The Rothschild Archive Home Page Welcome to the Rothschild Archive web site
Information Bureau: Bank to Westminster: Lionel de Rothschild's journey to parliament, 1847-1858

TIMELINE

  • 1798 Nathan Rothschild comes to Britain from the Frankfurt ghetto.

  • 1808 Birth of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, son of Nathan Rothschild.

  • 1809 Nathan Rothschild sets up a bank in City of London.

  • 1828 The Test and Corporation Acts are passed, allowing Catholics and Protestant non-conformists to hold most public offices.  Daniel O'Connell is elected MP for County Clare, but unable as a Catholic to take his seat in parliament because of the nature of the oath.

  • 1829 The Roman Catholic Relief Act is passed, enabling Catholic MPs to take their seats in parliament.  The Board of Deputies of British Jews prepared a petition for relief from legal disabilities: Nathan Rothschild decides not to sign as he had not been born in  Britain, so his son Lionel signs instead.

  • 1830 A Jewish Disabilities Bill, to change the words 'upon the true faith of a Christian' in the oath required of members of parliament, is defeated in the House of Commons.

  • 1831 Jews could become freemen of the City of London.

  • 1833 Another Jewish Disabilities Bill is presented to parliament, passing in the House of Commons but not the House of Lords. The right for Jews to hold freehold land established in law. Francis Goldsmid called to the bar as the first Jewish barrister.

  • 1834 Another Jewish Disabilities Bill is defeated in the House of Lords.

  • 1835 Another Jewish Disabilities Bill is defeated in the House of Lords. David Salomons becomes the first Jewish sheriff of London.  Jews could become members of grand juries.

  • 1837 Jews could take degrees at the University of London.

  • 1845  An act of parliament enabled Jews to take up municipal office, allowing them to substitute the usual declaration for one more appropriate to their faith.

  • 1847 Lionel de Rothschild is elected to Parliament as one of four MPs for the City of London. Prime Minister Lord John Russell then introduces a Jewish Disabilities Bill to remove the problem with the oath.   In Sri Lanka, Lionel's cousin Gabriel Worms, a coffee and tea planter,  was elected to the Legislative Council of Ceylon, but was also unable to take his seat.

  • 1848 The Jewish Disabilities Bill is passed in the House of Commons in February 1848, but rejected twice by the House of Lords.

  • 1849 The House of Lords again reject the Jewish Disabilities Bill. Lionel resigns his seat and wins the bye-election.

  • 1850 Lionel goes to the House of Commons to take his seat, but refuses to swear on the Bible, asking to use the Old Testament only.  After debate this is conceded, but Lionel on taking the oath omits the words 'upon the true faith of a Christian'. He is required to leave the chamber.

  • 1851 Another Jewish Disabilities Bill is defeated in the House of Lords. David Salomons is elected as MP for Greenwich, and takes his seat without taking the oath: he votes three times before being removed and fined.

  • 1852 At the general election, Lionel is elected again.

  • 1853 Another Jewish Disabilities Bill is defeated in the House of Lords.

  • 1854 Lord John Russell introduces a parliamentary oaths bill which would have allowed Jews to enter parliament, however it was part of a package of measures which was too radical for either house of parliament to accept.  

  • 1856 Another Jewish Disabilities Bill is defeated in the House of Lords.

  • 1857 At the general election, Lionel is again elected. Another Jewish Disabilities Bill is defeated in the House of Lords. Lionel resigns and is returned unopposed.  He is appointed to a parliamentary select committee to consider the question of Jewish members of parliament, it having been discovered that there is no legal bar to him participating in parliament in this way.

  • 1858 The Earl of Lucan proposes that each House decide its own oath. The House of Lords agrees to this, and Lionel finally enters the House of Commons and is sworn in on 26 July 1858.

Contents      Journey     Who was who     Guide