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ecution, James the Second was driven from the throne. He rendered,' said Lord Eldon, 'as far as in him lay, the laws of the land inoperative, and in his conduct justified the assertion, that Popery and tyranny necessarily exist together: and convinced the nation that its liberties cannot be safe, if a Papist sits upon the throne. It had before-let this not be forgotten---been convinced that a king must have Protestant advisers only in Parliament.'
"Why have I adverted to these facts? God forbid that I should ascribe to the Roman Catholics of the present day, principles such as these, which are known to have been professed and acted upon by the Roman Catholics of the seventeenth century. The sole object which I have had in view, has been to show the foundation of the laws by which the Roman Catholics have been at various times restrained. From the Revolution down to the present period, those laws, as far as they related to political power, have been gradually diminished in severity. Many of the oaths by which persons, professing the Roman Catholic religion, were prevented from enjoying various civil advantages, (oaths highly proper at the time at which they were enacted,) have been abrogated."
Such are the restrictive statutes, and such the causes which led to their enactment. Their repeal has been argued on the ground of Toleration, Abstract and Conventional Rights, the
Examples of other States, and Political Expediency. How futile such arguments are has been abundantly proved. Let us take them in their order.
Toleration-its nature and limits-enjoyed in its fullest extent by Roman Catholics.
"To tolerate (observes the Quarterly Review) is to allow that which is not approved,-to suffer that which is not and ought not to be encouraged. Toleration is such allowance, such sufferance ;nothing more. And more no dissidents ought to expect or ask, more being inconsistent with the fundamental principles of any constitution whereof religion is a part. And this, too, must have its limits; for nothing may be tolerated which would manifestly endanger the public peace,-nothing which is offensive to public decency, nothing which is contrary to a divine command, -nothing which is in itself nefarious; though conscience may be pleaded for all, since 6 among the many practical errors which are gotten abroad into the world, a very large proportion there is of those which have either suckt
their poison from, or disguised it under, that venerable name.' Were a party of Hindoos, for example, to establish themselves, with their families, in England, however desirous the women might be to burn themselves when they became widows, and however desirous their friends and relatives might be that they should be gratified in their desire, no such sacrifice would or could be tolerated in this country. Were a sect to arise among us who should reject the ordinances of marriage, such a sect would be suppressed by law, unless they were so insignificant in number as to escape observation; like certain schismatical Quakers in Ireland, who some twenty years ago separated from their society, or were rather cast out by it, because even the Quakers' form of matrimony was too ceremonial for them. They were a set of harmless enthusiasts, acting in the simplicity of their hearts, under the influence of an erring and over-stimulated conscience working upon weak minds; but if a proselyting sect were to be formed upon the principle of having a community of wives, or any other such scheme, in which conscience should be made the flimsy pretext for profligacy, the interposition of authority would be called for. If such testimony were to be volunteered in these days, as in the times of the Commonwealth was not unfrequently borne against the priest and the steeple-house before the congregration, by men sometimes, sometimes by women,-were
such exhibitions to be made, as they then were, in naked truth or even in semi-nude sincerity, though there are no persons who would think of punishing the poor, pitiable fanatics as criminals, all will agree that they ought to be regarded as insane, and put under restraint accordingly. In the first and lightest case, that where the evil amounts to nothing more than a probability of disturbing the public peace, those who see the propriety of suppressing the processions of the Orange Clubs, will admit that, precisely on similar grounds, the Roman Catholics should be prohibited from carrying in public the host and the images of their saints, with such display as is customary in countries where the Roman Catholic religion is established. Processions of this kind are not tolerated even in the United States of America. The gratification of any party or sect, however numerous or respectable, must give way to public convenience.
"As there are limits to toleration, so there are degrees of it. The Protestant dissenters must be deemed erroneous, some as to their doctrines and all as to their discipline, by those who profess the principles of the Established Church; and in this light they are regarded by the law. Their conduct in former times produced greater and more lasting injury to the Protestant cause than could have been brought about by all the efforts of all the Catholic powers, and all the artifices of the Church of Rome; and their ex
istence in such numbers and with such an organization as to constitute an active, and powerful, and increasing party in the kingdom, is a circumstance which undoubtedly lessens the security of the state. Still they are Protestants, and being so, they acknowledge no foreign jurisdiction; their allegiance is imperfect, but it is not divided; no case can be imagined in which the head of their religion could call upon them to disobey their temporal sovereign, or to act against him. Their discipline is not dangerous to the state, and none of their doctrines or practices are, in their immediate and obvious effects, injurious to society. Therefore they are entitled to the fullest toleration; they are not excluded from the legislature; and the Test Act, by which alone they were affected for the last hundred years, affected them incidentally, not by design, that act being expressly intended for preventing dangers that may happen by Popish recusants.' Indeed the show of reason, as well as the sense of shame must be laid aside by the Romanists, before they can complain of any restrictions, however rigorous, under which they may be placed in a Protestant state. We will not say to them, with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again:' God forbid that this maxim, in its temporal application and full extent, should ever be enforced