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If so, Protestantism, deep-rooted as it is, must indeed be a meagre plant, to be expelled the soil by a new half-starved comer. Others say, the Catholics thrive well enough as it is. True: they do so : they gain in wealth, in numbers, in importance daily; and, in proportion as they thrive, so do they become more discontented with their political situation.-Every day, their condemnation weighs more heavily upon them; the object which they seek becomes of more value, in proportion to their increasing capacity to enjoy it; and every day their exertions will be redoubled, with the power they possess, towards obtaining the redress of their grievances, and the objects of their lawful ambition. Inany case, emancipation must and will be achieved, and better in peace and quiet, than in war and tumult--better in the day of prosperity, than in the hour of distress. Thank heaven! the time is past when the system of persecution by which we are oppressed, was pursued to its full extent; but though its power is broken and enfeebled, its spirit is not yet fled. We still suffer directly in our privileges and our rights, and even in our fortunes ;(") while our reputation, both as subjects
(3) Witness the double land tax.-I am most happy in this opportunity of publicly testifying the sense which the Catholics of England must ever entertain of the very handsome manner in which Mr. Bankes has come forward to relieve his fellow-countrymen from this very oppressive
to the arthe er the
and as Christians, is still loaded with the defama-
for protection from such measures, she cannot find ne:
it: she is only erecting a barrier against her best friends. If the Church looks for defence from such
weapons, she only combats against herself, by alienpolitik i ating the good opinion of those who would other
wise be sincere in supporting her. uch the
The Protestant is now the Established Church. Let her rest satisfied with this advantage. It gives her all the splendour, and power, and influence of worldly state, with the largest ecclesiastical revenues in Christendom to support them; thus insuring her as complete an ascendancy over every other religion as can with justice be desired. But if her prelates and ministers provoke the exposure of her errors--of the false principles on which she separated from the Church of Rome, and of the iniquity in which she was cradled-by calumniating the religion of those whom they have dispossessed,
tax; but, notwithstanding all his efforts, and though the paramount injustice of the thing has long been acknowledged on all hands, and an act of Parliament was passed, in 1791, to relieve us from the burden (but which unfortunately proved inefficient for its purpose), it is still permitted to continue from year to year, as a proof of the little attention paid to Catholic affairs, and the little interest excited by our grievances.
and by continuing against them a system of unmerited condemnation, as well as against all who dissent from them; they themselves are answerable for the consequences. The firebrand with which they are still desolating the victims of their bigotry and their fears, may be hurled back into their own quarters, and the golden harvest which they are now reaping in such abundance, may be blasted and destroyed for ever!
The Church of England should ever recollect, that she has already once fallen in conflict with her enemies ; and perhaps it would be well for the Sovereign to remember, that the monarch fell too: she has seen her hierarchy destroyed, her benefices usurped, and her religion reduced in its turn to the melancholy condition of a persecuted sect.(-) And is she not fearful of a second contest? Can she hear that one half of her followers have deserted, and not tremble lest they should raise
(s) “ I went to London," says Evelyn, in his Memoirs, “ to receive the blessed Sacrament, the first time the Church of England was reduced to a chamber and conventicle, so sharp was the persecution. The parish churches were filled with sectaries of all sorts, blasphemous and ignorant mechanics usurping the pulpits every where. Dr. Wilde preached in a private house in Fleet-street, where we had a great meeting of zealous Christians, who were generally much more devout and religious than in our greatest prosperity."
the standard against her? Is it not folly—is it not madness, to learn these tidings, and not cease to irritate and offend? While she has yet the power to give—before she loses the ability to refuse, let her shew herself worthy of her cause, by her generosity, her justice, and her wisdom : let her doff the blood-stained armour of persecution, and clothe herself in the spotless garments of clemency and moderation, and, like a meek and humble disciple of Christ, let her meet her enemies with the kiss of peace, and inscribe on her standards, Good WILL TO ALL MEN. Clemency and moderation will attach a large and zealous body to her interests. We should support her,--not as a church possessing purity of doctrine, but as a teacher of good morals, and as a member of the great edifice of the constitution. Conciliation is her best and only resource : let her desist from her miserable and petty persecution of the dissenters, and her vigorous and determined warfare against the Catholics.(a) This would place her
(*) Happily, since the above was written, the disabilities of the Dissenters have been removed; the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts has been achieved; one great bulwark of bigotry and intolerance has been thrown down; and the march of religious freedom has triumphantly advanced. It has, however, been strenuously insisted on, even by some of the boldest advocates of emancipation, that the principle of this measure has no con
on a proud pre-eminence, and be unto her a tower of strength; and if ever hereafter, in the
nection or analogy with what is termed the Catholic question; but a cursory analysis of the divisions upon the two cases, will at once overturn this assertion. Out of 237 members of the House of Commons, who voted for the Dissenters, only 23 voted against the Catholics; while out of 193 who voted against the Dissenters, only 24 voted for the Catholics, the greater part of whom were either actually in office, or so connected with Government as not to be considered as free agents when the question of the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts was brought before them. These 24 were in no respect the enemies of religious freedom, but, on the contrary, they stated their opposition to the Dissenters to arise solely from the
apprehension that the adjustment of their claims might impede the more important affair of the emancipation of the Catholics, and the pacification of Ireland. If, therefore, we add these 24 to the 237, we have 261 voices in favour of the Dissenters, out of whom only 23 are to be found who are enemies to general relief from religious disabilities. Does not this prove the principle of the votes to have been generally the same in both cases? In regard of the Irish members it was remarkably so: out of the 33 who voted in favour of the Dissenters, not one voted against the Catholics; and out of the 21 who voted against the Dissenters, only three (and those known friends of religious freedom, but in office at the time, and therefore necessitated to follow the leader of the administration) gave their voices for emancipation. It seems difficult to comprehend how there can be a principle ap