HL Deb 06 May 1879 vol 245 cc1789-806

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


My Lords, I have to present to your Lordships a Petition, signed by 3,258 farmers of Norfolk, praying for the legalization of marriage with a deceased wife's sister. I present it, my Lords, on local as well as on general grounds. It is my firm conviction that if this Bill passed it would be of advantage to the community at large; and I shall, therefore, give my hearty support to the noble Lord who moves the second reading of the Bill to-night.


also presented a Petition in favour of the Bill to the same effect from 1,152 farmers of Buckinghamshire.

Petitions were also presented from the Convention of the Royal Burghs of Scotland; from certain Aldermen and Common Councillors of London, and others.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said: My Lords, I bring this Bill forward as a measure of relief. I use the word advisedly, as one with which our Legislature is familiar. Such relief is given from restrictions imposed in other periods, and under other influences of thought and action, of which these are the survivals, but which are now neither politic nor desirable. Such was the great measure of relief commonly called Catholic Emancipation, such the relief from the Jewish Disabilities. I am most anxious to induce your Lordships to regard this measure in this aspect; for just as Catholic Emancipation was carried by the great Party that had made the Protestant Revolution, and as the advocates for the relief of the Jews in no way impugned the priceless worth of Christianity, so, in giving your assent to this Bill, I do not ask your Lordships for your individual approval or sanction, but only for your removal of a restric- tion in the case of others who hold a different opinion. You may believe that these marriages are inappropriate, unwise, and even inconvenient to certain classes of society, and yet believe that you have no right to prevent them. I would further ask your Lordships to consider this question, not only apart from all Party motives, but also from any associations of the Order to which you especially belong, and to regard it solely as connected with the habits and desires of a large mass of the British nation, comprising not only the workers in the field and city, but that large middle class whose habits are in some degree different from your own, but whose wishes, expressed decidedly as they have been, your Lordships would do wisely not to neglect.

I am relieved from the necessity of going into a long historical narration by the circumstance that the question is not a new one to your Lordships. You know, as well as I do, how closely it has connected itself with some of the most important events in English history. The dispute of a marriage of affinity not only affected the succession of the English Crown for a century, but changed the religion of the English people. Forbidden by the Statute of Henry VIII.—which, in itself, implied their previous legality under the dispensation of the Church—these marriages were expressly sanctioned by the Act of the test of Philip and Mary, and the subsequent abolition either of that Act, or only of a portion of it, by Elizabeth, afforded ground for legal arguments and contradictory judicial decisions. But, at any rate, the legislation on these two Acts remained confined to the uncertain, and, so to say, semi-legal operation of the Ecclesiastical Courts, which practically made these marriages, not void ab initio, but only voidable by legal process so easily debarred and circumvented as to be very rarely put in action.

This state of things continued down to the reign of William IV., when, in 1835, special attention was called to the subject by a Bill brought in by Lord Lyndhurst for the purpose of validating such marriages. Although this measure may have been set in motion to meet a special case, it was intended as a measure of general relief, and only in consequence of the urgency of that case, in which every day was deemed of importance by the parties immediately concerned, was the opposition, weak in itself, but fortified by private considerations, met by the insertion of a clause declaring all such marriages prior to the passing of the Bill valid, and all similar marriages in the future void. This clause was rejected by the House of Commons, and the Bill so amended came up again to this House, when the clause was re-inserted; and, as it was late in the Session—everyone knows what happens at the end of a Session—the Bill was allowed to pass with this obnoxious clause, but with an undertaking, between Lord Lyndhurst and other parties interested in the matter, that this limitation should be removed in the ensuing Session. And natural enough would have been this expectation, even without any private agreement. For what, my Lords, was the moral position to which the House and the country were committed by the passing of that Act? The Legislature declared that such marriages after a certain date were to be unlawful, and in the religious aspect sinful, and yet they were made obligatory on all who had contracted them up to that date. By one part of that Act Parliament placed a certain number of persons in a position in which, if they came to consider these marriages wrong and void, they could be enforced upon them by an action for the restitution of conjugal rights; by another clause Parliament declared them void ab initio, and by implication sinful. There neither was, nor is there, in fact, in the Statute Book of any country in the world an Act so inconsistent in its provisions, so repugnant to common sense, and so shocking to the first dictates of morality. When, then, notwithstanding the passing of Lord Lyndhurt's Act, virtuous men and women went on contracting these marriages just as they had done, it should never be forgotten what is the character of the legality they disregarded—what is the abnormal and distorted legislation they defied. I especially recommend this consideration to those of your Lordships who look on the retrospective clause of this Act as obnoxious and uncalled for. But law-abiding Englishmen chafed under the anomaly and injustice of this position, and before long two men, whose names are dear to this House—the first Lord Wharncliffe and the first Lord Ellesmere—brought the question in successive years before the House of Commons, the ultimate result being that a Royal Commission, on which sat eminent lawyers representing the three parts of the United Kingdom, presided over by a most estimable occupant of the right reverend Bench, Bishop Lonsdale, was appointed to consider the whole question anew. That Commission reported, in 1848, that they would give no opinion on the subject-matter; but they were convinced that these marriages were going on quite as much as heretofore—that they were contracted by persons of good social position and of the best moral character, and that they could not be affected by legislation one way or the other. The Commission, therefore, left the question to the wisdom of Parliament to solve as best they might, in no way impugning their right of action or prejudicing the justice of the case. Accordingly, attempts were again made to remedy the state of the law by the introduction of Bills in the House of Commons similar to that now before your Lordships. Seven times has the will of the people been expressed by various majorities, sometimes approaching 100, in support of these Bills, and seven times have they been rejected by the House of Lords. That, assuredly, is not a satisfactory position in which to leave the question, and in the meantime these marriages are multiplying every day. No less an average than 50 are annually contracted by British subjects in the small town of Neufchatel alone, notwithstanding that the marriages so celebrated on the Continent, and once assumed to be valid in this country, have now been decided to be illegal, on no special ground but on the general issue that the lex loci abroad cannot supersede an explicit English law.

During this period our Colonies have not been silent, and to this fact I desire to draw your Lordships' serious attention. South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia, have passed Acts legalizing these marriages. A Bill of the same nature has passed the Lower House of New Zealand, and twice in the Legislature of Natal, which Colony has now, unfortunately, something else to think of. Such marriages are practically legal in the whole Canadian Domi- nion, the West Indies, and, it is believed, in tire Channel Islands. At home, the question has made great progress, especially in Scotland and Ireland. I remember the time when only three Representatives from Scotland could be counted in support of the Bill; but now you have the important Petitions from the Convention of Royal Burghs, representing 60 municipalities, which I present to-night, as well as many representative Petitions from other municipalities not included in the Convention. The magistrates and Town Council of Edinburgh recently agreed by a majority of 24 to 12 to Petition in support of the measure, and the United Presbyterian Church have, through their kirk sessions and presbyteries, arrived at the conclusion that marriages of the nature with which this Bill deals ought not to be a bar to Church membership. As to Ireland, I may state that the Corporation of Dublin have five times sent Petitions to this House, and that 40 other corporations in Ireland have petitioned in the same sense. I may also mention that the late respected Cardinal Cullen authorized me to say that he had no difficulty in acceding privately to the opinion expressed by Cardinal Wiseman, and other dignitaries of that Church, although he declined to sign any Petition because of the difference of views existing among his clergy. In England, the most important corporations, that of the City of London being at the head of them, have repeated their adhesions; and this evening the Petitions presented by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and by the Prime Minister, as well as that by myself from three Bishops and upwards of 200 Roman Catholic clergy, including the Superiors of the chief religious Orders, confirm our opinion.

The Petitions from the farmers of Norfolk and the County of Buckingham show that in those districts there is an especially large majority of persons who desire a change in the existing law. It is, perhaps, in the comparatively lonely and separate life of the English farmer that this restriction presses most habitually and cruelly; for, in the larger towns, there is a freer intercourse, and more opportunity for selection.

With regard to the present position of the question, I should have wished to have dealt with it exclusively as a social one, and I need not assure your Lordships that I am deeply impressed with the gravity of this aspect of the subject. This is a point of view in which every man must judge for himself, but with this limitation—that he must remember that this Bill is not intended to operate to any largo extent in the rank of life to which your Lordships belong, but among the less favoured and more numerous classes of the nation. In my own belief, the passing of this measure will make no practical difference in the relations of the domestic life of any order of society, and will rather tend to diminish than increase the probability of scandal, and the obliquities of suspicion. The goodwill accorded to these marriages in Now England, where they are not only permitted but favoured by public opinion, confirms the probability of this issue.

My Lords, I deeply regret that the rejection of the Bill is to be moved by my right rev. Friend (the Bishop of London), not only from the personal authority and individual gravity of that opposition, but from the inevitable consequence that the question is thus taken out of the sphere of ordinary debate, and transferred to the sphere of religious controversy. Surely, it would have been wiser and happier if the right rev. Bench had allowed this matter to be at least ostensibly decided by their lay Colleagues. It should not be forgotten that all the Nonconformist Bodies, without the exception of a single sect, are in favour of the Bill; and what is the immense proportion they bear in the Christian community of this country? The present law is, most unfortunately, maintained chiefly by the action of the Church of England; and I cannot think that the rigorous opposition of the right rev. Bench to this Bill in comparison with the interest they take in the discussions of the House, and the infrequency of their attendance at its deliberations, will contribute to the national goodwill to the Church. There can be no pretence of special grievance on the part of the Church of England necessarily resulting from this measure, because no minister who does not wish to celebrate such marriages would be compelled to do so. If it is thought worth while, a clause to that effect can be inserted in Committee; but, as in the case of the marriage of divorced persons, the opinion and feelings of every cleryman would be undoubtedly respected without any such provision.

With regard to the oft-cited passage in the Book of Leviticus, it would be interesting if any member of the learned Body now engaged in the revision of the Old Testament would inform the House what opinion had been expressed as to the admissibility of the marginal reading so much relied upon by opponents of these marriages. On this point there has been so much learned and unlearned discussion in both Houses that I will content myself with citing a passage in a letter I lately received from the eminent Oriental scholar, Professor Max Muller, who says— How any Hebrew scholar could so misinterpret Leviticus xviii. 18, as to make it a prohibition of marriage with a deceased wife's sister is a puzzle to me. I know of one analogous case only—the falsification of a verse in the ' Veda,' by which it was turned into a commandment for the burning of a widow on the death of her husband. But this episcopal attitude, no doubt, places the parochial clergy in a painful position. A considerable number, including the late excellent vicar of my own nearest town, make no secret of their habit of celebrating these marriages without questioning the parties beyond the liturgical form, in the plain interests of decency and morality; but others, no doubt, like a "Poor Parson," who wrote an affecting appeal that appeared in The Standard newspaper during the last winter, have scruples and anxieties which I call on your Lordships to relieve. This letter ended thus— I sincerely hope that something will be done to remedy the painful position of thousands of deserving families during the coming Session of Parliament, for, if not, I am convinced that the question will be made very prominent in the next General Election; and I would not support any Member who would not pledge himself to vote for the removal of this oppressive law. It is in this sense, also, that the opinion of that great Divine of our Church, the late Dean Hook, is especially valuable. It has, indeed, been so often quoted that I should not now repeat it but for one unfortunate circumstance. In the interesting life of that good man, lately published, it is recorded that his opinion at one period was in accordance with that of the right rev. Bench; but it is strangely omitted that the practical experience of his administration of the great parish of Leeds altogether altered his views, and made him an earnest advocate of this measure. I trust this error, which I hope was unintentional, will be rectified in another edition. In the meantime, I will read to you an extract from this letter of Dr. Hook, and ask you to think how strong must have been the conviction which not only contradicted his former conviction, but placed him in open antagonism with the noble Lord who once occupied the Woolsack in this House, and with whom he was connected by a friendship that may find a place in any future English treatise, De Amicitâ. Dr. Hook wrote, in 1849— If a Bill were brought into Parliament to compel me to solemnize such marriages, I should resist it as an act of tyranny. But Mr. Wortley does not propose to compel the Church to solemnize such marriages. Therefore, as a Churchman, I have no ground for complaint against his measure. … People in general do not consider such marriages improper. They cannot be proved to be improper by Scripture. The question is, therefore, one of expediency, and my experience as a parochial minister induces me to think the measure expedient. And he concludes— On these grounds, if ever a Convocation be called, and I be elected one of the proctors, I shall move for an alteration, in this regard, in the table of kindred and affinity. Until this be the case, I shall be glad to see such marriages legalized by the civil rite. And now, my Lords, I pray you to give a second reading to this Bill. If you do so, you will relieve thousands of your fellow-citizens, honest men and honest women, from a deep sense of partial legislation and cruel injustice; if you reject this Bill, you will force on them the conviction that they might, like yourselves, enjoy the great happiness of family life with those they love best, without discomfort to themselves or dishonour to their offspring, were it not for the intolerance of the Church of England and the social prejudices of the House of Lords. The noble Lord concluded by moving the second reading of the Bill.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Houghton.)


was understood to express his regret that he felt himself obliged to oppose the noble Lord who had just sat down on a subject which that noble Lord had made his own by a perseverance which, he must say, he thought worthy of a better cause. He could not, however, admit that a Bishop of the Church of England should not take part in a discussion like the present. If they were to be excluded from expressing an opinion on a subject such as this, in what discussions were they to be permitted? The Bill before the House proposed to alter a law which was undoubtedly the law of the Christian Church—a law which was closely connected with the happiness, the peace, and the purity of family life; and if the Bishops of the Church of England were not to be allowed to stand forward and express their opinion on such a proposal, he hardly know of and question on which they were to exercise that right. The noble Lord (Lord Houghton) had advocated the Bill on the ground of popular feeling, and had appealed to the Petitions which had been presented in its favour, to the proceedings of the other House of Parliament, and to the large number of the cases in which these marriages had been contracted; but he scarcely glanced at the reasons which had always been urged in opposition to the measure, not only by the Bench of Bishops, but by a largo proportion of the clergy and laity of the Church, as well as by many Nonconformists. With respect to Petitions, their Lordships would know how to discount the value of them by the circumstances which had given rise to them. Ever since the passing of Lord Lyndhurst's Act, no doubt, many persons who had, unhappily, contracted such marriages—many of them estimable and charitable men, influenced by natural feelings—had agitated the question; and by the agency of canvassers all over the country, by advertisements in newspapers, and other means, persistent efforts had been made to obtain a great number of Petitions on behalf of that proposed change from all classes and various grades of society. The great body of the public, however, who desired no change, had, as usual, remained quiet; and they had meanwhile placed confidence in the wisdom of Parliament, and had presented few such Petitions, because they relied that it would not hastily sanction any such measure. The Petitions presented in favour of the change had emanated, it was to be observed, from men. Was the noble Lord opposite prepared to say that the women of England were on his side? [Lord HOUGHTON: Yes.] He entirely dissented from that statement. He believed that the immense majority of the women of England were against that measure. There had been eight Parliaments since the passing of Lord Lyndhurst's Act. Out of these eight, the second, third, fourth, and seventh declared themselves in favour of the Bill. The fifth Parliament rejected it altogether in one year; in the next year the second reading was carried, but the Bill failed in Committee. The first, sixth, and eighth Parliaments rejected it. Did that show that opinion had increased in its favour? The majorities for it were never large; they ranged from 7 to 99. The first time the Bill was carried in the House of Commons the majority was 52; the last time it was41:so that, so far as the test of Divisions in the other House went, opinion in favour of the Bill had not progressed since 1842. The measure had never passed a second reading in their Lordships' House, and he sincerely trusted it never might do so. The noble Lord (Lord Houghton) had referred to the legislation of the Colonies on that subject. Some of our Colonies had, doubtless, adopted this law. He did not question their competency to pass such a measure if they thought fit; but he thought their Lordships were hardly prepared to follow the Colonies in all their legislation. The noble Lord had briefly touched upon what he called the peculiar notions of the Church of England in reference to this subject; but the noble Lord appeared to forget that the Christian Church had held these peculiar notions for probably 1,800 years. The noble Lord had dwelt upon what might be termed the Scripture arguments in favour of this Bill. It was true that there was no direct prohibition of these marriages to be found in Scripture; but it must not be assumed that, therefore, it was intended to approve them. Because the Scriptures did not prohibit a man from marrying his own daughter, although a son was prohibited from marrying his mother, it would be absurd to contend that this authorized marriages between fathers and their daughters. The inference that the Church had from the earliest times drawn from the Scriptures was that these marriages were unlawful. It was true that the Church of Rome had occasionally granted dispensations permitting such marriages; but that Church had also granted dispensations permitting marriages where the relationship between the parties was much nearer, and was clearly within the prohibited degrees. The Jews were not united on the subject, one sect permitting, and the other prohibiting, these marriages. Much stress was laid upon the fact that in the 18th verse of the 18th chapter of Leviticus, a man was prohibited from marrying his wife's sister during the life of his wife; and here, again, the inference was drawn that this was an indirect authorization of the marriage after the wife's death. He, however, could not place that construction upon the language of the verse. Referring to the social aspect of the case, he felt that, if this Bill were to become law, great evil must necessarily result. He was astonished to hear the noble Lord state that a large proportion of these marriages took place among the middle classes. His own experience had naturally been mostly amongst the middle classes; and he could assure the noble Lord, from that experience, that the number of such marriages was very small. Under the existing law the relationship of a husband with that of his wife's sister was that of almost brother and sister, and it led to much comfort and happiness in households. This was not a state of things that should be touched without very great consideration. The position of the wife's sister in a household must become much changed if she might become the wife, and might be becoming already the rival, of her sister's husband; and although there might, of course, be well-balanced minds upon which the change in the law would produce but little effect, nevertheless there were many other persons of a jealous disposition who would find that such a change would tend to disunite their households. If it were true that the happiness of married life and the peace and purity of the family were maintained by the restriction which at present existed, as he held they were, their Lordships would not be justified in taking away that prohibition. It was said that the sister of a deceased wife was the true guardian of her orphan children. He entirely appreciated that argument—none were so fitted to take the place of the deceased mother in the care of her children than that mother's sister, and on that ground he trusted their Lordships would not deprive children so placed of that protection; for he believed that the effect of this measure, in the majority of cases, would be to deprive their children of their natural guardian. For his part, he believed from his experience of a large population—and such also was the experience of other clergymen with large parishes—that the proportion of widowers who desired to marry their deceased wife's sister was very small; and, to enable the few to marry their children's aunts, this measure would deprive the children of the many of an aunt's almost parental care. It was, no doubt, hard that those who had disregarded the law should find themselves in their present condition, and he could not but sympathize with them; but that was no sufficient reason for altering the law. This was not a time to interfere with the sanctity of domestic life. Very recently the painful case had been brought under his notice of a man who had married his deceased son's widow, and who defended the act on the very ground that marriage with a deceased wife's sister was defended—that he was the natural guardian of his son's children. An advertisement had recently appeared in a newspaper calling upon those who desired to marry their nieces not to trouble themselves to petition in support of Sir Thomas Chambers's Bill, because, as a necessary consequence of the passing of that Bill, a Bill to legalize such marriages would be sure to be introduced and carried. He regretted that this Bill had been brought in. These were questions which it was almost as mischievous to raise as to carry; and the mere possibility that this Bill might become law might cause hopes which ought never to be excited, and suggest fears which had better not be felt. And he hoped that their Lordships would not only reject it, but do so by such a majority as might settle the question for the present generation at least—that they would show by their vote on this occasion that they refused to alter a law which had, at least, some claim to be a law of God; and which was undoubtedly a law of the Church. It would show, too, that their Lordships were not disposed to legislate for the few to the detriment of the many, or to disturb the peace and happiness of families, and injure the purity of domestic life. He begged to move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment moved, to leave out ("now") and add at the end of the Motion ("this day six months.")—(The Lord Bishop of London.)


said, that he was at the Colonial Office when the first Bill to legalize marriage with a deceased wife's sister was received in this country from South Australia. As their Lordships were aware, he had always been in favour of the present Bill; nevertheless, when the first Colonial Bill came before him, he hesitated to advise Her Majesty to assent to it, having regard to the extreme inconvenience of there being different marriage laws in different parts of the Empire. The Bill, accordingly, went back to the Colony. It was once more passed by the Legislature; and, in these circumstances, believing it to be unwise to maintain the conflict with Colonial opinion, he advised Her Majesty to assent to the Bill, which accordingly became law. The argument, however, offered by the noble Lord (Lord Houghton), that because these Colonial Acts were passed therefore a similar Act ought to be passed for this country, was one which he felt bound personally to repudiate. It might be perfectly legitimate for a Colony possessing self-government to alter its marriage laws if it thought fit; but it was altogether unreasonable that that Colony on its part should dictate to the Mother Country what policy it ought to pursue. Into the general question he did not wish to enter further than to say that he did not see why they should be bound by the Levitical law in this matter. What they had to consider was, whether in a case in which such strong feeling existed, it was wise to maintain a prohibition which was calculated to produce much social misery. He thought not, and should, therefore, as heretofore, vote in favour of the Bill.


said, the right rev. Prelate had endeavoured to show that these marriages were prohibited in Scripture, by inference that the prohibitions in case of males applied also to females; but by thus defending the law, which was a shred and relic of canon law, he would be taxing the Catholic Church of Rome with having for a long period granted dispensations from the Divine Law, when it was well known that that Church never granted dispensations, except from its own regulations. The right rev. Prelate also referred to the Creek Church; but the prohibitions of that Church were very far fetched; for instance, it did not allow two brothers to marry two sisters, and it did not allow a woman to be married more than three times in her lifetime. The right rev. Prelate also referred to Mussulman law; but, with regard to that, he had been misinformed. Mussulman law forbade a man to marry two sisters at once; but it allowed a man to marry a deceased wife's sister, as there was no relationship between them. Clause 2 of the Bill showed that the present state of the law was an incentive to wrong and injustice, since a man might marry his deceased wife's sister abroad, and get rid of her by marrying another woman; and that was hardly a state of things which the right rev. Bench would wish to encourage.


said, he wished only to say a few words on the question. He had heard this question discussed in the other House again and again, and he regretted that the noble Lord opposite (Lord Houghton) had not taken the advice given him by Sir George Grey, 16 or 18yearsago, when the Bill was first introduced by him, that if he did not succeed at once in carrying it he should desist from, the further agitation of a question which caused so much distress in the country. The noble Lord said the arrangement of a wife's unmarried sister taking charge of her brother-in-law a house was an unusual one. That statement was made in a previous debate in the House of Commons; and a distinguished Member of that House, whose name he would not mention, but who was a distinguished Member of that House, rose in his place and gave a practical refutation to it by stating that he himself for many months had enjoyed the benefit of such an arrangement; and with much emotion, and with great effect upon his audience, deplored the disturbance of such relations by such a measure. Were the Bill to pass, the relationship which now existed between brothers and sisters-in-law, which was similar to that existing between actual brothers and sisters, would be destroyed; and for that reason he opposed the present Bill. That relationship was of a much higher order than that which was desired by the promoters of the Bill. At present a woman could take charge of her brother-in-law's children, with no thought of passion, with nothing but an unselfish desire to do her sisterly duty, with no idea which could bring a blush to her cheek; but if this Bill passed, there would be a danger that an entirely different state of things would be introduced. The noble Lord opposite(Lord Houghton) stated that the vicar of a certain parish shut his eyes to the existing' prohibition in regard to the marriage of brothers and sisters-in-law, and introduced persons into what was practically a state of concubinage; but it was hardly conceivable that a clergyman of the Church of England could so far forget his duty. Such marriages might be made lawful, but they could never, in his opinion, be made expedient. He entirely agreed with the right rev. Prelate who had addressed the House (the Bishop of London) that degrees of affinity were equally forbidden with degrees of consanguinity. He was not afraid to take his stand against the Bill, therefore, on the religious question. Looking at the matter from the social point of view, it would surely be admitted that a State had the right to lay down whatever laws it thought expedient. Now, this measure was one of those which, in common, he believed, with the mass of the people in this country, he regarded as in expedient. It was all very well to sanction only one degree of affinity in marriage; but could they stop there? The right rev. Prelate had given instances of marriages which appeared shocking to them at this moment; but these might perfectly well arise if the Bill were passed. He remembered, in the debate to which he had referred, Lord Russell saying that other decrees of affinity ought to be placed in the Bill, and that the same law should apply to brothers as to sisters. Thus, it appeared to the man of the great ability, the great reasoning power, and the great knowledge of human nature of Earl Russell, that a measure like the present would necessarily go much further than the noble Lord opposite supposed. The Bill would settle nothing. It would lead to renewed agitation; and they would before long be called upon to do for brothers what they were now asked to do with regard to sisters, and thus there would be no stop until they were urged to do things which were now shocking in their eyes. The noble Lord said he would do something in Committee, if the House wished it; but the Bill was out of the noble Lord's hands, and in possession of the House. It was retrospective in its character, and all those who had wilfully broken the law it proposed to place in the same position as those who had observed the law. Now, that result would be so injurious to the public interests that of itself it would be sufficient to condemn the Bill. In conclusion, he would only say that, in his opinion, it would ill become a Judicial House like that of their Lordships' to pass a Bill which contained so much that was contrary to the principles of morality and the common welfare.

On Question, That ("now") stand part of the Motion? Their Lordships divided:—Contents 81: Not-Contents 101: Majority 20.

Wales, H.R.H. the Prince of Cardwell, V.
Gordon, V. (E. Aberdeen.)
Edinburgh, H.R.H. D.
Hill, V.
Bedford, D. Lifford, V.
Devonshire, D. Powerscourt, V.
Manchester, D.
Abergavenny, M. Ripon, L. Bp.
Ailesbury, M.
Lansdowne, M. Aberdare, L.
Ripon, M. Ashford, L. (V. Bury.)
Auckland, L.
Airlie, E. Belper, L.
Camperdown, E. Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)
Derby, E.
Ellesmere, E. Breadalbane, L. (E. Breadalbane.)
Fortescue, E.
Granville, E. Calthorpe, L.
Harrington, E. Carrington, L.
Ilchester, E. Charlemont, L. (E. Charlemont.)
Jersey, E.
Kimberley, E. [Teller.] Churchill, L.
Minto, E Conyers, L.
Morley, E. Cottesloe, L.
Northbrook, E. de Ros, L.
Spencer, E. Dorchester, L.
Sydney, E. Dormer, L.
Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.)
Bangor, V.
Bolingbroke and St. John, V. Gerard, L.
Gormanston, L. (V. Gormanston.)
Canterbury, V.
Granard, L. (E. Granard.) Rivers, L.
Sandhurst, L.
Hampton, L. Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)
Hare, L. (E. Listowel.) Somerton, L. (E. Normanton.)
Hatherton, L.
Houghton, L. [Teller.] Stanley of Alderley, L.
Howard de Walden, L. Strafford, L. (V. Enfield.)
Inchiquin, L.
Keane, L. Suffield, L.
Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.) Thurlow, L.
Tollemache, L.
Kesteven, L. Truro, L.
Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.) Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Vernon L.
Monson, L. Vivian, L.
Mostyn, L. Waveney, L.
Ponson by, L. (E. Bessborough.) Worlingham, L. (E. Gosford.)
Ribblesdale, L.
Cairns, E. (L. Chancellor.) Ely, L. Bp.
Exeter, L. Bp.
Gloucester and Bristol, L. Bp.
Northumberland, D.
Richmond, D. Hereford, L. Bp.
Somerset, D. Lincoln, L. Bp.
Llandaff, L. Bp.
Bath, M. London, L. Bp.
Bristol, M. Oxford, L. Bp.
Salisbury, M. Salisbury, L. Bp.
St. Albans, L. Bp.
Amherst, E. St. David's, L. Bp.
Annesley, E. Winchester, L. Bp.
Beaconsfield, E.
Beauchamp, E. [Teller.] Airey, L.
Belmore, E. Bagot, L.
Devon, E. Balfour of Burley, L.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) Blachford, L.
Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne.)
Dundonald, E. Braybrooke, L.
Effingham, E. Brougham and Vaux, L.
Eldon, E. Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)
Ferrers, E.
Haddington, E. Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.)
Harrowby, E.
Mansfield, E. Clinton, L.
Manvers, E. Colchester, L.
Mar and Kellie, E. Coleridge, L.
Mount Edgcumbe, E. Congleton, L.
Nelson, E. Crewe, L.
Powis, E. Denman, L.
Redesdale, E. Dinevor, L.
Rosse, E. Ellenborough, L.
Saint Germans, E. Ettrick, L. (L. Napier.)
Selkirk, E. Forbes, L.
Shaftesbury, E. [Teller.] Forester, L.
Stanhope, E. Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)
Strathmore and Kinghorn, E. Gordon of Drumearn, L.
Waldegrave, E. Greville, L.
Hammond, L.
Bridport, V. Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)
Cranbrook, V.
Hardinge, V. Hatherley, L.
Hawarden, V. Hawke, L.
Strathallan, V. Heytesbury, L.
Templetown, V. Kenlis, L. (M. Headfort.)
Chester, L. Bp. Lovel and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.)
Chichester, L. Bp.
Massy, L. Selborne, L.
Norton, L. Sherborne, L.
O'Hagan, L. Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Raglan, L.
Rayleigh, L. Templemore, L.
Romilly, L. Ventry, L.
Ross, L. (E. Glasgow.) Windsor, L.
Sackville, L. Winmarleigh, L.
Saltoun, L, Wynford, L.

Resolved in the Negative; and Bill to be read 2a on this day six months.

House adjourned at a quarter before Eight o'clock, to Thursday next, half-past Ten o'clock