Imatges de pÓgina

of the bill should be constructed And no persons now think of conwith all the latitude which the tending for the obsolete doctrines Dissenters could desire.

of divine right, either of episcoThe noble framer of the hill pacy, presbyterianism or indepen. therefore and the legislature which dency. This is a great step gained passed it stand acquitted of the in the progress of moderation. If charge of imposing the inconsistent any thing could bring the church conditions which are now required. into danger it would be the petty But that the magistrates of the persecutions which have of late present day under the shelter of been exercised upon nonconform. The word impowered, are author. ists of various descriptions. It is ized by law to demand these con. a faci, attested by all history, that ditions or any other which they persecution, where it does not promay think expedient previously to ceed to extermination, always protheir administering the required motes the persecuted cause. The oaths cannot, I think, be justly disposition shewn to deny privileges denied. It is from this discretionary to bodies of men who think themauthority,which completely annuls selves entitled to them, or to de. the Toleration Act, ihat the non- prive them of what they bave long conformists now justly, anxiously, enjoyed, excites irritation and hos. and unanimously scck legislative tility where it did not before exrelief.

ist, and combines parties who be.

fore had no connexion with each The temporalities of the church other. And this, if any thing, can never be in danger, so long as might bring the church into real they are protected by power and danger. If the object be to fill fashion. Even the multiplication the churches, the doors must be of sectaries bodes no evil to the opened to the popular preachers, establishment, if they are left to whose loose bui familiar and mov. themselves without being molested ing addresses will always attract for their opinions. For in the the multitude far more than the first place they are too much die elegant, polished, argumentative, vided amongst themselves, and too or moral compositions of men of hostile to each other to conspire taste, education and learning. But against the church. And, in the if the friends of the Church of second place, the controversy con. England would place her upon & cerning church discipline, forms rock from which she could never of prayer, ceremonies, &c. is al. be removed, they must reform the most at rest : the great thing with church berself, by discarding a religionists of the present day is system of speculative theology, to hear what they call the gospel: which was the product of a rude if the doctrine is evangelical and and barbarous age, and which in approved, the hearers regard it these times of abounding light and as of little consequence whether knowledge no well-informed perthe place of assembly is consecrated son will undertake to defend, by or unconsecrated, whether the offi. substituting, agrecably to the prayer ciating minister reads forms or of the petitioning clergy forty years prays extempore, whether he wears ago, subscription to the scriptures a surplice or a coloured coat. for subscription to the articles, and



by adopting a Liturgy reformed with a proviso to prevent religious upon the plan of the celebrated opinions from being made the stalk, Dr. Samuel Clarke, the rector of ing horse for exciting disorder. St. James's, in which all religious Referring to what had been said worship shall be addressed to the on a former evening by a noble Father alone. What a glorious earl (Liverpool), that æra would this be for the national ought to be molested on account church! What a bappy day to of mere religious opinion, he ennumbers of her most enlightened tirely concurred in ibat sentiment, and virtuous sons, who are now and trusted he should have the bending in anguish under a yoke noble earl's support. The noble of bondage. Then, indeed, would earl had also objected in the for. the Church of England identity mer, that the whole of the intended herself with the church of Christ, measure was not brought forward. “ without spot or wrinkle or any In this case the whole of the in. such thing,” nor will she then be tended measure was brought tor. afraid of distributing Bibles with- ward, and he trusted that no shifts out note or comment.-- But I for- or devices would be attempted to bear. And if any are disposed to defeat it. The noble earl had Cavil at the liberty which has also said, that a Protestant estabbeen taken to suggest improve. lishment was the best, because the ments in a church of which the au. best calculated to give an enlarged thor is not within the pale, he and liberal toleration. He (Earl must shelter himself under the ex. Sianhope) gloried in being a Proample of those eminent members testant. The right of private judg. of the established church, who ment, and consequently the most have lately manifested such gen. liberal toleration to all religious erous zeal to raise the character opinions, being the essence of that and to promote the respectability religion. The difference between of the nonconformist clergy.

the Catholic and Protestant was,

that the former contended that Lord Stanhope's Speech on the revealed religion, but had also

God had not only given a book of Second Reading of his Bill.

given a church to interpret that The order of the day having been book, and that no other interpreread,

tation but the interpretation of that Earl STANHOPE rose to move church was right, the l'rotestant the second reading of his Bill for contended for the unlimited right preventing the Imposition of Dis- of private judgment. The unlimabilities upon Persons on account ited right of private judgment in of Religious Opinions, or the Ex- matters of religion, was what he ercise of their religion. His lord. was contending for, and it was the ship stated, that his bill did not object of his bill to authorize by touch the Test or Corporation law. His lordship proceeded to Acts, or what was called Catholic quote several old staiutes, for the emancipation; the object of it purpose of shewing the absurdity merely being to prevent persons and injustice of the provisions, from incurring any disability on formerly made for restraining reaccount of their religious opinions, ligious opinions, amongst others, enacting that persons not going persons were rendered liable to a to church for a month, should for. penalty of 101. for every servant feit 201. and find security for good in their house that did not go to behaviour for a year, but that the church, for every visitor also, and penalty, though tendered might be for the servant of every visitor: refused, and the pariy forfeit one After quoting several other enact. third of his lands, tenements and menis in various oid statutes, en. hereditaments, At the present forcing still more oppressively the moment it was physically impos- other provisions on the same sub. sible for a large proportion of his ject, he proceeded to adduce a majesty's subjects to go to church, variety of instances of absurd ene for it appeared from the diocesan actments in old statutes, amongst returns, printed by order of the others some in the reign of Elizabuuse, that 4,600,000 of persons beth, that certain kinds of fish in England had not the means of should be eaten on particular days, attending church, there being that and that the fish should be all number more than all the churches eaten before tasting meat, without could contain. This bill, he con- fraud or cozenage. It was also tended was peculiarly called for, enacteil, that flesh should not be inasmuch as it appeared by the eaten on particular days without a same returns, that whilst the nuin- licence. In the reign of James ber of places of worship of the the first, it was enacted that no Established Church in England, person should entertain evil spirits, were 2533, those of the Dissenters or feed them with fish, Aesh or were 3454, thus proving that the vegetables. Avother curious en. majority of the people were non- actment was, that a man should contorarists; and taking into the be deemed guilty of bigamy who account the church of Scotland, married two wives, or one widow, to wbich the greater part of the in- Ano:ber enactment instancrd was, habitants of that country belonged, to prevent women from leaving and the Catholics of Ireland, form- this country, because they were ing a large majority of the popu- popishly inclined. His lordship lation of that couniry, it was evi- also dwelt much upon the subject dent that a very large majority of of excommunication, instancing a the population of England, Scot- variety of enactments and canons land and Ireland were nonconfor- of church, respecting it, for the mists. He trusted, therefore, that purpose of shewing their absurdity he should not hear one argument and injustice. He thought that against this bill used on former oc- the repeal of the enactments he casions, that the majority ought had mentioned would do no good, to bind the minority in matters of whilst the power of the Ecclesias. religion, Proceeding in the quo. tical Court remained with respect tation of old statutes, his lordship to excommunication. He related dwelt much upon the injustice and an anecdote of a noble lord, going oppression of those enactments, to an eminent paioter to desire the object of which, to compel him to paint a fool, and the manpersonis under a heavy penalty 10 ner proposed was this, to paint a attend church on Sundays and man getting over a park paling set holidays, and not merely this, but with tenter-books, whilst au open

[ocr errors]

gate was near him, by which he bill, the object of which was, to might have entered. He would give liberty of conscience, and the propose to paint a rank ideot in right of private judgment in matthe following manner ; to repre. ters of religion, without interrupsent him getting over a park paling tion, set with tenter hooks, while before His lordship avowed himself bim was a wall fifty feet high, a decided enemy to toleration, bewhich he could not get over, and cause it implied that certain inon one side an open gate, by which dividuals were permitted, as he might enter without difficully matter of favour and sufference, to and avoid the wall. Now what worship their Creator in the way he meant by this was, that the they deemed proper. It acknow. paling set with tenter-hooks was ledged the right of those who the statutes he had qunted, the granted toleration to be, if they high wall was the ecclesiastical pleased, at any time intolerant. jurisdiction, and the open gate For this reason he had always was his bill, containing a short en. condemned and hated the statutes actment declaring the liberty of of the 29th Charles II. and the religious opinion. The subject of 1st. Will. and Mary, ch. 15. be. uniformity, his lordship illustrated cause they were called Toleration by an anecdote of the chapel clock Acts : in his lordship's opinion, with four faces, in Vere Street, near what was called toleration, only Cavendish Square, which on pass. rivitted the chains of religious ing one day he looked up to, to ob. slavery. One Mr. William Smith serve the hour, and observed, that had lately been dabbling in these on one of the facesit was fiveo'clock; matters, but not with much suc. but having an angular view, he cess: he proposed by his bill a saw that the second face pointed completely new system, accordat a quarter past five : thinking ing to which licences were to be this very odd, he looked at the granted, not only to a man to third face, and found that to point preach, but old women were not at balf.

-past five: this was odder even allowed to say their prayers still, be looked at the fourth face, without it-people were not to be and found it was three-quarters allowed to exercise their natural past five. Adverting to a variety rights, without permission from of enactments respecting the Book Mr. W. Smith. The quantity of of Common Prayer, his lordship licences required would be innu. observed upon the differences that merable, and it would have been existed in the copies of thal book, a great improvement of the scheme, as published by the Universities of if Mr. Vansittart had thought of Oxford and Cambridge, stating making it a very fruitful source of that they amounted to 4000 and revenue, by imposing a stamp odd. He quoted an opinion of duty of 58. or 10s. on every licence: Lord Mansfield, delivered in give the produce would be incalculable; ing judgment in an appeal in that almost as much as the tax pro. House, stating that conscience posed by a learned but humorous was not amenable to human law, bishop, who said that he could point or controulable by humantribunals, out to government a mode of rais. and urged. this in support of his ing a very large sum of money. Of Qourse all the ministers were eager rejecting the Bill brought in by to be let into so advantageous a Earl Stanhope, he meant it to be secret, thinking that they person. understood that nothing would be ally should be relieved of some of done by government with regard the burdens they were in com. to the disabilities under which the mon compelled to sustain : but dissenters laboured? If so, be the reverse was the fact, and they should feel it to be his duty, how. were not a little disappointed, and ever unequal to the task, to subit drew down their faces to an mit to the House some proposition enormous length, when the pre. upon the subject. late informed them that he sug. The Earl of Liverpool replied, gested a duty upon adultery and that he felt not the least difficulty fornication [laughter). His lord, in informing the noble baron," that sbip would not detain the House he was thuroughly convincel that longer, although the question was some alteration of the existing laws of the greatest importance. He is absolutely necessary, and he conjured the Right Reverend pre. would add, that the subject bad lates well to weigh the subject, most seriously occupied the atten. divested of those prejudices which tion of the cabinet, and of himself they naturally cast into the scale; individually. Every person at he addressed them not only on be. all acquainted with the subject, half of the Dissenters, but on be. would be aware that many diffia half of the Protestant religion. culties were to be overc me, but And for the Dissenters he might bis Lordship hoped in the course address them in the eloquent words of a few days (although he by no of St. Paul, when before Agrippa, means could pledge himself) iu -“Would to God that not only bring forward a bill to apply a re. those, but all who hear me, were medy to the evils now complained not only almost but altogether of.” such a one as I am,-except these Lord Holland observed, that bonds." His lordship expressed whatever objections he might feel bis gratitude to Heaven, that there to some of the details of the mea. was now some prospect that“these sure just dismissed, yet no bill to bonds" would be broken. Be be proposed by the noble earl, the consequences what they might, would satisfy his mind unless it he would be one of the first to at- were founded on the same princi. tempt their destraction.

ple. The question was then put, that the Bill be read a second time. A division took place, when the

Protest on the Rejection of Lord numbers were,

Stanhope's Bill, in the House Contents


of Lords, on Friday, July 30. Non-contents

31 Because the toleration hitherto The Bill was accordingly thrown granted to Dissenters by law is inout. On re-entering the House complete, amounting to nothing we found

more than a partial and conditional Lord Holland upon his legs.- exemption from penalties and per. He begged to ask the noble Earl secutions, whereas the bill now opposite (Liverpool) whether by rejected, by recognizing the right

« AnteriorContinua »