Page images
PDF
EPUB

all that the other sects can expect, is only a toleration, which they already enjoy by the indulgence of the state ; and therefore, it is their interest to support the established church against any other sect that would attempt to destroy it.

II. If, nevertheless, the Dissenters were dangerous, severity is not so proper and effectual a method to reduce them to the church, as a charitable indulgence, as is manifest by experience, there having been more Dissenters reconciled to the church since the act of toleration, than in all time since the act of uniformity, to the time of the said act of toleration, and there is scarce one considerable family in England in community with the Dissenters: severity may make hypocrites, but not converts.

III. If severity could be supposed ever to be of use, yet this is not a proper time for it, while we are threatened with much greater dangers to the church and nation against which the ProtestantDissenters have joined, and are still willing to join with us ; by enforcing the laws against them, in a matter which of all others, must most sensibly grieve them, viz. the education of their children; which reduces them to a necessity either of breeding them in a way they do not approve, or of leaving them without instruction.

IV. This must be the more grievous to the Dissenters, because it was little expected from the members of the established church, after so favourable an indulgence as the act of toleration, and the repeated declarations and professions from the throne, and former parliaments, against all prosecution, which is the peculiar badge of the Roman church, which avows and practises this doctrine: and yet this has not been retaliated even upon the Papists, for all the laws made against them have the effects and just punishment of treasons, from time to time committed against the state : but it is not pretended that this bill is designed as a punishment of any crime which the Protestant-Dissenters have been guilty of against the civil government, or that they are disaffected to the Protestant succession, as by law established, for in this their zeal is very conspicuous.

V. In all the instances of making laws, of a rigid execution of the laws against Dissenters, it is very remarkable, that the design was to weaken the church, and drive them into one common interest with the Papists, and to join them in measures tending to the destruction of it. This was the method suggested by Popish counsels, to prepare them for the two successive declarations in the time of King Charles II. and the following one issued by King James II. to ruin all our civil and religious rights: and we cannot think that the arts and contrivances of the Papists to subvert our church, are proper means to preserve it, especially at a time VOL. I.

Еe

when we are in more danger of Popery than ever, by the designs of the pretender, supported by the mighty power of the French king, who is engaged to extirpate our religion, and by great numbers in this kingdom, who are professedly in his interest.

VI. But if the Dissenters should not be provoked by this severity, to concur in the destruction of their country and the Protestant religion, yet we may justly fear they may be driven by this bill from England, to the great prejudice of our manufactures, for, as we gained them by the persecution abroad, so we may lose them' by the like proceedings at home.

Lastly, The miseries we apprehend here, are greatly enhanced by extending this bill to Ireland, where the consequences of it may be fatal ; for since the number of Papists in that kingdom far exceeds the Protestants of all denominations together, and that the Dissenters are to be treated as enemies, or at least, as persons dangerous to that church and state, who have always, in all times, joined, and still would join, with the members of that church, against the common enemy of their religion ; and, since the

army there is very much reduced, Protestants, thus unnecessarily divided, seem to us to be exposed to the danger of another massacre, and the Protestant religion in danger of being extirpated.

And we may farther fear that the sects in Britain, whose national church is Presbyterian, will not so heartily and zealously join with us in our defence, when they see those of the same nation, same blood, and same religion, so hardly treated by us.

And this will be still more grievous to the Protestant-Dissenters in Ireland, because whilst the Popish priests are registered, and so indulged by law, as that they exercise their religion without molestation, that the laws are by this bill enforced against them.

Somerset, Dorchester, Scarborough, Nottingham, Halli

fax, W. Lincoln, Dorset and Middlesex, Sunderland, Bolton, Grafton, Cornwallis, Foley, Devonshire, Lincoln, Somers, Montagu, Radnor, W. Asaph, Townshend, Orford, Rockingham, Shomberb and Lempster, J. Banger, De Longueville, J. Landaff, Cowper.

No. LIV.

TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY,

THE HUMBLE ADDRESS OF THE KNIGHTS, CITIZENS, AND BUR

GESSES IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED.....PAGE 207.

MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN,

YOUR majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the commons of Ireland in parliament assembled, beseech your majesty to believe, that as none of your subjects suffered in their estates, lives, liberties, and properties, under a late Popish prince and ministry, in a greater degree than your Protestant subjects of this kingdom, so none can be more resolutely determined, to the utmost of their power, to support and defend your majesty's rightful and lawful title to the crown against the Pretender and his adherents.

The supplies which we have already given, the association we have entered into, and the resolution which your truly faithful commons have unanimously taken, upon the first intimation of the Pretender's being landed in North Britain, that whatever forces your majesty should think fit to raise, or whatever expence your majesty should think necessary for the defence of the kingdom, this house would enable your majesty to make good the same, will, we hope be accepted by your majesty as the most convincing proofs of our being entirely and affectionately devoted to your service, and of our having no view of safety or happiness but from your government and protection.

And as your loyal commons have already done, and resolve still to do, whatever may appear further necessary to defeat the designs of the Pretender and his friends, so they think themselves indispensably obliged, in discharge of that duty, to lay before your sacred majesty and their country the means by which the cause of the Pretender has been promoted in this kingdom, and to point out to your majesty the chief authors of those pernicious and dangerous counsels, which had brought your majesty's succession and the Protestant interest in this kingdom into the most imminent danger. Your faithful commons do therefore humbly take leave to acquaint your majesty, that soon after the meeting of the late parliament in this kingdom, the then House of Commons received information, that many Irish Papists had been, and continued to be daily shipped off from Dublin, and other ports, for the service of the Pretender; which traitorous practice, and the remiusness observed in discovering or preventing it, together with the countenance shewn to those, who were remarkable for nothing but their disaffection to your majesty's succession and the late happy revolution, made such an impression on that truly loyal House of Commons, that they humbly addressed the late queen to remove one of the great supporters of the Pretender's interest in this kingdom out of her service, and also ordered heads of a bill to be brought in to attaint the Pretender of high treason, which was soon after done ; but the house was prevented proceeding thereon by an unseasonable prorogation, notwithstanding they had, with great unanimity and chearfulness, granted such supplies as were desired for the support of the government.

That parliament being prorogued in so unusual a manner, and for no other reason, that your commons can apprehend, but the warm zeal they expressed for your majesty's succession, and their resolution to enquire into, and, as far as in them lay, to prevent the designs of those who endeavoured to defeat it; the next step taken was to advise her late majesty to break a great part of her army in this kingdom, which was accordingly done in an extraordinary manner, several regiments being broke, without any regard to their services, or the dates of their commission, and chiefly, as we conceive, for the steady adherence to your majesty's interest and known aversion to the Pretender.

Your faithful commons do, therefore, humbly offer it to your majesty as their unanimous opinion, that the persons, who advised the irregular breaking of a great part of the army in this kingdom, immediately after the unseasonable prorogation of the late parliament, when heads of a bill to attaint the Pretender were under consideration of the then House of Commons, were enemies to the Protestant succession, and designed to bring in the Pretender and popery.

And as we have presumed to inform your majesty of some of the many steps, which were taken to accomplish those traitorous designs, so we cannot, without unfaithfulness to your majesty, and those whom we represent, forbear to acquaint your majesty, that your commons, considering the whole conduct of the Right Honourable Arthur Earl of Anglesey, and the great influence he had in the management of the affairs in this kingdom, are humbly of opinion, that the said Arthur Earl of Anglèsey was one of the principal advisers of her late majesty to break a great part of the army, and prorogue the late parliament in this kingdom, and therein gave pernicious counsel to her majesty, and is an enemy to your majesty and the Protestant interest of Ireland.

Your loyal commons do therefore, most humbly and earnestly entreat your majesty, that you will be graciously pleased, for the security of your government and this nation, to remove, at this critical juncture, the said Arthur Earl of Anglesey from your council and office of one of the vice-treasurers in this kingdom.

NO. LV.

THE SENTIMENTS OF A CHURCH-OF-ENGLAND-MAN WITH RESPECT

TO GOVERNMENT, BY DR. JONATHAN SWIFT....PAGE 210.

WE look upon it as a very just reproach, though we cannot agree where to fix it, that there should be so much violence and hatred in religious matters among men who agree in all fundamentals, and only differ in some ceremonies, or, at most, mere speculative points. Yet is not this frequently the case between contending parties in a state ? For instance, do not the generality of Whigs and Tories among us profess to agree in the same fundamentals ; their loyalty to the king, their abjuration of the pretender, the settlement of the crown in the Protestant line, and a revolution-principle ? their affection to the church established, with toleration of Dissenters ? Nay, sometimes they go farther, and pass over into each others principles ; the Whigs become great asserters of the prerogatives, and the Tories, of the people's liberty ; these crying down almost the whole set of bishops, and those defending them: so that the differences fairly stated, would be much of a sort with those in religion among us, and amount to little more than who should take place, or go in and out first, or kiss the king's hand: and what are these but a few court-ceremonies? or, who should be in the ministry; and what is that to the body of the nation, but a mere speculative point? Yet I think it must be allowed, that no religious sects ever carried their mutual aversions to greater heights than our state-parties have done, who, the more to inflame their passions, have mixed religious and civil animosities together ; borrowing one of their appellations from the church, with the addition of high and low, how little soever their disputes relate to the term, as it is generally understood.

I now proceed to deliver the sentiments of a church-of-Englandman, with respect to government.

He doth not think the church of England so narrowly calculated, that it cannot fall in with any regular species of govern.

« PreviousContinue »