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interested individuals, however, have not scrupled to oppose the progress of a bill which has been proposed for more effectually reftraining this practice. In the pamphlet now before us, Mr. Anstie is a strenuous advocate for such restraint; and it is to be hoped, that in an affair of so great national importance, the general good will triumph over the artifices exerted for private emolument. New Information and Lights, on the late Treaty of Commerce with
France. By Robert Pigott, Ef. 410. 15. Ridgway. Mr. Robert Pigott, who dates his Letter from Hieres, in Provence, brings up the rear of the literary troop which has waged war with the miniftry and parliament of Great Britain on account of the commercial treaty. Of new information and lights, which he pretends to exhibit, we meet with nothing in the whole pamphlet. It is merely the refuse of political rancour, poured forth with petulance, and in language that vios lates the plainest rules of English grammar,
Alarming Progrefs of French Politics. Svo. Is, Jameson.
The effusion of an affected, bombastic, visionary declaimer; as little acquainted with politics as Mr. Pigott with good manners.
TEST AND CORPORATION ACTS. The Case of the Protestant Dissenters, with Reference to the Test and
Corporation Asts. One Sheet, Folio. This Case states the origin of the two acts mentioned in the title. The first that is mentioned is the test act, which paffed in the year 1672, and professedly intended to prevent dangers which might happen from popish recusants. So far, it is ob. served in the Case, were the Protestant nonconformists from being aimed at in this act, that in their zeal to rescue the nation from the dangers which were at that time apprehended from popish recusants, they contributed to pafling the bill; willingly subjecting themselves to the disabilities created by it, rather than obstruct what was deemed so necessary to the common welfare. It is farther remarked that alderman Love, a member of the house of commons, and a known dissenter, publicly desired, that nothing with relation to them might intero vene to stop the security which the nation and Protestant religion might derive from the test act; and declared, that in this he was seconded by the greater part of the nonconformilise This conduct was so acceptable to parliament, that in the very leflion in which the teft act passed, and while that act was depende ing, a bill was brought into the house of commons, entitled, · À Bill for the Ease of Proteftant Diffenters.' This bill haying passed through that house, was carried up to the house of lords, where likewise it pafled, with some amendments. These
having occafioned a conference between the two houses, king Charles II. from an apprehension that the measure would prove injurious to the Popish interest, adjourned the parliament. In the next session, an attempt was made in the house of commons to discriminate the Diffenters from the Papists, with regard to their qualifications for public offices, by bringing in a bill for a general telt, to diftinguish Protestants from Papists; which bill, having been read a second time, and referred to a committee, was laid aside without being reported.
To this evidence adduced from history, in favour of the Diffenters, it is added that Dr. Burnet, bishop of Salifbury, in a speech in the house of lords on the subject of the occañonal bill, in 1703, took particular notice of the conduct of the Diflenters, with regard to the teft act; and concluded, that, as the act was obtained in some measure by their concurrence, it would be hard to turn it against them. It is likewise added, that, though king William had refused, when prince of Orange, to give his approbation to the repeal of the test act, and other penal laws against Papists, knowing that the measure was countenanced by James II. with the sole view of introducing Roman Catholics into public offices, and that it would have been at that time dangerous to the Protestant religion, and the liberties of the people ; yet when he was raised to the throne, and no danger could be justly apprehended, he told his first parliament, in one of his speeches, that he hoped they would leave room for the admission of all Proteftants who were willing and able to serve him ; and that such a conjunction in his service would tend to the better uniting them amongit themselves, and strengthening them against their common adversaries. Accordingly, when the bill was brought in for abrogating the oaths of allegiance, &c. to James II. a clause was ordered to be added for taking away the necessity of receiving the facrament as a qualification for civil offices. This clause the house of lords ree jected, contrary to the sentiments of many peers, who had beea promoters, of the Revolution, who declared in their proteft, that a greater caution ought not to be required from such as are admitted into offices, than from the members of the two houses of parliament, who are not obliged to receive the facra. ment to enable them to fit in either house,
The corporation act was passed in the year 1661, and enacted, that no person or persons shall hereafter be placed, elected, or chosen in, or to, any corporation offices, that shall not have, within one year before such election, or choice, taken the fa crament of the Lord's Supper according to the rites of the church of England. This act appears to have been designed against the Diffenters, but it certainly was passed in a period when civil and religious animofities greatly prevailed. In 1680, a bill was ordered into the house of commons, for repealing this act. It was read a second time, and referred to a committee. While this bill was depending in the house of commons, a bill came down from the lords, entitled, ' An A&t for distinguishing Protestant Dissenters from Popish Recusants.' It does not appear that there was any division on either of these bills, but they were defeated by the sudden prorogation of parliament on the roth of January. The commons being apprized of the king's intention, had only time to pass fome votes on the state of the nation, one of which was to the following effect, viz. That it is the opinion of this house, that the prosecution of Protestant Dissenters upon the penal laws, is, at this time, grievous to the subject, a weakening of the Protestant intereft, an encouragement to Popery, and dangerous to the peace of the kingdom. The parliament was soon after diffolved by proclamation.
Such is the history of the two acts contained in the case of the Protestant Dissenters, and to be relieved from which they made their late application to parliament. Several reasons, partly of a conscientious nature, and partly derived either from the indignity, the unnecessary rigour, or the injustice of an invi. dious distinction, are assigned as the motives of their conduct.
Their efforts on this occasion, it is sufficiently known, have been fruftrated; but there is reason to believe, that they are not without the hope of proving more successful at some future period. An Appeal to the Candor, Magnanimity, and Justice of those in
Power, to relieve from severe and opprobrious Serverities and Penalties, a great Number of their fellow Subjects, who will give every Security and Testimony of their Fidélity and Attach. ment to the prefent Establishment, which does not oblige them to violate the Rights of Conscience. One Sheet, 8vo.
This pamphlet is intended as a Supplement to the Case of the Protestant Diflenters. It describes the penalties which may be infiêted by subsifting laws, on those persons who, from principle, refuse to qualify, by taking the facrament according to the usage of the church of England, for the purpose of holding civil offices and places under the government. The penalties are certainly such as mark, in strong characters, the violence of the times when they were enacted. Amongst a few addi. tional grievances specified in the Appeal, particular mention is made of the Diffenters being debarred from the right of marrying according to their own forms, though the Quakers enjoy that privilege. Observations upon the Case of the Protestant Diffenters. 8vo. 6d.
Debrett. The author of these short Observations, who styles himself A Lay-Member of the Church of England, fets out with obServing that the Protestant Dissenters take great pains to prove, from the disposition of the times when the test act passed, that it was aimed at the Papifts only; but he thinks the Nighteft in
spection of the act is sufficient to thew how far that was from being the case ; for that part of it which makes the renouncing the doctrine of transubstantiation a necessary qualification for an office, would have excluded the Papists as effe&tually as any additional test whatsoever. With regard to the corporation act, which the Diffenters admit to have been designed against some of the then existing fects of Proteftant Diffenters, but to have been passed in times of great heat and violence, the author ascribes this temper of the legislature to the recollection of recent calamities, which the members of the church of England had suffered from the perfecuting spirit of those lately in pose feffion of the powers and authority of the state.
In answer to the argument used by the Protestant Dissenters, that an exclusion from offices of trust and power, except upon certain prescribed conditions, is a mark of infamy, he observes, that if it is, the crown itself is so branded by the 12th and 13th of king William, where it is enacted, that whosoever thall come to the poffeffion of the crown, shall join in communion with the church of England, as by law established. In this pamphlet there occur a few other observations, which, though they cannot place the subject beyond controversy, must be ad. mitted to have weight in a candid examination of the question. The Substance of the Speech delivered by Henry Braufoy, Esq. in
the House of Commons, upon the 28th of March, 1787, on his Motion for the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts ; including also the Substance of bis Reply. 8vo. 15. Cadell.
We are informed by an advertisement prefixed to this Speech, that it has been published at the request of several gentlemen, who had been urgent with Mr. Beaufoy to favour them with the substance of what he had delivered in moving the repeal of the test and corporation acts. As it appears that he had made such a motion at the desire of a committee of the Protestant Dissenters, it is natural to imagine that he likewise was solicit. ous for an opportunity of gratifying them, by an authentic account of the arguments which he had advanced on that occasion. That he has not been deficient either in zeal or inge- . nuity in the support of their cause, is clearly evinced by this Speech, which is copious, argumentative, and animated. After a suitable and modest preamble, he proceeds to thew the nature of those provisions, in the test and corporation acts, from which the Diffenters fupplicate relief, and to describe, in strong colours, the penalties which those acts impose. He next shews at what periods, and under what circumstances, those restrictive laws were passed. He endeavours to prove that the Dissenters were not the object of the test act; and that with respect to the corporation act, there is not now any just pretext for its ne. cefity. He observes, that after the proposed repeal, all those who cannot take the abjuration oath, which operates as a bar to all but Chriftians, and makes the declaration which excludes
the Catholies, will continue as completely rejected as before ; and that even their willingness to give these pledges of attachment to the laws will avail them nothing, unless, in the esti. mation of their sovereign, their merit shall be such as to render them worthy of an employment in his service. He farther infifts that the repeal will increase the strength of the kingdom, by enabling his majesty to bring into action the talents and af: fections of all his Protestant subjects ; and that, by removing an invidious distinction, it will give additional security to the church. Such are the general arguments advanced by Mr.. Beaufoy, who enforces them with great plausibility, and has embellished them, in various parts, with the tropes and figures of eloquence. Bilbop Sherlock's Arguments against a Repeal of the Corporation and
Tcf Alts. 8vo. Robinsons. This eminent and worthy prelate argues with great earneftness against the repeal of the corporation and test acts, which he confiders as intimately connected with the tranquillity and safety of the church and Itate. That prejudices and apprehenfions with respect to the Proteftant Diffenters thould fubfift for many years after the middle of the last century, was a natural consequence of the ferment which had been excited in the nation by religious sectaries; but whether such prejudices and apprehenfions, injurious to national happiness, ought to be perpetuated, is a question which, we must acknowledge, it is difficult, consistently with candour, to answer in the affirmative. It seems as if nothing less than great and evident danger can justify the exclusion of a particular class of subjects from the civil and military offices of the Itate ; and that any such danger now exifts, from the disposition of the Diflenters, we know not any reason to suspect. The only plea for such apprehensions is the poffible renewal of those civil commotions which distracted the nation in the last century. But between poffibility and probability, the difference is extremely great; and we wish to reconcile with jullice the continuance of a reitraint which is founded upon a singular contingency in the annals of human kind, At the same time that we make this acknowledgement, from motives of impartiality, we must observe, in favour of bishop Sherlock, that the indecent language of a fanatical Dira senter, whom he quotes, may have juitly irritated the natural moderation of his iemper. How could you suggest, says that person, that we don't fo much as pretend the terms of your communion are finful *?'- You may depend upon it, that the great body of the Diffenters judge the terms of communion to be finfully imposed +'We rejoice to fee the foundations (of the ecclefiaftical constitution) shaken, and the fabrick fink. ing, as we never doubted but it would some time or other 1.'
Thc Diflenters Reasons,
by James Pierce.