« AnteriorContinuar »
and for his eloquent and usefal er- of the Conventicle Act upon thos ertions at this Meeting.
who officiate in them; the great XVI. That thiese Resolutions be inconvenience and heavy expences published in the Newspapers, signed of which we have already felt. If by the Chairman, and that measures this system of persecution should be adopted by the Committee, ne be persevered in, the subordinate cessary to give thein requisite pub. teachers of our body, to the amount licity S. Mills, Chairmar.' of many thousands of persons in
the United Kingdom, will be driven At a Mecting of the General Com- to apply for certiticates to protect
mittee of the Societies of the late them from the Penalties of the Rev. John Wesley, convened for Conventicle Act, which indeed they : the Purpose of taking into Con- laws without obstruction ; but, if the
cannot obtain under the existing sideration a Bill, brought into the House of lords by the Right present Bill should be passed into
a law, it will be utterly impossible Honourable Lord l'iscount Sid
to consider such persons as dissentmouth, intiiuled, · An Act to ex. ing ministers, and to certify them plain and render more effectual under the said Act: therefore, certain Acts of the First Year of either an cnd will be put to the the Reigu of King William and functions of a 'most valuable and Queen Mary, and of the Nine- useful part of our community, or teenth Year of the Reign of his they will be exposed to all the present Majesty, so far as the same penalties of the Conventicle Act; relate to Protestant Dissenting the consequence of which will be: Ministers,' held at the New that as the people cannot, and ought Chapel, City Road, London, the pot to refrain from acts of social 14th of May, 1811,
worship, and ineetings for religious Il was Resolred,
instruction, the penalties cannot be 1. Tuat the said Bill, if carried paid, and the prisons will be peopled into a law, will be a great infrioge- with some of the most peaceable ment of the laws of Religious Tolc- and pious characters in the country. ration, and will be sul versive of V. That a great number of the the most valuable rights and privi- persons mentioned in the last resoleges which we as a Religious So- lation (as well as a large portion cicty enjoy.
of our Societies) considering them. II. That the said Act will in future selves as meinbers of the Establishcurtail the privileges and exemp. ed Church, to which they are contions of our regular preachers, who scientiously attached, will feel it are wholly devoted to the functions quite imcompatible with their sentiof their office ; and to which they ments to apply for certificates under are legally entitled under the letter the terms of the said Act, which and spirit of the Act of Toleration. require them to be certified and to
II, That the said Ict will render declare themselves dissenting miit very difficult, if not impractica
nisters. ble, to obtain certificates for the
VI. That the offices alluded to in great body of local preachers and the Fourth Resolution, are an eso exborlers; and who are not only sential part of the economy of our an useful part of our Society, but Societies, which has for its object whose aid is esscutially necessary the instruction of the ignorant and in the very numerous chapels and the relief of the miserable, rather mecting-houses in which our con
than the creation or extension of a gregations assemble.
distinct sect of religion ; and withIV. That with great grief of heart out whose aid the various chapels we have observed of late, a grow- of our Societies iu the United Kinging, disposition, in different parts dom, which bave cost an immense of the country, to disturb our suru of money in their erection, weelings, even those which are cannot be supported. held only for prayer to Almighty VII. That our chapels have been God, and to enforce the l'edallie's built, and large sums of money due
upon the same, for which the re strain the patriotic efforts of any spective Trustees are now responsi- of the Religious Communities of the ble, have been lent and advanced Country. under the most perfect confidence XI. That as we deprecate the that our system, so necessary for consequences of the Bill as it now their support, would remain undis- stands, so we cannot see that any turbed ; and that those rights of modification of it can meet the conscience, which our most gra- tieris of its Right Honourable and cious Sovereign on his accession to Noble Proposer (whose character the throne declared should be main we highly respect) without essentained inviolable, would, in this tially deteriorating the indefeasibic happy and enlightened country, rights and privileges of those who ever be held sacred, and preserved. are the objects of the Toleration uninfringed.
Laws. viii. "That it does not appear to XII. That, rasmuch as this Act us that the present 'Toleration Laws will most deeply affect our Societies, are either so ineffectual, or the in- whose moral character and loyalty terpretation of them so uncertain, are unimpeachable, we feel it our as to render any Bill necessary to duty to declare, that we do not beexplain them, much less to curtail lieve there exists' among thein any the benefits intended to be convey- practice or disposition to warrant ed by them; but on the other hand, a legislative measure which would we are satisfied, that if the presentabridge our rights and privileges." Bill shouid pass, the whole Law of XII. That the introduction of Religious Toleration will become the present measure is as unseasonmore obscure, and its meaning able as it is needless and oppressive. inore uncertain; and thus a fruit- At any time religious rights forin a ful source of litigation and oppres- post delicate subject for legislative sion will be opened.
interferenco ; but at such a time as IX. That the returns of the Arch-, this, when not only uwanjinity but bishops and Bisbops, of the nuinber' affection for the goveroment and of Places for divine worship, &c. laws of our country are more than in their respective dioceses, upon cver essential for the patient endurwbich the present measure appears ance of the pressure of the times, to be founded, are far from furnish- and the repulsion of the bitterest ing evidence of the necessity of re- enemy with which this country stricting the operations of religious ever had to contend, the discussion societies; but, on the contrary, of these rights is most feelingly to they contain the most decisive be deprecated. Much irritation, proofs from the inadequacy of the even worse than political irritation, parish ehurçbes to contain the in- would be produced, and the ardent babitants of the kingdom) that the affection of many a conscientious increasing population calls for all and loyal subject would be involuuthe means of religious instruction tarily diminished. We are impresswhich well-disposed persons, of all cd with these sentiments the inore denoininations of Christians, have in deeply, as not a shadow of a charge their power to afford.
is brought against our very numerX. That from the manifest effect ous body; and we can chalicnge the which the diffusion of religion has most rigid enquiry into the suoral had for the last fifty years, in rais- and political character of our ing the standard of public morals, preachers and our people. and in promoting loyalty in the XIV. That, abstaining from all* middle ranks, as well as subordina- observations on the abistract rights tion and industry in the lower of conscience, but with the views orders of Society, which so power and feelings thus expressed, we are fully operate upon the national most decidedly of opinion that the prosperity and public spirit, we present measure is radically objecdread the adoption of any measure tionable, and does not admit of any shich can in the least weaken these moditication; and we cannot but great sinews of the nation, or re- fcel it our duty to oppose thc Bill
in all its stages, by every constitu- that he has, agreeably to the ardent tional means.
wishes of a great portion of bis XV. That we reflect with high Majesty's loyal subjects, preserved satisfaction on the liberal, enlight- those sacred rights entire, and reened, and religious declaration of turned to his beloved father the our most Gracious Sovereign, on
Tolerision invi late. We have too the commencement of his reign : much confidence in the wisdom and • Born,' said his Majesty, in his first justice of Parliament, to imagine speech from the throne, and edu- that a measure will be adopted, so cated in this conntry, I glory in the obnoxious to such a large proporname of Briton; and the peculiar tion of the nation as our societies happ ness of my life will ever con- and congregations constitute; but, sist in promoting the welfare of a if unhappily we should be disappeople, whiuse loyalty and warm af: pointed, and, in the dernier resort, fection to me I consider as the we should be driven to subinit our greatest aud most permanent secu case to his Royal Highness, we bave rity of my throne; and I doubt already the gratihcation of his not but iheir steadiness in those royal Assurance, that he will be principles will equal the firmness of ready to listen to the complaints of my invariable resolution to adhere those who may think themselves to and strengthen this excellent aggrieved, and regulate his conConstitution in Church and Stale; duct upon the established principles and to maintain the Toleration invio. of that ancient and excellent constilable. The civil and religious rights tution, under which the people of of my louing subjects are equally this country bave hitherto enjoyed dear to me with the most valuuble a state of uurivalled prosperity and prerogalives of my Crown; and as happiness.' the surest foundation of the whole, XVI. That a Sub-Committee be and the best means to draw down appointed to carry these Resolu. the Divine Favour on my reign, it tions into effect. is my fixed purpose, to countenance XVII. That these Resoluticns be and encouruge ike practice of true printed, and with Circular Letreligion und rirlue:--This declara- ters on the subject, be immedition of our beloved Sovereign has ately transmitted to our Societies been religiously fulfilled during a throughout the United Kingdom, if long and bene.cent reign, and has the Sub-Committee judge it to be been humbly met by our Societies necessary. with the affection it was calculated XVIII. That before any active to inspire. We have built with con measures be taken, a Deputation do fidence upon this gracious declara- wait upon the Rigbt honourable tion; and our confidence has not Lord Viscount Sidmouth, with a been misplaced. His Majesty bas Copy of these Resolutions, and been a slicid to the religious of all earnestly entreat bis Lordship to persuasions, and he has respected withdraw his Bill. ihe rights of conscience in ali; and Signed, by Order of the Committee, we cannot doubt that his Royal J. BUTTERWORTH, Secretary. Highuess the Prince Regent, with those just sentiments of truth and
On Tuesday morning a Sub-Comsincerity which he has graciouslymittee of the Meeting held at the declareŭ shall be the guide of his London Tavern waited on the Chancharacier and every action of his cellor of the Exchequer, agreeably lite, will feel it his happiness to recognize the high natural rights of ments of the propo ed act; when a
to his request, to stite their scoticunscience; ana should ii Piease
very interesting conversation took wise ... poser of all events io restore place; which, we believe, was athis afficied Father to the personal tended with salatary effects. exe.cise vi his Royal Funciiuris, his Royal hibuess will feel it amongst We have now the pleasure of tle mun, biessings of his benevo- stațing, from the public prints, the leut und beral administration, Substance of the Debaie which took
place in the House of Lords on Tues was allowed to go into a Committee, day, May 21. We believe that the every thing that had given rise to misspeeches, as thus reported, fall exceed. conception might be remedied. His ingly short of what was actually deliver. Lordship was proceeding to explain er, in which much strong and manly the objects of the Bill, when eloquence was displayed. The unprece Earl GREY spoke to order, observ. denter multitude of petitions hrooghting that no ove could be more clearly in by Noblemen, friendly to the Dis. convinced than himself, however he septers, astonished the whole house; might differ with him in opinion upon and to tbem, under God, we believe that this subject, of the purity of the moont deliverance from the projected re tiyes by which his Noble Friend bad strictions may be chiefly ascribed. been actuated. It was, however, irre
Earl STANHOPE said, he held in his gular to enter into a discussion of the hand a Petition agaiost the Bill rela Bill at the present moment, when tive to Dissenters, signed by upwards there were numerous Petitions against of two thousand persons; and, he had it to be presented; the regular course no doubt that if the Bill was persisted being to hear them first. in, the Petitioners against it, instead of The first Pericion was then ordered thousands, must be counted by millions. to lie on the table. A great number of
The Petitiod was read ; and on the other petitions were presented, and the question that it do lie on the table, places they came froin mentioned.
The Earl of LIVERPOOL said he bad Earl Stanhope presented several; bot the sligbtest intention of opposing Earl Grey seventy-eight. the motion. His object in rising was, The Earl of Moira eighty. that the time of the House might be Lord Holland upwards of 100. saved. He was perfectly convinced The Earl of Rosslyn several. that his Noble Friend (Sidmouth) had The Earl of Lauderdsle a consider. been actuated by the purest motives in able pumber. bringing forward the Bill; and he was Lord Erskine about 25€. satisfied that the object of the Bill bad The Marquis of Lansdowne roo. been by many persons much miscon After the Petitions had been preceived aod mistaken. It was, however, sented, the Order of the Day was read a consideration of great importance, for the second reading of the Bill, and whether the object sought to be at Lord Viscount SIDMOUTH again tained was equivalent to the inconve
His Lordship expressed his renience arising from the agitation and gret at the misinterpretation and mise alarm that had prevailed since the conception, and, he was afraid, he must Deasure had been before the House. add misrepresentation of the objects If there was any one subject more than and provisions of the Bill, which had another in which he thought it impoli. goue abroad. His Lordship explained tic for the legislature to interfere, with the Bill at length, pleaded for its goout a real and absolute necessity, it ing into a Committee, and concluded was on religious subjects. However by moving, that the Bill be dow read laudable the object of his Noble Friend a second time. might be, still it ought to be coosidered The Archbishop of CANTERBURY, that the good to be attained by the although he was satisfied that if it had change proposed was trifling ; and that not been conceived the Toleration Acs the inconvenience sustained in conse was infringed on, the present Bill quence of the agitation and alarn that would not have been so much opposed, prevailed, was very great. Under was convinced that no such infringethese circumstances, he suggested to ment was in reality intended. But al. his Noble Friend the expediency of though no persecution was intended, Dot proceeding any further, and of and a though some misconception might withdrawing the Bill.
exist on the subject, the flood of PetiLord Viscount sidsouth felt very tions which had come down upon that forcibly the importance which must be house, ought to convince their Lordattached to what had been stated by ships of the necessity of stopping short his Noble Friend, particularly as he for the present. He therefore conInew his Noble Priend spoke the senti- ceived that more injury tban good ments of government upon this subject. would result from persisting in the Stilt, however, he did not think that measure ; and he thought it would be his Noble Friend had made out a case betier not to attempt to press the Bill to call upon him to withdraw his Bill. against the opinions of the Dissenters. His Noble Friend had spoken of mis. Lord Enskine said, that the evi. fonception and mistake; but if the Bill deoce which they had had in the multi
plicity of Petitions which he had the print wbat he conceived was for the honour to present to them against the good of his fellow-creatures ; and that Bill, left no doubt as to the opinion if he shonld jujure the tranquillity of entertained by the Dissenters on the his country, he was liable to puni-h. subject. But it was to be observed ment, in the same manner as every man that a small part of the Petitions had was entitled, without a licence, to carry yet arrived ; and if longer time had arms, though it did oot follow that he been allowed, ten times the present was entitled to employ them to the innumber would have been presented. If jury of another. If any person thought kis Noble Frieod would aitend but for he knew the meaning of the scriptures, a few moments, he was confident that it was his duty to communicare bis he himself would be of opinion tbat he opinions. He agreed with Locke, that (Lord Erskine) was justified in thick the Toleration Act was not a comple'e ing that the second reading of the Bill measure, but was ibe font-step merely. should be put off till that day six There were two paris of the Toleratioa munhas. He said he had no doubt of Act,--the first part was a boon, and the the purity of the motives of the Noble second part was merely an admission of Lord (Sidmouth). Their Lordships what the Dissenters were entitled to. would have imagined, from the dig. He did not wouder that the Dissenters course of that Noble Lord, that his misconceived the Noble Viscount's Bull: Bill was necessary, to relieve the Dis. DO person could have imagined from senters froin errors and misconceptions the notices of that Noble Viscovul, till in their coostruction of Statutes so they saw the present Bill, that its justly called the Palladiuin of British termis would be what they are. Aller Religious Liberty. But the Act of the a variety of other argumenis, his Lorch Noble Lord was an infringement on ship concluded with declaring his dethe letter and spirit of the Toleration termination to support the molioa of Act. He had formed this opinion be his Noble Friend( Erskine), fore be kuew that this Bill was to be Earl STAATIOPL said, he did not ne opposed by the Dis.enters, aud that he rise to oppose (be Bill, because it had should have to present 250 Petitions already got its death-blow. He hoped, against il.
however, it would be followed up by After a variety of other arguments, a measure of a very different cature. he concluded with moving, · That the
Never since he had been a Member of second reading should be postponed to Parliament had he received so much that day six months.
pleasure as this day, in observing the The Load CHANCELLOR said, the number of petitions so numervosiy Bill was no iofringemeut on the Tole- signed which bad beeo pre:eoted agalust sation Act; but when the 'Toleration this most wretched Bull. He had heard Laws had been made grounds of dif- it said that such as the public lecing, ferent judicial decisions in different that they would noi, at the prestat counties, it became necessary to esta. momedi, be adfected by any thiug which blish their meaning beyond a doubl. could possibly happen. The petitious It had been said by his Noble Frieod DOW on their Loruships' table, bowe (Lord Erkiae) if any dificuliies should ever, completely gave the lie io this arise, they would at once be settled by allegation. The event bad shewa that a Manducius; but if such difficulties were there was still a public opinion in this only to be settied by a Maodamus, he country, üld that, when cal.ed idlo would venture to say they would pever action, it could manifest itself speedily. be settled. Upon the wbole, he aod with etlect. He was boppy this thought it more advisable that the bad occurred. He had never doubled Bill should out be farther pressed at that there was still such a thing as pubpresent.
lic opinion ; and he hoped those Soule Lord Holland defended his prioci. Lords who bad hitherto doubled tie ples against what had been thrown out fact, would now be conçiuced or their by the Noble Lurd(Sidmouth). He had error. It was got his object to quarrel been slated to express the most con with the Bill, because it was already tradictory opinions on the subject. dead and gone, and he did not wish any ist, That he had delivered opinious man to quarrel with its carcase. The extremely wide on religious subjects; Noble Lurd had declared the Tolera. which, il acled on, would subvert the tion Act cu be abominable. He Lord Christian Religion and the Guvernment Stannope) was one of those who deof the Country ; and 2dly, That the tested that Act which they called the Toleration Laws were abominably in Toleration Act, and for this reasos, be. toipraut. He naintained that every Cause it did wulgo far enough. lle beBan had a right to preach as well as hered he might say, that he was one of