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habit of doing the very thing that he considers as of fo feditious a tendency in us? Have not they their district 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 Resolutions made public? You see them in all the newspapers, so that you may read, and examine them yourselyes, and see whether they contain any thing of a seditious nature. It is for your information, and judgment of them, that we are at so much expence to make them public. Our wish is to give you information, to lay our case clearly before you, to invite the accusations of our adversaries, and to make you our judges.
Mr. Madan could not write as he has done, without suspecting that, besides our printed Resolutions, we have others which we do not publish, like the secret articles in public treaties between states and fovereigns. But so very heterogeneous a body as the Diflenters are, agreeing in nothing but a desire of equal liberty, could not well have, or keep, secrets. Mr. Madan himself says, p. 27, that we “ betray our final views indiscreetly.” And truly, if we were not honest men, we are very indiscreet indeed. You never heard of rogues and traitors going to work as we do. If they did, they would have very little chance of succeeding in such 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 ininuated p. 26, that 1 in particular have dangerous views. Now, my good friends and neighbours, I am not actually a mad
You know too much of me to believe this. You see me walk about the streets very composedly, without molesting any body, and always behaving civilly to those who behave civilly to me, and therefore I hope you will B 3
not think I have any such diabolical intention. In fact, all the gunpowder that I manufacture is contained in such pamphlets as this that you are now reading; and though it may serve for wadding to a gun, it can do nothing else towards shooting birds, or killing men. My gunpowder is nothing but arguments, which can have no force but what you yourselves shall be pleased to give them, from your own conviction of the reasonableness of what I lay before you.
Like all people, who think themselves 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 so much mistaken, my intention is friendly, and no harm can arise from it. If the conduct of your clergy be justifiable, and even commendable, as I acknowledge it to be, in endeavouring to bring Diflenters into the church, provided they make use of no other means than arguments, ič 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 History and recent Faits, that neither the Difsenters in general, nor the Presbyterians in particular, have been such Enemies to Monarchy, as Mr. Madan has represented.
My good Friends and Neighbours, M
R. Madan is pleased to say, p. 13, “Is there no reason
“to see with suspicion their declarations of reverence "to the government, and of loyalty to the king, however « speciously 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 s loyalty has been exactly delineated with the blood of a
In his extraordinary paragraph, Mr. Madan, with what views are best known to himself, confounds the case of the present king George III. with that of Charles I. as if they were kings of similar characters, and governed by fimilar maxims, so that whoever could take it into their heads to rise against the one, and dethrone him, would do the faine by the other if they could. He too plainly insinuates that all Diffenters, at least such as met at Leicester, whose Resolutions he quotes, and which are similar to those that have been adopted in all other meetings (so that, in fact, he must mean to comprehend the great body of them in his censure) are in their hearts haters of kings in general, and of the present king in particular, that they would certainly murder them all without distinction, 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 present government, and of loyalty to the present king, are no more liable to suspicion than his own declarations, that what he tells you to our prejudice (leading you to consider 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 consider what reason he can have for this injurious accusation of us, as king-haters, and king-murderers. Let us fee if we can trace where he got these settled principles and conviction of his heart, though I fear we shall not easily find it. It must be from some very obscure quarter indeed, inaccessible to all mankind, and of which I suspect 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 transaction, were all the lineal descendants of those who put him to death inheriting their estates, names, and characters, and considering all kings, and the present king, in the same light as they did him) were not taken from any history of England that is now extant, at least any that I have ever seen, or heard of. But when he is called upon, he will perhaps be pleased 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 see that the parliament, which began the war with the king, was not a presbyterian one. It was called, though reluctantly, by the king himself, and the members were chosen by the nation at large, and as freely as any members of parliament ever were ; and if the necessary consequence of that war was the death of the king (since caufa caufæ eft caufa caufati) they are Epifcopalians, and not Presbyterians, to whom the death of this blessed 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 episcopalian parliament (for the majority of the members were such) declared war against him. And would not such measures as these justify resistance to any king? Is there nothing sacred in the rights of the
people; and are they to be wantonly trampled upon by any person, merely because he is called a king? And if in such a cause 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 such an enormity ? But without considering the justice of this measure, let us see in what manner this tragical event came to pass, and we shall find that, according to all historians, it is not to be attributed to the Presbyterians, who were by far the majority of those who difsented from the church of England at that time.
It is somewhat remarkable that the parliament which took up arms against Charles I. though originally Episcopalians, became in general Presbyterians. But this must have been the effect of their own conviction, and not of any compulsion. Presbyterians, however, as they were, it is well known that the members of this parliament continued to the last well wishers 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 remonftrances of the Prefbyterians, now upon record, they beheaded the king. After that event, the Presbyterians were the most active in bringing in his succeffor Charles II. and without their concurrence he could not have been brought in at all.
So much was Mr. Love, and some other zealous Prefbyterians, suspected of favouring the king, that Oliver Cromwell thought it necessary to put him and one Gibbons to death before his expedition to Scotland. He protested that he would not march till they were cut off. See An Historical Essay on the Loyalty of Presbyterians 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 Dissenters, as well as the Presbyterians, who remonstrated against that measure, they were but a small minority of them; and therefore, on the supposition that the present