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The mover of the bill was Sir George Sa-
When an act of great and signal humanity was to be done, and done with all the weight and authority that belonged to: it, the world could cast its eyes upon none but him. I hope that few things, which have a tendency to bless or to adorn life, have wholly escaped my observation in my passage through it.
I have sought the acquaintance of that gentleman, and have seen him in all situations. He is a true genius ; with an understanding vigorous, and acute, and refined, and distinguishing even to excess; and illuminated with a most unbounded, peculiar, and original cast of imagination. With these he possesses many external and instrumental advantages; and he' makes use of them all. His fortune is among the largest; a fortune which, wholly unincumbered, as it is, with one single
charge from luxury, vanity, or excess, sinks under the benevolence of its dispenser. This private benevolence, expanding itself into patriotism, renders his whole being the estate of the public, in which he has not reserved a peculium for himself of profit, diversion, or relaxation. During the session, the first in, and the last out of the House of Commons; he passes from the senate to the camp; and, seldom seeing the seat of his ancestors, he is always in parliament to serve his country, or in the field to defend it. But in all well-wrought compositions, some particulars stand out more eminently than the rest ; and the things which will carry his name to posterity are his two bills; I mean that for a limitation of the claims of the Crown upon landed estates; and this for the relief of the Roman Catholics. By the former, he has emancipated property; by the latter, he has quieted conscience; and by both, he has taught that grand lesson to government and subject,--no longer to regard each other as adverse parties
• Such was the inover of the act that is complained of by men, who are not quite so good as he is; an act, most assuredly not brought in by him from any partiality to thạt sect which is the object of it. For, among his faults, I really cannot help reckoning a greater degree of prejudice against that people than becomes so wise a man.
I know that he inclines to a sort of disgust, mixed with a considerable degree of asperity, to the system ; and he has few, or rather no habits with any of its professors, What he has done was on quite other motives. The motives were these, which he declared in his excellent speech on his motion for the bill; namely, his extreme zeal to the Protestant religion, which he thought utterly disgraced by the act of 1699; and his rooted hatred to all kind of oppression, under any colour or upon any pretence whatsoever.
• The seconder was worthy of the mover, and the motion. I was not the seconder ; it was Mr. Dunning, Recorder of this city.
the less of him, because his near relation to you makes you more particularly acquainted with his merits. But I should appear little acquainted with them, or little sensible of them, If I could utter his name on this occasion without expressing my esteem for his character. I am not afraid of offending a most learned body, and most jealous of its reputation for that learning, when I say he is the first of his profession. It is a point settled by those who settle every thing else; and I must add, (what I am enabled to say from my own long and close observation) that there is not a man, of
any profession, or in any situation, of a more erect and independent spirit; of a more proud honour; a more manly mind; a more firm and determined integrity. Assure yourselves, that the names of two such men will bear a great load of preju-, dice in the other scale, before they can be entirely outweighed.'
Then follows his account of the comparative authority of the supporters and the
opponents of the repeal of the act in ques
( With this mover and this seconder agreed the whole House of Commons; the wbole House of Lords; the whole bench of Bishops; the King; the Ministry; the Opposition; all the distinguished clergy of the establishment; all the eminent lights (for they were consulted) of the Dissenting churches. This according voice of national wisdom ought to be listened to with reverence. To say that all these descriptions of Englishmen unanimously concurred in a scheme for introducing the Catholic religion, or that none of them understood the nature and effects of what they were doing, so well as a few obscure clubs of people, whose names you never heard of, is shamelessly absurd. Surely it is paying a miserable compliment to the religion we profess, to suggest, that every thing eminent in the kingdom is indifferent, or even adverse to that religion, and that its security is wholly abandoned to the zeal of those, who have