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sure in keeping and distributing any thing that is good. If he detects any thing with superior flavour, he presses and invites, and is not easy till others participate; — and so it is with political and religious freedom. It is a pleasure to possess it, and a pleasure to communicate it to others. There is something shocking in the greedy, growling, guzzling monoply of such a blessing.
France is no longer a nation of atheists; and therefore, a great cause of offence to the Irish Roman Catholic clergy is removed. Navigation by steam renders all shores more accessible. The union among Catholics is consolidated; all the dangers of Ireland are redoubled; every thing seems tending to an event fatal to England —fatal (whatever Catholics may foolishly imagine) to Ireland — and which will subject them both to the dominion of France.
Formerly a poor man might be removed from a parish if there was the slightest danger of his becoming chargeable; a hole in his coat or breeches excited suspicion. The churchwardens said, “He has cost us nothing, but he may cost us something; and we must not live even in the apprehension of evil.” All this is changed; and the law now says, “Wait till you are hurt; time enough to meet the evil when it comes; you have no right to do a certain evil to others, to prevent an uncertain evil to yourselves.' The Catholics, however, are told that what they do ask is objected to, from the fear of what they may ask; that they must do without that which is reasonable, for fear they should ask what is unreasonable. ‘I would give you a penny (says the miser to the beggar), if I was quite sure you would not ask me for half a crown.”
* Nothing, I am told, is now so common on the Continent as to hear our Irish policy discussed. Till of late the extent of the disabilities was but little understood, and less regarded, partly because, having less liberty themselves, foreigners could not appreciate the deprivations, and partly because the pre-eminence of England was not so decided as to draw the eyes of the world on all parts of our system. It was scarcely credited that England,
that knight-errant abroad, should play the exclusionist at home; that every where else she should declaim against oppression, but contemplate it without emotion at her doors. That her armies should march, and her orators philippise, and her poets sing against continental tyranny, and yet that laws should remain extant, and principles be operative within our gates, which are a bitter satire on our philanthropy, and a melancholy negation of our professions. Our sentiments have been so lofty, our deportment to foreigners so haughty, we have set up such liberty and such morals, that no one could suppose that we were hypocrites. Still less could it be foreseen that a great moralist, called Joseph Surface, kept a “Little Milliner” behind the screen, we too should be found out at length in taking the diversion of private tyranny after the most approved models for that amusement.”— Letter to Lord Milton, pp. 50, 51.
We sincerely hope—we firmly believe—it never will happen; but if it were to happen, why cannot England be just as happy with Ireland being Catholic, as it is with Scotland being Presbyterian Has not the Church of England lived side by side with the Kirk, without crossing or jostling, for these last hundred years ? Have the Presbyterian members entered into any conspiracy for mincing Bishoprics and Deaneries into Synods and Presbyteries? And is not the Church of England tenfold more rich and more strong than when the separation took place : . But however this may be, the real danger, even to the Church of Ireland, as we have before often remarked, is the refusal of Catholic Emancipation.
It would seem, from the frenzy of many worthy Protestants, whenever the name of Catholic is mentioned, that the greatest possible diversity of religious opinions existed between the Catholic and the Protestant — that they were as different as fish and flesh – as alkali and acid— as cow and cart-horse; whereas it is quite clear, that there are many Protestant sects whose difference from each other is much more marked, both in church discipline and in tenets of faith, than that of Protestants and Catholics. We maintain that Lambeth, in these two points, is quite as near to the Vatican as it is to the Kirk – if not much nearer.
Instead of lamenting the power of the priests over the lower orders of the Irish, we ought to congratulate ourselves that any influence can effect or control them. Is the tiger less formidable in the forest than when he has been caught and taught to obey a voice, and tremble at a hand 2. But we over-rate the power of the priest, if we suppose that the upper orders are to encounter all the dangers of treason and rebellion, to confer the revenues of the Protestant Church upon their Catholic clergy. If the influence of the Catholic clergy upon men of rank and education is so unbounded, why cannot the French and Italian clergy recover their possessions, or acquire an equivalent for them They are starving in the full enjoyment of an influence which places (as we think) all the wealth and power of the country at their feet — an influence which, in our opinion, overpowers avarice, fear, ambition, and is the master of every passion which brings on change and movement in the Protestant world. We conclude with a few words of advice to the different opponents of the Catholic question.
To the No-Popery Fool.
You are made use of by men who laugh at you, and despise you for your folly and ignorance; and who, the moment it suits their purpose, will consent to emancipation of the Catholics, and leave you to roar and
bellow No Popery' to Vacancy and the Moon.
To the No-Popery Rogue.
A shameful and scandalous game, to sport with the serious interests of the country, in order to gain some increase of public power
To the //onest No-Popery People.
We respect you very sincerely — but are astonished
at your existence.
To the Base.
Sweet children of turpitude, beware! the old antipopery people are fast perishing away. Take heed that you are not surprised by an emancipating king, or an emancipating administration. Leave a locus pagnitentiae 1 —prepare a place for retreat—get ready your equivocations and denials. The dreadful day may yet come, when liberality may lead to place and power. We understand these matters here. It is safest to be moderately base—to be flexible in shame, and to be always ready for what is generous, good, and just, when any thing is to be gained by virtue.
To the Catholics.
w Wait. Do not add to your miseries by a mad and desperate rebellion. Persevere in civil exertions, and concede all you can concede. All great alterations in human affairs are produced by compromise.
MR, SYDNEY SMITH selected from the Edinburgh Review those articles he had written, – with the exception of twelve. These were probably omitted, because their subjects are already treated of in the extracted Articles, or, because they applied only to the period in which they were written. As Mr. Sydney Smith made the selection, it is therefore respected and continued; but lest any intention of disowning these omissions should be inferred, their numbers are subjoined.* After the year 1827, the Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst, disregarding political differences between himself and his friend, presented Mr. Sydney Smith to the Canonry of Bristol Cathedral. As a Dignitary of the Church he then ceased to write anonymously.