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lute determination against the endowment of a second. The recog. nised leaders of the Irish catholics have again and again pronounced decisively against such an arrangement; whilst the Anglican church must either repeal its articles or sacrifice every claim to consistency and good faith. Religious animosities, proverbially the most bitter that agitate the breasts of men, would be exacerbated to an incal. culable degree ; while, as state support and state controul are invariably correlative, the most earnest of your religious teachers would be placed under a dictation unbearably galling to all save those whom it may seduce to the compromise of all that is dear to high-minded and conscientious men. In a word, such a measure would reduce to a mere name all public virtue and consistency, and stain with ineffable disgrace the sacred cause of christianity itself.
• The opposition of the dissenting body to the government measure has, by some thoughtless and impetuous men, been indiscriminately condemned as fanatical and bigoted. We indignantly repudiate the charge as applied to the great nonconforming body. Let us never hear it repeated. We are ready to contend by your side for the attainment of an equal participation of all rights, ecclesiastical, political, and social; but we will not sacrifice our consciences to the success of a state trick, nor will we patiently submit to be taxed for a bribe to you, which we should spurn with contempt, were it offered to ourselves.
With all the earnestness, then, which a concern for the highest interests of our fellow-men can excite, we conjure you, by your selfrespect as British subjects—by the lofty position you occupy, as the peaceful, but resolute defenders of your national freedom-by the claim of ordinary consistency, as political agents—and, above all, by the solemn requirements of religious fidelity, to reject the unhallowed bribe offered at your very altars by secular and hostile hands; and, turning your back upon the temporary and crafty homage of a faction, to throw yourselves on the might of those resources, by which the religion of Christ survived, at its origin, the persecution of a world ; and in the strength of which, it is, as we trust, destined hereafter to bless the universal family of man.'
For the present we leave the other proceedings of the Conference, and turn to the debate in the lower house, on the third reading of the Maynooth Bill. It commenced on Monday the 19th of May, and was continued through three successive nights, being deficient in a remarkable degree in all the higher and more stirring qualities of parliamentary discussions. Mr. Shiel reiterated his slanders in the face of accumulating evidence, which ought to have silenced the most prejudiced opponent : * Lord John Russell endeavoured to con
If I have adverted to the dissenters,' remarked the member for Dungarvon-and the observation, be it remembered, was subsequent to the presentation of the petition of the Conference, the contents of which were stated to the House by Mr. Brightit is for a special purpose. The honour
ciliate dissenters, admitting that they had, ‘not been much represented in the house,' and adding, whose sentiments I have heard very little of in the course of these debates, but whose opinions I am accustomed highly to value, and who, I am sure, have come to their conclusions from conscientious convictions :' -and Sir Robert Peel repelled, in a spirit scarcely less than reckless, the bitter taunts and charges of his own party. division, the bill was carried by a majority of 317 to 184. The • Times' has published an analysis of the division, from which it appears that of the supporters of the bill, 150 only were conservatives, while 169 were members of the liberal party. Of the former, 152 voted against the premier, and only 34 of the latter could be found to defer to the petitions of the people, and rally in defence of religious liberty. And this too, as appears by the 24th Report of the Committee on Petitions, against 8,758 petitions, signed by no less than 1,106,772 persons, a greater number than are on the registries of all the counties, cities, and boroughs in Great Britain. Well, be it so. We needed to be taught this lesson, and shall profit by it. We have clung to Whig alliances too long, and this will go far to disengage us.
We have been condemned for the terms in which we have sometimes referred to them, but our most moderate men, those who have adhered most firmly to the school of Lord John, are now uttering words which they deemed rash from us some few years since. Their eyes are opening to the truth, and the whole obligations of it will soon flash upon them. We love some of the historical memories of whiggery, and our judgments are hence deluded: but it is in the highest degree impolitic, in the leaders of this party to compel us, as they have recently done, to sift their pretensions by a rigid comparison of their principles and policy with the requirements and duties of these times. However, they have compelled us to do so; and, in doing it, have driven us to the conclusion, that, whatever services they rendered in the days of Charles II. and of his infatuated brother; whatever we owe them for resisting the machinations of the Tories at the close of the reign of Anne, or for advocating the constitutional rights of Englishmen, when the apostate son of the Earl of Chatham sought the extinction of our liberties,- they are utterly unequal to the requirements of these days, and are ignorant of the first principles of religious freedom. We might have remained insensible to this for some time longer; and, had we done so, the benefit would have been able member for Dorsetshire adverted to an expression of mine-for he is equally expert in polemics and politics; and he said I was extremely rash in speaking of the dissenters as I did. Sir, I have no sort of notion of recanting one opinion I have ever given on this subject.'
theirs; but their infatuated policy has wrought a change in the views and sympathies of our people which no dissenting agency could have effected for years.
We now return to the Conference, to notice that feature of its procedure to which we have already adverted. The issue of the third reading of the Maynooth bill was foreknown. It took no one by surprise. The members were committed by the votes they had previously given ; and various motives, which we need not specify, held them to their course. The electoral resolutions submitted to the Conference were drawn up in anticipation of the result since realised, and their cordial adoption is an earnest of what the next election will show. An extended discussion took place on one clause of the first of these resolutions, which it was finally agreed to omit, in order to secure unanimity. We are perfectly satisfied with them as they stand, and place them on record, in their adopted form, as one of the most significant and cheering signs of the times :
• That this Conference view with deep regret and apprehension the indifference shown by members of the Commons' House to the petitions of the people against the Maynooth Endowment Bill, and regard such indifference as subversive of the representative system, and a clear indication of the want of harmony between the members of that House and the British people. That they further regard the ignorance displayed of the nature of religious liberty, and the violence done to religious conviction, by the votes given ; as disqualifying many members from being returned as the future representatives of Protestant Dissenters.
• That this Conference, impressed with the danger accruing to religious liberty, from the ignorance and unfaithfulness of its professed friends in the House of Commons, with a few honourable exceptions, earnestly, and solemnly counsel the Protestant Dissenting portion of the constituencies of the empire, immediately to organise themselves in their respective localities, with a view of seeing to the registration of voters, and of adopting all such other measures as shall facilitate the return, at the next general election, of men who combine with liberality of political sentiments a thorough knowledge of, and earnest attachment to, our distinctive ecclesiastical principle of opposition to all State Churches.'
Our duty would be ill discharged if we did not with all possible earnestness invite to these resolutions the immediate, energetic, and practical, attention of the protestant dissenting constituencies of the empire. The men whose names are found in the majority of the 21st of May are not worthy representatives of protestant dissenters. We know, and on other accounts admire, some of them, but their faithlessness on this point is an unpardonable sin, for which nothing short of a public and satis
factory repentance can atone. To have invaded afresh the ark of religious liberty, to have slighted so far and so recklessly our religious convictions as to lay us under tribute for the support of another ecclesiastical institute, thus doing violence to conscience and insulting religion itself, is an offence which no political partizanship must be permitted to palliate. Our principles, if of importance at all, are of prime importance, and must not be overlaid by any considerations of what nature
Either let us abandon them altogether, or carry them out to their legitimate issues. If the existence of a state church system be the greatest evil,—as we verily believe it is,-existing amongst us, if it do more than any thing else to debase the religion of the land, if its very life blood be polluted, and all its genuine tendencies be towards secularity and scepticism, then we affirm that it is our duty, our urgent, though in many cases, self-denying duty, to refuse our electoral support to all candidates who give to this system their parliamentary support. To send men into the Commons' House whose legislative influence will be exerted against the practical adoption of our ecclesiastical views, is to give the whole weight of our electoral support to a system which we regard as abhorrent from the mind of God, and fearfully destructive of the souls of men. The question of degree may be admitted in other cases without our integrity being impugned. As complete suffragists, for instance, we may honestly, in the absence of a candidate of our own sentiments, vote for the man who advocates the largest extension of the electoral body, as by doing so we shall be gaining an instalment at least of our claim, and be contributing, 80 far, to the right. But the case is vastly different when our vote is solicited on behalf of one who avows himself an establishment man; or, in the absence of this, who is obviously bent on giving to the existing system the full benefit of his support. To record a vote on behalf of such, on the ground of political affinities, is to sacrifice the religious to the secular, to invest with senatorial power—the greatest we can confer—for reasons purely earthly, the defender and advocate of the system which we believe to be an impersonation of the Man of Sin,-an awful engine of spiritual delusion and death. The question of degree does not operate here. Men's votes will be given for or against the system, They will be its defenders or its assailants; and if the former, are disqualified for receiving the support of protestant dissenters.
But it is urged in objection to our views, that by taking the ground we advocate, the liberal party will be weakened, and the return to parliament of conservatives be facilitated. We are not disposed to evade this objection. It has some force, and much more plausibility, and deserves to be seriously
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weighed. Admitting for a moment the fact assumed, we should nevertheless be prepared to abide by our views. Consistency on the part of British voluntaries is of much greater importance than party triumphs, while the clear and forcible exhibition of our principles which such a course would supply, could not fail—whatever temporary outcry might be raised - to attract towards them the more considerate and earnest attention of the public mind. Our fellow-countrymen, astonished it may be, at first, would begin to appreciate our honesty; and, from the strength of conviction betokened by our conduct, would learn to respect and understand us.
Would we be strong,' remarks a Journalist, to whom the cause of Voluntaryism is deeply indebted, we must stand upon ground of our own choosing, and refuse to move from it, whether for friend or foe. Politicians will soon come up to our mark, when they are practically convinced that we will not come down to theirs. They are far more dependent upon us, than we upon them. We, without them, should be incalculably better off than we now are—they, without us, would sink into insignificance. Their whole importance is derived from our hesitation—they suck strength out of our weakness. Trooping at their heels, we shall never be above a single march ahead of toryism-and when we most need their help we shall be most certain of being betrayed. Look at the records of the existing parliament. Wherein has liberalism assisted us? In what respect has it earned our confidence ? In regard to what great measures of state policy has it shown its superiority to modern conservatism? What inducement can it offer us to forego our own demands at the next general election? And if, adopting a miserable expediency, we again defer to it, what one good result will the country be likely to gain by our subserviency?
• The time has fully come for Dissenters to play their part with resolute determination. Hitherto, they have been but counters in the hands of others—henceforth, they must set a due value on them. selves. And whenever, indifferent to the fate of factions, both of which are opposed to them, they are bold enough to do this—whenever they take their own affairs into their bands, and declare that come what may, they will fight the battle of their principles in the registration court, on the hustings, and at the poll-booth, then, and not till then, will they be respected by the legislature.'—Nonconformist, May 21st.
But we are not disposed to admit the conclusion on which the whole force of the objection in question rests. Some few elections might, perhaps, at first be lost. The Whig leaders of the liberal party, underrating our electoral strength, would probably refuse us a due weight in the representation, and our political oppo. nents would promptly take advantage of the division consequent thereon, to carry their candidates. This might happen in a few