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With cautious step, and, peering out, survey
Throw up on ev'ry side the troubl'd wave:
The growing light
Or hoary willow's roots, and, with a flood Of brightest splendour, light the river up! p. 138-141. We conclude our extracts with the following picture of the closing in of a winter evening, which reflects no despicable image of the truth and minuteness and tenderness of Cowper.
'The snow has ceas'd to fall; the gloomy clouds,
In all directions, and leave Heaven's wide plain
And shiv'ring limbs ill guarded from the cold,
His weary head, expecting calm repose?' p. 134137. We do not offer these passages to our readers as specimens of very exquisite or powerful poetry; but they possess the merit, we think, of truth and simplicity. There is something modest and amiable and natural, we think, throughout the whole composition; and, being satisfied that there are many readers to whom it will afford more pleasure than it has done to us, we think it right to make this little effort to make them and the author acquainted. We think he may do something better than make poems upon field sports; but we would not encourage him to leave even this calling for the chance of carrying off the prize in the more beaten walks of literature.
ART. V. History of the Penal Laws against the Irish Catholics, from the Treaty of Limerick to the Union. By Henry Parnell, Esq. M. P.
HE various publications which have issued from the press in favour of religious liberty, have now nearly silenced the arguments of their opponents; and, teaching sense to some, and inspiring others with shame, have left those only on the field who can neither learn nor blush.
But, though the argument is given up, and the justice of the Catholic cause admitted, it seems to be generally conceived, that their case, at present, is utterly hopeless; and that, to advocate it any longer, will only irritate the oppressed, without producing any change of opinion in those by whose influence and authority that oppression is continued. To this opinion, unfortunately too prevalent, we have many reasons for not subscribing.
We do not understand what is meant in this country by the notion, that a measure of consummate wisdom, and imperious necessity, is to be deferred for any time, or to depend upon any contingency. Whenever it can be made clear to the understandings of the great mass of enlightened people, that any system of political conduct is necessary to the public welfare, every obstacle (as it ought) will be swept away before it; and as we conceive it to be by no means improbable, that the country may be, ere long, placed in a situation where its safety or ruin will depend upon its conduct towards the Catholics, we sincerely believe we are doing our duty in throwing every possible light on this momentous question. Neither do we understand where this passive submission to ignorance and error is to end. Is it confined to religion? Or does it extend to war and peace, as well as religion? Would it be tolerated, if any man were to say, Abstain from all arguments in favour of peace; the court have resolved upon eternal war; and, as you cannot have peace, to what purpose urge the necessity of it? We answer,-that courts must be presumed to be open to the influence of reason; or, if they were not, to the influence of prudence and discretion, when they perceive the public opinion to be loudly and clearly against them. To lye by in timid and indolent silence,-to suppose an inflexibility, in which no court ever could, under pressing circumstances, persevere,and to neglect a regular and vigorous appeal to public opinion, is to give up all chance of doing good, and to abandon the only instrument by which the few are ever prevented from ruining the many.
It is folly to talk of any other ultimatum in government than perfect justice to the fair claims of the subject. The concessions
to the Irish Catholics in 1792, were to be the ne plus ultra. Every engine was set on foot to induce the grand juries in Ireland to petition against further concessions; and, in six months afterwards, government were compelled to introduce, themselves, those further relaxations of the penal,code, of which they had just before assured the Catholics they must abandon all hope. Such is the absurdity of supposing, that a few interested and ignorant individuals can postpone, at their pleasure and caprice, the happiness of millions.
As to the feeling of irritation with which such continued discussion may inspire the Irish Catholics, we are convinced that no opinion could be so prejudicial to the cordial union which we hope may always subsist between the two countries, as that all the efforts of the Irish were unavailing; that argument was hopeless; that their case was prejudged with a sullen inflexibility which circumstances could not influence, pity soften, or reason subdue.
We are by no means convinced, that the decorous silence recommended upon the Catholic question would be rewarded by those future concessions, of which many persons appear to be so certain. We have a strange, incredulity where persecution is to be abolished, and any class of men restored to their indisputable rights. When we see it done, we will believe it. Till it is done, we shall always consider it to be highly improbable ;-much too improbable to justify the smallest relaxation in the Catholics themselves, or in those who are wellwishers to their cause. When the fanciful period at present assigned for the emancipation arrives, new scruples may arise-fresh forbearance be called forand the operations of common sense be deferred for another generation. Toleration never had a present tense, nor taxation a future one. The answer which Paul received from Felix, he owed to the subject on which he spoke. When justice and righteousness were his theme, Felix told him to go away, and he would hear him some other time. All men who have spoken to courts upon such disagreeable topics, have received the same answer. Felix, however, trembled when he gave it; but his fear was ill directed. He trembled at the subject,-he ought to have trembled at the delay.
Little or nothing is to be expected from the fhame of deferring, what it is fo wicked and perilous to defer. Profligacy in taking office is fo extreme, that we have no doubt public men may be found, who, for half a century, would poftpone all remedies for a peftilence, if the prefervation of their places depended upon the propagation of the virus. To us, fuch kind of conduct conveys no other notion than that of fordid avaricious impudence it puts
to fale the best interefts of the country for fome improvement in the wines and meats and carriages which a man uses, and encourages a new political morality which may always poftpone any other great measure,-and every other great measure as well as the emancipation of the Catholics.
We terminate this apologetical preamble with expreffing the most earnest hope, that the Catholics will not, from any notion that their caufe is effectually carried, relax in any one conftitutional effort neceffary to their purpofe. Their caufe is the cause of common fenfe and juftice ;-the fafety of England and of the world may depend upon it. It refts upon the foundeft principles; leads to the most important confequences; and therefore cannot be too frequently brought before the notice of the public. The book before us is written by Mr Henry Parnell, the brother of Mr William Parnell, author of the Hiftorical Apology, reviewed in one of our late Numbers; and it contains a very well written hiftory of the penal laws enacted against the Irish Catholics, from the peace of Limerick, in the reign of King William, to the late union. Of these we fhall prefent a very fhort, and, we hope even to loungers, a readable abstract.
The war carried on in Ireland against King William, cannot deferve the name of a rebellion :-it was a struggle for their lawful Prince, whom they had fworn to maintain; and whose zeal for the Catholic religion, whatever effect it might have produced in England, could not by them be confidered as a crime. This war was terminated by the furrender of Limerick, upon conditions by which the Catholics hoped, and very rationally hoped, to fecure to themselves the free enjoyment of their religion in future, and an exemption from all thofe civil penalties and incapacities which the reigning creed is fo fond of heaping upon its subjugated
By the various articles of this treaty, they are to enjoy fuch privileges in the exercise of their religion, as they did enjoy in the time of Charles II, and the King promifes, upon the meeting of Parliament, to endeavour to procure for them fuch further fecurity in that particular, as may preferve them from any disturbance on account of their faid religion. They are to be restored to their eftates, privileges and immunities, as they enjoyed them in the time of Charles II. The gentlemen are to be allowed to carry
arms; and no other oath is to be tendered to the Catholics who
fubmit to King William, than the oath of allegiance. These, and other articles, King William ratifies for himself, his heirs and fucceffors, as far as in him lies; and confirms the fame, and every other claufe and matter therein contained.
Thefe articles were figned by the English general on the 3d of October 1691, and diffufed comfort, confidence, and tranquillity