HC Deb 24 February 1853 vol 124 cc590-622

Order of the day read for the House to go into Committee.


said, he hoped the hon. Baronet the Member for the Uni- versity of Oxford would not object to the Motion for going into Committee of the whole House, for the purpose of affording an opportunity for explanation of the views of the Government with reference to the civil disabilities affecting the Jews. It had been customary to bring forward matters of this kind in Committee of the whole House, and when, in 1830, the question was brought forward by Sir Robert Grant, the course now suggested was taken.


said, he was strongly opposed to such a course, because he felt it to be a concession of the first step; and he was not prepared to allow the noble Lord to advance that step in a course which he believed detrimental alike to the religious interests and feelings of the people of the country, and to the civil rights of the House.


Sir, the hon. Member for the University of Oxford having objected to take that course which was allowed to be taken more than twenty years ago, it is necessary that I should state the nature of the proposition I have to make before the House resolves itself into Committee. In so doing I shall state, in the first place, that it would have been more agreeable to me, acting according to the views which I explained to my constituents, if I could have brought forward at this time a proposal with regard to the mode in which we take the oaths in this House before we are entitled to take our seats. I stated to my constituents that I thought the oath we take ought to be but one, and that one simple in its character; that it ought to be for members of all religions, and ought not to be entangled with the various professions made by persons of different religious persuasions; and that it should not be necessary for a Protestant to aver one thing, for a Roman Catholic to aver another, and for both to affirm certain propositions with respect to a person calling himself the successor of James II.; as to whom we need trouble ourselves very little in the present day. But I am aware, and if I were not aware I should be convinced of the fact from the discussion of yesterday and of the previous day, that I could hardly propose to alter the law with respect to the Roman Catholics, without raising a discussion in regard to the Established Church of Ireland, and in regard to the intentions of Roman Catholic Members, and thus producing a great deal of heat and controversy on a question which is not the immediate question I propose at this time to bring before the House. That which I wish to do—that which I propose to myself by this separate measure—is so far to complete the edifice of religious liberty as to allow to the Jewish subjects of Her Majesty the same enjoyment of the rights and privileges of British subjects which is at present possessed by the Protestant Dissenters and by the Roman Catholics. Now, Sir, I am aware that in bringing forward this question I must labour under a great disadvantage. I know perfectly well that those who are opposed to me have it to say that the Jews, being not very considerable in numbers—not being very powerful by their influence throughout the country—have not the means of inducing their opponents to concede those claims, which others, who urged those claims on the ground of religious liberty, possessed. I know it may be asked, where are the petitions, where are the meetings threatening to the tranquillity of the country—where are the menaces against the Government and the Houses of Parliament, which induced us to agree to the concession of the Roman Catholic claims? The opponents of this measure may say—where is that political influence—where is that influence on the elections of cities and boroughs for Members of this House, which made it necessary to concede the claims of the Protestant Dissenters, and to abolish the Test and Corporation Acts? You have, I may be told, nothing to produce but the mere reasons of justice and expediency! You have nothing but the truth, justice, and charity of your proposals! and is it to be imagined that those who so long resisted the same arguments on behalf of the Roman Catholics— that those who resisted the same arguments so long and so determinedly, though enforced by the authority of the greatest statesmen in this House and in this country—that those who so long obliged the Protestant Dissenters to wear the galling chains of the Test and Corporation Acts, will yield now, when the mere question before them is of granting to men inconsiderable in number, and of no means of influencing the House, the claims they come forward to urge? But I trust that if you, who may be influenced by such considerations—without urging the generosity of the House—perceive that these claims are consonant with justice and reason—that the great principles of religious liberty which we have adopted enforce those claims—you will be satisfied by that justice, that yon will be satisfied by those arguments of reason, and that you will show not only that you are willing to grant such claims, when enforced in the manner I have said, but that you will act impartially, and grant them when no such extrinsic means are used to press them upon you. Sir, I am the more persuaded that the House will adopt this course, because I believe that the principles of religious liberty are generally entertained by the people of this country, and I believe that, those principles of religious liberty being so entertained, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Jewish subjects of Her Majesty ought to enjoy the benefit of them. It is not enough to say "there is a prejudice against the Jews—that this name is unpopular—we choose to indulge this prejudice, and we will not listen to what you hare to say on their behalf;" because it would not redound to the character of this House, if, when all reason and argument are in their favour, a prejudice against them should be indulged in.

The first proposition I lay down, then, and it is one which will, I think, go far to establish my position, is, that in no time of the history of this country when legislative disabilities were imposed, have those legislative disabilities been grounded on a difference of religious faith. I speak not of the times when men were put to death because they did not entertain the opinions which prevailed among the majority. I speak not of those times when Roman Catholics like Sir Thomas More, and when Protestants like Bishop Latimer were fully satisfied in their consciences in condemning men to capital punishments, and in executing them on account of differences in their religious belief. I speak not of those times—but I allude to the times when disabilities were imposed, and when for certain offices and seats in Parliament oaths were required to be taken. On former occasions when I brought forward this question, I have stated that the words "on the true faith of a Christian," in the oath of abjuration, which are the words —and the only words be it remarked— which prevent a Jew from sitting in this House, were introduced with no such purpose; that they were introduced with a view to no such result; but that they were introduced for the purpose of excluding certain Roman Catholics, whom at the time it was thought necessary to distinguish from other persons of the same religion; the one set being intent on de- throning the Sovereign, on dethroning Queen Elizabeth or James I., and the other set being loyally disposed and attached to the institutions of the country. I endeavoured to prove this from the history of the times; but there has since appeared a most remarkable confirmation of that view, which was alluded to in the judgment delivered by Baron Alderson in the Court of Exchequer, in the case of Mr. Salomons, who was sued for penalties for taking his seat in this House. It was stated by Baron Alderson on that occasion in the following words:— It is a curious fact, only lately brought to light by the publication of a manuscript from the Bodleian Library at Oxford by Mr. Jardine, that one of the main proofs used by Lord Coke when he laid that case (the case of the Gunpowder Plot) before the jury was the production of a little book found in the chamber of Francis Tresham, one of the conspirators mentioned in the Act, called A Treatise on Equivocation." It goes on to say that this treatise discusses the question whether a man being called on to make a declaration or promise, as he thinks unjustly, and without grounds on which he can fairly be called on to make it, may be entitled to break that promise by the use of mental reservation or equivocation, without incurring the sin of lying or the guilt of perjury; and among other positions it was affirmed that he might lawfully do this, even if he were required by the form of the oath tendered in terms to swear "without equivocation or mental reservation." There was, however, one exception to this, and that was in the case where his faith was involved, and if he was called on to make a promise on his faith, and did so, that then he was bound to perform it. Baron Alderson proceeds to remark that after this treatise had been made use of at the trial of the "Gunpowder Plot," an Act was introduced in that year in which the words "on the true faith of a Christian" were for the first time found; and Mr. Baron Alderson, as I think very justly, inferred that they were so introduced for the purpose of excluding persons of the Roman Catholic persuasion, who were not true to the Crown, and who would refuse to take that oath, when these words were introduced, and he comes clearly to this conclusion:— I do not, therefore, call this properly an oath intended as a test of Christianity, which it was not, nor as a mere test of obedience, but an oath intended as a test of allegiance, and framed so as to be a test against all equivocation also. Therefore this oath was intended to be an oath of loyalty and obedience—it was intended to bind all persons who would not break that oath when so framed; and the words "on the true faith of a Christian" were not inserted in any contemplation to exclude the Jews, but for a totally different purpose. That this was so is the more apparent perhaps, because in the time of the Commonwealth an oath was introduced wherein persons declared their adherence to it—declared themselves Christians—and renounced Popery and Prelacy. This oath made a declaration that they were Christians, and was clearly intended by the authorities of the Commonwealth to be a religious oath, and to be a test of religious faith. But on the restoration of the monarchy that oath was not persisted in, but was disused and laid aside; and from that time to the present no oath has been introduced with a view of making the profession of religious faith a ground of exclusion from Parliament. For when, in the days of Charles II., it was again proposed to exclude Roman Catholics, it will be seen very clearly by any one who studies the history of the time, that it was on account of political doctrines which were supposed to be connected with the faith of Roman Catholics, and on account of doctrines held to be adverse to the establishment in this kingdom of a Protestant king and of Protestant institutions; and that it was on account of these doctrines that even a declaration against transubstantiation was introduced. It was the same thing with respect to the Dissenters. The Protestant Dissenters were held up to odium as persons who had lately overthrown the monarchy and established a republic; and it was said that the State would never be safe while the Dissenters, who had thus overthrown both the Church and the Throne, were admitted to political power; and hence Corporation and Test Acts, by which it was proposed to exclude them from offices of trust in the State or in honours. The same argument was afterwards used by Dean Sherlock, but not to the same extent, when he said it was impossible to believe that Protestant Dissenters would not overthrow our institutions in Church and State if they were admitted to full political freedom. You will find also in the reigns of William III. and of his successors, and during the reign of the first princes of the House of Hanover, that the same fear of political dangers arising from the political doctrines of the Roman Catholics prevailed. You will find that from the time when the question of Catholic emancipation was introduced, in 1805, down to 1829, the same fear was entertained, and that the keenest wits of the age were employed in discussing that great question. You will find that Mr. Perceval and many others who argued against the claims of the Roman Catholics, hardly ever alleged that the religion of the Roman Catholics alone was sufficient ground for their exclusion and disqualification; but they said that persons who belonged to that faith would not pay perfect and undivided allegiance to the Sovereign; they were likely to overthrow our political institutions, and that for that reason they were not to be trusted with seats in Parliament. Thus, you see that from the beginning of this disqualification, in 1605, down to its abolition in 1829, the argument had always been, that persons belonging to a certain religion, whether dissenting from the Church of England as Protestants, or dissenting from the Church of England as Roman Catholics, had connected with their faith certain political doctrines which make them unsafe depositaries of power. You never find that faith or religion alone is made a ground of disqualification. I therefore contend, Sir, that it was not until 1830 that, for the first time, this special ground of religious faith was introduced, and that the principle of religious persecution was maintained in Parliament after two centuries in which it had been abandoned. Thus, when we had seen the disabilities of the Roman Catholics and of the Protestant Dissenters removed entirely, it was thought that the time was come for removing the disabilities of the Jews; and in April, 1830, a lamented statesman, Sir Robert Grant, introduced the great principle of religious liberty with respect to the Jews, and proposed the removal of their disqualifications. He argued the question in 1830, and in the subsequent years, on all the grounds of justice and reason, and he contended for the great principle that religious difference—that religious doctrine—is no sufficient ground for depriving a man of the privileges of a British subject. And that, Sir, is the question on which we have now to decide. All those temporary disqualifications, founded on the special ground of Roman Catholics and of Dissenters, have been swept away. With respect to the Jews, no such danger—no such inconvenience—no such obstacles can ever be pretended to exist as were urged in the case of Roman Catholics and Dissenters. I ask you then, are men, on account of their religious faith to be disqualified, or are they not? Can you or can you not maintain, that, because a man believes in the Old Testament, and does not believe in the New—for that is really the question—are you, on account of what you believe to be the errors of his faith, to deprive a man of polical power and of civil privileges? Now I contend—I will not argue the question, for it has been argued over and over again by men whom I should be quite unfit to follow—but I will contend that differences of religious opinion, that errors in faith, are no ground whatever for depriving a man of his right to serve the Crown and to sit in Parliament. These are men who are British subjects, who hold land, who are in the possession of property, who exercise many civil privileges connected with local affairs—who hold office in corporations, who discharge their duty to their fellow-citizens, and perform them faithfully and honestly; —they are men ready at all times to bear allegiance to Her Majesty—they are men on whom you, without doubt or scruple, impose all the burdens which your taxes place on persons, whether for public duties or for the service of the State—and I say that you, being in that position towards them, have no right to say to them, "We will debar you from those privileges and rewards which your station as British subjects entitles you to possess." Well, I say, then, there are no special grounds alleged for this disability.

I believe I must refer to some grounds which have been alleged against the course I propose; but I own it appears to me they have been so thoroughly disposed of by former discussions that I will allude to them but very shortly. It is said in the first place, that the Jews are not as much British subjects as ourselves—that they are a separate nation—and that as a separate nation you cannot admit them to the privileges of British subjects. But what is the fact? It is a fact that those whom you propose to admit are not aliens. If they were aliens they could not take their seats in this House nor hold office. They hold offices; they are therefore British subjects by the very force of the proposition, Being British subjects, they perform all the duties of British subjects, and the term "alien" is not in any way applicable to them. If you say, indeed, that they have descended from persons settled in other nations, and that, therefore, they cannot hold office in this country, in saying that you lay down a principle which would apply to many others you could scarcely wish to exclude. If you are putting their exclusion not on a question of religion, but of national prejudice—if you found it on their connexion with other people settled in other lands, I say there are happily many families in this country who came over to us from time to time, as after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, or when they were driven away by religious persecution from other countries, or came over for the purposes of trade, whose descendants enjoy all the privileges enjoyed by other British subjects. Take as an example a great family which came over to us in the time of William III., the head of which now sits in the House of Lords—I allude to the Duke of Portland—while another branch of that family is still settled in Holland, a member of which is at this time the distinguished representative of that country at our Court. It is clear, then, that on account of his connexion with others in a different nation, you cannot prohibit a man from the exercise of the privileges to which as a subject he is entitled. But then it is said—and certainly it is an argument which one hardly dares to touch—that these persons are doomed to be divided and separated from all nations, and that they must remain so till prophecy is accomplished. I have always said in this House, that is an argument with which it is impossible to deal; it is not for us to carry out the decrees of Providence. What we know is, that the Jews are established in many countries— that they are recognised in France, in Holland, and in many other places, and that they are admitted to all the privileges which the native-born subjects of those countries enjoy, and are acknowledged as citizens of those countries. It is not because they are more or less numerous that those privileges are conferred on them; still less it is because you grant a number of privileges and rights to one class of persons in this country, and withhold them from another, that you will either promote the designs of Almighty power or of Almighty wisdom. I hold, therefore, that these arguments do not apply. Well, but then, what doubt is there with respect to the maintenance of the constitution of this country by the Jews if they should be admitted into the Legislature? One argument with regard to the admission of Roman Catholics, and also with respect to the admission of Protestant Dissenters, was intended to show, that if they were admitted into Parliament they would not fulfil those duties which you wished from them in the maintenance of the constitution both in the Church and State. There might have been some ground for such an argument in respect to Roman Catholics and to Dissenters; but, with regard to the Jews, hardly any person would venture to state that it could possibly apply. In the first place, their number is so exceedingly few as a portion of the people, and the number who would be likely to be Members of this House would be so proportionally small, as to make it impossible for them to attempt to injure your constitution; but, in the next place, it is perfectly well known that the Jews are well satisfied to maintain their own religion and faith without attempting to convert others, or to attain a supremacy in any Christian nation. It is well known, that while maintaining most rigidly their own religion, they do not attempt to make that religion prevail, and that the last thing they would think of would be that of entering into any cabal or combination for the purpose of rescinding your civil and religious liberties. With respect to the last question, namely, their moral character, no man can deny that although the Jews are not many among us—some 30,000 or 40,000—yet they are known in the social relations of life as men of great charity, always ready to help whenever any act of charity is to be performed. It is well known that there is no people who more quietly and unostentatiously perform their civil duties to their neighbours and to the State under which they live.

What, then, are the arguments—what, then, are the reasons, which remain to be urged why the Jews should not be admitted to the full enjoyment of all the privileges of their fellow British subjects? I believe there is no argument, no sufficient reason, why they should be excluded from those privileges; and that there remains nothing to urge against their claims but the prejudice and the notion that you are a Christian nation and a Christian Legislature, and that you would alter and degrade that nation and that Legislature by the admission of the Jews into Parliament. Well, Sir, if this nation is a Christian nation, as I say it is, it will remain a Christian nation, although you admit Jews into its Legislature. If the great majority —if nearly all the Members of this House will still be Christians, then it is clear that even after this law shall have been enacted, the name of a Christian Legislature will hardly pass away from us. Greatly, indeed, were it to be wished that that Christian spirit which we pray for in the beautiful form of the Church of England, that we should hold to the faith "in the unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life," were a prayer which might be accomplished over all the Members of this Legislature! I have never said that it is a matter of indifference whether the Christian character should or should not prevail in the two Houses of Parliament. I have always said that religion has no business apart from the business of life, and certainly it has none apart or separate from the business of legislation. When I say this, I mean it in that spirit to which I have referred. But when in place of a unity of spirit you have a diversity of doctrine—when, instead of the bond of peace, you have nothing but contention—and when instead of righteousness of life you have such men as Wilkes introduced into this House, I ask what is the benefit of your oath, and in what way does that oath secure that you are a Christian Legislature? Let us then not attempt to found our Christianity upon so flimsy, so worthless a basis. If, as I trust is the case, the Christian character prevails more now than it did a century ago; if it prevails more in the nation and in the Legislature, it is not because you maintain these oaths; it is because greater attention is paid by men to their religious duties, and because a better system prevails for the inculcation of the Christian doctrines. Let us rely then upon this; and, although you may have two or three persons of the Jewish faith in your House of Commons, depend upon it that this House will bear the character of a Christian Legislature far more truly than it did when Gibbon was one of its ornaments. If that is the case, I ask you to do away with this remaining persecution, with this remaining disqualification—I ask you to say that your doors shall be open to men of the Jewish faith who are British subjects like yourselves— men on whose loyalty you can rely—men of whose co-operation you will be glad. So doing, you can then with a clear conscience say, whatever other nations may do, we hold and accept the principles of religious liberty, and we grant that liberty to men who differ from us in religious opinion. Sir, I ask the House to agree to go into Committee upon this subject. I ask you to take away this last disqualification, and then you may with truth say that having, for political reasons, done away with it in regard to others, you have now done away with this remaining disqualification solely upon the grounds of truth and justice; that you have no other ground to do it away upon but truth and justice; and that it is upon that truth and that justice that you found your truly Christian character. I now beg to move that you, Sir, leave the chair, in order that the House go into Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration certain civil disabilities affecting the Jews.

The Question having been put,


said, before he endeavoured to reply to the speech of the noble Lord, he must be permitted to state why he objected to that speech being addressed to Mr. Wilson Patten. The noble Lord, from the tone of his very first observations, seemed to imply, as he (Sir R. H. Inglis) fully anticipated, that he regarded it as some advantage to have gained one step in the progress of the present measure. If it were a gain to him, it must be an injury to those who opposed him; and therefore he (Sir R. H. Inglis) felt that he at least would not be one who would pull off his hat and open the gate to enable the noble Lord to get into that which he (Sir R. H. Inglis) regarded as a sacred enclosure. Let the noble Lord break down the barrier if he could—God forbid that he should!—still it should not be any fault on his (Sir R. H. Inglis's) part if the course were made easier than it was. The noble Lord had asked, Why should that be refused now which was conceded to Mr. Robert Grant in 1830? Possibly they were wrong in having at that time conceded that step to Mr. Robert Grant; but if they had done wrong before, they were responsible only if they did wrong now. But the course which he (Sir R. H. Inglis) was prepared to take on the present occasion was the very course he took in 1847, when the noble Lord brought forward the same Motion at that time that he proposed to take now; for he felt it his duty, without meaning any disrespect, to refuse, so far as his own individual vote was concerned, the permission which he asked; and he stated that the course upon which the noble Lord was inviting the House to enter, was one hostile to the civil and religious interests of the country. He believed it to be hostile to the ordinary proceedings of that House. The noble Lord assumed through- out all his arguments, by a very convenient petitio principii, that he alone was the advocate of truth and justice, and that all who opposed him were mere bigoted disciples of an obsolete system. His (Sir R. H. Inglis's) proposition was of a distinctly contrary character. He maintained the truth and justice of that system of Christian government which the noble Lord was endeavouring to destroy. The noble Lord also assumed that power was a right belonging to every man, and that he who resisted granting power to an individual, was bound to show on what sufficient ground he made that opposition. On the contrary, he (Sir R. H. Inglis) contended, as he had contended in many other instances, that power was a trust which the State might delegate to those whom it thought fit to exercise it—the exercise of the suffrage for example—but it was the inherent right of no man. If it were, then indeed had they destroyed the value of the principle by all the restrictions imposed with respect to property, to age, and to sex. But again and again he would say that power was a trust and a privilege, and not a right. It was a trust to be exercised with reference! to matters of much greater importance than mere pounds, shillings, and pence, which seemed to constitute the summum bonum of some men. It was to be applied to other and higher objects. He would remind the House that they were called together according to the writ, to advise the Crown "upon certain weighty affairs touching the interests of the Church and nation of England." What was the first estate in the realm? It was the Church. The first interest of the country was its Church; and it was the duty of every man, in public and in private, to act in reference to religion. Having reminded him of this, he would ask the noble Lord whether these Jews, who regarded our blessed Lord as an impostor, were fit to come there and enact laws concerning that Church? He would ask the noble Lord whether those who looked upon the New Testament as a tissue of fables were persons who in a Christian country should be admitted to make laws for the government of a Christian people? Whether they who disbelieved in the last Day of Judgment as it was revealed to us in the Gospel, were persons whom they could safely permit to legislate for the highest interests of the Church and nation? But the noble Lord, without scarcely alluding to these subjects, said that the Jews were so very few. That was one of the very arguments used with respect to the admission of the Roman Catholics into Parliament. He would ask the noble Lord whether he were encouraged by the success of that experiment to repeat it for other men, whether their number was large or small? Let him tell those hon. Members (members of the Roman Catholic Church) who were so fully prepared—with one honourable exception, whom he would not name—to vote for this new instance of liberality, that they at least were not disinterested on the subject; because he verily believed that, in every measure which should be brought forward in that House against the highest interest and duty of a Christian people—certainly against the temporal interests of the National Church—they would find in the Jews, whether they should be two or three, as the noble Lord fondly imagined—or, as he (Sir R. H. Inglis) believed would be the case, unless some very sweeping measure of reform should take place, many more should come in, as many who called themselves Christian statesmen had come in lately—men who would swell the band which was already on the march, united and powerful, as they were told—for union was strength. But this was a low view of the question. Whatever the numbers might be, was not the question with him. The real feeling which animated the minds of the people of England at this moment was, whether the plan of the noble Lord would not deliberately annul the profession of Christianity as the descriptive character of that House? The noble Lord proposed, in the first instance, to alter the words of the oath to be taken by Members of the House, with the avowed object of enabling the Jews to enter Parliament; but he could not do that without depriving the House of that characteristic which it had enjoyed for a thousand years. The noble Lord said that the words which prevented Alderman Solomons and Baron Rothschild from taking their seats "on the true faith of a Christian," were only put into the oath in 1606. If he were to admit the historical accuracy of the noble Lord, he would deny his conclusions; and he defied the noble Lord to contradict him when he said that, whether the words existed in the oath or not, no Jew could ever have entered the House of Commons, or taken his seat there, except by virtue of an oath sworn on some symbol of the Christian faith. The noble Lord would not allow them to go back to an earlier period than 1606, even though it included his own Magna Charta; but whether the noble Lord made his references early or late, he (Sir R. H. Inglis) would repeat that there never was an oath which could be taken by a Hebrew Jew. Therefore, whether the noble Lord were right or wrong, neither he nor any man could deny this proposition, that some Christian symbol or other—(he believed it was almost invariably on the open gospel)—was observed in the oath by which any judicial or civil office of any kind was assumed; and that not any admission to power, even of the lowest degree, was ever made without some Christian sanction. The noble Lord said that the Jews were not a separate nation. The more pious Jews contended that they were, and ever must be, distinctly a separate nation. If they took their stand as Members of Parliament, or of the Council, or of the Treasury bench, it might be matter of convenience to admit that they were not a separate nation; but that could not destroy the inherent, absolute, and essential character of being a distinct and separate nation—separate for 1,800 years before our Lord—for more than 1,800 years since; and separated perhaps for a time hereafter which no man could calculate. No Christian who knew anything of Jewish literature, or of their history, could fail to know that it was their distinguishing boast and characteristic that they were a separate nation—excepted from the rest of the world, and reserved for a great purpose, as a peculiar people, which human eyes could not penetrate, and that their highest aspiration was a return to their own land. He believed that to he the actual historical fact as entertained by the Jews, both with respect to their past state and to their present position. But the House was not to consider whether the Jews were many or few. If it were a claim of right he would yield it even to one solitary Jew, if no other Jew existed in the country; but if no such claim could be maintained, then he refused what was demanded, how many soever might be the claimants. He believed that in this case there existed no claim of right. It was simply and solely a question of expediency, and upon that ground he was prepared to resist it. The noble Lord said that the admission of the Jews into Parliament would not destroy the Christian character of the House. But what said their own writers? There was a man of the name of Van Oven—he (Sir R. H. Inglis) hoped and believed he was not an Englishman, but he wrote English, and had published a pamphlet in which he stated in so many words that we were not a Christian nation—what was his ground for that assertion? Why, said he, because we had Jews in this country who were British subjects, and were admitted to office. He (Sir R. H. Inglis) had heard it said that this was not a Protestant country, because the fourth, fifth, or sixth part of the population were Roman Catholic subjects of Her Majesty. The argument would be still stronger whenever it should be conceded to a Jew that he should have a seat in Parliament. But the great body of the people of England, knowing what their Christian privileges were, believed that they were entitled to be called a Christian nation; and it was in defence of their feelings, and in answer to their continued applications, that he now opposed the proposition of the noble Lord. No man would say that this question was a popular question with the people of England; and it was because he believed he was not resisting a claim of right, nor a claim of concession which would gratify the nation, that he adopted his present course, believing that this course would give satisfaction to an immense majority of his fellow countrymen, and that he was not denying justice to any man, but was consulting the best interests of the Church and of the people of England. But the noble Lord called upon the House to wipe away this last remaining persecution—this last remaining badge of intolerance. ["Hear, hear!"] Hon. Gentlemen might cheer, but he would ask whether it was injustice because he was unwilling that the door should be opened to the admission of one, who might be the adviser of the Sovereign and the keeper of the Royal conscience, who was by principle opposed to the best and highest mysteries of the Christian faith—one who would use all his influence to undermine that faith? He contended that there was neither persecution nor intolerance in maintaining the character of a Christian Legislature; and it was not because he hated the Jew, but it was because he loved Christianity, that he opposed the proposition of the noble Lord. It was not because he would refuse to do a kindness to every human being, but it was because he believed those whom he was now opposing resisted on principle and not, as Wilkes or Gibbon did, from a perverted nature, everything which he held sacred. Did Gibbon ever blaspheme the Christian religion when he came into that House? Did Wilkes? On the contrary, if it were true that hypocrisy was the homage which vice paid to virtue, so it was equally true on the part of those men, that their profession of Christianity and the respect which they externally paid to it, bad as it was as compared with a really religious feeling, was better than open and avowed blasphemy. He (Sir R. H. Inglis) believed that this would not be considered "the last remnant of persecution," the last object of contention, which would remain, if Parliament were unhappily to concede what the noble Lord proposed; other propositions would be brought forward, and would obtain a willing support from some Gentlemen present. Some would urge that the British dominions in India contain a vast number of Parsees and Mahomedans. [Cheers.] That cheer showed that it would he so. But then what became of the principle that the Christian religion of England was its highest privilege, its most sacred trust? Did hon. Members believe, or did they not believe, that they were summoned to Parliament to consult on measures to promote the spiritual as well as the temporal interests of the kingdom? If they did, let them resist the admission of the Jews; if they did not believe it, let them concede the matter. But, in that case, let them not believe that they would satisfy even those whom they admitted. They would be left dissatisfied; and so would many others, who were equally (if this principle were right) entitled to relief, but whom he (Sir R. H. Inglis) believed this country would never tolerate in the House of Commons—the avowed heathen, or the avowed Mahomedan. It was said by Sir Robert Grant, that at all events the Jew believed half of what we did; he (Sir. R. H. Inglis) denied that; but the others believed nothing and yet, if the House were consistent, it must be prepared to destroy, not merely the Protestant, or the Church character, but the Christian character of the Legislature, and of the depositories of power. For these reasons he should resist the Motion which the noble Lord had now for the sixth time brought before the House; and he trusted that the fatal measure to which the House was asked to agree, might yet, by the Divine blessing, be averted.


said, that he had given a silent vote upon this question on the last occasion when it was before the House, and therefore he was anxious to avail him- self of the favourable opportunity now afforded to say a few words; and he had the greater gratification in giving expression to his opinions, because, in addition to their being the result of a conscientious conviction in his own mind, he felt that he was but giving a fair, though a feeble interpretation to the drift of public opinion. He considered that there were just grounds for contesting some of the arguments of those who were for the admission of the Jews to the House of Commons. It was true that Parliament had voted Catholic Emancipation, had abolished the disabilities under which Protestant Dissenters and Quakers laboured; and even the Jews were allowed to exercise functions from which they were formerly and but recently debarred; they could fill the office of magistrate, chief magistrate of the City of London, and chairman of quarter-sessions; and of course the exercise of the elective franchise was open to them, and they were free in the exercise of their religious sentiments; but it was now argued that having admitted the Jews to every other right and privilege of free citizens, it was necessary, in order to complete the edifice of social and religious liberty, to emancipate them from the disability to occupy seats in the House of Commons. It was argued that their exclusion was a slur upon the Christian character of our institutions rather than their admission would be, and that therefore this "last badge of intolerance," as the noble Lord the Member for the City of London called it, should be abolished. He did not agree with this view. But he was ready to admit that, if circumstances required it, there never was a more fitting opportunity than the present for the House to express itself in favour of civil and religious liberty. For, while we saw and must lament the spirit of intolerance and bigotry prevailing abroad, it was our province, who stood at the head of civilisation, to do all we could to extend and promote a spirit of Christian charity and forbearance, and to mark our indignation at acts of oppression which in other countries affected religious opinions. On this account, knowing from experience in the diplomatic profession the good results that spring from a manly, straightforward, and honest expression of opinion, tendered in the shape of friendly advice, no matter whether to the Government of a country of the first order, or to one of comparative insignificance in the European balance of power, he, as a Member of Parliament, begged to offer his cordial thanks to the noble Lord the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs (Lord John Russell) for his admirably composed and high-spirited despatch to our Minister at Florence, which had lately been laid upon the table. And if he (Sir R. Peel) had not been accidentally obliged to be absent from the House last Thursday, he thought he could have answered the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas), when, in attempting to cite Protestant example in justification of the Tuscan persecution, he mentioned what he was pleased to call the extermination of the Jesuits from Switzerland, and also the affair of the seven Catholic Cantons; he could have told the hon. Member that the British Government did not support the views of the Confederation on religious grounds; that this country had nothing whatever to do with either of these transactions; and certainly had nothing to do with the expulsion of the Jesuits, which was entirely the result of the national will most clearly expressed. As to supporting the views of the Confederation against the Catholic Cantons, it did appear that the independence, and liberty, and welfare of the Swiss Confederation depended upon the success which, fortunately, attended that struggle; and subsequent events have indisputably proved the correctness of the views of the British Government of that period. This by way of parenthesis. He (Sir Robert Peel) would maintain that there never was a more fitting opportunity, if circumstances required it, for marking our approbation of civil and religious liberty; but he thought the introduction of Jews into that House had nothing whatever to do with the question of civil and religious liberty. So, at least, he should say, according to the interpretation we had been in the habit of giving to those expressions; but when he found a Member of the Government, who pretended accurately to know what were their views on all the important questions of the day, deliberately stating that those who opposed the introduction of Jews into Parliament ought never to pronounce the sacred words "civil and religious liberty," he (Sir Robert Peel), as one who opposed the revision of Parliamentary oaths for the purpose of admitting Jews into the House, must take leave to say that those expressions were erroneous and malicious. The hon. Gentleman referred to was one whom the Times used to call, and very aptly, the Jew Member for Aylesbury, who now, by some accident or other, found himself Solicitor General; but no doubt we should be told that nothing whatever insulting to the conscientious convictions of others was intended; as when Carlisle echoed with expressions of sympathy "for 40,000,000 of slaves," and the Odd Fellows Hall at Halifax resounded with imprecations against the Emperor of the French, we were told that of course nothing whatever derogatory to the character of the French Emperor or of the French was intended to be conveyed by these very direct insults. Why, Sir, he (Sir Robert Peel) being himself in favour of vote by ballot, might as well say that all who opposed that measure were actuated by improper feelings, and ought never to pronounce those sacred words which the Jew Member for Aylesbury would debar us for using; and he had clearly as much right to say that a Government comprising men who opposed, and men who approved of that measure of the ballot, was not entitled to that confidence and consideration from the people of England which they professed to enjoy. He would maintain that the introduction of Jews into that House had nothing whatever to do with the question of civil and religious liberty. He, for one, thoroughly approved of all that legislation which had marked the course of Parliamentary history during the last twenty-four years—that is, since Catholic Emancipation—on religious subjects, and would wish to be considered the last man in that House desirous of infringing religious liberty, or of retaining disabilities on the score of religion; but he did not think that the Jews felt any dissatisfaction at being excluded from seats in that House; no degradation was intended to he conveyed by their exclusion, and he did not think they felt any. They knew well that the State respected their institutions, their usages, their habits, and that they enjoyed far greater social liberty in this country than in any in Europe. Turn to parts of Prussia, Italy, or Poland, or, if you liked, Russia, and you would find it so. He did not wish to interfere with the liberty they enjoyed here; he thought they had shown themselves perhaps, on the whole, not altogether unworthy for that enjoyment; but he could not consent that laws which had been in existence almost since the great Revolution of 1688 should be abrogated for the purpose of admitting them into Parliament—laws prescribing oaths that had so long existed as a necessary preliminary to a seat in the House. It was perhaps right to say that because we had not now any Stuart to contest the Throne with the House of Hanover, we ought now to revise these oaths. Very probably circumstances required that those oaths should be revised; but that was no argument for doing away with the words, "On the true faith of a Christian," and no subtlety of argument would ever persuade him that those words were simply added, not as forming part of the oath, but merely to give a kind of solemnity to the engagement entered into by a Member of Parliament on taking his seat in that House. He could never believe that the words meant nothing. He was in favour of removing all disabilities from Roman Catholics and Dissenters; but there was no analogy between the case of Dissenters and Roman Catholics and that of the Hebrew community. It was not solely upon religious grounds that he opposed the introduction of the Jews into the House, but because he considered that those words, "On the true faith of a Christian," represented a great principle; and, denying, as the Jews did, the fundamental principles of Christianity, it was incompatible and inconsistent with the dignity and character of a Christian Parliament to admit them to the exercise of the highest functions of the State. This measure was unwise and unnecessary, and, consequently, impolitic. It was idle to say we need be under no apprehension of their swamping our institutions, or filling all the high offices of State. He did not believe any other constituency besides the City of London could be found confiding its political interests to a Hebrew legislator; but really we had seen of late such remarkable changes and contradictions, that it was almost impossible to argue what consequences might result from either men or measures, and he could not consent to run the risk of the possibility of that which might occur, and of the interests of the Church of England being submitted to the legislation of the Jews. What was the character, and respectability, and moral influence of the Jewish community in England? Their numbers were not above 30,000–30,000 among 30,000,000; but it would not matter one straw if there were 30 or 30,000, provided the principle was good, and there was a necessity for Parliament to interfere. Their charitable disposition and general good conduct he was perfectly ready to admit were worthy of our consideration; but he did not think that there was a title to all the great encomiums that some were in the habit of passing upon them in that House when such measures as the present were being considered. He would merely refer the House to what passed before the Select Committee on Juvenile Offenders. There it appeared in evidence that the chief instigators of crime in the metropolis were Jews. This was literally what appeared in evidence, and the statement was justified on the ground that the Jews almost exclusively afforded facilities for the disposal of stolen goods. He maintained, that if this was the case in the metropolis, it must be so in all the great centres of population—in Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham—and therefore the Jews were not, as a body, entitled to those high encomiums which were generally passed upon them. The House, however, must consider that they were now merely considering a personal affair of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London. That noble Lord had the honour of representing the City of London with a Jew, and he had given a pledge that he would annually bring forward in this House a measure upon the subject of the Jews' disabilities. Now, Baron Rothschild was probably a very worthy man—they all knew he was a very wealthy man—but he (Sir R. Peel) did not think he was entitled to a seat in that House on account of his wealth, for everybody was perfectly aware how that wealth had been amassed. It was only last night he had read in a newspaper which was very well informed upon foreign subjects, that the house of Rothschild had consented to grant a loan to the Government of Athens, with very considerable guarantees, at the rate of 9 per cent; and they could consequently very well understand how the Rothschild family had amassed their wealth. He was ready to admit that Baron Rothschild might be a very worthy man; but, at the same time, as much had been said by the President of the Board of Control (Sir C. Wood) about gagging the French and Belgian press, no one had done more to gag the expression of liberal opinions throughout the world than the house of Rothschild, from the loans contracted with despotic Governments, like, for instance, that of Naples. But, even supposing Baron Rothschild to be a very worthy man, he, for one, had expected, considering the qualities of the noble Lord who represented the Government in that House, and that the Government represented all the political factions that had combined to oppose the late Government, that the country would have received at his hands some measures more practical and more important for the material interest of the people of this country. In 1851 and 1852 they had been distinctly told by the noble Lord of the absolute necessity that existed for a new Reform Bill; and yet now that the noble Lord found himself leader in the House of Commons for a coalition Cabinet, that measure was almost indefinitely adjourned. At Carlisle, at Southwark, and in the City of London, we had heard of nothing else but allusions to the gross bribery, corruption, and intimidation which had prevailed over the country at the last election. He did not know whether the representatives of those places now in the Government spoke from personal experience; but he did not think the electors of this country had laid themselves open to that sweeping accusation which certain Members of the present Cabinet had so promiscuously heaped upon them. As, however, the noble Lord had thought proper to adjourn weightier considerations of Government for the purpose of hurriedly introducing a Jew Bill, he hoped, if there was no chance of success in that House, the other House of Parliament would still remain firm in the decision that they had on every occasion arrived at upon this question, and that they would resist the introduction of this Bill; but whether in this House or in the other, success accompanied the present measure, he, for one, upon conscientious convictions, believing that he was best fulfilling the wishes of those whose opinions he was to a certain extent bound to consider—believing also that in so doing he was giving a fair interpretation to the views of the people of this country, he gave to this Bill his most determined resistance, and he hoped that those hon. Members who might not have had an occasion of voting, or considering otherwise than tonight this question, might be found uniting to resist the introduction of a measure which he firmly believed was fraught with very considerable danger to the Christian character of our institutions.


said, the hon. Baronet who had just sat down, had described the question as a personal one of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London. That remark was, no doubt, intended as a taunt, but it was in fact about the highest compliment that could have been paid to him. The man who for the last thirty-years had been connected with every extension of civil and religious liberty might well consider it a personal compliment that the removal of the last badge of intolerance and bigotry should be treated as a matter of personal concern to himself. While listening to the hon. Baronet's speech on the Jew Bill, he could not help being reminded of that celebrated production, The Wandering Jew, so remarkable was it for discursiveness. The hon. Baronet said he represented the feelings of the people of England on the question —


explained that what he said was, that he thought he had given a feeble but fair representation of the feelings of the people of England.


He must say that he did not think the people of England agreed with the hon. Member there; and as for himself, he had been sent there by a large constituency, partly, in accordance with his own convictions, to assist the noble Lord in his attempt to secure the removal of the civil disabilities of the Jews. He was not at all disposed to quarrel with one argument which had been used against this Bill—and that was the desirableness of establishing a complete identity of religious opinion between Church and State—but, admitting it to be sound in the abstract, he believed that, in the present state of the world, it was physically impracticable. It had been objected that Jews could not conscientiously exercise functions in a Christian Legislature; and it was to be presumed that the inference from such a statement was, that the Hebrew was to be excluded, out of regard for his soul. This reminded him of what he had read somewhere or other that in the days of Queen Elizabeth, when the colonists of Virginia applied to the Ministry of the day for educational institutions, basing their application on the fact that "they had souls to be saved," the rather un-courteous reply was, "D—n your souls, grow tobacco." In like manner, the language applied by many at the present time was,"D—n your souls—make money." The House had been told that the Jews felt no annoyance at being kept out of the privilege of sitting in Parliament; but, if so, it must be on the same principle as that on which eels were said to feel no annoyance on being skinned—they were used to it. This was not, however, the feeling on the subject of Jews with whom he was acquainted. No man in that House would shrink more from speaking lightly of sacred things than he would. But he would not allow himself to be led away by a mere jingle of words. He would ask the House what single operative doctrine of the Christian religion was involved in Parliamentary Christianity? Did the Church of England believe that a person who denied the divinity of the Saviour was a Christian in his own sense of the word? Or could they give up every doctrine of the Christian religion, one after another, in order to admit every man who called himself a Christian, and still maintain that they professed a common Christianity? He held that such a course was unreasonable, and that the oath was, in fact, a mere form of words.


said, he would state, in as few words as possible, the reasons why he could not, on his Christian allegiance, give a vote in favour of this measure. He would suggest no personal motives to the noble Lord. When the point was whether Christianity should be an open question in the House of Commons, and whether the faith of 1800 years should again be put upon its trial, the subject should not be embarrassed by personal considerations. After giving to it the most intense consideration, he was compelled to resist the proposition. He put the question thus:—Would the noble Lord agree to admit a deist into that House? Would he consent to admit an atheist? He apprehended not;—his Bill, at least, was confined to Jews. [Lord JOHN RUSSELL: They have sat in this House.] But they had now to consider how the House was to be constituted, and not simply to take notice of the illegitimate intrusion, under a false profession, of those who had no right to be there. The noble Lord would not admit an atheist, he presumed, because he denied even the existence of God, on whose sovereign will depended the existence of every human being. Well, was not our Lord and Saviour God? Did not our whole Christianity depend upon the reality of His existence and sovereignty? Was it not for this very reason that the Members of that House were called upon to swear on the faith of a Christian as a true faith? Was not religion more than opinion? Did it not involve certain facts and a certain Christian faith? Could part of it be allowed to be denied, and the rest maintained? Was not the whole of the Scripture to be received as equally the revelation of the Almighty? Surely religious truth was to be regarded not less than religious liberty. There was an air of persuasive generosity about the sentiments of the noble Lord on the subject, which put the opponents of the measure in an unpopular position. But it would not hear the test of reason. For example, he would point to the fact that Members of that House belonging to all religious persuasions—Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, and Nonconformists—all united in a prayer to God through their common Saviour. Could they join in prayer to the Saviour with one who denied him? A line of demarcation existed at present between the Christian and the Jew, and were they to remove all religion and call that religious liberty? Could their Sabbaths, their Easter, their Christian arrangements, be subjected to Jewish control? The admission of the Jew into Parliament involved peculiar considerations not attaching to his admission to other privileges. For example, as a magistrate, the Jew only administered laws; as a legislator, he would make them. As a magistrate he was under definite obligations and discharged definite duties, for which he was responsible; whereas the reverse would be the case in his character as a member of the Legislature. He conceded to the noble Lord that the oath was not intended to exclude Jews; but then he maintained that it was based on the assumption that every man who sat in Parliament was a Christian. Let it be remembered that it was their common Christianity which inclined them to legislate on Christian principles, and in favour of religious liberty itself; and let it further be borne in mind, that if they admitted all persons without distinction into that House, there could be no common bond of union between them, and no one could argue any longer on the assumed basis of Christianity. He would make only one other observation. The history and the hopes of the Jew were in his mind surrounded with a heavenly grandeur, and they were asked not to persist in persecuting them. He had no desire to persecute, or in any way to help forward their affliction. He could only say, that having regard to the destiny which still appeared to hang over that nation—when he saw them, after the lapse of near 2,000 years still visibly marked by the hand of the Almighty in testimony of their rejection of our Lord and Saviour —he could not be a party to an act by which that House might be—he would not say denying—but at least dishonouring Him, whom they rejected. He could not consent to a national act which might yet bring down on the constitution of England shadows from Calvary.


rose with very great reluctance to address the House upon a question which had been so thoroughly exhausted during the discussions of the last six years, and which was much more fitted for immediate decision than for protracted debate, but he felt bound to admit that he was now about to give a vote which was entirely inconsistent with the votes which he had honestly given on the same subject upon former occasions. ["Hear!"] He perfectly understood the meaning of that cheer; but he would only say, as the hon. Member for the University of Oxford had judiciously remarked, that we were not so much to be blamed for an error we might have unwittingly committed, as we should be open to blame if we persevered in that error, contrary to our conviction. It was the fact that he had, in 1847 and 1849, voted against the measure now proposed, and that he was now prepared to vote in its favour, and that it was which now induced him to trespass for a few moments upon the attention of the House. He wished to say, that since 1849, he had advisedly and purposely refrained from ever taking any part in the discussion on this question. He had never either voted or spoken on the subject. Even allowing for the sake of argument that his convictions had remained entirely the same as they were, he did not think, after the deliberate and repeated discussions which had taken place, and after the way in which the House had, by large majorities, affirmed the principle that Jews should not be excluded from that House, that he would be justified in any longer offering an opposition to this measure; he had already on two occasions placed his opinion on record, and he thought that if he were continually to renew his opposition to a measure in favour of which the House had repeatedly pronounced, such conduct might be open to the charge of factiousness. He was willing, however, to admit that he did not intend to shelter himself under that plea; for, after the discussions which had taken place in the House, and the consideration he had given to the subject, he felt convinced that the arguments and reasons which had formerly been adduced in favour of the purely theoretical assertion that by admitting Her Majesty's Jewish subjects to their just privileges, the House was unchristianised, were, in reality not sound. He was aware of all the odium attaching to the admission he now made; but of late years he had never approached the consideration of this question without feeling that the old arguments against it, although not without a certain sound of plausibility, were not sound in principle, and there was nothing in them which would allow him further to oppose the entrance of the Jews into Parliament. If he were to speak an hour, he could add nothing to what had been said by the noble Member for the City of London, whose speech had remained unanswered, and was unanswerable; but he did not choose to give a silent vote upon the question. He felt bound to pay the penalty that was due for wrong and hasty votes given in 1847 and 1849.


considered that the measure now proposed to the House, if carried, would be regarded by a large mass of the people of this country as a great slight upon Christianity. It was pressed upon the House by the noble Lord as a claim of justice. If he could be satisfied that it was a claim of justice, he should no longer resist it. But he could not help thinking the noble Lord, in viewing this as a demand for justice, was considering only justice to one party. The noble Lord spoke of justice to the candidate. He wished to know whether justice was not to be shown to the constituencies. There were two questions to be considered. The first was whether it was right or not that some sort of qualification should be required of the representatives to be elected by the constituencies? The second question was, whether this particular qualification, the profession of the Christian religion, was a just qualification to be required? On the first question he thought there was no doubt. It must be remembered that representatives were, by the necessity of the case, elected by a majority of the constituents, and that that majority imposed on the minority, perhaps only by a few votes, a person to be their representative in Parliament who did not represent their opinions at all. That result could not be helped—it arose from the necessity of the case—but surely it was reasonable to say that the candidate whom the majority thus imposed upon the minority should be a man to whom no reasonable exception could be taken. Then came the question, was this requirement of the profession of Christianity a fair and reasonable qualification to require? Considering that this was a Christian country, and that the constituencies were as a whole Christians, he would say it was but reasonable to require that the candidate to be imposed by the majority on the minority of a constituency should be a person of the same faith with the nation at large. They talked of dealing with this matter as a civil and not as a religious question; but the two were so bound together in all social considerations that they could not be separated. If a man were imposed upon him as his representative in Parliament, was it unreasonable in him to say, with practical reference to many questions which might come before that House, that such a man should be a professor and believer of the Christian faith? Supposing a question brought forward touching the observance of the Lord's Day, a Jew, from the nature of the case, was not in a position to exercise any judgment upon it. That institution, which was observed by Christians in remembrance of Christian circumstances, was an observance into which the Jew could not enter. Let them again take the case of education. He did not mean Church education; but suppose they were asked to consider, as a branch of national education, whether instruction in the New Testament should form a part—a most important question in everyway, and one which, from the intimations of the noble Lord, they might soon be called upon to consider—he said it was not unreasonable that the minority of a constituency should have some guarantee that their representative was in a position to form and exercise an opinion on that subject. He said the Jew could not do it. They must have a believer in the New Testament to form an estimate of the advantages of that book forming part of a system of national education. Another question which he feared Parliament might have to discuss was the maintenance of the Established Church in the sister kingdom, and perhaps even in this kingdom. Now, he said a Jew was not in a position to exercise a judgment upon such a question, because he was not a believer in that book on which those institutions rested. Other examples might be put, in all of which it was reasonable to require that the representative imposed by a majority on a minority, should at least be in a position to exercise a judgment on questions of vital interest to the whole com- munity. When these views were taken into consideration, he thought that the argument for justice was against a measure of this kind, not in favour of it. In fact, this Bill sacrificed the justice which was due to the constituency to what was asserted to be the justice due to the candidate. It might just as well be said that it was unjust to impose a property qualification, as that it was unjust to impose the qualification of religious belief. For his own part, he thought that both were perfectly just, if the social interests of the country required them. He should give his most conscientious and earnest opposition to the proposed measure.


thought the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman who last spoke was characterised by the same weakness which had marked every speech that had been made against the Motion. The hon. Gentleman had asked them to consider the position in which they would be placed if they admitted Jews to that House if the question of what was to be done with the Established Church of Ireland should be brought before them. Why, he thought it was a sufficient answer to that objection to ask the hon. Member to look at the bench beneath him, which was occupied by the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas), and other hon. Gentlemen who entertained similar opinions. Every argument which had been used against admitting the Jews into Parliament, applied with equal force against the admission of the Roman Catholics. The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier), for whose acquirements, abilities, and virtues he readily admitted he entertained the highest respect, had told them that they would unchristianise the Legislature of this country if they admitted the Jews into Parliament. Now, he (Mr. Seymour) differed from the hon. and learned Gentleman in that respect, for he submitted that the best way to Christianise the Jews would be to admit them into that House: they would then no longer regard Christianity as the religion of their persecutors, but be won towards it as a system full of political justice and practical benevolence. In the reign of George the Second, when the question was raised whether Jews should be naturalised or not, there were people who prophesied gloomy things for England if such a measure should be adopted, and who said that if Jews were admitted to the privileges of naturalisation, they would purchase estates, and would use their power to the detriment and for the demolition of our constitution. The results that had followed, however, had set the stigma of falsehood upon that prophecy. If this had been the result of the Naturalisation Bill—if it was true that the Jews had hitherto exercised their rights as British subjects in a proper and becoming manner, why should not the Legislature go a step further, and admit them as Members of that House? When the Jew was found occupying our jury-boxes and exercising magisterial functions in our courts of justice—when he had won. his way by slow degrees to the very door of the House of Commons, was that door to be shut in his face just as he had reached the threshold—and was he to be told "You have demeaned yourself well hitherto—you have performed everything you undertook in a praiseworthy manner; but we cannot think of allowing Jew and Gentile Members to represent Jew and Gentile constituencies, and therefore we are compelled to shut the door against your admission? He would repeat that the true way to make the Jew a patriot was to admit him to the rights of naturalisation; and that the true way to make him a Christian was to admit him as a Member of that House. It had been said that the Jews were a degraded race; but if that allegation were true, it was ourselves who had degraded them by excluding them from the the rights of citizenship. It had been said that England had exhibited greater liberality towards the Jews than any other country in the world. He denied the truth of that assertion, and would refer to America and Prance as going further than we had done in liberality to the Jews. He begged to tell the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford and others, who professed to represent the views of the Church of England in opposition to this measure, that it would be well for them to look at the dissensions within that Church, and see how many sores there were that required a healing influence to be brought to bear upon them, rather than to weaken the Church still further by taking in her name an illiberal stand against the admission of their Jewish fellow-subjects to the free privileges of our glorious constitution. In conclusion, he begged to say that if they wanted a precedent for the present measure, he would refer them to the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, and the abolition of the Roman Catholic disabilities—if they wanted an example, he would refer them to that of America and France; if they wanted a motive, he would suggest the purest, holiest, and sublimest that could actuate man; and that was to give the Jews that measure of justice and constitutional right which they were entitled to ask as British subjects at the hands of a British Legislature.


said; he was very happy that he was in a different position from the noble Lord the Member for Dumfriesshire (Viscount Drumlanrig), and he (Colonel Sibthorp) might well say of that noble Lord, Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis. He (Colonel Sibthorp) would vote on that question as he had always voted, for he should be ashamed to represent that city which he had the honour to represent so many years if he dared for one moment to forget what he owed to Christianity by voting for such a measure. Nor could he understand how the noble Lord the Member for the City of London could attend prayers at that table, where hon. Members invoked the assistance of Him on whom they relied for all favours in this world, and for forgiveness in the next; how could that noble Lord, a Protestant adviser of a Protestant Sovereign, how could he, he asked, bring forward a measure, the only effect of which would be to unchristianise the Members of that House? How could he thus violate his duty to the Almighty? That noble Lord told them he had promised to bring in such a measure, and he would perform his promise; but he (Colonel Sibthorp) supposed he did so on the principle, "Scratch me, and I'll scratch you." That was not what the leader on the other side of the House ought to practise, or hold forth such conduct to the country. He had no doubt the hon. Gentleman for whose benefit the noble Lord introduced that measure was a good, an honest, an excellent man, but he was a Jew. He was proud to give his support to the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford.


begged simply to say, that he belonged to a faith which had been most maligned in that House and the country next to that whose members it was now proposed to admit to legislative privileges; and that, having himself suffered under religious disabilities, he felt that it was his dirty not merely to vote, but to speak on behalf of that portion of his fellow subjects who were still suffering from such restrictions. In recent discussions in that House, the Catholics had been stigmatised as the opponents of civil and religious liberty. He begged to say, that in his humble opinion every subject of the British Crown who acknowledged his allegiance to the Sovereign, and did his duty to the country, ought to be admitted to each and every privilege of a British subject. He believed that that was the intention of the constitution; and he hoped to sec the day when, not only the Jew, but the Mahomedan, would be entitled to all the privileges of a British subject.

Motion made, and Question put— That this House do resolve itself into a Committee to take into consideration certain Civil Disabilities affecting the Jews.

The House divided:—Ayes 234; Noes 205: Majority 29.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.
Alcock, T. Coffin, W.
Anderson, Sir J. Collier, R. P.
Anson, Hon. Gen. Corbally, M. E.
Atherton, W. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Bailey, C. Craufurd, E. H. J.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Crook, J.
Ball, E. Crossley, F.
Ball, J. Crowder, R. B.
Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T. Cubitt, Ald.
Barnes, T. Currie, R.
Bass, M. T. Dashwood, Sir G. H.
Bell, J. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Bellew, Capt. Denison, J. E.
Berkeley, Adm. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Divett, E.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Drumlanrig, Visct.
Bethell, R. Duff, G. S.
Blackett, J. F. B. Duff, J.
Bonham-Carter, J. Duffy, C. G.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Duke, Sir J.
Boyle, hon. Col. Duncan, G.
Brady, J. Duncombe, T.
Brand, hon. H. B. W. Dundas, F.
Brocklehurst, J. Dunlop, A. M.
Brotherton, J. Ellice, E.
Brown, H. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Browne, V. Esmonde, J.
Bruce, H. A. Evans, Sir De L.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Evans, W.
Butler, C. S. Ewart, W.
Byng, hon. G. H. C. Fagan, W.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Ferguson, Sir R.
Cayley, E. S. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Challis, Ald. Forster, M.
Charteris, hon. F. Forster, C.
Cheetham, J. Fox, W. J.
Clay, J. Freestun, Col.
Clay, Sir W. French, F.
Clifford, H. M. Gardner, R.
Clinton, Lord R. Gaskell, J. M.
Cobden, R. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. Mure, Col.
Glyn, G. C. Murphy, F. S.
Goderich, Visct. Norreys, Lord
Goodman, Sir G. O'Connell, M.
Gower, hon. F. L. O'Flaherty, A.
Grace, O. D. J. Oliveira, B.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Osborne, R.
Greene, J. Otway, A. J.
Gregson, S. Palmerston, Visct.
Grenfell, C. W. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Greville, Col. F. Peel, F.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Pellatt, A.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Phillimore, J. G.
Hadfield, G. Phillimore, R. J.
Hall, Sir B. Phinn, T.
Harcourt, G. G. Pigott, F.
Hastie, A. Pilkington, J.
Hastie, A. Pinney, W.
Headlam, T. E. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Henchy, D. O. Ponsonby, hon. A. G. J.
Heneage, G. F. Portman, hon. W. H. B.
Herbert, H. A. Price, W. P.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Ricardo, O.
Heywood, J. Rice, E. R.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Robartes, T. J. A.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Russell, Lord J.
Howard, Lord E. Russell, F. C. H.
Hudson, G. Sawle, C. B. G.
Hume, J. Scholefield, W.
Hutchins, E. J. Scobell, Capt.
Hutt, W. Scrope, G. P.
Ingham, R. Scully, F.
Jackson, W. Seymour, Lord
Jermyn, Earl Seymour, H. D.
Johnstone, Sir J. Seymour, W. D.
Keating, R. Shelburne, Earl of
Keating, H. S. Shelley, Sir J. V.
Kennedy, T. Sheridan, R. B.
Kershaw, J. Smith, J. A.
King, hon. P. J. L. Smith, J. B.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Smith, M. T.
Kirk, W. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Stafford, Marq. of
Langston, J. H. Stanley, Lord
Laslett, W. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Lawley, hon. F. C. Stapleton, J.
Layard, A. H. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Locke, J. Stuart, Lord D.
Loveden, P. Sullivan, M.
Lowe, R. Swift, R.
Lucas, F. Talbot, C. R. M.
Luce, T. Tancred, H. W.
M'Cann, J. Thicknesse, R. A.
M'Mahon, P. Thompson, G.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Thornely, T.
Magan, W. H. Tomline, G.
Marshall, W. Towneley, C.
Massey, W. N. Traill, G.
Matheson, A. Vernon, G. E. H.
Matheson, Sir J. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Miall, E. Vivian, J. H.
Michell, W. Vivian, H. H.
Milligan, R. Wall, C. B.
Mills, T. Walmsley, Sir J.
Milner, W. M. E. Walter, J.
Milnes, R. M. Warner, E.
Moffatt, G. Whalley, G. H.
Monck, Visct. Whitbread, S.
Moncreiff, J. Wickham, H. W.
Monsell, W. Wilkinson, W. A.
Morris, D. Willcox, B. M.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Williams, W.
Mulgrave, Earl of Wilson, J.
Wilson, M. Wyvill, M.
Winnington, Sir T. E. Young, rt. hon. Sir J.
Hayter, W. G. Berkeley, C. L. G.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, C. B. Forester, rt. hon. Col.
Annesley, Earl of Forster, Sir G.
Arbuthnott, hon. Gen. Franklyn, G. W.
Arkwright, G. Fraser, Sir W. A.
Astell, J. H. Freshfield, J. W.
Bagge, W. Frewen, C. H.
Bailey, Sir J. Gladstone, C.
Baillie, H. J. Goddard, A. L.
Baldock, E. H. Gooch, Sir E. S.
Bankes, rt. hon. G. Gordon, Adm.
Barrington, Visct. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Barrow, W. H. Graham, Lord M. W.
Bennet, P. Granby, Marq. of
Bentinck, Lord H. Grogan, E.
Bentinck, G. P. Guernsey, Lord
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Gwyn, H.
Blair, Col. Hale, R. B.
Blandford, Marq. of Halford, Sir H.
Boldero, Col. Hall, Col.
Booker, T. W. Halsey, T. P.
Bramston, T. W. Hamilton, G. A.
Bremridge, R. Hamilton, J. H.
Brisco, M. Hanbury, hon. C. S. B.
Brooke, Lord Harcourt, Col.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Heneage, G. H. W.
Bruce, C. L. C. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Buck, L. W. Herbert, Sir T.
Burghley, Lord Hervey, Lord A.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Hildyard, R. C.
Butt, G. M. Hope, Sir J.
Butt, I. Hotham, Lord
Cairns, H. M. Irton, S.
Campbell, Sir A. I. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Chelsea, Visct. Jones, Capt.
Child, S. Jones, D.
Cholmondeley, Lord H. Kendall, N.
Christopher, rt. hn. R. A. Ker, D. S.
Christy, S. Kerrison, E. C.
Clive, hon. R. H. King, J. K.
Clive, R. Kingscote, R. N. F.
Cobbett, J. M. Knatchbull, W. F.
Cobbold, J. C. Knight, F. W.
Cocks, T. S. Knightley, R.
Codrington, Sir W. Knox, Col.
Coles, H. B. Knox, hon. W. S.
Compton, H. C. Lacon, Sir E.
Davies, D. A. S. Langton, W. G.
Davison, R. Lewisham, Visct.
Deedes, W. Liddell, H. G.
Dering, Sir E. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Dod, J. W. Lockhart, W.
Drax, J. S. W. Long, W.
Du Cane, C. Lovaine, Lord
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Lowther, hon. Col.
Duncombe, hon. A. Lowther, Capt.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Macartney, G.
Dundas, G. Macaulay, K.
Du Pre, C. G. Mackie, J.
East, Sir J. B. M'Gregor, J.
Egerton, Sir P. Maudeville, Visct.
Emlyn, Visct. Manners, Lord G.
Evelyn, W. J. Manners, Lord J.
Farnham, E. B. March, Earl of
Farrer, J. Mare, C. J.
Floyer, J. Martin, J.
Follett, B. S. Masterman, J.
Maunsell, T. P. Somerset, Capt.
Meux, Sir H. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Miles, W. Spooner, R.
Miller, T. J. Stafford, A.
Mills, A. Stanhope, J. B.
Montgomery, Sir G. Stuart, H.
Moody, C. A. Taylor, Col.
Morgan, C. R. Thesiger, Sir F.
Mullings, J. R. Thompson, Ald.
Mundy, W. Tollemache, J.
Naas, Lord Trollope, rt. hn. Sir J.
Napier, rt. hon. J. Tudway, R. C.
Neeld. J. Turner, C.
Newdegate, C. N. Tyler, Sir G.
Noel, hon. G. J. Vance, J.
North, Col. Vansittart, G. H.
Oakes, J. H. P. Verner, Sir W.
Ossulston, Lord Villiers, hon. F.
Packe, C. W. Vivian, J. E.
Pakington, rt. hon. Sir J. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Palmer, R. Waddington, H. S.
Parker, R. T. Walcott, Adm.
Peel, Sir R. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Peel, Col. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Percy, hon. J. W. Wellesley, Lord C.
Phillipps, J. H. West, F. R.
Prime, R. Whitmore, H.
Repton, G. W. J. Wigram, L. T.
Robertson, P. F. Willoughby, Sir H.
Rolt, P. Wise, J. A.
Rushout, Capt. Wyndham, Gen.
Scott, hon. F. Wyndham, W.
Seaham, Visct. Wynn, H. W. W.
Seymer, H. K. Wynne, W. W. E.
Sibthorp, Col. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Smijth, Sir W. TELLERS.
Smith, W. M. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Smyth, J. G. Mackenzie, W. F.

Matter considered in Committee. 1. Resolved—That it is expedient to remove all civil disabilities at present existing affecting Her Majesty's subjects of the Jewish persuasion, in like manner, and with the like exceptions, as are provided with reference to Her Majesty's subjects professing the Roman Catholic religion. 2. Resolved—That the Chairman be directed to move the House, that leave be given to bring in a Bill upon the said Resolution.

Resolutions reported.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Wilson Patten, Lord John Russell, and Viscount Palmerston.

House resumed.