HC Deb 09 April 1856 vol 141 cc703-56

Order for Second Reading read.


rose to move the second reading of this Bill, and observed that, not having had an opportunity of making any statement with reference to it on the occasion of its introduction, he would now submit to hon. Members certain considerations which appeared to him well calculated to induce the House to give a favourable reception to the measure. This course was the more incumbent on him as he found that he was threatened with opposition, though, indeed, remem- bering in what the main difference consisted between the hon. Gentlemen who supported the Bill and those who sat on the other side of the House, he had not been without hope that he might have been permitted to carry the Bill through its present stage. To avoid misapprehension as to the objects he had in view, and to guard against the danger of being lured into a wider field of discussion than the occasion required, he would assure the House at the outset that he had no desire to raise the general question of promissory political oaths, or the kindred question to what extent such oaths formed the real securities for the Crown and Government of this country. But he would claim the assent of hon. Members to these obvious propositions, that political oaths ought to be suited to the times in which they were taken, and that useless oaths were opposed alike to policy and religion. He might also assert with confidence that the position that had been laid down by a Committee of the House of Lords in 1834—namely, that it was the duty of the Legislature to abolish all unnecessary oaths, commended itself to the judgment and good feeling of the Commons; as also did the opinion advanced by the same Committee that, even where oaths were retained, care should be taken to avoid their needless repetition. These were such obvious maxims, so true and clear, that he would not attempt to enforce them by any argument; but it would be for him to show that with these principles the proposition he was now making, that this Bill be read a second time, was strictly consistent. The Bill dealt only with one oath. It simply affected the law which required that the oath of abjuration should be taken by persons occupying a variety of offices in this country, and also by the Members of both Houses of Parliament. It was substantially the same as the measure that had been brought into the other branch of the Legislature by his noble and learned (Friend Lord Lyndhurst), and, though verbally different, it enjoyed the entire approval of that distinguished man. The enacting clause merely provided that the oath of abjuration and the assurance, as set forth and prescribed in an Act of his late Majesty George III., should not, from and after the passing of this Act, be required to be taken, subscribed, or made on any occasion or for any purpose whatsoever. There was no interference here with the obligation now imposed by law on Roman Catholics, to take the oath prescribed in the Roman Catholic Relief Act, nor did the Bill affect, in the slightest degree, the liability which would still remain to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. The Bill confined itself exclusively to one object—the relief of all Her Majesty's subjects from the obligation of taking the oath of abjuration; and it did so on this ground—that the oath in question was a political one, adapted to meet a political danger existing at the time of its introduction, and that, that danger having long since passed away, the oath itself was now superfluous and unnecessary. To certain hon. Members, who had paid but little attention to this subject, it might perhaps occur that, in asking them to discontinue a practice that had prevailed for a century and a-half, he was soliciting their sanction for a, needless innovation; but, if they would read the oath and reflect for a moment on its history, there would probably arise in their mind a feeling that there was a strong antecedent probability that an oath originally imposed under a state of things so unlike our own might be unsuitable to the days in which we now lived, and that lapse of time, and change of circumstances, had completely superseded the necessity for its administration. That we should have so long neglected looking into this matter need not surprise us, seeing that we were now daily employed in getting rid of obsolete oaths. One of the objects of the Universities Bill now before Parliament was to enable the authorities of those institutions to dispense with obsolete oaths. Soon after the passing of an Act introduced in the reign of William IV. with the object of providing for the abolition of unnecessary oaths, and which Act, moreover, contained an exception in certain cases connected with the Customs and Excise from the very oath now under consideration, there was laid upon the table a return showing that the operation of the measure in question had been to abolish in the course of a single year no fewer than 125,000 oaths. He defied the keenest scrutiny to point out the slightest insecurity to our institutions consequent upon the removal of this huge heap of oaths. Let him now call the attention of the House, and especially that of the hon. and learned Member for Stamford (Sir F. Thesiger), who had given notice of an Amendment to continue the law in its present shape, to the anomalous position in which the oath of abjuration now stood. By his proposal to retain the existing law, the hon. and learned Gentleman would no doubt tell them that he did not mean to assert that the oath should be enforced indiscriminately upon all who were now required by statute to take it, but that it should be systematically waved in numerous instances. If the House, however, were really not prepared to enforce a law, it was surely high time for them to inquire whether that law ought not to be either wholly repealed or materially modified. He had obtained the opinion of eminent counsel as to the various classes of persons who could be legally called upon to take this oath, and found that they comprised all the officers and men in the naval and military services of the country, persons holding offices of various kinds, barristers, solicitors, as well as schoolmasters and ministers of religion; so that if the statute were rigorously carried out, as Jews could not conscientiously take the oath, in consequence of its form of words, it would practically prohibit the education of Jewish children and totally suppress the public worship of that persuasion. The only person exempted by law, from the abjuration oath, were the officers of the Customs and Excise department, who were simply required to take the oath of allegiance. The enforcement of the law would, therefore, amount to a virtual outlawry of a portion of Her Majesty's loyal and affectionate subjects. The hon. and learned Member for Stamford would probably remind him of the acts of indemnity passed year after year to relieve persons holding the offices and employments enumerated by the statute from the penalties which it attached to non-compliance with its provisions; but then it would surely be far more rational (to use the language of Lord Brougham) to pass a perpetual instead of an annual indemnity, and thus wholly to remit the obligation to obey this obsolete enactment. In the cases in which the oath was insisted upon, namely, when it was made a preliminary condition to the assumption of any office—no doubt it now affected many persons injuriously; but in the great majority of instances, namely, where it was not required to be taken, except at stated periods, subsequent to the original appointment to any situation—the law slept, and the parties were allowed to escape the oath entirely. The enforcement of the law which the hon. and learned Member for Stamford wished to preserve would, however, exclude Members of the Jewish persuasion who now practised in our courts as barristers and solicitors from all professional employment. Another inconsistency which marked the present state of things was that Members of Parliament were the only class of persons denied a share in the benefits of the annual Indemnity Act. The avowed object of the oath of abjuration was to bind down persons engaged in the discharge of important executive duties from perverting the power vested in them by the Crown to further the claims of the Pretender, and the persons specially contemplated in its enactment were those connected with the army and navy, the teachers of youth, and the ministers of religion. Yet the crowd for whom the oath was chiefly prescribed were exempted from taking it by the annual acts of indemnity, while Members of Parliament were, on the other hand, pertinaciously held to the obligation. As illustrative of the intended universality of the abjuration oath, when originally imposed, it might be mentioned that it was related in Boswell's Life of Johnson, that the person who drew it up shamelessly boasted that he had devised an oath that would damn one half of the nation and starve the rest. And certainly many persons might be starved at the present day if the law, which the hon. and learned Member for Stamford proposed to maintain, were impartially exacted. The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, could not really mean to enforce the provisions of the statute; he was prepared to practically repeal the laws to a considerable extent; and, therefore, it was rather hard that he should oppose the second reading of a Bill which would grant relief in a proper and legal manner to the very class of cases which he himself held to be entitled to it. The first ground on which, he asked for support for the second reading of this Bill was, that no reasonable man could desire the oath of abjuration to be maintained in its present shape. Alter the form of this oath they must, whatever else they refused to do. Nobody would dispute that; and therefore it was surprising that the hon. and learned Member intended to resort to the extreme course of attempting to throw out the Bill, the more especially as one of the Members for Cambridge University had given notice of his intention to bring in a measure to alter the wording of the oath, as being unsuited to the times in which we live. Certainly, he (Mr. Gibson) would not have treated that Bill as the hon. and learned Member for Stamford proposed to treat the present one. In his own opinion, no substitute for the existing oath of abjuration was at all needed; but those who took a different view would not be precluded by voting for the second reading from proposing a modified form of words when the Bill was in Committee. One thing, however, was quite clear. This oath could not be retained as it now stood. Its abjuring clause was as follows:— And I do solemnly and sincerely declare, that I do believe, in my conscience, that not any of the descendants of the person who pretended to be a Prince of Wales during the life of the late King James the Second, and since his decease, pretended to be, and took upon himself the style and title of King of England, by the name of James the Third, or of Scotland, by the name of James the Eighth, or the style and title of King of Great Britain, hath any right or title whatsoever to the Crown of this realm, or any other the dominions thereunto belonging; and I do renounce, refuse, and abjure any allegiance or obedience to any of them. The only persons here abjured were the descendants of the person who pretended to be Prince of Wales in the life of James II.; but it was a notorious and indisputable fact that none of the descendants of that individual now existed; and to make a solemn appeal to the Deity in attestation of our renunciation of all allegiance to persons who had no existence would be simply ridiculous, if it was not manifestly profane. This part of the oath was a palpable anachronism. On this point Lord Derby, on the second reading of a "Bill to alter the oaths," in another place said— "I do not object to leaving out of the oath the words "renouncing allegiance to the Pretender." But this clause omitted, the oath at once lost its distinctive character; for it could hardly be contended that, if the abjuring words were expunged, it could any longer deserve the name of an "oath of abjuration." It would then only consist of a series of affirmative promises to do certain things. The preamble of the Act first prescribing this oath, and which received the sanction of William III., only when that great monarch was on his deathbed, distinctly showed that the renunciation of the claims of the person pretending to be the Prince of Wales in the reign of James II., and, together with his descendants, was the main and primary object of the enactment. The preamble stated— Whereas the French king, in hopes of disturbing the peace and repose of your Majesty and your kingdoms, and creating divisions therein, hath, since the making of the said Act, caused the pretended Prince of Wales to be proclaimed in your Majesty's said kingdom of France by the name, style, and title of James," &c. This oath was, therefore, at first framed to abjure the Pretender; but when the Pretender died in 1765, Parliament did not act so absurdly as to cling to a form of words which his decease had rendered obsolete; but changed its phraseology so as to point it against his descendants. Therefore, now that the descendants of the Pretender were all extinct, the House would only be conforming to established precedent in again adapting the oath to the altered circumstances of the times. When Lord Lyndhurst introduced a Bill for the alteration of the oath into the other house, Lord Derby, although differing from the noble and learned Lord on the question of Jewish emancipation, consented to the second reading of the measure, in order to secure the excision of the effete part of this oath; and he hoped that the hon. and learned Member for Stamford would now follow the example of his leader, and allow this Bill to go into Committee. He (Mr. Gibson) was, however, prepared to show that the whole of this oath could be not only safely but advantageously dispensed with. Having already disposed of the paragraph abjuring the Pretender, what were the clauses of the oath that remained? The opening words were these:— 1. A. B., do truly and sincerely acknowledge, profess, testify, and declare, in my conscience, before God and the world, that our Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria is lawful and rightful Queen of this realm, and all other Her Majesty's dominions and countries thereunto belonging. These words were quite superfluous, their purport being plainly included in the oath of allegiance, by which the persons sworn promised to "bear faith and true allegiance to Queen Victoria." The engagement taken by the oath of abjuration then proceeded:— And her will defend to the utmost of my power against all traitorous conspiracies and attempts whatsoever, which shall be made against Her person, crown, or dignity. The obligation to defend the Sovereign from traitorous conspiracies was necessarily implied in the undertaking to bear faith and true allegiance; and this passage was therefore only surplusage. The same remark applied to the next clause—namely:— And I will do my utmost endeavour to disclose and make known to Her Majesty, and Her successors, all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which I shall know to be against Her or any of them. The oath then continued— And I do faithfully promise, to the utmost of my power, to support, maintain, and defend the succession of the Crown against the descendants of the said James, and against all other persons whatsoever; which succession, by an Act intituled 'An Act for the further Limitation of the Crown, and better securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject,' is and stands limited to the Princess Sophia, Electoress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants. To promise to defend the Queen against the descendants of "the said James," was to promise nothing, because those descendants had no existence, and therefore these words being wholly impertinent ought unquestionably to be struck out. To say that we would support Her Majesty against "all other persons whatsoever," had indeed more apparent significance; but, armed as he was with the authority of both Lord Lyndhurst and the Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench on this point, he ventured to assert that there was no necessity for any oath to maintain the Act of Succession. On the demise of the Crown, the Sovereignty instantly vested in the Protestant heir under the Act of Settlement, and all Members of Parliament were required to swear allegiance to the new monarch. Thus, allegiance to the Protestant succession was fully provided for. The support of the succession was also involved in the oath of allegiance, inasmuch as it would be impossible to be faithful to Queen Victoria and yet engage in plots to subvert her rights and those of her legal heir, the Prince of Wales. Moreover, the oath of abjuration did not bind Members of Parliament in their legislative capacity. That proposition was admitted on all hands. It was once disputed whether the King after taking the coronation oath could consistently give his assent to the Roman Catholic Relief Bill; but it was afterwards held that that obligation was only binding on him in his executive and not his legislative capacity. If the Act of Succession could speak for itself it would hardly thank them for an oath like this, which could not prevent the three branches of the Legislature from altering the succession if they saw fit. At the same time, when Lord Lyndhurst introduced his Oaths Bill into the other House, he was ready to agree to a form of words guarding the succession, out of deference to those who thought that necessary. In a similar spirit he (Mr. Gibson) was willing, if the omission of such a provision were made a, material objection to his Bill, to offer no resistance to its insertion. It might be as well to mention that when the Criminal Law Commissioners reviewed the oaths some time ago, they recommended that an obligation to maintain the succession to the throne, as limited by the Act of Settlement, should be added to the oath of allegiance to the reigning monarch. Whether the object in view should he effected in that form or otherwise, it would, however, depend upon the wisdom of Parliament to decide. He had now come to the concluding part of the abjuration oath, which was as follows— And all these things I do plainly and sincerely acknowledge and swear, according to these express words by me spoken, and according to the plain common sense and understanding of the same words, without any equivocation, mental evasion, or secret reservation whatsoever; and I do make this recognition, acknowledgment, abjuration, renunciation, and promise, heartily, willingly, and truly, upon the true faith of a Christian, so help me God. Having got rid of all the antecedent paragraphs, this one must, as a matter of course, go likewise, because there would be nothing left to "acknowledge and swear." The words of acknowledgment and recognition, on "the true faith of a Christian," would thus be disposed of, unless it was to be contended that they were a substantial part of the oath and ought to be maintained as a declaration of religious belief. If this were the ground taken by the hon. and learned Member for Stamford, nothing would be easier than for him to enact that as a qualification for sitting in that House, and for filling public offices and other situations, a declaration of religious faith should be insisted on. That would be a straightforward and intelligible proceeding, and if Parliament assented to it, it would have to be submitted to, as the law of the land, by every man, however dissatisfied individually with such a principle. But if the oath were in itself obsolete and unnecessary, surely the hon. and learned Gentleman would not seek to keep it alive for the indirect object of instituting a religious test. Parliament had formerly enacted such tests for the avowed purpose of excluding from the Legislature and from certain offices persons whose religious or political creed was supposed to be dangerous to the State; and, therefore, it would he unfair to insist on retain- ing the words, "On the true faith of a Christian," until the House first declared its express intention to be to withhold the civil rights of a portion of Her Majesty's subjects. If any one point was more clearly elucidated than another, at the trial of Miller v. Salomons, in the Court of Exchequer, it was that the concluding words of the oath of abjuration were never meant to be a religious test. Mr. Baron Alderson distinctly stated that these words were not a religious test, and he explained the manner in which they found their way into the oath. It was thought that the introduction of those words would render the oath of abjuration binding upon some persons, who might otherwise have taken the oath with a mental reservation. Baron Alderson said— 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 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. This treatise, corrected in the hand of the Jesuit Garnet, and having the imprimatur of Blackwell, the then arch-priest of' England, discusses the question how far a person called upon, as he thinks unjustly, to make a declaration or promise, or to depose or swear to a fact within his personal knowledge, may lawfully equivocate by using ambiguous words or reserving mentally a sense of the words used different from that outwardly expressed by him, without incurring the sin of lying or the guilt of perjury. The question is there resolved in the affirmative, that he may lawfully do this; and among other propositions it is affirmed that even if he be required by the form of the oath tendered in terms to swear, 'without equivocation or mental reservation,' he may still equivocate and mentally reserve without danger to his soul. But in that treatise there is one exception to all this. No person is allowed to equivocate or mentally reserve, without danger, if he does so, of incurring mortal sin, when his doing so brings apparently his true faith towards God in doubt or dispute. For, though ho may lawfully, on proper occasions, omit to avow his true faith, he must never, by what he says or swears, bring apparently his true faith into doubt or dispute with others. Now, this treatise being before the Government of James I., and in the hands of his Attorney General, and used at the trial of the Gunpowder Plot, we find in the same year, 1605, that in a statute enacted mainly with reference to the same plot, these words, 'On the true faith of a Christian,' are for the first time added to the oath of obedience then framed, and for the obvious purpose, as I think, of preventing effectually all such equivocation. 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 obedience, and framed so as to be a test against all equivocation also. If, then, this was a correct view of the intention of the Legislature in adding these words to the oath of abjuration, was it fair to advocate their retention for the purpose of using them as a religious test? If it was intended to exclude Jews, or any other persons from that House, from public employment, or from the enjoyment of civil rights, that object should be effected by statutory enactment; for no British subject ought to be deprived of civil rights without the consent of the Crown, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The consent of the three branches of the Legislature had not been given to the use of this oath as a religious test, and it was, therefore, most unjust to apply it in a manner which deprived a portion of Her Majesty's subjects of those civil rights to which they were equally entitled with the rest of their fellow-citizens. Mr. Baron Alderson, in the course of his judgment, expressed his serious regret that he was obliged, as a mere expounder of the law, to come to the conclusion that the words must be retained as an essential part of the oath. The learned Baron said he did not believe that the case of the Jews was at all thought of by the Legislature when they framed this oath, and that he thought it would be more worthy of this country—if the Jews were to be excluded from any privilege, as to which he would say nothing—so to exclude them by some direct enactment, and not by the casual operation of a clause which was apparently intended to apply to a very different class of persons. It was a singular circumstance that the words "on the true faith of a Christian," which were originally intended to apply to the Roman Catholic subjects of the British Crown, did not at present apply to those persons, for they were omitted from the oath now taken by members of the Roman Catholic Church. He could not forget that he had seen gentlemen who had been chosen to represent free constituencies in Parliament, and who were legally qualified to sit in that House, excluded from the privilege, because they could not, without a violation of conscience, take the oath of abjuration. This fact of itself seemed to him a strong reason for abolishing that oath, but as he had shown, besides that the oath was unnecessary and obsolete, he thought it was perfectly monstrous to use it as an indirect means of depriving individuals of those rights to which they were fairly entitled. He might remind the House that, in consequence of the existence of this oath, the City of London had, for about nine years, been unrepresented in that House to the full extent to which it was entitled to be represented. He must say, however, that in proposing the present Bill, he did not appear as the advocate of Baron Rothschild, or of any other individual. He had never had any communication with Baron Rothschild, on the subject of the measure, and he brought forward the Bill because, as an Englishman and a Member of the British Parliament, he felt interested in the maintenance of a principle which in itself was of the highest value, without any reference to the personal claims of Baron Rothschild. He conceived that the principle of religious equality—the principle that men should not be excluded from civil office and employment on account of their religious opinions—was one which was well worth maintaining for its own sake, independently of any peculiar injustice which its violation might inflict upon Baron Rothschild or upon the constituency of the City of London. As a Christian man he also deemed it most objectionable that he should be required solemnly and by an appeal to the Deity to abjure persons who had no existence, and to take a political oath which was altogether unsuited to the present time. He claimed relief for himself from this obnoxious necessity, and, at the same time, he would be no party to allowing the fag end of the oath of abjuration to be used for a purpose for which it was never intended, namely, as a religious test to exclude his Jewish fellow-subjects from the enjoyment of their civil rights. He would not charge hon. Gentlemen opposite, who opposed this Bill, with bigotry or fanaticism, but he gave them credit for pursuing a course which they believed to be conducive to the interests of the country. He remembered that the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), in his Memoirs of the late lamented Lord George Bentinck, stated, that that noble Lord, when he voted for the removal of the Jewish disabilities, was actuated by as high and as noble a sense of public duty as ever guided the conduct of any public man. He (Mr. Gibson) was also quite ready to admit that hon. Gentlemen opposite were not actuated by any selfish or intentionally unjust motives in opposing this measure, but he thought they were mistaken in point of judgment. He hoped he would receive some little sup- from Gentlemen connected with the great Conservative party, because the most distinguished leaders of that party, at various periods of the history of this country, had, he believed, been advocates of the policy which he now urged the House to adopt. He doubted, whether if Lord Derby were now sitting in that House, he would go the length of opposing the second reading of this Bill. He believed, indeed, that there was a time when Lord Derby went further than this Bill proposed to do, and when he supported by his vote a measure the avowed object of which was to admit Jews to the possession of civil rights, and to allow them to sit in Parliament. He had also seen it stated that two Archbishops and nine Bishops had voted for the abolition of the obnoxious religious test which was contained in the oath of abjuration. When, therefore, he found that the Conservative party had been divided in opinion on this subject, and when he found distinguished Members of that party whose desire to support existing institutions in Church and State could not be questioned, had deliberately given their votes in favour of a measure similar in character to that which he now proposed, he thought he might venture to hope that the second reading of his Bill would receive some considerable support on the opposite side of the House. He must also remind the House that, in the minds of many persons there was a strong religious sentiment on the subject of taking useless oaths. He believed there were many Christians in that House who entertained serious objections to repeated solemn appeals to the Deity when such appeals were unnecessary. He claimed for his Bill the support of hon. Gentlemen who entertained these views, and he might be allowed to remind them of the opinion expressed by Jeremy Taylor with respect to unnecessary oaths. That eminent divine, observing that— ''The reason of this advice relies upon the strictness of the precept against promissory oaths and the reverence we owe to the name of God"— declared his opinion— That princes, and such as have the power of decreeing the injunction of promissory oaths, be very curious and reserved, not lightly enjoining such promises neither in respect of the matter trivial, nor yet frequently, nor without great reason enforcing. And because Christians are otherwise very much obliged to do all which is their duty, in matters both civil and religious, of obedience and piety, therefore it must be an instant necessity, and a great cause to superinduce such a confirmation as derives from the so sacredly invocating the name of God. Dr. Taylor also stated that political oaths might be imposed "in a troubled State or to a mutinous people," but that when this exceptional state of things ceased to exist, such oaths ought to be dispensed with. It certainly could not be held that this country presented the spectacle of a "troubled State" or of a "mutinous people;" there was not the slightest disaffection towards the Crown or the reigning family; and the "instant necessity" and "great cause" referred to by Dr. Jeremy Taylor could not be urged as any justification for now requiring these frequent and solemn appeals to the Deity. He hoped, therefore, that those hon. Gentlemen who concurred in this view of the question would assist him in relieving Her Majesty's subjects from the necessity of taking what he regarded as an obsolete and unnecessary oath, and from an obnoxious religious test. He must strongly protest against the retention of the concluding portion of the oath for the purpose of using it against their Jewish fellow-subjects; for it was in direct opposition to the principles of the constitution to subject individuals to such disabilities as this oath imposed without the direct consent of the three branches of the Legislature. Lord Lyndhurst had, in another place, laid down this principle in clear and emphatic language. The noble and learned Lord said— No British subject, no natural born subject of the Queen, ought to be deprived of the rights enjoyed by his fellow-subjects unless he has committed some crime, or unless he is excluded by some Act of Parliament directed against him or the class to which he belongs. That is the true principle of the constitution; and, such being the case, these persons can only rightly be excluded by the concurrent voice of the two Houses of Parliament and with the assent of the Crown. If you exclude them by the casual operation of a clause, which was never directed against them or against the class to which they belong, you unjustly deprive them of their birthright. He thought that their policy upon this subject should he direct and straightforward. The Crown and the majority of the two Houses of Parliament could, if they pleased, exclude the Jews by statute from the possession of civil privileges, and their power in that respect would not be in any measure lessened if the House assented to the second reading of this Bill. It had been said, that by this measure he was endeavouring to secure to Jews the pos- session of civil rights in a furtive and indirect manner, but he repudiated that accusation. The oath of abjuration was the only obstacle which now accidentally excluded Jews from the full enjoyment of their civil rights, of which they had not been deprived by law, and could any course be more direct or straightforward than a proposal to abolish that obstacle? He thought the charge of obtaining their object indirectly was rather applicable to those who desired to retain an unnecessary oath, not for its original object, but in order to exclude from civil rights a class of persons who had never been deprived of those rights by any direct enactment of the Legislature. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving that the Bill be read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


moved as an Amendment that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. The right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) had, with a simplicity of tone and manner which were quite affecting, expressed a hope that the House would permit his Bill to be read a second time, but he (Sir F. Thesiger) was not aware that anything which had passed between the right hon. Gentleman and himself could have led him to entertain any sanguine expectation of such a result. He thought it would be quite inconsistent with his duty, and also of those who agreed with him in his view of this question, to allow the Bill to pass another stage. The right hon. Gentleman asked the House to consent to the second reading of a Bill founded upon a certain principle, and the question was, whether the House would sanction that principle by assenting to the second reading? The Bill consisted of an assertion and an inference. [Mr. M. GIBSON: Read the enacting clause.] He considered that he was entitled to say that, looking to the Bill and not to any reservation in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman, that the Bill consisted of an assertion and an inference. The assertion was, that all the descendants of the Pretender had failed; the inference was, that the oath of abjuration ought to be abolished. The right hon. Gentleman assumed, without the slightest attempt at proof, the conditional proposition upon which the whole of his argument depended —namely, that if the descendants of the Pretender had failed, the oath of abjuration ought to be abrogated. The right hon. Gentleman had not attempted to prove that one part of his proposition necessarily followed upon the other, and although most hon. Members might agree to the first part, that the descendants of the Pretender had failed, they might be of opinion that that failure would be no reason at all for abrogating the oath of abjuration. The misapprehension which prevailed with regard to the oath of abjuration was most extraordinary. He had conversed with many intelligent persons who seemed to entertain an opinion that the oath of abjuration contained nothing more than a renunciation of the rights of the Pretender and his descendants, and they had been very much surprised to find that, in addition to that renunciation, this was the only oath which contained a formal and solemn recognition of the [Protestant succession to the Crown, as established by the Act of Settlement. The right hon. Gentleman had certainly done his best to continue the cloud over this part of the question, for when he was explaining to the House the different parts of the oath, he stopped short when he came to the particular passage on which he (Sir F. Thesiger) meant to rely, namely— Which succession, by an Act entitled 'An Act for the further Limitation of the Crown, and better securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject,' is and stands limited to the Princes Sophia, Electoress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants. The right hon. Gentleman might endeavour to connect the different oaths, and contend that one was involved in the other, but he (Sir F. Thesiger) defied him to show that any one of the oaths, except the oath of abjuration, contained such a recognition of the Protestant succession. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole), and other Members of that and the other House of Parliament, had allowed that a portion of this oath had undoubtedly become obsolete, in consequence of the failure of the descendants of the Pretender, and he (Sir F. Thesiger) admitted that he entertained the same opinion and that he was most desirous of getting that portion of the oath repealed. He greatly regretted that when there was a failure of the descendants of the Pretender, the opportunity was not taken of abrogating that portion of the oath which then ceased to have any object to which it could relate. That, however, would not have answered the purpose of Some hon. Gentlemen, for so long as that portion of the oath was retained it afforded a plausible argument to those who desired to get rid altogether of the oath of abjuration, which was objectionable in their view, because it was the only oath which bore upon it the express stamp of Christianity. The right hon. Member for Manchester probably expected, on this question, the support of three classes of persons—first, of those who objected altogether to promissory oaths, and who were ready to accept this Bill as what they considered a step in the right direction, and as a means to an end; secondly, of Roman Catholics, who were, of course, desirous of getting rid of an oath which contained a recognition of the Protestant succession; and, thirdly, of the advocates of what was called civil and religious liberty, who entertained the strongest objection to the oath of abjuration, because it was the only oath which prevented Jews from sitting in Parliament. He (Sir F. Thesiger) could not, of course, expect the slightest favour from the Roman Catholics, who would naturally and fairly give their support to any measure which might be in the slightest degree prejudicial to the Protestant succession. He might, however, venture to say to those hon. Gentlemen who were desirous of abolishing oaths altogether, that that was not the proposal of the right hon. Member for Manchester, for the right hon. Gentleman proposed to retain the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and therefore he must take it for granted that, though the right hon. Gentleman thought that the oath of abjuration ought to be abolished, he wished to retain the oaths of supremacy and allegiance. He was not afraid to express his opinion as to the retention of the oath of abjuration. With regard to the other oaths, he was not there to say that they bound them to do something to which they were not originally engaged. He believed that those oaths were merely solemn declarations and recognitions of their allegiance and faith, and that they contained the constitutional creed which they were called upon to subscribe to before they entered upon the performance of their high and solemn duties. He should regret if the time should ever arrive when they were called upon to enter on the performance of their high duties without some such solemnity. It might be perfectly true that there was a want of impressiveness in the manner in which the ceremony was performed, but if the oaths were lightly regarded, the fault must rest with hon. Members themselves. The right hon. Member for Manchester had taken great pains to impress upon the House that he had no other object in view than to get rid of the obsolete portion of the oath of abjuration to which he had directed attention. The right hon. Gentleman had also informed them that he had had no communication with Baron Rothschild on the subject of his Bill. No one had accused him of having had such communication; but, after the statement the right hon. Gentleman had thought proper to make, he (Sir F. Thesiger) would ask him whether he had not been in close and earnest conference on the subject of the Bill with a gentleman of the Jewish persuasion, an honourable and distinguished man, who now held high office in the City of London, and whether it was with the view of getting rid of the obsolete part of the oath relating to the Pretender, or with the object of abolishing what the right hon. Gentleman had called the fag-end of the oath, the words, "On the true faith of a Christian," that those conferences had taken place? He (Sir F. Thesiger) had never accused the right hon. Member for Manchester of endeavouring to attain his object in an indirect manner. Indeed, he thought nothing could be more obvious and palpable than the intention of the right hon. Gentleman. If the right hon. Gentleman had merely intended to get rid of the obsolete part of the oath his course would have been a very simple one. He might have brought in a Bill for the amendment of the oath in that respect, and no doubt he would have been perfectly successful in attaining that object. The right hon. Gentleman was not like a rash and reckless surgeon, who, to remove an excrescence, would amputate a limb. The right hon. Gentleman would never have resorted to a course so absolute as the abolition of the Abjuration Oath unless his intention was to get rid, not merely of its objectionable parts, but also of that guarantee against the admission into that House of persons who were not Christians. The right hon. Gentleman avowed that that was his object, and to attain it he was adopting a course and putting into ac- tion a machinery that would affect other barriers of the constitution, and weaken the security of the Protestant succession to the Crown. Various attempts had been made at different times for the purpose of introducing Jews into Parliament, and the leader of all those movements was the noble Lord the Member for the City of London. Whether the noble Lord had dropped his mantle upon the shoulders of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester, or whether the right hon. Gentleman had stolen it while the noble Lord was asleep, it was impossible to say; but there could be no doubt that it was much more becoming to the noble Lord while he wore it, although it had become a little threadbare. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), when he proposed the introduction of the Jew, upon every occasion except one, proceeded in a straightforward and manly way to his object. He avowed his intention to admit the Jew; there was no question as to his aim and end, and his opponents knew what they had to contend against. In 1853 he introduced one of his Bills expressly for the admission of the Jew; but, so far from proposing to repeal the oath of abjuration, he retained it, and merely proposed to strike out the last words, "On the true faith of a Christian." Unhappily, in 1854 the noble Lord departed from the course he had previously pursued, and endeavoured to introduce a comprehensive oath, to be taken by every Member of the House of Commons. That oath, necessarily, inasmuch as Roman Catholics would be required to take it, infringed upon the supremacy of the Crown, and consequently the House rejected the Bill of the noble Lord, though by a very small majority. But in that oath, which was to be substituted for the oaths of allegiance, supremacy, and abjuration, and the oath passed by 10 Geo. IV., the noble Lord did not propose to abrogate that portion of the oath of abjuration which maintained the Protestant succession. The words of the oath were— I, A B, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and will defend her to the utmost of my power against all conspiracies and attempts whatever which shall be made against her person, Crown, or dignity; and I will do my utmost endeavour to disclose and make known to Her Majesty, heir heirs and successors, all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which may be formed against her, or them; and I do faithfully promise to maintain, support, and defend, to the utmost of my power, the succession of the Crown, which succession, by an Act entitled 'An Act for the further Limitation of the Crown and better securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject,' is and stands limited to the Princess Sophia, Electress of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants, hereby utterly renouncing and abjuring any obedience or allegiance unto any other person claiming or pretending a right to the Crown of this realm; and I do declare that no foreign prince, prelate, person, State, or potentate hath, or ought to have, any temporal or civil jurisdiction, power, superiority, or pre-eminence, directly or indirectly, within this realm. So help me God. So that, in 1854, the oath, carefully and deliberately framed by the noble Lord, not only contained that portion of the oath of abjuration which related to the Protestant succession, but included, if possible, something more stringent and strong as a declaration with respect to the succession of the Crown. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to the authority of Lord Lyndhurst, representing that noble and learned person as expressing the opinion that the oath of abjuration was entirely unnecessary, because it was included in the oaths of allegiance and supremacy.


said, he must beg to explain that what he said was, that Lord Lyudhurst had expressed his opinion that no oath was necessary in regard to the succession; but that, if it were made a material objection to the repeal of the oath of abjuration no declaration would exist with respect to the succession, provision might be made for that matter by adding certain words to the oath of allegiance or in such other way as the wisdom of Parliament might devise.


said, he was obliged, with the greatest deference to the right hon. Gentleman, to question, the accuracy of his recollection, because he had before him the words which Lord Lyndhurst did use in 1853 upon this very point. The noble and learned Lord said— There is an addition to that which I have stated, an extension, I may call it, of the oath of allegiance, and I refer to it in order to show how unnecessary it is, because I propose to strike out every part of the oath to which I have referred, except that which relates to the succession of the Crown as fixed by the Act of Settlement. This is sufficient to maintain the Protestant succession, and this I preserve because I conceive that no greater calamity could befall this country than that the Crown of this country should be placed upon the head of a Roman Catholic."—[3 Hansard, cxxvii. 843.] It thus appeared that in 1853 both those great statesmen—the noble Lord the Mem- ber for the City of London and Lord Lyndhurst—proposed to retain, after deliberate consideration of the whole subject, that portion of the oath of abjuration which maintained the Protestant succession. As, then, the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell) was a firm supporter of the Protestant succession, he was bound to oppose a measure which proposed to do what he himself, in 1853, thought was improper and fraught with danger to the succession of the Crown. Let it not be supposed that the danger was distant or chimerical, and that there was no necessity for exercising the greatest caution. He warned the House against tampering with an oath which had for its origin and object the recognition of the Protestant succession. Had no circumstances occurred of recent date to show the absolute necessity of caution being exercised? A remarkable circumstance had occurred so recently as since the accession of Her Gracious Majesty to the throne. In 1841, Archbishop Cullen, legate of the Pope in Ireland, published a selection of a portion of the Papal bulls for the immediate use of the Council of Propaganda, and his object was explained in a dedicatory letter to Cardinal Franzoni. He said that he published the selection in order that— All things may be in readiness which may appertain to a right and expeditious management of affairs. And at the close of the letter he said— This edition has all those Apostolic letters which have been promulgated since the first edition to our times, and either the necessity and opportunity of consulting which may easily occur in the course of managing things by the Sacred Council. In that publication two letters were introduced from the Pope Clement XIII. to the Pretender, the first written in the last year of the reign of George II. and the second in the first year of George III. The first—written in 1759—was addressed to— Our most dear Son in Christ, James, the illustrious King of Great Britain. And in it the Pope informed the Pretender— ''That he had appointed Daniel Kerney to the See of Limerick on His Majesty's nomination; that, for reasons which his own prudence would suggest, he had not mentioned His Majesty's name in the letters of appointment, but that he addressed this letter to him as a pledge that this omission of his name in these letters should not injure or derogate from his right of nomination, which should remain uninjured. The second letter—written in 1760—was in similar terms, and referred to the bishopric of Killala. It might be said that those letters were written by the Pope a great number of years ago, and that, therefore, no stress should be laid upon them, and no danger was to be apprehended from them. Let him, however, point out something very significant in the publication of Archbishop Cullen in 1841. Between the dates of the two letters there were sixty-six papal bulls, from which Archbishop Cullen had selected eight only for publication; and among those eight were two letters containing a denial of the title of the House of Hanover to the Crown. Moreover, the object stated by the archbishop himself for the publication was, that it might be ready for immediate reference and use, and that an opportunity for consulting it might always be at hand. The archbishop had thus brought down the date of the letters to a very recent period, and those hon. Gentlemen who had cheered the fact that the letters were written in 1759 and 1760 ought to explain, if they could, how they proposed—the oath of abjuration being swept away—to take security against the claims of Roman Catholics to the throne. The idea of danger to the Protestant succession was neither so distant nor so chimerical as had been supposed, and the House ought to recollect that the claim of Her Majesty to the throne rested upon the Protestant faith of Her ancestors, and not upon their hereditary rights, and that if the Act of Settlement were abolished to-morrow a foreign Roman Catholic prince—a descendant of Charles I.—would, in the opinion of the Roman Catholic authorities, be de jure King of these realms. It would, he asserted, be extremely unwise, by tampering with oaths of such importance, to stir those delicate constitutional questions. The right hon. Gentleman had disclaimed any intention of interfering with the Roman Catholic oath, which as the House was aware, was established after careful consideration as one of the securities that ought to be required from Roman Catholics at the passing of the Emancipation Act. Under it Roman Catholics were required to promise to Maintain, support, and defend to the utmost of my power the succession of the Grown, which succession, by an Act entitled 'An Act for the further Limitation of the Crown, and better secure- ing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject,' is and stands limited to the Princess Sophia, Electress of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants, hereby utterly renouncing and abjuring any obedience or allegiance unto any other person claiming or pretending a right to the Crown of this realm. The right hon. Gentleman said that he did not mean to interfere with the Roman Catholic oath. But suppose that Protestants were to be exempted from taking an oath of that kind, with what reason could they require that the oath should be exacted from Roman Catholics? Was not the present Bill necessarily a preface to an alteration of the Roman Catholic oath—re-opening the whole question, and the form of oath so solemnly and formally settled at the time of the passing of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act? I must observe that the question at issue involved rather more than what might have been supposed from the plausible statement of the right hon. Gentleman, who might well have led the House to believe that he proposed to deal with nothing except what had become entirely obsolete; for, while he put the unimportant part of the oath in italics, he spoke of the important passages, if I may say so, in a parenthesis, or omitted them altogether. He wished, therefore, to ask the House whether they were prepared, on the arguments which had been urged by the right hon. Gentleman, to express an opinion favourable to the Bill? whether they were prepared to give their sanction to a Bill the principle of which was to abolish the oath that furnished the only security they had for the Protestant succession to the Crown, and which Protestant succession was not so wholly free from danger as, but for the facts he had brought before the House, they might well have imagined? The right hon. Gentleman admitted that he had an ulterior object in view—to get rid of the objectionable words "on the true faith of a Christian;" and upon that branch of the subject there were those who felt most deeply, and who believed that here the right hon. Gentleman was making an attack upon the Christian character of the Legislature. Having so frequently addressed the House on this question, his views with respect to it were so well known that he would not be justified in going at present into the general question. He had fully—and he hoped conscientiously—considered the question. It was one upon which he felt deeply, and though ready to do justice to those who differed in opinion from him, he was bound to say that a consideration of the subject had confirmed the opinions which he had formerly expressed upon it. He felt called upon to say a few words with reference to one point in order to remove the impression which the observations of the right hon. Gentleman were calculated to make. It had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman, not for the first time, that it was only by mere accident—by the insertion, unintentionally with regard to the Jews, of certain words in an Act of Parliament—that the Jew had been excluded from a seat in the Legislature; and it had also been maintained that there was a period—namely, that which passed between 1 Will, and Mary and the 13 Will. III.—in which, there being no oath that contained the words "on the true faith of a Christian," the Jew might have been entitled to assert his right to sit in Parliament. Both those views, however, in his opinion were entirely erroneous. That the Jews at any period of the reign of William III., or even later, could claim a right to sit in the Legislature would be asserted only by those who were ignorant of all the circumstances connected with that extraordinary people. It was well known that the Jews were banished from England in the reign of Edward III., and did not return in any numbers until the reign of Charles II. In the third year of that reign, 1663, by the records of that people, it appeared that there were not more than twelve Jews in England. He remembered asserting that fact on a former occasion, when he was severely taken to task by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Admiralty, who, with that courtesy which invariably characterised his remarks to opponents, accused him of very gross ignorance, and asked whether he was not aware that in the time of the Protectorate the Jews offered to purchase the cathedral of St. Paul for a synagogue—from which the hon. Gentleman drew the logical conclusion that, because they sought St. Paul's as a synagogue, therefore the Jews were numerous enough to fill it. Whatever the hon. Gentleman might say of his ignorance, he had read in a curious work entitled Anglia Judaica an extraordinary incident in the history of the Jews. They were extremely anxious to be allowed to return to this country, and sent a learned doctor—Manasseh Ben Israel—to the Protector to request that he would permit the re-esta- blishment of the Jews here, offering him the large sum of £500,000, provided that he would give them St. Paul's as a synagogue and the Bodleian Library for a school. At the time that Dr. Manasseh came to England upon this mission there were certain Jews in Asia who sent over a rabbi and several of their nation to inquire whether the Protector Cromwell was not the expected Messiah. The mission of Dr. Manasseh entirely failed, because it was not thought desirable that the Jews should assemble in St. Paul's; but the banished race flocked back in considerable numbers during the reign of Charles II., a period when the author of Anglia Judaica slyly observed they might be expected to bend their steps towards England. But when they returned here they were treated as aliens; the alien duty was imposed upon them; and, in the reign of James II., a portion of the duty having been taken off—namely, that which related to the export of commodities—upon a petition and remonstrance from the merchants to William III., in 1690, the whole of the duty was re-imposed. When, therefore, it was said that between the 1Will. and Mary and the 13 Will. III. the Jew might have sat in the Legislature by reason of there being no words in the Act of Parliament such as "on the true faith of a Christian," he replied, first, that I there was nothing in the estimation in which the Jews were held at that time which would induce one to suppose that they would have been allowed to enter the Legislature; and, secondly, that being aliens, under an Act passed at the period of the Revolution, they were prohibited by law from taking seats in Parliament. Here he might be permitted to quote some forcible expressions from an admirable charge of Archdeacon Hare, in which he said— It happens continually that those very principles which are the most powerful, the most pervading, which permeate all our feelings and opinions, and are wound up with our whole being, do not receive a distinct enunciation; because, so long as we do not meet with anything to contradict or oppose them, we quietly take them for granted, and have no motive for uttering them in definite propositions. In the very act of enunciating a truth we transform it from a living power into an outward object of thought. We do not make laws against that which we do not conceive as a possibility. But it was said that the words "upon the true faith of a Christian" were directed against equivocating Roman Catholics, being supposed to have an influence over their minds which they were afterwards not found to possess. He admitted that when the words were introduced in the 3rd of James I. the Jews were not in contemplation; but to say that it was by an accident that Jews were included seemed to him to be an unfair and unreasonable mode of viewing the question. It had been stated that when the oath of abjuration was established, the legislators of that day, finding the words "on the true faith of a Christian" in the oath of allegiance, transferred them to the new oath without any reference to persons who were not Christians, and that the words remained there, not as indicating the intention of the Legislature that our senators should be Christians, but simply because, from an accidental circumstance, they had been servilely copied from the oath of allegiance in the 3rd of James I. Now he certainly entertained a totally different opinion. He believed that those great men who framed the Act of Settlement, when they found it necessary to introduce a new oath applicable to existing circumstances, prepared it with the view, first, of having a clear acknowledgment of the undoubted right of succession to the Crown in certain named persons, being Protestants; and, secondly, of binding up with that a solemn profession of Christianity as the groundwork of the constitution. He believed that it was not through inadvertence but with a clear, deliberate intention and purpose that these words were introduced into the oath. Since that time to the present it had always been recognised as the wish and intention of the Legislature that the assembly which he now addressed should be Christian, and it was the opinion of many of them that the national religion depended upon their upholding the Christian character of the House of Commons. He knew that there were some Members who thought that Parliament had nothing to do with religion—a most remarkable opinion to be entertained. In the very weekly prayer which they uttered, he hoped, with a proper feeling in their minds, they prayed to God not only that peace and happiness, truth and justice, but that religion and piety might be established throughout all generations by their consultations; and if they had nothing to do with religion—nothing to do with promoting the piety of the nation—that prayer was a mere mockery. But he would not argue with those gentlemen who thought that religion was beyond the province of Parliament. The question lay much deeper; it reached to the motives and principles upon which they should proceed in the legislation entrusted to them, and he agreed with the pithy and striking observation that the sphere of the Christian religion was everything and everywhere. Returning to the question immediately before them, he must say that he was particularly struck with a quotation made by the noble Lord the Member for the City for London in his admirable speech on introducing his Resolution on the subject of education a few weeks ago. The noble Lord, on that occasion, quoted a passage from the works of Dr. Arnold, which, although undoubtedly applicable to the subject then in hand, was not less so to the question now before the House. After speaking of Dr. Arnold as a person of the highest possible character—one of the most enlightened men that England ever produced, the noble Lord read the following passage from his works— On the whole I am quite clear as to my original position—namely, that if you once get off from the purely neutral ground of physical science, geology, and pure logic—the moment, in short, on which you enter on any moral subject, whether moral philosophy or history, you must either be Christian or anti-Christian, for you touch upon the ground of Christianity, and you must either take it as your standard of moral judgment or you must renounce it, and either follow another standard or have no standard at all. In other words, the moment you touch on what alone is education—the forming of the moral principles and habits of man—neutrality is impossible. It would be very possible if Christianity consisted in a set of theoretical truths, as many seem to fancy; but it is not possible, inasmuch as it claims to be the paramount arbiter of all our moral judgments; and he who judges between good and evil, right and wrong, without reference to its authority, virtually denies it. As a Legislature, they were called upon to form an opinion between right and wrong, good and evil; and how, with the passage from Dr. Arnold, which by quoting he had adopted and made his own, the noble Lord could maintain that any person was qualified to be a legislator in a Christian country who had not the Christian faith he was at a loss to understand. He would now address a single observation to those hon. Members who might be disposed to adopt the views of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. M. Gibson) with respect to civil and religious liberty. He had not the least doubt that there were many most sincere and zealous persons who thought that they would be advancing the good cause by removing from the oath the words "on the true faith of a Christian," and permitting persons who were not Christians to enter that House. To those well-meaning men he would submit a few considerations in connection with the subject which, he must confess, weighed strongly upon his own mind. The Protestantism which the people of this country professed did not consist simply in being opposed to the doctrines which Roman Catholics maintained. We protested, it was true, against the errors of the Church of Rome; that was one of the distinguishing characteristics of our creed; and ingenious and subtle adversaries had relied upon that circumstance to persuade the unstable and the unwary that there was in Protestantism nothing positive, but that it consisted merely of negation, and was, therefore, founded upon unbelief. He was very much afraid that many persons had, by reasoning of that description, been drawn aside from our religion, and had gone over to the Roman Catholic faith. Well, if that were the case, let them for one moment consider whether, by removing the words "upon the true faith of a Christian" from the oath, as proposed, they would not be proceeding in a mode greatly calculated to operate prejudicially upon the faith of their weaker brethren; and whether they would not be placing a very powerful weapon in the hands of Roman Catholics? The members of that religion would at once say, "We were quite right in maintaining that Protestantism was not based upon any positive Christian principle. The justice of our view is now demonstrated. An oath bearing upon the face of it the stamp of Christianity, and making the profession of its doctrines necessary to the enjoyment of a seat in Parliament, has by the voice of the Legislature been deliberately removed, thus proving that in their minds the maintenance of the Christian faith is regarded as of no importance." He did not mean to say that those Gentlemen who desired to remove the words in question from the oath were not impressed with a due sense of religion. What he was contending for was the extreme danger of taking a step in the proposed direction, and he must, therefore, warn those zealous and sincere persons, who had a true regard for the Protestant faith, to weigh well their position before they consented to adopt a course which might strike a fatal blow at the interests of that religion. He was most anxious to know how Her Majesty's Ministers proposed to deal with the question? He could assure them that their views with reference to it were most anxiously awaited by the whole country. He would ask them, then, whether they hare determined that an oath which recognises the Protestant succession to the Crown should be abandoned, and whether they, by abandoning it, are prepared to give way to the infidel and to the members of that persuasion who entertain sentiments prejudicial to the Protestant succession—namely, the Roman Catholic? He could not anticipate that the Government were so lost to all sense of the important duty which devolved upon them as to take that course. He could not imagine that they would consent even to weaken the smallest security which at present exists in connection with this important subject. But whatever course the Government might adopt, he should feel quite satisfied that he had done his duty to his country and to his God, by opposing, as far as lay in his power, a measure which he conscientiously believed had a direct tendency to unprotestantise the constitution, and to unchristianise the Legislature.

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 had no intention in the few observations which he should make on the present occasion of going into any historical details of the question, but he should endeavour shortly to take up the point which had been spoken to by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down. The hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to rely upon assumptions of an entirely unwarrantable character. Though he took an entirely different view of the merits of this Bill from that entertained by the hon. and learned Gentleman, he was not in the least prepared to concede to him a monopoly of zeal either for the Protestant succession or for the Christianity of that House and the country. The real question which arose, however, involved neither of those propositions. The arguments of the hon. and learned Gentleman were—1st, That if they abrogated the oath of abjuration they necessarily weakened the security of the Protestant succession to the Crown, because part of that oath related to the Protestant succession; and, Secondly, That if that oath were abro- gated, inasmuch as the words "on the true faith of a Christian" excluded Jews from Parliament, they should be injuring and destroying the Christian character of that assembly. Now, he was of opinion that both those matters were entirely beside the real question. That question was this. Here was an oath which was framed for a particular object, namely, that of securing the succession to the Crown as fixed by the Act of Settlement, and of excluding others who might otherwise have pretended to it. That was the object for which the oath was intended, and nothing else. Was it necessary, therefore, now to keep up the same form of words in a state of circumstances wholly and utterly different from that with which it was intended those words were to cope? If the object for which the oath was designed had been fully and permanently accomplished, what was the use of using it now? No one who took the oath—scarcely one—who did not feel that it was a disgrace to the Statute Book—that it was disgraceful that so absurd and unmeaning a form of words should be taken in the solemn manner in which they were usually taken. The hon. and learned Gentleman told them, indeed, in the most mysterious and alarming manner, that though the Protestant succession had been fixed so long there were dangers abroad, of which he (the Lord Advocate) was sure no one had ever had the least suspicion till that day. They were told by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Stamford that there was, somewhere or other, a pretender to the throne of England, who, if this oath were abolished, would be likely to turn up some day, and that, if he did, he would very probably meet with a great deal of support. He (the Lord Advocate) believed, on the contrary, that the Protestant succession never was so firm in this country as at the present moment—not merely because the race of James II. was extinct, but because that succession was founded in the affections and convictions of the people. He often heard people, like the hon. and learned Member, talk as if Protestantism were in great danger. He was not going into any polemical discussion, but, so far as he could judge from the prevalent feeling of the country, he was convinced that the Protestant faith never rested on so large an amount of opinion as at the present time; and that at no period would any attempt to injure the stable Protestant foundations of the country have been more strenuously resisted. But in this, as in other matters, he really set little store by oaths; for they were at best but very flimsy safeguards. The very men whom it was wished to exclude either crept through them or broke them; and the only effect of them generally was to exclude the conscientious and the upright. The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, made the singular assumption that, because it was now proposed to abolish the oath of abjuration, therefore there was not to be enacted any oath in regard to the Protestant succession. His right hon. Friend (Mr. M. Gibson) who had introduced the Bill had distinctly explained that if it were thought necessary to retain that part of the oath which related to the Protestant succession, he should be perfectly ready to do that which Lord Lyndhurst also had been perfectly ready to do—namely, to abolish the oath as it stood, and to add that part of it which related to the Protestant succession to one of the other oaths. There could be no difficulty about that, and in making a difficulty of it the hon. and learned Gentleman was only leading the House and the country away from the real question at issue. He thought, then, that the first part of the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman was altogether beside the question. He would next inquire what was the value of the second part. The hon. and learned Gentleman said—"You must not abrogate the oath of abjuration, although what you abjure does not exist; you are to continue to swear at that table an oath which for the most part has no meaning at all—for this notable purpose, that at the end you may say that you abjure that which has no existence 'on the true faith of a Christian.'" He (the Lord Advocate) should be sorry indeed to think that the Christian character of the House and of the country depended upon what he really must term such a subterfuge as that. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that those words were introduced into the oath for the purpose of founding the Christian character of that House. He (the Lord Advocate) contended not only that such an assumption was not historically correct, but that any impartially minded man upon reading the oath must come to a directly contrary conclusion. The words had not been introduced to prevent any man who was not a Christian from taking the oath, but in order to give the strongest sanction at that time to the thing which people were abjuring. The hon. and learned Gentleman knew as well as anybody that the oath was framed to meet a state of facts entirely and essentially different from the present. There were, when the oath was instituted, persons who were ready to swear that the King was the King de facto although not de jure, and the oath was imposed in order to remove all equivocation in the matter, and to operate as a test whether persons were favourable or otherwise to the Act of Settlement. The words of the oath not only were not framed to exclude the Jews, but could by no possibility be twisted into such a construction. The history of England showed what state of affairs the oath was intended to deal with, and to endeavour to argue that the exclusion of the Jews had anything to do with its formation was disingenuous and untrue. Independently, however, of all questions of an historical character, he asked, was it benefitting the character of that House that they should do by a side wind that which, if it were to be done at all, should be done openly and directly? If they were not prepared to enact a law by which Jews should he excluded from that House, was it creditable to exclude them by retaining certain words at the fag end of an oath which had nothing whatever to do with the matter? That brought him to consider what the consequences would be, if by abrogating the oath Jews should be permitted to sit in Parliament. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that it was desirable to exclude Jews, because if they did not a great argument would be given to Roman Catholics, who would say, "Your Protestantism is merely negative and not positive, because you have struck out from your oath of abjuration the words 'on the true faith of a Christian."' That argument, be it observed, was put into the mouths of the Roman Catholics, who were supposed to taunt us with the want of a positive religion because we did not retain those words in our oath; when in their own oath no such words occurred. Every one must feel, then, that observations of that nature did not touch the real merits of the question; but, if he were obliged to meet that part of the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument which related to the Protestant and Christian character of that House, he had no fear to meet him upon that ground. They must deal in realities and not in words. He was very far from saying that the Legislature had nothing to do with the religion of the people. He held a very different doctrine indeed; but did it follow from that that they were to exclude from sitting in that assembly those who belonged to our social community, who enjoyed the same rights, had the same interests, contributed to the same revenue as ourselves, and to whom we looked for the same civil service to the State? When they were dealing with a matter of civil Government they must consider whom they were to govern; because this was a Protestant country and a Protestant constitution, was it therefore to be said that no one but a Protestant was to take any share in the Government of the country? Why, they had denied that principle long ago. According to the hon. and learned Gentleman, it would have been the duty of the State, even if the number of Roman Catholics had exceeded that of Protestants, to exclude the Roman Catholics from all share in the Government, because it would have been an infringement of the principles of Protestantism to admit them to take part in the Legislative Assembly. With regard to Roman Catholics as to Jews and to all other persuasions, he (the Lord Advocate) contended that the Christian character of the State and of the Legislature depended upon the Christian character of those who sent them there, and whom they had to govern; and that it was impossible to say, while the character of the legislative assembly took its colour from the opinions of those who elected it, that any portion of the community was to be excluded from the enjoyment of civil rights. Under the existing state of things the law was most inconsistent, because, clearly, if Jews were to be excluded from that House they should also be excluded from every place of office, power, or emolument. On what principle could they give to Jews the right to vote for Members of Parliament, and yet refuse to them the right to sit in Parliament? The whole thing was utterly inconsistent. It appeared to him that the question lay in the smallest possible compass, and that it was of the simplest and most elementary nature. The moment that the Catholic Belief Bill passed the principle of excluding all persons but Protestants was abandoned, and from that time it became evident that it would be necessary speedily to sweep away all those barriers which were founded upon a difference of religious opinion—barriers which would never pro- mote the cause of truth, but must only lead to heart burnings and jealousies without end.


said, that if they were to give their consent to the Bill under discussion they would be rendering the propriety of the Protestant succession as by law established, and the truth of the Christian faith, open questions in that House. Now one of the objects of the oath of abjuration was, he thought, to close these questions; and the fact that the Bill ran counter to that oath was, in his opinion a sufficient reason why they should refuse to read it a second time. The argument which the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate had used in stating that the oath was not necessary, inasmuch as at no period was the Protestant succession to the Throne more firmly established than at present, might with equal force be applied to the oaths of allegiance and supremacy; and he (Mr. Napier) must say that if the right of succession to the Throne were to be made an open question in that House endless controversy would be the result. He regarded these oaths as imperishable and conclusive records of those great fundamental principles which ought never to be called in question in that House. Roman Catholic Members wore bound by oath to support that succession, and although they were not called upon to swear "upon the true faith of a Christian," still they must profess themselves as Roman Catholics, a fact which conclusively showed in all its broad comprehensiveness that they were admitted to take their seats as coming within the denomination of "Christians." He must deny that a just parallel could be drawn between what they might do as Members of that House and that which they might do as Members of the community at large. As Members of that House they came in contact with the community at every point; they were amenable for their acts to no power but to the Almighty, and they took their seats as Christians in a Christian country. His reply, therefore, to the question, where they were to draw the line between those who were and who were not entitled to admission to the Legislature, was that it should be drawn where the profession of Christianity ceased to exist. Roman Catholics and Dissenters came within the line; but beyond it he should hesitate to push the principle of toleration. The preamble of the Act of Settlement set forth that it had been introduced for the safety of the King's Govern- ment, the maintenance of the Church as by law established, and the preservation of the Protestant religion; so that every Member who took the oath prescribed by that Act was debarred from making the subject to which it related an open question. The fact was, that the principles which the oath contained were of a fundamental character, and could not properly speaking, be made the subject of doubt, or discussion at all. And the existence of those fundamental principles being admitted, what more suitable act, he would ask, could be performed than that each Member, when he came forward to take his seat in that House, should, in a solemn acknowledgment, embody his adherence to them. Now, he might observe Unit the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord J. Russell) seemed to have always taken a more straightforward course with reference to the question under discussion, so far as it related to the Jews, than had been taken in the case of the Bill now under their notice. He (Mr. Napier) was under the impression that the noble Lord had dealt with that subject in a very sincere and honest manner, and he might observe that in the Bill which the noble Lord had introduced with regard to it in the year 1849, he had proposed to retain those words in the oath of abjuration which had reference, to the Act of Succession, as well as the words "upon the true faith of a Christian." Then came a clause in the Bill, having a form of words applicable to the Jews, and there the noble Lord had stopped, inasmuch as he had not made any provision for the admission to that House of atheists and unbelievers. According to the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman, however, every man whether Jew or atheist, might be admitted to a seat in the Legislature. The next Bill to which he should refer was that which in 1853 had been introduced by Lord Lyndhurst, and in that Bill the words relating to the succession to the Crown, as well as the words "upon the true faith of a Christian," had also been retained. Another Bill had subsequently been brought in by the noble Lord the Member for London, which had contained what had been designated as "the coalition oath," and in which, owing no doubt to the influence of some parties behind the scenes, the noble Lord had been induced to forego his former principles. He (Mr. Napier) might observe that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) had, with reference to the Bill of 1849, expressed his satisfaction at the retention of the words "upon the true faith of a Christian." The right hon. Gentleman added that he thought the noble Lord had acted wisely in declining to reduce that high standard which they had fixed for themselves. But, however, in the Bill of 1854 the noble Lord had been induced to mix up the oath of supremacy and abjuration in such a way as to give rise to the appellation of the "coalition oath." Now he (Mr. Napier) must say that he thought many members of the Roman Catholic body were quite willing to maintain the oath of supremacy as it stood; but there was another party in this country who were anxious to diminish if not get rid altogether, of the supremacy of the Crown. And were we, he would ask, to do away with any safeguard which might exist against the encroachments of that party? The security of those fundamental principles to which be had adverted no doubt lay deeper than the taking of an oath, but in administering an oath with regard to them we were doing all in our power to enforce their observance. At the very time the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) brought in his second Bill, a book was published in which they were told that the oath of supremacy embodied the national sin of England, because it rested upon the State's interference with the Church. [An hon. MEMBER: What book?] It was a book by Archdeacon Wilberforce. So that there was a party calling themselves Protestants who denied the supremacy of the. Crown. He was perfectly willing to admit that oaths were not the only safeguard; but oaths had always been used, and properly used, as a security; and the argument which had been used, that, they were no real security, because unconscientious persons would take them without thinking of their purport, applied with equal force to administering oaths to witnesses in a court of law; and it must be evident to all that no person who had taken an oath as a Christian could openly in that House advocate anything contrary to the principles of Christianity. He thought that the noble Lord the Member for London and the House would be of opinion that the question of a Protestant succession ought not to be left an open question, and he would warn the House that it was a most serious thing tampering with these oaths, and that it was a very different thing to enact that oaths which bad not hitherto been required should be taken, and to re- move those which had always been required. The object of the measure was to procure the admission of Jews to Parliament, and why was that subject not brought boldly forward, and the opinion of the House taken upon it? The question of the admission of Jews to Parliament was one which he had considered and reconsidered over and over again with the greatest pains and anxiety, and he was bound to say that he still maintained the same opinion which he had always expressed upon that subject, which was—that he did not think that it was consistent with the principles of the constitution to admit any one into Parliament who denied the truth of the Christian religion. He would suppose the case of a man—an honest Republican—elected by a constituency to sit in that House, who denied the title of the Sovereign of these realms. Now, would such a person be allowed to sit in that House? Certainly not; and if he denied the right of a man to sit in that House who did not admit the title of his earthly Sovereign, could he allow the right of one who denied the title of his Heavenly Sovereign? He was quite prepared to admit that the principle of religious liberty had been much developed by the admission of Dissenters and Roman Catholics into Parliament; but the admission into that House of a person who was not a Christian was not the proper mode of carrying out that principle, because, as had been explicitly laid down in the recent Bible-burning case at Kingstown, Christianity was a part and parcel of the law of the land, and, if it were not so, on what principle was an atheist excluded? The right hon. Gentleman who introduced the measure had argued on the presumption that under the constitution Jews had a right of admission to Parliament, and were only excluded by means of an oath which was never intended to apply to them at all, and he had quoted in support of that argument an opinion of Baron Alderson. Now, he would ask the House to listen to the opinion of Lord Wensleydale, an authority not inferior to the very eminent Judge, Mr. Baron Alder son. Lord Wensleydale said— It is a fallacy to argue that, because the immediate object of the Legislature was to give a more binding effect to a, Christian oath—not to exclude the Jews mid others than Christians—therefore they meant all such to be admitted; and, consequently, that the terms of the oath ought to be modified so as to carry that object into effect. and to permit all not of the Christian faith to take the oath in a from binding on their consciences. The truth is, they never supposed that any but Christians would form a part of either House of Parliament. Both of these (i. e., Mahometans and pagans) are, in effect, precisely on the same footing in this respect as the Jews; and the argument applies equally to them all. In enacting a provision aimed at a particular class only of Christians, the Legislature have, in most positive terms, required an oath from every Member of the Legislature which none but a Christian can take; and this enactment must have the effect of closing both Houses of Parliament against every one but a Christian. There was a broad distinction between civil and political rights, for, while it might be perfectly just to confer civil rights equally upon all classes of the community, political rights were founded upon political principles; and, as the fundamental principle of the constitution of this country was essentially Christian, it appeared to him to follow, as a matter of course, that no man should be admitted into the Legislature who did not acknowledge their common Christianity. He had heard with regret a statement made on a previous occasion that there was a class of Unitarians who were said not to be Christians; but he denied that such was the case, for the laws of the country looked upon all Protestant Dissenters as comprised in the term "members of a Christian faith," and they are supposed to acknowledge those great and broad principles which formed the outline of Christianity. The noble Lord the Member for London, in the able speech which he had made upon the subject of education, had gone upon the assumption that every Member of the Assembly which he was addressing held the broad principles of Christianity; and he had upon another occasion stated that he considered Christianity the best security for the permanent welfare of the country. What had fallen from his hon. and learned Friend (Sir F. Thesiger), with regard to the Roman Catholic oath, was well worthy the attention of that House; for that oath could not be left as it was if the abjuration oath for Protestants were removed; and he would warn the House that, if they attempted to deal with the Roman Catholic oath, questions would arise which would greatly agitate the country. He believed that his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) had some intention of bringing in a measure embodying these oaths in a more suitable form, but retaining that fundamental principle by winch that House was rendered a Christian Senate; and to that Bill, if it were introduced, he would be prepared to give his hearty support; but he trusted that the House would not consent by such a subterfuge as the present measure to alter the Christian character of its constitution. He should give his vote against the second reading of the Bill.


Sir, I apprehend that there are two points with regard to this question on which the House is tolerably well agreed. One is, that it is no longer necessary to abjure any allegiance to the person falsely calling himself James the Third, or any of those who pretend to derive that title from him. Even Gentlemen on the other side of the House are willing, at last, to get rid of that part of the oath of abjuration. There is another question on which also there is not much difference of opinion, and that is with respect to that part of the oath of abjuration which concerns the maintenance of the Protestant succession to the Throne. My right hon. Friend who has introduced this Bill—and I am glad he has brought forward the subject—says that he himself would have no objection to the introduction of words taken from the oath of abjuration, maintaining our adherence to the Protestant succession. We have those words in the Roman Catholic oath. I think, also, that it is quite untrue to say that if that part of the oath were entirely abolished we should not have a security for the Protestant succession; because the Protestant succession depends upon a solemn Act of Parliament, and until that Act of Parliament is repealed that security remains the greatest and best security that we can have. Still, I agree—and I do not think that the majority of the House would differ from that opinion—that it would be right, in repealing the oath of abjuration, to insert the words either such as those of the oath of allegiance, or a separate declaration that any person admitted to this House, or to high office, will maintain the succession to the Crown as confined to Protestants being the heirs of the Electress Sophia. If no other Member proposed that, I should, in Committee, propose words similar to those which I proposed in the Bill of 1854, which contained words similar to those which are at present in the oath of allegiance, and similar to those contained in the Roman Catholic oath. Because, although it is only a slight additional security, I do think it is fit that Members admitted to the Legis- lature, or to any high office, should take that opportunity of declaring solemnly their adherence to that fundamental principle of our constitution, that the Sovereign of these realms should be a Protestant. There is, therefore, Sir, very little difficulty in this respect; and I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down need not entertain any of those alarms on the subject to which he has given utterance. This raising of Protestant alarms is quite beside the subject, and beside the purpose which the Bill has in view. I come, therefore, at once to the real question, whether or not Jews should be admitted to offices in the State and to scats in this House. The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Napier) seems to expect most portentous consequences from the admission of the Jews, because he says that hereafter Christianity must become an open question. He seems to think that we are something like the Jacobin Convention, and that it is not altogether impossible that some hon. Member may propose a resolution to the effect that the House of Commons shall acknowledge the existence of the Supreme Being. Now, I deny that the admission of Jews to Parliament will any more make Christianity an open question than it has been since this has been a Christian Legislature. All that this measure will do will be to allow persons of the Jewish faith to exercise political functions, notwithstanding their religious belief. My vote upon this question will be founded upon the principle which I have long maintained—that the exercise of political functions should not be made to depend upon religious faith. That it is not our business here to ascertain whether this or that religious faith is correct, but what are the political functions to be exercised. If that principle is a true one, we have to consider what are the exclusions—what are the exceptions that we ought to be made. The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Napier) says that he will stand upon the ground of the Christianity of this House, which will be endangered by the admission of Jews to Parliament; but he must be aware that there have been those among his predecessors, whose course he would have followed if they had been successful, who stood upon other ground—who stood upon the narrowest ground—in order to exclude from Parliament and from office those who differed with them in religious opinion. It was argued in favour of the Test and Corporation Acts, not so many years ago, and it was argued about a century ago most ably and accurately, by Dean Sherlock, that unless a man was prepared to support the Established Church, unless he was well disposed to that Church—that Church forming a part of the establishments of the State, forming, as it were, with the State, one whole—he was unfit to exercise the functions of a Member of Parliament, and unfit to hold office in the State. And although Sir Robert Walpole, by his ingenious device, which was useful at the time, of an Indemnity Act, got rid of the practical obligation, yet even to our own time that exclusion was maintained in theory, and the Test and Corporation Acts preserved the record of the principle then asserted. Still the Roman Catholics were excluded; and upon that question it was argued again, with very considerable plausibility, "The Roman Catholics are persons whose allegiance is not entire, who owe to a foreign Sovereign obedience upon certain points, which will prevent them being good and faithful Members of the Legislature, or fit to hold high political offices." That was maintained with great ability—maintained up to the year 1828 by Sir Robert Peel—maintained by Lord Eldon and many men of very great ability. That exclusion is done away with; and now the right hon. and learned Gentleman, having nothing left but this single restriction, this single exception, is forced, upon that, and upon that alone, to maintain that religious faith ought to be the ground of exclusion from political functions, and should be the bar to the exercise of legislative power. I certainly cannot agree to any such assertion. But I am glad to find—as indeed I have often found before—that although we differ upon other days, that although upon other occasions when we have disputed we have seen the jealousy of Protestants against Roman Catholics, the jealousy and alarm of Roman Catholics with respect to Protestants—animosity of the Church against Dissenters, and the hostility of Dissenters towards the Church—yet there is one day in the year when our common Christianity seems to be in reality a bond of union between us; when we acknowledge that all, however high they may be in Roman Catholic doctrines, or however widely, at the other end of the scale, their opinions may differ from those, yet that all are connected by one common bond; and I should be most happy to unite in such an expression of Christian love and charity, were it not that that argument is never used, that this uniformity is never brought into play, except when any attempt is made to procure the admission of Jews to Parliament, Having now stated the objections which had been entertained with regard to Protestant Dissenters and to Roman Catholics—objections which were opposed not only to the principles of religious liberty, but to every principle of justice and policy—I come to the consideration of what is the ground of exclusion with regard to the Jew? You say he differs still more widely from you in religious opinions. I will not discuss that difference in any way whatever; I maintain that it is quite beyond the question to say that Jews differ more from Protestants than either Roman Catholics or Dissenters. I hold that a man is to be allowed the right of private judgment. You are not here to decide whether the exercise of that right has led him to a correct judgment or not. All you have to ask is, whether the person admitted to Parliament will perform the duties of a good subject. The right hon. and learned gentleman says he cannot perceive the difference between a man who is a republican, and who says be will not take the oath of allegiance, and the Jew who says he cannot swear on the true faith of a Christian. It seems to me that there is all the difference in the world between them. The man who is a republican, and will not swear allegiance to the Crown, will not perform those common duties that a loyal subject of the Crown is required to perform. He may be found in a conspiracy to overthrow the Throne; and, at all events, you cannot depend upon his active obedience to the acknowleged Sovereign of these realms. But with regard to a person who holds different religious opinions from you, what right have you to say that he will endeavour to overthrow the monarchy, or any of the institutions of the country? With respect even to the Church—though I should hold it very wrong if we were required at this table to swear any allegiance or adherence to the Established Church—yet I believe that both Roman Catholics and Protestants Dissenters are more hostile to the Established Church than the Jew is. The Jew is a man who, provided he is allowed to maintain his own religion, and to follow that form of worship which his conscience tells him his duty to God requires, will not attempt to make proselytes, or array himself in hostility against any other form of religion. There is, therefore, no political ground for excluding the Jews from Parliament and from the offices of State. Then comes the doctrine which we have so often heard, and which appears to me to have so little foundation, namely, that you take away the Christian character of this House if you admit to it a single Jew. If that is the case, if a whole community loses its character by one Jew being placed in office, what are we to say to the present position of that City which I have the honour to represent—where we have not only a Jew holding office, but a Jew holding the highest municipal office? Has the City of London ceased to be a Christian City? Has the character of Christianity entirely departed from the City of London, and will it only resume that character on the next 9th of November? I really must say that these arguments, coming from learned Gentlemen as they do, coming from eloquent men as they are, yet appear to me to have something so unwise in them, so little consonant with the ordinary sense that such learned Gentlemen display, that I can but believe that it is nothing but the remains of an old prejudice which induces them to maintain so untenable a position. Then we come to the question of how, after all, all this difficulty has arisen. It appears, I think, by general consent, as is stated most clearly and ably by Baron Alderson, in his judgment, that the original object of this oath was not to exclude the Jews—but that the object was—there being notoriously a set of persons, distinguished unfortunately from the rest of the Roman Catholics by their want of good faith in their dealings with their fellow-subjects, who maintained that any equivocation or mental reservation was allowed when dealing with heretics, or persons of a different religion—persons whom I believe the great body of Roman Catholics despised, and whose doctrines they would have treated with as much contempt and withering scorn as Pascal has treated them with in those "Letters" which everybody has read; and it was for the purpose of distinguishing this loyal body of Roman Catholics from those who declared they had a right to equivocate in this manner, that in the oaths in the time of James I. were introduced the words, "on the true faith of a Christian" —thereby not distinguishing Christians from Jews, but making every sect of Christians declare their faith in the most solemn manner, in order to be assured that they would maintain that which they said. And what is it, according to the oath now before us, that they were to say? They were to say that they abjured the title of the House of Stuart to the Throne of these realms, and they that would maintain the right of the descendants of the Princess Sophia. That, and that only, was the purpose of the oath which they were to take. If the Jew is excluded, he is excluded not by a direct but by a collateral process—by an indirect mode, which was never dreamt of when the oath was framed. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite asks my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) to alter the form of the Bill and put it in another shape, merely making exception to the Jew, I should say, on the other hand, if you wish to maintain a Christian character for this House by statute and by oath—if you think there is such a validity in these oaths (I confess I do not think there is such great force in them myself)—do that which was done during the time of the Commonwealth of England. In that time, every Member who came to the assembly then in the place of the House of Commons declared his belief in the Scriptures, and gave his testimony in favour of Christianity in plain and direct terms. If you wish positively to exclude the Jew, why do you not introduce a Bill for that purpose. What right have you to accuse us of acting indirectly, so long as you do not do that? The right lion, and learned Gentleman asks why we do not simply propose to strike out of the oath the words "on the true faith of a Christian?" It is quite true that I did so on one occasion. I tried various modes to please the other House of Parliament, till at last I failed in pleasing this House, on the subject of the Jew. I found that, strike high or strike low, it was no way satisfactory to my opponents. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman wishes the Bill to be put in such a shape as to perserve the oaths of abjuration and supremacy, with the exception of the words that exclude the Jews, probably my right hon. Friend (Mr. M. Gibson) will accede to the suggestion. But if the Bill were put in that shape, what would the right hon. and learned Gentleman do? "Why, then," he says, "I will vote against you." I must say that that idea is not very intelligible. The right hon. and learned Gentleman makes no concealment of his purposes, and in whatever shape we attempt to put the Bill, it will not suite him. Of course, I am obliged to go back and support my right hon. Friend in the attempt he is making to take away this despicable remnant of persecution, this attempt to exclude from Parliament, men who, if they were 4,000,000 or even 1,000,000 instead of 40,000 or 50,000, would long ago have been relieved from their disabilities. It is nothing but their weakness, their want of numbers, that has prevented this being done long ago. I trust that the House will not he prevented from doing justice by such considerations as these, and that the principle of religious liberty will achieve another triumph in his case.


Sir, the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, at the commencement of his speech, made some observations which, I think, ought to induce him rather to advocate the introduction of another Bill than to vote for the Bill now under consideration. The noble Lord said, and said truly, that there are two points on which the House is nearly agreed. The one is that the abjuration of the descendants of James II. is no longer necessary, since those descendants do not exist; and the second is, that it is seemly—to say the least of it—that some recognition should be made by this House of the Protestant character of the constitution, which recognition is at present contained in the oath which it is proposed to alter. When measures are brought forward in this House, they ought to be brought forward for purposes only for which they are professedly intended, and they should not contain provisions which may be fastened upon, and by plausible argument be made to effect other objects which were not originally contemplated, and upon which in fair reasoning we are prepared to meet you. The noble Lord says, in answer to ray right hon. and learned friend (Mr. Napier),—"You propose to us to bring in a Bill which shall remedy the obsolete character of this oath, and to put a clause into the Bill which shall enable the Jews to enter Parliament. I thank you (says the noble Lord) for your advice, but I know full well that you are only telling us to do something which I know you will afterwards oppose. "Now, what my hon. and learned Friend really said was this,—"Were such a Bill brought in, to those parts of it in which we agree with you we will assent, but upon those points on which you know we disagree with you we shall be prepared to meet you fairly in argument." It is, however, impossible to take that course with regard to the present measure. Upon that ground, therefore, if upon no other, I should object to the second reading of this Bill. It is a Bill ostensibly to abolish a form of words contained in an oath, and which words are antiquated and no longer applicable to the circumstances of the present times. This is as the Bill is represented by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester; but in reality and truth it is a Bill, according to the representation of the noble Lord, to do away with a solemn recognition, contained in the declaration made by every Member who took his seat in this House—first, of the Protestant character of the Government of this country; and, secondly, of the Christian character of the Legislature. It is these two declarations and solemn recognitions which we wish to maintain, and so long as we have health and strength to maintain them, I think we shall be able to do so. I have often considered with myself, when reflecting on that part of the question which relates to the Jews, how it happens that, although we are constantly arguing this matter, we have never yet met on common ground on which we could agree. All the arguments upon the subject have been exhausted. The noble Lord has referred to one or two arguments to day which, I think, have been answered before. When the right hon. Member for Manchester talks of the rights of the citizens of London, for instance, being taken away by not having in this House one of the Members whom they have elected, I think the answer to that is conclusive—namely, that although the constituency of London, like all other constituencies, have rights, they also have duties. And it is the duty of every constituency to elect a person to represent them in Parliament whom the law and constitution declared eligible, and if the citizens of London choose to elect a person who, according to the law and constitution of the country, is not eligible, the fault is with the citizens and not with the Legislature. The noble Lord has asked whether, in the year 1856, the City of London is a Jewish or a Christian city, seeing that at this moment it has a Jew for its chief magistrate. The argument of the noble Lord is evidently intended to lend to this inference, that, since the law has enabled a Jew to hold the magisterial office, it ought also to admit the Jew to hold a seat in the Legislature. But there is, in my opinion, an answer to this argument also. A magistrate is bound to administer the law according to the enactments of the Legislature, but the Legislature itself may make laws, and may make laws contrary to the spirit of a Christian Parliament. The noble Lord says that, among the many conflicting sects of Christians, the only common ground on which they meet and display their benevolent and Christian character is when they gather together for the purpose of excluding Jews from Parliament. But the fallacy of the noble Lord is this, that he draws no distinction between the depriving a Jew of something which he already has and the admission of a Jew to something which he has never had. By the constitution, a Jew has never had a seat in the Legislature; and it is therefore a legitimate argument to say that, unless some strong ground can be shown for his admission, it is not unfair to exclude him and to allow him to remain where he was. I have often tried to explain to myself why we have never approached nearer to a decision of this question than we have done. I believe we are starting always from different points, and running always in a parallel course. On the one hand, you are arguing that there is a great principle of religious liberty which brings with it certain consequences. Now, with regard to the principle of religious liberty, to a certain extent I go with the noble Lord in the same direction. It unquestionably involves the fullest and freest exercise of everybody's religious convictions. But, when the noble Lord talks about religious liberty in connection with this particular question, he means in addition to that free and full exercise of one's religious convictions, that religious liberty brings with it a title to hold any office in the State, even though such office may be incongruously held by the parties whose right he pleads. If the noble Lord will attempt to give us a fair definition of religious liberty, I will undertake to say that he cannot logically bring the admission of the Jews into this House within such definition. But, consistently with the principle of religious liberty, we con- tend that there is a principle of religious truth which requires that a national Legislature should recognise a religions obligation: and we go on to say that in this nation, at least, that religions principle and obligation has been the principle of Christianity. And we cannot give up that principle, because we find laws established in order that your legislation may be conducted, your Church may be maintained and preserved, and your institutions may be modelled and upheld with reference to the great principles of religious truth. That being the reason why we have not met on common ground on this question, let us inquire further as to who is right in this matter. You seek to establish a right which has never hitherto been recognised. Your notions have never availed, whereas our notions have always been recognised from time immemorial to the present moment. Therefore, it is not a question of persecution and intolerance, but it is simply a question whether it is expedient, wise, and politic, to alter the constitution. The noble Lord said there was only one day in the year when they were charitable and benevolent to each other. I think the whole fallacy of the noble Lord's argument lies in this, that the exclusion is an innovation of the constitution. Now if there is one thing calculated more strongly than any other to confirm me in my present conviction, it is that which I derive from the invariable course pursued by those who advocate this measure. They have introduced four Bills. I will very briefly remind the House what they were. The first Bill was to assimilate the ease of the Jew to that of the Roman Catholic. It proposed to give the Jew the same privileges as the Roman Catholic, but it denied him the same benefit with regard to the oath. It gave him certain privileges, but excluded him from holding certain offices. It gave him the right to be a Privy Councillor; but if the noble Lord is right in saying that political functions ought not to depend upon religious faith, why are Jews excluded from the offices of Lord Chancellor of England and of Ireland? The second Bill consisted of two short clauses, by which it was provided that a Jew should be allowed to take his seat in Parliament on taking the oath of abjuration, without the words, "upon the true faith of a Christian." But the noble Lord got into a scrape on that occasion, because he put the Jew in a better situation than the Roman Catholic, and the Roman Catholic naturally said he did not know why he should be in a worse position than the Jew. A third Bill was brought in, which, with one exception, was the best that had been proposed. It was a Bill to consolidate all the oaths taken by Protestants, leaving the oath to be taken by Roman Catholics as a separate enactment. The fourth Bill, called the "Coalition Bill," joined all the oaths together, but its provisions were such that neither the House nor the country would sanction them, and the Bill was rejected. So much for the attempts at legislation on this subject. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester says that the preamble of the existing Act shows that the oath of abjuration was devised to exclude the Pretender. He ought to have added, "and for other purposes." That oath was not merely for the purpose of abjuring the Pretender, but it was accompanied with a declaration of rights, in order to have it manifestly declared and solemnly announced as to what were the principles of the constitution. In that most venerable preamble of the Act of Settlement in which the oath of abjuration was introduced, it was stated that it was an Act upon which the continance of the monarchy of England, the preservation of the Protestant religion, the maintenance of the Church of England as by law established, and the security of the undoubted rights of the Legislature of England, depended. A solemn declaration in similar terms is required to be made by all who take the abjuration oath at the table of this House. I shall now end. If this had been a Bill merely to get rid of any obsolete or antiquated phrases in the oath, I would have, supported it; nay, more, if it had been a Bill to give the oath more solemnity by making it more simple, I would have gladly given it my support. But that is not the object of the Bill. I find it to be a Bill for the abolition of this solemn declaration—a declaration which, I think, ought to be continued. I will grant to you that, after all, these declarations are but weak securities, taken by themselves; but I deny that they are weak securities when taken in connection with the law and in reference to the purposes for which they were framed. There may be persons whose consciences are of a more expansive kind than mine who, after taking the declaration, may break through the barrier it was intended to erect; but that is no reason why it should be abrogated. Whatever rules and securities may be prescribed there may be ill-disposed persons ready enough to break through them, but that is not a reason why they should be given up, particularly when those rules and declarations operate as a security with respect to a great majority of the people. You may as well say that all primitive laws are useless because they fail to eradicate every crime, and that all religious teaching is futile because it cannot exterminate every kind of vice, as maintain that a solemn declaration which the Legislature has prescribed is obsolete, because there are men who disregard its obligations. This House has solemn duties to discharge, and among them is that of securing to their legislation the distinctive character of Christianity. I, for one, therefore, cannot be a party to a measure which involves such consequences as I have feebly endeavoured to describe.


I will not detain the House but for a few moments. I was simply going to say that I shall give my hearty concurrence to the second reading of this Bill, because I think it is high time to relieve everybody from taking an oath which I am sure no man can take without wishing that he should be saved from the necessity of making such a declaration. It is an oath which does not belong to the times in which we live, and from which I think it must be the great object of every one to be relieved. But, Sir, I rose principally with a view to make one or two remarks with regard to a point which has been stated as to that part of the declaration which applies to the Pretender and to the Protestant succession. In concurring with my right hon. Friend (Mr. M. Gibson) in wishing to get rid of the oath of abjuration as it now stands, I am quite ready to admit that it would be desirable in Committee, either by retaining a part of the present oath, or by adding something to another oath which is already adopted, still to require some declaration to be made with reference to the maintenance of the Protestant succession to the Throne of these Realms.


Sir, I wish briefly to state my reasons for the course I shall take on this occasion. Notwithstanding the observations of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, I must say that I think the question which is really at issue has not been brought before the House in a form the most desirable for its proper solution. I regret that the question has not been presented to the consideration of the House in a manner that would have raised a simple issue, and which would have asked for the opinion of the House upon the single question whether legislative power should be entrusted to Her Majesty's subjects professing the Jewish religion. I lament that that question should have become involved with one which at all touches the Protestant sentiments or even Protestant prejudices of the people of England, When the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), two years ago, introduced a measure, which then was unfortunate, I felt it my duty to vote for the first time against the measure, although I had before supported measures of an analogous kind; and I did so because I felt that the noble Lord had fatally shifted his ground, and that he would thereby raise up a host of prejudices against him, in addition to those against which he must have been prepared to contend. With regard, Sir, to the particular proposition before us, it is divested, no doubt, of many of the objections which could be fairly urged against the proposal of the noble Lord in 1854. The oath of abjuration in its present form is clearly indefensible. No one on either side has for a moment pretended that the oath, as it is now framed, is not open to very serious objections. Whether it has arisen from inadvertency by the Legislature, or from the great changes that have taken place in men's minds, or from the political circumstances we have had to encounter, I know not; but it cannot be denied that the terms of the oath are anomalous. In dealing with this question I, for one, should deeply regret, that in voting for the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester it should be supposed that I would vote for a Motion by which it was attempted, in an indirect manner, to get rid of those obstacles which are at present in the way of British Jews entering into Parliament, by simply removing from the oath the words "on the true faith of a Christian." The words "on the true faith of a Christian are words which, in my opinion, ought to form part of the oath to be taken by the Members of this House who are Christians. Whether, if we were called upon to frame an oath ab initio, it should be framed according to its present form, so far as the retaining of those words is concerned, I will not stop to discuss. That is of secondary importance. But those words at present exist, and, if we now repudiate and reject them from the oath, it appears to me that we should be taking a course which, looking only to the policy of our conduct, and not regarding higher considerations, would be greatly detrimental, and fraught with consequences which all of us might deplore. I have another reason, I confess, for calling upon the House not to renounce that form of oath. I have never advocated the cause of the Jews in this House upon the principle of religious liberty, which the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) most sincerely and consistently advocates, and which he has at all times made the basis of the policy which he has recommended to us. I have always felt that when you came to practice, and were determined to act upon that principle, you might find it a very difficult one to carry you through your case. I doubt that if the claim of the Jews for the removal of these restrictions is merely founded upon the abstract principle of religious liberty, grounds of opposition may not arise which have not yet been introduced into the controversy, and which it may be very difficult to impugn and defeat. I have always felt that the claim of the Jews to an entrance into Parliament, and to the full enjoyment of all the rights which this State can confer upon the subjects of Her Majesty, mainly, and in my opinion justly, rests upon the principle that this is a Christian State, and that we are a Christian community. I have more than once expressed my reasons for entertaining this opinion. It appears to me that the claim, of the Jew to the respect of the Christian cannot be contested. If the religion of this country were not Christian, if this were not a Christian community, there might be plausible reasons urged against the admission of Jews as Members into this House. But, with all becoming respect, I may be allowed to say that this would not be a Christian State or a Christian community had it not been, under Divine inspiration, for the efforts and exertions of a Jew. I think that that fact constitutes a claim to the respect, the consideration, and the sympathy of this House. Under these circumstances, the course I shall venture to take will be this;—I shall vote for the second reading of this Bill, and for this reason, that when the Bill is in Committee I shall take the opportunity of proposing an oath in lieu of the oath of abjuration which the Bill contains, and in which I shall retain the word. "on the true faith of a Christian;" and I shall subsequently take the liberty of proposing a clause which will meet the case of any Jew who may be elected a Member of this House, and which will prevent the necessity of his using those words, which he cannot conscientiously do. I thank the House for allowing me to make this statement. I could not go into the lobby without entering into this explanation, after having, on a previous occasion, voted against the Motion of the noble Lord. I regret the question has been brought before us in the form it has. but, after the most anxious reflection I can give the subject, I think the course which I have mentioned is the one most likely to conciliate all parties.


Sir, I have taken the deepest interest in this question, and I do pray the House to let me state clearly the grounds upon which I shall give my vote against this Bill. I do so because it proposes to strike down the oath which is a recognition by the subjects of this realm of the social compact with which they are bound to the Sovereign. The Sovereign is bound by an oath to maintain the Protestant religion as the constitutional religion of the realm, and the subject is bound in return to maintain the present Royal family as a Protestant family upon the Throne. Sir, I will not vote for a Bill, which, by altering the terms of an oath, destroys that recognition of the compact—I will not vote for a Bill which proposes by one blow to lay prostrate the Christian character of the Imperial Parliament—and I ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) why, if he wishes to introduce a measure which would effect the object which he proposes to effect by the introduction of a clause in the present Bill when in Committee, he did not bring in a Bill himself which would effect his object, and also embody an oath which would retain the words "on the true faith of a Christian," and recognise the Protestant succession to the Throne of the British dominions? How can he ask us to vote against the very proposition which he declares he considers most essential to include in the oath? What is the sense of our first voting against the recognition of the Protestant succession to the Throne—against the words which would retain the Christian character of Parliament, as enunciated in the oath taken by every Member of that House, if we were to be asked in Committee to re-insert those very words? Why, the thing is an absurdity on the part of the right hon. Gentleman. I will not dally in such a manner and on such a question; and I tell the right hon. Gentleman that no man who does can expect to be understood. A great issue has been raised whether, in the oath of the representatives of the people in this country, the right of the Protestant succession shall be recognised; and we have another great issue raised as to whether Parliament is to retain the character of a Christian Legislature of a Christian country. I, for one, am not going to vote with the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Buckinghamshire,—first, to strike down a formula which maintains those great principles, upon the vain hope that, perchance, in Committee we shall be able to re-insert them. As a consistant man, as one who for years has, to the best of his poor merits, defended the great principles which are now at stake—as a Protestant, as a Christian, and as a representative of Protestants and Christians, I refuse to vote with the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Buckinghamshire, to strike down this oath, which recognises those principles in the constitution of this House.

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

The House divided.


one of the Tellers for the Noes, stated that Mr. Wykeham Martin, Member for Rochester, was with the Noes in the Left Lobby, but had refused to vote with them; whereupon Mr. Speaker desired the Tellers to bring Mr. Wykeham Martin to the Table. The hon. Member having come to the Table, was asked by Mr. Speaker, if he had heard the Question put, and on replying in the affirmative, was informed by him, that having gone forth into the Left Lobby his vote must be recorded with the Noes.

Whereupon the Tellers announced the Numbers, Ayes 230; Noes 195: Majority 35.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 2o.

List of the AYES.
Acton, J. Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.
Adair, R. A. S. Barnes, T.
Agnew, Sir A. Bass, M. T.
Alcock, T. Baxter, W. E.
Anderson, Sir J. Bell, J.
Antrobus, E. Bellew, T. A.
Ball, E. Berkeley, hon. H. E.
Ball, J. Berkeley, G. C. L.
Bethell, Sir R. Grace, O. D. J.
Biggs, W. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Black, A. Gregson, S.
Bonham-Carter, J. Grenfell, C. W.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Greville, Col. F.
Bowyer, G. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Brady, J. Grey, R. W.
Bramston, T. W. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Brand, hon. H. Gurney, J. H.
Brockman, E. D. Hadfield, G.
Brotherton, J. Hall, rt. hon. Sir B.
Brown, H. Hankey, T.
Brown, W. Harcourt, G. G.
Buckley, General Hastie, Alexander
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Hastie, Archibald
Burke, Sir T. J. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Butler, C. S. Headlam, T. E.
Byng, hon. G. H. C. Heneage, G. F.
Castlerosse, Visct. Herbert, H. A.
Challis, Mr. Ald. Heywood, J.
Chambers, M. Heyworth, L.
Cheetham, J. Higgins, Col. O.
Clay, Sir W. Holland, E.
Cobden, R. Horsman, rt. hon. E.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Coffin, W. Howard, Lord E.
Coote, Sir C. H. Hutchins, E. J.
Cowan, C. Hutt, W.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Ingham, R.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Jackson, W.
Crossley, F. Jermyn, Earl
Cubitt, Mr. Ald. Johnstone, J.
Currie, R. Johnstone, Sir J.
Dashwood, Sir G. H. Keating, H. S.
Davie, Sir R. H. F. Kershaw, J.
Denison, J. E. King, hon. P. J. L.
De Vere, S. E. Kirk, W.
Dillwyn, L. L. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Disrael, rt. hon. B. Laffan, R. M.
Divett, E. Laing, S.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Langton, H. G.
Duff, G. S. Laslett, W.
Duff, J. Layard, A. H.
Duncan, Visct. Lee, W.
Duncan, G. Lemon, Sir C.
Duncombe, T. Lewis, rt. hon. Sir G. C.
Dundas, F. Liddell, hon. H. G.
Dungarvan, Visct. Lindsey, W. S.
Dunlop, A. M Locke, J.
Dunne, M. Luce, T.
Ellice, rt. hon. H. E. M'Cann, J.
Ellice, E. MacGregor, James
Elliot, hon. J. E. Maguire, J. F.
Evans, Sir De Lacy Marjoribanks, D. C.
Ewart, W. Martin, J.
Ewart, J. C. Massey, W. N.
Fenwick, H. Meagher, T.
Fergus, J. Miall, E.
FitzGerald, Sir J. Milligan, R.
FitzRoy, rt. hon. H. Mills, T.
Forster, C. Milnes, R. M.
Forster, J. Michell, W.
Fortescue, C. S. Mitchell, T. A.
Fox, W. J. Moffatt, G.
Freestun, Col. Monck, Visct.
Gardner, R. Moncreiff, James
Gaskell, J. M. Monsell, rt. hon. W.
Gifford, Earl of Morris, D.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. Mostyn, hon. T. E. M. L.
Glyn, G. C. Mulgrave, Earl of
Goderich, Visct. Murrough, J. P.
Gordon, hon. A. Napier, Sir C.
Gower, hon. F. L. North, F.
O'Brien, J. Shelburne, Earl of
Oliveira, B. Smith, J. A.
Palmer, Roundell Smith, J. B.
Palmer, Visct. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Paxton, Sir J. Stanley, Lord
Peacocke, G. M. W. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Steel, J.
Peel, Sir R. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Peel, F. Sullivan, M.
Pellatt, A. Swift, R.
Perry, Sir T. E. Thornely, T.
Phillimore, J. G. Thornhill, W. P.
Phillimore, R. J. Tite, W.
Pigott, F. Uxbridge, Earl of
Pilkington, J. Vane, Lord H.
Pinney, W. Vernon, G. E. H.
Pollard Urquhart, W. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Ponsonby, hon. A. G. J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Price, Sir R. Walter, J.
Price, W. P. Warner, E.
Raynham, Visct. Waterpark, Lord
Ricardo, O. Watson, W. H.
Ricardo, S. Wells, W.
Rice, E. R. Whatman, J.
Richardson, J. J. Whitbread, S.
Ridley, G. Wickham, H. W.
Roebuck, J. A. Wilkinson, W. A.
Russell, Lord J. Willcox, B. M'G.
Russell, F. C. H. Williams, M.
Russell, F. W. Williams, W.
Scholefield, W. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Scobell, Capt. Wyvill, M.
Scully, F.
Seymour, H. D. TELLERS.
Seymour, W. D. Gibson, T. M.
Shafto, R. D. Shelley, Sir J.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, C. B. Clinton, Lord C. P.
Annesley, Earl of Clive, hon. R. W.
Arbuthnott, hon. Gen. Cobbold, J. C.
Baillie, H. J. Cole, hon. H. A.
Baird, J. Coles, H. B.
Baldock, E. H. Compton, H. C.
Bankes, rt. hon. G. Dalkeith, Earl of
Barrington, Visct. Davies, J. L.
Barrow, W. H. Deedes, W.
Bateson, T. Dering, Sir E.
Beckett, W. Dod, J. W.
Bennet, P. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.
Bentinck, Lord H. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Dunne, Col.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Du Pre, C. G.
Blackburn, P. East, Sir J. B.
Blakemore, T. W. B. Egerton, Sir P.
Boldero, Col. Estcourt, T. H. S.
Bond, J. W. M'G. Evelyn, W. J.
Booth, Sir R. G. Farnham, E. B.
Bramley-Moore, J. Farrar, J.
Bruce, Maj. C. Fellowes, E.
Buck, Col. Ferguson, J.
Bunbury, W. B. M'C. Fergusson, Sir J.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Filmer, Sir E.
Burroughes, H. N. Floyer, J.
Butt, G. M. Follett, B. S.
Cabbell, B. B. Forester, rt. hon. Col.
Cairns, H. M'C. Forster, Sir G.
Cecil, Lord R. Fuller, A. E.
Chelsea, Visct. Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Child, S. Galway, Visct.
Cholmondeley, Lord H. George, J.
Christy, S. Gladstone, Capt.
Goddard, A. L. Morgan, O.
Gooch, Sir E. S. Mowbray, J. R.
Graham, Lord M. W. Mullings, J. R.
Greenall, G. Mundy, W.
Greene, T. Muntz, G. F.
Grogan, E. Naas, Lord
Guinness, R. S. Napier, rt. hon. J.
Gwyn, H. Newark, Visct.
Haddo, Lord Noel, hon. G. J.
Hale, R. B. North, Col.
Halford, Sir H. Northcote, Sir S. H.
Hamilton, Lord C. Oakes, J. H. P.
Hamilton, rt. hon. R. C. N. Ossulston, Lord
Hanbury, hon. C. S. B. Pakington, rt. hon. Sir J.
Harcourt, Col. Palk, L.
Hardy, G. Palmer, R.
Hayes, Sir E. Patten, Col. W.
Heathcote, Sir W. Peel, Gen.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Pennant, hon. Col.
Herbert, Sir T. Pritchard, J.
Hildyard, R. C. Repton, G. W. J.
Hill, Lord A. E. Robertson, P. F.
Holford, R. S. Rolt, P.
Horsfall, T. B. Sandars, G.
Hotham, Lord Scott, hon. F.
Hughes, W. B. Seymer, H. K.
Hume, W. F. Sibthorp, Maj.
Irton, S. Smith, A.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Somerset, Col.
Jolliffe, H. H. Spooner, R.
Jones, Admiral Stafford, A.
Kendall, N. Stanhope, J. B.
Kerrison, Sir E. C. Starkie, Le G. N.
King, J. K. Stracey, Sir H. J.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Stewart. Sir M. R. S.
Knatchbull, W. F. Stuart. Capt.
Knight, F. W. Sturt, H. G.
Knightley, Rainald Tollemache, J.
Knox, Col. Tyler, Sir G.
Langton, W. G. Vance, J.
Legh, G. C. Vansittart, G. H.
Lennox, Lord A. F. Verner, Sir W.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Vernon, L. V.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Vyvyan, Sir R. R.
Lisburne, Earl of Vyse, Col.
Lockhart, A. E. Waddington, H. S.
Lockhart, W. Walcott, Admiral
Lovaine, Lord Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Lowther, hon. Col. Warren. S.
Lowther, Capt. West, F. R.
Macartney, G. Whiteside, J.
Mackie, J. Whitmore, H.
MacGregor, J. Wigram, L. T.
Maddock, Sir H. Willoughby, Sir H.
Malins, R. Wise, J. A.
Manners, Lord G. Woodd, B. T.
Manners, Lord J. Wyndham, Gen.
March, Earl of Wyndham, H.
Martin, P. W. Wynn, Lieut. Col.
Maunsell, T. P. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Meux, Sir H. Wynne, rt. hon. J.
Miles, W. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Montgomery, H. L. TELLERS.
Montgomery, Sir G. Thesiger, Sir F.
Moody, C. A. Newdegate, C. C.