their political creed? and will they not with zeal press forward to realize the covert designs of their legislative guides ?

At the present juncture, it may not be unwise to recal to public remembrance some of the legislative barriers that are opposed to the projected ruin of the property of the Church. We shall not dwell upon detached statutes, but exhibit what the spirit of English law has uniformly been upon the subject. No part of the constitution has been more ancient than the obligation on the monareb to preserve the rights and privileges of the Church. It is more ancient than the existence even of parliaments, and was embodied among the first statutes of the most distant records of legislation we possess. Long hallowed usages and laws consecrated by the wisdom of our ancestors, a newfangled philosophy now derides. But if they be discarded as incumbrances upon the simplicity of modern policy, what right, whether public or private, is safe? wbat privilege tenable ? what property, whether personal or national, is secure?

If then, we appeal to the barons of Runnimede, whose charter, be it remembered, is but a repetition of more distant and fundamental privileges, and now deemed by every legal authority, and consecrated by every sacred bond, as the common law of England, what conservative safeguard they devised for the maintainance of the rights and privileges of the Church, we shall find that their protection is secured and made fast for ever upon precisely the same immoveable basis by which the feudal tyranny of the monarch was mitigated in favour of the barons themselves ; by which the merchant was freed from arbitrary imposts; by which the villain was defended in his right of property, and the person of the subject enfranchised from bondage or exile except by the judgment of his peers. So that the rights of a free born Briton, and the rights of the ministers of the Church stand upon the same and equal authority. And we claim as well for England as for Ireland, upon the authority of this great charter, now as we have seen, the common law of this nation, and its original constitution, protection for all the rights and privileges of both branehes of the united Church. For, at the illustrious assembly of the patriotic freemen at Rannimede, as one of the monarch's advisers, in conjunction with the archbishops and bishops of England, the archbishop of Dublin was present as representative of the Irish Church, and affixed his name to Magna Charta.*

We are aware that old charters and laws are deemed as useless lumber, of as little worth as old almanacks; but still we

• In the Norman copy of Magna Charta, are these words: “ Sachiez que nos par la grace de Dieu et le par suavement de nostre asme et de lenor de Dieu et le suavement de seinte Iglise et lamendiment de nostre Regne par le consel de noz enorey peres Larceveske Esteivene de Canterbire Primat de tote Engleterre et Cardinal de Rome et Larceveske Henri de Diveline."

demand of our modern jurisconsults, in what legal alembicby what sophistical alchymy, they separate their chosen and cherished parts of Magna Charta ; we ask, by wbat optical enchantment do these pert sciolists and itinerant venders of patent recipes for the Church, and the Constitution, magnify the glorious features of a selected portion of this patrimony of all freemen, and obscure its other characteristics—those, we mean, which refer to the security of the Church, no less distinguished by constitutional sanction, than the right of the subject to be tried by his peers.

We have seen that the provisions of Magna Charta, for the security of the Church, are only repetitions of still more ancient sanctions. This statute was re-enacted at the commencement of every succeeding reign, until an express Act confirmed it as the common law of England. The tenor of the coronation oath taken by every monarch, * with one ominous exception, from the reign of King John to the Revolution, expressed and confirmed, with uninterrupted tenacity, every ecclesiastical immunity and right. It was reserved for the senseless bigotry of James II., and his perfidions counsellors, to ventnre the experiment of an adulterated alteration in the coronation oath, with the design of abridging the liberty of the people. The rights and privileges of the Church, indeed, he engaged to protect. But why? The Church, in his interpretation, was destined to be the lever of his ascendancy above the law that made him king. The Church was the medium through which his treacherous tyranny was to reach his subjects—therefore he engaged, in language not known to constitutional law or usage, and introduced with this fatal design, to defend the Church. But the prescriptive assertion of the rights of those he had doomed as victims of his treason to the people, was omitted in the fabricated coronation oath which he swore, and which the anointed instruments of his bigotry and despotism, with surreptitious perfidy, were so abandoned as to administer.

* In the coronation oath of the Saxon kings, we find the preservation of the Church, placed amongst the first of their duties:--- Rectitudo est regis novitor ordinati, et in soluum sublevati, hæc tua præcepta populo Christiano sibi subdito præcipere in primis, ut ecclesia Dei,' &c.—Martene Pontif. Egb. I. ij. p. 188.

+ The circumstance here mentioned, is omitted by Hume, Rapin, and Fox: Laing states—“ It is observable that the coronation oath for Scotland, was declared by James, as repugnant to the religion which he proposed to introduce.”Hist. of Scotland, iv. 155. Burnet does not appear to be aware that any alteration took place. He says, He had such senses given him of the coronation oath, that be either took it as a sin, with a resolution not to keep it, or he had a reserved meaning in his own mind."-History of his own Times, i. 347. Wodrow, however, mentions the circumstance of the alteration in the oath, but was not aware of what nature it was, or what parts were omitted.--Church of Scotland, iv. 201. Full information, however, on that most interesting subject, will

Not one instance is on record, save this ominous exception, of any minister of a king of England proposing such an alteration in the coronation oath, as would vitiate or abrogate the fundamental laws of the kingdom.

In the case of James II. the design was to invade the liberties of the people by raising up the Church to a perilous exaltation. If the king bad been more wily--if France had been more patient*—if, by imperceptible degrees, the people had been cajoled out of their freedom and their rights, not only liberty, but Protestantism, might for a long season have been laid prostrate. But the rights of the subject, though destined to spoliation, were not subtily attacked. "The people saw the danger ere it overwhelmed them. Awakened to their own vindication, they simultaneously arose and avenged their wrongs. Thus liberty and religion were preserved together. But had freedom been extinguished, could Protestantism have been preserved ? If Protestantism had been suppressed, could freedom have survived?

When we thus urge the precedent of former times—when we assert that the liberty of the subject and the preservation of his rights, are intimately connected with the inviolability of the Protestant religion and the Protestant Established Church, as the means of disseminating and protecting that liberty, we are met by the objection that no features of similarity in the present, and former periods of our history, propose themselves to our consideration,

The situation of the nation does not now, we admit, with an equally legible distinctness, suggest the alternative-that, if the rights and privileges of the Protestant Church shall be invaded, the Roman Catholic faith will reassume its ancient position as tbe established religion of the British empire. It is said, that if even the Church of England were dissolved, the harvest is not ripe enough for Popery to put the sickle to the corn. From this assumption is the conclusion drawn, that in no part of his Majesty's British dominions, is there a probable contingency of Roman Catholic ascendancy arising from the ruins of the Protestant Church. And bence, particularly as regards Ireland, is deduced the leading argument in favour of a diminution, or perhaps the gradual and entire abolition of all her rights and privileges. The patrons and abettors of this view of the subject, assuming as incontrovertible the data upon which it is founded, canvass their system with plausible ingenuity. But the force of this reasoning, cunningly adduced to procure the overthrow of the Protestant Church in Ireland, entirely depends upon the assumption of two distinct points of argument, as indisputable.

be found in State Tracts, ii. 93. In the passage referred to from Wodrow, it is stated, that a similar alteration was made in the coronation oath of Charles I., and Milton says, “ Aliud erat crimen regis, quod ex jurejurando a regibus regnum capessantibus dari solite verba quædam ejus jussa erasa fuerint, antequam jurasset,'!Defensio pro Pop. Angli. Tom. ii. p. 311. Opera. Heylin, in his Life of Archbishop Laud, denies that any alteration was made in the oath.-p. 90. And Charles justified himself from this charge, in answer to a remonstrance of the Lrods and Commons, in May, 1642. See Husband's Collec. p. 190. If Milton's statement be true, these two unfortunate monarchs are awful precedents!

* Wodrow, vol. iv. p. 201. Edit. 1830.

Neither of these arguments, however, shall we admit as true; both of them, therefore, we shall endeavour to prove to be false.

The first assumption is, that there can be no apprehension of the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, though the Protestant church were abolished.

The second assumption is, that the union of the Church with the State was originally devised for the sole ohject of erecting a barrier against the aggressions of the Roman Catholic religion. And as the danger to be anticipated from its ascendancy has disappeared, in consequence of the growth of knowledge and the moral illumination of mankind, the design of the union of the Protestant Church with the State is deprived of its pristine urgency, and therefore its dissolution is justifiable.

These two points we shall discuss at large. The former, however, will engross all our attention at present; the latter we shall reserve for another article. In connection with the first position, we shall have to discuss the principles of Lord Grey's , policy respecting the Church, and the sources of his information upon Irish affairs. We shall also briefly compare his doctrines about Protestantism in this country with those promulgated at the Revolution, and with those advanced by the most eminent Whigs after the Restoration, and shall conclude with a contrast between his political creed on this subject, and that of a distinguished member of his own cabinet. If we shall venture further than we usually do into the arena of polltics, the exigency of the times, and the peculiar situation of the Church, must plead our apology:

We have reason to believe that a reliance on the truth and justice of these two positions has had great influence even over candid and pure minds. These impressions are, in some degree, deepene:l by the constant asseveration of the Roman Catholics, that they do not desire the ascendancy of their religion. This was, no doubt, the opinion of the United Irishmen, in ninetyeight; but the chiefs of that rebellion were Protestant dissenters, or nominally members of the Church of England, but infidels in principle. This opinion, too, has been constantly avowed by Dr. Doyle; and he deserves credence for his uniform consistency in faithfulness, and because he is not a Jesuit. In conjunction with the operation of this persuasion, it is believed that the great diffusion of information and political freedom of thought are immoveable barriers to the legal acknowledgment of the Romish faith.

In disproof of the first assumption-namely, that there can be on apprehension of the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic

religion in Ireland—we shall not recall to recollection the history of the few past years, nor too critically analyze the extraordinary events of the few last months. These, however, afford evidence notorious to all men, that even the most dauntless administration of modern times has been compelled to crouch their stiff neck, and abandon their stubborn purpose, in obedience to the Roman Catholic priesthood. For Mr. O'Connell is not the mighty wizard that conjures forth their potential sway:-he is but the puppet of their power. Yet, he who was the hunted game of all the law officers of the crown—the object of their thirsting vengeance—whose fiery zeal and unflinching persecution marked him

as the personal and daring foe of the Lord Lieutenant, and the unceasing enemy of his country; he who had been denounced by Lord Anglesey himself, in ten thousand public responses to the addresses of courtier citizens; he, who had been execrated, as a public scourge and a selfish and trading traitor, even by the liberal press of Ireland; he, who, according to Mr. Stanley, was proclaimed as one pinioned within the grasp of the law, from which it was impossible to escape ; he not only has passed harmless from the polished shaft of Lord Anglesey's lance, not only has the liberal press again bowed down in meek'obedience and worshipped the golden calf set up by the Roman Catholic priesthood for adoration, not only have the direful weapons of the law been laid up in peaceful slumbers in the armoury of the Castle, not only have all these things happened, but one of the law officers of the crown, and he of no mean grade and title-doubtless in the effervescence of popular phrenzy, unwhispered to by the organ of the Castle-magnified, with the grateful homage of an ardent citizen, the peerless patriot, Mr. O'Connell, and even, within the hearing of Lord Anglesey himself, indelicately announced that “ he had done the state great service."

These circumstances are no trivial indications of priestly omnipotence. We must pursue them a little further; and in eluci. dating history and the events which compose it, we shall not arrive at so accurate and precise an interpretation of times past or present, by a display or annunciation of facts, as by an analysis of the spirit that produces them. We enquire, then, has the Church of Rome no power, even now, over the councils and government of the nation, when their minion is upheld uninjured against the bitter and persecuting vengeance of the whole British ministry? Is nothing to be feared from the full, and, if we may use the word, the brandished exercise of that power, when so chivalrous a peer as Lord Anglesey is thus dragged by the ministry of England into the public gaze, to extinguish the

The Solicitor-General for Ireland, it must be regretted, did not quote Shakespeare's words fully, and with sufficient accuracy

“ I have done the state great service, and they know it !!!

No more of that !!!" OTHELLO.

« 上一页继续 »