HC Deb 27 July 1910 vol 19 cc2129-249

Order for Second Reading read.

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


I need hardly say that in rising to move the Second Reading of this Bill it is not introduced by the Government with any party purpose. Indeed, no Government who knew its party interests would interfere spontaneously on its own initiative with such a question as that which is involved in this measure. Our only object has been—an object the immediate prosecution of which was forced on us by the unhappy demise of the Crown—to relieve the new Sovereign, at the opening of his reign, of the obligation of making in public a Declaration which gives legitimate offence to millions of his loyal subjects in all parts of his Dominions. We anticipated that any such proposal, in whatever shape it was put forward, must inevitably give rise to a considerable amount of misunderstanding, and, indeed, of angry hostility. But let me say at once, as we are now considering the Second Reading of the Bill, that I distinguish broadly between the hostility to it which springs from a belief that the present form of Declaration cannot safely be modified in any way without impairing the safeguards of the Protestant Succession, and the criticisms which have been quite legitimately put forward in various quarters by those who agree with us in condemning the present form of Declaration, but who are not satisfied with the particular formula which we propose to substitute for it. The former class of opposition is, of course, in the strictest sense of the word, Second Reading opposition, because it goes to the root and principle of the Bill. The other, important as it is, we fully recognise is directed, not against the principle of the Bill, which is that the Declaration ought to be modified in such a way as not to offend the religious susceptibilities of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, but is rather in the nature of Committee criticism as to the best mode in which that object can be most effectually accomplished. Let me address myself for a very few moments, in the first instance, to the opposition which is really germane and appropriate to the Second Reading discussion, namely, the opposition of those who maintain, as the authors of the document read a few moments ago maintain, that without this Declaration in its present form, with its present denunciatory and repudiatory clauses, the Protestant Succession to the Throne of this country is not secure, or, at any rate, that the security for it is materially and substantially impaired.

I am persuaded that those who maintain that point of view are for the most part, I do not say altogether, in a state of complete ignorance as to the real state of the law. I can hardly think that ignorance exists now in the mind of any hon. Member in any quarter of this House, but it does exist undoubtedly outside, and therefore I think it is right, at the risk of recapitulating some of the things said on the evening when this Bill was first introduced, to point out that this Declaration is not only not the safeguard, but is not even a safeguard for the Protestant Succession. Since the Bill was introduced it occurred to me that it would be convenient to summarise and put together and circulate in the form of a White Paper the various statutory enactments now on the Statute Book which affect the religion of the occupant of the Throne. Hon. Members who have studied that document will observe, in the first place, that the Protestant Succession to the Throne is amply secured by the express terms of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights enacts: That all and every person and persons that is, are, or shall be reconciled to or shall hold communion with the See or Church of Rome, or shall profess the Popish religion, or shall marry a Papist, shall be excluded, and be for ever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the Crown and government of this realm. That is an express disability imposed by Statute on any Roman Catholic succeeding to the Crown. Let me point out that this disability in the Bill of Rights, which is distinguished from the Declaration with which we are now concerned, is followed by an express statutory sanction, because the Act of Parliament goes on to provide that "In every such case the people of these realms shall be, and are hereby, absolved of their allegiance, and the said Crown and Government shall go to the next in succession." Therefore, unless the Sovereign for the time being is a person who is not a Roman Catholic—I am speaking now only of the Bill of Rights—not only is he incapable either of inheriting or continuing to enjoy the Throne, but ipso facto, if he is in possession of the Throne, the whole of his subjects are absolved from their allegiance to him. What more adequate or explicit safeguard of the Succession can be conceived than that? It is true that the framers of the Bill of Rights in the next Section, by way of what they conceived to be additional security, added that every King or Queen who should sucseed to the Imperial Crown of this Kingdom should make, at the times described, the Declaration which is now in question, and which, as I pointed out when I was introducing this Bill, is a Declaration framed many years before in the time of Charles II., and in the excitement produced by the Popish Plot, for the purpose of excluding from Parliament and public offices members of the Roman Catholic Church. There is no reference of any sort or kind to the Sovereign or occupant of the Throne. The peculiarity, certainly, in the Bill of Rights, which cannot escape observation, is that when Parliament imposed on the Sovereign the necessity of making this Declaration at the commencement of his reign, it provided no sanction and no penalty if the Declaration was not taken. It is an express statutory obligation, but what precisely would happen if the Sovereign did not comply with it has never yet been ascertained, and the Act of Parliament certainly throws no light upon that problem. That is the effect of the Bill of Rights, and if the matter rested there it would, I submit to the House, be perfectly plain that without this Declaration, to which no sanction is attached, you have in the earlier provisions of the Bill of Rights the provision that the Sovereign shall not be a Roman Catholic, and, necessarily and complementary to which, if he is a Roman Catholic, his subjects are thereby absolved from allegiance to him, and there is the amplest possible security for the Protestant Succession to the Throne. But the matter does not rest there, for Parliament went on to provide in the same year, 1689, the form of Coronation Oath, which required the Sovereign to swear that he would, "to the utmost of his power, maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the Gospel, and the Protestant Reformed Religion established by Law."

That was legislation which took place at the time of the Revolution. To pass on a dozen years, we reach the time of King William and Queen Mary, as she was then. She had no offspring and the Princess Anne as next in Succession. Although she had had a number of children they died in infancy and childhood, and it was reasonably anticipated that she also would come to her end without any offspring of her own. It was therefore necessary to provide for the settlement of the Crown upon some other branch of the Royal Family. As we all know, the Electress Sophia and her descendants were selected as being, not only the next in kinship, but as being Protestant in religion. That Act of Settlement which established that Succession to the Crown re-enacted, in regard to the persons who would thereby be brought into succession, the provisions to which I have already referred in the Bill of Rights. Section 3 of the Act after the recital that "It is requisite and necessary that some further provision be made for securing our religion," made this further provision, "That whosoever shall hereafter come to the possession of this Crown shall joyn in communion with the Church of England as by Law established." That is at this moment the law of the country. "Joyn in communion" is the phrase used in the Act of 1701. It is hardly necessary to point out that that does not mean, as some people seem to imagine, that a person should from time to time, periodically or occasionally, take the Holy Communion. It does not mean that at all. "Joyn in communion," as everybody acquainted with the English language of that period will know, just as in the expression which is so familiar to us, means have fellowship or membership with the particular religious body to which reference is made. No doubt it was in that sense that those words were used in the Act of 1701, and they have always been so interpreted.

You have in those two Acts of Parliament, two great constitutional and fundamental Acts, the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, first, the provision that the Sovereign shall not be a Roman Catholic, the provision next if the Sovereign is or becomes a Roman Catholic the subjects are absolved from their allegiance, and then there is the provision that the Sovereign shall "joyn in communion" with the Church of England as by law established. Is anything wanting to secure the Protestant Succession to the Throne? I come now, and I must refer to it in passing, to the Act of Union with Scotland. The second article of that Act of Union states, "and that all papists and persons marrying papists shall be excluded from and forever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the imperial Crown of Great Britain and the dominions thereunto belonging." It goes on to provide, "and in every such case the Crown and government shall from time to time descend to and be enjoyed by such person being a Protestant as should have inherited and enjoy the same in case such Papist or person marrying a Papist was naturally dead," according to the provisions of the Bill of Rights. Therefore Scotland is incorporated with England by reference to the Bill of Rights, and the same disabilities are extended to the occupant of the joint Throne of England and Scotland which had been already provided for the Throne of England. Although it is really not germane to the matter we are discussing to-day, that Act of Union further provides, for securing the Protestant religion and the Presbyterian Church government of Scotland, that the Sovereign shall take an oath that he will "inviolably maintain and preserve the foresaid settlement of the true Protestant religion … as above established by the laws of this Kingdom." That oath is always taken by the Sovereign immediately upon his Accession, and was taken by our present gracious King, I think, on the very day he succeeded to the Throne.

Those are the statutory enactments which affect this matter, enactments which, I think, everybody who applies his mind with anything approaching impartiality at all must admit render this Declaration, even if it were very differently worded from the form in which it is, totally unnecessary as a safeguard for the Protestant Successsion. That Succession is amply secured by the provisions, much more explicit and stringent, sanctioned by the two Acts of Parliament to which I have referred. I have always thought myself, and I have expressed the opinion more than once in this House, that the logical and natural course would be to abolish the Declaration altogether, for I believe it to be of no value as a safeguard to the Protestant Succession, to which I attach the very greatest importance. On the other hand, there is abundant evidence to show that it causes grave offence on an occasion of great solemnity, when it is most important and most natural that the loyal hearts of His Majesty's subjects should beat as in unison, and that it causes great offence and estrangement, and great soreness to a very large number of those loyal hearts. It may be said, "Why did not the Government propose to abolish it?" I think what has happened in connection with the Bill which we have introduced is quite sufficient to show that a proposal to abolish this Declaration would have met with an even more hostile reception and opposition than any proposal to modify the form. I am perfectly certain that it would. Although personally I should have been very glad if it had been possible to take that course, yet, on the other hand, we should have been open to a great deal of misconstruction, and we should have probably had some difficulty in carrying our measure into law. At any rate, we propose to take the more moderate course of removing from the Declaration such language and such aspects of it as were legitimately objected to by our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, at the same time making it a simple affirmation of the Protestant faith of the King, as he is required to profess that faith by the law of the land.

Having dealt with those who object to any change in the law at all, and therefore legitimately oppose the Second Reading of this Bill, I come now to deal—and I hope in a friendly spirit—with those who recognise the necessity for a change and yet arc critical as to the precise methods which we have adopted by the proposal in this Bill. I will say at once that the Government do not regard the form of words which are inserted in the Schedule of this Bill as having anything in the nature of what I may call sacramental authority. I do not claim to be in any sense inspired or that this is anything else than an honest attempt to deal with a problem which has baffled almost everybody who has hitherto attempted to practically grapple with it. I should be very sorry indeed, assuming that the House would be willing, as I believe the vast majority of the House are willing, to remove from this Declaration everything that could possibly give offence to our Roman Catholic fellow subjects—I should be very sorry to make it a matter or principle or anything more than a friendly interchange and discussion as to the precise form any substituted Declaration should take. There are one or two points which I think we ought to regard, I do not say as vital, but as of very grave importance. The first is, whatever substitute you adopt for the existing Declaration should not be negative and repudiatory, but that it should be affirmative in form. As I have endeavoured to point out, you cannot have any real security or safety to the Protestant Succession by the particular form of language used; but, on the other hand, if you choose to renew, with the omission of this or that vituperative adjective, the negative or repudiatory form which has hitherto survived you frustrate, or largely frustrate, the object you have in view, because our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects will continue to resent that in the first obligatory act of the Sovereign, that he must in his new Parliament select for express public repudiation some of those religious dogmas and practices which they regard with the greatest reverence and which are dear to their hearts.

I cannot help thinking that the general sense of fair-minded Protestants will go with me when I say that it is far better to avoid in any substituted form of Declaration a repudiation of specific Roman Catholic doctrines, or even of the Roman Catholic faith generally, and to state that the Sovereign is that which the law requires him to be in affirmative form. It follows from that that the Sovereign should state in his language generally that he is a Protestant, that his faith is the faith of Protestants, and further that he is prepared to maintain the various enactments to which I have already referred, and which secure the Succession of Protestants, and of Protestants only, to the Throne of this country. Let me look for a moment at the form of Declaration that is in the Schedule to this Bill. It has, I know, encountered no criticism or objection from Roman Catholics, and I gather that they are satisfied with it. It does not in any way offend against the rules which I have been endeavouring to indicate as the rule which ought to guide our action in this matter. It has met with criticism from various points of view; it has met with criticism from those who are in favour of a change in the form of the Declaration, but who are not satisfied with this particular method of arriving at the result. There were some who object to the use of the word "Protestant" in the Declaration at all. It is quite true, I think I am right in saying, that the word "Protestant" is not to be found in the Book of Common Prayer, and is not to be found in the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, and is not to be found in any canons of that Church. But it is, as I have already observed, to be found in the Coronation Oath, which requires the Sovereign to promise that he will maintain the Protestant Reformed of Union with Scotland. It is found, as I have already, pointed out, in the Act of Union with Scotland. It is found, again, in the Act of Union with Ireland, where the Church of Ireland, as it then was, which by that Act was united to the Church of England, is described as the Protestant Episcopal Church. Curiously enough, as I discovered only a day or two ago, it is to be found again, where perhaps you would least expect it, in an Act of the reign of the late Queen Victoria, 3 and 4 Vic. cap. 33, which permits clergymen of the Episcopal Churches of Scotland and of the United States of America, under certain conditions, to officiate in the Established Church of England and Ireland, and where the Scottish Episcopal Church is described as the Protestant Episcopal Church in Scotland, and the Church of the United States as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

This sensitiveness at the use of the word Protestant shown in some quarters in these days is of entirely modern growth. The great Anglican divines of the seventeenth century, High Churchmen like Bishop Andrewes, Bishop Jeremy Taylor, and Archbishop Laud himself, gloried in the name of Protestant, and were not ashamed or reluctant to use the term "Protestant" as a term descriptive of the Church of England as opposed to the Church of Rome, and even some of the non-Roman communities of the time. I do not wish on this occasion to go into any antiquarian discussion, but I believe as a matter of history that the objection to the use of the word "Protestant" is of later growth than the Tractarian movement. If it was not invented, it was fomented by the promoters of that movement. It was never a part of the tradition, so to speak, of the High Church party in, the Anglican Church. Therefore I find it very difficult to understand why there should be, at any rate on the part of the great majority of English Churchmen, any resentment, or even any reluctance, to the application of the word "Protestant" to the Church to which they belong. Further than that—and this is an objection taken in an entirely different quarter—it is said: "You may describe the Sovereign as a person who declares himself a member of the Protestant reformed Church by law established in England, but does that give us any real security that he is not in some sense or, at any rate, to some extent a Roman Catholic in belief?" I should be very sorry to think that that was possible; but let me point out that as regards the specific doctrines singled out for reprobation and anathema in the Declaration at present required, namely, transubstantiation, the invocation of the Virgin and of the Saints, and the supposed authority of the Roman Pontiff to dispense with the obligation of the oath, whatever else may be ambiguous or dubious in the formularies of the Church of England, everyone of those doctrines are explicitly repudiated in her Articles. Article XXII. declares that the Romish doctrine of the invocation of the saints "is a fond thing vainly invented." Article XXVIII. declares that transubstantiation "is repugnant to the plain word of scripture, over-throweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions." Article XXXVII. declares that "the King's majesty hath the chief power in this realm... and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign jurisdiction," and that "the Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England." I will not go into the question how far the Thirty-nine Articles are technically binding on members of the Church of England—it is a question on which I have a very strong opinion—but they are certainly binding on the clergy, and I cannot imagine anybody describing himself as being a faithful member of the Church of England, or, to use the language of the Act of Settlement, as joining in communion with the Church of England, who either covertly or openly professed any one of those three doctrines which are singled out for special repudiation in one or other of the Articles.

It follows, I think, that the Declaration in the form in which it appears in the Schedule would adequately secure, so far as any form of words can secure—and I agree that that is very difficult—that the Sovereign should not be in heart, or by conviction, as he may not be according to the law of the land either by act, or by profession, a Roman Catholic. The Declaration as it stands does no more—absolutely nothing more—than require the Sovereign to say that he is in heart and in faith what the law requires him to be. There is nothing new about it, absolutely nothing.

Having said so much in explanation of the Declaration as it stands in the Schedule, let me now refer to one or two criticisms which have been made, and see whether it is possible to meet them. This is, more or less, a Committee point, but it is so important that I think it is only right I should deal with it now, as the House ought clearly to understand what the attitude of the Government in regard to it is. We are perfectly willing to consider any suggestion that will meet with anything like general concurrence. Let me summarise the objections which, so far as my observation has gone, have been made to the form of Declaration which we propose. In the first place, it is objected to from what I may call the Anglican side, and I confess I think not without some force, not so much because of the fixing of the emphasis on the Protestant Reformed Church of England, but because of the use of the words "by law established in England." I am told that many Churchmen regard that as an ultra-elastic statement, because it seems to point, not to the continuous identity of the Church from her earliest existence in this country, but to some historic change which took place by which the Church became established by law in this country. That is an objection which is sincerely and honestly held by many members of the Church of England who are otherwise quite prepared to assent to a change in the form of Declaration. Then I come to another class of criticism which finds favour, I believe, with a number of my hon. Friends who belong to the various Nonconformist Churches in England. I believe they have two objections. They object, in the first place, to the special reference to the Church of England, the only object of the Declaration being to secure that the Sovereign is a Protestant. They object further, and perhaps more particularly, to the reference to the Church as being the Church established by law. The Sovereign must be a member of the Church of England; the Church of England is undoubtedly established by law. The Act of Settlement, which requires him to be a member of the Church of England, refers to it as the Church established by law, and the Coronation Oath, which requires him to maintain the Protestant Reformed religion, refers to that as the religion established by law. At the same time, I feel the force of the sentiment that, if you can avoid it, it is not desirable to bring into a form of Declaration of this kind anything which seeks to re-identify or re-affirm the identification of the Sovereign with one particular form of Protestantism as compared with another.

The third objection, and I think this is still more strongly felt by many of my hon. Friends from Scotland—and as a Scottish Member I do my utmost to bring myself into union with them—I believe the Presbyterians of Scotland, at any rate some classes, although I do not think the feeling is so widespread in Scotland as might be imagined—but some very highly respectable Presbyterians in Scotland object to the Church of England being singled out as the simple and sole representative of the Protestant religion. Their point of view, as far as I can understand it, and I try to understand it, is this: They say, "It is quite true that when the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement were passed the Sovereign was required to be a member of the Church of England, and is still so required. He was not then King of Scotland. But when you come to the Act of Union, although the requirement was not in any way modified or relaxed, he was required in the strongest possible terms to preserve and to take an oath that he would preserve the Presbyterian form of religion then established in Scotland." They say, further, that, although it might have been perfectly appropriate and natural prior to the Act of Union to require the Sovereign to declare himself to be a member of the Church of England, since the Act of Union that necessity no longer exists, and to make it for the first time a new obligation upon him, would give legitimate offence to his Presbyterian subjects in Scotland.

I think I have summarised fairly the criticisms which have been made against the form of Declaration we propose. I am very anxious if I can that we should not have a controversy about a mere form of words, because I believe the general sense, the overwhelming sense, of the large majority of the House is in favour of modifying this Declaration, so that it should cease to be offensive to our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, but at the same time in such a way as will not raise up new occasions of soreness among the various Protestant communities of this country. We have given anxious consideration to the matter, and I am going to make a suggestion, and only a suggestion, in order to see—as I think I am quite entitled to do in a matter of this kind, which is not in any sense a party matter—how it is received and entertained in various quarters in the course of the Debate. My suggestion will be that the Declaration should run as follows:— I do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments to secure the Protestant Succession to the Throne of my Realm, uphold and maintain such enactments to the best of my power. I do not make that suggestion hastily or inadvisedly. I have good reason to believe that it would commend itself to those who are high in authority in the Church of England. I believe I have the best reasons for saying that they will not in any way object to the substitution of that simpler form for the words which appear in the Schedule, "I am a faithful member of the Church by law established in England." It would remove the objection felt by many Anglicans to the words as they at present stand, and, in the opinion of many high authorities, would not go beyond the necessities of the case or do any injustice to the Anglican community.

On the other hand, I think it would also meet the objection which has been taken by many of my Friends on this side of the House. It meets the Nonconformist objection in singling out the Church of England and the reference to the Establishment, and it meets what I am bound to regard as even of greater importance, it meets the Scottish objection. It does not single out the English Established Church as though it stood in a position of priority or primaty in regard to the representative character of its Protestantism compared with the Presbyterian community in Scotland. I venture to think that if the House will consider the matter—of course it is not necessary to consider the form of words to-night—we shall be able to enter upon the Committee stage to-morrow. It is a very simple matter to decide. I am assuming that the Roman Catholics will not object to the clause because it does not in any way affect them; it is merely a change affecting Protestants. But if, as I have endeavoured to show, it would meet the criticisms which have been offered to the Government form by the English Nonconformists and the Scottish Presbyterians, if it would remove, as it certainly would, all that is offensive out of the Declaration as regards Roman Catholics, if it would express in an affirmative as against a negative or repudiative form the Sovereign's profession of faith by a promise to be a faithful Protestant—that is to say a Protestant at heart as he has to be a Protestant by law—and to maintain the Protestant Succession and all the enactments that support it, then it seems to me that would solve the whole difficulty with which we are here confronted, and provide a way of escape to which all parties would give a cordial assent. We have no amour propre in this matter. We have done our best. Others have before struggled with the same task, and with no greater success. We have done our best to provide a formula. We have listened, and listened patiently and sympathetically, to the criticisms which have been made, and if this new and simpler form should meet with general acceptance, the difficulties in the way of this Bill passing into law will thus entirely disappear.


I beg to move "That the Bill be read a second time upon this day three months."

It shall be my endeavour to oppose this Bill with a sincere desire to avoid any animosities and bitter discussion, and in the most temperate language that I can use. I trust that no words of mine will wound the religious convictions of those who disagree from me, or that I shall unduly trespass on the susceptibilities of those who belong to the Roman Catholic Church. But I feel it my duty to ask this House to refuse a Second Reading to this Bill, which has been introduced by the Prime Minister with his invariable lucidity of phrase and diction. I feel convinced that any impartial Member, or any impartial Second Chamber would readily acknowledge and admit that we who oppose this Bill have great grounds of complaint against the present Government. In the first place we were assured over and over again by right hon. Gentlemen on that bench that no contentious or controversial legislation would be introduced until the paramount question—the question between these two Houses—was finally decided. I venture to say that it is impossible to find any Bill which is more contentious and which is more controversial than the Bill which is before this House. It has been objected to throughout the country. A storm of protest is proceeding at present from Lands End to John o' Groat's. We on this side of the House were also assured by the Prime Minister, in December last, that there was only one question, one question of vital importance, and that the choice of the electors was to decide finally and for all between the supremacy of the Peers and the supremacy of the people. I noticed that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary took up that cry and became eloquent upon it. I also noticed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his endeavour to ram home this vital and essential point, became more forcible than before. As for the Lord Advocate, his endeavour to ram home this vital matter was more like a revulsion of nature than an ordinary transaction of human life. Hence forth I shall conclude that there is nothing with less vitality than a vital point, nothing so insecure as the securities offered, and nothing so elastic as the statement of a Cabinet Minister. Not only have the Government no mandate to introduce controversial legislation of this sort, they have actually an injunction not to do so. We also complain—I think with good reason—of the change of tactics. Surely there is no reason for the Government to introduce a Bill of this sort, so highly controversial, teeming with technicalities, and try to rush it through this House in three days, especially when this Bill touches what I can only describe as the most cherished convictions of the large majority of this country. It is surely apparent that the dream the Government are indulging in that they should rush this Bill through the House of Commons without opposition is turning to-day into a nightmare. For with extreme facility in changing their opinions they ask this House to swallow the Bill at one gulp. Apparently the signs of popular revolt are having their effect. Already Cornwall is roused, and even faithful Scotland is fretful. Scotland in the past has ever been a harbour of refuge for beaten Ministers. It would be a pity if in the future they have to go for safe seats to Ballyshannon or Connemara. It is clear they are quickening their pace for the simple and sole reason that they fear an autumn campaign on this question. They wish, therefore, to avoid a full and free discussion of this measure in this House. Really, it seems bad that they who perorate long and loud on the virtues of trusting the people, to-day fear the people. Their haste is a sufficient condemnation of their Bill. It will not bear the glare of publicity. Their speed throws a lurid light on the weakness of their case. Before I go into details I should like to protest against what I can only describe as a conspiracy. There appears to be a determination between the two Front Benches to push this Bill through the House of Commons—why and wherefore I do not understand. Even the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Long), who, the rumour has reached me, when it served his turn, could beat the Orange drum with the best of them, to the glorious and immortal memory of the Boyne, voted for the First Reading of the Bill. He now remains silent. Now those choice spirits that he used to urge on to harass others have turned round to worry him, and he sits doing penance for the disingenuousness of bygone days.

The Press throughout this campaign is maintaining a conspiracy of silence. The only news, apparently, that reaches us in the Press is that the Pope is pleased when he hears that it is the intention of the present Government to tear to tatters the time-honoured Declaration, and in its place to institute a Declaration which I only describe as an insult to the intelligence of those who value the existing formula. I should like to point out why this Bill is considered to be no safeguard to the Protestant Succession. We cannot believe that this Bill is worth the paper on which it is written. Personally, I do not know the person who drafted it, but I suspect it was the Lord Chancellor, whoever he was he has plunged into the task with levity and with carelessness, and I can congratulate him on having offended every section—the High Church party, the Low Church party, the Presbyterians, and the English Nonconformists. The Prime Minister has stated that he intends to give way on a certain point. His argument is apparently that the Protestant Succession is ensured, and is secured by statutory enactment. If that statement means anything it means that the Declaration and also the Coronation Bill are superfluous, and I believe that is the view of the right hon. Gentleman himself. I do maintain that that is not the view of the large majority of this House or of the large majority outside this House. I quite admit that it is laid down by statutory enactment that the King "may" not be a Roman Catholic. What we wish to see is that the King "can" not be a Roman Catholic. I hope to point out that it would be quite possible for a Roman Catholic to subscribe to the Schedule in this Bill and still remain a Roman Catholic.

The real point at issue is this. Those who framed the Declaration knew from experience the evils of a Popish King, and their endeavour to frame this Declaration was to prove not what the King is, but what the King is not. That is the whole point. The whole object of the Declaration was to repudiate the doctrines of Rome and to prevent a Roman Catholic from coming to the Throne. I venture to say that many people realise to-day that it is just as important that the Sovereign should entirely repudiate all connection with Rome, and should also disavow the doctrines of Rome. I believe it is even more essential to-day than it was when the Declaration was framed. It is an invalid argument to us to appeal to the Bill of Rights when at the same time you are destroying the safeguards of that Bill—when you are taking out the lever which starts all machinery into motion. The Declaration, as we all know, was introduced to ensure that the King would not be a Roman Catholic. It was introduced, not that he should make an affirmation of his own faith, but rather that he should make a repudiation of Roman Catholic doctrines. Therefore I submit to this House that a mere profession of faith is absolutely valueless. I make this statement based on the following: It is said—and I have no reason to disbelieve it—that the Pope can give dispensation to any oath given to a heretic, provided that the oath is not a denunciation of the Roman Catholic religion. I am personally anxious, if possible, to avoid theological discussion. I have no doubt that if we get into theological matters hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway will rise up and answer, and possibly answer each other, or possibly contradict themselves. Therefore I shall fall back upon the precedents of history. I want to show by the precedents of history that a profession of faith is not a sufficient guarantee for a Protestant Succession.

5.0 P.M.

I will take, in the first place, the case of Charles II. It is a well-known fact that Charles II., five years before his death, was in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. He was never tired of professing his Protestantism, but, on the other hand, he could not and would not take the declaration against Transubstantiation. Therefore we maintain that this Declaration, offensive as it is acknowledged by everybody to be, is an effective and an effectual test. If further evidence is required, I would ask hon. Members to refer to Macaulay's History. He said:— Ever since the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Oath of Supremacy had been enacted from Members of Parliament. Some Roman Catholics, however, contrived so to interpret this Oath that they could take it without scruple. A more stringent test was now added. Every Member of Parliament was required to make the declaration against Transubstantiation, and thus the Roman Catholic lords were for the first time excluded from their seats. I think these two precedents from history clearly prove that some oaths are binding; that a mere profession of faith and a mere affirmation, is not binding upon Roman Catholics; but, at the same time, it is impossible for Roman Catholics—and it is acknowledged to be impossible—to take our existing Declaration and to remain Roman Catholics. I have no doubt I could give other instances, but I have purposely taken the case of a man who was King of England to point out to the House that it is quite possible to have in the future a King of the character of Charles II. I should be the last person to suggest for one moment that there is any danger at the present time of having a Roman Catholic King upon the Throne. I do not suggest for a moment that that is likely to occur in our lifetime, but I maintain it is the duty of this generation to hand on to future generations that which they have obtained at the cost of great bloodshed and sacrifice in the past on the part of their ancestors, who, in many cases preferred their religion to their lives. The whole point of the situation is this: The Declaration is not a sort of dogmatic pronouncement of Protestant faith. The whole object is to exclude a Roman Catholic, and therefore, if we wish to secure the Protestant Succession we must have a Declaration negative in character. I am quite aware there are many people who desire to see the words "superstitious" and "idolatrous" cut out of our existing Declaration. These are words that date from a day when men used more outspoken phrases than they do now, or, as I should say, when people called a spade a spade. At the same time those who wish to see these words cut out are not prepared to sacrifice the essential parts of the Declaration. That was the view of the late Lord Salisbury and also of Lord Spencer, speaking on behalf of the Liberal party in 1901. It was the view of Lord Crewe and of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The same forces were at work in 1901 that are at work to-day. The agitation started with the desire of rousing sympathy. We are told the two offensive words should be cut out. As a matter of fact, if these two offensive words are cut out, you cut out the whole value of the Declaration. Lord Salisbury, in 1901, quickly discovered the plot that was on foot, and on the Third Reading of the Bill in the House of Lords he made this very significant statement:— We now know they do not wish these offensive words withdrawn, unless at the same time there is withdrawn the declaration for the security of the Protestant Succession, which we never for a single moment indicated that we had any intention of dispensing with. But that is exactly what the Government are proposing to do to-day, and that is exactly what the Prime Minister is attempting to do by his Bill. He is attempting to do what was repudiated by Lord Salisbury and every Peer in the House of Lords, with the exception of Lord Halifax and one or two Roman Catholic Peers. In the same Debate Lord Crewe, who has great weight with the Government of the day, objected so much to the striking out of the essential parts of the Declaration that he said that not only would he have nothing to do with it, but that he would refuse to sit upon a Committee that had that object in view. He said:— If I supposed we were called together to promote a brand new Declaration stating in terms of theological subtlety the religious opinions which the Sovereign of England ought to hold, I for one should not be able to accept the invitation to sit upon the Committee, and I venture to think my Noble Friends behind me would also decline to serve. That is a significant statement, coming from one who, nine years afterwards, is prepared to dabble in what he repudiated in 1901. I should also like to quote the words of the late Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1901 he made a statement:— The omission of a Declaration against the supremacy of the Pope, I think, is a very marked thing at this time. When the Declaration which we have from the Bill of Rights was drawn up, the supremacy of the Pope had not been declared as it has been since, and Roman Catholic doctrine which we object to has become very much more seriously dangerous to the political and national life of this country than it was in the time when the Bill of Rights was passed. I sincerely hope when this Bill reaches the House of Lords that the mantle of Elijah will fall upon the shoulders of Elisha, and that the present Archbishop of Canterbury will move an amendment having for its object the repudiation of the temporal power of the Pope. Let me point out how necessary it is that we should have a denial of Transubstantiation in the Declaration. It is felt by a number of people that it is important that the Sovereign should himself state that he does not believe in that doctrine. We all know there is a large school of thought outside the pale of Rome who favour that doctrine. In fact, it would be quite possible for the Pope to say of this school of thought, which is so ably represented by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord Hugh Cecil) in this House and by Lord Halifax in another place, "I have many sheep, although they are not of my flock." The point I wish to emphasise is that if the Government intend to force their Bill through the House, altering certain phrases, they are destroying the whole Declaration. I think it would be much better if the Government came down to this House straight away and said, "We do not consider this Declaration to be necessary, and therefore we intend to abolish it," instead of trying to palm off a false coinage on the unwary.

Talk as you may about toleration, disguise it as you will, your methods are transparent. It is easy to talk of toleration, but it is not so easy to practice as to preach it. I would remind hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite that only a short time ago they who are now crying aloud for toleration by their votes excluded many citizens from one of the chief posts of citizenship in our schools because of their religious belief. With regard to the Bill now before the House I contend the question of toleration does not touch the point at all except in one way, and in that way it is an argument against the Bill. To-day we have in the United Kingdom, it will be admitted by everybody, toleration as that word is understood in its widest sense. No man is persecuted for his religion; every man is allowed to follow the dictates of his conscience. Roman Catholics driven from other countries flock here, to a land of toleration, and live unmolested in our midst. We can hardly say the same thing of Protestants, who are in semi-concealment in Spain. It must be obvious that the temporal and political power of Rome is the very negation of religious liberty and toleration. Therefore I appeal to any hon. Member who wishes to advance the cause of toleration—I appeal to him in the name of toleration in the interests of civil and religious liberty—to slam, bolt, and bar the door against the temporal power and authority of Roman Catholicism.

The Sovereign who owes allegiance to foreign authority outside these Islands cannot be allowed to exercise such authority, especially when that authority claims to be an infallible authority. Surely it is only natural and just that we should maintain our civil rights by asserting the principles that this is a Protestant country. There is a distinction, broad and open, between religious toleration and the defensive policy of excluding Roman Catholics from the Throne. If anyone votes for this Bill thinking it is advancing the cause of toleration he is ranging in opposition sentiment against sense. There are many other objections to the Bill.

When the Bill was introduced the Government raised the sectarian test. Their Bill demanded proof that the Kings of the future should be members of the Church of England, which naturally narrowed and confined the issue. They have apparently given way on that point, or at any rate it is supposed they will. But it is rather a significant fact that if this Bill which is being hurried through the House of Commons had been passed in its original form, the Test of Membership of the Church of England would have excluded in days gone by no less a person than William of Orange, who was a Dutch Calvinist, and therefore could not describe himself "as a faithful member of the Church of England," and it would have excluded no less persons than George I. and George II., who were Lutherans. I think that is a rare comment upon the Government's policy in trying to rush this Bill through. It obviously shows they have not given forethought to the measure, and that they have acted in such a hurry-scurry that they would by their action put upon the Statute Book a Bill which would exclude not only the Nonconformists of England, but also the Presbyterians of Scotland. I entirely dissent from the view expressed by the Prime Minister that the statutory enactment should be Church of England. It is true, as the right hon. Gentleman pointed out, that the Act of Settlement states that the King must join the Communion of the Church of England, but Presbyterians have joined the Church of England, and that certainly does not make them "faithful members of the Church of England." No doubt the Prime Minister can pass this Bill through the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman is master of many legions in this House, but even if he does pass this measure without amendment, oblivious of the storm of protest aroused throughout the length and breadth of the country, although he may gain a transient popular favour with the Irish party opposite, there are hundreds and thousands in the country who will not forget or forgive the Government who have rooted up the work of the Protestant Succession.


I rise to second the Amendment which has been so ably proposed by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Agar-Robartes). I think the House will understand me when I say that I never rose to speak with a greater feeling of responsibility than I do at the present moment, because I know that I am voicing not only my own convictions, but also the convictions of those who sent me here, as well as the convictions of many hundreds and thousands of people outside this House, who have, as yet, had no means of making their feelings known to the Government. Feeling that responsibility, I propose, in the few observations I am going to make, to avoid on the one hand the ordinary rhetorical devices of party controversy, and on the other hand any undue language of bitterness. I wish to put quite simply one or two additional arguments against the Bill which is now before the House. I think the House will agree with me when I say that there is a certain spirit of conservatism in this matter, and I think it is a worthy spirit which permits us to ask, when any great change is proposed, that the burden of proof as to the necessity of such change should lie on the shoulders of its advocates. For that reason, and in the interests of fair dealing, I should like to examine the arguments addressed to the House by the Prime Minister in support of this proposal. The right hon. Gentleman has placed before us his arguments in a speech upon the First Reading, and in his speech to-day. Let me try and summarise those arguments. The right hon. Gentleman favours the claim, and objects to the present Declaration upon three particular grounds. In the first place he says the present Declaration had its origin in intolerance; secondly, he says that in practice it is unnecessary, because circumstances have changed, and he claims that we have sufficient statutory safeguards; and in the third place he says it is in language inexpedient, because of the insult conveyed in singling out one particular faith for denunciation, and he objects to the actual words in which that denunciation is couched. I think that is a faithful summary of the right hon. Gentleman's arguments. I think the arguments of the Prime Minister can be met, and I propose to meet them.

Let me take this first suggestion that the existing Declaration had its origin in intolerence. I do not attach a great deal of importance to that, because it appears to me, relatively speaking, to be a matter of little moment whether the Declaration, as originally put in King Charles's Test Act, was or was not conceived in intolerance, and was or was not the actual production of Titus Oates, for which I can find no historical warrant. All that does not touch the point because, as the right hon. Gentleman himself says, the Declaration is now used for a purpose quite other than that for which it was originally framed. Why is it so used? Because deliberately, solemnly, and with set purpose, the men who framed the Charter took the Declaration from its original meaning out of its original context, and divorced the connection in which it had previously been inserted in the Statute Book and incorporated as part and parcel of that great Charter of our liberties. Therefore I do not attach the same importance which the right hon. Gentleman does to the statement that this Declaration was conceived in intolerance. Nor can I believe that it is in practice unnecessary. The right hon. Gentleman says circumstances have changed. It is quite true that they have changed since the Revolution. We have advanced very far now on the road of civilisation since that time, and any man who denies that proposition is a fool. What the right hon. Gentleman overlooks is that in one point, and it is a most essential factor as regards the position of the claims of the Church of Rome, we have changed not one iota since the day when the Bill of Rights came wet from the pen of its authors. Creeds may wax and wane, Churches may come and go, but she remains unchanged and unchanging through the centuries, the same yesterday, to-day, and to-morrow. That is why the right hon. Gentleman is wrong when he attaches so much importance as he does to changing circumstances.

Let me say a word with regard to the suggestion as to the existence of sufficient statutory safeguards at the present moment. My hon. Friend opposite has dealt critically with that point. Now let me summarise the answers I would give in the shortest possible way. There are three safeguards. First of all, there is the provision in the Bill of Rights and in the Act of Settlement which excludes a person professing the Popish religion. I agree that these words constitute an absolutely personal bond, but they provide no test as to whether a Sovereign is, or is not, in communion with the Church of Rome. Such a test was considered inexpedient by those who framed the Declaration. The Government apparently recognise this, and there is a large body of opinion in the country which still thinks the test is necessary to-day. I shall have a word or two to say later as regards the efficacy of the test which the Government propose to supply. In the meantime let me say that, as regards the efficacy of the existing test, there has been no controversy at all, even from its bitterest opponents. It was well said by one of the high dignitaries of the Church of Rome that these words constitute an absolute bar against any Catholic, because no man could speak those words and remain a Catholic. From the point of view of efficacy, the old Declaration fulfilled all that was required of it. Nor do I think the right hon. Gentleman's second safeguard, that is the existence of provision in the Act of Settlement that the Sovereign is to join the communion of the Church of England as by law established, is an adequate safeguard, or provides any adequate test whatever. I join issue entirely with the Prime Minister as to the construction he places on the words "join in communion." I can hardly believe that the framers of the Act intended that those words should bear the meaning which the right hon. Gentleman has attached to them. I do not believe that they necessarily imply membership of the Church of England as by law established. In this matter I have history on my side. George I. and George II. both took this oath, and both according to the terms of the Act joined the communion of the Church of England as by law established, but they were both Lutherans. The Prime Minister referred to the Coronation Oath as being an adequate safeguard. May I point out that all the Sovereign does in that case is to swear to maintain the Protestant religion? The right hon. Gentleman said that could not be considered as an entirely effective test, because any Sovereign might quite well swear with the utmost honour to maintain the Protestant religion in the country, without necessarily himself professing it at all. As a matter of fact that is what has happened in Saxony at the present day. The King of Saxony swears that he will maintain the Protestant religion in Saxony, but it is well known that he is a Roman Catholic, but none the less he very faithfully and adequately, and more than faithfully and adequately, discharges the duties imposed upon him by his high office. Therefore, there is no foundation for the Prime Minister's suggestion that because a Sovereign swears to maintain a religion it is an effective test as to his profession of that religion.

I pass from the argument of intolerance, and I come to the suggestion that the Declaration is inexpedient, because of the insult contained in it to one particular faith. The right hon. Gentleman says, why single out Catholics? Why not Buddhists and Mahomedans as well? I will give a simple answer which has already been foreshadowed by my right hon. Friend opposite. Of all the Churches in the world Rome alone in the past has been the aggressor in matters political as well as in matters religious, and of all the Churches of the present day Rome alone to-day maintains undiminished her claim to temporal as well as to spiritual jurisdiction. We should know where we stand in this matter. It would be different if the Vatican would tell us to-morrow, once and for all, that he repudiates any claim to temporal jurisdiction. Any repudiation short of that really fails to settle the point. Is that repudiation likely to be given? The Prime Minister knows, and every hon. Member of the House knows, that it is not likely to be given. This very claim to temporal jurisdiction is defended and maintained at the present day. I have here an instance which I will lead to the House because I think it expresses in a few sentences the position. It is a statement of Rome's position in regard to the matter of temporal jurisdiction, and. her reasons for holding that position. I quote from a volume of essays on religion edited by Cardinal Manning, to which I think he contributed the preface. In describing the temporal power of Rome he says:— The election of a prince in a Christian community, inasmuch as temporal government deeply concerns the spiritual welfare of the people, cannot be put in the category of a purely civil act. If, therefore an heretical prince is elected or succeeds to the throne, the Church has a right to say, 'I annul the election,' or 'I forbid the succession.' The Vicar of Christ, by virtue of his supreme responsibility and consequent sovereignty may depose the Godless King and absolve the people from the Oath of Allegiance. To depose Kings and Emperors is as much a right as to excommunicate individuals, and to lay kingdoms under an interdict. These are no derived or delegated rights, but are of the essence of that Royal authority of Christ with which His vicegerents on earth arc vested.


Who is the author?


I cannot say, but the essays, I understand, were prepared under the superintendence of Cardinal Manning. I have read that because it states in the clearest and tersest form precisely what this claim to temporal power on the part of Rome is, and here is where I join issue entirely with the right hon. Gentleman. No Declaration can be satisfactory to us which does not express a clear repudiation of the doctrines which make such a claim as that possible. This negative assertion is far more important to us than any dogmatic difference as to the precise type of the Sovereign's Protestantism. A Protestant Church brings us no political danger, it represents no foreign Power, and it brings a menace of no political pre-eminence in this country. That is why we are resisting the right hon. Gentleman's action in the removal of this real living safeguard of an expressed repudiation in order to devise a form of Oath which shall, as he said, be more tolerable to Roman Catholics. I confess that a test which is to be more tolerable is to my mind in some respects a contradiction in terms, because, looking at it from the point of view of the spiritual test, apart from the mere verbiage in which that test is incorporated, all tests are of necessity intolerable. The higher the test the less tolerable it is, and the measure of its tolerability from the point of view of the spirit of the test is the measure of its efficacy.

I quite agree there is a large body of opinion inside and outside this House who, whilst they are just as anxious as anybody for an expressed repudiation, think the precise epithets in which the repudiation is at present couched are unnecessarily aggressive, and had the Government merely proposed the excision of those epithets I have no doubt they would have commanded a much larger measure of support than they do at the present time. I ought to add that if they had done that logic ought to have compelled them to alter the Thirty-nine Articles and the Westminster Confession of Faith, both of which contain language with regard to the doctrines repudiated by this Declaration of a more robust character than the language of the Declaration itself, and I may add, without offence, of a much less robust character than the language employed by the Church of Rome with regard to those who do not profess their doctrines. That is not what the Government have done. If, as the right hon. Gentleman suggested, it had been a mere modification, the Government might have commanded a good deal of support, but it is not a modification at all; it is an abolition root and branch and the substitution of a new form of words which, I venture to say, considered as a religious test, are wholly illusory, and, as a political profession, appear to me to he entirely unmeaning. The hon. Gentleman opposite has dealt with these words from the point of view of a religious test, and I beg to endorse the arguments be submitted. Really, the practices of some Members of the Church of England at the present moment make it at least open to doubt whether a professed adherence to that Church is really equivalent to the repudiation of the doctrines which are struck out in this Declaration.

I invite the House for a moment to look at the second part of the Declaration, which has not received any attention at all in the country so far as I can make out. When one comes to look at that there are some extraordinary passages. For instance, what does all this mean about "true intent of the enactments … and maintain the said enactments to the utmost of my power"? These expressions smack of the Jesuit. Imagine a casuistical fox let loose in that verbal hen-roost. He might construe that language to mean anything or nothing. What do the Government mean by "uphold and maintain the said enactments"? How can a constitutional King be said to uphold and maintain any enactments? A constitutional King has no concern with an enactment except when a Bill repealing or altering enactments which are already law come up before him. Do the Government suggest—it is almost incredible—that at some future date when a Bill is passed altering or repealing these enactments referred to, and it goes to a Sovereign on the advice of his responsible Ministers, that this Oath compels him to refuse to approve of those enactments? Is that proceeding according to constitutional law? The words appear to me to be quite unmeaning, and I cannot resist the conclusion that the Government are making for a pretence. Perhaps the most important argument of all, because it cuts at the root of the whole question, is that which was stated in the earlier stages of these Debates by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Exeter, and I know by the hon. Member for one of the Salford Divisions (Mr. Belloc)—I mean the point of view that you ought to have no tests at all for Kings. That is a point of view which I can hardly think commands a very large amount of support in this House, and which I am quite sure does not command a large amount of support in the country. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford, who is always quite frank, made his position with regard to this matter very clear. He lives in the expectancy, if I understood him aright, of a sort of religious Armageddon, in which that ancient foundation which he called the Faith, meaning the Church of Rome, of which he is a distinguished adherent, would meet and defeat all our war in creeds.


I never said defeat.


I gather the hon. Gentleman lives in the expectation of that. I do not want to misrepresent him, but, at all events, he looks forward to a day when there will be a great struggle between the Church of Rome and other creeds. Immediately after having said that, he went on and asked that we should hand over one of the strongest weapons we have at the present time in our hands. He asks for equality in the name of religious liberty. I do not want to say hard things, but I cannot help saying the conception of religious liberty is, I believe, quite alien to the doctrine and to the practice of the Church whose cause the hon. Gentleman was advocating. I do not say that without having some little authority. Let me give one or two sentences from various sources which I think clearly expressed the view I have put forward. Here is a sentence from a Bull of Pope Gregory XVI., 15th August, 1832. That is going a long way back, but I will bring it up to date in a moment. Let us see what he has got to say and what the original position of the Church of Rome was with regard to civil and religious liberty and freedom of conscience:— From this polluted fountain of indifference flows that absurd and erroneous doctrine—or rather raving—in favour and in defence of liberty and conscience. And he goes on to call it A most pestilential error. Here is another quotation from the "Rambler" in 1851, a magazine of which Cardinal Newman was one of the contributors. Here is a leading article:— You Protestants, says the writer, ask if he (a Roman Catholic) were laud in the land and you were in a minority, if not in numbers, vet in power, what would he do to you? If it would benefit the cause of Catholicism. he would tolerate you, but if expedient, he would imprison you, banish you, fine you; possibly he might even hang you. But be assured of one thing. He would never tolerate you for the sake of the glorious principles of civil and religious liberty. Let me give one more. Here is a quotation from "The Relations of Church and State," published by the Rev. E. J. O'Reely, one of the theological professors at Maynooth, who, I am led to understand, was one of the first theologians from the Roman Catholic point of view of his day:— I freely admit this doctrine of the liberty of conscience for all is convenient for Catholics who have to do with Protestant Governments; but, for all that, the principle is one which is not, and never has been and never will be, approved by the Church of Christ. I come now to the present day. Only the other day in the island of Malta we had some exhibition of what value the Church of Rome attaches to the principles of religious liberty. The Archbishop of Malta wrote expressing his deep disapproval of freedom of religious worship in the island. Hon. Members know as well as I do what is the position of affairs in Spain. I do not want to say hard things about the Church to which the hon. Member belongs, but I do say that for him to come here and ask for equality in religious liberty is to ask for it in the name of something which that Church does not accept, but which it expressly repudiates.

I think I have made the position clear; I have done my best to follow the right hon. Gentleman and to present a reasoned answer to the arguments he put forward. The only thing I have to add, and I speak on behalf of myself and those who think with me, is that we shall present the strongest opposition to the proposals which he has brought forward that is within our power. We shall endeavour to secure their rejection, and if we are defeated in that we shall endeavour to secure their radical alteration for the reasons which I have given: that they do not contain, as we think they ought to contain, an expressed repudiation of the doctrines which we think always have been and always ought to be alien to everyone who holds the sovereign of these islands. That is the reason why we are opposing the right hon. Gentleman's Bill. We believe in so doing we are fulfilling the traditions which have been handed down to us by those who went before us, and that we are discharging the obligations and fulfilling the responsibilities and duties which we owe to our posterity in the years that are to come.


I am afraid that after the reference made to me by the hon. Member for the St. Austell Division (Mr. Agar-Robartes) I shall speak under circumstances of some suspicion, and it is possible everything I say will be regarded as being merely an artifice of a Jesuit friar. It is an entire misconception to suppose that the High Church movement is a movement, as a whole, for approximation towards the Church of Rome. I think the hon. Member who has just spoken (Mr. Mitchell-Thomson) was perfectly warranted in saying that the attitude of the Church of Rome is profoundly unfriendly to liberty of thought, and would be utterly intolerable to all sections of the English people as a consequence. If you take such a document as the recent Bull issued by the Pope no person with any insight into English temperament could doubt that to set up amongst us a system of subservient episcopacy and enslaved priesthood, of ignorant laity, of an elaborate organisation for the suppression of all discussion of dogma, a system for putting pressure on booksellers, an organised espionage on those about to take orders and all that that means, and lies behind it, would be no less intolerable to High Churchmen than to any other section of the Church of England. It is true that, in relation to the Sacrament, there is an undoubted movement in the Church of England which has modified to some extent the current of customary teaching of that Church in respect of this. But in regard to the attitude of the Church of Rome as a great religious body affecting civil life and State organisation it is an entire misconception to suppose that High Churchmen have made any approximation at all to the position of the Vatican or its teachings. I should be the first to say that any measure which made it at all easier to reconcile this country to the Church of Rome would be a measure which deserves resistance.

I thoroughly agree with the Prime Minister when he says the safeguards of Protestant Succession are not to be found in the Declaration, and that the Declaration, as it stands, is wholly useless for that object. I do not forget the danger to which an hon. Member called our attention in speaking of the Sovereign who might profess to be not a Roman Catholic but yet might actually be one. It would be absurd to deny that danger, because Charles II. was such a Sovereign. It is worth observing that he did not, in fact, do much harm to Protestantism, but the fact that he had to keep his religious convictions secret prevented him doing anything against the Protestant religion. Does anyone suppose that Charles II. would have hesitated to make the Declaration? He did many things far more atrocious than that. He undoubtedly consented to the death of a great number of Roman Catholics whom he confidently believed to be innocent, because it suited his political purposes. I do not suppose a man of that kind would have hesitated to take any Declaration. Of course he repeatedly received the Communion of the Church of England which if he had any convictions at all he believed to be an entire mockery. The Declaration is of no use against an unprincipled secret Roman Catholic like Charles II. I go further and say if you are looking out for safeguards for the Protestant Succession a more moderately worded Declaration is more effective than a more violent one. My hon. Friend spoke of this Declaration as being a strong weapon—a lever to set the whole machinery in motion. Has he ever contemplated what the machinery is that would have to be set in motion? Nothing would happen automatically if the King was to refuse to take the Declaration—Kings would go on just as before. The Declaration need not be taken for many months after the accession, and the only thing that can happen is that a Motion may be made in the two Houses of Parliament to declare the Throne vacant. That is the only thing to be done. It is an obvious consideration and one that has been left out of sight, that a Sovereign is not like a subject. You cannot bring him before a court of law and prosecute him for having done wrong. If he breaks the law there is only one remedy, and that is to depose him by Parliamentary action. Does any hon. Member really suggest that he would be prepared to move a Resolution declaring the Throne vacant if the Sovereign refused to make the Declaration? It is really inconsistent to vote against this Bill unless hon. Members are prepared to take that course. I would ask would any one rise months after the Sovereign had been accepted as King and move that the Throne be declared vacant in the sonorous terms of the Declaration of 1689—a Declaration which alleges no fewer than thirteen grossly illegal acts as the foundation for extreme measures? It is quite obvious such a thing is impossible. I do not believe any Member of either House would do such a thing. It is plain that unless hon. Members are prepared to take the extreme course of declaring the Throne vacant when the Sovereign refuses to make the Declaration, the Declaration is of no value whatsoever.

An hon. Member appears to think it would be impossible to make such a Resolution, but I think he will agree with me it would be much more possible if a moderate Declaration was not made than if an extreme one was refused, because if the Sovereign refused a moderate one, it might reasonably be argued that his only ground for refusing it was that he was a Roman Catholic at heart. What plausible argument could be made if the Sovereign declined the present Declaration? Many religious persons who dislike bringing sacred matters into public disputes, who dislike particular phrases of the Declaration, but have regard to the feelings of loyal Roman Catholics without being in the least Roman Catholic themselves, would shrink from taking the present Declaration. I doubt whether the present Prime Minister—ardent Protestant as he is—would like to take it. How can you prove from the mere circumstance of a Sovereign refusing this Declaration that he is at heart a Roman Catholic? Not only does the substitution of a more moderate form of words not diminish the safeguards, but it positively increases them. It gives you a slightly better case for declaring the Throne vacant if the Declaration is not made. Unless you can declare the Throne vacant it does not matter.

I believe the argument breaks down at a point not yet sufficiently scrutinised. Much attention has been given to the chances of a Jesuitical Sovereign who takes the Declaration with a secret reservation in his own mind. No attention has been given to the much more probable defect in the machinery that the refusal to take the Declaration does not vacate the Throne, but requires the action of Parliament to supplement it. I am anxious to see the Declaration modified, but I confess I do not attach overwhelming importance to the matter. I do not like the form of words that appear in the Bill. The use of the word "Protestantism" is, as the Prime Minister said, sanctioned by very high authorities—not only statutory, but by the authority of a great many eminent divines. I do not dispute that there are connections in which the word might be used with great propriety. But the truth is that "Protestantism" and "Protestant" are words which belong to a category which render them unsuitable as a general description of a religious faith or Church. They belong to the same category as Trinitarianism, Episcopalianism, and Paedo Baptistism, and other kinds which describe particular points of view. Protestantism is not a religion, but a particular aspect of many religions. All those words have their use. If I am asked, "Are you a Unitarian?" and I say "I am a Unitarian;" or "Am I an Anabaptist?" and I reply, "A Paedo Baptist;" or "Am I a Roman Catholic?" and I answer, "A Protestant," the words would be used with perfect propriety in that sense. But when you speak of our ancient Trinitarian Church these words are inappropriate as being not sufficiently descriptive. People have sometimes imagined a traveller coming from another sphere, from another planet, and being able to speak English and asking such a question. If you describe the Church of England to him as a Protestant Reformed Church. it would only convey to his mind that the Church of England disagreed with somebody and had once been worse than it was now. Well, I think that is a spirited account of my religion. No doubt it is perfectly true. The Church of England—Protestant and Reformed—is a great deal besides, and to select those two epithets out of a great number which might be selected appears to me to unduly limit its character and present it in an un-attractive light. I have always felt that people have an inadequate sense of what charity requires towards other bodies of Christians when they teach the word "Protestant" as a distinctive label of their belief. Take the case of two brothers, one of whom was very disreputable or even had been sent to prison. Suppose the other thought it necessary to put on his visiting card "John 'Unimprisoned' Smith." That would he rather an uncharitable proceeding, because it would show the circumstance which is the shame of his brother. I think it is rather a pity that the Church of England should choose as her distinctive title a name that indicates that a fraternal Church has fallen into grave and serious error. The worse you think of the Roman Catholic Church the less you ought to constantly label your own Church as disagreeing with it.

6.0 P.M.

I know that is so so long as you regard it from the fraternal point of view. But there are a certain number of people who regard it from a different standpoint. I do not know whether that is the attitude of the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, and I hoped to hear from my hon. Friend the Member for St. Austell some interpretation of that difficult passage about the beast in the Apocalypse. I trusted that he would be able to show that it was the Pope and not the present Prime Minister, as some of my hon. Friends on this side are, I think, inclined to believe. I was disappointed that he did not go into that matter, and failing that extreme point of view I think it is rather a pity that he should single out for the Church of England a name which means nothing except that the Church of England differs from the Church of Rome. I do not want to detain the House at any greater length. The form which has been laid upon the Table of course requires further consideration. I do not in the least object to the word "Protestant," if it is used to express that the Sovereign is not a Roman Catholic, and the word is, of course, enshrined in the Statute Book, but I do think that while we are jealous to preserve the Protestant Succession, while we are careful to see that no inroad is made on even the clothing of that great idea—for I cannot regard the Declaration as more than the clothing of it—we ought to be careful not to draw in religious controversies which are not concerned with the Declaration and its purpose. I do not myself sympathise with the Nonconformist objection about "established by law," and I do not sympathise with the Scottish objection about speaking of "the Church in England": but still, honestly, I think, the Government are quite right to have regard to those objections, because whether they are well founded or ill founded it is a pity to mix up this controversy with other controversies. Similarly, I hope they will have regard to the objection which some people feel to choosing the Church of England out of many to describe the Protestant Church to all the world. So modified, I think, the Declaration would be a great advantage and would not give rise to alarm or to any reasonable apprehension that some future Sovereign might become a Roman Catholic, or that there is any danger to the essentially Protestant character of the British people. At the same time we should get rid of a Declaration which seems to me to be harshly and even irreligiously worded, and which is justly offensive to many loyal subjects of the King, and which appears to me to be not an effective but a pretentious and a sham safeguard to the Protestant Succession which we are all agreed should be preserved.


On 28th June we were told by the Prime Minister that we ought to give time for discussion and for making up our minds until we could fully consider the form of the Bill. He told us that it was surely better with a form of words like these which were carefully chosen to have them before you in black and white, and to be able to study them at leisure and come to a conclusion about them, and thereupon an appeal was made that we should reserve our judgment. The form of words which he described as carefully selected is that which contains the expression "Protestant Reformed Church as by law established," and the Prime Minister told us then that it was absolutely vital that those words should remain in terms part of the Declaration. He said:— The insertion of the words 'Protestant' and 'Reformed.' which are not found in that Section, seem to us to give strength and additional definiteness to the Protestant character of the Declaration. If it is said that these words are unnecessarily introduced. I reply again that both in the Bill of Rights and in the provisions of the Act of Settlement, that language is employed. The Church of England is described, and some people in these days do not like to see it so described, as the Protestant Church and as the Reformed Church. At least, the religion taught by the Church of England is described as the Protestant and Reformed Religion."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th June, 1910, cot 851.] He said really it was impossible to get out of that language, and accordingly we took it from the right hon. Gentleman that that was a carefully selected form of words, that it would be impossible to get out of it, and that the discussion had better be delayed until we had the form in black and white. It is surely, however, somewhat embarrassing to those who have come to debate them to-day to find the right hon. Gentleman getting up in his place and absolutely rejecting the words which he told us on a previous occasion were carefully selected, and that it was impossible for the House to get out of them. Why was that done? The answer is perfectly plain. There was an inspired paragraph in all the papers to-day that the Nonconformist Members on the Government side of the House had held a meeting yesterday, with the Member for one of the Divisions of Norfolk in the chair, and that it was intimated to the Government Whips that unless the words "Protestant Church as established by law" were omitted, fifty Members below the Gangway opposite and seventy Members below the Gangway here would not be able to support the Second Reading. That is now why we are discussing a different Bill from the one upon which we were asked to reserve our judgment because it contained a selected form of words. I have always looked upon the fifty Members of the Radical Nonconformist party as a very broken reed when it came to any question of defending Protestant interests. I wonder how many of those Gentlemen won seats at the election before last by saying that the Unionist party had put Rome on the rates. That was their cry when they were dealing with the Education Act of the Unionist Government, and they obtained seats by it. But what was the first thing that the Radical Protestant party—the Gentlemen who are unable to support the original form of Declaration in this Bill—what was the first thing they did when they had a majority? The Chief Secretary for Ireland brought forward a measure putting Rome upon the rates in Ireland and endowed a Roman Catholic University. Two hon. Gentlemen opposite supported us, one of the hon. Members for Yorkshire and the hon. Member for Walsall. Sir Robert Perks, who was a prominent Member of the House, and who had assisted us before, was unfortunately called away during that Session, and we did not get the benefit of his support, but it so happened that he was made a Baronet before the Session closed in which it was necessary to put Rome upon the taxes and the rates in the form of a Roman Catholic University in Ireland.

The next thing is that the relief of Rome should be put in the Statute Book, for that is the beginning and the end of the tendency of the Government and the party opposite, of which this legislation is part. Therefore I do feel that it is impossible for us to count very much upon hon. Gentlemen opposite who shout so loudly, and who move such fierce Resolutions and invariably succumb when it gets to a Second Reading Debate or a critical Division. But I should like, as the constitutional point has been raised by the Prime Minister and the Member for Oxford University, to have a matter considered which, on the construction of the Act of Settlement, goes absolutely to the root of the whole policy of the Government. The Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University asked the House to consider what could be done if the Sovereign refused to take this Declaration. He suggested there would be a remedy by an hon. Member attempting to ask the House to pass a Motion, in effect, impeaching him—though technically that is not the correct word—but that a course should be taken under which he should be deprived of his Throne by some Declaration of that sort, and he pictured the hardihood of any Member who would do that. But it seems to me that exactly the same principle would be applied under the Act itself if the King, having succeeded to the Throne—having, as the Noble Lord said, been in possession of it, having become popular, and made the people contented with him—were to suddenly join the Roman Catholic Church. Exactly the same thing would have to be done now, and it would be necessary for some Member of this House to get up and say that under the Act of Settlement he had forfeited the Throne. There is no difference between the one case and the other, and from the Irish point of view, I should like this to be considered. Hon. Members will remember that when the Bill of Rights was passed this Declaration had to be taken by the new Sovereign, and they are also aware that in those days on the death of a Sovereign Parliament automatically ceased to exist, and it was the death of the old Parliament. When a new Sovereign came to the Throne a new Parliament had to he summoned, and unless he was crowned before the new Parliament met, it was provided by the Bill of Rights that "The King do, on the first day of meeting of the first Parliament next after his or her coming to the Crown, unless Coronation happen earlier, make, subscribe, and repeat this Declaration," and the meaning of that was that there could be no legislation, and therefore there could be no Royal sanction until the King, on the first day of the first Parliament, had made this Declaration. Therefore, it was part of the Constitution—and this is another proof of the wisdom of our forefathers—to put the Declaration of the King before he could possibly exercise the kingly function by giving his assent to an Act of Parliament. Has the Government considered whether this Parliament we are now sitting in is the first Parliament of His Most Gracious Majesty whom God preserve, who has come to the Throne? Is it the first Parliament or not? We have all taken the Oath of Allegiance to him. It has been taken at that Table by hon. Members to-day. The Statutes which we pass in this Session will be described as being passed "in the reign of His Most Gracious Majesty George V." If that is so, and this is the first Parliament, then I say that the Sovereign as laid down by our Constitution is unable to give any assent to any legislation, including this very Bill, until he has made himself constitutionally the King by making this Declaration on the first day of this Parliament. This very Bill is entitled the first of George V. I want to know if this is the first Parliament of His present Majesty? Under the Act of 1867 Parliament does not go out on the death of the Sovereign, and it is suggested that that has altered the whole position, but from beginning to end there is no mention in that Act of this test which is put on the Sovereign. As our fathers left this the King had to make this Declaration before he could even give his sanction to a London and North-Western Railway Bill, if there was such a thing in the time of the early Georges. I do not think hon. Members meet the whole argument when they say that they do enough on this question of the Declaration when they preserve the Protestant Succession. 'The Sovereign does not preserve the Succession. He may continue it, but he does not maintain it. It is the Estates of England which maintain it, and he cannot interfere with it. The real reason why it is necessary to have a Protestant King is because there are many matters of administration beyond merely preserving the Succession. If James II. had been a promising King would he have appointed Roman Catholics to English bishoprics? The King is the fountain of honour and the head of the Army. Every officer in the public service holds under commission from His Majesty. It is a very different thing if the fountain of honour and the head of the Services is a Roman Catholic or a Protestant. it goes far beyond the mere question of Succession, and yet the Prime Minister says he is quite content, and all reasonable men ought to be content, if the Succession alone it preserved. It seems to me that if we had a Roman Catholic King —which Heaven forbid!—at the head of the Services the administration would certainly be entirely different, and we should all feel it. It is not a mere matter of Succession at all. It is a matter of the administration of the country, and it is secured by this test which the King has to take before he can assent to any legislation. He cannot change his mind, because under the Act of Settlement, if he becomes a Roman Catholic he goes out; but there are such things as a disguised Roman Catholic, such as Charles II. It was to meet the case of the disguised Roman Catholic that this identical personal Declaration was devised.


Charles II. was not a disguised Monarch when he came back after the Restoration.


I do not think any Member with the most profound knowledge of history can say at what time Charles II. drifted over. He was certainly attended on his deathbed by Roman Catholic priests, and it appeared to be admitted that he died a Roman Catholic. There was no doubt about James II. at all. But this test would always hit a disguised Roman Catholic if left in its original form before this Government, which is so anxious to defend Protestant interests, came along and made it easy for a disguised Roman Catholic to adopt it. I come back to the constitutional point. If the Bill of Rights has not been observed, can the King, as a constitutional Sovereign within the Constitution, give his assent to this or any other Bill? If he cannot, it seems to me that the Government have entirely mistaken their course. They might wait till the Coronation or they might make a declaration that this was not the first Parliament within the meaning of the Bill of Rights or the Act of Settlement, and bring in a Bill of Indemnity if necessary. They might avoid the difficulty that way, but they cannot get over it by taking the short cut of securing the Royal Assent to a measure which he is constitutionally unable to give.


The hon. Member has very ingeniously tried to divert the Debate from the channel in which it was running to a new constitutional question. He has raised the constitutional point as to whether His Majesty has not been guilty of an infringement of the Constitution at this early period of his reign by not having, in some mysterious manner only known to the hon. Member, met Parliament and taken the oath. My recollection is that the Act lays down that the Declaration shall be made on the first occasion of his meeting the first Parliament after the demise of the Crown. The only occasion on which the King meets Parliament is on the occasion of his opening Parliament after it has been duly prorogued. I can only look upon this argument of the hon. Member as devised to take us away from the consideration of the real question at issue, which is whether or not we shall alter the Declaration which is prescribed for the King to take. It is very generally admitted that there are grave objections to the present Declaration. I think that will be admitted by many people who hesitate even to make a change, because they do not quite see in what way that change is to be made effective. The hon. Member (Mr. Agar-Robartes) pointed out that the amended form which my hon. Friend suggested would be quite ineffective, because any Roman Catholic could, and would, take it. I am a Roman Catholic, and I can honestly state that I could certainly not declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and it must be the opinion of the hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill that I might go as far as that, but that I certainly would hesitate to go to the length of the old Declaration against transubstantiation. We all know that the hon. Member is young, but is he so innocent of the depth of the depravity of human nature as to make a statement of that kind? If I was going to make a false statement of my religious belief, can anyone suppose that I would hesitate for a moment as to the length I would go? If I was the kind of person who would make a false declaration of that kind, knowing it to be false, I should also be the sort of person who would not hesitate to be hanged for a sheep as well as for a lamb, or to be damned for one Declaration as for another.

I believe the Protestant Succession is far more deeply rooted in the hearts of the people of this country than many in this House imagine. I am an out-and-out supporter of the Protestant Succession. I am, and always have been, against disability imposed for religious reasons. I am opposed to religious tests. But this disability which is imposed upon the King, and which prevents him from conforming to the religion to which I belong, is part of a series of enactments, all of which, taken together, have made that which I hold to be the greatest blessing which this country possesses. If one looks at this from the historical or constitutional point of view, one cannot take the single isolated fact that the Protestant Succession is necessary. One must look at the whole surrounding facts of the time of the great Revolution. There was a very radical change made then. We made a change from the system of legitimacy by Divine Right to a system of limited monarchy by the right of the people and a covenant was entered into between the King and his people. It is no time now to discuss all the terms of that bargain. To my mind it was a very good bargain for this country, and I am not going to quarrel with the Protestant Succession because it happens to have been one of the terms in the bargain which gave me free popular Government. Free popular Government was impossible till you did away with the condition of things under which the King held his title by a right which had nothing to do with his people and which was a supernatural right. As soon as that was done away with we were able to advance to that condition of things which we have now under which the fullest civil and religious liberty is possible. I might perhaps recall what were some of the main provisions of that very Act of Settlement which established the Protestant Succession. In the preamble of that Bill there is a statement of what were the ancient rights and liberties of the people, and it proceeds:— And they do claim, demand and insist upon all and singular the premises as their undoubted rights and liberties, Then it goes on:— That it be enacted that all and singular the rights and liberties asserted and claimed art the true, ancient, and indubitable rights and liberties of the people of this Kingdom. That is what I hold, and I am not going to quarrel with an Act which gives me that merely because the King is not of the particular religion to which I belong. I feel I have gained a far greater advantage in that than in any possible advantage I might gain by being of the same religion as the Sovereign. But there is another point which follows from what I have just said about the abolition of the Divine Right and which bears upon something which fell from my hon. Friend who opposed the Bill with regard to the attitude taken up by the Holy See. As long as the King held his title by some right which was supernatural, as long as he held it independently of his people, so long was there a reason for the claim put forward by the head of the universal Christian Church in Christendom—that was the position of the Pope to interfere with that Sovereign, and so long was it possible, and it has frequently happened, that a Sovereign with a very doubtful title found it convenient to go to the head of the Christian Church in order to obtain through his spiritual authority a reinforcement of his very doubtful title. It was the condition of things which was perpetuated through the Tudor and Stuart times, having existed previously in the mediæval period. But that became impossible when the King, by agreement entered into freely with his own people, accepted his crown from the people on terms dictated by them, and under the limitation which they imposed. The Prime Minister in introducing this Bill laid stress upon that limitation very clearly and very precisely. It was that, if at any time the holder of the Crown conforms to the Roman Catholic religion he thereby automatically ceases to be King, and his subjects are relieved of all allegiance to him. That indicates the relationship between the King and his people.

Those are the reasons why I think all Catholics would adhere to and would accept freely the Protestant Succession. It is part of a general scheme under which they enjoy comparative freedom and under which they may obtain complete freedom, because we still know that there are disabilities attached to the Catholic religion which do not attach to any other. There was one point which was made by an hon. Member which I should have been rather 10th to touch upon if he had not mentioned it himself, because it is an ad captandum argument which has more weight among the uninstructed than it is likely to have in this House. As I understood him he seemed to defend the old form of Declaration on the Accession as a sort of reply to the strong denunciation used from time to time by the Pope. Well, that seems to me a very feeble argument. I cannot conceive that any person would be affected by it, or would say, "If you call me a heretic, I call you an idolator." Such arguments as those may produce an effect on 12th July in a place where there is excitement about a pending election, but I do not think they carry much weight with this House. Certainly I should be sorry to think that they would produce the heated and possibly forcible discussions which would take place in the place I have suggested. There is one reason why I would ask all hon. Members who have not perhaps fully made up their minds on this subject, to consider the necessity and the desirability of not going into theological questions in a Declaration of this kind. As the Noble Lord said, in the brilliant speech to which we listened just now, we are a little too apt not to be charitable towards those who differ from us in religious belief. But when the King is called upon to condemn the belief of a very large proportion of his subjects, he is called upon to do that which is weakening the foundations of the Empire. The Empire does not rest upon Protestants alone. I say so although I have every reason to appreciate what Protestants have done, and to respect those who hold Protestant doctrines. But the Empire is held together by the united efforts of many who are not Christians, and also by all the great body of those who call themselves Christians, though dogmatically there may be, and often are, differences between them. I would ask hon. Members to think what would be the effect of this Debate in Canada, where we have a proportion of the population amounting to 42 per cent. or more who are Catholics, and the larger number of whom are people who differ from us in race and language, but are united with us only in their loyalty. That loyalty rises in their hearts with gratitude for the way they were treated when they first came into the Empire. Until recent times, when these things have been discussed so fully in the daily Press, it was unknown in these countries—it was unknown certainly in the days of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria when I was in Canada—that there was such a Declaration. Happily the case had not arisen owing to her long reign, and the people did not know that there was in existence such a Declaration which was required from the Sovereign. But that is well known now. I appeal to hon. Members who only a few nights ago were recommending to us various means of keeping this Empire together. I did not agree with them in the arguments they used then, but I am prepared to recognise that they sincerely desire to see the Empire united together. Now, we have not to deal with theoretically binding the distant parts of the Empire by methods which have yet to be proved, but we can by a single act show that as between our Catholic French-Canadian fellow-subjects and ourselves there is no difference in the mind of the Sovereign at the time of his Accession. That, I think, is of great importance to the unity of the Empire. I would therefore ask hon. Members, when coming to a decision upon the matter placed before them by the Prime Minister, to remember that besides the form in the Bill we are technically considering, there is also an alternative form of expression which I am very glad he has put before us, because I know it will certainly be more acceptable than the original one among my Welsh Nonconformist Constituents, with whom, on the question of this Declaration, I am in full agreement. I ask hon. Members, when they are making up their minds upon the question now before the House, to consider whether they cannot by their vote on this occasion do that which we here in this House daily pray for—that we may unite and knit together all persons and estates in closer love and charity one towards another.


A great deal of responsibility must attach to those who take part in a Debate of this character and consequently realising that many hon. Members on both sides of the House are anxious to speak, and that we have only a limited time at our disposal, I shall intervene for only a very few minutes. I desire to say a word or two on behalf of that section to whom the Prime Minister referred in his speech, who do not object in toto to a change in the Declaration, but who desire an alteration, who so expressed themselves on previous occasions and who find themselves now in a very considerable difficulty. I think I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman whose words we listened to a moment ago (Sir Ivor Herbert) that even if we do disagree in the line adopted in argument or in our votes, at all events, so far as I and those who think with me are concerned, our attitude is not due to want of charity towards those who differ from us here on religious questions in this House or out of it. I do not fail to appreciate his concluding words, in which he reminded us that people in different parts of the Empire will watch with interest what we are doing, and that it may have an effect on the growth or a lessening of their affection for the Mother Country. For my part, if the House will forgive me for referring for a second or two to my own personal views, I have been most anxious to see my way to vote for a Bill which would settle this question in a manner generally satisfactory, but I do submit to ask the House to read this Bill, short Bill though it is, but yet one of very far-reaching effect and grave importance, a second time, changed as it has been by the announcement made by the Prime Minister to-day, to pass it in Committee to-morrow and to send it away for discussion elsewhere on Friday, is really to make a demand on this House which I say with all respect to the Prime Minister and the Government no Government ought to make.

What is the position we are in who are anxious for an Amendment and who are not satisfied with the Amendment proposed by the Government? We have to end the Committee to-morrow, and what would be the procedure which will precede the Committee procedure? Every Member of this House knows that nobody can put an Amendment on the Paper until the Bill has been read a second time. It follows from this that when our proceedings conclude to-night, at whatever hour we may finish our business, behind the Chair there will stand a crowd of gentlemen fighting with one another, decently fighting, perhaps I ought to say battling or jostling with one another, to get first to the Clerk's table in order to hand in their Amendments. Until to-morrow we shall have no opportunity of judging the various Amendments which will be proposed in various quarters. I may be told, "If you are ready with any alteration, if you have definite views as to the alteration you want, you have no difficulty in putting down your own Amendment, and it will be on the Paper to-morrow." I am informed that there are two or three Amendments, one coming, I believe, from the other side of the House, which seems to me to be much better alterations of the existing Declaration than the one proposed by the Government. I do not want to go into the argument for the maintenance of a definite Declaration, and for two reasons. One is, they have been given, I venture to say, wholly admirably by my hon. Friend the Member for one of the Divisions of Down (Mr. Mitchell-Thomson) and they have been given by others who spoke in the Debate to whose views in that respect I subscribe. But I do want to deal very briefly, if the House will bear with me, with the suggestion made by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford (Lord Hugh Cecil) in that delightful speech to which we listened a little earlier. He told us that the retention in the King's Declaration of any language—and in this, of course, he has been preceded by the Prime Minister—whether it be affirmative of the Sovereign's belief in the Protestant faith or a Declaration of his opposition to the Roman Catholic religion, whatever form you choose to adopt, has no real hearing on, and still less is it the means by which you are going to secure the Protestant Succession. The Prime Minister, in his speech, told us that there seemed to be some little ignorance in this House as to the real bearing of this question. Undoubtedly there is a great deal of ignorance among the people outside it. I question whether the numerous pressing demands upon the Prime Minister's thoughts and time have not prevented him from really testing and ascertaining what is the opinion of the people of this country and upon what that opinion is founded.

I believe that a great majority of our fellow-countrymen who, as Protestants, attach great importance to the retention in the Oath of some declaratory words, inoffensive, of course, avoiding all that could be offensive, and far more so anything that could be insulting to those who now complain, but emphasising clearly and distinctly the fact that the new Sovereign is by his faith and in his heart determined to oppose that particular form of religion which the majority of the people of this country believe is more hostile to their own faith and more dangerous to the State than any other form of religion. Then why do they attach importance to the existence of these words? Not, Sir, I believe, for the reason given by the Prime Minister; not because they have not examined the facts and history of the matter; not because they believe that this in itself is the security for the Protestant Succession. I believe they know the point at stake as well as, I will not say the Prime Minister, but as well as many other people. But they do regard these words as the outward and visible sign of that profession and determination on the part of the Sovereign. For this reason they attach to them very great importance. What is the change that is being made? We who believe that there ought to be an alteration, as we believe that the language is needlessly offensive, approached the consideration of this in earlier days from the point of view of those who believed that the offensive words were simply the two words "superstitious" and "idolatrous." I confidently submit to the House that that was, in all the earlier stages of this controversy, the ground that was taken up and the argument invariably used. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I do not say that as the question has gone on it has not undergone a change, and that the ground of objection has not been widened, but in the earlier stages the objection which was raised or which was brought to our notice more explicitly and with the greatest force was that based upon the inclusion in the Declaration of words which are needlessly offensive to our fellow-citizens here and in other parts of the Empire. We believed that the only change that is necessary was one which would take out those particular words, but when the thing was carried further, and when it was pointed out to us that it was not only those two words to which objection was taken, but it was to the general description given by the language now employed, I for one would have been prepared—and I am prepared now, in my desire that there shall be, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman said at the conclusion of his speech, peace and concord among us all, if we can get it—to go further and say that the Declaration might be still more altered. But in recasting it what position do we find ourselves in now? I listened to the speech of the Prime Minister, in which he told us, if I understood him aright, that the Government meant to adhere to this Bill, that they would accept any Amendment which was likely to be generally supported throughout the House, but that they adhered to the structure of the new Declaration—that is to say, it is to take the form of an affirmation of Protestant faith, and not of the repudiation of any other doctrine. That makes our position impossible and intolerable. I am afraid that those of us, of whom I am one, who would have been glad to see an alteration made, and who would have made a great effort to support an alteration, going further even than we had originally contemplated, will by this action on the part of the Government be forced into the Lobby with those who object to any change at all. I profoundly regret this position on the part of the Government. I would have been very glad if it had been possible for a great majority of this House, for all outside and within, to have been in agreement on the settlement of this question; and I believe myself—I may be wrong, and I apologise for troubling the House even with the opinion, but I give it because I hold it very strongly—I believe if there had been more time given for the consideration of this question, and fuller opportunity given for those out of this House to inform themselves as to what it was proposed to do, and to make up their minds as to the way in which they would like it to be done, that it would have been possible, after the fuller time given for consideration, to find phraseology which would have met with general support. That, however, is denied us, and we are told that we must vote practically for these words, that the Government will regard any Amendment such as I have indicated as wholly destructive, and that therefore if we vote for the Second Reading we vote for it with our eyes open, and knowing that we cannot by any possibility get into the Bill any Amendment which would carry out our wishes.

The Prime Minister told us he believed—and the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford pointed in the same direction—that there is no necessity for a Declaration at all, and that the Protestant Succession is secured by the law. I believe that the Prime Minister's declaration is accurate, and that it is in the law that the security for the Protestant Succession is to be found. But the logical conclusion of that would be to avoid putting any words into the Sovereign's mouth at all, to avoid the adoption of language embodying any form of Declaration. But if you do deliberately intend to have words to put into the Sovereign's mouth on the occasion of his Accession a declaration as to his opinions, then why are we asked without any previous notice to adopt this form? How long has this question been before the House? The Bill was introduced a month ago, and how many Members of this House in any quarter of it and, far less, how many people outside of this House a week before the Bill was introduced, could have foretold with any degree of accuracy what its contents were going to be? We had it before us only for a month, and we have as I have already ventured to say, enormous difficulty in not having adequate time for its discussion. The result is that we find ourselves in a position of extraordinary difficulty. For my part, I had hardly made up my mind when I came down to the House. Indeed, I had not made up my mind as to what line I would take, and I hardly like to commit myself now to a definite declaration; but that is the position, as it seems to me, having approached this question, I believe, honestly and, I believe, with the single desire to find some way of voting for an alteration which would give general satisfaction. Yet, notwithstanding this strong desire, I can see no course open to me, in face of the declaration of the Prime Minister, but to vote against the Second Reading. If I am compelled to give such a vote I do it with profound reluctance and because of the manner in which I feel that the Government have used their power and their great strength in trying to force the support of those who differ from them, and who would have been glad to have considered their differences in a friendly desire to find a solution for them, and because they have treated us, in my judgment, most unfairly in forcing upon us, as they have done, at the end of the Session, and giving but a few moments for the discussion and consideration of one of the gravest questions which this House has ever been asked to settle.

7.0 P.M


The discussion this afternoon has made it quite clear that there are various schools of criticism of the Bill brought forward by the Prime Minister. There is a small class which I believe would agree with the Prime Minister, and would be glad to see the whole of the Declaration got rid of and repealed. There is another and even smaller class which would prefer that the Declaration should be left unaltered, except, if possible, to make it stronger by additions. A third party are in favour of some change. For my part I think there is much to be said in support of the view that we should get rid of the Declaration altogether. I think a great many of us are prepared to agree with the Prime Minister that the Declaration, in view of the fact that it relates to a condition of things that has long passed away, and in view of the comprehensive restrictions found in the Act of Settlement and Bill of Rights, is now unnecessary. I would also remind the House that there is another equally potent restriction to ensure the Protestant Succession, in that it is compulsory upon the Monarch when he is crowned to receive Holy Communion according to the rites of the Church of England. I think all Roman Catholics will agree that it is impossible for any Roman Catholic to comply with that condition. Further than that, I think the whole point practically returns to where it was placed by my Noble Friend the Member for Oxford University, when he said that if the Sovereign is dishonest, no Declaration which you could frame is worth the paper on which it is printed. Though the Government might have chosen the simpler course of proposing to get rid of the Declaration altogether, yet they are prepared, and I daresay from their point of view quite rightly, to adopt the more difficult course of trying to change it.

The alteration proposed by the Prime Minister this afternoon will very materially assist the passage of the Bill. He has tried to meet the main objections which have been urged on different sides of the House. He has, I think, met the objections of those hon. Members who found themselves unable to agree with the words: "The Church of England by law established." He has also, I think, met the objection of those of whom I am one, who would have objected to the description of the Church of England as the "Protestant and Reformed Church." As the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University pointed out, there is a sense in which the Church of England is Protestant and Reformed, but we do not regard that as the true constitutional or historical description of the Church to which we belong. The actual criticism which the Prime Minister has not met is the criticism of those who wish to have in the Declaration some specific statement against Rome. For my own part, I am completely at a loss to understand why the Roman Catholics should object to the majority of the electors of this country saying that they do not want a Roman Catholic King. I can perfectly well understand Roman Catholics saying that they regard it as highly offensive to have singled out certain of their doctrines for abuse. I believe, however, that the Roman Catholics themselves would feel that there is a very true distinction between that, and merely stating, as a matter of fact, that we do not want a Roman Catholic King. Perhaps, as the Debate goes on, we may hear some further expression of opinion which may perhaps lead the Prime Minister to reconsider the matter. I believe it would be perfectly simple, with goodwill on each side, to meet that point. It is with these feelings that I shall vote for the Second Reading of the Bill. Though the change proposed by the Prime Minister requires to be carefully considered, yet I think it goes a very long way to remove the legitimate objections that were urged against the Schedule as it originally appeared.


The Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University said he did not believe that anybody would get up in this House and propose a Motion for the old Declaration. I think there are not wanting Members of this House who would get up at any moment and declare anything that suits them. I would remind the Noble Lord of the fact that James II. did not take the Oath, and in Scotland that was one of the indictments on which he was deposed, while in this country he went away and left the Throne vacant. The objections to the Bill in Scotland are very strong, and based on historical facts, and Scottish Members have received a great many protests against it. Some—a very few—object to any alteration whatever, but a great body are quite prepared to see the offensive words struck out of the Declaration. They feel that it is only just to Roman Catholics that these offensive words should disappear. We can quite sympathise with ultra-Protestant feeling in Scotland, because Scottish men suffered in the seventeenth century, and their sufferings have been burnt into every Scotchman, so that, even 200 years after, they are vivid in his mind. Still, we live in very different times from what they were then. Two hundred years have passed, and the whole position is altered. I think Macaulay said, and said very well, as bearing on the question of the great Revolution, that:— It finally decided the great question whether the popular element which had ever, since the age of Fitz-waiter and de Montfort, been found in the English polity, should be suffered to develop itself freely and become dominant. The strife between the two principles had been long fierce and doubtful. It had lasted through four reigns. There is no doubt it has become dominant. At that time the French kings and French people partly influenced Scotch-men, but all that has gone now. No one could imagine danger from France in view of the recent history of that country, and the Romish Church has dwindled and dwindled until it is almost impossible to imagine the reinstatement of the Romish Church in this country or any part of it. I would point out what was done by the Scottish Parliaments. The House should remember that the Scottish Parliament had a separate Oath, and they did what the English did not do—they deposed their King. They brought an indictment against the King, and they actually deposed him. They have an Oath of their own, and, so far as I can make out, I do not think the Scottish people ask for any alteration at all. The Scottish Oath which exists at present contains no offensive remarks on the Romish Church. The Protestant religion in Scotland is managed by the Kirk Session, Presbyteries, and General Assemblies, and they are all fully protected by the Oath which His Majesty the King has already taken. So far as Scotland is concerned, we feel that there can be no danger of the Protestant Succession or of the Presbyterian Church being in any way damaged by the Declaration, whether it is going to be altered or not. Macaulay said of the Scottish people:— The greater boldness of the Scots was in accordance with their well-known character of turbulence and independence. The Scottish people are still independent, but they are giving up their turbulence, unless it is considered that an example was afforded the other night. But can anyone imagine that the turbulence would not be fully to the front again if there was any danger of the Presbyterian Church being attacked or destroyed? Notwithstanding the strong feeling existing in Scotland she takes up a separate position, and has a separate Oath. Although, of course, she is mixed up with the present Declaration, her position is perfectly secure, and I cannot see that there can be any possible danger to her or her religion. There was, no doubt, a strong feeling, and a feeling with which one can sympathise thoroughly, against the exclusion of any other part of the Protestant religion besides the Church of England. However, the Prime Minister promises to reconsider those words, and that ought to satisfy all reasonable objection. At all events, it satisfies me, and even at the risk of incurring displeasure amongst some of my Constituents, I feel that I am bound, in consideration to all those subjects of the King who are offended, and naturally offended, by these words, to vote that they should be so modified. I think, if the Covenanters of 1688 did not demand an offensive Declaration, their heirs and successors should be content at all events with what their forefathers were content with. I think, after what the Prime Minister said, and with the concession he proposes to make, I can see my way to support the Bill.


I can promise I shall not detain the House very long, and I only speak because if I gave a silent vote on this occasion it would be thought that I wished to evade some of the responsibility which all of us must have in a matter like this, and that I was unmoved by what I admit to be the great pressure of public opinion. Like everybody else I have been overwhelmed by letters on this subject, and I do not in the least doubt those of my Friends who say that there is an overwhelmingly strong popular feeling against any change. They have a perfect right to say that, and I feel the more bound to express my own conviction that some change is, in my opinion, desirable. Let me say before I come to that point that I entirely agree with the criticisms passed by my right hon. Friend upon the management of Government business in this respect in the speech which he has just made. I must frankly say that to press a measure which does excite, rightly or wrongly, such extraordinary interest in all parts of the country, through the House in two or three successive days to bring it in for effective discussion after the Appropriation Bill is passed, and to allow no interval between the Second Reading and the Committee stage is very unusual, is very extraordinary, and I think a rather regrettable abuse of Parliamentary power. Having expressed that view I do not mean to dwell further upon it. I agree entirely with all that fell from my right hon. Friend on that point.

I now address myself to what I take to be the main point at issue. I do not propose to touch upon the Roman Catholic side of the question at all or the arguments they address to us. I think we must regard ourselves in the main as a Protestant Assembly, determined, so far as the majority of the House is concerned on both sides, to maintain the Protestant Succession, and desirous of maintaining the Protestant Succession, I believe, in perfect harmony with the views even held by many Catholic Members of this House. All we have got to do is to consider how the Protestant Succession can best be preserved by means of the Declaration. The Prime Minister addressed his argument earlier in the afternoon, though not strictly a logical view, to show that, in his view, we should lose nothing if we abandoned the Declaration altogether and trusted entirely to the statutory provisions which, as he said, gave substantial sanction to the Protestant religion which we require from our Sovereign by turning him out of the Throne if he becomes a Roman Catholic or marries a Roman Catholic. I do not dwell upon that part of the argument, because we are all agreed we had better obey the tradition which requires from the Sovereign a Declaration of his own personal relation to this question of creed. The only point, therefore, is does the new form, which avowedly gives no offence to Roman Catholics, does it or does it not weaken the security for the Protestant Succession? That is not only the main question, but it is the only question. There really is no other question at all.

I think the very ingenious arguments we have just heard from the hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. M. Henderson) gets rid even of what I may call the national prejudices which may have existed on this subject, because he has proved, at all events to his own satisfaction, that that Declaration is purely an English invention, and the bad language is purely an English usage, and that, so far as our country is concerned, his country and my country, they have, if we look at the question historically, carefully abstained from ever saying anything offensive of a religion which did not happen to be theirs, and that we have shown North of the Tweed a toleration of other beliefs than our own which might be happily imitated in the South. As he has eliminated all questions of national and international import there literally remains only the one question, which I have already stated to the House, namely, how are we best to preserve the Protestant Succession and does this Declaration in its new form weaken the Protestant Succession? I have listened to every speech that has been delivered either on the First Reading of this Bill or on the Second Reading of this Bill, and I have read a certain amount of that wealth of literature which has been poured out by both sides on this question during the last few weeks. Really nobody has ever been able to explain to me how it makes it more secure having a Protestant Sovereign to insist upon his condemning two particular Roman doctrines rather than insisting that he should say he is a sincere Protestant. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the St. Austell Division (Mr. Agar-Robartes) attempted to deal with this, but really only advanced one argument. He said that Charles II. had been five years a Roman Catholic before his death. I am not quite sure whether that is an authentic record. I thought it was generally supposed that he was admitted to that Church shortly before he was in articulo mortis, although no doubt he had strong Roman Catholic sympathies for many years.


We never experienced them in Ireland.


What was the hon. Gentleman's argument? He said he was quite certain that Charles II. would have taken the amended form of Declaration but that he would never have taken the original form. There was no opportunity of asking Charles II., and as far as I have been able to form any idea of the character of that distinguished Monarch, I think, if it would have suited his purpose, he would have had no more difficulty in dealing with the Declaration in one form than he would have found in dealing with it in another. I think his genius would have risen to the heights of the occasion if they had been alternatively presented to him. In the Declaration one specifically selects, and in language which I believe Roman Catholics think theologically inadequate, to condemn two doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. What do you do when you declare yourself to be a faithful Protestant? You declare yourself to be a Christian who disapproves of the whole doctrine and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church—far wider, and it is just as strong. The whole origin of the word "Protestant" is based upon a repudiation of what we Protestants consider the errors of Rome. That is its historical origin in the main, and it is the true and substantial meaning ever since. It is the meaning which our forefathers gave it when they put it into Acts of Parliament. It is the meaning which theologians of all sections of Protestants, whether Episcopalian or non-Episcopalian, Presbyterian or any of the other Protestant sections, gave it, and it was the sense in which they all used it, and consistently used it, generation after generation and century after century.

There may be other objections, but I cannot imagine anybody seriously saying you are more likely to let in a Roman Catholic Sovereign if you only require him to say that he is faithful Protestant than if you require him to select two special doctrines for special condemnation. Can anybody answer that argument? I can truly say I have never yet heard an answer. With all the desire to understand exactly where the objection comes, I am so far utterly unable to apprehend it. If anybody could show me within the smallest degree that the Protestant Succession was in danger by this qualification I should vote against the Government without the smallest hesitation, because I am not one of those who. think that all the difficulties of religious strife are over, that the seventeenth century saw the end of them, and that the eighteenth century saw the beginning of that indifference, which has spread, and continued, and is likely to spread and continue as enlightenment grows amongst civilised countries. I do not take that view. If any man tells me lie thinks that in the future there are dangers which may follow from Roman Catholicism, I do not deny it. I think there may. If anybody tells me, as some hon. Members have told us this afternoon, that Roman Catholics have never abandoned their exclusive attitude, or, as we should say, their intolerable attitude, that they have never given up the right when they think it expedient of enforcing their doctrines by every means in their power, again I agree. But that is not the point. The point is, Do you weaken Protestantism and the Protestant Succession by these words? How you can weaken the Protestant Succession by requiring the Monarch to declare that he is a sincere Protestant utterly passes my power of understanding. Therefore I look with the less misgiving from a Protestant point of view on the proposed change. I think everybody ought to vote for the Second Reading of this Bill who wants even to leave out the language which my right hon. Friend, and, I believe, most other Members, desire to see eliminated from the Declaration in its present form, because they belong as I belong, and as I have long belonged, to the number of those who think the Oath ought to be so altered as to give the least possible offence to any portion of His Majesty's subjects. I think we ought to go into the Lobby in support of the Second Reading; but I agree that differences may subsequently arise on the Committee stage, when those who prefer the negative, which is the old form, to the positive, which is the new form proposed by the Government, may find themselves in different Lobbies. I shall wait until I have heard the discussion in Committee before I decide which of the many alternatives presented to us is the best; but at present it seems to me perfectly clear that I am bound to vote for the Second Reading, because I think there ought to be a change, and I believe that everybody in this House who agrees that there should be a change, whatever he thinks that change ought to be, is also bound to vote for the Second Reading. Whatever the ultimate decision may be, if it is no worse than the decision which the Prime Minister announced this afternoon, if it embodies no greater danger to the Protestant Succession than the words which he has suggested this afternoon carry with them, I think the Protestant Succession is as safe as Acts of Parliament, Oaths, and Declarations can possibly make it.


It is with a great deal of hesitation that I would urge perhaps even upon the attention of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down that there is one additional point in the matter under discussion which makes some extra appeal to those who are of his nationality and mine. It is really in regard not so much to the substance of the declaration as it is proposed to be amended by the Prime Minister, as to one of the arguments on which he based his case for amending it. In the course of his speech the Prime Minister gave it as his settled opinion that the words in the Act of Settlement, "Whosoever shall hereafter come to the possession of this Crown shall join in communion with the Church of England by law established," must be taken as necessarily establishing that the Sovereign should join in communion with the Church of England, and must ipso facto be exclusively a member of the Church of England as well. Without any appeal to national or international prejudice, I think there are a large number of members professing the Protestant religion, who in England do not belong to the English Established Church, or in Scotland are Presbyterian, who really would dissent with all deference from that reading of the Act of Settlement. It is not upon our own individual opinion we venture to question it, but after having received very reliable opinions as to what construction can properly be placed upon the Clause. For that reason there are a large number of inhabitants north of the Tweed, and I doubt not there are a considerable proportion south of the Tweed also, who believe that hitherto the Sovereign has been, within the limits of the Reformed Church, perfectly free to choose to which branch of the Reformed Church he should belong.

I believe, for my own part, that that opinion is really backed up by the facts of history. The Act of Settlement was passed while William III. was still alive, but I believe that William III. was not a Member of the Established Church, though he joined in communion with it. William III. was a Dutch Calvinist, and I believe it is equally true that the early Georges were Lutherans. I asked my Noble Friend {Lord Hugh Cecil) how that could be reconciled with being a member of the Church of England, and his opinion seemed to be that their sense of Lutheranism was perhaps not particularly dominant in them at the time. At the same time I think it can very fairly be maintained in contradistinction to the opinion of the Prime Minister that at present, under the law, the Sovereign has for the last two centuries been perfectly free within the limits of Protestantism to choose the particular branch to which he shall belong. For that reason we think not only that it ought to be secured to him, as it will be, by the amended form of this Declaration, but that it should be recognised in argument as well that he should have that liberty, and that for the future if he should naturally wish to be a member of the Church of England no other Protestant should be unwilling or should grudge the fact that it was so; while, on the other hand, should his natural bent incline him to one or the other branches of the Reformed Church, he should be equally free in his adhesion to it.

One reason why this aspect of the case has appealed to my fellow countrymen north of the Tweed is, perhaps, that they attach supreme importance to being given free will upon a subject of this kind. A considerable number of years ago, in the Presbyterian churches they habitually used the form of Common Prayer used in the Established Church in England. Unfortunately, however, Archbishop Laud saw fit to send to Scotland a notice that they were to do so, and then, though they had been doing it of their own free will before, a celebrated case occurred in which the Book of Common Prayer was used as a missile and not as a means of devotion. [Several HON. MEMBERS: "A stool."] Thereafter the use of it was discontinued. If only the opinion be voiced that the Sovereign shall be quite free within the limits of the Protestant reformed faith, that objection on the part of many Presbyterians to the form of Declaration, as here amended, will fall to the ground. In that respect I think the majority of us differ from the view expressed by the Member for North Down (Mr. Mitchell-Thomson) and others, who wish to retain the Declaration in anything like its old form. Many of us may disagree with Roman Catholics, both as to many of their doctrines and as to their attitude to religious liberty and freedom of conscience and intellect. I have been the recipient of many extracts dealing with Roman Catholic doctrines and the attitude of Roman Catholics towards the Reformed Church, which extracts remind me more of some of the expletives in highly-coloured detective stories than any other form of literature with which one is naturally acquainted. But that is really no reason at all, as appeared to be believed by the Member for North Down, why we should adopt the same attitude in return. The fact that you believe other people are intolerant towards you is no reason whatsoever why an attitude of intolerance should be adopted towards them. I would also adopt most fully the view which has been expressed with regard to the possibility of the Sovereign disregarding his Oath if he wished to be a Roman Catholic. Indeed, the case is, I think, even stronger than has been put. Two hundred years ago there still lingered a certain amount of belief in bad language in the shape of oaths, incantations, and exorcisms, which really does not exist at all in the present day; and even if there had been any validity at all in damnatory clauses 200 years ago they would have lost that validity, and their force would have evaporated at the present moment.

One other argument which has not yet been mentioned is that if the Roman Church in the course of years becomes, as there has been a tendency in past years to become, less tolerant than previously and more obscurantist, there is really less danger of Roman Catholicism upon the Throne or becoming dominant in England than would otherwise have been the case. The more intolerant a Church becomes, the more it would bind the intellect in fetters, the less likelihood there is that that Church will acquire greater power in the United Kingdom. To a certain extent that evolution is going on in the Roman Church to-day. One hundred years ago the infallibility of the Pope was not a canon of faith with them. In fact, there was a Roman Catholic catechism, one question of which was: "Do you believe in the infallibility of the Pope?" and the answer was, "No; that is a calumny of the Protestants." Since 1870 there has appeared a new edition of precisely the same catechism, from which that question and answer have been discreetly omitted. It reminds me, by way of analogy, of a History of England written by a late Member of this House, in which a certain reference to Free Trade formerly printed was afterwards omitted. It is without the least doubt the case that the less tolerant a Church becomes the less likely, instead of the more likely, it is at the present day to proselytize in anything like large numbers. Therefore I say, if only the opinion as regards the freedom of the Sovereign within the limits of the Protestant Reformed Church is agreed to or voiced, not the least apprehension need be felt about this alteration, either as it is proposed to be amended by the Prime Minister or if it were put in the negative form.

On the other hand, I think that possibly too much importance has been attached by my Noble Friend (Lord Hugh Cecil) to the two words "Reformed" and "Protestant." It is perhaps stretching the niceties of toleration rather far to suggest that "Reformed" is offensive, because the implicit inference is that the other Church is unreformed. As regards "Protestant," I think there is really no objection to the word at all. It is quite true that at this stage of history "Protestant" cannot very well be regarded as a descriptive term; nor can "Axminster" as applied to a carpet; but everyone knows quite well what article is intended by the term "Axminster," and practically everyone knows exactly what is intended by the word "Protestant." I gather that should the Sovereign ever wish to abandon the Protestant religion, it would not be a matter of interpretation for a Court of Law, because a Court of Law could have no jurisdiction in such a case. It would really be, as the Noble Lord has said, a matter of interpretation for the two Houses, on a Motion, and they would put upon the word "Protestant" the interpretation that everybody, as a matter of fact and without too much refinement, knows does attach to it at the present moment.

Perhaps I might join in the appeal for a little more time for considering the actual form of the Declaration in Committee, or before the Bill passes its final stages. I think that more than a day could very well be asked for that. Probably no one who before might have objected to this Declaration on the score of the insertion of the words "as by law established in England" would be unwilling to vote for the Second Reading. To that extent I think we may congratulate the Prime Minister on his concession this afternoon. At the same time may we be allowed to say this action presents a rather peculiar little case in political psychology. In the first place, he has introduced the Bill, and says he has introduced it largely because it is not necessary—with regard to the Declaration. In the second place, he says that it did not need alteration, and he therefore proceeds to alter it. Apart from the question of psychological motive which has induced him to do so, I think, although some of us may think that a negative form of the Declaration may or may not be slightly better than a positive, yet there is nothing to prevent us who may have objected to it before, and belonging to other branches of the Reformed Church, from voting for the Second Reading, and showing our willingness to do away with words needlessly offensive to our fellow subjects among the Roman Catholics.


I do not rise for the purpose of offering any further argument in favour of this Bill from the Roman Catholic point of view. I think that point of view is very well known, and has been thoroughly explained to this House. I rise for the purpose of answering in one word an appeal which I understood to be made particularly to these benches by the Prime Minister. In his explanation of the Amendment of this Bill of what he is prepared to concede in Committee he hazarded the opinion that there would be no objection to it from the Catholic point of view. He is perfectly right in that surmise. There is, so far as I know, not the slightest objection to these proposed alterations from Catholic Members of this House. Indeed, I would go further, and say that I cannot conceive that it would be, under any possible circumstances, the duty of Catholics to interfere in the drafting and phraseology of this Bill in reference to the Protestantism of His Majesty the King. That is entirely a matter for hon. Gentlemen in this House who are Protestants. It is a matter which I think it would be extremely unbecoming for Catholics to enter upon. Having said that much, I would like further to make this appeal to hon. Gentlemen sitting on both sides of the House. I would ask them to remember that the introduction even of this Bill, much less its passage, has already had a very wonderful effect in Ireland in bringing people of all classes and all religions together who have been hitherto estranged. I would ask hon. Gentlemen, especially on this side of the House, to remember when they listen to speeches of those hon. Gentlemen who represent extreme Protestantism in the North of Ireland that there is amongst the Protestants of all parts of Ireland a most extraordinary movement in favour of this Bill. Only the other day there was a meeting of gentlemen in Dublin, and those who composed a committee formed at that meeting were Protestants who favoured this Bill from different parts of Ireland. Unfortunately, I have not here by me at this moment a list of names of the men who made up that committee, but had I that list I would have no difficulty in showing that Protestants of all classes, and representing every shade of opinion in Ireland, have come together and expressed their opinion in favour of this Bill. When speeches are made from north of Ireland constituencies against this measure I would ask hon. Gentlemen in all parts of the House to be kind enough to remember that it does not by any means represent the Protestant feeling in Ireland. Protestants in Ireland are largely, I would say overwhelmingly, in favour of this Bill. Their attitude has been very warmly welcome by Catholics in Ireland. There is, I believe, because of this very effort to remove those grievances, a better and happier feeling between men of all religions in Ireland to-day than there has been for many long years.

I have no complaint to make of the hon. Gentlemen the Member for North Down. In the speech he made he represented his point of view, but I did regret to hear him going through the ordinary line of argument, and making the same ordinary attacks which are usually delivered upon the Catholic Church. I do not think there is in this particular the slightest necessity for attacks to be made upon any religion or any Church whatever. I certainly do not think there is a Catholic in this House or outside of this House who, in asking for a removal of what is a sore grievance, has desired to say one offensive word against the religion of any man in this House, in this country, or in this Empire. I do appeal that this Debate, and the proceedings generally on this Bill, may be conducted, as they quite easily can be conducted, in a mutual spirit of toleration, and free from those vulgar attacks upon religion which unfortunately sometimes are made outside of this House, and which are entirely unworthy of the character and reputation of this House. I appeal to hon. Gentlemen to remember also that this is not a matter which affects even Ireland principally, though of course we there are more Catholic than anything else. It is a matter which affects, and which deeply affects, the strongest portions of your Empire in every part of the world. I have been all through Australia, in New Zealand, in Canada, and the other parts of the world where the British flag flies. I defy contradiction when I say that outside of this country there is in every portion of the Empire the strongest and the most pathetic feeling in favour of this Bill. Twice the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada has passed a Resolution begging this House to do what it is asked to do to-night. Only the other day the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, representing the great democracy of that country, absolutely unanimously passed a Resolution to present an Address to the King approving the alteration which is proposed. I ask hon. Gentlemen to believe me when I say that this act of justice will do more than anything probably during the last hundred years to make a good spirit of friendship and comradeship between men of all classes and all religions, not only in Ireland, but throughout the length and breadth of the Empire.


I apologise for speaking at this early stage after my recent election, which, however, was specially fought on the matter before the House. I venture to humbly put before the House my reasons and views, and those of my Constituents, who desire that no change whatever should be made in the Accession Declaration. I agree with those Members of this House who feel that there should be no change, and that the Declaration should contain an expression of repudiation of the central doctrines of the Church of Rome. We know that that repudiation will not be liked by our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. We also know that, however mild and inoffensive the words may be, they will still object to such repudiation. But it is apparently clear that, try how we will to soften these words, the mere fact that we desire a Declaration which will express our religious views strongly, as I think we should do, that no such form will be acceptable to our Roman Catholic friends. My reason for the repudiation is twofold. The spiritual doctrines of the Church of Rome are really the bases of its political faith. Furthermore, I am inclined to say that experience has proved that the actual Declaration in use, which does contain the repudiation of the doctrines, have proved effective, and experience has shown us that no one can take this Declaration unless it is absolutely certain that he be a Protestant. The Catholic Truth Society says:— It must be admitted that the test is effective. No Catholic can speak the word and remain a Roman Catholic. I contend that this is an answer to the statement about Charles II., because if Charles II. had taken that Oath he would have ceased to be a Catholic. That is the very point. What we feel is that the safeguards which have proved satisfactory so long should be allowed to remain to-day. Other hon. Members have referred to what happened in Malta and Spain. I will not go into this in extenso, but I would like to say that what the authorities of Malta objected to was the fact that the Rev. John McNeill desired to hold a mission in a building called the Theatre Royal. The Archbishop, writing about a small privilege of this kind, said:— I can only signify my deep displeasure, and that of all my diocesans, at the sanction to hold this religious worship in this island. In regard to Spain. What is it the Vatican objects to? It objects to a decree of the King of Spain that Protestant places of worship in Spain can in the future have a main entrance in the front street! The Vatican protests with all its power against a small privilege of this kind. The principles of the Vatican are that Romanist always demand toleration from us because on account of our principles we cannot refuse, but they always and everywhere refuse toleration to us because on account of their principles they feel obliged to refuse. What I and those I speak for believe is that the Church of Rome stands to-day exactly where it stood when this Declaration was drawn up. We dare not run the risk of a King coming to the Throne and owning allegiance to a spiritual power so absolutely hostile to the principles which we hold in this country. We say, Let this Declaration remain as a permanent invitation to the Papal Power to declare that from henceforth it is going to extend that toleration to us which we always extended to our fellow Roman Catholic subjects in this country. I would like to give another reason, and would draw attention to the state of the Church of England to-day. The first Statute that was passed in re- ference to this Declaration had nothing to do with the Bill of Rights or with the King. It was passed in 1672. Not being extensive enough, it was enlarged to its existing form in 1677. It was mainly passed with the object of promoting and maintaining the Protestant religion reformed by law. The point I wish to bring out is this, that that Oath had to be taken by bishops, peers, and Members of the house of Commons, and by other office-holders as well. It was abolished in the year 1829 so far as some of these persons were concerned. It is a significant fact that up to that year Humanism in the Church of England was practically non-existent—that is to say, that so long as bishops were obliged to take this oath, this Declaration against transubstantiation, Romanism in our Established Church did not exist. From that day its growth has been remarkable. Notwithstanding the remark of the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University, I think a year or two ago the Royal Commission was able to report that a large number of the clergy of the Established Church were on the Homeward side of the line of deep cleavage between the Church of England and the Church of Rome. So long as you find in the Established Church clergy who, while they take the emoluments of that Church, teach the doctrines of the Church of Rome, so long we are entitled to protest that this Declaration shall not be altered by a single word.


I agree with the hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. Redmond) who spoke a while ago from the benches opposite that it might be as well on the whole if no other Catholic spoke in this Debate. As I had spoken on the First Reading of this Bill that would be another reason why it might be thought I should abstain from rising, and I had resolved to do so when I first came to the House, but as a matter of fact we are now discussing a new Bill. The Prime Minister suggested—and the course of the Debate has turned that suggestion into something more than a suggestion—that this is practically a new Bill for Debate, and anybody who has spoken, with whatever authority from the Catholic point of view on the First Reading, could not give a vote on the Second Reading of this Bill easily unless they explained that vote. Personally, I shall vote for the Second Reading not only for the Constituency that sent me here, but also for that unrepresented mass—a mass that must be unrepresented so long as you have single-Member constituencies—the mass of the Lancashire Catholics. But I shall not vote for the Second Reading with the same ready explanation to myself as I would vote for the Second Reading of the original proposal. The original proposal was that in place of picking out doctrines upon which men were divided, and which certain forms of religious belief, for what reason I cannot say, imagined to be particularly attached to Catholicism, whereas in fact they cover the whole of the Eastern Church and many more religions, including the Coptic, in place of that original proposal there is given us a proposal which says that the King shall declare himself what he is by constitutional habit and tradition and plan and actual statute law, and make him declare himself the Head of the Established Church in this country. In my humble judgment the masses of this country have ceased to care for these theological points so interesting to the middle classes. The masses cease to care for them, but they have a traditional respect for the Establishment, and they regard it as normal that the King should declare himself as the Head of the Established Church. But when it comes to making His Majesty declare himself attached, by the word "Protestant," to a point of view, to a transcendental philosophy, to a scheme of morals which have, as hon. Members well said, still a concrete meaning though much vaguer than they used to have—opposed as I am naturally to religious tests in any form save where religion is the subject-matter, as in the case of a school teacher or a chaplain in the Navy—opposed as I am to the existence of religious tests, as I am sure are all Liberals, I should have with some regret voted for the Second Reading of the first proposal, and I shall with more regret vote for the Second Reading of the second proposal, but I shall vote for it, because it is certainly the less of two evils.

There is one thing that should be emphasised by any Catholic speaking from the Catholic point of view before we go any further. We have heard two Members already, and I am the third of the Catholic Faith speaking on this subject, and I therefore should like to pay my respectful tribute to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the House for permitting so large a proportion of what is a small minority of your fellow-citizens to express their views upon this occasion. There is one thing that ought to be brought out at once: a large part of the Debate has turned upon theology, as if we were a Parliament trying to make laws for Bishops and for kirks. I submit that that attitude is not relevant to the Bill. It would have been far better, and it would have given a cleaner-cut Debate, and we should have had much more interest if less expressions of animosity against the Catholic Church had been made. I should regard such expressions quite philosophically in their proper place. The stronger such expressions are in their proper place the better for the morals of the world. Very little acquaintance with the culture of the world would teach hon. Members that the struggle has already begun in modern Europe between the Church and its opponents, and that these two are to-day the chief antagonists, and, although you may not have it here Yet, it is bound to come. That is so if you take European culture as a whole; and successful as the governors of this country have been in keeping out of those great European debates in regard to the Catholic Church the reflex of that great quarrel will ultimately reach these shores. In its proper place I welcome discussion and attack upon the Church. It clears the air and it affords the only chance in a country so overwhelmingly anti-Catholic of the Catholic point of view being stated. I welcome such action; but I submit the theological attitude which many Members have taken up in the course of this Debate does not affect the Bill. You might have the greatest love for the Catholic Church and the highest possible detachment, devotion and loyalty to it but that would not affect the subject of the Bill before the House. What we are concerned with here is whether we shall impose a test, the one last remaining test upon the one office and the highest in the State and in what form that test shall be imposed. It has been stated, and the old Declaration contains the statement that the Pope could tell a man before he tells a lie that it would not be a sin to do so. Under what system of morals is it conceivable that such a power could exist? In what canon or doctrine of the Catholic Church will you find even an adumbration of such a proposition? I must say that if in the confusion of the moment in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries any such doctrine was bandied about, if anyone permitted these exaggerations then they sound extraordinarily foolish to-day. In the Catholic theology Christ Himself could not have permitted you a sin of that kind. How then could the Vice-Regent, His repre- sentative on earth, if he be His representative, permit it? How can he go to a man and say, "You may break one of the great canons of the law next Thursday and I will let you off." Wherever such a supposition arose, or however it came about, it is historically a falsehood. That power does not exist, never has existed, and could not exist.

There is another point. A great deal has been said about toleration, and it is said, and said with a certain hint, though a false hint, that because the Church of Rome was herself not tolerant, therefore it was logical and right, and even common sense, that the ordinary rules of toleration should not be extended to her. I waited for, but did not hear, that famous historical inaccuracy which always comes out in debates of this kind, and which is attributed to a man who never said it, Veuillot, that Catholics claim liberty on the Protestant principle, but refuse it to Protestants on the Catholic principle. Toleration means this, that when in the State you cannot get what is certainly desirable—a united philosophy—that when you have a body of men already fixed and rooted in tradition and having the claim to be citizens within the State, you have no right to extirpate such a body. You have no right of authority to constrain a man in such a body who sincerely and bonâ fide agrees with it upon a matter of opinion. You will not find any theological treatise to excuse tyranny of that sort. You will find tyranny exercised by civil magistrates, both among Catholic and among other nations, but you will not find the Catholic doctrines more intolerant than the proposition I have laid down, and I marvel that educated men should imagine or believe that toleration should consist in having a vague idea that after all anything may be true. It is perfectly true that the Catholic Church alone says "What I say is true is true." It does not say "It may he true or it will be true on next Tuesday or Wednesday. "It says, "What I say is true is true." The foundation of mathematical science and the foundations of economic science are denied, and the very denial of them is often the gate to intellectual eminence to-day. But it so happens that there is in this world a philosophy which says, "What I say is true is true; not half true, but altogether true," and to accept such an altitude is conviction. It is intolerance to say to another man. "Your position is a hereditary position. You hold the traditions of a fixed and long-existing body in the State. You belong, therefore, to such and such a religion, but I forbid you or restrain you from practising the tenets of which I disapprove. When you say that the Catholic Church is intolerant because she does not change in authority, you do not understand the first meaning of the word "toleration" or the word "authority." I have said that theology ought not to have been introduced in this Debate. I have dealt with the question as briefly as I could, and I would just like to say shortly what seems to me to be the point before us. There ought to be no proposals for any test whatsoever. Nevertheless, there are two good reasons why if we are to have a proposal of this kind it is the milder proposal which we ought to vote for. First, we owe a duty, even in the House of Commons, to reality, and it is our business to remember something of what is going on outside. It is not true to say that there is a vast popular movement in the country against any change in the Oath. What is true is that this is a good stick to beat the Government with, and it offers a good chance for a rising politician to advertise himself. It is true that you can fill the Free Trade Hall in Manchester and pass resolutions denouncing this change; it is also true that you might fill the same hall to overflowing with Irish Catholics, who would come to the opposite conclusion. What I say is that outside all this opinion there is a vast majority of working men who are profoundly indifferent to the whole agitation. I have been told that there is a strong movement in Scotland, and I daresay there is, in favour of something rude being said about the Catholic Church; but I think it is quite untrue to say that there is a widespread and rising popular opposition to, this proposal. What is more important is the opinion of a powerful, well-organised minority that can decide an election. That point, I think, has explained more than one speech this evening. When the overwhelming majority of the country want a thing done or not done, they are of little effect—though they still have the House of Lords. When a small organised minority want a thing, then the politicians are afraid. I am ashamed to think, but I do think, that a little of the support in favour of this evident act of justice has come from men who are not themselves very much in favour of it but who have to remember that there is a Catholic vote in their constituencies. I hope more sincere principles will obtain. After all, we do represent those masses even under the party system. We represent their indifference to these theological squabbles. We must also remember that we represent here only the British Isles, but we are acting now for the whole Empire. Does anyone believe that if all these different parts of the Empire were represented, if we had chosen men from the various Colonies to meet the Government and the Opposition of the day, they would allow an Oath like the old one to stand? You might get the fanatical Orange clique, a few up-country Boers, and a much small number in New Zealand and Australia to support the old Oath, but the vast majority of them would regard it as fantastic and archaic nonsense. Under the circumstances I think it is plainly our duty as Liberals to accept the second best of two bad things, and vote for the Second Reading.


I am inclined to agree with what the last speaker said in regard to the feeling of the country on this question. Notwithstanding what hon. Members have said in the Debate, I still think there is a substantial majority of the Members of this House in accord with the proposals contained in this Bill. A great majority desire that the Protestantism of the Throne should be amply safeguarded. On this side of the House we are very strong about that. May I also say that we earnestly wish to give effect to that desire without hurting the feelings of those with whose religious opinions we cannot agree? The hon. Member for the Kirkdale Division of Liverpool (Mr. Kyffin-Taylor), in a maiden speech, admirably voiced the opinion of those who have just elected him, but with all due deference to him, strong adherent as I am to the Protestant cause, I think I may say that there are many of us who view with much misgivings the methods of warfare which were prevalent in that contest in Liverpool. We were somewhat disquieted by the violent appeals made to bitter religious animosity. Those appeals seem to me to set back the clock, and appear to me to be altogether an anachronism. The majority of us in this House have been looking for the dawn of a better day in Ireland. We have seen lately some symptoms of the dawn of the day when the bitter religious hatreds of the past will be forgotten, and when all in Ireland, in a spirit of mutual toleration, will be able to join together in promoting the welfare of the country. Are we going to stir up the embers of religious strife in England as well as in Ireland by refusing the Second Reading of this Bill? A vote for the Second Reading of the Bill would not pledge one to details, but a vote against the Second Reading would, I maintain, argue a desire to return to the intolerance of the Middle Ages. Do the opponents to the Second Reading of this Bill really maintain it is impossible to safeguard the Protestantism of the Crown without abusing those of whose religious tenets we do not approve and without characterising them as idolatrous? To me such action seems to argue a want of strength in the Protestant cause, and to single out a particular doctrine of a particular Church for vituperation seems a confession of fear of the strength of that Church. I have confidence in the strength of the Protestant cause, and will own to no such fear of the Roman Catholic Church. There is no stronger upholder in this House of a Protestant Declaration by the King than myself. Let him declare himself as strong a Protestant as he can. That word is not ideal, and I use it colloquially, as it has been used by other speakers. It is wholly unnecessary to require the King to go out of his way to hurt the feelings of a large number of loyal subjects by denouncing them as idolaters. There is something almost undignified in such vituperation as this. Nobody can deny that we can devise a form of Oath just as rigidly and as exclusively binding him to the Protestant Church without insulting the creed of those with whom we cannot agree.

I, in common with a great many other Members, have received a great number of communications in connection with this Bill. We have received a large number of printed postcards from our constituents. I should be the last man to under-value any representation which my Constituents wish to place before me, but I feel most strongly they have not gone thoroughly into the whole matter, and they are not seized of the whole of the circumstances of the case. Other speakers have shown that behind this Declaration are the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, which provide far stronger safeguards for the Protestantism of the Succession. The hon. Member himself stated that behind the Declaration there remains still stronger safeguards, and he suggested, if the Government were logical, and if they wished to minimise the strength of the Declaration, they ought to do away with the far stronger provisions of the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement. I am quite certain, if our constituents read the whole of this Debate, and make themselves fully acquainted with all the various circumstances of the case, they will approve our action in recording a vote for the Second Reading of this Bill. While I am not able, and certainly not willing, to abate one jot of my strength, and, if needs, of my militant attachment to the Protestant Church, it is with the greatest confidence that I propose to record my vote in favour of the Second Reading of this Bill.


I desire very respectfully to state the reasons why I propose to vote against the Second Reading of this Bill. I have had such a number of communications from the Constituency which I have the honour to represent, and they are of such a character that I feel bound to take the course which I propose now to adopt. I do so for snore reasons than one. In the first place, I object to the manner in which the Government have dealt with this Bill, and, in the second place, I object to the matter of this Bill. As regards the manner in which the Government have dealt with the Bill, the proposition on which I take my stand is that it is unconstitutional, and certainly not democratic to legislate on matters of paramount importance unless the people of the country have had a full opportunity of expressing their views upon it. In this particular matter my submission to the House is that the people of the country have not had that opportunity. That the Bill is an important Bill I do not think anybody can dispute. Any measure which proposes to deal with the provisions of the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement is, on the face of it, an important measure; and when you consider that these provisions have been in force a couple of centuries, then the importance of the matter becomes still more apparent. That the Bill has not been before the country properly is, I think, equally beyond dispute, and in Scotland, in particular, that has been very fully recognised. But if Scotch people had not a full opportunity of expressing their views upon the Bill before it was introduced they have had an opportunity, of which they have amply availed themselves, since it was introduced, and, with all due respect to the hon. Members who speak about the lassitude which characterises the people on this side of the border with regard to the Bill, I am here to say that the provisions of the Bill are contrary to the expressed desires of the vast majority of the people of Scotland. In this, as well as in other matters, Scotland has deserved well of the Government, and deserves to have consideration, which has not been shown to her. So far as the measure itself is concerned, Scotland, in public meeting, by resolution, and by every other known means, has expressed her views with great clearness, and protests against a measure of this magnitude going through at the fag end of the Parliamentary Session.

When one comes to consider the contents of the Bill carefully I think the objections to it are rather strengthened than removed. The Bill as introduced was characterised by language which was vague, unconvincing, and invertebrate. No doubt an effort has been made to-night to alter the language of the Schedule to a certain extent, and again my point is that at the fag end of a Parliamentary Session a very material alteration should not be proposed and carried through without a due and fitting opportunity being afforded to the people of the country of expressing their views with regard to it. It has been said in many quarters of the House that this Bill is a measure of toleration. Toleration is certainly a very good thing, but, when you carry it to an extreme, it is another name for weakness, and in this connection weakness, I think, is another name for danger. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where is the danger?"] The danger has been fully appreciated on the other side if not on this side of the border. I hope I shall not in these circumstances be accused of intolerance if I ask the question, Why meddle with the existing Declaration? The language of that Declaration was most maturely and anxiously considered by very competent men. It has proved an effective instrument for the purpose for which it was designed. During two centuries it has been taken by Sovereign after Sovereign in this country without any substantial objection, and there has been no public demand of any kind for its modification or alteration. In these circumstances, the onus is clearly on those who desire to alter the present declaration to show compelling reasons why it should be done. My submission is that these compelling reasons have not been produced, and that accordingly the status quo should be continued. Viewed from the narrowest party standpoint, which I certainly do not suggest is the best one, this Bill will, I am assured, cost the Government thousands of votes in Scotland. It is bad business for that reason, but that is probably not the highest or the best ground to take. I submit, apart from that altogether, it is unconstitutional, for the reason which I have already stated, namely, that the people of the country had not a full or adequate opportunity of expressing their views upon it before it was introduced. From the national point of view, I submit it introduces a fresh danger in respect that the Bill contains no disclaimer of the doctrines of the Romish Church, and no disclaimer of the principles of equivocation or dispensation, which, I think, are the essential elements in the Declaration as it stands. For these reasons I propose, with much regret, but confident that my action will meet with the entire approval of those who sent me here, to go into the Lobby against this measure.


The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down evidently attaches enormous value to the existing Declaration. He thinks that if it were changed serious results might follow. The only point I wish to make is this: that the effect, so far as there is an effect, in the existing Declaration, will be just the same with regard to the one proposed by the Government. After all, what is the effect? What is the value of the Declaration as it now stands on the Statute Book? It simply means this. It is true that no Roman Catholic can take the Declaration, but it can be taken by a non-Catholic with perfect sincerity, and, within six months, with equal sincerity, the person who took it might become a Catholic. In fact, it only binds the taker at the moment at which he takes it. If he does become a Catholic after having taken it, which he is perfectly justified in doing from his own point of view, then Protestantism is amply safeguarded because he ceases to reign, and the people of this country have no longer any necessity to bear allegiance to him. The effect of the new Declaration, as proposed in the Schedule, whether it be altered or not, as suggested by the Prime Minister is exactly the same. It is true that no Catholic can take the Accession Declaration any more than that a Catholic can take the one proposed in the Bill, and no Catholic could possibly obtain dispensation or leave from the Pope or any other ecclesiastic of the Catholic Church to entitle him to take the Declaration. There is only one difference between the two proposals—one is offensive and one is not; but the effect of both is precisely the same.


I do not know whether the Noble Lord who has just sat down can be taken as an authoritative exponent of Roman Catholic theology and law. I do not suggest that I can be taken as such, but from what I have read on the subject I have always believed that a Roman Catholic could take the Declaration as embodied in the Bill of the Prime Minister to-day and to-morrow could get dispensation from the Pope for having done so.


I challenge the hon. Member to quote any authority for that.


I have always understood that the principal value, from our point of view, of the present Constitution is the fact that whoever makes that Declaration states, in language which some people consider too strong, that he does not believe in the central tenets of the Roman Catholic religion. I have also been told that having denied those central tenets he cannot get dispensation from the Pope for having done so. It has been stated time and again that no person could make that Declaration and at the same time be a Roman Catholic. The Noble Lord has told us that no person could make the proposed Declaration or the one suggested to be substituted for it by the Prime Minister and at the same time be a Roman Catholic. If I were certain of that I would vote for the Second Reading of this Bill. But from all I have heard—I do not pretend to be an authority on these matters—we have to depend very largely in regard to them upon information which we get from persons whom we believe to be experts—I believe a Roman Catholic would be perfectly safe in making the Declaration, and that he would be able to get dispensation from the Pope for having done so. Nothing which has been stated in the course of this Debate has altered my opinion on that point. There have been some speeches made to-night which require an answer. There was a speech made by one hon. and gallant Gentleman, who told us, as most Roman Catholics do tell us, that he accepts the Protestant Succession. This particular hon. and gallant Member went further, and said he accepted it because it was an accomplished fact, and, moreover, he was an out-and-out supporter of the Protestant Succession. I have never heard any Roman Catholic say that before, and I am very glad to think that there are Roman Catholics who are out-and-out supporters of the Protestant Succession. But at the same time I take leave to say that the hon. Member only accepts it in the same way as I would accept the fact. If I were playing golf with an opponent who was a better player than myself, I would accept the fact that, he was better; but if ever I improved my game to such an extent that I was able to beat him, I would no longer accept that position. In the same way I believe the hon. and gallant Member only accepts the Protestant Succession so long as he has no opportunity of upsetting it. But if hon. Members of that religion should increase in numbers to such an extent that they would be able to substitute a Catholic for a Protestant Succession, they would not fail to avail themselves of the opportunity of doing so. I admit that at the present time—and I hope for all time—the Protestant Succession is absolutely secured in this country; but I refuse to believe that if hon. Members ever got into such a position that they could successfully substitute a Roman Catholic for a Protestant Sovereign—I refuse to believe that they would still accept the Protestant Succession. They would say, "We have got to that position of strength, either in numbers or influence, that we demand to have a Monarch of our own religion." If they ever got to that position I dare say they would get what they wanted. But I hope that day will never arrive. For good or evil, 200 years ago this country of ours decided that we were to have a Protestant on the Throne. We have stuck to that resolution ever since, and I see no reason why, in regard to the Declaration which the Monarch has to make on ascending the Throne, we should alter the determination which our forefathers came to then.

We on this side of the House always find it very difficult, of course, to disagree with anything which the Leader of the Opposition says, but I must say that I disagree with him to-night in a good deal that he has said on this Bill. He stated that he could not understand how the Monarch, saying that he was a faithful Protestant, could make his Protestantism any weaker, or show any weaker Protestantism on the part of the Monarch, than if he used the language of the present Declaration, that is, by repudiating some of the central and most cherished tenets of the Roman Catholic religion. I think I can understand how the one is a more effective method of securing the Protestant Succession than the other. Supposing that the Sovereign made a Declaration that he was a faithful Protestant, and some interrogator, not content with that, asked him what sort of a Protestant he was. He might ask him if he was a Low Churchman, and the King might reply "No." Then he mght ask him whether he was a High Churchman, and he might reply, "I am afraid I am rather" Then the interrogator might suggest deferentially to the Sovereign that he believed in transubstantiation, which a considerable number of High Churchmen do. Then the Monarch might reply, "Yes, I do believe in transubstantiation," and if he did, then I say he is not the class of Protestant I should like to see on the Throne of this country. I believe there are also a number of other cherished tenets of the Roman Catholic Church which some Protestants believe, but that is not my point of view. Of course I know I am supposed to be, as some hon. Member said, a bigoted and intolerant Orangeman, but I take leave to believe that a very large section of good Protestants in this country, not necessarily bigoted Orangemen, do not want to see on the Throne of this country a person who professes, even so much of the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church as I have indicated. The Leader of the Opposition asked us what we thought the ordinary meaning was which anybody would put upon the declaration of a man that he was a faithful Protestant. He said he thought it meant that the man was opposed to all the leading and principal tenets of the Church of Rome. I think the right hon. Gentleman was wrong there, because, as I think has been clearly shown by the speech of the Noble Lord below me earlier in the afternoon, he himself believes in a considerable number of the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church and yet no doubt he calls himself a faithful Protestant. But I say that any man who holds any of these particular tenets which are set forth in this particular Declaration is not a fit and proper person to sit on the Throne of this country, seeing that 200 years ago we made up our minds that nobody who was not a proper Protestant should occupy that position.

I would like to recall the attention of the House to the fact that the Prime Minister said this afternoon that the sole and only object that he had in view in changing the Declaration was to do away with the necessity of the King making use of the insulting Declarations at the beginning and at a very important point in his reign. I say that if that is really the only and sole object which the Prime Minister and the House have in view in this matter that it is very easily carried out by removing the two words which up to a short time ago were the only words about the whole Declaration to which Roman Catholics raised any objection. It has already been stated in the Debate this afternoon that this agitation began after the death of Queen Victoria and shortly after the Accession of the late King Edward. It was then the only objection, or, at any rate the chief objection that was taken to the Declaration that the two words "idolatrous" and "superstitious" were used; and if the Prime Minister's object is to remove the offensive character from the point of view of the Roman Catholics that is quite easily done by taking those two words out of it, and by introducing two words such as those which were introduced into the Bill of 1901 dealing with the subject. But has he done that? No. He has swept the whole Declaration away, and he has substituted for it a Declaration which many of us believe to be absolutely valueless. We say, therefore, that he is to a certain extent proceeding under false pretences, because if the object he has stated is his real object it can be perfectly carried out by a much less drastic operation than that which he has put before us to-day.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that the objection to the change which he proposes is caused by complete ignorance on the part, he hinted, not only of the House of Commons but of the public outside of the present law with regard to the Accession of a new king. I would like to say with reference to that that it is a very curious thing that such authorities as Lord Salisbury, when the Bill, of which I was speaking a moment ago, was introduced, and also Mr. Gladstone at an earlier date—those two eminent statesmen, whom I do not think anybody could accuse of being ignorant of this or very few other subjects—took an opposite view. Lord Salisbury certainly did not take the view which the Prime Minister takes, that the Declaration was superfluous, and that the Protestant Succession was quite as well safeguarded and assured without the Declaration as with it. On the contrary Lord Salisbury said, when there was a suggestion by some Members of the House of Lords, that the Declaration should be done away with, that had he known at the beginning of the discussion that such a proposal would be made he would never have introduced his Bill, thereby showing that he at least was fully conscious of the value of retaining some Declaration. I therefore maintain that if the Prime Minister really only intended to remove what he considers the insulting epithets he would have adopted the Bill, or something akin to the wording of the Bill, which passed the House of Lords in 1901.

The Prime Minister made no secret of the fact that he looked upon the Declaration as superfluous and useless altogether. Under these circumstances, it would have been braver and more straightforward if he had said he believed the Declaration to be meaningless and superfluous, and brought in a Bill to repeal it altogether. But he did not do that. He brings in a Bill which will substitute a Declaration the effect of which, many of us think, will be very disastrous to the country if at any time the conditions which existed in this country some 200 years ago ever recur. We Members who call for the retention of the Declaration in its present form of course are quite aware of the fact that at the present time, and so far as one can look into the future, there is no probability of the Oath ever having any effectual work to do. We do not think any Oath at the present time is necessary to safeguard the Protestant Succession, but we do not know what will happen in the future. It is, after all, only two centuries—and that is not a long time in history—since a condition of affairs existed which made it absolutely imperative that a Declaration should be put upon the Statute Book, and we have no guarantee that such a condition of affairs may not arise again in the future. The hon. Member for Salford the other day assumed the mantle of a prophet for a moment and told us he expected at some time or other in the history of the world there would be once more a tremendous conflict between the Roman Catholic Church and, I suppose, the rest of Christianity. I hope that will never happen, and I think it will not, but it is such an occasion as that that we are providing against when we insist on keeping on the Statute Book a Declaration which we think will be really effectual in case such a time should ever come in keeping a monarch of the Protestant religion on the Throne of this country.

9.0 P.M.

I hope the House will not be led away by any of these suggestions on the part of some Members who have spoken that we who are opposed to a change in this respect have any desire whatever to insult any fellow-subject of ours, no matter what his religion, may be. At this time in the history of the country such accusations as that ought not to be listened to. We have no desire to do that. I know perfectly well that many Members look upon us from the North of Ireland as a somewhat intolerant and bigoted set of men. Even my fellow-countrymen who ought to know better hold that view. I can assure the House it is not true. We have no desire to interfere with the religion of any man in the Kingdom. We desire to give the fullest liberty to everyone, but coming from Ireland, where the Roman Catholic Church is the predominant Church, we know a great deal more about that side of the question than the average English Member, and while I am willing to give to every Roman Catholic or every individual the fullest latitude in every way in exercising his religion, and while we look upon the Roman Catholic religion as good in many ways, we do not desire to address ourselves to this question at all from the religious point of view. But hon. Members must always remember, and some of them realise, that there are two sides to the Roman Catholic Church. There is the purely religious side, and there is the political side. The Roman Catholic Church from time immemorial has been almost as much a political machine as a religious machine. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I should have thought every Roman Catholic would admit that. It is from that point of view solely that we approach this question.

So long as the Roman Catholic Church arrogates to itself the claim to supremacy, not only in religious matters, but in temporal matters, so long as it claims to be supreme over Monarchs and Princes all over the world, we Protestants are determined that we are never going to allow ourselves to be under the yoke of Rome, and we are perfectly justified in maintaining this Declaration, which Roman Catholics themselves have admitted, and nearly all do admit, in spite of what has been said to-day, is the only efficacious and certain Declaration which yet has been produced, and which will ensure that, at any rate, the person who ascends the Throne of this country is at the moment of his accession to the Throne not a Roman Catholic. The Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil) said very truly that the fact that the Monarch might prove conclusively by making the old Declaration that he was not a member of the Church of Rome, only bound him at the moment that he made it, and that six months or six weeks later he might go over to the Church of Rome. You cannot possibly bind a man always to be of the same opinion, either in religion or in anything else, but it is good enough for us because it is all that we can get. If a man satisfies us that he is, at the time he ascends the Throne, a good Protestant, we are content to take our chance of his remaining a good Protestant for the rest of his life. Probably a great many Members will vote for the Second Reading who have not finally made up their minds what attitude they will take up on the Amendments to-morrow, but I ask the House to reflect very seriously before they tamper with the Declaration which, in these two particular words, sounds, at the first blush, harsh and possibly insulting to the Roman Catholic religion, but which they must remember does not apply to any individuals, and which I can assure them is not intended to be insulting. It is intended for the one purpose only of securing that the successors to this Throne shall always be of the Protestant religion.


I am in the somewhat peculiar position of one who came down to-day expecting not to be able to support the Second Reading of the Bill, but since the Prime Minister's announcement of his Amendment in Committee, I have the very heartiest pleasure in supporting the Second Reading. I do not remember that I have ever in my life exactly played the role of Balaam, but I certainly came down to curse, and remain to bless. I think the suggestion that the Prime Minister has made for the modification of the Declaration is one which will win him very hearty support from a large number of his usual supporters in the country who have been alienated by the precise form which the Declaration assumed, and I think it gives many of us an opportunity of saying how heartily we sympathise with those whose desire it has been all through that the Roman Catholic subjects of His Majesty should be relieved from what undoubtedly they feel, and I think personally they have every right to feel, is a slur and a stigma upon their religion. Personally, my objection to the old form of Declaration is just as strong as the objection which any Roman Catholic can feel to it. I think not only is it insulting to Roman Catholics, but it is insulting to Protestantism. I think that we insult ourselves when we insist that our King should use such words as "idolatrous" and "superstitious" in regard to what are the sacred convictions of those who belong, it is true, to another part of the Church, but which is none the less the same Church as that to which we belong ourselves. I want to say it as strongly as I can, because before I finish I should like to say how firmly we believe that nothing that is being done is going to weaken the Protestant Constitution of our country. Therefore, so far as I am myself concerned, I rejoice that the Prime Minister has courageously made up his mind that the old Declaration must be altered. Many of us feel that it is an exceedingly offensive thing to ask the King to make use of words which we ourselves could not use without a certain feeling of shame. I do not regard Roman Catholics as idolaters. I regard them as fellow Christians, and I am a great deal more sanguine of their ultimate destinies than they are of mine. In point of fact, there is no doubt whatever that this controversy which excites such very strong feelings is one which the nation itself, I believe, apart from the extreme Orange section, is determined shall be settled, and settled in a way which will be not only not offensive to Roman Catholics in time to come, but which will not be offensive to the King who has to make the Declaration, and I venture to add also not offensive to those intelligent Protestants who do not wish Protestantism to be presented to the world in the aspect of a faith which is not merely intolerant, but which uses contemptuous language with regard to those who differ from it. I agree with the hon. Member for the St. Austell Division of Cornwall (Mr. Agar-Robartes), who said that it was the custom of our forefathers to call a spade a spade. It is quite true that they not only called it a spade, but they affixed a very strong adjective to the word spade. We do not object to call a spade a spade, and we have not the remotest objection to the Declaration that the King is a Protestant being put as strong as possible, but we do believe that it will strengthen Protestantism and not weaken it if it is relieved from any imputation that it is associated with a narrow and bigoted attitude towards those who belong to another branch of the Christian Church. I am personally a member of an Association of Christian Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, and various other Nonconformist Churches, whose practical object it is to secure better international relations between this country and Germany. How can I for a moment take part in the work of that association with members of the Roman Catholic Church if it is known that I am prepared to recommend that the King, on the occasion of his Coronation, shall stigmatise their faith as idolatrous and superstitious? I shall do nothing of the kind.

I do not hold, as I need hardly say, any brief for Roman Catholicism I venture to think that I have done as much as a propagandist of Protestantism as the latest recruit of the Battle of the Boyne; but at the same time I am not going to be seduced by any language that may be held in the extreme Protestant section in this country into trying to identify Protestantism with a particularly narrow school of Protestantism which I think has had its day, and will in the twentieth century cease altogether. I think there is a strong case for the Declaration. I do not agree with some of my own colleagues that the time has come when that Declaration could with advantage be dropped. In point of fact, from the legal point of view, there is no more case for the Coronation than the Declaration. I believe it is an accepted fact that the Coronation does not add one jot or tittle to the legal position of the Sovereign. The Coronation is simply in the nature of a national and religious Proclamation in connection with the Accession of the King, and just in the same way it is perfectly true that the Declaration does not add one single jot to the legal enactments by which the Protestantism of the Crown is secured. The absence of the Declaration would not weaken the Protestant Succession by a single iota, but all the same it is the Declaration of the British Sovereign on behalf of the British Empire and in the face of the world. The world knows nothing whatever of the provisions of the Bill of Rights or the Act of Settlement. Even Members of Parliament knew so little of the provisions of the Bill of Rights that the Government thought it necessary to circulate a White Paper containing the terms of that measure. It therefore seems to me to be absolutely right, proper, and advisable that the Sovereign on the occasion of his Coronation should make a distinct and deliberate proclamation of the position he holds. He makes the Proclamation on behalf of the Empire and in the face of the world. Personally, and I think I can speak for many of my colleagues in connection with the Free Churches when I say so—I do not think that any positive language he can hold in regard to Protestantism can be too strong to indicate the general view of the masses of his subjects; but we utterly repudiate those clerical and sacerdotal claims which involve, and logically involve, the use of certain coercive measures in order to establish spiritual authority in this country. We want to see the King of England what the King of England has been for many a long day, a free and intelligent Sovereign under his own constitution alone—free from any external authority, civil or ecclesiastical, and refusing to become the creature of Rome. On that point we are all absolutely united so far as Protestants and Nonconformists are concerned.

There is another point on which I wish to say a word. We objected to the original form of this Declaration because we do not think the Coronation of the King is a suitable or opportune time for him to insist publicly on the fact that he is in any sense whatever the ecclesiastical monopoly of a single denomination. We venture to think that the King of England belongs to us all, and that the less he emphasises his differentiation from his subjects and the more he emphasises his unity with them the better it will be for all of us. We think that the form of Declaration which the Government originally proposed was a form which could not be used by the King without, at any rate by implication, separating himself from the vast majority of his Protestant subjects throughout his Dominions. We think that the Coronation of the King is the most unfortunate of all times for him to lay any emphasis of that kind, and therefore we took the line that we did. I hope there will be no attempt to say that the change which has been made in the form of the words of Declaration is a triumph of one particular branch over another branch of the Protestant Church. We have only one object in the matter and that is to secure that at the Coronation the religious unity of this great Protestant realm shall be maintained and emphasised, and I believe that the Government will find that they have taken an exceedingly wide view with regard to the modification of the Declaration, and I shall take it that the modification means that they are heartily agreed that to promote the religious unity and harmony of the British people is not to subtract from the integrity and dignity of the British Empire.


I myself fully believe that the Prime Minister was quite correct this afternoon when he told us that there was an almost universal feeling in this country in favour of removing a form of words which were offensive to the deepest religious convictions of a large section of our fellow-countrymen, the Roman Catholics. But that is a widely different thing from entirely sweeping away a Declaration which, rightly or wrongly, hundreds of thousands, I might almost say millions, of people regard as a weapon of defence against an invasion, so to speak, of these realms, either spiritual or political, by the supreme head of the Church of Rome. I know that in Lancashire there is a very general feeling that there should be not only a positive Declaration, but that there should be a negative Declaration. Therefore I do trust that the Government will see their way to introduce some amended form of words, something like those in the proposal put down on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock Burghs (Mr. Rainy), which I trust the hon. Member for Kilmarnock will move in Committee tomorrow. I think that the Prime Minister and many Members make a mistake when they imagine that the objections to the present Government proposals come only from a few organised Protestant societies. I think it is far more than that; I think they are deep down in the heart of a very large number of our countrymen, and I should like to emphasise on that point what was said this afternoon by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Walter Long) with regard to the way in which the Government have brought forward these proposals. I myself do think that it is unfair to Members who not only wish but are pledged to remove this form of words, which is offensive to Roman Catholics, that they should at the same time be put in a position of casting aside what they have maintained, assuming that they wish to obviate any possibility at all of the Crown in future not having the same safeguard as it had in the past against the denomination of the Church which is not the State Church of England. There fore I do trust that the Government will be able to meet the views of, I am sure, a very large number of people in this country, who, while wishing perfect fairness and justice for their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, yet at the same time do believe there should be some repudiation of that faith on the part of the Monarch of this realm.


I feel that I owe in some small degree a duty both to myself and to my Constituents in intervening for a few moments on this occasion. I occupy a peculiar position. I represent the most Catholic Constituency in the whole of Ireland, and I am myself a Protestant born and bred, the son and grandson of Protestant clergymen. Therefore I am able to approach this question in a spirit of detachment. I wish to speak completely historically on this question. In the first place, I think that this House is doing an enormous act of justice to itself as an assembly of hon. Members in sweeping away the Declaration for which the new Declaration is to be substituted. It was not mentioned in the Debate, but there can be no doubt that that Declaration was instituted and established and devised in the very worst period of all English history and by the very worst men. We must recollect that it was instituted in 1678, while the man who instituted it, to whom it was mostly due as much as anything can be due to any individual, was Titus Oates. Titus Oates, as we can prove most distinctly and categorically, began the circulation of his stories in August, 1678, and this Bill was produced in Parliament and run through in October, 1678. While it was being run through Titus Oates was being examined by the Privy Council and examined at the Bar of this House. Meantime men were being arrested, tried and executed in reference to the allegations which were made; and the most awful thing of all was this, that while the men who were in charge of the Bill were quite willing to inflame the passions of ignorant people with these stories, they did not believe them themselves. King Charles II., who signed the Bill making that Declaration, openly gibed at all ideas of a Popish plot, and Danby and Shaftesbury admittedly did not believe one word of it, and the man who tried prisoners as a judge, prisoners who were unable to defend themselves by counsel as they were not allowed, the man who browbeat and cross-examined them and sentenced them to death has left on record a complete exposure of non-belief in all this Popish conspiracy. It is all very sad though very interesting. First of all the men who had it in charge, Danby and Shaftesbury, and then their judicial agent on the bench, Francis North, afterwards Lord Guilford, the great grandfather of the famous Prime Minister who lost this country America, did not believe in it. How was it brought on? English people are so very much matter of fact and have so little sentimentality about them that they take things as they are and they sometimes forget to look into the past or to realise that by the past they can judge more admirably of the present. The Parliament in which that Declaration was produced was called the Pensionary Parliament. We generally call it the Pension Parliament. It is no exaggeration to say that nine-tenths of the men of that Parliament were bribed. Some of them were bribed by the King, some of them were bribed by the King of France, and some by Ministers. They were the corrupt Parliament which passed this corrupt and shocking Declaration. I come from that for one moment. I asked the Prime Minister to-day was there in all England one single individual who was under any obligation, legal or otherwise, to make that Declaration except the Sovereign himself. Of course his answer was that there was not.

In former times, as we are aware, Bills that were in the slightest degree altered from their original conception had those alterations placed in brackets. All the securities of the Crown under the Bill of Rights have been made in the event of the King enjoying the Communion of the Church of Rome, and his subjects, in that event, were released from his rule. I asked the Prime Minister a day or two ago a question which he said I was quite as competent as he to answer—a suggestion which I deny. I asked, "Suppose the King actually refused to make the Declaration, where is the sanction?" He told us to-day, as a constitutional lawyer, that there was no sanction and no binding authority whatever upon the Monarch, and nothing would happen, and nothing could be done. The atrocious Declaration, for it is atrocious, has not been binding on any Member of the House of Commons or on anyone in a general sense for many years. It has been abrogated in the case of high officials, and the King is the only person who is under any obligation to take it. The circumstances under which any Act is passed should always be considered. It is a most strange thing that when the Declaration was passed so great was the popular outcry, so great the disposition of people in this country to believe a lie, that the records of the Popish Plot have left their impress on our language. The word "sham" and the word "mob" in the English language owe their origin to the stirring up by the pretended plot of popular ignorance and passion, which went hand in hand with prejudice and superstition. It is a wise rule which provides that the name of the Sovereign should not be brought into Debates, but we can speak of sovereigns who have passed away, and we can say, now that his late Majesty is no longer with us, what we think of his memory. Documents speak of departed kings as of "blessed memory," and the late King deserves the application of that description to his character. He was a peacemaker, and he is of "blessed memory."

Nothing was more repugnant to the feelings of King Edward than the making of this Declaration. Lord Herries, a Catholic nobleman who passed away a few months ago, stated publicly that he was in the House of Lords, close to King Edward when he made the Declaration, and he never saw anyone so embarrassed and so confused as the late King, who ran over the language of the Declaration as if it really hurt not only his own feelings, but the feelings of everyone around him. That is not generally known.

Another illustrious person who hated the Declaration was Queen Victoria. When she was only eighteen years of age, and a girl, it was necessary for her to take the Oath. But we have very curious indirect evidence of how she regarded it. In the Regency Bill of 1840 this Declaration was not incorporated as necessary to be made by the person who became Regent. The reason of that omission was that Queen Victoria desired that if she passed away her husband should not be compelled to make the Declaration as Regent. There is not the slightest doubt that the Declaration was excised largely because Queen Victoria did not like, in the event of her death, that a near and dear one should be compelled to make so atrocious a Declaration. I am bound to say that the observations to which we have listened have been characterised by moderation, but none the less by intense conviction. Every one of the arguments used by the hon. Member for Down could have been used without the smallest difficulty as arguments against Catholic Emancipation. I wish, as an Irish Protestant, and a faithful Protestant, to protect the reputation of my fellow religionists, and to prevent them from being imported into this discussion as favourers of this Declaration. A day or two before I left Dublin I received a requisition from Irish Protestants against the Declaration which had been promoted by the hon. the Rev. Benjamin Plunket, a son of the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, who was, I suppose, the best beloved Irish Protestant clergyman there has been ever since the time of Dean Swift, and who, with Lord Shaftesbury, got up a memorial which they sent round to Protestants asking them to sign it as a protest against this Declaration. This and other actions of the kind have done much to cement the bonds of union between Catholics and Protestants. I have never been a backbiter of the Leader of the Opposition, because I have said more terrible things to his face than I have ever said behind him. Let me break the record for once to say how nobly the Leader of the Opposition has risen to the occasion; he showed the kindness, the humanity, and the sympathy which may exist between men and men, and how small are the points of difference compared with the points of agreement. His speech was one of broad sympathy and enlightenment, and was a reflection of the very noble speech delivered by the Prime Minister to-night. It is a great privilege and an enormous favour given to me, even in some small way, to take a part and support, by my vote, in the advance of the great cause of human liberty, freedom of conscience, and equal rights between man and man.


In the peroration of the hon. Member who has just sat down he said that he was going to vote for this proposal because he hoped thereby to advance the great cause of religious toleration. The great argument of speakers on both sides of the House is that under no circumstances could this proposal advance the cause of religious toleration. This Bill as it at present stands is not supposed in any way to increase religious toleration, but to remove a grievance on the part of the Roman Catholic. I myself am going to oppose this Bill. I am not only opposing it because to do so it is the logical sequence of voting against it on the First Reading, but also because I have not heard any argument which will lead me to a nearer conclusion. I would associate myself with what has been said by Members who complained of the short time which has been given for the discussion of this Bill. Even I, insignificant Member that I am, have received letters from various people, who are not my Constituents, and who seem to be in a great state of agitation about the passing of this Bill. I got one from a man, who concluded by saying, whether as an argument as to the strength of his Protestant faith or as a justification for the opinion he professed, that he had been married to a Roman Catholic wife for fifteen years. Whatever the reasons may be which are arousing feeling in the country, nobody can deny that a very real feeling does exist. I wish first of all to say that whatever reasons there may be, and for myself at any rate I have strong reasons for opposing this Bill, I do not attach in the very least degree any importance to the fact that the Roman Catholic Church utters very strong invectives against us. That seems to me to be no argument at all. Because the Roman Catholic Church has the most grotesque and extreme opinions against Protestants seems to me to be no argument worthy of the greatness of this country, and I think that we should take no notice of them.

I think we will all be ready to agree that in promoting this Bill the Government have been actuated by a desire to effect a settlement of this question. I do not think that anyone is justified in saying that by this Bill the Government have been actuated by a desire to catch any votes. If a Minister were suspected of any intentions so nefarious, he would be guilty of nothing short of the grossest disloyalty to his party, and of treason to his country. I do not think that any of us, however strongly we feel on this question, would accuse the Government of that crime. No message of peace and goodwill has ever gone forth in this world that has been met with so much contumely. In addition to the feeling amongst every section of the Liberal party when this Bill was first brought in, there was the High Church party, who felt that the word "Protestant" should have been left out; there was the Nonconformist, who objected to the words "Church of England as by law established." There were those who thought that no Declaration was necessary, and who considered this proposal superfluous, as there were those who thought that this proposal was inadequate, and that the Declaration was necessary. All those various sections of the Liberal party seemed to be roused to their depths. The Nonconformists went in a body, I saw in the newspapers, to the Prime Minister, and informed him that they could not support the Bill as it stood. I am not quite sure what hon. Members from Wales did. I expect they thought their consciences secure in the bosom of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There were the Members from Scotland, who found that amongst their constituents there still exists that strenuous religious spirit which refused to be comforted by any specious explanation, and who demanded that they should vote against the Bill. Of course, there was one section of the House satisfied with the Bill, and they were the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite. No doubt it will be a pleasure to the hon. Member for Louth, because he will once more be able to rejoice in political union and good fellowship with the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond). The hon. Member who spoke last delivered a panegyric on the late King which I feel sure was appreciated in every part of the House, but I do not know that that is any real reason for making the statement which he did about the late King or about his mother. I daresay the circumstantial evidence was strong, but I do not know what real proof he may have had in his mind.


Perhaps I may say how I founded my belief. I did so from the speech delivered in 1840 in the House of Lords on the Regency Bill by the Duke of Sussex.


I quite accept the evidence of the hon. Member.


It is not evidence.


Then the conclusion arrived at by the hon. Member. I think that the hon. Member has rather based his conclusion on a very light foundation. Most of the arguments on this question have been already employed, and it is very difficult to find anything new to say. But the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) made a speech in which he seemed to contend that the Declaration is of no use whatsoever, that it does not matter whether the Sovereign takes it or not, and that we have no legal claim which we could make against him, or there is no automatic result which follows if he fails to take it. The answer to that given by the right hon. Gentleman opposite was that if that were the case the Declaration should be abolished. My view is entirely the reverse. If we are to have a Declaration, if the Government think it necessary to draw up a Declaration which is causing the greatest religious feeling and apparently much perplexity to many of their own followers, I think some clause should be inserted rendering the Throne vacant if the Sovereign refuses to take it. It seems to me that we are merely wasting time in discussing the Bill at all if, when the Sovereign does not take the Declaration, no legal effect follows.

As regards repudiation of doctrines, that is a matter which has many authorities in its favour. I have a list here, but I do not propose to read all the names. The late Lord Salisbury two or three times declared the absolute necessity for the repudiation of the doctrines. The Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1901 and in 1903—whether it was the same Archbishop I do not know, but if there were two it makes the authority all the stronger—said that a repudiation of doctrines was absolutely necessary. The Leader of the Opposition stated, in answer to a question in this House in 1901, that he was not surprised that the form of the Oath as distinguished from the substance should have given pain to the Roman Catholic subjects of His Majesty. That answer seems to suggest that he felt at that time, at any rate, that some repudiation was necessary. I am the last person to wish to offend the susceptibilities of Roman Catholics in the least, but I cannot see that there is any force in the argument that the feelings of Roman Catholics are offended by the Sovereign repudiating certain distinct doctrines of their faith. If you want to prove that the Sovereign does not hold certain views, that he is not a member of a certain religion, you must take some of the doctrines which are at the very heart of that religion, and he must repudiate them, or we do not know where we stand. People seem to forget that a Declaration of this kind is not governed by sentiment, but is a legal form drawn up with the greatest care some 200 years ago, and that it was intended to leave no loophole of escape for the Sovereign. The Government have changed their proposal to-day, and propose to introduce the word "Protestant" in the place of "member of the Church of England as by law established." The question arises whether "Protestant" is a word with any legal definition. I am quite aware that the Prime Minister mentioned cases where the word "Protestant" was used; but I think it was prefaced by an adjective, and it does not follow, in a document which must be legally and carefully drawn up, that the word "Protestant" standing by itself would have any legal definition whatsoever. The word "Protestant" means someone who protests, but if he protests against nothing, it seems to me that the very meaning of the word disappears.

The Prime Minister gave as a reason for leaving out the repudiation that if the Sovereign were a member of the Church of England he would naturally subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles, in which this repudiation is embodied. But by removing the words "Church of England"—which, by the way, I am very glad he has removed—he has taken away any reference to the Thirty-nine Articles, which he said rendered the existing repudiation unnecessary. I thank the House for the attention with which they have listened to me. This Debate has outwardly assumed a very pacific appearance, but I cannot help feeling that the Government, in raising this question, have stirred up feelings in the country which will not be so easily allayed. I think it is to be deeply regretted that the Government have raised the question in the way they have. They are hurrying the Bill through in a manner which will embitter feeling already bitter, and I think the wound which will be the result of their action will remain open and irritating for many years to come.


I am afraid that by my vote to-night, conscientiously given, I shall separate myself from colleagues on this side in the representation of Scotland with whom I would wish most to act. I have felt difficulty and doubt as to the vote I should give. After listening carefully to the Debate, I do not feel that I could acquiesce entirely in the Bill as it stands—far from it. Nor do I feel any more satisfied with the suggestion made by the Prime Minister. But I have had to ask myself, "What do I mean if I give an adverse vote on this Bill?" It means, if successful, that I render impossible any change in this Oath—an Oath which I would be unwilling to take myself and which I think an immense majority of my Constituents, educated Scotsmen in every part of the Empire, would be unwilling to take themselves. For this reason I am unwilling to help in imposing it upon my Sovereign. That alone decides my vote tonight, and in giving my vote for the Second Reading of the Bill I wish only to record that I think a change necessary, and what that change shall be we shall decide in Committee.


I shall not take up time by discussing the general question. I have risen merely to say two things—one with regard to the change in the Bill announced by the Prime Minister, and the other with regard to the point legitimately made by the Member for the Strand (Mr. Walter Long) this afternoon. He then referred to the fact that in the earlier stages of the public discussion in connection with which this Bill has been brought in, stress was laid on the fact of the presence in the King's Declaration of forms of words obviously offensive to sincere believers—I was going to say in any form of Christianity. That is true. No doubt there could have been an argument of great weight constructed in favour of modifying that Declaration merely to the extent of leaving out all terms of obvious offence, but I think those of us who have read something of the showers of pamphlets and leaflets which have descended upon us, and who have taken more or less of an interest in the campaign, partly spontaneous and partly organised, so conspicuous lately, must have been brought to reconsider our position. This was as to whether the alteration in the Declaration ought not to go much further than the mere omission of these particular words. Speaking as a Lancashire Member who is going under present circumstances to vote for the Second Reading, speaking as one of the representatives of a county in which there are strong cross-currents on this question, it appears to me that real support should be given to the Bill now before Parliament, particularly in its promised form, however legitimate it may be to give weight to the argument for retaining the Declaration, apart from these words of offence. There is a great deal to be said for the latter if you were merely dealing with England itself. The reason for that negative declaration is essentially a historical reason, applying to England and practically to England only. Now, however, that our Gracious King is head of an Empire represented in all parts of the world, it is surely most unwise for any of us to neglect the change in the situation which has thus come about, and the effect that this Declaration must have on the minds of the Roman Catholics in other parts of the Empire who do not share this historical view, to whom the historical reason or the excuse for that particular from could not apply, but who are just as loyal subjects of the King as any of us in this House to-night. That is a reason which has weighed with me in giving my adhesion to the position now taken by the Government on this Bill in having a positive statement of Protestantism instead of a negative statement, however courteously phrased may be the repudiation of the Roman Catholic doctrines.

The second point I should like to put is that but for the Amendment adumbrated to-day by the Prime Minister, I should have found it my reluctant duty—anxious as I am to remove these causes of offence, and on the whole strongly approving of a positive rather than a negative Declaration—to vote against a Second Reading. For this reason, chiefly: if you are dealing with a Declaration to be made by the Sovereign on the question of his Protestantism, it is surely wrong to limit that Protestantism by any phrases which connect it with any particular Protestant Church, or with anything less wide than Protestantism itself. I am not concerned to-night either to support or to oppose the arguments of the Prime Minister in regard to the meaning of that phrase in the Act of Settlement that the Monarch is to be in communion with the Church of England. For my own part I personally agree with the arguments put before the House with such knowledge and clearness by the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Birmingham. I believe that these words in the Act of Settlement took that form in order to allow of there being on the Throne of these islands a Monarch who might not be a Member of the Church of England, but who could be in communion with it.

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But we are not concerned in this Declaration with the precise relations of the Monarch to the Church of England, or to any other particular society. We are concerned with his Protestantism and nothing else. Therefore the Amendment which I have put down in the same terms as that of the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Birmingham, and in accordance with which I should certainly have had to vote against the Second Reading—much as I regretted it—in view of the statement of the Prime Minister I shall not move. I shall cordially vote for the Second Reading, and my votes to-morrow and on Friday will be largely governed by the insertion in the Bill of that Amendment, and by the retention of that Amendment during all the stages of the Bill. If that Amendment becomes law, then, I venture to think that a good deal of the feeling which has been aroused against any alteration in the Declaration will be greatly assuaged. I believe if the Bill becomes law it will in the long run, if not now in times of stress and excitement, command a wider assent from His Majesty's subjects than any other form of Declaration. I believe it does maintain the Protestant Succession. I believe the very important statement made to-night by the Noble Lord the Member for Chichester is a statement which can be properly received and accepted by all the Members of this House. On the grounds I have mentioned I now have great pleasure in supporting the Second Reading, and I venture to say that if the Bill passes in the form the Prime Minister has indicated it will go very far to settle a question which is all the more difficult because it is a question of sincere sentiment rather than of legal enactment.


I think it impossible after what has taken place that this Debate can be regarded as a party Debate. The question is one I think which can be debated generally without any feelings of ordinary partisanship or without any feelings of religious intolerance. Looked at as it has been from a legal and practical point of view, I find myself compelled to say that I am opposed to the Second Reading of this Bill. The Prime Minister referred to the enactments which are referred to in the White Paper. I do not think he dealt with them, from a lawyer's point of view, very thoroughly or very satisfactorily. To begin with, dealing with the Bill of Rights, I think he omitted altogether to take note of what the preamble of the Clause in question in this matter really is. It says:—"And whereas it hath beene found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfaire of this protestant kingdome to be governed by a popish prince or by any King or Queene marrying a papist the said lords spirituall and temporall and commons doe further pray."

It is made a point by those who are in favour of the change that the Roman Catholic religion is selected for special legislation. The reason for that is stated in the preamble of the Bill, namely, because it has been found by experience that there should be legislation of that kind. In 1791 it was because of that experience that the Declaration was framed. We had no experience then of Buddhism, of Mahomedanism; we never will have. I beg the House to note that the foundation of this Declaration was experience, consistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant Kingdom, and in order not to be governed by a Popish Prince the Lords and Commons alike agreed that two things should be required. First, that there should be statutory disability, and that there should be a positive Declaration by the Sovereign that he disbelieved in the main principles of the Romish Church. That was not in the days of Titus Oates, but a generation after. The Lords and Commons of this Kingdom and the United Kingdom later on declared that they would not regard it as safe to rest upon a positive statutory disability, and that they would require a personal declaration on the part of the Sovereign, and I say now that that is equally necessary. It is not, of course, that the difficulty now arises. It is because you require to provide against the chance of again having a Charles II. or James II. It is the question of providing against contingencies of that kind that a strict statutory enactment requires to be enforced.

The Bill of Rights requires not only a statutory disability, but a personal declaration, and the Act of Settlement in 1701 also required a personal declaration to be given. The Prime Minister drops one phrase in the Act of Settlement, namely, "that whosoever shall come to the Crown shall join in Communion with the Church of England." The hon. Member opposite who has just spoken does not agree with that phrase. Neither do I. I think it is quite true that those who are not members of the Church of England may quite honestly and cordially join in Communion with the Church of England. The Prime Minister, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, said in his speech that he proposed to make the Sovereign declare he was a faithful Protestant. I fail to understand what he means by that. It is quite certain nowadays that if any modern Act of Parliament were proposed by which everyone was required to declare he was a "faithful Protestant" we would have to have an interpretation clause. I would like to see the Prime Minister frame it. I believe there are not two men in the House who would agree upon it. What is the use of the words "faithful Protestant?" Does the word "faithful" add anything to it? We have not got an answer to that, and we never will get it.


The Leader of the Opposition gave you one.


The Leader of the Opposition, as I understood him, declared that saying he was a Protestant was just as strong as saying all these things that are in the present Declaration. If that is so, why change it? Is it offensive to those who belong to the Roman Catholic Church in this House to say that we Protestants do not believe in the main doctrines of their Church? Surely one can say that without any offence, and what I want to know is, if that is the right hon. Gentleman's interpretation, how can he justify the change if it is just as strong as the Declaration?


Because it is not offensive.


Is there any member of the Roman Catholic Church who can say that he regards it as offensive in Protestants to say that they do not believe in the cardinal doctrines of his Church? What is the use of being a Protestant if you do not say that? If that is the right hon. Gentleman's meaning of the word "Protestant," why not leave it as it is at present? You may offend some people by leaving it as it is. You will offend a great many people north of the Tweed, at any rate, if you change it as you propose to do; and, so far as I know feeling north of the Tweed, I say you will raise a storm there that even the Budget disputes will not equal. I do not understand how it is that the question has been raised at this time. The whole purpose is that the Declaration made and subscribed by any Sovereign from now onwards, including the present, shall be in the form in which it is in the Schedule. I understand, from what took place in 1901, that after the Accession no change should be made in the Declaration made by the existing Sovereign. The Prime Minister to-day, in answer to a question, said that King Edward VII. took the Declaration at the proper time and in the proper manner. Why have not His present Majesty's advisers made him take the Declaration at the same time, as was done in 1901? I say it is too late now to have a change imposed in the Declaration made by the Sovereign. It introduces changes and contingencies and conditions that ought not to have been brought into a question of this kind. I oppose this Bill because it absolutely and altogether abrogates the existing Declaration and introduces a Declaration which is new from start to finish, and does not meet the situation or the conditions that the old Declaration was intended to meet, and because it will not effect the purpose that the old Declaration was meant to effect. Therefore it is out of the question to say that you can propose Amendments in Committee to the Declaration which is now proposed. The first Section of this Bill should have been, "The old Declaration shall be abolished," and the second should have been an entirely new Declaration. This change will cause a good deal of feeling, and I do not think it will satisfy anybody except our Roman Catholic friends. They are naturally satisfied with the change, but you will not satisfy the feeling which exists north of the Tweed at all. Many hon. Members, I think, will find that by this proposal you will raise a storm north of the Tweed which even this new form of the Declaration will not settle. You may pass your Bill, but you will not end the agitation. It may be logical or it may not be logical, but the country is not ruled by logic. A great lawyer once said that law is not a logical science, and politics is less a logical science. Although the Government have succeeded in securing the support of many who were opposed to them when this Bill was introduced, I am sure the solution arrived at will not satisfy the Scottish people, and the Government have done a great disservice by commencing a new reign with the change which they now propose to introduce. I am convinced in what I have said that I am not only expressing my own views, but also the views of a large majority of the people who live north of the Tweed. For these reasons I shall vote against the Second Reading of this Bill. I am not one of those who think that the present Declaration could not be improved. I think it could. In conclusion, I say without hesitation and without doubt, I shall vote against the Second Reading of this Bill.


The hon. Member who addressed the House a few moments ago in the course of his speech enumerated the position taken up by various speakers in this House upon this question. I have no authority to express the view of the Labour party upon this measure, but I am confident that substantially the whole of the Members of my party will be found in the Lobby to-night in support or this Bill. At any rate, if there are any exceptions I shall be a little surprised, because I feel that the Members of the party with which I am associated will be guided in their actions by the very wholesome instinct of doing the right and fair thing. The hon. Member to whom I have alluded could not understand why a Catholic should feel offended when his religion was repudiated. I put it to the hon. Gentleman that the repudiation of the kernel and centre of the religious faith of a Catholic is sufficient reason for that Catholic feeling the strongest possible offence. It may be that Protestants cannot understand this, but the fact at any rate is patent that Catholics very naturally do feel the strongest resentment when their faith is condemned as superstitious and idolatrous. The Government have not raised this question, but circumstances have raised it. The state of things follows the lamentable death of the late King naturally caused people to think of the nature of the Oath that his successor would have to take. At ordinary times it may be that public feeling cannot be aroused to the point of taking up this question, but the fact that the successor of the late King has to take this Oath has naturally aroused to a great extent public feeling, and accordingly the Government is obliged to deal with the subject. We have heard many speeches full of historical lore as to the causes which produced the character of the Declaration which this Bill seeks to remedy. I am going to submit a plain man's view and what I conceive to be the view which exists in the country. I have had the experience during the past month or two of speaking to many crowds of working men in different parts of Lancashire, and I have found on occasions when this subject has been referred to that the proposals suggested in this Bill are acceptable to the vast majority of the working men who take any interest in the matter.

The vast majority of the working men view the matter in this way: In this Protestant community it is the safe and proper thing to have a Protestant Monarch, but it is absolutely unnecessary in order to secure that religion that the religion of any other section in the community should be denounced and repudiated in the manner it is. We have slowly but still advanced generation by generation to wider religious toleration than obtained in the days when this Declaration was framed. Catholics have had to struggle generation by generation for the rights which they now enjoy. They are seeking to remove what is not exactly a disability but what is to them a great affront and insult. I cannot believe that any Member of this House will allege that the removal of any disabilities under which Catholics have suffered in former generations has in the slightest degree endangered the prosperity or the welfare of the Kingdom, and I feel further that the passage of this Bill and the destruction of the old form of Declaration would increase the sense of loyalty of the Catholic community in the British Empire. I do not believe there is one Member here would dare, if it were our duty at this moment to frame a Declaration for the Monarch, propose to put in that Declaration any such words as are contained in the Declaration at present. That, I think, is a fair test of whether we ought to retain these terms. They were hammered out and forced through in periods of the greatest religious contention and struggle between the different sections of the community. The community happily has outgrown the frame of mind that existed when this Declaration was framed, and, if we mould not for a moment think of proposing such terms ourselves, can we any longer defend them? The whole situation has altered and the terms of this Declaration should be altered as well. It was said in the course of the discussion that we had to provide not for the state of things which now exists, but for a state of things which might occur. A picture was painted of the possibility of a great clash in some future age. We were asked to imagine that the Catholic community had so multiplied and increased in strength as to be able to enforce their religious views on the country. I am willing to accept that picture. But if we can conceive any such situation it is inconceivable that any offensiveness in the words of the Declaration could help the other side in a struggle of that kind. The nature of the language and the terms of the Oath forced on the Monarch would not be of any value to the other side engaged in a struggle of that kind. I cannot understand where the proposal in this Bill falls short of anything which is absolutely necessary and which fully safeguards the Protestant interests of this country. I understand this Declaration to be that the Monarch solemnly and sincerely declares in the presence of God that he will be a faithful Protestant. I will not stay to dissect the meaning of the word "faithful." We must as plain men put a wholesome interpretation upon it, and I cannot understand any Protestant preferring any term to "faithful." The true intention of the enactment is to secure the Protestant Succession to the Throne and the Sovereign agrees to— uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my powers according to law. Language can no further go. The provisions of this Bill are, I believe, acceptable to the general body of the Labour party. I am prepared, though charges are frequently made against us, to accept the word of honour of the King just as well as I would accept the word of honour of a plain man. Members of Parliament, when they come to this House, have to come to the Table to swear allegiance to George V., and I must say I dislike the idea of asking any Catholic to take the Oath of Allegiance to a Monarch whom you compel to describe a Catholic as a heretic, and whose religion he has to speak of as superstitious and idolatrous. I hope this House will not be misled by the opposition so efficiently organised in the country against this opportunity of extending further the principle of religious toleration and liberty. Let us give Catholics equality of treatment.


This Debate is celebrated for the great moderation expressed on all sides of the House on a question which in days past would have set the heather on fire in all parts of the country. I regret very much that the Government have brought forward at this period of the Session a Bill of this kind, and have only given us one day for the Second Reading, because it simply means a process of physical exhaustion for those who endeavour to catch the Speaker's eye. I listened with great interest to the historical and constitutional aspect of the question given by the hon. Member for Donegal (Mr. MacNeill). But I did not hear from him why it was, if Titus Oates was responsible for the original Declaration in 1673, passed as panic legislation, sixteen years afterwards those sober Whigs who invited Prince William of Orange to come over here attached this Declaration, which apparently was not necessary at all from the point of view of panic—why did they attach this Declaration to the Bill of Rights, and for the first time put upon the Sovereign that which before was only put upon the subject? I have heard comments made upon His Majesty King Charles II. I am not here to defend him nor to say anything as to what the condition of his mind would have been had he been called upon to take this Declaration. I heartily agree with the Leader of the Opposition that I expect His Majesty would have been equal to the occasion; but I do venture to think that why the King was not asked at that time to make that Declaration was perfectly obvious. The country and Parliament had been so hopelessly disgusted with the rule which had preceded the Restoration that they would not exact it from the King then, and thirteen years afterwards, when his eccentricities were developed, they were not likely to embarrass him by calling upon him to make this Declaration any more than they did his successor, James II. But after the danger had passed, with a perfectly new state of things, and when these very sober Ministers had taken upon themselves to bring about a revolution, they thought it proper then to insist upon this Declaration. This question cropped up after the death of Queen Victoria, and was brought forward first in the House of Lords by Lord Herries, who stated particularly that all his co-religionists desired was to have the words "idolatrous" and "superstitious" re-moved. Hon. Members will find in "Hansard" no reference to any demand by Members of this House or of the House of Lords to have anything more done. On the Motion in 1901 to appoint a Select Committee, Lord Herries said:— We do not ask to do away with the Declaration altogether. What we ask is that such modification should be introduced into the oath as to leave out these offensive words. The result of that speech was that a Committee was appointed, which reported, and afterwards Lord Salisbury introduced a Bill with a slight modification of the terms of the Declaration, which was recommended by the Committee. That Bill went to a Second Reading, and afterwards, on the Motion of Lord Rosebery to send it back to the Committee, a long Debate took place, and then Lord Salisbury declared that all that had been asked was the removal of the words from the Declaration, and Lord Crewe said, in so many words, that if it had been suggested at any time before the Bill was brought forward that the whole Declaration was to be abolished, he himself would never have assented to that Committee, and all that it was desired to do was to alter the words. When it is asked what is the reason for the introduction of the words against Transubstantiation I can only refer the hon. Member to the statement by the Bishop of Salisbury on the occasion of this very Debate originated by Lord Rosebery, and I do not think anyone will challenge the Bishop of Salisbury as, at any rate, a Church historian of very great eminence. He said:— The most judicious historian of the period (1689) had stated that the words had been introduced because it was found that there was no other doctrine which could not be dispensed with. I regret that the Prime Minister intimated, in answer to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Long), that he could not see his way in Committee to introduce these negative words or to make the Declaration negative, because that makes it impossible for me and for many others to support the Second Reading. We want to see the offensive words withdrawn. No one desires to see the Declaration kept in precisely the same form as now, but it is a very different thing to remodel it altogether, and I hope to-morrow, short as the time is, that some better counsels may prevail. I quite understand that it must be extremely unpleasant for the Sovereign who desires at the time of his Accession, particularly on the day of his Coronation, to stand well with all men, that words should be put into his mouth that he personally dislikes. Still, the great question is, Are these words necessary, and have they not been regarded as necessary ever since 1689? Who can deny that we have had able leaders on both sides of the House and in another place all through these two centuries when there have been opportunities for taking or dispensing with this Declaration? I hope I am not uncharitable in suggesting that probably we should not have had it now had it not been for the exigencies which are pressing on the Prime Minister and the Front Bench. Without using any words of disrespect and without identifying the King with the Established Church of England, I am reminded of the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Silvester Home), who said he had never before played the part of Balaam. My recollection of the story of Balaam is that before he went he sent a clear intimation that what he would speak would not be what he himself would desire to speak, but he would speak what he was told. The hon. Member in playing the part of the modern Balaam has found that the amenable condition of the Prime Minister has given him all he wants, and the reference to the Church of England is cut out, so that under no circumstances can His Majesty be regarded as a member of that body, and so the modern Balaam is prepared to bless the Bill which he came down to curse. I hope an opportunity may be found to incorporate and make the King express his belief in the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-nine Articles without making him necessarily declare himself a member of any Church. If that is done, there will be no unpleasantness for the Monarch when he is called upon to repeat it, and it will give the security which we think is necessary.


The only reason why I ventured to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Central Division of Glasgow (Mr. Scott Dickson) was that I do really think that now we are enjoying for the first time for a long time in Parliamentary history, to a remarkable degree this Session, freedom of Debate, and have the pleasure of hearing Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench expressing diametrically opposite opinions. I rejoice in that, and I hope it will be extended. It would not be a bad rule of the forum that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on these benches who find themselves differing from those with whom they generally are in political association, should answer one another. I think that would really add enormously to the interest of our Debates. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition made, in the course of the evening, a most admirable speech—admirable, I think, in this sense, that it converted, to my knowledge, one or two wavering Gentlemen on this side of the House. That is the sort of speech we want. Unfortunately the area of the right hon. Gentleman's converting eloquence did not include the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Central Division of Glasgow, who remained impervious, and almost brutally impervious to that seductive voice. Otherwise I do not like interrupting right hon. Gentlemen in the course of argumentative speeches. I confess that so far as I am concerned I appear here to-night in better spirits than I have ever enjoyed at this Table, and for this reason. I am one of those who are never so happy as when Englishmen are compelled by the irresistible challenge of great public events to verify their political formulas and take down from the dusty shelves of antiquaries and lawyers the fundamental statutes of these realms and ask themselves how far and to what extent the doctrines of our Constitution really represent their present mind and convictions. Therefore I am never so happy as when hon. Members are compelled, however disagreeable it may be sometimes, to reconsider those great constitutional questions. It is always disagreeable when our Constituents take, not to drink, but to ink. Although less deleterious to them, it is far more trouble some to us. We should not allow trifling considerations of that sort to trouble us. Our minds, after all, are not centred in our seats. My mental apparatus, such as it is, is more honourably housed, and I am therefore very glad. What is the first remarkable result from our discussion? This doctrine of our Constitution of the Protestant Succession came first into existence in the Revolution of 1688, and was subsequently some fourteen years afterwards enshrined in the Act of 1702.

Can anybody, who has any tinge of historical reading whatever, say that in either 1688 or 1702 the doctrine of Protestant Succession received the support of the great majority of the people of England and Scotland? Nobody would venture to say anything of the kind. Anybody who knows anything about history knows that during the last four years of the reign of Queen Anne Jacobite feeling was so strong not only among the simple people in the country but among leading statesmen on both sides that it was a very touch and go affair whether the House of Stuart might not have been very soon restored. At that very early period of the eighteenth century, and throughout the greater part of it, as even anybody whose knowledge of history is confined to the channel of the novels of Sir Walter Scott, knows perfectly well, the great warlike demonstrations of 1715 and 1745 were but manifestations of a strong feeling which existed in this country all through that century. The Church of England, always loyal supporters of the Throne, were divided by a great schism, and the non-jurors were carrying away into their retreats a great part of the piety and a very large part of the learning of the Church of England. This state of things existed at all events by the common consent of historians down to something like 1760, and even later. Then you get to the last century. The last century began with a great outburst of Romanticism and a very serious accession of sentimental Jacobitism, of Charlie-over-the-waterism, as George Borrow called it. This was followed, some people think connected with, the Tractarian movement, which revived to some extent the doctrines of divine right and passive obedience, and altered and reconstituted the Church of England, and refounded it once more upon the basis of Archbishop Laud and the theologians of that great time to which Archbishop Laud belonged. Here we are in the twentieth century. Time has already taken a chunk out of it. We are in 1910, and now, I venture to say, in consequence of this admirable discussion, this delightful Debate, for the first time in more than 200 years, we have had an opportunity of discovering that this old doctrine of the Protestant Succession represents really the fixed mind and determination of the vast majority of the people of these islands; and every speaker who has taken part in this most historic Debate has made it as plain as can be that any statesman, I do not care to what party he belongs or whatever popular cause he might be associated with who got up and made it plain to this country that he was prepared to treat that doctrine as negligible, as something which might or might not be considered as really vital to the opinions of this country would very soon be sent back to the land I can wish him no worse fate, and he would soon be in treaty with Mr. John Murray or Messrs. Smith, Elder and Co. for the publication of his Memoirs, so that he might have the means of livelihood. It is a very important and very interesting thing to find that this doctrine of the Protestant Succession really is a living, vital thing at this moment, and accepted by everybody; and I say it is a very useful thing, because, living as we do in a time of religious toleration—not quite complete, there are a great many religious opinions which wise men still keep to themselves—but still comparatively complete religious toleration people get a notion that all these old fashions as they sometimes call them have gone out of date.

I have among my friends a number of very nice people—I was going to call them young; they were young when I was young—who have joined the Church of Rome, and who are fervent members of that body. Living very much among themselves in coteries, as is too frequently the case, and reading too much one class of books and newspapers, a good many of these estimable men to my knowledge for some years past have been under the delusion that this country was trembling on the verge of a reconversion to the Church of Rome. I think it is a blessed thing that these estimable persons should be awakened out of their dream by the discovery that this country is strongly and determinedly wedded to the old revolutionary doctrine of the Protestant Succession. I think that is a most invaluable thing. Nobody can deny that the doctrine of the Protestant Succession is a Papal disability. We live in a time when people think that all disabilities ought to be removed Our Friends below the Gangway hold that it is a disability to belong to Churches to which the Sovereign is not permitted to belong. They do not like the idea that the King of England cannot be a Baptist or an Independent. It may be the Act of Settlement does say so, but, at all events, they say, "Why thrust it down our throats again to-day?" We are thrusting it down the throats of Roman Catholics, but the Nonconformists do not seem to mind that. The Protestant succession is a genuine Papal disability; it may not be a personal disability I do not know if any Member of this House has the Electress Sophia in his family tree, but none the less it is a disability to belong to a religion which the King of your country may not join. Many people thought all disabilities were going to be removed, but now, at all events, the mind of the people for the first time is really expressed in Parliament that this particular disability they are determined should continue.

A word or two about this Declaration. The hon. and gallant Member for Southport spoke of the Declaration in terms almost of veneration, and said that millions of people in this country attached enormous importance to it, and that it was really the bulwark of the Protestant Succession. I wonder very much how many people, who had been sleeping quietly in their beds all their lives, relying on this Declaration as the bulwark of the Protestant Faith, ever heard of it, at all events until the lamented death of Queen Victoria and the Accession of King Edward. I have been a little curious about this Declaration. It was, of course, put bodily into the Bill of Rights out of the Act of 1678, and my learned Friend the Member for Donegal (Mr. Swift MacNeill) attributed, I think rather hastily, the actual language to that period. I like to trace these things a little further back. As an old conveyancer, I know that almost everybody has a draft before him. A long thing like this does not come out of his own head. I have been at work to find out an earlier draft of the Declaration, and I have been rewarded, at all events, with some measure of success. The words relative to transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper are taken verbatim from an Ordinance passed at the very height of the early part of the Civil War in 1643, when the Long Parliament imposed an Oath to be tendered to all persons suspected of being Papists on attaining the age of twenty-one. That declared:— I believe there is no transubstantiation in the Lord's Supper or consecration thereof by any person whatsoever. Then what has been rather irreverently called the "long rigmarole," beginning:— I doe make this declaration and every part thereof in the plaine and ordinary sence of the words read unto me as they are commonly understood by English protestants, without any evasion, equivocation or mentall reservation whatsoever. … Those words are taken verbatim from a rather famous oath of abjuration, which was passed in the reign of King James I., and was composed by Archbishop Bancroft and a renegade Jesuit priest—those two learned persons put their heads together. The words "the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary, or any other Saint, and the sacrifice of the Masse, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitious and idolatrous." I cannot trace further back than the period of Titus Oates. That is the genesis of your famous Declaration. It is a thing of shreds and patches. The larger part of it was concocted in the reign of King James I., who shortly afterwards devoted his whole energies to trying to concoct a Popish match for his own son. The Declaration against transubstantiation is taken from the Ordinance of the Long Parliament, at the very height, or, at all events, in a very important year of the Civil War. The words "idolatrous and superstitious" are, so far as I know, the original words of the statesman of 1678. It does not quite stop there. The words as to transubstantiation were also found in the celebrated Test Act of 1673—five years before—and those words were inserted in this House on the Third Reading of the Bill. Such was the practice of our ancestors. The Test Act of 1678 gave rise to a very interesting Debate. Unfortunately, the printed records do not exist, and a record is only to be found by students who consult the manuscript authority in the British Museum. Those who take that trouble would be rewarded by the rather interesting Debate which took place even then. The words about transubstantiation were not words proposed by Members of the Parliament, because they proceeded, I think wisely, to give a further description of what they meant. No sooner did they do that than they ran counter to the Lutheran tendencies of the House. It was found that the words were not only aimed at the Church of Rome, but at the modified doctrines of the Lutheran Church. As they had only one object—to be disagreeable to the Papists—they eliminated the explanatory words, which would be of great assistance in our discussion to-day.

11.0 P.M.

We thus get this particular form of Declaration which, according to the hon. and learned Member for Southport, has been the bulwark of our Protestant faith during the last 200 years. I think it is a very useful thing, and this follows from my argument at the beginning, to bring the light of present-day feeling and present-day knowledge, upon a thing of this sort. I am quite sure that the sense and conviction of this House in the year 1910 is that all this barricado of words and declarations, is a futile piece of absurdity. You cannot by any wit of man devise and elaborate detailed statements of doctrine or repudiation of doctrine which would serve any useful purpose in a matter of this kind. Of course, in the old days, everybody took oaths. I remember an old Liverpool merchant telling me when I was a boy that when he was a young man as a clerk in a shipping house, he would sometimes take as many as fifty oaths in one day,—on clearing goods at the local Customs House. That was the practice of our ancestors: they swore through thick and thin. It has been admitted during the Debate that nobody ever much benefited by it. The famous Protestant hero, Henry of Navarre, when he turned Papist, made the well-known remark that Paris was worth a Mass. I have not the least doubt he would have said that London was worth the repudiation of Mass. We have now attained an altogether better frame of mind on these questions. You might say, "Why have a Declaration at all?" I dare say there is something to be said for not having a Declaration at all; but still there is force in the argument employed by my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Horne) that it is only on occasions like this, when we have recourse to Acts of Settlement and White Papers which a beneficient Government has distributed for the removal of the ignorance of legislators in this country, that we know what is in these statutes; and I do not see any particular reason why the good people of the country should be made very clearly acquainted with the actual verbiage of these documents. But the Coronation or the Accession to the Throne is a great and striking event which travels all over the world, particularly in these days, and therefore all the incidents connected with the Coronation or the Accession of the Monarch become public property and are widely and generally known. There is therefore, perhaps much to be said for its being generally known that the King of this country, on his Accession or closely thereupon, does make a Declaration of the Protestant faith, and that in consequence this country is recognised throughout the world as a country which is not in communion with the Church of Rome. I think that, historically speaking, there is a good deal to be said for that view, and I rejoice greatly that we have, as I hope, discovered words which, while removing the offence to Roman Catholics, do not give offence in other quarters.

Hon. Members seem to speak of the Prime Minister as if he was to blame for being scrupulously anxious, on this great occasion of the Accession of the Sovereign, and his Declaration, to avoid giving offence. Our whole motive is to avoid giving offence, first to the Roman Catholics but, having plucked the poisoned shaft out of their breasts, we do not want to go and embed it in the breasts of two or three other sets of people. On the contrary, we want now to proceed in this matter on lines which recognise the feeling of the moment at which we have arrived. I think the statement of the Sovereign that he is a Protestant is quite sufficient. The Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University put that point with great clearness. If a man jumped up in the street and said, "I am a Protestant," you might not know exactly to what he was referring. But on an occasion like this, having regard to the doctrine of the Protestant Succession embodied in the Act of Settlement, everybody knows when a man says, "I am a faithful Protestant"; it means that he is not a Roman Catholic. But it is said that to ensure that he is not a Roman Catholic he must single out particular doctrines. I do not know why anybody should assert that transubstantiation and the invocation of the Virgin Mary are the main doctrines of the Church of Rome. That has been said over and over again. They may be important doctrines, but there are other doctrines of the Church of Rome which are the common property of the whole Christian Church. I should have thought everybody would admit that to single out particular theological dogmas of this kind was offensive. It is not the words "idolatrous and superstitious." It is the notion that it is necessary for the King of England at a time of this sort to single out particular doctrines as fit and worthy for repudiation. I believe I understand the reason why Protestants in 1678 put in those particular words. I think they shared the view which was expressed by an hon. Gentleman from the North of Ireland, who often takes part in the Debates in which I am concerned, that it was commonly supposed by Protestants that the Pope had no dispensing power over an Oath which contained references to a matter of faith; whilst he could dispense you from an oath of loyalty and supremacy—whilst he could absolve you if you had only said something nasty and disagreeable: if you used language sufficiently offensive and disgusting to the Roman Catholic mind, that was an Oath from which the Pope could not dispense you.

I am not going into the dangerous discussion as to what a Pope can or cannot absolve you from, but I am perfectly certain of this: That no such limitation as that forms any true part of the Catholic doctrine of dispensation—whatever it may be. It is a Protestant delusion if you think that by simply putting in particular words that have an insulting reference to particular articles of the Roman Catholic faith that you have got the Pope! Nothing of the kind. I think, therefore, we may be well content with the great and striking result, which, as I think, has come from these Debates. We have had an opportunity of expressing with new force and new vigour—if I may use the fine expression of Scotch laws we have "homologated" the doctrine of the Protestant Succesion as our own. We have ratified it; we have confirmed it. I think that pays us very well for the trouble we may have had with our constituents. I am therefore glad to have had an opportunity of supporting the Second Reading of this measure, and I believe that to-morrow, when we enter into the Committee stage, we shall, in the time at our disposal, not have much difficulty in coming to a decision upon this subject. I feel perfectly certain of this, in spite of the statements of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Glasgow (Mr. Scott Dickson), that when this matter has once been settled in these terms, we shall hear very little about it between now, and, at all events, the next Succession to the Throne, which may God long avert.


I protest, on behalf of a very large number of people in Scotland, who I believe have a right that their voice should be heard here, at the very flippant and irreverent speech to which we have just listened. That is the opinion of a large number of Gentlemen, at any rate, on this side of the House. I have myself said over and over again that we were quite willing to take out these words, "idolatrous" and "superstitious," which no doubt give great offence to our brother Roman Catholics. We have no right to do anything to give offence to their high prestige. In the Debate in 1901 Lord Salisbury, after listening to the speech made by Lord Herries—and no one respects Lord Herries more than I do—did not feel able to press forward the Bill of that time, because it did not give satisfaction to the Catholics of the country. We do not want to give offence to anybody; we want to live in perfect charity with our Catholic fellow-men. We know they do not agree with us, and we do not agree with them. What does that matter if we are conscientiously trying to do our duty? The right hon. Gentleman made a great point that the Declaration amply provided that the Sovereign should be a Protestant, but that the people of this country knew nothing about it. Why? Because they knew that the Declaration was sound and just on the whole and because the Protestant Succession was secured to this country, and they were able to enjoy that knowledge in perfect quiet and peace. That is what I want to emphasise. But take away that safeguard and where are you? The Sovereign is now to say, "I am a Protestant." That is all right when he is a Protestant, but how much better would it not be to keep the old Declaration instead of riding off on a perfectly new plan. Hon. Members have no idea of the feeling there is upon this matter in Scotland, from which hundreds of Petitions have come in against disturbing the present Declaration. Whatever hon. Members opposite from Scotland may do, I feel bound to enter my strong protest against the course which the Government are pursuing.


rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 313; Noes, 187.

Division No. 135.] AYES [11.15 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Agnew, George William Dunn, Sir W. H. (Southwark, W.) Jowett, Frederick William
Ainsworth, John Stirling Edwards, Enoch Joyce, Michael
Allen, Charles Peter Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Keating, Matthew
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Elverston, Harold Kelly, Edward
Armitage, Robert Esmonde, Sir Thomas Kennedy, Vincent Paul
Ashton, Thomas Gair Falconer, James Kilbride, Denis
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Farrell, James Patrick King, Joseph (Somerset, North)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Fenwick, Charles Lambert, George
Barclay, Sir Thomas Ferens, Thomas Robinson Lardner, James Carrige Rushe
Barnes, George N. Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Munro Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick) Ffrench, Peter Leach, Charles
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Field, William Lehmann, Rudolf C.
Barton, William Flavin, Michael Joseph Levy, Sir Maurice
Beale, William Phipson Furness, Stephen Lewis, John Herbert
Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Gelder, Sir William Alfred Lincoln, Ignatius Timothy T.
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Bentham, George Jackson Gibbins, F. W. Low, Sir Francis (Norwich)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Gibson, Sir James Puckering Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Gilhooly, James Lundon, Thomas
Boland, John Plus Gill, Alfred Henry Luttrell, Hugh Fownes
Bowerman, Charles W. Glanville, Harold James Lynch, Arthur Alfred
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Glover, Thomas Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Brady, Patrick Joseph Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
Brigg, Sir John Greenwood, Granville George Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Brocklehurst, William B. Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Brunner, John F. L. Griffith, Ellis Jones MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Bryce, John Annan Guest, Major C. H. C. M'Callum, John M.
Burke, E. Haviland- Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) M'Kean, John
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Hackett, John M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Mallet, Charles Edward
Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid) Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton) Manfield, Harry
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Hancock, John George Marks, George Croydon
Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Masterman, C. F. G.
Byles, William Pollard Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Meagher, Michael
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's County)
Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood) Harwood, George Menzies, Sir Walter
Chancellor, Henry George Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Middlebrook, William
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Millar, James Duncan
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Molloy, Michael
Clancy, John Joseph Haworth, Arthur A. Montagu, Hon. E. S.
Clough, William Hayden, John Patrick Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Clynes, John R. Hayward, Evan Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Hazleton, Richard Muldoon, John
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Healy, Maurice (Cork, N.E.) Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Healy, Timothy Michael Muspratt, Max
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Helme, Norval Watson Nannetti, Joseph P.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Hemmerde, Edward George Neilson, Francis
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Nolan, Joseph
Cowan, W. H. Henry, Charles S. Norton, Capt. Cecil W.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard
Crean, Eugene Higham, John Sharp Nussey, Sir T. Willans
Crosfield, Arthur H. Hindle, Frederick George Nuttall, Harry
Crossley, Sir William J. Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Cullinan, J. Hodge, John O'Brien, William (Cork)
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Hogan, Michael O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Holt, Richard Durning O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Dawes, James Arthur Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) O'Doherty, Philip
Delany, William Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) O'Donnell, Thomas (Kerry, W.)
Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Howard, Hon. Geoffrey O'Dowd, John
Devlin, Joseph Hughes, Spencer Leigh O'Grady, James
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Illingworth, Percy H. O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Dillon, John Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)
Donelan, Captain A. Jardine, Sir John (Rexburghshire) O'Malley, William
Doris, William Johnson, William O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Duffy, William J. Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Shee, James John
Palmer, Godfrey Mark Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees) Verney, Frederick William
Parker, James (Halifax) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Vivian, Henry
Pearce, William Sanders, Robert Arthur Wadsworth, John
Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. Scanlan, Thomas Walker, H. de R. (Leicester)
Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton) Schwann, Sir Charles E. Walsh, Stephen
Philipps, Sir O. C. (Pembroke) Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne) Walters, John Tudor
Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B. Walton, Sir Joseph
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Shackleton, David James Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Pointer, Joseph Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Wardle, G. J.
Pollard, Sir George H. Sheehy, David Waring, Walter
Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Sherwell, Arthur James Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Power, Patrick Joseph Shortt, Edward Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) Simon, John Allsebrook Waterlow, David Sydney
Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton) Watt, Henry A.
Pringle, William M. R. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Radford, George Heynes Snowden, Philip White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Raffan, Peter Wilson Soames, Arthur Wellesley White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Rainy, Adam Rolland Soares, Ernest Joseph White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Raphael, Herbert H. Spicer, Sir Albert Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Rea, Walter Russell Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.) Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Reddy, Michael Strachey, Sir Edward Wilkie, Alexander
Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Summers, James Woolley Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Redmond, William (Clare, E.) Sutherland, John E. Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Rendall, Atheistan Talbot, Lord Edmund Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Ridley, Samuel Forde Taylor, John W. (Durham) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Roberts, George M. (Norwich) Tennant, Harold John Wilson, T. F. (Lanark, N.E.)
Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.) Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Thomas, David Alfred (Cardiff) Winfrey, Richard
Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Thomas, James Henry (Derby) Wing, Thomas
Robinson, Sidney Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton) Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow
Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Thorne, William (West Ham) Young, William (Perth, East)
Roche, Augustine (Cork) Toulmin, George
Roe, Sir Thomas Trevelyan, Charles Philips TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Gulland.
Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Cooper, Richard Ashmole (Walsall) Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Cory, Sir Clifford John Hunt, Rowland
Arbuthnot, Gerald A. Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Hunter Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)
Ashley, Wilfred W. Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Jackson, Sir John (Devonport)
Bagot, Captain J. Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet) Jessel, Captain Herbert M.
Baird, John Lawrence Craik, Sir Henry Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Dalrymple, Viscount Keswick, William
Balcarres, Lord Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Kimber, Sir Henry
Baldwin, Stanley Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. (Glasgow, E.) King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.) Dixon, Charles Harvey (Boston) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Kirkwood, John H. M.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Du Cros, Arthur P. (Hastings) Kyffin-Taylor, G.
Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor Duke, Henry Edward Lane-Fox, G. R.
Barnston, Harry Duncannon, Viscount Lawson, Hon. Harry
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.) Faber, George D. (Clapham) Llewelyn, Venables
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Falle, Bertram Godfray Lloyd, George Ambrose
Beckett, Hon. William Gervase Fell, Arthur Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsay)
Beresford, Lord Charles Fisher, William Hayes Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.
Bird, Alfred Flannery, Sir J. Fertescue Long, Rt. Hon. Walter
Black, Arthur W. Fleming, Valentine Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)
Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid) Fletcher, John Samuel MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh
Boyton, James Forster, Henry William Mackinder, Halford J.
Brackenbury, Henry Langton Foster, John K. (Coventry) M'Calmont, Colonel James
Bridgeman, William Clive Gardner, Ernest Mason, James F.
Brunskill, Gerald Fitzgibbon Gibbs, George Abraham Meysey-Thompson, E. C.
Bull, Sir William James Gilmour, Captain John Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Burdett-Coutts, William Gooch, Henry Cubitt Mitchell, William Foot
Burgoyne, Alan Hughes Gordon, John Molteno, Percy Alport
Butcher, John George (York) Goulding, Edward Alfred Moore, William
Butcher, S. H. (Cambridge University) Grant, J. A. Morpeth, Viscount
Campion, W. R. Gretton, John Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.
Carlile, Edward Hildred Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Gwynn, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Mount, William Arthur
Castlereagh, Viscount Hall, E. Marshall (Toxteth) Munro, Robert
Cator, John Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Newdegate, F. A.
Cave, George Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford) Newman, John R. P.
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Harmsworth, R. Leicester Newton, Harry Kottingham
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Wor'cr.) Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Nield, Herbert
Chambers, James Heath, Col. Arthur Howard O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Henderson, Major Harold (Berkshire) Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. A. G.
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hickman, Col. Thomas E. Ormsby-Gore, William
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter Paget, Almeric Hugh
Clyde, James Avon Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Parkes, Ebenezer
Coates, Major Edward F. Horner, Andrew Long Pearson, Weetman, H. M.
Cooper, Captain Bryan R. (Dublin, S.) Houston, Robert Paterson, Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)
Peto, Basil Edward Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk) Verrall, George Henry
Pollock, Ernest Murray Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston) Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Pretyman, Ernest George Starkey, John Ralph Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)
Primrose, Hon. Neil James Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire) Wheler, Granville C. H.
Proby, Col. Douglas James Steel-Maitland, A. D. White, Major C. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Quilter, William Eley C. Stewart, Gershom (Ches., Wirral) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Stewart, Sir M'T. (Kirkcudbrightsh.) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Rice, Hon Walter Fitz-Uryan Strauss, Arthur Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Sykes, Alan John Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Ronaldshay, Earl of Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Royds, Edmund Terrell, Henry (Gloucester) Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)
Rutherford, Watson Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Salter, Arthur Clavell Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, North) Younger, George (Ayr Burghs)
Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells) Thynne, Lord Alexander
Sandys, Lt.-Col. T. M. (Bootle) Tobin, Alfred Aspinall TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Lonsdale and Mr. Hugh Barrie.
Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Tryon, Captain George Clement
Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)

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

The House divided: Ayes, 410; Noes, 84.

Division No. 136.] AYES. [11.25 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood) Furness, Stephan
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Gardner, Ernest
Agnew, George William Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.) Gelder, Sir William Alfred
Ainsworth, John Stirling Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd
Allen, Charles Peter Chancellor, Henry George Gibbins, F. W.
Arbuthnot, Gerald A. Chapple, Dr. William Allen Gibbs, George Abraham
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Gibson, Sir James Puckering
Armitage, Robert Clancy, John Joseph Gilhooly, James
Ashley, Wilfred W. Clough, William Gill, Alfred Henry
Ashton, Thomas Gair Clynes, John R. Glanville, Harold James
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Glover, Thomas
Bagot, Captain J. Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Gooch, Henry Cubitt
Baird, John Lawrence Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Goulding, Edward Alfred
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Greenwood, Granville George
Balcarres, Lord Condon, Thomas Joseph Gretton, John
Baldwin, Stanley Cooper, Richard Ashmole (Walsall) Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Griffith, Ellis Jones(Anglesey)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Guest, Major C. H. C.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Cowan, William Henry Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward
Barclay, Sir Thomas Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet) Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)
Barnes, George N. Craik, Sir Henry Hackett, John
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick) Crean, Eugene Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Crosfield, Arthur H. Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)
Barton, William Crossley, Sir William J. Hancock, John George
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.) Cullinan, John Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Harcourt, Robert V.(Montrose)
Beale, William Phipson Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)
Beckett, Hon. William Gervase Dawes, James Arthur Harrison-Broadley, H. B.
Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Delany, William Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) Devlin, Joseph Harwood, George
Bentham, George Jackson Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Haslam, James (Derbyshire)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Dillon, John Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)
Beresford, Lord Charles Dixon, Charles Harvey (Boston) Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry
Bird, Alfred Donelan, Captain A. Haworth, Arthur A.
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Doris, William Hayden, John Patrick
Boland, John Pius Duffy, William J. Hayward, Evan
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Duke, Henry Edward Hazleton, Richard
Brady, Patrick Joseph Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Healy, Maurice (Cork, N.E.)
Bridgeman, William Clive Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley) Healy, Timothy Michael (Louth, N.)
Brigg, Sir John Dunn, Albert E. (Camborne) Heath, Col. Arthur Howard
Brocklehurst, William B. Dunn, Sir W. H. (Southwark, W.) Helme, Norval Watson
Brunner, John F. L. Edwards, Enoch Hemmerde, Edward George
Bryce, John Annan Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Bull, Sir William James Elverston, Harold Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)
Burdett-Coutts, William Esmonde, Sir Thomas Henry, Charles S.
Burgoyne, Alan Hughes Faber, George D. (Clapham) Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)
Burke, E. Haviland- Falconer, James Higham, John Sharp
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Farrell, James Patrick Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Fell, Arthur Hindle, Frederick George
Butcher, John George (York) Fenwick, Charles Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.
Butcher, S. H. (Camb. Univ.) Ferens, Thomas Robinson Hodge, John
Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid) Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Munro Hogan, Michael
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Ffrench, Peter Holt, Richard Durning
Buxton, Rt. Hon. C. S. (Poplar) Field, William Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)
Byles, Wiliam Pollard Fisher, William Hayes Hope, John Deans (Fife. West)
Campion, W. R. Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Flavin, Michael Joseph Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Fleming, Valentine Hughes, Spencer Leigh
Cator, John Foster, John K. (Coventry) Hume-Williams, William Ellis
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) France, Gerald Ashburner Hunt, Rowland
Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath) Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Illingworth, Percy H. Nolan, Joseph Sheehy, David
Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel Norton, Captain Cecil William Sherwell, Arthur James
Jackson, Sir John (Devonport) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Shortt, Edward
Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire) Nussey, Sir T. Willans Simon, John Allsebrook
Jessel, Captain Herbert M. Nuttall, Harry Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Johnson, William O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) O'Brien, William (Cork) Snowden, Philip
Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Soares, Ernest Joseph
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Doherty, Philip Spicer, Sir Albert
Jowett, Frederick William O'Donnell, Thomas (Kerry, W.) Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Joyce, Michael O'Dowd, John Starkey, John Ralph
Keating, Matthew O'Grady, James Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Kelly, Edward O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Strachey, Sir Edward
Kennedy, Vincent Paul O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Summers, James Woolley
Kilbride, Denis O'Malley, William Sutherland, John E.
Kimber, Sir Henry O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Sykes, Alan John
King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A. Talbot, Lord Edmund
King, Joseph (Somerset, North) Ormsby-Gore, William Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Taylor, T. C. (Radcliffe)
Kirkwood, John H. M. O'Shee, James John Tennant, Harold John
Lambert, George Paget, Almeric Hugh Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)
Lane-Fox, G. R. Palmer, Godfrey Mark Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Parker, James (Halifax) Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Pearce, William Thomas, David Alfred (Cardiff)
Leach, Charles Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. Thomas, James Henry (Derby)
Lehmann, Rudolf C. Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Levy, Sir Maurice Peto, Basil Edward Thorne, William (West Ham)
Lewis, John Herbert Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton) Thynne, Lord Alexander
Llewelyn, Venables Philipps, Sir O. C. (Pembroke) Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Lloyd, George Ambrose Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Toulmin, George
Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Pickersgill, Edward Hare Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Pointer, Joseph Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Pollard, Sir George H. Verney, Frederick William
Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Pollock, Ernest Murray Vivian, Henry
Lundon, Thomas Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Wadsworth, John
Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Power, Patrick Joseph Walker, H. de R. (Leicester)
Lynch, Arthur Alfred Pretyman, Ernest George Walsh, Stephen
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.) Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) Walters, John Tudor
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Walton, Sir Joseph
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Pringle, William M. R. Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Proby, Col. Douglas James Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Quilter, William Eley C. Wardle, G. J.
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Radford, George Heynes Waring, Walter
McCallum, John M. Raffan, Peter Wilson Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
M'Kean, John Rainy, Adam Rolland Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe) Raphael, Herbert Henry Waterlow, David Sydney
Mallet, Charles Edward Rea, Walter Russell Watt, Henry A.
Manfield, Harry Reddy, Michael Wheler, Granville C. H.
Marks, George Croydon Redmond, John E. (Waterford) White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Mason, James F. Redmond, William (Clare, E.) White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Masterman, C. F. G. Rendall, Athelstan White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Meagher, Michael Ridley, Samuel Forde White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Whitehouse, John Howard
Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.) Roberts, George H. (Norwich) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Menzies, Sir Walter Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.) Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Middlebrook, William Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Wilkie, Alexander
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Millar, James Duncan Robinson, Sidney Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Molloy, Michael Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Montagu, Hon. E. S. Roche, Augustine (Cork) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Roe, Sir Thomas Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Royds, Edmund Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Morpeth, Viscount Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Wilson, T. F. (Lanark, N.E.)
Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. Salter, Arthur Clavell Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Mount, William Arthur Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Winfrey, Richard
Muldoon, John Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees) Wing, Thomas
Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C. Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Muspratt, Max Sanders, Robert Arthur Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Nannetti, Joseph P. Scanlan, Thomas Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Neilson, Francis Schwann, Sir Charles E. Young, William (Perth, East)
Newdegate, F. A. Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Newman, John R. P. Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Gulland.
Newton, Harry Kottingham Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster) Shackleton, David James
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Brackenbury, Henry Langton Channing, Sir Francis Allston
Banner, John S. Harmood- Brunskill, Gerald Fitzgibbon Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry
Barnston, Harry Carlile, Edward Hildred Clyde, James Avon
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Castlereagh, Viscount Coates, Major Edward F.
Black, Arthur W. Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Cooper, Captain Bryan R. (Dublin, S.)
Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid) Chambers, James Cory, Sir Clifford John
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Keswick, William Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)
Dairymple, Viscount Kyffin-Taylor, G. Sandys, Lt.-Col. T. M. (Bootle)
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. (Glasgow, E.) Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsay) Smith, F. E.(Liverpool, Walton)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Du Cros, Arthur P. (Hastings) Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)
Duncannon, Viscount Lonsdale, John Brownlee Stewart, Gershom (Ches., Wirral)
Falle, Bertram Godfray MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh Stewart, Sir M'T. (Kirkc'dbr'tsh.)
Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Mackinder, Halford J. Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Fletcher, John Samuel M'Calmont, Colonel James Tryon, Captain George Clement
Forster, Henry William Meysey-Thompson, E. C. Verrall, George Henry
Gilmour, Captain John Molteno, Percy Alport Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Moore, William Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Gordon, John Morton, Alpheus Cleophas White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Grant, J. A. Munro, Robert Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Hall, Marshall (Toxteth) Nield, Herbert Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Wood, John(Stalybridge)
Harmsworth, R. Leicester Parkes, Ebenezer Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Henderson, Major Harold (Berkshire) Pearson, Weetman H. M. Younger, George (Ayr Burghs)
Hickman, Colonel Thomas E. Primrose, Hon. Neil James
Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Agar-Robartes and Mr. Mitchell Thomson.
Horner, Andrew Long Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan
Houston, Robert P. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Rutherford, Watson

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.