§ Amendment reported (according to order).
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord TWEEDMOUTH)
My Lords, the first Amendment which stands in my name is to correct a mistake that was made during the Committee stage. It is to reinsert the first provision of Clause 1 of the original Bill, which was omitted in error.
In page 1, line 14, after the word 'passed, to insert the words 'Provided also that when any minister of any church or chapel of the Church of England shall refuse to perform such marriage service between any persons who, but for such refusal, would be entitled to have the same service performed in such church or chapel, such minister may permit any other clergyman in Holy Orders the Church of England entitled to officiate within the diocese in which such church or chapel is situate, to perform such marriage service in such church or chapel.'"—(Lord Tweedmouth.)
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said he had not checked the words, but he presumed they were exactly in the form in which they stood originally, except for the substitution of the word "may" for "shall."
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Drafting Amendment ageed to.
§ LORD TWEEDMOUTH
The next Amendments standing in my name are to strike out Amendments which stood in the names of the Duke of Northumberland and Lord Balfour, and to which I provisionally assented in Committee. I only assented with reservation, because they are of a very technical character and involve considerable questions of law. I am not an expert in legal matters, but I have taken the best advice I can, and I am informed that by the Amendments inserted in Committee the institution of 5 proceedings is to be regarded as equivalent to a successful issue of such proceedings. Surely by that a dangerous principle is established. There might be, of course, cases of hardship—for instance, when one of the parties to the union was guilty of conduct for which a divorce would be granted if a valid marriage could be proved. Considerable hardship might also be inflicted on innocent persons if the mere fact that proceedings had been instituted were to be considered sufficient to absolve the party instituting them from all further civil obligation and responsibility towards the partner with whom the union had been contracted. I hope noble Lords will not press for those words to be retained.
In page 1, line 16, to leave out from the word 'annulled' to the word 'or' in line 17 and in line 21, to leave out from the word 'annulled' to the word 'or' in line 22."—(Lord Tweedmouth.)
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND
said he did not know that it was worth while pressing the matter, but he could not agree with the noble Lord. It seemed to him that the case mentioned was a totally different one from that which was before them, because in this case they were dealing with that which had hitherto been no marriage. He could not see the justice of by ex post facto legislation putting persons in a position in the middle of a suit which they were not in before. But he would not press for the retention of the words in question.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
said the Amendment standing in his name to Clause 2 was fully argued in Committee, and he did not propose to repeat the speech he then made. The noble Lord in charge of the Bill promised to consider the matter and he (Lord Balfour) subsequently understood from private communication that the Amendment would be agreed to, but he was now informed that it would not. He begged to move.
In page 1, line 25, after the word 'contingent,' to add the words 'or presumptive.'"—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)
§ LORD TWEEDMOUTH
As I said at the previous stage, my right hon. friend Mr. Haldane was quite clear about this question when it was raised in the House of Commons. He thought the word "presumptive" unnecessary; indeed that it would cause a considerable amount of doubt. I have had a further legal opinion on the subject, and I am informed that the word "presumptive" has no legal meaning which is not covered by the words "expectancy" and "contingent," which already form part of the clause. The insertion of the word, therefore, could do no good and might lead to misconception and prove harmful.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ LORD COURTNEY OF PENWITH moved to omit Clause 4, which was inserted in Committee at the instance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and provided that nothing in the Bill should relieve a clergyman of the Church of England from any ecclesiastical censure to which he would have been liable if the Bill did not pass, by reason of his having married his deceased wife's sister. He said it was reasonable to assume that this Bill would now become law and that henceforth marriages which had' hitherto been illegal would be allowable. The conscience of the nation insisted that what some still might regard as sinful unions should not be so treated, at all events so far as the law of the land was concerned. The most rev. Primate submitted in Committee that the Church of England should be left outside the Bill, but their Lordships refused to accede to that request. He submitted, with the greatest respect to the most rev. Primate, that in the conclusion at which their Lordships arrived they were acting in the best interests of the Church as a body, and that the suggestion of the most rev. Primate would have been prejudicial to the interests which his Grace had most dearly at heart. It might have been possible to have left the Church out of the Bill, but it would have been at the serious and grave risk of leaving the nation out of the Church. If the Church insisted on prescribing rules of morality and conduct which the conscience of the nation rejected, a painful struggle must follow, and it would 7 ultimately end by the Church being left through the secession of the nation from its fold. Therefore in refusing to accept the most rev. Primate's Amendment, to the effect that any marriage of this kind solemnised by a clergyman of the Church of England in a church of the Church of England should have no effect at law their Lordships had rejected a proposal which would have been hostile to the true interests of the Church. If this clause stood, its curious effect would be that a layman might be married to his deceased wife's sister without any censure being passed upon him, but although a clergyman might be married to a deceased wife's sister—for there was no invalidation of the marriage—he would be liable to whatever penalty was involved in the ecclesiastical censure. He submitted that this was really treating the clergy with very slight justice. Parliament ought not to discriminate in this way between clergy and laity. He did not know what the ecclesiastical censure would involve. If it was a very slight matter, then it would be very impolitic to censure that which they could not nullify, prohibit, or prevent; but, if it was a very grave affair, then the clause if allowed to remain in the Bill would constitute a very grave injustice to a clergyman who might lawfully contract such a marriage. He did not suppose that for some time, at any rate, the number of clergymen who would marry their deceased wives' sisters would be numerous, for there would be plenty of influences to prevent any tendency towards such a union. The silent boy-cot of his brethren, and possibly the still more effective boy-cot which the wives of neighbouring clergy might inflict on the woman, he proposed to marry, were strong and powerful influences which for many years, at any rate, would prevent any such marriages among the clergy. But if the man did marry, if the woman did undertake from the highest motives to face the social censure thus possibly involved, why should the ecclesiastical censure be reserved by their Lordships as something which could be added? If this clause stood, he believed it would be quite possible for a clergyman who had contracted one of these marriages to be deprived of his living. Were their Lordships prepared to say that a clergy- 8 man in Holy Orders of the Church of England who entered into a marriage which Parliament had declared to be a legal one, and which might be celebrated in the Church of England by a clergyman of the Church of England, should be subject to this severe penalty? He suggested that this was a real injustice. He pleaded in the highest sense that the liberty of the individual in matters of this kind should be respected, and protested against the grave injustice and the cruelty which might result if Clause 4 were allowed to remain in the Bill, not only to a clergyman but to the woman he married with the sanction of the law. The cases would be extremely rare. Why not let them alone? He pleaded for liberty to a clergyman, although he might for a time be acting contrary to the opinion of the majority of his colleagues. To complete the scheme of the Bill approved by the House, it was necessary that it should have general application, and, therefore, he asked their Lordships to reject this clause as they had rejected the first proposal of the most rev. Primate.
To leave out Clause 4."—(Lord Courtney of Penwith.)
§ LORD TWEEDMOUTH
For two special reasons I would ask my noble friend not to press his Amendment. The first is a personal one. When I undertook the charge of this Bill I entered, after consultation with my colleagues and with the most rev. Primate, into an honourable understanding to support this Amendment proposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It would be a breach of good understanding for me now to take any other step than to ask your Lordships to reject this Amendment. My noble friend does not altogether comprehend what the effect of his Amendment would be. If it were carried it would involve interference with the discipline of the Church over its own servants. Lord Courtney seemed to think there would be some incapacity imposed upon clergymen as citizens, but the clause will have no such effect. It will leave the individual clergyman with other citizens absolute freedom to enter into this marriage with the consent of the law and ensuring the 9 legitimacy of his children. But the clergyman has, as such, certain obligations which do not fall on the laity, and the Amendment of the most rev. Primate only deals with the relations between the clergyman and the ecclesiastical authorities and the obligations undertaken by the ordination vows. The position of the clergyman, therefore, differs from that of the ordinary layman; it bears some analogy to that of the priest ill the Roman Catholic Church, who by his ordination vows undertakes that he will not enter into matrimony. It seems to me that a clergyman of the Church of England when he takes the vows of the Church enters into a very great obligation to obey the laws of the Church. Then my noble friend asked what the ecclesiastical censure means. Censure is simply the sentence of the Ecclesiastical Court; that is all that censure means in a legal way, so far as it refers to an Ecclesiastical Court. I therefore press your Lordships not to accept Lord Courtney's Amendment, first, because it would certainly put me personally into a very awkward position; and, secondly, because I think that the English clergyman, whilst he keeps the full liberties of citizenship with regard to this marriage, is bound to consider the obligations entered into in his ordination.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
§ LORD TWEEDMOUTH
My Lords, I now have pleasure in moving the Third Reading of this Bill, and in doing so I desire to thank the House for the consideration shown me in my conduct of the measure. There are many of your Lordships who do not approve of the Bill and to whom it is something of an offence that we should pass it, but to both supporters and opponents my thanks are due for the assistance I have received in the later stages. There is a witty French saying, La sauce fait passer le poisson, and although the dish may be rather high flavoured to the palates of some of your Lordships I hope that the sauce with which it is served is pleasant enough to conciliate your taste and leave digestion unimpaired. After long delay I am glad to think that a subject that has been the cause of a great 10 deal of trouble in the country and the source of much injustice will be finally disposed of, and in passing this Bill I am confident your Lordships will be doing a good service to the people of the country.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 3a.";(Lord Tweedmouth.)
LORD BALFOUR OP BURLEIGH
My Lords, I am sorry that I cannot agree with the tenor of the speech which the noble Lord has just delivered. I should be sorry to differ from the personal tribute which he paid to those who supported him, or reject with ingratitude the kindly words which he said regarding those who are opposed to this proposal. But, so far as I am concerned—and I believe that in this matter I speak, at any rate, for some others in this House—I feel keenly the impolicy and the injustice of the Bill which we are now asked to read a third time, and I propose to make a final protest against it by moving that it be read a third time this day three months. It is a commonplace between us—at least it was the other day—that there was hardly any possibility of bringing forward new arguments on this subject. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack went so far as to say that every argument upon both sides was threadbare. If that is the case, it seems to me a most astounding thing that we should have been given by the noble Lord in charge of the Bill a travesty of the argument founded on the 18th chapter of the book of Leviticus. That argument may not go very far with some of your Lordships, and I am the last to say it is absolutely conclusive; but if the arguments on both sides are threadbare I think we ought, at any rate, to have had a little more evidence that the First Lord of the Admiralty had been made aware of what that part of the argument really is, and that he had given it an intelligent consideration. He presented the argument as if it depended entirely on the interpretation of one verse in that chapter, and he exhibited some ingenuity in proving that there were several translations of that passage. That is not the argument from the 18th chapter of Leviticus, as I 11 understand it. The whole point of that chapter is that in it the Law Giver is laying down a code and giving the relationships which are prohibited; some are relations of consanguinity and some of affinity, and those of affinity which are particularly specified are more in number than those of consanguinity. There are twelve distinct relationships between whom marriage is forbidden, and of them seven are of affinity and only five of consanguinity. That is the argument, as I have always been taught to regard it, from that passage in scripture. It is the laying down of principle and a code, and that I believe to have been the intention of the Law Giver. Following upon that, is it surprising that the Christian Church has followed out the same principle, and believing that marriage introduced a new relationship between the man and his wife carried into effect the same prohibitions of affinity and consanguinity in the matter of marriage? They have been, no doubt, dispensed in some cases by the great Roman Catholic Church, but, so far as the Church of England is concerned, and so far as that Church to which I have the privilege to belong is concerned, there has never been an attempt to use that dispensing power, and in both cases the prohibition is as distinct as it can possibly be made. The Confession of Faith, which is the standard of all the Presbyterian Churches, has in it this passage—A man may not marry any of his wife's relations nearer than he may of his own.That has always been the law of Scotland. The Act of 1835 made no change so far as the law of Scotland is concerned. In fact, by its very terms, its operation was excluded from Scotland, and therefore you are now, rightly or wrongly, so far as Scotland is concerned, making a breach in the law of that country both of Church and State, and, as I say, making it in an illogical manner. I pass from the ecclesiastical side of the argument because I am anxious, although making a final protest, not to detain your Lordships by anything like a long speech on this occasion, in view of the amount of business which lies before the House. After all, say what you like, this Bill is not a logical Bill, and those of us who dislike it dislike 12 it at least as much for its method as for its nature. Its advocates do not claim that it is logical. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, in answering this argument, said, "Let us do one thing at a time. We are not a logical nation. Let us take up one specific point. The fact that this is so ought to reassure those who are opposed to the change." It is that very circumstance that awakens our gravest apprehensions. It is because it is not logical, because it does not seem in logic that there is any justification for it, that we are afraid, little as we should like you to go further, that you are taking up a position which has no logical resting place, and on which even those who are now advocating this Bill will find themselves unable to rest. Whatever you may say about the Act of 1835, at any rate it was thoroughly logical. The First Lord of the Admiralty made out, as I think, an excellent case against the state of matters which existed before 1835. Prior to that year these marriages were voidable, but were not effectively void until the law was put into operation. There is no doubt whatever that a real evil existed under that law. The law was evaded, and brought, by being evaded, into disrepute; and you cannot read the Reports of the Royal Commissions which have sat at intervals since that time without seeing that those who knew the circumstances before 1835 would not, after the Act of that year, have been willing to go back to the state of matters which then existed. But, as I have said, the Act of 1835 was at least logical. It accepted existing faults; it established them upon a firm basis; and, having accepted what had gone before, it said that for the future neither marriages of consanguinity nor of affinity within the prohibited degrees should be valid. I do not go into the history of the Act of 1835. It may merit all that the noble and learned Lord near me said of it. There may have been this representation or that made by individual Prelates. At any rate, there is no record of these things in the Journals of the House or in Hansard, so far as I have been able to discover. But, taken by itself, and as meeting the circumstances of the time, I say that the Act of 1835 was a 13 logical and a wise Act, and I deeply regret that it is now being disturbed. As I have said, you are picking out one relationship, and that not the most distant. The law of the Church and of the State up to the present time has been strictly logical. It is not represented that this is merely a Church of England matter. It is not so. I have quoted words to show that the Reformed Churches in Scotland, so far as the law is concerned, have always taken exactly the same position. You are therefore for the first time making a breach in the logical nature of the law of marriage. We are told that this is necessary because the Colonies have made changes in their law. I will not go at length into that, but if that is an argument for this Bill, it may be used as a reason also for following the Colonies in other variations of the law, and where is that likely to land us?
It is said that there is a great demand for this change in the law. The only proof that I have ever heard given of that is the number of times in which Bills of this character have been passed by the other House of Parliament. I thought that the most rev. Primate the Bishop of London disposed of the question very well the other day as to whether there was any real demand for this change in the law. The, fact of the matter is, it has never been made a prominent question, and those of your Lordships who study the way in which elections are managed will, I think, be able very easily to understand how majorities can be got for proposals of this kind. Where there is carelessness and indifference, as I am sorry to think there is in regard to this matter, a small but energetic minority can always get their way. Where parties are nearly balanced those who want a particular change bind themselves together and go to this candidate and to that candidate and say they can command so many scores of votes, and that if the candidate does not agree with their proposal the votes will be cast against him. It does not very much matter whether those who use these arguments are anti-vaccinationists or are desirous of doing away with privilege cabs, they are likely, if they choose, to get their way by means of 14 playing off one candidate against the other. Our case is this, that of all departments of law the marriage law should be simple, logical, and settled as far as possible and liable to as little change, and at as widely spread intervals, as possible. This Bill settles nothing. It unsettles everything. It involves you in logical difficulties of the gravest possible kind, and I for one should not be satisfied unless I used every means in my power to prevent the enactment of what I believe to be an unjust and improper change in the law.
To leave out the word 'now' in order to insert, at the end of the Motion, the words 'this day throe months.' "—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)
* THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I join in thanking my noble friend the First Lord of the Admiralty for the courtesy and consideration with which he has conducted what must have been to him a thankless task, knowing as he did that he was going in the teeth of those who, whether rightly or wrongly, feel conscientious objections to this Bill; and I especially thank him for the support he gave to-day to Amendments which seem to me vital to the possibility of working the Bill at all. The position which I, and those who act with me, fill is now one of the extremest difficulty and the utmost delicacy, as well as of the highest responsibility. For the first time in the history of the Church of England has the law of the State been brought on one specific point into direct, open, overt contrast with and contradiction of the specific and defined law laid down in the authoritative regulations of the National Church. In the course of this debate statements have been made which were, to say the least, amazing to those of us who had studied the history of this matter in the past, either in the early days of the Church or in the centuries following the Reformation. Above all, there has been the strangest confusion in the minds of even learned speakers as to the meaning and range of what they have vaguely described as canon law. Some have even confused canon law with the regulations laid 15 down by Colonial Churches for their, present day guidance. But it was not necessary to enter into detail in answering those statements. Our business has been to try and reduce to a minimum what seem to us to be the inevitable difficulties, hardships, grievances, and wrongs which the passing of this Bill must bring about. I tried, with the support of many of your Lordships, to reduce these grave drawbacks to a minimum by placing at least the clergy of the Church of England outside the provisions of the Bill altogether with regard to their official responsibility and action. I failed to do that, and in consequence the burden of the difficulty—not the responsibility, for that lies elsewhere—lies, and must lie upon us. I will try to bear my share of that burden, and to discharge my share of that responsibility, to the very best of my power, for promoting the peace and welfare of the people as a whole, and for the avoidance of unnecessary friction and strife. I have endeavoured throughout the discussion on this subject, on which we feel so deeply, to use no harsh or unkindly word to those who conscientiously take a different view. But it is impossible for us to disguise from ourselves the immense difficulties and perplexities which lie ahead in the conduct of what must follow now that this Bill becomes law. I am quite sure I speak for many others, indeed for all my episcopal brethren, when I say that we will try to reduce those difficulties to a minimum, and to make the new legal arrangements work smoothly so far as is consistent with our securing absolute respect for the conscientious feelings of those whom in a special sense we are called upon to protect. If we were to put the feelings of those deeply conscientious men on one side, and forget what is involved to us clergy in a breach of the ancient rule, we should be unworthy of our place here and of the trust given to us in the Church of England. But, having said that, I desire, so far as in me lies, to look hopefully forward, because I believe it will be found that the practical operation of this Bill will be smaller than those who have promoted it believe, and that the feeling against it will show itself effectively in this way, that it will 16 reduce to comparatively small dimensions the actual use which is made of the proviions which will now become law. I understand that the noble Lord proposes to take a division on the Third Reading, and it would be obviously impossible, after what has passed, for myself and many others who feel with me, to do otherwise than vote with him on such an occasion. At the same time, in bidding farewell to the controversies which this measure has caused within both Houses of Parliament for so many years, I repeat that, while I deplore the change of law, I desire to reduce to a minimum the conflicts and the soreness which it must create, and it will be my endeavour so to act as to let the new law operate as smoothly as in these trying and difficnlt circumstances it possibly can.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND
My Lords, I will not detain your Lordships for more than a minute or two, but I cannot let this division take place without saying a word. Two features have marked this last stage of a long controversy which are very remarkable. To one of them I alluded the other night, and it has been referred to again this afternoon by the noble Lord who has moved the rejection of the Bill. It is the fact that the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack has informed us that it is necessary to strike piecemeal at the marriage law of the country.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord LOREBURN)
I am sure the noble Duke does not mean to misrepresent me. But the very last thing I should say would be that it was desirable "to strike piecemeal at the marriage law." What I did say, and repeat, is that I most earnestly warn your Lordships never to take more than one step at a time in regard to the marriage laws, lest it may lead you into inextricable difficulty. That is all I said.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND
I am very sorry to have misrepresented the noble and learned Lord. Shall I put it in this way—that the only way in which those who wish to attack our marriage laws can do so is by taking each marriage separately? I do not for a moment suppose that the noble and learned Lord wished to attack the whole of the marriage 17 law. But it is remarkable that such a statement should be made at the moment of passing this Bill. There is another circumstance which has attended this debate, which is, I think, equally noticeable. It is that two of the highest Judges in the land—the Lord Chancellor and Lord James of Hereford—both repudiated in the strongest terms the idea that they should be bound by any authority of the Church in a matter relating to marriage. Remember, my Lords, what that assertion was. It was not an assertion of unwillingness to be bound by this branch of the Church or that—by the Church of England, the Church of Rome, or the Church of Scotland; but both these noble and learned Lords told us that they were to be bound only by their own judgments and their own consciences, and that while they would give a patient and respectful hearing to anything the Church might say, they themselves were the judges of their own actions, and would submit to no authority whatever.
§ LORD JAMES OF HEREFORD
I never said anything of the sort. I never claimed the right to be bound only by my own conscience and judgment; I claimed to be bound by the law of the land as passed by Parliament and assented to by the Crown.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND
I did not for a moment mean to imply that noble Lords so distinguished in their profession would hold that they were absolved from obeying the civil law, but that they claimed not to be bound by the law or judgment of the Church. In other words, in matters spiritual there should be no King in Israel and that every man could do that which was right in his own eyes. That was the assertion of the noble and learned Lords; the only law which they will recognise is the civil law which they have a voice in changing, and they will not submit to any law which they cannot change and of which they have not the manipulation. I say that is a most serious statement to come from the highest Judges of the land. I It is the first time I have ever heard the assertion in so high a quarter, and I say again that it is remarkable that it should be made just as we are entering 18 on this new experiment with our marriage law. I have not troubled your Lordships with any theological arguments on this question, although I have all along believed that those arguments lie at the basis of the whole thing; but I affirm that for the prosperity of any State in the world there must be a higher authority, honoured and recognised, than that which any legislature can alter, and if there were no other reason for going into the lobby against the Third Reading of the Bill I would do so to stamp as clearly as I could my own utter detestation of the doctrines laid down.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I feel that I ought to say a few words in regard to this. The noble Duke appears to think that I have been suggesting some sort of methodical sapping and under mining of the law of marriage. I have never said anything of the kind. I am not aware of any other change in the law of marriage that I desire or that ought to be made, although I think this change ought to be made. What I have felt it my duty to call your Lordships' attention to is that you do not know how far-reaching a change in the marriage law may be; and that, therefore, if in desiring a logical system you lay down, for the sake of logic, broad propositions in regard to marriages, you may find you have done a great deal you never intended to do; you may really have the effect of destroying the system of marriage laws which the noble Duke wishes to preserve. That was really my meaning. I do not think I said anything inconsistent with that. In regard to the doctrine which I am afraid offends the noble Duke, what I said, and repeat, is that when I am thinking of what is the proper, wise, and right thing to do in amending the laws of my country, I pay the greatest respect to the opinion of all good men, and notably to the opinion of the good men who are on the Episcopal Bench in this House, but I reserve to myself the right to judge for myself, and I shall never surrender that right to any human being.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND
I think it would not be respectful to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack if I did not say that I fully accepted his 19 first disclaimer, and that I did not in the least intend to suggest that he proposed to make successive inroads on the marriage law. I carefully guarded and limited myself to the mere statement that he did think it was necessary to take one step at a time.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I do not rise to make a speech, but to refer to what fell from the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack last year. He then told us that a particular Bill which we passed should be looked at alone and would not be considered as a precedent for anything else. But this year it was used as a precedent for this Bill by one of his own colleagues. When, therefore, the noble and learned Lord assures us that in passing the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill it will not be used as a precedent for anything further, he must admit that he cannot speak with so much authority on that subject as he did last year.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I think the noble Marquess ought to do justice. I did say last year that I did not think what was done then could legitimately be used as an argument in favour of any extension of the marriage law; I think so still.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I think so still, and I have never said a single word to the contrary; and if the question had been put to me I would have said any time in the debate that I did not think what then took place was any precedent for what is taking place this year.
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX
My Lords, I am very reluctant to trespass on your Lordships' time, but will the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack allow me to remind him of the words he used the other night? These were his words—As a member of the Church, I claim to be governed by the laws of the country, and not by the laws of the Church.Unless the noble and learned Lord is prepared to say that the Church has no 20 laws which she has a right to enforce on her members, that statement appears to me as reasonable as it would be for the members of the Army to claim to be governed by the laws of the Navy. So far as it goes, I recognise the force of the argument brought forward by the noble Earl the President of the Council that it is not reasonable to impose a law founded on the doctrine of the Church on those who dissent from the Church, but it is an unjust and unreasonable thing to use that as an argument for destroying the discipline of the Church. You are by this Bill relieving the officers of the Church from the obligation of conforming to the law of the Church; that is what you did by refusing the Amendment of the most rev. Primate the other night. In future it will go forth, as the noble Duke has justly said, that on the authority of this House, and I must add with the sanction of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, the clergy are invited and encouraged to disobey the law of the Church of England and to play false to their solemn obligations. As to the injustice done to the Church of England, I cannot expect that your Lordships will listen to anything I can say on that subject after disregarding the weighty speech of the most rev. Primate; but I would like to remind your Lordships of what Mr. Gladstone, speaking on this subject in 1895, said. He said—What fills me with alarm and anxiety, and what I think a gross injustice, and what does injure the Church of England, is the power given to the clergy to consent to and officiate at marriages forbidden by the law of the Church of England.That is the point that comes home to me and to many others. If your Lordships think that by passing this Bill you will settle this question, I can assure you that you make a very great mistake. If in Australia only two requests were made for these marriages to be celebrated by the clergy and both were refused, do you suppose that the clergy of the Church of England in this country, who have solemnly declared these marriages forbidden by God's law, will celebrate them in their churches simply because Parliament has chosen to pass this Bill? I am certain that both clergy and laity will refuse to frame their conduct in accordance with the law which it is proposed 21 to pass, and I think your Lordships will have gone a great step towards hastening the day when the relations of the Church and State will be seriously modified in these matters.
§ LORD STANMORE
My Lords, there is one point which has not been touched upon at all during this debate, and which I merely wish to point out. It is this. This Bill applies to the whole of the United Kingdom, but the reliefs which are contained in the provisoes to the first clause affect only the clergy of the Established Church of England. Why is there no mention of the Established Church of Scotland? The ministers of the latter church are just as hostile to these marriages as any minister of the
§ Established Church of England. The law of the Church of Scotland prohibits marriage with a deceased wife's sister, yet no such relief is afforded to those ministers. Why? Because in Scotland the Church Courts are the exclusive and final judges in regard to all matters of doctrinal and disciplinary matters. Under the terms of the Union you dare net give those relaxations for the Established Church of Scotland which you give, in a way which utterly destroys the theory of Church discipline, to the members of the Church of England.
§ On Question, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question," their Lordships divided:—Contents. 98; Not-Contents, 54.23
|Loreburn, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Churchill, V||Granard, L (E. Granard. [Teller.]|
|Falmouth, V||Hamilton of Dalzen, L)|
|Crewe, E. (L. President.)||Hood, V||Hare, L. (E. Listowel.)|
|Hutchinson, V (E Donoughmore.)||Haversham, L.|
|Ripon, M. (L. Privy Seal.)||Milner, V.||Headley, L.|
|Argyll, D.||Aberdare, L.||Hylton, L.|
|Bedford, D.||Airedale, L.||James, L.|
|Richmond and Gordon, D.||Allendale, L||Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll.)|
|Welington, D.||Atkinson, L.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)|
|Avebury, L.||Lawrence, L.|
|Ailsa, M.||Balinhard, L. (E. Southesk.)||Leigh, L.|
|Camden, M.||Barnard, L.||Leith of Fyvie, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Barrymore, L.||Lucas, L.|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)|
|Camperdown, E.||Blyth, L.||Monteagle of Brandon, L.|
|Carrington, E.||Boyle, L (E. Cork and Orrery)||Oriel, L. (V. Massereene.)|
|Cathcart, E.||Ramsay, L. (E. Dalhousic.)|
|Cawdor, E.||Calthorpe, L.||Ranfurly, L. (E. Ranfurly.)|
|Clarendon, E.||Cheylesmore, L.||Rathmore L.|
|Cowley, E.||Cloncurry, L.||Ritchie of Dundee, L|
|Craven, E.||Colebrooke, L.||Sanderson, L.|
|Eldon, E.||Cottesloe, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Hardwicke, E.||Courtney of Penwith, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Dawnay, L. (V. Downe.)||Sudley, L. (E. Arran.)|
|Londesborough, E.||Denman, L. [Teller]||Swaythling, L.|
|Northesk, E.||Dormer, L.||Templemore, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Dunboyne, L.||Tennyson, L.|
|Radnor, E.||Eligin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.)||Tweedmouth, L.|
|Russell, E.||Tyrone, L. (M. Waterford.)|
|Stanhope, E.||Ellenborough, L.||Ventry, L.|
|Strange, E. (D. Atholl.)||Elphinstone, L.||Weardale, L.|
|Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)||Eversley, L.||Welby, L|
|Fairer, L.||Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.)|
|Althorp, V. (L. Chamberlain.)||Fitzmaurice, L.||Wynford, L.|
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Ailesbury, M.||Dartmouth, E.|
|Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.)||Salisbury, M.||Derby, E.|
|Newcastle, D.||Zetland, M.||Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuchand Queensberry.)|
|Northumberland, D. [Tetter.]||Carnwath, E.||Feversham E.|
|Lauderdale, E.||London, L. Bp.||Forester, L.|
|Mar and Kellie, E.||Oxford, L. Bp.||Gage L. (V. Gage.)|
|Morton, E.||Salisbury, L. Bp.||Hatherton L.|
|Munster, E.||Southwark, L. Bp.||Kengsington, L.|
|Shaftesbury, E.||Wakefield, L. Bp.||Langford, L.|
|Waldegrave, E.||Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)|
|Addington, L.||North, L.|
|Goschen, V.||Armstrong, L.||Robertson, L.|
|Halifax, V.||Balfour L. [Teller.]||Seaton, L.|
|Hill, V.||Blythswood, L.||Sinclair, L.|
|St. Aldwyn, V.||Brodrick L. (V. Midleton.)||Stanmore, L.|
|Clonbrock, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Bangor, L. Bp.||Colchester, L.|
|Birmingham, L. Bp.||Douglas, L. (E. Home.)||Waleran, L.|
|Exeter, L. Bp.||Fairlie, L. (E. Glasgow.)|
|Lichfield, L. Bp.||Fermanagh, L. (E. Erne.)|
§ Bill read 3a accordingly, with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.