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fert the fyllem in which he was educated. But we are free to admit, that circumftances may be conceived, in which that conformity to the eftablifhed church, which the AO. of Settlement requires, might be found extremely perplexing. Let us fuppofe that William III., or the Houfe of Hanover, had refufed the crown upon thofe terms. Let us fuppofe that all foreign princes had, at that time, been as zealoufly attached to their own forms, as fome of the church of England are to theirs. Would it have been woith while to have abolifhed the monarchy, or to have fuffered a civil war among our domeftic claimants, for the fake of retaining this provision? The cafe, we admit, is very improbable; but thofe who ftrive to urge us with the moll unlikely cafes, mud not complain of them in return.
3. 'The Catholics refufe the oath of fupremacy to our Moft Gracious Sovereign; this, evidently, would be a palpable contradiction to the oath already taken by them of the fupremacy of the Pope.' Dep. Birch, p. 10.
TheTe is no oath of fupremacy to our Gracious Sovereign in.exjftence; if there were, our Scottifh nation would refufe to take it. We acknowledge no earthly head of the Chriftian church. The . real oath is merely negative; and only excludes all foreign authority and jurifdiCHon, ecclefiaftical and fpiritual. A French Catholic would refufe fuch an oath; and why mould a King of England expect more undivided allegiance than Bonaparte?
4. ' The Catholics do not believe the obligation of oaths taken to heretic princes, or, which is the fame thing, they believe that the Pope can difpenfe with fuch oaths.'
Why, then, do they not take every oath you impofe? Either they are excluded at prefent by a fyftem of oaths, or they are not. If they are not, the battle is about repealing a nugatory law; if they are, the imputation is plainly calumnious. But this charge may be repelled more dire£Uy, as we fhall fee, before the clofe of the article.
5. ' The Catholics did not tolerate us when they were in power; why (hould we be more indulgent to them? Have we forgotten Guy Faux, and bloody Queen Mary?'
'Thofe who perfecuted Protectants are not the fame individuals who would derive advantage from repealing the tefts; and, if they were, what a mean-fpirited vindi&ivenefs would there be in retaliation! But, a word more about perfecution. The church of Rome, we admit, in the middle ages, was as intolerant as worldly ambition and religious bigotry could render her; but this was not fo much the natural confequence of her tenets, as the refult of the ftate of the human mind in thofe times. She perfecuted the Albigenfes in the twelfth century, becaufe it was the twelfth century; becaufe toleration had not been proved in theory,
1 and and tried in practice, to be the beft means of preferving quiet, and fecuring truth. Proteftants were burned in the reign- of Mary, becaufe fhe was furious and fanatical. Elizabeth was wife and temperate, and not difinclined to the Catholics by principle: her reftri&ions on them, accordingly, though fometimes very fevere, were founded on political conCderations; yet perfecution was not at an end. Are our opponents aware, that two perfons were burned for herefy in the reign of Elizabeth, and two others in that of James I.? However, it muft be allowed, that the Roman church has always been more flow to admit principles of toleration than our own. All this, however, is betide the main point, which is, not what are the faults of popery, but what are the dangers of letting in a few Catholic officers, among a great majority of Proteftants, into our army and navy.
'6. If this conceffion be made, more will be afked in future; as you recede, they will advance. The penal code was repealed; the civil reftrictions mitigated; the elective franchife granted: All thefe have been fteps to new demands. It is neceflary to ftop fomewhere; and no point can be better than this.'
If you dispossess a man of his seat in the gallery of the House of Commons, will he be satisfied if you give him back three inches to sit down upon? Will he not naturally encroach, and edge on further and further, till he has got back as much as you took from him? But, having done this, is it so certain that he will proceed further, and become the aggressor in his turn, though by rather a fair retaliation? Whoever has witnessed such a transaction as this, must have observed that peace was sure to be restored by doing full justice to the injured party; but never till then. It is the same in public affairs. We instanced, formerly-, the contests of ancient Rome, which were only terminated by a fair partition of privileges between the Patrician and Plebeian orders. An orator, not less eloquent than Deputy Birch or Lord Hawkesbury, has sagaciously remarked with what difference, in point of earnestness, men contend for their rights, and for their ambition. ov%, cuotus ovdus o?rs£ Ts Tz 7rteovex.TUv 7roXifiticruit ccv, xxt Tojv
fnrte 3s rev srAscvsxTsZV, ci% tvraf «AA* tpmrxi fu>, eat ns &' tttt 3s xuXvfarw, Ovoh iyitx.nx.ivut m; ttxntaStvrx; avrttf ityxtTxi. Dem. ?r. r. P. s. p. 193. edit. Reiske.
But, setting this aside, will they be more enabled to obtain further demands, by having gained these? Either these are reasonable in themselves, or they are not. If they are, it is ridiculous to pretend that they can afford a pretext for unreasonable concessions. If they are not, let that be proved, and there is an end of the discussion. Or is it conceived that they will gain
Vol. x. No. 19. I more
more political strength, by being admitted into the army, and thus compel what they wish? This comes to what we have considered already,—the folly of imagining a Catholic Colonel Pride, issuing out of the mass-house, and purging the walls of St Stephens of those who have rendered it any thing rather than a house of prayer. A former House of Commons withstood, with courage and dignity, the menaces of a fanatical mob in 1780; the present, we are sure, would display equal firmness. We trust, however, that those who, to gratify their own ambition, swell the same war-whoop at this day, will instruct their agents to check the populace in time, and save our Senate from insult, and our capital from conflagration.
7. • The King, at his coronation, fwears to maintain the rights and privileges of the Proteftant church: to admit Catholic officers into the army would violate that oath.'
If no other argument against the measure is found, this must fall to the ground of course; for, unless the rights and privileges of the Protestant church can be proved to be put in danger by the concessions in question, it is idle to talk of the coronation oath. But, even if we admitted that danger, we utterly deny the pertinence of the present objection. The coronation oath has no sort of relation to the King's acts, as part of the Legislature; it binds his conscience as an executive magistrate only. All the clauses of the oath bear no other construction; and no other, indeed, is consistent with the nature of such an obligation. While the sallies of the prerogative were justly feared, every check, whether of religion or law, was naturally imposed on the monarch. To bind his hands from consenting to the advice of his Parliament, was surely far from the intention of those who framed that solemn oath, and was indeed so considered, when a modification of it was proposed soon after the revolution; as may be seen in Grey's Debates, vol. 9. Even a distinct oath, not to grant favours to the Catholics, as it must be imposed by the people of England, might be released by their representatives. No moralist considers a promise as obligatory, which is released by the promisee; and an oath is but a more solemn promise.
The speech of Mr Deputy Birch is such as might be looked for from one of his calling; it surfeits the understanding, without substance or nourishment. Indeed, we owe some apology to our readers, for noticing such a performance at all; but, in truth, the arguments of greater men, in greater assemblies, are, at bottom, little better than his; and we thought it fit to take hold of an author, if we may apply the word so laughably, who had not the art to varnish over his absurdities with that looseverbiage, which our limits would not permit us to transcribe and. detect.
The speech of Lord Hawkesbury, on the Catholic Petition in 1805, is more decorous, though not much more profound, than that of Mr Birch. As we have no leisure for a detailed comment upon it, we shall only note, that he dwells on the incompatibility of a Protestant King, and Catholic advisers; on the foreign jurisdiction which those of the church of Rome necessarily acknowledge; and upon the little likelihood that the concessions then requested would satisfy the claimants. These topics we have touched upon already; and, when we add to these, the common praise of the revolution and William III. on one hand, and of the church of England on the other, we have mentioned every thing, we believe, that the speech of this eminent statesman contains. One assertion struck us as rather singular.
* In the beginning of the rtign of Cliarles II., when the tide ran high in favour of monarchy, the only rtfidance which was made to that Prince for fome years, was made by the church party ; and to their oppofition, at that time, we were indebted for the pielervation of any part of our political liberties.' p. 36.
The Presbyterians i3f that age, his Lordship doubtless imagines to have been slaves of the Court, of which the distinguished favour that was shewn them, especially in Scotland, would have afforded him a cogent proof. But we, who are of course not so well read in history as Lord Hawkesbury, had taken it into our heads that no opposition at all was made to the arbitrary conduct of Charles II. by the Church party, and especially in the beginning of his reign.
The cursory reflexions by a Loyal Irishman, are the effusion of some furious bigot of the Orange faction, who founds his claim to public estimation on traducing such men as the Duke of Bedford and Sir John Newport. The Irish administration of the former, it is asserted, had formed a compact for a change of the religion of the state. 'England was to be Protestant, Scotland Presbyterian, and Ireland Catholic.' (p 5.) Such is the ignorance of a man who affects afterwards to talk of bulls and councils, of canon law and casuistry. The disturbances occaisioned by the Thrashers, though their depredations were notoriously as much levelled at the Catholic clergy, as at the Protestant, are ascribed by this writer to the effect of the system adopted by administration; nor has he any scruple to assert, that Government, in order to repress them, had recourse to the same measures of coercion as were adopted in 1798, and that • the reign of terror recommenced.' (p. 10.) A gross and palpable misrepresentation; as it is perfectly well known, that no measures, beyond the legal course of proceedings, were resorted to by the administration of the Duke of Bedford. It was reserved, we believe, for this
I % vriiei writer to maintain, that Catholics might have been admitted with more pretence into the Irish Parliament before the Union, than into that of the empire. 'She might have introduced popery into her legislature, and not have infected the British constitution luith tliat foul pestilence.' There is, indeed, a scurrility and intemperance which runs through this whole pamphlet, hardly paralleled even by the writings of Dr Duigenan; and, were it not for the grossness of the ignorance occasionally displayed, we should suspect that classical pen to have been employed. But we have that to complain of, which is continually the case with these loose pamphleteers. There is no assertion made, which it is worth while to contest, because there is none which any other man would maintain; there is rio argument for us to attack, because there is none advanced; there is no fact to examine, because, with hardly an exception, none are brought forward. The only part of this pamphlet which has a semblance and speciousness about it, is what relates to the supposed refusal of the English Catholics to renounce the dispensing power of the Pope.
'In an encyclical letter from the four vicars apoftolic in England, dated January the ift, 1791, it is afTerted and maintained, that the authority to determine on the lawfulnefs of oaths, declarations, and other inftrnments whatever, containing doctrinal matters, refides exclufively in the bifhops, they being, by divine inftitution, the fpi ritual governors in the church of Chrift, and the,guardians of religion. In conformity with this fundamental and eternal dogma of the church, thefe vicars apoflolic condemned, in the fulled manner, the attempt of offering to Parliament an oath, incfuding doctrinal matters, to be there fanftioned, which had not beea approved by the biftiops*. They exhort all good Catholics, in their refpedtive diftricts, to oppofe the attempt, and ta prevent fuch an oath from being carried into effect.
* A proteftation had been figned by all the bifhops and clergy, and all the laity, of any confequence, of the Roman Catholic communion in England, difavowing the five following propofitions.
* lft. That princes, excommunicated by the Pope, maybe depofed or murdered by their fubjects, or any other.
* 2d, That the Pope can abfolve fohjects from their allegiance.
'3d, That the Pope hath a civil jurifdiction within the realms of other princes.
'4th, That the Pope is infallible.
'5th, That a breach of faith with a perfon may be juftified, under pretence that fuch a perfon is an heretic, or an infidel.
* This proteftation was followed by a propofed oath, framed on the precife terms of the proteftation, and renouncing, in an immediate appeal to God, what the fubferibers had before renounced by their proteftation; and this oath it wa?, as 1 have faid, that provoked the anathema pronounced by the Catholic vicars, againft all who mould concur Ml the rriraftire of propofing. fush an oath to Parliament,, to be fanctioned