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cilor General, Mr. Mansfield, who undertook to move it in the House of Commons; and Sir William Dolben agreed to second it. This they did on the 3d of May 1781, and the Bill was intitled, 'An Act for preventing certain Abuses 'and Profanations on the Lord's Day, 'commonly called Sunday/ It was violently opposed in its different stages through the House by several members, particularly Mr. Wilkes; but it passed without a division. On the second reading of the Bill in the House of Lords, it was opposed principally by the Duke of Manchester, who thought that there were not sufficient proofs of the mischievous tendency of the Sunday evening amusements. 'The subjects of this kingdom,' he said,' should be left at perfect liberty to confer upon religious subjects without control: and he did not believe that



there was any thing improper either in the Promenade or the Societies. In his apprehension they were perfectly innocent: but, even if the fact were otherwise, there were laws already in force sufficient to restrain them; and there was no necessity to add to the number of our penal statutes, already sufficiently numerous/

"In answer to this, I observed, that although there was no evidence at the bar, to prove the allegations of the preamble, which in a public Bill, and in a matter of such notoriety, I conceived was seldom, if ever required; yet there were the very best grounds for believing the pernicious tendency of the Sunday evening amusements to be much greater than the preamble stated. I had conversed with many persons, who had themselves been present in these places, and

was was perfectly satisfied that they were highly dangerous in every point of view. But, even without entering into their interior constitution and consequences, I could not but think that the very external appearance of them on the Lord's Day, was an offence against common decency, and the most antient and venerable customs of this country. They were places of public amusement opened on a Sunday. They were publicly advertised; were in a public room; money was publicly taken at the door, arid that for the avowed purpose of public amusement. This, I apprehended* was the very definition of a' public diversion; and it was notorious, that public diversions had never been permitted by the laws of the land in this kingdom, from the time of the Reformation to the present moment, and I hoped they never would. In Popish countries they were indeed permitted, though even there they were condemned by many serious men; for a friend of mine, Dr. Lort, in the year 1768, saw an injunction or admonition of the Archbishop of Mechlin, iri one of the towns under his jurisdiction, in which he complained heavily of the liberties taken by the people on Sundays, and spoke in high terms of the conduct of the Heretics, that is, the Protestants, in that respect. But, however these indulgences might suit the spirit of Popery, they did not accord with the temper of Protestantism. They were contrary to the spirit of our constitution; contrary to the spirit of our laws and our religion. They were new invasions of the sanctity of the Lord's Day, and had never been heard of in this country till within these few years. The different method of


observing observing Sunday in England and in foreign countries, was one great mark of distinction between the Church of England and the Church of Rome, and it was a distinction which I hoped never to see abolished. It was not my wish to go to the Church of Rome to know in what manner Sunday ought to be observed in England. I was therefore for resisting these dangerous innovations in the very beginning. If they were not crushed at their very outset, it was impossible to say how far they might go. If the Legislature suffered them to pass at first without notice, their Lordships must not imagine the mischief would stop where it now is. The places of entertainment lately opened for the Sunday evening, were only the beginnings of a regular plan to introduce Sunday diversions into this kingdom; they are only



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