HL Deb 02 May 1842 vol 62 cc1357-8
Lord Den-man

said, it was his intention to have Moved the second reading of the bill to enable persons belonging to the sect called Baptists to substitute affirmations for oaths, but since the bill had been laid upon the Table he had found that strong objections were entertained against making the measure applicable to that sect alone. He had been frequently asked why this privilege should be granted to Baptists, and not to other sects who might entertain the same scruples in regard to the taking of an oath. Upon principle he had found great difficulty in answering that question. His reason, however, for introducing so limited a provision had been a deference to the opinion that had been expressed by their Lordships on a former occasion. He could not, however, abandon an object which he conceived to be of great importance to the due administration of justice, and he felt it is duty to state to the House that in a few days he should introduce a measure by which he would endeavour to include the case of all Christian men who entertained scruples similar to those which he had purposed to provide for in the case of the Baptists; and he trusted, that when the bill was before their Lordships, he should not be met with the objection that there was no security that the parties belonged to any particular sect at all. At the same time, if their Lordships objected to make the measure general, he still thought that the Baptists were entitled to the relief they sought, and the bill in its present shape might be again resorted to. He might take this opportunity of stating, that the petition of the large and respectable body with whom he had been in communication was not on behalf of themselves only, but of all those who entertained similar scruples. They did not seek for an exclusive privilege. He begged leave to withdraw the present bill and in a few days he would call their Lordships' attention to the general question.

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