HC Deb 21 June 1852 vol 122 cc1126-30

Order for Third Reading read.

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


said, that the Bill was most meagre and unsatisfactory, after all the votes in respect to this subject which had been come to by this House. He was not going to oppose the third reading of the Bill, but he could not allow the Bill to pass without any comment being made upon it. He had scarcely expected in the year 1852 a Bill falling so short of the requirements which for the satisfaction of the House had been shown to be necessary. By this enactment they even continued the penalty of 500l. The Bill might be received as an instalment, and as an instalment he received it, but protesting at the same time against its being a satisfactory acknowledgment of the principle involved in it.


said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman need not be dissatisfied with the instalment. The Bill had been brought in in consequence of the case of Mr. Salomons, in order to reduce the penalties he had incurred by voting in this House without taking the required oaths. He believed that the action brought against Mr. Salomons by Mr. Miller was a collusive action, and if the penalties could be evaded by a collusive action, any one might vote here night after night without punishment. On the trial, to his surprise, the Records of this House were rejected as evidence by the Lord Chief Baron. He was also dissatisfied with this Bill because it was retrospective. He should, therefore oppose the further progress of the Bill, so that the House might have time to inquire into its effect. If a collusive action were valid, as had been held by the Lord Chief Baron, the most dangerous conse- quences would result. He should move that the Bill be read a third time this day three months.

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

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down certainly had shown that he had paid very little attention to the Bill, and was but imperfectly acquainted with its provisions. He (Mr. R. Palmer) was not responsible for the Bill, but he esteemed it an honour to have been asked to take charge of it by Lord Lyndhurst, a nobleman who had three times filled with distinguished honour the situation of Lord High Chancellor of England under Conservative Governments—a nobleman who for many years had taken a distinguished part in that assemblage, who had at no time shown a disposition rashly to dispense with the securities the law provided for the maintenance of our Parliamentary constitution, and in this particular matter, the admission of Jews to civil privileges, had shown a greater degree of hesitation, and greater scruples, than he, for one, was disposed to entertain. The Bill was strictly and carefully confined to the object of sweeping off the face of the Statute-book the most barbarous, absurd, and extravagant disabilities that ever disgraced it. What, he would ask, were those disabilities now sought to be repealed? If any one wrongly voted in that House, he was declared incapable of maintaining any suit at law; he could not be the guardian even of his own children; no one could leave him a legacy; nor could he ever after hold any civil office. Those disabilities were swept away by the Bill, and the penalty of 500l. remained. But it was a mistake to suppose that this penalty was the only safeguard which the House had against intruders. The House had a far greater safeguard; it had Imperial jurisdiction and ample powers to expel and punish intruders. The measure was one simply of justice, and if they did not pass this retrospective Bill, the gentleman to whose case it referred (Mr. Alderman Salomons) would be for ever subject to the enormous disabilities which it sought to repeal.


thought the measure was most inadequate, and should have much preferred a Bill declara- tory of the right of Jews to sit in Parliament. However, as he found nothing in the Bill to militate against the proposition which he would ever maintain—that Mr. Alderman Salomons was duly qualified to sit and vote in Parliament, he would give it his support.


said, he should give his vote in favour of the third reading of the Bill. If he could look upon such a measure as an instalment of the question that Jews should sit in that House, or even as an inadequate Bill for the purposes it professed, he should feel it his duty to object to it. But that was not the question before them. The question was, whether they were to leave on the Statute-book, in addition to the penalties for the offence of voting in that House, without taking the requisite Oaths, the other very serious consequences that, by the law as it stood, attached to such offence. He felt, that as no person could have a seat in that House without taking the Oath, "on the true faith of a Christian," it would be useless to insist on these penalties.


said, he was sure that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Newdegate), though anxious to exclude Jews from that House, was not desirous of persecuting them, and he trusted he would withdraw his Amendment, and allow the Bill to pass with the unanimous sanction of the House.


said, he would consent to withdraw the Amendment, his sole object having been to secure the proceedings in the Court of Exchequer from being over-ridden by a decision of Parliament. The whole proceedings in this case had been most extraordinary. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had confessed that he had been astonished at the verdict; but as there were several members of the Jewish persuasion on the jury, it was natural to suppose they had a strong bias.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 3°.


moved an Amendment, extending the exemption to persons other than Members of Parliament who were liable, under the existing Act, to similar penalties for refusing to take the Oath before magistrates.

Amendment proposed— In page 1, line 13, after the word 'stated,' to insert the words 'or that if any person to whom the said Oath shall have been tendered by two Justices of the Peace in manner therein provided, shall decline or neglect to take and subscribe the same.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The House divided:—Ayes 4; Noes 50: Majority 46. Bill passed.

The House adjourned at half after Two o'clock.