§ Mr. CHISHOLM ANSTEY
said, that appeared, upon the face of the Votes and Proceedings of the House on the previous day, that Mr. Alderman Salomons had addressed to the Speaker a letter which had been entered on the Minutes, but which had not led to a corresponding alteration in the Minutes of the day before, to which it referred. He therefore wished to know from the Speaker whether the entry of that letter upon the Minutes was sufficient to place on record the fact that the reason why the hem. Member for Greenwich had omitted the words in question from the solemnity of the oath of abjuration, was that which he had there stated it to be, namely, that he considered that he had taken it in the form prescribed by the 1st & 2nd Victoria; thereby distinguishing his case from that of the Member for the City of London, who had given as his reason for the 1319 omission, that he did not consider the words in question binding upon his conscience. The question he had to put was, whether that letter being entered on the Minutes, had put that distinction on record? Should the answer of the Speaker be in the negative, he wished to know whether it was competent for him to move, that the hon. Member for Greenwich be brought to the table now, and the question put to him in the way that it was put to the hon. Member for the City of London, in order that he might, by word of mouth and in person, signify his reason for the omission of the words "on the true faith of a Christian."
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that the letter of the hon. Member, which he had read to the House, was the best possible record of his opinion on the subject of the oath and of the claim which he had made; and that the House would not admit of any further proceedings in the matter until the hon. Member had been sworn in, in a regular way, at the table of the House.
§ MR. DISRAELI
wished to speak to a point of order. The Motion of which the noble Lord at the head of the Government had given notice was a question of privilege, and of course took precedence of the Motion of which his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Dublin had given notice with reference to national education in Ireland, in which hon. Members on his side of the House were deeply interested. He wished to know, however, how this question had been brought forward as a question of privilege. Because, if it was merely to decide that a gentleman elected to that House was not entitled to vote and sit during any debate until he had taken the oath of abjuration in the form provided by law, he apprehended that that question had been settled by the House, and that there was no need to discuss it again. In that case it would not be necessary for the noble Lord to make the Motion of which he had given notice, and his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Dublin might proceed with his Motion on the subject of Irish education.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
conceived that it was a question of privilege whether or not an hon. Member having come to that House and offered to take the oath of abjuration in a peculiar manner, the House would be prepared to allow him to take his seat. As matters of issuing new writs and matters relative to the seats of Members were matters of privilege, he thought 1320 that he had no alternative but to bring it forward as a matter of privilege. He had stated the other night that he regretted very much that his Motion should stand in the way of the hon. Member for the University of Dublin; but as the question stood last night, he could not do otherwise than bring it on as a matter of privilege. He should not detain the House long, however, with his statement in proposing the Motion of which he had given notice.
§ MR. DISRAELI
did not wish to dispute the point whether this were a question of privilege. What he wished to place before the House was this—that this was a question which had been decided—["No, no!"]—that Mr. Speaker had ordered the Member for Greenwich to withdraw—that he had withdrawn—and that, therefore, it was unnecessary to have any further discussion upon it.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, that that was certainly not the view which he had taken of it, nor did he think it the view which the House would take of it. He considered it necessary for the hon. Member for Greenwich to withdraw, and then it was for the House to come to a decision upon the matter afterwards. He had thought that any person who was disposed to take a different view of the law from that which had been taken last year, ought to have an opportunity of stating that view. He would, therefore, now proceed to make the Motion of which he had given notice.