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fore unfit to be retained on the statute fore certainly vote for the resolutions. books. He concluded by moving the He adverted in strong terms to the opResolutions which are inserted below. pressive operation of the Acts in ques.
Mr. PEACOCK seconded the motion. tion on foreigners, who, on their set. Eren Churchmen, he observed, com: tlement in this country, were compelled plained that the law compelled them to qualify under them. He knew an into take the sacrament to qualify them stance of a respectable gentleman who for a seat in that Court. To the Dis- had been kept in a state of the utmost senters the grievance was of course terror for a month because he could not much greater. He referred to the Non- bend his conscience to conform to the conformists as being, at the time of Sacramental Test. He was not one who passing these Acts, the true friends of would pledge himself to support any the Constitution, and the defenders of minister by postponing great questions the liberties of the country. They had in which the interests of the public were made many sacrifices to serve the pub. concerned. He thought the ministry lic. They had not forfeited their for- ought to have the opinion of this Court mer character, and were, therefore, on the question under discussion. He entitled to relief as their right. He did not blame Mr. Canning for the defully agreed in the resolutions, and claration he had made, though, perhaps, concurred in the propriety of not pre- he had been goaded to it. That gentlesenting a petition at this particular man had never been the advocate or juncture.
friend of the measure to which he had Mr. Dixon spoke against the resolu- then announced his hostility. He was tions. He complained that the mover for going at once to Parliament. The had not treated the Court fairly in de- question related to many besides the parting from the terms of the requisition, Dissenters, and was of deep interest to which announced the intention to peti- every member of the Church of England tion. He thought he ought to have who was compelled to take the sacraacted on his own judgment and brought ment as a qualification for office. the whole measure forward at once, Mr. Alderman WAITHMAN admitted, rather than comply with the wishes of with his honourable colleague, that it certain members of Parliament who had was the duty of every member of the agreed, for particular party reasons, tó Legislature to act on his own indepenpastpone this and other important ques- dent opinion; yet he felt that he ought tious. He could see no ground for seek to support that party in Parliament ing the repeal of these Acts. Such had which was disposed to carry on liberal been the practical course pursued by the measures. He also thought that the Church of England, that no obstacle had people were bound to support the prebeen placed in any man's way to prevent rogative of the crown in the choice of his rising in his condition. The Acts its ministers. As there was nothing had, in his opinion, produced no prac- perfect in buman institutions, he contical evil. He wished to know who sidered it right to get all the good he suffered from them? As they occasion- could when we failed to obtain all that ed no real inconvenience, he was for we wished. On this account he would letting well alone. He knew there avoid pressing any
which existed a disposition to innovation, should tend to embarrass the new ad. and he could not but consider this as ministration. Mr. Dixon had said, that no an experiment to entrap the Court into person had opposed obstacles to the addeclaratory resolutions, when the gen- mission of members to that Court from tleman would not hazard his cause in the Acts under consideration. He (Mr. Parliament. He concluded by moving, W.) knew that a disposition had existed as an amendment, the previous question. to put them in force against himself. But
Mr. SAVAGE seconded the amendment supposing this had not been the case, He viewed the original resolutions, not why should the Court sanction a law only as contemplating the repeal of the which put this in any man's power? Corporation and Test Acts, but also as a He deprecated the idea that we were to step designed to promote the great ques- be bound in all things by the wisdom of tion of Catholic Emancipation, which he our ancestors, who might have had parboped po Englishman would support. ticular reasons for their proceedings
Mr. Alderman Wood regretted that which had long ceased to operate. If the mover (Mr. Favell) had not acted we acted on this principle there would on his original intentions of petition. be an end of all improvements. Were ing Parliament. He wished to go all we to abstain from our efforts in this lengths with him, and he should there- case, merely because the laws of which
we sought the repeal were so tyrannical Mr. RICHARD TAYLOR agreed with the that no public body had ever had the Aonourable Alderman, °(Waithman,) courage to put them in force ? He was that it would not be proper to press the quite sure that if an attempt were made petition at the present time. His reason to carry them into execution, they was, that the liberal questions were now would be deemed so oppressive that the taken up by their enemies for factious feelings of the whole country would re- purposes. During the existing turmoil volt; and he was certain that he should in Parliament, he was sure the subject have with him the honourable gentle- could not be discussed with that cool. man himself, who was now for leaving ness which its importance demanded. them as they are. It was his opinion, He approved of all the resolutions. He however, that it would be inexpedient considered the question as important to petition at this time, but he would not alone to the Dissenters, but in an vote for the resolutions.
especial manner to the Corporation itself. Mr. Jupp was against petitioning Par- The Corporation and Test Acts interliament at present, but would also sup- fered with its most important rights, the port the resolutions. The question ap- right of goveruing itself as a civil coinpeared to him to be twofold - first, munity, and of making its own selection whether any test were necessary-and, of the persons best calculated for masecondly, whether such a test as that naging its affairs and preserving its priimposed by these Acts was necessary ? vileges. He conceived that no person His opinion was against both. Histo- who, by his talents and character, was torically, the Acts were not meant to fitted for any office, should be by law affect Dissenters, and would not have excluded from it. It had been said by been carried had they not joined in an honourable member, that there was passing them with the view of opposing a disposition to innovation. He would the Roman Catholics. And the House tell that gentleman that the Corporation of Commons, in the very same session, and Test Acts were themselves among passed an act to relieve the Dissenters the greatest of innovations on the rights from their operation. He considered of that Corporation, and of all other them as holding out a bribe to hypo- chartered companies, which had existed crisy; they also tied up the hands of the long before those statutes were known. government, and prevented its availing They went to confine all offices to itself of the services of the Dissenters. those who were by religions profession
Mr. STEVENS could not as a Dissen- of the same Church as the persons by ter approve the manner in which the whom they were passed. They, therequestion had been brought forward. He fore, restrained the power of the Corpo was a friend of the Church of England ration to rule itself, and to choose its as an Act-of-Parliament Church, because own members. The Acts were made he considered it as acting more tolerantly for temporary purposes, and therefore than any other church of the same kind. ought long ago to have been repealed. God forbid that any party he knew The Corporation Act was aimed, not should supersede it as a church esta- against Papists, but against certain turblished by law. But the Church of En- bulent persons, on the restoration of gland could not be looked upon by the Charles the Second. It was in its chaDissenters as the church of God. The racter and object like the notorious Six head of the former was a man, but the Acts, and, like them, when the prehead of the latter was God. (Great mur tended necessity had ceased, ought to murs.) He was against postponing the have been expunged from the Statute petition. The promoters of the measure Books. When it was passed, a party in could not hope by the delay to win a the House of Lords wished to give the single vote. He thought this the fit time Crown the power of appointing to all to bring it forward. Nothing would be corporate offices. James the Second acgained by temporising, especially after tually assumed this power, and abused the declaration of the Minister that he it by removiug some members from the would oppose two measures compre- Corporation of London. Both the Acts hending the civil and religious liberties affected also the serious clergyman, of the country. He was decidedly averse obliging him to violate his conscience to the imposition of an ordinance deem- by assisting in the abuse of a religious ed religious as a test for civil offices. In ordinance, when required to administer his opinion they ought not to suspend the sacrament as a qualification for a their proceedings on account of the Ca- secular office. tholic question; he thought the subjects Mr. PELLATT observed, that it was quite distinct.
not true that no practical inconvenience
bad been suffered from the operation of at all times amongst the most zealons these laws. On the passing of the Test supporters of the House of Brunswick, Act in Ireland, the Corporation of Derry and of the principles of the British Conhad been broken up, because the mem- stitution. bers could not comply with the Statute. That if these Acts had been enforced An attempt had also been made in Lon during the late war, a very large prodon to exclude a gentleman from the portion of the volunteer officers would Corporation. It failed, merely because have been subjected to the most ruinous the party against whom the attack was penalties. aimed, happened to carry in his pocket That all persons born and educated in the certificate of his qualification, Scotland, under the Presbyterian reli.
Mr. PEWTRESS knew that the Acts had gion, established by law, are required to occasioned much inconvenience in some conform to these laws when they accept of the Wards in London. Persons of of offices in England, or enter into His respectablity could not be found to un- Majesty's army or navy. dertake offices of trust because they were That in Ireland, where the members compelled to qualify. They were, on of the Church of England are in a mi. this account, obliged to look to other nority, the Corporation Act has nerer Wards for candidates for these situations, existed, and the Test Act has been loug The inconvenience experienced in Lon. since repealed. don was much greater in the country, That the disabilities under these Acts where gentlemen of fortune were pre- are so numerous, that if enforced they rented from serving their respective would unsettle the questious of property neighbourhoods, because they were ob- throughout the kingdom, which has liged first to submit to the obnoxious doubtless induced the government to pass Test.
an act of indemnity every year, allowing Mr. FAVELL made a few observations further time for qualifying, exhibiting in reply to some of the speakers. The the most extraordinary anomaly in the Recorder then put the question on Mr. history of legislation, by which laws are Dixon's amendment, which was lost by retained upon the statute book, and cona large majority; after which the original stantly nullified as unfit to operate in Resolutions were carried by a majority society. equally great.
That they are contrary to the interests Resolutions.
and privileges of this Corporation, by
enabling many persons, in other respects Resolved, That this Court is deeply duly qualified, to decline the highest impressed with the injustice and impo. ofices of the magistracy in this city withlicy of the Corporatiou and Test Acts, out being liable to those fines which are which were passed in times when almost levied upon their fellow-citizens. all parties were opposed to the rights of That many of the members of the conscience, and to the principles of reli. Church of England, as well as Dissenters, gious liberty.
consider these Acts as a violation of the That they inflict on persons who do sacred ordinance of the Lord's Supper, sot qualify under them the most severe when applied as a test for civil purposes, penalties. Besides the fine of £500, and as totally contrary to the spirit of they are rendered incapable of prose- the institution, the object of which our cuting any action or suit in law or equity Saviour declared, by saying, “ Do this -from being guardian of any child, or iu remembrauce of me." acting as executor or administrator of That, anxious as this Court must ever any person, or from receiving any legacy feel to evince its attachment to the polior deed of gift, or bearing any office tical and religious institutions of the withiu the realm of Evgland; and all country, it cannot better discharge that these punishments apply to persons who duty than by recommending measures of enter corporations or chartered compa- peace and liberality, that all parties may nies, or iake certain offices or commis- unite in the service of their country; sions appointed by the Crown, without and being, above all, anxious, for the first receiving the Sacrament of the sake of religion and piety, to promote Lord's Supper according to the rites of the repeal of enactments which turn the the Church of England.
holiest ordinance of religion into a qualiThat while they limit the prerogative fication and passport for power, and imof the Crown in rewarding merit, they pose restraints on the Church itself, to convey imputations of disloyalty upon the free administration of its religious those classes of his Majesty's subjects service, and invite men to its commuamong Nonconformists, who have been uiou with far other feelings than such
as tend to purify the heart or amend the Acts. It stated, when they had first life.
determined to bring their grievances beThat we agree with the excellent sen fore the attention of Parliament, and to timents of the late Lord Mansfield, petition for relief, they did so under the which were delivered in the House of most pleasing auspices, and with the Lords upon the case of the City against most sanguine hopes of success; but Allen Evans, where he said, '“What from the lamented illness of Lord Liverbloodshed and coufusion have been oc. pool, in whom they had always found a casioned, from the reign of Henry IV.; kind and a consistent friend, and the when the first penal statutes were en- subsequent changes in the administraacted, down to the Rerolution in this tion of the country, that hope, they kingdom, by laws made to force con were sorry to say, had very considerably science !"
abated. They were, however, deterThere is certainly nothing more un mined temperately, but firmly, to pro · reasonable—more inconsistent with the ceed until the object of their just wishes rights of human nature—more contrary and expectations was attained. Peti to the spirit and precepts of the Christian tions were in the course of preparation religion—more iniquitous and unjust from every city, town and village, in more impolitic, than persecution—it is England and Wales; and the committec', against uatural religion, revealed religiou, with great satisfaction, informed the and sound policy.
meeting, that not only members of the WOODTHORPE. Established Church, but, in a number of
instances, clergymen and magistrates,
not only signed their petitions themProtestant Society for the Protection selves, but used all their influence in of Religious Liberty.
procuring the signatures of others.
Under these circumstances, although On Saturday, May 12, the Anniversary they did not expect immediate success, Meeting of the friends and subscribers they must ultimately prevail. The reof this Society was held at the City of port then alluded to the expressed deLondon Tavern. Lord Milton in the termination of the First Lord of the Chair.
Treasury to oppose their claims: it Mr. Wilks read the report, which was lamented that fact, and the more so, exceedingly voluminous, and which was that it should have been given so grameant to embody the facts that had tuitously, and without suffering them been 'usually developed in the elo even 'to state their claims: it was an quent address of that gentleman at obstacle they did not expect to have to the annual meetings of the Society, encounter, but it did not cause them to The report principally consisted of despair. It then stated, that it had been details of minor oppressions and per a matter of considerable doubt to the secutions to which, in some places, committee, whether or not it would be the Dissenters had been exposed, and proper for them to press their claims in which instances relief, and as far upon the government this session, in as the law allowed reparation, were ob- delicacy to the administration; but the tained through the means of this Society. consideration that those claims had At Winchester a magistrate had ordered been brought forward before that change a person who was preaching in the street occurred, and the opposition they now into custody, and subsequently sent him found they were to expect, had deterto prison, for which conduct the commit mined them to proceed by the adoption tee brought an action of false imprison- of every lawful means in their power ment, which the magistrate was happy for the immediate recovery of their into compound by the payment of £10, disputable rights; though it yet rebesides £50 for costs. It then enume mained a matter of some doubt wherated several places where the rites of ther they recommended proceeding by Christian burial had been refused to petition or by protest. The report then Dissenters, and two instances where the passed a high eulogium on Lord John clergyman had absolutely refused Russell, to whose able management marry a couple who presented them- their cause in Parliament was intrusted, selves for that purpose, unless the brides and concluded by stating what their would permit him in the first place to honour and their duty equally required, baptize them according to the ritual of that they should “proceed temperately the Church of England. After various and firmly, but with an energy and spirit other details it proceeded to touch upon increasing with their difficulties." the repeal of the Test and Corporation The meeting was then addressed by
sereral ministers, chiefly from the coun. to Catholics and Dissenters. One of try, who moved some of the resolutions, his strongest private reasons for affordwhich we shall insert below.
ing relief to the Catholics way, that Mr. EASTHOPE, M. P. for St. Albans, nothing would more essentially contri. in proposing one of the resolutions said, bute to emancipate them from the blind. that understanding it to be the opinion ing power and dominion of their priests, of an enlightened statesman, whose ac than the removal of the disabilities under cession to power he hailed with sincere which they so unjustly laboured. If the pleasure and hope, that all the disabili- agitation of this question would necesties under which the Dissenters laboured sarily tend to overturn the present adwere merely theoretic; and perceiving ministration, he trusted, that, notwithit likely that he might be called upon in standing the hasty declaration of the the House of Conmons to deliver his first Lord of the Treasury, their love of sentiments, he had felt it his duty to civil liberty would prevent them from come where he might gain information, bringing it forward at this particular because he was sure, if he were satisfied juncture. But as they had given previous that the objections were purely theoretic, notice of their intention-as many petiit would reduce much of his anxiety on tions were prepared—as their case needthat question. He confessed, however, ed explanation—as their cause was great that he was now more surprised than and just—as no advantage would be atever, at the statement which had passed tendant on delay, -he should now advise the lips of the minister of the crown. them to persevere, and would conscienWas it not more than theoretic, that tiously afford his, perhaps feeble, but those who bore rank in society, and warm support. were distinguished by every thing which After thanks had been voted to the entitled them to confidence and respect, Secretaries, Mr. Wilks rose, and began were told that the doors of the meanest by stating, that he had resolved not to offices of the state were shut against speak, but that their kindness had moved them, unless they submitted to a test, him from his purpose. He proceeded to which in their conscience they could for some time with a rapid and eloquent not submit ? Was it not more than the review of the various grievances stated in oretic, that persons born and educated the report, and which had occupied much on the north side of the Tweed, and of the attention of the Committee during there enjoying all the privileges of the the passed year. In adverting to the state, should, the moment they passed subject of the Corporation and Test Acts that river, be laid under proscriptions, he remarked, that he should not rest which were revolting to every honoura- satisfied till those statutes were repealed. ble mind? To him it was matter of Of their origin, their intolerance, their surprise, that these galling disabilities persecuting principles, and their offensive had not oftener been the subject of in- operations, much had been well said, dignant complaint. Nothing was so and more was needless. Their introduc. much wanted for the relief of the Dis- tion should, however, blazon in characsenters, as an uniform, a consistent, but ters of fire a lesson to mankind. If, at temperate expression of their grievances. the times of their enactment, the DisIn bringing forward their complaints, senters had preferred principle to prethe Dissenters must naturally think that judices, nor meanly helped to forge the declaration of the Premier placed chains for themselves, that others might them in a different situation than if it be chained, the clanking of these chains had not been made. Mr. Canning was would never have been heard, and we understood to say, that it was his anxi- should not now be required to struggle, ous desire to afford relief to the Roman that the fetters might be broken. Let Catholics, but he saw no reason for re men ever proclaim and adhere to truth lieving the Dissenters; and he followed and principle, and confidently leave their up that opinion by saying, that the grieve destinies and furtune to justice and to ances of the latter were merely theoretic. heaven. But the fetters must now be Now he (Mr. Easthope) was an ardent broken, or at least we will prove that and upqualified advocate for both ; and we are not heedless of their infamy, nor the principle of his opinion was, that desire to hug our chains. The meeting no man should be amenable to his fel- had already evidenced their opinion, low-men for the exercise of a conscien- that no circumstances which have oc. tious worship, that being a matter be- curred recently, and since the application tween his conscience and his God. The for relief had been announced, should rights of conscience were the only intel- induce a postponement of the attempt, ligible grounds for advocating relief both In that opinion he concurred. Indeed,