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st of the progever very ing, or injap lisserta
volity and gallantry, attaches no blame whatever to his Lordship's character. We cannot say that the author is more judicious or instructive in his account of the present reign, than in the other parts of his work. His narrative, never very luminous, is, as usual, clumsily broken by frivolous, unmeaning, or inapplicable digressions. The French revolution introduces a long dissertation; in the course of which, the author makes a discovery, which we must communicate to our readers, that Mr Burke's book on that subject was written purely in revenge for the de. struction of the Catholic religion in France, to which he avers that statesman had a most heretical affection. Among other im. pertinences, he moreover introduces a discourse upon the merits and fate of his book on the rebellion ; and this notable piece of egotism is quaintly entitled 'the history of a history!' From all this the reader must see, that our author never trifles with his subject; that he faithfully adheres to his plan of noticing only what is important and interesting ; in a word, that his notions of history are purely classical. .
We should, however, give an unfair review of the book, did we not admit that the account of the rebellion is interesting, and, upon the whole characterized by a benevolent and manly spirit. It would not indeed be difficult to shew, that he occasionally of fers inadmissible apologies for that arbitrary system which was adopted upon the recal of Lord Fitzwilliam *; and throws the whole of that blame, which ought to be shared with the authors, upon the immediate agents of the system. But we gladly, relinquish strictures, which we could not pursue, without recurring to transactions but little accordant either with British magnani. mity or British justice.
We must also remark, in favour of the author's liberality, that he is very decided for Catholic emancipation, and as his opinion has the sanction of local knowledge and experience, we quote his words.
A more kind-hearted and obliging people than the Catholics of Ireland, I am perfuaded, can no where be found ;, and I must confess that I feel for them a ftrong affection : Nor can I entertain a doubt of their inviolable attachment to the British government, if they were once fully admitted to an unqualified participation of its benefits.' Vol. II, po 507.
* We believe, that the kind of proofs which the conful Pliny requires of a good governor of a -province, were never more abundantly produced than upon that occasion. • Volo ego qui provinciam rexerit, non tantum codicillos amicorum, nec urbana conjuratione eblanditas preces, sed decreta coloniarum, decreta civitatum alleget.' Panegyr. Traja We have nothing further to say of this book, but that it is as defective in composition as it is in all the higher attributes of history. The style is tame and loose, full of conceits, heavy expletives, and uncouth inversions. In short, we would exhort the reverend author to think no more of writing history, but to bestow his labour, where we hope he will reap more success, upon the cultivation of his vineyard in the church.
ART. IX. Speech of Mr Deputy Birch in Common Council. March 5.
1807. London, 1807.
Speech of the Right Honourable Lord Hawkesbury, in the House of · Lords, on Friday, the 10th of May 1805, on the Subject of the
Catholic Petition. 2d Edition. London, 1805.
ularnopinion, came beaublication
Cursory Reflections on the Measures now in Agitation, in favour of
the Roman Catholics of the United Kingdom. By a Loyal Irish· inan. London, 1807. W HEN Sir John Throckmorton's publication on the subject of
V the Catholic claims came before us, * we were certainly impressed with an opinion, that, unless in an incidental manner, the subject would not again challenge our attention for some time to come. Since, however, circumstances, at that time unforeseen, have called a new host of pamphleteers into play, and given the enemies of what we deem sound and liberal policy another triumph, we will not be wanting to our duty, nor suffer the errors which we think have beguiled the multitude, to pass without refutation or reproof. What we shall offer will be little. Plain reasoning commonly lies in narrow compass; and though we are no orators, as Deputy Birch is, we are still inclined to think, that some little effect may be produced by sober reasoning, even opposed to his eloquence, though it flow more sweet than the macaroon, and more ardent than turtle-soup.
· It would be very foolish to contend, that all who oppose the 'pretensions of the Roman Catholics, are narrow and fanatical bigots, actuated by an intolerant hatred of those who dissent. from their own creed. They comprehend, unfortunately, too large a portion of the public, to be reviled, or turned into ridicule. We may very possibly, in the present state of British opinion, belong to a minority ; no good reason, we presume, for concluding us to be in the wrong ; but certainly a very proper
inducement * Vol. VIII. p. 311.
inducement to keep us within bounds, and prevent the retaliation of such indiscriminate charges as are for ever in the mouths of our adversaries. There are, in fact, so many sensible and judicious, as well as conscientious mèn, who hesitate about the propriety of such a bill, as was lately brought into Parliament, for the purpose of admitting the Catholic subjects of the King to military and naval command, that it is worth while to attempt winning them over, by somewhat a more legitimate sort of logic than the writers on their side are wont to adopt. And though we remember the words of Montesquieu, ' lorsqu'il s'agit de prouver des choses claires, on est sûr de ne pas convaincre ;,' we are not without hope, that some such men may retire from the discussion with less unfavourable impressions than before..
As we are desirous to address our observations to such men as these only, we assume it as an admitted point, that, provided such relaxation of our laws can be proved not to endanger the established church, it ought, on a double account, to be granted; both for the sake of the individuals, to whose industry and fair ambition it gives encouragement; and for the sake of the nation, whose effectual strength it tends greatly to augment. If any man denies this conditional position, we wish him to read no farther ; his is insanabile caput, and argument will be of no use to him. Of the advantage which the nation would derive from opening, as it were, a fresh mine of labour and talents, by admitting the Catholics into those stations from which we exclude them, we have said enough in our review of Sir J. Throckmorton ; * and, certainly, the military and naval professions would afford the most striking illustrations of our general remarks. And to this, when we join the consideration, that such measures would conciliate many, and probably silence all of those whose disaffection we dread in Ireland, it is inconceivable, that any really temporate man can avoid wishing at least to be persuaded, that no evil would be felt, where so much good would certainly be effected. « Primum ita esse velim,' says an ancient of the soul's immortality ; deinde, etiamsi non sit, persuaderi mihi velim.' We do not recommend this anxiety to believe a proposition as very philosophical ; yet when we see how the judgement of men is ever cheated by their inclinations, we cannot help .suspecting, that those who are so quick of alarm at the Catholic claims, have never appreciated the undeniable benefit of admitting them. It is unlike all we know of the human mind, that men should put the most strained suppositions, and the most improbable cases, to defeat their own wishes, and to withdraw their assent from measures, which they sincerely desire to approve. Let us begin
by * Vol. VIII. p. 312.
by feeling for the Catholics of Ireland, as for men and fellowcitizens, entitled, upon each account, to every benefit which we can securely bestow; and unless we are much deceived, the dangers with which we are threatened by Lord Hawkesbury and Mr Deputy Birch, will not make much impression on the most anxious and' zealous well-wisher of our establishment. • To such zeal and such anxiety, we offer no violence. We readily admit, that the Protestant church is, at all events, to be maintained in every civil right, with which it is invested by law. The question is thus reduced within due limits. We have only to inquire whether a certain great improvement can be made in our situation, without risking a certain definite mischief, which is agreed to be more than commensurate with it. We have nothing to do with the merits of the Protestant and Catholic persuasions, relatively to their intrinsic truth. We have as little to do with the advantages or disadvantages of a religious establishment. A Protestant establishment is taken for granted in the discussion; as it has been by every eminent person who has taken up the cause of the Catholics ; though certain people have not scrupled to borrow from Lord George Gordon the senscless imputation of attempting to bring in Popery, and cast it on the most conspicuous characters of which our country can boast. Nor shall we condescend to answer those, who charge the Catholics with averseness to civil liberty, and with principles of arbitrary power. This calumny is never propagated, but among the populace; not that it is more palpably gross than many others which pass mus. ter ; but perhaps, because, in some very anticatholic circles, it might look like panegyric. What then are the arguments, by which the request of one fourth part of the people, to fight the battles of the rest, has hitherto been resisted ? It is, of course, unnecessary for us to do more, than to answer the reasons adduced by the opposite side. · They have the onus probandi, and let us see how stoutly they undergo it.
1. " To admit Papifts to hold certain commissions in the army, is a propofition more inimical to our glorious conftitution, than ever was at. tempted by any minister to obtain the sanction of parliament : for Pou pery, when introduced through a military channel, takes its most tremendous and relentless shape ; and, when once introduced, will be irre. vocable ; it will be impossible to retrace the fatal and false steps with which it is in this case attempted to delude you.' Deputy Birch's Speech, p. 9.
Now, what is it that Deputy Birch is afraid of? Is it that the King (we use the word, of course, generally) may send half a dozen regiments, commanded by Catholics, to dissolve the Parliament? Or that these officers may conspire to do the same of their own accord,
Thiseness to ciganswer the our coun
and turn both King and Parliament out of doors? It is necessary to come close to the point, if we would avoid being imposed upon by words without meaning : all generalities must be resolved into particulars, before their value can be estimated; and the Protestant alarmists are bound to state precisely what it is they would have us apprehend. One of these two alternatives they must take.' And can they seriously conceive, that the con-.. stitution can be violently overturned (for any thing but violence is out of the question, when we speak of danger resulting from · military command) by a few Catholic officers and privates, while
the mass of the army, and of the people, are Protestant ? Let us ask, is there no motive but religion, which can lead an officer to betray his trust, or a king to entertain ambitious views ? Yet, which of these alarmists dreams of such a transaction ocr curring with a Protestant king and a Protestant army ? Suppose the army to consist of a hundred regiments, and that ten colonels of these are Catholics, by what process are the smaller number to overbalance the greater ? But the king may cashier all the Protestant colonels in a moment, and replace them by Catholic creatures of his own. This is really too ridiculous to be answered ; and yet very sensible men have been talking and acting, as if it was their real expectation. For, unless something of this kind be done, it is morally impossible that a Catholic army can set their yoke upon us.
2. • It'is well known that his Majesty enjoys the Crown in virtue of certain limitations. Shall the Royal Family be the only one in the kingdom liable to such restrictions ? Can it be highly reasonable, for the sake of public good, to limit the capacity of succeeding to the Crown; and highly unreasonable, though there be the like occasion for it, to limit the capacity of private men to be captains and colonels. ' De. puty Birch's Speech, p. 11. .
Not at all unreasonable, if there be the like occafion for it. There is an odd fallacy here, which has misled more intelligent men than Deputy Birch. It is represented as an absurdity, to leave a restraint on the King, which we would take off from the subject, But, on the same principle, Protestants and Papists should be pro, hibited from intermarrying; or at least the husbands of Catholic women should be excluded from offices of trust, which has never been contended. There is, it should seem, a very plain reason for the distinction. We are not called upon to take off the restriction from the inheritance of the Crown, as we are from the Catholics of Ireland. No benefit is likely to accrue from repealing that part of the Act of Settlement, equivalent to the popular outcry which it would occasion; nor while the succession continues in its present course, is it likely that any King of England should den