« PredošláPokračovať »
HUMBLY OFFERED TO THE PARLIAMENT OF IRELAND,
FOR REPEALING THE SACRAMENTAL TEST,
IN FAVOUR OF THE CATHOLICS,
OTHERWISE CALLED ROMAN CATHOLICS, AND, BY
THEIR ILL-WILLERS, PAPISTS.
DRAWN PARTLY FROM ARGUMENTS AS THEY ARE CATHOLICS, AND
PARTLY FROM ARGUMENTS COMMON TO THEM WITH THEIR
BRETHREN THE DISSENTERS.
It is well known, that the first conquerors of this kingdom were English catholics, subjects to English catholic kings, from whom by their valour and success they obtained large portions of land, given them as a reward for their many victories over the Irish; to which merit our brethren the dissenters, of any denomination whatsoever, have not the least pretensions.
It is confessed, that the posterity of those first victorious catholics were often forced to rise in their own defence against new colonies from England, who treated them like mere native Irish with innumerable oppressions, depriving them of their lands, and driving them by force of arms into the most desolate parts of the kingdom ; till, in the next generation, the children of these tyrants were used in the same manner by new English adventurers; which practice continued for many centuries. But it is agreed on all hands, that no insurrections were ever made, except after great oppressions by fresh invaders : whereas all the rebellions of puritans, presbyterians, independents, and other sectaries, constantly began before any provocations were given, except that they were not suffered to change the government in church and state, and seize both into their own hands; which, however, at last they did, with the murder of their king, and of many thousands of his best subjects.
The catholics were always defenders of monarchy, as constituted in these kingdoms; whereas, our brethren the dissenters, were always republi cans both in principle and practice.
It is well known, that all the catholics of these kingdoms, both priests and laity, are true whigs, in the best and most proper sense of the word: bearing as well in their hearts, as in their outward profession, an entire loyalty to the royal house of Hanover, in the person and posterity of George II., against the pretender and all his adherents; to which they think themselves bound in gratitude, as well as conscience, by the lenity wherewith they have been treated since the death of queen Anne, so different from what they suffered in the four last years of that princess, during the administration of that wicked minister the earl of Oxford.
The catholics of this kingdom humbly hope, that they have at least as fair a title, as any
of their brother dissenters, to the appellation of protestants. They have always protested against the selling, dethroning, or murdering their kings; against the usurpations and avarice of the court of Rome; against Deism, Atheism, Socinianism, Quakerism, Muggletonianism, Fanaticism, Brownism, as well as against all Jews, Turks, infidels, and heretics. Whereas the title of protestants assumed by the whole herd of dissenters (except ourselves) depends entirely upon their protesting against archbishops, bishops, deans, and chapters, with their revenues, and the whole hierarchy ; which are the very expressions used in the solemn league and covenant,* where the word popery is only mentioned ad invidiam; because the catholics agree with the episcopal church in those fundamentals.
Although the catholics cannot deny, that in the great rebellion against king Charles I. more soldiers of their religion were in the parliament army than in his majesty's troops ; and that many jesuits and friars went about, in the disguise of presbyterian and independent ministers, to preach up rebellion, as the best historians of those times inform us; yet the bulk of catholics in both kingdoms preserved their loyalty entire.
The catholics have some reason to think it a little hard, when their enemies will not please to distinguish between the rebellious riot committed by that brutal ruffian sir Phelim O'Neal, with his tumultuous crew of rabble, and the forces raised afterward by the catholic lords and gentlemen of the English pale, in defence of the king, after the English rebellion began. It is well known that his majesty's affairs were in great distraction some time before, by an invasion of the covenanting Scottish kirk rebels, and by the base terms the king was forced to accept, that they might be kept in quiet, at a juncture when he was every hour threatened at home by that fanatic party, which soon after set all in a flame. And if the catholic army in Ireland fought for their king, against the forces sent over by the parliament, then in actual rebellion against him, what person of loyal principles can be so partial as to deny that they did their duty, by joining with the marquis of Ormond and other commanders, who bore their commissions from the king? For which great numbers of them lost their lives and forfeited their estates; a great part of the latter being now possessed by many descendants from those very men, who had drawn their swords in the service of that rebellious parliament, which cut off his head and destroyed monarchy. And what is more amazing, although the same persons, when the Irish were entirely subdued, continued in power under the rump, were chief confidants and faithful subjects to Cromwell, yet, being wise enough to foresee a restoration, they seized the forts and castles here out of the hands of their brethren in rebellion, for the service of the king; just saving the tide, and putting in a stock of merit sufficient not only to preserve the land which the catholics lost by their loyalty, but likewise to preserve their civil and military employments, or be higher advanced.
* The solemn league and covenant, in the rebellion against king Charles I. 1643; of which it was a principal object to endeavour the extirpation of prelacy, that is, church government by archbishops, bishops, deans, archdeacons, and all other episcopal officers depending on that hierarchy."
Those insurrections wherewith the catholics are charged, from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the great English rebellion, were occasioned by many oppressions they lay under.They had no intention to introduce a new religion, but to enjoy the liberty of preserving the old; the very same which their ancestors professed from the time that Christianity was first in
troduced into this island, which was by catholics; but whether mingled with corruptions, as some pretend, does not belong to the question. They had no design to change the government; they never attempted to fight against, to imprison, to betray, to sell, to bring to a trial, or to murder their king. The schismatics acted by a spirit directly contrary ; they united in a solemn league and covenant to alter the whole system of spiritual government, established in all Christian nations, and of apostolic institution; concluding the tragedy with the murder of the king, in cold blood, and upon mature deliberation; at the same time changing the monarchy into a commonwealth.
The catholics of Ireland, in the great rebellion, lost their estates for fighting in defence of their king. The schisinatics, who cut off the father's head, forced the son to fly for his life, and overturned the whole ancient frame of government, religious and civil; obtained grants of those very estates which the catholics lost in defence of the ancient constitution, many of which estates are at this day possessed by the posterity of those schismatics : and thus they gained by their rebellion, what the catholics lost by their loyalty.
We allow the catholics to be brethren of the dissenters; some people indeed (which we cannot allow) would have them to be our children, because we both dissent from the church established, and both agree in abolishing this persecuting sacramental test: by which negative discouragement, we are both rendered incapable of civil and military employments. However, we cannot but wonder at the bold familiarity of these schismatics, in calling the members of the national church their brethren and fellow protestants. It is true that all these sects (except the catholics) are ire