HC Deb 03 April 1848 vol 97 cc1213-46

Order of the Day for the House to resolve itself into Committee on the Jewish Disabilities Bill, read.


rose for the purpose of moving the Amendment of which he had given notice— That it is the opinion of this House, that so long at least as the House of Commons exercises the authority which it at present does exercise over the Established Church, no Jew ought to possess the franchise, much less be allowed to sit in this House. He objected to the admission of Jews to that House on nearly the same grounds on which the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) advocated the present measure—viz., that the House of Commons legislated in matters ecclesiastical; and he would confess that if the Church were permitted to legislate for herself in such matters, and the legislative jurisdiction of the House over the Church were done away with, many of his conscientious objections to this measure would be removed. This measure would place a Jew—a conscientious Jew—in such a position as must be annoying to a conscientious Jew. In a Christian country, none but a Christian should be placed in offices of trust and power. Could any Christian conscientiously accept an office in India, in performing the duties of which he would be called upon to bow down to idols? Could any conscientious Protestant accept an office which would compel him to bow down in adoration before the Virgin Mary? Why, then, should they wish to subject the Jew to the necessity of holding office in a Christian country, which, if a conscientious Jew, it must be against his feelings to hold? It had been recently said that the revenues of the Archbishop of Canterbury were subject to the direction and decision of the House of Commons. Would they appoint a Jew as chairman of the Committee to which the regulation of the revenues of the see of Canterbury should be referred? If they excluded him from such Committee, they would be, in a great measure, acceding to the terms of his Motion; and the same feeling which excluded the Jew from the Committee should exclude him from a Christian Legislature. If at the last election for the city of London the Jews had abstained from voting until the last hour, and had then waited on the noble Lord and said, "We will vote against you unless you promise to abstain from bringing forward any measure for making four new bishoprics," would the noble Lord have thought that a proper exercise of the franchise? It was his opinion that the professed enemies of the Church, among whom he reckoned more particularly the Jews, ought not to be permitted to exercise civil powers. He had been greatly confirmed in his opinion by the late decision of the Judges in the case of the Bishop of Hereford, by which it appeared that the appointment of bishops was vested, without appeal, in the Prime Minister; and he implored the noble Lord to grant some tribunal of appeal against the appointment of persons as bishops whom the Church might think unfit for the office. He protested against the right of admission claimed for all Her Majesty's subjects to legislate in civil matters. He would exclude from the Legislature all who did not profess Christianity. It was the duty of Government to put down usury, and to prevent gambling in the public securities; and yet by this Bill they proposed to open the House to those persons who were notorious for the commission of both those offences. As it was not forbidden by the rules of the House to cite from the sacred volume, he should remind them of the words of that Apostle who, above all others, inculcated the doctrine of peace and charity among men:— He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. In the face of such a command as this, would they dare to offer such a direct insult to their God, as, when they offered up their prayers for His blessing on their councils, invite the sons of those who were the revilers of Christ to join in them, and thus draw down the vengeance of Almighty God upon this Christian country?


said, as the discussion to which the Amendment of the hon. Member invited them, would be a renewal of the debate on the second reading of the Bill, he hoped the House would consent to go into Committee now.


said, he had taken no part in the previous discussion on the Bill, and therefore he should briefly express his reasons for opposing it. In 1834, a Bill, having a similar object, was introduced by Sir Robert Grant, and on that occasion he, notwithstanding his great respect for Sir Robert Grant, moved that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. Nothing which he had since heard on the subject had induced him to change the opinions he then entertained. In his opinion, the tendency of the Bill before the House was to unchristianise the Legislature of the country, and, so far as that House was concerned, to sweep, away everything like a national recognition of our allegiance to God as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bill appeared to him (Mr. Bruce) to be so mischievous, so pregnant with evil and danger, that he should offer to it every opposition in his power. It was calculated to remove no practical grievance, and was, therefore, utterly useless. In fact, he considered it was not only ridiculous, but indecent and monstrous to propose it. One of the functions of the House was the promotion of true religion, for that was the best way to promote the peace and prosperity of society. It had been well observed by Wordsworth, that it was the duty of the State to open new channels which the flood of sacred truth might enter into, and from which it might overflow the realm as the waters of the Nile did the Egyptian plains. In theory and practice they professed to legislate for the Church; but how could they continue to do so if they admitted into the Legislature men who, believing Christianity to be an imposture, would do all in their power to abolish it by procuring a separation of the Church from the State? If they made legislators of Jews, must they submit questions relating to the Church to the Sanhedrim? By the constitution of this country the Sovereign was the head of the Church. The Sovereign of this country exercised no small influence in nominating, or at least recommending parties to fill the highest offices of the Church; the Sovereign recommended the appointment of those who were to watch over the interests of the Church, to maintain the soundness of its doctrines and its faith. Now, it might so happen that, acting under rash and ill-considered advice, given, perhaps, from mistaken views, the Crown might recommend a person to a high office in the Church who did not possess the confidence of a large portion of the Church. He was quite aware that he supposed a case of almost impossible occurrence—he could scarcely conceive that the Sovereign would act upon a wrong recommendation. But it might occur. In such a case he conceived that it would be the duty of that House humbly to remonstrate to the Crown against such an abuse of the prerogative, and the infliction of a great calamity to the Church. But could they, on such an occasion, expect that the Jewish Members of that House would assist them in such a remonstrance? Would the Jewish Members aid them in inducing the Crown at least to be more cautious for the future in the exercise of its prerogative with regard to the Church? He rather feared that the Members of the Jewish persuasion would act in such a manner as to give encouragement to any Minister who might, intentionally, or unintentionally, be concerned in any act dangerous to the safety of the Church; they would do all in their power to pull down what they might consider a great imposture. A great deal had been said about the hardship of excluding the Jews from seats in that House; for his own part he must say, that to him it appeared quite impossible fairly to maintain such an argument. It had been argued, that because they had been already appointed to the offices of aldermen, sheriffs, and he knew not what more, the House should go still further, and admit them to seats in the Legislature. He must say, that that species of argument afforded but little encouragement to that House for the concessions which had already been given to the Jews to proceed in that direction. But he denied that the office of sheriff or alderman bore any analogy to a Membership of the Legislature. When the Jews were appointed to the office of sheriff or alderman, they were called upon to perform merely a ministerial duty; but it was quite a different thing to admit them to a participation in the sovereign power of the country, for that sovereign power resided to a very great extent in the Commons' House of Parliament. He was quite aware that that power was tempered by the veto of the two other branches of the State; but they need not travel far back for instances to show that any opinion expressed by a considerable majority of that House was sure to become the law of the land. The cases of the Roman Catholic Relief and the Reform Bills proved his assertion. He knew that there were many hon. Gentlemen below the gangway on the opposite side of the House, who contended that religion ought to be separated from the State. The hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire boldly advocated that opinion the other night; but he wished to remind the House that the principle of the union of religion with the State was admitted by the very Bill which was now being discussed. Hon. Gentlemen opposite contended, that in religious matters man should he left entirely to his Creator. He (Mr. Bruce) differed with them. It appeared to him that it was the duty of the Senate to pay attention to the religions education of the people. To a recognition of that principle on the part of our forefathers, it was that we were indebted for the eminent position which we held amongst the nations of the earth. Our forefathers thought, and so did he, that it was the duty of the State no less than of the individual, that right religious principles should be inculcated throughout the land. After the reception of the hon. Gentleman's quotation from Scripture, he (Mr. Bruce) should not be disposed to make any other quotation from it in that House. He would content himself by saying, that the Bible commanded the governors of the people to "turn to the Lord their God," and preserve his worship amongst the people. How then could the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who, he believed, entertained the most profound reverence for the sacred Scriptures, justify the step which he had taken in reference to this question? He need not remind them how quickly national punishment followed national sin. Two years had not elapsed since nearly the whole of this nation gave itself to the worship of Mammon, and ran mad in the idolatry of covetousness. Two-thirds at least of the moneyed men of this country had nearly been ruined by their over-speculation and reckless free-trade principles. And let them look at the state of our West Indian colonies at this moment. Had they not ruined them by their attempt to make a gain of an eighth or tenth of a farthing in a pound of sugar, in violation of the principles of humanity and justice?—and the result had been wide-spread and universal calamity in this country. He need not then, as he had before said, go to France for an instance of the speed with which national punishment followed national irreligion. He did not oppose this measure from any hostile feeling which he entertained with regard to the Jews; far from it; he entertained for them the highest respect. They were the kinsmen of Him whose title was the Son of God; indeed, he looked upon them as the real aristocracy of the world. The Jews were still the peculiar people of God, and he (Mr. Bruce), therefore, entertained for them sentiments of veneration. They stood forth as one of the greatest miracles of God upon earth; and the accomplishment of their restoration to power would, he believed, be as miraculous as their preservation. It had been said that every British-born subject was entitled to all the benefits of the British constitution, and that, therefore, the English Jews were entitled to equal rights with the rest of Her Majesty's subjects. But he utterly denied the truth of that argument; the Jews considered themselves as strangers; they did not consider themselves bound in allegiance to the Sovereign of this country in the same manner as were the other subjects of this country. The hon. Gentleman read a passage from his speech on the 21st May 1834, in which he predicted the late revolution in France as a just judgment upon her for the manner in which her senators had scoffed at religion. * The hon. Gentleman proceeded to warn the House not to involve itself in similar calamities by passing this monstrous Bill. He confessed that he could not go to the extent of the hon. Gentleman's Amendment, viz., of de- *Hansard, Vol. xxiii (Third Series), p. 1162. priving the Jews of the franchise; but he confessed that he would use all the means within his power to defeat this attempt to admit the Jews into the Legislature.


I fully expected, Mr. Speaker, that some such Motion as that which has just been made by the hon. Member for Shoreham, would be brought before the House in the course of this debate; and I thank the hon. Member for his candour in putting such a Notice as this upon the Paper, because it points to that which I have always believed to be the real difficulty in this and similar measures—I mean, the existence of an anomalous ecclesiastical institution in this country—in other words, the Church by law established. I have always thought the existence of that Establishment was incompatible with religious liberty and political equality; and the hon. Gentleman has confirmed my suspicion, for he invites you in the interest of that Establishment not merely to continue the present disabilities of the Jews, but to retrace your steps, and to deprive them of franchises which they already enjoy. But before I go further, I must protest against the religious colouring which this question receives at the hands of hon. Gentlemen opposite. I decline to enter into the question whether the Government of this country is based upon religion, or whether Christianity is part and parcel of the law of the land; because when I look into propositions of this character, I find they only amount to this: whether this or that individual's views of religion, and this or that individual's views of Christianity, are to be received as something final, fundamental, and essential. We were told the other day, and I think told justly, by a right hon. Gentleman who is not now in his place, that this occupation of ours as legislators was in fact a profession; and bearing this in mind, I could not help thinking on many occasions in this debate, that some at least of the Gentlemen on the opposite benches had mistaken their calling and their profession. Considering the solemnity of manner, and the almost professional pathos of expression which has breathed from the opposite benches upon this dreary camp of religious indifference, might it not be well, Sir, to appoint a Committee upstairs of controverted doctrines as well as controverted elections, and thus relieve the bulk of the House from considerations of this or that view of Divine truth, which, however full of profit they may be to those who conscientiously receive them, cannot and ought not to have any influence upon the course of this House in matters of purely civil and secular concerns? I differ, however, so entirely from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Shoreham, that I support the Bill of the noble Lord for two reasons: first, on account of the specific relief which it affords to many thousands of my fellow-countrymen against whom nothing is alleged but the peculiarities of their religious opinions; and, secondly, because I think I see in the success of this measure—as successful I have no doubt it will be—a fresh shock to that quasi ecclesiastical character of the Government of this country, against which I, for one, shall always protest. I fully acquit the noble Lord who introduced this Bill, and most of the hon. Gentlemen who will support it, of sharing my expectations in this respect. They, I have no doubt, act in perfect good faith to what are called Church and State principles, and indeed think, I dare say, that the interests of the Church will be advanced by the success of this measure, and by the admission of Jews into Parliament; while, on the other hand, the hon. Baronet the Member for the university of Oxford, and those who act with him, oppose this Bill because they think its success will involve a fresh contradiction of those principles, and be injurious to the interests of the Church. I believe I do not misapprehend the hon. Baronet. [Sir R. Inglis signified his assent.] Well, Sir, I should be wanting in the candour with which I always desire to treat these subjects, if I were not to say that in my view the hon. Baronet's theory is the more sagacious of the two; for in my mind the idea of penal laws, and civil disabilities, and compulsory taxation, is so intimately connected with an Established Church, that I cannot conceive of the one existing without the other. I am in the hearing of many hon. Gentlemen of great learning, who will correct me if history does not bear out my assertion; and certainly I cannot promise you that your Erastian edifice will be as secure as it was before these artificial but necessary props were removed. Corporations, like individuals, have their instincts of self-preservation, and their presentiments of coming danger; and it is only necessary to contemplate for a moment the position of the Church of England towards the State of England, to see at a glance that in opposing herself, as she always has done, to this and similar measures, the Church is only refusing to commit an act of political suicide, and is endeavouring to postpone as long as possible the exposure of the hollow-ness of the principles upon which she is based. For what is the position of the Church towards the State? The Church, Sir, has, for a mess of pottage, resigned her birthright of spiritual discipline into the hands of the State; the Church is, both as to her doctrine and discipline, the creature of this High Court of Parliament; she cannot alter or revise her ritual or her liturgy in any way without the permission of this House, because her Thirty-nine Articles, and the Rubric of her Book of Common Prayer, are part and parcel of the statute law of the realm. It is known to the House that the spiritual council of the Church, her Convocation, has been practically silenced for more than a century—that the choice of her dignitaries and chief priests is in the hands of the Minister of the Crown, subject in this, as in other matters, to his responsibility to this House—and that deans and canons refusing to elect, and bishops and archbishops refusing to consecrate, the persons named in the Royal congé d'élire, are subject to the pains and penalties of prœmunire. Well, Sir, these things being so, I do in one sense agree with the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, that the Church is in danger—not merely as to her temporal, but much more as to her spiritual interests. Vulnus alit veins: it is the poisoned current of her own blood which is corrupt. The danger, moreover, is of her own seeking, and voluntarily incurred—for she can escape from that worldly alliance which is the cause of it, and go forth a Free Church whenever she lists. I have recited the notorious and undeniable position of the Church of England toward the State, merely to show how consistent and natural is the course which the friends of the Church feel themselves bound to take upon occasions like the present; and to explain how it comes to pass, that Gentlemen of the most amiable and benevolent dispositions appear year after year in this House in the capacity of persecutors! For I maintain, Sir, that civil disabilities on account of religion are a species of persecution, and indeed the only kind of persecution of which the spirit of the age admits. But then, Sir, the Church being thus bound hand and foot to the will of the State, it has of course always been of the utmost importance to her; and she still preserves the tradition, that the exe- cutive and legislative of the country should be monopolised by members of her own communion, and should represent her views, and hers only. Accordingly, we find that in those "good old times" to which the hon. Baronet the Member for the university of Oxford looks back, I dare say, with much regret, the Church of England possessed such a monopoly, and exercised it with a vengeance. Why, Sir, we find that the conscience even of the first magistrate of the country was coerced and compelled by that Statute of William III. which enacted that whoever thereafter came into possession of the Crown of England, should be of necessity a member of the Church of England. We know, too, that till very lately both the Houses of the Legislature were packed, so to speak, to serve the purposes of the Establishment—were converted into trim preserves of Anglican orthodoxy, and sheltered from every wind of dissent. To the hon. Baronet, this arrangement would appear, no doubt, highly proper and satisfactory: to me, on the other hand, it appears to violate the first principles of political justice—to be based on an entire misconception of the ends of civil society—and to be calculated to sow the seeds of religious hypocrisy and indifferentism in the highest quarters. But let that pass. I am now dealing with facts, and not opinions: and in the face of those facts, and of the whole tenor of the history of the Church, I profess myself unable to agree with an observation which fell from a noble Lord on another occasion—something I think to this effect: that whereas the struggle was once for a Protestant, it is now a struggle for a Christian Parliament. I believe, Sir, on the contrary, that the struggle both now and heretofore has been for a Church of England Parliament. No doubt when the question of Catholic Emancipation was before you, the religious animosities of a small portion of Protestant Dissenters might possibly have been enlisted to oppose that measure; and possibly the antipathies of a still smaller section of Dissenters may have been excited to oppose this Bill. But notoriously, this is in the main a Church of England question—the opposition to it proceeds mainly from members of that Church—it is conducted upon Church of England principles, for I will defy it to be conducted on any other. The cry is still the same—"We will not have a parcel of Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, to legislate for our Zion, to overhaul the 'gambling transactions' of our bishops, to pass Church-discipline acts, to alter the distribution of our property—perhaps to take it away." And thus, Sir, that the interests of this ex-anomalous ecclesiastical republic may be secured—in order that the absurd theory of the identity of Church and State (that is, of the civil and religious community) may be maintained, we are invited to oppose ourselves to the spirit of the age, to fall back upon the principles of the past, and to expose ourselves to the ridicule and animadversion of the whole civilised world! But then, Sir, it may be said that I am really now going too far—that I am overstating my argument—that positively this is a case in which the interests, not merely of the Church of England, but of our common Christianity, are concerned. Well, Sir, I am not here to impute motives, and I doubt not that many hon. Gentlemen have persuaded themselves that such is the case. But if such be the case, may I not be permitted to inquire how it happens that Dissenters, who may be supposed to have some interest in our common Christianity, do not bestir themselves in the matter? I hope it will not be said at this time of day, that a regard for our common Christianity is confined to the pale of the Church of England, and that it is only at the vacillating torch of Anglican orthodoxy that the people of this country can read their religious duties aright. Where, then, are the Methodists, the Independents, the Baptists, the Unitarians, the Quakers, and the Roman Catholics? Why do not they rush to this House, and cover your tables with petitions against the desecration with which we threaten them? No, Sir! men return to rational, common-sense views upon these subjects, when there is nothing to be gained by an opposite course—when there are no loaves and fishes in the way, no guilty pabulum of religious bigotry and hypocrisy. What is the course which is taken in such matters by nations not less enlightened than ourselves, but where there is no Established Church to poison the current of their legislation? What would have been said in the French Chambers if it had been proposed to exclude Jews from them on account of religion? Those Chambers, lately dispersed for their exclusiveness and their blindness to the signs of the times—in warning, I trust, to other legislatures—would never have ventured upon such an irrational outrage as this. Or, if you object to the example of France as a revolutionised and infidel country, what is the course of those flourishing New England colonies, where the puritanical spirit is certainly not less flagrant than it is here, and where indeed, in the early stages of their history, the fact of church-membership was exacted as a necessary condition of holding public office? The truth is, Sir, that in a country where opinion is free, there can be no such thing as a common Christianity, so far as dogmas are concerned. You may generalise any number of sects you please under the name of Christians; but that does not make them so in their confessions to one another. The Protestant, for instance, wont admit the practical Christianity of the Roman Catholic, nor the Trinitarian the Christianity of the Unitarian. It does not therefore follow, that whichever of these sects is uppermost, is to avail itself of its power to disfranchise the others. This would be to violate that Catholic spirit of Christianity by which nations and parties may be actuated as well as individuals, and which would be quite sufficient for their guidance in their relations with each other, would they but listen to it. Nothing more is required of nations than of individuals, and that is "to do justice, and love mercy, and walk humbly with their God." Nor can I conceive of a nation offering up, in its collective capacity, a more acceptable oblation to the Most High, than a generous Bill of Enfranchisement like this, based, as it appears to me to be based, on the cardinal Christian virtues of charity and humility. I have dwelt at some length, Sir, upon this delicate branch of the subject, and upon the influence which the alliance between Church and State exercises over it, because I feel that this, as I said before, is the real difficulty, though it has been unaccountably avoided by almost every Gentleman who has taken part in these debates. I recollect that a most rev. Prelate, the native liberality of whose mind rises superior to the circumstances of his position, alluded to this difficulty in another place, and pointed out the absurdity of admitting Jews, or indeed any Dissenters into Parliament, so long as our constitution in Church and State remains as it is. But as he of course could not bring himself for a moment to exclude such persons merely in the interest of the Establishment, he proposed to get over the difficulty by appointing special Commissioners to legislate upon Church matters, such Commissioners to be members of the Church. But as I am opposed to the prin- ciple of an Established Church under any circumstances whatever, I do not think it necessary to make any remark upon this proposal; and I only mention it to show that the same difficulty has suggested itself to a mind much more able than my own. It is also true that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, in the brilliant speech with which he favoured us on this subject on another occasion, alluded to the petition of a dignitary of the Church, who also, being too liberal to object to the admission of Jews, prayed the House nevertheless first to repeal the obnoxious Statute of Henry VIII. Well, Sir, on this proposal I shall also be silent for a like reason. I recollect, moreover, that the right hon. Gentleman to whom I have alluded, did also advert to this part of the question—reminded us that we came here to legislate for the Church as well as for the State of England—and spoke of what I think he called the "divided functions "of this House. But he endeavoured to excuse his vote, and to restore the confidence of his rev. constituents, by assuring them that Members of this House, who were not at the same time members of the Church, had always shown too much good taste and good sense to interfere with the affairs of a Church to which they did not belong. He intimated, in fact, that it would be the duty of such persons, whenever the affairs of the Church came up, to avert from her their respectful eyes altogether, as the Athenians did theirs from the enchanted groves of Eumenides. Well, Sir, I do not know how far the course pursued by what is called the Dissenting interest may have justified this expectation of the right hon. Gentleman. For myself, however, I take the opportunity utterly to renounce and reject it. I maintain that, as the representative of a British constituency, it is my privilege and my duty to treat every question connected with our ecclesiastical polity, with the same freedom as that which I bestow upon our civil affairs. I decline to regard the Established Church as a fundamental institution of the State, a law of the Medes and Persians superior to change. In her spiritual capacity she may be founded on a rock—God forbid that I should throw a single stone against the bulwarks of her Zion! But surely as to her temporalities, they are based upon the shifting sands of Acts of Parliament; and I should be wanting in my duty were I not to say that in my opinion such an institution is unsuited to the times in which we live, and that sooner or later you will have to give it up. I am sure that such a prediction will not appear extravagant to such a body as that which I have the honour to address—a body of educated men, and men of the world—a body composed of Ministers of the Crown, of railway directors, of country gentlemen, manufacturers, and barristers-at-law. Don't tell me that you are blind to the real state of the case. At all events, I know that out of doors at least, the lamp of Nonconformity has not quite gone out, and that Englishmen have not altogether banished from their minds that principle of immortal truth, that the civil magistrate has no power or jurisdiction in matters of religious belief—a principle which I take to be fatal to the institution of an Established Church, but upon which, and which alone, I found my hearty support of this Bill. I thank the House for the indulgence with which they have listened to me on an unpopular subject. If, in the course of these remarks, I have involuntarily gone beyond the line which I have strictly marked out for myself, and unnecessarily wounded the religious—I mean the purely religious—opinions of any hon. Gentleman, I offer my humble apologies to them and to the House. I trust they will attribute it to inadvertence and not to intention; to the novelty of my position in this House, and to my little experience in the art of addressing deliberative bodies of any kind. In conclusion, permit me to remind them that the course which they pursue on this occasion, will show how far the principles of religious liberty obtain in this House, because this subject can afford to be argued on its abstract merits, and with no reference to political expediency. It was not so when the Roman Catholics and Dissenters applied for relief at your doors. They appealed to your fears and your prudence, as well as your justice and your charity; and it might have been said, as it was said at the time, that you sacrificed to considerations of temporary expediency the fundamental principles of the British constitution. But if, Sir, now in cold blood, and on the Motion of the noble Lord, not unfamiliar with Motions of this kind, you open your arms, and admit within the pale of the constitution this weak remnant of an outcast and unpopular race, which, so far from raising an arm, has scarcely ventured to breate a sigh for emancipation, you will indeed confess to Christendom, and to the world, that the reign of religious bigotry is drawing to a close within these islands, and that you are about to close with your own hands the gates of that temple of the theological Janus which have been wide open, all over Christendom, to its great scandal, ever since the days of Constantine, the first of the Erastians.


opposed the Bill, after the fullest consideration which he could give to the subject. He heard with feelings of regret the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down; and, if anything could induce him to offer a still more vehement opposition to the Bill of the noble Lord, it would have been that same speech; and he would lament to see the introduction to this House of a class of Dissenters—if he might so term the Jews—animated with feelings so hostile towards the Estabished Church as those by which the hon. Member seemed to be actuated.


said, that he should vote for the Bill of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell), but that he did so for reasons which he could not allow to be confounded with those given by the hon. Member for Leicester. He was placed in a peculiarly embarrassing situation, agreeing in a great deal of what was urged on both sides, by two parties who were taking courses directly opposite. With the one he entirely concurred that the Jews were subjects of the Crown of Great Britain, and were thereby legally entitled to every right which belonged to them in their capacity of ratepayers and citizens. He concurred on the other side that it was monstrous that Jews should be admitted to legislate for a Christian Church. It was not in his opinion a question of Christian ethics, but of just position of the English Church. He did not hold the Jews disqualified from judging sanely and acting uprightly in all questions in which religion was to be their guide in politics; I for the religion of the Jews, in as far as regarded the conduct of man towards man, was the religion of the Christian. Christ gave no new commandment. But, on the other hand, he held that the Church, as established in England, was not to be subject to the votes or opinions of any other community save its own. The whole process of recent legislation had been directed against the Church; and that night they had heard the Church in one and the same breath charged with usurpation, and with prostration, the effect of the usurpation of others. In every recent change of the constitution, the Church had systematically suffered—it had suffered in the Unions of Scotland and Ireland—it had suffered in the persons of the bishops, the spiritual Peers being diminished in the Upper House, while the temporal Peers had been enormously increased, and now they were threatened with total exclusion from that House; the clergymen of the Church of England had been excluded, while they admitted Dissenters—nay, the very ministers of Dissenting congregations. But, more than this, the means of administration within the Church had been destroyed. In their liberality they were conferring new rights and privileges; and while with the one hand they were building up new franchises, with the other they were pulling down old ones. If they admit the Jews to Parliament, why hold out of existence a branch of Parliament, the Convocation? He held in his hand an address to Her Majesty which had already received the signatures of several hundred clergymen, and which would surprise the House by the nature of its prayer. The petitioners request the restoration of "the Convocation of the Church of England to deliberate on matters affecting the interests of the Church." They assert— That the necessity which exists for a deliberative assembly in common with every other body, whether of a religious or secular character, attaches no less to the Christian Church. In representing their sense of the need of an acting Convocation, they humbly submit that they are only desirous that the Church should be placed on a level in this respect with other religious denominations in your Majesty's dominions, each of which either actually has or may have its central deliberative assembly for the regulation of its own affairs. This was the difficulty of the question; and he would have been prepared to have voted for the exclusion of the Jews, if his estimate of the constitution of England was according to the erring practice of these times. If, indeed, it was the constitution of England that that House of Parliament should legislate upon matters of doctrine and discipline of the Church, the admission of Jews would be as absurd as it would be to force Jews into the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. But he held very different doctrines in respect to the duties of that House, and the rights of that Church. Archbishop Whately had, in a speech formerly delivered on this subject, accurately stated the dilemma, and he would beg leave to read his words:— It is urged that persons who not only do not acknowledge, but who renounce and deny—and some say vilify—the great Author of the Christian religion, ought not to have any voice in the Legislature of a Christian country. On this point arises a question which I own I find it very difficult to answer. The Legislature of this country—I mean the two Houses of Parliament—is not confined to what may be called the civil government, the imposing of burdens which all must bear, and the enacting of laws which all must obey; but extends to the government of the Established Church also, even in matters purely ecclesiastical. It is, in fact, at present the only ecclesiastical government; since Convocation has long been in a dormant state in England, and in Ireland does not exist even in that state. Whoever, therefore, is admitted to a seat in the Legislature, is admitted to a share in the government, not only of the State, but also of the Church; and that, not only in respect of its temporalities, but also of purely ecclesiastical affairs. If, therefore, the question be asked, 'What right can a Jew have, under any circumstances, to legislate for a Christian Church?' I know of no answer that can be given to that question, except by asking another: 'What right has a Roman Catholic to legislate for a Protestant Church; or a Presbyterian for an Episcopal Church?' What right, in short, has any man to legislate, in ecclesiastical matters, for any Church of which he is not a member? This anomaly appears to me to exist in all these cases alike. Archbishop Whately had stated, but had not solved the difficulty. The solution of the difficulty lay in this—that the means of self-government should be restored to the Church, and withdrawn from that House; but he could not—because that House usurped a power which did not belong to it—make that a reason for denying to the Jews a right which he conceived justly and duly to belong to them. The argument for the exclusion of the Jews applied equally to the Roman Catholics and to the Dissenters; and there was no argument which applied to the one which did not apply to the other. He would not notice the distinction between Jew and Christian, of which he had already disposed. The political religion of Jew and Christian was the same. The question of church government excluded Nonconformist equally with Jew. They were not prepared to withdraw from Nonconformists the privileges they had granted: they could not refuse them to the Jews. He trusted that the admission of the one and the other would force upon those who looked to the concerns of the Church the necessity of taking measures to remedy the present abusive system. It had been repeatedly urged that the Jews were aliens to this country; and the long denegation to them of political rights was the basis of that argument. But the facts had been wholly misunderstood. The date of the exclusion of Jews from civil offices might be found, but not that of their admission. From the very earliest periods the Jews enjoyed civil, municipal, and ministerial offices in all the countries of Christendom. St. Paul claimed his right as a Roman. The Jew was a citizen in the Roman empire—the Jew was a citizen in all those States that were formed out of Rome. The noble Lord the Member for Bath (Lord Ashley) had, on the first night of this discussion, quoted a passage from Dr. Arnold, which had produced a powerful impression, both as conveying his opinion of the propriety of excluding the Jews, and as establishing the fact of their exclusion under the Roman system. The right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) had met the opinion of Dr. Arnold by referring to the peculiar theory on that subject which had falsified his judgment, but left untouched his assertion respecting Roman law. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth Sir R. Peel) had taken up that point; but not, it seemed to him (Mr. Urquhart), in a satisfactory manner. The statement of Dr. Arnold was that the Jew in Rome possessed the jus commercii and the jus connubii, but did not possess the jus honorum and the jus suffragii. The fact was, that the Jew possessed the jus honorum and the jus suffragii under the Roman system, though not in the city of Rome. Dr. Arnold confounded the empire and the capital. In the city itself they were, from peculiar circumstances affecting Christians and Jews alike, excluded; but in the provinces, and wherever the Jews were established, they possessed the jus suffragii and the jus honorum. The Jews were members of the Council of Ten: they were Decurions, and they were Duumvirs in Gaul. In Spain, where the old Roman system had remained without shock down to the present day, and where more especially was the system of Rome to be examined and understood, the Jews maintained their municipal and civil rights, and were magistrates down to the time of Alonzo the 11th and of Peter the Cruel. In England the Jews possessed their rights more particularly as bondsmen of the King, and here also they were in high honour and credit; to them our universities owe their first steps in learning, as indeed did all Europe, who, in recognising its debt in the Saracens, forget that the Jews were the interpreters and the intermediaries between that race and Europe, then sunk in the very night of barbarism. It was only by the antipathies and persecutions that arose out of the consequences of the Crusades that the Jews were excluded from civil and municipal rights in Europe. Thus, in a legal and in an historical point of view, the claims of the Jews stood upon much higher grounds than those which had been assumed in the course of this and former debates. It was well to contrast our own with other systems which we look upon as bigoted and fanatical. Under the Mussulman system the Jew possesses every right which it is intended to concede to him by throwing open to him the doors of Parliament, that is to say, those rights which he possessed under Rome. The Jew was not by the Mussulman admitted to the high honours of the State, or to control over religious matters; just as in Rome the Jew, though a Duumvir or a Decurion, was not a Flamen, or a Haruspex, or a Pater Patratus. Amongst the Mussulmans a Jew might be Minister of State; but he was not admitted into the body of the Doctors of the Law. Under that system the amount of the revenue of the State is fixed, the allocation and the repartition of the taxes being the constitutional part which belonged to the municipal bodies. In this the Jew, as far as he is a ratepayer, possesses control, such control as is equivalent to that exercised legitimately by a Member of that House. The duties of that House had respect chiefly to supply, and the character of that House was strictly representative. They were, in fact, the reunion of the Communes of the country; and, whether the majority that returned the Member was Jewish or Christian, equally it was the right of the constituency that was infringed when they told them who was and who was not to be their Member. Originally there was no restriction upon the selection of the Member—in the course of abuse, restriction had arisen. He hoped that the alarm which had been expressed respecting the admission of the Jews would lead to some useful consideration respecting the apprehended danger, from sources not visionary but real; and as he should vote for their admission, not to decide upon the doctrine or discipline of the Church, but to advise the Crown and control the Minister in temporal matters, so did he hope that an assembly constituted as they were exclusively of laymen, in as far as they were Churchmen, and of others that were not Churchmen, and of others known to be not even Christians, that it would be felt incongruous and improper for it any longer to interfere with ecclesiastical affairs; and thus would these apprehensions really be productive of fruit, and the Church, and therein the State, be relieved from the too long endured usurpations of that House of Parliament.


said, he should not detain the House more than a few moments; but upon a Motion of such vast importance as the one now before it, he could not content himself by giving a silent vote. The noble Lord had based his measure on the ground of principle; it was precisely on that ground he (Sir W. Verner) wished to consider it. He entertained no feeling of disrespect towards that portion of his fellow-subjects for whom the claim of eligibility to sit in this House had been advanced; on the contrary, he could affirm that there was not a Member who voted in favour of the noble Lord's Bill more ready than he was to acknowledge the merits and the services of the Jewish people in this country—or of the eminent individual in whose person the question of Parliamentary eligibility was now to be tried. It had been said, in support of the Motion, that every British subject possessed an inborn right to represent, in this House, any constitutency which may return him to it, unless he be incapacitated by some express ground of disqualification; that no such ground can be alleged against the Jewish portion of the people; and that accordingly it was no more than an act of justice to relieve them from the disabilities under which they at present labour. What the rights of man might be, it was not for him to decide; but the constitution had taken upon itself in various instances the office of deciding upon them. It affirmed, denied, and abridged claims of right, as seemed best for the interests of the country: it required that to become a Member of Parliament, a man should be of full age; that he should be exempt from the duties and liabilities of certain offices; that he should be, to a certain extent, independent in his circumstances; that he should not be in holy orders—but that he should be a Christian. Now he (Sir W. Verner) could not but think that this last obligation was not less important, was not less necessary, was not less salutary than any of the others. It was, perhaps, the only obligation in which principle was involved, and the obligation by which we declared ourselves to be members of a Christian State; and he was not ashamed to say he could not but look upon its removal with danger; and for his part he would much sooner contemplate a law which would remove the restrictions which at present render the several cases he had enumerated, ineligible to set in this House, than he could consent to admit into it a people who hold Christianity to be an imposture and a delusion. He could easily understand a law which, in deference to the power of popular opinion, would abolish all restrictions, and pronounce every man, whatever his condition or character might be, eligible to set in Parliament; and it may be, that this is the ultimate object in bringing this measure forward now, as a preliminary step; but he hoped the House would not begin its career of liberalism, or rather the stage upon which it was interesting, by selecting from the various instances of disability which present themselves to it, the one, the only one, which opens the door to the avowed enemies of Christianity. But we are told that this is merely a nominal renunciation of our Christianity as a State. He (Sir W. Verner) could not consent to renounce it even in name. But he denied the assertion that the change was merely nominal: he be-believed the change to be real—the danger to be real. It had been said that there could not be so many Members of the Jewish profession in Parliament as to cause danger to the State. Who could say how far this might be true? Who can tell how many constituencies may be moved by such arguments as had weight with that of London? Who can tell whether the twenty or thirty thousand Jews of England may not soon have at their command a party in this House strong enough to embarass the progress of legislation, and even to change its course? A great change had already been effected; burgesses of London have been influenced, in defiance of an existing law, to send to Parliament, as their representative, a party whom they knew to be ineligible. Upon what question? The question whether the State is to retain or to renounce its Christian character: with such a spirit and purpose declared out of Parliament, and with such a compact party within, who can take upon him to pronounce that the meditated change may be made without danger? We have been referred to the Clare election for our guide; now what were the circumstances of that election? He would very briefly state them to the House, and leave to hon. Members to judge how far they bore a comparison with the case now before them. In the county Clare, a Roman Catholic constituency chose their leader to represent them in Parliament—a man, be it remembered, professing the same faith as themselves—their brother in religion, whose claims upon them were undisputed, and whose great talents and perseverance in their cause had never been denied; such was the person they elected. He could not imagine that the two cases could be more different; and yet we are told the Clare election was a pattern which we ought to imitate. Upon this bold experiment and its consequences, he (Sir W. Verner) would not have added another word, had we not been told that there can be no danger to the Christian religion or to the Church from the admission of Jews into Parliament; because they must take the same oath Roman Catholics have taken, and give the same assurance that they have given, to do the Church no wrong. He would candidly put it to the House how this assurance has been observed in Ireland; and whether the Protestant Church and the Protestant religion in that country have not suffered great and severe wrong since the passing of the Emancipation Bill in 1829? And what grounds have we for supposing that the experiment now before this House may not prove as injurious to the Church in England as the former experiment had proved to Protestantism in Ireland? He greatly feared that if the irregular and illegal proceeding of the borough of London was to tell upon the Parliament with force enough to make it lay down its Christian character, the effect would be more fatal than many would be willing to admit in diffusing religious indifference throughout the people. It had been asserted by some hon. Members that the feeling of the Jews at the present day was very different from what it had been, and that they did not entertain the same hostility to Christianity which had been ascribed to them. He (Sir W. Verner) wished it was so; but from a speech delivered by a reverend gentleman, before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, held at Belfast on the 6th of July last, a short extract from which he would read to the House, the contrary would be found to be the case. This speech, he would beg to remind the House, was delivered before any intention of bringing forward the present Bill was made known. The Rev. Mr. Graham said— No one in this part of the world can understand the unmitigated hostility the Jews entertain towards Jesus of Nazareth. I fear that, though having witnessed it myself, I shall not be able to convey to you any idea of that intense hatred. Ton go into the Rabbies' houses, and they will enter complacently into any other conversation; but the moment you begin to speak of that name, the Rabbies take their worst garments and shake them, as much as to say, I shake myself clear of all reference to 'that thing,' as they term the Saviour. This hatred may arise from various sources: first, that there rests in them the effects of that cry of the Jews of old, when they said 'His blood be upon us and our children,' It is a solemn thing to meet with our stranger fellow-men anywhere; it is a still more solemn thing to mix with unconverted men; but to meet with a Jew has something very awful in it, for there you meet with one who still cries out, 'His blood be on me and my children.' You meet with one whom the persecution of all ages has bowed down, and on whom the afflictions of a thousand years have worn the channels of passion deeper and deeper still. In Belfast you meet with many whom you know to be in the gall of bitterness; but when you meet with a Jew, you meet one who at once rejects the cross before which you kneel, and look for pardon. This hatred may arise from another cause. They see in the East no form of Christianity which is not idolatrous. They see men carrying the image of the Virgin Mary through the streets and churches, and putting her above the Son of God himself, and they cannot be convinced that this is not idolatry. And it has so happened that, in all the East, these corrupt churches have succeeded in teaching that the worship of their saints and angels and images stand on the self-same footing with the worship of the Trinity; and hence, the Jews perceiving that we are different from the Oriental Christians, say, you surely do not believe in the Trinity; and thus we have to enter into a subtle argument to break down and trample upon those points of belief which are not founded on the word of God.


said the House had now to decide whether they would carry out those principles of toleration which they had already adopted to a certain ex-tent, and which were supported and approved by the great majority of the population of this country; or whether they would regard the opinions of the people with contempt, and refuse to comply with their expressed wishes. The opponents of this measure, previously to the recess in December last, entreated the noble Lord at the head of the Government not to hurry this question forward, but to afford a full opportunity to the country to express an opinion on the subject. Ample time and opportunity had been afforded for such an expression; and what had been the result? The table had been covered with the peti- tions of the people, praying that the Bill might be passed into a law. Up to the 29th of March there were petitions against the removal of the Jewish disabilities, signed by 56,000 persons; but the petitions for the removal of those disabilities had more than 300,000 signatures. In this latter class were petitions from the corporations of almost every important town in the kingdom; Jedburgh and Sudbury seemed to be the only two on the other side. The petitions against the Bill, too, were got up at "hole and corner meetings;" the parties ventured to call one county meeting, but the assembly determined to petition the other way; the petitions for the Bill were the result of a fair appeal to the public, to show what was the judgment of the country on the question. In fact, there was no subject on which there had been so many petitions to the present Parliament as the number presented in favour of the removal of these disabilities, and of confirming the choice made by the electors of London of a Gentleman of whom it must at least be allowed that great credit was due to him for the respect with which he had treated the House in not pushing his claim in a manner which might perhaps have more advanced his own interests than the course he had pursued. It had been objected that the wealth of the Jews might be exercised in procuring the return of many of their number if they were made eligible for seats in Parliament; then let hon. Gentlemen vote for measures which would render it impossible for wealth to be brought to bear improperly upon elections—the ballot, for instance. It was urged, too, that the proposed measure would unchristianise the country; but how could it unchristianise the country to act upon Christian principles, and "do as we would be done by?" All disabilities for religious opinions were in the nature of persecution; and the Jews felt their exclusion from Parliament to be such. Many confounded the Jews of the present day with the Jews of former times, and were influenced by the statements, proper enough, which they heard at church respecting the crucifiers of our Saviour. But how should we like to suffer for the crimes of those who went before us, 1,800 years ago, or for any crimes we had not ourselves committed? A learned Jewish doctor, a Rabbi, in a lecture delivered lately at Birmingham, avowed that taking the Gospels as authentic histories, written at the time, he considered that Jesus of Nazareth was the victim of fanaticism, combined with jealousy and lust of power, on the part of the Jewish hierarchy. Did hon. Members expect to do any good by refusing to extend to the Jews the privilege they now asked for? Had they ever known persecution to convert any man in reality? Were they not much more likely to convert the Jews by the removal of these odious restrictions than by retaining them? He earnestly trusted that the present measure would pass, for there was evidently a growing feeling in the country, which was participated in by men of piety and reflection, that complete toleration ought to be established in religious matters. The present Bill, he maintained, was recommended at once by sound reason and the principles of the Gospel, besides being in accordance with the feelings of a large and overpowering majority of the country, and therefore he should give it his cordial support.


thought it a very important point to be decided on that discussion, viz., whether the country at largo would benefit by the admission of Jews into that House, or, in other words, whether that House would better discharge its duty by the introduction of that new element into its composition? In his opinion neither the country nor the House would benefit by the proposed change. Such being the case he denied that there was any injustice or intolerance in refusing the Jews admission into Parliament. There was no more injustice in refusing them admission than in refusing to appoint a candidate to an office for which he was eminently disqualified. All the arguments in favour of the Bill were of a negative character. The noble Lord the Member for London had asked what was the value of a Christian oath when such men as Gibbon and Hume had taken it and held seats in that House, and offices under the Crown? His answer to that was, that the proof of the value of the oath was found in the fact that conscientious Jews refused to take it. If the noble Lord adhered to that argument he must carry it further, and introduce a Motion abolishing oaths altogether—which he presumed the noble Lord was not prepared to do. It was said, also, that they would only have four or five Jews in Parliament. This was by no means certain. He should not be surprised if, before many years elapsed, there were as many as forty or fifty. It was perfectly true that the Jews were a body numeri- cally small as compared to the people of this country; but it was equally true that a large proportion of them possessed enormous wealth; and many of them being men of ambition, there was no doubt that they would sacrifice their wealth to gratify that ambition. He believed that there never had been more intimidation and bribery practised than at the last election for London. He should not be surprised to see four Jews representing London alone before a long time. It had been argued, too, that the Jews had no distinct nationality. This was a mere assertion. The bond of union among the Jews was their peculiar opinions. They were proud of their descent, not from English but from Hebrew parents: their heart's home was in Judea, not in England, nor anywhere else. He would not insinuate anything against the morality of the Jews; but he begged the House to look at their business and occupation, and the disposition which it generated. They were essentially traffickers in money. They were deeply interested in the rates of exchange between different countries, and in the varying state of the funds. He thought the House could not but regard with great apprehension a race of people possessing such extraordinary power coming into close contact with the Legislature and the Executive Government. If this Bill were passed, there was nothing to prevent the Jew rising to the highest offices of State, and becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer, or even Prime Minister; and if so, he could easily imagine that they would endeavour to benefit their own nation by any priority of information which they might be in possession of in virtue of their office. He had another material objection to urge, and that not the least. That House had ecclesiastical as well as civil duties to perform. The hon. Member quoted an extract from a pamphlet by Dr. Whately, Archbishop of Dublin, in which he admitted the anomaly as well as the danger of admitting Jews as members of a body possessing ecclesiastical functions; but held that, because the anomaly was not greater and the danger was less in their case than in the case of the Roman Catholics and Dissenters, therefore he would admit them without hesitation. He admitted the premises of the right rev. Prelate, but he arrived at a directly opposite conclusion. He thought the danger was as great as the anomaly. It was an established principle of the constitution, that the majority in that House was represented by the Prime Minister—who was in fact elected by the majority of that House. The Prime Minister, in virtue of his office, appointed to high offices and benefices in the Church, and that altogether irresponsibly, except as regarded a wish to benefit the party who supported him. So long, therefore, as the Prime Minister discharged duties so solemn and so deeply affecting the consciences of the people and the interests of the Church, so long should he entertain a repugnance to admitting as Members of that House men whose creed made them the professed and pledged enemies of the Church, and who were necessarily desirous of expediting its downfal. He was determined, therefore, to give his decided opposition to a measure which tended to place the Prime Minister of the country in a position so false, so anomalous, and so unconstitutional.


expressed his concurrence with everything which had fallen from the hon. Member who had last addressed the House, and whose speech was remarkable for its manner, its talent, and the principles advocated in it, although the hon. Member took a more general view of the whole question at issue than might have been necessary in considering the proposition of the hon. Member for Shoreham, which was then more immediately before them. But after the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Gardner), which involved almost every conceivable subject, it would be difficult to place limits to the discussion. That hon. Member had described himself as the apostle of toleration; but there were many who, like him, laying claim to a monopoly of that moral attribute, were distinguished for the very contrary tendency, and remarkable for their intolerance. That hon. Member was not content with attacking the Church of England himself, but was anxious to elevate and give power to those who were the Church's enemies. He was not aware whether the hon. Member was then in his place in the House, or he should, perhaps, be disposed to comment at greater length on his speech; but he should then only say that the hon. Member's language and principles appeared to him to be the most intolerant of all the professors of liberality whom he had ever heard. In the absence of the hon. Member, he could not allude further to his speech than to ask if such a speech as that ought to be addressed by a Christian Member to a Christian assembly? [The hon. Member alluded to, here entered the House.] He had been stating, with pain and reluctance in the hon. Member's absence, what he would certainly state with less reluctance in his presence, that, after such a speech as he, a Christian, had addressed to a Christian assembly, what, he would ask, might they expect when the Jews were introduced into Parliament? Would not the Church of England be attacked, as well as the common Christianity which they all professed? What guarantee could they have, under such circumstances, against that course being pursued? Therefore he, for one, concurred with the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Hornby), and would not be a party to introducing any new sect into political power which might be inimical to the Established Church or the Christianity of these realms. It was in vain to say that that House had not the concerns of the Church greatly, too greatly, perhaps, in its keeping. And it was because he believed that the Church was as much a part of the constitution of this country as Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, or any of those other great institutions which were admitted to be component parts of the British constitution, that he could not agree to the introduction of persons into that legislative assembly, who, without any sympathy for our religion, or respect for that to which it was intrusted, would use the power with which they might be invested in laying their hands on the ark of its magnificent and awful law. His hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham had moved that so long as the House of Commons exercised a power of legislating for the Church of England, so long should the Jews cease exercising the elective franchise. He would propose that the Jew should not only be incompetent to be a legislator, but even to elect a lawmaker. His hon. Friend's speech was clear, was logical, was bold; and he entirely agreed with him in the views and principles which he advocated. These were the views which he (Sir R. Inglis) had supported upon the discussion of the claims of the Roman Catholics. But though his hon. Friend maintained his ground on Christian principle and authority, yet he thought it was not essential in every case to test their opinions by a division in that House; however, they were bound to speak out their sentiments boldly and plainly, and therefore he would suggest to his hon. Friend not to press his Motion to a division. He hoped it would not be considered as compromising any opinion he had formerly expressed when he asked his hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham (Mr. Goring) not to press his Amendment to a formal division. They should reserve their strength, not for isolated details in Committee, but for the great question involved in the Bill itself. No doubt they were bound to make the measure as perfect as they could; and if there was a chance of carrying the Motion of his hon Friend, he should vote for it. But knowing that they must fail in the attempt, he would urge his hon. Friend not to press his Motion to a division. His hon. Friend, as well as those who agreed with him, would have an opportunity of recording their convictions, and would do better to reserve their strength until they came to the third reading of the Bill, when he trusted, if not successful, that in that House, at any rate, whatever the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone might think, it would not appear that those who had opposed the present measure as a measure repugnant to the general feeling and religion of the country, had abated one jot of their zeal and the principles they had formerly expressed; and that they were as prepared as ever to resist to the last a measure which they regarded as unnecessary, and as violating every principle of the Christianity and the constitution of this country.


regretted that the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford had wasted so much time in commenting upon the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester, which could hardly have been heard by any hon. Member in that House without feelings of unmixed disgust. Notwithstanding the assumption of constitutional right which had been put forward so frequently in arguing that question upon broad and general grounds, he maintained that that House, as being composed of the representatives of the nation, had perfect right to exclude from it those whose admission was repugnant to the general feeling of the nation. It might be said that no great expression of feeling had taken place in the country on this subject; but he contended for it that any one who had an opportunity of ascertaining the general popular opinion on the question would agree that it was opposed to the proposed measure. The admission of the Roman Catholics to Parliament was not a case analogous to the present. He did not allege an abstract right on their part, but the national feeling had been manifested in favour of that question. There was, he conceived, always too much of a vague assumption of constitutional right introduced into the discussion of such matters. That assumption often engaged a large number of supporters that might not otherwise be secured. For instance, a considerable number of Protestants had been in favour of the Roman Catholic claims; and so it was now, the Jews had the entire weight of the Government interest enlisted on their behalf. A great deal of indignation had been expressed against the conduct of the Parliament of 1750; but he thought it should have been directed against the conduct of the Government of the time, which had carried a measure before an election that the subsequently-chosen Parliament had repealed. In the time of Cromwell great exertions had been made to remove the disabilities of the Jews, and the Protector had taken all the steps he could to secure their admission to this country; but, after careful consideration, the conclusion had been come to that such was contrary to the constitution and the feelings of this nation. Was it possible to suppose that such a contradictory feeling could exist as a desire to legislate for and consult the interest of this country on the part of a people who looked forward to the hope of regaining another country? When the Jews of Damascus were suffering from the oppression of the Pacha, they appealed to the Rothschilds as citizens of the world. Riches was the only qualification the Jews had; and they were looked upon in such a constituency as that of London as almost a cardinal virtue, therefore he laid no great stress upon the return made by London at the late election.

Amendment withdrawn.

House went into Committee, Mr. BERNAL in the chair.


moved the addition of the following words:— or any office in the gift or appointment of Her Majesty, her heirs or successors, to which the appointment or recommendation to any office or preferment whatever in the United Church of England and Ireland, or in the Church of Scotland, may belong. Having referred to the Acts of Parliament which had admitted the Jews to municipal privileges, the hon. Baronet called upon the hon. and learned Attorney General to state why, the law having excluded Jews from certain offices, he had not carried out that principle in this Bill? The hon. Member, in reference to the arguments respecting Jews being eligible for certain offices, said he had no objection to Baron Rothschild holding the office of a Poor Law Commissioner, or any such office; but he contended that the Jew would be unfit to hold any post which had any connexion with the Church of England. A Jewish Prime Minister, for instance, would be an absurdity, because it was the duty of the Prime Minister to nominate the dignitaries of the Church. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) no doubt felt that there was a serious responsibility in the appointment of a bishop, and that great caution and discretion were necessary; and would the noble Lord then consent to place that power in Jewish hands? It would, in his opinion, never be known what were the real difficulties of a separation between Church and State until it were tried; and it was in order to lessen the probabilities of any such disastrous event, that he proposed the Amendment of which he had given notice.


, in seconding the Motion, hoped that the hon. Baronet would not readily be persuaded not to press his Amendment to a division, as it appeared to him a point which might be fairly submitted to such a test. The hon. Baronet bad brought forward a case, not founded upon a contingency of mere possibility, but upon an event which might be fairly anticipated. If all that they had heard of Jewish genius and Jewish intellect were true, he saw nothing more probable than that the House might see a Jewish Premier seated in the place so worthily at that moment occupied by the noble Lord upon the bench opposite. It was therefore incumbent upon the House to exercise a small degree of foresight as to what would be the result of a Jew holding such a position. He supposed that it would be met with the same ingenious arguments by which it had been attempted to get rid of the old maxim, that Christianity was part of the law of the land. It had been said that that maxim had no real foundation; but he thought the hon. Member's question touching the Premiership showed how completely Christianity was interwoven with all the laws and institutions of this realm. Not a single step could be taken without disturbing all the machinery of the constitution, if the step trenched upon its Christianity. He would not detain the House upon the general question; but let them for a moment reverse the case. Suppose the Archbishop of Canterbury was called on to appoint all the Rabbies—what an outcry that would create—what a persecution and an injury such an interference would justly be called! And yet the principle involved in this Bill levied the same injury and the same interference against the Protestant Church. It was on these grounds that he strongly supported the Amendment.


said, that the clause was taken from the 10th of George IV., and he thought there was a misunderstanding on the part of the hon. Baronet as to its meaning. The hon. Baronet presumed that the Jews could not at this time hold ecclesiastical patronage, and his Motion was to prevent that power being conferred by the present Bill for the first time; but the fact was, that a Jew might now enjoy ecclesiastical patronage, and, what was more, was now in the constant enjoyment of such patronage. The point had been put beyond a doubt by a decision of Lord Eldon. If the Amendment, therefore, were adopted, it would not be resisting an innovation, but it would show a disposition on the part of the Committee not to allow the Jews to hold a power which by law they now held.


was not bound by the 10th George IV., as he had voted against it; and he also repudiated the idea that the national religion was not Christianity. He asserted that the Government itself had given grounds for the Amendment now proposed, when they said that certain officers, because they have ecclesiastical patronage, shall be excluded from the Bill. The regency of the kingdom and the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland were not only excluded from the Bill, but beyond that the Keepership of the Great Seal could not be held by a Jew—not because he was incapable of administering the law, or of understanding our jurisprudence, but because the Lord Chancellor has at his disposal ecclesiastical patronage. Why did they not also exclude the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster, for, although the value was unequal, the principle was the same. Why not exclude the President of the Board of Control, who appointed to ecclesiastical situations of the greatest importance in India—a country where so many religions prevailed, and where it was wished to give the preponderance to that they believed to be the right one? Why not also exclude the Colonial Secretary, who dispensed Church patronage in the colonies? All these were upon the same footing as the Lord Chancellor of England; and it was no answer to him to say that it was not in the 10th of George IV. He did not think that Bill the pattern of perfection; and when a new measure was proposed he did not think such a precedent was any great recommendation. He thought it so bad that he could never be a party to any similar measure; and as he had opposed the first measure, so now he felt bound to oppose that which was framed upon it. He should, therefore, vote for the Amendment.


objected to the Bill because it did not go far enough. Clause 6 excluded Jews from certain offices; he objected to any such exclusion, and particularly to that which related to the Lord Chancellorship of Ireland. He wished to know, and he hoped the supporters of this clause would give a clear and explicit answer, why Jews were excluded from the Lord Chancellorship of Ireland? He asked the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth why, when he drew up the Catholic Emancipation Bill, men of his faith had been excluded? He had asked that question of first-rate lawyers, and had been told it was because the Lord Chancellor of Ireland had patronage in the Protestant Church. That was the answer he invariably got; but it was founded upon an error. The Lord Chancellor of England was, he believed, the patron of 800 livings; but the Lord Chancellor of Ireland had not one. Having committed this injustice upon Roman Catholics, was the House prepared to endorse that injustice on the back of the Jew? If this clause were carried it would form a justification for the exclusion of Roman Catholics for ever from the office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland. On that ground, therefore, he should move that the words "the Lord Chancellor of Ireland" be omitted altogether.


The hon. Member is too late.


said, that the clause had undoubtedly been framed upon the provisions of an Act now in force, and which it was therefore fairly presumed would again meet the sanction of Parliament. In that Act there was no clause preventing any Roman Catholic from holding office, or recommending persons to the Crown for ecclesiastical preferment. It appeared to him there was no office which had a right by virtue of that office to recommend to certain ecclesiastical preferment. The Lord Chancellor had patronage absolutely in his own office; but there was no office that had a power of recommending. With regard to the highest ecclesiastical offices, those of Archbishop and Bishop, that had varied according to the circumstances of the times. In George II.'s reign, the Secretary of State exercised the power of re-commending, and at another time the Lord Privy Seal had nominated the bishops. He thought, therefore, that the words proposed to be inserted would not answer the purpose intended by the hon. Baronet, and that the clause as it stood was sufficiently stringent.

The Committee divided on the question that the words be inserted:—Ayes 99; Noes 196: Majority 97.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Hildyard, R. C.
Alexander, N. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Archdall, Capt. M. Hope, Sir J.
Baldock, E. H. Hope, A.
Bankes, G. Hornby, J.
Bennet, P. Hotham, Lord
Bentinck, Lord G. Ingestre, Visct.
Beresford, W. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Bolling, W. Jones, Capt.
Brackley, Visct. Knightley, Sir C.
Bremridge, R. Knox, Col.
Brisco, M. Law, hon. C. E.
Broadley, H. Lockhart, A. E.
Brown, H. Lockhart, W.
Bruce, C. L. C. Lowther, H.
Buck, L. W. Mackenzie, W. F.
Buller, Sir J. Y. M'Naghten, Sir E.
Bunbury, W. M. Manners, Lord C. S.
Cabbell, B. B. March, Earl of
Carew, W. H. P. Miles, W.
Christy, S. Morgan, O.
Clive, H. B. Mundy, E. M.
Cobbold, J. C. Napier, J.
Codrington, Sir W. Newdegate, C. N.
Coles, H. B. Ossulston, Lord
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Palmer, R.
Cripps, W. Plumptre, J. P.
Currie, H. Plowden, W. H. C.
Davies, D. A. S. Prime, R.
Deedes, W. Repton, G. W. J.
Dick, Q. Richards, R.
Dod, J. W. Rushout, Capt.
Duncombe, hon. O. Sandars, G.
Du Pre, C. G. Scott, hon. F.
East, Sir J. B. Seymer, H. K.
Farrer, J. Shirley, E. J.
Fellowes, E. Sibthorp, Col.
Filmer, Sir E. Smyth, J. G.
Floyer, J. Somerset, Capt.
Fox, S. W. L. Spooner, R.
Fuller, A. E. Stuart, J.
Gaskell, J. M. Thesiger, Sir F.
Goddard, A. L. Tollemache, J.
Grogan, E. Trollope, Sir J.
Gwyn, H. Turner, G. J.
Haggitt, F. R. Urquhart, D.
Hervey, Lord A. Verner, Sir W.
Vivian, J. E. Williams, T. P.
Vyse, R. H. R. H. TELLERS.
Waddington, H. S. Walsh, Sir J.
Walpole, S. H. Willoughby, Sir H.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, T. N. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Acland, Sir T. D. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Adair, H. E. Glyn, G. C.
Aglionby, H. A. Grace, O. D. J.
Alcock, T. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Anderson, A. Greene, J.
Anson, Visct. Grenfell, C. W.
Anstey, T. C. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Armstrong, Sir A. Grey, R. W.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Grosvenor, Lord R.
Hall, Sir B.
Bagshaw, J. Hardcastle, J. A.
Baring, hon. W. B. Hawes, B.
Barnard, E. G. Hay, Lord J.
Barron, Sir H. W. Hayter, W. G.
Bellew, R. M. Headlam, T. E.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Heathcoat, J.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Henry, A.
Birch, Sir T. B. Hindley, C.
Blackall, S. W. Hodges, T. L.
Blewitt, R. J. Hodges, T. T.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Hume, J.
Bowring, Dr. Hutt, W.
Boyle, hon. Col. Jackson, W.
Bright, J. Jervis, Sir J.
Brockman, E. D. Johnstone, Sir J.
Brotherton, J. Keogh, W.
Buller, C. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Busfeild, W. Kershaw, J.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Cardwell, E. Lemon, Sir C.
Carter, J. B. Lennard, T. B.
Clay, J. Lewis, G. C.
Clay, Sir W. Lincoln, Earl of
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Locke, J.
Cobden, R. Macnamara, Maj.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. M'Cullagh, W. T.
Craig, W. G. M'Gregor, J.
Crawford, W. S. Meagher, T.
Dashwood, G. H. Mangles, R. D.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Marshall, W.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Matheson, A.
Devereux, J. T. Matheson, Col.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Melgund, Visct.
Disraeli, B. Mitchell, T. A.
Duff, G. S. Moffatt, G.
Duke, Sir J. Molesworth, Sir W.
Duncan, Visct. Morpeth, Visct.
Duncan, G. Morison, Gen.
Dundas, Adm. Morris, D.
Dundas, Sir D. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Ebrington, Visct. Mulgrave, Earl of
Elliot, hon. J. E. Muntz, G. F.
Evans, Sir De L. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Evans, W. Nugent, Sir P.
Fagan, W. O'Connell, M. J.
Fergus, J. Ogle, S. C. H.
Ferguson, Col. Ord, W.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Owen, Sir J.
Foley, J. H. H. Paget, Lord A.
Forster, M. Paget, Lord G.
Fortescue, C. Palmerston, Visct.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Parker, J.
Fox, R. M. Pattison, J.
Fox, W. J. Pearson, C.
Freestun, Col. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Gardner, R. Peto, S. M.
Philips, Sir G. R. Stuart, Lord D.
Pigott, F. Sullivan, M.
Pilkington, J. Sutton, J. H. M.
Pinney, W. Talbot, C. R. M.
Power, Dr. Tancred, H. W.
Power, N. Tenison, E. K.
Price, Sir R. Tennent, R. J.
Raphael, A. Thicknesse, R. A.
Reynolds, J. Thompson, Col.
Ricardo, J. L. Thornely, T.
Ricardo, O. Townley, R. G.
Rice, E. R. Townshend, Capt.
Rich, H. Vane, Lord, H.
Robartes, T. J. A. Verney, Sir H.
Russell, Lord J. Vivian, J. H.
Russell, hon. E. S. Wakley, T.
Russell, F. C. H. Wall, C. B.
Rutherfurd, A. Walmsley, Sir J.
Sadleir, J. Ward, H. G.
Scholefield, W. Westhead, J. P.
Scully, F. Willcox, B. M.
Seymour, Sir H. Williams, J.
Seymour, Lord Williamson, Sir H.
Sheil, rt. hon. R. L. Wilson, J.
Shelburne, Earl of Wilson, M.
Slaney, R. A. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Smith, J. A. Wood, W. P.
Smith, J. B. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W. Wyld, J.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Wyvill, M.
Stanton, W. H. TELLERS.
Staunton, Sir G. T. Tufnell, H.
Strickland, Sir G. Hill, Lord M.

then moved that at the end of Section 6, the following words should he added— or Judge of any of Her Majesty's Courts of Law, or Members of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Committee again divided on the question that these words he added:—Ayes 109; Noes 203: Majority 94.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Cobbold, J. C.
Alexander, N. Codrington, Sir W.
Archdall, Capt. M. Coles, H. B.
Baldock, E. H. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Bankes, G. Courtenay, Lord
Bateson, T. Cripps, W.
Bennet, P. Davies, D. A. S.
Beresford, W. Deedes, W.
Boldero, H. G. Dick, Q.
Bolling, W. Dod, J. W.
Brackley, Visct. Duncombe, hon. O.
Bremridge, R. Du Pre, C. G.
Brisco, M. East, Sir J. B.
Broadley, H. Egerton, Sir P.
Brooke, Lord Farrer, J.
Brown, H. Fellowes, E.
Bruce, C. L. C. Filmer, Sir E.
Buck, L. W. Floyer, J.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Forbes, W.
Bunbury, W. M. Fox, S. W. L.
Cabbell, B. B. Fuller, A. E.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Goddard, A. L.
Carew, W. H. P. Goring, C.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Grogan, E.
Christy, S. Gywn, H.
Clive, H. B. Haggitt, F. R.
Hall, Col. Plumptre, J. P.
Heald, J. Plowden, W. H. C.
Hervey, Lord A. Prime, R.
Hildyard, R. C. Raphael, A.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Renton, J. C.
Hope, Sir J. Richards, R.
Hope, A. Rushout, Capt.
Hornby, J. Scott, hon. F.
Hotham, Lord Seymer, H. K.
Ingestre, Visct. Shirley, E. J.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Smyth, J. G.
Jones, Sir W. Smollett, A.
Jones, Capt. Somerset, Capt.
Knightley, Sir C. Spooner, R.
Knox, Col. Stafford, A.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Stuart, J.
Lockhart, A. E. Thesiger, Sir F.
Lockhart, W. Tollemache, J.
Lowther, H. Trollope, Sir J.
Mackenzie, W. F. Turner, G. J.
M'Naghten, Sir E. Urquhart, D.
Manners, Lord C. S. Verner, Sir W.
March, Earl of Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Waddington, H. S.
Meux, Sir H. Walpole, S. H.
Morgan, O. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Mundy, E. M. Willoughby, Sir H.
Napier, J. TELLERS.
Newdegate, C. N. Law, hon. C. E.
Ossulston, Lord Sibthorp, Col.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, T. N. Crawford, W. S.
Adair, H. E. Dashwood, G. H.
Aglionby, H. A. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Anderson, A. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Anson, hon. Col. Devereux, J. T.
Anson, Visct. D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.
Anstey, T. C. Disraeli, B.
Armstrong, Sir A. Duff, G. S.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Duke, Sir, J.
Duncan, Visct.
Bagshaw, J. Duncan, G.
Baring, hon. W. B. Dundas, Adm.
Barnard, E. G. Dundas, Sir D.
Barron, Sir H. W. Ebrington, Visct.
Bellew, R. M. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Bentinck, Lord G. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Evans, W.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Fagan, W.
Birch, Sir T. B. Ferguson, Col.
Blackall, S. W. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Blewett, R. J. Foley, J. H. H.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Forster, M.
Bowring, Dr. Fortescue, C.
Boyle, hon. Col. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Bright, J. Fox, R. M.
Brockman, E. D. Fox, W. J.
Brotherton, J. Freestun, Col.
Buller, C. Gardner, R.
Busfeild, W. Gaskell, J. M.
Callaghan, D. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Cardwell, E. Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.
Carter, J. B. Glyn, G. C.
Cayley, E. S. Grace, O. D. J.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Clay, J. Greene, J.
Clay, Sir W. Grenfell, C. W.
Clerk, right hon. Sir G. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Cobden, R. Grey, R. W.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Craig, W. G. Hall, Sir B.
Hamilton, Lord C. Price, Sir R.
Hardcastle, J. A. Rawdon, Col.
Hastie, A. Repton, G. W. J.
Hawes, B. Reynolds, J.
Hay, Lord J. Ricardo, J. L.
Hayter, W. G. Ricardo, O.
Headlam, T. E. Rice, E. R.
Heathcoat, J. Rich, H.
Henry, A. Robartes, T. J. A.
Hindley, C. Russell, Lord J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Russell, hon. E. S.
Hodges, T. L. Russell, F. C. H.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Rutherfurd, A.
Hume, J. Sandars, G.
Hutt, W. Scholefield, W.
Jackson, W. Scully, F.
Jervis, Sir J. Seymour, Sir H.
Johnstone, Sir J. Seymour, Lord
Keppel, hon. G. T. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Kershaw, J. Shelburne, Earl of
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Slaney, R. A.
Lemon, Sir C. Smith, J. A.
Lennard, T. B. Smith, J. B.
Lewis, G. C. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Lincoln, Earl of Stanley, hon. E. J.
Locke, J. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Macnamara, Maj. Stanton, W. H.
M'Cullagh, W. T. Staunton, Sir G. T.
M'Gregor, J. Strickland, Sir G.
Meagher, T. Stuart, Lord D.
Mangles, R. D. Sullivan, M.
Marshall, W. Sutton, J. H. M.
Matheson, A. Talbot, C. R. M.
Matheson, Col. Tancred, H. W.
Melgund, Visct. Tenison, E. K.
Milnes, R. M. Tonnent, R. J.
Mitchell, T. A. Thicknesse, R. A.
Moffatt, G. Thompson, Col.
Molesworth, Sir W. Thornely, T.
Morpeth, Visct. Townley, R. G.
Morison, Gen. Townshend, Capt.
Morris, D. Traill, G.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Trelawny, J. S.
Mulgrave, Earl of Vane, Lord H.
Muntz, G. F. Verney, Sir H.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Vivian, J. H.
Nugent, Sir P. Wakley, T.
O'Connell, M. J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Ogle, S. C. H. Ward, H. G.
Owen, Sir J. Wawn, J. T.
Paget, Lord A. Westhead, J. P.
Paget, Lord G. Willcox, B. M.
Palmerston, Visct. Williams, J.
Parker, J. Williamson, Sir H.
Pattison, J. Wilson, J.
Pearson, C. Wilson, M.
Peel, right hon. Sir R. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Peto, S. M. Wood, W. P.
Philips, Sir G. R. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Pigott, F. Wyvill, M.
Pilkington, J.
Pinney, W. TELLERS.
Power, Dr. Tufnell, H.
Power, N. Hill, Lord M.

Clause agreed to.

Bill went through Committee.

House resumed. Bill reported.