Having a desire to say some thing upon the miserable system of Policy1 under which the Country of Ireland has long groanedsufferedsuffered, & being persuaded that the just object of Legislation there & everywhere elsethere & everywhere else ought to be reconcileable reconcilable with the interest happinesshappiness of the Majority of the people […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)] this being what […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)] we mean when we speak of ye interest & happiness of countriesthis being what […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)] we mean when we speak of ye interest & happiness of countries & your Lordship having taken a singularly active part in this matterIrish Politicks Irish Politicks what I have to offer comes naturally before you without a necessity for any apology.
There appears something natively fierce, cruel and selfish in the nature of Man which nothing but a state of civil society can allay.2 The force of the community which for the common good will be always exerted against the injustice and outrages of every individual, keeps the wished for peace and good order. The desire of accquiring acquiring Fame and Importance in society will with manywill with many draws forth all the useful virtues. The Social virtues are also strenghtned strengthened and extended by Religion & Philosophy and proportional good effects will follow, as we are more or less sincerely actuated by either, their views being extended to men under other politics as well as to those of our own: But these general good effects of Religion & Philosophy are less frequent as they are not, cannot be enforced and the infraction of them cannot be punished; hence when the state proscribes, or does not interest itself in the feelings & well being of any men of a particular description, all the baseness of human nature will be let loose upon it themthem: barefaced opression oppression, rage and cruelty will stalk forward in the bulk of the community, whilst the more refined few will act just the same part, tho though under the hypocritical mask of publick good, zeal for religion, Liberty &c.; hence the cruelties the Indians inflict upon their captives, the auto da Fe's, the penal laws3 and all the black list of torments that have ever followed, & will ever follow the virulence of unrestrained nature.
The form of government of an enlightned enlightened people is greatly liable to fluctuate from this very circumstance of their illuminating the passions and lusts of the few who govern, not being likely to be allayed by their exaltation over their fellows, they will be often […] [gap in transcription (illegible)] jar with the interests and feelings of the many who are governed, confidence will justly be withdrawn, and checks & restraints set up, a sense of the rights and equality of mankind as to restraint and indulgence being ever inseperable inseparable from a state of general culture. To obtain general happiness and as much general liberty as is consistent with this happiness Societies have according to their power and the circumstances of the times occasionally set up different modes of government, they have limited their Monarchies, they have submitted to Aristocracies or a government of the best men, and they have run into democracies where the law was framed by the general sense taken either personally or by delegation. The sum of general happiness and equal laws of restraint and indulgence being the only test of the excellence of any mode of government and this arising less from the chance of having good, dispassionate and uncurrupt uncorrupt governors, than from the wise checks, restraint and speedy removal of bad ones, I shall henceforth take it for granted that the most just and desirable mode of a government is that which affords the greatest number of checks & restraints upon the unlawful passions of the few who govern, and which best pursues the interests of the majority of the people.
The Greeks manifested this noble publick spirit in proportion as they arose in sciences and arts. And Italy Ancient and Modern has been actuated by the same generous sentiment. But […] [gap in transcription (cancelled), lines: 6] But as it has been is is supposed by manyby many that popery and […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)] slavery are synonymous and that the papal usurpations and encroachments have in modern times ruined and obliterated this spirit of freedom in Italy; and aseveneven our Governmentorsors ( […] [gap in transcription (illegible)] […] [gap in transcription (illegible)] for the unwise gratification of party rage) had had also had also adopted this idea and established such a system of persecution4 in consequence as has brought the Country of Ireland into so divided, enfeebled a state, that it is neither respected by its freinds friends, feared by its enemies or capable of supporting itself. Such a shameful perversion of the ends of government and such a melancholly melancholy prospect of Society in one of the happiest soils and most advantageous situations of Europe cannot, ought not to escape the attention of any man who feels either for his Country or his Species. We have long experienced the total inefficacy of our severities and persecution of popery, if popery be an evil, no proportional diminution of it has been effected by this method: it remains then to try some other, drive them out of the land or if rather let us try whatwe have not yet made ye experiment ofwe have not yet made ye experiment of indulgence and Amity: […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)] circumstanced as we are it becomes us to enquire whether indeed there be any thing in this religion of Popery so very noxious to freedom and Civil liberty as to justify all the pains we have taken to root it out at the expense of even our national strenght strength and importance independent of all claims from justice and humanity. Long before the reformation took place &c.But as it has been is is supposed by manyby many that popery and […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)] slavery are synonymous and that the papal usurpations and encroachments have in modern times ruined and obliterated this spirit of freedom in Italy; and aseveneven our Governmentorsors ( […] [gap in transcription (illegible)] […] [gap in transcription (illegible)] for the unwise gratification of party rage) had had also had also adopted this idea and established such a system of persecution4 in consequence as has brought the Country of Ireland into so divided, enfeebled a state, that it is neither respected by its freinds friends, feared by its enemies or capable of supporting itself. Such a shameful perversion of the ends of government and such a melancholly melancholy prospect of Society in one of the happiest soils and most advantageous situations of Europe cannot, ought not to escape the attention of any man who feels either for his Country or his Species. We have long experienced the total inefficacy of our severities and persecution of popery, if popery be an evil, no proportional diminution of it has been effected by this method: it remains then to try some other, drive them out of the land or if rather let us try whatwe have not yet made ye experiment ofwe have not yet made ye experiment of indulgence and Amity: […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)] circumstanced as we are it becomes us to enquire whether indeed there be any thing in this religion of Popery so very noxious to freedom and Civil liberty as to justify all the pains we have taken to root it out at the expense of even our national strenght strength and importance independent of all claims from justice and humanity. Long before the reformation took place &c. Long before the Reformation took place, and in what are esteemed the dark ages of Popery, Italy did actually enjoy as great, or I believe a greater number of free independent governments, than any tract of country of the same extent & fertility that we know of even at this day. Machiavel in the first book of his history of Florence5 observes that 'the ambition of the people of Rome was a sore thorn in the sides of the Popes, though they had formerly made use of the Popes Popes' power to rescue them from the Emperors; but after having got the rule of the City and reformed it according to pleasure, they as suddenly became enemies to the Popes; and more injuries did they receive from that people, than from any other Christian prince. Nay in that very time that the Popes with their excommunications made all the West tremble, did the people of Rome stand out in Rebellion, and the contest on either side was, who should take away the other's reputation and authority' & in the same book speaking of the mean submissions of Henry King of England to the pennance penance inflicted on him by Pope Alexander on account of the death of Tho.s Becket,6 he observes. observes, 'All which conditions were accepted by Henry and that great King submitted to a sentence which a private man would now blush to stoop to. But tho though the Pope exercised such Authority over Princes so far distant, yet could he not reduce the people of Rome to obedience, whom he could not prevail with to grant him residence there tho though he promised not to meddle with any but ecclesiastical affairs;7 so much are appearances more dreaded at a distance than nearer hand.' 8
The Republck of Venice is a very old, and has been a very uninterupted uninterrupted government, tho though it was always in the Romish communion, yet it has been so little disturbed, oppressed and enslaved by either Pope or priestthood priesthood, that it has run a career of glory beyond what even imagination would promise from such slender means. They spread conquest over great part a great part of Europe and Asia, in 1194 they took Constantinople and had thoughts of removing there and making it a seat of Empire; in 1509 the they maintained a War against the Emperor, the Pope, the Kings of France and Spain and the Dukes of Mantua and Ferrara: in this War which made Italy a scene of blood and confusion for eight years, the Venetians gave a lasting proof of their invincible prudence, fortitude and constancy, which remained unshaken whilst all Europe made head against them. The Commonwealth of Florence was formed in 1250 and did not lose its liberty until after the reformation took place in the North: the Pope's supremacy in spirituals which was in all times allowed by them, laid them under no inconvenience in their temporal concerns, they waged war with him, as well as with any other prince, they imprizoned imprisoned his Legate a Cardinal and put to death an Archbishop his confederate when the interest of their State required it. The republick of Pisa, of Sienna, Lucca &c. flourished a long time very successfully and when ultimately they were destroyed they fell under the more powerful republick of Florence and without any participation of Religion on either side. To these republicks without any alteration of their religion, we notwitstanding notwithstanding owe the renovation of arts, sciences and letters in the modern world. Their Poets, Painters, Architects, Sculptors, historians, astronomers, navigators, philosophers and other ingenious men have led the way to all the rest of Europe, they have been the Original models and in many instances of the highest mental exertion, they are as yet unrivalled.
Sir William Blackstone has shewn that the personal liberty of the subject was understood to be a natural inherent right,9 which could not be forfeited but by some Crime, that it was a doctrine coeval with the first rudiments of the English Constitution, handed down from the Saxons and asserted in all times and struggles. vol. 3. he says the same of the right of Tryal Trial by Jury,10 which he justly considers as the great bulwark of popular safty safety, and it must indeed be confessed that whatever liberties and priviledges privileges the English could boast of and plead against Tyranny in the reigns of the Stuarts, they owe them to their popish Ancestors and to none other, for from the time of Henry ye 8th to those Stuarts,11 their there appears not one law that took place, nor one priviledge privilege that was obtained favourable to the liberties of the people: The very contrary was in fact the case, the Absurd, slavish and execrable notion of the divine, indefeasible, uncontroulable uncontrollable right of Kings and the passive obedience of Subjects was a doctrine first introduced by the Reformers and the sacred writings were by the perverse misconstruction of those (in this respect) novelists held out as the foundation of this doctrine. But the Catholicks on its appearance attacked it with all their might, and asserted the liberties and rights of the people, from whose will and choices alone Kings can derive any equitable or just pretensions. The Learned and very ingenious Doctor Hurd now Bishop of Lichfield12 who brings this charge against the reformers says indeed that Cardinal Pole, Harding, Bellarmino, Mariana &c.13 had in this doctrine of publick liberty couched a base underplot of subjecting the persons of Kings to the deposing power of the popes, but of this he has brought no proof, nor does he shew in what sense he would be understood: if we take it to mean that the different twotwo estates of the realm, or the whole people have a right to depose a King with whose conduct they are dissatisfied, this may be admitted,14 but if on the other hand, he would insinuate that the papists from their religious principles, do not hold themselves bound in allegiance to what they deem what they deem a Heritick Heretic or toto a Heathen King & that they may lawfully depose him; this they deny, and we must confess that there is not one Article of their faith that can give the least colour or warrant to such a Charge: they do more, they even shew it to be (however natural it may be for papists as well as every other party to practice practise it when convenient) a doctrine solemnly condemned in their religion and they further insist, that it is a Charge which can in truth and justice be laid only at the door of the Reformation; though by a practice very common in the world, the reformers throw it upon others. They insist and they bring history and matter of fact to support that the protestants have actually deposed more Kings and sovereign princes within the space of less than 200 years, than all the popes taken together have done since the days of S. Peter:15 they instance Muntzer,16 who boasted of having received the sword of Gideon in order to depose idolatrous magistrates and to compel the whole world to embrace his gospel. The Alarms, blood and horror into which the whole Empire17 was thrown, deposing Electors, withdrawing their allegiance from the Emperor. The troubles and civil wars of France, those of England &c. and that these wars originated from the assumed right of exercizing exercising the deposing power, we may judge from one out of many instances. Long before the marriage and with L. Darnley18 & no other with L. Darnley18 & no other misfortunes of Queen Mary19 even on her arrival in Scotland, it was with great difficulty tho though not without insight that the Reformers would allow her permission for Mass in her own Chappel Chapel "Nay (says Hume 20 ) it was openly called in question whether that Princess being an Idolater was entitled to any authority even in civil matters." But all these and every such litigious business on both sides, as well those practiced practised by the protestants on the papists, as those practised by papists on the protestants ought in candour and justice to be considered as the unavoidable effects of personal and party pride, hatred and rage, and where they are vicious, must be admitted rather as instances of human baseness and depravity, than as vices of religion, wich which in these as in other matters, are no otherwise connected than as a meer mere Mask or Cloak to conceal the hideous vice that lurks under it.
But to return to our Subject; the reasons the papists gave and the complaints they made were of another nature against the usurpations of the Crown were of another nature and many of them do appear at this day not to be without foundation in justice and reason. 'They objected to the right of obliging the Bishops to receive new commissions from K. King Edward,21 revocable at pleasure and that the prelatic order was subjected to the yoke of an arbitrary power, that from the time of the King's assuming the supremacy,22 the Clergy had no authority to intermeddle in matters of religion unless they had his orders for it, They object that the convocation of the Clergy 23 begged of the parliament that no statute might pass concerning religion, without their advice and that it could not be obtained. That soon after the King's privy council resolved to send visitors into all parts of the Kingdom furnished with Ecclesiastical Constitutions and Articles of Faith, and they were not ashamed to require of the Bishops an express declaration, that they would teach such doctrines as from time to time should be established and explained by the King and Clergy, but tis 'tis manifest the Clergy was only mentioned for forms sake, and every thing was done by the King's authority. That the Bishops had their power of giving licenses licences to preach revoked and it was limited to the King and archbp archbishop (Cranmer24) only. And at last that they carried things so far that having given the people to understand that the King had set persons at work to take away all subjects of controversy, a general prohibition was published of preaching in the interim in any assemblies whatsoever. Thus was all preaching suspended throught throughout the Kingdom, the Bishops silenced by the Kings King's orders and the whole nation left in suspence suspense not knowing what faith would come forth with the Royal Stamp upon it. An admonition was tacked to it exalting all persons to receive with submission the orders that should in a short time be sent down to them. The Act which was passed in favour of the Regal Supremacy, giving to the King, his heirs &c. full power and authority from time to time to visit and repress, redress, reform, order, correct, restrain and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses &c. whatsoever they be, which by any manner of Spiritual authority or Jurisdiction ought or may lawfully be reformed, repressed, corrected &c. upon this Act the whole superstructure of the English reformation was founded, it being apparent that all the three reforming Princes Hen. Ed. & Eliz. Henry, Edward & Elizabeth 25 undertook that work neither in the name, nor by the authority of the prelatic order, but by virtue of their own spiritual Supremacy, as supreme judges in controversies of religion. Elizabeth when she abolished the supremacy of the Pope,26 assumed the title to herself. if herself; if the Queen's Supremacy meant nothing more than her supreme authority in temporals, why was her supremacy opposed by Archb'p. Archbishop Heath 27 and others who admitted every thing she could demand in Temporals. The Act and oath annexed to it confirming to the queen the supreme government in spiritual and ecclesiastical things and causes as well as temporal. Not one single Bishop in the parliament assented to this Act. Cambden Camden 28 says against these Statutes nine bishops in the higher house which were present that day stiffly impugned. Heylen says that of the fifteen Bishops who were left alive all refused the oath of Supremacy but Kichen of Landaff alone.'29 Thus was this groundwork of Civil & Religious Tyranny opposed by the Clergy (as well as by both the Universities30) who were discarded to make way for others of a more flexible nature.31 The Puritans and the dissenters in general have followed the Catholicks in opposing these novel, hateful claims of the Crown, and though the admirable writings of Milton, Sydney and Locke32 have almost totally eclipsed the works of their popish predecessors, yet we ought to do them justice and give them every credit for that noble principle of the dependance dependence of the King upon the Community which we have borrowed or rather derived from them. […] [gap in transcription (illegible), words: 7]as has been shewnas has been shewnunderunder Henry ye 8th. Edward and Elizabeth was introduced a principle Tyranny unknown to the old constitution, the destruction of the Ancient Barons which was compleated completed in the reign of Henry ye 7th.33 and the immature state of the Commons left the Nation so defenceless that this usurpation had nothing to controul control it whilst in the hands of the Tudors, but when with the other apendages appendages of the Crown it devolved with a ruinous fatality to the Stuart family, the Nation was then happily in a condition to resist and to overturn it by a spirited exertion which will be ever venerated by those who have any feeling of the dignity of that nature and of those rights which every individual has in common with Kings.
From those generous struggles of our Ancestors for religious and civil liberty let us (if we can bear the prospect) turn our view to a dishonorable dishonourable reverse of this, to the debased, melancholy and almost depopulated state of Ireland. Here by a wicked & retrograde policy, it has been the unremitting object of government to prevent the growth of population, to convert the land into pasture ground,34 and by every method that ingenuity can devise to despoil, distress and torment the great Majority consisting of more than three fourths of the inhabitants. This System of iniquity and human debasement is continued under the impudent pretext of our apprehensions from their religion. Popery and Slavery Priestcraft and Ignorance are ideas that we affect to associate in order to give some colour to a conduct which rarely arises from that lust of rule and unrestrained domination which little tyrants have in common with great ones, and (to address myself to your lordship) which may be found in associations of them, as well as in an individual: To carry on this humane work we willfully wilfully shut our eyes against all fact and evidence to the contrary in the numberless, ingenious, learned and unrivalled productions of the republicks of Italy and of the Kingdom of France and in the noble inheritance of Freedom we derive in the English constitution derive derive from derive from our popish Ancestors, altho although the states of Venice Florence &c. have experienced no inconvenienciesslaveryslavery from thier their religion and tho though that immense flood of ability and learning, which has been the Craft of the priests of France is the ornament of humanity, yet with all this luminous evidence before us, we shamefully turn away our eyes and are unwilling to admit the conviction.
It must be confessed that the spirit of the priesthood is like the spirit of all other communities, selfish and seeking after power, […] [gap in transcription (illegible), words: 6] the Priests of Egypt loved power the priests of Rome love power, the Kirk of Scotland remarkably loved it, Calvin and the Geneva priests, Laud and the Convocation,35 in short priests of all religion are the same, as men they are all actuated by the same motives, stimulated by the same passions; the Character of the priesthood effects no great interior alteration, it does not eradicate the baseness partpart of our Nature, but leaves us as we were before struggling with our sinful desires and appetites. From these considerations Voltaire, Helvetius, Raynall 36 and other rash men would wish us to discard priests altogether, not considering that in a great community the existence and efficacy of Religion will greatly depend upon the existence of priests to administer and dispense the blessings of it, and nothing could be imagined more deplorable than a state without religion. All the valuable social ties, all the dear and useful affections, all the high exertions of justice and publick as well as private virtue depend much less upon the evidence of their utility as they must appear to men in the different stages of Society and gradations of Culture, than upon their being uttered as positive precepts, not depending on the strenght strength of human reasoning, moral fitness, social compacts &c. but as a matter of revelation and a positive law of God. Philosophers may if they chuse choose do without Cathechisms Catechisms and be a law to themselves, but with respect to men at large in the world of common and vulgar capacities and means of information, all thier their ideas of virtue and duty must arise and have always arisen from religion whether true or false.
In well regulated states it is deemed sufficient to keep a watchful and jealous eye upon the priesthood, we do in this as we are acustomed accustomed to do in every other interesting affair of life, we entrust Kings tho though we are obliged to be constantly on our guard against their love of power and desire of encreasing increasing it; it is the same with every other magistrate, democratical or aristocratical, with every profession the Soldier, the Bramin Brahmin , Mandarin &c.37 all are under this selfish influence, because they are all men, not angels, even our own priests excellent as they indeed are, owe much of their virtue to legal restrictions, did we but suffer them to levy tithes, to bind, loose, censure and act as they would think fit; they would soon be as currupt corrupt and reprehensible as others, and in reality and truth their crimes would be greatly imputable to that inadequate, inattentive government which neglected to provide the necessary restraints.
From these plain and palpable facts it must to any honest dispassionate man, appear exceedingly ridiculous, or rather cruel and profligate to urge the doctrine of the Pope's spiritual supremacy as a reason for the necessity of continuing the penal laws against the Roman Catholicks, let them be required to give assurances 38 that they hold this tenet, as it is held by the French, by the Venetians and by all other enlightned enlightened states and experience shews that nothing is to be dreded dreaded from it. They have long offered this assurance and if they had any interests that might be affected we ought naturally to believe it would be as little their wish to be priestridden as either the Venetians or the French: as to the absurd vulgar idea that they cannot be depended upon, that they will keep no faith with those they deem hereticks and that they can be absolved from oaths and assurances, it deserves no attention, every man of any information must know it to be one of those many lies that have been coined by artful men and circulated amongst the rabble to answer party purposes. The papists with horror dissavow disavow any such doctrine and indeed their political situation affords a most striking proof of their delicacy and little inclination to trifle in the matter of an oath. Their tenets are not like those of many men of other denominations, uncertain, latent and consequently liable to be warped to their interests by any novel, subtle temporary explications of Scripture; The Popish doctrines cannot be coined for the occasion, they are universal and consequently sure and well known, 'tis easy to inform ourselves that this is not one of them; their decision with respect to oaths and other civil and social ties, is the same it was before the reformation, the same upon which the laws of England and of all other Christian states have been founded, we have had no occasion to alter it on the change of Religion. We must then consider the Roman Catholiks amongst us as a body of men with personal and party interests and wishes, they naturally desire the free and unrestrained exercise of their religion, they wish for a solid & permanent property in the earth and its produce for themselves and their posterity and no doubt they would wish for honours and dignities and an opportunity of governing themselves and even of governing others rather than the being governed by them. But is there any party of men in the world of whom this might not be said. If it be true then that the R. Roman Catholicks have this love of power in common with Presbyterians, with anabaptists, with independents and with all denominations of party; surely it is not allowable particularly to debar them the comforts and blessings of life, because the interest of their Cabal is different from the wishes of our own. Humanity denies it, our government denies it with respect to the other parties, we admit that tho though dissenters from the establishment ought to be denied all participation in the government, yet that they ought to be tollerated tolerated and we do tollerate tolerate all of them except the R. Roman Catholicks: But why this exception, is it out of any peculiar charity for the salvation of men's souls, which might be endang endangered by the spreading of their more pernicious doctrines, alass alas not at all; for to confess the truth the difference is scarcely anything between their articles of faith and those of the Establishment. The Pope's power of absolving subjects from their allegiance is no article of faith and any man asserting and overtly acting upon such a principle would in France, Venice &c. be rewarded with the gallows. The Liturgy in an unknown tongue39 is no article of faith, the Celibacy of the Clergy is not; in short there is not one single article in the faith of the Church of England that they have not in common with the Church of Rome: the difference is that the creed of the former is shorter by a very few articles which were omitted under the idea of their folly and inutility. se See Bishop Forbes,40 Bp. Bishop Ken,41 Bp. Bishop Mountague42 Docter Doctor Potter,43 Doctor Barrow44 &c. in short D.r Thorndyke sums up all in a few words. 'I must and do freely profess that I find no position necessary to salvation prohibited, none destructive to salvation enjoined enjoined to be believed by the Church of Rome.' 45 On the other hand the dissenters many of them differ withfromfrom the Church of England in what are esteemed by by by that Church by by by that Church the essential articles of Christian faith, they deny the divinity of Christ, the […] [gap in transcription (illegible), words: 1] Trinity of Person in the divine nature, the necessity of Baptism &c., we shall just instance the judgment of one of the Synods of the Church of England held in 1640 where in the […] [gap in transcription (cancelled), words: 2] 4th Canon Socinianism 46 is affirmed to be a most damnable and cursed heresy, and those who are convicted of it are ordered to be excommunicated and not absolved 'till they absolutely and expressly abjure it.'
As to our notion of the uncharitable spirit of the R. Roman Catholicks in confining Salvation to the pale of their Church we are liable to great mistakes and misconceptions in that matter. Let us but for a moment reflect upon the great Characteristics of Christianity. That it is a revelation from God and that the Redemption of Mankind, from a State of sin and spiritual death is only to be obtained by a participation of that efficacious Mediatorship which is held forth in this revelation. A persuasion of the importance of this, for the salvation of men's souls urged the first propagators of this religion to pervade all countries, to preach it in opposition to every prejudice and to set at defiance death and Torment. The whole new Testament, as well as the history of Christianity from its begining beginning is one continued proof of this: after the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ his last commission to his disciples was, ' goe Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.' S.t Mark ye last Chapter.47 Here then is the foundation of the Christian doctrine of confining Salvation to the Mystical Body or Church of Christ, thro through whom as their Head they are united to God. According to the same spirit we find in the sketch that is given of the rise of this Church in the Acts of the Apostles it is said 'And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved.' 48 If any man thro through his great effusions of Charity should think this belief too confined, he should not peevishly and with a partial spirit lay the blame upon his neighbours of any particular denomination; but in justice and candour, he ought to charge it upon Christ himself and his immediate followers. This Ark of Salvation is still further narrowed and confined, when we take a view of the great number of situations in which a Christian does stand deprived of this inheritance of Salvation. S. Paul in the 5th of Gal. Galatians speaking of the works of the flesh says, 'adultery fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like, of the which I tell you before, as I have alsoalso told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.' 49 And in the 20 Ch. Chapter of Acts S. Paul in that affecting exhortation where he is taking leave of the Elders of the Church of Ephesus, says 'And now behold I know that ye all among whom I have gone preaching the Kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day that I am pure from the blood of all men, for I have not shunned to declare unto you all the councel counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed thee Church of God, to feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. for blood, for I know this, that after my departing shall grevious grievous wolves enter in among you not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.' 50 S. Peter also in his 2,d gen Epist. ch. 2d, says 'But there were false prophets also among the people even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction and many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.' 51 And to make one quotation more S. Paul 10 ch. Epist to Titus, says 'A man that is an heretick, after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such, is subverted and sinneth being condemned of himself.' 52
Here then is a religion at first confined to a particular spot and to a few people in it, encreasing increasing and spreading daily, holding out redemption and Salvation to those who embraced it, and in the words of its divine founder pronouncing damnation on those who reject it. The number of the elect lessens still more when we take a view of the interior of this religion: It not only condemns all those of its members who act injuriously by their neighbours, but also all those who neglect to act charitably and kindly by them. Further it also rejects, seperates separates from and considers as heathen and publican all those who act in a self willed, stubborn, pertinacious and contradictory spirit towards God, and blinded with vanity and pride use their endeavours to currupt corrupt and to pervert the faithful. From the whole of what has been offered, it does indeed appear, that even in the Church those who are saved are exceedingly few in comparison of those that are lost, and is very justly prefigured by the strait gate and narrow way which leadeth unto life and to the few that find it. - the wide gate and the broad way that leadeth to destruction and to the many who goe go in thereat. Matt. 17.53 It is then very shameful and argues a most bitter, disingenuous spirit, so to avail ourselves of the weakness and want of information of the polite or vulgar rabble as to mislead them into the notion of any peculiarly uncharitable disposition in the religion of the R. Roman Catholicks. What we havehas beenhas been quoted were the words of the Christian Church in the time of the Apostles, and these words and sentiments have been necessarily used ever since. Not to take up too much time about thethe similar decisions of other Churches, it will be sufficient to take notice here that the Church of England has in the strongest terms adopted this uncharitable spirit (if it be such) as is evident from its Articles and the Canons of its Synods, a few pages before we have mentioned one of those Canons against Socianism, and the 18th Article of our Church solemnly pronounces that 'They are to be accursed that presume to say that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth, so that he be dilligent diligent to frame his life according to that law and the light of nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us, only the name of Jesus Christ whereby men must be saved.' 54 Nay the Roman Catholicks are so little inclined to any peculiar sourness on this head, that their doctrine of invincible ignorance and invincible necessity does honour to their moderation; by the one there is a plea for all those who want a capacity to be informed, and by the other all those are excused, to whom the Christian doctrines have not been sufficiently proposed, provided nothing has been wanting on their part.
It being no part of my intention in this letter to enter at all into the religious merit, demerit, orthodoxy or heterodoxy of the many points […] [gap in transcription (damage)]ibuted by the several parties of Christians; what has been just now observed of the wide difference between the faith of the Dissenters & that […] [gap in transcription (damage)] the Church Established it is to be hoped be considered inas brought with as brought with no other view view, but as simply to stateto state stating the quantity or degree of difference between […] [gap in transcription (damage)]. I would by no means insinuate that in proportion as men differ from the Church of England or any other Church in these or in any other article in these or in any other article it does necessarilly necessarily follow that they differ also from the Truth. I am heartily sorry that my subject obliged me to wade so far into those hateful factious controversies in the determination of which my own particular wishes are no otherwise concerned than as they these mattersthese matters are unfortunately connected & interwoven with the well being and happiness of a great party of men indeeda great party of men indeed of my Country; it was unavoidably necessary to state the matters in dispute fully & fairly and I see with real anxiety & concern grief that from ye first to the last of the religious bands & confederacies into which the Country is divided, that they are all of them more actuated by hatred, opposition and a desire of being unlike each other than by any pursuit or love of truth & equal justice except ye Quakersexcept ye Quakers their measures of right & wrong of all ye rest of all ye rest are adopted in such direct opposition to the interests of each other that violence & hatred to this or that particular is seems to beseems to be ye only approved test of each, they never generally cooperate but for ye destruction & hunting down some one or other whether papist or puritan & an impartial dispassionate man who will not speak ye fashionable language of violence upon any side will eventuallyeventually find himself equally obnoxious to all.
This being the true and undeniable state of the fact why amidst all our indulgence for human weakness and all our boasted love of tolleration toleration , why are the R. Roman Catholicks alone excepted. But it has been often observed that one vice is generally the pander of another, goaded on by Mammon 55 with the lust of wealth and domination, these devoted wretches have been bound in penal wickers 56 and mercilessly flung as a burnt offering into the Arms of Moloch.57
The troubles of Ireland should in justice have beenbeen ended by the Articles solemnly agreed upon at Limerick58 between both the parties, according to this Treaty the popish Irish were placed in the same situation in which they stood in the reign of Charles ye 2.d59 no oath was to be required of them but that of allegiance, they had the same rights of tenure with other subjects, and they had the liberty of keeping and carrying Arms for the defense defence of their persons, property &c. The popish writers are much too condescending in mentioning K. King William's religiousreligious adherence to the terms of this Treaty in his never suffering the least infraction of it, as a thing so very much to his honour; here was nothing extraordinary, here was no room for lenity, favour or indulgence: it was no more than duty to fulfill fulfil his part of a Contract so solemnly made, and when in the reign of his successor Anne60 (without any treason, insurrection or outrage happening in the interim which could only could justify such a proceedure procedure ) every Article of this Treaty was basely and perfidiously broken and the penal Code enacted, we ought not so much to charge these miscreants with the want of Charity, good nature and brotherly love, as with the guilt of treachery, breach of faith and profligate injustice and cruelty; at least they should have created some sham plot to give a colour to such ansoso infamous procedure.
Many of the half freinds friends to Tolleration Toleration love to remark that the conduct of Government with respect to the papists, would be more lenient and proper, did they make use of the necessary methods of illuminating them, did they send preachers (the methodists are fixed upon as the most zealous) to draw them out of their errors, did they extend the Charity Schools61 and point them more directly to this end &c. In this Argument the words illuminating their minds, converting them from their errors, instituting Charity Schools and extending their influence have indeed a very good natured sound, but the sense is big with the most finished intollerance intolerance and profligate hypocracy hypocrisy : it is one of those figures and modes of speech which in this case can only be considered as a fresh insult and the only one that had escaped the ingenuity of their former persecutors. When the body has been robbed of all its comforts, when every cruelty has been exercized, when there is no hope or prospect without to which it can turn for ease and comfort, we then set our tormentors to work upon their minds, we will not suffer them to enjoy in peace any consolations they may receive from within, we would also attack them in their feelings for their offspring, by robbing them of their children and breeding them up in a way to avoid to avoid which the parents endure so much misery in their own persons. We then surround them with our preachers and fill their ears with eulogiums like the proclamations in Lilliput62 upon our own great justice and mercy and Charity and brotherly love and wisdom, and with bitter sarcasms upon their sins and manifold offences, their ignorance, errors and absurdities, andwhilstwhilst like unfortunate Queen Mary upon the scaffold 63 they are bound down to hear it: how should you relish this ye capital Presbyterians, ye Independents and all ye generous assertors of religious and civil liberty, would not some revenge and a glorious death be more tollerable tolerable to you, would you not think that even the executioners Ax Axe brought peace and delivery along with it.
What is there that can justify all this wrong and cruelty, […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)] is it indeed that we cannot forgive them because that we have incessantly heaped injuries and misery upon them without measure: does the sense we have of our own baseness make it forever necessary to keep this people so low, so steeped in want and beggary as that all sense of injury may be buried with their sense of human dignity. Better, better by far and more charitable to finish the matter at once by a universal massacre of them, let them be buried out of sight or let them be driven away out of the land and let not an object so disgraceful and disgusting be continued in perpetuity. What though the Country be almost desolated by it, as they are so great a majority, yet this is nothing, as it will be more compassionate and even less dangerous and consequently more reconcilable with justice and true policy, there will be more grazing ground for the supply of our EnglishEnglish fleets, EnglishEnglish armies and EnglishEnglish settlements abroad (since this is the only use that is to beto be made of our land) and we shall have removed a hateful objectobject of which no use has hitherto been made except that of keeping them as sauntering, ragged skeletons to scare the Crows away. Such of these poor creatures as from time to time have at the risk of their lives under the denomination of wild geese64 gone into the service of foreign princes on the continent, how have they bettered themselves, after a life of fatigue & vexation amidst the envy and hatred with which aliens will be ever regarded, they have been ultimately swallowed up in the nations where they were sojourners, had they like the Greeks and other people gone off in Tribes in a BODY they might have wasted their blood and lives to some purpose, they might in some corner of the continent, or in the wilds of America have made themselves a people and by hardihood and generous labour have laid the seeds of happiness for their posterity. O ye men of Ireland, would to God ye were at last arrived at a just sense of your wretched condition, with hands made for defence and feet to change your situation, you lie down in despondency and suffer the image of God which is yet traceable in you to be dishonoured and trampled by wretches no better than yourselves, their cruelty is as justly chargeable upon your unmanly tameness as upon their depravity. The Americans who appear a spirited and generous people with a high sense of those apendages appendages and rights that naturally belong to man as a free and social agent, they would surely receive you with open arms; here would be an Asylum indeed; after the glorious struggle in which they are now engaged, America will stand in need of inhabitants and who more than you want habitations; it requires but one firm, spirited exertion to make you indeed a people. Your affection for a soil in which neither you nor your ofspring offspring are entitled to happiness is at once a proof of thinking weakly for yourselves and wickedly for your children. Do you not see that you are even burthensome to your task masters, they will most gladly give you every permission to depart, they will even supply you with necessaries for the voyage, there cannot be the least doubt but they would feel themselves happy in getting rid of you on any terms, as they would then have the long wished for opportunity of stocking the land with protestants from Germany in whom they would confide. Quit your slavery then, wherewhere you are suffered neither to contribute to the publick happiness nor to your own, where you endure the bondage of Egypt without its flesh pots,65 where your feelings are every way most inhumanly insulted by their laws, which will not suffer you to take such a hold of the earth our common mother, as to become the proprietors of a burying ground for your families, where you are denied those advantages for which men labour and yet you are insultingly accused of laziness, you are kept in wretchedness and want and you are accused as ignorant and uncultivated, however deliverance is before you if you be not wanting to yourselves, the French or the Spaniards who are now our good allies will from pity or from religion readily be your conductors; it will be the best service they ever rendered you; and the Americans will consider you as a valuable accquisition acquisition for notwitstanding notwithstanding the incapacitating disadvantages under which you have long laboured, yet there are not wanting testimonies of such spirit, courage, capacity and every species of mental and bodily vigour as to justify the warmest expectations of your success in a state of Culture and political advantage. Let your Masters fill the gap as they can, it ought to be no concern of yours, as revenge should have no place in the minds of men suffering for religion if the if the majority of Ireeland must be slaves, hewers of wood and drawers of water,66 let them get Hessians,67 let them get Negroes for it.
This is then one part of an alternative which lies before you, the other is to remain as you are, a disgrace to your species, kept in unmanly bondage, and iniquitously begetting children to whom you bequeath this meritorious inheritance. But I had forgot; there is yet another hope left; Administration wishes to employ you at present. You may be instrumental in subjugating America; you may help to suffocate at home the remaining spirit of Liberty, and cooperate with the Scotch Confederacy in sapping the foundations of our admirable Constitution, that fabric of freedom reared and sustained with such expence expense of the blood of your Ancestors. No doubt you have been unjustly, cruely cruelly excluded deriving any advantages from it, but you will not be served by its demolition; you may have the satisfaction (if it can be one) of seeing your Egyptian Masters brought down, if not to your own level, yet low enough to gratify your revenge; but your case will be even then peculiarly unfortunate, for where Scotch councils prevail, tho though Irish men will naturally be detested, yet as Irish papists you will be doubly odious. Is it not evident that the whole Scotch nation are actuated by one spirit; except some spy, where is the Scotch man to be found from Ld. Lord Mansfield68 down to the lowest dependent upon the meanest clan, whose voice is not raised in the common cry of Subjugate. If your wrongs could stimulate you to lend your hands to the fabricating a Tyranny, yet if you have any forecast, surely you must hesitate if it be a Scotch one.69
When the people of England had those vexatious prerogatives claimed by their Kings to struggle with; from their unadulterated manners and their sense of private and publick virtue which were then at the height, they were enabled to witstand withstand and to overturn those detestable pretensions. But as Judge Blackstone hath observed, vol. 4. page 434 There has since the time of the Revolution70 fallen into the scale of the Crown such a 'vast accquisition acquisition of force, arising from the riot act, and the annual expedience of a standing army, and the vast accquisition acquisition of per personal attachment, arising from the magnitude of the national debt, and the manner of levying those yearly millions that are appropriated to pay the interest; we shall find that the Crown has gradually and imperceptibly gained almost as much in Influence as it has apparently lost in Prerogative.' 71 A question naturally occurs here, if for obtaining and ensuring the blessings of publick Liberty; the power of the Crown was necessarily and honestly restrained, when it was armed with prerogative: admitting Blackstone's charge to be a just one, is there not Now exactly the same honest necessity to oppose and to restrain the Crown when it is (as he says it is at present) armed with an Influence almost equally forcible. But the disposition and manners of the English at present, would be very inadequate to any such virtuous exertion, especially as they possibly might have to encounter a whole people, hardy, hungry and thrifty, who educated in vasalage vassalage and dependance dependence must find themselves lightned lightened and much at ease in any removal, and at present can have but little idea of the value of those rights & priviledges privileges which are so necessary for the happiness of men in a more advanced state of political culture. But without taking the people of Scotland who (unhappily for us and for themselves, as they must ultimately find it) are at present from their manners, education and prejudices, such proper implements to carry on an usurpation of covered influence and if necessary of open violence; but even I say without taking them into the account, the people of England themselves, broke down as they now are to the yoke of vice, are well fitted for any other yoke. Luxurious, excessive, poor and consequently look after dependence, places, pensions any thing that will enable them to carry on and gratify their vicious appetites habitude. Those demesnes which so amply supported our old virtuous nobility and gentry in that noble independance independence of the Crown in acts of munificence and benevolence to their tenantry and to the necesitous necessitous and also in calling forth, fostering and establishing those men of genious genius and ability in letters, sciences and arts who have been the glory of the land. Those demesnes are with a very few exceptions now giddily vicios viciously flung away in fete champetres, Coterie's, Scavoir vivre 72 and other like outlandish nonsense, and the wrecks of their fortune are either pawn'd to some waiter at a gaming table or employed in driving the trade of politicks and obtaining some asylum in a pension or some a place equally dependent on the Crown. There remains yet thank God much of the old virtue in the middle […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)] order of the people, as well as in a few of the upper rank; if Tyranny is to riot in the land , it must begin with the destruction of these men who like the Spartans in the pass at Thermopyle73 will perish gloriously endeavouring to obstruct it.
It will but ill become the Roman Catholicks who have so long and so honourably for themselves suffered in a state of Martyrdom, rather than basely give up those rights of Conscience which are the undoubted and honest claim of all men, it will ill become them to cooperate in a work of so much iniquity: but if a desire of ease added to resentment should unhappily get the better of their Virtue I will then offer one hint to their governors, to those priests and men of education and property amongst you who have been perpetually stimulating you to make tenders of your allegiances and services to Administration, they have failed, because they have been too timid shall I say too cowardly, this is not the way to reason with insulting groundless suspicion and unbelief, you have long smarted under criminallycriminally tame unprofitable councils, feel like men, resolve upon being righted and you will be righted. Should your services be now at present accepted and employed to further the views of our Scotch political architects, these your priests who cannot, ought not to be supposed to be actuated solely by a blind revenge, inconsistent with Christian forgiveness, they should beforehand freely, firmly and boldly stipulate and obtain for you such a repeal of the penal laws as will bring you to the common level of other dissenters, this should be obtained whilst your service is wanting, you cannot expect it afterwards: is it not evident and confessed that the faith that was kept with Canada was merely to obtain their assistance against the assertors of freedom and the Constitution in the other parts of America:74 But if you should voluntarily and trusting to Scotch Kindness and gratitude, employ your efforts to destroy the constitutional impediments to their domination, they there will be nothing left to guaranty guarantee the fulfilling of their policies, you will then subside into your former servitude and they will laugh in your face as the Devil did at Santon Barsissa.75
This to the best of my judgment is the real state of your prospects at present, if you have any activity or spirit, there is no doubt in the present juncture but you might alter your situation and there can be no doubt also, but that it must be bettered by any alteration that can possibly happen; men who are wanting to themselves neither meet with, nor deserve even pity. See the Americans they have not made the 20th part of your petitions and remonstrances, and they have not had the thousand part of the occasion, and yet in the opinion of all Europe there was sufficient to justify them in what has followed. Would to God you with your wives and children were peaceably settled in some part of that vast continent, everything considered, it would be by much the best course you can follow: you can never expect much serenity or happiness at home, even granting your most sanguine wishes, were you at this moment admitted to a participation of equal laws and advantages with other dissenters, yet from rooted immemorial prejudice, which has been so carefully and thickly sown, you are liable to be disturbed on almost every occasion, not a wayward blast from the Continent but would bring inquietude to you; you would sometime or other feel as men and and resent injury and you would then furnish the wished for occasion of new forfeitures and reducing you to your former bondage. Goe Go then, but goe go in the name of God, goe go if you can in the spirit of peace and Christian forgiveness, for after all they are your bretheren brethren, your Children, your Countrymen; sully not your hands nor your former conduct, either by lending any assistance in demolishing an old admirable fabrick of freedom the work of your own virtuous ancestors, or in helping to construct a tyrannical and vicious one. You have the newNew World before you and you will have neighbours in it who must admire feelings congenial to their own. When I sat down to write, it was not my intention to exhort the R. Roman Catholicks, alass alas, to awake them to a sense of their situation, whatever my heart may be, my abilities are very unequal to such a task. O where are you ye Men of persuasion, here indeed would be an undertaking worthy your justice, your compassion, your humanity; to dispel those lethargic fumes of insensibility and stupefaction which great and long continued misery has brought upon this people, would call forth all your powers: Rouse them into a recollection of their humanity, are they not husbands, are they not fathers, do not their little children hang upon their knees and about their necks and are they not in honour, in humanity, in affection nay in duty bound to attempt by some generous effort to cut off that black, infectious, perpetual entail of bondage and misery which hangs over them.
But I am addressing a letter to Lord Shannon and thro through him to the other men of weight and authority in Ireland who meet mete out blessings or curses to the land, whatever the Country is they have made it, what it may be hereafter perhaps will not depend upon them. Forgetful of the just views of Legislation which are expansive, equal, benevolent, founded in the encrease increase of population in order to obtain National Strenght Strength and of equal and general happiness to effect p Publick Union and Cooperation. on On the contrary the councils of Ireland have been employed on nothing so much as forging fetters for the Papists, as it was impossible to derive any adequate advantages from our excellent soil, or to strenghten strengthen the nation by the necessary encrease increase of population without taking the Papists into the account, we have hitherto like bigoted old women attentive only to feeding spleen and detraction sillily neglected both the one and the other. What consequences are we likely to derive from this, the Nation tho though it abounds in Cattle is wanting in Men, therefore weak. You have peevishly and wickedly divided the Country and the Majority is not only against you, but in proportion as they have any feeling and spirit, they must inexpressibly hate and detest you. You have a Government of your own, you have rights and priviledges privileges independent of the Parliament of England; should these be invaded you will not in your present unhappy, divided state have force sufficient to repel injury and support your priviledges privileges , what avails your recognised right set down in the year books viz. 'A Tax granted by the Parliament of England shall not bind those of Ireland, because they are not summoned to our Parliament.' 76 and 'Ireland hath a Parliament of its own, and maketh and altereth laws and our Statutes do not bind them, because they do not send Knights to our Parliaments: but their persons are the Kings King's subjects, like as the inhabitants of Calais, Gascoigny and Geen Guienne, while they continue under the Kings King's Subjection.' 77 what What avails this when by the statute of George 1.st it is declared that the King's Majesty with the consent of the Lords and Commons of Great Britain hath power to make laws to bind the people of Ireland;78 here is a thunderstorm which would inevitably have burst on your heads but for the providential interposition of America. Would it not therefore be wise and politick to so beso be prepared for the Calamities that may happen; solder up your breaches by one compleat complete manly repeal of that spleenetic splenetic polemical Code that has hitherto weaknd weakened and divided you: such a continued attention to an object so unworthy & hateful would have disgraced a confederay confederacy of shallow, sour, disputatious theologians, how much more Legislators and statesmen bound by all the ties of blood and national affection: the poor creatures who have been thus the victims of religious and party bitterness would even consider this piece of just and wise policy as a favour conferred upon them. They do not want fidelity, we all know they can be grateful and it must be confessed that they have effusions of love, tenderness and affection almost peculiar to themselves. Let not then your different sentiments about another world (if you have any difference) keep you at strife, hatred and litigation in this, learn to live with men as men, they have as good a right to climb into heaven by a Jacobs Jacob's ladder of their own,79 as you can have, quarrel not with them about this, but rather attend to yourselves, cultivate your own hearts, call up whatever philanthropy there is in your nature and fling away that wretced wretched spirit of proselytism in which Vice and Cruelty have been more visible than Christian Charity and brotherly love. Unbind then your Country men and fellow Citizens, raise them from the dust and incorporate them in one general, equal and common interest with yourselves, give them a fair opportunity of calling […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)] out those patrioticpatriotic affections which do honour to humanity. Let them not be indebted to English or any other policy and humanity for what they can and ought much more naturally to expect from you. Suffer them to wish the continuance of freedom to their Country and give them an interest in chearfully cheerfully opposing with their best blood any invasion of your common rights and liberties from whatever quarter it may come, either from that Phantom the Pope of Rome, or from the Omnipotence ( […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)])( […] [gap in transcription (cancelled)]) of the English Parliament which is nearer home and for many reasons much more to be guarded against: do not leave it for them to set Canadians upon you in Ireland which if any designs should be ever harboured against you and that this engine be properly managed, if it does not at once crush you, it will at least embitter your quiet and be a source of broil and tumult for generations to come.
London Jan. January . 4 1778.8 1778.80
I am my Lord &c.81