§ Mr. Robert Grant
said, before the House went into a consideration of the Bill thus designated, the second reading of which stood for that evening, he would take leave to present some Petitions, which he considered entitled to the attention of the House. The Solicitor General had, in the early part of the evening, referred to a petition from a person named Levy, in which he stated the Jewish people in this country to be indifferent to the result of the application now made to Parliament in their behalf, and to feel no desire for a relief from the disabilities under which they laboured. The petition he now presented was signed in a very short period of time by 592 of the Jews resident in London, comprising among them most of those who were distinguished by their wealth, their respectability, and their attachment to their religion; and they, in the strongest manner, implored the House to remove those disabilities which Mr. Levy took it on himself to declare were with them an object of indifference. He thought that this testimony was a sufficient answer to all statements on that point. He had another Petition to present from a Priest of the Jewish persuasion, living in Huntingdonshire. This gentleman placed the question on prophetical grounds; but whatever difference of opinion there might be on that question, he conceived that the petitioner's deductions would be found to be sounder than those of his opponents, inasmuch as he contended for humanity and good feeling in opposition to bigotry and exclusion. He had also a Petition in favour of the Jews to present from Mr. Robert Owen, a highly respectable individual, well known to many of the Members of that House.
§ Sir John Wrottesley
said, it was not to be supposed that an humble individual such as he was could expect to obtain a hearing in the course of a debate so important as that about to take place; he should take that opportunity therefore to 785 state the extent to which he was disposed to support the Bill. He confessed, then, that he could not see the slightest objection to grant the Jews all that they required, except the permission to sit in that House. If the House were a lull and fair representative of the people he should have no objection to the Jews offering themselves as candidates to the electors; but when it was notorious that scats in that House were to be had to any extent for money, he could not consent to allow any persons to become Members who were not also Christians.
§ Petitions laid on the Table.
§ Mr. R. Grant
, in moving the Order of the Day for the second reading of the Jews' Relief Bill, said, that it was unnecessary for him to reply to the objection of the hon. Baronet at that time. An assent to the second reading of the Bill for the Relief of the Jews did not pledge any Member to the details of the measure. It merely declared that they thought the Jews should be relieved, and left all objections to the details to be taken in that subsequent stage, when they, with more propriety, came under consideration. The hon. Member then moved that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ General Gascoyne
declared his determination to oppose the Bill if it proposed to confer on the Jews the privileges already granted to the Roman Catholics. The Constitution was a Protestant Constitution, and it was necessary for its support and protection that the institutions which made it so should be maintained. If any man had a few years ago asserted that, in the course of two Sessions, that House would repeal the Test and Corporation Acts—remove all the political disabilities of the Roman Catholics—and then entertain the question of relieving the Jews—he apprehended that his friends would have thought him a person it was necessary to keep a tight look after. For his part, he entertained no very favourable opinion of religious liberty. He thought it was little better than a mere union of sects. He could not for his life understand how any man who opposed the admission of the Catholics could vote for the relief of the Jews. The Catholics, indeed, had some claims to that which was conceded them. They possessed considerable property, an immense population, and they professed the religion once held by our ancestors. It was 786 true the palings of the Constitution had been broken down; but he entreated them not to make it altogether a waste spot. It was said, that the opinions of the Jews were not represented in Parliament. He believed they amounted to some forty or fifty thousand, and in the present state of the representation, he conceived the smallest unit to be sufficient for their share of that representation. He agreed with those who conceived the state of the representation to present an objection to the admission of the Jews to that House. These deformities of the Constitution were not to be overlooked in considering the propriety of making concessions. There was a spirit of innovation abroad in religious matters, as well as in commercial, and the friends of the one were the supporters of the other. The hon. and learned Gentleman (the member for Knaresborough) had declared, on a former occasion, in a debate on this subject, that "you ought to do unto others as you would that others should do unto you." Now, he would ask, if the Jews had the power to grant the Protestants what they now asked from them, what would they have obtained? The history of the Jews at all times showed that they were not very tolerant to those opposed to them in religious opinions. He called upon the House to unite with him in rejecting the measure, and he should move as an amend-men, "that it be read a second time that day six months."
expressed his sorrow at being obliged on this occasion to differ from many hon. Members whom he was accustomed to agree with in public and private. He felt it his bounden duty, however, to oppose the measure, and in doing so he did not think he was departing from the principles he had professed upon a former occasion, because he considered a man might hold the most liberal sentiments in general and support the claims of the Roman Catholics, and yet adopt a different course in respect to the Bill now before the House; for he believed that those claims were founded on justice, reason, and truth—he considered that the Roman Catholics had clearly shown that the privileges they demanded would not be abused; and he felt that it was but fair to concede advantages to those who had never flinched from the support of the State. Now, there were two points on which he objected to the measure in. favour 787 of the Jews. First, they were a distinct nation; secondly, they were, he would not say by reason, but through the medium of their religion, disqualified for political privileges. Jews were scattered over almost all the countries of Europe and of the East, but they were amalgamated with the people of none. It was impossible then, he contended, that a Jew could ever be considered an Englishman, or love our native land as, he thanked God, an Englishman was wont to do. Was the Jew, he asked, to be considered an Englishman because he bought a coat in Monmouth-street, or negociated a loan upon the Stock Exchange for the benefit of this country, or that country, or any other country, provided it only squared with his own interest? Or was there the slightest reason for presuming that in his speculations he would give any decided preference to the interests of England? No; the fact was, no man could be an Englishman so long as he remained a Jew. In answer to the argument founded upon the wealth of these people conferring a degree of power upon them which might be dangerous if not secured in favour of the State, he contended, that by advancing them to a higher degree of power, the evil would only be increased, since the tie which connected them to the country could not be made binding, and the opes irritamentum malorum could only be used with additional effect. Besides, the Jew, so long as he continued truly such, could never feel himself bound up in the fortunes of a country in which he only considered himself a sojourner. He always comforted himself, under all circumstances of degradation, with the lively hope, that though despised on earth, he would not be an outcast on high, and that one day he should return to the land where his fathers had dwelt, and where his children should dwell for ever. And feeling and believing as they did, he asked if it were possible that Jews could love this land, in which they were permitted to dwell, as Englishmen did, to whom it was endeared by the ties of blood and old associations, and the memory of so many proud historic deeds? Could the bosom of the Jew thrill with interest at the mention of those glorious names, "familiar in our mouths as household words?" or could he dwell with delight upon the recollection of the achievements of our forefathers? No; he looked with an 788 incessant and undivided regard to the history of another land—he was the patriot of another soil, all his hopes and wishes turned towards it; and his heroes were the inhabitants of another country, and it was upon their glories he reflected with confidence—it was to them his memory reverted with delight. This divided interest, therefore, he maintained, incapacitated the British Jew from executing the duties he would be called upon to perform as one enjoying the full privileges of an Englishman. The Constitution was chiefly supported by that love of country which pervaded every English bosom, and anything that clogged that feeling must be deleterious.
§ Lord Darlington
said, that although a friend to liberty in general, and to parliamentary reform, he should oppose this Motion, as he considered it uncalled-for. He did not see that it could be advocated as necessary, either upon grounds of justice or state policy; and therefore, although unwillingly, he must raise his voice against it, now that the measure was fully before the House; it was plain that a stress was specifically laid by the mover of this Bill, upon the necessity of admiting Jews into Parliament. He objected to such a doctrine:—first, because the admission was uncalled-for by any necessity of doing justice, or by reasons of state policy; secondly, because, as professors of the religion of Christ, the Legislature ought never to admit unbelievers to have any control or management of Christian institutions. Upon the non-necessity of the measure, and on that account alone, if there were no other, the House ought not to adopt it. He would quote, to support this view, the words of the right hon. member for Liverpool (Mr. Huskisson), when he opposed, two years before, the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. The right hon. Gentleman, to whom he was then opposed, as he believed he was now opposed to him, gave reasons for voting against the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts which appeared peculiarly applicable to the present Bill. His words, as reported, were these. "He doubted whether the motion was calculated or directed to remove, or to repress any urgent grievance. If an oppressive grievance existed, if a wrong of some kind or other were committed, would they have failed to remonstrate against the continuance of the system. The fact could not 789 be so, for during a long period of forty years the parties most interested had preserved a total silence. Looking at the system altogether, it was impossible to separate it from the results which had followed in its train; it was impossible, in regarding the system, not to perceive the connexion between it and the strength and security of the empire at large. The strength, and security, and prosperity of the empire mainly depend on the present system."* With regard to his second objection he knew that he had the opinions of men of great talents against him, who saw no weight in the objection that, as composed of professors of Christianity, the Legislature ought not to admit Jews to the possession of power which gave them the means of controlling our Christian institutions. That was not, however, a sufficient reason with him to depart from the opinion he had formed on this subject. With regard to the question of expediency, he drew this distinction—when he found that so much had been already given, and when he heard it complained of that so much was yet withheld, when he heard the greatest lovers of monarchy declare that they did not feel the necessity for us to consider the government as a Christian government, adopting the principles of Christianity in all its institutions, it was high time to pause in the career of concession. As long, therefore, as concession could be made to toleration preserving the principles of Christianity as that of the Government, he was willing to concede; but when he found that concession involved the denial of the necessity of our remaining a Christian people, he was bound to stop. That was the distinction he made. He was willing to concede every political franchise to Christians, but he would stop when concession exposed him to the risk of seeing Christianity itself denied. He was astonished at the comparison which had been drawn between the situation of the Roman Catholic and that of the Jew; it was one in which he could not acquiesce. The Roman Catholics were allied to us in all our relations in life, and in some of the proudest of our historical recollections; they were united to us by ties which inspired affection and gratitude; their faith had the same source as our own, the differences* Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, Volume XVIII. New Series, page 729.790 between us being merely ritual. But it was said, the Jews had also strong claims upon us from their connexion with the Old Testament, and the preservation by them of the earliest records of Christianity. There was nothing, however, in that assertion to outweigh the objections which he felt, on other grounds to their having political power in a Christian community. He must oppose the Bill, therefore, notwithstanding a warning he had received from a friend he met in the street the other day, who asked him, if he voted against this measure, how he could ever hope to borrow money? But he replied, that the Jew would be just as ready to lend him money as before, since it was for his own sake, and not for that of the borrower, that he afforded the accommodation; and he then quoted the passage in the Merchant of Venice, in which, Shy lock says—Fair Sir, you spat on me, on Wednesday last;You spurned me such a day; another timeYou call'd me dote;"—and so on.But Antonio replies—I am as like to call thee so again,To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too.If thou wilt lend this money, lend it notAs to thy friends (for when did friendship takeA breed of barren metal of his friend?)But lend it rather to thine enemy;Who, if he break, thou may'st with better faceExact the penalty.In conclusion, he never could give his permission that Turk, Jew, or Infidel should be made a Member of this House.
said, that unfortunately on this subject his mind was not in unison with the opinions of his constituents. Still, however, he should not abandon principle for interest; for if he did, he was well aware that he should not only inflict pain on himself, but that mode of conciliating the good will of his constituents would occasion him to lose their respect. He should therefore give his support to this measure. It was insinuated that those who favoured the measure now before the House, wished to overturn the Constitution. He yielded to no man in a wish to support and maintain the Church of England in all its purity; for he believed that in doing so he should best contribute to the welfare of the people in this world, and should most truly promote their happiness in the next. He was anxious to discover a rag, a scrap of an argument—nay, even a pretence for an argument against this measure; but, so help him Heaven, be had not been able to do 791 so. It had been said, we could not amalgamate with them. Why, we had amalgamated with the Prussian, the Russian, and the Turk; and these were neither Russians nor Turks, but fellow-subjects, with one common interest with ourselves. He knew that some persons supposed that the Jews hated the country, and were influenced by a feeling inimical to the Constitution. He denied that such was the fact. But if it were true, what he would ask, was the cause? The answer was, the Constitution itself. It treated their intentions with scorn—it cooled their friends—it heated their enemies, and then the makers and supporters of this Constitution turned round, with an accusation that they pursued their own interests against those of others. The gallant General had spoken of our institutions, as if they always had been, and always were to remain unaltered. What would have been the case if such had always been the principles on which our ancestors had acted? We should now have been a nation of slaves. The noble Lord near him had supposed that the Jews never could and never would amalgamate with their fellow-subjects; but for himself, he could see no reason for entertaining such an opinion, and he looked forward with confidence to the happy results of this measure.
explained, that his objection to the Jews was, that they were scattered over the face of the earth, united to each other, and destitute of those local attachments which constituted the patriotism of other people.
Sir E. Deering
saw no danger in admitting Jews to the right of practising in all professions, and even of enjoying seats in corporate bodies, and filling corporate offices, but he should ever be against seeing them take their seats within that House. How was it possible that the two religions of Jews and Christians could ever be in accord with each other, when the object of the professors of the one was, to trample on the divine Author of the other? It had been represented by some hon. Members, that the Jews were, and always had been, the persecuted race, and never had been the persecutors. He wished to remind such Gentlemen that for the last eighteen centuries the Jews had not been in the possession of power, and when they did possess it, he would venture to assert that no sect had ever suffered so much from another as the Christians had suffered 792 from them. He urged the House not to be led away by the love of innovation, and not to pass a measure which he feared would be pregnant with mischief to the best interests of this country.
§ Sir Robert Wilson
meant to give the measure his most cordial support. He saw no danger in it, nor could he well conceive what objections could be made to it. It was said, that the Jews of different countries would not amalgamate with the natives of the countries in which they resided. Was that statement true? Did not the noble Lord know that the Jews, who were admitted to the possession of rights, liberties, and privileges in France and the Netherlands were as distinguished and useful members of the community as any others? He would ask whether this country was to be exclusively Christian [Hear, hear, hear! from all sides of the House]? He thought the answer, which that cheer implied, was not an opinion entertained by any other individuals than those who expressed it so loudly at that moment, and whose feelings sometimes too much influenced their better judgment. A noble Lord had asked in a manner unworthy of the subject, whether a Jew was to be made an Englishman merely because he purchased old clothes in Monmouth-street? That was not the Jew's ground of claim. It was because he was a good subject that he claimed to have all the rights and privileges of one. He believed he might appeal to his right hon. friend opposite (Sir R. Peel), whether the Jew was more guilty than others of the crimes punished by our laws. He had been asked whether he would wish to see Jews, Unitarians, and Christians in that House? and he at once answered, Yes, for he saw one Member of the Unitarian profession sitting before him—than whose character none was more justly distinguished for kindness, humanity, generosity, and justice, and whose vote was always given in favour of freedom, and with a view to further the best interests and happiness of mankind. There was one point to which he wished particularly to refer. The Jews voted at elections in Southwark—he had been told that their doing so depended on the good nature of the other electors, who might, if they pleased, prevent their voting, by putting certain oaths to them; now, he must say, that such a state of things ought not to continue. In his opinion, no State had a right to proscribe any religion, provided 793 that religion was not destructive of the laws of morality, and did not outrage the customs of the country. Such was not the state of the Jewish religion, and the followers of it ought not to be proscribed. He was, perhaps, acquainted with more Jews than most other members of that House. He had seen them in all foreign countries, especially in France and the Netherlands; and he had found them, though suffering from jealousies and oppressions, generous, hospitable, and kind, and always disposed to show the greatest gratitude for benefits received. In his opinion, there was no class more deserving of favour, and of the concession of rights, than the Jews. He would remind the House, that there was one man of the Jewish persuasion who was at the head of no fewer than twenty-seven British Charities, many of which were for the promotion of Christianity. Why? because his own religion was not a proselytizing religion; and he supported the promotion of the Christian religion because he felt it was one which might do much towards ameliorating the condition of those among whom it was to be introduced.—He was proud to be able to say, that he had his constituents' authority for supporting this bill; to which, as far as his own opinion went, he gave his most cordial assent.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, he was proud of the opportunity of supporting the measure. He supported it both on principle and sympathy. The time had but recently gone by, when the Catholics were assailed by clamours which he would refute that very evening by his conduct. They had been assailed by a cry, which might be very satisfactory to some Christians, who thought that no others were right in argument or good sense but themselves. The cry then raised was Protestant—now it was Christian. To persons who now raised that cry against this measure, he would say that they avoided or evaded the true principles of Christianity, which were liberality and charity. On the former occasion, these persons said that the Catholics were the advocates of bigotry. Who were the advocates of bigotry now? Christian charity, with such people, was a good thing to talk of, but when they came to the point they refused to put it in practice. Who were before the House now in the character of claimants for rights? They were not foreigners—they were not Poles—nor Russians—nor Turks—nor French- 794 men—they were men born in England—men entitled to hold property in England—to inherit property from their ancestors in England—in short, they were Englishmen. They were debarred from some of the privileges of Englishmen because they refused to take an oath of a particular kind, and therefore they were shut out of that House. They were excluded, as it was said, because the safety of our institutions demanded their exclusion. But the House might be asked whether it would admit the unbeliever? It did admit the Mahometan. The Mahometan might, perhaps, refuse the oath "on the faith of a Christian." Yes, that was true, the Mahometan might be considered excluded; but would they laugh at him now, when he asked them, what sanction had they against the admission of the Atheist or of the Deist? Against any man who did believe in a God, or professed a particular religion, they had a protection, but they had no check upon he man who had no religious faith. It was said that the Jews had sympathies elsewhere. In the same manner it had been said, that the Catholics had sympathies elsewhere. He did not mean to disavow, that he and they carried spiritual homage to another than the King of England; but his own Sovereign received his undivided political homage. So it was with the Jew:—he might still remember the traditionary home of his father—but he was obedient to our laws. Let them not, therefore, talk of the name of Christianity, when it was used to do evil instead of good. In such a case he scorned the name, he desired the substance. Christianity was charitable; charity was the precept of Jesus Christ, their Saviour, himself. He was charitable to all men, even to his murderers; he prayed even for them, saving—"Father, forgive them; they know not what they do." In France they had a Christian Legislature, and the Jews were ranked with the other citizens of the State. Perhaps it might be denied that the French Legislature was Christian; for one mark of a Christian Legislature they had not—they had not a Boroughmongering-system—they had not one Lord with ten retainers, who, after sitting with the Côté Gauche, went over just at the critical moment, to the Côté Droite, carrying his ten retainers with him. Certainly that was not the case in France; and yet, he imagined, notwithstanding its disadvantage in this respect, it might be said to 795 have a Christian Legislature. But both there and in the Netherlands, Jews were appointed Judges, Magistrates, and Legislators, and performed their duties in the most efficient and most honourable manner; and at the moment at which he was speaking, one of the Secretaries of the Sorbonne was a converted Jew. Conversion was prevented in this country by our system of laws. Affect to scorn a man for his opinions, or to deprive him of civil power on their account, and he became wedded to them more firmly than ever. Such had been the case with the Catholics, and such would be the case with the Jews, and with all other people in similar circumstances. They had been told that the same reasons did not hold for admitting the Jews as for admitting the Catholics, It was true, for there were more reasons against the admission of the Catholics than against that of the Jews. It was because the Catholics were so numerous that they ought not to have been admitted; for if their belief were dangerous to the State, their numbers only rendered it doubly dangerous. That was not the case with the Jews, whose numbers were insufficient to create the least degree of alarm. Then it was said that the Catholics were a proselytising race; that made them more dangerous still, though, perhaps, they could gain but few proselytes, for they could offer but few pecuniary advantages; and, as an hon. Member had said the other night, if the road to Heaven were not paved with gold, nobody would have taken the trouble to discover it. He should support the Bill on the universal principle of toleration, if that were not an improper word to be used on such an occasion—perhaps he ought to have said the principle of right. That right was not to be infringed either by an Inquisition which inflicted torture, as in Spain, or by laws which, as in England, imposed privation. Man had a right to inflict neither the one nor the other; Christianity had spread itself—not by the force of temporal power—not by the efforts of Christians—nor by the labour of Christian Legislatures—but by virtue of its own truth, and its mild and benevolent influence on the human heart. It had expanded itself, not only without the assistance of temporal power, but against the most formidable opposition; and where was the Christian that would tell him that the arm of God was short, and needed the aid of any of his 796 creatures? He recognized them not, they belonged not to his communion, since their doctrines would deprive him of the consolation of his existence—the hope of eternity. Christianity bade him do as he would be done by, and he only fulfilled that duty when he gave this Bill his most hearty support.
§ Mr. Trant
said, he was disposed, on many grounds, not much to favour the Bill, and he could not be pleased to find it in the hands of the same hon. Member who presented a petition from Mr. Robert Owen, who, if not in plain terms, at least in an implied sense, signified that Christianity was an imposture. Let the present Motion be glossed over as it might, it went to repeal that which our ancestors enacted and stood by, and the Legislature was departing from the principles which gave it birth, when it abandoned that Christianity which was interwoven with the Constitution itself. He heard it stated, with some surprise, that in the present situation of this kingdom, the Jews should not be considered as Jews separate from the bulk of the people, but as Christians united with them. It was said, that if Christianity was the law of the land, the Jews who preferred the Scriptures which formed the basis of Christianity were equally professors of our religion, and members of our civil community; but he could never be convinced by such sophistry, and his conscience told him to disclaim that Jews were Christians in any sense or construction. He was persuaded that the opinion of the great mass of the people of this country was opposed to the measure, though he was told that the bankers and the merchants, and the traders, were in its favour. A few persons who were in a situation to be affected by a connection with Jews, might assert that opinion was strongly with them; but he knew the mass of the people too well to suppose them willing to desert the principles which gave birth to the Constitution and the liberty they enjoyed. In 1753 a partial Relief Bill for the Jews was brought in, but the very next Session the people called on the Parliament not to pass it. The people of England were, perhaps, not much disposed to be pleased with the measures which it passed last year; but though they might be reconciled to the admission of Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters to a community of political freedom, they were 797 not disposed to give up Christianity altogether. He did not understand the excess of liberality now exercised in favour of the Jews; and he would ask, were not the Jews of the present day the descendants of those who crucified our Saviour, and who said "let his blood be on us and our children?" He was sorry to introduce such topics, but the subject compelled him. He spoke as a Christian, who was anxious to preserve the religion of our Saviour—who took the words of the Holy Volume for his guide—who persecuted no man for his opinions—but who only sought to exclude him from interference with a religion by which he was excluded. He had no idea of admitting Jews to control the religion of Christ—men who had already trodden the cross under foot, and would do so again. The hon. and learned member for Clare might think that such opinions were confined to the ignorant and the stupid; but if he were acquainted with the people of this country, he would not say so: and he knew that they were participated in largely by the respectable and thinking portions of society. Having said thus much against the principle of the Bill, he would go a little into its details. Supposing the Jews were admitted to the House, every one knew, that as their Sabbath commenced on the Friday evening they could not effectually perform all the business of the country, and as to opening to them the highest honours of the law, he would ask, would it not be preposterous to see a Jew in the seat of justice, sitting on a case of blasphemy against the Christian religion. In fact, whichever way he viewed the subject, he found the admission of the Jews to civil power to be preposterous and dangerous; and he would never, by voting for them, desert the Established Church, the religion of his forefathers, and all that he, as an Englishman and a Christian, held dear. He would certainly support the Amendment.
Lord J. Russell
was surprised at the opposition this Bill had experienced, for neither in point of policy nor expediency did it demand the attention and opposition it had experienced. The admission of thirty or forty thousand Jews to the privileges of the Constitution could make but little difference in its chance of future existence; and when he heard hon. Members talk of danger to that Constitution, he could not but wonder in what that danger 798 consisted. He did not think that the Jews would be thus enabled to convert all the Christians to Judaism, or obtain such a degree of power as would overthrow the established religion of the country. In point of principle, however, the Bill was of great value, for it was founded upon the basis, fully recognized last year, that religious opinions ought not to interfere with political privileges. It had been once held to be the maxim of the Constitution, that none but persons attached to the Church of England should share the benefits of that Constitution—an intelligible and a plausible theory; but when once that maxim was abandoned,—when once it was agreed that persons who were not members of the Church of England might be members of the Legislature,—the particular tenets of a representative of the people became a matter of pure indifference. Roman Catholics and Unitarians were allowed to sit in Parliament, although the one considered the Church of England an apostacy, and the other a corruption. Both were admitted to political power, and by Acts of Parliament it was declared, that the Constitution was thereby exposed to no additional peril. Those, then, who would exclude Jews, argued on a false assumption, that none ought to be admitted to political power but those who were of the religion of the State. He maintained, on the contrary, that religion no longer came into question, when any man required to be admitted to the privileges of the Constitution. It had been decided, over and over again, by majorities of that House, that no man was objectionable on the ground of his religion, but only on the ground of wanting loyalty to the King, and fidelity to the State. The Jews had acquired property, bore their share of the burthens, and contributed to the exigencies of the nation. They payed the taxes and obeyed the laws, and the House ought to be glad to admit them as good and faithful subjects. Moreover, it ought never to be forgotten, that exclusion encouraged separation, and that if this Bill passed, the distance of separation would be gradually diminished, until both sides approached so nearly, that they could join hands in one common cause, for the good of their common country. He did not wonder to see the hon. Baronet, the member for Oxford adhere to the exclusion of the Jews, since it was the last hold of intolerance and persecu- 799 tion, and it could not be relinquished without a pang. Like Niobe, when she clung to the last of her unhappy offspring, the hon. Baronet might exclaim——Unam minimamque relinque,De multis minimam posco, clamavit, et unam.The majorities who had recently supported the cause of civil and religious liberty must vote in favour of this Bill; if they did not, it would prove that the late concession to the Roman Catholics was extorted by fear, and that the right hon. Gentlemen opposite had granted political privileges, not because they believed in their hearts that they were deserved, but because they thought they could no longer be refused with safety.
§ Mr. G. Bankes
was understood to declare, that he had heard no satisfactory reasons, to induce him to consent to so new and inexpedient a measure. The hon. and learned member for Clare had said, that the arguments urged against the Catholic Relief Bill, were not suitable on this occasion. He thought so too, but he felt that the reverse of the proposition was equally true, and that the arguments which were used in favour of that Bill were not adapted to this measure. It had been said, that while the law excluded the Jew, it gave admission to the Deist or the Atheist; but he denied that such was the fact. Certainly an Atheist, who had the hardihood to despise all oaths, might take those prescribed by the House, and thus gain admission to the Table; but, in his opinion, there was a moral power in the House which would strip him of all influence, and reduce him to utter insignificance. It had been asked whether, after the Jews had acquired property and knowledge, it was fit to withhold from them political privileges? Mr. Burke and others had said that "the supreme is the legislative power," and for that supreme power they were not qualified as long as they continued enemies to Christianity. He had no idea of admitting Jews, who differed in principles from the very foundation of the law of the land, to a control over the legislative powers. In other states, in which the Jews were admitted to civil and political rights, the legislative power, which they were allowed to share, was not so extensive and comprehensive as it was in England. It was, in fact, rather administrative than legislative power they were allowed to share. When he considered that in the House of Commons, 800 every thing for the protection or the regulation of the Church originated, he could not think of admitting those to legislate who were opposed to Christianity itself. The hon. Gentleman concluded by saying he would give a decided negative to the Motion.
§ Mr. Huskisson
said, that knowing the ability and power of argument which distinguished the hon. Gentleman who brought forward the Motion, and believing that his attempt would be crowned with success, he had come down with the intention of supporting him only by a silent vote; but he was tempted to break through that resolution by the speech of his gallant friend, the member for Liverpool, and by that of the noble Lord who had referred to him and to the petition which he had presented from Liverpool on this subject. His gallant and hon. friend had admitted that the petition was numerously and respectably signed; but he added, that several of the signatures were obtained under the influence of the Jews, and the noble Lord said, with regard to the petition of the bankers and merchants, that the Jews could dispose of the feelings of the trading classes of society as they pleased. In his opinion, these statements were much overcharged, and he could assure the House, that in Liverpool the Jews were retail dealers, and constituted a very small and uninfluential class. The sentiments in the petition were the genuine opinions of those who signed it, and they should be taken as the sentiments of the Christians of Liverpool on the subject—His hon. and gallant colleague said, he was an enemy to all innovation, and that our ancestors would never consent to innovation. His hon. friend had, indeed, confessed that the Roman Catholic religion was entitled to some favour, because it was an ancient religion; but he hoped his hon. friend would not consider the Jews less entitled than the Catholics to favour on the score of antiquity. And when he said that our ancestors were enemies to innovation, he seemed to have forgotten that they introduced a Reformation—that they produced a Revolution—and that they expelled a King because they suspected him of a design to destroy the then new religion of the country. The noble Lord had taunted him with a speech he had made some time since on the subject of the admission of the Protestant Dissenters to the State; but the noble Lord misunder- 801 stood the motive of his conduct at that period. It was not from a desire to exclude the Dissenters that he spoke, but from a dread that partial concession would injure the great and general measure of religious liberty, which was then in hand, and had been since accomplished. It was to be observed, however, that the arguments which were urged in favour of the Catholic and the Dissenters' relief did not here apply, for the present Bill was not, like them,—one of paramount importance, or of absolute necessity. He said so, abstractedly from the question of the injustice of withholding from others, rights to which they were, as common subjects of the State, entitled. And while he admitted, that although the necessity was not urgent in one sense, he maintained that the repeal should take place in another, as the exclusion of the Jews was the only exception remaining to the general toleration that was now the principle of the law. When this measure had passed, the Jews would be placed on the same footing in this country as in France and the Netherlands. The hon. member for Wexford, who had spoken so well that he hoped to hear him often speak, admitted the propriety of allowing the Jews access to all other stations, civil and military, but he would exclude them from seats in Parliament. Now, that was a sort of wisdom he did not understand. The hon. Member would give them the power of the sword, and the power of instructing youth, and he would make them, by his exclusion, the enemy of that legislature which it was necessary for the safety of the State that youth should be taught to reverence, and soldiers implicitly to obey. Something had also been said as to the manner in which his hon. friend had framed his measure. And it was true that it purported to be a relief to the Jews from all disabilities; it was to put them on the same footing as the Protestant Dissenters and the Roman Catholics. But did it follow, that were the House to go into committee it must adopt all that had been proposed by his hon. friend. He supported his hon. friend's views to their full extent in giving all the relief that he contemplated. If, however, the House went into a committee, and a proviso were introduced not to allow Jews the privilege of admission into Parliament, however undesirable and uncalled-for that proviso might be, yet still he was not one of those who would think that the 802 Bill ought not to be persevered in on account of that objection. Hon. Gentlemen might ask, why should he agree to this? But he would ask them, did they recollect the year 1812, when a bill was brought in to grant the Roman Catholics all that they had since obtained? That bill was read a first and second time. It went to a committee, and an amendment was then proposed to exclude them from sitting in Parliament, and on that amendment having been carried, the bill was, as he thought, very unwisely withdrawn. The better course would have been, for the friends of the measure to have taken what they could have got. If a proviso to the same effect were to be introduced now, he would deprecate and think it unwise; but, considering this Bill as a measure of justice and relief to all the parties that were suffering from having their rights withheld, he would still proceed to pass it. He therefore trusted, that the Bill would be allowed to be read a second time; although he would, in the committee, give his strenuous support to the Bill as it stood, yet he would not abandon it even were such a limitation introduced. It was most certain, as he had observed, that this Bill had attracted considerable notice; and they had been told that members would rue giving it their support when they returned to their constituents;—but he said he would support this, as he did the Roman Catholic Question, without reference to any other consideration than that which guided his decision on that Question. He would also tell his hon. and gallant colleague that he was not afraid of the disapprobation of his constituents on account of the vote he had given upon the Catholic Question, nor of the course he meant to pursue on the present Bill. Again, then, he would express a hope that the Bill might pass, and form the consummation of that course of liberality which, he trusted, would immortalize the present Parliament.
§ Sir Robert Peel
spoke as follows. I shall endeavour, Sir, to condense into the shortest possible compass what I have to say on the present occasion. As I had not the advantage of being here on the former discussion, I hope the House will bear with me should I trouble them with any thing that they might have heard before. I must set out by saying, that I cannot support this Bill. I do not admit the principle of the Bill, nor can I help objecting to the mode in which it is sought 803 to establish that principle. The Bill professes to limit itself to giving relief from all civil disabilities to all the Jewish subjects of his Majesty; but that is not the sole object to which the Bill is limited. I will not say that it is a bill for unchristianising the Legislature, but I will say that one of the unavoidable consequences of this measure will be, that every one of the forms and ceremonies which give us assurance of Christianity must be abolished. I take it that it follows as a legitimate consequence of this measure—that every man, to whatever sect or persuasion he may belong, will be entitled to prescribe the form of affirmation by which he may give assurance to the State of his fidelity. The Session before the last we were called on to give our support to a measure for the relief of the Protestant Dissenters; and last Session we passed a bill for the relief of his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects; therefore it is said that we are bound, in consistency, to follow up those measures by adopting the present measure. I hear this with regret, because I hear it for the first time. In the discussions respecting either the Catholics or the Protestant Dissenters, nothing of the sort was ever intimated; it was never stated to us that because we admitted our fellow Christians to a participation of power, that therefore, as an unavoidable and necessary consequence, we were bound to admit to all the privileges of the Constitution men who reject Christianity altogether. Some most forcible appeals were made to us on the ground of the common Christianity of the parties applying for relief. In the speeches of Burke, and in his recorded sentiments, as contained in his writings, we learn that he rested his strongest arguments in favour of concession to the Roman Catholics, upon the Christianity of that body; so of Mr. Grattan, of Mr. Canning, and of all the great and eminent advocates of that cause; even my right hon. friend on my left, in pressing their claims upon the attention of the House last Session, observed, that "when serving with Protestants in the Army, they entered together the same breach, they fought together on the same field, reposed together in the same grave, and rested their hopes of future happiness upon the merits of a common Redeemer"—those appeals were forcibly made, and successfully made, for it was not to be denied that Protestants and Catholics admitted the same great 804 doctrines of Christianity. But if this Bill pass, though it may apparently be limited to the Jews, and though, confining our view solely to this Bill, it does not go beyond that class of men; yet we shall, if this be agreed to, have to pass other bills most objectionable in my views of the Constitution. It is perfectly obvious that if we pass this Bill, it follows as a necessary consequence, that every form of oath which requires a profession of the Christian faith must be abandoned. Now this is a most important alteration in the usages of this country. Before Catholics and Protestant Dissenters were excluded, there was still a necessity for all public functionaries to profess Christianity; from the earliest period a belief in Christianity was required as necessary to official appointments or to seats in Parliament. No person who rejected Christianity could obtain office; therefore, from the first, our Constitution was, to say the least of it, Christian. Here, then, we have an evident and palpable departure from the principles of the Constitution, as admitted and recognised in the earliest periods; and where is the urgency of this vast change? What is it that requires this departure from the first principles of our Constitution? What is the case made out respecting the Jews? It would seem—I take my information from a book which, I understand, is written by a very respectable Jew, and is considered a work of authority—that there are resident in the United Kingdom about 27,000 Jews, natural-born subjects of his Majesty, of whom 20,000 are resident in London, 7,000 Jews in the other parts of the kingdom; and for these 27,000 or 30,000 individuals I am invited to depart from the principle which has been acted on from the earliest period of the Constitution. I am told the Jew is degraded by his exclusion—he is not excluded in the same manner that the Catholic and the Dissenter were—he is not excluded by anything in the nature of a taunt upon his form or profession of faith. The Jew is excluded merely because the Legislature requires, as the great principle of civil government, that all persons admitted to office should acknowledge the fundamental truths of the Christian religion. The Jew is not a degraded subject of the State, he is rather regarded in the light of an alien—he is excluded because he will not amalgamate with us in any of his usages or habits—he is regarded as a foreigner. In the history of 805 the Jews, their domestic usages, their institutions respecting marriage, and in a variety of other points, we find enough to account for the prejudice which exists against them. We find them in the possession of political privileges in France, in the Netherlands, and in the United States of America—in the last during a period of forty years, and in the two former during the last fifteen years, and only two Jews have in that time been admitted to political offices [hear!]. I think I understand that cheer. I understand it to mean, that since so few have been admitted, there is no danger in admitting the English Jews to political power. Now the inference I draw from it is, that if the Jews expect to derive so little advantage from the removal of disabilities, the practical benefit to them must be very small; and for such a trifle are we to depart from what has formed for centuries one of the fundamental principles of the British Constitution? Docs the House suppose that the people of England are indifferent because no petitions have been laid upon the Table of this House? On the contrary, I will venture to affirm, that the sense of the people of England is opposed to concessions of this nature, and I will venture to predict that the result will prove that affirmation to be well founded. If the House is prepared to lay it down as a principle that Deists, Atheists, and other infidels may hold the highest offices of the State, and possess seats in the Legislature, then you must be prepared to revolt the feelings of the country. For fifteen years, in France and the Netherlands, have they been entitled to all privileges, and during forty years have they possessed those advantages in the United States; yet during the whole of those periods not one of them has obtained a seat in the Legislatures of those countries, only one has been appointed to a high situation at Amsterdam, and one has been made Mayor of New York; and that convinces me that the exclusion of Jews does not arise from their political incapacities, but from their own peculiar institutions and usages. So much for the principle of the measure. The mode in which it is proposed to carry it into effect I look upon as equally objectionable. Its advocates propose to abolish all disabilities on account of religious opinions. The hon. member for Clare would have every man allowed to worship God as he might think proper; but if the present Bill be passed, it will not be neces- 806 sary for a man to worship God at all. The Deist and the avowed Infidel are admitted into Parliament under this Bill. From its provisions this principle necessarily flows, that political power is, and ought to be, unconnected with religious belief—that, I take it, is a legitimate consequence of its enactment. Now, if that be intended, why not avow it at once and forever? Does any man in this House suppose that this is the last bill which will be passed upon this matter of religious freedom, as it is called? There are at the present moment three great classes of his Majesty's subjects eligible to high political office and to scats in Parliament; but they are all required to be Christians; these are the Protestant Dissenters, the Roman Catholics, and the members of the Church of England—and now we are called on to admit the Jews: but are there no Christians excluded? What becomes of the Quakers? Why is not a bill brought in for their admission also? [hear!] I again hail those cheers—if the Jew be admitted, there is not a doubt that the Quaker is equally well entitled. Why not one as well as the other? Are you afraid of the consequences? [No, no, no.] Observe the admission—if this Bill be allowed to pass, other bills, à fortiori, must pass. Is it wise then to disturb yearly the religious feelings of the people of this country by separate bills for the relief of the several classes of his Majesty's subjects from the disabilities which from the earliest period the Constitution imposed upon them. If the measure be right, establish it fully and for all, and let us not have a bill one year for one set of men, and another year for another. I know of no tenet of Quakerism which ought to exclude Quakers from the enjoyment of political power if the Jews are to be admitted. It is said that the relief of the Catholics placed the Jews in a worse situation than before—that the more the space was narrowed the greater was the suffering—to speak mathematically, the intensity of the suffering varied inversely with the space operated on. But, I repeat, that if the Jews are entitled to this relief, so are the Quakers—so are the Separatists. On these grounds, then, Sir, I am not prepared to admit the principle, and I object to the mode of giving effect to the Bill; and I confess I do so with much regret. There is nothing in the conduct of the Jews themselves which ought to create the slightest prejudice against them. The upper 807 classes of that people are eminent for charity and sympathy with the sufferings of their fellow men, and the lower classes are not marked by any vices beyond what is common amongst persons in that rank of life. I, therefore, cannot but feel the necessity of opposition as most painful; but there has been no case of practical oppression shewn, to call on us to give them relief. So far as landed estates are concerned, I see no objection to the Jews being empowered to hold them; my own opinion is, that they can do so already; but in that I, of course, submit to higher authority than my own; but my own opinion is, that it requires no new law to enable them to hold estates in land. At an early period, eleven learned Judges gave it as their opinion, that Jews, being native born, are capable of holding land. But if there be doubts on the subject, I shall not object to a bill to grant them relief. The late Lord Ellenborough contented himself with such a title as a Jew could make to land; he purchased an estate of Mr. Goldschmidt, and after that I think we need have little doubt that Jews may hold land and can make good titles. With respect to the present Bill, I think it cannot be so amended as to meet my views, and therefore I say, unhesitatingly, that I must oppose it: foreseeing its consequences, I cannot give it my support.
said, that he differed altogether from the right hon. Gentleman, although he admitted that, taking the views he did, they were argued with fairness. He had not appealed to violence or to passion—he had not, like one Member, reminded us that these people were the descendants of those who had crucified our Saviour—nor, like another, that they practised usurious dealing—nor like another, the gallant General, who had certainly given a novel and extraordinary gloss on Christianity—namely, that of altering the command "Do ye unto others as ye would they should do unto you," into this, "Do ye unto others as they would do unto you." This was an innovation, in the nineteenth century of the Christian era, which would certainly lead to a most wonderful alteration in the whole system of the Christian dispensation. He begged pardon; he did not ascribe these words to his hon. friend, he only took the liberty of putting the gallant General's argument in his own words. In the course of the debate a number of 808 facts had been referred to, and the commentators here had been, like most other commentators, full of a desire to show their own lore. One hon. Gentleman said, he referred to history, and asked, "Do you recollect how the Jews always used power when they had it," and having frightened the House by his historical recollections, he demanded the continued exclusion of the Jews on the new principles of Christianity of the gallant General. He must confess with regret, that he had never known the House less distinguished for calmness of deliberation—for the good sense of its views, or for the real and genuine principles of Christian charity, than he had observed this night, and on the present occasion, in the loud and general—he would not say clamorous—reception of some of the worst appeals ever made to the passions. These were received, one after the other, with zeal, and he might say, cordiality, from which he was inclined to hope that their import could not be understood. The right hon. Secretary did not, it was true, appeal to such passions, nor to such unfair arguments as those who were in opposition to toleration on Christian principles had that night used. But though approving of the right hon. Gentleman's mode of arguing, he did not approve of his argument. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that this Bill was one intended for the first time to take away Christianity as a necessary qualification for political power, and that ever since Parliament had existence there were tests to prove the Christianity of its Members, and effect the exclusion of all who were not Christians. But was that the fact? In his view neither history nor law showed that their deliberations were to be confined to Christian Members, or that the Legislature ever contemplated purging the House of either Jew, Turk, or Heathen. There was no such principle laid down in the law: no one who had any acquaintance with history—no one who had ever read the first Act of Parliament on the subject, could fail at once to see, that the reason of the test then was because it was the only means of having the explicit affirmation of a sincere belief in certain dogmas. He was unwilling to revert to two great legislative measures which had lately received the sanction of that House. He abstained from any argument which could be deduced from thence, with his eyes open, because 809 it would but give rise to invidious retrospection. He did not wish to put this measure upon the footing of State necessity, nor of sound policy; he put it on the other, but not lower ground; for he put it as a case of justice, to an assembly of just men. When he said he put it on the footing of justice, and justice alone—when he said the Jews were small in number though highly respected by all who had any dealings with them—when he added, that they came not before that House, urgent from their influence, imperative or overawing from conscious power—that they came unaccompanied with the incitements of faction—the intemperance of demagogues—the threatening of associations;—but armed alone in the propriety and justice of their cause, and that they appealed to their rectitude as men, and to the kindly charitableness of Christianity, when he said this, did he place their cause upon a plea that would not find a response in the heart of every honest, honourable, and religious man in that House? And after all, what was the good derived from the words "on the true faith of a Christian," as a protection against those who had no faith of any kind. They might exclude an honest man from the House, a dishonest man they would not reject. He begged the House to consider seriously that men were not excluded from that House because they might be Quakers or Jews, heathens, infidels, or blasphemers, but because they happened to be devoid of that quintessence of Heathenrie—hypocrisy! Let the Jew but come here and pledge himself to the contents of that oath by which he is excluded, and he will be at once received with open arms by that chorus of Christians whom he had heard that night cheer, and roar, and howl forth their applause of the most antichristian doctrines and feelings that had ever been uttered in a civilised country. But his hon. and learned friend, the Cursitor Baron (Mr. G. Bankes), would say, "Oh, but a man under such circumstances, could have no weight." Just so. But let them look a little to example, and sec if that defence was borne out. Did the Gentlemen on the other side ever hear of the celebrated Mr. Gibbon's having sat in that House—that, at a time when he was notoriously an opponent of Christianity, he came up to that Table and took the entire array of 810 oaths—of Abjuration and against Tran-substantiation, &c. with all the gravity of a Christian? And yet he held, at that very time, the office of a Lord of Trade, and, he would warrant, received its salary just as punctual as the staunchest Churchman. He did not, to be sure, exercise much authority in the House—[hear, hear from Mr. Bankes]. He knew his hon. friend would say so—[laughter]. Gibbon's paganism was a little too evident, and a consciousness of its having been so, hindered him from exercising that influence which his talents and learning would have entitled him to. He never spoke—he had a weight, a dead weight, upon him! He was afraid he should hear Spoke! Spoke! Infidel! Infidel! Atheist! and other equally inharmonious sounds breaking on him from every side of the House. But there was a still stronger case. Did hon. Gentlemen on the other side, did his hon. friend, the Cursitor Baron, ever hear of Henry St. John Lord Viscount Bolingbroke? He, too, was a noted infidel!—a scoffer at religion, he had attacked Christianity by his writings and in his conversation, but in that House he had taken the prescribed oaths, and had abjured, with all the zeal of true faith, the requisite dogmas. Yet he was one of the most powerful orators and influential Ministers that had ever sat in that House. The severest judges, the most acute critics, and among others, a zealous Churchman of that day gave an account of his eloquence which made it appear almost superhuman. The House would recollect an anecdote on this head of Mr. Pitt, who, being in company with certain friends, one day, each of whom was expressing a particular wish; one said, he should like to see the lost books of Livy; another, a specimen of a certain ancient comedy. Mr. Pitt said, that what he should wish to see was a speech of Lord Bolingbroke; such was his opinion of that noble infidel's extraordinary eloquence. No man ever exerted a greater power over Parliament, and he was not thought unworthy to be Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, an office which he filled with as much effect even as his successor, Lord Aberdeen; producing state papers worthy of his spoken eloquence, and quite as much admired in the Cabinets of Europe as the effusions of that noble orator, though he was not so good a Christian by ten thousand degrees. But as to weight in Council, 811 and influence in Foreign Courts, he should only be laughing at Lord Aberdeen, if, in sober truth, he did not declare there could be no possible comparison established between them. Well, then, what became of his learned friend's argument, that oaths kept infidels out of the House; or if they were so vile as to take the oaths and come there, destroyed all their influence? But then, said the right hon. Gentleman, if you admit the Jews you must go further. He could scarcely suppose such an argument could be maintained between himself and the right hon. Gentleman, if they had to discuss the question, not in opposition and debate, but across a friendly table. To be sure, he could suppose one of the party to throw up his hands and exclaim, "If you do this, Lord bless you! the very next thing you must do will be—what? to admit the Quakers?" Let them—let the Quakers be admitted, and God speed them! he should exclaim. And where, he would ask, was a sect more amiable, more honest—more deserving the sympathy of honourable men? No man knew this better than the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who had had much intercourse with them. He begged the House to recollect, when judging the Quaker and the Jew, those important words, "Swear not at all! neither by Heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King." How, after that, men could think well of the habit of taking oaths, he (Mr. Brougham) could not comprehend. He begged to remind hon. Gentlemen of this text, in order that they might feel that the doubts of others on this subject were not without solid foundation. But while we excluded the Jews so pertinaciously from this House, how did they stand in other respects? A Jew could hold an advowson, and present to it a minister. What became, in that case of his hostility to Christianity? A vestry could be composed of Jews, and he had the authority of Lord Eldon for saying, could elect the Clergyman who should expound the doctrines of Christianity. A Jew could be a Juryman—Jews were constantly seen to perform that important office in our Courts, and with as much fidelity and impartiality as Christians, and how it could be more injurious for them to be one out of 600 in making laws than one out of twelve in administering them was what his understanding 812 could not appreciate. They were allowed to perform amongst us all the duties of citizens, they would dispose of parish funds, and of the lives of their countrymen; they could appoint ministers of the Church and hold large landed estates, performing all the duties of landlords, and they were still to be excluded from any influence in making those laws they were called on to administer. Why there should be such objection in this country to acknowledge all the rights of the Jews, when they were fully admitted to all privileges in the British Colonies, as well as in foreign States, was also beyond his understanding. He was not now alluding to the Jamaica Jew Bill (though he could perceive that the Chancellor of the Exchequer apprehended that he was), for he well knew that that had not yet received the Royal assent, but he was referring to an Act passed in the good old orthodox times—to an Act passed in the 13th of George 2nd, which enacted, that every person who had resided seven years in a British colony should become ipso facto naturalized, and entitled to all colonial privileges; and it was particularly enacted by the Statute, that such words "as on the true faith of a Christian" should be omitted if it were required by the religious persuasion of a person to obtain his rights. The hon. Baronet who had addressed the House that night, for the first time, and whom the House had heard with much pleasure, had put the question on the ground that it was a religious question; but this he distinctly denied. It was one of civil policy only; and on this head he would refer them to Dr. Paley, the firm and able friend of Christianity; and who, to the disgrace of the leading men of the day, was allowed to descend unmitred to the grave. That author denied that this was a religious question, for there was no such thing as a political connexion between the Church and the State; and said that, whether the former officiated as the handmaid or the ally of the State, the union was equally inconsistent with the principles of religion and sound policy, and could do nothing but spoil the one and corrupt the other. And the same authority, speaking on the subject of tests, observed, that they ought only to be applied for the purpose of detecting civil delinquency. They excluded Popery—not as Popery, but for its connection with despotism and the party of the Jacobites; and if ever 813 the Catholics should get rid of this connection, it would be an injustice to them to keep them out of civil offices one day longer. It was stated, that the Jews were foreigners—were connected with another law—were patriots of another soil, and therefore, they ought to be excluded; but the noble Lord who made this objection must be aware, that the Jews who asked for relief, were born within the King's allegiance, and were the King's subjects. But were those who made this objection aware—was the House aware, that the son of a foreigner, born in this country, though he might be the son of a Moscovite, or the son of one of Buonaparte's Generals, at the period of his highest power—was the House aware that the son of a foreigner, born in this country, might fill the highest offices of the Government—might be a Secretary of State, the Lord Chancellor, or the Archbishop of Canterbury, and might carry his allegiance and the homage of his feelings to the Throne of his parent's foreign Sovereign? But because all nations conspired to reject the Jews, would they, at the end of seventeen centuries' persecution of this race, continue to exclude them, and taunt them, as the reason for the exclusion, with having no country and no home, and being no nation? One Gentleman had said, that the Apostate Julian had interfered with the decrees of Divine Providence, and had tried to stop their dispersion, and build up their temple again; and he had called upon the House not to imitate the example of Julian, and obstruct the decrees of Divine Providence. But he did not ask them to obstruct the decrees of Divine Providence. He was not afraid of their doing so—that decree must be fulfilled—must be made good, which promised that the Jews should be scattered over the earth; but that was a demand on all the nations among whom they lived to do them justice. He called on the House to remember the Divine law, given by Him for the persecution of whom it was decreed, that they should be dispersed over all the earth, and remembering them, to do unto others as they would be done unto, to shew justice, and love mercy, and in following these precepts, to believe that they were promoting, not obstructing the decrees of Divine Providence. [Cheers and calls for "Question."] After some time, the hon. Member said, if those Gentlemen who were so ready to call for the question would take an opportunity of 814 expressing their sentiments at greater length, if they would signify them by articulate sounds, and not decide all questions by a division, and by the weight of their numbers—the House, he was sure, would hear them with greater pleasure than it heard that cry which was to settle all things without any knowledge, without any reason, without any acquaintance with the subject, with nothing to recommend their decision but the majority of votes. He would then come to the point on which they were all agreed, for he was as much fatigued with addressing them as they were with hearing him; and, to come to that point, then, on which they were all agreed: which was, that the debate should be ended—he would conclude by stating, simply and solemnly, that in voting for the second reading of the Bill, he did not pledge himself to give any relief beyond what was contained in it—and it only professed to extend relief to his Majesty's Jewish subjects. He had stated frankly his opinion of the extent to which he was ready to go. Some hon. Members differed from him as to the extent, but they were all agreed in one thing. The hon. member for Newark, who had led the opposition against the Bill, though he had not spoken that evening; and certainly the right hon. Secretary—all the opponents of the Bill, agreed that they would give relief to the Jews, short of admitting them to sit in Parliament and possess the Elective Franchise; and if they were all agreed on the general principle, would it not be unreasonable and unjust to reject the whole nine-tenths for the sake of the one-tenth they did not approve of? He would conclude by declaring, that in voting for the second reading, he pledged himself to nothing more than that the Bill should go to a committee.
§ Mr. Perceval
rose to address the House amidst loud calls of "Question;" but, after an ineffectual attempt to make himself heard, he resumed his seat.—We understood the hon. Member to be desirous of stating his reasons for opposing the measure.
§ The House divided,—For the Second Reading 165; Against it, 228—Majority against the Bill 63.