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ADDRESS TO THE OPPOSERS
REPEAL OF THE CORPORATION AND TEST ACTS.
GENTLEMEN, Had the question of yesterday been decided in a manner more favourable to our wishes, which however the previous intimations of your temper in the business left us little room to expect, we should have addressed our thanks to you on the occasion. As it is, we address to you our thanks for much casual light thrown upon the subject, and for many incidental testimonies of your esteem (whether voluntary or involuntary we will not stop to examine) which in the course of this discussion you have favoured us with. We thank you for the compliment paid the dissenters, when you suppose that the moment they are eligible to places of
power and profit, all such places will at once be filled with them. Not content with confounding, by an artful sophism, the right of eligibility with the right to offices, you again confound that right with the probable fact, and then argue accordingly. Is the Test Act, your boasted bulwark, of equal necessity with the dykes in
Holland; and do we wait, like an impetuous sea, to rush in and overwhelm the land! Our pretensions, gentlemen, are far humbler. We had not the presumption to imagine that, inconsiderable as we are in numbers, compared to the established church; inferior too in fortune and influence; labouring, as we do, under the frown of the court, and the anathema of the orthodox; we should make our way so readily into the secret recesses of royal favour; and of a sudden, like the frogs of Egypt, swarm about your barns, and under your canopies, and in your kneading troughs, and in the chamber of the king. We rather wished this act as the removal of a stigma than the possession of a certain advantage, and we might have been cheaply pleased with the acknowledgement of the right, though we had never been fortunate enough to enjoy the emolument. Another compliment for which we offer our acknowledgments may be extracted from the great ferment which has been raised by this business all over the country. What stir and movement has it occasioned among the different orders of men How quick the alarm has been taken, and sounded from the church to the senate, and from the press to the people; while fears and forebodings were communicated like an electric shock! The old cry of “The church is in danger” has again been made to vibrate in our ears. Here too, if