Imatges de pÓgina
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Mr Glanville.
M: Archer

A090 9. Geo. 11. Justices an unlimited Jurisdiction : But they could not grant 1736.

a general and unlimited Jurisdiction by a Bill which, when it came before them, was a Bill for granting a particular and confined Jurisdiction ; and if the granting of such a Jurisdi&tion was then thought necessary, the only Method they could take, according to the established Forms of that House, was to order the Bill then before them to be withdrawn, and a new Bill to be brought in ; in which Case, those who thought they might be aggrieved by any Thing in the new Bill, would have an opportunity of being heard against it, which no Man could ever have, if the Method observed in passing the, Bill then before them should become an usual. Practices for no Man could know whether he was to be injured by a Bill or not, 'cill after it had passed thro' the Committee, and then it would be too late for him to apply.'

To this it was answered by Mr Glanville, Mr Archer, and Mi Hampued.

Mr Hampden, “That the Bill then before them was in EFfect the very fame with the Bill first brought in; many of the Clauses had, indeed, been altered and amended, but the general Scope and Intention of the Bill was the very fame ; and they did not think the Committee had taken any Liberties with the Bill but what were usual, and such as they were fully intitled to take ; for the Reason of their granting an unlimited Power to Juftices of Peace with respect to the Value of the Tythe, was because, upon mature Consideration, they found, that all Actions and Suits for Tythes, where the Title was not controverted, were for small Sùms, for Sums much smaller than any Sum that was ever intended to be filled up in that Blank; and since it was acknowledged, that the Committee might have filled up the Blank with such a large Sum, as would have in effect been the same with granting the Justices an unlimited Jurisdiction, they could fee no Reason why the Committee might not do directly and in express Terms, that which they might certainly have done in

a hidden or indirect Manner.' Sir John St Aubin. Hereupon Sir John St Aubin stood up, and spoke as fol

lows :

Mr Speaker, • I think that a Bill of this Consequence, which affects fo large a Property, hould undergo the wiseft Scrutiny of those regular Forms, which have hitherto circumscribed our Proceedings, and guarded our Conftitution from any fudden and disguis’d Attacks: But this Bill, faulty as it was at first, after two Readings in the House and Counsel had been folemnly heard against it, went avowedly into the Committee to be almost intirely alter'd : A new Bill, for so I may justly call this, arises ont of the Ashes of the old One, with the fame fallacious Title indeed, and less formidable than before:

However,

However, it is still suspected that there are latent Mischiefs Anno 9. Geo. II. in it, and against those, the Parties who are aggrieved, are

1736. deprived of an Opportunity of a fresh Defence. I hope therefore, that the learned Gentleman, who could not have been so defective in his first Enterprize, if new Inconveniencies were not perpetually to be encountered in the Alteration of settled Constitutions, will at least be so candid as to withdraw his Scheme for the present, take Time to consider afresh, and not hurry a Bill, thus defective in Form and but -half understood, in the Conclusion of a Session, when many Gentlemen, quite worn out with a close and tedious Attendance, have been forced to retreat. This cannot long retard the great Work of Reformation which is at Hand : The Delay will be but a few Months only : The same favourable Tide will continue, and whatever new Schemes, therefore, the learned Gentleman may have ready to produce, I hope he will indulge us in fo short a Respite. But left this Bill hould pass, I hope you will permit me to enter my publick Protest against it, for I am one of those who think it fundamentally wrong.

· There is no one more ready than I am, to give all rea, fonable Indulgencies to the several unhappy Sectaries among us ; I think, that in Points of Religious Worship, Compulfion ought never to be used, but Truth is to have the fair Opportunity of Working by its own Force upon the natural Ingenuity of the Mind, and the Supreme Lawgiver has the only Right to interpose in such Matters. But human Authority has certainly a secondary Power to restrain those wild Excesses, which under the false Colour of Religion would invade the Order and Discipline of Civil Society. In this we are all united, and there is one Medium, one common Resort of our Laws, for the Protection of our respective Rights and Privileges. I am very sorry therefore, that any of the Dissenters should now see Occasion to complain of their distinct Allowances, and that stated Measure which must be preserved in our civil Union. Let them look upon the Structure of our Constitution in general ; are the several Members well proportioned ? Have they a mutual Dependence and regular Connection with each other? And is there one Law of Convenience which runs through the Whole? If this be so, and the Preheminence is only maintained by a due Subordination of the inferior Parts ; if the Building was erected by the most able Hands, and when Architecture was at its Height ; I am not for inverting the Order of it, in Compliance with the Gothick Fancy of any Pretenders to that Art.

• Thus our Constitation at present stands, and the Laws of Toleration are in this Sense become a Part of it ; they * F f 2

protect,

1736

Anno 2. Geo. II. protect, as they certainly ought, the Eftablished Religion of

our Country, and, at the same Time, allow a separate Right in Religious Worship : Such, only, have not the Advantage of them, who deny the exterior Forms of our Government, whose Consciences are a civil Nusance, and therefore forfeit the Condition of this Right. What then is it that the Quakers want ? Have not all their most intemperate Defires been from Time to Time complyed with ? Are they not exempted even from appealing to the great Author of Truth in their legal Testimony? But not contented with all this, by a most strange Abuse of the permiflive Liberty they enjoy, they send circular Exhortations to their Brethren to oppose the civil Jurisdiction of our Laws ; and having thus cherished and itrengthened an Obstinacy, they approach the Legislature itself with harsh Revilings, unsupported by Evi. dence, against the Clergy of our Established Church ; denying a constitutional Right ; begging that the legal Remedies may be abated by which it is to be acquired ; and unjustly complaining of Severities, which, by their repeated Contu macy, they wilfully draw on themselves; for the Law in its ordinary and natural Course will proceed to an Enforcement of its own Decree. Is this that Paflive Obedience and Non-Resistance, that mild and charitable Disposition, with which they have been so largely complimented ? Is this Conscience, in any true Definition of it? No! it is perverse Humour, a false and delusive Light, an Ignis Fatuus, which arises from a Degeneracy and Corruption of the Mind. If this is Conscience, then all those Riots and Tumults, which at any Time oppose the Execution of the Law, and the Au. thority of the Government, may with equal Justice lay Claim to such a Conscience. Tythes are a distinct Property from the Inheritance of the Land, and by the Laws of our Conftitution are applied to certain purposes. They are due of Civil Right, and no matter to whom they belong, tho' I should think that the Maintenance of our Clergy deserves fome favourable Share in our Confiderations.

• No human Wisdom can at once foresee the sufficient Extent of legal Remedies, but they must from Time to Time be proportiond to the Degrees of Obstinacy with which they are to contend. At the

Time of the Revolution, when our Constitution was resettled, and our several Rights and Privileges confirmed, the former Remedies were found infufficient, and, therefore, by the 7th and 8th of King Willim, a new one was created, but the others were suffered to subfift. The Clergy have now their Option which Method to pursue, and I believe they always follow this, unless they suspect an unjust Partiality. For they want only their Right, and are undoubtedly willing to come at it the

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cheapest and most effectual Way ; so that by this Bill, which Anno g. Geo. Il. obliges them to repair to the Justices in the first Instance, you

1736. enjoyn them nothing but what is already done ; but at the fame Time give a new Interest to the Quaker in being contumacious : For I apprehend by the Bill, as it now stands, if the Quakers should not appear, but suffer Judgment to pass by Default, or should appear and not litigate or gainsay, that there is a Power given to the Justices to settle the Quantum of the Tythes, and the Clergy are hereby deprived of any farther Redress. It is the Liberty of avoiding the Justices, which is some fort of Controul upon their Judicature ; and it is the Force of the several subfifting Remedies, which obliges many of the Quakers in some Shape or other at present to submit. For it is not the Punctilio of one Gun only (as the learned Counsel said) which the Garrison wants ; and when Men are obliged to surrender there is no Dishonour in doing it : But they have got unjust Poffeffion, and would have you withdraw your Forces, that they may strengthen the Fortification, and make it capable of a stouter Resistance. Sir, I think the Comparison has been inverted ; that Party is in Possession who have a just Title, and they only desire to keep what they have, without extending their Territories ; and it would be extremely unjust to pull down their Fences, upon an idle Report that the Enemy would take no Advantage of it.

As to the Ecclefiaftical Courts, the Quakers have been defy'd to produce any Instances of their being much troubled here ; and indeed they are exceedingly few : Every Thing in the Course of Time will degenerate from its original Inftitution, and undoubtedly there are many Abuses crept into these Courts, which may deserve our Attention ; but then let us proceed upon fairer Inquiries, and with a Disposition to reform and not to destroy. These Courts, from the earliest Days of our Conftitution, have had Cognizance of Tythes; and if the chief Argument against them is drawn from their Defect of Power in giving Redress, I am rather for supplying the Defect, than that their Authority herein should be wholly rescinded.

· I would not be thought, by any thing I have said, to be or extending the Power of the Clergy; I am for keeping Enat as well as all other Power, within its due Bounds. But, urely, the Clergy are not to be the only Men in the World, who, when they are assaulted, have not a Liberty_to comlain, and to fly to this Asylum for their necessary Defence;

think this is all they now do, and it is very unfair to be eeking industriously for particular Instances of Blame ; and om thence to take Occasion of casting an Odium the -hole Function. Those frightful Ideas, therefore, of

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Anno g. Goo: ul. Church Power, upon which so many Changes have been 1936.

rung of late, I take to be very unnecessary at this Time ; it is now at a very low Ebb, and it is very well if it can keep its just Ground.

The Mischief which is growing up is of another Sort, and our Liberties are no longer in Danger from any Thing which is founded in Religious Pretences; the Enemy has erected Batteries all round our Constitution ; but as the Church is the weakest Part, it is thought very adviseable to begin the Attack there ; and if it succeeds, they will soon mount the Breach, and take Possession of the whole ; for we may learn from the fatal Experience of former Times, that Monarchy can only fubfift upon the Union and Defence of our Civil and Religious Rights. We all form one Conftitution, it is highly necessary therefore that all, who are fincere Lovers of that, should well know, and mutually protect each other; and that the Clergy should wisely confider, that, as at all Times we are ready to oppose any Alfaults upon their Quarter, so they are under the ftrongeft Obligations, in the Day of our Need, not to withdraw their Asiftance from us in Points of Civil Liberty ; for if ever that should be their fatal Mistake, and our Hands are thereby weakened, they will undoubtedly bring their own Eftablishment into the most imminent Danger.

• I shall say no more, but that I shall at all Times oppose any Innovations, because I think them extremely hazardous ; let us rather guard against the intemperate Follies, the Luxury, the Venality and Irreligion of the Age, which have been long gathering like a dark Thunder-Cloud in the Sky. God only knows how foon it may burst, but whenever it happens, and I fear the Day is at no great Ditance, it will certainly fall most heavily upon us ; I am therefore for keeping up our common Shelters, that we may be protected, as

well as poffible, againft this great and impending Danger. The Quake:s Bill Then the Question being put for palling the Bill, it was

carried in the Affirmative, by 164 to 48, and Mr Glanville was order'd to carry the Bill to the Lords, and desire their

Concurrence. Debate on a Bill May 3. Sir Charles Turner presented to the House a for preventing Smuggling

Bill, For indemnifying Persons, who have been guilty of anlawfully importing Goods and Merchandize into this Kingdom, upon the Terms therein mentioned, and for inforcing the Lar's against such Importation for the future ; and the same was then read the firit Time, and ordered to be read a fecond Time.

May 4. The faid Bill was read a fecond Time, and a Motion being made for committing the fame, it was oppas'a by several Members, who urg'd, - That it was very extraordi

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