HC Deb 01 May 1851 vol 116 cc367-409

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."


rose, pursuant to notice, to move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. He said, in the framing of that measure, and in their general mode of conducting that and similar measures through the House, the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and the other supporters of Baron Rothschild, had made every attempt to avoid the broad and main question, which, in fact, they opened, and from which they could not divert public opinion. It was thought to hurry that question through the House as though it rested on merely political grounds; but that was an attempt so futile that it could not be thought of otherwise than as a proof that the noble Lord and his colleagues were hard pressed by the real circumstances of the case, when they asked the House to forget the religious character of that Bill. This was an attempt to create a new qualification for Members of that House, and that a religious qualification. It was vain to assert that this attempt of the noble Lord was anything but a direct invasion of the Christian character of that House? It was, indeed, a grave attempt to alter the character of our legislation; to render that House no longer an assembly in harmony with the other estates of the realm, and to alter the relation of that House to the House of Lords, whoso exclusively Christian character the presence of the bishops attested. It was, indeed, utterly impossible to divest the Bill of that character, and the efforts to do so on the part of its supporters, only proved the weakness of their case in this fundamental point of principle, and the difficulty they had to encounter. He would beg the House to consider how that question had been brought forward. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had had during the last Session to contend with an attempt on the part of Baron Rothschild and his supporters to take that question into their own hands, although a Committee of that House had been appointed to investigate the legal bearings of the question; and that Committee had reported that it was distinctly against the law to assume the functions of a Member of that House without taking the oaths prescribed by law. Notwithstanding all this, Baron Rothschild had presented himself at the table of that House; but in doing so he had not followed the precedent set by Mr. Archdall, who when he found, as a Quaker, that he was required to take certain oaths at the table, had declined doing so as contrary to a principle of his religion; and the Speaker had issued a new writ for the place for which he had been returned. Neither had Baron Rothschild followed the example of Mr. Pease, who, when elected, openly, honestly, and respectfully, declared that an alteration of the law and usage of Parliament was necessary to his taking his seat, and showed himself ready to obey the law and the usage of Parliament; nor yet did Baron Rothschild hold valid the precedent set by Mr. O'Connell, who before the passing of the Relief Act of 1849 had come to the table and at once declared his objection to take the oath in its present form. It might have been well believed that Mr. O'Connell, with all his legal acumen, had taken the course which was most becoming and consistent with law. But Baron Rothschild must be presumed to have his own particular reasons for not acting like Mr. Archdall, or Mr. Pease, or Mr. O'Connell. They saw that Baron Rothschild had come to the House after a formal intimation had been given by an hon. and learned Member, now Her Majesty's Solicitor General, but then Baron Rothschild's legal adviser, that the Baron would have recourse to every possible legal device, and would avail himself of every quibble which the law allowed, to evade or alter the terms of the oath he was bound to take. It could not be forgotten that Baron Rothschild had come to the table of that House, and had gone through the oath until he came to the words, "on the true faith of a Christian;" that he did not stop at these words, but, omitting them, he had ventured, on his own authority and in his own case, to alter the substance of the oath, and to conclude it in its own manner, thereby making an alteration in the oath, and in an Act of Parliament, which that House had declared it was impossible for itself to do by resolution, if unanimous. And, moreover, the hon. Member for Chichester (Mr. J. A. Smith), who introduced the Baron to the House, and had been chairman of his Election Committee, when he came with the Baron to the table, had in his hand, and tried to thrust into the hands of the officer of that House, a document which subsequently proved to be a spurious qualification paper, not prepared in the legal manner in which the House required the same to be prepared, but a concoction of the hon. Member's own. The hon. Member had left that document on the table, and applied to the Speaker as to what was to be done with it; when the Speaker, in that grave, dignified, and impartial manner in which he discharged all the business of that House, told the hon. Member that he had been guilty of a grave irregularity in putting on the table of the House a document so irregularly framed, which must lie amongst the waste paper of the House, but could never be considered as official. The House' of Commons had unfortunately determined that the question should be again brought under its consideration; and he (Mr. Newdegate) had ven- tured, on the part of many persons—he might say a great majority of the grave, thoughtful, and religious public of this country—to move that the Bill be rejected. He would ask the House to remember a few circumstances connected with the introduction of that measure in the year 1847. During the discussions which had preceded its first introduction, he had ventured to call the attention of the noble Lord at the head of the Government to the effect produced by the admission of Jews to the Parliament of France; and had shown him that the separation of Church from State in that country had not led to the security of the monarchy. He had then told the noble Lord that since the admission of Jews into that Parliament, and the Christian character of the Legislature had been abandoned, in 1830 and 1831, the Church had been gradually alienated from a State which had rejected Christianity; and the clergy, repulsed by the indifference of the State to religion, had leaned more and towards Rome. He had endeavoured to make those observations effective, and to draw the attention of the House to these facts, during the first discussions on the introduction of the Jew Bill in the Session of 1847–8. Nor was immediate proof of the gravity of these circumstances, and of the warning they conveyed, wanting: they had seen it in the fact that before the Bill had been read a third time, in the spring of 1848, the monarchy of Prance had fallen. And what was the conduct of the clergy of France? Why, they were the first to hail the new order of things, however turbulent,—they were no partisans of a monarchy which had repudiated Christianity. The right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), who supported the Bill, in opposition to the opinions of his constituents, had in 1847 called attention to the petition of some clergy, to the effect that the 17th of Henry VIII., with respect to the appointment of bishops, ought to be repealed, if Jews were admitted into Parliament; which would be the first step towards a separation of the Church from the State in this country, if this Bill were to pass into law. The House was well aware that a dignitary and once an ornament of the Church of England had since seceded to the Church of Rome—Archdeacon Wilberforce, one of those who signed the petition to which he had adverted. [Some suggestion was here made to the hon. Member, who said, "It is the brother of the petitioner who has be- come a Roman Catholic—I beg the Archdeacon's pardon. "The hon. Member then proceeded.] He would ask the noble Lord to consider whether his support of that measure had not driven many of the clergy from the Church who had gone over to Rome. They thought they could not conscientiously submit to the legislation in ecclesiastical matters of an assembly ready, by its majority, to repudiate its Christian character. He (Mr. Newdegate) did assert, that these things were warnings which might not be well disregarded; and they could not tamper with the constitution of that House without raising a feeling in the breasts of clergymen of the Church of England tending to the separation of the Church and State. Although they had not any precedent in the history of this country wherefrom to prognosticate what might be the result of such a separation in this country, still the analogous case of the separation of Church and State in France, and the quickness of the fall of that monarchy, made the question such as could not be considered lightly, or without grave apprehension. But there were other circumstances connected with that case, which reflected on the character of this country. Could the Pope of Rome have stronger ground for thinking this country careless of its Christianity, than seeing a majority of the House of Commons, for the sake of admitting one or two rich Jews into its constitution, thus willing to abandon its Christian character? Could we wonder that the Pope should think fit to sustain Christianity by introducing a hierarchy of his own, when he saw the Established Church of this country thus slighted, though the public at large were not indifferent to the Christianity of that House. With regard to another point of the question, he would ask, was it right that they should thus, Session after Session, press a measure which brought them into collision with another branch of the Legislature? Was it likely that the House of Lords would yield to their dictation, when supported by a great majority of the people of this country? The noble Lord was the colleague of Baron Rothschild; but the people of this country might well ask why the noble Lord, as Prime Minister of this empire, allowed himself to be dictated to by a constituency, however wealthy they might be? Was a majority of the electors of London to dictate to the Legislature? or would the noble Lord sink his character as Prime Minister of this country in blind obedience as the delegate of the city of London? It was well known that the last election was stained with the grossest bribery. But if any one were to judge by the numbers polled at the election, they must come to the conclusion that the Prime Minister of England was considered as not five per cent better than a Jew by the City constituency. In 1848, the House of Lords had rejected that Bill, and the noble Lord had conferred the Chiltern Hundreds on Baron Rothschild; thus departing from the former precedent of the House in Mr. Archdall's case, when, on his refusal to be sworn, Mr. Speaker at once issued his writ, thus declaring the previous election void. The election in 1848, in the city of London, had been too much under the influence of the long purse of the Baron Rothschild, and of the Jews who resided there. But the noble Lord the Member for Colchester had determined that, notwithstanding the effects of a recent and lavish expenditure, and the neglected state of the register in the City, it should not be said that no Christian candidate would afford the constituency the means of recording their votes. Unexpected and unconnected with the City, he was not returned; a petition against Baron Rothschild's return had been prepared, but the witnesses to prove it had been kept out of the way. The House had not thought lightly of the removal of witnesses in the St. Albans case; but he could prove that that case was not grosser than what occurred in the case of London on that occasion. These circumstances afforded no recommendation or excuse for the subsequent conduct of those who supported the Baron, and ought not to entitle their opinion to much weight. What they were about to do was to create a new religious qualification by that Bill. What was the religion the profession of which they were asked to declare fitted persons for the duties of legislation? Why, it was Judaism. The Jewish religion was not the religion of the Bible, but the religion of the Talmud. It was neither more nor less than the religion of the Pharisees, perpetuated, through the Talmud, down to the present time. He could bring forward ample proof of that statement. He had on a former occasion made statements with respect to the dogmas of the Jewish religion, and had in consequence been led into a correspondence with a learned Rabbi of Birmingham; and the inquiries which he had by that means been compelled to institute enabled him confidently to assert, that the Jewish religion was not the religion of the Old Testament, but the religion of the Pharisees of the time of Christ, carefully transmitted in the Talmud by the Rabbis, their successors. That was the religion which the representatives of a Christian country wore then called upon to consider as one of which the profession afforded a proper qualification for admission into that House. He should proceed to read certain extracts, which would, he thought, clearly show that that religion was such as he had just stated. He should first read a passage from a work entitled The Old Paths, by Dr. M'Caul, a most estimable and learned clergyman, and extraordinarily proficient in Hebrew and rabbinical literature, which knowledge he acquired in persevering and charitable labours for the conversion of the Jews. He possessed a most minute acquaintance with the history and position of the Jews. That author stated— At the end of the daily prayers we find a whole treatise of the oral law, called The Ethics of the Fathers, the beginning of which treatise asserts the transmission of the oral law. In the morning service for Pentecost there is a comprehensive declaration of the authority and constituent parts of the oral law. 'He, the Omnipotent, whose reverence is purity, with his mighty Word he instructed his chosen, and clearly explained the law, with the word, speech, commandment, and admonition, in the Talmud, the Agadah, the Mishna, and the Testament, with the statutes, the commandment, and the complete covenant,' &c, (p. 89.) In this prayer, as used, translated, and published by the Jews themselves, the divine authority of the oral law is explicitly asserted, and the Talmud, Agadah, and Mishna are pointed out as the sources where it is to be found. For these two reasons, then, we conclude that the Judaism of the Jewish Prayer Book is identical with the Judaism of the oral law; and that every Jew who publicly joins in those prayers, does, with his lips at least, confess its divine authority."—From The Old Paths, p. 3, 4. Then, again, he found, in the same learned author, the following passage:— That Judaism is identical with the religion of the oral law, was proved in the first number, by an appeal to the highest possible authority—the Prayer Book of the Synagogue, which is not only formed in obedience to the directions of the oral law, but declares expressly that the Talmud is of divine authority. So long, therefore, as that Prayer Book is the ritual of the Synagogue, the worshippers there must be considered as Talmud-ists—believers in all the absurdities, and advocates of all the intolerance, of that mass of tradition. That this is no misrepresentation and no unfounded conclusion of our own, appears from the latest book published in this country by a member of the Jewish persuasion. Joshua Van Oven, Esq., has, in his Introduction to the Principles of the Jewish Faith, a chapter headed Judaism, which begins thus:—'The Jewish religion, or Judaism, is founded solely on the law of Moses, so called from its having been brought down by him from Mount Sinai. With the particulars of these laws he had been inspired by the Almighty during the forty days he remained on the mount after receiving the Ten Commandments; these he afterwards embodied in the sacred volume, known and accepted as the written law, and called the Pentateuch, or the Five Books of Moses, contained in the volume we term the Bible. We also from the same source receive, as sacred and authentic, a large number of traditions not committed to writing, but transmitted by word of mouth down to later times, without which many enactments in the Holy Bible could not have been understood and acted upon; these, termed traditional and oral laws, were collected and formed into a volume called the Mishna, by Rabbi Jehudah Hakodesh, A.M. 4150. In addition to this, we are guided by the explications of the later schools of pious and learned rabbis, constituting what is now known by the name of the Talmud or Gemara.'"—From The Old Paths, p. 645. He should next read to the House the following extract from Dr. Raphall's sixth lecture. Dr. Raphall had been the Rabbi of the Jewish synagogue of Birmingham:— The Mishna, or repetition of the law, was a compilation of the oral law or traditions which had been transmitted by the Rabbins, from 300 years before Christ till 200 years after his birth; and was composed by Rabbi Judah, of the school of Hilet, at Tiberias, who was a Pharisee, a lineal descendant of Gamaliel, whose teaching was acknowledged as law by the Jews all over the world. He undertook the work when the wars of the Persians troubled the Jews, because Adrian had attempted to exterminate the Rabbins, who were the sole exponents of this traditional law, and the rabbins feared it might have become extinct with them."—Dr. Raphall's 6th Lecture. The Mishna is the text-book of the Talmud, and Dr. Raphall says of it— One necessity for this work was by a strict line to mark the difference between the Church and the Synagogue, because the more widely the Church spread and progressed, the more anxious the Synagogue became that its adherents should be distinct from it; for there were many Christians who in the beginning of the third century celebrated the Sabbath along with the Jews on the seventh day, and who practised circumcision, and abstained from forbidden meats, as the Jews did. It was, therefore, no longer possible for the law of Moses to distinguish the Jew; and so correct were the views of the Mishna, that even now the ritual law of that compilation stamps the Jew and marks his identity."—Dr. Raphall's 6th Lecture. They had this modern authority in confirmation of the words of our blessed Lord and Redeemer, who said—"Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." That was as true at the present day, and as capable of proof, as in the time of our Lord. He had heard it disputed in that House whether the Jews of this country were lineally descended from the Jews who dwelt in Jerusalem in our Saviour's time. But, however that might be, they avowedly and openly professed the religion transmitted to them by those Jews, in the Mishna, which had been compiled by Rabbi Judah the Holy (or Jehudah Hakodesh), who was of the school of Hillel; and the following was the language held by Maimonides, the greatest, perhaps, of the latter Rabbis, with respect to Hillel:— Hillel, a Jewish rabbi, and contemporary with Christ, descended from a Jewish family of Babylon. He contributed to the rise and flourishing state of the Jewish colleges at Tiberias, Lydda, Cæsarea, &c., by his critical and exegetical lectures on the Old Testament, which he delivered before the Jewish congregations at Jerusalem. These lectures were subsequently collected, and passed by the name of Massorah (traditional lore). He belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, was one of the founders of the oral law, and stood at the head of a school of his own in opposition to that of Shamai."—From The Preface to the Yad Hazakah, by Maimonides, as given in Bishop Buxtorf's Preface to his Biblical Concordance. He (Mr. Newdegate) thought these extracts were enough to satisfy any reasonable man that Judaism was not the religion of the Old Testament, but of the Talmud, which includes the Mishna; that the Talmud is the Khoran of the Jew, and that Judaism is the religion held, taught by, and carefully transmitted from, the Pharisees of the time of Christ. But he wished to call the attention of the House to the character of the religion which had been so framed. He believed that he could not quote a higher authority upon that subject than the elder Disraeli. What had he said of that religion? He had said— Such was the triumph of those 'whited sepulchres the Pharisees, enemies of reform and of Christ, they built a labyrinth from whose dark intricacies there was no issue; they hammered out a network of iron from age to age, from whence no captive could extricate himself. As their religion decayed, and their superstitions multiplied, the human passions had a wider stage opened whereon to perform their part. The pride of domination kindled in the breasts of the 'dictators' who held the fate of an enslaved people in their hands. Pale with vigils, but paramount in power, the rabbins sat exalted in their chairs, while their disciples were 'rolled in the dust of their feet,' as they pompously described the sovereignty of their divinity schools. There, at least, the prostration of the body could not be as great as that of the understanding."—From The Genius of Judaism, p. 176–7. That was the religion which they were called upon to declare, constituted an equal qualification with their own for admission into that House. In the same work of Mr. Disraeli the elder, he found the following passage:— A human supersedes the divine code. The institutes of Moses are not in reality the laws of the Jews. Two human codes have superseded the code delivered from Heaven. The one originates in imposture—that of the traditions; and the other is founded on tyranny—that of their customs. Twelve folios of the Babylonish Talmud, or 'The Doctrinal,' form this portentous monument in the intellectual history of man. Built up with all the strength and subtlety, but with all the abuse, of the human understanding; founded on the infirmities of our nature, a system of superstitions has immersed the Hebrews in a mass of ritual ordinances, casuistic glosses, and arbitrary decisions, hardly equalled by their subsequent mimics of the Papistry."—From The Genius of Judaism, p. 77. That was the description given of the Jewish religion by the learned author of the Genius of Judaism, with respect to the complete supercession of the Bible by later doctrines and traditions. He knew that the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) would say, that they had nothing to do with any religious question upon that occasion—that no question of religion came properly within the functions, or ought to enter into the consideration, of that House. But he would ask the hon. and learned Member whether they had not at least something to do with questions of morality? He would ask the hon. and learned Member in what other religion he could find a morality as pure as that inculcated in the Gospel? He would ask the hon. and learned Member whether he had ever considered the morality inculcated in the Talmud? He found that morality described as follows, in the work entitled Old Paths, by Dr. M'Caul, from which he had already quoted:— The oral law loosens the moral obligations. It teaches men how to evade the Divine commandments, as was shown in Nos. 11, 14, and 15. It allows dispensation from oaths, as proved in Nos. 56 and 57. It allows men to retain what they know does not belong to them, if it only belongs to a Gentile (p. 18), or to an unlearned Jew, as appears from No. 59. It sanctions the murder of the unlearned. It is a persecuting and intolerant system. It gives every rabbi the power of excommunicating the Jews (No. 31); and it commands the conversion of all the Gentile nations by the sword (No. 6). It forbids the exercise of the commonest feelings of humanity to those whom it calls idolaters. It will not permit a drowning idolater to be helped, nor a perishing idolater to be rescued, nor an idolatrous woman in travail to be delivered."—From The Old Paths, p. 647–8. It might, however, indeed it had been, argued that the modern Jews rejected the anti-social and immoral doctrines of the Talmud. But, again, he found in the-same work the following passage, showing the doctrine of oaths inculcated in that religion, and also proving that no modification of the religion was possible:— The body of traditions is a whole which cannot be parted. They have all come down resting on the same evidence; if the evidence is invalid in one case, it is invalid in all; and if any one admits validity in some cases, he cannot, if a reasonable man, deny it in others. He may dispute about the conflicting opinions of the Rabbis; but if he admit any one of those doctrines which are called traditions from Sinai, he must admit them all, and consequently this, which professes to be one of them. (Dispensation as of the oath of Zedekiah to Nebuchadnezzar.) It remains, therefore, for the Israelites of the present day to choose whether they will still retain the system of the oral law, and thereby sanction the dispensation from oaths, or whether they will repudiate this doctrine, and thereby renounce the whole oral law."—From The Old Paths, p. 622, 623. It would be no answer to the allegations in these extracts to say, that many enlightened Jews in modern times had departed from the doctrines of the Talmud. Baron Rothschild himself was the chief supporter of the Eastern Synagogue, which was the expounder of the most rigid Talmudic doctrines in this country, and which had excommunicated the reformed Jews of the metropolis. If Jews departed from the doctrines of the Talmud, they must, no doubt, have become improved by the change; but they would have ceased to be professors of the Jewish religion, and, therefore, would not be contemplated by the provisions of that Bill; and would to Heaven, he should say, that they might become Christians! But while they profess the Jewish religion, and seek to make the profession of it a qualification for admission to Parliament, the question as to whether the doctrines of that religion were such as should qualify men to legislate for a Christian country, cannot be evaded. He believed that the worst possible scheme for inducing the Jews to embrace Christianity would be to remove the barriers which at present excluded from seats in the British Legislature the professors of that dreadful religion. He had heard it used as an argument that Jews had been admitted to civil and administrative functions, and that they were constantly examined as witnesses in courts of justice. But there was surely the utmost possible difference between examin- ing a witness where he had merely to depose to facts, under a penalty if he should be guilty of perjury, and entrusting him with the right to make laws for a Christian country. That question had recently been agitated in other countries, and it would appear that a simultaneous movement had been directed to the attainment of legislative functions by the professors of the Jewish religion in different nations of Europe. In the year 1850 the Jews had presented a petition to the Prussian Parliament, in which they had set forth their grievances, and demanded admission to the civic dignities and municipal functions of the State, in imitation of the privileges granted to the Jews in England; and more especially as a Jew, Baron Rothschild, had even been elected Member of the English Parliament, stating that his admission was only retarded until the oath of abjuration should, next Session, be altered or even abolished altogether. In answer to that petition, the Prussian Parliament had resolved, on the 17th of June last, by a majority of 67 against 33, "That the citizen Jews in Prussia be admitted to the municipal posts of the realm, provided that such of the Jewish candidates on whom the election falls take an oath of abjuration in the following words:— I, M. N., hereby declare on my solemn oath, and without any mental reservation whatever, that I do not believe in my conscience that the dogmas and doctrines contained in the Talmud and other Jewish books of received authority, which allow unfair dealings and actions towards a Christian and Christian community, be of Divine authority and origin; and, on the contrary, I do herewith condemn all such doctrines by which the public and private safety of the Christian society may be endangered, as wicked inventions of men who had not the fear of God in their heart. So help me, God!"—From The Prussian States Gazette, published in Berlin. But the Jews of Prussia had refused to take that oath. They had refused to abandon any portion of their traditional religion, and the measure was in consequence abandoned by the Prussian Parliament, and the condition of the Prussian Jews remained in consequence unaltered. In the Rhenish provinces of Prussia, by the promulgation of the Code Napoleon the Jews were put on a perfectly equal footing with the Christians; but already, in 1808, in consequence of the many complaints against the usurious and fraudulent transactions of the Jews, Napoleon was induced to issue a decree, by which the laws regarding debts owing by Christians to Jews were greatly modified, and by which the Jews were prohibited to lend money upon pledges or pawns to servants and labourers, or to receive from mechanics, labourers, and servants, tools and clothes; while hawking in the rural districts was only allowed to them under certain restrictions, and permission to carry on mercantile occupations generally was granted to the Jews only under a certificate from the local authorities of their honest and moral conduct, which certificate was to be renewed annually. That decree originally professed to be in force only for a period of ten years; but in 1818 the Judicial Commission at Cologne declared that the Jews were still given to the nefarious spirit of chaffery, and that they were still endangering the prosperity of the rural districts by their cunning fraud, and usury; and that restrictive decree of 1808 was consequently kept in force for a longer period. In 1826 that decree was even extended to the whole of the German Union, while the Prussian and Bavarian commissioners and judges of peace who were appointed in 1844 to investigate the matter, reported from their own experience, that the pernicious influence of the Jews on the lower classes was still in existence; while the Government of Aix-la-Chapelle added the observations, that even the rich and respectable Jews were employing a host of chaffering Jews, who carried on a regular system of usury among the lower classes of the State."—-From Lexicon d' Gegenwart (Lexicon of the Present Time). He (Mr. Newdegate) had almost forgotten to state, that in the Prussian Parliament, Session of 1847, a Motion was made to admit the Jews to seats in Parliament on the principle of "equal duties, equal rights," which was rejected. The Government at once opposed it, saying, "That it is the decided will of the Cabinet to uphold the character of a Christian State; and it is therefore desirable that the assembly should act and vote in the spirit of Christianity." In Hanover the Jews are still excluded from all political rights both municipal and parliamentary—they could not even become free landholders without the special consent of Government. Similar restrictions existed, under a more or less modified form, in nearly all the other States of Germany, the Hanseatic towns not even excepted. The electorate of Hesse, indeed, formed the sole exception, where, since 1833, they possessed civil and political rights, but were forbidden to vote or co-operate in any matters that concerned the Christian Church. In Austria there was still in force the edict of the Emperor Joseph II., by which the Jews possessed neither status nor civil rights, but passed by the name of protected relations. They were excluded from all civic service and functions, but might be received on distinguished merits into the Austrian nobility; neither could a Jew settle in the Austrian capital without the special consent of Government; and that prohibition extended even to the Austrian Jews who were al- ready domiciled in some of the Austrian dominions. In the year 1835 the remission of these laws had been contemplated, but had afterwards been entirely relinquished. In the year 1848 the pretensions of the Jews had been rejected by the Senate of Hamburgh, by a majority of 21 to 6. On that occasion a most remarkable document was enrolled among the state papers of the Senate of Hamburgh, illustrating, by the example of Poland, the baneful influence of Judaism where Jews obtained political influence. Poland might serve as a warning example of the fact, that in all Christian countries where the Jews were allowed a wide sphere of political operation, corrupt and destroying elements were introduced and propagated in society, to the ruin of the State at large. In Poland one-tenth of the population were Jews, and he need not say that she was perhaps the most miserable nation in the world. For his part, he had always felt deeply upon that subject; and the more he meditated upon it the more did he become convinced that the admission of Jews to the British Parliament would be a measure fraught with the deepest danger to the best interests of this empire. He had heard that Baron Rothschild was an estimable person: he wished to say nothing against him as an individual, but he did not think it was advisable that they should have sitting in that House an individual who regarded our Redeemer as an impostor. That was, no doubt, however, a fact which the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield would tell them they had no right to consider.


Why do you say that?


said, that he had heard the hon. and learned Member repeatedly contend that they had no right to appeal to a sense of religion in that House.


said, he should ask the right hon. Gentleman the Speaker, if that was a proper mode of dealing with a discussion in that House? The hon. Gentleman had made references to former debates; but if he (Mr. Roebuck) had said anything wrong in the course of those debates, the Speaker would no doubt have called him to order. He denied the right of the hon. Gentleman to make those grave and general imputations; and everybody acquainted with the state of religious fooling in this country knew what such imputations meant.


said, that the hon. Member for North Warwickshire had a right to refer to the language held in the course of debates in former Sessions. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield was irregular in his interruption; the hon. and learned Gentleman would have an opportunity of replying to the hon. Member for North Warwickshire.


continued: He had always understood that the hon. and learned Gentleman had contended that that House had nothing to do with any question of religion in considering subjects of that description. But that was a measure open to peculiar objections. There was no religion which made it an essential point to reject the Divine mission of the Redeemer so markedly as the Jewish religion; and on that account he denied that the professors of that religion ought to be admitted to a seat in a Christian Legislature. He believed with Paley that there was no more striking proof of the truth of Christianity than the wandering and unsettled condition of the Jews; he believed that, by the nature of their religion, by permitting them blindly to cling to the lamentable delusions on which it was founded, and which it generated, the will of God was accomplished in the scattered condition of the Jewish people. Was it prudent, was it right, was it safe to appoint those to legislate for this Christian country whom God seems to have decreed to be unfit to legislate for themselves? He might be considered by some uncharitable for having urged his opinion so strongly, and having prosecuted the inquiries upon which it was founded so keenly; but he found his commission to inquire into the nature and spirit of this Jewish religion, and the condemnation of this measure now before the House, in the words of an inspired writer, which no Christian ought to neglect:— Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; and this is that spirit of Antichrist whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world."—(1st Epistle of St. John, c. iv., v. 1, 2, 3.) He could not forget that the people of this country had, for hard upon a thousand years, professed the Christian religion; that they had been governed by Christian sovereigns according to laws framed by Parliaments exclusively Christian; and that this country had, during that period, under the merciful dispensation of Providence, expanded her dominion from the narrow confines of a seagirt isle till she had acquired territories upon which the sun never sets, and had become one of the greatest empires the world had ever known. He believed that by adopting that measure they would be guilty of a departure from their duty as Christian legislators—the Christian representatives of a Christian nation—and he should therefore move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."


said, he would take the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Nowdegate) as a type of the objections brought against this Bill. He passed by the personal allusions to himself, which were out of place, but the first question asked by the hon. Gentleman that was of a pertinent character was, what was the character of those who asked to be admitted, by this Bill, to the full privileges of Her Majesty's subjects? Before he (Mr. Roebuck) went into that inquiry, he would ask what it was they swore when they came to the table of that House, and how it was that they swore it? There never was such a mistake as the hon. Gentleman had made when he thought there was anything so vastly peculiar in the oath taken by Members of that House as to impress on it a character entirely different from that of the oath taken by witnesses. First, they swore that they would be faithful to the Queen; next, they took the Oath of Supremacy, which related to the power of the Pope; and lastly, they took the Oath of Abjuration, which was obsolete now, seeing that there was no Stuart in existence as a pretender to the Throne. Hon. Members swore, first, fidelity to the Queen. He (Mr. Roebuck) asked, having ascertained what it was they swore to, how they swore to it? He would ask hon. Gentlemen opposite what was the meaning of an oath? The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate) told the House he had had controversies with a Rabbi; and the hon. Gentleman said he was enabled, from his learning—of which, by the way, he (Mr. Roebuck) trusted the hon. Gentleman would pardon him if he stated that he had not been able to discover any trace in the hon. Gentleman's speech that evening, to say that there was a distinction between the Bible and the Talmud. He (Mr. Roebuck) might cite the case of the Roman Catholics, a much larger body than Protestants, who took the Bible, the New Testament, and tradition, as their rule of faith; and when the hon. Gentleman said there was a rule, a book, and a formula, which was not in the Bible, but which stood almost in the same position as the Bible, he (Mr. Roebuck) would ask, was there not such a thing in the Church of England? Was the hon. Member aware—he gave the hon. Gentleman every advantage to be derived from ignorance—that there was such a thing as the Rubric and the Thirty-nine Articles? And were they not every day appealed to in all that regarded the outward forms of religion? Now, let him (Mr. Roebuck) ask, what was the nature of an oath? The Jew came to the table of that House, and was about to swear that he would be faithful to Her Majesty. He said, "I am about to bind myself by a sanction, the strongest that I can bring, to prove that I am not only now a faithful subject of Her Majesty, but that I will continue faithful to her." And did not the Jew take that oath on a book from which Christians had derived the main principles of their morality? And did he not bind his mind, in this world and in the next, by the strongest possible sanction by which religion could influence him. He (Mr. Roebuck) wanted to know what was the meaning of an oath? Had the Jew not an oath as forcible, as binding, and as influential on his conscience, as the most pattern Christian in that House. He said, "I bind myself to be first faithful to the Sovereign of these realms; and I bind myself by that sanction which is called, the religious sanction." What did the Jew do? The hon. Gentleman had not drawn the distinction which he might have drawn. The Jew said, "I bind myself to do that, on the penalty of incurring the anger of the God that governs this world if I falsify the oath which I have taken." Some Jews confined that anger of God to the time during which they should remain on this earth. He (Mr. Roebuck) was absolutely obliged to mention those things because the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate) had dragged these subjects into discussion. There was another class of Jews who believed in the immortality of the soul, and who said the anger of God would pursue them until and after death if they falsified the oath which they took. Now, that was the form, substance, and effect of the oath which the Jew took at the table of that House. Now, he would ask the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate), who was a pattern Christian, what he (Mr. Newdegate) swore to when he took the oath? If he did not swear to that, would he tell him (Mr. Roebuck) what he did swear to? But the hon. Gentleman said they were a Christian Legislature. He (Mr. Roebuck) wished they were judged of for being a Christian Legislature by their deeds, and not by their professions. He wished they were Christians by kindness, and not by definitions of their belief. He wished there was something that would smooth all their asperities through the exercise of kindness, charity, and love, and that they did not arrogate to themselves, however weak and impotent, a perfect monopoly of wisdom. The hon. Gentleman assumed to himself at once the character of infallibility. Had it never suggested itself to that hon. Gentleman's mind, that there might be a man brought up in the Jewish religion—and it was wonderful how men were affected by the religion in which they were brought up—amiable in character, commanding in intellect, perspicacious, clear, inquisitive, and powerful in exercising the means of investigating what was true? Now, he put that as peculiarly apposite to the hon. Gentleman. Yet the hon. Gentleman, because he had been educated in his faith, and because that happened to be the faith of this country, called that great man, possessing that wonderful emanation of intellect which God had given him, weak, and stamped him with ignominy, because he did not agree with him (Mr. Newdegate) in his religious opinions. Let hon. Members think of what they were doing. He (Mr. Roebuck) acknowledged all the wonderful consequences of the Christian dispensation; but could he shut his eyes to the first great half of that dispensation? The hon. Gentleman had told the House that the Talmud was a bad thing; but had he told them that the Jews were bad subjects, bad fathers, bad husbands, bad citizens? Not at all. The hon. Member thought them exceedingly amiable men, and not inferior to hon. Members in intelligence and morality. "But," said the hon. Gentleman, "they don't believe as I do." If that was all, he (Mr. Roebuck) should be very much of the opinion of the Jew. If it was the only thing one had in favour of the Christian religion that the hon. Gentleman was a supporter of it, he (Mr. Roc- buck) should cast about with the view of turning anything else but a Christian. Intellect! Charity! Did the House ever see such an example of it? The thing was an insult to a body of men who called themselves instructed, to exclude from the ordinary privileges of ordinary subjects a body of persons remarkable for the strictest morality, and distinguished by a peculiar capacity of intellect. The hon. Gentleman told him that he did not agree with him (Mr. Roebuck) in his belief. If that was to be the rule, hon. Members might all walk out of the House. He did not agree with the hon. Gentleman himself in any of his opinions, and certainly not in the formula in which it was possible to put his opinions. But, said the hon. Gentleman, the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield did not take religion for his guide. Let hon. Members understand what that meant. Let them recollect in what country they were. They were in an United Kingdom, composed of three separate parts, England, Scotland, and Ireland: the Englishman was for his belief, the Scotsman for his, and the Irishman for his; yet, every one of them was characterised by a difference of religious opinions, and in past times those differences and separations, though there were great agreements between them, made the right hand of every man who was of a different belief, strong and active, and, with a sharp weapon in it, active against his neighbour, who differed from himself. They called themselves, it was true, Christians; but they never forbore to cut one another's throats, though they were ever so Christian. Now, when that was the case, how could any rational man—he did not mean the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate) he meant any rational man—how could he possibly say that any particular form of religion should be the guide for those who represented those three separate bodies of men in conducting the legislation of that House? But it was said that though those three bodies of persons differed on some points, they were, what they called themselves, Christians. It was true they called themselves by the same name. That did not in any way, as they would tell hon. Members, alter the morality of any one of them, and that the Presbyterian might be as good a father, brother, or husband, as the Episcopalian or the Catholic. Now, he would go a step further, and put it to any one Member of that House whether he did not look upon a religious Jew as being as good a man as the others? Was he not regarded as good a man, as good a citizen, and as good a husband, father, and brother, as any one who called himself Christian? The answer would be, "Yes," and, that being so, it would be said, "Then let him when he comes to the table of this House take the oaths." Well, the Jew took the oath of fidelity to the Queen, and made no objection. Then there was the Oath of Supremacy. Well, the Jew objected to the Pope; he did not like the Pope, or any foreign Prince, having any supremacy in this country. Let him take that oath also. But then came the Oath of Abjuration. What did that abjuration mean? There was a certain family called the Stuarts once on the throne. They were kings of England, and were expelled in 1688. They had tried ever since to come in. But it had been asked—were the Stuarts not extinct? Yes, they were extinct. Well then, what was the use of that oath? Although a person taking that oath swears to nothing which could bind a human being, because there was not a Stuart in existence; there was at the end of it the words, "on the true faith of a Christian." There was another oath which referred to the Roman Catholics, and which did not contain those words. So that the Roman Catholic Member could come to the table and take the only two oaths which were of any importance, because one of those oaths was framed before the extinction of the Stuarts, and that oath he could take without the slightest reference to his Christianity. Now, he asked, was not this, then, a farce from beginning to end? The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate) would tell him that that was a Christian House. But he should like to ask them this question—suppose there should he a set of men who could not be bound by any such declarations—men who would say, "I know there is weakness in human nature; I know that its various forms of religion affect weak minds which fix upon the forms and not the substance of religion; but no wise man is to be bound by the weaknesses of such ignorant individuals." He was supposing no ideal character; he was speaking of one who was willing to be bound by all the sanctions that ought to bind mankind, but who was unwilling to subject himself to the ignorance and weakness of human nature. Now, who was it that they excluded by their present system? The man of sensitive honour—the man of peculiarly sensitive character—such a man would take the oath in question on the symbol prescribed by his religion; yet such a man, sensitive in honour and character, they excluded; but they let in the Gibbons and Bolingbrokes, and hundreds of others, who were willing to be bound by the tenour of their merely earthly oaths. Take the case of a Court of Justice. An honest unbeliever was asked if he believed in the Bible; and, being a conscientious man, he answered No, he did not; the consequence was he was excluded from the witness-box. So that they drove a man, who was really sensitive and honourable, out of court, and they could not avail themselves of his testimony. Then they had another man of precisely the same religious belief, but different in point of honour; he was asked did he believe in the Bible. To such a man the Bible was a thing merely of paper; he took the oath, and they had the benefit of his testimony. So that they excluded the man of honourable character, and admitted the rogue. Exactly the same thing-was done in that House—they excluded the man of sensitive honour. Suppose a man was no Jew, no Christian, no religion, they could not exclude him. Such a man laughed at their cobweb oaths. Where was their Christianity then? The fact was, that those oaths were the means of injuring and insulting a large body of their fellow-countrymen, without the slightest benefit to hon. Members themselves. No benefit was done either to one or the other by a principle of that description. But he would toll them what it did. It gave to the weak man of bigoted disposition, narrow mind, little knowledge, and small power, but bitter spirit, the moans of spitting his spite against better men than himself. It gave a power of ignorance, malevolence, and malignity that would be destroyed and rendered utterly ineffective if the great principles of a generous morality and genuine Christianity bound them in their legislation. He fancied men did their duty best in that station of life to which it pleased God to call them, by not attempting to judge others, lest the consequences might he that they would themselves be judged.


said, this was a Bill which professed only to enable Jews to sit in that House; but if its principle was sound it must be carried a great deal further, and be extended to all who were not Christians. He could not see why admission might not as well be claimed on behalf of Mahomedans; and it was not improbable, certainly not impossible, that some of our wealthy Mahomedan subjects might think it worth while to become naturalised and ask to be admitted as Members of that House. As the law now stood, a Roman Catholic could not take his seat without swearing that he would not use his privilege to the prejudice of the Christian institutions of the country. [An Hon. MEMBER: No, no!] They swore that they would not use it to the prejudice of the Established Church, which was an institution of the country. But this Bill proposed to admit Jews without asking any pledge as to the manner in which they would use the privilege. In introducing the Bill, the noble Lord at the head of the Government (Lord John Russell) had said that the real question involved was whether religious opinions should be a bar to the enjoyment of civil liberties; and the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) had treated the case in the same manner. This was begging the whole question. Convince him that the question was merely whether Baron Rothschild's opinions ought to interfere with his civil privileges, and he was not sure that he would not support the Bill. But this was not a question of civil privileges. It was doubtless an honour and distinction to have a seat in that House. But in considering the constitution of the national senate, they ought not to be guided by considerations as to the title, honour, or aggrandisement of its Members. The representatives of the people were not sent there for the sake of privileges or dignities for themselves. The only point to be considered, the rule by which they were bound to decide, was what constitution of that House was best calculated to promote the benefit and advantage of the community at large. What they were bound to look to was, that the House should be so constituted as to command the respect and confidence of the people; and he would vote against this measure, because he believed that, if that House was to be constituted without reference to the profession of Christianity by the Members, they would not have the respect and confidence of the people. In a great country like this, considerable diversity of opinion, of course, was to be met with; and there were probably some who looked upon Christianity itself as a matter of little moment; but such, he believed, was not the case with the great mass, especially the educated classes of this coun- try. Such being the feeling, no Legislature would secure the respect and confidence of the country which was not at least an assembly calling itself Christian. He had been speaking as though they were reconstituting the House. But they must remember that they were not now framing a constitution for England. They had not yet come to that pass. They had a Parliament which from its commencement for centuries had been a Christian assembly. It had been urged that Jews were excluded by the mere accidental occurrence of certain words in an oath, "On the true faith of a Christian." That might be perfectly true; the words were not introduced for the purpose of excluding Jews. But why were they inserted? Because by the common consent of everybody, it was taken as a matter of course, as a long acknowledged part of the law, that none but Christians could sit and legislate in that House. The question was, then, whether they ought to change the constitution. For the reason which he had given, he thought they ought not. He objected to the measure, also, because the admission of persons with religious views so widely differing from those of the rest of the House, must be attended with great inconvenience. He objected to it also, on account of the peculiar relative positions of the Legislature and the Established Church, the latter of which could not be in any way remodelled without the permission of the former. He acknowledged that as far as he had had personal knowledge of individuals belonging to the Jewish religion, they had possessed his respect; but even if he were advising a Jewish nation in which the same feeling prevailed as to the admission of Christians to their legislative assembly, he would give them the same advice, and would caution them not to indulge in a mistaken liberality at the cost of losing for their national legislature the confidence and respect of their nation. If this Bill ever became law—which he trusted it never would—he was persuaded that it would inflict a great wrong on the people of this country.


felt great pleasure in congratulating the House upon the tone assumed by the hon. and learned Member for the University of Cambridge, widely different as it was from that with which the Debate had been opened. He (the Solicitor General) must confess that he was scarcely in a position to reply to the observations of the hon. Mem- ber for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), who had taken up a purely Scriptural ground. The hon. Gentleman could hardly suppose that he relied more upon the authority of Scripture, or had a greater respect for it, than other hon. Members, who differed from him in opinion; and he asked the hon. Gentleman whether it was fair or right, in an assembly which, according to himself, boasted to be Christian, to assume as the foundation of his argument a ground which he knew full well might be equally assumed by every Member of that House? The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate), in founding his argument upon Scripture, and introducing a theological discussion upon it, only showed how much he misunderstood it. For his part, he would not enter into any theological discussion, either as respected the Jewish Sabbath, or any other question. The same arguments as were brought forward to defeat the present measure had been urged against the Roman Catholic Relief Bill. The House was then told that the Roman Catholics were immoral; that they were perjurers; that they were not to be believed upon their oaths; and that they were guilty of idolatry. It was high time that this kind of idle discussion should be thrown to the winds, and that they should debate the measure on high and statesmanlike grounds. The question was, whether or not a considerable portion of their fellow-subjects were to be excluded from the privileges to which they were entitled, and whether the electors of this country should be deprived of the right to elect them as their representatives in Parliament? These were the real grounds on which the House ought to argue this question. There might have been some excuse for the discussion to which he had alluded on the question of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, because, in that case, there was a policy about to be altered; but, in the present, he must confess it appeared to him that instead of arguing on policy, they were arguing on accident. A very considerable portion of their most industrious, most able, and certainly not least loyal fellow-subjects, were excluded from their undoubted privilege by an oath accidentally imposed on them, originally levelled against Papists, and the refusal to take which subjected the parties to the penalty of being deemed to be, to all intents and purposes, Popish recusants'. The first proposition of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Wigram) was this, that if the measure were right it did not go far enough, and that its legitimate consequence would be to confer the right of a representative on a Mahomedan. He was surprised to hear that argument from his hon. and learned Friend, for he (the Solicitor General) knew how intimately his hon. and learned Friend was acquainted with the charter of the East India Company. He ought to have recollected that there was a clause in the last Act of the Charter of the East India Company which it would have been well if the House had adopted long ago, The words were these: "That no person whatsoever shall he excluded from any office, civil or military, by reason of his colour or religion;" and at that moment a Mahomedan might be the Governor General of India. And if a large body of Mahomedans were permitted to live in this country—if they were industrious—if we taxed them—if we imposed upon them the burdens of citizenship, they would, without a doubt, be entitled to share our privileges. The next remark which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge made was this—convince me that you are excluding persons from civil privilege on the ground of their religious opinions, and I will be disposed to support you; and he went on to say that it was a wholly mistaken view of the case to say that it was any privilege to be elected a Member of that House.


I said I did not think that this question could be rightly decided by a reference to religious opinions.


would take the definition of the hon. and learned Gentleman as be had stated it. But he (the Solicitor General) asserted that it was a privilege, and a high privilege, to sit in that House, and so it was considered by Members as well as by constituents; how, therefore, could the hon. and learned Gentleman reconcile it to his notions that the Baron de Rothschild should he deprived of this privilege solely on the ground that he could not, consistently with his conscience, take a particular form of oath? What does this amount to but exclusion on the ground of religious opinion? The hon. and learned Gentleman then went on to say that this House ought not to constitute the Legislature in such a manner as that the people of this country would have no confidence in it. But it was remarkable that the Baron de Rothschild should have been returned by the second largest constituency in the empire—that he should not only have been returned once, but on his resignation he should again have been elected by a large majority, and this by a constituency of Gentlemen possessing as much earnest Christian feeling as the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate). Under these circumstances, did not the argument of the hon. and learned Member for the University of Cambridge fall under him? Has he not begged the question when he says this proceeding will be distasteful to the feelings of the country? Here he had the second largest constituency in the kingdom directly telling him that he was mistaken. Now he (the Solicitor General) believed that the feeling of the electors of London was the prevalent feeling of the people of England. He believed that the people of England were opposed to every disqualification which did not rest on a legitimate footing, not being founded on the incapacity of the party to discharge his duties, but solely founded on his peculiar religious sentiments. The hon. and learned Gentleman talked of our constituting this House. We had not grown up by framing new constitutions, but on a principle, and the principle is this, that those who bear the burdens of the country are to have some voice in its Legislature; and as they could not all give their opinions, they were therefore to be represented. That was the principle on which they had always gone. The Legislature had from time to time imposed restrictions on that which should be the privilege of every citizen, and they did so for the common advantage. It prevented a person from sitting in that House who was under the age of twenty-one. It prevented a person not qualified by the possession of a certain amount of property from sitting amongst them. There might or might not be some sound reasons for these limitations; but they had been adopted by the common voice. The principle of the constitution was this—absolute right to be elected, unless there was some legislative disqualification; and what was the source of the disqualification under which Baron de Rothschild laboured? It happened that whilst they were hurling penal enactments against the then existing grievance of Roman Catholic disaffection, words were introduced which happened to suit the case of the Jews. He well remembered in a former debate, when the hon. and learned Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), speaking against the Jews, urged that he would concede to them the jus civitatis, but not the jus honorum; and he was answered by a memorable quotation from Lord Bacon, which will bear repeating. It was the late Sir Robert Peel who quoted that passage of Lord Bacon in the famous case of the Post-Nati, which concluded by saying, in reference to the rights of citizenship— I know that other laws do admit of more curious distinctions of this privilege; the Roman law had the Jus civitatis, Jus suffragii, and the Jus petitionis et honorum, but such a distinction is not known to the laws of England. What, however, was now the very narrow ground of exclusion of the Baron de Rothschild? They had admitted him to the table and he had taken two oaths; they had declared his seat not vacant, and they had refused a new writ, and in fact the question before the House was not as to his privilege, or as to his right, but whether it would permit him to take the necessary oaths in the form most binding on his conscience. They could not indeed argue the question on the constitution of the House: the time had gone by for that; if they made up their minds to permit them to live here, they should admit them to the rights of citizenship. For thirteen years after they admitted the Jews into this country, from the 1st of William III. to the 13th of William III., there was nothing to prevent them from sitting in that House. Did this country lose its character of being a Christian country by the admission of the Jews? Certainly not. Neither would Parliament lose its character as a Christian legislature, because a few Jews were admitted into it. Was it a decree of Providence, as the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) alleged, that England should be visited with all kinds of misfortunes and calamities if a single Jew were admitted to a seat in that House, when they were not visited by the same calamities because of their permission to Jews to reside amongst them? The Jews were permitted to labour hard here in their vocations—they might accumulate money—they might pay our income tax—they might sit at our tables, marry our daughters, serve on juries, fill the office of high sheriffs by whom those juries were summoned, and all this was done without the Divine vengeance falling upon our heads. The hon. Member (Mr. Newdegate) would have done well, if when searching the Talmud or accumulating rabbinical lore, he had borrow- ed the sentiment of one of their beautiful apologues, which Jeremy Taylor had given to the world:— Father Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent one day, when a weary old man of fourscore years demanded hospitality. Abraham invited him into his tent and set food before him, but perceiving that he did not offer up prayer on sitting down to his repast, he arose, and cast him forth. He then heard a voice say, 'Abraham, Abraham, where is the stranger?' And Abraham answered, 'I have expelled him because he did not worship thee.' And the Lord then said, 'I have borne with him for eighty years, could not you bear with him for one night?' If the hon. Gentleman thought that these 30,000 or 40,000 Jews that were now in the country had unchristianised it, he was very wrong in not introducing a Bill for the purpose of expelling them. We have not only, however, admitted Roman Catholics into this House, but also the Society of Friends and the Moravians. But we have even gone further. We have enabled the Quaker and the Moravian to make a declaration without an oath, and without the words, "on the true faith of a Christian." But it was said that we knew that the Quakers and the Moravians are Christians. We had, however, gone much further than that. There was an Act passed some years since, in consequence of the dissensions and divisions amongst the Quaker sect, by which it was enacted, that if any person ever had been a Quaker or a Moravian, he might take the Quaker declaration upon all occasions, of course, therefore, when elected a Member of that House. Now, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, to be consistent, should endeavour to repeal that Act, for persons who might openly profess Atheism could not be excluded if they approached that House under such a declaration as he had just referred to. The hon. Gentleman, however, said that Baron de Rothschild had improperly attempted to alter the oath. Now, it was Baron de Rothschild's firm determination not to take the House by surprise; but, having deliberately repeated the words that were first uttered by the clerk at the table, he stopped when he came to the words, "on the true faith of a Christian," and made a formal declaration against using them.


But he concluded the oath.


had the Journal before him, and the Report stated, "on the clerk reading the words, 'on the true faith of a Christian,' Baron de Rothschild said, 'I omit those words as not binding on my conscience.'" And he (the Solicitor General) well remembered the calm and deliberate manner in which the Baron spoke on that occasion. Baron do Rothschild then concluded with the words, "So help me, God!" the clerk not having read these words to him. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire said that if we entertained this question we would certainly have a conflict with the other House of Legislature. Here he (the Solicitor General) would call in aid an observation made by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) in a former debate upon the Jew Bill, when he reminded him (the Solicitor General) that he had made a mistake in saying that this Bill had been before the House of Lords since the re-election of Baron de Rothschild; and the hon. Member added that the House of Lords had not had an opportunity of considering this question since the Baron de Rothschild's re-election. Now that was a strong feature in the case. Baron de Rothschild went back to his constituents and resigned into their hands the trust they had confided to him. On the second election Baron de Rothschild was opposed, and yet he was returned by a large majority a second time by the second constituency of the empire. As he (the Solicitor General) trusted that this Bill would be carried by a large majority in that House, he hoped that the other branch of Legislature would look upon it as the peculiar province of that House to consider who were the proper persons that should he returned as representatives of the people. He hoped that this consideration would have its due weight with the other House of Legislature in inducing them to come to a proper conclusion on the subject. The hon. Member rested his opposition to the Bill on Christian duty. Now he (the Solicitor General) conceived it to be his Christian duty to do as he would be done by. We had this day assembled from all quarters of the world—not only from Christendom, but also from places where Christianity did not prevail—a large body of intelligent persons to witness the progress of civilisation in this country, to witness what was the effect of thirty-six years of peace in advancing civilisation in England. It was true that this had taken place in reference to science and art, and not to legislation; but it was equally true that Europe looked at this country for many years, but more especially during the last three years, with envy for its constitution and its steady progress in civil and religious liberty, while at the same time it was free from all that turmoil and confusion that other countries had undergone. They knew why this had been—they knew it was owing to the concessions this House had always made to the popular demands—he should rather say to the sympathies it had ever shown for public opinion in this country. He believed that in no one respect had its sympathy been more exercised than upon this question of civil and religious liberty. And it was in reference to that he should feel himself degraded if those who were summoned from all countries in the world to witness the vast progress made in all the other arts of civilisation should find that we were retrograding from our political eminence—that we were falling- back into the dark ancient periods of persecution, instead of advancing in the plain straightforward course which had justly secured to us the affections of all the subjects of this realm, by doing which we were securing the blessing of that Providence Who dispenses His gifts to all alike, and who therefore cannot think it just or right that privileges should be withheld by us from even one small portion of His creation, because that portion differs from us in point of religious belief.


said, that the hon. and learned Solicitor General had referred to the great display which they had witnessed that day, and to which he also (Sir R. Inglis) could not make allusion without an expression of gratitude that it had pleased Almighty God that such a day should have passed over with such general enjoyment, and without one single occurrence to mar that enjoyment. But the hon. and learned Gentleman had proceeded to ask, what would the foreigners who were now in this country say when they found us retrograding in the career of civilisation, by not admitting a Jew to take the oath at the table of that House? Now, would the hon. and learned Gentleman venture to assert that, of the 500,000 Englishmen among the 700,000 persons there assembled, there was more than 5,000 to whom the existing constitution gave the eligibility to sit in this House? Did not the existence of a property qualification practically exclude them? Therefore, when the hon. and learned Gentleman talked of the common right of all the Queen's subjects, he (Sir R. Inglis) contended that that right had been limited by the constitution from a period beyond which history could hardly reach; and that, as far as the records of history went, it was clear that admission to seats in that House had been regulated by the possession of property and by the profession of religious opinions. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) had spoken of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) in a tone which he would not say had surprised him, but which certainly had pained him. He did not think that, besides that hon. and learned Member, there was another individual in that House with skin so sensitive as to rise in his place and call to order for so harmless an allusion as that which had been made by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. And he appealed to any hon. Gentleman who heard the speech of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, and that of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, to say which of them most deserved the character of being the speech of a "creature spitting spite." [Laughter.] Yes, they were the words of the hon. and learned Gentleman. But he could not make this reference to the hon. Member for North Warwickshire without thanking him for the appeal which he had made to the Christian principles of the people of this country, and which would find an echo in more hearts than had ever responded to any speech which the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, with all his talent, had ever addressed to them. What right had the Jews now resident in England to claim anything except protection and freedom in the exercise of their religion? And let the House consider what use the Jews were likely to make of any power which might be granted them. It was only on Monday last that this House received a petition from a certain number of Jewish tradesmen resident in the city of London—456 persons of the "Jewish persuasion," as they termed themselves. And what did they say? Why, that they conscientiously abstained from trading for 66 days in the year, of which 52 were Saturdays; and they prayed the House not to enforce further the obligations of the Sunday. Now, what did the law of England require at this moment? Even they who objected to that same Bill which was under discussion by the House yesterday (the Sunday Trading Prevention Bill) would willingly admit that, up to a certain point, the law of England did forbid trading on Sundays by any individuals whatever. But what said the petitioners? To use a common phrase, they "ignored" the existence of the laws they lived under. They said, that if the Bill for prohibiting Sunday trading were passed into a law, it would add 52 days to the 66 which they enumerated, and would prove most injurious to the Jewish community at large; so that the Christian obligation to obey the law of the land was to be violated with impunity, because these 456 Jewish tradesmen declared that the enforcement of what we regarded as the obligation of the Christian Sabbath would be injurious to their trade. Why, who asked the Jews to stay here? Did they not enjoy more privileges in England than a Protestant did in any Roman Catholic country whatever? And he did not desire to diminish these privileges; but he would deny to the Jew the right of legislating for our Church and our country. He had objected most strongly.—as strongly as it was in his power—to the admission of the Jew to hold any civil office in a municipal corporation. He had objected to his holding the office of sheriff; but the distinction was plain and palpable between an office which was purely administrative, and an office which was legislative. What was the use which the Jews had made of their power in other countries? A few years ago, at Charleston, in the United States, Governor Hammond proclaimed a fast for the acknowledgment of some providential dispensation, and called upon the Christian people of the land to unite in humble and penitential homage to Almighty God for the mercy he had bestowed upon them. But what said the Jews? They met, and censured the Governor for a breach of the law of toleration, because he had called upon the Christians only to unite! But did he forbid the Jews? The Jews might, or might not, have joined in the service in their own synagogues; but, so far from doing that, in the intolerance which animated them, they brought a charge against the governor for having called upon the Christians only to unite in solemn worship to Almighty God. It was not very likely, he admitted—and he did not know if anybody would thank him for the admission—that in this country we should have such an open act on the part of the Jews in the event of the noble Lord at the head of the Government recommending Her Majesty to issue a proclamation for religious observances; but, at all events, this showed what the Jews would do where they had the power; and the petition which the hon. Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey) presented last Monday, showed what they desired to do in this country if they had the power—that they desired to interfere and prevent this House—an assembly nominally and professedly Christian—from giving further effect to their religious and conscientious convictions with respect to the observance of the Christian Sabbath. The consideration which he (Sir R. Inglis) had been able to give to this subject, had deepened his conviction not only of its importance in the abstract, but of its practical bearing upon the best institutions of the country. This Legislature was considered to be a Christian Legislature; and when he heard the cheers with which the observation of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) was met on the opposite side—the observation, "What shall prevent you, if this Bill passes into a law, from carrying it still further, and admitting every one of the countless hosts who now submit to Her Majesty's dominion in the East, to claim an equal right with the Jew?"—and when he remembered that the response to that observation was an emphatic "Why not?" from three hon. Members—he rejoined, because from the earliest period of the constitution of England no human being—Mr. Gibbon himself not excepted—had ever entered the House of Commons without the declaration, and the assumption, at all events, on the part of all men, that he professed to be a Christian; and, at any rate, was not an open, avowed, and, it might be, conscientious enemy of the Lord Jesus and his gospel.


said, before he addressed himself to the general subject before the House, he would, in order that there might be no mistake, answer the complaint of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), that on the hon. Member for the city of London coming to the table of the House to be sworn, he concealed a paper which he afterwards produced. Now, he really did not believe that the hon. Gentleman would condescend to state that which he did not believe to be true, and he (Mr. J. Smith) therefore wished to speak in the most temperate manner of the insinuation which the hon. Gentleman had thrown out. He had, however no other means of repelling that insinuation than that which he now adopted, namely, giving it a most explicit and positive denial. He had this further corroboration of his assertion in the fact that the precedent followed by the hon. Member for the city of London coming to the table of the House, was as closely and as strictly as possible that which had been taken by Mr. Pease, the Member for Durham. Mr. Pease came to the table of the House and took the Oath in the form in which the House permitted him to take it, and signed a declaration prepared and written out, not by the officers of the House, but by himself, and having signed that paper he placed it on the table of the House and there left it. It was not for him to complain of the decision of the House in not dealing with Baron de Rothschild as they did with Mr. Pease, but he thought an equal measure of justice had not been dealt out to them. As the chairman of the committee of the electors of the city of London, he would now allude to an insinuation also thrown out by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, that bribery existed at the election of 1848. He begged also to meet that assertion with a full and explicit denial; and he would further tell the hon. Gentleman, that in that election bribery would have been as useless as it would have been unlawful, when there was a majority approaching to 3,600.


said, he alluded to the election of 1847.


said, he begged the hon. Gentleman's pardon, but he referred to a story as to the withdrawal of witnesses, which he applied to the election of 1848. He would tell the hon. Gentleman that the election of 1848 was conducted with the utmost urgent desire that no imputation of bribery could be made. With regard to the election of 1847, he could repeat with equal confidence that pains were taken to avoid the imputation of bribery. With regard to the general question, he had for some years taken an active part in promoting the object of this Bill. He claimed for himself as earnest and as sincere a devotion to the faith which he professed, as had any of the opponents to it; but he had done his best, and would continue to do his best, to promote the admission of Jews into Parliament, because he believed it was inconsistent with the Christian faith to impose civil disabilities ill consequence of a difference in religious belief; and with regard to the question of the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. Inglis), who asked what right the Jews have in this country, he answered that they had the same right he had himself, and he claimed for them the same rights that he claimed for himself. He believed they had entitled themselves to the enjoyment of those rights by the faithful discharge of their civil duties; and when the hon. Member for North Warwickshire indulged in the remarks he did respecting their faith, he would appeal from the hon. Member's assertion with complete confidence to the conduct of the Jews in England—conduct, permit him to say, as correct as that of any other class of the community, and surpassed by none in usefulness, and charity, and devotion to all the moral duties of life. He thanked the hon. Member for the University of Oxford for referring to the petition of the Jews against the Bill for the prevention of Sunday Trading. They gave up their own Sabbath—they freely gave up one-seventh part of the time set apart in this country to business; and, when the hon. Gentleman complained of that petition, he forgot that when they had discharged their own duty on the Saturday, they might, without any imputation on their character, complain of any increased stringency of the law which prevented them from following their business on that day, which they thought it was not necessary to observe. He would say one word with regard to the reception this Bill would meet with in another place. He agreed with the hon. and learned Solicitor General that the shreds of argument opposed to this Bill were such as to give hopes that there would be no collision between the two Houses on this subject; and he trusted that the Members of this House would not be deterred by the timidity of those who counselled them not to pass the Bill lest there should be a collision. A great majority of the people of this country were desirous that they should remove the last remaining Acts against civil and religious liberty, which, he regretted to say, still disgraced their Statute-book.


having had so many previous opportunities of speaking upon the subject, would not have ventured to address the House, had he not thought it important that the House should actually know what the measure was on which they were called to vote, for this remarkable circumstance pervaded the whole of this debate—the hon. and learned Solicitor General, and those who argued on the same side, argued the question merely as if it were one of admitting Jews to seats in the two Houses of the Legislature. The whole argument was addressed to that point, and when those who dissented from it were charged with being anxious to impose disabilities on their Jewish fellow-subjects, and not to know what those disabilities were, it was right that the House should know what had hitherto been the course of legislation proposed by Government, and what was the actual measure and effect of the measure which this night they were called upon to consider. The first measure brought in by the present Government was in the year 1846. That measure was not the measure which was now upon the table of the House. It began by stating that the Oath of Abjuration was required, and was a qualification for office, and went on to say that, because Jews could not take that oath in its present form, a new oath should be framed, on all occasions to be applied to Jews, which should admit them to sit in Parliament and to hold every office on the taking of which the Oath of Abjuration was required. But the Bill of 1846 did not stop there. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had then sufficient regard for the constitutional liberties and religion of the country to impose restrictions on the Jews as to the offices which they might hold. They were restricted from being guardians or Regents, Lord Chancellors, Queen's High Commissioner of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; from any ecclesiastical, cathedral, or university office; and from the heads of any of the public schools of Royal foundation. In the exclusion from office, they were placed on the same footing as the Roman Catholics. That Bill was rejected by the House of Lords; and after two years' mature consideration, after having consulted Baron de Rothschild and his friends, after repeated consultations as to the mode in which the Bill should be brought forward, in 1849 the second Bill was introduced, differing in most material particulars from the first. Whilst still maintaining that the Oath of Abjuration was a qualification to office, it only altered the oath to be taken by a Member of Parliament, so that the disability to hold any office in which the Oath of Abjuration was required still remained. After two years' more consideration the present Bill was introduced, which denied that the Oath of Abjuration was a qualification for office. The preamble stated that the Jews by law were qualified to be elected to serve as Members of Parliament. What was the meaning of this? Who in one sense is not qualified? If any constituency were wild enough they could elect a foreigner, an alien, a maniac, or anything else; the constituency acting in violation of the law might have the power to elect, but the oaths taken at the table of that House interfered with the right of the persons elected to take a seat in the Legislature. But the change in the views of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) with respect to the Oath of Abjuration was no more wonderful than the change in his opinions with reference to the Roman Catholic Relief Bill. The noble Lord was now saying that the Roman Catholics might be excluded from constitutional privileges, to which Jews might be safely admitted. This was not, as the hon. and learned Solicitor General had argued, a question merely as to the admission of Jews into the House of Commons. It was also a question as to their admission into the House of Peers; their admission to the exercise of every legislative function, and every branch of administration, however high, from which they were excluded at present. Then, were we to be told that this was a question in which religion was not concerned? The religion of this country was most materially interested in the exercise of such functions being entrusted to the Jews. Why, take the highest person in the realm, except the Sovereign—a Regent might be a Jew, so might the Lord Chancellor or the Home Secretary—those authorities to whom was entrusted the distribution of a largo portion of the ecclesiastical patronage of the country, and who, it might be expected, as the law now expected, that they should have some sympathy with the religion over which they were called upon to preside. They would surely not be providing for the safety of the English Church by placing such patronage in the hands of men who did not merely differ with us as to some peculiar tenets of the Christian faith, but who held it to be an abominable tissue of preposterous falsehood. The Lord High Commissioner of the Assembly of the Church of Scotland might be a Jew. A Jew might have the appointment of all the Ministers of the Church of Scotland in his hands. He might even hold the situation of President of the Council, and have control in that capacity over the whole education of the people, from which it was easy to see that the most destructive results would ensue. For these and other reasons into which he now forbore to enter, he considered that a Bill like this, brought forward after four years' consideration, with all the objections that at present existed to it, both as to principle and detail, was one which ought not to be permitted to come before that House.


said, that an analogy had been drawn between the case of the Jews and of the Roman Catholics; and it had been argued that this Bill should not be adopted because it would render the Jews eligible to offices which Roman Catholics could not fill. But the question was not one of a new constitution of Parliament, or whether Jews ought or ought not to be admitted; the principle to be established was that every one elected by a constituency ought to be eligible for a seat in that House. They had no right to tender the Oath of Abjuration to anybody coming to the table of that House, whether Jew or Christian; for the Committee who sat to inquire on the subject had shown that the oath expired with the decease of George III., and there was now literally no authority for enforcing it. The Journals of the House of last Session had authoritatively recorded the right of the Jew to take the bath in the form which he deemed most binding on his conscience; for the Amendment declaring the seat full had been carried by the House. This led the House into a difficulty; and the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had very properly thought that the best way to obviate the] difficulty was by passing a declaratory Act, such as the one now proposed. The opponents of the measure did not pretend to say that Baron de Rothschild had not been lawfully elected, but merely contended that he could not sit because he was a Jew. Anciently, when Parliament sat in separate estates, it was well known that the Jews had their representative assembly, in which they voted money like all the other estates of the realm. The writings of Bracton, and other ancient authors, showed that at their time the Jews had the right of holding land and all other rights pertaining to the subject. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn) said, a constituency was capable of electing or voting for whom it pleased; but the right hon. Gentleman could not have reflected on what he said, for although they might vote for a minor or a lunatic, their votes would be thrown away. In the time of William III. the Act which now created all the difficulty, that containing the words "on the true faith of a Christian," was not in force. Why, then, should it now stand in the way of the Jews enjoying their just rights? He regretted that this Bill should he thought necessary at all. He believed the House had it in its own power to dispense with the objectionable formula by declaring that the oath might be taken in whatever form the party thought it most binding. It had been thought better, however, to proceed by Bill; and when the measure reached the other House, he hoped it would not be so treated as to precipitate a conflict between the two Houses. Till the question was settled, the important city of London was deprived of its full share of representation. Lord Stanley, when Colonial Secretary, had sanctioned the passing of a Bill by the Canadian legislature having much the same object as the measure now before the House, by dispensing with the very words to which Baron de Rothschild objected. Were this the cause of the Jew alone, he should not feel half the enthusiasm in its support which he did from the consideration that it sanctioned a principle which would admit Mahomedan Indians and all other classes of Her Majesty's subjects to a free participation in the privileges of our free constitution.


said, there could be no doubt that the Government, sensible of the absence of many of the opponents of this bad Bill, now wished to force it through the House of Commons. He believed that the Government had during the day been occupied at what was called "the Crystal Palace," but he begged to assure the House that he was not there. His duty to his God. ["Oh!"] Yes, he repeated, neither his duty to his God, nor his duty to his country, would suffer him to visit that showy bauble. He considered it a paramount duty as a good Christian and a good subject to absent himself from the Crystal Palace. He deeply regretted to hear that the head of the Protestant Church of this realm should have been there invoking a blessing—invoking the assistance of Him who suffered for the sins of mankind. ["Oh!"] Yes, he expressed his opinion as he felt—he declared without reserve the faith that was in him. He considered such a proceeding would be injurious to the real welfare of this country. As to the question before the House, he would give his hearty assent to the course taken by his hon. Friends the Members for North Warwickshire and the University of Oxford. [Cries of "Divide!"] They might attempt to put him down by their clamour, for his sentiments were, no doubt, unpalatable to them, but he would continue to express them in spite of their interruptions. He asked the House again not to sanction this measure—a measure totally unworthy of the assent of any Christian assembly. The first principle of that House was, that, as regarded the performance of the duties of Members, all were to be upon an equality; but how could this principle be maintained if Baron de Rothschild were exempted from sitting on a Committee on Saturdays, and he (Colonel Sibthorp) was obliged to serve on them? What right had Baron de Rothschild to expect that Christians would do the work of Jews? The noble Lord at the head of the Government might succeed in forcing the Bill through that House; but, as he (Colonel Sibthorp) hoped and believed, it would receive in the other House an effectual check.


said, that as the House was anxious to come to a division on this subject, it certainly was not his wish to detain them at any great length; and undoubtedly he should not prolong the debate by any reply to the observations of the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Sibthorp) in reference to the Crystal Palace. He would not dispute with the hon. Member for the University of Oxford, whether or not Parliament should have the right in its discretion of putting obstacles in the way of the admission of Members to that House. He would admit that Parliament might impose such obstacles; but the question was in this ease whether Parliament meant to impose this restriction, and whether it was a reasonable restriction to be imposed. With respect to the first point, whether Parliament intended to impose this restriction, it was most important to observe that, while there were certain matters which were matters of substance, with respect to which Members of the House were required to make oath, there was no oath required of a Member declaratory of his being a Christian, as was the case in the time of the Protector Cromwell, when a declaration was required from Members, not only of their being Christians, but of their being Protestants. On the contrary, they had now, as the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) justly told the House, the oath requiring a profession of fidelity to the Queen, another referring to the supremacy, and a third excluding the supremacy of any foreign Power. These three were important oaths and declarations which Members of Parliament were required to make. Baron de Rothschild, having been elected to this House at two repeated elections, was ready to take the Oaths of Allegiance, Supremacy, and Abjuration, and, when called to the table of the House, he was admitted to take those oaths. But because he did not repeat certain words at the end of one of the oaths, which were not intended as the substance of the oath, but implied that the person taking it appealed to a higher Power on the faith of a Christian, the House declared that Baron de Rothschild could not take his seat in that House without using those words. Upon that there arose considerable debate, and the hon. and learned Solicitor General maintained with great power of argument that, as those words were not binding on Baron de Rothschild's conscience, he need not use those words as part of the oath. That argument was supported by one of the highest authorities to whom they had looked on these subjects; it was supported by the authority of the late Mr. Charles Wynn, who made subjects of this kind his peculiar study, and than whom no authority could be higher. He (Lord John Russell) confessed that it appeared to him that the weight of the argument inclined-—but only inclined—to the side that Baron de Rothschild could not take his seat. But there was another reason beyond that, which, he thought, gave a slight preponderance to the argument in favour of that side of the question, which made him most unwilling to come to a resolution by which the words in question should he passed over. He was afraid it would appear as if that House were taking a legislative power upon itself, and that the House of Lords might consider that on a question in which their concurrence was necessary, another branch of the Legislature had decided without submitting the matter to their deliberation, and asking for their consent. He saw very great evils in taking a course which might entail such consequences; but he should say that that House, having acted with such deference towards the other House of Parliament on this subject, on a question affecting the election of Members to that House of Parliament, affecting the rights of every elector in the United Kingdom, was entitled to have from the House of Lords a fair consideration of their difficulty, and that, as they had shown they would not step a single inch beyond what the letter of the law would authorise, the House of Lords ought, on the other hand, to consider what was fairly due to the people of the United Kingdom, and to the privileges of the Commons' House of Parliament. And in that respect, he said this question was in a different position from that in which it had hitherto stood. He believed no man would deny, so far from there being any other objection to the Jew taking his seat in that House, that if he, like Lord Bolingbroke or Mr. Gibbon, felt no objection to use the words in question, no Election Petition or Election Committee would afterwards, in conformity with the law, be able to disturb his seat. That, therefore, was the position in which the House stood; and it was a position in which they ought not to be placed with regard to a gentleman elected by a large body of the people. The only argument he had heard that evening which had the appearance of novelty in it, was the argument used by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Wigram), who said that the position which he (Lord John Russell) had always held in that House, and which many other hon. Members had also held, that they ought not to deprive the subjects of Her Majesty of any civil or political privilege on account of their religious opinions, was begging the question, and that it was, in fact, not on account of their religious opinions that Jews were debarred from taking seats in Parliament, but that it was because the House would not enjoy the confidence of the people of this country if Jews were admitted into Parliament; and that every Legislature was bound to take care that it framed its oaths in such a way as to obtain the respect and confidence of the people; and the hon. and learned Gentleman also said, that if he were advising a Jewish legislature, he would certainly advise them to exclude Christians from it. That seemed to be changing the ground of the question, when it was, in fact, only moving it a little further; because when they came to consider the framing of their oaths so as to obtain the confidence of the people, they must remember that they were representing the country, and could judge for themselves whether the country would or would not lose their confidence in the House of Commons because Jews were elected to Parliament. The presumption was entirely against the hon. and learned Gentleman; for, in the first place, Baron de Rothschild had been elected frequently by a large number of the electors of the most populous city in the country; and, in the next place, many hon. Members had voted in favour of the Jews, and he did not remember one occasion upon which any such hon. Member had lost his seat because he had so voted. He held, therefore, that the hon. and learned Gentleman, who seemed thus to have changed the ground, had only to inquire whether the House would have the confidence of the country by admitting Jews; and that the real question was, whether they thought it was just and right that Jews should be deprived of seats in Parliament on account of their religious opinions. His opinion was, that so far from the country being against the admission of Jews to Parliament, the general feeling was in favour of the removal of political and civil disabilities on account of religious opinions. He believed that the country thought no longer that those opinions ought to be a subject of disqualification. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn) had found fault with the terms of this Bill; but he (Lord John Russell) would not enter into that argument, because, although he did not think there was ground for that argument, that would be a question for Committee; and if any of the exceptions which the right hon. Gentleman thought ought to be made in the Bill were to be made, that could be done in Committee. The question then was, whether, having removed the disabilities from Protestant Dissenters, having removed them from Roman Catholics, having in various instances removed disabilities from the Jews, admitting them to be magistrates, to be members of corporations, and to hold municipal and other offices, the House would now put the crowning work to that by removing disabilities from them on account of their religious opinions—whether or not it was worth while to keep up the badge and stigma of being deprived of the rights of British subjects, or whether religious liberty should have the support of that House.

Question put, that the word "now" stand part of the Question.

The House divided:—Ayes 202; Noes 177: Majority 25.

List of the Ayes.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Anderson, A.
Adair, H. E. Anstey, T. C.
Aglionby, H. A. Armstrong, Sir A.
Alcock, T. Armstrong, R. B.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Grenfell, C. P.
Grenfell, C. W.
Bagshaw, J. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Grey, R. W.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Baring, hon. F. Guest, Sir J.
Bass, M. T. Hall, Sir B.
Bellew, R. M. Hardcastle, J. A.
Berkeley, Adm. Harris, R.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Hastie, A.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Hawes, B.
Bernal, R. Henry, A.
Bethell, R. Heywood, J.
Brocklehurst, J. Heyworth, L.
Brotherton, J. Hindley, C.
Brown, W. Hobhouse, T. B.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Hogg, Sir J. W.
Butler, P. S. Horsman, E.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Howard, Lord E.
Cardwell, E. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Carter, J. B. Hume, J.
Caulfield, J. M. Humphery, Ald.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Hutchins, E. J.
Cavendish, W. G. Hutt, W.
Childers, J. W. Jermyn, Earl
Clay, J. Johnstone, Sir J.
Clay, Sir W. Kershaw, J.
Clements, hon. C. S. King, hon. P. J. L.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Langston, J. H.
Coke, hon. E. K. Lennard, T. B.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Lewis, G. C.
Collins, W. Locke, J.
Cowan, C. Lushington, C.
Cowper, hon. W. F. M'Cullagh, W. T.
Craig, Sir W. G. M'Gregor, J.
Crawford, W. S. Maher, N. V.
Crowder, R. B. Mangles, R. D.
Currie, R. Marshall, W.
Dalrymple, J. Matheson, Col.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Melgund, Visct.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T. Milner, W. M. E.
Disraeli, B. Mitchell, T. A.
Divett, E. Moncrieff, J.
Duff, G. S. Morison, Sir W.
Duff, J. Morris, D.
Duke, Sir J. Mulgrave, Earl of
Duncan, G. Muntz, G. F.
Dundas, Adm. Murphy, F. S.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Ebrington, Visct. Norreys, Lord
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Ellis, J. O'Connor, F.
Elliot, hon. J. E. O'Flaherty, A.
Enfield, Visct. Ogle, S. C. H.
Evans, Sir De L. Ord, W.
Evans, J. Owen, Sir J.
Evans, W. Paget, Lord A.
Ewart, W. Paget, Lord C.
Ferguson, Col. Palmerston, Visct.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Parker, J.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Foley, J. H. H. Peel, F.
Fordyce, A. D. Pendarves, E. W. W
Forster, M. Pigott, F.
Fox, W. J. Pilkington, J.
Freestun, Col. Pinney, W.
French, F. Price, Sir R.
Gaskell, J. M. Pusey, P.
Geach, C. Rawdon, Col.
Glyn, G. C. Ricardo, J. L.
Granger, T. C. Rice, E. R.
Rich, H. Thicknesse, R. A.
Roebuck, J. A. Thompson, Col.
Romilly, Col. Thornely, T.
Romilly, Sir J. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Russell, Lord J. Townley, R. G.
Russell, F. C. H. Trelawny, J. S.
Sadleir, J. Trevor, hon. T.
Salwey, Col. Tufnell, rt. hon. H.
Scholefield, W. Villiers, hon. C.
Scully, F. Vivian, J. H.
Seymour, Lord Wakley, T.
Shelburne, Earl of Watkins, Col. L.
Sheridan, R. B. Wawn, J. T.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V. Westhead, J. P. B.
Smith, J. A. Willcox, B. M.
Smythe, hon. G. Williams, J.
Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W Williams, W.
Spearman, H. J. Wilson, J.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Wilson, M.
Stanton, W. H. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Strickland, Sir G. Wood, W. P.
Stuart, Lord D. Wrightson, W. B.
Sullivan, M. Wyvill, M.
Talbot, C. R. M. TELLERS.
Tancred, H. W. Hill, Lord M.
Tenison, E. K. Hayter, W. G.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Conolly, T.
Adderley, C. B. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Arkwright, G. Davies, D. A. S.
Ashley, Lord Deedes, W.
Bagge, W. Dick, Q.
Bagot, hon. W. Dod, J. W.
Baird, J. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B
Baldock, E. H. Duncombe, hon. A.
Baldwin, C. Duncombe, hon. O.
Bankes, G. Dundas, G.
Barrow, W. H. Du Pre, C. G.
Bateson, T. East, Sir J. B.
Beckett, W. Edwards, H.
Bennett, P. Egerton, Sir P.
Bentinck, Lord H. Egerton, W. T.
Beresford, W. Emlyn, Visct.
Bernard, Visct. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Best, J. Farnham, E. B.
Blackstone, W. S. Farrer, J.
Blair, S. Floyer, J.
Blandford, Marq. of Forbes, W.
Boldero, H. G. Fox, S. W. L.
Booker, T. W. Freshfield, J. W.
Booth, Sir R. G. Frewen, C. H.
Bowles, Adm. Fuller, A. E.
Bramston, T. W. Galwey, Visct.
Bremridge, R. Gooch, E. S.
Broadley, H. Goold, W.
Brooke, Lord Gordon, Adm.
Buck, L. W. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Greene, T.
Burghley, Lord Guernsey, Lord
Burrell, Sir C. M. Hale, R. B.
Burroughes, H. N. Halford, Sir H.
Cabbell, B. B. Hall, Col.
Carew, W. H. P. Halsey, T. P.
Chandos, Marq. of Hamilton, G. A.
Chatterton, Col. Harris, hon. Capt.
Child, S. Hayes, Sir E.
Christopher, R. A. Heald, J.
Cobbold, J. C. Heneage, G. H. W.
Codrington, Sir W. Henley, J. W.
Coles, H. B. Hervey, Lord A.
Colvile, C. R. Hildyard, R. C.
Compton, H. C. Hill, Lord E.
Hodgson, W. N. Prime, R.
Hornby, J. Rendlesham, Lord
Hotham, Lord Richards, R.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Rushout, Capt.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Sandars, J.
Jones, Capt. Seymer, H. K.
Kerrison, Sir E. Sibthorp, Col.
Knightley, Sir C. Smyth, J. G.
Lacy, H. C. Somerset, Capt.
Langton, W. H. P. G. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Lennox, Lord A. G. Spooner, R.
Lewisham, Visct. Stafford, A.
Lockhart, A. E. Stanford, J. F.
Lockhart, W. Stanley, hon. E. H.
Long, W. Stephenson, R.
Lopes, Sir R. Stuart, H.
Lowther, hon. Col. Stuart, J.
Lowther, H. Sturt, H. G.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Thesiger, Sir F.
Macnaghten, Sir E. Thompson, Ald.
Mahon, Visct. Thornhill, G.
Mandeville, Visct. Tollemache, J.
Manners, Lord C. S. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Manners, Lord J. Trollope, Sir J.
March, Earl of Tyler, Sir G.
Masterman, J. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Maunsell, T. P. Verner, Sir W.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
Meux, Sir H. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Miles, W. Waddington, H. S.
Moody, C. A. Walpole, S. H.
Morgan, O. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Mullings, J. R. Welby, G. E.
Mundy, W. Wellesley, Lord C.
Naas, Lord Whitmore, T. C.
Napier, J. Wigram, L. T.
Neeld, J. Williams, T. P.
Neeld, J. Willoughby, Sir H.
Noel, hon. G. J. Wodehouse, E.
Ossulston, Lord Worcester, Marq. of
Packe, C. W. Wynn, H. W. W.
Pakington, Sir J. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Palmer, R. TELLERS.
Peel, Sir R. Newdegate, C. N.
Plowden, W. H. C. Plumptre, J. P.

Main Question put, and agreed to; Bill read 2°, and committed for Monday, 12th May.

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