RECORD: Lubbock, J. 1870. [Attempt, at the behest of Darwin, 'to insert the words, "whether married to a first cousin" in the census.] Hansard's Parliamentary Debates (Ser. 3) 22 July 1870, col. 817; 26 July 1870, cols. 1006-1007).
REVISION HISTORY: Scanned by John van Wyhe. Transcribed (single key) by AEL Data. 9.2008. RN1
COMMENCING WITH THE ACCESSION OF
33° & 34° VICTORIÆ, 1870.
COMPRISING THE PERIOD FROM
THE ELEVENTH DAY OF JULY 1870,
THE TENTH DAY OF AUGUST 1870.
Fifth and Last Volume of the Session.
PUBLISHED BY CORNELIUS BUCK,
AT THE OFFICE FOR "HANSARD'S PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES,"
23, PATERNOSTER ROW. [E.C.]
SUPPLY—CIVIL SERVICE ESTIMATES.
SUPPLY—considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
(4.) Question again proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £4,046, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Lunacy in Scotland."
MR. M'LAREN said, the Vote represented a gross piece of extravagance. The Vote for England was only £20,000, and for Ireland only £3,800; he could not conceive why Scotland, which in area was but a seventh of England, should want £6,000. If that were a proper sum the expenditure for England should be £42,000, and for Ireland, which had one-and-three-quarters more population than Scotland, £10,500. He moved that the Vote be reduced by £1,500.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £2,546, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Lunacy in Scotland."—(Mr. M'Laren.)
THE LORD ADVOCATE said, he thought the Vote by no means extravagant. To compare usefully the expenditure upon lunatics in England and Ireland with that in Scotland would require a greater knowledge of the details of the subject than either he or the hon. Member possessed. Before the appointment of the Board, 12 years ago, the condition of lunatics in Scotland was worse than that of the same unfortunate class of persons in any other part of the United Kingdom, whereas it was now the best. The present Board had discharged its duties most efficiently in every respect, and to the entire satisfaction of the community. With reference to the conduct of the Government in filling up the vacancy caused by the failure of health of one of the paid Com-
missioners of Lunacy in Scotland, which had been attacked by the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Craufurd) at an earlier period of the evening, he could assure the House that the subject had received the most careful consideration at the hands of the Government, and they found that the duties of the paid Commissioners were so arduous that it was impossible that a single individual could discharge them. The Board visited every asylum in Scotland once a year. There were two Commissioners and two sub-Commissioners. The former had each £2,000 a year, and the latter £600; the secretary had £600, and the salaries of the clerks ranged from £90 to £250 a year each. The travelling expenses of the two Commissioners and the two sub-Commissioners amounted to only £1,100, though they had to visit the lunatics boarded in private houses as well as those in the asylums. The late Sir James Clark, so lately as January last, said that a better working Board than that of the Lunacy Commissioners in Scotland could not be, and that distinguished man hoped that nothing would be done to impair its efficiency.
MR. RYLANDS said, the Lord Advocate had not answered the remarks of the hon. Members for Edinburgh. No one said a word against the efficiency of the Board. What his hon. Friend found fault with was the expense as compared with that incurred for a similar object in England. The fact was that in Scotland there was a much larger staff of officials in proportion to the population than in England.
MR. CRAUFURD said, he did not go with his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) in his argument founded on the expense as Compared with that in England. Traveling in Scotland was a different thing from travelling in England as regarded expense. Sometimes it took a Commissioner six weeks to make a visitation when the Orkney Islands were included in his journey. What he found fault with was that the Lord Advocate and the Government did not attend to the recommendations of the Camperdown Commission. The present Lord Justice Clerk stated before the Commission that one Commissioners of Lunacy would be sufficient. If the Lord Advocate did not concur in that opinion why had he not attended before the Commission and stated his reasons for dissenting from it?
MR. BRUCE said, the services rendered by the Lunacy Commission in Scotland had been very valuable. As to the difference in the cost between England and Scotland the establishment charges of a small institution were necessarily relatively larger than the es-
tablishment charges of a large one; and while in England the Assistant Commissioners visited a number of lunatics collected together in asylums, in Scotland there were a large number of lunatics scattered very sparsely over wide districts. He had filled up the vacancy caused by the retirement of Dr. Brown from the Lunacy Board, because on inquiry he was satisfied that it was necessary to do so.
Question put, and negatived.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
(5.) £11,703, to complete the sum for Poor Law Commission, Scotland.
MR. CRAUFURD said, he wished to know how it was that a lump sum of £10,000 was granted in the Estimates for medical poor relief in Scotland, while in England and Ireland the amount allowed was half the actual expenditure on that account. In Scotland the medical expenditure was upwards of £30,000 a year, of which only £10,000 was supplied by the Treasury; but in England and in Ireland the moiety of the expenses allowed amounted to no less than £150,000.
Vote agreed to.
Resolutions to be reported.
The Clerk, at the Table, informed the House, That Mr. Speaker was prevented by indisposition from resuming the Chair this evening.
Whereupon Mr. Dodson, the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order.
Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next.
Committee to sit again upon Monday next.
CENSUS BILL—[BILL 211.]
(Mr. Secretary Bruce, Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen.)
Order for Second Reading read.
MR. DILLWYN said, he did not know that any objection was entertained on the part of the Nonconformists to a real Census of religion being taken; but in 1861 they felt a reasonable objection to the manner in which a series of questions was proposed to be asked in order
to get at the religious opinions of the people. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department would give a distinct assurance that there was no intention to insert in this Bill any clause which might excite apprehension on that subject.
MR. HEYGATE said, he, on the other hand, hoped that before the measure was passed it would contain provisions for obtaining an accurate enumeration of the religious opinions of the country. It was the practice of almost every civilized nation in Europe, with the exception of Spain and Holland, when they took the Census of the population not to confine their Returns to the number of the people, their industrial occupations, and the like, but also to collect proper statistical information on so very important a point as their religious opinions. Of course, a religious Census could not have been taken in Spain, for until recently it was penal for anyone to profess any other religion than that adopted by the State. In Prussia, which was famous for its toleration, so particular were they do obtain accurate information on the subject, that when the last Census was taken they went to the trouble of separating Christians who professed the Greek religion from the Roman Catholics—though they numbered only 300 or 400—with whom they had, up to that time, been enumerated. Again, in Ireland they had complete Returns of all the religious denominations, which were equally concurred in by Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics. That being so, how, he would ask, did they stand in England? In England, with the exception of the Returns made in 1851, they had no statistical facts on the point to which he was referring, and the Report of Mr. Horaco Mann was founded entirely on the accidental attendance on a particular Sunday at certain churches and chapels. That Return members of the Church of England had always maintained to be fallacious so far as the inferences drawn from it were concerned. The chief strength of the Church lay in the rural districts, while that of the Dissenters lay in the manufacturing towns. Now, on a rainy Sunday large numbers would be absent from the country churches, while that accidental circumstance would have practically no effect on the attendance
2 D 2
at the town chapels. In towns, too, the chapels were so close together that it was asserted that in more towns than one the children had been driven from one chapel to another, and counted over and over again. [Cries of "Name!"] He simply said that that had been stated to be a fact. Now, what the members of the Church contended for was that a real test should be applied, and that a person should be called upon to declare to what religion he belonged, as was done in other countries. When the Census Bill for 1861 was introduced by the Government of Lord Palmerston, it contained clauses providing that a religious Census of England and Scotland should be taken as well as of Ireland. Sir George Cornewell Lewis, who was at the time Secretary of State for the Home Department, while defending those clauses, stated that he felt himself obliged to withdraw them; but that he hoped the expiration of another 10 years would bring those hon. Gentleman who opposed them to reason on the subject. Lord Palmerston also ended his remarks on the occasion to which he was alluding by saying—"We have deferred to their feelings, but we cannot assent to their reasons." Now, howover, that another decennial period had elapsed they found themselves almost the only nation in Europe which declined to have a true religious Census of the people. He was sorry the opposition with regard to Scotland had been renewed. As to the remonstrances on the subject which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had a short time since stated he would lay on the Table, he would only observe that he had not seen them, the only statements bearing on the question which had come to his knowledge being those which had been referred to by his hon. Friend the Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), which went in an entirely opposite direction. The Statistical Society recommended that a religious Census of the people should be taken in the plainest possible form. The religious Returns of Mr. Horace Mann had been made the foundation of attacks on the Church of England, and it was not Churchmen who were afraid of having a true Census taken, because, if that were done, they would, they believed, stand in a very different position before the country.
MR. M. T. BASS said, he regretted that a subject which was of so much general interest could not be properly discussed owing to the great accumulation of business under the consideration of the House. As to the taking of a religious Census, he must say that the great preponderance of opinion appeared him to to be in favour of such an enumeration. Nor did he think his hon. Friend the Member of Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) objected to a religious Census provided it were accurately taken. That being so, he would suggest to his hon. Friend how much better it would be if he would direct his acute mind to ascertaining the best mode of making such a Census, rather than precluding the country from having information which was of great interest. There were other points, too, he might add, on which the Census, as hitherto taken, was supposed to be altogether unreliable. The occupations of persons, for instance, were directed to be taken; but there was no distinct enumeration of those occupations. As everybody was aware, many persons had several occupations. A man, for example, might be a farmer and a grocer, but it often happened that he was set down in the Returns as a grocer, while as a farmer he was left out. But landed proprietors were, perhaps, more inaccurately dealt with than any other class. The House would scarcely believe that the whole male landed proprietors of England were set down as only 15,000. His conviction was that if that number were multiplied by 10 it would fall short of the real number. He found that in the large county in which he resided the number of landed proprietors was given as 294; whereas there was, he believed, nearly half that number in his own parish. To what false conclusions did not such inaccurate statements lead? Orators went throughout the country proclaiming that the whole of the land was in the possession of 15,000 male proprietors. And it was not a little curious that the female were put down as out-numbering the male proprietors. He trusted, therefore, the Secretary of State would take powers in the Bill to secure more accurate information. As regards himself, he was a landed proprietor, though not a large one. One of his occupations was that of a brewer; he was a large cooper, and had various other occupations, but in the Census they were
all sunk in his occupation as brewer. He was there a brewer and nothing more. He was persuaded that he should be supported by the general feeling of the House when he pressed on the Secretary of State for the Home Department to insert clauses in the Bill for the purpose of getting accurate information both for a religious Census and to ascertain the number of landed proprietors.
MR. MIALL said, in reply to the hon. Member for Leicestershire (Mr. Heygate), he could state that the Dissenters were quite as ready as Churchmen to have a perfect and true Census of the religious opinions of the people, and he believed that the Government had exercised a wise discretion in not insisting on that mode which was evidently in the mind of the hon. Member. It was impossible to have a true representation of the religious opinions of the people by a house-to-house inquiry. According to the arguments used in the course of the discussion on the Education Bill, a large number of the people had no religion at all. ["Oh!"] It had been one of the strongest arguments for passing the Education Bill, that many of the parents were people who would give their children no religious education, because they had no religion themselves; and what was wanted was that they should be put down in a religious Census as members of the Church of England.["No, no!"] The inmates of gaols and poor-houses, though very few of them might really be Dissenters or Church of England people, yet would all profess to be members of the Establishment rather than say that they were of no religion at all. Were they, then, to have a fraudulent Census, or a true representation of the opinions of the people? He contended that as things now stood in reference to the Established Church, which legally embraced the whole population, they ought not to attempt to draw any inference from a house-to-house inquiry.
SIR JOHN PAKINGTON said, he wished to know the intentions of the Government on this subject. It seemed to him to be the imperative duty of the Government to include the religion of the country in the approaching Census, unless they had some really good reason for omitting it. Ten years ago the Scottish people objected to an indication of religious opinions being included in the Census; but now they had withdrawn that
objection. [Cries of "No!"] Such he inferred to be the case from what had fallen from the Secretary of State for the Home Department; and the Irish people likewise had no objection to the religious opinions of their country being included in the Census. The Church of England people in this country, and the Roman Catholics likewise, had no objection, and when this was the case there ought to be some very strong reason why, if a few Nonconformists objected, they should overrule the inclinations of all the rest of the country. The hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall) plainly stated that the Nonconformists of England had no objection to a religious Census, provided it was a true one. Then the whole question was at an end, and the Government should so draw the Bill as to make it effect what all parties were in favour of—namely, the taking of the Census in a true and honest manner. When he put some Questions to the Secretary of State for the Home Department the other night on this subject, the right hon. Gentleman failed to give a clear answer to any one of them. The right hon. Gentleman had produced some Papers. [Mr. BRUCE: They were moved for"] Why had not the right hon. Gentleman produced others? [Mr. BRUCE: They were not moved for.] Where were they and what were they? [Mr. BRUCE: Move for them.] He thought that on this public question of importance, when he asked for information, he was entitled to something more than the evasive answer that he should move for Papers. All that the House had got was a Paper from that important body the Statistical Society, and they strongly urged, what 19 out of every 20 of them desired, that a religious Census should be taken. Let it be taken truly, and let the people know what the truth was.
MR. BRUCE said, he must protest against the statement that he had with-held information, and he was ready to produce any information which the right hon. Baronet (Sir John Pakington) chose to move for. He had already told the right hon. Baronet that the Government had not received memorials against a religious Census, so far as England was concerned, but that 10 years ago objections were urged to it, on the ground—the validity of which was generally admitted—that it was impossible to take a religious Census compulsorily, and that
if it was permissive it would be ineffective. He was bound to say that memorials had come to the Home Office, especially from Scotland, urging the Government to have a religious Census. In Scotland there was the same opposition to a religious Census 10 years ago that existed in England. He, therefore, rejoiced to receive memorials from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and also from the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, insisting upon a religious Census; and it was on the strength of these memorials that he stated that the Government would willingly accede to the desire of the people of England and Scotland. But he had since been inundated by memorials from the United Presbyterians, and even from large numbers of the Free Church of Scotland, solemnly protesting against this change, and declaring that the representations received from the General Assemblies of the Established and Free Churches of Scotland did not represent the general feeling of the people. He was bound to act on the same principle in England and Scotland, and not to enforce a religious Census. With regard to a religious Census it was somewhat remarkable that each denomination was anxious for it if each could have it in its own way; but that was impossible. On the other hand, there was much in what had been stated so clearly and honestly by the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall), that there was every reason to believe the Returns, when made, would not give a real representation. Reference had been made to the case of Ireland; but Ireland was mainly an agricultural population. The large towns, in which the obstacles to a religious Census were greatest, were few. There were but three forms of religion. The numbers not included in these were extremely small; and there was no difficulty in ascertaining what was the religion of the three great bodies. There were not, as in this country, those large numbers in the great towns who hardly felt or professed any religion, and who were left to be reckoned as belonging to the State Church. The owner of a house had to make a return of the religion of the inmates, and when, as frequently occurred in populous towns, the number of these amounted to 40 it would be seen how little reliance could be placed on the accuracy of the return in that respect.
The Nonconformists were extremely anxious that a religious Census should be taken with reference to the church or chapel accommodation afforded by particular denominations and the attendance on a particular day; but there were many reasons why such a Census could not be relied on as giving a really fair representation of the state of the religious denominations. The attendance on the day of enumeration would be far more full than on other days, owing to the action of the ministers, and of the congregations themselves acting from honest emulation between different denominations, and where such organization was exerted the advantage would be on the side of the Nonconformists. The Government would be happy to make a compromise, and to adopt both forms of enumeration; but he feared, from the inquiries he had made, that it would not be accepted; and unless there was a willing co-operation in that which could not be made compulsory, the result would not be such as to command confidence. His hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. M. T. Bass) had asked for a much larger and fuller industrial Census; but he did not see that this was practicable. There were in the proposed Census eight different heads, and the number of facts returned were 130,000,000. Every additional fact required to be returned applicable to the whole population would be an increase of 21,000,000. That would require special enumerators, and the whole system under which the Census was taken must be altered. The attempt minutely to define employments frequently caused misconception and led to erroneous conclusions. It had frequently been said, and he had recently seen it stated, on the supposed authority of the Census, by a writer in Révue des deux Mondes, that the number of landowners in England was only 30,066; but the fact was that there was no special heading of landowner, and that description was only resorted to by those who had no other employment. Hence the incompleteness of the Return. The inaccuracy of the number given would be the more manifest when it was considered that, whereas the total owners of land were given at 30,066, the female proprietors of land were given at 15,633—of the palpable absurdity of the number of female proprietors of land exceeding the number of male proprietors. He had
no doubt that the number of landowners was at least 10 times as great as it appeared in the Census. Directions would be given by which he hoped that error would in future be prevented. With respect to the Bill itself, it contained exactly the same details as in the Census Bill of 1860. There was always, of course, an advantage in having a complete Census, so that they might have an account of the progress made by the county from time to time. It was from no disinclination on the part of the Government that they declined to undertake a religious Census; but because they felt that unless a general desire for it were expressed by the people there would not be that amount of co-operation which was absolutely necessary to secure any satisfactory result. When the House went into Committee it would be open to any hon. Member to vary or extend the subjects of inquiry; but the Government thought that the multiplication of such subjects would only tend to diminish the accuracy of the Returns.
MR. ASSHETON said, he wished to call the attention of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to the 4th clause, requiring the head of a family to make a return of the blind, deaf, and dumb. He (Mr. Assheton) could see no reason why a column should not be devoted to a return of persons who were idiots, insane, or of unsound mind. If the heads of families felt any objection to making such returns, the enumerators, who had power to correct them, could very easily do so, because the presence of the persons of whom he wished to have a return was generally a matter of notoriety in the districts in which they lived.
MR. BAINES said, that when the Census of 1861 was taken, the whole body of the nonconformists expressed their strong disapprobation of the form in which it was at first proposed that it should be taken—namely, by asking every individual what was his "religious profession." He believed there was no exception to this disapprobation, and perhaps the Wesleyan Methodists were among the most determined, although their own organization and statistics were so complete. Many Churchmen, both in the House, and out of it, also expressed indignation that Government should make such an inquiry. The reasons for the objection were briefly these—It was
felt that the inquiry into men's religious faith was beyond the province of the civil Government. It was also believed that in many cases, especially among servants, workpeople, and tradespeople, the avowal of belonging to a different Church from their masters or rich customers might possibly lead to inconvenient consequences. But the great objection of all was that which had been so strongly stated by his hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall)—namely, that there was no probability whatever of a correct result. It was a lamentable fact, brought out in the Report which accompanied the Census of Religious Worship in 1851, that a very large number of the people did not attend any place of worship. It was stated that something like 5,000,000 of persons in England and Wales, who were able to attend divine service, were absent on the Census Sunday; and a large proportion of them were inferred to be "habitual neglecters" of public worship. Now if that were so, what would be the use of asking these "neglecters" what was their "religious profession?" What honest, correct, or useful result could be obtained? He assured the House that the Dissenters had no objection whatever to a Census of Religious Worship on the plan of the only religious Census over made in England—namely, that of 1851. In the year 1860, when the Census Bill for 1861 was brought forward, he himself made this declaration in that House on the part of the Nonconformists, and he even moved that the Census should be taken in that form. But the Church party on the opposite Benches were as strongly hostile to that form of Census as they on the Liberal side were hostile to demanding from every man his "religious profession." Therefore, the Government determined not to take a religious Census in either form. It seemed to him that the only fair way to judge of the real numbers of a religious body was to ascertain the amount of accommodation which they provided for religious worship, and the number of worshippers who actually attended. This was done in 1851 with the utmost care, and with repeated applications during nearly three years to obtain a correct result; and this furnished the only test and index of the strength of the religious bodies, as such. If Gentlemen opposite would consent to such a plan being acted upon, he be-
lieved the Church of England would have a great advantage; for he believed—though he could not state the fact with certainty—that within the last 20 years the number of churches had considerably increased, and to a greater extent than the places of worship belonging to other donominations. Such was his impression, and therefore it would place the numbers of the Church of England in a very good position if they would consent to a Census being taken of the places of worship, and the number of persons attending them; and to this the Dissenters would have no objection.
MR. BERESFORD HOPE thanked the hon. Member for Leeds for having placed this question before the House in such a candid, truly Christian, and liberal spirit—a spirit, which he must add, was in strong contrast to the angry declamation of the hon. Member for Bradford. The hon. Member for Leeds was willing to have a religious Census; but he denied that it was the duty of the State to enter into the field of conscience. He (Mr. Beresford Hope) took issue with the hon. Gentleman on that point, and called on those who agreed with him to justify that jealous limitation in one respect of the rights of the State in connection with their views upon the political action of Nonconformists in other respects. Almost every day the privileges, the responsibilities, and the political position of various religious communities were a matter of serious discussion, as was shown by the Irish Church Bill of last Session and by one of the two principal Bills of the present one. Almost every day different sects employed their religious organization as a means of their own social and civil advancement. He did not blame them for that. It would show a limited perception of the circumstances of free citizenship if they acted otherwise; but they must take their responsibilities along with their privileges. A sect which considered it unlawful to have any connection with or cognizance of mundane politics was alone justified in refusing to co-operate with the State in such a matter as a Census. Such a sect was, in its original condition, that of the Friends or Quakers; but even the Quakers have now seceded from their ancient non-political position. It was only right that when the different sects came to Parliament claiming all the rights and privileges of sects they should
let it be known what their numbers were. The arguments both of the Home Secretary and the hon. Member for Bradford went too far, because they went against any Census at all. They both dwelt upon the invidiousness of statistics, and the false position in which it would put the master of the house in regard to its inmates. But on looking at the proposed Census form, he saw one heading of "age." Was not this just as invidious? Suppose the head of the house had to collect the ages of respectable maiden ladies; suppose that head was herself such a maiden lady. Such arguments were not really appeals to reason. After all, the Census papers were confidential; they were not published to the world. They must depend upon the fidelity and secresy of the collectors, and it was impossible to have any statistics without having a great deal that was disagreeable in them, for it was disagreeable to be brought to book. On such grounds, there ought to be no income tax, and no licenses in lieu of the assessed taxes. The Home Secretary personally wanted a religious Census, and had argued strongly in favour of one; but the hon. Member for Bradford and those whom he led were afraid, and therefore we were not to have those valuable statistics which the Government desired. The Government had gone so far as to offer to take the Census both ways—the way of personal persuasion and that of attendance at worship. The hon. Member for Leeds had, with his natural candour, owned that he believed that the latter Census would prove how much the Church had increased upon Dissent. He (Mr. Beresford Hope) also believed it; at the same time, he felt it right to show how this very increase would create a difficulty in the collection of the statistics. In many churches the Sunday services had outrun the old modicum of once or twice per day. In the church he himself went to in London there were six Sunday services. To reckon the attendants at all these services as different persons, would be to allow too much; while, only to count the sittings, and, perhaps, double them, would be to allow too little. Still, with these difficulties, which were only matters of detail, he willingly accepted the offer. They all accepted it. ["No, no!"] Well, then, those who objected were afraid; they were afraid
of the Census in one shape, and doubly afraid of in two shapes. They confessed their fear, and the people would take note of their fright, and of the reason why. But if they took the Census in both shapes they would get everything that was wanted; they would have the estimate of the religion of the people out of their own mouths, and also by their works. The Government would accept that, and the great majority of the people, if not acted upon by stump speeches, would accept it too.
MR. LIDDELL said, this was not an ordinary question, as the information required was taken only once every 10 years. The form and extent of that information ought not to be thrown on the Secretary of State to determine, but ought to receive full discussion in the House. He would like on that account to move the adjournment of the debate; but as time was valuable he would not do so, provided he obtained an assurance that on the Motion that the Speaker do leave the Chair an opportunity for full discussion would be given. He considered that a religious Census was not a desirable thing.
SIR JOHN LUBBOCK said, he would suggest that the number of marriages between cousins should form a part of the information required. It was believed that consanguineous marriages were injurious throughout the whole vegetable and animal kingdoms, and it was desirable to ascertain whether that was not the case with the whole human race. The information in question might be obtained in this country by one simple Census.
MR. R. N. FOWLER said, he hoped hon. Gentlemen opposite would give their assent to the very reasonable proposition which had been made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
MR. CANDLISH said, he thought the Bill should have been brought on earlier. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would adhere to the Bill in the shape in which it stood.
MR. J. G. TALBOT was anxious that the subject should be really and thoroughly discussed. There were other points besides the religious Census that required to be considered. He should like to have an assurance that an opportunity for doing so would be afforded on the Motion for going into Committee.
If it was possible to take a religious Census in Ireland he did not see why it could not be done in England.
MR. CRAUFURD said, that Churchmen themselves were very much divided, and that if there were a religious Census the numbers of High Churchmen, Broad Churchmen, and Low Churchmen ought to be ascertained.
MR. MACFIE said, he was favourable to the proposal made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
MR. M'LAREN said, that the objections to a religious Census prevailed chiefly in large towns.
MR. ILLINGWORTH said, he was of opinion that the chief importance of religious statistics was to discover how many practical heathens there were in the country. He objected to political capital being sought to be made out of the members of the several religious bodies.
MR. A. SEYMOUR said, he looked upon such statistics as being most valuable.
MR. W. FOWLER said, he did not see how a religious Census could be properly taken by going from house to house.
MR. CHADWICK said, he saw no difficulty whatever in taking a correct religious Census. He trusted the Secretary of State for the Home Department would take into consideration the five recommendations made by the Statistical Society.
MR. ALDERMAN LUSK said, he would beg hon. Members to allow the Bill to be read a second time, as there had been quite enough talk about it.
Bill read a second time, and committed for Tuesday next.
House adjourned at a quarter
before Three o'clock till
HOUSE OF LORDS,
Monday, 25th July, 1870.
MINUTES.]—PUBLIC BILLS—First Reading—Sheriffs (Scotland) Act (1853) Amendment, &c.* (243).
Second Reading—(£1,300,000) Exchequer Bonds*; Elementary Education (235); Annuity Tax Abolition (Edinburgh and Montrose, &c.) Act (1860) Amendment* (231).
reconsideration by the Lords of the Treasury, with a view to there being an increase in the number of the force available for the protection of the metropolis generally.
MR. W. H. SMITH reminded the Home Secretary that the Houses of Parliament contributed nothing towards the rates, and hoped that the subject would receive consideration.
In reply to Mr. ASSHETON CROSS and Dr. BREWER,
MR. BRUCE said, with respect to habitual criminals, the expression, "supervision," was incorrect. The fact was that the Habitual Criminals Act provided not so much for a supervision by the police, as that those who came under the operation of the Act should be deprived of the advantage of the presumption of innocence which was enjoyed by other citizens. He had intended, but for the pressure of Public Business, to introduce a Bill to amend the Act, so as to make the supervision of the police more complete. He was of opinion that, in addition to the security already provided, it should be enacted that persons subject to supervision should report themselves to the police whenever they left or arrived at any district; that they should, in fact, be put in the position of holders of tickets-of-leave. As to the metropolitan police force, arrangements had been made for giving all the members of that force one day's holiday in every month, and the number of the force would be virtually increased by 900 men under that arrangement. The increased rate of 3s. a week to the sergeants would be a great encouragement to the whole force, because a man of good character and proved efficiency would become a sergeant in five years.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY approved of the holiday granted to the force, for it was very essential that the duties of the police should not be too heavy for them. With regard to other changes made by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department in the management of the police, he would not quarrel with them, but he would watch their effect with some anxiety. As to the police employed in and about the Houses of Parliament, he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that their payment was more an Imperial than a local question. The very best men were picked out for that
duty, and the Treasury, instead of contributing only a small sum towards their payment, ought to pay, if not the whole of the amount, at all events a very large share.
MR. J. G. TALBOT said, he had understood that the object of the registration of criminals provided under the Habitual Criminals Act was to render it easier to trace the various crimes committed by any one man for which he had been convicted, and in that way to assist the operations of justice in a more effectual manner. There were two different classes of persons in the country; first, those who had been brought up to a life of crime; and, secondly, those who in a moment of temptation or intemperance committed some offence. With the latter they desired to deal in as reformatory a spirit as possible; but with the former class it would be impossible to be too severe.
MR. BRUCE said, the object of his hon. Friend would be better obtained by means of photographs.
MR. WHITWELL, believing that the Chief Commissioner of Police had the superintendence of cabs, wished to know whether they might expect any improvement in these vehicles by the time they returned to town? In Leeds, Liverpool, and other provincial towns the cabs were superior to those in London, although the fares were exactly, the same.
Mr. BRUCE gave a denial to the last assertion, remarking that the Town Council of Leeds had allowed the fare to be raised from 9d. to 1s. a mile. With regard to Liverpool and Manchester, the fare was 9d. a mile in one of those towns and 1s. in the other. It was true that a new class of vehicles had not yet been produced in the metropolis; but great vigilance had been exercised in rejecting all the inferior cabs. During the inspection last June more than 1,000 cabs were rejected, and the men in charge of the stands reported that there had been a marked improvement both in the vehicles and in the horses. As long, however, as the public would only pay 6d. a mile, they could hardly expect to get a much better class of cabs.
MR. EYKYN said, that there were 8,883 policemen in London, maintained at a cost of about £800,000 a year. He believed that only 5,900 were available for duty in London, and they were at present completely overpowered by the
criminal classes. A much better system might be inaugurated if the men were better paid; if they were engaged for short periods with the option of re-enlisting; and if the length of service to entitle them to a pension were reduced from 30 to 15 years. Having been instituted as a civil body, he complained that they were subjected to too much drill, and this he attributed to the military tendencies of their officers. Good cabmen who had not been convicted of any offence should have some distinguishing mark, as compared with men who had committed any offence which a cabman could commit.
MR. BRUCE remarked that some absurd misstatements had been made respecting the increase in the military character of the police. In point of fact, the police were not drilled so much now, when they were under the command of a military man, as they were when they were commanded by a civilian. A certain amount of drill was obviously necessary, as the police were often called upon to act in a body against large mobs. In fact, drill only took place during the six summer months and in suitable weather—the men on duty by day being exempted, and the result was that the men were only drilled for about 16 hours in the whole year. He ventured also to say that, judging the police by any possible tests, instead of being overpowered by the criminal classes, their state was never more satisfactory than at the present time.
Vote agreed to.
DR. BALL said, that as the time was now come in which it was stated that the Census Bill would be brought on, he begged to move that the Chairman report Progress.
MR. BRUCE said, he never intended it should be understood that the Census Bill was to come on at half-past 11.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY declared that Government had, through the medium of their "whip," most distinctly pledged themselves to bring on the Bill at that hour, and he had come down to the House specially to take part in the discussion.
The Clerk Assistant, at the Table, informed the House, That Mr. Speaker was prevented by indisposition from resuming the Chair this evening.
Whereupon Mr. Dodson, the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order.
The Committee report Progress.
Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;
Committee to sit again To-morrow.
CENSUS BILL—[Bill 211.]
(Mr. Secretary Bruce, Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen.)
Order for Committee read.
MR. ASSHETON commented upon the trouble and inconvenience which arose from having three separate Census Bills for the different parts of the United Kingdom, and urged upon the Government the desirability of accepting as many Amendments as they could, which would have the tendency of simplifying and consolidating the Bills. His object was to pave the way for a single Census Bill for the whole of the United Kingdom—an object which he hoped would be achieved, when the next Census fell to be taken.
Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
On Motion, That the Preamble be postponed,
MR. M. T. BASS observed that the census as at present taken, although it cost £180,000, was not worth the paper it was written upon. He had it, on good authority, that there was scarcely any return of occupations in the Census which was not as defective as that of landowners which was mentioned the other night. For instance, in the last Census the number of brewers, including their workmen, was given as 20,300; whereas a Revenue Return, for which he moved this year, gave the number of brewers, exclusive of workmen, as upwards £30,000. He was surprised that the Registrar General could submit such incorrect statements to the public; but he understood that that officer was the real obstructive to the obtaining of full information. Under the Scotch Census the condition of the dwellings of the poorer classes was set forth, and he thought the Secretary of State should have power to direct that valuable information of that character should be obtained. He also thought that the number of persons attending the various
religious establishments on the Census day should be given.
MR. LIDDELL said, it was desirable that the House should have before it the forms which the Secretary of State intended to issue. He objected for several reasons to persons being called upon to register their religious persuasion.
Clauses 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.
Clause 4 (Householders, schedules to be left at dwelling houses).
DR. BALL, in rising to move, in page 2, line 14, after "condition," insert "religious profession," said, the object of the Amendment was to ascertain under the proper authority of the State the relative numbers of the different religious denominations in England. Everyone must admit that the inquiry was one of extreme importance to the State, because its ecclesiastical arrangements could not rest on a secure basis in the absence of such a Census; and to the religious bodies, because it was highly desirable they should know what proportions of the population belonged to their respective denominations. It was by some supposed that to have such a Census was disadvantegeous to an Established Church, and in one way perhaps it was so, as recording the number of Dissenters; but the advantages more than counterbalanced the disadvantages, for an Established Church, ought to be a national Church, and to fill this character it should be comprehensive, and for that purpose it was of vital consequence to have an accurate knowledge especially of those systems of religion which approximated in numbers to the Established Church—otherwise it could never with safety expand or enlarge its limits. The first attempt to acquire this information for the State was made by William III. In Mr. Buckle's History of Civilization in England mention was made of a fact recorded in the memoirs of that Sovereign — namely, that after William's death there was found in his papers a Return of the number of members of the Established Church and of the number of Dissenters. From that Return it appeared that the Conformists and Nonconformists were in the relative proportions of 22 4-5ths to 1. William III. instituted the inquiry from motives of sound statesmanship; but it was not till 1851 a second attempt was
Mr. M. T. Bass
made in the same direction. It was made, however, in quite a different manner, and, as he ventured to think, on an utterly erroneous basis. An inquiry was made not as to how many persons would sign themselves as of this or that religion, but as to the number of persons attending the different places of religious worship on a given Sunday. Now, that was an inquiry with which the State had nothing whatever to do. What the State should really ascertain was the extent of the external allegiance given by individuals to a particular system. It was a matter of indifference to the State whether a particular individual was a regular attendant at any church, or whether he agreed in every particular doctrine or every particular formulary of the Church of which he professed himself a member. What the State wanted to know was whether the individual was prepared to support the national Establishment, and if he were not, how far the Church which he did support approximated to the national Church. The question for the State was—What religion does the individual wish to rank himself under? When the individual answered that question, the State could acquire for itself the information as to the degree of agreement between that religion and the religion of the State. In Ireland the religious Census had been taken under these heads — "Established Church, Presbyterian, Methodist, Independent, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Jews; and, lastly, under the head of 'all other persuasions unspecified.'" In the Census, as finally proposed, there were more minute subdivisions. Under the head "all other persuasions"14,396 signed themselves as professing various creeds; and under the head "unspecified" the number was 4,163. Were not these statistical facts which the State ought to gather? When such information had been acquired in Ireland, where intense religious controversy prevailed, what difficulty could there be in acquiring it in England also? It had been acquired in America also. And he would ask, why should not such a Census be taken by the English people? It appeared to amuse the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the course which had been adopted in every civilized country should now be demanded for England. The religious Census had been carried out successfully
in Ireland and in America. Probably the right hon. Gentleman would say that the Irish were a people remote from the sun, turbulent and barbarous—he believed that was very much the view of his (Dr. Ball's) countrymen to which the right hon. Gentleman inclined—but still Ireland had carried out the Census successfully, and it was only when they came to cultivated, refined, and perfect England that all these difficulties were raised. He was astonished that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should dissent from the proposition to have a religious Census, for if there was any man in the House of whom he (Dr. Ball) would have asserted that he valued science and knowledge of all kinds, pursuing it irrespective of results and consequences, and that he would be disposed to insist upon scientific knowledge as the basis of the process of legislation, it was the right hon. Gentleman himself. If anybody went to the Chancellor of the Exchequer with some proposed ecclesiastical arrangement, he would be the very man to say—"Tell me the elements on which your proposal rests; have you got the figures?" The only objection raised by the Home Secretary to the proposal which he now made was the difficulty in making up the Returns. But how could it be more difficult in England than in Ireland or America? An hon. Member said the other day that if the Returns were made up as he proposed "the Established Church would be credited with the occupants of the gaols and the work houses" Well, if those occupants so returned themselves, why should not the Established Church be credited with them? In the vast majority of cases the occupants of gaols and workhouses in Ireland returned themselves as belonging to the Roman Catholic community, and that community accordingly was credited with them. It was a most natural thing for persons in such conditions to return themselves as of the religion of the State, for one of the objects of an Established Church was that its ministers should go out into the highways and byways and invite all to come in—to afford religious instruction to those who could not obtain it for themselves, to seek and to save those who were bereft of every other aid and succour. No doubt, as had been said, voluntaryism was open to every man; but as Horne Tooke wittily re-
plied—"Yes, in the same way as the London Tavern is open—to every man that pays for it." But an Established Church extended its ministrations to all, however fallen and poor their condition. Supposing that these persons had no feeling of religion at all, it was open to them to answer as 4,000 persons had done in Ireland, who were returned as belonging to "no specified form of belief?" And if there were in England a large number of persons of no specified form of belief was not that a legitimate subject of inquiry? Would England be greater or wiser by shutting her eyes to facts? If there did exist persons who were half-heathen in their knowledge, and half-heathen in their practice, why was not the truth to be ascertained, so that the responsibility for such a state of things might rest in the proper quarter? Of all evils the greatest was to close our eyes to existing facts which were known to us, and the second was wilfully to refuse the means of acquiring knowledge. In the proposal which he now submitted there was neither a party nor a political object; he was perfectly ignorant of which way the inquiry would tell, for he knew nothing whatever of the statistics of England. But in Ireland the information was obtained, and had led to results which, however disapproved, were of great importance. He did not agree with the measure which was founded upon the information so obtained; but he had never denied that the facts did justify passing of some measure. England, therefore, ought to take warning, lest by steadily and wilfully shutting her eyes to facts, greater calamities even than those which had happened in Ireland might arise, whereas by seeking timely information she might avoid endless controversies and collisions. The right hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by moving his Amendment.
Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 14, after the word "condition," to insert the words "religious profession."—(Dr. Ball.)
Question put,"That those words be there inserted."
The Committee divided:—Ayes 77; Noes 90: Majority 13.
SIR JOHN LUBBOCK moved to insert the words "whether married to a
first cousin." It was of great social importance to ascertain the number of consanguineous marriages, and the result on the health of their offspring.
Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 14, after the word "condition," to insert the words "including whether married to a first cousin."—(Sir John Lubbock.)
DR. LYON PLAYFAIR said, it was highly desirable that as much information as possible relating to the health and well-being of the community should be deducible from the Census Returns, especially when the facts could be obtained without much additional expense or incovenience. The subject of consanguineous marriages was one both of physiological and social interest. If they were to reason by analogy from plants and from domesticated animals, it seemed clearly made out that physical deterioration was the result of such alliances. Even when they were not deteriorated in structure, it would appear that there was a decrease in fertility, and a tendency to malformations, resulting from a lowering of vital powers. At all events, the evidence pointed in that way, and made scientific men anxious to have data from which conclusions could be drawn in regard to man. If the results of a Census, in which consanguineous relations were described, proved that the progeny were as numerous, and grew up with an equal persistence and vigour as in the case of cross marriages, then an important step would have been gained in removing a prejudice which now existed, and had at all times existed, both among civilized and uncivilized peoples. If, on the other hand, a discussion of the facts elicited showed that there was progeny of such marriages, then important results for the guidance of the community would have been attained. But, in either case, the information sought for could be acquired with little trouble, and would prove important in its negative or positive result. He trusted, therefore, that the Home Secretary would consent to ask for the information so much desired by the hon. Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock), whose scientific authority on such subjects was deservedly high.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY trusted that the Amendment would not be pressed. He did not see the desirability of holding up families where such mar-
Sir John Lubbock
riages had taken place to the public, and the children being held up to be anatomised for the benefit of science. He was not satisfied that plants and animals were troubled with the failings which attached to ordinary humanity, and he was averse to the offspring of the marriages in question being held up to the examination of scientific men. Such children would be held up as discreditable.
MR. BRUCE observed, that this matter had been the subject of very considerable discussion, and there were arguments nearly as strong on one side as on the other. The question appeared to him to be how the proposition would affect the future generation. There was no doubt that if marriages of near relatives were productive of the evil consequences assigned to them such marriages ought to be discouraged. He saw no conclusive objection to the proposed inquiry. The Census would give no names, it would give only results. He had heard that the marriages of near relations had a tendency to increase the number of deaf and dumb children. Then inquire into the truth of the rumour.
MR. BERESFORD HOPE invited the Committee to consider what it was really called upon to vote for. Personally he was opposed to the marriage of first cousins, so in what he was saying he had no desire to help such alliances. But the demand for statistics such as the hon. Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) desired to collect would be overweighted with a prejudice against that class of marriage, and would be felt to be so by those on whom the call was made. On the other hand, there would not be any compulsion to make the return, while, in many instances, the previous relationship of husband and wife might be unknown in their neighbourhood, and the risk of being found out therefore nil. Thus, all the temptation would be in favour of acknowledging the marriage where there was a healthy and sound-minded progeny, and of concealing it where there were unhealthy children or none at all. So, for the very object for which the hon. Baronet desired the return—namely, to test the healthfulness of such alliances—it would be fallacious and worthless.
MR. D. DALRYMPLE asked, why the last speaker was averse to these
marriages? Why, because he thought they were injurious. A Strong opinion prevailed that the marriages of first cousins were injurious. Then let the nation get at the facts. He Knew a case of the marriage of first cousins where 12 children resulted, and six of them were in a lunatic asylum. Let then the facts be determined, and let not the subject be got rid of by a sneer.
MR. LOCKE said, this was a piece of the grossest cruelty ever thought of. He was surprised that his hon. Friend who had just sat down should want this information, because he seemed already to know all about it. On the last vote hon. Gentlemen were so scrupulous as to say that Nonconformists were not to be called upon to say that they were Nonconformists, and now it was proposed to compel first cousins who were married to make a return to that effect. If on this occasion the philosophers were allowed to have their way, he was perfectly satisfied this Census Bill would be one of the greatest misfortunes, for every species of mental torture would be applied. Did they intend to introduce a Bill to forbid first cousins from marrying? Every year a Bill was brought in to enable a man to marry his deceased wife's sister, and if there were to be legislation about the marriage of first cousins also, the whole time of the House would be taken up in deciding who was to be allowed to marry anybody else.
MR. COLLINS said, if they were to have this information they must go a good deal further. For the last 25 years the House had discussed the question of the desirability of contracting marriages within certain degrees of affinity. It was now proposed that there should be a Return as to consanguineous marriages. It would be far more valuable for legislative purposes to require that there should be a column for persons who had married their deceased wives' sisters or deceased husbands' brothers. That would be a practical question, whereas this was purely inquisitorial. The only object could be to stigmatize certain marriages to which he did not think Parliament ought to cast a slur.
MR. RATHBONE said, he thought that it was really important to ascertain whether these marriages were injurious or not.
MR. MELLY said, the proposed re-
turn would be in the highest degree inquisitorial, and, unless pushed further, would be of no advantage whatever. It would be perfectly useless to get an answer as to the number of persons who had married their first cousins, unless it was followed up by further inquiries as to the number, health, and mental condition of their children.
DR. BALL said, that the proposal was defended on physiological grounds; but if that were sufficient ground for inquiry there ought to be another inquiry as to the number of cases in which there were twins. Suppose it was found that there were 10,000 persons who had contracted such marriages, would the public be a bit the wiser on that account?
MR. BRUCE, though not persuaded that the inquiry would not be advantageous, recommended that the Amendment should not be pressed, as the opinion of the Committee did not appear ripe on the question.
SIR JOHN LUBBOCK assured the Committee that he had not put the Amendment on the Paper without due consideration, and without consulting persons competent to form an opinion. The statistics alluded to by the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Melly) could be obtained from hospitals, lunatic asylums,&c.; but they threw no light on this question, because we did not know the proportion of marriages of first cousins. That proportion was the clue, and would be supplied if the Committee adopted his Amendment. He was glad that almost all who had spoken had expressed an opinion against these marriages. From the expression of feeling on the part of hon. Gentlemen around him he thought it would be better to take the sense of the Committee on the question.
Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
The Committee divided:—Ayes 45; Noes 92: Majority 47.
MR. MACFIE moved an Amendment, with a view to enable the Home Secretary to reconsider the question of a religious Census, and to ask persons to make a purely voluntary return, if they chose, of their religious persuasion. He sought first to obtain the statistics of the attendance at places of worship on a particular Lord's Day, and next to allow each person who liked to do so to state the denomination to which he belonged.
Return to homepage
Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
File last updated 2 July, 2012