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gave all their influence up to the majority of this committee, and distributed their money, and propagated such sentiments in clubs, families, private conversations and correspondences, as might best subserve the views of that majority of this committee, and particularly set themselves everywhere to talk against one of the committee, whom they thought to be one of the chief in the opposition to the measures they were taking, though they scarce knew how to speak with respect enough of him but a little before.”-p. 12.
“ October 16, 1733, the yearly meeting of the Protestant Dissenting Ministers of the Three Denominations was held, and it being recommended to them by their committee to enquire, Whether it was not advisable to have a new choice of deputies for the ensuing year? it met with great and violent opposition from the Almoners and their adherents; but after a long debate the body came to this resolution, That it is the opinion of this meeting, that it be recommended by the ministers of the three denominations to their respective congregations to choose two deputies for the year ensuing, for the management of the civil affairs relating to the Protestant Dissenters. Upon a division there appeared to be thirty-six for it, and sixteen against it. One of the minority in the course of the debate, (how agreeably to the nature and rules of a debate every one may judge,) did declare, That if it was carried by ever so great a majority he would pay no regard to it; and after it was voted, another of them declared, That they would have no deputies. p. 21. : “On reading this short narrative every one may see that this committee have all along ruled all the meetings, both of the generality and the deputies in Silver Street and at Salters' Hall, with the concurring help of our Lord Almoners, and that by joining in a strict union together, they have gone a great way towards enslaving the body of Dissenters, first to themselves, and afterwards to whomsoever they pleased.
“By this it will appear, that the opposition which has been carried on against them has not arisen, as they have freely but falsely and maliciously asserted, from a design to disturb the measures of the ministry, but purely from a sense of that slavery and destruction which was seen to be preparing by their tyrannic measures for us and our interest, and a desire of preventing it. By this it will appear, that this committee and our Almoners are of all men the most unfit to manage our civil affairs for us, not only as they have already grossly misconducted, not to say betrayed them, but as they lie under such obligations to those with whom they treat about the recovery of our rights, as it will render the desire of them more weak from their mouths than any other whatsoever.
“ By this it will appear, that the money our ministers receive from those who they own never grant their favours without their viens, has been a great means of disconcerting our measures in the pursuit of the repeals, and of disappointing our hopes of obtaining them : and that we can never be safe in our liberties and interests while we remain subject to the influence of that which has already bought almost all the liberties of mankind, and while we are governed
by those who, generally speaking, have been the instruments of selling them.”*--pp, 37, 38.
Here, then, is a contemporary witness charging upon the royal Almoners” the use of their great influence for court purposes. Commenting upon this statement, as made by Dr. Mayo, Dr. Rees exclaims, " Astonishing must indeed have been their power to prevail, not, be it observed, upon a few dissenting ministers, over whom they might be supposed to have some influence, but upon a body of twenty-five lay gentlemen, selected from among persons of noble rank, of great wealth, and of chief importance in the city of London, including the high names of Lord Barington, of Holden, Brooksbank, Avery, Gould, Abney, and Hollis, to bow to their dictation, and lend themselves to support the selfish interests of the profligate minions of an unprincipled administration."-p. 26. This is far more specious than true. "The wily minister, who knew the power of money over the judgements of the needy, doubtless knew also the influence of honour on the minds of the ambitious, and he who with “ streams of royal bounty" could
“ Refresh the dry domains of Piety,"
could, as stated in Mr. Rickard's account, gratify with seats in parliament belonging to royal boroughs, that worldly pride which is sometimes felt by persons “ of great wealth and chief importance in the city of London.” Besides which, the high name of Lord Barington ought not to be enlisted in favour of the trimming measures that were pursued, for the writer of this “Narrative" states, " that the committee resolved to report that if an application should be made at this time, it was likely to be attended with success. Two of the committee, Lord Barington and Mr. Bradley, were against this report, the truth of it not appearing sufficiently evident.”-p. 16.
There is other evidence also to prove that the distributors were not free from great suspicion of court subserviency at a later period. The late Dr. Morgan, a friend of Dr. Rees, has recorded in his Memoirs of his eminent relative, Dr. Richard Price, that he “ being once applied to for his vote by the late Sir Edmund Thomas, when canvassing for the county of Glamorgan, and being offered that worthy baronet's interest to procure him the disposal of the Regium Donum among his brethren, Mr. Price immediately replied, that the best service Sir Edmund could render to him or his brethren would be, to advise the king's ministers to discontinue a donation which could only be regarded by every independent dissenter as the price of his liberty." Memoirs, f'e.-pp. 36, 37.14. gody ditt
Mr. George Dyer in his entertaining Memoirs of the Rev. Robert Robinson, of Cambridge, records that that ardent and able advocate of freedom uniformly bore " testimony in private circles against this
* A Narrative of the Proceedings of the Protestant Dissenters of the Three Denominations, relating to the Repeals of the Corporation and Test Acts from the Year 1731 to the present time. 8vo. pp. 44. London: printed for J. Roberts, near the Oxford Arms in Warwick Lane, 1734.
pension"*--and Mr. Dyer remarks, “ what effect this Regium Donum has had in preventing unanimity in petitions for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts, and in procuring mean and sycophantic addresses, the Dissenters are not now to be informed."-pp. 240–244.
Although Dr. Rees strenuously contends for the entire independence of the distributors of the Regium Donum from all political influence, he is compelled to admit that the Reverend John Martin, a Baptist minister of Keppel Street, was appointed to that office in 1797, in consequence of his high Tory and anti-jacobin principles. Mr. Martin published his own account of the matter, and it is certainly most humiliating to learn that a dissenting minister could so bemean himself as to cringe at Lambeth palace for this paltry honour, or that his rivals could so far forget themselves as to send memorials to the same quarter, if possible to supersede him in the envied dignity! Mr. Martin having been in possession of the original documents, has embodied some facts connected with the earlier history of this grant not to be found elsewhere, which is the reason why we make the following large extract from his pamphlet.t
“ From authentic papers long since put into my hands, I could say much of the management and mismanagement of this charity, which as it is well or ill conducted, is, I believe, of no little consequence to the peace or disturbance of many in this country.--But at present much must not be expected.
“ From papers now before me it appears, that the first receivers of his Majesty's bounty knew not to whom they were indebted. The varied forms of the receipts they were to sign, from 1722 to 1726, were strangely obscure; and the form in use in the year 1762 was equally mysterious: but for such obscurity, the managers might have better reasons than I have been able to discover.
“ In the year 1762, they erected themselves into a society, consisting of six ministers and seven gentlemen, and agreed, that no person shall be deemed a minister of the three denominations, or have any share of this charity, who does not apply himself wholly to the work of the ministry ; that is, that follows a trade.'
" It was also agreed, that the chairman of this society be interchangeably a gentleman and a minister ;' and in the same paper, I find these these words; « October 16, 1764, memorandum; dined
* Mr. Dyer mentions a curious instance of Mr. Robinson being made, unwittingly, a recipient of “ the pension,” he so much reprobated. In 1780, Dr. Stennett, then the chief distributor, wrote to tell Robinson to draw upon him for ten guineas. Of this Robinson gladly availed himself, and conceived that he was indebted for it to the generosity of private friendship. Nearly two years afterwards he received a letter requesting him to send a receipt, to supply a link in the chain of the good doctor's accounts, which was to run thus, being a donation entrusted to his disposal." At this Robinson felt indignant. He thought himself insulted, and as it were enspared to be a witness against himself. No receipt for the money was ever sent, nor was any reply made to the letter. Their correspondence terminated with this taste of royal bounty.
HA Letter concerning the Regium Donum, addressed to those Ministers to whom his Majesty's bounty has been distributed since the death of Dr. Stennett. By John Martin, 12mo. pp. 16. 1806.
VOL. I. X. S.
together at the King's-Head Tavern, and audited part of the accounts.' Their dining together does not so much displease me, as the preceding resolution; which they had no authority to make, and which if re-made, will deprive of relief far more than half the proper objects of this charity.
“As this voluntary society did not please many who were, perhaps, perversely discontented, it is certain they could not always agree among themselves. Of this infelicity, during the management of Dr. Chandler, I could give you ample proof from the notes of a learned gentleman, who had the honour and the trouble of being in those days one of the trustees. But as you cannot wonder that such a mixed society should now and then jar, when they were talking of pounds, shillings and pence, I apprehend you do not wish me to mention their particular disputes.
“ When Dr. Stennett received his first warrant from the Treasury, or by whose interest he obtained it, I cannot tell ; nor do I know what previous promises he made to any of his brethren, of their acting with him if he succeeded : hut I well remember, more than ten years ago, defending his office and character with due respect to both, in opposition to a gentleman of some consequence, who had rudely much to say of him, and of his Majesty's bounty.
“ After Dr. Stennett's decease, I wished to be his successor to ministers of my own denomination. To obtain that honour, I applied to Mr. Pitt, who was then First Lord of the Treasury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer. The learned gentlemen, by whom I applied to him for that favour, were well known to Mr. Pitt, and were gentlemen who had approved of my political sentiments on a trying occasion. I now refer to my intended speech on the Test Act, in the year 1789. Had I been permitted to deliver the substance of that speech at the Library, probably it would not have been printed ; and if it had not been printed, perhaps no part of the Regium Donun would have been committed to my trust.
5 Dr. Stennett died August 24, 1795, and by attempting to be his successor, I was surrounded with oppositions; some of which I promised to mention.
“ The arguments of the gentlemen who opposed me were so specious and earnest, that I did not receive my first warrant till February, 1797.
“ Before it was in my possession, I was desired to write a letter of thanks to Mr. Pitt, and to inform him in what manner I intended to dispose of the money. I did so, and had the pleasure to hear from the Archbishop of Canterbury, that Mr. Pitt spoke of this letter in terms of approbation.
“ At this period, I was permitted to make choice of Mr. Urwick of Clapham, and Mr. Barber of London, to act with me in the distribution of this money, if they were so disposed. When, therefore, I had received at the Exchequer for the nominal sum of eight hundred and fifty pounds, the net sum of seven hundred and eightyfour pounds fourteen shillings, I waited on those gentlemen, and, in a respectful manner, offered each of them two hundred pounds of that sum. Two hundred pounds of it I kept for my own distribution, and proposed to deposit the remaining fraction of one hundred and eighty-four pounds fourteen shillings at Child's and Co. Temple Bar, to be applied to extraordinary cases, just as they might occur, either among the Presbyterians, Independents, or Baptists.
“ This equitable offer met with Mr. Urwick's approbation. He ingenuously confessed, that Presbyterian ministers were now fewer in number, and better provided for than many ministers of my own denomination; but after consulting with the former trustees, he and Mr. Barber informed me, they could not with propriety accede to my proposal. Their letter was dated February 21, 1797.
“In February, 1798, a paper, with this title, was sent to Lambeth: GENERAL REMARKS RELATIVE TO THE ROYAL BOUNTY, GRANTED TO THE PROTESTANT DISSENTING CLERGY. In that paper, if it yet exists, are these words :- If Mr. Martin be continued, the former trustees, how much soever they may wish to relieve the cases that lie before them, must decline acting with him, and acquiesce in surrendering a trust which they and their predecessors have held, under the favour of his present Majesty, and that of his royal grandfather, with very little interruption, for more than seventy years.
" As these worthy trustees could not approve of his Majesty's interference with their imaginary rights, it is no wonder they could not bear the least interposition from one of his ministers. This is evident, for they say, that about the year 1776, a trustee was named by Lord North; but when he was told that the interference was unusual, he gave up the gentleman, and apologized to the trustees for interfering. Perhaps his Majesty had not heard of his lordship’s condescension.
“ In the same paper we are told, that the Baptists were accustomed to have but two shares, the Independents three shares, and the Presbyterians four shares. In other words, the trust will consist, when complete, of four Presbyterians, three Independents, and two Baptists.'
6 Here you find a considerable alteration from the year 1762: then there were thirteen trustees, now but nine; then there were six ministers and seven gentlemen, now it seems that nine ministers will complete the trust. What the Archbishop thought of the whole of this business, and of those who engaged in it, I could tell you; but it is sufficient to say he was not deceived.
“ The trustees were now to acquiesce in surrendering their trust; but this was not an easy task; and their acquiescence, if it ever existed, was of short duration.
“ In March, 1799, a new mode of opposition was adopted. The Archbishop was then informed, I had given too large a share of his Majesty's bounty to the Baptists. On my firm and unequivocal reply to this illiberal report, his Grace told me, my answer was perfectly satisfactory, as it repelled, with great propriety, an unjust charge.
“ Still dissatisfied, in January, 1803, my opponents sent a memorial to the Treasury, in which they must be conscious they had written what they could not prove; yet the memorial thus concludes : - We pray that your Lordships will take these premises into your