HC Deb 15 March 1866 vol 182 cc289-314

(Sir George Grey, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)

Order for Committee read.


Sir, it will be for the convenience of the House if I now state the course which Her Majesty's Government, after due consideration, feel it their duty to pursue with reference to the Amendment of which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) has given notice. The right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members sitting around him have frankly accepted the principle of a uniform oath; and the division which took place on the second reading of the Bill demonstrated the all but unanimous opinion of the House that a uniform oath should be substituted for the several oaths now taken by Members of both Houses of Parliament. We attach great value to the principle of a uniform oath, because it involves the exclusion of those parts of the oaths now taken which are peculiar to the Roman Catholic oath, needlessly offensive to Roman Catholic Members, and which, according to the construction placed upon them by some persons, subjects them to some restriction of the freedom which, as Members of the Legislature, they ought to exercise, A uniform oath places them upon an equality with other Members of this House; whilst it narrows the area of debate by removing many of those topics which have been the subject of our discussions to a large extent on former occasions. We have been anxious to give a fair and candid consideration to the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman as the leader of a party in the House, and who, we believe, is sincerely desirous of facilitating the object we have in view, that of the establishment of one uniform oath. His Amendment consists of two parts, which have no connection one with the other The first relates to the Act of Settlement, and the second to the Royal Supremacy. With regard to the first part of the Amendment, in preparing a Bill to be submitted to Parliament we did not think it necessary to retain the words relating to the Act of Settlement, believing that the succession to the Throne rests upon the firm and sure basis of the Act of Parliament, and that it would derive no additional security from the retention of the words suggested by the right hon. Gentleman. The authority of the Act of Settlement, however, is most distinctly recognized in the second section of the Bill, because by that section the oath of allegiance required to he taken can be taken only to the Sovereign who, by virtue of the Act of Settlement, is the Sovereign for the time being of this realm, There is, therefore, no substantial difference between the general purport of the Bill and the first part of the Amendment which relates to the Act of Settlement. But as some hon. Gentlemen attach importance to the retention of these words, from the honest conviction that it is desirable to retain them, the Government are not prepared to offer any opposition to the adoption of them, subject to only one exception, to which I think there will be no objection. It was stated the other night that the Society of Friends objected to the use of the word "defend," because it implied the obligation to defend the succession to the Crown by force of I arms. I do not think that is the necessary construction of the word "defend," as there are other means of defending the succession to the Crown besides the taking up of arms. But as the scruple is entertained, and as those who entertain it are now exempt from that obligation, as the; affirmation does not contain the word "defend," I do not think there will be any I objection to omit that word, retaining the words "maintain and support." With reference to the second part of the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman, I am sorry to say that Her Majesty's Government feel that they cannot accede to t. I will not anticipate the discussion which may arise in Committee when it is proposed, but I thought it might be convenient to the House that I should make this statement, and I now move that Mr. Deputy Speaker leave the Chair.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That Mr. Deputy Speaker do now leave the Chair,"—(Sir George Grey.)


Sir, although I feel it desirable not to defer going into Committee, where alone the Amendment can be properly discussed, perhaps the House will allow me to make one or two observations. The right hon. Baronet holds that the Bill, as it stood in the second section, would have provided for all that is proposed to be done by the Amendment. Now, on reflection, the right hon. Baronet will see that all the second section does is this—it provides the means of substituting from time to time the name of the new Sovereign in the oath. There is no doubt the rule by which the name of the new Sovereign is to be substituted is to be found in the Act of Succession. So far I agree with him. It is desirable, however, that there should be a pledge on the part of those taking this oath that they will maintain the Succession as established by law, but there is no pledge of this kind in the second section of the Bill as it stands. With regard to the word "defend," perhaps the right hon. Baronet will allow me to point out that the difficulty experienced by hon. Members on a former occasion related to another part of the oath than that he has indicated. In the old oath the words were— I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and will defend her to the utmost of my power. Now, that was the part, I believe, to which members of the Society of Friends were averse. They believed that those words would put them under an obligation to defend the person of the Sovereign vi et armis. Allow me to point out that in the Amendment to be proposed the word "defend" occurs in a very different place, and for a very different purpose. In its present position, it implies that persons taking the oath shall defend not the person of the Sovereign but the Succession. I put it to the right hon. Baronet, whether it can possibly be supposed that by a pledge to maintain, support, and defend the Succession, you are pledged to defend it, if necessary, by force of arms? It is quite a different matter.


said, as he divided the House on the second reading of the Bill, he might perhaps be permitted to state that he believed, and had reason to know, that the large majority did not represent the unanimity which the right hon. Gentleman had assumed. The oath now sought to be disturbed was the result of an arrangement made after a contest in Parliament which, lasted for eleven years, and a conference between the two Houses of Parliament, and it was a settlement second only in importance to that of 1829, so far as principle was concerned. He knew well the current of public opinion in the country in reference to the subject, and of that current the eighty-nine petitions which he had that day presented afforded evidence. The last Report of the Committee on Petitions showed that 149 petitions had been presented against the Bill, signed by 22,000 persons, including eleven chairmen of public meetings. Considering how the matter had been postponed from week to week in the House, and how public meetings and petitions had been thereby interrupted, that was as extensive and rapid a manifestation of public feeling as could be presented to the House on any subject. He trusted, therefore, the House would give that attention to the subject which its importance demanded. It was due to the petitioners and to the intelligence which the substance of their petitions manifested, and due to the six Members who had concurred with him in expressing their strong convictions against the Bill, that he should then state the reasons which had decided him to divide the House on the second reading of the Bill, He believed that many hon. Gentlemen who voted in the majority did not agree in the substance of the Bill, and that they had voted more in deference to the opinion of their leaders in Parliament than from their own conscientious convictions.


said, he was very reluctant to urge any objection to the proposed compromise between the Government and the Opposition. There was not a Member in the House more sensible than himself of the little practical result which the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) could produce. If it had any practical result it could only be this—to make the Roman Catholics of England and Ireland feel that the disposition had not entirely disappeared of doing things towards them that were needlessly offensive. He was prepared to show that what was proposed to be done on the present occasion was entirely unnecessary, and moreover, that it was offensive to those who, like himself, professed the Roman Catholic creed. What they were called upon to do was not merely to submit, and to be loyal, to the Protestant Monarchy of this country, but to swear to maintain an Act of Parliament which was conceived in a spirit most injurious and offensive to the Roman Catholic religion, by the terms of which a Roman Catholic was bound, if at any time the Sovereign of the country were to become Roman Catholic, to take up arms and dethrone him. Now there was a wide difference between binding them to loyalty to the Sovereign, whatever his creed might be, and binding them by positive oath to take up arms and dethrone their Sovereign in case he adopted the Roman Catholic creed. No doubt it was a purely speculative and theoretical objection, but at the same time he thought it unworthy and unbecoming the dignity of the House to make a difference between a small minority of its Members and the great majority, and compel the minority to take an oath which they could not but regard as offensive and injurious; and he could not help regretting that when the Bill was introduced in a generous and liberal spirit, a movement should have been made on that (the Opposition) side of the House to take from it the merit which it possessed. But he had another objection to the Bill, and he trusted hon. Members would not suspect that it was made in a captious and offensive spirit. He, as a Roman Catholic, was to be bound by that oath to be loyal to the Sovereign of England so long as the Sovereign should remain Protestant. That imposed on him the obligation of knowing what was a Protestant. Considering the changes which were going on, it might hereafter become very difficult to say whether the personage occupying the Throne did or did not belong to that creed. He should like to ask the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) if he considered those clergymen to be ministers of the Protestant religion against whom he had been presenting multitudinous petitions during the last few weeks, complaining of their introducing obsolete vestments, and devoting themselves to what were called Romanistic practices; and whether he considered a Sovereign would be a Protestant if he happened to adopt those particular practices? He was at a loss to know whether a Unitarian could be considered a Protestant, and what were the limits beyond which a man could not go without ceasing to be fit to occupy the Throne of England. The Amendment would only introduce an element of ambiguity, the getting rid of which was the principal merit of the Government Bill. Considering it to be needlessly offensive to the Roman Catholics, he begged to record his vote against the Amendment, if adopted by the majority in that House of course he must submit, but he should do so with a very bad grace.


observed, that the right hon. Baronet (Sir George Grey) bad stated that by adopting the first part of the Amendment he would add no- thing to the significance and force of the Bill; but the observations of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down must have convinced him how mistaken he was in supposing that the form of oath proposed in the Government Bill and the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) were one and the same thing. The hon. Member said that the two things were totally different, and that the oath proposed by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) imposed upon him and his friends a very different obligation from that to which under the new oath in its original shape they would have been subjected. What was the difference between the form of oath in the Government Bill and that proposed in the Amendment? The Government form of oath was merely an oath of personal fealty to the individual Sovereign, It spoke of nothing but the individual Sovereign for the time being- He did not consider it, strictly speaking, an oath of loyalty at all. At any rate, it was only an oath of loyalty to the Crown. It was no oath of allegiance to the Constitution. Personal admiration, personal devotion to the occupant of the Throne was not loyalty. Loyalty was a constitutional sentiment, not a personal one. To be loyal meant to uphold the Monarchy, not simply the individual who at the moment happened to be the occupant of the throne. The distinction drawn between the Amendment and the Bill was a vital one, and he thanked the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Dillon) for his candour in pointing it out. The hon. Member objected to the Amendment because he objected to the Act of Settlement. The House considered the Act of Settlement one of the foundations of the Monarchy, but the hon. Gentleman regarded it as an Act of Parliament among other Acts of Parliament, to be repealed, or amended, or adridged, or altered, according as circumstances might render change desirable. [Mr. DILLON: Hear, hear!] He (Mr. Chambers) did not complain of Roman Catholic Members taking that view, and he was thankful to them for expressing it. The question now was, what was the House prepared to do? He regretted that the Government had introduced the Bill, and that a proposal bad been made to disturb the settlement not long since effected, but no doubt they had felt themselves pressed by what passed in the last Parliament to introduce the subject. When the Bill was brought in he felt thankful that it was proposed to establish a single oath for all Members, for it was most desirable that all hon. Members who came there to discharge a common function should do so under a common sanction. He was thankful that they intended to adopt a single form of oath, and he thought the oath should be the shortest possible, that it should contain a minimum number of obligations and principles, and that it would be bad if it included anything except what was fundamental and of the highest importance. He thought they had gone far enough in the abolition of oaths, if not too far, and though he had earnestly supported proposals to abolish oaths that were multiplied without reason and without reverence, still on proper occasions he thought it was a suitable thing for Members to be bound by an oath as, for example, when they were about to discharge the most momentous of all functions. The oath, though short as possible, should be full enough to secure its object, but he thought the oath in the Government Bill was not full enough. No oath to be taken by all the Members of the House should contain any single assertion or obligation in which all could not join. They were not called upon to take the oath as Protestants, as Roman Catholics, or as Dissenters, but as citizens; and there ought to be nothing in it which every man ought not to feel himself bound to recognize in virtue of his citizenship alone. But the second portion of the oath given notice of by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire was, it seemed, objected to by Roman Catholic Members. Why should they so object? Let them take the term "loyalty" in its constitutional sense; it meant the recognition of the Monarchy as limited by the Act of Settlement. Every man was bound to be loyal, not by statute merely, but by the highest à priori obligations of his birth—his citizenship in the State of which he was a subject. Then how could the Roman Catholic subjects of the Crown object to make a declaration to that effect? Loyalty meant loyalty to the Monarch as Sovereign of England, and to a particular line of succession, being Protestant. The Roman Catholics were not asked to approve the line being Protestant, but were asked merely to recognize the fact. Again, what objection could properly be taken to the next declaration, with regard to the supremacy of the Sovereign in the Courts of Law? The prime function of Government was the administration of justice, and the Monarch was the fountain of justice, administering it through the Courts of Law. In every one of those courts the Queen was supreme, and how could it be offensive to Roman Catholics to say that in the Queen's courts the Queen was supreme? It was of no use objecting to it, because it was true, and would remain so, he hoped, so long as the country lasted. How could it wound the consciences of any one to be called upon to say that which they could not deny, and which they could not alter? There was nothing objectionable in the word jurisdiction. The word itself necessarily excluded all "foreign Princes, Prelates, States, or Potentates whatever." The words, perhaps, were more numerous than they might be, but the word "jurisdiction" was a legal term, and it was impossible for any man to contend that any foreign Prince had jurisdiction or authority in any of the courts within the realm. Jurisdiction meant coercive jurisdiction, backed by all the power of the State. On these grounds it appeared to him that Roman Catholics ought not to object to the Amendment suggested by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, because it was nothing but a statement of facts. However, if the bare and dry recognition of facts were objected to, it became less likely than ever that the Members of that House could be brought to unite under one common bond, when they presented themselves to discharge their duties. What was now proposed was more for the sake of the Roman Catholics than any one else, and he would regret if they did not lend their help in the settlement of the question.


said, he thought the discussion was ranging inconveniently wide. His right hon. Friend (Sir George Grey) had stated for the information of the House the intentions of the Government with respect to the Amendment suggested by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), and it was natural for him to have made some remarks on that part of the Amendment which it was proposed to concede. His right hon. Friend also explained what portion of the Amendment he objected to, but he did not state his reasons, because it would have been inconvenient to provoke a discussion, which could at the present stage lead to no result, on that part of the subject, antecedently to going into Committee. It would be much better to take that discussion in Committee.


said, it might be inferred that he had suddenly changed his opinion on this subject, for the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had just now repeated words to that effect, similar to those he made use of on a previous evening. On that occasion the hon. and learned Member for Belfast (Sir Hugh Cairns) reminded the House of the fads of the case, and he had himself since then referred to the authentic record of what took place last year, and he found that he absolutely requested the Government—a favour which they accorded—to give a morning sitting for the discussion on the second reading of the Bill of the right hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell), giving notice of his intention to move that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee, with an instruction to frame a uniform oath for all Members. He was obliged to abandon that intention on account of a technical reason, for he was informed by the highest authority that such an instruction could not be referred to the Select Committee. He, therefore, was at a loss to understand how it was that he was charged by the right hon. Baronet with having opposed the enactment of a uniform oath. He was delighted when he heard the Government this year announce their intention to propose a uniform oath, but they had produced one in which he had no confidence. He had therefore suggested one in accordance with the principles he had laid down last year, in which he had confidence.

Motion agreed to.

Bill considered in Committee

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 (Form of Oath to be taken by Members of Parliament).


said, that on the first clause, containing the following form of oath proposed in the Government Bill:— 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 Power, Crown, or Dignity. So help me GOD. he begged to move that after "Victoria" the following words be inserted:— And I do faithfully promise to maintain and support the Succession to the Crown, as the same stands limited and settled by an Act passed in the reign of King William III., intituled 'An Act for the further Limitation of the Crown, and better securing the Rights and liberties of the Subject.' He had made three alterations affecting the original form of oath. He had left out the words "her heirs and successors" after "Her Majesty," because they were unnecessary; he had retained, in the third clause of the oath, the words "Her Majesty is, under God, the only Supreme Governor of this Realm," because he found them in the Act of Elizabeth, and did not presume to alter them; and thinking it more consonant with the feelings of the present day, he had introduced a limitation in the same clause which no one could object to in the words "That no Foreign Prince, Prelate, State, or Potentate hath any jurisdiction in any of the Courts within the same."


hoped he might be permitted to make a few observations on the Amendment, as this was the first opportunity they had had of discussing it; and he would briefly state the objections he entertained to it. He would first call the attention of the Committee to the omissions from the original form of oath which were contemplated by the Amendment now before the House. The right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire proposed the omission of the following paragraph from the oath as settled for all the Protestant Members of the House, which included the vast majority. The paragraph to be omitted was— And I will defend tier (Majesty) to the utmost of my power against all conspiracies and attempts whatsoever which may be made against Her Person, Crown, and Dignity, and I will do my utmost to disclose and make known to Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, all treasons and traitorous conspiracies that, may be formed against Her and them. Under the oath of 1858 allegiance to the Crown was allegiance to the Throne not only as occupied by Her Majesty, hut as it might be occupied by the person who, under the Act of Settlement and Limitation of the Crown, should succeed to it. He objected to the omission of these words. It was also proposed to omit all reference to the fact that the succession to the Crown was limited to the person of "The Princess Sophia, Electress of Hanover, and the heirs of her body being Protestants," thereby utterly renouncing any fealty or allegiance to any other person whatever. The next omission was with reference to the words in the Oath of Supremacy— That no Foreign Prince, Prelate, State, or Potentate, hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, authority, or pre-eminence within this realm. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to omit from the oath at present taken the words, "or ought to have," and he wished to point out that fact as one of great importance; in fact, every passage in the existing oath having a prospective effect and containing a prospective obligation, was omitted by the Amendments to the oath which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks had proposed. The next words which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to omit were that the pre-eminence of the Crown should be asserted over all persons in this country. The old words were, "over all causes and all persons," and the alteration would make a very great difference, because it was stated by Lord John Russell, in 1851, that an attempt was then made by the Papacy to establish a separate jurisdiction in this country, and that the course pursued by Cardinal Wiseman and Legate Cullen was an attempt to set up the jurisdiction of a foreign Power by the side of that of the Crown. He prayed the House to deal carefully with these alterations, and not to omit any portions of the oath which might, under existing circumstances, favour the attempt which they knew was being made. Cardinal Wiseman stated publicly, in 1851, that his object was to constitute the Roman Catholics a separate community in this country, subject in all things to the "spiritual" authority of the Pope in a Papal sense. He hoped the Committee would consider that the words in the existing oath were not the product of uninformed intellects, or that they were carelessly produced. The terms of the oath had a historical meaning which was brought down to the altered circumstances of the present day, but were still applicable. The omissions proposed were, that all the words at the conclusion of the oath which described the universality of Her Majesty's supremacy should be omitted, and the words "in the courts" should alone be added. It, therefore, seemed that, as the claim of the Papacy was that the authority of the See and the Court of Rome extended over all baptized persons, that might be a matter of indifference to Protestants, but he believed that the prohibition of that doctrine by the laws of this country, and by the solemn declaration of the Members of the Legislature made in Parliament, was important in order to extinguish the vain hopes that might be raised hereafter, and had been used before, for the purpose of creating discord. He therefore objected to the Amendments proposed as invalidating the supremacy of the law, the law being the exponent of the justice of which the Crown was the source, and of the national independence which it had been the wisdom of this country ever to cherish.


said, he wished to know whether the Government agreed to abandon these words?


said, that the Question now was as to word proposed by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) to be added after the word "Victoria."


said, he would ask the right hon. Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Whiteside) whether he considered it prudent to omit from the present oath the words "And I will defend Her Majesty against all conspiracies whatever?"


said, no Question had been put as to the omission of these words; the Question now was the insertion after "Victoria," in line 12, of the words proposed to be added by the right hon. Member (Mr. Disraeli). The Question whether the words proposed to be omitted should or should not stand part of the clause would arise after the Committee had decided on the insertion of the words proposed to be added.


said, with reference to some observations of the hon. Member (Mr. Newdegate), that it was unnecessary for the oath to refer to the words "being Protestants" or to the succession to the Crown. The omission was of no importance whatever, as the Act of Settlement contained the words and the limitation.

Motion agreed to: Amendment made accordingly.


I propose to omit after the word "subject" the words— And will defend Her to the utmost of my power against all conspiracies and attempts whatever which shall be made against Her Power, Crown, or dignity. This will be, in effect, the adoption of the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli).

Motion agreed to.


I now propose to add after the word "subject" the following words:— And I do further solemnly declare that Her Majesty is, under God, the only Supreme Governor of this Realm, and that no Foreign Prince, Prelate, State, or Potentate hath any jurisdiction or authority in any of the Courts within the same.

Amendment proposed, After the word "subject," to insert the words "And I do further solemnly declare that Her Majesty is, under God, the only Supreme Go- vernor of this realm, and that no Foreign Prince, Prelate, State, or Potentate hath any jurisdiction or authority in any of the Courts within the same."—(Mr. Disraeli.)


Sir, I think I can lay before the House several reasons for the non-acceptance of this Amendment, I fully recognize in the course which the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) has taken a sincere desire to avoid difficulties and to agree upon such a form of oath as shall give general satisfaction to all parties. The objections I have to make to this part of the right hon. Gentleman's proposal are of a twofold character. In the first place, the words that he proposes to introduce are incongruous with and unnecessary to the object of the oath as we now propose to frame it; and secondly, the Amendment is not only unnecessary but is positively mischievous. With regard to my first, objection, that the words proposed to be introduced are incongruous and useless, I say that the oath as we now propose to frame it is intended to embrace two things—namely, the great principle of personal loyalty to the Sovereign, and that of loyalty to the Monarchy as established by the fundamental laws of the Constitution. We have agreed as to that, but we are now asked to go further, and to introduce into the oath an abstract I proposition, which has nothing whatever to do with these great principles—which is neither a pledge of personal loyalty to the Crown nor of loyalty to the Monarchy. What can be the use or advantage of introducing abstract declarations of this kind into the oath? I can only suggest one possible use of them—namely, to act as a test. There may be occasions on which it might be desirable or even necessary to introduce into an oath of this kind words which should operate as a test, but the object of such a test and the criterion of its necessity is the exclusion of persons whose opinions would render their admission dangerous. This object was the foundation of all declarations respecting the I Royal Supremacy which were introduced into the oath formerly taken by Members of Parliament. It was thought, that there were dangerous opinions, perilous to the Constitution, held by certain persons upon that subject, which rendered those who held them unfit to sit in Parliament. Accordingly, it was deemed necessary to insert such words in the oath as would be a bar to the entrance of such persons beyond the threshold of this House. That was a very effective test, as it practically excluded all who entertained opinions in favour of the Papal supremacy in this country. By degrees we began to place more confidence in our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, and in the course of time we took the very singular course of framing an oath which, while it permitted Roman Catholics to enter Parliament without abjuring certain opinions, compelled those who were never suspected of entertaining such opinions to abjure them. I think the time has arrived when we all agree that we may depart from that course, and I therefore object to the introduction into the oath of abstract propositions which are useless as tests, and which can answer no useful purpose whatever. Is there a single human being in Tier Majesty's dominions who doubts that, under God, she is the only supreme Governor of this realm? When any person has taken the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty, and has faithfully promised to maintain and support the succession to the Crown, as fixed by the Act of Settlement, can it be necessary to ask that person to go on and to declare that "Her Majesty is, tinder God, the only supreme Governor of this realm?" That merely expresses a political truism which no person doubts. Unless it is intended to make the oath a sort of political creed, and to insert in it all other political truisms regarding our Constitution, such statements should be omitted altogether. Is not the next portion of the right hon. Gentleman's proposition open to equal if not to stronger objections? It is— And that no foreign Prince, Prelate, State, or Potentate hath any jurisdiction or authority in any of the Courts within the same. Most lame and impotent conclusion! Whoever said that any foreign Prince, Prelate, State, or Potentate has any jurisdiction or authority in any courts within this realm of England? In which court should they have any jurisdiction or authority—in the Court of Queen's Bench, in the Court of Common Pleas, in the Court of Exchequer, or in which of the other Courts? The proposition may be perfectly true, but why insert into the oath that which is the greatest truism and platitude that was ever put into words? All previous tests have been directed against real opinions, which were held to be dangerous, and which persons really believed and professed to hold, but never before have such words as these been introduced into an oath. But are the words simply idle and harmless? They actually limit the jurisdiction of Her Majesty to the Courts, as though Her Majesty's Supremacy only extended to the judicial power of the Crown. Is there any principle of constitutional law which so limits the Royal Supremacy? If we go back to the old statutes we shall find that the Supremacy of the Crown is referred to as being much wider and more extended than would appear from the words proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. In a statute passed even before the Reformation, in the reign of Richard II., the Supremacy of the Crown is referred to in these terms— The Crown of England hath been so free at all times, that it hath been in no earthly subjection, but immediately subject to God in all things touching" [not all the Courts within the realm] but "the regality of the same Crown, and to none other. Again, a statute of Henry VIII. says— The realm of England, recognizing no superior under God, but only the King, hath been and is free from subjection to any man's laws, but only to such as have been devised, made, and obtained within this realm, for the wealth of the same, or to such others as by sufferance of the King, the people of this realm have taken at their free liberty by their own consent to be used among them. And, lastly, the statute of Elizabeth, establishing the ecclesiastical Supremacy of the Crown, for I have been speaking hitherto of the general and of the legislative Supremacy of the Crown, says— No foreign Prince, Peer, Prelate, State, or Potentate, spiritual or temporal, shall use, enjoy, or exercise any manner of jurisdiction, power, pre-eminence, authority, superiority, or privilege, spiritual or ecclesiastical, within this realm, or any other of Her Majesty's dominions or countries. If you are to insert anything about one branch of Her Majesty's Supremacy, you should refer to the other branches of it in the terms of the statute-book; but by omitting to say anything concerning it we leave it in full force as it stands on the statute-book and it is binding on all men. If it be desired to undermine Her Majesty's general supremacy, then nothing can be better for the purpose than the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman. On these grounds I ask the House to decline to adopt the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman to insert these words.


And I, on the contrary, hope that the House will see the wisdom and the propriety of adopting the proposed Amendment. The first objection of the hon. and learned Gentleman to the words is that they are incongruous with the rest of the oath, because they point to Supremacy, while the rest of the oath points to allegiance. Has not every oath that has been taken by Members of Parliament dealt not only with allegiance, but with Supremacy? Incongruity in such a matter is not a fault, and, therefore, I put aside altogether the first objection raised. The next objection to the words is, that they only enunciate a truism. The argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman is, that as the form of oath proposed states nothing but what is most palpably true, it is only degrading the truth to make hon. Gentlemen subscribe to it. But the affirmative portion of the oath is in accordance with the form which has existed since the earliest period, and I maintain that in requiring a subscription to the declaration that no foreign Prince, Prelate, State, or Potentate has jurisdiction or authority in Her Majesty's Courts of Law, so far from lowering and lessening the value of the oath, we are simply repeating the practice which has heretofore been observed, with this exception, that by the addition we propose as to Her Majesty's Courts of Law, we are clearing away that possibility of doubt which on so many occasions has given cause of offence. What does this jurisdiction and authority of the Sovereign mean? It means jurisdiction and authority in Courts of Law of a coercive character, and there is no jurisdiction or authority of that description in this country except that to which effect is given in our Courts of Law. The hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to the oath of Queen Elizabeth's reign; but I cannot help thinking that the hon. and learned Gentleman has forgotten the history of that period. The Roman Catholics at that time said that they could not take the oath because it denied jurisdiction and authority in a quarter where they acknowledged their existence. What was done? If I remember rightly, one of the Ministers of the Queen prepared a memorandum, with her sanction, explaining that the view of the Crown and of those by whom the oath was framed was that the jurisdiction and authority mentioned in the oath referred only to those of a coercive character, and did not refer to jurisdiction and authority in foro conscientiœ, which could not be enforced in a Court of Law. The oath was accordingly taken freely by those who at first objected. All, then, that is now done is to declare in black and white what in the oath framed in the time of Queen Elizabeth was explained by a verbal comment. In the proposition we have made we are, therefore, adhering to, instead of departing from, constitutional principles. We are, in fact, simply doing what it is a pity was not done then—namely, adding to the oath the explanation given of it at the time it was first imposed The lion, and learned Gentleman has referred to the statute passed in the reign of Richard II., and has taunted us with not having framed our oath according to that Statute; but I am afraid that at the time that statute was passed our constitutional form of government was scarcely as will defined as it has since been. All I can say is, that if we had framed an oath in a form similar to that adopted by the statute of Richard II. we should have heard this evening observations, if not from the hon. and learned Gentleman, at all events from some other Member of the House, not favourable to our proposition. The statute of Henry VIII., to which the lion, and learned Gentleman also referred, declared that the King's supremacy was limited by the laws of the realm, thus referring to the laws as showing its extent. We, bow ever, refer to the Courts which administer the laws, and the standard is therefore in reality the same. Then the Attorney General says it is an abstract proposition. I do not think it an abstract proposition, any more than the oath of allegiance It is a most practical proposition in reference to the subject with which it deals, and I need not therefore follow the arguments of the Attorney General on that point. His last objection is, that as the Supremacy is a matter of fact, and the law of the land, this oath is unnecessary. But that argument is one which applies with equal force to the oath of allegiance. I will read the answer given by Lord Coke to the statement that the oath of allegiance was unnecessary— All our subjects are equally bounden to their allegiance as it they had taken the oath, because it is written by the finger of the law in their hearts, and the taking of the corporal oath is but an outward declaration of the same. An argument of this kind may be applied with equal force to the form of oath proposed by the Government. The present proposition of the Government is based upon the necessity of the oath of allegiance; and, therefore, this argument of the Attorney General has as much force against the Government proposition as against the Amendment. I trust, therefore the Committee will adopt the Amendment.


said, that he should be sorry to appear ungrateful to hon. Gentlemen opposite. One of the earliest measures of practical kindness to the Roman Catholics came from Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House, who were the first to give them Roman Catholic chaplains for the army, but their views respecting these oaths contrasted unfavourably with those of the Government, He looked with suspicion upon words borrowed from old Acts of Parliament, for they reminded him of intolerance in times gone by, which he would fain hope would soon he forgotten. Roman Catholics had always been loyal to the Queen and to the country; and why were they to be subjected to tests which implied doubt and distrust? He therefore entered a protest against all the Amendments of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), and left the matter, without the slightest fear of the result, in the hands of the House.


I would correct a slight error into which the noble Lord appears to have fallen. He has spoken of this oath as if it were to be administered to the Roman Catholics alone; but such is not the case. We propose that it should be taken by all the Members of this House, if it were levelled at any particular sect, I am prepared to admit it would be objectionable; but the principle asserted in it has never been disputed. I beg permission to remind the Attorney General that Lord Hale says that the Oath of Supremacy is but an expansion of the oath of allegiance, and that Chatham said on one occasion that Parliament had no more right to interfere with the principle of the Supremacy of the Crown than it had to set aside the Bill of Rights or Magna Charta. That is a principle of our Constitution which is not to be got rid of by any ingenious observations as to the absence of any necessity for making such a declaration. The term "spiritual jurisdiction" was explained in this House by Lord Westbury when Attorney General. He observed that— Much misunderstanding had arisen respecting the matter, mainly in consequence of a misconception as to the meaning of the words of the original statute. The House would there find the words 'spiritual' and 'ecclesiastical' used to express different things. The word 'spiritual' referred simply to jurisdiction. That, is the argument of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Disraeli), and that is also the argument of my hon. and learned Friend beside me (Sir Hugh Cairns.) The word "spiritual" here employed refers entirely to the authority to be exercised in courts of justice. Sir Richard Bethell read the old oath altered at the time of the Reformation, which declared that all jurisdiction in the realm should be derived from the old foundation of jurisdiction—namely, the Sovereign, and said that— All that was meant by supremacy of the Crown was that no power or jurisdiction should be exercised by any tribunal or court of justice which was not derived from the Sovereign. This contains the very words of the Amendment we are discussing, and is the great principle on which the Constitution of the country in my judgment mainly depends. When King Charles II, was restored—and he was himself a Roman Catholic if he was anything, and I hope he was—that oath was taken by the most distinguished Roman Catholic noblemen in the land, who actually went so far as to disclaim any spiritual jurisdiction in any foreign Prince or Prelate which could affect their allegiance to the Sovereign. Dr. O'Connor, the learned Roman Catholic divine, regarded that as a fair and a legitimate view of the question. Lord Plunkett endeavoured to settle that point in 1821, and a Committee which had then inquired into it declared that the disclaimer of any foreign jurisdiction meant only the denial of any jurisdiction which would be incompatible with the allegiance which was due to the Sovereign of these realms. This is all it is proposed to do in this oath; and I would remind hon. Gentlemen that it is to the advantage of all of us, irrespective altogether of our several creeds, that the jurisdiction should lie in the quarter where it can give protection to all.


said, he thought that the word "supremacy" included spiritual supremacy. It was an ambiguous expression, and he, as a Roman Catholic, objected to an oath which would call upon him to declare that no such authority was vested in the head of his Church. It was very hard that Roman Catholic Members should be exposed to observations and charges to which the term might subject them.


said, that the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the Committee told them that the word "supremacy" was open to more than one interpretation. But he should remind the hon. Gentleman that that word was not at all contained in the oath which was then under their consideration. Ha had to observe, in reply to the noble Lord opposite (Lord Edward Howard), to whom he always listened with the respect which was due not only to his talents, but to his character, that in dealing with that subject he had taken as his guide the course pursued by Queen Elizabeth, which was regarded at the time by her Roman Catholic subjects as the happiest solution of that question, and which met with their general approval.


said, he did not approve the Amendment as it stood, but thought it could be rendered satisfactory by making a slight addition to it. He felt the force of the Attorney General's objection to the clause; but as the alternative would be no declaration of the Queen's supremacy at all, he would vote for the words with a view to propose such an addition to them as would render them satisfactory to his views.

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

The Committee divided:—Ayes 222; Noes 237: Majority 15.

Adderley, rt. hn. C. B. Clive, Capt. hon. G. W.
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Cobbold, J. C.
Archdall, Captain M. Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B.
Arkwright, R. Cole, hon. H.
Aytoun, R. S. Cole, hon. J. L.
Bagge, W. Colvile, C. R.
Bagnall, C. Conolly, T.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Courtenay, Lord
Baillie, H. J. Cooper, E. H.
Baring, hon. A. H. Cox, W. T.
Barnett, H. Cranbourne, Viscount
Barrow, W. H. Craufurd, E. H. J.
Barttelot, Colonel Curzon, Viscount
Bateson, Sir T. Dalkeith, Earl of
Bathurst, A. A. Dawson, R. P.
Beach, Sir M. H. De Grey, hon. T.
Beach, W. W. B. Dick, F.
Beecroft, G. S. Dickson, Major A. G.
Benyon, R. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Bernard, hon. Col. H. B. Du Cane, C.
Biddulph, Colonel R. M. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bourne, Colonel Duncombe, hon. W. E.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Du Pre, C. G.
Bromley, W. D. Dutton, hon. R. H.
Brooks, R. Dyke, W. H.
Bruce, Major C. Dyott, Colonel R.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Eaton, H. W.
Buckley, E. Edwards, Colonel
Bulkeley, Sir R. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Burghley, Lord Egerton, hon. A. F.
Burrell, Sir P. Egerton, E. C.
Cairns, Sir H. M'C. Egerton, hon. W.
Campbell, A. H. Fane, Colonel J. W.
Cartwright, Colonel Farquhar, Sir M.
Cave, S. Feilden, J.
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Fellowes, E.
Chambers, T. Fergusson, Sir J.
Ferrand, W. Montagu, Lord R,
Fleming, J. Montgomery, Sir G.
Floyer, J. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Morgan, O.
Freshfield, C. K. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Galway, Viscount Naas, Lord
Getty, S. G. Neville-Grenville, R.
Gilpin, Colonel Newdegate, C. N.
Goldney, G. North. Colonel
Goodson, J. Northcote, Sir S. H.
Gore, J. R. O. Norwood, C, M.
Graves, S. R. O'Neill, E.
Greenall, G. Paget, R. H
Greene, E. Pakington, rt. Hon. Sir J,
Gray, Lieut.-Colonel Parker, Major W.
Guinness, B. L.. Peel, rt. hon. Sir H.
Hamilton, Lord C. Peel, rt. hon. General
Hamilton, Lord C. J. Pennant, hon. Colonel
Hamilton, L T. Percy, Maj. G. Lord H.
Hamilton, Viscount Powell. E. S
Hardy, G. Read C. S.
Hardy, J. Repton, G. W. J.
Hartopp, E. B. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Harvey, R. B. Robertson, P. E.
Hervey, Lord A. H. C. Rolt, J.
Heathcote, hon. G. H, Royston. Viscount
Heathcote, Sir W. Russell, Sir C,
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Sandford, G. M. W,
Henniker, Lord Schreiber. C
Herbert, hon. P. E. Sclater Booth, G.
Hesketh, Sir T. G. Scott, Lord H.
Heygate, Sir F. W. Selwin, H. J.
Hogg, Lt.-Col. J. M. Selwyn, C. J
Holford, R. S. Severne, J. E.
Holmesdale, Viscount Seymour, G H.
Hood, Sir A. A. Simonds, W. B.
Horsfall, T. B. Smith, S. G,
Hotham, Lord Smollett. P. B.
Howes, E. Stanhope, J. B.
Humphery, W, H. Stanley, hon. F.
Hunt, G. W. Stirling-Maxwell. Sir W.
Jolliffe, rt. hn. Sir W. G. H. Stronge, Sir J. M.
Jolliffe, H. H. Stuart, Lt.-Colonel W.
Kelk, J. Stucley, Sir G. S.
Kelly, Sir F. Sturt, H. G.
Kendall, N. Start, Lt.-Colonel N.
Kennard, R. W. Surtees, F.
Ker, D. S. Surtees, H. E.
King, J. K. Sykes, C.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Sykes, Colonel W. H.
Knightley, Sir R. Thorold, J. H.
Knox, Colonel Thynne, Lord H. F.
Knox, hon. Major S. Torrens, R.
Lacon, Sir E. Treeby, J. W
Laird, J. Trefusis, hon. C. H.R.
Lamont, J. Trevor, Lord A. E. H.
Langton, W. G. Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J
Lefroy, A. Turner, C.
Lennox, Lord G, G. Tyrone, Earl of
Lindsay, hon. Colonel C. Walcott, Admiral
Lindsay, Colonel R. L. Waldegrave-Leslie, hon. G.
Lopes, Sir M.
Lowther, J. Walker, Major G, G.
Lytton, rt. hn. Sir E. L. B. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Mackie, J. Walsh, A.
M'Lagan, P. Walsh, Sir J
Mainwaring, T. Waterhouse, S.
Manners, rt. hn. Lord J. Welby, W. E.
Meller, W. Westropp, H.
Miller, S. B. Whalley, G. H.
Miller, T. J. Whiteside, rt. hon. J.
Mills, C. H. Williams, Colonel
Mitford, W. T. Williams, F. M.
Wise, H. C. TELLERS.
Wynne. W. R. M. Taylor, Colonel
Yorke, J. R. Noel, hon. G.J.
Acland, T. D. Fawcett, H.
Adair, H. E. Fenwick, E. M.
Agnew, Sir A. Fildes, J.
Akroyd, E. Fitzpatrick, rt. hn. J.W.
Anson, hon. Major Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W.
Anstruther, Sir R, Forster, C.
Armstrong, R. Forster. W. E.
Ayrton, A, S. Fort, R.
Bagwell, J Fortescue, hon. D, F.
Baines, E. French. Colonel
Baring, hon. T.G. Gaselee, Serjeant S.
Barnes, T. Gavin, Major
Barron, Sir H. W. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Barry, G. R. Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.
Baxter, W. E. Gladstone, W. H.
Bazley, T Glyn, G. G.
Beaumont, W. B, Goldsmid, Sir F, H.
Biddulph. M. Goschen, G J.
Blake, J. A. Graham, W.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Gregory. W. H.
Brecknock, Earl of Greville, Colonel F.
Bright, Sir C. T Gray, Sir J.
Blight, C Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bruce, rt. hon. H. A. Gridley, Captain H. G.
Buller Sir A. W. Grosvenor, Earl
Buller, Sir E. M. Grosvenor. Lord R.
Butler, C, S. Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.
Buxton, C Grove, T, F,
Buxton, Sir T. F. Gurney, S.
Calcraft, J. H. M. Hadfield, G.
Calthorpe, hn. F. H. W. G. Hamilton. E. W. T.
Candlish, J. Hanbury. R. C.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Hankey, T.
Carnegie, hon. C. Hardcastle, J. A.
Castlerosse, Viscount Harris, J. D.
Cave, T Hartington, Marquess of
Cavendish, Lord E. Hartley, J,
Cavendish, Lord P. C, Hay, Lord J.
Cavendish. Lord G. Hay, Lord W. M.
Cheetham. J. Hayter, Captain A. D.
Childers. H. C. E. Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.
Cholmeley. Sir M. J. Henderson, J.
Clay, J. Henley. Lord
Clinton, Lord A. P. Hibbert, J. T.
Clinton, Lord E. P. Hodgkinson, G.
Cogan, W H. F. Holden, I,
Colebrooke, Sir T, E. Horsman, rt. hon. E.
Collier, Sir R. P Howard, Lord E.
Cowper, hon. H. F. Hughes, T.
Crawford, R. W. Hurst, R. H.
Crosland, Colonel T. P. Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W.
Dalglish, R. Ingham, R.
Davey, R. Jardine, R.
Dawson, hon. Capt. V. Kearsley. Captain H.
Denman, hon. G. Kennedy T.
Dent. J, I). King, hon. P. J. L.
Devereux, R. J, Kinglake, A. W.
Dilke, Sir W, Knatchbull-Hugessen, E
Dillon, J. B. Labouchere, H.
Duff, M. E. G. Layard, A. H.
Dundas, F, Lawrence, W.
Dunlop, A. M. Lawson, J. A.
Enfield, Viscount Leader, N. P.
Eirskine, Vice-Adm. J. E Leatham. W. H.
Esmonde, J. Lee, W.
Evans, T. W. Lefevre, G, J. S.
Ewart, W. Lewis, II.
Ewing, H, E. C. Locke, J.
Lowe, rt. hon. R. Robertson, D.
Lusk, A. Roebuck, J. A.
MacEvoy, E. Rothschild, N. M. de
M'Kenna, J. N. Russell, A.
M'Laren, D. Russell, H.
Maguire, J. F. Russell, F. W.
Marjoribanks, D. C. Russell, Sir W.
Marsh, M. H. St. Aubyn, J.
Martin, C. W. Salomons, Mr. Ald.
Milbank, F. A. Samuda, J. D'A.
Mill, J. S. Samuelson, B.
Miller, W. Saunderson, E.
Mills, J. R. Schneider, H. W.
Mitchell, A. Scholefield, W.
Mitchell, T. A. Seymour, A.
Moncrieff, rt. hon. J. Seymour, H. D.
Monk, C. J. Shafto, R. D.
Monsell, rt. hon. W. Sheridan, R. B.
Moore, C. Sherriff, A. C.
More, R. J. Simeon, Sir J.
Morley, S. Smith, J. A.
Morris, W. Speirs, A. A.
Morrison, W. Stacpoole, W.
Murphy, N. D. Stansfeld, J.
Neate, C. Steel, J.
Nicol, J. D. Stock, 0.
O'Beirne, J. L. Stone, W. H.
O'Brien, Sir P. Stuart, Colonel C.
Ogilvy, Sir S. Sullivan, E.
O'Loghlen, Sir C. M. Synan, E. J.
O'Reilly, M. W. Taylor, P. A.
Otway, A. J. Tottenham, Lt.-Col. C. G.
Padmore, R. Tracy, hon. C. R. D. H.
Paget, Lord C Trevelyan, G. O.
Palmer, Sir R. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Peel, A. W. Vivian. Capt hn. J. C. W.
Peel, J. Warner, E.
Pelham, Lord Weguelin, T. M.
Pender, J. Western, Sir T.B.
Philips, R. N. Whatman, J.
Pim, J. White, J.
Platt, J. Whitworth, B.
Pollard-Urquhart, W. Williamson, Sir H.
Potter, E. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Potter, T. B. Woods, H.
Power, Sir J. Wyvill, M.
Price, W. P. Young, A. W.
Pryse, E. L. Young, R.
Pritchard, J.
Rawlinson, Sir H. TELLERS.
Rearden, D. J. Brand, hon. H. B. W.
Rebow, J. G. Adam, W. P.
Robartes, T. J. A.

Clause 2 (The Name of the Sovereign for the Time being to be used in the Oath) agreed to.

Clause 3 (Time and Manner of taking the oath).

SIR GEORGE GREY moved to omit the words "from nine in the morning till four in the afternoon." When those hours were fixed it was the practice of the House to meet at nine and rise at four, but, as a general rule, the House did not now meet till four. It had been found difficult occasionally to make a House so as to allow a sufficient interval between the time of the Speaker taking the chair and four o'clock for Members to come to the table to be sworn. The time for administering the oaths in the House of Lords was from ten till five; and he proposed that it should be left to the House to regulate, by Standing Orders of its own, the hours at which the oaths should be taken.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 4 to 6 agreed to.

Clause 7 (Short title of the Bill).


said, he would move that the Chairman should report Progress, in order that the Bill might be reprinted, with a view to its re-consideration in Committee. In the opinion of many the alterations proposed came within the category of those changes of the Constitution which Lord Chatham held to be beyond the jurisdiction of the House of Commons. The only argument brought forward in favour of the Bill was that it would give satisfaction to the Roman Catholics. But the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon) had declared that, even as regarded the first part of the oath, he and his coreligionists would not accept it as anything satisfactory. At a great meeting in Ireland of a body called the National Association, at which the two archbishops of Ireland, thirteen bishops, eighty associates, and 500 members handed in their names or their subscriptions, the hon. Member for Tipperary, supported by the Dean of Cork, stated that however inexpedient the Fenian movement might be, it represented a Catholic spirit as widespread throughout Ireland as the Catholics themselves; that they must look for the redress of their grievances not to what Parliament could do for them, but to the sympathy that Ireland, the Poland of England, could command from America and France.


said, he did not recognize any speech of his in the description given by the hon. Member. He certainly never said what the hon. Member ascribed to him, nor anything like it.


said, the hon. Member was reported to that effect in the ordinary journals, but it was almost impossible to fix the Protean character of Roman Catholic sentiment. On the occasion to which he referred the Dean of Cork stated that it did not follow because Members of the Government did not think fit to embark in the particular vessel proposed by the Fenian movement that therefore they would give up their purpose, which was to obtain for the people of Ireland rights at present with- held from them. They regarded the Fenian movement as mistaken but heroic. This Amendment of the oath, then, not being one of the grievances alleged by Fenian heroes, or any of the Members of that House who had spoken upon the wrongs of Ireland this Session, the Government were preparing the alteration on grounds of sentiment alone. It appeared that they were to run the risk of upsetting the allegiance not only of Roman Catholics, but of Protestant Members, and then, according to the hon. Member for Tipperary, the Roman Catholics would derive no satisfaction from the Act. What was to be the limit of the concessions they were prepared to make to Roman Catholic sentiment? How much longer were Roman Catholics to be humoured by breaking up the Protestant Constitution of the country? The Government, he contended, by introducing this question into the Royal Speech, bad placed Her Majesty in a false position, for she was bound by her coronation oath to maintain the Constitution, and, as the hon. Member for Dublin University (Mr. White side) had shown, this oath was really part of the Constitution. He thought, therefore, that the Queen ought not to be placed in the position in which she would be placed if called upon to assent to this measure The Queen had made herself personally responsible to protect the Protestant Constitution, The Roman Catholics were sincere men, but they recognized as part of their religion that liberty of conscience was not the right of any man, and that it was monstrous heresy to suppose the civil power supreme over the spiritual power of the Pope. In what position would Her Majesty be placed by her advisers when any of the dogmas enunciated in the Encyclical Letter—such as that liberty of con science was a pernicious doctrine—should be brought before her, and she should be called upon to recognize those sentiments? How could she say in that ease that she was bound by the Constitution and by her oath to protect the Constitution? Considering that this oath formed part of the settlement of 1688, that ii was approved by the leading Members of the Roman Catholic faith when it was enacted, he thought they were bound, in dealing with the Roman Catholics as a body of honourable and sincere men, to recognize their loyalty and embody it in the oath. The discussion that night had confirmed the expediency of his suggestion that this measure should be dealt with by a Select Com- mittee, because the question involved legal words and other minute considerations. Whether his view was right or wrong—and he sincerely hoped it wa3 wrong—the House was very unfit to consider the exact force of words, the intention of the oath, and the objects for which its alteration was promoted, and to have referred it to a Select Committee would have been more consonant with the importance of the subject and with the dignity of the House. Without at all wishing to interfere with the progress of the measure, he ventured to move that the Chairman should report Progress, with a view to the Bill being reprinted and recommitted.


said, he had not the slightest objection to reprint the Bill, but the hon. Gentleman must know that no order for reprinting could be made till the Bill had been reported, and that by reporting Progress the reprinting would be prevented. After it had passed through Committee he should move that it be reprinted with a view to its consideration on the Report.


said, he understood that another opportunity was not to be given for the consideration of the Bill in Committee, which was the object he had in view, and that the Government merely negatived his Motion.


said, he could not consent to a Motion for reporting Progress, as there was virtually only the short title of the Bill remaining for consideration, but there was no objection to reprinting the Bill as soon as it was reported.


said, his object was to give the House another opportunity of considering the Bill.

Clause agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.


said, he wished to ask when it was intended to consider the Report? The important question with respect to the Supremacy of the Crown had been discussed under disadvantageous circumstances.


said, he proposed that the Bill should be reprinted at once. There were no important alterations. He proposed to take the Report to-morrow, and the third reading the first thing on Monday, when the hon. Member would have an opportunity of recurring to the subject.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.

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