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TOLERATION ACT. intention to introduce. As soon as Our readers will doubtless recol- known, the Committee called a Ge
the provisions of this bill were made lect, that Lord Sidmouth has re
neral Meeting of the whole body, peatedly given intimations to the House of Lords of his intention to
on Thursday, May 16. The Meeting
was uncommonly numerous; and propose some explanation, or
the discussions which took place amendment, of The Act of Tolera
were conducted with candour and tion. His Lordship has at length
harinony. introduced the long-expected bill. He spoke in high terms of the Library, Red Cross Street, May Toleration Act; which he declared 16, 1811. - At a numerous Meetit was not bis intention to injure; ing of the General Body of Protesta but he conceived that it had been ant Dissenling Ministers, of the abused, and that very improper per- three denominations residing in and sons had intruded themselves into ' about the cities of London and the ministry ; such as blacksmiths, Westminster, regularly summoned chimney - sweepers, pig-drovers, to deliberate on the means of oppedlars, coblers, &c. He therefore posing the Bill introduced into the proposed certain regulations, of the House of Lords by Viscount sidnature and tendency of which our mouth, which has a tendency to readers will form a judgment from narrow the provisions of the Tolethe various Resolutions of different ration Act, the following Resolubodies of Dissenters and Methodists, tions were unanimously adopted :who have fully considered the sub 1. That the right oi peaceably asject. The object proposed by the sembling, for the purposes of reliintended bill is to prevent abuses; gious worship and public instrucbut bis Lordship appears, by his in- tion, according to the dictates of troductory speech, to aim chiefly at our own consciences, belongs to us the prevention of further Sectarian- as men, as Christians, and as meinism, by means of Itinerant preach-bers of civii society; that this right ers; tor without such measures 'as ought not to be abridged or conthose proposed, his Lordship ex- trouled by any secular authority; pressed a fear that we should have and that we cannot consent to the 4 nominal established church, but a alienation or surrender of it, withsectarian people. It is, therefore, out criminality on our own parts, as we apprehend, to stop the pro- disrespect to the memory of those gress vi village preaching, and to from whom we have, under Proviclug with difficulties, in many cases dence, received it, and injury to the insa; erable, the attempt of a poor, best interests of our descendants plain man to instruct his ignorant and successors; to whom it is our Heighbours.
duty, as far as we are able, to transTo prevent, if possible, the enact- mit it in violate. ment of the ineasures proposed by 2. That this right has been reLord S. the Dissenters of all deno- cognized and maintained, from the minations, including Methodists of Revolution to the present day, various classes, have been remark- partly by a liberal construction of ably active and united.
ine Toleration Act, and partly by The Minisiers of The three deno. the proiection of the illustrious minations of Protestant Dissenters Princes of the House of Brunswick; (Presbyterians, Independents, and and that it would betray a want of Baptisis) resident in and about Lou- confidence in the favour of our dva, bare, for nearly a century, we Sovereign, in the justice vi the Lebelieve, regularly associated, and gislature, and in the spirit of the have assembled, at least annually, umes, to submit to any proposed for the man genient of their affairs. restrictions of this right, in passive A Coinmillee was appointed by silence. 1hcm, about two years ago, to al 3. That as faithful and loyal subleud to the progress or the bill which jects, attached to the civil coustituthe noble Loid had signified his tion of our couutry, and desirous of
contributing to that tranquillity and the present business; and have union on which its permanence and made and published the following prosperity very much depend, we Resolutions : cannot forbear expressing our regret that any ineasures should be At a Meeting of the Depatics ap
pointed for supporting the Civil proposed which have a tendency,
Rights of Protestant Disseaters, by abridging our liberty as Protest
held at the King's Head Tavern, ant Dissenters, and restraining the
in the Poultry, London, May, 15, exercise of social worship among.
1811, William Smitu, Esq. M.P. those with whom we are connected,
in the Chair: to excite dissatisfaction and discon
Resolved, That liberty of conscitent at the present interesting erisis: ence, comprehending the freedom and more especially at a time when of public assemblies for religious we had reason to hope that our li- worship and instruction, in such berty would have been enlarged in- forms and under such teachers as stead of being restrained; though men shall for themselves approve, we are peaceably waiting for that is the inalienable right of all; in the period in which this happy event peaceable exercise of which they shall take place, and penal laws no are not just!y controlable by the longer have any operation in the civil magistrate. province of religion.
Resolved, That this liberty has 4. That the Bill now introduced been generally recognized in the into the House of Lords appears to practice of the Britisli Government us inconsistent with the unniolested since the era of the Revolution, liberty which we have long thank- under the construction of the stafully enjoyed; repugnant to our tute commonly called the Toleraprinciples and profession as Protest- tion Act: thus, whatever inay have ant Dissenters, who disavow the been the letter of the law, the spirit authority of the civil magistrate in of Toleration has been extended, the province of religion, and im- and a large portion of religious posing restrictions which will be in liberty actually enjoyed. various respects injurious and op Fiesolrod, That we have bebeld, pressive.
with great concern, a Bill lately 5. That it is our duty, on our
brought into Parliarpent, designed, own behalf, and on behalf of our brethren, as well as with a view to religious liberty, and having a tev
as appears to us, to abridge such the cause of religious liberty in deney to deprive the lower classes general, to make every constituti- of the community of those opporonal cffort in our power for pre- tunities which they have so long enventing this Bill from passing into a joyed, to attend public worship and law; and that for this purpose a religious instruction under teachers Petition be presented by this Body of their own choice. to the House of Peers.
Reso ved, That, as Deputies apDan. Taylor, Chairman. pointed by large and respectable
bodies of Protestant Dissenters to
attend to their civil rights, it be It is, we believe, generally comes our bounden duty inmediknown, that there is a body of (lay) ately to protest against the, princigentlemen, usually styled - The ple of such measure, and to point Board of Deputies, whose province out the unjust and vexatious operait is to support the civil rights of tion of the aforesaid Bill, as now the Dissenters. These gentlemen brought into Parliament. are appointed annually by the con Resolved, That a Petition against gregations of Protestant Dissent- the said Bill, grounded on the prin. ers in and about London; and have ciples of the foregoing Resolutions, rendered very important services be signed by the Members of this to the whole body. These gen. Veeung, aūd pre-cuted to the Letlemen also have been attentive to gislature.
Resplved, that the foregoing and presuming that no persons · Resolutions be signed by the Chair- would in this age venture to assail man, and inserted in all the public the Act of Toleration, after the everpapers. W. Suita, Chairman. memorable declaration of the King,
they have been content to regard it In addition to these efforts, an with grateful emotions, and to esother and more numerous Meeting teem is as an effectual protection has been assembled; consisting not from the recurrence of former peronly of regular Dissenters, but also secutions. of Vethodists, Members of the Es III. That the persons assembled tablishment, and other Friends of at this Meeting have received, with Religious Liberty. We insert also great anxiety, the communications, their Resolutions:
frequently made by the Right Hon. At a Numerons and Respectable Viscount Sidmouth, of his intention
Meeting of Protestant Dissenters, to propose Legislative Enactments of various Denominations, and interfering wiih the Laws relating other Friends to Religious Li- to Protestant Dissenters ; that they berty residing in different Parts did hope the applications he has reof the United Empire, held at the ceived, and the information comLondon Tavern, Bishopsgate municated, would have prevented Street, May the 15, 1811, Samo his perseverance. But they have TEL Mills, Esq. in the Chair, learned the disappointment of their
It was unanimously resolved, hepes, and have ascertained the 1. That this Meeling believe that provisions of the Bill which he has there are at least Two Millions of at length introduced into ParliaProtestant Dissenters in the king- ment with extreme regret, and with dom of England and Wales, include painful apprehension. ins persons of 'opulent fortunes, IV. That this Bill declares that all high literary attainments, and active the Provisions relating to Dissentbenevolence: that their exertions ing Ministers, contained in the Tolehave contributed to promote In- ration Act, and in the subsequent dustry, Knowledge, Good Morals, Act for their further Relief, were Social Order, and Public Prosperity, intended to be limited only to minisThat they are not inferior to any of ters of separate congregations; and their fellow-subjects in fervent love enacis, 1. That such ministers, upon to their country, nor in ardent being admitied to the peaceable posloyalty to their venerable Sove session and enjoyment of the place reign, whose early promise, *T0 of minister of a separate congregao PRESERVE TOE TOLERATION tion, may, on a certificate in writ: VIOLATE,' has made an indelible ing, under the hands of several impression on their hearts ; --- and substantial and reputablo House. I that any raeasures which might er holders belonging to such congregacite their discontent and enfeeble tion, signed in the presence of soine their attachment, would therefore, credible witness, who is to make at any time, and especially at this proof of their signatures upon vath period, be inconsistent with the at a general Sessions of the Peace, national interest, and with wise and be permitted to take the oaths, and liberal policy.
to sign the declarations previously 11. That although this Meeting required, and shall then, and then consider the right to worship God only, during their continuance to be according to individual judgment ministers of such separate congreaz au inalienable right superior to gation, be intitled to all the priviall social regulations; and, although leges and excmptions which the for. they have long anticipated a period mer acts had conferred. 2. That when all penal laws for worshipping any other person who may
desire God according to their consciences to qualify himself to preach as a would be abolished, they have been Dissenting Minister, must procure unwilling to agitate the public mind several substantial and reputable for tie attainment of their hopes; kouseholders being Dissenter of the
same sect, and of the same congrega- general practice of a century, and tion, to certify on their consciences, has never been impugned by any in writing, to his being a Protestant decision in a superior court of law; Disseuting Minister of their sect, and that even if such construction and of the same congregation, and be incorrect, and legislative exposito their individual and long know- tion be required, such declaratory ledge of his sobriety of conversa Bill ought to follow tbe intention of tion, and to his ability and fitness the Act which has subsequently to preach ; and that such certificate passed ; and should extend and not must be proved as before stated, be contract, protect and not imfore he be permitted to take the pair, the relief afforded by the for. oatbs and subscribe the declaration, mer ancient and venerable statute. before he be exempt from the pains, VI. That the Bill introduced into penalties, and punishments to which Parliament is not justified by any he would otherwise be liable as a necessity, and will be highly injuriDissenting Minister. And, 3. That ous ; that it is unnecessary, because any person of a sober life and con the evils presumed to result from versation, admitted to preach on the abuses of the exisiing laws, by a probation to any separate congre- few persons who may have impro-. gation, must produce a certificate perly taken the oaths required from from several Dissenting Ministers Dissenting Preachers and Teachers, (who have taken the oaths, to be do not exist but to a most incoralso proved on oath at a General siderable extent; and because the Session of his life and conversation, extension of all such abuses bas and to their long previous know- been anxiously, and would be effectledge, before lie can be permitted to ually discountenanced by every take the oaths and subscribe the class of Protestant Dissenters, and declaration; and that he may then, that it must be injurious, because it during a limited period, to be speci- will introduce forms unprecedentfied in the certificate, officiate as a ed, inconvenient, or impracticable, Probalioner to any dissenting con will render Itinerant Preachers, gregation, and be, during a limited Students of Divinity, Ministers on period, exempt from prosecution Probation, and many persons to and punishment. But neither of the whose ardent piety and disintertwo last mentioned classes of per- ested labours multitudes are insons will be entitled to any privi- debted for religious instruction, leges, or to the exemptions from liable to serve ali civil offices,-and oflices conferred on Dissenting Mic will expose all ministers, or the nisters by the Toleration Act. witnesses to their certificates, to be
V. That the principle assumed as barrassed by repeated attendances the foundation of the Bill is incor- at different sessions, and to capricirect:-That the Toleration Act au ous examinations, and unlimited thorised any persons to become Dis- expence,- because, by limiting the senting Ministers who conceived right of persons to bocome Dissentthemselves to be called and qualified ing Ministers, it will impose ner to preach, upon giving security to restrictions on Toleration ; and the state for their loyalty and Chris because it will create a precedent tian principles, by taking certain for future attempts at even more oaths and subscribing certain de dangerous or fatal experiments clarations, and not only prevented against Religious Liberty their persecution under laws made VII. That, although most reluct. in times less favourable to civil and ant to interference with political religious liberty, but conceiving affairs, they canuot but regard the their labours to be of public utility, present attempt with peculiar sengranted to them exemptions from $ations of alarm ; and that veneraall parochial officesaud other duties tion for their ancestors, regard to which might interfere with their their posterity, respect for rights more important exertions ; – That which they can never abandon, and such construction of the Act of To- the sacred obligations which they leration has been sanctioned by the feel, will theretore compel then lo
disregard all doctrinal and ritual Esq. Ben. Neale, Esq. Oldham Olddistinctions, and to unite by every ham, Esq. Rev. W. F. Platt, Rey. J. legitimate effort, to prevent the Philips, Rev. T. Powel, Rev. T. pending Bill from passing into a Raffles, Ben. Risdon, Esq. W. Slark, law, and to oppose the smallest di- Esq. Isaac Smith, Esq. Rev. Pye minution of the privileges secured Smith, D. D. Rev. R. Stodhart, R. by the Act of Toleration,
Steven, Esq. J. Stevenson, Esq. W. VIII. That from the noble decla- Summers, Esq. T.Tapp, Esq. Rev. ration of the liberal-minded and J. Townsend, W. Townsend, Esq. T. iilustrious Prince Regent of the Walker, Esq. Rev. Alex. Waugh, Empire, that he will deliver up the Rev. M. Wilks, Rev. Grif. Williams, Constitution unaltered to his Royal J. Wilson, Esq. T. Wontner, Esq. S. Father, this Meeting are encourag- Woodward, Esq. S. Yockney, Esq. ed to indulge confident hope that a X. That these Resolutions be measure so innovating and injurious communicated to the Committee can nevero tain the sanction of his for Guarding the Privileges of the high authority; and they also re-Methodists, and to the Deputies joice that it has not been introduced and Ministers of the Congregations by his Majesty's government; That of Protestant Dissenters of the three respectful application be therefore demominations in or near London ; made to them for their wise and and that their co-operation and ass continued protection; That a Peti- sistance be respectfully invited. tion to the House of Lords against XI. That a Subscription be enthe Bill be signed by all the persons tered into to defray the Expences present at this Meeting, and that all which may be incurred, and that all congregations of Protestant Dissent- friends to religious liberty throughers, and other friends of Religious out the einpire be invited to conLiberty throughout the Empire, be tribute ; and that such Subscription recommended to present similar be appropriated at the discretion of Petitions, and that a Committee con the Committee. sisting of persons resident in Lon
XII. That a Treasurer be appointdon be appointed to effectuate these ed, and that Subscriptions be reproceedings, and to adopt any mea- ceived by him, and by Messrs. Rosures they may deem expedient to barts, Curtis, and Co. and Sir J. prevent the successful prosecution Esdaile and Co. Lombard Street. of this Bill; and that Dissenting
XIII. That Thomas Pellatt, EsqMinisters of every denomination re- of Ironongers' Hall
, and John Wilks, sident in the Country, be also Mein- Esq. of Hoxton Square, be solicited bers of this Committee ; and that to act as joint Secretaries to this such Committee may increase their Committee. number, and that any Three Mem XIII. That the acknowledgments bers be competent to act.
of this Meeting be presented to the IX. That the followivg. Gentle- Gentlemen by whom it was conmen be appointed to be the Com- vened, for the vigilance meritorimittee in London:
ously displayed, and for their T. Allan, Esq. Rev. R. Aspland, prompt attontion to every attemptRey. Mr. Barber, W. Bateman, Esq. ed infringement of the valuable and W. Blair, Esq. R. L. Brooks, Esq. long-established rights of ProtesiJ. Boggis, Esq. Rev. J. Brooksbank, ant Dissenters. Rev. T. Buck, Rev. G. Burder, Rev. XIV. Tbat this Meeting present H. F. Burder, Rev. J. Benson, J. their ardent Thanks to the ChairButterworth, Esq. Rev. W. Chap- man, for the attachment to religiman, W. Christie, Esq. Rev. G. Col- ous liberty which he displayed, by lison, Rev. W. B. Collyer, D. D. consenting to preside on this occa. J. Enterson, Esq. J. Esdaile, Jun.Esq. sion, and for the attention and abiRev. J. Gore, Rev. G. Greig, Rev. lity which he has inanifested. R. Dill, A.M. Rev.J. Hyatt, J. Hain XV. That their Thanks be also illon, M. D. Rev. T. Jackson, Rev. presented to John Wilks, Esq. for E. L. Jones, Res. J. Liefchild, Rev. the ability and zeal which he has T. Lewis, R. H. Marten, Esq. S. Mills, manifested as temporary Secretary, XIX.