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habit of doing the very thing that he confiders as of fo feditious a tendency in us? Have not they their diftrict meetings every month, and their national meetings in London every year; and have they not a common fund to defray the expences attending them, and for other purposes also not particularly specified? As to what we do in our district meetings (for as yet we have not held any national one) are not our Refolutions made public? You see them in all the newspapers, so that you may read, and examine them yourfelves, and fee whether they contain any thing of a feditious nature. It is for your information, and judgment of them, that we are at so much expence to make them public. Our with is to give you information, to lay our cafe clearly before you, to invite the accufations of our adverfaries, and to make you our judges.
Mr. Madan could not write as he has done, without. suspecting that, befides our printed Refolutions, we have others which we do not publish, like the fecret articles in public treaties between states and fovereigns. But so very heterogeneous a body as the Diffenters are, agreeing in nothing but a defire of equal liberty, could not well have, or keep, fecrets. Mr. Madan himself fays, p. 27, that "we "betray our final views indiscreetly." And truly, if we were not honest men, we are very indifcreet indeed. You never heard of rogues and traitors going to work as we do. If they did, they would have very little chance of fucceeding in fuch defigns as Mr. Madan imputes to us.
You have been told in a variety of publications, that I have threatened to blow up the church, if not the state also, with gunpowder, and Mr. Madan (who, if the church be blown up, must take his fate along with it) has infinuated p. 26, that I in particular have dangerous views. Now, my good friends and neighbours, I am not actually a madYou know too much of me to believe this. You see me walk about the streets very compofedly, without molefting any body, and always behaving civilly to those who behave civilly to me, and therefore I hope you will
not think I have any fuch diabolical intention. In fact, all the gunpowder that I manufacture is contained in fuch pamphlets as this that you are now reading; and though it may serve for wadding to a gun, it can do nothing else towards fhooting birds, or killing men. My gunpowder is nothing but arguments, which can have no force but what you yourselves fhall be pleafed to give them, from your own conviction of the reafonablenefs of what I lay before you.
Like all people, who think themfelves in the right, I wish, no doubt, to bring others to think as I do on every subject of importance. But the pains I take in this way is for your own good, and not for mine; and though I should be ever fo much mistaken, my intention is friendly, and no harm can arise from it. If the conduct of your clergy be juftifiable, and even commendable, as I acknowledge it to be, in endeavouring to bring Diffenters into the church, provided they make use of no other means than arguments, it cannot be wrong in me to endeavour by other arguments to bring you from it. We equally mean to conduct you to heaven in the way of truth, and the practice of virtue. After all, you hear us both, and judge for yourselves; and we have no reason to expect that you will go one way or the other till you think you have good reason for so doing. What then is it that your clergy would frighten you with?
I am, &c.
Proofs from Hiftory and recent Facts, that neither the Disfenters in general, nor the Prefbyterians in particular, have been fuch Enemies to Monarchy, as Mr. Madan has reprefented.
My good Friends and Neighbours,
MR. Madan is pleased to fay, p. 13, "Is there no reason
to fee with fufpicion their declarations of reverence "to the government, and of loyalty to the king, however "specioufly and pompously announced, when the amount "of that reverence has been exactly ascertained by a woful experience of republican tyranny, and the extent of that "loyalty has been exactly delineated with the blood of a "king."
In his extraordinary paragraph, Mr. Madan, with what views are best known to himfelf, confounds the cafe of the prefent king George III. with that of Charles I. as if they were kings of fimilar characters, and governed by fimilar maxims, fo that whoever could take it into their heads to rise against the one, and dethrone him, would do the fame by the other if they could. He too plainly infinuates that all Diffenters, at least fuch as met at Leicester, whose Refolutions he quotes, and which are fimilar to those that have been adopted in all other meetings (fo that, in fact, he muft mean to comprehend the great body of them in his cenfure) are in their hearts haters of kings in general, and of the present king in particular, that they would certainly murder them all without diftinction, if they had opportunity; and that all our declarations to the contrary are not to be regarded.
Now, not to say that our declarations of reverence for the prefent government, and of loyalty to the prefent king, are no more liable to fufpicion than his own declarations, that what he tells you to our prejudice (leading you to
confider us as a band of traitors and rebels) is from his Settled principles and the conviction of his heart, as he hopes for mercy from the God of truth (which mercy, if he fincerely repent, I doubt not he will obtain) let us confider what reafon he can have for this injurious accufation of us, as king-haters, and king-murderers. Let us fee if we can trace where he got these fettled principles and conviction of his heart, though I fear we shall not eafily find it. It must be from some very obfcure quarter indeed, inacceffible to all mankind, and of which I fufpect he will not be able to give any clear account. himself. It is certain that the notions he has taken up concerning the death of Charles I. admitting that the present Diffenters, at the distance of near a century and a half from the time of that tranfaction, were all the lineal defcendants of those who put him to death (inheriting their estates, names, and charaters, and confidering all kings, and the present king, in the fame light as they did him) were not taken from any hiftory of England that is now extant, at least any that I have ever feen, or heard of. But when he is called upon, he will perhaps be pleafed to produce it.
The history that I should have thought to be most to his purpose is that of Clarendon, of what he calls the grand rebellion. But even there he will fee that the parliament, which began the war with the king, was not a prefbyterian one. It was called, though reluctantly, by the king himself, and the members were chofen by the nation at large, and as freely as any members of parliament ever were; and if the neceffary confequence of that war was the death of the king (fince caufa caufæ eft caufa caufati) they are Episcopalians, and not Prefbyterians, to whom the death of this bleffed martyr is to be ultimately afcribed. But to what was he a martyr, but to his own tyranny and duplicity? He would have governed in an arbitrary manner, without any parliament, and actually raised taxes by his own authority; and for this it was that an epifcopalian parliament (for the majority of the members were fuch) declared war against him. And would not such measures as thefe juftify resistance to any king? Is there nothing facred in the rights of the people;
people; and are they to be wantonly trampled upon by any person, merely because he is called a king? And if in such a caufe a king make war upon his subjects, and occafion the death of thousands of them, is his fingle life of so much value, as that he ought to be spared for fuch an enormity? But without confidering the justice of this measure, let us fee in what manner this tragical event came to pass, and we fhall find that, according to all hiftorians, it is not to be attributed to the Prefbyterians, who were by far the majority of those who diffented from the church of England at that time.
It is fomewhat remarkable that the parliament which took up arms against Charles I. though originally Epifcopalians, became in general Prefbyterians. But this must have been the effect of their own conviction, and not of any compulfion. Prefbyterians, however, as they were, it is well known that the members of this parliament continued to the last well wifhers to the king, and he was not put to death till by an armed force they were overpowered. This armed force was headed by Independents, and against the wishes and earnest remonstrances of the Prefbyterians, now upon record, they beheaded the king. After that event, the Prefbyterians were the moft active in bringing in his fucceffor Charles II. and without their concurrence he could not have been brought in at all.
So much was Mr. Love, and fome other zealous Prefbyterians, fufpected of favouring the king, that Oliver Cromwell thought it neceffary to put him and one Gibbons to death before his expedition to Scotland. He protefted that he would not march till they were cut off. See An Hiftorical Effay on the Loyalty of Prefbyterians in Great Britain and Ireland from the Reformation to the Year, 1713. 4to. p. 304.
Though the Independents who killed the king, might be called Diffenters, as well as the Prefbyterians, who remonstrated against that measure, they were but a small minority of them; and therefore, on the fuppofition that the present