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ART. I. The State and Behaviour of English Catholics, from the Re-
an English Catholic. He possesses a very considerable share of information; and where he only states facts, or quotes authorities, we think he deserves credit. We are far from espousing that bigotted maxim of some narrow-minded Proteftants, that a Papist, upon principle, is peculiarly disposed to tell lies for the good of the church. But supposing we had adopted this ungenerous position, we should have authority superior to the mere word of this Author, and totally independent of it, to prove the facts to which he appeals. We speak not of those which lie open in the pages of history; but of those which are subjected to the evidence of our senses. Here the Author goes on sure ground; and if he were inclined, he would find himself unable, to deceive the Reader.
The first part of this sensible and animated Tract, consists of an historical review of the state and behaviour of the Catholics, from the reign of Hen. VIII. to the year 1780-that memorable æra of faction, frenzy, and outrage !
From the following quotations, the discerning Reader may be able to form a complete idea of the Author's political lentiments; in other words, his system of civil convenience and accoma modation.
Speaking of the conduct of the Catholics under the Usurpation of Cromwell, he says:
• In the general body of the people, there ever remained a ftern spirit of loyalty, which no threats or allurements could vanquilh. Yet, by some writers, the Catholics have been represented as desertVOL, LXIV.
ers from the cause. It has been said, they made their court to the Usurper. It was the wish, perhaps, of these men, to screen, if possible, what they thought the wrong behaviour of some of their own friends, by criminating the innocent. Even Clarendon very roundly infinuates the same charge against the Catholics. I am confident he knew it was not so; at least in an extensive application: but it should seem, as if the noble Author were jealous that the praise of loyalty, of which himself had so ample a fare, should be given to a party whom he never liked. It is not from any romantic ideas of the virtues of loyalty that I say this; for I really think, that Catholics, as matters then stood, would have done well to have joined the Pro. tector, had he given them certain assurances of support. They bad experienced how little was to be expected from the bounty of kings: and besides, with the approbation of the major part of the nation, the Form of Government was altered; confequently the criminality of rebellion was done away. My views then in representing the uniform adhesion of Catholics to King Charles, reits solely on the conviction of its truth. In other respects, I am not ashamed to say, . that the Government which is best inclined to give us protection, has the only right to demand our allegiance.'
The Author's sentiments of the Revolution are noble and generous; and sufficiently shew, that his religious profession hath not lessened his veneration for the constitution of his country.
* Father Petre, a weak, but designing Jesuit, appeared at the court of James the Second, and was sometime after sworn member of the Privy Council. An ambassador exir
xtraordinary was sent to Rome, to lay at his Holiness's feet the King's fubmiffion, and to folicit a mitre and a Cardinal's hat for the brows of Petre The Romans saw the folly of this precipitate conduct :
“ Your King, taid they, should be excommunicared for thus attempting to over:urn the small remains of Popery in Hingland.” A Nuncio was however fent; and he was received at Windsor with folemn pageantry. He then attempted to obtrude his Cacholic minions on the Universities: This was opposed with becoming resolution. A second declaration for liberty of conscience was issued, with this particular injunction, that it should be read in all the churches. The bishops iemanstrated ; they were summoned before the Council ; were sent to the Tower ; were soon after tried-and acquitted. The resentment of the people was now raised to the utmost. The King began to see the folly of his proceedings : he wilhed to call a parliament, and to effect that by conftitutional means, which he had vainly attempted by every ftretch of his dispensing power. It was now too late News was brought him, that William Prince of O ange was preparing a strong force to invade his territories. Dismayed and terrified, he now saw there was no redress, for he had forfeited all claim to the love of his fub. jects. The Prince landed; and James foifook a throne, which te was unfit, and I think, unworthy to govern. When he first retired from London, the mob rose, and destroyed every Catholic chapel in The city; nor was there a city in England in which they did not
come marks of their inaignation, • Every attempt of James to fubvert the established religion, or ra her to give toleration to Catholics (for this was all he then aimed
at), was attended with the most glaring violation of the laws; and the powers he assumed of dispenfing with them without the consent of Parliament, broke alunder that sacred compaar by which the people are bound to their sovereign. He was no longer entitled to their allegiance. Every patriot Thould have voted for his expulsion. Kings are made for the people, and the laws of the realm are their only rule of conduct. When they violare these (it matters not under what pretence), they become tyrants. It was unfortunate for James to have been so ill advised. The inclinations of his own mind, would not, I think, have hurried him on so far. But wicked and designing minifters, leagued with weak and infatuated priests, must at any time prove an over match for greater abilities than ever fell to she lot of a Stuart, The Catholics, as a body, merited not the reprehenfion I. give to Petre and his associates. They saw the wretched folly and the weak views of those bad advisers; and they condemned the precipitancy of measures which they knew could only terminate in their ruin. As must ever be the case with all men in a similar fituation; they wished to be relieved from oppression ; but the undisturbed practice of their religion, with the enjoyment of some few civil liberties, would have satisfied their most fanguine desires. This I know from certain information: but, unhappily for them and for their descendents, the voice of prudence and of cool religion was not attended to, whilst wild zeal and romantic piety were called in to suggett schemes of folly, and to precipitate their execution.'
After a brief and general view of the state of Popery in this kingdom, from the Reformation to the present times, the Author just touches on the riots of the last year, and after slightly contrasting the behaviour of the Catholics with that of their enemies, concludes the first part of this publication with observing, that ' it matters not what all or any of that body (viz. of the Catholics) may have thought or practised in former times; nor does it regard us, what may now be the sentiments of Catholics in other countries; we wilh information with regard to those few only who actually live among us. The clamours of a mob, or the declamatory discourses of ignorant, selfish, and bigotted men, deserve no attention ; they must ever deceive us : but in a cool and dispaffionate temper, we defire to receive such instructions, as can only be supplied by those who are themselves Catholics, and who are thoroughly acquainted with the real state of that body now in England.'
• The Author of these theets Alatiers himself he can give this information : he was educated in an English college abroad; he has fince that, lived and conversed with people of all ranks in that persuasion at home: he is bimself a Cacholic, and has long made the ftudy of their principles a serious occupation; and from what hach , been already delivered in the foregoing pages, he presumes, his seaders will not think him too much biassed to his own party, or im. properly warm in his representation of men and things. Dd 2
The second part of this work is entitled, a View of Enga lish Catholics, Laity and Clergy; their Number, Wealth, Character, &c. in the present Year 1780.' This Part is both interesting and entertaining. The View, it contains, extends, not only to the objects specified in the Title, but to the abilities and talents ; the political sentiments, religion, and rule of faith, of the English Catholics. It contains an examination of the various charges brought against them, particularly those which tend to affeèt their characters in a moral and civil light. It gives an account of the number and circumstances of the Catholic priests in this kingdom, and the constitution of their religious focieties; their schools, both in England and in foreign countries; and their nunneries, in France and the Low Countries.
With respect to the number of Catholics in this kingdom, the Author declares, that from the best information that he was able to procure, it doth not at this day exceed 60,000; and even this number he suspects to be beyond the mark. He obferves, that some of the great trading towns are known to contain more inhabitants than the whole collective body of the English Catholics amounts to. • In many counties (says he) and particularly in the west, in South Wales, and in some of the mid-land counties there is scarcely a Catholic to be found. This is easily known, from the residence of priests. After London, by far the greatest number is in Lancashire. In Staffordshire are a good many; as also in the northern counties of York, Durham, and Northumberland. Some of the manufacturing and trading towns, as Norwich, Manchester, Liverpool, Wolvere hampton, and Newcaitle-upon-Tyne, have chapels, which are rather crowded; but these constitute the greatest part of the number I have just given to their respective counties. In a few towns, particularly at Coventry, their number, I find, is increased; but this by no means in proportion to the general increase of population in the same places. Excepting in the towns, and out of Lancashire, the chief situation of Catholics, is in the neighbourhood of the old families of that persuasion. They are the fervants, or the children of fere vants, who have married from those families, and who chuse to remain round the old mansion, for the conveniency of prayers, and because they hope to receive favour and asistance from their former masters.'
Under the article of wealth the Author observes, 6 We have at this day, but eight peers, nineteen baronets, and about a hundred and fifty gentlemen of landed property. Among the first, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Shrewsbury, and the Lords Arundel and Petre are in possession of considerable estates. But the Earl of Surrey, the eldest and only son of the Duke, having lately conformed, the large poffeffions of that ancient and noble family, will soon fall into Protestant hands. The eldest son * of Lord Tyneham hath also lefc
* Now Lord Tyneham, by the death of his father
the religion of his father. Among the baronets are not more than three great estates. Sir Thomas Gascoigne has this year also taken the oath. Of the remaining commoners, with an exception of four or five, the greater part have not, on an average, more than one thou. sand pounds per annum in landed property. Within this year alone we bave lost more by the defection of the two mentioned Gentlemen, than we have gained by profelytes fince the Reformation. In trade very few fortunes have been made; and at this hour, there are not more than two Catholics of any note who are even engaged in mer. cantile business. The eldest sons of our gentry never think of trade; and the younger children have seldom a sufficient fortune on which to ground any profpect of success. They, therefore, generally chose to remain useless and dependent beings among their relations and friends, or to eat a hardly earned bread in the service of some foreiga Prince. England, like a cruel ftep-mother, refuses to give them nourishment. Should America win the great stake fhe now so unjuftly contends for (cautiously and artfully faid!) good policy will doubtless teach her to open her ports to all religions. Some few gain a decent livelihood by the profession of medicine, though in itrictness of penal justice, they may not even be apothecaries: and others in the low walks of the Law.'
Under the article of Character, the ingenious Author sketches a strong outline of that of the Earl of s Though truth might hold the pencil, yet we plainly perceive that resenta ment hath tinged the colour. •From Nature (says this Writer) he had received talents adequate to the greatest designs; and to these talents he had given some cultivation. But there is in him a cast, and a bizarreric, which must ever give a tinge to the faireft endowments. With abilities equal to the management of great public business, his best ambition mis-spends itself in vain declamation againit men and measures. He was always fond of opposition : I knew him when a boy; and at that time, to thwari, if possible, by petty controversies, the views of his malters; to complain of undue influence; to magnify grievances; and to head a little band of malcontents were objects truly congenial with his humour. With a less restless, lefs inconsistent, and less diffipated mind (for difipation has now greatly added to his native character), he would have mounted with ardor to the first place, at the head of a body of men to which his birth and his abilities called him. Here was a wide field for the display of the greatest talents. He might have given splendor to the Catholic cause; would have possessed their warmest affections, and might have aked relief for himself and for them, in a style that would have commanded attention.
If his soul was not large enough to have grasped at this high pre-eminence, and if from infenfibility to the impreffions of religion, his conscience is fincere, I blame him not that he has deserted the cause of his ancestors; but I pity an Earl of Surrey who can fink down to the paltry service of a party-declaimer in the Lower House of Parliament.
The following reflection is no less just than severe and pointed :