suggested, that before the right rev. Prelate moved the second reading of the Bill, strangers should withdraw. No one could be a more warm friend to the publicity of their debates than he was, but there were subjects which might be discussed more advantageously with closed doors, and this he thought was one of them. The withdrawal of strangers would prevent the papers which they would find on their breakfast tables to-morrow morning from containing statements which might alarm the fathers of families, he would therefore suggest that strangers should withdraw.
The Bishop of Exeter
said, he would not presume to interfere with the exercise of the noble and learned Lord's discretion, if he felt inclined to make a Motion on this subject. He thought their Lordships should know nothing of strangers being present they could not conceive such a thing. He had no eye for strangers. If the noble and learned Lord thought that the debate ought not to be heard by strangers he might move that they should withdraw; but he (the Bishop of Exeter) begged to say that it was not his intention to state anything which he would object to have placed on the table of every house in town to-morrow. It was gratifying to see so much scrupulous regard for the moral feelings of the public displayed in that House; but he had never before remarked it when Divorce Bills were being discussed.
could not allow this discussion to go on, and it was contrary to all order that they should ever talk about strangers, because the moment they noticed that any strangers were in the House, the Standing Order would remove them as of course.
The Bishop of Exeter
resumed. He had a petition from the Mayor and other inhabitants of Exeter, from the inhabitants of Tiverton, Totness, and Ottery St. Mary, in Devonshire, in favour of the Bill; also a petition from the Mayor, Magistrates, Clergy, and 8,000 inhabitants of Bath. He had also a petition from the City of Norwich stating facts of great importance relative to the statistics of prostitution in that city, which disclosed a state of moral degradation that was perfectly shocking. He had some further petitions from the neighbourhood of Bath, in favour of the Bill. In moving the second reading of the Bill he was anxious, first, to state what the Bill did not propose to do, because he was afraid some part of the language of the Bill might purport to do what certainly he did not intend it to effect, namely, to put down and visit with the penalties of the law, of that Statute at least, those cases in which persons might be living together as man and wife without being actually married. That was not a case which he contemplated, though it had been suggested to him by a noble Friend, that some parts of the Bill might apply to it. He should be happy, however, to see such parts of the Bill altered in Committee. There was nothing in the Bill that had any relation whatever to the suppression of prostitution. In saying this, it would not he imagined that he looked on prostitution as a light evil, but this he could say, he did not think it was a matter for legislation—the punishment of prostitution he held to be a thing impossible; and why was it impossible? He had no notion that the wisdom of man could devise a punishment that should inflict so much of suffering and degradation as prostitution itself. He had no notion, therefore, that the law could by possibility devise any punishment that should act in terrorem against prostitution. He must also say, that he had a still stronger reason for not proposing to legislate on this subject. He held prostitution itself to be an awful punishment in itself, which the God of Mercy had designed, in order to terrify innocent females from falling into those tremendous evils which were appointed as a punishment of the violation of chastity. To attempt to punish prostitution was as wild a scheme in his view, as if the guilty Cities of the Plain had thought of issuing a law against the storm of fire and brimstone 879 of God, or as if the Israelites in the Wilderness had thought of legislating against the Destroying Angel of the Lord, who slew them for giving themselves to Baal. He had stated that he did not propose to legislate against prostitution, but it must not be considered that he declined to do so because he thought prostitution to be necessary—no such thing—he should blush for himself if he dared to get up in a British House of Parliament, and say he thought prostitution necessary, and it was mere cant in some persons to say that it was necessary in order to prevent greater evils from prevailing—it was a libel upon the people of England and against God, who never would have fixed his Canon against that thing if it were a necessary thing. It might be said that where there were great masses of population, it was necessary that there should be prostitutes; but why in great masses more than in the rural districts? In the country men passed their lives without seeing prostitutes—he did not mean to say that every woman was wholly modest—but this he would say that in the rural districts men grew up to maturity, and were gathered to their fathers without seeing prostitution. It was his own fortune at one time to be the Minister of a populous parish in the county of Durham, and it was his misfortune to be obliged to act as a Magistrate, in consequence of the paucity of country gentlemen. He found the state of morals to be shocking; a vast number of young women were constantly applying to him to make orders of affiliation. . Upon expressing his horror to the Magistrates' Clerk, he was told it was very true these things occurred, but he believed there was hardly one case in ten of infidelity on the part of the young men, and that they generally married before the child was born. The Magistrates' Clerk then went on to explain to him what was the real state of morals in that crowded population of miners, and he assured him that there was not a single prostitute in the neighbourhood—not a woman in the whole of the district, as he believed, from a full knowledge of the fact, who could be termed a prostitute. Then he would say, it was absolute cant to talk of the necessity of prostitution. There was another point which he had not touched on in his Bill, the omission to do which might perhaps excite more surprise: there was nothing it which touched the seducer. Was that because be thought lightly of the sinfulness of those who were seducers? No; they 880 might well believe that was not the case. Of all the followers of Satan—of all the ministers of Satan—there were none so thoroughly Satanical as the seducer; and if it were possible for human laws to reach him, there was no punishment that ought to be forborne—no rank, as he was sure their Lordships would agree with him, ought to be exempted; for where there was high rank there ought to be the greater purity; there was no rank in which a seducer stood where he would not seek him out, and would direct all the vengeance of the law, if it were in his power, and hurl it against the noble or royal head that dared to commit that offence. But he would frankly own that he saw not how the law could reach it—he knew not how any Act of Parliament could be framed or any indictment laid, that could specify seduction. More than that, if he were not stopped by this objection, he should be by one far more powerful. Seduction could never be proved without the evidence of the unhappy victim, and no consideration—not even the power of hurling deserved vengeance on the head of the seducer, could induce him to put the unfortunate woman into the witness-box—he would not say to prove her frailty—but all the arts used against her. The seducer not only defiled the body, but the soul of his wretched victim, and when she had been betrayed—when she had fallen—there was no course left for her but repentance. He recognized the sacred, the hallowed rites of repentance —the duty of repentance — which could not be discharged by any person who was taught by the law to seek for vengeance against him who had inflicted the injury upon her; nor could it be truly exercised by any one who was trying to find out an excuse for her fall, as she would be if she sought to bring evidence against her seducer. It was for her to feel what the aggravations of her own guilt had been, and confess them to Him who, when confession was made and repentance felt, would forgive; and in order to show that she truly repented, she must not be a witness in her own behalf. For her sake then— not for the man's—he should not dare to attempt to punish the seducer. But although he should think it right not to interfere with first parties at all—he inquired not into their conduct—this he did intreat their Lordships to join him in doing, to show, that as far as the law could prevent it, they would put down that iniquitous, that impious traffic in the souls of the 881 weaker sex. If they could devise any means by which procurers and procuresses, might be brought to justice, they should not consent to live a single day without endeavouring to put it down. He feared that this was the first attempt in this country to legislate upon this subject; but he was not without high authority for the course he had proposed. He might be permitted to remind the noble and learned Lords that by the law of the Emperor Ulpian—these were in the days of heathen Rome—lenones were declared legally in-famous, and incurred cruel incapacities. Justinian, in his wondrous collection of wisdom, the Pandects, was the first Christian Emperor who made a law against lenocinium; and he based that law on Christian motives and principles. His 14th Novella, tit. de Lenonibus, was in substance the same as the Bill now before the House. The law drawn up by Justus Scaliger, and extolled by Robertson in his "History of Charles V." contained similar enactments to those which he was about to ask their Lordships to make part of the English law. But why need he go into ancient law for authorities? There was scarcely a nation in Europe in which procurers and procuresses were not dealt with as criminals; and most certainly there was not a nation in Europe in which brothels were not dealt with as places which ought to be suppressed. True it was, that brothels were not treated by the law of every land in the same way. There were two or three ways in which they might be treated; they might be permitted to exist without punishment; they might be altogether forbidden; or they might be permitted by law provided they were licensed. Of these three cases he had no hesitation in saying that the law of England as it at present stood was the only one which ought to be endured. The licensing of brothels he hoped would never be permitted in this country—it was saying that the practice of sin should be made law. This country, he hoped, would maintain its old law, which forbade the keeping of brothels at all. In his Bill he recognised the old law, which said that the keeping of a brothel was an indictable offence. The Statutes of this country hitherto had endeavoured to enlarge the powers of the law, in order to enable it to deal better with this offence, and in a Statute passed in the 25th year of the reign of George II., chapter 36, certain powers were given, to enable police officers and others to proceed by information. He 882 did not mean to say that it had not been productive of any good; on the contrary, even in a very recent instance, a great deal of good had been wrought by the law in its present state; but it was a most rare occurrence. The present law could never be put in force but by individuals who were willing to brave the taunts and ridicule which it was so common for wicked men to cast out against those who were determined to discharge an odious duty, and deal with vice as it ought to be dealt with. A gentleman who lived near Fleet Street, and who was connected with one of the insurance offices, finding that the nuisance of prostitution had become so great that a modest woman could scarcely pass through the street at noonday, determined to interfere, and obtained from the officers of St. Bride's parish some assistance in putting the law into force. He succeeded in that parish, and then tried others, and altogether no fewer than sixty-three houses were put down; but this was done at very considerable expense. The sum of 379l. 14s. was charged for having put down seven houses in the Liberty of the Rolls. That would suffice to show that private individuals could not attempt alone this herculean task; even if they did, he contended that the tedious, tardy process of indictment, was little suited to the offence with which it had to deal. He hoped, therefore, their Lordships would consent to the propositions in his Bill, which would give powers to the police in respect to brothels, which they already possessed in respect to gaming houses. If he were to state why he conceived such a measure as the Bill before the House was necessary, he was bound to produce some cases of the horrors that existed — of the tremendous crimes which were committed. He was assured, upon evidence which could not be contradicted, that even violations were committed upon females in many of the brothels, which, unhappily, were suffered to pass with impunity, because the unhappy sufferers felt it would only be a greater aggravation of their sufferings to have their shame exposed. It would be easy if necessary, to bring proofs of such cases. There were less horrible cases, although bad enough, and he would venture to trespass on their Lordships with two or three. He spoke on the authority of statements which had gone through the police offices, and which were therefore entitled to the utmost credit; but if they were entitled to the slightest credit, he was sure their Lordships would 883 think it sufficient reason to support the Bill before the House. The Committee of the Society for the Protection of Young Women reported—That they were engaged in prosecuting a woman named Emma Stone, for decoying a child of eleven years of age from her parents into a brothel. The crime was clearly proved against this woman and she was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment, with hard labour. Cases of this kind are always difficult of proof; and this will in some measure account for the very few in which the Committee have been enabled effectually to interfere. They are, nevertheless, exceedingly numerous; to prove this, it need but be stated, that the keepers of brothels at the west end of London supply their houses with a constant succession of young women through the agency of the procurer. This society once indicted a brothel-keeper, and were in a condition to prove that she allowed an individual a considerable salary, together with travelling expenses, for supplying her house with young women. This he did chiefly by going into the country and hiring them, frequently with the consent of their parents, under pretence of procuring for them some respectable service or occupation in London. On their arrival in town they were taken to the house of the brothel-keeper, where their ruin was effected.Such was the statement which had been made. That very day a friend of his had informed him of a case of a similar character, which however, fortunately, did not end unhappily. The niece of a Welsh clergyman saw an advertisement in the paper of a situation for a young female "in a respectable house in London," and being unwilling to be a burthen to her family, she came to London for the purpose of seeking this situation. She went to the direction and found two servants of respectable appearance, and was introduced to a person who appeared to be a lady of great reserve and restraint in her demeanour, who questioned her about her knowledge of London, and rejoiced to find that she had no friends in the metropolis excepting one, a cabinet-maker. She was asked if he was in a large way of business, and replied that he was only just able to do for himself. "Then," said the supposed lady, "you will do exactly for me, because you have no followers," and she offered the poor girl twenty guineas a year. She went to her relative, the cabinet-maker, and told him what she had been offered. He was struck by the amount, and his suspicions being awakened, he told her to pause. On inquiry, he found that it was 884 one of those infamous houses which he trusted his Bill would put down. It was also stated in the Report, that one person, a proprietor of six infamous houses, had established an agent at a house between Slough and Windsor, on the Great Western Railway, with instructions to engage country girls as servants. The matter attracted the notice of the clergyman, the brother of a noble Lord, a Member of that House, who was never heard of except in connection with public virtues—the hon. and reverend Mr. Osborne. He took up the case. The women absconded; but the husband of one presented himself, and he, having stated himself to be ignorant of the proceedings, as indeed it proved that he was, offered to give any engagement that he would quit the spot; which was acquiesced in, as the object was to get rid of the nuisance. These cases might be multiplied to a great extent. Even since the Bill had been before the House, a case had occurred at Bristol which had been brought before Alderman Hughes and Alderman John Johnson, in London. A girl brought before them, when asked, "Where do you want to be passed to?" replied, "To Ireland." And when further asked, "What brought you here?" she burst into tears, and said, that she and twelve other young females had been induced to leave Ireland, by the assurance of an apparently respectable person, that he should be able to procure them good situations; but that on their arrival at Bristol they had been taken to a brothel, and in a few hours she was ruined. The great point to be obtained by this Bill was a summary process. He was not content to leave the matter to the inert process of the Common Law, which was not enforced on account of the expense. Why should expense be incurred? Why should they he more careful of these dens of infamy than of places for gambling? He asked them to give the law the same force against both and he would be satisfied. On this subject, he would refer to an authority which he was sure would have great weight with their Lordships; he meant the Report of the Select Committee of the other House on the subject of Gaming. If private individuals choose to make wagers with each other, there seems to be no good reason why they should be prevented from doing so, or why they should be punished for so doing. But while they consented to allowing individuals to ruin themselves, they could not consent that houses should be opened by 885 those who lived on the ruin of those persons. They, therefore, said—Your Committee have to express their regret that the existing enactments for the suppression of common gaming-houses have not hitherto accomplished the purpose for which they were intended. It appears that many houses of this description have been open nightly in the metropolis; and that the parties who are concerned in these establishments have been in the habit of frequenting country races, and of setting up their gaming tables, either in booths on the race-course during the day, or in hired apartments in some adjoining town during the night.They then made a remark as to the feeling from which arose the inefficiency of the present law—It is stated that some difficulty has been experienced in finding householders willing to make the necessary affidavits, such persons being apprehensive that by so doing they might expose themselves to annoyance, and get themselves into trouble; and it also appears that in some cases it has happened that after such affidavits have been made, and after the subsequent authority to enter has been given, some time has elapsed before that authority has been acted upon by the superintendent. The fact seems to be, that the officers of the police have felt in these matters an apparently overstrained fear of being thought to exercise too vigorously the powers conferred upon them by the law. Your Committee believe that such fears on the part of the police are groundless. The public has no sympathy with the keepers and frequenters of these common gaming-houses; and a display of activity on the part of the police in carrying into effect the law for the suppression of such houses must always, your Committee are convinced, meet with general approbation.Had the British public any greater sympathy for other dens of horror? He was sure that the police would meet with similar approbation if they vigilantly carried out the law, when it should be made, which should give them similar power to suppress brothels. He was rejoiced to see so many of their Lordships present, because he was addressing probably 100 Lords, and he believed if he were addressing every Member of their Lordships' House, there would not be one who would not say, "Let us at all events go into Committee and see if anything can be done to remedy this evil." And being assured that this would be their unanimous feeling, he would do no more than move the second reading of the Act for the more effectual Suppression of Brothels, and of Trading in Seduction and Prostitution.
The Earl of Fitzhardinge
begged to 886 return his thanks to the right rev. Prelate, and in this he was sure he echoed the sentiments of every noble Lord, for his able and eloquent speech, and for his practical statement and he hoped the House would at all events suffer the Bill to go into Committee. The research and labour of the right rev. Prelate did him great credit; but he would ask whether, in the course of his researches, he had ascertained one point which had been publicly stated and to which he had never seen any contradiction, and he presumed that it would be impossible to give to it a contradiction, because it related to a body, who, if the blame were unmerited, would not readily lie under the charge. A little more than two and a half years ago, he had seen a statement, that of the most notorious brothels in London, those which were the property of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster were the most numerous. It was stated that in a place called the Almonry—a spot with which he was not acquainted—there were twenty-four notorious brothels all the property of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, being in the proportion of two brothels to one prebend. In the Orchard Street district it was said, that there were thirty brothels; in the Pye Street district, that there were forty brothels; and in York Street twenty: and that all in the Almonry and most of the others, were the property of the Dean and his reverend associates in their corporate capacity; and he did think that in the fair exercise of the rights of property, and with their peculiar duties, such a body might have done something to put down the evil before their Lordships were called upon to legislate. The statement appeared in a newspaper in December, 1841, rather more than two years ago, and he had been astonished that no contradiction had been given to it, because it showed rather an inconsistency of conduct on the part of the Dean and Chapter. It would be recollected that the Dean and Chapter of Westminster had refused to place in Westminster Abbey, on the score of morals and religion, a statue of Lord Byron. He did not quarrel with them for that decision, if they really believed the reception would be injurious to morals or religion; but he thought it was gross inconsistency in their rejecting the one and admitting the other, except there was this distinction, which they might have 887 taken into consideration, that the statue would not pay any rent, and that the other would. He would be happy to give the right rev. Prelate his best support. He thanked him for his proposal, but the conduct of the Dean and Chapter reminded him of those, whoCompound for sins they are inclined to,By damning those they have no mind to.The Bishop of Gloucester always understood, that whenever it was the intention of any noble Lord to make an attack, it was usual to give notice of it ["Oh, oh."]; such had been his observation. He would not say that any noble Lord had any other motives than those which were perfectly correct and Parliamentary, and he would, therefore, suppose that the noble Earl, in his extraordinary address, was only actuated by the best motives in his attack upon the Dean and Chapter. He (the Bishop of Gloucester) happened to be a Member of the body ["Laughter"] against which the noble Earl had expended all this indignation, this virtuous indignation; and all he knew of the subject their Lordships should hear immediately ["Laughter."] What was it that struck any noble Lord—that attacks of this kind upon persons of station and character who were entitled to respect, were fit subjects for ridicule and amusement? At not quite so long a period as that stated by the noble Earl, but many months ago, he remembered to have seen, not in a newspaper, but in a handbill, sent by the post, assertions which fell short, indeed, in atrocity, of those mentioned by the noble Earl, but still calling upon the Dean and Chapter of Westminster to put down, on a portion of their property called the Almonry, the houses of ill-fame. He took an early opportunity of mentioning the subject to the late Dean, who was then in an infirm state of health; it was brought before the Chapter, and it turned out that the whole of the property was out of the control of the Dean and Chapter—it was found to be held on lease for forty years; but as soon as it was known that the inhabitants were disreputable, a renewal of the lease, which had then nearly run out, had been refused. A step had, therefore, been taken by letting the lease run out. Not only this, but on his urging them, they had taken a still stronger step: out of the money, which the noble Earl supposed they were so fond of, they purchased the remainder of the lease; and he had last year the satisfaction, from the testimony of his own senses, of knowing that the houses 888 had all been pulled down—they had destroyed these disreputable buildings, and he trusted that the inhabitants of Westminster would, within no long time, find them replaced by good and creditable houses. He thought, however, that the sting of the noble Earl's speech was in the innuendo, that while the Dean and Chapter retained these buildings for the purpose of putting money into their pockets, they refused to place the statue of Lord Byron in the Abbey, because it would render no money. That was the charitable construction which the noble Earl was pleased to put upon their conduct. If his Lordship would be good enough to reverse the facts, he would get nearer the truth. The Dean and Chapter did put an end to the tenure of the houses at a direct and immediate pecuniary sacrifice and personal expense, whilst in the other case, they had refused to admit the statue of Lord Byron into the Abbey, although it would have been a source of direct and positive profit to them. He regretted that the noble Earl should have taken the House by surprise, and made such a statement without giving due notice. But he hoped, notwithstanding, that he had vindicated the body to which he belonged from the aspersions attemped to be cast upon them.
The Lord Chancellor
thought it impossible, after the eloquent speech of his right rev. Friend, to say anything more in favour of this Bill. He had pointed out some objections in its framework which might be altered in Committee, but it was impossible to add anything to the eloquence of his noble Friend.
agreed with his noble and learned Friend that there would be no great use in prolonging this discussion. This was one of those cases in which he would not say that the less said was the better, but on which, with a due regard to convenience, as they were all agreed to go into Committee, it was better not to prolong the discussion. But upon the other point which had been introduced, he would ask whether the Dean and Chapter might not have reconsidered their refusal to place in Westminster Abbey the monument of Lord Byron. He did not think there was any one passage in the history of this country of late years so discreditable to our national taste, to our reason, and to our good sense, as the refusal to admit this statue. It was the result of a subscription of large amount—he believed 889 2,000l.—it was by some said to be the masterpiece, or very nearly the masterpiece of the great sculptor and the most illustrious artist of modern time, his late friend Thorwaldsen: and its subject was one whose great genius as a poet was as incontestible as his frailties were to be deprecated and lamented. He was not disposed to defend those frailties, but they could not be blind to the genius which shed a lustre which would never perish, and on the country which gave him birth. He did not speak of him from any personal predilection or friendship, for he had unfortunately been thrown into personal hostility with him which had endured for twenty years, and which had been recorded by the poet. He thought that the objectionable passages were very few compared with the whole writings, and he put it to the justice and good sense of the Dean and Chapter whether the same rule might not exclude some of our highest naval and military commanders, and whether it would be improper, after the monuments already there, to rescind their refusal, and to admit the statue of that illustrious poet into its proper place among the mighty dead in their Abbey.
The Bishop of London
hoped that the Dean and Chapter of Westminster would never allow the statue of Lord Byron to be placed in Westminster Abbey. In common justice to that reverend body, he felt called upon to express his entire approbation of their conduct with respect to that statue. The object they had in view was a far higher one than the advancement of national taste, or the vindication of the national character; that object was the conservation and protection of the national religion and the national Church. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster did not institute any inquiry into the private and moral character of Lord Byron, they simply took into their consideration the tenour and the influence of the several works that he had published on which the subject of religion was mentioned. All the objections which had been urged on that score against the eloquent historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire might be urged with equal justice, and with equal force, against the works of the great poet whose name had been just mentioned. Almost every one of his poems—certainly a great deal too many of them—contained innuendos, descriptions, and assertions, which, 890 on the ground of morals as well as religion, disqualified the writer, in his opinion, from any right to claim admission after his death into a sanctuary consecrated to the worship of Christ. It was, therefore, unjust of the noble Earl to attack a most respectable body of ecclesiastics because, in pursuance of the solemn obligation imposed upon them by their sacred duty, they had sought to defend the national religion by excluding from the house of God the statue of an individual, however illustrious, whose memory lay under such an imputation. He was quite sure his noble and learned Friend would not for a moment assert that Lord Byron had as good a right to a place in Westminster Abbey as those great poets who had never given utterance in their works to an expression repugnant to religion or morality. The noble Lord, for instance, would not, he was satisfied, compare Lord Byron with Shakespere or Milton. He must express his cordial concurrence in the refusal of the Dean and Chapter, and he hoped they would adhere to their resolution not to admit into the sanctuary of which they were the guardians the statue of that great poet and distinguished genius. As conservators of the national religion, they were bound to deny the high honours accorded only to illustrious Christians to one who, practically speaking, was not a Christian—at least in his writings.
thought the right rev. Prelate had taken much of his complaint for granted without any proof. He would not say one word as to Milton, who, though he differed from the Established Church, was a great friend to religion; but when the right rev. Prelate mentioned Shakespere as a pattern of strict morality, why he could point out in Shakespere more gross indecencies than ever could be found in Lord Byron. Could they doubt it, when an excellent gentleman had thought it necessary to publish a castrated edition of Shakespere, called the Family Shakespere—leaving out those passages which were so indecent that they ought not to be read by any daughters in a family? Whereas, he had never heard of a Family Byron, for the passages were so very few that the edition would hardly pay the expense.
The Earl of Lovelace
, after all the arguments which had been urged for or against the admission of the statue of Lord Byron into Westminster Abbey, had hoped that 891 there would have been more inclination on the part of the Dean and Chapter to overlook the objectionable passages in his writings; and he was extremely sorry to find that they had not so done. And when he recollected that the Abbey contained the monument of Dryden, who died a Catholic and an apostate from the religion of the Chapter, he thought that, at least, the statue of Lord Byron might find a place.
The Bishop of Exeter
wished that they had some national place, not a church, in which these monuments might be fitly placed. Let them have a National Gallery worthy of the nation—not a work which was a disgrace to our country; and he hoped he might yet live to see a National Gallery fit to contain these monuments.
thought the object of the Bill desirable, and expressed his earnest wish that they would go into Committee; but they must bear in mind the distinction between a sin and a crime; between what was sinful in the eye of God, and what was a crime that could be redressed by the law of man. He believed that the right rev. Prelate had by no means exaggerated the evil, but he doubted whether much more could be done as a remedy by legislation. When there was any outbreak against public decency, they should redress and punish it; but if they went beyond this they were in danger of doing more harm than good. He would advert to the statute passed in 1650, which was most stringent in its provisions against adultery and fornication, and contrast it with the practice of the times which almost immediately followed it, when Charles II. was on the throne, and a degree of profligacy prevailed, unequalled perhaps in the annals of any country. He trusted that when the Bill came into Committee it would be so framed as to attempt what was practicable and desirable, and not endeavour to do by positive law what was only to be accomplished by an advance in religion and morality.
§ Bill read a second time.
§ House adjourned.