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have been wise for ministers, as well as the British constitution is essentially for the catholics themselves, to have founded on a narrow and exclusive refrained entirely from altercations, system ; nor is it because the catholics which must always have proved un- are slightly affected by the existing availing. The respect, however, which disabilities, of which the coronation is due to the opinions of the sove- oath for ever forbids the removal, that reign, could extend only to a decent enlightened men have hesitated about and becoming submission in circum- the unqualified concession of the castances believed to be temporary ; but tholic claims ; such arguments are could never require a sacrifice of the weak and unavailing, and prove only sentiments which every man is enti- the pious, but ignorant zeal of the distled to express, even on the most deli- putants, their laudable eagerness to cate subjects. Hence it was boldly rush into the contest, without the arand justly declared on many different mour which is required to sustain the occasions, that the coronation oath fury of the assault. The wars of poopposed no real obstacle to the con- liticians are in general very well
supcession of the catholic claims; that plied with recruits ; yet we can scarcethe oath was taken by the king as exe. Iy recollect any great conflict of this cutive magistrate, and not as a branch kind into which a more undisciplined of the legislature, and that it imported rabble has been enlisted on both sides, only an obligation that he should act than that which has come forward to in his executive capacity agreeably to decide this awful contest. The prethe laws of the land as established by tended advocates of catholic emanciparliament. If a different construction pation, for scurrility, insolence, and were put on the coronation oath, what baseness, have outdone every thing would be the consequence? That no which was before kuown, even in this change could, at any time, be made in discontented island. Every threadbare the laws either as to church or state, argument, every vulgar piece of slan. since the coronation oath comprehends der, every obscene thing, which could both; that every thing which has al- be purloined from newspapers, reready been done for the catholics a- views, and other magazines of such mounted to a gross violation of the interesting curiosities, has been seized constitution ; and that the legislative by the miserable conscripts to hide power of the British parliament, of their nakedness; yet so beggarly and which the king is the most venerable scandalous is the appearance of the branch, must be annihilated. But this corps, and so disorderly their move. argument could not bear consideration ments, that some of their own chiefs for a moment ; while it was considered have declined to march along with as the offspring of an honourable deli. them in their career of turbulence and cacy in the highest quarter, it was treason. 'On the absurd notions of with becoming patience endured; but some of the anti-catholics, as they call no sooner was it brought forward as themselves, we have already remarked, the weapon of bigotry, than it was as we think, with impartial severity ; consigned to merited scorn.
yet stupid as they are, their quiet and It is not, therefore, because a large peaceable demeanour is no more to proportion of the people may with be compared to the noisy and obtruimpunity be excluded from the benefits sive vulgarity of their antagonists, than of the constitution ; nor because the a methodistical meeting to an Iri catholics have no claim of right to an fair. It is easy to enumerate and cor. alteration of the laws ; nor because rect the errors of the protestants ; they are comparatively few in number, to subvert and destroy ; to cast away because those who have fallen into with a careless prodigality what was them are sincere, although misguided; never earned by our own enterprise but he who would endeavour to detect and toil; to sail down the stream of the folly and expose the baseness of popular violence, and to purchase an those who advocate the cause of the easy and vile reputation by joining in catholics by sophistry and slander, the clamour of the multitude. As would undertake a task impracticable the raging billows of the ocean wil from its extent, and utterly unprofit. cast up to the surface, and bear along able from the vulgar stupidity of those by their force all that is worthless and whom he should vainly attempt to in- obscene in the unfathomed caves of struct or reform.
the deep, so the waves of popular The loudest assertor of the rights of commotion have often impelled into the catholics, if he possess any share the general view, the veriest caitiffs of of common sense or candour, or be at the community; yet the lofty rock all capable of estimating the merits of which restrains the violence and conthis great question, will confess that temns the fury of these noisy assail. a protestant government and people ants, which with awful grandeur stands can never be required to admit the ca. forth the protector of the rich and tholics to a participation of political gay luxuriance behind, has never been power, if such an innovation should mistaken for the emblem of weakness threaten with danger the protestant and timidity. The advocates of caestablishments of the country. It is tholic einancipation have been anxious not necessary to prove that the danger to represent the cause of their enemies would certainly ensue, if the conces. as one which has been deserted by the sions were granted; for there is no people, and have often declared that such thing as certainty in political the tide of popular feeling runs so speculations; and if the statesman strong on their own side, that every were to refuse to act till he were fully obstacle must soon give way. We assured of the consequences of his put it therefore to the common sense deeds, the business of the world must of our readers to determine, to which either be brought to a stand, or en. side the praise of courage and resolutirely abandoned to the government of tion is justly due ; whether to those chance. Where the evil apprehended who from convenience preferthe strongis of very great magnitude, even a er party, or to their antagonists, who, slender probability of its occurrence in spite of insolence, reproach, and will inspire a wise man with the ut- intimidation, boldly interposed themmost caution ; not, indeed, with a de- selves to stem the tide of popular viograding terror which would strike lence, and preserve the ark of the conhim to the ground, but with an erect stitution from the fury of the tempest energy, which, by enabling him to ex. by which it is assailed. tend his views, may render his decision These reflections have been extorted less rapid ; but will at the same time by the domineering extravagance of make it infinitely more valuable. The the assertors of the catholic claims ; enemies of catholic emancipation have we are well aware that they have but been often described as timorous and little to do with the real merits of the imbecile ; in our view of the matter, question ; and we gladly return there. their firmness and energy have been fore to an enquiry into the leading far more conspicuous than those of points connected with this controversy. their opponents. It is an easy thing the danger of admitting the catholics to the enjoyment of political power, is to be entertained. With reference the only fair ground of their exclu- therefore to the present argument, we sion ; and we have already admitted mean by " the constitution,” the aswith the utmost freedom, that all the cendency of the protestant religion in subtilties which have been opposed the government of the civil affairs of to the catholic claims, have not the the country, the security of the proweight of a feather in the balance. testant church as established by law, We come therefore to the only ques. and the predominance of the protestion which can divide the enlightened tant interest in the imperial legislature. advocates and enemies of catholic This is the constitution which we emancipation ; would it be safe for should wish to see defended against the protestant establishment, and the the invasions of catholic enmity and political liberties of the country, that ambition ; these are the invaluable ad. the claims of the catholics should be vantages which have been derived from conceded ?
the glorious struggles of our forefa. To denounce any class of the peo. thers, of whom it has become fashion.' ple as the enemies of the constitution, able among the witlings of the day to and to found upon this charge an ar- speak with contempt and derision. gument for excluding them from the Have the catholics an interest, and privileges enjoyed by their fellow sub- do they cherish a desire, to accomplish jects, is an invidious task; yet it may a change in these particulars and not be the less necessary to be perform- would they, if their claims were coned. The work of adulation is easy as ceded, have a chance of attaining their it is base ; compliments may be heap- object? These are the questions, on ed upori the loyalty and fidelity of the the solution of which the merits of catholics with a small expence of wit the catholic claims must be decided. and a large sacrifice of sincerity; but That the catholics would have an the memory of their past transactions, interest in destroying the protestant and the knowledge of their present ascendancy, seems to be very obvious, temper, will bring down scorn on the if it be not supposed that they are unmerited panegyrics. Yet the charge exempted from the ordinary influence, of enmity towards the existing order of human' motives, and that their pieof things, which has so often been ty or generosity exalts them above the brought against the professors of the vulgar objects of human ambition. catholic religion, does not affect their They are plainly told, even by those moral or political character so much who ask concessions for them, that as some persons are willing to sup- their claims can be listened to only pose ; the same antipathy would pro- because their sect must always contibably fill a protestant bosom against nue subordinate in the imperial parliacatholic ascendancy; the feeling is ment ; because, as a body professing the natural consequence of an entire certain religious opinions, they are to difference of opinion on the most sa- be of no weight or consequence, and cred and interesting of subjects, about are to have no influence whatever on which no good man can well main- the conduct of public affairs. Ask tain a neutrality. When we speak their present advocates why emancipaof enmity towards the constitution, tion could not be safely recommended we may be justly called upon to ex. to the Irish parliament, and they will plain what we mean by a word which tell you it was on account of the prehas 80 often been prostituted, and ponderating influence which the caabout which no settled notions seem tholics would have gained in the legis.
lature of Ireland ; in other words, they the frigidity of which a few pretenders will avow the most marked distrust of to philosophy may become the victhose whom they patronize. Why tims, and that favourable seasons pewould they have the claims of the ca- riodically recur, when the tide of relitholics now conceded ? because the gious enthusiasm will mount so high catholics can never, in their view of as to demand every precaution for rematters, become formidable ip a par- sisting its ravages. The perseverance liament which is composed of so vast and attachment of men to the system a proportion of protestant members. of religion in which they have been The very grounds, therefore, which educated, is too often proportioned are now assigned for emancipation, im- to its rigorous formality or fagrant ply that rooted jealousy of the princi. absurdity-whether it be that burdenples of the catholics, which their ad. some ceremonies, like objects of taste vocates are on other occasions so in- originally disagreeable, become necesconsistent as to disavow ; and would sary by use, or that we are most highthe catholic members on their admis. ly animated in defence of opinions, sion to the British parliament, could which those who differ from us treat they, as men of spirit and of honour, with the most signal derision. Whatforget the ignominious considerations
ever may be the explanation, the on which they had been received ? fact, at all events, is certain, that the Could they lose all recollection of the catholic religion exercises an influence long and violent resistance which the over its votaries, which, to philosoprotestants have made to their de- phers, seems exactly proportioned to mands ? Could they sincerely coalesce the burden of its rites and the folly with those who have shown towards of its tenets ; that it pervades the them so much hostility, and who, even whole of their speculations and acin granting their last boon, had justi- tions; and that its spirit exercises an fied it by assuming the eternal insig. absolute control over their whole monificance of the catholic body? The ral and political conduct. We speak thing is absurd and incredible, without of those who are sincere in professing supposing in the catholics a more ab- the tenets of the catholic religion ; ject and submissive spirit than ever and surely their advocates will not indisgraced any body of freemen. sult the catholic population of Ireland
The influence of religious principles by insinuating that this description over the moral and political conduct does not apply to the greater number of mankind, is not so slender as a few of them. The protestants, it is very freethinkers and philosophists would generally allowed, are, from causes into endeavour to persuade the world. which it is needless to enquire, far inThey feel in themselves that freezing ferior to their catholic brethren in zeal indifference which is symptomatic of and enthusiasm, in decent regard for the worst diseases of the mind ; they the 'ceremonies of their religion, and believe that the atmosphere around daring enterprise for its prosperity. them is warped with the same bitter It were idle to attempt a nice calcu. frost, and that all those who are sub- lation of the additional
which ject to its action, are stupified and be- an individual or a body of men may numbed like themselves. They know acquire in affairs either of violence or not that there is a genial heat in the intrigue by the heat of religious zeal, unsophisticated sentiments of mankind, which is the very spark required for which will for ever preserve them from the explosion of all the force with which the mind of man is endowed. the continent ; yet we have always The expansive and impetuous force of thought that better information might steam, or of gunpowder, compared have been obtained as to the sentiments with the quiescent and harmless ma- of the Irish catholics, in whom alone terials out of which such energies Great Britian can feel an interest, than are created, will afford but an inade. that which was received from the foquate illustration of catholic zeal and reign universities. Many speculative protestant apathy. Should the field be opinions are entertained by the learned opened for a contest betwixt the sub, long before they reach the vulgar; tle and persevering ambition of the ca. and many such opinions never penetholics, animated by religious enthusi- trate so far as to influence the great asm, and that tranquil, forbearing, and body of the people. It was quite imunsuspecting moderation, which are material to the English government the indisputable characteristics of the what were the sentiments entertained protestants of the present day, it is by the profound doctrine of the se. not more difficult to see for which side minaries of the continent; but it was victory must declare, than to antici. of the utmost importance, with a pate the
consequences to society which view to any measure of legislation, must result from the ultimate triumph to know what were the feelings, and of the popish religion.
what the belief, of the Irish peasan. We are far from insinuating a belief try. But we shall suppose that all that the persecutions and horrors would is perfectly right; that the catholic be renewed at the present day, which religion is in many important points made the catholic name in former times essentially changed; and that the antiso odious to the protestants of all de. social doctrines, which in former times nominations. These days of barbarism, constituted part of its creed, are now it is to be hoped, have for ever passed exploded ; yet our doubts as to the away ; yet it is impossible to answer safety of the measure, denominated cafor the violence and malignity of hu. tholic emancipation, are by no means man passions when once fairly let removed. We assume, of course, that loose, Aushed with success, and intox- the British constitution is worth preicated by power. The man who should, serving ; that the protestant establishtwenty years before the French re- ment, and the undisputed ascendancy volution, have predicted that an en- of protestant principles in parliament, lightened people would, at the close is of the very essence of the constituof the eighteenth century, have acted tion ; for with persons who would disall the enormous and disgusting tra- pute about these points, we should gedies which signalized the progress
scorn to maintain any controversy. of that event, would, no doubt, have With reference to the catholics them. brought down on himself a heavy load selves, we maintain only what both the of ridicule and insult ; yet it is not the early and more recent history of their less true, that such dreadful enormi- religion bears us out in asserting, ties were committed in the face of all
that they are animated by a zeal and Europe. We have no wish to impeach enthusiasm for its prosperity, which the moral or political principles of the far transcends the moderation of procatholics of the present day, or to re
testantism. We affirm, that in a contest fuse our belief to the declaration of betwixt persevering zealots and luke. their tenets, which was so solemnly warm professors, the fervour of enthu. giren forth by many learned bodies on siasm will supply the place of num.