§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. URE (Linlithgowshire)
This Bill is a recognition given for the first time by a responsible Government of an injustice inflicted on a certain class of landowners in Scotland. The recognition is somewhat tardy, but we nevertheless hail it with satisfaction. Speaking for myself, if the Bill would remedy the injustice it recognises I should not be inclined to offer it any opposition. But it will do nothing of the kind, and makes no such attempt. If the Bill were passed 970 to-day the injustice would reappear to-morrow, with perhaps a different complexion, but in an exaggerated form. Before proceeding to a division to-night we must make up our minds whether it is right and fair that the ownership of land in Scotland should be linked to an obligation to support the ecclesiastical edifices of one denomination of professing Christians or not, because this Bill gives a legislative imprimatur to the obligation. If it is right then all landowners ought to bear the burden; if it is wrong all of them ought to escape the burden. But merely to shuffle the cards and to attempt, as this Bill does, a readjustment of the burden by lightening it upon one man, relieving a second, and overloading a third, is merely to court disaster, and to leave the last state of the luckless landowner worse than the first. To make good my position it is right that I should invite the attention of the House to the existing state of the law on the subject. By a series of statutes, dating back upwards of three centuries, the old Scotch Parliament laid upon the shoulders of the parishioners the duty of providing church, manse, and burial ground for the parish. There was a fine spirit of equity pervading these old laws. The burden was laid on the shoulders of the parishioners because it was supposed they would derive the advantage. According to the ecclesiastical law of Scotland the parishioners were entitled to go to the parish church to hear the Word preached, to have the sacraments administered and to claim the spiritual superintendence of the clergyman. The old laws did not inquire whether the parishioner would attend the church or not; that was a matter of perfect indifference, dissent being a negligible quantity in those days. It was assumed he would attend if he were capable of attending and if he were an examinable person‗a person over the age of twelve years is the law, provided that Church accommodation should be given to him in the parish. The obligation of the heritor to provide an ecclesiastical edifice in the parish in which he was a landowner was linked closely with his right to share in all the advantages. There was connected with his ownership a right to share in the area of the parish church, and he was entitled to have a share in the allocation of the seats in the church edifice. So closely was this right connected with his obligation, that when 971 a landowner died, the right to share in the area of the parish church passed to his heir, and if he sold his land, so closely did the old laws recognise the burden and the obligation on the one hand, and the right on the other, that without any mention being made the right passed to the purchaser. These old laws said nothing about the method by which this obligation should be allocated among the different landowners in the parish. In those days there was no valuation of the land in Scotland, except perhaps a valuation made about 1280, and the old laws contemplated that the burden should be borne proportionately to the rental of the land. In the days of Cromwell, of whom we have heard much recently, a valuation was made for taxation purposes of all the land in all the parishes of Scotland, and this valuation was adopted as the basis for ecclesiastical assessment. It was known then as it is known to-day as the valued rent, and the man whose land was valued in the days of the Protector is known now as then as a valued rent heritor. It cannot be denied that the absolute value of the land in Scotland to-day is different from its absolute value in the days of the Protector, but then, so long as the conditions of a parish remained entirely unchanged, a valuation made even in the middle of the seventeenth century affords a perfectly fair basis of assessment, because the different heritages in the parish were valued at the same time, and on the same principle, and the ratio remained constant. But where the conditions of a parish have changed, where the landowners have increased enormously in number, where great industrial commercial communities have settled down, where great public bodies have become landowners, and where great railway companies and mining enterprises exist it is quite obvious that to retain the valuation made in the days of the Protector would inflict an injustice on the respective owners of land, because that basis of taxation would mean that recent landowners and the industrial enterprises which had sprung up in recent years would escape altogether. Accordingly, whenever the conditions of a parish had changed, when it no longer retained its pastoral or agricultural character, and where assessment on the basis of the old valuation would lead to injustice, that assessment was to be abandoned in favour of the actual 972 rent of the land. So Lord Chancellor Eldon and Lord Thurlow laid down in a case about which we hear a great deal—namely, the Peterhead case. It is said that the judgment in that case inflicted an injury which has rendered necessary all these tinkering proposals about ecclesiastical assessment, and that it introduced a novel and startling change into the old law of Scotland. The Peterhead case did nothing of the kind. It is of venerable antiquity. The judgment was given on 24th June, 1802, and it is a little difficult to believe the legislative zeal of hon. Gentlemen opposite has been stimulated into activity by a supposed wrong inflicted in the early years of the century. The cause is, in this instance, too far removed from the effect. The House of Lords in the Peterhead case did nothing more than give full and free play to the old statutes of which I have been speaking. What Lord Chancellor Eldon said was that, wherever it would work injustice to adopt the old valuation as a basis of assessment, wherever large industrial communities had sprung up, and wherever the number of landowners had largely increased, the actual or real rent must be taken as the basis, and that things must be regarded as they were, and not as they existed in the days of Oliver Cromwell and Charles II. That seems to me a perfectly correct principle, and I do not think that it can be disputed that it did any more than give full effect to the spirit of the old statutes. That being the existing state of the law in Scotland, all landowners in every parish being liable to ecclesiastical assessment in proportion to their rental, and having a right to share in the advantages of the ecclesiastical edifice, what is the change this Bill proposes? In the first place it proposes to put into the hands of two-thirds of the valued rent heritors power to assess the remaining third, and to insist that for the future the old valuation shall be adopted as a basis of assessment. The conditions may have totally changed, may have changed to such an extent that great injustice will result from adopting the old valuation made in the days of the Protector, and that in order to have complete justice it is necessary that the landowners should be assessed in accordance with the actual rental of the land. Yet although this injustice will result, the Bill provides 973 that two-thirds of the valued rent heritors shall have power to assess the remaining third, that the minority shall have an additional burden imposed on them, that in future all the remaining heritors shall escape the burden altogether, and that it shall be borne exclusively by the valued rent heritors. What is the reason for a proposal such as this? It is not in order to give free vent to the ecclesiastical generosity of the valued rent heritors. No Act of Parliament is required for that. If they are going to pay out of their own pockets for their own churches, manses, and burial grounds there is no law in Scotland or anywhere else to prevent them. But really the case for which this Bill is meant to provide is one where the majority of the valued rent heritors are supposed to sit in the parish church and to receive the ministrations of the parish clergyman. And their sense of justice revolts at the idea of taking other people's money for their churches, manses, and burying grounds when these other people, out of their own pockets, provide the ecclesiastical advantages which they themselves enjoy. That would be a good and laudable object; but it needs no Act of Parliament to put it in force. Nor is that the proposal in the Bill. The proposal of the Bill is not that these gentlemen should pay out of their own pockets for their own ecclesiastical advantages. The proposal is that they would be entitled, against the will of the majority, to force the minority to bear an additional burden in order that the majority should live quiet lives in their parishes, and not be disturbed by heart-burnings and bickerings. Now, can the most experienced Member of this House quote any precedent in support of a proposal by which Parliament places it in the power of a majority of the ratepayers to inflict such an injustice on the minority? Can a precedent be appealed to by which Parliament has relinquished its functions to rate or tax the parish and leave it to the wish, or it may be the whim or caprice of a majority, to impose that taxation upon a minority which may probably object altogether, on conscientious grounds, to take any share of the ecclesiastical assessments—a minority moreover of which nine-tenths are probably paying out of their own pockets for the support of the churches in which they themselves worship, and the manses in which 974 the clergy live who administer the sacraments to them? There is no sort of precedent for a proposal like that. Why, Sir, should Parliament be asked to sanction a proposal by which the great industrial, mining, and railway corporations and the great municipalities will be relieved altogether of a burden in order that an increased burden may be laid on a third of the valued renters. If the assessment is right every one of them should pay the assessment; if it is wrong it should be taken off the shoulders of every one. The Bill goes on to provide another class of exemptions. It proposes to exempt from ecclesiastical assessment the churches, manses, and burying grounds of dissenters. Well, so far as the churches and burying grounds are concerned, the promoters of this Bill come, not one day, but a quarter of a century behind the fair. The thing has been done, rightly or wrongly, in the year 1874. By the 37 and 38 Vic. c. 20, Parliament has exempted the churches and burying grounds of dissenters from paying any of these rates. But then why should the manses escape? Why, the occupants of the manses are not asking for any relief. The occupants of the manses are the very men who are best able to appreciate the value of the services of their ecclesiastical brethren of the Established Church, and they are the very men with whom motives of brotherly love and charity are supposed to operate most powerfully. They do not ask for relief, and why do you offer them this; relief? On what principle do you exempt the manses of the dissenters, and still leave the burden on the villas and cottages of the dissenters? Is there any great principle in taxing the one which does not apply to the other? The Bill goes on to give exemption to another class—the small feuars or gentlemen whose rent-roll does not exceed £50. These are to be exempted altogether if only the sum which they would otherwise be compelled to pay is met out of private charity. I venture to ask, if private charity is to be invoked for the purpose of relieving ratepayers from a legitimate impost, why should we draw the line at £50? Why should the opulent churchmen of the Established Church of Scotland be restrained in their freewill offerings? I am afraid that their ability to contribute is underrated as well as their willingness. I know them 975 well. They are of as proud and independent a spirit and as liberal as the dissenters; and if you only place before them fairly the question whether they want outsiders, who have nothing to do with their Church, to help them to pay for their churches, manses, and burying grounds, I have not the slightest doubt of the answer which they would give. They would scorn to take the money, if the question were fairly placed before them; and if you only tell them you want them to do for themselves what the dissenters do for themselves. I think that you would find that they are both able and willing to pay for their churches, manses, and burying grounds out of their own pockets. Why is this line drawn at the £50 rental, and the smaller feuars to be relieved out of private charity? I rather suspect that it is because the small feuars are, for the most part, dissenters, and active dissenters; that they all have votes; that nearly all go to the poll; that they are very active at public meetings; that they write letters to the newspapers; that they heckle your candidates; that they make themselves noisy and troublesome; and that this proposal is put forward in order to throw a sop to the small feuars, and to burke a general assault upon a system which you well know to be defenceless. That is the real reason why the small feuar is to be relieved out of private charity. When this Bill was introduced last session there was a memorandum prefixed which said that the small feuars were to be relieved because of the friction, irritation and difficulty of collecting the assessment from them. If the difficulty of collecting an assessment affords a good reason for relief, there are good many more of Her Majesty's subjects besides small feuars in Scotland, who will come to this House clamorous for relief; and it says nothing for the frankness or candour of such a proposal as this, that its promoters rely on such an argument. The real cause of the mischief is that the condition of our parishes in Scotland has wholly changed since those old days when every parishioner was a landowner, and every landowner attended the parish church, and all ecclesiastical assessments were based on the comfortable theory that all landowners were Established Churchmen, and all Established Churchmen were landowners. In our days the population 976 has enormously increased, the distribution of the population has changed; great industrial undertakings have sprung up, great mining enterprises have been established, great railways have been built, and great municipalities have arisen. The opinions and the social customs of the people have changed, and in particular the religious habits, so that what was eminently suitable for the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is wholly unsuitable for modern arrangements. It would be only by a wonderful stretch of the imagination that anybody could now say that the parishioners are co-extensive with the landowners, and that the landowners of the parish are co-extensive with the attendants in the Established Church. But even the enormous increase in the number of Dissenters and small feuars does not, to my mind, afford the most striking illustration of the distance we have travelled since the statute of 1572, and of the difference between the old ecclesiastical arrangements and those of the present day. The most crying injustice of all is that inflicted upon the great railway companies: the great municipalities and the great industrial undertakings that have been planted in different parishes. All these undertakings, be it remembered, which own land in the parishes, are compelled to pay for ecclesiastical advantages, which, from the very nature of the case, they are utterly debarred from enjoying. Take the University of Glasgow. It is a heritor in many of the country parishes, and I would like to know what share of church seat room, in parishes where it holds land, is allocated to the University, and what advantages it derives from the ministrations of the parish clergyman. Yet when a church has to be repaired, or a manse erected, the University of Glasgow, being on the list of heritors, must pay a share, probably a handsome share, of the cost. Again, take the Corporation of Glasgow. In that long chain of parishes, through which pass the pipes that convey the waters of Loch Katrine to the city, the corporation is included as one of the principal heritors. If you perambulated every one of these parishes, you would not find a trace of the Corporation of Glasgow. The husbandman tills his ground and reaps his crops on the surface to-day, as he did in the days of Oliver Cromwell; 977 but if you go down many feet beneath the surface, there is a longitudinal space where repose the Loch Katrine water-pipes; and it is because of that space and these pipes that the Corporation of Glasgow figures as the principal heritor in most of these parishes. I should like to know what advantage the Corporation of Glasgow derives from the ministrations of the parish ministers of Aberfoyle, and Killearn, or Strathblane; and what share in these parish churches is allocated to the community of the second city in the Empire? We all know that they derive no advantage whatever; and yet, when in any of these parishes an ecclesiastical edifice requires to be erected, or to be repaired, the Corporation of Glasgow is come down upon, and is compelled to pay most handsomely for the churches which it cannot enter, and for the manses the occupants of which it can never listen to. Hitherto I have spoken only of the burden of obligation; but I wish to say a word about the rights. Every parishioner has a right to a share in the area of the parish church. Do you propose to deprive them of that right by this Bill, or to leave their rights at the mercy of two-thirds of the valued rent-owners; or to the rather precarious mercy of the private donor—the man who is prepared to give private charity for the purpose of relieving the small feuar? Are you going to put it in the power of two-thirds of the heritors and private givers to the funds of the Church of Scotland to deprive this gentleman of his right to relief? I know very well that there is a power in the Bill that, in the discussion upon plans for a new church or a new manse, the gentleman who is to be relieved of his assessment is to bear no part or lot. He is to be excluded entirely from offering an opinion on these plans. But this provision is futile. The whole discussion will be over, and the plans will be settled long before the kirk session has collected the money necessary to relieve the small owner. This is all a bagatelle. The real question is, what are you going to do with the rights? What do the Government propose to do with regard to the rights of small feuars, whom it is proposed to relieve under this Bill of their burdens and obligations? If the proposal is this, that they are to be deprived of their rights at the wish, the whim, the caprice of a majority of their own fellow 978 ratepayers, then this gives additional emphasis to our objection to the proposals contained in the Bill, by which Parliament is invited to relinquish its own rights and its own privileges, and allow the assessment to be imposed not by Parliament, but by the wish of a small and interested number of people in the parish. I wonder whether, for once in a while, one may be able to appeal to Members for England, Wales, and Ireland, and ask them to leave us to settle this question without their intervention at all. If there ever was a case in which such a Bill might be legitimately left I think this is that case. This Bill relates peculiarly and distinctly to Scotland. It is a Bill which is characteristically connected with our ecclesiastical system of Scotland, and with regard to which any other nationality can really have very little interest, and probably very little knowledge. I know if my appeal was successful what the result would be. The result would inevitably be that this poor, shiftless measure would absolutely vanish from existence, and some day there would be found either this Government or some other ready and willing to take its courage in both its hands and snap for ever the link which connects land-ownership in Scotland with the burden of bearing ecclesiastical assessments, and trust to the independence of spirit, the pride, and, I would add, the abundant generosity of the friends and adherents of the Established Church to pay for the churches that they themselves worship in, for the manses whose occupants preach to them the Word, and for the burying grounds in which some day they will rest.
§ SIR CHARLES CAMERON (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I rise to second the Amendment which has been so ably and lucidly submitted by my hon. friend. He has relieved me from the necessity of attempting to describe what ecclesiastical assessments are, and I would only add to what he said that, being intermittent, coming at irregular intervals, and being assessments to which a number of those called upon to pay them strenuously object, many of them on strong conscientious grounds, they give rise to very considerable friction and very considerable irritation. There is hardly a parish in which there are not many objectors who refuse to pay, and who allow their goods to be 979 seized; constantly there are scandals, and certainly they do nothing to strengthen the establishment. The ostensible object of this Bill is to get rid of these scenes. The ostensible pretence is that it is to get rid of a grievance. A grievance certainly exists, but so far as this Bill is concerned it may be described as a pill to cure an earthquake. One grievance which it does not pretend to redress is levying assessments on the manses occupied by ministers of dissenting churches. The Bill is illusory. It proposes to give a greater advantage in that direction. It proposes to relieve churches and burying grounds of rates, but, as has been pointed out, that has been done long ago, and it is really a pretence of doing so that is made in this Bill. The fact that dissenting churches and burying grounds have been relieved from assessments by 37 and 38 Victoria was brought before the attention of the House by the hon. and learned Member for the Border Burghs in the debate we had on the Bill last year, and I cannot conceive how those in charge of the Bill did not avail themselves of the knowledge put before them in drafting this Bill. As to the proposal to relieve ministers of dissenting denominations, my hon. friend has pointed out that no case has over been made on their behalf. No scandal, so far as I remember, has ever arisen on the manse rate. In some cases, ministers, especially those belonging to the United Presbyterian Church, have refused to pay, and when they have refused to pay the matter has never been pressed. The money has been found in some other way, and no cause of complaint consequently has arisen. But the grievance occurs, as my hon. friend has said, chiefly among the poorer heritors, because among the poorer heritors will be found a larger number of dissenters. The Bill does absolutely nothing to carry out its ostensible object. It provides for the kirk session giving relief from assessment to heritors under £50 rental if the kirk session contributes the deficiency. As the law stands at the present moment there is nothing to prevent similar relief being obtained. In innumerable cases at the present moment, rather than face the disagreeables incidental to the collection of the assessments, members of the Church of Scotland put their hands in their pockets and subscribe everything necessary, and no assessment is levied. This Bill 980 has absolutely no machinery to encourage or to enforce any contribution, and as the Bill now stands, practically, if assessments were levied for ecclesiastical purposes, everything would go on as at present. The amount to be raised would be decided, and the assessment would be levied unless the kirk session handed over an amount equivalent to what would be the loss by loosing the ratepayers under £50. No change whatever would be made in the proceedings that would take place under the existing law. Another feature of the Bill is that it makes no provision for any lesser reduction. It does not say that the kirk session is to hand over an amount equivalent to that required to dispense with rates under £20, as in the Bill of the hon. Member last year. The deduction should be made equivalent to the amount which the voluntary contribution would cover. It says nothing of the sort. It says only for the amount handed over sufficient to admit of the reduction on rentals under £50 the deduction should be made. The Bill so far as this object is concerned is an absolute sham. It is to the extent of two-thirds illusory, as has been shown, so far as it provides for the exemption of dissenting churches; and so far as it provides for those under £50 rentals, it is an absolute sham. Not the smallest guarantee is taken before commencing operations that any money shall be subscribed. The machinery goes on as at present unless the money is voluntarily subscribed. Matters will stand precisely as they have stood for many years. Many attempts have been made to grapple with this Church rates question. My esteemed friend Mr. McLaren, who for many years represented Edinburgh in this House, brought in a Bill in which he proposed to make the payment of these church rates voluntary, as in the case of England. That was a radical method of dealing with the matter. The objection was that it relieved the landlord of a burden and made him a present of money which belonged to the State. That objection was put forward only by the extreme voluntaries. Later on, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen brought in another Bill, and he proposed that the relief afforded should be a reality. He made a guarantee by the kirk session of the necessary money a condition precedent for the operation of the Bill. That would have assured us that the relief 981 would be a reality, and that the money would be in hand for the relief of the ratepayers before the work was commenced. Everyone would know how he was to stand. The present Bill makes promises of abatement, but there is not the smallest certainty that the abatement will ever be given. When the expense is incurred, no one knows anything of the extent to which it would be contributed, or whether there would be any money in the hands of the kirk session to enable them to avail themselves of this Hill. The Bill, therefore, effects nothing whatever on this grievance which would not be equally attained by voluntary action without the aid of this Bill at all. So far as this Bill contains any principle, the principle is a thoroughly retrograde one. If there was no provision for the maintenance of the fabrics of the Church at the public expense I do not think any party in this House would dream of imposing a rate for that purpose. Under this Bill, as my Hon. friend has pointed out, new taxation is imposed on various people. Under Clause 1, as he explained, it is patent that two-thirds of the heritors coerce the minority into acquiescing in the rate, and it will impose a new burden on their shoulders. He did not exhaust that part of the case. He did not point out that it was not two-thirds in number, but two-thirds in value, and that they might vote personally or by proxy, and that any law to the contrary notwithstanding. Under the law as recognised and administered for more than half a century properties have been bought, sold, and held subject to certain well understood charges on these various properties. The Bill proposes to shift these burdens from one shoulder to another at the discretion it may be of a single heritor, and that man voting by proxy. I agree with my hon. and learned friend that the proposal to allow the incidence of taxation to be regulated in that arbitrary way is most retrograde and vicious. Is it going to be in the interest of the Church? In the debate last year the Lord Advocate used these words:—The first proposal in the Bill was limited only to cases in which the assessment had been in use to he imposed on the valued rent. It had been discussed on the one side as if this was universal, hut that was not so. In that case it allowed a majority of the valued rent heritors to resolve whether the assessment should continue. He would remind the House that in many parishes in Scotland—in fact, over the 982 whole of Scotland—where the heritors were friendly to the Church they had very often, sooner than put the real rent heritors to the annoyance of assessment, voluntarily dealt with that assessment as on valued rent, and did not insist that the assessment should be altered to real rent. When they came to the details of the Bill in Committee he thought it would be for the consideration of his friend in charge of the Bill whether it would not be better to put in some such Amendment as would provide for practical unanimity of the heritors to determine that the assessment should be levied on valued rent instead of by a bare majority."*The right hon. Gentleman has raised the half to two-thirds, and made that two-thirds of value and not of individuals. Under Clause 3, which exempts church manses and burial grounds, a certain amount of mow taxation is imposed. You have in the Bill as it stands, relief to dissenting churches. The injustice of assessing dissenting churches for the maintenance of the fabrics of the Established Church is evident and manifest; but the injustice of taxing persons who belong to other denominations—the Free Church, the United Presbyterian Church, and the Roman Catholic Church—for the maintenance of these ecclesiastical buildings is precisely of the same nature and precisely as great. Why should you exempt the dissenting churches, say, in a parish where two-thirds of the population are dissenters, and then proceed to levy two-thirds of those exemptions on the dissenters as individuals? There is no principle in that. The only principle is, if possible, to get rid of the objecting ratepayers, who insist upon being sold up, and whose case calls public attention to the grievance. There are two objects only attained by the Bill. The one is that you allow a majority of the valued heritors to coerce, it may be, a majority in number, and you relieve the dissenting churches from this rate. The ostensible object is to relieve the small heritors. That part of the Bill is an absolute sham. The Bill provides that the machinery shall go on as at present. The plans must be considered and the assessment allocated and levied on the total rental within the parish subject to the deductions on £50 rentals. That is the last step in the machinery of the Bill, and there is no guarantee that the step will ever be taken, and unless it is taken there is no obligation on the kirk session* See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxx., page 639.983 to raise the money, and if it is not raised, or the whole sum is not raised, the Bill becomes a dead letter. The clause makes no provision for remission of any lesser sum than that on £50. I do not know why the right hon. Gentleman selects £50. He might as well have chosen £100, or even the more modest sum of £20, and the sham might have been more apparent than it is. There is another provision in the Bill which, to my mind, is absolutely impracticable. It is to the effect that no heritor, who by reason of any exemption or deduction is relieved altogether from assessment, shall be entitled to take part in the discussion or vote at any meeting on the plans. How is that to come into operation? The exemption is the last stage of the proceedings. The discussion of the money required is the first step, and that appears to me to be a part of the machinery which will be absolutely unworkable. Last year's Bill was perfectly frank in saying that a man exempted from payment should not vote on the question. My hon. friend has called upon the Lord Advocate to say whether he has that intention in the present Bill. It seems to me it would be the case in parishes where valued rent is retained under Clause 1 of the Bill. A person who under Clause 3 of the Bill loses his power would in the absence of any specific direction retain his right. If that be the case it would make the anomaly greater than ever. That is one point in which the Bill this year is in any respect different from that of last. Otherwise the principles, so far as there are principles, are vicious; its drafting is as bad as could well be imagined, and altogther the Bill is such a thorough sham that I have great pleasure in seconding the motion of my hon. friend.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—(Mr. Ure.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. GORDON (Elgin and Nairn)
The hon. Member who has just addressed the House has been strong in the use of the word "sham." The thanks of Members on this side of the House and of the majority of the people of Scotland are undoubtedly due to the Govern- 984 ment for having taken up a matter of this kind as a Government Bill. The subject is small when viewed from Westminster, but it is one which has caused serious irritation from time to time in various localities where those assessments have been levied on the small feuars. The proof of the irritation has been proved in this House by the repeated efforts made on the Government benches and by private Members to urge Parliament to accept measures which would satisfactorily solve the question. There are two interests undoubtedly involved in this Bill, but I cannot for the life of me see why the hon. Members opposite should throw their opposition against the Bill when the Government are simply making an effort to relieve the small ratepayers whose contributions to this fund are infinitesimal, and very often the cost of collection, is out of proportion to the sum received. I hold in my hand particulars of one case, in Perthshire, where the law has recently operated. The number of proprietors was 312; under £50 they were 198, but these 198 small heritors only contributed among them the sum of £99 odd. If anyone will consider the trouble of collecting £99 odd from 198 heritors he will see at once the improvement that this Bill will introduce in the ecclesiastical and social condition, of Scotland. The total assessment required was only £532, and that involved a rate of about 5½d. in the £. The other interest involved in this Bill is undoubtedly that which rouses the opposition of many hon. Members opposite, namely, the interests of the Church of Scotland. But the Church in this case is not asking for anything. The Church is simply asking Parliament to permit her to relieve ratepayers of those charges now levied in favour of herself and to permit, with legal sanction, the removal of a difficulty which is frequently solved by private compromise, but which, as hon. Members know, is liable to be obstructed by cranks, or obstructives. The Government, I trust, will push this to a conclusion. It has been stated that the Government has had no popular pressure for the introduction of this Bill. I would beg to remind my right hon. friend that the unusual strength of the present Cabinet leads the country to expect steady progress with Government measures without popular pressure. Last year I was surprised on a quiet Wednesday afternoon, when I had 985 charge of a somewhat similar Bill, to find the whole of the Oposition—for once united—employing their official Whips to try to defeat a measure which certainly was for the benefit of the ratepayers, who have used their influence at election and at other times (and many of them are supporters of Members on the other side) to ask the House of Commons to solve this difficulty. The hon. Member for the Mansfield Division, as we all remember, met us in former days like the old Roman general with Veni, vidi, but we have failed to hear the vici follow. Surely the time has come, I am sure it has come in Scotland, when men, whether they have grown old in the service of the country, or whether they are young and unused to such narrow and parochial views of Church life, are sick of this Disestablishment question standing in the way of Church reform. The truth is that life is now larger and wider than the hon. and learned Member for Linlithgow supposes. He said this Bill was an attempt to burke the larger question. I challenge the hon. Member or any of his friends by his side to start a Disestablishment meeting in Scotland, and I defy him to get a good platform of liberal-minded Scotchmen to support the movement. Scotland is looking for a solution, no doubt, of ecclesiastical questions. Scotland is shrewd enough to know that the old Church of Scotland is based on a Constitution, and has privileges superior to any other ecclesiastical body in Europe. While I am glad to know that Church Union is in the air in Scotland, thus acknowledging the fact that our old distinctive peculiarities, which alone divided the Christianity of Scotchmen, are fading away even in those circles where once they were perhaps too highly prized, and possibly in another generation, or sooner in these liberalising days, we shall find the Disestablishment societies of England and Scotland are matters of past history, and that Presbyterian Scotland will be completely united.
§ MR. BIRRELL (Fifeshire, W.)
A more contemptible, small, and indeed ridiculous measure has seldom engaged the House of Commons on an occasion of this kind. The whole scope and object of this Bill is to reduce, if you can, by a small means a certain amount of unpopularity which has always attached to paying for anything, and as there are a 986 number of small heritors—people who hold little bits of land—who do not like to contribute to the Established Church of their country, it is thought good electioneering to remove from them a grievance, instead of taking the bull by the horns and making Church rates voluntary throughout the whole of Scotland. That is obviously the reasonable thing to do. As the thing stands at present, the burden of maintaining the churches and manses of Scotland is thrown upon the land. Well, that is an excellent social obligation which many on this side of the House have no cavil with. The whole burden being thrown upon the land, the land itself is cut up into small bits. The Bill says that because it is cut up into small bits is the reason why the large heritors should pay and why the smaller should not pay, but that is a thing which nobody can understand. We have lost in this House since the subject was last under discussion the late Lord Advocate, Mr. J. B. Balfour, now President of the Court of Session. In the interesting speech he made on this subject he used the following remarks‗He would assume that this was the kind of rate which was rightly imposed on land, and on that assumption the aim in the allocation of every rate on land with which he was acquainted was to make the harden of the rate proportionate to the extent or value of the land held by the person assessed. The large owner should pay proportionately to his amount, and the small owner to his. It was not a rate upon some personal quality of the owner, but upon the land.The reason why you want to make the small owner no longer obliged to pay this is because the payment is unpopular, but you ride off on an explanation about the trouble of collection. You have got in Scotland an Established Church which represents the religious feelings of the great bulk of the inhabitants, and which certainly is not in any way disagreeable to many of us. You find that the small owners do not like paying, and you come forward in a spirit of relief and say you will relieve them from that obligation. You say that is a large, wide, and liberal measure dealing with the question, and you invoke the name of the Member for the Mansfield Division in your support. If you are going to maintain the Established Church in Scotland, maintain the principle on which in all these years pas 987 it has rested, namely, that the obligation of paying for churches and manses should be cast upon the land. The whole argument addressed to the House last year by Mr. J. B. Balfour really was not touched. Nobody replied to it. You are seeking to upset the historical principle of maintaining the churches in Scotland, simply because you find as electioneerers it does you harm, and because a certain number of the smaller heritors in Scotland, do not want to pay. You may pass this Bill if your majority enables you to do it, but one thing you will never be able to do, is to persuade anybody that it is a large, liberal, or just way of dealing with this question.
§ MR. ELLIOT (Durham)
I cannot agree that this is an electioneering measure, when it proposes to redress a grievance. If it can be proved that the Church will be strengthened, that the church buildings will be maintained, and that now churches will be raided under the new provisions with less trouble to the minority of the people in a parish, I would say that so far that is all very decidedly in favour of the Bill. I should like the House for one moment to consider that this Bill is only another step forward in the direction in which Scotland has been moving for a long time past. It used to be the case that churches were largely built in England and Scotland out of public moneys. In England, as we all know, until quite modern times, there was a system of church rates. Many years ago these building grants fell entirely into abeyance, and in 1868 the Church Bates Bill was passed. Since then the Church of England has built and looked after the parish churches, and it is found, and this is the most remarkable part of the story, that in proportion as you decrease the amount given to the Church from the public funds, the voluntary contributions become greater and greater. It is really very astounding when you cast your eye over the amount given in England voluntarily to the building and repair of churches. I would suggest that if any great change is to be made in Scotland it would be wise to move in the direction we have hitherto moved in England—that is, as far as possible to rely frankly on the voluntary contributions, and deal with these difficulties in the way they are dealt with in England and Ireland. We have had little account taken 988 to-night of the amount to which these; assessments come. In 1880 or 1881 there was a Return moved for by Lord Balfour of Burleigh for a period of ten years ending with 1879. The total amount, roughly, was £400,000, or about £40,000 a year. That is the amount which has to be raised in order to maintain the fabrics, etc. It is a slur on the character of the Established Church to suppose that it cannot maintain its own church roofs and windows, and that the people are unwilling when the occasion conies to put their hands in their pockets and pay for these matters. I have never seen any objection in any church, Established or Disestablished, to the sending round of the hat. We are in Scotland a thoroughly religious people, and there is no difficulty in raising sums. I come now to say a word or two on the proposals of the Bill. I look at it as a reform of the law to remove or attempt to remove a grievance. The hon. Member opposite referred to the fact that the Corporation of Glasgow had to pay the assessment, and argued that there was something unjust and improper in their having to contribute to maintain the church of the parish. I cannot for myself see that there is the slightest injustice in that. If money is made out of the parish I see no hardship when you come to the assessment of the parish in raising money in that way. To carry out the principles of the hon. and learned Member, you might excuse spinsters and bachelors from paying the school rate of the parish because they do not get the benefit of the rate they pay. I say that to regard with regret the fact that these corporations and railways have lands in the local parishes is to make a great mistake as to where the grievance lies. Let us look at the precise redress of this particular grievance. If you propose to alter the practice of the law of rating, surely what you have to do is to make the rate fall equally and justly upon everybody, but this Bill proposes deliberately to prefer the inequitable system of assessment to the equitable and modern system. We talk about valued rent and real rent, real rent being the actual just rental which, as a matter of fact, is paid for the land, and when you come to railway companies, and so forth, I say that it is unreasonable when there is a common purpose in which the parish ought to be assessed, that 989 these undertakings should escape scot-free. Sub-section 2 of Clause 3 is certainly a most remarkable section. The grievance which, I think, ought to be redressed‗if it is a grievance‗is that the poor people are assessed. If that is a grievance against the Established Church, I should be very glad to get rid of it. The Government say that, inasmuch as it is a grievance and trouble to the poorer ratepayers to have to contribute this assessment, let us say that nobody who appears on the valuation roll at less than £50 should be troubled to pay the rate. I would rather follow the basis of the Church Rates Bill and say it should be voluntary, and I would make it voluntary payment to every extent. I should say, "Relieve the ratepayers frankly, and not say that those whose properties are valued under £50 need not pay unless they choose to do so." The proposal in this Bill is a very roundabout way of keeping up the appearance of equal dealing all round. Surely the Government have not been advised properly in this matter. The heritors ought to know what their assessments were likely to be, and what they were to be assessed for. As far as I understand the proposal‗and my hon. and learned friend will correct me if I am wrong‗it appears to me that if I am to be assessed, my liability to pay or not to pay will depend very largely upon whether a church bazaar has been a success or a failure. I believe there is a great deal to be said for the relief of the small ratepayers. Let us put down the real rent, with the provision that the ratepayers shall not be bound to contribute, but shall only contribute voluntarily, exactly as is the case with the English ratepayers in the matter of Church rates. I do not like to part with the subject altogether without saying a few words of friendly farewell. I have regretted for many years that this subject, if taken up at all, was not taken up on a grand principle. I feel to some extent rather guilty in regard to these small ratepayers, because it is about sixteen years since I proposed one of the earlier Bills, on the ground that you did not deal equally and fairly with all the ratepayers of Scotland. Perhaps, however, it is unwise to oppose a measure which does some small amount of good because it does not do a great deal more good, 990 and because the principle has not been adopted which I would prefer now as I did then. Therefore, I am not disposed to throw back this subject for another fifteen or sixteen years. I can only say I regret that the Government, in attempting to redress the grievance, has not faced it on a sounder principle, from which better results might have been obtained.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. A. GRAHAM MURRAY,) Buteshire
When this debate comes to be considered in Scotland, I do not think the friends of the Church can complain of the weight of the arguments against the Bill. I cannot follow the hon. Member for Linlithgow, who moved the rejection of the Bill, and occupied a large portion of his speech by an interesting historical retrospect, which doubtless brought very sound history to the knowledge of many Members of the House. But really I do not intend to follow him on that ground. I have not a word to say against what he said in the historical sense, except to remind him in passing that when he spoke of the decision in the Peterhead case in 1802 it was quite obvious that he took the case which has been practically the cause of all the friction we have had in this matter. But the Court of Session in that day decided the other way, and the decision was reversed in the House of Lords. I do not intend to say anything about the Peterhead case, because I am quite certain that the House and the people of Scotland are not concerned in the antiquarian disputes of lawyers, but in the practical grievance that exists at the present time This Bill was never ambitious in aim, and never claimed any great things. What it did was that it claims to be, like the Bill of the hon. Gentleman behind me last year, a genuine attempt to remove the cause of friction that existed in the past, and which, so far as I know, never did good to anybody. Is it a fact that that friction did exist? I need not deny that, because the first remarks in the speech of the hon. Baronet who seconded the rejection of the Bill bore testimony to the occurrence of that friction. When I come to the Bill itself, and to the remarks the hon. Member for Linlithgow made in moving the rejection, frankly I admit that one part of the speech answered the other. The Bill, as everyone knows 991 who has read it, is divided into two portions. The hon. Member's argument against the first portion of the Bill is, "Here is a duty payable by law: Why take that away? Is it not a horrible thing to prevent a person paying what by law he ought to pay?" And yet when he came to the second part of the Bill he condemned that, "because," said he, "you are trying to relieve the small cure, and you are really doing that because you know the whole thing is a system which is utterly without defence." I do not know how the hon. Member reconciles the two statements, because really his argument upon the first part of the Bill entirely answers his argument upon the second; and vice versa, his argument on the second part completely answers his argument on the first. I may notice in passing that he conveniently omitted to mention, as far as the first part of the Bill is concerned, that it is strictly limited to those cases where the assessments have been on the valued rent, and that it is no more than allowing the legal perpetration of the system which has very largely obtained in Scotland owing to the good sense and generosity of those concerned. The hon. Baronet the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow, on the other hand, really treated this as a Committee point. He quoted the observations which I made last year, in which, speaking on the Bill of my hon. friend, behind me, which provided that a bare majority might come to the conclusion, I urged him to amend his Bill so as to allow of practical unanimity being necessary. We take two-thirds of the value. I frankly admit that that is a Committee point, and one we should be perfectly willing to discuss in Committee, my general view on the subject being the same as last year, namely, that any measure which has any coercive effects ought to have something tantamount to practical unanimity behind it. Perhaps I ought to notice one other observation which fell from the hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill when talking of this "indefensible system." He drew a moving picture of the change which had taken place in Scotch life and Scotch society, and he told us that in the old days heritors and parishioners were one and the same thing‗that landowners and parishioners were the same. I never knew of such a state of society, and I have yet to read the history 992 in which it is recorded. The hon. Member then went on to say that what more than anything else made him appreciate the injustice of the present system of Church assessments was the position of civic institutions and municipalities, and he specially instanced the case of the Glasgow Corporation, who, as he well knows, by a case which the Glasgow Corporation was unfortunate enough to lose not long ago, and in which both he and I took part, had to pay the assessment of the parish kirk session. He asked what good the Corporation got from the administration of the parish kirk session. Does not the hon. Member see that the logical outcome of that argument is that no corporation or public authority ought to be taxed at all? Does the Corporation of Glasgow give birth to any children who have to be educated, or does it have persons vaccinated, or does it matter to it whether the Registration Act is carried out or not? And so we might go through all the rates which are levied. With regard to the second part of the Bill, the hon. Baronet was very prodigal with the word "sham." He said‗This scheme is a sham, because you do not get the exemption unless an adequate sum is contributed by the kirk session, and there is no guarantee that the kirk session will contribute that money.There, again, if that is a correct argument, all I can say in reply is that enabling legislation is always a sham, because‗‗
§ SIR CHARLES CAMERON
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not wish to misrepresent me. What I said was that the powers proposed were a sham, because everything which could be done under the Bill‗everything which the Bill would enable the Church to do by voluntary subscription‗could already be done without any Bill.
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
My answer to that, with all respect, is that such is not the case. I do not think I am misrepresenting the hon. Baronet, but certainly one portion of his argument was that this was no real relief, because there was no adequate security that the kirk session in any particular case would find the money. If that is a strict argument, I say that all enabling legislation is a sham, because when you pass 993 enabling, as opposed to mandatory legislation, you have no absolute guarantee that the particular conditions will be carried out. Let me say just a word upon the actual provisions of the Bill. We have had some criticisms of the measure from my hon. friend the Member for Durham. Of course, I should treat the hon. Member very gently, because he is in the unfortunate position of a man with a nostrum of his own, and such people have always very tender feelings. What he has never been able to forgive us is that we did not bring forward a Bill founded on the resolution which he was fortunate enough to pass in, I think, 1884. I believe I can satisfy him that there is no real difficulty in the working out of the provisions of the Bill. The matter to which he rather took exception was that the assessment is not actually imposed, but only proposed to be imposed. The object of Section 2 is that the scheme shall be law before the parochial kirk session. In many cases we believe that will be an end of the whole matter, and that in many instances the entire sum, if it is not large, will be subscribed. Even if that is not so, when a proposal for assessment is made there is an opportunity for the kirk session to come forward and produce the sum which is necessary in order to get the exemption. But after all is said and done there is something else underlying the opposition to this Bill, and hitherto the most frank advocate of that "something" has been the hon. Member for West Fife. He was pretty explicit this year, but he was even more so last year. I should like to remind the House of one sentence which he uttered last year, because he then put in a shorter and more concrete form what he said this year. These were his words‗The real object of the Bill was to get rid of arguments against the existence of an Established Church, and he was entitled as a supporter of disestablishment to object to the principle being whittled away in this manner, so that eventually when they were face to face with the great question of the Establishment there would be practically no Establishment at all."*That is the argument of Demetrius. The hon. Member for West Fife says, "My craft is in danger." He cannot look* See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxx., page 649.994 forward with equanimity to the idea of having to fight a General Election in which he would no longer have a sore to rub in against the Establishment. I only hope that in the changed circumstances which we know are going to greet the hon. Member when he, alas! takes his energies and abilities, of which we are all so proud, to another kingdom, he may find the necessity of a grievance of the Scotch Church not so poignant as it has been hitherto. But really, when we come to discuss the argument underlying the opposition to this Bill, I can only ask the House whether the hon. Member's own description of the Bill as contemptible and small is not more rightly applied to the feeling which generates the opposition to an honest attempt to remove friction, simply because, in so doing, you would do away with a certain grievance.
§ MR. BIRRELL
I do not wish to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but if there is one thing I detest more than another, it is keeping alive a grievance against a religious body simply for the purpose of using it as an argument against that body. The point I made last, and which I attempted, apparently unsuccessfully, to make this year, was that the principle of the Establishment is that the people who own the land in Scotland should pay for it, and I maintain that the principle should not be whittled away in order to remove objections which otherwise obtain to it. If they have an Establishment, let them pay for it.
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
The hon. Member must, I think, entirely appreciate that the whole point of our Bill has been to leave the principle as it is, and that the legal rights and liabilities after this Bill is passed will be exactly the same as they were before. In making that remark I may, perhaps, answer the hon. Baronet as to a matter which puzzled him. There is no intention in this Bill of taking away any right which a cure or a parishioner may possess, such as a right to a seat in the church. With respect to the hon. Member for West Fife, he has been, as he said, unsuccessful in making this point clear to the House both last year and this, because I honestly think he is trying to make a distinction where there is no difference at all. I do not think the principle of the Establishment consists in 995 the necessity of exacting a tax which is legally due, even when the exaction of that tax may cause friction and heartburning, and I cannot see that the taking away of that in any way hurts the principle of the Establishment. But I do understand the phrase which the hon. Member made use of when he said that he was entitled as a supporter of disestablishment to object to the principle being whittled away, so that eventually when we were face to face with the great question there would be no Establishment to deal with. I think this measure is one of a useful character, and I hope the House will agree to the Second Reading.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW (Hawick Burghs)
There are two remarks in the speech to which we have just listened which certainly struck me as worthy of attention. In the first place, my right hon. and learned friend said that the passing of this Bill will remove a practical grievance. He was well aware that if he stopped there his argument would completely fail, and therefore he said it was to remove a practical grievance as the Church is administered. That is the whole thing. If the Church were to administer its affairs upon voluntary lines the practical grievance would disappear. But when the right hon. Gentleman proceeded he made a further most damaging observation in regard to his own plan, namely, that the legal situation of the parties will not be altered in any respect whatever by this Bill. If that be the case, I fail to see why the ratepayers of Scotland and the owners of land should be left to the will of the Kirk Session in the midst of their respective communities to know whether or not they are to be subject to the tax which by law is resolved to be laid upon them. The fact is, I oppose and object to this Bill for the simple and cardinal reason that it recognises and reaffirms the continuance of the assessment with which it deals, whereas I am in principle in favour of the total and immediate abolition of this assessment. It is futile to speak of the hon. Member for Durham as the patron of a nostrum. It is a nostrum which has been well known with reference to the whole doctrine as to civic establishment of religion and endowments. To promote religion by levying rates is not in my opinion any part of the duty of the State, and it is not a service, but a disservice, to 996 religion itself. The same observation applies to a levy of rates for the purpose of promoting the convenience or saving the pockets of those who profess a particular style of religion or particular views as to Church government. We are being troubled with Bills of this kind simply because the Government, with this large majority at its back, is in power, and if we are to be troubled year after year by this kind of infatuation, by a Bill of this description, we cannot be complained against, and we must be forgiven if we feel ourselves forced to affirm and reaffirm the strong proposition which experience in Scotland proves, that wherever you find religion vital and sincere it can pay its own way. You may call this Bill what you like, but in the end you will find that it is this crucial consideration which comes into play. The fact is that this Bill is a Bill for the readjustment and the reaffirmation of a principle which is unsound and erroneous in itself. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Durham that the right and only way to deal with the question is that that unsound and erroneous principle should go at once and for ever from the Establishment of Scotland and the membership within it. The mystery attending this Bill has not been at all cleared up by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. He says that they are the enemies of the Establishment who oppose this Bill. If I mistake not, they are the very poor and the very unwise friends of the Establishment who have promoted the measure. Every man in Scotland must admire the efforts of the Church of Scotland on voluntary lines within recent years, but I very much doubt whether the rank and file of the membership of that Church would care to suffer the imputation of meanness which follows the proposition underlying this Bill, namely, that they are unable to pay their own religious way and to provide for their own religious duties as their fellow Christians and neighbours in Scotland do. I do not desire to examine in anything like detail the provisions of the Bill. It is a very short measure, and its two main provisions are wholly bad and unjustifiable. No such measure as this will ever be of the slightest avail. The only method of dealing with the question properly is the cardinal and radical method of going to the root of the 997 injustice. I agree that there is only odium and discredit attaching to the imposition of this assessment, and I desire equally with hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House to abolish that odium and discredit, but you can do that only by abolishing the injustice. When one looks at the details of the Bill one is instantly struck by the strangeness of the device which Her Majesty's Government have permitted themselves to use in Section 1. If there is one thing more than another in regard to the burdens on landed property that ought to be always kept in view it is that they should be fairly and carefully calculable from year to year, and that they should be imposed and varied, not by a private, but only by public authority. The first section of this Bill is in flat contradiction of that elementary rule. It is proposed that two-thirds of the valued rent heritors in Scotland may resolve to levy Church and manse rates according, not to the real rents, but to what are known as the valued rents. What is valued rent? At the present day valued rent does not represent value, and it in no way whatever represents rent. It is not a truth, but a fiction. It is a complete delusion and an anachronism. It does not represent, but misrepresents, the state of affairs as regards the lands, and the proposal of this Bill is to permit that at the will of certain of your parishioners in Scotland your property should be assessed, not in accordance with fact, but in accordance with fiction, not upon its present day value, but upon the value at which it and other property stood at the time of Oliver Cromwell. A more ridiculous and absurd proposal has seldom been placed before Parliament. The fact is that it is just typical of the struggle which has been going on in the minds of the Government. They desire to retain the assessment upon lands, but to conceal and hide it by manipulations of these valued rent provisions in Sections 1 and 2. Why do they not come boldly forward and say, "This grievance exists; it depends wholly and solely upon the power to raise these funds for religious buildings by means of rates levied upon all, whether they use or do not use the buildings"? Why do not Her Majesty's Government come forward and frankly say that the time for that state of things has come to an end, and that they must abolish the 998 whole of this system and be done with it for ever? The uncertainty attaching to this assessment becomes even more marked under Section 3 of the Bill. That section no doubt marks an advance upon the provisions of the Bill of last year. The scheme of voluntaryism is much widened in this Bill, because the limit of value has risen from £20 to £50. But I ask this simple question: If there is to be any rate attaching to the land of the parish why should you give preferential treatment to certain of the owners of land in the parish? Why should you propose to make difference between ratepayers? According to the provision of Section 1 the resolution upon this subject is to be taken by the valued rent heritors. There are many parishes in Scotland in which the majority of the value is held by one landowner, and therefore we would have introduced into the parishes of Scotland the principle of "please the landowner," because if you please him he may vote that you, the real rent owner, should not be assessed, while if you displease him he will leave the law to take its course. You will be assessed according to the pleasure or displeasure of the largest landowner in the parish. If that be the way in which it is proposed to remove a grievance, I am quite sure you will remove the existing grievance; but you will only replace it by another of far deeper social effect. If you are going to address yourself to this doctrine at all, the House would do better to abolish the whole system under which it is possible to cause payment for these objects to be made by any other persons than those who share the benefits of the buildings, whether the manse or the ecclesiastical edifice itself. I would conclude by saying that I totally disagree with the view that the Church of Scotland or the people of Scotland are in favour of this proposal. It has been suggested in the course of this debate that the majority of the people of Scotland do favour this ridiculous proposal. We can judge of that only by the votes of this House. A similar measure to this was voted on last year, and in favour of it were eighteen Scotch Members, while against it there were twenty-nine.* Who, under these circum-* For debate on Second Reading of the Ecclesiastical Assessments (Scotland) Bill, 26th April, 1899, see The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxx., page 605. (Division List No. 102, page 659.)999 stances, can claim that the opinion of Scotland is favourable to a measure of this kind? This is peculiarly a Scotch affair. In England the remedy has been applied. In Ireland the grievance is entirely unknown. Why then will you not permit Scotland to be governed in this particular in accordance with the voices of her representatives? If that were done I have little doubt of the result. The result would be the rejection of this measure and the total abolition and repeal of these duties. If these rates and duties were abolished I make free to say that the Church of Scotland would not be weakened, but would be greatly strengthened in the performance of its proper work, namely, its spiritual work.
§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
Although I intend to oppose this Bill I offer it a hearty welcome, because, whatever it may or may not do, it is certainly a Disendowment Bill. The hon. Member for Durham says it marks a step in the direction of disestablishment. It should at least, however, mark the disappearance of the old argument levelled against us from pulpits and platforms, in which we were told that if we dared to lay a finger upon the property of the Church we were guilty not only of robbery, but of sacrilege. I hope such arguments are gone for ever. I see on the back of this Bill the name of the hon. Member for St. Andrews Burghs. I wonder what the fishermen of St. Andrews Burghs will think when they see the name of their Member of Parliament upon this Bill. I remember an election there in 1885 in which the hon. Member's father, whose memory we so highly respect, took part. That election was memorable in many ways. The polling day was on a Monday, and on the Saturday the Disestablishment candidate was told that a victory was sure. But between Saturday and Monday in Scotland there comes Sunday, and on that Sunday there came an eloquent minister down to St. Andrews Burghs from Edinburgh, and he preached a sermon upon the text "Will a man rob God?" He told those fishermen that if they voted for disestablishment they would share the sin of Ananias and Sapphira, and probably their judgment as well. Those fishermen fled from the wrath to come and also from the poll, and the Disestablishment candi- 1000 date lost the election. Echoes of that sermon still disturb the equanimity of the fishermen on dark nights; and I wonder what they will say when they see their Member's name on the back of a Bill for robbing God. But it is not on those grounds that I oppose this Bill. I may comfort hon. Gentlemen opposite who are only trying their 'prentice hands at this wickedness that, although I have been cursed for the action I have taken, I am not any the worse for it. I am a member of the Established Church, and if hon. Gentlemen opposite produce any Bill which will benefit that Church, and which will do so without injuring the public I shall give it a hearty support. But I consider it my first duty to look to the public welfare. This is a Bill which, whether it benefits the Church or not, at any rate it does not benefit the public, for it not only robs the Church, but also the public, of part of its property. I maintain that the teinds and the ecclesiastical rates are not only public property, but they are public taxes. Those taxes are being applied according to the law of the country to the established Church of Scotland; they have been changed five times in their purpose, and many of us may live to see them changed a sixth time, but as long as they remain they are public property, and we should not allow them to be alienated or destroyed. In one of its clauses this Bill destroys them, and the rates on Dissenting churches and manses are to go. And why do you do this? It is not the rates that are unjust. It is perfectly fair that a Dissenting church or a Dissenting manse should continue to pay these taxes, but have you not the courage to say that the purpose to which they are applied is unjust and should be altered? And because it suits the temporary convenience of the Church you are obliged to forego these rates altogether. That is the first ground on which I oppose this Bill. But it is a measure which proceeds to its purpose in a disingenuous fashion. Why is it that you have picked out these manses and churches, and why are you going to take the rates off them? Why not take the rates off all Dissenters? You tell us that we are opposing this Bill in a mean way, to retain a disestablishment argument, but you are mean enough to remove these rates because you are trying to remove a disestablishment argument. Why do you 1001 pick out those particular rates? I remember reading an essay by Leigh Hunt, in which he says that fishing would be perfectly impossible if the fish caught were to make a series of squeaks, because they would call down upon them the attention of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. You are now going to take the rates off those who squeak, but fill your basket with those that are silent. If you had a preamble, it would be, "Whereas it is now generally admitted that in principle it is unjust to put a tax upon a Dissenter to support the Established Church, and whereas the Church of Scotland gets a good revenue, and it is necessary to stop the mouths of those who make this a scandal, be it enacted." I will look at this Bill as a Churchman. Suppose I am capable of overlooking the defects I have mentioned, and I ask myself as a member of the Church‗Will it do good to the Church? Not only will this Bill do no good to the Church, and fail to remove the scandal yon wish to remove, but it will perpetuate and advertise it. If you want to put an end to the scandal of collecting these rates you can do it very easily without any Act at all. Why not raise a voluntary subscription? I never knew before that we required an Act of Parliament to allow us to raise subscriptions. If the right hon. Member will introduce an Act to put down public subscriptions I am sure it will be supported from both sides of this House. Under the present system, without any Bill at all, public subscription will work much better than this measure. In the first place, you are more likely to get it; and in the second place, you can apply it more cheaply, and you can deal with Dissenters according to the circumstances of the case. You may pick out one man who is noisy, and you may avoid another who pays quietly. I wonder if any hon. Gentlemen opposite ever attempted to collect subscriptions. If you attempt to collect money from your friends the first thing they do is to find an excuse for not giving anything. I have known friends of mine whose intellect I have held in contempt; when they have been asked for a subscription they develop a logical genius which entirely overwhelms me. That is what will happen in this case. Some Member will go among the congregation and ask, "Will you subscribe to pay off the feuars?" and the answer will be: "I understand you 1002 are going to relieve every man, great or small, rich or poor. I would have been willing to relieve small feuars, but not the rich." What will be the consequence? You are not forced by the Act of Parliament to raise this subscription, but you have to deal with people who do not read Acts of Parliament and who will say you have failed in your legal duty. For these reasons, as a Churchman and as a representative of the public, I shall offer a strenuous opposition to this Bill.
§ MR. WYLIE (Dumbartonshire)
said he would have preferred if the Lord Advocate had brought in a Bill to relieve entirely the real rent heritors, who are mainly feuars from Ecclesiastical assessment, for though the feuars were in the eyes of the law landlords, because they had a perpetual occupancy, yet they were tenants, because they paid a perpetual rent, and if they were relieved it would be a measure of equity. The proposal of hon. Members opposite was to relieve the landlords altogether and make them a present of a very large sum of money. The old Scottish legislators, who framed the Acts for maintaining the churches and manses and schools by assessment on the rent of land, were wise in their generation, and they did a great work for Scotland. If those who had framed the Acts originally had known that Scotland was going to make such remarkable progress, and that the rent of land in Scotland was going to increase by such enormous bounds, and that the population was destined to increase in the same way, they would have framed their enactment accordingly so as to keep pace with the prosperity of the country and the increase of the population, and this question would have automatically solved itself. Taking things as they were, they found that the landlords, the value of whose properties had been most increased by feu duties, had been very much relieved of their assessments by bringing their feuars into the same assessable clause, whilst those who had not reaped so much benefit had to bear the burdens unassisted. For those reasons he believed a more comprehensive measure would have been accepted not only by the Scottish Members, but also by the people of Scotland. He would strongly urge upon the consideration of the Lord Advocate the necessity of altering the Bill in this respect, because he 1003 believed if this were done the measure would meet with general acceptance upon both sides of the House. He thought hon. Scottish Members opposite could not show their sympathy and good feeling to the Church of Scotland subject in a better way than by giving their cordial support to this Bill, and accepting it at least as a large measure of justice.
§ MR. CARVELL WILLIAMS (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)
said that he knew it was somewhat perilous for an English Member to intervene in the discussion of a purely Scottish subject; but the exaction dealt with by the Bill was analogous to another exaction with which we were painfully familiar some years ago. English Church rates and Scottish Church rates appeared to him to differ only in this respect, that whereas in England the rates were appropriated to the maintenance of the churches and services, in Scotland they were applied to the erection and maintenance of churches, and also of manses, but not to the maintenance of services. Both systems, however, were bad, because they involved two things‗one the employment of coercion for the maintenance of religion, and the other the taxing of one set of people for the support of the religion of another set of people. Considering the different ecclesiastical circumstances of Scotland from those of England, he was surprised that Church rates should exist there so long after they had been abolished both in England and Ireland. The history of the exaction in 1004 Scotland seemed as though it would resemble that of England. All sorts of compromises were proposed in England, but the result was that it was enacted that, while Church rates might continue to be made, nobody was to be compelled to pay them, and as a consequence Church rates, whether compulsory or voluntary, had ceased to be made. The Bill they were discussing was less absurd than that of last year, but still contained some absurd provisions. The abatement in the case of those heritors who were not assessed at more than £50 was to be dependent on the goodwill, or ability, of two-thirds of the heritors, and on the liberality, or want of liberality, on the part of members of the Church of Scotland; so that it depended on the collections on Sunday whether the full amount or not was to be paid on the Monday! The result would be a difference in different parishes, and even in the same parish; since what was voluntarily subscribed one year might not be subscribed the next. This Bill was an attempt to perpetuate an odious tax by making it a little less intolerable. Some of its opponents were to be bought off. The saddle was still to be on the wrong horse, but it was to be made a little less galling. He hoped that, if the Bill passed, it would increase the determination of the Liberals of Scotland to get rid of the exaction by abolishing the Establishment.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:‗Ayes, 125; Noes, 83. (Division List No. 93.)1005
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Gibbs, Hn AGH (City of Lond.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Giles, Charles Tyrrell|
|Arnold, Alfred||Corbett, A. Cameron (Gl'sg'w)||Godson, Sir A. Frederick|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Curzon, Viscount||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh||Hanbury, Rt. Hn Robert Wm.|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hanson, Sir Reginald|
|Bethell, Commander||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Bill, Charles||Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)||Heath, James|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Denny, Colonel||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Henderson, Alexander|
|Butcher, John George||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Hoare, Edw Brodie (Hampst'd)|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Elliot, Hon. A. R. Douglas||Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry Cecil|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbys.)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Finch, George H.||Keswick, William|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. (Birm.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Knowles, Lees|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Fisher, William Hayes||Lafone, Alfred|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lawrence, Sir E. D.- (Corn.)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Forster, Henry William||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlin'ton||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Pierpoint, Robert||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Lowe, Francis William||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Tomlinson, Wm Edw. Murray|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Purvis, Robert||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Richards, Henry Charles||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Round, James||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Rutherford, John||Wylie, Alexander|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Wyndham, George|
|Muntz, Philip A.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H (Redfrew)||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES‗Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Spencer, Ernest|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Asher, Alexander||Fenwick, Charles||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. Henry||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund||Palmer, George W. (Reading)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.|
|Baker, Sir John||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Billson, Alfred||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Harwood, George||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Souttar, Robinson|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Holland, William Henry||Steadman, William Charles|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Burns, John||Jones, William Carnarvonsh.||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Burt, Thomas||Kearley, Hudson E.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Kilbride, Denis||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Caldwell, James||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)|
|Cameron, Sir Charles (Glasgow)||Lewis, John Herbert||Ure, Alexander|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Macaleese, Daniel||Wallace, Robert|
|Channing, Francis Allston||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Q.'sC.)||Wason, Eugene|
|Clough, Walter Owen||MacNeill, John Cordon Swift||Weir, James Galloway|
|Colville, John||M'Crae, George||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Crilly, Daniel||M'Dermott, Patrick||Williams, John Carvell (Notts|
|Crombie, John William||M'Ewan, William||Wilson, Henry J. (York. W. R.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Ghee, Richard||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Dewar, Arthur||Maddison, Fred.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Morley, Rt. Hon. J. (Montrose)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES‗Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. Munro Ferguson.|
|Doogan, P. C.||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)|
|Dunn, Sir William||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be committed to the Standing Committee on Law, etc."‗(The Lord Advocate.)
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
I object to this Bill being sent to the Standing Committee on Law. It is a matter of public policy which does not require any expert legal knowledge, and we ought to have the matter discussed in Committee of the House. Very few 1006 Scotch Members are on the Standing Committee on Law; I myself, for instance, am not on that Committee, and would not be appointed to it except by some kind of favour. There is this peculiarity about the Standing Committee on Law. Its members cannot possibly attend; they are Government officials and lawyers in practice, and the result is that the Committee must go hunting about for a quorum. What is the use of sending a Bill of this kind to a Committee which practically consists of English lawyers who do not understand the law relating to Scotland? There is not any great amount of business before the House; 1007 we have nothing else of great importance to discuss. I do not think the Government can complain of the time taken up by the Second Reading, as every hon. Member was anxious to state his views shortly, and I do not think they have any reason to anticipate a long discussion in Committee of the House. If the Bill is referred to the Standing Committee on Law it will have to come back to the House on Report, and it may then be found that more time will have to be occupied on the Report stage than if the Bill were committed to the Committee of the whole House in the first instance. There are Members from Scotland on both sides of the House who understand the whole of this matter, and it should not be referred to a Committee of legal experts who know nothing about it.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I think it only right to explain the reasons which have induced the Government to suggest that this Bill should be referred to the Grand Committee on Law. It is quite true that the general principle of the Bill is such that it ought to be discussed in this House, but the general principle having been once decided, the details of the measure seem to me eminently of a kind which fit them for proper discussion in a Grand Committee, and which are more fitted for discussion in a Grand Committee than for a discussion in Committee of the whole House. The hon. Gentleman has stated that there are not many Scotch Members on the Grand Committee, and among other omissions that he himself is not a member. I believe there is a provision in our Standing Orders by which omissions of that kind can be remedied, and I have no doubt the Committee of Selection will take care that Scotch opinion shall be fully and adequately represented on the Grand Committee. Under these circumstances I would ask the House not to resist this Motion. The hon. Gentleman 1008 tells us that the business of the session is not of such an onerous character that we should send a Bill upstairs which ought to be discussed here. I have two answers to that; in the first place, it may turn out that the business may take more time than the hon. Gentleman thinks, and, in the second place, this is clearly a Bill for the Grand Committee. Its details are not of a kind which are interesting to the whole House, and I hope, therefore, the House will agree to the motion.
§ MR. COLVILLE (Lanarkshire, N.E.)
I join in the protest of my hon. friend against this Bill being referred to the Grand Committee on Law. It must be remembered that only a short time was occupied on the Second Reading.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Second Reading having been now discussed, it cannot be re-opened even in Committee of the whole House.
§ MR. COLVILLE
If the Bill is committed to the Standing Committee on Law, only a few Scotch Members can take part in the discussion of its details. I strongly object to this proposal because it would debar the majority of the Scotch Members from discussing this Bill.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR (Forfarshire)
I remember in the case of a Scotch Bill which was recently sent to a Grand Committee, fifteen Scotch Members were added to the Committee on the ground that it was a purely Scotch measure. This is also a purely Scotch measure.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I should look with great favour on any such course, but the composition of the Committee does, not rest with me.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:‗Ayes, 100; Noes, 65. (Division List No. 94.)1010
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Bethell, Commander||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready|
|Arnold, Alfred||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cook, Fred Lucas (Lambeth)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Curzon, Viscount|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Dalkeith, Karl of|
|Beach, Rt. Hn Sir M. H. (Bristol||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chath'm||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool||Round, James|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lowe, Francis William||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Rutherford, John|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J (Manch'r||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Finch, George H.||Macdona, John Cumming||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir Herbert E.||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks)|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Spencer, Ernest|
|Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H. (City of L.)||More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptfrd||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Muntz, Philip A.||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir J. Eldon||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Hanson, Sir Reginald||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Parkes, Ebenezer||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Heath, James||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)||Williams, Joseph P. (Birm.)|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Pierpoint, Robert||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Henderson, Alexander||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wylie, Alexander|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Powell, Sir Frances Sharp||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Keswick, William||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Knowles, Lees||Purvis, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES‗Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Lafone, Alfred||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Fenwick, Charles||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Asher, Alexander||Flavin, Michael Josph||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Gurdon, Sir Wm. Brampton||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Baker, Sir John||Harwood, George||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. C. H.||Souttar, Robinson|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Steadman, William Charles|
|Burns, John||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Burt, Thomas||Kilbride, Denis||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow)||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Macaleese, Daniel||Ure, Alexander|
|Clough, Walter Owen||MacDonald, Dr M. A. (Queen'sC||Wallace, Robert|
|Crilly, Daniel||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Weir, James Galloway|
|Crombie, John William||M'Dermott, Patrick||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||M'Ewan, William||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Ghee, Richard||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Denny, Colonel||Maddison, Fred.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Dewar, Arthur||Morley, Rt. Hn. J. (Montrose)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES‗Mr. Caldwell and Mr. Colville.|
|Doogan, P. C.||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Power, Patrick Joseph|
§ Bill committed to the Standing Committee on Law, etc.