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Disappointed of that satisfaction, I am happy that another is left me in the similarity of our views, as to what is called the Catholic Question. From the friendly intercourse with which you have honoured me, I know that you hold it wrong to put down religious error by force, or to propagate religious truth by degrading and branding those who do not think with us.—I have suffered too much from religious despotism, not fully and cordially to hold the same doctrine. The fetters which, by God's mercy, I have been enabled to break, I would rather die than help to rivet upon a fellow-Christian: but the Power which made me groan in protracted bondage, is striving to obtain a direct influence in this

Government; and I cannot regard such efforts with apathy. For myself—thanks to the generous country which has adopted me—I have nothing to fear; but I deem it a debt of gratitude to volunteer my testimony in the great pending cause, that it may be weighed against the studied and coloured evidence of such writers, as would disguise the true character of the spiritual tyranny, whose fierce grasp I have eluded. Indeed I would never have shown myself in the field of controversy, but for the appearance of a book evidently intended to divert the public from the important, and, to me, indubitable fact, that sincere Roman Catholics cannot conscientiously be tolerant. How far, my dear Sir, you are convinced of this, I cannot take upon myself to say; but

I am sure you will allow, that if such be

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the real character of Catholicism, the only
security of Toleration must be a certain de-
gree of intolerance, in regard to its enemies;
as prisons in the freest governments are
necessary for the preservation of freedom.
I have thus far thought it necessary
to touch upon the political question with
which my work is indirectly connected. I
say indirectly, because the parliamentary
question about the claims of the Roman
Catholics is by no means the object which
I have had in view while writing. I will
not deny that I should be glad if my humble
performance could throw any light on a
question in which the welfare of this country
is so deeply concerned ; but it is probable
that it will not appear till after the decision

of Parliament. Let this, however, be as it

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may, still I humbly hope that, whether the Roman Catholics are admitted into Parliament, or allowed to continue under the disabilities which their honest opponents lament, my labour will not have been thrown away. For as the danger which may threaten this country in the admission of Roman Catholic legislators, depends entirely upon their religious sincerity; I shall not have troubled the public in vain if, either I can convince the conscientious of the papal communion, that a Roman Catholic cannot honestly do his duty as a member of the British Parliament without moral guilt; or, what I ardently wish, my arguments should open their eyes

to the errors of their church.

A work written with these views cannot, I trust, however imperfect in the execution, be an unworthy testimony of the great

respect with which I am,

My dear sir,
Your most obedient servant,

JOSEPH BLANCO WHITE.

Chelsea, April 30, 1825.

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