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fictor, nor the disagreeable circumfiances of a profeffion still exposed to the wanton lash of every religious persecu-s tor, were deemed a sufficient plea for exclusion from a society composed of so many great and shining men.
Robertson's religion has proved no obfiacle to his admiffiofl arnong the Spanish academicians. You, my brethren, have set the brilliant example of philanthropy in this kingdom; and soared far above the sphere of contracted minds. Happy for the world had the gentle Voice of Nature been always listened to, and his religion forgotten in the man !
The Calamities, of which a contrary conduct has been productive, are flightly glanced at in my treatise on toleration. In the two neighbouring kingdoms, the scenes which have been exhibited last year, are melancholy proofs, that a tolerating spirit, the fair offspring of candour and benevolence, confers happiness on individuals, and gives nations a bloom and vigour which intQlerance blasts and enervates. In consequence of
the happy change in the dispositions of the the people, Ireland has seen her peaceful natives employed in the useful labours
of life; her citizens, confident in each ,
other, improving trode and Commerce, under a variety of difficulties ; her judges respected on their tribunals ; and the pleafing scenes of harmony and union spread through every province. Such the result of benevolenee l Such the fruits. of tolerationl Such was our situation, when in Great Britain nothing could be seen but the course of public justice suspended, and martial law proclaimed ;the law and the legiflature trarnpled in their awful sanctuary; the torn canonicals of bishops, the lacerated robes of temporal peers, the streets ensanguined with the streaming blood of deluded victims 3 sumptuous edifices changed into blazing
Piles; the conflagration of Rome re-'
neWed by the torch of religious frenzy ; the houses of inoffensive citizens chalked out* for. destruction ., a city given up to plunder ; assasiins and malefactors let loose from their chains, and invited, bythe hollow voice of fanaticism, to share the spoils; king on the verge of de
' i struction ;
flruction ; a kingdom on the eve of being plunged into the Calamities of civil war ; the sWord taking the place of the robe, and dictating to the violaters of the law; and'the stern hand of justice succeeding, in its turn, to the sword, and sweeping from the face of the earth, the gleanings of military execution. Such the poisonous fruits of misguided zeal, and religious intolerance ! The seeds of such disafiers have been sown in distant times, when barbarity, or the competition of princes, contending for the throne, contributed to divide the peopie; and, from a mistaken policy, sovereigns themselves, in opposition to the maxims of legiflation and wisdom, thought it more eligible to become heads of the half, than the fathers of all their subjects.
Such measures Weakened their arms abroad, and will ever prove defiructive at home. In every plain the English generals met with their fellow subjects, disputing the laurel, under the banner-s of kings who gave them encouragcment.
The Catholic and Protefiant pon'acts on the Continent, by adopting a differ
ent plan, and uniting their subjects of every denomination, in the ties of one common interest, strengthen'ed their respective fiates against the encroachments of each other, and prevented their dominions from being changed a second time, into extensive fields of battle, covered with bodies, fallen by the sword of religious madness; or desolate wastes fimilarto those from whence refiraints and difiress have banished the human speci'es: the present emperor's mother restored her Christian subjects of every denomination, to the freedom and rights of citizens. The son has opened his calm bosom to the Jew, and is become the father of the man who blasphemes the Saviour whom his soVereign adores. Ireland! Ireland, Where the Protefiant gentleman gives alms to the pilgrim without enquiring into his religion, and Where the Catholic peasant presses his distressed fellow creature, to take share of a handful of Vegetables, scarce sufficient to support his own wretch'ed existence : Ireland, whose generous sons have more compaffion and fcelings for the flranger, than - their their neighbours for the brothers of their blood-Ireland, where some strokes 'given by a peer of the realm, to a poor inoffensive priefi in the last Rage of a decay, which in a few days rescued him from the miseries of this life, " the law's
_ V delay, and the proud man's contumely"
-Ireland, where this scene raised such indignation in the generous breast of every Proteflant, that a lawyer*, who to the powers of the orator joins the courage of the hero, without fee or reward, pleaded for obscurity against eminence, for Weakness against power, and, after assert'ing the rights of humanity at the bar, Went to encounter death in the field for a helpless client, in the laft struggles of the agony_Ireland, so famous for the generous sentimcnts of'hcr inhabitants, is the devoted spot, Where out of a million and half of subjects, not one can become a coal measurer,-a common soldien-an excise-man,-nor have more than two apprentices at a time! Their Dissenting brethren, so humane in their private characters, and the professors of
* Counselbr Curran. whose