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herunt. But Justice and botted over again, Wilhelapse, and fall undernciation,
Papist, and the Protestant was but tacitly included, the pill under Consideration uses such Terms only, as have been ppropriate to Protestants; and herein the Papist is but tacitly included, howeller he is equally reach'd by the Intention and Penalties hereof; and thus the Pdpish Diffenter and Protestant do stand upon a Par; but granting the Papist is not liable to Loss of Benefit at all, or to suffering the Penalties like the Protestant, because Conviction is more difficult upon him, no Man is made liable to suffer so much by any other Law, for asisting at the solemnest Aets of that Religion, as be would by this. Bill, for being present at a Conventiile. A Popish Convict, receiving the sacrament of the Churcb, is immediately cleared; no such Shame of Renunciation, no Incapacity lies upon him. A Papist that all relapse, and fall under a second Convi&tion, is to be conviEted over again, without any Aggravation of his Censure. But Justice and good Policy require there fould be a Proportion between the Offence ana Punishment. Thus the Laws of England bave all along treated Papists as the most inveterate, restless, and formidable Enemies of the State, because they depend upon a foreign Power, and are subject to it; which is such a one as always was, and ever will be employed to ruin us ; therefore there has constantly been a less Degree of Punishment in the Laws upon the Protestant Difsenter than them. This reason, if I be not mistaken, has a considerable Accession of Weigh: to it in our Days, the Papifts having refused, since the late Revolution, their Allegiance to the Crown of England more than ever, from the early Days of the Reformation.
Lastly, Let us consider what Danger would arise from the Penalties of this Bill to the Innocent ; for their Safety seems the highest Concern of all Laws. Now for the Administrations in publick, according to the Liturgy of the Church, though for Want of it before University Sermons, or upon an Omision of Prayer for the Royal Family, or upon contravening the Practice of the Church of England, Men would come within the Letter of this Bill, which is a Condi. tion not wholly out of Danger ; yet 'tis likely the obvious Design of it being against Diflenters, would render a Prosecution in those Cases fruitless : However, Family Prayers differing from the Liturgy, at which pould be present more than Five accidentally above the Housbold (Circumstances not uncommon) would clearly come within Reach, and then the Villainy of a couple of bad Servants (dismist perhaps for ill Practices) would have fufficient Encouragement : But the greatest Danger to the Innocent arises from two Things in this Bill. First, From the Value of the Forfeiture, which may amount to 550l. and is all given to the Informers, a Temptation beyond what is commonly set before tbem by our Laws, or what the Integrity of the Age can well asure us against ; for a deteft able Sort of Men there has been, who, for much less Gains, bave done wrongfully to a great many, and proved a very Nuisance to the Government, leveral of whom were convicted of Perjury about 20 Years ago. Secondly, The Easiness of Conviction is another Subject of Danger to the Innocent; for as the Law in Relation to Offices now stands, every Man chufes bis own Witnesses to receiving of the Sacrament; whose Attestation, with that of the Ministers and Church-wardens, being put upon Record, a Man is almost beyond a Poli
bility of suffering by a false Accusation. But in the Bill before us 'tis not so safe, for false Witneses may chufe to asign such a Time and Place (when they saw him at a Meeting) as they know the Party least likely to disprove, and the Accused in that Cafe bas but a Kind of negative Proof to defend himself withal.
As I have not presumed to draw into Argument the Disposal of Offices, wherein the Safety of Church and State did appear manifestly concerned, so neither shall I once enter into the Thoughts of those high Affairs, which might be any Ways affected by this Bill; as whether the desirable Union with Scotland may not be embarrassed thereby; whether putting all foreign Churches under a Censure may weaken the good Understanding which ought to be between England and her Protestant Allies; whether this Expedient bears due Regard to the Condition of like Affairs among our nearest Neighbours, Holland, Scotland, and Ireland; or whether, in Time of so dubious a War, especially since a Pretender to our Throne is set up by the Enemy, ic be proper to do any Thing which may raise Heats and Animosities among ourselves; these being Matters cognizable only by the proper Ministers of State, or the High Court of Parliament, and not fit for private Persons to debate. · As to the grand Point of their Loyalty and due Allegiance, which, above all others, the Diflenters are concern'd to vindicate themselves about; her Majesty's loving Subjects, who (being Protestants, and by the Rights of Nature Englisbmen) lye under the Unhappiness of diffenting in some small Matters of Religion from the established Church, are abundantly satisfied from the Christian-like Preamble of this Bill, and otherwise, that in the facred Breast of her most excellent Majesty, and in those also of the highly honoured Lords and Commons of England, they stand fully acquitted from the vile and detestable Imputation of any Principles repugnant to the Safety of this Government, the Testimony of their own Consciences does equally concur, and their Behaviour shall (as they hope it does) demonstrate to all the World, that none of their Fellow-Subjects can be more devoted to the present rightful and lawful Settlement of the Crown; were such Imputations true, they could never, with any Face, complain of whatever Hardships were put upon them ; but being in the Case of the present Government ab. solved before God and Men, they do always allow themselves to hope, that during their consonant and uniform Obedience, no Difficulties or Distresses will be laid upon them; and above all, nothing which may look like a Blemilh upon their Loyalty; her moft gracious Majesty (whom God long preserve) has several Times expressed her pious, parental Candour and Compassion unto them, who indeed, without the Severity of penal Laws, are, for the Sake of undissembled Conscience, daily under various temporal Mif fortunes; and as from that Disposition of her Majesty's, they hold the Benefits of the Act of Indulgence dear to them above all other earthly Considerations, none can more ardently and sincerely than they constantly do, and
on Breaft of her molt teamble of this Bill, urch, are abundantlo me imall
will, implore the choicest Blessings of Heaven upon her excellent Majesty, and all their Governors.
To difsent from the Publick, they are sensible is always to be in the Wrong; but if instead of the few Things fcrupled, wherein they are invoe luntarily so, their Union in the effential, and more important Points of Re: ligion with the Church, might find a due Consideration; they doubt noc but all Reproaches upon chem, of any hoftile Dispositions towards it, would also be done away. This is what, next to an affectionate Allegiance to the State, they could desire moft, to vindicate to themselves the Character of, and which they have for many Years, by all Means fo endeavoured, that if the unfriendly Passions of fome Men, with the visible Interest of the Papifts, had not hindered, the same would, long e'er this, have crowned their Wishes with an universal Attestation: To diffent touching Matters civil and common, from any Society we are in, I appeal to all Men, does it imply Ill-will to it? Why then should it be construed so in the Case before us? Or if we please, why not quite otherwise ?
The Church of England, is it not as a City, which has an ambitious and powerful Enemy in the Field ? She has indeed other Fortifications more near and proper, but why 'may not the Disfenters to her also be accounted as detached Outworks and Lines' of Defence? Had ever the common Enemy a Design immediate to execute upon this City, but first his secret Engines were wrought to breed Misunderstanding between the Town' and her Dependants, then open Attacks were made upon the separated Forts; and while many Storms have fallen upon those, their Fidelity to the Town has been the more approved, but the City itself secure? No Persecutions could extort any Petition from them for a Toleration of Popery. But after a long and obstinate Defence, when those outward Posts came to be abandoned and demolished, did not the Enemy foon get within the Town? The Papifts, it is true, when once poffess’d of their Conquest, to secure against the Revolt of it, tho' before, by open Force, they had taken and levell’d all those Redoubts, did then officiously erect them anew, thinking to serve their Interest of theni: But the Diflenters, glad of Liberty indeed (who can blame them ?) no sooner discovered the Enemy's Design, than they adhered to their ancient Mother and Principal.
The Author hereof, to obviate undue Constructions, thinks fit to declare, he is not liable to the Loss of any Office by the foresaid Bill, nor has he reaped any personal Advantage from the Revolution, or any Ways from the Go. vernment since; but the true Occasion of this Discourse was not so much a Respect to the Disenters, as an accidental Computation in himself of the flourishing Estate of the reformed Interest in Europe, in the Commencement of the last Century, and of the dismal Declension of it at the latter End; which gave him Occasion to reflect, that in human Appearance the only defensible Bulwark of it must now consist in the Welfare of our Government, and an indiffoluble Union with Holland. Upon which Occasion, considering that the Indemnity of Disenters from penal Laws, was by the Aet of Indul-. gence, declared an effe&tual Means to unite our Protestant Fellow. Subje&ts in Interest and Affection. He could not but conclude, that the imposing new Penalties and Sufferings would disunite them; and what can look more fatal upon us, than to see buried Animosities flame out afresh ? Who can tell but a Breach, when open’d, may, beyond all our Foresight, grow in Time so wide, that the merciless Usurpations of France and Rome may enter at
Bus as to our Days, the Hope and Wishes of our Enemies shall be disappointed, if we will listen to the Direction 'which the pious and prudent Authority.over us has prescribed, in appointing, on the late solemn Fast, (to obtain Success in this War, wbereon the Safety of the Kingdom does wholly depend) this Prayer for our Use, and the God of Mercy vouchsafe us a favourable Answer to it. Give us Grace, O Lord, Seriously to lay to Heart the great Dangers we are in, by our unhappy Divisions; take away all Hatred and Prejudice, and whatsoever else may binder us from godlj Union and Concord; that as there is but one Body, and one Spirit, and one Hope of our Calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one Heart, and of one Soul, united in one Holy Bond of Truth and Peace, of Faith and Charity; and may, with one Mind, and one Mouth, glorify thee, O God, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Great Britain's Union, and the Security of the Hanover
Succeffion, confidered. In a Letter from Windsor, of the 30th of December, 1704, to a Member of Parliament in London. By a Person of Quality. 1705.
H E extraordinary Success of our Arms both by Sea and Land, espe1 cially in the Plains of Hochstet last Summer, was fo much beyond the Expectation of any reasonable Man, and the Event fo far exceeded the first Design, that it is not to be wondered, if a Nation, raised to an Extasy, by such uncommon and surprizing Accidents, had neither Will nor Leisure to think on any Thing else: For as when Mens Eyes are too fixedly intent upon one Object, they generally overlook other Things, that both require and deserve their Regard; so whilst the Nation was thus at a Gaze, few or none thought it worth their while so much as to enquire what was upon the Anvil, or gave themselves the Trouble either to weigh the true Interest of the Nation, or to search whether, in the Midst of the deepest appearing Security, there were not real Designs of undermining us ; from what secret Vol. III.
Springs they had their first Motion; by whom, with what View, by what
But Men rather satisfied themselves with a general Notion of Things; the busy Part of the Nation were torturing their Fancies, to find out Expressions of Force enough to lessen and fully, by fulsome, fordid, and mercenary Flattery, one of the most glorious Actions of latter Ages, that shines bright-. est in its native Lustre, like the Folly of those who would attempt to paint a Diamond, whereby its original Light and Beauty is lost; whilst others gratified themselves in a supine Indulgence: And this careless Temper grew to that Height, that Men of the beit Estates in England, and Members of Parliament too, were so far from knowing what had been lately done in a neighbouring Kingdom, that when they were told of the Ast of Security passed there the last Session of Parliament, they could scarce believe it, even when it was shewn to them.
'Tis true, a little before the sitting down of our Parliament, the Scotch Act of Security began to be discours'd of amongst some Men; but whether it was to keep a great Man or two in awe, by threatening them with it, or whether to make the better Terms for themselves, is not my Part to discover ; Time will do that for me. But you may believe it upon the Testimony of a near Witness, that no Men were more hot and violent against some Perfons and thought their Guilt more unpardonable, than those, who, in a very few Days, were as ready to cover, as they before to accuse. What Influence either Pensions or Promises had in this sudden and wonderful Change, or whether any, I shall not trouble myself to examine; only it happened cross, I believe to the Foundation of some Mens Merit, that nothing personal was ever design'd by any, unless by themselves. However it was, it seems very probable to me, that if a certain Lord had not taken Notice of the Business of Scotland, we had to this Day been very much in the Dark, as to that Matter.
Since that Time, the Face of our Affairs has been so much changed, that instead of the lasting Felicity and firm Security we Aatter'd ourselves with; a Scene of threatning Dangers, like a gathering Tempest, has been open'd unto us; which makes it the Duty of every Man, that wilhes well to Britain, to consider, how either the menacing Storm may be avoided, or a safe Shelter provided : But as the Wisdom of Prevention far exceeds that of. Remedy, so, if any reasonable and reconciling Methods could be found out, (with Submission to better Judgments) they might be as effectual upon others, and less dangerous to ourselves, than either Standing Troops or Fortified Garrisons.
I thall take Liberty to mention one or two, which, I think, would be of great Service to England in this present Juncture, if not to effect that mutual good Understanding, which every Man, wishing well to both Nations, earneftly defires; yet at least to make us better known to one another. .
And since we must have Characters of Distinction, I would rather chuse a real, than a nominal one, and would go down into my Country with the Mark of one, who, by all poslible and reasonable Means, would endeavour to