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FOR THE PROTECTION OP RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.
architecture, admirable as the lover of art must ever consider them to be; the church was the place, however unpretending, where the faithful assembled to worship the Common God and Father of all! The rioters were convicted; the Magistrates wished some liberality to be extended towards them, for they found out that the penalty of forty pounds given by the Act against persons disturbing public worship must be considered as only one penalty. An application was made to us, and while we would not allow the braggart to awe us into silence, we shewed that the dissenters could listen to the language of courtesy, and, while having a giant's strength, that we were not disposed to use it like a giant. An apology was written— we accepted it; the guilty entered into recognizances to keep the peace, and he hoped the result would be, that these persons and all others would perceive, that the Dissenting Clergymen were the ministers of peace—men who sought not to punish, but to benefit and bless their fellow creatures.
The subject of out-door preaching was also referred to the Society, and he owned it was one which he did not approach with much satisfaction. He did not like to limit the right of public worship, but with the facilities which now existed for so laudable an object, he thought it was not needful to excite opposition or spread the flame of discord; the object of the dissenters being to proceed in their course without producing clamour, or giving the shadow of offence. The meeting must be already aware of the transaction which occurred at Islington, where a tent was put up, in which public worship was performed, and much good had been done. There a constable appeared, with orders from the local Magistrates to disperse the assembly; neither had a right to do so, and the worthy clergyman (Mr. Dunn) persevered in the work of good. At Colchester a person was apprehended for preaching in the public streets: a bill was preferred against him, but the Grand Jury, to their credit, did not find it. Next in the order of grievances notified to this Society, were the refusals to bury—a refusal more particularly applying to their friends of the Baptist connexion. By law, all persons baptized in the name of the Trinity, were entitled to sepulture; but the conscientious scruples of the Baptists not allowing them to have their children baptized iii infancy, they could not claim the performance of the rites of sepulture where they resided,' although they subscribed like others to the church. This was a painful subject; it was melancholy to tbink what custom, nature, and religion prompted, should by any law be prohibited; and that under circumstances of the most distressing nature—a parent refused to bury the child in the grave where his fathers lay, over, which he had often wept and scattered flowers, and to which his affections were linked by ties, which only the heart could feel. The blood curdled within VOL. X.
him when he thought of the existence, much less the use of such a power in any clergyman, that he could turn to gall the tear of weeping widowhood, or agonize the pang of parental distress. The sooner the Legislature applied some remedy to this, the better it would be. The registry of baptisms was also another subject which called for immediate legislation, improvement, and regulation. As the law now stood, the copy of a baptismal register from the Established Clergyman was held to be the best species of evidence, while that of the dissenter was only regarded in the nature of a memorandum. The dissenters, therefore, wish to have the baptism of the children registered at the office of the Clerk of the Peace, as a security for the preservation of their property and liberty. The dissenters had originated Societies, from which the greatest benefits were derived, and theirfeelings should be consulted. The most unworthy means were taken to injure their schools, and that by clergymen of the Church of England. He had no hostility to the Established Church, but if its clergy misconducted themselves, they must Be censurable for it at the bar of public opinion. He (Mr. Wilks) then cited several instances of their conduct, both as to dissenting schools, and the burial of dissenter's children, and called upon the dissenters, who were a powerful body, to take the necessary andl proper means for the protection of their interests. Whenever the time of a general election arrived, and it was a period that could not now be very distant, he hoped that no candidate would obtain a vote from a Protestant dissenter, who did not pledge himself to support the repeal of those obnoxious measures, as well as the Test and Corporation Act, which produced continued inconvenience and degradation to Protestant dissenters: and if their number was much more limited than it really was, and their intellect more imbecile, and their influence less powerful, he could venture to predict to such candidates, that in many parts of England the dissenting interest was not to be disregarded. In explanation of this assertion, he would mention a fact of recent occurrence, in a borough not more than fifty or sixty miles from the metropolis. That borough had long been contended for (its representation) by the Treasury and the popular party. The elections had cost 'much money. Th'ey had been protracted frequently, "arid that which he would take the liberty of calling the good cause, at length triumphed. At length an election for the High Bailiff of that Dorough arose, and the people of the popular interest conceiving that they were quite strong enough without the dissenting interest, declared their disrespect for that assistance. The dissenters did then what, he trusted, they would always do. They retired at once from the contest, and the popular party was defeated. Since that time, however, the best possible understanding has grown up between them, and the dissenters were regarded with abundance of courtesy. It 2 C
was by such efforts as these he had described, that he would prepare to repeal the Test Act. He would suggest, however, that no forms should be adopted in their petitions to Parliament—but that each congregation should prepare their own petition, in order that the Legislature might clearly understand that they had intelligence enough to express their wants, and language to represent them. He then detailed some extraordinary proceedings in the Court of the Bishop of St." David^, against the Rev. M. Thomas, for praying at a grave in a church-yard, when the Vicar had appointed the time of burial— received the fees—and detained the . monrners for an hour; and a prosecution in the'Court of the Bishop of Oxford by the Curate of Thame, against six females, for complaining of his refusal to admit the corpse of a child into the church. In the first the proceedings were stayed, and in the last the clergyman experienced a deserved and compleat defeat, accompanied with the payment of all costs. He proceeded to the consideration of the recent or projected Parliamentary proceedings affectingthe rights or honour of Protestant dissenters, and to which several resolutions refer. He successively discussed ■the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts—the rejection of the Unitarian Marriage Bill—the grant of £500,000. for the erection of new churches—and the prolection of dissenting Missionaries in British Colonies throughout the wOrld. A Bill too had within the present Session been introduced, relative to the colony of Newfoundland—a colony, which was in itself •at least a contradiction of that statement so generally made, that our colonies were rather a burthen, than an advantage to the mother country. In Newfoundland, that Bill, to which he had alluded, under the profession of serving the Protestant dissenters, had, in point of fact, produced much mischief; or, at all events, in its present condition, it was calculated to cause considerable inconvenience. He had himself pointed out within a few weeks the manner in which that measure interfered with the rights of Protestant dissenters. An Act had passed too, requiring that all marriages should be celebrated by Protestant Ministers; and this law was qualified, by permitting Protestant dissenters to be married by'rtheir own Pastor, provided they resided at a distance often miles from a Protestant church. But what would the Meeting think? Lest the Protestant dissenters should regard this measure as a boon, it was accompanied by this enactment, that they (the Dissenting Pastors) might, under such circumstances, marry even Protestants—members of the Established Church. In consequence of a suggestion from him (Mr. Wilks) the Bill was altered, and its obnoxious provisions rectified; and he did trust, that an enlightened Legislation would speedily perceive the necessity of introducing some measure on this subject applicable to the whole of the British nation. He came
next to the conduct—to the new policy of this Government, as it regarded our West Indian colonies. He was quite convinced that that which was good in England was not necessarily good throughout the world. The Saxon edifice, or the Norman temple was not improved by the addition of a Grecian pillar, but the rash architect who undertook such an improvement, despoiled the building of its original and natural, though rude appearance. That which was applicable to England in the same way, was not necessarily an improvement to the colonies; and these episcopalian regulations, of which they had recently heard so much, were just as unappropriate to the West India feelingj as were the splendid capitals of the Corinthian order to the entrance of some Saxon chapel. He knew not how to allude to the men who bad toiled, and strove, and suffered in the service of religion in these colonies. It was difficult, in gazing at a bright and beautiful constellation, to select one star of peculiar brilliancy ; it was, however, not impossible; and though the brightness of the star might have passed away, its career of light would long be remembered. They all felt the allus'on. He cOuld not seek to harrow up their feelings by a recital of the sufferings of him, who was now happily removed from all sorrow, whose course was finished, and who, ere this, if there were truth in the unerring promises of God, had received that crown of glory, •which the Lord, a more righteous Judge than he was doomed to meet with here, hath given him. His multiplied ills were now ended, but the recollection of them still remained. It did so happen, that that excellent man, when his letters were prevented from coming to this country, addressed to him a communication, complaining of this harsh determination; and now he did unfeignedly rejoice, that in a distant land his connexion with the Society should have caused that selection. The victim of a persecution as illegal arid harsh as ever disfigured any tribunal on any shore,had made his honest complaint^asit were, to that very society. Wnat expectation could he have of a fair trial? Who were his accusers? Those men who, when the Missionary first touched the shoresof that country, proclaimed to him, "The moment, Sir, you presume to teach the
f>oor negroes to read, that moment yon eave this country." And when men who had immortal souls were prevented from attending at the table of the Lord, it was, in his opinion, such super-superlative heartlessness, that words in vain attempted to describe it. Oh! the land where such deeds as these could be practised with impunity, was not a land for freemen, but a receptacle fit only for demons. N° man was so absurd as to assert that slavery, however odious, shall at once be abolished in these colonies. No: such was not the course which the Missionaries suggested—it was not in accordance witn their practice. It was their habit to excite the moral, the intellectual, and therebgioib 195
LONDON FEMALE PENITENTIARY.
habits of the people with whom they had to do, and thus to render them fit objects for freedom. They gave them a perception for the charities of life—tliey taught them the happiness of home, with all its consoling associations—they taught selfregulation—the subjection of those passions which belonged to natural man. The Wesleyan Missionaries had established schools where 10,000 slaves now receive instruction. Instead of the nocturnal orgies, the praises of the living and the true (rod were sung by slaves in that so long benighted land. He therefore hesitated not to say, " Wpe to that legislature, perils await its step that attempts new establishments where such an order of things is growing." From all that he had stated, it appeared that great perils were still awaiting the cause of the Protestant dissenters—civiland religious liberty. This, however, instead of teaching them despair, should arm them with renewed energy. The good they were destined to achieve would, in this case, "live after them." They could not expect to see that oak, the acorn of which was just dropped into the ground; but it would spring up and shade and protect their posterity beneath the shadow of its branches. Thermopylae and Marathon still existed in the example they afforded to a people struggling in the sacred cause ot liberty. They were pursuing, at an immeasurable distance, that divine course in which one of the most illustrious and gifted men of modern times bad lived and died, and bequeathed to them his precious example, and left too, he was happy to say it, in one who honoured them by presiding at the meeting that flay, a relative worthy of his noble nature. Justice had not been done to the memory of Mr. Pitt: when that statesman was dying, it is well known that he recommended Mr. Fox as his successor—a recommendation honourable to both. He apprehended no danger to the cause of civil and religious liberty. The efforts that were made to retard it, he regarded with just as little apprehension as he should the yaiu bidding of some tawny Indian, who commanded the mighty torrent of the St. Lawrence to retrace its course. The tide of civil liberty would flow—the ebbing of its course was not to be dreaded. That stream has risen—it yet rises—and it shall rise, till knowledge and freedom fructify and bless every region of the earth.
Mr. Wilks then concluded his speech amidst enthusiastic cheers. [Resolutions, List of Committee, Sfc. in our next.]
LONDON FEMALE PENITENTIARY.
The Seventeenth Annual Meeting of this Institution was held on the 12th ot April, in Stationers' Hall, Ludg^ate Hill.—Major General Neville, one ot the Vice-Presidents, was in the Chair; the recent indisposition of .the President, W. Wilberforce Esq. M.P. having precluded his atten
dance. The meeting was addressed by the Rev. J. Julian, I). Rnell, Dr. Winter, J. Hargreaves, the Rt. Hon. Sir G. H. Rose M.P. John Poynder Esq. W. A. Hankey Esq. Thomas Wilson Esq. Joshua Pearson Esq. and William Brownlow, Esq.
Since the last Anniversary there had been one hundred and sixty-two applications for admission; ef which one hundred and twenty-seven had been received into the Asylum, twenty-eight had been placed out in service, twenty-two had been reconciled and restored to their friends, fifty-three withdrew at their own request, or were dismissed, two had left from ill health, one from pregnancy and had married. There were one hundred and seven Females in the house at the last return.
The Report exposed a powerful auxiliary in connection with the house of ill-fame, known by the name of "dress houses; by which the most miserable and forlorn of her sex, by bartering a share in the wages of her iniquity, may get handsomely attired from head to foot, and thus be helped forward in her career, until she sinks under disease and death, a miserable victim to the avarice of others. The pernicious tendency of these vile establishments, to facilitate the entrance on a course of sin, as well as a continuance in it, renders it a subject well worthy of the interference of the J_.egislature. Among the interesting topics of the Report were the following; that the,Committee had, during the past yeai', ascertained, that four of the former inmates of the Asylum, who had been placed in respectable situations of service, had begun tolay by money from their wages, which they had deposited in the Savings Banks of their respective neighbourhood; and that the amounts thus saved had been found to exceed the Sum of £40.—a proof at least, of the formation of habits of Industry and Economy. Several letters from persons who had taken some, of the former inmates into their service, were read; expressive of their good conduct and steady deportment.
A Committee of Ladies at Hereford, have united together (in the same way as at Brighton) to rescue some of the unfortunate females around them; and to place them in a way to escape from their misery. Not able to meet the expense of a local establishment, an agreement has been made, by which ten such persons may be received into the Institution at Pentonville.
A small. Library has been formed in each of the four wards by the Ladies' Committee; to increase which, any books for the edification of the inmates, will be gladly received. As the shewing of the house to the public, occasions, on those days, a derangement of the internal economy of the establishment, and suspends much of its industry, the Committees have limited it to the first Thursdays in the months of January, April, July and October. . .
The Report was very .cordially received by a respectable audience.
GOOD SAMARITAN ITINERANT SOCIETY,
For Propagating the Gospel, opening Sunday Schools &c. in Destitute Villages.
The Fourth Annual Meeting of this Society, was held on Monday Evening, May 3rd, at the School Room of the British and Foreign School Society, Borough Road, Southwark, the Rev. Alexander Fletcher, M. A. President, in the Chair. After a Hymn had been sung, and the divine blessing' implored by the Rev. Joseph Irons, the Secretary read the Report. It stated that the Society has under its care eight stations, namely, Streatham, Ewell, Hook, Regent Place, Banstead, Esher, Weybridge, and Walton on Thames: in which the word of life is preached regularly every Sabbath; and in four of these places, there are Sunday Schools, each of them in a very prosperous condition. Six instances are recorded of the good effects that have resulted from its labours—four among the adults, and two amongst the children. Besides the above mentioned places, the following have been occasionally supplied by the Society's Agents, during the year, viz. Beddington Corner, Cobham, Dolwich, Garrett, Horscll, Merlon, Richmond, Sydenham, Thornton Heath, Wandsworth Common, Wcstow Hill, Norwood, West End, and Napp Hill, near Chobham; having thus afforded an illustration of the. benevolence of its character, as the "Good Samaritan." The Report further stated, that the Society is burdened by a debt of move than £50.
Although the weather had been exceedingly unfavourable during the whole of the day, yet the attendance was good. The several Resolutions were moved, and seconded by the Rev. Dr. Andrews, and Mr. Irons, and by Thomas Thompson Esq. Messrs. Brown, Bolton, Elleway, Goodman, Hawes, Oliver, Overton, Peachey and Waight.
Newcastle under Lyne, Staffordshire.
It will doubtless gratify the friends of the Redeemer, to hear of the enlargement of his visible kingdom, though in ever so small a degree; nnder these feelings we have great pleasure in transmitting the following statement.
Through the kindness of our heavenly Father, a congregation has been collected, and a Church comprising sixteen members, formed in this town, from a very small beginning—an incidental circumstance.
About two years ago, Mr. Thompson was accustomed to take advantage ot the occasional visits of ministers at his house, to call together his family and neighbours to liear the word of life, in one of the apartments of his own house. This being found highly inconvenient, it suggested to Mr. T. the propriety of fitting up a room in his manufactory for the same purpose. From this humble origin, and merely .tem
porary design, has originated under the blessing of God, the present encouraging interest. During the interval now mentioned, Mr. Smith (while preparing for the ministry) became acquainted with Mr. Thompson, who frequently invited him as well as other ministers to preach in the room. Mr. S. has recently accepted the unanimous invitation of the church, to become their Pastor.
The formation of the church, and the service of the ordination were solemn and interesting. On Lord's day the 9th of May, that honoured servant of God, Isaiah Birt, of Birmingham, delivered an interesting discourse from John xvi. last clause of the 23rd verse. In the afternoon, the friends intending to be formed into church fellowship assembled. Mr. Birt then read the xiith of Romans—delivered a most affectionate, and faithful addressprayed—recognized the union of the members, and concluded by administering to this infant church the Lord's supper, on which occasion several friends from a neighbouring church also communicated. The whole formed a highly delightful opportunity. In the Evening Mr. B. preached from John x. 27, 28. On Tuesday Evening, the 11th, Mr. John Birt, of Manchester, preached from Isaiah lxii. 7.
The ordination services were conducted in the New Methodist Chapel, which was generously lent for the occasion on the 12th May. Mr. James Lister of Liverpool, delivered an introductory discourse from Acts ii. 4. Mr. John Birt offered up the ordination prayer; and his Father gave a most impressive charge from Luke xii. 45. The remaining services were postponed until the Evening, when Mr. Lakeiin, of Burslem, commenced with prayer, and Mr. Stevens, of Rochdale, addressed the church from Phil. ii. 16.
Much happiness was enjoyed by those who were engaged in the solemnities of the day; the sphere of labour being extensive, much good is humbly anticipated from this settlement. Mr. Smith has had no inducement from pecuniary considerations to cast in his lot with this small Infant Society; but it is hoped that through the divine blessing upon his labours, his spiritual reward in the conversion of souls will be great. • •
A most eligible piece of land has been purchased and put on trust, and it is hoped through the blessing of God, and the assistance of friends, a Chapel may ere Ions be erected; the present Place of Worship being half a mile from the town.
BAPTIST HOME MISSIONARY
The Annual Meeting of the above Society will be held at the City of London Tavern, on Tuesday Evening, J une22,1824, Chair to be taken at six o clock preasWBy
BAPTIST MISSIONARY SOCIETIES.
In the near prospect of another Animal Meeting, the Committee feel it their duty to state, that at no former period in the history of this Society, has it possessed stronger claims upon puolic liberality than at the present. The applications tor assistance from this Society have far exceeded those of any former year, consequently, the Treasurer has been considerably in advance for several months past.
_ During the last year eighteen Missionaries have been employed under the patronage of this Society, and although not altogether supported by its funds, yet so tar dependant, that without its aid they must have relinquished many stations, which, but for their labours would have been lamentably destitute of evangelical instruction. Besides the above Missiona-. ries who are entirely devoted to the work, there are upwards of eighty stated and occasional preachers of the Gospel, who are assisting in defraying the expences of their village labours.
The Committee cannot but deeply regret, that notwithstanding the income of this Society is increasing, they have been under the painful necessity of witholding the aid usually offered to diligent labourers; and that upwards of Twenty New applications on behalf of at least one hundred villages, have, as yet, received no assistance entirely for want of funds!
Christian Friends, This cause and the Committee again appeal to you! ■ Confiding to your liberality, the expenditure has been allowed to exceed the income by upwards of two hundred pounds during the lastyear. As you regard the claims of home and of kindred; —as you pity souls that are perishing in their sins, and still destitute ot a preached Gospel;—and above all, as you love the Saviour who shed his blood for yon, the Committee trust you will not suffer this Society to languish for want of funds, but that at the approaching Anniversary you will afford that prompt and seasonable aid, which other institutions have experienced, when in similar circumstances. , Signed on behalf of the Committee,
Committee Jtoom, 99, Newgate-itreet.
P. S. It is particularly requested that the Treasurers of Auxiliary Societies, and those active friends who have received contributions by collecting books,Missionary boxes, &c. &c. will be so kind as to forward the amount to William Day Esq. Treasurer, 99, Newgate-street, or by somefriend to the Secretaries, which sums together with those which have been recently received, will be acknowledged in the " Quarterly Register" for July next.
It is in contemplation to erect another Tent for Divine Service, in the vicinity of the Reg Ency Park, or upon Hampstead
Heath, with a view to the instruction of the multitudes of Sabbath breakers, who usually frequent those places during the summer season.
It is intended to have Three Services every Lord's day, towards which several neighbouring Ministers have kindly engaged to afford their gratuitous aid.—But as the Tent alone will cost forty pounds besides other expences, it is earnestly requested that those friends who are favourable to the undertaking, will send their names and state the amount, which they are willing to contribute to the object, to either of the following Ministers or Gentlemen, viz. Mr. J. H. Evans, Hampstead Heath, Mr. E. Lewis, Highgate;, Mr. J. Edwards, Kentish Town; Messrs. Day and Hanson,99, Newgate Street; A.hill, Great Coram Street; Marshall and Son, 188, High Holborn.
BAPTIST MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
The Friends to this Mission are respectfully informed, that the Annual Meeting of the Society will be held in London, in the course of the present Month, according to the following arrangement:—
TUESDAY, JUNE 22.
Morn, at 11.—An open Meeting of the Committee of this Society, at the Missionary Rooms, 6, Fen-court, 1 enchurch-street, at which the Company of such Ministers as may be in Town is particularly requested, especially the Members of the Corresponding Committee.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23.
Morn, at 11.—Sermon for this Society at Great Queen-street Chapel, Lincolo's-innfields, by the Rev. Christopher AnderSon, of Edinburgh.
Even; at 6.—Sermon for this Society at Surry Chapel, Blackfriars'-road, by the Rev. Thomas Morgan, of Birmingham.
THURSDAY, JUNE 24.
Morn, at 9.—Prayer Meeting for the Mission, at Eagle-street Meeting House. Some Minister from the Country will deliver an Address.
At 11.—Annual Meeting of this Society, at Great Queen-street Chapel, Lincoln'sinn-fields; Benjamin Shaw, Esq. in the Chair.
Friday Morning, June 25.—The Annual Meeting of the Baptist Irish Society, will be held at the City of London Tavern. Breakfast at Seven o'Clock.
Friday Evening. — The Anniversary Sermon in aid of the Funds of the Stepney Institution, will be preached at