HL Deb 03 June 1823 vol 9 cc649-64

On the order of the day for going into a committee on this bill,

The Earl of Westmorland

rose to move, that it be an instruction to the committee to leave out the clause relative to the voidability of marriages. He did not object to the principle of that clause with any view of lessening parental authority, nor with any desire to take away from minors the protection which it was calculated to afford them; but he opposed it, because it was entirely nugatory, so far as regarded the ends proposed. He objected to it also because it was an alteration of the law of the land, without necessity. The alteration at the time of lord Hardwicke's bill being brought in was necessary, as there was a grievance then to be redressed; but he had heard of none now existing. He objected to the measure on moral, religious, and legal grounds; and also because it was nugatory and inoperative to any beneficial purpose. The noble earl argued the question at some length, on the grounds he had slated, and particularly dwelt on the legal difficulties arising out of the clause, as respected the consent of the parents or guardians. If the mother were not a widow, though professing to be one; or if the guardian were not duly appointed, the marriage would be invalid. If there were only, one witness to the will, which, by the act of Charles II. required two, then the guardian was not legally appointed, and the marriage was invalid. What, he would ask, was to be the state of the husband during this temporary occupancy of the person of the woman? Was he to have marital rights over her property? Could he buy, sell, or receive rents?

The Lord Chancellor

suggested whether it was competent to the noble earl to move an instruction to the committee to leave out a clause. He did not recollect any instance of it. It was of constant occurrence to move instructions to committees to insert clauses; but if it were competent to the noble lord to move to leave out a clause, other noble lords had the same right, and might exert it; so that the house would never get into the committee.

The Earl of Westmorland

said, if he was out of order, he would put himself right by opposing the going into a committee on the bill. If the Bank Directors allowed stock to be sold out, or if a trustee allowed an estate to be disposed of, under the authority of the husband, de facto, were they to be responsible? This was a very serious part of the question; and if money were lent upon the security of such property, he believed no person, however learned in the law, could state what would be the event of it. That the clause would be nugatory for all good purposes would be obvious, when' their lordships recollected that there were steam boats to Scotland and to France and that a secret marriage by bans might easily be effected. If the husband desired to be legally married, he had nothings to do but to be married over again, as he had the possession of the person of his wife, and might take her whore he pleased. This clause, in its operation, had been compared to offences against the state. Now, in cases of high treason, the mercy of the sovereign could mitigate the sentence of the law, and restore the forfeited estates; but the penalties by this clause were irrevocable.

The House resolved itself into a committee, on the clause for allowing the bishop, with the consent of the patron and incumbent, to authorise the publication of bans in any public chapel.

The Bishop of Chester

feared that the necessity of the consent of the patron and incumbent, would render the clause inoperative.

The Archbishop of Canterbury defended the clause, as necessary to the preservation of the rights of the patron and incumbent.

The clause was agreed to without amendment.

The clause relating to the "voidability of marriages" being read,

The Archbishop of York

said, that the marriage contract was a solemn obligation made in the sight of God, and therefore ought not to be dissolved for any involuntary error which the parties might have made. The marriage ceremony called upon the parties to declare whether any lawful impediment existed to the it union. On the sincerity with which they made this declaration, the legality of their marriage ought, in a religious point of view, to depend. To a marriage so solemnized, the words of our Saviour must apply—"Those whom God has joined, let no man put asunder." In his opinion, therefore, this declaration having been made by the parties, there could be no impediment, except a previous contract and affinity within the prohibited degrees, which ought to effect a dissolution of their marriage. Applying this principle, then, to the clause before the House, he objected to the bonâ fide marriages of minors being dissoluble for any other reasons. His objection was not only founded upon religious grounds, but upon the injurious effects which it must produce upon the morals of the people, by enabling dissolute minors to effect the purposes of seduction under the cloak of religion. This clause bore with peculiar hardship upon females; he could indeed see no circumstances under which the parent of a woman so married, ought to wish to have the marriage annulled. He besought their lordships to consider, when the intentions of the parties had been honourable and just, what their feelings must be during the twelve long months which must elapse before they could be assured that the union upon which they had staked all their hope of happiness, should be a lasting one. Nevertheless, he was so well aware of the evils which ensued to families from the inconsiderate marriages of minors, that he would willingly support any measure, the object of which should be to prevent them, Short of the dissolution ofbonâ fide marriages. Recollecting that while the power of solemnizing marriages by bans remained, and that such marriages being indissoluble, this clause could not therefore have a very a extensive effect; feeling the Weight of the observations which he had now submitted, he must give his decided opposition to the present clause.

The Bishop of Chester

declared is intention of opposing the clause. Marriage was a religious and a civil contract. It was religious, because the parties swore before God to keep the vow and covenant between them made, unto their lives' end. On this subject the religious customs of all countries, in all times, had been substantially the same. As a civil contract it was of the highest solemnity. It was evident that God, willing the happiness of his creatures, had prescribed the institution of marriage. Where the Deity had expressly Spoken, implicit obedience was the duty of mankind; Where his commands had not been given it was competent for man to make laws. Upon this principle rested the validity of all laws, and among others, that of those relating to marriage. He could not but consider the clause before the House as contrary to the Christian code. The Divine legislature directed, that "a man shall leave father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh." It was impossible that words could be more explicit. He had said also, "what, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder:" and had enjoined that wives should not be put away, save for adultery. Taking, then, all these texts together, it was obvious that the law of man ought to be made agreeable to the expressed law of God. Marriages were at present solemnized by the law of God, and by the law; of man. It was worse than a mockery to say that a man might be married with all the sanctities which religion could confer upon the contract,—that, after a minister of the gospel had pronounced him married in the name of the Father, the Sort, and the Holy Ghost, the caprice of parents should undo so solemn a compact. The laws of man might vary, but the laws of God could never change. This argument weighed upon his mind with a force compared to which, all other considerations appeared insignificant. If their lordships next proceeded to consider the subject in a merely moral point of view, they would see on one side the wounded feelings of a parent—in plain truth, often only feelings of wounded pride, and disappointed avarice: on the other side, the run and degradation of an innocent female, and the bastardizing other children. Could these considerations be placed in fair opposition? Could the House pause in deciding on which side the greater moral evil would be suffered, or hesitate to reject the clause which would produce it? It was with surprise and concern he had seen this clause, which last year had been discussed at so great length, become again the subject of a debate. This vacillation in the legislature he could not think creditable to the House, nor beneficial to the morals of the people. Could there, lie would ask, he a greater anomaly than that the marriages of minors by bans should be valid, and their marriages by licence not valid? For these reasons, and for many others, he must say, in the emphatic language of Scripture, "Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder."

The Lord Chancellor

observed, that if the doctrine laid down by the right rev. prelate could be supported, the House would have nothing to debate upon. But the question was not whether man should put asunder those whom God had joined, but whether God bad joined them. Now, unless he had mistaken the whole tenure of the Old and New Testament, there was nothing contained in them which could be taken to prevent national societies from prescribing the forms by which marriages should be held good. If it were otherwise, there was not a nation on earth, since the Christian era, which had not concurred in this profane practice which the right rev. prelate denounced. He did not mean to give any opinion with respect to the clause itself; but he had thought it right to say thus much on the doctrine which the right rev. prelate had laid down. Every noble lord who had spoken on this subject, had said something of the tenderness with which the interests of females should be regarded in the bill now before the House. He had no sort of objection to this, but he wished that some care should also be extended to the males. It happened to him, in the discharge of his judicial functions, to see frequent instances of the necessity of this provision. In one of recent occurrence, the daughter of a bricklayer, a woman. 32 years of age, with several illegitimate children, had prevailed upon a youth of 17, of high family and rank, to marry her. He should like to know what their lordships would do with a case like this. But, if the doctrine of the right rev. prelate were correct, they were legislating on a question, upon which they had no right to legislate.

The Earl of Liverpool

said, he entertained now the same opinion as that which he had expressed last year; namely, that it was inexpedient to suffer the dissolution of marriages which had been once contracted. He was quite ready to admit, that marriage was an institution of God; but he knew also, that every nation had decided the forma and modes by which the institution should be kept up, and that the institution would in itself become nugatory, if a compliance with those prescribed forms and modes should not be enforced. The preceding clauses of the bill which had not been objected to, also recognized this principle. With respect to the forms, he was ready to say, that in a choice between those which were too easy or too difficult, hi should not hesitate to prefer those which were too easy. In the first place, to objected to the principle of the clause a together, even if its object were right; because there were two ways of accompishing it—the first by nullity, and the ether by voidability, both of which principles were of directly opposite nature. Although nullity was sufficiently obectionable, it was less so in principle that voidability. It was easy to see how the resent clause had originated. The House had both these difficulties before the they resorted to this clause by vay of compromise; and, as usually happened, the compromise was more of a eal difficulty than the other two. If de ácto a marriage did take place, and the parties coming to the altar had mae the vows there tendered to them falsel and knowingly, the marriage was nu and void. But, the most preposterous part of the proposed law was, that if you asked the parties one month after wads whether they were married, they would be compelled to answer, "We don'tknow; for the validity of our marriage deends upon the act of a third party, over whoe proceedings we have no control." It was inconceivable to his mind, how sue, a state of things could be compatible with the principles of the law. He knw, that, in some cases, there must be a ullity; but that there Should be a voidability was most objectionable. It might perhaps be said that the old law contained the latter principle; but, would any man say, therefore, that it ought not in this respect to be altered? Even if it were advisable that the marriages of minors should be dissoluble, it should be effected by making them null and void—not voidable. Next to his objection against the principle was this—that the clause would not be sufficient to effect the object at which it aimed. The persons who introduced it were actuated by a desire to uphold the parental authority; but, if allowed to stand part of the bill, it would not have any such operation. Formerly, a chaise aid pair could transport the parties who sought to effect a clandestine marriage to Gretna-green; now, amongst the other advantages which had sprung from the discoveries in the power of steam, was to at of the boat, by which, at a much less expense, parties could be conveyed to Calais, where their marriage could be effected with the utmost facility. The difficulties were so numerous and so great, that he defied the House ever to meet the queston of foreign marriages so as to prevent Hem. Putting aside, however, those easy means of evading the law, the marring by bans still remained. By far the greater part of the clandestine marriages he had heard of were solemnized by bans. Whit, then, was the provision worth, if Scoland, the continent, and bans, were stilleft free from its operation? Let the House look at the consequences of the proposed clause. The learned lord, had said very truly, that there were cases of femse as well as of male seduction; but it b came their lordships to consider most that which was most usual, and he would venure to say, that in nineteen cases out of twenty, the female was the seduced pary. The woman, who after the marriage had been completed, should be turned adift, had nothing before her but disgrace, miery, and ruin. The man, if by the persuasin of his friends, or from any other cause he should be induced to give up her who he had engaged to protect, would, dung the whole of his life, be subject to felings of no enviable description. Howver he might deprecate improvident rarriages, he was convinced there was no mending the matter by dissolving then. In the majority of cases it would be more tender and humane to provide, that the parent or guardian should have no choice, than that he should have one, not knowing the feelings of the parties, and not perhaps being capable of forming a correct notion of What his duty might call for. It was a responsibility which, in his own case, he should regret to be under. He was satisfied that what was the old law of this country, what was still the law in most foreign countries, and what still prevailed in some parts of this island, should be universally restored. In Scotland, where the feelings and prejudices of aristocracy were, it possible, stronger than in England, the marriage contract was merely a civil one; and no evil consequences had been found to result from the facilities with which it was entered into. Looking at the clause in all its bearings, and considering it as at once nugatory, and leading to hardships, he expressed his decided opposition to it. There was a subsequent clause, of which he entirely approved. It was that which would prevent men who married from merely mercenary motives, from benefitting by the fortune of their wives. This was a provision against that class of persons called fortune-hunters, which was perfectly just and highly desirable.

Lord Powerscourt

opposed the clause, as being at variance with the laws of God.

The Archbishop of Canterbury

said, it could not be considered surprising if he expressed some uneasiness at the arguments which had been urged against this clause. It had been alleged, that there was something unchristian in its composition. That charge was, in his opinion, unfounded. The clause had been adopted by the committee, after due consideration, because it appeared to be on the whole, the least objectionable that had been proposed. He, however, was not so wedded to it as to press it in opposition to the wishes of the House. A great deal had been said about the authority of the parent. He however, begged their lordships to look at the protection which was due to the parent. It was undoubtedly true that in the marriage ceremony certain words were introduced from Scripture, viz.—"Whomsoever God hath joined let no man put asunder." But then this question arose out of the bill how before their lordships—"What is this junction which hath the sanction of Scripture? Is it the mere ordinance of marriage, without any religious ceremony whatever to distinguish that state from concubinage?" It was no such thing. Marriage, they all knew was formerly, a solemn sacrament And why was it not now considered a sacrament? Because it had none of the properties of a sacrament—none of the outward and visible signs of a sacrament—since, by the Scripture, it was left to the regulation of man. Let it be recollected, that mankind were made by Almighty God for society, and that the forms of society related to man. He, as a social being, was enjoined to marry; but the forms of marriage were left to the regulation of man. Where government framed laws relating to marriage, provided those laws were consistent with the revealed will of God, the marriages solemnized under such laws were good and binding. But, as the form of the marriage ceremony was left to man, their lordships assuredly had a right, where a marriage was procured by fraud or falsehood, not to declare it at once a nullity, but to provide means by which it might be rendered voidable and of no effect.

Lord Redesdale

thought, it was absolutely necessary that there should be some declaration as to what might and might not be called a marriage. Now, as there was no such regulation in the scriptural authority which had been referred to, it was clear that the regulation must be made by man. In looking at what was lit to be done with respect to the contract of marriage, it was proper to consider what would be most beneficial to man in a state of society. They regulated the property of men—they disabled persons under twenty-one years of age from disposing of that property—and he thought they might with equal justice declare, that the marriage of minors should be null and void. They did not, however, conceive that to he expedient, and they had therefore placed the marriage ceremony under certain regulations. Then came the question, whether the marriage of persons who broke those regulations should be considered void? It appeared to him to be a question of expedience; was it expedient for the legislature to say, after persons were joined together in this manner, that the marriage should be at once void? It seemed to be the general impression, that the marriage should not be thus declared void, but that under certain circumstances, and after certain proceedings, it should be rendered void. He thought that the object of civil society, in forming regulations on the subject of marriage, should be, to render the con- tract of marriage certain between the parties and all the world besides: for, hot only were the parties entering into that contract interested, but all persons in the same society were interested, in knowing whether A. and B, were actually married. They ought to consider that point: and he could see nothing in the law of God which prohibited them from legislating on that which was essential to the good of society or to the happiness of those of whom it was constituted. Now, was it beneficial to society, that, when a marriage was contracted it should be in the power of a third person to interpose, and; to declare that the contract shall no longer continue. It appeared to him, if they viewed the question in that light, and considered all the circumstances which might affect the persons with whom the contracting parties had to deal, that they would act most impolitically if they recognized such a power. A law of that nature would be attended with no convenience. It would produce no benefit comparable to the mischief which it would create. If they declared that marriages should be voidable under certain circumstances, and during a certain period, they would give rise to evils much more extensive than any benefit which could be hoped for from such a provision. For his part, he was of opinion, that making marriages of an improper nature null and void, as was done under the old law, would be the course to be preferred.

Lord Ellenborough

said, that the clause had been carried in the committee by a majority of 7 to 4; but at the time several members of the committee were absent, who held a different opinion from the majority. If all the members had been present, there would not have been a majority of more than one. After having heard from the noble earl opposite, in the course of his eloquent speech, that it was impossible for this clause to secure that legal protection for parents which the right reverend prelate had stated to be his chief object, he was astonished that he should persist in calling on their lordships to adopt it. His astonishment was the greater when he recollected that last year the right rev. prelate had stated, that a clause of this nature was repugnant to morality and religion.

The Archbishop of Canterbury

said he did not mean to persist obstinately in pressing the clause. He only supported it as the least objectionable, mode.

Lord Ellenborough

said, that while they left the law as to marriages in Scotland and on the continent in its present state, any provision, either for the nullity or the voidability of marriages, would be nugatory. Their lordships knew perfectly well, that it was more easy to effect a marriage by illegal bans, than by license. But, while they left open to those, who might be inclined to make the experiment, the easiest way of effecting improper marriages, they, by this clause, shut a door through which no human being in his senses would think of passing. This was the most absurd principle of legislation he had ever heard of. He wished to know from the right rev. bench, whether they did, or did not, believe that the moment a marriage was solemnized, a religious contract was entered into? If it was a religious contract, had that House the power of dissolving it? Could they give a power a third person—a power which might be exercised from motives of avarice or caprice—to put an end to that contract, after it had existed for a certain period? They ought to be aware of inculcating the opinion, that marriage was not a religious contract. If that principle were once removed, there would be little protection for the purity of marriage, and that purity appeared to him to be the best foundation of private happiness and of public liberty. He hoped their lordships would not grant the support to this clause which was called for by the right rev. prelate, who would himself, perhaps, on a few hours more reflection, regret that he had pressed it on the House.

The Bishop of London

contended, that this clause was perfectly consistent with the principles of morality. He had hoped that charges of this nature would have been abandoned, and that the argument would have been allowed to rest on the expediency of such an enactment. It was asserted, that the clause was contrary to the principles of morality and to the revealed word of God—that it was an infraction of our blessed Saviour's injunction, "Those whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder." This, however, was a false view of the case. It was not a question, whether any human authority should be so rash and impious as to disturb a contract which had received the divine sanction; but what constituted that union, and whether it was religious or civil? He conceived that union to be at once neligious and civil, wherever it was formed and intended to distinguish between lawful marriage and illicit concubinage. His notion of the marriage ceremony was, that it was founded on the agreement of persons capable of entering into that union on the terms prescribed by the law of the country. Now, whether those terms were few or many, if they were truly complied with, he then apprehended that the union took place which was formed under the divine authority. Let the marriage ceremony be ever so simple, let it be merely a religious ceremony, he held, that a marriage under it was as valid as it could be made by any addition whatever. But, if other terms were enacted by law, the mere religious ceremony was not sufficient. The law said, the marriage was not complete, except it was solemnized in a church; and not even then, except by license or publication of bans. On these grounds, he thought it must be acknowledged, that the law was not completed by the performance of the mere ceremony, so long as any thing else was required. Another point was, the incapacity of persons to marry until a certain age. In all civilized countries, minors laboured under a certain degree of incapacity. They were not suffered to marry without the concurrence of their guardians by nature. They did not allow the minor in this country to contract a debt without the consent of his parent or guardian; and surely, in a case which involved his happiness, his virtue, and his fortune, it would be inconsistent to give him that power which was refused in matters of much less importance. On these grounds he would support the clause.

Lord Sidmouth

said, he felt himself bound in justice and honour, as one of the committee, to declare that he entirely concurred in the arguments advanced in support of the clause. He admitted that the portion of scripture which was introduced into the marriage service imposed a religious obligation on the parties. But he thought it would be impious to declare those marriages to be the act of God, which had been effected by fraud and perjury, and brought about by means in direct contradiction of the laws of God and man.

Lord Ellenborough

said, that as their lordships were about to go to a division, he begged of them to recollect, that no attempt had been made to shew that the clause in question was not contrary to the spirit of Christianity; that no attempt bad been made to shew that it was not a most inexpedient clause; that no attempt had been made to shew that it would not be totally nugatory whenever a wish existed to evade it; and that no attempt had been made to shew, that whenever it was called into action, it would not be by a person who was originally anxious to have the semblance of a marriage and not a legal one.

Lord Stowell

said, that in all cases of this kind, they ought to consider how they could best legislate for the protection of the younger branches of the community. It was of the greatest importance, where marriages were about to be formed, that the utmost caution should be used. Formerly it was assumed, in all cases, that the consent of parents or guardians had been granted to those about to enter into the state of matrimony, although, in point of fact, little more was deemed necessary than the consent of the two parties themselves. In this state the matter continued for a long series of years, and that rule survived the Reformation. But soon after, the attention of the reformers was called to the propriety of strengthening the parental authority. The doctrine was then expressly promulgated, that where marriages were contracted without the consent of parents, they should be totally null and void, as was laid down in the "Reformatio Legum." Thus the law remained till the time of lord Hardwicke, when the disturbances in society, from the want of an efficient marriage Jaw, induced him to turn his serious attention to the subject. His act was superseded by that which had been passed last year, and it was found necessary, in consequence of the inconveniences experienced under that measure, to reconsider the subject. The committee, in turning their attention to it, found there were only four possible ways in which the authority of the parent could be secured. The first was that of nullity. He was charged with having, on this occasion, supported voidability in opposition to his former declaration on the subject. Now, he would say, that nullity in point of principle, appeared to him, up to the present moment, to be perfectly correct. But the general opinion was, that nullity was a monster against which every rational man ought to take alarm; and therefore it was abandoned. Another mode had been suggested by a noble and learned person—that of a remedy by a preventive measure. If he thought a preventive measure could succeed, he should consider that to be a very advisable course; but, on principle, he knew that it could not succeed. The experiment had been tried, and it had totally failed. The number of marriages had so decreased under that preventive system, that the demoralization of the country was likely to ensue. This was felt by the legislature; and, the very first day of the present session, a bill was started on the subject in the two Houses of Parliament, which threatened to jostle each other in the race of competition. The question was then referred to a committee of their lordships, for the purpose of deciding on what should be recommended to the House for the purpose of being enacted. The committee, as be had before said, only saw four ways in which parental authority could be secured—namely, nullity, voidability, a preventive measure, or the doing of that which was extremely objectionable, throwing the reins at once on the neck of youth, at a period of life when passion always outran prudence., Nullity had been frequently, but vainly, acted upon, and preventive measures had proved in their operation very unsuccessful. The latter and only remaining-principle was medium between the entire dereliction of parental authority on the one side, and entire voidability on the other. Though the committee were by no means insensible to the objections which existed against the principle of limited voidability, they thought it was one which ought to be submitted to the consideration of parliament, in preference to that of total dereliction of parental authority; and it was on this ground that they had introduced it into the bill which they had now brought under the notice of their lordships. With respect to the operation which this sort of security had been said to have in a neighbouring kingdom, he understood from persons of high legal authority and experience in that country, that it had not in truth there produced those tragical and destructive effects, which so much alarmed one of the noble lords who had that night spoken on the subject. Marriage was there protected with respect to voidability, in the same way, and for the same purposes, that it was in England. In the Other kingdom, indeed, the law took H distinction, as between persons of different rank and fortunes; but this was a principle which the committee had not thought it desirable to adopt in the amendment which they how submitted, it being considered much more expedient that with us the law of marriage should be uniform and universal, than that there should be one law for the rich, and another for the poor. The committee had therefore brought forward this clause, involving, as it did, a principle which they were well aware might be open to much reasonable objection, but which they conceived to be the best, seeing that nullity was sure of rejection, and that preventive measures were, generally speaking, inapplicable. It had been said, that the object of this clause might be so worded as to render the clause nugatory; and that, therefore, their lordship's ought not to adopt it. But the same observation might, on some ground or other, be applied to any other clause that it was possible to suggest. It could not be otherwise in the nature of things; and if this common liability were to be taken as ground of valid objection, it would lie ridiculous for their lordships to attempt to legislate at all in the matter. They might spare themselves the labour of devising such remedies, if every remedy proposed was to be defeated on the principle,' that it was possible contrivances might be framed which should evade its operation.—It had been argued that this clause would operate principally for the benefit of the male, and would bear hard upon the female portion of the community; and their lordships had been told, that the cases, against the recurrence of which they were called upon to provide, were much more numerous on the female side than on the male. Now, he confessed that his own professional experience had by no means led him to such a conclusion. As far as that experience went, it had rather been his fate to see the misery of families occasioned by sons, the hopes of those families, who had ruined themselves and had blasted those hopes, by the most disgraceful connexions. Their own happiness, not less than that of their families, had been destroyed for life. He contended, therefore, that disgraceful marriages much oftener happened among our young male, than among our female population. And this was very natural. The education of young women was much more correct and guarded than that of young men. The former were, for a considerable portion of their lives, under the vigilant superintendence of their parents or families; and, added to these restraints, the natural delicacy of their sex scarcely permitted them to be exposed to the same sort of dangers as young men were at the same period of existence. Young men were sooner removed from such inspection. They were sent to school earlier in life, and from thence were transferred to public schools, to colleges, and afterwards to great cities. There they could not so entirely be under the eye of their parents, but, left to themselves, pursued their own course and followed their own counsels. They were neither so much under parental superintendence, nor had so much the benefit of wise counsels as their sisters had. It was natural, therefore, that, yielding to their own inclinations, they should more commonly form early attachments, and that if they entertained such attachments they should more frequently gratify them by improvident marriages. The clause had been denominated an experiment, and consequences the most fatal had been anticipated from its adoption. He thought it was at least an experiment which ought to be tried. In framing the clause, the committee had proceeded with the utmost deliberation and with the best intentions, and sorry indeed he should be if their good intentions should be so singularly unfortunate as to lead to results so disastrous and overwhelming as those which had been deprecated by the right reverend prelate and the noble lord.

Their lordships then divided upon the clause: Contents 22, Not-Contents 28. Majority against the clause 6.