HC Deb 22 February 1856 vol 140 cc1288-9

Order for Committee read; House in Committee.


placed in the hands of the Chairman a Resolution authorising him to introduce a Bill to abolish the Oath of Abjuration.


said, he should not oppose the Motion, as he understood that it had been arranged that the discussion should be taken when the Bill was before them. The Oath of Abjuration in itself contained a provision which had certainly become obsolete, and was inapplicable to the present time, and he quite admitted that, for the purpose of simplifying the oath, that portion of it might very well he done away with. Still, that oath contained a principle which ought to be retained in any oath which should be substituted for it. The Act of Parliament at present obliged Members to take throe oaths—the Oath of Allegiance, the Oath of Supremacy, and the Oath of Abjuration—and each of these oaths contained a principle of its own. In the Oath of Allegiance was contained the principle of simple allegiance to the Queen; in the Oath of Supremacy, by which Members were required to declare that no foreign prince, prelate, or power had any jurisdiction within these realms, was contained what he would call the principle of undivided allegiance; and the third principle, contained in the Oath of Abjuration, was, that Members were called on to pledge their simple and undivided allegiance to the Throne according to a particular line laid down in the Act of Settlement. That principle he conceived to be of the utmost importance, and he should be very sorry to see any oath imposed which did not contain those three principles. Indirectly the Bill would raise a great question, which bad been discussed and decided by several Parliaments. If there was to be any proposition to omit from the oath the words, "on the true faith of a Christian," he must warn the right hon. Gentleman that he must not look for the support of Gentlemen on that side of the House.


said, he hoped it would be understood that he, for one, would be prepared to offer the strongest possible opposition to the passing of the Bill. He must say he could conceive no proposition more offensive to the religious public of England—no proposition more offensive to Parliament itself—than the Bill announced by the right hon. Gentleman. He could foresee nothing but defeat for this attempt to infringe upon the Christian character of the House of Commons. Resolved—" That the Chairman be directed to move the House, that leave be given to bring in a Bill for abrogating the Oath of Abjuration and the Assurance.

Resolution reported; Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. FITZROY, Mr. MILNER GIBSON, Mr. RAIKES CURRIE, and Mr. THOMAS DUNCOMBE.

The House adjourned, at a quarter before One o'clock, till Monday next.