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tion, and utterly inadequate to the claims of duty. Its failure soon became manifest. The few triumphs it achieved, were followed by successive and mortifying defeats, which gradually wrought out the conviction, that a higher and less selfish course must be adopted, that our measures must be laid deeper, must have reference to great principles, and be directed to the vindication of religion, and the freedom of the church. The Factories Education Bill helped on the healthful progress of the public mind, which has been still further aided by the Maynooth Bill, that betokens the obvious design of our rulers to extend the establishment principle. The attention of dissenters, therefore, is now directed to the church establishment itself, rather than to its fruits, and the following resolution, expressive of this fact, was unanimously adopted by the conference:
• That this Conference regard the proposed endowment of the Maynooth College as one of the many and natural results of a State Church; that, to uphold its unrighteous and impolitic supremacy, it foresees that other and similar misappropriations of the pube lic property will be proposed by parliament, as occasions arise ; and that, therefore, it is the duty of protestant dissenters chiefly to aim at the repudiation of the assumed right by the state to interfere with the religious affairs of Her Majesty's subjects in any form.'
We hail this resolution as the earnest of future triumph. It lays the axe at the root of the tree, and, if followed up, as we verily believe it will be, with consistency and determination, cannot fail to produce an extensive and radical change. We are no visionaries, nor would we overlook a single point on which the ever encroaching spirit of the state church system shows itself: but the experience of the past clearly proves that, if we would make any lasting impression on the popular mind, we must lay the foundations of our procedure much deeper, and must follow it up with greater self-devotion and high-mindedness, than the 'practical grievance policy admits of. By adopting the broader, and, as it is sometimes unreflectingly termed, the more abstract course, we may lose the glory of petty victories to be achieved on the other field, and may more instantly call forth, and array against ourselves, the whole strength of the hierarchy; but against this we place the silent, yet sure progress of our principles, the gradual formation of a public sentiment favourable to our views, the certain undermining of the outworks of the hie. rarchical system, and the maturing of a moral force, before which its utmost strength must ultimately give way. The special vocation of protestant dissenters, is not restricted to the passing hour or day. They have to labour for distant years, to sow in hope of a future harvest, to seek the recovery of the world's confidence, and the enlightenment of prejudiced ignorance, by the consistent advocacy of the supremacy of their Master, and the spirituality of His church. On them is devolved the arduous duty of rectifying the public judgment, of exposing the fallacies which centuries have sanctioned, of rescuing truth from the suspicions engendered by the misconceptions or treachery of its professed friends, of vindicating religion itself, and of enthroning its pure and fervent spirit in the confiding attachment of the sons of men. For the accomplishment of such a mission, years will be required; and, in its pursuit, everything little and selfish, everything which partakes of a secular spirit, or fails to realize the largeness and purity of religious obligation, should be cautiously avoided. We have to indoctrinate the public mind, to unseal its vision, to awaken, and at the same time to guide its energy. Religion summons us to this vocation, and the duty of the passing hour is best discharged in accelerating the progress of so great a result. It is, therefore, with no ordinary satisfaction that we regard the third resolution of the conference, which traces up the Maynooth College Bill to the establishment system, and affirms, “That it is the duty of protestant dissenters chiefly to aim at the repudiation of the assumed right by the state, to interfere with the religious affairs of Her Majesty's subjects in any form.'
The views of the conference were expressed with equal explicitness on the subject of the Regium Donum. This was due to its own consistency, and it was done with such unanimity and heartiness, as betokened the deep convictions of the assembly. The resolution adopted on this subject was, as follows:
That this Conference having avowed its opposition to all state grants for the support of religion, is especially solicitous to place on record its deliberate and solemn protest against the parliamentary grants to the presbyterians of Ireland, and for the protestant dissenting ministers of England and Wales. That it regards these grants as obnoxious to the same objections as are preferred to other appropriations of public money to ecclesiastical purposes; and, in the name, and on behalf of the protestant dissenters of England and Wales, protests against their being held responsible for the latter. That the objecjections to the English grant are not removed by its early bistory, and that its continuance constitutes one of the most formidable obstructions to the general diffusion of our principles. That, entertaining these convictions, the Conference now assembled, respectfully, but most urgently call upon the nine distributors of this grant, who are solely responsible in the matter, to decline the further reception of a vote which involves the proceedings of dissenters in suspicion, impairs the moral force of their opposition to the state church system, and furnishes to the opponents of the voluntary principle, their most plausible and effective weapon.'
We have protested to the government,' remarked Dr. Morison, on moving this resolution
'Against the English Regium Donum ; but the minister of the day has always told us, that, so long as there are men amongst us who will receive it for the purpose of distribution, so long it shall be paid to our denomination. I wish it to go forth to these nine gentlemen, for whom we all entertain a very cordial respect, that, whatever may be their personal liberty on this subject, they owe deference to the generally expressed wish of their brethren. If this meeting were a hundred-fold larger than it is, I believe we should agree in requesting these nine gentlemen to withdraw from the anomalous position they occupy, in being the recipients and distributors of that bounty.'
The position occupied by the distributors of this grant, is far from enviable, and we wait to see whether this reiterated appeal will have the effect which is desired. On a former occasion, we gave the history of the grant, and pointed out the measures, which in our judgment were advisable, to remove the reproach which it casts upon us, and we shall not therefore again enter on these points. Repudiated by all our bodies, condemned on every hand as inconsistent with our principles, and obstructive to their diffusion, it is yet received by the nine distributors.* We are not surprised at the course pursued by many of these gentlemen. It is in keeping with other parts of their procedure, and does not unnaturally flow from their general policy. But there is one amongst them for whom we entertain so profound a respect, of whose cordial attachment to our common principle we have received so many and such earnest proofs, that we confess ourselves deeply solicitous for his removal from so anomalous a position. The authority of his name goes far to neutralize the disclaimers of the dissenting body, whilst others are fortified by it in retaining a position which they would otherwise be scarcely willing to hold. "We feel that in thus alluding to an individual, we are on delicate ground, but he will be the first to admit the validity of our plea, however he may differ from us in judgment, when we urge the interests of truth, and the consistency of our opposition to the state-church system, in vindication of our course, It is no trifling consideration--and we earnestly and respectfully crave attention to these facts-that, the reception of this grant is universally regarded by us, as inconsistent with our principles, and injurious to our cause ; that our various organizations, whether metropolitan or provincial, have condemned it; that every assembly of dissenters, no matter where convened, or what minor differences may exist, are
* The vacancy created by the resignation of Dr. Cox has been supplied by the Rev. John Peacock, of Goswell Street Road.
perfectly unanimous in its reprobation; that our opponents appeal to it in proof of our insincerity, and that, the legislature and the public cannot be convinced-whatever we say to the contrary--but that it betokens a willingness to receive state pay, against which, as granted to others, we are accustomed to protest. May we yet learn that, to the many other proofs afforded of enlightened and earnest attachment to the voluntary principle, there has been added the surrender of a post which friends cannot vindicate, and over which opponents triumph.
Having recorded their opposition, on the grounds stated, to the Maynooth College Bill, and pointed the attention of Dissenters to the electoral duties devolving on them—to the latter of wbich points we shall presently advert—the Conference proceeded to express its sympathy with the Irish Roman catholics, under their many wrongs, and to offer them for themselves and those they represent, zealous, energetic, and persevering co-operation, to secure by constitutional means, for all classes of the Irish people, as for themselves, equal, just, and impartial liberty.'
An address to the Roman catholics of Ireland, prepared at the request of the committee, by Mr. Mursell, was adopted with the most hearty cordiality, in which freer utterance than a resolution admits, was given to the views and feelings of the assem. bly. This paper was worthy of the occasion, and may henceforth be triumphantly appealed to in proof of the generous sympathy and enlightened sentiments of British dissenters. We regret that our space does not permit us to give the document entire, but should fail in our duty to our readers, did we not transcribe the following passages :
You are placed by circumstances, the origin and growth of which it is unnecessary to trace, in a position so conspicuous and so critical as to attract towards you the anxious attention of all patriotic men in these realms, and of the liberal and the thoughtful throughout the civilised world. On your conduct at the present juncture, the mightiest and most sacred interests are suspended, and with you, under divine Providence, rest those issues which are destined to give a complexion, for an indefinite period, to the history of this empire. Your fidelity to the great principles of justice must inevitably promote its peace, prosperity, and freedom; your betrayal of them will necessarily be the omen, at least, of their temporary disaster and defeat. ....
• You need not to be reminded that the dissenters of England were among the warmest supporters of the Catholic Relief bill; that they heartily advocated the equal extension of political privileges to the Irish as to the English people; that they supported the claims of your country to an equal share in the benefits of Municipal Re
form; that they rejoiced in the abolition of your Vestry Cess; and that they viewed with strong indignation the recent attempts of your government to strain the powers of the law in the tyrannical suppression of public opinion. They have ever fought side by side with you in all your conflicts for social and political equality, nor will any misconstruction which may have been put on their conduct prevail to diminish the earnestness of their efforts in your defence. "Still you cannot expect them to surrender, on this very account, the principles which, even on the occasions referred to, have regulated their public conduct.
We have ever held that, of all the grievances under which your country has laboured, the establishment of the Anglican church in Ireland is the most unjustifiable and oppressive, and we pledge ourselves never to remit our efforts to remove from you this intolerable burden. We deem it a fundamental maxim, even of the commonest political justice and in this opinion we are fortified by that of some of the most eminent members of the Roman catholic church—that no compulsory payments can be rightfully demanded for the support of any religious system whatever. In this simple but vital principle lies involved the whole philosophy of nonconformity. The slightest deviation from this ground would virtually amount to a surrender of our consistency, and would obviously expose us to the merited derision of all discerning men. Now it will be plain to you that the proposed measure for the permanent endowment of the college of Maynooth involves the most direct invasion of this principle. It places your dissenting fellow-subjects in the very position from which they are striving to rescue you. It violates their consciences as offensively as the protestant establishment, in its tyrannical exactions, violates yours. It re-enacts the obnoxious principle, it is an extension of the very system, which you, in common with ourselves, have long been labouring to overthrow. To tolerate this measure, is distinctly to sanction and assert that principle.'
'If this grant is to bě regarded for a moment in the light of restitution, the meanness of the proposal sufficiently indicates that it is intended merely as preliminary. It is too absurd to suppose that the wealthiest and most powerful government in the world, should look upon the insignificant pittance of about £26,000 a year, compensation for the urgent claims of a great people. But if this measure is preliminary, we beg you to consider, what is that system which it is designed to introduce. The cautious and characteristic silence of the government has been generally, and, we believe, correctly interpreted, both within and without the walls of parliament, as a virtual admission of their desire eventually to take the whole body of your priesthood into the pay of the state. Can it be necessary to suggest to you the consequences of such a scheme? It would violate the consciences, not only of the class who already suffer a scarcely tolerable indignity on this account, but of the entire christian community in these realms. Dissenters, who already groan under the exactions of one establishment, will rise with a more reso