SIR F. THESIGER: Mr. Speaker, in rising to offer the opposition to the third reading of this Bill, of which I have given notice, I trust that it will not be necessary for me to trespass for any length of time on the indulgence of the House, while I explain the reasons which induce me to object altogether to the measure. I am most anxious to have an opportunity of giving this explanation, because I happen, unfortunately, to find myself opposed upon the present occasion to some with whose opinions on all important questions I have been in the habit of generally agreeing, from whom I cannot differ without the most unfeigned regret, and with the deepest distrust of the propriety of my own judgment. I was not able to be present at the debate upon the second reading of this Bill; but I have endeavoured to make myself master of every argument which has been urged in its support. I have considered them, I trust, without prejudice; I might even add that I have done so with a sincere desire to be convinced if I were in error; but I am compelled to say that I have found nothing of sufficient weight to overcome the opinion which I originally entertained upon the subject. I am aware that those who take the part of opposition to this measure must expect to be assailed by charges of timid and narrow-minded intolerance and bigotry. I am not aware
that I am actuated by such motives. But the spirit of persecution may be a subtle and insidious one, and I may be possessed with it, without being conscious of its existence. I must be content then to share the imputation with many whose lives are a practical refutation of it; and to whatever obloquy I may expose myself, it would betray a weak and pusillanimous spirit to be deterred by such apprehensions from expressing my conscientious conviction on a question of such importance as that which is at present before the House. Sir, in approaching this subject I have endeavoured in the first place to ascertain upon what principles it ought to be decided; and without venturing to question the judgment of those who differ from me, I have satisfied myself that the argument cannot be placed on directly religious grounds: not that I mean to deny that the whole range of political science is embraced in the wider circle of religious wisdom, nor to admit the possibility of any one being a consummate statesman whose conduct is not guided and governed by a constant regard to religious motives and principles. But what I mean to assert is, that as far as I have been able to discover, there is no express declaration of God's will, no specific precept of the divine law, which has been given us to determine this question. Undoubtedly there are prophetic denunciations of awful import, which are at this moment accomplishing with respect to the Jews, making them a standing testimony to the truth of Christianity, and with which some good and religious men think we should interfere by adopting the measure proposed to us. I confess that I am astonished and grieved at such an argument. To imagine that anything which can be done by weak and insignificant creatures in the administration of the affairs of this lower world, could possibly disturb the counsels of the Almighty, or interrupt in the least degree the perfect accomplishment of his designs, would appear to me, but for the religious spirit which breathes through the argument, to be the height of arrogance and impiety. That the Jews are to remain for some indefinite period of time a dispersed and expatriated people, I implicitly receive on the authoritative declaration of the Scriptures. But their present condition, scattered throughout the world, without any national polity, without any place as a nation, is all that the strict fulfilment of the prophecy appears to require; and how it can be affected by their admis-
sion to the full rights of citizenship in this or any other country, I am utterly at a loss to imagine. This may appear to some to be abandoning the lofty ground upon which the argument ought to be raised; but I trust that I shall not be found to have placed it upon weaker foundations. I am compelled also to state that I do not entirely agree with those who think that by the admission of the Jews to Parliament we should unchristianise the Legislature. Many person have expressed an apprehension that when we shall have struck out what the noble Lord the Prime Minister of the country, by an unfortunate choice of expression which has not been overlooked in the debate, thought proper to call "the fag-end of the declaration," the Jew would be at liberty to assail our religion with scorn and contempt, and to treat it as an imposture and "a cunningly devised fable." I am persuaded that there is no ground for such alarm, and that our protection from such indecorum does not depend upon any power and virtue in the declaration: it is because Christianity is interwoven with the spirit of our constitution, and acknowledged as one of its essential foundations, that it is safe from assaults of this character. It may be subjected to sober and temperate discussion, from which truth has nothing to dread, for in such a contest it must be the conqueror; but any one who ventures to question its doctrines will be compelled to touch them, as Mr. Burke beautifully expresses it, "as he would the wounds of a father, with pious awe and trembling solicitude." As long as the feeling of the nation is in favour of Christianity, that feeling will be reflected in a majority of this House, and will impose upon the Jew the same moral restraint and the same forbearance as must now be shown by the professing Christian, but real infidel. And therefore, if ever the Jew should unhappily take his seat amongst us under the mutilated declaration which the noble Lord proposes for his profession of faith, it appears to me that Christianity will still remain one of tho essentials of our constitution—will still be as much part and parcel of the law of the land in whatever sense these words are understood, as it was before. Quitting, therefore, the elevated but not secure grounds on which some have exalted the argument, and dismissing the apprehensions which have disquieted the minds of others, let us ascertain whether there will not still remain strong and well-grounded objections to the admission
of the Jews to Parliament. In offering my views upon the subject, I should wish to be permitted to consider in the first place the case of the unbeliever in Christianity in general, apart from that of the Jew; and of course the argument must be taken to apply to open and avowed infidels, because concealed ones it is impossible to exclude. Let me, then, suppose a society of men established for any given purpose; and take for granted, as I am entitled to do, that such a society can only be held together by the confidence of all the members, in the sincere desire of each to maintain the common purpose. A person who was not very warm and zealous in the promotion of the common object, might be admitted to such a society; or even one who, agreeing generally in the ends for which it was instituted, differed as to the means by which they were to be attained. But surely if a person avowed beforehand that his object was to defeat the general purpose, or if he might be reasonably suspected of entertaining such a design, or if even without suspicion of his having any formed and settled design upon the subject, he was known to profess principles and to prefer objects utterly inconsistent with those for which the society was formed, it would be the height of imprudence to admit him as a member. Much more strongly would the objection apply, if such a society were governed by a smaller number of its members, and the question was one of admission to the ruling body; because, although it might be sufficient to exact from the ordinary members an abstinence from any active hostility to the purposes of the society, yet in one of the governing body, you would require an assurance of his being disposed sincerely, heartily, and zealously to support and maintain them. Let us apply the argument to political societies—what are the objects for which they are instituted? That men may securely enjoy the fruits of their industry—that they may be protected from mutual aggression—that they may live happily and unitedly together. But these objects cannot be secured without the establishment of some rule of moral conduct; and therefore all political societies may be considered as societies for the maintenance of some kind of morality. Christian nations go farther than this, and hold that Christian morality is necessary for the peace and security of society. But it is impossible that Christian morality can exist apart from Christian faith; and Christian faith and Christian morality together
constitute the Christian religion. If, therefore, religion must be the foundation of morality as it is the basis of civil society, and the source of every good and of every comfort, Christian legislators ought to esteem it their primary duty to maintain the Christian religion as absolutely essential to the welfare of a Christian community. An infidel might well desire to become a member of such a society; and, considering the principles which are likely to prevail in it, it would probably be the wisest and the safest course for his happiness and security: nor would it be justifiable to refuse him admission. But if his aim and object were to become a member of the governing body, other considerations would immediately spring up, and an invincible objection would arise out of the very constitution of the society, and the character of its legislation. Nor would this objection apply merely to the impropriety of his having a control over matters of religion; but it would be a disability extending to all laws, and utterly disqualifying him for any portion of the duties of a legislator. All human laws must require some higher sanction than themselves for their ultimate obligation. There must be a law above every other law, which ought to be engraven upon every heart—which should be the rule of conduct in public as well as in private life—which is the standard to which all lower laws must conform, and by an appeal to which their rectitude and propriety must be tried. It is this which should guide the wisdom of the legislator, and infuse its spirit into every part of his legislation. What is the standard to which all Christian nations appeal, but the high moral code of Christianity? By this the comparative merit of any two systems of laws must be decided; and without this arbiter, there can be no ground of preference between them. Having experienced the excellence and superiority of our standard, are we prepared to abandon it, and to take up with some lower and meaner one? To what is it that the infidel appeals? He takes for his guide either the law of nature or the glimmering light of his own reason, and rejects with scorn that higher and nobler rule to which the Christian makes his ultimate reference. He disdains that which adds wisdom to the wisest, and strength to the strongest. He absolutely disqualifies himself for sharing with us in framing the least of our laws, because we legislate upon a different rule, and
conform to a different standard. Are we not, then, justified in exacting a test from all who enter these walls, by which we may obtain a profession at least of their sincere desire to uphold the same morality and to legislate upon the same principles as the Christian legislator? Are we not right in inscribing as it were over our portals that this is the temple of Christianity? True, we cannot prevent men of other thoughts finding their way amongst us, for there are no ramparts that human prudence can devise which fraud will not overcome or creep through. But we must be content to have done all in our power for our own security; and if men will profess what they do not believe, and play the hypocrite with our declaration, upon themselves be the guilt and the shame of such baseness and duplicity. But whatever may be the conclusion as to infidels in general, it has been said that the Jews stand in a different position. That "they believe in the same God and the same divine revelation as ourselves, and that, humanly speaking, they are the authors of our religion." Now, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth has given an answer to this argument in language which cannot be improved. He says—
The religion of the Christian and the religion of the Jew are opposed in essentials. Between these 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.
It is indeed vain to compare the faith of the Jew at the present day with that which existed before the advent of the Messiah. Then, their just men indeed lived and "died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and being persuaded of them, and embraced them." Now, the oracles committed to their charge are dumb, or speak to them in a language which they will not understand, "because to this day, when Moses is read to them, the vail is upon their hearts." Their most striking types are to them mere allegories—their prophecies a dead letter—their promises of none effect. But the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire urges upon us that the religion of the Jews is a true religion, although not the true religion; and that as far as religion can be a security for their conduct—for their public morality and justice—we have in the religion of the Jews the best sanc-
tion in the world, except that of our own Christianity. Sir, I beg leave to deny that in any sense the Jewish religion is a true religion. Any religion which so lamentably falls short of and rejects the truth, must be as false as one which corrupts it with additions. The Jewish religion is not a reality, but a shadow of something which has passed away, and its power to support morality must be as baseless as itself. Indeed, no false religion can permanently uphold morality. Its falsehood and inefficiency must at last be discovered. And in the mean time either its professors do not believe it, and then it is nothing; or if they do, they not only act upon a rule which confessedly falls short of the Christian one, but they are bound to oppose that which constitutes the ground of our morality, the Christian religion. But let me try the extent to which the noble Lord proposes to carry his liberality in admitting men who are not Christians to the Legislature. I will assume— what I fear is not a mere imaginary supposition—that there may be dispersed throughout the country as many Deists as there are Jews, and that amongst them there may be some who in station, wealth, and intelligence, are as competent to sit in this Assembly as the few Jews who are expected to find admission amongst us. These men have their narrow code of morality, fenced in by the feeble sanctions of respect to the opinion of the world, and regard to their own character. They may have scruples as to adopting our declaration. Suppose they were to come to the noble Lord and say, "We are anxious to serve our country in Parliament; but we are deterred by the profession of faith which you exact from us. We have no wish to enter the Legislature under false pretences—we despise all religions, and will not profess belief in any. Strike out, then, the fag-end of the declaration, and relieve us from this burden on our tender consciences." Is the noble Lord prepared to yield to such an application? I do not gather it from the nature of the present Bill, nor from what the noble Lord said upon its introduction. Upon that occasion he used these expressions:—
Far be it from me to say for a single moment that the religion of a man should be a thing apart from his public or private life. I wish to state my opinion to be otherwise. And I think that in all the affairs of private life, in the daily occupations of men, or the pursuits of the several trades and business which they exercise, religion has influence, and ought to have influence. I shall say still more when speaking of the Legislature which
has to dispose of and control the various interests, ecclesiastical and secular, of the country, that religion ought to influence and control the decisions of its members.
What religion, we may well ask in passing, does the noble Lord mean but the Christian religion, which he, of course, acknowledges to be the only true one? But if the noble Lord would not assist the scrupulous Deists by moulding the declaration to their views, will he tell us in what respect he considers the Jew to be better than the Deist? Judaism appears to me to be nothing else but Deism dressed up in the worn-out robes of what was once the true religion. The Jews also are exposed to the additional objection which has been so frequently adverted to in the course of these debates. They are scattered over the face of the earth, distinguished from the nations amongst whom they dwell, in opinions, in habits, and even in appearance. It is the marvellous, the miraculous peculiarity of this extraordinary people, that they expect at some future day to return to that inheritance which they received from God, and of which they have been temporarily deprived for their sins; but "the times and the seasons when God will restore again the kingdom to Israel, he has put in his own power." No man can know when the period will arrive, and therefore every believer must be in constant expectation of the event. But with such an anticipation, they may be scattered upon the soil, but it is impossible they can take deep root in it. They look for another country, and can feel no national sympathy with that in which their lot happens to be cast. This would not perhaps alone furnish a sufficient ground of exclusion, but it is a reason against the admission of the Jew to Parliament, which does not apply to any other unbeliever. And this, too, appears to answer the argument which is drawn from our having permitted the Jews to enjoy corporate offices and magistracies; because neither the Christian faith, nor the national spirit, are absolutely necessary for the administration of these subordinate functions; whereas they are essential to the character and duties of a Christian legislator. But it is said that we are inconsistent in our proceedings—that we have admitted the Unitarian and the Quaker to seats in this House, and that we cannot stop short and exclude the Jew. Now this argument appears to be founded on an entire misapprehension. We never
have passed any laws for the express purpose of admitting either the Unitarian or the Quaker to the Legislature. The Unitarian has never been excluded. His title to be considered a Christian may possibly be denied; but he never hesitated to make the profession of the faith, and to adopt our declaration. The Quaker came in under the operation of a general law passed in the reign of George II., enabling persons of that persuasion, in all cases in which an oath was required, to make an affirmation—language which was sufficiently comprehensive to apply to the case of sitting in Parliament. And the new declaration, which was prescribed in the year 1833, and in which the words "on the true faith of a Christian" are not contained, applies to all occasions, and extends to the Moravians as well as to the Quakers. The peculiar characteristic of the present measure (and it is worthy of serious attention) is, that it is the first time any attempt has been made to introduce within these walls persons who are not merely indifferent, but positively hostile, to the Christian religion. But we are told that we owe the Jews this act of justice, on account of many centuries of persecution. Sir, I have never been able to understand this argument. I try in vain to discover the connexion between the supposed historical debt, and the manner in which it is to be discharged. What logical agreement is there between these two propositions? The Jews were pillaged, tortured, banished, in the reigns of our Henries and Edwards, therefore their children's children, in a remote posterity, ought to be allowed to become legislators, as an indemnity for such cruelties. Surely, this is not a sound method of legislation. Let us read the early history of our country to learn and to abhor the barbarities which were then practised upon this unhappy people. Let us avoid any imitation of them either in the coarse and cruel form in which they were formerly exhibited, or in the milder character which our advanced
civilisation and improved humanity would now demand. But let us determine their claims upon their present merits; and satisfy them according to the demands of present expediency, or justice, which is the highest expediency. But it appears to me that it is an abuse of terms to call the exclusion of the Jews from Parliament a persecution. Its object is not to punish, or degrade, or compel a change of opinion; it is solely to protect the religious and Christian part of our constitution; as the other disqualifica-
tions which exist are intended to protect the political part. But it is suggested that we dishonour our religion by expressing any apprehensions as to its safety from the admission of a few Jews to Parliament. Sir, this observation may be powerful as a sneer, but it is weak as an argument. Because I know that my Church is founded on a rock, shall I therefore admit a single enemy to approach sufficiently near to undermine or to blast it? Because I believe the citadel of my faith to be impregnable, shall I therefore throw open its gates and take no precautions against an assault, because only a very few adversaries may by possibility enter? Sir, I know what fatal consequences sometimes follow from over-confident security; and though I am firmly persuaded that God will defend his truth, yet I am not therefore discharged from the sacred obligation and the high office of being a humble worker with him for its maintenance and protection. But we have experienced a different species of attack, and find that even the weapons from our own armoury are turned against us. We are pressed by Christian precept and Christian parable. Sir, there is nothing more to be watched than the application of texts of Scripture to meet a particular occasion. The noble Lord has endeavoured to turn against us that comprehensive rule which appears to embrace the whole circle of Christian morality—that we should do to others as we would they should do unto us. How does the noble Lord interpret this golden rule? Does he understand by it that we are to act towards others as we should wish them to act to ourselves? If so, he would make wild work with all civil justice; but if he restrains its meaning, as he should, to our acting to others as we should justly and reasonably expect them to act towards us, I am content to adopt his rule, and to give him the full benefit of its application to the present case. Sir, I know that I am commanded to love my enemy; but I am not required to put a sword in his hand for my own destruction. I am taught by that beautiful parable, of which the noble Lord made so striking an use, never to turn away from the sufferings of a fellow-creature—to make sacrifices for his relief—and not to be content with mere passing and casual assistance, but to afford it as long as his necessities require; but I am nowhere told to take the sufferer into the bosom of my family, or to make him lord over my household. Let us apply to
the Jews the lessons which we learn from Scripture with proper Christian understanding. As their forefathers, who were carried away captive into Babylon, were commanded to do, "let them build houses and dwell in them; let them plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; let them take wives, and beget sons and daughters; let them seek the peace of the land in which they dwell, and pray for it;" and God grant that in our peace they may have peace! Let us exhibit towards them true Christian charity, communicating with them in all good offices, exhibiting to them all kindness, indulgence, and brotherly love; imparting to them all right and privileges which are consistent with our own safety; but let us also manifest a true Christian courage and resolution, no less an essential part of the Christian character. "Let us behave ourselves valiantly for our country, and for the cities of our God;" and let us not yield to our adversaries the least vantage ground from which they may be able successfully to assail that religion which is the foundation of the peace, the security, and the happiness of this Christian community. I beg leave to move that this Bill be read a third time this day six months.
§ MR. TRELAWNY observed, that it had been objected that the principles of the Jewish people were incompatible with the duties of civil government; but when, in 1807, the Jews in France were asked by Napoleon whether there was anything in the principles of their religion inconsistent with those duties, the Sanhedrin solemnly considered the subject, and declared that there was nothing in the Jewish religion inconsistent with a proper allegiance to the Sovereign of any country in which Jews might reside. He would ask the House whether Jews had not precisely the same interest in preserving the public peace, and in protecting property, as their Protestant or Catholic neighbours? He considered that it would be much better at once to deport from this country the 40,000 Jews who were now residing here, or to treat them according to the cruel and intolerant practices of ancient times, than to allow them to remain subject to civil disqualifications prompted by a narrow spirit of sectarian bigotry. It was very commonly objected against the Jews that many of them were usurers; but what had led them to become traders in money? The fact that they were not allowed to hold land, and hence, having accumulated 617 gold, they became traders in that commodity. They had been told, also, that there were prophecies that the Jews should never hold political power. He wished to speak with reverence on this subject; but, unfortunately for the persons who brought forward this argument, it happened that in many countries the Jews did possess political power. In fact, the Jews possessed such power in this country, for they were now entitled to vote for Members of Parliament. They had been told that if the Jews were admitted into Parliament, Hindoos and Mahometans might also be admitted. He must say, for his own part, considering the great number of Hindoos under the rule of this country, he did not see why, if any constituency chose to elect a Hindoo, he should not be allowed to sit in that House, to acquaint them with the grievances of the Hindoo people, and to advocate their interests. He conceived that the principle of admitting Jews into that House had already been virtually conceded by granting them the exercise of the elective franchise.
MR. WESTHEAD said: Sir, there is something almost awful to the mind of him who, conscious of his own littleness, stands up for the first time to address this assembly of the great, the eloquent, and the wise, on any topic, how trivial soever its import: much more trying, then, is the task of speaking, for the first time, in this House, on the subject which is now under discussion—a subject which involves principles of greatest import, and which is of an interest so wide-spreading, that he who delivers his sentiments upon it in this presence may, without exaggeration, be said to have Christendom for his auditory. I throw myself, therefore, on the indulgence of the House. The question now before us, although affecting points of the most serious character, is brought before the Legislature in a manner widely different from that in which other great questions have from time to time been presented to its notice. We hear not the appeal of myriads demanding, with solemn earnestness or energetic expostulation, the acknowledgment of supposed rights, or dwelling with power and pathos on alleged wrongs. Unaffected by that excitement and impressiveness which the association of vast numbers gives to an occasion, we are permitted to approach, with calmness and self-possession, the consideration of this subject, and to listen to the dictates of enlightened conscience in the performance of our sacred
duty;—like the prophet of Israel, who reverently awaited the guidance of his God, but found it not "in the great strong wind "—not "in the earthquake "—not "in the fire "—but "in the still small voice." I should, in all probability, have been content to give a silent vote on question, but for the conviction that a considerable number of persons, of estimable character and deep religious feeling, of the Wesleyan community, in which I am extensively known, may be anxious to learn the reasons which have actuated me, in determining to support this measure. It cannot be expected that, on a topic of this kind, the arguments to be adduced, either on the one side or the other, can be stated or enforced without reference to that Book, which is the authority—the only universally admitted authority—of the Protestant community. At this stage of my address, then, I feel bound to state that, in forming my opinion,upon this subject, I have endeavoured to submit my understanding to the principles which are given, and to the rules which are contained, in Holy Writ; and the result is, that I find myself constrained, by the teaching of the Gospel and of the holy Apostles, to vote in opposition to many whom I greatly respect, and for whose views upon this measure I can make the most ample allowance, since candour compels me to admit that I found it no easy task to overcome the prejudice which I had entertained upon this topic. I say "prejudice," because my opinion upon it was formed, unconsciously, from previous associations, and not from any course of examination, or process of argumentation, on my own part, or in my own mind. I felt it difficult for me, as a Christian (an honest, I trust, though unworthy member of that high profession) to become a party to a national transaction which might be construed as an indignity to Him of whom I am not ashamed, but whom, in this assembly, in unison with the gifted and hon. Member for Buckingham, I "confess" as "my God and Saviour." Impressed, therefore, with a sense of my responsibility on this question, I have carefully sought for information from various sources, both written and oral, but chiefly from Holy Scripture; and I am free to acknowledge that, so far from finding a confirmation of my prejudices, I have failed to discover any authority from the inspired word, or any satisfactory argument from other sources, for maintaining or attempting to advance the Christian faith by ex-
cluding any of the peaceful, well-conducted, and intelligent subjects of this realm from a relatively equal participation in the rights of citizenship. On the contrary, I find much that confirms me in a directly opposite conclusion. Christianity was not, I conceive, intended to diminish the rights of man, but to support and develop them; not to make the yoke more painful, or the burden more oppressive, but to make the yoke easy, and the burden light. The opponents of the Bill of the noble Premier believe, I presume, that Christianity is to cover the whole earth. Will they tell us at what stage of its progress, in each particular country, its professors are to act upon the doctrine that Christians alone are entitled to the rights of citizenship in their full and proper sense? Will it be, or ought it to be, when a bare majority of the people have embraced the profession of Christianity? What if there should be an excess of Christians, at some future day, to the extent of a million, over the followers of Confucius in China, will it then be right to decitizenise the myriad minority of that empire?—or, if we allow the conversion to Christianity of the Emperor, and a powerful minority, will it be in accordance with the Gospel to extinguish the existing privileges of the mighty majority, or to limit them, and to say, "Hitherto shall ye go, and no further?" I cannot see any sanction in the Gospel for such a procedure; and I find no response in my own breast in accordance with such a position. I grant, indeed, the position contended for by that great, that good, man (whose name has been introduced as an authority in this discussion), Dr. Arnold, that—
every people, in that country which is rightfully theirs, may establish their own institutions and their own ideas, and that no stranger has any title whatever to become a member of that nation unless he adopts their institutions and ideas.
But then, I also maintain with him, that the question—
is not what a Government may impose upon its subjects, but what a people may agree upon for themselves; and that though England does not belong to the Sovereign, it belongs to the English, and the English may most justly say, they will admit no stranger to be one of their society. If, however, they say they will admit him, that is, if Parliament pass the Jew Bill, I do not dispute their right as Englishmen to do so, and I owe obedience to their decision.
More I wish not from any writer, in justification of the removal of the impediment to the admission of the Jews into this House. Passing over, for a moment, the misapplied term, strangers, it is, you see,
allowed by Arnold, that Englishmen have a right to admit them into Parliament; and for himself, at least, he plainly set aside all objection to the proposed measures, on the ground that our right to exclude the Jews from Parliament is sanctioned by the Divine law. But, I ask, can we consider the parties, on whose behalf the Bill is presented, as strangers? Have they not lived among us, if not for centuries, at least from generation to generation?—have they not conducted themselves in a manner beyond all exception?— have they not cheerfully submitted to all the taxes of the State?—have they not evinced conformity to the general feeling of the community? When pestilence and famine have threatened our country, have not their solemn prayers for the averting of God's anger ascended along with those of the Christian people of this land? or on occasions of national thanksgiving, have not their prayers ascended with ours to the God and Father of us all? I find in the journal of the Rev. John Wesley this description of the conduct of the Jews, on the fast-day observed on the 6th of February, 1756:—
Even the Jews observed this day with a peculiar solemnity. The form of prayer which was used in their synagogue began, Come and let us return unto the Lord; for he hath torn and he will heal us; and concluded with these remarkable words, Incline the heart of our Sovereign Lord King George, as well as the hearts of his lords and councillors, to use us kindly, and all our brethren the children of Israel; that in his days and in our days we may see the restoration of Judah, and that Israel may dwell in safety, and the Redeemer may come to Zion.
On the general fast-day in March, 1847, the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish people preached a sermon in the Great Synagogue in London, in the course of which he used these words:—
We, who are so happy as to enjoy all the blessings which endear to us a home, a native land—we, who share its freedom, its liberties and institutions, its laws and privileges—we, to whom this country is a mother, a nurse, a guardian—we cannot think with indifference of any danger which threatens its welfare; we cannot think without horror of its being deprived of those blessings.
In another part of his discourse, Dr. Adler said—
There may be many who think 'What is Ireland to us? It is distant and I beyond our circle.' But are not the sufferers human beings? Are they not flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone? Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us? Why, then, should we deal treacherously against our brother, by profaning the covenant of our Father? And, besides that argument,
are the sufferers tot our countrymen, subject to the same Sovereign, enjoying the same constitution? Do they not breathe the same air? Have they not the same sky, the same ground, the same friends, the same enemies as ourselves?
Evidently, the Jewish people sympathise with us Christians, and consider this land their home. It has been asserted by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford, that "it is no more persecution to maintain the exclusion of the Jews, than to refuse the franchise to persons possessing only a certain property." Sir, the noble Lord the Member for Bath, in commenting on the improper phrases, "essentially Protestant cookery, and essentially Christian horsemanship" (expressions which had been employed by the right hon. T. B. Macaulay, in an argument on this subject some years since), said, there was no possibility of comparison between Christian government and Protestant cookery; and that to use such an expression was to confound the lower operations of the mind with the highest faculties of the soul. Now, I, for one, regret that the right hon. Gentleman referred to should have sanctioned such an association of terms. Christianity and Protestantism are sacred and synonymous terms in the vocabulary of the larger portion of the constituency of this country; but—though in terms and in a manner widely different—the right hon. Baronet has perpetrated a comparison in no respect less offensive to good sense. He has asserted that the rule, or law, by which a man possessed of 39s. per annum is excluded from the franchise, is the same in principle as that by which a man holding a certain religious belief is excluded from this House. What relation is there between the possession of a shilling more or less annually; between a qualification which I may have this year and may not have the next; which I can buy or can sell according as fortune or caprice, on my own part, may dictate; what relation, I ask, is there between this and my religious faith—between the perishable, insensate piece of dust, and my imperishable soul—between the coin which I may cast away, or of which I may he robbed, and that faith of heart and understanding which I dare not part with for a thousand worlds, and of which neither man nor demon can dispossess me? Surely principles and things were never more unhappily confounded than the qualification of property with that of creed. But besides this, I maintain
that the right hon. Baronet's position on this point is altogether untenable. It is alleged that the law does not place all the people of this country on an equality, because it requires a certain pecuniary qualification. Whatever may be said in favour of or against the principle of such a test or fitness for a certain duty, the argument sought to be derived from it in this case is inapposite, because the law which disqualifies is impartial as respects religious faith—the Protestant, the Roman Catholic, the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, and the Jew are all similarly treated: if an unwise or impolitic law, it is at least impartial, for it affects men of every class and of every creed. In the case now before us, the ground of objection is not pecuniary, it is solely religious. It is a partial law, and I think, therefore, an infringement of Christ's law. Sir, I said that it could not be expected that this question could be discussed without reference to the Bible; but I certainly must admit that I was surprised to hear so little Bible argument from the opponents of this measure. Scripture was quoted—well and pertinently quoted—but it was by the supporters of this Christian proposition. Reference, most ample, was made to Christianity, to our Christian constitution, and to Church and State; but that is not satisfactory to me. When a man is told that he is about to commit a violation of the law of his country, or of some part of a statute, he says point out to me the law which I am likely to violate; refer me to the particular clause of the Act which I am likely to infringe; he will not be convinced with generalties. We have heard much of religion and of Christianity, but not one text which strikes the mind, or touches the heart, in vindication of the opposition to the Bill. Conservatism, pure unmitigated Conservatism, appears to me to be the shield under which the right hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford shelters himself in this discussion. If the 39s. freeholder, or the copyholder, or the Jew, should ask an explanation of the principle of all this, he would reply in the words published in his corrected speech—"Power is no man's right: it is distributed by the State to each in conventional proportions, according to the discretion of some original supreme authority." Now, I want much to know what this original supreme authority is, the discretion of which is the guide to the State in the distribution of these conventional proportions of power. If this
authority be that of God, recorded in His revelation to man, I ought to bow at once to its commands; but I should be glad to have the passage pointed out which is thus to guide or restrain me. I confess I know of none in the whole compass of sacred writ. I am inclined to think that the right hon. Baronet, when he talks of the State distributing power according to some original supreme authority, means simply that the supreme power of the State requires certain qualifications for certain duties; for he says, a little further on, that—
The presence of such and such qualifications is the evidence of the constitutional ability which the original supreme power of the State has required for the discharge of specific functions.
So then, a little of the mysterious garniture of this particular authority is swept away, and we have the State acting, not as the agent of some original supreme power, but as the supreme power itself. Now, what is the original of this authority? Is it something that existed before the time of Alfred, or since?—before the time of the Norman Conquest, or since?—before the time of Magna Charta, or since?—before the Reformation, or since? Or is it that original supreme authority which, some fifteen years ago, underwent a metamorphosis, and appeared again, as another original supreme authority, with a name which, among plain speakers, is called the Reformed Parliament—which supreme authority has already been pleased to distribute power both at home and in the colonies of this country, according to its discretion in conventional proportions, and will continue in the further exercise of its discretion so to do. I confess I am ignorant of any other supreme authority, original or otherwise, existent or constitutional, in this realm; and in this view I am in strict accordance with the clear-headed Paley, who thus wrote respecting the term "constitution:"—
Some writers absurdly confound what is constitutional with what is expedient; pronouncing, forthwith, a measure to be unconstitutional, which they adjudge to be detrimental; others ascribe a mysterious sanctity to the constitution, as if it were founded in some higher original than that which gives force and obligation to the ordinary laws of the realm. An Act of Parliament can never be unconstitutional in the strict and proper acceptation of the term.
When the right hon. Baronet declares that the negation of power is punishment, he surely assumes that the line of exclusion has been laid down with the utmost
propriety of which human wisdom is capable. The negation of power is or is not punishment, according as it is regulated by right rules. What would the hon. Baronet say, if he were to be precluded from a seat in Parliament, because he is less disposed to change his opinions than other men; or what, if the whole order of Baronets should be declared ineligible to sit in the House of Commons, because they form a link between the peerage and the people? Does he not conceive that his or their exclusion from the privileges of sitting in this assembly, on such grounds, would be an arbitrary act, of which he and his brother Baronets might very justly complain? The right hon. Baronet says, that "the constitution of England no more punishes Jews than it punishes copyholders." I demur to his assertion. I say that the constitution of England (that is, the present law of England, as embodied in the closing words of the oath of abjuration) imposes an unfair impediment to the Jew; for the copyholder, though not qualified to vote in right of his property may sit in this House in respect of an income arising from his copyhold estates. But no extent of copy-hold property will qualify a Jew. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford says, that the Vakeel of the late Rajah of Sattara might as fitly take his place amongst us as the Jew. I demur to this proposition. I know not what the Vakeel believes—I know not what his notions of right and wrong may be. And this brings me to the view of the question propounded by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire—namely, the question of religious truth. I know that the Jew believes the Pentateuch, and I know also that no code of human action is formed upon a more faultless basis than that of the Jew. On this point I beg to quote a few words from the writings of the Rev. Dr. Hamilton, of Leeds. He says—
Between us and the Jew there is much in agreement—our respective premises are the same. The only question between us is that proposed of old—'Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?' We both coincide in the matter and test of reference. The Pagan mind is, on the other hand, destitute of every conviction to which we can appeal. It is a chaos, without form and void.
The hon. Baronet says—
If the House be prepared to sanction this Bill, let the country know that we throw to the winds all the security which we possess for even the nominal profession of the Gospel amongst those to whom hereafter shall be entrusted the chief government of England.
And the noble Lord, the Member for Bath, referring to the circumstance of infidels having taken the oath as it now stands, inquires if "a nominal Christian be not better than an open professor of infidelity?" Sir, I fear the security which this oath can give to us for the maintenance of Christianity is in no respect to be relied upon. To bring before the House, in the most striking manner I am able, the fallacy of trusting to legislative provisions for the preservation of Christianity, and in particular to oaths of this nature, I will read some extracts, from trustworthy authors, in reference, in the first place, to Sweden, where all manner of legal provision is made for ensuring a profession of Christianity; and, in the second place, in regard. to America, where no such tests and oaths are required. Hear what is recorded by the. Rev. G. Scott, who resided twelve years in Sweden. He writes—
The creed of the Swedish Church will be found to embrace the life-giving verities of the Gospel. Most rigidly has purity of doctrine been watched over by the authorities of that church. … Much mire zeal has been ahown to preserve orthodox Lutheranism, than to make the truth of God plain and powerful to the minds and consciences of the people. The Church is Episcopal. All Swedes are and must continue members of the Swedish Church. No dissent from her communion is tolerated. If orthodoxy be vital religion—if uniformity be a church's unity—then the Swedish Church furnishes an almost unequalled example of unity. If comprehensiveness to the embracing of a whole population, and the effectual prevention of separate demominations, be the best condition of a church … we may look for a flourishing state of things in Sweden. If large authority given to the clergy, and efficiently sustained by the secular arm—if outward sacraments and observance—if legislative enactments, vigilantly watched over, can make men Christians, then the Swedes are all Christians. But 'by their fruits ye shall know them.' No difficulty is found in getting any kind of work done on the Sunday; on that day, indeed, at certain periods of the year, to work is the rule, to rest from secular labour the exception. Merchants claim the Sabbath as a convenient day for correspondence, taking stock, &c…the theatres, concert and ball rooms, with every kind of sensual pastime, present their allurements, and are largely resorted to by all classes—ministers, even, feeling no hesitation in changing the pulpit of the forenoon for the opera-box of the evening. If we enter the field of morals, we cannot speak fully of what we find there; but let one fact suffice. In 1840, the official return of births, in Stockholm, gave one illegitimate child to every one and a half legitimate, and this in a capital where nothing appears on the surface of society to give the slightest intimation of such a fearful state.
Mr. Laing, in his Tour in Sweden, published in 1839, also states—
Whatever want of morals, there is no black-guardism in Sweden. You may travel through the country and think it the most virtuous in Europe. It is only when you examine the official records of crime that you are obliged to adopt another conclusion. In Stockholm, I never see an immodest or even a suspicious look or gesture amongst even the lowest of the people. The propriety of their dress and demeanour might indicate a race of Vestals, and yet one-third of the infants are bastards.
I do not like this, either in a people or an individual. If we compare their tables of crime with those of London, we find, that in the year 1834, in London, one in every 540 persons was committed for some criminal offence; but that in towns of Sweden, one in every forty-six was convicted—that in England and Wales, one in 1,005 was convicted of crime; whilst in all Sweden, one in 134 was convicted; and, in Ireland, one in 557 was convicted. In Sweden, the Church is a component part of the State, equal in its constitutional share in the legislature to the whole body of the aristocracy, or of the representatives of the people. It has but one religion to deal with in the nation. Notwithstanding, no other three millions of moral beings in Europe appear to commit within a given time so large an amount of crime.
The author maintains also that Swedes are more generally educated than any other nation in Europe, except the Danish; and that, comparing England or Scotland with Sweden, the poverty of Sweden would be luxury in England. Now let us turn to the statements of the Rev. Dr. Baird relative to the constitution, and the religious and moral condition, of the United States of America. He says—
Because no mention of the Supreme Being, or of the Christian religion, is to be found in the constitution of the United States, some have pronounced it infidel, others atheistical; but that neither is correct will appear from a moment's consideration of the case. Most certainly, the convention which framed the constitution in 1787, under the Presidency of the immortal Washington, was of neither an infidel nor atheistical character; all the leading men in it were believers in Christianity—Washington was a Christian. Even Franklin proposed, at a time of great difficulty in their proceedings, that a minister of the gospel should be invited to open their proceedings with prayer. In 1812, a day was set apart by Congress for fasting and prayer; at the Peace, a day of thanksgiving was appointed: on the death of General Harrison, the President, Tyler, called upon the people to observe a day of fasting, &c., in a becoming manner. That day was marked by the solemnity of the Sabbath. Moreover, the Congress appoints two chaplains, one for the Senate, the other for the House of Representatives, to open the sittings of these bodies every day with prayer, and who preach every Sabbath alternately, to the Houses, convened in the Hall of Representatives, at twelve o'clock. One of the chaplains is generally selected from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the other from the Episcopal Methodist Body.
The State Governments now extend political rights to citizens of all shades of religious
opinion. Rights of conscience are religious rights. What rights of conscience can atheism and irreligion pretend to? A person was indicted at New York, in 1811, for aspersing the character of Jesus Christ, and denying the legitimacy of his birth—he was tried, convicted, fined, and imprisoned. On that trial, Chief Justice Kent—a great legal authority—said, 'The people of this State profess the general doctrines of Christianity, and to scandalise the author of these doctrines is not only, in a religious point of view, extremely impious, but, even in respect to the obligations due to society, is a gross violation of decency and good order. Nothing could be more offensive to the virtuous part of the community, or more injurious to the tender morals of the young, than to declare such profanity lawful. True,'he adds, 'the constitution has discarded religious establishments; but it does not forbid judicial cognisance of those offences against religion and morality which have no reference to any such establishment, or to any particular form of government, but are punishable because they strike at the root of moral obligation, and weaken the security of the social ties. To construe it as breaking down the common-law barriers against licentious, wanton, and impious attacks upon Christianity itself, would be an enormous perversion of its meaning.'
Allow me, on this point, to add, that the Americans subscribe yearly for the support of foreign missions 572,000 dollars, and raise annually for the payment of ministers at home 4,480,000 dollars, besides subscribing 1,500,000 dollars every year for erecting new churches. As regards criminal statistics, I have not the means of giving much information; but in the State of Pennsylvania, consisting of a population of one million, only one person in every 3,600 of the population, whether tried or untried, was found within the gaols of that State, in July, 1826. Sir, it will be evident from the accounts thus furnished of the state of morals and religion in Sweden, as compared with the United States, that the profession of Christianity, by statutory regulations, is anything but a guarantee for the exercise of Christian virtue. The hon. Baronet objects to this measure on the ground that the Jews "never can be English"—that they are "a separate nation." He quoted from the writings of Rabbi Crool to confirm this position, who told an "ambitious office-seeking Jew" that "though born in England he was no more than a foreigner—that he had no home in this land nor in any other country." Sir, I attribute all that is peculiar to the Jews in reference to their ideas of nationality to religious faith—they raise no voice, they lift no hand, they stir not a foot to establish this expected kingdom—
they are passive in relation to it; passive, at least, as regards any external acts for accelerating its approach—they expect their Messiah, though he tarry long. I see nothing in this inconsistent with their allegiance to the constitution of this realm. Does not the right hon. Baronet believe in the universal kingdom of Christ? Does he not believe His authority to be paramount to all other? and are not His dis ciples a "holy nation," a "peculiar people?" But does the right hon. Baronet consider such an objection would be applicable to himself, and that it ought to preclude him from exercising his rights as a citizen, either here or in any other country? Surely not. It is asserted by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford, and also by the noble Lord the Member for Bath, that the it measure, if sanctioned, would amount to a public declaration of the utter uselessness of Christianity for the government of public affairs. I take a widely different view of the case. I think the passing of the Bill would prove that we were influenced by a genuinely Christian feeling—in accordance with, and not in opposition to Gospel teaching. But if the noble Lord conceives that the passing of this Bill will warrant such a conclusion, I ask him how he reconciles that conclusion with the delaration which he himself distinctly made, that, "no doubt those oaths were not framed for excluding Jews, and that if the Jews were in this House at present, he would never have proposed a measure to turn them out." What! is Conservatism store sacred than Christianity? If to propose to admit the Jews into Parliament be to repudiate the claims of Christianity—if it be a declaration that Christianity is utterly useless in the government of public affairs—surely, the fact of Jews having long enjoyed seats in Parliament would not justify the noble Lord, as a Christian, in allowing "a principle, which, from his very soul, he repudiates," to remain in all its enormity as part and parcel of the constitution of England. Judaism may be passive, but Christianity is aggressive; and there is no flaw in our legislation which the Christian ought not to seek to obliterate. Did the noble Lord sit down content to allow the labours of the youthful and female portion of our factory operatives to go on without interference, because a practice had been established? Did the voice of humanity stimulate his efforts to abolish that part of the constitutional law of England—as it might
then have been termed? Why, then, or upon what plea, would he have suffered what he considers would be a national repudiation of Christianity, to deface the fair fabric of the British constitution? The noble Lord the Member for Bath has attempted to prove that the exclusion of the Jews does not savour of persecution, because the opposition to their claims rests not upon any personal objection entertained towards them, but on account of a principle from which he cannot depart. Has the noble Lord maturely considered this proposition? Sir, persecution, from the day when Saul persecuted the early Christians until the present time, has, for the most part, originated in "principle"—or in what has been dignified with that name—in other terms, in misguided zeal; and with no reference to personal objection, but oftentimes with an anxious desire to save the soul by the torture of the body. One comment more on the objections of the noble Lord, and I have done. He says, "Show me the injustice of the case, and I shall be satisfied with the measure;" or words to that effect. Now, I beg the attention of the House to the following passage from Archdeacon Paley:—
We affirm that, as to the extent of our civil rights and obligations, Christianity hath left us where she found us; that she neither altered nor ascertained it: that, the New Testament contains not one passage which, fairly interpreted, affords either argument or objection applicable to any conclusions upon the subject that are deduced from the law and religion of nature.
Now, if Paley be right—and, doubtless, few men had higher pretensions to speak of the bearing of the gospel on the subject of civil government—whence the authority of the law which excludes the Jews from the rights of men? If not sanctioned by Christianity, and I believe it is not, then I tell the opponents of this Bill that they are parties to a prolongation of unjust legislation, and that they are bound to prove that their act of exclusion is in accordance with the fundamental principle of equity. If we consider the subject practically in relation to the scope and object of legislation, we must all acknowledge that there is a point beyond which legislation is powerless—it may restrain or punish the outward act, but it cannot touch the heart or renew the man. What more can you er force than the Decalogue, which comprehends the whole range of moral action? Do not the Jews acknowledge the authority of that code of Divine
law? Bishop Warburton laid down the proposition—
That civil laws can have no further efficacy than to restrain men from transgression, and that the influence of civil laws cannot, in all cases, be extended even to restraining open transgression.
If, then, the civil law be thus limited in its potency, how shall you make it embrace that which is spiritual and internal? Before I conclude, I have to notice one important point in which I am anxious to be understood. I am speaking here as a legislator; in this capacity I am, I conceive, required by the immutable principles of justice—in other words, by the Gospel—to grant the Jews the rights of citizenship. But do not conclude from this, that I deem it of minor moment of what creed a man really is. I believe it to be of vast importance that the electors of this empire should exercise a careful and conscientious choice in the selection of representatives; and though I feel bound to vote for the removal of the civil disabilities of the Jews, it by no means follows that I would give my suffrage to a Hebrew candidate. As an elector, I have a right of choice which, as a senator, I have not. My wish would be to see men in this House of like religious faith with myself; but my wish must yield to the demands of justice, and my reasoning as to possible disadvantages must give way before an authority which I dare not question. "Duty is our's; events are God's." The hon. and learned Member for Midhurst said, that when he first heard of the election of Baron Rothschild for London, he felt a glow of satisfaction. How different the hon. Member's subsequent course in this question to mine! When I heard of this election, I doubted the propriety of admitting a Jew into Parliament; and if I had acted as the hon. and learned Gentleman, my opinions would have undergone no change. His first impression in favour of the admission of Rothschild to this House shows, that early education had not warped his judgment on this question, and the flame of benevolence which was enkindled in his heart at that announcement was a holy flame; but he went for information up the stream of history, and, strange to say, was content to commence his investigation on this great religious and civil question, under the banner of the Norman Conqueror; and, as he sought for illumination in that unpropitious age, the shades of evening gathered around him, and the drear tones of the curfew
filled the rising blast, and anon that holy flame with which he had commenced his inquiry was extinguished; and then, instead of ascending the track of Christianity to the dayspring of truth, and the teaching of Jesus and his apostles, he was fain to seek wisdom at the feet of Coke and of Hardwicke—men eminent in their calling, doubtless, but yet not men who wrote and "spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." For me, less learned than the hon. Member, I sought guidance from that Volume which upon every point of duty, is so simple, that "the wayfaring man need not err therein." Go not, then, I entreat you, to the writings of fallible men, to learn the distinctions between right and wrong on this serious subject; be who would analyse the waters of some far-famed fountain, would not go to a point far removed from its source—he would, in that case, meet with somewhat foreign, somewhat impure—he would go rather to the fountain-head itself, and there, at the life-giving spring, his investigation would be satisfactory—his analysis complete. Yes, in the great Charter of the universal family of man, of the Jew as well as of the Gentile—of the bond as well as of the free—you will find—unencumbered with perplexing provisoes and intricate limitations and exceptions—the true, distinct, infallible rule of action, to which you, as legislators, are bound to conform—"As ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them."
§ MR. CORNEWALL LEWIS reminded the House that, although many extraneous circumstances had been introduced into the discussion, the real question before the House was, whether or not Jews ought to be admitted to seats in Parliament, and to the enjoyment of some other privileges of an analogous kind? Appeals had been made to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, as to whether he would give his sanction to a Bill which would afford facilities for Deists to take the oaths and seats in this House. Now that was a question which they were not called upon to consider. It was a speculative question—one on which various opinions might be entertained—but on which they were not now called upon to vote. Another question raised was, whe-the Mahomedan and Hindu natives of our colonies ought to be admitted to the privileges now sought to be conferred on the Jews. But with respect to this point, he had only to repeat again that it 632 also involved a theoretical question not now before the House. By the law as it at present stood, no person not a natural subject of Great Britain was entitled to become a Member of this House. To the admission of the Jews, however, the principal objections resolved themselves under two general heads. The first class were founded on the supposition that the class of individuals in question were aliens; and the second, upon the fact that they did not profess the Christian religion. Now, as regarded the argument of Jews being aliens, that consideration was not much insisted upon, and with good reason, inasmuch as it was undeniably true in law that the Jew, being horn within the United Kingdom, was a natural-born subject of the Queen, and as such entitled to all the privileges, and bound to perform all the duties, accruing to and devolving upon a person so situated. Indeed the only ground which could be alleged by those who objected to the admission of Jews on the score of their being aliens, arose from the peculiarity of the Jewish religion. It was true that no person not born of Jewish parents could belong to the Jewish religion. The Jews were essentially an unproselytising sect, and consequently no person not born of the race and of the creed could belong to either. Upon these grounds it was contended that they formed a separate nation, and that they were aliens in the country which they inhabited. But the truth was, that they merely formed a separate race. They did not intermarry with the native inhabitants; they formed a species of hereditary sect; but it was not true, for all that, that the Jews were aliens. In comparing the circumstances attending the admission to Parliament of Jews with those which existed to the admission of other bodies of religionists to whom objections had been made, it must be admitted that the dangers which had presented themselves on those former occasions Existed only in a very diminished degree now. The Jews were comparatively a very small body. There were none in Scotland or Ireland, very few in the rural districts of England, and the whole number did not amount to more than twenty thousand, the vast majority of whom were the inhabitants of the metropolis and a few large towns; but the House was told that the admission of Members chosen even from that small body would unchristianise the Legislature. Let it be remembered, however, that this 633 Bill did not nominate or actually introduce Jews to seats in Parliament. It only threw open the doors to them after they had been chosen. as representatives by majorities of their fellow-citizens. But there was not a single constituency through the country, of which the vast majority was not composed of Christians; and if the danger anticipated from this measure should be real, it would be easy for the constituencies to reject all Jews in future. It would, however, be quite impossible to stamp the legislation of the House with an unchristian character by the admission of a few Jews to sit among them. These prejudices would soon die away. It was but little more than a century ago when the civilians warmly disputed on the question whether or not it were lawful for a Christian country to make treaties with a heathen nation, although no doubt was now entertained as to the principle or practice; and few persons were probably aware that objections had ever been made to either. He trusted the House would approve of this measure, and by their vote finally decide the question in favour of the admission of Jews to Parliament. It was in accordance with the general progress of opinion and legislation, and with the practice of the most civilised nations, while it did not militate against religion or morality.
§ MR. CAMPBELL considered himself called upon to explain the grounds on which he should oppose the third reading of this Bill, in opposition to a Ministry whose measures generally commanded his support, and the support of all the liberal party. He had, it was true, voted for its going into Committee, and he did so because he thought the circumstances which occurred at the late general election made it expedient that such a measure should be submitted to the House. The Bill was founded principally on four grounds: first, that taxation and a right to sit in Parliament were correlative terms; that Jews bore their portion of the burdens of the State, and therefore ought, as an equivalent, to enjoy all the privileges that the State could confer upon them; secondly, it was argued that the relaxations which had already been made under the present constitution of the Legislature were such as to render of no value the exclusion of any class of religionists; a third argument was, that as the Jews had been admitted to all civil offices this measure was a logical and necessary sequence of that Act of 634 the Legislature; and the last argument was the one urged by the hon. Member for Oldham, to the effect that the question involved in the Bill was one not so much concerning religion, as the rights of the constituencies to choose for their representatives such persons as they might think proper. These, he believed, were the four most important arguments on which the advocacy of the Bill rested. As to the last argument, it implied that the constituencies chose their representatives simply to do business for themselves, and not for the country; but if the State assigned to separate constituencies the duty of acting in such a manner as should in the result affect the formation of a representative assembly, it followed that the Legislature was entitled to impose on the constituencies, in the discharge of that duty, whatever limitations the public interests might require. In connexion with this view, he begged to advert to an argument which had fallen from the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lewis). That hon. Gentleman had dwelt with much emphasis on the fact that there was hardly a town or county in which the vast majority of the electoral body were not professed Christians. He could not doubt the authority of the hon. Gentleman upon such a point, but he drew an opposite conclusion from the fact. If there was not one constituency in the country in which Christians did not greatly preponderate, surely no great hardship or grievance could arise from the existence of a law which prevented Jews from obtaining a seat in Parliament. Had the case been otherwise, it might have been argued that it was unfair to exclude large bodies of persons from the privilege of having their faith as well as their politics represented in Parliament. With regard to the three other arguments on which the Bill was grounded, he would content himself with stating generally his objections to them. They appeared to be all founded upon the abstract right of the Jews to be put upon the same level with other religionists. But if it could be proved that the admission of that abstract right would require the sacrifice of any one principle which it was the interest and the duty of the Legislature to preserve, then he considered the claim of any such right could no longer be sustained. Now, the principle which he thought would be surrendered by the adoption of the present measure was this—that whereas public virtue and disinterestedness were necessary qua- 635 lities to the discharge of any service to the State, Christianity was the only source of that public virtue which the State so required. This principle being admitted, it followed that any measure which dispensed with the guarantee of Christianity must be hostile to it. The relaxations which had already been made did not encroach upon this principle. It was not essential to the public virtue which the State required that the Members of the Legislature should be Episcopalians; hence the admission of Dissenters was the first relaxation. The next was the admission of Unitarians; and although that became a somewhat more difficult question, still the task of distinguishing between Dissenters and Unitarians was one much too arduous for any Legislature to attempt. The next relaxation was one of a far more important and interesting nature, namely, the admission of Roman Catholics into the Legislature. But the arguments on which that measure was founded were altogether different from those urged in support of the present measure. In that case the Legislature had to choose between the ruin of the British empire and the admission of Boman Catholics into that assembly. But none of these relaxations affected the principles which were involved in the present Bill. He thanked the House for having permitted him to state the reasons which induced him to oppose the third reading of the Bill.
§ MR. SCOTT said, there was a wide distinction between the admission of persons of different religious sects of Christians into a Christian Parliament, and the admission of Jews; because the former were Christians, while the latter were not. He admitted that the fact of the Jews not pressing their claims to admission into Parliament in a clamorous manner, was a strong ground for their favourable consideration; but the obstacles opposed to them he conceived to be of an insurmountable nature. Those who legislated for a Christian country should themselves be Christians. It might be proper for a Jew to vote for a Christian representative, but it was not the same thing for a Christian to vote for a Jewish representative. The arguments now used by the supporters of that measure were quite different from those which the same parties had formerly put forth on the same subject; and as he saw no reason to change the opinions which he had always entertained, he could not agree with them in the alteration of 636 sentiments which they professed. The exclusion of the Jews was not intended to be as a penalty upon them. It was the oath prescribed to be taken by Members of that House, in which the words, "on the true faith of a Christian," were introduced, that prevented their admission; and Rapin told them, in his History of England, that that oath had been carefully and advisedly framed by King James, so as not to be offensive to Roman Catholics. He believed there were many excellent men amongst the members of the Jewish persuasion; but as he did not think they ought to be made Members of a Christian Legislature, he should vote against the third reading of the Bill.
MR. RAPHAEL hoped, as he had given a silent vote on former stages of the Bill, he might be allowed briefly to state the reasons why he opposed it, on the present occasion as well as on every former stage. Although he had the honour some years ago of having had a seat in that House, yet the time of its duration was so brief that he might almost claim the indulgence of a new Member when he then addressed them. In 1836 a Liberal Government was in office, and he had given them all the support he could when their measures did not limit the liberties of Englishmen, or touch the pockets of his constituency; and he was, therefore, now the more anxious to explain why he could not vote for them. Though the advocates of the proposed measure might have delivered speeches of which neither Demosthenes nor Cicero need be ashamed, still he confessed they had not removed his objections to the present Bill. As Christians they all hoped to be saved by the merits of their blessed Redeemer, yet the Jews called him a blasphemer and an impostor. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, on the second reading of the Bill, had spoken to the following effect. He load not written down the words at the time, but had taken them from the reports of the speech. The right hon. Baronet, had said—
If the Jews committed an unexpiable crime some few thousand years age, he had not the awful power given to him to punish the sins of the father upon the children to the third or the fourth generation, much less for two o or three thousand years, for 'vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.'
Now, with regard to the time, it was but 1848 years last Good Friday that the crime alluded to was committed, instead of some thousands of years; and it would be seen
by reference to the Gospel of St. Matthew that when Pilate said to the Jews he was "innocent of the blood of this man," the Jewish people had replied to him, "His blood be upon us and upon our children." If the Jews were not sincere in their opinions, they might easily take the oaths proposed; if they were sincere, as he believed to be the case, they should remain in the position in which they were (as they had anathematised themselves) until it should please God to remove the veil from their eyes. This, he trusted, was an event which was not far distant; but though he might not hope to witness such an event, many of those whom he saw around him would live to see it. An allusion had been made by the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford to a certain brochure, in which a dialogue was kept up to this effect: "Did not every Protestant consider the Catholic as an idolater, and every Catholic consider the Protestant a heretic; and both those sects consider the Unitarian as beyond the pale of Christianity?" Now, into the last question, not being a theologian, he would not enter; but with respect to the two former, he would answer that neither the enlightened Protestant nor Catholic, in the nineteenth century, entertained the opinions attributed to them. For his part he did not believe any such thing. There was another argument against the proposed Bill, which he feared he might only weaken by adverting to, it had already been so ably enforced by other hon. Members in the course of the discussions upon the question. It was said that it was a great pity they could not all join in those admirable prayers repeated with so much devotion by their excellent chaplain, particularly the Lord's Prayer. If the principle of the present Bill was to prevail, they would have to alter the tenor of those prayers, and select some generally from the decalogue. For his part he felt no reluctance to attend prayers in that House. He was by the grace of God a Catholic; but he had constantly throughout the Session been at their prayers, and he should continue to assist at them until he should be admonished by him to whom he owed spiritual obedience. If he should receive such an admonition he would take an early opportunity of acknowledging his transgression in a full House, and by that means removing the scandal he had given to his brethren of the Catholic faith. He wished that the House might yet reject that measure; and if they should not,
he hoped that it would be defeated in the House of Lords by a large and triumphant majority.
§ MR. BROTHERTON said, that not having taken part in any previous debate on this question, he wished to say a few words on the third reading of this Bill, as he hoped that an opportunity would never again be given for discussing the subject in that House. He supported this measure as an act of national justice, and because he believed the people of England were generally in favour of it. ["No, no!] Why, there bad been 300,000 petitioners in favour of the Bill, and not a fifth part of that number against it. He did not think that the measure would be injurious to the Established Church. The Jews as British subjects had a right to equality of civil privileges. To refuse them those rights was persecution. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, being a Roman Catholic, was not entitled twenty years ago to a seat in that House; and now he testified his gratitude for the privilege conferred upon him, by using his power in order to exclude from the House a portion of his fellow-subjects. The hon. Gentleman had referred to a Book which was regarded as an authority on religious subjects, and alluded to the imprecation of the Jews, when they exclaimed, "His blood be on us and on our children;" but that Book declared that "the son should not be put to death for the sin of the father, nor the father be put to death for the sin of the child." A great deal bad been said in the course of the debate about Christianity; but he would ask what was Christianity? Was it a mere name? Was it a law, or a living principle superior to all written laws? If it was merely a name, then a man with no religion whatever might take his seat in that House, because he would not object to take any oath; therefore, in that view, an oath would be no protection whatever. Then if Christianity was a law, where did they look for that law? In the New Testament: and there they found it laid down as the law of Christianity, that they should love their neighbour as themselves. But what was meant by loving our neighbour as ourselves? It was having a respect for the rights of every human being. By respecting the civil rights of others, we were not identified with their opinions, but we acknowledged their right to hold their religious opinions without being accountable to man. If Christianity was a life or a living 639 principle, the spirit of true religion was the same in all ages, and under whatever form we might worship. The Church was an organisation for effecting much good. Nothing was more abhorrent to his (Mr. Brotherton's) feelings and sentiments, than to contemplate the various denominations of Christians as antagonists. He believed that God looked with a different eye upon the various sects, from what they looked upon each other. Their offerings might be as various as the fruits of the earth; but he believed that the grateful tribute of each would be accepted. With regard to the Jews, they would be converted to Christianity whenever they could be convinced that the Christ of the Christians was the same as their Jehovah. The Jews believed in the revealed word of God, in the immortality of the soul, and in future rewards and punishments. They were strict in the observance of their Sabbath, and were generally exemplary in their lives. He had the honour to be acquainted with several Jews, and he believed them to be as loyal, as charitable, and as useful members of the community as any in Her Majesty's dominions. He considered that they were entitled to all privileges enjoyed by the rest of their fellow-subjects, and therefore he should give his cordial support to the third reading of this Bill.
§ MR. ROBINSON supported the Bill. If he thought that the admission of Jews would be contrary to the injunctions of Scripture, or that it would in the slightest degree affect or endanger the security of the Established Church, he would be far from entertaining an opinion favourable to it; but he did not believe it would have any such consequences. It was natural that on the questions of the repeal of the Test Act and Roman Catholic Emancipation, objections should be made on these changes being adverse to the interests of the Established Church; but the Jew waited for the coming of his Messiah, and could have no motive of hostility to the Established Church. Enjoying all the advantages which this Protestant country offered to its citizens, there was every reason to expect that the Jew would be, as far as the Established Church was concerned, strictly conservative. The conduct of the Jews in the discharge of the municipal offices which they had been permitted by law to fill of late years, was an additional argument in their favour. He might point to the acts of munificence for which many well-known members of that religious per- 640 suasion were distinguished, as that of Sir Moses Montefiore, who, on learning that a deficiency existed in the funds required for the erection of a church in the county of Hants, immediately went to a noble Duke, and tendered a considerable sum of money for its completion. In like manner, Sir Isaac Goldsmid spontaneously offered to the inhabitants of Brighton a large piece of ground in that town belonging to him for the purpose of building a church. Mr. Salomons, when a candidate for a seat in that House, publicly declared in his addresses to the constituency of the Rape of Bramber, that he was friendly to the Established Church. These instances, and the uniform conduct observed with reference to the discharge of civic duties by our Jewish fellow-subjects, convinced him that the allegations of danger on this head were visionary.
§ MR. NAPIER: Mr. Speaker, before I had the honour to take my seat in this House, the Bill now before us was read a second time. I wish, therefore, in simplicity, to state the reasons which induce me to vote against this Bill. In doing so I would premise that I presume not to question the personal religion of any one of its supporters: they are bound and are entitled to form and express their deliberate opinion, and I only claim the right for myself which I concede to them. I only ask what I am always ready to give —a fair and candid consideration to the arguments on both sides. The question involves a principle rather of national acknowledgment than individual conviction; but I feel myself at liberty to argue on the assumption, that, as we are all professing Christians, we individually recognise what our law and constitution as yet maintain—that Christianity is the true religion. That national acknowledgment ceases when this Bill becomes law. No man can afterwards in this House assume Christianity to be true. The progress of toleration melted away the civil distinction between different classes of professing Christians. We would not rend the garment. Are we now to cast lots for it? The importance of our national Christianity cannot be overstated. God deals with nations differently from the case of individuals. Their equities may be adjusted when nations must have ceased to exist; and therefore the dealings with nations are temporal, and for outward acts. The dealings with a nation exhibit the principles of God's moral government, 641 So it was in the history of the Jewish people. To acknowledge him, to guard his oracles, to obey his commandments, insured his favour; the opposite course incurred his censure. The famine, the pestilence, and the sword, inflicted national judgments; and at last the rejection of Christ as the Messiah smashed and shivered into fragments that mighty and majestic people, exhibiting in their desolation the appalling evidence of the truth they repudiated. England has ever admitted the principle of national religion. The nation has knelt as one man to supplicate for mercy and to offer thanksgiving. The Government of the noble Lord, and I honour him for it in a true spirit has sanctioned both. If, then, the dealing with a nation is to exhibit the course of God's moral government, and if that affixes approval or censure, blessing or judgment, according to the external act, publicly and openly manifested—and if there be reality and consistency in the Divine government of the world—I would ask, in unaffected simplicity, can we, as a people, renounce Christianity as the basis of our law and legislation, without exposing ourselves as a people to the Divine displeasure? Pass this Bill, and the Deist and the Infidel may consistently demand admittance to the councils of a nation, having all its laws and institutions previously founded and administered on the principles of comprehensive Christianity. I am not arguing against enlightened toleration. Where the Gospel of our Saviour is admitted to be the common standard of doctrine, or the common rule of morals, we can afford to be very tolerant. The duties of life require it, and the free action of the mind and heart seems to justify it. The colours in the ray are lost in that intimate coalescence which gives light and heat to the world, when all diverge from the one heavenly source and centre. The distinctions of Christians may be blended, but not confounded, in the practical charities of a life of duty. But in accommodating our constitution to him who regards our Lord as an impostor, and Christianity as untrue, the very principle of our constitutional toleration is sacrificed; confusion expels consistency, and the nation ceases to honour him who is the King of kings. As to the Jews themselves, how will this operate? I rejoice to think that the rejection of this Bill could not, in any respect, help forward that affliction which, in the wisdom of God, they have so long experienced as a people. 642 I regard them with an interest I could not here express—the hermit people, destined for a glory emphatically theirs, in their own loved Jerusalem. They dwell amongst the Gentile nations; they mingle not with any; their hopes cannot centre in a Gentile land; the true functions of our legislation are incompatible with their national expectations. In every country still they are one peculiar people—strangers and sojourners—looking to regain their own land—theirs, not by stratagem or treaty, but by divine donation. A Jew could not be a citizen of England, pledged to sustain its interests as paramount, without forfeiting the noblest expectations of restored nationality. He may hate you for your creed; he must despise you if he doubts your sincerity. What may be the influence on the Jewish mind to see the great Sanhedrim of the great Christian nation, making no account of the denial of their Messiah, and treating unbelief as a matter indifferent, may not be difficult to conjecture, though impossible to predict. I would ask you to pause before you so peril the constitution, and provoke the jealousy of Him whose providence has been now so signally manifested in mercy to our favoured land. There is enough to require the faithful efforts of our common Christianity in plain and honest usefulness amongst our own people. The feeling I cherish towards the Jew is fraught with emotions too profound and solemn for the excitement of debate, and deeper still the jealous affection for the true faith of a Christian. Of that faith I desire not to be ostentatious, but I would not dare to be ashamed. I know not whether I ought to have said so much on this deeply important question. The powerful and eloquent speech of the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst might have almost excused my silence, for I could not hope to persuade if he has not convinced. But regarding the question as one of great individual responsibility in supporting or opposing the measure, I trust I have not transgressed the fair limits of debate in the observations I have now, with sincere deference, submitted to the better judgment of the House.
MR. ROUNDELL PALMER said, he had already, on two occasions, supported the measure by his vote, and being prepared again that night to record his vote in its favour, he was glad to take the opportunity of stating the grounds on which he was satisfied that he had come to a right conclusion on political, and much more on
Christian principle. From the time he had formed that conclusion, he had not heard any argument or statement which had the least tendency to shake the conviction of his own mind that he had come to a right, just, and sound conclusion. It appeared to him that the Jews, if they ought to be excluded from seats in that House, or from other civil franchises, must be so on one or other of two grounds, either of which, he distinctly admitted, was sufficient to justify their exclusion. Those grounds were, either that it was for the advantage of the people of the country for whom Parliament governed, or that it was a religious duty imposed on them by their religious belief. Of this he felt most confident, that they had no right, living under a free popular Government, to say to any men, " You shall be excluded because you are excluded." They could not so legislate—they did not so legislate. There were exclusions from this and other franchises known to the country. They rested not on the basis of arbitrary power, but on the ground of policy. He wished to dispose of secondary considerations before coming to those which were of primary importance, and so had adverted to the argument drawn from the existence of other exclusions. There was the exclusion from the elective franchise of all persons whose rent did not amount to 10l. Those who had not a certain amount of property were excluded from that House. When such exclusions came to be discussed, no one could defend them unless on the ground that they were necessary or convenient for the great purposes of government; and so with respect to the exclusion of the clergy or Judges from seats in that House. In those cases the exclusion, it was perfectly clear, rested on a principle which had no application whatever to the case of the Jews. The clergy and the Judges had certain important functions to perform for the people, with which functions political intervention, in the eyes of those for whose benefit such functions were to be exercised, would interfere. All those cases must be defended on their own grounds; and he granted, that if any reason arising out of public advantage could be shown to be applicable to the case of the Jews, the question must fall to be dealt with similarly. But let not these cases be referred to for a purpose where they had no application. There was the case of naturalised aliens. Some hon. Gentlemen had stated, that naturalised aliens were on the footing
on which Jews were placed. But what power or right of exclusion existed on the pretext that the Jews stood in the position of aliens? They had never done so; and there was a great difference between their position and that of naturalised aliens. The sons and descendants of naturalised persons were entitled to all the privileges of native-born subjects. But the disability of the Jew applied to the Jew, however remote the present descendant from the ancestor who had first come to this country. The disability of the alien was confined to the time during which he who was born abroad should reside hero to be naturalised; but the moment he was naturalised his descendant was entitled to all the rights of British subjects. With reference to religion, this case of the Jew was the only case, whether right or wrong, in which any disability had been created upon that principle. The immediate proposition before the House was the repeal of what was the accidental effect of a clause introduced into the oath taken by Members of that House, which clause made the oath be taken "on the true faith of a Christian." The words, he granted, had not found their way there without indicating a principle. The object of the oath was to exclude those persons from Parliament who were in favour of the Pretender. But at that time there were disabilities which affected all those who were not of the Church of England. Such disabilities were brought to bear against the Roman Catholics—extensively against the Dissenters. That system had been abandoned. Ought an oath, then, which was introduced for a purpose entirely different, to have the effect of these annulled disabilities? Such disabilities might at that time be consistent with the spirit of the constitution; but they were not so now. If the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act—if the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts were contrary to the true interests of the State, Parliament would be no longer bound to proceed in the same direction. But if that could not be made out, it was their duty to legislate on the subject in conformity with the principle and spirit of the existing constitution, and not in a manner opposed to that principle. There was a primâ facie case for the Jews in their present position. They were excluded on the ground of cases which had no analogy to theirs. The burden of proof, then, lay on those who opposed their admission. Among the political arguments which had been urged for
the exclusion of the Jews, he should pass from the first, that they were aliens, to a second, that they had a certain nationality of their own, which rendered it impossible that they could adequately discharge their duties as subjects of this nation. Such an argument seemed to confound things essentially distinct. The Jews, indeed, had the idea of a state founded on a spiritual and ecclesiastical, rather than a temporal basis. If that peculiar feeling which induced union among themselves and foreign adherents of the same faith, had the least tendency to make them depart from the duties which they owed their country as citizens, there might be room for debate. It was not political unity, however, but religious, that the Jews sought. As well might the question have been raised with respect to the early Christians, whether they ought or ought not to have enjoyed civil rights in the Roman Government under which they lived. The Roman Catholics were a religious society strictly united within themselves, and not confined within one nation; and no question the Roman Catholic system had a political aspect which that of the Jews had not. Yet the existence of that union furnished no reason why Roman Catholics should be excluded from Parliament; and no inconvenience, he ventured to say, had been felt on this ground from their admission. The practical and material question was, whether it was the duty of Parliament to maintain the present exclusion of the Jews? The burden of proof lay with those who would exclude. It was not sufficient to use general phrases, to talk about "a Christian Parliament," or "national Christianity," without going to the supreme authority in the matter, for the purpose of ascertaining whether there was any principle which prevented them from being unite in civil society with those who professed the Jewish religion. If such a doctrine existed in Christianity it would be found in the New Testament; but there was none that looked that way. The arguments looking towards exclusion were derived exclusively from the Old Testament. The Jewish people, under the Mosaic dispensation, were as much a religious and ecclesiastical as a political society. They were established by the sword—the law made no distinction between civil and religious offences—those who departed from the true faith among them were punished with the highest temporal penalties. None were admitted to political franchises in the nation except the
members of the Church; and the spiritual privileges of the Church were exclusively confined to the members of that particular nation. Now in all these respects Christianity was entirely different from the system which preceded it. All the nations of the world were invited to become members of the spiritual society of Christians; and no passage could be found in the New Testament—which must be our authority upon this subject—excluding persons of any religion from civil and political power in any nation. We read there many texts which show, that, in respect to the natural and civil relations of life, Christians were intended to cultivate that course of policy which produced peace and unity among men. "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men," said the apostle. Now, how could we live peaceably with all men, if, on the ground of a difference of religious belief, not interfering with any social duty, certain definite classes of men are to be excluded from franchises to which they would otherwise be entitled in civil society—franchises important for the maintenance of their temporal rights? There were many other precepts of similar import; while not one passage could be found to show that civil society, under the Christian dispensation, was to be constituted upon a religious or ecclesiastical basis in such a sense that those who did not profess the true religion were to be excluded from the franchises to which they would otherwise be entitled. It appeared to him to be of great importance in this question to ascertain what was the true character of civil government, and what was the character of the Christian society under the Christian dispensation. With respect to the Christian society, we were told, by the greatest authority, that it was of a purely spiritual character. "My kingdom is not of this world, else would my servants fight."To use the civil sword, therefore, for the propagation of religious truth was not only not enjoined; it was absolutely prohibited. Christianity was not to be the basis of a political organisation. On the other hand, we found in the New Testament the duty of obedience on the part of members of a Christian Church to civil governors recognised and enforced in the strongest terms. But every passage in which this duty was enforced, referred, at the time when it was written, to the civil government of the Roman empire, which was certainly not established on a Christian, nor on any religious
or ecclesiastical basis. It was established by natural means, for the natural purposes of repressing crime, and maintaining natural morality. This power, for these purposes, the New Testament recognised as divine; this was the only civil government anywhere contemplated in the New Testament; and the passages referring to it now constituted the only Divine sanction for obedience to civil governments among Christians at the present day. Civil government had never since that time been derived from any new source, nor had there been any new commandment on the subject. Under this commandment the duties and the divine commission of civil government still continued the same, namely, the maintenance of order and natural morality, and the protection of society from wrong and oppression. He could not conceive, then, that they could arrive at the principle of exclusion in this way. Being thus unable to point out any principle or precept of Christianity, or anything in the nature of the Christian Church, or of civil government, which made it the duty of Christians to exclude Jews from political power in a Christian conntry, they were driven to consider the practical tendency of their admission. Now, he would not deny that, if it could be shown that Christianity would be practically benefited by their exclusion, they ought to be excluded. But he again said that Christianity taught him to give every man his due—the onus probandi lay upon those who would exclude. The first practical ground of exclusion relied upon was derived from the supposed absolute union of Church and State. It was the doctrine of some that after the conversion of the world to Christianity the Church and the State became so united and identical as to give the State an absolute authority, even in spiritual matters, over the Church; for which—it was justly concluded—that the State would be disqualified, if those who exercised the legislative power in it were not Christians. But from this theory he totally dissented; it was his firm conviction that this doctrine destroyed and misrepresented the true character both of Church and of State, and of the connexion which existed between the two. Such a union would degrade and secularize, instead of strengthening the Church; and, without really elevating the principle of civil government, it would destroy that which the natural purposes of government required. The strength of the Church
was not in State establishments, nor in any formulae of political; constitutions, but in the truth of the religion which it professed, and in the intrinsic authority of that truth over the consciences of men. On the other hand, the State had no hold on the consciences of men except by virtue of its divine mission to conduct Government for natural purposes. The Church, by her connexion with the State, was not capable of losing her original and distinct independence; and the State, by its connexion with the Church, could not be justified in departing from its original comprehensiveness. He had high political authority for these doctrines—an authority which he was sure would be recognised in that House—he meant Mr. Burke, who, in his Tracts on the Popery Laws, said—
If indeed, the legislative authority was admitted on all hands to be the ground of religious persuasion, I should readily allow dissent to be rebellion. But this doctrine is universally disowned, and for a plain reason. Religion, to have any force on men's understandings—indeed, to exist at all—must be supposed paramount to laws, and independent for its substance upon any human institution. Else it would be the absurdest thing in the world—an acknowledged cheat. Religion, therefore, is not believed because the laws have established it; but it is established because the leading part of the community have previously believed it to be true, As no water can rise higher than its spring, no establishment can have more authority than it derives from its principle.
He contended, then, that the existence of an Established Church could never make it necessary, or the duty of the State, to exclude from civil rights or franchises those who did not believe in the true religion; because it left the State as it found it, not with a spiritual, but with merely a temporal office and authority; and the institutions and endowments and privileges of the Established Church were founded, and ought to be maintained, not upon any abstract theory of State Christianity, but upon the immense practical preponderance of the Christians who possess power in the nation, and who, in the use of that power, have sought, naturally and justly, to make temporal means subservient, as far as possible, to the interests of Christianity, and who have therefore established those institutions which were necessary for their own religious purposes, and for the promotion of the ends of religion in a manner consistent with the civil and temporal rights of others. Upon this view, the present constitution of our Legislature, into which
Roman Catholics and Dissenters were admitted, was perfectly consistent with the maintenance of the Established Church; but upon the other view—that of the absolute identification of Church and State—it clearly could not be reconciled. The admission of Jews would make no practical difference, except that it might be said their exclusion Was a national testimony of belief in Christianity, which, by admitting them, would be withdrawn. But what kind of testimony? If they admitted this principle, might not any persecution whatever be considered a testimony of belief in Christianity? If they inflicted the cruel persecutions of former times, they might object to discontinue them on the same principle. The question was, whether it was a right kind of testimony, and consistent with the real character and obligations of Christianity? for if not, Christianity could not be honoured by it. It appeared to him very clear that the interests of Christianity did not require anything unjust or unfair for their support. They could afford to rely on their own intrinsic power; and, respect to the national faith, he apprehended there was nothing in the present measure which would make the nation less Christian than before. The Christianity of a nation did not depend upon the religion professed by the framers of its laws, but upon the numbers and sincerity and zeal of the citizens who believed in Christianity. If the Christians in the nation were sincere—if they continued to be the vast preponderating power in the country, and to act upon Christian principles—the Christianity of the nation would continue the same after the passing of this measure as before it. As long as that state of things continued, the Christians, constituting the great mass of the nation and of the Legislature, would manifest their own Christianity, and would maintain all its temporal interests, exactly in the same manner as before. They would not give up the benefits of an Established Church, or the privilege and the duty of consecrating their deliberations with Christian prayer, merely because there would be a small fraction of the people, or of the Legislature, who had not the happiness of partaking with them in those advantages. Why should it be apprehended, that anything which was the real right of a majority, would be less insisted upon by a majority in religious than in any other questions? What ground was there for thinking that any Christian legislator would
cease to be actuated by Christian motives and principles, because he would have to speak and act in the presence of a Jew? He wished, before concluding, to add, that it was impossible for legislation and discussions of a purely spiritual kind to be carried on in that House as at present constituted. They must confine themselves to questions involving the temporal accidents of religion, and temporal laws and institutions connected with the Established Church, and with the other religious communities of the country. As to these questions, it was no hardship upon any class of Christians that they should be subject to the legislation of a mixed body, comprehending persons of a different faith; because all these were things over which, by God's natural appointment, every temporal Government, whether Christian or not—even a Government composed exclusively of Turks—must have legitimate authority. But he confessed he should not be sorry to see the constitution of the House so marked as to prove, upon the very front of it, that purely spiritual questions were not fit to be legislated upon and discussed in that House. Upon the whole, it appeared to him that the interests of the Church in this country could never suffer from acting in a manner consistent and compatible with the civil and temporal interests of every subject of the British Crown. If anything could endanger the rights and interests of the Church, it would be the maintenance of the doctrine that they could not be reconciled with the free admission of any class of the people to civil and political franchises to which, upon temporal and civil grounds, they were entitled. He desired, as a Churchman, that the Church should have full justice done her; but if Churchmen wished to have justice, they must do it—if they would have liberty, they must act with liberality—they must act, not only justly but generously towards others, and must not make the Church the only obstacle to the admission of any class of citizens to political rights and franchises, especially those connected with the representation in that House, which were important for the protection of their temporal and civil interests.
§ VISCOUNT MAHON had already on a former occasion expressed his conscientious opinions with reference to the Bill; and being convinced that those opinions, however they might clash with those of men whose authority was higher than his own, were founded on truth and justice, 651 he would not shrink from again giving them utterance whenever a befitting opportunity arose. What, he would in the first place, ask, was the period selected for the introduction of such a measure? It was proposed at a time when the cause of civilisation and Christianity was steadily advancing all over the world. He said, civilisation and Christianity, for sometimes it was Christianity that brought in civilisation, and sometimes civilisation that brought in Christianity; but in the long run these two were inseparably bound together, and the one would finally appear as the companion and helpmate of the other. At present there was no country so benighted or so barbarous that the light of Gospel truth was not at least dawning on it; and the time was near—near not merely in the dreams of enthusiasts—not merely in the hopes of ardent men, but in plain sober reality—when the natives of every country would have the opportunity of hearing proclaimed to them the name and doctrine of Christ. Yet this, this happy advance of religious truth, was the precise period at which the first representative assembly in the world, the assembly to which all other representative assemblies looked up with reverence, proposed to enact a law the purport and signification of which was, that so far as the duties of legislation were concerned, the true faith of a Christian was of no manner of importance; but that on the contrary those duties might be discharged as effectually by the Pagan, the unbeliever, or the Jew. Whether would such a course tend to encourage and assist, or to dishearten and impede those who were engaged throughout the world in the good work of converting nations? But let them look also to the moral influence of such a change among ourselves at home. The House ought to remember that it was responsible both for the practical effect of its legislation upon its own people, and also for the wide-spread moral effect of its example upon the world at large. It was of the highest importance that the members of the various religious persuasions into which their common Christianity was divided, should bear in mind, not only the important points on which they differed, but also the still more essential points on which they agreed. The law, as it at present stood, encouraged all professing Christians to that course. It rendered it imperative on them that before undertaking the duties of legislation 652 they should take an oath on the true faith of their common Christianity. The change which it was new proposed to introduce would do away with that profession of faith, and destroy that bond of union—the highest, holiest, and most sacred of all bonds—whereby the Members of that House were held together in sympathy. To go beyond the words "on the true faith of a Christian," as was done before the Act of Roman Catholic Emancipation, was, he thought, intolerance: to stop short of these words, as was now proposed to be done, was, he maintained, not toleration but indifference. He maintained that, as a matter of right, the Jew was not entitled to share in the duties of legislation; and that, as a matter of policy, it was wholly inexpedient that he should be admitted to the privilege. True, the Jews were eligible to serve as aldermen and justices of the peace, and he did not complain that it was so; on the contrary he had himself supported the Bill which made them eligible to such offices; but it was one thing to administer laws already made, and another to take part in the enactment of measures which might happen to affect, in some very essential respect, the interests of Christianity. The burden of proving that the admission of Jews would have a practical tendency to injure the community, did not, as had been asserted by the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth, rest with those who were hostile to the measure. They had a right to look to the secret and ulterior motives of some of its supporters motives which the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth had only indicated, but which others had more openly avowed. There had been presented to the House, lately, a petition signed by a dignitary of the Established Church for whom he had the highest respect, Archdeacon Wilberforce, which went to this extent: he was favourable to the admission of the Jews to seats in Parliament, on the ground that he hoped it would finally lead to a separation between the Church and the State. The only point, however, which he thought ought to be considered was, whether the admission of any new class of voters would upon the whole tend to better legislation. The question was, would the admission of the Jews into Parliament tend to improve or to injure legislation? He was decidedly of opinion that it would not improve it, but lower and sink the whole tone of it. In order to admit a very 653 small class of men to a privilege to which they were not of right entitled, the House was called upon to violate a great principle, and to proceed to the absolute negation of Christianity. He, for one, could not consent to it. With respect to the manifestation of opinion against the Bill out of doors he was bound in candour to admit that it was not as wide-spread or as emphatic as he could have wished it to have been. There had not been many petitions presented, nor had many meetings been held to denounce it; but if the progress of the measure were stopped elsewhere, as he trusted it would be—if it were destined that it was not to reach the foot of the Throne, but would have to be introduced again another year into that House—it was his conviction that when the question was again brought under the consideration of the people, there would be a much more general and a much more decided expression of public opinion in its regard. In any event, however, whether the principle which he maintained, should be upheld by the sense and intelligence of this great country, or be repudiated by them, to that principle he at least should steadily adhere.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS observed, that as he had already experienced the indulgence of the House, he ought, perhaps, to feel that such indulgence was a sufficient motive against his asking for a renewal of its attention; but having been in the first instance opposed to the measure he could not but desire, at the last opportunity, to state that further consideration of the subject had only deepened his conviction of the inexpediency of the Bill. The noble Lord who had spoken last had refuted much of that which was open to objection in the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. R. Palmer), so that it would be unnecessary for him to occupy a moment in adding to it. He world, however, tell his hon. and learned Friend, that while he truly respected his learning, his talents, and his large and varied acquirements, he never had witnessed in any man approaching him in those qualifications an exhibition which less forcibly realised their existence. There was a latitudinarian theory pervading his entire speech which truly disappointed him; for throughout he maintained an argument wholly at variance with an established and recognised principle. The hon. and learned Gentleman contended that the onus probandi lay upon the possessor of a right; but surely surely an argument could not 654 hold good; for if that were admitted, Her Majesty might be compelled, if Her title to the Throne were disputed, to prove that she had the right to inherit and enjoy it, and not Her enemies to prove that she bad no such right. One of the most popular arguments in favour of the measure was, that as they had gone so far they were bound to go farther. To this principle, also, he could not subscribe, as he held the argument to be utterly valueless. It was no reason because they had taken one step in the wrong direction, that they were to increase the mischief by going still further; neither could the commission of two errors amount to an amendment. Without going into the question of the probability of this measure leading to a separation of Church and State, he would merely state, that in that House they had not a visionary Christianity to deal with, but a Christianity embodied in a particular Church Establishment. The hon. Member for Manchester had stated the other night, with great justice, that the very terms on which he was summoned to the House invited him and required him to legislate for the concerns of the Church. If that were so, it was a misfortune; but did it follow that because they had admitted a discordant element into the Legislature, that they were to add another discordant element? It was asked, what had politics to do with religion? His answer was—Enough to justify him in inquiring who were to be the component parts of the Legislature, especially of the House of Commons. The selection of bishops practically rested with the Prime Minister. But who made his noble Friend Prime Minister? Why, a congeries of Roman Catholics, Dissenters, and members of the Church of England. Was it, then, desirable for the interests of the Church to admit at the present time a new element of opposition to the Church into this electing and constituting body? His objection to the Bill was not so much that it would unchristianise the Legislature, as that it proclaimed that the Legislature was indifferent to what was the religion of its Members. It was this indifferentism which he regarded with so much fear. How could we expect to carry the words of salvation to the heathen if we ourselves regarded them with indifference?
§ MR. MILNES GASKELL said, he was unwilling to interpose any delay between the proposition of the noble Lord at the head of the Government and the decision to which the House was about to come; 655 but there were circumstances connected with this subject that made him peculiarly desirous to say a few words in explanation of the vote which he meant to give. He was not insensible to the difficulties of this question—he was not insensible to the weight of those arguments which suggested that there was something anomalous in the idea that persons of the Jewish religion should be admitted into that House to legislate for Christian interests: on the other hand, he was not insensible to the force of those which reminded him that in a free country no man should be debarred from the exercise of any civil privilege on account of religious opinion; and if, after the best consideration he could give this subject, he had arrived at a different conclusion from that which had been come to by the great majority of those with whom he had usually the good fortune to concur, he thought it a more straightforward and more open course frankly to avow that difference, than to content himself with giving a silent vote for the proposition of the noble Lord. On many accounts it would be more agreeable to his feelings to take another course. He was well aware, from various communications he had received, that this proposition had excited feelings of hostility and alarm on the part of a considerable section of the people, whose opinion was entitled to all the weight which loyalty and respectability had a right to claim. He respected the religious feeling from which the hostility to this Bill had emanated, and would gladly defer to it, if he felt that he could do so without being a party to what he conceived to be a practical injustice; but he could not bring himself to think that any danger would accrue to public interests from the removal of these restrictions, or that in the absence of such danger it was just to retain them. It was no answer to this to say, the Jews were so small a body, it was not worth while to do violence to public feeling on their account. In his opinion, the smallness of their number rather constituted an additional argument in their favour, if the concession of their claims was just; and though it was painful to him to differ upon this question with many persons for whose character and judgment he had great respect, yet he was not only fortified by his own convictions upon the subject, but also by high authority—by the past or present opinions of almost every leading man in both Houses of Parliament; and last, but not least, by those of 656 Mr. Huskisson, and the other surviving friends of Mr. Canning, in 1830, who had given their cordial support to a similar proposition. It appeared to him that there were but two arguments which were seriously relied upon in opposition to this Bill; they had been stated in various forms and with great ability, but every argument which he had heard advanced upon this subject seemed to him to resolve itself into one or the other of these objections: first, it was said the Jews were a separate and distinct nation, with no claim to citizenship, and no title to be regarded as subjects of Her Majesty; secondly, it was said—and this was the argument which was most insisted on—the passing of this Bill would involve a principle destructive of the Christian character of the constitution, and at the best would indicate, on the part of Parliament, a discountenance and disregard to the public profession of Christianity. If these were allegations that could be sustained by argument, the opponents of the Bill were entirely justified in resisting it. He would shortly state the grounds on which he could not concur in the force of these objections. He owned that to the first he attached but little weight. It seemed to him that, to say the least of it, it was entirely inconsistent with the whole tenor of their past legislation on this subject. If it were true that the Jews were not subjects of Her Majesty, they ought to have acquiesced in the Motion of an hon. Friend of his, the Member for Shoreham (Mr. Goring), the other night, which went to deprive them of the elective franchise. It could hardly be contended that they were excluded from the House of Commons by any question of race, while they were allowed to vote at the election of Members to serve in Parliament. But it was not the elective franchise only which the Jews possessed; they were eligible to almost every trust except the one they were now claiming at our hands. We admitted them to corporation offices—we allowed them to serve on juries—we made them baronets—we made them sheriffs—in Canada and Jamaica we had already conceded the principle for which they were now contending, and it was only in this country, and when they asked for a full recognition of civil rights, that they were told they were not subjects of Her Majesty. If this was an argument that was good for anything, it seemed to him to be far better for retracing our past steps in legislation than for rejecting the proposi- 657 tion of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell); and he thought it would be a more consistent and a more intelligible course to repeal the Acts which conferred civil privileges on the Jews, than to seek to deprive them of one half of the rights of citizenship. But he was aware it was the second objection he had adverted to, which was the one mainly relied on, namely, that this Bill would have the effect of unchristianising the Legislature of this country. He confessed it appeared to him that the use of such an argument, and the avowal of such a fear, was a reflection upon the faith professed by the immense majority of the people. Surely it could not be seriously contended that we should cease to be a Christian people, because three or four Jews were admitted into that House, if elected by Christian constituencies; or that a religion which was professed by 99–100ths of the people of England required the aid of disabling statutes to maintain it. As far as danger to the Church Establishment was concerned, be believed the Jews were less likely to make proselytes, less likely to interfere with the religious institutions of the country, than almost any class of Dissenters from the Established Church. He had yet to learn that sects were hostile to each other in proportion to the wideness of their religious differences, nor did he believe the Jews had ever evinced as much hostility to the Established Church as other classes of Dissenters. They had not taken a prominent part in the organised opposition which had been carried on for so many years to church-rates; and he believed there were many instances in which wealthy and influential members of their body had liberally subscribed to provide means of worship and education for the Christian poor. He owned, therefore, he was at a loss to see why the Jew should be placed on a worse footing in respect to civil privilege than other classes of Dissenters. He knew it was said that Christianity was still part and parcel of the law, and that it would cease to be so on the passing of this Bill; but he apprehended it was the Christianity of the Church of England which was so established; and unless the Christianity of the Church of England had ceased to be a part of the law when the Test Act had been repealed, and when Roman Catholic disabilities had been removed, he was at a loss to understand why the passing of this Bill should produce that effect. The only argument against 658 the measure which had had any great weight in his mind was that which referred to the injustice and anomaly of permitting Jews to legislate for the Church of England on purely religious matters. He thought there was some force in that objection; but he held that it applied as strongly to Roman Catholics, who sought to supplant the Church of England, and to Independents, who were averse to all church government whatever. It appeared to him that we must make our election between two principles, and be content to take the evils and inconveniences attendant on whichever principle we preferred. We must either confine civil eligibility to persons professing the established faith, or lay down the broad and general principle that there should be no civil disqualification on account of religious opinion. He knew it was said by many Gentlemen, "It is true that we have made two fatal departures from the integrity of the constitution, but we have never gone so far as this;" and that he at once admitted; but he thought we had gone far enough to make the retention of this solitary exclusion altogether indefensible. He had been much struck by an able and, in his opinion, a conclusive argument of Archbishop Whately's on this subject, in which it was contended that the danger of being thought to proclaim indifference to religious truth was greater as the law now stood, than it would be if Parliament were to legislate throughout on a consistent and intelligible principle; and that while we excluded men from civil privileges on account of the importance of their errors, we practically implied the unimportance of those for which we did not exclude them. It should be remembered, too, that this measure was more one for the removal of a stigma than the conferring of a privilege—more the recognition than the grant of influence—more a question of social position than religious faith; but the subject was discussed out of doors, and even by some Gentlemen in that House, as if the proposition now before them was one for the creation of Jewish constituencies, and for the compulsory election of a large body of Jewish Members, and as if the noble Lord himself (Lord J. Russell) were some wicked and apostate Minister, such as the one imagined by Sir Edmund Isham in 1753, whose only object was to increase the number of Jews in England. As to any political objections to this measure, he apprehended that there were none. Objections had 659 been made to the Roman Catholics on such grounds; but he had never heard it alleged that the Jews owed a divided allegiance, or refused to keep faith with heretics. He had never heard of a Jewish rent for purposes of sedition, or of a Jewish Association to intimidate the House of Commons, or overawe the Government. The Jews were a small, peaceful, industrious body, who had for years contributed to the exigencies of the State, though denied the right which was granted to every other sect, that of a voice in the distribution of the taxes. They now came before Parliament, temperately claiming a community of interests and privileges with the rest of their fellow-subjects; and from the all but universal testimony which was borne to them, he believed they were as little likely to abuse such privileges as any sect of Dissenters from the Established Church. The elements of political power they possessed already—intelligence they had—wealth we allowed them to acquire and to retain—we gave them everything that could be said to constitute political power, but persisted in refusing them its distinctions. He (Mr. Gaskell) saw no valid reason for continuing to withhold them. He could not bring himself to think that religious opinions, as such, ought to be a bar to any claim of citizenship. It was only when religion assumed a political character, and sought to excite a spirit of resistance against the law, that it seemed to him just or politic to erect a barrier against the admission of persons professing particular opinions; and in all those cases it appeared to him that exclusion should rest on civil and not on religious grounds. He thought the laws ought not to meddle with opinions: they overstepped their proper boundaries when they arrogated to themselves such a jurisdiction; and when they subjected religious belief to the control of civil authority, they were investing the Legislature with attributes which it had no right to claim. It appeared to him that every man was entitled to a full participation in the privileges of the State, as long as he remained obedient to the law; and whatever toleration you might extend to the mere observance of his creed, if you mortified his pride—if you limited his sphere of usefulness—if you shut him out from public offices which other loyal subjects of the Crown could hold, you branded him with an unmerited stigma, and deprived him of his fair share of influence and power. It was no new principle which they were call- 660 ed upon to establish. The principle of abolishing religious tests had been affirmed by Parliament, when the Corporation and Test Acts had been repealed, and when Roman Catholic disabilities had been removed. The noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown called upon the House of Commons to ratify and confirm that principle. Its foundations had been deeply laid in the soil of the constitution, and in his (Mr. Gaskell's) opinion, it would be little in harmony with the spirit of our civil institutions to decide, by the rejection of this Bill, that they would disown that principle, and retain a disqualification which no plea of State necessity could be adduced to justify, and the removal of which, in his conscience, he believed that Christianity inculcated as much as policy enjoined.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE begged to remind the noble Lord at the head of the Government of the argument he had used on the second reading of the Bill, which was founded on the effect which he then urged bad been produced by the removal of the Jewish disabilities in a neighbouring country. He asked the House to reflect on the events that had follow upon the disconnexion of religion from the State in France. Since he spoke, the monarchy in that country had fallen. He wished to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Government, whether there was not proof of the assertion he (Mr. Newdegate) made, that the abrogation of the Christian character of the legislative body of France, had alienated the Church from the State? Whether the repudiation of Christianity by the State had not led to a corrupt system of government, and whether the Gallican Church had not shrunk from that Government, which denied the dictates of religion as the basis of its councils—whether, in short, the Church of France had not sought from Rome the support refused her by the State, and had not been among the first to acknowledge the fall of that Government, which had repudiated her sacred influence, and to hail the advent of a new order of things, how ever turbulent? He would beg the House not to confound their opposition to this measure with the narrow principle of sectarian difference, but view it as based on the higher and broader principle of Christianity. The religion of a vast preponderating majority of the people, should, according to all popular principles, characterise the legislative assembly of the nation, and the religion of the 661 people of England was pre-eminently Christian.
§ MR. FORTESCUE supported the Bill, and urged that the number of the Jews was so small, the number of the applicants for admittance to the House under the Bill so trifling, that the objections made to it were not well founded. But even if the Jews were more numerous, those arguments were untenable in themselves. Legislative enactments and restrictions were not the proper modes for defending the Church of England. No church could be defended by mere acts of legislation. A great deal had been said by both the opponents and supporters of the measure in praise of the Jews; and it appeared to him that those praises cut the ground from under those who opposed it. The English Jew of the present day was not like the Jew of the middle ages. He lived in an atmosphere of Christianity, and could not be argued against as if he had his ideas founded upon the ancient prejudices.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL: Sir, I feel myself called upon, before the termination of the proceedings, to endeavour to give some answer to the objections which have been made to the measure which I had the honour to propose. In the first place, therefore, I must say that it is a very good augury for the success of this Bill, and for the advance of the principles of freedom and humanity, that the hon. and learned Gentleman who has proposed the rejection of this Bill began with giving up and abandoning some of those arguments which have had the greatest effect in prejudicing the opinions of many hon. Gentlemen on the former discussions. He began by saying that the arguments derived from prophecy had no weight in this question. He said that, whatever was the fate of the Bill—supposing the Bill were to pass—that Christianity would be then no less an important portion of the law of the land than at present. He, therefore, gave up that argument, which had been urged as one of the most successful against the measure, that the proposition was one to unchristianise the Constitution and Legislature of the country. Sir, I derive encouragement from those admissions. I derive encouragement from them, not only from the great authority which attaches to whatever falls from the hon. and learned Gentleman, but I think that that authority shows that many of those objections relied upon, and which have been taken before in the discussions upon this measure, are in 662 the main fallacious. But, Sir, I still find that there are questions of principle, and questions of practice, which have been urged in the course of the discussion which has taken place to-night. Let me, therefore, in the first place, hope to remove a misapprehension which was entertained in the early stages of these discussions, and which misapprehension, likewise, the hon. Member for the University of Oxford still seems to entertain. I must beg to say, that it is no part of my argument that religion has nothing to do with politics, or that we ought not to be guided by religious views and motives in the conduct of our legislation. On the contrary, I believe that religion ought to influence us in the smallest of our domestic affairs, and in the highest of our legislative duties. I believe that, far from having had nothing to do with legislation, I believe that Christianity is the source of the most enlightened laws of modern legislation, of the best that modern times have produced. I believe it was owing to Christianity that the system of slavery which prevailed in the ancient world was abolished in the early period of the modern. I believe that it was Christianity which inspired Wilberforce, and those who acted with him, to make that attempt which finally succeeded to destroy the slave trade, which was a disgrace to any Christian country. To speak of no particular law, but to speak of the general spirit of institutions, my belief is, that whereas ancient republics and ancient States, the more they became civilised, became the more loose in their morality—became more bewildered by the vain theories of philosophy—became more corrupt in their moral practices; so I believe that modern nations, having Christianity to guide them, as long as they preserve that Christianity, in proportion as they become more civilised, so far from falling into those corruptions and being less governed by the moral law as they advance from the early and rude stages of their existence, they will become more and more subject to those laws, and will more and more encourage the supremacy of the Divine laws. Therefore, holding these opinions, it can be no part of my case that religion has nothing to do with politics, or that Christianity should be kept out of sight in our discussions. But what I have maintained, and what I now feel greater confidence in maintaining after all I have heard is, that you cannot by special declarations—you cannot by mere words 663 introduced into an oath—you cannot by any form of a statute—obtain that political support and that acknowledgment of Christianity which we desire. It is not to be gained in this way. I proved this formerly by the instances of those who were notorious unbelievers in Christianity, and who yet sat in this House in spite of your declarations. But I will put it to this simple test. If those declarations are sufficient, why don't you carry your legislation much further? Why don't you make every Member on entering this House declare that he will not be governed in his votes by prejudices or partial affections—that no corrupt motives, no personal animosities, shall sway him; but that in all his votes he will be governed solely by the love of his country? I contend, Sir, that if declarations are sufficient, if men were to be governed by the mere words of declarations, declarations would be as good with regard to these matters as they would be with regard to matters of religious opinion. But although you may make a negative by a declaration —although you may effect an exclusion by means of a declaration—you can gain no positive benefit by oaths or declarations. If you choose to have a declaration in favour of a belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, you may exclude Unitarians. If you choose to adopt a declaration against the doctrine of transubstantiation, you may exclude Roman Catholics. In the same way, by a declaration founded upon the true faith of a Christian, you may exclude Jews. But by none of those declarations can you produce either a positive belief in the doctrines of Christianity, or a positive conformity to its laws and principles. That is beyond your legislative power. And it is not to be obtained by words placed upon the Statute-book. And yet the want of this distinction has run through every speech that has been made hitherto against this Bill. It has been said,that I am ready to abjure Christianity, and that I am willing that the Legislature should be indifferent to Christianity—that it should no longer acknowledge the force of Christianity. Why, Sir, if a declaration of this kind "on the true faith of a Christian," produced those effects, I should admit there was very great, perhaps I might say invincible, force in those arguments. But knowing that there is no such thing—that those words of a mere declaration no more insure that the Legislature shall not be Jewish than that it shall be Christian, there is, I contend, no force in the argu- 664 ment. But let us come to that which is more tangible, and, before doing so, I must beg to refer to a speech in regard to which the argument I used is applicable. I heard with great pleasure that speech—it was marked by considerable ability—and was made by the son of an old and distinguished friend of mine—I refer to the speech of the hon. Member for the borough of Cambridge (Mr. Campbell)—who spoke against the measure. He said, "Why should you not have an approbation of moral virtue which should be a security for order and good conduct in the State?" Why, Sir, I quite admit with him, that if you were to produce those qualities of moral virtue by mere words of a declaration, it would be worth your while to introduce that declaration. But as I think no such effect can be produced by a statute—as I think you can have no such security by means of it—I cannot consent to the exclusion which my hon. Friend wishes to produce. But, Sir, let us come to the practical effects which it is said are to result from the admission of Jews into the Legislature. With regard to the Jews themselves it must be admitted, I think, that there are many examples in the New Testament, as well as in the Old, that the moral laws to which they consider themselves subject are those moral precepts on which hang all the law and the prophets. They consider themselves subject to that moral law of which we ourselves acknowledge the obligation. With regard to their civil conduct, no one has impeached it. They are good subjects and citizens of the State; as good citizens, in every way, as ready as others to bear the burdens as subjects in all parts of the kingdom to all those law by which men are forced to defend their country in case of war or invasion. But, besides this, let us consider a little what would be the danger of allowing men of the Jewish persuasion to have seats in this House. We are told, to serve the purpose of the opponents of the present Bill, that we are at present all Christians. Is it therefore presumed that we are all united? But the fact is, we have had many debates of late years (and we shall have many in future years), in which the opinions of the Christians have been stated against one another with great force, and with great violence of accusation. We had some time ago a question relating to the property of Unitarians. We had also a question affecting Maynooth, regarding Roman Catholics. 665 And although it is now said that we are all Christians, yet on those questions respecting the Unitarian chapels, what was so common as to deny that Unitarians were Christians? And during the debates upon the question of the endowment of Maynooth, nothing was more common than the assertion that the Roman Catholic was a false religion. And the very grounds upon which the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon has put his objections to-night against this Bill, are the same that were then urged, although it is acknowledged that we are all here Christians. Amongst Christians there are those differences and disputes which it is now said are only between Christians and Jews. But not only in those instances which I have stated, but, so far as I can remember, there is only this one question relating to their privileges, specially, between the Christians and the Jews; whilst with regard to Christian sects, and especially to the Roman Catholics, we must expect that there will be many questions which will divide this House. Now, with regard to those questions, an Act passed some time ago, which is known as the Irish College Act, and to which the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford took great objection. Hon. Members of this House who belong to the Roman Catholic persusion must feel that they are a good deal influenced in their conduct with regard to that measure, and guided by the opinion of the Pope. With regard to those colleges, then, there must be a direct conflict between the civil authority of Parliament and the spiritual authority of the Pope, and there is an inconvenience in that. But with regard to the Jews we are not liable to any such danger. Neither have the Jews, as far as I know, any anxiety or any disposition to overturn the Church of England. I believe that they would consider questions with regard to the Church of England as fairly as any other Members of this House who do not themselves belong to the Church. They would take that course in Parliament generally on these subjects which as independent Members they would have a right to take, without any of those feelings that might be supposed to influence sects that were more nearly interested in the matter. But then with regard to the greater part of the questions that come before this House—with regard, for instance, to the questions that have been before us this Session, such as the Currency and the Bank Charter— 666 will it be contended that the Jews are unfit to legislate on these subjects? With regard to the supplies to be voted, and to the commercial policy of the country generally, nobody will say that a member of the Jewish persuasion would be unfit to give an opinion on such subjects; and, in fact, I do not know that there has been in the present Session any one question on which the Jew was likely to differ from others in this House on religious grounds. It has been said that questions with regard to the Church cannot be legislated on by this House if this Bill pass; but whatever evil can happen from that cause has been already incurred; because, instead of having one or two gentlemen of the Jewish persuasion in the House, we have a large number of Protestant Dissenters, and a large number of Roman Catholics, who are as far removed from sympathy with the Church, and who would be as much opposed to the Church on matters affecting its interests, as any person belonging to the Jewish persuasion. Then, Sir, the question is, after all, whether you shall keep up a religious exclusion or not? I affirmed formerly, and I affirm again, that it is quite contrary to the spirit of the constitution to maintain any such exclusion. With regard to all social distinctions, with regard to any distinctions of rank, every one knows that in this country a person of the most humble birth may, by his merits, rise, in the Church, in the Law, or in the State, to have a rank superior to the Duke of Norfolk: such is the liberal form of the constitution of this realm. My hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford has again referred to a fallacy that had been refuted, I thought, over and over again. He said, that this is a case similar to the exclusion of a man with a freehold of 39s. a year. But if the man so excluded gets better off in the world, he becomes at once, without any test being imposed upon him, a 40s. freeholder, and can vote. But with the Jew, the case is different. You say to him, "You cannot sit in Parliament without you change your religion." You tell him that he must do violence to his conscience, which is a totally different matter from saying to a man, "Unless you have more property you are not entitled to vote for a Member of Parliament." But, contrary as I think this exclusion is to the spirit of the constitution, I own that in the view which I take of it, it is still more contrary to the spirit of Christianity. It appears to me that there 667 can be no greater triumph of Christianity than the admission of all persons within these walls, paying due allegiance to the Sovereign, and obeying the laws of the country, even though they differ from the religion of the State, and even from the Christian religion altogether; because, Sir, it is my belief that as Parliament has hitherto been governed by the spirit of Christianity, because the greater portion of its Members were Christians, so that superiority would still continue—that the admission of a few members of the Jewish persuasion would not alter that state of things—and that it would be the greatest proof of confidence in the doctrines of Christianity to declare that we shall rely in future, not on an Act of James I., not on a Statute of George IV., but on a law written on the heart.
§ The House divided on the question, that the word "now" stand part of the question:—Ayes 234: Noes 173; Majority 61.
|List of the AYES.|
|Abdy, T. N.||Cobden, R.|
|Adair, H. E.||Cockburn, A. J. E.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Coke, hon. E. K.|
|Alcock, T.||Colebrooke, Sir T. E.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Collins, W.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Cowper, hon. W. F.|
|Arundel and Surrey,||Craig, W. G.|
|Earl of||Crawford, W. S.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Cubitt, W.|
|Baines, M. T.||Dalrymple; Capt.|
|Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T.||Davie, Sir II. R. F.|
|Baring, hon. W. B.||Dawson, hon. T. V.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Denison, W. J.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Denison, J. E.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||D' Eyncourt, rt. hn. C.T.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||Disraeli, B.|
|Bernal, R.||Divett, E.|
|Birch, Sir T. B.||Duff, G. S.|
|Blewitt, R. J.||Duke, Sir J.|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Duncan, Visct.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Duncan, G.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Dundas, Adm.|
|Brand, T.||Dundas, Sir D.|
|Bright, J.||Ebrington, Visct.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Ellice, rt, hon. E.|
|Brotherton, J.||Elliot, hon. J. E.|
|Brown, W.||Evans, Sir D. L.|
|Browne, R. D.||Evans, J.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Evans, W.|
|Busfeild, W.||Ewart, W.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Fergus, J.|
|Cardwell, E.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Carter, J. B.||Fitzroy, hon. H.|
|Cauldfield, J. M.||Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||Foley, J. H. H.|
|Cavendish, W. G.||Fordyce, A. D.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Forster, M.|
|Cholmeley, Sir M.||Fortescue, C.|
|Clay, J.||Fox, R. M.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Fox, W. J.|
|Clements, hon. C. S.||Freestun, Col.|
|Clifford. H. M.||French, F.|
|Gardner, R.||Palmer, R.|
|Gaskell, J. M.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Parker, J.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Pattison, J.|
|Glyn, G. C.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Granger, T. C.||Perfect, R.|
|Greene, J.||Peto, S. M.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Philips, Sir G. R.|
|Grey, R. W.||Pigott, F.|
|Grosvenor, Lord R.||Pilkington, J.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Pinney, W.|
|Hardcastle, J. A.||Power, N.|
|Hastie, A.||Powlett, Lord W.|
|Hawes, B.||Price, Sir R.|
|Hay, Lord J.||Pusey, P.|
|Hayter, W. G.||Rawdon, Col.|
|Headlam, T. E.||Ricardo, J. L.|
|Heathcoat, J.||Ricardo, o.|
|Henry, A.||Rice, E. R.|
|Herbert, H. A.||Rich, H.|
|Heywood, J.||Robinson, G. R.|
|Hindley, C.||Romilly, J.|
|Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Hogg, Sir J. W.||Russell, F. C. H.|
|Howard, hon. C. W. G.||Rutherfurd, A.|
|Howard, hon. J. K.||Sandars, G.|
|Hume, J.||Scholefield, W.|
|Humphery, Ald.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Hutt, W.||Seymour, Lord|
|Jackson, W.||Shafto, R. D.|
|Jervis, Sir J.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Johnstone, Sir J.||Shelburne, Earl of|
|Keppell, hon. G. T.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Ker, R.||Smith, J. A.|
|Kershaw, J.||Smith, J. B.|
|King, hon. P. J. L.||Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Stanley, hon. E. J.|
|Langston, J. H.||Stansfield, W. R. C.|
|Lascelles, hon. W. S.||Staunton, Sir G. T.|
|Lennard, T. B.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Lewis, G. C.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Lincoln, Earl of||Sullivan, M.|
|Loch, J.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Locke, J.||Talfourd, Serj.|
|Lushington, C.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Macnamara, Maj.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|M'Gregor, J.||Thompson, Col.|
|Mahon, The O'Gorman||Thompson, G.|
|Maitland, T.||Thornely, T.|
|Mangles, R. D.||Tollemache, hon. F. J.|
|Martin, S.||Towneley, C.|
|Matheson, Col.||Towneley, J.|
|Maule, rt. hon. F.||Townley, R. G.|
|Melgund, Visct.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Mitchell, T. A.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Moffatt, G.||Turner, E.|
|Monsell, W.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Morpeth, Visct.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Morison, Gen.||Vivian, J. H.|
|Morris, D.||Wakley, T.|
|Mowatt, F.||Wall. C. B.|
|Mulgrave, Earl of||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Norreys, Lord||Walter, J.|
|O'Brien, Sir L.||Ward, H. G.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Watkins, Col.|
|O'Connor, F.||Westhead, J. P.|
|Ogle, S. C. H.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Oswald, A.||Williams, J.|
|Owen, Sir J.||Wilson, J.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Wilson, M.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Paget, Lord G.||Wood, W. P.|
|Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.||Yorke, H. G. r.|
|Wrightson, W. B.||TELLERS.|
|Wyld, J.||Tufnell, H.|
|Wyvill, M.||Hill, Lord M.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Forbes, W.|
|Alexander, N.||Forester, hon. G. C. W.|
|Alford, Visct.||Fox, S. W. L.|
|Arkwright, G.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Bagot, hon. W.||Fuller, A. E.|
|Bailey, J.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Bailey, J., jun.||Godson, R.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Gooch, E. S.|
|Bankes, G.||Gordon, Adm.|
|Bateson, T.||Gore, W. O.|
|Beckett, W.||Goring, C.|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Granby, Marq. of|
|Beresford, W.||Greene, T.|
|Bernard, Visct.||Gwyn, H.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Haggitt, F. R.|
|Blakemore, R.||Hale, R. B.|
|Blandford, Marq. of||Halford, Sir H.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Hall, Col.|
|Bolling, W.||Halsey, T. P.|
|Bourke, R. S.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Harris, hon. Capt.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Bremridge, R.||Heald, J.|
|Briscoe, M.||Heathcote, Sir W.|
|Broadley, H.||Henley, J. W.|
|Brooke, Lord||Hildyard, R. C.|
|Buck, L. W.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Hodgson, W. N.|
|Burghley, Lord||Hood, Sir A.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Hope, Sir J.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Hope, A.|
|Cabbell, B. B.||Hornby, J.|
|Campbell, hon. W. F.||Hotham, Lord|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Ingestre, Visct.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Jones, Capt.|
|Christy, S.||Kerrison, Sir E.|
|Clive, H. B.||Knightley, Sir C.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Knox, Col.|
|Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B||Law, hon. C. E.|
|Cocks, T. S.||Leslie, C. P.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Lindsay, hon. Col.|
|Coles, H. B.||Lowther, H.|
|Colvile, C. R.||Lygon, hon. Gen.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. L.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Cotton, hon. W. H. S.||Macnaghten, Sir E.||Courtenay, Lord||Mahon, Visct.|
|Cripps, W.||Mandeville, Visct.|
|Currie, H.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Davies, D. A. S.||Manners, Lord G.|
|Dod, J. W.||March, Earl of|
|Douro, Marq. of||Maunsell, T. P.|
|Drumlanrig, Visct.||Maxwell, hon. J. P.|
|Drummond, H.||Meux, Sir H.|
|Duncombe, hon. A.||Miles, P. W. S.|
|Duncombe, hon. O.||Miles, W.|
|Duncuft, J.||Moore, G. H.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Morgan, O.|
|Egerton, Sir P.||Napier, J.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Neeld, J.|
|Estcourt, J. B. B.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Newry & Morne, Visct.|
|Farrer, J.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Fellowes, E.||Packe, C. W.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Palmer, R.|
|Floyer, J.||Patten, J. W.|
|Peel, Col.||Stuart, H.|
|Plowden, W. H. C.||Stuart, J.|
|Powell, Col.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Prime, R.||Thornhill, G.|
|Raphael, A.||Tollemache, J.|
|Reid, Col.||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Rendlesham, Lord||Turner, G. J.|
|Richards, R.||Villiers, Visct.|
|Rolleston, Col.||Villiers, hon. F. W. C.|
|Rufford, F.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Rushout, Capt.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Scott, hon. F.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Seymer, H. K.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Shirley, E. J.||Welby, G. E.|
|Sibthorp, Col.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Simeon, J.||Whitmore, T. C.|
|Smyth, Sir H.||Williams, T. p.|
|Somerset, Capt.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Somerton, Visct.||Worcester, Marq. of|
|Stafford, A.||Thesiger, Sir F.|
|Stephenson, R.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
§ Bill read a third time passed.