MR. OSBORE MOEGAN
, in rising to move the following Resolution:—That the parish churchyards of England and Wales having been by the common law of England appropriated to the use of the entire body of the parishioners, it is just and right, while making proper provision for the maintenance of order and decency, to permit interments in such churchyards cither without any burial services or with burial services other than those of the Church of England, and performed by persons other than the Ministers of that Church,said: Mr. Speaker, before moving a Resolution on the Burial Laws, I feel that I owe to the House some explanation of the reasons which have induced me to deviate from the course which I have hitherto pursued in this matter. That explanation is, fortunately, both short and simple. I came down to the House on the first day of the Session prepared to do what I have done for the last four or five years—to bring in a Bill to amend the Burial Laws. But fortune, which had hitherto smiled upon me, was not so propitious this year; and, owing perhaps to the irrepressible thirst for legislation which has seized on private Members, particularly from the other side of the Channel, I found myself ignominiously crowded out. Indeed, if I had persevered in my determination to bring my Bill to a second reading, I should have had to choose between the Derby Day and the second place on the second Wednesday in July. Under these circumstances I made a virtue of necessity, withdrew my Bill, and determined to proceed by Resolution. And I am not sure that I have any reason to complain of the accident which drove me to take that course. There are ample precedents for proceeding by Resolution in such cases. I believe it was a Resolution which first paved the way for the 1297 passing of the Eomaii Ctliolic Emanci 1 pation Act, and we know that in later times Resolutions have been fraught with equally momentous consequences. But, without speculating as to the ultimate effect of passing such a Resolution as this, I may at least be permitted to indulge a hope that the calmer and wider discussion which an abstract Resolution invites may clear away some of the prejudices which still overlie this question, and place it on a truer and sounder footing. That at least will be my object in the observations which I shall have to address to the House, and I think I may say that if I fail I shall fail from want of ability and not from lack of honest endeavour.
Before addressing myself to the Resolution, however, I should like, with the kind indulgence of the House, to make one preliminary observation. We approach this question to-day with an amount of light which has never been thrown upon it before. It will, no doubt, be in the recollection of the House that hitherto when I have introduced this question, I have been taunted with having brought forward an infinitesimally small grievance. I think the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary last year called it the "minimum of a grievance." And not only was it said to be a very small grievance, but it was one which was getting "small by degrees and beautifully less," for we were told that every week old churchyards were being closed—every week new cemeteries were being opened, and so in a few years "this infinitesimally small grievance "would vanish from the face of the land altogether. Now I thought that was an allegation which required to be tested. Certainly, it was altogether contrary to my personal experience, Which Would lead me to say that the churchyards of England are by no means full, and that even where they are full people do not at once rush off and form themselves into a Burial Board and invoke the cumbrous and expensive machinery of the Burials Acts. Some liberal landlord, not always a member of the Church of England, gives a neighbouring piece of land, or perhaps the land is purchased by subscription, and in this way the churchyard is enlarged to meet the wants of the parish. But as the allegation was often made, I determined to test it. In June last I moved for a Return giving 1298 the name and population of every parish in England and Wales, together with the number of churches and chapels, of churchyards and burial grounds, consecrated or unconsecrated, open or closed, as well as of the number of existing statutory cemeteries. Unfortunately the Return I asked for was so complete that I am afraid it never will be completed. For when, just before the opening of the Session, I consulted my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbet-son), whose courtesy and kindness I cannot sufficiently acknowledge, I found that although he had done everything that he could do to expedite those Returns, as well as to obtain them from the most trustworthy sources, a large number had not come in, and those which had come in were so voluminous that it would take six months to print them. All idea, therefore, of obtaining them during the present Session had to be abandoned, and I have therefore been compelled to content myself with a numerical in lieu of a nominal Return, which, although not so satisfactory, gives much valuable information. That Return was delivered to hon. Members two days ago, and certainly it seems to me that it strengthens my case to an extent which I for one had never expected.
I should premise that returns have been received from 7,369 parishes of England and Wales, but 2,332 parishes, in other words one quarter of the parishes in England and Wales, have supplied no information whatever. Of course, some of us will have their own suspicions as to the reasons why no information was sent in these cases. For my part I see no reason to impute mala fides to the authorities. But this I may say, that had the returns been all before us they certainly would not have been more unfavourable to my case than they are at present. For wherever Burial Boards have been established and cemeteries constructed there is generally some responsible authority whose business it is to answer inquiries, so that in such cases the information you want is generally forthcoming; whereas those portions of the country which have sent no Returns are mainly the rural parishes where no such machinery exists, and it is but fair to assume that these Returns, if supplied, would go to strengthen my case. A fuller return, published to-day by the Home 1299 Office, which I suppose comes from the Burials Office, differs very little from the Returns published two days before. According to the one Return the number of consecrated burial grounds wholly closed is 794, whereas according to the other and fuller and later one the number is 843. I may add that, when I come to Wales, I find the number of parishes from which Returns have been received is 54, and the number from which Returns have not been received is 204, showing that two-fifths of the authorities there decline or omit to give any information.
But taking the information I have got, for the accuracy and completeness of which I am in no way responsible, it shows that the churchyards now open in England and Wales amount to 9,989—in round numbers 10,000, while the number closed amounts only to 794, so that the churchyards open are in proportion to the churchyards closed in the ratio of nearly 115 to 1. Again, I may add a significant fact which appears by the Return issued this morning, that only 60 churchyards have been wholly closed in the last 10 years, being an average of only six a-year.
When, however, I come to cemeteries returned as containing unconsecrated ground the results are still more marked. There are at present, as far as appears by my return, in England and Wales only 539 cemeteries containing unconsecrated ground. Now there was a return moved for by the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Cubitt), which gave the number of cemeteries constructed three years ago at 531, so that if you compare the two Returns it would appear that in the course of three years only eight new cemeteries have been constructed. I may add that these figures tally with the fuller Return we received this morning, which shows that only eight burial-grounds were wholly closed within the last two years; but if you take the Returns which I hold in my hand by themselves, it would appear that the cemeteries available for Dissenters are only 539 as against churchyards still open nearly 10,000. Of course, you may say that cemeteries have been established in the towns where Dissent is assumed to be strongest. Now, I am not at all sure that this assumption is true. The contrary would appear from one or two figures which are sot down in these Re- 1300 turns. I observe, for instance, that in the county of Lincoln, a purely agricultural county, there are no less than 634 Dissenting chapels. But whether that be true of England or not, it is not true of Wales, because there, so far as the Church is strong at all, it is strong in the urban and not in the rural districts.
Now, just see what is the state of things which confronts you in Wales. Taking Wales and Monmouthshire (which is Welsh in everything except name) together, we have in this Return churchyards open, 788; churchyards closed, 25; cemeteries, 21–21 cemeteries for a scattered population of a million and a-half. The churchyards open are to the churchyards closed in the proportion of 31 to 1, and the churchyards open are to the cemeteries in the proportion of 39 to 1. Now, do not these Returns show that this grievance, so far from being infinitesimal, so far from extending only to a few hundreds or thousands of persons, extends to persons who may be counted by millions? Why, in North Wales alone there are between 300,000 and 400,000 persons who feel its pressure. Well, after this disclosure do not let us hear anything more about this being the minimum of a grievance.
The Return also shows that the number of unconsecrated burial-grounds attached to chapels in England and Wales is 2,833 to 14,000 chapels, or only 20 per cent, whereas the churchyards are to the churches in the proportion of 88 per cent. But I demur entirely to classing these burial grounds, which are private property, and can be dealt with as such, in the same category with parish churchyards in which every parishioner has a vested right of interment, and which cannot be touched except under an Act of Parliament; unless, indeed, you are prepared to go farther, and to admit that the Church of England holds her property by the same title as the Dissenting denominations; but of course you cannot do this without reducing her to the level of a sect.
Now I have called attention to these figures because so much stress was laid on their absence by my opponents. For my own part, however, I am disposed to think that if a thing is just and right the number of persons who demand it is comparatively unimportant. But I was challenged by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister to produce 1301 the information. I have produced it; and all I can say is I hope he is satisfied with the result.
I now come to the Resolution itself. It has been a long time before the House and the country, and of course it has been, I do not say unfairly, but severely criticized. It was said by a leading journal, to which I am greatly indebted for the support which it has given me, that its preamble is "unnecessarily menacing." Sir, I hope I have lived long enough to know that menace of every kind, particularly unnecessary menace, is as injudicious in point of policy as it is reprehensible in point of taste. And, as in the remarks I am about to make, I would not willingly say one word which would wound the susceptibilities of the most susceptible man in this House, I am quite ready, if the preamble offends such susceptibilities, not to press it. But this I wish to be understood that, whether menacing or not, that preamble is most certainly true. And that it is true—strictly true as a proposition of law—I will, if the House will indulge me for a few minutes, undertake to prove.
But before entering on this question, I must ask the House carefully to distinguish between two rights—the confusion of which has done much to obscure this subject. I mean the right of interment in the parish churchyard, which is one thing, and the right to the use of the service of the Church of England, which is another. The one is a civil or Common Law right, triable in a civil Court, the other is an ecclesiastical right, triable in the ecclesiastical Courts. The latter is the right of those who are actual or constructive members of the Church of England. I say constructive because, as the House knows, by a decision given about 60 years ago, it was held that any person who had been baptized, no matter by whom, was constructively a member of the Church of England, and as such eatitled to the funeral services of the Church. But the larger right, that of interment in the parish churchyard, is the right of everyone who has once obtained the rights of a parishioner in the parish, irrespectively of his religious status. Let that be clearly understood, because unless we separate these two rights we shall get into confusion. I may add that the distinction upon which I insist has recently been admitted by an eminent ecclesiastical lawyer, who, 1302 although certainly not disposed to sympathize with me, in an able article on the subject in The Guardian, says—It has been argued that the right of burials is the right of 'Christian burial,' and that therefore those persons who are disqualified from Christian burial have no right to burial in the churchyard. But the more correct opinion seems to be that these rights are separable, and that the right of interment may exist where there is no right to require the performance of the Church service. This proposition is laid down, though perhaps not judicially decided, in cases in the Court of Queen's Bench, and in the Court of Arches, and was on their authority admitted by Bishop Phillpotts in his charge of 1842, in a passage which well deserves perusal.Now the larger proposition, that every parishioner is entitled to burial in the parish churchyard, is not only laid down without qualification in almost every text-book on the subject, beginning with Bishop Gibson and ending with Sir Robert Phillimore, but it has been judicially affirmed in a case of R. v. Taylor, the report of which, from Serjeant Hill's MSS. is to be found in Lincoln's Inn Library. It is as follows:—Motion by Serjeant Glide &c. for information against one Taylor, Vicar of parish of Daventry, in Northamptonshire, for refusing to bury and hindering the burial of one Mary—. It appears on affidavit that the deceased being a parishioner, died in May, 1720, and that the relatives of the deceased applied soon after to the sexton to dig a place for burial of the corpse; but the parson Taylor ordered him not, and he has ever since obstructed the burial of the corpse in the churchyard, he giving for reason that she being a Protestant Dissenter (of the persuasion of the Baptists) was never baptized, being baptized only by a layman or minister of her own persuasion, so no Christian, and therefore ought not to be buried in churchyard, which was consecrated ground. By which the corpse laid above ground to that time.Per Fortescue, J. 'Every parishioner has a right to burial place in churchyard, otherwise they cannot be buried anywhere, if they have not land of their own,' for other persons are not obliged to permit their burial in their property.Per cur.; 'shew cause' quare informat non.The last day of the term the Defendant came to shew cause, but because it would take a long time per cur., adjourned till next term, and the Court in the meantime advised the parson to bury the corpse in the churchyard; if he did not the Court should be informed of it next term, then would grant information, 'for every parishioner has a right of sepulture.'The Defendant's Counsel moved to discharge the former rule when the Court was certified by affidavit that the Defendant, knowing the mind of the Court, had complied with it, and told the relatives of the deceased they might bury the corpse in what part of the churchyard they pleased; upon which the Court discharged the 1303 former rule, but said if he had still continued obstinate they would have granted information. As to refusing to read the burial service on account of her not being baptized according to the rites of the Church of England, the Court said, 'that was a spiritual matter not belonging to them.' "—[Serjeant Hill's MSS., 7 D. 278.]Now, that case is valuable for two reasons. First, it shows the distinction for which I have contended, and, secondly, it establishes the Common Law right, and places it on the true ground—namely, that of necessity. And not only has that case been frequently approved of, but it has been acted upon for a century and a-half; for since that time no clergyman, as far as I know, has ever ventured to refuse burial in the churchyard to unbaptized persons, though he has, of course, often refused—and by law is perfectly justified in refusing—to read the service over such persons.
Weil then, having, I trust, established the truth of my preamble, let me go a step further. It is said that this right is subject to conditions. Of course the observation does not apply to unbaptized persons, in whose case the reading of the Church service, so far from being enforced, is not even permitted. But let us see in what sense it applies in other cases.
Now, as was laid down in the ease of R. V. Taylor, the Common Law Courts had nothing to do with religious rites and ceremonies. This was a matter which they left to the ecclesiastical Courts, or the Bishop's Courts, as they were called, which, before the Reformation, derived their inspiration more or less from the Pope. And the ecclesiastical Courts, having to deal with this question, dealt with it in what, considering the age, may be called a very liberal spirit. With the Common Law right of interment they did not, and could not, interfere. But they laid down the rule that every man who had been admitted into the Church by Baptism and had not been cut off by excommunication, was to be presumed to be a member of the Holy Catholic Church, and, as such, was entitled to be buried with the service of that Church, that being the only form of Christian burial then known in this country. But then that rule was founded upon the assumption—which was then true in fact as well as in theory—that every parishioner was a member of the Holy Catholic Church, and that, so far from any objection being enter- 1304 tained to the services of the Church, the most terrible weapon which the Church kept in her armoury—a weapon which made even kings tremble on their thrones, was this threat of being interred without those services, involving, as it was then supposed to do, the certainty of everlasting perdition. But now just see what a change has come over the religious condition of the country. That which was then a fact is now become a fiction. The Church no longer embraces, as it did formerly, the whole, or nearly the whole, of the parish. The services of the Church, instead of being always sought after, are often objected to; and the strange result is, that the very thing which was once cherished as a privilege is now sought to be imposed as an obligation; and we find ourselves called upon to discuss a right which was never dreamed of when the law under discussion was made: the right, not to refuse the services of the Church to those who want them, but to impose those services on those who do not want them—the right to force on unwilling ears a service which ceases to be even solemn the moment it ceases to be welcome—the right to lay violent hands on the funeral procession, and to force back the corpse into the bosom of that Church which the living man had abjured, and was by the law of the land perfectly free to abjure.
Now, I put it to hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House as well as on this—does it not seem an insult to call this a Party question? [Derisive cheers]. If that observation has wounded the susceptibilities of the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmund's (Mr. Greene), I will withdraw it at once. I will therefore change the form of the question. Is a right so barren—I had almost said so odious—worth preserving at the cost of all the bad blood and bad feeling which the struggle to preserve it is engendering in every parish in England? Nay, is it not the very right we gave up 40 years ago, when we allowed Dissenters to marry with their own services? I know the answer that will be given to that question. It will be said—" Yes, but we never admitted Dissenting ministers to our churches, whereas now you ask us to admit them to the churchyards. Churchyards and churches are the same thing, and if we admit you to one we must admit you to the other." Of all the 1305 objections which, have been urged against my Resolution, that is the most common, it is the most specious, and it is the most unfounded. And if hon. Gentlemen will bear with me for a few moments I will endeavour to show that it is so.
Why, in the first place, there is this obvious distinction between the two cases—the primary object of the church is the performance of religious worship, the object of the churchyard is the interment of the dead; and whereas convenience and decency, if not absolute necessity, require that the dead should be interred in the same locality, nobody, not even the wildest Liberationist, has ever suggested that all religious ceremonies should be performed under the same roof. In fact, take away the name and the juxta-position, and in the Protestant countries at least the church and churchyard have not an idea in common, except possibly that both were included in the same ceremony of consecration. But perhaps the less said about that now the better, for it is now pretty generally agreed that the ceremony of consecration, as opposed to the civil act of dedication, is unauthorized, if not illegal, because the ordnance on which it is founded is a Bill which passed both Houses of Convocation in 1712; but when that Bill came before Queen Anne, who, like others of our female Sovereigns, was jealous of her ecclesiastical prerogatives, she, for some reason or other, refused the royal sanction to it. Consequently that Bill is in the position of a Bill passed by both Houses of Parliament which has not received the Royal Assent—in other words, it is mere waste paper. And that I take it is why the consecration service is not found in the Prayer Book, and that is doubtless too why Bishop Thirl-wall, who was as good an ecclesiastical lawyer as he was a theologian, used to say he could consecrate a churchyard quite as well in his own study as on the spot. Again, as to the juxta-position, that is a matter of comparatively recent origin, for, according to a great authority on ecclesiastical law, when Christianity was first introduced into England, and for many centuries afterwards, the graveyards, so far from encompassing the church, were like the modern cemeteries at a distance from it, and the present practice of surrounding the church by the churchyard only grew up when— 1306Monks and priests, beginning to offer prayers for the souls of the departed, procured leave, for their greater ease and profit, that liberty of sepulture might be in churches or places adjoining them, in order that the friends and relatives of persons deceased, as often as they came to these sacred places, seeing their graves, might remember them and pray God for them.And eight centuries after Christianity was first introduced into this country, an Act of Parliament was passed which treats churchyards as a modern innovation, for it recites that—Now of late by subtle imagination, and by art and engine, some religious persons, parsons, vicars, and other spiritual persons have interred in divers lands and tenements which be adjoining their churches, and of the same have made churchyards, and by bulls of the Bishops of Rome have dedicated and hallowed the same, and in them do make parochial burying without license of the king and of the chief lords, therefore it is declared that this is manifestly within the compass of the Statute of Mortmain.But these facts may be interesting from an antiquarian point of view; let us get to something more practical. I will point out a practical distinction, for the present purpose, between the church and the churchyard, which nobody has ever yet attempted to get over. In this country at least no man is compelled by any law, natural or human, to enter his parish church. But unfortunately there are several thousand parishes in England containing several millions of inhabitants in which every man is, sooner or later, compelled by a law higher than any human law to enter his parish churchyard. Of course, when I say "every man" I am not speaking of territorial magnates who can build their own mausoleums. I am speaking of the poor and the children of the poor, who are compelled to be buried in the place where they die, and, if the churchyard is the only place available for that purpose, are compelled to be buried there. Therefore, to say that the use of the churchyard involves the use of the church is to ignore the very first law of poor human nature, that we must all die and be buried. In fact, as an Irishman said to me the other day—" Burial is the one act in a man's whole life which is not optional." And it is just this physical necessity which the Common Law recognized when it set apart the churchyard for the burial place of all parishioners, without distinction. Now, if this be so, let me ask this question: Do we or do we not by our present law indirectly— 1307 but not on that account less effectually compel Dissenters to be buried with rites and ceremonies of which they disapprove; just as formerly we indirectly, but not on that account less effectually, compelled them to be married with rites and ceremonies of which they disapproved? And if there can be but one answer to that question, let me ask another. Is that compulsion, indirect though it be, consistent—I do not say with religious equality, but with the barest measure of religious toleration?
Look around and see how other countries have dealt with this question. I stated some time ago that in almost every other civilized country the law which I am endeavouring to introduce into this country already prevails. I had no sooner made the observation than I was contradicted, and I do not care to repeat it on my own responsibility. I will shelter myself under the authority of a name which we all respect—I mean that of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury stated on an occasion when nay hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope) and the hon. Member for West Kent (Mr. J. G. Talbot) were present, and subsequently in Convocation, that he had taken the greatest pains to ascertain what was the law of foreign countries on this subject, and he had discovered that in Austria and Russia—two countries not very remarkable for religious toleration—Protestant ministers were allowed to bury their own flock, with their own services, in the parochial cemeteries. We know that in Irish churchyards, first under Lord Plunket's Act, which gave a sort of permissive right, and latterly under Lord Emly's Act, which made that right absolute, both Presbyterian ministers and Catholic priests are allowed to perform their own burial service over their dead. We know that in Scotland—not by virtue of any Act of Parliament—but, thanks to the more liberal and Christian spirit in which Scotchmen have looked at this question, not only Episcopalian clergymen—who are Dissenting ministers in Scotland—but Roman Catholic priests are allowed to bury in the parish graveyards. Why should England be so far behind—I will not say Ireland and Scotland, but—Austria and Russia? Heaven knows we are fond enough of boasting of our enlightened views on these sub- 1308 jects! We go about thanking God that Englishmen are not as other nations are! We are proud—and, perhaps, justly proud—of the religious toleration and freedom of speech which we profess and enjoy. Why should we concede that toleration and that freedom at every other juncture of life except that one juncture when it is most earnestly asked for, and most sorely needed? Why should we extend it to every other subject of the Realm, but deny it to the mourner, the widow, and the orphan?
Sir, I cannot help thinking that the consciences of hon. Gentlemen opposite are not quite easy on this subject, because I see they have introduced no less than six Bills to remedy this "infinitesimally small grievance." There were the two Bills of Lord Beauchamp, the two Bills brought in by the hon. Member for West Kent (Mr. J. G. Talbot), a Bill of the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Cawley), and a Bill of the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Spencer Walpole; and now we have this Amendment. This Amendment is actually the seventh red herring you have drawn across my path. well, I think I may dispose of it without much difficulty. I entirety approve of it as an abstract proposition. But what has it got to do with my Resolution? If, by his Amendment, the hon. Member (Mr. J. G. Talbot) means that every facility should be given for so useful a purpose as the acquisition of land for burial grounds, and that this should be done by as cheap and simple a process as possible, no sane man will disagree with him. To prove that I am in earnest, I may say that three years ago, before the hon. Gentleman thought of the subject, I carried through Parliament an Act, now the 36 & 37 Vict., cap. 50, actually giving the facilities the hon. Gentleman now proposes to give, to persons willing to bestow or sell land for—amongst other purposes—burial grounds. I would there fore suggest to my hon. friend that, instead of amending my Resolution, he should amend my Act, and he would have my most zealous co-operation. Of course I do not like to boast of my legislative performances, particularly when they are so meagre as mine have been; but I think I may say that that Act has been found very useful. Indeed, the only drawback to my satisfaction at having passed it has been 1309 that I have been so often called upon to explain its provisions. But although a number of sites for churches and chapels have been obtained under it, I do not believe that it has been put into operation to acquire a single burial ground. The reason is obvious. People do not care to multiply such places unnecessarily. Unless they are absolutely required, the landowner does not want to give the land; the parishioners do not want to pay for it. But if the hon. Member means this—and I cannot help suspecting he does—if he means by his Amendment that in every parish, whether the churchyard is empty or full, whether cemeteries are wanted or not, there land shall be acquired for the purpose of making a burial ground, all I can say is that such a proposal, coming from a Member of a Party which has always prided itself on its resistance to any increase of the rates, is something monstrous. Have you calculated the cost of this? I find that up to the year 1862, no less than £1,400,000 had been expended in the construction of cemeteries, and of course the sum has been greatly increased since. Why, if you were to cover the country with these cemeteries you would have to spend many hundreds of thousands of pounds, because it would not do, in my country at least, to have, as has been suggested, but one cemetery attached to four or five parishes; for in that case people might sometimes have to drag a funeral 10 or 15 miles, and over a mountain 1,500 feet high. Now I want to know from what source is the money for this purpose to come? Is it to come out of the rates? I think I see the President of the Local Government Board in his place, and, if so, I should be exceedingly glad to know what his views on this subject are. I do not see my hon. Friend the Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Clare Reed), who, to his honour be it said, resigned the post to which he had been called with the general assent of the House and the country, because Government would not keep pace with his views on the reduction of local taxation. ["No, no!"] I am sure if I have made a mistake I have done so innocently. It really does not affect the argument. I want to know what the hon. Member for South Norfolk, who is admitted to have been most zealous in his endeavour to cut down local expen- 1310 diture, would say to such a proposal. My hon. Friend opposite the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell), has also honourably distinguished himself by his attempts to cut down local expenditure. I should like to know what are his views on this subject. Then there is my hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr. Stanley Leighton), another farmer's friend. I should like to know what he has to say on this subject. Still more would I like to know what his constituents would have to say to it. But to show you how completely at sea people get when they come to carry these proposals into anything like practice, let me state to the House the results of an appeal which the Bishop of Salisbury made to his rural deaneries for advice on this question—About 600 clergy and representative communicant laity have given answers to the questions proposed. To the first question—whether the present law of burial should be uncompromisingly maintained—the answer is uniformly in the affirmative, two deaneries adding 'as regards services.' To the second question—whether, if any change were to be made, the proposals of Mr. Osborne Morgan's Bill should be accepted—the answer is absolutely in the negative; not more than three voted in the affirmative.[Laughter.] Well, my hon. Friend opposite need not laugh, for he did not fare much better—To the third question—whether silent burials should be adopted according to Mr. Talbot's plan—three deaneries only answered in the affimative, the division in them being 12 to 8, 9 to 7, and 12 to 3. To the fourth question—whether cemeteries should he formed for one or more parishes according to the recommendation of the Lower House of Convocation—two deaneries answered decisively in the negative; the rest answered in the affirmative, but with great variety of opinion as to the funds from which the cemeteries should be provided, several objecting to the charge falling on the rates, three proposing it should be borne by the Dissenters, one that half should be defrayed by subscriptions and half by a Government grant, and the rest not specifying the fund from which it should come.That shows how utterly at sea you get the moment you come to the practical working of these proposals. What a Babel of discord does not Convocation become when it attempts to deal with this question. The Lower House sends a message to the Upper House, and the Upper House sends it back to know what it means, and then they do what is perhaps the wisest thing, and postpone the 1311 consideration of the whole question until a more convenient season. And it is a significant fact, that although six Bills have been brought forward by hon. Gentlemen opposite to remedy this "infinitesimally small grievance," not one of those Bills has ever been brought on for second reading. Not one of those Bills has ever been submitted to the full and ample consideration which every Bill receives on coming up for second reading in this House. And almost every proposal which has been made from the other side has had to be modified or dropped. Take the proposal for silent interments. I entirely acquit the hon. Member for West Kent of any intention to do so, but surely he has not the slightest idea how deeply he wounded and pained the Nonconformists of England by his proposal for silent burial. It is true that my Resolution proposes to legalize silent burial. [" Hear, hear!" from the Ministerial side] Yes. But it is one thing to offer a thing by way of option, and another to make it the only alternative. I may say that I altered my original Resolution by introducing silent burial as an alternative, in accordance with the wishes of my Scotch Friends who say that it is the custom in Scotland to bury without any service. In England silent burial is not a usual mode of burial. Silent burial is the burial of the suicide, and consequently it imposes a stigma which makes people recoil from it. And then you propose to bestow on Dissenters, as a boon, that mode of interment which English law imposes on suicides as a stigma, and you expect Nonconformists to welcome the offer with gratitude. However that is abandoned now, and I am glad of it. But if you admit that something ought to be done, and yet are not prepared to tell us what ought to be done, have I not a right to ask you to tell me a little more specifically what are your objections to my Resolution? For surely in itself it is natural that a man should desire to be buried in a manner most consistent with his feelings. Surely it is natural that he should desire a funeral service to be performed over him by the man who has been his spiritual adviser through life, and who is to be the spiritual guide and consoler, of his bereaved family. Surely that is a sentiment so natural and so human that to look for its origin in what is somewhat vaguely called an outbreak 1312 of political Dissent is as ridiculous as it is unfeeling. Then what are your objections? In that remarkable speech of the Prime Minister, delivered three years ago, he said that if Dissenters wanted to have the churchyards they ought to pay for them. Well, I entirely agree with that, and in my original Bill I inserted a clause throwing the costs of keeping up the churchyards on the parishioners generally. But you objected to that provision, and you threw it out, and now you turn round and blame me for not giving you what you would not have when I offered it. And do not forget this, that although churchyards are now kept in order by Churchmen, yet many of them were originally constructed by rates borne by Dissenters as well as Churchmen. Then it is said that the Resolution is one-sided, because it frees the Dissenting minister and binds the parson. Now I must say that objection falls rather hard upon me, because it assumes that I am responsible for the Burial Service and the Rubric. Why, you might as well say that I am answerable for the Thirty-nine Articles and the Athanasian Creed. And do you not see how inconsistent you are? When the question is as to compelling the Dissenter to have the service read over him, you cannot, for the life of you, see that there is any objection to it. But when the question is as to compelling the clergyman to read it, then you discover that there are many cases in which it is wholly inapplicable. Well, I quite agree with you, and no one would rejoice more than I should to see the clergyman relieved from the necessity of reading the Burial Service in every case. But recollect that there is such a thing as "blowing hot and cold" at the same time. Then there is the danger of abuse. That is a horse which has been ridden very hard in the Recess. One hon. Member said that if the Bill passed, he should be afraid you would have Jumpers and Shakers in the churchyard, another was afraid of dancing girls. Another hon. Member the gallant Member for Bedford (Captain Polhill-Turner), sees in imagination a vista of 30 or 40 Mormon widows following their husbands to the grave. And the last idea seems to be that the Malay, relieved I suppose from the pressure of his domestic difficulties at Perak, will come over here and take advantage of the change of the law to 1313 pollute our churchyards with his horrid and unclean rites. Does anyone really believe this nonsense? Does anyone believe it? I ask the question pointedly, because there was a time, when I was as yet innocent and unversed in the ways of the world, when I did partially believe it, and in former years I went out of my way to overload my Bills with "safeguards," until I found out that nobody cared to have them. Not only did I include in my Bill all the limitations which the Select Committee to which the Bill was referred in 1870 had suggested, but I went much farther. Let me give one instance. In 1872 the hon. Member for West Kent (Mr. J. G. Talbot) had put down on my Bill an Amendment requiring the service to be according to a prescribed ritual, or to consist of hymns, prayers, and portions of Scripture. I accepted that Amendment and put it in the Bill of 1873; but no sooner had I done so than the hon. Member began to quarrel with his own Amendment. And that Bill of 1873, containing all those "safeguards," was the Bill which the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, came down to the House with all the weight of his great authority and eloquence to denounce. Well, I am wiser now. Of course my Resolution leaves the matter entirely open. For I take it that it is not the office of a Resolution to prescribe what service is to be performed or by whom. That is a matter necessarily left open for the present. But if you seriously require any reasonable safeguards, depend upon it you will find us as disposed as before to meet you half-way. If, however, you ask me what safeguards I should myself—speaking, mind, in my own name only—prefer, I will answer you frankly. None whatever. I think that is a matter in which you might safely trust to the good sense and good feeling of your fellow-countrymen. Have you found any safeguards necessary in the case of cemeteries? For the whole object of my Resolution is to turn the parish churchyards into what they originally were, parish cemeteries. I have a great deal of evidence on that subject. I will give you a short extract from a letter put into my hands this morning from a member of the Burial Board of Liverpool. In that cemetery 60,000 people have been buried since it was first established, and the writer states— 1314I have been a member of the Burial Board of this parish from its origin, and from the day of the opening of our cemetery at Anfield to the present the burial services in the Nonconformist division of the ground have been conducted with at least as much decorum, if not more, than in the Church of England ground. The Church of England ground is bounded on one side by the Roman Catholic ground, and on the other side by the general or Nonconformist ground, being separated only by open walks or roads; and although the services at the grave sides are often being conducted at the same time in each of the three divisions, all are conducted with order and decorum, and no occasion for complaint arises from one or the other of any irregularity.That is what all my correspondents tell me: the service in the unconsecrated ground is just as devotional, just as solemn, just as religious in every sense of the word as the service in the consecrated ground. Some go further, and say it is more so. If so, what are you afraid of? Why should you be more afraid of riots in churchyards than of riots in cemeteries? My hon. Friends the Irish Members will forgive me for saying that the popular idea of an Irish funeral is that it is not always conducted on the strictest principles of decorum. But have any scandals occurred at funerals in Irish churchyards? [An hon. MRMBER: Yes.] Well, but are there no churchyard scandals in England? Look at Scotland. Has there ever been any riot in Scotland, where religious feeling runs at least as high as in England? I believe that within the last year two Bishops, the Episcopalian Bishop of Brechin and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Derry, were laid to their last rest in the venerable churchyard of St. Cuthbert's, in Edinburgh. Was there any riot or disorder then? Then, I ask, what right have we to libel our fellow-countrymen by insinuating that they alone among civilized men will be guilty of these outrages upon the feelings of the living and the memory of the dead?
But this is only the fringe of the question. The real objection, we are told, lies deeper down—Disestablishment under disguise! [Loud Ministerial cheers.] Well, I admire your unanimity, but I cannot say so much for your logic. As I understand the argument, it is put somewhat in this way—"You support this Motion; you are in favour of Disestablishment; therefore this is a Motion in favour of Disestablishment." That is the syllogism! How am I to meet it? 1315 Indeed, the difficulty I have always felt in arguing this question is that the grounds upon which I am called upon to argue it are continually shifting. No sooner do I raise one issue than you meet it by raising another. First it was "the parson's freehold;" then it was "the smallness of the grievance;" then it was the "danger of abuse;" and now it is" disestablishment under disguise." I begin to feel like Lysander in the Midsummer Night's Dream—He goes before me, and yet dares me on;When I come where he calls, then he is gone.Demetrius is much lighter heeled than I;I follow fast, but he doth faster fly.Sir, it is my belief that if, when that very moderate Bill of 1873 was brought forward, the Prime Minister, instead of coming down to oppose it à outrance, had exercised the almost unlimited control which he wields over his Party to "educate" them into something like reason on this subject, that Bill, possibly with some further modifications, might have been passed, this "great and burning question" might have been settled for ever, and by this time we might almost have forgotten its existence. But in an evil hour for the Church of England, in an evil hour for everybody, certainly in a very evil hour for me, some zealous but misguided "children of the Church" determined, in defiance of reason and logic, to confound the Church with the churchyard, to link the living with the dead, and to fight the battle of the Establishment upon this ground. Do not suppose that the Liberation Society will quarrel with you for that. They know what an admirable weapon you have placed in their hands. They know that if they had been allowed to take their choice from the whole area of ecclesiastical questions they could not have selected a battle-ground more admirably adapted to their purpose than this. It has been said within the last day or two by an eminent Churchman, that this is to be the Thermopylae round which you will fight to the last gasp for the entrance to the Church. Take care that your Thermopylae does not turn out to be the Caudine Forks. The wisest men amongst you—the Archbishop of Canterbury, my revered Friend the Dean of Westminster, the Deans of Christchurch and Canterbury, the Deans of Durham, of Chester, and Manchester, 1316 the headmasters of our great public schools, the leaders of thought at our old Universities, absolutely decline to follow you in your headlong and suicidal career. And surely, if opinions are to be weighed instead of reckoned, the memorial presented to the Prime Minister yesterday, signed by some three or four hundred most distinguished metropolitan and rural clergymen, ought to have some weight with the Government and the House. Unfortunately, however, all the leaders of ecclesiastical thought among us are not equally farseeing. Let me read to the House the views of one of the most learned and active Bishops of the English Church—a man of whose great scholastic and theological erudition I wish to speak with the greatest respect—I mean Dr. Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln. And I hope that every word which I am going to read will go forth to the House and to the country, not only because it is a very fair type of the arguments which are daily rained in upon me, but because I am continually told that the proper settlement of this question would be to do as was formerly done in Ireland—to leave each case as it arises to the discretion of the incumbent, with the right of appeal to the Bishop. "A Bishop," I am told, "is always reasonable and always just. Surely you can always trust a Bishop." Now let us see what chance an unfortunate Nonconformist would have of having his appeal listened to in the large and important diocese of Lincoln. The Bishop of Lincoln, writing to one of the principal London newspapers a short time ago, says—The Bishops and clergy and parish priests of England are not the owners of the churchyards. They are only trustees of them under God, who is their proprietor, and they cannot, without breach of trust and without being guilty of a heinous offence in His sight, take away from God a single foot of a churchyard for the purpose of giving a share in it for public funeral services to persons who rend asunder His Church by schism, which is condemned by Him in His holy Word as a deadly sin. Such an act on the part of Bishops and clergy would be a robbery of God. It would be an act of sacrilege, treachery, and cowardice. It would not avert disestablishment: it would only hasten it!Hasten Disestablishment Do not you think that such a letter as this—coming as it does from one of the most prominent Prelates of our National Church 1317 —will do more to "hasten Disestablishment" than all the Burial Bills that ever were invented? Why, Sir, these Church Defence Institutions have done more to pull down the Church of England in two years than the Liberation Society did in 20. And why? Because they have alienated and are alienating from the Church of England that large body of Englishmen who do not know much and do not care much about theological dogmas, but who, nevertheless, entertain a deeply rooted conviction that the first duty of a Christian Church is to be just and tolerant to her fellow-Christians. And that is why I cannot help thinking that if she had been wise in her generation, the Church of England, instead of hankering after impossible unions with semi-barbarous Churches, would have looked nearer home, and herself have set to work to devise some scheme for relieving her own ministers from a position which is always false and often painful. For, believe me when I say that, galling and irritating and exasperating as the prolongation of this wretched struggle is to the Nonconformists, the real sufferer by the prolongation of that struggle is the Church of England herself. We—my hon. Friends and myself—can afford to look forward to the result of to-night's division without the slightest misgiving. We know that, by the and of what I will venture to call a "mechanical" majority, you can defeat this Resolution. But we also know that the day will surely come when common sense and common justice, aye, and I may add, common humanity will prevail, as they always do in the end prevail in England, and when some measure, based upon the lines of this Resolution, will become the law of the land. Of that we are as sure as we are of our own existence. But is it quite so sure that the Church of England—strong though she be, deeply rooted in the affections of the people though she be—can much longer afford to be defended by such utterances as these?—Non tali auxilio nec defensoribus istis Tempus eget.But be that as it may; that is not the question upon which you will have to pronounce a verdict to-night. The question upon which you will have to pronounce a verdict to-night is not, I 1318 repeat, the Disestablishment of the Church of England. It is a question infinitely smaller, both in its proportions and its consequences—a question, indeed, which in this age of universal toleration, I am almost ashamed to submit to the House of Commons: whether you will any longer tolerate this musty remnant of old ecclesiastical law, which, although it was perfectly just, perfectly suited to the age which gave it birth, has become so ill-suited to the changed religious condition of the country that it cannot be upheld without a fiction, or enforced without an injustice. The hon. and learned Member concluded by moving the Resolution.
§ MR. WYKEHAM MARTIN
, in seconding the Resolution, said, he did so as a Churchman strongly opposed to Disestablishment, and who, although he had voted for the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, did so very reluctantly, because he looked upon it as a political necessity. He should not have come forward to second the Resolution if he thought it would lead to Disestablishment. On the contrary, he believed that leaving this question open and unsettled had done more mischief to the Church than 10 campaigns of the Liberation Society. Sir Morton Peto, in speaking on this question, quoted from a speech of the Marquess of Salisbury, when that nobleman had a seat in the House of Commons as Lord Robert Cecil, to the effect that some Bills of this kind would sooner or later be passed, unless the clergy could be persuaded in the question of burials to wink with both eyes. He (Mr. Martin) believed that in 99 cases out of 100 the clergy adopted that course, exercised toleration, and endeavoured to give as little offence as they possibly could in this painful matter of burial, and he once knew a prudent Archdeacon who managed to be out of the way, so that the wife of a Roman Catholic parishioner might be buried without any service; but unfortunately there was a noisy minority of intolerant and very unwise men who acted in a contrary spirit, and gave rise by their conduct to the strong feeling which existed among Nonconformists on this subject. He would give an instance of this intolerance, which he found in The Church Times, a Church newspaper, though one he did not at all admire, and which, as it had not been 1319 contradicted, he assumed to he accurate. A clergyman was reported to have said—" With the exception of a few people here and there, Dissenters are chiefly remarkable for ignorance, insolence, and stupidity," and then he went on to ask—Were the clergy of the Church of England to be called on to "bury the carrion of Dissent?" ["Oh, oh!" and "Name!"] The language he had quoted was attributed to the rector of one of the largest parishes in London—the Rev. Thomas Hugo. "What Nonconformist, being human, would not feel justly indignant at such language? A clergyman of his acquaintance had said—" If the report of that speech be bonâ fide, the clergyman who uttered it ought to be suspended," and he fully agreed with him. Better far to allow any number of Dissenters to read prayers in our churchyards than to expose the Church to the injuries that would result from such language. Lord Selborne, when Sir Roundell Palmer, had said that something must be done in the matter, and the six Bills from the other side were a confession on their part that some remedy was necessary. It had been said by Gentlemen opposite that this was made a Party question by the Liberals. He did not wish to make it so; but undoubtedly it was the Liberal Party which alone would be benefited by having this sore kept festering for years, instead of having the question settled on equitable terms. The best course, therefore, that hon. Gentlemen opposite could take would be to settle the question. Years ago a man of great ability and vast experience in that House said to him—"You fellows are very stupid. You want abolition of church rates, admission of the Jews to Parliament, and other Liberal measures. Get those and the Ballot, and you will immediately have the Conservatives in power." His Friend was perfectly right. They had only to look opposite for the proof of the accuracy of his prediction. He believed if the Conservative Party remedied this grievance, they would go down to battle at the next Election with a much greater prospect of thrashing the Liberals again, than if they left such a weapon in the hands of their opponents. For his part he did not want to possess such a weapon, but desired rather that justice should be done in the matter to the Nonconformists of England, He 1320 therefore trusted that the Government would hold out some hope of settling this painful question, and that, at any rate, they would abstain from doing one thing in the interest of the clergy of the Church—namely, that they would not give compulsory cemeteries in the several parishes, because in many parishes they were not needed; and that an undue amount of labour would be thrown upon the parishioners in raising a voluntary rate for the support of such cemeteries. The present Government had managed the country with very great efficiency, in many respects, during the last two years, and he hoped that it would find some way of redressing the grievance to which attention had been called, and so settle what was a miserable source of dispute. In conclusion, he begged to second the Amendment.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the parish churchyards of England and Wales having been by the common law of England appropriated to the use of the entire body of the parishioners, it is just and right, while making proper provision for the maintenance of order and decency, to permit interments in such churchyards either without any burial services or with burial services other than those of the Church of England, and performed by persons other than the Ministers of that Church,"—(Mr. Osborne Morgan,)
§ —instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
Sir, the hon. and learned Member who has introduced this Motion to the notice of the House has stated that he would not, in any way, if he could possibly avoid doing so, offend the susceptibility of any hon. Member on whichever side of the House he might sit, and I am bound to give him credit for having through the whole of his speech, as far as it was possible for him to do so, kept faith with the declaration he at first made. But after I had heard that fall from the lips of the hon. and learned Member, I could not help remarking that his speech as it went on had wounded, and wounded severely, the susceptibilities of many persons who sat on this side of the House, and of some others, not by anything that he said, but by a great deal that he left unsaid, because he did not 1321 seem from the very beginning of his speech to the end ever to show that he duly appreciated either what were the objections of Churchmen to this measure, or how deeply they felt on this question. The hon. and learned Member apologized to the House for having put this matter in the form of a Resolution instead of a Bill. He quoted precedents to show that many things had been done in consequence of Resolutions that had been passed by this House. True; but if those precedents were examined, it would be found generally, if not always, that a Resolution was the commencement of debates upon the subject with which it was connected. It is almost unheard-of, after a subject has been debated year after year in the House of Commons, not by way of a Resolution, but by way of an actual Bill, that the Bill should be thrown over and a Resolution resorted to. Supposing for a moment, which I cannot believe, that this Resolution will pass, what object would be gained, and how much nearer legislation would you be? Although the hon. and learned Member could not find an early day on which to have the second reading of his Bill, he would have gained just as much by the discussion of the question on the second reading of his Bill, even at the end of July, as by the discussion of this Motion now. For even if this Resolution were to pass, no Bill formed upon such a Resolution would have a chance of passing during the present Session of Parliament. I think, therefore, that we might have been spared a discussion for the present, and that the hon. and learned Member might have taken a discussion in the ordinary course, when his Bill would have been brought forward for a second reading, however late in the Session that might have been. There are some great disadvantages in discussing the subject of a Resolution, especially when we have seen it in the shape of a Bill. On the other hand, there may be certain advantages in discussing a Resolution as against a Bill. It is very difficult, I know, to put details into a Resolution, although that is a course which is sometimes very convenient; but I wish to call the attention of the House for a short time to the Resolution which the hon. and learned Member has chosen as his own battle-field, and to the terms in which he has placed that Resolution 1322 before the House. He has prepared it with the greatest care and deliberation. It was put on the Table of the House some weeks ago. It did not satisfy the hon. and learned Member in its original form. It was deliberated upon and altered, and as it now stands it is in an entirely new form. [Mr. OSBORNE MORGASR said, he altered it in deference to the wishes of some of his hon. Friends.] The hon. and learned Member confirms my statement that the Resolution in its original form was deemed to be unsatisfactory, and that for that reason he strove to alter it, and now that he has brought forward his amended Resolution he again offers to alter it; says that the preamble may be considered too menacing, and that he is willing to throw overboard his preamble altogether. That shows the difficulty of proceeding by a Resolution. The preamble of this Resolution is—That the parish churchyards of England and Wales, having been by the common law of England appropriated to the use of the entire body of the parishioners, it is just and right."..So the hon. and learned Member starts with this proposition, not as a proposition of expediency, not as a proposition of what ought to be, but as a proposition of absolute right. Well, I will not enter at the present moment into a long discussion upon the law of his case. What I want to put to the House is, that we must see how far this proposition goes; and I venture to say that, in spite of all that has fallen from the hon and learned Member, the absolute right to burials in a churchyard is precisely the same as the absolute right of any parishioner to have worship within the body of the church, and that if this Resolution passed, and another Resolution were presented to us, word for word the same as this, with the exception of the word "Church" being substituted for the word "churchyard," it would be absolutely impossible, if we are consistent with our votes, to resist the one and to pass the other. I know it may be said that every person must be buried, but nobody need go to church. That is another matter. We are not discussing the expediency of burying a man in a churchyard or not. We are discussing a question of right. Every parishioner has a right to service in church; but by the same law that gives him that right he is bound to have 1323 it according to the services which are there performed. The hon. and learned Member would make out just as strong a ease for a Nonconformist to have service performed by a Nonconformist minister in a parish church, if he could show that in some towns no land was to be had on which to build a chapel; no money forthcoming to build the chapel; that there were many hours on Sundays during which the church was not used, and many days in the week during which it was closed; that for some reason or other it was the only church to which persons could go to for the purpose of worship, and that therefore the Nonconformists had a right to hold their services there at such times. But another point arises from the first words of this Resolution, and it is quite necessary to see to what extent it may be pushed in that direction also. The hon. and learned Member says—That the parish churchyards of England and Wales, having been by the common law of England appropriated to the use of the entire body of the parishioners, it is just and right." ….I want to know to what churchyards the hon. and learned Member means the Resolution to apply. Does he mean to confine it to the ancient parish churchyards simply, which are scattered up and down throughout England, or does he mean to apply it to the churchyards in the district parishes which may be open at the present time? If he means the former, I think I shall be able to show that the Resolution would have very little effect, owing to the sanitary state in which many of such ancient churchyards now are. But if he means the latter, we all know that the number of parish churchyards—that is, of ecclesiastical district churches—in England has been multiplied enormously, independently of the ancient parish churchyards; I am thankful to say, especially of late years, not by rates, except in some cases, not by the State; but by gifts—by voluntary subscription for the good of the community at large. And yet the hon. and learned Member would say to the subscribers—" Although you have made large sacrifices in providing these churchyards for your own church, and for the benefit of those with whom you worship, according to your own services, I with a rough hand will take away all these churchyards." There is to be no 1324 limit of time, according to the hon. and learned Member, in this matter; they are all absolutely to go. The Resolution goes much further than that; it means to say that for all time to come no member of the Church of England, however zealous he may be in the cause of his religion, shall be able to say he will give for the good of those with whom he worships a churchyard for the exclusive use of the services of the Church of England; and it would practically come to this, that members of the Church of England would be the only religious body who could not appropriate churchyards for the exclusive use of the services of their Church. You may talk about toleration, you may talk about liberty, but this would be the greatest tyranny that could be inflicted. Let us look once more at the first sentence of the resolution—"The parish churchyards of England and Wales are by the common law appropriated to the use of the entire body of parishioners." Yes, that may be, so long as they exist. So long as they exist parishioners may have the right of burial in the churchyards as they have to services in the churches; but when they cease to exist, what then? What becomes of your Common Law right when there is no Common Law obligation of the parish to provide a place of burial when they are full? A case happened in the course of last year which bears out the proposition I am laying before the House. In the borough of Northampton, by a very proper order of one of my Predecessors, all the churchyards were closed. They were closed about the middle of last July, and there is no power either by Common Law or by statute to compel any one of the parishes within that town to provide burial-places for any persons who may die within its limits. The only place where they can be buried at the present moment is in a private cemetery and in unconsecrated ground. If you want a grievance I grant you that this is one. There is not a single churchyard in Northampton in which persons can be buried in consecrated ground. There is no power to compel any of the parishes to provide burial-grounds, either consecrated or unconsecrated; and if the cemetery to which I have referred was filled to-morrow, there would practically cease to be a burial-ground for the town of Northampton. When in discussing this question stress is laid upon 1325 the Common Law right of people to be buried, those using the argument ought also to lay a considerable amount of stress upon the absence of either any Common Law or any statutable liability to provide grounds for the purpose. But, let me ask how long this great grievance has been felt; how long this terrible state of tyranny and oppression under which the Nonconformists are supposed to he has been felt by them to exist? What did we hear of this grievance some 15 or 20 years ago? Why, simply nothing. It was a question never named, and I would ask whether Nonconformists of that day were less earnest, less zealous, or less enthusiastic in their cause than are the Nonconformists of the present day? Were they likely at that time, alive as they were to everything which concerned their interests, to overlook such an important matter as this if they then felt the grievance to exist? I venture to say confidently that not only did they not at that time say they had a grievance, but they did not even feel that they had one. If that was the case then, how much less cause for feeling a grievance have they now? Within the last 20 years the whole cemetery system has been called into existence. The hon. and learned Member has quoted from some Returns which have been laid before the House; and, if it be true, as has been said, that figures may be made anything of in argument, I am bound to say that a more extraordinary argument than that which has been adduced by the hon. and learned Member from these Returns I have never heard, even in this House. In 1866 a Return was laid on the Table of the House showing exactly the sums of money which had been borrowed for the malting of these cemeteries, and the number of the cemeteries that had been established under the Burials Act. The number of cemeteries so established up to the year 1866 was 413, and the hon. and learned Member has stated that not more than five or six cemeteries have since been added yearly to the number. These Returns have not been carried down to the present time, but I hope they will be completed at an early date. If, however, the hon. and learned Member had consulted a book issued by the Local Government Board, he would have found that between 1866 and 1875, 235 cemeteries were opened, and that in the 1326 course of the year 1875–6 another 36 were added to the number, making 684 in all. Looking a little further into the question, it is necessary we should inquire as to the population to which these figures relating to the number of cemeteries refer. I have looked into the Returns relating to the population in the neighbourhood of these cemeteries, and for which the cemeteries are available. From these Returns I find that the cemeteries are available for no less than 14,000,000 out of a population of 22,000,000, and I may say that in arriving at this result I have taken figures which I believe to be under rather than over the mark. I am perfectly aware that the cemeteries are principally in the neighbourhood of large towns, but I am dealing with the general question of the existence or non-existence of a grievance; and I want to know how it came to pass that before the cemeteries were established we heard nothing of this grievance from the Nonconformists out of the 14,000,000 persons for whom the cemeteries are now available. But in addition to this, there are the available burial-grounds of the Nonconformists themselves. When the Bill was before the House in 1873 the Prime Minister quoted from Returns made by rural deans, and which showed that of 6,200 parishes to which the Returns related, l,627 had Nonconformist burial-grounds. I do not profess that these Returns were absolutely accurate; but I may mention that the figures are, at all events, borne out by the Return just presented to the House, from which it appears that, out of 6,800 parishes from which Returns have been received, there are burial-places belonging to Nonconformists 2,230 in number; from which we learn that at the present time there is a Dissenting burial-ground in one of every three parishes. This shows, at any rate, that the grievance of which they now complain is a mere drop in the ocean compared with what it must have been, if indeed it had an existence, 20 years ago. There is another matter which must not be lost sight of in discussing this question. It is somewhat strange that in parishes which have both cemeteries and churchyards, and where the Nonconformists claim to be not less than half the population, the burials in consecrated ground are infinitely larger in number than those in ground which is 1327 unconsecrated, or in the burial-grounds exclusively belonging to the Nonconformists. The fact is that many Nonconformists—and I know this to be true of those living in the country districts—not only do not object, but actually prefer, that the Church service should be read at the burial of their dead. As a matter of fact, I may say, without fear of contradiction, that a great deal is said for the Nonconformists in reference to their alleged grievance in this House, but very little is said by themselves outside the walls of Parliament. A good deal has been said in the course of the debates on this question about the action of this House and of the Nonconformists, as a body, on the question of church rates. It has been said elsewhere as well as here, that at the present time the Nonconformists have much less reason to complain than they had heretofore, because it was they who entirely refused to maintain and keep up the churchyards. I do not wish to rely upon any such argument. I do not want to use an argumentum ad hominem; but I think I may use as an argument, without fear of contradiction, the fact that when we were engaged in discussing the question of church rates this burials grievance was never once named in all these hot discussions, and was, in fact, then never dreamt of. A great deal has been said about what has happened in other countries, and it has been urged that other countries have acted in a more generous spirit with reference to this question than England has. That may be so; but every country has its own history, and must be judged of by itself. As years have gone on these graveyards have clustered round our churches. New churches have been built; fresh districts formed; new graveyards added. Churchmen have been encouraged by the action of Parliament itself to proceed with the work of building churches and adding to them churchyards and 'parsonage-houses. When the money was contributed it was supposed by the donors that the funds were contributed absolutely for one and the same purpose. It is not possible, therefore, to deal with England as if it was a new or a foreign country, because old associations are gathered round these churches and churchyards, and are deeply seated in the minds of the people. I should like to say a few words on the position of Scotland in 1328 reference to this matter, as the ease of Scotland has been quoted as a precedent in support of the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman. I think, on the other hand, that the ease of Scotland is a precedent in the opposite direction. In the first place, there is in Scotland a Common Law obligation, which does not exist in England, to provide burial-grounds; and, in the second place, it frequently happens that the burial-ground is situated altogether apart from the church. In the third place, it is vested, not in the incumbent, but in heritors, and it has always been free from ecclesiastical dominion. The consequence of this is, that burial in Scotland is regarded as being a civil ceremony to a much greater extent than is the case in this country. And the burial service is almost always performed at the house, and not at the graveyard itself. The main difference, then, is, that in Scotland there is a statutory obligation to provide burial-grounds, which does not exist in this country. I grant that it is a precedent for making a statutory obligation on the parish to provide graveyards out of public funds, but not a precedent for saying that these churchyards in England which have been provided by private funds should be those graveyards. Then, again, the case of Ireland has been quoted, but I will show that that case does not apply It is asked—Why do you not do in England as is done in Ireland? For Ireland you passed an Act in 1824 which enabled the clergyman to give permission to persons of all religious bodies to be buried with their own services. Well, that is true. The Act, however, was repealed, and permission was no longer required; and I certainly should not go to Ireland for a precedent in Church matters. Even if it were not for what I am about to show, the whole case of Ireland depended upon a wholly different state of things from that which exists here. The precedent is directly the contrary way. What happened in Ireland? There were in Ireland a great number of monasteries which were suppressed, but for which the people of Ireland entertained a deep religious feeling, and they were in the habit—contrary to law, I grant—of burying there, having no right to do so. They were in the habit also, thanks to the generous feelings of the Protestant 1329 clergy, of burying their dead in the Protestant churchyards from time immemorial. Well, when it was found that these were actually illegal acts, Mr. Plunket brought in a Bill, which afterwards became law, the object of which was—not to create an innovation in the law of Ireland, not to do something which had never been done before, not to grant new privileges; but, on the contrary—to legalize that which had always been done in practice: to remove penalties from those who continued their former practices. The Irish Act was brought forward to legalize that which had always been done; the Resolution of the hon. and learned Member, on the contrary, is brought forward to subvert that which has always been done. So far, therefore, from Ireland being a precedent in favour of the hon. and learned Member, it is a direct precedent against him. Well, I have said that conscientious scruples are always to be respected. But as, in other cases, conscientious feelings of Nonconformists have been respected, so, in this case, are the conscientious—equally conscientious—feelings of Churchnien to be considered. The Nonconformists say that the refusal to allow them to use their own services in a parish churchyard is a matter of bigotry and narrow-mindedness. But I want to know whether any Nonconformist Body has come forward, and has set any example of Christian charity of which they say so much, and said to the people of the Church of England—" We do not care whether you come to our places of burial or not. If you wish to bury there, we are willing that you should do so, although they are private grounds; but as a matter of convenience, and charity, and justice, and fairness—as a matter to show that we are really heart and soul in act what we are in word—we are quite willing that you should bury there, using your own service." I am not putting this, mind, as a matter of right—I am only speaking now of private grounds, in which I know that no public right can exist; but I am trying to test what would be, and what are the feelings of Nonconformists as to the performance of other services than their own in their own graveyards. But that is a question which, so far as I know, has only been considered in England by one body of the Nonconformists. I may be 1330 wrong, but theirs is the only case I am acquainted with. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, when tills matter was last before the House, made certainly a very interesting and eloquent speech. He is a member of a body of Christians for whom I have the greatest respect, for the conscientious way in which they always maintain their principles. That Body may be looked upon, if any can be, as a body of simple persons who wish to be charitable in every direction. Well, they have discussed this question, not once, but twice, as a religious body—the Quakers I am speaking of. They are the Body of which Sir Morton Peto spoke so much when he brought forward his Bill in this House. Well, they discussed the question, and came to a resolution upon it in 1832, and they again discussed it, and, I presume, again passed the resolution in 1861. The resolution says—"Burials of persons not members of our society may take place in our burial grounds." Yes; but it does not stop there. That is not the whole resolution to which they came. It goes on—"Provided they be in all respects conducted as the burials of Friends are conducted." Why, Sir, that is the very point we are discussing. I claim, on behalf of the Church of England, precisely the same rights of feeling and liberty of conscience as the Quakers claim for themselves. I am not now speaking of ancient churchyards alone, but of those churchyards which have of late been given by gifts as Englishmen, and I hope that such will be given again and again for many years to come. But you go too far with your Resolution. You say it is just and right to provide those burials with services "other than those of the Church of England," and to be performed" by other persons than the ministers of that Church." To whom does that apply? How far would it go? You are not touching hero Nonconformists only; you are breaking down the whole discipline of the Church. By a side-wind, as by a stroke of the pen, you are breaking down utterly the parochial system, for you are saying directly, in the teeth of the canon law and of the Act of Uniformity itself, not simply that the services in the churchyard may be said by Nonconformists, but by a member of the Church of England other than the minister who has a right to 1331 read it, and, if he likes, even by a layman. That is an extravagant proposition to put forward. But you also go too far in another direction. England has become of late years the great emporium of the whole world. In its great cities we have a vast number of the people of all nations and of all religions. Here you are opening a very wide door indeed. I quite agree that yon must provide cemeteries and burial-grounds for them; but it does not follow that they are to be buried in the parish churchuyards, each with his own foreign, and it may be unchristian, service. But you go further still. I grieve to say—I wish I could contradict it—that there are a great number of people throughout the length and breadth of the land who are of no religion, who scoff at religion, and who glory in their belief that this world is all, and that there is no world to come. They do not form a small or insignificant body, and they take care to make their sentiments known. I am not speaking of extravagant orations made at the grave. I am speaking of solemn services, if I may use the word solemn of any service held by them. I hold in my hand a book from which I will not read, but three-fourths of it consists of hymns, and at the end are special forms expressly written and published for services to be held at the naming of infants, at marriages, and at burials, and containing such doctrines as I am quite certain the hon. and learned Member himself would be the last to wish to be read, however solemnly, in any churchyard, and which I am quite sure the Nonconformists would not allow to be read in any churchyard of theirs. But let us look once more to the form of the Resolution to which we are asked to assent, what further says the Resolution before the House? The hon. and learned Gentleman has altered it, and it now runs, "permit interments in such churchyards;" then he has added, "either without any burial services, or with other services than those of the Church of England." Sir, I hope no Member of the House will be deceived by that Resolution. A Resolution in those terms would pledge the House to nothing. If you pass it, you will be precisely where you are. The same question would remain to be determined—namely, whether the burials you are 1332 going to permit are to be without any burial service, or with a service other than that of the Church of England. Why, when the hon. and learned Member himself opposed such an alternative, he described it as being buried like a dog. [Mr. OSBORNE MORGAN": Not today.] That makes no difference. The hon. and learned Member did say so on a former occasion. [Mr. OSBORNE MORGAN assented.] I think it was paying a very poor compliment to the Scotch Members of the House who have been in the habit of burying their dead without services at the graveside—as the Scotch have done from time immemorial—to describe the mode of burial which has been used by some of the most religious people among the whole community—I mean the Scotch Presbyterians—as being buried like a dog. On the 21st of April, 1875, in moving the second reading of his Bill, the hon. and learned Gentleman said—I may, perhaps, in passing, be allowed to express my amazement that any three Members of this House should exhibit—I will not say so little knowledge of the feelings of Dissenters—but so little knowledge of human nature as to suppose this canine mode of interment can be accepted as a solution of the difficulty."—[3 Hansard, ccxxiii. 1365.]Therefore, when we come to vote on this Resolution let hon. Members think what they are asked to vote for. They are asked to permit funerals, either without any burial service at all or accompanied by burial services which are either those of the Church of England or other than the services of that Church; and I ask how hon. Members can vote for a Resolution of that kind which practically leaves the whole question in dispute in absolute uncertainty? I am sorry to have detained the House so long, but I must say one word more. Supposing this Resolution passed, you will not have accomplished the remedy for the disease. The real evil of the law of England is that there is no Common Law liability to provide a burial-ground. You may pass this Resolution and inflict upon a number of people a grievance that they will always feel, and then 20 years hence you will find that you have done less than nothing. Let hon. Members consider the vast increase in the population of this country during the last 20 years, and the increase which is likely to occur during the next 20 years, and, when the 1333 time comes that you will have to provide cemeteries for your teeming population, you will regret that you did not do this before you stirred up the feeling which would be undoubtedly excited if this Resolution were carried into effect. The hon. and learned Member has referred to some Papers which have been laid on the Table this morning, and which refer to the churchyards which have been closed during the last 20 years. These Returns were only issued this morning, and therefore the hon. and learned Gentleman may be excused if he has not had time to study all of them. The headings of the Returns refer first to churchyards that have been closed, and, secondly, to those which have been partially closed. The meaning of the term partially closed is, as a rule, that in certain deserted churchyards there are vaults belonging to particular families in which people may be buried for many years to come, and according to the terms of the Act the families of the persons are not put to the trouble of obtaining the consent of the Secretary of State. Yet, in the vast majority of cases, these burial-grounds are practically closed; and, therefore, instead of the number actually closed being 660 in the country and 123 in the district around London, we may fairly say that there are, in round numbers, 1,705 practically closed in the country and 208 practically closed around London. There is thus a total of almost 2,000 churchyards which have been closed since the Act of 1852–3. Since that time you will find a rapid increase of cemeteries, and also a rapid decrease of old churchyards, throughout the country. I will ask hon. Members on this side of the House and the other, who come from the country, whether they have looked at their own churchyards? Have they ever talked to the sexton of their churchyards? Have they ever noticed the sexton preparing to bury the dead, and burying them actually among the bones of the dead? Have not hon. Members noticed churchyards which have not the slightest right to be where they are—in the midst of populous villages, and fouling the water of wells in every direction? Within the last 20 years we have made great advances in all sanitary matters, and the more this matter is looked into the more necessary it will become to deal with it. Since I have 1334 held the office I have the honour to fill I have always regretted that the Inspector of Burial Grounds was attached to the Home Office, and not to the Local Government Board. I have only one Inspector; whereas the Board has Inspectors all over the country. These Inspectors know all that is going on, and I should like to see that office transferred without delay to the Local Government Board. There is much to be done without delay in this matter. There is much that must be done, and we are doing this. What ought to be considered is, how far we can clear away all these miserable ecclesiastical disputes, and how we can—not for the past or the present, but for the future—take care that the subject is dealt with in a broad, charitable, statesman-like spirit, which will not only provide for the interment of the dead, but for the comfort, health, and happiness of the living.
§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN
; Sir, the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Cross) commenced his speech by finding fault with my hon. and learned friend the Member for Denbigh (Mr. Osborne Morgan) for having introduced this subject by means of a Resolution and by a criticism upon the form and terms of that Resolution. I hope, however, that we shall not be mystified or misled by that criticism. My hon. and learned Friend had, as the Home Secretary says, the choice of proceeding as he has elected to proceed, or of waiting probably until the end of July before the second reading of a Burials Bill could have been discussed. I venture to think that he has made a "wise election in the course which he has taken, and that in spite of the able criticism of the Home Secretary, every hon. Member of the House will know that he is called upon to vote upon a plain and simple issue which we all of us understand. The right hen. Gentleman and my hon. and learned Friend have both referred to the statistics lately published upon this subject. well, Sir, these statistics have encountered the usual fate of all statistics. They have been quoted by each side, and each side has proved its own case to its own entire satisfaction. Inasmuch, however, as this battle is not to be determined by statistics, I shall make no further reference to any argument to be deduced therefrom. There was, how-over, one remark of the right hon. 1335 Grentleman to which I listened with the greatest surprise. He asked whether the Resolution of my hon. and learned Friend was intended to apply only to the old parish churchyards, or to graveyards attached to churches which had been built and endowed by English Churchmen and by them dedicated to the church. If the former, the case was of limited application; if the latter, how hard would it be upon those who had given land and built churches especially for Church purposes, that the Nonconformist should be allowed to share in the burial grounds. But surely, Sir, the answer is plain and obvious. Those who give land and churches to the National Church must be content that they should be held under the same conditions as those under which all other property is held by the same Church. You cannot in one breath claim all the advantages of being a National Church, and in the next demand the privileges of an exclusive sect. And so when the Home Secretary triumphantly asks whether Nonconformists would be willing to admit the clergy to bury within their burying grounds, what does his question imply? I do not know that the Nonconformists would refuse, for the question has never been, and is not likely to be, asked them. But when the Home Secretary asks it, and demands reciprocity on the part of the Nonconformists, what is he doing but that indeed to which his whole speech pointed—depreciating the Church of England as a National Church and putting her upon the level of a mere sect or denomination. I speak. Sir, as a friend to the National Church of England, and I cannot concur in this depreciation. The legal part of this subject has been already fully dealt with, and there is the less reason why I should discuss it since the Home Secretary has told us that he declined to go into the law of the question. It is not surprising that he should so decline, for only last year he admitted that for which my hon. and learned Friend contends—namely, the right of every parishioner to be buried within the churchyard of his parish. Now, Sir, as I have abstained from voting upon this subject for several years past, I am anxious to justify both that abstention and also the vote which I intend to give to-night. In former years I voted for several Bills having for their object an alteration of the Burial Laws, believing the issue involved to be 1336 but small, and the concession which was demanded one which might be made on behalf of the Church of England without any apprehension of evil result. But I abstained from voting' when the question had assumed larger proportions, partly from an intense dislike to see religious battles fought upon the floor of this House, and partly from that which was perhaps a more valid reason. I thought I saw, on the part of those who opposed an alteration in the law, the indication of a desire to see the question settled upon some firm and reasonable grounds of compromise, if such could be found. I heard the grievance of the Nonconformists fairly and openly admitted—even last year by the Home Secretary himself in this House—I knew that the feelings of the clergy throughout the country were deeply stirred upon the subject, and I anxiously hoped that some settlement might be arrived at which, without doing violence to those feelings, might afford a remedy for the grievance, and at the same time remove from the arena of Parliamentary conflict a question which is to my mind one of the most painful which we ever have before us for discussion. But, Sir, these too sanguine expectations were destined to be disappointed. I am bound to say that during the last two years—that is, since the General Election—the attitude of the opponents of alteration has greatly altered, and altered, I am sorry to say, much for the worse. It is now constantly denied that the Nonconformists have any real or appreciable grievance; the resolutions which are passed at meetings of the clergy, or at conferences of clergy and laity, breathe only a spirit of "No surrender" and "No compromise." I hold in my hand a pamphlet which bears the ominous title Shall we surrender? to which question the person who has sent it has affixed in large letters the answer "No," and has also written upon the publication his or her opinion that it is "unanswerable." Sir, this pamphlet is written by no extreme High Churchman, but by a clergyman of a different school—very well known and very estimable, and his views may be taken, I suppose, as those of a large number of Moderate Churchmen. It is written by Canon Ryle. He informs us that he is "what is called an Evangelical Churchmen." He does not "regard English Dissenters as Schismatics and 1337 Samaritans!" He is "not ashamed to co-operate with Dissenters" in works of charity, and he has "No doubt that converted Nonconformists will be saved as surely as converted Churchmen." And then, in the very same pages in which he gives us these comforting assurances, he tells us that this is a "burning "and a "blazing" question, and exhorts us by no means to yield to the Nonconformist demand. "Better a thousand times resolve to stand firm, refuse to give up one inch of our line of defence, and prepare to fight out the Church's battle at once." Sir, I confess that the strong and stirring words of this belligerent divine fall somewhat unpleasantly upon my ears as an English Churchman. I cannot bring myself to consider those large bodies of English Christians, who do not conform to my Church, in the light of a hostile body against whom I am to do battle. I regard them rather as part and parcel of that great religious army which is waging war against the sin and ignorance which beset mankind. I look upon the Church of England in this country as the Kegular Army, and the great Nonconformist bodies as the Irregular and Auxiliary Forces, and I hail with satisfaction any measure which by softening asperities, removing causes of jealousy, and engendering a feeling of equality between the different divisions of the Army may tend to promote, as such a measure must promote, the efficiency of the whole. But now. Sir, let us see what it is that the Nonconformists really demand, and in what kind of a manner that demand should be met. I put it in this way. They demand that the exercise of an admitted legal right should no longer be accompanied by conditions which in their eyes greatly diminish its value. And, Sir, allow me to say that it is now too late in the day to deny the existence of this legal right. You may rummage among old law books and obtain lawyer's opinions, as you can upon every question, one way and the other, but the Home Secretary himself admitted last year the legal right of a parishioner to be buried in the parish churchyard, and after the people of England have been educated in this belief for so long a time, it is too late to attempt to argue them out of it at this time of day. But, says the Home Secretary, a great deal about the grievance is said for the Dissenters in this House, 1338 and not by them in the country. Well, Sir, I am not fond of reading quotations to the House, but I will read a practical answer to the right hon. Gentleman from a letter placed in my hands only yesterday. The writer is a highly respectable Baptist minister. His father and mother had been between 50 and 60 years members of the Baptist Church at Bristol, and they then moved to Honiton, when the only available place of burial was the parish churchyard. Hear this gentleman's description of his father's funeral—Around my father's grave were their eldest son, superintendent of a Baptist Sunday-school—and two other sons. Baptist ministers, his only-daughter, the wife of a Baptist minister, his son-in-law a Baptist minister, and a deputation from the Baptist Church in Bristol, of which my father had been for 54 years a member, and a Deacon for several years; and yet no minister of our own body could utter a word, nor were we allowed even to commit the remains in silence to the grave, but we were compelled to have a minister of another body to read the service. Can you be surprised if under the sense that we were compelled by law to have that and nothing else, the beauty of the service failed to comfort, and, indeed, could scarcely be recognized?He bears witness to the kindly behaviour of the officiating clergyman, and concludes in words which I think must touch hon. Gentlemen opposite as they touched me in the reading. He says—Would gentlemen connected with the English Church be satisfied with similar treatment, if the law prevented them from availing themselves of the services of one of their own clergymen and compelled them to call in a Baptist minister to bury their dead?Well, Sir, for this grievance, be it great or small, two remedies have been proposed to which I must now briefly allude. One is that of my hon. Friend the Member for West Kent (Mr. J. G. Talbot) who proposes public graveyards. What he says in effect is this—that sooner than allow the foot of that terrible animal, the Nonconformist minister, to enter the parish churchyard, or his voice to be heard therein, we will all of us be buried somewhere else. But there are two obvious objections to the proposition of my hon. Friend as a remedy for the grievance of which complaint is made. The first is somewhat of a sentimental character. The question is one surrounded with sentiment. And, Sir, the sentiment which induces a man to desire that after death his 1339 bones may be laid in the churchyard of his parish is not a sentiment exclusively of a religious character. There are associations of family, of locality, of tradition, which create the feeling, and these are associations of which the English people are especially susceptible. I am surprised that my hon. Friend who, as a Conservative, one would imagine anxious to cherish and preserve such associations, should be prepared at once to sweep away and ignore them all, if only by so doing he can keep the Nonconformist minister out of the churchyard. But the second objection is of a practical character. No doubt there are many churchyards overcrowded, although in many of these cases it is probable that contiguous pieces of land could be obtained at a comparatively trifling expense which would render them available for many years to come. But in a great many more instances the churchyards are amply sufficient for the burials required, and yet my hon. Friend—a Member of the Party who have been making the air ring with clamours for the reduction of local taxation—is prepared to inflict a new and costly machinery upon the ratepayers, and in order to keep the Nonconformist minister out, to lay upon local taxation this new burden, uncalled-for and absolutely unnecessary! Well then. Sir, there is another remedy proposed—namely, that which is called the remedy of silent services, with respect to which I at least have never used the disrespectful language of which complaint has been made by the Home Secretary He seemed to forget, however, that there are two sets of circumstances under which silent services may be used. In the case of those religious Bodies whose practice it is to bury without religious service, and in certain individual oases in which for reasons upon which I need not enter, no service is desirable, I do not think any objection could or would be raised to the funeral being conducted without religious service. But the question we have to deal with is the case of those Nonconformist Bodies who do desire a religious service, but a religious service other than that of the Church of England. I go with your remedy so far as this—that I think to force the services of the Church of England upon persons who are unwilling to receive them is not only hard upon such per- 1340 sons, but degrading to the services themselves. But when you say to these persons—" Exercise your legal right without any service, and we on our part will forbear to compel you to hear our service as hitherto," I grant you are making a concession, though I think you have reduced concession to a minimum. But have you done nothing more? You have practically said to these people—"Your dead shall be buried in our churchyards because you have a legal right that it should be so." But at the moment of this interment—the saddest and most solemn moment to the friends of the dead—the moment of all others when men's hearts are softened and more than ever susceptible of the influences and impressions of religion—at that moment religion shall to you be dumb and you shall not be religious, unless you are prepared to be religious after our way and according to our fashion. Sir, I put it respectfully, but most earnestly to the House that this is not the way to strengthen the hold of the Church of England upon the affections of the people, or to conciliate men's minds to the Establishment! It is rather the way to estrange affection, to alienate sympathy, and to suggest, moreover, at a most solemn moment, a comparison between the claims of the Church on one hand and of religion on the other, which is little calculated to advance Church interests or to win love for the Establishment! Sir, there have been various minor objections taken to the demand which we are making to-night, which I need hardly notice. One, indeed, was urged by the Home Secretary, who laboured to prove that admission to the churchyards involved admission to the churches, and that the one demand would certainly govern the other. To this. Sir, I have only to say that when the question of admission to the churches arises, I shall be perfectly ready to discuss it upon its merits. But to concede to the demand now made is either right or wrong—just or unjust—and if it is right, I will not refuse to do that which is right to-day, for fear that if I do so, I may be asked to do something which I may think wrong to-morrow. But there are two main objections to the present demand with which I wish now to deal. They are those which we see constantly put forward at lay and clerical meetings upon this subject, and they 1341 deserve to be considered. The first is that concession to this demand would injuriously affect the status, the position, the influence of the clergy—the second, that it would subvert the principle of an Established Church. To show that I am correct in the statement which I am making, I must make one more quotation from our friend Canon Ryle. He says—The question is simply whether other persons than clergymen may assist at Nonconformist funerals.And, further on—We contend that to allow the ministers and members of other denominations to carry on religious services either in national churches or churchyards, is to dethrone the national clergyman from his position and to deprive him of his official privileges. If Mr. Morgan's Bill contained a single clause which fully recognized the rights and privileges which the clergy of the Established Church have enjoyed for throe centuries, I might think differently of it.Now, Sir, I have the most sincere respect for the clergy of the Established Church. No doubt it occasionally happens that some clergyman whose zeal has outrun his discretion, adopts a line of conduct which brings scandal upon the Church, and is deplored by more discreet Churchmen. But take the clergy of the Church of England as a body, and you will find them men of exemplary habits, of remarkable purity of life, of great earnestness and great self-denial, diligently and faithfully doing their Master's work in their Master's vineyard. These, Sir, are men whose feelings I would not willingly hurt, and from whose status, position, or influence I would not detract one jot or one tittle. But does any one in this House seriously suppose that this would be the effect of concession to the demand we make to-night? The influence of the clergy is deservedly great—their position is universally respected. But why is this so? Not because of any assumption by them of sacerdotal authority in a country in which priestcraft is mightily unpopular; nor because they have by law a limited freehold in the churchyard which enables them to keep out the Nonconformist minister. No, Sir, their influence arises from the good, zealous, laborious work which they do among their people, and so long as the clergy of the Church continue to be what they are, it is not one concession nor 1342 fifty concessions of this kind that will ever shake their influence. But I venture to say that there is a danger to the clergy at this moment, and that danger comes from their own especial friends. If you have a concession demanded by the Nonconformists which a large number of the laity of the Church of England—aye, and as we know by a memorial presented to the Prime Minister only yesterday—no small number of the most enlightened among the clergy themselves are prepared to grant—I say that to tell me it is the great body of the clergy who stand in the way of granting this concession—to say that considerations of their dignity, their status, their influence—are to prevent us from giving what is asked, is to place the clergy in an invidious light before the country and to force them into a position from which their best friends should desire them at once to be extricated. But if you tell me that the principle of an Established Church will be subverted by this concession, I reply that you are treading upon dangerous ground. Here is proposed an alteration in the law which has already been sanctioned by repeated majorities in more than one House of Commons. Here is an alteration which will remove a grievance felt by many religious Bodies in this country, which will tend to a greater equality among English Christians, and which is asked in order to put an end to a state of things which produces irritation, bitterness, and ill-feeling, where only love and charity should prevail. Tell me that such an alteration is subversive of the principles of an Established Church, and I reply that you are putting a powerful weapon into the hands of the advocates of Disestablishment. Sir, for my part I have never been in favour of Disestablishment; I have spoken against it both in and out of this House, although I frankly admit that I do not fear it as it is feared by some. I have opposed it rather for the sake of the State than of the Church, and I am prepared to admit that much good as well as evil might result from it. But, Sir, Disestablishment will come when, and not before, the people of England desire it. It will neither be hastened nor retarded for one single moment by the course which you may adopt with this Resolution to-night. There are moments, Sir, it is true, when I begin to doubt whether the Establish- 1343 ment can be long maintained. But these are not the moments in which we are drawing nearer to the great Nonconformist Bodies of the country. When I see the clergy and laity of the Church of England wildly excited among themselves and angrily disputing whether at some especial moment a clergyman should turn to the East or to the West—or, when, again, I see some respectable layman held up to public odium because he is not quite satisfied with the clergyman's own particular Devil, then it is that I begin to doubt for the Establishment. But it is not such things as Burial Bills that will affect its existence. Sir, I am daily growing more and more convinced that, if the Establishment is to be maintained, it must be by widening its foundations and resting them upon a broad and liberal basis. We call ourselves the National Church. Let us be national in reality as well as in name. Let us speak words of love and charity to our Nonconformist fellow-countrymen in this matter of the national churchyards. Sir, if the answer to their demand upon this question were left to me I would give one both simple and easy. I would address the Nonconformists in some such words as these—" We differ indeed upon many points, but after all, we only differ as to the manner in which we should serve the same great Master. Let then, those differences end at the grave. Bring your dead under the shadow of our old church walls. Let the ministers of your religion speak words of peace and comfort to the mourners of their flocks, even as our clergy speak to us—and when the body of the dead man is laid in the grave, let us forget to ask whether he was a Nonconformist or a Churchman, and remember only that he was an English Christian! "Sir, to my mind these words would be words of wisdom—this course would not lessen but increase the authority of the Church, and, in my opinion, it is in this spirit that the question ought to be settled. Sir, this question can only be settled in one way, and no one knows that better than the Prime Minister himself. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman is going to speak to-night. If he does, no doubt the eloquent words which he knows so well how to use, may rally round him a majority in the Lobby against this Resolution. But your majority will avail 1344 you nothing. On our side is the calm, still, strong force of a growing public opinion, which is slowly but surely tending to the settlement of this question. And it would not surprise me, in the slightest degree, if before this Parliament shall have run its course, the right hon. Gentleman will have settled this question as he has already settled other great questions, by introducing some measure which, while it is able to retain in his support that loyalty for which his Party is always so conspicuous, will practically yield to every demand which has been made from this side to-night. Well, then, Sir, let us strengthen the right hon. Gentleman's hands to-night by such a division as shall show him by no uncertain sign the real current of public opinion in favour of this Resolution. For myself I can have no doubt how to vote. If I thought this concession would in any sort or degree injuriously affect the clergy, I would hesitate long before I voted in its favour—if I thought it could in any way damage the Church, I could scarcely bring myself to support it—if I thought it could in any way prove injurious to religion; nothing should induce me so to vote. But, Sir, believing as I do that its tendency is to make the Church more truly national—believing that truth, justice and Christian charity alike demand the settlement of this question in the spirit of the Resolution of my hon. and learned Friend, I can have no hesitation in giving it a frank, a hearty, and a cordial support.
§ MR. W. C. BROOKS
said, they had been reminded that the churchyards were the property of the nation, and in a former debate the expression had been used that it was desirable that those who held the purse-strings should have their way. But the holding of the purse-strings had been relinquished by the Dissenters long ago. When they urged the abolition of church rates their cry was that they had no part nor lot in the Church, and, therefore, they were not bound to repair the fabric or support anything belonging to it. But every parishioner had a claim far higher than a mere money payment. He had a right to the parish churchyard—not to build a house in it, not to browse his cattle there, but to demand burial according to the service of the Church of England. Of course, Parliament, which was all-powerful, might direct that an alteration 1345 should be effected in that service to please those who dissented from the National Church. No doubt, such a change would give pain to the Church, and it would be for those who sought that change to show why that pain should be inflicted. But many who did not share the feelings of the Church of England seemed not to understand how there could be any pain at all. An instance of that was unconsciously given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright), when, in speaking last year in favour of the Burials Bill, he had occasion to use the word "consecrated," but so foreign to his notions was the conception of the idea conveyed by that expression, that he seemed not to remember what the word was, and they saw him turn to his neighbours to be prompted with it. Hence it was that those who ignored consecration could not be expected to understand the feelings of those who attached value to that act. They appeared not to be able to understand how deeply the feelings of a Churchman might be wounded when he saw his consecrated ground used by those who mocked at his belief. For they could not draw the line of prevention: in that matter there could be no compromise. No Dissenter would be satisfied unless the funeral service was performed by his own minister in his own way. No doubt the good taste of very many Dissenting ministers would prevent the introduction at the grave of the elements of controversy; but what guarantee had they for that? Take the case of a professed Atheist. According to the logic of the Resolution, that man would have the right to claim burial in the parish churchyard, having previously cunningly arranged that an opportunity should be taken to disseminate his detestable doctrines. Many other such scenes might be readily imagined which would give pain to the Churchman, occurring, as they must do, on the very soil of which he had been for centuries the sole guardian. Before such a state of things could be permitted to exist, there must be shown to be in the country a majority of dissentients from the National Church so great as to make the number of her adherents comparatively insignificant. They had not arrived at that state—and he hoped they never would—in which the Church had lost her hold over the hearts of her 1346 members or forfeited her claim to have her rights respected and her feelings consulted. What, then, was to be done in the meantime? The Dissenter must abide by the consequences of his Dissent. Whenever a man took a course of action opposite to that of a majority of his fellows, all experience showed that he must pay for it somehow; and therefore let him enjoy his acquired liberty of action without looking back to the privileges he had voluntarily relinquished.
§ MR. W. S. ALLEN
I was anxious to say a few words on this question, as I happen to belong to one of the great Nonconforming Bodies of this country, and a Body which is, perhaps, interested more than any other in the settlement of this question. I allude to the Wesleyan Methodists. Now it is well known that the Wesleyan Methodists have always been, as a rule, men of moderate political opinions. We have had very few violent politicians amongst us. The Wesleyan Methodists have also had no hostile feelings to the Church of England. Many of them are even at the present day men of Conservative views, and men who are in favour of the union of Church and State. But I am bound to say that on this question an almost unanimous feeling exists among them in favour of the principle embodied in the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire. Now, when a great Nonconforming Body like the Wesleyan Methodists, and a Body which has always been remarkable for the moderation of its political views, and its kindly feeling to the Established Church; and a Body which numbers in England alone no less than 354,000 members, and has upwards of 1,000,000 regular hearers every Sunday in its chapels, asks, with almost united voice, this House to redress a grievance it complains of, I think its request is well worthy the attention of the House of Commons. And, after all, it is a very small boon we ask. It is simply that we may bury our dead in the old churchyards of this land, with our own simple funeral rites, performed by our own ministers. The grievance we complain of was very forcibly brought before me some two months ago, when it was my painful duty to follow to the grave a near relative of my own, who had been for many years a Wesleyan Methodist. She was followed to the grave by two 1347 Wesleyan ministers, and by about 40 other Wesleyan gentlemen; but those ministers could take no part in the service. Would it not have been more consonant to the feelings of the mourners who followed her to the grave, if the magnificent service of the Church of England, to which I, for one, have no objection, had been read over her grave by one of her own ministers, and would it not have been a graceful and kindly act in you to have permitted such a thing-to be done? I admit that in her case the grievance was not so keenly felt as it might have been; because, fortunately, the clergyman of the parish in which she lived is a man of kindly and liberal views, and he and the other clergyman who performed the funeral rites were both her personal friends. But supposing she had lived in a parish where the clergyman had been a man of extreme Ritualistic views, who had regarded her as a Dissenter with feelings of dislike and loathing, would it not have been most painful to us to have seen her consigned to the tomb by a man who looked on her with contempt and scorn? ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Members may cry "Oh, oh!" but when I see speeches like that of the Rev. Mr. Hugo, who spoke of our dead as the "carrion of Dissent," I think I have some foundation for what I say. And unfortunately there are a number of the clergy of the Church of England—and, I am sorry to say, a rapidly-increasing number—who do look on Dissenters with feelings of ill-concealed contempt and loathing. This boon we ask cannot injure the Church of England. The Church of England is strong, perhaps stronger at the present moment than she has ever been before. It is the part of the strong to be just and generous. And I appeal to the Churchmen who sit on the opposite benches to grant us this little boon, and generously to redress this grievance of which we complain. And I ask them to concede to us this small demand, based, as I maintain it is, on justice and equity, that our bodies, whenever our Creator shall call us to die, may be laid in our graves in those beautiful churchyards in which generations of our forefathers are sleeping, with our own simple funeral rites, performed by one of our own ministers.
§ MR. GRANTHAM
, in opposing the Resolution, said, it appeared entirely 1348 superfluous on his part, or on that of any hon. Members on the Conservative side of the House, to say a single word in reprobation of the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman after the exhaustive speech of the Home Secretary; but he did wish to point out the error of those who supported it, when they maintained that there was a difference between the church and the churchyard. In his argument on that point the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire laboured under a great fallacy, and if that fallacy could be cleared away there would be much less difficulty in coming to a conclusion on the whole subject. He admitted that if a Common Law right could be shown on the part of every parishioner to be buried as he liked in the parish churchyards, then one would have no right to force him, as it were, after he was dead, into Church by reading over his body the Church service. But he joined issue with the hon. and learned Member upon the point, and held that it was unjust to accuse Churchmen of intolerance and bigotry in requiring that the service of the Church should be read over those who were buried in the parish churchyards, or, at any rate, that the matter should be placed under the control of the minister of the church. He denied that there was any such Common Law right as that to which reference had been made, and he challenged the hon. and learned Member to prove it. It was true that in later times it had not been the custom, where cemeteries or private burial places had been established, to bury people who differed from the Church in the churchyards; but that was not because they had any Common Law right to perform any service they chose, but because it was thought desirable to permit the interment in those burial places on the ground of necessity and decency, and as they were not in any way connected directly with the Church there was no reason why, if the friends of the deceased preferred it, the service should not be treated as a civil, instead of a religious service. For this reason the dual burying-grounds of consecrated and unconsecrated ground were provided. Touching on the history of legislation upon the subject of burial, he would point out that grounds acquired under recent Acts of Parliament for the purpose of increasing the churchyard in any parish 1349 went through the ceremony of being consecrated as belonging to, and as being part of, the Church. In all the cemeteries which had been formed throughout the country a portion of the ground was invariably left unconsecrated, and for what purpose? It was because Nonconformists and Dissenters, at any rate a great many of them, did not think it right that they should be buried in consecrated ground. What they were doing, therefore, with respect to the Resolution, was to ask Parliament to unconsecrate the parish churchyards of England. The whole principle of legislation with regard to our parish churchyards had been from the first that they were part and parcel of the Church of England, and it had been thought necessary for the discipline of the Church that they should be under the control of the parish minister, subject also to the control of the Ordinary or the Bishop. It would, therefore, be very inconsistent for a Dissenting minister to be permitted to perform a burial service who was in no way subject to the control of the Bishop or Ordinary. He strongly objected to any alteration in the present law in reference to the parish churchyards; but he should be happy to assist in altering our present form of burial service to make it more in consonance with the views of Nonconformists, if it could be shown that there was any real objection to the language or any of the expressions in that service inconsistent with the religious feelings of a Nonconformist.
§ MR. WALTER
said that the question was one in which he had taken a deep interest for years. When the proposal to open the churchyards was first introduced to the House, he, in common with most Churchmen, felt considerable difficulty in entertaining it; but year by year as the discussion advanced he had seen reason to shape his views in harmony with those of the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan). He had unfortunately been absent from the House when the hon. and learned Member introduced the subject, and he was unaware what line of argument he had pursued; but he certainly thought the hon. and learned Member was to be congratulated on the happy accident—if the expression might be used—which had obliged him to substitute his present Resolution for the old 1350 Burials Bill with which they had been acquainted for so many years. The Resolution seemed to him to raise the question in a more convenient form, asserting as it did a broad principle, which if it did not solve the whole difficulty of the case, at all events laid a foundation for its future and final settlement. He had heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, and, although it was an able and eloquent exposition of the views he might naturally have been expected to entertain, it did not appear to be at all a convincing reply to the main proposition involved in the Resolution before the House. He would not enter into any antiquarian digressions, however interesting that branch of the subject might be, as to the origin of churchyards and their connection with the Church on the one hand, or as to the grievance of Dissenters on the other. To enter into the history of grievances was at all times an unprofitable task. It appeared to him to be a much more practical matter to consider whether they had any real existence in fact and reason, and whether they were such as under existing circumstances ought to be entertained. Now, the broad question on which he rested his vote was this; and if the House would do him the favour of listening to him for a minute or two, he thought he should show how this question, which was capable of being spun out into speeches of very great length, lay within a small compass, indeed, and was reducible almost to within a nutshell. Already they had advanced to this point; his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Denbighshire had at least the right to take credit for this fact—that he had forced upon the country and the Government the necessity of contemplating the whole question of burials. That was of itself no small point gained; and when they found the clergy in diocesan conference and in Convocation were taking up the question and discussing the necessity of providing public cemeteries, they might conclude they had advanced a stage towards the solution of the question. His belief was that the question, fairly examined, resolved itself into tills—namely, inasmuch as cemeteries were by universal consent an impending necessity, an arrangement which must sooner or later be made—whether during an interval of 20, 50, or it might be 100 years—the churchyards 1351 (and in that term he included not only the old parish churchyards, but the churchyards of modern churches) should be declared to be cemeteries for all public purposes. That was, he believed, the real point, and the whole question they had to decide by their vote. His answer to that question would be distinctly in the affirmative. He looked upon interment as a civil right which necessarily belonged to every human being. Every one sooner or later came to die, and he had the civil right of interment. It was not in accordance with public policy that people should be left to find burials for themselves in holes and corners, in gardens, fields, or ditches. The policy of State required that there should be a public place of interment common to the parishioners, and that right being once granted, it seemed to him to follow as a matter of natural justice that the burials should be attended with such services as might be in accordance with the wishes and feelings which had been entertained by the deceased, or with no service if that were the wish. He might shook some minds if he carried this doctrine to its extreme length; but the more he had considered this question, the more he believed that any restrictions upon the mode of interment or upon the service connected with it, except such as were considered necessary by the State for the preservation of public order and decency and the observance of sanitary conditions, were unreasonable in themselves and impossible to defend by argument. Of course, he was bound to go to the full extent of that argument. He had thought at times that there might have been a compromise, and he believed a large section of the House was willing to see a compromise effected; and, for all he knew, Dissenters themselves were willing to see the question compromised, by having the service conducted by a minister, the reading of passages of Scripture, and hymns. He thought, whether a man were a Protestant of any denomination, or an unbeliever, or a pagan, or a Turk, or even a Malay, such as had been referred to, so long as nothing was done which would shock public decency and the feelings of the public at large he had a right to that mode of service. That was the principle he was prepared to defend, and which all the Burial Bills naturally led to. They heard a great deal spoken of the 1352 hardships that would be inflicted upon the feelings of the clergy and the feelings of the laity by allowing and tolerating other services than those of the Church of England in consecrated churchyards; but the more he considered this the more it vanished into thin air—into words. How his feelings should be hurt, even in the case of a churchyard which he had given to the Church for the burial of Church people, by the burial of some other person in that churchyard he really found it impossible to say. He could not reduce it to substance. This he would admit, that no possible hardship that could be felt by the clergy or imagined by them as growing from the permission of other services than those of the Church of England in the churchyards could for a moment be compared with the hardships of their present position in performing the service over those for whom it was not suited. He believed this was a hardship which clergymen of tender consciences felt very deeply. With regard to the consecration of the churchyard, he had never been able to make out what virtue consecration imparted to the soil beyond that of separation for certain purposes. The consecration of a churchyard set it apart for the purpose of burial, but what virtue it communicated to the soil so as to render it fit only for the burial of Church people with the service of their Church, and not fit for Dissenters with their service, he was unable to understand. What must be the case of the unfortunate people who died at sea? Take the case of a line-of-battle ship in which 100 sailors were killed. There might be men of all denominations—Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, &c., among the dead, but they were not thrown into the sea without service. The chaplain would read the service over the bodies of the Episcopalians; but if a Dissenter asked to be allowed to say a prayer over a comrade, a request so natural and reasonable would not be refused. What loss such persons could sustain because the sea had not undergone the ceremony of consecration he was totally at a loss to understand. The whole case appeared to him to he within the smallest possible compass. He had made up his own mind that the only way to treat this question was to recognize the churchyard as the burial place of the parish in default of a cemetery. He, for one, would not vote 1353 for the compulsory extension of the churchyard; but supposing a churchyard, as many of them were, crammed full of corpses, utterly unfit to be used, in a shocking, neglected, and, he might almost say, disgusting state, savouring little of the odour of sanctity or consecration, he would not permit it to be extended, but in such cases he would have compulsory powers given to the parish to take grounds for a cemetery; and in the meantime, in the absence of such a place, he would have the churchyard declared to be the burial place of the parish and used for that purpose. If the clergy could only be got to look at the question from that point of view—and he knew many of them had looked at it in that light, for he had discussed it with them at diocesan meetings—they would take a much more simple and natural view of the case. He had considered the question merely from a general and abstract point of view, but he might say it was not merely a Dissenter's grievance. He thought that Churchmen had a grievance, too. By the law as it stood, a child of a Churchman, equally with a Dissenter, if it died unbaptized could not be permitted to have any funeral rites performed over it. If he had the misfortune to lose a child which was unbaptized, he should consider it a great hardship—something unnatural and hurtful to his feelings—that he should not be allowed himself, with the friends who accompanied him, to say a few words of prayer coming into his mind suitable to the occasion. He should consider that a great hardship, and he should wish such a state of things to be remedied. He should only add that it was his intention to follow his hon. and learned Friend to a division, hoping, whether the Resolution were carried or not, that the subject would receive general attention throughout the country, and by this means lay the basis of some solid legislation.
§ MR. STOPFORD SACKVILLE
said, that after an unbroken silence of several years, he would ask the indulgence of the House while he said a few words on a subject which, to him, as an Englishman and as a county Member, was peculiarly interesting. He said "as an Englishman "because Scotland and Ireland were not included in the purview of the resolution, and "as a county Member "because, in consequence of the multiplication of cemeteries throughout the 1354 country, this question was of more importance to scattered populations and retired villages than to towns having a large urban population. He regretted that the hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House (Mr. Walter), who had such weight and character, and who, he might say, had been a counsellor in the Church of England for so many years, should have given his voice contrary to the side which he was there to advocate. It appeared that the hon. Gentleman objected to all services in the parish churchyards, and wished an Act of Parliament to be passed for the purpose of turning all churchyards into cemeteries. In former years, when advocating his Bill, the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire used to introduce instances of hardship where clergymen of the Church of England had acted in a bigoted and sectarian spirit in refusing burial to the bodies of Dissenters. Now, however, the hon. and learned Gentleman seemed rather to have dropped those illustrations, probably because they were not sufficiently numerous to afford a standing ground for his argument. The Resolution asked permission for interments without service, and he (Mr. Sackville) believed the Government would have no objection to that; but objections to silent funerals came principally from the hon. and learned Gentleman's supporters, such as the right hon. Member for Sandwich. The alternative was a service other than that of the Church of England. The Resolution, if only the word "yards" were expunged from it, would open the parish church to all sects and denominations; and if that were done, how could we stop at religious Dissenters? Considering the enormous population which owed allegiance to Her Majesty, there was no reason why savage islanders should not come to England, settle in a parish, and demand the rights conceded to religious Dissenters. Again, sectarian differences were not so completely extinct in this country that we need have no fear of tumults if a crowd of people of different denominations assembled in a churchyard, and now, in the event of a disturbance, we could not say that the damage should be repaired out of the church rates. The House had been told that there was no logic in the opposition to this Resolution. He maintained, on the contrary, that the position of the Nonconformists in this 1355 matter was politically untenable since the abolition of Church-rates, and that the Disestablishment of the Church must logically result from throwing the churchyards open to all denominations. They knew from the Returns that the Nonconformists were themselves in possession of considerable endowments and revenues, but they wished also to have the fortunes of the Church divided among them. He thought that first of all they should bring their share of the property into hotch-pot. As a matter of fact, the Bill for which this Resolution had been substituted, claimed for Nonconformists privileges which were not allowed to Churchmen, because the former would have an opportunity of choosing their own minister and selecting any service they pleased. But the same law which allowed Nonconformists to have chapels permitted them to have burial grounds; and if they had not chosen to avail themselves of this privilege to a sufficient extent, the circumstance only showed that in the good old times they had no objection to be buried in the parochial churchyards with the Service of the Church of England. Members, however, on that (the Ministerial) side of the House who supported the Bill of the hon. Member for West Kent (Mr. J. G. Talbot) were not only willing that Nonconformists should have their own chapels and burial grounds, but that whenever a reasonable proportion of the population desired it, cemeteries should be provided at the expense of the rates. If the proposal of the hon. Member for West Kent were adopted it would be a hardship on Churchmen to this extent, that they would have to support these public cemeteries in addition to their own churchyards, but he believed they would be ready to do this in order to relieve the Dissenters of any substantial grievance. Last year the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Bright) made what all felt to be a most touching appeal upon this question, but he also gave up his argument when he said that in Scotland the churchyards "are not—what do you call it?—consecrated." Such a remark displayed ignorance of the feelings of English Churchmen, who were not attached to the churchyard, merely because it was consecrated by a certain form of prayer, but because their ancestors were buried there, and it had become sacred by the tears of genera- 1356 tions of mourners. If, however, from the point of view of the right hon. Gentleman, there was no difference in the minds of Dissenters between consecrated and. unconsecrated ground, why seek to filch from Churchmen a cherished possession—their parochial churchyards? No doubt the time would come when the wolf would he down with the lamb, but when the wolf began shearing the lamb, and then proceeded to eat its hay, the lamb would not much appreciate the companionship of the wolf. The Nonconformists said there were national churchyards, of which they must have their share. He should rather say the churchyards were parochial property, sot apart for special purposes by landowners and Church-founders; but, granting that they were national property the enjoyment of such property was subject to conditions. Here the condition was the right of the clergyman to read the service of the Church. Dr. Farr, in a letter appended to the Report of the Registrar General, said the question of interment was a question not of sectarian grievance, but of public health; and, speaking of some of the rural churchyards, he said the graves there were becoming thick, and the charm was fast vanishing. It was not, therefore, so desirable in the interests of public health to promote additional funerals in the churchyards, and the proper remedy was not in throwing open our parochial churchyards more widely than before, but rather in providing additional facilities for the multiplication of cemeteries. He could not help thinking that the speech of the Home Secretary pointed to some measure of this kind; but however that might be, he denied that he and those who thought with him were defending an indefensible position. In his opinion, the defenders of the Church required steadfastness rather than compromise. They were not the first to begin this strife; but, if it was to be renewed, he did not see why the victory should be on the side of the minority. The defenders of the Church might apply to themselves the language of the Royal Proclamation upon the transfer of the Indian Government to the Crown—We desire no extension of our present territorial possessions, and, while we will permit no aggressions on our dominion or rights to he attempted with impunity, we shall sanction no encroachments upon the rights of others.
SIR ROBERT ANSTRTHER
I am sorry, Sir, I did not hear the whole of the observations of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Sackville), but I am bound in honesty to state that what I heard seemed to me to tell more in favour of the Resolution before the House than in favour of the views the hon. Gentleman intended to take. The hon. Gentleman has spoken of the hallowed associations connected with a churchyard; he has referred to family feelings and to the sacred memories attached to the graves of the dead. I will ask the House—are these feelings and associations confined to members of the Church of England? Is it to be argued that in the case of a Dissenter whose father, and mother, and brethren are Church people, and who has himself become a Dissenter, owing perhaps to the extravagant views of the clergyman of the parish, it is unreasonable for him to ask that when he dies his body shall be laid beside those of his relations? I should not have presumed to trespass on the time of the House in this debate if it had not been that Scotland has been very freely referred to in the course of it. I am glad that Scotland has been referred to, for if the argument which can be adduced from the practice in that country is of any avail whatever, I think I shall be able to show the House that it is entirely in favour of the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary has left his place, for he made very full allusion to the practice in Scotland, and it seems to me that it would have been better for the arguments of that right hon. Gentleman if he had omitted that portion of his speech which referred to Scotland. It seemed to me that all that portion of his speech told far more against the point which he desired to show and impress upon the House than in favour of it. Now, Sir, the practice and the law of Scotland have been correctly stated by my right hon. Friend. According to the Common Law, the heritors are bound to provide churchyards and burial-places, and my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Osborne Morgan), although he did not state it, must know that that it is according to the ancient Scottish statutes, dating so far back as 1560 and 1563, by which the management and control of the parochial churchyards in Scotland 1358 were vested in the heritors, and these Acts continued in force until the Burials Act of 1855. The Home Secretary has pointed out to the House very fairly that, both by the ancient Scottish law and by the more modern Scotch statute, the control of the churchyards in Scotland was entirely removed from the ecclesiastical dominion. ["Hear, hear!"] I presume to ask the right hon. Gentleman, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just cheered my last sentence, whether, by any possibility, there can be any connection between the fact that the control of burial yards in Scotland is taken from the ecclesiastical dominion, and the fact that the conduct of burials in these churchyards is entirely free from the vexatious restrictions which we find imposed upon churchyards in England? I wish my right hon. Friend had been in his place to answer this question. The case is very much stronger than he has put it; not only is there entire freedom of service in churchyards in Scotland to every parishioner, but by an ancient decision given by an eminent Scottish Judge, every inhabitant of a parish in Scotland has a right to be buried in the Parochial churchyard. My hon. and learned Friend has provided, both in the Resolution before the House and in the Bills which he has so frequently brought in, that there should be safeguards against improper services in the churchyards. ["No, no!"] The hon. Member who says "no" may not possibly have had a seat in this House a few years ago; but if I recollect rightly, the Bill I refer to provides that only the reading of Scripture and prayer, and a singing of hymns, should be permitted. [Mr. ORR EWING: There were no safeguards offered.] I am coming to that. You make the assertion in the face of Bills in the clauses of which safeguards are provided for. I accept the challenge of my hon. Friend. I believe I shall have arguments to adduce which will have some weight with the House. I conceive it is not unwise to say to the House that every proper safeguard shall be provided against improper services; but how does the case in Scotland stand? It stands thus—every parishioner and inhabitant, by the Act of 1855, has a right to be buried in the parochial churchyard. I need not say to the House that there is no restriction applied, or desired to be applied, to the 1359 performance of the burial services in these churchyards by the Church of Scotland, and I may be allowed to say that there is no section of Scotchmen who will more keenly oppose any attempt to sever the tie that binds Dissenters or Seceders to the Church by the means proposed by the hon. Member for West Kent (Mr. J. G. Talbot) than the members of the Established Church of Scotland. All services are allowed in the churchyards of Scotland, and although the Home Secretary seemed to make light of it, I respectfully submit to the House that having regard to our ancient prejudices in Scotland, which I am happy to say we have very much outgrown, it is not a thing to be treated lightly by the House when I say that the services of the Roman Catholic communion and of the Episcopal Church are conducted in the parish churchyards of Scotland in full canonicals, and that there never has been, and I believe there never will be, the slightest objection made on the part of the members of the Church of Scotland, or by any other person in that country. And now I come to the question of safeguards, on which subject I am not the least afraid to meet my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. Orr Ewing). As to the entire absence of safeguards, I may mention that only a few months ago I was in communication with a distinguished Scotch divine, whose name I do not feel at liberty to mention. I asked him if there had ever been any differences in consequence of the entire freedom of the service read over the bodies in the churchyard, and he replied in words somewhat to this effect—"I believe you may search the records of all the Presbyteries of the Church of Scotland, from the days of John Knox down to the present day, and I do not believe one single case of impropriety over a grave or at a funeral can be found," But are not hon. Gentlemen on the other side traducing their own kith and kin? Are they not casting a reflection upon their own countrymen? Is it that Scotchmen are so infinitely superior in common sense to Englishmen? ["Hear, hear!"] I am glad to hear hon. Members on the other side cheer in that way, and I accept the compliment paid to my country. I would rather think, however, that England is to some extent on a par with Scotland. If any 1360 hon. Gentleman thinks not, do not let them say that I run down his countrymen, for the reflection has been cast by their own countrymen. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary brought out a book, which I am exceedingly glad to say he did not read, and this, he said, had been put forward by those who do not believe in the Divine Being, and who enunciate certain horrible and monstrous doctrines. Well, Sir, we are not all good people in Scotland, although I think the large proportion of the people of that country are very estimable. From the nature of the case there may be some such persons in Scotland as the Home Secretary describes as existing in multitudes in England. Well, will you believe it, there is not a single word in any statute, law, or provision with reference to burials in Scotland which has reference to safeguards. I have said that I should be quite willing for my hon. and learned Friend to appoint a safeguard, but when I am challenged by the statement that he proposes to throw away all safeguards, I say he is only proposing to do that in England which for 300 years has been done in Scotland. I submit that that is a fact which the House should take into its most careful consideration. I admit that there is some power of control over burials, but I affirm that for 300 years that power has not been used. Then there cannot be such a difference between the state of things on one side of the Tweed and on the other that that which has been enjoyed for 300 years by every sort of Dissenter on one side, cannot be enjoyed on the other. I do not think that a very strong case was made out by the Home Secretary in his speech. One part of it was very remarkable. He said that even admitting that a Dissenter has a right to be buried in the parish churchyards, what are you to do in the case of churchyards that have been subscribed and paid for and erected by the Church of England and by private benefactors. It is a monstrous thing, he said, that private individuals should spend their money in this way, and that the Dissenters should have use of the churchyards. The right hon. Gentleman opposite appeared proud of the state of things which existed in his own Church; but I must say I should not be proud of it if it were mine, if such an argument was needed to support it. Does no other 1361 Established Church build churches or establish churchyards besides the Church of England? I have here a statement showing the number of parish churches endowed by private members of the Church of Scotland during the past five years, and I see from that that the Endowment Committee of that Church during the period I have mentioned succeeded in creating 150 new parishes. This left many districts still unprovided for, and a plan for the endowment of 100 other parishes was therefore proposed.—I commend this statement to my hon. Friend the Member for Hudders field (Mr. Leatham) sitting on the backbenches on this side, who once described the Church of Scotland as a "patient who was dying, and could not bear the knife." I have long ago forgiven him for saying that.—The plan was put into practice, and its success has far exceeded even the most sanguine expectations. During the first four years there were 65 churches erected, so that the total number of churches built by private means is 215. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will say (for if the argument is good for England it is good for Scotland), what a monstrous thing that after the Established Church has been expending all this money, sufficient to endow 215 churches, a Dissenter is to come forward to claim to be buried in a churchyard (although in all oases there are not churchyards attached to the parishes). I should scorn to put forward such an argument, to say that because we have raised the money for the establishment of these churches, we will not allow a Dissenter to be buried in them. I do not think the Church of England has fallen into very good hands to-night. As far as I can see, all its friends are on this side of the House. My right hon. Friend has made a speech, one similar to which I trust I may never hear made in defence of the Church of Scotland, and I have heard other speeches all tending to represent the Church of England in this matter as desirous of maintaining a position of narrow exclusiveness. I may tell hon. Members on the other side of the House that I am a Churchman, and that I wish to see the Church of England maintain her influence and increase her hold on the confidence and affections of the people of the country; but may I express my opinion that the action of some of the dignitaries, and some of the 1362 clergy, and many of the laity of that Church is doing much to sap the foundations of the Establishment—has done more to sap those foundations than all the proceedings of the Liberation Society during the past five years. If we are to have a National Church, it must be a comprehensive Church; and if the hon. Member on the other side (Mr. Orr Ewing) desires to see the Church of England maintained in a national position, he must save her from the action of those who would induce her to pursue a course of narrow-minded bigotry. It is ridiculous for Church people to suppose that all Dissenters are their sworn enemies. That is far from being the case. Many of them, I believe, in whatever they do to affect the Church are actuated by friendly motives, and I believe that many would not take a step against the Church, if they were not driven to it. ["Oh, oh!"] I believe what I say to be the case. The condition of the Establishment would be much more satisfactory if my hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Orr Ewing) and some of those over-zealous Friends of the Church would hold their hands. If my hon. Friend votes with the Government on this question, he will feel very uncomfortable all the time he is in the Lobby, and he will be still more uncomfortable when he presents himself before his constituents to give an account of his stewardship. ["Oh, oh!"] I do not mean to say that he is guilty of any unworthy motives, and the House, and he, I trust, will excuse me if I have said anything unpleasant to him. I shall be very much surprised when we come to see the Division List to-morrow, if we do not find that many Scotch Members on the Ministerial side have found it convenient to go to bed early to-night. In the interest of plain truth and honesty I wish to see this question settled, and I hope it is not too much to expect the Prime Minister to settle it, although he did say a few days ago that he would give the Resolution his most staunch and uncompromising resistance. ["Hear, hear!" from the Ministerial benches.] I should not cheer too much if I were hon. Gentlemen opposite, because there is no knowing what the right hon. Gentleman may do. I have no doubt he has too much the interest of the nation at heart to pay any attention to cheers which come from 1363 only a section of Ms party, and, I say, I hope that it is not too much to ask Her Majesty's Government to make up their minds to deal with this question in a bold and comprehensive spirit.
§ MR. J. G. TALBOT
, in whose name an Amendment to the Resolution stood upon the Paper, said, he recognized with much pleasure the honourable spirit which had been exhibited by hon. Members opposite in their conduct of this debate, more especially when it was considered it was a question with regard to which strong views were held. The hon. and learned Member who had introduced this subject had on former occasions given the House rather impassioned diatribes against the course adopted on this question by the Church of England, but he had now shown a moderation that he hoped would lead to a settlement of this dispute. In order to bring about a satisfactory settlement—a step which he ardently desired to see effected—it was necessary in the first place to fully recognize the position of the Church of England, and also that of the Dissenters, with regard to this subject; and, secondly, to recognize its sanitary aspect. He had been quite convinced by the speech of the Home Secretary that, for the sake of the health of the population, most of the old churchyards should be closed with as little delay as possible, and with that belief he had given Notice of the following Amendment to the Resolution of the hon. and learned Gentleman, which the Forms of the House would not permit him to move—That, considering the crowded state and insufficient area of many churchyards, it is desirable to make more general provision for the supply of public graveyards; such provision to be made by a cheaper and more simple method than that which is afforded by the provisions of the Burial Acts.He had already brought before the notice of Parliament a Bill intended to provide greater facilities for the establishment of burial-grounds, and in so doing he had, perhaps, incurred the wrath of several hon. Gentleman with whom, as a rule, he acted; but he hoped, before the Bill proceeded much further, to secure the assistance of many hon. Members on both sides who desired to see the present system of local taxation reformed in the direction of reduction. He did not think the hon. 1364 and learned Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan) had treated him, in fact, with the generosity which he had evinced in words. He had on one or two occasions brought forward proposals in the hope of effecting a settlement of the question, but the hon. and learned Gentleman had used the Forms of the House in order to defeat his object. On the present occasion he was prevented from bringing forward the second reading of the Bill he had referred to by the bringing on of the Resolution of the hon. and learned Gentleman. This was perfectly legitimate, but could hardly be described as generous. While, on the whole, he could not complain of the tone which had characterized the discussions inside the House, he must deprecate the manner in which the subject had been treated outside its walls. In the course of last month the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard) presided at a meeting held in London for the purpose of considering the question now under discussion, together with other cognate subjects. On that occasion the hon. Member informed his hearers that, while attending to a pressing question like the Burials Bill, they must not forget that their great controversy lay with Church Establishments in any form, and that the axe must be laid to the root of a tree which, like the poison tree of Java, blasted every thing it overshadowed. Resolutions were adopted by the meeting in accordance with those views. In the face of statements like that—it was not easy to preserve a perfectly calm tone and attitude. He must congratulate the hon. Baronet who had last spoken (Sir Robert Anstruther) on his recovery from his recent illness, and was glad to find that it had not caused him to lose any of his old fire. He (Mr. Talbot), equally with the hon. Baronet, desired a settlement of the question, but from an entirely different point of view. The hon. Baronet had taken great credit for the peaceful way in which burials had been conducted in Scotland during the last 200 years, but the explanation was simply this—that in Scotland there was no burial service at all.
§ SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER
requested permission to make an explanation, as this was a subject on which they felt keenly in Scotland. The fact was, 1365 that while there was not usually any service at the grave, it was almost the universal custom to have religious services in the private houses.
§ MR. J. G. TALBOT
said, that was the very point he was desirous of bringing out. The fact was, that the only service performed at the grave was that of the Episcopalian Church of Scotland, which was the same as that of the Church of England. Now, they all knew what that was; but if the principle laid down by the hon. and learned Gentleman were adopted in England, they would have read in English church-yards the services of every religious sect, and possibly of sections of the community who had no religious belief at all. He desired, therefore, to avoid the possibility of scandal and to provide safeguards for the observance of the sanctity of our churchyards. In Ireland, as in Scotland, the religious denominations agreed not to differ at the grave. His Grace the Archbishop of Armagh, in a recent letter, referring to the state of things in Ireland, wrote that it had not been the habit of Roman Catholics and Presbyterians to have any religions services at the graves. His Grace went on to say that the religious services were held at the house of the deceased, but not at the burial-ground; and he added that the Acts of 1824 and 1868 had not been of the slightest use—that, on the contrary, they had stirred up strife, and been the occasion of parochial quarrels. Now, with respect to the case of foreign countries, the instances recited by the correspondents of the Archbishop of Canterbury did not, he thought, advance the case in favour of the Resolution. In Franco, those who did not belong to a particular community could not be buried in consecrated ground; in Germany, the right of every member of a religious community to be buried in a cemetery existed, but the burial-ground was under the control of a local Board, and Austria was very liberal, because there not only prayers but preaching was allowed; but the Minister of Public Instruction added—" The practical working of this law requires the greatest tact." In conclusion, he would only say that he had, by the proposition he had submitted, not taken up the non possumus view of the question. There was a principle in the case, and to that prin- 1366 ciple they must unflinchingly adhere, and that was that they could not admit into the churchyards of this country the ministrations of a minister who did not belong to the Church of England, because they believed, and justly believed, that if they did, on the same principle they could not refuse him admission to the church itself. He admitted that there might exist a small grievance on the part of a few Nonconformists, and if by facilitating the establishment of public graveyards that grievance could be removed, he would be the first to hail the fact with pleasure. It was no pleasure to him, as a Churchman, to see perpetuated after death the miserable differences which had divided them in life. The Church of England was ready to open her arms wide to every member of the community who was baptized in her faith, and whose relations would bring their remains to the churchyard, but on the conditions now suggested they could not admit alien ministers or alien services.
SIR WILLIAM HARTCOURT
said, the question had been so largely and so ably debated that he, for himself, would not attempt to go over the general grounds of the discussion. There was, however, one point requiring notice, and that was, that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. J. G. Talbot), as had also the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, contended that in this case no substantial grievance existed. He desired to meet that contention in a practical manner, because in a practical Assembly like that it was an argument which he believed to be of the greatest weight. The question he wished to discuss was not their ecclesiastical or theological differences, but whether any class of their fellow-subjects felt a just and legitimate grievance. Two days ago he received from a constituent of his own a letter which he would ask leave to read to the House, and he believed they would consider it deserving of their attention. That letter, he thought, in its simple pathos, in the moderation of its tone, and in the amazing self-control which it exhibited, under what appeared to him to be very severe and just provocation, was one which he was sure would secure the attention and sympathy of the House. He had the authority of the gentleman who wrote it to mention his name, if necessary. It ran as follows:— 1367Dear Sir,—Will you allow me to make known to you a 'real grievance' in the Burials question? Eight years since I came to Oxford, and from conviction, not by accident of birth, I am a Dissenter and a Baptist. Before I had been resident four months I lost two dear children by death, and, of course, in consequence of their not having been christened, was denied the funeral service. As the law did not allow of my own minister officiating at the grave, I had a service at my own chapel, and then interred them in painful silence at the cemetery. Since then I have lost four others, and have on each occasion pursued the same course; but on the 28th of last month my beloved wife was taken from me. In this case, wishing to have a brick grave, I applied to the vicar, the Rev. I. Chamberlain, for a 'faculty.' While I was with him in his study, he took the opportunity of assailing my religious belief, and thus increased my sorrow with his, to say the least, ill-timed controversy. The fee for a brick grave, I found, would be £9 10s., and I also ascertained that £4 of that amount would go into this same vicar's pocket. I declined having it, and spoke to the sexton to prepare a grave as he had done on former occasions, and that I should not require any service whatever. Judge, then, of my surprise when on arriving at the cemetery we were met by the sexton, clerk, and others, with Mr. Chamberlain's curate, who demanded the body to read the Burial Service over it. In vain did I ask him not to do it. I told him we had already held a service in our own chapel, but he said he must read the service, he was carrying out his vicar's instructions, and he must do them. I asked him if he would hinder us going to the grave. He said yes; he must perform the service first. I then submitted under strong protest to what I think you would say is a piece of priestly tyranny. May I beg of you as much in the interest of the Establishment as of Dissenters to do all in your power to carry Mr. Osborne Morgan's Resolution which, I see, is down for the 3rd prox. I have written to you not in the interest of a sect, but in the name of our common humanity. Such seasons of grief should no longer afford an opportunity for religious animosity or oven controversy.He did not know what the feelings of hon. Gentlemen on that or the other side of the House might be in reference to that scandalous story, but all he could say, as a faithful and devoted member of the Church of England, was that he read it with grief, with pain, with shame, and with indignation. What was the meaning, in the presence of such a history as that, of telling the Nonconformists of England that they had not a substantial grievance? Was there any man among them, on whichever side he might sit, who, had he been subject to such treatment as that, would not carry with him an abiding sense of bitter indignation and resentment? He doubted if there were many present who would have the self-control 1368 to be able to act so moderately. There were few of them who had not listened to the solemn service of the Church of England with which she buried her dead. That service had often brought not only to those who belonged to her faith, but to those who were without her her pale, a consolation in their hours of sorrow and distress. What, however, was to be thought of those who perverted that service of consolation by forcing it upon unwilling ears, and making it a means of asserting a priestly supremacy under circumstances which converted it into a desecration of religion itself? They had read—he thought all of them—with disgust, the story of those who kidnapped a Jewish boy in order that they might secretly, and against the will of his parents, baptize him. Yet how was that different from insisting on a service over the insensible clay of a man who, if alive, would not desire their service, and in the presence of his relatives pronouncing a solemn service over the dead against their will. But then he was told that was law. If it were law, what a law! How long would they allow such a law to continue? The hon. Member for West Kent (Mr. J. C. Talbot) was surprised at this grievance about silent interment. The Nonconformists desired to have a service in their own chapels, if they were not to be allowed to have a suitable service over the grave, and if the latter were denied them, they did not want to have a service which they did not approve, performed by force over the corpse. When that course was taken against the wishes of the living, he declared that the service which members of the Church of England heard with so much solemn respect, instead of being a religious ceremony, was nothing but a superstitious incantation. Hon. Members opposite called this a sentimental grievance. Yes, it was a sentimental grievance because it appealed to a sentiment that was the dearest, and lay deepest and truest in the nature of man, and it was for this reason that a grievance of the kind was the more real and intolerable. They inflicted, then, by conduct of that kind, under laws which their clergy said they were bound to obey, upon a large portion—he would not discuss how large or what proportion—of the nation, wrongs which they deeply felt, wounds which they deeply resented, and then they said they did it upon principle. 1369 But upon what principle? The hon. Gentleman had referred to the case of Ireland, and the Home Secretary also referred to the case of Ireland; but he ventured to say that the right hon. Gentlemen who sat upon the bench opposite were not in a position to affirm that they opposed the Resolution on principle; and he would tell them why. The Established Church of Ireland while it existed, like the Church of England, was under the operation of the Act of Uniformity. The law was the same in both Churches, and to make any distinction between the two was entirely incorrect. [Mr. ASSHETON CROSS: I said the practice was different.] He was talking about the law. He said that the law of the Church of Ireland was the same as the law of the Church of England. What happened? Lord Plunket, a great man, came forward in 1824, at a time when the spirit of bigotry was rampant, and yet he succeeded almost without opposition in inducing the House of Commons to pass a measure to say that the dead of all persuasions in Ireland should be buried in the churchyards of the national Church, and that they should have, subject to the permission of the incumbent, their own religious rites. That was the principle of Lord Plunket's measure. To talk of practice? He would like to know what there was in England now contrary to the feeling which existed in 1824 between the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland? Yet, with that antagonism which existed at that period between the rival sects, Parliament was capable of taking a wise and statesmanlike view of the question. In 1868, when hon. Gentlemen who sit upon the bench opposite were sitting upon it then, when the right hon. Gentleman who is now at the head of Her Majesty's Government was then Prime Minister, a Bill was introduced by Mr. Monsell, upon the allegation that the veto given to the Irish clergy had been improperly used, to take away that veto. What was the course of the Government in the matter, who now resisted this Resolution on principle? He would read the clause of the Bill—Whenever any person who at the time of his or her death shall not have been a member of or in communion with the United Church of England and Ireland shall he buried as of right."—the very words of the Resolution—" within the churchyard or graveyard, it shall be lawful for the priest or minister of the religious de- 1370 nomination to which such person belonged to attend such burial, and to read such prayers or perform such burial service at the grave as, is usual or customary at the burial of persons belonging to such religious denomination.And now attend to these words, and they apply to the parson to whom the freehold of the churchyard belonged as well as to anybody else—And any person wilfully obstructing such sermon or burial service shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanour.What was the period at which this Bill was introduced? The great question of the Disestablishment of the Irish Church had been raised. It was before the Dissolution. It was after the Resolutions of my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich had been proposed, and when it was the interest and business of right hon. Gentlemen opposite to defend every outwork of the Irish Church. What course did they take? Why, Lord Naas, the Irish Secretary of the Government of the day, came forward, and said he was favourable to the principle of the Bill. That Bill was passed through the House of Commons with the assent of the Government, of which the right hon. Gentleman opposite at that time was the head. It might be said, with the frankness of the hon. Member who last spoke—he (Sir William Harcourt) did not know whether he spoke for all—that the party to which he belonged had one policy when they were in a minority and another when they were in a majority; and he hoped the Nonconformists of the country would always remember that declaration. But though they might not have had a majority upon this question in 1868, when they were in power, the Bill went to the House of Lords, where they had an undisputed majority, and they might have put a negative on the principle of the clause which declared it to be a misdemeanour. But what was done? The Primate of Ireland moved that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee; but a Member of the Government, Lord Malmesbury, begged the most rev. Prelate to withdraw his Motion, because it would appear to be intended to shelve the Bill. He was, therefore, entitled to say that the measure was passed with the assent and assistance of right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and how they could say that they were opposed to this Bill on 1371 principle he could not understand. They had always contended that the situation and principles of the Irish Church were the same as those of the English Church, and if they thought it consistent with their duty to throw open the churchyards of Ireland, he could not see how they could defend their opposition to this Resolution on the ground of principle. But even if the position of principle was not to be maintained, let him ask what was the policy of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite? He listened to the speech of the Home Secretary, and he confessed, with the exception of some hazy sentences at the end, in which the right hon. Gentleman figured out a universal rate for establishing new churchyards in every country village, whether they were wanted or not, he could discover no policy. It was a very adroit and a very able speech—as the right hon. Gentleman's speeches always were. He criticized verbally, with great acuteness, the Resolution, but hon. Gentlemen greatly mistook the character of the question, if they thought it was going to be settled by verbal criticism. The country outside knew there was a great deal more in it than that. They looked at the substance of the Resolution, and they would consider how either parties in the State dealt with it. One of the criticisms of the Homo Secretary appeared to be entirely unfounded. He said that in Parliamentary practice it was not admissible to deal with the matter of the Resolution when it had been dealt with by Bill. His hon. and learned Friend referred to—and he would refer to it again—Catholic Emancipation, when year after year Bills were brought into this House and defeated by all the machinations of Opposition. Then Sir Francis Burdett took the course which his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Denbighshire had taken in the matter. In 1828 he relinquished all notions to bring forward a Bill, and he passed through this House a Resolution in reference to the Catholic claims, which he carried, and it was sent to the House of Lords, and a Conference was afterwards held on the subject. It was a matter of good omen that that took place the very year before Catholic Emancipation was accomplished. The Home Secretary asked what we were going to do 20 years hence, when the graveyards would be 1372 fuller than now. He did not feel disposed to enter upon a discussion of that question; he was sure this difficulty would have been settled long before that time. As to the duty of parishes to provide graveyards, it might be an interesting question, but he did not see what it had to do with the matter under discussion. The question for solution now was, what will you do for Nonconformists in the graveyards that exist? It was not a question with reference to graveyards we did not possess, and which might or might not be provided. What was the policy of the Government? Were they going to raise the flag of "No surrender?" If they listened to the hon. Member for West Kent they would do so. He said—" I was willing to be liberal and tolerant and to make terms with Nonconformists when in a minority, but now I am in power I will listen to nothing of the kind." They, however, wanted to know from persons of more authority if that was the policy of the Leaders of the Conservative Party. Did they wish to tell the Nonconformists—"Whatever may have been our language, spirit, policy in those days when we were in Opposition, now we are in power we will give you no terms and no compromise whatever?" They wished to learn whether this was the language and policy of the Conservative Government? He was not alarmed by the language of "No surrender; "he had observed that the language of "No surrender" was always most loudly used on the eve of capitulation. In spite of what had been said by the hon. Member for West Kent, he knew there was sitting upon the Treasury Bench a sagacious and prescient statesman who at that moment was only revolving in his mind schemes of escape from a situation which he knew to be untenable. The right hon. Gentleman had been exposed to singular treatment of late. We had been accustomed to see the right hon. Gentleman educating his Party; but a certain section of his Party, in the course of last week seemed to have undertaken the rather difficult task of educating him. The principal pedagogues on that occasion were the Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Raikes) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. J. G. Hubbard); they went to lecture him upon this question, and to tell him what he must do. He doubted whether 1373 that was a game in which they would succeed. They might have a very docile pupil for the moment; but in the long run, it would be they who would have to learn the last lesson upon this subject. The education of such distinguished scholars was difficult, and lessons were long and tedious in an education of this character. We had seen before, and we might see again instances of instantaneous and miraculous conversion. But, whether the process was long or short, for his part he believed the result was certain. This question would run the same course many questions had run before. We had heard exactly the same language on the subject of Catholic Emancipation, the Jew Bill, and the Corporation and the Test Act that we had now heard from the hon. Member for West Kent. It was now said we should have a Jewish funeral service in a parish churchyard; and it was formerly said we should have a Jew in Parliament. Well, we had got a Jew, and Parliament was the better for it. We had exactly the same language on the subject of Church rates. It was said—and the people almost persuaded themselves of the truth of what they said—that if Church rates were abolished the Church would be ruined; but it had not been, and all prophecies of that kind had been falsified by the result; and the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, (Mr. Allen) speaking as a Wesleyan Methodist, had said to-night that in his opinion the Church was stronger now than at any former period. Was the Church unanimous in its opposition to this proposal? Who was meant by the Church? If the clergy, he demurred altogether to the language used. He knew there were pretentious priests who arrogated to themselves to speak in the name of the Church; but the clergy were a section, and not the most important section, of the Church. The voice the House of Commons would look to was the voice of that congregation of which the clergy were only the ministers; and were the laity of the Church unanimous on this point? They were not. Even the clergy—though he would admit the great majority were one way—were divided, and had expressed different views at their meetings and in Convocation itself; and there were great and venerable leaders in the Church who took that view of this subject which 1374 the House was invited to take by the Resolution. As to the argument that the proposal was a sidewind, an indirect attack upon Establishment and the connection of the Church with the State, if he thought it would have that result he would not support it. The most Disestablishmentarian argument he had heard for a long time was one used by the Home Secretary, when he thought it worth his while to quote the practice of the Society of Friends as a rule for the National Church of England. If that argument was good for anything, it would dethrone the National Church from its condition as an Establishment, and reduce it to a sect. Was it really believed that all who were going to support the Resolution desired the disestablishment of the Church of England? If those who were going into the Lobby from that side of the House in support of the Resolution were enemies of the Establishment, it was an ominous sign for the Church of England; but they knew it was nothing of the kind. It was true that there were persons outside the House and inside who supported the proposal who were adverse to the Establishment. That, however, had been proved of every one of the great measures they had passed—Catholic Emancipation, the Corporation and Test Acts, the Jew Bill, the Church rate question. But those measures were carried because they were supported by a great portion of the enlightened part of the community, both in this House and out of it, who were not adverse to the Establishment or the connection between Church and State. He knew and regretted that there were many Nonconformists who were hostile to the Establishment; but he knew also that there was a great body of Protestant Dissenters who, if they would only allow them, were ready to defend it. They had heard those sentiments most adequately expressed by the hon. Member for New-castle-under-Lyme. He believed that if the Church was true to herself, true to the principles of the reformation, she had many friends, outside as well as inside her pale, who would not desire to see her light extinguished. He agreed with his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Denbighshire, that the people who would most regret the defeat of the Resolution would not be the enemies of the Church of Eng- 1375 land. It was those who wished well to her who most desired to see a settlement of this question. It was that sentiment which inspired that minority of the clergy to whom he had referred. It was that sentiment which actuated many who, like himself, desired to deliver the Church from a danger which they believed was menacing her. In 1873, in opposing this measure, the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown used this language—What I want to sec is a cessation of this war between the Nonconformist Body and the Church of England."—[3 Hansard, ccxv. 184.]That was a sentiment worthy of an English statesman. He should like to ask, were they going to permit a cessation of that warfare? Were they going te defer the cessation of it by prolonging this exasperating controversy? He believed what all the friends of the Establishment should most desire was to remove all those just causes of offence, all invidious privileges which were not of the essence of the existence of that Establishment—that they should extend to those outside its pale a policy of charity, of conciliation, and of peace. How could they say that such a policy as that, which they were now insisting upon, was of the essence of charity? In Ireland they did not consider it of the essence of Establishment when that Establishment ceased. In Scotland they did not at that moment consider it of the essence of the Scotch Establishment. What, then, could be more unwise on the part of the friends of the Church than to identify that Church with a policy which enlisted against it the sentiments of humanity and the sympathies of mankind? For his part he would take no share in such a policy. It was as a friend of the Church of England that he declined altogether to link its living fortunes with dead and decaying privileges, for, if the two were inseparable, then it was his firm belief that many a man would be reluctantly driven to the conclusion that the cause of that Church was one which neither could be nor ought to be defended.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, that as he had been more than once personally referred to, he wished to say a few words in vindication of the course which, in common with many other Members of that House, he had taken, and he hoped to 1376 be able to show that there was no reason why he or they should be censured for anything that they had done. He could assure his hon. and learned Friend opposite (Sir William Harcourt) that he took in good part the reference he had made to so humble a Member as himself and the deputation he had accompanied to the Minister of the day. They had not thought it unbecoming to submit to him their aversion for a particular line of policy and invite his serious attention to a question which was exciting a great deal of public interest, and he had yet to learn that there was anything unusual in that course, or that it involved any ground of reproach as if it had been something hitherto unknown in public life. His hon. and learned Friend commenced his speech by an affecting statement, which he (Mr. Raikes) frankly owned had excited his sympathy, as he was sure it had evoked the sympathy of many others on that side of the House. It was, however, one thing to sympathize with a particular case of individual hardship, and another to change a law, and thereby to entail a great deal of injustice on many other persons. His hon. and learned Friend had told them all the more sensational points of that case; but he was too good an advocate to tell them all the House might, perhaps, wish to know. Was there or was there not a public cemetery in the City of Oxford, or its neighbourhood? [An hon. MRMBER: No.] Was the person over whose remains the parochial minister claimed the privilege of performing the last sad office a baptized person or not? They did not know whether she was a member of the Church of England or, at least, a baptized person. [Sir WILLIAM HAR-court She was baptized, and I said the law was as the clergyman had interpreted it.] In that case he could not see what there was to complain of, especially when they remembered that the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire had stigmatized silent burials in terms which he (Mr. Raikes) did not care to repeat. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford had just said that a different rule was adopted in Ireland and Scotland; but when the case of these countries was compared with that of England a marked difference was observable in the circumstances. The case of Ireland was one where the members of the Church were 1377 a small and almost hopeless minority, but in England the Church had a majority of the population, and its influence was daily increasing. With reference to the concession that had been made to Roman Catholics in Protestant churchyards in Ireland, what did Lord Plunket say on the occasion referred to? He said that up to a certain point it was the introduction of a new right and power—it was giving the Catholic the right to be buried in the Protestant churchyard; but the law, in fact, only took away a right which the Protestant clergyman had never exercised. His hon. and learned Friend said that certain Members of the Opposition would support the Resolution from their attachment to the Church; but he must be credulous indeed who, by going into the same Lobby with the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire, hoped to prolong that institution of which his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford was a devoted and dutiful member. They must look at the source from which the Resolution proceeded. The hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire, although a "constructive" member of the Church of England, had never concealed that he was an advocate for Disestablishment. That hon. and learned Member had on two occasions voted for Disestablishment. But his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford, with engaging confidence in his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Denbighshire, adopted the Resolution: and thus to him—via prima salutis Quod minime reris, Graiâ pandetur ab urbe.He could not help thinking, however, it became those who had real care for the interests of the Church to beware how they trusted in the tender mercies of the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire. With regard to the law of the case he (Mr. Raikes) adhered to the opinion he had before expressed. With reference to the case of "King v. Taylor," he maintained, notwithstanding the argument of the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire, that there was no such thing as a Common Law right of sepulture, apart from the right of being interred with the Burial Service. The two rights went together. He was not one of those who saw no difference between the position of the church and 1378 the churchyard. All that he had intimated with reference to the Resolution was, that if the word "church" were read for "churchyard," and the word "worship" for "burial," it would seem to go far towards laying the ground for Disestablishment. If the Resolution were adopted that night, it would be adopted by those who were friends of Disestablishment. It was not the first time that the principle had been put forward. He found from a resolution passed by some leading members of the Nonconformist Body in 1872, that they claimed equal rights for all citizens in the national or parochial churches and churchyards, and a protest was entered against any exclusive privileges being enjoyed by any part of the community in the burial of the dead. That amounted to the assertion of equal rights and privileges and sacerdotal authority on the part of other denominations and bodies. Even in the present cemeteries the hardship of the Nonconformist would still exist. There was consecrated and un-consecrated ground in those cemeteries, and Nonconformists might still be unable to be buried by the side of those dear to them. They would, therefore, have to make the same battle-ground of the cemeteries which they were now making of the churchyards. He wished to refer to one or two matters in reference to the state of public opinion out-of-doors. They had been told a great deal in reference to the exclusiveness and bigotry of clergymen of the Church of England in not allowing Dissenting ministers to bury in their churchyards. But how was it on the other side. The Secretary of State for the Home Department earlier in the evening had challenged the Nonconformists to set an example of comprehensiveness as far as their own burial-grounds were concerned. The vicar of Heaton, near Bradford, in a letter written in 1873, said he lived in a parish at least two or three miles from any cemetery. He had, unfortunately, no burial-ground attached to his church, but within 200 yards of his church there was a Baptist chapel, with an admirable cemetery attached thereto. He had offered to perform the whole of the funeral services in that cemetery gratuitously, subject to the approval of the Bishop, but his offer had been declined. The Baptists had no resident minister, and a person was paid to bury the dead. All 1379 he (the vicar) could do was to read the funeral service in the house of a deceased parishioner, and there his functions ended. He (Mr. Raikes) was not blaming the Baptists for their exclusiveness. But they should remember that charity began at home. They must be prepared to act in a different spirit before they could claim what was asked for them by the hon. and learned Member opposite. Another case brought to his (Mr. Raikes's) knowledge was that of a clergyman who lived in the neighbourhood of a cemetery in Harpurhey, near Manchester, and who wrote that a second part of the cemetery had to be consecrated in order to induce people to go and be buried there. People would not be buried in the unconsecrated portion, so that it did not seem to be so grievous a matter with Dissenters as had been alleged. He had a communication from the interesting town of Bala, in Merionethshire, which was a sort of metropolis of Nonconformity in North "Wales. It was there that the principal Dissenting college was which had produced very eminent men. The Calvinistic Methodists, the most numerous and powerful sect in Wales, had there their college, of which Dr. Edwards was the president. The Nonconformists had four graveyards in the parish, whilst the Church had only two. In 1874 there were eight, and in the following year 13, buried in the Dissenting graveyards, whilst in 1875 no fewer than 38 were buried in the churchyards. It had been urged that the parishioners were perhaps attached to the old churchyards; but the fact was that more were buried in the new churchyard than in all the Dissenting graveyards. A tutor of the Calvinistic college, although he was a stranger and a sojourner in Bala, elected to be buried in one of the churchyards, and the president of the Dissenting college also had recently had prepared for himself a vault within the parish churchyard. There had been an inquiry among the clergy and laity, members of the Church in North Wales, as to the view taken with regard to this question in their parishes. He did not propose to quote more than one answer though many of them were worth reading. The Rev. Stephen Gladstone, who was vicar of Hawarden, wrote that he had never heard expressed any wish that Nonconformist ministers should per- 1380 form service in the churchyards, and that until they applied to be rated in respect of the use of the church he did not think they could consistently claim any right to the fabric or the churchyard. He added that, as a rule, he believed that Dissenters there preferred Church burial, as they universally did Church baptism and Church marriage. Now that was the statement of a gentleman who bore an honoured name, and whose testimony was worthy of attention. He (Mr. Raikes) had never been one of those who said there was no grievance, though he did not think that it was nearly so great as had been supposed, or that it seriously affected the Nonconformist Body. It did affect the Nonconformist ministers, who were jealous of the position of the clergymen. He did not blame them; the feeling was natural to their position. It was not, however, because this feeling existed that they were to change the law. For the last 300 years the same words of consolation and hope had in our churchyards sounded over every grave, and they were now asked, on account of some hardship of Dissenting ministers, to break that continuity of service, to dissipate the peace which had remained unbroken in our churchyards in order to gratify the jealousy of a small, even though it might be considered a respectable minority.
§ MR. LEATHAM
thought if that was a Dissenter's grievance, the debate ought not to come to an end without one Dissenter being heard on the subject. There were questions the discussion of which was well qualified to throw light upon other and wider questions; and whenever they were beaten upon them in that House, they had a good deal upon which to congratulate themselves. He believed that no politician parted with a good grievance without a pang; and if he wished to take a narrow view of this controversy he should say—" Go on beating us year after year, for the harder you beat us the harder will you beat it into the public mind that there is no real remedy for the group of grievances of which this is one short of Disestablishment itself." The right hon. Gentleman opposite had made several impressive but somewhat irrelevant remarks with reference to the new churchyards. He said that they would be swept away from the church, yet the Resolution, only 1381 applied to parish churchyards, and not to new ones. He had also challenged Dissenters to admit Churchmen to their burial-grounds; but if they invited a Mussulman to dinner they would hardly offer him salt port, and the Dissenter would not think of insulting Churchmen by offering them the use of their burial-grounds, for the simple reason that no Churchmen would be buried in unconsecrated ground. It was said it was with an ill-grace that Dissenters made their present demand, considering that when a compromise was tendered to them during the discussions on Church rates, they refused to accept it or to pay for the maintenance of the churchyards. But surely when the use of a thing was coupled with conditions which deprived it of its value, what right had they to expect people to pay for it on those terms? Equality of payment presupposed equality of use, and he denied that Churchmen and Dissenters now used the churchyards on equal conditions. Everything was done that was congenial to the Churchman, whereas, when the Dissenter went there for interment, he was only buried to be put out of sight. Give the Dissenters equality of burial and enable them to bury their dead in the parish churchyard without contumely. But as long as they were only permitted to bury on sufferance, and their dead were taken from them at the churchyard gate, they resented the act as an indignity, and altogether declined to pay for it as a boon. The clergy especially ought to petition for the change now proposed, because many of them highly prized the Athanasian Creed and read its damnatory clauses with emphasis and vigour on Sunday. On Monday they might be called upon to bury a Dissenter who was the unfortunate object of the maledictions, and to declare that they committed him to the grave in the sure and certain hope of a joyful resurrection. If it was true that in two thirds of the parishes of the United Kingdom there was no grave-yard excepting the parish churchyard, and if people could not bury their dead there excepting under the services of the Church of England, it was impossible to deny that there was a grievance. He put it to the right feeling of the House whether at the close of a long life, or it might be of a long and painful illness, during which the deceased person had enjoyed the benefit of the ministrations 1382 of a particular minister, it was right that that minister should be wholly debarred from taking any part whatever in the last sad office—that another minister, a stranger, should step in and take his place, and that the deceased person should have to be buried in the parish churchyard amid surroundings against which he had all his lifetime protested.
§ MR. PELL
said, he agreed with that portion of the Resolution of the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire which referred to decency and order. It would be very unwise to leave this question in its present state. It might not suit many, both Churchmen and Nonconformists, that we should first make provision for the decent interment of the dead before settling services; but the answer to that was to be found in the condition of our churchyards, and Parliament might be doing a great service, in a sanitary point of view, by removing evils—such, for instance, as preventing burials in churchyards where one body had to be dug up to make room for another. Any local burden rendered necessary for remedying such an evil would not be so objectionable as church rates. It would be unwise to allow the question to be annually raked up in every village in the country of establishing Burial Boards. Nor was there any reason for it, because the evil was as easily to be got over as any question with regard to drains and sewers. An overcrowded churchyard was a nuisance to the village where it existed, and unfortunately they were too general; but the difficulty might be got rid of by assigning the question to the Sanitary Authority, with power to levy a rate for the purpose of providing suitable places of interment. As to the vote he should give on this occasion, he could not forget that five years ago the hon. and learned Mover of this Resolution voted in favour of another Motion which declared that it was expedient at the earliest practicable period to apply the policy pursued towards the Irish Church in 1869 to the other Churches established by law in the United Kingdom. The hon. and learned Member said he was a Churchman. He (Mr. Pell) was also a strong Churchman, and he hoped not a bigoted one; and just as the hon. and learned Gentleman felt it to be his duty, doubtless in the interests of the Church, to vote for the disestablishing Motion 1383 on a former occasion, so he (Mr. Pell) must be allowed in. the interests of the Church to vote against the present Resolution, which he believed to be an insidious one, and one fraught with danger to the Church; and whatever they did hereafter—and he hoped something would be done with regard to this question—the Party with whom he acted would vote on this occasion in a way that would be perfectly well understood.
§ MR. WATKIN WILLIAMS
said, he felt that it was a bold thing on his part to rise at so late a period in the debate, when the House was impatient to proceed to a division. But hon. Members need not be alarmed at the formidable bundle of notes with which he appeared to be armed, for he assured them if they would indulge him for a few minutes he would not at that late hour inflict upon them the speech which he admitted he had prepared for that evening. The Burials question which had been before the House and the country in various forms ever since the year 1857, had now assumed the shape of a clear, simple, and intelligible issue—namely, whether the inhabitants of a parish ought or ought not to possess the right of burying their dead in the parish churchyard, according to those rites and ceremonies which were dearest and most acceptable to them upon so solemn an occasion. That was the issue they had before them; and to that issue he not only gave an unhesitating answer in the affirmative, but he believed that upon a just review of the legal and historical aspect of the question, and having regard to those principles of religious liberty for which they had fought successfully ever since the Great Reformation, it could be shown that the Nonconformist parishioners in making their present demand were only asking to be restored to those ancient rights which they were in strictness entitled to according to the Common Law. In approaching the subject he had endeavoured, as the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Cross) had entreated them to do, to place himself in the position of those who were opposed to his views, so that he might be able to appreciate and fairly grapple with their true objections, and also avoid as far as possible saying anything that might cause pain, or even 1384 annoyance, to those who looked at the matter from an opposite point of view; and he felt the less difficulty in doing that, because being himself a Churchman, his sympathies with the claims of the Nonconformists in this matter were not founded upon any agreement with their religious opinions, but upon a conviction that they suffered grievous injustice and oppression in being deprived of their common rights as fellow-citizens and fellow-countrymen. There was a time, and that not a very distant one, when this irritating grievance admitted of a fair compromise, and when, by a timely and generous concession, the Church might have strengthened her position in the hearts of the people, by proving that she was capable of regarding conscientious changes and differences of opinion as to the mode of performing the rites of burial with an enlarged and liberal spirit; but she let the golden opportunity pass, and the clergy, unfortunately too true to the worst traditions of the Church, would learn nothing, forget nothing, and give way in nothing. The opportunity was passed, never to return. The Church party took their stand boldly and firmly, and declared that they would not concede an inch. They denied the very existence of the grievance; or they said that it had been grossly exaggerated, and that the proposed remedy would substitute other grievances and evils far greater than those which it was intended to remove. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had disputed that portion of the Resolution which asserted the Common Law right of every parishioner to be buried in the churchyard, and the hon. Gentleman the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means (Mr. Raikes) had asserted that there was no right of sepulture separate from a burial according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England. To that proposition he begged to give the most unqualified contradiction. How did the matter stand? The origin of the dedication of the churchyards to the use of the parishioners, whether it was by private grant or through public contributions, was wholly lost in antiquity; but this they did know, that at the time they were so dedicated the whole people professed one common and uniform faith; and that, the Roman Catholic Faith. Since that time they had changed their 1385 faith, and also their habits and customs and religious practices in many essential particulars, which had been recognized and sanctioned by our laws in spite of the most strenuous and persistent opposition from the clerical party. Now the parish churchyards were vested in the parson for the use of the parishioners for the burial of their dead; but the Church of England had not kept pace with the advancing and varying opinions of the people, and now claimed the right to force its Ritual on all alike, as a condition of their using the common burial-ground of the parish. Long practice and some legal decisions had undoubtedly confirmed this claim. But he believed that it was originally without foundation, and that the Common Law right to burial was not subject to any condition. He would ask the attention of the House to the language of a great Churchman and Tory, and one of the profoundest lawyers who had ever sat on the Ecclesiastical Bench of this country. He alluded to Lord Stowell, who, in his famous judgment in the iron coffin case, said—The practice of sepulture has varied with respect to the places where performed. In ancient times caves seem to have been in high request; then gardens or other private demesnes of proprietors, inclosed spaces out of the walls of towns, or by the side of roads; and, finally, in Christian countries, churches and churchyards, where the deceased could receive the pious and charitable wishes of the faithful who resorted thither on the various calls of public worship. The connection (between burial-places and churches), imported from Rome, by Cuthbert, Archbishop of Canterbury, took place about the year 750. In what way the mortal remains are to be convoyed to the grave and there deposited, I do not find any positive rule of law or of religion that prescribes. The authority under which the received practices exist is to be found in our manners rather than in our laws—they have their origin in natural sentiments of public decency or private affection, they are ratified by common usage and consent, and being attached to a subject of the gravest and most impressive nature, remain unaltered by private caprice and fancy amidst all the giddy revolutions that are perpetually varying the modes and fashions that belong to the lighter circumstances of human life.The learned Spelman also, in his chapter De sepultura, in defending the right of free burial in the' parish churchyard, said—The grave is the only inheritance that we are certainly born to—the inheritance which our grandmother the Earth hath left to descend in gavelkind among her children; shall one 1386 enter and hold another out, or drive him to pay a fine; is our tenure base like copyhold ad volun-tatem domini, or not rather noble by franeke almoigne free from all payments and services.After this, what became of the claim of an immemorial right to force the Ritual of the Church upon a non-conforming parishioner; no doubt, it had now acquired the sanction of law, and it was to alter this grievous innovation in the law, and to restore the parishioners to their ancient rights, that the present appeal was made to that House. Hon. Members had spoken of a compromise and settlement of this question; but of late years the claims of the Church had been put forward more loudly, and her resistance had been more obstinate and determined than ever. What was the cause of this? He was afraid that it was due to the alarming spread of sacerdotal claims and pretensions on the part of the clergy—claims with which the laity of the Church had no sympathy, and which, in fact, they had determined to check. Depend upon it, the more the clergy sought to associate superstitious ideas and practices with the burial of the dead, the louder and louder would be the public demand for the unrestricted opening of the churchyards; for there was an unmistakable and steadily growing feeling that the matter of the burial of the dead should be dealt with as one of civil concern exclusively, and that all burial-places should be placed under the control and management of civil functionaries. Hon. Members had misunderstood the reference to Scotland and Ireland. The experience of those countries had been referred to, to refute the suggestion that the change would lead to irreverence, indecency, or disturbance. The suggestion was as ridiculous as it was insulting, and was without a shadow of foundation. The examples of russia, Austria, Germany, and other foreign countries, might also be cited in proof of this; and it was melancholy to think that England stood almost alone in this respect, and they had the humiliation of being obliged to confess that it had been left to the ministers of the Established and reformed Protestant Church of England to set an example to the rest of Europe of bigotry and intolerance—["Oh, oh!"]—yes, he repeated it, of bigotry and intolerance in a matter which touched the heart and conscience of the people to the very quick. He hoped 1387 that that night the Representatives of the people in that House assembled, on whichever side they sat, would emancipate themselves from this clerical influence and control, and show to Europe and the World that, in spite of sacerdotal bigotry and intolerance, they would not allow their National Church to be any longer open to the reproach of being so unworthy of the grand and liberal principles of religion which they had inherited from the great Founder of Christianity; and that they should not be compelled to cry, in the words of the learned and generous Spelman—"O! shame on our religion, when heathens and soldiers are more gracious to their dead enemies than Christian ministers to their friends and brethren."
§ MR. DISRAELI
Mr. Speaker, I cannot help feeling that there has been a good deal of exaggeration as to the importance of the question before the House, interesting though it may be. I am told by hon. Members that the heart of the people is touched upon this question, and I have heard in the course of this debate, that it is a question on which the whole nation is deeply intent. Now, Sir, though I admit that it is an interesting question, it does not appear to me to be one of general, certainly not of universal, interest. We have been told, and told continually, in this debate that it does not concern Ireland. We have also been told, and told continually, that Scotland has nothing to do with it. We are in possession of evidence that two-thirds of the population of England and Wales, amounting to 22,000,000, have now recourse to cemeteries, and therefore the result is that we have to consider the effect of the existing regulation upon one third of the population of England and Wales. I do not mean to say that it is not an important consideration, one which demands serious and grave consideration, but we should have this fact in our minds when reminded so frequently that we are now discussing a question upon which the passion and thought of the whole nation are intent. Let us analyze for a moment the position of these 8,000,000. I have heard it estimated, and it is, I believe, an estimate for which there is fair ground, that of these 8,000,000 of people, 2,000,000 are Nonconformists, considerably, if not adequately, provided with cemeteries of their own. We 1388 have, then, to consider the population of 6,000,000 belonging to the Church, among whom are found all the churchyards which we are now discussing. I am not insensible to the associations of a churchyard. I am the Member for Buckinghamshire, which possesses the churchyard the subject of the immortal elegy to which reference has been made. It is impossible without emotion to view the place where "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." But unfortunately the rude forefathers of the hamlet no longer sleep in these tombs. Their slumbers have been disturbed, and since the day of Mr. Gray the condition of our churchyards is very much changed. The population of the country has immensely increased, and the condition of the churchyards of England accurately described by the hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell) as highly unsatisfactory—I would even say, is in a great degree disgraceful. Nor is there any adequate remedy for this great evil. Those persons who have given much attention to the sanitary condition of the country know how inadequate are the means which the Government possess to cope with the evil, and unless it is encountered, how imperfect and unsatisfactory will be all the results expected with regard to the churchyards of the country. The Secretary of State has under his charge the churchyards of England, but he has no machinery whatever to supervise their condition. If that great duty were transferred to the President of the Local Government Board, with an adequate staff under him, which possibly his office could command, very considerable results might no doubt be realized. And I must say that at this time, when we are entering into all these controversies, these conflicting and competitive efforts to enjoy the churchyards of England, it would be much more desirable if we could take measures to make more decorous the homes that await us, so that our posterity might recognize the fulfilment of the duty we owe them. Now, Sir, if this be the state of the country, and I believe—though I touch slightly upon it at this hour—that it may be proved by information in the possession of the Government, I am entirely opposed, on grounds different from those which have prevailed, gene- 1389 rally speaking, in the course of this debate, to dealing with the churchyards in any other way than placing them in a condition favourable to public health, and shutting up all those the condition of which is quite hopeless. This is a subject intimately connected with the Resolution of the hon. and learned Gentleman. In what way can we put these churchyards in a proper condition? The hon. Baronet the Member for Fife scorned the idea that where a landlord gave a portion of his territory for the use of his parish and his neighbours, he should be allowed to make any conditions as to the religious tenets of those who may take advantage of his gifts. We know very well that in England the majority of the owners of land are members of the Church of England. Well, we must deal with things as we find them, and if by legislation we attempt to induce the landlords of England to come liberally forward and assist us in making a considerable revolution and change in these churchyards, it is impossible not to feel that if we make it a condition that their use shall not be confined to those of their own religious belief we shall find in many, and probably in the majority of instances, a great want of zeal in their efforts to assist us. Then no doubt we should be forced, for the sake of public health, to close many churchyards among thi ve pulation of 6,000,000. We may pre nt a very expensive outlay in many of our parishes in the way of establishing cemeteries by inducing the landlords to come forward and assist us, but we cannot do this, unless we allow them to confine their munificence to a certain extent to those of their own faith. These may be bigoted and unphilosophical tenets, but everybody must acknowledge that to a certain degree they will prevail, and that there is no hope of bringing forward any great measure to reform these remaining churchyards and to put the cemeteries in a permanent sanitary condition, unless we are assisted by the landlords of the country. Therefore, in that aspect, this is not a sectarian, but a sanitary question. I admit, however, there is another aspect of the question, and to that I will now address myself. It is a sectarian question in one sense, and that is the very fault I find with the conduct of those who bring forward the Motion and support it. This is part of not a secret, 1390 but an avowed system, promoted by a well-organized and able party in this Kingdom to terminate the connection between Church and State. I did not mean to say and I do not mean to say, when speaking of that party, that I was speaking of hon. Gentlemen sitting opposite, who honourably and conscientiously agree with those opinions; but I am talking of a very powerful party organized in the country, and represented also in this House, who now for a series of years have not only avowed their intention, but have indicated the means and the measures by which that intention is to be accomplished, and among those means and measures is this very proposition of the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire. How is it possible for us to shut our eyes to the consequences of our conduct in this matter? How innocent must you think us when you affect surprise because we feel alarmed by a measure which you yourselves describe as so cordial, so friendly, and so innocuous when it was at first devised, and is now ardently and industriously propagated and supported by those who avow that their object is to accomplish a great political end which we believe would be destructive to the best interests of the country. This is the reason we meet your proposal with such decided opposition. You must bear in mind that this is part of a concerted scheme—a scheme of numerous and diversified attacks—a portion of a well-devised and matured strategy, the object of which is to storm the outworks, and so to advance until at last it obtains possession of the citadel. The hon. and learned Member for the City of Oxford stated that three years ago I lamented the bitter controversies that still subsisted between Churchmen and Nonconformists. I lament them now; I always have lamented them, believing as I do that the Church of England is one of the greatest securities for the welfare of the people, even for our liberties, as well as our moral happiness and general welfare. In saying that I desire to do justice to the great deeds of Nonconformists. I know and fully recognize how much in the history of this country we owe to the high moral qualities, the love of liberty, and the bold, heroic conduct of the Nonconformists of England, and therefore I much deplore the alienation between Churchmen and Noncon- 1391 formists. I cannot see in the real nature of things why that hostility should exist; it exists only because there is a certain portion among the Nonconformists, modern in their thought, modern and novel in their conception of their public duty, who have taken, to my mind, a completely erroneous conception of the Constitution of this country and the possible results which they can obtain, consistently with a due observance of the requirements of that Constitution. We have come to a time when we have heard men speak with contempt of the toleration which was the great achievement of Nonconformists of old days, and who say that nothing will satisfy them but equality. ["Hear, hear!"] Well, but that cheer from the other side proves exactly what I wish to have believed—that those who cheer are in favour of the schemes of the party out-of-doors to which I refer. Equality on this subject is, in fact, inconsistent with the Constitution of this country, and therefore I regret the controversy between Nonconformists and Churchmen. It is because I believe they might live in harmony in the full and equal possession of civil and religious liberty that I regret they are attempting to get what they call religious equality; which is, in fact, destroying the Constitution, right or wrong—whatever may be their opinion of the Constitution, and I do not want to enter into an argument now upon the English Constitution—I say the religious equality they desire is the subversion of the existing settlement of this country. That is the reason why I must give my opposition to the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. It has been brought forward, as I have intimated, on a frail plea, upon a subject which has really little to do with the momentous principles invoked in this debate. I believe if the sanitary condition of this country were what it ought to be there would be no controversy now about churchyards. I trust the time is not far distant when that will be remedied; but when the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite comes forward with a Motion which, if carried, pledges the House to principles subversive of the political as well as the religious settlement of this country—for you cannot accomplish the object you have in view consistently with maintaining the Constitution of this country—I 1392 must give, although I regret ever to give a vote which savours at all of religious exclusiveness or bigotry—I must take the question out of the ingenious and eloquent representations and misrepresentations we have listened to, and to a measure which I believe insidious and dangerous I must give my most uncompromising opposition.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
I know the House is anxious for a division, and I promise to detain it only for a short time. I do not think it necessary on this occasion to discuss the question of Disestablishment. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) reminded the House that the argument from Disestablishment has been often before employed when some grievance felt by Dissenters has been brought forward. That argument has been often before employed, but happily, it has been disregarded, and I should like to ask whether, in the opinion of the House, the Church is weaker in the estimation of the country than it was before? The right hon. Gentleman, following the example of the Home Secretary, depreciated as much as he could the extent of the grievance. But, I think, both right hon. Gentlemen utterly misunderstood what was the real nature of the grievance of which the Dissenters complain. It does not matter, in my opinion, whether the grievance extends, as was stated by this right hon. Gentleman, to 2,000,000 of our fellow-subjects, or to a much lesser number. The grievance is not felt merely by those who are compelled under the existing law to bury their relations in churchyards with rites which they do not approve—the grievance is felt to be a grievance of the whole Nonconformist Body. The Home Secretary made an ingenious speech; but, to a great extent, he avoided the question, and did not meet the grievance complained of. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, when he moved, three years ago, the rejection of the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire, stated that he could not admit that the Nonconformists had even a minute grievance. The right hon. Gentleman has not repeated that statement this evening, nor did the Home Secretary to-night make it. They have both minimized to the utmost of their ability the number of persons to whom the grievance applies; 1393 but I have not heard either of them deny that a real grievance exists. If they do not deny the existence of the grievance, neither do they admit it, nor hold out the slightest hope that they will either by compromise or any other plan remove that grievance. It is quite clear what the Government are prepared to do. They are prepared to maintain to the fullest extremity—and it is probably necessary for them to do so at the command of their clerical supporters—the vast extent of the privileges of the clergy of the Established Church, however much annoyance and dissatisfaction those privileges may cause to their Nonconformist fellow-countrymen. But they are prepared to treat this question as a sanitary question; and they indulge in what I believe will be a futile hope that by diminishing the number of churchyards in which this grievance will exist, and the number of persons directly affected by the grievance, they will get rid of the agitation which undoubtedly exists. The Home Secretary is prepared for a measure. He bewails the mistake that was made some years ago when the Burials Inspector was attached to the Home Office, and not to the office of the Local Government Board. The right hon. Gentleman is prepared to deal with this question by transferring that Inspector from his own Department to that of his Colleague, and I think he held out some hope that in another Session he would be prepared to deal with the existing state of the law, and would bring forward some measure by which all churchyards which are not in a good sanitary condition should be closed. But that treatment will not allay this agitation. You cannot upon sanitary grounds close all the churchyards in the country; and however active your Burial Inspectors may be, there will remain in many country parishes churchyards which you cannot find a sanitary reason for closing. A good deal has been said about the fast increasing population of the country. But the House must recollect that this question does not apply to populous suburban districts, but exclusively to rural districts; and if I am not very much mistaken, the population of these districts is not increasing, but rather diminishing, as the recent Census has proved. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that he is a Member for Buckinghamshire. I have the honour to re- 1394 present the Radnor Burghs, a constituency in Wales; and in many districts of Wales, where this grievance is felt to the utmost, I know that many churchyards are very thinly inhabited, because there is only a scattered population, and the right hon. Gentleman will find there no excuse for closing them. How will the sanitary treatment of this question by the Treasury Bench deal with this grievance? You are mistaken if you suppose that you will allay this agitation by reducing the area in which it operates; you are mistaken if you suppose that the Dissenters and the large body of Nonconformists who live in the large towns will abandon the rights of their brethren in the rural districts. As long as there is only one place in which inhabitants of a parish must be buried with rites to which they object in their lifetime, and which their relations and friends do not approve, or else must be buried without any service at all—as long as that grievance exists in a single parish I do not believe that you will allay this agitation. I have no doubt that before very long this question will be settled. I believe that it will be met in one of three ways, it must either be ignored or compromised, or the grievance must be removed. The speeches of many of the clergy and of many of the supporters of the right hon. Gentleman show that they have been seeking earnestly, but hitherto in vain, for some reasonable compromise of this question. The right hon. Gentleman sitting upon the Treasury Bench is disposed to ignore this question, or, at all events, to reduce it to the level of a sanitary measure. I believe that the well-meant efforts of the supporters of the Government who wish for a compromise will not succeed, because those hon. Members have not yet hit upon a practical form of compromise on which they themselves are agreed. I believe that the sense of justice of the people will reject the mode of treatment of this subject proposed by the Government; and I believe the solution of the question, that sooner or later the House will be constrained to adopt, will be that which is proposed by the resolution of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Denbighshire.
§ MR. NEVILL
said, that as he had on two previous occasions voted for the Bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman, it 1395 was his intention to vote for the Resolution.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 279; Noes 248: Majority 31.1398
|Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C.||Cross, rt. hon. R. A.|
|Allen, Major||Cubitt, G.|
|Allsopp, C.||Cuninghame, Sir W.|
|Allsopp, H.||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Arkwright, F.||Davenport, W. B.|
|Ashbury, J. L.||Deakin, J. H.|
|Assheton, R.||Denison, C. B.|
|Astley, Sir J. D.||Denison, W. B.|
|Bagge, Sir W.||Denison, W. E.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Dickson, Major A. G.|
|Balfour, A. J.||Digby, hon. Capt. E.|
|Baring, T. C.||Disraeli, rt. hon. B.|
|Barne, F. St. J. N.||Dyott, Colonel R.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Eaton, H. W.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Edmonstone, Admiral Sir W.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Egerton, hon. A. F.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Egerton, Sir P. G.|
|Beach, rt. hn. Sir M. H.||Egerton, hon. W.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Elliot, G. W.|
|Bective, Earl of||Elphinstone, Sir J.D. H.|
|Benett-Stanford, V. F.||Emlyn, Viscount|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Eslington, Lord|
|Bentinck, G. W. P.||Estcourt, G. B.|
|Beresford, G. dela Poer||Fellowes, E.|
|Beresford, Colonel M.||Fielden, J.|
|Birley, H.||Finch, G. H.|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Floyer, J.|
|Boord, T. W.||Folkestone, Viscount|
|Bourke, hon. R.||Forester, C. T. W.|
|Bourne, Colonel||Forsyth, W.|
|Bousfield, Major||Fraser, Sir W. A.|
|Bright, R.||Freshfield, C. K.|
|Brise, Colonel R.||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Broadley, W. H. H.||Galway, Viscount|
|Brooks, W. C.||Gardner, J. T. Agg-|
|Brymer, W. E.||Gardner, R. Richard-son-|
|Buckley, Sir E.|
|Burrell, Sir P.||Garnier, J. C.|
|Buxton, Sir R. J.||Gibson, E.|
|Cameron, D.||Gilpin, Sir E. T.|
|Campbell, C.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Cartwright, F.||Goldney, G.|
|Cawley, C. E.||Gooch, Sir D.|
|Cecil, Lord E.H. B. G.||Gordon, rt. hon. E. S.|
|Chaplin, H.||Gordon, W.|
|Chapman, J.||Gorst, J. E.|
|Charley, W. T.||Grantham, W.|
|Christie, W. L.||Greene, E.|
|Churchill, Lord R.||Gregory, G. B.|
|Clifton, T. H.||Guinness, Sir A.|
|Clive, hon. Col. G. W.||Hall, A. W.|
|Close, M. C.||Halsey, T. F.|
|Clowes, S. W.||Hamilton, Lord C. J.|
|Cobbett, J. M.||Hamilton, I. T.|
|Cobbold, T. C.||Hamilton, Lord G.|
|Cole, Col. hon. H. A.||Hamilton, hon. E. B.|
|Coope, O. E.||Hamond, C. F.|
|Corbett, Colonel||Hanbury, R. W.|
|Cordes, T.||Hardcastle, E.|
|Cotton, rt. hn. W. J. R.||Hardy, rt. hon. G.|
|Crichton, Viscount||Hardy, J. S.|
|Harvey, Sir R. B.||Palk, Sir L.|
|Hay, rt. hon. Sir J. C. D.||Parker, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Heath, R.||Pateshall, E.|
|Hermon, E.||Peek, Sir H. W.|
|Hervey, Lord F.||Pell, A.|
|Heygate, W. U.||Pemberton, E. L.|
|Hildyard, T. B. T.||Pennant, hon. G.|
|Hill, A. S.||Peploe, Major|
|Hinchingbrook, Visct.||Percy, Earl|
|Hodgson, W. N.||Phipps, P.|
|Hogg, Sir J. M.||Pim, Captain B.|
|Holford, J. P. G.||Plunket, hon. D. R.|
|Holker, Sir J.||Plunkett, hon. E.|
|Holland, Sir H. T.||Polhill-Turner, Capt.|
|Holmesdale, Viscount||Powell, W.|
|Home, Captain||Praed, C. T.|
|Hood, hon. Captain A.||Praed, H. B.|
|W. A. N.||Price, Captain|
|Hope, A. J. B. B.||Puleston, J. H.|
|Hubbard, E.||Raikes, H. C.|
|Hubbard, rt. hon. J.||Read, C. S.|
|Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.||Rendlesham, Lord|
|Jenkinson, Sir G. S.||Repton, G. W.|
|Jervis, Colonel||Ridley, M. W.|
|Johnson, J. G.||Ritchie, C. T.|
|Jolliffe, hon. S.||Rodwell, B. B. H.|
|Jones, J.||Bound, J.|
|Kennaway, Sir J. H.||Russell, Sir C.|
|Knight, F. W.||Ryder, G. E.|
|Knightley, Sir R.||Sackville, S. G. S.|
|Knowles, T.||Salt, T.|
|Lacon, Sir E. H. K.||Sanderson, T. K.|
|Lawrence, Sir T.||Sandon, Viscount|
|Learmonth, A.||Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.|
|Lee, Major V.||Scott, Lord H.|
|Legard, Sir C.||Scott, M. D.|
|Legh, W. J.||Scourfield, Sir J. H.|
|Leigh, Lt.-Col. E.||Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J.|
|Lennox, Lord H. G.||Shute, General|
|Leslie, Sir J.||Sidebottom, T. H.|
|Lindsay, Col. E. L.||Simonds, W. B.|
|Lindsay, Lord||Smith, A.|
|Lloyd, S.||Smith, F. C.|
|Lloyd, T. E.||Smith, W. H.|
|Lopes, H. C.|
|Lopes, Sir M.||Somerset, Lord H. R. C.|
|Lowther, hon. W.||Spinks, Mr. Serjeant|
|Lowther, J.||Stanhope, hon. E.|
|Mac Iver, D.||Stanhope, W. T. W. S.|
|Majendie, L. A.||Stanley, hon. F.|
|Makins, Colonel||Starkey, L. E.|
|Malcolm, J. W.||Starkie, J. P. C.|
|Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.||Steere, L.|
|March, Earl of||Storer, G.|
|Marten, A. G.||Sykes, C.|
|Mellor, T. W.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Merewether, C. G.||Taylor, rt. hon. Col.|
|Mills, A.||Tennant, R.|
|Mills, Sir C. H.||Thornhill, T.|
|Monckton, F.||Thwaites, D.|
|Morgan, hon. F.||Thynne, Lord H. F.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. J. E.||Tonemache, hon. W. F.|
|Naghten, Lt.-Col.||Torr, J.|
|Neville-Grenville, R.||Tremayne, J.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Tumor, E.|
|Newport, Viscount||Twells, P.|
|Noel, rt, hon. G. J.||Walker, T. E.|
|North, Colonel||Wallace, Sir E.|
|Northcote, rt. hon. Sir||Walpole, hon. F.|
|S. H.||Walpole, rt. hon. S.|
|Onslow, D.||Waterhouse, S.|
|Paget, R. H.||Watney, J.|
|Wellesley, Captain||Wroughton, P.|
|Wells, E.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Wethered, T. O.||Yarmouth, Earl of|
|Wheelhouse, W. S. J.||Yorke, hon. E.|
|Williams, Sir F. M.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Wilmot, Sir H.|
|Wilmot, Sir J. E.||TELLERS.|
|Wolff, Sir H. D.||Dyke, Sir W. H.|
|Woodd, B. T.||Winn, R|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Cowan, J.|
|Adam, rt. hon. W. P.||Cowen, J.|
|Allen, W. S.||Cowper, hon. H. F.|
|Amory, Sir J. H.||Crawford, J. S.|
|Anderson, G.||Cross, J. K.|
|Anstruther, Sir R.||Crossley, J.|
|Antrobus, Sir E.||Davies, D.|
|Ashley, hon. E. M.||Davies, R.|
|Backhouse, E.||Dilke, Sir C. W.|
|Balfour, Sir G||Dillwyn, L. L.|
|Barclay, A. C.||Dixon, G.|
|Barclay, J. W.||Dodds, J.|
|Bass, A.||Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.|
|Baxter, rt. hon. W. E.||Douglas, Sir G.|
|Bazley, Sir T.||Duff, M. E. G.|
|Beaumont, Major F.||Duff, R. W.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Dunbar, J.|
|Bell, I. L.||Dundas, J. C.|
|Biddulph, M.||Earp, T.|
|Biggar, J. G.||Edwards, H.|
|Blake, T.||Egerton, hon. Adm. F.|
|Blennerhassett, R. P.||Ellice, E.|
|Bolckow, H. W. F.||Ennis, N.|
|Brady, J.||Evans, T. W.|
|Brassey, H. A.||Ewing, A. O.|
|Brassey, T.||Fawcett, H.|
|Briggs, W. E.||Fay, C. J.|
|Bright, J.||Ferguson, R.|
|Bright, rt. hon. J.||Fitzmaurice, Lord E.|
|Bristowe, S. B.||Fitzwilliam, hon. C. W. W.|
|Brooks, M.||Fletcher, I.|
|Brown, J. C.||Foljambe, F. J. S.|
|Browne, G. E.||Forster, Sir C.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. Lord E.||Forster, rt. hon. W. E.|
|Burt, T.||Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.|
|Butt, I.||Gladstone, W. H.|
|Callan, P.||Goldsmid, Sir F.|
|Cameron, C.||Goldsmid, J.|
|Campbell, Sir G.||Gordon, Sir A. H.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, H.||Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Gourley, E. T.|
|Carington, hn. Col. W.||Gower, hon. E. F. L.|
|Cartwright, W. C.||Grieve, J. J.|
|Cave, T.||Hankey, T.|
|Cavendish, Lord F. C.||Harcourt, Sir W. V.|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Harrison, C.|
|Chadwick, D.||Harrison, J. F.|
|Chaine, J.||Hartington, Marq. of|
|Chambers, Sir T.||Havelock, Sir H.|
|Cholmeley, Sir H.||Hayter, A. D.|
|Clarke, J. C.||Henry, M.|
|Clifford, C. C.||Herbert, H. A.|
|Clive, G.||Hill, T. R.|
|Cogan, rt. hn. W. H. F.||Hodgson, K. D.|
|Cole, H. T.||Holland, S.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Holms, J.|
|Collins, E.||Holms, W.|
|Colman, J. J.||Hopwood, C. H.|
|Corry, J. P.||Howard, hn. C. W. G.|
|Cotes, C. C.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Ingram, W. J.||Pender, J.|
|James, Sir H.||Pennington, F.|
|James, W. H.||Perkins, Sir F.|
|Jenkins, D. J.||Philips, R. N.|
|Johnstone, Sir H.||Playfair, rt. hon. L.|
|Kenealy, Dr.||Portman, hn. W. H. B.|
|Kennard, Colonel||Potter, T. B.|
|Kensington, Lord||Price, W. E.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.||Ralli, P.|
|Knatchbull-Hugessen, rt. hon. E.||Ramsay, J.|
|Rashleigh, Sir C.|
|Laing, S.||Rathbone, W.|
|Lambert, N. G.||Redmond, W. A.|
|Laverton, A.||Reed, E. J.|
|Law, rt. hon. H.||Richard, H.|
|Lawrence, Sir J. C.||Ripley, H. W.|
|Lawson, Sir W.||Robertson, H.|
|Leatham, E. A.||Rothschild, Sir N. M. de|
|Leeman, G.||Russell, Lord A.|
|Lefevre, G. J. S.||Rylands, P.|
|Leith, J. F.||St. Aubyn, Sir J.|
|Lewis, C. E.||Samuda, J. D'A.|
|Lloyd, M.||Samuelson, B.|
|Locke, J.||Seely, C.|
|Lorne, Marquess of||Shaw, W.|
|Lowe, rt. hon. R.||Sheil, E.|
|Lubbock, Sir J.||Sheridan, H. B.|
|Lusk, Sir A.||Sherriff, A. C.|
|Macdonald, A.||Simon, Mr. Serjeant|
|Macduff, Viscount||Smith, E.|
|Macgregor, D.||Stacpoole, W.|
|Mackintosh, C. F.||Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.|
|M'Arthur, A.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|M'Arthur, W.||Stewart, M. J.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||Stuart, Colonel|
|M'Lagan, P.||Sullivan, A. M.|
|M'Laren, D.||Swanston, A.|
|Maitland, J.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Maitland, W. F.||Tavistock, Marquess of|
|Marjoribanks, Sir D. C.||Taylor, D.|
|Massey, rt. hon. W. N.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Maxwell, Sir W. S.||Temple, rt. hon. W.|
|Meldon, C. H.||Cowper-|
|Middleton, Sir A. E.||Torrens, W. T. M'C.|
|Milbank, F. A.||Tracy, hon. C. R. D.|
|Monk, C. J.||Hanbury-|
|Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Morley, S.||Vivian, A. P.|
|Mundella, A. J.||Vivian, H. H.|
|Muntz, P. H.||Waddy, S. D.|
|Mure, Colonel||Walsh, hon. A.|
|Murphy, N. D.||Walter, J.|
|Nevill, C. W.||Waterlow, Sir S. H.|
|Noel, E.||Watkin, Sir E. W.|
|Nolan, Captain||Weguelin, T. M.|
|Norwood, C. M.||Whalley, G. H.|
|O'Byrne, W. R.||Whitbread, S.|
|O'Callaghan, hon. W.||Whitworth, B.|
|O'Clery, K.||Williams, W.|
|O'Donoghue, The||Wilson, C.|
|O'Gorman, P.||Wilson, Sir M.|
|O'Keeffe, J.||Yeaman, J.|
|O'Shaughnessy, R.||Young, A. W.|
|O'Sullivan, W. H.|
|Parnell, C. S.||TELLERS.|
|Pease, J. W.||Martin, P. W.|
|Peel, A. W.||Morgan, G. O.|
|Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
§ Main Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Committee deferred till Monday next.