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tor, often to be found by the bed of sickness, or in the abode of sorrow, but never in the repairs of revel or disorder, repels all idea of licentiousness. It remained then to fall back upon the subject of danger. And truly, Mr. Attorney with all his intention, was much put to it to imagine a case of danger. It was a dangerous pass for him and his argument. My colleague had pointed out from Blackstone's commentaries, that the danger which served as an apology for the proscriptions of the catholics in the British empire, was that of the pope and the pretender. The gentleman could not bring himself to say he was afraid of those persons. And yet Mr. Justice Blackstone had laid down that when the family of the one, and the temporal power of the other was reduced, or at an end, the catholics might safely enjoy their seven sacraments, auricular confession, and all. But if the gentleman had gone still further and maintained that the pope and pretender were on board Sir John Borlase Warren's fleet, it would have been little less surprising than the danger he did suppose, namely, that should there be a conspiracy of catholics to deliver up this city to the enemy, and that they should confess to the priest, and the priest conceal it, and so the city be lost. If the catholic is to hold his rights, and have the equal benefit of the constitution, upon the hard condition of satisfying the doubts of all doubters, and the cavils of all cavillers, if all possible things, however insupposeable, are to be supposed against him, this argument may do. But then the 38th article of the constitution is a dead letter to him ; for under the pretence of dangers, figured merely in the imagination, all the old crimes, plots and massacres may be acted over again. But for my part I take all this as
probably it is meant, in pleasantry; and in truth, I fear as little from this part of the learned gentleman's argument, as he probably does from the pope, the pretender, or the catholic plot he talks of. I shall therefore, knowing as we all do, who they are that compose the bulk of the Roman catholics in this city, content my self by supposing that they will not give the city to the English. No, not even if the troops of his holiness himself, should join in alliance with the British to invade it. And I maintain in the presence of my clients, and in their name, that doctrine boldly and firmly. That though the catholics must acknowledge the pope as supreme head of their church, yet they know, their duty as citizens would oblige them to resist him as a temporal prince, if in that character, he should make war upon that country, which is theirs, and theirs by choice, the strongest of all ties. Yes,and if the government was too slow in providing them with arms, they would with their pickaxe, or their spade, or their cart-rung, or paradventure, some old sanctified shillelah, the trophy of days that are past, drive the enemy from his cannon, as it has happened before. This is my supposition. And I suppose further, that there is one only way to make such persons dangerous; that is, to put their clergyman in prison for not betraying the most holy of all engagements towards God or man,
When my learned adversary advanced that this was a protestant country, and that a grant had been made by the protestants to the catholics, one would suppose that they stood in this relation, that the protestant was the liege lord, and the catholic the vassal. We came here to argue this question with good temper, and our good
and reverend client, whose evidence is our text, has set us a good example of moderation and gentleness, which with due allowance for my humour, I will endeavour to follow. That the majority of the inhabitants and citizens of this state, were protestants when the constitution was formed, I do not dispute. But in establishing a constitutional code, different from that of England, they did nothing but unshackle themselves and the catholics together. I have read the case of a long and angry persecution of two Dutch calvinist clergymen in this very city, under the acts of conformity and uniformity, and for that I refer the gentleman to Smith's history of NewYork, where it is fully detailed. But I will tell him further that if he should prevail so far as to do away the strong and wholesome provision of our constitution, he might himself that instant become a member not of a protestant, but of a catholic country. For when Lord Kenyon in Dubarre's case observed, the catholic religion is not now known to the laws of England, it was because the statute books had established another in its place. But all English statutes are abrogated in this state, and I should be glad to know what else prevents the catholic religion from being the common law of this land, as it was of England before those statutes ? We know that it was the common law, and that the fathers of the law as well as the fathers of the church, were catholics! Alfred and Edward, Briton, Bracton, Glanvill, Heugham, the authors of the Mirror and Fleta, and many more such, were all catholics; and to crown the list, the revered Sir Thomas Moore, at once both witty, wise and great, the patron of judges, the elegant correspondent of Erasmus, lost his head
upon the block, for adhering to his religion, and opposing the lust of a King.
But let no man be alarmed. We claim no supremaey. We seek nothing but pure and perfect equality. From the bottom of our hearts we sincerely tolerate you all. We will lay hands on none of you, for your worship or profession; and for ourselves, we claim neither more nor less. Hands off on all sides. And if any of you are aggrieved we will invoke the constitution in your favour, as we do in our own. We will join with all good citizens in loving, respecting, and defending it. For it is our own. If the protestant dissenters, as the English term goes, are not so foolish, so neither are we so simple, as not to know the difference between the toleration act of England and the toleration of the constitution of New York. The one may ease the load, but the other takes it off. The former is from one set of subjects to another; the latter is a compact between freemen. Let us have our rights to-day, that when it falls to our turn to judge, as it may to morrow, we may know of “no preference or discrimination." Every citizen here is in his own country. To the protestant it is a protestant country; to the catholic, a catholic country; and the jew, if he pleases, may establish in it his New Jerusalem. Not only so, but this very plank upon which I stand, as long as I continue to occupy it in arguing this cause, is my catholic plank; and if this gentleman be a calvinist, that, he stands upon, is his calvinist plank. These sayings are homely! No matter; they are plain. I wish to be plain; very plain-past all mistaking. As I am a friend to catholics, I would not have them vexed; were I their
memy, and thought them dangerous, I should not give them such advantage.
As to this idea of danger to the state, from the secreoy enjoined on the confessor by the catholic church, it is quite strange at this time of day, to call it in question, as dangerous to any state, seeing it has existed since christianity, under all the various forms and modulations of civilized society. Indeed, if this tenet could be assailed upon the pretence of danger, there is no part of the catholic religion that could stand; for it is that one of all their sacraments, that never has been attacked upon such score by the sharpest assailants; and those who have spared no other have been tender of this. In a colleetion of German writings, by Martin Luther, p. 273, that author pronounces in its favour so strongly as this, “ that he would rather fall back under the papal tyranny than have it abolished.”
* The protestant ministers of Strasburg, also, after the reformation was fully established, regretted so much the abolition of auricular confession, that they petitioned the magistracy to bave it restored, but were answered that it was then too late ; for to restore that and not the rest would be like putting on a wooden leg. And in those queries of Mr. Pitt, it is not even glanced at as dangerous.
Having disposed of the argument of danger to the state, I must now proceed to shew the innocence and the excellence of this institution. For it would be hard that because I am not a Roman catholic I should not do justice to the sentiments of my much respected clients. They have put into the hands of their coun
* Schaeffmacher, p. 282.