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conscience of its abettors; I put it not to their Christian charity, but their moral sense, whether the sentence be overcharged, which the acute and amiable investigator of the spirit of laws has passed upon our penal code ?—That it compasses all the evil that could be effected, by a cold-blooded, merciless proscription. And is this the plea, in which a minister of peace, finds the justification of his prayer to the legislature, that the law which is thus merciless, should be unrelenting and everlasting?
It is a perfect mockery of common sense, to pretend to comprise the justification of this code, in a recital of the plots, machinations, and conspiracies, to which, as it is mentained, it was opposed as a barrier. For what pretence can be grounded on this plea, as all apprehensions from these conspiracies have long expired, that they should be suffered, for an hour, to stain, with characters of blood, the unsullied pages in which our chartered liberties are recorded ? But it requires only a glance cast upon their contents, to be convinced that the penalties are not directed against the incendiary or conspirator. Nor is it pretended that they are.—No;' retorts the objector, but
they are preserved as restraints upon the recreant · Papist, who, in the divided allegiance by which 'he deems himself bound, will be naturally drawn
by that tie, which he believes to be most sacred. • The pestilent errors which he maintains are irre
concilably opposed to our civil and religious • liberties; as inconsistent with the prerogative of • the crown, as with the freedom of the subject. • As it is his doctrine, that the sovereign, if ex
communicated, may be deposed and murdered; • and that no faith is to be maintained with heretics, whom it is his duty to extirpate.'
they are are.Nopirator. N
relieve R. Cthe legislatuefore the read an oath, in
To bring this palmary objection to the test of another tangible proof; the following declaration made with the solemn asseveration of an oath, is laid without comment before the reader. It was framed by the legislature in the last reign,* to relieve R. Catholics from some penalties and disabilities, to which they were exposed by their religious opinions. It is constantly taken by persons professing the Romish faith; nor am I aware that any R.Catholic objects to undergoing this test of his political opinions.
I A. B. do declare, that I do profess the Roman Catholic religion.
IA. B. do sincerely pronise and swear, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his Majesty King George the fourth ; and him will defend to the utmost of my power against all conspiracies and attempts whatever that shall be made against his person, crown, or dignity ; and I will do my utmost endeavour to disclose and make known to his Majesty, his heirs and successors, all treasons and traiterous conspiracies which may be formed against them : And I do faithfully promise to maintain, support, and defend, to the utmost of my power, the succession of the crown ; which succession, by an act intituled, An act for the further limitation of the crown, and better securing the rights and liberties of the subject, is and stands limited to the princess Sophia, electress and dutchess dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being protestants ; hereby utterly renouncing and abjuring any obedience or allegiance unto any other person claiming or pretending a right to the crown of these realms : And I do swear, that I do reject and detest, as an unchristian and impious position, that it is lawful to murder or destroy any person or persons whatsoever, for or under pretence of their being heretics or infidels, and also that unchristian and impious principle that faith is not to be kept with heretics or infidels : And I further declare, that it is not an article of my
* 31 Geo. III. cap. 32.
faith, and that I do renounce, reject, and abjure the opinion, that princes excommunicated by the pope and council, or any authority of the See of Rome, or by any authority whatsoever, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects, or any person whatsoever. And I do promise, that I will not hold, maintain, or abet any such opinion, or any other opinions, contrary to what is expressed in this declaration : And I do declare, that I do not believe that the pope of Rome, or any other foreign prince, prelate, state, or potentate, hath or ought to have, any temporal or civil jurisdicton, power, superiority, or pre-eminence, directly or indirectly, within this realm. And I do solemnly, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, that I do make this declaration, and every part thereof, in the plain and ordinary sense of the words of this oath, without any evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation whatever, and without any dispensation already granted by the pope, or any authority of the See of Rome, or any person whatever; and without thinking that I am or can be acquitted before God or man, or absolved of this declaration, or any part thereof, although the pope, or any other person or authority whatsoever, shall dispense with, or annul the same, or declare that it was null or void. So help me God.”
Let the vile and injurious suspicion, which may here suggest itself, be then for ever dismissed, that the test thus solemnly given, if it is atall obligatory with heretics, binds no longer than until it is absolved by the Pope. Or let it rest among the common-place trash of ex-chancellors*
* As the dignified personage here pointed at, is now raised to the summit of the great orator and stateman's ambition, and has attained, “ id quod est præstantissimum, maximeque optabile omnibus sanis, et bonis, et beatis, cum dignitate otium;" he is recommended to devote an hour of this leisure, from the perusal of reports and cases, to the celebrated preface of Thuanus; of which the great Lord Mansfield observed, that he could never turn to it without feelings of enthusiasm. In devoting his last labors to the glorious cause of upholding the only part of our national law, which is distinguished by intole
and ex-secretaries, until, at the next anniversary where they are toasted, it comes forth, reeking and fuming with the other nidorosities of the tavern, and is cheered and “applauded to the echo” by the assembled club; ut fieri solet in istis conciliabulis.” But strip this objection to emancipation of the glories with which such courtesy invests it, and take it out of the latitude which is congenial to it; and I demand of those grave privy counsellors who have already received a lesson on the effects of orgainising a cabal against their Sovereign, What is its value? Let me ask the one, who can find no “securities,” no fetters sufficiently strong to bind the consciences of R. Catholics, to what respect would the youngest counsel be entitled, who, in a Court of Law, gave this as his reason for rejecting the testimony of a “Papist ?” Let the other declare, what obstacle stands opposed to those concessions to the Romanists which meet his hostility, but their religious sense of the obligation of an oath; for what other disqualification has prevented, for centuries, the Howards and Talbots, from asserting their hereditary right to a seat in the Legislative Assembly to which they are summoned by writ, with the other nobility of the realm?
But it is consolatory to think, that we live in an era, in which the question is not to be decided by
rance and persecution; it may be cheering to him to learn, that a lawyer and “a papist.” was found, in an age not distinguished by light or liberality, who was the warm and eloquent advocate of civil and religious liberty. And I may be allowed to suggest, that to the same copious and unmuddied source, his great legal rival may be recommended, for the draughts with which his vein is replenished; when he feels next disposed to suck up and disgorge the slaver of Dr. Philpotts' effusions, in the same sacred cause,
obsolete councils, to which the lay Romanists pay no attention,* and ecclesiastics but little respect;t nor by defunct statutes, which no officer
* As a corrective of the erroneous notions held on this sub. ject, it may not be inexpedient so state the doctrines really held upon it by the Romanists, as determining the limits of authority arrogated by the Popes. As carried to the utmost length by the Jesuits, the great upholders of the Papal supremacy, they are stated in the address of the Parliament of Paris, against the restoration of the Jesuits, delivered to Henry IV. Api Hospin. Hist. Jesuit. Lib. II. p. 160. “ Axiomata doctrinæ ipsorum uniformia sunt, quod videlicet Superiorem non agnoscant, nisi S. Patrem nostrum, cui juramentum fidelitatis et obedientiæ in omnibus rebus præstant, et pro regula indubitata habent, quod ille excommunicandorum regum potestatem habeat: quod rex excommunicatus nihil sit aliud quam Tyrannus, cui populus rebellare possit. Quod omnes regnicolæ, yui minimum in Ecclesia ordinem habent, si quodcumque crimen committant, illud pro læsæ Majestatis crimine haberi non possit, propterea quod Regum subditi non sint, nec ad eorum jurisdictionem pertineant : sic ut omnes Ecclesiasticos, et per consequentiam seipsos a potestate seculari exemptos esse, et impune suas manus sacratissimis Regum personis injicere posse dicant.” From the protest of this R. Catholic Parliament, which delivered its sentiments from the very boson of the Church, it is obvious, these doctrines were reprobated by its soundest members, as the mere placita of a sect, which was as notorious for its religious intollerance as its political intrigues. Yet, when carried even to this enormous extent, if the source from whence they professedly emanated be investigated, it will appear, that they afford no proof of a temporal jurisdiction or authority assumed by the Sovereign Pontiflover foreign states.
t In the Codex of the Roman Civil Law, Lib. I. tit. v. $6. a Constitution of the Emperor Frederick II. is inserted, which commences in the following terms; “ Si vero dominus temporalis requisitus et admonitus ab Ecclesia, terram suam purgare neglexerit ab hæretica pravitate, post annum a tempore monitionis elapsum, terram ipsius exponimus, Catholicis occupandam, qui eam, exterminatis hæreticis, absque ulla contradictione possideant,” &c. On this consitution, it is observed by Gothofred; Ibid. n. f “Ex hac authentica, Fredericum Imperatorem fuisse destructum a Papa refert Baldus, hic. Ex hac namque authentica, Papam regnum Siciliæ Carolo-Andagavensi donasse.”. As it is thus apparent, that it was from the civil authority exclu