§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. LOCKE
rose to move that the Bill be now read a second time. He felt that in ordinary circumstances he might have placed the Bill on the table, and appealed to the common sense of the House in support of it, as a measure that simply proposed to attach a few passenger carriages to the mail trains that were already running on Sundays under the authority of the law; but the character of the opposition, as evinced by the petitions laid on the table, was such as to induce him to offer a few observations in reference to the objections urged to Sunday travelling. The House would bear in mind that it was not contemplated by the Bill to enforce the running of any additional trains whatever, but only to oblige railway companies to attach passenger carriages to those trains they were already compelled to run for Post Office services. By the Act 1 and 2 Vic. c. 91, the Postmaster General was authorised, on any day, and at any hour, to require railways to carry mail trains; there were companies that had voluntarily attached passenger carriages on Sundays to those trains, and even increased the number of trains; whilst, on the other hand, there were companies that refused to attach such passenger carriages, and there were others again who, not having been required to carry the mails, had closed their railways altogether on Sundays. This want of uniformity had led to serious inconveniences; and as he was persuaded Parliament never intended to permit railway companies to determine on what days they might altogether prevent the public from availing themselves of railway communication, he had felt it to be his duty to bring the subject before the House. The cases of individual hardship and annoyance were numerous; but he would only refer to a few. One of them was already too well known to the House and the country—the melancholy case of the Duchess of Sutherland. That noble lady posted on Sunday morning to Perth, having despatched a messenger the day before to secure a place in the mail train for Carlisle, near which her parent was lying dangerously ill. The regulations of the company did not admit the public to travel 832 on Sunday; and, notwithstanding the entreaties of this afflicted lady, she was refused a place, the train was despatched without her, and she was left in the deepest distress weeping on the platform. The Duchess was compelled to proceed through Fife, sending messengers to order post-horses and to prepare a special steam-ferry, in order to reach Edinburgh and arrive at some other railway where less stringent rules were adopted. He would add nothing to this recital. The Sabbath Alliance had its triumph; but he regretted that their victim should have been a woman in the discharge of a duty so sacred as ought to have secured for her universal sympathy. On the same day a gentleman who had posted a long distance, from the Highlands, was disappointed in not getting the evening mail, though he had most important business in London. At the time of the October tryste at Falkirk, a number of cattledealers arrived from the south by the Caledonian Railway at Greenhill, the junction with the Scottish Central, and they were obliged to turn out and find their way through the moors as they best could. This was precisely what happened to all persons going north on Sunday, excepting those who, by means of a bribe, seduced the company's servants to allow them to ride in the guard's van. This, he was informed, had been often done, and he mentioned it to show the consequences of attempting to impose unreasonable restrictions on the fair and ordinary requirements of life. There was another case of an eminent medical practitioner in Glasgow, which he thought it right to read to the House:—Late on a Saturday night, two or three years ago, I was taken by a special train to Morning-side, to see a lady who had been hurt by the overturning of a carriage. In returning, the engine-driver stopped on reaching Holytown, and said he could go no further, as it was now Sunday morning, and it was contrary to the rules of the Garnkirk line to travel on Sunday. At Holytown I found that no post-horses were kept since the opening of the railway, and it was only after some delay and difficulty that I succeeded in getting a person to convey me to Glasgow in a gig. On another occasion I was taken to Ayr on Saturday afternoon, when, after my visit was made, I found I was too late for the last train; I had, therefore, the pleasing alternative of either remaining till Monday or posting back to Glasgow. On a third occasion, I was visiting a gentleman who had typhus fever, near Greenock, and was seeing him every day. When I saw him as usual on a Saturday, his friends regretted that I could not possibly visit him on Sunday, both the river and the railway being closed on that day, but requested that I would visit him by the first 833 train on Monday morning, which I accordingly proceeded to do, but found, on my arrival at Greenock, that he had died on the Sunday forenoon. An intimation had of course been sent me by post, but was not delivered till after the starting of the train by which I left for Greenock.The next case was that of an hon. Member of that House, who posted last Sunday to Dumfries, in the expectation of getting a train to bring him to town, to enable him to vote in the House on Monday evening. On reaching Dumfries he found that no train left on Sunday, and he had to hire a carriage to reach the Caledonian line at the nearest point. The position who drove the hon. Member said he hoped he was going to oppose this wicked Bill, that would enforce railway travelling on Sunday, and on his being asked why he wished so, his reply was that "Sunday was the only day on which they had any work at all." He trusted the hon. Member, who was a Scotchman, would give him the benefit of his vote on this occasion. He had adduced evidence enough to show the hardship and inconvenience now experienced by the want of railway accommodation on Sunday; and he would now show that that accomodation could properly be given. Every line on which mail trains were run, required as much superintendence as if passenger carriages were attached. Every gatekeeper, pointsman, policeman, or switchman must be in attendance on a train whether it contained passengers or not, and the locomotive superintendence was equally essential. The agents at the stations, and who generally resided there, must attend personally or by deputy to see that the mail trains were regularly despatched, and these persons could deliver their tickets to passengers, so that few, if any more, persons would be required to attend to a passenger train, than was requisite for the mail trains now running. In order to inform the House thoroughly on this point, he would give a statement of the actual number of men employed on the Caledonian Railway, distinguishing the number employed for the special service of the Post Office, and those required for the mail and passengers together. There were 32 station agents required for the Post-office accommodation; and 42 for passenger accommodation; but, in respect of guards, engineers, firemen, cleaners, and watchmen, the numbers required in either case were the same—so that the addition required for passengers amounted only to 10 men. But he was not content to rest the 834 question on that ground. Mail-coaches, ferries, post-horses, &c., with their train of attendants, had always been employed in Scotland on Sunday, and with a greater amount of manual labour than was now required for railway travelling; and on what principle, then, should the accommodation that Scotland had hitherto enjoyed be taken away? It was very easy to raise a clamour and denounce those who thought as he did as Sabbath desecraters; but let those who made those charges look around them at homo, and see the number of private carriages and hackney cabs engaged every Sunday, and which yet excited no observation whatever. He took the liberty of counting on Easter Sunday the number of carriages and cabs that were attending four kirks or meeting-houses in Lothian-road, Edinburgh; and there were 31 private carriages, 13 one-horse carriages, and 149 public cabs, making a total of 193 vehicles, whilst, the same day, five cabs only were required for the Caledonian train, on its arrival from the south. Why were these glaring inconsistencies overlooked? Was the end to justify the means, or were these rigid sticklers of conscience disposed—To excuse those sins they are inclined to,By damning those they have no mind to?It would not be difficult to show that there was a greater amount of labour so employed, by tenfold, than was required to work all the lines that Scotland possessed. With great respect for railway companies, he must say that he thought the public right to travel at reasonable times should be placed in other hands than theirs. The very want of uniformity among them showed the necessity of this; but there were other reasons, and he would state one of them to the House. A circular, signed by Mr. Alexander Campbell, of Monzie, and Mr. G. P. Barbour, containing the following passage, had been circulated in relation to the Scottish Central Railway:—There is every probability that a proposal will shortly be made to run mail trains, with passengers, on the Lord's day; and, in order to meet this, and to meet the existing arrangements, whereby there has been no travelling on the line on the Sabbath since it was opened, the friends of the cause would require to redouble their exertions. We would, therefore, particularly request of you to purchase shares in the company, and to use your influence with other supporters of the Sabbath to do the same without loss of time. The stock is at present very low—(23l. per share of 25l.), and therefore offers considerable inducement as an investment, there being every prospect, according to the statement made at the last meeting, 835 of the arrangement being sanctioned which has been completed with the four companies—the London and North-Western, Lancaster and Carlisle, Caledonian, and Edinburgh and Glasgow—securing a guaranteed dividend of 7 per cent. or 35s. per share. 10 shares give 10 votes, and 60 shares 20 votes.It might be as well to state to those people who were induced, for a religious purpose, to embark their money in this way, that they would receive guaranteed dividends from lines now running railway trains on Sunday. After the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway was opened, the directors established morning and evening Sunday trains, and, during four years, they accommodated weekly 1,000 persons. The proprietors becoming dissatisfied with the general management, a new set of directors was called for, but it was found that this could not be effected without a union with the Sabbath Alliance party. Accordingly, the union was effected. New directors came in, who closed the railway on Sunday. And thus the Sabbath party, though a small fraction of the entire proprietary, succeeded in their object, and those who obtained power had managed to reduce the dividends below what they were before. He was most unwilling to enter into a theological discussion on the merits of this question; and would only say, that he was not satisfied with the perpetual and exclusive reference made to the Jewish law in favour of the rigid mode of observing the Sabbath insisted on by those who opposed the Bill, for, by the authority of that law, Christ himself was declared a Sabbath-breaker. He (Mr. Locke) believed that rigid observance was not sustained by the early fathers of the Christian Church, nor by Luther, Melancthon, Taylor, Calvin, or Paley. There was another mode of viewing this subject, which was whether this extreme rigour in the observance of the Sabbath really accomplished the object of the Sabbath institution. It was said that education was more generally diffused among the poorer classes of Scotland than of any other country, yet a comparison of the statistical amount of crime as between Scotland and England did not bear out the expectations which might have been formed by the higher state of education in Scotland. On referring to the returns of the year 1846, he found that the convictions in England and Wales were 1 in 876 against 1 in 848 in Scotland, while in 1847 the proportions were in England 1 in 738, and in Scotland 1 in 737. If they compared the three largest counties in 836 England with the three largest in Scotland, in which the great masses of the people were found, the result was that in the Scotch counties the convictions were, in 1846, 1 in 602, and in the English counties 1 in 692; in 1847, 1 in 518, in the Scotch, and 1 in 598 in the English counties. The average of the two years made a difference of 14 per cent in favour of the population of England. If the House looked to the consumption of ardent spirits in Scotland, they would find a much greater proportionate use of spirits than in England; the average consumption in England being 0.72 gallons for each person, and in Scotland 2.32 gallons. It was perfectly true that the consumption of malt by brewers in England was greater than in Scotland; but the fact remained, that in the larger cities of Scotland a state of demoralisation and crime existed which was not to be met with in the larger towns of England. Mr. Miller, inspector of prisons, in the twelfth report on prisons, stated that one great cause of the vice and crime of Glasgow was the want of national amusements and recreation as a substitute for the corrupting and demoralising influence of a large town. Mr. Sheriff Alison stated before the Combination Committee of the House of Commons that 80,000 of the working population of Glasgow never went to church, and that 10,000 persons went to bed drunk every Saturday night. He thanked the House for the attention with which they had heard him on this his first occasion of addressing them. He felt that this Bill was called for by those who wished to put an end to the disagreeable and vexatious discussion of the question—that its principle was sanctioned by the highest Christian authorities—that it was called for by public convenience and necessity, and by the vast mass of hardworking men such as filled the city of Glasgow, and who wished, after working for six days in the week, to be permitted to visit their native homes, and to spend the Sabbath in the bosoms of their families or by the firesides of their relatives and friends. Such facilities as those which he proposed to give those parties would teach them those higher and nobler feelings which were inspired by the contemplation of the beautiful mountains and mighty landmarks of their native soil, and would lead them in that contemplation toLook from Nature up to Nature's God.The hon. Member concluded by moving the second reading of his Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. LOCKE
said, that when the Bill reached the Committee, he should be perfectly satisfied with whatever mode the Committee might think fit to deal with it. The Bill did not propose to touch the question of the number of railway trains at all: that was left in the hands of the Postmaster-General; all that was sought was, that to whatever trains which might be ordered to be run by him upon Sundays, passenger carriages might be attached.
§ MR. COWAN
said, that it was a well-known saying of Prince Talleyrand, "that language was given to man to disguise his thoughts." He did not know whether the hon. Member who had brought forward this measure, concurred in that opinion. With respect to the present Bill, he certainly should not have thought, judging from its title, that its object was that stated by the hon. Member. He thought that the object of the Bill was to limit the number of trains run upon Sundays. The title of the Bill was a complete misnomer. He felt certain that a more obnoxious measure than that of the hon. Gentleman could not be introduced to the notice of the House. If the Bill were passed, they would be obliged to go a great deal further, and take measures for ensuring the attendance of post-chaises and omnibuses at the various stations along the line. The case of the Duchess of Sutherland had been referred to, and a great deal more had been made of it than was necessary. He would state to the House an explanation of that transaction. It appeared that a rule had been established not to start trains on Sundays, and therefore it was impossible to comply with her Grace's wishes; but she might have availed herself of the facilities which would have been afforded to her for travelling on the previous Saturday. He believed there were 50,000 persons employed on railways, and if they did not give them a day of rest, they could not expect to get the élite of servants on the railways who would perform effectively the important duty of attending to the safety of the passengers. He begged to call the attention of the House to the report of a Select Committee on the observance of the 838 Sabbath, appointed in the year 1832—a report that was entitled to great weight from the House. It recommended a general revision of the law for the regulation of the Sabbath, stating that Sunday labour was generally considered a degradation; that the allowance of the seventh day for rest was the just right of the subject; and as such was considered by a largo portion of the working classes. It appeared that efforts had been in Manchester to place the clerks in the post-office on the same footing with the clerks of the London post-office; and that a petition in support of that project was signed by 11,000 persons. It appeared that petitions had been adopted in Liverpool, Bath, and other places, to the same effect. He implored of the House not to legislate on this question in direct opposition to the wishes of the people. He thanked the House for the attention with which they had heard him, and begged to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months."
seconded the Amendment. He said that if he opposed the Bill it was because he knew it to be inimical to the religious convictions and general sentiments of the people of Scotland. It was contrary to all their traditional and social views. He would not enter into the religious aspect of the question, believing that that ought to be left to the people of Scotland themselves; but this he would say, that the observance of the Sabbath and the religion of Scotland had formed at all times a part of the education of the Scotch population, and that the House ought to hesitate before they passed a Bill which would cause religious strife in that country. Though the people of Scotland might be called bigoted and intolerant, he was quite willing to leave the question under debate to be determined by their reason and good sense; and, under these circumstances, he would oppose the second reading.
§ Amendment proposed to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, that whatever decision the House might be disposed to come to on this question, it was due to the strong feeling which the question itself had originated amongst large and respectable classes of the community, not in Scotland alone, but in this country also, that a debate upon such a subject should be listened to with attention, and that the 839 Scotch Members should be afforded a full opportunity of stating their sentiments upon it. Although from his own connexion with the railway department, he felt that he ought not to give a silent vote, yet he desired to tell the House that in any sentiments he expressed he was speaking for himself, and that he did not wish to be understood as speaking for any other Member of the Government. It was not without considerable doubt and hesitation that he had made up his mind as to the vote he should give on this question. In the first place, he must claim for the House the full right to legislate upon the subject. He could not agree with a Gentleman, whose opinions were entitled to great weight—he meant the right hon. Member for Bute—who stated on a former occasion that a Bill of this kind was an invasion upon private property and the vested rights of railway companies. When he (Mr. Labouchere) considered that railway companies possessed a practical monopoly, he claimed for the House of Commons, upon fit and suitable grounds, the right to deal with the subject. But there were other considerations which he confessed weighed much with him in deciding this question. He had to weigh in different scales the amount and degree of public inconvenience caused by the partial closing of railways on Sunday that existed in a few, and a few only, of the railways in Scotland, and that did not exist in any railway of England or of Ireland—he had to balance the practical inconvenience of that state of things with an evil which he was sure was not inconsiderable, and was well worthy of consideration, he meant the shock the passing of this Bill would give, whether right or wrong, to the conscientious feelings of a large class of the people of Scotland. He did not say a majority of that people, but he would say a class, in number, in character, and in respectability which deserved the consideration of the House. He believed, from the petitions presented and from the communications he had received from Scotland, that these feelings so entertained, and that not lightly and inconsiderately, but deeply, by a large number of the people of that country, were entitled, for all the reasons he had mentioned, to respectful consideration. And, upon the whole, he had come to the conclusion that this interference at present would be impolitic and unadvisable upon the part of the House; and as he was constrained to give a vote, he must give it against the second reading. If the objects 840 his hon. Friend the Member for Honiton had stated as being very beneficial to the public, from not altogether closing railways on Sunday, were really sought to be attained, the Bill went in truth but a very little way towards accomplishing what was intended. He (Mr. Labouchere) agreed with his hon. Friend in thinking that there would be a great advantage in giving to the working population of the great towns the opportunity, after divine service, of enjoying recreation and fresh air; but the Bill of his hon. Friend would not at all attain that object. That would depend upon the time the railway train might leave the large towns. That might be an inconvenient time; but, supposing it to be convenient, there was no provision in the Bill to bring the people back again after they had once been taken out of the town. They went, and there they were left. He admitted that to a certain degree it would meet the objection his hon. Friend had stated, as to the inconveniences of Sunday restrictions, if the parties wanted to travel on business of urgency; but even that, in many cases, could be met by means of special trains instead of mail trains. Third-class trains had not been alluded to in the Bill. His hon. Friend proposed that only first and second-class carriages should be attached to the mail tenders; but surely the House would agree that if first and second-class carriages were to be conveyed, it was but justice that the third-class should also be attached. [Mr. LOCKE: So they are by law.] His hon. Friend said, so they were by law. It was true that in the Bill introduced by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford, there was a provision that any trains carrying passengers on Sundays should be obliged to carry third-class passengers at a very low fare; but he was given to understand that there was some doubt whether that would apply to the Bill of the hon. Member for Honiton, without some further and special provision. At all events, his opinion was, that if the present Bill passed, third-class passengers ought to be carried; and if a defect of this kind existed, of course it would be easy to remedy it in Committee. But there still remained the objection that these third-class passengers would in all probability be carried at times the most inconvenient to themselves. It was quite haphazard work as to what time the mail train would leave any large town, and therefore it was absurd to say that the Bill was calculated to promote the advantage of third-class 841 passengers. He believed that a majority of railways, both in point of number of companies and mileage in Scotland, did allow passengers to be carried on Sundays. He rejoiced that that was the case. If he were a railway proprietor in Scotland, his vote would be given, under proper restrictions, to allow them to be carried on Sundays. He believed that the proportion of railways which allowed it were increasing. He believed the House had better leave the question to the progress of public opinion, than run the risk by this forcible interference of setting that public opinion against them; and this, as he stated before, was the feeling of a large class of the community of Scotland and England. Under these circumstances his vote would be given against the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. PLUMPTRE
would oppose this Bill, because it sought to introduce an altogether new feature into our legislation—it wished to oblige the parties to break a law which they bad no inclination to do. When he and his late lamented friend Sir Andrew Agnew wished to establish certain regulations respecting the Sabbath, they were told that they sought to make the people religious by Act of Parliament, when their object, in fact, was only to give the people the Sabbath as a day of rest, and allow them to avail themselves of that privilege in the manner they chose. But the present Bill was really an attempt to make the people irreligious by Act of Parliament. Therefore, he would oppose it as far as he could. It was a most obnoxious measure generally, and particularly so when he considered that it would be doing violence to the feelings of the people of Scotland, in their just and most conscientious respect for the Sabbath-day. He trusted the good sense and good feelings of the House would resist the further progress of this Bill, and not infringe upon the religious liberties of the people, by making men do what they believed to be wrong.
§ MR. HUME,
as a representative of Scotland, was bound to state that he had presented petitions from his constituents with regard to this Bill; ten or twelve of these petitions being against, and, he thought, three of them in favour of the measure. But, with every desire to pay attention to the wishes of those whom he represented, he felt he had to consider what was necessary and fit for the community at large for whom they had to 842 legislate; and this was a Bill not for Scotland alone, but for England and Ireland also. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Honiton, who had introduced the measure, had supported it by arguments and facts that could not he controverted, and nobody who had spoken yet had attempted to grapple with them. He (Mr. Hume) was as anxious as any one could be to maintain the proper observance of the Sabbath, which he held to be a day more important to the working classes than to any other section of the public, and on that account he considered the present state of the law most unsatisfactory. It was asserted that the railway establishments were private property, and ought to be allowed to be shut up or opened, just as the directors pleased; but he totally repudiated and denied that principle altogether. Parliament, by its enactments, had taken away the means that formerly existed for communication between different parts of the country; and what were the ordinary words always used in the preambles and applications for Railway Bills? Here was a specimen: "Whereas additional means of communication with Edinburgh, Glasgow, and adjacent parts, have become necessary, and, therefore, it is prayed that the House do grant powers and facilities" for that purpose. No one would have sanctioned these Bills and their preambles if it had been thought that, instead of "providing additional facilities" for the public, what really was sought was the power of taking away all facilities of public communication at the arbitrary decree of any body of directors. He was surprised at the view which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, as a Minister of the Crown, had thought proper to take. He hoped he would have shown himself more alive to the interests of the community at large. All the compulsion involved in this Bill was, the addition of one or two carriages to the mail train, and nothing more. It should be remembered that the railways would prevent the use of labour to men and horses to a large amount on a Sunday, and that when the trains were stopped on that day, a return to the old system of conveyance was resorted to; so that the Sabbath was not any the more respected in consequence of the railways being closed. His hon. Friend the Member for Honiton had shown that in one case 140 persons were now employed in conducting the trains for carrying the post on Sun 843 days, and that this Bill would only cause an addition of ten more individuals to the 140, and these ten persons would be the means of enabling 1,000 passengers to travel backwards and forwards to suit their convenience. The morality among the lower orders in Glasgow was worse than in any other part of Great Britain, and those who sought to promote religion among them often adopted the very best means for thwarting and defeating their own object. He would ask any one who had read the reports containing the evidence of Mr. Hill, and others, what it was that made the humbler classes in Scotland more immoral and irreligious than the corresponding population in England? It was the mistaken mode in which many persons in that country sought to effect an object laudable in itself, by imposing vicious rules and restrictions that tended to deteriorate, instead of to improve, the habits of the people. He would cordially support this Bill, because he thought the additional accommodation it sought to afford the public, ought to have been one of the conditions insisted upon by Parliament, before it granted any Railway Act.
§ MR. HEALD
had listened with regret to some of the sentiments of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, who seemed to think that the duties of the Sabbath began and ended by going to church, and that after leaving it a man should go out on a pleasure-trip, by railway or steamboat, to enjoy himself for the rest of the day. That was a principle utterly at variance with the divine law, which required a man to make his pleasures subordinate to higher principles. The spirit of the Sabbath ought to pervade the whole day, and dominate over every other consideration; else what was the use of those holding high stations and authority setting the people the example of offering their homage to the Divine Being, and erecting churches and chapels throughout the country, to meet the spiritual wants of the population? This Bill was an attempt to coerce conscience, and not allow the people of Scotland—whose feelings did them the greatest honour, and were such as a Parliament ought to do all it could to foster and cherish, instead of to discourage and destroy—to act up to their convictions and their sense of duty as regarded the due observance of the Lord's day. The recent prize essays on the Sabbath, written by the labouring population of Scotland, showed, in an admirable manner, the 844 general feeling of the working men in that country with regard to that sacred day; and he implored the House not to plunge Scotland in the awful position of having the gentlemen who conducted its railway concerns compelled, against their own sense of religious duty, to open the railways on the Lord's day. For these reasons he would cordially support the Amendment.
§ MR. B. COCHRANE
remarked, that the author of one of the prize essays on the Sabbath, alluded to by the hon. Member for Stockport, had himself declared that his own health had been injured, and his constitution enfeebled, from the want of proper recreation and open-air exercise. As to the assertion that this Bill sought to coerce, it seemed to him that the coercion was all on the other side.
§ MR. PETO
would not yield to any man in his respect for the Sabbath; but they were dealing with this question upon public grounds, and in all cases where railways were involved, in testing the right of the public to use them, they could only be viewed as the public communication of the country. It signified not that they were constructed by private capital—the shareholders stood simply in the position of persons receiving their income from the tolls for running carriages; and it fell within the exclusive province of that House to consider what was necessary for the public good as regarded railways. It was necessary for ah works of mercy and necessity that communication should exist throughout the country on Sabbath as well as on all other days, and this Bill, instead of increasing, would actually lessen the labour of the working men; for at present special trains were run on the lines that were closed on the Sabbath, and the special trains required more attendants and workmen than it would be necessary to employ if a few carriages were merely added to the mail trains—which now run on Sundays at any rate—as recommended by this Bill. He would support this Bill, as an independent Member who thought it would promote the good of the whole community, without interfering with any private right.
MR. FORBES M'KENZIE
concurred in the sentiments so ably expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, who had set the question of the necessity for opening these railways in Scotland on Sundays entirely at rest, by stating, upon his own official experience, 845 that no such necessity really existed. He (Mr. M'Kenzie) would not occupy the time of the House, hut merely express his determination to support the Amendment, believing that the Bill would cause a shock to the deep and sincere religious feelings of the people of Scotland.
§ MR. F. MAULE
could not refrain from expressing his opinion upon the question before the House, and had no hesitation in avowing his intention to oppose the Bill, on the ground that it was obnoxious to the best feelings of the great majority of his fellow-countrymen, and if carried would tend to extinguish those sentiments which he respected more than any other trait in the Scottish character, and which he would do his utmost, so long as he had a voice in Parliament, to encourage and maintain. But he believed the Bill to be absolutely necessary. It professed to be general in its objects—but it was not wanted either in England or Ireland. In the majority of railways in England, and even in Scotland, it was quite unnecessary; and, therefore, on the present occasion, for the purpose of merely meeting a few cases, the feelings of the people of Scotland were to be set at nought and outraged, because on some few railways the mail trains now; ran without any passenger carriages being attached. Petitions, signed by 30,000 persons, had been presented against the measure, and not one petition in its favour; and other petitions, as numerously signed, had previously been laid before the House. Therefore he implored the House to pause before it violated the reverential feelings of the people of Scotland in favour of the Lord's day, when so slight a necessity, or rather no necessity at all, called for such a proceeding. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Honiton, in supporting the Bill, said, he only wished to attach a few passenger carriages to the mail trains. Now this Bill compelled railway directors and proprietors, under a penalty of 200l., to convoy along the line of railway, to such a point as they required, all persons choosing to present themselves at the station on Sunday at the time when the mail train was about to depart. Now, he thought this provision very injurious. First, they must carry all classes in the train; next, the carriages could only be attached to the mail train, and therefore it would turn the mail train—which ought, above all others, to be conducted in the manner most adapted to ensure expedition and safety—into one of that class of trains which did more to demoralise 846 the working classes of England and Scotland than was generally believed, namely, the monster trains that ran on holiday occasions. He had always maintained in his private capacity, and he still maintained, that there ought to be some means of conveyance afforded on Sundays for persons engaged in works of absolute necessity or mercy; but he hoped that the House would not, by a compulsory enactment, violate the religious feelings of the people of Scotland. If railway companies were compelled to run trains on Sundays, steamboat proprietors would next he obliged to run steamboats, and there would be no saying whore the operation of the principle thus introduced would stop.
§ MR. CUMMING BRUCE
opposed the Bill, and protested against the practice, which was growing up in that House, of introducing Bills to remedy what a few individuals thought proper to regard as a grievance. There was here really no grievance, and the hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill would find that by it he was retarding rather than facilitating the object he had in view.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
could not allow the debate to close without repudiating any acquiescence in the statement made by the hon. Member for Montrose with respect to the state of moral and religious feeling in Scotland. He gave that statement the most positive denial. They had been told that the strict observance of the Sabbath had tended in a great degree, by its extreme rigour, to demoralise the lower part of the population of that country. He did not acquiesce in the justice of that remark; and he could appeal, without the least difficulty, to those who were best acquainted with the people of Scotland, to bear him out in the assertion that the strict observance of the Sunday had given great moral strength and great moral dignity to the national character. It seemed to him that the directors of railways had generally exercised a sound discretion, and that the grievances complained of were not of such a character as should induce the House to interfere.
§ MR. CHARTERIS
begged to remind the hon. Member for Montrose of the old Scotch proverb, "It is an ill bird that files its own nest." He sympathised with the feelings of the people of Scotland in their objection to any compulsory enactments on this subject, and he should, therefore vote against the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
did not admit the applicability to the hon. Member for Montrose, of the Scotch proverb just quoted, but believed that the vote which the hon. Gentleman was about to give would have the effect of cleansing his nest. He (Mr. Reynolds) had heard the debate of that day with surprise, because on reading the Bill he expected it would have been unanimously agreed to, and with regret that hon. Gentlemen should have endeavoured to mix up with the question so much religious feeling, when religious feeling had nothing to do with it, except in the imagination of the opponents of the measure. As it was his intention to vote for the second reading of this Bill, he would state, in justification of that vote, that of the sixteen railways in full operation in Scotland, eight, comprising 240 miles, worked on Sundays; the other eight, of an equal extent, did not. On the latter class, which he would call the religious railways—there had travelled, in the half year ending June last, 1,572,000 persons; and on the "irreligious" railways, 1,623,000 had travelled in the same period. Was it a sin, then, to travel on Sunday, in one part of the country, or on one railway, and not on another? Let it be remembered that inns were licensed, and the proprietors compelled to entertain travellers on a Sunday. In England people might travel all over the country on a Sunday; and on the river the inhabitants of the metropolis were not prevented from travelling. He would ask the hon. Member for Stockport and others, if they had not been directors and were not shareholders in railways that were open on Sundays? If they would not be accused, then, of rank hypocrisy, let them sell out their shares in those railways; but let not the people of one part of this empire be denied privileges which were enjoyed by others.
§ MR. F. SCOTT
said, he was not ashamed to avow a prejudice in favour of observing the Lord's day. It was remarkable that a general Bill should be brought forward for the sake of regulating some few railways in Scotland, especially as the public feeling there was decidedly and conscientiously opposed to the measure. Cases of inconvenience were alleged, but were there not inconveniences from having no delivery of letters on a Sunday in London?
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."848
§ The House divided:—Ayes 122; Noes 131: Majority 9.
|List of the AYES.|
|Adair, H. E.||Lushington, C.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Mackinnon, W. A.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Marshall, J. G.|
|Armstrong, Sir A.||Marshall, W.|
|Bagot, hon. W.||Melgund, Visct.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Milner, W. M. E.|
|Bass, M. T.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Moffatt, G.|
|Blake, M. J.||Moore, G. H.|
|Blewitt, R. J.||Morgan, O.|
|Bright, J.||Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.|
|Bromley, R.||Mowatt, F.|
|Brotherton, J.||Mulgrave, Earl of|
|Brown, W.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Burke, Sir T. J.||O'Brien, J.|
|Butler, P. S.||O'Connell, J.|
|'Caulfeild, J. M.||O'Flaherty, A.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Ogle, S. C. H.|
|Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B.||Ord, W.|
|Cockburn, A. J. E.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Coke, hon. E. K.||Peto, S. M.|
|Coles, H. B.||Pilkington, J.|
|Compton, H. C.||Price, Sir R.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Prime, R.|
|Crowder, R. D.||Renton, J. C.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Reynolds, J.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Romilly, Sir J.|
|Denison, J. E.||Salwey, Col.|
|Drumlanrig, Visct.||Sandars, J.|
|Duncombe, hon. A.||Scholefield, W.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Scully, F.|
|Ellis, J.||Seymour, Lord|
|Emlyn, Visct.||Shelburne, Earl of|
|Evans, Sir D. L.||Somerset, Capt.|
|Evans, J.||Sotheron, T. H. S.|
|Foley, J. H. H.||Stanley, hon. E. H.|
|Forester, hon. G. C. W.||Stansfield, W. R. C.|
|Forster, M.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Sullivan, M.|
|Godson, R.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Gore, W. O.||Thompson, Col.|
|Granger, T. C.||Thornely, T.|
|Greene, J.||Tollemache, hon. F. J.|
|Grenfell, C. W.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Halsey, T. P.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Harris, hon. Capt.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Harris, R.||Wall, C. B.|
|Henry, A.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Heywood, J.||Wawm, J. T.|
|Heyworth, L.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Hildyard, R. C.||Williams, J.|
|Hildyard, T. B. T.||Williams, T. P.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Willyams, H.|
|Hornby, J.||Wilson, M.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Wood, W. P.|
|Jackson, W.||Worcester, Marq. of|
|Keating, R.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Knight, F. W.|
|Lawless, hon. C.||Locke, J.|
|Lewisham, Visct.||Hume, J.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Alexander, N.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Arbuthnot, hon. H.|
|Arkwright, G.||Hood, Sir A.|
|Ashley, Lord||Hope, Sir J.|
|Bailey, J.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Bailey, J. jun.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Baillie, H. J.||Jervis, Sir J.|
|Bankes, G.||Johnstone, Sir J.|
|Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.||Keogh, W.|
|Blair, S.||Kershaw, J.|
|Blandford, Marq. of||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Law, hon. C. E.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Legh, G. C.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Lennox, Lord H. C.|
|Bremridge, R.||Lindsay, hon. Col.|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Lockhart, A. E.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Lockhart, W.|
|Campbell, hon. W. F.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Macnaghten, Sir E.|
|Charteris, hon F.||M'Neill, D.|
|Childers, J. W.||Maitland, T.|
|Christy, S.||Matheson, A.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Matheson, J.|
|Conolly, T.||Matheson, Col.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Maule, rt. hon. F.|
|Craig, W. G.||Miles, P. W. S.|
|Dalrymple, Capt.||Miles, W.|
|Davie, Sir H. R. F.||Moody, C. A.|
|Davies, D. A. S.||Morris, D.|
|Deedes, W.||Mullings, J. R.|
|Denison, E.||Neeld, J.|
|Drummond, H. H.||O'Brien, Sir L.|
|Duff, G. S.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Duff, J.||Packe, C. W.|
|Duncan, G.||Palmer, R.|
|Duncuft, J.||Patten, J. W.|
|Dundas, Sir D.||Pearson, C.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Pennant, hon. Col.|
|Egerton, Sir P.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Pugh, D.|
|Ellice, E.||Ricardo, O.|
|Evans, W.||Richards, R.|
|Ewart, W.||Robartes, T. J. A.|
|Farrer, J.||Rushout, Capt.|
|Fergus, J.||Rutherfurd, A.|
|Ffolliott, J.||Scott, hon. F.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Floyer, J.||Sidney, Ald.|
|Fordyce, A. D.||Smollett, A.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Stafford, A.|
|Glyn, G. C.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Gordon, Adm.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Stuart, H.|
|Greenall, G.||Talfourd, Serj.|
|Greene, T.||Tollemache, J.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Trollope, Sir J.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Hastie, A.||Westhead, J. P.|
|Hastie, A.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Headlam, T. E.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Heald, J.||Wortley, rt. bon. J. S.|
|Henley, J. W.||Young, Sir J.|
|Herbert, H. A.||TELLERS.|
|Hindley, C.||Cowan, C.|
|Hodgson, W. N.||M'Gregor, J.|
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Bill put off for six months.