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race of Diflenters are descended alike from both, and vie were responsible for the conduct of our ancestors, it ought not to be imputed to us as a botly, but only to a small part of us. Besides, the Independents of that day did not behead the king from any principles peculiar to their religious perfuafiöit. Cromwell, and the rest who joined him in that action, would have cut off the king, whatever had been their religion or his. They consulted not their religion, but their safety and their ambition. And in all those measures the Independents were joined by the Deifts, and men of no religion at all. It can therefore only answer the purposes of faclion and of bigotry, and by no means that of truth, to accuse the Disenters of putting king Charles to death. Had it been considered as an action highly meritorious, I doubt not, our pretensions to it would be far enough from being admitted.
If you read any history of England whatever, you will find this to be the truth of the case, though the very reverse is more than in Gnuated by Mr. Madan, and he may have authorities unknown to all the world besides. But then he ought not to assert what he has done without producing them. Without this he has no right to expect that the Jettled principles and conviction of his heart should become those of YOURS.
Mr. Madan, however, having got his historical and political principles from some source or other, is pleased to assert, p. 8, as a general maxim, that “the presbyterian “ principles are unquestionably republican." As he calls it 2in1quefiionable, I imagine he has never questioned it himself, or made any inquiry into the foundation of it; but as you are not bound to adopt his principles without questioning, or examination, let us fee how they accord both with the history of former times, and with the present state of things, which Mr, Madan, though he inay fhut bis own eyes, cannot conceal from you.
At the time of the civil wars, or, as Mr. Madan will say, during the grand rebellion, the Scots were unquestionably
Preibyterians, if ever there were any such people in the world. But though they joined the English till the king was effectually subdued, they remonstrated against putting him to death; and when, after this, England was governed by a republic, the Scotch Presbyterians, whose principles Mr. Madan says were unquestionably republican, were so attached to monarchy, that they not only received Charles II. and made him their king, but, in order to affist him in recovering what they deemed to be his right, they marched an army into England, but were defeated at Worcester, as every person who has read the history of England well knows. Where then, is the evidence from history of the principles of Presbyterians being unquestionably republican? Mr. Madan, however, afferts this to be the settled conviction of his heart, and therefore he must either have read some other histories of England, or none at all.
Let us now see whether it appears from the present fate of things, that the principles of Presbyterians be, as Mr. Madan afferts, unquestionably republican; and for this purpose let us look towards Scotland; and whether Mr. Madan be acquainted with the fact or not, it is well known to others, that presbyterianism is as much the established religion of that country, as episcopacy is of this. Now, are the Scots at all supposed to be inclined to republicanisın, or have they ever been accused, even in the greatest violence of party, of disaffection to the present government, or of any want of attachment to the present royal family? On the contrary, the only people disaffected to government in Scotland, those who joined the Pretender in that country were Epifcopalians, and very few of them Presbyterians*.
* A few, but not many, Scotch Presbyterians, men of desperate fortunes, joined the late Pretender. Of the English Diflenters, I believe, there was not one that took his part. In the first rebellion Mr. Wood, the dissenting minister at Chowbent in Lancashire, took the field himself at the head of his congregation. In the second the members of my former congregation at Leeds were regularly exercised, and prepared to march. One of my uncles, who had been a captain in the army, was an officer. When the rebellions were suppressed, these
If Mr. Madan's maxim be true, that the principles of Presbyterians are unquestionably republican, no nation of Presbyterians would ever have had a king, except one that was forced upon them. But the Scots always had kings, and as much of their own choice, as we in England. In all the civil wars, during the time of Mary Queen of Scots, it does not appear that they ever thought of abandoning monarchical government, and erecting a republic. While Mary was a prisoner in England, they made her son their king. That king became afterwards king of England, and they have been the descendants of this presbyterian king, who have reigned in this episcopalian country, from that time to the present day.
Let us now consider a little the conduct of the Scoich lords and commons since the union of the two nations. Are they more hostile to monarchy, and the ineasures of government, than the English members of parliament? The contrary is generally supposed. For though many English lords and commoners oppose the measures of
government, there is hardly an example of any Scotchman, either lord or commoner, ever doing it. And yet Mr. Madan, ignorant, I suppose, of all this, will have it that the principles of Presbyterians are unquestionably republican.
Mr. Madan will perhaps say that he meant the Presbyterians in England, exclusive of those in Scotland. But originally they were the very same; and till long after the time of Charles I. in which he charges them with maintaining republican principles, there was no difference whatever between them; and whatever Mr. Madan may think, tha
friends of the family upon the throne ( unquestionably Republicans, as Mr. Madan, vho was not then born, says they were) were graciously pardoned for what they had done.
In case of a third rebellion, I myself would undertake to raise a company of young men in my present congregation, able and willing to defend his present majesty, though he might not be so ready to pardon us for so doing. It is not the man, but the king, and the present reigning family, as an eilential part of the constitution, for which wa hould fight,
English Presbyterians at this day are no more attached to a republican government than those of former times, or those in Scotland, and I challenge him to produce any evidence of his confident assertion. That single speculative men, Presbyterians or others, may give the preference to that mode of government in theory, is not the question. Mr. Hume evidently had a predilection for it; but was he therefore discontented with this government, or in the least disaffected to it? There never was a more obedient subject. But the Diffenters, as a body, have never shewn any preference of a republican government; though it is easy to affert this, or any thing else, in order to throw an odiuin on those whom we wish to render generally obnoxious.
In fact, Mr. Madan might with as much truth say, that all Presbyterians are Negroes*, and that we paint our faces and hands, in order to conceal it, as maintain that we are republicans. Let him, or, since he will not, do you, read my own writings of a political nature, viz. my Ejay on the firf Principles of Government, or Dr. Price's Essay on Civil Liberty, which are generally considered as the boldest, and the most exceptionable, of any thing on the subject in the English language; or look into my Lečiures on History and General Policy, in which I particularly consider all the forms of government, and weigh their advantages and defects, and see whether you can discover any traces of a preference for republican government. On the contrary, you will there find a decided preference given to our own, and perhaps as good reasons for this preference as Mr. Madan himself is able to give. What then must you think of such calumny as he, in this random inconsiderate manner, and yet with such uncommon solemnity, has thrown out.
* In the famous contested election at Bristol between the late Lord Nugent (as he afterwards became) and Mr. Beckford, his Lordship told me that he gained his point with the populace, by his friends asserting that Mr. Beckford (who had an estate in Jamaica, and, as I remember, was at that time there) was a Negro, and the popular cry on his LordShip’s fide was “ No Negro; no woollen hair. They had even (as I think he added) a painted figure of a Negro with such hair carried about the streets. When I asked him how his friends could affert such absurd falsehoods, he replied that all was fair at an election. Mr. Madan may perhaps think it equally fair in the present contest, to call the Diflenters republicans, but then he should not have declared that what he aserted was from the settled principles and conviction of his heart, as he hoped for mercy from the God of truth. This was much farther than Lord Nugen! went.
The truth is, that we Diffenters are friends to a limited monarchy, in which a king may do much good, and can do but little harm, whereas the clergy in general have always had a leaning to a more arbitrary form of government, in which the king shall have much to give, and themselves as much to receive. Hence their deep rooted attachment to the family of the Stuarts, and ours to that of Hanover. It is well known that the clergy in general were never well affected to what is usually called government, but generally opposed the measures of the court, in the reigns of king William, and those of George I. and George II, while the Diffenters, out of gratitude for the liberty they enjoyed under them, went perhaps too eagerly with the court, and abetted with too little distinction the measures of government.
Now it has unfortunately happened, that another king is arifen, who knoweth not yoseph, or the obligations that his family are under ; a prince who, with the best intentions, has the truth hidden from him by churchmen like Mr. Madan, who, without reminding him that the Diffenters were the steadiest friends of his grandfather, and great grandfather, will persuade him that they are his enemics, and wish to overturn his government; and we have not the same access to him that they have, and so have no opportunity of informing him better. And though he should give us a hearing, his attention has been pre-occupied by such men as Mr. Madan, who have told him that our declarations are not to be trusted. But, my generous countrymen, we think it cur happiness that we have access to you, and perhaps finally, through you, to the king himself. Before your tribunal I arraign Mr. Madan, of evil speaking and calumny; and whether it be intentional, or not, the