mean and include all who appear in the ness for the duties of an office, his abicharacter of dissenting ministers, whe- lity for which it will be impossible for ther appointed to the charge of particu- them, without a violation of law on his lar congregations, or officiating occa- part, to have had an opportunity of es sionally to any assemblies of protestant imating. dissenters, lawfully met together for And in regard to the clause relating public worship; and that this interpre- to probationers which will embrace, and tation, if made the ground of legislative seems chiefly if not wboily to refer to enactments, will occasion serious injury students in divinity, or persons who to those who had thus far rested in se- may have concluded their academical curity, under the protection and immu- studies, your petitioners conceive that nities of former statutes.

it canuot fail to prove in every instance Your petitioners beg with all humi- a measure of vexation and oppression, lity to lay before your lordships, their both to the probationers themselves and objections to the provisions of the bill, the congregations which may be desias they affect the several classes of per- rous of hearing them on approbation, sons which it proposes to embrace. The process here prescribed for obtain

Your petitioners would humbly repre- og the certificate and the qualification sent, in the first place, that the clause must often be tedious agd expensive, relating to ministers of congregations, and occasion considerable delay in cire. will operate most oppressively in their cuinstances that call for prompt and circumstauces, when through illness, or immediate decision. Your petitioners any other accidental cause, they may have farther to object that the certifibe reduced to the necessity of resigning cate required by the bill in this case their situations, though but for a sea- implies and goes to establish a princison. Your petitioners also huinbly, but ple and proceeding which few if any most strongly, object to the tenor of the among the Protestant Dissenters of the certificate provided in this case, to be present dav will admit, or can comply produced before the magistrate, in or- with. It is their universal sentiment der to be legally qualified to engage in that every congregation has itself an extheir ministerial duties, requiring the clusive righ¢ to choose its own minister, subscribers to that certificate to testify and to determine who are proper to offrom their own knowledge, that their fficiate to them as probationers :-this minister is in holy orders, pretended ho- great and fundamental principle of their ly orders, or pretending to holy orders, religious freedom in regard to divine while it appears to your petitioners, that' worship, the provisions of the bill on some of these terms are wholly inappli- your lordship's table go to vivlate and cable to the dissenters of the present oyertura by appropriating to certain day, and others of doubtful and unde- ininisters the sole right and authority of fined signification.

admitting and appointing probationers Your petitioners would farther repre- to preach to vacant congregations, and sent to your lordships, that the provi- thus investing Protestant Dissenting ini. sions for granting legal qualification to nisters with a magisterial character, persons not ministers of congregations, which your petitioners are persuaded are in their humble judgment calculated most of them will utterly disclaim. to be of serious detriment to a large and The provisions of the bill in other respectable class of men, and to deprive respects, are in the humble judgment them of rights and advantages admitted of your petitioners calculated to opeto pertain to them by the act of the rate vexatiously and oppressively in the First of William and Mary. The con- case of the persons of each of the clasditions proposed in the bill before your ses applying at quarter sessions, aplordships require the party applying for pointing as they do the magistrales to qualification to be a minister before it be inquisitur's and sole judges of the reis possible he can appear legally in that spectability and the consequent fitness character, impose upon him the impera- and competency of the householders, tive necessity of procuring a certificate, on wbose certificate the application may such as it will in many cases be imprac- be made, and leaving the applicant himtable for him to obtain, even without self open to the charges, how heavy or any impeachment of his charaeter, and exorbitant soever they may be, which constitute the subscribers of his certifi- the court may in its discretion impose. cate, the judges of bis intellectual fit


Your petitioners ohject lastly to the Lords. The happiest effects have bill as containing no provisions in re resulted from the communications spect to some of their dissenting bre

which we made to different parts of

which we made thren not of the ministerial profession,

the country--a manly but christian who with competent ability, with unimpeachable characters and with motives spirit was excited, generous co-ope. of the purest benevolence, may wish to ration prevailed among all classes communicate occasional religious in- of dissenters, and many members struction in their own families or else- of the established church, being where, their authority to do which they friendly to religious liberty, assisted conceive to pertain to them of natural hy

by their efforts, their contributions, right and to be recognized and confirmed

and their prayers. to them by the existing statutes. With the views which your petitioners,

By these general exertions, three thus humbly and respectfully beg to hundred and thirty-four petitions submit to the consideration of your were yesterday received by our comlordships, as entertained by them in mittee, and all of them were prerespect to the bill now before your right sented to the house of Lords. Two hon. house, with their full conviction of hundred and fifty-six petitions were its calainitous tendency, as it affects the

also obtained by the methodists in principles which they cherish as the dearest birthright, both as men and as connexion with the late Reverend British subjects, and with their percep- John Wesley : and an aggregate tion of its excluding operation upon a amount of nearly six hundred petilarge body of persons who since the glo- tions, signed by about one hundred rious æra of the revolution, have till thousand males within forty-eight lately enjoyed the undisturbed protec- hours, displayed the apprehensions, tion of law--a protection 'which they had fondly hoped to be secured to them

the activity, the numbers, the reby the existing statutes, by the liberal sources, and the importance of the and enlightened spirit of the times, and Dissenters and the friends to tolera. more especially by the gracious decla- tion. ration of their venerable Sovereign," to Trom the interposition of Earl Liinaintain the toleration inviolate," to- verpool, and the argumentative, congether with the answer of your right

o! your right stitutional, and eloquent speeches hon. house to that declaration, in which it recognized the Toleration, as the

of Earls Grey and Stanhope, and of surest cement of the Protestant interests

Lords Holland and Erskine, proving in these kingdoms."

the bill to be hostile to tuleration, Your petitioners do most humbly and and unjustified either by necessity fervently pray, that that bill may not or expedience the house of Lords pass 'into a law,

by a very great majority, determined

that it should not even be read a Circular Letter from the Committee second time, nor be referred to a

of the Friends of Religious Liberty, committee. to the Dissenting Ministers in Eng. The consequences of this decision land and Wales. ',

posterity alone can ascertain ; but New London Tavern, Cheapside, all must perceive that other persons

May 22d, 1811. will be thereby taught not rashly to DEAR SIR,

assail the rights of conscience and As you have participated in the the Act of Toleration, and that the anxiety of our committee, on the foundations of the structure of our introduction of the bill respecting religious liberty will he for ever Protestant Dissenters, by Lord Sid- deepened and enlarged.. mouth, we are anxious that you. That they have contributed to should immediately partake of the this memorable event will ever afjoy which we feel at the rejection of ford unaffected delight to all the that bill last night by the house of members of our committee, and they

will not offend you by returning to rated our friends-and which ob, you their thanks for those concur- tained our success. rent exertions which your own sa But whilst our joy is vivid, and tisfaction will best reward :-and if our congratulations are sincere, we you have not received our previous are anxious that no unworthy exul. communications, we request that tation should appear; we desire and you will not attribute to us any dis pray that pious gratitude may be the respect, but that it may be imputed most animated emotion of our hearts; to the short interval between the and we would publicly and privately different readings of the bill, and to express our thankfulness to that dithe imperfection of the lists we were vine deliverer who has crowned our compelled hastily to collect. efforts by his blessing, and whom

We must, however, remind you we hope that our children will con, that very considerable expences have tinue to praise, for this interposition been incurred, and request that you as long as history shall perpetuate will transmit to the treasurer, Ro the memory of the event. ..' bert Stevenl, Esq. No. 101. Upper We are, dear Sir, Thames-Street, London, such pe

Your most obedienti cuniary aid as the collective libera

Devoted Servants, , lity of your congregation, or the in- Thomas PELLATT, I s. dividual generosity of your friends JOHN WILKS, may afford. We also apprise you ' that if any surplus should remain it

ADDRESS. will be appropriated to the purposes

New London Tuvern, June 13, 1811. of a society proposed to be formed,

to Dear Sir, and of which the plan shall be im

The committee of Protestant Dissen

ters and of other friends to religious limediately transmitted, comprising berty, direct us again to address you, all dissenting congregations in Eng- and their instructions we execute with land and Wales, who may think unaffected pleasure. proper to contribute a small annual We acknowledge with gratitude your sum, and of which their ministers useful exertions, and as we presume that will be members for effectuating

the pecuniary assistance which the fi

berality of your congregation will unthat co-operation among Protestant. doubtedly bestow towards the expences Dissenters on all important occa- which bave been incurred, and towards sions, which is essential to their se the establishment of the society to which curity--and for affording, to those our former letter alluded, has been who may he persecuted, that exten- withheld only until the plan of that sosive protection which is particularly ciety was transmitted; we have the ho

pour to inclose that plan for your consirequired, and which experience has

deration, shown that they cannot otherwise

Before we invite your attention to obtain.

that plan, we must again congratulate The necessity of this measure, the you on the attachment to the principles recent result has confirmed. To his of religious liberty wbich all our friends Majesty's government, and to all have wohly displayed, and which in the noble supporters of religious li

many animated and pious resolutions

they have eloquently avowed. Throughberty, we are happy to acknowledge

out the empire manly energy, directed our obligations : but we are per

by christian wisdom and moderation, suaded that it was the display of has been exerted, and the most enthupublic opinion, in the number -and siastic but judicious efforts have demolim respectability of the petitions, so strated that the sacred regard to the rapidly collected with such impero

rights of conscience, which distinguished fect information, which determined

our venerated ancestors, reinains un

abated in the hearts of their posterity. the administration-which invigo

On this occasion the propelling or at

tractive force of apprehended dangering selected by the members at the an. and of sacred principles, has beaten nual meeting in the month of May, when down the barriers of prejudice, by which many country members visit the metroDissenters were separated, and has a- polis, will be the representatives, not malgamated them into a mass, which only of the metropolitan, but of the we trust will never be broken. This country congregations; and will be intemporary union has produced a desire, terested in their prosperity, vigilant for unanimously expressed, that such ads their welfare, dependent on their approvantages should permanently continue, bation; and the country members being and we have been encouraged to pro- incorporated with the committee, will mote their perpetuity by the immediate not be received when they attend as ininstitution of the new society,

truders, or even as guests, but as memThe plan will explain the name, the bers whose opinions will be peculiarly objects, and the orginazation of that as entitled to respect; who may give useful sociation. The society is not to be a information and valuable aid. The exeparty, or local combination, but a na_ cution of the plan is intended to be distional union of all congregations friendly tinguished by liberality and promptitude. to religious liberty; and will include Advice, wben necessary, will be immeevery congregation, of every denomina- diately and gratuitously afforded. Retion, assembling under the acts of tole- ports annually circulated will commuration. It has, therefore been desig- nicate accurate intelligence to the renated by an appellation, which we hope motest districts, and by the early and will be esteenied liberal and compre- regular diffusion of correct legal knowhensive. The objects are not to embar- ledge, misapprehensions will be prerass any administration, to assume po- vented, and the ignorance as to their litical importance, or to menace any rights and privileges, and the public or opponents by ostentatious display of parliamentary proceedings by which they numbers or of influence; but legally and may be affected, which Dissenters have temperately, to protect and procure all frequently deplored, will be completely the privileges and rights, which the law dispelled. has conferred, or which can be consti- , The eagerness displayed for the estatutionally obtained. These rights are blishment of this association, has anto be defended by mild but firm remon- nounced, that the necessity for its exisstrances, and when remonstrances may tence, and the advantages it must probe ineffectual, by appeals to law; and duce, are universally perceived; otherover all associated congregations, over wise we could multiply proofs, that it pious and useful itinerants, and over all will afford to protestant dissenters many other persons whom they may recom- benefits othei wise unattainable. But mend, this society will endeavour to ex- we must remark, that the powers improtend a shield. To afford such extensive perly assumed by magistrates in several protection, annual contributions will he counties require immediate restraint. required, and the minister and a layman, That every week will probably present selected by every contributing congrega- cases requiring legal interference. That tion, will be the meinbers of the society. the spirit of persecution has not expired, By opulent congregations liberal assis- and appears recently to be awakened. tance will uprloubtedly be supplied, and That during late years, penalties amount. the poorest may without difficulty con- ing to 901. have been recovered in Wales, tribute, by weekly payments of one under that Conventicle Act, which we penny from every member, the very trust that a wise and liberal legislature small annual sum which from such con- will speedily repeal. That in the cur. gregations will be accepted. These sums rent year, the prosecution of persons will become due at Lady Day in every guilty of daring outrages at Wye in year, and those congregations who delay Kent, has exposed the Wesleyan MethoCheir remittance after the month of June, dists to heuvy charges. That in Berkwill be considered as withdrawn from the shire 300l. have been expended in resociety. The organization of the plan, sisting the conviction of Mr. W. Kent, will, we presume, be intelligible and sa- of Childrey, in a penalty of 201. for tisfactory. From the union of ministers praying at a prayer-meeting : and that and laymen as members of the commit, to resist the unprecedented persecution tee, beneficial consequences will result. which has occurred at Wickham market The committee resident in London, be- in Suffolk, against the Baptist and Independent Dissenters, who hwoe united be stimulated by their efforts, and to betheir exertions to instruct the ignorant nefit by their concurrence and advice. in that place, un expenditure exceeding To render this measure either practi5001. will be required. The unreflecting cable or useful, it must however acor the selfish only can desire that such quire general support. The small sums, . erpences should be defrayed by individual which many congregations may contrigenerosity or local contributions. In- bute, unless the contributions be very terest and duty must evince the justice nuinerous, will be inadequate to the and expediency of forming a plan by unavoidable expence; and to provide which all friends to religious liberty may the necessary resources and give efficacy çqually contribute to the defence of a to the design, it is desirable that every cause by which they are all affected, and congregation, however small, should be which by every just principle they must inrolled among its members; and as the be impelled consentaneously to support. general strength and security will be The Dissenters, vast in numbers, but thereby increased, we intreat your immore important to the state for their mediate exertions to recommend the morals and usefulness, are the only pub- design to universal support. Any pavlic body who have neglected by union to ment you may make will be considered increase their strength. They are scat- as a subscription for the current year, tered as single twigs easily to be broken. terminating at Lady day, provided you Each separate congregation is but an inform us within one month, of the aatom, but their general harinonious sys- nount you intend to transmit, and comtematic combination, will render them, municate the name of the gentleman through the divine blessing, a rock,

who, with yourself, is to be considered which tempests of persecution will inef

as the member of this society—a society fectually assail.

which we hope will prove a permanent If such union be important and the benefit arising from an injurious attempt, formation of this society be obviously and an additional demonstration that the desirable, we submit that no existing Great Ruler of events can out of evil exbody can render the establishinent su- tract unexpected good, and can cause perfluous. County associations are emi- even the wrath of man to celebrate his nently useful, but they are limited to praise. particular denominations and to local

We are, dear Sir, utility. Public acknowledgments are

Your most obedient humble Servants. also due to the deputies from the con THOMAS PELLATT, Secretaries. gregations of the three denominations Join Wilks, in and near London ; from whom you will probably receive an address, con- Plan of The Protestant Society;" from gratulatory on our recent deliverance the Committee of the Friends of Reliand our prospects of future success. gious Liberty, to Dissenting Ministers. Although unconnected with any congre I. The designation of this society is gations but those by whom they are cho: “ The Protestant Society for the Protecsen, they have kindly assisted, on many tion of Religious Liberty." occasions, other persons who have so- 1. The object of this society is to licited their aid. But the nature of their protect the claims of Protestant Disseninstitution, unavoidably excluding many ters, and other persons included in the of the most numerous congregations in provisions of the Acts of Toleration, to the metropolis, and all country congre- all the privileges and exemptions therein gations, precludes them from represento specified, and to assist them in the maive ing the general body of Dissenters, and tenance of religious liberty. their limited revenue must prevent that 111. That every congregation in Enextensive protection which the new in- gland and Wales, contributing to this stitution will endeavour to afford. The society an annual sum, according to intelligence and liberality of their con- thier ability, by collections or subscripgregations will probably induce tbem to tions, hut not less than 21. in England constitute parts of our society, whom and 11. in Wales, shall be entitled to its they may usefully assist by their expe- protection, subject to the rules of the sience; or if they continue to select se- society. parate delegates for their particular con- IV. That the officiating minister, for gregations, we shall be most happy to the time being, of every such congrega

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