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ries of curates. We do not put this as a case of common buyer and seller; we allow that the parish is a third party, having an interest”; we fully admit the right of the Legislature to interfere for their relief. We only contend, that such interference would be neces: sarily altogether ineffectual, so long as men can be found capable of doing the duty of curates, and willing to do it for less than the statutory minimum. If there be a competition of rectors for curates, it is quite unnecessary and absurd to make laws in favour of curates. The demand for them will do their business more effectually than the law. If, on the contrary (as the fact plainly is), there is a competition of curates for employment, is it possible to prevent this order of men from labouring under the regulation price? Is it possible to prevent a curate from pledging himself to his rector, that he will accept only half the legal salary, if he is so fortunate as to be preferred among an host of rivals, who are willing to engage on the same terms ? You may make these contracts illegal: What then 7 Men laugh at such prohibitions; and they always become a dead letter. In nine instances out of ten, the contract would be honourably adhered to; and then what is the use of Mr. Perceval's law 2 Where the contract was not adhered to, whom would the law benefit 2 — A man utterly devoid of every particle of honour and good faith. And this is the new species of curate, who is to reflect dignity and importance upon his poorer brethren | The law encourages breach of faith between gambler and gambler; it arms broker against broker: — but it cannot arm clergyman against clergyman. Did any human being before, ever think of disseminating such a principle among the teachers of Christianity ? Did any ecclesiastical law, before this, ever depend for its success upon the mutual treachery of men who ought to be examples to their fellow creatures of every thing that is just and upright 2 e have said enough already upon the absurdity of punishing all rich rectors for non-residence, as for a presumptive delinquency. A law is already passed, fixing what shall be legal and sufficient causes for non-residence. Nothing can be more unjust, then, than to punish that absence which you admit to be legal. If the causes of absence are too numerous, lessen them ; but do not punish him who has availed himself of their existence. We deny, however, that they are too numerous. There are 6000 livings out of 11,000 in the English church under 80l. per annum; many of these 20l., many 30l. per annum. The whole task of education at the university, public schools, private families, and in foreign travel, devolves upon the clergy. A great part of the literature of their country is in their hands. Residence is a very proper and necessary measure; but, considering all these circumstances, it requires a great deal of moderation and temper to carry it into effect without doing more mischief than good. At present, however, the torrent sets the other way. Every lay plunderer, and .*. fanatical coxcomb, is forging fresh chains for the English clergy; and we should not be surprised, in a very little time, to see them absenting themselves from their benefices by a kind of day-rule, like prisoners in the King's Bench. The first bill, which was brought in by Sir William Scott, — always saving and excepting the power granted to the bishops, -is full of useful provisions, and characterised throughout by great practical wisdom. We have no doubt but that it has, upon the whole, improved the condition of the English church. Without caution, mildness, or information, however, it was peculiarly unfortunate to follow such a leader. We are extremely happy the bill was rejected. We have seldom witnessed more of ignorance and error stuffed and crammed into so very narrow, a compass. Its origin, we are confident, is from the Tabernacle ; and its consequences would have been, to have sown the seeds of discord and treachery in an ecclesiastical constitution, which, under the care of prudent and honest men, may always be rendered a source of public happiness. One glaring omission in this bill we had almost forgotten to mention. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has entirely neglected to make any provision for that very meritorious class of men, the lay curates, who do all the business of those offices, of which lazy and nonresident placemen receive the emoluments. So much delicacy and conscience, however, are here displayed on the subject of pocketing unearned emoluments, that we have no doubt the moral irritability of this servant of the Crown will speedily urge him to a species of reform, of which he may be the object as well as the mover.
* We remember Horace's description of the misery of a parish where there is no resident clergyman.
CATHOLICS. (E. Review, 1808.)
History of the Penal Laws against the Irish Catholics, from the
Treaty of Limerick to the Union. By Henry Parnell, Esq. M.P.
THE 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, ere long, be 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 o' 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 lie 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 dol 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 joir, 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