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versy, will, I think, admit that he has frequently, in tion,--this silent antiquation of doctrines,-this real the course of his studies, been astonished by the force improvement, which the parties themselves are too of arguments with which that cause has been defended, wise not to feel, though not wise enough to own, must, which he at first thought incapable of any defence ai I am afraid, be generally conceded to human infirmity all. Some accusations he has found to be utterly They are indulgences not unnecessary to many sects of groundless; in others the facts and arguments have Christians. The more generous method would be in ad. been mis-stated; in other instances the accusation has mit error, where error exists, to say these were the lebeen retorted; in many cases the tenets have been nets and interpretations of dark and ignorant ages ; wi. detended by strong arguments and honest appeal to der inquiry, fresh discussion, superior intelligence have Scripture; in many with consummate acuteness and convinced us we are wrong ; we will act in future upon deep learning. So that religious studies often teach to better and wiser principles. This is what men do in opponents a greater respect for each other's talents, laws, arts, and sciences; and happy for them would it motives, and acquirements; exhibit the real difficulties be if they used the same modest docility in the highest of the subject; lessen the surprise and anger which of all concerns. But it is, I fear, more than experience are apt to be excited by opposition; and, by these will allow us to expect ; and therefore the kindest and means, promote that forgiving one another, and for most charitable method is to allow religious sects si. bearing one another which are so powerfully recom- lently to improve without reminding ihem of, and mended by the words of my text.
taunting them with, the improvement; without bring. A great deal of mischief is done by not attending to ing them to the humiliation of former disavowal, or the limits of interference with each other's religious the still more pernicious practice of defending what opinions,-by not leaving to the power and wisdom of they know to be indefensible. The triumphs which God that which belongs to God alone. Our holy reli- proceed from the neglect of these principles are not gion consists of some doctrines which influence prac-(what they pretend to be) the triumphs of religion, but tice, and others which are purely speculative. If reli. the triumphs of personal vanity: The object is not to gious errors are of the former description, they may, extinguish dangerous errors with as little pain and deperhaps, be fair objects of human interference; but if gradation as possible to him who has fallen into the the opinion is merely theological and speculative, error, but the object is to exalt ourselves, and to dethere the right of human interference seems to end, preciate our theological opponents, as much as possibecause the necessity for such interference does not ble, at any expense to God's service, and to the real exist. Any error of this nature is between the Creator interests of truth and religion. and the creature,-between the Redeemer and the re There is another practice not less common than deemed. If such opinions are not the best opinions this, and equally uncharitable ; and that is to repre. which can be found, God Almighty will punish the sent the opinions of the most violent and eager per. error, if error seemeth to the Almighty a fit object of sons who can be met with, as the common and repunishment. Why may not man wait if God waits ? ceived opinions of the whole scct. There are, in every Where are we called upon in Scripture to pursue men denomination of Christians, individuals, by whose for errors purely speculative ?-to assist Heaven in opinion or by, whose conduct the great body would punishing those offences which belong only to Hea- very reluctanily be judged. Some men aim at attractven!--in fighting unasked for what we deem to be the ing notice by singularity; some are deficient in tembattles of God,--of that patient and merciful God, who per; some in learning; some push every principle to pities the frailties we do not pity-who forgives the the extreme; distort, overstate, pervert ; fill every errors we do not forgive,--who sends rain upon the one to whom their cause is dear with concern that it just and the unjust, and maketh his sun lo shine upon should have been committed to such rash and intem. the evil and the good ?
perate advocates. If you wish to gain a victory over Another canon of religious charity is to revise, at your antagonists, these are the men whose writings long intervals, the bad opinions we have been compel- you should study, whose opinions you should dwell on, led, or rather our forefathers have been compelled, to and should carefully bring forward to notice ; but if form of other Christian sects; to see whether the dif you wish, as the elect of God, to put on kindness and ferent bias of the age, the more general diffusion of humbleness, meekness and long-suffering,-if you intelligence, do not render these tenets less pernicious : wish to forbear and to forgive, it will then occur to that which might prove a very great evil under other you that you should seek the true opinions of any sect circumstances, may, perhaps, however weak and erro- from those only who are approved of, and reverenced neous, be harmless in these times, and under these by that sect; to whose authority that sect defer, and circumstances. We must be aware, too, that we do by whose arguments they consider their tenets to be not mistake recollections for apprehensions, and con- properly defended. This may not suit your purpose found together what is past with what is to come,- if you are combating for victory; but it is your duty history with futurity. For instance, it would be the if you are combating for truth; it is the safe, honest, most enormous abuse of this religious institution to and splendid conduct of him who never writes por imagine that such dreadful scenes of wickedness are speaks on religious subjects, but that he may diffuse to be apprehended from the Catholics of the present the real blessings of religion among his fellow-ctea. day, because the annals of this country were disgraced tures, and restrain the bitterness of controversy by by such an event two hundred years ago. It would be the feelings of Christian charity and forbearance. an enormous abuse of this day to extend the crimes of Let us also ask ourselves, when we are sitting in a few desperate wretches to a whole sect; to fix the severe judgment upon the faults, follies and errors of passious of dark, ages upon times of refinement and other Christian sects, whether it is not barely possi
. this day, which violate every principle of Christian representations? Let us ask ourselves, honestly and charity, endanger the peace of society, and give life fairly, whether we are wholly exempt from prejudice, and perpetuity to hatreds, which must perish at one from pride, from obstinate adhesion to what candour time or another, and had better, for the peace of socie- calls upon us to alter, and to yield? Are there no vio. ty, perish now.
lent and mistaken members of our own community, It would be religiously charitable, also, to consider by whose conduct we should be loath to be guided, -by whether the objectionable tenets, which different sects whose tenets we should not choose our faith to be profess, are in iheir hearts as well as in their books. judged? Has time, that improves all, found nothing
There is, unfortunately, so much pride where there in us to change for the better? Amid all the manifold ought to be so much humility, that it is difficult, if not divisions of the Christian world, are we the only almost impossible, to make religious sects abjure or Christians who, without having any thing to learn recant the doctrines they have once professed. It is from the knowledge and civilization of the last three not in this manner, I fear, that the best and purest centuries, have started up, without infancy, and with. churches are ever reformed. But the doctrine gradu- out error, into consummate wisdom and spotless perally becomes obsolete; and, though not disowned, fection? ceases in fact to be a distinguishing characteristic of To listen to enemies as well as friends is a rule the sect which professes it. These modes of reforma. I which not only increases sense in common life, but is
highly favourable to the increase of religious candour. religious disputes which appear to be coming on in the You find that you are not so free from faults as your world. If you choose to perpetuate the restrictions friends suppose, nor so full of faults as your enemies upon your fellow-creatures, no one has a right to call suppose. You begin to think it not impossible that you bigoted ; if you choose to do them away, no one you may be as unjust to others as they are to you ; has any right to call you lax and indifferent; you have and that the wisest and most Christian scheme is that done your utmost to do right, and whether you err, or of mutual indulgence; that it is better to put on, as do noi err, in your mode of interpreting the Christian the elect of God, kindness, humbleness of mind, religion, you show at least that you have caught its meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and heavenly spirit—that you have put on, as the elect of forgiving one another.
God, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longSome men cannot understand how they are to be suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one zealous if they are candid in religious matters; how another. the energy necessary for the one virtue is compatible I have thus endeavoured to lay before you the uses with the calmness which the other requires. But re- and abuses of this day; and, having stated the great member that the Scriptures carefully distinguish be. mercy of God's interference, and the blessings this tween laudable zeal and indiscreet zeal; that the country
has secured to itself în resisting the errors and apostles and epistolary writers knew they had as follies, and superstitions of the Catholic Church, I much to fear from the over-excitement of some men as have endeavoured that this just sense of our own supe. from the supineness of others; and in nothing have riority should not militate against the sacred principles they laboured more than in preventing religion from of Christian charity. That charity which I ask for arming human passions instead of allaying them, and others, I ask also for myself. I am sure I am preachrendering those principles a source of mutual jealousy ing before those who will think (whether they agree and hatred which were intended for universal peace. with me or not) that I have spoken conscientiously, I admit that indifference sometimes puts on the ap- and from good motives, and from honest feelings, on pearance of candour; but though there is a counter. a very different subject—not sought for by me, but feit, yet there is a reality; and the imitation proves devolving upon me in the course of duty ;-in which I the value of the original, because men only attempt to should have been heartily ashamed of myself (as you multiply the appearances of useful and important would have been ashamed of me), if I had thought things. The object is to be at the same time pious to only how to flatter and please, or thought of any thing God and charitable to man; to render your own faith but what I hope always to think of in the pulpit-that as pure and perfect as possible, not only without hatred I am placed here by God to tell the truth, and to do of those who differ from you, but with a constant good. recollection that it is possible, in spite of thought and I shall conclude my sermon, (pushed, I am afraid. study, that you may have been mistaken—that other already to an unreasonable length,) by reciting to you sects may be right, and that a zeal in his service, a very short and beautiful apologue, taken from the which God does not want, is a very bad excuse for rabbinical writers. It is, I believe, quoted by Bishop those bad passions which his sacred word condemns. Taylor, in his ' Holy Living aad Dying. I have not
Lastly, I would suggest that many differences be- now access to that book, but quote it to you from me tween sects are of less importance than the furious mory; and should be made truly happy if you would zeal of many men would make them. Are the tenets quote it to others from memory also. of any sect of such a description, that we believe they As Abraham was sitting in the door of his tent. will be saved under the Christian faith? Do they fulfil there came unto him a wayfaring man; and Abraham the common duties of life? Do they respect property? gave him water for his feet, and set bread before him. Are they obedient to the laws? Do they speak the And Abraham said unto him, " Let us now worship truth? If all these things are right, the violence of the Lord our God before we eat of this bread."... And hostility may surely submit to some little softness and the wayfaring man said unto Abraham, I will not relaxation ; honest difference of opinion cannot call worship the Lord thy God, for thy God is not my for such entire separation and complete antipathy; God, but I will worship my God, even the God of my such zeal as this, if it be zeal, and not something fathers." But Abraham was exceeding wroth; and be worse, is not surely zeal according to discretion. rose up to put the wayfaring man forth from the door
The arguments, then, which I have adduced in of his tent. And the voice of the Lord was heard in support of the great principles of religious charity are, the tent,--Abraham, Abraham! have I not bome that violence upon such subjects is rarely or ever with this man for three score and ten years, and cansı found to be useful; but generally to produce effects thou not bear with him for one hour ?' opposite to those which are intended. I have ob. served that religious sects are not to be judged from the representations of their enemies; but that they are to be heard for themselves, in the pleadings of
LETTERS, their best writers, not in the representations of those on the subject of the Catholics, to my Brother Abraham, whose intemperate zeal is a misfortune to the sect to
who lives in the country, · which they belong. If you will study the principles of your religious opponents, you will often find your contempt and hatred lessened in proportion as you are better acquainted with what you despise. Many reli.
LETTER I. gious opinions, which are purely speculative, are DEAR ABRAHAMwithout the limits of human interference. In the A worthier and better man than yourself does not numerous sects of Christianity, interpreting our religion exist; but I have always told you, from the time of in different manners, all cannot be right. Imitate the our boyhood, that you were a bit of a goose. Your forbearance of God, who throws the mantle of his parochial affairs are governed with exemplary order mercy over all, and who will probably save, on the and regularity; your are as powerful in the vestry, as last day, the piously right and the piously wrong, Mr. Percival is in the House of Commons-and, I seeking Jesus in humbleness of mind. Do not drive must say, with much more reason ; nor do I know any religious sects to the disgrace (or to what they church where the faces and smock-frocks of the con foolishly think the disgrace) of formally disavowing gregation are so clean, or their eyes so uniformly ditenets they once possesed, but concede something to rected to the preacher. There is another point upon human weakness; and, when the tenet is virtually which I will do you ample justice, and that is, that given up, treat it as if it were actually given up; the eyes so directed towards you are wide open ; for and always consider it to be very possible that the rústic has, in general, good principles, though he yourself may have made mistakes, and fallen into cannot control his animal habits; and, however loud erroneous opinions, as well as any other sect to he may snore, his face is perpetually turned towards which you are opposed. If you put on these dispo- the fountain of orthodoxy. sitions, and this tenour of mind, you cannot be guilty Having done this act of justice, I shall proceed, of any religious fault, take what part you will in the according to our ancient intimacy and familiarity, to
BY PETER PLYMLEY.
explain to you my opinions about the Catholics, and to lishment in any shape; but what have I to do with reply to yours
the speculative nonsense of his theology, when the In the first place, my sweet Abraham, the pope is object is to elect the mayor of a country town, or to not landed—nor are there any curates, sent oùl after appoint a colonel of a marching regiment? Will a man him-nor has he been hid at Št. Alban's, by the Dowa. discharge the solemn impertinences of the one office ger Lady Spencer—nor dined privately at Holland with the less zeal, or shrink from the bloody boldness House-nor been seen near Dropmore. If these fears of the other with greater timidity, because the blockexist, (which I do not believe,) they exist only in the head believes in all the Catholic nonsense of the real mind of the chancellor of the exchequer; they emanate presence. I am sorry there should be such impious from his zeal for Protestant interests ; and though folly in the world, but I should be ten times a greater they reflect the highest honour upon the delicate irri- tool than he is, if I refused, in consequence of his folly, tability of his faith, must certainly be considered as to lead him out against the enemies of the state. Your more ambiguous proofs of the sanity and vigour of his whole argument is wrong; the state has nothing whatunderstanding. By this time, however, the best in ever to do with theological errors which do not violate formed clergy in the neighbourhood of the metropolis the common rules of morality, and militate against the are convinced that the rumour is without foundation ; fair power of the ruler: it leaves all these errors to and, though the pope is probably hovering about our you, and to such as you. You have every tenth porker coast in a fishing-sınack, it is most likely he will fall in your parish for refuting them ; and take care that a prey to the vigilance of our cruisers; and it is cer. you are vigilant and logical in the task. tain he has not yet polluted the Protestantism of our I love the church as well as you do; but you totally soil.
mistake the nature of an establishment, when you Exactly in the same manner, the story of the wood contend that it ought to be connected with the mili. en gods seized at Charing Cross, by an order from the tary and civil career of every individual in the state. Foreign Office, turns out to be without the shadow of It is quite right that there should be one clergyman a foundation :' instead of the angels and archangels, to every parish interpreting the Scriptures after a par. mentioned by the informer, nothing was discovered ticular manner, ruled by a regular híerarchy, and paid but a wooden image of Lord Mulgrave, going down to with a rich proportion of haycocks and wheatsheafs. Chatham, as a head-piece for the Spanker gun-vessel ; | When I have laid this foundation for a rational reliit was an exact resemblance of his lordship in his gion in the state—when I have placed ten thousand military uniform ; and therefore as little like a god as well-educated men in different parts of the kingdom can well be imagined.
to preach it up, and compelled every body to pay Having set your fears at rest as to the extent of the them, whether they hear them or not-I have taken conspiracy formed against the Protestant religion, I such measures as I know must always procure un im. will now come to the argument itself.
mense majority in favour of the established church; You say these men interpret the Scriptures in an but I can go no farther. I cannot set up a civil inqui. unorthodox manner; and that they eat their God.- sition, and say to one, you shall not be a butcher, be. Very likely. All this may seem very important to cause you are not orthodox ; and prohibit another from you, who live fourteen miles from a market town, and, brewing, and a third from administering the law, and from long residence among your living, are become a a fourth from defending the country. If common kind of holy vegetable; and, in a theological sense, it justice did not prohibit me from such a conduct, comis highly important. But I want soldiers and sailors mon sense would. The advantage to be gained by for the state ; I want to make a greater use than I quitting the heresy would make it shameful to aban, now can do of a poor country full of men ; I want to don it; and men who had once left the church would render the military service popular among the Irish; continue in such a state of alienation from a point of to check the power of France; to make every possible honour, and transmit that spirit to the latest posexertion for the safety of Europe, which, in twenty terity. This is just the effect your disqualifying laws years' time will be nothing but a mass of French have produced. They have fed Dr. Rees and Dr. slaves: and then you, and ten thousand other such Kippis ; crowded the congregation of the old jewry to boobies as you, call out,' For God's sake, do not think suffocation; and enabled every sublapsarian, and supof raising cavalry and infantry in Ireland !
ralapsarian, and semipelagian clergyman,' to build They interpret the Epistle to Timothy in a different himself a neat brick chapel, and live with some distant manner from what we do!
They eat a bit of resemblance to the state of a gentleman. water every Sunday, which they call their God!'. You say the king's coronation oath will not allow I wish to my soul they would eat you, and such rea- him to consent to any relaxation of the Catholic laws soners as you are. What ! when Turk, Jew, Heretic, - Why not relax the Catholic laws as well as the Infidel, Catholic, Protestant, are all combined against laws against Protestant dissenters? If one is contrary this country; when men of every religious persuasion, to his oath, the other must be so too ; for the spirit of and no religious persuasion ; when the population of the oath is, to defend the church establishment; which half of the globe is up in arms against us; are we to the Quaker and the Presbyterian differ from as much stand examining our generals and armies as a bishop or more than the Catholic; and yet his majesty has examines a candidate for holy orders ? and to suffer repealed the Corporation and Test Act in Ireland, and no one to bleed for England who does not agree with done more for the Catholics of both kingdoms than you about the 2d of Timothy? You talk about the had been done for them since the Reformation. In Catholics! If you and your brotherhood have been 1778, the ministers said nothing about the royal con. able to persuade the country into a continuation of science ; in 1793* no conscience; in 1804 no conthis grossest of all absurdities, you have ten times the science; the common feeling of humanity and justice power which the Catholic clergy ever had in their then seem to have had their fullest influence upon the best days. Louis XIV., when he revoked the Edict advisers of the crown ; but in 1807—a year, I suppose, of Nantes, never thought of preventing the Protest. eminently fruitful in moral and religious scruples, (as ants from fighting his battles ; and gained accordingly some years are fruitful in apples, some in hops,)-it some of his most splendid victories by the talents of is contended by the well paid John Bowles, and by bis Protestant generals. No power in Europe, but Mr. Perceval (who tried to be well paid), that that is yourselves, has ever thought, for these hundred years now perjury which we had hitherto called policy and past, of asking whether a bayonei is Catholic, or Pres. benevolence ! Religious liberty has never made such byterian, or Lutheran ; but whether it is sharp and a stride as under the reign of his present majesty ; nor well tempered. A bigot delights in public ridicule; is there any instance in the annals of our history, for he begins to think he is a martyr. “I
can promise where so many infamous and damnable laws have you the lull enjoyment of this pleasure, from one ex. been repealed as those against the Catholics which tremity of Europe to the other.
have been put an end to by him; and then, at the I am as much disgusted with the nonsense of the Ro. man Catholic religion as you can be ; and no man
* These feelings of humanity and justice were at some who talks such nonsense shall ever tithe the product periods a little quickened by the representations, of 40,000 of the earth nor meddle with the ecclesiastical estab'armed volunteers.
close of this useful policy, his advisers discover that kinder and better man than yourself; but you (if you the very measures of concession and indulgence, or had lived in those times) would certainly have roasted (to use my own language) the measures of justice, your Catholic ; and I promise you, if the first exciter which he has been pursuing through the whole of his of this religious mob had been as powerful then as be reign, are contrary to the oath he takes at its com is now, you would soon have been elevated to the mi. mencement! That oath binds his majesty not to con- tre. I do not go the leugth of saying that the world bas sent to any measure contrary to the interests of the suffered as much from Protestani as from Catholic established church; but who is to judge of the tend- persecution; far from it: but you should remember ency of each particular measure? Not the king alone; the Catholics had all the power, when the idea first it never can be the intention of this law that the king, started up in the world that there could be two modes who listens to the advice of his Parliament upon a of faith ; and that it was much more natural they road bill, should reject it upon the most important of should attempt to crush this diversity of opinion by all measures. Whatever be his own private judgment great and cruel efforts, than that ihe Protestanis of the tendency of any ecclesiastical bill, he complies should rage against those who differed from them, most strictly with his oath, if he is guided in that par. when the very basis of their system was complete freeticular point by the advice of his Parliament, who dom in all spiritual matters. may be presumed to understand its tendency better I cannot extend my letter any further at present, but than the king, or any other individual. You say, if you shall soon hear from me again. You tell me I am Parliament had been unanimous in their opinion of the a party man. I hope I shall always be so, when I see absolute necessity for Lord Howick's bill, and the my country in the hands of a pert London joker and a king had thought it pernicious, he would have been second-rate lawyer. Of the first, no other good is perjured if he had not rejected it. I say, on the con- known than that he makes pretty Latin verses; the irary, his majesty would have acted in the most con second seems to me to have the head of a country par. scientious manner, and have complied most scrupu- son, and the tongue of an Old Bailey lawyer. lously with his oath, if he had sacrificed his own opi. If I could see good measures pursued, I care not a nion to the opinion of the great council of the nation; farthing who is in power ; but I have a passionate because the probability was that such opinion was love for common justice, and for common sense, and I better than his own; and upon the same principle, in abhor and despise every man who builds up his politi. common life, you give up your opinion to your physical fortune upon their ruin. cian, your lawyer, and your builder.
God bless you, reverend Abraham, and defend you You admit this bill did not compel the king to elect from the pope, and all of us from that administration Catholic officers, but only gave him the option of doing who seek power by opposing a measure which Birke, so if he pleased ; but you add, that the king was right Pitt, and Fox all considered as absolutely necessary to in not trusting such dangerous power to himself or his the existence of the country. successors. Now, you are either to suppose that the king, for the time being, has a zcal for the Catholic establishment, or that he has not. If he has not, where is the danger of giving such an option? If
LETTER II. suppose that he may be influenced by such an admira- DEAR ABRAHAM, tion of the Catholic religion, why did his present ma The Catholic not respect an oath! why not? What jesty, in the year 1804, consent to that bill which em- upon earth has kept him out of Parliament, or excludpowered the crown to station ten thousand Catholic ed him from all the offices whence he is excluded, but solliers in any part of the kingdom, and placed them his respect for oaths ? There is no law which probibabsolutely at the disposal of the crown? If the King its a Catholic to sit in Parliament. There could be do of England for the time being is a good Protestant, such law ; because it is impossible to find out that there can be no danger in making the Catholic eligible passes in the interior of any man's mind. Suppose it to any thing; if he is not, no power can possibly be were in contemplation to exclude all men from certain so dangerous as that conveyed by the bill last quoted; offices who contended for the legality of taking tithes: to which, in point of peril, Lord Howick's bill is a the only mode of discovering that fervid love of decimere joke. But the real fact is, one bill opened a mation which I know you to possess would be to tendoor to his majesty's advisers for trick, jobbing, and der you an oath against that damnable doctrine, that intrigue; the other did not.
it is lawful for a spiritual man to take, abstract, approBesides, what folly to talk to me of an oath, which, priate, subduct, or lead away the tenth calf, sheep, under all possible círcumstances, is to prevent the re- lamb, ox, pigeon, duck, &c. &c. &c., and every other laxation of the Catholic laws ! for such a solemn ap- animal that ever existed, which of course the lawyers peal to God sets all conditions and contingencies at de- would take care to enumerate. Now this oath I am fiance. Suppose Bonaparte was to retrieve the only sure you would rather die than take ; and so the Cathvery great blunder he has made, and were to succeed, olic is excluded from Parliament because he will not after repeated trials, in making an impression upon swear that he disbelieves the leading doctrines of his Ireland, do you think we should hear any thing of the religion! The Catholic asks you to abolish some oaths impediment of a coronation oath? or would the spirit which oppress him: your answer is, that he does not of this country tolerate for an hour such ministers, and respect oaths. Then why subject him to the test of such unheard of nonsense, if the most distant prospect oaths ? The oaths keep him out of Parliament; why existed of conciliating the Catholics by every species then he respects them. Tum which way you will, ei. even of the most abject concession ? And yet, if your ther your laws are nugatory, or the Catholic is bound argument is good for any thing, the coronation oath by religious obligations as you are ; but no eel in the ought to reject, at such a moment, every tendency to well-sanded fist of a cook-maid, upon the eve of being conciliation, and to bind Ireland forever to the crown skinned, ever twisted and writhed as an orthodox parof France.
son does when he is compelled by the gripe of reason I found in your letter the usual remarks about fire, lo admit any thing in favour of a dissenter. fagot, and bloody Mary. Are you aware, my dear I will not dispute with you whether the pope be or priest, that there were as many persons put to death be not the Scarlet Lady of Babylon. I hope it is not for religious opinions under the mild Elizabeth as un so; because I am afraid it will induce his majesty's der the bloody Mary? The reign of the former was, chancellor of the exchequer to introduce several seto be sure, ten times as long ; but I only mention thé vere bills against Popery, if that is the case ; and fact, merely to show you that something depends up- though he will have the decency to appoint a previous on the age in which men live, as well as on their reli- committee of inquiry as to the fact, the committee gious opinions. Three hundred years ago, men burnt will be garbled, and the report inflammatory. Lear. and hanged each other for these opinions.' Time has ing this to be settled as he pleases to settle it, I wish softened Catholic as well as Protestant; they both ro. to inform you, that previously to the bill last passed in quired it; though each perceives only his own in favour of the Catholics, at the suggestion of Mr. Pitt, provement, and is blind to that of the other. We are and for his satisfaction, the opinions of six of the most all the creatures of circumstances. I know not a celebrated of the foreiga Catholic universities were
taken as to the right of the pope to interfere in the sible deduction for existing circumstances, just and netemporal concerns of any country. The answer can. cessary wars, monstrous and unnatural rebellions, and not possibly leave the shadow of a doubt, even in the all other sources of human destruction. Of this popu. mind of Baron Maseres; and Dr. Rennel would be lation, two out of ten are Protestants ; and the half of compelled to admit it, if three bishops lay dead at the the Protestant population are dissenters, and as inimi. very moment the question were put to him. To this cal to the church as the Catholics themselves. In this answer might be added also the solemn declaration state of things, thumb-screws and whipping--admir. and signature of all the Catholics in Great Britain. able engines of policy, as they must be considered to
I should perfectly agree with you, if the Catholics be—will not ultimately avail. The Catholics will hang admitted such a dangerous dispensing power in the over you; they will watch for the moment; and com. hands of the pope ; but they all deny it, and laugh at pel you hereafter to give them ten times as much, it, and are ready to abjure it in the most decided man- against your will, as they would now be contented ner you can devise. They obey the pope as the spir. with, if it was voluntarily surrendered. Remember itual head of their church'; but are you really so fool what happened in the American war; when Ireland ish as to be imposed upon by mere names?—What compelled you to give her every thing she asked, and matters it the seven-thousandth part of a farthing who to renounce, in the most explicit manner, your claim is the spiritual head of any church? Is not Mr. Wil. of sovereignty over her. God Almighty grant the folly berforce at the head of the church of Clapham? Is of these present men may not bring on such another not Dr. Letsom at the head of the Quaker church? Is crisis of public affairs ! not the general assembly at the head of the church of What are your dangers which threaten the estab. Scotland ? How is the government disturbed by these lishment?-Reduce this declamation to a point, and many-headed churches ? or in what way is the power let us understand what you mean. The most ample of the crown augmented by this almost nominal dig. allowance does not calculate that there would be more nity ?
than twenty members who were Roman Catholics in The king appoints a fast-day once a year, and he one house, and ten in the other, if the Catholic eman. makes the bishops; and if the government would take cipation were carried into effect. Do you mean that halt the pains to keep the Catholics out of the arms of these thirty members would bring in a bill to take France that it does to widen Temple Bar, or improve away the tithes from the Protestant, and to pay them Suow Hill, the king would get into his hands the ap- to the Catholic clergy? Do you mean that a Catholic pointments of the titular bishops of Ireland.-Both general would march his army into the House of ComMr.C's sisters enjoy pensions more than sufficient mons and purge it of Mr. Perceval and Mr. Duigenan? to place the two greatest dignitaries of the Irish Cath- or, that the theological writers would become all of a olic Church entirely at the disposal of the crown.- sudden more acute and more learned, if the present Every body who knows Ireland knows perfectly well, civil incapacities were removed ? Do you fear for that nothing would be easier, with the expenditure of your tithes, or your doctrines, or your person, or the a little money, than to preserve enough of the osten. English constitution ? Every fear, taken separately, sible appointment in the hands of the pope to satisty is so glaringly absurd, that no man has the folly or the scruples of the Catholics, while the real nomina- the boldness to state it. Every one conceals his igno. tion remained with the crown. But, as I have before rance, or his baseness, in a stupid general panic, said, the moment the very name of Ireland is men- which, when called on, he is utterly incapable of ex. tioned, the English seem to bid adieu to common feel- plaining. Whatever you think of the Catholics, there ing, common prudence, and to common sense, and to they are—you cannot get rid of them; your alterna. act with the barbarity of tyrants, and the fatuity of tive is, to give them a lawful place for stating their idiots.
grievances, or an unlawful one : if you do not admit Whatever your opinion may be of the follies of the them to the House of Commons, they will hold their Roman Catholic religion, remember they are the fol. Parliament in Potato-place, Dublin, and be ten times lies of four millions of human beings, increasing rapid. as violent and inflammatory as they would be in Westly in numbers, wealth, and intelligence, who, if firmly minster. Nothing would give me such an idea of united with this country, would set at defiance the security, as to see twenty or thirty Catholic gentle. power of France, and if once wrested from their alli- men in Parliament, looked upon by all the Catholics ance with England, would in three years render its ex. ) as the fair and proper organ of their party. I should istence as an independent nation absolutely impossi. have thought it the height of good fortune that such a
You speak of danger to the establishment : I re- wish existed on their part, and the very essence of quest to know when the establishment was ever so madness and ignorance to reject it. Can you murder much in danger as when Hoche was in Bantry Bay, the Catholics ?-Can you neglect them? They are to. and whether all the books of Bossuet, or the arts of numerous for both these expedients. What remains the Jesuits were half so terrible ? Mr. Perceval and to be done is obvious to every human being—but to his parsons forgot all this, in their horror lest twelve that man who, instead of being a Methodist preacher, or fourteen old women may be converted to holy wa.is, for the curse of us, and our children, and for the ier and Catholic nonsense. They never see that, ruin of Troy, and the misery of good old Priam and while they are saving these venerable ladies from per. his sons, become a legislator and a politician. dition, Ireland may be lost, England broken down, and A distinction, I perceive, is taken, by one of the the Protestant Church, with all its deans, prebenda- most feeble noblemen in Great Britain, between per. ries, Percevals and Rennels, be swept into the vortex secution and the deprivation of political power; where. of oblivion.
as, there is no more distinction between these two Do not, I beseech you, ever mention to me again things than there is between him who makes the disthe name of Dr. Duigenan. I have been in every cor. tinction and a booby. If I strip off the relic-covered ner of Ireland, and have studied its present strength jacket of a Catholic, and give him twenty stripes ... and condition with no common labour. Be assured I persecute: if I say, every body in the town where Ireland does not contain at this moment less than five you live shall be a candidate for lucrative and honour. millions of people. There were returned in the year able offices, but you who are a Catholic : : . I do not 1791 to the hearth tax 701,000 houses, and there is no persecute !-What nonsense is this ! as if degradation kind of question that there were about 50,000 houses was not as great an evil as bodily pain, or as severe omitted in that return. Taking, however, only the poverty; as if I could not be as great a tyrant by saynumber returned for the tax, and allowing the average ing, You shall not enjoy-as by saying, You shall sufof six to a house (a very small average for a potato fer. The English, I believe, are as truly religious as fed people,) this brings the population to 4,200,000 any nation in Europe ; I know no greater blessing, people in the year 1791; and it can be shown from but it carries with it this evil in its train, that any vil. the clearest evidence, (and Mr. Newenham in his lain who will bawl out " The church is in danger !! book shows it,) that Ireland for the last fifty years may get a place, and a good pension ; and that any has increased in its population at the rate of 50 or administration who will do the same thing may bring 60,000 per annum; which leaves the present popula. a set of men into power who, at a moment of station. tion of Ireland at about five millions, after every pos 'ary and passive piety, would be booted by the very