§ (1) Any person who at the date of the passing of this Act holds an ecclesiastical office affected by this Act by freehold tenure or by any tenure which, in the opinion of the Welsh Commissioners, is equal to freehold tenure shall retain his existing interest in the emoluments of that office so long as he holds that office or any other ecclesiastical office in the Church in Wales to which he may be nominated or appointed after the passing of this Act, whether before or after the date of Disestablishment:
§ Provided that where any such person is nominated or appointed to any ecclesiastical office in the Church in Wales, other than that which he held at the passing of this Act—
- (a) he shall (save as otherwise expressly provided by this Act) pay over the net income of the ecclesiastical office held by him at the passing of this Act to the representative body;
- (b) he shall cease to have any existing interest in any burial ground or any ecclesiastical residence attached to the office he held at the passing of the Act.
§ (2) On such a person as aforesaid ceasing for six months to hold any ecclesiastical office in the Church in Wales such existing interest as aforesaid shall determine:
§ Provided that if he resigned the office which he last held with the consent of the representative body on the ground that he was incapacitated by permanent mental or bodily infirmity for the performance of his duties, he shall be entitled to receive during the remainder of his life an annuity equal to one-third of the average net income of the office which he held at the passing of this Act (exclusive of the annual value of the ecclesiastical residence, if any, attached to the office), during the seven years immediately preceding the date of his resignation, and such annuity shall be 1550 changed on the property out of which the emoluments of that office were payable, and shall be payable by the body or authority in which such property is vested, or if such property is vested in more than one body or authority, by those bodies or authorities in proportion to the value of the parts of the property vested in them respectively.
§ (3) If any question arises under this Section as to whether a person has been so incapacitated as aforesaid, or as to the amount of the annuity payable to him, or as to the bodies or authorities by whom such annuity is payable, or the proportions they are liable to contribute thereto, or as to the amount to be paid over under this Section as the net income of any ecclesiastical office, the question shall be determined by arbitration.
§ (5) Where the emoluments of any ecclesiastical office in the Church in Wales do not consist of an interest in any specific property, but consist of a right to receive a fixed annual sum then—
- (a) if that sum was before the date of Disestablishment payable directly or indirectly out of the common fund of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, such right shall be deemed to be an existing interest in the property on which the payment of such annual sum is charged by this Act; and
- (b) if that sum was before that date payable otherwise than out of such fund as aforesaid, and the property out of which it was paid is by virtue of this Act vested in the Welsh Commissioners, such right shall be deemed to be an existing interest in that property.
§ (6)The dissolution by this Act of a corporation aggregate shall not affect the rights of any existing member of that corporation in the emoluments to which as a member of the corporation he was at the passing of this Act entitled.
§ Mr. W. G. C. GLADSTONE
I beg to move, at the beginning of Sub-section (1), to insert the words "Subject to the provisions for commutation contained in this Section."
There could be no greater mistake than to think that this Amendment is adverse to or divergent from the main purpose and 1551 intentions of the Bill. If any hon. Member has in his mind any uncertainty upon that point, I would ask him to remember that the Irish Church Act embraced from the very first a scheme of commutation if anything more generous to the Church than that I now submit to the Committee, and no one I know of has yet accused the man who was responsible for that measure of disloyalty to or deviation from the principles of Disestablishment and Disendowment. I cannot help wishing that some hon. Member opposite amongst the representatives of the Irish people would take this opportunity of reminding the Committee how successful commutation has been in Ireland. I only wish that the hon. and learned Member for South Donegal (Mr. Swift MacNeill) were in his place, for I can appeal to him as a Churchman, and as a man who knows all there is to know about. Irish history, to tell the Committee whether or not in his opinion commutation was a useful and generally beneficial part of the scheme for the Disestablishment of the Irish Church. Whatever may be said against this Amendment, it cannot be said, I think, that it has been flung at the head of the Committee without consideration. On the contrary, it has been on the Paper for weeks, and let me frankly admit at once that it is a very junior Amendment to the Amendment that stands in the name of the hon. Member for Dudley (Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen). My Amendment is rather more fully drawn. Certainly it is the outcome of a great deal of labour and endeavour to meet the wishes and susceptibilities of all concerned, and consequently it has gone through a very constant process of emendation. At one time it applied to the whole of the Church property, whereas now it only applies to that part of the Church property permanently diverted by this Bill. It also demanded at one time, following the Irish precedent, a bonus of 12 per cent. in respect of the capitalised value of the life interest, but for that bonus we no longer ask, and in coming to that conclusion we were influenced by the fact that the bonus in the case of the Irish Church was added on to the scheme of commutation in the Irish Bill during negotiations with the House of Lords with this express object, namely, to rectify certain alleged deficiencies and inadequacies in the scheme of commutation.
Accordingly, we feel that if this scheme of commutation is fairly and accurately framed to start with, we do not stand in 1552 need of any opportunity of rectifying deficiencies, and under these circumstances we desire, if possible, to do without the bonus. That, I hope, removes the last objection to this Amendment. I must say I have been unable to find any real hostility to the Amendment either among the advocates or opponents of Disestablishment. In fact, we found a tendency to favour it. That tendency was typified yesterday by the appearance in the "Times "newspaper of two letters, both expressing approval of this scheme of commutation—one from a former leader of the Welsh Parliamentary party in favour of the scheme, and the other from a leading bishop of the Church. I do not think it is so surprising that there is no active hostility to the scheme of commutation if we but remember that the principle of acknowledging life interests is already in the Bill, and, as I take it, not disputed. The only question is, What method we are to choose in recognising those life interests? What is the method, without contravening the principles and intentions of the Bill, without prejudicing individual interests, without keeping alive more than can possibly be helped any bitterness or resentment, by which we can do most to promote the interests of the Disestablished Church in the future?
The effect of the Bill is to acknowledge those interests by payment of annual instalments through the county councils, thus perpetuating the connection between Church and State. That is precisely where the Amendment joins issue with the Bill. The Amendment proposes to acknowledge these life interests by payments to the representative body in a lump sum down in order to sever at once the connection between the Church and the State. Before attempting to show the advantages which we claim for this Amendment over what is in the Bill I would like to submit to the Committee a sketch of the operation of the scheme. The first Sub-section of the Amendment enables, but does not compel, any person whose life interest is already acknowledged by the Bill to apply to the Welsh Commissioners to commute the annual value of his interest for a capital sum, and provided the representative body consents, then the Welsh Commissioners are obliged, having agreed with the representative body as to the right amount, to pay the capital amount, not to the individual incumbent, but to the representative body, provided always that three-fourths of the persons entitled to commute do so apply.
1553 Then the representative body is obliged by Sub-section (c) to pay to the existing incumbents the annuities. The Sub-section goes on, following the Irish precedent, to give power to compound, if the incumbents so desire. That is to say, if the incumbent desires to go, this Sub-section gives power to him and to the representative body to come to terms with each other as to what proportion of the lump sum paid to the representative body in respect of his life interest he should receive, and he will then be free to go. Sub-section (d), I expect, will have a melancholy interest, perhaps, for the hon. Member for Carmarthen Boroughs. I think we are entitled to some protest from him on this Sub-section. It secures that the expenses of administering the life interests which, except for this Amendment, would be borne by the secular bodies, are to be paid by the Welsh Commissioners. Sub-section (e) suggests—we do not say it could not be further improved and elaborated—a method by which the capital sum necessary to pay off the life interests in a lump sum may be raised, and for that object the Welsh Commissioners are given powers of sale, exchange, or mortgage with respect to the property permanently diverted from the Church under this Bill. Sub-section (f) provides that if either side is dissatisfied recourse may be had to arbitration. I confess that at one time I thought that commutation would be argued mainly upon financial grounds, but the more I dwelt upon the subject the more I came to see that there was a great deal to be said for this upon grounds of public policy apart from purely financial grounds. I did not at first perceive what an immense advantage commutation would be to the secular body into whose hands will fall the administration of the endowments and the funds diverted under this Bill. I am not sure that it is generally recognised that the county councils under this Bill as it stands will not be able to apply the tithes, transferred to them under this Bill for the public good of the district, so long as the existing incumbent is alive.
Of course the existing incumbent may only live for a week, a month or a year after the Bill passes; on the other hand, he may live for ten, twenty, or thirty years. In 1910 there were 176 incumbents in Ireland still drawing annuities under an Act which had been passed forty years previously. As long as the existing incumbent is alive no portion of the tithe, or, as far as I can see of any other endow- 1554 ment, will be available for the public good. That state of affairs would be changed by the Amendment. Though you cannot get rid of the life interest of existing incumbents by any method conceivable, even by commutation, yet under commutation it would be found that some fund would be available for the public good immediately the Bill passed. The only restriction would be that out of their annual income from tithes the county councils would have to pay interest and sinking fund in respect of the capital sum raised upon the security of the tithes in order to pay off in a lump sum the life interest of the existing incumbent. But provided that that repayment can extend over a sufficiently long period, say thirty or perhaps better still, forty years, it would be quite easy to arrange that only a portion of the income arising from the diverted property would have to be devoted to paying interest and sinking fund and the rest will become immediately available for public purposes. Those who picture to themselves national funds now used only for the good of a section of the community being devoted directly this Bill passes to the good of the community, should remember that that will be indefinitely postponed so long as existing incumbents remain alive unless commutation is adopted.
Just imagine how unpleasant things may be during that time. The incumbent himself may be getting past work, but there will be great temptation to him to hold on to his post for fear of losing these life interests. Half the people in the parish will be desiring him to go in order that the funds to bo released may be devoted to some good work. The other half of the parish will be saying,"For Heaven's sake stick on; never mind that you are too old, because when you go we shall have to support your successor."I submit that that matter is not one of order so much as of taste, but those who have regard to the amenities of public life in Wales and elsewhere will desire that that demoralising state of affairs will be avoided, and I submit that this Amendment does avoid that state of affairs so far as possible by providing in the first place, that there shall be a fund directly this Bill passes available for the public good; and, in the second place, because it will eliminate any real uncertainty in the minds of the secular body as to what the income will be, and when they will have it in future to devote to public objects. The Bill in its present form perpetuates State control over the Church. Under 1555 the Bill the State, represented by the county councils for instance, will year by year pay to the Church the annual instalments of the life interest of existing incumbents. Some of us who view that result with considerable concern and anxiety, suggest to the Government that it would be far better from many points of view to avoid this prolongation of the connection between the Church and the State. The effect of this Amendment would be to sever once for all the connection between the Church and the State. The Bill gives the management and control of the payment of these life interests to the State. The Amendment gives it to the representative body. We do submit that in that respect the Amendment is really a great improvement upon what there is in the Bill already. Besides, if we deliberately permit the State to go on paying the existing clergy's life interest, we shall not only contravene the main principles of the Bill, but we shall commit the capital mistake of prolonging operations which all hon. Members, of whatever side of the House they may be, would say if they are to be done at all, ought to be done quickly and at once.
Do not let us prolong the agony. Do not let the connection which will be painful to many between the Church and the State continue even for the lifetime of the existing incumbent. Try to avoid keeping alive the recollection of the great transition which the Church has been forced to undergo, and if we succeed in doing that we shall do something to allay bitterness and improve feeling in many districts in Wales for which we shall all be grateful. Do not force the county councils to be the paymasters of the existing clergy even for their lifetime. Do not make our Church, the very body which is now in possession and which has been in possession of the Church for so many centuries, go to the representative body year after year in order to receive their annual instalments for their life interests. Let us rather do all we can to avoid keeping alive the recollection of this great transition. Let us frame our legislation towards securing peace and reconciliation in future, and turning away so far as we can all animosity and bitterness from religious life in Wales. Let the Church be its own governor. The control of these life interests is, I should have thought, admittedly a matter of self-government. Again and again you have promised that you will make the Disestablished Church 1556 in Wales a self-governing community, and now we hold you to your promise and demand that the administration and control of life interest be handed over to the representative body, and that the Church be allowed to manage what is one of her domestic affairs, as this Amendment seeks to do.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
I beg to second the Amendment.
It is perfectly true, as the hon. Member opposite says, that I put down a similar Amendment some time previously, but I make no complaint about his moving an Amendment, and I only hope that the joint action of Members on both sides of the House may induce the Government to meet us in this respect. May I say at once what my position on this question is? I am generally favourable to a scheme of commutation. I think a scheme of commutation ought to be introduced into the Bill; at the same time, the acceptance of this Amendment would in no way remove the root objection I have to the Bill altogether. It does not in any way get rid of our objection to the Disendowment Clauses or to the secularising of Church property. But I think it would have this advantage at all events: it would make the transition stage of the Church rather easier than otherwise it would be. But in my opinion the advantages of commutation are rather for the State than for the Church. Let me put it from the point of view of a Welsh county council, which under this Bill has got to make a scheme for utilising the Church money handed over to it. I can imagine nothing more awkward than the present arrangement under the Bill. The county council would be quite unable to make a consistent scheme for the county at all, for this reason: As one incumbent dies or leaves in one parish they can have control of the Endowment in that parish, but in the next parish they may have to wait for very many years. These various Endowments would be falling in one by one, and it would be perfectly impossible for the county council to make any consistent-scheme for the county as a whole.
I have only to refer to the fact that in the case of Ireland, in 1910—that is to say, thirty-eight years after Disendowment—there were still 126 annuities, to show how very long it would be necessary for a county council to wait before they could make any consistent scheme. But, besides that, and from the point of view 1557 of the Welsh people, I wish to endorse most emphatically what the hon. Member said as to removing the bitterness which must inevitably accrue under this Bill. In my opinion, this Bill is going to do a great deal of harm in Wales in creating fresh religious bitterness. But we do not want to aggravate that bitterness, and we do not want to prolong it. I believe that if you have commutation you may heal the wound much more quickly than you will under the scheme of the Bill, and for my part I advocate commutation. I think there is nothing worse, nothing more likely to keep the sore open, than the position, clearly explained by the hon. Member opposite, that in one parish almost immediately the people may come into the enjoyment of this Church property for what they are pleased to call national purposes, whereas in another parish they may be kept out of it for many years. It is because I want to get rid of religious bitterness, and in the interests of the Welsh people and of the Church, that I think certainly there ought to be a scheme of commutation. As to the point of view of the Church, whether commutation is going to be advantageous to her must depend entirely upon the terms of it.
The Church has great risk to run in doing a very important work and expensive work, involving the employment of actuaries and so forth, and, in inviting the Church to take that great risk, unless you secure her against loss, she cannot undertake it. I lay down, first of all, that any commutation scheme must be voluntary. I should object to any attempt to compulsorily force any commutation on the Church, for I do not think it would be justifiable; but, if it is to be voluntary, the terms must be sufficiently attractive to induce the Church to take the risk. I know, of course, that some people will argue, as was argued in the case of Ireland, that if the terms are made too attractive they would be in the nature of Re-endowment. I do not think that is a fair way in which to look at it. The matter seems much better expressed in the Debate of 1869 by the then Archbishop of York, who said that "there must be margin to shield the Church against loss." Of course, if the loss does not accrue, there may be a small profit, and if there is a small profit, then the Church which has undertaken this great work for the advantage not merely of the Church, but of the people of Wales—[An Hoy. MEMBER: 1558 "No"]—in my opinion it is to the advantage of the people of Wales—then the matter should be wound up, and it would be very churlish in the circumstances to refuse the Church that small amount of profit. The matter was also very clearly put in those Debates by the late Mr. Gladstone, speaking of the commutation scheme that was carried in regard to the Maynooth Grants. It may be remembered by the House that advantage was taken of the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Irish Church to commute the Grants to Maynooth College paid by the Treasury. They were commuted with money from the Church in Ireland. It was objected then by Members that the terms given to Maynooth were too advantageous and were in the nature of Re-endowment. Mr. Gladstone answered as follows:—They are not a Re-endowment, they are a transition payment given to Maynooth to enable it to meet the circumstances of a great transition.We claim and ask nothing more than that for the Church, under present circumstances. I quite admit that in Ireland, when the commutation scheme was carried out, there was a large profit made by the Church. But the reason is perfectly clear. The circumstances in Ireland were very favourable to the Church. There was undoubtedly in the case of Ireland what proved to be a redundancy of clergy, and after the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church of Ireland a considerable number of clergy left Ireland, obtaining work in England or in the Colonies. What was the result? The life interest of all of them had been commuted. Many of them made a composition with the representative body, and the money, of course, was retained for the general purposes of the Church by the representative body. These people left, with the result that the Church was able to make a large profit. At the present moment 1,536 clergy are employed in Ireland; in the year 1869, when the Act was passed, there were 2,022. I do not say they all left at once; they did not. They left gradually; still, so many in fact left Ireland that it was possible for the Church, having received the commutation money for the whole number, to make a considerable profit.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
The Irish clergy did not leave in any large numbers. They stuck to the ship. These were very few.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
What I said was that there was not immediately a large reduction, but a gradual reduction; 1559 I did not say it took place all at once. It is the fact that although there was no great reduction at the moment there was, nevertheless, a considerable reduction, and in the case of every single one, as the total amount of money had been paid to commute the life interest, the representative body subsequently compounded at lower terms, and it was possible for the Church of Ireland to make a good profit. I do not think those conditions apply at the present time. It is the earnest hope, and I say this on the authority of the leaders of the Church in Wales, that they will be able to employ and support, after Disendowment, as many clergy as there are in Wales at the present time. If that be so, there will not be the profit which was made in Ireland, and it could not be regarded in any sense as a Re-endowment of the Church in Wales. The whole matter would really depend on the terms offered. The Bill provides that the life interest is to be commuted on a 3 per cent. basis. In the case of the Irish Church the basis was taken as 8$ per cent. Having regard to the fall in the rate of interest since then, my view is that as 3½ per cent. was regarded as fair in the case of Ireland, 3 per cent. would be perfectly fair now. I see the right hon. Gentleman does not approve of that. May I ask him on what basis he arrived at the £62,000 a year?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
I was only doubting the statement that there had been a fall in the rate of interest since 1869 compared with the present day.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
The figures have been given to me, but I will not press the point. It does not, however, lie with the right hon. Gentleman to object to the 3 per cent. basis, except in arriving at the figure of £62,000 a year, which he said, in his Return, the life interest was worth to the Church, and I gather he calculated that on a 3 per cent. basis. In the case of Ireland, as the hon. Member has said, there was a bonus given, or what was called a bonus, though I think not very accurately called a bonus, of 12 per cent. Of that 12 per cent., 5 per cent. represented the cost to the Church of carrying out this big operation of commutation, and 7 per cent. was due to the fact that you cannot apply the ordinary tables of mortality to the clergy. It is very satisfactory to think that owing to the excellence of their lives, the clergy live, as a rule, longer than the ordinary person, and 1560 therefore if you took the ordinary tables of mortality you would land the Church into a considerable loss. Therefore, 7 per cent. is added in the case of Ireland on account of the longevity of the clergy, and the proposal made by the hon. Member suggests that instead of having these two sums of 5 per cent. and 7 per cent., in order to meet the cost of carrying out the scheme, the representative body and the Church Commissioners should agree, and if they do not agree, the matter should be referred to arbitration as to how much should be paid to the Church for the cost of carrying it out, while for commutation they should take special tables.
I think everybody will agree that would be fair under the circumstances. Those are the main proposals of the scheme, and it seems to me they are fair proposals, and that, at all events, the Government should fairly consider them. One advantage of this scheme certainly would have to the Church which I have mentioned, and which I think hon. Members on both sides would look at sympathetically. It was possible in the case of the Irish Church for the leaders of that Church, after the commutation money had been paid, to make a very strong appeal to their friends and supporters in the country for subscriptions. They said, "We have got this capital sum which has come into us under the commutation, but it has been eaten up in paying the annuities. We want you to come in at once to supplement this sum, so that the capital will not be eaten up, and so that in the long run we may have a considerable sum for the general sustentation of the Church. "Commutation did help the Church in Ireland, and it might-help the Church in the same way in Wales in making it more easy for the heads of the Church in Wales to collect money for the sustentation fund. For those reasons, because I think it would be a great advantage to the State and a great advantage to the Welsh people, because I think it would remove the bitterness and conflict which would otherwise inevitably take place in many parishes, and because I think it would be an advantage to the Church to help her to get over the very difficult period of transition brought upon her by the action of the Government, for those reasons, I hope the Government will sympathetically consider this Amendment.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I agree with the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken that this Amendment raises no question of principle, 1561 and that those who support this Bill and those who oppose it are left, whether this Amendment be accepted or rejected, absolutely free to maintain their previous attitude towards the Bill. It is, nevertheless, in so far as the arrangements of the Bill go, an Amendment of the greatest importance. It would, if accepted, necessitate the alteration of the Bill in many material points. My hon. Friend rightly put it forward as a financial matter and a question of financial arrangement. It is from that point of view that I propose to trouble the Committee for a little while in dealing with the subject. The hon. Member for Dudley (Sir A. Griffith-Boscawen), although he began by saying that the Amendment would be pressed on the Government by the joint action of my hon. Friend who proposed it and hon. Members who sit opposite, nevertheless proceeded to limit his support to the Amendment by certain essential terms. I look upon the hon. Member as having a traditional right to speak on this subject on behalf of the party opposite, for I remember that in 1895 he took a leading part on a similar Bill, and I believe I am justified now in accepting the views which he has put forward as being the views generally held on the opposite side of the House.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The hon. Member is modest in saying that. I believe the general principle of commutation is acceptable to hon. Members sitting opposite. The hon. Member for Dudley insisted on certain terms. He said that the terms must be generous on account of the risk and work which the acceptance of commutation would involve upon the representative body. I can assure him that so far as risk and work are concerned, his anticipations are groundless. He next laid it down as an essential condition that the proposal should be voluntary. I confess I do not quite understand what he means by voluntary. If he means that the system must be voluntary as regards the individual incumbent, that is to say, that no individual incumbent shall be forced to sell his life interest for a capital sum, I agree with him. It is, of course, essential, that the individual incumbent should be at liberty to commute or not, or to compound, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Gladstone) put it, or not to compound, as he pleases; but that, if the principle is accepted, it should be left voluntary as between the representatives of the State or 1562 the representatives of the local authority and the representative body as a, whole; upon that point, I would submit to the hon. Member that he ought not to demand that the system should be voluntary. Having stated so much by way of reply to the hon. Member for Dudley, let me turn to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock. He pointed out that in the Irish case commutation formed an integral part of the Bill. It is true it is not contained in the present Bill for two very good reasons, however, which I can briefly explain.
In the present Bill, we have provided what was not provided in the Irish case, for the transfer of an incumbent from one benefice to the other without loss of life interest. In the Irish Bill, that did not exist. If, for any reason, it was found desirable to transfer him from one benefice to another, the incumbent lost his life interest, and consequently the freedom of the Church in controlling the whole of its work and activities was greatly hampered. We have met that case, because we give the life interest entirely as it stands to the incumbent so long as he remains in the service of the Church and wherever he may serve. Moreover, we give him the right, so long as he lives, to superannuation terms, if he is superannuated on the ground of health. Therefore, in those particulars, which are quite open to consideration in this matter, we have provided conditions which did not exist in the Irish Bill. There is a second point. Under the financial terms of the Irish Bill the only money which was left to the Irish Church was a sum of £500,000, which was taken as representing the capital value of the private benefactions. Everything else was taken from that Church. Even the parsonage houses had to be paid for. It is true they were paid for at a lower rate; but. nevertheless, they had to be paid for. Not even all the church buildings were left to the Irish Church, but only those which were actually required to be used. So that the Irish Church, unless some principle of commutation had been accepted, would have been left with £500,000 and nothing else. Estimated at 3½ per cent., the Irish Church would have been left with an income of £17,500 per year, a Church which had been accustomed to an income which ran into a great many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
What is the case in Wales? The Welsh Church, as the Bill was introduced, was 1563 not left with £17,500 per year, but with £87,000 per year. I am entitled to say that, because before the Bill was introduced I was assured by the representatives of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and of Queen Anne's Bounty that the funds which the Welsh Church had hitherto enjoyed from those sources would be continued to the Welsh Church. Therefore there was a guarantee for the introduction of the Bill that the Disestablished Welsh Church would have an income of £87,000 a year from the Endowment. Since the Bill has been introduced we know that that amount has been further increased by an addition of £15,000 per year; so that the Welsh Church, instead of starting, as in the Irish case, with £17,500 per year, starts with an endowed income of £102,000 per year. Those two facts, the total amount of income of the Church, and the freedom of the incumbent to be transferred from benefice to benefice, are facts which differentiate the case of the Disestablished Church in Wales markedly from the case of the Disestablished Irish Church. In spite of these facts, I should have been perfectly prepared to introduce commutation into the Bill; but I could not disguise from myself that in the conduct of this Bill, and I hope what I am going to say will not be received in a severe spirit, every proposal which is put forward from this side of the House is, I will not say unnaturally, but is, in fact, met with a good deal of suspicion, to say the least of it, on the other side; and I have to recognise that a proposal for commutation must, in itself, in any form in which it is introduced, and certainly in the form in which it has been moved by my hon. Friend, introduce an element of compulsion; and it would be said, what right have the Government to propose a Bill in which there is an element of compulsion?
I am now assured that commutation would be acceptable to hon. Members opposite, on terms satisfactory to them. I am dealing with the principle, and that would be acceptable to hon. Members opposite; but there is still room to quarrel about the terms. But, as far as the principle goes, if I may accept the hon. Member's speech as a speech which represents the views of those who sit near him, the principle of commutation is a principle which is acceptable to hon. Members opposite as well as to some hon. Members on this side of the House. What is the object? Is it really desired as the result of commu- 1564 tation that the incumbents should sell their life interest for a lump sum and go out of the service of the Church? Not at all. Although the power to exchange the life interest for a lump sum might be in the Bill, it is no part of the intentions of those who support commutation that the incumbents should in fact sell their life interest for a lump sum and deprive the Church in future of their services. The object which lies behind the proposal to compound or commute—and those were the terms used by my hon. Friend—
§ Mr. ALFRED LYTTELTON
The right hon. Gentleman confuses commutation and composition. Commutation is to take a lump sum for the full value of the life interest, and composition is to take some sum less than that.
§ 12.0 M.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The incumbent could either commute or compound and go out' of the service of the Church; he could take either the whole commutation value or any such compounding value as was agreed upon—that is the sense in which I used the terms—and give up his service. The intention is that, if commutation is accepted, the governing body of the Church should have a large capital sum, out of the income from which so far as possible the existing life interests should be paid, and the balance of the income made up if possible by subscriptions from other sources. I agree with my hon. Friend that, both from the point of view of the Church and front the point of view of the county councils, commutation is a good thing. Taking the case of the county councils, we all recognise that it is in many respects undesirable that before they can formulate a definite scheme for the expenditure of the money they should have to wait until a particular incumbent dies or a particular number of incumbents die. It is very undesirable to put any local authority or any public body in the position in which the lives of individuals must be the object of debate and canvass. Therefore, from the county council point of view, I think it is highly desirable that, if possible, the principle of commutation should be accepted. From the Church point of view I think it is even more desirable, particularly in this case, because I shall show that by accepting 1565 commutation the Disestablished Church in Wales will be in such a position that -with a comparatively very slight additional effort on the part of the adherents of the Church it would be able to pay off the whole of the existing life interests without touching the capital sum of commutation.
What is the scheme which I would suggest to the Committee, assuming that I am right in interpreting the hon. Member for Dudley as speaking on behalf of his party in acceptance of the principle of commutation? My hon. Friend proposes that commutation should be operative if three-fourths of the incumbents with life interests express their desire to commute. After the passing of the Bill we should be uncertain as to whether commutation would in fact be operative. The case of each individual incumbent would have to be considered separately. The transaction, in the first place, would have to take place between individual incumbents and the Welsh Commissioners. I see difficulties in the way of that procedure, and I do not think that it takes cognisance of the real purpose of commutation. I should propose to the House something slightly different. I think that if we accepted the principle, the proper way to carry it out would be something of this kind. The Welsh Commissioners should make an immediate estimate of what is an ascertainable figure, namely, the capital value of all outstanding life interests. There would be only two or three factors which would have to be determined by this House in order to enable the Commissioners to make the necessary calculations. We should have to agree upon the rate of interest, whether it should be 3 per cent. or 3 per cent. I do not think there is any possible margin of dispute outside those figures. We should have to agree upon the number of years' purchase to be taken in the case of certain kinds of property from which the existing income does not really represent the value, such as certain lands. We should have to agree whether the actuarial calculation of the life interest of the incumbent should be based upon ordinary life tables or upon life tables applicable only to that particular class of persons. Those three points, I think, cover all the matters upon which we should have to agree in this House. Once those facts were settled, all the rest would follow as a mere matter of actuarial calculation.
If the Committee agreed upon those points, I would suggest that, having ascer- 1566 tained the total value of the life interest upon those known principles, the Welsh Commissioners should pay to the representative body the whole capital sum, and transfer to the representative body the whole responsibility for the outstanding life interests. I would then leave the representative body and the individual incumbent at perfect liberty to make such arrangements as they chose together. The incumbent could compound or commute if the representative body was willing, and go out of the service of the Church. That is not what I think would happen. The representative body could make new arrangements with all the incumbents or with such of them as agreed or could make an additional effort to obtain from outside sources the sum of money which would be necessary in order to pay the existing incumbents the whole of their existing life interests year by year, and still be left at the expiration of those life interests in full possession of the capital sum. If I have made the suggestion perfectly clear, I would like to lay before the Committee a few figures showing my idea of what would be the financial position of the Disestablished Church in Wales if the proposal were accepted upon the lines which I have put forward. The representative body will already under the Bill receive an income of £102,000 a year, based upon the figures of 1906. Upon the calculations of the same year, the total income of the Church from Endowments was £260,000 a year. Consequently, the value of the alienated property is £158,000 a year, and it is upon that property the life interests of the incumbents would have to be paid for by the Welsh Commissioners. The Welsh Commissioners or the county councils would not be responsible for the life interests charged upon the £102,000 a year which the representative body keeps. They would be responsible-only for the life interests upon such property as they receive. The secular authorities receive, then or ultimately, property to the value of £158,000 a year. That property being charged with life interests, it would become the duty of the Welsh Commissioners, on behalf of the secular authorities, to pay to the representative body the capital value of those life interests. What would that amount to? In the Irish case, with the 12 per cent. bonus included—I use the term "bonus" only as a convenient term; I recognise the force of the arguments used by the hon. Member on that point—with the 12 per cent. addition 1567 beyond the actuarial tables, the number of years' purchase was found to be 12 .8. In this case, in which there is no additional allowance suggested by me beyond what the actuarial tables could show, I believe that the life interests would be found to be worth twelve years' purchase.
§ Mr. McKENNA
At 3½ per cent. I will come to that point presently. In my calculation I believe the life interests would be found to be worth twelve years' purchase. Twelve years' purchase of a life interest of £158,000 the Committee will readily calculate represents something like £1,900,000. The figures now are rather larger than they were in 1906, and I believe the commutation value on the basis of twelve years' purchase would be found to bo roughly £2,000,000.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Yes. Reckoning 3½ per cent. as the income which could be obtained by the representative body on this capital sum of £2,000,000 it would seem that the representative body will receive an interest income of £70,000 a year. We started with an income for the representative body under the Bill of £102,000 a year. Adding this £70,000 we get from these two sources, the Bill and commutation, £172,000 a year. [An HON-. MEMBER:"What about the annuities'!"] Always subject to the annuities! I am dealing with the income at the moment, and we will come to the other points in a little while.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The income of the representative body; they have a great many charges upon it, of course. They have to meet the whole of the stipends of the incumbents, their incomes being now chargeable to the extent of £172,000 a year. Added to that should be—and I think I am justified in saving this—the income which the Church will be empowered to receive from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Queen Anne's Bounty from English sources. I am dealing now with the immediate time after the passing of the Bill—that is to say, during the calculation of the life interests, and that income which is £31,000 a year. There are two sets of funds which are payable, which may be 1568 paid, by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Queen Anne's Bounty. In the original £87,000 a year I included nothing except money which was already a permanent charge on the income of those bodies, or which had already been appropriated by those bodies as a capital sum for the benefit of the Welsh Church. That money has already been given and is not going to be taken back. All that money lies in the £87,000.
The £31,000 a year, of which I now speak, is an estimate of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Queen Anne's Bounty made on the average of the last seven years, and what they have appropriated for the benefit of the Welsh Church as a capital sum year by year out of English funds, having declared their willingness year by year to consider the gift of this annual capital sum as income to the Disestablished Church. The Bill gives them power to do this. Consequently, if the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Queen Anne's Bounty are willing to give this money—and I understand they are—I am speaking now of the future, not as in the other case of the past—if they give this money in future to the income of the Disestablished Church, its Endowments, say, from gifts will be £203,000 a year. The total endowments are only now £260,000.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Beally, are those interruptions justified? The £31,000 a year is not an Endowment, but that which they get as income. It is quite true that thirty years hence their income would have been enlarged by a sum of £31,000 a year, but I am dealing now with the date of Disendowment and the crippling of the Church by Disendowment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It seems to me that this discussion is getting a little too wide. If we discuss the whole financial situation, we shall be diverted from the immediate object as to whether commutation is to be adopted or not. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary has endeavoured to show us how the deficiency is to be made up; but I do not think it is necessary to have controversial replies as to what the remaining figures are.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
On a point of Order, Sir. Having regard particularly to what the right hon. Gentleman has said, surely it is impossible to appreciate 1569 the effect of commutation without at the same time we know what the effect will be as regards the general income of the Church. I only suggest that, because I have been listening very attentively to what the Home Secretary has said, and it will be almost impossible to deal with the one question without, at any rate, some reference to the whole.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Certainly it is advisable to refer to the general question; but it is in the interests of hon. Members that I do not want to go more than necessary beyond the immediate question of commutation.
§ Mr. A. LYTTELTON
On a point of Order. I am sure we are all very glad to have the figures from the right hon. Gentleman. Whether their presentation should proceed on controversial lines is another matter. But it is desirable, I think, that we should have the figures which show that sum which, in the right hon. Gentleman's opinion, the representative body will ultimately have to deal with—that is desirable, I think, in the interests of all.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I am supporting the principle of the Amendment. I wanted to show, if the income were accepted, in the way I suggest that it should be accepted, how comparatively easily the Church may be relieved of those anxieties and fears which it has as to the immediate future after passing this Bill. I have shown that the immediate income of the Church, if the proposal which I suggest is accepted, might fairly be hoped to be £203,000 a year. That is to say, if in the first year after the passing of the Bill private subscriptions are obtained to the additional amount of £60,000 a year, and those private subscriptions are continued year by year in an increasing amount as the life interests fall in, at the expiration of the life interest the Church will be left with a capital sum of £2,000,000, without a charge upon it, with an income from Endowments of £102,000 a year, and such further income, to be limited to £31,000 per year, as the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Queen Anne's Bounty may choose to give. Under these circumstances, having regard to the future of the Church, I would suggest that the Committee would be wise in accepting the principle of combined commutation. At the same time, in saying that, I am bound to state to hon. Members opposite that, in my view, commutation ought to proceed on 1570 the lines which I have stated. The arrangements ought to be exclusively individual between the representative body and the individual incumbents, and the representative body ought to be placed in possession once and for all of the whole capital value of outstanding Endowments.
Upon certain points which remain, I think I agree with my hon. Friend and with hon. Gentlemen opposite that in including the life interest of existing incumbents we ought to take the life tables appropriate to the particular class to which they belong. I agree with that, if it is found that the incumbents live longer in Wales than the average of the ordinary life tables show, that they will be entitled to have that fact taken into account.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I do not think there are special rates for Wales. I will point out on the other side that commutation which takes life interest into account gives an annuitant something which is not measurable and beyond what is actually given by the Bill. The life interest in the Bill is limited by the condition that the owner of the interest must remain in the service of the Church. Commutation will give him that life interest so long as he lives. Inasmuch as that is an indefinable quality we shall have to accept the life interest as a whole. The only other outstanding point is the question of interest. It is supposed that so far as I am concerned that question has been prejudged, and that I have admitted that 3 per cent. is right because it was the rate taken as a calculation given to the House at an earlier part of this Session. In answer to a question I stated that that calculation had been made by the Treasury who had proceeded on the 3 per cent. basis of the ordinary life tables. How does the fact that the Treasury, in making that calculation, took 3 per cent. as a basis stand in the way of the Committee examining today what should be the true interest to be reckoned? I believe 3 per cent has been taken in these calculations from time immemorial. Why? Because you wish to make all your calculations for the purpose of reference upon the same rate. But when you come to fix a bargain and to determine how much in fact ought to be paid you are obliged to look at the rate of interest to-day. What is the rate of 1571 interest to-day. The representative body can buy Irish Land Stock at this moment, secured by a Government guarantee, that is to say, a British Government investment, to pay them over 3½ per cent. In these circumstances it is impossible to take 3 per cent. as the basis. It is quite conceivable that the representative body might invest their money to pay more than 3½ per cent. They might invest it to produce 3¾ or 4 per cent. in securities which are recognised as Trustee securities, but though I am not taking that I am bound to say that we cannot take any less rate of interest than the representative body could get in the open market at this moment by buying British Government securities.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I very much wish Irish Land Stock would go up, but I am afraid even the purchase of two millions—that if the whole of it were invested in that stock—would not send it up to such a degree that you would buy it at less than 3½ per cent. As a matter of fact, I do not know the figures of this morning, but the last time I looked it was paying over £3 12s. 6d. per cent. Under these circumstances this Committee would not be acting like a business Committee if it shut its eyes to the patent fact suggested that 3 per cent. was the right way. Therefore I believe that there are no outstanding difficult questions between the two parties on this subject which cannot be settled. If the Committee agree, I will introduce at the Report stage a commutation proposal which will carry out all the principles which I have outlined. In order to give the House ample time I will circulate the Amendment as a White Paper. It will entail material alterations in other Clauses of the Bill, but I trust that these Amendments on the Report stage to the other Clauses of the Bill will be treated as consequential Amendments. I only mention that. I cannot make a bargain upon the point. It would entail much time on the Report stage if we were to spend time upon Amendments which would only be consequential Amendments after the acceptance of the general principle. On these grounds and on these terms, and on the other grounds put forward, I urge the Committee to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. A. LYTTELTON
The Amendments which have been made show the extraordinary inconvenience we suffer from in working under the guillotine. Manifestly it is quite impossible for the Committee finally to decide the extremely complex and complicated proposals which the right hon. Gentleman has just made, those proposals not having been made in any document whatever, and the Opposition having to understand from a single speech proposals that are very far-reaching. At the same time, although I wish to make a proposal in regard to this at the close of my remarks, I will endeavour so far as I can to discuss the principle of the proposals which have been laid before the House by the right hon. Gentleman and to give some kind of assistance as to what may be acceptable to the representatives of the Church in this matter. In the first place, I start from this bedrock of principle, as I did on a previous occasion, that Disestablishment and Disendowment having taken place, the principle ought to be that the Church shall have, without interference from the State, ample control over all matters that are left to her, and if it is more convenient for the Church upon terms to deal with the capital sum than the income that she should be able to do so. I do not think any fair opponent would deny that the Church ought to have whichever is most convenient to her. In the second place, no one who has considered this matter can doubt, after the two or three points put by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock-Burghs (Mr. Gladstone), that it is for the good of the Church and the community that as soon as possible, if this ever does take place, the relation of Church and State should cease, and at any rate that it should not be perpetuated in an irritating relation between the representatives of the Church and the county councils. From the point of view of the Church and State, it is perfectly clear that it would be a source of demoralisation to all parties concerned that in one parish the poor should be receiving a substantial bonus owing to the early death of the incumbent, and that in the neighbouring parish they should be hoping for that bonus, but not receiving it. I put this with reference to ordinary and crude human beings, because it would cause a demoralising state of things. Upon those two broad considerations and upon the principle which I ventured to state at the outset, I approve of the principle of commutation. Of course, the 1573 whole question is one of terms. I should resist myself, in any case, any element of compulsion in it whatever. If the State chooses to offer commutation terms, it must be left free to the Church to accept or reject the terms which are offered.
Let me say a word or two about the terms. What is going to happen if the commutation scheme as indicated by the Home Secretary is carried through. In the first place, the State will be liberated from a tiresome business which would involve the consideration of a Government Department for many years. My hon. Friend behind me pointed out that in the case of the Irish Church thirty-eight years have elapsed, and there is still a Govern-Department dealing with these matters, and there are 126 incumbents to whom annuities are due under the scheme. Therefore, if this scheme is carried, the Government will be relieved from a troublesome business involving cost. The Church will have to take upon itself, through its representative body, all the cost of administration and the risk which is involved in doing an annuity business. I am not going to say what that cost or that risk is, but I do not think anybody familiar with this class of business will deny that there must be some cost and some risk. In Ireland Mr. Gladstone took 5 per cent. as a fair indemnity for the cost, and 7 per cent. as a fair indemnity for the extra longevity of the clergy, and this will result in a greater burden upon the representative body. That has been inaccurately called a bonus, because in that particular instance it turned out to be profitable. It has also been most inaccurately described as a re-endowment of the Irish Church. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock Burghs leaves an independent tribunal, if any differences arise in the Church government, to say what conditions ought to be made in regard to the payment for the life interest in respect of those two items, and no candid man can say that that is anything but fair. If the State is relieved of a business which involves cost and risk, obviously the body that takes over those responsibilities ought to be fully indemnified.
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman disputed that there would be a greater burden upon the Church representative body owing to the longevity of the clergy in this insurance business. I think he admitted that, and said that he was quite prepared if that was ascertained—many 1574 insurance companies deal with the lives of clergy and he can ascertain this amount with certainty—that he would deal with it on those lines and therefore we may regard this point as being out of the controversy. As regards the 5 per cent cost that might be ascertained by arbitration or agreement. That was the figure taken before by Mr. Gladstone, and I think it ought to be taken now. Dealing with dispossessed clergy, I do not think they ought to be dealt with in any haggling or grudging spirit, but you ought to adopt a generous method in dealing with these very poor men. If we take the 5 per cent. cost and the 7 per cent. extra in respect of the longevity of the clergy, we only have in regard to this very important matter one item of difficulty, and that is the 3 per cent. taken as the basis upon which the life interest should be calculated. The right hon. Gentleman said that the only point between us would be the difference between 3 per cent. and 3½ per cent. In one case it would be twenty-seven years' purchase and in the other thirty-three and one-third years' purchase. I cannot deny what the right hon. Gentleman has said with regard to Irish Land Stock. I am aware that at the present moment you can buy it to pay you rather more than 3½ per cent. If you take this precise moment of time, it is true that we could not maintain the figure of 3 per cent., but if you look at the average over years and take into consideration the margin which all the great authorities said was profitable, having regard to the principle of generosity with which the Church ought to be regarded, I honestly think that the 3 per cent. table is the fair one on which to put this calculation. I am bound to say that it is impossible, speaking across the floor of the House, after listening to the right hon. Gentleman's statement, to commit myself, and still less to commit the authorities of the Church and my hon. Friends who sit behind me, to any definite agreement in regard to the proposals made without notice and without having seen the figures in writing which have been intimated to us in the usual way.
I have endeavoured to show the limits within which an agreement might be come to, but I suggest not with any desire of stopping Debate—because I know that behind me there are others of very great experience in financial matters who ought to have an opportunity of expressing their views—but with a view to the proper con sideration of this matter I suggest that we 1575 should not attempt to commit ourselves or the party to any agreement at the present stage. I think it would be utterly unreasonable to expect us to do so. We should consider the proposals as indicated to us by the right hon. Gentleman between now and the Report stage, and we must see the full scheme on Report proposed by the Government before we are in a position to finally decide upon this matter. I should like once more to recapitulate this point, which I regard as absolutely true, that the Church and the community are benefited by the principle of commutation for the reasons which I have stated. The proposals have this merit, that they would give the Church its own private banker instead of a State banker. It would give the Church a family trustee instead of an official trustee. These are benefits, although not very substantial ones, but in these matters we are much affected by sentiment, and I think they are for the general good. Even if we get the 3 per cent. table, as far as I can see there will be very little profit in it. There should be a margin against this. It is absolutely contrary to the opinion of eminent authorities and to the universal practice in regard to these matters to approach these poor men—from whom you are taking much, and from whom you are receiving much—in a grudging or illiberal spirit.
§ Sir THOMAS WHITTAKER
With regard to the desirability of making such arrangements as has been suggested, I think there will be universal agreement that it would be beneficial for the Church if such an agreement could be made, and also that it would be beneficial to the secular bodies that they should have some definite knowledge that their money will be available, and the amount they will have. I do not therefore, propose to say anything about that, but on one or two of the business points of the matter, I should like to make a suggestion. With regard to the question of compulsion, I agree it is of vital importance that it should be known at once when the Act is passed what would be the settlement between the county councils and the representative bodies of the Commissioners, and that the matter should not be left open; but I do submit that it is not right to make this compulsory if you are going to insist on 3½ per cent. I do suggest that you should carefully consider this rate of 3½ per cent. I think you would fail to find a single British insurance office that would under- 1576 take these annuities on a basis of tables worked out at 3½ per cent. You must take of course the special tables of mortality affecting the lives of the clergy, and I understand the Government agree as to that. That abolishes altogether this question of 7 per cent. addition which was made in the case of the Irish Church; 7 per cent. as part of the ordinary English life table is not sufficient. The cost of annuities on the mortality tables of the clergy is considerably more than 7 per cent., because of the cost of similar annuities based on the ordinary English life tables; but that point could easily be ascertained. The real point is as to the rate of interest. It is quite true that you can get land stock at 3½ per cent. at the present moment, but that is not sufficient. You have got all the risks to take and this fund will from time to time have to be realised. They have to sell in order to provide a capital sum to pay over to the clergyman whose interest is commuted. In the first place, you must realise; and, in the second place, selling is different from buying, and, in the third place, they are liable to all the fluctuations of the market.
Supposing a transaction of this kind took place twenty-five years ago, what would be the position of the fund to-day? It would be absolutely insolvent owing to the enormous depreciation which has taken place in the value of securities of that kind. I do not suggest for a moment we are to see a similar depreciation in the next twenty-five years. One begins to hope that at some time bottom will have been reached, and at any rate there has been so much depreciation that we need not look for much more, but there is all this risk. The right hon. Gentleman has said nothing about the question of working the fund. Five per cent. was allowed in the case of the Irish Church. Five per cent. is far too much for the cost of working a fund of that kind; 2½ per cent. would be ample. There is another point in connection with the rate of interest when you come to commute the interest of individual clergymen. It will be influenced at a time by the rate of interest he can make by investing the sum to be paid to him.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Ellis Griffith)
They will not get a lump sum.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
When a clergyman commutes his interest he will get a lump sum. A great many of these clergymen will decide to give up their benefices 1577 and occupation. If a clergyman does that the Church body would try to make a composition with him and pay him a lump sum down in cash instead of paying him an annuity for the rest of his life. Surely that is agreed. I think there cannot be any dispute about that. Part of the arrangement is that they would be able to commute the life interest of the clergymen, and my point for the moment was that when they are doing that, it may not be this year, a clergyman will decide whether he will accept commutation or not, and he will be interested to know the rate of interest he can get upon that sum if he invested it. Therefore you must not fix this thing too closely or on too narrow a margin. I may say, as one having some knowledge of this business, that no part of the business of life insurance companies has been more unsatisfactory to them than the granting of annuities, and a good many of the offices have lost a good deal of money in granting annuities. It is the least satisfactory and the least attractive part of their business; they care nothing for it. As illustrating that point, may I say that the office I am connected with gave it up entirely and for several years past we have declined to grant a single annuity because we lost money by it. We have to deal with a lot of temperance people, and they live a long time. The man who lives a long time is very useful to the insurance office when he is paying premiums, but when he is drawing annuities he is very unprofitable.
Take the whole of the offices dealing with that special class of business, and you will find that their annuity business has been the least satisfactory, and that every one of them based the calculation upon a 3 per cent. basis. I earnestly urged the Governent to carefully consider that point, and I think if you fix a 3½ per cent. basis it would be unjustifiable to make this compulsory. I think it ought to be compulsory, but on a 3 per cent. basis. I think I foresee the difficulty and possibly that may really be at the back of the right hon. Gentleman's head. This sum has to be found. This capital sum has to be provided. A capital sum has to be handed over to the Church body, and that sum will have to be borrowed and you will not borrow it at less than 3½ per cent. in the ordinary course. If you borrow it on a 3½ per cent. and base the calculation of your annuities on a 3 per cent. basis is would break down. There is to be a loss somewhere, and that is to be the price of carrying this thing through. 1578 That is the difficulty of the situation. If you calculate on a 3½ per cent. basis and you can borrow the money on that basis the transaction would run smooth, but the Church would run a great risk in undertaking annuities on a 3½ per cent. basis; on the other hand, you will have to find the money. I do not know what the Government or the Church Commissioners may be disposed to do in that way, but in order to make the transaction financially sound a capital sum must be obtained at the same rate of interest that is used in calculating the annuity tables, and I certainly think the annuity tables ought to be on a 3 per cent. basis, which involves getting the money at 3 per cent. also.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
I agree almost entirely with what has been said upon the business question by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. I do not, of course, propose to discuss the general matter, because everyone is agreed that commutations and compounding is the proper way of dealing with this life interest. It is quite impossible to make this compulsory upon the Church representative body, because what you do if you make it compulsory would be to compel the Church representative body to undertake a business which, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite has pointed out, is in itself a very risky business, and, of course, if the terms are not sufficient and were inserted in the Bill—and I am going to show in a moment why I think the terms suggested by the Home Secretary are not sufficient—if you insert these in the Bill and at the same time make is compulsory, you will simply lead the Church representative body to bankruptcy. How can you compulsorily make the Church representative body pay a sum in commutation if you compel them to enter into a scheme which is in itself unsound. Therefore, I take the first step that it is quite wrong to suggest that, as regards the Church representative body and its great responsibilities in the future, that you can possibly place by compulsion upon them a scheme as regards annuities which upon the view is not sound and practical. Let me deal with the particular point raised by the right hon. Gentleman and by the Home Secretary. It is quite true, as every business man knows, that annuity is a risky business. The right hon. Gentleman pointed out that so risky a business is it that as regards the life assurance office with which he is connected they have given it up altogether, even, 1579 as I understood, when it was based upon a 3 per cent. table. The right hon; Gentleman on his experience gets up and says that his own company dealing with annuities gave it up because, although they only provided 3 per cent. tables, they found the risk to their business too great. If the Home Secretary turns that over in his mind, I think he will not be able to insist for a moment on 3½ per cent. principle.
Might I put before the Home Secretary the reason why I think he has misunderstood the difference between 3 per cent. when dealing with annuities and 3½ per cent. tables when dealing with it for the purpose of investment? Annuities are in their essence a risky business. You may have to pay them for a good long time and for a great deal longer than you expected, and the result naturally is you must sell your securities whatever the condition of the market in order to fulfil your obligations for the time being. You cannot carry on business with that risk without giving a sufficient margin, as was stated by the right hon. Gentleman. I have the figures supplied me; I will not go into them. In 1869, supposing you had a scheme of this kind, and had to deal with annuities and sale from time to time as in the ordinary annuity business, undoubtedly the scheme would have gone bankrupt, because at that time you should sell out securities at a very much less figure than you paid for them when you made the investments. You must regard that as an absolutely essential risk in every annuity business wherever carried on, and it is perfectly true you must have a margin to deal with a matter of that kind. Now suppose there is no margin, and suppose you set up compulsion, and you put upon the Church representative body a scheme of this kind, it means that the scheme will be bankrupt. I am sure that the Home Secretary, and indeed no one in this House, will desire a result of that kind. If you are to have compulsion, of which I have considerable doubt myself, I think it is absolutely essential, as pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, that you ought at least to have a 3 per cent. table for the purpose of calculating your annuity basis. I need not go further into that matter, because I believe that every person who has any knowledge of the annuity business will agree with the position of the right hon. 1580 Gentleman opposite who has just spoken. But I will go a step further, and ask for information on one or two other matters from the Home Secretary in order that we may know what this business matter is when we come to consider it. The next point was the number of years' average upon which the income was to be calculated in fixing the number of years' purchase. What I think the right hon. Gentleman left somewhat vague, and what I ask him to explain, is the number of years' average upon which the income is to be calculated. The Amendment suggests a seven years' average. I notice that the Home Secretary did not give the average number of years upon which the income which is to be commuted or compounded was to be calculated.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I omitted that. I should have chosen three years, instead of seven. That would be fair, I think. The value of the tithe has been increasing.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I am glad to hear that remark. I meant to take that very point. In this very year, tithe has gone up about 3 per cent. upon the actual figure, and about 2 per cent. upon the percentage calculation. If you go back a period of six or seven years, you will find that the income is 6, 7, or 8 per cent. less than the real income now. So far as tithe is concerned, I think you ought to take the actual income of the year of the Bill passing into law, for even if you take three years, you take it at a considerable depreciation of the income as against the income which is really being yielded by the tithe. Having regard to the importance of that matter. I am glad that the Home Secretary admits the improvement in the tithe percentage, and, having regard to the fact that the tithe percentage is at the bottom of the whole calculation, I think you ought not even to go back three years, but you ought to take the latest return, because that is the income to which the existing incumbent is now entitled, and, so far as one can foresee the future, the probability is not that tithe will go back, because prices in these matters are rising at the present moment, but that the existing incumbent will get something additional under the heading of tithe rent-charge over what he is getting at present. Of course, seven years would obviously be unfair, but I go further and I say, that even three years would not be fair. You ought to give the incumbent, as regards tithe rent-charge, the 1581 benefit which the incumbent is now receiving at the time the Bill comes into operation, because he would receive that income if you left him in possession of his present office, with the prospect of a large addition. I could not assent to the fairness of the proposal that the incumbent ought to be given any lower average, seeing that it is now 2 or 3 per cent. higher than it was a year ago.
That is very important, and when you come to the ascertainment of the life interest to be commuted and compounded I have also some questions to ask. It was referred to by the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last. Does the Home Secretary intend in this scheme to provide that the expenses of the administration by the Church representative body of this fund for compounding and commuting should be paid over out of the general funds of the Welsh Commissioners? If not, it is quite impossible for the Church representative body to carry through a business of this kind. I will not go into the question whether 5 per cent. or 2½ per cent. should be the rate, but in my experience the percentage of cost is always higher in proportion as the business is smaller. As a matter of fact, the business here is very much smaller than it was in the case of the Irish Church, and I should have thought that, having regard to the size of the business, 5 per cent. was not too much. I will not quibble about the actual percentage, but I do ask the Home Secretary to tell us, does he intend that the expenses of this fund should be thrown upon the funds of the Church representative body, or he is willing that the cost should be provided from outside? There are two reasons for asking that question. First of all, as the right hon. Gentleman said, and I think it is only fair, the Church representative body in this matter is doing duty for the Government, and that ought to be fairly remunerated; but beyond that you must keep the funds of the Church representative body for this purpose in a solvent condition, and you must not put a charge of this kind upon that body who, under all the circumstances, are taking on a risky duty as regards dealing with these annuities. You cannot do that. You must recognise that a body which is performing important functions of this kind should be dealt with in such a way that it would be as safe as the Bank of England; that it should be able to carry through its duties and perform the functions which are 1582 thrown upon it in a safe way. I agree with what the Home Secretary said that the right way to deal with it is at the outset to hand over to the representative body a complete fund, but the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir T. Whittaker) called attention to what he said was a difficulty. I suggest that it is not a real difficulty if it is properly understood. He said you may have a difficulty if you are to calculate the annuities upon a 3 per cent. basis, and yet have to pay 3½ per cent. when you come to borrow the money. I think it is quite clear.
Suppose we take 3 per cent. as the proper basis for the annuity, I think that the Government, if they like, can make provision in the Bill in a way which would easily enable the money to be raised by these Commissioners upon a similar table. There need be no difficulty whatever about it. It is only a question of giving ample security. That cannot be questioned. Meanwhile, the right hon Gentleman opposite talked as though there was a bridge between the two operations. That is not really so. One is on the twelve years' principle dealing with the annuities, and the other is a loan which you make for all time. Therefore, it is quite possible, even on a 3½ per cent. basis—though I think that is wrong—to make a loan and to get the benefit out of what you are doing immediately for the parishes, because the annuities are for a twelve years' period, and the other is on a basis of a loan on proper security. I want to put this before the Home Secretary, in order he may bear it in mind, when he comes to deal with the question, and see that it is hopeless to suggest compulsion unless the terms are such that under all circumstances the Church representative body has a guarantee that it can fulfil its duties without pecuniary loss and in a solvent and proper manner. There is another matter to which I may call attention. He compared, in respect to this question, of commutation and compounding the financial condition, to use a negative term, of the Church in Ireland and the Church in Wales. NOW let me put this to him. At the present moment the Church of Wales has £260,000 a year; that is the estimate, but a great deal of that cannot properly be included. Take that at thirty years' purchase, which, I think, is £7,800,000. That is the whole of the capitalised possessions of the Church in Wales before Disendowment, putting it in the most favourable position. The Church of Ireland has 1583 a larger capital sum at its command at the present moment. Yet the duties of the Church in Wales, having regard to the number of communicants and members, are greater than those which are thrown upon the Church in Ireland at the present moment. That is one way of testing, but I do not want to go into a mass of detail. I take the simple point that you have the Church in Wales, with all its Endowments, receiving less financial support than the Church in Ireland as a Disendowed Church is at the present moment.
That being the simple position, if you are to draw any analogy between the two, you ought not to take a single farthing from the Endowments of the Church in Wales at the present moment, seeing that she has less than the Disendowed Church in Ireland. If you are to calculate the real Endowments in relation to membership you will find that the capitalised sum per member, without going into exact figures, is larger in Ireland at the present time than it is in Wales. That is one of the leading factors and it is one important reason why we ought to have generous terms in Wales. Secondly, with regard to the figures of the Endowment of the Welsh Church, I cannot agree with the Home Secretary. I think he put it in a way which is not justifiable. Let me deal with the three heads he mentioned. First of all, he took, as part of the Endowments of the Welsh Church, the sums which are now being paid by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the benefit of the Church in Wales, but that is simply a voluntary contribution. It is a contribution which, but for the greater necessities of Wales, ought to be expended in the poor districts where our Church is insufficiently endowed in many an English parish and many an English town. It is not an Endowment, it is a gift. I have always thought that it was rather a strong proposition to say that when we have a voluntary gift of that kind, a gift from English sources, because of the poverty of Wales, you are to calculate that as though it were Endowment arising from Welsh sources, and coming within the term "national" so often used by the Home Secretary. His next point was the possibility of £31,000 additional in the future. How can a sum of that kind be calculated at all? If it can, it is simply a voluntary gift, not arising from Welsh sources, but from English sources. If the other sum ought not to be calculated, of Course the additional £31,000 is quite out- 1584 side any calculation. But even more extravagant in my view is this calculation. If I follow the Home Secretary, and this is immediately germane to the present discussion, he includes as part of the Endowment to be left, as he puts it, to the Welsh Church, the £70,000 which he formerly calculated at £67,000, which comes from these life interests;. Surely this ought to be the total sum of the income in the future.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I put it as regards income in the future. Whatever may be done in this House, this House has never passed a Bill which did not provide adequate and sufficient compensation for the holders of offices which were going to be destroyed. This has nothing to do with Church funds at all. You may take every farthing of Endowment away from the Church, and leave her nothing at all, but there is still an obligation in honour and in justice upon this House to give compensation to people whose life interests are being interfered with under a system of that kind. It is a simple principle of equity and equality. It is always applicable. It has nothing to do with religious matters, Church matters, Church Endowments, or Church incomes, and I do protest against the Home Secretary referring to a fund of this kind as though it was a fund which had been reserved to the Church, or an income which was given to the Church, but at the same time this Bill for spoliation and Disendowment is being put forward. It is nothing of the kind. This means that these incumbents or holders of ecclesiastical offices are entitled, as a right, without this House alters its principles on matters of this kind, if their offices are interfered with, to be compensated as regards their life interest. I do not think there is any hon. Member who will dispute that. If that is the case, then this is not a question of the income of the Church at all. I do not know whether the Church makes an income out of commutation and compounding. I want to put it on fair terms, and I say that not one farthing of this £70,000 has anything to do with the Church's income. It simply is given to the holders of offices whose life interests are to be destroyed. I challenge anyone to give an illustration outside this House in which that principle has not been recognised. Therefore I do protest against the way in which the right hon. 1585 Gentleman puts this question. He proposes to deprive the Church in Wales of all Endowments except about £30,000. He will leave them a mere pittance, wholly inadequate to the interests they have to watch.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
I did not rise with a view to criticising the propositions of the hon. and learned Gentleman. Many of them certainly are entirely irrelevant to the plan which has been adumbrated by the Home Secretary. I desire now only to say that I listened with very great interest to the clear statement made by my right hon. Friend, and, after listening to his observations, I see no reason to object to the application of this principle to the commutation and Disendowment proposals of this Bill. But I confess that, until I have seen the whole plan worked out in the form of an Amendment to the Bill, I am quite unable to pledge myself to any of the details it may contain. I do not think anybody would regard that as an unreasonable attitude. On the general question I should like to say this. There seems to be a wrong impression abroad in certain circles that we Welsh Liberal Members are wedded to the particular scheme of the Bill, and that the process of Disendowment, which the Bill in its present form contemplates, was brought in in accordance with desires or suggestions on our part. Yesterday, in a letter to the Press, my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock quoted the following remarks of the Bishop of Winchester:—The rejection of such a proposal, if the Welsh caucus were to drive the Government to reject it, would be a great revelation of a malevolent animus behind the Bill. It can hardly be doubted that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be glad to temper in this small way the harshness of their measure.All I can say, in answer to an observation of that kind, is that the proposals contained in this Bill are not proposals to which we in any way are wedded. I entirely agree with what has been said as to the inconvenience of carrying out the Bill in its present form, whether we look at the matter from the standpoint of the University of Wales or of the county councils, who will have to administer the Act, or from the standpoint of those who are most interested in the prosperity of the organisation of the Disestablished Church. That is really all I wish to say at the present moment. But I would like to point out to my right hon. Friend that the plan he has suggested does involve a very 1586 large amendment of the Bill—that is, if I have rightly gathered what his project is. I am not sure what will be his plan for dealing with the obligations on the representative body and the principle of commutation. I am not sure it will not be adverse to the plan which my right hon. Friend has suggested. I should like, before assenting to this proposal, to be told much more clearly what is to be the actual position of the county council and of the University of Wales in relation to the representative body. If I understand it the representative body is to take over all the liabilities of the Welsh Commissioners, of the University in Wales, and of the county councils in reference to the holders of ecclesiastical offices in Wales. I think there is some ambiguity in the use of the words "representative body." I do not see how any such liability can be cast upon the representative body, which meets between the time of the coming into operation of the Bill and the date of Disestablishment, unless that representative body is made in some form or other a corporation that can be sued.
I should like to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the possible difficulty in carrying out his plan if Clause 13 remains in its present form. I only wish to point that out as one of the criticisms that have occurred to me. I do not quite understand my right hon. Friend's concluding remarks. He said he proposed to accept the Amendment.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
When the Chairman comes to put the Question, "That these words be inserted," if that is carried, then I assume my right hon. Friend will also agree to the insertion of this lengthy Amendment?
§ Mr. McKENNA
No, no. It is only in principle that I propose to accept this Amendment. I suggested that I would be willing to accept the principle, and that, on Report, I would produce a Clause dealing with it. I understood that on that assurance my hon. Friend would not press his Amendment.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
That clears up a point on which I was not clear. I can only add that I hope my right hon. Friend will circulate the White Paper as soon as possible, in order that we may have ample time to consider the details.
Mr. MONTAGUE BARLOW
We are in some considerable difficulty on this side of the House as to the trend of the discussion. We came down prepared to discuss Mr. Gladstone's Amendment, but they have suddenly altered the whole basis of that Amendment, and that makes it difficult for us to deal with the matter now. I wish to say that I am in agreement with a good deal of what has fallen from the hon. Member opposite. But there was one phrase which dropped from him in the early portion of his speech in regard to the plan of commutation which seems to require explanation. So far as I am concerned the idea of commutation, if this Bill is to pass at all, it is, in the interests of the Church, not only desirable, but it is almost inevitable. With regard to the general position, I think the course adopted by the Government is a most extraordinary one. I wish to say a word or two on their proposals, and I wish to draw attention to this fact. Here we are asked, without any material, to discuss a matter which certainly requires the advice of experts. I have not had a very long experience of the procedure of this House, but I do think it is unusual for a Government to make such an important change in a Bill without giving the House an opportunity of discussing the principle. On Tuesday we are to discuss Clause 15, and the proposal is that an arrangement shall be made for the payment of tithe rent-charge to certain persons. But the whole of that Clause now becomes useless. It is true that something like that will be required in the new scheme outlined by the Home Secretary. Generally the Government proposal will I feel sure receive every consideration on this side of the House. But we want to see their proposal outlined on the paper, so that we can discuss it. It is quite clear that this is largely a matter for experts, and therefore I press that we may have the information which will enable the inquiry to be made as soon as possible.
These two words "commutation" and "composition" seem to cause a great deal of difficulty, and I should have thought it would have been better to accept the usual interpretation of the words, because it only confuses matters if we adopt a technical meaning which may be different to the sense in which the words are used by ordinary people. It has always been understood, so far as the Irish arrangements were concerned, that "commutation" meant the arrangement as 1588 between the body entrusted with the Church property and the body which was to be constituted to represent the Church, whereas "compounding" or "composition" was the transaction between the Church representative body and the individual clergyman. Those two terms are not the same, and it is better that they should not be treated as being the same. One word with regard to the admirable speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Spen Valley Division (Sir T. Whittaker). He talks with the authority of an expert and as chairman of a large insurance company, and directly I saw him get up I realised that he would be able to let the broad light of day into some of the proposals outlined by the Home Secretary. If I may, I should like to follow his example, because I have a certain amount of experience as vice-chairman of an insurance company, and I should like to corroborate the points he made. It is quite clear, from such examination as I have been able to give to the Government's proposals, that if you took these proposals to any insurance company in London they would refuse the business on the basis of 3½ per cent., because the risks are too great. Let us be quite clear about this, that the proposal of the Government means, if it means anything, that the Church is for forty years or more to enter into the most risky business any life insurance company undertakes in this country, that it will run the risk of all the uncertainties of the rise and fall in prices in connection with investments, and the risk of all the uncertainties due to length of life, and that you are asking the Church, which is a body not primarily founded to undertake the business of life insurance, to undertake this extremely risky and uncertain business and, on our contention, you are asking them to do it on terms on which no life insurance company would dare to undertake it.
We say that is not fair. I do not believe that when the Government have considered their proposals a little further that they will dare to put them forward as fair. We know from the experience already mentioned in the Debate that there are Irish annuities still requiring to be paid off, in other words, that the period for which this scheme will run, will necessarily be a lengthy one, and during that time the prices you can get for investments will necessarily rise and fall. Here comes in a point of which I do not think sufficient has been made in this Debate. 1589 The Home Secretary has been tempted on this occasion—not so much, perhaps, on this occasion as on previous occasions—to suggest that the granting of the sum in order to secure that existing ministers of the Church should not be turned into the street in beggary, is in some mysterious way an Endowment of the Church. It is nothing of the kind. You cannot use the sum which is ear-marked or mortgaged for paying off the interests of existing life tenants twice over, both for paying off existing life tenants, and also for endowing the Church in the future. It becomes material to this discussion in this way. The capitalised £2,000,000, which under the scheme we are going to receive, will be utilised, not only to provide by way of interest on the capital sum an income for the Church, but by selling out year by year to pay off annuitants. If the Church does not receive assistance from other sources at the end of forty years, that £2,000,000 will have disappeared altogether. It appears to be impossible to get our Friends opposite to see that. [HON. MEMBERS:"NO, no."] If they mentally perceive it, their speeches do not disclose the fact, and therefore it is necessary for us to emphasise it. I am glad to hear that the rather exiguous number of Members who are listening to me from the benches opposite accept that, but I am certain there are a great many hon. Gentlemen opposite who do not accept it, because they do not understand it. If that is so, it follows that you are asking the Church, during this period of forty years, to take all the risks of depreciation of prices, assuming that portions of the capital sum have to be sold out. You may not realise when you sell it, apart altogether from the expenses of sale and management, anything like the face value of the £2,000,000 which is required for the purpose.
I do not wish to labour at any great length the points raised in the speech of the Home Secretary. It is not possible to deal with the matter in anything like a satisfactory way until we have the papers before us and can make the necessary calculations, for this is a matter of figures and of expert investigation. I should like to say a word, however, on the Home Secretary's basal point that the scheme as between the secular body and the Church body must be a compulsory one. He said he would not go into it unless it were compulsory. I venture to draw attention to the Home Secretary's curious 1590 use of the Irish precedent. He is apt to be very lovingly fond of the Irish precedent when it suits his purpose, but to drop it like a hot potato when it does not. In this case the Irish precedent is all against him, because throughout the Irish case the word used was "may," and the incumbent had complete liberty as against the secular body and as against the Church body, whether or not he made the arrangement. In other words, the scheme was not compulsory as against the Church under the Irish Act, and obviously it is most inequitable that you should attempt to make it compulsory, unless you are certain that the terms you are offering are going to be such terms as the Church can reasonably be expected to accept. So much for the Irish precedent. With regard to the point as to the length of life of the incumbent, I am glad to acknowledge that the Home Secretary has outlined what seems to be a very reasonable proposal. It is clear that the 7 per cent. which was arranged for under the Irish Act has not proved sufficient, and did not satisfy the charge it was meant to meet, therefore it is in accordance with experience that the special figures of the mortality tables for the clergy should be accepted, and that the arrangements should be made on that basis. If you take the Census figures, you find there are tables worked out and an artificial figure is arrived at as to the length of life in connection with occupations. So far as my memory serves me, and I had occasion to go into this matter in connection with the Workmen's Compensation Act, the figure for clergymen and for one-or two other healthy lives, like gardeners, is the lowest mortality figure of all, something like 400, and the highest figure is 2,000 in the case of mining occupations and so on. The point is that the figure of mortality for the clergy on the Census figures is a very low one.
I do not wish to say anything more about the Government's proposal, except that we must have adequate time to appreciate what it is exactly, and, secondly, to discuss it. A great deal has been said about the question of adequately safeguarding the interests of existing incumbents. That does not in any way satisfy our difficulty with regard to the whole of the proposals under the Bill. Take, as a sample case, the expropriation of an ordinary company. [HON. MEMBERS:" Of what?"] I am sorry hon. Members opposite do not understand the meaning of the English word "company."
I am sorry if I am not speaking loud enough. I thought that what I was saying was quite available for the ears of every Member in the Committee. Take the case of the expropriation of an ordinary company, the case of the water companies. There was a great deal of discussion in this House in regard to the water companies when they were merged into the Metropolitan Water Board. There were two entirely different sets of considerations in regard to those companies. One was the interest of the company as a going concern, and the other was the protection of existing officials of the companies. The two sets of arguments had nothing to do one with the other. The interests of officials under any Bill of that kind are always protected, whereas the interests of the company, meaning in the case of a trading concern the interests of the shareholders, come under an entirely different set of considerations, and they are equally protected, but they are protected from entirely different reasons. I do not wish to press the analogy too far, but what we say with regard to the Church is that you can and you ought to protect the interests of the life tenants. We are glad that you recognise that fact, even if your protection does not go far enough. But that does not in any way exonerate you for refusing to adequately protect the interests of the Church as a going concern. Whatever you do now for the interests of the present incumbents will not, unless it is enormously supplemented by voluntary subscriptions of the Church itself, for which, at any rate, you cannot take any credit, in any way secure to the future incumbents their stipend, and will not in any way strengthen the position or the religious life of the Church. Commutation and compensation are not the same things. The life interest of the individual, safeguard it as you will, is not the same thing as the permanent well-being of the Church, and because you are forced through very shame to see that the existing incumbents are not sent into the street, that will not help the Church in the least, and I do not think that in the future course of these Debates credit ought to be claimed on account of these annuities, or that it ought to be suggested that they in any way constitute any permanent Endowment or help to the Church.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
I will say one or two words which I think perhaps ought 1592 to be said, and possibly ought to be said by myself. The hon. Member for Lanark, when I was absent from the House, was kind enough to refer to me and to ask my experience as to whether the principle of commutation as applied to the Disestablished and Disendowed Irish Church was good for the Church itself and good for the State. To both these I can, with ample experience, most unhesitatingly say "Yes." I can scarcely write my own name without recollecting the fact of the rock whence I am hewn. and how dear the Irish Protestant Church is to me, and I confess I was pleasantly and greatly relieved when I heard that the Government were going to concede this principle of commutation. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir A. Cripps) said just now, with truth, that the Church in Ireland, Disestablished and Disendowed as it is, is richer at the present moment than the Church in Wales as Established. That is an astonishing fact, and it came out solely from the principle of commutation, because, instantly on the Church Disestablishment, there was not only a legal but an actual change of status—men and women began to realise that a great change was taking place, and they set themselves to work to arrange and manage the Church as their own house, and to lay the foundations of its prosperity for future generations.
If commutation had not occurred, that would have been impossible. They would not have seen the change at once. When the change was seen, they made the Church a very fine system on a financial basis. The gentleman who arranged the financial system of the Church of Ireland on the general basis on which it is at present, my dear lamented friend, Professor Galbraith, who was the very author of the expression "Home Rule," could not have done it if there had not been a lump sum to bring to everyone's consciousness the deficiency, and therefore to inspire energy and enthusiasm to make up the deficiency and to make the Church the success it is. It is a curious thing for me to say, but the temporal prosperity of the Church—and it is very great at present—owes everything to this principle of commutation and to the fact that they had not to wait for the life interest to expire, but were able to see things as they were and to fit themselves for the position in the admirable way they did. Let Welsh Churchmen take encouragement. The Irish Church is much better in every way than it was before Disestablishment.
1593 Some of us may talk of fighting for certainties. I am as certain as I am of my own existence that the Irish Church would fight not to have the Establishment brought back again, with all its wealth and all its advantages. I take a very considerable interest in this, and although I was only a boy at the time, still the associations of those who went before me with the Church made all these things very clear and very actual in my mind. There was considerable talk of commutation and compounding. They were spoken of, on the Church analogy, as practically the same thing. Nothing of the kind. Commutation meant simply the clergymen consenting to be transferred from one paymaster to another. His paymaster under the Establishment was the State. His paymaster under the system of commutation, if he consented to come under it, as with very few exceptions they all did, was the Church representative body.
Then there came the compounding, and I am happy to think, for the honour of the Irish clergy who stuck to the ship, very few of them compounded. When a man compounded, the meaning of it was that he wished to go away to England or possibly, as some did afterwards, to embark in the Church again with the lump sum, but if he did it, the Church substantially gained, because I rather think on the calculation—I am only speaking from memory—the Church representative body was entitled to take something like a third of the lump sum. The phrase used to be that" So-and-so commuted, then compounded, and then cut." The persons who did that were very few. An expression has been used in this Debate as calculated to show that the lump sum should be on a very generous basis. I think it should, but at the same time I donot think it should be so generous as in the case of the Irish Church. My hon. Friend said that about 115 or 116 of the Irish clergy of the pre-Disestablishment period were still drawing their annuities, of which only forty-three years have elapsed. Possibly that is so, but how did it occur? When the Irish Church was on the eve of Disestablishment the bishops did nothing—their hands must have been tied—except to ordain the Freshmen of Trinity College and make them curates. It certainly was a most nefarious fraud. We have very different bishops now, from these nominees of the Prime Ministers of former days. I really think that is the meaning of that. We used to see these undergraduates of Trinity College under canoni- 1594 cal age, beardless boys with white ties round their necks, and with annuities in their pockets for the remainder of their natural lives.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
This lump sum, if not abundantly sufficient to meet the requirements, will stimulate generosity. It will enable the Church in Wales at the very first moment to govern itself and to be master in its own house, and it will bring about at an earlier period than ever the blessed consummation that it will destroy all jealousies and class feelings and inequalities of position between men and men which a Church State Establishment produces. These have produced the happiest results, and I hope and trust the same circumstances will be followed in Wales, and that the principle of commutation will be an advantage to the Church itself as well as to the general community. May it prosper.
§ Mr. LYELL
I should like to express on my own behalf my very warm thanks to the Home Secretary both for his acceptance of the principle of the Amendment and for the tone of the speech in which he expressed that acceptance. At present we are not really debating the Amendment, which I understand is about to be withdrawn; we are debating the proposal which the Government is going to bring up to be circulated in the form of a White Paper, and which will be settled when we come to the Report stage. At this stage I want to make an appeal to the Government, not for anything in the nature of a concession, but on the question of the arrangement of the Debate under the Guillotine Resolution which we shall have on the Report stage. I want to appeal to them to see that this particular question is discussed. I do not want it to be understood for a moment that I am cavilling at the guillotine. I am a warm admirer, not only of the particular guillotine under which we are working now, but of the general principle of all guillotines, and I wish to ask if they canunot make some sort of promise to us that we shall have an opportunity of discussing their measure on the Report stage. I am not going over the common ground as to this particular Amendment. We all agree as to its merits and as to its desirability, both from the point of view of the Church and of the State. Some of us desire this Bill to pass and some, no doubt, desire to see it defeated, but I think all of us, whatever view we take 1595 of it, desire, on the hypothesis that it becomes law, that it shall become law with a minimum of friction, bitterness, and jealousy, and I think this proposal does a great deal towards that.
A great deal of the Debate has turned on the question of whether the arrangement is to be a voluntary or a compulsory one, and the Home Secretary has said that he desires, if an arrangement is to be come to at all, that it should be a compulsory one, by which I understand him to mean that the relationship between the Welsh Commissioners and the representative body shall be a compulsory one. I agree with him on that, but it is an impossible position to insist, on the one hand, that the arrangement is to be a compulsory one and on the other that the terms are to be such that no insurance company would look at them for a moment. I am quite sure he will not take up that position. If the arrangement is to be a compulsory one, surely it follows as a corollary that if the Church is not to take over an admittedly risky business, the terms should be at least no worse than those which will be open to acceptance by any insurance company of standing. On that point I should like to draw attention to the fact that while the right hon. Gentleman (Sir T. Whittaker) tells us that no insurance company would look at such a proposal on any basis over and above 3 per cent. interest, actually the Post Office annuity system is on a 2½ per cent. basis. Something has been said in the course of the Debate about the 12 per cent. addition, which has been loosely and inaccurately described as a bonus, in the case of the Irish Church, and the right hon. Gentleman (Sir T. Whittaker), in dividing that into 7 per cent. on account of longevity and 5 per cent. on account of the expenses of management, shows that the 5 per cent. was very much too much, and that 2½ per cent. would be ample. I have no doubt that both these estimates are of a very rough nature. In settling the question of longevity we have to take, in the first place, the relative longevity of the clergy to the general body of the public, but in discussing the longevity of the general population we are working on tables which are already obsolete. Owing to the progress of medicine and of sanitation, to the greater strictness of administration, the expectation of life of every single individual has considerably increased and all tables which now exist are actually obsolete.
I was not quite clear whether my right hon. Friend proposed that the twelve years' purchase should be actually embodied in the proposal that he is going to make or whether he proposes that it should be settled by expert discussion—by a committee of actuarial advisers outside. I should very much like to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman the second of these two alternatives. I do not think that even on the Report stage the House will be in a position to make up its mind as to whether twelve years' purchase on the average of the whole of the existing property is really a fair and proper proposition to put before us. I ask him to give some sort of promise that this will be discussed by a committee of actuaries, who will be able to go into the question of what is the actual expectation of life at the present moment. My hon. Friend's Amendment proposes to leave these things to actuarial and expert calculation. I would ask the Home Secretary to lay down in the proposal he brings in no hard-and-fast rule, but to leave the question of longevity and the amount that ought to be allowed for management to an outside committee of experts. We look forward to the period when the Church in Wales, freed from the inconvenience of a special position, and freed from the irritation of annually collecting tithe, will take a position she has not taken for many years, a position which she will then be able to take, namely, that of the National Church of the Principality.
§ Mr. CHARLES BATHURST
I should like to endorse the appeal made by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lyell) that when the House comes to deal with this important and complex matter upon Report ample time shall be given, in spite of the guillotine, for full consideration and discussion. It is perfectly clear to me that some form of commutation will be an improvement on the Bill as it stands. I am not going to be so rash as to commit myself in favour of the Home Secretary's form, until I see it in black and white. It is common knowledge that the vitality of religion and of the Church of England in many parishes in the land, and by no means least in the Principality of Wales, is often seriously impaired by the lack of vitality in the incumbent in charge of the parish. As? this Clause stands to-day, unamended, the Bill actually puts a premium upon the retention of a benefice by an incumbent, although incapacitated by lack of bodily or 1597 mental strength, because the Bill provides that, with the consent of the representative body, such an incumbent shall be entitled to one-third only of his previous stipend. Therefore, there is every inducement for such a man to remain in charge of the parish after the time he has really ceased to be fit to carry out his spiritual duties. On the other hand, the Bill also gives to the local parishioners a financial interest in that incapacity terminating in death. I cannot conceive anything more undesirable than to create this cause of friction between the parson on the one hand and the flock on the other, and between spiritual influences on the one hand and purely worldly and irreligious (influences on the other. This is accentuated all the more by the Bill in its unamended state, which, unfortunately, provides for the appropriation of all these moneys in the' hands of the county councils or the University of Wales for purely secular purposes. I venture to hope that that provision when we come to deal with Clause 18 will be amended in favour of restricting them to spiritual uses.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Bucks (Sir A. Cripps) urged the Home Secretary, and with some effect, to take the present income of the incumbent as the basis for the purposes of commutation. I should like to endorse that appeal. I should like also to say that my hon. and learned Friend was a little rash when, as one reason for that, he urged that the value of the tithe rent-charge in future would continue to rise, as compared with the value in the immediate past. I think any man who ventures to prophesy a rise in the price of wheat in this country is an exceptionally rash individual. I, for one, if I venture to prophesy at all, would feel inclined to prophesy in a somewhat different direction to that of my hon. and learned Friend. I would like to endorse the appeal made by many hon. Gentleman on this side of the House that the Home Secretary will reconsider the 3½ per cent., as compared with the 3 per cent. basis, for the purpose of capitalisation. The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lyell) presented, I thought, a striking parallel in the case of the unfortunate poor parishioner, particularly in the rural distiets of the land, who lends his money to the Government and receives 2½ per cent., though the Government is not prepared, when money becomes dearer, to give to this individual a larger return on his capital. Surely the Government cannot now, when money is dear, take 1598 advantage of that in the capitalisation of the commutation to the parsons at a lower sum than they would receive if taken on the basis of the last twenty-five to thirty years. We all hope that money is not going to remain so dear in the future as it is at the present time, for, so far as the rural districts are concerned, there is nothing that militates more against rural industry or the larger circulation of money and its use in remunerative local enterprise. In the hope that the Home Secretary will give us ample time to discuss the Clause on Report, I am not prepared, on that understanding, to take up further the time of the Committee.
§ Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
The hon. Member for South Salford (Mr. Barlow) accused us on this side of the House of not understanding the figures given by the Home Secretary. I would suggest that his remarks were founded upon his own inability to understand the figures, rather than our inability to understand the position. I understand the position to be that the representative body should receive from the Welsh Commissioners a sum of, roughly, £2,000,000, in discharge of any liability now cast upon the Commissioners in respect of the life interests of the present clergy in Wales. What was said was, that whilst the £2,000,000 would be more than sufficient to meet all liabilities in respect of the life interests, if capital and interest were used it would just meet the claim of the last life tenant. But what the right hon. Gentleman pointed out was that if, instead of applying the entire principal, the interest, which would amount roughly to £70,000 a year, could be used, and any balance needed paid out of voluntary funds, the result would be that on the death of the last of the life tenants, the £2,000,000 would remain intact as an Endowment for the Church in Wales. The contributions of the Church communicants towards maintenance in Wales in 1905–6 was only 5s. per head. The contributions of Nonconformist communicants came to no less than 15s. 6d. per head. If the difference between the average contribution of the Church communicant and the Nonconformist be added by Churchmen, there would be no difficulty as to funds in the immediate future. The response which has been accorded by the other side is rather a matter for comment. I, for one—and I think I can speak for the greater number of my colleagues in Wales—have no desire whatever to thrust a scheme of 1599 commutation upon Churchmen in Wales, but I am rather anxious to know whether we are to understand that they desire to have one. It is no concern of ours to facilitate any arrangements with county councils. If there is no complaint by the county councils as to the provisions already in the Bill I do not see why the Home Secretary should take any further trouble in the matter unless it is the desire of the Church to have a scheme of commutation inserted in the Bill.
The hon. Baronet who seconded the Amendment rather suggested that if they were going to accept a scheme of commutation, they were going to accept it simply as a means of obtaining further money for the Church. If that is the reason the Opposition want this proposal, I, for one, would rather desire the Government to reconsider their position between now and the Report stage. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's, Hanover Square, suggested that it should not be compulsory. But compulsory upon whom? Did the right hon. Gentleman merely mean that the life interest of the incumbent should not be compulsorily surrendered for a lump sum, because, after all, it should not be forgotten that the life interest which the incumbent has in his benefice is in consideration of service rendered by him to the Church. One of the hon. Members from Ireland suggested that what happened in Ireland was that the gentlemen who commuted their annuities, which were supposed to be paid for the discharge of spiritual duties, accepted a lump sum and then cut away. That is a temptation which I think no incumbent in this country ought to be put to. I trust that when the right hon. Gentleman adumbrates his scheme for the commutation of the life interest, it will be compulsory in any event so far as the representative body is concerned; that is that the Welsh Commissioners should pay to that body a sum, which is of course a matter of argument and calculation, which will be in discharge of the liabilities to those who have life interests in the incumbencies at present. Two questions have been raised, one with regard to interest, and the other as to expenses. The hon. Baronet the Member for Spen Valley referred to the question of expenses. I think I am right in saying that the expenses of management are always taken into consideration in arriving at the amount of the annuities. I suggest that that is a matter with deserves considera- 1600 tion by the right hon. Gentleman. If anyone goes to an insurance company to-day and offers to pay down a lump sum for an annuity, there is no doubt whatever that the expenses of management and profit have been considered in arriving at the amount of the annuity, and there is no doubt that if the calculation is to be based on the annuity tables of the insurance companies, both the expenses of management and profit have been taken into consideration already. Then there is the question of interest. I do not know that a 3 per cent. basis is a generous one. I will not put it any further, but I suggest that the rate of interest might be considered. The rate, of interest in this country does vary and vary within twelve months. Two or three Bills have been brought into this House by the other side with regard to land purchase in this country. During the last twelve months the annuity has been advanced from 3 per cent. to 3¼ per cent. in the Bill itself, the reason being that the Government itself could not borrow money at the figure originally suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for the Bordesley Division, when he brought in the Bill. It is quite possible that there may be a change in the rate of interest in this country, and I would suggest that the rate of interest should be the rate obtainable in respect of Government securities on the date on which commutation takes place.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
There seems to be no doubt that everyone in this House is in favour of the principle of commutation. The only difference is as to the terms upon which commutation can be arranged. Then there is a further question as to whether in the case of this Bill, which was introduced without a provision for commutation, after the objections which were addressed to the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, it would be worth his while to go on with his proposals, involving, as it will, a readjustment of a great deal of this Bill, now when we are on the ninth day of the Committee stage of the Bill, with only two days of the Report stage available for discussion. I do suggest that in those circumstances it may be advisable for the Home Secretary to reconsider the question as to whether this commutation proposal, which was adumbrated, can be persisted in. The other point I wish to make is that the proposals in the Bill as it stands, as I always understood, were favourable to the Church. The primary 1601 object of Parliament should be to safeguard the life interest of the incumbents who are at present enjoying the emoluments of their benefices. That the Bill does. No incumbent and no dignitary of the Church will be deprived of a single penny of his interest as long as he lives. That is one simple matter, quite free from any of these vague, amorphous difficulties which have been suggested. The other thing is that no one wants to cripple the future operations of the Church. This Bill does not do it. The first year after this Bill becomes law the Endowments of the Church will be practically intact, and the disendowment proposals are very gradual, and it will take forty or even fifty years before they become complete. Therefore I suggest that from one or two points of view, which are the points of View that ought to be present in the minds of hon. Members when they pass legislation of this sort, namely, the safeguarding of life interests and the providing of a reasonable time for the Church to make herself ready for the new conditions, this Bill, I will not say is satisfactory, but it has taken those things into account.
But it has been suggested that in the interests of the Church, and, in a secondary degree, in the interests of the Welsh people, some alteration in the way of commutation should be proposed. If I remember rightly there was such a proposal in the Bill of 1895, but that proposal disappeared from the Bill of 1909, and up to to-day there has been no such proposal, so far as I know, with regard to this Bill of 1912–13. The whole nature of the Bill is going to be changed, and though I, for one, as I listened to the Home Secretary, could find nothing to criticise in his speech, yet still, after listening to the course of the Debate which has followed, I have come very seriously to question whether it is possible to carry out the commutation proposal. The Home Secretary proposes that the commutation should be compulsory—that is to say, that something like £2,000,000 should be handed over by the Welsh Commissioners to the representative body, and that there should be no option with regard to entering into that transaction. The representative body will have to deal with the whole interests of the Church for that lump sum. That is disavowed by the hon. Member opposite, and the hon. Member for South Bucks (Sir A. Cripps) said he would be no party to such a proposal as that. We have had the statement of hon. Gentlemen sitting on this side of the House, of the right hon. 1602 Member for Spen Valley (Sir T. Whittaker) and the hon. Member who represents a Division of Edinburgh, that if the Home Secretary persists in his 3½ per cent. proposal it should not be made compulsory. That goes to the root of the whole question. The fact of the matter is that this is another instance of the way in which proposals are made by men who profess to be in favour of Disestablishment and Disendowment, as far as I can see mainly with the object of putting Welsh Members in a most invidious position.
We are familiar with the role which the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. W. G. Gladstone) has played in this matter. He puts an Amendment on the Paper, generally for a Friday morning. The day before the Amendment comes to be discussed we have an episcopal monition, either from Hereford or Farnharo, or somewhere else, in the columns of the "Times," and it is said that the proposals of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock are to be the touchstone as to whether we are sincere in our statement with regard to the future of the Church, or whether the "Welsh Caucus" are moved in this matter by a "malevolent animus" against the Church. I dispute entirely the right of the right reverend prelate to make such a statement as that about us Welsh Members. Why should he call us the" Welsh Caucus" If anything could show a malevolent animus I should have thought a statement of that sort would do it. I suppose the right reverend prelate looks upon us as heretics, and he fulminates against us in his best Athanasian manner. Which of the many Amendments put down by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock is to be taken as a test in this matter? The hon Member has put down not one but three Amendments. The first he put down was an Amendment drawn on the lines of the Irish proposal in the Bill of 1869. That has disappeared. On Monday another proposal was put down by the hon. Gentleman. That has disappeared. And I think it was either yesterday or the day before that the third Amendment was put down by the hon. Gentleman, the Amendment which we are now supposed to be discussing. He has given us no explanation why he should have changed his mind. In the first Amendment there was a 12 per cent. bonus; in the second there is no such proposal, and the 12 per cent. bonus disappears.
For my part, I could not understand for the moment why the 12 per cent. bonus 1603 should have disappeared. The hon. Gentleman who seconded the Amendment told us the reason. We are told that this 12 per cent. bonus was divided between 5 per cent. expenses and 7 per cent. to be allowed, in view of the longevity of the Irish clergy, as compared with the ordinary percentage given in insurance tables. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock never told us that. He has cloaked the fact that he has inserted the bonus in his new proposal, but he did not tell us or explain how and why it was he altered it. There is another alteration between the second and third Amendment. In the third Amendment he mentioned that there must be the consent of three-fourths of the clergy. Why should that be inserted? It is true that was in the first Amendment, but it disappeared from the second, and now reappears in the third. Why should that be so? I believe it is due to the fact that the hon. Gentleman hopes to reintroduce the old controversy between Welsh Members and other Members with regard to the terms upon which this Bill is going to be carried through. I am tired of having to stand up here in defence of what I consider are the interests of the people of Wales. I quite recognise the position which is taken up by hon. Gentlemen opposite. They say that this property is the property of the Church, and that no one has the right to take it away from her, and that if Parliament insists upon taking it away from the Church they are quite entitled to do what they can to make the best bargain they can for her. That is a perfectly plain and perfectly understandable position to take up. I understand it, and therefore I have some regard for Gentlemen who take up that view.
But that is not the view taken on this side of the House, and it is of that I complain. Hon. Members who have gone into the Lobby in support of the Second Reading of this Bill are presumably in favour not only of Disestablishment but Disendowment, yet they want to whittle away, as the hon. Member for Edinburgh suggested, the Disendowment proposals in every possible shape and form. We Welsh Members look upon ourselves in this matter as trustees in a special sense for the people of Wales, and it would not be generosity to the Church that we should be credited with if we departed from our duty in this matter, but we should be guilty of breach of our trust for the people of Wales, who are the real beneficiaries of 1604 this fund. The situation as conceived by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and his Friends seems to be something like this: They have ridden out to Hounslow Heath and helped to hold up the coach; they have shouted out, "Stand and deliver!" as valiantly as any; they have helped to rifle the bags, and then suddenly they turn round, and from being mere footpads they appear as the Claude Duvals of the adventure, chivalrous highwaymen, who are willing to return to the distressed lady a portion of the gems of which they helped to despoil her if she but deign to dance a coranto with them on the Heath. That is not the view we take. We are not highwaymen holding up people on Hounslow Heath. We are not engaged in the nefarious transaction of despoiling any one. We are only asking for the restoration to the nation of Wales of goods that belong to her. We would be untrue to that position if we therefore did anything which would detract from the full rights of the Welsh people for the restoration of this property. I am sorry that it should fall to my lot once more to enter this protest. I am a little tired of having to do so, and it is foreign to my nature. I should have liked to have had the Chancellor of the Exchequer here, sitting on these benches it may be, leading a united party, as the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Water-ford (Mr. J. Redmond) leads a united party on the Home Rule Bill, and I venture to believe that my right hon. Friend, if he was sitting here, with his rare gift of Parliamentary strategy and his unparalleled gift of Parliamentary invective, would have been able to secure a much smoother passage for this Bill than has been accorded to it up to now; or even if my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary sat here, still waving the banners of the dawn, instead of having gone to the dim religious twilight of the Home Office, a pale, slim acolyte, ministering at the shrine of Saint McKenna. It is because of that I feel compelled to do what I can, the very little that I can, to see in this Debate and controversy, that the interests and the honour of the people of Wales shall be maintained.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 177; Noes, 100.1607
|Division No. 508.]||AYES.||[2.35 P.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Gardner, Ernest||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gibbs, G. A.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Ginnell, Laurence||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Allen. Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Gladstone, W. G. C.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||O'Malley, William|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Gulland, John William||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hackett, J.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||O'Shee, James John|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Hancock, J. G.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts. St. George)||Harris, Henry Percy||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hayden, John Patrick||Pointer, Joseph|
|Bigland, Alfred||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Boland. John Plus||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith.||Henry, sir Charles||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Boyton, James||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry|
|Brady, P. J.||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Hunt, Rowland||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Campion, W. R.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Keating, Matthew||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Clough, William||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Sheehy, David|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lewisham, Viscount||Stanier, Beville|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo.,Han. S.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Thomson. W Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Macmaster, Donald||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Crumley, Patrick||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Cullinan, John||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||M'Curdy, C. A.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Duffy, William J.||Malcolm, Ian||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Webb, H.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Meagher, Michael||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Eyres-Monsell. Bolton M.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leltrim, N.)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull. W.)|
|Falconer, James||Menzies, Sir Walter||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Molteno, Percy Alport||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Ffrench, Peter||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Field, William||Mount, William Arthur||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Lord|
|Forster, Henry William||Nolan, Joseph||Robert Cecil and Mr. Ormsby-Gore.|
|Alden, Percy||De Forest, Baron||Higham, John Sharp|
|Arnold, Sydney||Delany, William||Hinds, John|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Doris, William||Hodge, John|
|Barnes, G. N.||Edwards, J. H. (Glamorgan, Mid)||Hogge, James Myles|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Holmes, Daniel Turner|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Esslemont, George Birnie||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Farrell, James Patrick||Hudson, Walter|
|Brace, William||Gill, A. H.||Hughes, S. L.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Glanville, H. J.||John, Edward Thomas|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Jones, Rt.Hon.Sir D.Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Goldstone, Frank||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Guiney, Patrick||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Crean, Eugene||Hardie, J. Keir||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Crooks, William||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Joyce, Michael|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Kilbride, Denis|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Lambert, Richard (Cricklade)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Leach, Charles|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Lundon, T.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Lynch, A, A.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|McGhee, Richard||Pringle, William M. R.||Wardle, George J.|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Radford, G. H.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Mason, David M, (Coventry)||Raffan, Peter Wilson||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Molloy, Michael||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Whyte, A. F.|
|Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Reddy, Michael||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Morrell, Philip||Richards, Thomas||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Morison, Hector||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Young, William (Perthshire, E.)|
|Munro, R.||Robinson, Sidney||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|O'Brien, William (Cork)||Rowlands, James|
|O'Donnell, Thomas||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|O'Dowd. John||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Llewelyn Williams and Mr. King.|
|Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Smith, Albert (Lancs, Clitheroe)|
§ Question,"That those words be there inserted,"put accordingly, and agreed to.
§ Mr. GOULDING
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the words "by freehold tenure or by any tenure which, in the opinion of the Welsh Commissioners, is equal to freehold tenure."
As far as I understand, the object of this Clause is not to benefit the Church which is despoiled, but rather to do justice to such individuals as are still in the service of the Church. I have, therefore, moved the exclusion of these words which, if agreed to, will enable this House to give consideration to the case of assistant curates, instead of limiting the compensation to the higher clergy. This Bill, without doubt, recognises the rights of bishops and incumbents, so far as their life interests are concerned. But for some inconceivable reason there is no mention whatsoever of the rights of the curates; consequently, no provision whatsoever is made for them; in fact, they do not appear in the Bill at all. Considering that there are some 561 of these assistant curates, the fact that there is no recognition of them in the Bill is to my mind so unjust as almost to amount to a scandal. Some mistaken views are held as to who constitute curates. Those who are often popularly called curates are not really curates in fact. The curates in the Church are the vicars, the rectors, and the incumbents. In our Prayer Book, we pray for the bishops and the curates. The curates as we know them arc really the assistant curates. These assistant curates have a peculiar tenure of their own, and one to which this House might give some consideration. They are licensed by the bishop. They cannot be dismissed, except with the sanction of the bishops. Their salaries have to be arranged in the licence signed by the bishop. They occupy this peculiar class of tenure which is not associated with any other class of professional men in the 1608 community. In this Bill the Government have ignored precedent, and especially the latest precedent, namely, that of the Irish Church. In that case, different to some extent from the Welsh case, the Government made two exceptions—exceptions in favour of the permanent curates who were taking the place of vicars disabled from carrying on their work, and other curates who had come into the Church between the 1st January, 1869, and the 1st January, 1871. These were to get in recognition of their services compensation to the tune of £25 for every completed year, and the total sum was not to exceed £600. Some of them received considerably less. It cannot be for a moment contended that the Government can go in the teeth of this precedent without giving some explanation. The onus of proving the demand of these men is not upon us. The burden rests entirely upon the Government to show why they have gone in the teeth of precedent.
As far as I am aware, no one will say that the assistant curates in the Church of Ireland were more deserving than the assistant curates in the Church in Wales. Both Mr. Gladstone and the present Prime Minister have borne repeated testimony to the work of the Church in Wales, to the fact that she is alive to her responsibilities and doing splendid work. A man need not be a Churchman to know it; he need be only a politician. The assistant curates bear a noble share in that work. I am not going to claim here that these assistant clergy have any legal rights against any specific class of property. I do not believe they have. But I believe they have a moral right so strong, so powerful, one striking the hearts and consciences of Members on both sides of the House, that I trust they will see that unless something is done to give these men recognition before this Bill passes through the House a grave injustice will be done to a large class, and that containing some of the poorest in the country. Therefore I most 1609 earnestly hope that there will be no difference of opinion on either side; that as we have decided the compensation is just, for in most cases the better paid clergy, hon. Members will, when we come to deal with the poorer clergy, not ignore their demands for consideration. You may ask me when I say that they have no legal right against specific property where do their stipends come from? As stated before, the Welsh Commission which has recently sat showed that something like £48,072 was contributed by voluntary subscriptions towards the stipends of these men in the year 1905–6. That has grown considerably since. It is estimated that the very smallest amount collected by voluntary subscriptions to-day for the stipends of these men amounts to no less than from £52,000 to £60,000 a year.
It is idle for us to ignore the fact that if this Bill becomes law and the Church becomes impoverished to the large extent she will be by the Clauses of this Bill, that these voluntary contributions will be open to paying these assistant curates to the same extent as now. Those concerned will also have to meet the demands on their purses for the expenses of the Church and the expenses of the incumbents. Although disaster may not entirely happen to these curates in the beginning, as the years go on I fear that many of them must look upon their tenure of getting a salary at all as very uncertain indeed, and that they will be thrown adrift. If you recognise that these men have been deserving citizens, and that they are doing work in a very humble station of life, surely you are not going to refuse them compensation when you are taking funds which many hold to be dedicated to the Church and secularising them! Therefore I should hope that when we have agreement upon this in the first place, that as there are no other funds available to compensate these men from, you will see that you must compensate them out of the secularised property taken from the Church. In connection with assessing the compensation there are several Amendments on the Paper, and those of us who have put Amendments down have not in a single case put down an extravagant Amendment. All we want is the recognition of the position of these men; that they should get such compensation as will enable them to meet the uncertainty of seeking employment during their hours of distress. I maintain that justice will be done if in assessing this money you 1610 embrace two principles: the principle of their stipend, and the principle of the chances of promotion they might have if they remained in their present office. For my own part to avoid any chance of abuse whatsoever, I would be willing to say that no single assistant curate who was not a member of the Church in Wales—who was not, I mean, working in the Church—before the passing of this Bill should be open to compensation.
I do make a special appeal to the House on behalf of these men. They are entirely a peculiar class. Consider their position? They have to go through a university education at considerable expense. For a long time before they can qualify and enter into their work as assistant curates, they have to go without the possibility of earning any means of livelihood. When they do get that employment, what is the salary paid to them? The average wage varies from 50s. to 60s. per week. This House when passing the National Insurance Act the other day recognised that curates were amongst those not earning high wages; so much so that they actually brought them under the Act. They have all the expense of getting their qualifications. They have to go for a long time without the possibility of earning any salary, and when they have got a salary, no man would consider it excessive. What then about the men themselves? There is not a class of men in this country more deserving of credit; to whom a greater debt of gratitude is due from all of us than to some of these humble clergy. When they leave the university they separate themselves from their own class, from their school and college fellows; they cut themselves entirely adrift from the society to which they have been accustomed, and go down into distant districts in town or country, and live entirely to improve the condition and lot of the poorest in the land. Those of us who have visited amongst them are well aware of this: that their humanising influence has over and over again been the means of carrying hope and encouragement into the homes of the poor, whether those poor are Churchmen or Nonconformists, or neither. Therefore I do say that we can appeal with justice for really generous consideration for these men. In the matter of generosity, in an Amendment I have put on the Paper, I have mentioned the sum of £200, which is perhaps not much in the consideration of Members of this House, but is everything to these men with their small wage, and 1611 will enable them to keep the wolf from the door and trouble from their homes while they are looking for further employment. I have got a few cases—and I will not keep the Committee long, because many feel deeply on this matter and desire to say something—but I sincerely hope that we shall have the support of Members on the Labour Benches with regard to this matter. They are in just as good a position, and perhaps a better one, than some of us, to know the way these humbler clergy do their duty, and whether or not their work is deserving of the consideration and attention of this House. I take three cases which I have here before me, and I must be excused if my pronunciation of these Welsh names is not correct. There is the parish of Aberystruth, in Monmouthshire, with 11,000 inhabitants. The present curate has been thirty-eight years there. The whole of the Endowment of that Church is £17 a year. What is going to become of that man. I take the next case, the parish of Coity. There is a population there of 8.200 There will be no Endowment if this Bill is carried. The curate has been six years in Holy Orders. Then there is Porth Kerry, with a population of 4,000, and there is £0 a year Endowment. There are two curates there, one of whom has been in Holy Orders for eighteen years. I could give numerous cases of this kind, and I venture to say that they are very hard cases and very deserving cases, and they are cases which, as a rule, generally appeal to the majority of Members on both sides of the House.
I am going to make a special appeal to the Home Secretary. I have the pleasure of knowing him for a great number of years. We were at the university together, and the right hon. Gentleman then was a great athlete. He was distinguished in his university for his rowing. There was one man of those for whom I speak to-day who was in that boat with the right hon. Gentleman, but while the right hon. Gentleman came here and grew to a position of eminence, this man whom he knows well—and, indeed, I believe there was a second in that boat—went and devoted his life not in the way of procuring material advantage, but to labour amongst the poorest of the poor, and the lowliest of the low, to the relief, comfort, encouragement and help of his fellow men. I appeal in all sincerity to 1612 my right hon. Friend to get back to the spirit of his old sportsman days, to drop the party question, and to look at this matter as a sportsman, and to act towards these men in as generous a spirit, and in a similar spirit, to that in which he would have acted in his university days. These cases are only samples of hundreds of thousands in the Church of England of men who are ministering to-day and doing this good work. I say these men have done good work for Church and State irrespective of the particular tenents of the individual, and I beg the right hon. Gentleman to be generous and to enable these men to go on in the good work they have been doing, instead of, if they are to be omitted from this Bill, placing a penalty upon them in the performance of their services to the State.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend, if I might call him so, has appealed to me on a somewhat personal ground. My answer to him, I am afraid, cannot be of the kind he would wish. If he made that speech and appealed to me personally for assistance towards the sustentation fund, no doubt I should have been induced, although not a member of the Church, to put my hand in my pocket and to give some of my own money, but I cannot see any reason in his argument why I should be a party to giving other people's money because, on the sentimental grounds he referred to, of a very old friend of mine wishing to draw attention to these particular cases. The hon. Gentleman said that there was no provision in the Bill for the rights of curates, and he described the Bill in consequence as a scandal. There was one serious omission from his speech. He never told us what these rights are. What are the rights of curates for which there is no provision in the Bill? That is the hon. Gentleman's difficulty.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Those moral rights they retain. They retain something more than moral rights, and there remains in existence in the hands of the same parties all the funds in respect to which their moral rights exist. That is the Bill, and I am going to show it. But, first, before I get to that part, I want to take the hon. Gentleman's arguments in turn. Is it to be agreed between us on both sides of the House that the Irish Church precedent has nothing to do with it? [HON. MEMBERS: 1613 "No."] Then I must dispose of the Irish precedent. In the Irish case Convocation existed and in estimating the life interest the charge upon benefices in respect to the curates' salaries was deducted. The charge for the curate being deducted, it was obvious that some provision would have to be made for the curate during the lifetime of the incumbent, because it was an existing rate of a determinable kind. In our proposal the charge of the incumbent in respect to the salary of the curate is not deducted, and there is where we give the incumbent the life interest in the salary which he pays to the curate. We propose to give the incumbent a life interest in the salary which he pays to the curate—a case absolutely differentiated from the Irish case.
Now as to the claim of the curate. What has the curate got at the present time He has got a curacy which he holds on a bishop 's licence and at a rate of salary that is settled or prescribed in the living itself. In ordinary circumstances he cannot look forward to retaining that curacy during the lifetime of the incumbent. Under the Bill, inasmuch as the incumbent retains his life interest, the curate has precisely the same expectation. There is no reason why he should not have it. In fact, he has got security that he cannot be dismissed by the incumbent except with the leave of the bishop, so his tenure after Disestablishment is precisely the same as exists at the present moment. The hon. Gentleman said, I think without any authority, that the curate although he might remain in his present position would not be able to draw upon such large resources for a salary. That does not affect the curate. The curate has got a claim which he can enforce in the County Court against the incumbent for the amount of the salary. The fact that the incumbent does not get as much from private subscriptions or charitable offerings does not affect the curate's right. He is entitled to get his salary from the incumbent, and in our proposals we give to the incumbent the capitalised value of the curate's interests.
§ Mr. A. LYTTELTON
Supposing the incumbent, after the passing of this Bill, is left in a financial situation in which he cannot be reasonably expected to pay a curate's salary, will the bishop be justified in releasing him from the obligation?
§ Mr. A. LYTTELTON
In hundreds of cases the curate's salary is not paid by the incumbent but by private subscription.
§ Mr. McKENNA
What reason have we to suppose that the private subscriptions are going to drop? After all, that is all the security the curate has got now, and such security as he has from the agreement with the bishop that he shall be retained. According to the right hon. Gentleman, after Disendowment there will be less resources from private subscriptions and charities than the Church possesses at the present time. [An HON. MEMBER;"So there will."]
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
If this House steals £100,000 a year from the Church there cannot be as much money left.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Had I known the hon. Member was going to make a remark of that kind I certainly should not have given way. Hon. Members have no right to assume that after Disestablishment the funds which go to the aid of the curate and are devoted to paying his salary will be reduced.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
The right hon. Gentleman's last proposal was based upon the Church raising a large sum every year to make up the difference between £31,000 to pay the annuity. That supposes a very large central fund will be raised, and, therefore, there cannot be the same amount to pay out.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend, in the course of a very interesting speech, pointed out that at the present time in Wales the Nonconformists contribute 15s. per head for the maintenance of their clergy. I think it is evident that in the past the Church of England has not found out how to tap the generosity of their members, because in the case of the Church of England, it only amounts to 5s. per head. I have given reasons to show that the maximum which the Church will have to find will be an additional contribution of £60,000 a year in order to be as well off hereafter as they are now. The Church of England in Wales already finds £290,000 a year by voluntary contributions, although I agree that that is not comparable with what is found by the Nonconformists in Wales which is over 1615 £800,000 a year. I have given reasons for showing that the Church of England has only to find an additional £60,000 a year as the maximum in order to be as well off as it was before, and is it reasonable to suppose that the curates who have got a right against the incumbent are going to be sacrificed because the Churchmen in Wales are unable to increase their contributions by £60,000 a year. We have got in this Bill to look to actual claims and rights. The hon. Member opposite must understand that this is not their money or my money, and we have got to do what is right between the parties. I have endeavoured to do right as between the parties even in opposition to some of my hon. Friends who, in this House, and some gentlemen outside, have attacked me because I have endeavoured to do right when it was in favour of the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite. At the present moment I am equally open to do what I conceive to be right in dealing with the case of the curates. The hon. Gentleman does not put it forward as a claim of right, because he admits that they have no such claim.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Legal right in this matter cannot be distinguished from equitable right. If they had a legal right it would be recognised. What is it the hon. Member proposes by his Amendment? I want the Committee to clearly understand what the proposal is which is put forward. It is that the curate who now receives a salary in an ecclesiastical office as a curate shall be entitled to receive that salary no matter what incumbency he may hereafter hold himself, so long as he remains in the service of the Church in Wales. That means that while in a particular parish a curate receives from the funds of that parish £100 a year, he is entitled to receive that sum, although hereafter he should be promoted to an incumbency in another parish.
§ Mr. GOULDING
If the right hon. Gentleman looks at my proviso he will see that £200 is to be paid to each curate through the representative body, and that is a proposal which is to be added at the end of the Clause.
§ Mr. McKENNA
What the hon. Member proposes is that—
"any person who is ecclesiastically affected by this Act shall retain his existing interest in the emoluments of that office so long as he holds that office or any other ecclesiastical office in the Church."
The words are very precise.
§ Mr. GOULDING
I moved the excision of those words so as to insert the proviso I have alluded to at the end of the Clause, and I have already alluded to this point.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I do not wish to press the hon. Gentleman, but really I do not know which Amendment he is moving.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The hon. Gentleman has a series of alternative Amendments, and I only want to get at the facts.
§ Mr. GOULDING
I have said distinctly that I moved to omit these words in order to insert in its place the last proviso, the last Amendment to this Clause. That is the proviso which states that a sum of £200 should be given for each curate of the 561 curates who are at present in the Church in Wales.
§ Mr. McKENNA
What the hon. Member is proposing is not £200 for each curate who has actually lost his place. What I understand his proposal is: "The Welsh Commissioners shall within one year after the date of Disestablishment pay to the representative body a capital sum of £112,200 to be applied by the representative body as a fund for the compensation of stipendiary curates of the Church in Wales, damnified by the operation of this Act, "and inasmuch as that represents £200 each for 561 curates, he interprets that as expressing his intention to give each curate £200 as compensation under this Bill, and each curate shall receive that, whether he suffers damage or not.
§ Mr. McKENNA
A great many of these curates will, in the ordinary course of their activities, become promoted during the lifetime of the existing incumbents.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Is it worth while to go into this discussion, when we have only an hour and a half to discuss the Amendments, and to take these miserable petti- fogging points as to the exact figures.
§ Mr. McKENNA
We are dealing with the curates, and we are asked to give £112,200. The words are perfectly explicit:—
"The Welsh Commissioners shall within one year after fine date of Disestablishment pay to the representative body a capital sum of £112,200."
That is a very serious sum, and I think the Noble Lord is mistaken in thinking it is not worth discussion. If the proposal were put forward as something which bore some relation to the actual loss which the curate might suffer, it might have to be considered in a different way. I think that no possible loss can be shown, but if it could be, it might be considered in a different way, and it might get a different reception from that which we can give to a proposal for the Endowment of every curate with the sum of £200, whether he suffers a loss or does not suffer a loss.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I rise at this period in order to clear up the misconception into which I venture to think the Home Secretary has fallen with regard to our proposal. This Amendment was necessary in the peculiar conditions under which we are discussing this Bill. It is obvious that we are discussing an important question, the position of curates under the Bill, and in order to do so it was really necessary that we should move an Amendment at an early stage of the Clause. It is therefore necessary to raise it at this point. The object of my hon. Friend, and the object of all of us who sit at this side of the House, is to secure some consideration for the curates. We have put down several different proposals to deal with the matter. I have myself, as the Home Secretary will see, if he will do me the honour to read it on the Order Paper, got down a proposal which I am 1618 told, and I think rightly told, errs upon the side of extreme moderation. It is strictly consequential on the Amendment which has been moved and proposes to insert the words—
"That in the case of an assistant curate an existing interest shall be deemed to be the right to receive every year for five years such sum as shall be sufficient to replace so much of his stipend as he has lost in consequence of the operation of this Act."
That confines the operation of the compensation to five years after the passing of the Act, and it requires that a curate should satisfy an arbitrator that he has actually lost the money which he is seeking compensation for in consequence of the operation of this Act. I do not think it is possible to state the claims of the curates more moderately than that. It seems to me they are entitled to a great deal more, but that at any rate is a perfectly definite proposal which is raised by the actual Amendment which has been moved, and the right hon. Gentleman might consider it without discussing it in a way in which some of us in our younger days were accustomed to discuss questions in the county court. What is the principle of the Clause? We are not dealing in this Clause with the question of the Endowment or the Disendowment of the Church. We are dealing in this case only with the principle that an individual ought not to suffer loss by reason of political action in this manner by Parliament. That is the whole principle of the Clause. This Clause is inserted in order to bring the curate and the individual incumbent into a position which will save that individual incumbent from hardship and loss in consequence of the political action of the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends. That principle, I believe, is accepted everywhere, and it has nothing to do with the general principle of the Bill-It is simply inserted in order to prevent the Bill being harsh to individuals. You must look at this broadly, and see what the Bill is going to do, and how it is going to be hard upon actual individuals. It is going to be hard on the bishops and the beneficed clergy by taking away the income to which they are entitled from Endowments.
Is it going to do no harm to the curates? It is quite plain that it will do them harm. I was amused to hear the right hon. Gentleman say they would retain their moral 1619 rights. What use is a moral right when you want broad and butter? He said they would have precisely the same expectations under the Bill as they had before the Bill. What a miserable technicality is that! Here is a great religious organisation carried on partly by Endowment and partly by private subscriptions. The total income, whatever it may be—I do not remember the exact figure—may be £400,000 or £500,000 a year. You take from that total income of the Church a sum which the right hon. Gentleman puts at £60,000 a year, and which I say should be at least £90,000, and probably a good deal more. But taking it as. £60,000, you are going to deprive this religious organisation of £60,000 a year of its total income. That is the real effect of what you are going to do. Anyone who suffers from that deprivation ought to be compensated, and you ought to compensate the individual, even if you are taking away the money ultimately from the institution. That is the broad principle. Will not you injure the clergy? It must do so. Under my Amendment they will have to show that they have been injured. There will be less money to go round. It may turn out that the money would be more urgently required for other purposes, and the curate will suffer. Take the instance given by my hon. Friend of a vicar who at present receives an income, and will be deprived of his income by this Bill, or left with a sum of some £17 a year. He has got to pay the curate. You cannot get blood out of a stone. If the situation remains as it is, the curate must go down. That is quite plain. Only the individual vicar is compensated, being left with his actual income. His income amounts to an average of £150 to £200. He does not pay the curate now out of that endowed income. He pays it out of the Endowment, plus the subscriptions, and the subscriptions will be required elsewhere to make up the £60,000 which you are taking away. Therefore, the Home Secretary ought to take the curate into account. It is surely clear enough to anybody. If it is not clear enough, let him take some such Clause as I have put down, and let the curate show that he is damnified before he can get his compensation.
That, at any rate, is a modest proposal. It is fair. The real truth is that the curates have only 561 votes between them, but there is not a single hon. Member on the other side who, in his individual capacity, doubts the justice of their claim, or 1620 who would venture to treat those employed by him in the way in which the Government are proposing to treat these curates. Everybody knows that under such circumstances as these compensation would be awarded to these people. It is all nonsense for the right hon. Gentleman to say that he cannot be generous with the property of the nation. If that is true in the case of the curates, what right has he to compensate existing vicars and bishops and beneficed clergymen? of course, it is nonsense. You are compensating the beneficed clergy because you dare not face the electors unless you do so. In my opinion you will find that if you do this injustice to the curates the voters will be quite as indignant. This is a case which ought to appeal to every Member on the other side of the House. It ought to appeal to the Labour Members those of them, at any rate, who are present—for they know quite well that many of these curates are earning very small salaries, and to treat these men less generously than you are treating the comparatively better off beneficed clergy and the wealthy bishops, is simply an outrage and a scandal. I would ask them to put such pressure on the Government as they can to secure justice for this well deserving but poor class of men.
§ Mr. KING
The speech to which we have just listened from the Noble Lord reminded me of some we had from him just before the General Election of 1910, in connection with the Budget, when he told us that the Liberal party did not dare go to the' country because they feared they would be swept out of office. But the Liberal party at the present moment is stronger than ever. [HON. MEMBERS:"Oh, oh !"] I repeat, it is stronger than ever, in spite of what hon. Members may say, and I believe that the people of the country will be found to be entirely against the Noble Lord in this matter. The country realises perfectly well, as the Home Secretary has made it clear, that the curates of the Disestablished Church will receive much more sympathy and much more generous support from the laity should the Church be abolished. Returns show that the Church of England in Wales collected only £39,000 per annum for the support of the clergy, while the Nonconformist bodies subscribed nearly nine times that amount. It has been shown by the Home Secretary that the funds from which the clergy are paid will not suffer in any way under this Bill, and we cannot 1621 suppose that the people of Wales will be less generous in their efforts to back up the various societies which support the clergy, and which are largely responsible for them, than they have been up to the present time.
There is another fact which ought to be borne in mind, and that is that the curate at the present time has no security at all. He has himself to give three months' notice in order to resign his curacy, but the incumbent can get rid of him at any time. Therefore it cannot be suggested that their rights are being compromised in any way by this Bill. I admit that a good deal of sentimental sympathy can be aroused in support of the curates, but I want to point out that last year, or the year before, I made proposals in this House which were very strongly in favour of the curate, but they did not receive sanction or support from any of their ecclesiastical friends. The object of my proposal was to benefit the curates permanently, and I am glad to say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer received the idea sympathetically. In fact, the real friends of the curates are to be found on these benches. I should like to refer to the way in which log-rolling has been going on in favour of this Amendment. It is rather peculiar to see hon. Members who are most strong in their support of trade unionism acting in the way they are doing. I do hope that the Labour party will show their independence and common sense by supporting the Government against this Amendment.
§ Mr. HOARE
The hon. Member who has just spoken has assured us that he is the curates' friend. I should very much like a referendum taken of the 561 curates in the four dioceses of Wales as to whether they think he is their better friend for opposing this Amendment of my hon. Friend (Mr. Goulding) is their better friend for proposing it. I am sincerely sorry that the Home Secretary has found himself unable to meet my hon. Friend. In a matter of this kind there should be no party feeling at all. It is a question which concerns not one party or another party, but a few hundred very poor men, who are doing most excellent work at the present time at a very low salary, and who, I believe the majority of hon. Members of this Committee think, are being very hardly treated by this Bill. The Home Secretary adduced three or four points by which he wished to prove that curates were not being as hardly treated as we seem to think. In the first place, he drew 1622 attention to the fact that the curate—I mean by that the ordinary stipendiary curate—has no legal status. I quite agree that that is the case, I do not suppose that anyone on this side of the Committee urges that the stipendiary curate is in any way the holder of a freehold office. But we do say that the curate has a definitely recognised office in the Church, that his position is recognised, not only by custom, but by Statute and by definite licence, but in a number of other ways, and that the ordinary young man who was entering the profession of the Church would have every right to believe that the position he was adopting was one of security.
In the second place, the Home Secretary alluded to the fact that some considerable part of the curates' stipends in Wales arc at present paid out of voluntary subscriptions, and he went on to add that there was no reason why those voluntary subscriptions should not continue. What is the state of the case? It is that the two main funds from which curates in Wales draw their salaries are, first, the grants of the Ecclesiastical Commission, and, secondly, private subscriptions. The Ecclesiastical Commission give a grant of £14,700 a year towards assistant clergy. The Home Secretary seems to think that that grant is bound to continue. I am not at all sure that that is the case. The central financial body of the Church, when the whole financial position in Wales is altered by this Bill, will have to reconsider the matter from the very beginning. I am not at all sure that if this Bill passes the Ecclesiastical Commission may not think that this £15,000 a year is more needed, say for the incumbents, than for the assistant clergy, and it may be diverted from the assistant clergy to some other object which, in their opinion, is more urgent. Take the case of the voluntary subscriptions, which was conclusively explained by the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil). I do not for one moment believe that private subscriptions will fall off if this Bill passes. On the other hand, I believe that the Church will make a great effort—an effort most unfairly put upon her—and will raise large sums by private subscription. But I also believe that the first charge to which the private subscribers would desire to devote their money, will be to the incumbents themselves. They will find that as the incumbents die off, the funds at their disposal will diminish, and that in 1623 many parishes of Wales the incumbent will be left with nothing at all. Surely the ordinary Churchman in Wales, when he is confronted with that state of affairs, will feel that his first duty is not towards the assistant clergy with whom he can dispense, but towards the incumbent, with whom he will rightly think his village cannot dispense.
The Home Secretary pointed to what, as we know, is the state of affairs at the present time, that in point of law the curate has a first charge upon the emoluments of the benefice. That is certainly the case. But there again the state of affairs will be entirely altered by the passage of this Bill. What is true to-day, when you have legal benefices and a parochial system and all the consequent Statute law with which it is concerned, will be entirely changed when this Bill passes, and when in many cases the benefices will be left with nothing at all. I am informed that even as it is now it is a very rare exception to find in Wales the curate being paid from the funds of the benefice. The benefices are extremely poor, and unlike many parts of the country, and particularly the case of Ireland before the Disestablishment Bill, the benefices cannot stand a charge upon them for assistant clergy. Let me give the Committee an example. I am informed that in the diocese of St. Asaph only fourteen curates out of all the curates employed in that diocese are paid out of the funds of the benefices. It is therefore quite beside the point for the Home Secretary to say that the curates have no cause for complaint, because their salaries will still remain a charge upon the benefice of the parish. I come to the Home Secretary's last point. On this occasion the Home Secretary declared that the Irish precedent has no application. I venture to disagree with him. The Home Secretary quoted one particular case out of the Section under which curates are compensated, and drew a general conclusion from that particular case. What did happen was this: Under the Irish Bill the curates were divided into two classes—first, the permanent curates; and, secondly, the temporary curates. The Home Secretary only quoted the case of the permanent curates, in which their salaries were made a charge on the benefices. That is quite untrue of the temporary curates. In the case of the temporary curates they were given a gratuity very much on the line of the suggestion thrown out in the consequential 1624 Amendment of the hon. Member for Worcester. They were given sums varying from £25 a year for each year of their service up to a maximum of £600. Surely that is a case very much in point when we are considering the curates in the Welsh dioceses.
The analogy does not end there, for under the next Clause of the Irish Act compensation was given to certain Non-conformist ministers and Roman Catholic officials who would otherwise have been damnified by the passage of that Bill. Under what was known as the reyium donum, a sum of from £45,000 to £50,000 a year was given to Presbyterian ministers in Ireland. As an incidental result of the passage of the Irish Disestablishment Bill that Grant came to an end and anyone who had a permanent interest in the fund was allowed to retain it. The matter did not end there, for there were certain assistant successors who, I am informed, were in the position of students for the Presbyterian ministry, who had not yet qualified for the Grant under the regium donum, but. who were given a deferred annuity to take effect at the time when they would have been qualified because it was held by Mr. Gladstone that their justifiable expectations were being interfered with. That is surely absolutely applicable to the case of the curates in Wales. In the first place, they are immediately damnified by the possible loss of their curacy; and, in the second place, they are damnified by the loss of the actual expectation that in due course they will be appointed to a benefice in Wales. I think after these two facts the Irish case not only is not inapplicable but is applicable in both respects to the curates, first of all, to the loss which they immediately receive; and, secondly, to the incidental loss which they will certainly receive in the future. But putting aside these points of legal or political analogy, surely the case is a very broad one upon which any Member of the Committee can come to a decision without any researches into past history. Here you have 560 men, all of whom everybody will acknowledge are doing most excellent work, surely by all the laws of equity and justice they should not suffer by the passage of any Bill through this House based upon the assumption of hon. Gentlemen opposite that it is needed by the country. Surely it has always been a maxim of politics and of statesmanship that whatever may be the demand of the community for a particular Bill, the particular 1625 individuals, if their position is a legal and just one, should not suffer for it, and I appeal to hon. Members of every section of the House, whether they agree with the justice of this Bill or not, not to let these 560 men suffer, as everyone who knows about it declares that they undoubtedly will suffer, if the Bill passes in its present form. I do not say one particular form of compensation is more just than another, but let us, at any rate, by passing this Amendment, agree to the general principle that in some shape or form these men should not suffer by the passage of this Bill.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
I cannot understand the attitude of the Government upon this point. After all, they have safeguarded the life interest of the bishops and the beneficed clergy. On whom, then, can Disendowment fall? It must fall upon the curates—you have safeguarded the rights of everyone else—and if the Home Secretary's logic is correct, and the curates are not going to suffer, you are not going to Disendow the Church at all. What, then, becomes of the money for the museums and county councils It is perfectly clear, in spite of all these elaborate technicalities and red herrings drawn across the track of this Bill, that the people above all others who are going to suffer are the curates. They are the first to suffer. They are the poorest of the staff of the Church. As each life interest comes to an end, with the death of the incumbent, the Church will have to divert some of its voluntary contributions from the curates to providing another incumbent. As each life interest dies out, you will have one curate the less. Where is the Church going to retrench? Where can it retrench under the terms of your Bill, with securities and safeguards put in, except in the matter of curates? It seems to me so obvious that the Bill is designed that these people who have no freehold at any rate shall be the people who are hardest hit that I should have thought, as the curates in Wales think, that the Government will show some clemency and some justice towards them. I think the proviso of the Noble Lord (Lord Robert Cecil) is really too moderate. It asks for very little indeed. It is extraordinarily little. There has been a referendum on thus subject among the curates of Wales themselves. Every curate in the diocese of St. Asaph and of Bangor, and the majority of the curates in St. David's and Llandaff, have already signed the memorial which 1626 they have sent to me upon this subject. I must read just a little of the covering letter that is sent me by the secretary, the curate of Towyn, who says:—Accompanying this letter you will find a petition from the Welsh curates, which I hope you will present to the House of Commons on our behalf. Judging from the papers, it is the question of more favourable terms for the unbeneficed clergy that the Government are most likely to give way upon. If you will kindly bear in mind that as having an important bearing on the matter of the unbeneficed clergy in St. Asaph and Bangor.What are you going to do? You are going to deprive the Church of a certain sum of money. It is in dispute at present—the Home Secretary says one thing one day and another thing another—as to the amount, but it is obvious that the sum of money will come ultimately out of the curate's stipend, just as a large portion of the taxation which is levied on the well-to-do or the fairly well-off filters down so that it falls hardly upon the poorest people. The people who suffer are these poorest men, many of whom are the last to be considered, who have only recently taken orders.
I should like the Government to pay a little attention to the second portion of the proviso which I put down. Take the position of existing curates who have taken orders in the Church in Wales. Surely when they are appointed to an incumbency there will be no Endowment. The life interest of the existing incumbent will come to an end and there will be no prospect. They took orders in the Church in Wales with the prospect before thorn of getting an incumbency. If there had not been that before them, I think very few would have spent large sums of money on their education and training, or, if they did, they would have preferred to take orders in England. Every consideration of equity demands that something should be done for those curates who are at present in expectation of promotion to an incumbency in the Church in Wales. I really think that the whole attitude of the Home Secretary is so unreasonable and so inaccurate on these points that this will indeed be a shock in the country to the Government. If there is one class in the Church in Wales to which the sympathy of everybody will go out, it is those curates. You have safeguarded the beneficed clergy, the bishops are to go on receiving their salaries and living in their palaces, as one hon. Gentleman said, but the curates are to receive not a penny of compensation, and are to be treated as 1627 outside the Bill altogether. I say this constitutes one of the greatest scandals of the Bill, and I would ask the Chancellor of the Duchy if he can meet the claims of the curates in this matter, and give them some safeguard that they will not be damnified by the passage of the Bill into law.
§ Mr. LEACH
The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) has made, as he always does, a very interesting speech, and I entirely associate myself with him and all other Members who have spoken in expressing sympathy with the poorly paid curates of the Church of England. It is strange news to me to learn how insecure is their tenure, how small their salaries, and how little prospect they have before them. If I am correctly informed, every curate, at any rate of the class for whom we are now speaking, is not only paid a very small salary during his active years of work, but when he is old and no longer fit to do the work of minister he is cast adrift, no provision being made for him in the way of superannuation. Why! the very poorest in the Nonconformist denominations which I know—and I think I know a great deal about them—not only give their ministers a very much more secure tenure than the curates have, but when they are old superannuation is provided for the very poorest in these denominations. If the Government could have seen its way in any fashion right and proper to have done something for these poorer clergy, I should have been heartily glad to support them. It is in these cases, as in all cases, the poorest who suffer. There is usually provision made for the rich, and the rich as a rule can take care of themselves. It is on that account that my sympathy goes out to the curates so very largely. But I do not fail to recognise that these curates hold their tenure on a very insecure agreement. If I am not incorrect, when this Bill becomes law they will be in no worse position than they are now, and I think one of the first things the Disestablished and Disendowed Church in Wales should do is to make better provision for the poorer clergy, so that they should have brighter and better prospects than falls to their lot now. I think the Church of England itself should do it. It should not be left to any efforts of the Government in this way. [An HON. MEMBER:"YOU are taking away the money."] I regret very much indeed that nothing can be done under this Bill for them. I repeat that if anything could be 1628 done I should be very glad indeed to support it. But I do not fail to recognise that this Bill does no wrong to these men. It is the Church they serve which is to blame, if any blame has to be attached at all. I repeat, that it is to the discredit of the Church—and I cannot help recognising it as one of the richest of the Churches—to allow these clergymen to spend the first twenty-four or twenty-five years of their lives in being educated and in making preparations for their calling, and then leave them with no prospect, but dependence on their friends when they can no longer do duty as ministers of religion.
§ Mr. STEPHEN WALSH
I have paid considerable attention to the Debates upon this measure, and I say at once that no person in this House or outside it have ever lobbied me. But twelve months ago, when speaking on this matter in my own Constituency, I expressed the hope, which I repeated not very long ago, that when Parliament was dealing with this matter, having a perfect right to deal with it, it should deal with it in such a manner as to leave as little trace as possible of harshness and bitterness behind. Listening to the speeches made, I am bound to say that I am in complete agreement with one remark which fell from the hon. Member who has just spoken. If there is any harshness it generally falls upon the poor. It is said that the persons who have been specially referred to in the Amendment before the House possess ho legal right. I hope that the House will not deal with this matter in that niggling spirit. These men have taken up a vocation which every one of us will agree is the most noble in which men can enter. They have a right to look forward to the proper avenues of advancement in their profession. Parliament comes in and interferes with that. It is not the legal right to which we ought to direct ourselves so much as to the equities of the case, and it is perfectly true that in many other matters where it would have been difficult or even impossible to establish a legal right, Parliament has often said,"We will recognise all the facts of the situation and will diminish the hardship of our conduct."
In this case I really believe that Parliament would do well to recognise that this small body of men have a real claim which it is impossible to state with legal precision, but which it is not difficult for any man of common candour or fairness to understand. They are devoting their lives to their profession. They had a right to look 1629 forward, if Parliament had not intervened, to their profession being for them, in addition to the opportunities of their sacred calling, a means whereby their living was obtained. Now it is said that they maybe no worse and appeals are made to the Church of England in Wales afterwards to rise to greater heights. The argument is put forward, "We are quite sure that the supporters of the Church of England in Wales will see to it that the curates will occupy a proper position." Is not that a shirking of our direct responsibility? I put forward very generally that it is not so much what we ask other people to do at a later date, it is what we should now do ourselves. That surely is the object of our meeting in these Debates, and why, recognising the whole circumstances of the case, we have no right to appeal to other people to undertake a heavy responsibility for which we ourselves are responsible. It is for this reason that I respectfully submit the Committee should take into consideration the position of these men, and make a fair provision for them. I honestly and in the fullest degree believe in the principle of Disestablishment, and, indeed, in a very large measure with all that is in this Bill. But I think it would be the very best thing for all parties concerned if we could recognise the position of these men.
It is said,"If you do this, where are you going to end?" There may be some force in the contention. It has been suggested that lay readers will have to be compensated and Scripture readers and organists. I rather think that those arguments are too small. The clergyman has given a very large part of his life to prepare himself for his duties. The organist in many cases does not specially take up that calling as his only means of living, and the Scripture reader is very often engaged in other business. One of the most distinguished Scripture readers, whose name will readily occur to any person who knows English history, was the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, but nobody would suggest that was the only means whereby he earned his living. In this case it is the only living the man has, and you take his life if you take away the means by which he lives. The consequential Amendment submitted by the Noble Lord opposite I think is really worthy of serious consideration. It is that the man shall put forward proof that he has been damnified, and I certainly think that is a very genuine proposition. I suppose it would be open to 1630 the arbitrator, the conditions of whose appointment will be matter for further discussion, to deal with proof that the money has not come in, that the £60,000 or £70,000 a year has not been made up by voluntary subscription, and that the man has really lost that to which he had a real claim. Before the passage of this Bill, surely this proposition, the equity of which I do not think any one can deny, ought to be regarded.
If I enter a profession, and as a consequence of the action of Parliament I am damnified in that profession, and if upon proof submitted, it is found that I have lost something, surely I have a right to-say that at least Parliament ought to indemnify me for the loss I have sustained through their action. In this case there is a loss. I could not possibly support the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester, for his proposal is that, irrespective of the conditions, £200 should be paid to-each individual; but I see no difficulty in supporting the Amendment of the Noble Lord, and I hope that Parliament will act in this matter in an equitable way with a view to removing all bitterness so far as-it can do that, and in order that when this great settlement has taken place, harshness and bitterness may become things of the past. Everybody knows that these poor persons have engaged in a noble-work, and in regard to them the consequential Amendment moved by the Noble Lord simply asks that proof of loss may be-submitted. I certainly have pleasure in supporting the proposal. I make one-appeal in this matter. I am not speaking for the Labour benches. I am only speaking the sentiments of the Member for the Ince Division, and I certainly do believe that this consequential Amendment would be received by the vast majority of labouring men in this country as meeting their ideas of equity and fairness, fairness which they claim for themselves and fairness which is not by any means always rendered to them, but fairness which is none the less necessary.
§ Mr. A. LYTTELTON
I did not intend to have spoken on this Amendment, but I really feel called upon to ask for some answer to the irresistible argument that has been made by the last speaker, and by-several other speakers. It is true, as the hon. Gentelman has said, that in this case the loss does fall upon the poor. Contrast the action of this Government when they 1631 are dealing with rich corporations and rich men. Take the case of the Port of London Bill, which they considered for some years. Had the directors there any legal right whatever? They had no legal right what-ever. I do not for a moment submit that their case was other than a good one, and they had a claim, a moral and equitable claim, to be considered. They were considered, and I am afraid the reason was not that they had moral and equitable rights, but because they were persons of power, who could make themselves disagreeable to Gentlemen sitting on the benches opposite. [An HON. MEMBER: "What Government did that?"] The Government that sits there. It is an utterly contemptible thing to see men who sit there, who have given compensation to comparatively rich men and the servants of rich corporations, come here and beslaver these poor men with compliments? on the good work and the honourable work they have done in Wales, and then decline to give them a single sixpence for the losses which they have sustained. I feel amazed that any Government should have the hardihood to sit there and to take up that position. We had a speech from a Nonconformist, the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Leach), who thought it right to get up and say: "It is the Church's obligation, and how miserable it is of the Church not to look better after her poor servants," and his magnificent contribution to the exhortation he was giving to the Church is to support this Bill which takes away £60,000 a year from the Church, and then he opposes in this House an Amendment which gives these men their just due. He is not going to vote for this Amendment, though he says he would like to. He admits the equity of the case, but yet he dare not put in force the sentiments which he professes. Let us put away these wretched legal arguments in this matter. The Chancellor of the Exchequer laughs at that, but in the Port of London Pill, of which he was the author, he paid no attention to legal arguments. He looked to the moral equities of the case. We are appealing to the same Government, and why in the world are we to be put off by legal technicalities?
Why are we not in this Bill to have the principle which the Government accepted in that case? This case is enormously stronger. Let me put it again to those who may not have heard it. A curate goes 1632 into the service of the Welsh Church. He is prepared by a university education for that vocation and by years of study. He goes in the confident expectation that the income of perhaps £2 10s. per week, something like the income of an artisan, will be his, so long as his health lasts, and so long as he behaves himself as a man in that position should; and while he is entitled to the security of the position of incumbent, subject to the veto of the bishop, he has the perfectly confident expectation of enjoying that income as long as he lives. He also has a great deal more. He has a right to suppose that if his abilities and industry are good he will secure promotion in the Church on which he has embarked his career. These are absolutely substantial matters. I do not care to discuss freehold interests and that sort of legal matter. They have nothing to do with the question. The Committee are considering the equities of the case. The man has a reasonable expectation of that income and promotion; it is an expectation which has been realised in other cases. I do not want to impute motives to hon. Gentlemen opposite. They may think that it is right and a matter of high policy to Disestablish and Disendow the Church, and that they are here to support such a policy. I ask them to produce a single instance in the whole history of these matters where, either by private law or by public law passed for the so-called benefit of the community, men who are in actual enjoyment of an income, with the expectation of its continuance, have not been fully compensated. The proposal of my Noble Friend is really below the mark. I say with a sense of responsibility that in my opinion, for such an interest, one would give about five years' purchase. My Noble Friend proposes five years' purchase not of the income, but of the deficit caused by reason of this Act. Could a more reasonable proposal possibly be made? I ask those who have listened to the case put forward and to the reply of the Government to take their courage in their hands and give effect to what I am certain in their hearts and judgment they must believe to be a principle of equity.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the DUCHY (Mr. Hobhouse)
The right hon. Gentleman opposite inquired how we could have the hardihood to treat the curates in this matter in a manner so absolutely different from that in which we treated the directors 1633 of the Port of London. It would be hardihood if we treated them any differently, but we do not. He suggested that the directors of the Port of London were compensated by this House. I think that was his suggestion.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
Yes; but how? Out of Port of London money. Therefore if it damnified anybody or cost anybody anything, it was the shareholders whom those directors represented. Coming to the proposition of the present Bill, if yon compensate the curates, at whose expense are they to be compensated? There are only two sets of funds involved in this Bill, those which are retained by the various secular authorities and those which will go over to the representative body. The whole of the present funds of the Church are divided into those two sets. The position which has been accepted by this House is that the funds going to the secular body are not rightly devoted any longer to the service of the Church; therefore any compensation to be paid to anybody in future must come out of the funds which are to be held by the representative body.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
The incumbents are only compensated with a life annuity in the future because they have an existing interest, which is a legally enforcible one. The only funds which the representative body have got are the funds which were formerly held by the Church, and which will go hereafter in payment to those incumbents who have existing interests. Therefore, finder the proposal of the Noble Lord and the hon. Gentlemen opposite, you will only be able to compensate the curates by injury in some way, to whatever extent it may be, to the future prospects of the incumbents.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to explain? My Amendment is perfectly clear on the Order Paper: that the curates are to be compensated from precisely the same fund as will be used to compensate the incumbents.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
That is precisely my' argument. There is certain money available for paying annuities to incumbents, 1634 bishops, deans, canons. If you take away anything from that pro tanto you diminish the amount available for annuity.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I do not take it from that standpoint, as the right hon. Gentleman may see if he will read.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
It is taken out of that fund and can only be taken out of that fund. [HON. MEMBERS:"NO, no."] If I might refer to the question of the Irish Church, upon which this Amendment is founded, the only way that the Irish curates were dealt with was by deducting something from the interest of the incumbents who employed them. That is the basis on which the whole of the Irish compensation was founded; it is precisely the basis upon which this compensation is proposed to be given.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
Pardon me; the State takes the sum of £157,000 under the proposals of the Bill. The representative body receives a total sum of £133,000, the whole of which at the present time is devoted to the payment of ecclesiastical persons. There is only, therefore, that sum of £133,000—or capital representing that sum—available for the purpose of paying this compensation. This sum is at the present time declared to be insufficient for the purpose of giving salaries or annuities—as they are called—in the future to these ecclesiastical persons.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
You will therefore be either bound to run the risk of diminishing the resources available for the future of paying these annuities to persons who are already—
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
It is the only fund available. You may say that this sum is too big or too small, or you may say that the compensation to pay to ecclesiastical persons is too little, but what you cannot get away from is that it is the only sum available for paying compensation cither to curates or annuities to ecclesiastical persons ! Therefore, I would really suggest to my hon. Friend the Member for Ince who made a speech that we all have sympathy with, that we must consider what the actual state of the law is at the present time, what injury, if you like to use the 1635 terminology of the Opposition, you do to their interests, and you must see your proposal does not create a new interest which at present does not exist. No one contends there is any legal interest at the present time on the part of curates, though there is a moral interest. The line has been taken that the incumbent or the bishop has a legal interest which you are bound to meet up to the very last penny. Why should you regard the legal position of curates and create a new position when you are not in any way allowed to disregard the legal interests of persons holding ecclesiastical office. Let me turn for one moment to the actual Amendment before the Committee. The Amendment-says you should take a sum of £112,000. [HON. MEMBERS:"NO, no."] There are great difficulties, and the hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Goulding) said you must not look at the actual Amendment before the House, but you must look at the proviso.
§ Mr. GOULDING
No, I said it was absolutely essential to get the words out before any Amendment could be moved.
§ Mr. REMNANT
We are all in the recollection of the House, but you have made so many illogical statements already.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
What we were told we were concerned with was £112,000. Why should you fix a definite sum before you know how many interests are to be dealt with. There are an unknown number of persons to be assisted, but yet a hard and fast sum is to be fixed to be paid to an absolutely unknown and unknowable number of persons.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I would appeal for one moment for a fair consideration by the Committee of this Amendment. We have had two speeches from the Front Government Bench which afford the strongest indication to anybody experienced of the feelings of the Government upon this matter. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down can be quite clear in matters of figures when he chooses. Can anyone for a moment consider that he was either clear or convincing this afternoon when he was really driven to suggestions like this. It is known that there is a sum of £157,000 which has been taken and another figure of £137,000 which is left. He says you can only take this money out 1636 of £137,000, when everyone who explained the Amendment said they want it taken out of the £157,000. This Amendment we are on now is to leave out certain words in the beginning of the Clause, because they restrict the people to be compensated to people who have a legal freehold tenure. If you reject that Amendment you can only compensate people who have a legal freehold tenure, and you cannot give a single penny of compensation to anybody who has not a legal freehold tenure, and curates have not. You must strike these words out at the beginning of the Clause. Anyone who has been in Parliament for six weeks knows that, and, of course, the right hon. Gentleman knows it. Yet he is driven to take such a line as that, knowing that you have got to take these words out before you can give a single penny. As my hon. Friend says, if you take these words out, there are four Amendments you must put in. Very likely he is right. We are not discussing which Amendment, and for this purpose I am content that you should take the one that gives the smallest compensation, but you cannot get that unless you move these words out. The Home Secretary spent a tremendous amount of time on this matter. I am not going to spend any time upon the right hon. Gentleman's past history. The hon. Member for Worcester says he remembered the right hon. Gentleman when he was a great oarsman, and the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin says he remembers him when he was in the County Court. I say nothing about those happy days, but if the right hon. Gentleman put forward such arguments in the County Court I am sure he would not have succeeded. Look at this question from that serious point of view. It is idle to talk about legal freehold tenure. There are numberless precedents that when a public Act Is passed for the purpose of public policy, which affects the rights or reasonable expectations of individuals, you invariably compensate them. You do this continually, and therefore it ought to apply at the present time. It is equally idle to suggest that these men will not be injured. That is a question which may be left to the arbitrators, and if they are not injured, then, of course, they will not receive any compensation. Can anyone doubt that a large number of these men will be injured? You are taking £150,000 away from the Church. These men entered upon this work with the expectation of continuing that work, and you are 1637 taking that work away from them. Under those circumstances surely you ought to give some compensation from that £170,000 which you are taking away from the Church. I remember an eloquent peroration at a meeting of the Cambridge Union thirty years ago, made by a great Nonconformist who has risen now to a very high position. We had a very hard fight on the question of Disestablishment and Disendowment, and my friend said:—For thirty or fifty years you have treated us with contempt. You have injured us, and treated us as social inferiors. We have got our foot upon your neck now, and do you think that we shall forget.Now I do not approve in the least of that speech, though I do understand what it means. I do not, however, understand why you are opposing this Amendment. These men you are trying to injure are not the men who have done any of these things in the past. You may have feelings of resentment against the Church, and you may be carrying them out in this Bill, but this Amendment does not come under that head. You are dealing with a class of men who have done no harm and who have been doing good work for the Church. I notice that the hon. Member for Colne Valley nods his head in approval. But has he the courage of his convictions? The hon. Member told us that if anything could be done for these men he wished to have it done for them. Has he the courage to insist upon that now?
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
Is it the slightest use saying anything after a remark like that? Hon. Members tell us one thing when they are preaching or speaking upon platforms and so forth, but here is a man who tells you that he conscientiously believes the Amendment is right, that a grave injustice is being done to noble men, or to men who at any rate deserve sympathy, and he says he will do it if the Government will do it, but if the Government do not, politics come first. Politics come first; my duty to my neighbour and my God conies nowhere.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I hope none of my hon Friends will be misled by the speech to which we have just listened. Let me remind hon. Members what it is that the Government propose to do, and compare it with the proposal in the Act affecting the Irish Church which has previously 1638 been quoted by hon. Members opposite as an example of fair treatment to the Church. In the Irish case, wherever an incumbent employed a curate, the amount of salary that was paid to the curate was deducted from the life interest of the incumbent.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The Noble Lord says it was only in the case of permanent curates that compensation on a large scale was given.
§ Mr. McKENNA
They were almost entirely the whole of the curates. The salary of the curates was deducted from the incumbent's life interest, and the incumbent then received 12.8 years' purchase of the difference. In our proposal for compensation, we propose to give the incumbent seven years' purchase of the whole salary, including the curate's salary; so that my hon. Friends will see that where a curate gets £100 a year and twelve years' purchase is taken as the value of the life interest, we are paying £1,200 to the incumbent as the curate's part. In the Irish Bill-—[Interruption]—they do not want me to state the case. In the Irish Bill compensation was paid; but the salary paid to the permanent curates, who were the largest number, was deducted from the sum which was the basis of the commutation payment of the incumbent, and we are consequently in our proposal offering to the representative body a capitalised sum which includes far more than was given to the curates in the Irish case. These are the facts, and I defy anyone who is familiar with the terms of the Irish Act to contradict it. I appeal to hon. Members not to be misled by rhetoric which has no foundation. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. EVELYN CECIL
This Amendment is intended by leaving out certain words to affirm the principle that curates ought to have equitable compensation of some kind, and those who vote for this Amendment are voting to assist the curates to some extent in giving them some equitable compensation. Those who vote against are for doing nothing of the kind. If this was a question of trade unionism or of minimum rates of wages, the Government would have no doubt whatever about what they ought to do; they would support the 1639 equitable claim to some compensation of these poor men who are being turned out of their employment and out of the profession in which they have worked for years, and they would say that they ought to have some fair treatment in such a matter as this; but the present method of the Government is simply to ignore the reasonable equitable claim which it is the duty of Parliament to see is properly considered, and they are determined to crush the curates in such a way as proves the meanness of the Government.
§ It being a quarter before Five of the clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 28th November, 1912, to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from the Chair.
§ Question put," That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 230; Noes, 190.1641
|Division No. 509.]||AYES||[4.45 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Esslemont, George Birnie||Lundon, Thomas|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Falconer, J.||Lynch, A. A.|
|Alden, Percy||Farrell, James Patrick||Macdonald, J M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Allen, Arthur A, (Dumbarton)||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||McGhee, Richard|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Ffrench, Peter||Maclean, Donald|
|Arnold, Sydney||Field, William||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Fitzgibbon, John||MacNeill, J. G. Switt (Donegal, South)|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewelyn A.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Macpherson, Janes Ian|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Gilhooly, James||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Ginnell, L.||M'Curdy, Charles Albert|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Gladstone, W. G. C.||M'Kean, John|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Glanville, Harold James||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Goldstone, Frank||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Martin, Joseph|
|Bethel), Sir J. H.||Griffiths, Ellis J.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Meagher, Michael|
|Boland, John Plus||Guiney, P.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hackett, J.||Millar, James Duncan|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Hancock, John George||Molloy, M.|
|Brace, William||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Brady, P. J.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Morrell, Philip|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morison, Hector|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hayden, John Patrick||Munro, R.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hazleton, Richard||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork. N.E.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Neilson. Francis|
|Chappie, Dr. William Allen||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Clough, William||Higham, John Sharp||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hinds, John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Brien, Wiiliam (Cork)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hodge, John||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hogge, James Myles||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Cotton, William Francis||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Dowd, John|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Hudson, Walter||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Crean, Eugene||Hughes, S. L,||O'Malley, William|
|Crooks, William||John, Edward Thomas||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, Rt.Hon.Sir D.Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Cullinan, J.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Shee, James John|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Outhwaite. R. L.|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Jones, Leif Stratten (Rushcliffe)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|De Forest, Baron||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H' mts., Stepney)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Delany, William||Joyce, Michael||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Keating, Matthew||Pointer, Joseph|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kellaway, Frederick George||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Kilbride, Denis||Pringle, William M, R.|
|Doris, W.||King, J.||Radford, G. H.|
|Duffy, William J.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Raffan. Peter Wilson|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Reddy. M.|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Leach, Charles||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wextord, N.)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Richards, Thomas|
|Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. Oenbighs)||Spicer, Rt, Hon. Sir Albert||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Robinson, Sidney||Tennant, Harold John||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Roch, Walter F.||Thomas, J. H.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Rowlands, James||Verney, Sir Harry||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Walters, Sir John Tudor||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon, H. L. (Cleveland)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Scanlan, Thomas||Wardle, George J.|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Sheeny, David||Watt, Henry A.||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||Webb, H.|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Fleming, Valentine||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Fletcher, John Samuel||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Forster, Henry William||Newman, John R. P.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Gardner, Ernest||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Gastrell, Major W. H.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gibbs, G. A.||Nield, Herbert|
|Baird, J. L.||Gill, A. H.||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gilmour, Captain John||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J, (City, Lond.)||Goldsmith, Frank||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Grant, J. A.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gretton, John||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Guinness. Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Haddock, George Bahr||Pryee-Jones, Col. E.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Randies, Sir John S.|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Beresford, Lord C.||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Rawson, Col. R. H.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hardle, J. Keir||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bird A.||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Blair, Reginald||Harris, Henry Percy||Royds, Edmund|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Boyton, James||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Sandys, G. J|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Horne, Edward (Surrey, Guildford)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stanier, Beville|
|Butcher, J. G.||Hunt, Rowland||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon, J. (Dublin UnIv)||Hunter, Sir C. R.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Campion, W. R.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Starkey, John R.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Steel-Maitland, A, D.|
|Cassel, Felix||Joynson-Hicks, William||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cator, John||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Cautley, H. S.||Kerry, Earl of||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Cave, George||Keswick, Henry||Talbot, Lord E. -|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitehin)||Larmor, Sir J.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mlle End)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Chambers, J.||Lee, Arthur H.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Lewisham, Viscount||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lloyd, G. A.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Craig, Charles (Antrim, S.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Craig, Nerman (Kent, Thanet)||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Cralk, Sir Henry||Lowe, Sir F. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo.,Han. S.)||White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droltwich)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Macmaster, Donald||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Dalziel, D. (Brixton)||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Malcolm, Ian||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Moore, William|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Goulding and Mr. Hoare.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Mount, William Arthur|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ The CHAIRMAN then proceeded to put the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at a quarter before Five of the clock at this day's sitting.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Tuesday next (14th January).
§ The Orders for the remaining Government business were read, and postponed.
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of 14th October, proposed the Question, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ Adjourned accordingly at Five o'clock, till Monday next, 18th January.