[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

78, edit, 1773) And can it be now made tween the government and the people. But a question in the 19th century, whether the when a large part of the community is exfullest privileges of the constitution should cluded from a proper share in the general be restored to the Catholics of the present dividend, such an exclusion becomes an act day! Shall rbey alone be debarred from the of the highest injustice, and amounts to a "full enjoyinent of its benefits, whose ances- state of double or treble taxation “ If," tors first secured these inestimablé bles- says Mr. Burke, “ a state should be so un. sings? Such a political degradation must be happy, as to think it cannot subsist withrepugnant to the feelings of a grateful and “ out such a barbarous proscription, the generous nation. If I am rightly inform

persons so proscribed ought to be indemed, you and your friends reject with a spe. “ nified by the remission of a large part of cies of sanctified horror, the term emanci- “ their taxes, by an immunity from the ofpation, which the Catholics employ, when “ fices of public burden, and by an exempthey solicit the privileges of British subjects, “ tion from being pressed into any military Emancipation is a deliverance from slavery or naval service." (Mr. Burke's Letter of one kind or another. As to the situa- on the penal Laws against Irish Catholics, tion of the Roman Cotholics, who are ex- 1782.) If, Sir, amidst your numerous 'cluded from the benehts of the constitution, scheines of finance, you should undertake I am justified in calling it a state of civil to provide for the exigencies of the state servitude, by the authority of a great man, by the expedient of a lottery on a new whom I was once proud to call iny friend, plan; if according to the supposed scheme, and whose political maxims are deemed you should oblige each individual to contrioracular by the statesmen of the present bute a sum proportioned to his income, if time. “ To be under the state,” says Mr. you should then allow the chances of cerBurke, “ but not the state itself, nor any tain prizes not to all the contributors, but

part of it, that is, to be nothing at all in “ the commonwealth, is a sitaation per- | gion, or rather, who will swear with you to “ fectly intelligible: but to those who fill abhor transubstantiation, in that case, what " that situation, not very pleasant, when it opinion should we form of your notions of 66 is understood. It is a state of civil servi. distributive justice? You probably would tude by the force of the definition.” (See be deemed as iniquitous a minister as ever Mr. Burke's celebrated Letter to Sir Her- | guided the councils of a Sovereign. But cules Langrishe, Beaconsfield, Jan. 3, 1792. reflect a moment on the exclusion of Ca. The whole of this sensible performance 1 tholics from places of emolument, and tell beg leave earnestly to recommend to the me how you can possibly be free from attentive perusal of every member of Par- blame in sanctioning for a day such a barbaliament before the discussion of the Catho- rous and inhuman proscription. Here you lic claims). From this state of political have four millions of people, who contrislavery, the Catholics, however you may bute to the formation of this state lottery, dislike the term emancipation, loudly de- but who are deprived of their just chances mind a deliverance. The exclusion from of a prize, by laws which operate solely the dignities of the state, and from ottices of against them. If national justice can be trust, is rendered a peculiar hardship, by found in such a proceeding, I must profess the change which has taken place in the si- myself totally unacquainted with its first tuation of the different governments of Eu- elements.---Place yourself, Sir, in the sirope. In former periods, when govern- | tuation of a Roman Catholic, who professes ments subsisted on domains belonging to certain doctrines confessedly innocuous, them, an exclusion from offices could which he holds necessary to his eternal salscarcely be accounted a hardship. But now vation. Were you impressed with such a a very general revolution has happened in conviction, you would deem it a cruel and the greatest monarchies of Europe. Go- intolerable hardship to be debarred from veșnments are wholly supported by private the offices and dignities of the state, and contribution; a considerable portion of the from a fair and honourable occasion of dise industry of individuals is given to the state, playing your talents in the service of your and the subject receives an indemnification country. You would consider it a most ex• of the loss, by the returned profits of his la- traordinary proceeding that a conscientious bour through the channel of offices and em- atiachment to the religion of the Edwards ployments. When the favours of the crown and the Henries, should be made a bar to are distributed with an impartial hand, uni | employments of a civil nature. You, pero versal satisfaction must naturally prevail, haps, would hear with pain the exalled enand an aocurate balance is established be- comiums which are justly bestowed on ouf

constitution, when you would be excluded secution of the civil magistrate on the ground from a participation in its bleisings. Judge of religion is peculiarly deserving of animadof the feelings of four millions of people by Version. His duty, by the nature of his of. the dictates of your own mind, and then de. fice, is confined to the impartial execution termine, whether afier raising their hopes of equal laws, to the general care of all his to the fairest prospects, you are not solemn. subjects with respect to civil concerns, to Jy bound, under the present circumstance; the security of their property, lives, and temof the country, to espouse their cause and poral welfare, and to the punishment of gratify their wishes.--Much, Sir, has been crimes which disturb the peace of society. sail and written in this county on the im- Toinerfere in the religion of his subjects, by portant subject of toleratin. Many excel- claiming the privilege of directiog their belent lessons have been given by different lief, by propagaring his ow'n mode of wor. writers, but they have not yet been reduced ship in detiance of the ipward persuasion of to practice by his Majesty's government. individuals, by in Hicring for the same purWhether you have formed a decided opi- pose the punishments of rapine, confiscanion on the suject, I cannot pretend to de- iion, tortures, and death; even to resort to termine, as I am unacquainted with all the more gentle mode of civil proscriptions, those secret motives which have given 10 exclusions from civil offices, which are birth to so many liberal promises and profes- perpetuated by the purse of individuals, all sions, from you towards ihe Catholics of Ire- this is 10 jumble heaveu and earth together, land. Perhaps it may not be improper to to confound things which are in their own state the doctrine of toleration, grounded parure distinct, and to claim a power which, on the inost incontestible principles and unquestionably, le does to: possess. The cisupported by the highest authorities. With vil magistrale, may indeed, make a legal esrespect to that religious intolerance, which tablishment by encouraging one mode of leads each church to hold the exclusive doc- worship, by honouring and rewarding its -trine of salvation, it must be admitted to be ministers, by securing the immunities of his perfectly proper and harmless. Truth is church from rapacity, even by enabling it to unquestionably one ; and the divine Author raise its head in the highest assemblies of the of the Christian religion pronounces his nation. But if, on the mere pretext of relitold to he one (John X. 16.) Now, who- gion, without aleging any crime, that dis.ever embraces any religion, must act from turbs the peace of society, he proceeds to a conviction that he is about to enter this temporal disabilities and penalties, if he exone fold, or one church established by cludes his other subjects from civil offices Christ; he must, by the very nature of his and employments, he by that very act beown conduct, think himself in the right comes not so much the protector of his own road, and those of different perstiasions out church, as the persecutor of the other modes of the true Church of Christ. Hence, The of worship in his dominions. The Grand Church of England and the Church of Signior might on the same grounds, be Rome, both hold the exclusive doctrine justihed, in the sight of God and man, in (See the last article of the Aihanasian Creed confining his favours to the profissors of the in the Book of Common Prayer.) On this Koran, and in extending, to bis other subaccount the late attempt of a noble lord to jeets, nothing but penalties of every descripdraw a charge of disloyalty against Ca- lion. But, Sir, every man can regulate tholics from a speculative tenet, common the affairs of his own conscience by sin unboth to them and Protestants, excited senti- alienable right, wholly independert of the ments of surprise, compassion, and asto- civil authority. This right was exercised - nishment !hroughout the country. (See the by the first Christians, in defiance of the most singular and extraordinary correspon- Majesty of the Roman Empire, and its tutedeuce ever submitted to public inspection, lary deities; and the invincible constancy of between Lord Redesdale and the Earl of chose beroes has excited the admiration of Fingal, Reg. Vol. V. p. 215.)-Hiving thus all Christian nations It is truly an unalienia stated the nature of religious intolerance, I able right.

Nobody," says Locke, “ neibelieve you will agree with me in saying, so ther single persos, por churches, nay, nor that it must be confined to the speculative " even commonwealths, bave any just lite ténets, and the spiritual power claimed by si to invade the civil rights, and worldly each particular church. All external vio. goods of each other upon pretence of relence, by which men are forced to enter into “ ligion.” (Locke's Letter on Toleration, any sect or society, cannot but be displea-ing p. 68, edit. Glasgow, 1757.) -- Individuals to Him, who does not even save his crea- can indeed, and often have been, punished tures without their concurrence. The per- by temporal penalties, for seditiously dis

[ocr errors]


of arms.

turbing the religious establishment of their succession of ihe Duke of Ycrk. It is stated coun:ry. That becomes a civil crime, and to be an act to prevent the dangers arising is unquestionably punishable by the civil ma- from Popisb recusants. “ It was principally," gistrate. But, to invade the temporal rights says Eckard, “ if not solcly levelled at the of the subject, on the ground of his religious • Roman Catholics in order to preclude persuasion, is to sow ihe seeds of discord “ them from places of note and trust." and war, and to excite direct provocation 10 (Eckard's Hist. of England, p 893). The barred, to rapine, and to slaughter. It evi- dangers whether real or imaginary, which dently tends to discuss the peace of man. this law was 'calculated to avert, are vow

kind, by encouraging a well known fanatical completely removed in the judgment of all .maxim, that dominion is founded in grace, mankind, and the continuance of the act be. and that religion is to be propagated by force comes at once unnecessary and oppressive.

To make an application of these The sectaries are, indeed, included in the principles to the circumstances of our own telier of the regulation, but it is full well country. You, as ininister of a great na- known, that against them it has long ceased tion, should shew all indulgence to the spe- to operate.----Many among the various deculative tenets of dillerent sects, however in scriprions of dissenters resort wirbow hesitatolerant they may be in a religious point of tion to an occasional conformity, and those view. For it is incontestably true, that arti- who are less pliant, are relieved by the an. cles of faith, or opinions which have no con- nual bill of indemnity, which iv fact, amoun.s nexion wiih the concerns of the state, can to a su pension of the law. But, Catholics

never be subject to civil control. You are consider compliance as a desertion of their likewise pledged, by the situation which you faith. Thus, it appears, that they only are hold, to support the religious establishment of excluded from the benefits of the constituyour country, and to secure its rights and inn- tion, by the operation of a law, which conmunities. But when you are assured of the tinues, though the cause that gave it birth Javedty of those who dissere fansa the jeligion has long ceased to exist. While the dissenof the state, when you liave not the smallest ters fill our corporations, and enjoy places of reason to inagine, that they will disturb the trust and emolument, while the presbyteestablished mode of worship, whatever their rians of Scotland, a race of men, by babits own belief may be, you are bound, by all and disposition, infinitely more averse to the laws of beaven and earth, to extend to them Church of England, than Roman Catholics, the fullest benefits of civil toleration, and an are encouraged by every species of patronequitable participation of the rights of Bri- age, and fill the highest departments of the tish subjects. To adopt a contrary mode of state, civil, naval, and military ; the Cathoconduct, to punish men solely for a conscien- lics are debarred from these advantages, contious adherence to religious opinions, resem- sidered as a wretched and degraded society bles the tyrannical conduct of an arbitrary of men, and treated as exiles in their own monarch, who should direct civil disabi. land. Is this proscriptive exclusion consis. lities against an antiquated sect of philoso- tent with the spirit of the British constituphers, for following the systems of ihe Peri- tion? Is it agreeable to the dictates of justice patetic or Cartesian schools, in opposition to and policy Is it necessary for the mainteihe modern discoveries of Newton, of Kep- nance of the establisbed Church? Suffer mic

ler, and of Halley.--But still, Sir, some to recur again to the authority of Mr. Burke persons may be alarmed at the progress of on this subject. “I cannot conceive how Catholic doctrines; they may affect much any thing worse can be said of the Protesapprehension that the sectaries may be cla. « tant religion of the Church of England, morous for indulgence, and under this " than this, that wherever it is judged progloomy state of mind, they will perhaps op- per to give it a legal establisbment, it bepose every plan for the repeal or modifica- comes necessary to deprive the body of tion of the Test Act. It is much to be ques- " the people if they adhere to their old opitioned, whether ignorance, bigotry, or per- “ pions, of their “ liberties and all their free haps, the most selfish views be not concealed customs," and to reduce them 10 a stale under the garb of zeal for the establishment. " of civil servitude." (See Letter to Sir You have not to learn that the Catbolic doc- Hercules Langrishe.) —l perhaps, may be trine, that the harmless tenets of transub- told, that the injury done to the Catholics is stantiation and invocation of saints did not not so considerable, as to merit the odious give birth to that celebrated act, 25 Car. 2 pame of civil exclusion; and that the Ca

The real grounds are to be sought tholics of Ireland were relieved by an imporfor in the bias of the court to a connexion tant act of the 33 Geo. III. c. 21. No man, mlb ibe Catholic powers, and the dreaded Sir, can think more highly than I do of that

Cup. 2

paternal goodness, in which this substantial But, Sir, peace to all such! I am not addres. relief is said to have originated ; and every sing myself to the herd of mankind, to the seo tinent of attachment, every tribute of ad. unthinking or the uninformed vulgar, howmiration and applause is due from grateful ever they may be accidentally disunguished sobjects to a beneficent Sovereign. But do by rank or by fortune. I am speaking to a you imagine that you can stop here, consist- man of superior sense, and superior attainently either with policy or justice? Do you menis; a man above the workings of bigorsuppose, that after recognising the principle, ry, and the rage of fanaticism. The ques. thar Catholics may safely be admitted to tirn, afier what has been said, lies in a very places of trust, you can continue to distribute narrow compas.

Four millions of subjectsy the first dignities of the state among a few deprived of the benefits of the constitution, hundred thousand individuals, and that the ardently look for the restoration of those whole mass of Catholic population is to re.

“ liberties aud free custom" which are se. main satisfied with the lowest and least lu. cured to Britons by the Great Charter, and crative employments? No, Sir, these are not which are unquestionably their birih right, your sentiments; you have long promised unless they forfeit it by disloyal conduct, or more; you stand pledged to carry into effect the admission of principles hostile to the the claims of the Catholics. I will not, safety of the state. Now, Sir, I appeal to therefore, insult your understanding, by you, whether in the conduct and principles of pointing out the fatal consequences of sut. the Roman Catholics any thing of this defering so large a part of the community to re- scription can be found. You know full well, maio in its present state of political degrada- that their loyalty has frequently been recogtion. I must, however, remind you before nised by the legislature, and that it is placed I quit this part of my subject, that the relief beyond a doubl by ihe evidence of facts. alluded to is confined solely to the Catholics You are fully convinced that their religious of Ireland. Those in Great Britain are still principles are perfectly innocuous, and comdebarred from the birth rights of English-patible with the tranquillity of any governmeu. Even the elective franchise is but to- ment.Suffer me, Sir, to bring to your lerated by favour. And yet, Sir, to my cer.

recollection an event, which took place about tain knowledge, a more deserving class of sixteen years ago. The committee of Engmen, persons of more animated loyalty to lish Catholics waited on you, to state their their beloved Sovereign, and of more ardent grievances, from which they begged to be attachment to the constitution of their coun. relieved ; and, before any farther proceeding try, are not to be found in the whole com- you requested to be furnished with authentic pass of his Majesty's dominions. --There is evidence of the opinions of the Catholic some reason to imagine, Sir, that a portion of Clergy, and the Catholic Universities abroad, the old leaven, of the antiquated and bigot- with respect to the existence and extent of ted hatred towards Catholics, still remains in the Pope's dispensing power.

Three ques. the country. When the great question of tions were accordingly framed and sent to their claims shall be made a subject of dis

the Universities of Paris, Louvain, Alcala, cussion, it is pot improbable, that some of Douay, Salamanca, and Valladolid, and anthe juvenile and unfledged statesmen of the swers were requested. The questions were, present period, some of the sanctified politi- Ist. Whether the pope, cardinals, or any cians will be alarmed for the safety of the body of men possessed any civil authority Church, will feel the workings of the old whatever in this realm. 2dly. Whether the spirit, will renew the exploded and ridicu. pope or any set of men could dispense with Ious charges of superstitious fooleries, idola- his Majesty's subjects from their oath of altry, impiety, and athcism, and will pour forth legiance. 3dly. Whether it was a principle against the Catholic religion a torrent of the of the Catholic Church, that no faith was to most virulent and offensive abuse, which a be kept with heretics. By all these Univer. foul imagination, assisted by volubility of sities the most precise and satisfactory antongue, can display. Such a scene will re- swers were given ; all foreign jurisdiction of mind us of the description which the poet a civil nature within this realm was perempgives of the eruption of Mount Ætna: torily denied to exist in the pope, cắrdinals, " Interdum scopulos, avulsaque viscera or any other body of men; the power of dis

pensing with the oaib of allegiance was Erigit eructans, liquefactaque saxa sub- equally rejected, and the principle that no

faith was to be kept with heretics was exCum gemitui glomerat, fundoque exzes- ploded with horror, as totally foreign to Ca“ tuat imo."

" montis

iholic doctrine. Such was the unanimous Virgil Æneid, lib 3, V. 575, el 562: consent of these Universitios. But the Doc



[ocr errors]

tors of Louvain, prefaced Their time, Sir, to perform an act of substantial swer wiih a remarkable preambie. They justice, which it is disgraceful to the Britisha express their readiness to give their opi. goverument to have so long delayed? When nion, but they are s struck with asto- will you cease to act the part of a procras:i. 6 nishment ihat such questions should, at nating debtor, who refuses to satisfy the just si the end of the 18th century, be propo ed deinands which are made on bim, till he is " to a learned body by the inhabitants of a reduced to the most perplexing difficulties ? 6 kingdom, that glories in the talents and Is it not time to carry into effect those just « discernment of its natives.” (See all these and salutary principles of toleration, wbich pieces apud Plowden Hist. Rev. tom. 2, p. are known and practised almost in every 2, Append. p. 199–204.)-You remained,

Cuptry in Europe, except Great Britain ? Sir, perfectly satisfied with these answers : Is it not time to redeem the pledges which for you supported the bill, which afterwards

you have given to the Catholics of Ireland, passed in favour of the English Catholics. and to rescue from disgrace' the honour of But the astonishment of the Flemish Doc. the British name ? Mach obloquy bas been tors, of men generally undervalued as de- injuriously thrown upon Catholics, for not ficient in liberality of sentiment, was per keeping faith with heretics. But see, Sir, fectly natural. What, Sir, could have in- that your conduct do not afford a just ground duced you to expose yourself and your coun- of reproach, if it should appear, that a Pru. try to ridicule, by proposing such questions testant statesman can induce himself not to to a learned body, in an enlightened age ? keep faith with Catholics. Let me tell you, Had you taken a view of the map of Europe, Sir, that it is time to conciliate che affections and examined the prevalence of the Catholic of the Catholics of Ireland, and unite the religion in the different states, you might best energies of the empire against the comhave satisfied yourself, the legislature, and

mon enemy; and thi no time is to be lost the country, with respect to the innocent in effecting this de-irable purpose. If you tendency of Catholic doctrines. The popu- wish to raise an impenetrable barrier against Jation of Europe amounts to more than one the continued encroachinents, the restiess hundred and Afty millions of inhabitants, ambition of a military chieftain, if you liope and of this number, nearly two-thirds, or completely to disappoint his views of conone hundred million, are Roman Catholics.

quest, your great resources must be sought They are scattered over immense fracts, of for in the spirit and unanimity of the people. couatry in the north, middle, and south of Let once an enthusiaric ardour be raised in Europe ; they exist under every species of the breast of every subject of his Majesty, government, arbitrary, monarchical, mixed, by interesting all equally in the defence of and republican ; they are blended with the The laws, liberries and constitution, and we Protestants of Germany, Denmark, and Swe- may set at detiance the menaces of an in-, den, and the Greeks in Russia ; they ali ac- sulting foe, reduce hiin to fair and honourknowledge the spiritual authority of the able terms of peace, confirm our indepenPope, bat in no place are their teneis con- dence, and still stand in the proud and sidered as hostile to the civil government. com nanding attitude, which we bave long This simple view might have dissipated all exhibited to the nations of Europe.--The your fears, and convinced you, that no dan. BRITISH OBSERVER.- ---Jan, 6th, 1805. ger can possibly be apprehended from admitting Roman Catholics to the fullest en

PUBLIC PAPERS. joyment of the privileges of Britons. I WAR WITH SPAIN.- -Order issued by the hope, that when the question comes to be Court of Madrid, dared 27th Novemb. 1804. considered, you will calm the rage of some The conduct which the English have of your bigotted friends, by giving them observed since the event of the 5th of Oct. th s-view of the subject; and that you will is almost insufferable. They a' tack our prevent them from disgracing themselves, ships of war in wbatsoever sinuation they the legislature, in the country, by exposing may appear, and detain our commercial vestheir igliorance and their prejudices in the sels, obliging them afterwards to return 10 tace of Europe. --After this clear and suc- the ports from whence they came, so that the ciu i exposure of the state of the question, object of their-voyage is wholy fiastrated: ļet-me ask, Şir, what can, at this period of These hostile proceedings have constrained the world, retard the admission of the Ro- his Majesty to abandon the pacific sentimo Catholics to the fullest benefits of the ments which he has considered heretofore constitution? Will you resort to the usual inost conducive to the happiness of bis bepretext of ministerial delay, that it is not the loved subjects; and he is therefore driven to fime to propose such a measure? Is it not the necessity of procuring satisfaction for

Dilivunts, 4


[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »