Daniel Ace

Born in 1813 at Plymouth Dock (his father Abraham was a shipwright), it seems (though we have been unable to verify the connection) that he studied at the Independent College in Brecon (where he was a member of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society) and was ordained in 1841 to pastoral care of the English Independent Chapel, Pontypool. He (if this is the same Daniel Ace) joined the Church of England and was ordained in Ripon diocese in 1849, serving his title at Idle, near Bradford, with charge of a mission room, licensed in 1848, at Thackley; he left in 1851, with a testimonial from the churchmen there regretting his departure. He was then curate of St Leonard, Malton, where he remained until at least 1857 (where there was a lightning strike on a return visit), after which he came to St Paul Dock Street for a short time. Further brief posts followed, at St James Clerkenwell from 1858 or 1859; a few months as 'minister to the Arsenal Labourers' at the Royal Ordnance chapel in Plumstead in 1861 (see here for correspondence about his appointment, including a memorial from the men asking that he should stay); at Edmonton and at Plymouth. In 1859 he was appointed a committee member of the Evangelical Alliance (founded in 1846).

Meanwhile, in 1851 he had enrolled as a sizar and 'ten year man' [a supported student] at St John's College Cambridge, and completed his BD in 1861 and DD in 1862 - which was recognised
comitatis causâ at Oxford a few years later (a 'courtesy' arrangement, though why Oxford - where he spoke at the Union, and made museum donations - rather than Cambridge is unclear).

From 1864-70 he was Vicar of Dacre near Ullswater, in Carlisle diocese, and
de facto headteacher of the town's small grammar school. A dispute arose in 1867, when he appealed against a consistory court ruling over the illegal changing of the church locks. His wife Sarah Elizabeth Saunders (ten years his junior) died, in London, in 1868 - they had no children. Then, after a year as perpetual curate in his home town of Devonport, he became Vicar of Laughton (with the village of Wildsworth), near Gainsborough, in Lincoln diocese (where he had a 'commodious residence'), remaining there until his death in 1893 [see below on a court ruling that he was personally liable for tower repairs]. In 1875 he gave evidence to the Select Committee on Public Worship Facilities Bill, in relation to the needs of rural parishes.

His major theological work was a
Treatise on the Romish Tenet of Auricular Confession 'wherein the mind of the Reformed Church of England is fully shown, both in her distinctive teaching and ministerial practice, to be at utter variance with this Romish dogma' (Westerton 1862) - was this the basis of his doctorate? There were also some published sermons, a few of which are listed below and can be read online. But he was a man of very wide interests - educational, scientific and sociological (a new discipline).  He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1879 (did he pick up this enthusiasm from Charles Besley Gribble, incumbent at St Paul Dock Street during his time here?) and of the Royal Statistical Society in 1883, was a Vice-President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and an active member of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science. He was also a freemason, and at some point a domestic chaplain to Lord Denman.

Here is a digest of some of the events in his life, his writings and his views, both verbatim and as reported; they show him to be an instinctive reformer, espousing many 'progressive' views, and with a firm confidence in the achievements of his age.

Ordination as an Independent minister

The Evangelical Magazine & Missionary Chronicle vol 20 1842 p185

On Tuesday Nov. 30, 1841, the Rev. Daniel Ace, late a student in the Independent College, at Brecon, was ordained to the pastoral office over the church and congregation assembling at the English Independent Chapel, Pontypool, when the Rev. T. Thomas, Theological Tutor of the Baptist Academy, Pontypool, commenced the service by reading the Scriptures and prayer; the Rev. Thomas Gillman, of the Tabernacle, Newport, then delivered a lucid and forcible discourse on the nature and constitution of a Christian church; the Rev. W. Powell, of Usk, proposed the usual questions and received the confession of faith; the Rev. W. Rees, of Chepstow, offered the ordination prayer; the Rev. C.N. Davies, Theological Tutor of the Independent College, Brecon, gave the charge to the young minister from 1 Tim iv 16, latter clause, and concluded by prayer. The hymns were read by the Rev. Mr. Armitage, of Newport. After the morning service the ministers and friends sat down to dinner with the young minister. In the afternoon, tea was given to the Sunday school children. In the evening the Scriptures were read and prayer offered by the Rev. J. Armitage, of Newport; the Rev. Mr. Rees, of Chepstow, delivered a most faithful charge to the church, exhorting them to co-operate with their minister in his labour of love, and to esteem him for his work's sake; and the young pastor implored the Divine blessing on the solemnities of the day.

Brecon Independent College was founded in 1839 in what was then a private house in St Mary’s Street. By 1852 it was recognized as one of the colleges of the University of London and in 1903 became an associated theological college of the University of Wales. It became an important educational institution which it has been claimed ‘decisively moulded the development of the Welsh people’.


Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord (Romans 12.12) - Church of England Mazagine vol 40 (CPAS 1856)
The Christian Altar and Priesthood (Hebrews 4.14) - 10 August 1858 at St James Clerkenwell - Mother's Magazine & Family Preacher (1858) p277
The Swelling of Jordan (Jeremiah 12.5) - 'preached on Sunday morning, May 28th, 1865, to the flock to whom the author ministered eight years antecedently, at the church of St. Leonard's, Malton, which was struck with lightning on the memorable occasion of the delivery of this particular sermon' [see below] - Church of England Magazine vol 58 (S.D. Ewins 1865) p80

The Institute, a Monthly Literary Journal (Burns & Lambert 1858) p156

CALTHORPE INSTITUTE, NORTH LONDON SCHOOLS, CALTHORPE TERRACE, GRAY'S INN ROAD. This Institution has just commenced the third year of its existence, under very favourable circumstances. The programme for the present quarter contains a series of instructive lectures, intermingled with essays, evenings for readings and recitation, a tea meeting, &c. The first lecture of the course was delivered on Thursday evening, Jan. 6th., by the Rev. Daniel Ace, the subject being "The age we live in". J.F. Puttick, Esq., in the chair. After a few introductory remarks explanatory of the past age, the lecturer described the present age as a glorious, a splendid age. An age of great cities, vast power, and extensive improvement. It is vastly superior to any other age. It is the cream of the production of many ages. It is a reforming, intellectual, enterprising, elevating, discriminating, and religious age. The lecturer then proceeded to speak of the great men of the present age. He next spoke at some length on the various improvements of the age, such as the adoption of the penny postage, the statistical returns, the great educational movement, ragged schools, refuges, asylums, reformatories, and the press. The lecturer, in conclusion, said, "Onward and Upward ought to be our motto. Move forward in whatever is excellent. We ought to try to charm, dignify, and adorn the age, and to live and die to God."

Self Education: Lecture to Ragged School Teachers of London 30 March 1859
Ragged School Union Magazine (Partridge & Oakley 1859) vol XI, pages 128, 148, 180, 200

Journal of the Society of Arts 1859

The Rev. Daniel Ace said, having formerly had the charge of the parish of Malton, it was his privilege to come in contact with the late Mr. Hugh Lee Pattinson [a keen scientist, and - like Ace - amateur astronomer, born in Cumbria and working in the North-east], and he could testify that a more humble and liberal-minded man he was never privileged to converse with: for, notwithstanding his high attainments in science, he was ever ready to communicate his knowledge to others, and to do his utmost to promote the happiness of those with whom ho was associated. In a religious point of view, he was desirous to promote that independence of thought, as well as liberty of action, which he (Mr. Ace), as a clergyman, conceived to be the glory of mankind.

Hull & Eastern Counties Herald 1 June 1865

MALTON - CHURCH STRUCK BY LIGHTNING: At noon on Sunday a thunderstorm passed over Malton. The Rev DANIEL ACE, B.D., vicar of Dacre, near Ullswater, formerly officiating minister at St Leonards Church, now on a visit to his old parishioners, was preaching to a crowded congregation, when all were much startled by a sudden loud explosion above the organ in the west gallery. A heavy peal of thunder immediately afterwards explained the cause. No one was injured and the rev. gentleman proceeded with his service, the congregation all remaining. The effect in the Church was to cause a banging of the doors. An examination of the tower and the spire was made in the afternoon, when it was ascertained that the lightning had left the rod at an acute turning near the base of the spire, and followed the lead to the roof above the tower, which was flat and held about two inches of water – a fortunate circumstance, doubtless mitigating the shock. The spire is a wooden one and slated, and at the point of departure from the rod the slating bears evidence of heat, some of the slates being rendered quite shelly, as if burnt.

Report of the Commissioners of Schools Inquiry 1869 (p190)

Mr. C.I. Elton's Report.

This was formerly a grammar school, the master being required to teach English and Latin to all children in the townships requiring such instruction. Many years ago, when the sons of farmers had time enough on their hands to enable them to go to school in winter until they were 18 or 20 years old, the older scholars used to learn Latin. In later times, however, the keen demand for labour has caused this prolonged attendance at school to be unknown, and the demand for classical instruction has ceased. The children now begin and end their schooling earlier than was customary a few years back. There is a great demand for such elementary learning as can be acquired by children under 12 years old; after that age the scholars are removed, their labour being valuable. The scheme which at present governs this charity makes no provision for classical instruction, so that the school is now an ordinary national school under Government inspection.

The Vicar of Dacre is an ex officio trustee. Since my visit I have received from him a second return showing that he is the schoolmaster acting, I presume, through the present schoolmistress as his deputy. This lady is a very efficient teacher; she maintains a good discipline, and the children appeared to be very well trained. The elder children worked out difficult sums in practice and proportion, the girls specially deserving praise for neatness and accuracy. The younger ones were well trained in the simpler rules of arithmetic. All the scholars possessed a good knowledge of Bible history. The mistress gave them an examination in English history in my presence. As usual, too great a stress was laid on the earliest parts of our history: it is common to find a class of young children who have learned the facts and dates of Julius Caesar's invasions and nothing more. In this case, however, they did fairly well when examined on later periods. The writing was very good in each class, and the books clean and well kept. There is unfortunately no residence for the schoolmistress, the old rooms being let for about 3l. a year, which sum is added to her salary. There are certain charities in the township which are considered by the vicar to be injurious in their present form. At certain seasons doles of money are given to all applicants. The distribution was, till of late, made at the donor's tomb in the churchyard. It is considered that these charities might beneficially be applied to the education of the township.

There are other endowed schools in the parish of Dacre to which the vicar directed my attention. The endowed national school at Stainton appeared to me to be very well conducted.The vicar has taken a great interest in its prosperity, and has been well supported by the principal inhabitants. The boys passed a good examination in English history, and some among them were proficient in mensuration; each class did well in arithmetic. The writing too was remarkably neat throughout the school. The trustees deserve great credit for the care bestowed by them on this school. The small school at Newbiggin is said to have into a bad state. It was being rebuilt at the date of my to Dacre, and very little of the old house remains. Those of it which I saw quite justified the vicar's opinion that "the school was in a disgraceful condition".

Transactions of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science 1873 p184

The Rev. Daniel Ace, D.D., read a paper On the Reform of the Ecclesiastical Courts of England, on the question, "Is not the Reform of the Ecclesiastical Courts in England and Wales a question requiring the immediate action of the Legislature, admitting of no further delay?"

He observed that for the last forty years public opinion, more or less enunciated by successive Governments, had clearly denounced the incompetency of these tribunals, and indicated the necesity of their abolition. Consequently, during this interim, the jurisdiction of these ecclesiastical courts had been ousted by statutable authority in all suits for tithes of a certain amount, likewise for church-rates; in matters of defamation, testamentary, and divorce and matrimonial. But, notwithstanding that ecclesiastical jurisdiction had been so rescinded, those courts still retained power in certain cases over both clergy and laity, and as a logical consequence, enlightened public opinion seemed to demand their total abolition, or at least a considerable amendment, both in constitution and process of courts even denominated spiritual.

By no less an authority than the late Lord Chancellor Cranworth, these ecclesiastical courts were, in the year 1856, characterized as cumbrous, dilatory, and expensive; and as to the ecclesiastical judges, in his lordship's opinion, nineteen out of twenty were incompetent to discharge their judicial duties. In the year 1855 the Archbishop of York, in the Convocation of the Province of York, observed that the delays, expenses, and the cumbrous procedure of the ecclesiastical  courts, which had descended to us from past generations, should be swept away, in order that simple justice might be simply done, inasmuch as the present mode of proceedings in the ecclesiastical courts led to constant miscarriages of justice. Such avowed opinions, with others of equal stringency, had induced the House of Lords to entertain the question; a select committee investigated the matter and made their report. A Bill was introduced and passed through all its stages, but rejected in the Commons. No scheme of ecclesiastical reform could be complete unless it contained provisions to render archbishops and bishops themselves amenable to ecclesiastical discipline and jurisprudence as well as their inferior clergy.

The procedure at present in the ecclesiastical courts was according to the rules of civil or Roman law, and also of the canon or so much of the Papal law as had been received in this country. But such rules were but leges sub graviori lege, the common law having obtained the superintendency or supremacy over them. To revive those rules seemed to be a very eligible mode of adoption. Much of the old procedure and practice might bo well abolished, and new rules and orders introduced and assimilated to those of the superior courts of common law. The dicta of ecclesiastical judges should be systematized into a digest by a commission of learned men, and what was desirable to be retained of that which was designated lex non scripta should be re-enacted. Let that shapeless congeries of Papal canon law received into this country from the time of tho Conquest in 1066 down to the Reformation in 1534, having the force of statutable authority, be examined and reformed. That archbishops and bishops, in addition to their onerous duties, should aim at personal adjudication in their diocesan courts rather than by judges who had had a legal training was a matter calculated to excite apprehension, but in exact ratio as this disposition on the part of the episcopal bench had been manifested, there had been on the contrart exhibited on the part of the laity a tendency to eliminate altogether the judicial from the episcopal function.

Cognate to the reform of the ecclesiastical courts, was the reform of the marriage laws, and one of the objects of reform in the ecclesiastical courts was the reduction of the excessive fees for a marriage licence, which fees simply went into the pockets of craving officials. Marriage should be encouraged by a national church, and not discouraged by exorbitant fees. He would reduce the marriage licence from 50s. to 10s., and abolish with its invidious distinctions the office of surrogate. The writer next touched upon the question of simony, and remarked that these necessary ecclesiastical reforms would admit of no further delay without injustice to the nation.

Masonic addresses and involvement
The Rationale of Free-Masonry  - at the consecration of the lodge at Barton-upon-Humber, 1873
An Oration - at the consecration and dedication of a lodge at Epworth, Lincolnshire, 11 May 1874

In 1879 a court held him liable for repairs to the church tower at Laughton (why?), and a masonic brother wrote to the The Freemason & Masonic Illustrated (p429)
I am compelled to appeal to the public on behalf of the Rev. Daniel Ace, DD (Vicar of Laughton-by-Gainsborough, Lincolnshire), who, to the surprise of everybody who heard the evidence and the summing up of the judge, was made personally liable at the late Lincoln Assizes for the repair of the Church Tower of Laughton ... The sum required to meet this liability and to save Dr. Ace from absolute ruin (including law expenses, &c., £138) is about £400, of which £120 has already been raised.The Rev. Dr. Ace has no private means; he is sixty-seven years of age, and conducts three services on Sunday without assistance. The net income of the united parishes of Laughton and Wildsworth, of which he is vicar, is only £223.

Transactions of the National Society for the Promotion of Social Science, Aberdeen 1877 (Longmans, Green 1878) p255

(Ace was a member of the 'Repression of Crime' section)

A Paper was also read by the Rev. Daniel Ace, D.D., Vicar of Laughton, Lincolnshire, in which he gave an affirmative opinion that an intermediate industrial school would be mutually advantageous both for the interests of the Army and the permanent welfare of the juvenile recruits. Industrial schools had already conferred a boon on the community by diminishing juvenile culprits, and conferring habits of honesty and labour upon the neglected and stubborn youths of Great Britain. The late Canon Kingsley declared that there must be ragged and industrial schools for the navy, and such institutions were already formed with success; and he asked why might they not be adopted with equal utility to the military service, and to the permanent benefit of those juveniles who may enlist in the defence of their country? From a recently issued Parliamentary paper it appeared that the proportion of male population between the ages of 15 and 35 serving in the militia, yeomanry, and volunteers of Great Britain was about six in every hundred. Scotland stood highest, the rate in some counties being 16 per cent. The mental condition of those who enlisted in the military service of the Crown was unsatisfactory. They were for the most part persons of idle habits, farm servants and others who disliked work, and whose education had been neglected. The Committee of Enquiry had arrived at the irresistible conclusion that if boy enlistment be legalised and utilised, the tone of the army could be improved, the difficulties of recruiting met, and the evils of desertion overcome, and both the efficiency of the army and the welfare of the nation thereby secured. About 14,000 boys could be annually available. A large proportion of the best non-commissioned officers were those who enlisted as boys. These trained lads succeeded even better than soldiers' children. The qualifications recommended for the enlistment of lads were physical fitness, good elementary education, and a fair knowledge of some trade, good character, and a drill without arms. Boys could enlist from 14 to 16. The training would not only supply a good material, but would remove the bad. It would diminish the evils arising from impulsive enlistment, and manifest that the services of the dissipated and illiterate and profane were not desired for the Army. They thereby diminished the evils of desertion with its cost, while its penalties were obviated. The plan suggested was one which every philanthropist, as well as every minister of the Gospel, would support. It was a plan which proposed to elevate and improve the Army by judicious moral and practical training, and thereby secure to the rank and file of the British Army personal happiness and welfare, both for time and eternity.

The Law Magazine and Review: For Both Branches of the Legal Profession
vol.4 (Hein & Co 1875) p417

V. Abolition of First Fruits and Tenths, By Rev. Daniel Ace, D.D.
There is prevailing in English society a refined poverty of a class to which public attention is being directed with a view to its
alleviation. It is the sad heritage of an educated class of gentlemen prohibited from all speculative or commercial transactions, to ameliorate their pecuniary condition. They are styled the "poor beneficed clergy", who, through no fault of theirs, but their misfortune —  res angusta domi — are obliged frequently to supplicate for eleemosynary aid, or, without such relief, are content to pine away their wretched existence in concealing their griefs, under the pallium of a respectable profession.

It must be admitted that the evil is chronic; it has existed for some few centuries; it has been recognized even by royalty. Who has not read of the remedy proposed by an English queen, by what is styled "Queen Anne's Bounty"? But what jejune results have issued from the royal fund? The impoverished, suffering beneficed clergy are themselves the best exponents of this incontrovertible fact. The whole history of the case demands, not only public investigation, but also legislative redress. Other subjects may be more stirring; probably in the Senate House, the scheme for the multiplication of bishops may be more interesting as a topic of discussion; but no consideration can be more weighty, or of greater consequence to Church or State, than the required alleviation of clerical poverty - this demand for equity in the import levied on the impoverished, inferior beneficed clergy.

Doubtless, the subject is now more within the province of the State than the Church. Be it so; nevertheless, the Bounty Fund is the legacy of a Protestant queen to the Protestant bounty of the Church of England. Her Majesty Queen Anne, in her first interview with her Privy Council after her accession, assured the high officers of State, that it was her firm intention to maintain intact the Protestant religion; and in order to benefit the poor clergy of the Church of England, established by law, she sent a message to the House of Commons, desiring that her revenue of the “Tenths” and “First Fruits", might, by an Act of Parliament, be appropriated to the maintenance of the poor clergy, which was accordingly so enacted by the 2 and 3 Anne, c.11. i. More than a century and a half has passed away since this enactment; but with what results? The Ecclesiastical Commission has entered upon the work with greater success; and it is a grave question for the legislature, whether the two boards, namely, the Ecclesiastical Commission and Queen Anne's Bounty Board, should not be amalgamated. Certainly, it would greatly economise ecclesiastical funds. Yet to the scheme of amalgamation, our prelates are the most sturdy of opponents. But ab initio. The whole collection of “First Fruits” and “Tenths", as now exacted, form a gross anachronism. The designation is very odd: the primatiæ of rich benefices. All very fair if really it was the case, that a portion of wealthy livings were actually set apart to improve the impoverished ones. But, in the sequel, we shall demonstrate that such is not actually the process. Odder still is the designation annats, or annates, from "annalis", lasting a year, the First Fruits which, in ancient times, were paid out of spiritual benefices to the Pope, being the value of one year's profit; a tax levied on preferments when they became vacant. Now the origin of such imports is very interesting. Doubtless they grew up with the encroachments of the Papal See. They were an irregular demand paid on those benefices only in the gift of the Pope. But his patronage became extended when he claimed the high prerogatives of the vicar of Christ, and Universal Chief Bishop in Christendom; the source and centre of all episcopal authority. Others have thought that a year's income was surrendered at ordination and consecration. Practically this was not the case ...

Transactions of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science (J.W. Parker 1877) p344

The Rev. Daniel Ace DD, read a short Paper 'On the Prisons Bill,' in which he particularised the kind of opposition to the Bill, commended the relief
commended the relief offered by the measure to the ratepayers, amplified its proposed advantages, and pointed out how many objections might be obviated, and the boon the measure would confer upon the country in the administration of the criminal law. The Bill would abolish useless prisons and staff officers ...

Report of the 50th Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
(John Murray 1880) p672

3. On the required Amendment in the Marriage Laws of the United Kingdom, by the Rev. Daniel Ace, D.D., F.R.A.S.

The desirableness of uniformity in these laws was shown from three gross cases adduced. Whilst marriage is regarded as a civil contract, inducing a civil status, conferring the same rights and entailing the same obligations upon the persons entering into the said contract, the general feeling in the United Kingdom is in favour of superadding to this important contract the sanction of religion.

The matrimonial proceedings of the ceremony of marriage differ in the three kingdoms: the validity of the marriage solemnised in one of those kingdoms may be rendered nugatory in the other by some legal technicality. The effects of such diversity have been designated by Lord Chancellor Selborne as scandalous to a civilised country. The cases adduced, verifying the epithet, as to their effects, of the Lord Chancellor, were —
1. The Queen v. Millis, 1843, 1844.
2. Beamish v. Beamish, 1861; and
3. Yelverton v. Yelverton or Longworth, 1864, 1865.

The first, a case of bigamy, The Queen v. Millis.
In 1829, George Millis was married to Esther Graham, according to the rites of the Presbyterians, by an Irish Presbyterian minister, in Ireland; and in 1836, whilst Esther Graham remained alive, George Millis married, at Stoke, Devonshire, Jane Kennedy, by an English priest in holy orders. In 1842, George Millis was, at the Spring Assizes for Antrim, found guilty of bigamy on the aforesaid facts. A legal argument was raised in the Court of Queen's Bench, Ireland, and ultimately carried to the House of Lords, whether the indictment for bigamy could legally be sustained. The decision of the Appellate Court of the House of Lords quashed the indictment for bigamy, and set aside the first marriage of George Millis, on the principle involved in an ancient canon of the Church of England, viz., that of Archbishop Lanfranc, at a Council held at Winchester, A.D. 1076, that no marriage is held valid, unless by an express statute, without the benediction of a priest in holy orders. The late eminent and sagacious Premier, Sir Robert Peel, soon corrected this anomaly, affecting the validity of Presbyterian marriages in Ireland, by three statutes immediately enacted by the Legislature:
(1) 5 & 6 Vict, c, 113.
(2) 6 & 7 Vict. c. 39,  A.D. 1843.
(3) 7 & 8 Vict. c. 81,  A.D. 1844.

2. Beamish v. Beamish.
This was a case of an episcopally ordained clergyman in Ireland, who himself exclusively officiated at the marriage of himself to a lady, and consequently such marriage was rendered invalid, as the House of Lords decreed that the presence of another person or priest was requisite, according to law, in the case of the clergy as well as the laity, to receive the mutual consent of the contracting parties, and declare them to have become man and wife, these being the essential conditions of legal marriage.

3. Yelverton v. Yelverton or Longworth.
This case is the greatest blot upon our jurisprudence in modern times. A gentleman in Scotland went through a ceremony with a lady, which the Court of Session declared to be a valid marriage. Subsequently, the same affianced parties went through a ceremony before a Romish priest in Ireland, which, in the opinion of the Irish Court of Queen's Bench, constituted a valid marriage in that kingdom of Ireland. But on an appeal to the House of Lords, by a conflict of legal opinion (Lords Brougham and Westbury holding the parties legally married), the House of Lords decreed both marriage ceremonies (the one in Scotland and the other in Ireland) to be null and void.

Such samples of the conflict of marriage laws in the three kingdoms must be productive of an immense amount of practical hardship, patent injustice, and wanton cruelty. These sad judicial results led to the institution of a Royal Commission to make public inquiry whether the marringe laws could be assimilated. For three years, from 1865 to 1868, the Royal Commissioners pursued their investigations, and examined some very learned persons. At length they made their report, with divers recommendations. Since that period nothing has been done to remedy the crying grievances inflicted by a conflict of national laws; and it must be a matter of regret, if not of reproach, that no action has been taken by the responsible advisers of the Crown that the holy estate of matrimony may be rescued from flagrant injustice. The gist of various recommendations contained in the said report of the Commissioners involves the following considerations : —

That the whole of the enactments respecting marriages be consolidated in a single statute; that all existing statutes and ordinances of the United Kingdom on marriages (involving as a sequitur the repeal of the odious Irish Marriage Act, the 19 Geo. II. c. 13, and other penal Acts) should absolutely be repealed. The author of this paper would venture to add, all canons relating to marriage resting on the authority of statute law, by the 25 Henry VIII. c. 19; great care being observed that by such repeal no canon on marriage expressly or virtually repealed by former legislation be thereby revived. Also, it is recommended that all stamp duties on matrimonial documents be abolished; and further, that marriage fees, so far as practicable, should no longer be exacted.

Again, inter alia, it is also recommended that all licences and banns for marriage should be superseded by a statutory declaration, made before an authorised and legally recognised minister of religion, by whom the affianced parties desire their marriage to be recognised;  and that such a minister or official should be empowered legally to receive such a declaration, and to exact its correctness, with the same penalty annexed for falsehood and fraud as that of the penalty for perjury; also, that the certainty of mamage should be legally rendered unequivocal. But reasonable time and effective means should be supplied to interested parties to prevent clandestine, hasty, and improvident marriages.

Moreover, parties of mature age, of reputation and of status, well known to the respective minister of religion or civil officer, desiring to facilitate their prospective marriage, should not be required to wait by giving fifteen days' notice, but a licence should at once be granted to consummate their wishes for the immediate solemnisation of their marriage contract; the same facilities being rendered to the poor as to the rich, as marriage is honourable to all.

The publication of banns, it is admitted, is of great antiquity. We have traces of or reference to it in the early part of the second century, in the treatises of the Fathers, Ignatius and Tertullan. But although this ancient mode of notice of marriage, viz., the publication of banns, has existed for more than eight hundred years in this country, the pubhcation of them at this period of time is quite unsatisfactory.

What useful purpose can now be served by them, let anyone attest who has attended divine service at Manchester Cathedral, or any parish church in a densely populated locality. That such publication of intended marriages by banns is utterly impracticable the late Registrar-General has proved by recording his decided and valuable opinion, and to this verdict we respectfully submit. Every useful purpose would be secured by the mere fact of a registered notice from the contracting parties, accompanied with a true declaration of facts, exacted upon pain of the penalties of perjury, that no legal impediment existed. Yet those who prefer the publication of their banns of marriage may be permitted to enjoy this luxury; but in no case should the publication of banns be required as a condition either of the lawfulness or the regularity of marriage. All preliminary requirements should be regarded as directory, and none of them as essential to the validity of marriage, or in any wise to invalidate it.

No minister of religion or civil officer should arbitrarily, or without a sufficient legal reason, interpose impediments to the reception of notices of marriage, or to the granting certificates thereof. On the other hand, all undue or illegal facilities to marriage should be severely pumished.

All penalties of felony assigned to mmisters or civil officers in dereliction of their duties should be reduced to those of misdemeanour. A certificate of notice by any beneficed clergyman should be a sufficient authority for parties to be married in another parish, if they respectively desire it. No clergj'man should be relieved from the obligation imposed on him by the law or sect to which he belongs; but the time and place of marriage are matters of which the State should take no cognizance; canonical hours of marriage, having reference to the sacrament of the mass, in which Protestants are not interested, should by Act of Parliament be abolished. As a matter of history, we know that marriage in churches was not established till the twelfth century, by the ordinance of Pope Innocent III. A.D. 1200.

Consensual or pre-contract marriages, per verba de præsenti, et per verba de futuro, subsequente copulâ, though agreeable to the civil law (consensus facit matrimonium), must not be revived in England, now abolished by stat. 4 Geo. IV. c. 76, A.D. 1823. In Scotland they are now legalised, as well as marriages by repute; but marriages legalised in that kingdom, and ratified by the decrees or decision of Scotch Courts, should be recognised as being legal to the status of the said parties in England.

Let Mr. Monsel's Act (26 & 27 Vict. c. 90), with respect to the registration of Roman Catholic marriages in Ireland, instead of being directory, be rendered, by Act of Parliament, imperative.

The Canon Law of Europe does not — it never did — form a part of the Law of England. It does as to marriage in Scotland. But the laws of the Council of Trent were never acknowledged in England. But latterly, in the formerly excepted Provinces of Ireland, the canons of the Council of Trent are revived. Hence arises the dire conflict of the laws of marriage in the three kingdoms in the administration of justice, and the cancelling in England of one of the most important contracts of all social relations which in one of the two other sister kingdoms may be held valid. And all this through the glorious uncertainty of the laws of marriage, as appears in grievous suits of litigation.

But Cicero has written: Indignum est in civitate, quæ legibus contineatur, discedi a legibus.
Such are the arguments of the author of this paper for the immediate interposition of the Legislature, and for the strong support of the Government, to sweep away a heterogeneous congeries of at least twenty-seven Acts of Parliament and other diverse ordinances, and to enact a general marriage law for the three kingdoms, admitting and legalising the peculiarities of each, but securing for all the certainty of a valid and indisputable marriage, for the legitimacy and peace of families, and for the maintenance of the rights and preservation of the property of the married pair. In doing this let every care be taken to prevent the scandals which occurred through the unscrupidous conduct of unworthy clergymen prior to Lord Hardwicke's Act (26 Geo. II. c. 13), now happily repealed; but its best provisions are now incorporated in the English Marriage Acts. Fox and Mackintosh unsparingly condemned this Act for its tyranny. But the doctrine of non fieri debet, factum valeat admits of some state regulation. That Fleet Prison and May Fair marriages were a scandal to a civilised and Christian country, those acquainted with history will readily admit. But the greater scandal arising from a conflict of marriage laws, uncertain in their operation, remains.

To remedy this scandalous contravention of the marriage laws, the nation calls aloud. Marriage, says Lord Stowell, is the parent of civil society; but, more than this, it is the basis of social science, and of sound morals; it is the purest source of domestic affection and of angelic virtue.
Lex est ratio summa, insita in naturâ, quæ jubet, ea, quæ facienda sunt, prohibetque contraria
(Cicero, 'De Legibus,' lib. i. chap. vi. 18).
Transactions of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science 1881 p301

Ace took part in 'Discussion on Juvenile Delinquency', and also argued for work experience, including farming, for prisoners:

he said that recently, when attending the British Association meetings at Swansea, he had gone over the prison there minutely, and he ascertained the fact that prisoners consider it a great privilege to be employed industrially rather than remain immured in a cell.....

Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 1883 p630
4. Statistical Account of Railway Accidents for the year 1881 by the Rev. Daniel Ace, D.D., F.R.A.S.

During the year there were reported sixty collisions between passenger-trains and others, by which it would appear that of all modes of travelling that of railways is the safest. The casualties are few compared with the millions of passenger-journeys included in the reckoning of accidents arising out of the use of other vehicles, such as vans, carts, and waggons. Railway statistics show a comparatively small sacrifice of life in that class of accidents over which the victims cannot be supposed to have any control. It is here that the test of efficiency has to be applied, and although any sacrifice of life is to be regretted, the fact that only 23 passengers were killed by want of caution, or misconduct, or circumstances under their own control, out of the myriads who travelled on the railways of the United Kingdom last year, must be held to show a marvellous degree of skill and care in the working of the traffic.
Upon examination of the statistics it will be evident that the suicides were 64, thus almost trebling the number of passengers killed by railway accidents pure and simple. But there were accidents to passengers from other causes than accidents of trains, including, besides accidents from their own want of caution or misconduct, those happening to persons passing over level crossings; these amounted to 83 persons killed, and 32 injured ...

Foot and Mouth Disease in Cattle - its true history and remedy: A Paper Read Before the British Association, Southport, September 1883
(E. Marlborough & Co., 51 Old Bailey, Gainsborough; J. Hannam, Steam Printer, Silver Street)  - 12 pages

A paper. Being an exposition of the blasphemy laws of England, with the reasons assigned for their necessary continuance (1883)

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