Imatges de pÓgina
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Mr Danvers.

Anno 9. Geo. II. • As to our Trade, Sir, the Advantages we have reaped 1735-36.

in that respect by the Toleration Act are so apparent, that I shall not take up your Time with enlarging upon that Subject ; but in order to retain those Advantages, and to improve them as much as possible, I shall beg Leave to move, that Leave be given to bring in a Bill to repeal so much of the faid A&t passed in the 25th of Charles II. intitled, An A& for preventing Dangers which may happen from Popiflo Recufants, as obliges all Persons, who are admitted to any Office, Civil or Military, to receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, within a Time limited by the faid A&, and for explaining and amending so much of the said A&, as

relates to the Declaration against Transubstantiation.' Debate thereon.

Mr Plumer being seconded by Sir Wilfrid Lawson ; the Sir Will. Lawson. fame was oppos'd by Lord Noel Somerset, Lord Viscount La Noel Somerset. Tyrconnell, Mr Danvers, Mr Shippen, and Sir Robert

Walpole, who urged the following Arguments against the Mr Shippen. Sir R. Walpole.

Motion.

Sir, • As I have hitherto appeared to be an utter Enemy to all Persecution, I hope my difagreeing with this Motion will not be looked on as any sign of my having changed my Opinion, or of my having any Intention to alter my Conduct for the future : So far otherwise, Sir, I have ftill, and I hope shall always have, as tender a Regard for the Difsenters of all Denominations, as any Man can have, who is a true Member of the Church established by Law. As a fincere Member of the Church of England I must, and I do with that all the Diflenters in the Kingdom could be gained over to the Established Church ; but though I' wish for this happy Event, yet I shall never be for attempting the Ac. complishment of that With by any Methods that have the leaft Tendency towards Persecution, or towards doing a leat Injury to any Man whose Conscience will not allow him to embrace the Established Religion of his Country: For all such I shall continue to have a real Concern; because I think this Difference of Opinion is a Man's Misfortune, and not his Crime.

• But, Sir, the Word Perfecution has, in my opinion, been very much mistaken by the honourable Gentleman who made you this Motion ; for according to the Meaning he has put upon the Words, there could be no established Church, or established Religion in the World, but what must be deemed guilty of persecuting all those who differ from it ; and yet those Gentlemen will, I believe, grant, that in every Society there ought to be an established Religion, or a certain Form of publick Worship established by the Laws of that Society ; therefore we must find out a

Meaning

Meaning for these Words different from that which has been Anno 9. Geo. IL

1735-36. put upon it.

• As there is in every Society a certain Form of Government established, I hope it will be granted, that it is the Duty of every Member of that Society to support and preserve that Form of Government as long as he thinks it the best that can be established ; and on the other Hand, if there be any Man, or any Set of Men, who are convinced that a different form of Government would render the Society much more happy and powerful, I believe it will likewise be granted, that it is the Duty of all fuch Men to endeavour, in a peaceable Way, at least, to bring about an Alteration. These two Duties therefore being altogether inconsistent, nay, even deftrustive of one another, it is abso lutely impossible for the one Set of Men to do their Duty, without laying the other Set under some Hardships : When those Hardships are no greater than what are absolutely necessary for the End intended, they are just and reasonable, and such as those who are subjected to them, ought not to complain of; but when they are greater than what are neceffary, they then begin to take and to deserve the Name of Oppression, and according to the Degrees of this Excess, the Degrees of Oppreffion are always to be computed. In this Kingdom we know there is a Set of Men who think it their Duty to endeavour to bring about an Alteration of our present happy Etablishment, I mean our Nonjurors i who or that very Reason are excluded from all Posts and Places n our Government, which is certainly a Hardship upon hem ; but I am sure it cannot be called an Oppression ; nor can this Exclusion with Respect to them be called a Punishment.

And if there be a Set of Men in this Kingdom who hink the Doctrines of the established Church inconsistent vith Christianity, or the ceremonies of our publick Worhip idolatrous, it is their Duty as Christians to attempt to ring about an Alteration in our established Religion, and ney certainly will attempt it as soon as it is in their Power ; ay, with all Deference to the honourable Gentlemen who ave spoke upon the other side of the Question, for all of hom I have the greatest Efteem, I must look upon this very lotion as a Beginning of that Attempt ; but as I am a lember of the Church of England, and think it the best eligion that can be established, I think it my Duty to event its being ever in the Power of such Men to succeed any such Attempt ; and for this Purpose, I think it ablutely necessary to exclude them from any Share in the ecutive Part of our Govenment at least; because if the ecutive Part fhould once come to be generally in their

Hands,

Anno g. Geo. 11. Hands, they would very probably get the Legislative Part 1735-36.

likewise, from which Time it would be in vain to think of preventing, in a peaceable Manner, their doing whatever they had a Mind; and it must be presumed they would do what they thought themselves in Duty bound to do. To exclude a Man from a profitable Post or Employment, I shall admit to be a Hardship upon the Man so excluded; but as it is absolutely necessary for the Preservation of our established Church, to exclude those, who think it their Duty to destroy it, from any Share in the executive Part of our Government; therefore this Exclufion can no more be called Persecution, than it can be called Oppreffion, to exclude Nonjurors from any Share of our Government Executive or Legislative, nor can such Exclusion be deemed a Panith. ment in the one Case any more than in the other.

• In the supposed Case of a brave Dissenter's being advanced to the Command of a Regiment, I shall grant that it would be a great Hardship upon him to be turned out of his Command, and to be exposed to a starving Condition, upon his return to his Native Country; but the fame Case may be supposed with respect to a Roman Catholick Gentle. man ; yet there would be no Persecution in either Case ; because the excluding of all such Men from any Command in our Army, especially here at Home, is, I think, ebro lutely necessary for the Preservation of our Constitution in the happy State it is in at present : Nor could such an Ex. clusion be called a Punishment upon the Man fo, excluded, no more than it can be called a Punishment upon a Man of five Foot and a Half to be excluded from being a Soldier in the Guards; for neither of these Exclusions proceeds from any Crime or Fault in the Man, it being as impossible for a Man to alter his Opinion when he has a Mind, as it is to add two or three Inches to his Stature when he has Occalion for it; but as the latter becomes necessary for the Sake of preserving the Beauty and Symmetry of a Regiment, so the former becomes necessary for the sake of preserving the Beauty and Symmetry of a Society.

• The Argument raised from the supposed Abuse of the blessed Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, is founded upon a Fact which I cannot admit; for as there is nothing in this Law that can compel the Admission of an unworthy Person ; as the Ministers of our Church may refuse to admit any Person to that Sacrament, who does not devoutly and humbly desire it, or for any other lawful Cause, [See Statute i Edward VI. Chap. i.) I must presume no unworthy Persons are admitted ; or at least, if there be, it does not proceed from any Fault in this or any other of our Statutes,

but

Mr Holden,

but from the criminal and irreligious Neglect of the Mini- Annch. Geo. 11. fter who admits them.

1735-36. "As to the Unity and Peace of our People, I am per fuaded, Sir, the Repeal of this Law, and another which I believe is likewise intended, would raise moft terrible Di. sturbances and Confusions ; for with Respect to all Posts and Employments that go by Election, we should have all the Difsenters combining closely together to bring in their friends, which would of course breed many Riots and Tumults. And as to our Trade, it depends so much upon the Peace and Tranquility of the Nation, that if we have a Mind to preserve it, we ought not to make any new Regulation or repeal any old, if by so doing we run the Risque of raising Heart-burnings and Jealousies among our People.

To this it was replied by Lord Polwarth, Mr Heathcote, Lord Polwarth. and Mr Holden, as follows:

Sir,

Thall take up very little of your Time in replying to what has been faid ; for in my opinion, the Arguments for the Motion have been enforced by what has been said by way of Answer to them.

• If the Hardships imposed upon the Diflenters, by the Law under our Confideration, are greater than what are absolutely necessary for preventing its being in their power to destroy the Established Church, it muft be granted, from what has been said of the other Side of the Question, that this Law is a persecuting Law: Now, Sir, to determine this Question in the Affirmative, we need have Recourse to no other Nation but Scotland : With regard to that Nation, we know, that the Presbyterian Religion, which is here one of our Difsenting Religions, is there the Established Church, and what is here our Ættablish'd Church, is there a Dissenting Religion ; yet the Established Church in Scotland have never thought it necessary, nor does it appear to be neceffary, for their Preservation, to exclude their Diffenters from all Pofts and Employments in the executive Part of their Government, nor have they any Law for such a Purpose ; but on the contrary some of their Judges and Magiftrates, and many of those in Posts and Employments in that Kingdom, go openly, and in the most solemn Manner, to the Episcopal or Church of Eng. land Meeting-Houses; and tho' this Practice or Indulgence has been continued for many Years, and continues to this Day, yet the Established Church in that Country is so far from being in any Danger of being overturned by what is there the diffenting Interest, that the former is daily gaining Ground upon the latter ; which evidently fews the great Weight and Effect of a legal Etablishment, with respect to Religion, when the Minds of Men are not irritated by any VOL. IV.

Y

unne

Anno 9. Oco. 11. unnecessary Hardships put upon them. I could likewise in1935-36.

stance Holland, and several other Protestant Countries, to thew that rendering Diffenters incapable of serving the Crown in any Poft of Honour, Trust, or Profit, is a Hardship put upon them, which is so far from being absolutely necessary, that it is not at all necessary for preserving the Established Religion of any Country ; and therefore this Hardship muft in the strictelt Sense be called Persecution, even according to the Meaning put upon it by the honourable Gentlemen, who have spoke on the other Side of the Question.

With respect to Nonjurors and Roman Catholicks, the Hardships put upon them are not for the Sake of a Scruple of Conscience in any Matter of a religious Concern, but because they are Enemies to the State, and to the present happy Etablishment ; but I am surprized to hear it said that the rendering of them, or the Diflenters, incapable of holding any Post of Honour, Trust, or Profit under the Crown, is no Punishment, when I consider that that very Punishment has often been inflicted by Parliament, as one of the greatest Punishments they could inflict upon Crimes of a very high Nature : Surely this legal Incapacity must be looked on as a Punishment upon both, but with this Difference, that upon Nonjurors or Roman Catholicks, it is with great Justice in. flicted, but upon Diflenters it is inflicted without any Occasion, no Party among the latter having ever yet been fur pected of being Enemies to our present Ettablishment, unless the rejecting of this Motion should make them so. I am sure every Gentleman that hears me must grant, that there is fome Difference between a Capacity of being a Soldier in the Guards, and a Capacity of holding any Poft or Preferment under the Crown : The Guards are the King's own Servants, and every Man may chuse what sort of Servants he has a mind ; therefore no Man has a Title to any Capacity of being a Soldier in the Guards ; but every Subje& has a Title to a Capacity at least of sharing in the Honours and Preferments of his Country, and that Capacity ought 'not to be taken from him, but by way of Punishment for some very high Crime or Miídemeanour'; for it is a Punishment so difhonourable and severe, that we never find it inAlicted by our Laws upon Crimes of an ordinary Nature.

• I Mall grant, Sir, that a Minister of the Established Church is not, by any express Words in this A&, ordered or compelled to administer the Sacrament to an unworthy Person, who defires it only for the Sake of enabling himself to hold a beneficial Employment; but if a Minister of the Church of England should refuse to administer the Sacrament to any Person, upon such Occasion, and that Perdon should by means of such Refusal lose his Poft, or only

a Year's

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