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question to be one of great difficulty, and discussion was to arise on the Corn-laws. one which required the fullest considera- He entirely concurred in the course which tion He was ready to confess that the his majesty's government intended to present was not a very convenient time for pursue with regard to the bringing forthe discussion ; but if it had been practi- ward this question ; and he hoped the cable, the subject ought to have been gone noble earl would not fail to bring the subinto now. When, however, it should be ject under the consideration of the House brought forward, he trusted that the at the earliest period possible. A speedy averages would be got rid of, for they were decision was of great importance, because considered a source of great fraud, and that the uncertainty which existed respecting they were such, he sincerely believed. this question was very injurious to the He would, therefore, be glad to hear that general interests, by greatly affecting the the noble earl was fully prepared to put an markets. At the same time, he did not end to them, whatever might, in other conceive that it was practicable, at this respects, be the nature of the measure period of the session, to carry the measure brought forward.

through both Houses. He hoped, howLord Carbery approved of the ar-ever, that the delay would be attended rangement proposed by the noble earl at with this good effect—that the time afthe head of the Treasury. He was con- forded for consideration would enable parfident that when the subject came to be liament to adopt a fixed and permanent discussed, the agricultural interest would regulation. For, until not only that be found to wish well to every other inter- House, but the public at large, were saest in the country. The manufacturers be- tisfied that any arrangement come to was lieved that their present distress was owing permanent, the mischief which would to the high price of corn, but in that he Aow from the discussion of the subject was convinced they were mistaken. The would be interminable. With regard to present price of bread was not much price, it was not so much lowness of price beyond what it ought to be.

that was injurious to agriculturists, as the The Earl of Liverpool wished to make circumstance of their having been led by a single observation in reply to what had parliament to expect high prices. They fallen from the noble lord who spoke last had made all their arrangements with a

He was convinced that a little view to such prices. In consequence of reflection would satisfy the noble !ord, this state of things, any great alteration that there would be much difficulty and in the present system of the Corn-laws inconvenience in bringing forward a mea- must necessarily be attended with a corsure of this kind at the present moment. responding loss to them. But, nevertheThe noble lord must be aware of the time it | less, that a very considerable change must would take to carry such a measure through take place, was an opinion which he had both houses of parliament, and how im- long entertained and frequently expressed. practicable it would be to accomplish that At the same time, from the situation in object before the recess. But there was which the country was placed, and the another consideration : nothing was or commercial regulations which had been could be so inconvenient as bringing the adopted, it would be impossible to regard measure forward at this season of the the intended measure as a simple question year, or at any time, unless their lordships affecting the agricultural interest only. were sure that they could go quite through It was a mistaken view of the subject to with it. Considering the magnitude of suppose that different parts of the comthe question, their lordships must be con- munity had distinct interests on this occavinced that it would be impossible to come sion. If the manufacturers were to obtain to a decision before the recess. At the corn at so cheap a rate as to throw the same time, he assured their lordships that poorer lands which now produced it enno person was more deeply impressed than tirely out of cultivation, the injurious he was with the necessity of bringing the effects would fall at last upon themselves. question forward at the earliest possible On the other hand, if the agricultural inperiod.

terest obtained too high a price for their The Marquis of Lansdown said, he had corn, that would ultimately have the efbeen intrusted with some petitions which fect in another way which they so much he would have that night brought down dreaded, of driving the manufacturer out with him, had he been aware that any of the country. In fact, if a disposition

but one.

should be shown by one part of the public the two interests in array, the one against to throw the burthen off themselves on to the other, and making it the business of another, such an attempt would be im- parliament to arbitrate between them. possible, for the burthen, such as it was, When, however, the question came to be must be borne by all. What was neces- discussed, he should show that there was sary to be done was, to discover how an but one common interest involved in this adjustment could best be made by which question, which did not consist in creating food could be obtained sufficiently cheap high prices, but in encouraging the agrifor the manufacturer, and at the same culture of the country. Their lordships time at such a price as would afford due must not take a narrow view of the quesencouragement to the agriculturist—not, tion, but decide upon broad and stateshowever, such a price as would cause the man-like principles. He had said thus country to be entirely supplied with home- much to guard himself against being supraised corn, for such a state of things posed to concur in measures which might would be one of the greatest misfortunes be proposed for altering the present systhat could befal the agriculturists. The tem. great object which ought to be kept in The Marquis of Lansdown was sure his view was, to form an equitable adjust- noble friend had misunderstood him, when ment; and, if parliament devoted due he supposed that he had spoken of any consideration to the subject, he was san- difference or collision of interests beguine enough to hope that this object might|tween the commercial and agricultural be accomplished, and a permanent ar-classes. He certainly had alluded to the rangement adopted which would set the existence of a hostile feeling which prequestion at rest. With respect to what his vailed; but the whole tenor of what he noble friend had said upon the subject of had said went to show that no such feeling averages, he was inclined to concur. The ought to exist, and that if such a feeling system of averages was bad, and it would were acted upon, it would be ruinous to be well if they could be dispensed with ; both. In this question, there was, in but if they could not be got rid of altogether, fact, only one interest to be considered, some mode might be fallen upon to regulate namely, that of the country at large. In them, and place them on a better scale. that interest, the manufacturer and the Having said thus much, he must conclude agriculturist were united ; the landed inby again stating, that he concurred in the terest giving activity to commerce by concourse proposed to be taken by his ma- suming manufactures, and the manufacjesty's ministers.

turer in return consuming the produce of The Earl of Lauderdale agreed with his the agriculturist. In expressing this opinoble friend, in opinion, as to the advan- nion, he was sure their lordships would tage of a permanent arrangement; but he not understand him to be representing confessed that his hopes of accomplishing those interests in a state of hostility. The that object were not very sanguine. The more the question was investigated, the present system, when first adopted, was more it would appear that, strictly speakintended to be a permanent one. He had ing, there was but one interest to be conjoined his efforts with the noble earl oppo- sulted. site in 1815, in preparing those regula- Lord King fully agreed in opinion with tions which were to form a permanent the noble marquis, that there was but system for a time of peace; and the noble one interest on this question, but that earl then stated, that the system was to different views were taken of that interest. be such. He did not concur in those One party took a large view; another a regulations with the view of obtaining narrow and confined one. Some wished high prices. On the contrary, he be- for high prices immediately, others wished lieved, in his conscience, that if the regu- for those prices which would be best upon lations had been acted on, they would have the long run. Now, he was one of those caused low prices, and, he was still of who thought that the best prices on the opinion, that the system was calculated to long run were low prices-very near those have that effect. His noble friend, in of the continent of Europe. If prices the observations he had just made, had here were much above those of the contitaken into consideration the interests of nent, nothing could prevent manufacturers the manufacturer on the one hand, and of from emigrating. If, as the noble earl the land-owner on the other; thus setting near him had said, it was the object of


the agriculturists, by the regulations of would not take an oath according to the the present system, to give the country forms of law. The hon. member proceeded low prices, their mode of doing it was to argue, that by a resolution of that House, surely very extraordinary. In order to unanimously passed in 1680, the acts of make low prices, they say, let us have a Elizabeth and of James did not extend monopoly; but I should rather say, let us to Protestant Dissenters, and that the have competition. On the contrary, if I enactments of the Penal laws were not to wanted high prices, I should like their call be put in force against them. Under for monopoly

these resolutions, in his opinion, the petiOrdered to lie on the table.

tioner was entitled to protection, and to a

freedom from the oppression of which he HOUSE OF COMMONS,

so justly complained. It was inconsis

tent to refuse the oath of a person who Wednesday, November 29.

disbelieved in Christianity, and at the DEISMOATHS IN Courts Or Jus- same time to receive, as appeared from TICE—Petition of Robert Taylor.] proceedings in the court of Chancery, and Mr. Hume said, he had an important peti- from proceedings before the lord mayor, tion to present, in which the rights of a those of Hindoos, who were infidels, British subject, and the cause of civil and and who were sworn after the form of religious liberty, were deeply concerned. their faith, and after the manner of their Theright of which the petitioner complained country. The profession of a belief in he was deprived, was that enjoyment of God was surely sufficient for the purpose religious freedom which it was consistent of taking an oath in a court of justice. with the spirit and practice of the British He had himself seen the natives of India constitution that every British subject sworn on the head of a child, by the should possess. The petitioner was Mr. water of the Ganges, and on a variety of Robert Taylor, who had been canonically other forms, which were found to answer ordained a clergyman of the established all the purposes of justice before Bricharch. He was also a Bachelor of Arts tish tribunals in India. Surely, if the of St. John's College, Cambridge. He evidence of a Pagan would be received in stated in his petition, that after the most a court of law, while this gentleman's mature consideration, he could not give a would be rejected, he had a right to say, conscientious credence to the doctrines of that toleration in its full sense did not Christianity. That this was the result of exist. The petition was respectfully a conscientious conviction on the part of worded. The petitioner fairly stated his the petitioner, was shewn by his having grievance, and called upon the House to resigned a cure, which he held in a parish take his case into consideration, and in Suffolk, in consequence of his sincere cause that right to be extended to him disbelief in the tenets of the established to which he was entitled. Every man church. The petitioner further stated, should be allowed to enjoy liberty of conthat he arrived at that state of mind science uncontrolled by civil disability. that he could conscientiously declare him. It would be recollected what a struggle self a Deist. He declared, that in various was made, at no very distant period, instances those who were of the same against the power of the Catholic church. faith with him had experienced hardship History did not exhibit greater exertions and injury from being deprived of protec- made by any people, than were then tion in courts of law, on account of the made by the people of this country, to profession of Deism. This was the more free themselves from the shackles of in a subject of just complaint, as under the tolerance; and yet we now refused to act of Toleration they were entitled to pro- extend toleration to others. He believed tection, unless their mode of faith was England was the only country in the opposed to morality, or was inimical to world that placed a large portion of its the interests of the state. The petitioner population under restriction on account set forth an example of the hardship expe- of their religious tenets ; but he hoped rienced by persons professing Deism, in the the time would soon come when liberty of instance of a shopman of Mr. Carlile, who conscience, without civil disability, would was prevented from prosecuting in a court be extended to all, whatever creed they of justice, in consequence of his adherence might profess. to the tenets of Deism--and because he Mr. Serjeant Onslow said, he felt con

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siderable surprise, after what had fallen that House, although a very young one, from the hon. gentleman last session, to he could not but rise up to oppose both find him presenting a petition like the the petition and the principles laid down present, and introducing it with a speech by the hon. gentleman. The hon. gentlesuch as should never have been addressed man said, that this petition was most to a British House of Commons. What respectfully worded; but he begged leave could the hon. gentleman mean by com- to contradict that assertion, and say, that paring this petitioner and his sect to Pro- it was most disrespectfully worded, from testant Dissenters? Had the hon. mem- the allusions which it made; and he conber ever read the Toleration act? The ceived, that a person who did not believe hon, member, however, had himself given in our Saviour ought not to be tolerated an answer to that question, when he said in a British House of Commons. It was that the shopman of Mr. Carlile would not really astonishing that the hon. member allow himself to be sworn according to the was not interrupted in his speech, and an established usage of the country. He objection in limine taken to his arguments contended, that infidels could not give before they were suffered to proceed. The evidence in courts of justice, and yet the petitioner professed a disbelief in Christhon. member himself furnished instances ianity; in the being of our Saviour; and to the contrary when he said that a Jew in those doctrines and tenets on which or a Mahommedan might be sworn accord- the best and highest hopes of the coming to their respective creeds. The law munity rested. Jews and Mahometans of England sufficiently provided for the were admitted to be sworn in courts of grievance of which the hon. member com-justice, and they were sworn according to plained ; for a man who conformed to the the form of their respective faiths; but religious forms of any sect, however wild the Deist could give no such sanction to or preposterous, found protection in the his oath, for he professed no settled form law of the land, and his evidence was ad- of worship. mitted. Many members of the House, Sir E. Carrington expressed his horror who were also members of the legal pro- that any gentleman, educated in a Christian fession, knew, from experience in courts country, could be found to entertain the of justice, that the oaths of such indivi- doctrine stated in the petition, and to duals were admitted. The oath was ad- claim a right to be sworn in courts of ministered according to the particular justice upon the Works of Nature. The creed of the individual who made it; but fact was, that the case of the petitioner what form of oath could bind the man who was not the case of Deism. He was openly. professed no creed at all? Would sorry to say, it was nothing short of not the natural question be, do you be- Atheism; for it attempted to set up the lieve in a future state, and in rewards and works of nature, in contradistinction to punishments hereafter?

the works of the Deity. He had often, Mr. Hume here intimated, that the pe- in the course of his life, administered titioner did believe in a future state. oaths to the Persian worshippers of fire,

Mr. Serjeant Onslow continued. If and to other idolaters in the East, who the petitioner did not believe in a future did not believe in Christianity, and he state, what assurance had the country, had done it by that form which they held that any form of oath would be binding binding; but certainly, nothing should upon him? If such a person presented induce him to administer an oath to a himself to seek redress before à magis- Deist, on what the petitioner was pleased trate, and refused to comply with the form to call the “ works of nature.” prescribed by the law of England, the Mr. Secretary Peel said, he rose for magistrate must tell him, “then, Sir, I the purpose of bringing back the attenhave no power to administer any other tion of the House to the real question form of oath than that which the law before them; from which it appeared to points out.” Such must be the reply him that they were in some degree dein all similar cases. No magistrate could, parting. There were two questions arising and he hoped that no magistrate ever out of this petition. The first was, whewould, deviate from a rule that was ther it was proper to accede to the prayer founded in sound and constitutional prin- of the petition; the second, whether it ciples.

was proper to receive the petition. With Mr. Batley said, that as a member of respect to the first question, he certainly



had a strong opinion. He would not I did not believe, than from that of him then state it; but, if ever the hon. gentle who fairly stated that he denied the truth man should bring in a bill for the purpose of the gospels, but, at the same time, of relieving any man in the situation of firmly acknowledged the existence of a God. the petitioner from the obligation of an Mr. Hume expressed a wish that the oath, he, for one, should be prepared to petition should be read, in order to set meet that hon. gentleman, and those hon. the learned serjeant right as to the gentlemen by whom he might be support-petitioner's belief. ed, and to contend, that, for the preserva- The Petition was then brought up and tion of the best rights, and the protection read, as follows:of the best interests of the community, “ To the Honourable the Commons of such a bill ought to be decidedly rejected. Great Britain and Ireland assembled, the But that was not the question now before Petition of Robert Taylor, of Carey-street, the House; which was simply, whether Lincoln's-Inn, Clerk, or not the petition should be received. “Humbly showeth, Now, he was not prepared to say that it “ That your petitioner has been ordainwould be wise to reject a petition because ed a Clergyman of the Established Church, the House might not be disposed to accede is a Bachelor of Arts of St. John's College, to its prayer. Nor did he think it would Cambridge, and is a Member of the Colbe wise, on the present occasion, to attach lege of Surgeons. so much importance to this petition as its “That your petitioner is Chaplain of rejection might involve. Whatever might a society called * The Universal Benevobe the feelings which the House laudably lent Society," which is in the habit of entertained on this subject, he thought it meeting every Tuesday evening, for the would be prudent on their part to restrain purpose of investigating the evidences of themselves from expressing themselves at the Christian religion. the present moment with reference to a That your petitioner has determined, question, which, although it had been after a most laborious investigation and mixed up with the other, was not actually philosophical research, that he cannot before them.

give credence to the Christian faith, and Mr. W. Smith observed, that the re- has seceded from it solely from motives of marks which had fallen from the right honour, conscience, and conviction, and hon. Secretary afforded another proof of not from obstinacy, singularity, or prethat prudence and moderation for which judice. he had so much distinguished himself. “ That your petitioner is in the habit of He regretted that the right hon. gentleman performing Divine Service before the said had not, by speaking earlier in the discus- society, upon every Sunday, upon the sion, set the example of those excellent principles of Deism. qualities to the two honourable members “ That your petitioner has ascertained who had spoken on his side. One of those that he cannot give evidence in any Court, hon. gentlemen was, as yet, but a very touching any matter, suit, or cause, deyoung member, and no doubt, when he pending therein, in consequence of his had more experience in that House, he not believing in revelation, although your would learn to discuss subjects with a petitioner has carefully investigated its little more temper. With respect to the evidences, but cannot believe in its truth. other hon. member, he thought, that if “That your petitioner considers, under he had practised as a judge in this country, the Act of Toleration, he is entitled to as long as he had done abroad, he would profess what religion he pleases, and pubhave made a distinction between receiving licly to propagate it, unless such religion a petition and complying with its request. be opposed to public morality and the He was sorry to find hon. members con- welfare of the State. founding the opinions of an Atheist with That your petitioner believes in the those of a Deist. He knew not that an existence of a future state, and instils Atheist could give any sanction to an such belief into the minds of his hearers. oath; but he believed that a Deist could, That a short time ago a shopman of Mr. and he had no hesitation in asserting, Carlile's was robbed of his watch, but was that the interests of justice were much unable to prosecute the offender, in conmore likely to suffer from the oath of a sequence of his adherence to the tenets man who swore on the gospels, which he of Deism,


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