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Laws allow the Inbabitants of this Copptry to maintain the Doctrines, and exercise the Worship, of the Church of Rome? It is well known, that our Laws forbid neither the public avowal of the Romish Faith, nor the public exercise of the Romish Worship. Nay more; the Laws not only permit, but they so far protect, the Romish Worship, that they punish every insult or disturbance which may be offered to those who are engaged in the performance of it. There is, in fact, a regular Popish Hierarchy in Ireland, and in some degree in England, of Bishops and Clergy of all their different orders, who are consecrated, ordained, and appointed to their respective Dignities and Benefices, and are allowed to pronounce Ecclesiastical censures and inflict punishments upon the members of theit owo Church; and all this, without any restriction or interference on the part of our Government. So great indeed is the liberality of sentiment which prevails towards Papists, both in public and private, that Parliament bas erected, and supports by annual Grapt, an extensive Seminary for the Education of Popish Priests; and Protestants have contributed largely to the erection of Popish Chapels in many parts of Ireland. Such is the actual state of Toleration, or of something more than Toleration, in this Kingdom. And it should be remarked, that the language held by the Papists, in their Petitions to Parliament, proves their consciousness of possessing Religious Liberty to the utmost extent, since their application is only for that degree of political Power, from which they are at present excluded. The Law says to Papists, You may form your own religious opinions, you may exercise your own mode of Worship, because these are unalienable Rights with wbich po Civil Government ought to interfere. But in this, as in every other Nation, Laws are to be made and to be executed ; public Offices are to be filled, and their various Duties discharged; and into these situations of Power and Trust you are not to be admitted, because you hold opinions incompatible with the safety of our Constitution both in Church and State.
If we search into the Annals of the civilized world from ihe remotest Antiquity to the present time, we shall find that in all the varied forms of Government which have prevailed, there have been Institutions of a religious as well of a political nature. Every national Constitution, with perhaps a single exception, has had its religious as well as its political part; and these parts are generally, if not always, so blended and entwined together, that the one cannot be destroyed without imminent danger to the other. Self-preservation is allowed to be the first Law of Nature, as far as Individuals are concerned ; and in every collective body of men, formed into social compact, it is a paramount duty to provide for the protection and preservation of those Laws and of that Constitution, under
which they have agreed to live. These provisions mast necessarily be different under different circumstances; but there seems to be one Prin. ciple applicable to every form of Government, namely, that those who are invested with the Power over any Community should be sincerely attached to the fundamental Laws, from which the Constitution derives its essence and character. Protestantism is an essential part of the British Constitution ; and therefore the Constitution does not allow the King to be a Papist, because a Popish King could not be expected to maintain a Protestant Establishment. It is also a Principle of our Constitution, that the Kiog should have Advisers in the discharge of every part of his Royal Functions --and is it to be imagined, that Papists would advise measures in support of the cause of Protestantism? A similar observation may be applied to the two Houses of Parliament: Would Popish Peers or Popish Members of the House of Commons enact Laws for the security of the Protestant Government? Would they not rather repeal the whole Protestant Code, and make Popery again the established Religion of the Country?
It has been asserted, that because Papists are good Soldiers and Sailors, they would be honest and faithful Ministers of State. This is by no means a necessary inference. We admit that too much cannot be said in praise of the chearful obedience and undaunted bravery of those of our Popish fellow-subjects, who have engaged in the service of their Country. But Soldiers and Sailors are instruments in the hands of others; they act as tbey are ordered; and bitherto they have been under the Command of men devoted to the King and to the Constitution. It is otherwise with respect to Ministers of State. it is their business to direct-to frame Laws and to propose measures of foreign Policy and internal Government. Whoever is acquainted with the public concerns of this Couptry, must kpow, that the whole complicated Machine of its Government is conducted by one person, or by a small number of persons, of superior energy and talents. How great, then, must be the danger in having these few persons disaffected to one of the essential parts of our Constitution ? Let us suppose, that there had been no Test-laws, no disabling Statutes, in the year 1745, when an attempt was made to overthrow the Protestant Government, and to place a Popish Sovereign upon the throne of these kingdoms; and let us suppose, that the leading men in the Houses of Parliament, that the Ministers of State, and the Commanders of our Armies, had then been Papists. Will any one contend, that that formidable Rebellion, supported as it was by a foreign Enemy, would have been resisted with the same zeal, and suppressed with the same facility, as when al the measures were planned and executed by sincere Protestants, who knew and felt, that the contest in which they were engaged, was to decide, whether this Country was again to be plunged into all the miseries of Popish Tyranny, or to continue to enjoy all the blessings of a Protestant Government. Such a change of circumstances might have caused a very different result from that, which was in fact so decisive, as to put an end 10 all attempts to establish Popery by force in these kingdoms. Does any one employ in his private concerns those whom he thinks disaffected to his Interest, who he knows would rejoice in his disgrace and ruin? And shall we place men, whose principles would lead them to introduce Popery and Arbitrary Power, in public situations, the duty of which is to maintain our free Civil Constitution, and to protect our pure Protestant Establishment? Were Papists invested with Power, they could not but be solicitous to overthrow an Establishment, which they believed to be heretical and founded in error; and to substitute that Religion, to which they believe Salvation exclusively confined. · The more sincere Papists are, the more eager they must be upon this point. .
Observations on the Roman Catholic Question, by the Right Hon.
Lord K'enyon. Fourth Edition, with Additions.---Stockdale, Pall-Mall. Arter observing, with infinite satisfaction, and profound gratitude, the efforts made by some of our prelates, in behalf of the Protestant religion, we now call the attention of our readers to a pamphlet written on the Roman Catholic Question, by a temporal peer-Lord Kenyon. His lordship's character, as a zealous and orthodox member of the Church of England, and a liberal promoter of works of piety and charity, was well known to us; we were no strangers to the loyal attachment which he bore to his Sovereign, and we ourselves have seen him take an ardent part in forwarding the education of the poor, on the Madras system; which is now become a national concern. But we are at present to look at him in another point of view,-as a friend to the constitution of his country, as a legislator who has examined it, and as a patriot who successfully maintains that cause which the descendants of the great Whig families seem to have aban. doned,—the cause of the Protestant religion,-connected (as the Cavendishes and Russells once thought it to be) with the liberty of the subject, and opposed to Popery and arburary power.
His lordship’s well-timed publication (comprizing an appendix, and a postscript, and extending altogether to 116 pages) lets us into the track of study which he has pursued. He goes to the bottom of the Question ; and if the Protestant frieuds to the repeal of the few legal disabilities under which the Papists still lie, shall remain unconvinced, we can but pity minds occupied by fatal prepossessions, and lament the dangers to which our country is exposed. Our readers, however, may rest assured, that we shall not pine away in the languor of pity, nor vent all our regret in the sad luxury of lamentation ; no:-we shall seek for consolation in manly exertion and if the Coronation-Oath is to be violated, if the bulwarks of the Constitution are to be thrown to the ground, if Protestantism is to be extinguished in the land where Wickliffe withstood the tyranny, and exposed the corruptions of Popery, one hundred and fifty years before Luther Aourished ; if the Papists are once more " to ride orer our heads," ---this comfort shall at least remain, that we were not parties in 'our destruction. These miseries, we trust, will never take place, whilst our country enumerates amongst the defenders of her laws such exalted and able champions as Lord. Kenyon. His lordship considers the Question, With reference, first, to the Nature of a Church-Establishment. Secondly, to the true Character of Toleration. Thirdly, to different Acts of Parliament, and the Coronation-Oath.
Fourthly, to the Character of the Roman Catholic Religion itself, and how far it may have undergone any alteration.
Fifthly, to the grounds alleged in favour of farther Concessions to the Roman Catholics. .
Sixthly, to any probable good effect to be expected, on the whole, from such Concessions..
Our readers will see that these topics leave nothing untouched, for they embrace all the great points which are now at issue. We are at a loss as to the individual passages which it might be proper to cite, where so many offer themselves to our notice. We shall select, however, what his lordship says, under his second general head, concerning Toleration; and the rather, because of the very judicious quotation which his lordship has made from a sermon preached and published by the late Dr. Kippis; a passage whics, we hope, may induce many of our fellow Protestants, who are not menibers of the Established Church, to co-operate with us against the claims of our ancient antagonists. 4 We are now to consider the true character of toleration. Toleration means no more than a permission to every individual to adbere to that faith and form of worship which are most agreeable to the dictates of his conscience.
Toleration is opposed to persecution; and, as the former consists in an unrestrained liberty of conscience and of worship, the latter cannot be said to exist, unless, by means affecting either the person or the property of an individual, some restraint be imposed upon that liberty. Where there is no such restraint, perfect toleration may be said to exist. There can therefore be no question as to the full enjoyment of toleration, as well by the Romanists as by every other class of Dissenters in the British islands. The question then with regard to restraints or disabilities is, whether too many exist, and whether good is not on the whole the result ?.
That question must depend on the necessity of the restraints towards securing what is more advantageous to the community than the restraints are disadvantageous to those affected by them, which brings back the subject to what is essential to the security of a church-establishment. If the restraints go farther than to secure it from probable bazard, they extend too far ; but can any one doubt, if the enemies of an establishment seek to be admitted to the power of altering those laws which are its security (indeed almost the establishment itself), whether those who would preserve the existing order of things are bound to resist the demand ?
It cannot be' meant, that stipends to ministers of religion, paid by the public, are necessary to toleration ; because that does not exist in the case of any of the dissenters from the church; nor in that of the episcopal communion in Scotland; and the guarded care which was taken, on a late application in this country on behalf of the clergy of that communion, not to disgust the established church in Scotland, by affording any other than private assistance to the tolerated church, is a strong argument for my present position. The matter of policy, with respect to any such allowance of stipends, is a very different question. In the case of the Dissenters in Ireland it has been allowed, and no doubt because they were deemed friendly to the union with England, and to the constitution in church and state ; the allowance also for the education at home of the Irish Romanists results from policy merely; but these and any other accie dental cases which may be cited, are only deviations from the broad rule