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FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC
HENRY GALLY KNIGHT, Esq.
“ If there be one point in which all the country will agree, it is that a
MIRROR OF PARLIAMENT.
JAMES RIDGWAY, 169, PICCADILLY.
FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC VIEW
The best manner in which a traveller can expiate a long absence from his own country, is to bring back, on his return, something that may be useful to the land which gave him birth.
It is under this impression that I am anxious to make an offering of whatever harvest I may have reaped in the course of extensive rambles; and, as one question appears to me to be more vital to the best interests of England than any other, so is it my particular wish to bear testimony to what I have seen with reference to that particular question-I mean the expediency of making the Catholics as ourselves, or of perpetuating the separation.--And I am the more anxious to exhibit a sketch of what has been done, and is doing, in other lands, with regard to this question, because it is to be doubted whether many of my countrymen do not confine their judgment, on this subject, to more narrow limits than would otherwise be the case, by not sufficiently extending their views—by looking down, instead of looking up and around—by not sufficiently adverting to other countries and other times, and drawing conclusions from examples which are before our eyes, and might afford the most striking illustrations--in short, by forgetting that there is any country in the world besides England
—that there is any continental Europe-any Scotland—any Ireland.
How singular, how inexplicable, must it appear, that the great achievement, in the accomplishment of which you leave a neighbouring country rejoicing, should be declared impracticable in your own! How unintelligible that a few miles should make so great a difference!—You have seen the general gladness, you have partaken in the general exultationyou return to your own country in the fond imagination that the tidings of which you are the bearer will make you the more welcome; and, when you arrive, you find, to your astonishment, that every face lengthens at the very mention of the happy event—you are scoffed at as an enthusiast, or censured as a dangerous innovator, an enemy of the church, a disturber of public peace. Amazed and perplexed, you revolve the matter in your mind, and on seeking for an explanation of the mystery, you only find it in causes which increase your dejection.
Such is a faithful picture of the feelings it was my fate to experience on my return last autumn from Belgium to England.
In Belgium the great measure of the pacification of the Church (involving that of the State) had just been carried into effect. All the country hailed this important event as the restoration of general peace, as the pledge of domestic tranquillity. Some thought that better terms might have been obtained had the measure been adopted sooner; some thought that too much, and others that too little had been done—but all agreed in thanking God that the measure was at last effected. Such was the feeling in Belgium; and, in my own country, I find the door perseveringly closed.—How can this be? Is there any so wide a difference in the forms of government, in the habits, in the disposition of the two nations, as to make that desirable in the one which would be dangerous in the other? Is the one a free, the other a despotic, countrythe one under the controul of an absolute prince, the other at the disposition of an unrestrained people? Is the one enlightened, the other in darkness ?--the one passive, the other volcanic ? Let us inquire how this matter really stands, and observe the result. The country I left is one that has struggled for free institutions—that has successfully resisted a Catholic despot—that has risen into consequence from having secured the blessings of freedom, and