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no small consequence both to the ease and safety of
ANOTHER subječt which we could have wished to have explained more fully is the repeal or amendment of the laws which lay restraints and penalties on Protestant Dissenters; persons, who, as we think, have fewn themselves the stedfast friends of liberty and this establishment.
It is indeed true, that they were OLD WHIGGS wko first made these laws, nay not without the concurrence and asistance of the Dissenters themselves ; but as experience Shews them to be of no consequence to answer the ends proposed in making them, and as they tend on the contrary to weaken the hands which they were made to strengthen, they seem to have continued full long enough.
'TIS said, the taking off those restraints would make divisions amongst us, and alarm the clergy. Our clergy see too clearly, the consequences which the desired repeal would be of to the honour of religion, and the uniting Protestants, to give a negative to it, was it to depend on their voices. Nor could any friend to the repeal be anxious of the event even on that contingency, if be duly considered how long all ecclepastical preferments have been in the disposal of the friends of liberty; such whom the. Diffenters have constantly, and with some success, espous’d on all occasions, who therefore never would put power into the hands of persecutors. And does not experience shew this expectation answered ?
The piety, the charity, the moderation, the love of liberty, which
where adorn the pastors of our church, would doubtless induce them to treat every restraint on conscience with indignation,
GENTLEMEN who talk of the divia frons this would cause, who fear dangers from this alteration of our law, who fee visions of Mobs, and are haunted with Dr. Sacheverell's apparition, ought to look back on past times : Let them see what effect a step like this had in the Roman commonwealth.
ALL offices of magistraty were there confined by law and by religion to be executed by Patricians only, who being orthodox by birth; could only take the auspices ; which sacred ceremony was necessary in every act of government:
TH E Plebeians desired these laws might be repealed.
WHILST this question was in disputė; fo zealously was it contested, that Rome was twice in danger of being abandon’d; and often like to fink under intestine quarrels.
THE people said they would not be at the trouble to defend a state which thought them uns worthy to be trusted with its offices ; whilst the Patricians infsted on their antient rights, as the foundation of religion and government, and thought the fate of Rome depended on their being maintained.
BUT yet no sooner were these laws repeald, if I may use that térm; and offices of all kinds common to every Roman, but the event shewed
their mistake. With these laws all pretensions of faction were taken away also. Real and perjonal merit (says a judicious writer, speaking of this period) was now chiefly regarded in the diAtribution of Honours ; so that this period of time may more properly than any other be called the period of Roman virtue. IT
may be added, that in consequence of this amendment of their constitution, Rome in a few years overcame all her difficulties, and became mistress of Italy.
THE only thing we ought to add is an apology for the delay which has been made in the publication of these volumes : But we chuse rather to hope for the pardon of the gentlemen who have honoured this Work with their subscription, from their knowledge of the uneasiness which this delay must have given us, than trespass on their patience farther, by troubling them with complaints of printers and such like trifles which have occafioned it.
THE T HE
IR Rowland Alfton, Bart.
Sir John Anftruther, Bart.
Sir Thomas Afton, Bart.
Henry Archer, Eja:
B The_Right Honourable the Lord Boyne, two sets. Sir Francis Boynton, Bart. Sir Robert Browne, Bart. The Honourable Peter Bathurst, Esq; Levi Ball, Esq; Thomas Balle, Esq; Papilion Balle, Esq; John Bance, Esq; Edmund Hungate Beaghan, Esq; John Bedwell, Esq; Henry Bendysh, Ela; Stephen Bisse, Esa William Brockman, Esq; Peter Buck, Esq;
Samuel Burroughs, Esq; one of the Masters of the
High Court of Chancery.
The Right Honourable the Marquiss of Carnarvon: