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Ireland, have shown their disaffection to the succession of the illustrious house of Hanover?
Did they ever refuse the oath of abjuration, or support any conforming nonjuring teachers in their congregations? did ever any conforming gentleman, or common people, refuse to be arrayed, when the militia was raised upon the invasion of the pretender? did any of thein ever show the least reluctance, or make any exception against their officers, whether they were dissenters or churchmen?
It may be said, that, from these insinuations, I would have it understood, that the dissenters encouraged some of their teachers who refused the oath of abjuration; and that, even in the article of danger, when the pretender made an attempt in Scotland, our northern presbyterians showed great reluctance in taking arms upon the
of the militia,
I freely own it is my intention; and I must affirm both facts to be true, however they have the assurance to deny it.
What can be more notorious, than the protection, countenance, and support, which was continued to Riddall, M‘Bride, and M'Crackan, who absolutely refused the oath of abjuration; and yet were continued to teach in their congregations after they returned from Scotland, when a prosecution was directed, and a council in criminal causes was sent down to the county of Antrim, to prosecute them?-With respect to the parliament; did ever any house of commons show greater alacrity in raising money, and equipping ships in defence of the king, than the last house did upon the expected invasion of the pretender ? and did ever any parliament give money with greater unanimity, for the support of the crown,
than the present has done, whatever the wants of their private families might be? and must a very great majority of those persons be branded with the infamous aspersion of disaffection to the illustrious house of Hanover, should they refuse to give their voices for the repeal of the test?
I am fully persuaded that this author and his fellow labourers, do not believe one word of this heavy charge; but their present circumstances are such, that they must run all hazards.
A great number of the nonconforming gentlemen daily leave them. Many men, whose fathers were elders, or rigid nonconformists, are now constant communicants, and justices of peace
in their several counties; insomuch that it is highly probable, should the test continue twenty years longer, that there would not be a gentleman left to solicit a repeal.
I shall hereafter take occasion to show, how inconsiderable they are, for their numbers and fortunes, who can be served or obliged by this repeal, which number is daily lessening. The dissenting teachers are sufficiently aware, that the general conformity of the gentlemen will be followed by the conformity of numbers of the people; and, should it not be so, that they will be but poorly supported by them; that by the continuance of the test, their craft will be in danger to be set at naught, and in all probability will end in a general conformity of the presbyterians to the established church. So that they have the strongest reasons in the world to press for a repeal of the test; but those reasons must have equal force for the continuance of it, with all that wish the
peace of the church and state, and would not have us torn in pieces with endless and causeless divisions,
There is one short passage more I had like to have omitted, which our author leaves as a sting in the tail of his libel; his words are these, p. 59. “The truth is, no one party of a religious denomination, in Britain, or Ireland, were so united as they (the dissenters), indeed no one but they, in an inviolable attachment to the protestant suceession." To detect the folly of this assertion, I subjoin the following letter, from a person of known integrity, and inviolably attached to the protestant succession as any dissenter in the kingdom; I mean, Mr Warreng, of Warrengstown, then a member of parliament, and commissioner of array in the county of Down, upon the expected invasion of the pretender. This letter was writ in a short time after the array of the militia; for the truth of which I refer to Mr Warreng himself:
Sir, That I may fulfil your desire, by giving you an account how the dissenters in my neighbourhood behaved themselves, when we were threatened with an invasion of the pretender; be pleased to know, that, upon an alarm given of his being landed near Derry, none were more zealous in setting watch and keeping guard than they, to prevent such disorders as might happen at that time by ill-designing persons passing through and disturbing the peace of the country.
“But, when the government thought fit to have the kingdom arrayed, and sent commissioners into these parts, some time after, it appeared that the dissenters had by that time been otherwise instructed; for several, who were so forward before, behaved themselves after a very different manner, some refusing, and others with reluctancy appear
the array, to be enlisted, and serve in the militia,
... This behaviour surprised me so much, that I took occasion to discourse several of them, over whom I thought I had as much influence as any other person,
and sound them upon the common argument of having their hands tied by a late act of parliament, &c. Whereupon I took some pains to show the act to them, and wherein they were mistaken. I farther pressed their concurrence with us, in procuring the common peace and security of our country; and though they seemed convinced by what I said, yet I was given to understand, their behaviour was according to the sentiments of some persons, whom they thought themselves obliged to observe, or to be directed by,” &c.
PRESBYTERIANS' PLEA OF MERIT,
IN ORDER TO TAKE OFF THE TEST,
IMPARTIALLY EXAMINED. 1731.
We have been told, in the common newspapers, that all attempts are to be made this session by the presbyterians, and their abettors, for taking off the test; as a kind of preparatory step, to make it go down smoother in England. For, if once their light would so shine, the papists, delighted with the blaze, would all come in and dance about it. This I take to be a prudent method; like that of a discreet physician, who first gives a new medicine to a dog, before he prescribes it to a human creature.
The presbyterians have, ever since the Revolution, directed their learned casuists to employ their
pens on this subject, by showing their merits and pretensions, upon which they claim this justice, as founded upon the services they did toward the restoration of king Charles the Second, and at the Revolution under the prince of Orange. Which pleas I take to be the most singular in