§ "I. A.B., swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King George the Fifth, his Heirs and Successors, according to law. So help me GOD."
§ Mr. RADFORD rose to move to leave out the words "So help me God."
The hon. Member's Amendments are consequential upon an earlier Amendment which was not in Order.
§ Mr. RADFORD
May I be allowed to say a word on a point of Order? The fact is, this second Schedule has got a new form of oath not known to the Legislature, and which is altogether a mistake. I am not suggesting that we should substitute a form of affirmation for a form of oath, but I am finding fault with the form 1508 of oath here prescribed, and, if in order, I want to say a word on it.
§ Mr. RADFORD
Let me explain if it is not known to hon. Members. I know it is known to the Home Secretary, and I believe I can convince him I am right. The form of oath which was in use previous to the Oaths Act of 1909 was this: "I, A.B., swear that I will so and so," and it ended with the words "So help me God." That was the sole call upon the Deity which was prescribed until the Act of 1909. The Act of 1909 introduced a new form of oath—"I, A.B., swear by Almighty God that I will do so and so" and in that case the words "So help me God" in the end were very appropriately omitted. The draftsman of this Bill, carelessly as I think, and as another instance of the punctilious accuracy shown throughout the Bill, has got this thing muddled up, and has inserted a reference to the Deity in two-places which, I think, is unseemly, and which is quite unusual, and for which there is no legal authority whatever. It is quite clear you must choose one form of oath or the other, and therefore the form of oath which is now suggested is unusual, novel, and without authority, and if it is enacted here will be enacted by the Legislature for the first time. I therefore move to omit the words "So help me God," and adopt the form of oath introduced by the Oaths Act of 1909.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I promised in Committee when my hon. Friend raised this point that I would consider it before the Report, and I am quite prepared to alter the form of the oath as he suggests by striking out the words, "So help me God," at the conclusion of the oath, having regard to the fact that they are in the beginning of it. It does not matter whether the words come in at the beginning or the end of the oath, but I have just consulted my right hon. Friend as to whether it would not be better to have them at the end; but, in view of the form in which my hon. Friend has moved his Amendment, I accept it. But may I beg him not to move his next?
§ Question, "That those words stand part of the Schedule," put, and negatived.1509
|Session and Chapter.||Title or Short Title.||Extent of Repeal.|
|25 Edw. 3. stat. 1||Statute for those who are born in parts beyond the seas.||From "and in the right of other children" to the end of the statute.|
|42 Edw. 3. c. 10||A statute made at Westminster on the first day of May in the forty-second year of King Edward III.||The whole chapter.|
|12 & 13 Will. 3. c. 2||The Act of Settlement||In section three the words "naturalized or."|
|7 Anne c. 5||The Foreign Protestants (Naturalization) Act, 1708.||The whole Act.|
|4 Geo. 2. c. 21||The British Nationality Act, 1730||The whole Act.|
|33 Geo. 3. c. 21||The British Nationality Act, 1772||The whole Act.|
|33 & 34 Vict. c. 14||The Naturalization Act, 1870||The whole Act.|
|33 & 34 Viet. c. 102||The Naturalization Oath Act, 1870||The whole Act.|
|58 & 59 Vict. c. 43||The Naturalization Act, 1895||The whole Act.|
§ Mr. RADFORD
I beg to move to leave out the words, "and in the right of other children," and to insert instead thereof the words, "and that all children inheritors."
Notwithstanding the appeal of my right hon. Friend, I feel bound to move this Amendment to the Schedule with regard to the repeal of the Statute of 25 Edw. III., because here the draftsman of the Bill in a slap-dash manner has really repealed the wrong section. I can assure my right hon. Friend that if he will turn to the Statute which I have, of course, done, he will find that the Clause which begins "and in the right of other children" deals with Henry the son of John de Beaumont and with the son of Ralph D'Aubenay, and others who were living and going strong in the reign of Edward III. This law was in the nature of a Privilegium or private Act for the benefit of those persons who are long since dead and.… their hones are dust,Their souls are with the Lord, we trust.There is no reason whatever for interfering with that Clause of the Statute. What should be done is that we should begin our repeal with the next paragraph, which begins "and in the right of other children inheritors." That is the general law which provides that children born abroad should be entitled to inherit in this country. That is relevant to this Bill. The other part is purely local, personal and temporary and ought not to be repealed. I should be ashamed that this should go forward to the Parliaments of the great Dominions and give them a 1510 notion of the slapdash and harum-scarum way in which our Bills are drafted.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The only effect of accepting the Amendment would be that we should still leave as part of the Statute law of this country certain interesting facts in the family history of John de Beaumont, Ralph D'Aubenay, and other interesting persons. As we are repealing the rest of this Statute, and as this is dead law, we may just as well repeal that part.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule," put, and agreed to.
§ Order for third reading read.
§ Mr. RADFORD
On this Motion for the Third Reading I deem it my duty to say that I very much regret that we should send out to the Parliaments of our Dominions an Act which requires persons to make an oath of allegiance as a condition of their being naturalised in this Empire. There is no ground for conveying that impression. It is a wrong impression, and it is only proposed in this Bill, as I suspect, because at the date of the Naturalisation Act of 1870 there was no option for a man, if he desired to become a British subject, but to take the oath of allegiance. Since then the Oaths Act of 1888 was passed. This enabled a man either to take the oath or make an affirmation. This is a point which appeals to a very large number of people not only in this country but throughout the Dominions of the Crown—persons who are agnostics 1511 or persons who are peculiarly scrupulous Christians. Seeing that this is not a local Act of Parliament, but a kind of Imperial rescript applying to the whole Empire, I think it would be wise that we should, on the face of the Act, show to our brethren across the seas what is our free way, and that a man may take the oath of allegiance or make an affirmation as he pleases, just as an hon. Member at the Table of this House may either swear or affirm. I feel bound to make that protest, and I regret that under your ruling, Mr. Speaker, the House had not an opportunity of considering the matter.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.
§ Question, "That the Bill be now read the third time," put, and agreed to.