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writings of Clarke; and the long Trinitarian controversy, in which Sherlock, Jane, South, Wallis, Burnet, Tillotson, and many others took part, familiarised the whole nation with the difficulties of the question. It was, however, among the Presbyterians that the defections from orthodoxy were most numerous and most grave. In 1719 two Presbyterian ministers were deprived of their pastoral charge on account of their Unitarian opinions, but soon either Arianism or Socinianism became the current sentiments of the Presbyterian seminaries, and by the middle of the eighteenth century most of the principal Presbyterian ministers and congregations had silently discarded the old doctrine of the Trinity.1

When the intention of Whiston and Clarke to stir this question was first known, Godolphin, who was then in power, remonstrated with them, saying to the latter that the affairs of the public were with difficulty then kept in the hands of those that were at all for liberty; that it was therefore an unseasonable time for the publication of a book that would make a great noise and disturbance, and that therefore the ministers desired him to forbear till a surer opportunity should offer itself.' 2 The storm of indignation that arose in Convocation upon the appearance of the work of Whiston in some degree justified the judgment, but, on the whole, few things are more remarkable in the eighteenth century than the ease and impunity with which anti-Trinitarian views were propagated. The prosecution of Emlyn called forth an emphatic and noble protest from Hoadly, and though Whiston was deprived of his professorship, and censured by Convocation, he was not otherwise molested. Noisier controversies drew away most of the popular fanaticism, and the suppression of Convocation was eminently favourable to religious liberty. A Bill which was brought forward in 1721, supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and by some other prelates, to increase the strin

1 Bogue and Bennett's Hist. of Dissenters, ii. 300-303. See, too, Lindsey's Historical View.

2 Whiston's Memoirs of Clarke,

p. 25.

3 Parl. Hist. vii. 893-895.

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gency of the legislation against anti-Trinitarian writings was rejected, and the laws against anti-Trinitarians were silently disused. Works, however, which were directed against the Christian religion were still liable to prosecution, though the measures taken against them were not usually very severe. "The Fable of the Bees' of Mandeville, the Christianity Not Mysterious' of Toland, the Rights of the Christian Church' by Tindal, and the Posthumous Works' of Bolingbroke, were all presented by the Grand Jury of Middlesex. When Collins, in 1713, published his Discourse on Freethinking,' the outcry was so violent that the author thought it prudent to take refuge for a time in Holland. Woolston-whose mind seems to have been positively disordered-having published, in 1727 and the two following years, some violent discourses impugning the Miracles of Christ, was sentenced to a year's imprisonment, and to a fine of 1,000l.— a sentence against which the apologist Lardner very nobly protested, and which Clarke endeavoured to mitigate. When Toland visited Ireland his book was burnt by order of the Irish Parliament, and he only escaped arrest by a precipitate flight.1 Towards the middle of the century, however, interest in these subjects had almost ceased. The Treatise on Human Nature,' by Hume, which appeared in 1739, though one of the greatest masterpieces of sceptical genius, fell still-born from the press, and the posthumous works of Bolingbroke, in spite of the noisy reputation of their author, scarcely produced a ripple of emotion.2 A letter written by Montesquieu to Warburton was quoted with much applause, in which that great French thinker somewhat cynically argued that, however false might be the established religion in England, no good man should attack it, as it injured no one, was divested of its worst prejudices, and was the source of many practical advantages. An acute ob

1 South wrote with great delight: 'Your Parliament presently sent him packing, and without the help of a faggot soon made the kingdom too hot for him.' See Disraeli's Calamities of Authors, ii. 133.


? Hume's Autobiography. Browne's Estimate, i. 56.

Referring to Bolingbroke's philosophy, he wrote, 'What motive can there be for attacking revealed religion in England? In that country


server on the side of orthodoxy noticed that there was at this time little sceptical speculation in England, because there was but little interest in any theological question;1 and a great sceptic described the nation as settled into the most cool indifference with regard to religious matters that is to be found in any nation of the world.' Latitudinarianism had spread) widely, but almost silently, through all religious bodies, and dogmatic teaching was almost excluded from the pulpit. In spite of occasional outbursts of popular fanaticism, a religious languor fell over England, as it had fallen over the Continent; and if it produced much neglect of duty among clergymen, and much laxity of morals among laymen, it at least in some degree assuaged the bitterness of sectarian animosity and prepared the way for the future triumph of religious liberty.

it is so purged of all destructive
prejudices that it can do no harm,
but on the contrary is capable of
producing numberless good effects.
I am sensible that in Spain or
Portugal a man who is going to be
burnt... hath very good reason to
attack it.
But the case is very
different in England, where a man
that attacks revealed religion does it
without the least personal motive,


and where this champion if he should succeed-nay, should he be in the right too-would only deprive his country of numberless real benefits for the sake of establishing a merely speculative truth.'-Annual Register, 1760, p. 189.

1 Browne's Estimate, i. 52–58. Hume's Essay on National Cha



WHILE the changes described in the last chapter were taking place, the history of parties in England continued to present a singular monotony. The stigma of Jacobitism still rested on the Tories, though Bolingbroke did everything in his power to efface it. This great Tory statesman had soon discovered that the confidence of the Pretender was never given to any but the most bigoted Catholics, and that his narrow and superstitious mind was wholly unsuited for the delicate task of reconciling the political principles of the Tory party with their religious interests and sympathies. Slighted and neglected by the master for whom he had sacrificed so much, finding his political judgment habitually treated as of less value than that of ignorant andinexperienced fanatics, he soon openly quarrelled with the Pretender, received his dismissal in 1716, and with a heart burning with resentment abjured all further connection with Jacobitism. The importance of such a secession from the Jacobite ranks was self-evident. Bolingbroke was the greatest orator and the most brilliant party leader of his time.' He had been, and, in spite of recent errors, he would probably, if restored to English political life, again be, the leader of the Church and of the country party, and he could do more than any other living man to reconcile the Tory party to the new dynasty. His first object was to be restored to his country, fortune, and titles; he offered his services unreservedly to the Government, and his violent quarrel with the Jacobites was a pledge of his sincerity.

The Whig ministry were, however, in general far from desiring to accept the offer. On public grounds they probably

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doubted the sincerity, or at least the permanence of his conversion. Parties,' as Pulteney once said, 'like snakes, are moved by their tails.' It was certain that the Tory party in 1716 was almost wholly Jacobite. There was nothing in the principles or antecedents of Bolingbroke to make it improbable that if it again suited his interests he would place himself in sympathy with his followers, and it was evident that his presence would give them an importance they would not otherwise possess. Besides this, it was the obvious party interest of the Whigs to exclude from the arena the most formidable of all their opponents, and there was no other statesman whom they regarded with such animosity. Much as they desired the maintenance of the dynasty, they had little desire to see the Tory party reconciled to it. They well knew that their monopoly of place and power depended upon the success with which they represented their opponents, both to the King and to the country, as necessarily Jacobite. As Bolingbroke himself very happily said, in the disposition of parties in England, the accidental passions' of the people were on one side, their settled habits of thinking' on the other. The natural preponderance of classes and sentiment was with the Tories, but the temporary association of Toryism with Popery and with rebellion had thrown all power into the hands of the Whigs. A Tory party thoroughly reconciled to the dynasty and guided by a statesman of great genius and experience would probably in no long time become the ruler of the State.


Such were probably the motives of the Whig leaders in reject ing the overtures of Bolingbroke. Walpole, who, no doubt, clearly saw in him the most dangerous of competitors, was especially vehement and especially resolute in maintaining his ostracism, and it was not until 1723 that Bolingbroke obtained, by the influence of the King's mistress, a pardon which enabled him to return to England. With the assent of Sir William Windham, Lord Bathurst, and Lord Gower, three of the most considerable men in the Tory party, he in that year made a formal offer of co-operation to Walpole, but that offer was ab

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