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the essential articles of the Union, that when they were formerly proposed to become perpetual, they were rejected.

“Some stress had been laid on the writings and opinions of some individuals among the Dissenters, who had publicly avowed their opposition to the church establishment. Dr. PRIESTLY had been particularly pointed out as an objectionable character in this respect; but what danger could possibly arise from the adverse opinions of this truly eminent and learned gentleman to the hierarchy ? Was it any proof of a design to subvert the ecclesiastical constitution ? No-Any person might disapprove of our civil constitution, might object to the popular part of our government, might ayow his sentiments ever so openly; and yet be not liable to any civil incapacity. A noble duke [RICHMOND] high in office, had attempted a reform in the constitution of the legislature ; the chancellor of the exchequer had done the same, but the patriotic exertions of both had failed of success; yet, from their opinions, no danger had been apprehended to the constitution. After such an instance, then, of what little influence opinions have on practice, we might as safely allow Dr. PRIESTLY to be at the head of the church, as the present minister at the head of the treasury; as the opinions of the one were not more hostile to the heirarchy than those of the other had been to the present constitution of the legislature. Another learned gentleman, [Dr. Price] in his sermon on the anniversary of the Revolution, had delivered many noble sentiments, worthy an enlightened philosopher, who was unconfined by local attachments, and gloried in the freedom of all the human race. Though he approved of his general principles, yet he considered his arguments would have þetter become his speech than a sermon. To make of




the pulpit, the altar, or sacramental table, political engines, he must ever condemn, whether in a Dissenter, or a churchman. The clergy in their sermons ought no more to handle political topics than the House to discuss subjects of morality and religion, Arguing as he had done against the prostitution of the sacramental test, religion and politics ought ever to be kept separate.

“Whatever may be the fate of the present question, of this he was fully confident, that if the Test laws were once repealed, the jealousy of the church would be at an end; if the barrier of partition was removed, the very name of Dissenter would be no more. Should the majority of the House, however, determine in favour of the continuance of the Test laws, it will only serve to keep alive a spirit of animosity between the parties; it may lead to stronger exertions in defence of civil rights; and other applications to the wisdom and justice of the legislature must be the necessary consequence. Some distinguished writers upon the subject had asserted, that as the Test laws had received the sanction of parliament, it was the duty of the Dissenters quietly and implicitly to submit. But was not this doctrine repugnant to the privilege, which was the boast of every British subject, of petitioning the legislature, when oppressed or aggrieved

law? There was an end to our liberty at once, if we durst neither complain of grievance, nor petition for redress. The Dissenters, he hoped, would strenuously persevere in their applications, until they found the object of their wishes gratified in a complete toleration. In pleading their cause, he had only supported the principles of general toleration, and the universal rights of mankind. In all the great political questions which he had the honour to introduce for the discussion of parliament, he had always had the good fortune to agree in


by any

opinion, and to experience the support of all those friends to whom he was attached from principles. Though he should ever glory in the name of a Whig, as an honorable distinction which characterized the advocates of civil and religious liberty; though it was the pride of his life to act with the cordial approbation of the party to whom he belonged ; yet an honourable friend, whose opinions ale ways had the greatest weight with him, did not think as he did on the present question. Much, however, as he respected his opinions, and highly as he thought of his understanding, yet, in every contest where liberty, and the

, civil rights of men were involved, he should ever enlist under the same standard, however formidable his opponents in the ranks. In the part he had that day taken, the tongue of slander might possibly represent him as another OLIVER Cromwell, attacking the church; he had been compared to that usurper on a former occasion, as attacking the crown, even by the very men whose cause he was now pleading. Their cause, however, he had undertaken, from a conviction that it was a just cause ; and he should be ever ready to become the advocate of those churchmen, who might now perhaps load him with obloquy, whenever he saw them in real danger. He would chearfully now submit to the disadvantage of momentary unpopularity, confident that the time is not very distant, when the world would do ample justice to his exertions. He then concluded with moving, “ That the House will immediately resolve itself into a committee of the whole House, to consider of so much of the said acts as requires persons, before their admission in. to any office, civil or military, or any place of trust under the crown, to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper according to the rites of the church of England."



Mr. Fox's motion met with a decided and unusually acrimonious opposition from Mr. Pitt, Mr. Burke, and a very great majority of the House, the noes being 294, and the ayes only 105.



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N the speech from the throne at the meeting of para liament on the 11th of November 1783, His Majesty stated as a principal subject of their consideration, the situation of the East India Company; and in about a week after Mr. Fox brought forward his famous bill, in which he proposed to take from the Directors and Proprietors the entire administration, not only of their territorial, but of their commercial affairs, and to vest the management of them in the hands of seven commissioners named in the bill, and irremovable by the crown, except in consequence of an address of either House of Parliament. This was accompanied by a second bill, containing regulations for the government of India:

The plan was vehemently opposed in every stage of its progress through the House of Commons by Mr. PrTT, Mr. DUNDAS, Mr. JENKINSON, Mr. GRENVILLE, Mr. Powis, and all the ablest speakers of the same party. It was in one of these debates, that Mr. Fox made the fol, lowing reply to the principal objections.

“ The honorable gentleman who opened the debate [Mr. Powis] first demands my attention ; not indeed for the wisdom of the observations which fell from him this night (though he is acute and judicious on most occasions) but from the natural weight of all such characters in this country, the aggregate of whom should,

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