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they allege a claim to have their Church at least placed on an equality of privileges with that which is legally settled. Their animosity to the Protestant Clergy has been always strongly marked, and recent circumstances and present observation do not prove that this aniinosity has been at all lessened even by the most liberal concessions and grants which have been made by ihe legislature in favour of the Irish Catholics. External distinction, parade, power, and wealth, are appendages which every zealous Catholic wishes to see attached to his Church; and it is an undeniable fact, that wherever it has gained a settlement, its priests have taken care to accumulate as inuch of worldly property and distinction as possible. A religion of poinp and ceremony necessarily requires a considerable portion of temporal wealth and honour tó maintain its dignity, and to command the respect of its followers. The number of the Catholic Clergy in Ireland is very great, and even if we were to believe the declaration of the hundred petitioners, that it is not their wish or intention to subvert the Protestant Established Church, it by no means follows that the titular bishops and the whole body of their Clergy have not that desire, or that they would not gladly embrace any opportunity that should offer to possess themselves of the ecclesiastical revenues and the cathedral and parish churches,
The objects of the Catholic petition are to obiain not an extension of toleration, but a complete establishment. These applicants demand a right “ of sitting or voting in either of the llonourable Houses of Parliament, and of holding civil, military, legal, and various other offices from which they are now excluded.” To give then these distinctions, it is absolutely necessary to annul 'the oaths of supremacy and utjuration, and to repeal the corporation and test acts, in endeavouring to set aside which James the II. lost his throne and died in exile. It is very extraordinary that the Catholics should expect to have the main barriers of our constitution, and of the protestant succession removed to oblige them, even though their party should be fully as loyal, and peaceable, and upambitious as it is bere pretended they are.
This would be to grant even more than the Protestant Dissenters have ever petitioned for;, and yet their repeated attempts to procure a repeal of the corporation and test acts alone have been always resisted and overthrown. We have no better reasons for thinking that it
would be justifiable on aiiy principles of state prudence to grant that now, which on former occasions was denied. There is no satisfactory evidence that the principles of either of these parties have undergone such an alteration as to render the farther extension of toleration safe. It does not appear that they are less hostile to the Ecclesiastical Establishment than formerly; on the contrary, we are told from high authority among the Roinanists themselves that “ if any one says, or pretends to insinuate, that the modern Roman Catholics differ in one jota from their ancestors, he either deceives himself, or he wishes to deceive others; Semper eadem is more emphatically descriptive of our religion than of our jurisprudence* :" and a distinguished ecclesiastic among them declares “ that the religious opinions of Roman Catholics being unchangeabl., are applicable to all tiines," (Dr. Troy's pastoral Letter.)
Such being the case, and especially as we have seen the Pope and his Cardinals take a journey from Rome to Paris, on purpose to consecrate (it we may venture so to prostitute that word) a vile usurper and apostate, we appeal to the sober seusé of every man who has a true love for his country, and a consequent wish to preserve sacred our invaluable constitution, whether such an application as the present, ought to be treated otherwise, than with indignation! The Irish Roman catholics are devotedly illtached to the papal see, and their bishops are appointed by the court of Rome, to which they swear fidelity, as also do their inferior clergy, who possess unbounded in. fluence over the people: of course, let the doors of the two houses of parliament be opened for the admission of persons of that religion ; and it is easy to perceive of what description the majority of Irish members would be.
The protestant ascendancy must, in the event of such a grant as is here applied for, sink into comparative in. significance, and what security the established church would then enjoy, we shudder to name.
This irould be no other than placing the lamb under the guardianship of the wolf, whose semblance of moderation and liberality would last only till a complete opportunity presented itself of entirely devouring his victiin. We shall close our Erainination of this Petition by an extract from a speech of the late Lord Chancellos
Clare, in the House of Lords, on the passing of the Ca, tholic Bill of 1793, and for the length of which we shall make no apology, as from its excellence and importance, it ought to be carefully considered by every protestant in the kingdom.
“ It may perhaps be said, that the power of the Pope, and the laws of the Romish church are become obsolete; and therefore, that there no longer exists any good reason for continuing the restraints heretofore iniposed upon catholics; but I am confident, that the old Romish su. perstition is, at this hour, as rank in Ireland, as it was in the year 1641. I am confident, that there now is, and always has been a regular and constant correspond, ence and communication kept up between this country and the court of Rome; and that the spiritual power of the Pope, is at this day acknowledged as implicitly as it ever was at any period of Irish history.
“ It is perfectly well known that we have a popish his erarchy in this country, claiming and exercising all episcopal functions, under the immediate authority of ihe court of Rome; and it is the boast of the popish bishops, that Ireland is a singular exception to the catholie church discipline of every other country in Europe, in which their religion is not connected with the state ; that in other protestant states, the heads of the popish church have not any episcopal jurisdiction, being without sees, and denominated from ancient sees, now a part of the Ottoman dominions; but, that from the days of St. Peter, the popish hierarchy has been preserved in Ireland by a regular succession of prelates in the several sees, where they have always acted as ordinaries ; and accordingly, there is in every diocese of Ireland, a regular popish consistorial court, acting under the authoriiy of the Pope, and entertaining causes of ecclesiastical cognizance, which are decided according to the laws of their forun, without regard in any sort to the laws of this country. If proof was wanțing upon this most serious subject, I have it in my possession. A popish priest, who acts as judge in the consistorial court of El. phin, in the month of December, 1791, cited parties who had lived together as man and wilc, to appear in his court in à cause of nullity of marriage; they had been married by a priest, and had cohabited-however, the marriage contract was pronounced null and void, and the woman was turned loose upon the world. On her
complaint complaint to a neighbouring gentleman, one of the representatives of the county, he remonstrated against this proceeding, but in vain: the consistorial judge persisted in enforcing his sentence; and, in justification of himself, enclosed to this gentleman a decree of the council of Treni, de reformatione matrimonii, under which he had proceeded, and in the course of his correspondence upon this subject, which is now in my possession, he very gravely stated, that au attack upon the laws of their church, would be an attack upon the whole body of Roman catholics. That this being a clear case, he had full and final jurisdiction, for that appeals were made to the court of Rome in causes of ecclesiastical cognizance, only in cases of difficulty, vel propter dignitatem personarum, as in the case of Henry VIII. and Queen Catherine.
“ I do not know how this proceeding may strike other men; but the avowed existence of a foreign jurisdiction in the heart of this country, governed by the laws of a foreign prince, evidently framed for the subversion of all protestant states, is to me a ground of most serious alarm ; and the wildness with which we are now proceeding in the modern philosophical system of catholic emancipation, has very much encreased any apprehensions of the danger arising from it: if this bill shall receive the royal assent, I must, from that moment, consider the popish religion as virtually established by law in Ireland. The number of popish priests maintained in this country, certainly exceed two thousand; I have heard them calculated at two thousand five hundred; and it seems well worthy of consideration, that this great body of ecclesiatics, exercising unfounded authority over their flocks, acknowledging an unbounded ecclesiastical power in a foreign prince, and recognising in their fullest extent the laws of a foreigii state, is to be established by law, and let loose upon this country, totally free from all ecelesiastical controul, and disclaiming the authority of the temperal tribunals upon any subject, involving in it the interests of their religion, If any man doubts that the Popish clergy deny the au: thority of the temporal courts, to this extent, let me re: fer him to'the recent conduct of tlie parish priests of a Southern County. They were summoned in the last Session of Parliament to give evidence before a Secret Coinmittee of the House of Cominons, in order to disqualify a number of persons of their own cominunion,
who had voted at the general election for the gentleman who had been returned one of the representatives of the county; to a man they refused to subinit to the jurisiliction of the Committee, or to give evidence before it. And to the scandal and reproach of the Tribunal wbich they had thus insulted, they were suffered to depart triumphantly, I do believe at the intercession of the gentleman at whose instance they had been summoued, who entertained well founded apprehensions, that if the House of Comnions bad proceeded to punish their contumacy, he would have been murdered on his return home.
" It is, therefore, idle in any man to assert, or to affect to think, that the old mischievous Popish superstition is at an end in this country. The slow progress of the reformation proves the general abhorrence entertained of the Protestant religion by the people; the profound ignorance of the lower ranks qualifies them fully to receive any impression which their priests may chuse to make upon them; and the misfortune of the country is, that if their minds should be divested of a superstitious veneration for their Priests, such is the ignorance and barbarism of the mass of the people, that they would necessarily sink into a state of rude nature. But the Popish superstition of the country is not confined to the lower ranks, it flourishes with full vigour amongst the better order of the people; it is notorious, that the conformity of any one member of a popish stock, to the protestant religion, is considered as a great and irrepa. rable family misfortune: and if the opportunity offers, the great object of the family is to put him into the lands of a Popish Priest on his death-bed, that by a reconciliation to the church, he may die in a state of salvation*. The old Popish High Church usurpations, have been fully and candidly asserted and avowed in a very modern publication, by Dr. Troy, the titular Archbishop of Dublin, a gentleman, whom I have not
; * The late lord Douboyne, a Catholic nobleman of Ireland, had conformed to the Protestant religion, and continued for above ten years to profess it. In his last illness, hoivever, his Lordship rclapsed; and having made a will, he left his estates from his family to the Roman Catholic college of Maynooth, and died à Roman Catholic, having received all the rites, and submitted to all the last cereinonies of that Church. llis will has, however, been since set aside by the courts in Ireland, and his next of kin have obtained his property. Lord D. died about four years ago.