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or others, who, in their intercourse with senters of England and Wales, now read, Lord Sidmouth, may have led his loid- be approved. ship to imagine, that the bill which he That the said address be signed by the projected would, either in its principle, chairman, and printed for general ciror in its provisions, be satisfactory 'to culation. Protestant Dissenters,
That the cordial thanks of this depuJohn COATES, Chairman, tation he given to the committee for the
zeal and promptitude which they bave so At a General Meeting of the Deputies long and so constantly manifested in the
appointed for protecting the civil rights protection of the civil rights of protestant of the Protestant Dissenters, held at dissenters, both in the metropolis and ihe King's Head Tavern in the Poul- in the country, from every part of wbich try, London, the 28th of May, 1811. applications on the subject have been WILLIAM SMITH, Esq. M. P. in so frequently received; for their watchthe Chair.
ful and anxious regard to these imporThe chairman made a report of the tant interests ever since Lord Sidmouth proceedings of the committee upon Lord announced his intention respecting the Sidmouth's bill laie's brought into the Toleration Act; and especially for the house of Lords, entiiled “ An Act to unshaken firmness with which they have explain and render more effectual cer- maintained the unalienable rights of contain acts of the first year of the reign of science, and deprecated the interference King William and Queen Mary, and of of magistrates in matters of religion, as the 10th year of the reign of his present a violation of those sacred principles, Majesty, so far as the same relate to which in their judgment human laws protestant dissenting ministers."
ought never to controul. Resolved, That this deputation in That the foregoing resolutions be signed conformity with the deep interest which by the chairman, and inserted in ali the they must always feel in every question morning papers. affecting the civil and religious concerns :
WM. SMITH, Chairman. of the protestant dissenters, do in the Resolved, That W. Smith, Esq. M.P. narnes of those by whom they are de- the chairman of this deputation, be deputed, offer to their brethren throughout sired to accept our warmest thanks, for the kingdom their sincere congratula- his vigilant attention to the subject of tions on the rejection of the above-men- the late measure, ever since it was first tioned bill, and especially as connected announced in parliament-for his ready with the opinion so generally expressed and obliging communications with the in the house of Lords, of the inexpedie committee in their attempts to dissuade ency and injustice of infringing on the the noble author from actually bringing liberty of the subject in religious matters. the same forward-and for his able and
That the thanks of this deputation be active assistance in obtaining its rejecgratefully offered to the Marquis of Lans- tion; and that this deputation entertains downe, to Earl Stanhope, Earl Moira, a strong and grateful sense of his conEarl Grey, to Lord Holland, and Lord stant and zealous support of civil and Erskine for their able and distinguished religious liberty, and of the rights of prosupport of the cause of the dissenters, testant dissenters, on all occasions. and of the great and important principles of religious liherty, in the debates on the bill lately introduced by Lord. TO THE PROTESTANT Sidinouth into the house of Lords.
DISSENTERS OF ENGLAND That sbe thanks of this deputation be given to all those members of that right
AND WALES. honourable house who co-uperated in THE ADDRESS OF THE VEPUTIES. rejecting the said bill.
That this deputation are extremely. When, in the years 1787, 1789, happy in the opportunity of expressing and 1790, the dissenless applied to their high satisfaction at the just and lin
: the legislature for a repeal of the beral sentiments respecting the right of private judgment in religious matters,
corporation and test acts, it was not delivered in that debate by his grace the
surprising that, on a subject so Archbishop of Canterbury.
deeply interesting to them, consiThat an address to the protestant dis. derable warmth should have exhi
bited itself both in discussion and impossible to calculate on such alin action. Disappointed at last in terations ; nor could they, even in "xpectations which they thought their greatest extent, have prevented reasonable, and therefore dissatisfied, all violation of the first, greai, and in their own opinion justly, they leading principle on which all dishave yet forborne since that period senters found themselves, and which to renew their application, unwil they never can concede, the right ling uselessly to revive animosities; of every man to teach to others those and preferring 10 wait till time and religious opinions which he himself reason should have overcome preju. entertains. Freedom of thought the dice and fear. In this interval, in- magistrate has it not in his power stances of local intolerance and reg to controul; it is only in abstaining ation have frequently happened; from interference with the communiwhich, when without legal remedy, cation of opinions, that he has the as in some cases, have been pa- opportunity of proving his wisdom tiently endured; or, as in far the or his justice. greater number, by the attention The dissenters cannot be supposed and interference of the deputies, to have regarded the toleration act bave been quietly and legally sup- itself as satisfying their just claims. pressed; but, as 10 general or pre. It was indeed scarcely to be hoped vailing disposition to abridge the re. that a law enacted at that period ligious liberties or disturb the peace should have proceeded on those of the dissenters has been manifes- sound and comprehensive views of ated, nothing has occurred affecting the subject, which deeper examinathem as a body to excite much ge. tion and more dispassionate discusneral interest, if we except a late sion have since afforded. Still even pertinacious attempt to withhold the by that law much was gained: rites of burial from all such as had and though it was then deemed exnot been baptized acccording to the pedient to demand subscription to forms of the establishment; which, the articles as the condition of its by the same interposition, having protection, yet from the imperfect been brought to trial in the court records of the debates in parliament, of arches, where it was decided in it seems probable that subscription their favour, has been laid before was required rather under some the public.
vague idea of preventing writings And much longer might this state against the establishment, than with of things have lasted, but for the any deliberate intention of limiting recent proposal of Lord Sidmouth; toleration to those only who believed which indeed excited a very great all the doctrines of the church. On and general alarm, the reasons for the contrary, the descriptiou in the which will appear when we advert act of the persons entitled to avail to the previous situation of the dis- themselves of its protection is most senters, and examine the provisions comprehensive; and the spirit in of his bill as offered to the house of which, from the very first, it has Lords. The amendments which it been almost uniformly administered, might have received in its subsequent strongly confirms this view of its stages, are here out of the question, design. Still, however, further lebecause, however they might have gal relief was wanting : the growing improved the original measure, or spirit of religious inquiry rendered how far soever they might have ex- subscription to creeds, and articles culpated the noble mover from ha- every day more burthensome; while ving been disposed intentionally to the legislature became more sensible infringe op religious liberty, it was to the injustice of impositions not
countervailed by any corresponding lieve that any dissenters encouraged and peculiar benefits. Then came his lordship to imagine that such the act of 1779, and, by the joint infringements on their ancient and operation of the two laws, interpre- accustomed possessions could ever ted in unison, and agreeable to what meet with the approbation of their appeared to have been the original budy. Their objections have also spirit of both, practical religious li- been further strengthened by the deberty has been ever since enjoyed ficiency of adequate cause for legisin this country, uninterrupted, till lative interference, the evils com, of late, but by accidental ebullitions plained of as arising from the preachof imprudence or malevolence. In ing of persons alleged to be impro. this state of things it was not pos- per or ill qualified for the function, sible that Lord Sidmouth's bill, being rather assumed than proved; which did not profess to abrogate and the inconvenience to the state one penal law, and which did evact of exemptions from burthensome sernew restrictions, should be favoura- vices having been obtained by some bly received : unfortunately for its few persons not entitled to the pri. popularity it was the first attempt vilege, being already remediable, and of such an aspect since the accession in most cases actually remedied by of the present royal family; nor, law; to wbich it may be added that however innocent or even beneficial such unwarrantable claims have not it might appear in the eyes of its beep sanctioned by the dissenters. author, was it free from great and On the prompt and unanimous obvious objections: it confined the feeling so favourable to the mainteprotection granted by the toleration nance and advancement of our comact within narrower limits than ei- mon interests and liberties, which ther the words of that law, its ori- this attempt has excited, and on ginal object as collected from histó- the success of our resistance, we ry, or the uniform practice upon it most cordially congratulate our would justify;it broke in afresh brethren: and we think we discover upon the principle of religious li- equal cause of satisfaction in those berty, and it opened a door for the unequivocal declarations againstere exercise of discretion by the magis- ry species and degree of persecution, trate in cases where, hitherto, he against every intolerant principle, had been bound to act only minis- which in the course of this discusterially; a change so important, as, sion, short as it has been, have been if once permitted to creep in, would drawn from persons of the highest rapidly destroy every vestige of re- rank, the brightest talents, and the ligious freedom, and place every most efficient public stations in the future candidate for admission into country. the dissenting ministry in depen. From, symptoms só favourable, dance on the pleasure of a quarter arising, in our opinion, not from sessions.
any accidental circumstance, but That such is the apparent ten- from the gradual and silent increase dency of some parts of the bill, as of just and liberal sentiments, we introduced, cannot be denied ; and, cannot but augur the happiest renotwithstanding the present imper- sults. We trust that the present fection of our religious liberties, that laws will continue to be administera measure in its principle sapping ed with that liberality which we their foundation, and particularly have so generally and so long experestricting them in practice, should rienced. We cannot but anticipate have been warmly opposed, is ex- the speedy approach of that fortunate tremely natural. Nor do we be- period when the legislature shall ca
punge from that statute book which address you-not, gentlemen, that they now disgrace-all penalties, re- I am ignorant of that generous kind. strictions, and disabilities on account ness and good nature with which I of religion ; and we earnestly hope know you are prepared to anticipate that nothing will occur to defeat these my efforts this day to please you; expectations, or by exciting a hostile but that in rising to call your atspirit even to postpone a consummation tention to the object of our meeting, on every account so devoutly to be I cannot but feel the vast magnitude wished
of the theme itself, and my utter Signed, by Order of the Meeting, inability to do it any thing like
WILLIAM SMITH, Chairman. justice. The only way I have to London, May 28, 1811.
relieve myself and you, is to turn your observations from the inade.
quacy of the speaker to the granINTERESTING ACCOUNT OF A deur of the subject--to commune MEETING AT THE FREE with your own generous minds upon MASON'S TAVERN OF
it, and dwell for a moment on the THE FRIENDS OF RELIGIOUS nature of that glorious cause whicla LIBERTY.
we are now assembled to celebrate.
For what, gentlemen, is that cause? On Saturday the 8th inst. a dinner The cause of the catholics? No. was given to the Irish delegates, by The cause of the protestants? No. the friends of religious liberty. Up. The cause of Irishmen?. No. But wards of 400 persons sat down to the cause of all mankind—and more dinner at seven o'clock, amongst than even that the cause of TRUTH! whom were many noblemen of the Upon such a theme it is scarcely first distinction, whether for rank, possible to think with a strength and property, or talents in the United a greatness proportionate to its naKingdom. The Earl of Moira pre- tive sublimity; who, then, can presided, the Earl of Fingal on his tend to speak upon its or who to right, and Lord Castleross, the el. realize in mere words those mighty dest son of the Earl of Kenmare, on conceptions, which so exalt, enlarge, his left; then the Earl of Donough- and purify the soul, that is capable more, the Dukes of Bedford and of them? Therefore, Gentlemen, Argyle, the Earls of Hardwicke, all those good wishes which communiStanhope, and Ormond, Mr. Grat. cate between sect and sect, however tan, Mr. Ponsonby, Lord George amiable, are yet so only because they Grenville, Sir John Doyle, Messrs. distinguish without dividing us, and Whitbread, Sheridan, and Hutchin. are nothing when compared with that son. At the second table were the diviner sympathy, that takes within its Marquis of Downshire, Lord Clon- nobler range, not individuals, but the brook, Sir John Cox Hippesley, Mr. species, not the secturist but man, not Calcraft, and many other members a sect but a world. The cause of the of parliament.
Irish catholics has, 'no doubt, its The Earl of Moira then rose, and own immoveable grounds and unan, spoke in substance as follows:- swerable claims; but it is yet infi“ My lords and gentlemen, at no nitely superseded by that infinitely period of my public life, when I greater one, whose eternal principle have felt myself obliged to deliver is, the universal recognition of the my sentiments upon any great pub- indefeasible right of every British lic question, have I felt more real subject, of every human being, to difficulty, more unaffected embar worship his God in the way his con. Fassment than I now do in rising to science tells him he ought. Such is the pure, simple, abstract, immuta- justice. The Irish delegates, in the ble truth, by which the friend to re- name of the Irish people, challenge ligious liberty regulates his views of the scrutiny of their enemies. Let his neighbour's faith, and upon their eneinies examine their conduct, which rests in security for ever the and say whether they have not, for Cause which we are now inet to wore the last six hundred years, upheld sbip. The Irish catholic, had he the stability of the government that no other claim to his rights, would oppressed them. Let him who rebave an all-sufficient one in this; sists the claims of such men, make but, Gentlemen, I need not remind it out to his own conscience, upon you that he has many other, and what one principle of truth or jusmany other strong ones. All that tice he can profanely interpose his he derives from local circumstances bigotry between the soul of man and serve but to strengthen the abstract his Maker, in order to rob him of justice of his claims. The noblemen God's best blessing, and poison his upon my right and left, and the relish for existence, by separating highly respected characters who life and liberty. For what is life bave accompanied them, are the re- without liberty? Unlawfully to presentatives of a people, whose high take away my life is a crime of the qualities are rapidly brightening up- deepest enormity; and is it nothing on the narrow prejudices of their unjustly to take away my liberty? enemies. They have come to this Or, rather, Gentlemen, say which country to demand, in the name of of the two murders is the “ most that people, a participation in those foul and most unnatural?” There rights which their valour got for can be no genuine freeman, who must you, and which that valour, in a not feel, that of all murders, the thousand forms, is now bleeding on grossest in itself, and the most deploa foreign land to maintain and se- rable in its consequences, is the mur. cure to you for ever. There may be der of human rights. Gentlemen, men who can daily witness those we live in times in which for our services, and yet deny those claims. own sakes, we ought to be liberal: There may be men who, while thank- if ever the three countries were call. fully receiving and greedily enjoying ed upon to unite heart and hand for the boon and bounty of Irish blood, their common security, and their can, without a blush, refuse to Irish- common glory, that period is the men those rights that blood flows so present. Let us then individually freely to sustain, But I am rejoiced and collectively promote the great to say, that they are hourly shrink- work of peace--the interchange of ing into numbers as contemptible henevolence, which has been peras their principles. Let us, Gen- petually circling from one end of tlemen, leave them to dissipate be this great room to the other since fore the march of truth. We will we met, will not retaid that truly not descend to be angry at their stu- christian object. pid hostility. The language of par. The Earl of Fingall said, that the iy politics could only blaspheme the speech they had just beard was ahigh purposes of this day's festival. bove all praise-ihe principles ex We war not with, hut against ani. pressed in it were worthy of the ela mosity; but let those who refuse the quence which adorned them.--He rightful demand of our catholic bre- had been all his life an earnest well thren, let them say what they have wisher to religious liberty-not mere seen in the conduct of the Irish ca- ly because of his catholic country. tholics to afford the slightest pre, men, but on account of his love for tence for withholding from them the United Kingdom. In a sincere