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trials and experiments to feel the way, and to see how the Government will bear such violations of decency; and if the proprietors of these places find that they are perfectly secure, they will very soon take care to have fresh amusements for every hour of the Sunday, even for those 'which ought to be spent in the celebration of divine worship. Unless therefore their Lordships were prepared to say, that public diversions ought to be allowed in this country, they must resist this artful attempt to introduce them under the specious name of a Promenade, and the sacred plea of religion.
"It has been said, indeed, that this Bill is a restraint upon religious liberty. It is no such thing. It restrains no one from professing that mode of religion, and joining in that form of public worship, which his conscience best approves. It restrains no one from speaking, conversing, or writing upon religious subjects. It imposes no other restraint than this, which is surely no very great hardship, that no one shall either pay or be paid for talking blasphemy or profaneness in a public room on the Lord's Day. It takes away, in short, no other liberty, but the liberty of burlesquing Scripture, and making religion a public amusement, and a public trade, which I was inclined to think their Lordships would not consider essential marks of religious freedom."
A division then took place on the commitment of the Bill, which was carried by a majority of 26; and it afterwards passed without further opposition.
In this manner did the Bishop, by his own energy and perseverance, carry through Parliament an Act, which by its
judicious judicious provisions effectually checked a most wicked and licentious system, calculated to produce the worst consequences to religion and to public morals. There were many difficulties in the way, which would have staggered, as in fact they did stagger, ordinary minds. But his was not of that stamp. He saw them all, and surmounted them. He stood alone against a crying evil, and succeeded. It was the opinion indeed of Lord Mansfield at the time, that the Bill, though in itself a good one, would soon be evaded. But contrary to the sentiments of that great lawyer the very reverse has been the case. It has completely answered its object; and from the period of its passing into a law no attempts have been made, in the same way at least, to profane and desecrate the Christian Sabbath.
Towards the close of 1781, the great question between the then Bishop of London, Dr. Lewth, and Mr. Disney Fytche, a gentleman of Essex, with respect to the validity of a general bond of resignation, that is a bond to resign, whenever called upon by the patron, came to a hearing in the Court of Chancery; when it was determined by Lord Loughborough, that such bonds were good in law.—Notwithstanding however this decision, it was deemed expedient, in a matter of such consequence, to carry the cause before the House of Lords; and it must ever redound to the Bishop of Chester's honour, that such a man as Bishop Lowth, who in the fullest meaning of his own words, as applied to Archbishop Seeker, was "vir summus summo in loco," but who was then unable from illness to attend in Parliament, should
particularly particularly have selected and requested him to undertake the management of it. I mention the circumstance, merely with the view of marking the high sense which that distinguished Prelate entertained of his character and talents. With respect to the contest itself, the issue is well known. The judgments of the Courts below were reversed; general bonds of resignation, when given, as in the present case, to procure a presentation, were declared to be illegal, and the presentation procured by them to be corrupt, simoniacal and void.