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course all the ministers were eager rejecting the Bill brought in by to be let into so advantageous a Earl Stanhope, he meant it to be secret, thinking that they person. understood that nothing would be ally should be relieved of some of done by government with regard the burdens they were in com, to the disabilities under which the mon compelled to sustain : but dissenters laboured? If so, he the reverse was the fact, and they should feel it to be his duty, how. were not a little disappointed, and ever unequal to the task, to sube it drew down their faces to an mit to the House some proposition enormous length, when the pre. upon the subject. late informed them that he sug. The Earl of Liverpool replied, gested a duty upon adultery and that he felt not the least difficulty fornication (laughter). His lord. in informing the noble baron, "That ship would not detain the House he was thoroughly convinced that longer, although the question was some alteration of the existing laws of the greatest importance. He is absolutely necessary, and he conjured the Right Reverend pre. would add, that the subject had lates well to weigh the subject, most seriously occupied the atten. divested of those prejudices which tion of the cabinet, and of himself they naturally cast into the scale; individually. Every person at he addressed them not only on be. all acquainted with the subjeci, half of the Dissenters, but on be. would be aware that many diffi, half of the Protestant religion. culties were to be overcume, but And for the Dissenters he might his Lordship hoped in the course address them in the eloquent words of a few days (although he by no of St. Paul, when before Agrippa, means could pledge himself) iv - Would to God that not only bring forward a bill to apply a rethose, but all who hear me, were medy to the evils now complained not only almost but altogether of.” such a one as I am,-except these Lord Holland observed, that bonds." His lordship expressed whatever objections he might feel his gratitude to Heaven, that there to some of the details of the mea. was now some prospect that“these sure just dismissed, yet no bill to bonds” would be broken.. Be be proposed by the noble carl, the consequences what they might, would satisfy his mind unless it he would be one of the first to at- were founded on the same princi. tempt their destruction,
ple. • The question was then put, that the Bill be read a second time. A division took place, when the
Protest on the Rejection of Lord
Stanhope's Biil, in the House numbers were,
Contenus . . 10 of Lords, on Friday, July 30.
31Because the toleration hitherto The Bill was accordingly thrown granted to Dissenters by law is inout. On re-entering the House complete, amounting to nothing we found
more than a partial and conditional Lord Holland upon his legs.- exemplion from penalties and per. He begged to ask the noble Earl secutions, whereas the bill non opposite (Liverpool) whether by rejected, by recognizing the right of private judginene in matters of is my duty towards those millions conscience, would have placed re. of clients, whose just and sacred ligious liberty on its only true and cause I have voluntarily espoused, legitimale basis.
to expose to their particular no. VASSAL HOLLAND. tice every attempt, either to main. STANHOPE.
tain the soul and execrable cause NORFOLK
of intolerance, or to support tbe LANSDOWNE. no less despicable system of mere
toleration. Liberty, duly reeng. Letters of Mr. W. Smith and nized, in matters of religion, Lord Stanhope.
breaks the people's chains; but, To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle. toleration (which always necessa2. Sir,
• rily implies a right to be intoleIn the account of Lord Stan- rant) tends to rivet them. hope's speech, given in your pa. I have now to ask this Mr. per of this morning, I observe so William Smith a few plain and very extraordinary an attack made honest questions; and to which on me, in so very estraordinary questions the public will expect a manner too, by name, in a place clear and distinct answers, where I could neither reply, nor First, let me ask him, What even elsewhere regularly notice the future system of lus would what was there said, that I can- have been, supposing that his in not but hope that your reporter tended bill bad actually passed ? has been incorrect; as otherwise I mean by that question, What I am unavoidably reduced to lhe would have been those laws, if necessity of doubting the decorum, carried into execution, which his the accuracy, and the candour project would have left unrepeal. of the noble Lord.-I am, Sir, ed ? Your obedient humble servant, Secondly, 10 come with him
W. SMITH. to closer quarters still, I will ask Park Street, Westminster,
him, Whether any Methodists, or - July 4, 1812.
Protestant Dissenters, or any To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle. Nonconformists, either men or
women, could, notwithstanding In consequence of a strange let. the passing of his Bill, go to any ter, signed " W. SMITH, and meeting-house legally, and with dated Park Street, Westminster, out fear of punishment, till after July 4th, 1812,” which has ap. such men or such women respecpeared in the Morning Chronicle lively, shall have travelled to the of the 6th instant, I deem it quite General Sessions of the Peace, in necessary to interrogate a line order, in open court, to qualify that gentleman before the public. themselves, even to hear at a Mr. William Smith, so interro- meeting-house a discor rse about gated, shall no longer bave to say, religion, or to say their prayers (as he has stated in his printed there publicly, supposing them to letter) that he can “ neither re. be so inclined ? ply,” nor " regularly notice" my Thirdly, The expence attendpropositions.
ing the carrying the Yorkshire As a warm, zealous, and sin. freeholders only to the place of sere friend of religious liberty, it poll, at the last general election,
being estimated at one hundred swers themselves. But if Mr. thousand pounds, I will ask Mr. Smith shall insist that his project William Smith, Whether the tra. is a wise one, this grand question velling expences of the whole body between him and me may be of the male and female noncon. submitted to the decision, either formists of the county of York of the liberal and enlightened pube alone, which would be incurred lic at large, or to that of the wor. for the purpose of obeying the thy citizens of Norwich in parli. law, would not amount to two cular. millions of money, or 10 soine
STANHOPE. other enormous sum, independent. Berners-street, July sth, 18 12. ly of the loss of their valuable time? ---And let him recollect, that time is the poor man's pro.
Mr. W. Smith's Reply to Lord periy; and that depriving him of
Stanhope. it wantonly is in fact, robbing him To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle. of his estaie. '
Sir, · Fourthly, Does Mr. William Some of my friends have ex. Smith, who affects in his letter pressed their surprise, that I should such mighty respect for “ deco. have taken any public nolice of rum," deem it either decent or the attack which Lord Sianhope decorous, that the female part of made on me in the House of Lords, the community, of all ages, should and in deference to their opinion be stuck up in open court, in pre. I will confess, that, had the know, sence of a grave bench of laical ledge of what his lordship then and clerical justices, and a gazing said been confined to the walls public, to take oaths, and to of Parliament, I should have make declarations, before those thought any defence of myself un. females are to be by law permitted necessary : but I think these gine to attend a place of worship, and tlemen under-rate his lordship's to offer up to the Deity either their power, on his 'vantage ground. thanksgivings or their prayers ? The introducer of a liberal propo. .: Fifthly, I will now ask him, sition naturally and justly meets Whether any man (and what man with a favourable reception from by name) except himself, has the public: nor is a peer of the since the commencement of this realm supposed to prefer grave nineteenth century, ventured to charges on insufficient foundations. propose to the ministers of the Thus I reasoned last Saturday; crown, either the revival or the and the same reasons induce me continuance of laws of such un. again to trespass on you, and to ·bounded absurdity, so contempti- request the public atten'ion to this ble in principle, so repugnant to answer to his lordship's letter and every sound notion of religious lic questions of Thursday last.-My berty, and in practice so infinite. note his lordship calls “ strange." ly oppressive? . :
Why? That I should not be dis. 'If Mr. Smith shall not chuse to posed to pass wholly unnoticed, answer these pointed questions, so direct and fierce' an attack, and the nonconformists of all denomi. from such a quarter, he himself, nations will supply the proper an. at least, ought not to think strange. *** VOL. VII.
Was it then “the manner,” or “ This Mr. W. S. proposed by his " the substance" of my letter Bill a completely new system, by which excited his lordship's asto. which no man was to preach, no nishment? By not taking for old woman to say her prayers in granted the accuracy of the re- a dissenting place of worship, porter, I afforded the speaker an without a licence, and from him!" opportunity of correcting, or dis. But for the kind information of the avowing any error or misstatement, noble lord himself, I should have Did this forbearance create sur- been as much at a loss as any prise? Or, did it seem strange to other human being to have form. him that this charge, so unusually ed the slightest conjecture as to ipade, should strike me as indeco. the meaning of this, Let the pub. rous, when I do not find that even lic learn the fact and admire. his own ingenuity can suggest any After several communications other defence of it than the gratu. with Mr. Perceval in the course of itous imagination of my being the the last spring, on some inconveni. advocate for "sticking up” females ences and hardships to which the of all ages in open court to “ take Dissenters were subjected, the Oaths before they say their pray. main object of which was to obers?" If this, Sir, were as true tain the repeal of the primary of me as it is otherwise, even then, evil, the Conventicle Act; Mr. as an argument, how relevant P. said, he was ready to accede would it be, and how conclusive! to our wishes, so fap as “to place But I am also reduced to doubt the Toleration Act, unquestionthe noble lord's accuracy and can. ably, in law, on the footing of the dour ;-whether in this I shall be generally accustomed practice ; entirely singular, let those who with one or two other minor conmay have the fortitude to read cessions; and desired that we this letter through, determine. His would state the manner in which lordship in his speech asserted, we should think " these objects that“ one Mr. W. Smith,'' (whom mighi best be accomplished, laying he knew, pretty intimately, full aside for the present all matters on five-and-twenty years ago), “ had which we might differ, and going on Jately been dabbling in the matter together till we should be abliged on which he was speaking, but lo separate." To this proposal, (sarcastically, not with much suc. protesting against it as incomplete, cess.” How fortunate, and how we agreed, and heads for a Bill disinterested is Lord Stanhope in were accordingly sketched out by bis selection of the criterion of a professional man, on this prill merit, for any proposed legislative ciple, avowedly short of our enactment! Success! In the wishes and claims, but not creata names, Sir, of that crowd of his ing any new system, only estaba own abortive offspring, (numbers lishing and confirming the most of which, in my opinion, deserved liberal construction of the old one; a better fate) I protest against it. not requiring any licence, but for Could they but rise and speak, the express purpose of preventing how would they deprecate the magistrates from changing quali standard to which he so mercilessly fications into licences," (terms of subjects them! To proceed which the noble lørd imust known
the difference, however he has con. tion. I answer also, that my pro. founded them). This sketch, with ject was to leave as few as possible perhaps some few alterations, was of the obnoxious laws unrepealed. submitted to another body to be His second and third queries apcompared with one they had pre. ply to the first clause of the Tol. pared, to decide which was prefer. eration Act, not to any system or able, or whether they might be wish of mine ;-the obligation to amalgamated with advantage ; but take the oaths which it contains it was never entirely settled, was had better be repealed,' and pronever shewn to the minister, (to bably might have been, if it had my knowledge at least) nor was not been long disregarded and al. ever determined on as a measure most forgotten. His lordship's to be brought forward. If the fourth interrogatory states a bare noble lord can impugn this state- possibility, and, practically, affects ment in any one point, material nobody. To the fifth, I shall to bis argument, let him; if he only reply by asking, what must has any other ground for his be thought of a disputant who im. charge against me, let him produce putes to his antagonist " a propo. it; if neither, let the charge of sal for the continuance of un“ proposing," " by a Bill," "a bounded absurdities, contempti. new system,” “ of establishing a ble principles, and infinite oppres. new universal necessity for licen. sions," because he endeavours, ces,” (I omit the "from him," as in the way which approves itself a figure of speech, though it was to his judgment as most effectual, not inserted for nothing) let this, to destroy and abolish as many of I say, be compared with “ an un- those absurdities, follies and op. finished sketch," introducing no pressions, as his power and oppor. new system, but endeavouring to tunities enable him to cope with. correet the inconveniences of the The truth is, that Lord S. has been old one, “and particularly de- saying a great deal, and I have stroying as far as possible the been endeavouring to do ás much very idea of a licence," and, sure. as I could. I quarrel not with ly," he who runs may read.” I him for his saying; on the conam ashamed, Mr. Editor, of hav. trary, I very generally agree with ing so long trespassed on your paper, the principles and proposed en. and the patience of your readers; actments of his Bill; but I knew but I hope that this explanation, it could not pass, and said so to if tedious in itself, will enable many who were fascinated with me the sooner to dispatch the its theoretic beauty, which much noble lord's very pointed interro- enraged some of them, and may gations. His first question, as lu- possibly have caused the present cidly explained by himself, is, ebullition of the noble Jord's spleen, " What would have been those which I can assign to no other laws, if carried into execution, immediate cause. I object to the which his, (i.c. my) project would word toleration, and the doctrine have left unrepealed." My answer implied in it, as much as he can is, those laws, if carried into er. do, for the same reason too, and ecution, would have been the same have long since declared that laws as if not carried into execu. opinion in Parliament as expli