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Intelligence.-Unitarian Association.

385

parated: the one almost entirely civil; obligation of an oath. The Jew was the other devotional, and perfectly sworn on the Old Testament, the Maproper perhaps for the members of hometan on the Koran, not on any the Church. Considering the many thing to which his mind attached no difficulties which would attend with religious importance. For himself, drawing the performance of marriage however, he was inclined to doubt from the parish church, and the many whether the association of a religious advantages that attended, amongst ceremony at all with the marriage other things, the use of only one contract had always the good effect register, and the regularity which en- ascribed to it; and he believed, on the sued from the present practice, the contrary, that in those countries, espepetitioners were not inclined to seek cially Catholic countries, where marto be exempted from the use of the riage was treated as a sacrament, it service altogether, but they did object would be found that its vows were to parts of it, and it was his inten- much more frequently broken than in tion to propose the omission of those the northern part of this kingdom, parts. He proposed that the minister, where, (as in England prior to the ou receiving a written declaration from 26th of Geo. II.) no religious cere. the parties that they or one of them mony was essential to its validity. was a Protestant Dissenter, should use Under all these considerations, lookonly the parts included between the ing to the case as it stood historically, words "I require and charge you

as it was in practice among the Disboth," and the words “and thereto I senters of Ireland and Scotland, and give thee my troth.” This was all as liberal and just policy dictated, he that could be necessary, and thus the trusted it would be 'thought the whole devotional service was omitted, petitioners would, at any rate, be to which, whether objectionable or considered fully entitled to the relief not in form, it was unpleasant to a they sought, interfering with no prinDissenter, as such, but particularly to ciple of the policy of the country, a Unitarian Dissenter, to conform, as with none of its civil regulations, with it amounted to a recognition of the the interests or conveniences of no religious services of a Church from one. It was not a matter to be treated which he separated. This plan would with levity or indifference. It was a leave all classes of individuals who case of conscience, to which he was could be interested precisely in their fully persuaded the House would give present situation, as far as civil objects every relief in its power.

Mr. S. were concerned. It went not to alter concluded with moving for leave to any thing, but only to select an un- bring in “a Bill to relieve certain objectionable part, and use it whole persons Dissenting from the Church and entire. No additional duty would of England, from some parts of the be imposed on the minister; on the Ceremony required by Law in the contrary, he would be exempted from celebration of Marriages." the painful necessity of insisting on Lord Castlereagh said he did not what was disagreeable to others. No rise to object to the introduction of reduction was proposed in the accus- the bill, but only to observe, that as tomed fees; in fact, he did not con- he was not present when the Honourceive there was any descriptiou of able Member commenced his obserperson or property that could be in. vations, and as he was not aware of jured or affected by the measure. the provisions it might contain, he Even supposing a religious ceremony must not be considered as precluded: was proper to sanction the marriage from delivering his opinion on the contract, to impress upon the mind subject, when the measure should be the weight, the solemn character of immediately and fully before the. the engagement into which it entered, House. surely to be productive of any bene- Mr. Wilberforce observed, that he ficial effect, it ought not to be one also had only heard a part of his Houncongenial to the religious principles nourable Friend's observations, but conscientiously entertained by the par. that he perfectly acquiesced in the ties. The law acted upon these ideas propriety of allowing the bill to be when it consulted the religious creed brought in. He could not help feelof the parties on whom it imposed the ing, however, some apprehension lest

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VOL. XIV.

the general terms in which his Ho- pany upon subjects connected with yourable Friend bad spoken of mar- the great cause of religious liberty, or riage as a civil contract might be of the interests, local and general, of misunderstood. There could be no Unitarianism; particularly Mr. Fox, doubt that, so far as evidence was Dr. T. Rees, Mr. G. Watson, Mr. concerned, it might be so denomi. Meek, Mr. Fullagar, Mr. Toms, Mr. nated, but the institution was itself Scargill and Mr. E. Taylor. It was of Divine ordinauce. To this institu- highly satisfactory to see so numerous tion much of the superiority of Europe and respectable an assemblage. Colover Asia and other portions of the chester is a new focus; it now serred earth, especially in social and domestic to concentrate and bring into action life, might be attributed. He cer- and co-operation with the Unitarian tainly approved of the general object body, individuals froni Sudbury, Wiof the bill, and its particular provi- tham, Braintree and other places in sions would be the subject of future the neighbourhood, several of whom consideration.

now associated with us for the first Leave was then given to bring in time. Among other visitors were the bill, and Mr. Smith and Sir James two Jews, wlio came, not to plander Mackintosh were appointed for that the Christians under pretence of conpurpose.

version, but to contribute their assis

tance to forward the objects of the Eastern Unitarian Society. society. Mr. Meek gave a highly The Yearly Meeting of this Society interesting account of the progress was held at Colchester, on Wednes- and present state of Unitarianism at day and Thursday, June 9th and 10th. Colchester. It appears that every On Wednesday evening, after the thing which threats, denunciations, service had been introduced by Mr. even force and oppression can effect, F. Horsfield, Mr. Fox asserted, with is employed against our brethren equal ability and success, the claims there. They have been called upon of Unitarian ministers to be consi- to suffer much reproach and persecudered as Gospel preachers and pro- tion for the cause of Christ. They claimers of glad tidings: and on find their reward in the adoption of Thursday morning, Mr. Fullagar read those glorious and consolatory truths the Scriptures, and Mr. Scargill de. which he taught, and in the cheering livered the prayer; after wbich, Dr. views of God's character and goThomas Rees gave a brief, but clear vernment which they have now emand faithful statement of the Unita- braced. rian faith, with a succinct review of It was resolved, that the next yearly some of the leading arguments from meeting should be held at Norwich, reason and Scripture in its favour, on the last Wednesday and Thursday After service the business of the so- in June, 1820. ciety was transacted; George Wat. son, Esq., of Saxlingham, in the Report of the Committee, 1819. Chair. After the Report of the Com- Christian Friends, mittee had been read, it was the ge-, It is a source of great satisfaction neral opinion of the meeting, that its to us, that the members of our society contents were of sufficient general are this year called together in the interest to procure its insertion in the county of Essex. The report of our Monthly Repository, and the Secre- deceased and valuable friend Mr. tary was directed to transmit it for Winder, had very early in the existthat purpose.

The members and ence of this Association attracted our friends of the society afterwards dined attention to the state of religious opitogether, to the number of sixty, at nion in Colchester and its neighbourthe Angel Ion. The pleasure of the hood, and in the year 1814 be undermeeting was considerably heightened took a journey into Essex, for the by the presence of Mr. J. T. Rutt, purpose of ascertaining whether any who obligingly consented to take the and what openings for the diffusion Chair. In the course of the afternoon of Christianity, as it was originally the sentiments which were delivered preached by the apostles, might be from the Chair, gave occasion to se. found. In several villages, not far dis. yeral gentlemen to address the com- tant from this town, he was kindly

Intelligence.-Eastern Unitarian Society.

387 received and attentively heard. In Now, our opponents in every part of Colchester he was almost an entire the kingdom, from the mitred prelate stranger, and his report to us on his downwards, are calling upon the Unireturn was, that he had not been able tarians to gird on their armour, and to meet in that place with a single in no instance, within our knowledge, individual inclined to Unitarianisin, have we been without zealous and and much less with any place in which able defenders. This perpetual con-. an Unitarian missionary could be flict of opinion must necessarily be permitted to preach. We have rea- beneficial to the cause of truth, and son, therefore, to rejoice, that in the that it has aided the spread of our course of a few years we see the wor

views of Christianity, is virtually adshipers of the one God united and mitted by our Trinitarian brethren, associated iu Colchester, and that we notwithstanding the affected contempt are enabled here to assemble our so- in which they hold our exertions. ciety. It is a source of additional Nor is it by their writings alone that satisfaction to us also to see, as the the Calvinistic Dissenters have at. minister of this congregation, one of tacked us. They are not content with our own members, and one who was branding us as blasphemers from the led to the adoption of his present pulpit and the press, but they are views of Christian truth, from the endeavouring, in spite of the declarapreaching and conversation of our re- tion of the Legislature in our favour, spected friend.

to deprive us of the rights and the The number of Tracts distributed endowments we possess. They are this year has been two hundred and striving to make ihe decisions of our fifty-six, and the stock on hand, pre- courts of law breathe their own intovious to the last order of the Com- lerant and persecutiog spirit. By mittee, was six hundred and ninety. the exertions which the Calvinistic One of the tracts (the Unitarian's Ap- body are making, in order to obtain peal) has excited a controversy on the a decision in their favour respecting subjects in dispute between us and the Meeting at Wolverhampton, they our Trinitarian brethren, and has have clearly shewn their design and especially attracted attention in this end. Disgraceful in every way as county. Excepting by the letters of their conduct has been, both as men Mr. Fry, formerly of Billericay, we and as Protestant Dissenters, it is not believe the question has not been sufficient for us, and for our own much agitated in Essex. The pub- safety, to treat it with indifference or lication of Mr. Newton, of Witham, contempt. As an attempt is making from the rank which he holds among to deprive us of our rights and our our orthodox brethren, and from the possessions, it must be resolutely met, well-known respectability of his cha- and they must be legally maintained racter, has excited considerable atten- and defended. To this end we have tion. That such a champion could scen, with much satisfaction, the estamake no better defence of Trinitari- blishment of a society for the defence anism, is rather to be imputed to the and protection of our civil rights. weakness of the system, than to any situated as we now are, such a meawant of ability in its defender. That sure is one of absolute necessity. We it has disappointed and dissatisfied are no longer an obscure and almost many of his friends we have reason unknown religious sect. Our opinions to know, and we trust the controversy are not now coufined to the closets of will be productive of good, and finally the learned, and preached with hesi. issue in the promotion of Christian tation and dread. They no longer truth. The very fact that these local lurk in an ambiguous and guarded discussions, respecting the truth and phraseology, but are proclaimed, as scriptural evidence of our opinions, our Master and his apostles proclaimed are increasing, is a certain proof of them, upon the house-top, and prothe interest and alarm which they mulgated with a zeal and earuest pess excite. A few years since, and Uoi. becoming their bigh importance. Have tarian publications were “ few and ing entered the field, we must be far between,” they were confined to prepared and armed at all points for the metropolis and one or two towns. The combat. We must oppose active

more.

exertion, by exertions equally active, time when “ a little one shall become and we must learn to unite in defence a thousand, and a small one a strong of our rights and our principles. In- naliou :" when“ we shall lift ap our dividual efforts may do much, but eyes round about, and all shall gather those efforts concentrated, organized, themselves together and come to us :" regulated and combined, will do much when “the nations gathered together

, From a conviction of the ne, and the people assembled, shall hear cessity of united exertion, have arisen, and testify-This is the truth." 1. Our parent Book Society, with its numerous cbildren in the West,

Protestant Society. South, North and East. 2. Our Unita.

(Concluded from p. 336.) rian Fund; and now 3. Our Unitarian Association, for the Protection of our

Alr. Wilks continued :-The attention Civil Rights. All these have a claim of the Comınittee to Parliamentary Proupon us for support, and through the not be overlooked. The New Cbarch

ceedings, affecting Dissenlers, also should establishment of Fellowship Funds Bill would require practical attention : as they may all be easily and powerfully long as the present provisions were reassisted. We see, with great satis- tained the evil would be limited. Now faction, the continual increase of these no church could be erected at the paro. Funds, and we trust the time is not chial charge, without parochial consent: far distant when they will become -now no emolument, but from pew-rents, universal amongst us. 'No congre.

could be obtained; but alterations would gation is too small or too poor to

be attempted. Mr. Moore, a clergyban establish and keep up a Fellowship

at Birmingham, had published a letter Fund, and when once established, might be imposed on the parishes when

to Lord Liverpool, entreating that rates their permanence and their success is

new churches are built, to ensure to the certain.

minister of every church and chapel a We will only add, that the value salary of from £300. to £600. per annum. and importance of correct religious “ Obsta principiis” was, therefore, the opinions, and the comfort and happi- maxim he would recommend; and only ness enjoyed by such as possess them, by the most unslumbering vigilance could are amply sufficient to justify and en- they be secure. (4 pplause.) courage every honest exertion for

A bill had been introduced into Parlia. their propagation. We have duties ment, entitled The Parish Clerks' Bill

. to perform to God and our own con

This bill was privately brought forward, sciences, which are quite above and second time, and referred to a Committee,

and had actually been read a first and beyond the influence arising from the and yet being masked by a specious title

, opinion of the world. With unpre- the contents were unknown, although it judiced and earnest attention to the would have taken upwards of £10,000 attainment of scriptural views of God annually out of the pockets of the inhabiand his government, with a sincere tants of the metropolis, and imposed upon and anxious desire to form right con

Dissenting ministers duties as unprece, clusions on the great concerns of reli- dented and intolerable, as they were novel gion, boldly to avow the opinions to

and absurd. By the efforts of the officers which our inquiries may conduct us,

of the Society, the evil was discovered and to worship our Creator accord- cautioned and aroused. They met i

the design exposed-Dissenting ministers ing to the dictates of our consciences, their Library, appointed a Committee, ao are rights which we ought to value, its rejection had been obtained. (Cheers. and which we should be culpable not

Another bill, now before Parliament, to exercise. And if, in the discharge required to be regarded with a still more of what we regard as a duty, we scrutinizing eye.

It is entitled " A Bill do associate together, to endeavour, to prevent the Misapplication of Poes in some degree, to stem the tide Rates.” What title could be more spe. of calumny, to expose bigotry, to in- cious or captivating? Can that bill beneát form the ignorant, to reprove the

Dissenters?

Is it not a bill similar in scorner, and to hold up the simple, in the reign of Queen Anne, sought to

effect to that execrated nieasure, which

, pure and native gospel, who will have deprive the Protestant Dissenters of their be animated to perseverance in this struction to their own children ? This bill good work. Let us anticipate the will enable the officers of parishes to take

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Intelligence.

Protestant Society : Mr. Wilks's Speech.

389

He

all children, whoše parents are unable to loved his children, or who honoured his support them, from the parental care, to God, could tranquilly submit. (Loud seclude them in work houses, or to remove cheers) them to a distance among strange uurses,

He kuew that some good persons thought and, of course, either to neglect their reli- of liberty too much might be said. But gious instruction, or to educate them in the such was not the opinion which the wisest tenets of the Established Church.

or best men cherished, or which history On the principles of political economy, confirmed. " Above all things liberty,' the measure was indefensible. It would was the exclamation of Selden. And who rather encourage than repress a redundant was Selden? An ardent youth, a warm and wretched population. The parents enthusiast? Grotius said, “Selden is the who loved their children ought not to be honour of England.” Lord Clarendon, deprived of the objects of their love; and the Tory historian, pronounced him to bé those who loved them not, would hail the a man whom it was not possible excessively measure as a bounty and reward. to praise. And if civil liberty gives to therefore hoped, that when it should be life its value, to man his nobleness, to read a second time, or be committed, some nations their pre-eminence, how much friend to humanity, some real patriot, some more dear must be religious freedom ? advocate for the rights of Dissenters and That was the liberty which every man who of conscience, would unmask the visage, deserves the name of man or Christian, expose the deformity, develope the baneful should bind around his brow, and place effects, and prevent the poor laws from closest to his heart. (Cheers.) Nor should becoming an additional source of civil trifles be disregarded. But nothing conand religious oppression to those whom nected with principles was trifling. So they were intended to relieve. (Ap- reasoned the most immortal men, the beplause.)

nefactors of the globe. Twenly shillings Since their last meeting also an attempt

was the whole amount of the ship money had been made in the name of the Univer. that Hampden refused to pay: he refused, sities, and of the King's printer, to prevent and the Stuarts were expelled. (Cheers.) the circulation of all Commentaries on the How triling the demand for indulgences, Scriptures unsanctioned by them. Little which Luther by principle was induced to wrongs men too patiently endure; but at resist, and so produced the Reformation, length even the timid become desperate, and so relieved the world. (Cheers.) Self-defence induced the booksellers to On the subjects to which he had adverted, associate and to resist. From their Com- let Dissenters then apply to Parliament; mittee a report might be speedily ex- and although they may be at first rejected, pected ; and every friend to scriptural yet let them renew, renew, renew, their knowledge and to free inquiry, must wish applications, and reason and truth and them success. (Cheers.)

religious liberty must at length prevail. Under the circumstances which he had (Loud cheers.) developed, he wished to inquire what mea- Every circumstance seems to demand sures the Dissenters should adopt? He speedy exertion. The nation was at peace. did not hesitate to state they were too con. The persecution of the Dissenters did not gregational and independent. They did decrease. Every possible means not sufficiently sympathize. County asso- adopted by the members of the Established ciations should be formed. Religious Church, to increase and consolidate their liberty should be one object of their union. power. In a recent publication, intitled, By local connexions they would become " Gravamina Ecclesiæ," the Rev. Mr. better prepared for simultaneous effort, Dennis, Prebendary of Exeter, protested and something greater and better might be against every concession Dissenters bad done, than merely to sit and sigh, or pass obtained. If they advanced, and Dis. onward unconcerned. A measure to secure senters still would retrograde, the distance exemption from turnpike tolls was one would be greater, and relief more difficult. object to be desired. Avother object ar- (Cheers.) He trusted that was a determidently to be sought was some act relieving nation not hastily or imprudently adopted, our places of worship from the rates for and that Dissenters would meet with those, the poor, and our ministers and congrega- competent and willing to undertake in tions froin the contumely and degradation Parliament their cause. All must rememwhich he had exposed. Another grand ber with affection, the ardour and the measure was, that emancipation from test favourable zeal with which Mr. Fox deand corporation laws, which, whilst they voted his great talents to the furtherance continued, remained as a brand of vassal- of those views. But he was lost. All too age, an acknowledgment of inferiority, a would recollect that great and goor man prostitntion of the sacraments of religion, so recently departed; and the mode of to which 'no man who understood liberty, whose departure so much increased our who respected the memory of the Noncon. anguish at the loss. Those who rememformists, who cherished self-esteem, who bered how he advocated the cause of the

was

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