In the House of Lords on Monday night Lord Houghton
moved the second reading of "The Qualification for Offices Oaths Abolition Bill," a measure, carried every year in the House of Commons and rejected every year by the House of Lords, for abolishing certain useless oaths required from certain municipal and other officials, to the effect that they will do nothing to assail the Established Church. Lord Derby himself considers the Act is not, as a guarantee to the Church, "worth the paper it is written on," but will not accept its abolition, simply because to do so would seem like yielding a point-to-the enemies of the Establishment. A more childish and contemptible course for grave statesmen can scarcely be imagined, and what is worse, it is a course adopted by grave Churchmen who, if any body is, are bound both in policy and Christian feeling to remove utterly useless affronts to the con- sciences of Dissenters. All the three Archbishops (of Canterbury, York, and Dublin)—even Dr. Thomson, iihd was once a Liberal before he was a bishop, and Dr. Trench, who ought to be above such pettiness—voted in favour of this mere symbol of resistance, as Lord Derby himself explained it. Of the bench of Bishops, only the Bishop of St. David's, always too strong to lean on unmeaning relics of the past, and always liberal at heart, voted against this silly rag of defiance to—whom shall we say ?—Mr. Miall and the Liberation Society, from whom most men of sense earnestly desire liberation.