« VorigeDoorgaan »
ship. In October one of the party stood attached to it. I should not have up in the iniddle of the congregation and thought it necessary to notice these reread a book in an audible tone while ports, but for their being generally said Mr. G. was publicly reading the scrips to have their origin in some words spoo tures. Mr. G. requested the offending ken by Mr. Robert Aspland at a public individual to pay attention, and to al dinner of the unitarians, and for their low others to pay attention to God's seeming to be supported by the printed word. This request produced the fol- statement before referred to." lowing reply, Here is Mr. Fuller's book Mr. Fuller then proceeds to state against the Socinians ; you had better the “ facts to the best of his knowo read this,' which profane answer was ledge, and recollection," which statethe signal of a volley of coarse and ran
ment differs materially from that sorous abuse.' “ After stating the proceedings rela
given in the Monthly Repository. tive to Mr. G.'s apprehension for having
Respecting the disorderly conduct of forcibly entered the place, and the Cal- those who disturbed the public worvinists being bound over to prosecute ship carried on by Mr. Gisburne, him at the next assizes, it is added Mr. F. remarks Living, as I do " The next Sunday, the place being at the distance of fifty miles, I can opened by Mr. G's. adversaries, he went
know nothing of it but by informathitber that by his absence he might not seem to vacate his right; but found
rion. I had no concern in the afo the entrance to his pulpit barred against
fair, nor any accurate knowledge of him, and was thrust back from it by particulars, till I went over at the violence."
time of the assizes. He then presents «! At the assizes the Secretary,” (Mr. us with a letter from his kinsman, Robert Aspland) “ accompanied by an Mr. Robert Fuller of Soham, in which able attorney, went down to Cambridge. Cross indictments were preferred against
the latter contradicts many of the Mr. G.'s prosecutors. British justice
particulars stated in
particulars stated in the Repository, lent her aid to the cause of truth. The and boldly deries that any of his gentlemen of the grand jury, after bear- party“ interrupted Mr. G. by read. ing evidence, threw out the bill lodged ing out or speaking to him, or inaking against Mr. G.; and found as true two any noise in the place; and that as bills which the solicitor of the fund pre- 10 any charge of rioting, it must sented against some individuals of the faction. Thus was malice completely
have been owing to Mr. G. bimself." discomfited, and the persecutors of Mr.
In consequence of these disputes the G. caught in the very snare which they party in opposition to Mr. G. prehad prepared for him : but as revenge ferred a bill of indictment against is not the sentiment of a christian heart, hiin, and his friends preferred bills Mr. G. and bis friends and advisers of indictment against those persons adhered even now to a proposal which who had interrupted public worship they had before made, to submit the dispute to amicable arrangement. In
hy their disorderly behaviour, Of
this the issue the sum of sixty guineas was the subsequent proceedings Mr. Ful. agreed to be given to Mr. G. towards ler gives the following account. the erection of a new place of worship; “ Arriving on Tuesday evening, March be to retire from the old meeting-house, 14, the day before the trial was to come and to drop all legal proceedings against on, I learned that Mr. Robert Asplund the rioters.”
was come from Hackney with an attore “ Besides this printed statement, re- ney to act on behalf of the other side, purts have been widely circulated that and that cross-indiciments were pre. in the part which I took in the business ferred agailist several of our people, at the Cambridge assizes, I endeavoured, Meeting with my friends from Soham, in the true spirit of persecution, to end they expressed a wish that I should do force the penal laws against Anti-trinin every thing in my power on their behalf. tarians, and would have done so had –Advising with a few of our Cambridge I not been defeated by the decision of friends, we first heard the indictment the Grand Jury, or at least deterred by read. It struck them that it was founded a fear of the disgrace that would have on tbe penal laws in force against anti-tria VOL. IX.
nitarians, on which account they pressed articles of agreement, were drawn up, a compromise.
but each party trusted lo the honour of “At that time I had not sufficiently. the other." thought upon the subject. I knew my
Whilst, however, the parties were object was not to prosecute Mr. G. as an anti-trinitarian, but merely to pre
further conversing on the subject, vent the place of worsbip being wrested news was brought them that the from its rightful owners; and I had no grand jury had admitted the bills reason to believe my friends at Sohain against Mr. Gisburne's opponents, were influenced by different motives. I and had thrown out those presented also felt some objections to what I sup- home
by Mr. F's friends, and that in conposed would be the conditions of a coinpromise; namely, giving a sum of money
sequence of what Mr. F. terms “ an to relinquish their claim. It appeared
improper word spoken by one of our to nie that they had no claim in equity, people, and some disagreement beand that to give them a suin of money tween the parties, the attorney for to relinquish it, would be a kind of ac- Mr. G. proposed setting the arbitra. knowledgment which I had rather be tion aside; and that nothing else excused from inaking. If they would
would satisfy him.” Mr. F. adds
would relinquish the place, we were very willing to withdraw the indictinent; but
“ Of the reason there could be no was unwilling to allow thein a sum of doubt : the grand jury had placed money for their doing so.
them upon higher ground, and he « On Wednesday morning about half wished to make a new agreement. past eight or nine o'clock, having had All that he advanced in a debate of farther conversation with one or two of som
some hours might have been reduced my friends at Cambridge, I waited on
to this—The market is risen and we our counsel, Mr. Best, to whom I stated
will be off the bargain.” this among other difficulties, as nearly as I can remember in the following The liberty which Mr. F. has words. It is the opinion, Sir, of some here taken with the character of a of our friends, thut our iudictment rests solicitor, highly and equally reupon the ground of the penal laws against spected by the public, for his hoanti-trinitarians, and that if we go into nour, his talents, his regard to the court it must be to inforce them. If so,
interests of civil and religious liberSir, we can not go; for whatever we may think of anti-trinitarian principles, ty, and for his recent exertions in we disapprove of all penal laws on ac- favour of both, (Mr. Wilks of Hox. count of religious opinions. Mr. Best ton-Square) confirms an opinion did not deny that the indictment rested which some persons from their own upon that ground. I then asked him, experience had before entertaine seeing we could not in conscience go
ce go specting Mr. Fuller;—that calumny into court on such a principle, whether
is considered by the reverend gentlehe would not recommend a compromise. He answered, he would. From him I
man as a venial offence, not very immediately proceeded with our attor- severely condemned in his theological ney to Mr. Aspland and his friends, who system, we should add, as interpreted I had been given to understand had ex- by his practice. The arbitratiou, pressed a willingness to settle the affair was however, at length agreed upon: bv arbitration. We found thein so dis- but Mr. F. on account of a difference posed, and acceded to that mode of adjustment. The indictments on both respecting the expence of withdraw. gides were to be iminediately withdrawn, ing the indictments, which the law and each to pav their own costs. Two settled on Mr. Fuller's party, and or three of the Cainbridge gentlemen 1 being much displeased with the ac. believe were present at the agreenient, count inserted in the Repository. which took place about half-past nine or closes his pamplet with proposing a jen o'clock in the forenoon. On ac
string of queries full of implications, count of the expedition which seemed necessary in order to pųt an immediate
that Mr. Aspland, his Sobam friends slop to the law proceedings, no written and their atturney were men “re.
gardless of their prior engagements," tached to the old form of government destitute of conscience or integrity, and doctrine seceded. Still the chief and that he (Mr. F.) “ knows not grou
* ground of complain: hy the minority whether he ought to blame, their
was, as Mr. Fuller correctly says-Mr.
Gisburne's declaiming much against sys. want of honour, so much as the
tems, with which the majority, a flouwant of prudence" in himself and rishing congregation appeared not at all his party.
displeased. Thus called upon Mr. Aspland, “In proof of Mr. Fuller's correctness in publishes his defence. Those who
this particular, I beg leave to relate an are acquainted with the writings of
incident which occurred about the tine
to which he refers. Being at Sobain ove the champions in this literary war,
evening, I was accosted by one of the will not be surprised at the superio.
persons who (as will appear in the serity of style, as well as of argument, quel) made a distinguished figure as one which the author of " Bigotry and of Mr. Gisburne's opposers. Ile euquired Intolerance defeated,” has displayed if I could not get a congregation for Mr. on this interesting occasion.
Gisburne somewhere London side. Upon In an introductory letter Mr. A.
my asking why he wished to get rid of a 6 observes with satisfaction,
minister whom he had once highly ex
that tolled, he said,- Why, would you beMr. Fuller has dropped the much lieve it, when one asks him, Whut misunderstood and abused party are his sentiments, he says that he is not word,“ Socinian;" expresses his wish a Calvinist, not an Arminian, nor a " that Mr. F's. brethren will follow Socinion, but a Bible-Christian, -u Bihis example, and that the epithet ble Christian! There's a fool for you! will be specdily banished to the
“In the same interview this person
demanded of me, “ Why the Socinians same oblivion, to which the good had no
hich the good had not answered Mr. Andrew Fuller's sense and liberality of the religious book," meaning a work entitled The world. have long doomed the not Calvinistic and Socinian Systems commore incorrect and reproachful term pured as to their Moral Tendency. I Anabaptist."
replied that the book had been anIn letter the second, Mr. A. gives
swered, and asserted that Dr. Toulmin a brief history of the “ disturbances
had decided the controversy by proviny
that nothing but Unitarianism was at Soham,” by which it appears,
preached by the apostles. flere he cut Mr. G. had gradually altered his me short by an exclamation,-- dye, we sentiments; chat from the commence can never talk to you about Mr. Fuller's ment of his settlement, he had en book, but you fly to the apostles !--He deavoured to persuade the people to defied nie to answer this same book of abolish human creeds as terms of
de as torine of Mr. Fuller's, and that after we had christian communion, and to which
parted, continued calling to me till I
was out of bearingAnswer 111. Fulabolition, the people had the good
ler's book! Answer Mr. Fuller's book! sense to agree. On this part of the “ These anecdotes, triflug as they subject we have the following curi are, it may be worth the reader's while ous information.
tu bear in mind, in going over the suc“ Mr. G.” we are informed, « now be ceeding narrative.” come their ininister was thus busily em- Shorily afterwards in consequence ployed as Mr. Fuller says in new model of Mr. Gisburne's renouncing the ling the church: he even went so far, as
ducirine of the Trinity, a division to persuade the people to put off the pame of John Calvin, and to call them
took place, and the minority of the selves after Jesus Christ alone. In the members and subscribers united with midst of these changes Mr. Gisburne's the former secession for the purpose popularity was unabated; many addin of establishing a new society. tions were made to his church, and a In the summer of: 1808, Mr. A. plan was seriously agitated for enlarging who was on a visit to his relations, his meeting-house : hut divisions soon .
was informed of the disorderly conarising in the church, a small party at
duct of the scceders, who were ac. church of England was Antichrist :' customed to attend for the purpose also, “ that no natural, well-formed of troubling the regular congrega body could have more than one bead,
but the church of England had two tion : he was invited by Mr. Gis.
heads, King Jesus and King George, burne to preach, to which after
and therefore the church of England some inquiries he consented. Pre was a monster.” These words, alleged vious to the Sabbath on which he to be seditious, were said to have been was engaged he paid a visit to a taken down on paper, at the time of friend, of which he gives the follow. utteravce, by a person in a private garing account.
den adjoining the meeting-house, and if “ The Saturday preceding, I spent at
I do not mistake, were read to me from Soham, with a friend of :ny youth, a
the paper. My friend will do me the respectable altorney, who gave me to
justice to remeinber, that I frankly exunderstand that be bad been consulted
pressed my disapprobation of all coarse by the party opposed to Mr. Gisburne,
and irritating language in the pulpit, who were deterinined to proceed against
whether directed against the church of him in course of law. He stated, that
England or any other church; but at there were three modes of proceeding
the same time I added, that Mr. Giswhich had been discussed. The 1st.
burne bad, in my opinion, ultered no was to bring an action against bim, in
more in his blunt, uncourteous manner, order to eject him from the meeting
than the vital principle of nonconformihouse ; to this I had no objection ; I
ty. I avowed that , as well as he, diswas persuaded that a court of justice
claimed all spiritual allegiance to the would decide in favour of the rightful
civil power, and endeavoured to shew possessor, which party so ever it might
that in this I was justified by the Too be. The 2d. was to prosecute him for
leration Act, and other stalutes in fablasphemy, he having reviled the doc
vour of Protestant Dissenters. We partrine of ihe Trinity. I expressed my
ted I recollect, after a long and anisurprise and indignation, and expostu
mated, but perfectly amicable convers lated with my friend upon the plan, as
sation, engaging on both sides to recombeing dishonourable to all that should
à mend moderation and peace to our reengage in it. It was, I added, for mac spective tri
spective friends. ny reasons which I detailed, my firm
“I never regarded this conversation opinion that no court of justice would
as private, and therefore feel myself for a moment entertain a prosecution
justified in relating it, as explanatory of on such a principle. The 3d. was to
subsequent occurrencés. In making it indict him for sedition, the tenor of his
vie poblic, it is far from my intention to preaching for the last three months ha
reflect upon my friend, who I know ving been to bring his Majesty's person
possesses a truly honourable mind, and and government into contempt. I as
who I am persuaded has done notbing sured my friend, that if this were the
in the whole course of this affair, but case, I had no wish to skreen Mr. Gis
Mr. Gise what he thought due, in strict justice, hurve from merited punishment, though to his chents. I thought it would not look well for a Letter the 3d gives an account of body of Protestant Dissenters to try the prosecution at Cambridge; of their church disputes on a political the conferences with some of the ground. But not being coniented with a loose, unauthenticated charge, on so
principal dissenters there, who apserious a matter, I begged to know the
pear to have laudably exerted them
pear to na facts on which it was intended to found selves to prevent the sad exposure of a prosecution. These, as reported by the conduct of certain persons, which my friend, were, that a few Sundays must have been expected from the pro. past, Mr. Gisburne bad been preaching secution guing forward. Mr. Aspupon Christ being the head of the church, and in the course of his sermoni, had
land perfectly agreed with them in said, “ that any church which had ano
opinion, but reminded them, “tbat ther head besides Christ was Antichrist;
he supported merely the defence of
he supported mere that the church of England had such an individual, whom he thought unanother head; and that therefore the justly attacked ;" and that “ the in
famy of the proceedings would fall the witnesses had been heard, and tipon them who commenced thein." that the grand jury had thrown out In his conversation with Mr. Fuller, the bills agaiust Mr. G. and found we have the following account of the :wo bills against his prosecutors some compliments paid by the latter .... the disappointment of Mr. F. to the dissenters at Cambridge, and was very manifest, and he remarked of certain opinions dropped by hiin to their host, “ Yours is a grand on the subject of Toleration. grand jury." Mr. A. assured Mr.
“ Mr. Fuller next suggested the choice F. that the decision in favour of his of referees from amongst the dissenters friends should not in the least affect of Cainbridge, who, without expence, bis conduct, for that he would steadmight bear and decide upon the cause, fastly adhere to their engagement iminediately, while all were together up for arbitrating: on going out, howon the spot. I remarked that upon this plan we should give his friends a decided
ever, to prevent any elation of mind advantage; for they could choose a zeas from throwing them off their guard, lous Calviuist, but we might look out in he found them much inflamed, as vain for an Unitarian. He told me that they believed that the proposal of I needed not to entertain fears on that their opponents to arbitrate was descore; adding, that Cambridge conclusive, one of their chiefs, Thomas tained plenty of Socinians.' On my
Why Chapman, having publicly declared expressing my satisfaction at this report, he continued, Only they are not honest
in the witnesses' room -- " That Socinians.' In the end, I gave into though Mr. Fuller was bringing this proposal, and when I had signified about an arbitration, he (Chapman) my assent, said that Mr. Fuller must give would never consent to it." This us credit for an amicable spirit in our was the “improper word” alluded to concurrence. He denied that any praise
by Mr. Fuller; which, as Mr. A. belonged to us in the affair, and rejoined, We take to ourselves credit for
observes, “ manifested a shocking not having proceeded with Gisburne ano
dereliction of principle, as this very ther way. What! I exclaimed, do you man had been a considerable time refer to the penal laws against Unita. with both while discussing the mode rians! Do you take credit to yourself of arbitration, and had proposed, for not putting them in force! He ac. with a view to facilitate it, that knowledged that I had bit bis meaning; the whole matter should be referred but added that he was no friend to pe
to Mr F. and himself." In the sucnal laws in matters of religion. The Anti-Trinitarian, he admitted, was en
ceeding conferences to the final set. titled to his argument, uvmolested; but tlement by arbitration, Mr. Ą. ap. he concluded, There is such a thing aspears to have taken but little part. blasphemy; and if ever blasphemy were Letter the 4th details the particuspoken, Gisburne hus spoken it.
lars of the difference respecting the " In entering my protest against the
expence of withdrawing the indict pinciple of penal laws in affairs of conscience, I also expressed my disappro
ments preferred against the rioting bation of all levity; and my abhorrencc ana persecuting
and persecuting party, Mr. A. very of all profaneness in opposing even the properly consulted his solicitor Mr. most pernicious errors. I seemed to Wilks, and acted agreeably to his gain credit for my sincerity.”
advice. This greatly offended Mr, Whilst the two champions were Fuller and his party, who have made conversing with much good will re- pretty free with Mr. Aspland's chaspecting the proposed arbitration racter as a man of honour, but who under a cloud of incense of their it appears might have avoided their own raisiny, in which their hospita- aspersions, had he consented to pay ble friend remarked " he was glad about thirteen guineas out of money to see smoke without fire,” Mr. not his own, but entrusted to him Wilks called to inform Mr. A. that by others. Letter the 5th, respects