§ Nothing in this Act shall affect the law with respect to marriage in Wales or Monmouthshire, or the right of a bishop of the Church in Wales to licence churches for the solemnisation of marriage or to grant licences to marry:
§ Provided that where neither party to a marriage is a member of the Church in Wales they shall not be entitled as of right to have the marriage solemnised in a church of the Church in Wales.
§ The CHAIRMAN
No; I think the hon. Member will be entitled to move when this Amendment has been disposed of. The Amendment to be moved by the hon. Member for Croydon (Mr. Malcolm) deals with a specific point, while that of the hon. Member for Chelsea (Mr. Hoare) deals with a very general one.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
I beg to move, at the beginning, to insert the words,
"The Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act, 1907, shall be repealed in Wales and Monmouthshire in so far as it compels any bishop or clergyman of the Church to administer the sacraments of 117 the Church to any persons contracting marriage under the aforesaid Act; and in no church in Wales or in Monmouth-shire shall it be lawful to solemnise the marriage of a man to his deceased wife's sister unless and until the bishops of the Church in Wales so decree."
The Home Secretary will no doubt appreciate that we are now approaching a criticism of this Bill which deals with matters of a doctrinal character, and that, as such, they should be treated with tender care. Let me admit, for the purpose of this Amendment only, that you are en titled, if you choose, to sever the age-long connection between the Church of Wales and the State; let me admit, also, that you are legally and morally entitled to take from the Church those Endowments which, we believe, for ages past have belonged to her, what is it for which you really get support of your Bill? The support surely is given to you for this, that nothing you are prepared to do in this Bill will in any way limit the freedom of the Church, or limit her religious action, or things of that kind; that you really mean, by this Bill, to free her from all those trammels and limitations which are the corollary of State control. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad to hear those cheers, for I believe that without this Amendment you would really be doing grievous harm to the freedom of the Church which you are proposing by your Bill to Disestablish. You would be branding her with a badge of recognised inferiority compared with the other non-established churches. Whilst, as you say, you are going to strike the fetters from her, you will, at that very moment, unless you accept this Amendment, be shackling her feet with other fetters of State control which would impede her marching along the path which she has trodden for centuries.
Our Church has its own unchanging laws. One of these forbids marriage, as we all know, with the deceased wife's sister. Before the year 1907, when the Statute law coincided with the Church law, the people who contracted such a marriage were known in the forcible language of those days as "notorious and evil livers." Then the State changed its law, and since the year 1907 has declared that a marriage of that kind, marriage with the deceased wife's sister, can be legalised, though not necessarily solemnised, in the Church of England. The State was very scrupulous, and wisely 118 scrupulous, I think, upon this point, and enacted in set terms that there should be no penalty or censure upon a clergyman for refusing to marry a person with his deceased wife's sister, if he conscientiously believed it would be contravening the law of the Church; and Lord Chancellor Loreburn, in recommending the measure to the House of Lords, said:—If any further words are necessary to free the conscience of clergymen, let those words be inserted.Then there came the judgment, well known in this House, in Thompson v. Dibdin, which declared that a clergyman in the Church of England was bound to administer the Sacrament of Holy Communion to persons whom he had refused to marry because he would be thereby contravening the law of the Church. I believe that this interpretation of the intention of Parliament is utterly foreign to, and utterly contrary to what Parliament then intended. I really think it would be cruel and fantastic to suppose that Parliament intended, after having said to the clergyman that he was not to marry a person anxious to marry his deceased wife's sister, to compel that clergyman to offer to those persons the highest privileges of the altar which a Church of England can confer. Though this is not the point at which to raise that question, I do devoutly hope that some Government will choose an early date to make this interpretation impossible in future. But in the meanwhile I hope this Amendment will be accepted in order that it shall not be binding upon the non-established bishops and clergy of the Church in Wales. I venture to believe that His Majesty's Government will accept this Amendment, first of all, as a proof of their bona fides that Disestablishment means greater freedom for the Church with which they are dealing.
There is another reason. Bight hon. Gentlemen who sit along that Front bench are the foremost champions just now of the Reformation Settlement. What did the Reformation Settlement do? Above all it made this perfectly clear, that there are in the State two entities—the spiritual entity and the temporal entity, each with its own separate jurisdiction—defined by a line of demarcation for which all creeds in this country have most steadfastly and strenuously contended. But the Act of 1907, as interpreted by the Courts, claims for the State this very spirituality which the Reformation Settlement denied to it. It is therefore in our opinion a violation of the Reformation Settlement itself and an 119 unconstitutional aggression upon the severed Church. If the State arrogates to itself no such power at all over the Non-established Churches within this realm, I think it is absolutely inconceivable that this Parliament really intends to decide for the Church which it is about to emanicpate from State control, whom she shall admit or whom repel from the privileges of her altar. This, therefore, will be, in my opinion, a scandalous refusal if this Amendment is not accepted. It will work for infinite harm to the organisation and discipline of our Catholic Church in Wales. It will, incidentally, fundamentally change the conception of the relations that exist or ought to exist between the Free Churches of this country and Parliament, and it will preclude by a sort of twentieth-century Test Act many devout and faithful men from entering the service of the Church in Wales, or, if they do enter it, it will make it difficult for them to be loyal both to their faith and State.
I believe that justice and expediency alike would recommend any Christian Government to accept the Amendment which is down in my name. You have been profuse with our money, as we think, when we would have wished you to be frugal. We rely on the Government not to be niggardly in respect of our claims to our spiritual freedom when indeed they may be bountiful. We all admit, even in these contentious days, how wrong it was in the past to deny civil franchise to Un-established Churches simply on account of their faith. How much more wrong is it now, or would it be now, to deny to our Church this claim for spiritual freedom in this profoundest aspect of its faith, and to compel that denial by the votes of people belonging to other denominations. To proceed for us would, I think, be to provoke once again in this country one of those terrible conflicts which have taken place in the past between the supporters of religious freedom and supporters of State tyranny. For let it be well understood that a civil Government, wearing its broad phylacteries of toleration for progressive and free opinion, can never hope to control or dragoon our ancient faith into accepting its interpretation of our theology and of our doctrine. It is in order to try and prevent so disastrous and so catastrophic a consummation to this Bill, which you believe is for the good of our Church in Wales, a Bill pro- 120 posed for a God-fearing nation by a Christian Government, that we ask His Majesty's Government to accept this Amendment, and, by accepting it, to show their real adherence to the spirit of the Reformation Settlement, and to grant to the Church, which they are now emancipating from State control in Wales, no less a body of freedom than is granted to all the other Established Churches in these matters.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The hon. Gentleman has made one of the most eloquent speches which we have heard in this House in favour of Disestablishment. He will be interested to hear that the Bill does for him precisely what he asks. We propose by the Bill, as it stands, to leave to the Disestablished English Church in Wales hereafter to decide for itself whether its clergymen shall or shall not, according to the rules of their own Church, administer Holy Communion to persons who have married their deceased wife's sister. That will be the free condition of the Disestablished Church.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
I should like to know-how will that interfere with case-made law, as I suppose it is called, of Thompson and Dibdin.
§ Mr. McKENNA
That judgment deals with a Church which is Established, and which has got to abide by the civil law of the country for the time. But all ecclesiastical law until this Bill is binding upon the Disestablished Church only so long as the Disestablished Church does not make alterations. The Noble Lord (Lord E. Cecil) shakes his head, but that is Clause 3.
§ Mr. McKENNA
This is not dealing with marriage law. The giving of Holy Communion to a person who has married his deceased wife's sister is not marriage law. This law deals with something quite different, and that is where the hon. Member has gone wrong. The Clause provides:—The ecclesiastical law of the Church in Wales shall cease to exist as law.By a later Sub-section, the Church is enabled to make changes in that law so far as it affects its own members. What is it that Clause 22, which appears to be quite misunderstood, purports to do? At the present time the Church of England enjoys certain privileges under the marriage law. Marriage solemnised in the Church of 121 England does not require the presence of a registrar. The presence of an incumbent is sufficient. We propose that nothing in this Bill shall affect the marriage law— that is to say, that a bishop of the Church in Wales shall maintain his right to licence churches for the solemnisation of marriages, and to grant licences to marry. The effect of this Clause would be this: That so long as the Church of England in Wales, as regards the solemnisation of marriage, has the same rites and ceremonies as exist in the Church of England in England as an Established Church, so long will the law of marriage in Wales remain unaffected. There is preserved to the Church of England in Wales the privileges or advantages, if you call them so or practices, as I prefer to call them, with regard to marriages which the Church of England has enjoyed in the past. The reason for the distinction in this respect between the Church of England and all other Churches is a very simple one. The Church of England in Wales takes over all the existing churches. In those churches there is at the present time the right of the parishioner to be married. The Disestablished Church taking over the churches, and getting the benefit of the churches, cannot altogether get rid of the right of the parishioner to be married in that building, but we limit the right of the parishioner in future to those cases in which either both or one of the parties is a member of the Church of England. So that the effect of the Clause, taking the whole thing together, is this: that the Church of England, when Disestablished, retains the use of the church—that is, the parish church, and the parishioners' existing right to be married in the parish church is retained, but to the limited extent only of those cases m which one or both of the parties is a member of the Church of England. The practice of marriage in the Church of England Churches will continue in the future precisely as it is at present. Nothing in this Act affects the law relating to marriage so long as the rites and ceremonies and practices of the Church of England remain the same as they are now.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that point, I would like to ask him whether he will assure me with regard to this specific point as to the 122 result of the civil case, Thompson v. Dibdin, whether that judgment will apply in Wales, and in the case of a man who has married his deceased wife's sister who, with his new wife, is refused Holy Communion in the Church of England, whether the clergyman will then be under pains and penalties as stated in the Thompson and Dibdin case.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The immediate case did not arise with respect to marriage. It was in respect of a person whose supposed offence was due to his having married a particular person, but the administration of the Holy Communion was not at the time of the marriage and could not have affected the legality of the marriage itself. The marriage law here referred to is the law which determines the legality or otherwise of marriage. With regard to the point the right hon. Gentleman put to me, my reason for my statement was this: In the Clause he will find the words, "Nothing in this Act shall affect the law in respect to marriage in Wales or Monmouthshire." What is the existing law with respect to marriage? It is that where a marriage is solemnised according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England, speaking now of the Church of England as an Established Church, the presence of a registrar as one condition is not necessary. Hereafter, as nothing in this Act affects the law, so long as the marriage is conducted in accordance with the law, that is to say in accordance with the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England, nothing in this Act will affect it. Hereafter in Wales, and this is the construction I am giving to the Clause, the marriage law affords the only exception in the whole of this Bill in which the Church of England will differ from all the other Free Churches. As I have endeavoured to explain, the difference arises because the Church of England cannot have the churches except subject to the rights of the parishioners. One of those rights being marriage, we are bound in the Bill to have regard to the condition of the Church as affected by the law of marriage, and to have regard to the parishioner's right to be married in a particular building. Turning to the Amendment, the hon. Member will not suggest 123 that in this Bill we should repeal the Act of 1907 in Wales. He would not suggest that we should say that in Wales marriage with a deceased wife's sister is to be illegal. He only wishes the Church in Wales to be free in regard to such a marriage. The hon. Member referred to what has been described as the scandal of the law at the present day. That scandal, as he regards it, exists, and will continue to exist, in England where the Church is Established. But it will not exist in Wales.
§ Mr. McKENNA
In England the scandal exists because the marriage is against what the hon. Member believes to be the wish of the Church. He would not say it was a scandal if the ecclesiastical governing body, the Church of England, did not wish the Holy Communion to be denied to a person who married his deceased wife's sister. He is bound to do it by civil law. In Wales that will not be so. If the ecclesiastical governing body of the Church in Wales lay it down as a rule of their Church that no clergyman is to administer the Communion to a person who has married his deceased wife's sister, the clergy will be bound by that rule.
§ Mr. McKENNA
If the hon. and learned Member turns to Clause 3 he will find that in the future ecclesiastical law in Wales will all be subject to the agreement of the Welsh Church. Although the Welsh Church starts as a new body with the implied assent to all existing ecclesiastical law, the moment it is a free Church it can review the whole mass of that ecclesiastical law, and make its new law, by which its members will be bound, to please itself. The Noble Lord says with the single exception of the marriage law.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
No, I did not say that. I say that there are many more exceptions, but we have not been able to discuss them.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I should not agree with that; but I do not want to raise con- 124 troversy on that point. This is my construction of the Bill. The marriage law referred to in Clause 22 is no exception with regard to the point raised by the hon. Member. The exception is only such an exception as I have stated to the Committee, and was made only for the reason which I have given with regard to the claim of the parishioners to be married in the parish church.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I was very interested in the Home Secretary's speech, but I confess that the right hon. Gentleman has not convinced me that his interpretation of the Bill is correct. It would not be in order on this Amendment to controvert the statement at great length, but the right hon. Gentleman says that although the churches are handed over to the Church they remain subject to the parishioner's right. Whatever it may be called, that is not Disestablishment. The very essence of Disestablishment is to destroy a person's civil right to what remains of the ecclesiastical property of the Disestablished Church.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
So far as this Clause goes it is flatly inconsistent with the principles of Disestablishment. The parishioner retains his right not because he is a member of the Church, but because he is a civil parishioner, a subject of the King. There can be no justification for that, in fact, if you are Disestablishing the Church at all. The right hon. Gentleman represents it as retaining a privilege to the Church. The Church would a great deal prefer to be placed in the position of a Nonconformist body, and to be subject to the same conditions in regard to marriages if on those terms she had complete liberty to her own services.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Certainly; why not? If the Church is to be Disestablished, let it be Disestablished. To make a solitary exception of this kind is an absurdity; it is only a rather veiled insult to the discipline of the Church. I think the right hon. Gentleman is wrong about this specific point of the Amendment. The judgment in the Banister case rests upon this point: The Courts held that what Parliament said was a marriage the Church could not treat as an act of evil life. That is the point of the judgment. 125 In spite of the very strong words in the Act of Parliament saving the clergy from censure, it was thought to be inconceivable that what Parliament intended and decreed to be a marriage could by the Church be treated as an act of evil life. That will apply in Wales as far as I can see. The Clause says, "Nothing in this Act shall affect the law with respect to marriage." Evidently it is part of the law with respect to marriage that a marriage with a deceased wife's sister is a marriage and not an immoral union. That is manifestly a part of the law of the land with respect to marriage, and that is part of the law with respect to marriage which is saved by this Clause. That will operate. Although the words, "Nothing in this Act shall affect the law," seem limited to this Act, it is clear from the right hon. Gentleman's explanation that the parishioners' rights in respect to the Church are to be outside the jurisdiction of the representative body and are to be protected against that body, so that the representative body is not to be able to say to a parishioner, "You must not be married in the Church, because we disapprove of what you have done." Similarly is it not perfectly clear that the Clause will also operate and say, "You must not say that this marriage is not a marriage, but an immoral union"? I should have thought that it was perfectly plain that if you preserve the law with respect to marriage in this Clause you preserve the whole of it, and a part of the law with respect to marriage is that such marriages are marriages and are not to be treated as though they were not marriages. It is perfectly plain that the representative Church body will not be able to treat them as though they were not marriages.
§ Mr. McKENNA
It is only in the Church of England as established by law that the Banister judgment has effect. The representative Church body, as representing a free Church, can make what rules it pleases. The Noble Lord has not appreciated the difference. The discipline, rites, and ceremonies of the Church of England are governed by law, but in a Disestablished Church they can have their own rules as to discipline, rites, and ceremonies, and can say that this shall not be done.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
That is not what the right hon. Gentleman himself said. He said that the representative Church body could not exclude a parishioner's rights.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The representative body cannot override the law of marriage in respect to the Church; therefore they are always to treat these marriages as marriages if the State says they are marriages. If the State says that a particular union—it does not matter whether it is with a deceased wife's sister or with a divorced person; they are on exactly the same footing—
§ Mr. McKENNA
May I interrupt the Noble Lord? I have here the judgment of the House of Lords:—The rights of parishioners in this matter depend primarily upon Statute 1, Edw. 6. c. 1., under which the incumbent of a parish may not, without lawful cause, deny the Holy Communion to any parishioner who would devoutly and humbly desire it.That is the condition in the Church of England established by law. But the Disestablished Welsh Church will be able to deny the Holy Communion to anybody according to its own rule.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
It must be obvious, to the right hon. Gentleman that the Church neither desires to deny nor would dream of denying the Holy Communion to any person, except on the ground that his marriage was in the view of the Church an immoral union. The whole thing turns on the character of the union. The whole purpose of excommunication has reference to the moral teaching of members of the Church. The whole point is that the Church considers that these are not true marriages, and because persons are not truly married they must not come to Communion. If the law as to marriage still operates, it is evident that the authorities of the Church will lay themselves open to proceedings in the ordinary State Courts, because they would be making an imputation which was not justified on the character of the person concerned. In the case of marriage with a deceased wife's sister or with a divorced person, the bishop gives directions that such a person is not to be admitted to the Communion. That direction certainly implies, according to the formularies of the Church, that the person has done something immoral. The person therefore brings a suit for libel against the bishop, and he argues it in this way: "It has been 127 imputed to me that I have committed an immoral act. On the contrary, I am lawfully married. I am lawfully married, not only according to the law of the State, but according to the law of the Church, because the Church is bound to accept in this one particular the law of the State. The law of marriage is made operative by Act of Parliament within the Church as within the State; therefore according to the bishop's own principles I am to be regarded as married. What right has he to say that according to Church law I have committed an immoral act?"
The point is that this Clause does exempt the marriage law from the general operation of the Bill, and in so doing it leaves the clergyman under all the restrictions implied in the marriage law. And it leaves a remedy in the Civil Courts against the clergyman who acts on the theory that the Church has a right to its own marriage law as distinct from the laws of the State, because this Clause expressly says that the law of the State as regards marriage still binds the Church when Disestablished just as it has hitherto when the Church was Established. There is in this respect a great deal of misapprehension. Many people think that the refusal of the Communion-excommunication is something very mediæval, and that if it be practised by anybody now it is only by the Roman Church. I was very much struck in the course of the inquiry by the Welsh Church Commission to find that excommunication was a well-known penalty within the discipline of every Nonconformist body. It is a very remarkable circumstance that the Church of England has over the laity the laxest spiritual discipline of any religious body in the world. I do not myself in the least desire to see the Church of England treading in the steps either of the Roman Church or of the Nonconformist bodies in the general matter of ecclesiastical discipline. The particular rules which might be laid down by a Non-established part of the Anglican Church would raise questions confessedly of great difficulty. But what I do earnestly contend for is that it should be left to the absolute decision of the Church itself, that it should excommunicate anybody it thought right, and should restrict the ceremony of marriage in any way it thought proper. I may observe, in passing, that this retention of the right of a parishioner to be married in the Church 128 is certainly most inconvenient in respect to the marriage of divorced persons. Under the Divorce Act a person has a right to go and demand the use of the Church, the use of the actual building, to have performed a marriage which the Church regards as an immoral union. The right hon. Gentleman, I am sure, on reflection will see that this is wholly inconsistent both with the rest of his Bill, and the purport and substance of his speech. I urge upon hon. Members opposite that they are bound to act up to their principles. If this Clause is really intended to give a privilege to the Church it is not wanted in that shape. If we are to be Disestablished—as we think wrongly —we ought really to be treated precisely as any other Unestablished Church. If you retain fragments of the Establishment you are acting inconsistently with your principles, and unjustly and unfairly.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
We are quite willing to give to the Disestablished Church the right to alter the present rules of the Church of England in any way she pleases. As I understand Clause 22, it has been put in for the convenience of the Church, and so as not to limit the operations of the Church.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
Supposing this Clause is dropped, will the Noble Lord ask us for any other Clause, or that any other words should be put into the Bill?
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I have not any words in my own mind at the present moment, and I cannot give an answer to that.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
We do not want to take advantage of any admission made by the Noble Lord if he has not considered the whole matter.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
Supposing the Clause goes out, then the new Church 129 in Wales will be in exactly the same position as a Nonconformist body. Do you desire that?
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
If that be so, I rather agree with what the Noble Lord said, that in accordance with our principles we should assent to it. The Noble Lord thinks that it would be an advantage to the Church in Wales. I do not believe the evils suggested with regard to the operation of this Clause will really arise, if we look at the Act of 1907 and consider what the position is in practice. If the Church of Wales chooses to take advantage of its power to alter the existing regulations, the evils, to my mind, cannot possibly arise. Supposing the proviso is left out, then it reads:Nothing in this Act shall affect the law with respect to marriage in Wales and Monmouthshire or the right of a bishop of a Church of Wales to licence Churches for the solemnisation of marriage or grant licences to marry.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
There seems some confusion of thought at the present moment. The Noble Lord should move to leave the Clause out.
There appears to be, by those who have the right to speak for the Established Church in Wales, a desire that this Clause should be left out altogether. On that point I do not say a word. If the Clause is conceded to be strictly in order, surely all ambiguity could very easily be put aside by introducing words to carry out quite clearly what is the intention of the Clause, namely, that nothing connected with the celebration of legality of marriage is to be affected by anything in this Clause. My Noble Friend, and the hon. Member who moved the Amendment which we are discussing, took the view that the collateral remarks to the Act of 1907 are such that practically any clergyman who refused to give Holy Communion to persons whom he considers to be living in an immoral relation—although it was a legal marriage—would be open, not indeed to ecclesiastical punishment, but to an action for libel under the common law. That, I understand, to be my hon. Friend's view. I am convinced that the Government could really remove that ambiguity, and ought to do so, by introducing words indicating clearly that it is merely a legal 130 matter which is in question. That is all in their minds. The right hon. Gentleman made that perfectly clear. He said he had nothing else in his mind but the actual celebration of a legal marriage. He would quiet the anxieties of my noble relative and other hon. Friends if he would put in words making his opinion absolutely unmistakable. I strongly urge him to do so. I would ask him for my own satisfaction—he has said that these marriages are only to be legally celebrated away from a registrar, without the registrar being present, so long as the ceremony is conducted in a manner of the ceremony in the Established Church of England—there are, as everybody knows perfectly well, small variations in the celebration of that marriage service. They are in small matters and not in essential matters. I should like to know whether it would be possible for anybody to contend, if a marriage has been conducted in what we shall all admit to be the substantial marriage service of the Church of England, but at which, nevertheless, something was omitted which was part of the ordinary Prayer Book, that that marriage was illegal? I do not know. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that it is most important that there should not be the least doubt or ambiguity in a matter so unimportant as that. Perhaps if he has not got his answer absolutely ready he will consider it before he allows this Clause to leave the Committee.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My answer to the last point, which is a very important one, is shortly this: If such deviation did not render the marriage illegal in England it would not be illegal in Wales, because the law in the two countries will remain precisely the same. As to the matter urged upon me by the Noble Lord and others to leave out Clause 22, the Clause has only been inserted with the view—perhaps a mistaken view—that it would be for the advantage of the Church. I do not think, with great respect to the Noble Lord, that I should be absolutely justified in withdrawing this from the purview of the House at the request of one party in the House, and at this stage, because of that party's view on the matter. Amendments have been put down by hon. Members opposite, which Amendments imply that they do not wish the Clause to be omitted. If, however, I am assured that it is the general view of representatives of the Church on the opposite side of the House that the Clause should not go into the Bill, I am 131 perfectly willing to omit it. In place of it I would simply add a short Clause explaining the law as it is laid down in regard to Nonconformist marriages in regard to the Disestablished Church of Wales. But I cannot make that alteration unless it is represented to me that it is a general desire. As I have put this Clause into the Bill for the benefit of the Church, I cannot deprive hon. Members on the opposite side of the House of the advantage of the Clause merely because representatives of a small section press me to leave out the Clause. If they are supported generally on the opposite side, I will certainly move its omission on Report.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
I do not feel at all competent to express a competent opinion upon what is a very difficult matter, but I think that the Government are not entitled to say, "Very well, we will leave out the Clause." We want some light upon what the whole bearing of that would be on the Bill. So far as I can follow the matter, the effect of leaving out the Clause would be, though I am not sure of this, to deprive the Church of all enabling powers of marriage. Would it only come to this, that the Registrar would have to be there? I do not think that the mere leaving out of the Clause effects the case. The difficulty, so far as I can follow, arises in Clause 8, Sub-section (2)—and, indeed, it was stated by the Home Secretary at the beginning of his remarks—that as the Church was left the fabrics, therefore the existing rights of persons in those fabrics in respect of marriage must be retained. If that be so, why limit the freedom which by common sense ought to be accorded to a Disestablished Church? That is a point on which we are entitled to an answer. I do not think it is met merely by leaving out the Clause. It must be met in other ways. They ought to tell us exactly what they mean by preserving the rights of parishioners. Are they to be the rights accorded to the Churches?
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
This Clause as well as other Clauses which we have been discussing to-night is one to give freedom to the Church of Wales. Therefore, hon. Members who are in a position to speak for Church organisations are entitled to every consideration at the hands of the Government, and at the hands of Members on this side. The Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University made a very interesting speech. In my opinion, the major portion of it was based on 132 a wrong assumption. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment also, I think, made the same mistake. I do not think this Clause will affect the Deceased Wife's Sister Act at all. I agree there is one matter of very great importance to the Church which was mentioned by the Noble Lord, which this Clause will affect, and that is in regard to the marriage of divorced persons. My view of the matter is this. After the Church is Disestablished in Wales, it will not be possible for a person to marry a deceased wife's sister in a church against the wish of the bishop or clergyman any more than in England That is provided for in the Act of 1907, and that part of the marriage law would not be affected by this Clause at all; but the point is this. If a man had married his deceased wife's sister in a church or before a registrar the clergyman of the parish of an Established Church has no right to excommunicate that man on the ground that he is a notorious evil liver. Hon. Members will agree that that was the effect in the case of Banister v.Thompson.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
Suppose the same thing happened in a Free Church; suppose a Free Church in England passed a rule for its own internal government that any member of that body who married a deceased wife's sister should cease to be a communicant of that church, this rule for the internal government of their church passed, say, by Baptists or Congregationalists would enable any minister of that Baptist or Congregational communion to refuse to allow that man who committed that breach of rule of the Church, not a breach of the law, but a breach of the voluntary association of which he is a member, to partake of communion, and therefore the Church in Wales, after she is Disestablished, will regain that freedom; she will be in exactly the same position as the Free Churches now are. She can make her own rules for her membership, and she can say that any man who breaks these rules, which she has set up for her internal government, whether they are in accordance with the law of the land or not, shall not be looked upon as a member of her community. Take the case of the strict Baptists. They say that unless a man is baptised by immersion he shall not partake of communion in the Baptist Chapel; he is 133 excommunicated. He may be a man of excellent character and conduct, yet if he offers himself at a Baptist chapel in order to partake of communion he can be publicly refused communion, and there is no remedy; and that constantly happens in all Nonconformist communions, as the Noble Lord has said. Last year no less than 8,000 Baptists were struck off the list of the Baptist denomination. We wish under this Bill to give the Disestablished Church the same freedom as the Nonconformist churches enjoy to-day; but I do not think, looking at the thing as dispassionately as I can, that the point made by the hon. Gentleman opposite at the beginning of this discussion, in his very interesting and eloquent speech, is really material to the Clause. I quite see that another point made by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford is a good point, because, as the Home Secretary has said—I confess I did not quite understand it before—the main effect of this Clause would be that the existing rights of parishioners to be married in parish churches of which one of the parties was a member would be preserved. Suppose one of the parties was a divorced person, and that either party was a member of the parish church where he or she wished to be married, there is nothing in the divorce laws which exempts a clergyman from the duty of performing the marriage ceremony, as in the case of the deceased wife's sister.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
The Church, in the view of the clergyman, might be desecrated by being the scene of a ceremony which he disdained and did not believe in, and, therefore, from that, point of view, I agree that the retention of the Clause in this regard might have a bad effect. If hon. Gentlemen think that is so great as to entitle them to ask the Government to drop this Section or to alter it or amend it in any way in accordance with their wishes, I am perfectly sure after what my right hon. Friend and Leader (Sir D. Brynmor Tones) said that I and no other Welsh Member, or any Nonconformist or Liberal would offer any objection.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
I see that my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract takes a different view. He can speak for himself. But with regard to Welsh Members who are mainly, I sup- 134 pose, concerned with promoting this Bill, we look upon it as a matter of internal arrangement by Churchmen, and we are quite willing to allow Churchmen perfect freedom to do as they like. If the views of my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract are predominant in the Church in Wales, let them prevail. If, on the other hand the views of the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford, and the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment are predominant, let them prevail. We wish to give perfect freedom to the members of the Church to do exactly as they like in this matter, and if hon. Members think they are promoting that object better by dropping this Clause, I, for one, and I am perfectly certain all other Welsh Members are agreed.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I think the point raised by this Amendment is a very short point. I do not go into the points raised by the hon. and learned Member opposite as to whether or not it is desirable that persons who have been divorced should be married in a church. At any rate, that point is not raised by the Clause at the present time. I suppose objection would arise as to leaving out the Clause altogether. The question is this. Section 22 clearly deals only with the existing law as to the right to marry a deceased wife's sister. That is quite clear. It is only intended to deal with that point. This condition of things has arisen owing to the decision of a case which has been more than once quoted in which it is held that if the parties have done that which the law entitles them to do, marriage with a deceased wife's sister, which is the result of a Statute, deprives the clergyman of the right to refuse them communion. Everyone on the other side, and I think on our side, combines in the desire to give the internal decision of a question of that kind to the Church. The only question is whether this is done by the Bill. As the decision points out it is based upon Statute which gave the right to have the Holy Communion, and on the interpretation of that Statute the Court held that the man had not lost his right to have the Holy Communion on account of what he had done. This Bill gives power to make fresh ecclesiastical law and regulations, but when it comes to repealing Statutes it confines their power to the matter set out in Sub-section (4) of Clause 3:—The power of making by such constitution and regulations, alterations 135 and modifications in ecclesiastical law shall include the power of altering and modifying such law so far as is embodied in the Church Discipline Act, 1840.And the other Acts mentioned in the Subsection. It is operative and binding upon the Church in Wales, and if it is, then the general power to alter the ecclesiastical law will not give to the Church in Wales that which you desire the Church to have, namely, the power to settle this particular question for themselves. If these words have no binding effect upon the Church leave them as they are. It is quite clear that the intention is to give to the new church power to make regulations to settle the details of ecclesiastical law, but not to abrogate that which the Statute provides. The provision to which we have alluded is founded upon a Statute which you do not give your new body power to abrogate.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
Will the hon. Member read the last words of Subsection (3), which are "or any other Act of Parliament."
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
You are making a specific exception with regard to a particular branch of statute law, and if you really intend to leave the power to the new body either to abrogate the statute mentioned, or to make these regulations, it is quite easy to accept the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London and insert simple words in Clause 22, which will make the point clear.
§ Mr. BOOTH
The hon. Member opposite confined his speech to the Amendment and rather indicated that to discuss the other point you have been discussing was not convenient, but I would like to remind the hon. Member that this discussion arose owing to the intervention of the Noble. Lord the Member for Oxford University, and he was supplemented by his distinguished relative above the Gangway. A conversation arose, and a reply was given by the Home Secretary.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I said the question of divorce did not arise. I do not think that the suggestion came from anybody on this side.
§ Mr. BOOTH
The first mention of a divorced person came from the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University, and if was because he introduced this larger and 136 more, direct question that we thought the simplest way to avoid all these difficulties was to delete the Clause. The Home Secretary made a promise that he would be prepared on the Report stage to delete the Clause if it was the general wish of the Opposition. I want to say, in reference to the suggestion which I understood the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University to put forward, that the Church should be put on the same footing as an ordinary Nonconformist denomination, that the presence of the registrar on each occasion is not a proposal which I think would command the entire approval of all Churchmen in this House. You must remember that marriage in the Church is the cheapest and simplest, and I am sure the Church people of Wales would not thank the High Churchmen in this House for a contribution of that kind to this Bill, which would mean a message to the whole Church in Wales that the present system of publishing the banns and marrying for a small fee would be discontinued, and that they must always have the attendance of the registrar, and so on. I urge the House and the Government not to make a change of this kind which would not be generally acceptable to the worshippers in the Church and the poor people throughout the country. I have not consulted with the Liberal Churchmen in this House, but I see present the hon. Member for Bolton (Mr. Thomas Taylor), who represents a constituency where a large proportion of the poor people solemnise their marriages in the Church, and I ask him whether he would like to go back to his constituency and tell them that the old system has been done away with to which they had been accustomed so long. I am sure the hon. Member for Bolton would not like that.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I am glad that the hon. "Member for Bolton supports me in that view. I think we should preserve this right in the interests of the very poorest and the simplest persons, and, if you like, the most illiterate persons who know little of law, and who are imperfectly educated, although they understand going to the nearest parish church and putting up the banns, because that is a practice which bas gone on for so many generations. I hope hon. Members opposite will regard my contribution to this Debate as one made in the interests of the poorest people.
§ Viscount WOLMER
No one desires that the poorest people should be put to any unnecessary expense with regard to their marriages, but as a matter of fact this difficulty could easily be remedied by a special Clause or a special Sub-section dealing with that question. We are dealing here with a question of high principle. I would like to say that this Clause, and the efforts hon. Members are making to get out of this Clause, is only another instance of the absolute impossibility of turning the Church into a voluntary association in a manner which they think is possible. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I will explain. Clause 22 to my mind is wholly objectionable from beginning to end. I think it is a perfectly monstrous provision that any man who chooses to call himself a Churchman and who desires to contract a marriage with a divorced person or with somebody of a different religion altogether, with a Jew or a Mahomedan, should have the power to demand as a right that the marriage should be solemnised in the Church. I know that point comes up on a later Amendment, but I was simply answering an interruption of the hon. Member who asked me why I thought Clause 22 was wholly objectionable. The whole of the Clause shows it is impossible to give the Church the same freedom that belongs to Nonconformists at the present time in the matter of marriages.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I have allowed the Debate so far to range quite widely because I thought it was the general sense of the Committee that probably the Home Secretary's offer would be accepted, but, as far as I can see now, the Debate seems to be going away from that. I must therefore ask the Noble Lord to defer his remarks until he catches my eye when the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" is put, and to confine his observations now more particularly to the Amendment before the Committee.
§ Viscount WOLMER
Of course, as you say, the discussion has ranged over a wide field up to this moment, and I think there are certain points which have been raised by the Home Secretary and by the hon. Member for the Carmarthen Boroughs (Mr. Llewelyn Williams) which have not yet been answered from this side of the House. If we get an opportunity of discussing the Question, "That the Clause stand part," of course we can make some answer, but there are many other Amend- 138 ments on the Order Paper and that seems to me wholly improbable. I will, with deference to your ruling, address myself to this particular Amendment with the remark that the mere dropping of this Clause would not satisfy us in any way at all owing to Clause 8 and the impositions thereby put on the Church. It appears to me our contention that the judgment in the case of Thompson v.Banister will be binding on the Disestablished Church in Wales has not been answered in any respect at all. That judgment decides that persons who have married their deceased wife's sister are legally married, and therefore cannot be described as "notorious evil livers," which is how the Church describes them, and that binds the Church in Wales just in the same way as it binds the Church in England.
§ Sir D. BRYNMOR JONES
It is perfectly competent to the Disestablishd Church to lay down a rule either that there shall be no marriage between persons who have been divorced or with a deceased wife's sister.
§ Viscount WOLMER
I do not admit that the right hon. Gentleman is correct, but, assuming he is, what is the position in which you are putting the Disestablished Church? You are Disestablishing the Church and leaving her admittedly, as we have seen, with her organisation on the scrap-heap, her corporation dissolved, the Ecclesiastical Courts newly constituted, and, with all the difficulty of calling together the new Synod and governing body of the Church, which, we have always maintained, cannot be done properly in the time allowed by the Government. The Church would be left with a marriage law which it entirely repudiates, and one of the first things the Church would have to do would be to alter the marriage law. The Church in her new freedom would not start off with a marriage law which is the Church's marriage law, but with an Erastian marriage law, which it repudiates. That alone is inflicting a great injustice on the Church. I do not admit the right hon. Gentleman is correct, because both he and the Home Secretary said the concluding words of Clause 3 enabled the Church to alter any Act of Parliament. It is expressly said in Clause 22—Nothing in this Act shall affect the law with respect to marriage in Wales and Monmouthshire.Clause 3 is in this Act, and therefore it is impossible to argue that something con- 139 tained in Clause 3 enables the Church to alter the mariage law in Wales. If Clause 3 was left by itself, and if the Church was given this extraordinary power of being able to alter any Act of Parliament, then there might be something in the right hon. Gentleman's contention; but when there is a specfic Clause inserted in the Bill saying nothing in this Act shall in any way enable the marriage law of Wales to be altered, it seems to me the Church is definitely bound by that provision, and that the liberty which Clause 3 gives is withheld in this respect. That is my answer to the right hon. Gentleman. He is correct in his interpretation of the Bill. The Church has admittedly got to commence a new life after Disestablishment, with a marriage law which she repudiates and which is a great difficulty thrust upon her in an hour already full of difficulty and embarrassment. The Church is manacled in a manner which absolutely deprives her of the liberty of setling the elementary points of government and discipline. It seems to me, although hon. Members opposite have spoken very conciliatory words this afternoon, they do not quite realise what they are doing by this Bill. They talk about the liberation of the Church, and, when we point out the manner in which the Church is being bound, they say, "We will do what we can to remove those manacles," but I do not think hon. Members opposite have fully realised in what they are involved when they once set out upon their career of freeing the Church. Let us take this question of the deceased wife's sister. The Church must have the power to settle its own marriage law, and, when we talk of the Church in a matter of that sort we mean the clergy of the. Church, because in our communion, the laity, although we desire in every way they should have a hand in the making of the Church, have no authority in matters of doctrine. Therefore, any doctrine in the Church has always to be determined by the bishops and clergy. They must have the power to repudiate a law like the Deceased Wife's Sister Act; they must have the power to excommunicate those who avail themselves of divorce or other laws contrary to the doctrine of the Church. But hon. Members opposite are opening the door of the Church so that she may revert to the mediæval ages and become the most powerful body in the land, 140 wielding spiritual powers over the subjects of the Kingdom, and giving the State no control. That is what it seems to me hon. Members opposite are doing. They are not giving the Church liberty to deal with doctrines as between the Church and the laws of the State.
I should like to draw the attention of the Committee to the latter part of the Amendment which is that in no Church in Wales or Monmouthshire shall it be lawful to solemnise the marriage of a man to his deceased wife's sister unless and until the bishops of the Church in Wales so decree. Do hon. Members opposite really mean to give the Church liberty in matters of this kind? Are the bishops and the clergy to be the authority to determine the doctrine? It would be most unfair to restart the Church without power to issue licences under the marriage laws, which she repudiates. She repudiates the law of the Church and desires to bring it back to what it was before the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill was passed, and she wishes to place it in the hands of the bishop or the general council to alter- the law if they so think fit. Although we have had smooth words this evening we have not had a really whole-hearted admission of the principles I have been trying to put forward. It seems to me that both by the spirit in which Clause 22 is drafted and by the guarded manner in which hon. Members opposite have said: "We will try to free the Church if we can," that they are not prepared really in their hearts to give the Church that absolute liberty which is the only consistent course with a Disestablishment Bill of this kind.
§ Mr. LEACH
This has up to the present been a very interesting discussion. I speak as a Nonconformist, but if I were a Churchman I should be very unwilling to have this Clause deleted from the Bill, if I knew as much of Nonconformists as I do. It is just as well that the Committee should realise that there are some small differences between Churchmen and Nonconformists in relation to the marriage laws. If this Clause be carried the bishops would have the power of licensing Churches for marriages. But there is no bishop who could give a licence to a Nonconformist Church.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I was about to draw the attention of the hon. Member 141 to the fact that he was discussing the Clause and not the Amendment.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
After what we have heard from the Government to the effect that they are prepared to reconsider the question of Clause 22 on Report, I am willing, in order that the Debate may reach a wider sphere, to ask permission to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. HOARE
I beg now to move to leave out the words, "The law with respect to marriage in Wales and Monmouthshire or."
This will make the Clause read—Nothing in this Clause shall affect the right of a bishop of the Church in Wales to licence Churches for the solemnisation of marriage or to grant licences to marry.I think this Amendment will have the effect we all desire of enlarging the scope of the discussion. The object is to omit all reference to the marriage laws in Wales and Monmouthshire, and the effect is to open out discussion to a much wider range. I think that is necessary in view of the very important speech which we recently heard from the Home Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman made an offer that if there was a body of representative opinion on this side of the House that desired the omission of Clause 22 he would be prepared to omit it on the Report stage. I speak as an ignorant layman. I do not know, therefore, whether or not it would be advisable to have the Clause omitted. My personal inclination is to see it kept out. But I do not feel at present in a position to say whether that is wise or not. Therefore I desire that the Members of the Committee should have an opportunity of discussing the point, and of saying whether or not they wish to have this or a similar Clause in the Bill. After all, it is a very important matter that we are considering. It is a much more important question than that which faced the House when it was considering the subject of marriages in Ireland. Members of the Committee must remember that there are more marriages solemnised in the Church of England in Wales than in all the Nonconformist chapels put together. The figures in the Report of the Welsh Commission are that there were 5,246 marriages solemnised in the Church of England in Wales, and 4,652 in the Nonconformist chapels. Therefore, a Clause of this kind may seriously affect a 142 very large percentage of the inhabitants of Wales. The Home Secretary's speech was important for another reason. For the first time in my recollection he stated the fact that the churches were being transferred to the Synod and the representative body, with all the various parochial obligations upon them.
§ Mr. HOARE
Then I misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman. I was under the impression that one of the points to which the right hon. Gentleman attached some importance was that the rights of the parishioners, so far as the marriage laws were concerned, would go on even after the Church was Disestablished, and the parochial system as a legal system ex hypothesibroken down. The right hon. Gentleman now assures me that that only refers to marriages.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HOARE
That is a relief. But even as it affects marriages, it seems to me very unfair that you should impose upon the Church all the obligations of Establishment when you have taken away any advantages, if advantages there be, that Establishment confers upon it. I think the Committee would do well to obtain some further information as to what the rights of parishioners will be, so far as marriages are concerned, when this Bill passes. Take the case to which my Noble Friend (Lord Hugh Cecil) referred—the marriage of divorced persons. Will a clergyman in a Disestablished Church be in a position to refuse the use of his church for the marriage of divorced persons? That is a simple question, and no doubt one that the right hon. Gentleman opposite will be able to answer when he comes to reply. Take, again, the question of the incumbents. I cannot see how you will be able to maintain the rights of parishioners so far as marriage is concerned when, under the Bill, there is no reason why parishes should continue. I imagine that the Church will be quite free to rearrange its boundaries. How then can you maintain parishioners' rights when it may very well come about that the parochial system, as it now exists in Wales, will I come to an end? Take a further point, 143 which refers to the publication of banns. I understand that under Clause 3, Subsection (4), the General Synod can, if it so wills, repeal or modify the Church Discipline Act, 1840, and I understand that under that Act certain penalties are imposed upon the clergy if they refuse to publish banns in a recognised manner or if they marry persons when their banns have not been so published. If they can repeal or modify the Sections in the Church Discipline Act under Clause 3, Sub-section (4), how can you say that—Nothing in this Act shall affect the law with respect to marriage in Wales.Take the position in which the State will find itself. I am speaking now simply of marriage in its civil aspect. The State at present recognises the Church as one of its official agents for performing a civil act, but under this Bill you break up all that organisation. How can the same relation continue in the future? How can you say, when you have broken up the organisation as we at present understand it, with which the Church performs the civil act on behalf of the State, that we should go on exactly as if nothing had happened, and that—Nothing shall affect the law with respect to marriage in Wales or Monmouthshire.These difficulties are not problematical. When the Irish Church Act was passed there was no such Clause in the Act at all, and there was no reference to the law of marriage. The whole thing was left un-mentioned and indefinite. I understand that the result was a state of confusion. After the passage of that Act people did not know what, from the civil point of view, constituted a marriage in a church of the Church of Ireland, or whether particular persons were or were not married. The consequence was that the very next year after the passage of the Irish Act it was found necessary to pass in this House the Matrimonial Clauses Act for Ireland—a long Act composed of more than forty Clauses, in which the state of affairs was set out, and it was stated that explanation was found necessary as to how the law of marriage stood when the Church had been Disestablished. I am very much afraid, if this Clause is taken out altogether, that the Church in Wales will find itself in a similar difficulty, and that it may come about that we shall be compelled, either next Session 144 or in some future Session, to pass a similar Act for Wales and involve ourselves in a long and complicated discussion in order to clear up the confusion. I should like an answer from one of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite on a point with reference to licences. What is going to happen to the archbishop's licence? As they are aware, the archbishop can at present issue special licences for marriage at any convenient time and for any convenient place. No reference is made to that in this Clause at all. Reference is made to the bishops' licences, but no reference is made to the archbishop's licence. Is the archbishop's licence going' to continue or not? There is a further point connected with licensing churches for the solemnisation of marriage. Under this Clause the bishops' licence for solemnisation of marriage is to continue, but it is a very restricted licence, and it is only used in certain cases. Surely, if you are going to Disestablish the Church, you must initiate quite a new system of licensing churches altogether, and you should leave it quite free to the bishops of the Church in Wales to license not a few churches in particular places, which is all they would be allowed to do under this Clause, but to license any churches anywhere. That is what happened in Ireland. There is a Schedule in the Irish Act setting out a number of officials, all of whom can licence churches anywhere. These are all practical questions, which we have a right to have answered before we can possibly be in a position to decide whether this Clause should remain or not. No one is more anxious than I am that the Church should be perfectly free, just as free as any Nonconformist body in Wales is now, with reference to performing marriages and to licensing churches for the solemnisation of marriages, but until I have the questions answered which I have put I cannot understand what would be the exact effect of taking the Clause out of the Bill altogether.
§ Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH
If I follow aright the speech of the hon. Member, this Amendment is moved, in substance, in order to consider again the question we have been discussing for some time. We have already for some time been considering the question whether this Clause should remain or not, and the questions the hon. Member has put are rather designed to enable him to make up his mind upon that point. As I understand it, the church 145 will make its own rules and its own constitution, and all the questions which the hon. Member has put to us would be answered with reference to those rules and that constitution. If the Church of England makes a rule that no divorced person shall have a right to be married in any Church of the new denomination—I do not use the word offensively—divorced persons cannot be married in those Churches if the Clause is left out. The Noble Lord drew a tremendous picture of what the Church in Wales would be unless certain reforms that he advocated are passed, but he really described the position of the Church of England in Wales at present, and as far as I can follow his argument there is a very much better chance to have freedom from the scandals and abuses to which he refers in a Disestablished Church rather than an Established Church. The hon. Member referred to Ireland. One is aware that there was an Act passed the very next year in order to deal with the matter. I quite understand the hon. Member's point of view. He is rather loth to let the Clause go before he konws exactly what would happen if it were taken out of the Bill. The position in Ireland is not exactly the same as the position in Wales, because in Wales there is only one privileged church with regard to the law of marriage, while in Ireland there were two or three churches at any rate, which had a separate status as to the law of marriage and the difficulty was much greater.
Our position in regard to this Clause is this. We shall be interested to know what are the view's of the hon. Member (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) on the question because, in accordance with our practice throughout, though we attach importance to views from all quarters of the House, we really attach more importance to the opinions of Welsh Churchmen. The Noble Lord (Viscount Wolmer) referred to the bishops and clergy as being the real authorities in matters of doctrine, and I have no doubt that is so according to one extreme view of the Church. Still, that is not quite our attitude as far as this Clause is concerned. We not only want to know the views of the bishops and the clergy, but we should also like to know the views of representative laymen from Wales. Therefore I repeat that the position taken up by my right hon. Friend is that if before Report stage we have a fairly representative expression of opinion of Churchmen in Wales that they would 146 prefer to have this Clause deleted, deleted it shall be. At the same time our contention is that the Church when Disestablished and Disendowed, though it will be deprived of a good many of its rights and privileges, should retain the right to frame its own constitution and to live its spiritual life and doctrinal life and synodical life as free as possible from all restraint and control from Parliament or from anyone else. I think hon. Members will give us Nonconformists credit for our sincerity in this. We are anxious that the Church should have self-government and self-control, and we do not want as a Parliament to impose upon the Church any restraint in that respect, and if the Church representatives think they would rather be under the law of 1898, relating to the attendance of registrars at marriages in Nonconformist places of worship, we are perfectly ready to meet them.
§ Mr. CAVE
I quite agree, it is very important that we should hear the views of Members from Wales, but at the same time we are all responsible for this Clause, and I hope I may be allowed to say a few words, not so much from the ecclesiastical as from the general point of view. I should not myself like to see the Clause deleted unless some satisfactory Clause or Clauses were put in its place. I do not think this particular Clause a good one. It is open to a great deal of criticism, and in saying that I am not speaking my own opinion, because I know many people in this country with the very greatest knowledge and experience of marriage matters are very anxious as to the effect of the Bill upon marriages. I think the whole matter requires further and more careful and closer consideration. I hope I may be allowed to ask the Government what, in their view, is the effect of the Bill, either with or without this Clause, upon certain matters affecting marriage. Let me take, for instance, the question as to whether marriages may be solemnised in a particular church. At present, in every ordinary parish church where banns may be put up a marriage may be solemnised without the grant of a licence to the Church. Any parishioner may go and claim to be married there, and no licence need be obtained for the marriage. But, apart from that, no licence is necessary for the church itself. Is that position intended to be preserved or not? It is a matter of moment to a great many people. They like to feel that they have a right to go and be married in their parish church. So much so that the 147 proportion of the marriages in Church of England Churches is far greater than the proportion of members of those churches. The members of many other churches prefer to be married in a Church of England. Is it intended to affect the status of a Church of England Church in respect of marriage? I see in this Clause a provision which says:—Nothing in this Act shall affect the law with respect to marriage in Wales or Monmouthshire, or the right of a bishop of the Church in Wales to license churches for the solemnisation of marriage or to grant licences to marry.Well, of course, nobody knows better than the right hon. Gentleman that there are comparatively few Church of England churches which are so licensed. In most of them marriages are solemnised without any licence at all. It is only chapels-of-ease which are in the position of requiring a licence now. Is it intended, in the first place, that a licence shall be needed for every church? Secondly, what about the duty of the incumbent in relation to marriage? Is that to remain or not? Under the Bill as it stands, I am disposed to think that it might remain, not only under this Clause, but under Clause 8, Sub-section (2), which provides that "all property transferred under this Section shall be held subject to all public and private rights." That may include the right of any person to be married in the church. I think we should all like to know what is the intention of the Government, and what in their view will be the effect of the Bill.
Take the matter of returns to the registrar. Is it the intention that the registrar shall be notified of the existence of a church where marriages may be solemnised? He has certain returns now, and I do not know whether it is intended to make special provision for them in this Bill. Take also what I think is a consideration of importance. Under the law as it stands it is the duty of the incumbent of a church to take a number of precautions to see that he does not solemnise the marriage of people who ought not to be married—that is, of people one of whom has been married before, or who may be in the prohibited degrees, or in respect of whom there may be some impediment. There is a danger of putting an end to that safeguard under the Bill. For instance, under the law as it stands, 148 in order to be married in the Church one of the parties must be resident for a certain time in the ecclesiastical parish in the church of which he or she is going to be married. It may be the effect of this Bill to efface the parish boundaries altogether. You would probably find that it would be so. In many Nonconformist Churches there is no such thing practically as a parish boundary. It has no practical effect in their administration. The result of the Bill may be that a minister may not know the boundaries of his parish, and still less where the particular person to be married resides. In that way the check on bogus marriages will go, unless you put some special provision in its place. Take the case of marriage by licence. I want to know what the effect of the Bill is upon licences. Under present conditions a licence is issued through the Chancellor or Surrogate. There are forms to be gone through. The licence has to be issued under the seal of the Court. These officials have certain statutory or canonical duties which can be enforced, but under the Bill you are destroying the Court and you are abolishing the officials. There is no one to perform these statutory duties. There is no one, so far as I can see, to exact or to take an affidavit. After all, if under Clause 3 of the Bill you are abolishing ecclesiastical law and Ecclesiastical Courts, it may be that no one will have the right to take an affidavit of that kind. Has that been thought of? Do you not think it quite possible that the effect of the Bill may be to throw over the whole of the marriage laws, and to encourage a loose system such as that which in past times encouraged bogus marriages and caused a great deal of trouble? It may be so again.
Supposing an incumbent under your new law should not comply with his obligations, whatever they are, who is going to enforce them upon him? You will have lost the Ecclesiastical Court, which is very strict in enforcing these obligations in respect of marriage. You would have no one to enforce them, and the effect might be to loosen the law of marriage, to make marriage more easy to obtain, and to increase the number of irregular unions. I am only detailing these matters to show that the whole subject requires much more careful consideration than it can have had. The whole object of what I am saying is this: I do not like this Clause; I do not think 149 it meets a tithe of the real difficulties we have before us. At the same time only to withdraw it will lead to worse confusion. What I wish the Government to do is to take a little trouble now before the difficulties become real practical difficulties, and to try to frame some kind of code which will regulate marriages in the Church of England in Wales after the Bill is passed. I have put on the Paper a series of Clauses which have been framed with that view. I am not the least in love with the particular Clauses I have put on the Paper. By the courtesy of the right hon. Gentleman I have seen a criticism to the effect that they are unnecessary as re-enacting the existing law. Well, whoever said that did not realise the effect of the other parts of the Bill, because the very purpose of the Clauses is to re-enact the existing law. In my view the earlier Clauses, and especially Clause 3, destroy the existing law. The object of the Clauses of which I have given notice is to re-enact the existing law of marriage in Churches, and, at all events, to frame some sort of definite code which would regulate marriages in the future. I do not press any particular Clause on the Government, but what I want them to do is to reconsider this matter, and to believe me when I say that the effect of the Bill, with or without the Clause we are now discussing, will be to throw the whole law of marriage into confusion, and probably to lead to a great deal of trouble. After all, a good deal could be done before the Report stage, and I press them now to reconsider the whole question and not to leave it to be done in twelve months by an amending Bill, but to make it part of the present Bill.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I think the hon. and learned Member does us an injustice when he suggests that this matter has not been fully thought out. So farfrom that being the case the very greatest attention has been paid to this point. The hon. and learned Member knew Clauses were carefully examined. The suggestion made to us by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Sheffield, who unfortunately is absent, was considered also, and we consulted an authority whom we regarded as the best able to advise us on this point, the Registrar-General. He assured us that under the Clause as it now stands the position of the Church of England in Wales hereafter in point of law will be precisely what it is to-day, and on this question of marriage we do by this very simple Clause 150 re-enact the existing laws. What we are doing in the gross the hon. and learned Gentleman proposes to do in detail. I submit that it is an altogether unnecessary proceeding when you have re-enacted a code of law by saying that this code shall be law, then by a variety of Clauses to set out that code in detail. The hon. and learned Gentleman was not present when the discussion on the previous Amendment took place. I am not imputing any neglect to him for that—it is impossible for anyone to be present through the whole Debate—but he was not present at the time when it was very strongly pressed on us by both sides of the House that we should not give the Church of England any privileged position in regard to the marriage law which was not shared by all the other free unestablished Churches. It was pressed upon me from both sides of the House to drop Clause 22. I then stated that we could only do so on condition that we substituted for this another Clause which would in fact apply to the Disestablished Church of England in Wales the whole of the existing marriage law as applied to the existing Nonconformist Churches.
The right hon. Gentleman says that merely to withdraw Clause 22 would not be sufficient. We are quite willing to put the Disestablished Church in Wales in exactly the same position as that in which any other Free Church in Wales is at this moment, and we should be very glad to be in a position to see a request in an authoritative manner made from that side of the House that we should take that course because if such a request were made we should be most ready to accede to it. It might be asked why did we introduce the Bill with this Clause in it as it stands. I may briefly state the reason now. We took the Clause in its present form because we could not entirely deprive the parishioners of their existing rights and we could not at the same time impose upon the Church of England when Disestablished all the obligations which the parishioners would have imposed upon them with regard to marriages in churches, unless at the same time we put the Church of England in a sort of quasi-privileged slate. Therefore, balancing the advantages and obligations with regard to the Church of England in respect of marriage law we adopted this Clause. But we are quite willing to omit the Clause, and, on the whole, my opinion is if that is acceptable to hon. Members opposite it would be the best course to take. This 151 would remove from this Bill any suggestion that we are giving to the Church of England a privileged position, or that we are dictating in any way to the Church of England what its future constitution shall be in Wales. If that view finds acceptance, I will undertake to move to omit this Clause on the Report.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
I cannot claim at this moment to speak with any authority on behalf of the Church in Wales or of any very large number of the Church in Wales, but I give my opinion for what it is worth. I am inclined to agree with the suggestion of the Home Secretary that probably the Clause had best be withdrawn. Certainly I do not like the Clause as it stands, and I am not at all sure whether the proposal of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kingston would not have the effect of binding the Church rather more in its future actions than it is desirable it should be bound. On the other hand, I listened to the speech most carefully, and I thought there were many points in his speech which did not bear particularly on the concrete proposals in this new Clause which did require further consideration, and the drafting of this Clause which the Home Secretary suggests, putting the Church of England in Wales when Disestablished in the same position as the Nonconformist bodies in Wales, would not be a suitable place by any means. It seems to me it would require very careful drafting indeed, because the whole history and legal position of marriages as solemnised by the Church of England is so different from similar ceremonies in Nonconformist chapels, that to put them on exactly the same plane would not be a very easy matter. I cannot speak with any great authority at the moment, but I think that the best course would be for the Home Secretary to omit this Clause now and produce another Clause on the Report, and, if not agreed, at any rate that he would consult one or two of us as to whether we had any serious objection to that Clause beforehand. I think this is a matter which can be dealt with by negotiation, as it is perfectly clear that there is a real desire on that side of the House that we should have no difficulty and no need of further discussion with regard to this marriage question; and certainly there is no desire on this side of the House that the Church should remain in a privileged position in regard to marriages when Disestablished in Wales.
152 A very large proportion of the marriages in Wales are performed according to the rites of the Church of England, and I do think it would be a very great loss if there was anything which compelled a falling off in that respect. I think over one-third of the total number of marriages in Wales, including those not solemnised according to any religious rites, are solemnised in the Churches. A very strong sentiment exists, I believe, among certain Nonconformists that they should be married in the parish church, although I think we should secure for the Church power to prevent the incumbents suffering because they would not solemnise the marriage of divorced persons or the marriage of a man with his deceased wife's sister. Personally, I do not think from any experience of the Church in Wales that the rather extreme cases put forward by my Noble Friend the Member for Newton are likely to prevail in that Church. I do say it would be undesirable to put an incumbent of the Disestablished Church in a position of ambiguity or menace in any way because he refused to solemnise a marriage of that kind. After all, the traditions of the Church are against that kind of marriage. I think it is a matter for extremely grave consideration, and I think the Government certainly do want to put the Church in Wales on the same footing as other Churches, though the Church in Wales may ask for an entirely different constitution. It would not be in order, however, to discuss that. For my part, without binding anybody else, I would suggest that this Clause should be withdrawn, and that the Home Secretary should take advice, and, after very careful consideration, should draw up a Clause putting marriages in the Disestablished Church in Wales on the same footing as marriages in the Nonconformist denominations in Wales, but having careful regard to those Acts especially affecting the marriage of certain people who are referred to in the Clause put down by the hon. and learned Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave). I confess that I had not given this Clause any great attention until the Under-Secretary for the Home Office made a special appeal to me. As far as I am personally concerned. I have not had much dealing either with the marriage service or anything else of that kind, and I am not particularly well informed in regard to the law or customs of marriage either in Wales or in England. I hope that the Home Secretary will not 153 take anything I have said as binding on anyone else. I will take the advice of the bishops of the Church in Wales, and I hope that he, too, will take advice, and on the Report stage will submit something acceptable to all sides of the House.
§ Mr. KING
I have heard with peculiar pleasure the Debate this evening, and I find myself in unexpected agreement with hon. Members on the other side of the House. That is a pleasant feeling which I am afraid is not likely to be repeated indefinitely. At the same time I thank hon. Members opposite for expressing so generously their feeling, which certainly I believe is the feeling of the great majority of the House, and which should be the feeling of all men of ordinary common sense everywhere, namely, that when the Church in Wales is Disestablished it ought to stand with regard to ceremony and privilege in regard to marriage just where all the other denominational Churches stand. Therefore I hope very earnestly that the Home Secretary will be able to carry through a proposal to omit this Clause, and to substitute a simple Clause which will put the Disestablished Church absolutely on a level of equality with other churches. I would like to refer to a few remarks which fell from the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth). I wish to recall the protest he made on the ground that a marriage in the Church of England was more economical, was less costly, than a marriage performed in any other manner. The hon. Gentleman is generally very accurate in all statements of this kind, but on this point I am sure he is quite wrong. I myself have had a single experience in this matter, but I know from what my own people tell me that the cheapest way to get married is to go to the registry office. At the present time the practice is growing and is becoming much more common to have the marriage performed legally at the registry office, and, with the certificate, to go to a chapel where the ceremony is performed, though not with the actually legal binding service. In that way marriages are now very widely performed, and with very great economy.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I think the hon. Member has not quite stated my position as I wish the House to understand it. I did not say that marriage in the Church of England is always cheaper than in Nonconformist places, but what I do say is that it is almost as cheap as in any other church, 154 and cheaper than in some. But I was putting the matter only partially on the ground of economy, and with respect to the poorest of people.
§ Mr. KING
I quite see the hon. Member's point, but we will not go into it further now. I dare say the difference between us will be considered by the Home Secretary, and I will only conclude by saying, that it seems to be agreed on both sides of the House the main course to pursue in this matter, and it ought not to be beyond the ability of Parliamentary draftsmen to frame a Clause which will satisfy all parties in this House.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
I think that is so. I understand that, subject to existing powers under Clause 22, the Home Secretary desires to preserve the rights of parishioners. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."]
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I wish to make a few remarks on what the Home Secretary said when he suggested omitting this Clause as meeting the difficulty. There are really two points on which this Clause has to be considered. One has reference to the rites and ceremonies which are to be administered by ministers and priests of the Church in Wales, and the other is the rights which parishioners have to the use of the parish church for the purpose of the solemnisation of their marriages. I agree that this Clause does not prevent all questions of ritual, all questions of rules of law, all questions of rules and of Church law being maintained and considered by the new Church when it has been reconstituted in Wales. In my view Clause 3 is sufficient for that purpose. I think the Home Secretary gave us that explanation on a previous Amendment, and, in my view, I think he sufficiently elaborated his reference to the new Church under Clause 3. To my mind that sweeps away any question as to whether or not you are imposing upon the new Church some difficulty as to matters of ceremonial, or rites, or rules in the exercise of her own particular rules and impose her own conditions upon those who seek the services of her priests and ministers.
But there still remains the point of the right to have marriages solemnised in a church of the Church in Wales. The hon. Member for Pontefract said, and I quite agree with him on this point, that it is 155 the custom of many, particularly among poor people, to go to the parish church for the purpose of getting married. They know the Church and her custom, the practice of putting up the banns and so forth, and it would be an unfortunate thing if this were taken away from them. Let us assume that is an aspiration which, if we can, we ought to fulfil. What is the difficulty that this Clause imposes upon the new Church? One has got to remember, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kingston pointed out, that under Clause 8, Sub-section (2), property transferred under that Section shall be held subject to all existing public and private rights, so that you have this point: As I understand from the right hon. Gentleman, they, the churches, are handed over subject to the rights of parishioners. It is quite true that this proviso says that where a person is not a member of the Church in Wales he shall not be entitled as of right to have a marriage solemnised in the Church. Remember that by the common law at the present time every parishioner is entitled of right to a seat in the parish church, and to go to the parish church for the purpose of getting married therein. Until you have taken away that right you have not left the Church free and the common law stands. There is nothing in this Clause which takes away that right, and indeed, as I understand, the Home Secretary means expressly to reserve those rights. You thus put the invidious task upon the Church of separating those who are entitled as parishioners to go to the Church to have their banns published and marriage solemnised, and those who by reason of not being members of the Church of England are not entitled to do that.
In a previous speech I mentioned that Lord Selborne pointed out that every parishioner is primâ facieentitled to those privileges in the Church and is entitled to be assumed to be a member of the Church and as a parishioner to have those rights. If he is held to be a Nonconformist the burden of the onus of proving that lies upon the Church. Under this proviso you make it no better. You say that the parishioner is not as of right entitled, but he may claim his rights and ask that they should be examined into, and the question whether he is entitled to have those ministrations in the Church is laid for decision on the Church. That is a very unfortunate fetter to impose on the new Church in 156 Wales. The truth of the matter comes to this, that you are not making clear what you are doing. There is nothing in this Clause to negative the existing rights which prevail at common law. The Clause says nothing in this Act shall affect the law, so it stands where it did before, and the rights of the parishioners of access to the Church and their common law rights remain. The difficulty of this Clause is that you do not define what you mean, and do not take away the existing right which can be claimed, while the onus is laid on the new Church of deciding whether a particular person has those rights or not. That is a very unfortunate position in which to leave the matter, I do not think this Clause touches any question of ritual or ceremonial or as to the conditions of marriage within the Church. It does not explain or take away the common law rights, and the Home Secretary has said he wishes those to be preserved. You have, in fact, several Clauses safeguarding the rights of the parishioners, not taking them away, and you are leaving those rights which are ill-defined. That is almost an impossible position to occupy.
The Home Secretary wishes to be perfectly generous in this matter, and there is no desire on either side of the House to impose difficulty on the new Church. I accept that to the full, but the point has not been fully understood and appreciated by a number of Members on both sides who want to find a solution. The Home Secretary tells us he has obtained the advice of the Registrar-General. I wish to speak with every respect of the Registrar-General, but I really doubt whether he is the most competent legal opinion you could find to clear up this difficulty. I do not know whether he considered the matter from this point of view, or whether the question of the right of the parishioner was placed before him. I rather assume it was not, so that the answer of the Home Secretary comes to nothing. If this point was placed before the Registrar-General I would like to know what he said. In the case of the other Free Churches in Wales, they have not got to deal with the common law rights which necessarily belong to the parishioner. They are bodies joined together by contract or connection between the members, and in their case they are not fettered by what I would call the troubles of the common law. In the case of the Church in Wales, the position is quite different. The Home Secretary states that he is reluctant to deprive parishioners 157 of any existing right. If that be his purpose he has at the present time, certainly in this Clause, raised a very serious difficulty for the new Church. Some more effective Clause than this is necessary, but I should regret to see this Clause deleted before we see what the new Clause is going to be. I am quite certain some new Clause is necessary for dealing with the difficulties I have pointed out. I am quite sure this question needs far more consideration, particularly having regard to the fact that the object of the Home Secretary is to give freedom to the Church in Wales. You cannot give that freedom unless you negative some of the existing rights at common law which have existed for centuries past.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
I would ask the Home Secretary to respond to the request of my hon. and learned Friend that this Clause ought not to be deleted until we have the opportunity of studying the alternative Clause which, I understand, the Government are prepared to bring up on Report stage. Under those circumstances I must take upon myself the responsibility of advising my hon. Friend not to vote against this Clause until we see the alternative. I speak not only for myself, as I know that is the opinion of my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London. The truth is that we have struck upon a radical difficulty. It is very hard to disestablish an Established Church, and this is one of the difficulties which attaches to that operation. As far as I can gather the feeling of the Committee, and I wish to put this to some of my hon. Friends below the Gangway, there is a desire in many parts of the House that the rights of parishioners shall be preserved. There is a desire in many parts of the House, and not only a desire but a determined intention, that, the Disestablished Church in Wales should have absolute liberty of conscience in regard to the marriage law. The problem is to reconcile those two points. Many of us desire to preserve the rights of parishioners. Speaking for myself, I would go so far as to say that if a man had left the Church and joined another Christian community, or even if he had ceased to be a Christian and desired to be married in the Church, I would go a considerable way to meet him. We must arrive at some kind of general decision in this matter. Whatever private views there may be in any quarter of the Committee, there is a strong ease for not destroying more than you need destroy, 158 and for not needlessly destroying the rights of parishioners, which many of us would like to preserve. If that be so, the mere deletion of this Clause would not really satisfy the opinion of any quarter of the Committee.
If you out out Clause 22 you will have to amend the whole of the Bill. If Clause 22 were omitted, when lawyers came to interpret Clause 8 (2) they would find the words "save as otherwise provided in this Act, all property transferred under this Section shall be held subject to all existing public and private rights," and any Court of Law would then declare that any person might be married in the parish church under his existing constitutional rights as a parishioner. So that would be no solution of the difficulty. It would simply land us into a morass of nonsense; the Bill would not read. Evidently that is not the course that I could advise any hon. Member to take. I would suggest that we allow the Clause to go through with the assurance that the Government, whose duty it is and not ours, will find a solution to the difficulty. Let there be no misunderstanding. The exercise of rights which have operated in the past is one thing, but the question of any person in this country asking a priest against his conscience to perform the marriage rite is another. The Government have to provide a Clause to 'meet both those points—to preserve the hereditary and ancestral right of the parishioner on the one hand, and to give to the Church when Disestablished at least that, same liberty of conscience which is allowed to every other Free Church.
§ 10.0 P.M.
Mr. HUGH EDWARDS
I think I may speak on behalf of my colleagues from Wales when I say that we entirely appreciate the point put forward on the other side. I was much struck by the remark of the hon. Member for Denbigh Boroughs, than whom no one in this. House has a better right to speak for Welsh Churchmen, that he claims no privilege for the Church in Wales apart from the Nonconformist bodies. We on this side would assure him and his colleagues that we are quite prepared to give to the Church full liberty of action. We want to do nothing that could in any way do violence to the traditions of the Church. I was much struck by the remark of the hon. and learned Member for Leamington when he spoke of a "fetter" of the Church. We are anxious to put the Church in 159 Wales on an exact equality with the Nonconformist bodies. I have sufficient faith in the fairness and statesmanship of the Home Secretary—[An HON. MEMBER: "Oh!"]—I speak from some experience; I think he has shown generosity, patience, and statesmanship in this matter, and we have sufficient faith in him to believe that he will go out of his way to meet the objections made on the other side. There seems to be an impression on the part of hon. Members opposite that the Established Church in Wales is really the custodian of marriage. The hon. Member for Kingston seemed to fear that if anything was done in this direction bogus marriages would take place. I agree that a large number of Nonconformists like to be married in the parish church. I can understand it. If inquiry is made it will be found that it is generally the wish of the bride. It is a feminine weakness in Wales. They seem to like the choral service, and there are spectacular advantages which are not to be found in the Nonconformist churches. But what are the facts in regard to Wales? In 1908 5,518 marriages were solemnised in the Established Church, whereas outside the Church over 12,000 marriages were solemnised. So that the great bulk of marriages even in Wales are solemnised outside the Church. We are prepared to do all that we can to remove the "fetter" of the Church, and so to help make the passage of the Bill easier. I am in the same unfortunate position as the hon. Member for Denbigh Boroughs, in that I cannot speak from practical experience of the marriage ceremony; but I venture to say that when he does embark upon that state, he will bear with him the best wishes of all the Parliamentary representatives of Wales.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
With the concluding remark of the hon. Member opposite I am in hearty concurrence, but I am not sure that I find myself so much in agreement with the hon. Member in other respects. I quite understand his wish to make the passage of this Bill easier. But there is no question about this Clause making the passage of the Bill easy or hard. This is really only a detail; it is not a matter of any essential importance to the Bill.
Mr. HUGH EDWARDS
Perhaps I ought not to have used that phrase. What I meant to say was that we are very 160 anxious not to wound the feelings of our opponents in the matter.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I am sure the hon. Gentleman is perfectly sincere in making that statement. I confine my acceptance of it to himself. The hon. Member attributed the preference to marriage in the Church in Wales to a feminine weakness. That is a rather old story: "The woman gave it me." I am quite ready to agree with the hon. Member—he knows his country better than I do—if he tells me that the more ornate service is an attraction to the bride. I quite appreciate and accept that, but I do not think that is the whole account. It is no use hon. Members opposite trying to believe that a Church which has been Established for so many years has not got an historical position. In spite of all that they may say, that is a fact which they must realise, and which everyone does realise in his heart. That is the truth. And when you come to Disestablish such a Church, when you try to take it up by the roots, you are met at every turn with difficulties and anomalies because of the essential difficulty of the operation. What do you try to do in this Clause? I shall say something about the wording of it in a moment. This particular Clause saves a particular part of the law ecclesiastical. Just look at what you have really done under your Bill. You begin by Clause 1, in which you say the Church shall cease to be Established by law. We have asked in vain for an explanation of what that means. It probably means the repeal of all law affecting the Church—not only Statute law, but common law. The whole of that part of ecclesiastical law which is part of the law of the realm ceases by these words to be. By Clause 3 you set it up again—you have to do that in order to keep the institution going at all—and you immediately have to make an exception, an exception which has not been sufficiently noticed in this discussion. It has a very important bearing on the marriage law. The contractual law, or the effect of it, at any rate, is not binding on any person who has not given his express consent to it. I think I have quoted the substance of Sub-section (2) of Clause 8. There you have an immediate exception. You go on to in Sub-section (4) to repeal all existing Statutes. We have never been able to know quite what the effect of that will be. My own view is that that Sub-section alone will lead to the greatest confusion, because no one knows 161 why you put it. You come to Section 4. It is repeated in much greater form in Subsection (2), Section 8, which certainly appears to preserve the rights of the parishioners in the parish Church. We have no answer from the Government whether that does or does not. It has a very vital bearing on this Clause which we are now discussing. If Section 8 Subsection (2) does preserve all the rights of the parishioners in the parish Church then this Clause is not necessary.
In so far at any rate as it secures the right of a person to be married at their own Church it is very doubtful whether they would not have that right without the Clause. It is to be observed unless that exists, it is very doubtful whether this Clause does anything at all, because the representative body will be the owner of the Churches, and they will be able to exclude anybody, and may give their authority to exclude anybody from the Church. Therefore, to give a person the right to be married in a Church, and at the same time to give another authority the power to exclude everybody from the Church whether they like it or not leaves everything in the most open confusion. The real truth is that these are essential difficulties. You have to walk extremely warily when you are tearing up an institution which has lasted for centuries. You have to look very carefully to avoid at all costs everything in the nature of a short cut. This is a short cut, and a very bad one. I am amazed that the Home Secretary should be advised by any authority that it is quite clear that this Clause re-establishes in Wales the law with respect to marriage which exists in England. In terms it does. But who knows what is the meaning of the law in respect of marriages? The phrase is capable of a most diverse interpretation. We have been told by the Home Secretary that it would not affect or import into Wales the position in the case of Thompson v.Banister. He says that is not a law in respect of marriage—that is, a law with respect to the discipline of the Church. It is admitted that it would impose upon the Church obligations imposed by the Divorce Act. But what of this? Does it, or does it not, oblige the clergyman to use the marriage service? The right hon. Gentleman, when my right hon. Friend the senior Member for the City put that question in some form or another, said that all he could say was that what made a marriage 162 valid in England would produce a valid marriage in Wales. Yes, but that is not our point at all! Suppose you have a portion of the marriage service omitted and somebody raised an objection? Is the clergyman, or is he not, subject to ecclesiastical censure? That is a part of the law in respect to marriage. The law in respect to marriage involves all the sanctions of the law in respect of marriage. Suppose he omits to publish the banns? The matter is of vital importance as to the sanctity of marriage, and matters were elaborately devised by our ancestors in order to preserve the sanctity of marriage.
When you come to civil marriages you have similar provisions applying with the same object. What about that? I suppose—I speak from recollection—a marriage, even if the banns have not been properly published, is a good marriage, though it exposes the clergyman to a penalty. What is the penalty in this case? Is it an ecclesiastical penalty? No! Your Ecclesiastical Courts are gone. Then the law in respect to marriage is not preserved, because you have a duty that you have no Courts to enforce, and a duty without any Courts to enforce it is not a duty at all. The truth is, the thing cannot be done by a short cut. This Clause is indefensible, and ought never to have been put by the Government into this Bill. They had to effect the object aimed at by an elaborate Statute of forty Sections re-enacting the marriage in the Irish Act; they ought to have been warned by that precedent of the Irish Act. But this is part of the whole disgusting system by which we are legislating now. Acts are drawn so as not to be intelligible, and not to work, but merely to be got through Parliament. They are made as short as possible. We have to work under rules which make it perfectly impossible for us to do anything effective. The truth is this exemplifies the utter decay of the House of Commons. I am quite clear myself that Clause 22 cannot possibly remain in its present form after the Debate of this evening. It will not do if it is merely struck out; I am quite confident that that will not do. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover pointed out that the existence of Section 8 Sub-section (2) makes that quite impossible. You will have to re-model the whole of that Sub-section of Clause 8. That is not a very easy thing to do. You would have to select what rights you intend to preserve and what to reject. It will make a complicated matter, 163 but if you are going to make this decent legislation that is what you are going to do. You have to find out what else you intend to preserve and what you intend to reject. Do you intend to give the right of access of the parishioners to the parish church? That is a very important matter. Are you going to give an absolute right to the representative counsel to exclude everybody from the parish church? I am not at all sure how I myself would answer that question, but it is evidently a question that must be answered, and answered finally. It is not answered in this Bill, except by a general phrase in Clause 8. Merely repealing Clause 22 or leaving it out would leave the matter in just as great confusion, or almost as great. The truth is that the matter is one that requires profound reconsideration, and what will happen in actual fact is this, it will be perfunctorily reconsidered by the Government, who do not care, and who are absolutely free from any fear of the House of Commons. Nothing but their official conscience will restrain them, and I have not much confidence in that. The Bill will go to the other House, and we shall never in the two or three years before us, if certain events happen, be able to amend it. We cannot do it because of your ridiculous farcical Parliament Act; however we demonstrate in the course of the next few months that the Bill is unworkable and ridiculous, your power will be supreme. That is the condition of the present situation in spite of the characteristic interruption of the hon. Member opposite who appears to devote his talents to becoming the buffoon of the House.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I did not see where the interruption came from. There was some remark interjected. If the Noble Lord was mistaken, I am sure he will apologise.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Of course, if the hon. Gentleman assures me he made no interruption, I congratulate him upon his almost unique self-control.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I am very ready to withdraw anything which the hon. Member thinks offensive, and if he thinks it offensive to be described as the buffoon of the House I certainly withdraw, but I thought that was his occupation. I do not wish to detain the Committee any longer. I tried to show the Committee why I think the course of omitting this Clause or retaining it are alike impossible, and I venture to ask that the Government will do their best under the conditions to make this Bill at least worthy of the ancient traditions of the legislation of this country.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I should like to ask the Home Secretary exactly how this matter stands. I understand he is going to put down a new proposal before the Report stage. Can he give the Committee any indication what opportunity the House will have upon Report to consider the Clause he proposes to move?
§ Mr. McKENNA
It is quite obvious I cannot now state what the course will be that will be taken on the Report stage. I said quite definitely what the Clause is I propose to bring up. I shall propose on Report stage to omit Clause 22, and I suggest a new Clause which will put the Disestablished Church in Wales upon precisely the same footing as any other Free Church in Wales.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that we shall have an opportunity of discussing that Clause?
§ Mr. McKENNA
Obviously I cannot say what the opportunities will be under the Closure Resolution. Whether the Opposition will have an opportunity of discussing any particular Clause will depend upon themselves.
§ Viscount WOLMER
I attach very great importance to what the right hon. Gentleman has said when he declared it is the intention of the Government to give the Church in Wales exactly the same liberties as are at present possessed by any Nonconformist body. I am sure Churchmen are not asking for anything more. That is all the Church asks, but I would point out that it is not only Clause 22 that is involved in this question. What I have in my mind at this particular moment is the conjunction of Clause 22 and Clause 8, and if the churches of the Church in Wales are to be handed over to the Church subject to the rights of parishioners to be married 165 there, which is, as I read it, the effect of Clause 8, especially when taken in conjunction with Clause 22, then it is obvious the Church in Wales will not have the same liberties as are at present enjoyed by the Nonconformist Churches. The Church in Wales must have the power to refuse to marry anybody whom she does not desire to marry just in the same way as the Nonconformists have that power. The word "parishioner" has been mentioned on this side of the House. I do not myself see how a parishioner can have any claim against a Disestablished Church. Most people would like to make as little break with the past as possible, and they would like to see the same state of affairs as we know it to-day continued, but I do not see how it can ever be admitted that a man because he happens to reside in a parish, whatever his theological opinions and religious beliefs may be, has a legal claim against the Disestablished Church. That feature in this Bill must be removed if the Government are going to emancipate the Church. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will bear those considerations in mind when he introduces his Amendment on Report.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I cannot on Clause 22 go beyond what I have said, but the Noble Lord has quite correctly understood me. I will bring up a new Clause which will put the Disestablished Welsh Church precisely on the same footing of freedom as regards
|Division No. 530.]||AYES.||[10.25 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Ffrench, Peter|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Field, William|
|Adamson, William||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Aqnew, Sir George William||Clancy, John Joseph||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Clough, William||Gill, A. H.|
|Alden, Percy||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Glanville, Harold James|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Arnold, Sydney||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Goldstone, Frank|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Cotton, William Francis||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Greig, Colonel J. W.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Crumley, Patrick||Grey, Rt. Hon Sir Edward|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Cullinan, J.||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Davies, E. William (Elflon)||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Gulland, John William|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Dawes, James Arthur||Hackett, J.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Delany, William||Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)|
|Boland, John Plus||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hancock, John George|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Devlin, Joseph||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Dickinson, W. H.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, North)||Dillon, John||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)|
|Brace. William||Donelan, Captain A.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Brady, P. J.||Doris, W.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)|
|Brocklehurst. W. B.||Duffy, William J.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Hayward, Evan|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Hazleton, Richard|
|Burke, E. Havlland||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipnerary, N.)||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Henry, Sir Charles|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Higham, John Sharp|
§ marriage as the Free Churches in Wales now find themselves. I shall bring up that Clause in substitution of the present Clause.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
I understand that that Clause will come within the proviso in Clause 8, Sub-section (2), "Save as otherwise provided by this Act." Will it be covered by that? Is that what I understand?
§ Mr. MOUNT
The right hon. Gentleman said that whether we should have an opportunity of discussing this on Report depended on this side of the House. May I point out that we have had since this Bill came into Committee two very important questions suddenly started upon the House. One was the question of commutation and the other is the question we have just been discussing. When the time-table was introduced these two questions were not before the House, and if the Government at that time thought two days were necessary for the Report, I do not think it is too much now to ask for one day more for the Report stage to consider these two important questions.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 211; Noes, 153.
|Hinds, John||Mooney, J. J,||Robinson, Sidney|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Morgan, George Hay||Roche, Augustine (Louth, N.)|
|Hodge, John||Morison, Hector||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Hogge, James Myles||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||Muldoon, John||Rowlands, James|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Munro, R.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Hudson, Walter||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Hughes, S. L.||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Neilson, Francis||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Nicholson, Sir C. N. (Doncaster)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Jones, Rt.Hon.Sir D.Brynmor (Sw'nsea)||Nolan, Joseph||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Sheehy, David|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Nuttall, Harry||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Rushcliffe)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Shortt, Edward|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Doherty, Philip||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Keating, Matthew||O'Donnell, Thomas||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Dowd, John||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Grady, James||Sutherland, J. E.|
|King, J.||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Sutton, John E.|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molton)||O'Malley, William||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||O'Shee, James John||Thomas, J. H.|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Leach, Charles||Outhwaite, R. L.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Parker, James (Halifax)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Lundon, Thomas||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Pirie, Duncan V.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Lynch, A. A.||Pollard, Sir George H.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|McGhee, Richard||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wardle, George J.|
|Maclean, Donald||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Waring, Walter|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Pringle, William M. R.||Watt, Henry A.|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Radford, G. H.||Webb, H.|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||Raffan, Peter Wilson||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lines.,Spalding)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Manfield, Harry||Reddy, M.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Richards, Thomas||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Martin, Joseph||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Meagher, Michael||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Millar, James Duncan||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Molloy, M.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. G. Howard and Captain Guest.|
|Mond, Sir Alfred Motriz||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cave, George||Gretton, John|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Guinness, Hon.W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)|
|Baird, J. L.||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Hambro, Angus Valdemar|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Clyde, J. Avon||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Harris, Henry Percy|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Craik, Sir Henry||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Barnston, Harry||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninlan||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Croft, H. P.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Hill, Sir Clement L.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Duke, Henry Edward||Hills. John Waller|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Hill-Wood, Samuel|
|Bonn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Falle, Bertram Godfrey||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Bird, A.||Fell, Arthur||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Blair, Reginald||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Home, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Hume-Williams, William Ellis|
|Boyton, James||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Hunt, Rowland|
|Bull, Sir William James||Fletcher, John Samuel||Hunter, Sir C. R.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Forster, Henry William||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Gardner, Ernest||Jessel, Captain H. M.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Gilmour, Captain John||Joynson-Hicks, William|
|Campion, W. R.||Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Goldman, C. S.||Kerry, Earl of|
|Cassel, Felix||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Grant, J. A,||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Cautley, H. S.||Greene, W. R.||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Larmor, Sir J.||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Londsale, Sir John Brownlee||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Rees, Sir J. D.||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Valentia, Viscount|
|M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Royds, Edmund||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Malcolm, Ian||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Salter, Arthur Clavell||White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)|
|Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Sanders, Robert A.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Sanderson, Lancelot||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Sandys, G. J.||Winterton, Earl|
|Moore, William||Sassoon, Sir Philip||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Mount, William Arthur||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Newton, Harry Kottingham||Spear, Sir John Ward||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Stanler, Seville||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Nield, Herbert||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Swift, Rigby||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)||Younger, Sir George|
|Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Perkins, Walter F.||Talbot, Lord E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Hoare and Mr. Hewins.|
|Peto, Basil Edward||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
§ It being after half-past Ten of the clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 28th November, 1912, to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of Clause 22, to be concluded at this day's sitting.
§ Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again to-morrow (Tuesday).