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present laws, but with adequate and proper punishment, any clandestine intercourse with Rome. I really did expect that my learned brothers would be able to discriminate the remedy from the disease, and that when they had resolved to be frightened, they would at least have ascribed their agitation to the unrestrained intercourse with Rome; and not to the very measures which are intended to prevent it. Does the learned mover imagine that the Protestants, like children, are going to lay open all offices to the Catholics without exception and without precaution ? No Catholic chancellor, no Lord-keeper, no Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, no place in any ecclesiastical court of judicature; and many other restraints and negatives are contained in the intended emancipation of the Catholics. Then let the learned gentleman read the proposed oath. I defy Dr. Duigenan, in the full vigour of his incapacity, in the strongest access of that Protestant epilepsy with which he was so often convulsed, to have added a single security to the security of that oath. If Catholics are formidable, are not Protestant members elected by Catholics formidable? But what will the numbers of the Catholics be 2 Five or six in one house, and ten or twelve in the other; and this I state upon the printed authority of Lord Harrowby, the tried and acknowledged friend of our Church, the amiable and revered patron of its poorest members. The Catholics did not rebel during the war carried on for a Catholic king, in the year 1715, nor in 1745. The government armed the Catholics in the American war. The last rebellion no one pretends to have been a Catholic rebellion, the leaders were, with one exception, all Protestants. The king of Prussia, the emperor of Russia, do not complain of their Catholic subjects. The Swiss cantons, Catholic and Protestant, live together in harmony and peace. Childish prophecies of danger are always made, and always falsified. The Church of England (if you will believe some of its members) is the most fainting, sickly, hysterical institution that ever existed in the world. Every thing is to destroy it, every thing to work its dissolution and decay. If money is taken for tithes, the Church of England is to perish. If six old Catholic peers, and twelve commoners, come into Parliament, these holy hypochondriacs tear their hair, and beat their breast, and mourn over the ruin of their Established Church ! The Ranter of yesterday is cheerful and confident. The Presbyterian stands upon his principles. The Quaker is calm and contented. The strongest, and wisest, and best establishment in the world, suffers in the full vigour of - manhood, all the fears and the tremblings of extreme old age. A vast dealis said of the spirit of the Church of Rome, and of the claims it continues to make. But what signify its claims, and of what importance is its spirit? The bill will refuse all office to Catholics, who will not, by the most solemn oath, restrain this spirit, and abjure their claims. What establishment can muzzle its fools and lunatics 2 No one who will not abjure these Catholic follies can take any thing by Catholic emancipation. The bill which emancipates, is not a bill to emancipate all Catholics; but only to emancipate those who will prove to us, by the most solemn obligations, that they are wise and moderate Catholics. I conclude, Sir, remarks which, upon such a subject, might be carried to almost any extent, with presenting to you a petition to Parliament, and recommending it for the adoption of this meeting. And upon this petition, I beg leave to say a few words:– I am the writer of the petition I lay before you; and I have endeavoured to make it as mild and moderate as-I possibly could. If I had consulted my own opinions alone, I should have said, that the disabling laws against the Catholics were a disgrace to the statute-book, and that every principle of justice, prudence, and humanity, called for their immediate repeal; but he who wishes to do any thing useful in this world, must consult the opinions of others as well as his own. I knew very well if I had proposed such a petition to my excellent friends, the Archdeacon and Mr. William Vernon, it would not have suited the mild. mess and moderation of their character, that they should accede to it; and I knew very well, that without the authority of their names, I could have done nothing. The present petition, when proposed to them by me, met, as I expected, with their ready and cheerful compliance. But though I propose this petition as preferable to the other, I should infinitely prefer that we do nothing, and disperse without coming to any resolution. I am sick of these little clerico-political meetings. They bring a disgrace upon us and upon our profession, and make us hateful in the eyes of the laity. The best thing we could have done, would have been never to have met at all. The next best thing we can do (now we are met), is to do nothing. The third choice is to take my petition. The fourth, last, and worst, to adopt your own. The wisest thing I have heard here to-day, is the proposition of Mr. Chaloner, that we should burn both petitions, and ride home. Here we are, a set of obscure country clergymen, at the “Three Tuns,” at Thirsk, like flies on the chariot-wheel; perched upon a question of which we can neither see the diameter, nor control the motion, nor influence the moving force. What good can such meetings do? They emanate from local conceit, advertise local ignorance; make men, who are venerable by their profession, ridiculous by their pretensions, and swell that mass of paper lumber, which, got up with infinite rural bustle, and read without being heard in parliament, are speedily consigned to merited contempt.
Proposed by the Rev. Sydney Smith, at a Meeting of the Clergy of Cleveland, in Yorkshire, on the subject of the Catholic Question.—1825.
WE, the undersigned, being clergymen of the Church of England, resident within the diocese of York, humbly petition your Honourable House to take into your consideration the state of those laws which affect the Roman Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland.
We beg you to inquire, whether all those statutes, however wise and necessary in their origin, may not now (when the Church of England is rooted in the public affection, and the title to the throne undisputed) be wisely and safely repealed. We are steadfast friends to that Church of which we are members, and we wish no law repealed which is really essential to its safety; but we submit to the superior wisdom of your Honourable House, whether that Church is not sufficiently protected by its antiquity, by its learning, by its piety, and by that moderate tenor which it knows so well how to preserve amidst the opposite excesses of mankind—the indifference of one age, and the fanaticism of another. It is our earnest hope, that any indulgence you might otherwise think it expedient to extend to the Catholic subjects of this realm, may not be prevented by the intemperate conduct of some few members of that persuasion ; that in the great business of framing a lasting religious peace for these kingdoms, the extravagance of over-heated minds, or the studied insolence of men who intend mischief, may be equally overlooked. If your Honourable House should, in your wisdom, determine that all these laws, which are enacted against the Roman Catholics, cannot with safety and advantage be repealed, we then venture to express an hope, that such disqualifying laws alone will be suffered to remain, which you consider to be clearly required for the good of the Church and State. We feel the blessing of our own religious liberty, and we think it a serious duty to extend it to others, in every degree in which sound discretion will permit.
NoTE. —This meeting was very numerously attended by the clergy. Mr. Archdeacon Wrangham and the Reverend William Vernon Harcourt (son of the late Archbishop of York), a very enlightened and liberal man, were the only persons who supported the Petition.
A Speech at a Meeting of the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of the
East Riding of Yorkshire, held at Beverley, in that Riding,
on Monday, April 11. 1825, for the purpose of petitioning Parliament, &c.”
[From the Yorkshire Herald.]
MR. ARCHDEACON, -It is very disagreeable to me to differ from so many worthy and respectable clergymen here assembled, and not only to differ from them, but, I am afraid, to stand alone among them. I would much rather vote in majorities, and join in this, or any other political chorus, than to stand unassisted and alone, as I am now doing. I dislike such meetings for such purposes—I wish I could reconcile it to my conscience to stay away from them, and to my temperament to be silent at them; but if they are called by others, I deem it right to attend—if I attend, I must say what I think. If it be unwise in us to meet in taverns to discuss political subjects, the fault is not mine, for I should never think of calling such a meeting. If the subject is trite, no blame is imputable to me: it is as dull to me to handle such subjects, as it is to you to hear them. The customary promise on the threshold of an inn is good entertainment for man and horse.— If there be any truth in any part of this sentence at the Tiger, at Beverley, our horses at this moment must certainly be in a state of much greater enjoyment than the masters who rode them. It will be some amusement, however, to this meeting, to observe the schism which this question has occasioned in my own parish of Londesborough. My excellent
* I was left at this meeting in a minority of one. A poor clergyman whispered to me, that he was quite of my way of thinking, but had nine | children. I begged he would remain a Protestant.