« AnteriorContinuar »
PROSECUTION FOR LIBEL. Soon after the publication of the article on Dissenters' Marriages, in our last Register, some rumours reached us of a meeting having been held, with reference thereto, by certain of the clergy of the diocese of London. We have not heard, whether the object of this meeting was to obtain the consent of THE CHURCH, in favour of the claim which the article in question seeks to establish in behalf of dissenters, as the only step, with the knowledge of which we are favoured, is, that one of the Reverend Gentlemen, reported to be a party to such meeting, has served our printer, together with the author of the above article, with notice of ACTION FOR LIBEL. When the reader is informed that this Reverend Gentleman is none other than Mr. Rice, the St. Luke's Curate, (whose violent, unfeeling, and as we maintain, ILLEGAL conduct, is noticed in the above article) it will hardly be sapposed, that the clergy of London would cominit themselves to the support of a person who proceeded to obviate the conscientious scruples of our friends, with regard to the marriage ceremony, by SENDING FOR A CONSTABLE, instead of obeying the precept of that religion he professes to teach ;-" the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men ; apt to teach—PATIENT-IN MEEK NESS INSTRUCTING THOSE THAT OPPOSE THEMSELVES.”
We confess, therefore, that we are greatly in the dark as to the origin and object of this prosecution. Is it to be regarded as the offspring of that personal malevolence, which can never forgive those whom it has first injured? Is it an essay made by a needy individual upon the pockets of the printer and author of the article in question? Or, is the reverend plaintiff' led into court by the advice of some eager and inexperienced practitioner? We observe, not iudeed without pain, that the solicitor in this case is the son of a gentleman, who has long been the recognized and successful advocate of the civil rights of dissenters !--Has then the young gentleman left his 'father's house in quest of church patronage ; and does he seek, at the expence of the dissenters' cause, to do some happy deed in favour of the establishment which, by washing out the sin of liberal principles "attaching to his family," shall gild bis humble name?' As the name of the writer of the article on Dissenters' Marriages was promptly given up to the reverend and pious prosecutor in this cause, it was concluded, as a matter of course, that the printer would be relieved from all further trouble. In this, however, we had miscalculated the liberality, or rather the sense of justice, of our opponent, for we were speedily given to understand that, even for the printer there was no mercy, uvless he would consent to publish to the world his belief, that Mr. Rice was “ A HIGHLY RESPECTABLE Clergyman of the Church of England ; and, therefore, wholly incapable of violating the canons of the church, or of so degrading himself and his profession, as to resort to any ale-house, or engage in any unlawful games.” Now, as the printer knew positively nothing of Mr. Rice's “ respectability,” it could hardly have been expected that he ; should give the Reverend Gentleman a character; and as he had really never published it to the world that Mr. Rice did resort to any ale-house, or that he did en-, gage in any unlawful games, it was too much to require him to declare that he did ;
not do so; the more so, as such a denial in the terms required, would, by implication, have been a gross libel on many respectable clergymen of the Church of England, who, it is notorious, do violate the canons of the church, by resorting to alehouses and engaging in unlawful games; a fact, which the author of the article on Dissenters' Marriages will, as he informs us, be able, when on his defence, to prove from the lips of some very respectable clerical witnesses, whom he has instructed his solicitors to subpæne for that purpose. Thus, then, it will be seen, that from a too favourable estimate of the character and feelings of the prosecutor, he has now two defendants, the printer and author, on whom to empty the vials of his wrath.
Upon learning from the Reverend Gentleman's solicitor that the action in question was for a false and malicious libel', an immediate opportunity was offered to him of contradicting, in the present number of our Register, any statement he might deem to be false, the author pledging himself to obtain the insertion of any such contradiction, if signed by himself; this offer he has declined to comply with, thereby preferring, as it should seem, to remain under the opprobrium which he affects to believe has been cast upon him.
Upon turning to the report of the affair in which Mr. Rice was concerned, as stated in our last, it will be seen that our first acquaintance with that Gentleman was much against our will; but, as he is determined to force a closer intimacy upon us, we have latterly lost no time in cultivating a better knowledge of the Reverend Gentleman. To such of his respectable parishioners as have kindly assisted us in our inquiries, our best thanks are due; and as the object of their worthy pastor in this prosecution must be, either on the one hand, to seek the " punishment” of bis supposed enemies, which would be contrary to the commands of that Master whose servant he professes to be, or on the other, to do justice to his own character; we avow ourselves at all times willing to join in this latter object, and our friend the author, together with the counsel for our printer, may, perchance, exhibit to an admiring jury, some pregnant proofs of that “ purity of clerical character" which the solicitor for the prosecution so properly claims for his client.
DISSENTERS' MARRIAGES.-Our intention of giving a correct report of the debate in the IIouse of Lords, on the Marquis of Lansdown's late motion for granting relief to dissenters from the marriage ceremony, has been, in a great measure, superceded by the report drawn up by Mr. Edgar Taylor, the solicitor to the Unitarian Association, and published by Fox, Threadneedle Street; which we recommend the perusal of to the reader. We shall, however, revive the subject when the parliament is again assembled.
CLERICAL ANECDOTES are at all times acceptable to us, and can scarcely be more so than at the present moment; we are, therefore, obliged to the parties who haye furnished us with the information concerning a modern parish priest, who has suffered his tavern bill for expenses, incurred in an unsucceseful electioneering contest for a situation in the church, to remain unsettled, against whom an accusation has been exhibited at one of our Police offices for profane swearing; and who committed a violent assault on one of his respectable parishioners by striking him in the public street. Some of the other points noticed we were previously aware of, and with regard to the facts further promised, though we agree that there is ample time, yet as they may afford the clue to other inquiries of our own, they cannot be too speedily forwarded; with thic latter view our correspondent will understand, that ng particular can be too minute. The hand-bills, if any of them are of a nature to be useful, but particularly the dialogue, attributed to the Young Lawyer, we shall be glad to receive. The party alluded to as possessing the means of rendering us most essential service, proves to be an old acquaintance, and is quite with us.
THE UNITARIAN TEACHERS.–Our last number, in the article on Religious Worship, p. 194, contained, it will be remembered, an account of the efforts which we bad made, bitherto without success, to induce the leaders of the Unitarian body to discuss with us the propriety of certain of their public forms and practices, (as palpit preaching, social prayer, &c.) which we deemed unscriptural and anti-christian. This was followed in that article by a fresh ayowal of our readiness now to meet them on the same terms as those which we had formerly proposed. In order to prevent the parties being placed in a situation so unfortunate as not to hear of this invitation, we presumed so far as to hand to each of the Unitarian ministers resident in or near London, a copy of the same, accompanied by a letter from our Secretary, respectfully calling their attention to this particular passage. Some of these geutlemen have hitherto maintained a guarded silence; but amongst the replies to our invitation which we have to acknowledge, our readers will probably be happy to learn the name of Mr. W. J. Fox, of Parliament Court Chapel, who professes, that “ when bis health has more completely recovered from the long interruption which - it has suffered, he will not object to attend a public debate on the subject of Social “ Worship.” The final result of this new effort on our part, with the letters of those who have answered, including the correspondence to which it has led with Mr. Fox, and with some notice of the no less expressive silence of the other parties, we may possibly, at no very distant period, lay, in detail, before our readers.
THE QUAKER'S ESTIMATION OF SUNDAY.- In the article on “ Fasts, “ Festivals, and Sabbaths,” which appeared in our last number, we, with some besitation, concluded from the authorities of Barclay and Kersey, that the Quakers attached some peculiar reverence to Sunday; in consequence of which, a letter has been sent to us, complaining of a misconstruction of the passage in Barclay; we have, therefore, again looked at the “ Apology,” and are now, as we before were, “ pot quite “sure” upon the point; and that because of the equivocal, if not contradictory assertions of the author in question; as, however, it will give us much pleasure to correct any misstatement, and also to learn that the “Friends” upon this or any other subject are rational and scriptural, we give ready insertion to the communication of our correspondent.
“ Having accidentally met with the third number of the Freethinking Christians' “ Quarterly Review, I trust the Editor, who has given so many testimonies of a “ liberal spirit in that number, will not be disposed to censure me, if I presume to “ point out a palpable misconstruction of Barclay in his Apology, relative to Sun“ day. The Review, in page 240, says, we are not quite sure that even the "• • Quakers, with all their simplicity, are quite free froin a participation in these "! pious frauds; for Barclay, in his Apology, (349) states of Sunday, or the first "• day of the week, or the Lord's day, that the Quakers agree with Calvin in giving “ it a spiritual sense.
“ Barclay says, on the part of the Quakers,' we cannot be so superstitious as ""' to believe, that either the Jewish Sabbath now conținues, or that the first day "" of the week is the antitype thereof, or the true Christian Sabbath, which sve
"" believe (with Calvin) to have a more spiritual sense; and, therefore, we know “ no moral obligation by the fourth command, or elsewhere, to keep the first day " of the week more than any other, or any holiness inherent in it.'
• What fair construction can possibly be put upon this passage, other than that " the Quakers hold every day in the week to be in a spiritual sense the Christian · Sabbath, involving the indispensible duty of daily leading a sober, virtuous and “ religious life; and why, for entertaining this sentiment, are the Quakers taunted “ with the unseemly sneer of simplicity and pious frauds ?
" To hold meetings on that day involves a distinct consideration; and to abstain. “ from working,. why may not a. Quaker, as a merciful man, be merciful to his “ beast, and to his servants also ?-G. H.”
MR. FREND'S obliging communication on a paid priesthood, &o. we beg to acknowledge, it will receive consideration and due attention.
Some other miscellaneous communications have been received, and are under consideration."..
The following Subjects are appointed by the Church of God, for
the instructions of the Public on the Sunday Mornings, at their Meeting-house, Crescent, Jewin Street, Aldersgate Street.Time of commencing 11 o'Clock PRECISELY. ·
· Oct. 5.-An explanation of scripture difficulties–Saul and the witch of Endor-Jeptha's vow. : Oct. 12.—BLASPHEMY-its scriptural and modern acceptation.
Oct. 19:—The Conduct and Character of Jesus and his Apostles, contrasted with that of Impostors, Fanatics, and Enthusiasts.
Oct. 26.-The doctrine of the Fall of Man
Nov.2.--The Scribes and Pharisees of old compared with their successors in the present day.
Nov. 9.—The universality and benevolence of the dealings of God with man, as exemplified in the Old and New Testament.
Nov. 16.—The character and principles of religious Reformers from the commencement of the Christian era down to our own times.
Nov. 23.-ANGELS—Is there scriptural authority for a belief in the existence of good Angels ?
Nov. 30.—ANGEls—Is their scriptural authority for a belief in the existence of bad Angels ?
Dec. 7.—The importance to Youth of an early attention to the Christian religion.
Dec. 14.Rational Devotion--its spirit and effects as compared with fanatical excitement.
Dec. 21.—The scripture doctrine of a Resurrection from the Dead-its importance and evidence.
Dec. 28.— The Character and Conduct of the modern Priesthood—"By their fruits ye shall know them."
................... 17, 226
....... 111, 165
blishment, 160—policy at Bible Societies, &c. 174—observance of
days, sabbaths, &c. 240— marriages ..............
Durham Chronicle, 54—indifference of its members, 158—history
lic subjects, 192, 320-extracts from reports of, 17, 226-extract