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and the numerous bankruptcies which have taken place in consequence of that shock, has produced, in our minds, sensations in the highest degree alarming. That confidence, so essentially necessary in a commercial country, is entirely gone, and nothing but impending ruin stares us in the face. Almost every description of society is labouring under privations unexampled in the annals of our history; and numbers who were formerly in very easy circumstances, are reduced to the sad alternative of receiving relief from the benevolence of their more opulent neighbours.
"Under circumstances so afflicting, we observed with the deepest concern, that in a select committee of the house of commons it was reported that the low state of trade has risen chiefly from wild speculations entered into by our merchants to South Americas we observed also, that the said report mentions other causes which led to this depression, without explaining them. We are of opinion that no evil can be remedied without particular attention being paid to the origin of that evil; and it appears evident to us, that the accumulated and still accumulating distress proceeds from the exclusion of our commerce from the continent of Europe. We are fully aware that the shutting of the continent against us was the result of our orders in council and the blockading system—a scheme highly impolitic and dreadfully prejudical to the interests of commerce, and which affords irrefragable proof of the blind policy adopted by an imbecile administration, whose public conduct shews them utterly incompetent for managing the weighty affairs of a great empire. It was this same system which shut the continent of North America, against us,
and, if still persisted in, will in all prohability, end in a rupture with that coun try, and render our condition still more alarming. We deeply lament the long continuance of the war in which we are in volved, carried on at a vast expense of blood and treasure, and daily adding to our already enormous taxation burthens too heavy for us to bear, without the smallest prospect of attaining the end for which it was undertaken. Although these corroding evils prey deeply on the very vitals of the constitution-they are but the effects of a system which, if still persevered in, will in the end destroy that venerable edifice, once the pride and glory of Britons, reared by the wisdom and sealed with the blood of our ancestors.-It is a system that
has its origin in corruption-and consigns to infamy all who come within the sphere of its attraction. Its primary object is oppression and injustice; alike hos tile to the true interests of the crown, and subversive of the just rights and liberty of the subject. It is the source of wars unnecessary and unjust; destructive to the happiness, and fraught with misery to the human race. Under the influence of this baneful system, the established laws of the realm have been evaded-and in a late instance when two of his Majesty's cabinet ministers were charged before the house of commons with trafficking for seats in parliament, which was offered to be substantiated by evidence at the bar of their house, it was rejected by a majority of its members, because the frequency of the practice "was as potorious as the sun at noon day." Men of great talents, eminent virtue, and superior wisdom, may give a temporary relief, but it is only by a change of system, that permanant and radical cure can be effected; that change can only be accomplished by granting to the people an adequate share in the representation of their country, founded on the eternal basis of justice fair, free and equal. As a preliminary step to the attainment of these desirable objects, we would hail with joy the dismissal of those men from your councils who are unworthy of your conn dence, and the happy selection of men of virtue and talents, who might be the means of restoring the blessings of peace and commerce to a brave, virtuous, loyal, and affectionate people.
"Signed in name and by appointment of the meeting,
“JAMES DAVIES, Chairman. "JOHN M'NAUGHT, Secretary." To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, the humble Petition of the persons subscribing, residing in the Town of Paisley, and Suburbs thereof,
ruptcy has succeeded bankruptcy to such an alarming extent, as nearly to destroy all confidence between manufacturer and merchant. That the present depressed state of our manufactures is chiefly owing to the exclusion of our commerce from the Continent of Europe, and the stoppage of our trade with America, in consequence of our orders in council, and the blockading system; and until more liberal and enlightened measures are adopted by Government, we cannot see any prospect of an end being put to our just complaints.
"That the present mode of returning members to your honourable house, by such a small part of the population, is the primary cause of the evils which this country labours under, as it destroys that connection which ought to exist between the people and the representation.
"That a full, fair, and free representation of the people in parliament is absolutely necessary, not only to give energy to the state, but confidence to the people, who, being restored to that place, and those privileges in the constitution, to which they are well entitled, would cheerfully submit to the sacrifices they which might be called upon to make, in order to preserve the independence, and promote the welfare of their country. Your petitioners therefore humbly pray, that it may please your honourable house to address his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, beseeching him to dismiss the present ministers from his Councils, and restore unto the nation the blessings of peace. And your petitioners earnestly entreat, that your honourable house would take into your serious consideration the present alarming state of the country, and adopt such mea sures as may in your wisdom appear best
BELFAST MAG. NO. XXXIV.
calculated to afford relief; and your pe titioners as in duty bound shall ever pray.
Resolved, That the Honourable Archibald Spiers, the county member, be requested to present the address and petition.
Resolved, That the address and petition be published in The Glasgow Chronicle and Courier, and in The Statesman, London Newspaper.
JAMES DAVIES, Chairman.
MEETING OF PROTESTANT DISSENTERS.
Ar a numerous and most respectable meeting of Protestant Dissenters of various denominations, and other friends to Religious liberty, residing in different parts of the United Empire, held at the London tavern, Bishopsgate-street, on the 15th of May, 1811, SAMUEL MILLS, esq., Chairman, the following Resolutions were agreed
1. That this meeting believe that there are at least two millions of Protestant Dissenters in the kingdom of England and Wales, including persons of opulent fortunes, high literary attainments, and active benevolence; that their exertions have contributed to promote industry, knowledge, good morals, social order, and public prosperity; that they are not inferior to any fellow subjects in fervent love to their country, nor in ardent loyalty to their venerable Sovereign, whose early promise to "preserve the toleration inviolate," has made an indelible impression on their hearts, and that any means which might excite their discontent, and enfeeble their attachment, would therefore at any time, and especially at this period, be inconsistent with the national interest, and with wise and liberal policy.
2. That although this meeting consider the right to worship GoD according to individual judgment as an inalienright, superior to all social Regulations; and although they have long anticipated a period when all Penal Laws for worshipping God according to their consciences would be abolished, they have been unwilling to agitate the public mind for the attainment of their hopes, and presuming that no persons would in this age venture to assail the Act of Toleration, after the ever inemorable declaration of the king, they have been content to regard it with grateful emotions, and to esteem it as an effectual protection from the recurrence of former persecutions.
3. That the persons assembled at this
meeting have received with great anxiety the communications frequently made by the Right Hon. Lord Viscount Sidmouth, of his intention to propose legislative enactments interfering with the laws relating to Protestant dissenters; that they did hope the applications he has received, and the information communicated, would have prevented his perseverance; but they have learned the disappointment of their hopes, and have ascertained the provisions of the bill which he has at length introduced into parliament with extreme regret, and with painful apprehension.
4. That this bill declares that all the provisions relating to dissenting mi nisters contained in the Toleration act, and in the subsequent act for their further relief, were intended to be limited only fo ministers of seperate congregations, and enacts, 1. That such ministers upon being admitted to the peaceable possession and enjoyment of the place of ministers of a seperate congregation, may, on a certificate in writing, under the hands of several substantial and reputable householders belonging to such congregation, signed in the presence of some creditable wit ness, who is to make proof of their signatures upon oath at a general sessions of the peace, be permitted to take oaths and to sign the declarations previously require ed, and shall then, and then only, during their continuance as ministers, of such se perate congregation, be entitled to all the privileges and exemptions which the for
mer acts had conferred.
ther person who may desire to qualify 2. That any ohimself to preach as a dissenting Minister, must procure several substantial and repu table householders, being dissenters of the same sect, and of the same congregation, to certify on their consciences, in writing, to his being a Protestant dissenting minister of their sect, and of the same congregation, and to their individual and long knowledge of his sobriety of conversation, and to his ability and fitness to preach; and that such certificate must be proved as before stated, before he be permitted to take the oath and subscribe the declaration, before he be exempt from the pains, peBalties and punishments to which he would otherwise be liable as a Dissenting Minister. And 3. That any person of sober life, and conversation admitted to preach on probacion to any seperate congregation must produce a certificate from several dissentng Ministers who have taken the oath to be also proved on oath at a general
sessions,) of his life and conversation, and to their long previous knowledge, before he can be admitted to take the oaths and then, during a limited period, to be speci subscribe the declaration, and that he may fied in the certificate, officiate as a probabe during a limited period exempt frem tioners to any dissenting congregation, and prosecution and punishment; but neither of the two last-mentioned class of persons will be entitled to any privileges, or to the exemptions from offices conferred on dis senting ministers by the Toleration act.
dation of the bill is incorrect. That the
ment is not justified by any necessity, and
are indebted for religious instruction liable to serve all civil offices; and will expose all ministers or the witnesses to the Certificates to be harrased by repeated attendance at different sessions, and to capricious examinations and unlimited expense, because by limiting the right of persons to become Dissenting Ministers in obedience to their consciences, it will impose new restrictions on toleration, and because it will create a precedent for fu ture attempts at even more dangerous of fatal experiments against religious liberty.
7. That although most reluctant to interference with political affairs, they therefore cannot regard the present attempt without peculiar sensations of alarm, and that veneration for their ancestors, regard to their posterity, respect for rights which they can never abandon, and the sacred obligations which they feel, will therefore compel them to disregard all doctrinal and ritual distinctions, and to unite, by every legitimate effort, to prevent the pending bill from passing into a law, and to oppose the smallest diminution of the privi leges secured by the act of Toleration.
8. That, from the noble declaration of the liberal-minded and illustrious Prince Regent of the Empire, that he will deliver up the constitution unaltered to his royal Father, this meeting are encouraged to indulge a confident hope, that measures so innovating and injurious can never obtain the sanction of his high authority, and that they also rejoice that it has not been introduced by his Majesty's government, and that respectful application be therefore made to them for their wise and continued protection. That a petition to the house of Lords against the bill be signed by all the persons present at this meeting; and that all congregations of Protestant dissenters, and other friends to religious liberty throughout the Empire, be recommended to present similar petitions; and that a committee, consisting of persons reident in London, and in the country, be appointed to effectuate these proceedings, and to adopt any measures they may deem expedient, to prevent the successful prosecation of this bill; and that each commit tee may increase their number, and that any three members be competent to act.
9. That these resolutions be communicat ed by the committee now appointed to the committee for guarding the privileges of the Methodists, and to the deputies and ministers of the congregations of Protestant
dissenters of the three denominations in or near London; and that their co-operation and assistance be respectfully invited.
10. That a subscription be entered into to defray the expences which may be incurred; and that friends to religious li berty throughout the Empire be invited to contribute; and that such subscription be appropriated at the discretion of the committee.
11. That subscriptions be received by Messrs. Robarts, Curtis, and Co. Lom bard-street; and Sir James Esdaile and Co. Lombard street.
12. That Thomas Pellatt, esq. of Ironmongers'-hall, and John Wilks, esq. of Hoxton-square, be solicited to act as joint secretaries to the committee.
13. That the acknowledgements of this meeting be presented to the gentlemen by whom it was convened, for the vigilance meritoriously displayed, and for their prompt attention to every attempted infringement of the invaluable and long established rights of the Protestant dis senters.
14. That this meeting present their ar dent thanks to the Chairman, for the attachment to religious liberty which he has displayed, by consenting to preside on this occasion, and for the attention and ability which he has manifested.
15. That their thanks be also presented J. Wilks, esq, for the ability and zeal which he has manifésted as temporary secretary, and for his eloquent and useful exertions at this meeting.
16. That these resolutions be published in the Newspapers, signed by the Chairman, and that measures be adopted by the committee, necessary to give them requisite publicity.
SAMUEL MILLS, Chairman.
Ar a general meeting of the Deputies appointed for supporting the Civil Rights of Protestant Dissenters, held at the King's Head Tavern, in the Poultry, London, the 15th of May, 1811,
WILLIAM SMITH, esq. M.P. in the Chair. Resolved, That liberty of conscience, comprehending the freedom of public assemblies for religious worship and instruction, in such forms, and under such teachers as men shall for themselves approve, is the inalienable right of all; in the peaceable exercise of which they are not justly controulable by the civil magistrate.
Resolved, That this liberty has been generally recognized in the practice of the
British government, since the era of the revolution, under the construction of the statute commonly called the toleration act. Thus whatever may have been the letter of the law, the spirit of toleration has been extended, and large portion of religious liberty actually enjoyed.
Resolved, That we have beheld with great concern a bill lately brought into parliament, designed as appears to us, to abridge such religious liberty, and having a tendency to deprive the lower classes of the community of those opportunities which they have so long enjoyed, to attend public worship and religious instruction under teachers of their own choice.
Resolved, That as deputed by large and respectable bodies of protestant dissenters to attend to their civil rights, it becomes our bounden duty immediately to protest against the principle of such a measure, and to point out the unjust and vexatious operation of the aforesaid bill, as now brought into parliament.
Resolved, That a petition against the said bill, grounded on the principles of the foregoing resolutions, be signed by the members of this meeting, and presented to the legislature.
Resolved, That the foregoing resolutions be signed by the chairman, and inserted in all the public papers.
WM. SMITH, Chairman.
it without criminality on our part, disre spect to the memory of those from whom we have, under providence, received it, and injury to the best interests of our descendants and successors, to whom it is our duty, as far as we are able, to transmit it inviolate.
2. That this right has been recognized and maintained, trom the revolution to the present day, partly by a liberal construetion of the toleration act, and partly by the protection of the illustrious Princes of the house of Brunswick; and that it would betray a want of confidence in the favour of our sovereign, in the justice of the legislature, and in the spirit of the times, to submit to any proposed restrictions of this right in passive silence.
3. That as faithful and loyel subjects, attached to the civil constitution of our country, and desirous of contributing to that tranquillity and union on which its permanence and prosperity very much depend, we cannot forbear expressing our regret, that any measures should be proposed which have a tendency, by abridg. ing our liberty as protestant disseuters, and restraining the exercise of social wor ship among those with whom we are connected, to excite dissatisfaction and discontent at the present interesting crisis; and more especially at a time when we had reason to hope that our liberty would have been enlarged, instead of being restrained; though we are peaceably wait ing for the period in which this happy event shall take place, and penal laws no longer have any operation in the province of religion.
4. That the bill now introduced into the house of Lords appears to us inconsistent with the unmolested liberty which we have long thankfully enjoyed; repug nant to our principles and profession as protestant dissenters, who disavow the authority of the civil magistrate in the province of religion; and imposing restrictions which will be in various respects injurious and oppressive.
5. That it is our duty, on our own behalf, and on behalf of our brethren, as well as with a view to the cause of reli
gious liberty in general, to make every constitutional effort in our power for preventing this bill from passing into a law; and that for this purpose a petition be presented from this body to the house of
DAN. TAYLOR, Chairman.