§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read. House in Committee accordingly.
§ Clause 1, (Oath to be taken instead of Oaths of Allegiance, Supremacy, and Abjuration.)
THE EARL OF WICKLOW
rose, pursuant to notice, to move an Amendment on this clause; but before entering upon that subject he wished to recall to their Lordships' recollection what took place on the second reading of the Bill. On that occasion the noble and learned Lord who had charge of the Bill (Lord Lyndhurst) stated that in conformity with the expressed wishes of the noble Earl at the head of the Government—the noble Earl having expressed his opinion that the two provisions —one for altering the oaths, and the other for introducing Jews into Parliament—were such as ought not to be united together. This Bill had been so framed that the question of the admission of the Jews to Parliament could be separated from the other portion of the Bill. He was somewhat surprised at that declaration of the noble and learned Lord, but he did not then feel that he had sufficient recollection of the subject to express any doubt as to its accuracy. He had since then looked into the matter, and he found that in 1849, when a measure for the relief of the Jews was first introduced into their Lordships' House, it was framed in precisely the same manner, and with the same division of subject as that now under consideration; so much so that in that Bill, as in the present one, the question of admitting the Jews into Parliament was raised in the fifth clause. He did not believe, when the noble Earl at the head of the Government ex- 1750 pressed his opinion that the two subjects— the question of the oaths and the question of admitting Jews to Parliament—ought not to be mixed up together, that his meaning was that they should be united in the same Bill, and only separated into different clauses; his real meaning must have been that both subjects, of the alteration of the oaths and of the admission of the Jews to Parliament were of such great importance that each ought to have a Bill to itself. It was impossible for any one who reflected upon the subject not to be of that opinion. The two subjects were absolutely incompatible with one another, and could not with any propriety be joined together. And now with regard to the Amendment he was about to propose—he would ask their Lordships to consider what was the nature of an oath, and how oaths ought to be regarded by the public mind. When they were called upon to take an oath, whether in a court of justice or at the Table of their Lordships' House, they performed a solemn act of devotion—they invoked the Deity to witness to the truth of the language they used. He must say, further, that upon the respect which the people entertained for the sanctity of an oath depended, in a great degree, the security of property and the maintenance of the institutions of the country. It behaved their Lordships, therefore, well to consider whether it would not excite in the minds of the people a disrespect for all oaths to find their Lordships, Session after Session, trifling with this important subject of oaths, and, under pretence of making an alteration in those oaths, to cloak and cover their design to effect another political and infinitely less important object; and when that other object failed, then the whole measure was rejected and cast aside. If the Jews were to be admitted into Parliament let it be done by a Bill brought in for the express purpose, as was done in 1829, when the measure for admitting the Roman Catholics to Parliament was introduced. He believed the only reason why those who were anxious for the admission of the Jews did not take the same course was that they knew the feeling of the country was not in their favour. But as they had a Bill upon this subject, he would entreat their Lordships so to frame it as to render it acceptable to the feelings of the country. He would admit that, to a certain extent, the measure as it stood did effect a great improvement; but, it retained the most objectionable part of the three oaths, namely, that part of 1751 the Oath of Supremacy which affirmed that no foreign prince, prelate, or potentate hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, spiritual or temporal, within the realm. The objections to the portions in the other oaths which were proposed to be removed were that they were useless and absurd; but the objection to this part of the Oath of Supremacy was that it was decidedly false; and he would endeavour to prove to their Lordships the justice of this observation. In doing so he must express his regret to have for his opponent the noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor) who in the other House of Parliament had been the champion and the hero of this particular oath. As he understood the noble and learned Lord's argument, it amounted to this, that though the words, if taken in their literal sense, were not true, yet they were not to be construed according to their literal interpretation, but they were to be taken in a legal sense. Now, in reply to that reasoning, he asked, was it fit that the language of an oath should be so framed that the person who was to take it could not clearly understand it? Could the noble and learned Lord produce him a single oath out of the Statute Book which was so framed except this one? Was an oath a thing to require the interpretation of a lawyer, or ought it to be so obscure that the person taking it required a lawyer at his elbow, like a father confessor, to explain to him its precise legal interpretation? If the words at the end of the Oath of Abjuration were appended at the end of the Oath of Supremacy—if, after declaring that the Pope had not, nor ought to have, any spiritual jurisdiction within the realm, they were also called upon to say that they took this oath in its plain, literal, common-sense meaning, without any evasion, restriction, or mental reservation whatever—would the noble and learned Lord himself then venture to take the oath? And though these words did not occur in the Oath of Supremacy, but in the Oath of Abjuration, yet as that oath came the last of the three, he was not sure that the clause to which he had referred did not refer to and embrace all that went before. He had said that the Oath of Supremacy taken literally was false; but when it was first created in the reign of Queen Elizabeth it was literally true, and he knew of nothing which had occurred in the history of the country to sanction the opinion that the words were to be taken in a different sense—though he admitted that 1752 the march of opinion in this country had been so gradual that it would be difficult to say at what period it had become necessary to alter the oath. But so many changes had of late taken place with the full sanction of the Legislature, that it had now become necessary to consider whether the oath also ought not to be altered. One of the changes to which he referred was the endowment of the College of Maynooth for the express purpose of educating the youth of Ireland for the ministry of the Church of Rome, and with the full knowledge that the Church of Home could not exist in Ireland except under the spiritual supervision and authority of the Pope. A still more decided step in this direction was taken by the Charitable Bequests Bill in Ireland, which was carried not many years ago, and by which the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland were expressly stated, by virtue of their office as bishops, to be trustees under that Act. He would also refer to the Dublin Cemetery Act, in which it was stated that his Grace the Archbishop Murray should regulate and control the funerals of the Roman Catholics. Could anything be more clear than that by these Acts the Legislature admitted the spiritual authority of the Pope who appointed those bishops? And yet their Lordships were required to swear that the Pope had no spiritual or ecclesiastical authority within the realm. He might add, that he had personally attended the levee which George IV. held in the Castle of Dublin, in 1821, at which he received the Roman Catholic bishops in a body; and it was well understood that no attendance at the levee gave greater satisfaction to His Majesty and to the Ministers, because it denoted the degree of popularity with which His Majesty was received. The recognition of the bishops was carried still further when the late Sir Robert Peel established the Queen's Colleges in Ireland. At that time the noble Lord who held the office of Lord Lieutenant (Earl of Clarendon)—and he did not mean to blame him for it—addressed a letter to Archbishop Murray, in which he said—Tour Grace had the goodness to promise that you would convey to Rome, for the consideration of the Pope, the amended statutes of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland, as the British Government has no official organ in that city.He then went on to say—and their Lordships must remember that this referred to a Bill then passing through the Legislature— 1753The list of visitors is not yet settled, but I can have no hesitation in stating that it will include the Catholic archbishop of the province and the bishop of the diocese in which the college is situated, and that in the professorships and other posts the Catholic religion will be fully represented.He might misunderstand all these things, but it did appear to him that, bearing them in mind, it was impossible to argue with candour and fairness that even under the law the Pope had no ecclesiastical authority in these kingdoms; and, therefore, that this oath could not be justified and maintained. More than this, he was informed that a Roman Catholic bishop or clergyman who might be converted to the Anglican religion would, in virtue of his original ordination, become a priest or bishop of that Church. But while he condemned this oath he did not think that in taking it he was taking a false oath. An oath must be taken animo imponentis—in the sense in which it was imposed; and all that he understood to be meant by the Legislature when it established this oath was that it should be a declaration that the person taking it was not a Roman Catholic. In taking it, therefore, he did not feel that he was perjuring himself or taking a false oath. How absurd was it, however, that while one portion of their Lorships took their seats upon a declaration that they were not Roman Catholics, another portion made an equally solemn statement that they were of that religion? He knew how unwilling the Legislature was to change ancient institutions; but he would remind them that if the present Bill passed then the oath contained in it would not be the oath of Queen Elizabeth or King William III., but the oath of Queen Victoria; and was it right or decent that in establishing a new oath they should so frame it that those who took it should not understand its meaning. I wish to view it through my own understanding, not through the distorted medium of forensic sophistry. Why did not the oath now proposed follow the phraseology of that contained in the Bill of 1849? That oath contained all that was necessary and no more. It was to this effect—I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and will maintain the succession to the Crown as established by an Act entitled ' An Act for the further limitation of the Crown and the better security of the rights and liberties of the subject.' And I do take this declaration and promise heartily, willingly, and on the true faith of a Christian.That oath was framed by the authors of the present Bill; but they had now intro- 1754 duced an oath which, in its reference to the supremacy, was, in his opinion, highly objectionable, and which contained words offensive to a large portion of the community. He had heard no reason avowed why these words should now be introduced. There was nothing, however, to prevent those who desired it from inserting certain words to be taken by Roman Catholics, although, if such a proposition was made, he should most decidedly object to it. If, also, there were words in the Oath of Abjuration which were now absurd, ridiculous, and therefore profane, the obligation of taking them ought not to be imposed on Roman Catholics any more than on Protestants. The noble Earl concluded by moving his Amendment.
Moved—To omit from the First Clause the words—
("And I do declare, that no Foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, State, or Potentate, hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, Power, Superiority, Pre-eminence, or Authority, Ecclesiastical or Spiritual, within this Realm").
§ LORD LYNDHURST
My Lords, it is not my intention in rising on this occasion to enter at large upon the various topics to which my noble Friend has alluded, but to confine myself strictly to the terms of Amendment which he has moved. As I understand his Amendment, my noble Friend wishes to strike out of the first clause of this Bill all those words which relate to the Oath of Supremacy, because he regards those words as being in contradiction to the actual state of things in this country; inasmuch as he thinks that a foreign Power does exercise some authority within the moaning of the oath. That I conceive is the question distinctly raised by my noble Friend, though he has contrived to mix it up with a great variety of topics which appear to me to have no relation whatever to the question. I regret that my noble Friend has proposed this Amendment, because if he should succeed in carrying it, when this Bill goes down to the other House, as from its form it necessarily must, further difficulty will be added to a subject already involved in very great difficulty. If my noble Friend would condescend to look into the history of the oath, all the doubts which he has raised, and which operate on his own mind and apparently also on the minds of other persons, would at once vanish, and he would see that no uncertainty whatever can exist as to what is its real meaning. The oath does not relate to any vague, spiritual, or merely moral and ideal power over the 1755 mind of man, but to a substantial power to be exercised by a jurisdiction which can enforce its decrees. Let me direct your Lordships' attention to the history of this oath. In ancient times, the jurisdiction over temporal as well as over spiritual and ecclesiastical causes was vested exclusively in the Crown. And how was it exercised? By means of courts of justice appointed by the Sovereign to carry his authority into effect. And thus the constitution existed for several ages. What followed afterwards? A part of this jurisdiction—this substantial jurisdiction—was usurped by the Pope of Rome. That usurpation was carried on precisely in the same form by means of courts of justice, exercising not an ideal authority—an authority in words, a mere vague influence—but a substantial power put into effect through their decrees and operations. Thus the matter rested until the Reformation. And what took place then? Why, this jurisdiction, power, authority, or pre-eminence was again united to the Crown. It was united to the Crown finally by an Act of Elizabeth passed in the first year of her reign, and the first chapter. That Act was entitled "An Act to restore to the Crown its ancient Jurisdiction over the Estate Ecclesiastical and Spiritual," and further "and abolishing all foreign Powers repugnant to the same." What are the enactments of that statute? It speaks constantly of "the usurped power," the "usurped authority," of the Court of Rome, and it extinguished that authority, which was not a vague power, I repeat, but a power exercised by courts of justice. The object of this Act of Parliament, then, was to abolish a usurped power—a power detracting from the authority of the Crown and setting up a corresponding authority in opposition to that of the Crown. Next, my Lords, comes the Oath of Supremacy, which had its origin in the Act of Parliament to which I have referred. It consists of two parts, one affirmative the other negative. What does the affirmative part state? Why, that the authority, the power, of Government in ecclesiastical, spiritual, and temporal affairs is vested solely in the Crown. And in the negative part it makes use of the very words to which my noble Friend has adverted. It denies that any other Power, any other State or Potentate, has any jurisdiction, authority, power, or pre-eminence in this realm. What does that relate to? Clearly, to the usurped authority which had been assumed by the Pope of Rome. It is impossible to read 1756 this Act without seeing that the authority affirmatively vested in the Crown is directly opposed to the authority negatived by the oath. The words "jurisdiction, power, authority and pre-eminence," therefore, do not refer to a vague power—a mere moral influence only, but to a substantive authority exerted and enforced by courts of justice. That is the obvious meaning of the very terms of the oath itself, and it is confirmed by every passage in the Act of Parliament which I have quoted. Thus the case stood in the reign of Elizabeth; and the oath bore that form until the time of William III., when a change occurred. What was that change? It struck out the affirmative and left the negative part of the oath. And because the affirmative part was so struck out, throwing as it did so clear a light upon the sense of the negative part, my noble Friend holds that the meaning of the negative part has been entirely altered. I say that its meaning has undergone no such alteration, and that the construction now to be put upon these words is the same as they bore in the 1st of Elizabeth, and as they have borne from the reign of William III. down to the present time. The oath has always been administered in that sense, in the meaning both of the persons imposing and the persons taking it; and it is only within the last few years that some modern caviller has thought of placing a different interpretation upon it. I trust, then, that what I have just stated, bringing to my noble Friend's recollection the history of the oath and the circumstances under which it was framed, will satisfy his mind that when he talks of jurisdiction, power, authority, and pre-eminence, these words mean a jurisdiction to be exercised by courts of justice—a power to be enforced by authority of law—not a vague, moral, ideal, or spiritual influence such as that to which he has referred as throwing doubt upon the meaning and force of this oath. With these explanations I shall conclude by expressing a hope that your Lordships will not consent to the Amendment of my noble Friend.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I rise, my Lords, to make an appeal to my noble Friend not to divide your Lordships upon this question. My noble Friend has stated with great fairness the arguments by which he wished to enforce his views, and I am not prepared altogether to deny that there is some force in some of the arguments which he has adduced. At the same time my noble 1757 Friend has failed to show that any practical inconvenience exists, and he has explained the reasons which induced him to consent to take the oaths as they are at present framed. My noble and learned Friend opposite has shown upon strong legal grounds the manner in which we may interpret this oath, and the view which my noble and learned Friend has enunciated has, I believe, been adopted by the most eminent lawyers and statesmen. Were it not so, I do not think that we should see this House as full as it at present is. A short time ago there was a practical grievance, which arose from two Peers objecting to take this oath; but they yielded to the sense of this and of the other House of Parliament, and took the oath, and now no practical inconvenience exists. To divide your Lordships upon this question, I am afraid, would obstruct the progress of a measure of general importance, and I trust, therefore, that my noble Friend will be content with having stated his conscientious objection to this form of oath, and will consent to withdraw his Amendment.
said, he earnestly joined in the appeal which had been made to the noble Earl. The highest authorities had concurred in the propriety of the form of the oath as it at present stood, and to divide the House upon the subject might tend to obstruct a measure of the greatest importance.
THE EARL OF WICKLOW
said, that all the persons he had ever talked to upon the subject had agreed with the views which he entertained, with the exception of the lawyers. They, however, not taking, as other persons did, a rational and sensible view of the question, disagreed with him upon the subject. He should not, after the appeal which had been made to him, divide the House. Had his Amendment been carried he should have supported the proposal to admit the Jews to Parliament; but as it was, as he could not support the Bill, he should abstain from voting upon the Motion of the noble and learned Lord opposite (the Lord Chancellor) to omit the 5th clause, hoping that the result of that evening would be that matters would be left in the same state in which they stood at present; so that if the subject were again brought before their Lordships, the two questions of the admission of Jews to Parliament and of the alteration of the oaths might be dealt with separately and distinctly.
§ Amendment negatived without a division.1758
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clauses 2, 3, and 4, agreed to.
§ Clause 5 (Form of Oath for Persons professing the Jewish Religion).
§ On Motion for agreeing to the fifth clause, which proposed to omit from the Oath the words "upon the true faith of a Christian,"
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said: My Lords, as I have for many years offered a consistent, and I hope I may add a conscientious opposition to every measure, which has been proposed for the admission of the Jews to the Legislature, your Lordships will not be surprised that I should present myself on the present occasion for the maintenance of opinions which I have so long cherished. While admiring, in common with the rest of your Lordships, the eloquence of my noble and learned Friend who moved the second reading of this Bill—while entertaining for him sentiments of the highest regard, and a respect almost amounting to reverence, I must confess that I cannot see the full force of his arguments in support of his present proposition. I cannot but feel highly flattered at receiving from my noble and learned Friend the gratifying testimony that in every instance in which I have conducted the opposition to what are called "the claims of the Jews," I have exhibited the most perfect fairness and good-feeling. I hope, my Lords, I shall ever persevere in that same spirit. There is no reason indeed why I should pursue a different course. I need scarcely assure your Lordships that I am influenced by no personal feeling—that I am actuated by no prejudice upon this question. I feel only an earnest desire to support a principle which I believe to be necessary to maintain in order to secure the welfare and even the character of this country. I think, my Lords, that justice has not been fully done to this great question by the advocates of the present measure. Discussions have, no doubt, frequently taken place upon it; but there has always been an express or tacit reference to one or two individuals who are distinguished members of the Jewish persuasion, who are regarded as types of the whole Jewish people. The persons to whom I allude are, no doubt, gentlemen of the highest character and respectability; they are gentlemen who live in social intercourse with their Christian fellow subjects, and who possess none of that exclusive spirit which is considered to be characteristic of the 1759 religion which they profess; but to discuss a question of this importance, with reference to the admission or exclusion of gentlemen of this character, is, in fact, to substitute personal considerations for the free and impartial consideration of a great and general principle. There is another difficulty also, my Lords, which embarrasses me in dealing with this subject, and that is, that there is no debateable ground common to those who oppose and those who support the admission of the Jews to Parliament, upon which both of the contending parties can fairly meet. On the one hand, it is insisted that the religious character of the Legislature is deeply involved in the result; while, on the other, it is maintained, with equal pertinacity, that religion has nothing to do with the subject, and that the question is one simply of civil rights and political expediency. If I could consent to take that view of the question, it would be a matter of perfect indifference to me whether two or three members of the Jewish persuasion should become members of our Legislature. But I cannot, my Lords, consent to consider this question on that low ground. Much higher considerations have influenced my feelings and motives in regard to this subject; and I must still be allowed to press them most earnestly on your Lordships' attention. At the same time, my Lords, I have never declined to meet the advocates of the Jews on their own ground. I have always been ready to descend with them to the field which they have chosen; and I shall now, with your Lordships' permission, very briefly glance at the different arguments they have used and which do not appear to my mind so strong and so conclusive as they, no doubt, do to those who employ them. I must apologise to your Lordships, in the first instance, for going over a ground which has so often been trodden before that it is impossible to place your foot upon a spot where you do not find a previous impression. Old arguments must be met by old answers; and I cannot, therefore, pretend to offer anything new to your Lordships on this occasion. Indeed, the very suggestion of novelty on a subject which has been so long considered, and so often debated, would at once justify the suspicion, that the argument was unsound. The foundation generally laid, my Lords, for the right of admission of the Jews to the Legislature is, that in every free State the citizens 1760 are all entitled to a perfect equality of civil rights. I think that there is a fallacy lurking under that argument, arising out of an ambiguity of the term. If, by the term "civil rights," be meant what is ordinarily understood by it—namely, the right of enjoying property, of personal security; or, in short, of everything which can be comprehended in the words "civil and religious freedom," within the limits of the constitution—then, I say, I entirely agree with the proposition. But if, by the term "civil rights," be meant a claim to be admitted to political office or to Parliament, then I take it on myself to deny its accuracy. I contend, my Lords, that no such rights exist indiscriminately for all citizens. The right to political office is one conferred by the State with certain conditions and qualifications and which it thinks proper to impose; and you have only to glance at the qualifications and disabilities that exist, in relation to the various offices of the country, to see that I am perfectly right in the view which I am taking as to the qualification of this proposition. It can never be denied that it is competent to a Christian country to impose as a qualification for office, and especially for the highest offices of the State, the profession of the Christian faith, and to relax or to retain that qualification, in respect to different offices, according to its view of what is right and proper. I must, my Lords, have read very imperfectly the history of my own country, if I have not found throughout its pages traces of the particular qualification of the profession of Christianity being imposed as a condition, especially for the possession of supreme power, or for a seat in the Legislature. But it is said, that this is entirely a misapprehension of the facts, so far as the Jew is concerned—that there never has been an intention on the part of the Legislature to exclude the Jew from a share of legislative authority; that it is entirely owing to an accident and not to design, that he is at present excluded from taking his seat in Parliament. Now, my Lords, I think that the misapprehension on this point, is not on the side of those who are opposed to the claims of the Jews. I quite admit the historical account of the original insertion of those important words—"On the true faith of a Christian" in the oath; I quite admit the whole history of the discovery of that celebrated treatise on equivocation which was revised by the Jesuit Garnett; and that in conse- 1761 quence of the discovery then made, these words were inserted in the oath with the view of rendering it more binding upon the consciences of Roman Catholics, But taking the words themselves do they not stamp unmistakably upon the oath the intention of the Legislature to declare that every person seeking to be admitted into the Legislature of our country must be a Christian? It is true that there was at that time no intention to direct the terms of the oath against the Jews, for the purpose of excluding them from the Legislature; because it so happened that there was not then, I believe, a single Jew in England. The Jews were banished from this country in the reign of Edward I., as your Lordships well know; and they only returned here after the Restoration. It is a curious historical fact, that in 1663 there were no more than twelve Jews in England. When they returned to this country, they were regarded entirely as aliens—alien duties were imposed on them; and my noble and learned Friend knows very well that, in the reign of James II., they were relieved from the export customs duties. But in the reign of William III., in 1690, on the remonstrance of the merchants of the City of London, those duties were reimposed. My noble and learned Friend remembers too, full well, the statute which was passed in the 26th George II., to enable Jews to he naturalized without taking the sacrament. That statute was, however, repealed almost by popular clamour in the following year. [Here Lords LYNDHURST and CAMBPELL remarked that the statute only referred to foreign Jews.] With great deference to my noble and learned Friends, I believe that that is not the true intention of the Act. But observe the condition of the Jews at this time, and see how entirely it disables the argument which has been urged by their advocates as to their position in the reign of William III. It happens, curiously enough, that when the 1st of William III. was passed, the words "on the true faith of a Christian" formed no portion of the oath; and it might be contended with equal justice, by the advocates of the Jews, that from the 1st to the 13th of William III., it was competent to the Jew to obtain admission into our Legislature. However, when we find what was the condition of the Jew then—that he was regarded as an alien and that an alien duty was imposed upon him—surely no such 1762 argument as that could be maintained. Or can it be supposed that even at a much later period, even so late as 1836, when the Jews were incapable even of civil or military employments or of being members of corporations, it was possible for them to enter the Legislature even though there were no such words as those in question in the oath? Such an idea as this cannot be entertained for a moment. These important words "on the true faith of a Christian" were re-inserted in the 13th William III., and this appears to me to be one of the most striking legislative declarations of the intention of Parliament to provide against any person having a seat in the Legislature who could not profess himself to he a Christian. The Legislature bound up with the Protestant succession the acknowledgment of the faith of Christianity. I wish, my Lords, to correct a misapprehension which appears to prevail very generally on this subject. It has been supposed that the Legislature has been gradually widening its doors to the admission of persons of all religious denominations; and it is contended that the full recognition of civil and religious liberty is only incomplete by the want of this last crowning act which is to bring the Jews into Parliament. My Lords, it is a misapprehension to suppose that there has been any such gradual relaxation of the rules which excluded the members of different religions from Parliament. The only instance in which the Legislature has directly interfered, for the purpose of giving the right of sitting in Parliament, is with respect to our Roman Catholic fellow Christians. The Dissenters have always sat in Parliament although they wore excluded from corporations by the Test and Corporation Acts. The Unitarian never refused to take the oath "on the true faith of a Christian." There was no particular law passed to allow Quakers into Parliament. On the first occasion that a Quaker was returned to Parliament a search was made amongst the statutes; and it was discovered that there wore some Acts which contained language so wide and comprehensive as to admit the members of the Society of Friends to seats in the House. I think that these facts are not unworthy of Your Lordships' attention, at a time when you are called upon to break through the rule that has been ever recognized by a Christian Legislature. It is important to remember that by Bills of this description 1763 now under consideration, your Lordships have been called upon for the first time to declare that the faith of a Christian shall not be a passport to a seat in the Legislature; and you have been invited to take an immense stride over the gulf that has hitherto separated the Jewish faith from the Christian belief; and to place the Jews by our side as Members of the British Parliament. My Lords, it is said that we have already given sentence against our exclusive system; because you have admitted the Jew to the elective franchise, and permitted him to enjoy the office of Mayor, of Sheriff, and of Magistrate; and this has been accounted a powerful and unanswerable argument in favour of their admission to Parliament. But, with great deference to those who use that argument, I cannot concur in its force. Take the case of the elective franchise, and how is it possible to establish any analogy between the case of giving him perhaps the twenty thousandth part of a choice in the election of a Christian representative, and giving him power himself to take a part in making laws for the country. I cannot myself perceive any analogy between the two cases. Then, my Lords, with regard to his exercising the different magisterial offices, I will say that, to the honour of those Jews who have been placed in those positions, they have filled them with the greatest respectability, and with the highest credit to themselves. But whilst acting in these capacities the Jew is under the law; and if he breaks the law he subjects himself to punishment. However, place the Jew, my Lords, amongst the Legislators of the country, and there is no law he has to submit to but the law of his own conscience; otherwise he is irresponsible, though he is part of the governing body of the country, and is to take part in the important function of making laws for a Christian people. It has been frequently urged upon us that we ought to respect the wishes of the large and important constituency of the City of London, who have chosen to select, more than once, a Jew for their representative; that their wishes ought to be regarded and that the law ought to give way before them. My Lords, I cannot conceive a principle more unconstitutional and more dangerous. The citizens of London know full well that in the present state of the law, when they return a Jew to Parliament, it is impossible for him to take his seat in the Legislature. Nevertheless, in defiance of the 1764 law, they choose, over and over again, to make a Jew the object of their selection. The first duty of good citizens is to obey the law; and it appears to me that this great constituency is setting a very bad example to the other constituencies of the country. They have set their affections upon a Jew. Suppose other constituencies should desire to have a minor, or a clergyman, or a custom-house officer, or an alien to represent them, are the different statutes which have been enacted for the purpose of disabling persons of these various descriptions to sit in the Legislature to be all abrogated—to be all repealed at the will of these different constituencies? The citizens of London may feel that they are— as in truth they are—a very numerous and a very powerful body; but they are only a small portion of the great constituencies of the country. They choose a representative for themselves; but they choose him to be a Member of Parliament. They have no right to violate the law. The other constituencies have a right to expect from them a proper choice in submission to the law; and I believe it would be a most disastrous circumstance if the electors of London should ultimately be enabled to overcome the Legislature by a defiance of the law, and thus compel it to yield to their wishes.
My Lords, I have hitherto been arguing this question on the lower ground generally occupied by the advocates of this measure, but I cannot consent to continue longer upon it. I must, my Lords, ascend to the higher one upon which those who feel deeply and conscientiously on this subject always desire to place this question. I trust, however, it will not for a moment be supposed that because I think this a purely religious question, I therefore attribute to those who are opposed to me any absence of proper religious feeling. I know that there are many good and excellent men, who are thoroughly persnaded that there is nothing of religion in this question, and who, upon that ground, are warm and consistent advocates of the admission of Jews to Parliament. To those persons I would most earnestly and anxiously address myself. I ask them to bear with my convictions, and to allow me fairly, but firmly, to press them upon their attention. The arguments which I shall venture to address to your Lordships on the ground which I now assume will, I trust, entitle themselves to your Lordships' consideration and approval. My Lords, it 1765 is an old and a true maxim, but one which commends itself to the hearts of our people, that Christianity is part of the law of England. Whatever else may he the meaning of the expression, it certainly must be understood to convey this important truth—that Christianity is thoroughly and essentially bound up with our Constitution. Your Lordships will find that it pervades almost every institution of the country. You will find that homage is paid to it by frequent observances, and in no place more strikingly than in the Houses of the Legislature. We begin our deliberations daily, by invoking the blessing of Almighty God upon our labours; and we do so through that Holy Name, by which alone we believe our prayers will be rendered acceptable. We go forth thus consecrated to our duties; and what are those duties? Not merely the control and direction of matters of low worldly policy, of earthly power, or commercial prosperity; but the eternal welfare of the people is committed to our legislative guardianship. The highest—the most important—the most essential of our legislative functions is the cause of religion. I assert this, not upon my own, but upon much higher authority, and I shall venture to trespass upon your Lordships' attention by reading a few extracts from writers of eminence who have turned their attention to this subject and whose opinions are entitled to far more weight than anything of my own. I will quote first the opinion of that great statesman, philosopher, and Christian, Mr. Burke. He says:—Religion is so far, in my opinion, from being out of the province or duty of a Christian Magistrate"—and he uses this term to express the supreme authority—"that it is and it ought to be, not only his care, but the principal thing in his care; because it is one of the great bonds of human society and its object the supreme good, the ultimate end and object of man himself.These are the words of that great and good man, Dr. Arnold:—The moral character of Government seems to follow necessarily from its sovereign power. This is the simple ground of what I will venture to call the moral theory of its objects. For as in each individual man there is a higher object than the preservation of his body and goods; so if he be subjected in the last resort to a power incapable of appreciating this higher object, his social and political relations, instead of being the perfection of his being must be its corruption; the voice of law can only agree accidentally with that of his conscience, and yet on this voice of law, his life and death are to depend.One quotation more from a living author of high intellectual power. Dr. Whewell says:— 1766The tenet of the separation of Church and State divests the nation of its religious character to which, as we hold, it is its highest business to aspire. We cannot assent to any view which reduces the objects of the State to this low level, which represents it as having no concern with anything higher than the gross material interests of the people—the preservation of person and property. The part of Government which attends to them is not polity, only police. A State which has no views beyond these is only in the first stage of national progress.My Lords, I entirely agree in the sentiments expressed in these extracts; and if these are the most essential functions of a Christian Legislative body, what are the rules and the motives which ought to guide each Christian legislator in the discharge of his duty? The great moral of the Gospel is the rule and standard to which he ought to conform his judgment, and by which everything he does ought to be governed. My Lords, I have another authority on this subject, and one which is of the highest value, because it is the authority of one of the most powerful advocates of the Jew; and yet it is entirely in favour of the view which I am now submitting to your Lordships. It is that of Lord John Russell, who says:—In speaking of the Legislature where Members have to dispose of and control the various interests, ecclesiastical and secular of the country, religion ought to influence and control their decisions.Now, my Lords, the only question that could possibly be raised upon this is— what religion dues the noble Lord mean? Does he mean the Christian religion, or does he mean any religion? The noble Lord is a, sincere Christian; and he never could have intended that any other religion than the Christian religion should guide the conscience of the Legislature. Then how can the noble Lord think it consistent with these principles and these notions to propose to admit to the Legislature an individual who can be governed by no such high sanction, whoso conduct must be regulated by an inferior rule, and a lower standard? Attempts have been made to cast ridicule upon an expression—which has passed, perhaps, into a by-word—that the admission of Jews to Parliament would "unchristianize" it. That, my Lords, is, I think, a convenient and compendious form of expressing what would be the real effect of passing a law of this description. It is true, my Lords, that the admission of Jews to Parliament would not deprive each individual Member of the faith which he professes; but as a body—as a national 1767 body—that tie which has hitherto bound them together would be loosened, and the Legislature, as a Legislature, would cease to be Christian, because no test of Christianity would be exacted from its Members. Although we are here standing in defence of our religion and of policy—not of low policy or expediency, but of the highest policy—let us not disdain to borrow wisdom from the conduct of persons who, as members of an inferior society, might be called upon to admit some one who was opposed to the ends of its institution. If the society were large there might be no danger, and, therefore, no objection to permit him to become a member; but if he were known to be hostile to one of the great principles upon which it was established, would any one dream of placing him amongst the governing body? Apply that principle here. The Jew, if he be sincere—if he be what he has always been represented—if we are to take the Jewish people in general, and not selected specimens,—must have the most inveterate hostility to the Christian religion. Then, if I am right in saying that the highest functions of a Christian Legislature is the care of the Christian religion and its extension among the people, can you place within it a person who is hostile to the highest principles by which it ought to be governed? These reasons have always pressed upon my mind in the part which I have taken in resisting the admission of even a single Jew to Parliament. My Lords, in some observations addressed to your Lordships when this Bill came before us for a second reading, a noble Earl opposite (Earl Grey) warned your Lordships as to the consequences which might arise from a collision between the two Houses, and between the House of Commons and the Courts of Law. That noble Earl is a great constitutional authority, and everything that falls from him is entitled to the greatest consideration and respect; but I cannot help thinking that in his desire to avert this danger, he has been provoking another and a much more formidable one. According to the doctrine laid down by the noble Earl, the House of Commons has only to determine to carry some object upon which it has set its heart and to persevere. [Lord CAMPBELL: "No!"] My noble and learned Friend says "No," but I say "Yes." The House of Commons has only to persevere; it has only to knock at our doors sufficiently long and in a sufficiently loud and threatening manner to render it prudent and proper for 1768 us to submit, and to surrender at discretion. My Lords, this appears to me to be reducing your Lordships to a state of complete dependency. I can well understand that on a nicely balanced question of ordinary policy or expediency, if you can catch the views of the people, and find them reflected by their representatives, you might be disposed to yield your judgment to their views and wishes; but, my Lords, we are on no such question here; we are upon a question of conscience and religious duty, and, my Lords, whatever may be the threats by which your Lordships are sought to be intimidated, I trust you will proceed fearlessly and steadily in what you consider to be the path of duty. My Lords, I cannot think so ill of the House of Commons, from which I have been so lately taken, as to suppose that for the accomplishment of any object, however bent they might be on its attainment, they would violate the Constitution; but if unhappily they should do so, I say with the greatest respect that they must incur all the responsibility; on their heads must be all the consequences of their fatal act. If we are to yield against our judgment and our consciences, it would have been better to do so at an earlier period, when concession would have had the grace of a voluntary act, and would not have been a forced submission. It would appear to me that the doctrine of the noble Earl (Earl Grey) by which he would persuade us to abandon our functions and abdicate our duties would, if reduced to practice, leave us nothing more than a registry office for the decrees of the House of Commons. My Lords, whatever may be the impatience or even the violence used in respect of the measure, I trust your Lordships will not be intimidated. But, my Lords, I trust you will always stand firm upon every good path. That you will not fear still to pronounce that our "Lord is King be the people never so impatient," and that you will hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering. I am persuaded that by thus acting—by thus maintaining your unshaken defence of the Christianity of your country, you will promote the highest interest of the people, and thus and thus, alone, secure that not only "peace and happiness, and truth and justice," but that "religion and piety shall be established among us for all generations."
§ Amendment moved to omit Clause 5.
§ LORD LYNDHURST
I have to congratulate your Lordships on the accession 1769 to this House of so much eloquence and talent as have just been exhibited by my noble and learned Friend. That eloquence and talent cannot fail to add to the importance and weight of our deliberations—sincerely and most deeply do I regret that those abilities have been directed against the cause which I feel it my duty to maintain in this House. Your Lordships must feel, I think, if you advert to circumstances which have frequently occurred, that this question is brought forward on the present occasion under a state of things more serious and more grave than formerly existed. I listened to the speech made by a noble Karl opposite (Earl Grey), on the Motion for the second reading of this Bill, with great attention and anxiety, and I felt, and still feel that the observations made by that noble Earl, to which my noble and learned Friend referred, cannot fail to have made the deepest impression on your Lordships' minds. It would be idle to attempt to deceive ourselves as to the position in which we are now placed with respect to this question. Noble Lords are fully aware of what has passed in the other House of Parliament on this subject, not recently merely, but during the last Session, when a Member of the present Cabinet pledged himself to bring forward certain Resolutions for the purpose of carrying into effect a proposition with respect to this question in opposition to the decision of your Lordships' House; and your Lordships have no doubt observed that a Member of the other House of Parliament, of great weight and superior talents—the late Attorney General—has pledged himself most solemnly to adopt that course of proceeding, and bring it under the consideration of the House of Commons, in the event of such a measure as that now before your Lordships failing of success during the present Session. The result might be that conflicts would arise between this and the other House of Parliament, and also between the other House and the courts of law. Nay, more than that, an appeal from the decision of a court of law on the question to which I advert may be brought to this House, and we ourselves may be placed, in our judicial capacity, in a position adverse to the legislative authority of that House. When I mention these facts I draw no inference, but I think it proper that, in considering a question of this magnitude, all the circumstances of our position should be distinctly brought under your Lordships' notice. It is hardly necessary 1770 for me to call to your Lordships' recollection that in many successive Parliaments measures having the same object as the present have passed through the other House with great and increasing majorities, and on no occasion with a greater majority than when the present Bill was passed. Contrast that with what has taken place in this House, and I beg to call your Lordships' attention to the importance of the fact in this respect. I have told you that Bills for the admission of the Jews have been passed in the other House with great and increasing majorities; but in this House those Measures have been from time to time rejected by very small and inconsiderable majorities; in no instance being more than one-tenth of the number of persons who were called on to vote on the subject. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor will not pay much attention to mere numbers on such a question. But your Lordships will also bear in mind that men of the highest character and of the most eminent position, of great knowledge and research, of the warmest and most ardent religious feelings have been found in those minorities—even right rev. and most rev. Prelates have supported those Bills in this House, and I believe that on one occasion also my noble Friend near me ((he Earl of Derby). All these arc matters for your Lordships' consideration, because we are not to be governed entirely by the discussion of this evening, during which I feel I can scarcely carry on an equal combat with my noble and learned Friend; but I refer to those facts to call back your Lordships' recollection to past circumstances in order that you may weigh them before you come to a decision on this very important question. Our Legislature is a species of progressive machine; it consists of three independent powers; and if each power adhere rigidly to its own opinion the machinery of legislation would on many occasions come to a standstill; it is by mutual forbearance and concession that the machine practically works out the great objects of the constitution. I desire to impress this consideration most strongly upon your Lordships, and I have on more than one occasion expressed my opinion with respect to the particular position and duty of the House of Lords. It is part of our duty to originate legislation, but it is also a most important part of our duty to check the inconsiderate, rash, hasty, and undigested legislation of the other House; to give time for consideration; and for con- 1771 suiting, and perhaps modifying the opinions of the constituencies; but I never understood, nor could such a principle be acted upon, that we were to make a firm, determined, and persevering stand against the opinion of the other House of Parliament, when that opinion is backed by the opinion of the people, and least of all, on questions affecting, in a certain degree, the constitution of that House and popular rights. If we do make such a stand, we ought to take care that we stand on a rock and we ought to be cautious not to place ourselves in such a position when we have nothing to rely on but the fragment of an Act of Parliament diverted from its original purpose to one it was never intended to apply to.
Now, my Lords, with respect to this fifth clause, which is the subject of our immediate consideration, the provision is founded on a principle which has been uniformly acted upon in a great variety of Acts of Parliament. The abiding rule which governs us with respect to the administration of oaths is this,—that the oath should be framed in such a way as is most binding on the conscience of the person to whom it is tendered. Accordingly, we propose by this Bill to strike out of the oath the words "on the true faith of a Christian" when the oath is to be administered to a person of the Jewish persuasion. But my noble and learned Friend says, that if you strike out those words you admit members of the Jewish religion to seats as representatives in Parliament. I ask, why should they not be so admitted? Are they not our fellow-subjects and the native subjects of this realm, and entitled to the same privileges as are enjoyed by other native subjects? On what foundation can their exclusion be maintained? Is there any specific Act of Parliament depriving them of their right to sit in Parliament? My noble and learned Friend has referred to a kind of supposition that Jews were in former days considered aliens in this country; and it was supposed that on account of the alien character inherent in the Jewish religion, Jews were incapable of properly qualifying themselves for scats in Parliament. On this point all I have to say is, that the highest authority in ancient time—Bracton—states that they were not aliens. But I shall pass from those ancient to more modern times, and come to the periods referred to by my noble and learned Friend. The Jews had been absent from this country more than 300 years, and when they returned they were, of course, 1772 aliens; they were born abroad; their fathers, their grandfathers, all their predecessors for many generations had been born abroad; and they had no rights or privileges as natural-born subjects of this realm. That continued for a considerable period; but in the following century—in 1720—the, question was submitted to men of the highest eminence in the legal profession, and Lord Chancellor Talbot, Sir Thomas Raymond, Chief Justice Reeve, the Solicitor General for the time being, and six or seven other distinguished lawyers, expressed the opinion that the Jews were not to be regarded in any other light or in any inferior capacity to any other class of British subjects. From that time to the present no lawyer, no person who has carefully studied the subject, has for a moment entertained any serious doubt upon the question.
My noble and learned Friend has referred to an observation I made on a former occasion, that in the time of William III., before the Act imposing the oath containing the words "on the true faith of a Christian," there was nothing to prevent a member of the Jewish persuasion from taking his seat in the House of Commons. He seems to suppose that at that period the Jews were all aliens. Undoubtedly a large proportion of them were aliens, but a considerable number did not come under that description, and those who did not might at any time during the reign of William III. have been elected members of the House of Commons and have taken their seats as such. My noble and learned Friend again made a great mistake when he said that a Bill was subsequently introduced for the purpose of naturalizing the Jews; that it passed the Houses of Parliament, but was so extremely unpopular, that it had to be repealed in the following Session. What, however, was the nature of that measure? It was to naturalize foreign Jews, and had nothing whatever to do with native Jews. The Jews are natural-born subjects of this country; they have the same birthright that we have; they do not partake of the character of aliens; and I ask any constitutional lawyer, any friend of the constitution, whether persons in that situation can be stripped of their rights as British subjects, except by some Act of Parliament framed and intended for that purpose, and without the intention of Parliament being specifically expressed upon the subject? I put the question fairly upon that issue. Will any person pretend to say that there is any 1773 such Act? Recourse is had to an Act of Parliament containing the words "upon the true faith of a Christian," passed for a different object, having no reference whatever to the Jews; and this indirect course of proceeding—I shall not call it fraudulent, although it has been so stigmatized— is to supply the want of an Act directed expressly against the Jews. What do our lawyers—what do our courts of justice say? Taking Baron Martin for my authority, in construing an Act of Parliament we are not always to adhere to the exact words of the Act, but are to discover what is the object of the Act—what was the intention of the Legislature in passing it,—and we ought to give effect to that intention even if we overrule the words! of the Act. I? that is the rule by which we ought to he governed in the administration of justice, how much more ought we to he governed by it when discussing questions of legislation and of public policy? It is extraordinary that while we have repealed the Act as far as it relates to those parties —the Roman Catholics—against whom it was directed, we have given force to it against a class of persons—the Jews—who were not in the contemplation of the Legislature at the time the Act was passed. What a monstrous injustice ! Upon such occasions as the present I always like to inquire what opinion able, intelligent, and impartial men, at a distance from party strife, have formed on the subject under discussion. Baron Alderson, when called upon to express an opinion in the Court of Exchequer, said, that if the Jews were to be deprived of the right of sitting in Parliament, it would be more worthy of the country to effect that object by an Act of direct legislation than to make use of an Act which was never intended to be directed against Jews, but which was passed to control a very different class of persons. The same opinion, almost in the same words, but still more strongly expressed, was given by Baron Martin on the same occasion. The noble Earl at the head of the Government has pressed an argumentum ad hominem against me and has accused me of inconsistency, he-cause in 1828, in repealing the Test and Corporation Act, I agreed to the introduction of the words "upon the true faith of a Christian." It was of the utmost consequence at that time that we should accomplish the object we had in view, the abolition of the odious Test and Corporation Acts; but what happened in the 1774 course of the Bill? A learned person, whose bigotry exceeded even his learning —I mean Lord Tenterden—insisted upon the insertion of the words "upon the true faith of a Christian," I believe at the suggestion of Lord Eldon. The Ministry of the day found that if we did not accede to that proposal the Bill would in all probability be lost, and we therefore agreed to the introduction of the words; but my noble Friend at the head of the Government should have done me the justice to add, that a few years after, when I found myself in a position to carry out my views, I proposed the repeal of the objectionable clause in the Act of 1828, and carried a Bill for that purpose triumphantly through both Houses of Parliament. So much for the charge against myself. My noble and learned Friend has said, that the present is not a question of religious toleration or religious liberty, but a question of power and privilege, and that the Legislature, therefore, is entitled to deal with it. The Legislature, I admit, can do what it thinks proper in conferring power and privilege; but my noble and learned Friend has taken a very narrow and insufficient view of religious liberty. Religious liberty I hold to be this—that every man with respect to office, power, or emolument should be put on a footing of perfect equality with his neighbour, without regard to his religious opinions, unless those opinions arc such as to disqualify him for the proper performance of the duties of his office. Is there any other principle upon which in this enlightened age religious liberty can be founded? It is true that you do not fine men or imprison them on account of their religious opinions; but if you deny them the fair emoluments of office and fair objects of ambition, you inflict upon them an injury greater than fine, and, in many instances, greater even than imprisonment. You violate the very principle of religious freedom, and establish a rule which would justify persecution. Where are you to stop? Men may possess certain religious opinions —are they harmless? If so, why do you punish them? Why should not those men be on an equality with their fellow subjects?
But my noble and learned Friend goes to another argument, that you would "unchristianize" the Legislature by introducing a few Jews into it—an old and favourite argument of those who oppose Bills of this description. When that argument was first used in this House it met with an entire and complete refutation 1775 from a most reverend Prelate, then a Member of this House—Archbishop Whately. How did he answer it? He asked, "Is England a Christian country? You answer in the affirmative; but, though a Christian country, it does not consist exclusively of Christians: it is composed of Christians and a small number of Jews; but still you call it a Christian country. What is the constitution of Parliament? It represents the country. If it is to represent the country fairly, how can you for a moment contend that, if there were a small number of Jews in Parliament, therefore the Legislature would be unchristian?" To that no answer has ever been given. Allow me to go a little further. Are your courts of justice, arc your municipal corporations Christian? But you have Jews in your corporations—you admit Jews to your tribunals; and who denies that your municipal corporations are Christian although Jews are members of them; nor that your tribunals are Christian though Jews sit there? How, then, is it possible that the introduction of a few Jews can unchristianize the Legislature? But my noble and learned Friend puts this upon principle, upon high principle. Now, principle should be acted upon uniformly. You cannot play fast and loose with it. But are not the people of your Colonies British colonists? —are not they entitled to protection against the spirit of "unchristianizing" to which my noble and learned Friend referred? Yet year after year Acts have passed your Lordships' House for confirming the establishment of constitutions in Canada, in Australia, and in New Zealand, according to which Jews are as eligible to sit in the legislative assemblies as are the members of any other religious persuasion; and did any one rise in the course of the debates and say that these would be unchristian Parliaments and unchristian assemblies? No one ventured to make such an assertion; and, accordingly, all these assemblies have been unchristianized, according to my noble and learned Friend, and Jews are members of them. Has that principle of equality been acted on? I know, from certain information, that a professor of the Jewish religion was for several years a Member of the Lower House of Representatives in Canada, exhibited great talents was extremely popular, and discharged his duties to the entire satisfaction of the people; and, I am told, that at this moment a Jew is a Member of one of the Legislatures of Australia. What, then, 1776 becomes of your principle—your high principle? You throw it to the wind; you think that British subjects in the Colonies are not worthy of its protection. My noble and learned Friend draws a distinction between the duties of a legislator and those of an administrator of justice. He says that there is no reason why a Jew should not administer justice, but you ought not therefore to admit him to the Legislature. How do I meet that argument? The qualities which you require for the administration of justice are intelligence, information, impartiality, and decision; and these are precisely the qualities which you require in a Member of the Legislature. The qualities which fit a man for the administration of justice qualify him to be a Member of the Legislature. Look at the extraordinary inconsistencies of intolerance. Prussia says to the Jews, "You may be Members of the Legislature, there is no harm in that; but you must not administer justice in the Courts." "On the contrary," says my noble and learned Friend," there is no harm in a Jew presiding in a court of justice, but he must not be permitted to be a legislator." Such are the consistencies, or rather the inconsistencies of intolerance and of extreme and extravagant opinions. Look to the continent of Europe; in almost every Protestant country, and in some Catholic ones, as for instance in France and Belgium, Jews are admitted to the Legislatures. But it is said that we are not bound to imitate other countries. I admit that we are not; I think that we ought to set an example, and not to follow in their train. But I refer to this for a practical object. Has the least inconvenience or the slightest disadvantage resulted from the admission of the Jews to the Legislature of foreign countries? If it has not, are you not called upon, on every principle of religious liberty to extend the same privilege to them in this country? One of the leading principles of Christianity is, that we should do to others what we expect them to do to us. What have we done in Turkey? I can conceive Lord Stratford saying to the Sultan, "How cruelly you act to the Christians; you do not admit them to office, to which they are as much entitled as the rest of your subjects, and to office of every description. We pursue a different course in England; we are an enlightened nation, and we call upon you to follow our example." What is the answer of the Turk? After consideration 1777 he makes the concession and admits the Christian to all offices,—to those in which alterations of the law originate as well as to those which have for their object only the administration. Can you then, in this country, consistently refuse concessions which you have demanded from other nations? It is said that the Jews cannot be trusted to legislate when religion is in question. My answer is, that the objection comes too late. I remember when it was made with great force and effect. It used to he said, when we were fighting the Catholic Question, with respect to the Roman Catholics, "Oh, their principle is to make converts; they consider you as heretics and usurpers; they look up to a foreign Sovereign, and acknowledge him as their spiritual head." Therefore, we were told a Roman Catholic was incapacitated from performing his duty when questions of a religious character came under discussion. But, my Lords, has any practical inconvenience of this kind resulted from the admission of Roman Catholics into the Legislature? No one will pretend that there has been any such result. Do the Jews proselytize? No; on the contrary, they are opposed to proselytism. Is there any reasonable ground for supposing that if they were admitted into Parliament they would interfere with our Church? Not in the slightest degree. Do they look up to a foreign Power as their head? In no respect whatever can this be said of them. So far from being enemies of the Church you allow them to present to benefices, which you do not permit Roman Catholics to do, and in no instance has any complaint ever been made as to the exercise of their patronage. I have heard Lord Coke quoted in proof of the assertion that the Jews are the subjects of the devil; no doubt Lord Coke was a very great man, but probably his authority would not weigh much with their Lordships on this subject. My Lords, my attention has lately been drawn to a kind of bill of indictment, charging the commission of the greatest moral and social crimes against the Jews —an indictment which might have been framed in the dark ages of the Church. To my astonishment I learned that these charges—utterly unfounded and unsupported by evidence—proceeded from a gentleman of education and strong Christian feeling. But, my Lords, that hon. Gentleman should not have displayed so much credulity, and should have examined upon what evidence those charges were 1778 made. He asserts that the Jews were the originators of the Inquisition, and that they were the original Jesuits. And what is his authority for these assertions? He docs not refer us to Bernard, or Bayle, or to any such high authority, but says, "I find this in a romance—in a popular novel in circulation—the author of which is a member of the present Government." When asked the name of this novel, he said that it is Coningsby. It is sometimes said that the Jews form no part of the nation; that they are a separate nation in themselves, and only sojourners here, and that they look forward to their removal at some uncertain period; that they are an isolated people and a nation within a nation; that their sympathies are not with us or with any nation among whom they sojourn. lint the fact remains that they are as enterprising, as industrious, and as loyal as any other class of Her Majesty's subjects; and why, because of their religious opinions, should they be denied the rights of other British subjects? I believe that on all occasions when the Jews have been relieved from oppression they have displayed great talents and great virtues, and won for themselves great distinction. No more remarkable instance of this can be mentioned than is afforded by the Jewish inhaibitants of Germany. The moment they were relieved from the oppression in which they had been held for ages, they broke out and commenced a career of learning, science, and enterprise, in which they showed themselves equal at least to any other class of the community. In the old times, when the Moors held a part of Spain, the Jews greatly distinguished themselves in learning and science, and a great mass of the works in the Arabian libraries were the works of Jewish authors. But the Moors were expelled from Spain, the Papal tyranny was established, the Inquisition was founded, the Jews sank, and they became the victims of the most cruel, barbarous, and infamous persecution that ever disgraced any country. My Lords, I do not call upon you to remove "the last rag of intolerance," nor will I use similar phrases, but I must allude to what was said by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Walpole), when he expressed a hope that it was the last time this question would come before the House of Commons. My Lords, most earnestly, most sincerely, and most zealously do I hope that your Lordships will so decide that this may be 1779 the last time that I shall have the opportunity of addressing you on this subject.
§ THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH
said, that the noble and learned Lord upon the woolsack, in one of the most eloquent addresses he ever heard him deliver on this subject, came to a true conclusion when he declared that the true ground for the exclusion of the Jews was a religious ground. Away, then, with all the arguments by which it was sought to prove, that the Jews were not good citizens and not entitled to consideration on social grounds. No doubt they were among the most peaceful subjects of Her Majesty, and were entitled to confidence and respect in their secular and social relations. But there were other and more important, considerations which should not be lost sight of when they were discussing a measure which must vitally affect the character of the Legislature. What was the highest title of Her Majesty? That She owed Her Throne by the grace of God, and that She was the defender of the Faith. The highest act which the nation could perform, the coronation of the Sovereign, was a religious ceremony; and on that occasion the Queen promised to defend the Christian religion to the utmost of her power, and not to suffer any of the supports on which it rested to be undermined. Their Lordships had also been reminded that their proceedings were always inaugurated by a solemn invocation of a blessing on their deliberations in the name of the Divine Founder of our Faith. If, however, the measure before the House passed into a law, a most formidable step would be taken towards undermining the Christian character of the constitution. If any number of Jews should become Members of the Legislature, there was too much reason to fear that persons would be found to say, that the Christian prayers with which they commenced their deliberations offended the consciences of certain Members of either chamber, and ought therefore to be either wholly discontinued or altered to suit the opinions of those who disbelieved in our Saviour. Numerous inconveniences and dangers would result in every direction. A subscription list was lately opened, headed by an appeal to the "Christian sympathies" of the benevolent; but the use of the word "Christian" being objected to as hurtful to the feelings of the Jews, it was subsequently struck out to conciliate members of that persuasion. As straws thrown up showed how the wind 1780 blew, so this little incident betokened what might be the result of admitting to a Christian Legislature those who did not agree with its forms and observances. The supporters of this measure evinced a greater degree of confidence in the Jews than in the Roman Catholics. Roman Catholics were not allowed to hold certain offices in the State or the Universities— they could not present to benefices or advise the Crown as to ecclesiastical appointments; but the only one of these restrictions proposed to be enforced against the Jew was, that he should not hold certain offices under the Crown; but he might become Prime Minister, and in that capacity have to advise Her Majesty as to the appointment of the bishops and pastors of the Established Church; he might also become a Privy Councillor, having a voice in deciding most important questions of Christian doctrine. The other evening the noble and learned Lord (Lord Lyndhurst) had ridiculed with inimitable power a Bill which had been brought in by the Lord Chief Justice, because the Convocation would not be a lawful meeting assembled for a lawful purpose within the meaning of that Bill; but what would the noble and learned Lord have said, if he were an opponent of the present measure, to an enactment by which a Jew, as a Member of the Privy Council, might become a judge of Christian doctrine? It was equally amusing and instructive to reflect upon the various modes by which the advocates of this measure had endeavoured at different periods to pass it through Parliament. The noble and learned Lord who had spoken last, talked of the inconsistency of the opponents of the Bill; but in what respect bad its friends been consistent with themselves, except, indeed, in their uniform aim to overturn the Christian character of the Legislature? In 1847, their proposal was coupled with the condition that the Jew on admission to the Legislature should be required solemnly to disclaim and abjure any intention to disturb or weaken the Established Church and the Protestant constitution of this country. This safeguard was, however, omitted from the present Bill. The measures introduced in 1849 and in 1853 also contained provisions dissimilar from those in the Bill now before their Lordships. Religious liberty was closely associated with the prosperity of this country; but there were those who perverted that principle with a view to a separation between Church and State. The House should be 1781 on its guard against the ulterior objects of such men. He entreated their Lordships not to sanction a measure which would undermine one of the most vital elements of the constitution, and compromise the Christian character of the Legislature.
LORD STRATFORD DE REDCLIFFE
said, he desired, in consequence of the reference which had been made to the country in which he had passed so largo a portion of his life, to offer a few observations upon the question before the House. The noble and learned Lord (Lord Lyndhurst), with that sagacity and love of justice which distinguished him in so remarkable a manner, had brought to their Lordships' recollection that which was perfectly correct, namely, that in Turkey, where the great national reform that was now going on had occupied so much attention in this country, and indeed throughout the whole of Europe, for so many years, there was nothing more striking than to find that the just effects of representations which he had had the honour to make on behalf of this country, had often been checked by the knowledge possessed by the Government of Turkey of our policy upon the question now before the House—a question with regard to which, notwithstanding the progress we had made of late years, we were still in the rear of our neighbours. There was no doubt that the course pursued by this country with regard to the admission of the Jews into the Legislature had been the subject of remark in Turkey on occasions when he had had to press the immense importance of setting aside those religious differences which had so much retarded the progress of improvement in that country; and nothing would have afforded him greater pleasure than to have been able to show that we in this country had set aside ancient prejudices, which we had unfortunately so long cherished. He should have felt that he was wanting in his duty if he had not taken that opportunity of hearing witness in emphatic language to the truth, equally applicable in that House or elsewhere, of these great principles, which it had always been his duty to impress upon those with whom he had been | connected. With respect to the question so far as it related to this country, it was wholly unnecessary for him to go over ground which had been traversed with such consummate ability by the two noble and learned Lords. He deemed himself extremely fortunate to have been present at a debate which, if he mistook not, would 1782 long be remembered in the annals of the country. The contrast between the long experience and great talents of the noble and learned Lord (Lord Lyndhurst), as opposed to the greater youthfulness of the noble and learned Lord who occupied the woolsack, had reminded him (Lord Stratford) of a contest which he had read of in his younger days between two illustrious professors of an art, for which this country was since as renowned as the nations of antiquity—a contest between a veteran professor of the pugilistic art and a young competitor who was just entering it with all the strength and vivacity of youth. Hut he should be very sorry if the noble and learned Lord (Lord Lyndhurst) who had so riveted their attention should, after having given, if he might say so, a knock down blow to the prejudices which had so long existed on this subject, be disposed to say —Hic victor cæstus artemque repono.He hoped, on the contrary, their Lordships might long have the advantage of the noble and learned Lord's extraordinary powers, and that he (Lord Stratford) might long live to witness the effects of his wisdom upon their deliberations. He wished to say that the ground upon which he thought this question turned was a very simple one, and was, in fact, that principle which had been so well defined by the noble and learned Lord — he meant the great principle that every man was entitled to every political privilege our institutions afforded, unless there were something prohibitory, something inherent in his condition, which made it necessary to exercise that power which the State undoubtedly possessed of making an exception in his particular case. He was perfectly at a loss to understand what there was in the case of the Jew to justify such an exception. The noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor) had done nothing but justice to the character of the Jew, in the history of some of their most distinguished men; but a distinction had been drawn by the noble and learned Lord between the body of the Jews and certain distinguished gentlemen whom he considered as their representatives, not upon any just ground. It was not a question of rights derived from the accomplishments or qualities belonging to the higher orders among them, but a question of rights which belonged to individuals in the lowest position; and if it were true that there was nothing to disqualify the Jews from filling the offices of the magistracy, in his opinion 1783 they were equally able to be returned for constituencies as any other person. He (Lord Stratford de Redcliffe) should be sorry to do anything to diminish the influence of Christianity in the country; that would be a result equally unfortunate to the country and disparaging to the House; but he did not in his conscience believe that there was anything in this proposal which could lead to any other but a satisfactory conclusion. He could not help stating with a satisfaction which he could hardly find words to express, that in a country whore despotism was established, as in Turkey, and where the will of the Sovereign was supreme, be had found, during a connection of a long series of years, a liberality of opinion and a generosity of disposition which had entitled him to speak with confidence of that country. What the Sovereign had himself done by his proclamations, by his love for national interests, by his humanity, and his desire for conciliation, deserved the fullest consideration at the hands of all who desired the welfare of that country. But he would remind their Lordships that so long as the results of negotiation remained on paper only, important as they might be to the interests not only of Turkey, but of humanity itself, they would want their proper consummation. A great deal must depend upon the advice of the Ministers who were on the spot; but a great deal must likewise depend upon the attention which Europe at large continued to apply to the subject, and more especially upon the attention which might be given to it by those who presided over the councils of Her Majesty. He should vote against the Amendment.
§ THE DUKE OF RUTLAND
said, he had always voted against the admission of Jews into Parliament, and he should do so now. His noble and learned Friend (Lord Lyndhurst) had asked, why, if they admitted a few Jews into Parliament, Parliament would be less a Christian assembly than the country which they represented in which there were numerous Jews. Now, with the greatest deference to his noble and learned Friend, the reason why, though there were Jews in this country, it was still a Christian country, was, that we had a Christian Parliament, a Christian Sovereign, and all our high offices of State were filled by Christians. It had been urged as an argument in favour of the Bill that England had formerly a Protestant Parliament, that Roman Catholics had 1784 been admitted into it, and that now it was no longer a Protestant Parliament, and yet no great harm had resulted from it—ergo, no great harm would result from the admission of Jews into Parliament. It was unnecessary to remark upon the broad distinction existing between Roman Catholics and Jews: Roman Catholics professed the same belief as Protestants, while the Jews were the antagonists of Christianity. But it was said, what harm could result from the admission of a few Jews, as far as the Christianity of the House of Lords or the House of Commons was concerned? He would reply it was not so much the mischief which the Jews so admitted could themselves do as the moral effect upon the country of their admission that was to be deprecated. And even the power of doing mischief which that admission would confer upon them was very much underrated. Let their Lordships consider the case of Baron Rothschild, the Jewish representative of the City of London. Were the majority of the electors of the city Jews? By no means. They were Christians; but, through some cause or other, they bad elected not merely once, or twice, or thrice, but year after year, a Jew to represent them in Parliament. He would, therefore, beseech their Lordships not to underrate the importance of the question—what mischief could a few Jews do in Parliament? A noble Earl (Earl Grey) had the other evening advised their Lordships not to put themselves in collision with the House of Commons, whether they were right or wrong. The unconstitutional nature of that doctrine had been most ably treated by the noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor); but one portion of it had not been met. It had been said that danger was to be apprehended from their Lordships' House coming into collision with the House of Commons supported by the people of this country; and that statement had been repeated; but he maintained that the House of Commons was not supported by the country. What conclusion was to be drawn from that? No doubt, the people of this country were apathetic on the subject of the admission of Jews into Parliament. But why were they apathetic? Because they trused to their Lordships to save the Christianity of the country intact. If the people of England thought that the House of Lords would be deterred by any consideration from doing its duty, petitions would fly in much quicker than they had done. He found that the total number of 1785 petitions in favour of the Bill was 50, and of signatures 2,793, while against the Bill 224 petitions, with 11,359 signatures had been presented. He, therefore, thought there was some reason for saying that the House of Commons was not supported by the people of the country in its determination to bring the Jew into Parliament. He would also refer to the speech of an hon. Gentleman in "another place"—a Gentleman of great talent, and possessing great means of acquiring knowledge on the subject (Mr. Bright) who had said that, compared with the zeal that was shown for the repeal of the church rales, a comparatively small number of people were anxious for the admission of Jews, into Parliament. But to return to the speech of the noble Earl to whom he had alluded. It continued with the exhortation to their Lordships—" Do not come into collision with the House of Commons; and also, do not bring the House of Commons into collision with the courts of law." It struck him when he heard those words that they should have been addressed to the House of Commons, and not to the House of Lords. But if the House of Commons ! put themselves in a false position, was that something that they ought to do, was that any reason why the House of Lords should be deterred from doing that which they considered needful for the country? He felt compelled to protest against such a doctrine, and should certainly give his vote in favour of the Amendment of his noble and learned Friend (the Lord Chancellor), believing that in doing so he was not only maintaining one of the greatest principles of the British constitution, but also obeying the wishes and the feelings of the country at large.
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDRRLEY
said, he was unwilling that the debate should close before any Member on his side of the House had expressed his opinion. The party with which he was connected had for several years endeavoured to remove the obstacle to a Jew's admission into Parliament, and they looked upon this measure as the complement of the measures for the advancement of civil and religious liberty — the removal of the last disability from the statute book. The noble and learned Lord who commenced this discussion had put this question before the House as one of the highest principle, and said their Lordships would not be justified on any ground in agreeing to the Bill, because it would desecrate and 1786 unchristianize the Legislature. But what said the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) on the last occasion when this subject was before their Lordships? The noble Earl said that it was a question of principle; but that in practice they were to be guided, not by principle, but by expediency.
LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY, in support of his assertion, quoted the following, as a report of the observations of the noble Earl on that occasion:—
It is a question upon which we must act from principle, apart from all extraneous circumstances. I do not deny that there are times (and when they do occur they are much to be regretted) when the Legislature of this country may be disposed to sacrifice their own firm convictions, when great and fatal danger would attend an unflinching adherence to those convictions. That principle has been acted upon in former times, and it has guided the conduct of some of our most eminent statesmen. and amongst them the late Sir Robert Peel and the illustrious Duke of Wellington. I admit there are cases in which a sense of justice and right has been overborne by apprehended dangers from a persistence in our convictions; when there has been danger of collision between the two Houses of Parliament, of universal anarchy, of internal commotion, likely to ensue upon a determined adherence to our true opinion, then we have yielded. That feeling influenced the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel upon the occasion of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, when they acted, not according to what they considered to be right, but in consequence of the formidable dangers with which the country was threatened had a different course been pursued. I say the same thing of your Lordships in the case of the Reform Bill, and of a large portion of your Lordships on the question of the abolition of the corn laws. Upon those occasions your Lordships gave up your opinions, which you considered to be abstractedly right, in consequence of the formidable dangers which were threatened by your persisting in acting upon them. But I venture to ask your Lordships what is the formidable danger or inconvenience which my noble Friend expects will follow upon a persistence of this House in their repeatedly expressed views upon the question." [3 Hansard, cxlvi. 1235.]
Such was the language of the noble Earl upon that occasion, and such was the chivalry which he inculcated. The claims of the Jews were to be resisted if they were weak; they were to be conceded if they were strong. Because the Jews, therefore, were good and peaceable subjects, loyal to the Queen and obedient to the laws, their just demands were to be resisted; but if Baron Rothschild were like Daniel O'Connell, if the city of London were like the county of Clare, and if there were danger of an insurrection, the noble
Earl would advise their Lordships at once to yield. The penalty, then, which was imposed upon those who were among the best subjects of Her Majesty, because they were weak, was to be excluded from that which, if they were powerful, they would easily obtain. They were peaceable or duly conservative citizens. They might have been turbulent democratic revolutionists. But there was no great Association in these days to urge their claims, as in the agitation for Catholic emancipation; no Birmingham Political Union, as in the time of the Reform Bill; there was no Anti-Corn-Law League, as in the struggle for the repeal of the Corn Laws; there was no organized machinery or appeal to popular prejudices, to influence the public mind or to exercise a pressure upon the Legislature. He asked their Lordships calmly to consider the position in which they were now placed; if it could be shown that there was danger and inconvenience in the course they were at present following, perhaps they might think it expedient to follow the advice which the noble Earl had before given them. It was now more than a quarter of a century since the other House of Parliament had declared its opinion that the time had come when all disabilities should be removed from our Jewish fellow-subjects. From that time to this the question had been repeatedly brought before them, and by continued and increasing majorities that opinion had been confirmed. For ten years, the citizens of London, the first constituency in the country—a constituency on whom the noble Earl proposed to confer the right of electing councillors for India—had thought fit to choose one of their own fellow-citizens of the Jewish persuasion to represent them in Parliament. Five times had that hon. Gentleman been elected—for ten years he had been entitled to sit in Parliament—and the answer to the noble Duke, who said that the people of England were apathetic as to the admission of the Jews to Parliament, was that for thirty years the representatives of the people had gone on expressing a decided opinion in their behalf, and that for ten years the citizens of London had continued to return a Jew to represent them. These were significant and important signs of the times; but were there no other indications at the present moment, similar to those which had preceded concessions on similar occasions? Had we not seen converts to his side of
the question from day to day; and did not the noble Earl himself experience the inconvenience of open questions and a divided Cabinet on this question? Among the most distinguished advocates of the claims of the Jews at the present day was the noble Earl's Chancellor of the Exchequer. On one occasion, the noble Earl, speaking of the enormity of admitting Jews to Parliament, said, "Why, we might have a Jewish Chancellor of the Exchequer !" and now the noble Earl had for his Chancellor a Gentleman who never attempted to conceal, but rather gloried in the fact of his descent from a Jewish ancestry. Another Member of the Cabinet who supported the claims of the Jews was the noble Earl's own son (Lord Stanley), who inherited the talent and ability of his father, and his father's earlier and better political opinions. The first law officer of the Crown (Sir F. Kelly) was also in favour of the admission of Jews to Parliament; and the fourth, and most recent, as well as one of the ablest converts, was Sir John Pakington, the noble Earl's First Lord of the Admiralty. That right hon. Gentleman felt to strongly the danger of continuing to refuse this concession to the Jews, that he last year gave notice, that if all other constitutional means failed of introducing the Jews into Parliament, he would himself move that the Act of William IV., which enabled the courts of law to accept a declaration instead of an oath, should be applied to Parliament, A similar measure was in contemplation now; and, should their Lordships decide upon rejecting these claims, the matter would be brought immediately to an issue, and it could not be long before the other House of Parliament would be brought into collision with the courts of law and the House itself. For these reasons, he thought that the danger was not imaginary, and the inconvenience was not slight, of continuing to pursue the course that had hitherto been persevered in. This House bad fulfilled one of its most important functions, it had delayed the passing of the measure for thirty years—it had prevented precipitate legislation—it had given time to calm consideration—it could not hope to present an eternal barrier against such repeated manifestations of the wish of the people; and he implored their Lordships, while there was yet time, and while they could concede with grace, to yield to the just claims of the Jew, for thus would they best maintain in the eyes of the
public that character and position which, fur the best interests of the country, it was so desirable that they should ever maintain.
My Lords, it has seldom been my lot to listen to a more unfair and unconstitutional speech than that which has been just addressed to you. It entirely loses sight of the moral principle and the high and important grounds on which many of your Lordships persist in opposing the measure for admitting the Jews to seats in Parliament. The noble Lord (Lord Stanley of Alderley) has to a certain extent followed the noble Earl (Earl Grey), who addressed you a few nights ago upon this subject, because he tells your Lordships that, although there may be no immediate danger from the rejection of the Bill, still the time is not distant when danger may threaten you; and he endeavoured, in a manner which was neither fair nor, as I think, constitutional, to play upon the personal fears and apprehensions of your Lordships. It is not, however, upon this House that the responsibility will rest, if the other House of Parliament think proper to commit an illegal act, and place themselves in collision with the courts of law. In considering this question there is one point of which I can never lose sight, and which is to my mind, an unanswerable argument against this proposition. Each day your Lordships commence your proceedings with prayer, and supplicate a blessing upon your deliberations in the name and through the mediation of the Saviour of mankind, the founder of our faith, whom the Jews deny. Now, I would ask whether, if you repealed that portion of the law which requires every Member of the Legislature to profess himself a Christian, you will not render your prayers a farce, a solemn mockery, and an insult to the Supreme Being. As to the argument that this measure has repeatedly passed the House of Commons, it has no weight with me. It has been well observed by the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack, and who in such an able manner has moved the rejection of this clause, that if, after the other House of Parliament have knocked for three or four years at your doors with a particular measure, you are therefore to be obliged to pass it, whatever may be your individual opinions with regard to the merits of the Bill, then this House will become neither more nor less than the registry of the 1790 acts of the other House of Parliament. I trust that the day is far distant when such a state of things will come to pass. I have long made up my own mind on this question; and if I have ever entertained doubts, those doubts have all been removed by the masterly speech of the noble and learned Lord, and the able address with which we have been favoured by the noble Duke. I have often expressed the opinion which I still entertain, that in voting for this Amendment I am voting in accordance with the opinion of by far the larger portion of the population of the United Kingdom. I believe that if the population were canvassed, there would he a majority of twenty to one adverse to this measure, because they consider that the admission of the Jews to Parliament would tend to the overthrow of the foundations of the Christian faith, and to our ceasing to be a Christian community and a Christian nation. I trust your Lordships will, by a large majority, reject this clause.
§ EARL GRANVILLE, who rose amid cries for a division, said, he regretted to find that their Lordships would not listen to argument in a case where it was so desirable to have it. He was happy, however, to be able to inform them that he should not occupy their attention for more than a few minutes. The Lord Chancellor had complained how painful it was to him to have to go over ground which had been before so often trodden. If such was the feeling of the noble and learned Lord, the champion of the opposition to the emancipation of the Jews—for although this was the first time he had had an opportunity of addressing the House on the subject, hitherto he had addressed the other House in the face of constantly-increasing majorities, and might naturally have derived some advantage from the feeling that the majority of his present audience had on former occasions been supporters of his views; but if such were the feelings of the noble and learned Lord, how much more painful must it be to those who had so often addressed their Lordships on the subject. But even if this were not so, and this was a perfectly new question, he thought that the exhaustive speech of the noble and learned Lord who spoke second in the debate (Lord Lyndhurst) must have put the opponents of the clause completely out of court, and convinced their Lordships that both justice and policy required them to adopt it. He wished, however, to say one or two words with regard to the posi- 1791 tion of the House. Very contrary opinions had been laid down that evening as to the constitutional duty of this House when proceeding in a course which was likely to lead to a difference between it and the other House. He believed the doctrine had been very clearly and correctly laid down in the extract from the speech of the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) which had been read to the House by his noble Friend (Lord Stanley of Alderley). No doubt there were very many occasions when a resistance on the part of their Lordships to the decisions of the other House was of the greatest possible advantage to the country; more especially on occasions where the other House was backed up by the almost unanimous cry of the country. | He believed that if in such a moment of excitement their Lordships had the moral courage to interpose a delay, they gave the other House and the country the advantage of reconsideration. He thought, however, it would be difficult and dangerous to the House if they were for a length of time to go on putting themselves in opposition to the wishes, not of one Parliament, but of successive Parliaments coming fresh from their constituents. It was said the House of Commons were supported in this matter by the people; if they were not, it was a proof that they required the sweeping Reform Bill advocated by the first law officer of the Crown, himself a supporter of the Jewish claims. he thought that if at any time they found it necessary to place their votes in opposition to the other House, they should take the greatest care that the grounds on which they relied were perfectly sound. They had that night heard no arguments about the danger or political inconvenience of the admission of the Jews. The noble Duke (the Duke of Marlborough) who spoke first, entirely dismissed the idea that the Jews were not excellent citizens; the solo ground of opposition was the general character of Christianity pervading our institutions, and that to admit the Jews would unchristianize the Legislature. The noble and learned Lord who had charge of the Bill had put a question which had been put before, and which was utterly unanswered. He asked if the nation was Christian, if the courts of law were Christian, if the colonies were Christian, although the Jews could act in all capacities in them, how could it happen that their admission to Parliament would at once unchristianize the Legislature? He believed the argument as to unchristianizing the 1792 Legislature was, as the noble and learned Lord had characterized it, monstrous and untenable. He did not wish to deal in any round or sounding phrase—he only wished to point out that they could not expect to stand well with the country if this was the only argument they relied on. The noble Duke who spoke second (the Duke of Rutland) told them this was a Christian country, because it had a Christian Sovereign, a Christian Legislature, and all the high offices filled by Christians. He would like to ask the President of the Board of Control whether he considered that the 180,000,000 of our Indian fellow-subjects who were under a Christian Sovereign, with a Christian legislature, and the high offices filled by Christians, were for that reason a Christian nation? His noble Friend near him had shown that it was no theoretical danger which threatened us in the position in which affairs were now placed, and he thought they had a right to expect from the noble Earl at the head of the Government that he should clearly point out the course and manner in which he thought this measure was hereafter to be dealt with, He hoped their Lordships would not be led away by any flattering recommendation to stand on their independence. Independent he hoped they would always be, but he also hoped they would act upon the prudent and judicious compromise which the noble and learned Lord had recommended. In the meantime he thought it would be for the advantage of the House and country if the noble Earl would state his views.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
said, it was remarkable that of all those right rev. Prelates to whom their Lordships were wont to look for lessons of improvement, instruction, and guidance, not one of them had addressed a word to their Lordships about the morality or the immorality, the propriety or the impropriety, of admitting Jews to Parliament. Let it not he said that this measure would unchristianize the Legislature, or that their prayers would become a farce if a Jew were admitted to the House, without some Member of the right rev. Bench rising to give his opinion on the question. For his part he would not allow his religion to he guided by statesmanship, neither would he receive lessons on this subject from any Peer till he had heard from those who ought to instruct him and this House what was their opinion on the matter. For his own part he felt for the Jew, and he felt for every man who was excluded by his 1793 religious opinions from sharing in political privileges; and that feeling would widen and extend—day by day the nation would perceive more clearly the anomaly of excluding from the Legislature men who discharged every office for which they were eligible with propriety and efficiency. Though he might be excluded for the present, he felt that not only would the Jew become a Member of the other House of Parliament, but when the fulness of time should come he would be a Member of their Lordships' House. He believed the Jewish people were under peculiar guidance, as had been sung by the poet—By day along the astonish'd landsThe fiery pillar glided slow;By night Arabia's crimson sandsReturn'd the fiery column's glow.Under the same guidance he believed the Jew would be brought to become a Member of their Lordships' House. He was sure that the Jews had been, and that they would be again, God's chosen people. Their Lordships might do as they would— they would act according to their own judgment—it was sufficient for him to have the honour of standing up and recording his protest against this attempt to exclude the Jew from his political privileges.
THE BISHOP OF CASHEL
My Lords, I rise to answer the appeal which has just been addressed to this Bench by the noble Lord. I wish to say that, in voting against the clause for admitting the Jews, I am actuated by no unkind feeling towards them. I love them, and have perhaps a greater regard for them than many of those who vote for their admission to seats in the Legislature. I feel, I hope, towards them in the same spirit as the Apostle, who said they were enemies for the Gospel's sake, but beloved for their father's sake. They are the children of Abraham, but they are degenerate children who walk not in the steps of their father. It was said by our Lord himself that Abraham "rejoiced to see his day, and he saw it and was glad;" but the degenerate children of Abraham, in the day of the Saviour's humiliation, cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" and the Jews of the present day show themselves the true children of their fallen fathers, by blaspheming that holy name and speaking evil of Him whom Christians love. I cannot, therefore, agree that they ought to be admitted to the Houses of Parliament. We have the authority of the beloved Apostle of the Lord,—" If there come any unto 1794 you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed." There is another reason why I cannot do so. It was declared from the earliest times, as the distinguishing character of the Jews,—" The people shall dwell alone, and they shall not be reckoned among the nations." They well stand among the nations of the earth as a separate people. I agree with the noble Lord that the Jews will again become the people of God; but that will not be till they, being converted to the faith of Christ, are brought to say,—" Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." Then the prophecy will be fulfilled,—" The men of other nations will lay hold upon the skirts of him that is a Jew, and will say. We will go with you, for we sec that God is with you." That will be at the time to which the noble Marquess refers—the time of the conversion and restoration of Israel and Judah; but then the Jew will not seek to come to you; but those among you that shall be believers in the Lord Jesus will desire to join yourselves to the Jew, and have a share in that kingdom which shall be established on the throne of David. There is yet another reason for not consenting to that clause which shall admit them into Parliament. I believe that a good Jew would not come into this House. I believe so because, on that memorable occasion when their fathers cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him," it is written that they went not into the Roman Judgment Hall lost they should be defiled, but that they might eat the pass-over; but Pilate went out unto them. So I believe that a good, honest, conscientious Jew would not enter into your Lordships' House or the other House of Parliament. I have no doubt that the mere money-changing, money-brokering Jew would come in; but, to admit such, I am not willing to be a party to withdrawing the profession of the Christian faith. It is a remarkable fact that not a single petition has come from the Jews themselves, asking for admission to seats in Parliament. As the noble Marquess has called upon the right reverend Bench for an opinion on this question, I have thought it my duty to say these few words, and I thank the House for the patience with which it has heard me.
§ On Question, "Whether the said Clause shall stand part of the Bill?" their Lordships divided;—Contents 80; Not-Con-tents 119: Majority 39.1795
|Cleveland, D.||Chaworth L.(E. Meath.)|
|Devonshire, D.||Chesham, L.|
|Newcastle, D.||Clandeboye, L.(L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)|
|Somerset, D.||Congleton, L.|
|Wellington, D.||Cranworth, L.|
|Anglesey, M.||Dacre, L.|
|Breadalbane, M.||Dartey, L. (L.Cremorne)|
|Townshend, M.||De Mauley, L.|
|Westminster, M.||Denman, L.|
|De Tabley, L.|
|Abingdon, E.||Ebury, L.|
|Airlie, E.||Foley, L. [Teller.]|
|Albemarle, E.||Glenelg, L.|
|Carlisle, E.||Hatherton, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Hunsdon, L. (V. Falkland.)|
|Ducie, E.||Lyndhurst, L.|
|Durham, E.||Macaulay, L.|
|Essex, E.||Mont Eagle, L. (M. Sligo.)|
|Fortescue, E.||Monteagle of Brandon, L.|
|Grey, E.||Mostyn, L.|
|Huntingdon, E.||Oriel, L. (V. Massereene|
|Munster, E.||Overstone, L.|
|St. Germans, E.||Petre, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough)[Teller.]|
|Eversley, V.||Rivers L.|
|Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore)||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Sefton. L.(E. Sefton)|
|Stratford de Redcliffe, V.||Skene, L.(E. fife)|
|Sydney, V.||Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)|
|Carlisle Bp.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Hereford Bp.||Stewart of Steward's|
|St. David s Bp.||Court, L. (M. Londonderry.)|
|Audley, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|Belper, L.||Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll).|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)|
|Camoys, L.||Wensleydale, L.|
|Campbell, L.||Wrottesley, L.|
|Canterbury, Archbp.||Bradford, E.|
|Chelmsford, L.(L. Chancellor.)||Brooke, and Warwick,|
|Buckingham and Chandos, D||Carnarvon, E.|
|Manchester D||Chesterfield, E.|
|Maryborough, D.||Dartmouth, E|
|Northumberland, D.||De La Warr, E.|
|Rutland, D.||Denbigh, E.|
|Abercorn, M.||Derby, E.|
|Bath, M. [Teller.]||Desert, E.|
|Cholmondeley, M.||Doncaster, E. (D. of Buccleugh & Queensberry.|
|Amherst, E,||Ellenborough, E.|
|Bantry, E.||Ferrers, E.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Graham, E. (D. Montrose.|
|Hardwicke, E.||Bateman, L.|
|Harrington, E.||Berners, L.|
|Hillsborough, E. (M. Downshire,)||Blayney, L.|
|Howe, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)|
|Lonsdale, E.||Calthorpe, L.|
|Luean, E.||Castlemaine, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||Churchill, L.|
|Mayo, E.||Clanbrassill, L. (E. Roden.)|
|Orkney, E.||Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.|
|Romney, E.||Clifton, L. (E. Darnley.|
|Seafield, E.||Clinton, L.|
|Selkirk, E.||Colchester, L.|
|Shaftesbury, E.||Colville of Culcross, L.[Teller]|
|Stamford and Warrington, E.|
|Strathmore, E.||Crofton, L.|
|Talbot, E.||De Ros, L.|
|Verulam, E.||Digby, L.|
|Wilton, E.||Dinevor, L.|
|Bolingbroke and St. John. V.||Downes, L.|
|Combermere, V.||Forester, L.|
|De Vesci, V.||Grantley, L.|
|Doneraile, V.||Grinstead, L. (E. Enniskillen.)|
|Falmouth, V.||Kenyon, L|
|Hardinge, V.||Lovel and Holland, L.(E. Egmont.)|
|Lifford, V.||Polwarth, L.|
|Melville, V.||Rayleigh, L.|
|St. Vincent, V.||Redesdale, L.|
|Bangor, Bp.||Scarsdale, L.|
|Cashel, &c. Bp.||Sheffield, L. (E. Sheffield)|
|Exeter, Bp.||Sondes, L.|
|Llandaff Bp.||Southampton, L.|
|Oxford Bp.||Templemore, L.|
|Ripon, Bp.||Tenterden, L.|
|Rochester, Bp.||Teynham, L.|
|St. Asaph, Bp.||Walsingham, L.|
|Winchester, Bp.||Willoughby de Broke,|
|Bagot, L.||Wynford, L.|
§ Amendment agreed to; Clause struck out.
§ Clause 6 (Persons professing the Jewish Religion to make declaration in certain Cases).
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
stated his intention to reserve his opinion upon this clause until the bringing up of the report.
§ After a few words from Lord CAMPBELL,
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
said, he had no wish to throw any unnecessary difficulties in the way of the measure as it now stood. If his noble and learned Friend (the Lord Chancellor) saw any objection to the principle contained in the present clause, he would state it on the bringing up of the Report.
§ Clause agreed to. Clause 7 agreed to.
§ Clause 8 struck out.
§ Report of Amendments to be received on Thursday next.
§ House adjourned at a quarter-before Ten o'clock, to Thursday next, half-past Ten o'clock.