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tution ; provide " for tkeudjiistittertt of sitfch a case , Ihiey certainly wer ^ not inclined to do So , and , but for some new association , feongregations so circumstanced might be broken op from tbe mere want of assistance and encouragement in tbe support of their rig-hts and properties .
A general opinion seemed to prevail among * the reputed orthodox Dissenters , tliat all foundations with which Trinitarians nave been at any former period connected , cannot be held by Unitarians ; nay , further , that , prior to the passing : of the Trinity bill , all must , in the eye of tbe law , be considered as Trinitarian : and they have shewn
every disposition to act upon these principles , however inconsistent with those on "wbicb they profess to ground their dissent . Threats had in several places been held out ; in some , proceeding's had ( it was reported ) been actually commenced , although they were suffered to sleep , perhaps , on account of the delay and uncertainty of the ultimate decision on the Wolverhampton
Case in Chancery . For these reasons it did seem to him ( Mr . A . ) expedient to have a standing committee , if it were onty to give advice on such , occasions . They could
tajke legal opinions on emergencies ^ and such advice , once taken , would remain on their books ; each case would guide a succeeding * one , and thus considerable difficulty , expense and delay would be prevented . Such an association need not
interfere with any other . No case would properly come within its jurisdiction , which was not strictly Unitarian , or which would be within the scope of the Deputies or the Protestant Society . It could not make any
separation between the Unitarians and other Nonconformists ; if it Would , l « t the project be abandoned ; but the real question was , not whether such cases should be left to other associations , but whether they should be neglected and abandoned .
He was thankful for what the legislature , in compliance with public opinion , bad already done ; but if he should say be was not contented , he would only repeat Mr . William Smith ' s opinion , declared to Lord Liverpool , on that nobleman ' s , ex pressinga hope lhat Unitarians would be satisfied with the Trinity Bill : " No , my Lord /' answered Mr- Smith , we shall not be
satisfied while one disqualifying statute in matters of religion remains on the books . " Tins was his ( $ fr . A . ^ s ) feeling also , and he . therefore thought the proposed Association very useful , not only to protect ottr rights , but to enlarge them and those of every class of Dissenters ; for , in all general measures for that porpose , it would doubtless cheerfully concur wjth . other societies .
There was one subject to which it was difficult to allude , but on which much had 4 > eaj 2 of late said , and of which therefore
some notice must be taken . Our adversaries might be jocular upon it , but to us it was a serious grievance . He alluded to- the necessity of passing to the marriage state through Trinitarian ordinances . It appeared that tire legislature by passing the late
bill meant effecttMly to protect us ; it they did not , the act was a delusion and a snare ; but if that was their intention , all must see that it was not accomplished , while Unitarians were obliged , against their principles and consciences , to submit to . Athanasian worship .
As a Dissenter , on the broadest ground , he should object to such a compulsive conformity , but as Unitarians , they were compelled , in this instance , to violate their dearest opinions ^ and strongest religions feelings . The moral responsibility rested , no doubt , on the legislature which occasioned the offence , but surely they ought to attempt to throw off the burden .
For this purpose , it was desirable , that there should be some body through whom petitions might pass . Small numbers o £ individuals might indiscreetly commit the whole body . He had himself , petitions in his possession , one of which was couched in terms so unguarded , that any jester in the houses * of Parliament might take it as an occasion to convulse all around him
with laughter . Mr . Aspland concluded by saying , that his object was principally to repel the charge of wishing in tire remotest degree to divide the body of Dissenters ; he only wanted that they should be able to protect
their peculiar objects , to which they could not expect the main tody to attend . He then read the following preamble and rules , that all might judge of them as a whole , in the first instance , aud ended by moving the adoption of the preamble and first rule :
The Legislature by passing the Act of the 53 d . Geo . III . entitled , "An Act to relieve Persons who impugn the Doctrine of the Trinity from certain Penalties , " was understood to extend to' Unitarians the privileges possessed by other
denominations of Dissenters ; but doubts havingsince arisen whether that object be sufficiently secured , it is deemed expedient to institute a Society for the purpose of protecting the Civil Rig-hts of Unitarians , under the following regulations :
1 . This Society shall be denominated the Unitarian Associatioii for the Protection of the Civil Rig-hts of Unitarians . 2 . Tlie Association shall consist of individual Subscribers and of the representatives of eong rogations making- an annual contribution .
3 . The qualification of individuals as members of this Association , shall t >« an annual subscription of not less than 100 ? 6 d . or a donation of not less than £ 5 . 5 s .
50 -Iiitdli ( jmce * - ' * - Umtiti ian Association .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1819, page 50, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1768/page/50/