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INDIÄNÅ UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
London :-Printed by C. RICHARDS,
St Martin's-lane, Charing-cross.
TO HIS GRACE
THE DUKE OF NORFOLK,
&c. &c. &c.
CONCEIVING myself called upon to vindicate the religion of my Catholic fellowcountrymen from the virulent calumnies so unwarrantably fixed upon it by the laws of the land, as well as to defend their conduct in their capacity of members of the state, I cannot bring the hasty result of my labours before the Public, in a manner more worthy of the subject, or more agreeable to my own feelings, than by dedicating them to your Grace.
The Catholics of this Empire may be justly proud in the reflection that, while they are fellow-sufferers in the same cause with the
first nobleman in the kingdom, they suffer with one who is more entitled to his rank and honours, by the public and private virtues which adorn him, than by the adventitious circumstance of hereditary descent,—whose patriotism is only outshone by the noble sacrifice which he offers to the dictates of his conscience, and whose chief regret in being deprived of the privileges from which he is so unjustly debarred, arises from the inability to employ them for the advantage of his country.
I have the honour to remain,
MY LORD DUKE,
March 18, 1828.
TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The man who feels no precise and determined steadfastness in his religious belief, is but little suited to comprehend that unhesitating faith which is the pride, as it is the consolation, of a Catholic; and unconvinced himself, he would only labour in vain in endeavouring to convince others. Receiving his first impressions in a country in which the doctrines of Christianity are become as changeable as the climate, and as various as the productions of the soil, an Englishman is too apt to consider a certainty of faith in any particular system of religion, either as unimportant or unattainable. Amidst the extraordinary diversity by which he is surrounded, he deems it unnecessary to choose, and perhaps dangerous to enquire. He considers many as the dupes of imposture, and others as the victims of fanaticism. His perception of right and wrong, of truth and falsehood, is impaired and blunted by the disorder which reigns around him; he mistrusts his powers in a voyage of discovery
in which such numbers are wrecked before his eyes; or, he considers the possession of the prize an inadequate reward for the task of obtaining it.
To those who are sunk in apathy and indifference, I would say, that they are afflicted with the most fatal malady to which the soul of man is exposed; they have condemned to ignominious contempt the very end for which they were created. To those who acknowledge the law, but hold it impossible to be fulfilled, I will answer, that they are guilty of impugning the justice of God, and of placing heaven and earth in irreconcileable opposition to each other. Both are the effects of the insufficiency of that principle, which, incapable of producing conviction, leads either to indifference or despair; and while the inefficacy of the principle is proved to demonstration by the confusion prevalent amongst those who affect to follow it, the Catholic is preserved in one undeviating and tranquil course, by placing himself under the protection of a guide which both lights and cheers him on his way. Thus unhesitatingly fixed in our belief, it is not surprising that we should think lightly, very lightly indeed, of any attempt made to overturn it. There are but two