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more than fifty years, he had nerer RELIGIOUS.
knowingly violated any of the laws of
his country. He had reason to believe Extraordinary Proceedings al Liverpool. that the room in which his meetings
were held was duly registered, as it had April 14th, 1817.
been used for worship about twenty Last week, Mr. John Wright, of years. And indeed, he conceived, that Liverpool, who has of late delivered if the place were not registered, yet, as religious lectures, and held meetings he had always been informed that it for worship on Unitarian principles, was, he could not be supposed to have in the Long Room, Marble-Sireet (a offended against the statute, as its pe place which has been frequently ocenalties were directed against those who cupied by different denominations of knowingly hold meetings for worship in Christians during the last twenty places not registered. He then proyears), was summoned, on three in- duced some written evidence, from a formations, to appear before the ma- most respectable quarter, staring at gistrates, on the charge of holding what time, and by whom, and for meetings for worship in a place not whoin, the place had been certified duly registered. Mr. Wright attended to the Bishop's Registrar at Chester. at the Town Hall on Saturday last, at There had not been sufficient time the appointed time, when the Mayor allowed to procure a certificate from (John Wright, Esq.) and Alderman Chester, but he doubled not he could Nicholson took their places as the do so in a few days. The bench then sitting magistrates. They were after- agreed to adjourn the business to that wards joined by Alderman Sir William day week, when the official evidence Barton.
was to be produced. The first information was then read, The penalty incurred in this case relative to a meeting for worship being would be, not exceeding £20 on each held in the Long Room, on Tuesday information, nor less than 20s.--one Ist April.
half to the informer. The informer on this charge was During the above examination, Mr. Reece Davies, of the Liverpool Courier Wright, alluding to soine disorderly "Office; who being sworn, gave evidence conduct in the Long Room, during of the statement in the information. worship on Tuesday the 8th stated,
The second information was then that the individual whoin he meant to read, which made a similar charge for charge with that disorder, had refused Sunday the 6th April.
at the time to give his address. He The informer on this charge also had since learnt, however, that his was Reece Davies, of the Liverpool name was Scott, and he would now Courier Office; who being again sworn, ask Reece Davies whether he knew gave evidence of the statement in that that person. Being answered in the information.
affirmative, he further demanded his The third information was then read, full name and address; when Scout him. which made a similar charge for Tues- self, being in the court, was required to day the 8th April.
give it - which was Jumes Scott, of The informer on this charge also Liverpool, inerchant, No.11, Claytonwas Recce Davies, of the Liverpool Square. Mr. Wright then declared Courier Office; who being again sworn, bis intention immediately to prosecute gave evidence of the statement in that him, under the :2th clause of an act information.
52 Geo. III. for disorderly conduct In answer to some questions from during worship on the above evening. the bench, and Mr. Statham, town The business on which Mr. Wright clerk, as to the wature of the prayers, was suinmoned being now, for the &c. Reece Davies stated that they were present, concluded, Mr. W. was about similar to those usually made in other to depart, when Mr. Stathan rose and chapels.
inforined him he had now to bring Mr. Wright being then called upon forward a charge of a more serious for his desence, stated, that in a life of nature.
Mr. Wright. I was summoned for which were before not permitted ?-To a particular purpose, which I have at this no answer was given. tended to, and am not bound to attend Mr. Wright.-But if I be arrested, to any other business.
and held to bail, contrary to the proMr. Statham. - Sir, this is an in- visions of an act of parliament, can I formation upon which you will now be not claim indemnity taken into custody. You are charged Mr. Statham. You can adopt what with blasphemy.
steps you think proper. He then read an information on the Two respectable friends of Mr. W. evidence of James Scott (the identical who happened then to be in the court person Mr. Wright had just stated bis merely as spectators, offered themselves intention to prosecute for disorderly as the required bail. One of themi conduct) --which, being duly sworn (Mr. F. B. Wright), in describing bis to, charged Mr. Wright with haring residence, stated, that it was near expressed and conveyed to his hearers Anne's Church. The mayor and Mr. the idea, “that a belief in the doctrine Statham instantly asked was it not of the holy Trinity was absurd and ri- Saint Anne's Church? Mr. F.B.W. diculous-ihat it was folly to believe said he had spoken of it in the usual in what was called the atonement of way, and had casually omitted the the death of Jesus Christ, as it was word saint. He did not know of such impious to suppose that a good being a saint in Scripture, nor did he believe would take an innocent victim to atone such an omission was criminal. Mr. for the sins of the wicked--that as the Statham said, “ Sir, I suspect you idea of the soul surviving the body was purposely onitted the word." lit. an absurd and ridiculous mental delu- F. B. W. here claimed the protection sion, that the idea of a future state was of the court. equaHy so."
Mr. Statham then in- Mr. Wright. I have now, Me. formed Mr. Wright that his proceed- Mayor, offered my bail, and of course ings had been watched; that the mayor claim my liberation. had sent persons for the purpose to the Mr. Stalham.-You must give twenLong Room, every evening, since he ty-four hours notice of your bail, and had advertised his meetings in the inquiries must be made into its suffiLiverpool Mercury of the 28th March; ciency. Bail is not a matter of course. and that it was at the mayor's instance You may be kept in custody a week, that the informer on this charge (Scott) Sir, for aught you know. had now attended to give evidence. Mr. Wrighi.--I am certain, Sir, that
Mr. Wright.-Why, Sir, the senti- if a short time were allowed, so that ments I delivered I had a legal right to this business could be made known deliver by act of parliament, and the out of doors, I should have bail offered Jast charge is an entire falsehood, and which the mayor must know would be contrary to all my sentiments.
sufficient. Mr. Stathum. That you must shew Here another friend of Mr. Wright in another place. You must give bail stepped forward and said, "Mr. Mayor,
for your appearance at the next Assizes, if only a few minutes be allowed before at Lancaster; yourself in £200, and you leave the Hall, I am sure I can two sureties in £100 each. (Mr. produce for Mr. Wright the most re- Wright was then placed in custody of spectable bail to any amount." the constables, and put to the bar as a Time was allowed. Mr. Wright prisoner.)
was removed in custody to the jury Mr. Wright.-But, Sir, I must know room, having objected to be sent down under what law I am charged with amongst persons charged with crime ; this?
and, in about fifteen minutes, Mr. Mr. Statham.-Under no particular Wright's friend returned with two act, but under the law of the land. gentlemen, whose surely was not a
Mr. Wright, -Under what law of the moment objected to. Mr. Statham land ?
asked them if they were acquainted Mr. Statham. Under the common with the nature of ihe charges against law.
Mr. Wright; He then read the inforMr. Wright.-Under what common mation. One of the gentleinen selaw?
-Have you never seen the act of marked, that with Mr. Wright's reliparliament, lately passed, which tole- gious creed he was not acquainted, but rates the exercise of religious opinions, on his integrity he would venture his property. The other observed, that five shillings costs. Mr. Wright im he agreed in the sentiments imputed to mediately gare notice of Appeal against Mr. Wright, with the exception of the this conviction at the Quarter Sessions, last, which he did not believe Mr. W. which will have been held before this ever espoused.
meets the reader's eye. The result will Mr. Wright was then liberated, and be hereafter announced. his departure from the Hall was only The prosecution for blasphemy is still impeded by a nuinber of other friends, more serious, and intimately conceruis eagerly pressing in to offer themselves the Unitarians as a body. This stands as his bail.
over to the Lancaster Assizes. Here Remarks.
too the town-clerk of Liverpool (who On the above extraordinary case, discovers in every thing the same oriwhich is already familiar to the public, ginality) takes new ground. He rests we hare little to say, at present; it the charge of blasphemy on the common will we understand be brought before law. It remains to be seen what his the higher tribunals.
legal opinion is worth : but if he be The case divides itself into two parts; right, the Trinity Bill, in which the first relating to unlicensed worship, Unitarians have so much rejoiced, is the second to blasphery.
no protection to them: it only exempts In the account given above, it is thein froin the operation of certain stated that the first complaint was ad- statutes, but leaves them exposed to journed a week, in order to allow Mr. the common law, if that be, as the Wright time to procnre a copy of the town-clerk advises, against thein. What certificate of register of the place of authorities this luniinary of the law meeting. The cause came before the relies on we know not. Lord Ellenbomagistrates on the 19th instant. The rough has indeed said, after Blackstone, point was now established by a living that “ Christianity is the law of the witness, that the place was duly regis- land," and if we were to ask his Lordtered in the Bishop's Court at Chester ship what Christianity is, he would about twenty years ago. But no looks undoubtedly refer us to the Common are kept in the Court ; documents are Prayer Book, containing the Thirty simply put upon a file, and take their Nine Articles and the Athanasian chance of preservation: in the present Creed: but we much question whether instance nothing remained and there. his Lordship would abide in any partifore no copy could be had. On the cular instance by his own dictum. Still testimony of the witness referred to, there is enough in the case to arouse however, the magistrates seemed dis- the attention of the Unitarians, and we posed to allow the legality of the meet- have the pleasure of informing the pub.. ing and to dismiss the complaint, when lic that the Committee of the UNITAthe town-clerk (who has earned for RIAN Fund are not inaltentire to it. himself a lasting name) put in an The charge against Mr. Wright of exception and demanded that the de- denying a future state is plainly a fendant should be convicted on one of misiake, arising probably from the ig. the three informations, on the fol- norance of the informer, who has lowing extraordinary ground, viz. that confounded a separate, intermediate, the Act of the King, commonly called with a fulure state. To shew this, The New Toleration del, requires a Mr. Wright has published the Sermon, Protestant Dissenting Place of Wor- with attestations to its being a true ship to be registered anew every time copy; it is in fact a Sermon of his it is occupied by a new congregation! brother's, Mr. Richard Wright, the If the town-clerk be right, the majority Unitarian Fund Missionary, and was of our congregations are unprotected by published in 1811, as No. 14 of Mr. the law. But we are persuaded that the R. Wright's “ Evangelical Discourses." construction of the Liverpool lawyer In delivering it, Mr. John Wright will be set aside the moment it is stated made some additions, which are marked to a higher court. It behoves the in the copy now printed by crotchets. Deputies and the PROTESTANT So. There is an explanatory « Preface" ciety to look after this matter; for and some excellent " Preliminary right or wrong the magistrates at Li- Remarks" to the publication, which verpool were ruled by their legal ad- may be had, Price One Shilling, of viser, and convieTED MR. WRIGHT D. Eaton, High-Holborn, and which in the penalty of twenty shillings and we recommend to all who feel an in
terest in the affair.- - The Printer, is Services at Parliament Court on Mr. Mr. F. B. Wright, of Liverpool, ano- For's entering on the Ministerial ther brother of Mr. Richard Wright's, Office. the Missionary: he is the person who On Wednesday, April the 2nd, Mr. so grievously oftended the town-clerk by W. J. Fox, late of Chichester, entered his want of piety towards Saint Anne. on the pastoral office of the congrega
Lord Holland has brought this tion in Parliament Court, Artillerymatter into the House of Lords, in a Lane, Bishopsgate-Street. A religious conversation on Lord Sidmouth's Cir service was held on the occasion to cular, to which his Lordship attributes recognize and improve an event so the proceedings at Liverpool. As promising to the future prosperity of mighi have been expected from the the society and the interests of pure nephew of Mr. Fox, Lord Holland has Christianity. expressed strong surprise at the afiair. Our readers are already sufficiently The Bishop of Chester is reported to acquainted with the loss recently have apologized for the magistrates and sustained hy this congregation in the town-clerk, by saying that Mr. Wright lamented death of Mr. W. Vidler ; was charged on ihe testimony of a and it gives us great pleasure to have respectable Liverpool merchant," with so soon to record its re-settlement denying a future state. His Lordship with such a valuable successor as has been doubtless misinformed, if not they have in their present minister. with regard to the informier, yet cer. It was the wish of the parties containly with regard to the ground of his cerned on this occasion to avoid every information : and it is not a little cu- thing which under the usual name of rious that Dr. Law, Bishop of Chester, ordination, conveys an idea of soine son of Dr. Edmund Law, Bishop of spiritual authority in religious teachCarlisle, should have been the person ers, to impart à distinct character, to repeat the charge of blaspheny with ccclesiastical powers, to their against a Dissenting Teacher, on the brethren :-a notion at complete vaground of his having taught the doc. riance with the religious equality trine of the total inortality of man and established by Christ amongst his of his sole dependence on a resurrection disciples, and which has in all ages for immortality; a doctrine which the been the fruitful source of priestly Bishop of Chester's Father was distin- domination, and innumerable impos guished for maintaining, which he as- sitions on the credulity and consciences serted not as a loose conjecture, but as of mankind. The ministers engaged the result of long and learned investis on this occcasion were Mr. T. Rees; gations, and which he continued to T. Madge, of Norwich, J. Gilchrist, defend in the successive editions of his Dr. Lindsay, R. Aspland, and Dr. admirable work, Considerations on the Rees. After suitable devotional exerTheory of Religion, the last edition of cises, Dr. Lindsay delivered an intewhich, published not long before the resting, discourse on the origin of venerable author's death, is completely Christian assemblies for worship, 'Unitarian.
their primitive constitution, and the On the whole, there is nothing in character of their teachers. In his this affair to terrify the Unitarians, the usual style of manly eloquence, the Dissenters and the friends of religious preacher shewed the difference beliberty generally; but much to set them iween a priesthood created by superto think upon the spirit of the times stition and pledged to the support of and the tendency of the late measures unintelligible creeds or unmeaning of his Majesty's ministers. Their will cereinonies ; and the pastor of a is obvious; their power has limits
. primitive church or congregation, their Let the friends of freedom, the Dis- instructor but not their master, theit senters and especially the Unitarians friend, their counsellor, and their be cautious and temperate, and await guide; the object of their free choice, the issue. The interval may be trying, having no dominion over their faith, but it will be purifying: and it any but being a helper of their joy. He lesson may be learned from history, asserted the perfect independency of we may rest assured that the end will all Christian congregations originally, be satisfactory: England has always and their right to choose their own triumphed over bad · laws and evil officers, and transact without control, counsellors.
all their social concerns; and con
gratulated the church and their new, decided agreement with the late Mr. pastor on this auspicious union. Vidler on the final restoration of the
A member of the society (Mt. wicked to holiness and happinessi? Anderton) then briefly mentioned the The congregation was very 'nie steps by which they were led to invite merous, and every part of the engages Mf. Fox to reside' among them, and ments appeared - to excite deep and undertake the pastoral office. Mr. general attention.'' Fox in a short but animated address In the afternoon, the ministers and signified bis acceptance of the invita- a party of Mr. Fox's friends, with tion, declining to make any confession some visitors from other congregaof faith excepting, that he was a tions, in all about ninety persons, Christian, and desired to be exten- dines together at the King's Head sively useful as a Christian minister: Tavern, in the Poultry. Several apwhich desire was the great motive propriate toasts were given, and some to his removal from his late situation, excellent speeches on the cause of to so public and important a station religious freedom, and the progress in the metropolis. 'Unfettered and of just and rational sentiinents in unlimited freedom of inquiry, he religion, delivered. A warm eulogium claimed for himself and would cheer. on Sir Samuel Romilly, the enlightfully concede to all his brethren. ened advocate of civil and religious
Nr. Aspland delivered an able and liberty, the friend of the miserable judicious discourse from Matt. xviii. captive, and the enemy of sanguinary 15--20, in which sound criticism laws, was received with loud and and an impartial appeal to parallel distinguished applause. And the Scriptures, were employed to shew whole company seemed to enter fully that the passage rightly understood into the spirit of one of the earliest yields no support to narrow, illiberal, sentiments proposed to the meeting, and tyrannous systems of ecclesiastical a sentiment which should be warmly polity; conveys no power to churches cherished by every Dissenter, The or churchmen to' institute odious CAUSE OF CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS inquisitions after supposed heresy, or LIBERTY ALL OVER THE WORLD! to enforce any kind of religious uni
L. formity : but that the whole, like every other part of the injunctions of Christ Jesus, breathes the spirit of
Southern Unitarian Fund Society, Christian liberty and love. It was The Southern Unitarian Fond So. earnestly wished by many who were ciety held its Second Annual Meeting present that this and Dr. Lindsay's on Wednesday the 9th instant, at the discourse should be published, both Unitarian Chapel, in the High-Street, appearing to them eminently calcu- Portsmouth. Though we had lately lated for great usefulness.
sustained an irreparable loss, in the The venerable Dr. Rees (father of removal to Parliament Court of the the Dissenting body in London), con gentleman, in whose well-directed cluded the public services of the day, zeal and activity for the diffusion of with some very affectionate expres- Evangelical truth, the society origisions of his good will to the cause at nated, yet the day was, in every respect, Parliament Court-his high regard consoling. Though we had also to for the
memory of their late pastor- lament our loss, by the removal to and the pleasure he experienced in distant situations, of those gentlemen anticipating the success and use- who had been able coadjutors in formfulness of their present respectable ing and in pronoting the views of the minister: commending them to the society; and though, as the preacher blessing of Almighty God in fervent pathetically observed, we had hung prayer.
our harps upon the willows; yet those It was with high gratification that who remained had no cause for dewe heard Dr. Rees express his attach- spair, for the attendance on the morning ment to the great 'doctrine of the service svas very respectable, and in the
proper unity of God, in which, though evening numerous. Mr. Hughes ad--- differing from many of its advocates vocated the cause of the society in his
as to the pre-existence of Christ, he usual perspicuous and energetie man. i declared himself to have been a ner, and in a most appropriate disfirm believer for fifty years; and his course, from 1 John iv. i, « Beloved,