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or of seeing our tenets and our conduct studied only in the writings of our adversaries?) The
(1) " I believe that there are few subjects on which so many opponents are to be met with, of that very numerous class who think themselves justified in feeling strongly without enquiring deeply, who acquiesce in unexamined statements merely to fortify their own preconceived sense of the case, and who are ever recurring to defences a thousand times overthrown, and now, by universal consent of all well-informed persons, abandoned, merely because the fact of the discomfiture and surrender may have escaped their not very extensive research, or may have lost its place in their not very impartial memory. This is a seri. ous difficulty, because with such persons it is not easy to determine at what precise period of the controversy to begin. There is, however, another class with whom it is impossible to deal : the mere shouters of “ No Popery;" those who, without the desire of enquiry, or the capacity of reasoning, think that they see their interest or their honour bound up in a determination never to doubt any early, or accidental, or careless, impressions, to which by habit they consider themselves pledged. Such we can only leave to rejoice in their own conclusions, unquestioned and undisturbed, withdrawing ourselves from all dispute with them, as we should from the attempt to go through a proposition in mathematics with a person to whom the admission of an axiom appears to be matter of too hazardous generosity, and who accordingly, while expressing his readiness to listen to proof, feels that he owes it to his cause to refuse every preliminary concession on which a proof can by possibility turn. Until they shall
errors of the generality of mankind may, it is hoped, be extenuated, as arising from prejudices carefully instilled into the infant mind, fostered through every stage of education, and perhaps matured by subsequent habits of indifference in religious matters, or at least by a neglect of all further inquiry ; but for men who profess to make
have done what they never will do,—until they shall have enlightened themselves on the history, not of their own country only, but of some other parts of modern Europe; -until they shall have learned what the penal laws were, and what they are now;-until they shall know the story and condition of the Roman Catholics in this empire, and of Protestants in others ;-they must be content to be challenged as Jurors to pass upon this Question. Nay, more, _they must, till then, absolutely abstain from all customary expressions of vituperation against the Papists, on pain of convicting themselves of possessing less than they ought of common honesty, or less than most men would be thought to possess of common discretion.” Lord Nugent's most excellent Statement, fc. in Support of the Political Claims of the Roman Catholics. Hookham, 1826.
The virulent abuse of that portion of the public press which is opposed to emancipation, as well in England as in Ireland, is an irritating and never-failing insult which we are daily condemned to endure, and is one of the most grievous of all our penal inflictions. As long as it is the support of that system which oppresses us, so long shall we be its victims; but the cause which produces it being removed, it will vanish with all our other disabilities.
accurate research and profound study the basis of judice every opinion which they deliver to the world—
men of reputed learning and of extensive literary fame-there can be no palliation, when, in the
face of the strongest historical evidence, they are of a guilty of deliberately advancing the most gross
and unfounded calumnies against their Catholic fellow-countrymen.
Amongst the many to whom these imputations I hore apply, there is no one who offends more conspi
cuously than Dr. Southey. The glaring misrepresentations of Catholic history and Catholic doctrine which constitute the principal ingredients of his “Book of the Church," though so ably exposed by Dr. Milner, Mr. Butler, and others, continue to glitter through every subsequent edition, and to diffuse their pestilential influence among the public; and that, too, at a moment when the most calm and unprejudiced consideration of the great question of the policy of establishing religious tests for the qualification to political privileges, is become necessary, certainly for the strength and stability of the country, and perhaps for the very existence of social order in the empire. The fact is now fully established by long experience and incontrovertible evidence, that no permanent peace and tranquillity can exist in Ireland under the pre
sent system of religious warfare and political op
mell Lord of the
pression.(9) Whatever, therefore, does not directly tend to advance that consummation so ardently desired by every friend of justice and humanity, and of the general prosperity of the State, cannot be too sincerely and too strongly deprecated. But what shall we say of him, who endeavours by the most extensive circulation of the most atrocious and most unfounded calumnies, not only to oppose a barrier to the tide of peace and good will which, sometime back, appeared to be so happily setting in upon the country, but, by wounding and irritating the feelings of those who are already harassed almost beyond endurance, as well as by alienating the friends of toleration by the false picture he draws of those whom they were endeavouring to relieve, thus augments a disunion which it should be the object of every honest man to close.
I will not weary the reader by citing instances of some of the most ungenerous calumnies that ever appeared in print, but will refer him to pp. 7 and 14 of Milner's “Strictures on Dr. Southey's Book of the Church,” and to pp. 214, 253, &c. 280,
(9) See Mr. Shiel's temperate but eloquent speech, on moving an Address to his Majesty on Lord Sidmouth's letter of the 23rd Sept. 1821, APPENDIX, No. II. ; together with a few other documents illustrative of the state of Ireland, in APPENDIX, No. VI.
lirect 284, 319, &c. of Mr. Butler's “ Book of the R. C. rdenti Church” and to p. 49 of the “ Memoirs of Capt. manit
Rock.*) There he may behold a Christian author,
under pretence of promoting the cause of truth, 1.
Bu rehearsing the most unfounded and antiquated by the
falsehoods, a thousand and a thousand times refuted, against infinitely the most numerous denomination of Christians in the world; and, in spite
of the most incontestable evidence, he will see him etting wedded to his error, so enamoured of his ca
lumnies, as obstinately to adhere to the impositions which he seems so happy to drag forth from their merited oblivion, and once more to employ for the
(W) It is astonishing that a work of such transcendant merit as this undoubtedly is, should have produced so little effect. But even unrivalled genius, allied with uncompromising patriotism, and shedding fresh brilliancy on the cause of Truth and Justice, is no match against interested bigotry. The fabrication here noticed by the admirable author of the “Memoirs of Captain Rock,” was even too gross for Dr. Southey, who, on discovering his mistake, omitted it in his 2nd edition.
As to Dr. Southey's Vindiciæ, it is really too contemptible to notice, being a complete farrago of folly and misrepresentation, and only one slander defended by another : cajoling his readers with the most senseless trash, altogether beneath the notice of any honourable mind, and the very publication of which is a stain upon the literature of the country.