Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

of that bill: whereas this bill takes away what the clergy are actually possessed of.

That the woollen manufacture is the staple of England, as the linen is that of Ireland; yet no attempt was ever made in England to reduce the tithe of wool, for the encouragement of that manufacture. This manufacture has already been remarkably favoured by the clergy, who have hitherto been generally content with less than half, some with sixpence a garden, and some have taken nothing

Employments, they say, have been taxed; the reasons for which taxation will not hold with regard to property, at least till employments become inheritances. The commons always have had so tender a regard to property, that they never would suffer any law to pass, whereby any particular persons might be aggrieved, without their own consent.

N. B. Some alterations have been made in the bill about the modus, since the above paper was written; but they are of little moment.

TRACTS

ON

THE TEST ACT.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

A LETTER, &c.

In accomplishing the Revolution in England, the services of the established church had been chiefly conspicuous. The dissenters had at one time (if the expression can be permitted) coquetted with James II., and shewed some disposition to accommodate themselves to his plans of arbitrary power, in order to gratify their vengeance, by enjoying the degradation, and, perhaps, the fall, of the church of England. And, although they recovered from this delusion, yet they must be considered rather as falling in with, and aiding, the general current of opinion, than as leading and directing it against the abdicated monarch. But in Ireland the case was different. The union and valour of the dissenting protestants in Ulster, gave the first positive and effectual check to the domination of Tyrconnel, for the bands of Inniskilling and Londonderry were chiefly levied from these zealous sectaries. Those statesmen, therefore, who desired a repeal of the Test Act, in favour of protestant dissenters, were desirous that the experiment should be first tried in Ireland, where the recent merits of the presbyterians might reasonably claim the most favourable hearing. Accordingly the whig Ministry in 1707-8 seem to have seriously determined upon the experiment. But the Irish clergy seeing this matter, as was natural, in a very different light, determined to resist it to their uttermost power. Swift was at once the boldest and most zealous champion of their cause; and the following letter, in which his high church principles are avowed, with an undisguised contempt of his antagonists, may be considered as decisive of the breach between him and Godolphin's administration.

In the Miscellanies, published by Morphew, in 1711, the following advertisement, by Dr Swift, is prefixed :

“ The following letter is supposed, by some judicious persons, to be of the same author, and, if their conjectures be right, it will be of no disadvantage to him to have it revived, considering the time when it was writ, the persons then at the helm, and the designs in agitation, against which this paper so boldly appeared. I have been assured that the suspicion which the supposed author lay under for writing this letter, absolutely ruined him with the late ministry. I have taken leave to omit about a page, which was purely personal, and of no use to the subject.”

« PredošláPokračovať »