HL Deb 12 June 1882 vol 270 cc774-804

Order of the Day for the Second Beading read.


in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said: Your Lordships are already acquainted with this Bill. It has been several times before Parliament. It has passed through all its stages in "another place" no less than seven times; and, although your Lordships have not yet seen fit to allow it to pass the second reading, you have, except on two occasions, regarded it with steadily-increasing favour each time it has come before you. Thirty years ago, when the House divided on the second reading, the "Contents" were only 16; in 1879 they were 81; in 1880 the number increased to 90; and on the last occasion the second reading was only lost by the small majority of 11. Judging by the tone of the recent debates in this House, it is evident that the passing or the rejection of this Bill now turns on the social aspect of the question—that is to say, on the question whether it is, or is not, for the general advantage of the community that the Bill should become law. Your Lordships will remember that this part of the subject was discussed at some length in this House in the years 1879 and 1880, when my noble Friend (Lord Houghton), who has for so many years taken a deep and warm interest in this question, brought it forward. I cannot add much that is new to the discussion; but my duty to your Lordships requires that, even if I have to go over a part of the old ground again, and do no more than remind you of considerations with which you are already familiar, I should briefly state my reasons for asking the House to read this Bill a second time. Before doing so, I should like to make some general observations in regard to it. I would, in the first place, point out that it is not a sweeping measure for the general reform of the Marriage Laws. It aims at nothing more than the removal of an unreasonable restriction on marriage, which causes much misery and suffering to a considerable number of persons. The Bill is strictly limited to this one object. If I am asked, why is it not of a wider and more comprehensive character, embracing also marriage with a deceased husband's brother or deceased wife's niece, or a deceased husband's nephew, my reply is, that these marriages rarely take place—so rarely that their prohibition does not appear to be felt as a practical grievance. In theory, no doubt, the case for their legalization is as strong as that which is dealt with in the Bill. But it has been found that, for every 100 marriages with a deceased wife's sister, there are only three with a deceased husband's brother; and for every marriage with the husband's nephew or wife's niece, there are no less than 300 with the wife's sister. Therefore, moderate as is the scope of this Bill, it will, as a Bill of Belief, be effective in something like 95 cases out of 100. How many innocent persons— the issue of second marriages with the sister of a first wife—are now bearing the stigma of illegitimacy I cannot say; but there must be tens of thousands of persons in that painful situation. I am assured that in London alone there are some 5,000 couples who have contracted this marriage; and a few minutes before I came down to the House this afternoon a letter was put into my hands, stating that the writer was personally acquainted with no less than 20 of these marriages in the small town of Stratford -on-Avon, where he lived. Then, as to the circumstances under which these marriages have been contracted, I happen myself to be personally acquainted with 13 men, and I have received letters from 15 others, each of whom had been requested by his first wife, in some cases when she was on her death-bed, to marry her sister, in order that she might have the satisfaction of knowing that, when she herself was gone, her children would be properly cared for. And I must say, my Lords, that I cannot find it in my heart to blame those men for complying with such a request. For aught I know, there may be, probably there are, hundreds of similar instances. During the last few days I have received so many letters on this subject that I have not had time to read a third part of them. But even if there had existed no more cases than those I am acquainted with, I should consider that I had good grounds for asking your Lordships to reform a law which would prevent a husband from complying with so natural and so reasonable a request made by his wife in her last moments. A law that would involve so painful an ordeal, even in a few cases, surely requires to be justified on the clearest grounds of public expediency. Therefore, if I am told that I am bound to show reason for wishing to disturb the existing state of things, I think I may, at least, with equal fairness, argue that the onus of proof lies rather with those who wish to retain the existing state of things. Then, as to public opinion, I may refer to the Petitions that have been laid on previous occasions before your Lordships' House. I know it is sometimes said that money and organization will procure any number of signatures to any Petition whatever; but among those in favour of this Bill that have at various times been laid before your Lordships' House are several which neither money nor organization could have procured. For instance, more than 1,000 municipal bodies have petitioned in its favour. All the 81 Scotch burghs have five times collectively petitioned in its favour, and of the 240 English boroughs, there are only 15 whose Corporations have not petitioned in favour of the Bill. Your Lordships will remember the important Petition from the Convention of Royal Burghs of Scotland, presented, I think, three years ago, and also the remarkable Petitions from the farmers of Buckingham and Norfolk, which were signed by an altogether overwhelming majority of the farmers of those counties. But I appeal, besides, to the steady advance which this measure has made in your Lordships' House during the past 30 years. That I consider to be proof, almost amounting to certainty, that the tide of public opinion is strongly setting in its favour, and that sooner or later it will be carried. My Lords, I have pointed out how limited is the scope of this measure, and the reason of its being so limited. I have pointed out how large is the probable number of persons to whom this Bill will bring relief. I have also shown under what peculiar circumstances marriage with a deceased wife's sister is sometimes contracted—circumstances which cannot but enlist sympathy on the side of those who offend against the present law; and I have shown that there is good reason to believe that public opinion is favourable to the change which this Bill proposes to make. I will next turn for a moment to some of the principal objections that are urged against it. I hardly think I need now trouble your Lordships with what I may call the Ecclesiastical objection. The chief objections urged now-a-days are based on the supposed social effects which it is prophesied would result from the passing of the Bill. It is said, for instance, that this Bill is a Bill for the abolition of sisters-in-law. So far as I can understand that argument, it comes to this— that because the law prevents their marriage, a young and marriageable sister-in-law may take up her abode with a young widower, manage his house for him, and take care of his children, without let or hindrance or scandal of any kind; but that if this Bill became law, it would be impossible for the bereaved husband to enjoy any longer the help and comfort of his sister-in-law's society. My Lords, I deny altogether the soundness of the foundation on which that argument is based, and I ask your Lordships whether you would allow any daughter of yours, even in the present state of the law, to reside alone in the house of a young brother-in-law, in order that she might take care of her sister's children? Then, as to giving rise to the question of scandal, there would be less chance of that if this Bill became law than there is at the present moment; because, if two people whom the law permitted to marry did not marry, the inference would be that they did not wish to marry. But what might be—and, as I believe, sometimes is— the situation as the law now stands? Why that a brotherly and sisterly affection might, and sometimes does, gradually ripen into a stronger and warmer attachment without either party being aware of the change, and if that should happen marriage is forbidden. I ask your Lordships, is that a desirable state of things, and is it not a danger which the present state of the law is distinctly calculated to increase? Because, by considering as brother and sister two persons who are not brother and sister—-that is to say, by interposing a barrier where nature has placed none—the law merely throws both parties off their guard. The law cannot diminish the danger to which they are exposed. It can only conceal the existence of that danger; and, my Lords, I must say that the idea that the passing of this Bill will make it impossible any longer for a woman to take care of her sister's children, on the ground of the impropriety of her living in the house of her brother-in-law—a thing which it is asserted she may now do with safety, and without impropriety —presupposes a most exaggerated and, to my mind, altogether incomprehensible belief in the power of human law to control human passion. But I admit that there is just this one grain of sound argument in all the chaff about abolition of sisters-in-law — namely, that whereas now a woman may live with her bereaved brother-in-law, and help him with his family, without any ill-natured person being able to say that her object in doing so is to step into her sister's shoes, she will, if this Bill becomes law, have to face as best she may the chance of such things being said. But in regard to far more serious insinuations in regard to a scandal of a really grave and injurious character, she will be placed in a vastly superior position. First, because she will be on her guard against whatever danger may lurk in the so-called sisterly attachment; and secondly, because, should a more than sisterly affection spring up, marriage will be open to the parties. That being so, she can well afford to bear the slander of such envious tongues as may choose to say that her object in taking care of her sister's children is to marry her brother-in-law; and I will venture to say that in 99 cases out of 100 she would care nothing for it. It seems to me that those who assert that a selfish consideration, such as fear of what Mrs. Grundy might say, would deprive many a man of the solace and consolation that the sister of his wife might otherwise bring to his home, display a most unenviable ignorance of the courage and generosity of women. Again, it is urged that if this Bill is passed the domestic life of many families will be poisoned by the jealousy which will arise between husband and wife, and especially on the part of the wife towards her sisters. My answer to that is that I think it extremely improbable that many wives are tormented with the thought that when they are dead their husbands will marry again. But even granting, for the sake of argument, that, unfortunately, this were the case, is there any reason to suppose that the wife finds greater comfort and satisfaction in the thought that, at all events as the law now stands, her successor cannot be her own sister? Then, again, I have heard it said that this Bill will restrict the area of our unpassionate affections, just as if it were in the power of an Act of Parliament to exercise any such control over our affections as is here implied; and it is also asserted that, if it passes, the purity of English social life would disappear under its baneful and pernicious action, and the very bonds of society be loosened. In answer to this vague prophecy of evil, which is really too vague and intangible to argue against, I will refer your Lordships to the experience of our own Colonies, Australia and. Tasmania, inhabited, as they are, by men of the same race as ourselves; and also to the experience of the New England States of America, where marriages with the deceased wife's sister are permitted. Have any of these evil effects made their appearance in these countries? Do any persons in these countries advocate that these marriages should be prohibited? Or look at our own country prior to the passing of Lord Lyndhurst's Act, when these marriages were, in 99 cases out of 100, practically good and lawful marriages. Is there any evidence anywhere to be found in any records of any kind—in memoirs, in history, in novels, plays, or other writings—that this marriage between a man and his deceased wife's sister produced any evil results? Do we read of the constant jealousy of wives towards their sisters, or of any tendency to relax those bonds of morality which keep society together? And if we do not, may I not say, on behalf of the supporters of this Bill, that we have not merely reason, but also the facts of experience on our side; whilst our opponents are compelled to support themselves by prophecy and sentiment of the vaguest kind. Then, again, it has been said—I think in your Lordships' House —that 99 out of every 100 women are against the passing of this Bill. My Lords, I should like to hear that assertion proved. But I may say that it is certainly not the fault of the opponents of this Bill—both in Parliament and out of it—if women have not the most extraordinary notion as to what it is intended to do. The question has been so argued as to give the impression that this is a Bill to compel a man, on the death of his wife, to marry her sister, or, at least, to point her out to him as the proper person for him to marry, if he does marry again. Well, it is not surprising if wives, as a body, object to have their successors named during their own lifetime, or if sisters-in-law feel a little alarmed when they are told that this is a Bill for their abolition, because whatever that may mean, no one likes the idea of being abolished. Women have not had fair means of judging this question. If they had, and if there were some means of ascertaining their opinion, I see no reason to believe that it would be unfavourable to the Bill. There is, at this moment, before your Lordships a Petition in favour of the Bill signed by no less than 5,000 women, over 18 years of age, living in the Cathedral City of Lincoln, the total population of which is only 35,000. I could understand women wishing the scope of this measure were wider, or I could understand their objecting to all second marriages. But, so far from there being any reason to suppose that, in the case of a wife, the idea of her husband marrying again would be doubly painful, if she could think that there was a chance of his finding a second wife in her own sister, the reverse is probably nearer the truth. For we know that a wife on her death-bed sometimes begs her husband to marry her sister, thinking very naturally that in her own sister her children would be likely to find the kindest and best of stepmothers. Certainly, the picture of a dying wife, made happy in her last moments by the grim thought that, come what may, her sister, at all events, cannot succeed to her husband's affections, is grotesque and ridiculous in the last degree. But there is one more objection, my Lords—and this, I admit, is an objection more weighty than any of the others—namely, that to pass the Bill would be to grant an amnesty, by reason of its retrospective clause, to those who have already contracted this marriage in defiance of the law. No doubt, there is force in that argument; but, my Lords, how would the case stand if the retrospective clause were left out? Who would suffer? Not the parties you want to punish. Not the parties who broke the law. They would go off to the Registrar's office, or to church, and get married at once. The persons who would suffer would be the innocent children, who, if you do not make this measure retrospective, except, of course, in regard to property, would be left, as they are now, to bear the stigma of illegitimacy to the end of their days. It is for the sake of the children, my Lords, rather than of the parents, that I ask you to pass this Bill, and entirely for the sake of the children that I hope you will see fit to make its action retrospective. I may remind your Lordships that precedent is in favour of this case. Whether, in the time of Henry VIII., Queen Mary, or Queen Elizabeth, or in the more modern instance of Lord Lyndhurst's Act in 1835, every alteration in the Marriage Law has been retrospective. Moreover, if you should pass the Bill, omitting the retrospective clause, you would have this state of things—all persons born of these marriages between the year 1835 and the passing of this Bill would be illegitimate in the eyes of the law; while all persons born previously to 1835, or after the passing of the Bill, would be legitimate, an anomaly which, in practice, would be intolerable. I have now dealt with the principal objections to the Bill. I will next state the principal grounds on which, besides the one that I have just mentioned, I ask your Lordships to read it a second time. I might argue that as a general principle, when it is a question of marriage between any two parties, freedom ought to be the rule, and that those who would control that freedom are bound to show, in the absence of any natural or Divine law, that distinct and palpable evil would ensue if restrictions which they advocate were not imposed. But I do not rest the Bill on any such abstract ground. I think, in the first place, that a man ought to be allowed to marry the sister of his former wife, because his children are more likely to find a kind stepmother in the sister of their own mother than in anyone else. This argument is doubly strong in the case of the working classes; for when a labouring man loses his wife he must have someone to keep his house, and look after his children while he is out at work. I believe that, in those cases, it is more often the sister of his former wife who comes to live with him than anyone else. And your Lordships will understand that, when two persons who are no relation whatever to one another are living together on terms of intimacy and familiarity within the confined space of a working man's cottage, it is better, in the interests of morality, that they should be free to marry if they like. If the law forbids their marriage, the chances are that they may do worse, as it is called. Another consideration which, I think, ought to have great weight with your Lordships is this—that public opinion does not support the present law in regard to this particular marriage, and, consequently, the law is broken right and left, with perfect impunity to those who break it. Surely, that is an evil of the very first magnitude. I am not saying that because many people break the law therefore you ought to alter the law. What I say is this—When people do break this particular law, public opinion does not condemn them; on the contrary, public opinion sides with them against the law. For instance, the working classes of this country, especially in the North of England, are very pure and chaste, as a class. If a man and woman, in no way related or connected with one another, lived together without being married, they would, at least, be looked down upon by their neighbours. But let the woman be the sister of the man's former wife, and the arrangement is thought perfectly natural and proper. Again, the Royal Commission, appointed so long ago as 1847, to inquire into this matter, reported that the law failed to prevent these marriages, and that thousands of these marriages took place; and the Commissioners added— We do not find that the persons who contract these marriages, and the friends and relations who approve them, have a less strong-sense than others of religious and moral obligations, or are marked by laxity of conduct. My Lords, these words are even more true at this moment than they were 35 years ago. Is it not, therefore, high time that the law should be brought into harmony with public opinion? Another reason in favour of the Bill is, that the present law presses very unequally on the rich and on the poor. A rich man, if he loses his wife, can pay nurses and governesses to take care of his children. He is, therefore, independent of his wife's relations. A poor man is not. He must get some woman of his own rank of life to come and live with him; and, as I have said, in the majority of cases that woman will most likely be the sister of his first wife. But, again, if a rich man wishes to marry his wife's sister, he can go abroad and do so. I believe that within the last fortnight no less than 10 such marriages between persons belonging to the United Kingdom have been celebrated in Switzerland. These marriages, it is true, will not be good in the eye of the law when the parties return to England; but if they have quieted their consciences by the performance of a religious ceremony, they will probably rest satisfied with what they have done; whereas a poor man is bound by his family to remain where he is, and, if he cannot get lawfully married, it is not wonderful if he should dispense with the ceremony of marriage altogether. But there have been instances where men have committed a criminal offence in order to secure the performance of the religious ceremony. I know of one case in which a noble and learned Lord, now a Member of your Lordships' House, found himself obliged to pass sentence for perjury upon a man who had made a false declaration solely with that object. Another most important argument in favour of the Bill is the anomaly produced by the fact that in the whole of the Australian Colonies, in Tasmania, and within the last few days in Canada also, marriage with the deceased wife's sister is allowed by law; and in New Zealand and Natal Bills legalizing marriage with a deceased wife's sister have passed the Legislatures, and are only waiting for the Royal Assent. Suppose, for example, a man to have married, as he lawfully may in one of the Colonies, the sister of his first wife, ho afterwards embarks for England with his wife and family, he could not land in England with his wife, because, on arriving in England, she has ipso facto ceased to be his wife and becomes his mistress, and her husband would be legally free to marry another woman. Is that a state of things which ought to be allowed to continue? And, apart from the anomaly, is it not desirable, my Lords, that on broader grounds of statesmanship, which none can appreciate better than your Lordships, there should be as little difference as possible in the laws of the several parts of the Empire. I know it may be said, in regard to the Colonies, that it is not the Mother Country which ought to follow the lead of the Colonies, but vice versa. That argument, however, is little better than mere pedantry; and I feel sure that your Lordships will be of opinion that, for the sake of the Empire, it is not wise to maintain unnecessary difference between the laws of this country and those of our Colonies. In the case of the particular law to which this Bill refers, it would be doubly unwise to do so, because our law is of very recent origin. Prior to Lord Lyndhurst's Act in 1835, marriage with a deceased wife's sister was practically permitted. It is a fact that, until the passing of the Act 47 years ago, marriages within the table of prohibited degree were not prohibited by any enactment of Statute Law; and, consequently, marriages with a deceased wife's sister were, in 99 cases out of 100, practically good and lawful marriages. They were virtually never called in question, and could only be set aside by a process in the Ecclesiastical Courts—a process which could easily be avoided by getting someone to institute a friendly suit, and to keep it on foot till one of the parties died. I may, perhaps, be allowed to remind your Lordships of some points in the history of Lord Lyndhurst's Act, for it was never intended that that Act should have its present consequences. In 1835, Lord Lyndhurst brought in a Bill, the original intention of which, as stated in the Preamble, was to limit to two years the time within which a suit could be brought in the Ecclesiastical Court, for the purpose of setting aside a marriage contracted within prohibited degrees. The Bill provided that at the end of those two years, if no suit were brought, those marriages were to hold good. The immediate object of the Bill, and the sole reason of its being introduced, was to legalize the marriage of a Member of your Lordships' House, who, in marrying a second time, had married a sister of his first wife. But in its passage through your Lordships' House the Bill was entirely altered. The right rev. Bench refused to consent to its passing, unless all such marriages as might be contracted in future should be made absolutely null and void. Consequently, the Act of 1835 legalized, in the most extraordinary and inconsistent manner, all marriages within the prohibited degrees contracted previous to the date of its passing, but prohibited, or at least invalidated, all such marriages, including, of course, that with the sister of a former wife, contracted after that date. And these marriages, which, prior to 1835, although theoretically, and in strict law, void, were practically, and in effect, only voidable, and scarcely ever called in question, became after that date absolutely void by the Statute Law of the land. Therefore, I submit that any argument based on the assumption that the law in its present state has the experience of centuries to recommend it is altogether without foundation. I have now stated, very imperfectly, but to the best of my ability, the case for the Bill, and I am most grateful to your Lordships for the kindness and patience with which you have listened to me. My excuse for speaking at such length must be the hardship and unreasonableness of the present state of the Marriage Law, in so far as it relates to a marriage with a deceased wife's sister. I feel sure that your Lordships must sympathize with the offspring of these marriages, who are now condemned to suffer the penalty of illegitimacy, with all the social disadvantages it entails, for an offence committed by their parents against positive law, it is true, but not against Christian morality; and I sincerely trust that the House will regard this Bill from a practical point of view, remembering that the question involved in it is not whether marriage between a widower and his sister-in-law is or is not a desirable thing, but whether there is any just ground for prohibiting it by law. In the absence of any such ground, the mere question of desirability and expediency is surely one that ought to be left to the parties themselves. Unless, therefore, the prohibition of this marriage can be shown to rest on some solid and palpable foundation, I venture to hope that your Lordships will be of opinion that it ought to be removed. I do not expect that the opponents of the Bill will venture to take their stand on theological or ecclesiastical grounds; and as to the lugubrious prophecies in which they indulge, we have the experience of the past in this country, and of the present in our Colonies, to prove that these gloomy vaticinations are the idlest of dreams. I now beg to move that the Bill be read a second time, and hope that this restriction on marriage will be removed from the Statute Book.

Moved," That the Bill be now read 2a —(The Earl of Dalhousie.)


in rising to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months, said: My Lords, there are two aspects in which this question may be looked at—namely, argument may be used against the Bill from the theological, or, perhaps, I should rather say, Scriptural, point of view; and also the arguments which may occur to anyone who looks at the social aspect of the question. I was not prepared altogether for the utter contempt which the noble Earl (the Earl of Dalhousie) seems inclined to throw upon the Scriptural side of the argument against the passing of the Bill. I am perfectly aware that there are some who go so far as to deny that whatever the Scripture says on this question it should have any effect on our laws in this 19th century; and there are others who say that if they could be convinced that Scripture did forbid such a marriage as this, they would vote against the Bill, but that they cannot be so convinced. But I frankly own that I belong to neither of those classes, for I do believe that there is a Scriptural prohibition binding upon us at this present day against legalizing the marriage which this Bill proposes to legalize; and I trust your Lordships will bear with me if, after what has fallen from the noble Earl opposite, I venture to give the grounds upon which I have formed that opinion. It is very commonly asserted by the promoters of this Bill that those who oppose it on Scriptural grounds found their opposition upon the 18th verse of the 18th chapter of the Book of Leviticus; but I need hardly tell your Lordships, at this stage of the controversy, that that is not so. Those of your Lordships who think as I do, and all others who likewise think with me, rely not upon one verso, but upon the whole tenour of the chapter. We regard the tenour of the chapter as a code, and as a code which is to be interpreted according to its spirit, and which, to a very large extent, is governed by words which occur in the 6th verse—"That no one is to approach unto those who are near of kin." And then, in the following verses, we contend it proceeds to define what is meant by near of kin, and the prohibitions which follow are not enumerated exhaustively, but are merely put forward as examples from which those for whom the code is intended are to work out for themselves what that code is to be; and if, looking at it in that light, your Lordships will refer to this chapter, you will see that there are certain, what I may call specimen, prohibitions, some of them as to relatives by consanguinity and some as to relatives by affinity. The relationships of affinity and consanguinity, which are prohibited directly by Scripture, are mixed up in about equal proportion. I am sure the promoters of the Bill would concede that this code must be interpreted all through either upon its letter or upon its spirit; it cannot be allowed to be taken sometimes according to its letter, and at other times according to its spirit. Suppose you take it that it must be strictly interpreted by its letter; in that case, noble Lords opposite are at once involved in numerous and serious difficulties. Relationships by affinity are forbidden much more remote than some by consanguinity, which, according to that reading, would be permitted; but if you are to interpret it by its spirit, it can only be worked out in a logical way in the form with which your Lordships are familiar—namely, the Table of Affinity, which is the law of the land. I know that some people say this is a Jewish law; but I think anyone who studies the chapter as a whole will see that it is not so—that these prohibitions are not directed against acts to be done, or supposed to be done, by the Israelites themselves, but that the condemnation with which these acts would be visited is obviously, by the words of Scripture, meant to include the Gentile nations, which were then living around them. I would also say this—that for many centuries the Primitive Church did accept this code as binding upon all of us, and it is necessary to come down to quite recent times before any view in an opposite sense is maintained. One more suggestion—that if this code is not binding upon us at the present time, there is, then, in the whole Scripture, no law against incest at all. Another attempt to dispose of this code as binding upon us at the present day is often put forward, more especially in regard to this particular connection which your Lordships are now debating. I have heard it said that even if you admit that this code on the whole would be binding upon us, there is a special exception in favour of the wife's sister, and that that exception is given in the 15th verse of the 18th chapter of Leviticus; but I must say that I cannot see how that can be held at all. Let us take the verse as it stands in the authorized version of the Old Testament, which, I believe, is the most favourable version to the advocates of this Bill, and it will be found, in the words of that version, that it is a simple prohibition against a particular kind of polygamy. How a man can argue, therefore, that because a particular kind of polygamy is condemned, and because that particular connection is condemned during the lifetime of the wife, that there is a permission to form that connection afterwards, and that that permission is sufficiently strong to dispense with what I hope I have shown is a code otherwise binding upon all at the present time, I cannot understand. To turn to the social aspect of the question, the first remark that I feel inclined to make upon the subject is this—that surely, after the law in its present state has existed in this country so long as it has, the onus of proof should lie, not on those who wish to maintain the law, but upon those who are anxious to make the change in the law. It has often been said that this change was introduced at the time of the passing of Lord Lynd- hurst's Act. I do not understand the noble Earl who has just sat down to hold that view; but I know that many who support the Bill are inclined to promulgate that view. I do not ask them to take my words upon a question of English law, but to pay attention to what Lord Brougham said in giving judgment in the case of "Fenton v. Livingstone." In that case, his Lordship said the marriage was Clearly illegal, according to the laws of England, and that if it had been questioned while the parties were alive, it must have been voided ab initio, because it was contrary to the law. And Lord Hatherley also held the same view, and said that the law of England, both ecclesiastical and civil, Had, from the first institution of a Monarchy, held marriage with a wife's sister to be an incestuous marriage. That proves that the law, as it at present stands, has been in existence for about 1,200 years, and surely I am entitled, if anyone proposes to change it, to ask them to give proper proof that such a change is necessary. If you pass this Bill, it will be the first time in the history of English law that any difference is made between the marriage of a man with his deceased wife's sister, and between a man and his own sister, or any other relationship which is admitted to be incestuous. It will be the first time even that any suggestion has been made of making any difference between those relationships. The fact really is, that these marriages have been all along illegal, although, as the noble Earl has said, there were certain difficulties in the way of declaring them void; and all that Lord Lyndhurst's Act did was to declare that all those that had taken place before the passing of the Act should not in future be called in question, and that for the future all such marriages should be void without any declaration to that effect. That being the case, then, all this goes to prove that the onus of proof should lie upon those who advocate the change. What is it that the House has been told in favour of a change being made? The promoters of the Bill have often said that this restriction is found to be irksome. But on whom is it found to be irksome? The noble Earl admits that the chief persons who find the law irksome are those who have already broken the law; and so it ought to be; but that, I think, your Lordships will be very slow indeed to admit as a reason for changing a law. In my opinion, a law ought always to be irksome to those who have broken it.


I rise to Order. I advocated this change on the ground of hardship to the children, and not so much on account of those who have already broken the law.


I was just coming to that. And look at the lesson you would teach by passing this Bill on such grounds—that you have only to break the law and to make it irksome to yourself and children, and to do it with sufficient persistence, to induce the Legislature to change it for you? If I have misrepresented the noble Earl, I apologize to him, for it is not my desire to do so; but it does not seem to me that the correction of the noble Earl made any great difference as regards the general line of argument I was following, and endeavouring to press upon the notice of the House. I will say with regard to this that I will quote the words of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chief Justice of England (Lord Coleridge), who I am glad to see in his place. He once said in this House— That no change in the law of this kind should be made except for the general good, and in harmony with the general sentiment of the people. And I do not think that anything which the noble Earl has told, you will prove anything as to there being a general feeling on the part of the people of this country in favour of a change; still less has he proved that this change would be for the general good. I have not got such an extensive acquaintance amongst those who have broken the law as the noble Earl opposite; but, so far as my observation in private life enables me to judge, I should say that a large majority of the educated classes of this country are against this change in the law. At any rate, I am perfectly certain of this—that the most ardent advocate of the Bill cannot do more than say that the educated classes are divided upon the subject. The noble Earl made a considerable point in saying that this restriction is specially irksome to the poor; but I venture to say that is not the case, and that there is a great insufficiency of evidence in support of the assertion. In fact, judging from what people say who have the best means of knowing, I think it is inherently improbable that it should be the case. People in the humbler classes marry young, and the cases in which there will be a free sister-in-law in that rank of life will be proportionately very much fewer than in the higher ranks. Besides, I think the testimony of those who know the humbler classes goes to show it is not the case; and if the necessities of housekeeping and taking care of children are to be assumed as arguments in favour of the Bill, they may be pressed in favour of legalizing marriages with a good many other relatives. The noble Earl who moved the introduction of the Bill gave us a long Parliamentary history of the progress of this measure in the House of Commons; but I would remind the noble Earl that such statistics as he has quoted do not tell much in its favour. They are altogether fallacious. Let me remind the House of the various Parliaments which have expressed their opinion in favour of or against the measure. The first time any attempt at legislation took place was in 1841, when the House of Commons refused to allow of the introduction of the Bill; that elected in 1847 read it a second time twice; that elected in 1852 read it a second time once, and once rejected it; that elected in 1859 twice rejected it; that elected in 1866 once rejected it; that elected in 1868 four times read it a second time, but the majority was reduced from 100 to a little over 30; the House elected in 1874 rejected it the only time it was presented to its notice. The Bill was not again presented to a House of Commons found to be adverse to it, and I therefore maintain that we should have regard less to the number of times it has been passed than to the number of Parliaments that have passed it or rejected it. The fact that the House of Commons elected in 1874 rejected it once and decisively is as good a fact as that the House elected in 1868 passed it four times, for if it had been presented four times to the later Parliament it would have been four times rejected. As to the fact that we have been told that the aunt is the natural guardian of the children, and that it is, therefore, proper that she should take charge of them, a widower's first consideration, on look- ing for another wife, is not who will take the most care of his children; and, even if it were so, the deceased wife's sister would not be placed in a better position for taking care of the children by the passing of this Bill. She would rather be in a worse, for she would be at once expelled from the house. It has been said that the maintenance of the law places England in a singular position; but why is that? The advocates of change have certainly found Colonial Parliaments more facile, and have wrung a reluctant consent from the Home Government to their Bills; but that is no argument why we should change a law which has stood for 1,200 years. The present Bill is founded on no logical principle. That is claimed as an advantage, for it is urged upon us that the change proposed is a very small one; but, if so, and we were to pass it on that ground, the consequence will be that its acceptance will be used as an argument for a much larger one. The fact is that a law of such importance must be founded on some principle; and if your Lordships were once to make any distinction between the prohibited degrees of affinity and consanguinity, I do not see where you are to stop until the whole Table of Affinity is swept away. If you once do away with this restriction, you will strike a blow at those prohibitions which rightly encircle all our family life, and you will do a very great injustice to the feelings of the large majority of people for the benefit of a very few, and those few are those who have already broken the law. By passing this Bill your Lordships will do violence to the feelings of a large majority for the sake of a very small minority. The noble Earl opposite said that if the Bill passed a widower would not be forced to marry his deceased wife's sister. But it will put it in his power to do so, and therein lies the mischief. The opponents of the measure are not afraid that by-and-bye it will become the custom to marry one's deceased wife's sister; but the difficulty and the danger which they apprehend will arise before the death of the wife. It is our objection to the alterations which will be effected in our relations in the family circle that leads us to oppose the Bill. Women in households in England are fenced about by certain wise restrictions, and I think the wife's sister is one of those who are entitled to that protection, and your Lordships will do her a great injustice if you remove the prohibition. I am only too painfully aware of the inefficiency with which I have put forward what I honestly believe to be a very strong case. I ask your Lordships to reject the Bill, because it is founded on no principle, because it will settle nothing, and unsettle everything, in a sphere in which it is most important that change should not be lightly introduced. If the Bill were to pass I believe that it will bring confusion where there is now harmony; that it will sacrifice the peace, the happiness, and the convictions of a large majority for the sake of the mere morbid cravings of a few; and that it will attach a fatal measure of success to a persistent and most unscrupulous agitation. It is for these reasons that I now move its rejection.

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


in supporting the Motion for the second reading of the Bill, said, he considered that the objections raised by the noble Lord near him (Lord Balfour of Burleigh) were based on two points. Some of his objections were based on the law of God, to the effect that we were bound by the Levitical law; and the others were mere matter of sentiment. He (the Marquess of Waterford) believed both grounds to be entirely false; and in regard to what occurred in Holy Writ in reference to this question, the noble Lord had not, as far as he could see, adduced a single argument to bear out what he said. Therefore, they had to deal with what was really a matter of sentiment; and he believed it to be an entirely false sentiment. Indeed, it had been proved to be so by the procedure of other nations and of our own Colonies; and it was an attempt to create by law blood relations which did not exist in fact, and to preserve morality by an edict which he believed to be the greatest inducement to immorality in the English Statute Book. It was argued that great injustice would be done to a sister and a sister-in-law if these marriages were permitted. He supposed the noble Lord meant that jealousy would be created; that what had been called pure affection could not exist between a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law under those circumstances; and that, therefore, the sister-in-law could not take care of her sister's children after her death. But was it possible to prevent jealousies by any law which the Legislature might pass? Jealousies would always exist; and he believed that a wife would much prefer her sister to have charge of her children after her death in the position of a wedded wife, rather than in the position which was too often created by the present law— namely, that of the husband's mistress. Again, he desired to say a word as to the possibility of a young widower having his sister-in-law to take care of his children. In his opinion, it was a most questionable position at any time; and he believed none of their Lordships would like to see their female relations placed in such a position, though some of their Lordships would not object to a marriage which would place the sister in the position of a real mother to her deceased sister's children. At present, both parties had only to go to the Continent, or to one of our Colonies, in order to remove the barrier to their union; and they knew that even poor people might look forward to such marriages taking place, if they could save a few pounds and go over to the Continent. He believed that the laws relating to marriage were the same as the laws relating to everything else. They were made with a view of creating the greatest amount of happiness, health fulness, morality, and prosperity among mankind; and there was no meaning in any restriction, excepting among blood relations. He thought, then, it was quite clear that they should stop at blood relations; but the deceased wife's sister was in a different position to that; and it was more against the law of nature that first cousins should marry than that a man should marry a deceased wife's sister. It had been stated that if these marriages were permitted we should do away with the pure affection which existed as between a brother and sister. But passion could not be curbed by Act of Parliament, and could only be curbed by the laws of nature, which permitted affection without passion between blood relations, but which created passion in the breasts of a pure-minded man and woman when there was no bar of nature to prevent their intermarriage. Those who objected to this Bill must be blind to its effects on the people of the Continent and our Colonies, where these marriages were allowed without any ill-results whatever. Sisters-in-law were not done away with; they were still able to take charge of their nephews and nieces; they were still able to live in the same house on terms of affection with their married sisters—no evil results had followed, but, on the contrary, the very best results—because it had been found that legalizing marriage with the deceased wife's sister was most conducive to morality. No one could deny that the English law, as it was at present, had forced many people, especially among the poorer classes, into leading immoral lives, and into breaking the law of the land by marrying in spite of it. There was no punishment for doing this, and they were unable to strike at those who disobeyed the law, except through their innocent children. He thought it absolutely wicked that — having an unnecessary law upon the Statute Book which their Lordships had refused to repeal, and being powerless to prevent or punish those who break the law—that they should attack them by branding with the name of bastard the pure little life of a child the moment it appeared in the world, depriving it of its inheritance, giving it no name, and holding it up as a reproach, to be pointed at with the finger of scorn as long as it might live. That was anything but a noble vindication of the law; and, therefore, it ought not to be kept in existence, as it had been, by small majorities in their Lordships' House. Therefore, he sincerely trusted that their Lordships would pass the Bill. It would do no harm to any man, while it would do enormous good to many living and to many yet to be born.


and the Bishop of PETERBOROUGH rose simultaneously to address the House; but there being loud cries for the latter, the noble Lord resumed his seat.


said, it was with very great hesitation and some reluctance that he ventured to address their Lordships on that question; and, strange as it might appear to their Lordships, he had really no intention of doing so when he came down to the House. That, however, was the most favourable time for him to do so, and his reason for speaking was this. The speech of the noble Earl (the Earl of Dalhousie) gave him an opportunity of stating that he was aware that the ground he must take in opposing the Bill introduced by the noble Earl on his right was different from that taken by many of those who conscientiously opposed it. He had never been able, in the course of his opposition to the measure, to take what was commonly called the high Scriptural or theological ground, at least as regarded the Old Testament, which was taken by many of his right rev. Brethren on the Bench, in opposition to allowing a man to marry the sister of his deceased wife. It had always seemed to him that the interpretation of the verse which the noble Lord opposite (Lord Balfour of Burleigh) quoted, as forming the basis of his opposition, was rather questionable, and had been questioned; and he was further of opinion that if we adopted one portion of the Levitical law, as regarded marriage, it was difficult to see why we should not adopt the whole of it. He would fully admit, as a matter of course, that among theologians any precept of moral obligation was binding upon the consciences of men, even though it was in the Levitical law; but the question as to whether the whole code of the chapter from which the particular verse was taken was or was not one of moral or positive obligation was an open question. He held that if there was any doubt upon the matter, the whole onus prolandi of adducing arguments to upset a law which had stood for 1,200 years lay upon those who took the opposite view to that which he adopted. Having said that much, he would pass away from the theological and Scriptural ground of objection to the Bill, and would wish to deal with the subject on the ground on which the noble Marquess who just now addressed the House (the Marquess of Waterford) threw some contempt. The noble Marquess said that if we abandoned the Scripture it became wholly a question of sentiment. But sentiment was a most important, a most powerful element in deciding such a question; for, if sentiment had to do with anything in the world, it was with this question of marriage. Therefore, to dispose in that question of marriage of a sentimental argument, as though, the question had nothing to do with sentiment, was hardly logical, for it would have to be considered, seeing that any infringement upon the popular sentiment was sure to excite opposition and discontent. He must confess that he would hardly have ventured to address their Lordships had it not been to express his thanks to the noble Lord opposite for furnishing one of the ablest arguments he had over heard against that Bill. The noble Lord had; the courage of his opinions. He had admitted that, if you were to deal with that question as a question of principle, you could only stop short at the prohibition of marriage with blood relations. The whole Table of Affinity would be swept away. The noble Lord had admitted—and he (the Bishop of Peterborough) entirely agreed with him —that you could not sweep away one of the prohibitions in the Table of Affinity, unless you were prepared to sweep them all away. The noble Lord, with a candour which did him honour, had plainly said to what that alteration of the law logically and necessarily led. He (the Bishop of Peterborough) trusted that the supporters of the Bill would lay that matter to heart, and he thanked the noble Lord for that argument in favour of the Bill. He would now pass from the question of sentiment, which largely and deeply entered into the consideration of that Bill. He had not had the advantage of hearing the speech of the noble Earl who moved the second reading, though he had heard that it was a remarkably able speech. But he hardly supposed that the noble Earl could have adduced any new argument. He ventured, therefore, to assume that the great argument in favour of the Bill contained in the speech of the noble Earl was that it was a poor man's Bill, meeting in a special manner the needs and affections of the poor man. If he (the Bishop of Peterborough) believed that, he would be the last person in the world to oppose the Bill. It had been the fashion of the supporters of the Bill outside that House to say that the opposition of the Bench behind him to the Bill was a bigoted and narrow opposition, and that they who lived in palaces knew nothing of the wants and needs of the poor man; that in disregard to those wants they clung to an obsolete Table of Affinity in their Prayer Books. But his opposition to that Bill would have been equally strong if the whole Table of Affinity were struck out. It was not as an Episcopalian or as a clergyman that he opposed that Bill, although he held that the deep convictions and rooted sentiments of the great majority of Churchmen were entitled to some consideration at the hands of their Lordships; but he opposed it because he claimed to know as much as any of their Lordships in that House of the wants and sorrows of the poor man. He claimed that the Bishops of the Church of England, from personal knowledge, and from their conversations with their clergy, had some right to speak in that House on the condition and requirements of the poor. But that Bill was not a poor man's Bill, either in its inception, progress, or in the needs that called for it. From beginning to end it had been a rich man's Bill; and it was not now in the interests of the poor man that it was really moved for, though he admitted the noble Earl conscientiously believed the assurance of many of his supporters and prompters that it was a poor man's Bill. It had been clearly pointed out by the noble Lord who moved the rejection of the Bill that the cases arose much more frequently in the homes of the rich than in those of the poor with which that Bill would deal. The Bill was supposed to give to the poor man who had lost his wife the advantage of having someone come into his house to take charge of his children upon whom he could rely to treat them with kindness. But the fact was that the Bill immediately deprived such a man of that advantage, and he wondered that it had not occurred to the supporters of the Bill that common decency and regard to the proprieties of life would always prevent a widower bringing a new wife into his house within a year, at least, of his former wife's death. ["Hear, hear!"and laughter.'] He could hardly understand the laugh by which that statement was honoured. Did the noble Lord who laughed mean that a man, though he might be a poor man, could ask in common decency a person who might become his future wife to come and live in the same house with him before his first wife's remains were cold in the grave? In common decency, he re- peated, one year was supposed to elapse before a man could bring home a fresh wife. Thus a man would be, for one year at least, prevented from bringing into his house a woman whom the law had declared to be no nearer to him than any other woman. A poor man had delicate feelings as well as a rich man, and could hardly be expected to ask his wife's sister to remain in the house for at least 12 months after his wife's death; and thus for a year the children, whose case was so strongly advocated, would be left deprived of the most natural and effectual guardianship. As things were, during the presence of the sister-in-law, the widower would be able to find a suitable wife to take care of the children. Except, therefore, in the case of a guilty and criminal attachment during the lifetime of the wife, there was not the inducement which it was supposed there was even for the poor man to marry his sister-in-law. Then it was said that the sister-in-law would naturally prove the most affectionate guardian of her nephews and nieces. He doubted that proposition extremely. It might be the case so long as the sister-in-law, when married to the widower, remained childless; but once there was raised in the breast of the woman the deepest passion of human nature, as well as the holiest—the love of her own children— there would arise all those formidable possibilities of jealousy of the children of her predecessor—her deceased sister. The feelings of the injusta noverca arose in great measure from the love of a mother as well as from baser motives, and were not to be overcome by the mere fact that the step-children were the children of the stepmother's own sister. On the contrary, it would often make the misery of a sister the more bitter. That was a fact which ought to be taken into account in this controversy. The whole of the stepmother argument, therefore, fell to the ground in the presence of the broad facts of nature; but those broad facts had to be taken into account, and it was important to bear that in mind when the noble Earl said that the only laws of God are the laws of nature, and that they were sufficient to restrain men from the temptation of infringing the sacred law of consanguinity, but not sufficiently powerful to prevent them from transgressing those of affinity. The law of nature and the law of God in their original purity were, doubtless, the same; but it ought not to be forgotten that the laws of nature were the laws of a corrupted and fallen nature, and it could not be assumed that the passions of a fallen and corrupted nature represented the laws of God. He pleaded not only for the poor man, but for the rich man also. He pleaded, likewise, most earnestly for a class which especially needed protection—he pleaded for sisters-in-law as they were. The relation of sister-in-law and brother-in-law was one of the most beautiful and endearing of all family relationships. There was a sweet tenderness and a depth of affection in it which could only be found elsewhere in the nearest ties of blood relationship. There were hundreds of brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law who had no thought of marriage with each other, and it was those whom the Bill would necessarily sever, as it would be no longer possible for the sister-in-law to remain in her brother-in-law's house when her sister had died. Social disturbance of a most painful kind would arise. He was not speaking of the disturbance which might arise before the second marriage. He was not speaking of the bitterness and jealousy which might be brought about by the attractions of the younger sister in the heart of the wife whom that younger sister might succeed. He was only speaking of the unfortunate sister-in-law who might for years have lived happily with her sister and nephews and nieces, but who, by that Bill, would be driven from their homes. And that effect was to be brought about for the sake of an experiment, and to gratify the passions of rich men, who could not control themselves, and those experimentalizing philosophers who found nothing so safe as to experiment upon matters of that kind without a particle of principle to guide them. Sisters-in-law might remain with their brothers-in-law in a position dubious to the world; but in which their superior strength and virtue would enable them to despise the opinion of the world. It had been said that sisters-in-law might still remain in charge of the children; but they would no longer still be sisters-in-law. They would be evicted as sisters-in-law, and put in as caretakers; and he should hardly have thought the practice of Irish landlords would meet with such favour on that (the Ministerial) side of the House. He protested against the Bill, because it contained no shred of principle; because it would do harm to a number of most deserving persons; and because it picked out of a number of prohibited degrees one, and one only, while it did not attempt to introduce any fixed principle of legislation with regard to the Marriage Law. If they were to disturb the Marriage Law with regard to affinity which had lasted for centuries, he did not use too strong and earnest words when he said—"For God's sake find some other principle which you can introduce into the Law of Marriage. "These were not times for unnecessary, rash, and experimental legislation on the subject of marriage. In the country districts other Bishops and himself knew that not only marriages of too near affinity, but marriages of too near consanguinity, were of sadly frequent occurrence in the homes of the poor; and he dreaded the effect upon the home of the poor man when he would be told that the highest Legislative Assembly in the whole Realm had, without any fixed principle, and without any reason alleged for it, save this, that a great many desired it, introduced a perilous relaxation of the Law of Marriage, as to which not only he, the poor man, with his dull and uneducated mind, but the most accomplished and eloquent supporters of the Bill in that House could not find a logical principle that would prevent their going on to other degrees, and to others and others again. This Bill cruelly disturbed the existing relationships of happy homes. It would not bring the advantages it was supposed it would bring; and if it did bring those advantages, those advantages would be terribly dearly purchased by the social evil, the immoral laxity, and the wild disturbance of the social relationships which the Bill would provoke. On those grounds he should vote against the Bill.

On question, that ("now") stand part of the Motion? Their Lordships divided:—Contents 128; Nat-Contents 131: Majority 3.

Wales, H.K.H. the Prince of Edinburgh, H. R. H. D.
Albany, H.R.H. D.
Brandon, D. (D. Hamilton.) Braye, L.
Breadalbane, L. (E. Breadalbane.)
Cleveland, D.
Portland, D. Calthorpe, L.
Saint Albans, D. Camoys, L.
Sutherland, D. Carlingford, L.
Westminster, D. Carrington, L.
Churchill, L.
Abergavenny, [Teller.]M. Clifton, L. (E.Darnley.)
Clonbrock, L.
Ailesbury, M. Conyers, L,
Northampton, M. Cottosloe, L.
Dacre, L.
Ashburnham, E. De L Isle and Dudley, L.
Aylestord, E.
Bathurst, E. de Ros, L.
Camperdown, E. Dorchester, L.
Cawdor, E. Fitzhardinge, L.
Chichester, E. Haldon, L.
Clarendon, E. Hare, L. (E. Listowel.)
Clonmell, E. Hastings, L.
Derby, E. Hothfield, L.
Ducie, E. Houghton, L.
Durham, E. Howth, L. (E. Howth.)
Ellesmere, E. Inchiquin, L.
Essex, E. Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)
Fortescue, E.
Granville, E. Kenry, L. [E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)
Ilchester, E.
Innes, E. (D. Roxburghe.) Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)
Lawrence, L.
Kimberley, E. Leigh, L.
Leven and Melville, E. Loftus, L. (M. Ely.)
Malmesbury, E. Londesborough, L.
Morley, E. Lyttelton, L.
Northbrook, E. Methuen, L.
Onslow, E. Monson, L.
Pembroke and Montgomery, E. Mostyn, L.
Mount Temple, L.
Saint Germans, E. Oriel, L. (V. Massereene.)
Strange, E. (D. Athol.)
Suffolk and Berkshire, E. Ormathwaite, L.
Ormonde, L. {M. Ormonde.)
Sydney, E.
Verulam, E. Ramsay, L. (E. Dalhousie.) [Teller.]
Yarborough, E.
Zetland, E. Reay, L.
Romilly, L.
Bolingbroke and St. Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)
John, V.
Combermere, V. Sandhurst, L.
Falmouth, V. Sandys, L.
Gough, V. Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)
Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.) Shute, L. (V. Barrington.)
Leinster, V. (D. Leinster.) Skene, L. (E. Fife.)
Somerton, L. (E. Normanton.)
Powerscourt, V.
Sherbrooke, V. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Torrington, V. Strafford, L. (V. Enfield.)
Aberdare, L. Strathspey, L. (E. Seafield.)
Abinger, L.
Alington, L. Sudeley, L.
Annaly, L. Suffield, L.
Ardilaun, L. Thurlow, L.
Auckland, L. Tollemache, L.
Belper, L. Tredegar, L.
Blantyre, L. Truro, L.
Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.) Tweeddale, L. (M. Tweeddale.)
Brabourne, L. Tyrone, L. (M. Waterford.)
Bramwell, L.
Walsingham, L. Worlingham, L. (E. Gosford.)
Waveney, L.
Wentworth, L. Wrottesley, L.
Wimborne, L.
Selborne, L. (L. Chancellor.) Durham, L. Bp.
Ely, L. Bp.
York, L. Archp. Exeter, L. Bp.
Gloucester and Bristol, L. Bp.
Buckingham and Chandos, D. Lincoln, L. Bp.
Leeds, D. Llandaff, L. Bp.
Marlborough, D. London, L. Bp.
Norfolk, D. Manchester, L. Bp.
Northumberland, D. Norwich, L. Bp.
Rutland. D. Oxford, L. Bp.
Peterborough, L. Bp.
Bath, M. St. Albans, L. Bp.
Bristol, M. St. Asaph, L. Bp.
Hertford, M. Winchester, L. Bp.
Salisbury, M. Arundell of Wardour, L.
Amherst, E.
Annesley, E. Balfour of Burleigh, L. [Teller.']
Beauchamp, E.
Belmore, E. Beaumont, L.
Brownlow, E. Blachford, L.
Cairns, E. Boston, L.
Carnarvon, E. Botreaux, L. (E. Loudoun.)
Dartmouth, E.
De La Warr, E. Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne.)
Denbigh, E.
Devon, E. Braybrooke, L.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)
Chelmsford, L.
Dundonald, E. Clinton, L. [Teller.]
Effingham, E. Colchester, L.
Feversham, E. Coleridge, L.
Hardwicke, E. Congleton, L.
Harewood, E. Crewe, L.
Jersey, E. De Freyne, L.
Lanesborough, E. Delamere, L.
Lucan, E. Denman, L.
Macclesfield, E. Digby, L.
Manvers, E. Dinevor, L.
Mar and Kellie, E. Donington, L.
Milltown, E. Ellenborough, L.
Morton, E. Emly, L.
Mount Cashell, E. Ettrick, L. (L. Napier.)
Nelson, E. Forbes, L.
Powis, E. Forester, L.
Redesdale, E. Foxford, L. [E. Limerick.)
Selkirk, E.
Shaftesbury, E. Greville, L.
Sondes, E. Hammond, L.
Stanhope, E. Harlech, L.
Stradbroke, E. Hawke, L.
Strathmore and Kinghorn, E. Heytesbury, L.
Hylton, L.
Waldegrave, E. Ker, L. (M. Lothian.)
Lamington, L.
Cranbrook, V. Lovel and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.)
Hardinge, V.
Hawarden, V. Lyveden, L.
Hood, V. Massy, L.
Melville, V. Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)
Sidmouth, V.
Templetown, V. Monck, L. (V.Monck.)
Moncreiff, L.
Bangor, L. Bp. Oranmore and Browne, L.
Chichester, L. Bp.
Oxenfoord, L. (E. Stair.) Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Penrhyn, L. Stratheden and Campbell, L.
Petre, L.
Poltimore, L. Strathnairn, L.
Raglan, L. Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.)
Rayleigh, L.
Ross, L. (E. Glasgow.) Templemore, L.
Sackville, L. Tenterden, L
Saltoun, L. Trevor, L.
Sherborne, L. Windsor, L.

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