21 SEPTEMBER 1901, Page 14


(To THE EDITOR OP THE "SPECTATOR.") Srn,—May I suggest that throughout all the debates, Press articles, and important speeches on the subject of the King's Declaration these has run a persistent undercurrent of.iris understanding as to the precise object of that publicly recited, signed, and sworn-to document? As no man or woman can be lawfully crowned in England if he or she is in communion with Rome, it is necessary to ascertain the fact, aye or nay, before the Coronation Service is performed. Otherwise it might be invalid and nugatory. As an effective way of deciding this point the nation has prescribed a certain form of words to be uttered ; which words are anathematised by the Council of Trent in their mere utterance. The candi- date for the Crown utters these words, and so comes under the condemnation of the " Si quis dixerit " decree of the Council of Trent. To make quite sure that he has uttered them the candidate signs the document. He is then eligible for the throne, and may safely be crowned. This Declaration is usually repeated at the Coronation, even though already made at the first meeting of Parliament. It is entirely independent of the Coronation Oath. In the dis- cussrons on the subject the two oaths—viz., the Declaration and the Coronation Oath—are usually confounded.—I am, [No doubt the putting into the King's mouth of words which are specially abhorrent to all Roman Catholics is one effective way of ensuring a Protestant Sovereign ; but we contend that a simple Declaration that the King was a Protestant—cpupleil with the ether statutory safeguards—would. be quite as effective, and would not unnecessarily, and therefore inexcus- ably, wound the feelings of Roman Catholics as does the present Declaration.—En. Spectator.]