Order for Committee read.
in moving that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair, in order that the House might go into Committee on the Bill said, that but for the extraordinary and unprecedented course which had been taken in regard to it, he would have contented himself by merely raising his hat when the Order was read. He found himself confronted by two hostile Amendments which had been put on the Paper by the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope) and the hon. and learned Member for Chester (Mr. Raikes). He, however, knew the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge too well. If he once got on his legs to deal with a subject of the kind, no human power would ever bring him down before the time fixed by the rules of the House for closing the debate. Having no wish that the hon. Member should have the whole of the talking that day, he hoped the House would hear him for a few minutes. He desired to explain that as a private Member, he had found it impossible under the rules of the House to bring on his measure on an earlier day, and that he had applied to the Government to help him. Wednesday had been all along his only day. The House had sat 15 Wednesdays, and on those occasions had had 104 Bills to deal with, giving an average of 47 minutes to each Bill. A glance at those figures would show how impossible it had been for him to get on faster. First let him say a word as to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Chester, who desired fuller information on the subject before the passing of a Bill like the present. His thirsty soul yearned for more knowledge and more light; but it so happened the House was in possession of information fuller and more accurate than any ever placed before it in preceding Sessions while with regard to the one placed on the Paper by his hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge, it had had the effect of preventing his bringing on the Bill, because the Government had been unable to afford him any assistance in the matter. A House of upwards of 500 Members—the fullest that had ever divided on a private Member's Bill—had, after a long and eloquent speech against the measure from the Leader of the Opposition, resolved by a majority of 63 to read the Bill a second time. Did the hon. Member think that his ingenuity and his eloquence would prevail where the ingenuity and eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman had failed? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire was very different in opposition from what he was in power, and when in office he might come to consider the Burials Bill was even a Conservative measure. The object of the hon. Member was evidently to gain time, thinking that that being the last Session of the present Parliament, it would be a gain to his cause to put it off until another Parliament should have been elected, and that strong Ecclesiastical spirit by which, according to the Leader of the Opposition, the artizan classes were penetrated, had had time to come into play. Well, he could assure the hon. Member that the supporters of the measure could afford to wait, though it was desirable in the interests of humanity that the question should be settled once and for ever. But delay which was irksome to them was fatal to their opponents. Every debate on this Bill was another nail knocked into the coffin of the Church of England. It would be truly said that a Church which held that Nonconformists should take their choice between being buried like a Churchman and being buried like a dog was no true national Church. He wished his hon. Friend opposite to learn that if the Church of England—which after all was but a creature of compromise—was to be saved at all, it would be saved by timely concessions, and that the most sweeping revolutions were those which were brought about by obstructing moderate reforms.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—( Mr. Osborne Morgan.)
believed that, as time went on and that question was better understood, that Bill met with less and less acceptance from the country, and it was moreover quite impossible that it could be properly discussed at that period of the Session. He agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite the Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan), that the question should be settled once and for ever, though not exactly in the way the hon. Gentleman himself proposed; but in the way desired by those persons who wished to see peace and quietness reign among the inhabitants of our country villages. Since the debate on the Bill would only be of a perfunctory character he moved that the Order be discharged.
Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the said Order be discharged,"—( Mr. Pell,)—instead thereof.
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the compliment of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan) in saying that when once I am on my legs no power on earth can get me down again. If, however, he thinks that by that sort of indirect compliment he will lead me either to lengthen or to shorten my remarks he is mistaken. The question of the Burials Bill has, even since the 26th of March—to which my hon. and learned Friend has referred —vitally changed its character. Still more has it gone through many phases from the first time that my hon. and learned Friend obtained a Select Committee upon his original measure in one of the earliest Sessions of this Parliament. At that date the question was in its romantic or Idyllic stage. It professed to relate to a simple isolated grievance, the removal of which, so we were told, was desired by the kindness of the Nonconformists as a means of strengthening the Established Church of England. It is in the recollection of both sides of the House, that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bristol (Mr. Morley), to whom we may look as the representative of the more moderate and tolerant section of Nonconformity, said that if the removal of this grievance, as he deemed it, were granted, and if the University tests were repealed, Dissenters, as such, would no longer have any grievance left. Well, Sir, University tests have been repealed, so that the only grievance which now remains, according to the statement of the hon. Member for Bristol, is this of dissenters burials. Now, let me take the words of my hon. and learned Friend. He has argued that these pieces of ground are not properly churchyards but graveyards, and he said that they were the property of the parish, and that every parishioner had a right to be buried in them. Without entering into the verbal controversy, I most cordially agree with his second statement. It is the right of every parishioner to seek burial in these yards, and those on this side of the House who think that this Bill is superfluous, were, nevertheless, prepared during the last Session to support a measure which came down to us from "another place," reaffirming the common-law right of all persons to be buried in the parish graveyard, and, further, giving facilities to those who desired to be buried in some peculiar, sectarian, or exclusive manner, to obtain possession of graveyards, in which they could lie free from the contamination of having the bodies of Churchmen for their neighbours. I be- lieve that on this very evening my hon. and learned Friend will carry through Amendments originated in that "other place" giving effect to the last named remedy. So of the two grievances, then, one has by the voice of Parliament been removed, and as to the other, if it does exist in face of the Bill so soon to become law, and in face of the common-law right of parishioners, which no statute, I believe, can make really stronger, we are prepared to meet all reasonable claims on the part of our Nonconforming So much as to the ostensible state of the case in reference to the shape in which it was presented to the Select Committee; but what is the aspect of the matter now? My hon. and learned Friend has great experience in addressing mixed audiences; but with all his ingenious ability, can he argue that the question stands now in the same position as that in which he himself put it when he brought in the Bill this Session? Still more does it stand in the position the hon. Member for Bristol placed it in that former year. He cannot say that it does. He knows as well as any of us that since that time the whole question of the Church of England Establishment has passed from the platform and the lecture-room, and has become a matter on which parties in this House have been formally asked to vote. The disestablishment question having come to the fore, and been taken up by a certain section of the House as the burning question of the day, it is impossible for us to disentangle this so-called grievance from that transcendent issue. It has, even ostentatiously, become a part of the question of disestablishment. We all know that the Liberation Society is the authorized mouthpiece of the disestablishment party. And what said the Liberation Society on the subject of Church property before the period of Irish disestablishment? I claim particular attention to the passage which I am about to cite, and to its date. Before the Irish crisis, the Liberation Society had put forward its "platform," and in that I find these words—
You will observe, Sir, "the application to secular uses ….. of all national property"—national property, without doubt, being intended to include not only tithes and other endowments, but the churches and the churchyards of the Established Church, which we contend are the private property of the Church of England, as Church of England; but which, the hon. Mover contends, are national property. Now, by the Irish Church Act, while life interests only were regarded so far as its monied property was concerned, the buildings and the churchyards were allowed to remain the individual property of the community which had hitherto had the use of them for the purposes of worship and of burial. That is the principle which was sanctioned by the Irish Church Act, and the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire is too good a lawyer not to agree with me upon the value of the precedent as to the use of these buildings and grounds remaining in the hands of the body to whom it had heretofore belonged, instead of a concurrent user being created on the part of other denominations. Well, the Liberation party—which has now become the disestablishment party—encouraged by the success of Irish disestablishment, to make a similar raid upon the Church of England, but anxious, at the same time, if it carried its point in England, that it should be carried on terms more unfavourable to the English Church than to its Irish compeer, has constructed reasons why the churchyards, if not the churches, should be removed out of the category of property which might rightfully remain in the hands of the body who now use them, and should be treated in the words of the programme of the Liberation Society as "national property." Under these circumstances, and whether we like it or not, the question has assumed a totally different position by the movement of the disestablishment party on one side, and by the precedent of the disestablishment of the Irish Church on the other. But there is another contingency which has occurred previously to Irish disestablishment, but which must be taken into consideration as immediately affecting the question. I refer to the abolition of the compulsoriness of church rates, and the transformation of the church rate from a tax recoverable by legal process to a mere free-will offering of the congregations. The church rate having been thus changed into a free-will offering, the maintenance of the parish churchyard fell to the share of those who eared for it; hut, at the same time, the common-law right of every resident parishioner to be buried in it remains just where it was before. For the sake of peace, Churchmen held out the olive-branch to their Nonconformist fellow-citizens by abandoning the compulsory church rate; but, whilst they did so, was any single whisper raised in favour of making the churchyards more exclusive than they were? Was it ever proposed to shut out any man from burial in a churchyard who, as a parishioner, had a right to be interred there? Quite the contrary. In short, the surrender of the compulsory church rate, viewed by the light of fact, and not by the glare of party, was not only the surrender of a claim, but the positive gift of valuable and pre-existent property made in the interests of peace. Churchmen voluntarily took upon themselves to maintain the ground for the joint use of their Nonconformist brethren and themselves, although previously they had a right to call upon those brethren to bear their share of the cost in what was au equal benefit to them; but throughout all the agitation which this burial question has occasioned, and in all the debates which have taken place in this House respecting it, one thing that has struck mo as singular is that I have never seen any suggestion on the part of those who are most zealous in their support of my hon. and learned Friend to take upon themselves any portion of the burthen which they shuffled off, and which we willingly consented to their shuffling off in the cause of peace a few years ago when church rates ceased to be compulsory."The application to secular uses, after an equitable satisfaction of existing interests, of all national property, now held in trust by the United Church of England and Ireland, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and concurrently with it the liberation of those Churches from all State control."
In my first Bill I introduced a clause throwing the maintenance of the churchyard upon the parish, and my hon. Friend (Mr. Beresford Hope) was instrumental in having it rejected in the Select Committee.
I accept my hon. and learned Friend's reminder. The fact is, that he is too good for the party he leads. No doubt, it was his natural instinct of equity which led him to make the proposal, but to that proposal I felt objections which I am not ashamed of. If we had ac- cepted it, we should have thrown away our property in the churchyards. We should have seen them, theoretically, slip through our fingers, in case the question of disestablishment ever becomes more than the means of giving us occasional exercise in the lobbies. In that suggestion my hon. and learned Friend judged wisely for those on whose part he was acting, and who, I must observe, have never shown the least inclination to renew the offer. But it also showed the wisdom of Churchmen in rejecting, at an earlier date, the various compromises by which it was once proposed to settle the church rate question by compulsorily rating all the parishioners for the maintenance of the fabric and the ground, and leaving the expenses of worship to be defrayed by voluntary contributions. If a fabric rate had been conceded, or if the clause, of which my hon. and learned Friend once advocated, should ever form part of a settlement, there could be no doubt that the Nonconformist body would have established a reasonable ground for their claims. But what is the grievance after all? We are all of one mind that every parishioner has a common-law right to be buried in the churchyard of his parish, with a form of words or with no form of words; and the grievance is that, if a form of words is used, it is to be a specified form, and is to be used by a specified man—namely, the parish minister or the chaplain of the cemetery. Well, if there be any grievance in this, it is one that equally affects Churchmen and Nonconformists. If the words contained in the Burial Service of the Church of England were such as could irritate the conscience or pain the feelings of any man, then you would have a grievance; but I do not understand that it is alleged by the most virulent opponents of the present state of things, that there is any conscientious objection to that service. Quite the contrary. It is generally admitted to be a beautiful and scriptural form of words. Then, where is your grievance, I ask? It is simply this—that at a burial taking place in the churchyard, one form of words, and one only, has to be used, and that the persons who use that form of words must be one particular set of officers of the Church of England. Let us take the case of a member of the Church of England who happens to be of an ecstatic, an impulsive, or poetical turn of mind. He thinks that the appointed form of words is not sufficient to express his feelings at the interment of some much loved friend. He covets a funeral oration, or he might desire the cadences of some favourite hymn; or, perhaps, he belongs to a section of the Church which likes to give a more than usual emphasis to the ceremonial arrangements of the service, and would therefore wish to have the funeral service of the Church of England conducted with some unusual pomp and circum stance. That man after death, and his surviving sympathizers, have a grievance identical with that of the Nonconformist. It is as great, if not greater. He cannot be buried in the churchyard in the precise manner which he had directed on his death-bed, or in the way in which his friends, knowing his temperament, might is the grievance, such as it is, of the unconventional Churchman not less than of the Dissenter—namely, that if any form of words be used, that form of words is prescribed according to a particular order, and must be recited by a particular man, and at his discretion in the accessories. I confess that I am totally unable to see any conscientious grievance wrapped up in this limitation. Of course, it is always most pleasant to do a thing in one's own way and in nobody else's. That is human nature. No doubt, for example, the forms of this House are often felt to be onerous by hon. Members, who would like, when the Mace is on the Table, to have the privilege of speaking as frequently as they may do when that Mace occupies inability to do so can hardly be called a-conscientious grievance. In the graveyard everything cannot be said which everyone wants to say, or in the way in which he wants to have it said. Good order and decency require that there should be a limit somewhere; some boundary and some restriction are indispensable; and, by going through one or two points in the able to show that the present system does give the maximum of licence and liberty. The hon. Mover, in the exercise of his rights, spoke ad invidiam, and described a silent burial as "the burial of a dog." A body is gravely, solemnly, and silently placed in the ground. Weeping and uncovered relatives and friends stand around, and gaze with the sadness that must naturally accompany such a ceremony upon the descending coffin. They have already assembled for prayer at the residence of their deceased brother, or in the place in which he formerly worshipped. If you call that the burial of a clog, I assert that you indulge in a licence of speech which no one in this House could with any self-respect attempt to justify. We know that, among Roman Catholics, that form of burial to which my hon. and learned Friend has applied that contumelious expression is the rule. The depositing of the body in the grave with a form of service is a very old and peculiar English custom, that existed long before the Reformation, and so we have inherited it; but in modern churches in communion with the Church of Rome the contrary custom of the Continent has prevailed, and it is now the characteristic practice of Romanists to perform the religious service at the church to which the body is borne, while all that ever occurs at the grave is the occasional utterance of a funeral oration of a secular description. On the other hand, among the Scottish Presbyterians the religious exercises occur at the house of the deceased, and the interment is a silent act. Therefore if putting the body silently into the ground is the burial of a dog, then the burials of those wide sections of Christendom which continue in the communion of the Romish See, or which adhere to the Westminster Confession, are all burials of dogs. I am sure that the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire will not stand by so monstrous an assertion. Let me now give a view of the question from another side, and call upon my hon. and learned Friend, if he can, to justify that view. Here is a statement of the present system of burials which has been sent forth by a gentleman of great authority and well-earned eminence, whose name I will give when I have read his opinion. This gentleman says—
And I call the particular attention of Gentlemen on the Treasury bench to this—"Is the priest, with his one communicant"—whatever that means—"for ever to be quartered upon us as an ecclesiastical dragoon, and for his insult to be fed with tithes and offerings? If there be justice amongst our statesmen—"
I must apologize to the House for reading the words that follow. I would not do so, indeed, if they came from an obscure writer; but the name of the writer will be my justification for reading these words, which I assure the House fall unwillingly from my lips—"they cannot allow such wrong to be perpetual. Since there is justice with the Most High He will not suffer them to go unpunished."
That is another view of the case; and that is signed with the initials "C. H. S." They are the words of Mr. Spurgeon, and I take them from a publication of his called The Sword and Trowel, of April, 1872. Well, this inflated language—which I dare not characterize as I should wish—comes from a man who, of all others, I suppose may be regarded as the representative minister of the religion of the party for whom this Bill is intended; from a man who has collected and holds together and rules the largest and most enthusiastic Nonconformist congregation in London or in all the country. And this man, this Mr. Spurgeon, dares to use the great influence of his eloquence, his labours and his work, to put forward a charge like that; to arraign the Eternal Wisdom and Justice—aye, and to denounce the Eternal himself as unjust if He does not punish—what? The Church of England, for having in every parish in the land a man of God to counsel the simple, to preach to the broken-hearted, and to perform the offices of religion in the Church and the churchyard. These are the words of Mr. Spurgeon recently used, and I could have quoted many strong expressions which were indulged in some 20 or 30 years ago by the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall) and other well-known individuals before they had seats in this House; but I will not revert to them. I quote words which were used only last year—several years after this Burial Bill was brought before the House—as they express the feeling at present entertained by a Nonconformist minister of vast influence who has made himself prominent in the ecclesiastico-political arena among the teachers and preachers of disestablish- ment. The presence of the minister of the parish to perform the burial service is "an insult." It is an "insult" that he should be "fed with tithes and offerings." Does Mr. Spurgeon know what he means? Tithes he may object to, because they are a debt due by the law of the land; but an "offering" I have always thought was a free-will gift. So that actually the Almighty is called upon to pour out his vengeance on a person because Christians out of good will are pleased to make offerings to sustain their own pastor! Again, what is the thunder storm which is gathering in the political atmosphere now? It is the rage of the political Nonconformist body at being called upon to recognize the rights of conscience on the part of the poorest of men when that poorest of men is required to invoke the aid of his richer neighbours in procuring education for his children. Then the rights of conscience are to be as nothing when the power of tyrannizing over a man who is too poor to resist is placed in the hands of the clique who howl at Liberation meetings, and who conspire in the committee rooms of the League. There is I again most confidently assert no grievance to the conscience since the repeal of the compulsory church rate in calling upon the Churchman out of his own pocket to pay for the maintenance of the churchyard; there is no grievance to the conscience in calling upon us Churchmen to put our hands into our pockets and go on sustaining our graveyards, in order to restrain your Mr. Spurgeons, or whoever else it may be, who use such inflated and almost blasphemous language from entering there, and under the pretence of making extemporaneous prayer, denouncing the worship of the great majority of his countrymen, and almost arraigning the wisdom of the Almighty. My hon. and learned Friend, early in this Session, said that he had made a great concession to Churchmen by adopting some words which are the only difference between the Bill of this year and that of last year, and which were suggested by an hon. Friend of mine in this House (Mr. J. G. Talbot) My hon. Friend is one with whom I generally agree; but even he is not infallible, and I must point out to him that his words, which were suggested with the best intentions, and have been adopted by my hon. and learned Friend, are very much the reverse of that palliative which they were intended to be. They occur in the 4th clause of the Bill—"To the Eternal God the Nonconformists appeal against the tyranny of that Popish Church which now lords it over us. O Lord, how long! How long!"
When we do get into Committee on the Bill—which we shall not this year—but, speaking hypothetically, when we do get into Committee—I shall call upon the hon. and learned Member for Denbigh-shire to explain, what he will not be able to do, the difference between taking part in a service and officiating in a service. Surely a man who takes part in a service must open his mouth and utter audible sounds of seine kind or other, and that is very like officiating. But I come now to the Proviso, which is in these words—"At any burial under this Act any person or persons who shall be thereunto invited, or be authorized by the person or persons having the charge of or being responsible for such burial, may take part in any service or other religious act thereat: Provided always, that no person shall officiate at any such religious service who is not a minister or member of some religious body or congregation, having a registered place for public worship: Provided also, that any service, if not according to a published ritual, shall consist only of prayers, hymns, or extracts from Holy Scripture."
Very well; and in a preceding clause it is laid down that in the summer months these funerals shall be between the hours of 10 and 6, and in the winter months between 10 and 3. Now the names of sects are Legion. There is a sect called the "Particular People." There are sects of Positivists, Bible Christians, Negative religionists, and others constantly turning up. In short, the meaning of the term "religious bodies" is simply bodies who have taken out a licence to meet together and to perform some common act of mutual agreement in faith or scepticism in some particular place, while the provision in the 5th clause "no service, nor any part thereof under this Act, shall be other than of a religious character," is equally futile from the non-existence of any definitions of religions in which all can agree. The first thing to do at a burial is, as the French minister lately told the Assembly, to get your body. The funeral has then to be announced according to certain provisions contained in the Bill; but there is not a word in it to say that only one person shall officiate at any one funeral, or that it shall be a man rather than a woman. In fact, any number of both sexes may officiate. Now, let us take some sect—say the Positivists—who already possess chapels so-called in London, and I believe elsewhere. Some one belonging to that body, or to some other extreme knot of thinkers, dies, and a list is sent to the incumbent of the parish of certain ministers or members of that community who will take part in the funeral. They have no published ritual. And so what happens? The body of the deceased person reaches the tomb, and seven or eight gentlemen or ladies appear there, every one of them prepared to take his or her part in the funeral. The service must consist only of prayers, hymns, or extracts from Holy Scripture. Well, we all know what the power of prayer is. We know how much may be pressed into a prayer. There may be a minatory prayer. There may be a prayer which denounces the Almighty, as Mr. Spurgeon did in the extract which I have read, if He does not act on the eternal laws which Mr. Spurgeon lays down for His guidance and direction. There may be also the compassionate prayer—"Provided always, that any service, if not according to a published ritual, shall consist only of prayers, hymns, or extracts from the Holy Scriptures."
Sir, I rise to Order. The question before the House, I apprehend, is the Motion for going into Committee on the Burials Bill.
ruled that the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge was in Order, and that what he was saving was relevant to the matter in debate.
Being permitted by you, Sir, I shall continue my observations. I was engaged, when interrupted by the noble Lord, in analyzing a clause of this Bill, and showing how it was likely to work. The word "prayer" is a word which actually occurs in that clause; and I was pointing out that there may be a minatory prayer, a denunciatory prayer, and a compassionate prayer. A prayer of this last description would be one that the poor sinner who so unworthily fills the pulpit of the adjacent church, and feeds his benighted flock with husks may be brought to see the error of his ways, or that his partner in life, and daughters, may no longer set the bad example to the parish of flaunting in ungodly ribbons and silks on the Sabbath day. Then there may be a prayer that Her Majesty's Ministers may see how they are vexing the souls of the righteous by an Education or Endowed Schools Bill, or by voting against some measure proposed by the hon. Member for Bradford, or perhaps by giving to their Nonconformist supporters that lukewarm support of which my hon. and learned Friend has so pathetically complained this evening, with regard to the present Bill. There may be many things, then, wrapped up in a prayer. But one prayer may not be deemed sufficient. Look how the service may be protracted, when there is no question of time involved, or rather, when the sitting is not from 12 until a quarter to 6, but from 10 to 6, as laid down in the Bill. Number one stands up, rails at the clergyman's doctrine, and prays for his enlightenment; number two prays at the rev. gentleman's wife and family; number three prays at the squire or the patron; number four prays at the Archbishops, Bishops, rural deans, and the Establishment generally; and others will come in their turn to attack Her Majesty's Ministers, the Opposition, and every institution in Church and State—the whole being cheerfully interspersed with extracts from Scripture and appropriate hymns. I believe that an eminent gentleman (Mr. Brad-laugh), who lately went upon a. political mission to Spain, has published a hymnal which has had considerable circulation since attention was called to it in high literary quarters, and this little work may possibly be found useful on the occasion. But, then, as I said, there are also extracts from Holy Scripture. What does that mean? Does it mean that there are to be continuous passages selected and read for the edification and consolation of the mourners? There may be such a thing as stringing together a good many incongruous passages of Scripture—passages relating to priests of Baal—passages referring to Eli's neglect of duty, and his sons' misdeeds, or to the Pharisees and Sadducees. There is no doubt that an ingenious collection might be made of short texts of Scripture, which being brought together would have a meaning and an import very different from that which they carry with them when taken with their own context. My hon. and learned Friend is too good a scholar not to know what is meant by the word "Cento." He knows how passages may be made to carry a meaning which they were never intended to bear. What then, is there in this Bill to prevent some Positivist minister—I will not speak of a Christian minister, but the minister of some sect not Christian, but still "religious" in the sense of this Bill—from following the learned example of Ausonius, and framing his unpublished Ritual accordingly? I meant to have said something upon the subject of conducting burials, as the next clause requires, in a "decent and solemn manner;" but the House will, I am sure, fell what an absurd pleonasm it is, when after the loop-hole which is given in the preceding clause for the introduction of everything that may be most offensive to the conscience and the feelings of right thinking men, you come in with this pompous platitude, that the burial shall be conducted in a decent and solemn manner. I have, however, a very few more minutes at my disposal. I shall devote that time to an invitation, most sincerely offered, and which they had better take to heart, to those Members of the more moderate Liberal party who voted against the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall) some time ago, but who are now prepared to vote with the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire on this Bill. They may think that in so doing they remove a grievance. I grant, Sir, that they might have laid that unction to their souls two or three years ago; but I put it to their common sense—I do not put it to anything else, but simply to their common sense as men of the world—whether, after the disestablishment party has mad this question its watch word and ranged itself under this banner, they can as common sense English and working politicians fail for one moment to see that the time has come when they are bound to take one side or the other. I presume that, as moderate Liberals, they do not want the Nonconformists to break up the Liberal party. I suppose they wish that it should continue one of the great historical parties of the State, and I trust it will do so. Although I am a party man, I am not a partisan. I look upon party conflicts, in which there is a tolerable balance of interests, as best for the commonwealth; and I tell hon. Members opposite that, if they yield to the Nonconformists upon the Church question, of which this burials conflict is an integral element, they will break up the Liberal party, and then in face of rampant Radicalism they will have to cross the floor and join us. So far I should not grieve, but the old Liberal party will be a thing of the past.
And it being a quarter of an hour before Six of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned till To-morrow.
Then the remaining Orders of the Day being gone through, it being Six of the clock, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House till To-morrow, without putting the Question.