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an abdicated king, still grasping at the remains of expiring royalty. William the Third never deprived the Catholics of their property. He even allowed the most part of the Catholic gentry the use of such arms as were necessary for their defence and diversion : a sword and a gun. Their total de. struction was completed by the last sovereign of the Stuart line.
Queen Anne, by reducing the leases to thirty-one years, and introducing the bills of discovery, threw the nation into a convulsion, from whence it can never recover, until more lenient hands slacken the stiff chain of penal restraints. Under the happiest of constitutions, she has made Ottoman slaves, and impressed one of her kingdoms with the traces of Turkish misery.
Under this sort of government,' says Montesquieu, speaking of the Ottoman empire, nothing is repaired or improved. Houses are built only for the necessity of habi. tations; every thing is drawn from, but nothing restored to the earth : the ground lies untilled, and the whole country s becomes a desart. Whoever travels over the most part of Ireland, can see the description realized. One of her laws, whereby it is decreed, that where the son and heir
of a Papist, shall become a Protestant, his father shall be 6.tenant for life,' is the horror of Christendom, and an indelible stain on her memory- Laws written in characters
of blood,' says an illustrious member, in his speech on the Popery bills. This law effectually dissolves the ties of nature, reverses filial duty, and subjects a tender and aged father to the empire of a profligate son, who, for the sake of pleasure and dissolution, would subscribe the Alcoran in Constantinople, as soon as he would the thirty-nine articles in Dublin, and say with the Count of Bonneval, in . turning Turk I have only exchanged my hat for a tur"ban.' It is true, that her victorious generals have graced the annals of the queen; but in the eyes of a Christian, her inclemency and ductility shall for ever disgrace the history of the Stuarts.
Hitherto we have a retrospective view of our obligations to those our royal benefactors : let us now look forward to the agreeable scene, and enchanting prospect of riches and bless. ings, we expect from their restoration.
emener The poinagen had the
our felage of
. In reality, Sir, a dear bought experience has broken this charm that bewitched our ancestors in favour of the Stuarts. Whilst they were our kings, we exerted ourselves to support them on the throne, more from principle than faction; and had other monarchs swayed the sceptre, we would have done the same. In a word, we fell with our kings, and the very offspring of those kings have chained us closer to the ground. Now the tide of those fatal commotions has subsided. This tumult that distracted the nation in the Stuart's reign is allayed. Are we to quit the reality in pursuit of a shadow ? What would we have gained, had the Pretender been crowned at Westminster? An aggravation of our yoke, and new calamities? The penal laws, relaxed in their execution by the clemency of government, would have been revived with new vigour. The edge of persecution, blunted by the very humanity of our fellow-subjects, would have been new tempered and sharpened.
You will answer, perhaps, that such usage could not be expected from a Catholic Prince. Folly ! pardon the expression. You know that the throne is the most dazzling object of human ambition. Though a great distance from its steps, and the impossibility of obtaining it renders the most part of mortals insensible to its charms, yet in regard to those who are entitled to it by their birth, it is a magnet that attracts their hearts, the great idol, to which they would sacrifice their very blood, and the water of Lethe, erasing by its
oblivious qualities all impressions of friendship, gratitude, · and even religion. Of this, history, both sacred and profane, afford several instances. Athalia murdered the princes of the royal house of Judah. . Tullia drove her chariot over her father's body, and dyed its wheels in his blood, from an eagerness to be saluted queen. In the time of the crusades, a Catholic prince was found in the number of the slain, with the marks of the circumcision on his body. He expected the kingdom of Jerusalem from Saladin ; and this fervent Christian, who a few years before would have spilt his blood in defence of Christ's sepulchre, sold Christ him. self, for the dominion of a city in which he had been crucified.
I do not mean, Sir, that any of our regal candidates would turn Turks for the sake of a crown." But certain I
am; that the transition is easy from Popery to Protestantism, and from Protestantism to Pupery, when a diadem is the reward of conversion. In my humble opinion, Charles the Third would have removed Pope and Popery out of his way to the throne. To clear himself from the suspicion of a Popish cancer, the oppression of Papists would have been the best detersive. A Catholicon very familiar to the Stuarts!
Perhaps I pass a rash judgment on this cherished twig of the Stuart stock : if so, I retract, But all we expect from him is the liberty to fast and pray; this we enjoy without his mediation, and it would be madness to forfeit.
Incapable and unwilling to hurt the public, willing and incapable to serve it; equally destitute of property and arms to defend it, our duty is confined to passive loyalty, inforced by religion. Let interest and the liberty of purchasing step in as an active principle, you will not find one Catholic in the kingdom but will be as sanguine as yourselves in the defence of his substance, and the common cause, against Pope or Pretender. We daily see two brothers fight with the ani. mosity of open enemies, for a legacy or a spot of ground. We read of Popes, who in defence of their territories, have entered into leagues with Protestant princes against Catholic powers. Property then is so interwoven with self-preserva. tion, that few or none will run the hazard of losing it in compliment to another, were he even a saint; and of all mortals the Stuarts are the least entitled to the sacrifice of our acknowledgment.
Yet, as the frowardness of superiors does not avert their authority, and as the descendants of bad princes may have a rightful claim, one point more remains to be discussed, viz. Whether we can in conscience renounce all allegiance unto the grandson of James the Second, whose abdication of the throne has been the effect of fear and compulsion? Has not the son a right to the estate of which his father has been deprived by force? And in opposing this right do I not commit a flagrant injustice ?
This important question is to be solved by the fundamental laws of the realm, general principles, grounded on im. partial reason, and the ordinary dispensation of Provi.
dence, directing the revolutions and vicissitudes of human affairs.
From the earliest times, the laws have decreed, that although the crown be hereditary, yet the right of accession is not indefeasible. The English have defeated, and altered the succession as early as the time of Edward the Confessor, who was chosen king during the life of the lawful heir. The history of England affords several instances of the kind, a long time before the accession of the Stuarts to the throne. The law both in present and past times, is, and has been, that the crown is hereditary in the wearer: that • the king and both houses of parliament can defeat this • hereditary right, and by particular limitations exclude the
immediate heir, and vest the inheritance in any one else.' Thus not only the Pretender, but even the present Prince of Wales can be excluded from the throne, with the consent of the king, lords, and commons.
Grotius, a learned and sanguine stickler for indefeasible right, though he cannot agree that the son of a dethroned king can be lawfully excluded, yet is forced to acknowledge, that the same son, if not born whilst his father was in possession,can be deprived of his right to the throne with the consent of the people, because such a prince, says he, has no acquired right. . Illud interest inter natos et nascituros, quod naš• cituris nondum quæsitum sit jus, atque adeo iis auferri 6 possit populi voluntate.' Grot. de jure belli. lib. 2. c. 7. 26. This decides for ever the fate of Charles the Third, who was born a long time after his grandfather's expulsion. It is moreover grounded on the clearest principles of reason.
In effect, does reason allow that subjects should be distracted, between kings in actual possession of the throne, and the grandsons and great grandsons of kings who had formerly enjoyed it? Bound by the law of God to pay tribute to, and obey the king, whose image is stamped on his coin: Cujus est hæc imago? Bound by the diotates of conscience to assert the claims of his rival: to pull down their king with one hand, to support him on the throne with the other. Carrying within themselves two opposite laws, which mixing and encountering like certain chemical liquors,
raise a fermentation that cannot be allayed to the end of time.
Let us suppose that Charles Stuart had a right to the throne; his posterity (if ever he chance to have any) to the last generation will claim the same. Let us suppose the Hanoverian line in possession to the end of time. 'Lo, a curious sight! The frame of government turning on two hinges, without being supported by either; two mathematical lines always approaching, without ever touching, and all future generations balanced and suspended between both, without knowing which of the two to incline to. Good sense, the law of nature, or the general good of mankind, to which the claims and interest of one man should be subordinate, do they admit such rigorous enquiry? - Celebrated objection of civilians, canonists, and divines :
• Time is no active principle. Every thing is done in s time, but nothing by it; and a long prescription, without a * lawful title, is no lenitive to the alarmed conscience of o the possessor, nor bar to the claims of the dispossessed.' The civil law has decided so. L. 3. 11. 3. ff. de acq. vel amit. poss.. * Non capit. longa possessione qui scit alienum • esse.' And the canon law, Cap. possessor de reg. juris in 6. • Possessor malæ fidei ullo tempore non præscribit.'
Answered: If a long prescription, without an original title, cannot secure the consciences of kings and subjects, God help the world! For great kingdoms, if traced back to their origin, are great robberies. Sine justitia magna • regna sunt magna lacrocinia."* By this rule, the Stuarts had no right to the throne of England : for their original title was defective, as derived from William the Conqueror, an usurper, or from the ancient Saxons, who plundered and dispossessed the Britons. How can we calm the consciences of the Dutch, Portuguese, &c. formerly the subjects of Spain? I believe the most scrupulous amongst them are unconcerned for the rights of their former masters. A
However, I acknowledge that time alone, without some concurrent cause, cannot legalize a prescription. But in regard to kings and the allegiance due from their subjects, a great number of reasons supply the deficiency of the original
* St. Augustine.