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shadow of disloyalty and disaffection; and we are persuaded that the assertion would never have been made, if he himself had been alive to prove its injustice. Besides the contemptuous treatment of General Macdowall, we have great doubts whether the Madras Government ought not to have suffered Colonel Munro to be put upon his trial; and to punish the officers who solicited that trial for the purgation of their own characters, appears to us (whatever the intention was) to have been an act of mere tyranny. We think, too, that General Macdowall was very hastily and unadvisedly removed from his situation; and upon the unjust treatment of Colonel Capper and Major Boles there can scarcely be two opinions. In the progress of the mutiny, instead of discovering in the Madras Government any appearances of temper and wisdom, they appear to us to have been quite as much irritated and heated as the army, and to have been betrayed into excesses nearly as criminal, and infinitely more contemptible and puerile. The head of a great kingdom bickering with his officers about invitations to dinner—the Commander-in-chief of the forces negotiating that the dinner should be loyally eaten — the obstinate absurdity of the test — the total want of selection in the objects of punishment—and the wickedness, or the insanity, of teaching the sepoy to rise against his European officer — the contempt of the decision of juries in civil cases — and the punishment of the juries themselves; such a system of conduct as this would infallibly doom any individual to punishment, if it did not, fortunately for him, display precisely that contempt of men's feelings, and that passion for insulting multitudes, which is so congenial to our present Government at home, and which passes now so currently for wisdom and courage. By these means, the liberties of great nations are frequently destroyed—and destroyed with impunity to the perpetrators of the crime. In distant colonies, however, governors who attempt the same system of tyranny are in no little danger from the indignation of their subjects; for though men will often yield up their happiness to kings who have been always kings, they are not inclined to show the same deference to men who have been merchants' clerks yesterday, and are kings to-day. From a danger of this kind, the Governor of Madras appears to us to have very narrowly escaped. We sincerely hope that he is grateful for his good luck; and that he will now awake from his gorgeous dreams of mercantile monarchy, to good nature, moderation, and common sense.
TOLERATION. (E. Review, 1811.)
Hints on Toleration, in Five Essays, &c. suggested for the Consideration of Lord Wiscount Sidmouth, and the Dissenters. By Philagatharches. London. 1810.
IF a prudent man see a child playing with a porcelain cup of great value, he takes the vessel out of his hand, pats him on the head, tells him his mamma will be sorry if it is broken, and gently cheats him into the use of some less precious substitute. Why will Lord Sidmouth meddle with the Toleration Act, when there are so many other subjects in which his abilities might be so eminently useful—when enclosure bills are drawn up with such scandalous negligence — turnpike roads so shamefully neglected — and public conveyances illegitimately loaded in the face of day, and in defiance of the wisest legislative provisions We confess our trepidation at seeing the Toleration Act in the hands of Lord Sidmouth; and should be very glad if it were fairly back in the statute-book, and the sedulity of this well-meaning nobleman diverted into another channel. The alarm and suspicion of the Dissenters upon these measures are wise and rational. They are right to consider the Toleration Act as their palladium; and they may be certain that, in this country, there is always a strong party ready, not only to prevent the further extension of tolerant principles, but to abridge (if they dared) their present operation within the narrowest limits. Whoever makes this attempt will be sure to make it under professions of the most earnest regard for mildness and toleration, and with the strongest declarations of respect for King William, the Revolution, and the principles which seated the House of Brunswick on the throne of these realms; — and then will follow the clauses for whipping Dissenters, imprisoning preachers, and subjecting them to rigid qualifications, &c. &c. &c. The infringement on the militia acts is a mere pretence. The real object is, to diminish the number of Dissenters from the Church of England, by abridging the liberties and privileges they now possess. This is the project which we shall examine; for we sincerely believe it to be the project in agitation. The mode in which it is proposed to attack the Dissenters, is, first, by exacting greater qualifications in their teachers; next, by preventing the interchange or itinerancy of preachers, and fixing them to one spot. It can never, we presume, be intended to subject dissenting ministers to any kind of theological examination. A teacher examined in doctrinal opinions, by another teacher who differs from him, is so very absurd a project, that we entirely acquit Lord so of any intention of this sort. We rather presume his Lordship to mean, that a man who professes to teach his fellow-creatures should at least have made some progress in human learning; — that he should not be wholly without education; — that he should be able at least to read and write. If the test is of this very ordinary nature, it can scarcely exclude many teachers of religion; and it was hardly worth while, for the very insignificant diminution of numbers which this must occasion to the dissenting clergy, to have raised all the alarm which this attack upon the Toleration Act has occasioned. But, without any reference to the magnitude of the effects, is the principle right? or, What is the meaning of religious toleration ? That a man should hold, without o or penalty, any religious opinions — and choose, for is instruction in the business of salvation, any guide whom he pleases; — care being taken, that the teacher, and the doctrine, injure neither the policy nor the morals of the country. We maintain, that perfect religious toleration applies as much to the teacher, as the thing taught; and that it is quite as intolerant to make a man hear Thomas, who wants to hear John, as it would be to make a man profess Arminian, who wished to profess Calvinistical principles. What right has any Government to dictate to any man who shall guide him to heaven, any more than it has to persecute the religious tenets by which he hopes to arrive there 2 You believe that the heretic professes doctrines utterly incompatible with the true spirit of the Gospel; — first you burnt him for this, – then you whipt him, - then you fined him, — then you put him in prison. All this did no good;— and, for these hundred years last past, you have let him alone. The heresy is now firmly protected by law; — and you know it must be preached:—What matters it, then, who preaches it? If the evil must be communicated, the organ and instrument through which it is communicated cannot be of much consequence. It is true, this kind of persecution, against persons, has not been quite so much tried as the other against doctrines; but the folly and inexpediency of it rest precisely upon the same grounds. Would it not be a singular thing, if the friends of the Church of England were to make the most strenuous efforts to render their enemies eloquent and learned ?– and to found places of education for Dissenters ? But, if their learning would not be a good, why is their ignorance an evil?— unless it be necessarily supposed, that all increase of learning must bring men over to the Church of England; in which supposition, the Scottish and Catholic Universities, and the College at Hackney, would hardly acquiesce. Ignorance surely matures and quickens the progress, by insuring the dissolution of absurdity. Rational and learned Dissenters remain: — religious mobs, under some ignorant fanatic of the day, become foolish overmuch, – dissolve and return to the Church. The Unitarian, who reads and writes, gets some sort of discipline, and returns no more. What connection is there (as Lord Sidmouth's plan assumes) between the zeal and piety required for religious instruction and the common attainments of literature? But, if knowledge and education are required for religious instruction, why be content with the common elements of learning 7 why not require higher attainments in dissenting candidates for orders; and examine them in