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have lately witnessed, that the moral influence exercised by men in power, atmosphere of our high places, is al which we could not avoid thinking together so pestilential to character, unreasonable; and the Bill in quesa
all manly feeling, so tion, be it remembered, renders Roman mortal to those " abstract principles" Catholics admissible to power and of honour and consistency, which we place. But the Letter tells us (page have been in the habit of considering 14) “ admissibility is not admission.” as designating the nobler and better We must have the whole of this senpart of our kind, as utterly to change tence. “ I have no intention of deny. the minds and natures of these men. ing that I should think it a great mis. We cannot imagine that, immediately fortune to see the principal offices of upon their entrance into either House, the state administered by Roman Ca. they shall abandon their creed, and tholics. They must, of necessity, be forsake the principles which they im. indifferent, to say the least, to the inbibed in infancy, and which have terests of the Protestant Church.” "grown with their growth and strength- “ Of necessity be indifferent !" We ened with their strength.”
should have conceived, on the conThis were scarcely short of a mi- trary, from what we have heard and racle ; and if it should happen, would seen of Roman Catholics and their res argue little in favour of the nature of ligion, that it would be utterly imposthat society, by coming in contact sible for them, in such a situation, to with which the wonder might be ef- feel any thing at all like indifference ! fected. It would fill our hearts with But let us finish the quotation ;joy and gladness, could we behold “ And we might wish it to be imposthese members of our national counsible, that those who have influence in cils converted from what we sincerely their hands, should not employ it to believe to be “the error” of their the advancement of true religion. But, ways, and becoming indeed “ of us,” in the first place, it is very unlikely one fold, and under one shepherd; but that a Roman Catholic should be acto see them in a state of mean, moral, tually called to an important situation and mental degradation, cannot be the in the government of this country. subject of our "hope,” notwithstand. Admissibility is not admission; and, ing “ the authority of opinion” before in a practical view of the question, us. It is painful to reflect what the this difference must not be left out of state of our country might be, with consideration. It is not probable, then, wretches so utterly' debased and de. that the Sovereign should select Roa moralized among her legislators. man Catholics for his chief minisa
We again repeat, that such is not ters,” our opinion. We dare not, we will We sincerely hope not: But the not, we cannot, thus think of our Ro- conclusion to which the Bishop thus man Catholic fellow-countrymen. But, jumps on the subject, does not appear if we be mistaken, and they really are necessarily to follow from any thing so unmindful of the most solemn ties that has gone before. It would, he acby which human nature can be bound, knowledges, be a misfortune, were any we cannot conceive any character that Roman Catholics to attain to those would render an individual more unfit stations, to which he has, in the House to be intrusted with influence among of Lords, declared they have an equal his fellow-men; unless, peradventure, right with their fellow countrymen; some one could be found, who, belice and to compass which, he has, by gicing them to be so depraved, would a8ving his vote, rendered them all the sist them in acquiring power.
assistance in his power. But-hold ! But we return to the Letter, and, in This great statesman and ecclesiastic page 20, find the following: “ The has a saving clause-" Admissibility Roman Catholic will certainly acquire is not admission." Oh, no! The additional power. But he will acquire man who destroys the river's bank in no power which he can use, except in summer, when the waters are low, the way of argument and reasonable most certainly does not give them ada influence." Wbat the precise mean, mission, but only “ admissibility,” ining of " reasonable influence,” in the to the meadows. If he be but a sopresent day, may be, the writer of the journer in the vale, he may, perchance, Letter is perhaps competent to explain. enjoy his little day, and depart thereWe have lately witnessed a degree of from before the torrentshall arise; and
the reflection must be extremely con- exercises, what we suppose we must solatory to his feelings. He may en- call a “ reasonable" influence, inasjoy a secret satisfaction."
much as it seems to affect the reason With respect to the indifference of of men, to change their opinions, and Roman Catholicofficers of state to the to compel them to utter, like Balaam, interests of the Protestant Church,” we far different words than those which cannot discover any reason for suppo- they previously intended to speak. We sing that they would, if in power, exer- dare not hazard any surmises relative cise more liberality toward our esta- to the precise causes of this “omnipoblishment, than the present govern- tence." It is among the hidden things; ment is disposed to shew towards them, and, probably, in some way connectaccording to the Bishop's account in ed with those “ circumstances” which page 10; where, after speaking of the “occur in the course of social and poRoman Catholic priests, and the plau- litical life," " which cannot and need sible temptations to license” and “ to not be pointed out, but which often pay them iheir salaries from the state," lead men to act in a very different way he says, these measures “ were stead, from what, on abstract principles, fastly resisted, on the express ground might be expected.” that a Protestant government could not Admitting the omnipotence of the in this manner consistently recognise or Prime Minister to be even as the Bilegalise the Roman Catholic religion.". shop himself might wish, what is this We cannot, therefore, avoid feeling “safeguard” which even he, after he some notion, that a Roman Catholic shall have corrupted the Archbishop government might hesitate about the of Canterbury, " cannot set aside ?" propriety, consistency, or "expedien- Let us bend down our heads, and cy" of " recognising” a religion which listen to the words of wisdom. it believes to be corrupt, and of a mi. “ He" (the omnipotent Prime Ministry which it believes to be awfully nister) “ can only nominate those who dangerous to the persons placed within are qualified by law to hold preferits influence.” We here use the words ment; he can only nominate clergyof the Bishop, when speaking of the men of the Church of England; and Roman Catholic priests.
this is a complete security to the We now come to the admission that Church.” Seeing that the aforesaid “ the Prime Minister may be a Roman Archbishop of Canterbury hath the Catholic," p. 16. “We will admit," power to ordain whomsoever he thinksays the Letter, " that, notwithstand- eth fit, and seeing that John Bird, ing the precautions which have been Bishop of Chester, is inclined “to hope devised to secure the proper disposal and believe” that “the Roman Cathoof preferment, he has interest enough lics” (as in other cases we are too ofwith the Archbishop of Canterbury, ten obliged to fear or to lament) will for the time being, to nominate whom “ not always act, or speak, or think, he pleases. All this I can venture to in exact accordauce with the articles admit; and I find it taken for grante to which they bave assented, or the ed, more universally than charitably, words and formularies which they reoreven reasonably. Still there remains cognise as their own,”-seeing these a safeguard, which the omnipotence things, we marvel that the “ Letter" of a Prime Minister itself cannot set writer should have cast forth his sheetaside."
anchor of “complete security" on such THE OMNIPOTENCE OF A Prime a shifting quicksand. Let him, who Minister ITSELF! Is this, then, the can talk now of the omnipotence of a “ reasonable influence” which the Ro- Prime Minister," and, maybap, exult man Catholic was alone to acquire? and plume himself in consequence of We have no right to doubt that the that “ omnipotence"-let him reflect Bishop has a very firm conviction of on the probable result of its being in the truth of what he writes : and, for the possession of a Roman Catholic, our own part, though far removed when Roman Catholics are admissible from the polluted and polluting at- and admitted into place and power. mosphere of courts, we verily believe, Can be then place his band upon his that, if any mortal can perform mira- heart, and say, that he steadfastly becles, that mortal is the Prime Minister lieves that every bill, having a tendof Great Britain. We know that, by ency to remove the yet few remaining some strange and talismanic power, he disabilities, will be®“ thrown out?
Is there the smallest probability, that, ing to assist the “wishes and designs" in such a state of things, considering of the omnipotent Prime Minister! the natural and “ reasonable influ- none from the various Roman Cathoence' of power and patronage, the lic colleges and schools willing to laws would or could remain as they “conform to the Church," yet secretly are? Without the assistance of a sin- inclined to the principles and practices gle member of the Romish Church in of Popery! It is pleasant to hear such either House of Parliament, the great a prophecy of the increasing goodness barrier of exclusion has been thrown of the age. Yet, perhaps, under such down; and we are now, according to circumstances, with a very trifling althe “ Letter," to have eight peers and teration in ceremonials, some few of fifty members of the Lower House of the already-ordained Romish priestthe Popish faith. If such a victory hood might be induced to accept of has been gained under such circum- promotion by the omnipotent Premier. stances, what may we not anticipate “ Circumstances might arise in the under the omnipotence of a Romish course of social and political life to inPremier, when the Church of England duce them.” However, if they were shall have to look for protection only all so “ conscientious” or unconscionto a reereant Archbishop of Canter. able, we really cannot discern why, bury? for such must be the true chac in future, as well as heretofore," he racter of the man with whom the Po- might not by degrees have cherished pish Prime Minister can “ have inte up and introduced into the Church a rest enough to nominate whom he body of clergy hostile to the reformed pleases."
religion.” It appears to the eye of common- The period of our history which sense, that, under such a government, the Bishop has thought fit to allude the number of Popish members, in to, and when it would not have been both houses, must, necessarily, in- safe for “ Roman Catholics" to be crease; and, as a matter of course, “ intrusted with any interest in ecthat they will endeavour, by argu- clesiastical preferment," was not, exment and reasonable influence, to ame- actly, the age of darkness. We could liorate the condition of all connected find it in our heart to speak of huwith them in the unity of that church man nature being the same at all pewhich professes itself to be one and riods; and of one William Shakindivisible.
speare, who lived in those days, and Supposing, however, the present was then a great favourite, and who laws to remain unchanged, let us en- yet continueth to be endured, notquire how this “ complete security withstanding the immeasurable disto the Church” is to produce the de tance between him and the “rapid sired effect. Again we copy from the march of intellect” men of our own " Letter."
times. There are divers other naines * There have been times when this likewise which are visible in the dim would not have proved a sufficient se obscurity of the past :—but we dare curity. During the reigns of Eliza- not speak of the past; for we have beth or James the First, within fifty not yet been able to shake off our oldyears of the Reformation, many, no fashioned prejudices, and memory tells doubt, who conformed to the Church, us of even Protestant bishops, who were secretly inclined to the principles lived in the reigns “ of Elizabeth and and practices of Popery. At that period James," and who were weak enough a Roman Catholic could not have been to endure a sovereign's frown, and safely intrusted with any interest in eventually to perish on a scaffold, for ecclesiastical preferment. He might the sake of « articles, words, and by degrees have cherished up and intro formularies." These, however, are all duced into the Church a body of clergy “ old almanack” matters. In those hostile to the reformed religion. The days, when the Church of England case is now completely different. The had such men among her rulers, “a minister most strongly inclined to Roman Catholic could not have been wards Popish tenets could find no can safely intrusted with any interest in didates for promotion who would assist ecclesiastical preferment;" but " the his wishes and designs." P. 17. case is now completely different.” We
What! after all we “ may be al- must acknowledge that the Bishop is lowed to hope and believe," &c. no perfectly correct in his assertion. candidates for promotion ! none will. Our own fears, however, point to a
somewhat different mode of “ intro- happen under a Protestant Ministry,) ducing into the Church a body of we confess we should apprehend great clergy hostile to the reformed reli- danger to the Establishment. We gion. We can conceive that a Ro- must,“ to say the least,” fear that man Catholic Premier, possessing the they would be more inclined to aug“ interest" admitted in the “ Letter" ment the power, and spread the opiwith the Archbishop of Canterbury, nions, of their own particular sect, would look round and search diligent- than to consolidate and strengthen the ly for a few individuals who would Establishment itself. We should conhave no objection to become “ candi. jecture, that their liberality might be dates for high promotion, and who stretched to a dangerous point, in acmight be induced to assist his wishes cordance with "the wishes” of a Mi. and designs." We scarcely think that nister : yes--even eventually to the he would, himself, personally inter- destruction of the Protestant ascendfere in the training of a rising priest- ency. The introduction of such men hood. That department must fall to into the House of Lords must, at all underlings.
events, be a step gained. And to us, Let us imagine a vacancy, under who conceive it to be our duty to consuch circumstances, in the bench of tend, inch by inch, for that which yet Bishops. It were vain to imagine that remains of our Constitution—to us, “ the omnipotence of a Prime Minis gradual encroachment appears far more ster" will not have a “ reasonable in- formidable than the contemplation of fluence" in the nomination. What de. any debate, at present, whether Poscription of person would then, in all pery shall be established among us or probability, be selected ? As the Pre- not. Most ardently do we wish that mier himself must, according to the the question might be brought, at “Letter," "of necessity be indifferent, once, to that issue, and the voice of to say the least, to the interests of the the nation be heard thereon. We Protestant Church,” it seems natural have some cold comfort, indeed, on to suppose, pursuing the present sys- this subject, in the “ Letter,” wheretem of liberality, that the new bishop in the Bishop speaks of the “estawould be chosen, in the first place, blishment of that (the Popish) relifrom among those who might be “in- gion on the ruin of the Protestant.” different, to say the least, to the in- P. 19. “ I would not," he continues, terests of" the Roman Catholic Church. “say that such a measure, at any time, The next enquiry would probably be might not find advocates; nor would respecting the precise state of schisms I venture to prophesy that it may within the pale of the Establishment: never be proposed; but it is one thing and it would be extremely desirable to bring forward a desperate proposi. to select a person who either belonged, tion, and another to carry it; and I or was suspected to belong, to one of may be permitted to doubt, whether these, always supposing " the Minister more votes will be given in its favour most strongly inclined towards Popish after the admission of Roman Cathotenets,” and endeavouring, to find lics into Parliament, than might have “ candidates for promotion who would been found in its support during the assist his wishes and designs ? No- last ten years.” Doubtless the Bishop thing could tendinore to the disunion of “ may be permitted to doubt;" and, the Establishment than the admission if he really doth entertain the doubt of one of these liberal schismatics, from which is here implied, it must be one the most obnoxious sect, into her hier- of the most “ secret satisfactory” archy. The other personal qualities doubts that ever entered doubter's of the man might be thought of little head. For our own part, with all due importance. He would, of course, be permission, we have no doubts expected to vote on the right side: whatever on the subject. and it might be desirable that he We had almost forgotten to notice, should think, that the Ministry would that when the Bishop affirms “it is not, without exceeding good reasons, very unlikely that a Roman Catholic “ embarrass themselves with a mea- should be actually called to an importe sure” which was “ arduous and un- ant situation in the government of this popular."
country," he, among other reasons of Now, from the elevation of such a like calibre, gives us this: “ Their men, (which, of course, could not education, to speak generally, must be
very different from what it has been the earth. Protected by that mild hitherto, before they can be capable ascendency, every man hath been at of filling high offices to advantage; liberty to worship God according to and, if their education is to be very his conscience, dwelling beneath • his different, it must be sought among own vinc and his own fig-tree, none Protestants.” P. 15. We have no com- daring to make him afraid.” Under ment to make. This logical and con- that benignant ascendency, learning, clusive method of reasoning “ must and the arts, and science, have made be” properly appreciated by the reader, a progress among us—which never “if” he be " capable” of judging could have been effected, had Rome “ to advantage."
continued in the ascendant-and the We have already far exceeded our liberty of the subject has been secuintended limits; and nothing but the red. Under the powerful protection quarter from which it comes, could be of that ascendency, came the victims a sufficient excuse to our readers for of Romish persecution, flying from “ dwelling so long," as the auction- her sanguinary edicts, and escaping eers have it, on such a Letter. Yet from her outstretched and vengeful there are still one or two matters wor. arm; and here, in Britain, they found thy of notice, as proceeding from the a resting place and safety which the study of a Bishop of the Church of continent of Europe could not have England. We copy again from p. 26. afforded them, and which must have “ Is the avowed object of preserving been denied them, even here, but for Protestant ascendency reconcilable Protestant ascendency. Our commerce with the duty of doing unto others as and our manufactures owe their exwe would they should do to us, of not tension to this ascendency; and the seeking our own, of preferring one freedom of the press, and the muchanother in honour?"
vaunted march of intellect- where Again we repeat, that this sentence would they have been but for its gewas written by John Bird, Bishop of nial influence ? Could they have exChester, and addressed to the clergy isted or flourished under the soul-beof his diocese ! And yet there are those numbing tyranny of Popery? We who tell us that the Church is not in cannot proceed :-if more be needful, danger! The Establishment of the let the pages of English history be Church of England bas its existence opened-and let them, in mute eloonly in Protestant ascendency. That quence, revive the memory of the ascendency was gained by prayers, pious, the noble, and the valiant dead, and tears, and watchings, and blood, and answer this Bishop of the Reformand strugglings unto death, and long- ed and Established Church. protracted torture. At length the We have looked in vain through mighty power of Rome was over- the “ Letter” for any substantial thrown, and we were delivered from ground for expecting that “great and spiritual, soul-debasing thraldom. positive advantage” which the Bishop Her“ damnable doctrines" were dri- anticipates for Ireland. He speaks of ven from the land. The victory was “ a legitimate vent" being created, achieved over oppression and delusion, " through which the popular huand the name of that victory was Pro
mours may escape, without injury to testant Ascendency; and the Establish- the constitution." This “ vent, ment formed, in consequence thereof, safety-valve, or plaything, or tub to was the Established Church : and the whale, most likely is intended to now a Bishop of that Church makes indicate, in a “ humorous” way, the it a question, whether the “preserving “admissibility" which he-as a memProtestant ascendency” is reconcilable ber of the senate-has given to Rowith Christian duty !
man Catholics to the principal offices Never did we expect to hear such a of the state, but which, notwithstandquestion. Our reply must be brief. ing, he has “ no intention of denying Yes: we do think it worth preserving, that he should think it a great misbecause it is, under heaven, our only fortune to be administered by them.” ground of hope for protection against It is possible that this “ legitimate error, and ignorance, and false doc- vent” for “humours" may allude to trine. By its preservation alone can the humours of elections, respecting our beloved native land remain sepa- which the Bishop speaks in a manner rate and great among the nations of which does not carry conviction to our