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If the Author might also obtrude his advice to the Catholics, although he is sensible there is very little occasion for it, it would be contained in one short maxim : “Be angry, and sin not.”
· HISTORICAL APOLOGY
THE pleasure which is derived from ac
curate and conclusive argument, is still farther encreased when each link of reasoning has its separate support in appropriate and striking facts; and it is exalted to the highest degree which can affect a refined and humane mind, when the theory and facts produce a conclusion in which the benevolent and gentle feelings may deeply sympathize.
An argument may be correct, but it will never be really interesting if deficient in striking facts, or if its conclusions are repugnant to the amiable sentiments of the heart.
This appears to be the reason why metaphysical speculations have never become
generally interesting; because, from the nature of the subject, the facts which sups: port them are scanty and trite.
In the same manner, when Buffon produces a series of very curious facts to prove the existence of blunder, defect, and malignity, in place of skilful and benevolent contrivance in the plan of created beings, we feel no pleasure in the melancholy discovery, and take no interest in the triumph of the pragmatical naturalist.
The following argument in favour of the Irish Catholics, has so far a right to some claim on the public attention: the facts which support it are new and striking, and its result is favourable to the moderate and benevolent affections.
The general conclusion which we shall attempt to prove, is simply this: That religious sentiments, however perverted by bigotry or fanaticism, has always a tendency to moderation, if not indifference'; that it seldom assumes any great portion of activity or enthusiasm, except from novelty of opinion, or from opposition, contumely, and persecution, when novelty ceases : That a government has little to fear from any reli
gious sect, except while the sect is new; give a government only time, and provided it has the good sense to treat folly with forbearance, it must ultimately prevail. When, therefore, we find a sect, after a long lapse of years ill-disposed to the government, we may be certain that government has protracted its union by marked distinctions, has roused its resentment by contumely, or supported its enthusiasm by persecution. - The particular conclusion we shall attempt to prove, is, that the Catholic religion, in Ireland, had sunk into torpor'and inacti: vity, till government roused it with the lash ; that even then from the respect and attachment which men are always inclined to pay to government, there still remained a large body of loyal Catholics, that these only decreased in number from the rapid encrease of persecution; and that after all, the effect which the resentment of the Roman Catholics had in creating rebellions, has been very much exaggerated.
On these grounds we close with the adversaries of the Catholicclaims. They say, it is the nature of the religion which makes theCatholics disaffected, and therefore the religion
must be suppressed. We say, that even allow="" ing that the principle of the religion is bad, still, that if it were left alone, it would become indolent and innocuous; that it is the prin
ciple of persecution adopted against the re·ligion which makes the Catholics zealous and disaffected, and that therefore the persecution should be dropped.
It is difficult to know whether the facts that are to be produced in support of this opinion, will bring conviction to the mind of the reader, but at all events they are neither trite nor unimportant. · The first difficult fact those writers (who attribute Irish rebellions solely to the antipathy of Catholics to a Protestant govern. ment) have to encounter, is, that they were just as frequent while the government was Catholic, as when it became Protestant; and that the most formidable rebellion whichever shook the English power in Ireland, broke out thirty years before the reformation, and continued with little intermission, until the æra of the reformation
In the Reign of Henry VII. 1504, a general confederation of the Irish princes took place, headed by Ulrick Burke, Tur