§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
LORD JAMES or HEREFORD
My Lords, I shall not occupy the attention of 496 your Lordships for more than a few moments in stating the course I propose pursuing in relation to this Bill. It is a Bill containing, I believe, a very practical and useful reform. In substance it is to substitute, for the fifteen days' residence in a parish required now by law before a marriage can be solemnised, fifteen days residence within the diocese. That operation is not a very ambitious one, but at the same time it is one of great practical relief to the laity. A similar Bill was twice introduced into this House by Dr. Temple, once when he was Bishop of London and the second time when he was Archbishop of Canterbury, and was on both occasions passed by this House. It also received the strenuous support of the Episcopal Bench, who supported Archbishop Temple when the division was taken. In these circumstances I felt that there was every prospect of the success of the Bill this year, and that it was likely to receive full episcopal support. But I have received a communication from the most rev. Primate, who, in terms of great consideration, informs me that, although he had been a supporter of the Bill and had spoken on its behalf, he has now, with the knowledge in his possession, come to the conclusion that the present is an inopportune time for dealing with the subject. The right rev. Primate feels that there is great sensitiveness among the clergy in consequence of recent legislation, and that they might think the Bill was designed to disturb the position of parish churches. The Lord Archbishop also feels, I believe, that there are some details in the Bill which require further consideration; hence the is not, as I had hoped, a non-contentious one. Yielding to the great authority of the most rev. Primate, I accept the view that the present is not an opportune time for dealing with the subject, and I therefore ask your Lordships' leave to withdraw the Bill.
§ Order discharged, and Bill, by leave, withdrawn.