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cause seemed to be set for ever at rest, at least till all those bishops and nobles had slept with their predecessors and their fathers. But the determinations of the British peers are not like the laws of the Medes and Persians which cannot be altered. In the space of a few years, some things occurred which made it appear decent and proper that the dissenting ministers should obtain what they had so earnestly desired, and had been so peremptorily refused. Acordingly in a period not farther distant than 1779, the subject was again brought forward ; and, on the motion of sir Harry Houghton, a bill was introduced, and passed not only the commons, but the lords also, with an opposition so feeble as not to be worthy of being named. The dangers to the church and to the state, which, six years ago, were so formidable if the disa senters did not subscribe thirty-five articles and a half, now all vanished, and the noncons might with perfect safety to the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of England, put their name to the following declaration : "1, A. B. do solemnly declare in the presence of Almighty God that I am a Christian and a protestant, and as such, that I believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as commonly received among protestant churches, do contain the revealed will of God, and that I do receive the same as the rule of my doctrine and practice.” : In the debates of the upper house, the very liberal sentiments of Dr. Shipley, bishop of St. Asaph, the friend and disciple of Hoadly, are alone worthy of a place in the records of history. He argued strenuously against the imposition of every confession of faith, however brief and general and true. “ It is,” said 'he," the duty of magistrates, it is, indeed, the very end of magistrates to protect all men in the enjoyment of their natural rights, of which the free exercise of their religion is one of the first and best. All history is full of the mischiefs occasioned by the want of toleration. One might naturally ask a mini, ster of state for a good pension, or a good contract, or a place at court; but hardly any one would think of making interest with him for a place in heaven.”.
In the history of religious liberty to be able to record a victory in favour of Roman catholics, must be peculiarly grateful to every enlightened protestant. Though the English language is allowed to excel in copiousness and force of expression, it has no terms to describe the injustice and cruelty of the English government to that body of people, from the accession of queen Elizabeth to the present reign. We have our book of martyrs, in which their sufferings unto death by Roman Catholics are particularly affectingly detailed, but few are informed that Roman catholics have their book of martyrs too, and almost as long and as bloody, in whịch English protestants were the execuționers,
. It will draw tears from the eyes of every enlightened professor of the reformed religion to read the following list; which is but a part of the Romish martyrology in England.
Cuthbert Mayne was executed at Launceston, in Cornwal, in 1579.
Edmund Campion, educated at Christ's Hospital, and afterwards at Oxford; became a convert to the Romish religion and retired to Douay. He returned to England as a missionary, and was considered as a dangerous enemy of the established church. He was executed at Tyburn, December 1, 1581.
Alexander Briant, born in Somersetshire, studied at Oxford, on embracing the religion of Rome he went to Douay; came back to England as a missionary, was imprisoned in the tower, and cruelly
To the present generation it was reserved as an honour to decree that the persecuting statutes against the members of the church of Rome, which would have disgraced the code of Nero, and which had so
treated there by thrusting needles under the nails of his fingers to force him to a discovcry of what was acting abroad in relation to the English government, He was hanged, drawn, and quartered December 1, 1581,
Thomas Cottam, born in Lancashire, studied at Oxford, became a convert to Rome, and went to Rheims. He was sent on a mission to England, but was apprehended soon after his landing. He might have escaped, but would not involve his friends in danger. While in prison he was several times put to the torture, but made no confession. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered with several of his brethren at Tyburn, May 30, 1582. .
Edmund Jennings, educated at Rheims under Cardinal Allen; came to England as a missionary; was apprehended in the act of celebrating mass. He was executed by hanging, drawing, and quartering, in Gray’s-inn-fields, October 10, 1591.
Roger Filcock and Mark Backworth were executed in the same way, and for the same cause, at Tyburn, February 27, 1601; and with them Mrs. Anne Line, for harbouring and assisting missionaries,
Dominic Collins, an Irishman, was executed in the same way for the catholic faith, at Cork, October 31, 1602.
Edmund Arrowsmith, of Lancashire, suffered in the same way for being a priest and for making proselytes, August 28, 1628, Ambrose Barlow for his diligence and activity as a missionary, at Lancaster, September 10, 1641. Thomas Bullaker, a franciscan friar and missionary, for his zeal and industry in his office as a missionary, October 15, 1642. Thomas Holland by the puritans, because he was a priest, October 22, 1642. Henry Heath for being a priest, at London, April 27, 1643 : his head was placed on London Bridge and his quarters on the city gates, Francis Bell, October 11, 1643. Rodolph Corbie, December 7, 1644, Thomas Coleman, died in prison for his religion, 1644. Henry Morse, executed for the Romish faith, at London, July 1, 1645, and many others. See Grainger's Biographical History from Dod's Ch, History,
long been allowed to form a part of ours, were a national injustice and a national infamy; and to erase them from the volumes of the English laws. Who can read without horror, that by acts of parliament“ popish priests and jesuits found officiating in the services of their church were declared guilty of felony? Ifa Roman catholic gentleman was educated abroad, the estate was forfeited to the next protestant heir. A son who became a protestant, might strip his father, if a Roman catholic, of his estate, and take possession of it for himself: and papists were declared incapable of acquiring real property by purchase.” To that virtuous senator sir George Saville was reserved the glory of proposing to the house of commons a repeal of these horrid statutes ; and he prefaced his proposal in the following terms. “I mean to vindicate the honour and assert the principles of the protestant religion, to which all persecution is foreign and adverse. The penalties in ques. tion are disgraceful not only to religion but to humanity. They are calculated to loosen all the bands of society, to dissolve all social, moral, and religious obligations and duties, to poison the sources of domestic felicity, and to annihilate every principle of honour.” The motion received the unanimous approbation of the house. The peers concurred in sentiments with the commons; and these inhuman laws were erased from the statute book of England.
Were mankind governed by reason and religion, this act of parliament for the relief of the Roman catholics from some of their heaviest penalties, must have given universal satisfaction. But inveterate prejudices, which have in almost every age been cherished by civil and ecclesiastical rulers, set reason
at defiance and act in opposition to her plainest dice tates. In England the law was allowed to take its course; but the Scotch, among whom hatred of popery was one of the leading features of national character, were enraged at the idea of any relief being granted to papists, and any countenance given, as they thought, to popery. Tumults took place in the chief cities of Scotland, Roman catholic chapels were destroyed, and the houses of some of the principal persons in that communion attacked and injured, To secure the continuance of these persecuting sta. tutes, they formed themselves into a society called “the Protestant Association,” and chose lord George Gordon, a younger son of the duke of Gordon, for their president; a man of so ambiguous a character, that whether he was sane or deranged, whether weak or wicked, whether an enthusiast or a deceiver is still in dispute.
By the influence of Scotch zealots the spirit ex, tended to England; and a protestant association, which could boast of very numerous members, was formed in London, with a view to procure the repeal of the obnoxious act, and to subject papists again to the iron scourge of the unrighteous laws. Zeal against an obnoxious sect is, perhaps, the most easily kindled, continued, and diffused. It requires the mortification of no evil disposition, and allows the most hateful passions of the heart to take their full swing and exert all their fury; no wonder that the association soon grew to an enormous size. It was then determined to apply for a repeal of the act of 1778: and a petition to parliament was prepared, and signed by the names and marks, it is said, of an hundred and twenty thousand persons, who imagined