HC Deb 11 February 1848 vol 96 cc460-536

could not pretend that he was altogether uninitiated in the practices of a deliberative assembly; but as it was some years since he appeared as a debater, and as he was labouring under the fashionable complaint, he hoped for a larger share than usual of the indulgence which the House invariably awarded to new Members. He lamented, in common with other hon. Members, that religious topics had been introduced into the debate—topics but little adapted to the heated atmosphere of a political assembly. He had hoped, that from the mild and moderate manner in which the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government had brought forward the question, it would have been discussed solely upon the broad principle of civil liberty. But many of those who had addressed the House, had, from conscientious motives, given the discussion a religious direction. Those, therefore, who represented large constituencies might deem themselves bound to take that view also of the subject, in order to prevent their conduct from being misunderstood by those to whom they had to give an account. But if this subject were to be discussed as a religious subject, it behaved them to be exceedingly careful that, while they used great frankness and candour, as well as great courtesy, they should especially strive to avoid encroaching upon the feelings of those whose sentiments upon the subject were opposed to their own. He, for one, felt bound to state, that he did not participate in the sentiments expressed by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), who, although he intended on this occasion to vote on the same side of the question as he (Mr. C. Pearson) did, had arrived at the same conclusion with himself, not only by a different but by a directly opposite route. That hon. Gentleman had expressed himself in favour of a religious conformity taking the shape of religious truth. He could support the Bill upon no such grounds. It appeared to him that if the House adopted that view of the case, they most be prepared to return to the Test Acts, the Corporation Acts, the Act of Conformity, and the Act of Uniformity. The State had no right to coerce the consciences of men, and cast them in the mould of conformity as a condition for their obtaining public employment. He should support the Bill upon the principle of religious liberty. He was aware it had been said, and he adhered to the proposition even to its fullest extent, that the ultimate result of this measure would be the admission of Mahometans into the House of Commons. Now, he did not hesitate to say, that if the son of Ramohun Roy, inheriting his father's virtues, and imitating his conduct, should receive the confidence of a large constituency, and be returned to that House, he believed the House would be prepared to recognise the broad principle of civil and religious liberty, and admit that son of Ramohun Roy. It had been said by the hon. Member for Oxford, that privation was not persecution, and that exclusion from office was not to be considered that description of disparagement of which the Jews had any right to complain, so long as we did not spit upon their gabardines, and call them "Jews." Now, of all the treatment to which the Jews, in the long history of the persecution which had been directed against them, had been subjected, there was no disparagement that more severely wounded their feelings than that of being called Jews, and the spitting upon their gabardines. But if to spit upon their gabardines, and to call them Jews, was considered persecution, what were they to say of the imputations, and those of the severest character, which, within the walls of the House of Commons, had recently been cast upon that body? The speech to which he more immediately referred, and upon which he should make a few remarks, had since assumed a place among the literature of the country. He regretted deeply that the hon. Member—he meant the hon. Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole)—should have permitted himself to have given it this prominent position, containing, as it did, expressions in regard to the Jews that conveyed imputations which he had no right to cast upon them. It had been said that the exclusion of the Jews was conformable to other exclusions sanctioned by the law of the land; and the hon. Member for Midhurst instanced the cases of age, sex, and property, as being tests applied to all persons, whether Jews or Christians. But the only reply he (Mr. C. Pearson) thought it necessary to make to such an argument was, that it was not proposed to admit either Jewish minors, Jewish women, or Jewish paupers into Parliament. All that the Jews claimed, or rather all that was claimed for them, was, the right of eligibility—a right to be elected in common with every other individual in the country. He stood there as an elector of the city of London, which had returned this Gentleman (Mr. Rothschild)—one of between 6,000 and 7,000 persons who composed the ancient livery companies of the city of London, consisting of the merchants, bankers, traders, and inhabitant householders of the first commercial city in the first commercial country in the world, and who in the exercise of their rights and the discharge of their duties had thought fit to elect as their representative one of the most eminent of their commercial men, whose name was known in every part of the world where the peaceful flag of commerce floated. Why should this Gentleman not be returned to that House? The first reason assigned was his inability to join in the prayers with which the proceedings of the House were opened. It had been stated that he could not join in prayer with other Members of the House without awful blasphemy towards God, and hypocrisy towards his fellow-men. Now, these were very hard words to bestow upon a body of the Jewish community. He, for his part, had had the privilege of being acquainted with Jews for thirty-five years. There were persons within the sound of his voice at that moment belonging to that community with whom he had been acquainted for that period; he had also been acquainted with the late Solomon Herschel, Dr. Mendola, and several members of the Jewish clergy and laity of all classes; and he solemnly declared, that he never in his life heard fall from the lips of one of the Jewish people a single word or sentence, not only not resembling in the slightest degree the expression imputed to them—namely, that of calling our Saviour a crucified impostor—but not even a single expression which the most delicate and fastidious Christian could be offended at. He took leave to inform those hon. Gentlemen who imputed mockery and blasphemy to the Jews, in the event of their being present in that House, that he (Mr. Pearson) had been in the house of God with members of the Jewish community, and he could conscientiously say, he had never seen them guilty of the slightest offence to their Christian brethren. It was the duty of the high-sheriffs of London to attend upon certain days at the ministrations of religion in the Protestant form. They had all seen in the newspapers a short time ago, that a certain ceremony took place at a certain place where the interrupting words of "Mockery, mockery!" were frequently and distinctly heard. That ceremony took place in an edifice in which an alderman of the city of London was in attendance, and he attended with the Riot Act in his pocket, as in duty bound; and the violent conduct of certain clergymen, who echoed "Mockery, mockery!" from pew to pew at the solemn confirmation of a bishop—for that was the ceremony to which he alluded—had almost caused him to put the Riot Act in force. Now, those cries did not proceed from Jews. No! the conduct of the alderman, who was a Jew, was on that occasion, as it was on every other occasion, like that of his Jewish brethren—respectful and blameless. Those cries proceeded from the Christian, and even from the clerical portion of the assembly. He had known the Jews perform many services for Christians connected with the promotion of their religion. He recollected that, in the year 1821, at Rio de Janeiro, when the British Protestants could not obtain from the Go- vernment a piece of ground on which to erect a Protestant place of worship, Mr. D. Samuel, a Jewish gentleman in the high confidence of the king, procured an edict sanctioning the grant of a plot of ground for the erection of a Protestant place of worship in that country. Mr. Samuel contributed towards the purchase of the ground so obtained; and, in accordance with the unanimous wish of the Protestant residents, he laid the first stone of that Christian temple; and he (Mr. Pearson) had at that moment in his pocket a copy of the vote of thanks addressed to that gentleman for his liberality. That gentleman was at this moment residing in England, and probably, if this Bill passed, he might become a candidate for admission into that House; and he (Mr. Pearson) was quite sure that if he did succeed in obtaining a seat there, he would, like his Jewish brethren, conduct himself during prayers in such a manner as would entitle him to the esteem of the House. But with regard to the attendance at prayers, he (Mr. Pearson) understood that the presence of a Member at prayers was entirely voluntary. Indeed, the only object appeared to be to secure seats; for he believed that, except in the honeymoon of a new Parliament, if twenty Members were present at prayers it was as much as could be expected; and, therefore, a Jewish gentleman might perform all the duties of that House without incurring the censure which had been attempted to be cast upon a Jew attending at prayers. The objection to the admission of the Jews appeared to rest upon three grounds: first, that it was contrary to the constitutional rights of the country; secondly, that it was inconsistent with the faith of the people; and, thirdly, that it was inconsistent with sound religion and Christian principles. The hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis) who had spoken so well and so long upon this subject, had divided the history of the country into three distinct periods. He had challenged the future historian of England to point out any instance, from the time of Alfred the Great and Edward the Elder, to the time of Praise-God Barebones—from the time of Praise-God Barebones down to the Revolution—and from the Revolution to the present period—in which the taking of an oath upon a Christian symbol, or the book of Christian records, was not a condition required to be so fulfilled by all persons previous to taking any office of the State. Now, it was a very remarkable circum- stance, that the precise period which the hon. Baronet had selected for their consideration was the first in which, as far as he (Mr. Pearson) could find, there had been an attempt to coerce conscience—the first instance that he was aware of, in the history of this or any other country, in which there had been an attempt to force an oath upon individuals inconsistent with the faith which they held. And, he apprehended, that would act as a beacon to modern statesmen. Let them see what were the circumstances attending, and the consequences that followed from, this first attempt to coerce consciences in the reign of Alfred. In the year 750, which was about the time that the Council of Constantine- took place, which restored the worship of images, Alfred, the founder of the University of Oxford, was one of the first to attempt to enforce uniformity in religious belief on the part of his subjects. The Council of Constantine decreed that divine honour should be paid to the bones of saints and their relics. History did not say whether the enemies with whom Alfred had to contend were Iconoclasts of the Christian Church, or Pagans; but Alfred, fresh from the politico-ecclesiastical council or parliament which he held in England, immediately after the Council of Constantine, drew up an oath, which he obliged the Danes to swear upon relics, to the observance of their treaties, not that he expected they would pay any veneration to the relics, but he hoped that their impiety in taking the oath would draw down upon them the vengeance of Heaven. He prayed the attention of the House to that fact. What were the consequences of this first attempt to coerce the conscience of the people? The Danes, like Sampson bound with green withes, burst the proposed bonds asunder; they turned upon their oppressors; they deluged the country with blood; and from that period they never left the country, but established themselves in it. He would now draw the attention of the House to the next period to which the hon. Baronet had referred—the period of Praise-God Barebones. He thought that that would be regarded by the House as a most unfortunate selection. In the Praise-God Barebones Parliament they did not trouble themselves with prayers at the commencement of the day's business, by a chaplain, in the same form as prevailed at present; but eight gifted brethren engaged in religious service on the principles of the true faith of a Christian, and having done so, they proceeded with Parliamentary business. That Parliament took into consideration the abolition of clerical functions, as savouring of Popery; they took away tithes, which they called a relic of Judaism; learning, and the universities, were considered as heathenish and unnecessary; and they debated the propriety of adopting the Mosaic code of laws instead of our own. If, then, from two such instances as these in the history of Parliament, they found that all the while everything was done upon the true faith of a Christian—the test which the hon. Baronet sought to continue—appeared to be fraught with much danger. The hon. Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) in that admirable speech which he delivered on the last evening of the debate, introduced to their notice the various writs that had been issued for convening Parliament. He had referred to the quotations from Prymes and Glanville; and he had not the slightest hesitation to admit that, during the whole of the period referred to, and which came down to the Commonwealth, the writs were substantially such as the hon. and learned Member had quoted. Those writs were undoubtedly to the effect that the sheriff was to elect a Member for the defence of the King, the State, and the Anglican Church. The change effected in those writs happened in the time of the Protectorate. It was in the time of the Anglican Church that every species of atrocity, and cruel persecution, and bigotry took place. It was a Parliament called by a writ of the description referred to by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Walpole) that had passed the various statutes of heresy, and which authorised the delivering up of persons suspected of heresy, to be dealt with by the ecclesiastical courts, on whose warrant writs were obtained from the sheriff for the burning of the heretic. It was a Parliament brought together under writ for the defence of the Anglican Church, that passed a statute which rendered it felony for any person to receive into one's house, or give entertainment to an evil spirit, or to treat them with flesh, fish, & c. It was under an Act passed by a Parliament called together under a writ to the sheriff, directing him to call together such Parliament for the defence of the Anglican Church, that the using of the Common Prayer Book was rendered felonious; and, under a similar writ, a penalty of 50l. or twelve months' imprisonment was imposed on anybody who used that book in public. They had evidence, therefore, from facts which occurred at all periods in the history of the country, that, notwithstanding the appeal made to "the true faith of a Christian," the most contradictory statutes were enacted. He was now about to proceed to the third period to which the hon. Baronet had referred, namely, the period of the Revolution; but before he touched upon that it was right for them to see what was the state of the Jews at that period. History showed that the Jews were in this country, though not in any very great numbers, during the period of our Saxon ancestors. A large introduction of them took place after the Conquest. At that period the Jews were admitted to office; the Jews were made collectors of the revenue; in fact, when the first-fruits of the Church were in the hands of kings, they could not trust one another, and they employed the Jews to collect their revenues. The Jews had then to make oath upon the Pentateuch. The Jews sat as jurors, and were examined as witnesses upon the Pentateuch. During the Norman Conquest, and until their banishment, all the oaths of Jews, both assertory and promissory, were, by the common law, administered on the Pentateuch. He knew that in the time of Lord Coke this was denied; but in the celebrated case of Mordecai v. Parker, the Lord Chief Justice Willis clearly laid it down that an oath was administered with the words, "So help me God!" which was acknowledged to be binding on the conscience of every one who believed in the existence of a God; and that the heathen who held that belief could be sworn upon the form of "So help me God!" as well as a Christian, and that his testimony might be received in court after such an oath had been administered. The quotation made by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, from Lord Coke need not now be repeated. Great as was the authority of Lord Coke in many cases, he was not to be taken as an authority where politics and religion were mixed up together. At the best of times he was not very fond of the law as laid down by a theological lawyer; he liked him as little as he did a polemical priest. The fact was, that the subjects did not agree very well with each other; and Lord Coke, in such cases, was not much to be depended upon. In looking, however, to Lord Coke, to see what was the qualification of a Member of Parliament in early times, he found, that according to a translation from a Close Roll of Henry VI., Parliament was to be commune concilium, every Member of the House being a councillor for the good of the State. A Member of Parliament—said the Roll of Henry VI.—ought to have the three properties of an elephant: first, he should have no gall; secondly, he should be inflexible, and not bow the knee; thirdly, he should have a perfect memory. Nothing was said as to his amount of property, or his creed; all that was required of a candidate for Parliamentary honours was, that he should resemble the elephant in the particulars to which he had referred. He did not like to bring down to the House the musty tome in which the original copy of the Close Roll was to be found; but, like old wine, he was aware that old precedents were better when they had the cobweb upon them; but at the same time he thought that as they had previously listened to precedents adduced from centuries long past, the House would be satisfied at his having brought down Lord Coke's translation. The first time in which the oath appeared in an objectionable shape, was in the third year of the reign of James I.; and it was rather remarkable that the year in which the words "upon the faith of a Christian" were introduced into the oath, was the very year in which the statute against witchcraft was passed, by which many hundreds of persons were executed in this country. The hon. Gentleman had triumphantly asked the House to point out any period in the history of the country in which a person could have been admitted into the Legislature without taking an oath which involved an adherence to the Christian religion. In the first place, he (Mr. Pearson) stated that until the time of James I., the Jews, if they had been in this country, would have been admitted upon taking the oaths of supremacy and allegiance upon the Pentateuch, for there was no law which required a Jew to take an oath upon the New Testament; and unless the New Testament was expressly stated in an Act of Parliament, a Jew was, by common law, entitled to take his oath in the form which was binding upon his conscience. The 1st of William and Mary abrogated the old oath of abjuration, and introduced a new one; it introduced an oath of abjuration, without the words "upon the true faith of a Christian;" and it was not until the 13th of William and Mary—1703, he believed—when, in consequence of the King of France causing the Pretender to be crowned King of England, the words "upon the true faith of a Christian" were introduced into the oath of abjuration as they now appeared. Since the Revolution there was no question that every Act that had passed affecting the religion of the country, tended towards a relaxation of those severe laws which had been framed at an anterior period. The first Act was one which relieved the Quakers; the next Act relieved the Roman Catholics; and the next relieved the Unitarians; and then they had the great Act, the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828. Then followed Catholic Emancipation, upon O'Connell being elected for Clare, and his refusal when presented to the House to take the oath tendered to him. At that time, Mr. Pease, a Quaker, was elected for South Durham, and presented himself to the House; but he objected to take any oath, and a Committee was appointed, which reported that an affirmation should be accepted from Mr. Pease. But Lord Morpeth immediately afterwards brought in a Bill for the purpose of legalising the alteration in the abjuration oath, so as to admit the Quaker's affirmation. The City of London upon this occasion had taken the same course. Mr. Rothschild might have presented himself at the table to be sworn; but he and those who had advised him had preferred to take a course which did not place him in collision with the House. If Mr. Rothschild had presented himself at the table, the House would have been placed in a very awkward situation, for if they did not act upon what might be considered a forced construction of an Act of Parliament, they must have rejected him, leaving him to be sent back to his constituents—a course which might have produced results of which it was impossible to see the disastrous character. It was a remarkable fact that it had been decided by a Committee of the House, according to Serjeant Heywood in his excellent work upon Election Law, that although the electors, as a condition precedent to their voting for a candidate, should be called upon to take the oaths of supremacy, allegiance, and abjuration, with the words "upon the true faith of a Christian'' contained in them; yet in the case of an elector of the Jewish persuasion presenting himself to be sworn, he was entitled to take the oaths without the words "upon the true faith of a Christian." He (Mr. Pearson) believed that that was a forced construction of the law. The principle upon which it depended was this, that the words "upon the true faith of a Christian" at the end of the oath, were part of the jurat, and that they were not a substantial and essential part of the oath itself. Upon that principle a Quaker was permitted to take the oath of abjuration, though altered in the body of it, yet it must be admitted that if an affirmation was taken, it was necessary to alter the whole structure of the oath itself. It appeared to him that in the case of Mr. Pease the construction was a forced one; and to remove all doubt, an Act of Parliament was immediately adopted. He had no hesitation in saying that if this oath of abjuration were favourably construed, it might be decided that Mr. Rothschild might swear upon the Pentatateuch, omitting the words "upon the true faith of a Christian." But Mr. Rothschild, and those who had elected him, preferred the straightforward and manly course of relieving themselves and the House from the difficulties arising from any forced construction of a statute; and they asked the House to pass this Bill for the purpose of duly facilitating the admission of Mr. Rothschild. It had been said that the public were adverse to relieving the Jews from their civil disabilities in this country, and that a great outcry would be created if the House attempted to interfere with the Bill of 1753. But there was no analogy between those two Bills. The Bill of 1753 was a Bill for the naturalising of foreign Jews; it proposed to give foreigners privileges, because they were Jews, which foreigners who were Protestants did not possess. A Bill, shortly before that period, had been brought into that House for the purpose of naturalising foreign Protestants. Those who had come in the suite of the reigning Monarch being Lutherans in religion, could not take the sacrament according to the forms of the Church of England, and as such could not be naturalised. The House threw out that Bill; and how, therefore could the House, with any sense of justice and propriety, maintain a Bill for the purpose of giving to the Jews privileges which they had before refused to foreign Protestants? The House restored to the hands of Jewish gentlemen privileges which it might be supposed they ought not to possess: they had now the right of purchasing advowsons; they had the right of presentations to churches—which was taken away by the Act of 1753; but so strong was the feeling at that time against the Jews arising from the strong prejudices that had been excited throughout the country, that they had removed many of the privileges which they had previously enjoyed. To suppose that this country was adverse to the passing of this Bill for the Jews, appeared to him to be inconsistent with the evidence of the facts before the House. The second reading of the Bill had been postponed till now, in order that the country might have time to express itself on the subject; and the result had shown that the public at large were in favour of the measure—otherwise, why was their table not covered with petitions against it, as in the case of the Maynooth grant? It was true that the petitions from the city of London had not been presented to the House by numerous masses as on former occasions. In 1833 a petition was presented by Lord Ashburton, which was signed by eleven of the bankers, thirty-seven eminent merchants, 2,600 merchants, and 15,000 of the inhabitants of the city. On the present occasion the people of London considered that the election of this Gentleman was practical evidence of their opinion. 7,000 of the citizens of London had voted for Mr. Rothschild as their Parliamentary representative; and he prayed in aid of those 7,000 votes all the elections of Jews to municipal offices, and the other high honours which had been recently bestowed upon them as evidences of the kindly feelings entertained towards them by the people generally of this country. He had presented a petition from Lambeth in favour of this Bill, signed by 9,879 persons, with the name and address of each petitioner. He trusted the House would excuse him for detaining them, for he felt so strongly upon the question, that he could hardly find words to give utterance to his feelings. It had been his fortune to move for the admission to the corporation of London of the first Jew who had been admitted a citizen; he had had the satisfaction of working with them from that time; and he trusted the House would not deny that people the act of justice which the present Bill awarded them. When he recollected the many advances which had been made towards the establishment of religious freedom, and considered the great changes which had taken place from the time when men were liable to persecution for holding opinions which all were now at perfect liberty to express, he felt confident that that House would not restrain the further progress of that freedom by throwing out the Bill. He had the greatest respect for the Church of England, and had ever admired her liberal spirit towards those differing from her in opinion. Though a Dissenter himself, he would rather live under the Church of England as a dominant body—if there was to be dominancy at all—than under his own or any other sect. That was a feeling which he believed was very predominant throughout that assembly; and he might say it was that feeling that preserved the equilibrium of the Church. He might add that there were no warmer friends of things as they were than the Jewish people. The hon. Baronet had spoken of the Bill as a measure to admit persons who must be guilty of "awful mockery," and "gross blasphemy," and who called our Saviour a "crucified impostor." Now, if the aldermen, bankers, merchants, and householders of London had really attempted to inflict that disgrace on this House, then on their heads ought to fall a great censure. But it was because the Jews were not in the habit of calling our Saviour a crucified impostor, and were not likely to be guilty of blasphemy, that they had returned Baron Rothschild as their representative, conceiving him to have many qualifications which fitted him for that office. They had elected Baron Rothschild because they considered him peculiarly qualified to represent the interests and feelings of a mercantile body. A Committee had recently been appointed to make inquiry into the causes of the monetary crisis. Did any one doubt that if Baron Rothschild had been in the House, he would not have been a Member of that Committee? The city of London was at present deprived of a portion of its representative power; but when they returned Baron Rothschild, they had a right to expect that he would be admitted. The election of Mr. O'Connell for Clare was followed by the Catholic Emancipation Act, and Mr. O'Connell and other Catholics were admitted to Parliament; Mr. Pease, when elected, was also permitted to take his seat. When Mr. Salomons was elected sheriff of London and Middlesex, he objected to take the abjuration oath, and a Bill was brought in and carried which enabled that gentleman to hold that office. The hon. Member for the University of Oxford was too shrewd not to see under the general terms of the title that the Bill was a Bill to admit Mr. Salomons. But that House relieved Mr. Salomons from the condition precedent to his entering on the duties of his office. Mr. Salomons was admitted, and that was lesson first to the citizens of London. Mr. Salomons was afterwards appointed an alderman; but, having to be admitted within eight days, he had to be passed over, as there was not time to carry a measure; but a Bill was introduced in the other House by the Lord Chancellor to remove the obstacle. That was lesson second. They proceeded to a third election, that of Mr. Rothschild. The writings of the Rev. Mr. Simeon contained a remarkable statement with regard to the position of the Jews in Holland. Mr. Simeon, in course of a tour there, had met Dr. Capadoche, who observed that the Jews were admitted in Holland to all offices and honours; and that therefore Mr. Simeon's aid was not required, that rev. gentleman's visit being made with a view to the conversion of the Jews. But Mr. Simeon, on the contrary, thought that the very reason why he should begin his labours there: first, because the prejudices of the Jews would be less; and, secondly, because he might hold forth Holland as a pattern to other countries. The fable in which Æsop related the contest between the wind and the sun as to which of them should make the traveller part with his cloak, afforded an apposite illustration of the means most likely to induce men to throw off their prejudices; or, in language which the Jews would prefer in this case, their adherence to the faith of their forefathers. As the story of the passenger and his cloak was told in the old nursery rhyme— The wind quite a hurricane blew, But could not provoke Him to part with his cloak, Which around him the closer he drew. "The mild melting ray," however, of "the sun at noonday," made him feel his cloak oppressive, and "inclined him to throw it aside." The moral of that was— 'Tis thus that we find The great mass of mankind By mildness are easily won. Persecution compare To the boisterous air; Religion's the light of the sun.


opposed this Bill, because by it we were called upon, for the first time, to unchristianise this assembly—to declare that the name of Christ, which had been up to this time their guide and test, should be no longer tolerated as the sole test and sole way of admittance into that House—to dishonour religion before the nation—and to shrink from, if not to repudiate, that sacred name. They who had shrunk from such a national repudiation were appealed to. Their acquiescence was desired in the name of political justice. When they in responding referred to the declaration, "on the true faith of a Christian," they were met by the singular argument used by hon. Gentlemen upon the other side of the House—and even the noble Lord at the head of the Government had condescended to use it—that such men as Gibbon and Boling-broke had, notwithstanding the present test, sat in that House. Was there no difference in the character, the honour, the responsibility of a State, into which (make it as perfect as you can) abuses, unbelief oven, will creep in, merely because it is human nature; and the character, the responsibility of a State, which makes direct provision for abuse and unbelief? He was of opinion that the manner in which the questions had been handled by the writers in the public press in this country was, with few exceptions, highly objectionable, for in their arguments they appeared to go entirely on the assumption that Christianity was nothing more than civilisation. He had to complain in particular of the Morning Chronicle, for that paper raised a sneer against what it was pleased to call "the evangelical indignation of the country," and ridiculed the honest alarm which was excited throughout a Christian community by a measure which, in its character and tendency, was decidedly anti-Christian. The liberality of France, too, had been spoken of. He regretted that such an example should be set up for the imitation of Englishmen; for, without any hostile or unfriendly feeling to the people of that country, whose good qualities he would be the last to deny, he would frankly declare that he did not think a country remarkable for its cold philosophy and its atheism—a country in which the God of the Universe had been abjured, and the Altar of Reason set up—was a fit model for the Christian people of England. In France infidelity was not concealed—it was avowed from the tribune, and enunciated in their newspapers daily. An English newspaper had, he! regretted to say, gone so far as to ask, "How long such nonsense was to stand in the way of the proper management of the business of this country?" meaning, of course, how long veneration for the name of Christ was to stand in the way of money? For these reasons he should oppose this measure, which, even if it had been supported by arguments based upon our duty as Christians, would scarcely have convinced him, although such a line of argument would have a great weight with him, as he thought it was more consonant with the spirit of Christianity to concede than to refuse. He would ask why this measure was brought forward? It was not because of its immediate necessity—it was not because of its expediency—it was not because the nation demanded it—but simply because the electors of London had elected a rich man who could not take his seat without violating the law. It was announced that Parliament had been summoned together early for the discharge of business of importance; but the main reason, after all, turned out to be that the noble Lord the Member for the city of London wished to have his Colleague in the House. The heroism of the electors of London, in electing Baron Rothschild as one of their representatives, had been made the subject of enthusiastic encomium by some of the hon. Members who advocated the present measure. It was a pleasant thing to think that 6,000 or 7,000 of our fellow-creatures had acted heroically; but he really could not see that there was any great heroism in the matter after all, or that the electors had in any very remarkable manner testified their devotion to the cause of the Jews. A great deal had been said about their splendid contempt of appearances; but if they were really so enthusiastic on behalf of the Hebrew people, how did it happen that instead of electing four Jews as their representatives, they had only elected one, and that that one happened to be the richest they could anywhere find? The hon. Member for West Surrey, who was accustomed to speak hard and disagreeable truth, had told them on the currency debates, that the worship of gold was the vice of the age. He feared that this Bill was but another illustration of that saying, and that the whole country would be of that opinion. The noble Lord concluded by saying he would strenuously oppose the Bill.


thought the noble Lord had done the supporters of the Bill an injustice in ascribing their conduct to the influence of money. It was supported by them upon broad principles of civil and religious freedom. The present Bill was a natural and necessary sequel to the various measures which for several years back had from time to time been introduced with a view to the removal of religious disabilities. From the principles to which that House had already given its adherence, this last measure for the admission of Jews into Parliament followed as a necessary sequence. They were now merely putting the last stone on that temple of religious freedom which they had been rearing for the last twenty years. He could not understand on what plea, either of justice or of policy, it could be sought to exclude Jews from that House. The law did not look upon them as aliens. Allegiance was exacted from them, and they were called upon to contribute a fair proportion to the expenses of the Government. They were subject to the same duties and liabilities as all other classes of citizens, and should, therefore, be permitted to enjoy the same rights and privileges. It was contended by those who opposed the Bill that the Jews had a peculiar nationality, and that upon that account the Jews were not to be treated as citizens of the United Kingdom. If this was really the view which some who opposed this Bill took of the Jewish people—that they, as the children of Abraham, were set apart by the Almighty from the beginning, to be separate and distinct from all the nations of the earth—and that they would continue distinct (as he believed they would to the end of the world); if that was contended for and conceded, it was still obvious that there was a wide distinction between nationality and race—the Jews were not a distinct nation—there was no national organisation—they had no nation—no home except the country in which they happened to be born, in which they lived and expected to die—so that if they were deprived of the right of nationality they were left in the strange condition of having no country at all. They were a distinct race, and he believed that they would remain distinct. But was not this country, to go no further, composed of a number of distinct races—Normans, Saxons, and Danes? but they did not continue separate races, but were commingled into one common nation. In Ireland there was a wide difference of race between the Celtic population in the west, and the Teutonic people of the north, and yet they all loved their common country. If a Jew embraced the Christian faith tomorrow, he would be at once admitted to the full enjoyment of all civil and political rights; but he would still remain a Jew in national feeling as much as ever. A Jew who believed the New Testament had as firm a hope of being restored to the promised land, and of returning to his beloved Jerusalem, as the Jew who remained blind to the Gospel, and rejected the prophecies in which the New Testament pointed out the glories and felicities of their nation when their own land shall be restored to them. In the present House there were no fewer than six hon. Gentlemen who boasted of their descent from this ancient race, and that Jewish blood flowed in their veins; and among them was the hon. Member who, in the course of the former debate, had spoken of the glories of the Hebrew race, and had entered into some mystical explanations of those great deeds and achievements of the Jews which had already called forth many remarks, and which had completely puzzled the Gentile mind. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, to whom he alluded, had as ardent a national feeling as any Jew who was not a Christian—as any one who was a Jew in creed as well as in feeling; and yet his ardent devotion to the immemorial people from whom he was descended, did not prevent that hon. Member from occupying a conspicuous place in the councils of party as well as in the debates of this House. The genius, too, with which the hon. Member illustrated his views in his written publications, while they had not induced any one to doubt his nationality, had tended greatly to enrich our national literature. If, then, it was admitted, as he thought it must be, that Jews living in England, were entitled to claim the position of citizens so far as their outward or social condition was concerned; it was clear that it would be a great grievance to exclude them from the honours of the State, unless some public object was to be obtained by promoting the interests of morality or by extending the cause of truth. Now he must say that he had not seen such a case made out against them, and he thought the burden of proof lay rather upon those who resisted than upon those who advocated their claims. The main ground which was relied on by his hon. Friend who had moved this Amendment, and which he believed chiefly actuated those who were shocked and grieved by the present measure, was the apprehension that the passing of this Bill would destroy or diminish the Christian character of this House. If this view of the case were correct at all, he must confess that with him it would be decisive; for if Christianity were to be put in one scale, he did not know what could be put in the other. Consistency, expediency, political justice—all those motives and maxims which generally actuated them in their legislative conduct—would, he felt, be all too light in the balance: they would weigh as nothing in his mind, when compared with conformity to the precepts of Christ. But, he would ask, what was this Christian character which they were to lose by the passing of this measure? It would not, of course, be the substance of Christianity. Christianity was not a thing of word or name—it was not a mere title or designation, which a man could take up and lay down again at his pleasure—it was a real, substantial, vital thing, which was not given by Act of Parliament, and which by Act of Parliament could not be taken away. As far as the substance of Christianity was concerned, it was independent of the oath taken at that table—as it existed before the oath was imposed, so it would exist after the oath was abolished. Viewing Christianity, therefore, in its essence, it could not be affected by this measure. What the opponents of this measure contemplated was the title of Christian, and that if we admitted persons who did not declare that they were Christians, we were so far giving up our exclusive character of Christianity. Now, was this title worth the exclusion of the Jews? He knew there was a large and respectable party in the country; who considered that it was the duty of the voters of this country to make for themselves, in their character of representatives, a profession of the true religion. But he did not think that the House of Parliament was by any means summoned to represent the truth—they were rather sent there to represent the people. They were not sent there to define what was speculative or theological truth; and, indeed, if they were, they were as ill-constituted a body for the purpose as could possibly be found. They were not elected for such high functions, nor neither the mode in which they were elected, nor their modes and habits of debate, nor the subjects which came before them, were calculated to define what was speculative or theological truth. They were sent there to represent the feelings, the wants, and the wishes of the people, and endeavour to obtain for them, as far as they could, good government, and the general prosperity of the empire. He was confirmed in this view of the question by inquiring into the powers which the House possessed. They had power, in the making of laws, over the property and the lives of the people; they could influence their persons and their property; but if they were to attempt to exercise power over their consciences—if they were to strive to compel the people to believe what they, the House, thought was true—if they were to attempt to occupy a sphere higher than that to which they naturally belonged—he was convinced that they would not only utterly fail in the attempt, but that they would do far more mischief than good. He thought experience, as well as reason, had shown that to attempt to expel error by compulsion, was much more prejudicial than leaving it alone. Truth was a still small voice, which was heard and listened to only by willing ears; but it was generally drowned in the midst of noise and clamour, which must prevail when force and violence were used to compel men to listen to it. But this was not necessary to his argument, because the external profession was not altogether removed by this measure. Some hon. Gentlemen had contended that it was important that they, as representing the State, should pay homage to Christianity, and that that homage was paid by professing themselves to be Christians. He had some little doubt as to the advantage Christianity derived from this homage. Hypocrisy had been defined to be the homage which vice paid to virtue; and, for his own part, he did not think that virtue was much better for such homage; and so he was inclined to believe that the homage paid to Christianity by persons calling themselves Christians, who were not Christians in heart—who were not sensible of the deep responsibility which Christianity imposed upon them—was no advantage to Christianity, and was not to be clung to by those who desired that Christianity should stand well with mankind at large. He thought there was more danger to Christianity from those who called themselves its friends when they were not, than from those who avowed that they were its open enemies. The hostility of an enemy was known, and could be properly judged; but a treacherous friend was less easily estimated. Besides there was, he thought, danger in fostering this delusion, because, when they had once got persons to say that they were Christians, there was a danger of encouraging them to imagine that they were so also in substance. But, whatever there might be in this, it was to be observed that the external profession of Christianity was still continued—it was not affected by the Bill. Christianity was still to be professed at the table of the House by those who were Christians; the only difference was, that they would draw from this external profession of Christianity all that it at present had of a penal character. It would no longer be a bar of exclusion; it would be what it was originally intended to be—a solemn declaration of the faith of those who took the oath. It was, indeed, strange that this oath should now be perverted so as to operate to the exclusion of the Jews. It was originally directed against a very different class of persons—it was directed against those who believed, not in Judaism, but in the Pretender; and he had heard no one say that the Jews were in any special measure fond of the elder branch of the Stuarts—certainly they were not so fond of them as were some hon. Friends of his who had been in the House, and who regretted that this country had ever parted with that branch; and who, if England had a Pretender at present, would have great difficulty in taking the oath as it was at present framed. But though this was the primary intention of the oath, the Jews were, by its operation, incidentally and accidentally kept out. There was one other argument which had been relied upon, though certainly not to so great an extent as some others, and that was the moral disqualification which the Jews were naturally under by not believing in that ultimate law of appeal which was adopted by all Christians. This view had considerable weight on his own mind when he sat down to consider the question. He thought the Jews laboured under considerable disqualifications in not being convinced of that truth which all Christians considered the ultimate source of appeal on doubtful points—he meant the revealed law in the New Testament. A Jew was thereby, to a considerable extent, disqualified from carrying out the ideas of a Christian country. But he did not think the House ought to enter upon the field of considering the eligibility of candidates with regard to their moral qualifications. They were all agreed that a liar or a swindler was not fit to sit in the House. But it would be unconstitutional to limit the choice of electors, or to take upon themselves the responsibility of deciding whether a man possessed those moral qualifications which fitted him to sit in the society of gentle- men. His opinion was, that it was better to leave the question of moral qualifications to the electors themselves, on whom fell the duty of electing their representatives. It was their business, not ours; and if the electors chose to exercise their right by sending a man to the House who was not a Christian, his view was, that the House of Commons and Parliament had no right to interfere with the choice. On the electors lay the responsibility. It was put upon them by the constitution. He was not, therefore, able to satisfy his own mind that there was any sufficient ground for continuing these restrictions. He did not see that by this measure they would destroy the Christianity of the House; and with regard to names, he did not see why they should require an exclusive unity in that House, which did not exist in the nation at large. It appeared to him that Christian conduct would rather be shown by throwing open their doors to all the citizens of the State, than by entering into discussions as to how far they should exclude their fellow-citizens for their errors of belief. The English nation stood high in its character for the efforts it made to disseminate the truth. England also was the country where the principles of toleration were first propagated and first adopted; and therefore it was for England to show to the world that liberality and indifference did not necessarily go together—that, while they were earnest for the dissemination of religious truth, they were, at the same time, not disposed to impose disabilities on a man who did his duty, and who, by his general conduct, succeeded in gaining the approbation of his fellow-creatures. By thus exerting themselves for the spread of religious truth, while, at the same time, they established complete religious freedom, they would show that the first table of the law could well be reconciled with the second, and that while they served God they also loved their neighbour.


did not quite understand the hon. Member who had opened the debate that evening, when he talked of "the religious section of the House." He was more liberal than that hon. Member, for he believed that there were several religious sections in that House, according to their respective modes of worship. As a Member of that House, he was anxious to disclaim the imputation of bigotry and persecution, which was declared to attach to all who voted as he intended to vote on that occasion. There were persons in this country who held the opinion that all attachment to religious truth was synonymous with bigotry, and to the principle of an Established Church synonymous with persecution. That opinion would find little favour on his side of the House; neither would it, he hoped, on the Treasury benches. He could not concur in the principle laid down by the noble Lord the Member for London, in introducing this question; and he did not believe it could be fully carried out in this country. It might in America, but not in England. He did not believe, indeed, that the noble Lord was himself prepared to carry it out to its full extent. The hon. Member who had just addressed the House described the measure as a mere completion of the measures of religious toleration promoted by the noble Lord the Prime Minister. How was the noble Lord prepared to deal with our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects? There were 8,000,000 of Roman Catholics in this country; and, according to the law and constitution, no one professing that religion could succeed to the Throne of these realms. That large body could not, under any circumstances, be governed by a Sovereign of the same religious persuasion as themselves. Here was a distinction between one religious body and another. Was the noble Lord prepared to abolish it? He had no difficulty in holding the principle of an established church, of which the Sovereign was the head. He was ready to maintain all religious disabilities which were necessary to support the principle of an established church; not because he was fond of disabilities in themselves—still less because he wished to punish persons of other religious persuasions—but because they were necessary to the maintenance of the institutions of our country. For the sake of the principle of an established church he was prepared to maintain the disabilities which affected 8,000,000 of Roman Catholics; and for the sake of the still broader principle of Christianity, he was prepared to maintain those which affected 40,000 Jews. The noble Lord, the Member for London had sneered at the idea of making a man a "Christian by the fag-end of an oath." He admitted that they could not by any form of words make a man a true Christian. Neither could they, by any code of morality, make a man truly virtuous; but this did not induce them to relax their code. The hon. Member who had just sat down had said that the words of the oath would still be retained for those who professed to be Christians; but the argument of the noble Lord, if good for anything, would be equally good for its entire abolition. He disclaimed being actuated by any prejudices against the Jews; but he thought that in the reaction of feeling towards them there was rather a tendency to over-estimate their good qualities. He did not quite agree with some of the extravagant encomiums that had been passed upon them; but he had no wish to say anything against them, and was ready to admit that many of them were morally qualified to have seats in that House, provided there had not been the objection of their faith. They were told that consistency required that the House should pass this Bill—that they had given up the principle of a Church of England Parliament—of a Protestant Parliament—and therefore they must give up that of a Christian Parliament. He would admit that all that had been done was un fait accompli; but without going into those past questions, he would say that they afforded no good argument in the present case. They had abandoned the principle of a Church of England Legislature, because the increasing body of Dissenters in this country rendered it impossible to say with truth that it was a Church of England country. They had abandoned the principle of a Protestant Parliament, because the large body of Roman Catholics prevented them from saying it was a Protestant country; but they might still say with truth that it was a Christian country, and that they were therefore entitled to a Christian Legislature. Considerable importance had been attached to the citizens of London having returned a Jew as their representative. He did not think that the argument was entitled to much weight. The citizens of London were fond of speculation—they elected Baron Rothschild on speculation. They drew a bill upon the House for acceptance at a venture; and they were now very much in the position they were in some time ago in reference to railway schemes—very glad to take shares when they were at a premium, but very glad also when Parliament rejected the Bills, whereby they were saved from being obliged to pay up the remaining calls—the remaining calls in this case being the admission of Mahometans, Hindoos, and Turks. He did not believe that they were prepared to pay up those claims. He differed from the hon. Gen- tleman who opened this debate this evening, in his understanding of what had fallen from the noble Lord at the head of the Government. He understood the noble Lord to disclaim the notion that religion had nothing to do with politics; he understood him to say exactly the contrary; and he wished the noble Lord would instil the same principle into the citizens of London. [Mr. C. PEARSON: The hon. Gentleman misapprehended what I stated.] The citizens of London having returned a Jew to Parliament had assented to the principle that religion had nothing to do with politics. They were told that there would be very few Jews in Parliament, and those only the élite of the nation—those who, by their superior merits, were able to overcome the prejudices of their position. He did not attach any great importance to numbers; but he thought they would have more Jews sitting in the House than some hon. Gentlemen anticipated. Did it never occur to those hon. Gentlemen that other superior qualifications as well as superior merit might overcome prejudices—that they might be overcome by superior wealth? If this Bill passed, they would find wealthy Jews do as wealthy Christians had done before them—endeavour to find their way into Parliament by means of their wealth. It had been said, on a former occasion, by a noble Lord (Viscount Morpeth), that they should emancipate the Jews because they might have suggested to the Grand Seignor the emancipation of the Greeks. But the Grand Seignor might, on other grounds, if he knew anything of this part of the world, say they were not very consistent with regard to civil rights. He might say something on the slavery system, and ask why they had passed the Sugar Bill to encourage slavery? But why was it that they had turned their attention to the emancipation of the Greeks? The fact was, there was a great number of Greek Christians who were looking to Russia for assistance, and that might possibly be the reason for suggesting to the Grand Seignor the emancipation of the Greeks. But the manner in which the Greeks had been treated in Turkey was quite different from that in which the Jews had been treated in England. He had travelled in Turkey, and he knew something of the way in which the Greeks were treated by the Turks. On one occasion, in Asia Minor, he had great difficulty in preventing his Turkish courier from horsewhipping the Archbishop of Philadelphia because he would not give up his lodgings to him. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford said that although he felt the incongruity of Jews legislating for a Christian Church, yet he thought no evil was likely to arise from it, and that questions of Church legislation would be treated in that House with tenderness; and he fancied that he had already seen symptoms of that feeling amongst those who differed from the Church. His right hon. Friend had had more experience in that House than he; but during the short time that he had had a seat there, he could not say that he had seen much of that sympathy. He could not forget the manner in which the Bill for the preservation of a Welsh bishopric—one not intended to throw any new burden on the people—was received by some hon. Gentlemen opposite. They heard the cry of "No more bishops" from the hon. Member for Montrose; nor could he forget the manner in which that cry was received by other hon. Members opposite; and in the present Session they had heard terms applied to a colonial bishop for having done that which, if it had been done by a layman, would have been called standing up for a treaty and the rights of man. If the battle of the Church of England was fought in that House, he knew that his right hon. Friend would be foremost in the fight; but he would find it to his disadvantage that he had abandoned the principle of a Christian Legislature. Having abandoned that, he would find it more difficult to maintain the principle of a Christian Church. It had been said that when the Church was fenced round by disabilities, her position was not so secure as when some of them were removed, and he would not altogether deny its truth; but that was no reason why they should run into an opposite extreme. Let the Church do her duty, but at the same time assert her privileges. Otherwise what would they have? No doubt they would have a pure Church—a Church doing its duty as a Christian community, like the Episcopal Church in America and in Scotland; but they would cease to have an Established Church. That was a point upon which he held a very strong opinion, and differed from many persons who thought it of little importance. This was the last night of the debate; and as he knew many hon. Gentlemen were anxious to address the House, he would adhere to his original intention, and not extend his observations beyond declaring that he should certainly record his vote against the second reading of the Bill.


said, no one who had heard, either on this or on previous occasions, the speeches of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, would think it necessary that he should disclaim the charge of bigotry. Much as the House must be struck by the ability which characterised the hon. Gentleman's speeches, he must say they were still more characterised by that candour, moderation, and justice which added weight to everything that fell from him in the House. For himself he regretted deeply to find that he differed from many hon. Gentlemen whose sincerity and zeal he admired, and in whose general objects he cordially sympathised. But his comfort was that they differed only in the mode and the means of acting—there was no difference between them in their great ends. He agreed with them in repudiating the doctrine that religion had nothing to do with politics. It had been said by a high authority—already alluded to by a noble Lord on the other side—that religion had no more to do with making laws than with making shoes. From his heart he repudiated such a sentiment, which was equally opposed to all our notions of human accountability and of common sense. The one was a mere mechanical occupation, carrying with it no moral consequences, and so might be altogether disconnected from any moral code; but the functions of a legislator were of a different character; his acts affected not merely the social but the moral condition of society; he discharged a solemn trust under a solemn responsibility; and he could not conceive how any man could disconnect religion from public affairs without proclaiming its worthlessness in private life. He was glad to see that this was the view of the subject which was generally taken by the House; and notwithstanding one or two remarks to the contrary which fell from his hon. Friend who had just sat down, he was sure that he and the hon. Gentleman who had so ably begun the debate, must take comfort at seeing that the importance of religion had not been at all denied in its course, but on the contrary, the House had indicated a profound conviction that religion should be the centre of a man's public as well as of his private character; and whatever might be the differences of opinion with regard to the relations of Church and State amongst them, it must be admitted that during this debate the great and essential truth, that legislators should own the obligations of Christianity, had been on the whole more fully acknowledged and established than it had been before. The question before them was partly political and partly religious: first, it was a constitutional question, touching the rights and liberties of a portion of their fellow-subjects, and on that ground to be decided on constitutional maxims, guarding themselves against private prejudices and predilections. It appeared to him that there was one great fallacy pervading the speeches on the other side. It was generally assumed by Gentlemen on the opposite side, and stated by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst, that Christianity was part and parcel of the law of England, and that the object was to repeal that law. He thought that was the argument which was put forward by the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst. Now, that statement, translated into plain English, would mean this, that in order to secure Christianity, they had by an express enactment excluded the Jews from Parliament, and now that there was a proposal to repeal that statute. That was not stated certainly in so many words, because that statement would be incorrect. There was no statute or law of that kind; and, therefore, the repeal of such a law was not the question before them. It was true that in former times there were laws specially excluding the Jews from the privileges enjoyed by Christians; and the laws went even further. The Jews were not merely subject to disabilities but to great degradation; and so long as those laws existed, it might be said that those laws were pointed against the Jews for the purpose of guarding Christianity. But every one of those laws had been repealed. The Legislature had admitted that those laws were unnecessary, impolitic, and unwise; and by degrees the Jews had been rescued, first from indignity, and then they had been relieved from every single disability placed upon them by statute. But when one law after another had been repealed, and the Jews had been rescued from every disability that was directed against them, there rose up an obstacle against their taking their seats in the House. A part of a statute which was passed for another purpose, and which had no reference to the Jews, rose up accidentally and unexpectedly to exclude them, and prevent them from taking their seats in that House. The question now was, whether Parliament having repealed every direct measure against the Jew, he was now to be debarred from entering the House by part of the provisions of another statute passed for another purpose, and having no reference whatever to him or to the maintenance of Christianity in this country? Every disability imposed upon the Jew by the Legislature had been removed, and consequently he was now in this position—in his character of a citizen he had to bear his full share of the national burdens—he might be compelled to carry arms in the State's defence; when they wanted his money or his services they treated him as a British subject, but when he asked for his privileges they reminded him that he was a Jew. As the law now stood, a Jew might be an elector; he might be in the army; he might be a juryman; he might be an alderman, sheriff, or landed proprietor; in the colonies he might be a legislator; and he might enjoy the power entrusted to him by the confidence of the people or the dignities conferred on him by the favour of the Crown. This was exemplified only in the course of the last year in the case of one family in this country. There were three brothers of the Rothschild family residing in this country. In the beginning of 1847 one of those brothers, by the favour of the Sovereign, was created a baronet; another brother was afterwards sheriff of Buckinghamshire; the other brother was at the last election chosen one of the representatives of London. They appointed Jews to fill the municipal offices of aldermen and sheriffs, and while all that occurred they were a perfectly Christian country; but once admit a Jew to be a Member of Parliament, and Christianity was at an end. It was said that Jews should have nothing to do in the administration of the Church, and therefore this measure should not be passed; but he would remind the House that Jews could, at this moment, compose vestries and elect the vicar, and administer parochial funds; but the most incredible circumstance of all—what must shock the feelings of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dorsetshire (Mr. Seymer), a Jew, as proprietor of an advowson, might appoint a minister to administer the functions of religion in their Christian Church. When they were proposing to give the Jews a certain portion of political power, then it was said their Christianity was in danger; but now, when the Jews actually held a power in the Christian Church, they felt their Christianity was not polluted or trenched upon, and they were still a purely Christian community. Again, through some of the offices to which they had elected Jews, they might be officially present in Christian churches during the ceremonies that took place. The presence of a Jew on a recent occasion in the church of Bow had been alluded to during a most edifying spectacle, when the public were invited to come forward and raise their voices only to be stifled, and to get up to make objections only to be refused a hearing. On that occasion a Jew alderman was present during the confirmation, and he was told, was seen kneeling side by side with Dean Merewether in the corporation pew; and an eye-witness informed him that so little visible were the distinctive marks of creed and race, that even his hon. Friend (Sir R. H. Inglis), if he had seen Alderman Salomons and the Dean of Hereford sitting together on that occasion, might not have been able to say, "which the Christian was and which the Jew." The citizens of London had placed their representation in the hands of Baron de Rothschild, and had called upon the House to receive him as their representative. The question was, what answer they were to return. Remembering their previous legislation, were they now to say it was all a mistake? Were they to retrace their steps, or were they to say they concurred in the justice of their previous course, and were resolved to persevere in it? Or were they to take an intermediate course—too true to their former principle to retreat, and too timid to advance? Were they to perpetuate an absurd anomaly, and inflict by their capricious legislation a cruel injustice? The noble Lord the Member for Bath had raised a distinction, the importance of which it was impossible to deny, if it could be fully established and carried out. He said on a previous occasion that hitherto they had been merely giving privileges to the Jews, but now for the first time they were conferring upon them direct powers. The noble Lord (Lord Ashley), stated that the fact of a man being qualified to administer the laws, was no proof that he was qualified to make the laws; but, at the same time, according to the constitution and the practice, it was a strong presumption that he was so qualified, and the onus of proving the disqualification rested upon his opponents. If a man were fit to be a magistrate, a sheriff, or a legislator in their colonies, it must be shown why he was not also fit to be a legislator in this country. He should now refer again to the religious part of the question. If they imposed disqualifications on religious grounds, they must show the necessity and the danger against which they were providing. After listening to the speeches that had been made on the other side of the question, he was not able to gather from them what were the dangers they pointed at, and what was the necessity on which they insisted. If upon political and constitutional grounds no practical evil could be shown to arise from the passing of this measure, what, he asked, was the real practical danger that could arise on religious grounds? He admitted that was the most important part of the subject; and he hoped on that point to receive a definite answer. It was said when Roman Catholic Emancipation was opposed, that the members of that creed might use the powers they might acquire to the prejudice of the Established Church. But no such practical danger could be said to arise on the present occasion; and even with respect to the admission of Dissenters and Catholics to seats in that House, the Church, so far from being weakened thereby, was now much stronger in the affections of the people. But the old cry of the Church in danger had been given up, and the new cry of Christianity in danger was substituted in its place. He would ask what the danger to Christianity was? There was a vague, mysterious, unmentionable alarm pervading all the speeches that had been made on this question; but anything tangible, anything they could lay hold of in the shape of dangers, he had not been able to detect. Would it make one Christian less in the country? Would it make one Jew more? Would the Christians, on this measure obtaining the Royal assent, be less firm in their faith? Would the Jews be more established in theirs? It must be remembered that this Bill did not give the Jews the right to sit in Parliament; it only gave to Christians the right to elect them. It seemed to him that the opponents of this Bill placed their objections not upon policy, but upon fear; and that fear on the part of Christians was more degrading and insulting to Christianity than would be the invasion of a whole tribe of Hebrews. When it was said that Christianity was in danger, he asked why was the Church more in danger than the Synagogue? They had endeavoured, sometimes with success, to wean the Jews from their faith; but did they find any instance of Jews making proselytes of Christians? It was not thus the Founder of Christianity estimated its value. Such was not the faith of those men who, going forth into a hostile land, encountered persecution, braved the gibbet and the rack, and were willing to suffer death itself in token of that faith which they knew must one day overspread the world. And if the faith which sustained the small band of unprotected missionaries of the truth shook thrones and empires to their centre—if one poor persecuted preacher—familiar with stripes and dungeons, led forth, a solitary captive, amidst an execrating multitude—caused an Imperial Viceroy to tremble on his throne—if Christianity, in its infancy, thus insulted, persecuted, and afflicted, were able to prevail over principalities and powers, how came it now, when she had them all on her side—when her enemies were prostrate and herself triumphant—how was it that now she felt fear, and cried out for weakness? In the hour of her obscurity a fearless and advancing martyr—why did they point to her now, in the day of her exaltation, as a tottering and trembling tyrant? Why did her champions now never enter into a contest without anticipating defeat? He asked that question of his hon. Friend who had spoken last. He would ask it of the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford. That hon. Baronet filled no mean place in the estimation of the Christian world. Thousands to whom he was personally unknown had been taught to revere his name; and those who differed most from the hon. Baronet in that House, paid a ready tribute of admiration to a character in which they saw united such intense political ardour with so much Christian mildness—a spirit which knew no fear, and a heart in which was no gall. If the days of religious persecution were revived, the hon. Baronet would be the foremost to attest, by the intrepidity of his martyrdom, the immortality of his Christian faith. Yet, strange to say, a great part of the hon. Baronet's life had been occupied in proclaiming the weakness of his own religion, and its possible if not probable downfall. He hoped he should be considered incapable of speaking irreverently of the character of a Gentleman whom he held in the greatest veneration; but he (Mr. Horsman) must repeat that on every political occasion a panic cry had been raised by the hon. Baronet, and by those who considered themselves the best friends of the Church. When the Test and Corporation Acts were repealed, according to the apprehensions of the party of whom the hon. Baronet was the distinguished leader, the Established Church had received its death blow. When the Roman Catholic Relief Bill was passed, the sun of Protestantism had set for ever. And now, if they allowed one Jew to enter the House of Commons, the faith of 655 Christians would make to itself wings and fly off to Jerusalem or Jericho. He was speaking politically; and if men were to be judged rather by their language than their lives, he should say that the hon. Baronet and his followers girded themselves for each succeeding conflict, not in faith, but in fear. According to them the Church could meet no enemy which would not be too strong for her—she could enter into no conflict in which she would not be certain to be overcome. Was there any wisdom—any truth—any religion in that cry? Had the cry proceeded from the professed enemies of the Church—were it the taunt of the infidel, or jest of the scoffer—the country would have rightly estimated the value of it; but issuing from the bosom of the Church herself, and proclaimed by her favourite sons, it might be pregnant with mischief. Christianity in danger from Judaism! Whence had that new light sprung? If they looked to the past, did they read it in history? If they looked to the future, did they read it in prophecy? And see what advantage they gave by such a course to their common enemies! How easy for their common enemies to place them in a great dilemma! It enabled them to say that the friends of the Establishment had either exaggerated a danger which did not exist, and they had feigned a distrust which they could not feel—or that in their hearts they believed Christianity to be an unreal thing—frail, perishable, and unsound—too delicate to be handled—too ricketty to be roughly shaken—imposing when unassailed, but liable to be shaken to pieces by every ill wind that blew upon it. He was speaking only politically. He could have no sympathy with those who thus impugned the divinity of the religion they professed. He would not take Christianity on their misrepresentations. She required not the aid of enactments to support her. He thought, with Locke, that "things in religion which were the invention of men, required the invention of men to support them; but the things in re- ligion which were of God, required not the aid of human authority to support them." In league with intolerance, religion presented the spectacle of a house divided against itself. It was her function to interfere in politics, but to interfere in a just, generous, and peaceful spirit. He agreed with an hon. Gentleman who had already addressed the House on this question, that "perfect Christianity is perfect liberality." They sometimes heard of the errors of Popery; but there was no error in Popery so great as that which Protestants committed when they allowed Popery to monopolise all the charity, good-will, and persuasion, reserving to themselves only those external appliances which, instead of producing peace and concord, generated the worst of feelings. He had heard something approaching to it from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford; and more distinctly from the noble Lord the Member for Arundel, to whose speech he had listened with great pleasure. It was upon Christian principle that he supported this measure—because he had faith in the eternal essence of Christianity—its imperishable attributes and assured triumphs, that he would not suffer it to be degraded by these unworthy contests which could only be carried on by disparaging the influences of divine truth, and exaggerating the efficacy of carnal weapons. They who supported that measure had no apology to make—the apology, if any, was due from those who exhibited to the world the melancholy spectacle of Christianity deserted by her own children—who mistrusted the principles for which they ought to fight—and soiled the banner under which Christians should feel sure of victory. Those who gave their assent to this measure needed no apology; for they felt that their faith was secure. But, if excuses were required from any, they were required from those who placed their opposition to the measure on the inherent weakness of their own religion; who, to those who wish to misinterpret their meaning, exhibited the spectacle of Christianity distrusted by her own children; and who, by their fears and misgivings, dishonoured their cause, and soiled the banner under which Christians should rejoice to fight.


approached the discussion of the question with a full appreciation of the difficulties by which it was surrounded, and with a deep feeling of his own inability. Had he followed the bent of his own inclination, he should have given a silent vote on the present occasion; but he felt that he should not be discharging his duty to that numerous and respectable constituency whom he had the honour to represent, if he did not endeavour to the best of his power to state the reasons which had induced him to come to the conclusion that the Bill ought not to pass. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cockermouth (Mr. Horsman) had delivered a speech which, in all its essential parts, completely contradicted itself. The hon. and learned Gentleman set out by admitting broadly that religion ought to enter into all the concerns of this life—that it should be the guide of men in their private station, and in the performance of their public duties; and yet he came to the conclusion that it would be right and proper to call a Jew into that House to act upon his religion and his principles; and the hon. Gentleman maintained that the Jew would be a proper person to legislate for a Christian community—that he could do his duty to a Christian people. He (Mr. Spooner) differed most entirely from the hon. Gentleman. At the close of his speech the hon. Gentleman had made so complete a misrepresentation of the views of those who opposed the measure—so palpable a misrepresentation—that he felt it would almost be a waste of time to answer the hon. and learned Gentleman. Did they fear for the safety of their Church? They had no such fear. Christianity was founded on the basis of eternal truth; and the Christian Church would stand and flourish for ever, despite the opposition that might be directed against it. There was, however, one fear that he did entertain—that, blessed with Christianity as they had been, and with all its attendant advantages, they should prove themselves unworthy of the privileges they had enjoyed by permitting persons to come into that House, and to approach that table, who disavowed, who repudiated Christianity. Would the nation prove itself so unmindful of Christian principles, would the House so reject those principles, as to suffer their table to be approached by a Jew? Was the House prepared to admit men to legislate for a Christian nation, who denied the divinity of the Saviour, and dealt with the Gospel as a fable—men who treated our Lord the Saviour as a crucified impostor, and his Gospel as an imposture? The Jews believed in the truths of the Old Testament. They believed in all the types and ceremonies of the Levitical law; they believed in the prophecies, they believed those prophecies to have been written by the persons, at the times, and under the circumstances in which they were stated to have been written. They believed all that, and yet they denied that He who said "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and these are they which testify of me," was the Messiah referred to in the prophecies, asserting, on the contrary, that Jesus of Nazareth was a crucified impostor, and his Gospel a fable. He thought he had now made out his case. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen might laugh, but he would just say that the present was not a subject for laughter. It was not a subject to be treated or disposed of under the influence of party feeling. The hon. and learned Member for Cockermouth had said, "Show me the constitutional doctrine which bears against the admission of the Jews—argue the point upon that ground." The hon. and learned Member laid down a law, in the first instance, to which he could not agree, and to which he did not think a majority of the House would agree, that any subject of the realm had an abstract right to a seat in that House. [Mr. HORSMAN: I never said so.] Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman did not say so in so many words; but he said that from which no other conclusion could be drawn, for he did complain of depriving the Jews of the rights of British subjects, and amongst those rights he specified the right to a seat in that House. Taking the constitution as it had existed for centuries, and still existed, he was prepared to prove that it was impossible it could be preserved, if persons who were not believers or professed believers in the Christian religion, were admitted to seats in Parliament. The Sovereign, on his or her part, swore to maintain the true profession of the Gospel and the Protestant reformed religion, as established in these realms. How could that religion be preserved if persons were allowed to take part in the framing of laws who denied the truth of that very religion which the Sovereign became bound to preserve and perpetuate? Surely, if that policy was to be adopted, it would be necessary to release the Sovereign from the obligation of the coronation oath; for it was impossible it could be observed if the framers of the laws were no longer invested with the Christian character. [An Hon. MEMBER: What say you to the Roman Catholics?] He was now talking of Jews; but if he were told that persons had already been admitted who were known not to hold the truth of the Gospel—according to the view taken by the Established Church—that in doing so we had almost lost the clear and definite character of Christianity—that we could no longer lay our finger upon that which constituted our claim to that distinctive character—that because we had lost our great characteristic, therefore we were to strike Christianity itself out of our Legislature. For his part, he could come to no such conclusion. He would only say, without entering into any inquiry as to whether that which had already been done was right or wrong, that hitherto Parliament had required a profession of faith in the Christian religion—-all that human beings could require; and it was now proposed to abolish that requirement, and let any one come in and take his seat, although he might do so openly avowing he was not a Christian. He had heard it argued, too, that not only ought Jews to be admitted, but Hindoos and Mussulmen. He had not heard anything said about infidels, although their admission must follow as a necessary consequence. What answer can you give to an open avowed infidel when he claims to be admitted to a seat in this House? He will naturally, and with great reason, say—"You admit he Jew, who denys the Divine authority and inspiration of the New Testament—I deny the truth of the whole Bible. Do you hold the Old Testament in higher estimation than you do the New? If you do not, why do you admit the Jew, who rejects the New Testament, and exclude the infidel, who denies both?" They might depend upon this, that if they made this concession now, that others would be required from them hereafter. Even the Bill before the House assumed that they had the right of limiting the admission of persons according to their religious profession. The Bill now submitted was full of limitations as regarded offices which could not be filled by Jews; and to a certainty the time would come when the repeal of those clauses would be demanded. There was one point upon which he wished to make a few remarks, and it was upon the difference which seemed to exist between the noble Lord at the head of the Government and a right hon. Gentleman, high in the councils of Her Majesty (Mr. Macaulay), who had not now a seat in that House, as to the obligation which devolved not only upon Government, but upon every individual, to regulate his conduct by religious principle. He (Mr. Spooner) understood that the noble Lord the Member for Bath (Lord Ashley) had quoted a passage from the writings of the right hon. Gentleman to whom he had alluded, and had commented upon the sentiment conveyed. He would not, therefore, enter upon the same topic; but would content himself with expressing his deep regret at seeing that hon. and learned Gentleman assert that they might as well expect essentially Christian cookery as essentially Christian legislation. He had also spoken of Government as of one great system of police, asserting that its only object was to take care of the property and lives of Her Majesty's subjects. It appeared to him that the expressions used by the right hon. Gentleman the Paymaster of the Forces, were anything but suitable to the solemnity of the subject. His expressions were conceived in a very different spirit to the declaration made by the noble Lord at the head of the Government—a declaration, however, which it was needless for the noble Lord to have made, for his well-known public character vouched for him that he held those views; and doubtless those who had the honour to enjoy his private acquaintance could testify the same. He intended, however, to have asked the noble Lord, if he had been present, or any of his Colleagues, to explain. [Mr. STAFFORD: Where are they?] He confessed that he was prepared to put the same question, but he scarcely thought it worth while, considering the difficulties under which men in office laboured—how hard their work was, and how little inviting it must be, after the labours of the day were over, to come down night after night, and listen to such debates. When he sat on that (the Ministerial) side of the House, however, he never remembered looking down and seeing the Treasury benches in that empty state. He was the more surprised, as this was not a question brought forward by an individual Member, but a measure formally submitted by the Government themselves to the consideration of the House; and yet they did not condescend to be present to hear, not what individual Members might say, but what the constitutional representatives of the people had to offer against their Bill. It would become Ministers of the Crown to pay at least that respect to the representatives of the people as to hear their objections to the scheme they had propounded. Returning, hower, to the sentiment of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Macaulay), he would ask upon what authority did he ground his assertion that Government was nothing more than a great system of police? He could not found his remark upon the constitution, for he (Mr. Spooner) had shown from the coronation oath that the compact between Sovereign and people was a religious one. Was the remark founded upon the daily practice of the House? What was that practice? Did they not begin their proceedings every day by praying for the guidance and direction of Almighty God, that in all their deliberations they might advance the cause of true religion and piety? But assuming, which he did not for a moment admit, that they should proceed on the narrow ground of a police, he then asked how were they to preserve the liberty, property, and lives of their fellow-subjects?—how were they to induce men to abstain from rapine, and to get their bread by their honest industry, but by a code of morality?—and show him the code equal to the Christian code—show him the motives by which such code can be enforced to be compared with the motives afforded by the Christian faith. He was sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) was not present. The right hon. Gentleman, in a pamphlet which he had recently published on this question, and in the speech which he delivered on a former occasion, had given a history of the various contests which had taken place upon the subject of admission to the House of Commons. The first stand, he observed, was for a Church House of Commons—that was lost; then came a struggle to preserve a Protestant House of Commons—that was lost; and now, he said, the battle was for a Christian House of Commons. The inference drawn by the right hon. Gentleman seemed to be, that such a variety of shades of religious opinion having been introduced into the House of Commons, the distinctive character of the House as a Christian Legislature had been nearly obliterated; and, therefore, it was not worth while to preserve what remained. He thought the right hon. Gentleman must have some other scheme behind, which he thought it was the duty of the right hon. Gentleman to explain. He spoke of dealing tenderly with the Church. What did he mean by that? He (Mr. Spooner) would tell the House, having read the pamphlet with great attention, that there was something mysterious in it—something lurking within it, which the author seemed to hesitate to bring out, or perhaps wished to conceal till a proper time came for announcing it to the world. Upon these points he would have asked the right hon. Gentleman for an explanation, had he been present. In conclusion, he (Mr. Spooner) would implore individual Members of that House not to shelter themselves under the plea of the responsibility of their party. Every one who voted upon the present question did so under great and deep responsibility. He was not one of those who despised the obligations of party. He knew that, according to the form of the English Government, it was necessary to act with a party in carrying out political objects; and this he was prepared to do, yielding up his own opinions on minor points, in order that the success of larger objects might be secured or promoted; but he could not afford to give up principle to party, and therefore he should give his most ready support to the Amendment of his hon. Friend. In making this decision, he knew that what he did might subject him to the terms of being a bigot, and being intolerant. He valued too much the good opinion of his fellow-subjects to be indifferent to such charges; but he dared not shrink from the avowal of his honest opinions. He dared not shrink from the expression of his conscientious opinions, because if he did so he would be justly charged with denying that blessed Saviour who had said, "He who denieth me before men, him will I deny before my Father who is in heaven!"


said: I trust, Sir, that I shall have the indulgence of the House, and that I may obtain for a short time a hearing, whilst I endeavour to explain the grounds upon which I am prepared to give my support to the measure now under consideration. It appears to me to be utterly impossible to deny, as a general proposition, the principle upon which this measure is submitted for our adoption. That every subject of this realm who is bound by the obligations incidental to that character—who owes and bears due allegiance to the Sovereign—who contributes to the burdens of the State—and who is bound in case of national danger to risk life and limb in the defence of the country—ought to be held to be entitled to participate in all the civil and political rights incidental to the condition of a subject, independently of his religious opinions, whatever they may be, appears to me to be a proposition, from which, when its terms are understood, it is impossible to dissent. I admit, however, that it must be taken with certain qualifications. I admit that if the circumstances of any class of men are such as that their admittance to political power would be attended with detriment or danger to the State, or to that religion which it ought to be our desire as well as our duty to uphold—then their case does not fall within the limits of the proposition with which I set out, but constitutes an exception to it. And when the principle which I have laid down is stated with this qualification, a great many of the arguments that have been urged by hon. Members on the other side of the House will be found to be superfluous. Sir, hon. Members on the other side have hitherto had a complete monopoly of one subject during the debate—that of eulogising the Christian religion, and upholding the importance of the Church. Sir, I deny their right to this monopoly. I deny that those hon. Gentlemen who support this Bill are less anxious for the preservation of the Christian religion, than hon. Members opposite. They may, therefore, spare themselves the labour of such championship. I do not deny the major premiss of your syllogism, that if the admission of the Jews to Parliament would be attended with danger to the Christian religion, they ought not to be admitted; but I do deny your minor premiss, namely, that their admission would, in fact, be attended with any such danger: and I say we are justified in calling on you to make out your case, and to show that they form an exception to the general rule. Upon you who are prepared on this ground to deny to forty thousand of Her Majesty's subjects the enjoyment of the constitutional rights and privileges of their fellow-subjects—upon you, it appears to me, clearly devolves the burden of the proof—upon you, undoubtedly, rests the weight of the case. But my hon. and learned Friend the hon. Member for Midhurst attempts to deprive us of the advantage of this position. He replies to us and says—"We take our stand upon the existing law and constitution, and inasmuch as the existing law and constitution prohibit the Jews from sitting in Parliament, it rests upon you who attempt to admit them, to show cause for making such an alteration." Now, Sir, this looks a specious argument at first sight. But I join issue with my hon. and learned Friend upon it—I deny his proposition altogether. But let me say at the outset, that even if the constitutional doctrine were as my hon. and learned Friend represents it, it would be entitled to no consideration at our hands. For if our law and our constitution were such as to sanction political injustice, or, what to my mind is almost as bad, political folly, the only consequence which would seem to me to follow, would be, that our constitution and our law required immediate amendment in this particular. And as you have admitted the Roman Catholics to Parliament, after they had been excluded from it by law for two centuries and a half, that you should now make a difficulty about admitting Jews, to exclude whom you have never had a single law upon your Statute-book, appears to me like straining at the gnat, after having swallowed the camel. I must beg leave to repeat the assertion I have just made. I emphatically assert that you have never had, since Parliament was first constituted, to the present time, a law, either direct or indirect, which had for its aim, object, or design, the exclusion of the Jews from Parliament. Their present exclusion, Sir, is not the result of legislative design, but of legislative accident. All your laws for the exclusion of certain persons from a full participation in constitutional rights and privileges, upon the ground of religion, have been directed against one particular class—the Roman Catholics. You never had one single Act to exclude the Jews; but they have been excluded accidentally by the operation of words introduced for the purpose of excluding Roman Catholics. The statutes on the subject are very few, and I trust I may be allowed the indulgence of the House whilst I briefly refer to them. It appears to me that the result will be to show that the state of our legislation on this subject is so fraught with anomaly and absurdity, and so utterly derogatory to the dignity of the Legislature, and of the nation, as to afford an additional argument, if any were wanting, for getting rid of the existing law. Sir, according to the original constitution of Parliament, eligibility to this House depended solely upon the choice of the constituencies. There was no restriction either upon the electors or the elected in respect of religion. There was no such thing known, until the reign of Queen Elizabeth, as a disqualification on the ground of religion. It first arose when the contentions were going on between Protestants and Roman Catholics, when the two parties were struggling for power. After the Protestant Church had gone through a period of extreme peril and danger, and had attained power by the accession of a Protestant Sovereign, the Protestant party took every measure within their reach to secure their own ascendancy and to keep down their religious opponents. For that purpose the oath of supremacy, denying the authority of the Papal See, was introduced; and it was introduced for the sole purpose of excluding Roman Catholics from political power. This was the whole that was done in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In the 3rd of King James, however, came the enactment of another oath, because the former was not deemed sufficiently effectual. For what purpose was that oath introduced? For the sole purpose of excluding Roman Catholics from office and power in the State. It is intituled, "An Act for the Repression of Popish Recusants;" and it is in that statute that the words which constitute the present difficulty were first introduced. Sir, that oath was introduced immediately after the discovery of the great Popish or gunpowder plot. It was alleged that the Jesuits had instigated that plot; and it was generally known, or at least generally believed, that the Jesuits of that day upheld the wicked and dangerous morality of swearing with mental reservations, and of teaching those persons who were in communion with their religion that they could take an oath with their lips, but could evade it by giving a different construction and meaning to it in their minds. Indeed, every one who remembers reading the trial of the Jesuit, Garnet, for his participation in that plot, will recollect that a great part of the speech of the Attorney General (Sir Edward Coke), and a great portion also of the interrogatories of the commissioners on that trial, related to the mental reservation and equivocation which the Roman Catholics of that day were believed to consider admissible in the matter of oaths. And Garnet himself, in distinct terms, admitted that if an oath were put to a person by those who had no right to put it, and the taking of which would be contrary to the interests of his religion, that person could take it without having any internal intention of being bound by it. The consequence was that a particular form of words was introduced into the oath for the purpose of preventing any Roman Catholic from taking it. These words were to the following effect:— All these things I do plainly and sincerely promise and swear in the meaning and sense of the words, without any equivocation, mental reservation, or qualification whatsoever. And I make this oath not by compulsion, but voluntarily, and this I swear upon the true faith of a Christian. Now, Sir, the whole of this form of words was framed in order to encircle and enclose the conscience of the Roman Catholic as it were within a net, the meshes of which should be so strong and fine as to render it impossible to escape through them. Nothing more was done until the 30th of Charles II., when came the Act which imposed the declaration against the doctrine of transubstantiation. That that Act was passed solely against Roman Catholics, no man can entertain the least doubt. Its avowed object was the exclusion of Roman Catholics from power and from Parliament. It professes to have that object both in its title and preamble. On the accession of William and Mary, all these statutes were repealed, and the former oaths abrogated, and the oaths of allegiance and supremacy as we now take them, were substituted in their stead; and so things remained till the 13th of William III. You say, that according to the constitution and the law of this country no Jew could possibly enter the walls of Parliament, I say that from the accession of William and Mary, until the latter end of the reign of William III., there was nothing to prevent a Jew from taking his seat in this House. In the 13th of William III., however, came the oath of abjuration. That, again, was directed solely against the Roman Catholics. It was passed at a time when the health of the King was rapidly sinking, when the King of France had just acknowledged the son of James II., as the King of these realms, and when men's minds were agitated by fears respecting the Protestant succession. The fortunes of the Stuart family were so connected with the ascendancy of the Catholic religion, that it was believed the Roman Catholics generally favoured the pretensions of that family to the Throne: hence the oath was directed mainly against the Roman Catholics. Now, this oath was framed on the model of the oath imposed by the repealed Statute of the 3rd James I.; and hence the form of words, ending with the words "on the true faith of a Christian," which I have already shown to have been addressed to the conscience of the Catholic, were imported into this. It is this oath of abjuration (continued as it has been with unimportant modifications to our day) or rather these particular words in it, that constitute the stumbling-block which prevents the entrance of the Jew over the threshold of this House. I think I have then established beyond the possibility of dispute, that the whole of our legislation which has reference to religious qualifications has not been directed against the Jews, nor even to the maintaining of the general Christianity of the House, but solely against the Roman Catholics. I have therefore shown you one anomaly: I will now point out another still more striking. You have thought it right to change the state of your law with respect to the Roman Catholic. You found it right to admit that portion of your fellow-subjects to the enjoyment of political rights, whom for two centuries and a half you had excluded. In order to do that you found it necessary to remodel the oaths upon your Statute-book. You framed a new oath for the Catholic. You left out the denial of the spiritual supremacy of the Pope: you altered the latter portion of the oath; and you omitted the words which are to be found in the old oath of abjuration, "on the true faith of a Christian." So that you have altogether altered the form of oath to be taken by the Roman Catholics. Yet when you got rid of these oaths, so far as they related to the Roman Catholics, against whom alone they were directed, you maintained them in all their severity with regard to all the rest of Her Majesty's subjects, to whom they were never intended to apply. Now, that is a most anomalous state of things. It is surely one of which the Jew has a right to complain. But this is not all. What is this oath in which this formula occurs? The Jew can take the oath of allegiance because his loyalty is undivided and unquestionable. He can take the oath of supremacy because he does not believe that any foreign potentate does or ought to exercise any authority, spiritual or otherwise, over him. Nor, indeed, has he the slightest hesitation in taking the oath of abjuration and repudiating the claims of any Pretender to the Throne of these realms. But what is this oath, in which from the use of certain words a difficulty occurs? An oath of abjuration of the family of a Pretender who has been dead some hundred years! Why, Sir, I ask is there a single man who takes that path who does it without feeling some sense of the ridiculous mingle with the solemnity of the ceremony? With a dynasty which has now occupied the Throne of these realms upwards of a hundred years without dispute—which has become identified with our institutions and our fortunes—with a Sovereign who, if ever Sovereign was entitled to that noblest of all titles and proudest of all prerogatives—may be said to reign in the hearts of Her people, and to have Her Throne based upon their affections—is it not an insult to the loyalty of the subject, and a still greater affront to the dignity of the Sovereign, to call upon us to take an oath which is a mockery, implying as it does that She requires such a protection against the attempts of an imaginary Pretender to Her Throne? I may be told, however, that it matters not, if upon the merits of the case the Jew ought to be excluded, whether he be excluded by a direct enactment or by a side wind—by means of an oath which occurs accidentally? It makes this difference, as it appears to me. If at the time you let in Roman Catholics to power, you had altered the oath alike with respect to all other of Her Majesty's subjects, the opponents of the Jews would then have been under the necessity of bringing forward a direct measure for their exclusion; and such a measure they would never have been able to carry through this House. Not, however, that it is necessary for us to rely upon any such technical ground, for we assert that upon the merits of the case the Jew is entitled to admission. Firstly, are the Jews British subjects? Upon that point, I apprehend, there cannot be a doubt. They are liable to all the obligations of subjects. They pay taxes equally with the rest of us. The Chancellor of the Exchequer dips his hand into the Jew's pocket and takes his money with as much complacency as that of the most orthodox Christian. He says, Non olet: there is no odour of Judaism about it which makes it less acceptable to him. Jews are, in like manner, liable to discharge all civil duties. They are called upon to fill the office of sheriff. They are elected to the corporate offices of the realm; and if they refuse to act, they are subject, like others, to fines as the penalty for such refusal. Thus you call upon them to perform all the duties of subjects: why then deny them the rights incidental to that character? My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Midhurst says that the Jew is not to be considered a subject of this realm, because he is very little more or better than a naturalised alien. Sir, I was very much surprised upon hearing such a term as that of naturalised alien applied to the Jews. What, Sir! the men who have been born and bred in the land, whose forefathers have been settled and living in this country for, perhaps, two centuries, are they to be considered as no more than naturalised aliens? I cannot understand how my hon. and learned Friend can put forward such an argument. Has not the Jew the same interest as the rest of his fellow-subjects in all that affects the country—in good legislation, in the proper administration of the law, in the nature of the laws regulating the commercial transactions of the kingdom—in short, in all things relating to the general welfare of the community? Do you think the Jew has not the same sensibilities as other men—that he is dead to all those associations and attachments, local, social, and domestic, which engender and keep alive the love of our country? Can any one doubt that if this country were invaded, the Jew would be as forward as any other Englishman in his struggles for its defence? Let me, if there be any one who does so doubt, call his attention to the war of liberation in Germany, when the Jews rose as readily as any other Germans to throw off the yoke of the French. I say, therefore, that to assert that men who are good citizens—whose loyalty is unquestioned and unquestionable—who have been always ready to stand up for the defence of their country—who are ready to make all necessary sacrifices for its common welfare—should be characterised as naturalised aliens, is monstrous. Again, then, I ask, if the Jews are entitled to be considered as good subjects and citizens, why should they not be admitted to a community of political rights? My hon. and learned Friend is the only one who has suggested that they have not the same affection for this country as other Englishmen, inasmuch as they expect to be led back by a triumphant Messiah to the land of their fathers. That this may be a part of the poetry and the aspirations of this people is possible; but to suppose that it has the slighest practical effect upon their conduct as subjects or citizens is a most absurd and preposterous notion. That the Jews, torn from the land of their fathers, scattered abroad among the nations of the earth, repudiated by the people amid whom they were thrown, trampled upon, oppressed, persecuted, and degraded, may have found consolation in the prophecies and traditions of their race—that they have looked forward through the gloom and darkness which surrounded them, to the only gleam of light which shone upon the horizon of the far east from which they came, is perfectly credible—it is in human nature that it should be so; but it appears to me an outrage on common sense to say that expectations so indefinite and remote can have the slightest practical influence on their conduct in their relations with existing things. Why, then, are they to be debarred from the common rights of subjects? To be sure, my hon. and learned Friend opposite says that the subject has not necessarily any political rights at all; that all he is absolutely entitled to are certain civil rights, such as the right of property, and of personal freedom and security. But is this the utmost extent to which the doctrine of the rights of the subject is to be carried? Is it only to personal liberty and safety, and the security of property, that a British subject is entitled? I protest most emphatically against such a doctrine. I apprehend that the subject of a free State like our own, is entitled to all the honours and advantages which the institutions of the country afford. And I conceive that it is not only for the benefit of individuals, but for the general advantage of the State, that this should be the case. It is for the common benefit that the number of those eligible for the service of the people and of the State, should be extended to the utmost possible limit consistent with the public safety and convenience. I do not deny, however, that under some circumstances it may be necessary to exclude certain persons from the full enjoyment of political rights: in the case, for instance, of the minor, or the ecclesiastic, or the judge; the first, on account of a want of maturity of years—the second, lest the sacred nature of his calling should suffer from contact with party interest and political passions—the judge, from considerations of an analogous character—may be properly excluded from political power; yet these exclusions are justifiable only upon considerations of public policy and of the general good. But I contend, that we have no right, without sufficient reasons, based and founded upon the public interest, arbitrarily, and of our own mere will, to exclude any particular class of individuals from participation in political rights. What would my hon. and learned Friend, who says that the subject has not necessarily any political rights, say, if Parliament were to take upon itself to exclude all members of the legal profession? There was one Parliament from which they were excluded; but we had our revenge; we stamped it with the name of the "Parliamentum indoctum;" and Sir Edward Coke has taken care to hand down to posterity the fact, that there never was a good law made in it. If it were proposed arbitrarily to exclude a body of whom my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Walpole), with his accomplishments, his learning, and his eloquence, is so favourable a specimen, would he be satisfied if his remonstrance were answered by a denial of the subject having any right to political power? But to return to the question. Sir, I must say that I think this line of argument weak, unsatisfactory, and unsubstantial. I assert as as incontrovertible proposition that British subjects are entitled, according to their particular position and qualifications, to all the political rights incidental to their character and position, unless there is some peculiarity in their circumstances or position sufficient to justify, on considerations of public policy, the withholding of those rights. Sir, this brings me to the question, is there anything in the religion of the Jews that can be fairly said to be calculated to lead to the mischiefs and dangers on which hon. Gentlemen rely as the ground of their objection to this measure? I take it that these dangers must be of one or other of these two characters: they must be either of a political or of a religious kind. Now, I ask, do you really apprehend anything of political mischief from the concession to the Jews of a right to sit in this House? Why, Sir, all the zeal of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House has not induced them to suggest the slightest idea of any political danger from the admission of the Jews to seats in Parliament. But I, on the other hand, ask, does not political wisdom suggest to you to crown the concessions which you have already made to the Jews by this further act of justice, so as to leave them nothing to complain of? The Legislature has done one of two things: either it has gone too far already, or it has not gone far enough. Admission into these walls is not the only element of power. Wealth is power, and you have allowed the Jews to grow into a wealthy as well as an enlightened people. You have enabled them to root themselves to the soil, by doing away with the laws which prevented them from holding landed property. You have gone a step further. You have admitted them to hold the highest civil offices and employments. You have admitted them to the office of sheriff. You permit them to become magistrates. You have admitted them into your corporations. At this moment a gentleman of wealth, character, and station, is an alderman of the metropolis, and may, before long, become the chief magistrate of the first commercial city of the world. You have thus admitted the Jews to power, and I am therefore right in saying that you have either done too much or too little; and if so, does not political wisdom point out to you the propriety of taking away the remainder of their grievances, and attaching to you by the closest ties those to whom you have already given so much of social and political power? There being, therefore, nothing in the way of political danger to be apprehended from this measure, I now proceed to the consideration of the other sort of danger—to the religious part of the question. Now, I apprehend that in order to justify their exclusion on religious grounds, you must be prepared to show some tangible, positive, and substantial mischief that would occur to the Christian religion from the admission of Jews into the Legislature. It is not mere vague and shadowy apprehensions of danger that will suffice to justify their exclusion. But what is it that is alleged? Does any one suggest that any substantial danger will arise to the Church of Christ and to the established religion from the admission of Jews into Parliament? In what shape or form will that danger come? Do you anticipate it from the legislative acts and conduct of such of the Jews as may gain admission into this House? What interest, I ask, can the Jew have in doing anything detrimental to the Christian religion, or the interests of the Christian Church? Do you suppose that it enters, however remotely, into his views or wishes, to convert you all to Judaism? It is contrary to the spirit of the Jewish religion to entertain any such design. The spirit of that religion is not of a proselytising kind. It is the peculiar character of the Jew that he is exclusive in his religion. He regards the religion of his fathers as the heritage of his people; and he is not desirous of admitting the stranger to share in the inheritance. He seeks not, therefore, to gain over to his belief those who do not belong to his race and people. Therefore you can have no apprehensions that the Jews will seek to injure your Church with a view to make proselytes and converts from its tenets; and if not, then what is it that your apprehensions are based upon? Besides, if there were grounds for apprehensions of that sort, is not the remedy in the hands of a Christian people? You are not called upon now—and this is a matter not to be lost sight of in the consideration of this question—you are not called upon to give the Jews an absolute and immediate right of admission into this House—you are not called on to give the Jews, as a body, the right of returning Members to represent the Jewish community in Parliament—All you are asked to do is to give to Christian constituencies the right of selecting Jews, if they prefer them, as their representatives. And I ask, have hon. Members so little confidence in the religious feeling and sentiments of the people of England as to believe that, if the constituencies found that the Jews whom they returned to Parliament were using the powers entrusted to them for the subversion of the Christian faith, they would be induced for any consideration, no matter what, to continue as their representatives persons who were labouring for the destruction of that religion? No attempt is made to point out any other way in which the admission of Jews to Parliament will work any mischief to the Christian religion. Do you apprehend that the presence of Jews in this House will diminish the Christian and religious feelings of the House? or, that if a Jew were to take his seat by the side of the hon. Member next to whom I have the honour to stand (Sir R. H. Inglis), the devotional feeling of the hon. Baronet would be in the slightest degree diminished? But you say that this is a Christian country, and that, therefore, this ought to be a Christian Parliament. There seems to me to be a fallacy in that argument. If, indeed, you say that this is substantially a Christian country, I admit the truth of the assertion; but if you say that it is exclusively a Christian country, and that, therefore, this ought to be exclusively a Christian Parliament, I deny your proposition. You have 40,000 Jewish fellow-subjects; and if you tolerate their presence in the country, I cannot understand why you should not tolerate the presence of a few of their number in Parliament. If you object to their presence in the Legislature, I think you should push the argument to a much further length, and hold that our ancestors in the days of the Henries and the Edwards were not wrong when they expelled the Jews from the country altogether, on the ground that their presence was a pollution, as being the descendants of those who crucified the true God, and therefore unworthy to dwell in a Christian land. But it is said that the admission of Jews into this House would imperil the Christian feeling of the House. I am told that it would tend to lower the tone of our Christianity. But, I ask, have all the concessions already made to the Jews lowered the tone of the Christianity of this country? Do the people of this realm love Christianity less?—are their zeal and attachment to religion less strong because of these concessions? The Christian sits with the Jew on the magisterial bench—the Christian juryman sits side by side with the Jew in the jury-box, without any danger to his religious faith. I must say, with all deference and respect to hon. Gentlemen who brought forward this argument, that it conveys a most unfounded imputation on the Christian feeling of the people of this realm to say that the flame of Christianity would not burn so brightly if brought into contact with Judaism. Such an argument seems to imply that the Christian feeling of this country rests on a very slight foundation indeed. And yet this appears to be the only argument which I have yet heard as to any danger arising from the admission of Jews into this House. Something undoubtedly has been said as to the difficulty arising from our having to consult on matters connected with the Church of England, as also from the inability of Jews to be present at prayers in the House. But it should be recollected, that this argument applies also to Roman Catholics and Dissenters. We are no longer a House consisting of Members all entertaining the same religious opinions; and we cannot be so, because this country is composed of such an infinite variety of denominations and sects of Christians, that it would be impossible to maintain the exclusive Church character of Parliament without interfering with the rights and privileges of nearly one-half of our fellow-subjects. You were obliged to give that principle up, and having been forced to do so, and to admit so large a proportion of other denominations into your Legislature, it seems to me that you have no longer any defensible grounds for excluding the Jews. Whether, therefore, you look upon the question of their admission in a political or in a religious aspect, it seems to me impossible, as reasonable men, to apprehend any real danger from such a change. And now allow me to observe to the House, that fortunately this country is not called upon to make the experiment in the first instance. Other countries and other Christian Legislatures have made the experiment before you. I will say nothing about France, because I suppose I should be told that the French people are not eminently a religious people; but allow me to call attention to what has been done by a people quite as religious as yourselves—I mean the people of Holland. The Jews of Holland have been admitted to all the rights enjoyed by Christians in that country. They have been admitted to all the offices of the State; and it has been found that in every department of the State they are able to work in harmony with their Christian fellow-countrymen. I will also take Belgium, a Roman Catholic country, and one, too, where the priests have great influence and power. There, too, the Jews have been admitted to equal rights with other persuasions. So, again, in America, where, though there is no established church, it will not, I think, be denied that there exists a strong religious feeling among the people. On the other side you have Austria ever in the rear of improvement, and Russia with its hideous despotism. Shall England rank with the bigot and the barbarian, or, as it should do, among the enlightened nations of the world? Let me add, that in your own colonies the experiment has been tried, and has been attended with singular success. In Jamaica and Canada, Jews have been admitted to the local legislature, by Acts which have received the Royal assent; and in Canada they were found most useful assistants in suppressing the rebellion in that country a few years ago. There is not, then, either in point of theory, or principle, or practice, the slightest ground of legitimate apprehension to deter us from making this concession. And not only is there no reason to be urged against this measure, but, politically, there are the strongest grounds why we should, by an act of justice towards the Jews, and by removing their just complaints, make them as contented and attached a body of subjects as any in Her Majesty's dominions. I would now fain address myself for a moment to those hon. Members who oppose this Bill. I have not, I hope, addressed towards them a single term that savours of disrespect. I respect the religious feeling which prompts them to adopt the course they have taken on this question; but it is because I believe that by granting this healing and conciliatory concession you will be taking the first great step towards bringing the Jew to a sense of the value and holiness of true religion, that I ask you to support the measure. You who believe the religion of God to be supported by evidence that must bring conviction to the mind of every man who sits down to investigate it—I ask you how it is that the Jew has been living among you for centuries, and that so little progress has been made to bring him to a sense of the truth and justice of your faith? It is because you have raised between him and Christianity an insurmountable barrier; because you have taught him to look upon the Christian as his bitterest and most implacable foe. Remove that barrier—treat him as a brother, and let him learn all that there is of mercy and charity in the faith of a Christian—bring him within the sphere of its holy and softening influence—and you will then have taken the first great step towards leading him to a sense of its truth, and you may thus hope one day to see him within the pale of that holy faith, for the maintenance of which you are so anxious, and to the extension of which you are so zealously devoted.


said, the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down was disposed to attribute to those who agreed with him (Mr. Bankes) on this question a monopoly of the feeling of bigots and barbarians; and he was certainly a good deal surprised at the line of argument by which his hon. and learned Friend sought to establish his proposition. The hon. and learned Member had thought it necessary to occupy much of the time and attention of the House with that portion of his historic lore which could not by any possibility have any bearing upon the points at issue. But when he had taken so much pains to show that, up to a comparatively late period of our history, there was no legal provision to bar the Jew from entering the House of Legislature, it was a wonder that he did not also remember that, up to that late period, the Jews were non-naturalised subjects, and could not on that account have sat in that House. A considerable portion of the hon. and learned Gentleman's legal argument was, therefore, entirely beside the question. The hon. and learned Gentleman had asked where were the dangers of this measure? But before he proceeded to discuss those points, which had been touched far too little, notwithstanding the length of these debates, he would allude to another subject. The most powerful argument by far which had been advanced in favour of the Jews was that which asserted that exclusion was dishonour; but he emphatically denied that such was the case. The Jew was not excluded by statute; but there was another class which was, and that class consisted of the members of his own Church, and his own clergy. The clergy of the Church of England was excluded by name and by description by an Act of the Legislature. If exclusion were dishonour, then was the whole of the Church dishonoured, and those whom he greatly reverenced were the medium of that dishonour. Be it remembered, that the Act of exclusion did not only apply to beneficed clergymen, or to those who had the cure of souls, but the younger son bred to the Church, who succeeded to the influence and estates of his deceased brother, was excluded nevertheless, from the personal enjoyment of political rights, because he was enrolled in the ordination of the Church. The hon. and learned Member who had spoken last had argued that because the Jew had had granted to him political and magisterial power, he ought to be admitted to the exercise of legislative functions. The hon. and learned Gentleman had admitted that the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), was unanswerable on this point, yet he had reiterated the argument to which the answer had been already given. The power of the Lord Mayor was an executive power, and obviously different to that by which the laws were made; and he (Mr. Bankes) knew of no reason which should operate to prevent a Jew from holding the executive office, so long as nothing could be urged against his morality of conduct. He found nothing, therefore, in such arguments to induce them to grant, much less to force them to proceed with, more concessions. And the arguments which had been raised for the grant of those concessions forced him to the conviction of the necessity for being watchful, since every fresh step led inevitably to the demand of something more. Those who assented to the concessions already granted, entertained, he believed, no idea they were bringing upon themselves the charge of inconsistency if they stopped short of the whole; or that they were bringing upon themselves the charge of bigotry and barbarism if they refused to go any further. He stated that he would meet the charge of the hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last, when he asked where was the danger to the Church in granting this further demand; and he had endeavoured to show that that danger was of a double nature: on the one hand, the evil consequences which might rise in their own Church; and, on the other, the obvious danger which must arise from placing in political power those who were the avowed enemies of the Church. The danger within the Church itself was of this nature. There had been circulated within the last few days a reprint of a very important speech, delivered some years ago by a right rev. Prelate, high in their own Church—no less a person than the Archbishop of Dublin. It was obvious that those who agreed with the hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite (Mr. Cockburn) considered it a valuable document, as they reprinted it, and circulated it generally at the present moment. The right rev. Prelate warmly supported, and he still supported, this proposition. Let them attend to the grounds upon which he gave it his powerful support. The right rev. Prelate said that he would say nothing on the subject of the political question, because he considered it most desirable that, in his position, he should, as far as possible, refrain from allusion to politics; but he said, with regard to the second branch of the question, which is of a religious nature, that it was urged that persons who not only did not acknowledge, but who openly denied, and some even who vilified, the great Author of the Christian religion, should not have a voice in the Legislature of a Christian country. "On this point," he said, "arose a question which I own I find it difficult to answer." Now, how did the right rev. Prelate answer it? Admitting that Jews ought not to have legislative powers with regard to matters regulating or affecting the Christian Protestant Church, he proceeded to say— With respect to strictly ecclesiastical affairs, to matters which do not relate to religion, I admit there is an inconvenience in admitting any person, Christian or not, to have a share in the government of a Church of which he is not a member; and I take this opportunity of declaring my opinion upon this point to be, that the purely ecclesiastical concerns of the Church, as distinguished from secular, ought to be entrusted to the care of some persons, whether called commissioners or by any other name, expressly appointed for the purpose, and who should be members of the Church? That Prelate proposed to withdraw from the consideration of the House of Commons, and of the other House of Parliament, every matter relating to the Church, as the necessary consequence of admitting Jews into the legislation of the country. Were they prepared for this? If not, how could they give their votes in favour of a proposition to which the great champion of their cause required as a preliminary step those provisions for the Church to which he had adverted. They were to have, according to the right rev. Prelate, a commission to conduct the affairs of the Church. He wondered it did not occur to the right rev. Prelate that such a proposition deposed James II., and that it was inserted in the Bill of Rights as one of the crimes brought against that monarch. They were told that the right rev. Prelate and other rev. Prelates taking the same view of the proposition would vote for the Bill; and if this report was true, he (Mr. Bankes) told the hon. and learned Member for Southampton that this new effort on the part of the Church would be part only of the mischief to arise from the carrying of such a measure. There would be schisms in their own Church more fatal than the admission of a few Jews into Parliament. He spoke not as a Tractarian or a Retractarian—upon these subjects he could give no opinion—but he did say that if they saw danger of increasing those difficulties which unhappily already existed, and of increasing those schisms, they ought to pause; for if upon that ground alone the measure was dangerous in the highest degree, he had now shown to his hon. and learned Friend some danger to which he had not adverted, but concerning which he feared he would hear much more than enough if this measure were allowed to pass. They had heard not a little of those schisms in consequence of the unhappy appointment lately made by the noble Lord at the head of the Government. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) incidentally touched upon this point—a point which he considered to be of so much importance that he did not think he would be discharging his duty if he did not bring it clearly before the House. His right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford certainly did touch upon it, but so slightly and so delicately, that as the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) said, there was a little difficulty in knowing exactly what he meant. In alluding to a petition he pre- sented from an eminent dignitary of the Church, Archdeacon Wilberforce, who took the game ground as the Archbishop of Dublin, the right hon. and learned Gentleman thus treated the subject. He said— It will hare appeared from all I have said that I do not take the same view of the character and effects of this measure as Archdeacon Wilberforce. Archdeacon Wilberforce took the same view as the Archbishop of Dublin, to the effect that, if the Bill passed, there should be a separate power or commission to deal, not only with the administrative, but with the legislative powers relating to ecclesiastical matters. "But," said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford— I don't go the length of Archdeacon Wilberforce; but I perceive the difficulty, and though reluctant to meet it in such a mode as he suggests, yet I refer to his petition as illustrating a statement lately spread, and which may spread yet more widely. For myself, I cannot hesitate to say, from the general course of events and the changes now produced in the constitution of the Legislature, that a very great increase of delicacy applies to the Established Church. These were such ambiguous phrases, that he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would explain that delicate speech which no one could understand. He hoped he would explain the "delicacy." The "danger" they all understood; and he asked whether a time of danger and of delicacy was the time for introducing enemies—avowed enemies—to the Established Church into the Legislature? It appeared to him strange that because they had admitted avowed enemies to the Established Church—Roman Catholics, and those who by various titles differed from its fundamental principles—that it was of little consequence whether they admitted them all or not. It was perfectly true that a portion of the Established Church was at the present moment represented, and perhaps correctly, by the vote of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford. He presumed this was the case; for if his vote did not carry with it the feelings of a portion of his constituency, he was sure the sense of honour inherent in the right hon. Gentleman would not permit him to continue to represent them. The right hon. Gentleman said there was "a delicacy" in the question, though he admitted the majority of his constituents were at variance with him upon it. There was another right hon. authority in that House who had given a different opinion on this subject from that which he had lately recorded by a silent vote—he alluded to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth—and no one could doubt but that he would give strong arguments for the change which had come over him. He could only say that reading, as he had lately read, the speech which the right hon. Gentleman made in the year 1830, on the same subject, he believed that no one but himself could answer it. That speech contained clear and substantial arguments—sufficient arguments as he (Mr. Bankes) thought of danger and of difficulty—arguments going to the extent (and to an extent to which he was sure the right hon. Baronet would not shrink from carrying them now) that if this concession were admitted, no further test should be retained on the Statute-book—that this was the last and the whole of the question—and that if the Jews were admitted no man ought to be excluded. He had hitherto believed that it was not safe to adopt that proposition. Yet this was a proposition which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford urged upon the House, but not with very happy success. He (Mr. Bankes) considered the Established Church part of the establishment of the State as much as the Throne and Crown themselves. He maintained that they had a right to apply the test to those who attacked the portion of the State which was the Church, as much as to those who might attack the Throne or the Crown. They excluded the republican by the oath of allegiance; and the man, who, from conscientious feelings, disliked a monarchy, ought not to be allowed to sit in the House more than the man who desired to supplant the Church. It was with these views, and with these feelings, and with the conviction that his sentiments on this subject were justly confirmed by the recent arguments he had heard, that he viewed the Bill with the most serious apprehension, and should feel it his duty to oppose its passing into law; and if it should meet with the sanction of that House, he hoped it would not pass the other House of Parliament.


* Mr. Speaker, it was with great reluctance that I gave a silent vote on the first occasion on which this matter was brought under our consideration; but the peculiar circumstances under which the debate closed, so immediately before the Christmas recess, and my unwillingness to *From a pamphlet by Murray. incur the risk of preventing, by an adjournment, a decision on the question, induced me on that occasion to be silent. I now wish to state the grounds on which I have come to a conclusion which is at variance certainly with first impressions, and which places me in painful collision with many with whom I have almost invariably acted—with some from whom I never, to the best of my recollection, on any former subject of equal importance, have had the pain to differ.

I must in the first place disclaim altogether any concurrence in the doctrine that to us, in our legislative capacity, religion is a matter of indifference. I am deeply impressed with the conviction that it is our paramount duty to promote the interests of religion, and its influence on the human mind. I am impressed by a conviction that the spirit and precepts of Christianity ought to influence our deliberations; nay, more, that if our legislation be at variance with the precepts and spirit of Christianity, we cannot expect the blessing of God upon them. I may, indeed, say with truth, that whether my decision on this question be right or wrong, it is influenced much less by considerations of political expediency, than by a deep sense of religious obligation.

Between the tenets of the Jew and of the Christian, there is, in my opinion, a vital difference. The religion of the Christian and the religion of the Jew are opposed in essentials. Between them there is complete antagonism. I do not consider that the concurrence of the Jew with the Christian in recognising the historical truths and divine origin of the moral precepts of the Old Testament, can avail to reconcile their difference in respect to those doctrines which constitute the vital principle and foundation of Christianity. If, as a Legislature, we had authority to determine religious error, and a commission to punish religious error, it might be our painful duty to punish the Jews. But we have no such commission. If the Jews did commit an inexpiable crime nearly two thousand years ago, we have had no authority given to us—even if we could determine who were the descendants of the persons guilty of that crime—to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children not unto the third or fourth, but unto the three hundredth or four hundredth generation. That awful power is not ours. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

I cannot, therefore, admit the right of the Legislature to inflict a penalty for mere religious error. I consider a civil disability to partake of the nature of a penalty. I speak of religious error simply and abstractedly. If you can certainly infer from that religious error dangerous political opinions, and if you have no other mode of guarding against those political opinions except by the administration of a test for the purpose of ascertaining the religious opinions, in that case you may have a right to impose the penalty of exclusion from certain trusts. In the case of the Roman Catholic you did not exclude him because he maintained the worship of the Virgin Mary, or the doctrine of transubstantiation; but because you thought he was a dangerous subject in consequence of his acknowledging the supremacy of a foreign Power, and his allegiance to another Sovereign. You excluded him from political power because you believed he would abuse it. You did not inflict civil disability for mere religious error. If you can show, in this case, that the maintenance of certain religious opinions by the Jews is a decisive proof of their civil unworthiness, you may have a right to exclude them from power; but the onus of showing this is imposed upon you. The presumption is in their favour. The presumption is, that a Jew, as a subject of the British Crown, is entitled to all the qualifications and privileges of a British subject. You may defeat that claim by proof of danger to the State, from admitting it; but the onus of proof lies upon you.

The claim of the Jews, as British-born subject, is for entire and complete qualification for office. You do not diminish the force of that claim by their partial qualification. You allow the Jew to fill municipal offices—you concede to him the elective franchise; but the obligation to assign a reason for withholding from him what remains is precisely the same. Nay, after you admit his qualification for the privileges and franchises which you have entrusted to him, it becomes the more incumbent upon you to assign a reason for withholding complete qualification.

A noble Lord who has spoken with so much good feeling upon this question—the Member for Bath—quoted an authority entitled to much weight, a distinguished man, now no more. I wish to speak of the late Dr. Arnold with the utmost respect. The noble Lord read an extract from the works of Dr. Arnold, which appeared to make a considerable impression upon the House—a passage in which Dr. Arnold says— For the Jews, I see no plea of justice whatever; they are voluntary strangers here, and have no claim to become citizens but by conforming to our moral law, which is the Gospel. We are to reject the claim of the Jews now living—born in this country, and owing entire allegiance to the British Crown—to the privileges of British subjects, because their ancestors were voluntary strangers here. The decendants of an ancient Briton, of the pure blood, may be entitled to urge this objection to a Jew; but the descendant of a Norman, or a Roman, or a Saxon, or a Dane, can hardly insist upon it. His ancestors, I apprehend, were not invited here; they were "voluntary strangers;" with this difference between them and the Jews, that the Jews were content to submit to the laws and institutions which they found established, and that the others subverted them.

Dr. Arnold proceeds— I would give the Jews the honorary citizenship which was so often given by the Romans, namely, the private rights of citizens, juscommercii et jus connubii, but not the public rights, jus suffragii et jus honorum. I contend that the British law recognises no such distinction; that, after conferring upon the Jew the jus commercii and the jus connubii, the onus of assigning satisfactory reasons for withholding from the Jew the remaining rights of citizenship continues undiminished. Unless you can show that there is something politically hostile in the character and conduct of the Jew in relation to the State—that in times of civil discord and discontent there is reason to apprehend his disaffection—or that, for some good cause or other, he is unworthy of confidence, you cannot defeat his equitable claim to the entire and complete rights of citizenship.

To the opinion of Dr. Arnold I oppose the opinion of a still higher authority, that of Lord Bacon. In his argument upon the rights of the post nati of Scotland, Lord Bacon has the following remarkable observations:— It seemeth admirable unto me to consider with what a measured hand, and with how true proportions, our law doth impart and confer the several degrees of the benefits of naturalisation. The first degree is an alien enemy. The second is an alien friend. The third is a denizen. To this person the law giveth an ability and capacity abridged, not in matter but in time. The fourth and last degree is a natural-born subject—'he is complete and entire.' Other laws do admit more curious distinctions of this privilege, for the Romans had besides jus civitatis, which answereth to natura- lisation, jus suffragii. For though a man were naturalised to take lands and inheritance, yet he was not enabled to have a voice in passing of laws, or at election of officers. And yet farther, they had jus petitionis, or jus honorum. For though a man had voice, yet he was not capable of honour or office. But these be devices commonly of popular or free estates which are jealous whom they take into their number, and are unfit for monarchies; but by the law of England the subject that is natural-born hath a capacity or ability to all benefits whatever. The Jew is a subject natural-born; and I contend that he has a right, as such, to be qualified for all civil trusts—that he has "a capacity or ability to all benefits whatever," unless you show a reason to the contrary—a reason not founded upon mere religious error, but upon some good cause for political disqualification.

In the course of this debate the exclusion of the Jews has been justified by reference to other disqualifications to which all subjects of the Queen are liable. It is contended that it is no hardship to exclude the Jews, because copyholders are excluded from rights which freeholders possess, and minors from the exercise of powers which a man of full age enjoys. An hon. and learned Gentleman, who bears a name which must be honoured in this House, the lustre of which he is, I trust, destined to renew (Mr. Walpole), contended that there is a distinction between the elective franchise and the functions of legislation, and cited, as a proof of such distinction, the case of the clergy, who are qualified to vote for Members of Parliament, but not to sit in Parliament. Surely these are ingenious fallacies, employed for the purpose of concealing from ourselves the real character of a harsh exclusion. How does the elective franchise differ in principle from the right of legislation? There is no such franchise given by the common law; the elective franchise is a creature of the Legislature. You withhold from the 9l. householder a right which you give to the 10l. householder. With respect to the exclusion of the clergy from this branch of the Legislature, and with respect to the exclusion of minors and those who have not sufficient property, these exclusions differ altogether in their principle from the disqualification you impose upon the Jews. In the first place, the Jew is equally subject with those who profess Christianity to all these exclusions, of minors, of copyholders, and 9l. householders. To all these disqualifications he is equally subject with ourselves; but you superadd another disqualification to which he is specially liable. Of the exclusions to which you refer, some are voluntary, others temporary in their duration. A clergyman, when he enters upon the sacred office, knows that he will be excluded from this House. A minor, if he live until he attains his majority, will acquire his full rights. But the disqualification of the Jew is of a different character—it is a disqualification on account of his opinions—it is not temporary or voluntary—it is a superadded disqualification, and it differs in its character from the disqualifications to which other classes are subject.

Now, has there been assigned any valid cause for this disqualification, derived from the political conduct and character of the Jew? On the contrary, admissions in his favour have been made, which render the hardship of excluding the Jews still more grievous. We are told by the opponents of the Jews, that in point of moral conduct, in point of active exercise of charity, in point of tried loyalty, and in point of property, the Jews are entitled to as much consideration as any other class of the Queen's subjects. If in all these respects they are equally worthy, why subject them to exclusions which imply the want of civil worth? If the claim of the Jew to the full privileges of a natural-born subject of the Queen can only be defeated by proof of his misconduct, or of justifiable suspicion, there is an end of the question. His claim is not even contested on that ground.

But there are two reasons—for I will class all the other arguments urged against the admission of the Jews under two heads for the purpose of brevity—which have been advanced in support of their exclusion, the force of which, if well founded in fact, I should be the last person to deny. One of these reasons is, that you have for the last three hundred years deemed a recognition of the Christian faith a necessary qualification of a legislator; the other, that if you now abandon that qualification, and permit it to be struck out of the Statute-book, where it has so long remained, this conduct on your part will imply an indifference to religion, and that such indifference is likely to relax the energies and paralyse the exertions of many devout Christians who, in this and in other countries, are using their utmost endeavours to propagate the Christian faith. Now, I wish to weigh fairly the force of these two objections. I do not undervalue the objection that you are about to remove from the Statute-book the words "on the true faith of a Christian." I fear that you will give offence to many sincere Christians by removing those words; but, on a deep consideration of this subject, I am convinced that the popular impression with respect to these words, and the circumstances under which they were inserted, is erroneous, and that it would not be just to subject the Jew to continued disqualification on account of erroneous, though most sincere and conscientious impressions in respect to the intent and effect of the words which it is proposed to omit.

It was said, and truly said, by the hon. and learned Member for Southampton, that up to the reign of Queen Elizabeth there was no oath required from Members of Parliament. The principle of the British constitution before the 1st of Elizabeth was, that the will of the electing body should determine the right to sit in Parliament; and no oath was required from Members of Parliament before the fifth year of the reign of Elizabeth, when the oath of supremacy was administered—an oath which, if not administered on this book [here the right hon. Baronet placed his hand upon a New Testament], the Jew would have been perfectly willing to take. The oath, it is true, was administered in a form in which it could only be taken by a sincere Christian. But in the first year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the law presumed every one to be not merely a Christian, but a member of the Established Church; for it required every subject of the Queen to attend divine service in the Church once at least on every Sunday, on the penalty of twelve pence. The object of the oath of supremacy was to assure the Queen of the full allegiance of her subjects, and to exclude from office and from Parliament all those who acknowledged the temporal or ecclesiastical authority of a foreign Potentate within these realms. The substance of the oath was directed, not against Jews, but against Christians. It was the form of the oath alone which affected the Jew.

From the 5th of Elizabeth to the 7th of James I., no other oath than the oath of supremacy was required from Members of Parliament. In the 7th of James I., the year 1605, a new and additional oath was administered; that oath which contains the words "on the true faith of a Christian." The reason for this new oath is fully stated in the preamble to the Act which imposed it. There is an express re- ference "to the barbarous and horrible attempt to have blown up with gunpowder, the King, Queen, Prince, Lords and Commons in this House of Parliament assembled." This oath continued in force until the Revolution of 1688. Now, if the words "on the true faith of a Christian" had been considered important as guaranteeing the Christian character of the Legislâture, is it not remarkable that in the first year of the reign of William and Mary they should have been altogether dispensed with? The oath which contained them, and with the oath the words themselves, were by express enactment "repealed, utterly abrogated, and made void;" and for that oath this simple form was substituted:—"I do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty. So help me God."

From the year 1688 to the year 1701, the simple oath of allegiance was the only one required. There was no profession of the "true faith of a Christian" by Members of either House of Parliament. In 1701, the Pretender assumed the title of James III. That title was acknowledged by Louis XIV., and it was thought necessary, for the protection of the new dynasty, to impose an oath of abjuration. The form of the oath imposed by James I., which included the words "on the true faith of a Christian," was adopted, and has since remained in force. But it was neither originally imposed, nor subsequently revived, for the purpose of assuring the Christian character of the Legislature. You now plead against the admission of the Jew the policy of maintaining that Christian character. You argue, "We have ceased, it is true, to be a Church of England Parliament, we have have ceased to be a Protestant Parliament, but we have tests in force which ensure our unity as a Christian Parliament." May not the Jew reply, that those tests were never designed for that purpose; that they were not directed against him; that they were directed, for purely political purposes, by one body of Christians against another, whose loyalty and fidelity were denied. These tests that are now to be retained as the guarantees for Christian unity, are the historical evidences of former divisions and fierce conflicts between Christians themselves.

The Member for Midhurst quotes the writ of summons for the convocation of Parliament, and contends that the Jew is inadmissible to the Legislature because Parliament is convened to deliberate not only on matters of State, but especially "de quibusdam rebus Ecclesiam Anglicanam concernentibus." What is the answer of the Jew to this objection?" Am I less qualified than the Quaker to legislate on questions of public policy, or on matters concerning the Church? I have no scruples as to the lawfulness of war. I do not deny the right to tithes: I do not refuse their payment, except on compulsion. I have no rival religious establishment, as the Roman Catholic has. You make no objection to the Unitarian, who rejects one of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, and yet you plead the Christian character of the Legislature as the impediment to my admission."

Still, it is contended that we have at least this satisfaction, that no Member can be admitted to sit in the House of Commons without professing his belief in Christianity; that a declaration "on the true faith of a Christian" is an indispensable condition of his admission. But this is not true. I hold in my hand the declaration made by a Quaker at the table of this House, and from that declaration the words "on the true faith of a Christian" are omitted. You will constitute no new precedent, therefore, by omitting these words in the case of the Jew. Require from the Jew the same identical declaration which you require from the Quaker, and permit the Jew to swear in the very same form in which you permit him, nay, compel him to swear in a court of law, and he will be perfectly satisfied. Can there be a stronger proof that you did not consider the words "on the true faith of a Christian" an essential qualification for the Legislature, than that in framing a declaration to be made by the Quaker, on his admission to this House, you deliberately omitted them. You have done the same in the case of the Moravian and the Separatist. There is, therefore, an end of the argument, that the omission of the same words in favour of the Jew would be an act without an example, derogatory to the Christian character of Parliament.

The hon. Member for Dorsetshire has referred to a speech on this subject delivered by me in the year 1830, with an expression of surprise that I can now content to the removal of Jewish disabilities. Since the year 1830, circumstances have occurred having an important bearing on this question, and making in the position of it a material change. You have in the interval admitted to the Legislature classes of religionists, who in the year 1830 were excluded in common with the Jew; you have admitted the Quakers, the Moravians, and the Separatists. In respect to office—to civil, political, and municipal office, the present position of the Jew is entirely different from his position in 1830; and even now, and after the progress made in this debate, I doubt whether that position is clearly understood.

It is well known that the Jews have been selected by the Crown for civil distinctions; that under the late Government the Baronetcy was conferred by the Queen upon Sir Moses Montefiore; under the present upon Mr. Rothschild. It is also well known that the Jews are, by a recent Act of Parliament (passed in 1845), qualified for all municipal offices. But it is not generally known that all civil and military appointments, with very few exceptions, are tenable by a Jew.

I believe that at this moment the Jew is eligible to any executive office to which the Crown may appoint him, no matter how important may be the duties attached to that office, unless in the case of offices which must be held by Privy Councillors, he be precluded by the oath which is administered to a Privy Councillor. I apprehend that there is nothing which can prevent a Jew from being Secretary of State to-morrow, except through the indirect operation of the oath required of a Privy Councillor, and that there is nothing in the substance or terms of that oath to which a Jew would object. If you will permit the Jew to take the Privy Councillor's oath on the Old Testament, the oath of the Privy Councillor will not exclude him from the Privy Council. It is my conviction, therefore, that except through the indirect operation of that oath, there is not an office within the gift of the Crown from which a Jew, practically, is excluded. Let me shortly revert to the Act of 1828. A certain declaration, containing the words "on the true faith of a Christian," was by that Act substituted for the decararation against transubstantiation; and, observe, these words, "on the true faith of a Christian," were not inserted in the declaration required by the Bill, as it was sent up to the Lords by the House of Commons. The Bill, when it left the Lower House, did not contain these words; the Commons were content to admit dissenters from the Church to all executive and municipal offices without requiring that declaration of Christian faith. The words were inserted in the House of Lords, and, rather than lose the Bill, the Amendment was acceded to by the Commons. A marked distinction was made in the Act of 1828 as to the period when the declaration was required; in the case of executive office, a certain time (six months after admission to office) was given; in the case of municipal office, the declaration was required to be made previously to or upon admission to office. In the year 1831, a material change took place in the enactments of the Annual Indemnity Act. The declaration required by the Act of 1828 was then placed on the same footing as all other tests. The consequence is, that during the whole of the last two reigns—the reign of King William and the reign of Queen Victoria—all parties appointed to executive office have been given, under the Annual Indemnity Act, the whole year to qualify. Before the year expires another Indemnity Act passes; and the fact therefore is, that at this moment, except through the indirect operation of the Privy Councillor's oath, there is not an office under the Crown which a Jew may not hold, and be protected in holding.

Having acceded to those important changes in the position of the Jew, and having admitted all other Dissenters to legislative functions, can we permanently maintain the exclusion of the Jew from Parliament? He is possessed of the elective franchise. He is eligible to and has entered upon municipal office. He may be Lord Mayor of London. He is shut out from no office under the Crown excepting that of Privy Councillor. The Crown has been enabled for the last seventeen years to appoint the Jew to high political office; but there is a certain trust which can only be exercised through the good will of electors, the great majority of whom must probably be professing Christians, and yet from that trust the Jew is to remain excluded. There is no jealousy of the Crown in respect to the appointment of Jews to the most important civil offices, but such jealousy of the Christian electors of this country, that you will not permit them to send the man of their choice to this House, if he happen to be a Jew.

Sir, my opinion is, that you cannot permanently maintain that exclusion, and if you cannot, why not remove it now? You have removed other disabilities with little danger to the interests of the Church, or to the interests of the Christian religion. My firm belief is—and I rejoice in the conviction—that the Church of England is stronger at this moment than at any period of her history. The disposition of the Church to admit timely and salutary reforms has been one great cause of that strength. A still more efficient cause is the deep religious feeling which has been awakened through the country. The strength of the Church and of religion is not now dependent on the question of two or three votes, more or less, in this House. The Church is strong enough to be independent on all essential points of the decisions of this House. It is rooted in the affections of the people, and it is a disparagement to religion and to the Church to contend that the safety of either depends upon the continued exclusion from this assembly of the Baron de Rothschild, or three or four gentlemen of the Jewish faith. Were it not for internal dissensions within the Church itself, the Church would be stronger at this moment, after the successive relaxation of disabling laws, than it was, even at the period when you required conformity to the faith of the Church as an essential qualification for Parliament.

I cannot then assign danger to the Church as a reason for excluding the Jew. At the same time I deeply regret that the feelings of zealous and pious Christians should be wounded by the omission from an oath of the words "on the true faith of a Christian." Believing, however, the impression with regard both to the original intent and the effect of those words to be erroneous; seeing that it is an error to suppose they have formed a part of the qualification for Parliament for an uninterrupted period since their first introduction, in the reign of James I., inasmuch as they were "utterly abrogated, repealed, and done away" at the time of the Revolution, and were only revived thirteen years afterwards for a purely political purpose—seeing that it is an error to suppose that they are now required for every Member of the Legislature, inasmuch as they are waived in the case of the Quaker, the Moravian, and the Separatist—I cannot think it just to continue the exclusion of the Jew from deference to conscientious but erroneous impressions.

I own, Sir, that I do cordially rejoice that I can find no constitutional impedi- ment to the complete admission of the Jew to the right of a British subject. If there be a class of our fellow-beings to whom reparation is due from every Christian State in Europe—reparation for centuries of calumny, persecution, and wrong—the Jews are that class. I defy you to read the early history of this country, narrated, not by indignant Jews, but by the popular historians of your own faith, without shuddering at the atrocities committed by Christian sovereigns and a Christian people. Hume says, "Our ideas scarcely come up to the extortions which we find to have been practised upon the Jews." Speaking of King Henry III., and detailing his unjust demands for money, and his threats to hang the Jews if they refused compliance, he says, "The King then delivered over the Jews to the Earl of Cornwall, that those whom one brother had flayed, the other might embowel." He remarks that "the acts of violence against the Jews proceeded much from bigotry, but more from avidity and rapine."

Even in that age these things would not have been done or tolerated, but for deep-rooted prejudices and wide-spread antipathy to the Jews, on account of their religious faith. Are we quite sure that the same prejudices—the same antipathy—do not still exist? We disclaim them within these walls; but are they not the real cause of much of the opposition to the relief of the Jew from civil disabilities? Of this I am confident, that within the present century both the people and the Government of this country have been influenced by such unworthy feelings. It was the deference to irrational prejudice that induced the Ministry in 1753 to propose the repeal of the Act for the naturalisation of foreign Jews, passed in the preceding year. The most disgraceful day in the annals of the British Parliament was that on which the Duke of Newcastle, the First Minister of the Crown, proposed the repeal of that Act. A general election was impending—great excitement prevailed—excitement of such a nature, that the Member for Exeter, who had voted in favour of the Jews, was denounced as a Jew, and was compelled to appease his constituents by citing, in proof of his Christianity, the fact that he had repeatedly travelled on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Hardwicke), in his place in the House of Lords, condescended to vindicate the Government for proposing the repeal of the Naturalisation Act by such arguments as these. Speaking of the Jews, and the popular feelings towards them, Lord Hardwicke observed— By our laws they may be protected from any open violence or direct assault; but whilst the people are so highly and so generally exasperated against them as they everywhere appear to be at present, they will be exposed to daily insults and vexations which no law can provide against or punish, especially in this country, where no man, not even the King himself, is vested with absolute power, and where every magistrate is obliged to confine himself within the letter of the law. Therefore, whilst the people continue in their present humour, it will be impossible for any Jew, rich or poor, to live here with the same ease and security which he did before that law was passed. Again:— I am convinced that the ill-humour of the people would before now have broken out, if it had not been for the hope that, as soon as Parliament met, the law would be repealed; and if they were to see two or three dozens of their countrymen hanged every session for mobbing or murdering the Jews, I believe it would not contribute towards restoring them to good humour, especially as many of them would find, at least imagine, that the Jews interfered with them in their trade or business. For such reasons as these, in avowed obedience to the most irrational and vulgar prejudices, a slight privilege conceded to the Jews in 1752 was suddenly withdrawn in 1753, by the same Ministers and the same Parliament by which it had been granted.

I have cited the authority of Hume for the cruelties practised in England upon the Jews during the reigns of King John and his successor. Let me read an extract from another historian, Sharon Turner, containing a brief summary of the persecutions to which this unhappy people were subject in this country and other parts of Europe:— When we recollect their massacre along the Rhine in 1096, and in England in the time of Richard I., and read of their repeated destructions in Germany; in 1221 at Erfurt; in 1263 at Fulda, when on an accusation of their killing Christian boys for their blood, the Emperor ordered an inquiry whether Christian blood was a necessary part of their Passover, to which the official answer was, that nothing certain was known on the subject. In 1240 at Frankfort, 'with fire and sword;' in 1282 at Mentz and other places; in 1298 at Nuremburgh and through all Franconia; that they were also exterminated from Bavaria; that in 1348, 1349, and 1350, they were killed 'like cattle,' and mercilessly burned in great numbers at Basle, Friburg, Spires, Wurms, Frankfort, Mentz, Alsace, Cologne, and in every part of Germany; when we recall to mind that these are only specimens of what they endured in other places, and were for several centuries in perpetual danger of everywhere suffering, we can hardly persuade ourselves that any remnant of the nation so bitterly persecuted can now be surviving. They have survived, having borne their wrongs with exemplary patience and resignation. Suppose the result of these bitter persecutions had been to make the Jews a degraded race—suppose "the iron had entered into their souls;" suppose they had been so bowed down, as to have become— Curvæ in terris animæ ac cœlestium inanes"— who would be responsible for their degradation?

If the Jews were debased or inferior in moral worth to Christians, could that debasement and inferiority—the natural result of oppression—be now assigned with any semblance of justice, as an impediment to the grant of equal rights to the Jews? Could the Christian rulers of Europe justly reproach the Jews for continuing a separate people, and for being deficient in ardent patriotism and devoted attachment to the institutions under which such wrongs had been inflicted? Could they be astonished, if, vexed by repeated persecutions, the Jews permitted the past, the distant, and the future, to predominate over the present?—if, sitting down by the waters of strange lands, they wept, when they remembered Sion?

But, according to your own acknowledgment, the Jews have not been debased. In point of courage, of moral worth, of intellectual power, of mental acquirements, they yield precedence to none. They have been faithful subjects of the Crown: in the times of severe trial, at home or abroad, their loyalty has never wavered. On what ground, then, do you justify their exclusion from any privilege of a Protestant subject? Are they not so far entitled to our confidence, that they may be qualified for a trust, which they cannot exercise except through the good will of Christian constituencies?

It may be that considerations of the past—that the desire to make reparation for former wrongs—ought not to control or influence our judgment; but they may so far operate as to inculcate the duty of mature reflection, whether we cannot reconcile our feelings with our duty, and to increase our satisfaction, if we find that they are not incompatible.

I have other motives that weigh with me. There are countries in which the Jews are still subject to persecution and cruel oppression. Twice within the last three or four years has a British subject, distinguished for his benevolence and philanthropy, Sir Moses Montefiore, repaired to distant lands, in the hope of mitigating the hard lot of the suffering Jews. He repaired to St. Petersburg for the purpose of imploring mercy towards the Jews in Poland. He repaired to the East for the purpose of relieving, if possible, the Jews in Palestine, from shameful wrongs, perpetrated on the pretext that they murdered Christian children in order that their blood might be available for the Passover.

He carried with him letters of recommendation from British Ministers, certifying his high character for integrity and honour, and the purity of the motives by which he was actuated. How much more persuasive would those letters have been if they could have announced the fact, that every ancient prejudice against the Jews had been extinguished here, and that the Jew was on a perfect equality, as to civil rights, with his Christian fellow-citizen. Place him on that footing of perfect equality, and the influence of your benevolent legislation will extend far beyond the narrow limits of your own country. You will exercise an authority and jurisdiction, even in foreign countries, which laws, however jealous of external interference, cannot exclude—the moral authority of a just and benevolent example. You will offer consolation to many a wounded spirit, and weaken the force of the prejudices and antipathies which harden the heart against the impulses of humanity; at any rate you will make it impossible to justify those prejudices by the example of England.

It remains for me only to refer to the argument against the removal of Jewish disabilities which was chiefly relied on by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Goulburn), and urged by him with great force and effect.

My right hon. Friend says, that there are many zealous Christians who, from the deepest conviction and the purest motives, devote their lives to the propagation of divine truth, and the reclamation of the ignorant and the guilty from sin and error. He says justly, that we possess an extended empire, bringing us into contact with gross ignorance and superstition—which pious missionaries are labouring to extirpate. He fears that their zeal will be relaxed, and their exertions paralysed, if the Legis- lature should manifest that indifference towards divine truth which might be implied by the admission of the Jew to the Legislature, and by thus relinquishing the distinguishing character of a Christian Parliament. I concur with my right hon. Friend, that vast dominion imposes upon us the gravest responsibility. That dominion may be destined by Providence to advance much higher purposes than the aggrandisement of empire, or the extension of commerce. Empire and commerce may be the means towards a great end; they may be the avenues through which the light of knowledge is to penetrate the cloud of error, through which "the day-spring from on high is to visit those that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death." I agree with him, that if by assenting to this measure, indifference towards divine truth could be justly imputed to us—if the suspicion of it should relax the zeal or defeat the exertions of devout and pious men labouring in the cause of true religion, such a result would be a lamentable one, with evil consequences far outweighing any which could arise from the continued disabilities of the Jews.

My right hon. Friend contends that even if the zeal of the pious missionary should not be damped by our misconduct—if he should still continue to enforce the truths of Christianity, yet if it came to the knowledge of those to whom these truths were addressed, that at home the distinctions between Christians and Jews had been abolished, by admitting the Jews to legislative functions, the millions of heathens whom Providence has placed under our rule would be shocked by our inconsistency, and would be unwilling to assent to doctrines which we ourselves appeared to repudiate.

I cannot concur in the apprehensions of my right hon. Friend. Let me take the natives of some distant country, utterly ignorant of the truths of the Gospel, but not insensible to the force of reason. If you could tell them that your policy towards the Jew was that of the reign of Richard I. or of the Spanish Inquisition—that you so abominated the crime which his ancestors had committed, and so detested his unbelief, that you would hold no communion with him—that by your laws he was subject to banishment and torture, the heathen might think you deficient in charity, but give you credit for your devotion to the true faith. But if you told the heathen, as you must tell him, that your relation to the Jew was not very well defined—that you lived on friendly terms with the Jew—that you imposed on him all the burdens to which a British subject was liable—that you freely borrowed his money—that the Jew might dispense justice as a magistrate—that he might be Lord Mayor of the city of London—that he was qualified for almost all civil offices—that he might elect Members of Parliament, but that from zeal for the Christian faith you could not allow the Jew to be a Member himself—surely this appeal, however consistent with the truth, would not make a powerful impression on his mind.

Try the force of another appeal. Tell the heathen of the wrongs which Christian States have inflicted on the Jews: tell him that we live under a constitution which knows no distinctions among British subjects as to civil rights—that we profess a religion which commands us to be forbearing and forgiving towards one another—that we serve a God whose almighty power is most chiefly declared by showing mercy and pity—that we worship a Redeemer who inculcated by his life, and sanctified by his death, the precepts of Christian charity: tell him, that in humble obedience to these precepts, we have given to the Jews the same benefits and privileges we possess ourselves—try the force of that appeal, and it will not be made in vain.

It is for these reasons—because I believe it to be in conformity with the enlarged and comprehensive spirit of the British constitution that these qualifications should no longer exist—because I rejoice in the opportunity of making reparation for the injuries and persecutions of former times—because I think the Jew has fairly earned the privileges which it is proposed to extend to him, by patience and forbearance—by tried fidelity and loyalty—but, above all, because I am one of a Christian people, because I am a Member of a Christian Legislature, I will perform an act which I believe to be in strict conformity with the spirit and precepts of the Christian religion. We are commanded by that religion, as the condition of our own forgiveness, to forgive those who have trespassed against us. That duty is not in this case imposed upon us; but there is another duty, as sacred in point of moral obligation, and more trying to human pride, namely, that we should forgive those against whom we have trespassed. Sir, I shall give my cordial support to the Bill before the House.


called the attention of the House to a statement made by the hon. Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), that Baron Lionel de Rothschild had paid money for the purpose of obtaining signatures to petitions for the removal of the Jewish disabilities. He gave the most positive denial to the statement, which he had no doubt the hon. Gentleman had made, believing it to be well founded; but the hon. Gentleman belonged to a school whose prejudices rendered them peculiarly liable to be misled. Though the signatures to petitions presented before the recess against the Bill amounted to 13,000, while those in favour of it amounted to 6,000 or 7,000, the signatures presented to petitions in favour of the Bill were estimated at 232,000 since the recess, while those against were only 35,000. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) had said with great truth that the Jews in Poland were oppressed. The Bill should receive his support, because it afforded the best means of dispelling error and diffusing truth.


had been accused of stating what was not the fact. He had received two petitions to this House in favour of the Bill. They were brought to him by the agent of the committee for supporting Mr. Rothschild's return. They were directed to him (Mr. Newdegate) at Mr. Rothschild's committee-room, and were brought to his own. The circumstance appeared singular. It prompted him to inquire whether any organisation existed for procuring signatures. His former statement was substantially correct, though it might not be so in the terms reported. His statement was, that persons were employed to procure signatures in favour of the Bill for the removal of the Jewish disabilities on the part of Baron Lionel de Rothschild and his committee; and that the first contract was for 1s. 6d. a hundred; that the next, he believed, was 3s.; and here he had made a mistake, for the sliding-scale, it appeared, terminated at 3s., and was converted into a fixed duty of 5s. a day.

The House divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question:—Ayes 277; Noes 204: Majority 73.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, T. N. Aglionby, H. A.
Adair, H. E. Alcock, T.
Anderson, A. Enfield, Visct.
Anson, hon. Col. Evans, J.
Anson, Visct. Evans, W.
Anstey, T. C. Ewart, W.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Fagan, W.
Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Bagshaw, J. Fitzpatrick, J. W.
Baines, M. T. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Foley, J. H. H.
Baring, T. Fordyce, A. D.
Barnard, E. G. Forster, M.
Bellew, R. M. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Bentinck, Lord G. Fox, R. M.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Fox, W. J.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Freestun, Col.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Gardner, R.
Bernal, R. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Birch, Sir T. B. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Blackall, S. W. Gower, hon. F. L.
Blake, M. J. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Blewitt, R. J. Granger, T. C.
Bouverie, E. P. Greene, J.
Bowring, Dr. Gregson, S.
Boyle, hon. Col. Grenfell, C. P.
Brand, T. Grenfell, C. W.
Brockman, E. D. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Brotherton, J. Grey, R. W.
Brown, W. S. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Buller, C. Guest, Sir J.
Bunbury, E. H. Hall, Sir B.
Busfeild, W. Hardcastle, J. A.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Hastie, A.
Callaghan, D. Hay, Lord J.
Cardwell, E. Hayter, W. G.
Carter, J. B. Headlam, T. E.
Caulfield, J. M. Heathcote, J.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Henry, A.
Cayley, E. S. Herbert, H. A.
Charteris, hon. F. Heywood, J.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Hindley, C.
Clay, J. Hodges, T. L.
Clay, Sir W. Hodges, T. T.
Clements, hon. C. S. Hollond, R.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Horsman, E.
Cobden, R. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Cockburn, A. J. E. Hume, J.
Coke, hon. E. K. Humphery, Ald.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hutt, W.
Collins, W. Jackson, W.
Conyngham, Lord A. Jermyn, Earl
Cowan, C. Jervis, Sir J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Jervis, J.
Craig, W. G. Keogh, W.
Crawford, W. S. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Cubitt, W. Ker, R.
Currie, R. Kershaw, J.
Dashwood, G. H. Kildare, Marquess of
Davie, Sir H. R. F. King, hon. P. J. L.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Denison, J. E. Langston, J. H.
Devereux, J. T. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Lennard, T. B.
Disraeli, B. Lewis, rt. hn. Sir T. F.
Divett, E. Lewis, G. C.
Duff, G. S. Lincoln, Earl of
Duke, Sir J. Locke, J.
Duncan, Visct. Lushington, C.
Duncan, G. M'Gregor, J.
Dundas, Adm. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Ebrington, Visct. M'Tavish, C. C.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Meagher, T.
Ellice, E. Mahon, The O'Gorman
Elliot, hon. J. E. Marshall, J. G.
Marshall, W. Scully, F.
Martin, J. Seeley, C.
Martin, S. Seymour, Lord
Matheson, A. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Matheson, J. Shelburne, Earl of
Matheson, Col. Sheridan, R. B.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Sidney, T.
Melgund, Visct. Slaney, R. A.
Milnes, R. M. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Moffatt, G. Smith, J. A.
Molesworth, Sir W. Smith, M. T.
Monsell, W. Smith, J. B.
Morpeth, Visct. Smythe, hon. G.
Morison, Gen. Somers, J. P.
Morris, D. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Mowatt, F. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Mulgrave, Earl of Stanton, W. H.
Muntz, G. F. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Nugent, Lord Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Nugent, Sir P. Stuart, Lord D.
O'Brien, Sir L. Sullivan, M.
O'Brien, T. Sutton, J. H. M.
O'Brien, W. S. Talbot, J. H.
O'Connell, M. J. Talfourd, Serj.
O'Connor, F. Tancred, H. W.
O'Flaherty, A. Tenison, E. K.
Ord, W. Thicknesse, R. A.
Osborne, R. Thompson, Col.
Oswald, A. Thompson, G.
Owen, Sir J. Thornely, T.
Paget, Lord A. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Paget, Lord C. Towneley, J.
Paget, Lord G. Townshend, J.
Palmer, R. Traill, G.
Palmerston, Visct. Trelawny, J. S.
Parker, J. Turner, E.
Pattison, J. Tynte, Col. C. J. K.
Pearson, C. Vane, Lord H.
Pechell, Capt. Verney, Sir H.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Villiers, hon. C.
Perfect, R. Vivian, J. H.
Peto, S. M. Wakley, T.
Pigott, F. Wall, C. B.
Pilkington, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Pinney, W. Walter, J.
Power, Dr. Ward, H. G.
Powlett, Lord W. Watkins, Col. L.
Pusey, P. Wawn, J. T.
Reynolds, J. Westhead, J. P.
Ricardo, J. L. Willcox, B. M.
Ricardo, O. Williams, J.
Rice, E. R. Williamson, Sir H.
Rich, H. Wilson, J.
Robartes, T. J. A. Wilson, M.
Robinson, G. R. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Romilly, J. Wood, W. P.
Russell, Lord J. Wortley, rt. hn. J. S.
Russell, hon. E. S. Wrightson, W. B.
Russell, F. C. H. Wyld, J.
Rutherfurd, A. Wyvill, M.
Sadleir, J. Yorke, H. G. R.
Salwey, Col.
Sandars, G. TELLERS.
Scholefield, W. Tufnell, H.
Scrope, G. P. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Arkwright, G.
Adderley, C. B. Ashley, Lord
Alford, Visct. Bagge, W.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Bagot, hon. W.
Archdall, Capt. M. Bailey, J. jun.
Baldock, E. H. Gordon, Adm.
Bankes, G. Gore, W. R. O.
Barrington, Visct. Goring, C.
Bateson, T. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bell, M. Granby, Marquess of
Bennett, P. Greene, T.
Bentinck, Lord H. Grogan, E.
Beresford, W. Guinness, R. S.
Blakemore, R. Gwyn, H.
Boldero, H. G. Hale, R. B.
Bolling, W. Halford, Sir H.
Bowles, Adm. Hall, Col.
Brackley, Visct. Halsey, T. P.
Bramston, T. W. Hamilton, G. A.
Bremridge, R. Harris, hon. Capt.
Brisco, M. Hayes, Sir E.
Broadley, H. Heald, J.
Brooke, Lord Heathcote, Sir W.
Brown, H. Heneage, G. H. W.
Bruce, Lord E. Henley, J. W.
Buck, L. W. Hervey, Lord A.
Buller, Sir J. T. Hildyard, R. C.
Burke, Sir T. J. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Hodgson, W. N.
Burroughes, H. N. Hood, Sir A.
Cabbell, B. B. Hope, Sir J.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Hope, A.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Hornby, J.
Christopher, R. A. Hudson, G.
Christy, S. Ingestre, Visct.
Clive, H. B. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Cobbold, J. C. Ireland, T. J.
Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Cocks, T. S. Jones, Sir W.
Codrington, Sir W. Jones, Capt.
Cole, hon. H. A. Knightley, Sir C.
Coles, H. B. Knox, Col.
Colvile, C. R. Law, hon. C. E.
Compton, H. C. Lennox, Lord A.
Conolly, Col. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Coope, O. E. Leslie, C. P.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Courtenay, Lord Lockhart, A. E.
Cripps, W. Lockhart, W.
Davies, D. A. S. Long, W.
Deedes, W. Lowther, hon. Col.
Deering, J. Lowther, H.
Douro, Marquess of Lygon, hon. Gen.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Mackenzie, W. F.
Drummond, H. M'Naghten, Sir E.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Mahon, Visct.
Duncombe, hon. A. Manners, Lord C. S.
Duncuft, J. March, Earl of
Dundas, G. Martin, C. W.
Du Pre, C. G. Masterman, J.
East, Sir J. B. Maunsell, T. P.
Edwards, H. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Egerton, Sir P. Meux, Sir H.
Egerton, W. T. Miles, P. W. S.
Emlyn, Visct. Miles, W.
Euston, Earl of Moody, C. A.
Farnham, E. B. Moore, G. H.
Farrer, J. Morgan, O.
Fellowes, E. Mundy, E. M.
Filmer, Sir E. Neeld, J.
Floyer, J. Neeld, J.
Forbes, W. Newdegate, C. N.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. Newry and Morne, Visct.
Fox, S. W. L. Noel, hon. G. J.
Frewen, C. H. Ossulston, Lord
Fuller, A. E. Packe, C. W.
Godson, R. Pakington, Sir J.
Gooch, E. S. Palmer, R.
Patten, J. W. Stephenson, R.
Peel, Col. Stuart, H.
Pennant, hon. Col. Stuart, J.
Pigot, Sir R. Sturt, H. G.
Plumptre, J. P. Thompson, Ald.
Plowden, W. H. C. Thornhill, G.
Powell, Col. Tollemache, J.
Prime, R. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Raphael, A. Trollope, Sir J.
Reid, Col. Turner, G. J.
Rendlesham, Lord Verner, Sir W.
Renton, J. C. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Repton, G. W. J. Waddington, D.
Richards, R. Waddington, H. S.
Rolleston, Col. Walpole, S. H.
Rufford, F. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Rushout, Capt. Welby, G. E.
Scott, hon. F. Wellesley, Lord C.
Seymer, H. K. West, F. R.
Shirley, E. J. Whitmore, T. C.
Sibthorp, Col. Williams, T. P.
Simeon, J. Willoughby, Sir H.
Smyth, J. G.
Somerton, Visct. TELLERS.
Sotheron, T. H. S. Burghley, Lord
Spooner, R. Stafford, A.

Bill read a second time.