§ 1. I do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to [here insert the name of the Sovereign] his heirs and successors according to law. So help me God.
§ 2. I do swear that I will truly and faith fully execute the office of Regent according to the Regency Act, 1910, and that I will administer the government of this Realm and of all the Dominions thereunto belonging according to the laws, customs, and statutes thereof, and will in all things to the utmost of my power and ability consult and maintain the safety, honour, and dignity of [here insert the name of the Sovereign] and the welfare of His people. So help me God.
§ 3. I do faithfully promise and swear that I will inviolately maintain and preserve the Settlement of the true Protestant 1548 religion with the government, discipline, rights, and privileges of the Church of Scotland as established by law. So help me God.
§ Mr. LUTTRELL
In the Schedule I beg to move, in paragraph 3, to leave out the words "the settlement of the true Protestant religion with the government, discipline, rights, and privileges of the Church of Scotland as established by law," and insert instead thereof the words "the order or course of Succession to the Crown of this Realm as established by the Act of Settlement."
As the Schedule at present stands the Church of Scotland must remain in its present state as established by law. I think it has already been recognised that this provision should not be applied to the Church of England, and I think it ought not to be applied to the Church of Scotland. If there be any change made in connection with the Establishment in Scotland, I think they ought to be able to do so without practically upsetting the Bill which we are now passing. Therefore, I beg to move.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I think there is a great deal of force in the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend. The Committee has already, in Clause 4, left out the words after "Settlement"—"or to any Bill for repealing or altering the Act of the fourteenth year of the reign of King Charles the Second, Chapter four, commonly known as the Act of Uniformity, or an Act of the fifth year of the reign of Queen Anne, made in Scotland, intituled 'An Act for securing the Protestant religion and Presbyterian Government.'" This Amendment brings the Schedule into harmonious conformity with the Bill as the House now wishes it to stand. It gives full effect to the wishes and intentions of Parliament in this matter, and safeguards all the purposes which are aimed at by the Act of Settlement. I am therefore quite prepared to accept the Amendment on behalf of the Government.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I should like to know what the representatives of Scotland have to say to this proposal. This Amendment is proposed by an English Member representing Devonshire, who proposes an alteration which, I gather, refers entirely to Scotland. I have not heard a single word from any Scottish Member either in favour of the Amendment or against it. I do not think that we should deal with a 1549 matter of this sort on an Amendment moved by an English Member. I do not quite know why these words should be left out of the Schedule. I should like to know what the objection is to the "Settlement of the true Protestant religion, with the government, discipline, rights, and privileges of the Church of -Scotland as established by law." Why should the words not be retained? Is it intended to abolish the Church of Scotland, or what is the object? Here is a Schedule dealing with the appointment of a Regent, an event which we hope will never occur, but even if it does occur, can only last for a short time. We have the extraordinary spectacle of the Government accepting this Amendment, though they must perfectly well have known when they drafted the Bill that Amendments might be moved, or they would never have drawn up the Bill in the way they have.
§ Lord BALCARRES
On a point of Order. I understand that the hon. Member proposes to substitute words for those left out.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Perhaps it will be convenient that I should read the Schedule without the words proposed to be omitted and with the substituted words: "I do faithfully promise and swear that I will inviolately maintain and preserve the order or course of Succession to the Crown of this realm as established by the Act of Settlement. So help me God."
Mr. NEIL PRIMROSE
As the right hon. Gentleman represents a constituency with one of the largest majorities in Scotland, may I ask whether some declaration of this kind is not defined by the Act of Union?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. Ure)
The Amendment proposed follows inevitably upon what was agreed upon in Clause 4, from which the words after "Settlement" were omitted. The Bill, as it was introduced, precluded the Regent from giving assent to any Bill repealing or altering the Act of Security. The Committee have cut that out, and accordingly it would be absurd and contradictory to make the Regent swear to inviolately maintain the Act of Security, which is practically what the Schedule does as it now stands. The Committee have deliberately struck out of Clause 4 all reference to the Act of Security, so that the Committee will see that this change is consequential on the alteration we have made in Clause 4.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
Why do you want to substitute words? If you wish to do so, why not have put them in the Bill as originally drafted.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman is quite correct. What we did in Clause 4 was to stop at the word "Settlement." Then we come to the Schedule, which sets forth the form of declaration which the Regent has to make. "I do faithfully promise and swear that I will inviolately maintain," etc., "the true Protestant religion with the government, discipline, rights, and privileges of the Church of Scotland as established by law." What is to prevent the Sovereign from making that declaration? That words were left out of Clause 4 really means nothing, and I see no reason why the declaration of the Sovereign should not stand in that form. The Lord Advocate is apparently under the impression— he was not in Committee at the time— that we have put something into the Bill by which the Regent is to do certain things. We have done nothing of the kind; we have simply left something out; it can have no effect. It might have had an effect if it had been put in, but it is not put in, and therefore it has no effect. That being so, what is to prevent the Sovereign from making this declaration, which surely I should have thought would be satisfactory to the people of Scotland? I understand the Lord Advocate's contention is this: A Bill may be brought in to disestablish the Protestant Church in Scotland as by law established. If this declaration is made the Sovereign will not be able to give his or her assent to that Bill. But this has nothing whatever to do with the assent to a Bill; it is merely a declaration that the Regent will maintain the Protestant religion in Scotland as by law established. And why should we alter it?
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
I venture to differ from the right hon. Gentleman, and to say at once that I agree with the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London. Let the Committee consider what is being done. Clause 4, as it originally stood, prohibited the Regent from giving 1551 assent to anything interfering with the Church of Scotland. You have omitted that. She can give her assent to such an Act, while she was prohibited from assenting under the Clause as it originally stood. What has that got to do with the Oath? Nothing in the world. It seems to me that the very fact of your having omitted the latter part of Clause 4 renders it more necessary than ever, if ever it were necessary, that the Declaration should be made by the Regent. Let the Committee consider what the Declaration in the Schedule is: "I do faithfully promise and swear that I will inviolately maintain and preserve the settlement of the true Protestant religion with the Government, discipline, rights, and privileges of the Church of Scotland as established by law." Suppose the Regent agreed to an Act altering the establishment by law, that does not seem necessarily to have anything to do with the traditional Oath of the Sovereign. It seems to me that the omission of the words from Clause 4 renders all the more necessary the words in the Schedule. Without grave reason, indeed, I venture to think it would be a very dangerous thing for this Committee to tamper with the Declaration of the Sovereign or the Regent.
§ Lord BALCARRES
I cannot help thinking that the Home Secretary accepted this Amendment somewhat hurriedly. He has already amended the Act of Union in Clause 4, and I presume we shall have an Amendment to the Schedule when the question is put from the Chair. I am not at all convinced by what the Lord Advocate has said. Am I not correct in saying that these words were taken verbatim from the Oath of the Sovereign at the Accession Council 1 If there is objection to these words, so far as the hon. Member refers to the disendowment of the Church of Scotland, clearly he ought to have moved their omission from the Oath taken by the Sovereign at the Accession Council, or else, to be consistent, should leave the Oath to be taken by the Regent. I submit this to the Home Secretary: The present Sovereign has taken this oath already a few weeks ago, and on what grounds of logic or of precedent can you say, in the event of the demise of the Crown, that the Regent who succeeds during the minority of the Prince to the functions of the Crown ought not to take precisely the same oath as that taken by 1552 the Sovereign. This is the fault of the hon. Member not putting his Amendment on the Paper. If it had been on the Paper it never could have been accepted, and therefore I may congratulate him on having left it off the Paper. I do think it ought not to be accepted in a light-hearted manner, and I would suggest that perhaps the Home Secretary might appeal to the hon. Member to withdraw the Motion for the time being, and put it on the Paper for the Report stage.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
There is a great deal of force in what the hon. Member has just said. While I think that the opinion 1 have expressed is not an incorrect opinion, namely, that this would be the logical course to pursue, still I agree that the matter is one on which opinions may differ, and on which the House is fully entitled to make a careful examination before arriving at a decision. If that is the general opinion I would join in the appeal of my hon. Friend opposite to let this Amendment stand over until the Report stage, to let the Schedule go through unaltered, and the hon. Member can put down an Amendment.
§ Sir JOHN DEWAR
I wish to join in the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman. I am quite sure the Scottish people would prefer the Oath as it is, without any alteration. This Oath, I take it, is not so much to prevent Presbyterianism being disestablished as to prevent any form of religion being thrust upon us. I agree that this matter ought to be more fully considered, and that the opinion of the Scottish Members ought to be taken upon it. I do not think that Scotland desires the oath to be altered, or the rights and privileges of the Presbyterian Church as established by law to be in any way amended.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I most heartily agree with what has followed from the hon. Baronet. While I quite give the Government credit for wishing to meet the convenience of the House by asking the hon. Gentleman to withdraw his Amendment I cannot refrain from saying that I do not think that they have quite realised what the Amendment is they have proposed to accept in so light-hearted a manner. As an hon. Member has pointed out what we are proposing is to repeal the Act of Union between Scotland and England. Section 5 of Article 25 of the Act of Union is as follows:—And it is hereby statuted and ordained, That this Act of Parliament, with the Establishment therein con- 1553 tained, shall be held and observed in all time coming, as a fundamental and essential condition of any treaty or union to be concluded betwixt the two kingdoms, without any alteration thereof or derogation thereto in any sort for ever: As also, That this Act of Parliament and Settlement therein contained shall be inserted and repeated in any Act of Parliament that shall pass for agreeing and concluding the foresaid Treaty or Union betwixt the two Kingdoms; and that the same shall be therein expressly declared to be a fundamental and essential condition of the said Treaty or Union in all time coming.…That is the portion of the Act of Union which, in a light-hearted spirit, the Government, on a Tuesday afternoon, without any particular notice of an Amendment which was not even on the Paper, suggested we should tear up. I therefore urge strongly on the Committee and on the hon. Gentleman opposite that he will do very well to withdraw his Amendments. I may add, for the information of the Committee, that if he brings it forward in anything like the form in which he has brought it forward to-day, I am perfectly certain it will encounter the most resolute opposition, not only from the representatives of Scotland on this side of the House, but if I know anything of them from representatives of Scotland, on the other side of the House also.
§ Mr. J. KING
Before the Amendment is withdrawn, I should just like to suggest to the Committee that they should not accept too readily the view that has just been laid before them by the hon. Member opposite. This Amendment has been very strongly attacked by those who have not seen it in writing I venture to say that the more they see it the more they will understand that it is a very admirable one. I may add it has one strong advantage—that it requires the Regent to take in definite categorical form, an oath of allegiance to the Protestant Succession, and the form of words which it introduces ensure, in my opinion, a statement in favour of the Protestant Succession that "was not in the oath before. I have no doubt we will have a full opportunity of discussing the matter later.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has condescended to answer my question, which is: Why is it necessary to have the insertion of words guarding the Protestant Succession with the abolition of words guarding a particular religion which is known as the Presbyterian religion? The two things do not hang together, and nobody has told us why, if we want the words, they were not in the Bill.
§ Mr. LUTTRELL
I wish to thank my right hon. Friend for the favourable reception he has given to this Amendment. I quite recognise that there should be a full opportunity of considering the Amendment, and therefore, in deference to his desires, and, with the consent of the Committee, I beg to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Bill Reported with Amendments; to be considered upon Monday next, 11th July.