HL Deb 12 July 1858 vol 151 cc1257-66

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.

Moved, that the Bill be now read 3a.


said, he had always opposed the admission of the Jews into Parliament, and had not seen reason to change his opinion. He had voted for the Reasons against their admission which the House had lately agreed to, and he was no party to any compromise. He had the strongest convictions on this question, but having on former occasions expressed those convictions to the House, he did not wish at the present time to reopen the question. But there was one thing he must notice; several of those noble Lords who were now in favour of the compromise said they were so not on religious grounds—their religious objections they retained as strong as ever—but that they agreed to the compromise for reasons of expediency. Now, he was unable to see that there was any expediency in the matter. He did not mean to dispute but that on some occasions it might be proper to defer to the power of the House of Commons on certain subjects; but not upon this; and for the reason that, as he contended, the feeling of the country had never been fairly tested on the question. If, indeed, that question had ever been fairly put, and if the country had decided that it would sanction the principle of admitting the Jews to Parliament, he did not say whether then it might not be his duty under certain circumstances to defer to their opinion; but that course never had been taken, and, therefore, he for one must say "not content" to this Bill. He would preserve his own consistency by moving that the Bill be read a third time that day six months.

Amendment moved, to leave out ("now") and insert ("this Day Six Months.")


also stated that his opinion on this subject was wholly unchanged. Like his noble Friend he did not see any reason for resorting to that much hacknied phrase expediency; for with his noble Friend he believed that if the appeal were fairly made to the country, popular opinion would be found to be decidedly against the admission of the Jews on any terms into the Legislature. He did not know what course his noble Friend meant to take as to dividing the House, but if he did he would divide with him, for he felt that having supported the reasons which their Lordships had lately agreed to, he should be guilty of a gross inconsistency if he were now to vote for the Bill of his noble and gallant Friend (the Earl of Lucan). He still held the opinion which he had all along maintained, that the moment they admitted into the legislature men who repudiated the divinity of the Redeemer of mankind, the prayers which they offered up in the name of that Mediator would be little more than a mockery. He, for one, could look upon the matter in no other light, though he was quite aware that in doing so he had the misfortune to differ from many noble Lords of much greater authority and ability than he could lay claim to. But he was acting upon what he believed to be his duty, and therefore he must adhere to his opinion if he were to go out alone against the Bill.


suggested that the noble Lords had better not divide, but be content with entering their dissents, as the state of the House showed that a division was not expected. If, however, he did so he should feel it his duty to divide with him.

On Question, that ("now") stand part of the Motion? their Lordships divided:—Contents 33; Not-Contents 12: Majority 21.

Resolved in the Affirmative;

Bill read 3a accordingly.

Newcastle, D. Eversley, V.
Somerset, D. Hardinge, V.
Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)
Lansdowne, M.
Salisbury, M. Sydney, V.
Bathurst, E. Audley, L.
Carnarvon, E. Belper, L.
Chichester, E. Chesham, L.
Clarendon, E. Cranworth, L.
Derby, E. Crofton, L.
Essex, E. De Mauley, L.
Granville, E. Foley, L. [Teller].
Hardwicke, E. Lyndhurst, L.
Lucan, E. [Teller.] Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Malmesbury, E.
Powis, E. Mostyn, L.
St. Germans, E. Rivers, L.
Verulam, E. Stanley of Alderley
Exeter, M. Churchill, L.
Colchester, L. [Teller.]
Cadogan, E. Redesdale, L.
Harrington, E. Southampton, L.
Romney, E. Stewart of Garlies, L.(E. Galloway)
Clancarty, V. (E. Clancarty.)
Wynford, L.
Dungannon, V. [Teller.]

rose to propose two Amendments, after Clause 1, to insert the following clauses:— No such Resolution shall be moved in either House of Parliament unless due Notice shall have been given thereof according to any Standing Order which such House shall have agreed to in regard to such Notice; and only one Motion touching such Resolution, nor whether agreeing to or rescinding the same, shall be made in any Session of Parliament. If any Member of either House of Parliament shall after the passing of this Act attend or take part in the Proceedings of any Committee of such House until he shall have taken the above-mentioned Oath in the Form and Manner required or permitted by Law, he shall be subject to the same Penalties to which he would be subject for sitting and voting in such House without having taken the said Oath.


said, their Lordships might make any Standing Orders they pleased for their own House; but he objected to these Amendments, for they seemed to dictate to the House of Commons what their Standing Orders should be.


said, there was no dictation to one House more than to the other. The noble Earl seemed to forget that this Bill applied to the admission of Jews in either House, and in these times it was by no means impossible that an attempt might be made to introduce a Jewish Member into their Lordships' House.


said, that if the second Amendment were agreed to and the House of Commons did nut pass any Resolution this Session, the condition of the Jews would be worse than it was now.


said, he hoped his noble Friend would not press these Resolutions, which really did practically affect the House of Commons only. If Her Majesty were ever advised to create a member of the Jewish persuasion a Peer, and his noble Friend should think that the House was likely to be taken by surprise, he could then call the attention of their Lordships to the matter. As to due notice in the other House, be believed that any amount of notice would only increase the majority by which the Resolution would be passed. The first Resolution was practically an interference with the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, and the second Resolution was, in his view, more objectionable than the first.

Amendments withdrawn.


My Lords, I move that no Member of the House of Commons, having made a loan to a foreign State, after he has been elected, shall be allowed to sit in Parliament until he shall be re-elected; as the interests of such loan contractor, may be opposed to his duties as legislator. That no Member of Parliament, of the Jewish persuasion, shall be allowed to vote on any question connected with the interests of the Established Church, or of any Christian sect. My Lords, having patiently listened to all the arguments for and against this measure, I have risen at the eleventh hour, to oppose the admission of Jews into out Christian Parliament. I am sorry, indeed, to oppose a Bill for which the noble and learned (Lord Lyndhurst) takes so deep, so lasting an interest, for in common with the people of this country, I do admire, I do honour that noble Lord—as orator, judge, statesman, and patriot. Neither, my Lords, would I trespass on your kind attention, but that I take a somewhat different view of this question from any which has hither, to been taken. I must premise by stating, that I entertain no feeling of dislike, no vulgar prejudice against the Jews; on the contrary, I respect them as I do all others of my fellow-subjects. I admire them for their generous, their charitable, I had almost said, their Christian feelings; and I feel for them on account of the persecutions to which in former times they have been subjected, and which even in the present enlightened age, under some bad Governments, they are still subjected. With respect to the hon. Gentleman who has been so frequently returned for the City of London, I have always understood that he is a most amiable, generous, hospitable, loyal man—well versed in figures, and thoroughly conversant with the "haute commerce." Just such a man in all these respects, as should represent the City of London. But, my Lords, this is but faint praise compared to that bestowed on that gentleman by a noble Lord, who is the hereditary friend of civil and religious liberty. That illustrious statesman, addressing his constituents, said—"I consider the introduction of the Baron Rothschild into the House of Commons, as the embodiment of civil and religious liberty." What, my Lords! are we then come to this—in this old chartered land of freedom, that the introduction of an opulent and virtuous Jew into our Christian Parliament, is to be considered "as the embodiment of civil and religious liberty?" If such be really the case, must it not be painful to that noble Lord, to reflect, that the good Baron should have been doomed for so long a period of time to sit brooding in the House of Commons, in anticipation of the births from his prolific adamite ribs of those bouncing, chopping Jew babes, civil and religious liberty? Let us hope, my Lords, if this blessed nativity ever should take place, that the noble Lord, who in consequence of this great act of statesmanship, would probably occupy the place now adorned by the Earl of Derby, will reward the good Baron, not as of old with a chaplet of laurel, of myrtles, or of roses, but with a crown that never dies, the cap of liberty, or, a seat in the Cabinet of our gracious Sovereign, "the defender of the faith."

My Lords, I do oppose this Jew Bill for the same substantive reasons that the noble Lords opposite support it—namely, as a friend of civil and religious liberty. For where indeed did religious liberty ever permanently prevail, where civil liberty was not? I do oppose the admission of Jews into our Parliament. First of all, on the general ground, as being contrary to the spirit of the institutions, the laws, the constitution, and religion of our country. But, my Lords, this is such a hacknied theme, such a beaten road, and has been so trodden down by the great wits and statesmen, that I will not dwell on it.

My next reason for opposing the admission of Jews into our Parliament is, that they are the great money-lenders—the great loan contractors of the world. It may be said that they do lend to all alike, that they are more free-traders in money. Yes; it matters not to them whether they lend their money to support a good or a bad cause; to support liberty or despotism; to further the great ends of their own country, or to lend their money to a nation directly opposed to it. Hence it follows, that the despotic nations of the world, now unfortunately in the ascendant, are enabled to keep up large standing armies in times of peace, and to make other nations, and to make England do so likewise, because they do well know, that when the occasion requires it, either to put down the rising spirit of reform in their own countries, or to act against other states, they can call on these loan contractors for the sinews of war. The consequence is, that the nations of the world are groaning under heavy systems of taxation, and of national debts. My Lords, I am not one of those happy Utopians who have such pleasant dreams. Who dream that wars can be altogether avoided. That would be contrary to our experience, reason, and knowledge of the springs of action. Nay, more, if this end could be accomplished, it would be the greatest evil that could befall mankind, and for this plain reason—that it would lead to one universal sweeping system of despotism, "for he who would be free himself must strike the blow," and that which applies to individuals, still more strongly applies to nations. It may be said, why persecute the many on account of the misdeeds of the few? Why persecute the whole Jewish race, some 30,000 in this country, on account of certain loan contractors, who have lent, or may lend, their money to despots—who make use of this Jew wealth to destroy the liberties of Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, or other nations? Why, for the reasons just stated, and because "the many" are the great contributors—not only here, but in every other country to these loans, and but for their contributions, these loans would with difficulty be carried out. Besides, these millionaires, these loan contractors, are the very men who would stand on your public hustings and make their impassioned, their sweet orations in favour of public liberty—whereas, they have ever been the greatest enemies to freedom. Why, I would ask, and for what have they been ennobled? Is it, or is it not, for having lent their gold to despots?

My Lords, these loan contractors are the pets, the Poloniuses of arbitrary Courts. Yes, but the constituencies are not Jews—they would not elect these loan contractors. My Lords, I would not trust them. I do well remember that some few years back, it was in 1853, not less than sixty constituencies were accused of corruption, and as many election committees sat for months investigating these matters, and by their investigations pointing out certain remedies for the future. Above thirty of these constituencies were found guilty. Would you then again open the flood gates of corruption? My Lords, I contend that a loan contractor, be he Christain or be he Jew, who would lend his money to support despotism, would not deserve the proud honour of a seat in the House of Commons. For example, one who at the present moment would lend his money to the Czar of Russia—who would make use of that money to create railroads over his vast empire—partly for commercial, but principally for military purposes, rapidly to convey his highly disciplined and valiant legions to Constantinople, or to the shores of the Mediterranean—there, in time, to establish the same preponderance at sea which he actually possesses on the land at this time, as compared with any one substantive nation of Europe. My Lords, we cannot be unmindful that in the Crimean war, the Czar was opposed by four substantive nations—that they gained great victories—subdued Sebastopol—caused the destruction of thousands of Russians—drowned their fleet—and last of all, and most to be deplored—preserved the integrity of that prostrate empire. My Lords, I would rather see a good Mahomedan, or Hindoo, sitting in the House of Commons, than I would a Jew loan contractor. In point of fact, would it not be far more natural, more just, that 180,000,000 of British subjects should have a representative in the House of Commons, to point out how the tax screw pauperises and tortures—aye, not only mentally but physically tortures the people of India—and does away with the otherwise beneficent character of your rule, than that a few Jews should have their representatives there? Why there never was a few men in any great State who possessed such a mighty influence as these Jews do here at this moment. Have they not a considerable body of this House voting for them? Have they not a majority in the House of Commons? Add to this a portion of the Press—the most powerful political engine that ever existed, all supporting them. [Hear!] Yes, but there is a power still stronger than all these combined, and that power is the moral and religious people of this country, who, however seemingly apathetic, are decidedly opposed to the admission of Jews into Parliament. My Lords, I have endeavoured to prove that the Jews are the great loan contractors of the world; that they lend their money chiefly to despots; that these despots make successful use of this money to destroy liberty; that they entail heavy taxes and national debts on a suffering world, and, consequently, do not deserve to have their power increased.

The oath then "on the true faith of a Christian" should be continued. For the constitution of this country, as I understand it, rests mainly on Freedom and Christianity. These are the elements of her greatness and her power, and the Bill before the House is opposed to both the one and the other.

Moved, at the end of the Bill to add the following clauses:— That no Member of the House of Commons, having made a Loan to a Foreign State after he has been elected, shall be allowed to sit in Parliament until he shall be re-elected, as the Interests of such Loan Contractor may be opposed to his Duties as Legislator. That no Member of Parliament of the Jewish Persuasion shall be allowed to vote on any Question connected with the Interests of the Established Church or of any Christian Sect.


thought the noble Earl would see at once that his Amendments did not agree with the title of the Bill; and with regard to negotiating loans, they could not put Jews on a different footing to Christians. The first clause of the Amendment would deprive the House of Commons of some of the most important privileges which it possessed; and as to the second part of the Amendment, he would remind the noble Earl that at the time of passing the Catholic Emancipation Act the subject was fully discussed, and it was considered that if they admitted a man to be a Member at all he should possess all the rights and privileges which the House possessed. He hoped, therefore, the noble Earl would not press his Amendment.


, in reply, said, he anticipated and regretted this result. He, however, ventured to remind the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby), and the House, that during the last Crimean war, large sums of money were sent by Jews and others from this country to Holland, as contributions to a Russian loan. An Act was consequently passed, making it a misdemeanour for any British subject to sub- scribe to a loan raised by the enemy. Could, then, the loan contractor, the head and front of the offending party, he deemed a proper subject to sit in Parliament?


said, as this would be the last opportunity he should have, as Member of a Christian Legislature, to express himself upon this subject, he wished to state one reason in addition to those already advanced against this Bill. He would not advert to the religious part of the subject nor to that of its expediency, but he felt conscientiously and foresaw that the time might not be far distant when a profligate Prime Minister of this country might receive a large bribe for recommending the creation of a Jewish peer. It might be said upon the other hand that the House would have the power of rejecting such a peer; but it was by a very small majority indeed that the Jews had been excluded from the House, and when he recalled to mind how many peers might be added to that House in a few years, he could picture the creation of a number of peers, sufficient to vote for the admission of Jews, the Minister for the time being recommending it, so that the House might be inundated with admissions of that description.

Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

"Dissentient,1st. Because this House has twice in the present Session affirmed the principle that no one ought to be admitted to sit and vote in Parliament without first declaring his faith in Christ. 2nd. Because the Reasons which this House has sent to the Commons for insisting on their Amendments to 'The Oaths Bill' appear to me sound and unanswerable, and I accept them as the Protest of the House against the abandonment of that principle. 3rd. Because this Bill permits either House to abandon that principle at pleasure. 4th. Because, as neither House of Parliament acknowledges any control over its proceedings but that which long usage has established, it is dangerous to depart in any way from the ancient Rule which requires that the alteration of any existing law or statute shall be made by Bill passing through known and regulated stages, and requiring the joint assent of both Houses; and this Bill, which permits each House singly to determine for itself by Resolution, revocable at pleasure, a question which both Houses have for several years debated legislatively without coming to agreement thereon, is framed on a principle contrary to the recognized practice of Parliament, and establishes a precedent which may hereafter be productive of evil consequences.

"For the Fourth Reason. DENMAN.
"For the First, Second, and J. LICHFIELD.
"Third Reasons R. RIPON.
"For the First, Second, and WYNFORD.
"Third Reasons

House adjourned at a quarter-past Eight o'Clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'Clock.