HL Deb 18 August 1857 vol 147 cc1775-7

wished to ask what course the Government proposed to take with regard to the Divorce Bill. He understood that Parliament was to be prorogued on Saturday and the Divorce Bill was not likely to come up to their Lord- ships before Friday. He thought they would neglect, their duty if they did not most carefully consider the effect of the alterations which had been made in the Bill by the other House, and he doubted whether the arrangement which, he understood, was proposed by the Government would afford sufficient time to their Lordships for duly considering the Amendments introduced in the House of Commons.


said, that, as the noble and learned Lord had not given notice of his question, he was not able to give him a decided answer. He (Earl Granville) was not aware whether Parliament would be prorogued on Saturday or not, and he was unable to state when the Divorce Bill might be expected to come up from the House of Commons. He did not think, however, when that Bill was sent up to their Lordships that the consideration of the Amendments made in the other House would occupy any long time.


earnestly hoped that, however the Session might be protracted, it would not be closed until full time had been afforded to their Lordships for considering the Amendments made in the Divorce Bill by the other House of Parliament, and expressing their assent to or dissent from those Amendments. He would regard it as a national calamity if a prorogation took place without that Bill becoming, in some shape or other, the law of the land. The measure had received most careful consideration in their Lordships' House; it had occupied the attention of the other House of Parliament for many days and nights; and he believed it was not probable that at any future time the two Houses would arrive at a more satisfactory conclusion upon this question than during the remainder of the present Session.


concurred in the opinion expressed by the noble and learned Lord, and thought it would be utterly impossible in the time which would intervene before the proposed termination of the Session that their Lordships could properly consider the alterations in the Divorce Bill, which would come down from the other House almost a new measure. The changes which had been made in that Bill were of the utmost importance, and in his opinion such a measure, which deeply affected the interests of every home in this kingdom, could not be properly considered by so thin an attendance of Peers as there would be when the Bill came back from the other House.


said, the Government would certainly not adopt the implied suggestion of the noble Lord, that the Bill should be postponed to the ensuing Session. He understood that the discussion of the measure had been conducted with the utmost temper and friendliness in the other House that morning, and he could only express his hope that a similar spirit would be manifested by their Lordships when the Bill again came before them.