Page images

odd criticism this, which I should imitate, if I insinuat. ed, that when the apostle charges us to pay custom, he does not mean, that we should pay what we commonly understand by custom ; but only that tenants should pay their rent. From this specimen, it is easy to determine who have most reason to complain of “ mutilated charters," the patriots or the parliament.

Having so long pleaded the cause of my Sovereign and my country, I may be allowed to bestow a few paragraphs upon my friend. You say to him, “ It is fallacious to the last degree, and unworthy of a man of integrity and candour to insinuate, as you are pleased to do, that the people have ceded to the King and parlia. ment the power of disposing, without their consent, of both their lives, liberties, and properties.” I shall make Do remark, Rev. Sir, on the Christian courtesy of this address. We, who pass for abject slaves, expect such liberal hints from you patriots , and to tell you the trath, we think it an honour to share them with our King, and our legislature. But may not I ask a few questions, which will throw some light upon Mr. W.'s remark? When did all the freeholders, who have estates from fifty to ninety-nine pounds a year, consent to be deprived of the liberty to carry a gun, and to shoot 3 hare on their own land ? When did all the Quakers consent to pay tithes, for the non-payment of which their property is forcibly taken from them accord. ing to act of parliament, to the amount of several thousand pounds a year? When did all the Clergy, who lately petitioned the parliament for the repeal of the thirty-nine Articles, consent that the Act, which orders subscription to these Articles, should continue in force? When did all the freeholders in Middlesex consent to be additionally taxed, in order to enforce the taxation of the Colonists? When did all our blustering gentlemen consent to be sent to the house of correction, or to pay five shillings, every time they demean themselves, by profane cursing or swearing? When did all the Dissenters consent to the law, which obthey will have places under the government? And, sum up all in one question: When did one half of Lords who distinguish themselves by their violent op sition to the measures of the government, con: that their liberty, estate, title, and life should be forfe ed, if they should assist their fellow-patriots, who ta up arms against the King and parliament? If give me a satisfactory answer to these queries, I give you leave to reflect on my friend's integrity for t assertion. But remember, Sir, that if you flee to ti back door of an implicit consent to make your escap Mr. Wesley, like an honest man, will meet you face face; and stopping you in the name of consistency, h will demonstrate that, according to your evasive doc trine, you yourself have taxed the Colonists, 66 commit ted robbery,” and “ stabbed our vitals."

You try another method to overthrow Mr. Wesley's arguments. You object, that five years ago, he did not defend the measures taken with regard to America ; because he “ doubted” whether they were at all defensible; and you have been informed, that he has since represented the Americans as “ an oppressed, injured people;” and has warmly expressed his fears, with respect to the danger of our liberties. But who could blame Mr. Wesley then ; and who can blame him now? Is vot a good man bound by his conscience to judge without partiality, according to the best information he has ? When Mr. W. heard the clamours of the pa. triots, so called, who inveighed against the Sovereign, for breach of charter ; he really thought that they had truth, and the charters of the Colonists, on their side; and therefore he considered the claims of the govern. ment upon the Colonists, as subversive of charter, and consequently as faithless, injurious, and oppressive. Nor is it surprising that, upon such wrong informa. tion, he should have thought our liberties in danger ; for if the Sovereign had really violated the charters of the Colonies, he might next have attempted to violate the great charter of England. But when Mr. W. was better informed ; when he found that the charters

of the Colonies were as much for the Sovereign as the patriots had insinuated they were against him, Mr. W. would not have acted as a conscientious man, if he had not altered his mind, according to this important and decisive information.

But supposing I mistake the reason, which has determined Mr. W. to defend the claims of Great Britain ; and supposing you have been rightly informed concern. ing the change of his political sentiments ; what can you infer from thence, but that he once leaned too much towards your over-doing patriotism? He once “ doubt. ed" the equity of the Sovereign's claims. His strong patriotism gave an hasty preponderance to his doubts; but, his candour having proceeded to a close exarrination of the question, light has sprung up; conviction has followed ; and he has laid before the public the result of his second thoughts, and the arguments which have scattered his doubts. For my part, far from think. ing the worse of a rational conviction, because it follows a doubt, and has met with some opposition in a good man's mind, I am inclined to pay it a greater regard. And, if my friend's warm patriotism has been forced to yield to the strength of the arguments contained in his Calm Address, I am thereby encouraged to hope, that your warm patriotism, Sir, will not be less candid than his; and that you will yield to the arguments contained in this calm Vindication. Should this be the case, the public will see in you both, that Reason and Conscience can, at last, perfectly balance Patriotism and Loyalty in the breast of a good man.

With respect to me, Sir, I had not deeply entered into the merits of the cause either way, before I saw Mr. W.'s Address, and your answer to it. I contented myself to wish and pray for peace in general, without enquiring who was right and who wrong. But after an attentive perusal of your publications, I was fully convinced, that Mr. W's doctrine of government and tax. ation is Rational, Scriptural, and Constitutional ; and that your's, Sir, draws after it a chain of the most absurd and is subversive of all the scripture-precepts, wl I have quoted in my first letter: And therefore, reverence for God's word, my duty to the King, regard for my friend, my love to injured truth, and consciousness of the sweet liberty which I enjoy un the government, call for this little tribute of my p And I pay it so much the more cheerfully, as few in the kingdom have had a better opportunity of tryi which is the most eligible,-a republican government or the mild tempered monarchy of England. I liv more than twenty years the subject of two of the mil est Republics in Europe: I have been for above th number of years the subject of your Sovereign : Ani from sweet experience, I can set my seal to this claus of the King's speech, at the opening of this session c parliament, “ To be a subject of Great Britain, wit all its consequences, is to be the happiest subject of an: civil government in the world.” That you, Sir, anc all my dissatisfied fellow-subjects, may be as sensible o this truth as myself ; and that we may all be daily more thankful to God, to the King, and to the parliament, for the religious and civil liberty which we enjoy, is the cordial wish of, Reverend Sir, Your affectionate fellow-labourer in the gospel,


[ocr errors]


Observations on the Origin of Power, on the high

Republican Spirit ;-on the manner in which Cromwell overthrew both Church and State with this dread. ful engine ;-on the Republican Enthusiasm of many of the first Protestants ;—on the Articles of Rcligion by which the latter Reformers struck at that Enthu. siasm ;-on Tyranny ;-on Slavery ;--and on the peculiar Liberty of the Subjects of Great Britain.The Author's wishes with respect to a speedy reconciliation with the Colonists : The happy Consequences of such a Reconciliation.


My wishes for your happiness, and my concern for the public peace, prompt me to try all the means in my power, to remove your prejudices, and to stop the ferment raised by your mistakes. Having therefore addressed you as a Man, a Christian, and a Briton, I shall now expostulate with you, as a Protestant, and a friend to Liberty.

The distinguishing character of a Protestant, is to rest his doctrine upon Reason and Scripture. But upon which of these foundations, Sir, do you rest your doctrine of Power ? You insinuate that the power of kings ascends from the people: You blame your opponent for having intimated, that it descends from God; and you recommend a levelling scheme of Equal Representation, founded upon a natural, equal right of sharing in the legislative power ; a scheme this, which pre. supposes, that one man in society has naturally as much right to make and repeal laws, as another. Whence it evidently follows, that subjects have a right to rise

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »