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must needs try our strength and our patience, with the frightfulevils of religious persecution. It would appear that the time was come, when the wisdom of our neighbours ought to supersede our own; that old principles and old adages, which had been the pride of our ancestors for centuries, were to be reversed; and that it was now befitting the character and reputation of an Englishman to look with envy and complacency on the civil and religious liberties of foreigners, and even of Frenchmen!—But this spiritual supremacy is, and has been, and will be exercised in these realms, in spite of laws, opinions, and penalties; and that, too, amongst an irritated and insulted, though a loyal people. Even, in the very worst of times, under the most cruel and trying persécutions, (" and when an assumed and presumptuous power in the spiritual head of their Church endeavoured to mislead them, the Catholics of this country, as a body, were never drawn into one single act of disloyalty to the state. On the contrary, they were ever remarkable for an inflexible and conscientious
(1) Persecution never yet consolidated the interests of any country, but has invariably had the effect of weakening, by the discord, turbulence, and even rebellion, which it has occasioned; neither did it ever yet gain a willing and sincere convert to it's cause. Yet do we find both statesmen and divines who are still enamoured with it.
fidelity to the sovereign. And, in times nearer to our own, it is a singular fact that the most influential members of the rebellion in Ireland, which was any thing but a Catholic rebellion, were all Protestants who disowned allegiance to this spiritual authority, and not Catholics who acknowledged it. Is it not, then, better that this spiritual supremacy should be exercised in an open, regular, and legal manner, than as it is now, by stealth, and in opposition to the laws ? Would the sanction of government to this practical doctrine make it more dangerous in its nature, or more hurtful in its consequences ?(K)
(d) “ It cannot be necessary to enter into the history of Catholic affairs during the present reign. With the replies of the foreign universities to Mr. Pitt's queries, and the oaths taken by Catholics according to the acts passed in their favour, the reader must be acquainted. I shall, therefore, content myself with asking whether the oaths and protestations contained in the preceding pages, do not fully bear me out in the assertion that the great body of the British Catholics has never been accustomed to acknowledge in the Pope any temporal authority, or to consider the deposing and dispensing powers as parts of it's religious creed. But if this be true of Catholics in former times, it must be true of those of the present day; nor do I see how any man can rationally accuse them of partiality to the doctrines they have disclaimed, or fear that they should adopt them at any future period. The fact is, that there exists not within the United Kingdom,
The Bishop of Peterborough, having thus far contented himself with merely stating a reason
nor within any kingdom in Europe, a body of men whose religious opinions with respect to civil government are so accurately ascertained. They have not only explained their sentiments, they have sworn to the truth of their explanation. They have made their allegiance doubly secure: they are bound to it by their religion; they are also bound to it by their oath.
“ In conclusion, it may be observed, that the statutebook at present is, on this subject, in contradiction with itself. Whoever peruses the preambles to the statutes, from the pressure of which the Catholics pray to be relieved, will learn that they were enacted against persons described as traitors to their country, supposed to hold that faith is not to be kept with Protestants, and to believe that the Pope could lawfully depose princes, and absolve subjects from their allegiance. By the acts passed during the present reign in favour of Catholics, it is admitted that those who take the oaths prescribed therein, do not come under this description. Of course they are not the men against whom the penal statutes were enacted; why then are they still made to suffer under them? Certainly justice and consistence require that this contradiction should no longer exist; but that all who bear true allegiance to the king--all who abjure the temporal superiority of every other prince or prelate-should be admitted to the common rights and distinctions of British subjects.” -(Dr Lingard's Tracts, pp. 290-1.)
N.B. This “ Collection of Documents to ascertain the sentiments of British Catholics in former ages respecting
for our exclusion, without any attempt to prove its justice, proceeds to absolve the opposers of eman
the power of the popes,” and Dr. Lingard's excellent Observations thereon, ought to be the study of every legislator.
“ But it is said, and from high authority too, that to a king who is not a Roman Catholic, they cannot bear other than a divided allegiance. I say the charge is unsupported by fact, and, if it were true, would not be a very discreet charge to make against more than seven millions of people, now living within the allegiance of the king of this empire. I say, further, that it is disproved wherever Roman Catholics are admitted (and that is every where but here,) to a full enjoyment of civil rights under sovereigns not of their creed. I say that it is disproved in Prussia, disproved in Denmark, disproved in Sweden, disproved in Hanover, disproved in the Netherlands, disproved throughout the Russian Empire, and proved nowhere.
It is a charge not imputed by the laws of England, nor by the oaths which exclude the Catholics : for those oaths impute only spiritual errors. But it is imputed, which is more to the purpose, by those persons who approve of the excluding oaths, and wish them retained. But, to the whole of this imputation; even if no other instance could be adduced; as far as a strong and remarkable example can prove the negative of an assumption which there is not a single example to support,the full, and sufficient, and incontestible answer is Canada. Canada, which, until you can destroy the memory of all that now remains to you of your sovereignty on the North
cipation from the charge of bigotry and intolerance, which is brought against them, by asserting that
American continent, is an answer practical, memorable, difficult to be accounted for, but blazing as the sun itself in sight of the whole world, to the whole charge of divided allegiance. At your conquest of Canada, you found it Roman Catholic; you had to choose for her a constitution in Church and State. You were wise enough not to thwart public opinion. Your own conduct towards Presbyterianism in Scotland was an example for imitation; your own conduct towards Catholicism in Ireland was a beacon for avoidance; and in Canada you established and endowed the religion of the people. Canada was your only Roman Catholic colony. Your other colonies revolted; they called on a Catholic power to support them, and they achieved their independence. Catholic Canada, with what Lord Liverpool would call her halfallegiance, alone stood by you. She fought by your side against the interference of Catholic France. To reward and encourage her loyalty, you endowed in Canada bishops to say mass, and to ordain others to say mass, whom, at that very time, your laws would have hanged for saying mass in England; and Canada is still yours in spite of Catholic France--in spite of her spiritual obedience to the Pope--in spite of Lord Liverpool's argument—and in spite of the independence of all the states that surround her. This is the only trial you have made. Where you allow to the Roman Catholics their religion undisturbed, it has proved itself to be compatible with the most faithful allegiance. It is only where you have placed allegiance and religion before them as a dilemma,