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The bill, as it originally stood, was prepared by the writer of these pages; it was then, on his own suggestion, and by the direction of the committee, laid before the late Mr. Hargrave, and perused, settled, and approved by him. In this form, it was taken to Mr. Mitford, and by his desire referred back to Mr. Hargrave, and was then revised and finally settled by him.
No reader, acquainted with the character of Mr. Mitford and Mr. Hargrave, for profound professional knowledge and extreme accuracy, will easily believe that a bill, thus settled and approved by them, contained any thing substantially objectionable. The objects which it embraces are numerous and complicated; it has now been acted upon for thirty years, and the writer is not aware of a single question which has arisen either on its construction or its effect: this can be said of few modern acts of parliament of the same operose texture.
Justice to Mr. Mitford and Mr. Hargrave called for these observations.
The Protestation deposited at the Museum. Ar a general meeting of the roman-catholícs, held on the oth day of June 1791, at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand, it was resolved,
“ That, as the oath contained in the bill for the “ relief of English catholics, is not expressed in “ the words of the protestation, the English catho“ lics take this occasion to repeat their adherence
“ to the protestation, as an explicit declaration of “ their civil and social principles, and direct the “ committee to use their endeavours to have it de“ posited in the Museum, or some other proper “ place of public institution, that it may be pre“ served there, as a lasting memorial of their poli“ tical and moral integrity.”
In pursuance of this resolution, the secretary delivered the protestation into the hands of Dr. Morton, the secretary of the British Museum, on the 30th day of the following December.
On the last skin, 'the following memorandum was written, and it was signed by the secretary, with his name. Every word of it was most maturely considered by him, and he now sees.nothing to subtract from it, to change in it, or to add to it.
“ The above-written solemn instrument of pro“ testation was signed by the English catholics in “ the beginning of the year. 1789.
“ As soon as the committee of the English - catholics received it, they transmitted it to Mr. “ Walmesley, the honourable James Talbot, the " honourable Thomas Talbot, and Mr. Matthew “ Gibson, the then four vicars-apostolic of the “ English mission. They all signed it: The " three first with their own hands,—the last by “ Mr. James Talbot, whom he authorized to sign w it for him.
“ After this, it was circulated generally among “ all the clergy, and among all the catholic laity of any kind of consequence or respectability in
England, and not more than six or seven at the “ utmost, refused to sign it.
“ After Mr. Talbot had signed Mr. Gibson's “ name to it, it was suggested to the committee, “ that the authority given by Mr. Gibson to Mr. “ Talbot to sign it, was upon condition, that he “ thought his signature necessary to the success of “ the bill then in agitation for the relief of the " catholics. The committee did not think his “ signature necessary, and doubted, therefore, “ whether they were warranted, under these cir“ cumstances, in accepting his signature. They “ signified this to Mr. James Talbot, and by his “ direction and in his presence it was erased.
“ Mr. Walmesley and Mr. Robert Bannister
signified to the committee, their wish to have “their respective names erased, and one other “ clergyman is said to have intimated a like wish " to one of his friends.
Thomas Weld, esq. of Lullworth Castle in the county of Dorset, desired it might be mentioned “ to the officer at the Museum, who should receive “the protestation, that he wished his name to be “ withdrawn, as it was against his will, and with“out his consent, that it was brought to the " Museum.
“No other signature has been recalled. From “ the time it was signed to the present moment, it " has been in my custody. 56-It was resolved, at their general meeting in last
* That, as the oath, contained in the bill
“ for the relief of English catholics, is not ex
pressed in the words of the protestation, the “ English catholics take this occasion to repeat “ their adherence to the protestation, as an explicit “ declaration of their civil and social principles, and “ direct the committee to use their endeavours to “ have it deposited in the Museum, or some other “ proper place of public institution, that it may “ be preserved there, as a lasting memorial of their
political and moral integrity.' “ In consequence of this resolution, it is, this 30th day of December 1791, delivered to Dr. Morton, the secretary of the British Museum, by, “ Charles Butler,--secretary to the catholic
" committee." The instrument of protestation, deposited at the Museum, is the identical instrument, which was subscribed by the gentlemen, who attended the general meeting of the catholics at the Crown and Anchor in 1789*
* Dr. Milner, having discovered some variations in an impression of the protestation from the instrument deposited at the Museum, has, in many of his publications, instead of blaming the inaccuracy of this impression, questioned the authenticity of the original; but, in the most considerable of his works t, he has expressed himself upon the subject with great candoar in the following terms –"The question of its authenticity is unim“portant; neither the committee, nor the cisalpine club, nor any “other person, to my knowledge, is to blame in the affair."
+ Letters to a Prebendary, 4th edition, p. 456, 456.
THE BLUE BOOKS-THE MEDIATION-THE
TERMINATION OF THE CONTROVERSY.
In the course of the controversy, the committee thought themselves obliged, on several occasions, to address, sometimes the vicars-apostolic and sometimes the catholic public at large, in print.
The writer has mentioned the letter, which, with the express permission of bishop James Talbot, he addressed to the vicars-apostolic, on the subject of the protestation and the oath formed upon it.— This was never printed, and has been seen by few; the writer has a copy of it; and he will retain it for some time, for the inspection of those, who may wish to see it.—Being bound in red, it acquired the appellation of The Red Book.
The Blue Books.
THESE acquired that appellation from their having a blue cover.
The first contains a letter from the committee to the catholics of England, dated the 25th of November 1780;-and a letter from them, to the four apostolic-vicars, with the same date.
The second Blue Book contains two letters from the committee,—the first to Dr. Douglas, the second to Dr. Walmesley, Dr. Gibson, and Dr.