15 MAY 1880, Page 2

The Bradlaugh Committee has met, in spite of the somewhat

factious opposition made by seventy-four Conservatives, unsup- ported by their leader, to its appointment, and has decided, by the casting-vote of the Chairman, Mr. Walpole, against the claim of Mr. Bradlaugh to make an affirmation instead of taking the oath. Of course, this decision will be reported to the House, and if the House affirms the decision,—as we trust it may do, if any large number of Members on either side appear to have grave doubts on the legal question,—then it will be- come a question whether Mr. Bradlaugh will take the oath or decline, and trust to Parliament to carry a short statute enabling him to substitute an affirmation for an oath. The latter course would evidently be the more decorous one, for all parties. If Mr. Bradlaugh takes the oath, it must tend to turn the oath into a pure farce, and cheapen the prestige of the House of Commons. All parties would, we should think, deprecate such a result, and all parties, therefore, would pro- bably concur in a fitting alteration of the law to suit Mr. Bradlaugh's peculiar case. Northampton, however, must not have to complain that its legally chosen representative is kept

out of Parliament for his irreligious opinions. •