HC Deb 29 July 1910 vol 19 cc2535-78

I [here insert the name of the Sovereign] 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 which secure the Protestant Succession to the Throne of my Realm, uphold and maintain the said enactments to the best of my powers according to law.


I beg to move to leave out from the word "I" ["I will, according to the true intent"] to the end of the Schedule, and to insert instead thereof the words "do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare that I do believe in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper there is not any transubstantiation of the elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever. And that the invocation of the Virgin Mary or any other saint, and the sacrifice of the Mass as they are now used in the Church of Rome are contrary to the Protestant religion in which I believe. And I do solemnly, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare that I do make this declaration and every part thereof unreservedly."

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ealing (Mr. Nield) gave notice of an Amendment in similar terms, and I am very sorry that he is unable to be here to move it. He was desirous of moving it in Committee yesterday evening. I think most of those who were present at the Committee Debate will agree that, owing to the form the Debate took, it was very difficult to get a really clear issue on the point involved in this Amendment, namely, that there should be an opportunity of expressing the view of those who think that the least possible alteration in the Declaration should be made. There were two ways which could have been taken—either to adhere to the old Declaration with the omission of only two words which appeared to me and others to be offensive, namely, "superstitious" and "idolatrous," or to follow the advice of the House of Lords Committee of 1901 and recast the Declaration in the form of which it stands in this Amendment. In raising this point, I think we shall now get a clear vote, which will distinguish those who wish for a very sweeping alteration from those who only wish a very moderate and qualified one. I do not think it is necessary to go at any length into the argument after the long debate we had yesterday. I object, for my part, to the proposal of the Government in the Bill, on the ground that it involves too much change and is too vague. Nobody can say that the words of this Amendment are vague. They have also the sanction of a very strong Committee of the House of Lords of 1901, which contained the Lord Chancellor, the late Lord Salisbury—whose opinion on this subject I for one think of enormous weight—the Duke of Argyll, another very great authority, and many other distinguished people, including Lord Crewe and others who belong to the Government side. I think it is a very considerable argument in favour of the report of the Committee that it is one drawn up and subscribed by men of such distinction.

There were only three courses as far as I can see. The first was not to have a Declaration at all, and all the arguments in favour of the Bill lead up to that conclusion. The Prime Minister has said that that is impossible that people would misunderstand and misinterpret it. I venture to think that we have now got a Declaration which is far more open to misinterpretation than having no Declaration at all. Another course would have been to have an affirming Declaration much in the form of the Coronation Oath which has to be taken and which is perfectly inoffensive to everybody, because it affirms that the King is a member of the Church of England as everybody knows, and it does not repudiate or attack in any way any other religious body. Both of these methods being now impossible there only remains the course of reintroducing those words of repudiation without the only two offensive words "superstitious" and "idolatrous." I cannot believe that anybody can regard this form as offensive. If we wish to say that we do protest, and to say it clearly and emphatically there is no harm in saying what it is we do protest against.


I beg to second the Amendment. I am afraid I am supporting a cause which is already lost, but though the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister may lead a large majority into the Lobby on this occasion I feel equally sure that if those who follow him had been asked at the last election whether they would retain some repudia- Live words there is not one out of twenty who would not have answered in the affirmative. One realises in this Parliament how far the political exigencies of the moment are governed by legislation. I am one of those who have supported the Amendments which would introduce a repudiative Clause. I do so, because I am cordially pledged to see as far as I can the Declaration put on as strong a footing as it has been put on in the past. No one can deny that the present Declaration lacks that definiteness and strength which the former Declaration had. I am second to no one in my desire that the Declaration should contain nothing in any way offensive to any single one of His Majesty's subjects who are Roman Catholics, but I do not see how inserting such an Amendment as is now proposed could make the Declaration in any way offensive to Roman Catholics. During the Debate to which I have listened as carefully as I could I do not think we have had a sufficient answer from anyone as to why putting in such a Clause as this is offensive to Roman Catholics, or why a Protestant king in a Protestant country cannot state his disbelief in certain doctrines without insulting the members of any Church I cannot understand. I have spoken to Roman Catholics outside this House, and I have listened to and read what has been said on this subject in the past, and it is only within the last week or two that it is stated that these statements are offensive to them. We are simply told that they are so. I cannot believe that they are. If you used insulting epithets to describe those beliefs no one would deny that there is grave cause of complaint against anything of that sort. But when you simply put in a statement of disbelief no valid argument has been put forward to show that it is an insult to any one of His Majesty's subjects. When the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister introduced the Bill with the first form of words I was one of those who still thought that there should be some statement of this disbelief by the Sovereign, but I say it is ten times more necessary since the right hon. Gentleman has amended the statement. He had a definite statement of the Sovereign that he was an adherent of the Church of England as established by law. Then it had the Thirty-nine Articles behind it. But now the form of the right hon. Gentleman contains no such statement. It simply says that he is a faithful Protestant, and the Thirty-nine Articles which had these repudiations are entirely removed. When the first proposal of the Prime Minister was put forward the Roman Catholics found nothing offensive in it. Although it was to be inferred from the statement of membership of the Church of England that they accepted the Thirty-nine Articles, and therefore repudiated these doctrines, yet no offence was taken. But now we are told, when we desire to put in a few sentences like those proposed, that they are an insult to Roman Catholics. We are told that if you look at this question from the common-sense point of view, with all the facts and circumstances of the case before us, it is absurd that in the twentieth century the Sovereign should say more than that he is a Protestant, and that nothing further is necessary. As one of the general public, knowing the Royal Family through the ordinary sources of information, I must say I cannot greatly dissent from this. But there are two or three other very important points of view. We are trustees for the future as well as for the present, and if we look at this matter from the common-sense point of view, with all the facts and circumstances before us, we have to realise that the Sovereign follows the will of the people. It is the will of the people that leads, and I join issue with the Prime Minister and others who have spoken, and I say that it is not in accordance with the will of the people that we should leave out the repudiative sentences in the Declaration. I think the Prime Minister and the Government greatly underrate the strong Protestant feeling that still exists in this country. I admit that it has been dormant for a considerable time, and that it has taken no active steps in recent years. But I believe that it still exists, and I say that this form of Declaration which we are asked to pass does not agree with the views of the vast majority of the people of this country. For that reason I advocate, as I have done during the discussion, the insertion of the words proposed in the Motion before the House.


I do not complain that the hon. Member opposite has raised this issue. Owing to the complexities which necessarily arise on the Committee stage of a Bill like this, on which various proposals are discussed seriatim, we have not had perhaps an opportunity of deciding as between what is called the repudiatory and the alternative affirmative Clause. I shall not trouble the House by going over the ground which was covered by the Debate on the Second Reading and again in the Debate on the Committee stage last night as to the comparative merits and demerits of those two formulas. With reference to what has been said by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, I quite agree with him that there is a strong Protestant feeling in this country, and I believe that the Protestant Succession was never more safe than it is at this moment. I believe there never was a time when the people more thoroughly realised the importance and desirability of maintaining it. But why that Protestant feeling should be outraged, or why it should not find the most adequate and appropriate expression, when the King is made to declare that he is a "faithful Protestant," I confess passes my comprehension. I should have thought that was the very thing Protestants in this country would combine in agreeing as the most appropriate for the particular purpose in view. I cannot for a moment admit that in the form of words which we have finally chosen the Protestant sentiment of the country is not adequately satisfied. Then comes the question, really the only question arising on this Motion, whether what I may call the essentially distinctive or discriminative doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church should be in terms expressly repudiated by the Sovereign at his Accession, or whether, on the other hand, all the necessities of the case are not adequately met, and at the same time risk of offence avoided, by the affirmative Declaration that he is a Protestant. Both hon. Gentlemen have expressed surprise and inability to comprehend why the feelings of Roman Catholics should be in any way outraged by such a form of words as is now proposed. They quite properly pointed out that they have omitted from the present form of Declaration those vituperative epithets which have been singled out by Roman Catholics as being an insult, or at any rate emphasising an insult which the form of Declaration in their view involves.


And the dispensation part.


Yes; that-has been dropped out too, and I think it is a very distinct, improvement.

If you are to have this form of Declaration at all you should take the minimum. The fact remains that Roman Catholics, without any distinction or exception, of all schools and classes, do not like that the Sovereign should be required to repudiate at the commencement of his reign doctrines which they cherish as perhaps the most sacred of all the elements of their creed. I do not wonder at that. I wonder if either of the hon. Gentlemen who have just spoken heard the speech delivered last night by the hon. Member for the Central Division of Sheffield (Mr. Hope). I was very much struck with it. It was not the speech of an Irish Catholic, it was the speech of an English Catholic: it was concise temperate, and to my mind full of instruction and significance. Here was a man without any apparent prejudice, whose whole instincts are conservative in the strictest sense of the term, explaining in a manner which every Protestant could not fail to understand, that to single out particular doctrines of his creed is a most grievious offence. He and his fellow Catholics whether English or Irish—and not only English or Irish, but Canadian or Australian, or New Zealand or South African, or in every part of His Majesty's wide-stretched Dominions—every one of the twelve millions of his Catholic fellow - subjects, regard the singling out of particular articles of their creed for repudiation as giving unnecessary offence to their most sacred feelings. If you do not share that feeling, you must recognise its existence. If to attain your object—which is simply to recognise the Sovereign, to state that he is a Protestant, which means that he is not in communion with Rome, and repudiates Roman doctrine—you get rid of all that feeling of offence, and at the same time secure the only object you have in view, why, in the name of Christian charity and common sense should not that be done?

1.0 P.M.


As I am one of those who still remain opposed to the Bill in its present form, I do not like to remain silent on a measure of this sort. I confess my objections have not been diminished by anything that has fallen from the Prime Minister this afternoon. He began by expressing his wonder why anyone should take exception to the expression in the Bill "I am a faithful Protestant," etc. He expressed his amazement that anyone should take objection to this particular expression. With all due respect to the Prime Minister, I see a perfectly good reason on the face of it. The expression is perfectly meaningless. If you refer to any good dictionary giving an interpretation of the word "Protestant" you will find that different meanings are attached to it. I looked up the word only this morning. I will give one interpretation, and one alone. It is from the well-known dictionary circulated by "The Times" not many years ago. It is one of the most modern and probably the best dictionary of the day. It gives a variety of meanings of the word "Protestant," which are not in any way connected with this Bill, but, as strictly connected with it, one of the meanings of the word given is:— Member or adherent of one of those Christian bodies which were descended from the Reformation of the sixteenth century. One of those bodies. Which? There is nothing in the Bill, absolutely nothing whatever to say. There was in the original Bill, but, changed as it is to-day, and in the measure as it stands, no definite and effective meaning could be given without much further explanation. The right hon. Gentleman from the first has based his support of his own proposal mainly on the ground that he found it impossible to take a repudiatory basis, and on the whole he came to the conclusion that the basis of the Bill must be an affirmative one. But he gave no adequate reason, certainly in my opinion no adequate reason, for making the statement. To-day he has rather enlarged the point when he says, go where you will, Roman Catholic subjects of the King throughout the world, in Canada, in Australia, in New Zealand, or in the United Kingdom, wherever you will, are, everyone of them, offended at the direct repudiation of their doctrines.

I beg leave to differ from the right hon. Gentleman. I was discussing this subject with a Roman Catholic not two days ago. I was explaining and saying to him very much what I am saying now; and he said, "That we don't mind; if the offensive words are struck out we do not object." There is one out of the innumerable millions to be found in all parts of the world who does not bear out the statement that there is universal offence taken by the repudiation of some of their doctrines. Why should there be any objection? Surely we have the right to ask that question, and we have the right to some answer. I suppose with the exception of those in this House who profess the Roman Catholic faith, I should be right in saying that all of us agree that we do repudiate the doctrine of transubstantiation, that we do repudiate the invocation of the Virgin and other saints, and the sacrament of the Mass as used in the Roman Catholic Church. I do not know how many would differ from me in that statement, but the great majority of us, I think I am right in saying, do repudiate those doctrines. If we do why should we not say so in the plainest possible language? There is nothing offensive to another creed in the repudiation of part of its doctrines as contrary to your own belief if you honestly think so, as we do. I confess I can see no grounds for adopting a course which is, admittedly on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, very offensive to a vast number of Protestant people in this country, whether it be reasonable or not, and out of consideration for a sentiment which is not universal on the other side. That, I am prepared to state, is absolutely true; and in my opinion, and I believe that opinion is shared by a great many others, even if it was so held that would be no justification for this proposal. I have merely risen because, as I say, this is a question on which I hold decided views myself, and on a matter of the gravity and importance of this I do not like to give a vote without having stated my views. I do concur most thoroughly and most heartily in the closing observations of the hon. Member who spoke last. I do believe that the Prime Minister and his colleagues underrate very greatly the depth of the feeling which undoubtedly prevails among vast numbers of the British people in connection with this question. Nor do I think we need be surprised at that when we remember what has happened in the history of the past. I think, therefore, it was wrong, and that it was altogether foolish to ignore that feeling in the way the Government have ignored it, and to have prosecuted this Bill, and conducted it in the manner in which they have conducted it, and which, I think, is calculated to give a totally false impression. I do not mean to say that I believe the only reason why it has been forced through in this way is that the Government were afraid of a growing agitation. I dare say an agitation might have grown up, and I think very likely it would have before we meet next autumn. In choosing their alternative they have done that which I believe to have been wholly unnecessary, and which, I am convinced, causes the deepest offence to a vast number of people.


I would appeal even now to the Government to accept the Amendment. As was pointed out yesterday, hon. Members below the Gangway opposite accepted the omission of what they call the vituperative epithets in the existing Declaration, which have been done away with, and now they demand practically that the whole Declaration should be done away with. The Government really anticipated those remarks by bringing in the Declaration in its present form. I cannot for the life of me understand why anybody should feel aggrieved or offended by the mere statement of the repudiation of certain doctrines of the Roman Catholic faith. I cannot, for my part, notwithstanding the great indignation of hon. Gentlemen opposite below the Gangway, understand that indignation at the words "idolatrous and superstitious." After all, they are only an expression of belief on the part of the Sovereign as regards the mass and transubstantiation. I cannot quite see why they should be considered offensive. I am sure there is not anybody in this House who would desire the use of them if they considered them offensive unless they thought them necessary to secure the Protestant Succession. I would submit it does not lie in the mouths of hon. Gentlemen opposite or of their co-religionists to complain of them because, although I do not say we should use vituperative epithets because they do with regard to the Protestant religion, I do not think they can complain if they were used when they were thought necessary. I will, with the permission of the House, read an oath taken by the Roman Catholic bishops of Quebec, which is in the British Empire. It is as follows——


Where is the hon. Gentleman quoting from?


From the "Standard" of 15th July, 1910.


Where is the supposed verification?


I presume the "Standard" would not have published it without being satisfied that it was correct.


What is the authority?


Do you deny it?


I have never heard it.


It is stated that this is the oath taken by the Roman Catholic bishops of the Province of Quebec:— That the Pope is the true and only head of the Catholic, or Universal, Church throughout the earth, and that by virtue of the keys of binding and loosing given to His Holiness by the Saviour Jesus Christ, he hath power to depose heretical Kings, Princes, States Commonwealths and Governments, all being illegal without his sacred affirmation, and that they may be surely destroyed. Therefore, to the utmost in my power, I shall and will defend this doctrine, and His Holiness's rights and customs against all usurpers, especially against the new pretended authority of the Church of England, and all adherents in regard that they and she be usurpal and heretical, opposing the sacred Mother Church of Rome. I do further declare the doctrine of the Church of England, of the Calvinists. Huguenots and of others of the name of Protestants, to be damnable and they themselves are damned and to be damned that will not forsake same. I will further declare that I will help, assist, advise all or any of His Holiness's agents in any place in which I shall be, in England, Scotland and Ireland, or in any other territory or kingdom, and shall come to and do my utmost to extirpate the heretical Protestant doctrine and to destroy all their pretended power, legal or otherwise.


I have no hesitation in saying that that is not merely un-Catholic, but false, fraudulent, and a forgery.


I should like to know the hon. Gentleman's authority for that statement.


The oath the hon. Baronet has just read is a well-known forgery, which has been exposed over and over again. I can give him papers which I think will prove that to his own satisfaction.


I am very pleased to hear it; but I should like further confirmation than the statements of the two hon. Members that it is a forgery-There is the statement, and if it is correct it does not lie in the mouths of Roman Catholics to complain of these very mild words, which, as I say, no Protestant in this country would wish to use needlessly, but they think that in the interests of the Protestant Succession they are necessary. I certainly do not think the term "faithful Protestant" is sufficient to guard the Protestant Succession to the Throne. The Secretary for Ireland delivered the other night a very clever, witty, and amusing speech, which partook rather of the nature of a farce, or, as the play-bills would say, a "screaming farce," than the deliverance of a staid and sober-minded Minister of the Crown on a question which, although it may be treated by him in a light manner, is looked upon in a very serious light by a large majority of the people of this country. He seemed to think that the word "Protestant" meant nothing at all, and did not bind a man to anything in particular. I would even at this late hour beg the Prime Minister to accept this Amendment.


I would join in the appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to accept this Amendment. The Prime Minister has stated that certain words were offensive to hon. Members below the Gangway who hold Roman Catholic views. For the life of me I cannot see how it could be expected to be otherwise. The whole object of this Declaration is to protest against the doctrines of the Church of Rome in the person of our Sovereign. That being so, how is it possible that any Roman Catholic could accept it without a certain amount of offence. I quite admit that the actual words used may vary; but whereas the original words in the old Declaration may have been peculiarly offensive, they have now been withdrawn, and it is impossible to expect the Declaration to carry out its real object without giving some offence to Roman Catholics. It would be far better to face the situation honestly and openly. Make it as little offensive as you can, but at the same time say straight out in plain English what you mean, and face the result, whether it be offensive to Roman Catholics or anybody else. Nobody wishes to offend any religion; but if the Declaration is to have any meaning at all it is impossible to word it in such a way that it will not carry some offence. The words in the new form in their literal sense carry offence to Roman Catholics. If they mean anything at all, they must mean that in the person of our Sovereign we protest against the doctrines of the Church of Rome. This Amendment gives the Government an opportunity to put into plain language what we mean by the Declaration. It is evident to most of us on this side what is the object and intention of the Government, and, therefore, our appeal is in vain. There is little doubt that this alteration of the Declaration is simply a part of the arrangement which has been made; it is part payment for the votes of hon. Members below the Gangway.


Nothing of the kind.


In order to gain their support in this House this sop is held out to their co-religionists. The last word on this subject has not been spoken; it lies with the people of the country. The Government have entirely under-estimated the force of public opinion on the matter. This Debate will not be concluded within the walls of this House; it will be carried on throughout the length and breadth of the land. I believe a feeling will have been aroused by the Government's insistence on altering the Declaration in this way, of which they will not hear the end for a very long time to come, and which will have a very serious influence on their fortunes when the next election comes round. For these reasons. I again appeal to the Government to accept the Amendment.


I think it due to the Government to say that there is not a word of foundation for the statement that this Bill is brought forward in any way to catch the votes of Irish Catholics. For myself, during the last twelve months I have voted far more often with the Opposition than with the Government. I have opposed the Government on all their principal measures, and the suggestion that this Bill is in any way a sop to Irish Members or a bid for their support I utterly repudiate. I think it is most unjust to the Government. I should have said, and I repeat that this Bill does the Government great honour. I have said and I repeat that I have been extremely struck by the candour and manliness of the Prime Minister in the way in which he has faced calumny and opposition in reference to this measure. I think I could go further and say that we accept this Bill in some sense as a tender of friendship and friendliness to Ireland on behalf of His Majesty the King. I regard it on behalf of the King as the act of a manly gentleman to have wished to pass this Bill so that our feelings 'should not be outraged at the most solemn moment of his. life. I wish to say nothing further on the point except to repudiate in the strongest possible manner the suggestion that this Bill is in any way produced as a sop to the Irish Members, or as a bid for their support. As being typical of the way in which this Bill has been attacked by those who support the Government, the hon. Baronet (Sir C. Cory)—I do not know whether he is a baronet or a knight; there are so many of them now it is almost impossible for one to know—has created a sensation by reading out a, document said to be an authoritative oath taken by the bishops in the Province of Quebec. When I asked him his authority, he said, "The authority of the editor of the 'Standard.'"


I did not say the editor; I said it was a letter.


I was coming to that. I am told that it appeared in an anonymous letter in the "Standard." An English gentleman, an English titled gentleman, thinks he is entitled, on the authority of an anonymous letter in a London newspaper, to slander not merely the Catholics in this House, but the loyal Catholics of Quebec ! I remember reading of the very remarkable reception which King George V., then Duke of York, got from the Catholics of Quebec, and especially the extraordinary manifestation of welcome given to him outside the Church of St. Anne, Beauharnois. I remember the extraordinary reception given to him by the pilgrims there. Yet the hon. Gentleman thinks it is due to his Protestantism and to his position in this House to read out a document which I assert is a forgery, is false, is an invention, is a lie, as being something which Catholics would ever have accepted.

The hon. Gentleman has suggested that these words are only intended to assert the tenets of Protestantism. I do not know whether the hon. Baronet—because I assume that he has reached that grade—ever read Macaulay on bull or badger baiting. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Bear-baiting."] Bear-baiting. He says that "the Puritans objected to bear-baiting, not so much because of the pain it gave to the bear, as the pleasure it gave to the spectators." I would say of this Protestant Declaration that the reason Gentlemen of the calibre of the hon. Baronet opposite are so anxious for its insertion in the Bill is not because it is pleasing to the Protestant so much as because it is offensive to the Catholic !


The hon. and learned Gentleman said that it was an anonymous letter.


I said I was informed that it was.


Anyway, it is well known that a paper would not insert a letter without an accompanying card giving the name and address of the writer in order, necessarily, to guard themselves against libel.


How is it signed?


With initials.


I said it was an anonymous letter. I call that an anonymous letter.


The name and address would be sent with the letter, and it is open for the hon. and learned Gentleman to find out who the writer was.


I very much regret that this note of discord has been introduced into this Debate. I will not pursue it, for my only concern is with the Protestant Succession. This, I think, is completely secured by Statute. Anyone who has taken the trouble to read the White Paper issued by the Government must, I think, be convinced on that point. And if it is not secured by Statute, this Declaration will not secure the Protestant Succession. I suppose the object of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House who have spoken so strongly against a Roman Catholic coming to the Throne, is that it seems to them that the old Declaration would secure not only the exclusion of a Catholic from the Throne, but his continuance upon it if he were there. I think it was the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition who told us a day or two ago that probably even King Charles II. would have taken the old Declaration. I cannot for the life of me see that the Succession would at all be secured by insisting upon the King taking that Declaration in the belief that it would secure a man who is not a Catholic as King. We have been told in this Debate that a man might make that Declaration and in six months become a Roman Catholic, in which case the Declaration would be entirely inoperative. Happily the Bill of Rights secures the Protestant Succession and the continuance of the Monarch as a Protestant. We were told in most forcible language by the Prime Minister, reading from the Statute, that any Monarch who joined the Catholic Church must thereby forfeit his Throne. Even if he married a Roman Catholic he would forfeit his Throne. The Act absolves all the subjects of the King in that event from their allegiance to him. I rejoice greatly that the Government have adopted a simpler and more effective form to secure what is desirable. I quite believe that the Bill as amended will satisfy all reasonable persons for all time to come.

There are three things on which most reasonable men are agreed. The first is that the old Declaration must go. It is cruel to make the King offend twelve or fourteen millions of his subjects, many of whom are as loyal as any Gentleman in this House, when he is taking his place on the Throne of this great Empire. The great occasion of the Accession should, in my judgment, be made a time for bringing together the people of all parts of the Empire in closer fellowship and brotherhood rather than of wounding them. In the second place we are agreed that the new Declaration to be passed by this House ought to offend none. It would be a pity if, whilst relieving Catholics of offence, it should in any way give offence to millions of Protestants who do not belong to the Church of England, and who would be greatly distressed by the Bill introduced in its original form. So I think all reasonable men will be grateful for the alteration. Thirdly, we are, I think, all agreed that no King must ever again be asked to publicly declare that the religion of millions of his subjects is blasphemous and idolatrous. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not in this Amendment at all."] I most heartily support the Government Bill now before the House, and hope that it will be carried into law.


It is not true as stated in this Debate that there has been no mandate in this matter. This Bill may not have been put emphatically and decisively before the electors at the last election, but speaking for myself I had to answer questons on the subject. Questions were submitted to me that, if elected, would I vote against an alteration in this Oath. And the answer I gave was that, while I was wishful and desirous, and would strive to maintain the Protestant Succession, I was anxious and willing as a tolerant Christian to take out of the Oath any words which might be offensive to any man or to any other religion. I have yet to learn that the use of vituperation in the taking of an Oath or the making of any statement is necessary for its sincerity, and to ask His Majesty to use any words other than those in the proposed new Declaration, namely "faithful Protestant," is in a measure to throw suspicion upon him. If anything was necessary in the way of additional argument to prove the necessity for this change, the Debate has supplied it. I believe that the moment is opportune for sweeping away for ever the whole ground upon which these theological disputations arise. Let us in future remove from this or any other Oath which His Majesty has to take words which may be offensive to his subjects whatever faith they possess. These words in the old Oath was borne of theological passion at a period which cannot be compared with the present, and they are not needed at the present time.


I shall support the Amendment, and for this reason that I believe the words of the Prime Minister "faithful Protestant" deserve some qualification. The words "faithful Protestant" may mean anything whatever. The word "Protestant" may alter its meaning from what we know it now, and the words which are inserted for the Oath of future Sovereigns may come to have an understanding, which means nothing at all. I asked the Prime Minister last night, when an Amendment was moved by one of my hon. Friends, to give the matter further consideration, but he took no notice of the suggestion. Now, in midday, when we may all be in a more amiable frame of mind, I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he does not believe that for the satisfaction of a very large number of people—and I think he has underestimated the opposition to this Bill—he would not put in some word for the purpose of qualifying the word "Protestant." it would be perfectly possible for an agnostic to take the Oath as it stands now. and that is the reason I supported the Amendment of my hon. Friend (Mr. Laurence Hardy) last night. If his Amendment had been accepted it would be incumbent upon the Sovereign, in taking the Declaration, to solemly affirm he was a Member of the Church of England, and entered into communion with the Church of England. The Oath in its present form might be taken by anyone, and for that reason, and also for the reason of conciliating if I 'may say so, a very large number of people in this country who are opposed to any change, I support this Amendment. It would be judicious on the part of the Prime Minister to accept these words for the purpose of qualifying the word "Protestant."


I do not at all disguise the fact that I am still in the impenitent position of that much-despised class who are accused of not wanting to alter a single line of the Declaration. I am not at all ashamed of it. I am one of those who believe that we should not alter one word of this old landmark. I have now, however, to consider whether this Amendment is an improvement upon what has been brought forward by the Government. I must say if I was satisfied that all parties in this House would be in a position to construe the new Declaration of the Government and the words "faithful Protestant" in the same way as I do I should be pretty well satisfied, but I have great doubt as to the meaning put upon the words "faithful Protestant." Every time the Government is asked to construe the meaning of the words "faithful Protestant," and to put into the meaning of the words what every faithful Protestant would do, namely, to disavow without offence the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, the Government say, "We will not ask a faithful Protestant to do that." Again and again in the Committee stage, when it was sought to ensure that a "faithful Protestant" should repudiate Communion with the Church of Rome, the Government said they would not do that. The words of this Amendment are not qualifying; they are only explaining the meaning of the words "faithful Protestant." Of course the Government know their own business best. If they are afraid of an agitation in the country of which the Chief Secretary for Ireland complained I think it is a very very important platform point against them, that as soon as they were asked to put in after the words "faithful Protestant" the words "that he was not to enter into communion with the Church of Rome" they refused to do so.

The Prime Minister said last night there was some doubt on these benches as to the meaning of the words "faithful Protestant." We never raised any doubt; the doubt came from the Government themselves. Once the Government have decided to alter the Declaration, the next best thing is to explain it, and it is explained in this Amendment. This Amendment is the old Declaration leaving out the two words. "superstitious" and "idolatrous," which were complained of. If we are to have an Amendment at all, the further Amendment now proposed should be made. The reason the two words "superstitious" and "idolatrous" were taken out was because, as the Prime Minister has said, they were offensive to Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom and Empire. An hon. Gentleman on the opposite side of the House expressed his desire, as many others have done, that there should be removed from this Declaration all offensive matters. I think this would be a convenient moment for the House to know what it is that is merely offensive, because, in spite of the contradiction of the hon. Member for Clare (Mr. William Redmond), I state without any hesitation, and it can be supported by reference to the public journals since the agitation began, the inception of the whole thing were the words "superstitious" and "idolatrous." The matter was brought before boards of guardians, urban and rural councils, and the only criticism involving sometimes strong language was that it was a scandalous thing, from their point of view, that they should be described as "superstitious and idolatrous." That was the only point of objection on which Roman Catholic public opinion fastened itself. It appears now that opinions as to what is offensive in the Declaration are getting stronger and Wider, and even when the words complained of are eliminated it is asserted that it is offensive to mention any particular religion in the Declaration. When you say that the King must be a Protestant, then you are selecting one particular Church, because Protestants derive their name from being in opposition to certain dogmas of the Church of Rome. Is that offensive? It may not be considered offensive now, but have we any guarantee that in five years' time there will not be an agitation to remove the word "Protestant" from the Declaration. I do not like quoting from the "Freeman's Journal," but I know very well how it treats, this question in Ireland. That journal simply lumps us together as non-Catholics. Now, I claim to be just as good a Catholic as any hon. Member. I think we ought to avoid theological matters, but I may point out that it is part of the creed of my Church, and part of our religious service, that the members of our Church believe in the Catholic Church, and I have just as much right to call myself a Catholic, although I do not belong to the Roman Catholics, as hon. Members below the Gangway. I do not know that this Amendment will save us from the charge in future of being offensive. The other day I came across an historical fact. In 1851 Cardinal Cullen gave some excellent political advice. Referring to the success of O'Connell and other Roman Catholic politicians in getting restrictions and Roman Catholic disabilities abolished, he said:— Their next movement ought to be to eliminate from the Coronation Oath and the preliminary Oath taken by the Sovereign, all the limitations which confine it to the Protestant Succession. Now, after sixty years, we find a Government in power willing to carry out Cardinal Cullen's behests. We now see how subservient the Liberal Government can be to anything which is desired by hon. Members below the Gangway. The question before the House is whether this Declaration is better than the Declaration which the Government are going to thrust upon the country before we have had a chance of consulting our constituencies. The Declaration cannot be said to be offensive when we have removed the only two words which were said to be offensive. A thing is not offensive simply because hon. Members below the Gangway say it is. The country is the judge in that matter. I do not see how it is offensive to say that only a Protestant must sit on the Throne. In regard to the question before the House, there can only be one answer to those who desire to see Protestant Succession safeguarded and who prefer to see no alteration at all, and that is to vote for this Amendment.


If there is one thing about which this Debate as a whole does credit to the House it is the evident desire on the part of all who have spoken to be as inoffensive as possible. I am only a new Member of the House of Commons, but in my view the idea that a particular form of words is everything seems to be altogether fallacious. With regard to the preservation of the Protestant Succession, whatever words you introduce into any Declaration entirely depends upon the continued Protestant view of the people of these Islands, and unless you can maintain a Protestant sentiment sufficiently strong to return a Protestant majority no form of words is a real security. These changes seem to be a reflection of growing opinion in the country. One of my hon. Friends spoke of the King in a personal sense. The value of this Declaration is not in the person who has to conform to it. The King is symbolic of all the inhabitants in the Empire, and it seems to me that no religious body should be singled out to be lectured upon an occasion when a King is making an important Declaration to his subjects. I welcome this Declaration, because I think it carries out the spirit of the old Declaration and secures the Protestant Succession. We mean by Protestant that attitude of mind in a religious sense expressed in the Bill of Rights, and the new Declaration calls attention to that fact. The new Declaration seems to hoe to be another step in that advance towards religious equality when no man should be at a disadvantage on account of his religious opinion, and the King realising this enlarged sentiment in a broad sense expresses the sense of the whole nation by the statement he makes, in which he says that he will accept the statutory position secured to him, and he does it in a manner which leaves the loyalty of Catholics in no sense affected. He recognises the loyalty of the Catholics without offending them. It is said there is a growing feeling outside this House against the new Declaration. Personally I have not seen this. I do not think there has been any change in our time so great as this, or that there has ever been so little opposition as on this occason. For years I have been of opinion that the Declaration should be altered, and I promised my Constituents I would use all the efforts I possibly could to alter the old Declaration, and I gladly, accept the new form in which the Government has brought it forward. I do not think that hon. Gentlemen opposite and some of my hon. Friends on this side of the House will be able to rouse public opinion in the way they think. The opinion of this country grows more tolerant day by day. The old Declaration has grown out of use, and the religiously intellectual people of this country have no place any longer for religious persecution. The time is coming when people will be allowed to follow fully their religious beliefs without offence. It seems to me to be a delusion to think that any form of words can be binding on the human mind. It finds itself changing by changing circumstances, and I would rather trust the Monarch in accepting this Declaration than to have any form of words such as the Amendment suggests.


The argument of the last speaker seems to me to warrant not only the abolition of the Declaration altogether, but the abolition of the Protestant Succession, because all his arguments went to show that so far as he was concerned he would be perfectly willing to see not only perfect religious equality, but perfect religious equality in the mind of the King himself as to what views he was to hold with regard to religious dogmas. I do not believe the majority of the country or of this House take that view at all, and I am very sorry myself the Prime Minister has not seen his way to fall in with the views of a large number of Gentlemen who have argued, and I think successfully argued, that a further definition ought to be attached to the words which are used in the Declaration. I do not agree with what the late Lord Advocate (Mr. Scott Dickson) said the other night, that the concession made by the Prime Minister would not go any way to allay the feelings of objection which have been entertained in Scotland. I believe the concession made by the Prime Minister will do so to a very large extent, but I do not feel it will be successful in allaying those feelings altogether. I believe the mapority of the people in Scotland and in this House also do not like the absolutely colourless nature of this Declaration. There is no boldness in this Declaration anywhere. I do not often agree with the hon. Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore), but I do think that a great deal of what he has said during the course of this Debate is perfectly warranted by the character of the Declaration the Government propose. It would, I think, be far better to have no Declaration at all than to resist every kind of definition of the word "Protestant." The Government and the Prime Minister have refused to attach any kind of meaning whatever to the word, and therefore I am very sorry to say I shall find it my duty, not only to vote for this Amendment, but to vote against the Third Reading of the Bill, unless the Government will accept some further definition either in this Clause or in an Amendment which is going to be moved subsequently with regard to the relation of the Papacy to this country.

2.0 P.M.


If the Prime Minister has not been able to convince my hon. Friend opposite and the hon. Member for North Armagh, I certainly do not hope at this stage to be able to do so, but I think two things should again be quite explicitly stated. The hon. Member for North Armagh pointed out that objection had been taken in the first instance, more particularly by resolutions passed by various public bodies in Ireland and elsewhere, to the particular words "superstitious" and "idolatrous," and he drew from that the conclusion that it was only to these words objection was taken by Catholics. The reason why those words figure so largely in those resolutions is perfectly obvious: it is because they are obviously and clearly offensive. I will put it to my hon. Friend and to the hon. Member for North Armagh whether, if the Sovereign were to single out certain doctrines of the religious communions to which they belong for special repudiation at the most solemn moment of his life, they would not regard that as grossly offensive to them, even if words such as "superstitious" and "idolatrous" were not there. The hon. Member for North Armagh and I believe my hon. Friend suggested that the next step would be to demand that the Protestant Succession itself should go. I may say quite frankly I think it is a very remarkable thing that the members of the great historic Church of Christendom should accept in this matter, as they have done perfectly frankly, openly, and in the most explicit terms, the exclusion of Catholics from the Throne of this country. It has been said explicitly over and over again both in this House and in another place, and it is not, therefore right to suggest that when hon. Members of this House and Noble Lords in another place make a solemn statement on behalf of their co-religionists that they do, as a matter of fact accept the Protestant Succession loyally and faithfully, that they are speaking something which they do not really mean. What are we doing? We are deciding for a person not present and not consulted—we are dealing not only with the present King, but with future monarchs—and we are saying what it is that the man shall stand before his people and laying his hand upon his heart, what he shall profess as to the most intimate and sacred thoughts of his being. That is a remarkable proceeding, and surely it ought to give pause to these who would ask that the Sovereign, who, after all, is not merely a constitutional citizen, but is also a man with a heart, with faith and with a conscience, it should, I say, give pause to, them before they ask him to use words which may be exceedingly distasteful to him as a man. You have, indeed, no right to inquire, seeing the nature of the laws by which the Protestant Succession is established, you have, I say, no right to demand that your Sovereign, who is to be, in the words of the Prime Minister, a faithful Protestant under the existing law of the country, shall go further and shall single out for reprobation doctrines which it may be are held by those for whom he has a kindly feeling and which he may be inclined to view in feelings of charity. I cannot conceive that anybody in his senses would come down to this House and propose to enforce a Declaration such as that which is embodied in the Amendment. It is really going beyond our province to require that the King shall at this great solemn moment of his life single out particular doctrines for reprobation, because by so doing he would, in the first place, be making a Declaration which in point of fact is grossly offensive and hurtful to the beliefs and most intimate feelings of millions of his subjects; and, secondly, it may well be that while he is prepared to say sincerely from his heart that he is a faithful Protestant, you may not only injure the feelings of his subjects, but you may also call upon thé Sovereign to do something which may be extremely disagreeable to him.


I merely wish to point out a view of the question which shows that, unconsciously no doubt, hon. Members are not doing full justice to those who object to the present form of Declaration, because they want it to define Protestantism. The proposal in the Declaration is a very unjust one, because it is a negative Declaration. You define a Protestant as a person who does not believe in certain doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. As a Protestant myself I protest against Protestantism being so defined. I protest against it being defined on its negative side. Everyone who knows anything of English literature will remember one of the most famous of our poems—it is the Song of Herrick, in which he said:— Bid me to live and I will live, Thy Protestant to be; Bid me to love, and I will give A loving heart to thee. There is a very correct use of the term. Protestant is not a negative term at all. Anyone who analyses the word will see that a Protestant is a person who is giving evidence for a thing; he is a witness against something else—a witness for something Protestant. My hon. Friends who are pleading for a negative definition of Protestantism are doing a great injustice to the Roman Catholic religion. Any religion which merely exists on negations must die. A religion cannot live on negative starvation. It must be positive, or else it is doomed, and I protest against my Protestantism being defined as a simple negation of certain doctrines of the Roman Catholic or any other Church. It has been well said—it was said by the Chief Secretary for Ireland—that we cannot, and do not, want to define the word. We know what Protestantism means in a general sense, and we also know what it does not mean. If you talk to a man in the street, and he says he is a Protestant, he does not mean that he does not believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation. He knows nothing about that. He believes in certain positive religious opinions. I would plead with hon. Members on both sides of the House, who are so enamoured of Protestantism—as I hope most of us are—not to be unjust to their own faith by accepting a negative definition of the Protestant religion. It has been said that this is a sop to hon. Members on the other side of the House. As a Liberal Member of some years' standing, may I say I do not regard it as a sop. I remember when the hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond) introduced his Bill I was very vexed with him because he stuck in the Lord Chancellor and this jeopardised the measure by making it too big—as most people do here. As a matter of fact, I then felt we had a chance, and I said to my people, "It is positively disreputable to abuse other people's religion." Is it not possible for the English nation to safeguard its own religion without blackguarding anybody else's? That is what this Declaration, as changed by the Government, is doing. I know that any words of mine can have very little and possibly no effect, but I should have liked the House to have been unanimous on this question. It would have been an act of graciousness, an act of politeness, and of common decency that we should cease to abuse anybody else's religion, and I do plead with my hon. Friends not to be unjust to Protestantism by trying to retain a definition of it, which is narrow, negative, and an absolutely inefficient one. If you agree so much with the Roman Catholics, why single out something with which you disagree as a positive definition of our faith. I say it is unjust, and I am surprised that this point has not been raised earlier in the Debate, because it strikes me I must, as a Protestant, protest against any such narrow view of my religion. It means so much more than the negation of trans-substantiation or the prayers to the Virgin Mary, and it does not mean these things. Do the Salvation Army or the Church Army mean these things when they preach their faith at the corners of the streets I Nothing of the kind. They mean a positive thing, an actual thing, that a man can take into his heart and regenerate his life by means of it. Not a negation of the faith of somebody else. That being so, I appeal to my Protestant Friends to accept this chance of putting Protestantism on a broader and sounder basis, and not the basis of contradicting anybody else's faith.


I wish to recall the memory of the House to a time which has long since gone, and which I hope is to a large extent forgotten, and that is to the year 1851, when England was in a perfect frenzy and ferment owing to the action of the Pope in regard to the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. The Pope had issued a Brief, couched in language which was most unfortunate, and to Englishmen very offensive. It was couched in language which seemed to indicate that the Papal spiritual supremacy could be reasserted in this country. England was mapped out into dioceses under the episcopal control of an archbishop and twelve suffragans in language practically denying the paramount authority of the Sovereign in this country. Unfortunately there was a cardinal at that time who seemed to encourage to some extent that idea by his language, and it was called by a statesman of that time "bombastic and ridiculous." Lord John Russell wrote to the Bishop of Durham and denounced the aggression of the Pope upon Protestantism as" insolent and insiduous." Why do I recall the House to a memory of that kind at the present moment? I may remind the House that at that time hundreds of addresses were poured in upon the Crown, and I would ask the House to remember what was the attitude of Queen Victoria on that occasion. Perfectly calm and perfectly temperate, and the strife that raged around her seemed not to deprive her for a moment of that quiet sympathetic spirit which rendered her so beloved throughout her extraordinarily beautiful reign. I want to recall the language of the Queen when she wrote to Lord John Russell in these words: "Sincerely Protestant as I have always been and always shall be, I much regret the intolerant and unchristian spirit exhibited."

It seems to me that the word "Protestant" may be extremely indefinite from one point of view and extremely definite 'from another. It is indefinite as showing perhaps what the man is, because it is very inclusive, but it is very definite in showing what he is not, and I for one most sincerely support the words "faithful Protestant" which were introduced by the Prime Minister into the Declaration, because I think it does secure what we want, which is a very definite statement of what a man is not. That is to say, that no man who takes those words on his lips honestly and sincerely can be a Roman Catholic. If he honestly calls himself a faithful Protestant he cannot possibly be a Roman Catholic. And yet that expression is quite indefinite as to what he is, because we all know the word Protestant embraces a great many forms of the Christian faith—forms and sections which do not in any way agree with each other not nearly so much as many of us in this House wish they did. As far as that is concerned, I shall support the Declaration as it now stands, and as to whether or not it is well to add a definition I agree very much with what the last speaker said, that definitions cannot be negative, or if they are negative they are not satisfactory. I quite agree with him in wishing to strongly deprecate not only blackguarding other people's religion—that, I think, is a word which should hardly have been used—but the use of words which can be offensive. Since yesterday I have had my attention called to a speech which I do not think has been quoted in this House at this time, but which, I think, is well worthy of the attention of everyone in this House—both those who are Roman Catholics and those who are not. That is a speech by Lord Llandaff, made on 8th July, 1901, in the House of Lords. I do want to read these words, as they do apply very strictly to the case before us. He said:— Does the Noble and learned Lord think that in the Declaration as altered there is nothing which can offend Catholic feeling? Why, two of the cardinal doctrines of the Catholic Church arc picked out for au expression of disbelief, and therefore of condemnation, by the Sovereign. This Declaration is to be made audibly, publicly, and solemnly on a most solemn occasion, and does the Lord Chancellor suppose that that exceptional treatment, allotted to Roman Catholics alone, is not painful to them? There are in this country scores of creeds, each of which teaches some doctrine in which the Sovereign does not believe, but you pass them all by in respectful silence. In the case of the Catholic Church alone two doctrines are picked out for affirmation of disbelief and therefore condemnation. Catholics cannot help regarding this proceeding as both offensive and painful. I have read those words because they bear out what the hon. Member for Clare was saying a few days ago, and I cannot help feeling that they are words that we ought to take account of, and which the Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore) had evidently not read, or not read lately, because he told us in this House a short time ago that the offence which Roman Catholics felt was limited to the two or three words which all of us wish to get out of the Declaration. I feel that it is only honest to read those words, because they practically are against an Amendment which I myself put down upon the Paper, and I think those of us who desire only to do what is perfectly fair and straight in this matter, and who have the greatest possible desire not to use language which can reasonably offend our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, should mention a matter of that kind. Surely, in these circumstances, we must acknowledge that the reasons for offence which have been felt by the Roman Catholics for several years past—at all events, since the year 1901, when that took place in the House of Lords—do refer to something more than the use of two or three strong expressions or unfortunate words which many of us have long deprecated and long wished to get rid of. Honestly, I believe that many of us may lose votes by it, but I hope there is not a man in the House who regards it from that point of view, and who would not gladly run the risk of losing votes if he gained the sympathy, the regard, and the respect of those who may differ from him in religion, but who, after all, have one object and one aim as Members of the House and as citizens of the Empire.


I listened to the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Harwood) with a great deal of astonishment. If it meant anything at all it meant that we should shut up all our churches and chapels. I entirely disagree with him as to Protestantism not being a negative. Protestantism must be a negative, because it is simply a protest against the errors of Rome. All that we Protestants say is, "Take the Bible and read it, and judge for yourselves." We do not attempt to dictate to anyone what he shall believe in regard to their particular faith. I am sorry the Government cannot adopt this Amendment, although they may yet do so. They have given way to the ultimatum of the Nonconformists, and I think they might give the Presbyterians of Scotland a little. I cannot see any harm in the Declaration. In any case Protestants believe this about transubstantiation, and if it is true why not put it in the Declaration. But we get no answer to that at all. The Roman Catholics want to make the Declaration absolutely colourless, so that it shall mean nothing particular at all. I am sorry to hear some of our Roman Catholic Friends opposite repudiate apparently what has always been understood to be the claims and powers of their Church. Whether the letter that appeared in the "Standard" is correct or not I cannot say, but we have all for many years been of opinion that this sort of Oath had to be made just in the same way as the clergymen of the Church of England have to believe in the Thirty-nine Articles. If that is not correct, will they tell us what the correct Oath is? The hon. Gentleman opposite apparently tried, and I hope he is correct, to assure us that we shall never have a Roman Catholic Sovereign in this country. He gave up the claim of the Bishop of Rome to have anything to say to the matter at all. I never understood before that Roman Catholics had gone as far as that. I have never wished in any way to act offensively towards Roman Catholics. When I have been in Ireland I have gone to a Roman Catholic Church, not that I believe in their doctrines at all, but because I have always held that they are superstitious and idolatrous, and I have told my Roman Catholic friends that that is my belief, but I have shown my goodwill in going to a Roman Catholic place of worship. When I have asked a Roman Catholic friend to go to a Protestant Church he has said, "Oh, no, it is a sin to go to a Protestant Church at all."


The hon. Member is getting a long way from the Amendment.


I hope the Government, if they do not allow these words to go in, will, even at this late hour, bearing in mind that our Constituents in many parts of the country have never yet had an opportunity of considering the Declaration. or of saying whether they would like to have some words of this sort put into it, will meet us in some way. No explanation has been given why they will not give us time to consider these things or to consult our Constituents. That being so, my own opinion is, without being at all offensive to Roman Catholics, that it is our duty to insist on the Sovereign of this country making a definite Declaration with regard to religion, and making quite clear what he means by Protestantism. Unless that is so the country will not be satisfied. This country is Protestant to the back- bone. We owe to that our liberties, both civil and religious, and unless we want this Kingdom to be ruined altogether we shall stick to it.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 215; Noes, 58.

Division No. 153.] AYES. [2.35 p.m..
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Helme, Norval Watson O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) O'Malley, William
Ainsworth, John Stirling Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Allen, Charles Peter Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Ashley, W. W. Higham, John Sharp O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Barnes, G. N. Hillier, Dr. A. P. O'Shee, James John
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Parker, James (Halifax)
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Hogan, Michael Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.
Bethell, Sir J. H. Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Peto, Basil Edward
Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.) Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich) Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Brady, P. J. Hughes, S. L. Pointer, Joseph
Brigg, Sir John Hunt, Rowland Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Burke, E. Haviland- Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath) Power, Patrick Joseph
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Illingworth, Percy H. Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid) Isaacs. Sir Rufus Daniel Pringle, William M. R.
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.) Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Rainy, A. Rolland
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Raphael, Herbert H.
Byles, William Pollard Jowett, F. W. Reddy, M
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Joyce, Michael Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood) Keating, M. Redmond, William (Clare)
Chancellor, Henry George Kelly, Edward Rees, Sir J. D.
Chapple, Dr. W. A. Kennedy, Vincent Paul Roberts, Charles H.(Lincoln)
Clancy, John Joseph King, J. (Somerset, N.) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Clough, William Kirkwood, J. H. M. Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Lambert, George Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Roch, Waiter F. (Pembroke)
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Roche, Augustine (Cork)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Leach, Charles Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Lehmann, R. C. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Crosfield, A. H. Lewis, John Herbert Sanders, Robert A.
Cullinan, J. London, T. Scanlan, Thomas
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Schwann, Sir C. E.
Dawes, J. A. Lyell, Charles Henry Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Delany, William Lynch, A. A. Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B.
Devlin, Joseph Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Smith, H. B. (Northampton)
Dillon, John Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Donelan, Captain A. Macnamara. Dr. Thomas J. Snowden, P.
Doris, W. MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Soares, Ernest J.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-In-Furness) MacVeagh, Jeremiah Sutherland, J. E.
Edwards, Enoch M'Callum, John M. Sutton, John E.
Elverson, H. M'Kean, John Talbot, Lord E.
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Mallet, Charles E. Taylor Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Falconer, J. Masterman, C. F. G. Tennant, Harold John
Farrell, James Patrick Meagher, Michael Thomas, James Henry (Derby)
Ferens, T. R. Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Ffrench, Peter Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.) Thynne, Lord Alexander
Field, William Millar, J. D. Toulmin, George
Fisher, William Hayes Mitchell, William Foot Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Flavin, Michael Joseph Molloy, M. Twist, Henry
George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Mooney, J. J. Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Gibson, Sir James P. Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Verney, F. W.
Ginnell, L. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Vivian, Henry
Gooch, Henry Cubitt Morpeth, Viscount Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Greenwood, G. G. Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. Walters, John Tudor
Guest, Major Muldoon, John Walton, Sir Joseph
Gulland, John W. Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)
Hackett, John Nannetti, Joseph P. Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.
Hall, Frederick (Normanton) Neilson, Francis Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Newton, Harry Kottingham Watt, Henry A.
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Nolan, Joseph White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Norton, Capt. Cecil W. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.) Hussey, Sir willans Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Harwood, George Nuttall, Harry Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Haworth, Arthur A. O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Wing, Thomas
Hayden, John Patrick O'Doherty, Philip Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Hayward, Evar O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Hazleton, Richard O'Dowd, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Masterof Ellbank and Mr. Dudley Ward.
Healy, Maurice (Cork, N.E.) O'Grady, James
Healy, Timothy Michael (Louth, N.) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Banner, John S. Harmood- Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Monro, R.
Barnston, H. Fleming, Valentine Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Barrie, H. T.(Londonderry, N.) Fletcher, J. S. Primrose, Hon. Nell James
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Gilmour, Captain J. Rice, Hon. Walter F.
Bird, A. Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Roberta, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid) Gretton, John Rolleston, Sir John
Brunskill, G. F. Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Salter, Arthur Clavell
Bryce, J. Annan Harmsworth, R. L. Starkey, John R.
Carlile, E. Hildred Hohler, G. F. Stewart, Gershom (Ches., Wirral)
Castlereagh, Viscount Horner, Andrew Long Sykes, Alan John
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Houston, Robert Paterson Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Kimber, Sir Henry Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, N.)
Cooper, Capt. Bryan (Dublin, S.) Knight, Capt. E. A. Tryon, Capt. George Clement
Cory, Sir Clifford John Kyffin-Taylor, G. Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S) Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsay) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Craik, Sir Henry Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Dairymple, Viscount Mackinder, Halford J.
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Molteno, Percy Alport TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Bridgeman and Mr. Grant.
Du Cros, Arthur P. (Hastings) Moore, William
Falle, B. G. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas

I beg to move, at the end of the Schedule, to add the words, "and that I wholly and absolutely repudiate, disallow, and condemn any claim made upon me by any power which overtly or covertly touches my Sovereignty."

I should not have addressed the House this afternoon in moving this Amendment unless I attached great importance to it. What I wish to say in the first place is, that I believe that this is the one vital point of the whole Declaration. I have always been against religious tests, and I am against them now. If the feeling in the country would have been satisfied without the words that are in the Schedule already I should have been quite content if I could have got the words which I now propose as a Schedule by themselves, but recognising that was impossible I have gone on this line in the Divisions which have taken place. I have voted against the specific naming of any denomination. What I am very strong about is that His Majesty should not in any way seem to dissociate himself from any large body of his subjects in the Empire. What I want to lay emphasis on is this: What is Parliament entitled to say to the Sovereign when he proposes to accept from them the Crown? I think Parliament is entitled to ask him to say that he is not under any foreign domination, because, after all, that does not necessarily concern religion, though in this particular case it may. But I do think that if there is any possibility whatever that such a suspicion may exist, we are not going outside our rights and privileges in asking him to make a Declaration that he is willing to reign over us and to be loyal to the allegiance we have placed in his hands. Therefore I think I am entitled to press this Motion on the House in the hope that it will be not only not objectionable to my Catholic fellow Members, but that also it may get some measure of support from them. It is a matter of common knowledge that all through the Empire we have most distinguished Catholics in high positions of trust on whom we impose no test. They are able in different spheres of responsibility to discharge all their duties, and no one suspects them of treachery or betrayal in the high offices they hold. But, that being so, I think we may expect those who hold the Catholic faith to realise, if it is only in one particular instance, we demand this assurance, that we are offering no insult to them or their religion. I have carefully drafted my Amendment so that there would be no reference whatever to any particular religious community at all. There are two objections which may be raised to this Amendment. In the first place, the Government have preferred a positive form, and this is, I admit, in a negative form; but I wish to say to the Government that there is a considerable number of their subjects who, because of the novel nature of this proposal, have been somewhat startled, and I think that a proposition of this sort might help them and help to remove some of the excitement in the country. Another objection is that it may possibly only refer to one Power. That is for the persons concerned to declare. It is not necessarily applicable to only one Power. It might apply to the Emperor of Germany or of China or anybody else. It may have a particular application, but I do not refer to any particular person in order that I may adhere to what I have always done—that is, refrain from picking cut any particular individual or attaching the name of any particular doctrine thereto. Therefore I ask, even at this late hour, that the Government may see its way to accept an Amendment which is not inconsistent with the Schedule as drawn, and which we believe, if admitted, will greatly strengthen their hands in the country in regard to this matter.


On a point of Order. Before you put this from the Chair I respectfully submit to you that it touches the Prerogative of the Crown. This is not an Amendment which can be put from the Chair or ought to be moved in this House. This is a suggestion made by one of the King's subjects, it must be remembered, that the King's Majesty "repudiate and disallow any claim made on me by any Power which overtly or covertly touches my Sovereignty." I respectfully submit that this is in the nature of petty treason, and that certainly in this House of Commons the Speaker ought not to lend his authority to any suggestion made by a subject of the Crown that the King is capable himself of treason, either to his own Sovereignty in this country or to the State; I respectfully submit to you that this Amendment is in the nature of an invasion of the prerogatives of the Crown, and is a suggestion that the Crown will be capable of practically treason to itself, and that under these circumstances no such Amendment should be put from the Chair.


I do not think that I can rule the Amendment out of order on those grounds. The unsatisfactory feature of the Amendment to me is that it is very doubtful whether it is within the scope of the Bill, but, on the whole, I think that I must give it the benefit of the doubt, and allow it. Does any hon. Member desire to second it?


I beg to second the Amendment.


I do not know whether the hon. Member who moved this Amendment attaches great importance to it. The words are rather obscure, but, as far as I can understand them, they are words which may perfectly well be subscribed by the most orthodox Catholics. If that is so, their value from any point of view seems to be rather doubtful.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Runciman)

My hon. Friend who moved the Amendment has in view, I believe, a feeling that animated a very large number of people many years ago, but the suggestion that any power except the Papal power is likely at any time, either openly or covertly, to touch the Sovereign power of our King is altogether out of the question. The House knows perfectly well that this is aimed at the Papal power, and nothing else. As this is the real feeling of the Amendment, I would point out that there is in the Schedule as it stands the statement of the King, "I am a faithful Protestant." Now, whatever meaning there may be attached to those words—and, of course, they cannot be precise; we all know they are not precise: that is one of the charges made against them—whatever meaning attaches to them it is perfectly plain that when he solemnly and sincerely professes and testifies that he is a faithful Protestant he cannot allow any Papal power to interfere with his sovereignty either in its public or private right. Therefore the Amendment is unnecessary. I think my hon. Friend rather overestimates its importance. He drew attention to the fact that the highest executive offices in this country and abroad are not now bound by any such undertaking, and everyone knows that executive power of the highest kind has been in the past exercised by those who were Roman Catholics. I need hardly name one of the most public-spirited servants who ever sat in either House of Parliament. Were there any possibility of the Papal power being exercised unduly, it would be as regards the Executive, yet the Executive are perfectly free in this matter. The power of the Crown, as we all know, is limited by the power of the Executive. It therefore follows that the fear which we have long since cast aside in the case of the Executive is a much more trivial matter as applied to the Crown. I would therefore suggest that, first of all, the Amendment is not as important as my hon. Friend imagines; and, secondly, that the Declaration as it stands takes the very risk which he fears altogether out of the question.


There is one other objection. If this was carried, you would have to take the title "Defender of the Faith" off the halfpenny.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 81; Noes, 204.

Division No. 154.] AYES. [2.55 p.m.
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Faber, George Denison (Clapham) Molteno, Percy Alpert
Alden, Percy Falle, B. G. Moore, William
Arbuthnot, Gerald A. Fell, Arthur Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Ashley, Wilfred W. Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Morrison Bell, Major A. C.
Baird, John Lawrence Fleming, Valentine Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Banner, John S. Harmood- Fletcher, John Samuel Munro, Robert
Barnston, H. Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S.W.) Newton, Harry Kottingham
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Gastrell, Major W. H. Ormsby-Gore, Hon, William
Bird, Alfred Gibbs, George Abraham Primrose, Hon. Neil James
Bottomley, Horatio Gibson, James P. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Bowerman, Charles W. Gilmour, Captain John Rolleston, Sir John
Bridgeman, W. Clive Goldman, C. S. Ronaldshay, Earl of
Brunskill, G. F. Grant, J. A. Sanders, Robert A.
Bryce, John Annan Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Burgoyne, Alan Hughes Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Carlile, Edward Hildred Harmsworth, R. L. Stewart, Gershom (Ches., Wirral)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich) Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Horner, Andrew Long Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, N.)
Chancellor, H. G. Houston, Robert Paterson Thynne, Lord Alexander
Chapple, Dr. William Alien Kerr-Smiley, Peter Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Clyde, James Avon Kirkwood, John H. M. Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Cooper, Capt. Bryan R. (Dublin, S.) Kyffin-Taylor, G. White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Cory, Sir Clifford John Lawson, Hon. Harry Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Lloyd, George Ambrose Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Craik, Sir Henry Locker-Lampoon, O. (Ramsay). Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.
Croft, Henry Page Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Dalrymple, Viscount Mackinder, Halford J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Rainy and Mr. C. Craig.
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Millar, James Duncan
Du Cros, Arthur P. (Hastings) Mitchell. William Foot
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Ffrench, Peter Lehmann, R. C.
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Field, William Lewis, John Herbert
Ainsworth, John Stirling Flavin, Michael Joseph Lundon, T.
Allen, Charles Peter George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Luttrell, Hugh Fownes
Armitage, R. Ginnell, L. Lynch, A. A.
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Gulland, John W. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)
Barnes, George N. Hackett, J. Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Hail, Frederick (Normanton) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) Hamersley, A. St. George Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Bethell, Sir J. H. Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Hardle, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.) Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) M'Callum, John M.
Brady, P. J. Harwood, George M'Kean, John
Burke, E. Haviland- Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Mellet, Charles E.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Masterman, C. F. G.
Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid) Haworth, Arthur A. Meagher, Michael
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.) Hayden, John Patrick Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar) Hayward, Evan Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)
Byles, William Pollard Hazleton, Richard Molloy, M.
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Healy, Maurice (Cork, N.E.) Mooney, J. J.
Castlereagh, Viscount Healy, Timothy Michael Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Helme, Norval Watson Morpeth, Viscount
Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Haywood) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Muldoon, John
Clancy, John Joseph Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.) Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.
Clough, William Henry, Charles S. Nannettl, Joseph P
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.) Neilson, Francis
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Higham, John Sharp Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter Nolan, Joseph
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Norton, Capt. Cecil W.
Cowan, William Henry Hogan, Michael Nussey, Sir Willans
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Hope, James Fltzalan (Sheffield) Nuttall, Harry
Crosfield, Arthur H. Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Cullinan, J. Hughes, S. L O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Hunt, Rowland O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Dawes, James Arthur Illingworth, Percy H. O'Doherty, Philip
Delany, William Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Devlin, Joseph Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Dowd, John
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Grady, James
Dillon, John Jowett, Frederick William O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Donelan, Captain A. Joyce, Michael O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)
Doris, William Keating, M. O'Malley, William
Duncan, C.(Barrow-In-Furness) Kelly, Edward O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Dunn, Sir W. H. (Southwark) Kennedy, Vircent Paul O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Edwards, Enoch Kilbride, Denis O'Shee, James John
Elverston, H. King, J. Somerset, N.) Paget, Almeric Hugh
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Lambert, George Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Falconer, J. Lardner, James Carrige Rush Parker, James (Halifax)
Farrell, James Patrick Law. Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.
Ferens, Thomas Robinson Leach, Charles Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)
Peto, Basil Edward Scanlan, Thomas Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Schwann, Sir C. E. Verney, F. W.
Pointer, Joseph Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne) Vivian, Henry
Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B. Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Power, Patrick Joseph Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Walton, Sir Joseph
Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Sheehy, David Waring, Walter
Pringle, William M. R. Smith, H. B. (Northampton) Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Raphael, Herbert Henry Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Reddy, M. Snowden, P. Watt, Henry A.
Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Soares, Ernest Joseph White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Redmond, William (Clare) Sutherland, John E. White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Rees, Sir J. D. Sutton, John E. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Talbot, Lord Edmund Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe) Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)
Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Tennant, Harold John Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Thomas, James Henry (Derby) Wing, Thomas
Roche, Augustine (Cork) Thorne, William (West Ham) Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Roe, Sir Thomas Toulmin, George
Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Trevelyan, Charles Philips FELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Master of Ellbank and Mr. Dudley Ward.
Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Twist, Henry

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


Before this Motion is passed, I desire, on behalf of those who, on this side of the House, hold particular views on this question, to express our gratitude to the Prime Minister for the courtesy, consideration, and patience with which he has treated opponents of this Bill during the discussions which have taken place upon it. I can honestly and without exaggeration say that a very difficult Parliamentary situation, one which roused a great deal of resentment in the minds of Members of the Opposition, has been smoothed over and entirely deprived of its most disagreeable aspect, and carried peacefully through to its present quiet conclusion, in consequence of the manner in which the Prime Minister has been good enough to treat those with whom he is in complete disagreement. I think it is fair that it should be said on behalf of those who have opposed this Bill, that they have endeavoured to put their views before the House during its various stages without exaggeration and without offence. On the part of my hon. Friends, who feel strongly on this question and who represent others who feel quite as strongly as they, there has been a sincere, and I think a successful, effort to present their arguments in such a form that while they lost none of their force they should be rendered as inoffensive as possible.

I personally regret that we have not had more time for the consideration of this Bill, but it is too late now to waste time over regrets of this kind I am not quite sure whether if more time had been granted that the passage of the Bill would have been quite as easy as it has been, or that the framework of the Bill would be quite the same as that we bid farewell to. However that may be, we have now to consider what is to be our final word on this question. It is suggested that I have changed my own personal view. I do not believe that anybody who has taken part in these various Debates would think that there has been any change of conviction. From the beginning to the end what I sought for was the removal of the objectionable language and the retention of the Declaration, positive and negative. The Government took the opposite view, and, owing I think largely to the shortness of time, it was impossible for those of us who sought not to destroy the Bill, but to amend it, to select the precise form of Amendment we should have liked to secure a Debate upon. As the House will remember, in Committee the particular Amendment which expressed the views of many of us never really came on for consideration. I believe if there had been more time it would have been perfectly easy to secure a presentment of that case as well as the presentment of the other cases which were discussed.

Now that we have come to the end of our Debates I would venture respectfully to urge that their conclusion shall be worthy of the record of the last few days. My hon. friends who object to this Bill completely will, of course, desire to record their votes against it. Those of us who would have welcomed a change, but who find in this Bill not the change that they desire, will record their vote against it, as that is the only method they have of protesting against the form of change and the way in which it has been made. They do not propose to take up the time of the House by prolonging the discussion. Some of them have asked me to say these few words on their behalf, and on my own. I recognise more than anybody else can recognise, and that is saying a good deal, how inadequately I have discharged what has not been a very easy duty. I have endeavoured to put before the House the view we take. Although we vote against the Bill we shall do so hoping most earnestly and sincerely that the object which the Government have in view in introducing and carrying this Bill will be fully attained, and that it will be accepted by those on whose behalf it has been passed as a real message of peace. Therefore, even though it has passed in the face of some opposition that opposition has been, I think, moderate, and will be confined now to a simple vote in the hope that this result to which I have referred may be attained, and that peace and happiness may result to the country and the Empire in the passage of this Bill.


I only desire to say a few words. I should be wanting in my duty if I did not acknowledge with much gratitude the appreciation, in very handsome terms, with which the right hon. Gentleman referred at the commencement of his speech to the part which it has fallen to me to play in this matter. I can only say, and with all sincerity, that I think it is very much to the credit of all sections of opinion in this House that a question, which, rightly or wrongly goes very deep down into the people's inmost feelings and convictions, should have been discussed through all these Debates without a trace of religious animosity, and in most excellent temper, and with, I believe, a real desire on all sides to make such reasonable accommodation as possible. I wish especially to acknowledge the manner in which hon. Members from Ulster, who feel very strongly on this subject, have conducted their resolute and conscientious opposition. It only remains for me to reciprocate and re-echo, as I do most heartily, the very generous concluding passage of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, and to express the hope the confident and assured hope, that when this Bill takes its place on the Statute Book the securities for the Protestant Succession will be found not to have been in any degree impaired, and a source of legitimate annoyance and offence to millions of Roman Catholic subjects of His Majesty will have been for all time removed.


This matter has been discussed, and speeches have been delivered on the Catholic side, but, still, there are two points of view which have not been fully, as I think, presented to this House. Two charges, or at least one charge has been made against the Catholic faith, to which I am proud to belong, and none of the speakers on either side of the House have dealt with this charge. The charge I will come to presently, I take a different view from one of the speakers who spoke on the other side with regard to one aspect of the question. The Member for Sutherland (Mr. Morton), in speaking to-day, said that the people of this country would not be satisfied except the Protestant Succession was secured. Now, if the Sovereign of this country was only the Sovereign of this country, that position would be an intelligible and clear one, but Members of this House must remember this important fact, that the Sovereign of this country is the Sovereign, or claims to be the Sovereign, of Ireland as well. It was asserted by speakers on the other side, and it was assented to by speakers on this side, that the people of this country, being a Protestant Kingdom, that it was only natural they should have a Protestant Sovereign, but the people of Ireland are a Catholic people, and if it be the constitutional right of the people of England to have a Protestant Sovereign, I as an Irish Catholic, maintain that it is the Constitutional right of the Catholic people of Ireland to have a Catholic Sovereign. What does this lead us to? This leads me to the conclusion that it would have been much better for the Prime Minister and the Government to have taken their courage in both hands and to have abolished this Declaration altogether. How can you expect the Catholic people of Canada, when a great crisis may one day arrive, to be loyal. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide, divide."] I had not an opportunity of speaking on this subject on the Second Reading, and I maintain that it is most unfair that Members should now try to prevent a Member of this House from voicing the opinions of a large section of the people. I say, if it be the right of a Protestant people to have a Protestant King, then it is also the right and the constitutional right of the Catholic people of Ireland to have a Catholic King. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide."] The conclusion is that it would have been far better for the Government to have abolished this Declaration altogether. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide."] Yes, cowards, I say. Another position taken up by some of the speakers was that the Catholic Church is a political organisation, and that therefore this Declaration should not be interfered with in order to protect the people of this country from the aggressions of a political organisation. The Catholic Church is not a political organisation. If the Catholic Church is a political organisation, why does it allow its subjects to belong to different parties in the same country? If the Catholic Church is a political organisation, why does it accept different forms of Government in different countries? The Catholic Church accepts a republic in Franch and a monarchy in England. [Several HON. MEMBERS: "Divide."] What service of a political kind are the nuns in the differents convents rendering? [Several HON. MEMBERS: "Divide."] The only speech the hon. Member behind me has ever made in this House has been, "Hear, hear." The Members who are trying to howl me down are cowards. Members have tried to cry me down before, but a great many of those Members have disappeared, and perhaps some of the Gentlemen who now laugh so loud and long will also have disappeared before two years are over. I wish to express my thanks to that large section of the public outside, and especially to the Protestants in Ireland, who, at considerable risk to themselves, have had the courage to come out and support a measure of this kind, particularly the twenty-three Fellows of the Trinity College who made a public declaration in favour of such a measure. I should also have liked under other circumstances to have expressed my thanks as a Catholic

to those Members of the House who, perhaps also at some risk to themselves, have supported a measure for removing from the Declaration the insults to the religion to which I belong; but under the circumstances I will not do so. I should have liked to have expressed my views on the Second Reading as other Members had an opportunity of doing. [Several HON. MEMBERS "Divide."] Once more I protest against the conduct of Members of this House who are trying to cry mo clown, particularly as those Members know that I have not behind me a great party. I should have concluded my remarks long ago if I had not been interrupted. Members who are trying to cry me down know that I stand here as an Independent Nationalist. If they knew that I belonged to the party which sits upon these benches they would not have dared to treat me as they have done. We have in this House, as there are everywhere, cowards. It is not my fault that I have not been able to express my views at an earlier stage, and those Members who have had that privilege, when I get up, try to cry me down. I have not come here to repeat the views put forward by other Members. I have certain views of my own, and I thought it my duty to myself and to my Constituents to put those views on record. I have been prevented from doing so, but, as I say, those Members who laugh now will not, perhaps in two years' time, have the opportunity of laughing at me.

Question put, "That the Bill be now read the third time."

The House divided: Ayes, 245; Noes, 52.

Division No. 155.] AYES. [3.25 p.m..
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Delany, William
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar) Devlin, Joseph
Ainsworth, John Stirling Byles, William Pollard Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Allen, Charles Peter Carr-Gomm, H. W. Dillon, John
Arbuthnot, Gerald A. Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Donelan, Captain A.
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Haywood) Doris, William
Armitage, Robert Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Duffy, William J.
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Chancellor, Henry George Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Chapple, Dr. William Allen Dunn, Sir W. H. (Southwark, W.)
Baird, John Lawrence Clancy, John Joseph Edwards, Enoch
Barnes, George N. Clough, William Elverston, Harold
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Esmonde, Sir Thomas
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Falconer, James
Bethell, Sir John Henry Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Farrell, James Patrick
Bird, Alfred Condon, Thomas Joseph Ferens, Thomas Robinson
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Ffrench, Peter
Bowerman, Charles W. Cowan, William Henry Field, William
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Fisher, William Hayes
Brady, Patrick Joseph Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred Flavin, Michael Joseph
Brigg, Sir John Croft, Henry Page Fleming, Valentine
Burgoyne, Alan Hughes Crosfield, Arthur H. Gardner, Ernest
Burke, E. Haviland- Cullinan, John George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Gibbs, George Abraham
Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid) Dawes, James Arthur Gibson, James Puckering
Goldman, Charles Sydney MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Gooch, Henry Cubitt MacVeagh, Jeremiah Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Greenwood, Granville George M'Callum, John M. Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Guest, Major M'Kean, John Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Gulland, John William Mallet, Charles Edward Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Hackett, John Masterman, C. F. G. Roche, Augustine (Cork)
Hamersley, Alfred St. George Meagher, Michael Roe, Sir Thomas
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Rolleston, Sir John
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Millar, James Duncan Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Molloy, Michael Sanders, Robert Arthur
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Mooney, John J. Scanlan, Thomas
Harwood, George Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Schwann, Sir Charles E.
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Morpeth, Viscount Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Haworth, Arthur A. Muldoon, John Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Hayden, John Patrick Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Sheehy, David
Hayward, Evan Mennentti, Joseph P. Shortt, Edward
Hazleton, Richard Neilson, Francis Smith, N. B. Lees (Northampton)
Healy, Maurice (Cork, N.E.) Newdegate, F. A. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)
Healy, Timothy Michael Newton, Harry Kottingham Snowden, Philip
Helme, Norval Watson Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster) Soares, Ernest Joseph
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Nolan, Joseph Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Norton, Capt. Cecil W. Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Henry Charles Solomon Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Sutherland, John E.
Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.) Hussey, Sir T. Wilians Sutton, John E.
Higham, John Sharp Nuttall, Harry Talbot, Lord Edmund
Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. O'Brien, William (Cork) Tennant, Harold John
Hogan, Michael O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Thomas, James Henry (Derby)
Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) O'Doherty, Philip Thynne, Lord Alexander
Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) O'Donnell, Thomas (Kerry, W.) Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Hughes, Spencer Leigh O'Dowd, John Toulmin, George
Hunt, Rowland O'Grady, James Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Illingworth, Percy H. O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Twist, Henry
Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Malley, William Verney, Frederick William
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Vivian, Henry
Jowett, Frederick William Ormsby-Gore. Hon. William Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Joyce, Michael O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Walton, Sir Joseph
Keating, Matthew O'Shee, James John Ward, A. S. (Hells, Watford)
Kelly, Edward Paget, Almeric Hugh Wardle, G. J.
Kennedy, Vincent Paul Palmer, Godfrey Mark Waring, Walter
King, Joseph (Somerset, North) Parker, James (Halifax) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Kirkwood, John H. M. Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. Watt, Henry A.
Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Peel, Hon. William R. W. (Taunton) White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Peto, Basil Edward White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Leach, Charles Phillips, John (Longford, S.) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Lehmann, Rudolf C. Pointer, Joseph Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Lewis, John Herbert Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Lloyd, George Ambrose Power, Patrick Joseph Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Lundon, Thomas Pringle, William M. R. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Rainy, Adam Rolland Wing, Thomas
Lynch, Arthur Alfred Raphael, Herbert Henry Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.) Reddy, Michael
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Redmond, John E. (Waterford) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Ellbank and Mr. Dudley Ward.
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Rees, Sir J. D.
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Du Cros, Arthur P. (Hastings) Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Banner, John S. Harmood- Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Munro, Robert
Barnston, Harry Fletcher, John Samuel Primrose, Hon. Nell James
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S.W.) Rice, Hon. Waiter Fitz-Uryan
Bridgeman, William Clive Gilmour, Captain John Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Brunskill, Gerald Fitzgibbon Grant, J. A. Sandys, Lt.-Col. T. M. (Bootle)
Bryce, John Annan Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Stewart, Gershom (Ches., Wirral)
Carlile, Edward Hildred Harmsworth, R. Leicester Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Castlereagh, Viscount Horner, Andrew Long Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, N.)
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Houston, Robert Paterson Tryon, Capt. George Clement
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Clyde, James Avon Kyffin-Taylor, G. White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Cooper, Captain Bryan R.(Dahlia, S.) Locker-Lampoon, O. (Ramsay) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Cory, Sir Clifford John Long, Rt. Hon. Waiter Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Mackinder, Halford J. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Mitchell, William Foot
Dalrymple, Viscount Molteno, Percy Alpert TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Lonsdale and Mr. Hugh Barrie.
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. (Glasgow, E.) Moore, William
Bill accordingly read the third time, and passed.

Question put, and agreed to.