HL Deb 20 July 1843 vol 70 cc1273-4
The Lord Chancellor

brought in a bill to legalize such Presbyterian marriages in Ireland, as had already taken place. From the circumstance that he laid this bill upon the Table, it was not to be inferred that the committee whom on this occasion he represented did not mean to recommend some more general law; but in consequence of the great anxiety on this matter in Ireland, they had considered that it was necessary to take some step immediately. They were pro- ceeding with their inquiries, and would suggest hereafter such a permanent measure as might appear necessary. At present he would move only that the bill be read a first time, and to-morrow he would move that the standing orders be suspended to it, and the bill passed through the other stages.

Lord Campbell

called the attention of the House to the fact that their Lordships had not judicially decided concerning the legality of these marriages. This it was fit to state in the very first stage of the bill. What had been done was, that the judges having been consulted by the House on the point, had given their opinion, but the House had not yet taken that opinion into consideration. Hence it was evident that it was still quite an open question, whether these marriages were or were not valid, upon which he himself intimated no opinion.

Lord Brougham

entirely concurred in this view. A mistake had gone abroad that the question was no longer open to the decision of the House in its judicial capacity. Some of the judges in Ireland appeared to have adopted this error.

Bill read a first time.

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