§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)
asked for leave to introduce a "Bill to alter the form of the Declaration required to be made by the Sovereign on Accession."
I ask leave, Sir, to introduce a Bill which in form is the simplest and consists practically only of a single Clause, and which, after being fully considered—and I hope no hasty conclusions will be formed with regard to it—I trust will be regarded in most quarters of the House as uncontroversial in its character. It is a Bill the object of which is as described in the title, "To alter the form of the Declaration required to be made by the Sovereign on Accession." I must say a word, first, as to the history of that Declaration. Curiously enough, in its inception, and indeed for many years after it had taken its place in the Statute Book, it had nothing whatever to do with the Accession to the Throne, and the Sovereign was not required to take it. It came into exis- 846 tence in the year 1678, when Parliament and the great mass of the population of this country were in a state, it may almost be said, of panic, in consequence of the revelations, or supposed revelations, of the existence and the ramifications of the Popish Plot; and in the state which at that moment prevailed this Act was passed through both Houses of Parliament, and it was described under this title: As "an Act for the more effectual preservation of the King's person and Government by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament." That was the purview and object of the Act. The Declaration was a Declaration to be made by all Members of both Houses of Parliament, and by those who were described in the Act as the sworn servants of the Sovereign, and I think by nobody else. Its practical purpose and effect was simply this: Roman Catholic peers, who up to that time had not been subject, as Members of this House were, to what is called "the Oath of Supremacy," those Roman Catholic Peers, who had continued to sit in the House of Lords and exercise the ordinary functions of Members of that Assembly, were deprived of their legislative powers, and never able to exercise them again until the Relief Act was passed in 1829. It is curious to add, and historically interesting, that the concluding Section of the Act, Section 9, provides that nothing in the Act shall extend to the Duke of York.
I will not read the Declaration in extensor to the House. Its terms, through constant public criticism, are very familiar to us all. The Declaration, when it is analysed, consists of three parts. In the first place, the person making it declares that he does not believe, or rather that he does believe, there is not any Transubstantiation of the elements in the Holy Communion. He goes on to declare that the invocation or adoration 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 superstitious and idolatrous. Finally, he adds that he makes the preceding Declaration in the plain and ordinary sense of the words as they are commonly understood by English Protestants, without any dispensation or hope of dispensation from the Pope or any other authority. Let us in this matter not be unjust to our ancestors. This Declaration, as I have said, was framed in a time of great popular excitement, and in the belief, the sincere though ill-founded belief, that a great conspiracy was being 847 hatched to murder the Sovereign, to subvert the Protestant religion, and to destroy the liberties of our people. Those were not days in which mealy-mouthedness in language was fashionable, but I do not think that any candid student will deny that the language of the Declaration, although it grates and grates, I think justly with a different accent, on the ears, can be paralleled by similar language to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles and other passages of the Prayer Book, and I am not even sure that the Church of Rome herself has not in the course of her history enjoined the use of language equally strong upon her own children, and certainly upon converts to her faith, in abjuration and denunciation of the Protestant doctrines. All these things should be remembered from the point of view of historical justice.
How came it that this Declaration, originally imposed only on Members of Parliament and servants of the Crown, was extended to the Crown itself? That extension did not take place until the passing of the Bill of Rights by the Statute, the first of William and Mary, Chap. 2. The Preamble of that Statute explains how it was that the operative part, the obligation of taking this Declaration, was for the first time cast on the occupants of the Throne. The preamble recites, "Where as the late King James II., by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges and Ministers, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and laws and liberties of this Kingdom." It is in pursuance of that recital and grounded upon it that the tenth Section of the Statute provides, "Every Sovereign succeeding to the Throne shall on the day of the meeting of the first Parliament after his Accession or at his Coronation, make the Declaration mentioned in the Statute of Charles II." In consequence of the failure of heirs it was necessary to provide for the succession to the Throne, and in the Act itself that provision of the Bill of Rights, by Section 2 of the Act of Settlement, was repeated in regard to any persons who thereafter under the limitations of that Act succeeded to the Crown. So that the House will observe the Declaration, originally framed with a different purpose, intended for an entirely different class of person, a Declaration intended to protect the Crown against evil counsellors, was, in the course of time, and only in the course of time, and in consequence of the Statute that the Bill of Rights re- 848 cities in the reign if James II., extended to the Crown itself. That was in the year 1700.
No candid person will deny that circumstances in all material respects are vitally changed since. What has happened in the interval? The Roman Catholic citizens of this country have been admitted to all civil, and practically to all political rights. There are still, I regret to say, one or two offices, but only one or two, from which their faith excludes them, and I trust that that illiberal relic of past times will before long be obliterated. But with that practically insignificant exception our Roman Catholic fellow subjects stand before the law as regards the exercise of political privileges and the holding of political views exactly on the same footing as any Protestant. Those Roman Catholic subjects of the Crown have grown enormously in number, and, if I may say so, in importance. They are spread over the length and breadth of the British Empire. They are said to amount, and I have no reason to question the estimate, to 12,000,000 in number. No one in these days doubts their loyalty, or supposes that that loyalty requires to be hedged round by special safeguards. Further, the whole system of religious tests which looked, and which was so far formidable, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries has fallen into discredit, and has been undermined in every direction. You could have no more remarkable proof of that than that this very Declaration, framed under the circumstances and purposes which I have described, is now required to be taken by no one in the length and breadth of the British Empire but by the Sovereign himself.
One must add that the language, which in the seventeenth century seemed natural and even normal, falls with a very different accent on modern ears, and in this case I do not hesitate to say—and I believe I am echoing the opinion of the vast majority of this House, as well as of the people outside—it is needlessly, and even wantonly offensive. Nor do I believe that the objection of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects to this Declaration, which is taken by the Sovereign, and by the Sovereign alone at the beginning of his reign, at the solemn moment when he is entering upon the discharge of duties which require him to appeal to the loyalty and affection of all his subjects, without distinction of creed or race—I conceive that the objection of our Roman 849 Catholic fellow-subjects to that Declaration is not confined to the precise language or to the use of particular vituperative epithets; but it extends, and I think justly extends, to the singling out of special and to them sacred and most highly cherished doctrines, as though from some peculiar obliquity of their own they required what no other form of religious heresy or religious dissent in the country is regarded as requiring, namely, the special repudiation of the Sovereign as soon as he enters upon his Throne. I should add to that, because I think it is a very material element in the case, that this Declaration, offensive as it must be, and, as we know it is to the susceptibilities of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, cannot fail to be offensive to the Sovereign himself. I am not permitted to say anything in regard to our present Sovereign, but we know very well that the late King, whose death we have been lamenting, found it a most repugnant duty cast upon him by law to have to signalise the very beginning of his reign by uttering this obsolete formula, which seemed to be directed against so many of his most loyal subjects. I do not think that is an element which ought to be left out of consideration when we are discussing the merits of the retention of this form of words.
I think it is clear from this brief review of the history of the matter that the dangers against which the Declaration when it was imposed on the Sovereign, was supposed to guard, are dangers which have no actual existence at the present day. And if they did exist, if there were any possibility, which we know there is not, of a conspiracy to change the faith of the Sovereign, or to put a Sovereign of a different faith on the Throne of these islands, that danger is amply guarded against by other statutory enactments. Let me remind the House what they are. In the first place, you have the Bill of Rights itself, which provides in Section 9, "Every person reconciled to, or holding communion with the See, or the Church of Rome, or professing the Popish Religion, or marrying a Papist, is to be excluded from and incapable of inheriting or enjoying the Crown"—a provision which is repeated in almost identical terms in Section 2 of the Act of Settlement. That is a negative provision. The Act of Settlement affirmatively provides that "whosoever shall hereafter come to the possession of this Throne shall join in communion with the Church of England 850 as by law established." Finally, another statute, I. William and Mary, cap. 6, which provides the form of the Coronation Oaths, requires the Sovereign at his Coronation solemnly to promise that he will "maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the Gospel, and the Protestant Reformed Religion as established by law." Are not these three distinct statutory safeguards sufficient without any further provision of any sort or kind? I myself am not hesitating to express the opinion that we might safely dispense with any Declaration; but I know there are those who hold, and I think their opinions are entitled to respect, that if you had no Declaration at all there would be nothing on the Statute Book which would require any statement of the Sovereign's personal belief. I confess I should have thought myself that no one—at least I should doubt whether any one—could take the Coronation Oath, to maintain the Protestant Reformed Religion as established by law, if he were an honest and sincere Roman Catholic. But it is said—I do not profess to know how that may be precisely—that you might have a conceivable case of a Roman Catholic Sovereign succeeding by inheritance to the dominion of a Protestant country, who might quite honestly say, "I will maintain the Protestant religion, which is the religion of the majority of my subjects, although I hold my own personal belief." At any rate, we are proposing by this Bill, not to get rid of the Declaration altogether, but to substitute for it one which will involve a Declaration of the Sovereign's personal belief, and will do so in terms which we believe and hope cannot possibly give offence to anyone of the Sovereign's subjects.
I will read the form of words which we propose, in the Schedule of this Bill, to substitute for the existing Declaration. They are as follows:—
"I"—(then follows the name of the Sovereign)—"do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful member of the Protestant Reformed Church as by Law established in England; and 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."
The House will observe that that Declaration differs from the present one in this vital respect. Instead of negatively singling out for repudiation distinct and 851 highly cherished doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, it positively affirms on the part of the Sovereign that he is a faithful member of the Protestant Reformed Church. I do not think that any Roman Catholic who admits, as all Roman Catholics do, that we are right in safeguarding the Protestant succession to the Crown, can find in these words anything which can give the least offence to his conscience, or even to his tenderest susceptibilities. On the other hand, from the Protestant point of view—and I speak as one of the most convinced and resolute Protestants in this country—the words seem to us to carry us the whole length we require to go. There is nothing new in them. Some of my hon. Friends may have noticed the words, "Protestant Reformed Church as by Law established." But those are the words which are already in the Act of Settlement. You cannot get out of them. I read the Section a few moments ago. The insertion of the words "Protestant" and "Reformed," which are not found in that Section, seem to us to give strength and additional definiteness to the Protestant character of the Declaration. If it is said that these words are unnecessarily introduced, I reply again that both in the Bill of Eights and in the provisions of the Act of Settlement, that language is employed. The Church of England is described, and some people in these days do not like to see it so described, as the Protestant Church and as the Reformed Church. At least, the religion taught by the Church of England is described as the Protestant and Reformed Religion. If we have, as we shall have if the House adopts our proposal, a distinct and definite affirmation on the part of the Sovereign, that he is a faithful member of that Church, and will, according to the true intent of those enactments which secure the Protestant succession to the Throne, faithfully carry out the provision to which I have already referred, it appears to His Majesty's Government that we have got every safeguard which human wisdom, and I was almost going to say human suspicion, could require. At the same time, we remove from the Sovereign himself an intolerable burden, and from our Roman Catholic fellow subjects a legitimate cause of grievance. On these grounds I commend this Bill to the careful consideration of the House.
May I add one word? I have not introduced the Bill, as I might have done, 852 under the Ten Minute Rule, because of the importance and gravity of the subject. I thought it would be hardly treating it with proper respect. At the same time, I would earnestly deprecate at this stage anything in the nature of prolonged or acrimonious discussion. I think it is most desirable that hon. Members should study the Bill, and ample opportunity will be given before the Second Reading. When you are dealing with a form of words like this, carefully chosen, it is surely better to have them before you in black and white, and to be able to study them at leisure, than to come to a precipitate conclusion about them. I would, therefore, ask the House, without in any way curtailing its full liberty of discussion, to allow us at the earliest possible moment to introduce and circulate the Bill, which I am confident, on mature consideration, will receive the support of the vast majority of the House.
I do not rise to argue the question which has been brought to the notice of the House in the very interesting and able speech of the Prime Minister. I rather rise to join in the appeal which he made at the end of his speech that the Debate and discussion— the inevitable Debate and inevitable discussion—should be deferred until the Second Reading, when the country will have had an opportunity of considering the general proposal of change in the Declaration in the light of the particular change which the Government have brought before us, and when Members of this House will be able to consider whether they believe any possible danger to the Protestant succession is involved in the change which the Government propose. As the House knows, we on this bench were very anxious to make a change in the Declaration of the Sovereign when the late lamented King came to the Throne. The opinions we then held we hold now. We think that a change ought to be made, and in the main for the reasons so clearly expounded in the speech to which we have just listened. If there is anything to add to that speech, or any part of that speech which might perhaps receive even greater emphasis than was given to it by the Prime Minister, it is that aspect of the question which requires us to take account, not merely of the changes of view which general society has gone through in regard to religious tests in the last two hundred and more years, but the enormous change which has taken place in the position of the Sovereign in those two hundred 853 years. When this legislation was I passed it was passed by a House which represented England alone, and the Sovereign was considered by that House as the King of England. Our Sovereign is a King and Emperor who rules over the most diverse races, and over Colonies far separated, varying greatly in religion. I should take it to be difficult to catalogue the number of religions which are now professed by loyal subjects of the Crown. To the Sovereign, therefore, a change is vital to any rational declaration he is required to make. It certainly seems to me that if we can absolutely safeguard—as I think we have absolutely safeguarded—the Protestant succession to the Throne of these Realms, the least we can do is to consult the susceptibilities of important sections of the King's most loyal subjects, and remove everything that can reasonably or rationally give offence to a single one of our fellow citizens.
§ Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
As it was my duty on three occasions to introduce Bills to this House on behalf of the party to which I belong I hope I may be allowed to say a very few words, while at the same time agreeing with the appeal of the Prime Minister that full Debate in this matter should be postponed until the Second Reading stage. As far as I can gather from the statement made by the Prime Minister—a statement which I am glad to say appears to have been thoroughly endorsed by the Leader of the Opposition—the main grievance which Catholics in this House and in the country have complained of, has been, as far as one can gather, fairly met. Our grievance never merely was that the language employed against ourselves and our religion was violent, abusive, and vulgar. Our great grievance was that our religion, and our religion alone of all the various beliefs in the world, was singled out by the King at the most solemn moment of his life for vehement and violent repudiation. So far as I can gather from the speech of the Prime Minister, the right hon. Gentleman proposes to substitute for the offensive Declaration of old a statement on behalf of the King which merely affirms quite definitely his own belief in the Protestant religion and his own determination to maintain that religion as established by law in this country. If that be the object of the right hon. Gentleman's Bill I think it is an object which, so far as I know, no Roman Catholic can have any reasonable objec- 854 tion to. Of course nobody can expect a Roman Catholic, like many of the Irish Members of this House, to say that they endorse or share in a statement of Protestantism that might be made by His Majesty the King or by anybody else. At the same time there is not, so far as I know, any disposition on the part of Catholics, high or low, to challenge the right of the people of this country, which is mainly Protestant, to take whatever steps they may consider necessary to-secure the Protestantism of their Sovereign and the Protestant Succession to the Throne. This is after all an act of justice —and I make bold to say a tardy act of justice—to millions of His Majesty's subjects. At the same time, I believe it is an act which has been loudly called for by the public opinion of the world, far outside the dominions of His Majesty's British Empire. Moreover, I say that it is not merely an endeavour to remove a great and unjust grievance to Catholics in the world, but it is an. act of simple justice to His Majesty the King himself and to the Protestant people of this country. I do not propose at all to depart from the example—which I may be allowed to say I consider excellent—set by the Prime Minister of not indulging in anything which may give rise to controversy; but I would like to be allowed to point out very respectfully the concluding words of the Declaration. I do so for the purpose of making it clear, as I think I shall be able to do to the House at large, that this Declaration is not merely an insult to the Catholic people of the Empire and the world, but that it really casts a real insult upon the language of His Majesty the King himself. What does the Declaration say? After repudiating in violent language—after using the words "superstitious and idolatrous" towards the Catholics and their belief, the Declaration imposes upon the King the necessity of making the following statement:—I doe make this declaration and every part thereof in the plaine and ordinary sence of the words read unto me as they are commonly understood by English Protestants without any evasion, equivocation or mentall reservation whatsoever and without any dispensation already granted me for this purpose by the Pope or any other authority or persons whatsoever or without any hope of any such dispensation from any person or authority whatsoever or without thinking that I am or can be acquitted before God or man or absolved of this declaration or any part thereof although the Pope or any other person or persons or power whatsoever should dispence with or annull the same, or declare that it was null and void from the beginning.I submit with the utmost respect that that is a statement which no honourable man, be he king or otherwise, should be called upon to make; because if that 855 statement assumes anything it assumes that the person who makes this declaration of Protestantism is of a character so unreliable that he might do so insincerely, and with the intention of betraying these very doctrines and beliefs, which he declares himself profoundly attached to. I am glad to hear the Leader of the Opposition say that he and his Friends have long been anxious to remove this grievance. I remember in 1901, when his late Majesty made the statement, I put questions to the Leader of the Opposition— then the Prime Minister. While he disapproved of the old Declaration, his excuse for not moving in the matter, as the present Prime Minister has moved in the matter, was that as the Declaration had been made, and the necessity for it might not arise for a long time, there was no need to move in the matter. Therefore, it is satisfactory to know that the Leader of the Opposition—and I fully believe his followers and the House at large—will agree with the Bill, so that it may be introduced without a Division.
This change has been appealed for not merely by Catholics in Great Britain, not merely by Catholics in Ireland, but I would remind the House that it has been appealed for by people all over the Empire; by the Canadian Parliament, and by the people of Australia and other portions of His Majesty's Dominions. Therefore I make bold to say that we may confidently expect that all fair-minded men will rest satisfied with the statement that has been made, and will allow this Bill to be introduced without opposition. I have moved in this matter from the very time the statement was made by His late Majesty. I have introduced three Bills. I have questioned both sides of the House on the subject. I have always made it plain that the objection of Catholics in this matter was not merely to obtain a removal of the grievance, to obtain an act of justice for themselves—and in doing so they have the utmost respect and the best of goodwill towards their fellow citizens of all denominations—but their strong desire is that this alteration of the Royal Accession Declaration will not merely remove something which is unjust, but that it may greatly and inevitably tend to that better feeling between men of all religions in this country, which all fair-minded men earnestly desire.
I think that the wishes of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat 856 down with regard to the First Reading of this Bill taking place without a Division will be disappointed. Some of us have made up our minds on this occasion to take the earliest possible opportunity of showing that we do not agree with the Prime Minister in his statement that it is safe to dispense with the Declaration which at present stands on the Statute Book. What I would have much preferred, and what some of my friends would have much preferred, would have been that the old constitutional attitude had been maintained by the Government. We say that just as each Member of this House, and of the other place, is obliged to take a Statutory Declaration or Oath at the Table before sharing the privilege of taking part in Debate and legislation, so the Crown should have also been obliged to fulfil a similar function, and take a Declaration also. After that the subject of altering its terms might have been approached. Under the Bill of Rights the Declaration is absolutely necessary had Parliament not been sitting at the time of the late King's death. But so far as one can judge the possibility of the continuance of Parliament was overlooked. Had Parliament had to be opened, or had the Coronation taken place—whichever was first—the Crown would have been obliged to take this statutory Declaration. Owing to the continuation of Parliament—that point having been overlooked—apparently it is possible for the Crown to give the Royal Assent to a measure having for its purpose the alteration of the Oath which, according to the practice of 200 years, it is necessary for the King to take. It would have been much wiser if the Prime Minister had carried out the old practice and allowed the Crown first of all to make the Declaration, then afterwards to have proceeded—if it was still desired—to make the alteration. It seems to me particularly inopportune now to bring forward this Bill. None of us, I am sure—I myself personally—have any desire whatever to deal with it in any other sense than the one affecting that of future Sovereigns, and not the present King. Nor shall I introduce the Crown more than necessary in the few words I desire to make in order to show the House and the country at large the reason which prompts some of us to object to this measure being introduced at the present time. It was only natural that some of the hon. Gentlemen of this House, living as they do in Great Britain, where they are in a vast 857 majority as Protestants, fail to see that this is only part of a great movement for the removal of what they call Roman Catholic disabilities. Those of us who live in Ireland, and who are brought closely in contact with that part of the United Kingdom which is predominantly Roman Catholic, are perhaps not to be blamed if we take a slightly different view from hon. Members who have twenty, thirty, or 100 Roman Catholics living in their Division. It all depends upon that. I would only mention some of the various measures which Roman Catholics have pressed upon various Governments to have altered as though they considered them a great grievance. We had first of all the Roman Catholic Disabilities Bill, and it was held at that time, as anyone who cares to read the speeches will find out, that that would have produced loyalty among the Roman Catholics in Ireland. That Bill was accepted, and yet here we are now agitating for the removal of grievances, or what are called grievances. Tithes in Ireland were abolished after many years of trouble, and no sooner was the ink dry upon these various measures passed for the amelioration of the lot of the Catholics, than immediately they produce another Bill. No sooner was the Disestablishment of the Protestant Church in Ireland carried into law than the question of university education was raised, and so on from one grievance to another. The moment one was removed another was brought forward, and as soon as this so-called grievance of the Roman Catholics is removed they will next demand that the Church of England Prayer Book must be changed also.
After all, the King is the defender of the Protestant faith, and as defender of the Protestant faith all we call upon him to do is to show sufficiently clearly that he himself believes in the doctrine of the Reformed Protestant Church. The whole point that arises is: how can we secure for all future time that the Protestant successor to the Throne will be such in reality? It was only by picking out some single doctrine and placing it in the Declaration that it was found possible in past times to do this effectively, and I hold it is as necessary to do the same to-day. If it is offensive I am afraid it cannot be helped. We are all offensive from time to time. It is necessary to be offensive sometimes, and if in this case the words of the Declaration are considered offensive, it cannot be helped, although reading the words 858 carefully ever it will be seen that no offence is intended, and should not be felt. If the Declaration is altered, and if this. Bill is passed, then the thirty-nine Articles, in consequence of the suggestion of the Prime Minister, must also be altered. Is it any more wrong on the part of the Crown to make the Declaration, which he does upon his Accession, than to make it as Defender of the Faith and Head of the Church, which he does when he has to-subscribe to it, as every other member of the Established Church has to do. I say no good reason has been made out by the-Prime Minister for altering the words. The Prime Minister says that times have changed, and that these words, framed 200 years ago, are out of date; that they suggest a time which is long passed, and' which everybody has forgotten. I do not wish to rake up anything from the past in regard to matters of this kind. I come to the present, and I ask the Prime-Minister and the House to bear in mind what occurred in very recent years. I take, first, a statement which appeared in the Press on the very day that the Prime Minister announced his intention of introducing this Bill. I quote from a newspaper:—Mr. Asquith informed the House of Commons yesterday afternoon that the Government proposes to bring in a Bill to modify the King's Declaration regarding the Roman Catholic Faith.In a parallel column the following appears:—The Papal Nuncio yesterday handed to the Prime Minister of Spain a note from the Vatican protesting against the Royal decree authorising the use of outward symbols by the religious denominations not belonging to the Roman Catholic faith.As we are all aware, the Queen of Spain, not very long ago, under the rules which governed her marriage to the King of Spain, had to take an oath, the terms of which I presume are familiar to every Member of the House of Commons. I would like to quote a few words of it in order to show that it is useless for the Prime Minister or anyone else to pretend for a moment that the words are the words of 200 years ago, and only reflect the-opinion of that time, and, therefore, unnecessary. Here is what the Queen of Spain was obliged to say in renouncing her Protestant faith. She said:—No one can be saved without that faith which the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church holds, believes and teaches, against which I grieve that I have greatly erred ‥ ‥ and everything else that has been defined and declared by the sacred canons and by the General Council, especially the Holy Council of Trent. ‥ ‥ With a sincere heart, therefore, and with unfeigned faith, I detest and abjure every error heresy and sect opposed to the said Catholic Apostolic and' Roman Church.859 If the words of the Declaration necessary in our opinion to secure an undoubted Protestant succession to the Throne are harsh and somewhat offensive, as it is supposed they are, surely they are at all events no more offensive than the words I have just quoted. I hope the House will thoroughly understand that it is not any objection I have to any person holding whatever form of belief he desires which causes me to take such strong action on this point, but it is because the Church of Rome claims temporal power as well as spiritual power over people. If Rome would give up once and for all any claim For temporal power in the country then I would not hesitate for a moment to say that one of the greatest blessings would fall upon a country like Ireland where Rome's temporal sway is beyond measure.
Hon. Members from Ireland below the Gangway are anxious that this Bill of the Prime Minister's should be accepted. It is a triumph for them. A few years ago a Bill was introduced with the intention of taking out words from the Declaration which constitute the chief offence in their eyes. What happened to that Bill? The words objected to were: "superstitious and idolatrous." The Bill was introduced in the other House and the words "superstitious and idolatrous" were to be left out of the Declaration. What did the Roman Catholics of that day say? I cannot give the exact words, but their attitude was to the effect that they would not accept such an amendment, and they preferred that the Declaration should remain as they considered harsh, so that in some few years they would have an opportunity of perhaps appealing to the country to have it removed altogether. Now they accept this Bill. They say they are satisfied with it and I presume therefore a change has taken place. The late Lord Salisbury said he was in favour of striking out the words "superstitious and idolatrous," but so far as doing away with the Declaration was concerned the Government of that day would be no party to any such measure.
On the ground of the strong Protestant "feeling still in the country I shall oppose this Bill. I do not quarrel with the Prime Minister or desire to say anything more than that I speak for a very Protestant corner of Ulster, in which feeling on this, point is particularly high. I would not be fulfilling my duty as representative of this 860 people unless I took the earliest opportunity of saying I consider it a grave danger to tamper with words which kept the succession to the Throne Protestant for 200 years. What served us in the past would continue to serve us in the future. I cannot say what the Pope of Rome could do or what dispensations he is able to give to cover those who do certain services for their mother Church, but this I do know, that the phraseology of the Oath as it at present stands is such that no dispensation could be given to anyone who took it. It preserves the Protestant Succession under which we have thriven and prospered and extended our Empire to the extent to which the Prime Minister referred. This is an Empire to which Roman Catholics, when they are oppressed in their own countries, are proud to come and settle down in. They receive better treatment in this country than in France and other Catholic countries from which they have been driven by various schemes. Why do they come to England and settle down? Simply and solely because under a secure Protestant Constitution they find themselves able to work in peace and comfort and without any of the hardships that afflicted them in their own Roman Catholic countries. Recently we find uproar caused in Germany by the exercise of the temporal power of the Catholic Church in that country, and in Spain itself we also find troubles arising. I shall oppose this Bill at every stage.
We may be given the opportunity of further discussing this matter on Second Reading. I hold myself, personally, that in doing away with these particular words we are doing away with the whole Declaration. The Government are doing away with the Declaration which has been found to serve us so well in the past. I place no reliance on the new form outlined by the Prime Minister. I think it is extremely likely the Nationalist Members would be able to get this Bill carried through. I can only do my best in opposition to it, and a few of my Friends from Ulster will show they share the same feelings as I do. I cannot help thinking that this matter is one that has been sprung upon the House of Commons. I think it should have been submitted as part of the Government's programme to the country at a General Election. Certainly whatever other feature characterised the Government's programme at the last General Election, and for whatever other reforms they receive a mandate, they receive none from the alteration of the 861 King's Declaration. The people of the country should have been consulted, and should have been given an opportunity of saying, "yea" or "nay," whether they were willing to do away with any of the safeguards of the Constitution or not. I say, therefore, the time is inopportune, and I say that the Government should have consulted the country before taking such an important step, and I only hope that those Protestants in the House who have the Old Protestant feeling will not hesitate for a moment to join in opposition to this proposed change, and show that there is a large section of the people of the country still determined to stand by that which served them so well in the past.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Sir CLIFFORD CORY
I have had numerous requests from my Constituents to oppose this Bill as earnestly as I can. I beg to protest against the introduction of this Bill, for one reason that, as the last speaker said, there has been no mandate whatever from the country to introduce it. We heard over and over again during recent Debates that the late Unionist Government had no mandate to pass the Licensing or Education Acts of 1902 and 1904, and yet the very Gentlemen who repeated that ad nauseam have brought in this Bill, for which they certainly cannot claim to have had any mandate. The Prime Minister seems to think only a very small number of people in this country will be opposed to this Bill, but I venture to submit to him he will find he is very much mistaken, and that there is a very large section of the community and, I believe, a majority of the electors of this country, who are opposed to it, and opposed to it very strongly. I believe also he will find that it will alienate a great many Liberals from the Liberal party. We know that at the last election the Liberals fared badly as it was, and at the next election, after the introduction of this Bill, they will fare very much worse. It is useless to say that without the Coronation Oath, the Bill of Eights and the Act of Settlement are sufficient as a Declaration. I think it would be easy to prove that they are quite insufficient to secure the constant succession to the Throne. I do not want to reiterate the arguments which we may have an opportunity of putting forward at the Second Reading, but I wish to protest as strongly as I possibly can against this Bill being introduced.
§ Mr. MOORE
I shall be obliged to go into the Division Lobby with my hon. Friend the Member for East Down, and other colleagues in the same part of the country we represent will do the same. I might perhaps be allowed to say that we should be opposed to the opinions of the people who sent us here if we neglected on this occasion, the first opportunity we have, to register our opinions in a manner adverse to a proposal which is so thoroughly and cordially detested in the part of the country from which we come. But I feel in a difficult position owing to the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition that this measure should, at the present stage, be discussed without unduly entering into a controversy. I am bound to say that I feel the force of the Prime Minister's appeal very much less. I do not profess to be a follower of his, and I should have disregarded it, but it is more difficult so to treat the appeal of the Leader of the Opposition. I can only say that I take it the view is that we ought not now to discuss, before Second Beading, the particular terms of the alteration which is proposed. But that seems to me to beg the question as to whether or not there should be any alteration of any sort whatever. Our standpoint is this: That not only is there no mandate for this alteration, but that it is unnecessary at present. The people have not been consulted about it, and if they had been I believe the Protestant sense of the country is such that the proposal would be instantly rejected. So far as the Prime Minister is concerned, I would point out that while he professed in the loudest voice his Protestantism he has been careful to remove from his proposed Declaration every suggestion of protest on the part of a Protestant Sovereign, under the Protestant Constitution of a Protestant country. The name "Protestant" arose because we protested against the errors of Rome, and the one thing the proposed alteration does is to remove every element of protest against those doctrines, and yet the right hon. Gentleman strokes himself, metaphorically, and complacently says he is a better Protestant than many who sit in this House. I can understand for another reason the Prime Minister's desire to bring in this Bill. Liberal Ministers are never so happy as when attacking or tearing up or altering this ancient Constitution. This is one of the small fragments of a written constitution that we have. Our written Constitution is embodied in about three Acts of Parliament—or four at the 863 most. It is from the desire of all Liberal and Radical Governments to revise, reform, and alter the Constitution on lines which are always tinctured by advice given from below the Gangway that this suggestion has been brought forward now. And I can quite understand, from the experience of Liberal administration which we have had in Ireland under a Chief Secretary during the last four years, the extreme pleasure it has been to him to alter the Constitution in a manner which will promote the interests of the Roman Catholic Church in that country. He has endowed Roman Catholic education, he has permitted in State schools, which are supposed to be secular, Roman Catholic religious emblems; and it is part of the same thing that the Constitution is to be altered by a Liberal Government which professes to be the most Protestant country since the days of Cromwell. It gets Protestant votes in England, and in Ireland administers the law and alters the Statute Book entirely in the interests of the Roman Catholics. As to the suggested reason why this alteration is to be made, the first is that it was a very grievous and bitter insult the hon. Gentlemen who are members of the Roman Catholic Church. For the matter of that, I am sure if we poor heretics were to search the records of the Roman Catholic Church and chose to distress ourselves about them we should find much more horrible things about ourselves, but there is too much commonsense in us for that. I am sure that hon. Members below the Gangway have not spent an hour's sleeplessness over this Declaration any more than we Protestants have over all the bulls launched against this country from the days of Henry VIII. and of Elizabeth. The hon. Member for Clare did bring in a Bill in 1901, and we were told that this was the most vital grievance the Roman Catholics had. From 1901 until 1910 the hon. Member for East Clare and the others, who feel the matter so bitterly now, never attempted to bring it forward for discussion in this House.
§ Mr. MOORE
The party below the Gangway have had opportunity after opportunity for bringing forward Irish Bills, and they have done so. They had their Evicted Tenants Bill, their Land Bill, and their Roman Catholic University 864 Bill. They have brought forward every possible topic in preference to wiping out an insult, but they have allowed it to sleep for nine years. They now say they feel it very deeply. I think the best test of that is the political inaction of the hon. Members below the Gangway. I do not blame them when they get a squeezable Government trying to get what they can out of them. We would all do it, and I think credit is entirely due to them for getting this Bill now. They have a complacent Prime Minister, and they threaten him with fifty or sixty Nationalist votes. They say they want something to show the people at home for consenting to the Budget. Their programme is this, "We are going to go back to Ireland this year; we have a Budget putting millions of extra taxes on Ireland, but against that we have persuaded the Liberal party to wipe out this grievous insult from the King's Accession Declaration." I am not sure that the Prime Minister has wiped out the insult. He has left in the words "Reformed Church." I have been told that the title "Reformed Church" is in itself an insult. A. reformed church means a church which is an improvement upon its predecessor. I have no doubt that in a few years' time it will be discovered that it is an insult that Protestants should venture to call themselves a "reformed church." Then you have got to revive Article 31 of the Church Articles. The King has to subscribe to the Article. He has to be in communion with the Reformed Church of England, and the 31st Article says that these identical doctrines are blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits. I am quite sure the Front Bench opposite would not object to altering the constitution of the English Church if they gained a little Nationalist support. But there would be a good deal of feeling against them in the country. When the King has subscribed to the 31st Article, what is to be gained by taking this out of the Declaration? It is obviously an exhibition of party policy for the purpose of securing Nationalist support. Then we are told by the Prime Minister, who has professed his Protestantism, that times are changed, that nowadays there is greater toleration. I do not think there is a man in the House who would suggest, if we were drafting a new Bill, it should be drafted in the language of 200 years ago. But this is quite a different matter—this matter of altering a Bill which has been one of the safeguards of the country for the last 200 years, and which has been one of the 865 foundations of the Constitution, and which has done what it professed to do. It has safeguarded the Protestant Succession for us. The Prime Minister, when he said there was much more toleration now-a-days, hastened to avoid throwing any reflection upon our ancestors. Our ancestors were very wise and prudent, because it is evident from what happened that they adequately carried out their task. They did secure a Protestant succession. But have we got nowadays this toleration of which the Prime Minister spoke? I must confess, as I look abroad, I see more and more signs of the aggressive policy of the Church of Rome in every country, including our own. In Spain, for instance, Protestants who wish to worship there are not allowed to have a door into their place of worship which opens on a public street. They can only go in by a back door. With great toleration, the Roman Catholic King of Spain the other day issued an edict, subject to the approval of his Cabinet, that in future all religions were to be treated on an equality, and that Protestants, even in Spain, were to be allowed to walk into their own places of worship off the public streets. But what was the attitude of the head of the Church of Rome? He protested against this, and the protests are still going on. The Vatican said it was a breach of the Concordat between Spain and themselves, and the Vatican and the Cabinet of the Spanish Parliament are at present at arm's length because this ordinary privilege was proposed of allowing Protestants to enter their own places of worship by a front door. That is one of the instances of toleration on which the Prime Minister bases the necessity for the introduction of this Bill.
What is going on in Germany? The Vatican sent out a circular the other day in which Calvin, Luther, and the Reformers were denounced in the most unmeasured terms. It has raised a regular storm all over the Protestant States of Germany. I am not aware that the Vatican has either withdrawn it or apologised. It said it was intended merely for private circulation among the Christians. It does not seem to me that that is a sign of growing toleration. When one considers how mansion after mansion in this country have been taken by a regular invasion of foreign clerical refugees, this does not seem an opportune moment to revive this proposal. An hon. Member asked why the Roman Catholic Church was singled out to have its doctrine repudiated, and 866 why we should not take the tenets of any other religion, and deny them. Our history gives the answer to that. We have never had claimants to the Throne in this country except from one religion.
There is no greater political agency in the world than the religious community of the Roman Catholic Church. They think it their duty to interfere in politics to advance the temporal welfare of their Church. I speak from experience. I have been at election after election in Ireland, and have seen the parish priest bring up his congregation in squads, or in a body, to cast their votes solidly. I am not finding fault, but that is a political organisation. If it was not a political body, I do not believe our friends at home would so much resent this concession to them. We do not look at it as a concession to a religious body, but we do object to a concession to a political agency. The Church of Rome always uses its forces against us as a political agency much more than as a religious agency, and we say the time is inopportune for this alteration, and I regret it is being proposed by a party professing to be progressive. I shall support my hon. Friend in the Lobby, and I hope all those interested in the continuance of the Protestant succession will also do so.
§ Mr. AGAR-ROBARTES
I sincerely regret the action the Government have taken in raising what I can only describe as an entirely new issue—most complex and most controversial. Some of us on this side of the House were under the impression that the Government took up office to solve the dominant issue—the dispute between this House and another place. Therefore, I think they were fully aware that in pursuing this course they would be stirring up religious strife throughout the length and breadth of the land. The Protestant faith has a hold on' thousands of our fellow countrymen, as strong, as vivid, and as militant as any of the professions of the subjects of Rome, and they will look with jealous eyes on any attempt to tamper with this time-honoured Declaration. I oppose this proposed alteration because, in the first place, I think it is absolutely impossible to find a substitute for the existing Declaration which will secure the Protestant succession, while, at the same time, soothing what I can only describe as the hyper-sensitive feelings of Roman Catholicism, so sensitive, logical, and consistent with its peculiar partiality for civil and religious 867 liberty in other countries. We have before us the precedent of 1901, when the Government of the day tried to appease the Roman Catholic Peers, and Lord Salisbury introduced a Bill into the House of Lords That controversy showed it is not the words "superstitious and idolatrous" to which hon. Members opposite really object. What they desire to see is the abolition of the Declaration altogether, and I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill that the controversy will not cease even if he passes this Bill into law. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will, no doubt, declare, as they have declared in the past, that this is merely an instalment of a larger policy, and that they desire the abolition of the Declaration, altogether.
I was surprised to notice that my hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock (Mr. Luttrell), speaking the other day on the Second Reading of the Regency Bill, with a rich vein of humour I had hardly credited him with before, advocated, because he believes in no tests for teachers, that there should be no tests for Regents. I think my hon. Friend will find that the acute minds of his Devonshire constituents will probably think it is absolutely necessary we should have this religious test for the King. Once having secured an effective test which is acknowledged to be effective it seems to me to be a mistake to introduce a Bill which will have the same object in view, but which will not and cannot afford the same protection to the Protestant Succession. After all, security is demanded by the vast majority of our fellow-countrymen on political as well as on religious grounds. The people of this country are determined to govern themselves, and in saying that I think I echo the sentiments of most hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House. They will not accept any interference from any outside Power. The Roman Catholic body, after all, acknowledges an outside influence, and declares its allegiance to a supreme Power outside. Therefore it appears to me to be essential that the Sovereign, holding the position he does, and using the influence which he finds it necessary to use, should give a definite denial to the most important doctrines of the Roman Catholic body. I frankly admit that this Declaration might be improved; it might be improved by strengthening it with a denial of the supremacy and infallibility of the Pope, but I am particularly anxious not to stir up religious strife. All I wish 868 to say is that the status quo should be maintained. Personally, I would suggest to hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway opposite that they should not go to a Division at this stage, because if we do go to a Division at this stage it would be no index to the feeling throughout the country. Some hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, although they do not wish to see the Declaration altered or tampered with, will no doubt follow the advice of the Prime Minister, which has by this time become classical, and "wait and see" the Bill in print.
§ Mr. BELLOC
After what has fallen from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, I fully recognise that the prolongation of the discussion may be inconvenient, but what has been said gives me a right to say what I have to say. I must first of all apologise for speaking, as I do, as a Catholic. No one of the English Members who happens to be a Catholic represents a Catholic constituency, and anyone who emphasises his religion tends, and perhaps naturally tends, to offend, or, at any rate, to con fuse the issues within, that constituency. There are very few of us, I think altogether there are only four, and each of us sits for a constituency necessarily with a big majority of Protestants, but I desire to remind the House, as in the old Debates on the Education Bill some years ago, that unless a Member who happens to be a Catholic, though sitting for a Protestant constituency, can voice Catholic opinion in these matters, that opinion will be dumb and not represented at all. I think I may say with respect to the House that, when I speak on these religious matters, I do represent one very large section of opinion, namely, the Catholics in South Lancashire. If we had proportional representation in this country, one quarter of the representatives of industrial South Lancashire would be Catholics, and, if they were, the effect on the House would, I think, be very different from that which it is when one or two Catholic Members rise.
It is in the nature of Protestant opinion and Protestant training and Protestant ethics to think that the change of words is very important, but I do not think that any of us of the community of Catholics regard the question of language as being of supreme importance. The language is offensive, it is old-fashioned, it is violent, but that is not the point we regard; and the more we travel, the more we read, and the more we know of men, the more we are convinced of this. We regard Europe 869 as divided into two camps. There is that ancient tradition, that concrete form of the old civilisation which we call The Faith, and there are the opponents of The Faith. That is the line of cleavage in Europe. Were you to abolish all forms of Declaration whatsoever, and were you to make it as it is in modern Persia, and I think in every German State, a punishable offence to insist upon religious differences, it would still be true that it would remain the great line of cleavage in modern Europe. I think the future, possibly the near future, but more likely the remote future, will prove that that type of analysis is just, and that the great division between modern men of Europe is those who are with, and those who are against the Catholic Church. On that account I sympathise with their point' of view and the opposition which is being made against this proposal.
Although the change of words does not seem to me a matter of very considerable importance, there are points of view from which this proposal is important. The first was very well emphasised by the Leader of the Opposition when he pointed out that the Crown is in a peculiar position in the Empire. It is but an historical accident that this House and the House of Lords in this Island have to decide upon a matter of this sort. It would be more logical and just and more representative if all parts of the Empire were to concur in such a decision. You are deciding with regard to an office that is one link, and the only link, between the various parts of a highly heterogeneous community. But within the white subjects of that community there is no doubt that the Catholic Church, with its political, temporal, economic, and social forces, represents a totally different proportion to what it does in England. It is true that in England our community is a small one. It has been persecuted in the past. It is not growing, or, rather, it is not growing rapidly. But it is not so in Canada, Australia, and other parts of the Empire; and if you have self-government in those other portions of the Empire, with an Imperial Parliament representing those various parts, then the protest against this present form of Declaration would be voiced in a very different way to that in which it is done to-day.
The second point, and it is one of importance, is this: Are you so sure that the mass of opinion, even in England today, is of that anti-Catholic type which many speakers have represented it to be? 870 Let us remember that this House is composed in the main part of well-to-do men and for the rest of what are generally called the middle-classes. I admit that the middle-classes of our society are anti-Catholic, and that among them the Protestant feeling is strong; but I ask the House to consider whether it is true of our present society in our great industrial towns and of our masses of casual labourers that the anti-Catholic feeling exists to that extent? Are hon. Members representative when they speak in the terms of at least two generations ago. I must confess that in all great bodies of working men I have mixed with, or heard, or had the honour of addressing, I have not found that the old religious passions were the things chiefly alive among them. I have found in my own community, largely on account of the Irish admixture, the religious feeling was intensely strong, but that matters, economic and social, carried far greater weight and, if I may say so with respect, it seems necessarily on account of the constitution of this House, a body of men coming on the whole not from the popular classes, that they have their quarrels rather exaggerated. We saw that in the Education Bill Debates, and we are seeing it in this Debate to-day.
There is just one third principle I want to deal with, and I have a certain hesitation in bringing it forward, because to-day so few men hold it—I mean the principle of Liberalism. If you are a Tory, and adhere to the philosophy which once gave that word a certain meaning; if you desire to adhere to the old traditions of State; if you consider the State rather in its historical aspect than in its present aspect; if you are contemptuous of certain individual rights and of what we, as democrats, believe to be the rights of majorities, then you can logically say that England is a Protestant country with its Established Church and its historic traditions. But the position of Conservatives maintaining the old barriers, even against the instinctive religious claim of the Crown, you cannot, if you are a Liberal, uphold—I do not know whether the House will believe me or not; it is rather a personal point; but those who did me the honour to hear me speak on the first Education Bill will, I think, admit, and it is equally true of those who agreed and voted with me—that I did not commit myself to any other principle in those Debates than what used to be the democratic principle that no citizen and no official of the State must be troubled with 871 regard to his religion or philosophic opinions. That used to be with our forefathers a commonplace. I do not believe there was a leading man in the generation of great English Liberals, from the time of the Reform Bill down to the death of Mr. Gladstone, who would not, in principle, have endorsed what lies behind this proposal. You have no right, according to that doctrine—a doctrine no longer popular and held by only a few eccentrics —the doctrine of Liberalism—you have no right to impose religious tests upon any member of the community whatsoever. I confess that a paradoxical love of that doctrine, on that ground more than any other, will make me vote in favour of the proposal of the Prime Minister, which does impose a religious test, although somewhat modified.
In considering this enormous change which the Government propose to bring about—a change which I think far exceeds the expectations Members had previously to to-day entertained—we should remember one or two things. We should remember in the first place that Mr. Gladstone said that this Declaration was necessary as a corollary of the Coronation Oath. I hope sincerely I shall not be accused of intolerance when I say I am going to oppose this change as far as I can. The Prime Minister, in the course of his most interesting speech, told us that the Sovereign was the only person who made the Declaration, but from a letter I saw in "The Times," which I should not like to pit against the Prime Minister's knowledge, I gather that all the bishops are required to make it, and, perhaps, it is not very much therefore to ask that the King should make it in his position as Head of the English Church. What people who oppose this Declaration want is a change in it, and not its abolition, but in the substitute proposed for it there is nothing new to what is already contained in the Coronation Oath. The Prime Minister said that when it was framed it was not intended that the Sovereign should take it, but from eleven years after it had been constructed it has been found necessary that the Sovereign should take it. I think it would be a great pity if we now abolished it and thus removed one of the safeguards of our Protestant Succession. The Member who has just sat down read us a lecture on religious toleration. I have not been 872 privileged to read his books, but I am told that, in one of them, he has written in a style of some hostility against a race with which I am very proud to be connected. I should have hardly thought he was a man to lecture on religious toleration. I can only imagine, when my ancestors were compelled to follow the occupation of making bricks without straw, his ancestors were of those who imposed on them that uncongenial and laborious task. I thank the House very much for the attention with which it has listened to me, and I hope it will regard with jealous care this attempted interference with one of our national possessions.
§ Mr. MORTON
I am entirely opposed to any change in this Declaration. I should like to say, with regard to this proposal to bring in a Bill which will prove highly contentious, not only in this House, but in the country at large, that there are many reforms, especially in Scotland, which are wanted much more than any interference with this Declaration, and if time is to be found for anything, it should be provided for those reforms. My hon. Friend the Member for East Clare told us something about the strong language used in the Declaration, but I gather that, according to the professions of his faith, there is no hope of salvation for us, and no chance of our getting into Heaven on any terms whatsoever. The Roman Catholics, I believe, do not care a rap about the words; to which the hon. Member referred. What they want is to go on getting possession of things bit by bit, until they finally capture the lot. I suppose they want to have the temporal power of the Pope reintroduced into Ireland. I should like to know, if the Pope became head of the temporal power in Ireland, how much Home Rule would be given? What we have to bear in mind is that Protestantism has made this country what it is. It is Protestantism that has given us civil and religious liberty, and without religious liberty you cannot have civil liberty. I do hope, therefore, that we shall bear in mind that in this country we are indebted to Protestantism for our liberties. Of course, we shall have further opportunities of considering this question, and the people of the country will also be able to consider it as soon as the Bill has been printed. I regret that the Prime Minister has not left the question alone—that he has not left it to settle itself, because, undoubtedly, the idea will get abroad that the Government is in favour of intervening 873 against the Protestant religion simply to please the Roman Catholics. I have always been on fairly good terms with Roman Catholics. I have lived with them and have not come to any harm, and I have tried to induce the North of Ireland to act fairly towards them in every way, always subject to the Conscience Clause, and with no interference on the part of Roman Catholics. I shall consider it my duty to vote against this Bill on all occasions, and I do it with great pleasure as a Protestant.
§ Sir J. COMPTON-RICKETT
I only desire to say a word or two on this occasion since we are only now at the outset of the Bill, and there will have to be considerable further discussion upon it. I want to say how glad I am that the Government at last are doing justice in this matter, for no manner of conditions of this kind imposed upon the Sovereign would really secure the end in view. In the first place the differences of opinion now affecting people in regard to religion are far different and on different grounds to those of 200 years ago, and the words which we have placed in the Declaration of the King really do not now exist as words affecting the Churches themselves. Moreover, to bind the Sovereign to make a Declaration of this kind is really not to protect him from influences outside the Protestant Church, because inside the Protestant Church of England itself we have opinions which cannot be distinguished from those referred to in the Declaration. We have also to remember that the Sovereign stands for the whole of the country, and that Catholics are emancipated, and have their rights as citizens. I am in hopes of seeing a change in the condition of the Catholic mind as we have seen a change in America, and that that great historic Church is not to remain under the control of a group of priests in Italy for ever, and that we shall see a development and a liberalising effect in that Church so that it will take its place among the Churches of Christendom and be an assistance, instead of a drawback, to the Protestant Churches, and join with them to fight the battle against the new foes, which are materialism and indifference. They need to-day the help of Catholics to fight those foes, and not their hostility, and we have seen signs in America, as I have said, of independence of thought in the Catholic Church. There are also signs of that in England, and it is possible for that great Church to take 874 on a new life, as I have said, and to play a part in the Empire of Britain as well as in the rest of the world of great importance in the future. I feel that in this case and as a basis of the State we are bound to give equality of civil rights. We shall not be able to secure the thought of the Sovereign; we can only protect ourselves against his actions, and this can be secured by contract and by Acts of Parliament instead of by declarations of an offensive character.
§ Mr. CHARLES CRAIG
I have listened very carefully indeed to the speech which has been delivered by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and at the end of it I am unable to understand whether the hon. Member would allow a Roman Catholic to occupy the Throne of this country. The whole tenour of his remarks pointed to indifference on his part whether the Throne was occupied by a Roman Catholic or by a Protestant. If that is the point of view which he takes up I think I may say that the House of Commons may for the present, at any rate, disregard it entirely. I believe that the vast majority of the inhabitants of these-islands are as firmly determined to-day as they have been for the last 200 years that the Throne of this country must -be occupied solely and alone by Protestants, and it is from that point of view we must address ourselves to the question to-day. If that is so, and I think everybody admits that it is, and if we are to continue the Protestant Succession in this country, the question we have to discuss is whether the methods by which we procure that Succession are adequate, or whether, as is put forward by some hon. Members, many of those methods are superfluous and go too far. Those of us who are determined to vote against this Bill to-day think that if you mean to provide for a Protestant succession in this country you cannot take any means which are too strong for carrying out the purpose you have in view, and we maintain that the Declaration which we are discussing, if it is examined word for word by experts, will be found—as experts, of whom I do not profess to be one, have on more than one occasion declared—to be the only form of words which Roman Catholics themselves and Protestants themselves have been able to devise which in the ultimate result will have that effect. That is to say, there are circumstances, there are conditions which I am willing to admit do not exist at the moment, but 875 which did exist 200 years ago and may exist 250 years hence—there are circumstances which have existed, and might exist again, which can only be met by retaining the declaration in its present form.
I admit that this is not the time to give details at any length, but we all know that the words which are claimed by the Roman Catholics to be offensive to them were put into that Declaration for the express purpose of testing to the utmost the religious belief of the monarch who had to make the Declaration, and we are informed—again I say I am not an expert who put this forward as my own opinion— but we are informed by those who know much better than I do that without these words it would be possible—I do not say for an honourable and honest Roman Catholic—but it would be possible for a Roman Catholic to make the Declaration proposed by the Prime Minister. Let me put it this way, that a Roman Catholic could make the Declaration which is now in existence provided you struck out those few words which the Roman Catholic Church claim to be offensive to their creed. I must confess, as hon. Members have said before me, I do not place much reliance upon the statements of Roman Catholics that they are grievously hurt in their consciences by the employment of those words. They say it is natural for this country, where we are Protestants, to insist upon having a Protestant Sovereign, and if that is so, and that Sovereign has to make a declaration of faith proving that he is a Protestant, I do not think that anyone can complain that one of the central doctrines of the Roman Catholic faith is taken, and that he is asked to say that that doctrine is wrong. That is all that it comes to—that he is asked to say that a certain part of the Roman Catholic religion is idolatrous. I do not see that if they once admit that we are entitled to maintain the Protestant Succession to the Throne that they have any reason to complain. The hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Belloc) admitted as a Roman Catholic that he himself did not take any great exception to these particular words, and I believe in that respect he voiced the opinion of the members of that Church a great deal more than hon. Members below the Gangway. They make no secret of the matter that they object to the whole Declaration. That was proved nine or ten years ago when this matter was before another place. It was proposed then to remove these so- 876 called offensive words, but the Roman Catholic Peers refused to accept the substitute for them on the ground that they would rather stick to the present Declaration and use it as a lever at some future time to have the Declaration done away with altogether. That is the position of the Roman Catholics as voiced by their representatives in that House, but we, on the other hand, say—at least, my Friends and myself, such as are going to oppose this Bill to-day, take up the position that here you have a Declaration which hurts nobody and by the consent of everybody does all it was intended to do in safeguarding the Protestant Succession in this country. And we say it would be folly to interfere with it, because we have no guarantee—at all events, no guarantee founded on experience—that any other Declaration or the Declaration proposed by the Prime Minister will have the same effect as that which this Declaration, which has been in use for 200 years past, will have.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I regret that this discussion has degenerated into a religious squabble, but what we are discussing is whether or not the religious Declaration which the Sovereign takes is to be changed. I want to emphasise what the hon. Member for Salford said, that among the hard-working classes of the population there is no anti-Catholic feeling at all existing, and I think I should say that it is true of this community generally that there is no one who takes any interest in this discussion except those to whom these words are offensive. I want to draw attention to the fact also that the Prime Minister in his speech outlined the idea that there were certain legal safeguards which insured the Protestant Succession, and surely that is all that is necessary. I do not think there is any need for the Declaration at all, except to meet the susceptibilities of our Protestant fellow subjects, and I think the Roman Catholics would accept the Declaration which the Prime Minister outlined. I give credit to the hon. Member when he says he believes that this is in no way offensive to the Catholics of this country, but I repeat that as it stands at the present moment it is not only offensive but insulting. It has been stated in this House that probably the most loyal subjects of the Crown are the Roman Catholics throughout the Empire, and everyone will agree they are faithful and loyal subjects, and to insist upon a form of Declaration of that character, which has absolutely no authority in 877 law, is an anachronism—an obsolete form which the Sovereign has to go through which is absolutely of no use. I think, in these days, even if a strong religious feeling does exist, we are prepared to tolerate one another's religious convictions, and that the time has come when these words can be wiped away from the Constitution, if they are part of it. I trust that this Bill will be given a unanimous reception, and I was going to ask my Friends who have spoken strongly against it to abstain from voting upon this occasion. I am sure their Catholic fellow subjects would feel that that was an act of grace on their part, because, after all, all the points that have been raised can be discussed upon the Second Reading of this measure, and, like the Prime Minister, I think the more our Protestant fellow subjects look at the Bill the more they will find that everything they want in regard to the Protestant Succession will be absolutely assured, and I am convinced that there will be a strong body of even Protestant opinion in favour of this Bill when it comes before the House for Second Reading.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Major ARCHER-SHEE
I should not have intervened but for the fact that I am one of the few Catholic Members for an English constituency, and I wish-to say a word or two to justify the vote which I shall give. To my mind it is not a question of whether the Catholic Church describes the members of the Church of England as heretics, or whether the Church of England retorts in the Thirty-nine Articles—I think the 22nd and 31st— in very offensive language to the Catholics. It is whether the Sovereign of this United Kingdom, who is also the Sovereign of the Dominions beyond the seas, and at the same time Emperor of India, shall take an oath which is and has been declared to be offensive to 12 millions of the inhabitants of the British Empire. It seems to me that there can be no excuse for the continuance of that Declaration. On another ground I should object to it, because it is an absurdity and an anachronism. The hon. Member (Mr. William Moore) said he approved of the wisdom of our ancestors who framed this Declaration to meet a certain case 221 years ago. But if it were right that we should stick to the same language that they used then surely it would be almost as reasonable to stick to the Declaration of Rebellion, which the same men who were the authors of this 878 Declaration framed in the year 1688. To show the absurdity of such language I should like to read one Article from the Declaration of Rebellion, which declared that the King had erred:—By forbidding the subjects the benefit of petitioning and construing the libellers; so rendering the laws a nose of wax, to serve their arbitrary ends.The fact that that language was used by the same men who framed this Declaration shows that their language was not applicable to the present day. In addition to that, nine years ago the Canadian House of Commons passed a Resolution by 125 votes to 10 protesting against this Declaration. The Australians have also taken a strong part, and we cannot only consider the people of this country, we must consider the citizens of the British Empire as well. Therefore, I shall have the greatest pleasure in recording my vote for this Bill, not only as a Catholic, but also as a Member representing an English Constituency.
§ Mr. JOHN ELLIS
I only rise to express my thanks to the Government for having brought forward this Bill. To my mind this is a simple act of justice to Roman. Catholic subjects. I do not enter upon the merits this afternoon. I do not understand that we are on the merits at all. We have had a most interesting contribution from the hon. Member (Mr. Belloc), who raised many points, and we listened with great pleasure to the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Primrose). There was only one point in his speech to which I should take some exception. I am not quite sure that he was entitled to invoke the name of Mr. Gladstone as a supporter of the Declaration. However that may be, I am quite satisfied that those who listened to Mr. Gladstone, either on that great speech he made on the Affirmation, or when he was moving the Bill when we were in Opposition to relieve the Lord Chancellor and the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, the two officers on whom the disabilities still attaches, from that disability, would be persuaded that if Mr. Gladstone were present to-day he would join with us in some alteration of the Declaration. Governments are often timid —we have often seen timid Governments— and they are often persuaded according to the advice of Lord Melbourne—good advice in some circumstances—to leave the matter alone. I am very glad they have resisted that temptation on this occasion, and I hope they will press the Bill on, and. that it will become law by a commanding, majority.
§ Mr. H. K. NEWTON
I desire to offer one observation because I am in some little difficulty. I understand that a Division is to be taken, and before voting—and I shall vote in favour of the Bill—I desire to submit to the House this consideration. I have, during the past month or two, made many inquiries among people in many districts of East Anglia, with a view to ascertaining what their views were, and I have found a very general desire that some change should be made in the form of the Royal Declaration. The trouble I am in arises from this: that the change foreshadowed in the Prime Minister's speech seems to go very much further than anyone in the country anticipated would be the case. Under these circumstances, though I shall vote for the Bill, I do so on the understanding that the Prime Minister gave, that we shall have ample opportunities of considering the effect of the Bill upon the Second Reading. The Prime Minister stated—and that is the reason why I am supporting it—that his form secures the Protestant Succession in this country, and I earnestly hope that at a later stage we shall have facts put before us which will prove to demonstration that the Protestant Succession will be amply secured under the new form of words. It is because I have felt this difficulty and the greatness of the change introduced that I have made this one observation.
§ Mr. F. W. VERNEY
I desire not to give a silent vote on this occasion. It is my belief that Protestantism has enormously increased in strength in the last 200 years in this country, and so strong is it to-day that it can perfectly safely accept the Bill of the Government.
§ Mr. GEORGE HARWOOD
I only want to say one word to my Friends on this side of the House who seem to suggest that the Government has brought in this Bill though they had no mandate I want to remind them that there is a mandate of circumstances which could not have been anticipated and that the Government has to face these new circumstances and it is perfectly justified in facing them with this new suggestion. I do not think it is right that it should go forward that they are bringing forward a Bill without a mandate. We have had a new King who will shortly have to take the Coronation Oath and the Government is perfectly justified in providing for that change and I appeal to them, whether it is not at any rate unfair to suggest that the Government is not justified in bringing in the Bill.
§ Question put: "That leave be given to bring in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 383; Noes, 42.883
|Division No. 82.]||AYES.||[6.10 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Cator, John|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Bentham, George Jackson||Cautley, Henry Strother|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Beresford, Lord Charles||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)|
|Addlson, Dr. Christopher||Bird, Alfred||Cawley, H. T. (Lanes. Heywood)|
|Agnew, George William||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Boland, John Plus||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)|
|Alden, Percy||Bowerman, Charles W.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)|
|Allen, Charles Peter||Bowles, Thomas Gibson||Chancellor, Henry George|
|Arbuthnot, G. A.||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, N.)||Chapple, Dr. William Allen|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Brace, William||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Brady, Patrick Joseph||Clough, William|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Brassey, H. L. C. (Northants, N.)||Colefax, H. A.|
|Asqulth, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Brassey, Capt. R. (Oxon, Banbury)||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)|
|Bagot, Captain J.||Bridgeman, William Clive||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Brigg, Sir John||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Brunner, John F. L.||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Bryce, J. Annan||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bull, Sir William James||Courthope, George Loyd|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Burke, E. Haviland-||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Butcher, John George (York)||Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred|
|Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor||Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid)||Crosfield, Arthur H.|
|Barnston, Harry||Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Crossley, Sir William J.|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Byles, William Pollard||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Calley, Col. Thomas C. P.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Cameron, Robert||Dawes, James Arthur|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc. E.)||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Campion, W. R.||Devlin, Joseph|
|Beale, William Phipson||Carlile, Edward Hlldred||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness)|
|Beckett, Hon. William Gervase||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Dickinson, W. H.|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Castlereagh, Viscount||Dillon, John|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Doris, William||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Pearce, William|
|Duffy, William J.||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Peel, Hon. William R. W. (Taunton)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Jowett, Frederick William||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Joyce, Michael||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Dunn, Sir W. H. (Southward, W.)||Keating, Matthew||Philipps, Sir o. C. (Pembroke)|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Kelly, Edward||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pointer, Joseph|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Kerry, Earl of||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Kilbride, Denis||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Falconer, James||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Kirkwood, John H. M.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Knott, James||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Fell, Arthur||Lambert, George||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lardncr, James Carrige Rushe||Proby, Col. Douglas James|
|Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Munro||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Rankin, Sir James|
|Ffrench, Peter||Leach, Charles||Raphael, Herbert Henry|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Reddy, Michael|
|Fleming, Valentia||Lehmann, Rudolf C.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Levy, Sir Maurice||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Foster, John K. (Coventry)||Lewis, John Herbert||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Foster, p. S. (Warwick, S.W.)||Lewisham, Viscount||Rendall, Athelstan|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Llewelyn, Venables||Ridley, Samuel Forde|
|Gardner, Ernest||Lloyd, George Ambrose||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Gill, A. H.||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Glover, Thomas||Lundon, Thomas||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Goldman, Charles Sydney||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Wor. Droitwlch)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Greene, Walter Raymond||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Greenwood, Granville George||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Greig, Col. James William||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Guiney, Patrick||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Gulland, John William||M'Kean, John||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Hackett, John||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Haddock, George Bahr||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lines. Spalding)||Schwann, Sir Charles E.|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Mallet, Charles Edward||Shackleton, David James|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Manfield, Harry||Sheehy, David|
|Harris, F. L. (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Harris, H. P. (Paddington, S.)||Martin, Joseph||Shortt, Edward|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Mason, James F.||Smith, H. B. (Northampton)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Harwood, George||Median. Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Soares, Ernest Joseph|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Middlebrook, William||Stanier, Beville|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Middlemore, J. T.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork, N.E.)||Millar, James Duncan||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Louth, N.)||Mond, Sir Alfred||Stewart, Sir M'T. (Kirkc'dbr'tsh.)|
|Heath, Col. Arthur Howard||Mooney, John J.||Summers, James Woolley|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Morpeth, Viscount||Sutherland, John E.|
|Hemmerde. Edward George||Mount, William Arthur||Sutton, John E.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Muldoon, John||Sykes, Alan John|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Henry, Charles S.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Newman, John R. P.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Nield, Herbert||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Nolan, Joseph||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Hindle, Frederick George||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hodge, John||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||O'Doherty, Philip||Toulmin, George|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||O'Dowd, John||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Horne, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||O'Grady, James||Twist, Henry|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Verney, Frederick William|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Malley, William||Walters, John Tudor|
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Hunt, Rowland||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Hunter, W. (Govan)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Shee, James John||Wardle, George J.|
|Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Whlttaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Whyte, Alexander F.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Wateriow, David Sydney||Williams, Penny (Middlesbrough)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Wedgwood, Josiah C.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)||Younger, W. (Peebles and Selkirk)|
|Wheler, Granville C. H.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|White, Maj. G. D. (Lanc. Southport)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|White, Sir George (Norfolk)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Sir J. M. Fuller.|
|White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)||Wilson, T. F. (Lanark, N.E.)|
|White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Whitehouse, John Howard||Wood, T. M'Klnnon (Glasgow)|
|Adam, Maior William A.||Harmsworth, R. L.||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Rutherford, Watson|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott||Homer, Andrew Long||Sandys, Lt.-Col. T. M. (Bootle)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Houston, Robert P.||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, North)|
|Brackenbury, Henry Langton||Locker-Lampson, 0. (Ramsay)||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Brunskill, G.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Wadsworth, John|
|Chambers, James||Mackinder, Halford J.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Macmaster, Donald||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Gordon, J.||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hall, E. Marshall (Toxteth)||Moore, William|
|Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Captain Craig and Sir C. J. Cory.|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
Question, "That Clause 1 stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill ordered to be brought m by the Prime Minister, Mr. Birrell, Mr. Runciman, and the Solicitor-General. Presented accordingly, and read the first time; to be read a second time upon Monday next.