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Marriage With A Deceased Wife's Sister Bill

Volume 180: debated on Wednesday 14 August 1907

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Bill, as amended (by the Standing Committee), further considered.

The following new clause stood on the Notice Paper in the name of Lord R. Cecil—

"For the purpose of regulating the position and duties of spiritual persons as affected by this Act it shall be lawful for the Convocations of the Clergy of the Provinces of Canterbury and York to make and promulge canons under the licence and with the consent of His Majesty the King, in accordance with the provisions of the Act of the twenty-fifth year of King Henry the Eighth, chapter nineteen, intituled an Act for the submission of the clergy to the King's Majesty, for the regulation of the following matters, that is to say: (a) The powers and procedure of the Ecclesiastical Courts, in case any person shall be presented by the minister or churchwardens of any parish for having contracted a marriage made lawful by this Act; (b) The obligation upon clergymen to administer or to refuse to administer the sacrament of the Lord's Supper to persons who shall have contracted marriages made lawful by this Act; (c) The obligation upon clergymen to read or to refuse to read the Order for the Burial of the Dead, prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer, in the case of persons who shall have contracted marriages made lawful by this Act; and if canons shall be made and promulged accordingly regulating these matters aforesaid by the Convocations of the Clergy of the Provinces of Canterbury and York, such canons shall have the same force and effect within the provinces over which those Convocations have authority respectively as though they had been enacted in this Act."


The proposed new clause is out of order, because it is beyond the scope of the Bill.

submitted that the Bill dealt with the civil position of marriage with a deceased wife's sister, and therefore left untouched the ecclesiastical position. Unless some clause was put in to deal with that, great confusion would necessarily arise, and it would be impossible to know what were the duties of those persons who were subject to ecclesiastical law.


It does not require a legal enactment to regulate the position and duties of the spiritual persons affected by the Bill. That can be done without any civil Act by licence from the Crown.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 1, to leave out the preamble.'"—(Sir Brampton Gurdon.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'Whereas' stand part of the Bill."

said the preamble as it appeared in the Bill was as follows—

"Whereas it is expedient to amend the law as to marriage with a deceased wife's sister."
He did not know why the preamble should be omitted. Did the hon. Member in charge of the Bill abandon the position that it was expedient to amend the law as to marriage with a deceased wife's sister? He submitted that the preamble should not only be retained but considerably expanded. The clauses of the Bill went far beyond the principle laid down in the preamble. He contended that the preamble ought to be retained, amended, and extended, because the principle of the Bill ought to be more fully defined in the preamble than it was. Hon. Members might say that there were Amendments on the Paper which it was desirable to avoid by moving the Amendment of the hon. Member for Norfolk. [Cries of "Hear, hear!"] It seemed that that was accepted by hon. Members, and he submitted that it was legitimate, under these circumstances, to explain why it was desirable to retain the preamble, amended and extended so as to declare the true principle of the Bill, which was that consanguinity was the only objection to marriage. That ought to be stated if the House desired to deal honestly and straightforwardly with this question, and if they had the courage of their opinions, which was a rare quality in these days. Hon. Gentlemen had not only not the courage of their opinions, but they appeared not even to know what their opinions were. They accepted the theory on which the preamble rested, viz., that it was expedient to legalise marriage with a deceased wife's sister, but they failed to see that that principle could only be carried out by legalising far more than this particular code of marriage. The House of Commons ought to face the fact that they could not stop at that point. There was no conceivable reason, either logical or theological, why they should limit their progress to marriage with a deceased wife's sister. He remembered very well that when this argument was being pressed in the House on a former occasion, an hon. Member saying: "Very well; that is quite true; but one step at a time." He had no doubt that that vas at the bottom of the mind of those who thought logically and honestly on this question. They did not stop merely at this miserable and utterly unsubstantial proposition of a desire to legalise marriage with a deceased wife's sister, but desired to go on and legalise marriage with a deceased brother's widow and to sweep away all restraints on marriage, except those founded on consanguinity. He desired to see that stated in the preamble so that the country might know what was really intended by the Bill. They heard a great deal of the House representing the will of the people, but he was convinced that if the House of Commons had the courage to state that their desire was to sweep away all bars to marriage they would have a very limited chance of representing the will of the people. In his opinion there was no public demand for this Bill. [Loud cries of "Divide."] He did not recommend hon. Members to begin at that comparatively early period of the night so to treat a proposed change in the law of the most vital importance. If they had to discuss this question between eleven and twelve o'clock at night, that was due to the Prime Minister. He himself would have been quite content to discuss the question on a Saturday morning, or at any other suitable time when the House could approach it in other than a post-prandial mood. [Loud cries of "Oh, oh!"] He desired distinctly to oppose the Amendment, not because he liked the preamble in itself, but because he thought it would form a proper basis of a true statement of the principle on which the Bill was founded. He asked the House not to run away from the principle in which they professed to believe.

said that this was a very good illustration of the evils which resulted from legislation at that late hour of the night. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill knew as well as any Member the procedure of the House. He was thoroughly acquainted with all the rules which governed the introduction of a Bill, and yet suddenly, after this Bill had been before the House for a considerable number of weeks and subjected to discussion in Committee at considerable length, he discovered that the preamble was useless. If a young Member of the House, fired by a desire to establish his name on the Parliamentary records, had brought in a Bill which he thought would appeal to the imagination of the people and give him a place in history, had been guilty of committing an error in the preamble, and suddenly finding that the preamble was ancient history, had come down to the House and proposed to omit the preamble, he would have commiserated the hon. Gentleman and at the same time have conceded that it was his earnest desire to conform to the usages of the House. But when that course was taken by a gentleman of the experience of the right hon. Member, he showed that his desire was to pass the Bill and at the same time to go home to bed. Hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House were desirous of discussing this question in a proper manner. They considered that this was a measure—whether they were right or wrong did not matter—which should be properly debated. It was necessary for hon. Members to convince them that they were wrong. What the right hon. Gentleman wanted to do, however, was to burke discussion in order that he might force through his Bill by the power of the majority which unfortunately he and his Party possessed. He would really like to know why the right hon. Gentleman wished to withdraw the preamble. It stated very clearly what was the object of the Bill, and prevented any doubt arising in the minds of hon. Members as to whether anything was intended in the alteration of the law beyond that which referred to the marriage with a deceased wife's sister. The hon. Gentleman might wish to go further and abolish the ties of marriage unless such as were prescribed by consanguinity. [MINISTERIAL laughter.] He was stating nothing which was absurd. Let them take the hon. Member for the Colne Valley division of Yorkshire, What was his idea? It was that the marriage tie should be very much loosened.

said that the idea of the hon. Member was incorrect. It was so reported in the paper, but the hon. Member for Colne Valley had contradicted it.

said it might have been contradicted in the paper, but up to the present moment it had not been contradicted in the House. Of course, he accepted the statement of the hon. Member that it had been contradicted, but he denied that he was in any way wrong in making the statement, until he knew that it had been contradicted. Dealing with the Bill from the point of view of the noble Lord, who objected to the abolition of any prohibition of the marriage tie except consanguinity, he would point out that the preamble laid it down that no other alliances were to be made, except with a deceased wife's sister, and therefore he said that to withdraw it was one of the greatest mistakes that could be made from the point of view of the promoters of the Bill themselves. They encouraged the idea that there was some reason for withdrawing the preamble, and he thought the reason which the noble Lord advanced was the correct one, and that there were certain Amendments on the Paper which had led to this course. But people outside the House would not understand that the preamble was withdrawn because there were Amendments on the Paper. He thought that the hon. Gentleman ought to make a clear statement as to his reasons for omitting the preamble. Under the circumstances he hoped his noble friend would go to a division, in order to emphasise his disagreement with the idea that because there were some Amendments to the preamble of the Bill, the proper course was to withdraw it in order to save a little time.

said that, speaking as one who was in favour of this Bill and who had travelled some little distance to vote for it, he confessed he did not understand why the preamble should be withdrawn. It recited that it was expedient to amend the law in regard to marriage with a deceased wife's sister. In his opinion it was a weak and undesirable concession to the very small opposition to the Bill. It was not the temper in which the House of Commons ought to approach that small opposition. The spirit in which the House ought to act was that if they were prepared to sit up all night to prevent the Bill becoming law, they who supported it were prepared to sit up all night and meet them in the Division Lobby and in argument in order that it should become law. If the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone and other hon. Members came before the House with Amendments to the preamble let those who supported the Bill meet them in argument or in the Division Lobby. That was the whole thing for which they were contending.

wished to protest against the flippant manner in which this proposal for a fundamental alteration of the marriage law was being treated. He supposed the proposal to omit the preamble was due to the fact that the hon. Member was afraid of the House not affirming the principle that it was expedient to alter the marriage law. He had on this point looked up the petitions which had been presented in regard to the Bill. The number of petitions according to the report of the Committee on Public Petitions between the 29th April and the 22nd June was against the Bill 112 with 6, 381 signatures. The number of petitions in favour of the Bill, on the other hand, was one and the total number of signatures in favour of the Bill was also one. This was a Bill which the Government thought was so urgently demanded by the country that they asked the House to consider it at that time of night. It was very absurd in his opinion.


said the hon. Member was not in order; he was not discussing the question of the retention of the preamble.

said he thought the hon. Gentleman ought to stick to his guns in order to maintain that which was right in the public interest.

thought the hon. Gentleman could hardly be aware of the strength of the feeling there was against the Bill in the country.


pointed out that the hon. Member was not discussing the preamble, but the general principle of the Bill.

said he was coming to the preamble, but he wished to point out that they would not be able to move the particular Amendments which stood in their names if the Motion were carried.



Acland-Hood., Rt Hn. Sir Alex. F.Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-Middlemore, John Throgmorton
Anson, Sir William ReynellCecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfteld)
Arkwright, John StanhopeCraik, Sir HenryNield, Herbert
Ashley, W. W.Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H.Forster, Henry WilliamRawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Balcarres, LordGretton, JohnSmith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walter)
Banbury, Sir Frederick GeorgeHardy, Laurence Kent, AshfordTalbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Banner, John S. Harmood-Harrison-Broadley, H. B.Turnour, Viscount
Baring, Capt. Hn. G WinchesterHay, Hon. Claude GeorgeValentia, Viscount
Beckett, Hon. GervaseHelmsley, ViscountWhite, Patrick (Meath, North)
Bowles, G. StewartHill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)
Boyle, Sir EdwardKennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Bridge-man, W. CliveLane-Fox G. R.Mr. Evelyn Cecil and Sir
Carlile, E. HildredLonsdale, John BrownleeWilliam Bull.
Cave, GeorgeMacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)


Abraham, William (Rhondda)Burnyeat, W. J. D.Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)
Acland, Francis DykeByles, William PollardEdwards, Enoch (Hanley)
Ainsworth, John StirlingCarr-Gomm, H. W.Essex, R. W.
Alden, PercyCauston, Rt. Hn. Richard KnightEsslemont, George Birnie
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)Cawley, Sir FrederickEvans, Samuel T.
Baker, Joseph A.(Finsbury, E.)Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A. (Wore.Everett, R. Lacey
Balfour, Robert (Lanark)Chance, Frederick WilliamFaber, George Denison (York)
Barring, Godfrey (Isle of Wright)Cheetham, John FrederickFell, Arthur
Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.Fenwick, Charles
Barnard, E. B.Clough, WilliamFerens, T. R.
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry N.)Cobbold, Felix ThornleyFerguson, R. C. Munro
Beauchamp, E.Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (BirminghamFetheistonhaugh, Godfrey
Beck, A. CecilCollins, Stephen (Lambeth)Fiennes, Hon. Eustace
Bellairs, CarlyonCollins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.Findlay, Alexander
Berridge, T. H. D.Cooper, G. J.Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry
Bertram, JuliusCorbett, C. H (Sussex, E. Grinst'dFreeman-Thomas, Freeman
Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineCory, Clifford JohnFuller, John Michael F.
Black, Arthur W.Cox, HaroldFullerton, Hugh
Bowerman, C. W.Cremer, Sir William RandalGibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)
Brace, WilliamCrooks, WilliamGill, A. H.
Bramsdon, T. A.Crossley, William J.Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John
Branch, JamesDavies, Ellis William (Eifion)Glover, Thomas
Brigg, JohnDavies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Gooch, George Pea body
Bright, J. A.Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)Grant, Corrie
Brodie, H. C.Dobson, Thomas W.Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)
Burns, Rt. Hon. JohnDuncan, C. (Barrow-in-FurnessGurdon, Rt Hn. Sir W. Brampton

Viscount should not repeat arguments which had already been used.

said he had not heard the argument used, as he came in expecting to find the House discussing the new clauses and not the preamble. As to the latter they wished it to be confined to this one instance of marriage with a deceased wife's sister, and not to be made a "jumping-off" ground for the alteration of the mirriage law generally. The symmetry of the Bill would be very considerably changed if the preamble was omitted.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 40; Noes, 236. (Division List No. 424)

Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.M'Callum, John M.Runciman, Walter
Hall, FrederickM'Crae, GeorgeSamuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. ReginaldSamuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)M'Micking, Major G.Scott, A. H.(Ashton under Lyne
Harmsworth, R. L.(Caithn'ss-shMaddison, FrederickScott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)Mallet, Charles E.Seddon, J.
Harvey, W. E.(Derbyshire, N. E.Manfield, Harry (Northants)Seely, Colonel
Haworth, Arthur A.Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)Shackleton, David James
Hazel, Dr. A. E.Markham, Arthur BasilShaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)
Hedges, A. PagetMarks, G. Croydon (Launceston)Sherwell, Arthur James
Helme, Norval WatsonMarnham, F. J.Shipman, Dr. John G.
Henderson, Arthur (Durham)Massie, J.Simon, John Allsebrook
Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)Micklem, NathanielSinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Henry, Charles S.Montgomery, H. G.Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Higham, John SharpMorgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)Snowden, P.
Hobhouse, Charles E. H.Morrell, PhilipStanger, H. Y.
Holland, Sir William HenryMorton, Alpheus CleophasStanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)
Holt, Richard DurningNewnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.).
Hornby, Sir William HenryNicholls, GeorgeStraus, B. S. (Mile End)
Horniman, Emlsie JohnNicholson, CharlesN.(Doncaster)Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Hudson, WalterNorton, Capt. Cecil WilliamSummerbell, T.
Hyde, ClarendonNuttall, HarrySutherland, J. E.
Idris, T. H. W.O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Isaacs, Rnfus DanielO'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Jardine, Sir J.O'Donnell, G J. (Walworth)Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Jenkins, J.O'Grady, J.Thornton, Percy M.
Johnson, John (Gateshead)Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)Parker, James (Halifax)Urc, Alexander
Jones, Leif (Appleby)Paulton, James MellorVerney, F. W.
Jones, William (CarnarvonshirePearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)Vivian, Henry
Jowett, F. W.Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)Wadsworth, J.
Kearley, Hudson E.Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)Walsh, Stephen
Kckewich, Sir GeorgePollard, Dr.Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Kelley, George D.Price, G E. (Edinb'gh. Central)Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)
Lai Haw, RobertPriestley, W. E. B.(Bradford, E.)Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton
Lamb, Edmund G. (LeominsterRadford, G. H.Wardle, George J.
Lambert, GeorgeRandles, Sir John SucrrahWaring, Walter
Lamont, NormanRaphael, Herbert H.Waterlow, 1). S.
Lea, Hugh Cecil (S. Pancras, E.Rea, Russell (Gloucester)Wedgwood, josiah C
Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington)Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'Weir, James Galloway
Lehmann, R. C.Kendall, AthelstanWhite, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th)Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Levy, Sir MauriceRichards, T. F. (Wolverhampt'n)Wiles, Thomas
Lewis, John HerbertRickett, J. ComptonWilkie, Alexander
Lough, ThomasRidsdale, E. A.Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Lupton, ArnoldRoberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Luttrell, Hugh FownesRoberts, G. H. (Norwich)Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Lyell, Charles HenryRobertson, Sir G. Scott (BradfordWilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)Winfrey, R.
Macdonald, J. M. (FalkirkB'ghs)Robinson, S.Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Mackarness, Frederic C.Roe, Sir Thomas
Maclean, DonaldRogers, F. E. NewmanTELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.Rose, Charles Day.
Macpherson, J. T.Rowlands, J.

Remaining words of the Preamble left out of the Bill.

MR. LAURENCE HARDY moved to leave out Clause 1. He said that undoubtedly in connection with a Bill of this sort his Motion might seem to be rather a large measure, but if he desired no other argument he might simply fall back upon the action of the promoters of the Bill in the Motion which had just been passed, because they had deliberately eliminated from the Bill the statement that it was expedient to amend the law in relation to marriage with a deceased wife's sister. As Clause 1 was for the purpose of doing that, he might have taken the statement of the hon. Baronet. He did not, however, desire to press that further, but he did desire to move this Amendment for three reasons First of all, he did it as a protest against the action of he Government in suddenly adopting this Bill practically without notice, and bringing it on at a late hour of night, long after it was thought that any controversial measure of this sort was likely to be adopted by the Government. Even if it had been a Government measure itself, that they should have, so long after the massacre of the innocents, an aged Bill of this controversial character brought before the House was a precedent against which he protested. He admitted the length of time that the particular principle enshrined in Clause 1 had been before both Houses of Parliament, but that fact showed there was really no feeling in the country about it. It was a matter of such extreme difficulty and such serious moment that although people might have lightly played with it they had never seriously desired to introduce this new principle into our marriage law. Therefore, in the first instance he moved to omit this clause as a protest against the Government's action in the matter. In the second place, he desired to give the promoters of the Bill an opportunity of giving some explanation, before the House really entered upon the discussion of the details of the Bill, as to what they intended to do in connection with the many points which were raised during the last discussion they had on the recommittal of the Bill. At the very last moment of their discussion in June they had an entirely new proposition put before them by the learned Solicitor-General in which he said, although the Bill seemed to be limited to a civil contract, that carried with it the power to over-ride any previous Act. As that was introduced somewhat to their surprise at a very late period in the discussion they ought to have some further explanation. Other questions which had been raised by his hon. friends undoubtedly required explanation from the promoters before they entered upon the full discussion of the details of the Bill. The third reason why he desired to leave out Clause 1 was the reason at the bottom of the opposition which they brought to this Bill. They objected to this tampering with the marriage law which would I break up that which had prevailed for so I many centuries, in order, first of all, to get out of a strait people who had wilfully broken the law, and to enable other people in future to follow an example which certainly had not had any encouragement in past centuries. They knew, as was stated in the discussion on the preamble, that the principle enshrined in Clause I could not eventually be confined to that one particular degree of affinity included in the clause. It must lead to a widening and further weakening of the marriage law, and therefore those who believed there was a very great advantage, social, political, and ecclesiastical, in maintaining the marriage law in the condition in which it had been, protested strongly against this infringement.


seconded, and said that as this was the last occasion on which they would have the opportunity of discussing the Bill he hoped he might be allowed to make a few observations as he had done on more than one occasion. He thought, first, that the situation as regarded the Bill was very greatly changed by the proceedings that night. The preamble which had been omitted was a limiting preamble. It indicated in a somewhat emphatic manner that the intention of Parliament was confined to marriage with a deceased wife's sister. That really pointed to the future, and he confessed that his memory went back to an incident on a similar occasion in the earlier stages of his political life, when Lord John Russell, sitting on the opposite bench, rose and said that he had taken no part in the discussion because he always felt that if they altered the law with regard to the deceased wife's sister they could not stop there. Lord John Russell, as some who remembered him might bear in mind, was singularly cold and impassive as regarded his appearance during debate, but on that occasion he was profoundly moved, and he said he could not help feeling that the Bill must necessarily lead to a wide and far-reaching revolution of the laws respecting the marriage state in this country. He did not wish to enlarge upon the arguments which had been so fully developed upon former occasions, but he might be allowed briefly to mention four. The first was the sentiment of the Church of England, the national Church, on this subject. He did not believe that they could pass over or ignore that deeply seated sentiment. They had also amongst them a large section of Roman Catholics. Holding that these marriages were contrary to the Divine law, that Church maintained the prerogative of relaxing the law in particular cases, and if hon. Members were to examine the evidence given, on more than one inquiry, by Roman Catholic prelates, they would find that that relaxation, according to them, was not given by accident or carelessness, but only after careful inquiry into the case, in order to use the words often employed in Roman Catholic controversies, "to avoid greater evils." He would say nothing as regarded the Church of Scotland, because hon. Gentlemen who had taken part in the debates were present, and would speak for it. But he wished to refer first to the very strong feeling which existed amongst important classes of this country as regarded the effect of this proposed change upon family life. In his opinion that sentiment to which he had referred could not be despised or ignored in that House. There was no doubt that the passing of this law would inflict great pain upon classes entitled to their respect and esteem, and he could not in silence allow a want of regard to be shown on that occasion. There was another reason, which might be divided into two, and that was the effect of the Bill upon the devolution of property, and also upon the devolution of titles of honour. In the debate in the Standing Committee upstairs some years ago—he might call it an historic debate, because it had a great effect upon the modification of their system as regarded Standing Committees—questions of this kind were discussed; day after day difficulties were raised, and arguments were used to explain those difficulties. Those arguments were never met nor the difficulties removed. Then, also, they must have regard to the great anxiety which would be felt in coming years, with a new generation, when these difficulties fully came into life. There were difficulties dealing with the minutiae of real pro perty and with the devolution of titles of honour, and although in this Bill—contrary to the experience of former Bills—that branch of the subject was entirely ignored, and it might be ignored in their Statutes, it could not be ignored in Law Courts, unless those Courts were assisted and helped by legislation in that House. Those were the difficulties which had occurred to him in connection with the Bill. They had been mentioned before, but although he had been present, he believed, during the whole of the discussion, he had never heard a satisfactory answer given to them. To his mind the difficulties were enormously increased by the omission of the limiting words of the preamble, because the omission of that limitation certainly increased the risk that the change could not stop there, but must go forward and affect in a most serious degree the relations of life in this country.

Amendment proposed to the Bill, "In page 1, line 7, to leave out Clause 1 of the Bill."—( Mr. Laurence Hardy.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'no' stand part of the Bill."

said he fully appreciated what the mover had said, but of course Clause 1 was the whole of the Bill, the other two clauses b?ing only saving title clauses, and the hon. Member could not expect them to be drawn into a Second Reading debate. With regard to the points on which hon. Mem ers wished information, there were about sixty Amendments, which must cover, he thought, all those points, and he would be quite ready to meet all of them as they arose.


said he rose to take part in the debate because he believed he was representing the large majority of his constituents in offering the most strenuous opposition to this clause. Hon. Gentlemen opposite appeared to attach a great deal of importance to it so much so that the Prime Minister had condescended to be present for a very considerable time during the discussion, and they alse seemed to imagine that, because there was only a small minority opposed to them, they ought to be allowed to carry the clause through without much discussion, and certainly without any explanation. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill had given no kind of definition of the clause. But he wished to remind them that, if the minority in the House against the Bill was a small one, in comparison it was nothing like so small as that minority in the country who wanted the law altered in the direction indicated by this clause. In his own constituency he had a very good instance of this fact, because a question was put to him by the secretary of the league which desired to alter the law, and he declined to answer it unless it was put to him by someone in his own constituency. The secretary of the league said he would find someone at once to do so. At the end of the day he gave him the name of a gentleman who, he said, would ask the question. When the next day arrived he had not asked the question, and he took the trouble to write to that very gentleman to know whether he wanted to ask it or not, and he never answered. Then the secretary came down again in order to stir up the place, and the only result of his second visit was that towards the end of the day, a gentleman arrived in his conmiittee-room to say that he had been offered half-a-crown if he would ask the question. He took that to be a fairly conclusive proof that his constituents at any rate were not in favour of this proposal. He did not think anyone so far had called the attention of the House to the fact that the women of England had no desire for an alteration in the law. Was that a point they ought to overlook and was there any explanation of that? Could the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill say that that was not a matter of the greatest significance and importance? He said that because, women having no power of expressing their views in that House, they ought to be all the more careful in passing legislation which affected them just as much as, and probably more than, it did those who sought to change the law, and they ought to find out what their opinions were on this subject. Then they came merely down to the question of expediency, and that was the only defence of this measure. That was a defence for any kind of alteration in the marriage law, or for no marriage law at all. So far as any attempt had ever been made to get statistics about the number of people who had contracted this particular form of illegal union, it had been found that their numbers were not in excess of other kinds of illegal unions, and therefore if there were more illegal unions of any sort than these, it was more expedient to alter the law in favour of them than in favour of this particular one. They were always told that there were large numbers of working men in this country who found it a great hardship not to be allowed to marry their deceased wife's sister. He admitted that it might be a hardship in a certain number of cases, but there were many other hardships connected with the marriage laws. The way in which that remark was received opposite made it perfectly clear that there were a very large number in that House who would be anxious to alter the laws very much more than this Bill proposed to do. In certain cases it might be a considerable hardship where there were a large number of families crowded into one, or two-roomed, dwellings. That, he admitted, was a hardship, but the remedy was to improve the housing of the working classes. He preferred to leave the marriage laws as they were, and to support, whenever he could, measures for the improvement of housing. He did not believe if there were no one or two-roomed dwellings that they would find any support at all from those who desired, on the part of the working classes, to have the law altered. He did not wish to detain the House on this point, but he felt very strongly indeed on the matter, and he would have felt himself very much to blame if he had not raised his voice in protest against this alteration. There were any amount of hardships connected with the marriage, laws. There was hardship in the case of a man whose wife had become insane, or very seriously diseased. If they were going to alter it one way, merely for the sake of pity and because they were sorry for these people, there was no reason why they should not alter it in every way, and he protested that it would be very much better to stand by marriage laws which had caused this country to be more pure and moral than any other, and not to venture, even by one step—even if it were a small step—to alter the law, especially when it was only asked for by a certain number of people who had already broken it, and by a small number of others who thought it was a hardship,

quoted the statement of Lord John Russell that this change, if carried out, must lead to very much greater changes in a short space of time. As one who had consistently opposed the Bill again and again he felt it would not be right to remain silent on that occasion, which might be the last opportunity they would have of voicing the protest of a large number of people against the change proposed in the Bill. He opposed it because he believed that it would remove the barrier which protected the sacredness and purity of family life to which the country owed so much, and which some hon. Members, felt bound to safeguard by every means in their power. It was because they believed that the Bill, if passed, would endanger these things that they had resisted it and would, resist it as long as they had power. They took their stand on the duty of maintaining the purity of family life and the unbroken practice of the Church for so many centuries. If they were wrong they were wrong in the company of men who could not be held to be illiberal, or retrograde, or deaf to anything which was for the good of the people. He spoke of men like the late Archbishop Temple, Lord Hatherley, the well-known Liberal and a man most thoroughly acquainted with the wants and conditions of the working classes in Westminster and other places, Lord Cairns, the Duke of Argyll, as representing the Scottish Church, and many prominent Nonconformists who formerly much more than to-day opposed the proposal which was then before the House. They were brought face to face with the Bill taken up by the Government as it never was before. Therefore the situation was one of extreme gravity, and he felt bound to rise once more to record his protest.

said he did not propose to trouble the House with a speech on the general objections which he had towards the clause, because he had had an opportunity of doing that before. But there were one or two aspects of the clause which had not been properly considered, because the House had been deprived of the assistance of the lawyers who ordinarily advised the Government. He was glad to see present the Secretary of State for War, who added to many other qualifications that of being a very eminent lawyer. He would ask the Secretary of State for War to make more than a passing reference to the Bill's being made retrospective, but there was one important deficiency which he would like to put before him. He would put it in the form of an illustration which would not ordinarily occur, but which would bring to his mind the kind of difficulty raised by the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman would see in the proviso to the first clause the words which constituted the deficiency. Supposing a man had been married to his deceased wife's sister and had afterwards married someone else, then did the proposals of the Bill go so far as to make that man a bigamist? Let them suppose that a man married a deceased wife's sister and then went through the form of marriage with a sister of that sister. The man would then have gone through a form of marriage with two sisters. To which sister was he married? [A voice: To both.] To whom was he lawfully married? The marriage with the first sister had not been absolved by his marrying the second. This was only an illustration—and, purposely, he had made it rather extreme—of the kind of difficulties which were aroused by legislation of this sort. But there was a danger of a much more serious type, and likely to be of a much more practical effect. The Bill proposed to set up for the first time a contrast between the civil and the ecclesiastical law. He knew that one of the law officers at an earlier stage had said that the Bill was going to over-ride the ecclesiastical as well as the civil law; but he did not think that the hon. Member had read the Bill. He (Lord Robert Cecil) thought the Bill only affected the civil aspect of marriage and was only intended to do that. From the point of ecclesiastical law these marriages were to be as unsound and unlawful as ever. In the language of the canon, marriage with a deceased wife's sister was still to be regarded as an incestuous marriage. There were several canons which dealt with the duty of various persons in connection with incestuous marriages. The churchwardens were directed to deal with persons who were guilty of incest, and he presumed, even if this Bill were passed, it would still be their duty to bring to the attention of the ecclesiastical authority anyone who offended by living in union with his deceased wife's sister. He was not saying for the moment whether such a person was right or wrong, but pointing out the duty that would be cast upon others. If these failed to carry out that duty they would expose themselves to suits in the ecclesiastical court. Let hon. Members take the case of ex-communication.[Laughter.] Hon. Members appeared to think there was something essentially comic about that. He did not grudge them the trifling relaxation from the wearisomeness of being kept up to discuss this great change in the marriage law, but he respectfully reminded them that it was not his fault that they Were so kept up. There was a still more scandalous case—a case he which would repudiate in the strongest possible way, but to which he desired to call the attention of the House. It would be technically a duty, though he trusted no one would be so pedantic as to insist on that duty, for a clergyman to refuse burial to such people. It was so under the canon law, though the clergyman might safely disregard it in such a case. In the other case he had cited, however, he very much doubted if the clergyman could safely disregard it. Let them suppose the case of a man who took a strong view about these things: would it not be a great scandal that he should feel bound to carry out the ecclesiastical law and refuse all the rights of Church membership and even burial, thus refusing to recognise a thing which the Legislature had permitted? None of these difficulties had been dealt with or provided for in the least by the promoters of the Bill. They had thrown the Bill on the Table of the House without con- descending to explain or deal with one single difficulty; they had discussed a great number of principles which they conceived underlay the Bill, but whenever they were asked to deal specifically with any great difficulty the bon. Baronet in charge of the Bill had always said a perfunctory sentence or two in reply and no assistance had been forthcoming from the law officers of the Crown. The Solicitor-General attended one meeting of the Committee upstairs and then, as he submitted, without having read the Bill. He hoped that now, at any rate, there would be a serious attempt to deal with these matters. It was little short of a scandal that legislation dealing with this important topic should be presented to the House with so little thought, care, and explanation. He did not propose to trouble the House with any arguments on the general principles underlying Clause 1 but he trusted they would have some reply to the points he had ventured to make.

desired to dissociate himself from the speeches made on his own side. He fully sympathised with the Secretary of State for War, knowing as he did what hard work he had to do at the War Office, though he was perfectly certain the right hon. Gentleman was fully equal to his task that night. He had listened to many speeches on this Bill in past sessions. If he was not absolutely in favour of the Bill from the first—he came into the House with an open mind on the subject—after listening to the speeches on the question, including the able speeches of Lord Hugh Cecil, he found himself of the same opinion that he held now, and he earnestly hoped that when they went to a division on this clause, which was the essence of the Bill, they would carry it by a very large majority.

said he would not have intervened in the debate but for the remarks which had fallen from the right hon. Baronet with reference to the position of his co-religionists on this question. He was reminded of the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who, if he might say so, with all possible respect, was more responsible than anybody else for the views which were held in regard to his co-religionists on this question and which were not quite correct. He was alluding to quotations which the right hon. Gentleman had frequently made in the House, when this question had been raised, based upon the evidence given by Cardinal Wiseman before a Commission which sat on the Marriage Laws. In reference to that he would like to read from a copy of a letter he had which was written by the late Cardinal Manning, who said—

"Some years ago the bishops laid before Lord Chelmsford's Commission on the Marriage Laws certain points on which modification would be desirable. One was some provision by which the marriage with a deceased wife's sister after a dispensation from the Holy See had been obtained might be legalised. These words of ours have been quoted by the promoters of such marriages as favourable to their views. Nothing was further from the intention of the bishops. First, the law of the Catholic Church forbids and annuls marriage with a deceased wife's sister; secondly, the law of England on this point is to this moment Catholic and supports the discipline of the Church; thirdly, the Holy See can alone dispense in such oases, and it never dispenses except, first, rarely; secondly, with reluctance; and, thirdly, for grave reasons and to avoid greater evils. To abolish the law which prohibits such marriages would have the effect of throwing open as lawful to everybody that which in a few rare and exceptional eases is reluctantly given to avoid greater evils, and this throwing over of the civil law would encourage and multiply such marriages in direct opposition to the discipline of the Catholic Church and to the grave and dangerous disturbance of domestic life."
He would not trouble the House by reading the rest of the letter, and he only quoted the part he had to make clear to hon. Members that at any rate those who opposed legislation of this kind had very high ecclesiastical sanction for their action.

said he would endeavour in a very few words to define the position of the Government. The canon law was no such rigid law as they were accustomed to recognise in the name of the law. It was binding on those whose conscience considered it as binding. The Church of Rome in certain cases would dispense with it.

said the right hon. Gentleman was no doubt perfectly well aware that Lord Hardwicke held distinctly that the canon law was binding, so far as it was binding in England at all, on spiritual persons. There was no question that the canons of 1603 were binding on all spiritual persons absolutely.

said no doubt in the days of consistory courts and consistory law that was so, but they were not living in those times now. If they wanted an illustration of how lightly the canon law was regarded as absolutely binding, he need only refer to the burial law, which the noble Lord himself had said was a law which would not be enforced. These two illustrations only showed the fallacy underlying the entire argument of the noble Lord. They were not dealing with laws which bound the conscience. They believed in leaving people free to follow the dictates of their own conscience. This was not a Bill to compel a man to marry his deceased wife's sister it was a Bill to leave him free to do so if he thought it right. The whole plan of the Bill was perfectly simple. It said that one might follow the dictates of one's own conscience. The only law they recognised was the law of the land. If this Bill passed, Anglican, Catholic, of Nonconformist could follow the dictates of his own conscience, but his civil rights would be defined in the Bill. The principle of the Bill was perfectly simple. For the future anyone was to be free to marry his deceased wife's sister unless some obstacle intervened which a civil Court recognised as fatal.


said he had not hitheto taken part in any discussions on this question, but if he might judge from what was taking place that night he was never likely to have another opportunity. He had always regarded this question as a social question in which the considerations on either side were very nicely balanced; but it was a question of very great difficulty, of very great importance, and in which the feeling of those who were opposed to the Bill was very acute. Not only that, but the Bill proposed to effect a change in the marriage law, affecting a branch of our law which went into the most intimate and sacred relations of family life. Such a change ought not to be effected without the fullest consideration which could be brought to bear. [An HON. MEMBER: "It has received it for thirty years."] No Government, so far as he was aware, had before taken up this question during the last thirty years. It had always been a private Member's question. No Government had ever inquired into the matter or had taken even the legal advice of which they saw the necessity, and for the Government to take up a private Member's Bill on this great subject at this period of the session and to force it through the House at that hour of the morning, justified him in determining to oppose the Bill, nice as he considered to be the questions raised on either side as to the propriety of the permission which it proposed to extend to those who wished to marry their deceased wives' sisters.

said the Secretary of State for War had told them that each of them should follow the dictates of his own conscience. It was the law of the country that he (the speaker) was dealing with that evening. It was the law of the country, as he understood it, which was binding on them that they should not marry anyone within the degrees of affinity. It was binding on them and on their consciences; it was binding on them and on the legitimacy of their children. It was such questions that they were dealing with, and the question was not in what way was the law of the land to be altered, as it was at present on a perfectly definite and fixed basis, viz., the degrees of affinity, but, if they were once going to alter the law, where did they propose to stop? Was there any possible reason why the Government should stop at this particular point, once they took away the basis on which the law had stood for many years? Surely they must extend it further than this Bill went. Ninety-nine people out of a hundred could not doubt that they were bound to go further, and a Bill which allowed a man to marry his deceased wife's sister must necessarily allow him to marry persons within less degrees of affinity than that. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the principle of the Bill was a very simple one and easy to understand, namely, that in the future persons should be at liberty to marry a deceased wife's sister. That was a very simple principle, but it was not in the least the principle of the Bill. As a lawyer, that was where to him the difficulty of the Bill came in. It required the most difficult and skilful drafting to make the Bill not retrospective, to ensure that only in future it should be operative, but the Bill went a great deal further, and it said that all such marriages which had occurred in the past, and by the law of the land, and in all conscience at the present moment were no marriages at all, at the passing of the Bill should be perfecth legal. That was the principle of this measure, which was by no means simple from a legal point of view. It became a very much more complicated matter when they adjusted the details necessary to the carrying out of the Bill. Whoever drafted the Bill had a very difficult task, and it required great skill and consideration. It was perfectly obvious that the Bill had not had that careful consideration and drafting, because in the first clause they had the difficulties of dealing with retrospective legislation, and of making marriages, which had been by the law of the land hitherto illegal, suddenly, by one stroke of the pen, legal. He called the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, when he said the Bill was simple, to the fact that by the Bill as it stood, people who had gone through a form of marriage with a deceased wife's sister—assuming that the marriage had turned out unhappily and they had been separated or parted—whether they wished it or not, were legally married the very instant it came into operation. They had difficulties in the case of legitimising the children by the subsequent marriage of the parents; and there were difficulties in connection with vested interests also. There were difficulties in the case of people who, in the hope of succeeding to their relatives, had based their expectations and their mode of life on that hope, but who, on the passing of this Bill, would suddenly find other people legitimised, who before were not legitimate, and so those expectations would be taken away. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill would agree that there were difficulties of a legal character in such retrospective legislation. This was a matter which had always been discussed as a private Member's Bill, and without going into the necessary legal detail which was requisite when they were dealing with a Government Bill. Now it had been taken up by the Government at the end of the session and at the shortest possible notice, so far as the opponents of the Bill were concerned. They only got notice of it at Question time on the previous day, although the promoters must, he feared, have had notice of the discussion coming on a fortnight ago, because he knew that certain preparations were made which obviously indicated a knowledge prior to that of Question time. Those who felt deeply on the question could not possibly all be present for the discussion that evening. On twenty-four hours notice they were asked to deal with Clause 1, which raised not only the greatest ethical principles and the most important questions connected with our social life, but also those complicated legal details which could only be anticipated when the Bill was likely to pass into law. Was that a right way to deal with the question? Was it fair and right to the Opposition, however small and insignificant they might be there, to deal with them thus, and to get a Bill of that kind through the House with notice to the promoters and not to the Opposition? The Government retorted that they should have expected the Bill to be starred, but what possible information could they have had on which to base that expectation? Had not the Government ample work to do without this Bill's being starred? He protested against the passing of the Bill on the short notice they had had of the difficult questions which must necessarily arise.

said it was singularly unfortunate that, when the Government had taken up the Bill in the peculiar circumstances to which his hon. friend had alluded, they should not be honoured by the presence of any law officer of the crown to answer any legal questions which might arise. They were very grateful to the Secretary of State for War for doing his best to deal with the arguments of the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone, but he wished to point out that he did not speak necessarily for the law officers of the Crown, or with the authority which they could command, on the legal questions which concerned a particular Bill, although he did not in the least wish to question his eminence as a lawyer. But if it was important to have the law officers of the Crown present when they were discussing a Bill drafted under their supervision, surely it was little short of a scandal that they should not be present when a Bill was being discussed with which they had nothing to do in the matter of drafting, and which, so far as he knew, had never been considered by any responsible lawyer acting for the Government. The Secretary of State for War had dealt with questions about ecclesiastical law raised by his hon. friend, but he did not think he satisfied many on the Opposition side of the House, and he doubted if he satisfied many of those on the other side who realised what the ecclesiastical law really was. The fact that the ecclesiastical law was of importance in this question was admitted in the Bill, because in the first clause there was a proviso, which said that—

"no clergyman should be subject to the penalties, whether civil or ecclesiastical, for refusing to solemnise any such marriage as aforesaid."
It was clearly shown that there was some necessity to recognise the fact that a difference was being made between the common law of the land and the ecclesiastical law which might have serious consequences unless it was provided against. There were cases which had not been provided against, and it was to these that his hon. friend directed the attention of the Government. What was to be the position of an unfortunate clergyman who declined, after the Bill was passed, to give Communion to persons who had gone through the form of marriage contemplated by the Bill? Was that clergyman liable to be sued by those persons for not giving them the rites of the Church? And then if the clergyman did not refuse to give to these people Communion, as he was bound by the canon law, was he liable to be deprived of his living under the canon law? It seemed to him that the clergyman would be placed in a dilemma in which no man ought to be placed. If he did refuse to give Communion he could be sued; if he did not refuse, he could be deprived of his living. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken as if there was no means of enforcing the canon law at all; but surely a bishop might consider such a marriage contrary to the doctrines of the Church, and, if so, it was quite conceivable that he would take every step to make a clergyman is his diocese obey the law. And the bishop had the power of enforcing the law. He could deprive the clergyman in the Bishop's Court of his living. It was a monstrous thing that the House should be asked to pass such a measure as this. He thought they were entitled to some legal explanation from the Government, as the Government had seen fit to take up the Bill, and they ought to have some information as to whether the Government intended to insert some amendment to deal with this difficulty.

quite agreed with his noble friend that it was very necessary to have some legal authority's opinion; but he was quite satisfied with the opinion of the Secretary of State for War, always provided that he had read the Bill. The Secretary of State for War had said there was no compulsion in the Bill to compel a man to many his deceased wife's sister. But there was such compulsion in the Bill. If hon. Members would read the Bill, they would see that the Bill was made retrospectively com pulsory. If a man had married his deceased wife's sister ten years ago, and if they were of opinion they had to separate ["Oh"]—hon. Gentlemen said "oh," but when people were legally married, they often wished they were not—but in this case, the Bill said: "You are to be married whether you like it or not." The Secretary for War was very careful not to reply to the problem put to him with regard to the three sisters mentioned by his hon. friend. If there was any legal person who could reply, it would be the Secretary for War; but the right hon. Gentleman had passed the question by. The House had had no reason for the starring of the Bill. There was no person to whom a poor man would rather entrust the children of his deceased wife than his deceased wife's sister. Under this Bill, the Government were going to compel a man to marry his deceased wife's sister, otherwise scandal would arise.

said the Solicitor-General was far from well and he had been very busily engaged. He was so unwell that he was obliged to go home, and therefore the Government had asked the hon. Member for Walthamstow to take his place.

said he could not give a silent vote nor could he abstain from speaking, because he believed that this Bill would move a religious feeling in his section of the country. He felt that the feelings of his constitutents were not to be trampled upon after twenty-four hours notice. [A MEMBER: Twenty-four years.] The House had just heard that owing to the absence of one of His Majesty's Law Ministers, they would not have guidance upon this important matter. In view of that, it was a scandal to go on, and he moved the adjournment of the debate.


There being no seconder the Motion falls to the ground.

drew attention to the fact that different marriage laws prevailed in Scotland as compared with England. He asked the Government whether they were prepared to say that that fact did not raise serious difficulties. Would it not be only decent that a Scottish law officer should be present to settle these important points of law when they were applying in a rough and ready way to Scotland a Bill not drafted by Government draftsmen, with no assurance that legal precedents and bearings had been properly examined? In the absence of any Scottish law officer he must move the adjournment of the debate.

seconded the Motion for the adjournment of the debate as a protest against the action of the Government in taking up a Bill and then not having any law officers of the Crown present to advise the House as to the legal points raised in connection with it. He was surprised that the right hon. Baronet in charge of the Bill just now said in a casual sort of way that an hon. Member, who he understood was a most distinguished member of his profession, but who was not yet a Member of the Government, had kindly consented to help the Government in carrying through the Bill. He was very sorry indeed that the learned Solicitor-General was ill, and if he were the only legal Member of the Government they would not move the adjournment of the debate; but there were other legal Members of the Government, and surely one of them might be there to give his advice.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the debate be now adjourned."—( Sir Henry Craik.)

thought the House was entitled to some explanation. There were four members of the legal profession opposite and four Cabinet Ministers, and they were content to put the whole responsibility of answering questions, put in perfectly good faith, on the hon. Member for Walthamstow, whom they all wished to hear, but who was not allowed to speak. For the first time this session he did not spy in the gallery behind Mr. Speaker's Chair any of those strangers who usually were so useful. The Government brought before the House a Bill for which a private Member was responsible, they starred that Bill, they had four or five legal luminaries on the Front Bench, not one of whom could defend the Bill, they had a private Member behind whom they would not allow to speak, and they had not a single Government draftsman in the pen to which they so often retired to advise them. If that was the way in which the Government were going to conduct the business of this part of the session the House would very likely sit to the end of October.

did not think the right hon. Gentleman had heard the whole of the debate, or he would not think it necessary to reply to all the extraordinary legal points raised. It was only out of respect to the House that he dealt with them shortly. As to the point of Scottish law raised by the hon. Member for Glasgow University, there was absolutely nothing in it. In Scotland, as they knew, marriage with a deceased wife's sister stood on a very different basis from what it did here; that was to say, the actual civil law of the land took more cognisance of it than was the case in England As regarded legitimation by subsequent marriage that did not touch the question on a single point. It was all provided for by the proviso to Clause 1. Then, as to canon law, this Bill had nothing to do with that subject If canon law required amendment no doubt that could be dealt with, but they were not dealing with that here and did not propose to do so. The Bill was of the simplest kind and contained a plain legal proposition about which there was no ambiguity and which required no technical assistance. The matter had been discussed upstairs and for years past over and over again.

confessed that the first speech of the Secretary of State for War surprised him enormously, but the second speech surprised him even more. In the first speech the right hon. Gentleman laid down the extraordinary doctrine that there were no means of altering the ecclesiastical law in this country, and he talked of consistory courts as relics of the middle ages, long since swept away. He was afraid that since the right hon. Gentleman had gone to the War Office he had forgotten a very large amount of his legal knowledge. Of course, the consistory courts were in full force and had complete legal jurisdiction over all the clergy at the present day for eccleiastieal purposes.


said he was misled by the speech of the Secretary of State for War, who scarcely referred to the question before the House. He would leave the right hon. Gentleman's legal observations and ask the House to consider the position which the Opposi tion were attacking. There was no law officer of the Crown present to advise them. Except for a brief period upstairs they had not had the assistance of a law officer on the Bill. A casual Member of the Ministerial Party who had some knowledge of the law used to do his best to assist the promoters of the Bill in Committee upstairs. The right hon. Gentleman had explained that the Solicitor-General was unable to be present and the alternative the right hon. Gentleman suggested was not that the Attorney-General should be present but that the hon. Member for Walthamstow, for whom the House had a profound respect, should take upon himself the duties of a law officer of the Crown. The duty of the law officers was to advise the House on questions of law. With the courage of a bureaucrat the Secretary of State for War shook his head. If the law officers were not present there ought to be somebody who was directly responsible to the House. It was a monstrous insult to the House to answer their objections by saying: "Here is a private Member who is skilled in the law, and we put him on this occasion in the position of one of the law officers and he can answer any questions." The hon. and learned Gentleman, who took, as he thought, a much more proper view of his position, had not answered them. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill admitted the necessity for some legal luminary to be present to advise the House. Under the circumstances, he contended that no Opposi tion ever had a stronger case for moving the adjournment, and if hon. Members I opposite really valued the position of the House and that which private Members ought to occupy they would vote for the Motion.

sincerely trusted that either the Motion would be taken at once to a division or would be abandoned by his hon. friend who moved it. He had no doubt whatever that there were Members present who were fully competent to advise the House as to sany question of law that was likely to be raised in the discussion, and he would not do his hon. friends the injustice of thinking that they imagined there was any necessity for obtaining any legal advice which could not now be obtained in the House. It was perfectly well known that they were bitterly and conscientiously opposed to the Bill and that they meant to destroy it if they could by every Parliamentary obstruction possible. He did not blame them; he would do the same himself if he held the same views that they did with perfect sincerity. He submitted, however, that for thirty years an overwhelming majority of Members had been returned to vote for this Bill. The House of Commons, for all those years, had voted for the principle of the Bill, and they were now given an opportunity of placing it on the Statute Book. He, for one, hoped the Government meant business by taking up the Bill. He hoped, if it was necessary to sit till a quarter to two the following night, that the Government and those who were really in earnest over the Bill; would not fail to do so, and he could promise, as a private Member, that such small assistance as he could give them would not be wanting. With a great disinclination to dissociate himself from his friends—whose methods he greatly admired—he would yet endeavour to assist generally in passing a Bill dealing with a measure on which he had very strong views.

said that the history of this Bill, so far as the Government was concerned, had not been stated. While the Bill was in progress, the Solicitor-General was advising the Government with reference to it. When it came before the House, and during its long consideration in the Committee Stage, the Solicitor-General answered all the questions which had been put that evening. He was personally the legal adviser of the Government and responsible for the Bill, and he was perfectly satisfied with its present shape. He had told him so himself, but he was literally compelled, in obedience to his medical adviser, to leave the House, although he had not intended to do so, at eleven o'clock. He had asked his friend the Member for Walthamsto v, if any question did arise in law, to render any assistance he could. The Government had not been guilty of any discourtesy to the House. They were perfectly justified in the course they had taken.

rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but Mr. SPEAKER with held his assent, and declined then to put that Question.

said he agreed with his hon. friend the Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool that an overwhelming majority of the electors of the country were in favour of the Bill. But he was bound to say that the supporters of the Bill on his side of the House had had their sympathies with the Bill very considerably strained by the methods which the Government had adopted for getting it passed. Apart from the arguments against taking the Bill at such short notice, and against taking it at all at that hour of the evening, there were additional observations as to the method of answering arguments from the Opposition Benches adopted by the Government, and by individual Members of the Government. He did not think any supporter of the Bill in the House would deny that there were, in connection with that Bill, very large and grave issues, which, however fully they might have been debated in the past, yet required at this stage to be elucidated, and he was bound to say that the methods which the Government had adopted for making them clear were not likely to facilitate the progress of the Bill. If the adjournment of the House had not been moved he did not think that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill would have answered many points which had been put to him. They had what he thought was the most extraordinary position of a private Member being appointed, for the time, a temporary member of the Government—not only a temporary member, but a silent member of the Government, although appointed by them to be their official legal representative in connection with the Bill. It was incredible that the Government should constantly adopt these methods for getting Bills passed, and, personally, he was not surprised that almost every week a Master of the Horse or an ex-Liberal Prime Minister was shed by the Government. The only surprise to him was that the Government had still left behind them a few hon. Gentlemen who were ready to support and cheer them if they chose to take business at that time of the morning. He was sincerely anxious to see the Bill passed, and he proposed to say very few words, as he was not anxious in the least to delay business. But he thought they would not be human—and hon. Members opposite would like also to register the same protest if they dared to do so—if they did not protest against the methods adopted by the Government for passing a Bill—on which they felt quite as strongly and earnestly as his noble friend behind him—methods which could not but discredit a Bill which was so unfortunate as to be adopted by the Government.


said his opposition to the Bill rested mainly on the manner in which it had been pressed on. He was quite satisfied that if the Government was to be advised in this matter by a private Member there was no one on the other side of the House more competent to do so than the hon. Member for Walthamstow. But they were told by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy, that it was the Solicitor-General, who had advised in regard to the drafting of the Bill, and trat he was satisfied with the drafting as prepared. But the legal difficulties which arose were greater from the fact that the Bill was made retrospective. The Solicitor-Grneral was in full possession of all the possible legal objections to the Bill, with any difficulties which might arise; but he was unable to be there through illness. Was that not sufficient ground for postponing the consideration of the Bill until they had had an opportunity of taking the advice which could be given by the hon. Gentleman?


said they had been waiting for years, and the Bill had been discussed in Parliament and outside. There were thousands of good women waiting, with a patience that amounted to pathos, to be put in a position in which they ought to be placed. They had been waiting all these years, and now the time had come; there was an opportunity which might not recur again for years, and he hoped that this delay, which amounted to a national scandal, would be put an end to that night. At any rate, he would give what assistance he could to it, for the sake of morality, for the sake of justice, for the sake of thousands of the women of the country, and what was more, for the sake of thousands of the poorer classes, who were living in a manner they considered tobe honest, but who needed to be put within the bounds of legality. He thought the reasons which had been advanced for the adjournment were altogether inadequate. He hoped the Government, having begun this debate, would, if it took all day and all night, go through with it.

said it took some of them on that side of the House a good deal by surprise that the right hon. Gentleman, whom a good many of them had always regarded as rather a purist in constitutional matters, should think it quite an ordinary occurrence that in the regrettable absence through illness of the Solicitor-General, and for which they were all sorry, his duties should devolve on a private Member.

rose to a point of order. Standing Order 19 said that where an hon. Member insisted repeating his own arguments and those of other Members he was out of order. Seeing that the statements about the Solicitor-General had been repeated already by at least ten speakers, he asked if the noble Lord was in order in referring again to the absence of the law officers of the Crown?


I am perfectly well acquainted with the Standing Order, and I have already called attention to it once before. If it is necessary, I will put it into force.

said that he drew attention to the point because the right hon. Gentleman thought it quite natural that these legal duties should devolve upon a private Member, and not upon one of many eminent lawyers of the Cabinet, who were sitting on the Front Bench opposite. It seemed to him that the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland might very well answer the legal points which they had raised. He was equally amazed to find his hon. friend the Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool taking up the attitude he had adopted. He could quite understand that hon. Members might be in favour of the Bill, but did they want it, when passed, to be a workable Bill, and a Bill the difficulties I in which had been freely discussed and decided? Did they want it to be a Bill which should lead to litigation in the future, or one which should stand on its own merits, and not cause those frequent disputes which would I otherwise inevitably occur? Although they might be in favour of the Bill, there was no reason why it should be passed that night. Why should that particular night be selected, when they were unfortunately deprived of the presence of the Solicitor-General? It was admitted by the Government that he was the only law officer who knew anything about it. If that was not admitted by the Government, then there was no lawful reason why the Attorney-General should not take his place. They hoped the Solicitor-General's health would be improved some time during this session. The discussion might perfectly well be adjourned to another night, without running any risk of the Bill not getting through. Hon. Members argued that they must at once pass the Bill because of the immense demand for it in the country, and because for thirty years it had been before the country, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bordesley talked about the thousands of women who were waiting in patience for it. It was almost pathetic to think that with all these hon. Gentlemen returned, according to the hon. Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool, to pass the Bill, and with the fact that the Bill had been before the country for thirty years, that the result should be that the number of objections to the measure was greater than the number in favour of it. He asked, was the Bill likely to get the serious discussion it deserved if hon. Members proceeded to carry it at that hour in the morning when the House was obviously not in a frame of mind for properly discussing it I If the Government thought they were going to cow the Opposition by their huge majority


Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. FCecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield
Anson, Sir William ReynellDouglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Balcarres, LordForster, Henry WilliamTalbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Banbury, Sir Frederick GeorgeGretton, JohnValentia, Viscount
Bowles, G. StewartHardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashfo'dWhite, Patrick (Meath, North)
Bridgeman, W. CliveHay, Hon. Claude George
Bull, Sir William JamesHelmsley, ViscountTELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Carlile, E. HildredHill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)Sir Henry Craik and Mr.
Cave, GeorgeKennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John HAshley.
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-Middlemore, John Throgmorton


Abraham, William (Rhondda)Dobson, Thomas W.Horniman, Emslie John
Acland, Francis DykeDuncan, G (Barrow-in-FurnessHoward, Hon. Geoffrey
Ainsworth, John StirlingDunn, A. Edward (Camborne)Hudson, Walter
Alden, PercyElibank, Master ofHyde, Clarendon
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)Essex, R. W.Idris, T. H. W.
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)Esslemont, George BirnieIsaacs, Rufus Daniel
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)Evans, Samuel T.Jardine, Sir J.
Baring, Capt. Hn. G (Winchester)Everett, R. LaceyJenkins, J.
Beauchamp, E.Faber, George Denison (York)Johnson, John (Gateshead)
Beck, A. CecilFenwick, CharlesJones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)
Bellairs, CarlyonFerens, T. R.Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Berridge, T. H. D.Fiennes, Hon. EustaceJones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Bertram, JuliusFindlay, AlexanderJowett, F. W.
Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineFowler, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryKekewich, Sir George
Black, Arthur W.Freeman-Thomas, FreemanKelley, George D.
Bowerman, G W.Fuller, John Michael F.Laidlaw, Robert
Brace, WilliamFullerton, HughLamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)
Bramsdon, T. A.Gill, A. H.Lambert, George
Branch, JamesGladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert JohnLamont, Norman
Bright, J. A.Glover, ThomasLea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.
Burnyeat, W. J. D.Gooch, George PeabodyLeese, Sir Joseph A.(Accrington
Byles, William PollardGrant, CorrieLehmann, R. C.
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harvich)
Causton, Rt Hn Richard KnightGurdon, Rt Hn Sir W. BramptonLevy, Sir Maurice
Cawley, Sir FrederickHaldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.Lewis, John Herbert
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (WoreHall, FrederickLough, Thomas
Chance, Frederick WilliamHardy, George A. (Suffolk)Lupton, Arnold
Cheetham, John FrederickHarmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)Luttrell, Hugh Fownes
Clough, WilliamHarvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)Lyell, Charles Henry
Cobbold, Felix ThornleyHarvey, W. E. (Derbyshire. N. EMacdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'mHaworth, Arthur A.Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)Hazel, Dr. A. E.Mackarness, Frederic C
Collins, Sir Wm J.(S. Pancras, WHedges, A. PagetMaclean, Donald
Cooper, G. J.Helme, Norval WatsonMacpherson, J. T.
Corbett, C. H.(Sussex, E. Grnst'dHenderson, Arthur (Durham)M'Callum, John M.
Cory, Clifford JohnHenderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)M'Crae, George
Cox, HaroldHenry, Charles S.Maddison, Frederick
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)Higham, John SharpMallet, Charles E.
Crooks, WilliamHobhouse, Charles E. H.Manfield, Harry (Northants)
Crossley, William J.Holland, Sir William HenryMansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)Holt, Richard DurningMarkham, Arthur Basil
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Hornby, Sir William HenryMarks, G. Croydon (Launceston)

they were very much mistaken; and if they thought they were going to do anything to restore the dignity of the House, as they had so often promised in the country, they must adjourn the debate.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 27; Noes, 208. (Division List No. 425.)

Marnham, F. J.Ridsdale, E. A.Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Massie, J.Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Micklem, NathanielRoberts, G. H. (Norwich)Thornton, Percy M.
Montgomery, H. G.Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'd)Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)Ure, Alexander
Morrell, PhilipRobinson, S.Walsh, Stephen
Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)Rogers, F. E. NewmanWalton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Nicholls, GeorgeRose, Charles DayWard, John (Stoke upon Trent
Nicholson, Charles N. (DoncastrRowlands, J.Ward, W. Dudley (South'mp'n
Norton, Capt. Cecil WilliamSamuel, Herbert F. (Cleveland)Wardle, George J.
Nuttall, HarrySamuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)Waring, Walter
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Scott, A. H. (Ashton under LyneWarner, Thomas Courtenay T.
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)Seddon, J.Waterlaw, D. S.
O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)Seely, ColonelWeir, James Galloway
O'Grady, J.Shackleton, David JamesWhite, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Parker, James (Halifax)Sherwell, Arthur JamesWhitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Paulton, James MellorShipman, Dr. John G.Wiles, Thomas
Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)Simon, John AllsebrookWilliams, J. (Glamorgan)
Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)Sinclair, Rt. Hon. JohnWills, Arthur Walters
Pollard, Dr.Sloan, Thomas HenryWilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)Smeaton, Donald MackenzieWilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Radford, G. H.Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Randles, Sir John ScurrahStanger, H. Y.Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Raphael, Herbert H.Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Rendall, AthelstanStraus, B. S. (Mile End)TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'thStrauss, E. A. (Abingdon)Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A.
Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'nSummerbell, T.Pease.
Rickett, J. ComptonSutherland, J. E.

Original Question put.


Abraham, William (Rhondda)Cox, HaroldHazel, Dr. A. E.
Acland, Francis DykeCraig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)Hedges, A. Paget
Ainsworth, John StirlingCrooks, WilliamHelme, Norval Watson
Alden PercyCrossley, William J.Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Allen, Acland (Christchurch)Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.
Baker, JosephA. (Finsbury, E.Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Henry, Charles S.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)Dobson, Thomas W.Higham, John Sharp
Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (WinchesterDuncan, C. (Barrow-in-FurnessHobhouse, Charles E. H.
Beauchamp, E.Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)Holland, Sir William Henry
Beck, A. CecilElibank, Master ofHolt, Richard Durning
Bellairs, CarlyonEssex, R. W.Hornby, Sir William Henry
Berridge, T. H. D.Esslemont, George BirnieHoward, Hon. Geoffrey
Bertram, JuliusEvans, Samuel T.Hudson, Walter
Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineEverett, R. LaceyHyde, Clarendon
Black, Arthur W.Faber, George Denison (York)Idris, T. H. W.
Bowerman, C. W.Fenwick, CharlesIsaacs, Rufus Daniel
Brace, WilliamFerens, T. R.Jardine, Sir J.
Bramsdon, T. A.Fiennes, Hon. EustaceJenkins, J.
Branch, JamesFowler, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryJohnson, John (Gateshead)
Bright, J. A.Freeman-Thomas, FreemanJones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea
Burnyeat, W. J. D.Fuller, John Michael F.Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Bylcs, William PollardFullerton, HughJones, William (Carnarvonshire
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Gill, A. H.Jowett, F. W.
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard KnightGladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert JohnKekewich, Sir George
Cawley, Sir FrederickGlover, ThomasKelley, George D.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Wor.Gooch, George PeabodyLaidlaw, Robert
Chance, Frederick WilliamGrant, CorrieLamb, Edmund G. (Leominster
Cheetham, John FrederickGreenwood, G. (PeterboroughLambert, George
Clough, WilliamGurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. BramptonLamont, Norman
Cobbold, Felix ThornleyHaldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.
Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (BirminghamHall, FrederickLeese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)Lehmann, R. C.
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)Lever, A. Levy (Essex., Harwich
Cooper, G. J.Harvey, A. G. C (Rochdale)Levy, Sir Maurice
Corbett, C. H.(Sussex., E. Gr'st'dHarvey, W. E. (Derbyshire. N. E.Lewis, John Herbert
Cary, Clifford JohnHaworth, Arthur A.Lough, Thomas

The House divided:—Ayes, 205; Noes, I 26. (Division List No. 426.)

Lupton, ArnoldPrice, C. E.(Edinburgh, CentralStraus, B. S. (Mile End)
Luttrell, Hugh FownesRadford, G. H.Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Lyell, Charles HenryRandles, Sir John ScurrahSummerbell, T.
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)Raphael, Herbert H.Sutherland, J. E.
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghsRea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Mackarness, Frederic C.Rendall, AthelstanTaylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Maclean, DonaldRichards, Thomas (W. Monm'thThornton, Percy M.
Macpherson, J. T.Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'nTrevelyan, Charles Philips
M'Callum, John M.Rickett, J. ComptonTurnour, Viscount
M'Crae, GeorgeRidsdale, E. A.Ure, Alexander
Maddison, FrederickRoberts, G. H. (Norwich)Walsh, Stephen
Mallet, Charles E.Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Br'df'rdWalton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Manfield, Harry (Northants)Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent
Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)Robinson, S.Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n
Markham, Arthur BasilRogers, F. E. NewmanWardle, George J.
Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)Rose, Charles DayWaring, Walter
Marnham, F. J.Rowlands, J.Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Massie J.Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)Waterlow, D. S.
Micklem, NathanielSamuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)Weir, James Galloway
Montgomery, H. G.Scott, A. H. (Ashton under LyneWhite, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Morrell, PhilipScott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)Whiteley, John Henry (Halifax
Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)Seddon, J.Wiles, Thomas
Nicholls, GeorgeSeely, MajorWilliams, J. (Glamorgan)
Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'rShackleton, David JamesWills, Arthur Walters
Norton, Capt. Cecil WilliamSherwell, Arthur JamesWilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.
Nuttall, HarryShipman, Dr. John G.Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Simon, John AllsebrookWilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)Sinclair, Rt. Hon. JohnWilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)Sloan, Thomas HenryWood, T. M'Kinnon
O'Grady, J.Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Parker, James (Halifax)Smith, F. E. (Liverpool. Walton)TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)Stanger, H. Y.Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, EyeStanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)
Pollard, Dr.Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)


Acland-Hood. Rt. Hn. Sir Alex F.Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.
Anson, Sir William ReynellCecil, Lord R. (Marylcbone, E.)Nicholson, Win, G. (Petersfield
Ashley, W. W.Craik, Sir HenryRawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Balcarres, LordDouglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Banbury, Sir Frederick GeorgeForster, Henry WilliamValentia, Viscount
Bridgeman, W. CliveGretton, JohnWhite, Patrick (Meath, North)
Bull, Sir William JamesHay, Hon. Claude George
Carlile, E. HildredHelmsley, Viscount


Cave, GeorgeHill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)Mr. Laurence Hardy and Mr.
Cecil Evelyn (Aston Manor)Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir JohnH.Bowles.


wanted to know what was meant by the first line of the clause. It appeared to him that the draftsman had in one sentence tried to find words which were applicable both to those who had married in the past and to those who wished to marry in the future. The word "marriage "was not applicable to those who were married in the past because what they had contracted was not marriage. The words "form of marriage" seemed hardly sufficient, because they wanted the intention of marriage, otherwise a marriage in private theatricals might have the meaning of marriage under this clause. He moved the omission of the words "form of marriage" in order to ascertain whether they were intended to meet all the circumstances of the case, and what was meant by contracting a "form of marriage."

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 7, to leave out the words 'form of marriage.'"—(Sir w. Anson.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

said the words "form of marriage or" were put in in Committee so as to meet the Opposition, although the words seemed to be perfectly useless.

said that perhaps he might regard himself as being the legal adviser of the Government on this Amendment. The Bill originally read "no marriage contracted between a man and his deceased wife's sister within the realm." His point—and he thought it was a sound one—was that they could not say that a marriage was contracted between a man and his deceased wife's sister because such a union was not a marriage, and therefore, to set out by saying that such a marriage should not be void was wrong drafting, because the thing they were saying was not void had never had any existence at all. That was the reason why he thought that the words "form of marriage" should be inserted, though he admitted they could not say both "form of marriage" and "marriage"—it ought to be one or the other. He did not know that the legal effect of the Bill would be very different, but as a matter of logic he thought "form of marriage" was right, and "marriage" was wrong.

said the addition to the drafting was put in at the instance of the noble Lord. He himself thought it was hypercriticism. He favoured the proposition as it originally stood, and the Government were prepared to accept the Amendment of the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University.

thought the Amendment was an improvement on the Bill. He was not one of those who supported his noble friend in Committee on this point, and he did not see how a form of marriage could be void.

asked the hon. Member for Walthamstow whether it was not the case that "form of marriage" was a good form of words to refer to marriage heretofore and hereafter. Although it was true that a marriage hereafter would be a civil contract because legalised as such, it was equally true to say—and he thought it was due to the susceptibilities of those who had held that these were not marriages—that it was only a form of marriage heretofore. He hoped the hon. Baronet would not press his Amendment.

thought the actual Amendment made nonsense. It ought to be "form of marriage or."

Will the hon. Baronet withdraw his Amendment and move it in the form suggested by the hon. Gentleman?

SIR WILLIAM ANSON said the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had just called his attention to the point, and he would be glad to alter the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 7, to leave out the words 'form of marriage or.'"—(Sir W. Anson.)

Amendment agreed to.

LORD R. CECIL moved an Amendment to confine the operation of the Bill to persons who should have declared, themselves not to be members of the Church of England. There was no doubt, he said, that the law of the Church of England rendered these marriages illegal and improper. No attempt was made to alter that law, and no loyal member of the Church of England could really enter into a marriage of this sort, whatever the Legislature might do in reference to the civil contract. Until the law of the Church of England was altered, only those who were not members of the Church of England should be permitted to enter into these contracts. Hon. Gentlemen who took a different view with regard to the Bill might not agree with him, but it was right that they should consider this point as all other points.

Amendment proposed—

'"In page 1, line 7, after the word 'marriage,' to insert the words 'between persons who shall have declared themselves not to be members of the Church of England.'"—(Lord R. Cecil.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

said he could not accept the Amendment, which was moved upstairs in Committee by the noble Lord and fully discussed.

said he could quite understand that there were members of the Church of England who were desirous that the Bill should become law, who thought that, after all, the prejudices and the law of the Church of England might be wrong. But if that was so, the very first thing the promoters of the Bill ought to do was to see that the canon law of the Church of England was altered. He did not pretend to be an authority on the canon law of the Church of England. But his noble friend was an authority, and he understood from him that it would be perfectly possible to arrange with Convocation that the canon law of the Church of England should be altered. If that were so, he saw no reason why the right hon. Gentleman should not have taken that step before he brought in the Bill. If he could get up and give any valid reason why that should not be done it might possibly change the vote he (Sir F. Banbury) was about to give, but short of that he would certainly support his noble friend. He really saw no reason, beyond this, that the desire of the right hon. Gentleman was to force the Bill through in the simplest and shortest manner possible. It might have taken a considerable time to obtain the desired alteration in the canon law, but it would have been more satisfactory. If the Amendment of his noble friend were accepted it would be going a considerable step in the direction which he thought was right, and he would then be able to alter the canon law, and to bring in another Bill in another session of Parliament.


said they all respected the sincere position which certain hon. Members took towards the Bill, but he was surprised that a member of the Church of England should move such an Amendment. What would happen? Two people were in love with one another. There was a rivalry set up between the love for the Church and the love for the woman. The love for the woman would prevail, and they would consequently, although sincere members of the Church of England, leave that Church and declare themselves not to be members of the Church of England. They were bound to do so. No two people in those circumstances would ever, for the sake of remaining in the Church of England, give up each other; that was against human nature. Would anyone contradict that? Would the noble Lord contradict it? Then what was he doing? He was dealing a blow to the Church of England, and once having left the Church of England in order to get married the chances were that these people would not return to the Church. Therefore, from the Church of England's point of view he would recommend the withdrawal of this wonderful Amendment. Personally he was no enemy of the Church of England.

said the right hon. Gentleman who had intervened in the debate was always extremely interesting, not only to those who agreed with him, but to those who differed. The speech just delivered had been particularly interesting to him as it threw a light on the right hon. Gentleman's conception of membership of a religious body. His conception of a religious body was, as he understood it, a kind of club which was desirous of having as many people in it as they could possibly get, quite irrespective of their opinions or conduct. They must have no rules in that club which would conflict with the natural passions and desires of any possible members. The right hon. Gentleman said with great force that when the love of woman and love of the Church were in conflict, the love of woman would prevail. He did not think he had quite considered how far that principle would go. Was he going to abolish all restraint between the sexes, because the principle went as far as that? Unfortunately, it was the case that men loved women without any idea of marriage at all.


asked if the Church was to have no restriction on marriage at all. The right hon. Gentleman evidently thought that the Church as a Church should have no restriction, because if it did there would be conflicts between love of woman and the Church, and the former would prevail. That argument meant the abolition of all moral law. The right hon. Gentleman's proposition was quite simple, and was stated with epigrammatic force.


said he must ask the noble Lord not to misrepresent him. What he said was this—that as the Amendment declared that they should not be members of the Church of England, all he said was that the attachment between the two would lead them to declare themselves not members of the Church of England in order to get married, and having declared that, they were not likely to return.

said the right hon. Gentleman had repeated with great force exactly what he had said. He was quite sure he did not appreciate how far his principles carried him. His principle was, broadly, that they were not to have a rule of membership of the Church of England which would in any way restrain a man from marrying any woman whom he happened to love. That was really what he did mean.


Oh, no. The position will be that these two people will be no longer members of the Church of England, and therefore not subject to the rules of that Church.

That is just what I said. I do not desire, however, to press the matter. I think the House sees that whatever may be said against this Amendment, it is not open to the criticism levelled against it by the right hon. Gentleman.

Amendment negatived.

MR. EVELYN CECIL moved to leave out the words "heretofore or." He said this Amendment raised the whole question of the retrospective action of the Bill. There were certain Members who would be much more willing to assent to the passing of the Bill if it did not, by being retrospective, infringe one of the first principles of legislation. Let the House imagine how far they were going to be carried. If this kind of principle was to be universally adopted they would allow a lawbreaker to defy the law and then bring in legislation to condone his action. That was really a premium on defying and breaking the law, and no provision in the Bill showed more clearly what its object really was than this particular provision. He, and those who thought with him, said that the Bill was really brought in to whitewash people who had already broken the law; and if that was to be the line on which Parliament was going to pass legislation, they would find themselves in confusion very soon indeed. Let him take one or two instances. Supposing, for instance, hon. Gentlemen opposite felt strongly about passive resistance—were they going to bring in a Bill at once to whitewash all passive resisters? If they were going to oppose this Amendment, why should they not have legislation for passive resisters, and if they were willing to whitewash passive resisters in accordance with their action of resisting this Amendment, did they propose to whitewash others if they were passively to resist, say, an Education Bill next year I The whole principle was most mischievous and vicious, and it was high time strong language should be used about it. They had an instance the other day of the tendency of the Party now in 'power to condone breaches of the law. It was within the recollection of most hon. Members that they had an interesting discussion on the salaries of teachers in Merionethshire, and in that case the Government did their best to condone the action of the Merionethshire County Council in refusing to pay the non-provided school teachers by the date that their salaries were due, while they paid the council school teachers. The argument the other day which was more or less condoned by the Government was that it was a matter of conscience on the part of the Merionethshire County Council, and that therefore, in fact, they were justified in the action they took. The plea for persons who had married a deceased wife's sister already was that it was a matter of conscience, he supposed, and that therefore they ought to be whitewashed. He hoped the analogy was now plain to hon. Members opposite. This principle of legislation he could not repeat too strongly was a vicious one. For that reason, he strongly urged on the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill to accept the Amendment to allow the Bill only to apply to the future. He did not speak only for himself, but there were hon. Members on that side of the House and certainly some people in the country who would have far less objection to the Bill than they had at present if his Amendment were accepted. There was another side to the matter which was also important. If the Bill was made retrospective, it might involve them in many complications which were not quite obvious at first sight. The hon. Member for East Marylebone had referred to a man marrying three sisters, which the House treated with laughter because hon. Members thought it an extreme case. If he took another case and did not make it so extreme, hon. Members would see that it applied to his Amendment. If a man married, and his wife died, and then he married his deceased wife's sister, and got tired of her, and then married anybody else, what would be the result if his Amendment was not adopted? The Bill was retrospective and therefore applied to the so-called wife number two. The Bill made the woman of whom the husband had got tired his legal wife, and if, in the meantime, he had married someone else, were the second and third wives both legal wives? What would be the situation? This was an extremely complicated situation, about which he would like to have the best legal opinion. He saw in his place the Solicitor-General for Scotland. He thought there might be some hope as the House had been deprived of the services of the English law officers that they might get some opinion from him. Failing him, he would ask for an answer from the hon. Mem-for Walthamstow, more particularly as he had sat so silent the whole evening.


seconded the Amendment, which he thought raised a most important question. He hoped the House would get something more than a formal refusal and would have some answer to the arguments advanced. He wished to point out that persons who had married in this way had committed a deliberate breach of the Statute law. It would be the worst possible precedent to give Parliamentary sanction to illegal acts done deliberately, and with full knowledge that those acts were a breach of the law of the land. If these marriages were to be validated, it would be difficult to ask Parliament not to validate other marriages made with persons in other degrees of affinity. He remembered that Mr. Gladstone some years ago got some figures showing the number of marriages not only between men and their deceased wives' sisters, but also between men and women within other prohibited degrees. Mr. Gladstone was surprised to find how numerous were the marriages within these other prohibited degrees. He was bound to say that if a retrospective effect was given to this Bill, it would be difficult hereafter to resist a claim by those persons who had committed a similar offence within other degrees of affinity to have their marriages validated. One other point. By making these marriages valid, the House would be raising very difficult questions affecting the law of property. No one who had paid attention to that matter would doubt that grave difficulties would be caused. By this Bill they would be upsetting legitimate expectations. They would be giving to one person property which, but for that Bill, would go to another. He did not put the property argument first, but he thought it a real and valid argument. He knew many people who were in favour of the proposal to make these marriages valid in the future, and yet were strongly opposed to giving the Bill a retrospective effect.


said he would like to ask the hon. Member to withdraw his Amendment. There were thousands of innocent children at the present moment in this country who would, if this Amendment were passed, be, in the eye of the law, bastards, and have no rights that legitimate children had. But they were the children of men and women who had lived their lives loyally and true to one another, virtuous in every way, and who had lived subject to a higher law than any Church law as man and wife. Did the hon. Gentleman say that those people were living in sin or anything approaching to sin?

Yes, certainly. Would my right hon. friend legitimatise all illegitimate children?


said he would legitimatise children of those who had gone through the form of marriage and who were loyally true to one another. There were also the people who came from the Colonies and brought their children with them. The children who were regarded as legitimate in Australia became bastards when they came to this country. There was a grim ascetic- tinge of revenge in the Amendment. His hon. friend had said it was time to use strong language, and he agreed that it was indeed time to use strong language when an Amendment of that kind was brought forward. He would ask his hon. friend on the grounds of humanity, of fairness, and of pity and sympathy with the thousands of innocent children brought into the world under the conditions he had named to withdraw his Amendment. He was sure he would not regret it if he did. He was sure that his hon. friend would not wish to go into the division lobby and to have the stigma of having divided the House on an Amendment like that.

said that even the most retiring private Member might be permitted to have a word on this Amendment. It was no doubt a substantial Amendment, though it was one which had been very fully discussed in previous stages of the Bill. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment had raised what he had been pleased to describe as an important point, and he had bad the good fortune to find as a seconder a well-known legal gentleman. But the hon. and learned Member who seconded the Amendment fought very shy of any suggestion that there was a legal conundrum raised. The answer to the question raised by the hon. Member was not one which required lawyers to settle. There was no legal difficulty involved, and all that was required for any hon. Member to answer it for himself was that he should read Clause 1 with reasonably close attention. The solution of the problem, if problem it could be called, was found in perfectly plain language at the end of the clause. The problem was, supposing that a man had already gone through the form of marriage with his deceased wife's sister, that he had got tired of her and had subsequently married a woman who stood in no previous relationship whatever to him, what would be his position after the passing of the Bill? He thought he was right in assuming that this was the question of the hon. Member. The answer was, that where a man had gone through a form of marriage which was valid under the law as it then stood, his earlier form of marriage with his deceased wife's sister would not be affected by the Bill. He understood that this received the approval of the hon. and learned Member for the University of Cambridge. The other matter which had been raised was, he thought—and it had been put with great force by the hon. Members who moved and seconded the Amendment—that it was dangerous to go in for retrospective legislation in matters of that kind. Did the House recognise that the House of Commons had repeatedly in that Parliament, and in previous Parliaments, passed Bills for validitating marriages which were not valid? It was done for many reasons. Sometimes it was because the building in which the ceremony took place was not licensed, but for many other reasons, and in all cases the Act was made retrospective. The objection which had been made to the Bill would have been applicable in such cases.


said the marriages the hon. and learned Member had referred to were marriages which at the time when they were solemnised were thought by the parties to be in conformity with the laws of the State.

said the objection that was raised to making the Bill retrospective, raised questions of great perplexity as to property and legitimacy of children, but every one of those questions of complexity was raised in every case where they had a ceremony which was invalid, but which was made valid by legislation. The answer Was none the loss effective because of the distinction pointed out by the hon. Member. The real foundation for the opposition which they on that side of the House put to the proposal in the Amendment was on the ground put before the House by the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench opposite, that it would be intolerable if the House were to say to children existing at the moment in the position of illegitimate children: "You are not to come under the benefits of this Act; this Act is to be deliberately confined to future children." That would be to make differences and distinctions which he was sure would not commend themselves to the kindly feelings of anyone. While he well understood that some Hon. Members opposite took a strong view about that Bill and from purely conscientious motives disapproved of it, they would see that if the Bill was to be passed it should be passed in such a form as to do no violence to the feelings they all had at the bottom of their hearts.

thought the speech of the hon. and learned Member was a good illustration of the dangers of taking such important business at that hour, for he had put forward a proposition which in calmer hours of the day he would never have put forward. The hon. and learned Member had admitted the difficulties of retrospective legislation so far as marriages were concerned, but had put forward the eases of marriages which were supposed to be valid in the first instance, but became invalid for some reason. But the hon. Member knew that in all those cases where Bills were put forward to make those marriages valid everybody believed them at the time of the marriage to be valid marriages, and the distinction was that in those case? everybody believed at the time that they were born that the children were legitimate. Everybody thought those children were legitimate and continued to regard them as legitimate till the mistake was discovered and Parliament stepped in. Of many such cases in his memory there was one in which people were married by a man who was believed to be a clergyman of the Church of England, but who turned out to be no clergyman at all. The people who had gone through the form of marriage before that man had to have an Act passed to make those marriages valid. The children of the people married by that man were believed to be legitimate. In that case of course it was idle to suggest that any of the considerations which had been mentioned arose. In the case of the people with whom they wished to deal, however, all those people knew at the time that the marriages were invalid and that the children who were born would be illegitimate, and would be illegitimate unless that Act legitimatised them. All the considerations with regard to property indicated by the hon. and learned Member did not arise in those cases. The proposition as to the difficulties which would arise and which were described by the hon. and learned Member as conundrums was put forward by the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone in the first instance, but was revived by the hon. Member and revived wrongly on one detail. The question put by the noble Lord was as to the position of a man who married his wife and on her death went through the form of marriage with her two sisters. That was the question in the first instance, and no answer had been given to it. No answer could be given to it. That there were genuine difficulties involved by the Bid no one could doubt. Apart from the legal questions the hon. and learned Member had made a speech which was unjustifiable, but he had been led away by the example of his right hon. friend, who said that out of pity for the children they ought to pass that Bill that night. They were told to look to those innocent children and out of the kindness of their hearts to legitimatise them. But every illegitimate child was innocent. If they said every illegitimate child was to be legitimatised then there was a great deal to be said for their argument, for every single argument which had been used in connection with that particular class of illegitimate child referred equally to every illegitimate child. To carry his right non. friend's argument to its proper conclusion they must make every illegitimate child legitimate. There was no half-way house, the argument must be applied equally to all illegitimate children. That was a very dangerous doctrine. They all sympathised with the children, but that hardly met the case. The right hon. Gentleman said that these marriages had been valid, but had not one heard the argument frequently applied to other people on certain occasions? They were dangerous arguments, and he was sorry to draw any distinction between the sides of the House when they did not exist. If they once began the legitimation of children by a subsequent marriage it was a very dangerous type of argument, and if they once appealed to sentiment—kindness, pity, and justice—it would at once cover a far wider field than simply people who had married their deceased wives' sisters, and would apply to all other people who had married other relations within the prohibited degrees of affinity. For these reasons he ventured to ask the House not to deal with this question otherwise than upon the basis of what was fair and right, and not upon the basis merely of sympathy for illegitimate children. They ought to deal with the question upon the ground of expediency. That was the real question they had to deal with.

asked how the hon. and learned Gentleman proposed to deal with the case of a man who married his deceased wife's sister and had three children prior to the passing of this Act. After the passing of this Act the parties might be re-married in order to dissipate all doubts, and if they had three other children, did he propose that those three subsequent children should be legitimate or illegitimate?

said he had no difficulty in answering the question at all. Assuming that his hon. friend's Amendment was carried, it would be exactly the same as at the present time. It happened every day in one's legal experience that a man was living with a person who was not his wife and had illegitimate children. He afterwards married and had other children. The consequence was that the latter were legitimate and the former illegitimate. In that respect the English law differed from the law of many other countries. The law of Scotland, of course they knew, took a different aspect.

said the argument of the hon. and learned Member for the University of Cambridge was answered by the long established law of Scotland which made bastard children legitimate if their parents afterwards joined in lawful wedlock. The same view was taken as regards the Church of England in olden time as soon as this question had become a burning one, which was when the clergy of the Church of England took to marrying. A law of Henry VIII, one of the Six Articles, forbade their matrimony on penalty of death and forfeiture of property. The Statute 2 and 3 Edward VI., Chap. 21, was however passed to abolish all positive laws against the marriage of priests, but the profound dislike of these unions, based on religious morality, survived, and people were long in the habit of pointing the finger of scorn at these clergymen's children, so that fresh legislation had to be resorted to, the Statute 5 and 6 Edward VI., Chap. 12, which says in its preamble that—

"Divers evil disposed persons do untruly and very slanderously say that it was but a permission, so that many people counted priests' children bastards."
The law enacted therefore that the matrimony of all and every priest heretofore and hereafter was valid. These Reformation Statutes were, however, repealed under Queen Mary, but revived again under James I., when the matter was settled for all time, and priests' children again declared to be legitimate, any canon or constitution notwithstanding.

said that for his part he attached the greatest importance to the retrospective character of the Bill. If the retrospective provision were taken out he did not say he would be entirely reconciled because he would not, but certainly, so far as he was concerned, the greater part of his objections would be removed. They had to deal here with two classes of persons according to the arguments that had been put forward: they had to deal with parents and with children. With regard to parents, it seemed enough to say that if two persons with their eyes open entered into a union of this kind, knowing perfectly well all the time, as every one of them either did or ought to, that they were contracting an irregular and improper union, which, if it resulted in any issue, would render that issue illegitimate, they ought not to come to the House of Commons asking to have that union legalised in order to legitimise their children. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had ransacked history for some precedents in the matter. He had gone back to Edward VI., and quoted the preamble of an Act which legitimised the children of priests who had married before the passing of that Act, but the hon. Gentleman did not remind the House that that was merely an Act for the removal of doubts. The marriagos of those priests to which the Act referred were perfectly legal marriages; the marriage of a priest was made legal long before the Act of Edward VI. The removing of doubts was one thing, but he said without fear of contradiction that there was no precedent whatever in the history of this country for making marriage unions legal, and for legitimising children who, before the passing of the Act, were illegitimate without any doubt, and to the knowledge of their parents. He fully recognised, as everybody must, the hard case of the children of those unions. Everybody must see that their case was deserving of consideration, but he had two remarks to make on the argument ad misericordiam of the children. If the mere fact that a child was innocent was to be held as a ground for making it legitimate, they would be bound to legitimise every illegitimate child. There was no escaping from that. The argument was a mere appeal to the pity which everyone must feel for children in that position. It was no argument at all for seeking out one particular class of child and legitimising it. This Bill, however, did not legitimise, but only half legitimised. It was perfectly clear that these children, as compared with the children of other marriages, were to have no rights to property. He commended that to the right hon. Gentlemen the Member for Bordesley. For his part he thought that that was a great, clear, and common-sense objection to the Bill. It might be right, but he thought it was not, to say that a man might in future marry his deceased wife's sister; but it could not be right to


Acland, Francis DykeDuncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)Hudson, Walter
Ainsworth, John StirlingDunn, A. Edward (Camborne)Hyde, Clarendon
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)Idris, T. H. W.
Baker, JosephA.(Finsbury, E.)Elibank, Master ofIsaacs, Rufus Daniel
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)Essex, R. W.Jardine, Sir J.
Beauchamp, E.Evans, Samuel T.Jenkins, J.
Beaumont, Hon. HubertEverett, R. LaceyJohnson, John (Gateshead)
Beck, A. CecilFenwick, CharlesJones, SirD. Brynmor (Swansea)
Berridge, T. H. D.Ferens, T. R.Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Bertram, JuliusFiennes, Hon. EustaceJones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineFowler, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryJowett, F. W.
Black, Arthur W.Freeman-Thomas, FreemanKekewich, Sir George
Bowerman, C.W.Fuller, John Michael F.Kelley, George D.
Brace, WilliamFullerton, HughLaidlaw, Robert
Bramsdon, T. A.Gill, A. H.Lamont, Norman
Branch, JamesGladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert JohnLea, High Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)
Bright, J. A.Glover, ThomasLeese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)
Burnyeat, W. J. D.Gooch, George Pea bodyLehmann, R. C.
Byles, William PollardGrant, CorrieLever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)Lewis, John Herbert
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard KnightGurdon, Rt Hn. SirW. BramptonLough, Thomas
Cawley, Sir FrederickHaldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.Lupton, Arnold
Chance, Frederick WilliamHall, FrederickLyell, Charles Henry
Cheetham, John FrederickHardy, George A. (Suffolk)Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Clough, WilliamHarmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)Macdonald, J. M. (FalkirkB'ghs)
Cobbold, Felix ThornleyHarvey, W. E. Derbyshire, N. E.Mackarness, Frederic C.
Collings, Rt. Hn. J.(Birm'gham)Haworth, Arthur A.Maclean, Donald
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)Hazel, Dr. A. E.Macpherson, J. T.
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, WHedges, A. PagetMacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)
Cooper, G. J.Helme, Norval WatsonM'Callum, John M.
Corbett, CH(Sussex, E. Grinst'd)Henderson, Arthur (Durham)M'Crae, George
Cory, Clifford JohnHenderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)Maddison, Frederick
Cox, HaroldHenry, Charles S.Manfleld, Harry (Northants)
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)Higham, John SharpMansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)
Crooks, WilliamHobhouse, Charles E. H.Markham, Arthur Basil
Crossley, William J.Holland, Sir William HenryMarks, G. Croydon (Launeeston)
Davies Ellis William (Eifion)Holt, Richard DurningMarnham, F. J.
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Horniman, Emslie JohnMassie, J.
Dobson, Thomas W.Howard, Hon. GeoffreyMicklem, Nathaniel

go back to people who did what they knew was wrong, or what at any rate, if they did not know it was wrong, they were monstrously negligent in not knowing. If they had not broken the law what on earth was the object of the Bill? Of course they had broken the law, and they knew they were breaking the law, and he repeated that it was a monstrous thing to come like that to the House. A great many of them were wealthy persons who had been conducting this agitation for years, and it was just to whitewash these few wealthy persons, and for no other reason, that the Bill was brought forward. It was a dishonest Bill, and if it were really a Bill founded on principle and not upon the mere selfish expediency of a few interested persons, it would not go back to the past, but apply simply to the future.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 191; Noes, 18. (Division List No. 427.)

Montgomery, H. G.Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)Thornton, Percy M.
Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)Robinson, S.Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Morrell, PhilipRogers, F. E. NewmanUre, Alexander
Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)Rose, Charles DayWalsh, Stephen
Nicholls, GeorgeRowlands, J.Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Nicholson, CharlesN.(Doncast'rSamuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Norton, Capt. Cecil WilliamSamuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)Ward, W. Dudley(Southampton
Nuttall, HarryScott, A. H.(Ashton-under-LyneWard le, George J.
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)Waring, Walter
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)Seddon, J.Warner, ThomasC'ourtenay T.
Parker, James (Halifax)Seely, ColonelWaterlow, D. S.
Paulton, James MellorShackleton, David JamesWeir, James Galloway
Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)Sherwell, Arthur JamesWhite, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Pollard, Dr.Shipman, Dr. John G.White, Patrick (Meath, North).
Price, C. E.(Edinburgh, Central)Simon, John AllsebrookWhitley, John Henry(Halifax)
Radford, G. H.Sloan, Thomas HenryWiles, Thomas
Randles, Sir John ScurrahSmeaton, Donald MackenzieWills, Arthur Walters
Raphael, Herbert H.Smith, F. E.(Liverpool, Walton)Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R. J)
Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')Stanger, H. Y.Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Rendall, AthelstanStanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th)Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph(Chesh.)Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'nStraus, B. S. (Mile End)Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Rickett, J. ComptonStrauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Ridsdale, E. A.Summerbell, T.TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)Taylor, John W. (Durham)Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Robertson, Sir G. Seott(Bradf'rdTaylor, TheodoreC.(Radcliffe)


Anson, Sir William ReynellCarlile, E. HildredNicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Ashley, W. W.Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel.
Balcarres, LordCraik, Sir HenryTalbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Banbury, Sir Frederick GeorgeForster, Henry WilliamValentia, Viscount
Bowles G. StewartHard y, Laurence (Kent, Ashford
Bridgeman, W. CliveHay, Hon. Claude George

TELLERS FOE THE NOES—Mr. Evelyn Cecil and Mr. Cave.

Bull, Sir William JamesHelmsley, Viscount

LORD EDMUND TALBOT moved an Amendment to limit the effect of the Bill to such marriages as had already taken place, his object being to legalise those marriages which had taken place in the past already with the ecclesiastical sanction of their Church. The House was aware that the position of Catholics was somewhat peculiar on this question. They could contract these marriages lawfully according to the law of the Church, by obtaining a dispensation for the purpose, but the law of the land being what it was, the children of such marriages were illegitimate. He was so strongly opposed to the Bill's being made law that he could not take upon himself the responsibility of voting in favour of it, but he wanted to take this opportunity of legitimising the children of marriages of members of his faith which had been contracted according to the law of their Church, if not according to the law of the land.

Amendment proposed—

In page 1, line 7, leave out "or hereafter."—(Lord Edmund Talbot.)

Question proposed—

"That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

thought the Amendment was far less defensible than the oner they had just discussed. Its object was to cut future marriages out of the Bill. He had a little difficulty in following his noble friend. He was utterly opposed to every line of the Bill, however, and so any Motion to omit any words or any portion of the Bill would have his support. But if they were to have a measure legitimising a marriage with a deceased wife's sister, it seemed a little difficult to defend the proposition that it should not apply to future marriages. He spoke with the greatest possible confidence against the retrospective principle of the measure, but he disliked every portion of the Bill.

Amendment negatived.

LORD R. CECIL moved to leave out the words "or without." He said till last year the position with reference to these marriages with a deceased wife's sister was this: they were legal in many of the Colonies, but ceased to be legal when the parties came to England. That was a position of affairs which was very difficult to defend. So the Under-Secretary for the Colonies last year introduced and carried a provision which legitimised the children at any rate of those who had contracted marriages in the Colonies. He did not see now what reason the words "or without" had in the Bill at all. Hon. members had nothing to do with marriages which took place in foreign countries under foreign laws. They only dealt with our own marriages. That seemed to be covered by the words "within the Realm." He thought that it would be proper to strike out the words "within the Realm or without." He would like to know from the legal officers of the Government or from the hon. member for Walthamstow what was the exact force of the words "or without." He thought the words were taken from the old Act which was designed to meet Colonial marriages. He ventured to move that these words be omitted.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 9, to leave out the words "or without.'"—(Lord Robert Cecil.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

said it was not likely that the legal members of the House would have a substantial difference of opinion about these words. They could not apply English law to legitimise marriages if the man was not domiciled in this country.

Amendment negatived.

LORD R. CECIL moved to leave out the words "or voidable." Ever since the 1835 Act, marriages between a man and his deceased wife's sister had been absolutely void, and marriages contracted between a man and his deceased wife's sister before 1835 were voidable. The only object of the words of which he complained would be to validate marriages contracted before 1835. He could, not conceive any reason why that should be done. He saw a considerable danger in validating marriages between people who were dead. He knew that the argument projected was that there might be children about, and that they should have the benefit of such legitimation as this Bill could give them. There could be no reason for making these marriages before 1835 legal, and he ventured to suggest that these words should be excluded.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1 line 10, to leave out the words 'or voidable.'"—(Lord Robert Cecil.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."


said that in the circumstances it appeared to him that the words were useless, and words which appeared to be useless in an Act of Parliament, were apt to turn out worse than useless when the law come to be interpreted and applied.

said that though he was in favour of the Bill he thought it was perfectly obvious that they ought not to continue to discuss it at that hour of the morning. Four o'clock in the afternoon, not four o'clock in the morning, was the time to see that the Bill was made as clear and as workable as possible. They ought not to put a single word in the Bill unless they were able to put a definite meaning to it. After hearing what the hon. Gentleman had said, he was satisfiod that there was not sufficient reason for inserting the words, while his experience in the law courts was that if they were inserted the ambiguity in them would lead to trouble in the law courts.

Amendment negatived.

MR. LAURENCE HARDY moved an Amendment giving an opportunity to either party to such a form of marriage contracted before the passing of the Act to avoid the Act by a declaration in prescribed form that he or she did not desire such a form of marriage to be valid. He moved that Amendment in order to clear up the question which had been raised in other parts of the debate as to the position of the parties when the Act came into operation. Instances had been given of the different ways in which it was clear there might be cases where the two parties to that form of marriage might not desire that their marriages should be made valid. The Amendment he had moved gave an opportunity during the short interval before the Act came into operation for those persons to exercise their own judgment in the matter and to decide whether the union which was an illegal union should become a legal union under that Act. Unless they adopted the Amendment they would, as had already been pointed out, have people compulsorily married, though they might be unwilling now to carry out the arrangement which they made in their young life. He did not desire to labour the point in any way, but it was a point which had been previously made, and one for which it was clear something must be done to remedy the difficulty. There were other Amendments on the Paper which dealt with the same point in different words, and he was not particular about adhering to the words he had moved. He thought however, some words were necessary to deal with the question.

seconded the Amendment. He said he had an Amendment on the Paper dealing with the same point, which he would prefer so far as the wording was concerned, for it went further than the hon. Member's Amendment. The object was one which did not in any way touch the main details or objects of the Bill. Directly the Bill passed into law, everybody who previous to the passing of the Bill had gone through the form of marriage with his deceased wife's sister would be bound to her for life. That Amendment said that where the two people did not wish to be married, they should within six months of the passing of the Bill make a statement to that effect in writing, and then the marriage would not be valid. If they did not accept the Amendment the Bill would lead to serious consequences. Assuming a man had married his deceased wife's sister, but after living happily for a time disputes had arisen and they had agreed to separate—perhaps one of them had committed adultery—yet when that Bill passed into law and forced those two people to be man and wife there would be no remedy in such a case for either party. The adultery would have been committed before they were man and wife, and therefore there would be no remedy. The effect of that Amendment would be to give those people the option of not taking advantage of the Bill. He did not propose at that time of night to deal with the broad general principles of the matter, but in every single state in the world two people had to agree to marry. The Bill in its present form would for the first time make people marry who might not wish to marry at all, and who were not married at the present time. The Amendment was only carrying out the intention of the promoters of the Bill, who he was sure did not wish that people who did not desire to be legally married should be forced to be.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 10, after 'affinity,' to insert 'unless either party to such a form of marriage contracted before the passing of this Act shall within six months of the passing of this Act declare in writing in a prescribed form that he or she do not desire such a form of marriage to be valid."—(Mr. Laurence Hardy.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

said the Amendment amounted really to divorce by consent of one party only. He could imagine a case where a man had gone through the form of marriage, and if that Amendment were carried he would be able to sneak out of his engagement and desert his wife. Under the Bill as it at present stood they did not make people marry, but where people had gone through the form of marriage in the past that form of marriage would be made legal. They could not possibly accept the Amendment.

said that he personally desired to see the Bill go through to remedy a long-felt want in the life of the nation, but the point under discussion had been raised earlier in the evening by the hon. Baronet representing the City of London, who gave a specific instance which the Amendment was designed to meet. How would the right hon. Gentleman deal with a case like that of a man and woman who had gone through the form of marriage, who had lived for some time happily together, but who had disagreed and decided to separate I They were not married now in the eyes of the law, but if the Bill without the amending clause went through they were remarried at once. The right hon. Gentleman said that what the proposal amounted to was divorce by one party only, but in the example he had quoted the man and woman had both agreed to separate, to consider their union as a temporary union, and to take advantage of the fact that the Bill was not passed. If the Bill passed in its present form they would join those two people together again. He thought that the Amendment was a very sensible one, and one which ought to be accepted.

hoped the promoters would accept the Amendment, for real cases of hardship had been pointed out. It was quite true that whatever device they adopted, the moment they adopted the principle of retrospective legislation they were thrown into difficulties. It was quite true also that there might be a hardship caused if they said there was to be an option on the part of the parties as to whether they would come under the Bill or not. He did not think the hardships would be many, for they would only be in cases where one of the parties wanted to get rid of the tie but the other did not. There would be far more hardships if no provision such as that in the Amendment was made. He would not refer at length to it again, but earlier in the evening he had mentioned the case of a man who went through the form of marriage with three sisters. He had had no reply in regard to the question he then put, and the question had not been answered because there was no answer He quite agreed such a case would not be a common one, and that hon. Members might say it was not worth their while to consider it; but there were a large number of cases in which a man might go through the form of marriage with his deceased wife's sister, separate from her and form a connection of a perfectly irregular character with another woman. It was perfectly true that that other woman would have acted in a way which could not be approved, and had committed a grave fault, but so in his opinion had all the people who were dealt with in the Bill. The man and woman who knew that their union was not legal, but yet made that union, were committing a very wrong act indeed. In the case of the man who had gone through the form of marriage with his deceased wife's sister, however, whether the reason was good or bad, and had then formed a connection with another woman, the other woman was always hopeful that he would marry her. The Bill in its present form, however, would come along and place it out of the power of the man to do justice to her. No legislation would be effective so long as they adopted the retrospective principle. He contended that the dangers that would accrue from giving some form of option to the parties as to whether they should come under the provisions of the Bill was the lesser danger of the two. The right hon. Gentleman had talked about divorce by consent. He could not understand the position the right hon. Gentleman had taken up. Those in favour of the Bill conceived a union with a deceased wife's sister to be a complete marriage, except for a technical legal formality. He could not conceive how any hon. Gentleman could hold such an opinion. Those unions-were illegal; the parties made them with their eyes open, they knew the consequences to their children, and they chose deliberately to risk those consequences. To say that those unions were really marriages except for a technical formality struck at the whole principle of morality. He was surprised at anyone holding that view.

said he could not understand why any hon. Member should oppose the passing of the Amendment, whether he was in favour of the Bill or not. After the exceedingly clear statement of the hon. Member for St. Pancras they could see there might be cases of very great hardship. The Secretary of State for War earlier in the evening had said that the Bill was a purely permissive Bill, and that no one wished to make a man marry his deceased wife's sister. But the Bill might make him do so whether he wanted to or not. The case which had been quoted was a very apt illustration of what might happen. A man might marry his deceased wife's sister, they might fall out and live apart, but the House came along and said they should be married directly that Bill received the Royal Assent. All that they asked was that those people if they wished should be exempt from the Bill. That seemed only common justice to people who had never been legally married.

recognised that there might be a certain amount of weight in the arguments put forward by his right hon. friend in charge of the Bill that they were giving to one party to some sort of a contract power to break it. He thought, however, a compromise on the question might be arrived at. If the words were "unless both parties," instead of "unless either party, "they would exclude the worst cases. That would moan that if both man and woman subsequently repented, their cases would be removed from the operations of the Bill. Would the right hon. Gentleman be willing to accept that? He would move that as an Amendment to the Amendment before the House.


Ashley, W. W.Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Balcarres, LordCory, Clifford JohnSmith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)
Bowles, G. StewartCraik, Sir HenryTalbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Bridgeman, W. CliveForster, Henry WilliamValentia, Viscount
Bull, Sir William JamesHelmsley, Viscount
Carlile, E. HildredLea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, ETELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Laurence Hardy and Mr. Rawlinson.
Cave, GeorgeMacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)


Acland, Francis DykeCollins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.Gooch, George Pea body
Aitisworth, John StirlingCooper, G. J.Girant, Corrie
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)Corbett, C. H (Sussex, E. Grmst'dGreenwood, G. (Peterborough)
Baker, Joseph A.(Finsbury, E.)Cox, HaroldGurdon, Rt Hn. Sir W. Brampton
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.
Beauehamp, E.Crooks, WilliamHall, Frederick
Beck, A. CecilCrossley, William J.Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)
Berridge, T. H. D.Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.)
Bertram, JuliusDavies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Harvey, W. E.(Derbyshire, N. E.
Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineDobson, Thomas W.Haworth, Arthur A.
Black, Arthur W.Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness)Hazel, Dr. A. E.
Bowerman, C. W.Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)Hedges, A. Paget
Brace, WilliamEdwards, Clement (Denbigh)Helme, Norval Watson
Bramsdon, T. A.Elibank, Master ofHenderson, Arthur (Durham)
Branch, JamesEssex, R. W.Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen. W.
Bright, J. A.Evans, Samuel T.Henry, Charles S.
Burnyeat, W. J. D.Everett, R. LaceyHigham, John Sharp
Byles, William PollardFenwick, CharlesHobhouse, Charles E. H.
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Ferens, T. R.Holland, Sir William Henry
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard KnightFiennes, Hon. EustaceHolt, Richard Durning
Cawley, Sir FrederickFowler, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryHorniman, Emslie John
Chance, Frederick WilliamFreeman-Thomas, FreemanHoward, Hon. Geoffrey
Cheetham, John FrederickFuller, John Michael F.Hudson, Walter
Clough, WilliamFullerton, HughHyde, Clarendon
Cobbold, Felix ThornleyGill, A. H.Idris, T. H. W.
Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm'gham)Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert JohnIsaacs, Rufus Daniel
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)Glover, ThomasJardine, Sir J.

said he could not accept the Amendment because of the cruelty to the children.

suggested that the difficulty might be got over by inserting the words "where there are no children."

Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment—

"To leave out the words 'either party' and insert the words 'both parties.'"—(Viscount Helmsley.)

Question, "That the words proposed to be loft out stand part of the proposed Amendment to the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Question put. "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided:—Ayes, 20; Noes, 179. (Division List No. 428.)

Jenkins, J.Nicholson, Charles N.(Donc'st'r)Sloan, Thomas Henry
Johnson, John (Gateshead)Norton, Capt. Cecil WilliamSmeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor(Swansea)Nuttall, HarryStanger, H. Y.
Jones, Leif (Appleby)O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)
Jones, William (CarnarvonshireO'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.
Jowett, F. W.Parker, James (Halifax)Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Kekewich, Sir GeorgePaulton, James MellorStrauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Kelley, George D.Pearce, Robert (Staff's. Leek)Summerbell, T.
Laidlaw, RobertPollard, Dr.Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Lamont, NormanPrice, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)Taylor, Theo Jore C. (Radcliffe)
Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)Radford, G. H.Thornton, Percy M.
Lehmann, R. C.Randles, Sir John ScurrahUre, Alexander
Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)Raphael, Herbert H.Walsh, Stephen
Lewis, John HerbertRea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Lough, ThomasRendall, AthelstanWard, John (Stoke upon Trent)
Lupton, ArnoldRichards, T. F. (Wolv'rh'mpt'nWard, W. Dudley (Sonth'mpt'n
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)Richards, Thomas(Monm'th W.)Wardle, George J.
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs)Rickett, J. ComptonWaring, Walter
Maclean, DonaldRidsdale, E. A.Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Macpherson, J. T.Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)Waterlow, D. S.
M'Callum, John M.Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Br'df'rd)Weir, James Galloway
M'Crae, GeorgeRobertson, J. M. (Tyneside)White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Maddison, FrederickRobinson, S.White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Manfield, Harry (Northants)Roe, Sir ThomasWhitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Markham, Arthur BasilRogers, F. E. NewmanWiles, Thomas
Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)Wills, Arthur Walters
Marnham, F. J.Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Massie, J.Scott, A. H.(Ashton under LyneWilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Micklem, NathanielSeddon, J.Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Montgomery, H. G.Seely, ColonelWood, T. M'Kinnon
Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)Shackleton, David James
Morrell, PhilipSherwell, Arthur JamesTELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)Shipman, Dr. John G.Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A.
Nicholls, GeorgeSimon, John Allsebrook Pease.

LORD R. CECIL moved an Amendment to provide that no clergyman in Holy Orders of the Church of Ireland should be compelled to solemnise the marriage of any man with his deceased wife's sister. He said he moved this Amendment for the purpose of asking a question of the promoters. He did not know what the position was in the Disestablished Church of Ireland—whether there was any obligation upon a minister of the Church of Ireland to marry anybody. Of course in England there was an obligation on the part of a clergyman to marry people, but he was not sure what the state of the law was in Ireland. If, as he thought might well be the case, there was no obligation, then the Amendment would be unnecessary.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 12, after the word 'England' to insert the words 'or of the Church of Ireland.'"—(Lord B. Cecil.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

said there could not be any obligation upon clergymen of the Church of Ireland simply because it was disestablished.

LORD K. CECIL said he thought that was so, and he therefore asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. RAWLINSON moved an Amendment to provide that no clergyman of the Church of England should be compelled to allow any church or place of worship to be used for the purpose of solemnising the marriage of any man with his deceased wife's sister. They heard a great deal, he said, of conflict between civil and canon law, and it seemed only right that there should be no obligation on the part of the clergyman to allow his church to be used for the purpose of solemnising a marriage which, according to his views, was contrary to the law of the Church. It did not really affect the substance of the Bill in any way, the Bill being very careful indeed in its wording, so as not in any way to affect the religious views of the parties, if he might say so, because in Clause 1 it said that no such marriage should be deemed void or voidable as a civil contract by reason only of such affinity. The words used were "civil contract," and thus merely dealt with the fact as to whether a clergyman was bound to use his place of worship for a particular purpose.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 13, after the word 'sister,' to insert the words 'or to allow any church or place of worship to be used for such purpose, '"—(Mr. Raulinson).

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

said the Amendment was quite unnecessary, as a clergyman could not be forced to allow his church to be used for such purpose unless words were put in to that effect. The hon. Member for Dumbartonshire had an Amendment which proposed to compel this, but he had kindly consented not to press it.

asked whether the right hon. Baronet was quite certain that under the present law a clergyman was not compelled to lend his church for marriage services. No doubt he could not be compelled to celebrate a marriage himself, but surely under the present law he was compelled to lend his church for that purpose.

said with regard to the statement of the right hon. Baronet that the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire did not intend to move his Amendment, he might say that he was not content to resign what appeared to him to be a valuable Amendment so lightly, and he would call the attention of the House to the terms of the Amendment.


said he believed the right hon. Baronet had made a mistake in his statement of law, because last year he joined issue with the English Church Union and had five days in Court with them on a religious ease, and from his small knowledge of ecclesiastical law it was quite clear to him that the parishioners had a right to the church, and that although the clergyman himself was not bound to officiate at a marriage, the parishioners had a right to the church. Perhaps the Secretary of State for War would give the House his opinion on the point.

said he would like to ask the right hon. Baronet whether he was quite satisfied as to his statement of the law, and whether a parishioner could not claim to marry in his church despite the clergyman, and whether, under these circumstances, the clergyman might not be compelled to lend the use of the church although not compelled to perform the service himself.

Surely a person cannot use the church without the permission of the vicar?

said that as this was a minor point, and as they were all anxious to get this Bill as soon as they could, he thought the right hon. Baronet might accept this Amendment.

thought the simplest course of all would be to take the Amendment which stood in the name of the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire, which did not prejudice anything, but which only said that when any minister of the Church of England refused to perform such marriage, he should permit any other clergyman of the Church of England, entitled to officiate, to perforn such service.

asked the promoters of the Bill to accept his Amendment, because on the right hon. Baronet's own showing it was not necessary, and therefore could do no harm. If they accepted the Amendment of the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire, it would be flying in the face of what a few minutes ago was the view of the promoters.

said he only wanted to understand exactly where they were. Did he understand that the right hon. Baronet's desire was that a clergyman who had any scruples about this matter should be compelled to allow his church to be used for these marriages? He could not quite understand, because the right hon. Baronet agreed only a few minutes ago that he did not desire that the clergyman should be so compelled.

said it was exceedingly doubtful whether this Amendment was necessary, but the statement of the Secretary of State for War that he was going to advise the promoters that they should accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire raised a very serious question. The great evil of the whole of this Bill was the injury that it would inflict upon the consciences of those who disapproved these marriages. The promoters of the Bill he acknowledged had so far shown a desire to minimise that evil as much as possible, and they had shown, and rightly shown, a great desire to avoid anything in the nature of public scandal. That was absolutely of the first importance in a measure of this kind. Let them conceive what the proposal of this Amendment amounted to. Two parishioners, who, it might be, did not ordinarily go to church, desired to be married under this Bill, and the clergyman of the church in which they desired to be married had very strong objections to marriages of this description—objections in which he was supported, as might usually happen, by the great mass of his congregation. The promoters of the Bill were going to say that because these two persons were technically parishioners and might have merely taken a room for three weeks in the parish, in order to have their banns put up or licence granted, and were not parishioners in any true sense of the word, they could go to the clergyman and insist on having the marriage service performed in his church if they got a clergyman who had no conscientious scruples to perform it. One knew the kind of row that would ensue. The clergyman who was supported by his conscience would lock the door, there would be a tremendous row, and litigation through all the Courts as to whether he had the right to lock the door or not. Surely that was a most unreasonable provision to put in a Bill of this kind, and it was not what hon. Members desired. He believed that no one would wish to encourage scandals and disputes of that kind if they could be avoided. It might be that the Amendment was desirable, he thought it would be safer to put it in; but he was quite confident that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire was not desirable, and it would be in the highest possible degree injurious. He would have thought after the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that he did not propose to accept it, and after the statement of the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire that he did not propose to press it


May I say that I made no such statement? The suggestion was made that if this Amendment were withdrawn I should withdraw my second Amendment which is to the con trary effect, but that compromise was not accepted.

said he was only quoting what the right hon. Gentleman told the House a few minutes ago, but he must leave that to the hon. Member to determine. Whether or not the hon. Member made any statement, he (Lord R. Cecil) appealed to the House not to add to the many grievances which people felt against this Bill by accepting such an Amendment as that.

said he had waited in order to give the hon. Members who were in charge of the Bill and the legal officers of the Government an opportunity to reply to the speech of his noble friend. As it had not been answered he felt justified in pressing for an answer from the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, or from the Secretary for War, because he thought this most important Amendment should be accepted. He understood just now from the right hon. Baronet that the words carried out his intention, but that their insertion was unnecessary because it was already the state of the law. What had occurred in the last few minutes to change the minds of the promoters of the Bill? The Secretary for War, who probably had seen the Amendment, and had considered it in its present form for the first time that night, had said he thought the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire ought to be accepted: but why should that expression of opinion alter the whole intentions of the promoters already expressed in the House? It was treating Members of the Opposition in a way they could hardly accept if the promoters of the Bill suddenly changed their minds and did not accept the Amendment moved by his learned friend below him.

said the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire was a clause now fifty years old on the Statute Book. It was passed amid a similar state of circumstances, when the marriage of divorced persons became possible, and a similar doubt was then made. Section 58 of the Act, which enabled divorced persons to re-marry, and which was passed in 1857, was in every word and line of it exactly the same as the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for


Anson, Sir William ReynellCecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Ashley, W. W.Craik, Sir HenryTalbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Balcarres, LordForster, Henry WilliamValentia, Viscount
Bowles, G. StewartHardy Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd
Bridgeman, W. CliveHelmsley, ViscountTELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Evelyn Cecil and Sir William Bull.
Carlile, E. HildredMaeVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)
Cave, GeorgeRawlinson, John Fredeciek Peel.


Acland, Francis DykeEverett, R. LaceyKekewich, Sir George
Ainsworth, John StirlingFenwick, CharlesKelley, George D.
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)Ferens, T. R.Laidlaw, Robert
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury. E.)Fiennes, Hon. EustaceLamont, Norman
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryLea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras. E.)
Beauchamp, E.Freeman-Thomas, FreemanLeese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)
Beck, A. CecilFuller, John Michael F.Lehmann, R. C.
Berridge, T. H. D.Fullerton, HughLever, A. Levy (Essex. Harwich)
Bertram, JuliusGill, A. H.Lewis, John Herbert
Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineGladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert JohnLough, Thomas
Blaek, Arthur W.Glover, ThomasLupton, Arnold
Bowerman, C. W.Gooch, George PeabodyMacdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Brace, WilliamGrant, CorrieMacdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs)
Bramsdon, T. A.Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)Maclean, Donald
Branch, JamesGurdon, Rt Hn Sir W. BramptonMacpherson, J. T.
Bright, J. A.Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.M'Callum, John M.
Burnyeat, W. J. D.Hall, FiederickM'Crae, George
Byles, William PollardHardy, George A. (Suffolk)Maddison, Frederick
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)Manfield, Harry (Northants)
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard KnightHarvey, W. E.(Derbyshire, N. E.Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)
Cawley, Sir FrederickHaworth, Arthur A.Markham, Arthur Basil
Chance, Frederick WilliamHazel, Dr. A. E.Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston
Cough, WilliamHedges, A. PagetMarnham, F J.
Cobbold, Felix ThornleyHelme, Norval WatsonMassie, J.
Collings, Rt. Hn. J (BirminghamHenders Hn. Arthur (Durham)Micklem, Nathaniel
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)Henry, Charles S.Montgomery, H. G.
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.Higham, John SharpMorgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Cooper, G. J.Hobhouse, Charles E. H.Morrell, Philip
Corbett, CH (Sussex, E. Grinst'd)Holland, Sir William HenryNewnes, F. (Notts., Basset)
Cory, Clifford JohnHolt, Richard DurningNicholls, George
Cox, HaroldHorniman, Emslie JohnNicholson, Charles N.(Doncast'r
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)Howard, Hon. GeoffreyNorton, Capt. Cecil William
Crooks, WilliamHudson, WalterNuttall, Harry
Crossley, William J.Hyde, ClarendonO'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Davies, Ellis William(Eifion)Idris, T. H. W.O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Isaacs, Rufus DanielParker, James (Halifax)
Dobson, Thomas W.Jardine, Sir J.Paulton, James Mellor
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-FurnessJenkins, J.Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)Johnson, John (Gateshead)Pollard, Dr.
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)Jones, SirD. Brynmor(Swansea)Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Elibank, Master ofJones, Leif (Appleby)Radford, G. H.
Essex, R. W.J ones, William (CarnarvonshireRaphael, Herbert H.
Evans, Samuel T.Jowett, F. W.Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')

Dumbartonshire. The hon. Gentleman would therefore see that if in the language of that Amendment they were persons who were entitled to be married in the parish church, they should not be deprived of that right merely because the incumbent of the parish church would not marry them.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 17; Noes, 177. (Division List No. 429.)

Rendall, AthelstanShipman Dr. John G.Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton
Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'thSimon, John AllsebrookWardle, George J.
Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'nSloan, Thomas HenryWaring, Walter
Rickett, J. ComptonSmith, F. E.(Liverpool, Walton)Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Ridsdale, E. A.Stanger, H. Y.Waterlow, D. S.
Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'dStanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W)Weir, James Galloway
Robertson J. M. (Tyneside)Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Robinson, S.Straus, B. S. (Mile End)Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Rogers, F. E. NewmanStrauss, E. A. (Abingdon)Wiles, Thomas
Rowlands, J.Summerbell, T.Wills, Arthur Walters
Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)Taylor, John W. (Durham)Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)Taylor'Theodore C. (Radcliffe)Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Scott, A. H. (Ashton under LyneThornton, Percy M.Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Seddon, J.Ure, AlexanderWood, T. M'Kinnon
Seely, ColonelWalsh, Stephen
Shackleton, David JamesWalton, Joseph (Barnsley)TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease
Sherwell, Arthur JamesWard, John (Stoke upon Trent)

*MR. J. D. WHITE moved to insert the words "solemnising or" after the word "for." The object of this Amendment was to secure to the clergyman liberty of conscience in both directions. The clause as it stood saved the clergyman from civil and ecclesiastical penalties for refusing to solemnise such marriages, but left him liable for solemnising them, so that the ecclesiastical authorities could bring pressure to bear to prevent such solemnising. The Amendment was designed to secure full liberty to the clergyman by exempting him from all penalties whichever course he thought right to adopt.

seconded. This Amendment met exactly the position which was stated and repudiated by his noble friend behind him. He thought it must be acceptable to him because it protected the clergyman, which he understood his noble friend desired, and this was given him not by the canon law but by the civil law. Therefore it got rid of the complaint that by the civil law the mar riage was legal, and yet not by the canon law.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 14, after the word 'for' to insert the words 'solemnising or.'"—(Mr. J. D. White.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

said he thoroughly disapproved of this Amendment, which appeared to him to be absolutely illegal and unjustifiable. They proposed to relieve the clergyman from the penalties for breaking the law which he was under a solemn duty to observe He confessed it appeared to him to be not only illogical, but a great scandal as well. The progress of the Bill made it clear to him that in spite of the protests of hon. Members, this was one of the insidious attacks which were being made on the Church of England. Hon Members were not content that these marriages should be legalised. They were attempting to force the Church of England against its conscience to solemnise marriages to which the Church could not consent. It was quite plain that the object of the Amendment was to encourage a breach of the law, and it seemed to him an absolutely indefensible interference of the House with the Church of England.

said that the noble Lord and those who acted with him represented a very small minority of the Church of England. He was as good a Churchman as the noble Lord, and when the hon. Member for Marylebone talked about a dishonest opposition, he forgot that the clergy had taken an oath to carry out the law as enacted by Parliament.

Question put, and agreed to.

*MR. J. D. WHITE moved to insert "Provided also that when any minister of any church or chapel of the Church of England shall refuse to perform such marriage service between any person who, but for such refusal, would be entitled to have the same service performed in such church or chapel, such minister shall permit any other clergyman in holy orders of the Church of England, entitled to officiate within the diocese in which such church or chapel is situate, to perform such marriage service in such church or chapel." He said that this Amendment, like his previous one, was taken from a similar provision in the Matrimonial Clauses Act of 1857, in relation to the re-marriage of divorced persons. He mentioned this because he considered that the House ought to allow as great liberty of conscience now as it did fifty years ago.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 15, after the word 'aforesaid,' to insert the words, 'Provided also that when any minister of any church or chapel of the Church of England shall refuse to perform such marriage service between any persons who, but for such refusal, would be entitled to have the same service performed in such church or chapel, such minister shall permit any other clergyman in holy orders in the Church of England, entitled to officiate within the diocese in which such church or chapel is situate, to perform such marriage service in such church or chapel."—(Mr. J.D. White.)

Question proposed, That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

said this was an Amendment he most thoroughly objected to. It was quite true that churches did not belong to the incumbent, but it was equally true that incumbents had a right to exclude undesirable persons from the building. The incumbent could not exclude parishioners from the service, and by this Amendment they were going to make another exception to the general right of the incumbent. He believed that this particular clause had never acted in a beneficial way under any circumstances. People who had a right feeling never desired to thrust themselves into a church where their presence would be offensive; but worthless persons occasionally did so and they got the most worthies" clergymen they could to assist them. They got a man such as no Member of that House would approve, and they induced him to take the service. This question had been productive already of a large amount of litigation, and had aroused a great amount of feeling. If they were going to add to that a proposal to compel a clergyman to perform a service which he would regard as profoundly wrong, he was quite confident they would introduce a very serious scandal. He thought the House was entitled to some explanation. The insertion of this clause would not do good to a single soul. No one who was entitled to the sympathy of the House would ever make use of it. He was convinced that the only object of it would be to add to the burden of men who were far more saintly than anyone in that House.

said that if the noble Lord would prevent people who had committed adultery from going to churches, he would certainly support him, but he considered it a scandal that this was permitted, and that a man who had committed adultery could be married in a church.

said the hon. Gentleman seemed to think there was one scandal in the Church which in his opinion ought to be remedied, and that therefore that was a reason for carrying this Amendment which was likely to draw other scandals. The argument seemed weak in its logic, and he thought it was better to put aside altogether the question of the marriage of divorced persons which did not really arise, and to consider whether this Amendment was advisable in itself. He thought hon. Members might pay rather more regard to the consciences of members of the Church of England. They were very particular about calling attention to Nonconformist consciences when they thought any measure was going to interfere with their free exercise, and he thought they ought to allow members of the Church of England the same right that they claimed for themselves. The question seemed to be whether or not they were going to infringe the consciences of the clergymen by compelling them to allow these services to take place in the churches in which they officiated, although they considered any such service was contrary to the law of the Church. If the persons wanted to be married in the church, which he personally could not understand as they were directly going against the law of the Church, surely it was not a very great hardship that they should not only find the clergyman who was willing to marry them, but also a clergyman who was willing to marry them in his church. If they could find the clergyman they could also find the church, and by so doing injustice and hardship on the conscience of those who did object would be avoided. They had a right to have their views respected in this matter. There was another rather important aspect of this question, and that was why the right hon. Gentleman had changed his mind. He had stated distinctly a short time ago that he did not intend this proviso to be inserted in the Bill. It was now to be inserted


Acland Francis DykeGooch, George PeabodyMansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)
Ainsworth, John StirlingGrant, CorrieMarkham, Arthur Basil
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. BramptonMarnham, F. J.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.Massie, J.
Beauchamp, E.Hall, FrederickMicklem, Nathaniel
Beck, A. CecilHardy, George A. (Suffolk)Montgomery, H. G.
Berridge, T. H. D.Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineHarvey, W. E.(Derbyshire, N. E.Morrell, Philip
Black, Arthur W.Haworth, Arthur A.Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)
Bowerman, C. W.Hazel, Dr. A. E.Nicholls, George
Brace, WilliamHedges, A. PagetNicholson, CharlesN.(Doneast'r
Bramsdon, T. A.Helme, Norval WatsonNorton, Capt. Cecil William
Branch, JamesHenderson, Arthur (Durham)Nuttall, Harry
Bright, J. A.Henry, Charles S.O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Burnyeat, W. J. D.Higham, John SharpO'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Byles, William PollardHobhouse, Charles E. H.Parker, James (Halifax)
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Holland, Sir William HenryPaulton, James Mellor
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard KnightHolt, Richard DurningPearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)
Cawley, Sir FrederickHorniman, Emslie JohnPollard, Dr.
Chance, Frederick WilliamHoward, Hon. GeoffreyPrice, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)
Cough, WilliamHudson, WalterRadford, G. H.
Cobbold, Felix ThornleyHyde, ClarendonRaphael, Herbert H.
Collings Rt. Hn. J.(BirminghamIdris, T. H. W.Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)Isaacs, Rufus DanielRendall, Athelstan
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.Jardine, Sir J.Richards, Thomas W. Monm'th
Cooper, G. J.Jenkins, J.Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n
Corbett, CH. (Sussex, E. Gr'nst'dJohnson, John (Gateshead)Rickett, J. Compton
Cry, Clifford JohnJones, Sir D. Brynmor(Swansea)Ridsdale, E. A.
Cox, HaroldJones, Leif (Appleby)Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Crooks, WilliamJones, William (CarnarvonshireRobertson, SirG.Scott (Br'dford
Crossley, William J.Jowett, F. W.Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)Kekewich, Sir GeorgeRobinson, S.
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Kelley, George D.Rogers, F. E. Newman
Dodson, Thomas W.Laidlaw, RobertRowlands, J.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-FurnessLament, NormanSamuel, Herbert L (Cleveland)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)Leese, Sir Joseph F.(AccringtonScott, A. H.(Ashton under Lyne
Elibank, Master ofLehmann, R. C.Seddon, J.
Essex, R. W.Lever, A. Levy (Essex. HarwichSeely, Colonel
Evans, Samuel T.Lewis, John HerbertShackleton, David James
Everett, R. LaceyLough, ThomasSherwell, Arthur James
Fenwick, CharlesLupton, ArnoldShipman, Dr. John G.
Ferens, T. R.Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)Simon, John Allsebrook
Fiennes, Hon. EustaceMacdonald, J. M.(Falkirk B'ghs)Sloan, Thomas Henry
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryMaclean, DonaldSmith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)
Freeman-Thomas, FreemanMacpherson, J. T.Stanger, N. Y.
Fuller, John Michael F.M'Callum, John M.Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Fullerton, HughM'Crae, GeorgeStanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Gill A. H.Maddison, FrederickStraus B. S. (Mile End)
Glover, ThomasManfield, Harry (Northants)Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)

very hurriedly, and without due consideration certainly by the Government who were responsible for the Bill. Therefore he asked leave to move the adjournment of the debate so that due consideration might be given to this question.

Motion made, and Question, "That the debate be now adjourned, "—( Viscount Helmsey,)—put and negatived.

Original Question put:—

The House divided:—Ayes 175; Noes 17. (Division List No. 430.)

Summerbell, T.Wardle, George J.Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.
Taylor, John W. (Durham)Waring, WalterWilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Taylor, Theodore C. (Radeliffe)Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Thornton, Percy M.Waterlow, D. S.Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Ure, AlexanderWeir, James Galloway
Walsh, StephenWhite, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Ward, John (Stoke upon TrentWiles, Thomas
Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'nWills, Arthur Walters


Ashley, W. W.Forster, Henry WilliamValentia, Viscount
Balcarres, LordHardy, Laurence(Kent, AshfordWhite, Patrick (Meath North)
Bull, Sir William JamesHelmsley, Viscount
Cave, GeorgeMacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Carlile and Mr. Bridgeman.
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Craik, Sir HenryTalbot, Lord K. (Chichester)

claimed to move, "That the Question, 'That the words of the Bill to the end of Clause 1 stand part of the Bill,' be now put.

Question put, "That the Question,


Acland, Francis DykeFenwick, CharlesKelley, George D.
Ainsworth, John StirlingFerens, T. R.Laidlaw, Robert
Allen, A. Acland (Christohurch)Fiennes, Hon. EustaceLamont, Norman
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)Freeman-Thomas, FreemanLea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)Fuller, John Michael F.Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington
Beauchamp, E.Fullerton, HughLehmann, R. C.
Beck, A. CecilGill, A. H.Lever, A. Levy (Essex. Harwich)
Berridge, T. H. D.Glover, ThomasLewis, John Herbert
Black, Arthur W.Gooch, George PeabodyLough, Thomas
Bowerman, C. W.Grant, CorrieLupton, Arnold
Brace, WilliamGreenwood, G. (Peterborough)Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Bramsdon, T. A.Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampt'nMacdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs
Branch, JamesHaldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.Maclean, Donald
Bright, J. A.Hall, FrederickMacpherson, J. T.
Burnyeat, W. J. D.Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)M'Callum, John M.
Byles, William PollardHarmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-shM'Crae, George
Carr-Comm, H. W.Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.Maddison, Frederick
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard KnightHa worth, Arthur A.Manfield, Harry (Northants)
Cawley, Sir FrederickHazel, Dr. A. E.Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)
Chance, Frederick WilliamHedges, E. PagetMarkham, Arthur Basil
Clough, WilliamHelme, Norval WatsonMarks, G. Croydon (Launceston).
Cobbold, Felix ThornleyHenderson, Arthur (Durham)Marnham, F. J.
Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm)Henry, Charles S.Massie, J.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)Higham, John SharpMicklem, Nathaniel
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W)Hobhouse, Charles E. H.Montgomery, H. G.
Cooper, G. J.Holland, Sir William HenryMorgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Corbett, C. H (Sussex. E. Grinst'dHolt, Richard DurningMorrell, Philip
Cory, Clifford JohnHorniman, Emslie JohnNewnes, F. (Notts., Bassetlaw)
Cox, HaroldHoward, Hon. GeoffreyNicholls, George
Crooks, WilliamHudson, WalterNicholson, Charles N.(D'ne'st'r)
Crossley, William. J.Hyde, ClarendonNorton, Capt. Cecil William
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)Id'ris, T. H. W.Nuttall, Harry.
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol. S.)Isaacs, Rufus DanielO'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Dobson, Thomas W.Jardine, Sir J.O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness)Jenkins, J.Parker, James (Halifax)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)Johnson, John (Gateshead)Paulton, James Mellor
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)Jones, Sir D. Brynmor(Swansea)Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)
Elibank, Master ofJones, Leif (Appleby)Pollard, Dr.
Essex, R. W.Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Evans, Samuel T.Jowett, F. W.Radford, G. H.
Everett, R. LaceyKekewich, Sir GeorgeRaphael, Herbert H.

'That the words of the Bill to the end of of Clause 1 stand part of the Bill, 'be now put."

The House divided:—Ayes 172; Noes 19. (Division List No. 431.)

Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')Sherwell, Arthur JamesWardle, George J.
Rendall, AthelstanShipman, Dr. John G.Waring, Walter
Richards, Thomas(W. Monm'th)Simon, John AllsebrookWarner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n)Sloan, Thomas HenryWaterlow, D. S.
Rickett, J. ComptonStanger, H. Y.Weir, James Galloway
Ridsdale, E. A.Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph(Chesh.)Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'd)Straus, B. S. (Mile End)Wiles, Thomas
Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)Wills, Arthur Walters
Robinson, S.Summerbell, T.Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Rogers, F. E. NewmanTaylor, John W. (Durham)Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Rowlands, J.Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)Thornton, Percy M.Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)Ure, Alexander
Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-LyneWalsh, StephenTELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Seddon, J.Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J.
Seely, ColonelWard, John(Stoke-upon-Trent)A. Pease.
Shackleton, David JamesWard, W. Dudley(Southampt'n)


Anson, Sir William ReynellCecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Ashley, W. W.Craik, Sir HenryValentia, Viscount
Balcarres, LordForster, Henry WilliamWhite, Patrick (Meath, North)
Bowles, G. StewartHardy, Laurence(Kent, Ashford
Bull, Sir William JamesMacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Carlile, E. HildredRawlinson, John Frederick PeelMr. Bridgcman and Viscount Helmsley.
Cave, GeorgeScott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)

Question, "That the words of the Bill to the end of Clause 1 stand part of the Bill," put accordingly, and agreed to.

*MR. CAVE moved an Amendment that nothing in this Act should render lawful any marriage between a man and his deceased wife's sister if he had been divorced from his wife by reason, wholly or partly, of his having committed adultery with such sister. He said this form of misconduct was happily very rare. But he did not think it would be contended that where this offence had been committed Parliament should provide that the marriage of persons who had been guilty of so gross an offence should be rendered valid by the Bill.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 22, at the end, to insert the words," Provided that nothing in this Act shall render lawful any marriage between a man and his deceased wife's sister if he has been divorced from his wife by reason, wholly or partly, of his having committed adultery with such sister.'"—(Mr. Cave.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

said that no one could feel anything but sympathy with the motives of the Amendment. The offence was a very rare one, but one must adhere to principle in this matter. It was laid down in the Divorce Act of 1857. It was there enacted that where ever there was a divorce that the marriage of divorced parties should be possible. That was the law of the land, whether it was this case or not. Fortunately such cases as were contemplated in the Amendment were very rare, and it was only on the ground that this law had existed for half a century that he said on behalf of the Government that he thought they would be wrong to accept the Amendment.

asked the House to consider the principle of the Amendment. He for one did not agree with the policy of the law in the Act of 1857. But this was not the time or place to discuss that, but surely in this particular instance they were altering the law of the land by this Bill. When they were altering the law of the land and making possible a marriage between intimate connections as they were in this particular case, between a man and the sister of his wife, there would be no great departure from the law of the land in saying that if he had committed adultery with this particular woman—which was very often the cause of the marriage between the man and his wife coming to an end—he should not be allowed to marry the woman. From the point of view of expediency, let them think of the temptation in the fact of the possibility of the husband marrying afterwards.

said his hon. and learned friend was evidently under the impression that this proviso would make it possible for a man who had been divorced to marry a sister of his wife who divorced him while his wife was alive. He quite appreciated the reference to the Matrimonial Clauses Act of 1857. There was another Amendment later on, and when they came to it he hoped that steps would be taken to prevent its being put in the Bill, and so provide that it would be impossible for a man to treat his divorced wife as though she were dead, when she was alive. But this Amendment did not deal with that; it was an attempt to deal with an act which was abominable to the last degree on the part of a man who was not only divorced, but had committed adultery with his wife's sister. But they were not seeking to change the laws of divorce; the law was that a guilty as well as an innocent party could marry again. This Bill said that to marry a deceased wife's sister was legal, and if they were going to have a rule they ought not to make any exception, and therefore the principle which had existed for fifty years for good or evil ought not to be broken.

said he did not attach very much importance to the Amendment, because it was designed to make the Bill more reputable than it was before. It dealt with a very rare thing. A man was divorced, having committed adultery with his wife's sister, and he married her.


said in view of the statements made on behalf of the Government he would not press the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

*MR. CAVE moved in line 24, after the word "contingent" insert the words" or presumptive." He explained that in the ease of a man who had married a deceased wife's sister and had issue by her, and after her death had married another woman and had a child by her that child was the presumptive successor to his property. Unless these words were inserted, they would in that case deprive the child of his inheritance.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, line 24, after the word 'contingent,' to insert the words 'or presumptive.'"—(Mr. Cave.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

said that the case presumed an expectation. There was a presumption, for instance, that the right hon. Gentleman would some day sit on the other side of the House, but this was only a presumption. He thought the right hon. Gentleman would see that if they went beyond what was laid down, it would be acting only on presumptive evidence.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. JOSEPH PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden) moved in Clause 2, to leave out the words "such duties" and insert the words "any duties leviable on or with reference to death." He moved the Amendment in order to bring the Bill into conformity with the Act passed last year.

Amendment agreed to.

MR. CARLILE moved to add at the end of Clause 2 "Nothing in this Act shall affect the devolution or distribution of the real or personal estate of any intestate not being a party to the marriage, who at the time of the passing of this Act shall be and shall until his death continue to be a lunatic, so found by inquisition." He said at that early hour of the morning he would not worry the Committee with details.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 2, line 8, at the end, to add the words, 'Nothing in this Act shall affect the devolution or distribution of the real or personal estate of any intestate who at the time of the passing of this Act shall be and shall until his death continue to be a lunatic, so found by inquisition.'"—(Mr. Carlile.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

Amendment agreed to.

MR. RAWLINSON moved an addition at end of Clause 3 "and adultery with the wife's sister shall continue to be regarded as incestuous adultery within the meaning of Section 27 of that Act."

Amendment proposed to the Bill—

"In page 2, line 12, after '1857,' to insert the words 'and adultery with a wife's sister shall continue to be regarded as" incestuous adultery "within the meaning of Section 27 of that Act.'"—(Mr. Rawlinson.)

Question proposed, "That those words he there inserted in the Bill."

MR. HALDANE said that this really was quite superfluous. Clause 3 said "nothing in this Act shall remove the wife's sister from the provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857."

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. EVELYN CECIL moved the addition at the end of Clause 3 of the subsection "Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or the Divorce Act 1857, it shall not be lawful for a man to marry the sister of his divorced wife during the lifetime of such wife."

Amendment, by leave, agreed to.

MR. RAWLINSON moved to add at the end of line 2, "or his wife by whom he has been divorced."

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a third time."

thought that at that hour of the morning to be asked to pass a controversial Bill like that was going beyond anything which the Government "had so far inflicted upon them. They had again the fact that the Law Officers of the Crown were absent, although it was a strictly technical Bill. They had the fact that the promoters of the Bill had refused every suggestion from the Opposition side. In the material part of the Bill and after the promoter of the Bill had said he had arranged that an Amendment which was prejudicial to the Bill should not be accepted, that Amendment had been accepted. Now the promoters wished to read the Bill a third time. He made a respectful protest against that. He did not think he would advise his friends to divide, however, because he thought they might now very well allow the unfortunate people who had been kept there, the officials of the House and others, to go away. At any rate, no one could say that the debate had been carried on with any obstruction. There had been no long discussion on any Amendment. When the closure was asked for, it was refused by the Chair until the last occasion. Each Motion for adjournment was due to the fact that there was an absence of Law Officers or because the promoters of the Bill had changed their minds without giving an explanation. In these circumstances he thought they were perfectly justified in making a protest against the Third Reading, though he did not think they would be justified at that hour of the morning in prolonging the debate.

said he believed the Bill to be a thoroughly bad Bill, and it appeared to have been carried by a majority who were for the most part quite indifferent to the protests that were made against it, and who displayed an animus against the Church of England which was thinly veiled by the protests which the House was accustomed to hear when any such attack was delivered. The Bill would not make for the morality or peace of the country. He believed it to be a bad Bill, and to have been carried by methods and manœuvres not creditable to the House. Holding these opinions he would not be discharging his duty if he did not express them to the House as he did now, though he agreed there was no purpose in putting the House to the trouble of a further division. The opponents of the Bill were in a very small minority, and they had registered such a protest as they had been able to make. All that they were concerned, in now was to say publicly to the House that the responsibility for the Bill was on the shoulders of the majority.

Bill read the third time and passed.