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Objectionable aliens

29 July 2016

July 28th, 1916.

BY THE Act of Settlement it is laid down that the governing power in this country must be in native hands. In the appeal case in which the Lords Justices delivered their judgment on Monday, the judgment of the lower court in favour of Sir Edgar Speyer’s right to remain a Privy Councillor was upheld. According to their lordships, the principle affirmed in the Act of Settlement has, as a “necessary inference” from subsequent statutes, disappeared. That their lordships’ interpretation of the law is correct is a conclusion which, of course, must be accepted, but it is open to everyone to discuss the question whether, this being so, the law ought not to be altered forthwith. It is an insult to the men who are fighting on our behalf the enemy in the field that we should allow enemy subjects to hold high places in the State in virtue of their naturalization. There is only too good reason for believing that some aliens, though naturalized here, are secretly hostile to England and have never really renounced their allegiance to their own country. We hope that the nation will not allow matters to stand where they now stand, but will make a determined effort to amend the present state of the law. And, in this connexion, we extend our warm support to Mr Swift MacNeill’s endeavour to get the Duke of Cumberland deprived of his English titles and honours. This recreant English prince is fighting against his sovereign, though he is actually in the line of succession to the throne of King George. Mr Asquith seemed to think the remoteness of the Duke’s chance of succession a sufficient ground for doing nothing towards ridding the realm of a subject so objectionable, but we are not all of Mr Asquith’s mind.


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