The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 39
Appendix No. 2
Appendix No. 2.
Precedents Relating to Parliamentary Oaths.
Case of Attorney General Sir Francis Bacon, Commons Journals, Vol. 1, page 459, 11th April, 1614, continued from page 456, 8th April.
Eligibility of the Attorney General to sit in Parliament. By 46 Edward III., 1372, no practising barrister could be Knight of the Shire.
Page 459.—"The precedents to disable him ought to be showed on the other side."
Page 460.—"Their Oath their own consciences to look unto, not we to examine it."
At that date each Member had to make Oath that he was duly qualified.
1. Question whether he shall for this Parliament remain of the House or not:—Resolved, He shall.
2. Question.—Whether any Attorney General shall after this Parliament serve as a Member of this House:—Resolved, No.
Case of John Wilkes, Esquire, Commons Journal, 38, page 977, 3rd May, 1782.
The House was moved, that the entry in the Journal of the House, of the 17th day of February, 1769, of the Resoution, "That John Wilkes, Esquire, having been in this Session of Parliament expelled this House, was and is incapable of being elected a Member to serve in this present Parliament," might be read, and the same being read accordingly;
A motion was made, and the question being put, That the said resolution be expunged from the Journals of this House, as being subversive of the rights of the whole body of electors of this Kingdom.
The House divided.
The Yeas went forth.
Tellers for the Yeas, Sir Philip Jennings Clarke and Mr. Byng, 115.
Tellers for the Noes, Mr. John St. John and Sir William Augustus Cunynghame, 47,
So it was resolved in the affirmative.
And the same was expunged by the Clerk at the table, accordingly.
Ordered, That all Declarations, Orders, and Resolutions of this House, respecting the election of John Wilkes, Esquire, for the county of Middlesex, as a void election, the true and legal election of Henry Lawes Luttrell, Esquire, into Parliament for the said county, and the incapacity of John Wilkes, Esquire, to be elected a Member to serve in the said Parliament, be expunged from the Journals of this House as being subversive of the rights of the whole body of electors of this Kingdom.
By Cavendish's Parliamentary Debates, Vol. I., page 73, 24th November, 1768, it appears that inter alia were used to justify the original and subsequently expunged Resolutions—first. "the copy of the record of the proceedings, on an information in the Court of King's Bench, against John Wilkes, Esquire, for blasphemy"—page 123; "three obscene and impious libels"; "an impious libel with intent to blaspheme the Almighty God."
Case of Mr. John Horne Tooke, Parliamentary History, Vol. 35, page 956, 16th February, 1801.
Mr. John Horne Tooke took the Oaths and his seat for Old Sarum. He was introduced by Sir Francis Burdett and Mr. Wilson. This being done, Earl Temple rose and said, he had observed a gentleman who had just retired from the table, after having taken the Oaths, whom he conceived to be incapable of a seat in that House, in consequence of his having taken priest's orders and been inducted into a living. He would wait the allotted time of fourteen days to sec whether there was any petition presented against his return; if not he should then move that the return for Old Sarum be taken into consideration.
Page 1323, 10th March, 1801.—Earl Temple moved that Mr. Boucher, Deputy Registrar of Salisbury, be called in to prove that Mr. Horne Tooke, being a priest in orders, was not eligible to a seat in that House. After debate, in which Mr. John Horne Tooke spoke—Amendment and Division—Motion agreed to (page 1342),—Select Committee appointed (page 1343). Two reports given, pages 1343 to 1349, were made, giving all the cases of "any of the clergy" returned to Parliament.
4th May, 1801.—Earl Temple moved (pages 1349 to 1374), "That Mr. Speaker do issue his warrant to the clerk of the Crown in Great Britain, to make out a new writ for the election of a burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the Borough of Old Sarum, in the county of Wilts, in the room of the Rev. John Horne Tooke, who being at the time of his election in priest's orders, was and is incapable of sitting in this House." A debate took place in which Mr. John Horne Tooke spoke (pp. 1350 to 1402), division, and the motion negatived.
Jurist, Vol. 17, Page 463.—Exchequer Chamber; Error from the Court of Exchequer: Coram, Lord Campbell, Chief Justice, and Coleridge, Cresswell, Wightman, Williams, and Crompton, J.
One judgment by Lord Chief Justice Campbell for the whole Court.
Lord Campbell (page 464).—The words "so help me, God," are words of asseveration, and of the manner of taking the oath; but the words preceding them are, it appears to me, an essential part of the oath.page 75
Fisher's Digest, Vol. 3, page 6179.—By a private Act, no person appointed to act as tithe valuer shall be capable of acting until he shall have taken and subscribed an oath in the words following: "I, A. B., do swear that I will faithfully, etc., execute, etc.; so help me, God." Held, that the oath had nevertheless been properly administered according to the Statute, for the words omitted were no part of the oath, but only an indication of the manner of administering it. Lancaster and Carlisle Railway Company v. Heaton, 8 El. & Bl., 952; 4 Jur., N. S., 707; 27 L. J., Q. B., 195."