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Mr. Philips, whether in thofe countries where his applauded monaftic hospitality prevails, the poor do not fwarm about the ftreets, &c. in the fame proportion as with us? We cannot but smile to fee Mr. Philips, like a true Churchman, fo forward to hook the Almighty into his quarrel, and to confider the national calamities which trod on the heels of what he calls the iniquity of diffolving the monafteries, as fo many indications of a provoked and avenging God. We fhould be glad to know to what fource we must impute the national calamities of famine, peftilence, and civil wars, &c. &c. &c. which vifited the kingdom, while the Monks, rioted in all the sweets of reclufe luxury? But, indeed, we do not recollect that any national calamities trod on the heels of the diffolution here spoken of. It is true, that the religious conteft proved immediately fatal to particulars, but the nation were gainers by it: and we all know, that the reign of Queen Elizabeth, which trod on the heels of this iniquity, was great, glorious, and beneficial; we know that the triumphed over the bigotted Monarch of Spain, and defeated his invincible Armada. Though a legion of Monks, &c. were praying and plotting for the fuccefs of his arms, yet, as glorious Befs obferved, Afflavit Deus, and they were all fcattered. If the national calamities which fucceeded, are to be imputed to the vengeance of the Almighty, this vengeance did not fhew itself till one of his Vicegerents attempted to tread on the necks of the people, whom he was fent to protect against injuries.
We are ready, however, to concur with our Author in one particular; and we heartily lament with him, that the rage of the times demolished many noble edifices, which were an ornament to the kingdom, and deftroyed many ancient records and public libraries, which were repofitories of valuable knowledge.
Mr. Philips having wreaked his vengeance on Henry, proceeds to expatiate on the errors and diforders which gave occafion to the Council of Trent, at which the Cardinal prefided, though we do not find any thing interefting concerning him in that capacity: in truth this Council was, with Mr. Philips's leave, what Bolingbroke properly calls it, a folemn Banter. It affords him an opportunity, however, of refuming his favourite topic, and falling foul of the Reformation. The liberty, he obferves, which Luther, and all other Reformers, after his example, allowed themfelves of interpreting the Scripture by their own private judgment, gave birth to a variety of fects,' &c. What does our Author mean? Would he take our Bible from us? If he allows us to read, furely he will allow us to judge. Nothing in nature can be more abfurd than to put a book into our hands, and then fay, that we fhall not expound it accord
ing to our own judgment: and this fhews the folly and abfurdity of all perfecutions and profecutions on account of religious opinions. As to the variety of fects the Writer complains of, he very well knows, that there were various fects before the Reformation; and the Reformation only introduced a contrariety lefs abfurd. But Poland, fays he, was fo giddy with a continual rotation of doctrine, that the fynod of Scrinia came to this wild refolution of allowing every one to believe as he thought proper; and at the last day it would appear who had been in the right.' What Mr. Philips here calls a wild, we esteem the wifeft refolution that ever was formed fince the first meeting of fynods. In truth, every man that thinks at all, will believe as he thinks proper; and the law which forbids him to declare his belief, only tends to enforce diffimulation and hypocrify, the moft abominable of all vices.
In the conclufion, our Author follows the Cardinal from the death of Henry the eighth, to the acceffion of Queen Mary. During this interval Pole was elected to the Papacy, vacated by the death of Paul the third, which, according to Mr. Philips, he declined. In our judgment, however, he cannot be faid to have declined, any more than a Bishop can be faid to decline, by his Nolo epifcopari: it is true, having been elected late at night, he declined receiving the homage of the Cardinals that night, and, from an affected delicacy, put it off till the next morning. But the next morning, the Members of the Conclave changed their minds, and elected another in his stead.
Upon the whole, though this work is penned with no small degree of fpirit and elegance, yet it is interfperfed with so much furfeiting priestly cant, it advances fo many fuperftitious, bigotted, papistical tenets; (tenets which have been moft clearly refuted by the abilities of our Proteftant Clergy) and laftly, it is written with fo little regard to truth, that, to men of knowledge and reflection, it carries its own antidote: but, for the fake of uninformed or inconfiderate Readers, we thought it our duty, as Proteftants and free fubjects, to take off the mask from this Agent of popery, and Advocate of flavery.
A Defence of the Minority in the House of Commons, on the Queftion relating to General Warrants. 8vo. Is. Almon.
Tis ufual with controverfial Writers, especially thofe of the and falfe colouring. The recrimination is in general well found
ed; and it is the bufinefs of an impartial Critic, to expofe the fallacies and mifreprefentations on either fide, in order to unveil the truth, which both, perhaps, are equally ftudious to conceal. This we shall endeavour to do with regard to the subject of the pamphlet before us.
This able and animated Writer begins with accufing the Author of a Letter, firft published in the Gazetteer, and lately reprinted with the Wallet, with having mis-ftated the motion lately made in the Houfe of Commons, which, according to the Letter-Writer, was "Whether a general warrant from a Secretary of State be warranted by law or not?" Whereas the Author of this pamphlet proves, from a tranfcript of the Votes, the motion to have been, That a general warrant for apprehending and feizing the Authors, Printers, and Publishers of a feditious Libel, together with their Papers, is not warranted by law.' This queftion, as he very justly concludes, varies from that flated by the Letter-Writer, not only in form but fubftance. That, as he obferves, extends to all cafes of emergency; and the determination of it in the negative, would preclude the ufe of general Warrants iffued by Secretaries of State, in every extreme cafe which imagination can put, or which neceffity could justify: whereas the question actually moved, confines itself to general Warrants iffued in the cafe of a feditious Libel, which decides not upon the exercise of the fame power in cafes not included.
Our Author, in the next place, takes the Letter- Writer to tafk, for affuming, that the Lord Chief Juftice of the Common Pleas had, in the caufe of Wilkes against Wood, determined the feizure of papers, under fuch Warrants, in such cases, to have been illegal: and that, Bills of Exception prefented in. appeal from that decifion, having ever fince been actually depending before the whole bench of Judges, it was the duty of the Minority to have waited the iffue of that appeal.
In answer to this, our Author fhews, that the question of the legality of the Warrant is not now fub Judice, nor has ever yet been in a course of legal determination. Which he proves by tranfcripts from the Bills of Exception, whereby it appears, that the only queftion depending thereon is, Whether the Secretary of State be a Justice of Peace within the equity of the Act of the twenty-fourth of George the fecond; which is a point very material in the defence of the Meflengers acting under orders, but has no connection with the queftion upon the legality of the Warrant itfelf.
Thus far this able and animated Writer has refuted his Antagonist by fair and unanswerable arguments. But we cannot
fay, that, in what follows, he acquits himfelf with the candor and perfpicuity we could wifh. The letter-writer, and others after him, charged the Minority with infincerity, because, after lofing the queftion they had agitated, they refused a bill moved by Sir John Philipps, to regulate the practice of Secretaries of State in iffuing warrants. This imputation, our Author endeavours to remove by the following arguments. Here too the fame writers are unfortunate, and again led into another false triumph by their original ignorance of the question moved in the House of Commons. They would otherwife have recollected, that the Minority held the "general Warrant for apprehending and feizing the Authors, Printers and Publishers of a feditious Libel, together with their Papers, to be Illegal," and from thence have feen, how little they could vote for a bill to regulate, what They did not admit to be legal.
Can it be seriously believed, that Sir John Philipps or the Ministry expected to be fupported by them in bringing in a bill to regulate, what they had afferted neither did nor ought to exift? No they could have no right to fuppofe the Minority would not adhere to their declared opinion; and they must have recollected, that if they acted uniformly, they would neceffarily confine themselves to the fingle cafe before them. By what other conduct could they have hoped to execute the plan upon which they profeffed to act? To provide at once for private liberty and public fafety; by condemning the wanton ufe of an ufurped power, in the inftance under confideration, which, in their judgment, had no circumstances to justify it; and by leaving uncenfured, the ufe even of illegal warrants in thofe extreme cafes, which it is impoffible to defcribe and diftinguish before they happen; but which the wifeft legiflators of all times, and the framers of the law of England in particular, have ever thought it most expedient and fafe to confider as deviations from the general law; to be made at the peril of the perfons acting, and to be explained in the exception, and defended in the exercise, by the allegation and proof of thofe extraordinary circumstances, which the minority argued might juftify, but ought always to accompany fuch cafes. They alleged that extraordinary provifions might elfe be extended to all times, and an authority, granted reluctantly even in the minute of imminent danger, might, in fecure peace, be made deftructive to freedom.
This method of reasoning is the more conclufive, because no danger can follow to the fervants of the crown from leaving the law upon this footing; for fhould a Secretary of State, upon intelligence of any crime, really formidable to the commonwealth, and of a nature requiring dispatch and fecrecy, be under a neceffity of iffuing fuch a warrant as is now complained of;
and should his meffengers, in purfuit of the Offenders, take up an innocent man; is it reasonable to fuppofe that any jury would be found fo narrow in their notions of government, as not to attend to a diftinction clearly made, and well fupported, upon the · peculiar circumstances of fuch a crifis? Or fhould prejudice dr ignorance influence the determination of juries, would not the officers thus fuffering for the public, be relieved by the interpofffition of parliament?
Let us recollect, what has paffed in the matter now depending. The warrant itself has been generally held illegal. The offence against the state was no higher than publishing a libel : no circumstances to make a general warrant neceffary in the method of apprehending the author: the proceedings in the execution of it aggravated by every circumstance of wantonness, negligence, and oppreffion: and nevertheless, it has not yet incurred the cenfure of parliament. Where then would be the difficulty of defence, in a cafe which had circumftances of real juftification to allege, or in which a warrant, not strictly legal, could be fhewn to have been neceffary, or the danger imminent? Thus many in the Minority reasoned, and, thus reafoning, they proved themselves the true and temperate friends of liberty, no lefs when they refufed, by regulating this power, to furnish it with the fanction of a ftatute, than when they propofed, by a declaratory motion, grounded in the circumftances of a tranfaction before them, to confirm, as far as the refolution of one houfe would go, the common law of the land; leaving the ufe of warrants, which, in the cafe before them, had no juftification, but were fuppofed to be poffibly neceffary in other cafes, at prefent by them neither condemned nor justified, to be hereafter cenfured or excufed, as the fame law fhould decide, and fuch cafes fhould require. But in one part of this praife, let not the miniftry be deprived of their juft fhare; for no real defign of paffing the bill appeared amongst them; Sir John Philipps himfelf opening curforily the regulations of this bill, had the ill fortune to make little impreffion upon the body even of the Majority of the house, and the whole conduct of the day fully demonftrated, that it was thought, even by that Majority, to be a doubtful propofition, refulting more from a fenic of fhame, than any serious or concerted plan of either vindicating the law, or eftablishing the ancient hereditary right of the fubject againft future fimilar oppreffion.'
We are ready to believe that the miniftry had no real defign of paffing a bill to reftrain their own power, or that of their fucceffors; and it feems equally clear that the Minority, the leaders among them at leaft, had no ferious intentions neither, to weaken the hands of the adminiftration for the future, which they REV, Aug. 1764. L