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are addressing themselves, not to " objectors' viduals nor societies can consistently recognize to the charter generally, but to those who the authority of the state in religious matters. had made a specific objection to it; namely, This, no doubt, is true, but is nothing to the that the name had become so vile in the ears purpose. of men, that for the society to become a cor- " Besides," he goes on to say, “if it be a poration would render it hopelessly infamous. secular and civil advantage which is sought, To this they replied, that many societies of no reason can be adduced wherefore the unquestionable respectability were also cor- favour should be conferred, founded on the porations, and so far their reply was to the fact that the party seeking it is a 'body in point. Further it was never intended to the strictest sense religious,' without the most bear.
wretched compromise, since other bodies Mr. Mursell proceeds to assign some rea- have an equal claim on the consideration of sons why a body strictly religious should not the state.” Mr. Mursell here does injustice accept a charter from the crown. The first to the sub-committee. They have not argued of these is, that such a body " cannot con- that the religious character of the society sistently, in its capacity as such, recognize supplies a reason why a charter should be the existence of the crown," or (as he after granted; all that they have said is that it wards expresses it), of “the first authority constitutes no reason why a charter should in the state," or of "the powers that be." be refused. Mr. Mursell does injustice also If this position can be made good, no doubt to himself. From his argument as it follows the conclusion will follow; but Mr. Mursell the sentence I have quoted, it would inevithas here left it to rest solely on his own ably result, that "purely civil privileges assertion. Let us try it by an example. ought to be withheld by the state on religious Suppose the church assembling in Belvoir grounds; a principle which he certainly must Street chapel, Leicester, "in their delibera- be the last man in England to maintain. tions and counsels as members of the body of “A further reason rests," he says, “ on the Christ,” to consult on the question whether very tangible ground of profit and loss." they shall hold their church-meetings with He here contrasts the “ saving of money and closed doors. Many reasons are adduced in of trouble " anticipated from a charter, with favour of such a plan, and the society are on the loss of the society's “freedom of action," the point of resolving on it, when member which he alleges the sub-committee to have suggests that, according to the Toleration admitted in saying, “it is no doubt true that Act, it is not lawful to do so; upon which the movements of an incorporated society the pastor announces, that "a religious so- cannot be absolutely unfettered.” Nothing ciety cannot consistently, in its capacity as more, however, is here admitted concerning such, recognize the existence of the powers the movements of an incorporated society, that be," much less the binding force of the than holds equally true of a society not inlaws they may have passed. You will, of corporated, having an interest in property. course, then meet with closed doors, Mr. The Baptist Missionary Society is very fur Mursell? Or take another example. Sup- from being "absolutely unfettered" now; pose the town of Leicester to be in a state of and its present and inevitable subjection to political excitement, and a mob to demolish law will be in no respect modified for the the chapel above-named by violence. The worse by incorporation. church are assembled to consider what shall Proceeding to a different ground, Mr. be done, and they are on the point of deter- Mursell observes that, if it were" lawful” to mining to avail themselves of a legal remedy seek a charter, " it might not be expedient." against the rioters, when, for the second time, He here refers to the light in which the step the pastor announces that “a religious might be regarded by many persons, both in society cannot consistently, in its capacity as and out of the society; a consideration of such, recognize the existence of the powers undoubted importance, and one to which, for that be," much less seek from them redress one, I shall be ready to pay as serious attenof an injury. You will seek no legal remedy, tion as himself. then, Mr. Mursell ?
Mr. Mursell next notices the statement of It must be evident, I think, that the ex- the sub-committee, thnt, in granting a charter, treme position taken by Mr. Mursell cannot the sovereign is "not so much the represenbe sustained ; but that, on the contrary, a tative of the state as of the law ;" but he is society in the strictest sense religious may quite mistaken in the use for which he supvery consistently recognize the existence of poses they intended it. It had been objected those authorities in the state, to which they to seeking a charter for a religious society, have (in things not contrary to the will of that it would involve the principle of a con Christ) to render obedience, and from which nexion between the church and the state ; they have, as exposed to social wrong, to ex- and to this the sub-committee reply, that, in pect protection. It may be assumed, indeed, the act of granting a charter the sovereign that Mr. Mursell's language is only an would not represent the stale, a fair answer exaggerated mode of expressing the maxim to the objection, if true. What is meant generally held among us, that neither indi- when it is stated that the sovereign, in such I am,
an act, would represent, not the state, but the the popular character of the committee is a law, is evidently this: that the act, although reality, and no semblance, may be evident from performed by the executive power, would be this, that the committee is, by a rule of the itself not executive but legislative--an exer- constitution, open at all times to the attendance cise, in fact, of that small portion of legisla- and votes of about eight hundred members tive power which the constitution and laws of of the society, and that scarcely a meeting is England yet leave to the crown.
held at which some members, thus entitled, The sub-committee further state, that that do not attend. This popular constitution of which is received from the crown, when a :he committee would be in no respect altered charter is granted, “is neither personal nor by the society's incorporation. official favour, but a modified and more I have now noticed all Mr, Mursell's equitable position in relation to the law.” | statements, and if I were to conclude my In confutation of this assertion, Mr. Mursell observations by saying, that had he designed thinks it “ quite enough to refer to the lan- to collect the greatest possible number of guage of the charter itself:"-" We, of our sophisms in the least possible space, he could special grace,” &c. But he altogether mis- scarcely have been more successful, and that takes the import of this phraseology, which the whole effect of his paper is to throw dust is in reality intended to affirm the legislative in the eyes of your readers, I should give purity of the transaction, and to deny corrupt him no cause to complain, since I should only and venal motive, The granting of a charter, use language which he has set me the examwhen satisfactory ground can be laid for it, ple of employing. If I refrain from using is, on the part of the sovereign, but a due such language, however, let him allow me to discharge of one of the public duties of his assure him, with sincere regard and respect, office,
that he has yet to do the subject on which he "If the charter were obtained,” continues has written the justice which it demands, Mr. Mursell," it would confer an amount of power which should not be entrusted by any
J. H. HINTON. religious society to any body of men." London, March 13th, 1849. Under this head several items are mentioned, which it will not be requisite to notice in de- ON THE LETTERS OP MESSRS. MURSELL, tail, because the general notion out of which
ROBINSON, AND BOWSER. they spring is altogether unfounded. The To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine, truth is, that a charter would confer on the Rev. Sir, It is due to your readers and committee no power whatever. It is not the the friends of the Baptist Missionary Society committee that would be incorporated, but that they should be informed that the letters the society, that is, the whole multitude of of Mr. Mursell, Mr. Robinson, and Mr, members ; and the relation which the com- Bowser, in your magazine of this month, mittee would bear to the society, and conse- were written (if I may judge by their conquently all its powers, would be the same as tents) under some misconception of the at present. Going through every sentence in nature and effects of a royal charter, this paragraph, I can most conscientiously I will not occupy your valuable space by affirm my conviction, that in every one of replying in detail to those gentlemen, but them the writer is wholly mistaken ; and, as content myself with assuring your readers, he adduces no proof, but makes assertions that a royal charter of incorporation is, in only, considerate persons may well hesitate substance, a perpetual trust-deed, a grant to before they give him credence.
the persons named in it and to their succesIn error in supposing that a charter would sors, of power to deal with the entire pro. throw power into the hands of the committee, perty then possessed, or which may thereafter Mr. Mursell is, of necessity, still more in be acquired by the grantees and their sucerror in saying that such augmented power cessors, and these persons may be changed at would " fall into the hands of a very few," pleasure without a new deed, provided the
even of the committee itself. He asserts, change be made in the manner prescribed by • indeed, that " the popular character of that the first deed. The charter defines in general
body is rather a semblance than a reality;" terms the powers of the grantees, and the and he tells you that “the quarterly meetings purposes to which they shall apply their are not invested with more authority in any trust property, and whatever is done to the way than " the weekly meetings. The truth contrary is illegal. An ordinary trust-deed is, that the constitution of the society knows renders a new deed necessary every time that nothing of quarterly meetings of the com- death or resignation requires new trustees to mittee, this distinction having originated be appointed. It might happen that, if the entirely in the fact, that, for the sake of Baptist Missionary Society was incorporated, facilitating interchange of opinion, the com- persons would consent to become members of mittee have agreed, that upon special occasions, the committee, and thus invest themselves (occurring somewhere about once a quarter), with these trust powers, seeing that without the travelling expenses of members residing expense to themselves or the society they at a distance from town shall be paid. That might resign at pleasure. If they obtained their power under a trust.deed they might treated with the same respect in a foreign have to procure a new trustee to take their country as an individual, and cannot demand place, or be driven to the Court of Chancery more. to be relieved of their trust.
If the committee of the Baptist Missionary The London companies, and, in short, all Society should hereafter provide their friends the corporate towns in England, act under with situations of emolument and ease at the royal charters, but these documents do not so expense of the society, I have no doubt it define the purposes of the corporations as will soon become known, and then the subthey should, and some of them authorize scribers, instead of resorting to either a compulsory exactions, which the proposed chancery suit or an action at law to remore charter of the Baptist Missionary Society, of the evil, would cease to subscribe to the socourse, does not and never can authorize. ciety's funds, and thus peacefully cause the
The proposed charter will not give an atom situations to be vacated. I have no fears for of religious power, nor will it profess to do the society whilst the committees shall be so, and by no means can the society free it constituted of such men as we hare had self from liability to control from the courts hitherto, but that they have done everything of law and equity.
which they could is more than can be exThe Law Institution, which consists exclu- pected. sively of lawyers, has, from its commence- I entreat every subscriber and contributor ment, acted under royal charter, and if it be to the society's funds to ask himself if he has admitted that lawyers are the best judges of done all for the society which he could, and what, on legal grounds and for practical pur- if he can answer the inquiry in the affirmaposes, is most likely to conduce to their own tive, happy is he! But if he would do interests, their conduct in this respect may be justice to the committees he must not condemn worthy of the consideration of the friends of them until he has satisfied himself that a the Baptist Missionary Society. The Ameri- majority of the contributors to the society can Baptist Missionary Society acts under a have done as well as he has. Moses was state charter of incorporation.
deprived of the privilege of entering into Mr. Robinson, in his letter to you, inquires Canaan for speaking against God's Israel, let the amount of responsibility which the pro- us not lessen our privileges by speaking posed charter of the Baptist Missionary | against those who have devoted themselves Society would entail on the members of the to the noble and holy employment of carry. society. I think that this may be answered ing out the objects of the Baptist Missionary by stating that the property of the corpora- Society, and made pecuniary sacrifices also. tion would be answerable for all its engage- I write this without the knowledge or ments, and must be first exhausted, and as suggestion of any member of the committee the liabilities of the society would be tempo- or person connected with the society, and rary there is no actual risk incurred by mem- simply to prevent my brethren raising objecbership. There is no such risk as is incurred tions to a charter founded on ignorance ; if by trading companies; in these, losses have there be any founded on facts let them be been sustained by the money invested not stated and attended to. having been returned, but, on the contrary,
A LAWYER. lost by improvident purchases of valueless Camberwell, March 10th, 1849. property, and by having been lent to insolvent persons.
A royal charter, although in form a royal favour, is not worthy of being so considered. The grounds of the application for one, and the form of words to be used in it, are first
To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.' submitted to the legal advisers of the sove- SIR, -Although you have devoted so much reign, who receive fees for their trouble from of your March number to the above subject, those who apply for the charter, and, there. I hope you will find room in the number for fore, rather feel that a favour is conferred April for the following brief narrative, which • upon them by the application for the grant, shows the actual working of such a charter. than upon those who obtain it. The sove- In the case in question there is nothing reign acts upon the advice given by simply peculiar in the terms of the charter ; nothing affixing the royal sign manual (the signature) in fact, so far as I know, but such regulations to the charter as mere matter of as would be inserted in the proposed charter
to the Baptist Missionary Society. A royal charter does not grant the parties
I am, sir, incorporated power to compel any persons to
Yours truly, part with their houses or lands to the corpo
David MÄLAREN. ration, which is the reason that railway com- No. 4, New Broad Street, panies never act under a charter, but obtain 3rd March, 1849. an act of parliament.
A chartered company has hitherto been A number of the shareholders of a banking
THE PROPOSED CHARTER OF INCORPO-
company in the city, incorporated by royal | The first and weightiest objection is, that charter, having formed an opinion that it to ask any privilege from the state to enable would be for the interest of the concern to us to preach the gospel ourselves, or to assist amalgamate with another banking company, those who do so, is opposed to the first although not chartered, addressed a requisition principles of dissent. If it is necessary to to their board of directors, that a special hold houses or lands for such purposes, we general meeting of the proprietors should be must, as a Christian duty, conform to the called to consider the propriety of that mea- laws which regulate the tenure of property. sure.
But the thing proposed is, to solicit a favour, A meeting was accordingly held on the and one which the state is quite as likely to 2nd March, and was numerously and re- refuse as to grant. By doing this we subject spectably attended, the solicitor of the bank ourselves to the charge of inconsistency from and other legal gentlemen having been the enemies of our nonconformity, who will say, present.
that when it suits the convenience of dissenters The proposed measure was very fully they can call for the patronizing help of the discussed ; but as it was on grounds peculiar government as well as others. to the position and prospects of the two It is clear that we shall be asking a favour, establishments, there would be no propriety for the words of every charter declare, and in adverting to them in this paper. Some of we admit that it is granted, “ Of the special the proprietors attached considerable im- grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion,” portance to the company having a charter; of the sovereign. If instead of a charter but it was because the responsibility of each from the crown we solicit an act of parliashareholder was limited to double the amount ment, we give opportunity for the thousand of his stake in the concern, in which respect, members of the legislature to sneer at and there can be nothing analogous in the pro- condemn a course which the enemies of disposed charter for the Baptist Missionary sent in both houses will not fail to represent Society.
as at variance with our first principles. If Towards the close of the meeting, after a the bishops of Exeter or Oxford should free and full discussion of the proposed descend from their altitudes to notice the measure, the chairman informed the pro- introduction or progress of such a measure, prietors that the board of directors had taken it is easy to see what an ill-natured use may the joint opinion of the attorney-general and be made of such a golden opportunity. I another eminent counsel on some points of a therefore submit that we should be voluntarily general nature, which may serve to explain subjecting ourselves, as a religious body, to the position in which the Baptist Missionary reproach and the chance of defeat, for an Society would be placed under a royal charter. object not warranted by our own principles.
It is the joint opinion of the said counsel, With regard to the benefits to be derived that an amalgamation of the kind proposed from a charter, I am not so sanguine as the cannot be effected except by authority of sub-committee. I admit fully the inconparliament, or by the surrender of the present veniences of trusteeships, but I am not at all charter, which cannot be surrendered BUT sure that a charter, or even an act of parliaWITH THE CONCURRENCE OF EVERY MEMBER ment, would remedy them in all our colonies. OP THE CORPORATION,
In those which have local legislatures, such The counsel were of opinion that it would as Jamaica, Canada, and South Australia, be proper to allow the shareholders to meet and in those which are already regulated by and discuss the proposed union, but that the acts of the British parliament, such as India, chairman would noi be justified in putting a and others, I doubt whether any act of the resolution, recommendatory of the union, to imperial parliament would avail, unless rethe vole.
enacted by the colonial authorities; and if so, Of course, not a single step could be taken any such re-enactment would be doubtful towards accomplishing such a union, however and expensive. desirable it might be, excepting by employing I object also to a charter or an act, as the cumbrous and expensive machinery con- limiting the present unrestricted freedom of nected with obtaining an act of parliament. the society. It is true that the great object This it was said would cost £800 or £900. of the society seems to be fully expressed in
the Draft Charter; but "new circumstances"
may well be supposed by any lawyer of exTo the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.
perience, in which the charter may be found
to be an insuperable bar to the carrying out DEAR SIR,,As the Committee of the of the wishes of the general body of subBaptist Missionary Society bave invited the scribers. In confirmation of this I may say, attention of its friends and subscribers to the that I was present myself ten days ago at a proposed incorporation by charter or act of meeting of proprietors of a company incorparliament, it seems desirable that those who porated by charter, when, after several hours have formed an opinion on the subject should of discussion of a plan approved by a large express it,
body of the proprietors, the chairman read
TOL. XII.-FOURTH SERIES.
To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine. A
the opinion of the attorney-general, that it Stepney College is again without a presiwas not within the scope of the charter, and dent: considerations having no reference that the chairman was not warranted by law either to the institution or to any of its in even putting the question proposed, and inmates have led the Rev. W. Jones to he refused to put it accordingly, and broke resign his office. Dr. Murch has kindly up the meeting.
acceded to the wish of the committee so far In conclusion I may say, that the very as to undertake to discharge temporarily the great expense attending either a charter or an duties of resident tutor, but he continues to act would more than counter-balance, in my spend the Lord's days with his congregation opinion, the saving with regard to trust-deeds at Rickmansworth, as usual. and their renewal. As to the inconveniences to the committee, I do them the justice to We are requested to state that the pulpit believe that it does not weigh much in their of the chapel in Henrietta Street, Brunswick consideration,
Square, will be supplied for some time to It is not sufficient for the sub-committee come by the Rev. T. D. Reynolds late of to argue this question before the great body Earl's Colne, he having accepted a unanimous of the subscribers, even if the arguments invitation from the church to spend three were worth more than they appear to be. I months there with a view to the pastorate. have little doubt that the pious feeling of the
We are informed that the Annual Meeting majority is opposed to this project, and I
of the British Anti-State Church Association trust it will be quietly interred. I am, dear sir, yours,
will take place this year on Wednesday, May WILLIAM P. BARTLETT.
2nd ; and that Exeter Hall having again been Oxford, March 14.
formally refused for that purpose by the proprietors, the meeting will be held in Finsbury Chapel.
A crowded meeting was held at Exeter MY DEAR SIR,-Will you have the kind Hall about ten days ago, occasioned by the ness to insert the following communication in imprisonment of the Rev. James Shore, who the next number of the Baptist Magazine?
is now a prisoner in Exeter jail in conseAt the quarterly meeting of the Worces- quence of proceedings taken against him by tershire Association of baptist churches held the bishop of Exeter. It will be remem. at Atch Lench, March 6th, 1849, it was re
bered that Mr. Shore was minister of a solved on the motion of brother A. G. Fuller, proprietary chapel in that diocese, whose seconded by brother F. Overbury :
evangelical sentiments and popularity were
offensive to the bishop ; that finding that his “That this meeting is anxious to avail itself of diocesan had taken measures which would the present opportunity of expressing its sentiments prevent his officiating longer there as a clerBaptist Missionary Society. Convinced that the gyman, he went to a neighbouring magistrate chief glory of that institution has ever been the and took the oaths as a dissenting minister, eminently simple and spiritual character of its origin at the same time, with the consent of the and operations, they cannot regard the project for its legal incorporation without feelings or appre proprietor, registering the chapel as a dishension that the small advantages which such a senting place of worship; that he then officourse would secure would be far more than ciated in it, supposing himself to be secure ; counter-balanced by the injury which would accrue to the spiritual aims and interests of the society, canonical obedience, and prosecuted him in
but that the bishop claimed from him still and the limits which it would impose on its exer
courts, by which he was condemned to pay F. OVERBURY, Secretary.
heavy costs. The meeting to which we refer Pershore, March 9th, 1849.
took place as soon as his incarceration was known. Charles Lushington, Esq., M. P., presided, and the principal speakers were
Messrs. Binney, Brock, Burnet, Baptist EDITORIAL POSTSCRIPT. Noel; and Messrs. Stoddart and Craig, mi
nisters of the established church. The Rev. C. M. Birrell, adverting to a
Whether series of resolutions adopted by the Com- any thing can be effected at present for the mittee of the Liverpool Auxiliary to the has been brought into parliament for the
relief of Mr. Shore is doubtful ; but a bill Baptist Missionary Society and extensively protection of other clergymen who may beadvertised, requests us to say that in consequence of the state of his health he was not hoped that it will pass.
come dissenting ministers, and it is strongly present at the meeting at which they were passed, and that it appears to him that all Several ministers of the National Rethe opinions specified there are untenable, formed Church of France have recently reand that the closing advice arises from a linquished their connexion with it, among misapprehension of the nature of all trust whom is M. Frédéric Monod, secretary of deeds.
the French Missionary Society. In con