Page images

with assuring Dr Phillpotts that it is Christian Charity-if he can from no business of his to read hiin a lec- the noble eulogy delivered by one of ture on Christian Charity, and yet the most eminent churchmen over

one, who was indeed one of the most " He gives it like a tether, Fu' lang that day."

eminent statesmen in England.

" It can hardly, I hope, be necessary " How far," quoth Pound-text, “a for me to assure you, in the outset, that I minister of peace is righteously em- feel most strongly the delicate and solemn ployed in raking together the polemie nature of the duty I incur, in thus vencal rubbish of former ages of bigotry turing to comment on the obligation of and ignorance, at the risk of rekind my Sovereign's Oath. It is a subject, ling the flame of religious discord, which, in itself, and under any circumand with a view to deprive five or six stances, would demand from a religious millions of his Christian brethren of

of mind, to be treated with the strictest and

most scrupulous sincerity. But, if it were their natural rights, it is not my pro

otherwise possible, in the heat of controvince to decide.” And pray, if it be

versy, to forget this duty, the awful event, not his province, whose is it? And which has removed for ever from the scene pray, farther, if it be not, why do it? of our contention the ablest and most dis. And pray, farther, if it be done, why tinguished of all the individuals engaged not "let it be done quickly," instead in it, could hardly fail to recall us to bet. of in a drawling discourse, nearly an ter thoughts,-to admonish us, in a voice hour by Shrewsbury, or any other more eloquent even than his own, what well-regulated clock? He himself shadows we are, and what shadows we very soon begins to lose his own pursue. temper, and gets, if not mettlesome,

“Bear with me, I entreat you, for a very

short space, while I do justice to myself, yet almost within a hair-stroke of it,

no in speaking of the eminent person to whom very nettlesome indeed, with Dr I have here alluded. I have been accused, Pbillpotts, on account of his Letters in a late number of the Edinburgh Reto Mr Canning, whom the preacher, view, of treating him with “scurrility ;' a widely and deeply read, no doubt, in charge, which, without stooping to confute the history of the whole world, calls it, I fling back on the head of my accuser. “ the ablest statesman of any age Had I ever addressed to Mr Canning any or country!” “ The good and genes language, which a public man, on a pubrous of all parties must condemn your

lic question, would have a right to comlic que

plain of hearing, -much more, had I ever attempts to raise a clamour against

used towards him the smallest portion of such an adversary; and I can scarce

that coarse and unmanly ribaldry, which ly doubt that the death of the distin

this very Review, as often as it suited its guished individual whom they were factious purposes, delighted to heap upon meant to wound, has since awakened him, I should now feel, what it would recollections in your breast sufficient perhaps be well for my accuser, if he to avenge the wrong."

himself were capable of feeling. As it is. Here we must pull up the preacher no consideration, not even the call of self. on Christian Charity, and insist on defence, shall prevail with me to violate his paying some regard to Christian the Sanctuary of the Tomb, or to recur to Truth. Dr Phillpotts opposed the

any parts of Mr Canning's character or principles advocated by Mr Canning

conduct, but those on which I can offer an

honest, however humble, tribute of respect in Parliament respecting the Catholic

to his memory. His genius, his eloquence, claims. He opposed them boldly,

all the best and noblest endowments of his and like a man, in the spirit of an

highly-gifted mind, devoted by him to the English divine, in the language of an service of his country, during the long English scholar. To the grief of all period of her greatest danger ;-he himEngland, George Canning is-dead. self ever foremost, in office and out of of. And what are the recollections fice, in vindicating the righteousness of which the death of that distinguished her cause, in cheering and sustaining the individual has since awakened in

spirit of her gallant people, and elevating Dr Phillpotts' breast?" And are they

them to the level of the mighty exigence, such as to “ avenge a wrong," no.

on which their own freedom and the liber

ties of the world depended ;-protecting, where committed but in the fretful

meanwhile, our Constitution at home from fancy of this very paltry person? Let

the wild projects of reckless innovation, Dr Phillpotts speak for himself, and let shaming and silencing, by his unequalled the present preacher learn a lesson of wit, those who were inaccessible to the rea

soning of his lofty philosophy :- These prevent their entire degradation : he great deservings, be the judgment of pose afterwards, at a still more calamitous terity on other matters what it may, will period, yielded to a greater curtailensure to him a high and enduring place ment of their power and dignity, for in the proudest record of England's glory.

the purpose of preserving the EstaHis saltem accumulem donis, et fungar inani blishment from sinking into PresbyMunere."

terianism." Now go-thou preacher on Christian

.“ All this is perfectly true; and in the Charity-go to your pet idol the Edin

necessity for such concessions, sincerely and burgh Review, which is manifestly honestly believed by Charles to exist, and the sole political oracle you have ever in that necessity only, do we find the jus, consulted, -and which, without ac tification of the actions which it caused. knowledgment, you servilely crawl Whenever such a necessity shall again oc. after on your hands and knees—and cur, it will be for the King of England there study the character of George first to satisfy himself of its existence, and, Canning. There you will see “ the

if he be convinced that it really exists, to ablest statesman of any age or country"

follow the dictates of the highest species

of prudence, that master-virtue which badepicted as the basest, meanest, most profligate of public men. What “re

lances conflicting duties, and decides which,

in the collision, is to be preferred_decides, collections," think ye, has “ the death

however, not according to the shifting apof that distinguished individual” awa

pearance of temporal expediency, but ackened in the minds of the libellers, cording to the eternal rules of truth and who honoured him with their sincerest justice. Meanwhile, he will not be very abuse when living, and dishonoured ready to give ear to those, who either af, him with their falsest praise when firm or insinuate, that the necessity is come, dead? Are they such as to avenge

or likely to come. Come when it may, it the wrong? Then must they be bit.

will, we may be sure, make its presence to ter indeed! But as for you, who

be seen and felt; and even in its approach,

it will « cast its shadow' long before.' preach about Christian Charity, forsooth, and dare thus to misrepresent

The instance of Charles, however, is hap

pily chosen. It will serve either as an exthe bearing, bold and bright and open

ample or as a warning:-As an example, as the day, of one of Mr Canning's should the Sovereign wish to fall with dig, most illustrious opponents on one sub- nity, and, in his fall, to avoid making ject alone,-a great question, affecting ! shipwreck of a good conscience ;'-as a the well-being of that Church of which warning, if he choose rather to preserve him. he is himself a shining light and a self, and all the high and sacred interests strong pillar, and which, as long as committed to bis charge, from falling at all.” it continues to be so illumined and so Dr Milner has, of course, attempt. elevated, will defy all assaults, from ed a little casuistry about oaths, wbatever quarter they come, secret very much, indeed, in the style of the and insidious, audacious and declared, Surgeon. In the first place,” says -butphoo-phoo-phoo-itisa waste he, “it is evident that a promissory of our wrath to pour out its vials on oath which, at a certain period, was such a head-for, as we said before good and valid, may cease to be obliis it not—the head of a Croppy? gatory by some material change of cir

From such “ frivolous" stuff, it is cumstances, either with respect to the a relief to turn even to Dr Milner's object itself, or to any of the parties “ Case of Conscience," which Dr Phill concerned in it; so that, for example, potts disposes of in a style that would a measure which was originally wise, have astonished the Jesuit. The and beneficial, and desirable, becomes larger portion of the “ Case” is occu, the reverse of all this." pied with an attempt to shew that the Dr Phillpotts rightly observes, that Coronation Oath never prevented our a material change in circumstances is princes from making such alterations here equivalent to an important change in tbe laws affecting the Church in circumstances; but the “ material (which has nothing to do with the change” which the Jesuits intend, as present business) as on the whole they a ground for evacuating the obligathought fit, and in particular, “ that tion of a lawful oath, is a change in Charles I. gave his consent to the bill the matter, not in the circumstances. for excluding Bishops from sitting in Milner's argument, therefore, comParliament, in order, as it appear. mences either sillily or insidiously. ed at the trcaty of Uxbridge, to But hear the two Doctors.

“ Was the French Revolution," says that are under him to stand to its defence. Dr Milner, “ expected in those days in If these should be either such fools, or one word, is it from the side of Popery, or rogues, or cowards, as to neglect their from the opposite quarter of Jacobinism, that duty, and counsel him to yield to the re. the Established Church is most in danger quisition, while he has the means to resist at the present day? If this question be it ; he will not hesitate to send them about answered in the manner in which it must their business, and take some honest sound. be answered, then I apprehend the very hearted fellows in their places." obligation of maintaining this Church to

But Dr Milner goes on to shew, as the utmost of the Sovereign's power requires a different line of conduct and po. he thinks, that the King's Coronation litics from that which was pursued at his Oath need give very little trouble to Majesty's accession to the Crown."

anybody-for that a valid promissory It is possible," says Dr Phillpotts, oath may be evacuated by the abrogaa " that this may be so; and we only ask tion of it by those who have proper that Dr Milner and others will allow his authority, for this purpose, over the Majesty to decide for himself, and accord.



parties, or over the subject matter of ing to his own conscience, what is the line the Oath. He is pleased to consider of conduct, which the obligation of his

the Parliament, as having competent oath, being equally valid as at the first, does now require. But Dr Milner under:

authority both over the Oath itself, took, and his argument required him, to and over the subject matter of it, the shew, when an oath, originally valid, be Church of England, to enable it to comes invalid ;-and he ends with admite abrogate the Oath. That such an au. ting of the oath in question, that it is as thority exists in Parliament, quoth he, valid as ever !"

in both those particulars, it would be But Dr Milner goes farther, and

treason to deny. “ Then I am guilty gives an illustration " a fearful,

of this treason," says Dr Phillpotts, though, I am very ready to admit,"

" for I scruple not to deny both." says Dr Phillpotts, “ a most apposite “By Parliament, I suppose, Dr Milner illustration."

means the King in Parliament ; for with

out the King, the Parliament has no au. " Suppose you had thought proper to thority,-rather it has no existence what. exact an oath from your head steward, the ever. But taking it as the King in Par. purport of which was, that he would watch liament, I venture to affirm, that his Ma. over and preserve every part of your pro- jesty has no more right (his Majesty himperty to the utmost of his power; and that belf has nobly proclaimed the same truth) some time afterwards, in your absence, a to abrogate the obligation of the Oath he lawless mob, or a crew of pirates, had has taken, than the meanest of his subjects made a certain requisition of corn or cattle has to absolve himself from the Oath of at his hands, to be complied with, under Allegiance. the threat of burning down your house,

“The reason, which Dr Milner gives and despoiling your whole property, would for his position, is the following:- The you hold him bound by the letter of his

present Coronation Oath owes its authority oath, in such new and unforeseen circum.

and its very existence to Parliament.' stances? Would you not expect from his "The same,' he adds, must be said of the sense and integrity, that he should rather

Church itself, in whose favour this Oath attend to, and be guided by, the spirit of

was devised ;'-A sneer too contemptible

to merit refutation, or any further notice." “ Most reasonable men,” says Dr Phill.

We wish that we could follow our potts, “ would expect a person to be bound by the spirit of his oath, rather author in his exposure of the weakthan by the letter, under all circum ness of Mr Charles Butler's “ Letter stances. In the supposed case, the stew. on the Coronation ;" but our limitsard must certainly comply with the re. already transgressed-forbid-and we quisition. But in the case which is must bring our article to a close with really in question, matters, happily, have weightier matter. not yet gone so far. True, there is a

The meaning of the Coronation Oath lawless mob,' a' crew of pirates,' who tell

was brought into discussion in Burke's us very plainly what they wish, and hope

celebrated letter to Sir Hercules Langto do. But they have not yet got the

rishe in 1792. He entered into an means of doing it; and our steward has

argument to prove that there was nosense enough to see, and honesty enough to feel, that he is bound by his oath, not

thing in the Oath which forbade his only not to supply the pirates with ships, Majesty to assent to any bill conferand the mob with arms, but to take care to ring on the Roman Catholics of Ireland barricade our storehouse, and require all the particular indulgences they then

it ?

sought. He said rightly, that if such poisoned all the rest_has perverted what means can with any probability be was meant for a cup of blessing, a wellshewn, from circumstances, to add spring of mutual love and lasting tranquil. strength to our mixed ecclesiastical lity, -into a source of bitterest and dead. and secular constitution, rather than

liest hatred,-a stimulant to the most insato weaken it, surely they are means

tiable and turbulent ambition ; I mean the infinitely to be preferred to penalties,

unrestricted grant of the elective franchise." incapacities, and proscriptions, contie Attend to Burke's language in his nued from generation to generation, letter to Sir H. Langrishe. He sets In consenting to such a statute, the out with stating, that he knows not Crown, he thinks, would act agreeably with certainty what the Roman Ca. to the Oath. But, at the same time, tholics intended to ask, but that he his whole argument, to which we have “conjectures something is in agita. now only alluded, takes for granted tion towards admitting them, under that the King is bound to withhold certain qualifications, to have some his assent from bills which would share in the election of members of really endanger the safety of the Parliament;" and afterwards, he asks Church-and he says,

“ why it is inconsistent with the Co66 There is no man on carth, I believe, ronation Oath of the King, to restore more willing than I am to lay it down as á to his Roman Catholic people, in such fundamental law of the Constitution, that the manner and with such modification as Church of England should be united and the public wisdom shall think proper een identified with it: but allowing this, to add, some part in those franchises I cannot allow that all laws of regulation, which they formerly had held without made from time to time, in support of that any limitation at all?" fundamental law, are, of course, equally

And at the

conclusion of the whole, he says ex. fundamental and equally unchangeable : -none of this species of secondary and

pressly, “ the object pursued by the subsidiary laws have been held fundamen.

Roman Catholics, is, I understand, tal.”

and have all along reasoned as if it were It is apparent, therefore, that the so, in some degree, or measure, to be authority of Burke must be added to again admitted to the franchises of the those of all public men, whose senti

Constitution;" and this being so, with ments on the subject are on record, up

what fairness, asks Dr Phillpotts, can to the end of the last century; they

it be pretended that the authority of all recognised the Coronation Oath as

Mr Burke, as given in this very argubinding the conscience of the Sove.

ment, is in favour of the unqualified reign in all the acts of the kingly of- concession of every franchise ? fice; and, above all, in the most im

But Burke wrote another letter to portant of all his acts as Legislator. Dr

Sir H. Langrishe on the same matter Phillpotts, who is at all times above

in which he says, with reference to the dissembling, declares that Mr Burke former one, “ In the Catholic question did indeed argue the point in a man. I only considered one point: was it, ner highly favourable to the views of at the time, and in the circumstances, the Roman Catholics : but he also de a measure which tended to promote clares his belief-and gives his rea

the concord of the citizens? I have no sons for it—that were Burke alive difficulty in saying that it was; and now, he would, of necessity, be adverse as little in saying that the present conto their present claims. Burke argued

cord of the citizens (he wrote before in favour of the concessions then

the Rebellion, and before any indicasought; and this one expression, then tion of increased expectations on the sought," is the answer to all, or al

part of the Roman Catholics) was most all, the arguments founded on worth buying, at a critical season, by Burke's authority on the question. All granting a few capacities, which prothat was then sought, and in one most

bably no man now living is likely to be important particular, more than all,

served or hurt by." Is that language has, long ago, been granted.

particularly acceptable to Mr O'Con. “ The Irish Act, of 1793, gave to the

nell and Mr Shiel, and our friend the Roman Catholics all that Mr Burke la

Surgeon ? boared, by that letter, to obtain for them ;

Then attend to his Letter to Baron and it moreover threw into the chalice one

Smith, in which he states, in more full rutal ingredient, which has corrupted and and express terms, the principle which


lics. ,

guided and directed all his views. My same to the prejudice of the establish. whole politics at present centre on one ed Church, &c.” On this valuable point ; and to this the merit or de document Dr Phillpotts remarks: merit of every measure with me is " It is valuable on many accounts, but referable, that is, what will most pro- most especially, as affording the plainest mote, or depress, the cause of Jacobine evidence of what Mr Burke considered to ism ;" and again, “ I am the more be the necessary and indispensable duty of serious on the positive encouragement Parliament in every case, in which it is to be given to this religion, (the Roe proposed to remove any of the existing seman Catholic. ) because the serious and curities of the Established Church. It is earnest belief and practice of its profes

an obvious consequence, that, whenever

Mr Burke was found among the advocates sors, form, as things stand, (January

for any change of the law on this funda1795,) the most effectual barrier, if not

mental point, he must be always underthe sole barrier, against Jacobinism."

stood as meaning either to provide some Burke has, indeed, often been laughed

stronger bulwark for the Church by the at_yes, Edmund Burke laughed at proposed change, or, at least, not to dimi. for « his insane horror of Jacobin- nish its existing security. Carrying this ism.” But he, and such as he, stayed principle with us, and adding to it the the plague. Here Dr Phillpotts clen- evidence derived from other parts of his ches the matter with a nail driven in writings, we shall find it easy to shew that forcibly and at the right point, nor is Mr Burke, like Mr Pitt, if he were now there a hand of Jacobin alive able to

alive, would, of necessity, be adverse to wrench it out.

the present claims of the Roman Catho“Would that be his opinion now ? Could it be so? Where is the spirit of Jacobinism

Farther, whatever his opinion might now most active? Where are all its energies be of the fitness of Burke's concession, most strongly, most unceasingly exerted ? it was professedly influenced by a view

Where, but in the Association, the of what were then the existing facts of Mock-Parliament at Dublin ?-_Whither the case, which facts have since been are now the wishes, the hopes, the san changed in a degree scarcely to be guine and ardent longings, of every Jaco. estimated. “On a fair canvass," says bin in the King's dominions directed, but he, “ of the several prevalent parliato the same stirring scene? And would Mr

mentary interests in Ireland, I cannot, Burke have leagued himself with such a

out of the three hundred members, of band ? Would he have become, in his old

whom the Irish parliament is compoage, the champion of Jacobinism,' the zealot of that unholy cause, abhorrence of

sed, discover that above three, or mat which mastered every other passion and

the utmost four, Catholics, would be feeling of his heart,-could suspend the returned to the House of Commons." anguish of his almost frenzied grief, How stands the case now-and what could make him for a while forget the be. would Burke have thought now? reavement of the one sole object of his earthly hopes, and rouse him to exertion

“Is this the case now ? Is it not, on even from the listlessness of despondency ? the contrary, found, by experience, that The supposition is absurd.”

neither the influence of property, nor here

ditary attachment to ancient and honour. In the posthumous works of Burke

able names, nor the ties of gratitude, nor we find " a Political Test,” drawn up

the hope of future favour, nor any earthly with much deliberation, and intended

motive, can avail against the mandates of

spiritual authority ? Is it not certain that to have been proposed to Parliament a very large portion, and only uncertain in 1790, which shews his intense an- how large, of the representation of Ireland, xiety for the preservation of the Pro- is in the hands of the Priests ? Mr O'Contestant religion, and for the protection nell has scrupled not to say, that the whole, of the Established Church. "We can. or almost the whole, will soon be in the not now quote it, but it contains this same hands; and, in proof of his own re. clause,-That I never will employ

liance on the accuracy of this assertion, he any power or influence which I may

has scrupled not to proclaim his readiness derive from any power or influence,

to offer himself as candidate to represent a &c. to come, to be elected into any

county (the county of Cavan) in which he

has not (as I am informed) a single acre of corporation, or into Parliament, give

ground, on the mere strength of his merit any vote in the election of any member

as an agitator. or members of Parliament, &c. or with “ This is the answer to every argument any hope that they may promote the drawn from the authority of Mr Burke, re

« PreviousContinue »