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firmative. The example of the Puritans proves how little the Catholics would have gained by any concession, short of complete conformity to the established religion. Whatever tranquillity they enjoyed under Elizabeth, is to be attributed, not to the tolerant spirit of the government, but to the flexibility of their own religious principles, which permitted them to join in that mode of worship which was established by law,
In the two following reigns, the severities which the Catholics endured, were occasioned partly by the misconduct of some of their own body, in which the Court of Rome had no share, and principally, by the relentless bigotry of the Puritans, who persecuted the Catholics, not as bad subjects, but as bad Christians. When it is considered that the Puritans entertained notions respecting the subjection of the civil to the ecclesiastical power, which had hardly been heard of in Europe since the twelfth century, it will not be supposed that they were very solicitous that the King should not be deprived of the better moiety of his sovereignty.' After the fall of the monarchy, the Catholics were protected from the fury of the Presbyterians by Cromwell, the father of toleration in England. The conduct of the Catholics on that occasion is attributed to them as a crime by Lord Clarendon, in the following parenthesis.
" During terior conformity to the established religion, ' without entering in" to, and sifting into mens' consciences, when no overt scandal is • given.' That is to say, if men will go regularly to church, and will abstain from writing or speaking against the religion of the State, the government need not be very strict in inquiring into their private thoughts. More than this, Bacon thought, could not be granted with safety to the State. Such were the opinions of latitudinarian statesmen and philosophers. It will not be supposed that theologians were more tolerant. See, for instance, in Leland's History of Ireland (II. p. 482), a paper drawn up by Archbishop Usher, in the year 1626, and entitled, The Judgment of diverse of the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland concerning Toleration of Religion. In this paper, the toleration of Popery is called ' a grievous
sin, by which we render ourselves accessory to all their supersti
tions, idolatries, and 'heresies.' It is amusing to compare this kind of language with that which may be found in the books of the present day. "The Church of England,' according to Mr Le Mesurier (Serious Examination, &c. p. 12), ' being equally averse • to persecuting, as to being persecuted, has always been glad to
grant to all sects, that toleration which she could never obtain from Romish priests, or Romish governors.' Our respect for Mr Le Mesurier's private character prevents us from suspecting that he was not in earnest in making the preceding assertion."
• During which time (the exile of Charles II.] his Roman Catho. lic subjects, two or three persons of honour only excepted, shewed very little affection to him, but applied themselves to Cromwell and those in power, that they might live quietly under that government, which they were willing to submit to, and to give any security for their obedience.' p. 704.
From the Restoration to the Revolution, the remains of Puritanism, and the manifest leaning of the Court towards Popery, are sufficient to account for the animosity of the people against the Catholics. After the Revolution, which was secretly promoted by the Pope himself, the Catholics were considered by the government in no other light than as an inconsiderable branch of the Jacobite party, the great strength of which lay within the pale of the Established Church. As the new government was convinced, that the dread of Popery was the great obstacle to the restoration of the exiled family, we must not wonder that the Whig statesmen did not neglect the proper means of keeping alive that dread in the minds of the people. It is with great truth of painting that Swift, in his Essay on the Fates of Clergymen, among the thriving arts of an unprincipled Lowchurch divine, enumerates his dreadful apprehensions of Por
pery.' As far, however, as was consistent with the necessity of keeping up this spirit, the Whigs were sufficiently willing to comprehend the Catholics within the effects of their principle of general toleration. Upon the whole, since the Revolution, the Catholics have had more reason to complain of the Tories than of the Whigs. *
Since the extinction of the hopes and pretensions of the House of Stuart, a considerable progress has been made, with the full concurrence of government, towards the assimilation of the political condition of the Catholics with that of the Protestant Dissenters. The Catholics, indeed, are still excluded from Parliament, which is open to Protestant Dissenters. The English Catholics are also liable to be deprived, by any one of the candidates, of the privilege of voting at elections. These, however, and several other disabilities under which the Catholics still labour, and from which the Protestant Dissenters are
released, ' * See, for instance, in Burnet's History of his own Time, (I11. p. 316, ed. 1753, the manner in which King William was compelled to give way to the Act 11. and 12. Will. III. cap. 4., in order to satisfy the Tories that he was not a Papist, or, at least, a favourer i of Popery.' Swift, in several parts of his writings, reproaches the Whigs for their lenity towards the Catholics, and exults in compare ing the different conduct of his own party, while they were in power. Passages to that effect may be seen in The Presbyterian's Plex of Merit, and in the Ronan Catholic's Reasons for Repealing the Test,
released, may be justly attributed, not to any fear of the Pope, but partly to the difficulty of changing long established laws, even when they are acknowledged to be useless or pernicious; partly to a resolution formed by a great number of our fellow subjects, to resist any measure whatsoever favourable to any class of Dissenters; and partly to the irritation which has been produced by the peculiar circumstances under which the measure of Catholic Emancipation, as it is called, has been brought forward.
The protracted discussion of that measure has had the effect of making all England ring from side to side' with the names and actions of Gregory VII. and Innocent III. We shall conclude this article by stating the reasons which induce us to believe, that if the authority of the See of Rome were totally annihilated, the opposition io Catholic Emancipation would not be sensibly diminished.
The opponents of Catholic Emancipation may be divided into four classes ; though many belong to more than one class, and not a few may, with equal propriety, be assigned to every class. We will consider these four classes in their proper order.
The first class comprizes the members of the present administration, and their political adherents. We believe that our readers, of all sects and parties, will acknowledge, that whether Catholic Emancipation be a good or a bad measure, it is the interest of the present administration not only to prevent it from taking place, but also to render the supporters of it odious in the eyes of that people to whose voice the Sovereign of a free people is compelled to attend in the choice of his ministers. With such persons, it is evidently fruitless to enter into any discussion of the objections to that measure. Many of them, indeed, candidly acknowledge in private, that these objections have no real solidity, and that their own opposition to Catholic Emancipation is caused by circumstances merely of a temporary nature.
In the second class, we place all persons who resolutely and · blindly oppose every innovation in the constitution of the country; and whose mouths are full of the old adages, Nolumus leges Anglie mutari-Stat super vias antiquas-Meddle not with them that are given to change, &c. To this class belong many of the sages of the law; an order of men which, in every country, is apt to consider the existing order of things as the most perfect model of political wisdom; to adhere closely to every established error; and to tremble at every proposition of improvement. If the Catholics could be persuaded to renounce the spiritual au
thority of the Pope, there remains the declaration against transubstantiation and the invocation of saints, besides all the laws which affect Dissenters in general. It is not to be supposed that persons of this description will ever willingly consent to the repeal of a considerable number of statutes, which our ancestors, who were so much better judges of these matters than we are, thought necessary to the preservation of the constitution.
The third class consists chiefly of most of the clergy of the Established Church, and of such of the laity as aspire to the character of Highchurch men. The members of this class are adverse to the admission of any persons who do not profess the religion of the State, to offices of trust and emolument. Many of them do not scruple to maintain, that Dissenters, of all sorts and conditions, must, from the nature of things, be enemies to the government of their country. A Presbyterian Chancellor would not be less offensive in their eyes, perhaps more offensive; to several of them, than a Catholic Chancellor. Instead of raising the Catholics even to the political situation of the Protestante Dissenters, they desire to depress the Protestant Dissenters to the political situation of the Catholics. * Of the numerous pamphlets on this subject written by clergymen of the Church of Enga. land which we have seen, we recollect only one, in which the admission of Protestant Dissenters to offices is recommended; while the exclusion of Catholics from them is defended. Mr le Mesurier, in his Sequel to the Scrious Examination into the Roman Catholic Claims, (p. 68), produces the following passage from Şel: den's Table Talk. "The Protestants in France bear office in • the state, because, though their religion is different, yet they • acknowledge no other king but the king of France. The Pa• pists in England, they must have a king of their own, a Pope,
that must do something in our kingdom; therefore, there is no • reason they should enjoy the same privileges.' On these words Mr le Mesurier remarks This is a most just and true distinc• tion. Protestants own no foreign head of their church, there• fore they have no temptation to overset the government under
* Observations on the Roman Catholic Question, by. Lord Kenyon, p. 5. • The most effectual way, therefore, of affording security to i an Established Church, is to restrict to its members the possession • of that power, which, if placed in other hands, would endanger
it. Therefore it is required, in this country, that not only the So.' • vereign, but all persons appointed to offices of power and trust,
should be of the Established Religion.' If this doctrine can be clearly proved, it seems to be a needless waste of time and labour, to dwell upon the particular objections to the admission of Catholics to offices of power and trust.
" which they live, if not molested.' A person better acquainted with the theory than with the practice of dialectics, would naturally infer from Mr le Mesurier's words, that if Catholics did not own a foreign head of their church, he would be willing to admit them to offices in the state, as well as Protestant Dissenters. A passage which occurs at the very threshold of his writings on this subject, clearly demonstrates the erroneousness of such an inference. “I will go farther, and venture to express my opinion, that • such is the general spirit of the Romish Church, such is the • tendency of all the institutions and doctrines which are peculiar
to it, that it can never with safety be admitted to more than • a toleration in a Protestant state.' Serious Examination, &c. p. 3.
To the fourth class belong all persons who view the Roman' Catholic religion with the eyes of the old Puritans. Under this class are comprehended many of the Protestant Dissenters of the more ancient sects, * together with almost all the Methodists,' , taking the appellation in its most comprehensive sense. A Mcthodist troubles himself very little about foreign influence and • divided allegiance.! He considers a Catholic, not as a kind of rebel,' but as a kind of idolater; a believer in free-will and jus rification by works, a suppresser of the scriptures, and a persecutor of the godly. When we observe the great and increasing influence of the Methodists, we do not hesitate to consider them as by far the most formidable enemies to the Catholics; and, indeed, as no despicable enemies of some other persons. It is principally by means of the Methodists that the popular cry of No-Popery has been excited.
Upon the whole, we firmly believe, that if the bulk of the Irish nation were members of the Greek or Armenian Church, instead of the Roman Church, the question of Emancipation would stand very nearly, if not exactly, where it stands at present. There is another opinion upon this subject, which we have sometimes been tempted to adopt, and which we will submit to the consideration of our readers, without any commentary or explanation. We suspect, that if the four, or three, or two millions of Irish Catholics were unanimously to offer to embrace any modification of Protestantism, except the Established Religion, many, if not most of those who feel, or affect to feel, such dreadful apprehensions of foreign influence,' would answer, in the words of Othello, " 'Tis better as it is.'
* See especially the Hints of Philagatharches, reviewed in our Vol. XVII. p. 393.