseph Lundon, Thomas Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Dillon, John Lynch, A. A. Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Donelan, Captain A. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Sheehy, David
Doris, William McGhee, Richard Sherwell Arthur James
Duffy, William J. MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South) Shortt, Edward
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Macpherson, James Ian Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook
Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley) MacVeagh, Jeremiah Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clltheroe)
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) M'Callum, Sir John M. Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) M'Curdy, C. A. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) McKenna. Rt. Hon. Reginald Snowden, Philip
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) M'Micking, Major Gilbert Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Marks, Sir George Croydon Sutton, John E.
Essex, Sir Richard Walter Mason, David M. (Coventry) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Esslemont, George Birnie Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G. Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)
Farrell, James Patrick Meagher, Michael Tennant, Harold John
Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Thomas, James Henry
Ffrench, Peter Millar, James Duncan Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Field, William Molloy, Michael Toulmin, Sir George
Flavin, Michael Joseph Molteno, Percy Alport Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Gill, A. H. Money, L. G. Chiozza Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Morgan, George Hay Verney, Sir Harry
Goldstone, Frank Morrell, Philip Wadsworth, J.
Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) Morison, Hector Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)
Greig, Col. J. W. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Griffith, Ellis J. Muldoon, John Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke) Munro, R. Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster) Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Gwynn, Stephen (Galway) Nolan, Joseph Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Hackett, John Norton, Captain Cecil W. Watt, Henry Anderson
Hall, Frederick (Normanton) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Webb, H.
Hancock, J. G. O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)
Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) O'Doherty, Philip White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) O'Dowd, John Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Wiles, Thomas
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Hayden, John Patrick O'Malley, William Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Hayward, Evan O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Hazleton, Richard O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Healy, Maurice (Cork) O'Shee, James John Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)
Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, East) O'Sullivan, Timothy Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Outhwaite, R. L.
Henry, Sir Charles Parker, James (Halifax) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.) Parry, Thomas H.
Higham, John Sharp Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Amery, L. C. M. S. Baker, Sir Randolf L. Barrie, H. T.
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Banbury, Sir Frederick George Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)
Archer-Shee, Major M. Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks
Astor, Waldort Barnston, Harry Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence Peto, Basil Edward
Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid) Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Pole-Carew, Sir R.
Boyton, James Helmsley, Viscount Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.
Bridgeman, w. Clive Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) Quilter, Sir William Eley C.
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hewins, William Albert Samuel Randles, Sir John S.
Burn, Colonel C. R. Hills, John Waller Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Butcher, John George Hoare, S. J. G. Rawson, Col. Richard H.
Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.) Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Rees, Sir J. D.
Carilie, Sir Edward Hildred Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian) Remnant, James F.
Cassel, Felix Houston, Robert Paterson Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Cator, John Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath) Rothschild, Lionel de
Cave, George Kebty-Fletcher, J. R. Royds, Edmund
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.) Kimber, Sir Henry Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Lane-Fox, G. R. Sanders, Robert Arthur
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Larmor, Sir J. Sanderson, Lancelot
Clyde, J. Avon Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle) Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)
Cooper, Richard Ashmole Lee, Arthur Hamilton Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l., Walton)
Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe) Lewisham, Viscount Stanler, Beville
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lieut.-Col. A. R. Starkey, John Raiph
Dalrymple, Viscount Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Stewart, Gershom
Duke, Henry Edward Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo.,Han.s.) Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)
Falle, Bertram Godfray Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Draitwich) Talbot, Lord E.
Fell, Arthur Mackinder, Halford J. Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Mason, James F. (Windsor) Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Mildmay, Francis Bingham Thynne, Lord A.
Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A. Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton) Touche, George Alexander
Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Mount, William Arthur Tryon, Captain George Clement
Forster, Henry William Newdegate, F. A. Tullibardine, Marquess of
Gardner, Ernest Newman, John R. P. Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Gibbs, George Abraham Newton, Harry Kottingham Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Gilmour, Captain John Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Worthington-Evans, L.
Goldsmith, Frank Nield, Herbert Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Norton-Griffiths, John Wright, Henry Fitzherbert
Goulding, Edward Alfred O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Yate, Col. C. E.
Grant, J. A. Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A. Yerburgh, Robert A.
Greene, Walter Raymond Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Younger, Sir George
Gretton, John Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Peel, Captain R. F. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir A. Cripps and Mr. Pollock.
Haddock, George Bahr Perkins, Walter F.
Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)

Bill read the Third time, and passed.


I beg to move, in Subsection (1), paragraph (b),after the word "vested" ["all property not so vested"], to insert the words—

"not consisting of property which has been annexed to any such office or corporation by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by way of grant, and had previously been transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners from an ecclesiastical office or cathedral corporation in the Church in England, and all property which is the produce of, or is, or has been derived from such property."

As there is no time to Debate this Amendment I move it merely with the object of asking the Home Secretary a question. It deals with certain property which formerly belonged to the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester and Westminster which has since been annexed to various benefices in Wales. We had a Debate upon the subject a week ago and the impression we then took away was that in responding to the observations then made not only upon this side of the House but on the other Side as well, the right hon. Gentleman was going to meet us and was going to allow the Church to retain some £2,000 or £3,000 a year of property which is not Welsh but English in origin. I therefore formally move this Amendment to give the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity of saying how he intends to deal with what we were under the impression was almost a pledge which he gave that the Church should retain this property.


I beg to second the Amendment.


The hon. Gentleman quite rightly says that this matter was a subject of discussion in Committee. As I promised then, I had already entered into negotiations with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in order to satisfy myself as to the total amount of property which should be reckoned as belonging to the ancient Welsh Episcopal Capitulary Estate. I have since referred to my language, and I see that I made it perfectly clear at the time that the inquiry could not possibly be concluded before the Report stage of the Debate. I then said that before we got to the last and final stage of the Bill, and I referred particularly to the operations of the Parliament Act, I trusted we would be able to agree to the Report of the Commissioners as to what is the true basis of payment between the parties. I have, as I stated, already seen the secretary for the Commissioners, and I find that it would be necessary for him to trace certain questions as to what had been the basis of dealing with Welsh property, and I cannot therefore now give the actual figure. What I then said, and what I still adhere to, is that there ought to be, and I have no doubt there will be, a final settlement between the officials and myself as to what would be the true total of the Welsh ecclesiastical property. I think the hon. Member will agree that I could not accept this Amendment now, which, upon the face of it, makes no allowance for the admitted Welsh property which has been appropriated to English benefices. It is admitted that Amendment does not allow for the Welsh property which is devoted to English benefices. I am not sure that there is not another and larger question behind. As I said before, I accepted, at the time, as complete, the figures of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners as to what was Welsh episcopal property. The Commissioners have now withdrawn from one item only, but I feel myself bound in consequence to examine personally into the whole of the figures, and until I have made that examination I must adhere to the information laid before the House by the Commissioners themselves. But I assure the hon. Member, if I am satisfied, and I will bring a perfectly fair and open mind to the question, that this £5,000 gross and £2,000 net belongs to the Church of England, I will accept an Amendment before the final stage of the Bill.

And it being Half-past Ten of the clock, ME. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 28th November, 1912, and 30th January, proceeded forthwith to put the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.

Mr. SPEAKER then proceeded to put forthwith the Question on any Amendment moved by the Government (of which notice had been given) necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at half-past Ten of the clock at this day's Sitting.

Government Amendment made: In Subsection (2), after the word "therein" ["Divine worship therein"], insert the words "not being the property of a private individual."