HC Deb 07 November 1919 vol 120 cc1817-97

Order for Second Reading read.


I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

In moving the Second Reading of this Bill, I desire to express my great regret that it is not in the hands of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Dorset (Colonel Sir Williams), who has been so intimately connected with this movement since the beginning. I am sorry to say that he has been obliged to go abroad, and in his absence I have been asked to take his place. I would ask the House to bear with me if I endeavour to place before it some reasons why I support the Bill and think it necessary that it should be passed, if the work of the National Church is to be carried on with greater efficiency. The National Church is a great potential force in the religious life of this nation. It asks Parliament to give her more freedom to manage her own internal affairs, for she feels that, if this great force is to be used to the greatest advantage, it is necessary that some of the fetters which bind her should be removed, fetters which prevent her from dealing with some of the impediments in her system and some things which are intolerable scandals.

Twenty years ago Dr Gore, late Bishop of Oxford, said that multitudes of good men had been driven out of the Church because of these scandals. He said at that time that many more were still being driven out, and it lay with Churchmen to remove those scandals. When would Churchmen awake from their apathy? The first of these scandals was the glaring scandal of the sale of advowsons. One would imagine that that could not take place, and that it would not be possible that the cure of souls should be knocked down to the highest bidder, if it were not that there are facts to prove that the traffic in livings exists, and that tile right of presentation to a. living is a marketable commodity. I have here extracts from an advertisement in the "Times" of 9th October, 1915. "Advowson (good) for sale with possession." 6th November, "Advowson for sale, fair income, early possession. Write." That savours more of the house agent than it does of the Church life. This traffic still continues. I was reading in. the "Morning Post" only on Wednesday last that on the previous day a sale had been carried out of an estate in Norfolk, and one of the items in the catalogue at that sale was a living of that class which was being sold. I was interested in it. I went to the auctioneer and asked him: about it, and I am happy to say that he told me that at the last moment that particular item was withdrawn from the sale, and I understand that the patronage of the living would be transferred to, the bishop of the diocese.

Another evil is the tenure of livings. Under the existing law it is impossible to remove an incumbent, however unsuitable he may be for the work he has to do. He may neglect his ministrations; he may empty his church; he may be able to make no impression on his people. As long as he leads a moral life and has his two services in church on Sunday, no power on earth can remove him. He remains entrenched in his freehold, while the work of his parish goes to wrack and ruin. It is not only. These growing evils to get rid of which the help of Parliament is needed. There are also great questions of administration, and they are perhaps equally important. In moving the Second Reading of this Bill in the House of-Lords the Archbishop mentioned many of these cases. I do not intend to trouble the House by going through all of them, but he did allude to several things which; showed the absolute necessity of providing some means whereby Church legislation could be got through' Parliament. instanced the poverty of the clergy, owing in great measure to dilapidations which they have to make good. They want to get the Dilapidations Bill amended. How is it possible to do so? There are seventy-three Clauses in the Act. I ask any hon. Member how it would be possible, even if a Bill were introduced into the House, to amend a huge Act like that. It would be impossible in the time at the disposal of Parliament. I should like to mention one thing which particularly interests me. I have long thought that one of the best ways in which you can solve some of the difficulties of the rural districts would be an amalgamation of benefices. In the part of the country with which I am most familiar, East Anglia, I could take hon. Members to several places in the county of Norfolk where the parishes are so close together that you can hear the bells of several churches simultaneously. Ministering in each of these parishes you have a rector or vicar. The is generally a university man His stipend, on the average, is, perhaps, a little over £300 a year. He has to minister to a population of 200 or 300. These men settle clown to their work very often with inadequate incomes and certainly with too little to do. The result is that there is stagnation. My idea is that several of these parishes should be worked from one centre, that there should be a resident vicar with curates, and that the number of curates should, of course, be regulated by the work which they had to do. But it is impossible to get a large measure for amalgamation of benefices through this House. Apathy is caused by the deadening effect of the knowledge that you cannot remedy this evil unless Parliament makes some alteration in its procedure.

It is impossible to get a Church Bill through Parliament. I have been a Member of this House for a considerable number of years, and, as far as my memory serves me, in all that time only one Bill has got through, and that was almost by accident. I allude to a Bill with which I had something to do, because it more or less affected my own Constituency. It related to the division of the diocese of Norwich. That Bill was opposed—by opposed I mean obstructed. Fortunately there was a wise Churchman in Parliament at that time. He found out that the obstructor was very anxious to get another Bill passed through Parliament. The result of negotiation was that the obstruction was removed and the Church Bill passed. What is the record of recent years? Examination of the Public Bill Lists from 1880 to 1913 reveals this. Two hundred and seventeen Church Bills were introduced into this House; 183 of these were never heard of again. One was negatived and thirty-three were passed. Of those thirty-three, thirteen were sponsored by the responsible Minister of the Government of the day. It has not been much better with regard to what, for want of a better expression, I will call Nonconformist Bills. During the period I have stated there were seventy-four Bills introduced in the Nonconformist interest. Thirty-eight were designed to alter the law in their interests, and thirty-six dealt with chapel funds. Only one of the former passed; twenty-four of the second, and forty-nine of the Bills were dropped. In earlier days, when Parliament was practically composed of members of the Church of England, no doubt it was fit and proper, and perhaps easy, to discuss Bills connected with the Church, but it is otherwise to-day. First, there is the great growth of public business, taking up all the time and energy of Parliament. Further, this House is composed now of a considerable number of hon. Members who owe no allegiance to, and many of whom I dare say are entirely out of sympathy with, the Church of England. But so insistent were the demands for reforming the Church that the Representative Church Council in July, 1913, passed with one dissentient the following Resolution: That there is in principle no inconsistency between a national recognition of religion and the spiritual independence of the Church, and the council request the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to consider the advisability of appointing a Committee to inquire what changes are advisable in order to secure in the relations of Church and State fuller expression of the spiritual independence of the Church, as well as of the national recognition of religion, In response, the two Archbishops appointed in January, 1914, the Archbishops' Committee on Church and State giving the Resolution I have just read as its term of reference. In July, 1910, the Committee delivered a unanimous Report, and the recommendations were circulated throughout the country and were, in principle, approved by a large number of Church assemblies, including the Canterbury House of Laymen and by both Convocations. Not a single important Church Assembly rejected it. In 1917 the Representative Church Council considered the Report and delegated the drafting of a practical scheme thereon to a Grand Committee of the members. In November, 1918, the Grand Committee issued its scheme. The same day, following the dissolution of Parliament, the Representative Church Council was dissolved and a new elected Representative Church Council in February, 1919, after having considered the scheme Clause by Clause amended it, in one or two particulars, passed it with one dissentient. In May, 1919, the Convocation embodied the scheme in a formal address to the Crown, which has been circulated as a Parliamentary Paper. The enabling Bill having been amended in the House of Lords, comes down to this House and provides the machinery for carrying the scheme into effect. The first Clause refers to the National Assembly of the Church of England, the Constitution of the Church Assembly, the Legislative Committee and the Ecclesiastical Committee. The second Clause provides for the establishment of an Ecclesiastical Committee to consist of members of the Privy Council, not exceeding twenty-five. By Clause 3 the measures passed by the Church Assembly shall be submitted by the Legislative Committee to the Ecclesiastical Committee, which shall consider the measure so submitted and report upon it especially with relation to the constitutional rights of all His Majesty's subjects. That report is to be laid before both Houses of Parliament, and on an Address from each House of Parliament such measure shall be presented to His Majesty, and shall have the force and effect of an Act of Parliament on the Royal Assent being signified in the same manner as to Acts of Parliament. This Bill does not in any way affect the fundamental status and character of the National Church, and it takes away no right from any man or woman in the country. In some quarters, hostile I am afraid to the Bill, it is said that by this Bill Parliament loses effective control of legislation. I submit that is not so. Parliament retains all its rights to initiate ecclesiastical legislation, and has the right under this Bill to refuse any measure passed by the Church Assembly. This Bill is not the outcome of the War. The initial steps as to the Bill were taken before the War broke out. It is, however, more urgently needed now when the War, which has changed so much, is ended. Everywhere there is change and movement. Men's minds no longer move in the old ecclesiastical grooves. The Earl of Cavan, speaking in the House of Lords on the Bill on 2nd July of this year, said: I venture to say a few words in favour of the Bill before your Lordships, but I do so for one special reason, which is that discussions on ‡Church matters, and what the Church was doing or was not doing, were very much more frequent during the long years of the late War, both in trenches and in messes than perhaps your Lordships would imagine. The general tenour of those conversations, so far as I was able to judge, was that the Church was undeniably losing its grip and hold on the people, and that, unless something was done, there was a real danger of deadly indifference setting down upon the country—an indifference which, in my opinion, would be a calamity. Therefore, I, for one, welcome this Bill as a perfectly honest effort to do that "something" which so many of the soldiers thought was necessary. These men who are coining back, who have faced the realities of war and have seen their comrades perhaps killed by their side and have themselves remained unscathed—it is impossible to imagine that these men, or many of them, can come back to this country with the same views. They will have a broader vision, perhaps a more enduring hope. The Church has to adapt herself to the changes which have been brought about if she is to fulfil her proper function. She is to-day anxiously scanning the horizon of the new era with a profound sense of the responsibilities which are pre-eminently hers. I must not be held to imply that the responsibilities are here alone. They are shared with her by all the Christian Churches, and I think perhaps one of the happiest results of the War is that there has been a drawing more closely together of these bodies, and that they are animated by a common desire to work together in harmony for the religious uplifting of the people and the purifying of the national life. I hope we shall see some evidence of that better feeling in the Division Lobby to-day. I hope that our Free Church friends, who, I know do not approve some at any rate of the provisions of this Bill, will admit its principle and vote for the Second Reading and move their Amendments in Committee, and I can assure them they will receive every consideration and that that consideration will be of a sympathetic nature. In order to enable the Church to perform her duties satisfactorily she seeks the aid of Parliament, she asks for the removal of some of the barriers which confine 'her efforts and render it impossible for her to take full opportunity for the exercise of her religious functions. In moving the Second Reading of this Bill in the House of Lords, the Archbishop of Canterbury used these words: Just as our attempted activities have multiplied, so the old hampering conditions hive been constantly increasing. It is literally true that in our system of administration, which nowadays is very varied and very far-reaching, and which grows more wide and more exacting every year, I am brought up, not every week but every day, against the difficulties which hamper our power to serve the nation as thoroughly as we would. That is why I come to your Lordships to-day. It is for the same reasons that we ask the House to give a Second Reading to this Bill to-day.


On a point of Order, Sir. I think it would' be of assistance in the attitude of many hon. Members to the Second Reading if we got your ruling on this point. It is an Act to confer powers on the National Assembly of the Church of England constituted in accordance with the constitution attached as an Appendix to the Addresses presented to His Majesty by the Convocations of Canterbury and York. The hon. Member, in moving the Second Reading, referred to Amendments in Committee, and I should like to ask whether it will be possible in Committee to move Amendments altering the constitution of the National Assembly as set forth in the Appendix, and particularly whether it will be possible to move Amendments altering the constitution of the House of Laity as set forth in Section 4 of the Schedule to the Appendix.


No; it would not be possible to move any Amendments which would alter the constitution of the National Assembly. That is provided for, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman has pointed out, in the Appendix to the Addresses from the Convocations of Canterbury and York. In regard to the constitution of the Ecclesiastical Committee of the Privy Council or the relations of the Legislative Committee of the Church Assembly to the Ecclesiastical Committee, I think it would be open to the House to make Amendments there, but not in the constitution of the Church Assembly itself.


I beg to move to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to insert instead thereof the words while expressing the fullest sympathy with the aims of the Anglican Church for life and liberty in securing the rights of self-government and freedom from State control, but believing that these aims can best be realised by removing the Anglican Church by disestablishment and dis-endowment from a position of privilege, and so securing equal rights for all citizens and opportunity for true religious development, this House declines to give a Second Reading to this Bill. I move that Motion without any hostile feeling towards the Anglican Church. I recognise the power, the influence, and the great services rendered by that Church throughout many centuries, and in these special times through which we are passing, when the great mass of the people seem to be indifferent to the cause of religion, it is not an occasion when we would lightly seek to oppose any conscientious effort on the part of any Church to make itself more efficient and to render a higher and better service to the nation. As I listened to the speech delivered by the introducer of this Bill, I felt that the first part of it particularly was about the most impressive speech on behalf of disestablishment I have ever listened to. The question crossed my mind that, believing the accuracy of all the speaker said, it hardly seemed possible for a great Church conscious of these defects to remain so long in a condition and a position to tolerate these scandals and abuses.

The Bill which comes before us to-day has been introduced in what I consider a very light way. There has been no full and deep explanation of the far-reaching character of the provisions contained in it, little enough has been said about those great fundamental changes that take place, about a disturbance of those historic conditions that have connected the Church and State through so many centuries; nothing has been said about this, and yet this Bill is by far the most important measure introduced into this House concerning the Church for some centuries. The bringing forward of this Bill raises a new situation, and makes it necessary for those who are interested in the cause of religion, and who hold deep and strong convictions with respect to equality and justice in every part of the land to make this occasion an opportunity to reconsider the whole position of the Anglican Church and its relationship to the State. Now on account of the great times through which we are passing, we Free Churchmen were prepared to leave those conditions undisturbed and we were prepared to join ourselves with the greatest possible heartiness and consecration in trying to meet the new demands in a Christian spirit and in a spirit of unity. We were prepared to be silent in respect of the-Church and State, and to join forces with all the Christian bodies of the land. But the bringing forward of a Bill of this character compels us to reconsider the whole position and to declare our principles and our determination to hold fast by them.

I have the greatest sympathy possible with the Church in the presence of those scandals and drawbacks to which our attention has been drawn. I remember twelve months ago being in a village in the Midlands and asked to go to the house of a poor bed-ridden person. I met there. the vicar of the parish, and, after he had gone, the patient said, "I asked the vicar, as I have asked him often, if he would pray with me. What do you think was the reply he gave? He said, "Let me see, it is now seven weeks to the New Year, and maybe in the Now Year I will pray with you. I am a member of the family that holds the living, and one of the boys' had to have it, and it was shunted on to me," That was not the attitude of a man with a cause and a mission, and I would add that to the scandals and drawbacks mentioned in the great speech of the Archbishop in the other place, and also those named by the Ion. Baronet who introduced this Bill. I am heartily sympathetic towards the Anglican Church in those drawbacks to her great work. I recognise to the full the tremendous difficulties with which she is confronted, and as a Free Churchman I rejoice in the tremendous movement, named the Life and Liberty Movement, and we of the Free Churches are prepared to give our heartiest support to the realisation of any noble aim and ideal. But it seems to me that there is today, in these great experiences through which we are passing, through these tremendous opportunities of service opened to churches of all the land, amazing and vast Openings that stagger the imagination with their richness and their promise, and it surely is wise for us to consider the whole position, and how best to meet the occasion and to realise the splendour of those vast opportunities.

I think, and I want to show before I sit down, that the Anglican Church has taken a wrong line in the presentation of this Bill, that there is another way by which a real Enabling Bill may be passed, and the Anglican Church be set free from all her fetters to go on doing the great and magnificent work that lies ahead. It has been stated that for years there has been no serious presentation of the case of the Anglican Church here. Mention has been made of certain Bills that were blocked, and I almost felt that the inference was that the Free Churches had blocked those Bills. I know not whether the inference was made, but I do know that when Nonconformist Bills were introduced into this House they were blocked, and you know what human nature is, and hence there came the blocking of Bills on both sides. I do not justify it, hut I do think that the time has come, not for any petty action of that kind, but for a wise consideration of the subject with a view to placing all Churches of the land upon terms of equality and setting all free to go forth and do their great work for God and the nation. There is a new spirit in the land. We live in these times of unrest, but do we consider what lies behind those manifestations of unrest and disturbance? Lessons have been taught us through the War. They have been graven deep upon our hearts and our minds, and in the presence of this new spirit and of these vast opportunities, what have we to face here this day? During the time of the Napoleonic Wars, and at the close of those wars, the landlords throughout the land enriched themselves and entrenched thems3lves in the commons land of England. I remember when we came to the close of the Boer War there was introduced into this House an Education Bill which placed disabilities upon Nonconformists of a severe character—[HON. MEMBERS: "No‡"]—and in 8,000 schools no Nonconformist can attain to the highest post as teacher, and these schools in the main supported out of public rates.

And now we come to the close of the greatest war of all history, and, instead of this mighty Church of England arising and saying to all the other Churches," Come, let us unite together-to do the great work of God in reconstructing and rebuilding the nation," they have introduced this. Bill to fasten afresh, and with greater tenacity, on this land the privileges of that national Church. The introduction of this Bill, I contend, makes many great and vast constitutional changes, and violates the principles held dear by half the nation. Some say to me, "Why not give the Church a chance, and if this measure, after some experience, has proved a failure, then we can retrace our steps and we can have something entirely different? "It is never easy to retrace anything that is done by Parliament. In 1906 there was an enormous upheaval, but we Nonconformists still remain under those disabilities; and there has been no opportunity to retrace steps taken in the wrong direction. I say we Free Churchmen to-day can suffer no risks. We cannot afford, unchallenged, to allow this Bill to go through without taking ample safeguards in the interest of the people of all the Churches and for the liberties of the land. I make this frank confession: I deplore this fight into which we are entering—I deplore it most deeply. Never in the history of England was there more need for co-operation, and yet this apple of discord is thrown into our midst‡ The masses of the people pass us by and there is apathy in these matters. United, the terms of the vast work which could be done by the Churches, by Free and United Churches, could not be measured. In these latter days the question of reunion has been much canvassed. I am glad that in many of the Free Churches this movement is going on with great success. There is food for thought in the idea that most of the Methodist bodies will, we hope, form one great Methodist Church.

The question has been recently raised as to whether or not it is possible to have visible union with the Anglican Church. I will not rule that out as impossible; the age of miracles has not yet gone by. A few selected men of spiritual character and great insight and power are conferring together up and down the country, but sooner or later men of this class, conferring together about unity, come up against that rock of offence—apostolic succession. There can be no true union where you are surrendering vital principles. I want to ask whether visible union is at all a necessity? Is it desirable I There are a few Free Church leaders who know what has happened to the Churches through the War, and they somehow seem to have lost faith in their great principles and in the mission of the Free Churches I know it is a bad time for our Free Church ministers. Although in the case of Anglican clergymen the tithes, that five years ago were quoted at 70 and 75 for each £100, are, now, by Act of Parliament tabled at 109. With the Free Church minister there has been no increase of emolument. Hundreds of our men have been on the verge of starvation. No section of the community has suffered from the effect of high prices like the Free Church ministers. Yet in those homes where these men are suffering there is that high spirit, that love of liberty, and the cry goes up with great strength not to surrender our liberties or principles, or to yield up our belief in them. In these matters evidently many of our leaders are not leading us. I regret it deeply. But we have to recognise the truth. We have to face the thing which is practical.

The War has been a bad thing for religion. [HON. MEMBERS: "No‡"] The war spirit is always inimical to the spirit of Christ. There may be the necessity. There has been the necessity, but the reactive influences upon the churches have been sad and deplorable enough. I do not know that we need to aim for a visible-unity, but what I do think we should aim at is that unity of spirit and of helpfulness in the great work to which we are all called. You, however, get the lamentable aspect in such a thing as the suggested interchange of pulpits where there would be no sacrifice of principle. This ought to be a matter of easy settlement. A Committee representing the various churches met, and came to a conclusion on the matter. This conclusion was referred to Convocation, who threw it over by an overwhelming majority. Then certain authorities took the alarm when they saw what the effect must be, and the Archbishop of Canterbury—I admire his action—decided that this matter should be dealt with at the Lambeth Conference next year. I am reminded of the old saying, "You cannot get blood out of a stone." You cannot get interchange of pulpits out of the most reactionary body in the whole land, the body that clings most tenaciously to its privileges.

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Is it not easy for us Free Churchmen to accept the Bill introduced here to-day? It is when you come to consider what this Bill contains that you discover where our difficulty lies. We are not averse to setting up an Assembly, but we do want to have something to say about the constitution of that Assembly which is set up by this Bill and its power. I waited to see if someone would rise after the last speaker and say, on behalf of the Anglican Church that something as to the constitution of that Assembly should be submitted to Parliament. Then there is this Ecclesiastical Committee of the Privy Council, with its power to consider matters submitted by the Legislative Committee of the National Assembly, and to make a Report which shall be presented to his Majesty. These Reports have to await the permission of the Legislative Committee before they can be sent forward. Then comes the action for bringing these Reports, if adopted, by the Legislative Committee before the two Houses of Parliament. We have then the opportunity for a consideration of these Reports.

I want to point out there may be much in these measures to which the Address to His Majesty shall refer with which we all agree. There may be something to which we take very strong exception. We want the opportunity of passing judgment upon these. We are told that there is no difference as to the control of Parliament under this new Bill. You have an illustration there of the accuracy of some statements ‡ Here you have a national Church with its vast prerogatives, with its claim to do all this under the plea of spiritual development, and I agree with that I The Church of Christ should stand free from the State. Spiritually it should be an independent State. But you have here a National Church that obtains from the State something like £8,000,000 a year in tithes. [HON. MEMBERS: "No‡"] It is the recognised teacher of religion, and has a special status on account of that connection. It has always been held that Parliament must control the Church, and that the self-government indicated in and through this Bill is one which ought not to be conceded to this House without very deep and full consideration. The claim has been for Parliament to surrender its authority over the Church. Let me quote what Sir Lewis Dibden says. He says that the main purpose of the Bill amounts to a request to Parliament to give up authority which it has exercised mover since the Papal supremacy was abrogated. Then there is that man of great and enthusiastic tendencies, particularly for organisation. I refer to Canon Temple. He says the Bill is to try and end the present subjection of the Church to the absolute control of Parliament. This is the centre of the problem. I agree with him. I like his frankness. If this Bill passes through Parliament, then Parliamentary supervision over the Anglican Church practically passes away, and it is made independent of Parliament. It retains its status and its vast wealth, but the veto of Parliament is gone. I am not surprised that the Bishop of Carlisle says that This is a Bill to enable the Church to disable Parliament, I should be very unwise if what I have to say simply consisted of criticism of this nature. It is easy to make criticisms. But I want to say something which I think will indicate a line towards a better way, to realise peace and goodwill right throughout the country. What is the better way by which the Church may attain true liberty, and realise the fullness of that divine life which may throb through her veins? It is along the line of self-control and self-dependence, and there you get the fullest spiritual development. No men hold such high views of the Church as the preachers have held. The Church to us is the body of Christ, and it must be free. How can the Church attain that freedom? Only by Disestablishment. Is Disestablishment a possibility? Is it within reach of realisation? There are many Anglicans who believe that this is the only way by which a Church can be set free. There are many Anglicans who disagree most profoundly with this Enabling Bill.

What are the advantages which will come through Disestablishment? If we disestablish the Church of England then we terminate a great injustice under which one section of the people are favoured, and that brings about a sense of wrong, strife and discord. In matters of religion the State does not deal impartially with all citizens, and establishment means that the rights of citizenship to-day are unequal. It means that there are favoured ones who occupy a favoured position compared with other citizens. It means that national property is used for the benefit of the members of one Church. A national Church thus maintained is a national injustice. I want to point out the effect upon the nation if we had Disestablishment. At present we have the people divided into two sections. In every parish you have this discord and turmoil, and the whole nation suffers as a result. I know no town anywhere where, under equal conditions, we can engage in public service, where men do not view each other with suspicion, or where there is co-operation in the utilisation of spiritual energy.

Let us see how Disestablishment interferes with national progress. When you have one privileged class they will always support others who are seeking to maintain privileges. If you disestablish the Church of England I think we shall enter on a freer and more harmonious relationship, and I think we should secure a uniform system. The best educated nation is the nation that will share most in the progress of the world. What are the religious advantages of Disestablishment? The tendency of establishment is always to check spiritual life. Dependence upon the State tends inevitably to engender pride and develop arrogance, but if you disestablish the Church and place all citizens upon an equal footing there will be more Christian charity and less strife, and greater communion in the realisation of good works. You will then set the Church free to manage her own affairs, and this would be a truly Enabling Bill, and when such a Bill conies about then the greatest good will happen to the nation.

We of the Free Church have tried for the last thirty or forty years to compel the Anglican Church to accept Disestablishment, and we made a blunder, because Disestablishment can only come by the voluntary action of the Established Church. That we recognise. These advantages are nut problematical, but they ore real, as anyone who has travelled in Canada or America knows. May I quote what the Archbishop of Canterbury says on this point? It is not essential to a Church to be established, and it is not essential to our Church in its essence, in its spiritual power, in its Divine Grace, and in its ministry of the Sacraments. This is what the Bishop of London said, speaking after his visit to America: It was like going from a close atmosphere into a glorious, large, bright, generous atmosphere, where one escaped from the eternal wrangling of High Church and Low Church, of Nonconformist and Churchman. In America and Canada they managed to work together with a harmony, love, toleration, and forbearance for one another which we have not yet learnt in England. I think that testimony is of extreme value. We can bring about those conditions only in one way, and the only obstacle to their realisation is the establishment of the Church. I think there is a keen desire upon the part of the members of all churches to set the Church free and to remove those fetters, whatever they may be. I see no reason why there should not be a federation of churches, and we should like the Anglican Church to take the lead. We have been one in war, now let us be one in peace. We have been united on the field of battle; why not now be united on the field of service at home? We have joined together in France and elsewhere, and the War has shaken our belief in trivialities and has driven us back upon bare realities. We have had to examine our faith to see what faith we professed, and we have had to count it a failure. There is little power, and our actions have not attained to what they might have done. If the Church of England will take a step voluntarily, and surrender the social status she has and all the wealth that comes to her from the State, she will then: place herself on terms of perfect equality with all the churches. She will then start a leadership, and that will be the reconstruction and building up of a stronger and a better England.


In rising to second this Amendment, I am aware that I lay myself under some suspicion of hostility to the Anglican Church and its work. I do not think, however, that that suspicion is likely to find any voice in this-House at all. Here, I think, we all agree that our attitude towards this measure, on whichever side it comes, is one which is guided by a sincere feeling. The Christian Church in this country is older than the House of Commons, and that is perhaps fortunate. If there had existed in the sixth century a House of Commons such as that which exists to-day it would have passed an Aliens Bill and prevented St. Augustine landing in Kent. That would have had this advantage, that we should not have been in the position of requiring to debate the subject under discussion today. I can imagine that the worst thing that could be said of my hon. Friend and myself would be to say that we were taking advantage of the necessity of the Anglican Church to attempt to force from them something which they do not want to give in exchange for something which they very much want to get. If it were put in its worst form it might be suggested that our effort was a kind of blackmail, and that we were saying to the Anglican Church, "You want your liberty, and you must pay the price for it. You must consent to Disestablishment and Disendowment." That would be a position in which I should he very sorry to find myself. It would be an unworthy position, but I do not think that it is a thing that can be said about us.

This question of Disestablishment and Disendowment is not raised by my hon. Friend here to-day for the first time. It has been for long a great matter for debate, discussion, and opinion in this House, and not in this House only. Many hon. Members who support this Bill are in other matters great Imperialists, and they are anxious that we should have an Imperial policy. If there is in this question any Imperial policy it is certainly the policy of Disestablishment and Disendowment. For the last fifty or sixty years, not only in this country, but also in our Colonies, the question of the relationship of the Church to the State has been under discussion, and in places where it has been settled it has been settled along the lines put forward by my hon. Friend who has moved the Motion and myself. In Canada in 1854, and spreading from Canada to the South Seas and from the South Seas to Africa, and in every part of the British Empire, in Ireland, and, last of all, in Wales, the policy of Disestablishment and Disendowment has been accepted-by the Legislatures of the Dominions and by this House as being the real solution of the question. Nobody in this House is more in sympathy with the desire for self-government and freedom than those who are supporting this Motion. The hon. Member who introduced the Bill spoke of the grave, scandals and disability under which the Anglican Church has suffered. We on this side say that the Church has suffered from those things because of its connection with the State, and that the simplest way for it to get rid of them is to cut its connection with the State and enjoy the same freedom, that is enjoyed by the Free Churches. You hear no such complaints from the Free Churches. They 'have no such trouble, no such scandals, and no such disabilities, and their freedom is due to the fact that they have no connection with the State. We therefore say that if you want more freedom it is easy for you to get it.

The advantage of State connection, apparently, is some sacrifice of liberty, and, whoever may resist that point of view, hon. Members who support the Bill can hardly do so, because in other matters during this Session they have taken just that point of view. If you are servants of the State, and enjoy consideration by the State, and receive emoluments from the State, you must pay for it by giving up some measure of your freedom. We have had two measures introduced in this House dealing with the police force in this country and in Irerand. The police force in this country wanted to do exactly what the Anglican Church wants to do. They wanted to have some body composed entirely of themselves which would have some control over their conditions and their affairs. They asked for that, but the policy of the Government, which is supported by hon. Members opposite, was to refuse it to them. They said, "That cannot be. You are servants of the State; your emoluments come from State resources, and, that being so, we cannot allow you to have this measure of freedom which is enjoyed by your fellows who have not the same advantages." That was the policy of the Government, of the House, and of hon. Members who are supporting this Bill, and it does seem to me that they at least cannot object to the argument that is advanced that if they want the liberty that they are seeking they must accept with it a severance from the advantages which they enjoy by their connection with the State.

Very little indeed was said about the Bill when it was introduced, and still less was said about the Appendix. I have read the Bill—it appeared to me that it was necessary to do that seeing that I was going to second the Motion for its rejection—and I have also read the Appendix. I am not surprised that the Appendix has been removed from the Bill. What is the proposal which we are asked to support this afternoon? It is a proposal for self-government. It is a very interesting and remarkable proposal, considering the source from which it comes, and I would be one of the last to wish to damp down their ardour for self-government. The great prelates of the Church in the past have been known as great statesmen. A great deal of the history of our country is linked up with the possession of those qualities by the great officers of the Church, and in this present time when the desire for self-government and self-determination is being expressed in every quarter of the globe it appears to me to be an extraordinarily, not to say interesting, thing that we should have the great statesmen in the Church developing a plan for self-government inside the Church. One might expect by reference to it to gather something which would be useful to all those who are considering this problem of self-government and self-determination. We have it raised in Ireland, we have it raised in Egypt, and we have it raised in India, and towards the solution of all the problems there it might be expected that some very interesting light would be derived from the proposals for self-government which have been put forward by the Bishops and Archbishops.

I was interested to see where they had found their model, and to ascertain upon what system they had based their plan. It is a most extraordinary thing, when one considers in how many parts of the world self-government has been estab- lished, to find that if there is a model in any part of the world upon which the proposal for self-government by the Church has been built it is only to be found in Russia. As far as I can understand the political principles embodied in this constitution, they are purely Bolshevist, and if the House will forgive me for a moment or two I can show, I think, that is so. It is quite easy to be misunderstood in this House, but I want to avoid any misapprehension, and I say at once that I am not suggesting that the Archbishop of Canterbury has been in consultation with Lenin on this matter. It is perfectly well known that identical theories in politics, in economics, and in science may arise quite independently in different. places at the same time. But the fact that the organisation proposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury is precisely the same organisation as has been adopted by Lenin is attributable to the desire of both to secure the same end.

The real principle at the root of Bolshevism is a desire to combine a democratic form with autocratic effects, and that is what has taken place in this constitution. This common desire for the same end has produced extraordinarily similar results. In all really democratic countries the National Assemblies, whether Legislatures or the House of Commons, are the result of direct election. The elector directly votes for his representative. In all parts of the world except Russia [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no ‡"] Well, I think the Senate in America is not so elected and in this country, of course, the House of Lords is not elected. I do not know, either, that the Presidency of the United States is an outcome of the purest democratic principle. What we have been asked to do in this Bill this afternoon is to extend self-government. But the self-government proposed in this Bill is precisely the same kind of self-government which has been achieved in Russia, and that is the election of a national controlling assembly by indirect means. The lay elector in the Church is to have no direct voice in electing the laity to represent him in the National Assembly. They meet in their parish meetings, and they elect directly to their parish council; they elect directly also to the Ruri-Decanal Conference. They may elect directly to the Diocesan Conference, but if, in the opinion of the Diocesan Conference, it is not advisable to let the members of the parish meeting have a direct vote, they may preclude them from having it, and. the House in that case will be elected by the conference below it, and, in its turn, the members of the National Assembly, as-far as the laity are concerned, will be elected by the Diocesan Conference.

One can best realise the position by taking an analogy. If you assume that this House of Commons was elected, not by the electors in the country, but by members of the county councils who had themselves been directly elected, then you would get the proposal which is put before us in this Bill. We are anxious for self-government. We desire to promote it everywhere, and I for one say frankly that my opposition to this Bill would be very largely diminished if the proposals in it were really, in any sense of the word, democratic proposals. But they are not so. There is a still more interesting resemblance to the Soviet system in Russia, and that is the electors to the National. Assembly are to be confined to one class of the nation. They say that in Russia. Lenin has only found it possible to maintain the Soviets by excluding certain classes of the electorate, and here in this proposal we find the same principle. The National Assembly is supposed to be dealing with a National church enjoying emoluments from national sources, but those elected to it are to be confined to only a section of the population. This up-to-date democratic body is to deal with great constitutional proposals with regard to different parts of this country. I think the country and the House will be extraordinarily surprised if front any Conference dealing with constitutional questions you would get proposals for self-government which had any resemblance at all to the proposals in this Bill. One of the most extraordinary things about this matter is, that if this proposal had been carried a few years ago it would have had the effect of preventing the late Duke of Northumberland being one of the electors under this scheme, because, I am informed, he was a member of a church which was not in communion with the Church of England. That would almost suggest that if the Archbishop of Canterbury has not been in communion with Lenin he has been with Mr. Robert Smillie.

Viscount WOLMER

The hon. Member is entirely mistaken.


It is not perhaps a very material point, but I do think I have shown that as tar as the political aspects of the proposals before us go it is a mere travesty of the word to say that they present anything in the nature of Belt-government. I am not speaking of this from the point of view of a Nonconformist. As far as I have had any correspondence or literature on this subject sent to me, it is clear that inside the Anglican Church, and among a very great number of the laity there is a feeling that this Bill, so far from giving self-government to the Church, is placing it very much more even than in the past under the influence of the hierarchy. It was said by the hon. Member who introduced the Bill that it had something to do with the spiritual character and independence of the Church. But I am not dealing with that point at all. The Bill has nothing at all to do with the really fundamental work of the Church, and I am supported in that by the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury when he introduced a Bill in the House of Lords: He said: May I say at once, in order to clear the ground, that we are not dealing at all with deeper spiritual things—Doctrines of our faith, the duties of the Christian ministry the help we can render publicly or privately to the souls of men—these are spiritual fundamental things, the very essence of our work, and with them we are not dealing directly, or I think hardly even indirectly, in this Bill in any way. We are speaking here of the framework, the outer secular rules, within which our work has to be done. It is from that point of view that I approach the Bill. It is a political and economic measure. Politically I am sure it is not democratic; it draws nearer the most undemocratic form of government we have in the world at the present time—that of Russia. Economically it is an extraordinary thing that this measure, viewed from the standpoint of economics, is the first proposal of a Syndicalist character to come before the House of Commons. That is an extraordinary thing coming from the source which gives it birth. I understand the Noble Lord the Member for the Hitchin Division (Lord Robert Cecil) said the other day—I hope I am not misrepresenting him—that he had no objection to Syndicalism if not accompanied by robbery.


I never said anything remotely resembling it.


All I can say is that the Noble Lord has been misrepresented to me. I regret that I should have introduced this statement into this Debate. I do not want to rest ally argument I have to submit upon statements which the Noble Lord does not accept. The fact remains that the economic proposals of this Bill are of such a character that if they had been submitted to this House by, say, the miners of this country, they would have met at once with a stormy protest from hon. Members on the other side. What is Syndicalism? Syndicalism is an attempt to appropriate for the use and enjoyment of one section of the community what is the property of the whole nation. That is the proposal in this bill. If one looks at the organisation of the Church, not from its spiritual side—with that we are not concerned—but from its economic side what has been the position in this country since its existence? The Church was established in this country by private enterprise, by men who came here with little means. Such means as they had they applied to the work of the Church. In the course of time the Church became a corporation—indeed, a body of corporations—possessing great wealth. It was a body of wealthy corporations under alien influence. That influence was felt by the country to be so much of a menace that in the sixteenth century the Church was nationalised—the first experiment in nationalisation which this country has seen. As a nationalised body it has been in existence some 200 or 300 years. Now we get a proposal which practically amounts to the syndicalisation of the Church. If one could imagine that the miners of this country were to gain their purpose and desire, and were to become nationalised, and if after the lapse of time the miners were to come to this House with a proposal and say: "We find a great deal of difficulty with regard to our industry and occupation in being continually under the direction and control of Parliarnent. We propose to set up a national assembly of miners and to carry on our industry under the conditions that are carried through that assembly, and we propose to enjoy the use of the mines of this country which have been nationalised and are national property under the conditions of that assembly "—that would be a proposal exactly equivalent to the proposal before the House. All I have to say with regard to the matter now is that we on this side believe that the surest way to what the Church of England wants—a want with which we entirely sympathise: a desire for perfect liberty and real self:government—is for them to sever their connection with the State. Let them step into the position now enjoyed by the Free Churches, and let them then escape from that control which at the present time they find so irksome.

With regard to the question of Disendowment, there can be no question now that the property enjoyed by the Church is national property. That matter has been settled beyond all dispute, so far as the great bulk of it is concerned, by the measures which have passed this House regarding the Church in Ireland and the Church in Wales. The proposal contained in the Amendment is one not brought forward in any sense of hostility to the real interests of the Anglican Church, but a proposal which we feel bound to bring forward at the present time. This discussion has not been raised by us, but we should be false to all our principles at this time if, in answer to the question forced upon us here, we (lid not once more reassert our belief in the principles of Disestablishment and Disendowment.


I have listened with considerable interest to the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment, and have come to the conclusion that so far as the Bill itself is concerned there is practically no argument against it. Their speeches were directed to an entirely different object, which I am not sure comes properly within the purview of the House. This is not a Disestablishment Bill. It is a Bill to enable the Church to acquire a certain liberty and certain rights of which it is deprived. As to whether it is a good or a bad Bill we have heard very little from the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment. Instead of that we have had arguments as to Disestablishment and Disendowment, based on many of the old arguments of thirty or forty years ago, with a fantastic reference to and comparison with Bolshevism and Syndicalism which have very little bearing on the matter before the House, but which are perforce dragged in to make some argument against the measure itself. It is as absurd to argue on Disestablishment in relation to this Bill as, for instance, the Labour party to say, "Unless we can have immediately a levy on Capital we will not allow any other taxes to be levied. We will resist and obstruct to the best of our ability all taxation unless we can have the principle of a levy on capital admitted." The Labour party take no such foolish position, but that is the position taken up by the opponents of this measure. The Mover of the Amendment referred to himself in the plural as "We of the Free Churches." I do not think any individual member of the Free Churches can in this Debate say that he represents anyone other than himself. Every member of the Free Churches is at liberty to hold his own opinion on this subject. I myself, as a Nonconformist, claim the fullest right to hold my own view on this Bill. I believe that the narrow views of years gone by held by many Nonconformists are disappearing. The Mover of the Amendment referred to a certain prayer by a certain clergyman which was postponed for some weeks. There was a favourite prayer offered by certain persons some years ago—I believe they are dead and buried—which was: Lord bless me and my wife, my son John and his wife, We four, no more, Amen. That particular clergyman might have been well advised in not joining in that type of prayer. The question on this Bill is, Is it a good Bill, and do the members of the Church of England, who are principally concerned in the matter, earnestly desire it? I believe it is a good Bill, and I believe the members of the Church of England earnestly desire it. So far as I can collect any evidence on this subject, they do not object to the effective control of Parliament; but what they object to is the effective neglect of Parliament. That is very much more in evidence than the effective control of Parliament. As to the evidence of the desire of the Churches, I understand that this week the Churches themselves, on the appeal of the Archbishop of Canterbury, are engaging in prayer on behalf of this measure. In the early history of the Church to which I belong it was customary for Methodists who found a difficulty in getting sites for their buildings to offer prayer, and their prayers generally went in the direction that the Lord would remove the stumbling blocks, and in very many cases the records Show that the Lord did remove the stumbling blocks. I hope it will not be necessary to have by-elections in consequence of obstruction of this Bill.

I am much more concerned to inquire, is this Bill one for the good of the people of this nation? I believe it is. I believe, if you introduce, as this Bill does, into the councils of the Church of England and into the effective control of the Church of England, the element of the laity, you will have done much to remove the apathy and the hindrances to the spread of true religion in the land which exist to-day. I am sure in the great Methodist Church, which I believe is the largest Protestant Church in the World, the influence of the laity is of infinite value. Some of our friends are afraid that following this Bill you will have an increased priestly arrogance, and that there will be tendencies towards Rome. I believe if the Bill is passed it will be one of the greatest safeguards we can establish to prevent any such thing happening. I believe the more you bring the influence of the laity into the councils of the Church the more security we shall have as a nation for the proper development of the real life of the Church, and that without it she is suffering, she is maimed, she is thwarted, she is hindered in her great work and purpose of spreading the Christian faith. Because I believe these things I am prepared to see the freedom extended to the Church which we enjoy. The last speaker referred to the method of election as if it were an absurd method. It is practically the same method as the great Methodist Churches throughout the world have adopted for centuries past, and the result of it is that in the Methodist Church you have perhaps the finest body of laymen that ever any Church could call together to engage in the active, spiritual work of the Church which is the object for which all these Churches are founded.

With regard to the difficulty of legislation through this House, I know the position. I have sat on two Committees. On one, a Grand Committee, we had to deal with, I believe, the Sheffield Bishopric Bill. That Committee was, with one exception, unanimously of opinion that the Bill should pass. There was only one dissentient, but he had sufficient power and influence, owing to the obstructive powers that Members have in this House, to tell the Committee frankly that the Bill would never get through because he should block it in its various stages. That shows how impossible it is under certain forms, with one solitary opponent, for a measure which was desired and did not inflict any injury on any other Church to get through. I sat on another Committee dealing with the union of the Methodist Churches. On that Committee were men of varied religious views but, notwithstanding the fact that the Bill contained some very fundamental changes in the constitution and the affairs of this Church, it passed through Committee and passed through the Mouse and became the law of the land. Those who say that no legislation should go through that relates to the Churches may be on solid ground, but those who argue that Bills relating to one set of Churches should be allowed to pass and Bills relating to another set of Churches should be thwarted and hindered are not taking up a fair position, and that is the position the House must take up if we arc to be fair to all and give equal opportunities. I take it this Bill affords equal opportunities to the Church of England to get its legislation through which we should desire for ourselves. Reference has been made to the union and reunion of churches. It is quite possible that there will-come before this House a Bill for the reunion of the Methodist Churches at some early period. If it comes forward it will be a very unhappy thing if some hon. Member moves a Resolution that until Disestablisihment and Disendowment of the Church of England takes place no measure can be considered for the union of the Methodist Churches. That is about as reasonable as the proposal that is put before us by the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment.

With regard to Nonconformity itself, I believe not only will this be a good measure for the Church of England, but it will be a good measure for Nonconformity. Many of the things which have created dissatisfaction and distrust and disagreement in relation to the Church of England have been caused by the acts of unwise men in some parishes, perhaps rural parishes, where they have taken advantage of their power or authority and so antagonised large sections of the Nonconformist community amongst whom they dwell. It would be infinitely more difficult for such an unwise person to commit these foolish acts which have created so much discontent in the past if in the parishes, in rural districts particularly, there is a parish council connected with the assembly of the whole Church which will be able to criticise and prevent these stupid and foolish acts which have so often marred the intercourse between the various Churches. In the interests of Nonconformity itself it will be an excellent thing to have these councils established and so to help to prevent these unfortunate incidents which have sometimes arisen in times past. It is possible, in our hostility one to another, to make great mistakes which hinder the work we are all supposed to be engaged in promoting. I take it so far as we are members of the Christian Church, no matter of what branch, anything that promotes the good of the whole should have our support unless it positively damages the interest of some class of citizens. I take it no class of citizens will be damaged by this Bill. I take it there is no privilege set up which is an improper privilege at the expense of any section of the community, and I should deeply regret if we mistook our sense of duty in this case and prevented good being done because of our hostility to some particular form of faith. It has been well said that the master stroke of evil is to play itself off as devotion. Surely it is not necessary that we should accentuate our devotion to our own respective Churches by hostility to the activities, to the energies, and to the useful work of another branch of the same faith to which we ourselves belong. I find that in this Bill there are provisions which will prevent any ill-considered scheme being put before and passed through Parliament without adequate safeguards. I am satisfied that the Bill will foster and strengthen the religious welfare of this one great branch of the Catholic universal Church, and I dare not vote against a measure which will do this. I dare not vote against a measure which I believe will do something, at any rate, to spread abroad and help the greater vitality and usefulness of a branch of the Church of Christ, although it is not the branch of it to which I belong, in the universal Catholic Church. Therefore, as a Nonconformist, I support with all my power the measure before the House.

2.0 P.M.


During my membership of this House I have never risen more reluctantly to take part in any of its proceedings. To me there is nothing more repellant than anything that relates to sectarian strife. The one encouraging thing, amid all the miseries we have been going through during the last five or six years, and the one ray which gave one comfort, has been that during that period political strife has almost entirely been removed from our midst. We are now dealing with matters which affect us very deeply, matters which affect the very innermost recesses of our being, and dealing with that which it seems to me that Parliament has no right or capacity to deal with. Therefore 1 am going to mane au appeal on three grounds to tae promoters or this Bill, and to urge them with all respect and sincerity not to proceed with toe measure or to press it upon the House and the country. Surely we have troubles enough to face at the present moment, problems social, political, industrial, national and international—problems so stupendous and so complex as to require all the strength and energy of the nation to be devoted to them it we are to solve them successfully and in the interests of the State. If sectarian strife is to be added on the top of these problems it will be a very bad day for our country and our progress. Therefore, I beg respectfully to ask the promoters of this measure not to proceed with it, because by doing so they are promoting, not willingly but inevitably, sectarian strife. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?" An hon. Member asks "Why?" I will endeavour to say why. You are endeavouring to disturb, fundamentally, the very existence and conditions of the Established Church of this country, established in our midst for centuries. Some of us are Free Churchmen. I am a convinced Free Churchman, I am not a dissenter from the Church of England out of any spirit of antagonism to that great Church. I respect and honour the Episcopal Church. I recognise the greatness and devotion of so many of its sons. I would not willingly say one single word to hurt the feelings of one of its devoted sons. I am only speaking here on this question because I feel myself compelled to speak by reason of this Bill having been introduced. I am a Free Churchman because I cannot in my conscience believe in an Establishment. You may establish religion by law, but you can only establish a form of it, and when you attempt to establish a form you destroy the chance of unity. You can only have unity in spirit, but never by uniformity. Believing so strongly that religion is a matter which transcends altogether Parliaments of this or any other country, and regarding it as a supreme thing which has to do between a man and his Creator.

I say to Parliament in regard to this matter, "hands off I Leave religion free for men's souls and consciences to act accordingly only to their untrammelled dictation." That is the one thing above all others that I would say. It is because I believe that, that my tendency in justice would he as, in earlier days, to stand for Disestablishment as a great political policy. I have not been doing so for many years past, and I do not want to do so. I realise that the matters that are pressing upon the country are so stupendous and so heavy that I earnestly trust that we may be relieved from what I should regard as an absolute disaster. I submit very earnestly and respectfully to this House that if they proceed with this measure that will be the inevitable result. To me it is a challenge to Nonconformity; it is a challenge to the very principles on which I act as a Nonconformist. We have not raised the issue; it has been raised by this Bill being promoted. If this Bill be passed the Established Church, which has some claims, I trust, to be called a National Church, will have removed from it any shadow of claim to continue a National Church, but will still remain as an Established Church. In that case, Nonconformity, which inspires tens of thousands of the people of this country, will he compelled to take action, and they will take action, much as they would desire to refrain. That view is not entertained merely by Nonconformists. I was speaking to a prominent Churchman the other day and he was asked whether he supported the Enabling Bill. "No," he said. "As a Churchman, I am opposed to it, because I know the inevitable result must be Disestablishment." it may be said that as I believe in Disestablishment I should hail this Bill. But at the moment I hail something infinitely greater, and that is unity so far as is possible in all classes of society, so that we may face the fearful problems which confront us without being divided from one another by sectarian strife. As I believe that that is the inevitable and necessary consequence of pressing forward this Bill, therefore I appeal earnestly and respectfully to those who are promoting it not to press it forward.

But without attempting to go into details, I take another strong objection to this Bill being proceeded with. Its very form is an intolerable fraction of the rights and responsibilities of Parliament. The one thing we need more than any other at the present moment is to place Parliament in the supreme position in the State it once had but at present has lost, and at this very moment we have introduced a Bill, dealing with the fundamental conditions of the Established Church. which has been such for centuries, the essential portion of which is an appendix which you, Sir, have told us neither the House nor any Committee would have any opportunity whatever of discussing. That such a Bill should be produced to a free Parliament, a Bill which settles the constitution of the national Established Church in what is called an appendix made outside this House with which we have had and can have nothing to do, is an absolute destruction of the rights of Parliament. I contend, therefore, that the-ruling you have given and rightly given this afternoon makes this Bill, which has no regard for the liberties of Parliament and the traditions of freedom which we have always had before us, one which we have no right to consider, much less accept.

In this Bill we are dealing with the biggest thing that we have ever touched. We are dealing with big things, financial, industrial, national and international, the biggest we have ever had to face, but this which we are touching here is the biggest thing of all, which we ought not to be asked to undertake. But if it be right for Parliament to consider this, if it be so vital to the welfare of the Church and the nation that we should consider it, then this Bill ought to be produced by a responsible Government who would take on its own shoulders the responsibility of producing it. In so important a matter the House has no right to be left without legal guidance. I do not see how it is possible for the responsible Government of the country to wash its hands entirely of the matter and say that it has no responsibility and will give no-lead, and it is a sad thing to me, because-we are dealing with a moral issue, that the two things with which at the same time the Government says it will have nothing to-do, and as to which it will give no lead or. responsibility, are this Bill on the one, hand and premium bonds on the other. This Bill has much to do with our weal or woe in the future. If I could only agree-with my hon. Friend who has just spoken I would do so with all my heart. All he asks, for I want. I want greater unity between all sections of the Christian Church. There is nothing sadder than the divisions which exist among us. It is the attempt at uniformity, the original idea of establish ment, which divides, that is the form which always divides. It is only the spirit which can ever unite. My hon. Friend spoke of Methodism and seemed to put it exactly on the same level as the Established Church. While he spoke I could not understand really whether he desired to get that unity through disestablishing the Church or establishing Methodism, but it was one or the other. Therefore I submit again that this question is so vital to the country's welfare that we are entitled to receive from the Government guidance and leading.

Further, being so vitally important, it ought not to be introduced here on a Friday afternoon, but should receive the fullest consideration of the House of Commons. We are asked now to destroy all the fundamental conditions of the Established Church, to raise all kinds of issues which those of us, who speak from the same standpoint as I do, so desire to avoid, and we are asked to do it in an empty House with only a few persons present, and the Government not here to give us leading or guidance. I for one look forward to the possibility of passing this Bill in a way which makes me sad to contemplate. With the utmost respect and sincerity I desire in every way possible to unite with my fellow-Christians in common action; but I tell them that the inevitable result of passing this Bill will be to create sectarian strife in the country again, that Nonconformists will regard it as an intolerable thing that this Established Church should be so altered that the very little bit of national Church that is left shall be fully and entirely removed. You must have, it seems to me, one or the other. You cannot combine privilege and liberty. I understand and appreciate the demands of those who strive after life and liberty. You could not make that appeal to men who would respond more gladly than members of the Free Church. We are Free Churchmen because we believe in life and liberty for the Church, but we pay the price as Free Churchmen, and the nation will expect that if there is any fundamental change in the Established Church they also should pay the price life consequence of pressing this Bill forward will be division which I, for one, desire to avoid, and I earnestly appeal to my hon. Friends not to proceed with it on the three grounds that I have mentioned so that we shall not in future have the country divided by that sectarian strife which I would like to see done away with altogether.


If I venture to say a few words, I wish to make it quite clear that I am not speaking on behalf of the Government. As has been said, the Government is entirely neutral in this matter. I venture to think it could not be otherwise. For better or worse this Bill excites strong feeling. What would my hon. Friend opposite have said if the Government had come here with the whole force of its machinery, with Whips and the Closure, and perhaps with the use of closure by compartments, to put a Bill of this kind through? I wish for myself, and myself only, to express as shortly as possible how utterly repugnant it seems to me that any man should have the right or power, in virtue of his civic status alone, to interfere with the internal affairs of a religious body to which he does not belong. It is said that when you have a body calling itself a national Church that gives a right to every citizen to interfere in its affairs. I wonder if hon. Members have considered what results would follow if all citizens in our modern state or society availed themselves of such a right and power ‡ I venture to think the results would be far more startling than edifying. Consider my own case. I am an orthodox, exclusivist, infallibilist Papist. The mention of the word liberalism in connection with religion is simply anathema. I may compromise in politics, but never in religion. I would really ask some of my hon. Friends to say am I a fit and proper person to interfere in the discipline, doctrine and ritual of the Church of England? They would certainly answer in the negative. What about others, perhaps at the other end'? Take the Postmaster-General. Would it really be seemly if he and I, using our privileges as Members of Parliament, were to indulge in a Debate as to the time or mode of baptism? Or go further and take the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is a Unitarian. If James I were reigning my right hon. Friend would be haled before the Consistory Court of St. Paul's and burned, while I was being half-hanged and vivisected round the corner. I venture to think it would be a very mean revenge for him or me to avenge the sufferings of our ancestors by trying to pull in different directions the corpus vinctum of the Established Church. When we pass from the Treasury to the Office of Works an even more acute situation arises.

If I state the facts in rather a light way it is not in any spirit of flippancy, but because I do wish to say that to carry out in practice the doctrine that has been adumbrated in speeches to-day, and much more outside the House, would be not only unjust but grotesque and absurd. The only solid and fair ground we can take is that no man who does not belong to the Church of England shall have a say in its internal affairs. But, it is said, you have establishment. What does establishment mean? I have never been able to get a satisfactory definition of "establishment." It is not any connection with legislative power. The Established Church in Scotland is Presbytarian. No one has a seat in the Legislature as a representative of that body. All I take it to mean—and I have asked many Church of England friends—is the recognition of religion by the State. But if you recognise religion you must recognise some form of religion. For my part, seeing at any rate that the Church of England is a Christian body, and contains, if not a majority, by far the largest fraction of the people, I acquiesce in its Establishment, although I do not conform. I have spoken of the internal affairs of the Church of England. I quite understand that in certain states of society it might be the duty of the State to protect itself against the abuse and encroachment of ecclesiastical power. It was so in Scotland in the 17th Century, and bitterly they paid for it at the battle of Dunbar. I can conceive certain countries and states of society in which I might be an anti-clerical. I should say that what the Church of England has suffered from was not aggressiveness, but submission to the erastianism of State lawyers. The evil to-day is not fanaticism but indifference. Anyhow, there is the fullest and most absolute protection in this Bill.

I confess I am amazed at the moderation of some of my friends. They do not go nearly as far as they might on the analogy of the Church in Scotland. In Scotland, in this as in so many other things, they have got their way absolutely. They have refuted the argument that you cannot have Establishment and liberty at the same time. I have never heard any of my hon. Friends suggest that any harm arose to the State in our time through the encroachments of the Church of Scotland. The Church of England does not ask for a tithe of the liberty or power that the Church of Scotland already enjoys. The: setting up of this Ecclesiastical Committee, I should have thought, was a very wide concession to the spirit of erastianism or the spirit that prevails in. this House. As far as I can read the Bill, the Church of England asks only for exactly the same powers from Parliament as are conferred by those Provisional Orders which are constantly passed through this House without demur. It may be said that possibly certain parties in the Church of England, or certain interests outside, desire to have this Bill because of the effect it may have on the religious development of the nation. I believe there is nothing more futile titan, to indulge in any prophecy as to possible spiritual movement's or developments. No one, I believe, in Queen Anne's time prophesied the rise of Wesleyanism. No one in George the Fourth's time could have prophesied the High Church movement. In George the Fourth's time spiritual life was at its nadir— The wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth. It is idle and. futile to prophesy that any Bill passed by this Parliament can influence the consciences and convictions of men. All such prophecy is futile, because it depends on spiritual forces of which we have no cognisance. It may be that the Church of England will develop along the lines of a vague emotional liberalism, or it may be that the terrific events of our time will bring a reaction in new and deep-seated spiritualism. But we have to consider only our plain duty on this Bill. There is the demand of the Church of England, which I think I understand by the old phrase of Mr. Burke. It comes from "men who think they ought to be free, and think they are not." They feel themselves grievously hampered by antiquated shackles. They demand that these should be struck off. I think it is our duty not to let them suffer under the dead hand of an out-of-date Erastianism. How can we reply? Let us consider this Bill, and those who are not members of the Establishment. If it can be shown to affect their rights and liberties, then by all means let it be amended, but on the Second Reading I think we only have to ask ourselves the question whether we are to give to the Church of England freedom or not, and it is certainly my profound conviction that we cannot in justice deny them the freedom which they seek.


May I congratulate my hon. Friend on the very fair speech which he has just made. In regard to this Bill I approach it from quite the opposite pole. I am an avowed Low Church Protestant. Very few Bills which have come before this House have given me more anxiety. I propose to vote for the Bill, but it is a vote as to which I have very grave misgiving, and I do so in the profound hope that the promoters of the Bill will consent to amend it rather largely in Committee. I do not want to dissociate myself from the great mass of Church people who I know are supporting this Bill. My great personal Friend, Sir Edward Clarke, who is President of the National Church League, of which I am -the treasurer, and with whom I have worked in that league for many years, is strongly in favour of this Bill, and I was greatly impressed by seeing a letter in to-day's "Times" from another personal I friend and co-worker, the Bishop of Chelmsford, equally strong in support of the Bill. I cannot cut myself off from all my friends, but at the same time I have very great misgivings as to the powers which the Church is seeking under the provisions of this Bill. If it were power merely to enable the Church to deal with mundane affairs, the alteration of the boundaries of parishes, or the question of dilapidations, I should be only too pleased to see the Bill go through in its -present form. The Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking on the 3rd of June in another place raid down what he desired this Bill to effect: May I say at once, in order to clear the ground, that we are not dealing at all with deeper spiritual things. Doctrines of our faith, the duties of the Christian ministry, the help re can render publicly or privately to the souls of men—the: e are spiritual fundamental things, the very essence of our work, and with them we are not dealing directly, or I think hardly indirectly, in this Bill in any way. We are speaking here of the framework, the outer secular rules within which our work has to be done. If that were all the Bill does, I should not merely vote for it but should desire to see it passed without any Amendment whatever. But I venture to suggest that the Bill goes much further than that. An Amendment, was moved in the other place to exempt alteration of the Prayer Book from the provisions and powers to be set up under this Bill. The Archbishop at once declined to accept any Amendment which would limit those powers, and said: I should be deceiving the House if I were to accept fur a moment the proposition that we do not intend in any case to touch anything connected with the rubrics of Common Prayer. Under the provisions of this Bill they did and do intend to touch the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer. It is known for many years that large revisions of the Book of Common Prayer have been passed by Convocation of the Church and are awaiting the passing of this Bill and the establishment of this Council in order that those revisions may be carried into law with the aid of what my hon. Friend has just now described as what is similar to a Provisional Order Resolution of this House. I do not want to fan the flames of religious bigotry here, but I do want hon. Members opposite, with whom I have worked on religious matters for many years, and I have fought under the banner of the Noble Lord opposite on the question of the Disestablishment of the Church of Wales, and I should hope personally to fight under his banner if the Disestablishment of the Church of England becomes a political question once more, I do want, on behalf of a very large number of Evangelical Protestant churchmen, who are just as devoted churchmen as any High Churchmen and just as keen and who love their Church as much as High Churchmen, to say that we are not prepared to have great alterations made in the Book of Common Prayer. These Amendments which we know are proposed and are to come forward in the new Council go right to the root of the Elizabethan Prayer Book. The:-e may be differences of opinion as to whether it is right or it is wrong, but for the Evangelical party the Book of Common Prayer is the corner stone of our existence in the Church of England. Other proposals are coming forward to provide for the establishment of vestments, for the reservation of the Sacraments, and while I do not want to go into too much detail yet I say in detail they go a very long way towards that high section and that ritualist section, and are bitterly opposed, and will and must be if they are to live in the Church of England at all, by the Evangilical section of the Church whose opinions I share. This Bill does not deal merely with external questions such as those men- tioned by the Archbishop in his speech as those which could be dealt with. If you look at Clause 3, Sub-section (6) you will find that the powers are as wide as the hemisphere— A measure passed in accordance with this Act may relate to any matter concerning the Church of England. They might under that repeal the Act of Uniformity. The doctrines of the Church of England are put into the melting pot under the provisions of this Bill. I do want to appeal to my noble and hon. Friends opposite to consent in Committee to some form of Amendments which will enable this Bill to do what the Archbishop thought it should do, namely, to deal with the mundane affairs of the Church and to give it no power, or to prevent it having the power, to deal with those deep religious questions which I crave just mentioned Mention has been made of legislation by reference. We are all opposed, not only in this Debate, but at other times, to legislation by reference. Here in this Bill is the very grossest form of legislation by reference. It is not a reference to any Act of Parliament or to any documents or even to an Order in Council, it is legislation by reference to a document of which Parliament has no cognisance whatever. I would have much preferred to see the constitution of this Bill placed in the Schedule, and I should have much preferred in Committee upstairs or in the whole House to obtain power to deal with the constitution of the Constitution of the Church of England. There are many points in it to which I object but I am not going to weary the House with details. We who are at present the controlling factors of the National Church are not to have the power to decide one single Amendment in the new constitution which we are setting up. Is that really a right thing for my Noble Friends opposite to ask the House of Commons to do? My hon. Friend dealt just now with the question of Establishment and Disestablishment. Surely an Established Church must be a national Church, and, in my mind, there can be no national Church really which is not an Established Church. Why I am voting for this Bill with very great anxiety and trepidation is that I fear that it must inevitably lead to the Disestablishment of the Church, that it must make the Church a sectional body. By the provisions of that Constitution which we are not allowed to amend, you will find that everybody who is an elector must sign a declaration that he is not in communion with any other body. To-day we glory in the fact that Wesleyans and other Nonconformists attend their own Church in the morning and the Church of the nation in the evening; that they may be married in our Church and buried in our churchyards with the rites of our Church if they so desire.

That is the national Church, because in the very essence of the national Church we give everybody the right. We are not exclusive, but under the provisions of this measure you are excluding, and you are saying to the Nonconformists, and, in fact, to every man who is to be a voter under the provisions of this new Constitution, You may not vote for the establishment of a parish council or have anything to do with the government of the national Church unless you sign a written declaration that you are not in communion with any other religious body." It would not be in order to refer to the greatest in the land, but I can refer to those who are no longer here, and it is well known that Queen Victoria was a Presbyterian in Scotland and a member of the Established Church in England. I do not mind saying that, having lived in the summer months a great deal of my life in Scotland, for many years I have invariably attended the Presbyterian church there, as I invariably attend the Established church here. If I want to vote as a member of the House of Laymen in the Church council, I suppose it would rather depend on whether I signed the declaration in summer or winter as to whether or not I was in communion with any other religious body.


My hon. Friend is under a misapprehension. It is not a question of being in communion with another body—there is no objection to that—but of belonging to or being a member of another body. My hon. Friend will find it in Section III. of Clause 2, Sub-section (1).


Persons who are baptised and declare that they are members of the Church of England and that they do not belong to any religious body which is not in communion with the Church of England. I agree that my Noble Friend is right there, but supposing I belong to the London Missionary Society and subscribed to it, or take another case. I am as a fact a member of the Committee of the Zenana Bible and Medical Mission, which is a religious body not in communion with the Church of England. Anyhow, this only shows—it is a small point—that it would have been fairer if my Noble Friend could have given us the opportunity of dealing with these small points and threshing them out. A great conference was held at Cheltenham, the Cheltenham Evangelical Conference, a few weeks ago, and they passed a resolution approving of this Bill but strongly urging that certain matters should be excluded from the powers to be conferred on the Church Assembly, and if my Noble Friend will accept these proposals and exclude from the provisions of the Bill these three powers I shall feel much greater confidence in doing my utmost to pass the Bill. The first is the appointment by the Crown to bishoprics and other ecclesiastical positions. I think that that ought to be reserved. I know that some of the "Life and Liberty" movement leaders have said that the Church will never be free until she is able to appoint her own Bishops. Speaking in this House, which has a Nonconformist, radical Prime Minister, with whom politically and religiously I am in divergence, I am proud to say that the Church of England has never had a better succession of Bishops than those who have been appointed during the last three years. Somehow or another responsibility for many years seems to have had such an effect on the Prime Ministers of this country, whoever they may have been, that they have made marvellously good selections of bishops. Throw the duty on the Church Council to elect her own bishops, and we shall have anger and wrangling between the different sections of the Church, we shall have wire puling and log-rolling to get this man or that man elected, and altogether it is very much better that that question should be exempted from the provisions of any Bill to be brought forward under the provisions of this Bill. The second power which the Cheltenham Conference wished reserved was the constitution of the final Court of Appeal in ecclesiastical causes, and, thirdly, that the baptismal franchise for the electorate should be maintained.

They are important questions, and I think that we who are evangelical Churchmen have a right to ask the promoters of this Bill to agree to an Amendment—and it could be amended even within Mr. Speaker's ruling by putting it into Clause 4 of the Bill as matters with which the Ecclesiastical Committee should not deal —providing that these three matters should not be dealt with. My real fear is the limitation of the Church of England leading to Disestablishment. I have fought that fear all my life. I am a convinced Churchman, a convinced believer in the Established Church, a convinced believer in the right of the Established Church to retain the endowments which have been given to her for centuries past by loyal, honest, and devoted Churchmen. But 1 say to my Noble Friends opposite that if they pass the Bill without some Amendments such as I have suggested—unfortunately it will not be possible for me to be here during the Committee Stage, as I have to leave for some months—and I beg and pray of them, knowing how devoted they are to the Church of England, and feeling sure that they realise my devotion to the Church as I realise theirs, that they will do everything in their power to prevent the opponents of the Church of England claiming this as a step forward in their attack on Disestablishment and Disendowment. I want to see our Church wider, not narrower. I believe the Church is going forward as the result of the work done by the Church during the War. I believe there are enormous possibilities before the Church of England in the next few years. Do not narrow, do not cripple it: dive it power to manage its mundane affairs if you like, but do not do anything to interfere with the spiritual power and force of the Church.


I came to the House this afternoon intending to vote for the Second Reading. To my very great regret, I find myself unable to do so, and I desire to give in a very few words my reason to the House. The reason is briefly the fact that we cannot move any Amendments, or at any rate the essential Amendments, in Committee on this Bill. I had told my friends that as then advised I thought I could vote for the Second Reading, but that I felt strongly that certain Amendments would be necessary in Committee. Particularly I feel strongly on the question of the franchise which entitles a man or woman to vote in the parish meetings of the church. I find that those Amendments are ruled out. Of course, we bow to the ruling of the Chair. We accept it without any question whatever, but at the same time I feel that it is most unfortunate that the law of the House should be so. I can understand a Bill introduced into this House to ratify a treaty being presented in such a form that either you accept the treaty or you do not accept the treaty. But this is not a treaty. This is merely a desire on the part of the majority in the Church of England. It is not a treaty which has been discussed and agreed upon between the Church and the State or between the Church and Nonconformists, and it seems to me to be very unfair for the Church authorities to submit this Bill to this Rouse in such a form that it cannot be essentially amended in Committee. I am sure that is a very lamentable mistake, because if the Bill goes through under those circumstances it can only be a cause of very great bitterness hereafter.

I have said that I intended to vote in favour of this Bill. I think that, under any circumstances, one can only regard this Bill as a compromise, and probably as a temporary compromise. Surely there are only two logical bases on which a Church can stand. If it is the Church of the whole nation, then it must be under the control of the whole nation. If it is not the Church of the whole nation, then it has every right to enjoy its freedom and to be ruled by those who are in its strictest sense its own members, and, therefore, this Bill in asking for the practical government of Church affairs to be put into the hands of the Church organisation and to be left with only the most shadowy control of the State over it, is, I say, asking a very large concession indeed. But it was a concession which some of us were prepared to make, though not to go further than that, and to rule out altogether from the councils of the laity of the Church vast numbers of people who are baptised Christians. I regret very much that this decision has been taken by the Church. I was born and bred up in the Church of England, and I still have the most friendly feelings towards it. I confess I have looked forward, not to the Disestablishment of that Church, but to the prospect that some day an amicable settlement would be arrived at between Church and State, Church and Nonconformist bodies, rather on the lines of the reunion of orthodox Christians of this country, than on the lines of Disestablishment, and, through such reunion, have given us the reality of a free Church and a free State.

I doubt very much whether that ideal ever can be brought about if this Bill should pass. Moreover, I doubt very, much whether this Bill will ever get through this House, and if it does not, and much bitterness and strife are caused here, then I think the authorities of the Church of England are to blame, for it cannot possibly be their wish, I am, sure, to slip the measure through in a form which gives the House no adequate power of criticising an Amendment. I cannot believe that such is their wish; but, as a matter of fact, the Bill has been introduced in such a form, that that will be the effect. I implore them, therefore, even at this late moment, to withdraw the Bill in the form in which it now is, and to bring it before us in such a form that the essential points can be considered and dealt with in this House, and that we may arrive at a real basis of peace and harmonious working—a basis on which, I believe, this question. of the relations of Church and State may be settled, I do not say permanently and always, but, at any rate, for a very long time to come, during which all parties may work together for their common purpose-in brotherliness and harmony.


I confess that rarely during the period in which I have had the honour of a seat in this House have I been more anxious to catch your eye, and at the same time more conscious of the extreme difficulty of the subject with which we are dealing, and of the extreme gravity of the position which must arise if this country is thrown into the middle of a great sectarian war, and, on the other hand, the grave practical disadvantages attending the work of the Church of England if these matters are allowed to remain permanently or for a long time unreformed. The position is comparatively easy for whole-hearted supporters of the Bill, and equally easy for those who think nothing ought to be attempted except in connection with Disestablishment. But there are those of us who have not the advantage of that complete or unshaken faith in either extreme, and are yet desirous, on the one hand, not to discourage any person devoted to the worship of God and the service of man, and, on the other hand, not to forget that in this House we are the trustees of the constitutional rights of all people. Accordingly, it seems to me that a vote on this Second Reading s one of those occasions on which it would be most misleading to interpret the way Members both vote and abstain, as it could properly be interpreted during the Second Reading of a great political measure which has long divided parties, such as a measure for Disestablishment, Home Rule, or Tariff Reform—to take three of the great questions in the minds of men—where, obviously, in voting on the Second Reading, you are affirming or rejecting a principle.

Here you are asked to deal with a Bill unique in character, unique in method, unique in purpose, and it may well happen that many of us who would have to vote against the Bill now without a moment's hesitation if it were a Third Reading, are yet most anxious to do nothing we are not driven to do which shall hinder a fair examination by Parliament of proposals put forward from the highest motives, and affecting some of the most important things. Accordingly, I think that a vote at this stage should not be misinterpreted, and should not be interpreted as having the same kind of effect or as indicating the same kind of judgment as on some clearly Articulated political issue. It is in that spirit I approach this subject. There is no doubt that there are very large numbers of persons within the Church of England who are most anxious that this Bill, or something like it, should become law. It is said, with some truth, that they are mainly the clergy and clerically-minded laymen.


Hear, hear ‡


I thought that phrase would' draw my hon. and gallant Friend. But the House will recollect that it is these clergy and those who are described as clerically-minded laymen who are doing the bulk of definite religious work in the Church of England. Because some of us cannot come under those categories there is no reason why one should not seek to do them justice, or to examine with the most scrupulous care what they ask. It is wrong to grant what is asked for by the best people though from the best motives if, in granting it, you are violating constitutional rights. To prefer edification to justice has been the besetting temptation of religious enthusiasts in all ages, and it is for us to guard against that—if it arises in this Bill. What does arise in this Bill? It has been pointed out that in the Appendiy—which we only see as a separate Parliamentary Paper and which is only referred to in the lines of the Preamble—that there is to be a vast change in the internal constitution and the discipline of the Church of England. The Church of England, whether people like it or nut, is something besides a religious society. There is a school of thought in this country which holds that the Church is the nation on its religious side, and the form of thought current amongst high Churchmen and Low Churchmen do not exhaust the alternative religious philosophies. There is another school of thought, which holds power, that the Church is the nation on its religious side, and that every member of the nation is a member of the Church. Those who hold that view, or who are attracted by it, must necessarily be jealous of the effect upon those convictions of anything which restricts, concentrates, and limits the internal government of the Church of England, as is done in the Appendix to this Bill. Therefore, I find myself in very cordial sympathy with the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, although I approach the matter from different theological and political views.

I think the dictum of Mr. Speaker that nothing in the constitution, as put in the Appendix, can be amended by this House, is a very grave and far-reaching decision. The effect it has upon myself is this: in coming here, determined, if not able to vote for the Second Reading of the Bill, at least not to vote against it, the decision of Mr. Speaker makes the situation extremely difficult. Those of us who take the view are bound to take note of the constitutional rights of it, and, it may be, will vote against the Bill. The hon. Member opposite suggested that under Clause 4 the effect of the injustice—as some of us hold it to be—on Englishmen and Englishwomen, as such, could be remedied. That being so, one would not be wholly sorry if the Bill could, on that side, as we understand it could be, be remedied, and that that question could be raised and determined. I do wish to say how intensely one regrets that the great and good men who are responsible for the movement which is expressed in this attempted legislation could really have bound themselves down so that no one is to take part even in the election of Church assemblies who belongs to any other religious society. For what are the facts that constantly occur in this country?

3.0 P M

Personally, I am a Congregationalist. It might happen that any person like myself, a Congregationalist, a Baplist, or a Methodist, finds himself in a country village where there is no place of worship of his own re- ligious society. He might find that he could work, it might be gladly, and feel he was the better man for it, with the clergy in the ordinary Church of England in that place. Supposing that continued for years. I have known it happen within my own knowledge in many cases; and it really is not in the interests, either of religion or fair play, that such a person, who had de facto been a working, helpful Churchman, should be deprived of the right to vote even for the Church parochial council because he belonged to a society not represented in the place. That is a blot on the Bill, and a blot none the less because it is not put in any Clause in the Bill, but is found in the accompanying document. I hope it will prove true, if this Bill gets a Second Reading, that in Committee that fault, and other faults of the franchise, and the gradations of electoral fitness that have long been expelled from modern politics, and which it is a pity to see entering into modern ecclesiasticism, will be corrected. One hopes these things may be remedied in the way the hon. -Member opposite mentioned.

There are one or two matters I desire to put before the House in regard to the body of the Bill itself. Speaking on behalf of the Nonconformist Members of this House, who have been in friendly conference with the promoters of this Bill —and I think the Noble Lord (Viscount Wolmer) and others will agree they have been able to find occasions of working together—I desire to call the attention of the House to certain features of the Bill which appears to me to call for amendment and alteration. If they are not amended, or altered, I am quite sure it will enormously change the attitude that is felt towards this Bill by many, if not most, leading Nonconformists in the country, and by many Nonconformist Members in the House. These are not points in favour of Nonconformity or against the Church of England for one would have no. part in a competition of that kind. They are faults that affect the rights of Parliament The first provision is that any proposal made by the Church Assembly is to be sent by the Legislative Committee to the Ecclesiatical Committee of the Privy Council.

Every Member of this House has a most profound respect for the Privy Council. It consists, as we know, of great statesmen and men who have received that most coveted of honours in consideration of their public services. But the Privy Council is not the House of Commons, and I submit to this House of Commons that this ought not to be a Committee of the Privy Council. If at all, it should be a Joint Committee of both Houses. Matters should be inquired into by persons who have Parliamentary responsibility, and, as regards Members of this House, by persons who are chosen for their place by the free electors of the country. I do not, of course, mean the ordinary Joint Committee of three or four peers and an equal number of Members of this House, such as is appointed to decide sonic complicated railway Bill, or the extension of the gas system in a great city. I mean a Joint Committee analogous to that appointed by Mr. Speaker on Electoral Reform, in which all points of view are represented, including men of Cabinet rank and ordinary Members of this House, and of the other House. A Committee of that kind of Parliamentary representatives, impartial in character, representing the different points of view of the different great interests, would be a far better body than a Committee of the Privy Council devoid of a Parliamentary character, and very likely unable in it to include representatives of the great religious communities of the country in an adequate proportion. If this Bill goes to Committee that issue will be raised, and I hope it will meet with support throughout the House, and will meet real consideration from those who are supporting this Bill.

Then the next point is even of a more important character, that is as to the right of this House and their Lordships House to amend as well as to affirm or reject. I know of no precedent—there are certainly none in legislation of the first quality and importance—for the -Houses of Parliament to be unable to amend anything proposed to it. It really is difficult to express in language, which is in accordance with the friendly attitude I am trying to take, one's alarm and dislike of—and resolve, if possible, to destroy it—this outrageous and intolerable suggestion that neither House of Parliament is to have the power to amend proposals which are put before it. This is to withdraw from Parliament its most important power. It is comparatively easy to reject something; it is equally easy to accept something, if you hate the one and love the other. But who is there with any experience of legislation who does not know that even in a Bill of which he most approves he may consider it would be bettered in detail, or made less objectionable in a Bill he dislikes? Therefore, I hope this House will see that that part of the Bill is altered. I do not mean by that that one desires to force upon the Church of England something which her leaders and people do not wish to have. That would be intolerable tyranny. But it is perfectly easy to combine the right of Parliament to amend any proposals sent forward, with the plan of letting them, when amended, back to such organisation as the Church wishes to have to consider whether they are acceptable, or whether further Amendments can be suggested. I am sure such a course is not beyond the powers of a Parliamentary draftsman in order to preserve the right of Parliament to amend.

My third point is that the provisions of this Bill cannot be left to apply so widely as they now do under Clause 4. I will give two illustrations. Take the case of the Burial Acts, representing legislation spreading over many years and accomplished amid great controversies, touching sensitive human feeling and dealing with such complicated matters as the rights of property, Ecclesiastical rights, and the rights of individuals, which are all involved. Surely it cannot be right that matters like those which may affect any individual whatever his or her religious belief, should be decided by this comparatively summary process as being matters which concern only the Church of England. This is a class of legislation which must be excluded from the comparatively swift method embodied in this Bill. More than this, it is imperative, if this Bill is ever to become law, that that provision shall not obtain with regard to amending this Bill. Here is a Bill put forward with the best of motives and dealing with a difficult position, bringing in new Parliamentary methods in order to facilitate matters going through. There are great grounds for it, such as combining parishes and dealing with patronage, which are things crying to be remedied; but after all this is an exceptional method and that principle ought not to apply to modifications of this Bill itself.

As the Bill is drawn, with the Appendix, you are altering the internal constitution of the Church and limiting it, as we think, wrongly and unwisely, but if you could under this Bill further alter the contents of this measure it would mean a far-reaching change which might give rise to most acute differences of opinion, and yet they might under this Bill be disposed of in tins summary way. In many other States a great organic statute cannot be modified except in the most elaborate way which gives an opportunity for discussion, and surely this Bill itself must be accepted upon the same methods which would apply to other measures. If this Bill gets its Second Reading in spite of the very grave objections there are to it, and the much greater gravity now imported into it by Mr. Speaker's decision, what is to be done with it? I ask the Government and those who are responsible for the Bill to see to it that this Bill remains on the floor of the House and is not sent upstairs. Grand Committees are a success in some particular cases, but they are a failure in others. There could be no greater mistake. than to send upstairs a Bill dealing with such an absorbing subject, and which has for its foundation the scarcely cooled embers of old controversies which appeal to what is best in men, and also to what is most contentious.

For a Bill like that to be sent upstairs when nearly every speaker has asked for Amendments means to advance it no further. That would only lead to the Bill being fought line by line and word by word on the Report stage; hut if is kept on the floor of the House, and there is that intention in the House to try with toil and care and effort to see whether the practical needs of the Church of England can be helped without interfering with our constitutional right and with other controversies, if the Bill is approached in that spirit in Committee it may be got through, and I hope it will not be sent upstairs to be dealt with like an ordinary Bill. It is for these reasons, largely as I agree with the opponents of this Bill, that I am willing to give a vote to-day to enable this great and complex experiment to be thoroughly considered in detail in this House. I only hope that when it is so considered the Amendments which I have suggested may be accepted, and I hope it may be made possible for me to support it by being so framed in the end as to show that the constitutional freedom of our country is not sacrificed in any direction.


I hope it will not be regarded as out of place for a Welsh Member to take part in this discussion. Many hon. Members representing English Constituencies took a conspicuous part in the discussions of the Bill affecting the Church in Wales, and, therefore, I hope they have no objection to the butting in of a Welsh Nonconformist in this discussion. Many speeches have been made here which are reminiscent of the old controversies in regard to the Welsh Bill, but I think even the Noble Lord, who is one of the promoters of this Bill will agree that there is a common denominator in the Welsh Church Act in the recognition of the basic principle that the Church is primarily and especially a spiritual organisation and not the social annexe of the State. For that reason, because the Church is and essentially a spiritual organisation, ought to be left to fulfil its mission unfettered and unhindered by the hand of the State, I am prepared to confess that I warmly approve of the underlying purpose of this Bill. I take it that the promoters of this Bill, together with the clergy and bishops of the Established Church, in the prosecution of their aims and work have already discovered that they are handicapped and thwarted by the State at every turn. There is no question about that, and I am glad to find assent to it on this side of the House. Churchmen are beginning to find out that as long as they are connected with the State the State comes in and interferes. We were told to-day by the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Sheffield (Mr. J. Hope) that although he was an orthodox Romanist he felt sympathy with churchmen in their desire to be free from antiquated shackles. Unquestionably, there are antiquated shackles. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading of the Bill (Sir E. Beauchamp) spoke of the scandal of the sale of advowsons, and we all agree. The pity is that when we spoke about these scandals in the Church of Wales our words fell on the deaf ears of hon. Members who to-day speak most eloquently about them. The hon. Member for Sheffield spoke of the present state of things. There is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is a Unitarian, the Postmaster-General, who is a Nonconformist, and the First Commissioner of Works who is also, I believe, a Nonconformist. [Laughter.] Well, he does not conform to your Church, but he is one of the ablest men in the House, and he is a Welsh Member, which suffices for me. He is not a Welshman, but that is his misfortune. The lion Member for Sheffield left out the most glaring case of all. He never said a word about the Prime Minister, an ardent Nonconformist—no-one doubts that—a rooted Baptist, the strictest of the strict. All the great appointments in your Church are in the keeping and custody of a Baptist.


And it is very well done.


Exactly; you would expect that from a Welshman. Still, however well it may be done, if I were a Churchman I should say that there was something wrong in it. I do not complain of the man; I complain of the system. You are not going to allow Nonconformists to vote for your Council because according to this Bill a man must make a declaration that he is not in communion with any other religious body, and yet you allow a man to appoint your Archbishops and Bishops, although he is not in communion with you. The whole thing is inconsistent.


He advises the Crown.


He advises the Crown, but my hon. Friends know that the appointment rests with him. There is no doubt about that. Does anyone for a moment think that you can set his advice on one side? His recommendations stand Does anyone doubt it? My objection to the Bill is that which was stated by the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Wolverhampton (Mr. G. Thorne). The Bill does away with Parliamentary control. No one will contradict that. Under its provisions Parliament is reduced to the functions of a registering machine. The Bill is brought forward, the recommendations are placed on the Table, and, as my hon. Friend points out, we have Dither to accept or reject them. We are not even given an opportunity to amend. The Bill makes the Church independent of control without depriving the Church of the status of a national establishment, and without limiting its use of tithe and other forms of public property. The House ought to bear this in mind. We talk about the State Establishment. What does State Establishment mean I My hon. Friends will grant that if you have a State Establishment it is a covenant between the Church and State. On the one hand, the State undertakes to give certain privileges to that particular religious body which it does not give to any other. Her bishops are allowed to sit in the Second Chamber. Tithe which was originally a voluntary donation is made legal, and binding, and the full force of the Civil Courts is put behind it. The judge, when he goes on the Assize circuit, no matter what his views are, whether he be a Baptist, a Wesleyan, or a Quaker, is bound to attend the parish church. Those are certain privileges given to one particular Church, and in return the State claims a certain amount of control. One control is the appointment of the bishops vested in the Chief Minister of the Crown, This Bill takes away from the State its power of control, but the Church still retains its privileges. I do not think that can be for a, moment doubted. The Bill makes provision for Disestablishment without Disendowment.




Then I will put it in this way. It makes provision for Disestablishment by an act of bloodless surgery under the influence of twilight sleep. The Church retains the cash, but the State loses its control. Hitherto, it has been axiomatic that cash should always connote control. One of the leading Nonconformist divines expressed it very aptly the other day when he said—and I should like the House to mark the words: The Enabling Bill is an attempt to combine incompatibilities: the autonomy of a Free Church, and the emoluments of an Establishment. The Church of England cannot have it both ways. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about Scotland?"] I leave Scotland out. If a Scottish Bill is brought in, I shall have something to say upon it, but we are dealing now with an English Bill, and I have no doubt that I should be called to order if I were to speak about Scotland. My hon. Friend (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) said, and I think he was right, that the logical issue of this Bill must be Disestablishment.


I did not quite say that. I said that I had grave anxiety lest the passing of this Bill should lead to a new demand.


I am sorry if I misinterpreted my hon. Friend, but I think he will find that when the Church has had a certain amount of liberty, as she will have under this Bill, when she is given half a loaf she will not be satisfied until she has the whole loaf, and I shall support it. I support this Bill so far as it goes. My objection to it is that it does not go far enough. It is a very good thing for the Church to have more liberty. Where there is life there must be liberty, and where you have liberty it is a proof of life. I sympathise with the generating purpose of the Bill in securing more liberty. What I object to is just this: While she is releasing the hold of the State upon her, she clings to the State with the other hand. I know that disestablishment will never come from without. If Disestablishment ever comes it will come from within. Although I speak as a Nonconformist, I am second to none in my admiration for the great and splendid work that the Church of England has accomplished. It has been a bulwark in the national life of Wales. It has given great divines, great preachers, and great theologians, and one cannot forget the indebtedness of England to your great Church. It is because I sympathise with the great purpose of the Church that I venture here to-day, as a Nonconformist. to tell the Church that she will never have the liberty which she desires or which she deserves until she is free altogether from the clutch of the State.

It will be in the recollection of the House that some four years ago we had a very great discussion on the Welsh Church Bill, and I remember that the late Mr. Alfred Lytteiton, one of the finest men who ever sat in this House and a very staunch Churchman, speaking at that Table, declared that if the Welsh Church Bill ever became law the cleavage between Nonconformists and Churchmen in Wales would be made wider and deeper and more bitter. What has happened? The Bill is about to be put into force. Instead of deepening the cleavage between Churchmen and Free Churchmen in Wales already it has had the effect of bringing the two bodies more closely together. There is now a sense of unity. The Bishop of St. Asaph, the leading protagonist of the Church, declared a few days ago that even. if the last Disabilities Bill had been more unfavourable to the Church than it was, he would have been glad to accept it, because he wanted to see the controversy closed. In Wales the Welsh Church has full liberty. She does not trouble about the State. She is striving to become one of the biggest forces in the national life of Wales. All the reli- gious bodies in Wales are now working together, and, so far from sharing the alarm expressed by my hon. and learned Friend, I venture to say that when the Church of England gets these powers, and I for one shall not vote against the Bill—when she gets these limited powers she will riot rest satisfied until she gets fuller powers and is free from the tightening clutch of the State. When she is so free she will get her opportunity, and 1 hope she will use to the fullest extent that opportunity.


The Debate has now continued for some considerable time, and I would like to say a few words—I will be as brief as I possibly can—on behalf of those who wish to see this Bill passed into law. The hon. Member who has just sat down made a very friendly speech, and I am not going to quarrel with his anticipations of the good effects which are likely to conic from the passing of the Welsh Bill. If those anticipations are realised no one will be more delighted than I shall be. But time alone can tell what will happen. I have listened to a good many things said in this Debate, I have read the Bill with some care, and I think sonic hon. Members have wholly misunderstood its provisions. A right hon. Gentleman opposite told us we were asked to destroy the foundations of the Established Church, and the last speaker declared that this Bill did away with the control of Parliament. I ask the House not to take their view of this Bill as other than oratorical expressions. The constitutional effect of this Bill has been very gravely exaggerated by nearly everybody who has spoken. This Bill does not take away any rights or any privileges from anybody, either Nonconformist or Churchman, in the kingdom, and it leaves Parliament in exactly the position it always has been. Parliament can pass any measure it chooses affecting the Church of England after this Bill has passed exactly as it could before. There is no alteration in that respect.

What does the Bill do? It proposes to facilitate legislation affecting the Church by allowing it to pass through Parliament without all the forms of Parliament which are now insisted upon. We have done that in various ways for a great number of things. The whole of our Provisional Order procedure, the whole of our Scottish Private Bill legislation, are instances of that. Parliament has set up its present procedure so elaborate and so carefully devised that anyone who wishes to oppose a Bill has very chance to do so, with the result, on the whole, of stagnation rather than progress. All this Bill does is to free Church legislation from that procedure. It does it in this way. It says that where a particular measure has been recommended by a body which has already been created —and as far as the Church can do that it has been created by the legitimate authority of the Church, which has taken every possible measure to ensure that every Churchman shall have every opportunity, if he chooses, of objecting to the nature of its constitution. As a result of the very elaborate discussions winch have gone on for years, a particular body has been brought into existence which is called the Church Assembly, while a subordinate committee of that body has been created and is called the Legislative Assembly. The only reason why it is referred to in this Bill at all is that it is the most representative body in the Church that can possibly be referred to. If there were any more representative body the promoters of the, Bill would have taken that body instead. It is the most representative body in the Church. It is representative of all interests and all sections. And when that body has recommended certain measures they are to be put into a Bill which is to go to a lay Committee, a Committee of the Privy Council, where the provisions are to be elaborately examined if the Committee disapprove, the Bill is dead. It on the other hand, they do not disapprove, it goes forward to each House of Parliament and an Address has to be moved and carried in each House before the measure can become law.

To say the Bill abolishes Parliamentary control is a most fantastic perversion of the fact, and may I add that I cannot imagine how any hon. Member who has read the Bill can make such a mistake as to say that it destroys the foundations of the Established Church. It only shows what some people will say when they get excited in debate. Certain definite objections have been raised. It has been complained that there is no power to discuss what is called the Appendix—the constitution which has been agreed upon by members of the Church. If hon. Members will read the White Paper, they will see that the greater-part of that constitution is concerned entirely with the internal management of the Church—the creation of parish councils, for instance, which are to have in some degree a consultative voice. I am sure hon. Members opposite will earnestly approve such a provision as that, which may have to do with the management of the services of the Church, of which they do not approve. You will have some degree of remedy for that. There are other provisions of the same kind. There is the Diocesan Conference which already exists and which has played a very useful part in the Church. All that is part of the constitution. Then as a part of it this Legislative Committee is created and Parliament is asked to accept that Legislative Committee as the body which the Church desires to put forward as representative of itself in proposing legislation to Parliament. That really is the whole thing. It would not have been reasonable to have made that constitution part of the Act of Parliament. It would have been, indeed, a measure of renewed establishment, and I do not think that as a practical politician my hon. Friend would suggest there would be the slightest chance of getting the Bill through Parliament if every line and phrase in the constitution was open to amendment and discussion by such a legislator as the hon. Member who moved the rejection of this Bill. I do not know that he is a practical politician, but his speech was that of a determined enemy of the Church of England. As to other Amendments, my hon. Friend behind me made several suggestions. He wanted a Joint Committee of the House and of the Committee of the Privy Council. He wanted a limitation of Clause 4, and so did my hon. Friend opposite, so as to have some limitation of the matters which could be dealt with properly by this form of procedure. He objected very strongly to the fact that Parliament was asked to accept or reject the proposal put before it by the Legislative Committee and was not given the power of making Amendments. All those are matters which can be discussed properly in Committee. I do not think it would be useful to discuss them in detail here. I can only say, so far as I am entitled to say at all, that any Amendment on those lines, moved with a view to improving the Bill and making it more workable, will be considered most sympathetically with a view to trying to meet any legislative grievance which might be felt. I cannot go further than that.

With reference to the power of amendment, which was the only ground of objection in detail to the Bill raised by the hon. Member who moved the rejection, there is a misapprehension. There is not so great a difference as hon. Members think. In the case of an ordinary Bill which comes forward in the ordinary procedure, if au Amendment is carried which the promoters disapprove of seriously, they are not like the Government, who can come down the next day and force the House to eat its words. In the case of a private Member, if he thinks it is a bad Amendment, his only course is to drop the Bill. There is no power in the House to force through a Bill if those in charge of it do not want to have the Bill on those terms. Nobody in charge of it is bound to put it down for further proceeding. Therefore it always rests with those in charge of the Bill to say whether or not they will take it as amended. What will be the procedure here? A proposal will come up from the Legislative Committee, having passed through the Committee of the Privy Council. This House, on the Address, expresses a strong view that certain Amendments ought to be made before the proposal can become law and may decline to proceed with the Address until the Amendments have been made. What will be the result? Either the promoters will have to submit to that and the Bill will he dropped altogether or they will take it back, put in the Amendment the House desires, and bring it up again for the consideration of the House. In effect, the House will always retain and always must retain its power of amendment. It can always say, "We will not allow the Bill to go forward unless it is so amended. Therefore, there is not so much interference in the power of Parliament as some hon. Members have suggested.


Would that not in fact involve a rejection by Parliament of the Bill, and necessitate the Bill going back to the Church Council for another year and being passed in its new form? Would not the promoters be justified in saying, for the sake of a small Amendment proposed to the Address, "You are going to throw out the whole measure"?


That is quite true. I am not saying the procedure is absolutely the same, but there is not so much change as is thought. If there is any considered Amendment upon which the House insists, it gives the promoters power to appel to the House not to insist on Amendments which are not of vital importance. If the real object is to make it easier to reform abuses in the Church, which is what we think, it is not very unreasonable to say to the House, "Do not interfere with small details. Leave the small details to be settled by the Church, and confine yourself to questions of real principle and matters which are important from the national point of view." I pass on to the other objections which have been urged. The hon. Member who seconded the rejection objected that there was no direct election. I do not think he was very serious. I hope he will not think I am very uncivil if I suggest that his methods of obstruction lack a little finish. The objection that there is no real direct election is not very sound. I do not think there is any religious bodies having indirect election. To direct election to its governing body. All religious bodies have indirect election. To have direct election throughout the country is a practical impossibility, except for the Government. It would mean enormous expense, great elaboration of legislation, and all the rest of it. You cannot do that. I come to the more formidable objection raised by a great number of hon. Members. It is said that it would be wrong to confine the electorate to members of the Church. There are people who say, we are members of a body, but we are not in communion with the Church. A man cannot be a member of two bodies which are not in communion with one another. You can attend the services of a body of which you are not a member. Like my hon. Friend, I certainly do so in a country where there is no Church of England. There I certainly attend some other form of Christian Church.


Not the Scottish Church, I hope‡


It may be that or some other. I would just as soon go to a Presbyterian church as any other. It would depend where I was. Let me take, as an illustration, the hon. Member who moved the rejection. Would it really be reasonable to allow him to take part in the government of the Church of England? Would that really be a reasonable thing? He may be a powerful man in his own district. He may live in a district where there is a majority of people who are not members of the Church. Is it not possible that by his influence he would swamp the assembly of the Church and turn it into a means of harassing the Church and hindering its work? Surely that cannot be what hon. Members desire. I quite agree that there are great difficulties about any franchise, and anyone who has followed the question knows how very anxious and difficult the question has been. I really do not think that to say to people who ask for a share in the government of the Church, "You must be members of the Church" is a very unreasonable thing.

After all, what is the case for this Bill? Do not let us be led away by smaller matters. The case for the Bill is that there are very urgent abuses which require to be dealt with in the Church of England. It is impossible to exaggerate the gravity of some of these abuses. There is the existence of men who are quite unsuitable, totally past their work, men whose behaviour, without being absolutely immoral, is not what it should be. The hon. Member (Mr. Broad) himself mentioned the case of a clergyman who said he was merely put into the Church because he was the younger son of the owner of the living. All these cases require to be dealt with, and many more. There is the sale of advowsons. There is the question of financial difficulties connected with dilapidation. There is the case of reorganisation, not only the ease of the number of small parishes in scattered districts, but the case of the episcopate itself, and the difficulty of getting new bishoprics. All these are urgent difficulties hampering the work of the Church and of Christianity, and it is to obtain some means of dealing with those difficulties and abuses that this Bill is passed. I really appeal to the House in view of the cases adduced by the hon. Member who opposed the Bill. He says, "I grant you the Church is in the gravest possible need of reform, but we will not reform a single abuse unless she consents to Disestablishment and Disendowment." That is positively what he said. "I will not listen to a Bill which will reform abuses, which will get rid of disreputable clergy, which will enable the Church to do its duty more successfully than it does now unless you will also consent to Disestablishment and Disendowment." Is treat a practical proposition? Is that really what the hon. Member intends?


If the Noble Lord refers to the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow he will see that he is misquoting me.


I am in the recollection of the House. If that is not what he meant I am utterly at a loss to know what he did mean. He knows quite well that Disestablishment and. Disendowment are matters of the most acute controversy. He himself said quite truly, "You will never pass Disestablishment except with the consent of the Church of England itself." He knows that the vast majority of churchmen conscientiously believe, however wrongly as he may think, that it would be wicked for them to consent to either Disestablishment or Disendowment, and lie is saying, "Either you must do a violence to your conscience and assent to Disestablishment and Disendowment or you shall not provide any reform of the abuses of the Church." It really is not a position which the hon. Member can seriously take up. This is a measure the constitutional importance of which has been exaggerated, but the practical importance of which is overwhelming. It is essential not only for the Church, but for the Christian life of this country, that the Bill should be passed. I am not in the least afraid of putting it as high as that. To object to it on the ground that you cannot do it without accepting a different and much more extensive change, and that you are bound to let these abuses go on and use them as a pawn in your ecclesiastical game is a proposition which I hope no House of Commons, least of all this House of Commons, will ever accept.


I most gladly acknowledge that the Noble Lord's speech has put this question in better perspective on the whole than it was in until he spoke, and it is from the point of view of perspective and of the duty of Parliament in regard to this question that I should like to say one or two words. First of all. I want the Noble Lord's agreement with me in this. It is the duty of Parliament most jealously to guard its legislative trusts and, in connection with its trusteeship of the Church of England, it should be most careful in any action or step it takes that it does not derogate front its duties to the community at large, no matter how pressing and how strong a case the Church of England can make. I am rather of opinion, as far as I have listened to the Debate and with the some what limited time I have been able to give to reading on the subject, that that point has been rather lost sight of. I may be wrong as far as modern interpretations are concerned, but, fundamentally, I think what the learned and judicious Hooker said is still true, that there is not a man in the Church of England but the same man is also a member of the Commonwealth, or any member of the Commonwealth who is not also of the Church of England. Every Churchman, devout or otherwise, knows how many tens of thousands of people in this country, owing no allegiance to the Church of England, have a sense of pride in the fact that when they enter a cathedral or a parish church they have a right to go there, no matter to what denomination they belong. I think that fundamental fact, with that very beneficial sentiment attaching to it, is one which this House should be most careful as to any step it might take not to seriously damage. Taking that point first with regard to the Bill, I have the greatest possible sympathy with the Church of England in the action which she has felt compelled to take, and I decline to take the position that I would obstruct any attempt to remove abuses in the Church of England short of Disestablishment and Disendowment, because after all, this is the place the Church has a right to come to. She has a right to conic to Parliament and to ask that her abuses may be remedied, in Parliament, in so far as we can remedy them at all. I am very much affected in my view as to my duty to-day, and how I should vote by the question of how the Bill really stands. You have ruled, Mr. Speaker, and I respectfully submit that you could do no other, that the question of the Appendix is outside the scope of Parliament-. It is an agreed document and the. Schedule to the Act, and, therefore, we cannot touch it. We have had several precedents, two of which at once conic to one's mind. We had, first of all, the Coal Agreement Schedule. Hon. Members will remember the great difficulties that arose on that. What was that appendix? It was a- document which had been ultimately agreed upon by persons who had been actively contending, and after a great deal of discussion they had arrived at an agree went which was put in the Schedule of the Bill, and, willy nilly, Parliament could not touch it. Then there was the Peace Treaty which had been the subject of dis- cussion by differing parties, and, willingly or otherwise, they had arrived at an agreement which came before the House, and we could accept it or reject it in its entirety as the case might be, but we could not touch it. There is no analogy between those cases, and the Appendix containing the agreement which is the Schedule to this Bill, but the position is that we have either to accept it or reject it. What does that appendix contain So far as Parliament is concerned the most important of all the things it contains is the question of the franchise. My Noble Friend (Lord Robert Cecil) met this awkward point, but he did not deal with it very fully. The powers which Parliament is going to delegate, if this Bill is passed, would mean a very large sweeping away of Parliamentary control. Of that there is no doubt. Parliament has always insisted that in everything we can do let us at any rate have a voice in the fundamental, and that is the franchise. It is on that very point that I find my greatest measure of disagreement with the Bill, despite my desire to assist the Church of England. I find myself in a position of extreme difficulty. What is the franchise provider? for? Qualified electors in a parish as lay members of the Church of England are: Persons of eighteen years of age and upwards, of either sex, resident in the parish who are baptised and declare that they are members of the Church of England and that they do not belong to any religious body which is not in communion with the Church of England. 4.0 P.M.

Whether it is right or wrong, that is a matter upon which Parliament should have an opportunity of saying whether it agrees or disagrees. It may be right and it may be that there is a good deal to he said for it, but that is not my case. My case is that if this Bill gets a Second Reading so far as this House is concerned, they have given away the real principle of debating and of either agreeing or disagreeing with the franchise proposal. That is my real trouble. In this matter I am speaking entirely for myself. I do not know the views of my colleagues, except what I have heard casually in conversation, and in any vote which I may give I discharge my own responsibility as a Member of Parliament. With all the will in the world to really do something to remedy a most unfortunate position, I cannot give my vote for the Second Reading of this Bill. I do not know what other way there may be out of it, but I am quite sure that the great mass of the people of this country will regard the passage of this measure, and the fact that will swiftly come to their knowledge that Parliament has no power at all to deal with the Appendix, as a question which will excite very grave apprehension in their minds. If there is some other way of dealing with this question, I should be most happy to consider it. I dread the introduction of religious discussions. That would be a real, untold calamity. I feel that this may lead to a recrudescence of sectarian discussion on the question of Disestablishment and Disendowment, and that is not a practical question in this country at the-present time; very far from it. I do ask those who are responsible for this movement, which is one with which I have the greatest sympathy, to see whether they are moving upon the right and best lines. Under the circumstances, I very much regret that I have no alternative but to vote against the Second Reading.

Mr. BONAR LAW (Leader of the House)

Although, as I shall explain to the House in a very few words, I differ from the conclusions of my right hon. Friend, everyone must welcome the spirit in which he has made his observations. I should like to say a few words about the position of the Government. I have not discussed this with any of my colleagues, and I am not speaking in any sense as the representative of the Government in this House. We had to decide whether or not time could be given for this Bill, and what my right hon. Friend has just said about the right of the Church to come to Parliament is, I think, the best justification of our action in trying to find time for a. discussion of this measure. As regards the merits of the Bill, I may say that, like my right hon. Friend, I am not a member of the Church of England have, however, some knowledge of the feelings which are entertained towards that great organisation. When I was very young I remember being on the Continent and being greatly struck with the way in which Englishmen of all classes went to the English services in Continental places, and the impression which that splendid liturgy made upon everyone who listened to it. Therefore, I am to that extent in sympathy with the Church of England. However, I think everyone, including those who are most ardently in favour of the Bill, will admit that in this as in other matters, you cannot have your cake and eat it. You cannot have a State Church and yet have the absolute freedom which applies to a non-State church. I quite admit that. I am not going into details, but considerable alterations were made in the other House which removed a good many -of the objections from that point of view. So that the Bill is in a sense a very different one from that which was originally introduced. I say further that if it really were the case that this Bill would mean that while the Church of England was an Established Church as the Church of the State anyone had not an equal right to enter any of the parish churches and to say that they represented part of the national life, I would say we had no right to pass it. But it really does nothing of the kind, and I look at it naturally from the point of view of what I have been accustomed to in Scotland. There is in Scotland an Established Church which is just as much a State Church as the Church of England is in England.


I do not agree with that.


It is by law the Church of Scotland just as much as the Church of England is the Church of England.


Their bishops do not sit in the House of Lords.


My hon. Friend has made an interruption which is not very relevant. It reminds me of a story which I heard in connection with the War. A certain Scotch chaplain was not given as high a position as the representative of the English Church in the same service, and when, subsequently, complaint was made about it, the reply was: "Make him a bishop and that will give him the same right." The Church in Scotland cannot be represented by bishops in the House of Lords simply because there are no bishops. But that is irrelevant. The important fact in my opinion is that whether you like it or not you have got to choose between allowing abuses, which everyone wishes to see removed and which have been a great drawback not only to the Church of England but to the nation, to be removed or not to be removed. You have either got to agree to some scheme of this kind or to say that none of these abuses can be removed except by having a special Act of Parliament. That is quite impossible. The House of Commons has got to say "We will not allow these changes which we admit ought to be made until the Church of England is Disestablished," or it has got to say "There may be objections to this but on the whole in the national interest we want to make the Church of England as great an instrument for good as we can and we will overlook these trivialities and allow them to be remedied." That is really the position in regard to the Church of England. There was an Act passed, I think it was early in the nineteen hundreds, which gave to the Church in Scotland additional freedom. I am speaking from memory, but I think it enabled the General Assembly of the Church in Scotland to define its own doctrine. That is not a very different thing from the principle which this Bill establishes. Instead of adding to religious bigotry I believe it has had the exact opposite effect, and has tended to remove these feelings of difference. I do not think it necessary to say more than that.

As regards Amendments I admit that there is a difficulty. I do not think that my Noble Friend (Lord R. Cecil) showed very plainly how, if the House took another view, it would be overcome. I think we may at all events wait until we see it in Committee and find whether or not there is a desire for this change. At the worst the Bill will have to be sent back to the Church of England, to be altered, if they are willing to alter it. As a matter of fact, the case which was put by my right hon. Friend (Sir D. Maclean) seems to answer itself. We do say that so long as the Church of England is a national institution it cannot regard itself as if it were a private institution; and we say also that just as in Scotland anyone would regard it as absolutely ludicrous that those who are not members of the Church of Scotland should decide its fate, so in practice there is nothing out of the way in saying that questions of this kind should be decided by men who are members of the Church of England. That, at all events, is my view. The standpoints from which I regard this are twofold. The first is whether the Church of England as a whole desire this change. I satisfied myself that they did—all sections. That was the first consideration. The second is of even more importance. We do not need to make any confessions—the House knows what I mean—but at a time like this you cannot have too strong forces which look at things not altogether from the material point of view. It is the duty, surely, of this House, as it would be of this nation, not to allow its mind to be influenced by the feeling that we must get rid of the Establishment. Whatever ifs merits, that is obviously Something; which cannot be done for years and years. What we have to ask ourselves is, Will the change help in making the Church of England a more useful weapon in the fight against evil?




Divide ‡


I regret that there should be a cry of "Divide‡" when the first of those who sit on the Labour Benches attempts to speak on this Bill. It certainly shows a great discourtesy. [HON. MEMBERS: "No‡"] As far as the Bill is concerned, I and many other Members came here this afternoon with very grave doubts as to how we ought to vote. It is true that the Government have removed their Whips, and are allowing the House to be unfettered. The Labour party have adopted a similar policy and are leaving it to the consciences of individual Members to decide on their action. Silence on the part of Members of the Labour party must not be taken to mean a hostile attitude to that advancement of the real service to man of which one Member has spoken this afternoon, service which, after all, is the result of the application of the Christian faith. As a Nonconformist and one who is somewhat proud of being a Nonconformist, I detest the man who professes to belong to the Church of England and is afraid of stating his denomination or does not feel any pride in it. I admire the man who stands to his convictions and is prepared to state them on all platforms, irrespective of the company in which he finds himself. No section of the community has a greater desire than the Nonconformist section to help the Church of England as a whole. Frequently we have been told that as far as the Church is concerned, the ordinary working man, the rural labourer or city toiler, are not able to have any voice or expression of opinion in. various Church matters. Under this Bill, and I hope the Noble Lord will correct me if I am wrong, even the rural labourer will be able to recognise his responsibility in this respect, and will be able to play an important part in shaping the destinies of the parochial centre in which he is placed. I notice the Noble Lord said that Parliament would not, by this Bill, be robbed of its rights, and that for any individual to make a statement of that kind would be fantastic. Sub-section (6) of Clause 3 provides, A measure passed in accordance with this Act may relate to any matter concerning the Church of England, and may extend to the Amendment or repeal in whole or in part of any Act of Parliament, including this Act. That seems a complete contradiction of the Noble Lord's statement.


I am afraid I did not make myself clear. All I said was that nothing could be done under this Bill which was not definitely approved by Parliament, and that it would have to be voted by both Houses of Parliament. All that the Bill does is to provide for procedure through Parliament, and it does not take away the control of Parliament.


I thank the Noble Lord for his explanation. As I came to the House this afternoon, with quite an open mind on this question, I recognise as a working man, mixing with working men, the sharp and sometimes uncalled for criticism on the attitude of the Church. We hear in substance statements such as "What is the Church prepared to do," and, "How can it help us?" and "We have no voice in the control or management, of the Church, and hence we have no sympathy with it." I agree that is a material point of view, but before we can get people to recognise the spiritual part they look at the material and that, to a large extent, has an influence in shaping the convictions of particular individuals. As far as I can interpret the Bill, and the Schedule it seems to exclude the greater part of the people of England from effective influence in the affairs of the National Church. There are many people who are not in communion with the Church to a large extent but who pay their tithes the same as anyone else, and under this Bill they will be disregarded and completely ignored. Whilst I do so from the individual point of view with no party behind me, I say that that is something which ought to come under the serious consideration of those who have framed the Schedule. I hope that when this matter is reviewed the Noble Lord will take that into earnest consideration. The second point I observe is that it enables members of the Church to pass laws that may wholly change the character of the Church without adequate supervision by Parliament, and I would like to ask the Noble Lord if that statement is correct?


I do not think that statement is correct I think there is adequate control by Parliament provided for by the procedure in this Bill, and any Amendments designed to improve and make that clear would certainly, as I have said, be sympathetically considered.


I thank the Noble Lord for his explanation, but it is, of course, merely his opinion, and I am afraid I hold a different opinion from him in that respect. The Leader of the House dealt with the question of the unity of opinion in the Church on the need for this, and I think he said the. Church as a whole was prepared to accept this Bill. I remember reading in the "Times," and I have a reprint here, what the Dean of Canterbury said on the 30th May. He said the Bill was a disenabling Bill for half the Christian people in England; that for the first time in our history it disfranchised from any direct share in the affairs of the Church all the Nonconformists and left them with no more than a precarious veto in Parliament, and that the Nonconformists had a great interest, both present and historic, ill the Church. I think the Noble Lord would agree with the latter portion of that statement. The hon. Member for Neath (Mr. H. Edwards) said that the Church essentially was spiritual. To a large extent we are agreed upon that, but he said it was not a social annexe, I agree that out of Christianity there comes the new doctrine of a social order, and if the applications of the faith were made in every portion of the civilised world we should be in a vastly different state from that in which we now find ourselves. far as the Bill is concerned, I am yet to be convinced that in reality it is an enabling Bill, but I hope, if the Bill is passed, that the Noble Lord, who is extremely anxious for its passage and believes he is doing something for the good of his Church and for the good of the people as a whole, will use his sound judgment and wise discretion, when this matter again comes under review, in endeavouring to give equality to all classes of the community, as it is State Church, and not disregard those who to some extent pay their tithes but yet have no voice in its management or control.

Colonel YATE

I am an ardent supporter of Establishment and Endowment, and I could not under any circumstances support the Amendment now before the House, but there is one point that gives me cause for thought, and that, is the ruling which you, Mr. Speaker, gave earlier in the Debate. So far as I could understand your ruling, it was that no Amendment could be moved in Committee to the constitution of the House of Laity in the proposed National Assembly, and that consequently we either have to accept the constitution set forth in the Bill in its entirety or not at all. I have had many representations in regard to this Bill from my Constituents, but, of course, they almost all came from the clergy. Some were for it, some were against it, and I can honestly say that for one against it at least five were in favour of it. Some of these clergymen sent to me a list of parishioners, farmers and labourers, in support of the Bill. But one thing I was not able to find out when I got the list was whether any of those farmers and labourers who signed the petition to me had ever seen the Bill, or had read the Schedules of the Bill, or understood the Bill in any possible way, and I cannot help thinking that very few understand what this Bill really means. The doubt in my mind is whether this National Assembly will really represent the Church and the great masses of Church people. The members to represent the mass of the Church people are to be elected by the diocesan conferences, so far as I understand, and the diocesan conferences are to be elected by the members of the ruri-decanal conferences, who again are to be elected at vestry meetings in each parish. As we all know, these vestry meetings consist as a rule of simply the clergymen, churchwardens, clerk, and perhaps one or two other men specially called in. It is obvious that these vestry meetings do not really represent the great body of the Church people, and all through it seems to me that all method of election is not representative of the great body of Church people, and will really represent parties in the Church and the most active parties will naturally gain control. I would like to ask for this point to be considered, and that this question of the representation of the laity shall have really serious consideration if this Bill passes the Second Reading. I am sorry we cannot have any Amendments to the proposed House of Laity, but it is a point I think will meet with very great consideration throughout the country. I am sure we all want to see abuses stopped, but we do not want to see one party in the Church have control of the whole Church, nor the laity not properly represented, and I trust alterations will be made in the Bill to meet objections which I feel sure will be raised on these two points.


As there are very few Church people who have spoken against this Bill, and as the Leader of the House has said the Church is practically in favour of it, I think the point of view of a Churchman who is opposed to this Bill ought to be put for' ward in this House. I am not going to say I am a Churchman more than a great many other people who attend the Church of England and so on, but I do say this, that I wish to represent rather the Church of God than the Church of England. It is a far more important thing that we should try to get the world into a general feeling of Christianity than that we should get our own doctrines of the Church of England made paramount. The strength of the Church of England in days gone by has been, and is to-day, that it is the Church of the vast majority of the people of England. It is not only the Church of the bishops, of the parson and the squire, but, as a general rule, it is the Church of the people of England. Including the workmen, the majority of the people are Church of England. Even those who do not actually belong to it look upon it with respect and honour. The speakers this afternoon who do not belong to the Church have shown, their respect for it in Debate. When the Church is going to be reformed, it is a national question, and it ought to be reformed by Parliament. No power, I hold, has a right to reform it.

Let us see what this Bill means, It says it is an enabling Bill to enable the Church of England to reform itself. In the Churches throughout the world the believing people have gradually lost their belief and have been gradually adopting atheism or polytheism, and not through their own stupidity, but through the narrow influences of the priesthood, who narrow down the tenets of their religion bit by bit. This Bill would enable the priesthood to do that in the Church of England. What we want to guard against, what this House has a right to claim to guard against and the right to protect, is the Church itself from this power of the priesthood and the power of even the best and most enthusiastic -of its laity when the desire to narrow down the principles of the Church so as gradually to exclude more and more of the country from it. [HON. MEMBERS: "They do not‡"] Yes, but they do. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"] We see it day by day. The priesthood do narrow down these things. [An HON. MEMBER: "Only some of them ‡"] Have not Members of this House seen accounts of ministers of the Church of England refusing the Communion to people because they do not confess, or fail to do something which the particular priest thinks they ought to have done. That happens, and the great danger to the Church of England to-day is this narrowing down and so excluding the people of this country from the broad tenets of the old Establishment. This is a Bill to enable the Church to narrow itself, to enable the priesthood and the bishops to exclude the people from the Church. That is a real danger to it. I trust that we shall see that this House is consulted in the reform of the Church. This House will always give a willing ear to doing away with abuses. One word more about amendment. Many hon. Members will vote to-day in favour of the Bill because it is going to remove a certain greater number of abuses, but in this they will swallow the objections they have because they are smaller in comparison to the abuses, as they think. In future the same thing will happen if the precedent is adopted. The House will swallow the smaller objections to a given course. Objections will pile up to the irrecoverable injury of the Church, and this House will have no power to restore the Church. I do not want to say anything from the Nonconformist point of view, because that has been put forward already. My point is what injury is the Church going to do itself by putting the power into the hands of a few of gradually restricting the influence of the Church and pushing people out little by little. I hope for the good of the Church this House will refuse the Second Reading of this Bill. Let the Church think a little more and establish itself on a wider basis, not under the present ecclesiastical arrangements but on the basis of the whole people, and found the Church, as has been the case in the past, on the goodwill, the faith, and the religion of the people of England.


If I am not labouring under a misapprehension I believe this Bill comes to us from another place where there are representatives of the Established Church of England. If we wanted an illustration of the injustice which prevents ministers of the Established Church being elected as Members of this House surely this Bill provides us with that illustration. We have listened this afternoon to many impassioned addresses which I believe, in sonic cases, were given by hon. Members who at other times address audiences more appreciative than this audience, when they have been pleading indirectly for the refusal of this Bill. I suggest that the point which the Lord Privy Seal made, and which' I am sorry he did not elaborate a little more, showed that there was a tendency in this House to confuse the material side of this question, that is the Church funds with the spiritual good which the Church hopes to accomplish by the passing of this Bill.

Every speaker so far has declared himself as being attached to some religious belief. I say with a perfectly open mind that I have no religious belief, and therefore I have a right to say I am unbiased in this matter. This is a Bill which has been drawn up by bishops to take the commoners into conference as to the Establishment of the Church on more democratic lines, and yet we stand up here and criticise it. This is a Bill putting forward the views of the bishops, who presumably have a far deeper religious belief and a more intimate knowledge of what the Church wants, and I submit that any Member who in this House criticises this Bill, which is the outcome of the leaders of the Established Church, and is their considered opinion, is taking upon himself a great responsibility. Anything that can be done to give the men and women of this country a more real interest in the affairs of the Church will be a step in the right direction.


I am only the second Member of the Labour party who has risen to speak, and I think this is a question which should receive consideration from that party. I should like, first of all, to draw attention to the extraordinary difference between this House to-day and yesterday. Yesterday we were discussing a question that affects every single wage earner in this country, and the benches were empty. To-day we are discussing a question which affects prin- cipally the officials of the Church of England, and the benches are crowded in every direction. I rise to speak because, before everything else, I am a Parliamentary man. There is an old saying which has come down to us from the time of Archbishop Laud and which is as applicable to the Church of England as it is to any of my direct actionist friends: those who go about to break Parliament, Parliament itself will break. This measure to my mind is in that direction. It is taking away legislation froth Parliament over the National Church and handing over that legislation to a small section of the people. That would be all very well provided two considerations. went with it. The first consideration is that which has been moved by my hon. Friend (Mr. Broad), that the freeing of the Church from State legislation should' be accompanied by the freeing of the nation from the State Church. There is another consideration. We have to remember that this Bill will apply to every member of the community and not merely to the State Church. If the Bill were to apply merely to the discipline of the Church itself it would be well and good, but hon. Members may look through the Bill from start to finish and find nothing which limits the power of this new Church Assembly to legislate for the whole of the community. The first safeguard is to be found in Sub-clause (3) of Clause 3. After considering the measure, the Ecclesiastical Committee— that is of the Privy Council— shall draft a report thereon stating the nature and legal effect of the measure and their views as to its expediency, especially with relation to the constitutional rights of all His Majesty's subjects. The very wording of that paragraph shows that all His Majesty's subjects may be affected by the legislation brought forward, but only the constitutional rights are even to be reported upon by the Ecclesiastical Committee. There is not one word to say that the constitutional right of a British subject shall not be adversely affected by the legislation, or that any adverse affection of his constitutional rights shall constitute a bar in. the recommendation of the legislation which is passed by this Ecclesiastical assembly being passed into law. Further, Sub-clause (6) of the same Clause says: A measure passed in accordance with this. Act may relate to any matter concerning the Church of England. Not exclusively concerning the Church of England, and may extend to the Amendment or repeal of any Art of Parliament, including this Act. That is an extremely wide scope for legislation. I suppose every question of morality concerns the Church of England. I presume questions of divorce concern the Church of England. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear‡"] Exactly; we are opening the door in that section to these bigots to screw even tighter still the divorce laws of this country. Is that the intention of Members of Parliament? We arc allowing them to legislate on all matters which hitherto have been within the province of Parliament, and it would ill become Parliament, even though it is now dominated for a short time by the Church of England, to commit itself to legislation which prevents it dealing with these subjects.

What is the safeguard which, according to the Noble Lord, exists? He says it lies in the Address to the two Houses of Parliament. How can any Parliamentarian really put forward that as any safeguard at all? Everyone knows that the only real safeguard lies in thorough discussions and in the detailed examination of measures, and it is impossible to deal with reforms, say, of the Divorce Laws, on a recommendation on an Address. Suppose, for instance, the proposed legislation involved such moral questions as 40 (b) which we had under discussion so many times last year. Is it possible to deal with such a matter on the mere question of "yes" or "no" on an Address? It is making Parliament ridiculous to say that it will have any control over any legislation which may be passed by this ecclesiastical body if we leave it to the mere issue of "yes" or "no" on an Address which may be introduced at eleven o'clock at night, after inadequate notice, and with the impossibility of free discussion or detailed amendment. There is another consideration. To what body are we handing over legislation concerning the intimate lives of the whole population, and not concerning merely the Church of England? In handing over to these people all this new legislation, we are handing it over to a body which, as has been shown by hon. Members, is in no sense representative of the Church of England. It is a body which will be merely the tool of the bishops and archbishops of the Church. What has been the record of the leaders of the Church in the past? They have always opposed every piece of legislation in the direction of an increase of liberty or of democratic government. They were against the repeal of the Test Acts. They were against Catholic Emancipation. They were unanimously against the Reform Bill of 1832, and they have been against every Reform Bill since. What example have they set during the War? They are supposed to lead the Christian Church in this country, but they have never been able to utter one word on behalf of the oppressed minority. They have never said a word for those men who preferred prison for conscience sake rather than take up arms. It was a bishop who invented the term "Conchy."


Would it be in order for a private Member to prevent this Bill being talked out by asking for the Closure?


There are yet several minutes to run before that question need be raised.


During the War these people have shown their calibre. They have done nothing to help the conscientious objector, they have joined in the attacks on the aliens. These people are supposed to preach Christianity and the brotherhood of man, but they have preached nothing but hatred, and it is to these people you are handing over the legislation of the country. The Archbishop of York—[An HON. MEMBER: Has all this anything to do with the, Bill?"] The question is, whether we are justified in handing over to the bishops of the Church of England legislation affecting the citizens of this country, and we must, therefore, consider the character of the people to whom we are handing it over. The Archbishop of York went to America during the War and for a fortnight he spoke like a Christian in that country. When he came back he was attacked by the stunt Press—by the people who are represented in this House to-day. That is the class of person to whom you are handing over the legislation of this country. [HON. MEMBERS, "Divide‡"] Hon. Members may cry "Divide ‡" but let them remember that this War has opened the eyes of the people of this country. The only way to deal with it is to deal with it not as a State Church, but as a matter of the individual and of the individual conscience. I am opposed to the Second Reading of this Bill. I would gladly support the Second Reading on two conditions—first, that the legislation was strictly confined to ordering the internal affair of the Church and that nothing affecting morality or divorce was involved, but was expressly excluded from the perview of these religious bigots; and, secondly, that any measure of this sort was associated with the liberation of the State from association with this Church.


Before we go to a Division I should like to ask one question. I want to know exactly where we are. So far the Government have said that they are prepared to give time for this Bill—that is to say, they have given to-day for the Second Reading. But no member of the Government, from the Prime Minister downwards, has said anything at all about the attitude of the Government in regard to the Bill after it has passed Second Reading. Assuming that the Bill gets a Second Reading this afternoon, it will go automatically to a Committee upstairs. Who will be in charge of the Bill? Will, it be a private Member, and, if so, which private Member? Or will the Government take charge of the Bill when it has gone upstairs? Because if when the Bill has gone upstairs and gets through Committee, everybody in the House knows it must come back here for the Report stage, and again the Government must provide time. I put that point to nay hon. and gallant Friend opposite (Captain Guest) who is the only member of the Government I see here. It is a perfects fair point to put, whatever the argument may be on the Bill. Hon.

Members will observe that I have not stated my views one way or the other. Before we go to a Division the House is entitled to know whether, if the Second Reading is carried, the Government will take charge of the Bill, and, if they do not, whether the Government will take charge of the Bill on Report stage. After all, it does raise a constitutional issue—that is, the question of a National Church. The Prime Minister himself, a Nonconformist, a lifelong opponent of Establishment and Endowment, ought to tell the House before we go to a Division whether or not it is to become a Government measure.

Lord E. TALBOT (Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury)

As far as the Government are concerned, they will vote for the Bill going upstairs. Who will be in charge of it I cannot at the moment say.


Supposing it gets through Committee, and comes back on Report, will you take charge?


I expect so.


I understand the Noble Lord means that if it gets through Committee it will then become a Government measure?


I should not like to commit myself definitely, but that I expect.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 304; Noes, 16.

Division No. 126.] AYES. [4.55 p.m.
Adair, Rear-Admiral Blades, Sir George R. Cautley, Henry Strotter
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Blair, Major Reginald Cayzer, Major H. R.
Ainsworth, Captain C. Barwick, Major G. O. Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)
Amery, Lieut.-Colonel L. C. M. S. Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith. Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord N. (Oxford Univ.)
Archdale. Edward M. Bowles, Colonel H. F. Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)
Armitage. Robert Bowyer, Captain G. W. E. Chadwick, R. Burton
Atkey, A. R. Brassey, H. L. C. Child, Brig.-General Sir Hill
Bagley. Captain E. A. Breese, Major C. E. Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.
Baird, John Lawrence Briant, F. Coates, Major Sir Edward F.
Baldwin, Stanley Bridgeman, William Clive Coats, Sir Stuart
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, London) Brown, T. W. (Down, N.) Cobb, Sir Cyril
Balfour. George (Hampstead) Bruton, Sir J. Cockerill, Brig.-General G. K.
Banner, Sir J S. Harmood Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Cohen, Major J. B. B.
Barker, Major R. Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Colvin, Brigadier-General R. B.
Barlow, Sir Montagu (Salford, S.) Burdon, Colonel Rowland Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole
Barnett, Major Richard W. Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Coots, Colin R. (Isle of Ely)
Barrand, A. R. Burn. Colonel C. R. (Torquay) Courthope, Major George Loyd
Beck, Arthur Cecil Butcher, Sir J. G. Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kine.)
Beckett. Hoe. Gervase Campbell, J. G. D. Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry
Bell, James (Ormskirk) Campion, Colonel W. R. Curzon, Commander Viscount
Sennett, T. J. Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton) Davidson, Major-Gen. Sir John H.
Betterten, H. B. Carr, W. T. Davies, Alfred (Clitheroe)
Billing. Noel Pemberton Carter. W. (Mansfield) Davies, Allred Thomas (Lincoln)
Bird Alfred Casey. T. W. Davies, Sir Joseph (Crewe)
Davies, T. (Cirencester) Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke) Purchase, H. G.
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Raeaurn, Sir William
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington) Jones, J. (Silvertown) Raffan, Peter Wilson
Dawes, J. A. Jones, William Kennedy (Hornsey) Ramsden, G. T.
Dean, Com. P. T. Joynson-Hicks, Sir William Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Denison-Pender, John C. Kellaway, Frederick George Rankin, Capt. James S.
Dennis, J. W. Kelly, Major Fred (Rotherham) Ratcliffe, Henry Butler
Denniss, E. R. Bartley (Oldham) Kenyon, Barnet Raw, Lieut.-Colonel Dr. N.
Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander H. Kiley, James Daniel Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Dockrell, Sir M. King, Commander Douglas Rees, Sir J. D.
Doyle, N. Grattan Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Rees, Captain J. Tudor
Du Pre, Colonel W. B. Knight, Capt. E. A. Ramer, J. B.
Edgar, Clifford Knights, Captain H. Remnant, Colonel Sir James
Edge, Captain William Larmor, Sir J. Richardson, Alex. (Gravesend)
Elveden, Viscount Law, A. J. (Rochdale) Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)
Eyres-Monsell, Commander Law, Et. Hon. A. Boner Robinson, T. (Stretford, Lance.)
Falls, Major Sir Bertram Godfrey Lister, Sir R Ashton Roundel, Lt.-Colonel R. F.
Farquharson, Major A. C. Lloyd, George Butler Rowlands, James
Fitzroy, Capt. Hon. Edward A. Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Royden, Sir Thomas
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Hunt'don) Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund
Forrest, W. Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey)
Forster, Rt. Hon. H. W. Lorden, John William Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood)
Foxcroft, Captain C. Lort-Williams, J. Samuel, S. (Wandsworth, Putney)
Fraser, Major Sir Keith Lowe, Sir F. W. Sassoon, Sir Philip A. G. D.
Galbraith, Samuel Lowther, Col. C. (Lonsdale, Lancs.) Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)
Ganzonl, Captain F. C. Lyle, C. E. Leonard (Stratford) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone)
Gardner, E. (Berks, Windsor) M'Donald, Dr. B. F. P. (Wallasey) Smith, W. (Wellingborough)
Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Cambridge) M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.) Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd M'Lean, Lt.-Col. C. W. W. (Brigg) Stanier, Captain Sir Beville
Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Macleod, John Mackintosh Stanley, Col. H. G. F. (Preston)
Gilbert, James Daniel Macmaster, Donald Starkey, Capt. John Ralph
Glyn, Major R. McNeill, Ronald (Canterbury) Stephenson, Colonel H. K.
Goff, Sir R. Park MacVeagh, Jeremiah Surtees, Brig.-General H. C.
Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir E. A. Maddocks, Henry Sutherland. Sir William
Grant, James Augustus Magnus, Sir Philip Sykes, Sir C. (Huddersfield)
Gray, Major E. Maitland, Sir A. D. Steel Talbot, Rt. Hon. Lord E. (Chichester)
Greame, Major P. Lloyd Mallaby-Deeley, Harry Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)
Green, J. F. (Leicester) Mallalieu, Frederick William Terrell, Capt. R. (Henley, Oxford)
Greene, Lt.-Col. W. (Hackney, N.) Malone, Major P. (Tottenham, S.) Thomas-Stanford, Charles
Greer, Harry Manville, Edward Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)
Gretton, Colonel John Marriott, John Arthur R. Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell-(M'yhi)
Griggs, Sir Peter Martin, A. E. Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Grundy, T. W. Mitchell, William Lane Tickler, Thomas George
Guest, Capt. Hon. F. E. (Dorset, E.) Molson, Major John Elsdale Tryon, Major George Clement
Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (Leic., Loughboro') Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J. Turton, Edmund Russborough
Gwynne, R. S. Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Vickers, D.
Hacking, Colonel D. H. Morrison, H. (Salisbury) Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich) Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. Wardle, George J.
Hamilton, Major C. G. C. (Altrincham) Mount, William Arthur Waring, Major Walter
Hancock, John George Murchison, C. K. Warren, Sir Alfred H
Hanson, Sir Charles Murray, John (Leeds, W.) Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Luton, Beds.) Nall, Major Joseph Weston, Colonel John W.
Harris, Sir H. P. (Paddington, S.) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter) White, Colonel G. D. (Southport)
Heyday, A. Newton, Major Harry Kottingham Whitla, Sir William
Henderson, Ma). V. L. (Tradeston, Glas) Nichol, Com. Sir Edward Wigan, Brig.-Gen. John Tyson
Hennessy, Major G. Nicholson, R. (Doncaster) Wignall, James
Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil) Nicholson, W. (Petersfield) Wild, Sir Ernest Edward
Herbert, Denniss (Hertford) Nield, Sir Herbert Willey, Lt.-Col. F. V.
Hilder, Lieut-Colonel F. Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G. Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.
Hills, Major J. W. (Durham) Norton-Griffiths, Lt.-Col, Sir J. Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Hold'ness)
Hirst, G. H. O'Grady, James Wilson, Colonel Leslie (Reading)
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Sir Samuel J. G. Oman, C. W. C. Wilson, Col. M. (Richmond, Yorks.)
Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy O'Neill, Capt. Hon. Robert W. H. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Hood, Joseph Parker, James Wilson-Fox, Henry
Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike Winterton, Major Earl
Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. (Midlothian) Peel, Lt.-Col. R. F. (Woodbridge) Weimer, Viscount
Hopkins, J. W. W. Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.) Wood, Major S. Hill-(High Peak)
Horne, Sir Robert (Hillhead) Percy, Charles Worsfold, T. Cato
Hughes, Spencer Leigh Perkins, Walter Frank Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Hume-Williams, Sir Wm. Ellis Perring, William George Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Hunter, Gen. Sir A. (Lancaster) Philippe, Sir O. C. (Chester) Yeo, Sir Alfred William
Hurd, P. A. Pilditch, Sir Philip Young, Lt.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)
Hurst, Major G. B. Pinkham, Lt.-Colonel Charles Young, Sir F. W. (Swindon)
Iinkip, T. W. H. Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray Young, Robert (Newton Lancs.)
Irving, Dan Pownall, Lt.-Colonel Assheton Younger, Sir George
Jephcott, A. R. Preston, W. R.
Jesson, C. Prescott, Major W. H.
Jodrell, N. P. Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir
Pulley, Charles Thornton E. Beauchamp and Major Birchall.
Benn, Captain W. Leith Hinds, John Johnstone, J
Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, Mid.) Hogge J. M. Lyle-Samuel, A. (Eye, E. Suffolk)
Creig, Colonel James William Holmes, J. Stanley Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlethian)
Macquisten, F. A. Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T. Young, William (Perth and Kinross)
Sturrock, J. Leng- Waterson, A. E.
Swan, J. E.C. Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Broad and Major Barnes.

Bill read a second time.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."—[sir Adkins.]

The House divided: Ayes, 8; Noes, 250.

Division No, 126.] AYES. [5.9 p.m.
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Hayward, Major Evan Swan, J. E. C.
Bann, Captain W. (Leith) Hinds, John Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E. Hogge, J. M. Waterton, A. E.
Breese, Major C. E. Holmes, J. Stanley Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Brant, F. Johnstone, J. Wignall, James
Broad, Thomas Tucker Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke) Williams, A. (Consett, Durham)
Carter, W. (Mansfield) Janes, J. (Silvertown) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Casey, T. W. Lyle-Samuel, A. (Eye, E. Suffolk) Worslold, T. Cato
Colvin, Brig.-General R. B. M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.) Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Coote, Colin R. (Isle of Ely) Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian) Young, Robert (Newton, Lancs.)
Dockrell, Sir M. Maddocks, Henry Young, William (Perth and Kinross)
Glanville, Harold James Purchase, H. G.
Greig, Colonel James William Smith, W. (Wellingborough) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir
Hayday, A. Sturrock, J. Leng- R. Adkins and Sir Haweli Davies,
Adair, Rear-Admiral Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole Hennessy, Major G.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Courthope, Major George Loyd Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)
Ainsworth, Captain C. Curzon, Commander Viscount Herbert, Denniss (Hertford)
Amery, Lieut.-Colonel L. C. M. S. Davidson, Major-Gen. Sir John H. Hilder, Lieut-Colonel F.
Archdale, Edward M. Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln) Hills, Major J. W. (Durham)
Armitage, Robert Davies, Sir Joseph (Crewe) Hood, Joseph
Atkey, A. R. Davies, T. (Cirencester) Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)
Bagley, Captain E. A. Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington) Hope, Lieut.-Col. Sir J. (Midlothian)
Baird, John Lawrence Dawes, J. A. Hopkins, J. W. W.
Baldwin, Stanley Denison-Pender, John C. Horne, Sir Robert (Hillhead)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, London) Dennis, J. W. Hughes, Spencer Leigh
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Denniss, E. F. Bartley (Oldham) Hunter, Gen. Sir A. (Lancaster)
Banner, Sir J. S. Harmood- Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander H. Hurd, P. A.
Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, S.) Doyle, N. Grattan Hurst, Major G. B.
Barnett, Major Richard W. Du Pre, Colonel W. B. Jephcott, A. R.
Barrand, A. R. Edgar, Clifford Jesson, C.
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon) Jodrell, N. P.
Beck, Arthur Cecil Edwards, J. H. (Glam., Neath) Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Elveden, Viscount Jones, William Kennedy (Hornsey)
Bennett, T. J. Eyres-tionsell, Commander Joynson-Hicks, Sir William
Betterton, H. B. Earle, Major Sir Bertram Godfrey Kellaway, Frederick George
Billing, Noel Pemberton Farquharson, Major A. C. Kelly, Major Fred (Rotherham)
Birchall, Major J. D. Fitzroy, Capt. Hon. Edward A. Kiley, James Daniel
Blades, Sir George R. Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue King, Commander Douglas
Barwick, Major G. O. Forrest, W. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith- Fraser, Major Sir Keith Knight, Captain E. A.
Bowles, Colonel H. F. Galbraith, Samuel Knights, Captain H.
Brassey, H. L. C. Ganzonl, Captain F. C. Larmor, Sir J.
Bridgeman, William Clive Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Cambridge) Law, A. J. (Rochdale)
Brown, T. W. (Down, N.) George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar
Bruton, Sir J. Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Buckley, Lieutenant-Colonel A. Gilbert, James Daniel Locker-Lampoon, Com. O. (Hunt'don)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Glyn, Major R. Long, Rt. Hon. Walter
Burdon, Colonel Rowland Gaff, Sir R. Park Larder', John William
Burn, Colonel C. R. (Torquay) Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir E. A. Left-Williams, J.
Butcher, Sir J. G. Grant, James Augustus Lowe, Sir F. W.
Campbell, J. G. D. Gray, Major E. Lowther, Col. C. (Lansdale, Lancs.)
Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton) Greame, Major P. Lloyd Lyle, C. E. Leonard (Stratford)
Carr, W. T. Green, J. F. (Leicester) M'Donald, Dr. B. F. P. (Wallasey)
Cautley, Henry Strether Greene, Lt.-Col. W. (Hackney, N.) M'Lean, Lt.-Col. C. W. W. (Brigg)
Cayzer, Major H. R. Greer, Harry Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor) Gretton, Colonel John Macmaster, Donald
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Oxford Univ.) Griggs, Sir Peter McNeill, Ronald (Canterbury)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord F. (Hitchln) Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (Leic., Loughboro') Magnus, Sir Philip
Chadwick, F. Burton Gwyrrne, R. S Mallaby-Deeley, Marry
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Birm., W.) Hacking, Colonel D. H. Mallalieu, Frederick William
Churchill, Rt. Han. Winston S. Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich) Malone, Major P. (Tottenham, S.)
Coates, Major Sir Edward F. Hamilton, Major C. G. C. (Altrincham) Manville, Edward
Coats, Sir Stuart Hanson, Sir Charles Marriott, John Arthur R.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Harmsworth, Cecil R. (Luton, Beds.) Martin, A. E.
Cockerill, Brig.-General G. K. Harris, Sir H. P. (Paddington, S.) Mitchell, William Lane
Cohen, Major J. B. B. Henderson, Maj. V. L. (Tradeston, Glas) Wilton, Major John Elsdale
Montage, Rt. Hon. E. S. Pulley, Charles Thornton Terrell, Capt. R. (Henley, Oxford)
Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Raeburn. Sir William Thomas-Stanford, Charles
Morden, Col. H. Grant Raffan, Peter Wilson Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)
Morrison, H. (Salisbury) Ramsden, G. T. Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell-(M'yhl)
Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. Randles, Sir John Scurrah Thorpe, Captain John Henry
Murchison, C. K. Rankin, Capt. James S. Tickler, Thomas George
Murray, John (Leeds, W.) Raw, Lieut.-Colonel Dr. N. Tryon, Major George Clement
Nall, Major Joseph Rem, Sir S. D. Turton, Edmund Russborough
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter) Rees, Captain J. Tudor (Barnstaple) Vickers, D.
Newton, Major Harry Kettingham Remer, J. B. Wardle, George J.
Nicholl, Corn. Sir Edward Remnant, Colonel Sir James Warren, Sir Alfred H.
Nicholson, R. (Doncaster) Richardson, Alex. (Gravesend) Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Nicholson, W. (Petersfield) Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich) Weston, Colonel John W.
Nield, Sir Herbert Robinson, T. (Stretford, Lancs.) White, Colonel G. D. (Southport)
Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G. Roundell Lt.-Colonel R. F. Whitla, Sir William
Norton-Griffiths, Lt.-Col. Sir J. Rowlands, James Wigan, Brigadier-General John Tyson
O'Grady, James Royden, Sir Thomas Wild, Sir Ernest Edward
O'Neill, Captain Hon. Robert W. H. Hoyds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund Willey, Lt.-Col. F. V.
Oman, C. W. C. Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey) Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.
Parker, James Samuel, Right Hon. Sir H. (Norwood) Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Hold'ness)
Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike Samuel, S. (Wandsworth, Putney) Wilson, Colonel Leslie (Reading)
Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.) Sassoon, Sir Philip A. G. D. Wilson-Fox, Henry
Percy, Charles Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange) Wolmer, Viscount
Perkins, Walter Frank Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T., W.) Wood, Major S. Hill-(High Peak)
Porting, William George Stanier, Captain Sir Beville Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Philipps, Sir O. C. (Chester) Stanley, Cal. H. G. F. (Preston) Yea, Sir Alfred William
Pilditch, Sir Philip Starkey, Capt. John Ralph Young, Lt.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)
Pinkham, Lt.-Colonel Charles Stephenson, Colonel H. K. Young, Sir F. W. (Swindon)
Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray Surtees, Brig.-General H. C. Younger, Sir George
Pownall, Lt.-Colonel Assheton Sutherland, Sir William
Preston, W. R. Sykes, Sir C. (Huddersfield) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord
Prescott, Major W. H. Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead) Edmund Talbot and Capt, Guest.

Bill committed to a Standing Committee.