§ Debate on the Amendment moved by the Marquess of Salisbury to the Motion that the Bill be now read 2a, viz., to leave out all the words after ("That") for the purpose of inserting the following Resolution, viz., ("this House declines to proceed with the consideration of the Bill until it has been submitted to the judgment of the country") resumed (according to Order).
§ LORD DYNEVOR
My Lords, although we have seen this Bill before I can hardly describe it as an old friend. It is most unwelcome, and, with all due deference to the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack, I say it is most unpopular. Why has the Church out of the numerous denominations that exist been especially picked out for this attack. I suppose I shall be told it is because she is Established. I hold that the word "Established" has the same meaning now as it used to have—that is, "recognised"; but I am quite willing to allow that in modern times the word has taken a wider meaning and that it may include one or all of the following definitions—toleration, legislation, supervision, or control by the State. Every one of those definitions apply to all Nonconformist denominations as well as to the Church. I need hardly remind your Lordships of the famous judgment delivered in 1767 by Lord Mansfield, who boldly declared that the Toleration Act of 1689 established all Nonconformist denominations, and as far as I am aware that judgment has never been reversed.
Just consider the number of Acts of Parliament that have been passed by the State on behalf of Nonconformists. I will not enumerate them all; they are far too many; but I will allude to one or two which I think are the most important. There is an Act which allows Nonconformists to acquire sites for their places of worship; there is another Act which allows marriages to take place in Nonconformist churches—that is very much of a State establishment; there is a third one which, I think, is the most important of all, which allows the Charity Commissioners, who are paid by Parliament, to appoint and to give legal advice to the trustees of trusts in the hands of the Charity Commissioners. There are hundreds and thousands of Nonconformist trusts in the hands of the 1206 Charity Commissioners. What a boon and a blessing it must be to those Nonconformists to get the whole of their legal advice free, at the cost of the State! That is not only supervision and control by the State; it is endowment by the State. But have not the Nonconformists at any time received even more direct endowment than that which I have just mentioned? Surely your Lordships remember that from 1722 to 1852 Parliament used to vote grants of money to necessitous Nonconformist ministers and their widows. For England and Wales the amount so voted, I believe, was £216,000. Similar grants were given to the then Nonconformists of Ireland, the Presbyterians, and when the Irish Church was Disestablished and Disendowed those grants ceased, but in order that the Non-conformists of Ireland should not be losers, Parliament handed them over the lump sum of £750,000, which, at 4 per cent., brings in £30,000 a year, and I am glad to think they are enjoying that sum to-day. What between the Parliamentary grant and this lump sum Parliament gave to the Presbyterians in Ireland £2,600,000.
If it is right to take away from the Church in Wales money which was not given to her by the State, surely it would be more right for Parliament to turn her attention to these large sums of money which were given by the State to the Nonconformists. There is one sum of money which the Church in Wales enjoys, which I candidly own was given to her by the State. It brings in £5,800 a year, and it came to the Church in exactly the same way as the slims of money I have just mentioned went to the Nonconformists—namely, by Parliamentary grant. But it is rather curious that under this Bill the Church in Wales is allowed to retain that £5,800 a year. I suppose the reason is obvious. The Government must have felt that if they called upon the Church to give up that sum, they would, in all justice and fairness, at the same moment have to call upon the Nonconformists to return every farthing of Parliamentary grant they had received. There are some, I know, who hold that a Church should not rely on its endowments, but should practise the voluntary system. I agree in principle that the voluntary system is an excellent one. I would like to see every individual, never mind to what denomination he or she belongs, giving 1207 as much as he or she can afford to their own church; but the Nonconformists, like the Church, have already found out that the voluntary system will not bring in a sufficient amount. I do not think I am overstating it when I say that Wesleyans have a capital endowment sum of over £10,000,000. The Congregational Union, so the Baptist Times tells me, has a sustentation fund of £143,000, and your Lordships may have noticed a short time ago in the Press the great appeal that went up from the Baptist Union for a sustentation fund of £250,000. I understand that they have been fairly successful in their endeavours. I am delighted to hear it, for I know from personal experience how very inadequately many Nonconformist ministers are remunerated. But will those Nonconformists who hold that the Church is better off without endowments put their principles into practice and disendow themselves?—I say "disendow themselves," because we Churchmen have no intention of taking one single farthing away from them.
Why is the Church to be Disendowed? The usual argument is that the Church's property is national property. If that is so, why do the Government bother to bring in a Bill? Why do they not go straight to the Law Courts and demand what they consider to be their own? They obviously will not do that, because they know there is not a single Judge in the United Kingdom but would hold that the Church's property belongs to no one but the Church. Now the Bill of 1895 laid down that all the Church's property prior to 1703 was to be treated as national property. This Bill puts back the date to 1662. When addressing your Lordships' House six months ago on this very Bill, I put a question to the Government. I asked them what was it that had occurred between those two dates that made the Government come to the conclusion that they were wrong in 1895 and right in 1912? I received no answer. Therefore I put the question again in the hope that I may receive one this time. I may be told that the year 1662 has been chosen because in that year was passed an Act of Uniformity. That I may say will not be an adequate answer to my question. The Act of 1662 was not the first Act of Uniformity; it was the fourth. But His Majesty's Government, I know, will not take the first 1208 Act of Uniformity, because that would leave to the Church more of her own property.
For we have heard that there is money in this question, and that that is the only sort of programme worth having. I know there are some who hold that Henry VIII took away money from one Church and gave it to another Church. I do not hold that view myself, and I am glad to think that the present Prime Minister does not hold that view either. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, of course, holds his own view. He said that this money was given by Catholics to Catholics for Catholics. That, I may say in passing, hardly sounds like national property; that sounds to me more like a private benefaction. But let me, just for the sake of argument, and for the sake of argument alone, acknowledge that Henry VIII did take away money from one Church and give it to another. What, then, are those who hold that view admitting? Why, that the Church has held her property for over 300 years. If 300 years possession does not make a good title, then I want to know what does. If 300 years possession and more by the Church makes a bad title, then how many years must the Nonconformists show before they become entitled to their endowments? In 1844 Parliament passed the Dissenters' Chapels Act, which lays down that if a Nonconformist denomination can show she has used her endowments and her chapels, never mind to whatever other denomination they may previously have belonged, for twenty-five years, twenty-five years makes a good title. According, therefore, to the Liberationists' own argument 300 years possession by the Church makes a bad title, but twenty-five years possession by the Nonconformists makes a good title. The Home Secretary said that he wanted to give "equal treatment." Those are the words he used, but if the Government want to put the Church on any equality with the Nonconformists all they have to do is to bring in a Bill which will say that if the Church shows she has used her churches and her endowments for twenty-five years, twenty-five years will be a good title. Then what will become of the Disendowment clauses of this Bill?
Then as to tithe. There are some who hold that tithe is a tax. I thought the late Sir William Harcourt finally destroyed 1209 that argument in the House of Commons when he said tithe is not a tax; it is a fallacy to call it a tax. What is tithe? It is a rent charge on some lands; not all lands, but some lands. Do not the Nonconformists themselves own any rent charges on land I know of two or three cases in Wales. I will give your Lordships one. There is a farm in Cardiganshire which belongs to a Churchman. He let the farm to a tenant who is also a Churchman. The sent of the farm is £100 a year. There is a charge on that farm of £52 a year for the ministry of the neighbouring Nonconformist chapel. Every Sunday a deacon of that chapel calls upon the Church tenant and asks him for a sovereign. The tenant gives him the sovereign, and when his rent day comes round, instead of giving his landlord £100, he deducts the £52 he has already paid and gives his landlord £48. So it is the landlord and not the tenant who is paying the rent charge. But do you suppose that the Churchman objects to paying that rent charge to the Nonconformist? Of course not. He pays willingly and cheerfully. Why? Because he knows that that rent charge belongs to the Nonconformist and does not belong to him. I have heard it argued that because the State enforces the payment of tithe, therefore the State gave the Church the tithe. But what would happen if this Churchman refused to pay that rent charge to the Nonconformists? The State would force him to pay it. It could be recovered in a Court of Law. Are we to understand, then, that the State gave that rent charge to the Nonconformists? If you or I make a will and we leave our money to our wives and our children, when we die the State will enforce the payment of that money to our wives and our children. Is anybody going to be so foolish as to argue that therefore our wives and our children have been endowed by the State?
I do not know whether noble Lords sitting opposite have realised the full effect of what this Bill will mean should it become law. Have they realised that in many districts in Wales, especially up in the mountains, they will be depriving the people there of their resident clergyman? The people who live in these districts are very poor; they could not possibly afford to find a stipend for their clergy. Owing to a small amount of endowment they have a resident clergyman in their midst. Nonconformists, and I am sorry to say it, have 1210 already found the greatest difficulty in a number of parishes in those districts in providing a resident minister for themselves. Pass this Bill and you will be depriving those people of the one man who is there, who is the encourager of the healthy and the comforter and solacer of the sick and the dying. What is the crime that the Church has committed that she is to be dismembered? What is the sin that she has committed that she is to be treated in this way? I think I am entitled to ask the Government to formulate their charges. This Bill dismembers the Church, but we know that the Nonconformists in Wales have taken the strongest objection to any suggestion for themselves being dismembered. Why was it they refused to set up a National Free Church Council for Wales instead of a National Free Church Council for England and Wales as at present? The reason was, as they said, that nothing but good can come of the uniting of England and Wales in one solid force. If nothing but good can come to the Nonconformists of Wales and England from being united in one solid force, why, I ask, is it supposed to be good to sever Churchmen in Wales from Churchmen in England.
The Prime Minister a month ago, speaking in another place, tried to draw an analogy between what was clone to the Irish Church and what it is proposed to do to the Church in Wales. He said that every argument used against this Bill had been used against the Irish Bill, with one exception, and that was the question of dismemberment. That he owned was peculiar to this Bill. I have read the Prime Minister's speech through very carefully, and I came to the conclusion that what he said on this point was not nearly so important as what he did not say. The Prime Minister did not point out that before the Irish Church was dealt with a religious census was taken. He did not point out that before it was dealt with a General Election was held which turned very largely on the question. I was very much indebted to the noble Marquess who leads the House for informing us during the debate on the Home Rule Bill about those Resolutions which were brought into Parliament before the General Election of 1868. The Prime Minister did not point out that the Irish Church after Disendowment was left richer than the Church in Wales is before Disendowment.
1211 Let me return for one moment to the question of a religious census. I remember well, as I was a member of the House of Commons then, that in 1910 the Government brought in a Bill to take the ordinary census. Many Unionists pressed them strongly to add another column to the Census Paper, in which people might, if they liked, write down to what religious denomination they belonged. That was most strongly opposed by the Government, and by the Welsh Radical Members. Why? We were told that men's consciences would be affected if they wrote down on the Census Paper to what denomination they belonged. I have not a very high opinion of the religious convictions of a man or a woman who is ashamed to put them on paper. The Government, having settled that question to their own satisfaction—namely, by refusing to do this—immediately afterwards brought in a Bill to take a religious census in Ireland. I have yet to learn that the consciences of Irishmen are more elastic than the consciences of Welshmen. The noble Marquess, Lord Crewe, when addressing your Lordships six months ago on this question, alluded to the fact that existing life interests of incumbents are preserved by the Bill. I am not aware that anybody has denied that. But is that such a very great point? After all, what is the life of one individual in the life of the Church?
The Home Secretary delivered a speech in the beginning of 1912 at Queen's Hall, and he is reported to have said that—They had no quarrel with the Church of England; they had no thought of sacrilege, or robbery, or spoliation, or any of the crimes with which they were charged.If they had no quarrel with the Church, why did they bring in this Bill? If they had no thoughts of spoliation or robbery, why do they take away from the Church the tithe and the glebe and the ancient churchyards? I prefer to judge a man by his actions rather than by his words. Then the Home Secretary went down to Wales a short time ago and addressed a meeting at Holyhead, and he is reported in the Radical Press to have said that he knew of no reason in justice for any alteration in the Bill as it now stands. If this Bill in the eyes of the Home Secretary spells justice, then all I can say is, God help the prisoners under his charge! This Bill dismembers the 1212 Church, grants it a new constitution which the Church has never asked for, and cripples it in its resources. It is the old story, the old order, "Continue to make bricks," but the Government take away the straw. May we not, therefore, ask the Government who bring in this Bill, in the words of the Solicitor-General, "Why did you do it?"
§ LORD ASHTON OF HYDE
My Lords, after the interesting speech to which we have just listened I feel that I ought to apologise to the House for drawing it off for a few moments from the main question in the Bill to a matter which might be called a detail, though I think it is a considerable one. I probably should not have raised the point on this occasion had it not been that I presume there will be no further occasion in this House on which I could raise it. I do not propose to discuss the merits or the demerits of the Bill as a whole, but I wish to put forward an argument with regard to the treatment of endowments under this Bill. It is not necessary for the purposes of my argument that I should discuss or weigh in the balance whether the Church when Disestablished is or is not to receive a fair share of those endowments. It does not affect my argument. What I wish to put before the House is that, in my humble opinion, the nation should not part with those funds entirely, as is proposed under the Bill. The Bill lays down that these funds shall be placed in the hands of three Welsh Commissioners, but that their powers are to cease after they have distributed the funds. I should like to argue that it would be infinitely preferable that they should be made a permanent body, that they should not only distribute the funds for the three years, but should retain those funds and distribute the income, subject always, as they would be, to Parliament.
In dealing with the question of the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church in Wales, one ought to look ahead a little. Though I do not think it will be in the near future, yet it is distinctly possible that the time will come when the question will arise of the Disestablishment and consequently of the Disendowment of the Church in England. I think that that question is further off than it was 30 years ago, but looking at it from the general point of view of the growth of opinion all over the world that State connection with 1213 the Church is not a desirable one, I cannot help feeling that the time will come when that question will have to be faced in this country. Therefore in dealing with the endowments of the Church in Wales we ought to look ahead and realise that the way in which we deal with this matter now may form a precedent for the time when we may have to deal with the endowments of the English Church. The endowments of the Welsh Church are, perhaps, a comparatively small matter; they are not large. But the endowments of the English Church are enormous, and few people who think the question over would say that it would be safe for the State, in case the question of the Disendowment of the Church of England came, to hand over those endowments to any private body of people. I therefore wish to argue that in this case we should not form such a precedent, but that we should retain these funds in the hands of Commissioners, subject to the control of Parliament. We ought to look upon these endowments, in spite of what has been said by the noble Lord opposite, as national property—national property, I admit, which has been given by the donors originally for specific purposes; and I quite hold with those who desire that so far as is possible the wishes of those donors under the altered circumstances of time should be carried out.
The endowments of the Church fall mainly into two great groups. There are the modern endowments, which it is proposed, and I think rightly proposed, should be retained by the Church when it becomes Disestablished; but, after all, those endowments, though they have been given to a specific Church, have been given to that Church as a national Church. Therefore I think it is right that the nation, looking upon the matter as the trustees of these funds, should see that they are dealt with as probably the donors, under the altered circumstances of the present day, would have wished if they had lived. If you hand the capital of these funds over you part with it to what will be practically a private body, away entirely from that national control which it was the intention of the donors should exist.
Were the Church always going to remain exactly as it is to-day, there would be no great harm in this from that point of view. But we all know that Churches change and that religions change. It was only 400 years ago that we were a Roman 1214 Catholic country. Who knows when this Church is disestablished what is going to be the religion of those into whose hand these funds may come years hence? I am not sure that even within a comparatively short time there may not be considerable differences between the members of that Church, for we know how great is the difference between those who hold High Church views and those who hold Low Church views. Therefore you cannot be sure that the religion of those who are going to have possession and control of these funds to-day will be the same some years hence. My belief is that these funds ought to be kept subject to the control of Parliament, that Parliament standing for the nation that owns these funds should be able, if it became necessary, to decide to whom the funds in future days ought to belong.
I will take one case. You might have a case exactly as we had in Scotland, where practically the whole of the funds, owing to differences haying arisen in Churches, came into the possession of a very small number—what is called the Wee Church. You might have a Wee Church case. I put that forward as a reason why, even in the case of the modern funds of the Church, the nation should not lose its grip of the custody of those funds. In that way it would act as the trustee for those who have given these funds for the purposes of a national Church. The rest of the funds—far the larger part, I presume—are the old funds which have been inherited from the old Roman Catholic times. It is not in the least necessary for my argument to say whether or not the Church to-day is the same Church as it was 400 years ago. The Church has those funds which at one time were used for Roman Catholic purposes, and in my opinion rightly has them, because they are used for the purposes of a national Church and the nation has a right to say how those funds should be utilised. But, my Lords, what were those funds originally given for? They were given undoubtedly for the Roman Catholic religion to some extent. But in those days, as we all know, the Church stood for all that there was, not only in religion, but in works of charity and for what little education there was, and for whatever was done practically for the moral improvement of the people. We have not allowed, and we could not allow, the dead 1215 hand to govern the disposal of funds for ever and ever. We have not allowed it. The Charity Commission is evidence of that. There is therefore, in my opinion, no reason why we now, looking at the uses for which this money was given, should not utilise it for the various purposes for which it is proposed that these funds should be utilised, subject always to their being used for the moral improvement of the people in such a way as the donors would probably have wished them to be used had they been living at the present day.
It is true that it is proposed to give some of these funds to the Church; it is proposed to give some of these funds for educational purposes, and I believe for libraries. Those purposes would probably, if the donors lived to-day, be well within their wishes. But I observe that some funds are to be given in bulk to the county councils of Wales practically without any reservation as to the uses to which they are to be put. I confess I think the uses, even if the money is given to the county councils, should be limited to the moral improvement of the people. But for my own part I do not think it is wise to hand over the funds to the county councils at all. These funds, as I have said before, are subject to the control of the nation, and in my opinion it is the nation and not the county councils who should decide how they are to be used in the future. The impression that is made upon my mind by the clause in the Bill which gives this money to the county councils is that the Government had a large amount of money to dispose of and did not exactly know what to do with it, and so they have laid the responsibility of spending it, for good or for evil, upon the county councils. I do not think that is wise. There may not at this moment be subjects on which they can say that money should be spent from a national point of view, but the time is sure to come when those objects will arise, and if this money had been left in the hands of the Commissioners not to be used immediately but to roll up for a time no great harm would be done. But even if it were left in the hands of the Commissioners subject to the control of Parliament, Parliament could at any time say in what way for the moral and intellectual improvement of the people that money could be utilised. Therefore I strongly urge that these moneys, instead of being given up absolutely by the nation, should be retained in the hands of Commissioners 1216 subject to the will and the control of Parliament. The nation would then see to it that the money was spent for national purposes. It would also see that the money was not squandered, as I am afraid it may be if it gets into the hands of the county councils. In this way we should display foresight for the future, and cause the funds to be used to better purpose than would be the case under the provision in the Bill.
THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH
My Lords, I had always looked forward to hearing this Bill defended by Lord Loreburn, whose great ability, courtesy, and fairness gave his words here and in the country a unique weight, but the noble Lord, as far as I am aware, has never spoken or voted for this particular measure. I must therefore address myself to the speech made yesterday by his successor on the Woolsack. The noble Viscount began with idealism and then with facts. I will venture to reverse the process and begin with his facts and end with his idealism. He stated that under the Act of Uniformity of 1662 some of the best clergymen in Wales suffered most severely and that there arose around them a band of people who increased more and more and that there grew up a generation of men who still clung to the Church of England down to the middle of the eighteenth century. Now, my Lords, I will venture to give the facts. There was only one clergyman of distinction in Wales who left the Church in 1662. Philip Henry, who held a cure in my own diocese, said that he "would studiously and prayerfully" consider that Act, and having done so he came to the decision that he must of his own free will resign his cure. He did resign his cure, but on the following Sunday he attended the services of the Church conducted by his successor. Philip Henry left no following or succession in Wales. I ask the House to remember this one fact, which can be established beyond all question before any impartial tribunal in this country. During the Commonwealth Wales was Royalist and the hand of the Puritans with their Act of Propagation fell fiercely upon Wales and reduced the Church for the next 100 years to abject poverty. Now the essential fact was this. In the year 1700 there were no Nonconformists in Wales at all. By the middle of the century there were only 263 Nonconformists in my diocese, and in the year 1800 the whole of the Nonconformists in 1217 Wales numbered less than 5 per cent. of the population. The religious revivals of the eighteenth century were by Churchmen and for Churchmen, and it was not until the year 1811 that the great Methodist schism took place.
Now I turn to the noble and learned Viscount's disquisition on education. "Wales," he told us, "owes almost everything in education to Nonconformists," and Bishop Thirlwall, of St. Davids, had told the clergy what would happen if they refused to accept the Act. Now, let me ask the House to consider very carefully these words spoken in 1872 by Bishop Thirlwall—The Act of 1870 is still on its trial. We are not grieved to hear that it is a complaint of our adversaries against the Act that in the six months' grace which it allowed grants were asked for 2,852 Church schools, nor is it painful to us to learn that there are now thousands of parishes amply provided with school accommodation entirely in the hands of the Church. We do not consider it either as a calamity or a reproach to the Act that it has enabled the denominationalists to cover districts with schools which will render School Boards unnecessary. We ate glad to receive witness to the fact that the Church has not been unmindful of the duty which is laid upon her. It is saddening to find that so many (Nonconformist Ministers) have been induced by their hostility to the Church to enter into an unnatural alliance with persons from whose principles they must recoil with abhorrence and to join the secularist party in its endeavours to exclude all religious teaching from schools aided by the State.And this quotation is added from a declaration made by a general conference of Nonconformists at Manchester in 1872, who "were bold to say that the Nonconformist Churches had not done their part sufficiently in the past in reference to the greater matter of religious education." Those are the words spoken by Bishop Thirlwall in 1872. In my own county of Flintshire in twenty years after the Act of 1870 the number of children in the Church schools was inure than double that of all other schools.
I now pass to the Intermediate Education Act of 1889. The noble and learned Viscount said this was "essentially a Nonconformist movement." Here, again, I venture to trouble your Lordships with the facts. The Bill was passed by a Unionist Government; it was drafted and proposed by Churchmen, and its passage was secured by the aid of the Welsh Bishops, and in that step I was privileged to take some part. I pass to the third 1218 charge in the indictment of the noble and learned Viscount. He stated that the University Charter was rejected in the interests of Lampeter College. Here, again, we will have the facts. The Bishop of Chester moved a Motion in this House that Lampeter College should be included in the Welsh University. This inclusion, so far front indicating disapproval, showed the desire of Churchmen to co-operate and share in the Welsh University.
Now let me turn to one other aspect of this question. In Wales the Church, and the Church mainly, provided by the generosity of Churchmen elementary education for the working man before the working man was armed with a vote. They sacrificed their own endowed grammar schools after 1889, and the President of the Welsh University in North Wales at the present time is Lord Kenyon. Now the point I wish the House to note is this: all these departments of education have been chiefly supported by the voluntary contributions of Churchmen. I will give one instance. The University College of Aberystwyth, of which the first Principal was a Nonconformist Minister, and which was mainly a Nonconformist institution, was built before the Education Commission of 1880. The Report of that Commission, presided over by Lord Aberdare, stated that 33 per cent. of the subscriptions to this Nonconformist University College were given by Churchmen. The Non-conformists in Wales have been generous to education, but it has always been generosity with public funds. They themselves did little or nothing for elementary education. The sites and buildings of the secondary schools were largely given by Churchmen.
The noble and learned Viscount quoted Sir Harry Reichel, for whom I have the greatest respect, upon the advantages of the education given in the colleges and contrasted unfavourably the clergy and the Nonconformist ministers. The Arts degree in the Welsh University is valuable, and some of the best candidates I have had for ordination have taken this degree. But here is a remarkable fact which I have upon the authority of a distinguished Nonconformist Minister, who told me—and I know it is true—that the most distinguished graduates who join the Nonconformist ministry leave Wales for England as soon as they can, because the stipends offered 1219 to them in Wales are so small. I think I can speak with knowledge on this question, and I say without hesitation that the clergy in Wales to-day, educationally and ministerially, need fear no comparison with the ministers of any other denomination. From education the noble and learned Viscount came down to phthisis. I almost expected to hear him say that phthisis was wholly confined to Churchmen and wholly cured by Nonconformists. Now, what are the facts here? A colliery proprietor—a Nonconformist—a man of colossal wealth, started this memorial, although the movement had previously been inaugurated by Churchmen in South Wales. He appealed to Churchmen for their support They have given him that support ungrudgingly. I myself have attended the meetings on this subject. What has the noble and learned Viscount done? He has stepped down from his exalted position to hinder that co-operation and to pour the venom of sectarian spite and division into this great work.
One more point. This Bill takes away £158,000 a year from the Church in Wales. That proposal raises questions of title, of honesty, of justice. Have we not a right to expect from the head of the Judiciary of this great kingdom some words of justification for such a proposal? The noble and learned Viscount passed the whole of this subject over in silence. The noble Viscount talked of Welsh idealism. There are varieties of idealism. In Wales, as in other places, there is the variety which logicians call "productive imagination," and the specimens of this variety pale before the performance of the noble Viscount yesterday.
I now turn from the Lord Chancellor to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, in his latest speech on this subject, said that "it was unfair to attribute motives to either side in this controversy," and he "deplored the exhibition of a bitterness of partisanship and an uncharitableness of temper which in purely secular controversies we are able to avoid." The last reflection, if I may say so with all respect, hardly rises to the dignity of a commonplace. Assuredly, any man worthy of the name will contend to the bitter end for his honour and the faith upon which that honour is built. You cannot touch the deepest things in life without arousing intense feeling and even passion. Motives 1220 are alike difficult accurately to analyse or to avow. The authors of this measure at the outset assured the world that "it was inspired by no hostility to the Church in Wales but by an earnest desire for her welfare." I remember some 18 years ago hearing the noble Viscount, Lord St. Aldwyn, describe this statement in another place as "nauseating cant." That motive has now been discarded, and the Under-Secretary of State, with laudable candour, gave in a coarse and concrete form what seems to be the real motive for this measure—"there is money in it." And there I leave the question of motives.
Without incurring the Prime Minister's censure, I may discuss the conditions and the methods under and by which this Bill is being passed through Parliament. In a remarkable letter written in 1896, Professor Goldwin Smith points out that "in this passion-tost democracy a House of Commons unchecked by a Second Chamber would vote us to ruin." At the present moment the pledge given of a reconstituted House of Lords awaits fulfilment, and meanwhile measures of far-reaching importance are being pressed through Parliament with a ruinous disregard of consequences. By what methods was this Bill driven through a reluctant House of Commons? By the aid of a section of Nonconformists co-operating with an over-represented Ireland with the added help of the new power of what a Member of the Government calls "four hundred solid arguments." What precedent for such a situation is there? I can only think of that discreditable period in English history when King James II endeavoured to play off the Irish Catholics and the Nonconformists against the Church of England, with dire disaster to himself. Then, as now, there were noble men among the Nonconformists and the Catholics who would have nothing to do with that base compact.
The essential fact in the present situation is that this Bill is being passed against, we believe, the wishes of the people of England. The Government do not, I believe they dare not, submit this Bill as it stands to the judgment of the English people. A few days ago Mr. Birrell, with characteristic candour, described the British public as "a fool with long low, ears" I do not know whether this estimate of the British people is widely entertained by the members of this democratic Government? 1221 Altogether apart front the particular measure we are discussing, I view with dismay the Government's method of legislation. In plain language, it means that laws of the first importance are being forced through Parliament which are not clothed with the moral sanction of the people of this country. In the ultimate resort such a procedure creates a spirit of lawlessness. Let me be quite frank. If this Bill were passed after it had been submitted to and approved by the people of this country, I, at any rate, would acquiesce loyally in their decision and make the best of it, but if this Bill is to be hustled through Parliament without the sanction of the people, then there will be a bitter and abiding sense of injustice and oppression in the heart of every Churchman.
One curious feature in the evolution of this controversy is the fact that the first supporters of Welsh Disestablishment sought for their evidence in arithmetic. The earliest speeches in Parliament in favour of Welsh Disestablishment were replete with statistics. The first speeches which nearly twenty years ago the present Prime Minister made on this subject were littered with figures—front Wales. So universal was the statistical argument that the Disestablishment Party had reduced religion in Wales to a vulgar fraction. For some years they fed on figures; perhaps the food proved unnutritious, perhaps there was some error in the cooking. All that is changed now, and the controversy during the last two years has passed from arithmetic to history. I should have thought that fair play would demand that tile Church in Wales should be judged by what it is and is doing to-day. Our opponents have thought otherwise. They have been delving in the past for the grievances which they cannot find in the present. Nothing has been more remarkable than the way in which the advocates of this measure have treated the historical record, particularly the Welsh Members. They have made riotous incursions into the 18th century, mutilating and trampling under foot all the facts, and I can only liken their incursion to that of a herd of wild cattle bursting into a well-ordered flower garden.
This strange historical chapter was opened by the Home Secretary, who, you will remember, in discussing the endowments of the Church, regaled the House of 1222 Commons with fragments of Latin imperfectly translated, combined with fragments of history more imperfectly remembered. Quite recently he told his listening followers in another place that—the history of the Church in Wales, with the exception of the last two generations, is a history of neglect and misrule. The Nonconformist bodies gave them (the Welsh) education, taught them the Bible in their own tongue, and brought religion back into the country.By the side of that statement, let me put these words of Mr. Gladstone, spoken at an Eisteddfod in Wales—The mass of the people believe the Welsh to have been a religious people for about 150 or 120 years, and there are a great many who are in the habit of saying that before that time the Welsh were a very godless people. Will you allow me to say that I do not believe a word of it. I believe they were a religious people from the time when they harboured the old Christian religion in the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries. The translation of the Bible (by a Bishop of St. Asaph) into Welsh formed the stay and central prop for the Welsh language all through the country.The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a speech marked by moderation, asked, "Why was John Penry executed?" Apparently, although the language is a little obscure, the Chancellor connected John Penry's fate with the Establishment in Wales. As a matter of fact, John Penry, a fanatic who swung round from Romanism to extreme Calvinism, was put on his trial in 1593 for feloniously printing at Edinburgh words designed to excite rebellion in England. All this had nothing to do with the Church in Wales. Coming to a later date, the Chancellor referred to a distinguished clergyman in my diocese who was not made a Bishop owing to his broad and liberal proclivities. The clergyman in question, for whose memory I entertain deep respect and admiration, was not appointed to a Welsh See when his name was brought before Mt. Gladstone, but the reason why he was not then or afterwards appointed to a Welsh See had nothing whatever to do with his supposed Liberalism. As a matter of fact, his son was the Conservative Member for the town of which he was vicar.
One more example of these historical oddities may be given. The Prime Minister described the founders of Welsh Nonconformity as "driven out of the so-called National Church." The Chancellor, on the other hand, said that "the fathers of Nonconformity left the Church reluctantly 1223 and simply came to the conclusion that remaining inside the Anglican Church was quite incompatible with doing the work they desired." There is a formidable difference between these two statements. Was it expulsion, as the Prime Minister says, or voluntary withdrawal, as the Chancellor puts it? I desire to speak of the Prime Minister with sincere respect for the courtesy and the fairness with which he has discussed this Bill, but I ask in wonder from what sources he takes his Welsh Church history. If any one will take the trouble to collate the historical references to I he Church in Wales made by the Prime Minister during the last eighteen years, he will observe that one by one the Prime Minister has jettisoned nearly all his old historical arguments against the Church in Wales, and it may be fairly said that to the remnant left of these arguments in his latest speeches the addition of water would add strength. The Prime Minister is a strong man, but it seems to me that whenever he reaches Wales or Ireland he travels with a season ticket on the line of least resistance.
The one solid argument upon which the Chancellor of the Exchequer built up his case for Disestablishment was that of nationality. The Welsh people are a nation. It is no easy matter to define a nation. Mr. Masterman defined a nation as—an entity, mystical and immortal, comprised of varieties of race, language, sentiments, manners, hopes and dreams, to which all the transitory generations contribute, but which transcends the transitory generations.When I read this I wondered whether I was amid the altitudes of philosophy or groping in the regions of rodomontade. Be this as it may, the plain man recognises that although Wales has never in her history possessed a united, organised, and sovereign government of her own, she still does satisfy, in a measure if not universally, such main tests of nationality as language, race, custom, homeland. Wales is a small country numbering little more than half the population of London. The Chancellor of the Exchequer thus formulates the national demand—The management and control of its own religious and spiritual concerns is a matter for Wales and for no one else.To that demand I say "Yes" with all my heart. But has Wales not got that right 1224 and that power and does she not use both to the full? But how for his purpose does he define Wales? By language? Half the people of Wales cannot speak a word of Welsh. By race? How many could prove a pure Welsh descent? By religion? Less than half the people of Wales are Nonconformists. By representation? If we count voters and not Members, in 1895, the only time this question was put as a specific issue to Wales, 43 per cent. of the votes recorded were against Disestablishment and Disendowment. The demand for this Bill is not made by Wales but by a section of Wales, and it is even doubtful whether that section on Disendowment could count upon a majority. Patriotism is an enlarged egotism. England has no nationalist party, always asserting its nationality, and there is in these assertions what Burke calls an "upstart insolence." I do not, however, wish to fortify my argument by a niggardly recognition of Welsh nationality, but I do feel that a nationality, admittedly indeterminate, is a very insufficient ground for the dangerous precedent of sectional legislation; nor can I claim that Wales has any more right on the ground of nationality to mutilate the Church of England than it has to dissever itself from allegiance to the Crown of England.
I have dealt with the only arguments specific to Wales. I now turn to a general argument equally applicable to the Church of England as a whole. This Bill is asked for in the name of religious equality. I assume that religious equality in its true meaning represents the claim for religious liberty, and religious liberty consists not merely of toleration, but of the abolition of religious disqualifications. The Statute Book of this country, even during the last fifty years, is replete with Acts abolishing one religious disqualification after another. But the claims of religious equality in our own day have taken on another colour. Religious equality means, not merely the removal of disqualifications, but the abolition of differences. I believe that the really impelling motive is not so much the abolition of disqualifications as of differences. I take the Church in Wales. It is the only national institution Wales possesses; its history goes back beyond that of thrones and parliaments. For at least fifteen centuries it has preserved the Ark of the Covenant, and those centuries have clothed it with traditions, with associations, with a dignity and a prestige.
1225 Now it is just these historic and social pre-eminences which chafe those outside and actuate the main movers in this agitation, but their object is idle and unattainable. Parliament can no more abolish these things than it can free a man from the advantages or disadvantages of his ancestry. In verity this type of religious and social equality can only be realised in a community which has sunk back to a barbarism where all start equally nameless and naked. But there is a truer interpretation than this of religious equality. I can imagine no equality more sane and wholesome than that under which religious denominations enjoy an unfettered freedom in developing the idea and ideals which gave them birth, and in no country has a larger measure of this freedom been realised than in our own. If this measure became law, so far from enlarging that freedom, it would impoverish it by embittering the whole national life, and instead of the area and influence of religion being broadened we should find that within being enclosing iron shroud of competition the area of liberty would grow narrower and still more narrow. In Ireland the result of Disestablishment was not to increase religious equality, but, as the late Archbishop of Armagh said, "to increase aloofness, to intensify differences, and to make different denominations more conscious and assertive of any superiorities they imagined themselves to possess."
Let no one be led by the use of such phrases as "religious equality" to regard this Bill as an enfranchising measure. There is freedom for all in Wales at the present moment to choose their own religions and to exercise them in whatever form and under whatever conditions of domestic organisation they think fit; but this Bill, which is not only confiscatory but disenabling, says to a large section of the people of Wales, "You who have belonged to the Church of England shall no longer be members of that body. You may make a Church for yourselves as like as you can to that from which we thrust you out, but of the old Church you shall by no means be members." This the Bill says in the interest of religious equality. Little need be said on the question of Disendowment. Our opponents like it not. They scarcely mention it. The noble Viscount passed it over in silence; the Chancellor of the Exchequer passed it by in silence; the Prime Minister scarcely 1226 dared to touch it; a large section of the Liberal Members are heartily ashamed of it; the country loathes it. Indeed, one of the Welsh Members, evidently conscious of this, told the House of Commons that this Bill gives only two-sevenths of the Church's endowments to the nation and gives back five-sevenths to the Church. Amid a vast amount of competition, this statement by the Member for the Carmarthen Boroughs may fairly claim to be regarded as the least veracious statement made in the course of tins controversy.
There are only one or two things I desire to say about the Church's endowments. First of all, there is a new theory that those endowments are national property. This involves a question of title. If the nation can prove its title to these endowments, let it do so, as Mr. Meyer, the President of the Free Church Council suggested, before a body of experts. For myself, I would be willing to submit the case to any jury of honest men. The first Bill introduced by the present Prime Minister fixed the limit for modern endowments at 1703. The present Bill fixes it at 1662. If it is so certain that the Church's endowments are national, why this shifting line of demarcation? Tithe, we are especially told, is national property. Dean Gabriel Goodman, of Westminster, endowed in 1588 with tithe a grammer school, a church, and almshouses at Ruthin in my diocese. This Bill disendows the church but leaves the school and almshouses untouched. Why so, if tithe is national property? Once more, the parish of Ruabon is endowed with tithe, so is the daughter-parish of Rhosymedre. Every penny is to be taken from Ruabon and not a penny from the daughter-parish. Why? Because Sir Watkin Wynn, the owner of lay tithes, endowed the daughter-parish with a portion of these lay tithes. But if tithe is national property, why is it not taken away from the daughter-parish and from the lay tithe owner We are told that this is a generous Bill. It safeguards vested interests, but what are the interests concerned in this matter? The freehold of existing incumbents represents an interest which a very few years must see ended. The interests of the present clergy are short and transitory. There are other interests which let me make clear with a simple illustration. 1227 A Welshman, anxious to show his gratitude to the great English town where he had made a fortune, built and endowed in that town a hospital for the sick and poor. Now imagine in the distant future some yet unborn McKenna coming forward and saying, "We have decided to take away all its endowments from this hospital. But we mean to be generous. We shall observe vested interests, and you, the doctors and hospital staff, as long as you remain in your present positions, will draw your full salaries." But what is the real vested interest? That of the sick and poor for whom the hospital was endowed. Just so, the interest of the parishioners in every little country parish despoiled under this Bill is the great vested interest, and that interest this Bill entirely ignores. Nor, be it remembered, is that interest limited to the present generation of parishioners. A modern writer says that the greatest good which social reform is working out is the good of the social organism as a whole. If, then, the greatest good of the greatest number be our goal, the greatest number in this sense is comprised of the members of generations yet unborn for whom we today are trustees. Now this, the largest and the most sacred interest of all, is absolutely disregarded by this Bill. Mr. Balfour called this Bill a "mean Bill." Yes, it is both mean and selfish; it is ungrateful for the heritage of the past and regardless of its obligations to the future. But people who will not look back to their ancestry will not look forward to their posterity.
In considering such vast proposals as the Disestablishment and the Disendowment of a Church, wise people will endeavour to compute the gain, if any, and the loss. We are told that Disendowment will do the Church good. You will have the voluntary system with all its evoked enthusiasms and self-sacrifice, and so on, but what has this system done in Wales? True, it has dotted the Principality with chapels, built on loan and loaded with debt. The unwholesome competition bred of this system has provided seating accommodation vastly in excess of what is required. Throughout Wales the cry goes up from every Nonconformist denomination that they are unable to provide for their ministers even the wages of a skilled mechanic. This is a fact of importance, for be it remembered that the one real 1228 force at the back of this movement in Wales is that of the Nonconformist ministers. Who that is human can blame them? The Nonconformist minister, living on an uncertain pittance, dependent upon the goodwill of an often ignorant band of chapel-elders, looks across the road where the parish clergyman, poor though he be, is secure in home and tenure and can speak the truth without fear or favour to peer and peasant. Compared with the tyranny of the chapel deacon, that of the squire is a benevolent and rigidly circumscribed influence.
Test also the unaided voluntary system in its actual working. The ministry of I the chapels, you are told, is maintained by the pence of the poor. Yes, but where there are no pence there is no ministry. The Bishop of Oxford committed himself to the amazing statement that the religions of the poor are the religions for which they have to pay. Why, my Lords, some years ago the wealthiest denomination in Wales attributed a declension in their numbers to neglect of the poor, and this year the President of the Congregational Union in Derbyshire frankly admitted that they failed to attract the poor and the working class. In Wales, as in your great English towns, the poorest—that is, those most needing the aid of a constant Christian ministry—depend only upon the ministrations of the Church. But the voluntary system is not the monopoly of Nonconformists. In Wales there are no more generous givers, not only to the Church and to every charitable object, but even to Nonconformists themselves, than are Churchmen. The only difference is that the voluntary system in the Church is buttressed and steadied by endowments, the value of which is attested by the strenuous efforts made by the Nonconformists to accumulate such endowments. Our endowments, small as they are, help to give to the work and workers security, continuity, independence, order, discipline.
To turn for a moment to Disestablishment. In this connection there are two ways of regarding the State. There are those who regard the State as a soulless institution, whose business it is to provide its citizens with material prosperity without any regard to their moral or religious well-being. Another and a more excellent way regards the State as a God-given institution through which the Will of 1229 God may be furthered in the world. If this view be true, then religion is just as much the concern of the true nation as of the true man. It is cheap and easy to belittle the idea that Establishment consecrates the State. Last week the Under-Secretary of State said that at the investiture at Carnarvon Castle the Church was there by right and the Nonconformists by request. But given Disestablishment, there would have been no one there at all to represent religion.
I recognise that when all arguments are exhausted there remains the question, What next? Suppose this Bill is rejected, are we prepared to face the possible prolongation of an embittering strife? That is a fair question. The Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke with sympathetic sadness of Welsh Bishops careering through the country in defence of the Church. Let me, after some experience, assure him that it is not pleasant to lay down the staff of the Shepherd and to be driven to take up the mud-rake of controversy. Necessary duties are often unpleasant. Man of peace as the Chancellor is, he would not hesitate to defend his own home against a burglar. We are defending not ourselves but a sacred trust. When I am asked about the future, I answer thus. This agitation is in Wales not fifty years old; it is sectional, not national; it represents not a deep-seated, chronic malady, but a passing and subsiding inflammation, and the reasons for this are clear. There are honest and reasonable people in Wales, who see, as the Prime Minister said, that the Church is nobly and successfully doing her work. These are the people in Wales who think and don't talk, and reap the harvest of a quiet eye. They mark the tremendous changes coming over Wales. They know that the doctrines and the differences over which their forefathers fought fiercely are cold and dead. They see too well that the younger generation of Welshmen, trained in schools and colleges, yield but a scornful audience to the old and pious peasant-preacher whose creed and teaching and character reflect the gloom and the terrors of Calvinism and whose thirst for political righteousness can still be slaked with the "thin sour wine" of the Manchester School.
The Celt is sensitive to new influences. Higher education has diffused culture among the younger generation of Welshmen. It has quickened the faculties of 1230 intellectual appreciation and awakened reverence for the past. To such a generation this sordid Bill, with its bourgeois ideals, appeals less and less. I confess that my greatest fear, if this Bill passed, would be not for the Church but for the demoralising effect it would have upon the character of the Welsh people. I cherish high hopes for my countrymen. I believe that they are capable of rendering in the fields of thought and action splendid service to this land and Empire. They are a people quickly kindled to enthusiasm and heroic effort, and it is for their sakes that my hope and prayer is that those ideals which have called forth in the past what is best in the Welsh character may take no detriment and suffer no eclipse. Wales needs the saving and renovating power of a great ideal. Through the long centuries the Church in Wales, in spite of the shortcomings inevitable, because human, of her children, solely and firmly has held and still holds aloft the one true ideal that alone gives purity in word and action, that can ennoble wealth and dignify labour, that keeps guard over the poor man's cottage and looks down upon his humble bed, that alone can teach all men "the sanctity of weakness and suffering and the supreme majesty of compassion and of justice."
§ LORD ST. DAVIDS
My Lords, having spoken on this Bill only last year I am reluctant to again obtrude myself on the same subject upon your Lordships' notice. My apology for doing so must lie in the fact that there are very few of us on this side of the House who are qualified, even in the very least, to put forward the views and the feelings of the majority of the people of Wales. That, my Lords, is the reason, and the only reason, why I have got up to speak twice within twelve months upon the same subject. In these circumstances I will, as little as I can, put forward remarks of my own which might be only an amplification of what I said before in this House, but will endeavour to confine myself to the best of my power to answering points that have been raised by speakers who have preceded me in this debate.
I do not propose to follow very closely the remarks of the right rev. Prelate who has just sat down, because I do not think it would do much good to discuss who is most responsible in the Principality for bringing about the religious bitterness which does exist, but I have a very strong 1231 belief myself that it would be quite easy to prove that the religious bitterness was at any rate not wholly caused by the promoters of this Bill. There is one argument I might use as to the lack of necessity for answering the right rev. Prelate very closely, and that is the obvious bias that he showed in some of his remarks. You may hold two views, or you may hold a dozen views, about the present Prime Minister, but taking him on his very weakest line of argument and taking the worst speech that he has made since he entered Parliament, could anybody truly say of it that if you added water to it you would add strength to it? That was said by the right rev. Prelate who has just sat down. He also said that this Bill had been hustled through the House of Commons. So far from that being the case, the Bill was discussed in the House of Commons for twenty-six or twenty-seven days altogether. I think this House flatters itself that on the rare occasions when it goes into Committee on a Government Bill it does its work well. I am sure that it does it thoroughly; yet I do not think this House has ever spent half that period in discussing any one Bill. I do not think, therefore, it can truly be said that this Bill, as regards time, has been hustled through Parliament.
It was said by the last speaker that this Bill is unpopular. That was said also by the noble Lord opposite, Lord Dynevor, who opened the debate to-day. It was also said by Viscount Halifax last night, and by the noble Marquess who moved the rejection of the Bill. It is wonderful how we always find the things we dislike are unpopular. I noticed that the noble Marquess thought that the two most unpopular things in the country were this Bill and food taxes. I know he would like this Bill to go to a referendum, but I wonder whether he would like food taxes to go to a referendum also. It is curious how all of us, without distinction of Party, always seem to think that anything we ourselves do not like ought to go to a referendum. Just now noble Lords on the other side of the House think that on this Bill the country ought to be consulted. A few years ago when the Conservative Party were in power I dare say I shared the same opinion about some of their measures, and I have no doubt that I shall share the same feelings again when the Party of noble Lords opposite 1232 is next returned to power. In other words it comes to this, that the call for a referendum simply means that you do not like a particular proposal that is being laid before Parliament by somebody or other at the time.
As to the unpopularity of the Bill, the noble Viscount, Lord Halifax, last night said he had been attending a great many demonstrations against this Bill, and that the Bill was enormously unpopular in the country. I do not know what sort of intellectual food the demonstrators were fed on, and I think it all depends on thate For instance, the noble Lord last night asked that the Bill should be postponed. He said it could do no harm to anybody if the Bill were put off for twelve months, and that if that were clone these poor Welsh clergy would be left to draw their incomes for twelve months longer. If people have been going about the country saying that when this Bill is passed all the Welsh clergy are going to be turned out to starve, I do not wonder that the Bill is unpopular amongst those who are fed on such unwholesome intellectual diet, for every one knows that if the Bill is passed the Welsh clergy will be compensated for the rest of their lives.
THE EARL OF POWIS
Is the noble Lord referring to the curates? He is implying that every Welsh clergyman in the Church in Wales will receive his income for the rest of his life.
§ LORD ST. DAVIDS
I beg the noble Lord's pardon; it is my mistake. I ought to have said every beneficed clergyman; that is what I had in my mind. The next point I should like to refer to was raised last night by the most rev. Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. He said that this Bill had never been fairly put before the country in all its details, and he pointed out that before the Parliament of the day came to a decision in favour of the Disestablishment of the Irish Church the case had been amply discussed in the House of Commons on Resolutions that had been drawn up by the then Government.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Not by the Government of the day. The Resolutions were drawn up by Mr. Gladstone in the spring of 1868, 1233 and they were discussed on Mr. Gladstone's Motion as against the Government of the day. They were then followed by the Suspensory Bill, which was introduced by Mr. Gladstone. That Bill was again debated in Parliament and was before the country at a General Election, which election went against the Government of the day. Therefore the whole proposal of what Mr. Gladstone was going to do was, in my judgment, amply before the country. That was my point.
§ LORD ST. DAVIDS
I do not in the least wish to misrepresent the most rev. Primate. I quite understand the sense of what he says, and it is perfectly relevant to my own argument. He argued, with perfect fairness, that in the way of being discussed on Resolutions before the Bill was brought in, the question of the Disestablishment of the Irish Church was put before the people in a way in which in a certain sense this Welsh Bill was not. I quite agree, but I would point out this difference, that this is not the first Welsh Disestablishment Bill that has been introduced. The Prime Minister himself was in charge years ago of a Disestablishment Bill in the House of Commons, a Bill which went through certain stages there, and was discussed at length in the House. Everybody knew about it, and to a certain extent at any rate it was the subject of discussion in the country, and until the present Bill was introduced that Bill held the field. What I mean is this. In discussions in the country and in Wales on Disestablishment and Disendowment everybody on both sides used to talk of the features and of the principles contained in the old Bill. Everybody knew more or less what a Disestablishment Bill would be, and I would like to point out in connection with that that in most particulars this Bill is far less drastic from the Disestablishment and Disendowment point of view than the first Bill. Therefore I do not think it can quite fairly be argued that the country did not know what a Disestablishment and Disendowment Bill was going to be like when it was introduced.
There is another point that was raised by one of the speakers last night on which I would like to say a word. That was dint the Bill had been saved in Committee more than once by Irish Nationalist votes. 1234 They mean, I think, that the Irish Nationalists do not profess any overwhelming interest for or against Disestablishment—at least a great many of them do not; and that their voting in the House of Commons, and more or less avowedly so, was first of all to get Home Rule. To a great extent I dare say that is true. But is there nobody else who is voting in the House of Commons on a Bill like this from some other point of view than the point of view of whether he does or does not like Disestablishment or Disendowment? There are Irishmen in the House of Commons besides the Irishmen who vote with us on the Liberal side of the House. There are a hundred Irishmen in the House of Commons, and eighty of them voted for the Government and twenty for the Opposition, and the twenty for the Opposition would be the last men to say that Home Rule was not the principal thing they were voting about. They are not discussing in their meetings to-day in the North of Ireland Welsh Disestablishment, yet they vote on it. It is an extraordinary claim to put forward as debatable matter in this House that the eighty Irishmen who vote for the Liberals ought not to have their votes counted and that the twenty Irishmen who voted with the Opposition should have their votes counted. If von took out of the narrow Divisions in the house of Commons all the Irish votes and all the Irish pairs from both sides, I do not think you would find one single Division on which this Bill had been saved by Irish votes.
In this debate last night the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Llandaff raised a point as regards his own diocese which was raised last session by the Bishop of St. Asaph. The Bishop of St. Asaph put forward in a most moving way the case of the parishes in his own diocese which would be left wholly and entirely without any endowment whatever if this Bill passed in its present form. I do not doubt for a moment that the right rev. Prelate put forward his case perfectly accurately. I assume he did, but I must point out now, as I ventured to point out when this matter was raised by the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of St. Asaph last session, that to educate people like ourselves it is not very good argument. It is quite a good platform argument to say, "You are going to take 1235 every penny away and make no provision at all," but we know perfectly well that if you find some parishes from which all is going to be taken you find five or six others from which nothing is going to be taken at all. And the really relevant argument is how much is to be taken and how much is to be left, because what is left is to be pooled, and it can be divided equally over every parish in Wales or in proportion to the population in every parish. It is not a relevant argument to take the hard eases only. I do not say whether it is too hard or not hard enough for the purposes of my argument, but I do say where the whole of the money has to be thrown together and then divided it is not a relevant argument to address to this House that in certain parishes all is taken away, without pointing out at the same time that in other parishes nothing will be taken away at all.
Then I turn to the noble Marquess opposite who moved the rejection of the Bill last night. He said, and no doubt truly, that there were a number of parishes in Wales without any resident Nonconformist minister, and he therefore left it to be inferred—I do not think he put it in so many words—that if you passed this Bill as it stood, and if in those parishes it was impossible to maintain under the new state of things a resident clergyman, there might not be any organisation for religion there at all. I do not think that is putting the case quite accurately. Let us see blow the matter really stands. The parish area was a very old area, one of the oldest areas for the purposes of administration in the country. It is, I believe, supposed to have been founded in early Norman days, in Wales at any rate, and it is an area which for administrative purposes is undoubtedly out of date. In the days when the parish was made the area the population of Wales must have been wholly dependent upon agriculture.
Things have changed, and everybody knows that the population of Wales to-day is in the great mining districts, in the great industrial districts, in the big towns, and in the watering places along the coast; the population has drifted away from the agricultural centres. The parish area as an area, even for Church purposes, has 1236 to be kept to under the present law; but it is undoubtedly out of date. The Nonconformists naturally, because they are a much newer body, have organised their system in a more practical way. I am bound to say that I do not know much about their organisation, but most of them make their area, not having regard to the parish, but haying regard to the county; and though there may not be a Nonconformist minister actually living there, I believe it is true to say there is no part of Wales which is not covered by a Nonconformist organisation that will prevent any parish from being without religious ministration. In other words, I believe the Nonconformists can serve every district. But I go a great deal further than that. So can the Church. Even if this Bill is passed, does anybody really believe that the Church is not going to cover with its ministrations every part of Wales as it does to-day? To begin with you will have, as I said just now, the enormous advantage of being able to use the funds that are left to the Church to the best advantage freely without being tied down to one particular area. I would never pretend to say for a moment that it is anything like a compensation for the loss of the big sum which will be taken away, but I do say that the freedom that will be gained is a substantial compensating advantage. I feel sure that Church people in Wales who have not subscribed hitherto to anything like the extent that Nonconformists have subscribed for the maintenance of their religion will put their hands in their pockets, and that the Church will be able to carry out its work in Wales even in the first days, which will be difficult days, as actively as it is carrying it on to-day.
Then there was a remark made by the noble Viscount, Lord St. Aldwyn. He pointed out that he was one of the mildest of men in this House, that he was never for extreme courses, and that he always liked a compromise if he could get it. But he pointed out that under present circumstances he was all against compromise, and he gave us his idea of what he meant by compromise. He said that if this Bill was submitted to the country and was approved by the country, then he would like to compromise. Is not that a little peculiar? Suppose you go to the country with a definite Bill all in black 1237 and white, a Bill which has been discussed many days and which everybody has heard about and one that has been agitated all over the country, and the country says, "Yes, we are in favour of this Bill," can anybody imagine that the successful Party who have fought the thing inch by inch for years are then going to compromise with the other side? If we have come to times when the mildest people hold such an idea of compromise, then, my Lords, I think all idea of compromise in this country must have passed away.
You say that the Bill is unpopular. I never pretend to know whether a thing is popular or not before an election, but you say the Bill is unpopular and you hold the view that you will defeat the Bill. I hope you are wrong. I hope the Bill will pass into law. But supposing that you get a General Election before it becomes law. You go to the country and get a majority on something or another—we none of us ever care on what any Party gets its majority—and you succeed in upsetting this Bill. The right rev. Prelate who has just sat down said he did not want the venom of sectarian strife and bitterness introduced. Do you think you are going to stop sectarian strife and bitterness by rejecting this Bill? It means this in Wales. It means that the whole thing will have to be started again from the beginning, and that the bitterness which has gone on year after year, spoiling life in Wales, is to go on again. I can only say that I, for one, shall most sincerely regret it if any such thing happens.
I noticed in the debates in the House of Commons one remark made by a very strong opponent of this Bill, Colonel Williams. Colonel Williams was speaking, I think, in the sense of advising Nonconformists that Disestablishment and Disendowment might not lead to their benefit, and he said this—If this Bill is passed, the term 'Free Churchmen,' of which Nonconformists are so proud, will become a misnomer, because then the Church in Wales will be the greatest Free Church of them all.That is absolutely true, and it is because I know it to be true that I want to see this Bill passed. I want to see the Church in Wales start free of all the bitterness that has accumulated during this controversy. I believe the Church as a free Church will take a place in Wales which she has never 1238 taken in modern times, and that in five years the Church in Wales will have attained to a position that nobody dreams of to-day. I believe that it will be the beginning of her career; and that, my Lords, is one of the main reasons why I want to see this Bill pass into law.
THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVIDS
My Lords, the noble Lord who happens to be my namesake indulged in a prophetic peroration. As I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, I will ask him to take the Prime Minister's advice and "Wait and see." He will excuse me from following him into his main argument. He said, I think, that certain remarks he made were upon things about which he knew nothing—he said that he knew nothing about Nonconformist organisation.
The position of His Majesty's Government in opposing the noble Marquess's Amendment is this. The Government claim that they were given at the last General Election a free hand to pass the Parliament Act, including the Preamble, and a free hand to use it to pass any measure they pleased, however great its gravity, without further reference to the country, and with as little Parliamentary discussion as they pleased. Now in supporting the noble Marquess's Amendment I take the Government on their own ground, only assuming that they will allow me to add one proviso—namely, that the measures which are to be passed under the Parliament Act should be measures in accord with the recognised Liberal principles professed by the Government. May I say, to clear the ground for my argument, that I presume no Liberal will challenge my assumption that a principle does not cease to be a Liberal principle merely because it is also accepted by the Unionist Party and by every reasonable being.
My case against the noble Earl, Lord Beauchamp, is this—that this Bill contravenes five fundamental Liberal principles. When the country returned the Government to power in 1910, it returned them as men professing, inter alia, these five great Liberal principles which the Bill contravenes—the right of public discussion, religious liberty, redress of grievances, Parliamentary representation, and justice. I challenge the noble 1239 Earl who is going to sum up for the Government to show, if he can, that this Bill does not contravene those five Liberal principles. Let me take the first, public discussion. The noble Marquess who leads the House, and to whom I wish to refer with most sincere and profound respect, will bear me out when I say that the first leader to go to the country and raise public discussion on a great question was Mr. Gladstone. I think he did that largely on account of the enlargement of the franchise which took place in 1867. Mr. Gladstone put his proposals in regard to the Irish Church fairly and squarely before the country in 1868. No contrast can be more complete than that between the discussion of the question of the Irish Church in 1868 and of the question of the Church in Wales in 1910. All that the Prime Minister did was to make a curt reference to a Welsh Disestablishment Bill in his speech at Hull. Neither he nor any other Cabinet Minister, nor, as far as I am aware, any single Liberal candidate anywhere, devoted a single speech to this question during the last General Election.
What happened in Wales? Less than a third of the Welsh Members who support the Bill thought it worth while to mention it in their election addresses at the last General Election, and to the best of my knowledge not one of them devoted a single speech to it. What took place in Wales at the last General Election was well described a few months afterwards in a Liberal newspaper by a Welsh Nonconformist minister who is a prominent Liberal and a supporter of this Bill. His words were—When a speaker during an election campaign mentions Disestablishment he will dismiss it in a sentence something like this, 'Disestahlishment was settled forty years ago; I need not touch upon that.' What madness. There are thousands of us in Wales of thirty and under who could not pass a simple examination on a subject like the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the English Church.I venture to think that those who are impressed very much with the united voice of Wales have reason to modify their opinions in view of that testimony which I know myself to be perfectly true. In its general application the question was not seriously discussed even in Wales at the last General Election. "Disestablishment was settled forty years ago, I need not touch upon that" precisely describes the 1240 Prime Minister's own attitude at the last General Election.
I might draw attention to the utter absence of any real analogy between the cases of Ireland and Wales, but I will pass the point by with merely this observation. There is no excuse for, but rather a condemnation of, the Prime Minister's failure to discuss this measure in the country in 1910 to be found in the fact that Mr. Gladstone discussed a different measure before a different electorate forty-two years before. Three such weighty Liberal authorities upon the Irish Act of 1869 as Mr. Gladstone, the late Duke of Argyll, and Bishop Thirlwall emphatically maintained that no analogy at all could be fairly drawn between the two cases of Ireland and Wales; and Mr. Asquith himself in the House of Commons this session confessed that the Irish Act set no precedent for Church dismemberment, which is admittedly in point of principle the distinctive essence of this Bill. It is idle, therefore, for him to plead the Irish precedent of 1869 as releasing him from his obligation as Prime Minister, upon Liberal principles, to secure the public discussion of the Welsh Bill in the country before asking Parliament to accept it.
I say, first, that as a matter of fact there was no public discussion of this measure in the country at the last General Election. No one in your Lordships' House can contradict that statement. In view of all these facts, a measure of this far-reaching gravity to England as well as to Wales cannot be passed into law without violation of Liberal principles until the country shall have had an opportunity of passing judgment upon it in the light of public discussion. The Prime Minister is not entitled to assume that the electorate to-day would take the same view of the breadth of State responsibilities and of the relation of the duties of property to its rights as was taken in the widely different atmosphere of 1868 by the mid-Victorian electorate.
The second Liberal principle which this Bill of Church Dismemberment violates is the fundamental principle of religious liberty. There are some who suppose that this Bill will promote religious liberty. The Home Secretary and Under-Secretary have stated most distinctly that the dismemberment of the Church is the very essence of the Bill. Logically and in point 1241 of principle they are right. Upon any conceivable definition of religious liberty the question whether the administrative unity of the Church in England and Wales is to be maintained or not is a question for Churchmen and not for the Government or Parliament to decide over our heads against our will. For the Government to propose to break up the administrative unity of the Church into two parts against the will of Churchmen by an Act of Parliament is nothing less than an audacious act of tyranny. The Government's plea that no serious practical injury would be inflicted upon the work and of the Church by dismemberment is irrelevant. Churchmen take a very different view of the effect of dismemberment. The question is not whether the Government or Churchmen know best what is the value of the administrative unity of the Church, but whether it is not an audacious defiance of the principle of religious liberty for the Government to override by force the strong convictions and earnest wishes of Churchmen in regard to the internal arrangements of the Church. The supposed wishes of a local political Majority in Wales cannot reconcile an act of tyranny with Liberal principles. There is no precedent for the dismemberment of any religious body against the will of its members to be found in the history of this Kingdom or of any other civilised State in modern times. Since the Government received no authority at tire last General Election to use the Parliament Act to pass a measure so essentially repugnant to its own professed principles, it has no right at all to force this Bill into law without first taking the judgment of the country upon it.
I want to appeal to noble Lords who represent the Government in this House, and, if they will allow me to say so, I appeal to them with the most sincere respect. I want them to consider and to come to a conclusion as to whether the essence of this Bill is, or is not, in accordance with religious liberty and with the principles on the profession of which you hold power. You may say that what you are doing you are doing so that good may come. But whatever your motives are, I challenge the noble Earl when he speaks to deny that what you are doing is going directly contrary to the principle of religious liberty, which holds, perhaps, the highest place among the professions by which His Majesty's Government were 1242 returned to power. I say that if you force through under the Parliament Act a Bill the essence of which is directly contrary to the principles you professed at the polls, you are abusing the Act.
Now to take the next point. A third principle with which the Liberal Party is honourably associated is the redress of grievances. The plea is sometimes urged that the method of piecemeal Disestablishment, though irrational and unfair on the face of it, ought nevertheless to be adopted even at the cost of dismemberment because Nonconformists are alleged to have grievances in Wales which they have not in England. If it could be said to be true that this Bill is required in order to redress Nonconformist grievances in Wales, then. I do not think the Chairman of the Welsh Parliamentary Party would have been obliged to admit, as he did last December, that this Bill had met with determined opposition by a section of the Liberal Party. The Under-Secretary was good enough on one occasion to attempt to justify piecemeal Disestablishment by an enumeration of four specific Nonconformist grievances in Wales. It is fairly well known that that attempt was a notorious failure. Two of his four grievances are left untouched by this Bill; a third turned out to be no grievance at all; while his fourth grievance is to be redressed by the Bill through the substitution of four English Bishops in place of four Welsh Bishops in this House. I should have thought they would be glad to see more Welshmen in this House, even though they were Bishops; but, at any rate, whatever the dimensions of that grievance may be, it may, I think, very well be left to be dealt with by the Prime Minister in his Bill recently promised for the reform of this House.
It is not surprising, in view of the futility of the Under-Secretary's list of special Nonconformist grievances in Wales, that Welsh Members should have to come to the conclusion, to quote the words of one of their leaders, that after all "Disestablishment without Disendowment was not worth asking for much less fighting for," being an "anaemic policy" and an "academical and infinitesimal reform." In the view of Welsh Churchmen, on the other hand, Disestablishment is the most serious feature of the Bill because it would mean not only for the Church the 1243 overthrow at a stroke of all its existing legal organisation, but also for the nation its surrender of the national recognition of religion which has been the most conspicuous characteristic of Welsh national life from its very beginning. To inflict upon the Church in Wales three such great wrongs as dismemberment, the overthrow of all its existing legal organisation, and the eventual confiscation of three-fifths of its endowments for the sake of giving the promoters of this Bill what they themselves regard as merely an "academical and infinitesimal reform" is not a method of redressing grievances which is in accord with Liberal principles and common sense.
It has now become a fourth principle of Liberal policy cherished by the Government, that no Bill specially affecting any part of the United Kingdom ought to become law without the approval of a majority of the Parliamentary representatives of the part concerned. The Minister in charge of the Bill in this House, Earl Beauchamp, frankly acknowledged in a speech at Alton last year that "the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales was only the first step towards the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church in England," and other Cabinet Ministers have made similar admissions. This Bill, therefore, is a flank attempt to lay down in advance the terms of English Disendowment. The part of the Kingdom specially affected by this measure for the dismemberment as well as piecemeal Disendowment and Disestablishment of the Church of England is clearly not Wales alone but England and Wales together. The division lists of the House of Commons show that as far as the votes of the Parliamentary representatives of England and Wales together are concerned there was a majority against the Government upon this Bill last session of twenty-four on the First Reading, of sixteen on the Second Reading, while on the Third Reading the votes were equally divided. This session the majority from England and Wales together against the Government upon this Bill was six on the Second Reading and fifteen on the Third Reading. When the terms of Disendowment were under consideration in Committee of the House of Commons last session the Parliamentary representatives of England and Wales, taken together, gave a majority against the Government of forty-two for leaving the Church 1244 all its endowments except tithe, of fifty-two for giving compensation to curates, and of twenty-seven, which went up on Report to fifty-two for leaving the Church its glebe. On these four crucial divisions upon the terms of disendowment, primarily for Wales but ultimately for England, the Government was saved from defeat solely by the votes of Irish Nationalists.
§ LORD ST. DAVIDS
Has the right rev. Prelate reckoned the pairs? You have to reckon the pairs as well as the votes.
THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVIDS
On four crucial divisions on the terms of Disendowment the Government was saved from defeat by the votes of Irish Nationalists, whose numbers according to the Home Rule Bill are to be largely reduced in the next Parliament. This is indeed making hay of the Church while the sun shines. It is immoral to throw the security of religious endowments, which ought to be a pure question of equity, into the scramble of Party politics. But if the preservation of trust property is to be made a question, not of equity, but of votes, then on the Home Rule policy professed by the Government the terms of the piecemeal Disendowment of the Church of England ought not to be settled against the wishes of a majority of the Parliamentary representatives of England and Wales taken together without an appeal to the country.
I presume no Liberal will challenge my assumption that, justice still keeps a high place among the Liberal principles professed by the Government. The real question therefore is, this Bill for the secularisation of religious endowments just goes to the root of the claim of the Government to pass it under the Parliament Act without an appeal to the country. This is not an abstract question but a concrete question of what the Bill actually does, and whether what the Bill actually does ought to be done. The representatives of the Government in their speeches in Parliament have been too fond of discussing this concrete question of justice as if it were a mere abstraction. They have yet to learn that they are cutting 2 to the quick into the tenderest feelings and deepest convictions of Church people.
1245 What are the Disendowment proposals of this Bill? Let me first take the case of churchyards. The Bill takes away from the Church in the diocese of St. Davids 421 churchyards situated in 307 incumbencies. In only seventy-seven of these incumbencies is the churchyard the only burial ground. There are in these incumbencies 130 Nonconformist burial grounds which the Bill does not touch. The position at present, therefore, is this. In these 307 incumbencies Nonconformists have not only 480 burial grounds of their own, but also the right—and I am glad they hayed burial in the parish churchyard by a Nonconformist minister with a Nonconformist service under the Burials Amendment Act of 1880. If this Act needs amendment let it be amended, but in view of the facts the alienation of its churchyards from the Church to a secular authority proposed in this Bill is not a redress of Nonconformist grievances but a wrong wantonly inflicted on the Church, which is no less a wrong for being falsely called by the fine name of religious equality. The churchyards are the sacred precincts of our churches, and to alienate them from the Church without just cause will be a permanent affront of which Churchpeople will be reminded each time they go to church. The most tender feelings of the living are associated with the hallowed resting places of the dead. To alienate these hallowed spots from the Church without just cause is an outrageous in-justice to the feelings of Churchpeople and most repugnant to Liberal principles as well as to the courteous considerateness for the feelings of neighbours which is a fine feature of Welsh character.
There is no precedent, I would remind Lord St. Davids, in the Irish Act for this outrage. What excuse had Mr. McKenna to offer? Nothing but the abstract pedantry that public rights of burial should be in the hands of a public authority. The facts stultify his pedantry. In the diocese of St. Davids, out of 421 churchyards affected by the Bill at least 117 have been enlarged by private benefactions in modern times. If the Home Secretary is to be relied on—a large assumption—the modern enlargements in these 117 cases is left under the Bill in the hands of the Representative Church Body while the ancient part surrounding the Church is alienated to a secular authority. The sole reason for these modern enlargements was 1246 that there was no room for burial in the ancient part. What the Bill therefore does in these 117 cases is to stultify his pedantic excuse by leaving to the Church the part of the churchyard where there is a public right of burial and taking from the Church that part of the churchyard where there is none. The churchyards clause represents, indeed, the whole spirit and conception of this mean little Bill.
The Endowments clauses of the Bill in the wantonness of their injustice match its churchyards clause. No benefit of any kind would accrue to Nonconformists out of the money taken from the Church. Under the Bill no tithe-payer is to be relieved from the payment of tithe, nor, according to Mr. McKenna, is any ratepayer to be relieved from the payment of rates. Neither education nor public health in Wales will gain from the Bill. What the Bill does is to take Church money to pay for education and public health when all now recognise that it is the duty of the State to pay for these two secular objects out of its own large resources. The wealthiest State in the world has no need to cripple the poorest dioceses of the Church in order to pay its way. The ultimate effect of the Bill when vested interests expire would inevitably be to relieve the pockets of Imperial taxpayers, most of whom live outside Wales, by a miserable dole equivalent to less than one-fourth of a farthing in the pound on the Income Tax. Religious trust property is thus misappropriated to private profit under the Bill. Two eminent Welsh Nonconformists—Mr. Henry Radcliffe and the Rev. Dr. Cynddylan Jones—understated the truth when they said that under this Bill all the ancient religious endowments of Wales "would disappear like snow in the sunshine and eventually become as ineffective as a bucketful of water in the Bristol Channel." The only conclusion to be drawn from this waste of Church money under the Bill is that it is taken away from the Church, not for the good of anybody or anything, but merely for the sake of taking it away from the Church. Is this idle waste of religious endowments in accord with Liberal principles.
Among the many strange sayings of members of the Government about this Bill the most amazing is their delusion that by the wanton alienation of churchyards and the wanton secularisation of Church. 1247 endowments they are sowing the seeds of good will in Wales. Both Welsh Churchmen and Nonconformists alike are men encompassed with infirmities. The memory of wanton injustice would not of itself be a help to Churchmen to do their duty, and the man knew the human heart well who wrote—Forgiveness to the injured cloth belong,They ne[...]er can pardon who have done the wrong.I can only conclude that amidst the many measures which the Government has in hand its eminent members have been too busy to think out the practical consequences of what they are doing. Why do they do it? Their plea is that at any cost the Chinch in Wales must be deprived of its ancient endowments because they belong to the State and not to the Church. If so, they must belong to the State either by legal title or by moral right. According to the high authority of the Solicitor-General (Sir J. Simon) the legal title of the Church to its ancient endowments is "good and solid." The case of the Government for wasting the ancient endowments of the Church and for sowing seeds of bitterness in England as well as Wales is thus reduced to the abstract proposition that the endowments in question belong to the State of moral right. It is, indeed, a heavy burden of injurious consequences to the cause of religion as a whole which the Government places upon a mere theory which it has failed to prove, and which so strong a Liberal as the learned Professor Freeman did not hesitate to denounce as "horrible folly" and worse.
What practical men who love justice want to know is, not what are Mr. McKenna's abstract theories, but what is wrong with the work of the Church in Wales that it should thus be severely crippled in its lawful resources for service? The Government appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into the work of the Church in Wales, and in its Report there is not a word of censure upon the work of the Church in any respect. The Prime Minister has borne repeated testimony that he thinks the work of the Church in Wales has been during the last 70 years worthy of high praise. How, then, can the Disendowment clauses of this Bill be just? Let me give a concrete illustration from my own diocese of the injustice of the Bill. It takes away in the diocese of St. Davids every penny of the endowments of 48 in 1248 cumbencies, all being country parishes except three which are in small towns. In this group of 48 incumbencies the percentage of Easter communicants to the population was last year more than twice the corresponding percentage for the whole Church in England and Wales, being 14.19 as compared with 6.7; and the percentage of Sunday scholars was also well above the average for the whole Church, being 11.31 as compared with 8.92. This group of incumbencies has on the average an area of 7.7 square miles, a population of 659, and an endowment of £229 a year. It is clearly unjust to confiscate the modest endowments of this well worked group of incumbencies to the private profits of Imperial taxpayers.
It would be impossible for these proposals of wanton injustice to become law under the written Constitution of the United States. An attempt was made in 1801 by the legislature of Virginia to confiscate the endowments of parish churches there as a consequence of Disestablishment, but it was disallowed by the Supreme Court. In a memorable judgment delivered by the eminent jurist Mr. Justice Story, the Supreme Court, while allowing Disestablishment, held that the property was "not forfeited because the churches had committed no offences," and the Court went on to say—We have ourselves no hesitation, standing upon the principles of natural justice, upon the fundamental laws of every free Government, upon the spirit and the letter of the Constitution of the United States, in deciding that the local statutes were not operative so far as to divest the Episcopal Church of the property acquired previous to the Revolution by purchase or donation.The Court regarded the property as a perpetual inheritance of the Church, and held that—This principle is equally consonant with the common sense of mankind and the maxims of eternal justice.Since justice still holds its place among the Liberal principles professed by the Government, this unjust Bill ought not to be passed into law by means of the Parliament Act without an appeal to the country.
Let me sum up my argument in support of the noble Marquess's Amendment. It is not necessary for my purpose to criticise the Parliament Act; it is sufficient to show that the Government is employing the Act contrary to Liberal principles. If the Act 1249 were employed in accord with Liberal principles, measures meant to be passed under its provisions would be divided into two classes—first, those which had been seriously discussed in the country at the previous General Election; and, secondly, those which had not been so discussed. Upon Liberal principles only those measures which had been previously discussed in the country would ever be introduced into any Parliament during its first two sessions, while those measures which had not been so discussed would always be reserved for the two closing sessions. Upon Liberal principles no Government would presume under the Parliament Act to ask for the Royal Assent to any measure, especially a measure of great gravity, which had not been previously discussed in the country at a General Election. To employ the Parliament Act in order to evade public discussion in the country upon a measure of great gravity is to violate Liberal principles and to abuse the Parliament Act to suit the exigencies of a temporary coalition. His Majesty's Government holds power by the support of a coalition majority, but it obtained power on its profession of Liberal principles. If the Parliament Act be used to pass, without an appeal to the country, this far-reaching Bill which violates at least five prominent Liberal principles, then I take leave to say that in so forcing it into law behind the backs of the people the Government will have abused its power and betrayed its trust.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LINCOLNSHIRE
My Lords, I ask the indulgence of the House for a few minutes, and I promise they will be very few; but I should like to refer to something that fell from the most rev. Primate in the speech which he made in your Lordships' House last night. I hope I am quoting him correctly. He said—We"—[that is, the Bench of Bishops and noble Lords opposite]—"are asked to say we will join with you without further appeal to the country, if you will give us a little more money for the Church or modify some of the provisions which seem to us to be harsh.And he went on to say—I believe that such action would be wholly wrong. I believe it would be bitterly wrong … to those who come after us. The property, the position, the privileges, and the responsibilities of the Church belong to us in trust for our children …Well, my Lords, there always is, it seems to me, a precedent for everything, and as 1250 the most rev. Primate said those words my thoughts went back to the time when the Irish Church Disestablishment Bill was before your Lordships' House on Second Reading.
I well remember that debate. I was sitting in exactly the same place as I am sitting in to-day, and upon the Bench behind the Archbishop of Canterbury, where my right rev. friend the Bishop of Hereford now sits, rose Bishop Magee, the Bishop of Peterborough, and he made one of the most moving speeches on ecclesiastical matters that probably has ever been made in your Lordships' House. It was a very strong speech; it was a very decided speech; but I am bound to admit that in tone, in temper, and in language it was very different from the speech to which your Lordships listened from the first right rev. Prelate who addressed you this evening. The speech had a most extraordinary effect on the House, and when the Bishop of Peterborough sat down some moments elapsed before Lord Kimberley got up to reply to that great oration. I happened to be sitting next to a noble Lord who is now dead, and who carried great weight in this House and was very kind to us young Peers. I said to him, "Good heavens, the thing is all over now; how can any one after that speech vote for the Second Reading of the Irish Church Bill?" and he said, "Oh, pooh, don't talk non-sense. There is no danger whatever about the Second Reading; the noble Lords opposite will allow the Second Reading to pass, but the danger will lie later in Committee. The Bill as it stands will not be allowed to go through without some compromise, especially on the financial clauses." That is to say, in the language of the most rev. Primate, more money would have to be given to the Church and some of the provisions which seemed to the Bench of Bishops to be harsh would have to be modified. Every one knows what happened. The Second Reading of the Bill was passed with a majority of thirty-three. In the Liberal majority, strange as it may appear, there were eight Dukes and eight or nine Marquesses, and I am glad to say they were giants—that is to say, Liberal giants.
I need not take up the time of the House in describing what happened. The compromise was effected, both sides of the House came together, and the Irish State 1251 Church was a thing of the past and disappeared for ever. Now I ask any member of your Lordships' House—I most respectfully ask the Bench of Bishops themselves—is there any one man in this House who would wish to see the re-establishment of the Church in Ireland? Will any one say that the Church in Ireland is weaker or poorer than it was when it was part of the Establishment? I think the reverse is the case. I will take one instance, if your Lordships will allow me, and that is in the excellent speech which the Marquess of Londonderry made on the Second Reading of the Home Rule Bill. The noble Marquess told us that what struck him inure particularly when he went over to Belfast on that notable Sunday was a sermon that was preached by the Bishop in the cathedral. He told us that he was very much moved by this sermon, so much so that at one moment he said that he was very much inclined to repeat the sermon to your Lordships' House.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
I do not think I ever made such a bold remark as that. What I said was that I should have liked your Lordships to have heard it.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LINCOLNSHIRE
I accept the correction of the noble Marquess, and I join with him in the regret that your Lordships did not hear this great sermon. But it is a very open thing in my mind whether that excellent ecclesiastical speech or homily, or sermon, would have been as strong as it undoubtedly was, to suit the taste of the congregation, if the speaker had been dependent for his emoluments on a Church that was by law established. And now, my Lords, I should like to ask one question. I hope I shall not be thought too inquisitive. But how is it, and why is it, if it was considered right in 1869 as regards the Irish Church—because if it had not been right no one would suppose that your Lordships' House with your high ideals would ever have allowed that Bill to go through this House—if it was right in 1869 to pass the Irish Church Bill with a compromise, how in the name of fortune can it be bitterly wrong in 1913 to go through exactly the same performance as regards the Welsh Church?
It may be said, and it may be true, that there are technical differences in detail between the two cases. I am not able to 1252 discuss that, and I would not take up the time of the House in venturing to do so. But it seems to me that after all, supposing there are technical differences in detail between the two cases, that is to a certain extent only special pleading. The principle is exactly the same. The Irish nation got rid of a State Church in 1869; the Welsh nation mean to get rid of a State Church in 1914. I do not argue whether they are right or whether they are wrong. I only say that this is the fact, that they intend next year to get rid of what is called the National Church, the Church that—I will not say is repudiated, because that would be too strong a word—but the Church that is certainly not accepted as the National Church by at least two-thirds of the population of Wales. Perhaps it will be said, "Who on earth are you to get up and give us your ideas about what is right and wrong in this matter?" It is true that I have a certain family connection with Wales, of which I am very proud, but that is not my excuse for venturing to make a speech on so great and important a subject as this.
My excuse for saving a word or two on this subject is that I had the honour and the privilege of being appointed Chairman of the Welsh Commission on Land in the early 'nineties. That Commission worked very hard for three years. We visited every portion of the Principality; we went to almost every town; and the Commissioners slept in eighty townships in the Principality during those three years. Now I do think that that gave the Commissioners a great insight into the inner life of the Principality, not only the agricultural, but the political, the moral, and the spiritual life of the Principality. There were three members of the Unionist Party on that Commission. There was my noble friend Lord Kenyon and two great landlords in Wales of whom I can only say that they acted up to the reputation of the landlord members of your Lordships' House. I cannot put it higher than that. My noble friend Lord Kenyon will correct me if I am wrong, hut, I think I may fairly say that all of us on that Commission found a generous kind-hearted people. We found a nation, the chief characteristics of which were deep religious feeling and most passionate devotion to the land of their fathers. On one of the Sundays during our travels I was in a place in North Wales—I will not mention the name for fear of hurting the 1253 feelings of the incumbent of that place—and in the morning I visited the church of the Established Church of England. I found a very nice church, and the congregation consisted of that mystic number of "two or three that were gathered together." I cannot say that it was a very inspiriting service, but it was what they call a very nice service. In the afternoon I went to the Calvinistic-Methodist chapel to see what was going on in that temple of devotion. The place was packed, crammed, jammed full of enthusiastic people; they sang hymns as Welsh people only can sing them, and there were several prayers, and we had a sermon of an hour's duration which was most attentively followed. Individually I did not catch much as it was in the Welsh language. The only two words that I understood were "Gladstone" and "Home Rule." I asked afterwards what the allusion to Gladstone was, and was told that it was a tribute of respect from a body of Nonconformists, or Dissenters as they might be called, towards one of probably the greatest and finest Liberal Churchmen that ever lived; and the reference to his name was most sympathetically received. As regards Home Rule, that represented the intense desire of the Welsh nation to have local self-government, so as, if possible, to avoid what is the nightmare and the bugbear of tenant farmers in the Principality, the threat of being turned out of the homes in which, in so many instances, their families have lived for generations and generations. It was the prayer to Almighty God, "Save us from eviction."
If the Welsh nation who are asking for this boon to be granted to them were a lot of materialists, if they were a lot of atheists, if they were men who derided religion, there would not be one Liberal on this side of the House who would not go into the Lobby with you and most resolutely refuse to allow that this request should be granted. Of course we should; but the misunderstanding in this House, which is composed entirely of Churchmen—there is not a single Nonconformist or Dissenter, as far as I am aware, who is a member of your Lordships' House—[Oh!]—perhaps I am wrong, but there are very few—is due to the fact that the great preponderating influence of this House, backed up by the Bishops, is the Church of England. I honestly feel that Welsh aspirations and hopes are quite imperfectly understood, and that misunder 1254 standing is the cause of the resolute attitude that noble Lords have taken against the wish of the Welsh nation. May I quote one sentence out of the unanimous Report which the Land Commissioners issued. They said that the Welsh possessed "distinctive characteristics which separate them from the rest of the United Kingdom." They had aspirations consistent with the union of all the Dominions into an Imperial State, and at the same time they were national in the highest and best sense of the term. I may be wrong, but it does seem to me that you are refusing to recognise Wales as a nation when you absolutely put your backs against the wall and refuse in any shape or form to grant the national demands.
We all respect the deep feeling which urges the Bench of Bishops and noble Lords opposite to follow the course which you have mapped out for yourselves with regard not only to the Welsh policy but to the Irish policy as well. You have taken your side; we deeply deplore it, and I feel perfectly certain of this, that it is the feeling of every man who has gone into the wide world, it is the feeling of every man who has been in the British Dominions and into the Colonies beyond the seas, that you are laying the axe to the roots of British greatness if you destroy the collective individuality which is the secret of England's common strength. I have now completed fifty years of consecutive service in the Liberal ranks in both Houses of Parliament. I have voted during those fifty years for all sorts of reforms. I have voted for political, agricultural, social, military, naval, and ecclesiastical reform; and, my Lords, on my honour I can say that I never regret one single vote that I have given in the course of that long life. It is with the clearest conscience, and in the full belief that it is in the religious and the highest and best moral interests of the Principality, that I shall with all my heart record my vote in favour of the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I will not attempt to follow the noble Marquess who has just sat down in his entertaining account of his peregrinations in the Principality. We learn from him that he found a generous and kindhearted people devoted to the land of their fathers; that he was greatly impressed by their singing, and by a sermon which he was 1255 not able to understand, and which he apparently cited in order that he might pit it against the rival sermon which my noble friend behind me (Lord Londonderry) was ready to cite in the argument to which we listened from him the other evening. But what those impressions of his Welsh tour have to do with the Bill upon the Table, I am really not able to conjecture.
My noble friend who moved the Amendment which we are now discussing reminded the House, at the beginning of his remarks yesterday, of the debate which we had upon this subject last session, and he complained, as many of us complained at the time, of the somewhat meagre contribution made to that debate by noble Lords sitting on the Front Bench opposite. On this occasion His Majesty's Ministers have been true to their traditions. If their contribution was meagre last session, it has been even more exiguous on this occasion. The course of the debate has really been remarkable. The noble Earl who has charge of the Bill was not even at the pains of introducing it with a few prefatory words. My noble friend Lord Salisbury followed with a closely-reasoned speech, and he in turn was followed by the noble and learned Viscount upon the Woolsack in a speech eloquent and interesting, full of facts, of which a good many seem to be disputed, and containing arguments a good many of which did not appear to us quite relevant to the subject that we were discussing. The noble and learned Viscount sat down at about six o'clock yesterday afternoon, and since that hour not one single speaker from the Front Bench opposite has addressed a word to your Lordships.
We have had an eloquent speech from my noble friend Lord St. Aldwyn; we have had a series of most interesting speeches from the most rev. Primate and his brethren; but we have had no attempt at a reply from members of His Majesty's Government. And of the comparatively rare speeches delivered in support of the Bill from the Back Benches opposite, two at least were characterised by a note of very distinct dissatisfaction with the Disendowment proposals of the Bill. The noble Earl will, of course, presently make his reply, but we shall have no opportunity of meeting his arguments if they seem to us unconvincing. I can assure your Lordships that I am not for a moment going to suggest that it should 1256 be our business to apply a foot-rule to the columns of Hansard, and that one side has a grievance if the other side does not contribute an approximately equal number of columns to the record of the debate. That is not at all what I mean. But what I do suggest is that our debates in this House are deprived of their reality and of their educative value if they are not carried on with a certain amount of give-and-take as between at all events the two Front Benches.
Silence has its advantages, and much has been said and sung of the advantages of silence, particularly when your case is not a very strong one. I am sure the noble Marquess who leads the House is familiar with Pope's famous "Ode to Silence." May I trouble him with a very short quotation from it. The poet, apostrophizing the goddess of silence, describes how, when "oppressed with argumental tyranny "—the sort of argumental tyranny that we listened to in the speeches of the right rev. Prelates who addressed us this afternoon—"routed reason finds a safe retreat in thee"; and then he goes on with these three lines which I cannot resist quoting to the House. He describes what takes place in the "Senate" —I presume he had the House of Lords in his mind—and he writes:Yet speech even there, submissively withdraws From rights of subjects, and the poor man's cause:Then pompous silence reigns, and stills the noisy laws.That is not an inadequate description of the Bench which I see opposite to me. I do not think your Lordships could wish for a better illustration of the effects of the Parliament Act upon our debates in depriving them of that reality which they used to possess. I am almost tempted to pair with the noble Marquess who leads the House and to observe the silence which he is going to observe, but there are one or two small matters to which I should like to call attention, and to which I hope the noble Earl will address himself when he follows me presently.
In the first place, I want to say one word about the form of my noble friend's Amendment. It has not been much criticised in this House, but it has been a great deal criticised out of doors. The kind of criticism that we encounter is something of this sort—"You have asked 1257 for a General Election for the Home Rule Bill. You also ask for a General Election for the Welsh Church Bill. You cannot have two General Elections; therefore you will have to be content with one election, if you can get it, for both Bills, and the result will be a blurred and inconclusive verdict." I think that is in a sense a just criticism, and it would be true if one went further and said that even so far as those two important Bills are concerned the verdict of the country would no doubt be influenced by other considerations also. My Lords, these difficulties are inherent in our representative institutions. The verdict of a General Election is always a somewhat rough-and-ready verdict, but it is, nevertheless, not a bad guide as to the movement of public opinion, and at any rate it is the best guide which is available.
Let me remind the House that we have intimated as plainly as we could that if His Majesty's Government take exception to this suggestion for a General Election, we should be perfectly ready to see these Bills referred to the country by way of a referendum—a course which would focus the attention of the electors upon the points which we really desire to have put before them. The noble Viscount opposite, the ether evening, rather complained of me for having expressed myself favourable to the referendum. He said I was suggesting plebiscites and referendums and what I think he called foreign or un-English contrivances. But, my Lords, the noble Viscount had forgotten, or had not listened to, the admirable speech previously delivered during the debate by my noble friend Lord Chelmsford, who was able to tell the House from personal knowledge how the referendum worked in one of our great Colonies, and he might have gone further and told how it works not only in that particular Dominion with which he has had to do, but in several of the great Dominions which form the British Empire. We, at any rate, are prepared to accept the result of either reference as conclusive, and we insist upon that, because it is impossible not to notice the kind of conundrums which are being constantly put forward, conundrums which are generally directed to asking us exactly to what extent we should desist from our opposition in case the verdict of the country should be unfavourable to us. Our meaning is perfectly clear to all those 1258 who have paid attention to what we have said on that subject. We may be politicians, but we are also men of honour; and when we say that we desire an appeal to the country and that we are prepared to abide by the result of that appeal, I believe most people know that we mean what we say. I venture to appropriate the expression used by the right rev. Prelate who presides over the See of St. Asaph when he said that he was prepared to accept the verdict and make the best of it. And let me further point this out, that so far as Parliament is concerned, if the verdict were to be unfavourable to us, we should stand exactly where we stand now; we should still be under the thraldom of the Parliament Act, and we should have no opportunity of influencing the result except by those conversations, consultations, and suggestions into which you are continually inviting us to enter.
But at any rate the result of a referendum or a General Election would be an infinitely more trustworthy guide as to the proof of public opinion than any guidance that can be derived at this moment from House of Commons majorities. I always desire to speak respectfully of the other House of Parliament, and I am going to use with regard to it, not my own language, but the words of two members of this House who have recently spoken to us upon this subject. On the Second Reading of this Bill in the last session Lord Peel, speaking with considerable expel knee of the House of Commons, used these words—I have seen nearly too much of the way in which these majorities are cemented and compacted together to have any respect for them.The other quotation which I will make is from a speech addressed to us the other evening by Lord Loreburn, who said—Our own legislative machinery in this country had really broken down for effective purposes.… When there are many important issues together before the House of Commons, the temptation to Members of Parliament to sacrifice their own opinions as to what is really best for the country is very difficult to withstand.… Some support one Bill because they are looking forward to another Bill"—that is what I ventured to describe the other evening as a thinly-veiled transaction—All this tends to sap the independence and judgment of the Members of the House of Com 1259 mons and to turn Members of Parliament largely into ciphers, dependent upon the will of Ministers themselves.And then he concluded—All this will gradually lead us to a state of things when divisions in the House of Commons will not represent the real opinion of the House of Commons itself, but merely an anxiety to keep Ministers in power.The remedy proposed by Lord Loreburn was some form of devolution. It will be a long time, with all the goodwill in the world, before we shall see any system of devolution in working order in this country. In the meantime, now that Government has destroyed the only safeguards which the Constitution provided and is driving the chariot of State as furiously as it does, I suggest to your Lordships that the only corrective for the condition of things which Lord Loreburn so eloquently described is that there should be an appeal to the electorate of this country whenever great changes such as those involved in this Bill and in the Irish Bill are proposed without sufficient evidence to show that they are desired by the people of the country.
Now, my Lords, I shall say only a few words with regard to the Bill itself. It was impossible to listen to this discussion without being impressed by the extraordinary weakness of the case made for the Bill. The arguments in favour of it may really be condensed into one single proposition. We are told that this Bill is desired by a majority of the people of Wales, and that therefore they ought to have it. My Lords, even if the premise be a true premise, even if the Bill is desired by a majority of the people of Wales— of which I am not at all convinced—I cannot admit that it is one which should be treated in one way or the other upon the assumption that the question involved is merely a local question. The Establishment of the Church in Wales is not a local question; it is a misnomer to talk of the Disestablishment of the Welsh Church. What you are doing is to drive four dioceses of the Church of England out of the Establishment, and that I maintain is not a local but a national question.
What is the backing behind this proposal? The population of Wales numbers altogether two millions, out of the total of thirty-six millions composing the population of England and Wales together. To 1260 the best of my belief, of those two millions, only one, or little more than one, can be claimed as really in favour of this Bill. Consider what that means. It means that 3 per cent., or very little over 3 per cent., of the total population of England and Wales is asking for this Bill. Now consider the difference between your treatment of this Welsh minority and your treatment of another minority in Ireland. I take the Ulster minority—the minority embraced in the four counties. They include 23 per cent. of the population of Ireland. That minority claims the right to be heard, and what it asks is simply to be left alone. Your reply is, "Your minority is so insignificant that we cannot leave you alone, and we propose to drive you out of the Union." Now take the Welsh minority. The Welsh minority is 3 per cent. of the population of England and Wales. That minority claims a right, not to be left alone, but to drive the Church of England out of the Principality; and your reply is, "Your minority is so important that we cannot turn a deaf ear to your request, and we propose to give effect to your desire." And upon that you set to work upon your task of piecemeal Disestablishment of the Church of England.
The noble Marquess who spoke just now went back to the alleged analogy of the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland; so did Lord Eversley, who spoke yesterday. Neither of them had apparently paid much attention to the conclusive argument used by my noble friend Lord St. Aldwyn in regard to this particular point. The noble Marquess suggested a dilemma. He said, "How could it be right to Disestablish the Irish Church in 1869, and how can it be wrong to Disestablish the Welsh Church in 1913?" Is the noble Marquess not aware that the circumstances of the two cases are wholly dissimilar? He shakes his head. May I then suggest to him, in the first place, that the Church in Ireland already had an organisation of its own. It was a self-contained Church; and, moreover, it had joined our Church at a comparatively recent time. The Welsh Church is an integral part of the Church of England, and not only that, it is probably the oldest part of the Church of England. Another trifling difference. Disestablishment was asked for in 1860 by the unanimous voice of the Roman Catholics of Ireland representing about 1261 four-fifths of the whole population. The Welsh demand, as I showed just now, comes from a fraction representing probably not more than half of the population, and consisting, not of representatives of a single Church, but of representatives of a coalition Of a number of Churches, not one of which, taken by itself, is as numerous and as strong as the Church of England. But, my Lords, in spite of that, we are ready to take the Irish precedent if you will really apply it mutatis mulandis to the present condition of things—if you will take the Bill on the Table as the equivalent of Mr. Gladstone's three Resolutions in 1868 and give us a General Election on that Bill, just as we had an election on the three Resolutions in 1868, that is all we desire, and we are ready to abide by the result just as we were ready to abide by the result in 1869. So much for the precedent of the Irish Church.
But in the meantime we must respectfully decline to deal with this question of the Disestablishment of the Church as if it were one which concerns the people of Wales and the people of Wales alone. As long as Wales remains politically and administratively a part of this country we must refuse to listen to these proposals for local treatment. For surely it is absurd to suggest to us that you should have an Established Church with an organisation co-extensive with the political machinery of the whole country, and that then you should allow any section of the country to shake itself free of its allegiance without further ado. Really, noble Lords opposite argue as if we were talking, let us say, about a question like the liquor traffic, or something of that kind. We were perfectly ready the other evening to read a second time a Bill giving a wide measure of local option to Scotland with regard to the traffic in intoxicant liquors, but I protest altogether against the idea that we could deal with that part of the law which unites the civil and the religious government of this country upon the same lines as if we were dealing with licensing or any other question of purely local convenience.
I suggest to your Lordships that His Majesty's Government are really beginning at the wrong end. Is it not their first business to make up their minds whether they intend that Wales should be a nation or not, and what amount of autonomy 1262 they are going to give to it? When they have made up their minds on that point then will come the question of the amount of control over Church matters which we can safely give to this new area. But we ought not to forget that even in the case of Ireland, where His Majesty's Government desire to grant a very wide measure of autonomy, they have insisted specially that that autonomy should not include a right to deal with the question of Church Establishment. These arguments are not devoid of importance, because it is perfectly clear to us that although noble Lords opposite are talking of Disestablishment in Wales what is really in their minds is the much larger question of the Disestablishment of the Church in England. The noble Earl who will follow me at any rate cannot recede from that position, and I believe I am right in saying that three at least of his colleagues have used similar language and have admitted that in their view this Bill really is a first step towards the Disestablishment of the Church of England.
That was the main argument used by noble Lords opposite, and the rest of their case seemed to me to be virtually negligible. I thought this was particularly the case with that part of it which was directed to showing that there had been a failure on the part of the Church in Wales to realise what was expected of her. The record of the Welsh Church seems to me to be one of which no Church need be ashamed. The Church has grown with the growth of population, its efficiency has constantly increased, its ministers minister where no other ministrations are available. I do not know what Lord Eversley meant yesterday evening when he told its that the Welsh Church was the Church of the rich. That I must say is an entirely new light in which the matter is put. But all these attempts to belittle the services of the Welsh Church, to throw discredit upon its record, seem to me to fail completely. Mr. McKenna announced the other day that the history of the Welsh Church with the exception of the last two generations, was one of neglect and misrule—with the exception of the last two generations! My Lords, what an exception ! Would any one deprive a publican of his licence because his grandfather or great-grandfather had managed the premises badly? That is a specimen of the kind of basis upon which these indict 1263 meats are framed. The noble and learned Viscount was much more dexterous. He framed his indictment not so much upon the sins of the Welsh Church as upon the admirable results achieved by the Nonconformist Churches. He described the social movement which was proceeding in Wales, and mentioned the distinguished men who were at the head of that movement. He told us that the Nonconformist clergy were above the level of the Church of England clergy; he told us that amongst the Nonconformist ministers were to be found the highest authorities upon theological questions; but, my Lords, as I listened to the noble and learned Viscount I drew from his words a conclusion quite different from that which he drew himself. The conclusion which I was inclined to draw was that if all this progress was taking place in Wales, if all these things were happening, then it could not also be true to say that the presence of the Established Church was paralysing the life of the country and dwarfing the genius of the people.
Then there is the constantly repeated saying that the Welsh Church is forced upon the people of Wales. Who is injured by the presence of the Welsh Church? By whom is the injury inflicted? Who suffers it? Do people suffer? in purse or in person or in self-respect? All these questions are asked, but they are never answered. I venture to suggest that this really is a platform grievance, and that it has no solid foundation in fact. I cannot help holding that the truer view of the case is that the Nonconformist clergy and the Church of England clergy are not enemies, nor even rivals, but that they are, or ought to be, considered as allies, serving side by side in a great army which has to contend with a common enemy. And, my Lords, that view is, I believe, the view which is going to prevail in the Principality. The old antipathies are dying out, but nothing, I venture to think, will go so far to revive them as that this Bill should be forced on the country under the machinery of the Parliament Act. If that is done, you will leave behind you rankling animosities which will survive not only in the breasts of those who have suffered the wrong but of those who have inflicted it on others.
With regard to the Disendowment clauses of the Bill, I will add very little. 1264 I believe the Disendowment proposals of His Majesty's Government are regarded throughout this country with the utmost dislike and suspicion. I believe there is scarcely a village, even in districts where Nonconformity is prevalent, where you could not get up a successful meeting of protest against the injustice and the meanness of these proposals. Their operation will unquestionably be cruelly severe, for they will deprive men who are very badly remunerated already of even what might be called a subsistence wage. When you come to consider how the money which is thus to be taken away from the Church is to be disposed of, the folly and injustice of the proceeding seems to me to be more than ever obvious. What will this sum, expressed in terms of recreation grounds, or libraries, or baths and wash-houses, amount to? I noted particularly what was said by the noble Lord on the Back Bench, Lord Ashton of Hyde, on this subject. He was strongly opposed, and I think rightly opposed, to allowing this money to pass under the control of the county councils and to be by them disposed of as they might think fit. May I recall to your Lordships an incident which is not without bearing upon this part of the case? A Bill was proposed—I forget the year—dealing with the question of the compensation of evicted tenants in Ireland, and we found that it contained a clause under which £250,000 was to be taken from the Irish Temporalities Fund—that is, the Irish Church Funds—in order to compensate these people whose record was certainly not one of the very highest respectability. I do not wonder that the noble Lord on the Back Bench shares our feeling, that some precaution, at any rate, should be taken to prevent these funds from being misapplied as His Majesty's Government would have misapplied the Irish Church Temporalities Fund.
Then there is the question of the title of the Church to this money. If the title of the Church is not good, what title is good? Twenty-five years is a sufficient prescriptive title in the case of Nonconformist property. The other evening your Lordships passed a Bill under which persons who for forty years have been making use of a path or passage across anybody's private grounds may claim a right of way over that path in spite of settlements and legal objections. In the case of the Church it is not twenty 1265 five years; it is not forty years; in some cases it is four centuries or more which you are going quietly to leave out of account.
I will add but one word. The right rev. Prelate who presides over the diocese of Hereford made a personal appeal to me last night, and asked me whether I would not do what lay in my power to facilitate a compromise over this Bill. I have to reply that so far as the principle of this Bill is concerned there is no room for compromise; there is no via media between Establishment and Disestablishment. But I know it is suggested, perhaps not by the right rev. Prelate but by many other people, that we ought to endeavour to come to terms in regard to the question of Endowment. We are told that we ought to try to save something from the wreck while there is yet time. To that my answer is two-fold. In the first place, I desire to express my conviction that, even if this Bill becomes law, even if this great injustice is done, the time will come when we shall have to put that injustice right and to indemnify, in one way or another those whom you are endeavouring to spoliate. My other answer is a very simple one. If I am told that we ought to save something out of the wreck, I reply that the ship is not wrecked yet, and that in our view the people of this country will not allow it to be wrecked.
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (EARL BEAUCHAMP)
My Lords, the discussion which has taken place yesterday and to-day has not unnaturally ranged round other topics than those of this Bill. We have discussed not only the merits or the demerits of the Bill for the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales, but we have also been discussing upon the Amendment moved by the noble Marquess opposite the question of submitting this Bill to a General Election and the operation of the Parliament Act. Yesterday we had some interesting suggestions made to us by the noble Marquess who moved the Amendment, suggestions which have been added to in the course of the speech which has been made by the noble Marquess who has just sat down. It is interesting to remember that there was one clause in the Parliament Act which received very general assent on both sides of the House. It is, I think, the last clause in the Parliament Act, and it provides that 1266 Parliament should last for a space of five years. But now the suggestion which is put before us is not that Parliament should last for five years, or even that we should have triennial Parliaments, but that we should have a General Election at least once a year; and if some of the suggestions which were made the other evening by the noble Earl, Lord Curzon, were carried out, it might be necessary for His Majesty's Government to have them more often still.
The noble Marquess who moved the Amendment offered us our choice. He said, "Throw over your Home Rule Bill and submit this one to the people of the country; or else throw over this Bill and submit the other one to the people of the country." So far as we understood last night, each Bill was to go through the same process and was to be submitted in turn to the people at a General Election. Now I understand from the noble Marquess who has just sat down that that would not be the programme which he suggests, but that a single General Election should be held to cover both measures, and he offers us the further alternative of a referendum. Well, that is an interesting suggestion—that the one General Election should cover the two Bills. We should be still more interested if we knew whether, supposing His Majesty's Government were defeated, the Government which succeeded His Majesty's present Ministers would feel justified in introducing a measure of Tariff Reform, or whether they would look upon the General Election that then took place as merely settling the fate of these two Bills. We may hope on some future occasion to be told a little more clearly what exactly we are to deduce from these General Elections. Lord Curzon, in the debate on the Home Rule Bill, foreshadowed a scheme by which the Bill, if submitted to a General Election and approved by the people of the country, would then be taken in Committee of your Lordships' House, and by means of Amendments it would be made "palatable" to your Lordships' House. It is not explained what is to happen if the Amendment which your Lordships' House introduces is not considered to he in harmony with the principles of the Bill as conceived by its authors—that is to say, by His Majesty's Government; and that is why I said a few moments ago that it might be necessary for us to have even a second 1267 General Election before it was possible for us to pass the Bill as we thought it ought to be passed through both Houses of Parliament.
But what it really would come to would be that noble Lords opposite, by a continual process of General Elections, would no doubt in time wear away the majority of the Liberal Government. And the noble Marquess who suggests, as an alternative to this scheme of General Elections, that we should have a referendum on each Bill to which the majority in your Lordships' House objects forgets that we are brought back to the old ground of the different treatment which your Lordships' House offers to Liberal measures as compared with Conservative measures. The referendum has been a subject of discussion in this House before, and at this late hour I am not going to begin it again. But this, at any rate, I would say on the subject, that to apply the referendum simply to measures of which the majority of your Lordships' House disapprove and not to measures introduced by a Conservative Ministry, is clearly unfair to legislation introduced by a Liberal Government.
Let me turn to the point of how far this Bill may be considered as being in accordance with the wishes of the people of this country. I have no hesitation in saying that, so far as the last General Election was concerned, the people of this country were seized with the fact that the Welsh Church Bill was in the programme of His Majesty's Government. And I think more than one noble Lord who has taken part in this discussion has forgotten that there was a Welsh Disestablishment Bill introduced into the House of Commons during the session of 1909. That was not the same Bill as the Bill which is before your Lordships now. This Bill is very much more generous to the Welsh Church than was the Bill to which I have just referred. And, my Lords, I think we are entitled to point to the fact that so far as we can see there has not been a great movement against the Welsh Church Bill on the part of the people of this country—["Oh!"]—if, indeed, there had been any such movement then I am quite sure the first people to feel the effect of that movement would have been the Liberal Members in the House of Commons. I venture to think that noble Lords are apt 1268 to under-rate the pressure which can be brought to bear by constituents upon their Members of Parliament. If there is a real feeling in the country against any particular measure constituents can, and do, make their displeasure felt. But there certainly has not been, beyond the demonstrations to which I shall refer in a moment, any such evidence of a change of opinion.
Demonstrations have been held up and down the country, and there have been large numbers of people present at those demonstrations. For my own part I should have attached some importance, perhaps, to some of those demonstrations if there had not been so much talk about "guarding the Faith" or about the "spoliation and the robbery of God." We all realise that it is easy to get up at any time a meeting in any village against the policy which you may be anxious to demonstrate is unpopular in the country. There are very few villages in the country in which you could not get up a meeting; and I venture to say that these demonstrations have been very largely attended by what I would call the constant Tory population of this country. There are, of course, and there always must be, exceptions; there are some Liberal Nonconformists who dislike this Bill, but those are exceptions. Generally speaking, I fail to find any evidence that there has been a great accession of strength to the opposition of this Bill beyond that which has always been found amongst the ranks of the normal Tory population of this country. However that may be, let me express my regret that your Lordships should once more abdicate your functions and your powers of dealing with the Bill and of amending it in such a way as you think right, and having that detailed discussion in Committee which can only be of great advantage to any Bill. In the same way, we on this side of the House are free to regret the fact that no use has been made of the Suggestion Stage in another place. I think further, that we are entitled to say that in the future your Lordships cannot altogether escape the responsibility of having allowed these Bills to go through in their present shape, if they go through under the normal way of the Parliament Act.
I turn to the discussion of the Bill itself. I am sure that the noble Marquess who has 1269 just sat clown will agree with me that few new points have been introduced into the debate since we last discussed this Bill in the spring of the present year. I was ranch flattered by the apparent desire of the noble Marquess that I should have spoken at an earlier stage on this Bill, and I confess that had. I realised how short a time would have been left to me I might have been tempted to make my speech in moving the Second Reading. I was also flattered by the frequency with which my statement in favour of the Disestablishment of the Church of England was quoted by noble Lords opposite. I am in favour of a free Church in a free State, and I am not ashamed of that opinion. I am bound to admit at the same time that I think it is far more likely that the movement for the Disestablishment of the Church of England will come from within rather than from without, when some of those with whom I am glad sometimes to act in concert within the Church are less fond of the Erastian bonds which for the moment they hug to themselves. The noble Viscount Opposite, whom we all respect however deeply we may differ from him—Lord Halifax—challenged us last night upon the point that we had not introduced a Bill of this kind for Scotland; and there, I think, he touched upon one of the main roots of the controversy with regard to this Bill.
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX
I never suggested that His Majesty's Government should introduce a Bill of this kind for Scotland. What I did say was that they would not dare to put into any dealings with Scotland such a division as they had attempted to force on the Church of England.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I am sorry I misunderstood the noble Viscount. At any rate I now understand him to say that the terms we should introduce would be more generous and different. I am afraid I must leave that point until I have had some time to consider the question. I know well enough that the people of Scotland are a hard people to deal with, and I could not venture to enter into a controversy with the noble Viscount on that point. Let me turn to the position as it appears to some of those within the Church itself. I have here an extract from a little monthly newspaper called The Commonwealth, in which was published 1270 at the beginning of this month, above the signature, I think, of Canon Scott Holland, the following remarks—For after all, this appeal really amounts to this, that we are required by our position as Churchmen to refuse to recognise the claim of a people, expressed with singular consistency and reiteration, that their religious life should not be officially expressed by the ministrations of the Anglican Church. This is a claim which, it seems to us, a nation has a perfect right to make, and which a Church is ill-advised to ignore. We should giant, willingly, that in those cases where there is practical unanimity in the national expression of religious belief there is much to be said for an Established Church, but we cannot believe that there is anything to be gained by clinging to a position of dignity anti of service where the dignity is a source of constant friction and the services which we seek to render are repudiated and undesired.I was interested, in listening to the noble Marquess just now, to note a phrase in which he spoke of the old antipathies as dying out. I wondered what those old antipathies really were. But as those old antipathies did exist, are we quite sure that they are dying out as quickly as the noble Marquess fancies? Is it not possible that those old antipathies may not be the antipathies of which we always speak when we are talking of the feeling which exists between the Nonconformists in Wales and the members of the Church of England in Wales, and are not those old antipathies very much at the root of the dislike which so many people in Wales have to the administrations of the Church of England in Wales?
Consider for one moment what is the converse of the position which we offer in this Bill. It is that the present position should be maintained, and that you should continue to fasten by law the privileged position of the Church upon a nation and upon a people when many of the people have left that Church, some of whom dislike it, and a vast majority wish to displace it from its privileged and favoured position. That does not to me seem to be a position which it is wise for any friend of the Church to wish to see it occupy at the present time; and if these antipathies exist, my Lords, we who support this Bill cannot admit that the whole of the responsibility for those antipathies is due to those who are in favour of this Bill. Here is a passage from a speech which was made by the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of St. Asaph at Llandudno on April 11 this year, in which, speaking of the gap which would 1271 exist if the Church of England was blotted out, he said—Then with what would the gap be instantly filled? Were their standards of faith, unaltered through the centuries—
THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Earl; but that passage has been quoted very often. Mr. Herbert Lewis, a member of the Government, had said that if the Church were blotted out "the gap would be instantly filled by the Nonconformist bodies," and I was referring to that "gap" alluded to in Mr. Lewis's speech.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I quite agree. The right rev. Prelate said—Then with what would the gap be instantly filled? Were their standards of faith, unaltered through the centuries, to be replaced by the shifting theories of the Calvinistic Methodists, who within the short span of their existence had already turned their backs upon their own trust deed. Were the reverence and sanctity of their altars to give place to those of the chapel, where the altar first became a pulpit and then a platform? In morals, was their standard of truth and honour to be filled by that of the Calvinistic Methodists as all Wales knew it in mart and market? Was their standard of purity to be taken from those districts where Calvinism was predominant? And in their social life, were their ideals of Christian fellowship, or broadminded charity, of fair dealing in the distribution of local privileges and honour, to be taken from the Calvinistic Methodists as they knew them in the public life of Wales?I hope the right rev. Prelate will forgive me if I say I prefer the methods of controversy adopted by the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Winchester last night.
There was one passage in the speech made by the noble Marquess who moved this Amendment to which I hope he will allow me to refer. He said that people in England did not realise that there were many parts in Wales where there were no religious ministrations at all except those of the Church in Wales, and that if the Church were obliterated there would be no religious ministrations for the unfortunate people. Now, that is an argument that has been used very frequently, with a slight difference, by the right rev. Prelates who represent Wales in this House; and the reference which they generally make is not so much to the many parts of Wales as to the parishes in Wales in which there is no religious ministration except that of the Church of England. The suggestion in the amended form—that there are 1272 ecclesiastical parishes in which there is no Nonconformist religious ministration—is, as one would naturally expect, correct. But you would not expect that as new organisations spring up they would adopt the old organisation of the Church of England; they would naturally adopt a different one without any regard to ancient ecclesiastical divisions, and would naturally place their ministers where they wished them to be. And I venture to say, in opposition to the noble Marquess, that it is difficult to find many of these districts in which the Church in Wales is the only organisation which offers religious ministrations.
I have had the advantage of going with some little care into the question of the county of Cardiganshire, where there are thirty-four parishes which have no resident Nonconformist minister. Now, the statement that there are thirty-four parishes without any resident Nonconformist minister is a statement for which I am responsible. As it stands it does not do entire justice to the situation. Ten of them have no Nonconformist place of worship, and there are various circumstances in regard to each of those parishes which lead one to the conclusion that, although it is perfectly accurate that there are no resident Nonconformist ministers in those thirty-four parishes, yet such arrangements are made as fully provide for Nonconformist religious ministrations being given to the people who live in those parishes. There are cases where there are two portions of mountain land and the nearest minister lives in the same village as the nearest incumbent; or five chapels within a very short distance of three sides, with four ministers; or another parish with five chapels and five pastors quite near; or it may be that the parish is part of the same town, or the town is divided into two parishes, all the Nonconformist chapels and Nonconformist ministers being on the other side of the river. The point which I am anxious to make is that although it may be technically accurate that there are ecclesiastical parishes in which there is no Nonconformist religious ministration, yet in a broad way there are very few, if any, districts in Wales which are left unprovided for in this way.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
Now, my Lords, that naturally leads one to the question of Disendowment; and here may I draw a broad analogy, not necessarily exact in all its particulars, between what has already been done by the State in some of our colleges and universities. There in many cases money was left for the sake of learning. As time went on and these Nonconformist organisations arose, it came about over the whole country that every member of the population did not belong to the Church of England, and so it was felt to be a hardship upon the Nonconformists that they should be excluded from their share of endowments which, though they may have been left technically for the benefit of the members of a single Church, were yet left for the benefit of the whole of the country, because at the time when the money, was left there were no other religious organisations existing. Therefore Parliament in its wisdom abolished tests. I venture to say that there is a true broad analogy between that instance and what His Majesty's Government propose to do in the present Bill.
The noble Viscount, Lord St. Aldwyn, to whom we always listen with particular respect, said last night in the course of the debate, recognising, I think, that that was the line of argument which many of us adopt, that the natural alternative was a system of concurrent endowment. I largely agree with the noble Viscount, and if logic ruled us in this imperfect world very likely concurrent endowment would have been the method suggested by His Majesty's Government. But it is no use suggesting concurrent endowment when all these other bodies concerned refuse to accept concurrent endowment if you offer it to them. I venture to suggest that we go some way in the direction of concurrent endowment when we devote the money which would otherwise be given to a particular religious organisation to a purpose of which they approve, and which they wish to see benefited in this way. There is not, I think, a very grave or broad distinction between actually giving the money to the organisation itself and giving it to some other organisation of which they approve and which they say they would like to see benefited in this manner.
Then I turn for one moment to the case of the curates. It is the only matter of detail which I shall discuss, because I think 1274 many of these matters, and perhaps, indeed, even this one, could have been better discussed in Committee if your Lordships had gone to that stage, and I am not sure that a Second Reading debate is a good opportunity to take up these comparatively small points. But the case of the curates was specially put to me by the most rev. Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury last night. I think the position with regard to the curates is perfectly obvious. They are not given any compensation because they have no endowment. There is no endowment; therefore there is no disendowment for them under the Bill. Noble Lords opposite who take an interest in these matters know that for a long time there has been considerable agitation amongst the unbeneficed clergy, who have been anxious that their condition should be improved. I venture to say that the position would have been entirely different if the Church itself had improved their position to the extent of giving them a more assured position within the Church of England itself; but in so far as the Church has refused to give them any legal position or any legal right, it is for that reason that it is difficult, to say the least, of it, to bring them within the provisions of the Bill without making a very large alteration in the principles with which it was introduced.
I turn to the last subject with which I shall trouble your Lordships, and that is the question which is generally associated with the term Disendowment of the Church of England. The noble Marquess opposite told us last night that he did not think we felt the full force of that argument. I admit at once that I do not feel that there is any great force in it. As it seems to me, the position is this. The unit of administration in the Church is certainly not the parish, it is the diocese. You move parishes with comparative ease by an Order in Council from one diocese to another, but for the Church of England your unit must be the diocese. It would be, perhaps, better if it were the Bishop in Council, but the most rev. Primate has lately appointed a Commission to consider the question of an increase in the Episcopate. I do not think it would be very surprising if that Committee not only recommended an increase in the Episcopate, but also an increase in the Archiepiscopate. Those ideas have been floating in the minds of Churchmen for a great many years, and I 1275 think there are many who would like to see, for instance, an Archbishopric of London. Well, if there was an Archbishopric of London we should certainly find considerable difficulty, at any rate, in allowing the Archbishop of London to remain in the Convocation of Canterbury. But when we speak of the Church of England none of us, I am sure, would forget the personality of the most rev. Primate from York nor the existence of the Church of England people in the northern counties, but, they have no connection with this Bill or with the Church of England in Wales—no direct connection—and instead of speaking about taking the four dioceses of Wales away from the Church of England, we should be talking less loosely and more accurately if we said we were taking them out of the Convocation of Canterbury; and the Church of England, as a whole, including those vast populations of Church-people in the North of England, apart altogether from Church of England people in Ireland and Scotland, will be in no way affected by this severance from the Convocation of Canterbury which is all that this Bill purports to effect. I venture to say that when this Bill has become law it will be perfectly possible for the representatives of Canterbury and York and of Wales to meet together for mutual consultation and for advice, if they wish to do so. But the Church in Wales, naturally, would have from that time power to regulate herself.
This kind of severance is no unusual and no bad thing. Reference may be made, not only, as on the last occasion, to the self-governing Dominions, but also to the fact that there has been a severance of the same kind amongst the Roman Catholics in England. Quite within the last few years,
§ if I remember rightly—no doubt some noble Lord will correct me if I am wrong—some of the Roman Catholic dioceses in England were separated from the Archbishopric of Westminster, and two new Archbishoprics were instituted, I think, in Liverpool and Birmingham. That was done of their own accord and to their own benefit because their organisation would thereby improve. I believe that in the same way this will lead to a better organisation of the dioceses in Wales.
§ In conclusion, let me try to give an answer to the question with which the most rev. Primate concluded his remarks last night. He asked, Who is to gain? I admit fully that there is very little for any one to gain materially in connection with this Bill. The sums of money are too small. But, on the other hand, what we do look forward to as the gain under this Bill is that the national demand of Wales will have been satisfied, bitterness will be assuaged, an old sore will be healed, the religious bodies will be able to return to their religious work, and a sense of rankling injustice will be removed.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
I respectfully ask your Lordships' permission that Lord Cottesloe may have the privilege, on account of infirmity, of being polled in his seat.
§ Leave given to Lord Cottesloe accordingly to vote in the House.
§ On Question, whether the words proposed to be left out shall stand part of the Motion?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 48; Not-contents, 213.1279
|Haldane, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Sandhurst, L. (L. Chamberlain.)||Lyveden, L.|
|Morley of Blackburn, V. (L. President.)||Aberconway, L.||Marchamley, L.|
|Ashton of Hyde, L.||Moulton, L.|
|Crewe, M. (L. Privy Seal.)||Blyth, L.||Pirrie, L.|
|Colebrooke, L. [Teller.]||Pontypridd, L.|
|Lincolnshire, M.||Courtney of Penwith,||Reay, L.|
|L. Cowdray, L.||Rotherham, L.|
|Devon port, L.||Rowallan, L.|
|Chesterfield, E. (L Steward.)||Eversley, L.||St. Davids, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Farrer, L.||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Craven, E. [Teller.]||Glantawe, L.||Shaw, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Glenconner, L.||Southwark, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Granard, L. (E. Granard.)||Stanmore, L.|
|Haversham, L.||Strachie, L.|
|Knollys, V.||Hempbill, L.||Tenterden, L.|
|Hollenden, L.||Weardale, L.|
|Hereford, L. Bp.||Inchcape, L.||Welby, L.|
|Oxford, L. Bp.||Lucas, L.||Whitburgh, L.|
|Canterbury, L. Abp.||Orford, E.||Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne.)|
|York, L Abp.||Pembroke and Montgomery, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)|
|Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.)||Plymouth, E.||Brougham and Vaux, L.|
|Beaufort, D.||Powis, E.||Calthorpe, L.|
|Bedford. D.||Roberts, E.||Camoys, L.|
|Devonshire, D. [Teller.]||Rosslyn, E.||Carew, L.|
|Leeds, D.||Scarborough, E.||Chaworth, L. (E. Meath.)|
|Marlborough, D.||Selborne, E.||Churston, L.|
|Newcastle, D.||Shaftesbury, E.||Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.)|
|Portland, D.||Shrewsbury, E.||Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.)|
|Richmond and Gordon, D.||Stanhope, E.||Clinton, L.|
|Rutland, D.||Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)||Clonbrock, L.|
|Somerset, D.||Waldegrave, E.||Colchester, L.|
|Wellington, D.||Westmeath, E.||Cottesloe, L.|
|Westminster, D.||Wicklow, E.||Crawshaw, L.|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.||Dawnay, L. (V. Downe.)|
|Abergavenny, M.||Yarborough, E.||De L'Isle and Dudley, L.|
|Ailsa, M.||Bridport, V.||De Mauley, L.|
|Bath, M.||Chilston, V.||Desborough, L.|
|Bristol, M.||Churchill, V. [Teller.].||Digby, L.|
|Camden, M.||Cobham, V.||Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)|
|Exetor, M.||Colville of Culross, V.||Dynever, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Falkland, V.||Ellenborougli, L.|
|Salibury, M.||Falmouth, V.||Faber, L.|
|Winchester, M.||Goschen, V.||Farquhar, L.|
|Zetland, M.||Gough, V.||Fingall, L.(E. Fingall.)|
|Abingdon, K.||Halifax, V.||Forester, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Hampden, V.||Glanusk, L.|
|Ancaster, E.||Harding, V.||Gwydir, L.|
|Bandon, E.||Hill, V.||Hare, L. (E. Listowel.)|
|Bathurst, E.||Hood, V.||Harlech, L.|
|Camperdown, E.||Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)||Harris, L.|
|Cathcart, E.||Knutsford, V.||Hastings, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Peel, V.||Hatherton, L.|
|Cottenham, E.||Portman, V.||Hay, L. (E. Kinnoul.)|
|Coventry, E.||St. Aldwyn, V.||Hindlip, L.|
|Cromer, E.||Templetown, V.||Hothfield, L.|
|Curzon of Kedleston, E.||Bangor, L. Bp.||Hylton, L.|
|Dartmouth, E.||Bath and Wells, L. Bp.||Kenry, L. (E. Dunraren and Mount-Earl.)|
|Darnloy, E.||Bristol, L. Bp.||Kenyon, L.|
|Dartrey, E.||Ely, L. Bp.||Kilmaine, L.|
|Devon, E.||Exeter, L. Bp.||Kilmarnock, L. (E. Erroll.)|
|Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Qneensberry.)||Gloucester, L. Bp.||Kinnaird, L.|
|Dundonald, E.||Liverpool, L. Bp.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)|
|Eldon, E.||Llandaff, L. Bp.||Knaresborough, L.|
|Essex, E.||London, L. Bp.||Lamington, L.|
|Ferrers, E.||Peterborough, L. Bp.||Latymer, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Rochester, L. Bp.||Lawrence, L.|
|Grey, E.||St. Albans, L. Bp.||Leconfield, L.|
|Haddington, E.||St. Asaph, L. Bp.||Leigh, L.|
|Halsbury, E.||St. David's, L. Bp.||Lilford, L.|
|Harewood, E.||Wakefield, L. Bp.||Llangattock, L.|
|Harrington, E.||Winchester, L. Bp.||Lovat, L.|
|Harrowby, E.||Aberdare, L.||Lovell and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.)|
|Howe, E.||Addington, L.||Manners, L.|
|Ilchester, E.||Aldenham, L.||Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)|
|Innes, E. (D. Roxburghe.)||Alington, L.||Mendip, L. (F. Clifden.)|
|Leicester, E.||Allerton, L.||Merthyr, L.|
|Lichfield, E.||Ampthill, L.||Methuen, L.|
|Lindsey, E.||Ashcombo, L.||Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)|
|Londesborough, E.||Atkinson, L.||Montagu of Boaulieu, L.|
|Lovelace, E.||Bagot, L.||Mostyn, L.|
|Lytton. E.||Ballour, L.||Muncaster, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||Barrymore, L.||Newlands, L.|
|Manvers, E.||Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Newton, L.|
|Mar and Kellie, E.||Belper, L.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Mayo, E.||Blythswood, L.||Oriel, L. (F. Massereene.)|
|Morley, E.||Bowes, L. (B. Strathmore and Kinghorn.)||Oranmore and Browne, L.|
|Morton, E.||Ormathwaite, L.|
|Northosk, E.||Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Penrhyn, L.|
|Playfair, L.||St. Levan, L.||Templemore, L.|
|Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)||Sanderson, L.||Tennyson, L.|
|Sandys, L.||Teynham, L.|
|Rathdonnell, L.||Sempill, L.||Torphichen, L.|
|Rathmore, L.||Silchester, L (E. Longford.)||Tredegar, L.|
|Redesdale, L.||Sinclair, L.||Trevor, L.|
|Revelstoke, L.||Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)||Vaux of Harrowden, L.|
|Ritchie of Dundee, L.||Southampton, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Rosmead, L.||Stuart of Castle Stuart, L. (E. Moray.)||Waleran, L.|
|Rothschild, L.||Worlingham, L. (E. Gosford.)|
|St. Audries, L.||Sudeley, L.||Wynford, L.|
|St. John of Bletso, L.||Sudley, L. (E. Arran.)||Zouche of Haryngworth, L.|
Resolved in the negative accordingly, and the said Resolution agreed to.