« AnteriorContinuar »
over all opposition, and that Unita- shewing, that their dislike of the riotous ‘rianism would in time become the, and lawless proceedings in France,arose prevailing belief of the Christian world, not so much from the wickedness and and would overthrow all other systems. violence of those proceediugs, as from A violent spirit of hostility was now their being directed against kings and raised against the Dissenters, and par. nobles, and that they had no objecticularly against Dr. Priestley; and the tion to equal violence being employed cry of Church and King was raised in this country against the Dissenters through the nation, an union of words, and the friends of liberty; while, to with respect to which Bishop Shipley use the language of one of their most Well observed, that no one could sus. eloquent writers, in relation to those pect him of dislike to either part taken horrid excesses, which after the time separately, but he knew, when thus of the Birmingham riots disgraced the united, they meant a church above the course of the French Revolution, the state, and a 'king above the laws, and Dissenters and the true friends of lisuch he hoped never to see in this berty felt sentiments of abhorrence too country.
strong to be expressed in larguage for On the 14th of July, 1791, meetings the popular violences and murders, or were held in various parts of the king- attempts at murder, on both sides the dom, to commemorate the destruction channel. These riots at Birmingham of the Bastille. The more horrible form the third instance in the course parts of the French Revolution had of the last century, of popular violence not then begun. The King of France excited by the High-church party, was then living at Paris, apparently while no instance can be adduced of în great popularity, and in strict har- the Dissenters having attempted to inmony with the National Assembly. stigate the populace to any such deeds. At Birmiugham, however, where one Similar riots io those in Birmingham of these meetings was held, the popu. were excited in many of the principal Jace rose with the utmost violence, and towns of the kingdom, but in none did after burning the Dissenting chapels, they rise to so great an excess.
Mr. they proceeded to Dr. Priestley's house, Pitt having, in his speech against the though he had not been present at the repeal of the Test Law, avowed in the meeting. He was with some difficulty most unequivocal terms, the right of prevailed upon to fly, for trusting in the Dissenters to a full and complete his own innocence and good will to toleration; Mr. Fox, in the year 1792, others, he thought it incredible that brought forward a motion for the reothers should wish to injure him; but peal of the Penal Statutes, which still his family refusing to escape without hung over the Unitarians, but Mr. him, he consented to accompany them. Pitt opposed the motion on the ground, Thus his life was saved, but bis house that those laws were fallen into disuse, and his invaluable manuscripts, library to which it was a fair reply, that laws and philosophical apparatus, were de. which were too cruel to be carried stroyed by the mob. The following into execution, were a disgrace to the four days, the town of Birmingham Statute-Book and ought to be repealed. and the country for several miles round, The motion, bowever, was lost by a appeared to be entirely under the do- large majority, and here terminated minion of the rioters, who demolished for the present all attempts to enlarge all the houses of the principal Dis. the toleration of Dissenters. senters, and rendered it necessary for In the year 1793, Mr. Winterboall such to save their lives by flight. iham, an Independent mivister at PlyThese violences, which were worse mouth, was tried for sedition, found than any thing which had then taken guilty and imprisoned for four years, on place in the course of the French Re- the evidence solely of three infamous volution, were passed over almost with women, two of whom had been already impunity-one person only, and he one convicted of perjury, and not one of of the very meanest that was concerned whom, there was every reason to bein thein, being punished, and the mi. lieve, had been present at the chapel nisters, instead of reprobating them as on the day when they swore he had they deserved, when Parliament met, used seditious expressions, while there attempted to excuse them, and to divert was every possible evidence to prove the public attention from them; thus that he had never used such expres
sions. This iniquitous sentence being without any opposition. Owing howcarried into execution determined Dr. ever to a mistake in drawiug up the Priestley to leave the country. Hi- bill, its effects only extend to this therto, trusting in his innocence, he island, and these laws are still legally had thought himself safe, since the in force in Ireland. It is to be hoped violence of the populace had in a great that Mr. Smith, who brought in this measure subsided, but now he said, motion, will not long suffer it to re“ I see innocence is no longer a secu- main tbus imperfect. * It is to be rity in England. I might, like Mr. hoped too, that all the remaining reWinterbotham. be condemned and strictions upon the toleration of any punished for words which I had never class of Dissenters will speedily be reuttered, for it cannot be at all difficult moved. for my enemies to procure in support I have now presented your readers of any charge, however false against with a brief sketch of the History me, evidence equal to that ou which of the Dissenters, with a view to exhe was convicted." This determined cite their attention to this interesting him to go to America in the year 1794. subject. I hope also, that it may aniFrom this time to the year 1811, no- mate them to be more steady and conthing public or remarkable happened sistent in their principles and conduct, to the Dissenters. In that year Lord to emulate the examples of good men Sidmouth made a motion that certifi- of former times, not to suffer any tempcates should not be granted to any tation to lead them to make shipwreck person who was not the regularly ap- of faith and of a good conscience, by pointed minister of some particular using any hypocrisy in their religious congregation, and who did not bring worship, or by habitually frequenting a testimonial from three respectable that worship, which their consciences householders that he was qualified for cannot approve. If all, who are Uni. his office. To oppose this invasion of tarians in principle, would be so in the Toleration Act, the greatest exer- practice also, our congregations would tions were made both by the Dissenters be much fuller, and our ministerial and Methodists, against whom the labours would have an encouragemotion was particularly directed, and ment which at present they too often in the course of a very few days, want. That this and every other eight hundred petitions, signed by a effort for that purpose, may increase vast number of respectable names, were religious sincerity and zeal among us, presented against it, and it was im- is the fervent wish and prayer of mediately negatived. In the following
T.C. HOLLAND. year most of the persecuting laws, from which the Dissenters had hitherto been • It will be seen by reference to p. 443, exempted only on condition of taking that the Irish Unitarians are now put on the oaths in the Toleration Act, were the same legal footing as the English. repealed; and in 1813, the persecuting
ED. laws against Unitarians were repealed
Letter of Lady Nithsdale's to her Sister, can, for I owe you too many obliga
giving an account of the manner in tions to refuse you any thing that lies which she effected Lord Nithsdale's in my power to do. escape from the Tower.
I think I owe myself the justice to [Communicated by the Rev. T. C. Holland, set out with the motives which influof Preston.)
enced me to undertake so hazardous DEAR SISTER,
an attempt, which l despaired of Y Lord's escape is now such an thoroughly accomplishing, foreseeing
old story, that I have almost a thousand difficulties, which could forgotteu it, but as you desire me to never be surmounted but by the most give you a circumstantial account of particular interposition of Divine Proit, I will endeavour to recal it to my vidence. I confided in Almighty God, memory, and be as exact as I possibly and trusted that he would not aban
don mc, even when all human means to undergo the confinement; the real failed me.
reason of my refusal was, not to put I first came to London upon hearing it out of my power to accomplish my that my Lord was committed to the design. However, by bribing the Tower. I was at the same time in- guards, I often contrived to see my formed, that he expressed the greatest Lord, till the day on which the pri. anxiety to see me; having, as he after soners were condemned; after that we wards told me, nothing to console him were allowed, for the last week, to till I arrived. I rode to Newcastle, and see and take our leave of them. thence took the stage to York. When By the help of Evans, I had preI arrived there, the snow was so deep pared every thing necessary to disguise that the stage could not set out for my Lord, but had the utmost difLondon. The season was so severe, ficulty to prevail upon him to make and the roads so extremely bad, that use of them ; however I at last sucthe post itself was stopt. However, ceeded, by the help of Almighty God. I took horses and rode to London
On February 22d, which fell on a through the snow, which was gene- Thursday, our general petition was rally above the horses' girths, and to be presented to the House of Lords, arived safe and sound without any ac the purport of which was to entreat cident. On my arrival I went imme- the lords to interfere with his Majesty diately to make what interest I could to pardon the prisoners. We were, among those who were in place. however, disappointed the day before None gave me any hopes, but they the petition was to be presented, for all to the contrary assured me, that the Duke of St. Albans, who had prothough some of the prisoners were to mised my Lady Derwentwater to be pardoned, yet my Lord would cer- present it, when it came to the point tainly not be of the number. When failed in his word. However, as she I inquired into the reason of this dis was the only English Countess continction, I could obtain no other an- cerued, it was incumbent on her to swer, than that they would not flatter have it presented. We had but one me. But I soon perceived the rea- day left before the execution, and the sons, which they declined alleging Duke still promised to present the to me; a Roman Catholic, upon the petition, but for fear be should fail, I borders of Scotland, who had a very engaged the Duke of Montrose, to considerable party, a whose secure its being done by the one or family has always signalized itself by the other. I then went, in company its loyalty to the royal house of Stuart, with most of the ladies of quality who and who was the only support of the were in town, to solicit the interest Catholics against the inveteracy of the of the Lords as they were going to the Whigs, who were very numerous in House. They all behaved to me with that part of Scotland, would become great civility, but particularly Lord an agreeable sacrifice to the opposite Pembroke, who, though he desired party.
They still retained a lively me not to speak to him, yet he proremembrance of his grandfather, who mised to employ his interest in my defended his own castle to the last favour, and he honourably kept his extremity, and surrendered it only by word, for he spoke in the House very the express command of his royal strongly in our behalf. The subject master. Now, having his grandson of the debate was, whether the King in their power, they were determined had power to pardon those who had not to let him escape out of their been condemned by Parliament, and bands.
it was chiefly owing to Lord PemUpon this I formed the resolution broke's speech that it passed in the to attempt his escape, but opened my affirmative. However, one of the intention to none but my dear Evans. Lords stood up and said, that the In order to concert measures, I strong. House would only interfere for those ly solicited to be permitted to see my of the prisoners who should prove Lord, which they refused, unless 1 themselves worthy of their interceswould consent to remain confined with sion, but not for all indiscriminately; him in the Tower; this I would not this salvo quite blasted all my hopes, submit to, and alleged for excuse for I was assured that it aimed at the that my health would not permit me exclusion of those who should refuse to
-subscribe the petition, which was 'a On our atrival at the Tower, the thing I knew '
my Lord would never first I introduced was Mrs. Morgan, submit to, nor, in fact, could I wish for I was only allowed to take m one to preserve his life on those terms. at a time. She brought in the clothes,
As the motion had passed generally, which 'were to serve Mrs. Mills when I thought I could draw from it some she left her own behind her. When sadvantage in favour of my design. Ac- Mrs. Morgan' had taken off what she cordingly I immediately left the House 'brought for thy purpose, 'l conducted of Lords and hastened to the Tower, 'her back to the staircase, 'and, in where, affectivg an air of joy and going, l'hegged her to send me in my satisfaction, I told all the guards I maid to dress me, that I was afraid of passed that I came to bring joyful being too late to present 'my last petitidings to the prisoners; Idesired them tion that night, if she did not come to lay aside their fears, for the petition immediately. I dispatched her safe, had passed the House in their favour. and then went 'partly down stairs to I then gave them some money to drink meet Mrs. Mills, who had tlie preto the Lords and his Majesty, though caution to hold her 'handkerchief to it was but trifling, for I thought that her face, as was very natural for a if I were too liberal on the occasion, wonian to do, when she was going to they might suspect my designs; and bid her last farewell to a friend on the that giving them something would eve of his execution ; I had indeed gaju their good-will and services for desired her to do it, that my Lord the next day, wbieh was the eve of might go out in the same manter. the execution.
Her eyebrows were rather inclined The next morning I could not go to be sandy, and my Lord's were to the Tower, having so many things dark and very thick; however, I had upon my hands to put in readiness
. prepared 'some paint of the colour of But in the evening, when all was ready, hers, to disguise his with. I also I sent for Mrs. Mills, with whom I bought an artificial head-dress of the lodged, and acquainted her with my same coloured hair as hers, and I design of attempting my Lord's pamted his face with white and tris escape, as there was no prospect of cheeks with rouge, "to hide his long his being pardoned, and this was the beard, which he had not time to share. Jast night before the execution. I told All this provision 1 frad before left in 'her that I had every thing in readi- 'the Tower. The poor guards, whom ness, and that I trusted she would not my liberality the day before had en. refuse to accompany me, that my deared to me, tet me go quietly out Lord might pass for her; I pressed with my company, and were not so her to come immediately, as we had strictly on the watch as they usually no time to lose. At the same time I had been, and the more as they were sent for a Mrs. Morgan, to whose persuaded, from what I had told thein acquaintance my dear Evans had in the day before, that the prisoners troduced me, which I look upon as would obtain their parton. I made a very singular happiness; I imme. Mrs. Mills take off her bwn bobu, diately communicated my resolution and put on that which 'I had brought to her. She was of a very tall and for her, I then took her by the hand slender make, so I begged her to put and led her but of my Lord's chamunder her own riding-bood, one that ber, and ib passiog through the next I had prepared for Mrs. Mills, as she room, in which there were several was to lend hers to my Lord, that in people, with all the concern intaginacoming out he might be taken for her. ble I said, “My dear Mrs. Catherine, Mrs. Mills was then with child, so go in all 'haste and send me my waitthat she was not only the same beight ing maid, she certainly cannot reflect but nearly the same size as my Lord. how late it is, she forgets that I am When we were in the coach I never to present my petition to tight, and ceased talking, that they might have if I let slip this opportunity I am unDo leisure to reflect. Their surprise dotie, for tomorrow will be too late; and astonishment when I first opened hasten her as much as possible for I my desigo to them, bad made them shall be on thorns till she comes.' conseut without ever thinking of the Every body in the room, who were · consequence.
chiefly guards' wives and daughters,
seemed to compassionate me, and the young lady, I was obliged to return up centinel officiously opened the door. stairs, and go back to my Lord's room When I had seen her out, I returned in the same feigved anxiety of being back to my Lord; I finished drussing, too late, so that every body seemed him. I had taken, every care that sincerely to sympathize with my disMrs. Mills did not go out crying as tress. she came in, that my Lord, might the When I was in the room I talked to better pass for the lady that came in him as if he had been present, and crying, and afflicted, and ibe more so, atswered my own questious in my because he had the same dress she Lord's voice, as nearly as I could imiwore, When I had almost finished., tate it. I walked up and down the dressing, my Lord in all my petticoats room, as if we were conversing to. except one, I perceived that it was getber, till I thought they had time growing dark; 1 was afraid that the enough thoroughly to clear themselves light of the candles might betray us, of the guards. I then thought proper so I resolved to set off, I went outu to walk off also ; I opened the door leading him by the hand, and he held and stood half in it, that those in the his handkerchief to his eyes. I spoke outer-chamber might hear what I said, to him in the most piteous and af- but, held it so close that they could flicted tone of voice, bewailing bitter. not look in, and bid' my Lord a forly the negligence of Evans, who had mal farewell for that night, and added, ruined me by her delay. Then I said, that something more than usual must • My dear Mrs. Betty, for the love of have happened to make Evans negliGod run quickly and bring her with gent on this important occasion, who you, you know my lodgings, and if had always been so punetual in trifles; ever you made dispatch in your life, that I saw no other remedy than to go do it at present; I am almost distracted in person; that if the Tower were still with this disappointment. The guards. . open when I had finished my business, opened the doors and I went up stairs. I would return that night, but that he with him, still conjuring him to make might be assured I would be with him all possible speed. As soon as he had., as early in the morning as I could cleared the door I made him walk be- gain admittance into the Tower, and I fore me, for fear the centivel should Hattered myself I should bring more take notice of his walk, but I still con- favourable news than before. Before tipued to press him to make all the . I shut the door I pulled through the hąste he possibly could. At the bot-, string of the latch, so that it could tom, of, the stairs I met my dear only be opened on the inside; I then Evans, into whose hands i confided shut it with some degree of foree, that him, I had before engaged Mr. Mills I might be sure of its being well shut. to be in readiness by the Tower, to I said to the servant as I passed by, conduct him to some place of safety, who was ignorant of the whole transincase we succeeded. He looked upon action, that he need not carry in canthe affair as, so very improbable to dles to his master till my Lord called succeed, that his astonishment when for them, as he desired to finish some he saw us threw him into such con- prayers first. sternation, that he was almost out of I went down stairs and called a himself, which Evans perceiving, with coach, as there were several on the the greatest presence of mind, without stand, and drove thence to my lodg. telling my Lord any thing, lest he ings, where poor Mrs. Mackenzie bad should mistrust them, conducted him, been waiting, to carry the petition in to some of her own friends on whom case.my attempt had failed. I told she could rely, and, so secured him, her there was no need of any petition, without which we should have been as my Lord was out of the Tower, and undoue. When she had conducted out of the hands of his enemies as I him, and left him with them, she re-n hoped, but that I did not know where turned to find, Mr. Mills, who by this, he was. I discharged the coach and time had recovered from bis astonish- sent for a sedan chair, and went to ment; they went home together, and the Duchess of Buccleugh's, who ex. having found a place of security, they pected me about that time, as I had conducted my Lord to it. In the mean begged of her to present the petition while, as I pretended to have sent they for me, having taken my precautions