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Census Of 1871—Questions

Volume 202: debated on Friday 8 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he will lay upon the Table any representations he has received objecting to the different religious denominations in England being included in the Census of 1871?

Sir, I have examined the many memorials which I have received on the subject of the Census, and I am bound to say there are not any partaking of the character of those which, it is usual to lay on the Table of the House. The right hon. Baronet is, of course, aware that there are other means of ascertaining the opinions of the Nonconformists, and other religious bodies, besides memorials sent to the Home Office.

Sir, in consequence of the unsatisfactory answer I have just received, I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman, Whether he has any objection to state how many Memorials have been presented to the Home Office respecting a Denominational Census, and whether they proceed from Churchmen or from Nonconformists?

Sir, I thought I did state distinctly that I have received no memorials in the ordinary sense of the word. I have received representations which were satisfactory, in the sense that they conveyed to me the feelings of the leading bodies of the Nonconformists on this subject. I never stated that I received memorials respecting a religious Census, and I do not think that the only sources of information on such a subject are memorials. As regards the memorials generally, I am willing to produce them. I may remark, however, that the only demand for a religious Census, as far as England is concerned, proceeds from the Statistical Society or the Society of Arts, I forget which. The other memorials relate to consanguineous marriages, the statistics of education, and other matters, which are very interesting in themselves, but which have no connection with the religious Census. If the right hon. Gentleman will move for the production of the memorials presented to the Home Department on the subject of the Census, I shall have great pleasure in laying them upon the Table.