« PreviousContinue »
the beginning of his regality, as the before the members of each house first act of bis reign, namely, his began to assail the throne with admarriage with the daughter of Henry dresses against the increase and toIV. of France, is considered by his- leration of popery, the employment torians as the basis of all the mis- of papists in the offices of state, the fortunes which afterward, befel him. relaxation of the penal laws enacted The celebrated Mr. Cobbett, in a against papists, and the insolencies complimentary.“ Address to the of the jesuists and those who were Men of Norwich,” published in his popishly affected. And they prayed political register of the 18th of Ja- his majesty, in remedy of this “qutnuary last, who, to my own know- rageous and dangerous disease,” ledge, are in general as corrupt in among other things, that he would, political matters as the most venal in the exercise of his prerogative, borough roters in the kingdom,- provide that the youth of the realm Mr. Cobbett tells these gentlemen, be carefully educated by able and that Charles had the misfortune to religions schoolmasters, and that be married to a Bourbon wife! The they be enjoined to catechise and inspleen and rancour displayed by this struct their scholars in the grounds writer towards the reigning family of and principles of true religion.France is unworthy his great ta- That special care be taken to enlarge lents, and shews how hard it is even the word of God, throughout all the in enlightened minds to divest them- parts of his majesty's dominions, as selves of the prejudices imbibed in being the most powerful means for their early education, and to cull the planting of true religion, and rooting truth in their riper years from the out of the contrary. That he would misreports of our historical penmen. cause strict provision against transNo, reader, it was not the marry- porting of English children to the ing a “ Bourbon,” but a CATHOLIC seminaries in foreign parts; that he princess, which lạid the foundation would recal such as were already of the series of ill-luck experienced sent to those places of education, and by Charles, till he eoded his inau- punish all those who supported or .spicious days upon the scaffold. maintained either the teachers or the Had the virtuous, and faithful Hen- scholars. That no popish, recusant rietta Maria been; a protestant in- be permitted to come within the pur“ Bourbon” would never have been the laws standing in force, against jereckoned a misfortune to her royal suits, seminary priests, and others, and affectionate consort, either by be put in due execution ; that all his own factious people; or the par- such papists, jesuits, and recusants, tizans of reform in these times. who are or shall be imprisoned for That it was religious principles, and recusancy, may be so strictly renot family connexions, which raised strained, as that none shall have con. such discontent in the public mind ference with them, thereby to avoid at this marriage is recorded both by the contagion of their corrupt reliEchard and Rapin, the former of gion; and that no man that shall be whom
says, almost all the protesto suspected of popery be suffered to be ants took the alarm, as if the mar. a keeper of any of his maj sty's pririage had been only made to intro- sons.---That his majesty would be duce the catholic religiou?'. This pleased strictly to command all the bigotted jealousy was soon made ap- judges and ministers of justice, eccle. parent, for the first parliament call, siastical and temporal, to see the laws ed by this king had scarcely met, l of this realm against popish recusants
to be duly executed; and namely | nign, the merciful, the liberal meathat the censure of EXCOMMU- sures recommend d hy the ancesNICATION be declared and certi- tors of our Bourbon and inquisified against them, and they be not tion-haters t orepress the growth of ABSOLVED upon public satisfac- popery, and establish what they and tion by yielding to conformity.- their more blind and stupid descen- . That all such persons as are either dants call “religious liberty.”popish recusants, or justly suspected Mr. Cobbett and his compee's may to be such, be removed from places knash and foam at the pope and the of authority and government. That Bourboos, at the jesuits and the all popish recusants be disarmed, ba- inquisition, bnt can they produce an nished from the metropolis, and con- instance of such cold blooded ty• fined within five miles of their placeranny on the part of catholic states, of residence. That all natural-born as these sanguinary bigots were de. subjects be restrained from repairing sirous should be inflicted on their to hear mass or other superstitious fellow subjects, for merely following service at the chapels or houses of the dictates of their conscience; and foreign ambassadors, or in any other this too under the sacred name of places whatsoever. That all SUCH" liberty,” and the pretence of supINSOLENCIES, as any that are porting civil and religious freedom ? popishly affected, have lately com- -The reader will also remark the mitted, or shall hereafter commit, similarity of the leading remedies to the dishonour of the protestant here proposed with the recent schemes religion, or to the wrong of the true of schools for all, bible societies, professors thereof, be exemplarily Irish catholic schools where cathopunished. That the statute of 1st lic instruction is excluded, and other Eliz. for the payment of twelve- institutionis established and supportpence'every Sunday, without a law. ed by the zealots of our own days ful excuse, may be put in due execu- to effect the decrease of popery. tion, the rather for that the penalty Charles returned a gracious answer by law is given to the poor, and to his parliament, which Rapin says, therefore not to be dispensed withal. in the language of: chagrin and disAnd lastly, that his majesty would appointment,“ wanted only the be pleased to extend his princely performance of his promises." -- Thus
care also over the kingdom of Iré- the monarch who is called in these - land, that the like courses may be days a’tyrant and oppressor, is cen, there taken for the restoring and es- sured by a hugonot writer, because tablishing of true religion -“And he would not become the executioner tņus, most gracious sovereign, (the of his parliament's barbarous and senators conclude,) according to our mercenary desire of punishing his duty and zeal to God and religion, subjects with imprisonment and the to your majesty and your safety, to halter, for the base and heinous the church and commonwealth, and crime of worshiping God according their peace and prosperity, we have to their conscience and the mode made a faithful declaration of the practised by their forefathers for uppresent estate, the causes and reme- wards of ten centuries.-Finding dies of this increasing disease of po- the members more occupied with pery, humbly offering the same to matters of religion than points of your princely care and wisdom.”civil polity, and perceiving them not Such, reader, is the substance of likely to grant him any subsidies to the first act of the first parlia- carry on the exigencies of the state, ment of Charles; such are the be- | the king dissolved the bigotted ass sembly after it had sat about two crueth to the popish party; but that months, resolving to try some other according to his wisdom, goodness means to raise supplies.
and piety, he would command the The year following (1626,) the parties named, and all such others king however called another parlia- to be put out of such commissions ment, which was not long assembled and places of authority Here then before the same intolerance towards we have an incontestable fact, that the professors of popery became catholics were not considered by the manifest, by the presentation of ano- protestant monarchs of these realms, ther petition by the commons, com- in the infancy of the established plaining of the non-fulfilment of his church, as the sworn enemies of that majesty's promises to remove from institution or the state, else it is evi. all place of authority and govern- dent they would not have been emment, all such persons as are either ployed. - No doubt can exist in the popish recusants or justly to be sus- mind of any candid man that Charles pected, which they considered as a was firmly and conscientiously atgreat and principle cause of the in- tached to the doctrine and discipline crease of popery." Not baving,” of the church of England, nor does therefore, say they, " received so it appear by any action of his life, full redress therein as may conduce that this monarch was a favourer of to the peace of this church, and safe- popery.—But Charles had no santy of this regal state, we hold it our guinary propensities to gratify; he duty once more to resort to your was not desirous of rivalling a Nero, sacred majesty, humbly to inform a Diocletian, a Henry, or an Elizayou, that upon examination, we find beth; he wished to soften the rigour the persons under-written, to be of the penal code enacted in the either recusants, papists, or justly preceding reigns against the cathosuspected according to the former lics; to employ those whom he conacts of state, who now do, or, since sidered trust worthy, without rethe sitting of the parliament, did gard to their religious professions; remain in places of government and and he was solicitous to restore that authority, and trust, in your several solemnity and splendour to public counties of this your realm of Eng- | worship, which the puritan zeal and land and dominion of Wales." avaricious impiety of ignorant and Then followed, writes Rapin, a list barbarous innovators had deprived of fifty-nine recusants and suspected it of. These measures, undoubtedpapists, who were in places of trust ly laudable and commendable in and authority in several counties; themselves, were however attempted among whom, it is stated in a note, to be enforced in virtue of the royal were the earl of Rutland, the vis- perogative, instead of the joint concounts Montayue and Dunbar, the sent of the three estates; and this lords Eure, Abergavenny, Tenham, gave the popular party an advanVotton, Morley. Mordant, St. John tage over the sovereign with the peoof Basing, and Scroop; the rest were ple, which they did not fail to make commoners. — The petition concluded the most of. How far the king was by humbly beseeching his majesty justifiable in these proceedings, I not to suffer his loving subjects to shall touch on hereafter; but nothing continue any longer discouraged, I am persuaded can be produced in by the apparent sense of that increase extenuation of the conduct of the both in number and power,' which parliament leaders, for the unfeeling .by the favour and countenance of and successive petitivns and remon- such like ill-affected governors ac- strances they voted, expressly to urge the monarch to sacrifice the blood of present laws? These are no ordi. his subjects, and afterwards taking nary times in which we live. "Infidea may his life because he would not lity is rapidly spreading its deadly comply to the full extent of their poison, and we are informed by the wishes on this bead. Here it may gravest authority in the land, that not be amiss to draw a slight con- the most blasphemous expressions parison between our own times and and doctrines are openly and repeatthose of Charles's days. At this edly advanced at the meetings of moment the public mind is violently the people, and the most infiamma. agitated with the discussion of griev tory topics introduced under the ances, and the catholics are peti• form of profane and indecent,parotioping for a restoration of their civil dies of the liturgy and the holy rights, and their eligibility to civil scripture.--How nearly then are we offices. The opposers of this just approaching to the seditious and demand on the part of the catholics, turbulent proceedings of the early -who assume to themselves a superior part of Charles's reign --Then as attachment to the v nerable fabrick now, the people were divided into of the constitution, and the esta- | innumerable sects, all fired with reli. blished church, than those who are gious zeal and hatred to popery; then willing to comply with the prayer as now, the ignorant multitude were of the petitioners, resist the conces- inflamed with false and malignant resion principally on the ground that presentations of the principles of pa
it would be dangerous to both church pists, and the cruelty of the inquisi. and state to allow catholics to sit tion and the jesuits; then as now, the in parliament or hold offices. Just public mind was agitated with the so was the complaint of the “no popular cry of redress of national popery” men of the seventeenth cen- grievances; and the only difference tury. Under pretence of loyalty between the two periods is, that then and affection to the king's person the catholies were subject to the inand government, they cloaked the fiction of heavy and severe penalmost uncharitable malignity towards ties affecting life and limb, from the catholics. This hatred they al- which they were occasionally screenways coupled with professions of ed by the executive, and sometimes fidelity to the constitution and de- imployed in affairs of state, but now, Notedness to the true reformed though relieved from the sanguinary religion in the same manner as the part of the penal code, by a legisorange-men of the present day; yet lative enac, ment, they are subject to a short time only elapsed before proscription and exclusion from civil these loyal-hearted patriots, these offices and employments. Then the champions of civil liberty and reli- restless spirit of infuriate bigots, gious freedom, sabrerted both the animated with intolerant zeal and constitution and the church, while the fired with enthusiastic notions of catholics whom they represented as reforming religion, brought a mon. the secret foes to both, lavished their arch to the block, and raised a form blood and property in support of of government of the most odious them.--Surely the experience of past and tyrannical nature, on the rujos ages ought to have some weight with of an ada irable but dilapidated conthose who now manage the concerns stitution; now this constitution we of the nation, and induce them to are told is threatened with destrucweigh the consequences of continu- tion by the visionary schemes, -ing the hateful proscriptions forcon- set of Spencean philosophers, whilst sciencenee sake, which disgrace our the church is menaced by the fast
spreading venom of irreligion, aid- required to punish them. Nay, so ed by the indiscriminate diffusion of far did they càrry this tyrannical bibles aniong the most ignorant spirit of intolerance, that some of the and illiterate classes of society. individuais included in this docit And would it not then be a mea- ment were acknowledged to be exsore of prudence and wisdom to call' emplary members of the true church, in the assistance of men, whose at- but because they were united by the tachment to religion and the state ties of affection and kindred to those has been proved by the testimony who veterated the sign of the cross, of past ages ? To say the church is and made use of holy water, it was in greater danger from the catholics considered an enormous national than from the methodists, or other grievance, and called loudly for res sectaries, is to say the thing which is dress. As it will be amusing to the not ; and besides, the catholics have reader to know the rank and dignity solemnly declared in their recent pe. of some of the offenders, I shall tition, as well as upon that here enumerate a few of the names! they will not exercise any privilege, and offices, with the grievous misdeto which they are or may become en- meanours they were accused of. titled to disturb or weaken the reli- "John Preston, esquire, bow. gious establishment of the country, bearer for his niajesty in Westmores which is more than can be said of land forest, a recusant. any body of dissenters. The loyalty “ Thomas Colvill, esquire, jailor, of a catholic who adheres to the pre- justice of the peace and quorum, his cepts of his church is firm and steady, daughter, a recusant, married.
indubitably proves; and this, because it of the crown, justice of the peaoe, is fixed on the immutable principles of himself a good communicant, but a religion, which inculcates obedience his wife and daughter popish' récuto the laws of the state, as an indis- sånts." pepsible duty to God, our sovereign, This short list is sufficient to de and our country, yet, at the same monstrate the bigotted spirit which time, deprecates corruption and pe- then prevailed, not amongst the vulculation. The loyalty of a bigot or garand illiterate members of the coman orangeman, on the contrary, is munity, but the leaders of that body selfish and unsound; governed by which is supposed to contain the the most sordid passions, and regu- wisdom of the nation'; nor was this lated by the basest motivés. This is disgraceful and uncharitable dispos incontestably demonstrated by the sition confined to the mere removal presentation of the before-mentioned from office, since the two houses of petition to Charles, in which the parliament did not think it' beneath only crime imputed to the individuals their dignity, nor contrary to the who had incurred the wrath of our spirit of christianity, to petition the famous liberty-of-conscience men was king to put to death six catholic purely that of being recusants or sus clergymen, to whom Charles, in the pected of being such. Not a single clemency of his heart, was desirous offence against the state is urged in of extending the royal prerogative of their disfavour; there is no accusa- mercy. This circumstance, with the tion of peculation or maleadministra- case of Mr. Goodman, is so feelingly tion in their offices; no conspiracies detailed by Mr. Brown, in the 39thi or plots engaged in, but the sole note to his Historical Account of the charge is of a spiritual, not a politi Laws against Catholics, that I cancaly nature, for which the king was not refrain from giving the detail