Committees for Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts
Minutes, 1786-7 (nos 1-60)

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London Record Society

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Thomas W. Davis (editor)

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1978

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1-22

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'Committees for Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts: Minutes, 1786-7 (nos 1-60)', Committees for Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts: Minutes 1786-90 and 1827-8 (1978), pp. 1-22. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=38778 Date accessed: 29 August 2014.


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COMMITTEE APPOINTED TO CONDUCT THE APPLICATION TO PARLIAMENT FOR THE REPEAL OF THE TEST AND CORPORATION ACTS

MINUTES 1786-90

(Guildhall Library MS 3084/1)

1. [f. 1] At a special meeting of the committee by order of the chairman at Dr Williams's Library in Red Cross Street on Friday 29th December 1786 to consider of an application to parliament for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts. Present: Mr Jeffries, Mr Bogle French, Mr Towgood, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Raymond, Mr Rogers, Mr Fuller, Mr Dowson, Mr Bond, Mr Bradney, Mr Bond Hopkins, Mr Lowdell, Mr Smith, Mr Grubb, Mr Yerbury; Mr Jeffries in the chair.

2. The chairman represented the probability of success in an application to parliament to have the Corporation and Test Acts repealed.

Resolved nemine contradicente that it is the opinion of this committee that the Corporation and Test Acts deprive the Protestant Dissenters of those civil rights to which they are equally entitled with the rest of his majesty's subjects, as they have always been faithful subjects and steady friends to the constitution as by law established and have been invariably attached to the august house of his present majesty.

Resolved nem. con. that it is the opinion of this committee that it is expedient as soon as may be to apply to parliament for the repeal of those acts so far as they affect Protestant Dissenters.

3. Resolved nem. con. that a general meeting of the Deputies be convened to state to them the propriety of applying to parliament for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts and to request their [f. 1v] concurrence therein and that they will empower this committee to take the most effectual measures for carrying the important object into execution.

Resolved that a general meeting of the Deputies be summoned to meet in this place on Friday next at twelve o'clock precisely on special affairs.

Resolved that this committee be summoned to meet here on the same day at half an hour past eleven precisely. Adjourned to Friday 5th January 1787.

4. At a general meeting of the Deputies at Dr Williams's Library in Red Cross Street on Friday 5th January 1787 to consider of an application to parliament for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts. Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the two last meetings were read and confirmed.

Resolved unanimously that an application be made to parliament for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts so far as they affect Protestant Dissenters.

Resolved also that it be referred to the committee to take the most effectual measures for carrying the above resolution into execution. Adjourned.

5. [f. 2] At a meeting of the committee at Dr Williams's Library in Red Cross Street on Friday 5th January 1787 to consider of an application to parliament for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts. Present: Mr Jeffries, Mr Bogle French, Mr Grubb, Mr Yerbury, Mr Towgood, Mr Raymond, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Fuller, Mr Bond, Mr Smith, Mr Lowdell, Mr Rogers, Mr Dowson; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

The committee met next after the general meeting and adjourned to Friday 12th January 1787 at twelve o'clock at noon precisely at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry.

6. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday 12th January 1787. Present: Mr Jeffries, Mr Bogle French, Mr Grubb, Mr Towgood, Mr Rogers, Mr Raymond, Mr Yerbury, Mr Dowson, Mr Fuller, Mr Cooke, Mr Lowdell; Mr Jeffries in the chair.

Resolved that the chairman be desired to transmit to the right honourable William Pitt a copy of the resolution of the general body of the Deputies of the 5th January and request to know when he will be waited on by the chairman and a few of the committee relative thereto.

Resolved that the chairman summon another meeting of the committee whenever he thinks proper. Adjourned.

7. [f. 2v] At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday January 19th, 1787. Present: Mr Jeffries, Mr Bogle French, Mr Grubb, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Lowdell, Mr Fuller, Mr Cooke, Mr Yerbury, Mr Rogers, Mr Towgood, Mr Bradney, Mr Dowson; Mr Jeffries in the chair.

The chairman reported that the following gentlemen of the committee, viz. Mr Chairman, Mr Towgood, Mr Rogers, Mr Fuller, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Bogle French and Mr Yerbury had waited on the right honourable Mr Pitt this day according to his appointment who received them with great politeness and candour, but as the application was of so great magnitude he wished to take some time before he gave his opinion, and he was to give the subject a very serious consideration.

8. Resolved that some copies be printed of the resolutions of the general meeting of the Deputies of the 5th inst. and a list of the committee with a letter signed with the name of the chairman and be sent into different parts of the country.

Resolved that the chairman, Mr Bogle French and Mr Towgood be appointed to draw up a state of the case of Dissenters in regard to the Corporation and Test Acts against the next meeting of the committee.

Resolved that this committee do adjourn to this day fortnight in expectation of Mr Pitt's answer unless sooner summoned by the chairman. Adjourned to Friday 2nd February 1787 at twelve o'clock precisely.

9. [f. 3] At a meeting of the committee at King's Head Tavern in the Poultry, 30th January 1787. Present: Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Lowdell, Mr Fuller, Mr Towgood, Mr Raymond, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Jeffries, Mr Bogle French, Mr Rogers, Mr Johnson, Mr Yerbury; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The following gentlemen also attended: the Reverend Dr Kippis, Mr Dodson, Mr Beaufoy and Mr Vaughan.

The printed Case [The Case of the Protestant Dissenters with Reference to the Corporation and Test Acts] was read by Mr Beaufoy together with some remarks and alterations.

10. Resolved that Dr Kippis, Mr Beaufoy and Mr Dodson be added to the subcommittee for settling the printed Case.

Resolved that the committee be enlarged.

Resolved that the following gentlemen be added to the committee, viz.

Michael Dodson Esq Boswell Court, Carey Street
Henry Beaufoy Esq, M.P. Great George Street, Westminster
James Martin Esq, M.P. Downing Street, Westminster
Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, M.P. Upper Brook Street, Grosvenor Square
Samuel Thornton Esq, M.P. King's Arms Yard, Coleman Street
William Smith Esq, M.P. Clapham, Surrey
Thomas Rickards Esq Hackney
John Maitland Esq Basinghall Street
Thomas Whitmore Esq Margaret Street, Cavendish Square
Benjamin Vaughan Esq Jeffries Square, St Mary Axe
Samuel Shore Jr, Esq Lincoln's Inn, New Square
John Lee Esq, M.P. Lincoln's Inn Fields
James Watson Esq Bedford Square
Thomas Brand Hollis Esq Chesterfield Street, May Fair
Nathaniel Barnardiston Esq Harpur Street, Red Lyon Square
Timothy Hollis Esq Ormond Street
Samuel Heywood Esq Harpur Street, Red Lyon Square
Edmund Calamy Esq Lincoln's Inn Fields
James West Esq Chatham Place
Richard Slater Milnes Esq, M.P. Holles Street, Cavendish Square

Adjourned to Friday next at twelve o'clock precisely.

11. [f. 3v] At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday 2nd February 1787. Present: Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, Mr Towgood, Mr Bogle French, Mr Fuller, Mr Shore, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Calamy, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Johnson, Mr Barnardiston, Mr Grubb, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Jeffries, Mr Watson, Mr William Smith, Mr Yerbury, Mr Lowdell, Mr Rogers, Mr Whitmore, Mr Maitland, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Bradney, Mr Martin; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the two last meetings of the committee were read and confirmed.

The proof sheet of the Case intended to be dispersed as settled by the subcommittee was read.

12. Resolved that the thanks of this meeting be given to the subcommittee for their care and attention in drawing up the Case.

Resolved that the Case as now read is approved and that 2,000 copies thereof be printed as soon as possible.

Resolved that the mode of proceedings in the House of Commons for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts be by motion.

Resolved that Mr Beaufoy be desired to make the motion for that purpose.

Resolved that the following gentlemen be added to the committee, viz. Robert Thornton Esq, M.P., Henry Thornton Esq, M.P., Samuel Smith Esq, Sir John Sinclair, Baronet, Sir James Esdaile, Knight, and John Ingram Esq be added to that committee.

13. Resolved that the following gentlemen be a subcommittee to wait on the members of both houses of parliament and that they be requested to meet here on Monday next at twelve o'clock at noon precisely: Mr Jeffries, Mr Watson, Mr Bogle French, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr John Maitland, Mr Calamy, [f. 4] Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Rogers, Mr Towgood, Mr Shore, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Dodson, Mr Raymond, Mr Yerbury, Mr Fuller, Mr Barnardiston.

Resolved that the circular letter directed to be sent by the chairman into the country (by the resolution of this committee on [19 January 1787]) be forthwith reprinted with a complete list of the present committee with such additions as may be made thereto previous to the printing thereof. Adjourned.

14. At a meeting of the subcommittee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Tuesday the 6th February 1787. Present: Mr Jeffries, Mr Towgood, Mr Bogle French, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Dodson, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Watson, Mr Yerbury, Mr Rogers, Mr Fuller, Mr John Maitland, Mr Calamy, Mr Raymond, Mr Barnardiston, Mr William Smith; Mr Jeffries in the chair.

A draft of a letter to Mr Pitt was read and approved.

Resolved that the same be copied fair and signed by the chairman and sent to Mr Pitt, which letter is as follows, viz.

15. Sir: The committee appointed to manage the intended application to parliament for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts begs leave to submit the state of the Case of the Protestant Dissenters as it now stands with reference to those acts to your consideration, humbly presuming that when the bill is brought in for that purpose you will see the propriety and justice of giving it your effectual support. None of his majesty's subjects are more loyal nor more faithfully attached to the constitution, laws and liberties of their country; they cannot, therefore, but feel it to be a grievance that they should remain stigmatized by these two acts from which no single benefit [f. 4v] results as they conceive either to the church or state but many inconveniences to both.

Mr Beaufoy has been requested to make the motion in the House of Commons for introducing the question, which is of the most serious importance to the whole body of Protestant Dissenters. It is the desire of the committee, and they are confident it will be his endeavour, to introduce this application at some period of the present session, when the subject may be likely to receive the most complete discussion in a full house and interfere as little as possible with the public measures of government.

Tuesday 6th February 1787

I have the honour to be with great respect Your most obedient humble servant, Edward Jeffries, Chairman

The mode of application to the ministry and members of parliament was settled.

Resolved that the chairman, Mr Dodson and Mr Watson do wait on Mr Pitt, the cabinet council, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York tomorrow with the printed Cases.

Resolved that the chairman, Mr Raymond and Mr Calamy do wait on the bishops, the Marquess of Lansdowne, Marquess of Buckingham, Mr Foster and Mr Sheridan on Wednesday with the printed Cases.

16. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Thursday 8th February 1787. Present: Mr Beaufoy, Mr Bond Hopkins, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Calamy, Mr Vaughan, Mr Johnson, Mr Rogers, Mr Fuller, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Jeffries, Mr Bradney, Mr Lowdell, Mr Cooke, Mr Yerbury, Mr Bogle French, Mr Whitmore; Mr Jeffries in the chair. [f. 5] The minutes of the last meeting of the committee and of the subsequent [meeting] of the subcommittee were read and confirmed.

The chairman reported that himself, Mr Dodson, Mr Watson and Mr Raymond, Mr Calamy and Mr Bogle French had waited on Mr Pitt and the other officers of state and bishops and left the Cases.

Resolved that the chairman with the gentlemen of the subcommittee do endeavour to procure an interview with the Marquess of Lansdowne, Mr Fox, Mr Sheridan, Mr Wilberforce, Duke of Portland and Earl [of] Effingham.

Resolved that this committee do meet twice a week on Tuesday and Friday at eleven o'clock and that the chair be taken at twelve precisely. Adjourned to Tuesday at eleven.

17. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern on Tuesday 13th February 1787. Present: Mr Jeffries, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Raymond, Mr Calamy, Mr Grubb, Mr Watson, Mr Heywood, Mr Dodson, Mr Fuller, Mr Towgood, Mr Shore, Mr William Smith, Mr Bogle French, Mr Lowdell, Mr Yerbury, Mr Rogers, Mr Barnardiston, Mr Cooke, Mr West; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting of the committee were read and confirmed.

The chairman reported that he and Messrs Dodson and Watson had waited on the Marquess of Lansdowne, Mr Fox, Mr Burke, Mr Lee and Mr Wilberforce pursuant to the directions of the committee at their last meeting and that they had seen the Marquess of Lansdowne, Mr Fox and Mr Burke, the two former of whom received them in a very encouraging manner.

[f. 5v] Resolved that the following gentlemen, viz. Mr Jeffries, Mr Towgood, Mr West, Mr Watson and Mr Barnardiston be appointed a committee for making out a list of gentlemen in the country to whom letters should be sent.

Resolved that the printed Case be sent to the members of both houses of parliament immediately. Adjourned to Friday 16th February 1787.

18. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday 16th February 1787. Present: Mr Towgood, Mr Lowdell, Mr West, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr John Maitland, Mr Barnardiston, Mr Fuller, Mr Calamy, Mr Bradney, Mr Dodson, Mr Jeffries, Mr Beaufoy, Mr William Smith; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

Resolved that Mr Lowdell and Mr West be added to the committee for waiting on the members.

Ordered that the secretary send three Cases to the ministers and two Deputies, or two others, of the several congregations in and within twelve miles of London enclosed in a printed letter. Adjourned to Tuesday 20th February 1787.

19. [f. 6] At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry Tuesday 20th February 1787. Present: Mr Jeffries, Mr Towgood, Mr Bogle French, Mr West, Mr Grubb, Mr Rogers, Mr Rickards, Mr Cooke, Mr Calamy, Mr Beaufoy, Mr William Smith, Mr Brand Hollis; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The last minutes were read and confirmed.

The secretary reported he had sent the letters and Cases to the ministers and Deputies as ordered by the committee at the last meeting.

Resolved that Cases be sent into different parts of the country to the following gentlemen, viz.

To the Reverend Mr Gunner, Worcester 30 Cases
Reverend Mr Turner, Newcastle upon Tyne 100 ditto
Reverend Mr Walker, Nottingham 50
Reverend Mr Evans, Bristol 100
Reverend Mr Armstrong, Bath 50
Reverend Dr Priestley, Birmingham 50
Reverend Mr Yates, Liverpool 50
Reverend Mr Morgan, Yarmouth 50
Reverend Mr Cappe, York 50
Dr Milner, Maidstone 25
Dr Percival, Manchester 100

Adjourned to Friday 23rd February 1787.

20. [f. 6v] At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday 23rd February 1787. Present: Mr Watson, Mr Yerbury, Mr Lowdell, Mr Barnardiston, Mr Heywood, Mr Calamy, Mr Jeffries, Mr Fuller, Mr Maitland, Mr Ingram, Mr Grubb, Mr Rogers, Mr Beaufoy; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting of the committee were read and confirmed.

The secretary reported he had sent the Cases into the country as ordered at the last meeting.

Ordered that the secretary send 30 Cases to the Reverend Mr Sheldon at Canterbury and 50 to the Reverend Mr Gentleman, Kidderminster. Adjourned to Tuesday 27th February 1787.

21. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Tuesday 27th February 1787. Present: Mr Calamy, Mr Towgood, Mr Dodson, Mr Cooke, Mr Watson, Mr Rogers, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Lowdell, Mr Grubb, Mr Jeffries, Mr Yerbury, Mr Maitland, Mr William Smith; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The last minutes were read and confirmed.

The chairman read divers letters from gentlemen in the country approving the application and one disapproving it.

This committee having been informed of a [f. 7] report that they have other objects in view than those which are described in their printed Case in which they only ask for a restitution of their civil rights, and that they are secretly preparing for an attack on the privileges and revenues of the established church.

Resolved unanimously that this committee neither have nor ever had any such design and that the report is entirely without foundation.

Resolved that 1,000 of the foregoing resolution be printed and signed by the chairman and sent to members of both houses of parliament.

Resolved that Thomas Scott Esq, M.P., of Golden Square be added to this committee. Adjourned to Friday 2nd March 1787.

22. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry, Friday 2nd March 1787. Present: Mr Towgood, Mr Rogers, Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, Mr Ingram, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Bogle French, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Lowdell, Mr Raymond, Mr Fuller, Mr Grubb, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Cooke, Mr Johnson, Mr Maitland, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Calamy, Mr Dodson, Mr Barnardiston, Mr West; Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

The chairman read a letter to Mr Jeffries, the chairman of this committee, from Joshua Grigby Esq approving the intended application to parliament and signifying his wishes to be added to the committee.

[f. 7v] Resolved that Joshua Grigby Esq, M.P., Craven Street; John Wilkes Esq, M.P., Alderman and Chamberlain of London; and James Esdaile Esq, Bridge Street, Westminster be added to this committee.

Mr Bogle French read a letter from Lord Beauchamp approving the application for which the committee authorized Mr Bogle French to thank his lordship. Adjourned to Tuesday 6th March 1787.

23. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Tuesday 6th March 1787. Present: Mr Towgood, Mr Dodson, Mr Bogle French, Mr Jeffries, Mr Rogers, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Calamy, Mr Fuller, Mr Johnson; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting of the committee were read and confirmed.

Several letters were read approving the application.

Resolved that 50 Cases be sent to Jacob Pattison Esq, Witham, by the Ipswich or Colchester coach. Adjourned to Friday 9th March.

24. [f. 8] At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday 9th March 1787. Present: Mr Lowdell, Mr Raymond, Mr Towgood, Mr Yerbury, Mr Fuller, Mr Dodson, Mr Jeffries, Mr Rogers, Mr Alderman Wilkes, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr William Smith, Mr Maitland, Mr Bogle French; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

The chairman produced and read several letters approving the application.

Resolved that a subcommittee consisting of the following gentlemen, viz. Mr Jeffries, Mr Dodson, Mr Towgood, Mr Beaufoy, Mr William Smith and Mr Calamy be desired to take into consideration the propriety of republishing any of the tracts of Bishop Hoadly or others suitable to the present application to parliament, and that they be desired to take such other steps as they shall see proper. Adjourned to Tuesday 13th March 1787.

25. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry, Tuesday 13th March 1787. Present: Mr Lowdell, Mr Grubb, Mr Esdaile, Mr Dodson, Mr Towgood, Mr Yerbury, Mr Jeffries, Mr Barnardiston, Mr Calamy, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Grigby, Mr Rogers, Mr William Smith, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Hopkins; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

[f. 8v] Mr Dodson reported that himself and Mr William Smith had waited on Dr [Joseph] Towers, who had undertaken to collect a proper answer to the books published against the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts.

Resolved that 50 more Cases be sent to Mr Capel Lofft.

Resolved that Mr Dodson and Mr Calamy be desired to state and submit their opinion, a question to the following purport: whether any and what relief is afforded by the Indemnity Act to a Dissenter who has accepted a corporation office, or any office civil or military, without being qualified by having taken the sacrament of the Lord's supper in the manner directed by the Corporation and Test Acts, and that Mr Madox [John Madocks], Serjeant Hill and Mr Hargrave are the counsel whose opinion shall be desired. Adjourned to Friday 16th March.

26. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday 16th March 1787. Present: Mr Jeffries, Mr Towgood, Mr Calamy, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Bogle French, Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, Mr Yerbury, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Dodson, Mr Fuller, Mr Raymond, Mr William Smith, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Lowdell, Mr Grubb, Mr Esdaile, Mr Rogers; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

The secretary reported he had sent the Case to Mr Lofft as ordered at the last meeting.

Mr Dodson reported that he and Mr Calamy had drawn the case directed at the last meeting, copies of which had been laid before [f. 9] Mr Serjeant Hill, Mr Madocks and Mr Hargrave, which case and opinions were read and are as follows.

27. The Case

By statute 13 Charles II, Stat. 2, c. 1 entitled an Act for the well governing and regulating of Corporations 'it is enacted' that from and after the expiration of certain commissions in the act mentioned, no person shall for ever hereafter be placed, elected or chosen in or to any offices or places in corporations that shall not have within one year next before such election or choice taken the sacrament of the Lord's supper according to the rites of the Church of England, and in default hereof every such placing, election and choice is hereby enacted and declared to be void.

By statute 25 Charles II, c. 2 entitled an Act for preventing dangers which may happen from popish recusants 'it is enacted' that all and every person and persons that shall be admitted, entered, placed or taken into any office or offices civil or military, or shall receive any pay, salary, fee or wages by reason of any patent or grant of his majesty, or shall have command or place of trust from or under his majesty, his heirs or successors or by his or their authority or by authority derived from him or them within this realm or in his majesty's navy or in the several islands of Jersey and Guernsey or shall be admitted into any service or employment in his majesty's household or family, shall receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper according to the usage of the Church of England within three months after his or their admittance in or receiving their said authority and employment in some public church upon some Lord's day commonly called Sunday immediately after divine service, and that all and every such person or persons that shall [f. 9v] neglect or refuse to take the sacrament as aforestated, and yet after such neglect or refusal shall execute any of the said offices or employments after the times expired wherein he or they ought to have taken the same and being thereupon lawfully convicted, shall be disabled from thenceforth to sue or use any action, bill, plaint or information in course of law or to prosecute any suit in any court of equity or to be guardian of any child or executor or administrator of any person or capable of any legacy or deed of gift or to bear any office within this realm, and shall forfeit the sum of £500 to be recovered by him or them that shall sue for the same.

28. Query: whether the annual act for indemnifying such persons as have omitted to qualify themselves for offices and employments and for giving further time for that purpose affords any and what relief to a Protestant Dissenter executing any of the offices mentioned in the above recited acts, who shall not have received the sacrament in the manner and within the times limited by those acts and shall also neglect to receive the same within the further time given for that purpose by the Indemnity Act?

29. Mr Serjeant Hill's Opinion. As to persons who have executed any of the offices mentioned in the above acts, I think there is no difference between Protestant Dissenters and those of the Church of England, for if either has executed any of those offices without having received the sacrament in the manner and within the times limited by those acts and shall also neglect to receive the [f. 10] same within the further time given for that purpose by the Indemnity Act, then the Indemnity Act will not vary the case from what it would have been if no such act had been passed, and consequently it affords no relief under such circumstances as above-mentioned query mentioned either to a Protestant Dissenter or to any other person.

30. Though I have already answered the whole of the query, yet I shall make some observations on the subject.

First. As to the statute 13 Charles II, Stat. 2, c. 1, it is enacted by the 5 George I, c.6, s.3 that where any person shall be placed or elected in or to any of the offices described in that act, he shall not be removed by the corporation or otherwise prosecuted for or by reason of any omission to take the sacrament nor shall any incapacity, disability, forfeiture or penalty be incurred by reason of the same, unless such person be removed or prosecution commenced within six months after his being placed or elected into his office (which by the 13 George I, c.29, s.4 is explained to mean calendar months), so that if the officer has been in quiet possession for six calendar months he has no occasion to prove his having taken the sacrament before his election within the time limited for that purpose by the act 13 Charles II, for his office was not on that account void, but only voidable by removal or prosecution within six calendar months, and consequently if there be no such removal or prosecution within that time the election stands confirmed and becomes absolute, 2 Burrow 1013, Shower [i.e. 2 Strange] 1145.

31. Second. As to 25 Charles II, if any person duly elected or placed in any office has been any considerable time in possession thereof without prosecution, I think a court and jury would presume he had qualified [f. 10v] himself according to the act, unless the negative was proved for the same reasons on which a similar presumption in favour of qualifications has been allowed on another act of parliament, 3 Wilson [K.B.] 366-7, 2 Blackstone Reports 852-3, but if the negative was proved, then I think he would be liable to the penalties of that act, because I think the statute 31 Elizabeth, c.5, s.5 does not extend to this case, notwithstanding the words of it expressly extend as well to penal statutes made after as before that act, because many of the penalties or disabilities are not such as can be recovered by suit and though the penalty of £500 may, yet it hath been holden upon that statute (as it hath been on the 9th Anne against Gaming) that an information upon this statute is not within the 31 Elizabeth because it is not an information for the £500, for that is not recoverable by the information but by a subsequent action to be founded on a conviction on such information; however, I take this to be a point very little if at all understood among the practisers and probably might be overlooked by counsel or even by a court, unless the distinction was taken and the case in support of it laid before them.

G. Hill, Lincoln's Inn, March 15th, 1787.

32. Mr Madocks's Opinion. The act of the last session enlarged the time to qualify for offices and employments to the 25th December 1786, which day being now passed any person who omitted to qualify before the first day of the last session or since the passing the last act have omitted to do it before the 25th December 1786, remain liable to be prosecuted upon the statutes of King Charles. But if another act for enlarging the time should come out this session and the party who has [f. 11] omitted then qualifies, it will take away the default and indemnify against former omissions.

The last act is 26 George III, c.98.

John Madocks, Lincoln's Inn, 15th March 1787.

33. Mr Hargrave's Opinion. The act so frequently passed for indemnifying against omissions to qualify for offices is usually, if not always, expressed in a manner which merely enlarges the time for qualifying, nor doth the last act of this sort which is chap. 98 of the statutes of last session go any further; consequently, in the present case if the party has not qualified by taking the sacrament within the enlarged time, he is liable to the same penalty and consequences as if an Indemnifying Act had not passed.

Francis Hargrave, Boswell Court, 13th March 1787.

34. Additional queries sent Mr Hargrave. First. If an action or other prosecution had been commenced against a Protestant Dissenter before the passing of the last Indemnity Act and final judgment had not been obtained thereon, would or would not the proceedings have fallen to the ground on the passing of that act?

Second. If an action or other prosecution had been commenced against such Dissenter immediately after the expiration of the further time given by the last Indemnity Act (December 25th, 1786), is it or is it not in the power of the defendant to delay the proceedings so as to prevent final judgment before the usual time of passing the Indemnity Act in the present session of parliament?

35. Answer to the first question. I think that immediately on the passing of the usual Indemnifying Act, all actions and prosecutions in which [f. 11v] final judgment was not previously obtained ought to be considered as in state of suspense till it shall be seen whether the party prosecuted shall avail himself of the indulgence from the enlarged time for qualifying. If before the expiration of that time the party qualifies, then by the express provision usual in such acts there is an absolute indemnity from all penalties and consequently all right to prosecute for them is at an end. But if the party suffers the enlarged time to elapse without qualifying, then the justice of the case seems to be that the action or prosecution, which was depending before passing of the act, should proceed with no other difference than that necessarily arising from the loss of the time during which the party sued was by the indulgence of the Indemnifying Act restored to the opportunity of qualifying; however, as there is not any specific provision in the usual Indemnifying Act to regulate this latter point, I can only offer my construction and one which strikes my mind as most agreeable to the intention of the legislature where the enlarged time has not been made use of.

36. Answer to the second question. Though practice has some years past made an Indemnifying Act almost a matter of course every year, yet it still depends on the discretion of parliament whether such an act shall be granted or not, and I conceive that the mere prospect of one cannot be a ground for any delay in an action or prosecution for not qualifying, but that the proceeding so must be entirely the same, as if there was not the least hope of such an act. If indeed a bill for indemnifying was actually before either house of parliament, it might so far operate in a court of justice as to induce the full use of its direction in postponing final judgment. [f. 12] But I do not see how it would be possible in any other way to justify a delay of proceeding.

Francis Hargrave, Boswell Court, 16th March 1787.

37. Resolved that Mr Dodson and Mr Calamy be requested to draw a case for counsels' opinion to the following purport, viz. 'whether a clergyman can refuse upon any account to give the sacrament to a person appointed to a place' and that the same be laid before Mr Serjeant Hill, Mr Madocks and Mr Hargrave.

Mr Beaufoy informed the committee he had given notice in the House of Commons he should move next Tuesday [sic] 28th for leave to bring in a bill for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts. Adjourned to Tuesday 20th March 1787.

38. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Tuesday 20th March 1787. Present: Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, Mr Cooke, Mr Lowdell, Mr Dodson, Mr Bogle French, Mr Rogers, Mr Yerbury, Mr Towgood, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Hopkins, Mr William Smith, Mr Calamy; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed. Adjourned to Friday 23rd March 1787.

39. [f. 12v] At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry, Friday 23rd March 1787. Present: Mr Jeffries, Mr Bogle French, Mr Towgood, Mr Bond Hopkins, Mr Barnardiston, Mr Grubb, Mr Johnson, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Yerbury, Mr Dodson, Mr Fuller, Mr Rogers, Mr William Smith; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

The secretary reported that he had received the case drawn by Mr Dodson only last night and had laid copies of it before Mr Serjeant Hill, Mr Madocks and Mr Hargrave as directed by the committee at their last meeting.

Resolved that Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, be requested to second Mr Beaufoy's motion on Thursday next. Adjourned to Tuesday 27th March.

40. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern, Poultry, 27th March 1787. Present: Mr Towgood, Mr Dodson, Mr Grubb, Mr Bond Hopkins, Mr Yerbury, Mr Martin, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Fuller, Mr Calamy, Mr Jeffries, Mr Lowdell, Mr Rickards, Mr Rogers, Mr Maitland, Mr Grigby, Mr Cooke, Mr Barnardiston, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Bogle French, Mr William Smith; Mr Jeffries in the chair. [f. 12A] The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

The chairman reported that he and Mr Rogers had waited on Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, to request him to second the motion, according to the resolution of the committee at their last meeting, to which Sir Henry Hoghton had agreed.

The case laid before Mr Serjeant Hill, Mr Madocks and Mr Hargrave for their opinion was read, which cases and opinions are as follows.

41. The Case

A man accepts an office, and by law he ought within three months after accepting the same to receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper in some parish church according to the usage of the Church of England. He gives timely notice of his intention to receive the sacrament to the clergyman of the parish to which he belongs agreeable to the rubric, and he attends with others of the congregation on the proper Sunday for the purpose of receiving the sacrament as a qualification for holding office, but the clergyman, knowing him to have long been and still to be an open and notorious evil liver, refuses for that reason only to administer the sacrament to him, and by reason of such refusal he incurs the disabilities and penalties enacted by statute 25 Charles II, c. 2, commonly called the Test Act, for exercising his office contrary to the said statute.

Query. Can the man maintain an action against the clergyman for refusing under these circumstances to admit him to receive the sacrament, and are there any adjudged cases on the point ?

42. Mr Serjeant Hill's Opinion. I think an action is maintainable by the person who accepted the office against the clergyman for refusing [f. 12Av] under the above circumstances to admit him to receive the sacrament, for though I know of no case adjudged in point, yet there are several adjudged on a principle applicable to this case, viz. that the two only requisites in an action are Damnum and Injuria, both which I think concur in this case. As to the first it is in itself apparent, and therefore there can be no question about anything but the other, that is, whether the refusal was injurious or unlawful, and I think it was because every parishioner has a right to partake of the sacrament when generally administered in his own parish if there be not a just cause for refusing him, which I think there is not in this case. The cause pretended is the first of the two in the rubric now that in the rubric is thus expressed, viz. that the party applying is an open and notorious evil liver or has done some wrong to his neighbour by word or deed so that the congregation be thereby offended. The whole description, and more particularly the conclusion, is loose and scarce possible to be proved in the present case; it is stated that the only reason of the refusal is that the parishioner is an open and notorious evil liver, which is but part of the description of this cause of refusal and therefore can be no justification even if it would were it the whole, which I should think doubtful, as the Test Act requires all who have any of the offices therein described without exception to receive the sacrament and being later than the act establishing the rubric seems in that particular to be a virtual repeal of it. And an action on the case will lie against an ecclesiastical person either for a misfeasance or nonfeasance in his office, notwithstanding the matter be spiritual, where a temporal damage is the consequence [f. 13] of it. Doctor and Student, Liber 2, Chapter 32; 12 Coke [Co. Rep.] 128; 2 Bulstrode 266. In 1 Siderfin 34 an action was brought for refusing to administer the sacrament, and though no temporal damage was laid, yet the court declined giving judgment on the point and determined the case merely on a fault in the pleadings, but in 1 Keble 947 it is said to have been agreed by the court that an action in the case will lie for refusing the sacrament to one who was bound to receive it under a penalty; that is a book of little authority. Otherwise this is an opinion, though not a judgment nearly in point, for it is asserted without any exception, and, I think it right, Watson in pages 315-16 of the folio edition of [The Clergyman's Law or] the Complete Incumbent [1701] is of a contrary opinion, but I pay no regard to that opinion being delivered with warmth, and the authorities referred to and the reason given for the opinion make against it. The authorities are the two last I have taken notice of, and his reason that then those who live in schism and join separate congregations might be admitted must, I think, have been inserted whilst the law against occasional conformity subsisted and by an oversight continued in the later editions after it was repealed, for the repeal of that law shows the sense of the legislature that occasional conformists are not to be refused; however, there being no case adjudged in point, it is not possible to be certain what the determination might be if the point be brought to a decision, but I am surprised the parishioner will not receive it in some other church, as by the act he is not confined to his own parish church, and there are many other parishes where it is well known he might receive it without objection.

George Hill, Lincoln's Inn, 24th March 1787.

43. [f. 13v] Mr Madocks's Opinion. By the 1 Edward VI, c.1, the minister shall [not] without lawful cause deny the sacrament to any person that will devoutly and humbly receive it. This act which was repealed in Queen Mary's time was revived by 1 Elizabeth, c.1. The only cases on the point are Clovell v. Cardinall, 12 Charles II in 1 Siderfin 34. An action on the case was brought against the defendant, a parson in Essex, for refusing to administer the sacrament to the plaintiff on two Sundays, and the declaration concluded against the form of the statute. A verdict was found for the plaintiff and entire damages. The court arrested the judgment because the declaration had not alleged that on the second Sunday the plaintiff had requested the defendant to give it him, and the damages went to both counts. But at the end of the case are these words, 'But the court did not deliver any opinion whether the action lay'. The only other case is 1 Keble 947, Sir Andrew Henley v. Dr Burstow; the case relates to a different matter but it is there said, 'That Maynard for the plaintiff said an action on the case lies against the defendant for refusing the sacrament, which the court agreed on 1 Elizabeth because the party is bound to receive on penalty'. This reason is a bad one, for there is no such penalty in the 1 Elizabeth. The penalty is for not going to church, not for neglecting to receive the sacrament. Lord Chief Baron Comyns in his abridgment, referring to the case in Siderfin, says, 'It seems that an action does not lie; suppose an action would lie, it comes to be a question whether in [f. 14] this case there was lawful cause for refusal within the statute of Edward VI'. The rubric which in 2 Strange 1062 is held to bind the laity says, 'That if any be an open and notorious evil liver, the curate shall call him and advertise him that he do not presume to come to the Lord's table until he has openly declared himself to have repented. And the same order the curate shall use with those between whom he perceiveth malice and hatred to reign, not suffering them to be partakers at the Lord's table till he knoweth them to be reconciled'. The rubric does not say expressly that the curate may refuse in the case of an evil liver, but as it goes on it says, 'The same order the curate shall observe in the case of malice and shall not suffer them to partake it', seems to me that he may refuse in both cases under these circumstances. I think it a nice question whether an action will lie. I should be inclined to think it would, as by statutes made since the case of Clovell v. Cardinall persons appointed to offices are liable to penalties for not receiving the sacrament. If an action should be brought he must plead a justification, which it will be incumbent on him to prove, which will leave the question open in arrest of judgment whether the action will lie in case a verdict is against him or whether the declaration be good.

John Madocks, Lincoln's Inn, 24th March 1787.

44. Mr Hargrave's Opinion. That there are reasons which will justify a clergyman denying the sacrament to a person soliciting is recognized by the statute of 1 Edward VI, c. 1, which enjoins the minister [not] to deny without a lawful cause. According also to the rubric before the communion service in the Book of Common Prayer, which is sanctioned by act of parliament, being an open and notorious evil liver is the reason for the clergyman's cautioning the party presuming to come to the communion table without [f. 14v] open declaration of repentance. I therefore incline to think that in the case supposed, the clergyman acted legally in refusing the sacrament. Yet it appears to me to be very perilous in the parson of a church or his curate to deny the sacrament on the ground stated in this case, because if questioned the minister so denying may be at least liable to ecclesiastical censure from the want of proof of the facts upon which he founds the refusal. Whether having denied to administer the sacrament without being able to prove a just cause, more especially where the person refused holds an office in respect of which taking the sacrament is essential to prevent the penalties of the Test Act, will bear an action is in my opinion a question of considerable doubt and difficulty, nor do I at present know of any case in which such a point has received a judicial decision. The only printed cases in which I observe a point of this kind to have arisen are Clovell v. Cardinall, 1 Siderfin 34, and Henley v. Burstow in 1 Keble 947. In the former case a decision of the point became unnecessary. In the latter there is the assertion of Serjeant Maynard, arguing as counsel, that action on the case will lie where the party refused is liable to a penalty for not receiving the sacrament, and the court is said to have agreed to this. But the reporter is of little authority, and the opinion is apparently extrajudicial.

Francis Hargrave, Boswell Court, 26th March 1787.

Mr Beaufoy informed the committee that by desire of the House he should make his motion tomorrow instead of Thursday as he first intended. Adjourned to Friday 30th March 1787.

45. [f. 15] At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday 30th March 1787. Present: Mr Rogers, Mr Grubb, Mr Yerbury, Mr Towgood, Mr Fuller, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Lowdell, Mr Rickards, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Bogle French, Mr West, Mr William Smith, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Dodson, Mr Barnardiston, Mr Calamy; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting of the committee were read and confirmed.

Resolved unanimously that the thanks of this committee be given to Henry Beaufoy Esq for the judicious and able arguments by which he enforced the motion made by him in the House of Commons on Wednesday 28th inst. in order for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts so far as they affect Protestant Dissenters and for his zeal in the cause of civil and religious liberty.

46. Resolved that it be referred to the chairman, Mr Beaufoy, Mr William Smith, Mr Dodson, Mr Grubb, Mr Towgood, Mr Calamy and Mr Rogers to draw up a report of the proceedings of this committee with regard to the late application to parliament for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, and of the issue thereof, to be laid before the Deputies at their next general meeting.

Resolved unanimously that the thanks of this committee be given to the right honourable Viscount Beauchamp and the right honourable Charles James Fox for the able manner in which they supported the motion. And that the chairman and Mr Scott, Mr Raymond and Mr Heywood do wait on them and communicate the same.

[f. 15v] Resolved unanimously that the thanks of the committee be given to Mr William Smith for his able and zealous support of the motion and that the chairman do thank him in his place when he attends the committee.

Resolved that the thanks of this committee be given to the other members of the House of Commons who voted for Mr Beaufoy's motion, and that a letter be sent by the chairman to each member to acquaint him therewith.

The committee recommend the keeping up a correspondence in the country. Adjourned to Friday 13th April 1787.

47. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry, 13th April 1787. Present: Mr Rogers, Mr Ingram, Mr Yerbury, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Calamy, Mr Benjamin Boddington, Mr Dodson, Mr Lowdell, Mr Watson, Mr Esdaile, Mr Towgood, Mr Vaughan, Mr Grubb, Mr Jeffries, Mr Rickards, Mr Heywood, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Bogle French; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

The chairman reported the committee appointed to draw up the report to the Deputies were not at present ready therewith.

Resolved that the Reverend Dr Kippis be added to the subcommittee for drawing up the report.

Resolved unanimously that it is the opinion of this committee that the failure of success this year ought by no means to discourage the [f. 16] Protestant Dissenters from renewing the application to parliament, but that it is proper to continue their exertions until they obtain relief from the unjust pressure of the laws by which the sacrament test is imposed upon them as a qualification for the holding of offices, and that it is highly expedient to renew the application in the next session or the session after at furthest.

The chairman returned thanks to Mr Beaufoy for his [MS blank]. Adjourned to Friday 20th April 1787.

48. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday, 20th April 1787. Present: Mr Rogers, Mr Calamy, Mr Yerbury, Mr Jeffries, Mr Heywood, Mr Rickards, Mr Bond Hopkins, Mr Towgood, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Fuller, Mr William Smith, Mr Ingram, Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, Mr Lowdell, Mr Raymond, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Grubb, Mr Vaughan; Mr Jeffries in the chair.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and the chairman returned thanks to Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, for his exertions in support of the application. The draft of the report of the committee to the Deputies stating their proceeding in conducting the application to parliament and the event thereof was read and referred back to the subcommittee.

49. Resolved that the sum of £10 10s be given to the Reverend Dr Towers for his care and trouble in revising and republishing Bishop Hoadly's refutation of Sherlock's arguments.

[f. 16v] Resolved unanimously that the thanks of this committee be given to the chairman for his great zeal and attention to the duties of his office and to promote the success of the present application.

Resolved that the original committee be summoned to meet at Dr Williams's Library, Red Cross Street, on Friday 4th May at twelve o'clock at noon precisely, and that the Deputies be summoned to meet at the same place and on the same day at one o'clock in the afternoon precisely. Adjourned to Friday, 4th May 1787.

50. At a general meeting of the Deputies at Dr Williams's Library, Red Cross Street, on Friday 4th May 1787; Edward Jeffries Esq in the chair. The minutes of the last meeting of the Deputies [MS blank].

The report of the committee appointed to conduct the application to parliament for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts was read and approved, which report is as follows.

Gentlemen. In consequence of your resolution at a general meeting held at Dr Williams's Library on the 5th of January last by which we were authorised to conduct an application to parliament for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, we assembled and adjourned from time to time.

At a meeting of the committee on the 12th January, it was resolved to transmit to the [f. 17] right honourable William Pitt, First Lord of the Treasury, a copy of the resolutions of the general meeting of the Deputies and to request an interview with him on the subject of the said resolutions; accordingly an appointment took place on the 19th January when Mr Pitt was waited on by Mr Jeffries, Mr Towgood, Mr Rogers, Mr Fuller, Mr Bogle French, Mr Raymond, Mr Thomas Boddington and Mr Yerbury. These gentlemen were received by him in a very polite manner, and he promised that he would take the subject into serious consideration, but he declared at the same time that he could not give an immediate opinion on an affair of such magnitude.

51. Your committee being persuaded that an enlargement of their number would greatly conduce to the promotion of the object with which they were entrusted, added to their list the names of many respectable gentlemen to whose zeal, abilities and assistance they have been highly indebted in the conduct of the business.

The committee drew up and printed a state of the Case of the Protestant Dissenters in reference to the Test and Corporation Acts, copies of which were distributed in town and sent to different parts in the country together with the resolutions of the general meeting of the Deputies.

At a meeting on the 2nd February it was resolved that the application to the House of Commons should be by motion, and that Henry Beaufoy Esq should be requested to undertake it, with which request he readily complied; previously to the motion being made it was judged proper to wait on the principal officers of state, the bishops and members of parliament, [f. 17v] and that printed Cases should be delivered to them, which was done by the subcommittee appointed for that purpose.

Many letters were received and read from gentlemen in the country by all of whom the principle was approved, and but a single instance occurred in which the application itself met with any degree of disapprobation.

The committee having been informed of a report that they had other objects in view than those described in their printed Case, in which they only ask for a restitution of their civil rights, and that they were secretly preparing for an attack on the privileges and revenues of the established church,

52. Resolved unanimously that they neither have nor ever had any such design and that the report is entirely without foundation. This resolution was ordered to be printed and sent to the members of parliament.

A publication of Bishop Sherlock's chief arguments against the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts having been industriously circulated, the committee caused to be republished and sent to the members of parliament and the bishops the principal part of Bishop Hoadly's treatise in favour of such a repeal and in answer to Dr Sherlock.

In the course of business a doubt arose—whether any effectual relief be allowed by the Indemnity Acts to a Dissenter who accepts of a place without taking the test. It was therefore resolved to state a case and take the opinion upon it of the following eminent counsel, viz. Serjeant Hill, Mr Madocks and Mr Hargrave, all of whom agreed—[f. 18] First, 'That the Indemnity Acts which are almost annually passed suspend the proceedings against persons who have omitted to receive the sacrament according to the usage of the Church of England within the time prescribed by law, but that the proceedings may be carried on against them after the expiration of the farther time given by the Indemnity Acts if the terms of the acts have not been complied with by them and, secondly, that there is no limitation of time for prosecutors grounded on the Test Act'.

53. Mr Beaufoy having informed the committee that he had given notice in the House of Commons that on Thursday, 29th March (which was afterwards altered to the 28th) he should move for leave to bring in a bill for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, it was resolved to wait upon Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, and to request that he would second the motion, to which he readily consented. Accordingly on the 28th of March the motion was made by Mr Beaufoy in a speech of nearly an hour and a half in which he stated with eminent perspicuity, precision and ability the justice, the equity and the good policy of our claim. He was very judiciously seconded by Sir Henry Hoghton, and our cause was supported with distinguished zeal and energy by Lord Beauchamp, Mr Fox and Mr William Smith. The debate lasted from five to twelve o'clock and was heard with the greatest attention. It cannot be any part of this report to enter into a detail of it, but we may be permitted to say that notwithstanding the opposition met with, our friends had clearly the advantage in point of reason and argument. No small impression in our favour seemed to be made on the mind of many persons, and it has certainly been of much advantage to have the subject so ably discussed, [f. 18v] but our immediate success was not equal to our wishes. On the decision of the House, there were 100 for the motion and 178 against it, tellers included.

54. We are far from being discouraged by the failure of this application, which has been principally owing to causes that may probably not concur at a future period. There is reason to believe that many gentlemen who did not now divide with us will see the matter in a more favourable light hereafter; our cause requires only to be maturely considered and thoroughly understood to be finally successful. A claim which stands upon such high grounds of natural right and political wisdom cannot fail in the end to dispel every degree of apprehension and jealousy and to triumph over all opposition. Conscious that the Protestant Dissenters have ever been ardent friends to the legal constitution and government of this country, zealous adherents to the house of Hanover and faithful subjects to his present majesty, conscious at the same time that they solicit nothing but what is just and reasonable to be asked and what it would be safe and honourable for the legislature to grant, the committee unanimously and zealously recommend that this great object be pursued with a prudent but steady assiduity, with a decent but manly firmness and fortitude till the redress sought for shall be obtained.

In conformity to these sentiments they have come to the following resolutions.

55. [f. 19] Resolved unanimously that it is the opinion of this committee that the failure of success this year ought by no means to discourage the Protestant Dissenters from renewing their application to parliament, but that it is proper to continue their exertions until they obtain relief from the unjust pressure of the laws by which the sacrament test is imposed upon them as a qualification for the holding of offices, and that it is highly expedient to renew the application in the next session or the session after at furthest.

The report having been twice read, the Deputies came to the following resolutions.

Resolved nem. con. that it is the opinion of this general body that the same application to parliament shall be renewed, either in the session in 1788 or 1789 at furthest, being persuaded that we solicit nothing but what is just and reasonable to be asked and what is safe and honourable to be granted.

Resolved nem. con. that the committee be desired to keep this object constantly in view and that they take all such measures as may appear to them best for carrying the preceding resolution into execution, and that this great object be pursued with a steady assiduity and manly firmness and fortitude till the redress sought for shall be obtained.

56. Resolved nem. con. that the thanks of this body be given to the committee, together with those gentlemen who acted in concert with them, for the zeal and attention with which they have conducted this business.

Resolved nem. con. that it be referred to the above committee to take such measures as to them may appear proper for informing our [f. 19v] friends in the country of the circumstances and event of the late application and to establish some mode for a more easy communication with the whole body of Dissenters in other parts of the kingdom.

Resolved nem. con. that the thanks of this body be given to Henry Beaufoy for the eminent perspicuity, precision and ability with which he stated the justice and the equity of our claim.

Resolved nem. con. that the thanks of this body be given to Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet, for the very zealous and judicious manner in which he seconded and supported the motion.

Resolved nem. con. that the thanks of this body be given to Lord Beauchamp, the right honourable Charles James Fox, William Smith and all the gentlemen who spoke in favour of the motion.

Resolved nem. con. that the thanks of this body be given to all the members of the House of Commons who divided in favour of repealing the laws imposing a sacramental test as a qualification for offices.

Edward Jeffries, chairman.

57. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday 11th May 1787. Present: Mr Yerbury, Mr Watson, Mr Jeffries, Mr Towgood, Mr Dodson, Mr Raymond, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Lowdell, Mr Fuller, Mr Grubb, Mr Rogers, Mr Thomas Boddington, Mr Calamy, Mr Bond Hopkins, Mr Beaufoy; [f. 20] Mr Jeffries in the chair. The minutes of the last general meeting of the Deputies were read.

Resolved that 1,000 copies of the report of the proceedings of the committee be printed for circulation.

Resolved that the chairman, Mr Beaufoy and Mr Watson be a subcommittee to draw up the circular letter to accompany the report.

Resolved that James Bogle French Esq, the treasurer, do pay Mr Cotton, secretary to this committee, £60 on account of his bill for the application to parliament. Adjourned to Friday 25th May 1787.

58. At a meeting of the committee at the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry on Friday 25th May 1787. Present: Mr Ingram, Mr Lowdell, Mr Rogers, Mr Dodson, Mr Watson, Mr Jeffries, Mr Bradney, Mr Calamy, Mr Towgood, Mr Brand Hollis, Mr Beaufoy, Mr Bogle French; Mr Jeffries in the chair. The last minutes of the committee were read and confirmed.

The proof sheet of the circular letter intended to be sent into the country was settled and ordered to be printed immediately. Adjourned.

[f. 20v] The Letter

Sir: The annexed report upon the failure to the late application to parliament for the relief of the Protestant Dissenters from the sacramental test as a civil and military qualification was made from the committee appointed to conduct such application to a full meeting of the Deputies of the three denominations of Protestant Dissenters in and near London. And I am directed by the committee to circulate the same together with the unanimous resolutions of the Deputies thereupon, in order to shew that notwithstanding the late attempt was ineffectual, if the causes of its miscarriage are examined there will appear to be nothing discouraging, but on the contrary a fair prospect of success when the subject shall have been more fully considered and the better understood. It is therefore hoped that our brethren will continue to join in the exertion of wise and active, but dispassionate, endeavours to bring so salutary a measure to perfection. Their very general concurrence has certainly been of important service, although insufficient of itself to counteract prepossessions and misapprehensions which seemed to have been listened to without investigation and imbibed with too easy credulity by many persons of distinguished ability and worth, but which can never stand the test of open discussion. And since it is well known that the body of Protestant Dissenters deserved to be ranked among the best subjects in the kingdom, it cannot be doubted their perseverance in the same line of conduct must have a still more beneficial influence when the question shall again be brought forward and be disentangled as much as possible from these disadvantages.

59. [f. 21] To this end every plan for improving the communication between the committee and their friends in all parts of the country, or otherwise promoting the great object in view which may be suggested to me as chairman, will be most thankfully received.

A division in favour of Mr Beaufoy's motion of a hundred members not stimulated by party heats but actuated by the true feelings of civil and religious liberty, so large a division when not half the members of the House were present, a division composed of members not habituated to unite in action or opinion respecting the measures of state and government but in this instance persuaded by truth and yielding to conviction, such a division under all its attendant circumstances affords a strong assurance that upon a future well-timed application the relief solicited, which is at once so desirable and just, will be liberally granted. The claim to this relief is founded on rights of conscience and alike supported by reason and sound policy, and it may be repeated with the greater confidence because the granting of this relief cannot weaken but must rather add strength to the ecclesiastical establishment and is at the same time perfectly congenial with every principle which gives permanency to the civil constitution.

St. Thomas's Hospital May 25th, 1787

I am, sir, Your most obedient servant, Edward Jeffries

60. [ff. 21v-22] A list, as accurate as can be obtained, of the members of the House of Commons who voted for going into a committee to consider of the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts.

General Adeane General Burgoyne
James Amyatt Esq Sir Peter Burrell
Francis Baring Esq John Calcraft Esq
Right Honourable Isaac Barré John Calvert, Senior, Esq
John Barrington Esq John Calvert, Junior, Esq
Henry Beaufoy Esq Sir David Carnegie, Baronet
Lord Beauchamp Lord George Cavendish
Richard Beckford Esq John Courtenay Esq
Honourable George Berkeley John Crewe Esq
John Bullock Esq Charles Alexander Crickitt Esq
Sir William A Cunynghame, Baronet Lord Maitland
Honourable Charles Marsham
Sir Thomas Dundas, Baronet James Martin Esq
Henry Duncome Esq Charles Medows Esq
Sir James Erskine, Baronet William Middleton Esq
Sir Henry Fetherstonhaugh, Baronet Sir John Miller, Baronet
Sir Adam Fergusson, Baronet Richard Slater Milnes Esq
Right Honourable Richard Fitz-patrick Hugh Montgomerie Esq
Sir Henry Fletcher, Baronet John Mortlock Esq
Honourable Edward Foley Abel Moysey Esq
Right Honourable Charles James Fox Nathaniel Newnham Esq, Alderman
Philip Francis Esq John George Philipps Esq
Thomas Edwards Freeman Esq William Plumer Esq
John Baynes Garforth Esq Alexander Popham Esq
Joshua Grigby Esq Mark Pringle Esq
Sir Benjamin Hammet, Alderman William Pulteney Esq
James Hare Esq Charles Robinson Esq
John Harrison Esq Sir John Rous, Baronet
Christopher Hawkins Esq Samuel Salt Esq
Sir Henry Hoghton, Baronet John Sawbridge Esq, Alderman
Filmer Honywood Esq Thomas Scott Esq
Benjamin Bond Hopkins Esq Richard B Sheridan Esq
Sir John Jervis, K.B. Sir Robert Smyth Esq
Jervoise Clarke Jervoise Esq Robert Smith Esq
Earl of Inchiquin William Smith Esq
Sir James Johnstone, Baronet John Stanley Esq
Thomas Kemp Esq Honourable St Andrew St John
Sir Michael le Fleming, Baronet Clement Taylor Esq
Lord George Lennox Robert Thistlethwayte Esq
Benjamin Lethieullier Esq Samuel Thornton Esq
Sir Watkin Lewes, Alderman Henry Thornton Esq
Dudley Long Esq James Townsend Esq, Alderman
—Lowther Esq (fn. 1) Sir Gerard Vanneck, Baronet
Captain Macbride Lord Westcote
William Mainwaring Esq Samuel Whitbread Esq
Edward Winnington Esq
Earl Wycombe

And nine other gentlemen whose names cannot be obtained. (fn. 2)

Footnotes

1 James, John or William Lowther.
2 A printed minority division list contains the additional name of John Webb Esq. (Dr Williams's Library, Odgers Papers).