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MR. ARCHDEACON, I am extremely sorry that the clergy of the North Riding of Yorkshire have abandoned that distinction and pre-eminence, which they have held over the clergy of the other two Ridings, in their abstinence from political discussion and from public meetings, on the subject of the Catholics. I sincerely wish that nothing had been done, and no meeting of any description called. As it has been called, it is my duty to attend it, and certainly I will not attend in silence. Do not let my learned brethren, however, be alarmed; I am not going to inflict upon them a speech. I never attended a public political meeting before in my life; nor have I ever made a speech; and therefore my want of skill is a pretty good security to you for my want of length. There are two difficulties in speaking upon the subject;-one, that the topics are very numerous, the other, that they are trite;—the last I cannot cure, nor can you cure it; and we must all agree to suffer patiently under each other. I shall obviate the first by confining myself to those commonplaces in which the strength of the enemy seems principally to consist: if they have been an hundred times refuted before, do not blame me for refuting them again, but take the blame to yourselves for advancing them The first dictum of the enemies of the Catholics is, that they are not to be believed upon their oath; but upon what condition did the parliament of 1793 grant to the Catholics immunity and relief? Upon the condition that they should sign certain oaths; and why was this made a condition, if the oath of a Catholic is not credible? Or is a small subdivision of the clergy of the North Riding of Yorkshire to consider that test as futile, and those securities as frail, which the united wisdom of the British Parliament has deemed sufficient for the most sacred acts, and the most solemn laws 7 I am almost ashamed to ask you, (for it has been regularly asked in this discussion for thirty years past,) by what are the Catholics excluded from the offices for which they petition, unless by their respect for oaths? If they do not respect oaths they cannot be excluded; if they do respect oaths, why do you exclude them when you have such means of safety and security in your own hands 2 If Catholics are so careless of their oaths, show me some suspected Catholic who has crept into place by perjury; who has enjoyed those advantages by his own impiety, which are denied to him by the justice of the law: I not only do not know an instance of this kind, but I never heard of such an instance: —if you have heard such an instance, produce it; if not, give up your gratuitous and scandalous charge. But not only do I see men of the greatest rank and fortune submitting to the most mortifying privations for the sake of oaths, but I see the lowest and poorest Catholics, give up their right of voting at elections, sacrificing the opportunity of supporting the favourer of their favourite question, and suffering the disgrace of rejection at the hustings, from their delicate and conscientious regard to the solemn covenant of an oath. What magistrate dares reject the oath of a Catholic 2 What judge dares reject it 2 Is not property changed, is not liberty abridged, is not the blood of the malefactor shed 2 Are not the most solemn acts of law, both here and in Ireland, founded and bottomed upon the oath of a Catholic 2 Is no peace, is no league made with Catholics o do not the repose and happiness of Europe often rest upon the oaths and assoverations of Catholics 2 Does my learned brother forget that two-thirds of Christian Europe are Catholics? —and am I to understand from him, that this vast proportion of the Christian world is deficient in the common elements of civil life?—that they are no more capable of herding together than the brutes of the field 2–that they appeal to God only to allay suspicion, and to protect fraud? If such are his opinions, I must tell him (though I am sure he neither knows the mischief, nor means it), that Carlile, in his wildest blasphemies against the Christian religion, never uttered any thing against it so horrible and so unjust. I come now to another common phrase, the parent of much bigotry and mischief; and that is, that “The spirit of the Catholic religion is unchangeable and unchanged.” Now, Sir, I must tell these gentlemen of the 15th century, that if this method of appealing to the absurdities of a past age, and inpinging them upon the present age is fair and just, it must be a rule as applicable to one sect as to another. Upon this principle, I may call the Church of Scotland a persecuting Church, because, in the year 1646, it petitioned Parliament for the severest persecution of heretics. Upon the same principle, Catholics might retort upon our own Church the many Catholics condemned to death in the reign of Elizabeth; —upon this principle they might cast in your teeth the decrees of the University of Oxford, in support of passive obedience, ordered by the House of Commons to be burned by the hands of the common hangman in the reign of Queen Anne; they might remind you of the atrocious and immoral acts of Parliament, passed by the Protestant parliaments of Ireland against its Catholic inhabitants, during the reigns of George I. and George II. Wickedness and cruelty, such as the Spartan would not have exercised upon his helot—such as the planter would abstain from with his slave—one of the worst and most wicked periods of human history ! Are all these imputations true now, because they were true then? Has not the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland almost petitioned in favour of the Catholics? Would any Protestant church now condemn to death those who dissented from the doctrines of its establishment P All dissenters live in the midst of our venerable establishment unmolested, and under the broad canopy of the law. It is not now possible, with all the intelligence and wisdom which characterizes that learned body, that a similar decree should emanate from the University of Oxford. For all our own institutions we claim the benefit of time; and, like Joshua, bid the sun stand still, when we want to smite and discomfit our enemies. But, Sir, remember at what a period this assertion is made — of the unchanged and unchangeable spirit of the Catholic religion. The Catholic revenues are destroyed, and yet the spirit of submission to priests is the same in the minds of the lay Catholics who have voted for the destruction of these revenues. The inquisitions are broken open—the chains of the victims are loosened—the fires arequenched—the Catholic churches are deserted In Spain, in France, in Italy, the priests are reduced to a state of beggary; and yet the authors of this meeting can see no change in the minds of the Catholics. Sir, I meet this absolute assertion with an absolute denial and I bring my proofs. Let the mover of this resolution read the oath of 1793, taken by the four Catholic archbishops, the bishops and clergy of Ireland,-let him read the rescript of pope Pius VI., of the 17th of June, 1791,–let him read the solemn resolutions of six of the most considerable Catholic universities of Europe, required and received by Mr. Pitt– let him remember that the pope has confirmed a Catholic bishop of Malta, nominated to that see by the late king; and now let the learned gentleman produce to me, from his records, such facts, such opinions, such clear declarations, such securities, and such liberality as these. He has nothing to produce, and nothing to say, but the trita cantilena that “the spirit of the Catholic religion is unchangeable and unchanged.” Sir, if I could suffer my understanding to be debauched by such a merejingle of words—if I could say that any human spirit was unchanged and unchangeable, I should say so of that miserable spirit of religious persecution, of that monastic meanness, of that monopoly of heaven, which says to other human beings, “If you will not hold up your hands in prayer as I hold mine—if you will not worship your God as I worship mine, I will blast you with civil incapacities, and keep you for ever in the dust.” This, Sir, of all the demons which haunt the earth, is the last bad spirit which retires before justice, courage, and truth. I must not pass over (while I am cleansing gutters and sweeping streets) the notable phrase of “a government essentially Protestant.” If this phrase mean any thing, it means nothing useful to the arguments of my opponents. In clinging to this phrase, which, by the smiles and nods of the gentlemen opposite, appears to give them peculiar delight, they must mean, I suppose, Episcopalian as well as Protestant, for they never can mean that our government is essentially Presbyterian, essentially Swedenborgian, essentially Ranting, or essentially Methodist. With this limitation, I beg to ask why this essentially Protestant government allows Unitarians and Presbyterians in the bosom of its legislature? Why there is a regular Catholic establishment in Malta and in Canada? Why it tolerates (nay, even endows) Mahomedan and Hindoo establishments? In the midst of this “essentially Protestant government,” sat Catholic peers and Catholic commoners for more than a century—without blame, without reproach, without religious conflict, in civil harmony, and in theological peace. Now I come to the danger 1 What is it? Is it from foreign intercourse ? But is the question now agitated for the first time, whether or not the priests of Ireland are to have intercourse with a foreign power 2 That intercourse has subsisted for centuries, does subsist at this moment, in full vigour, uninspected and uncontrolled. Mr. Grattan's bill, which I strongly suspect the learned mover never to have read, subjects all this intercourse to the inspection of Protestant commissioners, punishes, not with obsolete penalties like the

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