Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

infamous weekly papers, that infest your coffeehouses. So when the clause enacting a sacramental test was put in execution, it was given out in England, that half the justices of peace, through this kingdom, had laid down their commissions : whereas, upon examination, the whole number was found to amount only to a dozen or thirteen, and those generally of the lowest rate in fortune and understanding, and some of them superannuated. So when the earl of Pembroke was in Ireland, and the parliament sitting, a formal story was very gravely carried to his excellency, by some zealous members, of a priest newly arrived froin abroad to the north-west parts of Ireland, who had publicly preached to his people, to fall a murdering the protestants; which, though invented to serve an end they were then upon, and are still driving at, was presently handed over, and printed with shrewd remarks by your worthy scribblers. In like manner, the account of that person, who was lately expelled our university for reflecting on the memory of king William : what a dust it raised, and how foully it was related, is fresh enough in memory. Neither would people be convinced, till the university was at the pains of publishing a Latin paper to justify themselves.

And to mention no more, this story of the persecution at Drogheda, how it has been spread and aggravated, what consequences have been drawn from it, and what reproaches fixed on those who have least deserved them, we are already informed. Now if the end of all this proceeding were a secret and

* The provost and fellows of Trinity College, Dublin, had lately expelled Edward Forbes, for the cause mentioned in the texta

7

mystery, I should not pretend to give it an interpretation; but sufficient care has been taken to explain it, first, by addresses artificially (if not illegally) procured, to show the miserable state of the dissenters in Ireland by reason of the sacramental test, and to desire the queen's intercession that it might be repealed. Then it is manifest, that our Speaker, * when he was last year in England, solicited in person several members of both houses to have it repealed by an act there; though it be a matter purely national, that cannot possibly interfere with the trade and interest of England; and though he himself appeared formerly the most zealous of all men, against the injustice of binding a nation by laws, to which they do not consent. And, lastly, those weekly libellers, whenever they get a tale by the end relating to Ireland, without once troubling their thoughts about the truth, always end it with an application against the sacramental test, and the absolute necessity there is of repealing it in both kingdoms. I know it may

be reckoned a weakness to say any thing of such trifles, as are below a serious man's notice; much less would I disparage the understanding of any party, to think they would choose the vilest and most ignorant among mankind, to employ them for the assertors of a cause. I shall only say, that the scandalous liberty those wretches take would hardly be allowed, if it were not mingled with opinions that some men would be glad to advance. Besides, how insipid soever those papers are, they seem to be levelled to the understandings of a great number; they are grown

* Allan Broderick, Esq. formerly solicitor-general of Ireland: He was afterwards created Baron Broderick, and died in 1715.

a necessary part in coffe house furniture, and some time or other may happen to be read by customers of all ranks, for curiosity and amusement, because they lie always in the way. One of these authors (the fellow that was pilloried, I have forgot his name) * is indeed so grave, sententious, dogmatical a rogue, that there is no enduring him ; the Observator † is much the brisker of the two, and I think farther gone of late in lies and impudence, than his presbyterian brother. The reason why I mention him, is, to have an occasion of letting you know, that you have not dealt so gallantly with us, as we did with you in a parallel case : last year a paper was brought here from England, called “ A Dialogue between the Archbishop of Canterbury and Mr Higgins," which we ordered to be burnt by the common hangman, as it well deserved, though we have no more to do with his grace of Canterbury, † than you have with the archbishop of Dublin; nor can you love and reverence your prelate, more than we do ours. whom you tamely suffer to be abused openly, and by name, by that paltry rascal of an Observator; and lately upon an affair wherein he had no conceru ; I mean the business of the missionary of Drogheda, wherein our excellent primate was engaged, and did nothing but according to law and discretion. But because the lord archbishop of Dublin has been upon several occasions, of late years, misrepresented in England, I would willingly set you right in his character. || For his great sufferings and eminent services, he was by the late king promoted to the see of Derry. About the same time he wrote a book to justify the revolution, wherein was an account of king James's proceedings in Ireland; and the late archbishop Tillotson recommended it to the king, as the most serviceable treatise that could have been published at such a juncture. * And as his grace set out upon those principles, he has proceeded so ever since, as a loyal subject to the queen, entirely for the succession in the prostestant line, and for ever excluding the pretender; and though a firm friend to the church, yet with indulgence toward dissenters, as appears from his conduct at Derry, where he was settled for many years among the most vi. rulent of the sect, yet upon his removal to Dublin, they parted from him with tears in their eyes, and universal acknowledgments of his wisdoin and goodness. † For the rest, it must be owned, he does not busy himself by entering deep into any party, but rather spends his time in acts of hospitality and charity, in building of churches, repairing his palace, in introducing and preferring the worthiest persons he can find, without other regards : in short, in the practice of all virtues, that can become a public or private life. This and more, if possible, is due to so excellent a person, who may be justly reckoned among the greatest and most learned prelates of this age, however his character may be defiled by such mean and dirty hands, as those of the Observator, or such as employ him.

* Daniel Defoe.

# Dr Thomas Tenison. + Mr John l'utchin.

Ś Dr William King. U This character of archbishop King is retained in the Miscellany of 1727, edited by Pope, bui erased in the Dublin edition of the Dean's Works, au 1735, published under his own inspection.

* Dr King was twice imprisoned in the castle of Dublin after the landing of king James in Ireland, in 1689. and narrowly escaped assassination. The title of the work alluded to is. “The State of the Protestants of Ireland under the late King James's Government, in which their Carriage towards him is justified, and the absolute Necessity of their endeavouring to be freed from his Government, and of submitting to their present Majesties, is demonstrated."

+ Yet King was engaged in a controversy concerning non-conformity, with Joseph Boyse, afterwards mentioned, one of the principal dissenting clergymen in his diocese. This dispute, which was maintained with unwonted decorum on both parts, cianmenced on bishop King's publishing a trentise entitled, “ The Inventions of Men in the Worship of God,' 4to. 1694.

I now come to answer the other part of your letter, and shall give you my opinion freely about repealing the sacramental test; only, whereas you desire my thoughts as a friend, and not as I am, a member of parliament, I must assure you they are exactly the saine in both capacities.

I must begin by telling you, we are generally surprised at your wonderful kindness to us on this occasion, it being so very industrious to teach us to see our interests in a point, where we are so unable to see it ourselves. This has given us some suspicion; and though in my own particular I am hugely bent to believe, that whenever you concern yourselves in our affairs, it is certainly for our good, yet I have the misfortune to be something singular in this belief; and therefore I never attempt to justify it, but content myself to possess my own opinion in private, for fear of en-countering men of more wit or words than I have

to spare.

We at this distance, who see nothing of the spring of actions, are forced, by mere conjecture, to assign two reasons for your desiring us to repeal the sacramental test; one is, because you are said to imagine it will be a step toward the like good work in England. The other more immediate, that it will open a way for rewarding several'persons, who have well deserved upon a great

« PredošláPokračovať »