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TRANSACTIONS OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES,

AT HOME AND ABROAD.

ANNUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE CONGREGATIONAL UNION OF ENGLAND

AND WALES. On Monday, being May 8th, at half past six o'clock, the introductory devotional service will be held at the New Weigh House Chapel, Fish Street Hill, on which occasion the Rev. T. Q. Stowe, late of Ilalstead, in Essex, who has engaged in the service of the Colonial Mission, and is about to depart for South Australia, will take leave of his brethren; and addresses on the nature of that important enterprise will be delivered by Messrs. Binney, Wells, &c.

On Tuesday morning, May 9, at nine o'clock, the Annual General Assembly of the Congregational Union will be held at the Library, Blomfield Street, the Rev. Joseph FLETCHER, D.D., of Stepney, in the chair.

Breakfast as usual at eight o'clock. Arrangements will be made for a more accurate registration of the names, residences, &c. of the individuals who may attend ; and it will be required that every gentleman comply with the instructions, in order to his admission.

On Friday morning, May 12th, a public meeting of the friends of The Colonial Missionary Society, in connection with the Congregational Union, will be held at Barbican Chapel, Finsbury, when John REMINGTON Mills, Esq. will take the chair at twelve o'clock.

As important business connected with the welfare of the Union is to be brought forward on Tuesday morning, the Committee request an early attendance of the brethren.

DEPARTURE OF CONGREGATIONAL MISSIONARIES TO CANADA. On April 17th, sailed from London for Montreal, the Rev. Messrs. Clark, Dunkerley, and Nall, as agents of The Colonial Mission Society, in connection with the Congregational Union of England and Wales.

Mr. William Clark has been for several years the successful pastor of the Congregational church meeting at Host's Lane Chapel, Godalming, which charge he resigned on the 19th of March, to become the agent of the Colonial Mission at Guelph, Upper Canada. The Rev. Mr. Dunberling has left a village charge near Sheffield, to go to the eastern townships of the same province; and Mr. Nall is returning to a church and congregation that he has already collected in that colony. A valedictory service of a solemn and delightful character was held previously to their departure, on Friday evening, April 7th, at the Poultry chapel, in which exercise the Rev. Drs. Reed, Morison, and Burder, and the Rev. Thomas Jackson, of Stockwell, were engaged. We hope shortly to present our readers with a more full account of the state and prospects of our churches in that country. DECLARATION OF THE CONGREGATIONAL BOARD RESPECTING THE

REGIUM DONUM. At the Monthly Meeting of the Board, held at the Library, Blomfield Street, April 11, 1837, the Rev. A. Reed, D.D., in the Chair. The following DECLARATION Was unanimously adopted.

The Board of Congregational Ministers, after repeated discussions on the subject of the Regium Donum, or Parliamentary Grant to Dissenting Ministers, on the 7th of January, 1834, Resolved, “That it is desirable that the said Grant should be discontinued."

The conviction of the Board thus deliberately expressed, has been strengthened and matured by extended, inquiry, and the progress of events; and its members now feel constrained to avow publicly the opinion recorded more than three years since upon their minutes.

They distinctly disclaim the slightest imputation on the integrity of the distributors of the Grant, towards whom personally they entertain every feeling of respect; but they conscientiously believe that the reception of such Grant is utterly inconsistent with the principles of Congregational churches : that its operation is highly injurious to the interests of Dissenters; and that its continuance is unnecessary for the support of those Ministers for whom it is designed, since they believe such aid will be adequately supplied from other sources. In accordance with these sentiments, the members of the Congregational Board feel further impelled by a sense of duty, to present a Memorial to his Majesty's Government against the continuance of the said Grant.

Signed, by order of the Board,

ARTHUR Tiduan, Secretary. Congregational Library, April 11. NEW CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, COLERAINE, NORTH OF IRELAND.

On Lord's Day, March 19, a church upon congregational principles was organized in the town of Coleraine, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Jephson Potter. Three deacons were also set apart, and the ordinance of the Lord's Supper dispensed. The Rev. J. Carlile (of Belfast) preached on the occasion. He elucidated the nature of christian communion, and enjoined the duty of the followers of Christ being separate from the world. The labours of the Rev. J. Potter, the present pastor, under the Congregational Union of Ireland, have been instrumental in collecting this christian church, which is characterized by much love, unity, and peace. May it continue to prosper.

DOCUMENTS. REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF DEPUȚIES; Presented to the General Meeting of the Deputies of Protestant Dissenters of

the three Denominations in London and its Vicinity, at the General Meeting,

held the 28th of December, 1836. Your Committee will not occupy the time of the Deputation by any preliminary observations, but proceed at once to a concise statement of its exertions, in connection with the United Committee, and under your direction, during the past year,-a period which has been distinguished by the increasing energy and zeal of the friends of religious liberty.

Your Committee was instructed, at the commencement of its labours, to prepare Petitions to the Legislature for the redress of grievances; and a short Petition was accordingly prepared, which the Deputation adopted. The Petitions were presented to both Houses of Parliament, by Lord Dacre, and Dr. Lushington, M.P., and the prayer was most ably supported.

Two of the grievances enumerated in that Petition have been substantially redressed ; and Protestant Dissenters will have no longer to complain of the want of a legal civil Registration of Births and Deaths, or of compulsory conformity to the ceremonies of the Established Church in the celebration of Marriage.

Your Committee will first report its proceedings in reference to these concessions, and then advert to what has been done on the subject of Church Rates.

: Registration and Marriage Bills. During the progress through Parliament of the Bills for Registration and Marriages, the United Committee held numerous conferences with Government, both by deputation and by learned counsel; and various alterations, in which the Deputation concurred, were suggested and strongly pressed : though some

only of them were acceeded to, these measures were greatly improved by the exertions of that Committee.

The Deputation met on the 4th of March, and unanimously agreed to the following Resolutions :That this Deputation regards with cordial satisfaction and gratitude, the

promptitude with which His Majesty's Ministers have fulfilled (so far as relates to Marriage and Registration) the pledges given by them, in the last Session of Parliament, to introduce measures for the redress of the grievances under which Protestant Dissenters have long and patiently laboured ; and that the principles on which the Marriage and Registration Bills are founded,

appear to this Deputation to be just, comprehensive, and conciliatory. That the Deputation concurs in the propriety of the suggestions made to Ilis

Majesty's Government by the United Committee, on the details of the Marriage Bill, and contidently expects that they will be arranged in a manner satisfactory to Protestant Dissenters, as well as safe and advantageous to the community at large.

On the final passing of the Bills, the united Committee recorded, in August last, the following resolution :That this Committee, having taken into consideration the recent Acts for Re

gistration and Marriages, in England, express their cordial thanks to the majority of the Ilouse of Cominons, and to his Majesty's government, for their exertions in carrying through Parliament the Marriage and Registration Bills, inasmuch as they recognise principles important to the interest of Protestant Dissenters. At the same time, this committee cannot but avow their severe disappointment that the Ilouse of Lords should have introduced alterations by which the utility of those measures is greatly impaired.

In the course of the same month, the general body met and resolved :That this deputation cannot but express its satisfaction, that, after the various

impediments which have hitherto prevented the Registration and Marriage Bills from being carried into a law, those objects have been at length accomplished; and offers its sincere thanks to his Majesty's Ministers, and to those Members of both Houses who supported them in the state in which they passed

the House of Commons. That this deputation, at the same time, avows its conviction, that the alterations

introduced into these two Bills in the House of Lords, will much impair their · efficiency, and render them, in some instances, inoperative for many of the

parties for whose benefit they were designed. That this deputation anticipates that all classes of Protestant Dissenters will de• rive much advantage from the Commission lately appointed to inquire into, and,

as far as possible, to give legal effect unto, the various registers already existing

among the several religious denominations throughout the country, That this deputation trusts, that this partial redress of two of the grievances of

Protestant Diesenters, is but a prelude to the removal of those of which they - have yet reason to complain, and which, it is hoped, will be redressed in the next Session of Parliament.

On the 14th of December, the United Committee approved, and ordered to be entered on its minutes, the following resolutions of the Board of Congregational Ministers:“ That the best thanks of this Board, and of Protestant Dissenters in general, are

due to his Majesty's Government, for the valuable measure introduced by them and adopted by the Legislature during the last Session, for the Registration of

Births, Marriages, and Deaths. That while this Board cordially approves the principles on which the new

Marriage Bill is founded, it most respectfully suggests to the United Committee to confer, by deputation, with his Majesty's Government, as to the necessity, in order to secure the objects of the Act, of obtaining from the Levislature an amendment of those clatises which require the notice of intended application for licenses for marriage to be read before the Guardians of the VOL. I. N.S.

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Poor, and of others which require for the celebration of marriage under the Act higher fees than those demanded in the Established Church."

And it was resolved :That the Committee, in furtherance of its Resolution of 22nd August, 1836,

forwarded to Lord John Russell, fully accords with the Board of Congregational Ministers, in their Resolutions of the 13th instant; and that a deputation be forthwith appointed to confer with his Majesty's Government on the points there stated, and also on the injustice of compelling Dissenters to give a notice of marriage by license, not required from persons married according to the rites of the Church of England.

A deputation had the honour of an interview with Lord John Russell, and ascertained that the Government was not prepared to bring in a Bill to amend the provisions of the Act before it should come into operation ; but his lordship thought that a Bill for this purpose should be introduced independently of Government. The deputation informed his lordship that the Marriage Act would not be cordially adopted by Dissenters, unless its invidious distinctions were removed.

The United Committee has since resolved :That the warmest thanks of this Committee are due, and are hereby presented, to

his Majesty's liberal and enlightened Government, for the Bills introduced to the Legislature, under its direction, by Lord John Russell, for the Marriage of Dissenters without a compulsory compliance with the rites of the Established Church; for the Civil Registration of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; and for the zeal and ability with which they supported the provisions of those Bills in

both Houses of Parliament. That this Committee feels itself imperatively called upon, at the same time, to

record its protest against the unjust and unnecessary violation of the principle on which Dissenters must ever act in seeking the redress of their grievances, - the perfect equality of all the subjects of the British empire in regard to their civil rights, without reference to their religious opinions,--by requiring persons who avail themselves of the provisions of the New Marriage Act, to submit to the notice of their intended marriage, whether by license or otherwise, being read before the Guardians of the Poor, a degradation to which those who are married according to the rites of the Church of England are not subjected, and which, as a publication of an intention to marry, is futile and unnecessary; by demanding a higher sum for the celebration of marriage,

(particularly by license,) than is paid by persons married at the church; and .by requiring a notice of application for license, from which all such persons

are exempted. The Committee also gladly takes this opportunity of declaring, that these invidious distinctions were not introduced by Ilis Majesty's Ministers; to whom, therefore, it looks with confidence for speedy and effectual redress. That a Bill be forthwith prepared, to amend the clauses enacting these pro

visions, and brought into the House of Commons, under the direction of this Committee, by John Wilks, Esq. M.P., at the earliest possible period after the meeting of Parliament.

Copies of these Resolutions were forwarded to Lord John Russell, and advertised.

A short Bill is now in the course of preparation, to remedy the defects of the Marriage Act.

Registrations of Births at Dr. Williams's Library. A Sub-committee was appointed by your Committee, on the 16th of November, to examine the state of the Registers of Births at Dr. Williams's Library, and arrange them for the inspection of the Commissioners for enquiry into Nonparochial Registers. The following Abstract of the Report of the Sub-commit. tee, on the state of these important documents, will be satisfactory. The Registers were all found perfect, and well preserved, forming a series of

large folio volumes, marked with letters from A. to H., together with a volume of Index to each of those Registers, except the first, (which contains its own Index,) also the current volume, containing the entries on the present plan, begun in 1828, which is called the “Alphabetical Register," and is an Index

in itself. The ancient files and bundles of vouchers on parchment were found of great

extent, and apparently in confusion. Much labour has therefore been undergone by the Sub-committee, in reducing them into perfect order. These are now arranged, and tied up in bundles of 250 each; four of which bundles are placed in cases of the size of large folio volumes : of these there are thirty, the whole number of vouchers of the parchment series being 30,000. The vouchers of the paper series exceed 6,000, which are being uniformly bound, under the direction of the Sub-committee, in twelve folio volumes, properly

lettered, each having also an appropriately printed title page. The most laborious work of the Sub-committee, which has required the personal

exertions of its members, consists in the completion of what was formerly done, year by year, under the direction of the Committee, and reported to the General Body: that is, the checking of the Register, by the collation of every entry with its corresponding voucher. This is now being done with respect to the Registers A, B., and C. (except that portion of this volume after No. 2740,) and H. after the number 3,307. In other parts of the series, yearly Certificates appear of the examination made by two Deputies : but as it does not appear that the rest has been so examined, the Sub-committee determined on completing that work, to the satisfaction of the Deputies, under

whose inspection the Registers are publicly understood to be kept. The Alphabetical Register is likewise in course of being examined in the same

manner. On the whole, the Registers may be considered to be in a most satisfactory and

creditable state. They are so perfect, that though in the last century many parchments were taken off the files, on various occasions, there are scarcely more than 20 parchment vouchers wanting, out of the 30,000 that have been filed, and there yet remain in the Registrar's custody, many old duplicates, which have never been claimed by the parties to whom they belong.

University of London. On the first announcement of the Charter for the constitution of the University of London, a deputation from the United Committee suggested to his Majesty's Government, that it should be provided, that one or more representatives of the University College and King's College, should always be upon the Board of Examiners; but the Government was decidedly opposed to the introduction of such a provision. The deputation embraced the opportunity of reminding the Government, that although the Dissenters were grateful for the measure proposed, they did not forego their claim to be admitted to all the privileges of the ancient Universities. Your Committee would now congratulate the deputation, which is so largely interested in the prosperity of the University College, on the constitution of a Metropolitan University for granting literary and scientific degrees to the students at certain colleges named in the Charter, and to such other institutions as his Majesty shall hereafter be advised to name.

The attention of the United Committee was particularly directed on the 13th of July, to a Bill brought before the House of Commons a few days previously, by Lord John Russell, “ for carrying into effect the fourth Report of the Commissioners appointed to consider the state of the Established Church in England and Wales, with references to Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues.” A subcommittee was appointed to watch the progress of the measure, and the following resolution was passed and printed, and copies thereof were despatched to his Majesty's Ministers, and to the liberal members of the Lower House ;

Abolition of Church Rutes. That, in the opinion of this Committee, the Bill for carrying into effect the fourth

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