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To prevent any misconception of their conduct by the holy see, the committee determined to de
When a dispute arose in China, whether the words Tien and Xangti were understood by the Chinese themselves to denote “God," in the sense in which that word is understood by christians,-- or “the god of Chinese idolatry," the jesuits justly asserted that the emperor's own declaration on the subject was of great weight.
To the same, but not to more, the opinions of the king's serjeant and solicitor-general were justly entitled. We shall now transcribe the case and opinions.
Case, with Mr. Serjeant Hill's Opinion. “ Mr. serjeant Hill is requested to peruse the oath, in the “ heads of the bill left herewith, as altered in red ink.
“A doubt has arisen in the minds of some catholics, whe“ther some parts of the oath, particularly the clause in red “ ink, do not amount to a denial of the spiritual rights, with “ which, according to their religious tenets, the church and “ her ministers, and particularly the pope, is invested :-As “ those of preaching the faith,-administering the sacra“ments,-ordaining the ministers of the church,--punishing
by spiritual censures, &c.- if it amount to a denial of the “ pope, the church, and her ministers, being invested with “ the rights of this nature, it is an oath which a catholic can“ not take consistently with his religious principles.
“ On the other hand it is contended, that it is not meant to “ deny, by the oath, any spiritual right of the church; but “ merely the right of the church to interfere in temporal “ concerns, or to use temporal means to enforce her spiritual « censures.
“ Two propositions are admitted on all sides :
“ The one, that the church is invested with a complete au. “ thority in spiritual concerns; and a power to enforce that
authority by the spiritual means of censures ; and that the “ pope is the spiritual head of the church.
“ The other, that neither the church nor the pope have, “ either directly or indirectly, any temporal power in this “ kingdom.
pute the rev. Mr. Hussey, afterwards bishop of Waterford, to his holiness. We shall transcribe
“ The question therefore is, whether the oath in question, “ and particularly that part of it which is written in red ink, “ is a denial of the spiritual authority of the church or the * spiritual supremacy of the pope ?
Opinion. “ No form of civil government, nor any system of laws, was “ instituted by Christ or his apostles, nor any commission
granted to their successor, to enforce the christian doctrine “ by temporal power. The authority of the pope and the “ church is derived from them. The words of the oath do “not import a denial of their having this authority: they “ only deny their having temporal power, or a right to “ enforce the spiritual authority by temporal power. This “ is all the party who takes the oath will or can be un“ derstood to swear or assert, when he swears, in the words “ of the oath, that they have no jurisdiction or authority that “ can either directly or indirectly affect or interfere with the “ independence, sovereignty, laws, constitution, or govern“ ment thereof, or with the rights, liberties, persons, or pro"perties of the people of the said realm, or any of them ;" therefore, I think the oath is not a denial of the spiritual “ authority of the church, or the supremacy of the pope. “ Lincoln's Inn, Feb. 18, 1791.
“ G. Hill." Extract from Mr. Solicitor-general Lee's letter. “ A state or constitution has the rights of self-defence, as “ well as an individual ; and it is competent to each commu: “nity to make such regulations, and to stipulate such condi“tions, as appear, on their best consideration, to produce the
greatest good, and to avert the most evil from society. The “ most usual, and perhaps the most unexceptionable, is an “ oath of fidelity to the estate. For no man has a right to “ remain in and be protected by the laws of any community, " that is plotting its destruction. On this simple and plain “ ground I think every legislature ought to proceed ; and I " trust that it will be thought neither injurious to the civil
the minutes of the committee respecting his intended deputation.
LXXXII. 7. Intended Deputation of the rev. Mr. Thomas Hussey to
Rome on the subject of the Bill. Ar a meeting of the committee of English catholics, at the Crown and Anchor in the Strand, on the 5th Nov. 1790;
Mr. Hornyold :
It was moved, and unanimously resolved, “ That Mr. Hussey be requested to go to Rome, “ in the name of the committee, to lay before his “ holiness, a fair representation of the late pro“ ceedings of the committee, and an exact state of “ the present situation of the English catholics.”
At a meeting of the committee of English catholics on the ist Dec. 1790; “ rights, nor offensive to the consciences of peaceable catho“ lics to comply with it. Pretending to no subtle casuistry, “ I cannot well see how any man who can take the oath of “ 1778, can rationally object to the proposed oath.”
On this ground, the writer always thought that the clause in the oath grounded on the protestation was properly inter. preted by the committee:- but he repeats, that, in the turn which the business took, he sincerely rejoiced that the oath was abandoned.
Dr. Charles Berington, Mr. Throckmorton,
Mr. Towneley, Lord Petre,
Mr. Hornyold : Sir H. Englefield,
Mr. Hussey attended, by the desire of the committee, and was informed of the above resolution, and accepted the deputation, and desired minutes of instructions might be drawn up and given him for his conduct.
At a meeting of the committee on the following day ;
Mr. Hornyold : It was moved, and unanimously resolved, That the following instructions be communicated to Mr. Hussey; and that he should be requested to attend the meeting of the following day.
“ Mr. Hussey will make every prudent exertion “ to clear up any misrepresentations, and to give an " accurate account of the state of the catholics in “ this country.
“ The main object, which he is requested to keep “ steadily in view, is, the necessity the English “ catholics were under, of vindicating the inte“ grity of their principles, repelling the slanderous “ charges uniformly brought against them, for two
“ centuries past, and of removing those penal and
disabling statutes, which have been gradually undermining their body, and must, at length, operate almost a total extinction of the catholic
religion in these dominions. He will représent, “ that religion has always been supported, and is “ at present every where supported, except in some
few populous towns, entirely by the voluntary “ munificence of the nobility and gentry'; and, “ unless they recover their rights, there is immi“ nent danger of the catholic religion's declining “ with great rapidity.
“ He will take an opportunity of expressing the
surprise and astonishment of the peers and gentry, “ who never received any answer to the applica
tion, they made on the election of Mr. Berington. “ He will explain the rise and progress
pre“ sent business; and show that the protestation “ was not a voluntary offer of the committee; but “ a pledge of uprightness called for, by our pro“ testant fellow-subjects; was not attempted to be “ carried into execution, as a basis of public mea“ sures, until it had been approved and signed by “the apostolic vicars, the far greater part of the
clergy, and most of the respectable laity in the “ four districts; that it has been already presented “ to parliament, and therefore, if the present form “ be not perfectly correct in the wording, the com“ mittee are not to blame, because no alterations “ were previously called for by the clergy, and the “ deed having gone before parliament, it cannot
possibly be revoked.