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FOR OCTOBER, 1812.
PRELIMINARY ADDRESS. OWING to some intervening circumstances, which it is not necessary to detail, the first nuinber of the PROTESTANT AdvoCATE makes its appearance on the first day of October, instead of the first of September, as was once intended. It was planned in the hope of rendering service to the country, and we trust that the work will be vigorously prosecuted.
We profess ourselves firm friends to the Constitution as now established, in Church and State ; and we here, in limine, avow that we have formed a fixed resolution to withstand the attempts of innovators, and to expose the artifices of those restless agitators, both in Great Britain and Ireland, who, to accomplish some secret purpose, which they have not as yet the audacity to declare, endeavour to embroil the different members of the United Kingdom, by inflammatory harangues, by specious tracts, by fallacious reasoning, by unfounded complaints of factitious inju. ries, by open menaces, by secret complottings, and, in a word, by all the practices resorted to by dangerous men, in these latter ages, who masking malignity under a semblance of public spirit, "turn religion into rebellion, and faith into faction.”—Against such we hoist our standard, as a flag of defiance; and to serve also as A RALLYING POINT TO ALL CONSTITUTIONAL Protestants, who know the value of unanimity at home at the present moment, when it becomes us, with undivided attention and undiminished spirit, to maintain the conflict with our unrelenting enemy abroad.
If the claims of the Irish Roman Catholics were even founded in truth and reason, this is not the time to urge them; and the Romish Party,* contrary to what they once professed, by coming
.6" It is not for the Irish Catholics, armed as their cause is with reason and justice, like public foes to ask advantage from public calamity........., They might seems culpable to their country, if, affecting to dissemble what it were unmanly not to feel,
forward, at a period of unexampled exertion against the desolators of the civilized world, plainly shew that they rely upon intimidation as their most powerful auxiliary. But their hopes (and we verily believe that many of the Papists entertain them) are groundless. The Protestants were firm in 1588, when the Invincible Armada threatened our shores; and again in 1601, when fifty sail, seventeen of them men of war, anchored in the harbour of Kinsale, and seven thousand veteran Spanish troops, landed in Ireland, were joined by O'Neale and O'Donnel, with a numerous force of insurgents; the Protestants were firm and rictorious, at the era of the Revolution, when the Popish monarch, who had abdicated the throne of England, was present in Ireland, supported by the whole body of Roman Catholics, aided by five thousand of the best troops of France, who actually were engaged at the battle of the Boyne; the Protestants were not to be overawed in 1798, by the military array on Vinegar-Hill, nor terrified by the murders committed on Wexford Bridge. The Protestants are not now afraid of being subjected to the power of the Pope, who is himself the slave of Buonaparte.
One thing, however, gives all constitutional Protestants sensible concern, viz, that many good men have been imposed upon by Popish craft. It is a melancholy fact, that many people cannot distinguish between religious toleration, and the impartition of civil power. Many are imposed upon by words, and names, and colourable fictions, and a shew of liberality, « falsely so called." They make no difficulty of conceding the name of Catholics to the Romanists; they talk of emancipating those who are not ensladed; and coolly make mention of removing disabitities from a class of people, who have merely been deprived of the power of doing mischief. Have such men looked into the history of their country? or have they lost the use of their memories? Whenso. ever, and wheresoever the church of Rome has been invested with power, it has always shewn itself to be a persecuting church. After many struggles, the Protestants succeeded in throwing open :
they reserved their pretensions in ambuscade, to augment the perplexities of some eritical emergency."-Declaration of the Irish Roman Catholics in 1791.-Sec “ A Commentary on the Proceedings of the Catholics of Ireland, during the Reign of his present Majasty."
its dungeons, dismantling its racks, breaking its wheels, extinguishing its fires, rooting up its stakes of immolation, and piling its faggots on the hearths of the poor. And are we once more to rekindle the fires in Smithfield, or to repeat the Irish massacre ? God forbid ! and the principle of self-defence, which has been called the first law of nature, forbid ! common sense forbid the perpetration of such ruinous folly!
Some people, in the plenitude of their credulity, are disposed to think, that the Roman Catholics of the present day are not guided by the principles which influenced the Papists in the days of our fathers. The pages of the PROTESTANT ADVOCATE will convince such easy dupes, if they yet possess minds capable of conviction, that the very same doctrines which formerly impelled the Papists to inundate the land with blood, are still acknowledged by them. The Papists themselves shall be produced as evidences to this point; they themselves, in such a case, unex. ceptionable witnesses, shall tell our readers, that the Romisk church still claims exclusive Salvation ; still consigns Heretics to everlasting destruction, and still holds that no faith is to be kept with them ;-still maintains the efficacy of absolution pronounced by her priests; still asserts the (lucrative, but) exploded doctrine of purgatory; and still affirms the supremacy of the poor degraded Bishop of Rome over the independent Sovereign of these realms, and over the Church of CHRIST subsisting in the British empire. To this we pledge ourselves; and if we redeem our pledge, as unquestionably we shall, we conceive that we have an undoubted right to call upon those who have been deluded by Popish sophistry, to renounce their besotted misconceptions, and to join the friends of the PROTESTANT ADVOCATE in resisting those Papistical pretensions, modestly called, the Catholic Claims.
A variety of statutes have been enacted, from time to time, in order to curb the attempts, and restrain the incroachments of the Romanists. Now are we foolishly to conclude, that our ancestors made laws without reason ?---that the Protestant code is only a record of capricious acts of power? No: our statutes arose out of well-evidenced facts, and were prescribed by imperious neces. sty. Let any man read the preambles to our Acts of Parliament, and let him compare what he finds therein set forth, with the
history of the periods, and the transactions of the times, in which those laws were made, and he will soon see that the enormities of the Papists, their treasonable attempts, the obedience which they professed and ever manifested to a foreign power, their intriguing temper, their intolerant disposition, and their persecuting spirit, occasioned the passing of those very laws, of which they now
complain. The religion of Rome remains unaltered; the prin'ciples of the Papists continue unchanged ;-and can there. be wisdom in taking away those restrictions, which, for more than an hundred years, have preserved the empire from the domination of spiritual tyranny, and the devastation of the cruelest superstition that ever mocked the hopes, or sported with the fears of mankind.
The Papists demand, what they term, Emancipation ;-are they prepared, on their part, so much as to tolerate the religion of Protestants? Will they not endeavour, by every possible artifice, to subvert it ? Do they not hold Protestants accursed? If they judge of them more favourably, why are the following words fulminated from the Papal chair annually on the day preceding Good Friday? " We ercommunicate and curse all Hussites, Wickliffites, Lutherans, Zuinglians, Calvinists, Hugonots, and Heretics; and whosoever shall receive, defend or favour them." The good people of England are, surely, not aware of the real state of the case'; nor do they rightly judge of the light in which Protestants must necessarily appear in the eyes of Papists.- What faith can a Romanist keep with a Protestant government ? And what SECURITY have we, that similar causes shall not produce effects similar to those under which our ancestors groaned ? The free exercise of their religion, they enjoy. The full benefit of toleration (the glory of Protestants), they have. All that is now withholden is power, and the ability to fill certain offices under the government, which dear-bought experience has indaced the legislature to deny them.
An unaccountable apathy seems at present to reign in the bosoms of our countrymen. Time has been, when a resolution of the House of Commons, such as that passed in the last session of Parliament, would have excited the greatest attention in the country; and addresses would have poured in from all quarters, deprecating the extension of political power to a class of men, who have always used it to a bad purpose. Parliament seems pledged to take the Roman Catholic Claims into consideration, with a view to conciliation, when it shall resume its sitting. We hope that Parliament will remember that ever since the jealousy of the legislature began toʻrelax ;-that is, ever since the system of concession took place ; the claims of the Papists have risen on every boon which has been granted them. “ The Romish horseleech," still cries, “ give, give."--In the progress of this work, all this shall be developed, and demonstrated.-- In the meantime, we call upon constitutional Protestants, of all professions and especially upon those whose province and duty it is to teach, in purity, the religion of CHRIST, to make common cause with us, against the artifices of our ancient enemy. Our pages shall be open to their productions. We venerate the glorious Revolution which, in the language of the statute-book, preserved to us " the Protestant Religion, and the laws and liberties of this kingdom," and saved us, as the liturgy of the Church of England expresses it, “ from Popish tyranny and arbitrary power.”
It may be asked, -do we mean to raise the cry of “ No POPERY?"-We honestly declare that this is our intention :but we desire that it may not be conceived for a moment, that we mean to excite the vengeance of the populace, or to hazard a repetition of those horrors which disgraced the year 1780; and exhibited Protestants, in the metropolis of England, by the glare of fires, which themselves had kindled, acting the part of infuriated persecutors; and, saving that they did not imbrue their hands in blood, emulating the immortal infamy of the Papists in France, on the Feast of St. Bartholomew in 1572, or in Ireland in 1641.-Our cry of “ No POPERY,” is directed to Protestants who can “ give an answer to every man that asketh a reason of the hope that is in them;"—to those who love the Constitution of their conntry, and have studied it ;-to those who are aware of the perils to which it is exposed, attacked as it is, by the slaves of the Old Man of the Seven Hills, who is himself a slave to the btte rest enemy that this kingdom ever encountered. To such Protestants we appeal; and we call upon them, at this alarmning crisis, to stretch forth their hands to save their country. If