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the presence of Judge Henn, the creed which Mr. Wesley attributes to me. I have been the first to unravel the intricacies of that very oath of allegiance, proposed to the Roman Catholics; as it is worded in a manner which, at first sight, seems abstruse. And, far from believing it lawful to 'violate 'faith with heretics,' I solemnly swear without equivocation, or the danger of perjury, that in a Catholic country, where I was chaplain of war, I thought it a crime to engage the king of England's soldiers or sailors into the service of a Catholic monarch, against their Protestant sovereign. I resisted the solicitations, and ran the risk of incurring the displeasure of a minister of state, and losing my pension: and my conduct was approved by all the divines in a monastery to which I then belonged; who all unanimously declared, that, in conscience, I could not have behaved otherwise.
Mr. Wesley may consider me as a fictitious character; but, should he follow his precursor, (I mean his letter^ wafted to us over the British channel), and, on his mission from Dublin to Bandon, make Cork his way—Doctor Berkely, parish-minister, near Middleton—Captains Stanner, French, and others, who were prisoners of war, in the same place, and at the same time—can fully satisfy him as to the reality of my existence, in the line already described; and that in the beard which I then wore, and which like that of Sir Thomas More, never committed any treason, I never, concealed 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
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 Saints, of whose proceedings Mr. Wesley is become the apologist, have burnt the hou&es 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
mission from Christ, preached the Gospel by orders of Catholic and Protestant kings, is confined to the kitchen. Thns, what formerly roasted the man at the stake, now helps to leed 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 said, we never condemned but murderers and perpetrators of unnatural cnme6 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 distinguish 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 salute each other at Constantinople, 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 honour 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.— Though divided in speculative opinions, if united in sentiment, we would be happy. The English settlers breathed the vital air in England, before they inhaled the soft breezes of our temperate climate. The present generation can say, 'our fathers and grandfathers have been born, bred, and 'buried here. We are Irishmen, as the descendants of 'the Normans, who have been born in England, are 4 Englishmen.'
* Seethe statutes of that kinj; and lament the effects of divisions fomented by Sovereigns.
Thus, born in an island in which the ancients might have placed their Hesperian gardens and golden apples, the temperature of the climate, and quality of the soil inimical to poisonous insects, have cleansed our veins from the sour and acid blood of the Scythians and Saxons. We begin to open our eyes and to learn wisdom from the experience of ages.— We are tender-hearted: we are good-natured: we have feeliHgs. We shed tears on the urns of the dead; deplore the loss, of hecatombs of victims slaughtered on the gloomy altars of religious bigotry; cry in seeing the ruins of cities over which fanaticism has displayed the funeral torch; and sincerely pity the blind zeal of our Scotch and English neighbours, whose constant character is to pity none, for erecting the-banners of persecution, at a time when the inquisition is abolished in Spain and Milan, and the Protestant gentry are caressed at Rome, and live unmolested in the luxuriant plains of France and Italy.
The statute of Henry the Sixth is now grown obsolete.— The razor of calamity has shaved our lower and upper lips, and given us smooth faces. Our land is uncultivated; our country a desart; our natives are forced into the service of foreign kings, storming towns, and in the very heat of slaughter, tempering Irish courage with Irish mercy.* All our misfortunes flow from long-reigning intolerance, and the storms which, gathering first in the Scotch and English atmosphere, never failed to burst over our heads.
We are too wise to quarrel about religion. The Roman Catholics sing their spalms in Latin, with a few inflections of the voice. Our Protestant neighbours sing the same psalms m English, on a larger scale of musical notes. We never quarrel with our honest and worthy neighbours, the Quakers, for not singing at all; nor shall we ever quarrel with Mr. Wesley for raising his voice to heaven, and warbling forth his canticles on whatever tune he pleases; whether it be the tune of guardian angels or langolee. We like social harmony; and, in civil music, hate discordance. Thus, when we go
• Count Dillon and the Irish brigade could not be prevailed on by D'Estaing to p„t the English garrison to the sword. 'We will not kill our countrymen, said they: 'would it not be wiser to let these gallant men go to mass, "no serve then-ow» king?
to the shambles, we never enquire into the butcher's religion; but into the quality of his meat. We care not whether the ox was fed in the Pope's territories, or on the mountains of Scotland, provided the joint be good; for, though there be many heresies in old books, we discover neither heresy nor superstition in beef and claret. We divide them cheerfully with one another; and, though of different religions, we sit over the bowl with as much cordiality as if we were at a love-feast. g
The Protestant associations of Scotland and England may pity us; but we feel more comfort than if we were scorching one another with fire and fagot. Instead of singing ' peace 'to men of good will on earth,' does Mr. Wesley intend to sound the fury of Alecto's horn, or the war-shell of the Mexicans? The Irish, who have no resource but in their union, does he mean to arm them against each other? One massacre, to which the fanaticism of the Scotch and English regicides give rise, is more than enough: Mr. Wesley should not sow the seeds of a second. When he felt the first-fruits and illapses of the spirit—when his zeal, too extensive to be confined within the majestic temples of the church of England, or the edifying meeting-houses of the other Christians, prompted him to travel most parts of Europe and America, and to establish a religion and houses of worship of his own, what opposition has he not met with from the civil magistrates! with what insults from the rabble! broken benches, dead cats, and pools of water bear witness. Was he then the trumpeter of persecution? Was his pulpit changed into Hudibras's 'drum ecclesiastic V Did he abet banishment and proscription on the score of conscience? Now that his tabernacle is established in peace, after the clouds having borne testimony to his mission,* he complains in his second letter, wherein he promises to continue the fire which he has already kindled in England, that people of exalted ranks in church and state, have refused entering into a mean confederacy against the laws of nature, and the rights of mankind. • In his first letter, he disclaims persecution on the score of religion;
* See an abridgment of Wesley's journal, wherein he says, that in preaching one day at Kinsale, a cloud pitched over him. * <
and, in the same breath, strikes out a creed of hisown fox the Roman Catholics; and says, that 4 they should not be 'tolerated even amongst the Turks.' Thus, the satyr in the fable breathes hot and cold in the same blast; and a lamb of peace is turned inquisitor! 'But is not that creed menmentioned 'by Mr. Wesley, the creed of the Roman Catholics?' By right it should be theirs: as it is so often bestowed on them, and that, according to ther civil law, a free gift becomes the property of the person to whom it is bestowed, if there be no legal disqualification on either side. But the misfortune is, that the Catholics and the framers of the fictitious creed, so often refuted, and still forced on them, resemble the Frenchman and the blunderer in the comedy: one forces into the other's mouth a food which he cannot relish, and against which his stomach revolts.
Mr. Wesley places in the front of his lines, the general Council of Constance; places the Pope in the centre: and brings up the rere of his squadrons with a confabulation between a priest and a woman; whilst his letters are skirmishing on the wings. Let us march from the rere to the front: for religious warriors seldom observe order.
A priest then said to a woman whom Mr. Wesley knows, «•■' I see you are no heretic: you have the experieu.ee of a 4 real Christian.' 'And would you burn me?' said she, 4 God forbid,' replied the priest, 'exoept for the good of 4 the church.' Now this priest must be descended from some of those who attempted to blow up a river with gunpowder, in order to drown a city.* Or he must have taken her for a witch; whereas, by his own confession, 4 she was no heretic' A gentleman whom I know, declared to me, upon his honour, that he heard Mr. Wesley repeat, in a sermon preached by him in the city of Cork, the following words: 4 A little bird cried out in Hebrew—O Eternity! 4 Eternity! who can tell the length of Eternity?' I am then of opinion, that a little Hebrew bird gave Mr. Wesley the important information about the priest and the woman. One story is as interesting as the other: and both are equally alarming to the Protestant interest. Hitherto it is a drawn battle between us: from the rere, then, let us advance to
• Among other plots attributed to the Roman Catholics in the reign of Charles the First, this extraordinary one was thrown upon them. See Hume.