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CONSEQUENCES APPREHENDED FROM
ROMAN CATHOLIC CLAIMS,
Quot adhuc vobis repurgandæ latent leges ? quas neque annorum numerus, neque conditorum dignitas commendat, sed æquitas sola; ideo cum iniquæ recognoscuntur, merito damnantur, licet damnent. TERTUL. A POLOG. cap. v.
LONDON: PUBLISHED BY MR. BAGSTER, 15, PATERNOSTER ROW, AND MESSRS. T. AND W. BOONE, 480, STRAND.
SOLD BY THE PRINCIPAL BOOKSELLERS.
The singularity of the posture in which I find myself placed, in having given my sentence contrary to the general voice of the Diocesan Clergy, convened by their respective Archdeacons, may require to be explained, if it cannot be vindicated.
Having received a requisition from the Archdeacon of Essex, addressed to “ the Clergy beneficed or resident within the Archdeaconry,” to repair to Brentwood, on May 19th, to “ take into consideration the propriety of petitioning the two Houses of Parliament, on the subject of the Roman Catholic claims :" I obeyed the summons, with a latent conviction, that the ineasure was intended as a demonstration, not of distaste to the Roman Catholic claims, but of disaffection to the newly-constructed Administration.
From an attention to the reasons, on which the reverend assembly seemed inclined to acquiesce in the measure; two arguments, as far as I could collect, seemed adequate to recommend it to their adoption. After it had been premised, that there was an obligation of conformity to the established religion, incumbent on the King himself, without which his subjects were absolved from their allegiance; some importance was laid upon the possibility of His Majesty choosing a consort who was in the Romish communion. As a matter of particular moment, the unreserved obedience exacted by the See of Rome, from every person who received the baptismal rite, was insisted on ; (4) by which, all recusants and apostates from her authority, became subject to the temporal inflictions, which, in the spirit of intolerance and perse-, cution, she visits on heretics.
To the person who came possessed with a strong predisposition against the projected measure, these reasons, it may be easily conceived did not afford very powerful grounds of conversion; to myself, who now became deeply impressed with a sense, that the project was not merely inexpedient but unadvised, they offered little that required refutation. It became only necessary, in taking this office upon me, to state, that the legislature had already equally provided against the danger of the King allying himself to a Papist, as becoming himself a Papist; since by either act he absolved the subject from his allegiance.* On the subject of those temporal visitations of the Romish See, which had excited such lively apprehensions, I needed but observe, that in the most intolerant and sanguinary periods, she never arrogated such authority: the common process with convict heretics, having been that of handing them over to the secular arm, which in these realms was already disabled of its powers to hurt or destroy, by an express act of the legislature, t which it was now proposed to address by petition. With the persons who in the prevailing state of political and religious opinion over the civilized world, contemplated the revival of the penal enactments, by which heretics are brought to the stake, I deemed it unnecessary to enter into further dispute, believing them so incurably opposed to the force of reasoning, as to defy the power of hellebore,
Nescio an Anticyram ratio illis destinet omnem.
* 12 & 13 W. III c. 2.
+ 29 Car. II. cap. 9.