HC Deb 15 July 1924 vol 176 cc216-23

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to provide for the removal of the Scottish Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey to Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. Tradition says that this is the Stone that Jacob had for a pillow at Bethel, when he was fleeing before his brother Esau, as a result of his having stolen Esau's birthright. It was taken by Jacob's family into Egypt, or, according to the Bible, at that time into the Land of Goshen, a part of Egypt, and it was in the possession of the Kings of Egypt for a considerable time. It was taken from Egypt to Ireland. It was on Tara's Hill 700 B.C. That is according to tradition. I do not know whether it is true or not. But what I do know is that the Stone is Scottish sandstone, and that it lay at Scone for about 700 years, until there was a quarrel between Bruce and Baliol, and Edward I, called "the Hammer of the Scots," was brought in to arbitrate betwixt the two. He came to Scotland as an arbitrator. He called in all the evidence, searched all the archives of Scotland, and took all these with him to England, along with the Stone, according to Professor Innes in his "Ancient Inhabitants of Scotland," which, if read, would do a number of people here a great deal of good. Edward I destroyed every monument of the antiquities of Scotland, and he took the Stone. I would ask hon. Members who claim to be Englishmen, and to put honour first, to weigh well now the statement, which is not mine, but is taken from Professor Tytler's "History of Scotland," in which he points that out conclusively. That is why we Scotsmen are so anxious to get that Stone back to Scotland, for Edward I considered, when he took the Stone from Scotland over the Border to Westminster, that he had taken Scottish independence with him.

The Stone was, and it is still, a symbol of our nationhood. It is a venerable relic, and Scotland has tried time and time again to get that venerable Stone returned to Scottish soil. Edward thought at that time, 1290, that he had completely conquered Scotland, that he had hammered the nationhood out of our country. He never did. I stand here to-day representing an unconquered race! Only a year elapsed when our great national hero Wallace arrived on the scene. He practically chased the. English out of our land.

After the Battle of Bannockburn, in 1314, when Robert the Bruce completely defeated the English, and they sued for peace, by a Treaty—this is where your honour will come in—by the Treaty of Northampton, in 1328, the Stone, with other relics, should have been restored to Scotland. The reason given for it not being returned, for the Treaty not being kept, was that the sentiment of London was against returning the Stone to Scotland. My friends and I are accused of being materialists. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] The charge is false. When we seek bread and shelter for our people, we also demand roses. The great spiritual, historical and sentimental bonds that bind together a race—these we cherish. The more material things of life are alone but as bread that turns to dust and ashes in the mouth. They are the materialists who jeer and sneer at the demand of a nation for the ownership and custody of the symbol of its nationhood. I have much pleasure in moving the First Reading of my Bill.


I do not wish to dispute directly with the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down in his reasoned and interesting account of the origin of the Stone of Destiny. He is, I believe, following the ecclesiastical and monastic tradition which states so much about the Stone. But if I may follow him a bit further than he went may I say that the Stone was brought by Kenneth McAlpine—


No relation of the contractor!


—from Dunstaffneys, where it had been presented to him by a legate of the Pope, as his reward for having converted Scotland to Christianity. [HON. MEMBERS: "Never!"] I would only say that it is dangerous, from the hon. Member's point of view, to follow that theory too closely, for surely, in that case, the Stone, if it be Jacob's Stone, ought to be returned to the place where it came from, Bethel, and to the Jews. As regards that interesting point which he raised, that the Stone was Scots red sandstone, I may say that. I have had to sleep many uncomfortable nights on the Hill of Bethel, and it is also red sandstone there. Fortunately for the hon. Member and his point of view, there are other traditions, and many of the most creditable chroniclers of the Middle Ages state clearly that the Stone was brought to Scotland by Fergus, the son of Eric, who came over with the Dalriads from Ireland and founded the Kingdom of Albain or Albania, which was afterwards called Scotia or Scotland. I may mention here that both Eric and Fergus are Scandinavian names, but that, as Kipling would say, is another story.

Both in Scotland and Ireland local tradition states, and states very strongly, that the Stone was in the possession of the Scots long before their conversion to Christianity, and the Pagan account of the origin of the Stone is that the god Odin, being vexed with another fellow deity who had been making eyes at his wife threw the Stone at his head, but fortunately for him it missed him, and it fell among the Scots, who reverenced it ever after as a symbol of what might possibly happen to a mere mortal who might be guilty of a similar offence. Perhaps that is the reason why they used always to crown their Kings on it. It is a curious similarity with a Greek myth substituting Zeus for Odin. I only mentioned that in case it interests those who follow the legend that the Scots came with a colony, under Caledon, the son of Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, from the northern parts of Greece, which is now modern Albania. I believe there is red sandstone in Albania, too. I suggest that perhaps a committee of experts might inquire into this fact of the geological origin of the Stone and bear really valuable witness as to the origin of the race.

I will now come to more modern history. The hon. Member rightly states that Edward I took the Stone from Scotland, but only Whig historians who disregard facts to prove their theories would believe that Edward invaded Scotland merely for the fun of it and in order to become King of that country. The real facts show that Edward was compelled to undertake that expedition owing to the treaty concluded two years before by Baliol with France. The treaty, concluded on 23rd October, 1295, had borne fruit in several devastating raids made by the Scots over the English border. At that time there was no Reparation Commission and there was no League of Nations. There was only the Pope to appeal to, and it happened, when there was a really contentious matter on both sides, that his verdict was almost uni-

versally disregarded. In view of that, Edward took the Stone as the only tangible security for the reparations which he claimed, and I may claim that he proved wise in his generation, since at a later date, when James V. was released on promise of ransom by the Scots, the Scots never paid the ransom and have never paid it. That is the reason why the Stone has not yet beers returned. Finally, I oppose this Bill for reasons which hon. Members may, perhaps, regard as superstitious. If that be the case, I will plead that I have much Scots blood in my veins. In connection with this Stone, there is an old Latin couplet of which nobody knows the origin. I will not quote it to the House, although I have it here. [HON. MEMBERS: "Go on"] Ni fallat fatum Scoti, quocunque locatum Invenient lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem." That has been construed— Unless the fates are faithless found, And vision merely dream Where'er this stone is on the ground The Scots shall reign supreme. I should hate to deprive this country and the Empire of the valuable services of the Scottish Minister and Scottish heads of Government Departments, and, for this reason alone, if for no other, I venture to oppose the Bill.

Question put, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to provide for the removal of the Scottish Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey to Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

The House divided: Ayes, 201: Noes, 171.

Division No. 151.] AYES. [4.7. p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Chapple, Dr. William A. Edwards, John H. (Accrington)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Charleton, H. C. Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Clarke, A. Falconer, J.
Alstead, R. Climie, R. Ferguson, H.
Astor, Viscountess Cluse, W. S. Foot, Isaac
Baird, Major Rt. Hon. Sir John L. Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)
Baker, Walter Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Gavan-Duffy, Thomas
Banton, G. Cove, W. G. Gosling, Harry
Barclay, R. Noton Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome)
Barnes, A. Crittall, V. G. Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff) Davies, David (Montgomery) Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)
Batey, Joseph Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Greenall, T.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Greenwood, A (Nelson and Colne)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)
Berry, Sir George Dickson, T. Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)
Bondfield, Margaret Dodds, S. R. Groves, T.
Broad, F. A. Dudgeon, Major C. R. Grundy, T. W.
Brown, A. E. (Warwick, Rugby) Dukes, C. Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Dunnico, H. Hacking, Captain Douglas H.
Buckle, J. Ednam, Viscount Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Cape, Thomas. Edwards, G. (Norfolk, Southern) Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)
Harbord, Arthur Maxton, James Smith, T. (Pontefract)
Hardle, George D. Middleton, G. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Harney, E. A. Millar, J. D. Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-In-Furness)
Harris, John (Hackney, North) Mills, J, E. Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Mitchell R. M.(Perth & Kinross, Perth) Stephen, Campbell
Harvey, T. E. (Dewsbury) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Hastings, Sir Patrick Montague, Frederick Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Haycock, A. W. Morel, E. D. Sturrock, J. Leng
Hayday, Arthur Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Hayes, John Henry Muir, John W. Sullivan, J.
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Murray, Robert Sutton, J. E.
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Naylor, T. E. Thompson, Piers G. (Torquay)
Henderson, W. W.(Middlesex, Enfield) Nichol, Robert Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Hirst, G. H. Nixon, H. Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)
Hobhouse, A. L. O'Connor, Thomas P. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Hoffman, P. C. O'Grady, Captain James Thorne, W. (West Ham, Pialstow)
Hogge, James Myles Oliver, George Harold Tinker, John Joseph
Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie Oliver, P. M. (Manchester, Blackley) Tout, W. J.
Hudson, J. H. Paling, W. Turner-Samuels, M.
Hughes, Collingwood Palmer, E. T. Viant, S. P.
Isaacs, G. A. Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Vivian, H.
Jackson, R. F. (Ipswich) Pattinson, S. (Horncastle) Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Jewson, Dorothea Perry, S. F. Warne, G. H.
John, William (Rhondda, West) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merloneth) Phillipps, Vivian Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford,E.) Potts, John S. Wedgwood, Col. Rt. Hon. Josiah C.
Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Pringle, W. M. R. Welsh, J. C.
Lansbury, George Ramage, Captain Cecil Beresford Westwood, J.
Laverack, F. J. Remer, J. R. Whiteley, W.
Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North) Rendall, A. Wignall, James
Leach, W. Richards, R. Williams, Dr J. H. (Llanelly)
Lee, F. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Lessing, E. Ritson, J. Williams, Lt.-Col. T.S.B. (Kenningtn.)
Lindley, F. W. Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Linfield, F. C. Romeril, H. G. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Livingstone, A. M. Rose, Frank H. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Lorimer, H. D. Royle, C. Windsor, Walter
Lowth, T. Rudkin, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. C. Wintringham, Margaret
Lunn, William Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wood, Major Rt. Hon. Edward F. L.
McCrae, Sir George Scurr, John Woodwark, Lieut.-Colonel G. G.
Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Sexton, James Wright, W.
Mackinder, W. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Young, Andrew (Glasgow, Partick)
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Shinwell, Emanuel
Maden, H. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Marley, James Simon, E. D. (Manchester, Withingtn.) Mr. Kirkwood and Mr. T. Johnston.
Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton) Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G. Smillie, Robert
Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke Chapman, Sir S. Gwynne, Rupert S.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Church, Major A. G. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J.(Kent, Dover) Clayton, G. C. Henn, Sir Sydney H.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Conway, Sir W. Martin Herbert Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Cope, Major William Herbert, Capt. Sidney (Scarborough)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South) Hindle, F.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.
Beamish, T. P. H. Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Hogbin, Henry Cairns
Becker, Harry Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln) Hood, Sir Joseph
Beckett, Sir Gervase Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Hope, Rt. Hon. J. F. (Sheffield, C)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Howard, Hon. D.(Cumberland, North)
Betterton, Henry B. Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Howard, Hon. G. (Bedford, Luton)
Birkett, W. N. Dawson, Sir Philip Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.
Black, J. W. Doyle, Sir N. Grattan Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis
Blundell, F. N. Dunn, J. Freeman Iliffe, Sir Edward M.
Bonwick, A. Eden, Captain Anthony Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Bourne, Robert Croft Edmondson, Major A. J. Jones, C. Sydney (Liverpool, W.Derby)
Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart Elliot, Walter E. Kay, Sir R. Newbald
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Elveden, viscount Keens, T.
Brass, Captain W. England, Colonel A. Kindersley. Major G. M.
Brassey, Sir Leonard Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. King, Captain Henry Douglas
Briant, Frank Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Lamb, J. Q.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive FitzRoy, Captain Rt. Hon. Edward A. Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Brittain, Sir Harry Fletcher, Lieut.-Com. R. T. H. Lowe, Sir Francis William
Brunner, Sir J. Forestler-Walker, L. Lumley, L. R.
Buckingham, Sir H. Frece, Sir Walter de McEntee, V. L.
Bullock, Captain M. Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, North) McLean, Major A.
Burman, J. S. Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Macnaghten, Han. Sir Malcolm
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Greene, W. P. Crawford Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Gretton, Colonel John Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.) Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.) Morse, W. E.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. W. E. Moulton, Major Fletcher
Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford) Turner, Ben
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Roundell, Colonel R. F. Turton, Edmund Russborough
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Varley, Frank B.
Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Sandeman, A. Stewart Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Savery, S. S. Waddington, R,
Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Seely, H. M. (Norfolk, Eastern) Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Shepperson, E. W. Warrender, Sir Victor
O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh Sherwood, George Henry Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Simpson, J. Hope Wells, S. R.
Owen, Major G. Smith-Carington, Neville W. Weston, John Wakefield
Pease, William Edwin Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.) Wheler, Lieut.-Cot. Granville C. H.
Pennefather, Sir John Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Williams, A. (York, W. R., Sowerby)
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Spero, Dr. G. E. Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Perring, William George Stamford, T. W. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Pielou, D. P. Stanley, Lord Wise, Sir Fredric
Pilditch, Sir Philip Starmer, Sir Charles Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Steel, Samuel Strang Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Raine, W, Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H. Wragg, Herbert
Rathbone, Hugh H. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland) Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell-(Croydon,S.) Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Rawson, Alfred Cooper Thornton, Maxwell R.
Rea, W. Russell Thurtle, E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Rees, Sir Beddoe Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Lord Apsley and Captain Viscount Curzon.
Remnant, Sir James Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Kirkwood, Mr. Thomas Johnston, Mr. Neil Maclean, Mr. Campbell Stephen, Mr. Nichol, Mr. Buchanan, Mr. Murray, Mr. Welsh, Mr. Dickson, Mr. Westwood, Mr. Duncan Graham, and Mr. Maxton.