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with assuring Dr Phillpotts that it is no business of his to read him a lecture on Christian Charity, and yet
"He gives it like a tether,
Fu' lang that day."
"How far," quoth Pound-text, minister of peace is righteously em ployed in raking together the polemical rubbish of former ages of bigotry and ignorance, at the risk of rekind ling the flame of religious discord, and with a view to deprive five or six millions of his Christian brethren of their natural rights, it is not my pro vince to decide." And pray, if it be not his province, whose is it? And pray, farther, if it be not, why do it? And pray, farther, if it be done, why not "let it be done quickly," instead of in a drawling discourse, nearly an hour by Shrewsbury, or any other well-regulated clock? He himself very soon begins to lose his own temper, and gets, if not mettlesome, yet almost within a hair-stroke of it, very nettlesome indeed, with Dr Phillpotts, on account of his Letters to Mr Canning, whom the preacher, widely and deeply read, no doubt, in the history of the whole world, calls "the ablest statesman of any age or country!""The good and gene rous of all parties must condemn your attempts to raise a clamour against such an adversary; and I can scarcely doubt that the death of the distinguished individual whom they were meant to wound, has since awakened recollections in your breast sufficient to avenge the wrong."
Here we must pull up the preacher on Christian Charity, and insist on his paying some regard to Christian Truth. Dr Phillpotts opposed the principles advocated by Mr Canning in Parliament respecting the Catholic claims. He opposed them boldly, and like a man, in the spirit of an English divine, in the language of an English scholar. To the grief of all England, George Canning is-dead. And what are "the recollections which the death of that distinguished individual has since awakened in Dr Phillpotts' breast?" And are they such as to " avenge a wrong," nowhere committed but in the fretful fancy of this very paltry person? Let Dr Phillpotts speak for himself, and let the present preacher learn a lesson of
Christian Charity-if he can-from the noble eulogy delivered by one of the most eminent churchmen over one, who was indeed one of the most eminent statesmen in England.
"It can hardly, I hope, be necessary for me to assure you, in the outset, that I feel most strongly the delicate and solemn nature of the duty I incur, in thus venturing to comment on the obligation of my Sovereign's Oath. It is a subject, which, in itself, and under any circumstances, would demand from a religious mind, to be treated with the strictest and most scrupulous sincerity. But, if it were otherwise possible, in the heat of controversy, to forget this duty, the awful event, which has removed for ever from the scene of our contention the ablest and most distinguished of all the individuals engaged in it, could hardly fail to recall us to better thoughts,to admonish us, in a voice more eloquent even than his own, • what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue.'
"Bear with me, I entreat you, for a very short space, while I do justice to myself, in speaking of the eminent person to whom I have here alluded. I have been accused, in a late number of the Edinburgh Review, of treating him with scurrility;' a charge, which, without stooping to confute it, I fling back on the head of my accuser. Had I ever addressed to Mr Canning any language, which a public man, on a pub. plain of hearing,-much more, had I ever lic question, would have a right to comused towards him the smallest portion of that coarse and unmanly ribaldry, which this very Review, as often as it suited its factious purposes, delighted to heap upon him, I should now feel, what it would perhaps be well for my accuser, if he himself were capable of feeling. As it is, no consideration, not even the call of selfdefence, shall prevail with me to violate the Sanctuary of the Tomb, or to recur to any parts of Mr Canning's character or conduct, but those on which I can offer an honest, however humble, tribute of respect all the best and noblest endowments of his to his memory. His genius, his eloquence, highly-gifted mind, devoted by him to the service of his country, during the long period of her greatest danger-he himself ever foremost, in office and out of office, in vindicating the righteousness of her cause, in cheering and sustaining the spirit of her gallant people, and elevating them to the level of the mighty exigence,
on which their own freedom and the libermeanwhile, our Constitution at home from ties of the world depended;-protecting, the wild projects of reckless innovation,shaming and silencing, by his unequalled wit, those who were inaccessible to the rea
prevent their entire degradation: he afterwards, at a still more calamitous period, yielded to a greater curtail
soning of his lofty philosophy:These great deservings, be the judgment of posterity on other matters what it may, will ensure to him a high and enduring placement of their power and dignity, for
in the proudest record of England's glory.
His saltem accumulem donis, et fungar inani
Now go-thou preacher on Christian Charity go to your pet idol the Edinburgh Review, which is manifestly the sole political oracle you have ever consulted, and which, without acknowledgment, you servilely crawl after on your hands and knees and there study the character of George Canning. There you will see ablest statesman of any age or country" depicted as the basest, meanest, most profligate of public men. What " collections," think ye, has" the death of that distinguished individual" awakened in the minds of the libellers, who honoured him with their sincerest abuse when living, and dishonoured him with their falsest praise when dead? Are they such as to avenge the wrong? Then must they be bit ter indeed! But as for you, who preach about Christian Charity, forsooth, and dare thus to misrepresent the bearing, bold and bright and open as the day, of one of Mr Canning's most illustrious opponents on one subject alone,—a great question, affecting the well-being of that Church of which he is himself a shining light and a strong pillar, and which, as long as it continues to be so illumined and so elevated, will defy all assaults, from whatever quarter they come, secret and insidious, audacious and declared, -but phoo-phoo-phoo-it is a waste of our wrath to pour out its vials on such a head-for, as we said before is it not the head of a Croppy?
From such "frivolous" stuff, it is a relief to turn even to Dr Milner's "Case of Conscience," which Dr Phillpotts disposes of in a style that would have astonished the Jesuit. The larger portion of the "Case" is occupied with an attempt to shew that the Coronation Oath never prevented our princes from making such alterations in the laws affecting the Church (which has nothing to do with the present business) as on the whole they thought fit, and in particular, "that Charles I. gave his consent to the bill for excluding Bishops from sitting in Parliament, in order, as it appeared at the treaty of Uxbridge, to
the purpose of preserving the Establishment from sinking into Presbyterianism."
"All this is perfectly true; and in the necessity for such concessions, sincerely and honestly believed by Charles to exist, and in that necessity only, do we find the justification of the actions which it caused. Whenever such a necessity shall again occur, it will be for the King of England first to satisfy himself of its existence, and, if he be convinced that it really exists, to follow the dictates of the highest species of prudence, that master-virtue which balances conflicting duties, and decides which, in the collision, is to be preferred-decides, however, not according to the shifting appearance of temporal expediency, but according to the eternal rules of truth and justice. Meanwhile, he will not be very ready to give ear to those, who either affirm or insinuate, that the necessity is come, or likely to come. Come when it may, it will, we may be sure, make its presence to be seen and felt; and even in its approach, it will cast its shadow' long before." The instance of Charles, however, is happily chosen. It will serve either as an example or as a warning:-As an example, should the Sovereign wish to fall with dig nity, and, in his fall, to avoid making
shipwreck of a good conscience;'as a warning, if he choose rather to preserve himself, and all the high and sacred interests committed to his charge, from falling at all."
Dr Milner has, of course, attempted a little casuistry about oaths,very much, indeed, in the style of the Surgeon. "In the first place," says he, "it is evident that a promissory oath which, at a certain period, was good and valid, may cease to be obligatory by some material change of circumstances, either with respect to the object itself, or to any of the parties concerned in it; so that, for example, a measure which was originally wise, and beneficial, and desirable, becomes the reverse of all this."
Dr Phillpotts rightly observes, that a material change in circumstances is here equivalent to an important change in circumstances; but the "material change" which the Jesuits intend, as a ground for evacuating the obligation of a lawful oath, is a change in the matter, not in the circumstances.
Milner's argument, therefore, commences either sillily or insidiously. But hear the two Doctors.
"Was the French Revolution," says Dr Milner, "expected in those days? In one word, is it from the side of Popery, or from the opposite quarter of Jacobinism, that the Established Church is most in danger at the present day? If this question be answered in the manner in which it must be answered, then I apprehend the very obligation of maintaining this Church to the utmost of the Sovereign's power re-` quires a different line of conduct and pofitics from that which was pursued at his Majesty's accession to the Crown."
that are under him to stand to its defence. If these should be either such fools, or rogues, or cowards, as to neglect their duty, and counsel him to yield to the requisition, while he has the means to resist it; he will not hesitate to send them about their business, and take some honest soundhearted fellows in their places."
"It is possible," says Dr Phillpotts, that this may be so; and we only ask that Dr Milner and others will allow his Majesty to decide for himself, and according to his own conscience, what is the line of conduct, which the obligation of his oath, being equally valid as at the first, does now require.But Dr Milner undertook, and his argument required him, to shew, when an oath, originally valid, becomes invalid;-and he ends with admitting of the oath in question, that it is as valid as ever!"
But Dr Milner goes farther, and gives an illustration-" a fearful, though, I am very ready to admit, says Dr Phillpotts, "a most apposite illustration."
"Suppose you had thought proper to exact an oath from your head steward, the purport of which was, that he would watch over and preserve every part of your property to the utmost of his power; and that some time afterwards, in your absence, a lawless mob, or a crew of pirates, had made a certain requisition of corn or cattle at his hands, to be complied with, under the threat of burning down your house, and despoiling your whole property, would you hold him bound by the letter of his oath, in such new and unforeseen circumstances? Would you not expect from his sense and integrity, that he should rather attend to, and be guided by, the spirit of it ?
"Most reasonable men," says Dr Phill. "would expect a person to be potts, bound by the spirit of his oath, rather than by the letter, under all circumstances. In the supposed case, the steward must certainly comply with the requisition. But in the case which is really in question, matters, happily, have not yet gone so far. True, there is a lawless mob,' a' crew of pirates,' who tell us very plainly what they wish, and hope to do. But they have not yet got the means of doing it; and our steward has sense enough to see, and honesty enough to feel, that he is bound by his oath, not only not to supply the pirates with ships, and the mob with arms, but to take care to barricade our storehouse, and require all
But Dr Milner goes on to shew, as he thinks, that the King's Coronation Oath need give very little trouble to anybody-for that a valid promissory oath may be evacuated by the abrogation of it by those who have proper authority, for this purpose, over the parties, or over the subject matter of the Oath. He is pleased to consider the Parliament, as having competent authority both over the Oath itself, and over the subject matter of it, the Church of England, to enable it to abrogate the Oath. That such an authority exists in Parliament, quoth he, in both those particulars, it would be treason to deny. "Then I am guilty of this treason," says Dr Phillpotts, "for I scruple not to deny both."
“By Parliament, I suppose, Dr Milner means the King in Parliament; for without the King, the Parliament has no authority, rather it has no existence whatever. But taking it as the King in Parliament, I venture to affirm, that his Majesty has no more right (his Majesty himself has nobly proclaimed the same truth) to abrogate the obligation of the Oath he has taken, than the meanest of his subjects has to absolve himself from the Oath of Allegiance.
"The reason, which Dr Milner gives for his position, is the following:- The present Coronation Oath owes its authority and its very existence to Parliament.' 'The same,' he adds, must be said of the Church itself, in whose favour this Oath was devised;'-A sneer too contemptible to merit refutation, or any further notice."
We wish that we could follow our author in his exposure of the weakness of Mr Charles Butler's "Letter on the Coronation ;" but our limitsalready transgressed-forbid-and we must bring our article to a close with weightier matter.
The meaning of the Coronation Oath was brought into discussion in Burke's celebrated letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe in 1792. He entered into an argument to prove that there was nothing in the Oath which forbade his Majesty to assent to any bill conferring on the Roman Catholics of Ireland the particular indulgences they then
sought. He said rightly, that if such means can with any probability be shewn, from circumstances, to add strength to our mixed ecclesiastical and secular constitution, rather than to weaken it, surely they are means infinitely to be preferred to penalties, incapacities, and proscriptions, continued from generation to generation. In consenting to such a statute, the Crown, he thinks, would act agreeably to the Oath. But, at the same time, his whole argument, to which we have now only alluded, takes for granted that the King is bound to withhold his assent from bills which would really endanger the safety of the Church-and he says,
"There is no man on earth, I believe, more willing than I am to lay it down as a fundamental law of the Constitution, that the Church of England should be united and even identified with it: but allowing this, I cannot allow that all laws of regulation, made from time to time, in support of that fundamental law, are, of course, equally fundamental and equally unchangeable : -none of this species of secondary and subsidiary laws have been held fundamental."
It is apparent, therefore, that the authority of Burke must be added to those of all public men, whose sentiments on the subject are on record, up to the end of the last century; they all recognised the Coronation Oath as binding the conscience of the Sovereign in all the acts of the kingly office; and, above all, in the most important of all his acts as Legislator. Dr Phillpotts, who is at all times above dissembling, declares that Mr Burke did indeed argue the point in a manner highly favourable to the views of the Roman Catholics; but he also declares his belief-and gives his reasons for it-that were Burke alive now, he would, of necessity, be adverse to their present claims. Burke argued in favour of the concessions then sought; and this one expression, "then sought," is the answer to all, or almost all, the arguments founded on Burke's authority on the question. All that was then sought, and in one most important particular, more than all, has, long ago, been granted.
"The Irish Act, of 1793, gave to the Roman Catholics all that Mr Burke laboured, by that letter, to obtain for them; and it moreover threw into the chalice one fatal ingredient, which has corrupted and VOL. XXIV.
poisoned all the rest has perverted what was meant for a cup of blessing,—a wellspring of mutual love and lasting tranquillity,-into a source of bitterest and deadliest hatred, a stimulant to the most insatiable and turbulent ambition; I mean the unrestricted grant of the elective franchise."
Attend to Burke's language in his letter to Sir H. Langrishe. He sets out with stating, that he knows not with certainty what the Roman Catholics intended to ask, but that he conjectures something is in agitation towards admitting them, under certain qualifications, to have some share in the election of members of Parliament;" and afterwards, he asks
why it is inconsistent with the Coronation Oath of the King, to restore to his Roman Catholic people, in such manner and with such modification as the public wisdom shall think proper to add, some part in those franchises which they formerly had held without any limitation at all?" And at the conclusion of the whole, he says expressly," the object pursued by the Roman Catholics, is, I understand, and have all along reasoned as if it were so, in some degree, or measure, to be again admitted to the franchises of the Constitution ;" and this being so, with what fairness, asks Dr Phillpotts, can it be pretended that the authority of Mr Burke, as given in this very argument, is in favour of the unqualified concession of every franchise?
But Burke wrote another letter to Sir H. Langrishe on the same matterin which he says, with reference to the "In the Catholic question former one, I only considered one point: was it, at the time, and in the circumstances, a measure which tended to promote the concord of the citizens? I have no difficulty in saying that it was; and as little in saying that the present concord of the citizens (he wrote before the Rebellion, and before any indication of increased expectations on the part of the Roman Catholics) was worth buying, at a critical season, by granting a few capacities, which probably no man now living is likely to be served or hurt by." Is that language particularly acceptable to Mr O'Connell and Mr Shiel, and our friend the Surgeon?
Then attend to his Letter to Baron Smith, in which he states, in more full and express terms, the principle which
guided and directed all his views. My whole politics at present centre on one point; and to this the merit or demerit of every measure with me is referable, that is, what will most promote, or depress, the cause of Jacobinism;" and again, "I am the more serious on the positive encouragement to be given to this religion, (the Roman Catholic,) because the serious and earnest belief and practice of its professors, form, as things stand, (January 1795,) the most effectual barrier, if not the sole barrier, against Jacobinism." Burke has, indeed, often been laughed at-yes, Edmund Burke laughed atfor his insane horror of Jacobinism." But he, and such as he, stayed the plague. Here Dr Phillpotts clenches the matter with a nail driven in forcibly and at the right point, nor is there a hand of Jacobin alive able to wrench it out.
"Would that be his opinion now? Could it be so? Where is the spirit of Jacobinism now most active? Where are all its energies most strongly, most unceasingly exerted? -Where, but in the Association, the Mock-Parliament at Dublin ?-Whither are now the wishes, the hopes, the sanguine and ardent longings, of every Jacobin in the King's dominions directed, but to the same stirring scene? And would Mr Burke have leagued himself with such a band? Would he have become, in his old age, the champion of Jacobinism,' the zealot of that unholy cause, abhorrence of which mastered every other passion and feeling of his heart,-could suspend the anguish of his almost frenzied grief, could make him for a while forget the bereavement of the one sole object of his earthly hopes, and rouse him to exertion even from the listlessness of despondency? The supposition is absurd."
same to the prejudice of the established Church, &c." On this valuable document Dr Phillpotts remarks:
"It is valuable on many accounts, but most especially, as affording the plainest evidence of what Mr Burke considered to be the necessary and indispensable duty of Parliament in every case, in which it is proposed to remove any of the existing securities of the Established Church. It is an obvious consequence, that, whenever Mr Burke was found among the advocates for any change of the law on this fundamental point, he must be always understood as meaning either to provide some stronger bulwark for the Church by the proposed change, or, at least, not to dimi nish its existing security. Carrying this principle with us, and adding to it the evidence derived from other parts of his writings, we shall find it easy to shew that Mr Burke, like Mr Pitt, if he were now alive, would, of necessity, be adverse to the present claims of the Roman Catholics."
Farther, whatever his opinion might be of the fitness of Burke's concession, it was professedly influenced by a view of what were then the existing facts of the case, which facts have since been changed in a degree scarcely to be estimated. "On a fair canvass," says he, "of the several prevalent parliamentary interests in Ireland, I cannot, out of the three hundred members, of whom the Irish parliament is composed, discover that above three, or-at the utmost four, Catholics, would be returned to the House of Commons." How stands the case now-and what would Burke have thought now?
"Is this the case now? Is it not, on the contrary, found, by experience, that neither the influence of property, nor hereditary attachment to ancient and honourable names, nor the ties of gratitude, nor the hope of future favour, nor any earthly motive, can avail against the mandates of
spiritual authority? Is it not certain that a very large portion, and only uncertain how large, of the representation of Ireland, is in the hands of the Priests? Mr O'Con
nell has scrupled not to say, that the whole, or almost the whole, will soon be in the same hands; and, in proof of his own reliance on the accuracy of this assertion, he
In the posthumous works of Burke 66 a Political Test," drawn up we find with much deliberation, and intended to have been proposed to Parliament in 1790, which shews his intense anxiety for the preservation of the Protestant religion, and for the protection of the Established Church. We cannot now quote it, but it contains this clause, That I never will employ has scrupled not to proclaim his readiness any power or influence which I may derive from any power or influence, &c. to come, to be elected into any corporation, or into Parliament, give any vote in the election of any member or members of Parliament, &c. or with any hope that they may promote the
to offer himself as candidate to represent a county (the county of Cavan) in which he has not (as I am informed) a single acre of ground, on the mere strength of his merit
as an agitator.
"This is the answer to every argument drawn from the authority of Mr Burke, re