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relieve our Catholic brethren from some of the grievous burthens under which they laboured. Lord George Gordon raised the cry of “ No Popery, no Wooden Shoes," and the people immediately fancied that they were (that is, all of them that were allowed to live) to be condemned to wear wooden shoes, while a very large portion of them were at once to be committed to the flames. Under the influence of these appalling ideas, it is not wonderful that they rose in thousands against a law which was believed to lead to such terrible consequences.
Since that time the Catholics have been emancipated; and the people have now no warmer friends in the House of Commons, than some of the Catholic members there. Having themselves been persecuted, these members are enemies of persecution. They sympathise with the people, and have shown that although a man be a Catholic, he is not thereby excluded from being liberal and honest.
These are striking facts, and have had great weight; they have assisted the change in the public mind; and will overthrow ten thousand speeches or sermons, made and preached by ten thousand interested priests.
The public now are fast tending, under the influence of this increased experience of the ways of men, to a state of mind that promises much happiness to those who are to succeed us. Already we have learned to judge of one another by the conduct we pursue, and not by the opinions we hold. We are very generally begining to understand, that religion is a subject wholly between man and his Maker, and that no one ought to seek to know the thoughts of his neighbour respecting it, and that judgment ought not to be passed by one man on another for anything that he may conscientiously believe on this important, and necessarily perplexing and difficult subject. Time was, when men were so haughty and dogmatic, that they could not bear the slightest opposition to their own opinions on matters connected with religion. Under pretence of propagating and maintaining the true faith, but in reality to punish opposition to their own imperious will, our forefathers used to
burn people for supposed differences upon points utterly unintelligible. The old disputes about the Trinity are without a meaning, and yet thousands were sacrificed in this strange contest. The cut of a cape raised furious wars between rival religious orders; and the position in which the thumb was to be placed in making the sign of the cross, kept all Christendom in combustion. Gradualiy, slowly, but at last completely, we have gotten rid of this dire intolerance; we have laid aside these frivolous disputes; we pursue our duties in this life in an humble and cheerful spirit—modestly asserting our own belief, and charitably listening to and forbearing towards opposing ones.
We see the Jew son following the religion of his Jew father; the Mohammedan, the faith of his Mohammedan parent; and the various Christian sects also following each the belief of their parents. The Protestant father has a Protestant son; the Catholic, a Catholic son; a Quaker, a Quaker son; a Presbyterian, a Presbyterian son ;
This coincidence the world over teaches us humility. We see that our faith depends more upon the circumstances by which, in infancy, we are surrounded, than upon our own investigations. We see men of all these various sects and religions, believing implicitly that they alone are right, and all the remaining portions of mankind wrong. This again teaches us humility. We ourselves believe that we are right; but we know that our neighbours, equally good and wise, believe that we are wrong. This does not make us less stedfast in our faith, though it makes us diffident in censuring others. We hold on to our own belief, but are perfectly content to let others do the same Harmony, peace, good-will, kindness, active beneficence,-in short, VIRTUE is the great result. We are daily becoming wiser and better.
Is not this a cheering prospect? Have we not good reasor. to think well of the times in which we live, and ought we nut to cherish and foster those feelings of charity and forbearance which bold out this prospect of happiness for us and for our children?
In the midst of this growing and increasing charity come
some interested priests, to blow the coals of slumbering discord. They seek to stir up dissension--to bring us back to the olden times of unchristian hate, of persecution, torture, ay and massacre too. And for what do they seek to bring about this hateful revolution ? Money, Money, Money, is the answer. The demon of cupidity is within them, and for the wretched purpose of maintaining revenues wrung from the peasantry of Ireland, at an expense often of blood, and always of treasure wholly beyond their worth, these selfish priests, these worshippers of Baal, these idolaters of the golden calf, try to create dissension among brethren. With charity upon their lips, they preach the most furious intolerance; with pretended sanctity in their thoughts and demeanour, the narrowest of worldly interests is really their sole incentive to action. They talk of the foul doctrines of the Catholic Church, and are exhibiting in their own conduct the most damning evidence against their own.
One of them has a cure in Ireland : that is, he is supposed to have the care or charge of the spiritual concerns of a parish in that country. He leaves his charge: he vagabondizes up and down the country, spouting frothy and vapouring nonsense in the hope of creating confusion. The people of England with the House of Commons at their head, have decided that, if there be any ecclesiastical revenues in Ireland, over and above what is necessary for the providing for the spiritual wants of the people of the established church, that such surplus shall not, as now, be given to a set of parsons for doing nothing, but shall be employed in the instruction of the people generally. Hereupon the parsons bave set up a howl :-“ The church is in danger. Popery is about to be dominant. We are going to rush headlong into idolatry." All which, being put into English, signifies, “We are about to lose what we have hitherto most unrighteously enjoyed. The money of the people is about to be employed for the benefit of the people : and we are no longer to be paid for doing nothing." This has stirred up these reverend trumpet. ers; this has provoked them into wrath; this has set them to work to find out what is evil in Den’s Theology About that said Theology they did not care a straw; but they fancied that the people of England were to be gulled by means of their vulgar artifice, and they therefore have dug up Den's Theology, in the hope of raising a riot. They have signally failed. The times of priestly delusion have gone by; and we may congratulate ourselves that the knavery of these runaway parsons, with the folly and knavery combined of their noble and honourable supporters, will prove impotent to mischief. The people treat them with contempt-a contempt richly deserved. The reverend buffoons are looked upon as actors hired for the occasion. Their performances are deemed both dull and wicked; so that, while they excite contempt, they succeed also in creating a universal feeling of disgust.
The different charges which were at this time brought against the Catholics, form not the least curious and interesting portion of the great controversy in which Mr. O'Connell was now engaged. The cry of the church in danger was reverberated from the shores of England, and sounded in the ears of the Protestants of Ireland, as the tocsin of their destruction. In vain did Mr. O'Connell declare on the part of the Catholic body of Ireland, that all they sought for was equal justice, as subjects of the British Crown, and that they neither wished nor intended to interfere with the established church of the kingdom; but at the same time they would not allow the established church to interfere with theirs. Not only was Mr. O'Connell at the time branded with the epithets of an incendiary, an agitator, but he was now to be accused of direct treason, inasmuch as a set of bigotted alarmists declared that in the steps which Mr. O'Connell was pursuing, he had no other view than to place a Catholic king upon the throne of these realms; and which was to be easily effected, if the Ca tholics were once allowed to sit in Parliament; the folly and absurdity of such an opinion are easily met by the construction of the English constitution itself, which provides against a possible conjuncture of a prince sitting on the throne, who professes the Catholic religion; and the coronation oath binds
every prince, who is, or may become our king, to refuse his consent to any law which has for its object the repeal of those statutes by which the church of England is established. It is, therefore, manifest, that as long as our king must be a Protestant, and the coronation oath a qualification of admission to the throne ; so long it is utterly impossible for the Catholics to carry any measure that can repeal the laws for establishing our religion; and consequently, that can endanger its existence. To those who argue that the Catholics are jacobins and republicans, and only wish to gain admittance into Parliament, or only make the exclusion from it a topic of complaint, in order to promote their levelling projects, and the empire of their church, for such must be the inconstancy of those reasoners, that these jacobins in politics must be tyrants in religion; it must be replied, that the conduct of the Catholics belies the supposition that they approve of republican doc. trines. They are as a body, notorious for their loyalty to the dynasty of the House of Hanover. Facts that every one knows, and no one can object to prove this assertion. In Ireland they adopted the cause of the Protestant ascendency in church and state, in two rebellions against the house of Hanover, which promised them the ascendency of the Catholic faith. In the American war they armed to preserve the possession of their country to Great Britain, when the same unjust policy which had always been acted upon in respect to Ireland, had roused the people of America to action, and obliged the minister to draw all the British forces cut of Ireland. At the Union, we assert it, and we do so without fear of contradiction, they supported the measure when all the Protestants, with the excep tion of some few, who were sufficient to form a corrupt majority in Parliament, were infuriate against the measure, and the success of it was depending on the line of conduct which the Catholics would adopt. Is there any man living so great a bigot, or so great a knave, as to deny that their refusal to join their Protestant brethren, and their decision to promote the Union, are positive proofs of the loyalty of the Catholics of Ireland to the king, and the connexion with Great Britain