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opened, and see Popish books publicly advertised, they are to be informed that our ancestors, whose wisdom and firmness have transmitted to us those religious and civil . liberties which wę now enjoy, had very different conceptions of this matter ; and had they acted with that coldness, indifference, and stupidity, which seems to have seized the present age, we had now been funk into the most abject state of misery and Navery, under an arbitrary prince and Popish government.
: . It was the opinion of our brave, wise, cir
cumspect, and cautious ancestors, that an open toleration of the Popish religion is inconsistent with the safety of a free people, and a Protestant Government. It was thought by them that every convert to Popery, was by principle an enemy to the constitution of this country, and as it was supposed that the Roman Catholic religion promoted rebellion against the state, there was a very severe law made to prevent the propagation of it. Such was the state of things in the reign of the great Elizabeth; and Popery having, not-. withstanding such restriction, gained ground in the reign of James the second, though the encouragement it then received from the state, was not equal to what it has now ob
tained, the nation was alarmed; and the nobic and resolute stand which the Protestants then made against the advances of Popery, produced the Revolution.
In the reign of William the Third, the state was thought to be in danger from the encroach·ments of Rome; to prevent which, the act of parliament was made, which is now, in the most material parts, repealed, and several Protestants being of opinion, that this repeal will, in its consequences, act as an open toleration of the Popish religion, they are filled with the most painful apprehensions : they think, that liberty, which they value more than their lives, and which they would piously transmit to their children, to be in danger : they are full of the most alarming fears, that chains are forging at the anvil of Rome for the rifing generation : they fear, that the Papists are undermining our happy constitution : they see the purple power of Rome advancing, by hafty strides, to overspread this once happy nation : they shudder at the thought of darkness and ignorance, misery and flavery, spreading their fable wings over this highly favoured isle : their souls are pained for their rights and liberties as men; and their hearts tremble for the ark of God.
· Inspired with such sentiments, and under the influence of such reasonable and well grounded fears, they think it a duty which : they owe to themselves, their pofterity, their religion, and their God, to unite as one man, and take every possible, loyal, and constitutional measure, to stop the progress of that soul-deceiving and all-enslaving superstition which threatens to overspread this land. It is to be hoped, that an attempt, so just and reasonable, will be crowned with success; but should it fail, through the supineness or groundless prejudices of those who ought to stand first in this cause, the members of this Association will enjoy the satisfaction of a selfapproving mind, conscious of having done its duty; while those who meanly desert the Protestant cause, and tamely suffer the encroachments of Rome, may see their error when it is too late, and be filled with bitterness and remorse at a conduct so mean and despicable, and so unworthy their profession.
Whatever such persons may think of themfelves and their conduct, and however they may dress themselves up in the splendid robes of candour and moderation, they are to be informed that their conduct is highly criminal, and may be attended with the most deplorable consequences ; as, by their ne
cealed either poison or dagger to destroy my Protestant neighbour; though it was long enough to set all Scotland in a blaze, and to deprive lord G***** G***** of his senses.
Should any of the Scotch missionaries attend Mr. Wesley into this kingdom, and bring with them any of the stumps of the fagots with which Henry the eighth, his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, and the learned James the first, roasted the heretics of their times in Smithfield, or some of the fagots with which the Scotch faints, of whose proceedings Mr. Wesley is become the apologist, have burnt the houses of their inoffensive Catholic neighbours, we will convert them to their proper use. In Ireland the revolution of the great Platonic year is almost completed. Things are re-instated in their primitive order. And the fagot, which, without any mislion from Christ, preached the gospel by orders of Catholic and Protestant kings, is confined to the kitchen. Thus, what formerly roasted the man at the stake, now helps to feed him. And nothing but the severity of winter, and the coldness of the climate in Scotland, could justify Mr. Wesley in urging the rabble to light it. This is a bad time to introduce it amongst us, when we begin to be formidable to our foes, and united amongst ourselves. And to the glory of Ireland be it
faid, we never condemned but murderers and perpetrators of unnatural erimes to the fagot.
By a statute of Henry the sixth, every Englishman of the Pale* was bound to shave his upper lip, or clip his whiskers, in order to diftinguish himself from an Irishman. By this mark of distinction, it seems that what Campion calls in his old English, glib, and what we call the beard, as well as the complexion and size of both people, were much the same. In my opinion it had tended more to their mutual interest, and the glory of that monarch's reign, not to go to the nicety of Splitting a hair, but encourage the growth of their fleeces, and inspire them with such mutual love for each other, as to induce them to kiss one another's beards, as brothers falute each other at Conftantinople, after a few days absence. I am likewise of opinion, that Mr. Wesley, who prefaces his letter with, " The interest of the “ Protestant religion,” would reflect more ho nour on his ministry, in promoting the happiness of the people, by preaching love and union, than in widening the breach, and increasing their calamities by division. The English and Irish were at that time of the same religion; but, divided in their affections, were miserable, P 2
Though * See the statutes of that king, and lament the effects of divisions fomented by sovereigns.