HC Deb 13 May 1858 vol 150 cc529-30

brought up the Report of the Select Committee appointed to draw up the reasons assigned for disagreeing from the Lords' Amendments of this Bill.

The reasons were read by the clerk at the table as follows, and agreed to seriatim:— 1. Because the words 'on the true faith of a Christian,' were originally introduced in the Oaths to be taken by Members of Parliament with a view to bind certain Roman Catholics, and were not intended for the purpose of excluding persons of the Jewish persuasion. 2. Because the exclusion of British subjects from seats in Parliament and offices in the State on the ground or their religions opinions is contrary to the general maxims of freedom of conscience. 3. Because no charge of disloyalty or unfitness for public employment and a fair share of legislative power has been alleged, or can be alleged, against the Jewish community. 4. Because the infliction of disabilities upon any class of Her Majesty's subjects solely en the ground of their conscientious adherence to their faith savours of persecution, and is totally inconsistent with those principles of religious liberty which, in the case of more powerful communities, have been applied by Parliament with such happy effects. 5. Because the Commons having already on ten previous occasions, and in five Parliaments, passed Bills for removing the civil disabilities of the Jews, and having of late years agreed to such Bills by constantly increasing majorities, are convinced that the opinion of their constituents and of the country at large has been irrevocably pronounced in favour of the removal of such disabilities. 6. Because such Bills have been supported by many of the most eminent Members of both Houses of Parliament, who, while differing upon other political questions, have concurred in the justice and expediency of measures for the relief of the Jews. 7. Because the rights of the electors of the United Kingdom have been peculiarly affected by a law which has been construed to prevent the admission to the House of Commons of persons who have been lawfully returned as Members of that House. 8. Because the first and third clauses of the Bill air open to the construction that the new Oath which the former of them contains should be taken not only in all cases where the Oaths of Al- legiance, Supremacy, and Abjuration, are now required, but also where the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy are at present required, though without the Oath of Abjuration; the result of which construction, if the Bill should pass into law without the fifth clause, would be to exclude the Jews from practising as solicitors and barristers, and from offices under the Crown, to which employments and offices they are now admitted. 9. Because such result would be contrary to the intention of the two Houses of Parliament, appearing from the sixth clause and from the title of the Bill under consideration.


said, he wished it to be understood that if he did not now object to the substance of these "reasons," it was in deference to the opinion expressed by that House when they determined upon a conference with the House of Lords. On the main question in issue, he still retained in its integrity the opinion he had already expressed; and if he now abstained front interrupting the course of the proceedings before the House, it was solely out of deference to the feelings of the majority.


said, that he would then move that a conference be desired with the House of Lords.

Ordered,That a Conference be desired with the Lords upon the subject matter of the Amendments made by their Lordships to the said Bill; and that the Clerk do go to the Lords, and desire the said Conference.