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These observations, it will be remarked, assume nothing as to the comparative value of the opinions. They suppose each party to be equally respectable, equally conscientious, equally attached to the church, equally valuable. They seek to put down no opinions, but simply say, “There being now practically peace, and each party having found a way for exercising its own opinions and feelings, can any practical good arise from an attempt to subvert this state of things by violence? Will not the same parties still exercis heir opinions, and spread them as they did only by different means; and will not the struggle cause much bitterness, and do much harm?"*
SIGNS OF THE TIMES IN 1834.
Meetings to petition for turning the Bishops out of the House of Lords, (for
example, at Gateshead). Meetings to demand the giving up all notions of an Established Religion,
as a right which the demanders insist on and will have, (for example,
at Nottingham). Declarations of war to the knife, by a large party of dissenters, (vide Christian
To counterbalance these evils, there is certainly one consideration of weight, viz. that if one was to wish to select, in the Houses of Legislature, the persons whose support would disgrace any cause—whom it would be pleasant to see arranged against a good cause--they would be precisely those who are so arranged. The dissenters have reason, indeed, to be proud of their champions. The church, if she is to have enemies, may well rejoice at remembering who her enemies are. Suppose the possibility of the church party, following the example of the radicals and dissenters, and publishing a Black Book. No blackness yet known would at all suffice, if the accounts commonly and unhesitatingly given would be sufficient to describe the characters, or the tempers, or the principles, or the motives, of the great assailants of the church and defenders of dissent; and given, not by their enemies, (for, happily, one has not the misery of knowing any thing about such people, except by report,) but by those who publicly demand their support, and privately speak of them, as they say themselves, truly. Perhaps there is but one exception to this, to be named presently. As to the ministerial voters against the church, it would be unjust to call them enemies of the church, because they so vote. They vote, when their party resolves on certain measures, because their party orders it. If their party should resolve at any time to serve the church, they would vote for it. But it would be idle, therefore, to call them friends. The only person among the enemies of the church by choice, whom one regrets at all, is Dr. Lushington. When a man is a gentleman by birth, education, station, profession, character, and unimpeachable in all those points, it is lamentable to see him engaged on a wrong side. But this is the way in which great evils are always done. If only the infamous were enlisted for a bad cause, it could not get on. It gets on because some few respectable men, from vanity or weak judgment, or vehemence of temper, are betrayed into joining it.
One other consideration may be suggested. There is a considerable sum of money in the funds, saved from the subscriptions of persons whose opinions coincide with the present tracts, and by the good management of some of them. They who differ are, beyond all question, too honourable to wish to use money from such a source to propagate opinions of a different nature.
CHURCHMEN AND DISSENTERS THEIR RESPECTIVE WEIGHT,
NUMBERS, AND INFLUENCE IN SOCIETY.
Salisbury, Jan. 12, 1834. . Sir,-As so much has been said, in your paper and others, respecting the comparative numbers of Churchmen and Dissenters, and their respective weight and influence in society, the following plain statement may not be unacceptable, as to the county of Wilts.
In the year 1832, the year before last, the funds of the County Infirmary were found deficient. On the day of the fast, an appeal was made generally, through this great county, and the cause of charity pleaded alike, and I have no doubt with the same sincerity, in the churches of the establishment by the clergy, and in the chapels of dissent by the respective ministers, with this only difference, that the collection was made in most of the churches only after the morning service, and generally in the dissenting chapels morning and evening, and this I mention to the credit of the several dissenting ministers; and what was the result?
d. Collected at the cathedral
79 19 8 At different churches
1124 6 6 Ditto, at chapels ..
73 18 11 So that 801., wanting 4d., was collected at the cathedral alone, at one morning collection, that is, nearly 6l. more than was collected through the whole county from various and numerous dissenting chapels, morning and evening ! and a very considerable part of the above sums were found to be in half-pence!
I have taken the statement from the report of the Infirmary; I communicate it with no invidious, and, God knows, with no unkind feelings, towards any conscientious dissenter in the kingdom, but to shew, in this day of obloquy and calumniation against the clergy, the gross exaggerations as to the numbers and weight of dissenters, compared with churchmen. The numbers belonging to the church could not be made up by those who attend no communion of religious worship, for none of these would have been at church on any occasion! The sums were collected from habitual church-goers, rich and poor; and the very large sum at the cathedral was collected (Lord Henley ought to know !) after a most pathetic cathedral "anthem.”
A CONSCIENTIOUS CHURCIIMAN.
(To the Editor of the Standard.)
Manchester, Jan. 22. Sır,—In a letter which was inserted in your paper of the 19th September last, I gave an account of a contest for a church rate, that took place in the extensive parish of Middleton, within a few miles of this town, where, after a poll of nine days, the votes in favour of a church rate were found to be as three to one, and the rated property of the voters as eleven to one, over that of its opponents, who consisted chiefly of members of a political union and Socinians; many of the respectable Christian dissenters having been very active in support of it. This severe and unexpected defeat was received by the radicals with a very bad grace. Many of them still refused to pay the church rates, and placarded the town, calling on the inhabitants in general not to pay, on account of some alleged informality in the rate. The church. wardens were in consequence obliged to summons a few of them before the
neighbouring magistrates; they still refused to pay,--appealed to the Ecclesiastical Court against the legality of the rate, and began to collect penny subscriptions in order to support their opposition. The wardens then cited two of the most influential of the anti-church party before the Consistory Court at Chester, and the respectable part of the parish forth with raised a subscription of about 1501. in order to indemnify the wardens for any expenses they might incur ; and at the same time to shew their disapprobation of the vexatious proceedings of thier opponents. The radicals, however, continued their opposition till the week on which the trial was about to take place, when many of them came forward to pay their rates, and the parties who were cited, finding that their cause was too lame to bring into court, paid 38. 8 d., being the aggregate of their church rate ; 36l., the amount of the churchwardens' costs; and their own expenses will probably amount to 301. or 401. more. The whole party (as might reasonably be expected) have now quarrelled among themselves, and the political union is nearly if not entirely
I send these accounts in order to shew, that even in the uncompromising field of a South Lancashire parish, a little energy and firmness will totally defeat the enemies of our church, and that it is in the apathy or timidity of its own members, that the real danger of the church of England will be found to consist.
MEETING OF LONDON DISSENTING DEPUTIES.
(From the Morning Chronicle.) At the annual general Meeting of the Dissenting Deputies of the three denominations, on Friday week, a row took place, a description of the particulars of which we have taken pains to procure.
A resolution having been moved by Dr. Brown, calling upon the several denominations of dissenters “ to act with union at the present crisis, and to uphold the essential principles of protestant dissent,”
Mr. Richard Taylor said that no one could more cordially agree to the sentiments expressed in the resolution than he did. He only regretted that a portion of the dissenters were acting in a manner so entirely at variance with these principles, as appeared from the recent law proceedings (cries of order !), that, unless those were disclaimed by the body he was addressing, it would be perfectly absurd and ludicrous for them to make an appeal to Parliament and to the great body of their countrymen, against injuries which they sustained from the established church, whilst they were inflicting similar injuries upon each other.
A Deputy rose to order, and said that the subject was not connected with the business before the meeting.
Mr. Fisher contended that it related strictly to the resolution proposed.
Mr. R. Taylor.-The resolution calls upon us for union ; and I complain of a prosecution raised by one of our denomination against another. (No, no; order.) I say, we are called upon to disclaim this proceeding, especially as the name of our deputy chairman, Mr. F. Wilson, appears in the front of it, as the relator in Lady Hewley's case.
An appeal was again made to the chair as to the relevancy of this subject to the question.
Mr. Rutt and Mr. Townsend maintained that Mr. Taylor was in order.
Mr. Taylor.— I shall bow, with all respect, to the chairman, but I hope he will not decide without mature consideration. The resolution proposed also calls upon us to uphold the essential principles of protestant dissent. Now I know of none more essential than the right of private judgment in religious matters, and resistance to the creeds and articles of faith. (Loud cries of
order, and question.) Yet here we have the Independents, with our deputy chairman at their head, prosecuting Presbyterians because they have repudiated human creeds and articles. I submit, therefore, that this subject is closely and lamentably connected with the subject before us; and especially as we are going to complain, amongst other things, of our exclusion from the Universities by the established church. Now how is it that we are excluded but by religious test? And yet here is a party amongst ourselves endeavouring to bring about that no trustee shall administer, and no poor dissenting minister, however meritorious, shall participate in the benefits of a charitable endowment, until an inquisition shall first have been held upon his creed-an endowment, too, which its Presbyterian founder has not shackled with any condition of the sort. With what face, then, can we complain of our exclusion by the establishment? If we do not disclaim this proceeding, we shall only excite contempt by our inconsistency: (Loud cries of order.)
The chairman here said he must give it as his opinion that Mr. Taylor was pot in order, as the subjuct he was introducing did not relate to the question.
The subject was, nevertheless, pursued in a long and animated speech from Sergeant Bompas, in reply to Mr. Taylor, and in vindication of the prosecution.
A Deputy remarked that it would, perhaps, have been better to have allowed Mr. Taylor an uninterrupted hearing.
The resolutions were then carried.
WESLEYAN OPPOSITION TO THE DESIGN OF THE DISSENTERS.
At the meeting of the Dissenters of Bath, last week, just before the chairman was about to take the sense of the meeting on the memorial to government, complaining of the "grievances” under which they labour, Mr. Orchard, a respectable individual connected with the Wesleyan Methodists, rose to move an amendment. He cordially concurred, he said, in the propriety and necessity of a national registration of births, &c., which would enable all classes of Dissenters to administer the rites of baptism as they thought proper, without being subjected to any consequent inconvenience. He also thought it but fair that the church congregation should keep their places of worship in repair. As to the celebration of marriage, he would concede to Quakers and Unitarians, who could not honestly conform in the usual ceremonies, the right to marry in their own way; but as to all other Dissenters, he must say that he knew of nothing in their creeds which should conscientiously deter them from conforming to the established form in the church, either as a civil or religious ceremony. As to their claim for liberty to bury their dead in the cemeteries attached to the church by their own ministry and their own forms, he considered the demand most unreasonable, especially coupled as it was, with the claim to be released from ecclesiastical demands. It was, in fact, not only a claim to be allowed to displace the established clergyman, but also to deprive him of his fees. They all had, or might have, burial places of their own, with which the clergy did not interfere, and therefore the claim was absurd and unnecessary; besides, they would not themselves like its practical consequences. He would put an example, and in doing so, he begged to be clearly understood as not wishing to offer the slightest offence to a gentleman present, who, he believed, was a minister of the persuasion to which he was about to allude, nor indeed to any other person. He would ask the great majority of those present, how they would like to witness an Unitarian minister attending the remains of one of his congregation to the burial ground of the Established Church, and there and then delivering an oration upon the materiality of the soul, or the non-resurrection of the body.—(Considerable confusion here occurred,
with cries of “Mr. Murch is not a materialist.")-Mr. Murch may not him. self be a materialist, but he was sure that gentleman would admit that great numbers of the Unitarians, and their ministers also, were so. Now he observed that they appeared much shocked at the case he had put; but he would ask, how could they admit the principle, and exclude the case? With respect to admission to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, it was an error to call them national. They were not national. We paid no taxes for their support. The fact was, that they were endowed seminaries, and those who endowed them gave their money on condition that none but members of the national church should partake of their benefits; and surely those who gave the funds had a right to limit their application. It would be unjust in us to endeavour to appropriate them merely to suit ourselves, without reference to the justice of the claim. He considered it unjust that literary honours and privileges could not be elsewhere obtained, and therefore would recommend a petition that the London University should be empowered to confer them as fully, and with all the advantages appertaining to the old universities ; and this might be honestly sought and obtained. He thought, at all events, they should wait till they knew what the government plan of Church Reform was, and then, if they found that it omitted any matter which it was proper to notice, they could act as circumstances might dictate. With these views, he should move the following amendment :-" That it is not expedient, at the present time, that Dissenters should press their claims for redress of grievance upon the consideration of the legislature."
Mr. Phipps, the circuit-steward of the Wesleyan Methodist Societies in Bath, seconded the amendment. He eulogised the tolerant character of the church, and declared himself anxious to see all its abuses reformed, but he did not wish to overthrow it. The speaker was proceeding to shew the many obligations of Dissenters to the church and the government, when, in consequence of the repeated clamour and interruption, he was obliged to desist.
The amendment was then put and lost.
To the above it may be added, that at a very numerous meeting of the leaders of the Methodist body, held at New King-street Chapel, Bath, it was resolved, by acclamation, that the five points contained in the Dissenters' memorials were not such as called for an expression of opinion on the part of the Wesleyan Methodist body, and therefore could not be permitted to lie for signatures in the chapels.—Standard.
WITH THE LORD PRIMATE OF
INTERVIEW OF THE DEPUTATION FROM NOTTINGHAM,
ALL ENGLAND, AND THE PREMIER.
(From the Nottingham Journal, Feb. 14.) The Committee of lay friends to the Established Church having resolved, for the purpose of giving additional effect to their proceedings, to send a Deputation to present the Declaration adopted at the Meeting in this town, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, and Earl Grey,–J. Horsfall, Esq., (the chairman,) Mr. Flewker, and Mr. Hicklin, were requested to proceed to London on this business. The Duke of Newcastle having kindly given the deputation a letter of introduction to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, they waited upon this amiable Prelate at Lambeth Palace, on Saturday last.
Mr. Horsfall, having stated the nature of the business on which an audience had been requested, desired Mr. Hicklin, with his Grace's approbation, to