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annihilated the Constitution of England, and placed this great and Borishing nation upon a level with the victims of continental despotism.

We now come to the Revolution, when your Lordship insinuates that, "the principles of Church Establishment and of Toleration were for the first time understood." That the Church Establishment was most effectually secured by that event and its consequences is undeniable, but how toleration was promoted by it, I am yet to learn. King William is said to have been personally tolerant, and inclined not only to conciliate the Presbyterians, whose religious opinions were in fact his own, but even Catholics; had not the party, which had raised him to the throne, and which, as is well known, kept him in subjection during the greater part of his reign, obliged him to adopt a line of conduct very opposite to his own more liberal principles. Every standing law, therefore, against the Catholics was enforced, some new penal statutes were enacted, and that oppressed body treated with so much rigor, that a Catholic had frequent reason to blush for the injustice of his countrymen, and to regret that he was born a Briton. The consequence of this persecuting system was, that the Catholics were banished from public life, and the Howards, the Talbots, the Cliffords, the Arundels, the Petres, &c. though the purest blood of England flowed in their veins, and their names stand emblazoned in the annals of their country, were obliged to slink away from society like traitors and outlaws, and shelter themselves in their castles from public odium and private insolence.

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From this state of abjection and slavery they were raised by the paternal hand of his present Majesty. To his auspicious reign, when, (as your Lordship has said with very little reason of the era of the Revolution,) "the principles of Toleration began to be understood," we owe the dawn of a happier period, and though in the decline of life, and in a season of gloom and distemper the royal mind may have been poisoned by artful and suspicious insinuations, yet the Catholics will ever cherish the name of George. III. and hand it down embalmed with their grateful acknowledgments to their latest posterity.

Now to apply these observations to the argument before us, is it probable, is it possible, that the Catholics now reduced to a

small, I might almost say, an insignificant number, should acquire an influence which they could neither preserve when so numerous and so powerful, nor recover even when aided by parliamentary interest and by court favor? What! shall six or eight peers, and twice as many commoners, accomplish under the Brunswick line, a change, which half the peerage, and almost half the commons could not accomplish under Queen Elizabeth and the Stuarts? Is the nation so partial to our tenets? or have we invented some new arguments to render them more palatable? do our numbers increase so rapidly as to menace an approaching change in the national faith? Point out, my Lord, if you please, the converts lately made, the congregations newly established in your extensive diocese, and the increasing influence of the Catholic Clergy. In return I will present a catalogue, much more gratifying to your Lordship's feelings, of Catholic families extinct or fallen off, of reduced congregations, and chapels without clergymen. Within these last forty years, notwithstanding the repeal of several penal statutes against us, we have lost five or six noble families, at least as many baronets, and several clergymen and esquires. In return we have recovered an ancient title (Fauconberg), converted two or three Protestant clergymen, but, I fear, few or no gentlemen. You see, my Lord, the exchange is against us, notwithstanding the encouragement which the legislature has so imprudently, without doubt, held out to us, in allowing us to profess and practise our religion without the chance of being beggared, transported, or hanged. Further indulgences might perhaps produce similar effects; and prosperity, for such, as your Lordship knows from the history of Christianity, have often been its effects, might relax that stern fortitude which has triumphed over two centuries of coercion and of oppression.

There is, in my opinion, something singularly unaccountable, something that almost resembles infatuation, in the terrors occasioned by that visionary phantom called Popery. I doubt,-your Lordship will perhaps peruse these lines with astonishment, but still I doubtwhether the Church of England ever was exposed to any real danger by the plots or the efforts of the Catholic party, from the reign of Elizabeth down to the present period. I have too good an opinion of your Lordship's sagacity to imagine even for a

moment, that you believe in that stale trick called the Gunpowder Plot, or that you ascribe to the Catholic body, then nearly half the nation, the delirious projects of a few frantic enthusiasts set on work by an insidious minister to effect his own designs. I acquit you with equal readiness of the folly of crediting the infamous perjuries of Oates and of Bedloe. The two Scotch rebellions were the deeds of a powerful Protestant party arrayed in support of a royal exile, whom, though a catholic, they deemed their lawful sovereign. They were not enlightened patriots, I admit; but they were generous and loyal subjects, who fought and died for a cause which they held sacred; and I strongly suspect that most sovereigns, those of the Brunswick line not excepted, would prefer their blind attachment to our legal allegiance. The only great attempts ever made in favor of the Catholic Religion were those of Philip II. in the equipment of the Armada, and of James II., and in neither was the danger as great as the alarm.

The former failed in Holland, one of his own provinces, where his supporters were numerous, and his power might have been deemed irresistible. How could he have succeeded in England, an independent and high-spirited nation, where every individual, both Catholic and Protestant, was in arms against him, and resolved to perish rather than submit to his yoke. James's anti-protestant project was of a more serious nature, because he was the sovereign of the country; yet, had he succeeded to the utmost of his expectations, he might indeed have imposed on the nation a Catholic establishinent, but sickly and unstable, liable to be overturned even during his own life by a popular insurrection, and doomed to certain destruction immediately after his death.

But let us suppose for a moment, that our Catholic Clergy, now reduced to a very small number, should all of a sudden multiply, become active, and even popular, and add daily to the number of their proselytes; let us endeavour to discover for what length of time the Church of England might still resist their successful endeavours. I will suppose that the number of inhabitants in the United Kingdom may amount to fourteen millions, of which four millions may perhaps be Catholics; there remains a majority of ten millions in favor of Protestantism. Now, allow us to make ten thousand converts per annum, a very liberal allowance indeed! VOL. II. Pam. No. III.


three long centuries must elapse before we can meet you upon fair terms and with equal numbers; and six before we can gain that superiority of numbers over you which you now possess over us.

Now, my Lord, in order to suppose the possible occurrence of the case which I have put, which, in the marvellous, surpasses any miracle related in legendary lore, you must have a very indifferent opinion either of the Clergy of the Established Church, or of the arguments by which its doctrines are enforced, or possibly of the good sense of the people of "this highly-favored kingdom," who seem so very partial in your Lordship's apprehension "to those errors that sprung up when gross darkness covered the nation." (page 365.) Yet to me the Clergy appear tolerably active in their opposition to Catholic opinions; as not very many sermons are to be found, if we may judge by printed volumes, and by sermons preached on stated days and before corporate bodies, in which the audience are not edified by some abusive allusion to Popery, or by a direct attack upon one or other of its supposed tenets. The arguments by which the Protestant cause is supported may have lost much of their novelty, but nothing surely of their weight, by the currency of nearly three centuries; and popular prejudice most undoubtedly runs as strong now against the Catholic Creed as at any period on record.

After this statement, which, if I be not mistaken, your Lordship will find it difficult to disprove, allow me to ask, whether, in order to guard against a danger so distant, so visionary, so very improbable, so nearly impossible, it be wise to alienate the affections of one-fourth of your population, to keep the empire in a state of fermentation, to expose it to the dangers of a rebellion, that may ravage, not its distant provinces and dependencies, but the very seat and centre of its power, the nursery of its fleets and armies, where every gallant man that falls will be a loss to England and a profit and a triumph to its enemies.

That the Church has been in danger, and may be in danger again, must be acknowledged; but from what quarter has that danger proceeded? from the Catholics? No, my Lord, but from fanatics, puritans, enthusiasts. They overturned the Church at the period when the great rebellion put power into their hands; they set aside its government, and trampled upon all its decent institu

tions. Their weight, but not their hatred, was diminished by the Restoration; and some persons have surmised that their numbers and influence have increased very considerably during these late years. If the Church of England should fall, it will fall by their hands; and its honors and emoluments will be the reward of the victors. In this event, therefore, the Catholics can have no interest, and consequently they cannot be supposed to wish for its accomplishment; or to speak more correctly, they must deprecate it most cordially, as it would lodge in the hands of a more hostile sect the power which the Church of England now possesses, and which, in justice to its members, I most willingly acknowledge, it uses, in general, with great moderation. I may therefore be allowed to conclude, from the facts which have been stated, that the Established Church has nothing to fear from the Catholics, even if admitted into parliament, for the two following very substantial reasons; because, in the first place, they would not have the power, even if they had the inclination, to hurt her; and because, in the second place, if they had the power, they cannot, unless they are blind to their own interests, have the inclination.

I will go farther, and declare that, in my opinion, the entire repeal of every penal and excluding statute will tend more effectually to the strength and duration of the Church Establishment than any measure that can be devised for that purpose by its warmest partisan. No animal will bear a yoke that galls, he will kick and toss his head till he shakes it off, or he will turn against the hand that imposes it. Englishmen and Irishmen form, I presume, no exception to this general rule. If Catholics can be supposed to hate the Church of England, their hatred is founded, not upon its creed, nor upon its discipline, nor upon its splendid establishment: in all of which particulars it borders much nearer upon the Catholic Church than any sect that has ever separated from it; but upon the penalties and the privations to which they are subjected for their non-conformity. The latter part of this observation is applicable to all Dissenters. Remove, therefore, the penalties and privations; and the hatred and animosity, which are their effects only, must cease; and thus, instead of weakening, you will give additional strength to the Establishment: you will prevent her name from being made the watch-word of a party, and the

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