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Intelligence.- Protestant Society: Mr. Wilks's Speech.
tution was first established. If, then, superior learning, of greater talents, but it. was regarded as an experiment, it I have been resolved that you shall have has long ceased to be so regarded ; none who will be more devoted to the it has long been well established, and cause, who will serve you more faithfully, may now be regarded as a parent in- or with greater zeal. ". stitution, others having sprung from it, The next day, Thursday the 22d, the in certain districts; and I ardently wish first stone was laid of the new Finsbury that its children may rise up in every Unitarian Chapel, when Mr. Fox delivered district of the kingdom, to aid and be an address, of which, as well as of the aided by, and act in concert with their ceremony, we hope to be favoured with venerable parent, the London Unitarian some account. Fund. I bless heaven, Sir, that I have On the same day was held the Annihad strength 10 go on in its service versary of the Unitarian Association, until it is so well established, and has when an interesting Report was read, produced such important effects.” Mr. which, together wiih the Resolutions, W. then referred to the new aspect which will be found attached in a separate form Unitarianism has assumed during the to this number. last few years, to the new churches which have been formed, many of them consisting of the poor and unlearned, and stated Protestant Society for the protection as facts, which had been proved by the
of Religious Liberty. operations of the Fund, and of which he
The Twelfth Anniversary Meeting of had witnessed the proof, that Unitari. the Protestant Society for the Protection anism is capable of being, and now is of Religious Liberty was held on Saturin many places, the religion of the poor
day, May 17th, at the City of London and unlearned, and his full conviction, Tavern, Lord Dacre in the Chair. that of all religious systems it is emi.
The Chairman, having made a few prenently calculated to be the religion of fatory observations, requested Mr. Pellatt, those despised and numerous classes, as
one of the honorary Secretaries of the being perfectly level with their capacity, Society, to read the proceedings of the containing a provision for their moral Committee since the last General Meetand spiritual wants, and requiring.no- ing, which being done, thing but what they are capable of doing; Mr. John Wilks, the other honorary that Unitarians can no longer be charged
Secretary, rose to address the Meeting. with dwelling in the frigid zone of He thanked them for their attention to his Christianity, with being without zeal; former hints at preceding anniversaries, and that he had seen its efficacy in and after alluding to some congregationdestroying bigotry and producing Chris- al disputes at Amersham aud Guildford, tian charity. He expressed his deep related the results of some proceedings regret in having been compelled by in- which were pending at the last meeting. creasing years and infirmities to with. He then entered upon the circumstances draw from an office in which he experi- for the present year; and first, accordenced the purest pleasure; but that
ing to custom, he would advert to the though he retired from the field, before subject of pecuniary demands. As to the conflict with error, superstition and turnpike tolis, a new act had been passed bigotry was concluded, it was not till the since their last anniversary, introduced victory was ensured ; and with the deter- by Mr. Frankland Lewis. By this act, mination that if the enemy assailed his 3d Geo. IV. chap. 126, sect. 32, it was quarters, they should find him still in his enacted, that no tolls' should be taken arigour and ready to renew the contest
“ of or from any person or persons going with all the strength he had remaining to or returning from his, her, or their This led him to mention the controversy
proper parochial church or chapel, or of in which he is now engaged, having been
or from any other person or persons goattacked by a Calviuist minister at ing to, or returning from his, her, or their Trowbridge. In which controversy he usual place of religious worship tolerated stated, that one important point is ascer- by law, on Sundays, or on any day on tained, i. e. that though the Unitarian which divine service is by authority ordoctrine can be expressed in the words of dered to be celebrated." "By sect. 53, a scripture without addition or comment; penalty, not exceeding £5 is enacted for the 'Trinitarian doctrine is acknowledged demanding a toll from persons exempt ; by his opponent to be incapable of being B0 expressed. Mr. W. distinctly expressed the obligatious he felt to the suc- We learn that Mr. W. intends pubcessive Committees and officers of the lishing a Review of his Missionary life Unitarian Fund, and concluded with say- and labours at as early a period as circuming, “ You may have missionaries of stances will enable him to do it. VOL. XVIII.
no appeal is allowed, unless the penalty ham, near Thame, in Oxfordshire, which exceed forty shillings. On this subject displayed the meanness and malice by the Committee had had several applica- which Dissenting Ministers were not untions, and in several instauces the impo- frequently annoyed. After some unsucsition of tolls had been successfully re. cessful endeavours to drive away a misisted. Success was of importance not nister who was preaching there, the as a mere pecuniary relief. There was friends of the Rector had had recourse nothing small or narrow connected with to their dernier resort. They went to the principle on which they contended the publican at whose house the preacher for exemption. The object was to pre- was remaining, and threatened him that serve the rights and equality of the Dis- if he did not « reject the Methodist," seuters.--As to the next branch of pecu- they would refuse to sign for his license niary demands, those for assessed taxes, at the next sessions. Another person, at he repeated that weither chapels nor whose house the preacher was allowed school-rooms could be rendered liable if to speak, was promised a pound note, if no emolument proceeded from them. A he would turn him out of his house. demand of poor and highway rates had The preaching was accordingly disconbeen made upon Mr. Hallett, of Caple, tinued there, but the man never received near Ross. In some cases the Committee · his one pound note. In some places, it had advised the parties how to conduct seemed, by the Rev. Mr. Dagley, of Cha. their appeal against these impositions. pel-end, that clauses were introduced, After adserting to the case of the Rev. by which Dissenters were excluded from W. Roby, of Manchester, the worthy Se- becoming members of benefit societies. cretary proceeded to the subject of Easter He was sure it was only necessary to Offerings. The most prominent and iin- mention this circumstance, considering portant case of this nature, was that of the general intelligence of the magistrates Mr. Peter Watson, shoemaker, of New. of quarter sessions, to have the odious castle-upon-Type, who had been impri- restrictions removed.—He would now soned for contempt of the Ecclesiastical allude to the riots and disturbances by Court, arising out of a demand for Easter which Dissenting places of worship had Offerings. That was a case of striking been annoyed. He would first call their and singular oppression. As to demauds, attention to the case of Mr. Elias Jackpartly pecuniary, the first he should no. son, of Ickford, in Oxfordshire, whose iice was that communicated by the Rev. life had been put in danger; but in conJ. Fletcher, relative to the students of the sequence of a prosecution against the academy at Blackburn, who had been offender, which had been settled, he now drawn for the militia. The opinions of worshiped in peace. At Corse Mulien, the Attorney and Solicitor General had near Poole, a disturbance had taken place been taken as to that case. There were in the meeting-house of the Rev. J. Shoinstances in which parochial relief had reller : and in this case it was his (Mr. been withdrawn because its unhappy ob- W.'s) duty to say, that Mr. Bankes, the jects had dared to dissent in opinion Member for Corfe Castle, had not acted from the Church. A pauper, named in the manner in which it was to have Mary Storell, who, with her three chil- been hoped a man would have acted dren, had received 78. 6d. weekly from who made such professions of liberality. her parish, had had her allowance dis. Though the disturbance took place while continued ; though, after some trouble, the congregation were assembled in the it had been again granted. An applica. place of meeting, yet, because the preachtion had been made by Mr. J. G. Pike, er had not actually commenced preaching, of Derby, respecting the validity of the Mr. Bankes, before whom the case was registry of baptisms. That was a sub- heard, dismissed the complaint, and reject of the highest importance. From the fused the redress which the law provided. Rev. Mason Anderson, of Sandwich, While our county Members were supposed they learned that restrictive orders had to speak the sense of all classes of their been given by the governors of hospitals constituents, to whatever religious denoas to the admission of Dissenters. It mination they might belong, he (Mr. W.) was, however, expected that these orders had vo hesitation in avowing that he felt would soon be withdrawn. The Rev. glad that Mr. Bankes was not elected for J. Paice, of Horncastle, stated that re- Dorsetsbire : and he hoped if that Hofusals had been given to admit the nourable Gentleman presented himself children of Dissenters to the grammar again as a candidate, that the Protestaut school.–After speaking of the Bethel Dissenters would not forget to be true to Union, and the restrictions on the at. themselves and to their country, iu retendance of soldiers at divine worship, jecting his pretensions. At Bradfield, the worthy Secretary proceeded to nar- near Bury, and at Canterbury, some cirrate a case which had occurred at Syden- cumstances had occurred extremely ini. Intelligence.- Protestant Society: Mr. Wilks's Speech. 307 portant. At Bradfield a disturbance was license had been recorded at the sessions, made in the chapel of the Rev. Mr. Sloper, as well as registered in the ecclesiastical Beccles. A prosecution was commenced tribunal. On failure of this proof, one and tried at the quarter sessious. There of these justices told the complainants, was no doubt cither as to the offender or “ You have no right to redress. You the offence, but the Chairman took a were illegally assembled ; and if you aslegal objection by which the prosecution semble again I will interfere myself, and was defeated. Though the place of commit you to prisou." What were the meeting was duly certified in the eccle- consequences of this determination? siastical courts, yet it was held by the That 500 or 600 persons inoffensively, if Chairman that it was also necessary that not laudably assembled, were to be exa copy of the certificate should have been posed to the outrages of a disorderly trausmitted to the clerk of the peace at multitude. If the doctrine of the Bury the county sessions. According to the Sessions were correct, there was not a opinions of this Chairman, the law im- place of meeting in Englaud duly liceused. plied that the place of meeting should be They were required by law to register certified not only by the ecclesiastical their places of meeting, and to hold their but also by the civil tribunal. If this meetings open, that under pretence of doctrine were established, it would com- religion they might not carry on factious pletely nullify the act of toleration. It designs. It was not in their power to was, however, fortunately not in the coutroul the registrar or clerk of the power of this Chairman to establish his peace; and if the law required them to doctrine. He addressed a jury; he told exchange annually, the consequence must them that in the absence of legal proof be, that for eleven months and three of the registration of the chapel, it was weeks in every year they must be not impossible that the defendant could be legally registered. In the opinion of the convicted. The jury was composed of Solicitor-General, who had been conhonest yeomen. They exercised their sulted, the Dissenters had fulfilled all the own judgment as to the guilt or inno- law required of them, when they certified cence of the defendant, and they found their places of meeting io the Ecclesiashim guilty. Three times the Chairman tical Court, and it followed that the sent them back, cach time addressing power exercised in the cases at Bury and them in the language of reproof. Three Canterbury, was illegal and unjust. The times the jury returned firmly into Court, opinion of the Solicitor-Geveral had also and repeated their verdict. At last a been taken as to the outrage at Canterfriendly magistrate interposed. He said bury. He said, “ upon the facts as he had no doubt the Chairman would stated in the case, I strongly recommend agree to the verdict, if the Dissenters a prosecution. Outrages of this nature would not insist upon punishment. The ought not to be allowed to pass unpuprosecutor yielded to the suggestion, nished.” At Canterbury, however, a jury which, doubiless, was kindly meant, and was returned pretty nuuch to the mind of no penalty was inflicted, though the ver- those who were against the prosecution. dict was recorded against the defendant. The prosecutors attended at the hazard In the great, aucient
and populous city of of their lives. Stones were thrown at Canterbury there had been some trans. them, and it was evident that the fury of actions which eren in these marvellous their enemies was such, that if martyrtimes partook of unusual inarvel. A dom had been necessary, it would have place had there been registered by a new been resorted to in support of their right seci, denominating themselves Arminian to persecute their fellow.christians for Bible Christians. He (Mr. W.) cared worshiping God after the dictates of their not what were the peculiar tenets of this own conscience. A bill of iudictment sect. It was not necessary to offer either was found against seven of the rioters justification or apology for them in that under circumstances similar to those society. They were disturbed while as- which have excited the attention of the sembled for purposes of divine worship, Legislature to our sister island. At and the females grossly insulted. They Southam, in Warwickshire, there had were determined to appeal to the protec- been another case of disturbance, and tion of the law. They applied to a ma- there also redress had been refused, but gistrate, who told them they must attend on another pretext; a good woman there before a bench of justices; they attended thought she could best learn her religious accordingly before the divan, when the duties by attending a meeting-house; her first thiug done was to call for the pro- husband went after her, violently asduction of their license. It appeared saulted her, and dragged her away. In that these justices had seen, in some cousequence of this disturbance io the Suffolk paper, the decision of the Bury congregation, an application was made Sessious, and on the authority of that to a neighbouring magistrate. The man decision, they required proof that the was summoned, but, on hearing the case, the magistrate dismissed the complaint, to the subject of refusals to bury and on the ground that he had only inciden- marry. At Swansea, Mr. Philip Richard, tally disturbed the congregation, and that a Baptist minister, complained of the he had an unquestionable right to prevent Rev. Henry Williams, curate of Llangehis wife from attending the meeting. At velach, for refusing to bury his child. Anglesea this doctrine had been carried Such was the law. Lay baptism was not to a greater extent: a man was indignant sufficient to entitle its receivers to burial that his wife should attend a place of in the parochial ground. It was a foul worship of which he did not approve. blot on the law, and he trusted it would He declared, therefore, that if she went soon be removed, and Baptists and Disany more, he would break all the win- senters put in possession of the right of dows of the meeting-house, and would being buried in the general place of se. besides do some act that should astonish pulture. At Beaminster the clergyman and surprise them. He did not mind had refused to admit the corpses of his going to prison so as he had his revenge parishioners into the churchyard. At on the Methodists. At the next meeting Merthyr Tydvil, in Wales, the children the wife attended, and her feelings being of Baptists were refused marriage unless excited by the enthusiasm of the preacher, they submitted again to go through the she was led to exclaim, “ Praised be the ceremony of baptism. While Dissenters Lord !" The husband seized upon her, were bound to be married at Church, and began to drag her out; the woman which he trusted would not be long, how fainted, and the whole assembly was improper was it that additional obsta les thrown into a state of alarm and agita. should thus be raised! From Neath, in tion. The man meanwhile persevered in Glamorganshire, the Rep. John Thonias, his brutal attempt to drag his wife away. a Baptist minister, had written to the Her neckerchief was loosened in the Committee to express his apprehensions struggle, and she was almost strangled as to the refusal of marriage there to in the face of the congregation. This Baptists, unless they submitted to bapman was brought before the quarter ses- tism at the hands of the Established sions, and there also the question oc- Clergy. One man, who had been twice curred, what was the proof of registra- baptized, was refused to be married untion? On this occasion the certificate less he would submit to a third baptism, had been left with the Bishop of Bangor, This man had been sprinkled in his inand it happened that no book was kept fancy. When an adult, he was baptized in the diocese. Though the original cer- afresh by immersion. It was in vain tificate was produced, it was held by the that he told the Welsh clergyman of his Chairman that a book must be produced, double baptismi. The clergyman was inand in the absence of a book, the place, exorable. He replied, “I cannot look in his judgment, was illegal, and the in- upon you as a Christian, unless I baptize dictment could not be sustained. The you again.” And so, for the third time, Chairman ac ded, that it was “ an unlaw- rather than delay the blessings of matriful act against the law of God and of his mony, he again submitted, and was country, to allow a man's wife to become sprinkled afresh.—He now approached a a menber of a society against the will of subject attended with some difficultyher husband, and that he had a right to that of out-door preaching. At Burnham, prevent his wife from attending it." The in Norfolk, the magistrates had been jury, however, felt as men, and as Welsh- troubled by a great number of itinerant men too. They acted on their own judg. preachers. These persons contended they ments of right and wrong, and returned had a right to preach wherever they a verdict of guilty. The Chairman re- pleased. Archdeacon Bathurst, the worfused to pass sentence upon the offender. ihy son of a worthy father, had been in He was persuaded the verdict was con. particular annoyed by some of these ititrary to law, and he discharged the de. nerant preachers. They preached oppo. fendant, on finding bail to appear here. site to his parsonage-house, and at the after. In consequence of this decision, door of his Church while service was a panic pervaded all the cottages in that going on, as if they could exercise their neighbourhood. They had entreated to duties nowhere else. As a magistrate, know what was the law. They had the Archdeacon committed them to pribegged for some message to cheer their son, but at the quarter sessions he interdrooping spirits, and fortify their sinking fered on their behalf, and obtained their resolution. The Committee had pre- discharge. He (Mr. W.) would not say pared a case, and taken the opinion of it was proper always to abstain from eminent counsel, who stated distinctly out-door preaching, but preaching in a that the verdict was correct, and that street or highway was certainly improper, on a mandamus the Chairman would be If a right could exist which could be ex. compelled to do his duty of passing sen- crted without any regard to propriety, it tence on the defendant. He now cane must follow that there was it right to Intelligence.-- Protestant Society: Mr. Wilks's Speech. 309 gather round every door in Cheapside a nada, the Dissenters suffered from premultitude engaged in discussing every cisely the same measures of which that variety of topics. Such was not the law. society complained. The majority of the Such could not be the law. If above inhabitants were Catholics; but though twenty persons were collected in any Catholics, Episcopalians and Presbyteuncertified place, they were liable to a riaus, legally exercised the rights of bapcertain penalty. If any person chose to tizing, marrying and burying, yet Dis. certify a field, which was not a highway senters of all denominations were denied or thoroughfare, the question of the lega- them. Lord Dalhousie, the governor, lity of the certification was not settled. though friendlily inclined towards the DisThe Committee would endeavour to as. senters, had no power against the court certaiu how the law applied to that kind of appeal, of which the Bishop of Quebec of certification. If in any instance per- was the head. Of the Protestant inhasons had offended against the law by out- bitants only 2-15ths were Episcopalians, door preaching, it should be remembered so that 13-15ths were degraded and opthat they had offended indiscreetly, en. pressed.-He now came to review the thusiastically, somewhat intemperately general state of religious freedom in the perhaps, but beyond doubt holily. At British dominions. In the first place, Peterborough, a prebendary of the Cathe- there was much wanted some more exdral, who was a magistrate also, directed plicit declaration of the Toleration Act. Mr. Charles Thorpe, of that town, to be That was of pre-eminent and universal taken into custody for exhorting a few importance. In the next place, it was persons at the threshold of a friend. At necessary that their Baptist friends should the village of Benefield, near Oundle, be protected. There was great propriety James Horner, an itinerant preacher, was in requiriog that Dissenting ministers taken into custody by order of the vicar should have authority to celebrate marand magistrate there; when Horner was riage. This power was possessed by the brought before this Reverend Gentleman, Quakers, than whom a more domestic, he asked, “ Is this the fellow ? Come, pious, or happy people did uot exist. It I want none of your talk about souls.” was also enjoyed by the Jews, that long Horner was then committed under the persecuted, but, he hoped, now reviving dew Vagrant Act. He was sent to gaol people. In Ireland, Dissenting Ministers without a warrant, though bail was of- generally had the right, and in Scotland fered to the amount of £500. After- also ; why then should it be denied to wards he was released and suffered to them in England, where, indeed, it was depart without molestation. This was a once possessed ? During the common. subject of cousiderable delicacy. While wealth marriages were rendered legally he (Mr. W.) was prepared to censure any only a civil contract. Upon the Catholics indiscreet indulgence in the practice, he of England the evil pressed with peculiar was not prepared to give up the right hardship. With them marriage was a altogether, and especially when he found sacrameat, and could be celebrated only it strenuously maintained by some of the by their priests. The consequence was, best and wisest champions of popular that all their marriages were unlawful, rights. He referred particularly to the and their children illegitimate. By law well-known case of William Penn, the they were as separate and disunited as distinguished member of that excellent, the most perfect strangers. No tie of benevolent and pious sect, the Society of kindred, no bond of blood could unite Friends, who, in all works of utility and them. If this object—the celebration of philanthropy, were ever active and fore marriage by Dissenting ministers-were nost. Penn was tried in 1670, for sought with temper and firmness, he did preaching in Gracechurch Street, and he not believe it would be refused. The published his trial under the title of next object was to validate the regis“The People's Ancient and Just Liberties tration of baptisms. The Court of asserted.” On this trial the Recorder, Chancery had decided lately, that a reand the Chaplain of the Archbishop of gistration of baptism, on Dr. Williams's Canterbury, expressed sentiments which plan, was not a matter of record. Their singularly accorded with some now en- places of meeting ought to be exempted tertained by persons whom he would not from assessment, whether in parochial name. The Recorder said, “the Spanish rates or king's taxes; and, lastly, the Inquisitiou was excellent, as a good way repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts to prevent schism.” And the Chaplain was an object of all others to be desired. said, “ that it would be less injurious to They were not to be satisfied with an the Government to dispense with pro- annual Indemnity Act, by which they fane and loose persous than to allow a were pardoned for offences they had never toleration to Protestant Dissenters.” On committed. No: they claimed to stand looking abroad at the condition of Dis- with all their fellow-subjects on the broad senters, he saw the same scenes acting and equal basis of the law. Looking at elsewhere. At Moutrcal, in Lower Ca. the whole state of the world, he would