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BEFORE publishing this Tract, we thought it 
right to ask permission to do so from the 
Gentleman to whose pen it is commonly 
attributed and we received from him the 
following answer : 


" I AM not the Author of the Tract in 
question I have not the smallest wish nor 
the smallest objection that it should be re- 
published. My general principle is, " Suffi- 
cient for the day is the nonsense thereof;" 
but, if you think otherwise, it is your affair, 
not mine. Some just and honourable men 
now alive are attacked in this pamphlet with 
very blameable asperity ; and I should feel 
remorse for this, if I were the real, as I 


am the putative, father of the book. Under 
this imputation I am as patient as Par- 
tridge in Tom Jones ; believing that the 
real father will one day be known. 

" &c. &c. &c. 

" Messrs. Longman and Co" 

We cannot dispute with this gentleman 
as to who is the author of the pamphlet, 
but we may be allowed to differ from him 
as to its character. It seems to us to be a 
tract written with great felicity of language, 
great force of humour, and with deep feeling 
for religious liberty and human happiness : 
for these reasons we have used our humble 
efforts to rescue it from oblivion. 







LETTER V v 72 





LETTER X..., . 160 






A WORTHIER and better man than yourself 
does not exist ; but I have always told you, 
from the time of our boyhood, that you were 
a bit of a goose. Your parochial affairs are 
governed with exemplary order, and regu- 
larity ; you are as powerful in the Vestry as 
Mr. Perceval is in the House of Commons, 
and I must say, with much more reason ; 
nor do I know any church where the faces 
and smock-frocks of the congregation are so 
clean, or their eyes so uniformly directed to 



the preacher. There is another point, upon 
which I will do you ample justice ; and that 
is, that the eyes so directed towards you are 
wide open ; for the rustic has, in general, 
good principles, though he cannot control his 
animal habits; and however loud he may 
snore, his face is perpetually turned towards 
the fountain of orthodoxy. 

Having done you this act of justice, I shall 
proceed, according to our ancient intimacy, 
and familiarity, to explain to you my opinions 
about the Catholics, and to reply to yours. 

In the first place, my sweet Abraham, the 
Pope is not landed nor are there any 
curates sent out after him nor has he been 
hid at Saint Alban's by the Dowager Lady 
Spencer nor dined privately at Holland 
House nor been seen near Dropmore. If 
these fears exist (which I do not believe), 
they exist only in the mind of the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer ; they emanate from his 
zeal for the Protestant interest ; and though 
they reflect the highest "honour upon the de- 
licate irritability of his faith, must certainly 


be considered as more ambiguous proofs of 
the sanity and vigour of his understanding. 
By this time, however, the best informed 
clergy in the neighbourhood of the metropolis 
are convinced that the rumour is without 
foundation : and though the Pope is probably 
hovering about our coast in a fishing-smack, 
it is most likely he will fall a prey to the 
vigilance of our cruisers ; and it is certain he 
has not yet polluted the Protestantism of our 

Exactly in the same manner, the story of 
the wooden gods seized at Charing Cross, by 
an order from the Foreign Office, turns out 
to be without the shadow of a foundation : 
instead of the angels, and archangels, men- 
tioned by the informer, nothing was disco- 
vered but a wooden image of Lord Mulgrave 
going down to Chatham as a head-piece for 
the Spanker gun- vessel : it was an exact re- 
semblance of his Lordship in his military 
uniform ; and therefore as little like a god as 
can well be imagined. 

Having set your fears at rest, as to the 


extent of the conspiracy formed against the 
Protestant religion, I will now come to the 
argument itself. 

You say these men interpret the Scriptures 
in an unorthodox manner ; and that they eat 
their god. Very likely. All this may seem 
very important to you, who live fourteen 
miles from a market- town, and, from long 
residence upon your living, are become a kind 
of holy vegetable ; and, in a theological sense, 
it is highly important. But I want soldiers 
and sailors for the state ; I want to make a 
greater use than I now can do of a poor 
country full of men ; I want to render the 
military service popular among the Irish ; to 
check the power of France ; to make every 
possible exertion for the safety of Europe, 
which in twenty years time will be nothing 
but a mass of French slaves : and then you, 
and ten thousand other such boobies as you> 
call out " For God's sake, do not think of 
"raising cavalry and infantry in Ireland! 
" . . . . They interpret the Epistle to Timothy 
" in a different manner from what we do ! 


" . . . . They eat a bit of wafer every Sunday, 
" which they call their God !"....! wish to 
my soul they would eat you, and such rea- 
soners as you are. What ! when Turk, Jew, 
Heretic, Infidel, Catholic, Protestant, are all 
combined against this country ; when men of 
every religious persuasion, and no religious 
persuasion ; when the population of half the 
globe is up in arms against us ; are we to 
stand examining our generals and armies as 
a bishop examines a candidate for holy orders ? 
and to suffer no one to bleed for England, 
who does not agree with you about the 2d of 
Timothy? You talk about the Catholics ! If 
you and your brotherhood have been able to 
persuade the country into a continuation of 
this grossest of all absurdities, you have ten 
times the power which the Catholic clergy 
ever had in their best days. Louis XIV. 
when he revoked the Edict of Nantes, never 
thought of preventing the Protestants from 
fighting his battles ; arid gained accordingly 
some of his most splendid victories by the 
talents of his Protestant generals. No power 
B 3 


in Europe, but yourselves, has ever thought, 
for these hundred years past, of asking whe- 
ther a bayonet is Catholic, or Presbyterian, 
or Lutheran ; but, whether it is sharp, and 
well-tempered. A bigot delights in public 
ridicule ; for he begins to think he is a mar- 
tyr ; I can promise you the full enjoyment of 
this pleasure, from one extremity of Europe 
to the other. 

I am as disgusted with the nonsense of the 
Roman Catholic religion as you can be : and 
no man who talks such nonsense shall ever 
tithe the product of the earth ; nor meddle 
with the ecclesiastical establishment in any 
shape ; but what have I to do with the 
speculative nonsense of his theology, when 
the object is to elect the mayor of a county 
town, or to appoint a colonel of a marching 
regiment ? Will a man discharge the solemn 
impertinences of the one office with less zeal, 
or shrink from the bloody boldness of the 
other with greater timidity, because the block- 
head thinks he can eat angels in muffins, and 
chew a spiritual nature in the crumpet which 


he buys from the baker's shop ? * I am sorry 
there should be such impious folly in the 
world, but I should be ten times a greater 
fool than he is, if I refused to lead him out 
against the enemies of the state, till he had 
made a solemn protestation, that the crumpet 
was spiritless, and the muffin nothing but an 
human muffin. Your whole argument is 
wrong : the state has nothing whatever to do 
with theological errors, which do not violate 
the common rules of morality, and militate 
against the fair power of the ruler : it leaves 
all these errors to you, and to such as you. 
You have every tenth porker in your parish 
for refuting them ; and take care that you are 
vigilant, and logical in the task. 

I love the church as well as you do ; but 
you totally mistake the nature of an establish- 
ment, when you contend that it ought to be 
connected with the military and civil career 
of every individual in the state. It is quite 

* This passage has been objected to. I cannot see 
why : it is the plain statement of a Catholic tenet which 
in my eyes is the consummation of all absurdity. 
B 4 


right that there should be one clergyman to 
every parish, interpreting the scriptures after 
a particular manner, ruled by a regular 
hierarchy, and paid with a rich proportion of 
haycocks and wheatsheafs. When I have 
laid this foundation for a rational religion in 
the state when I have placed ten thousand 
well educated men in different parts of the 
kingdom to preach it up, and compelled every 
body to pay them, whether they hear them or 
not I have taken such measures as I know 
must always procure an immense majority in 
favour of the established church : but I can 
go no farther. I cannot set up a civil 
inquisition, and say to one, you shall not be a 
butcher, because you are not orthodox ; and 
prohibit another from brewing, and a third 
from administering the law, and a fourth from 
defending the country. If common justice 
did not prohibit me from such a conduct, 
common sense would. The advantage to be 
gained by quitting the heresy, would make it 
shameful to abandon it : and men who had 
once left the church would continue in such 


a state of alienation from a point of honour, 
and transmit that spirit to their latest pos- 
terity. This is just the effect your disqualify- 
ing laws have produced. They have fed Dr. 
Rees, and Dr. Kippis ; crowded the congre- 
gation of the Old Jewry to suffocation, and 
enabled every sublapsarian, and superlaps- 
arian, and semipelagian clergyman, to build 
himself a neat brick chapel, and .live with 
some distant resemblance to the state of a 

You sayM?he King's coronation oath will not 
allow him to consent to any relaxation of the 
Catholic laws. Why not relax the Catholic 
laws as well as the laws against Protestant dis- 
senters ? If one is contrary to his oath, the 
other must be so too : for the spirit of the oath 
is, to defend the church establishment, which 
the Quaker and the Presbyterian differ from 
as much, or more than the Catholic ; and yet 
his Majesty has repealed the Corporation and 
Test Act in Ireland, and done more for the 
Catholics of both kingdoms than had been 
done for them since the Reformation. In 1778, 
B 5 


the ministers said nothing about the royal 
conscience ; in 1793 * no conscience ; in 1804- 
no conscience : the common feeling of hu- 
manity and justice then seem to have had 
their fullest influence upon the advisers of the 
crown : but in 1807 a year, I suppose, 
eminently fruitful in moral and religious 
scruples (as some years are fruitful in apples? 
some in hops), it is contended by the well 
paid John Bowles, and by Mr. Perceval (who 
tried to be well paid), that that is now perjury 
which we had hitherto called policy and be- 
nevolence ! Religious liberty has never made 
such a stride as under the reign of his present 
Majesty ; nor is there any instance in the 
annals of our history, where so many infamous 
and damnable laws have been repealed, as 
those against the Catholics which have been 
put an end to by him : and then, at the close 
of this useful policy, his advisers discover that 
the very measures of concession and indul- 

* These feelings of humanity and j ustice were at some 
periods a little quickened by the representation of 40,000 
armed Volunteers. 


gence, or (to use my my own language) the 
measures of justice, which he has been pur- 
suing through the whole of his reign, are 
contrary to the oath he takes at its commence- 
ment ! That oath binds his Majesty not to 
consent to any measure contrary to the in- 
terest of the established church : but who is 
to judge of the tendency of each particular 
measure ? Not the King alone : it can never 
be the intention of this law that the King, 
who listens to the advice of his parliament 
upon a road bill, should reject it upon the 
most important of all measures ; whatever be 
his own private judgment of the tendency of 
any ecclesiastical bill, he complies most srictly 
with his oath, if he is guided in that particular 
point by the advice of his parliament, who 
may be presumed to understand its tendency 
better than the King, or any other individual. 
You say, if parliament had been unanimous in 
their opinion of the absolute necessity for 
Lord Howick's bill, and the King had thought 
it pernicious, he would have been perjured if 
he had not rejected it. I say, on the contrary, 
B 6 


his Majesty would have acted in the most 
conscientious manner, and have complied most 
scrupulously with his oath, if he had sacrificed 
his own opinion to the opinion of the great 
council of the nation ; because the probability 
was, that such opinion was better than his 
own, and upon the same principle, in common 
life, you give up your opinion to your phy- 
sician, your lawyer, and your builder. 

You admit this bill did not compel the 
King to elect Catholic officers, but only gave 
him the option of doing so if he pleased ; but 
you add, that the King was right in not trust- 
ing such dangerous power to himself or his 
successors. Now, you are either to suppose 
that the King for the time being has a zeal 
for the Catholic establishment, or that he has 
not. If he has not, where is the danger of 
giving such an option ? If you suppose that 
he may be influenced by such an admiration 
of the Catholic religion, why did his present 
Majesty, in the year 1804, consent to that bill 
which empowered the crown to station ten 
thousand Catholic soldiers in any part of the 


kingdom, and placed them absolutely at the 
disposal of the crown ? If the King of Eng- 
land for the time being is a good Protestant, 
there can be no danger in making the Catholic 
elegible to any thing : if he is not, no power 
can possibly be so dangerous as that conveyed 
by the bill last quoted ; to which, in point of 
peril, Lord Howick's bill is a mere joke. But 
the real fact is, one bill opened a door to his 
Majesty's advisers for trick, jobbing, and in- 
trigue , the other did not. 

Besides, what folly to talk to me of an oath, 
which, under all possible circumstances, is to 
prevent the relaxation of the Catholic laws ! 
for such a solemn appeal to God sets all con- 
ditions and contingencies at defiance. Sup- 
pose Bonaparte was to retrieve the only very 
great blunder he has made, and were to suc- 
ceed, after repeated trials, in making an im- 
pression upon Ireland, do you think we should 
hear any thing of the impediment of a co- 
ronation oath ? or would the spirit of this 
country tolerate for an hour such ministers, 
and such unheard-of nonsense, if the most 


distant prospect existed of conciliating the 
Catholics by every species even of the most 
abject concession? And yet, if your argu- 
ment is good for any thing, the coronation 
oath ought to reject, at such a moment, every 
tendency to conciliation, and to bind Ireland 
for ever to the crown of France. 

I found in your letter the usual remark 
about fire, faggot, and bloody Mary. Are 
you aware, my dear Priest, that there were 
as many persons put to death for religious 
opinions under the mild Elizabeth as under 
the bloody Mary ? The reign of the former 
was, to be sure, ten times as long ; but I 
only mention the fact, merely to show you 
that something depends upon the age in 
which men live, as well as on their religious 
opinions. Three hundred years ago, men 
burnt and hanged each other for these 
opinions ; time has softened Catholic as well 
as Protestant ; they both required it ; though 
each perceives only his own improvement, 
and is blind to that of the other. We are all 
the creatures of circumstances ; I know not 


a kinder and better man than yourself; but 
you (if you had lived in those times) would 
certainly have roasted your Catholic : and I 
promise you, if the first exciter of this re- 
ligious mob had been as powerful then as he 
is now, you would soon have been elevated 
to the mitre. I do not go the length of say- 
ing, that the world has suffered as much from 
Protestant as from Catholic persecution ; far 
from it : but you should remember the Ca- 
tholics had all the power, when the idea first 
started up in the world that there could be 
two modes of faith, and that it was much 
more natural they should attempt to crush 
this diversity of opinion by great and cruel 
efforts, than that the Protestants should rage 
against those who differed from them, when 
the very basis of their system was complete 
freedom in all spiritual matters. 

I cannot extend my letter any further at 
present, but you shall soon hear from me 
again. You tell me, I am a party man. I 
hope I shall always be so, when I see my 
country in the hands of a pert London joker 


and a second-rate lawyer. Of the first, no 
-other good .is known than that he makes 
pretty Latin verses ; the second seems to me 
to have the head of a country parson, and the 
tongue of an Old Bailey lawyer. 

If I could see good measures pursued, I 
care not a farthing who is in power ; but I 
have a passionate love for common justice, 
and for common sense, and I abhor and 
despise every man who builds up his political 
fortune upon their ruin. 

God bless you, reverend Abraham, and de- 
fend you from the Pope, and all of us from 
that administration, who seek power by op- 
posing a measure which Burke, Pitt, and 
Fox all considered as absolutely necessary to 
the existence of the country. 




THE Catholic not respect an oath : why not ? 
What upon earth has kept him out of Parlia- 
ment, or excluded him from all the offices 
whence he is excluded, but his respect for 
oaths? There is no law which prohibits a 
Catholic to sit in Parliament. There could 
be no such law ; because it is impossible to 
find out what passes in the interior of any 
man's mind. Suppose it were in contempla- 
tion to exclude all men from certain offices 
who contended for the legality of taking 
tithes, the only mode of discovering that 
fervid love of decimation which I know you 
to possess would be to tender you an oath 
" against that damnable doctrine, that it is 
lawful for a spiritual man to take, abstract, ap- 
propriate, subduct, or lead away the tenth calf, 
sheep, lamb, ox, pigeon, duck," &c. &c. &c. 


and every other animal that ever existed, 
which of course the lawyers would take care 
to enumerate. Now this oath I am sure you 
would rather die than take ; and so the Ca- 
tholic is excluded from Parliament because 
he will not swear that he disbelieves the lead- 
ing doctrines of his religion ! The Catholic 
asks you to abolish some oaths which oppress 
him ; your answer is, that he does not respect 
oaths. Then why subject him to the test of 
oaths? The oaths keep him out of Parlia- 
ment; why then he respects them. Turn 
which way you will, either your laws are 
nugatory, or the Catholic is bound by re- 
ligious obligations as you are : but no eel in 
the well-sanded fist of a cook-maid, upon the 
eve of being skinned, ever twisted and 
writhed as an orthodox parson does when he 
is compelled by the gripe of reason to admit 
any thing in favour of a Dissenter. 

I will not dispute with you whether the 
Pope be or be not the Scarlet Lady of 
Babylon. I hope it is not so ; because I am 
afraid it will induce his Majesty's Chancellor 


of the Exchequer to introduce several severe 
bills against popery, if that is the case ; and 
though he will have the decency to appoint a 
previous committee of enquiry as to the fact, 
the committee will be garbled, and the report 
inflammatory. Leaving this to be settled as 
he pleases to settle it, I wish to inform you, 
that, previously to the bill last passed in 
favour of the Catholics, at the suggestion of 
Mr. Pitt, and for his satisfaction, the opinions 
of six of the most celebrated of the foreign 
Catholic universities were taken as to the 
right of the Pope to interfere in the temporal 
concerns of any country. The answer cannot 
possibly leave the shadow of a doubt, even in 
the mind of Baron Maseres ; and Dr. Rennel 
would be compelled to admit it, if three 
Bishops lay dead at the very moment the 
question were put to him. To this answer 
might be added also the solemn declaration 
and signature of all the Catholics in Great 

I should perfectly agree with you, if the 
Catholics admitted such a dangerous dis- 


pensing power in the hands of the Pope ; but 
they all deny it, and laugh at it, and are ready 
to abjure it in the most decided manner you 
can devise. They obey the Pope as the 
spiritual head of their church ; but are you 
really so foolish as to be imposed upon by 
mere names ? What matters it the seven 
thousandth part of a farthing who is the 
spiritual head of any church ? Is not Mr. 
Wilberforce at the head of the church of 
Clapham ? Is not Dr. Letsom at the head of 
the Quaker church ? Is not the General 
Assembly at the head of the church of Scot- 
land ? How is the government disturbed by 
these many-headed churches? or in what 
way is the power of the Crown augmented by 
this almost nominal dignity ? 

The King appoints a fast day once a year, 
and he makes the Bishops : and if the govern- 
ment would take half the pains to keep the 
Catholics out of the arms of France that it 
does to widen Temple-Bar, or improve Snow- 
Hill, the King would get into his hands the 
appointments of the titular Bishops of Ireland. 


Both Mr. C - 's sisters enjoy pensions 
more than sufficient to place the two greatest 
dignitaries of the Irish Catholic church entirely 
at the disposal of the Crown, Every body 
who knows Ireland knows perfectly well, 
that nothing would be easier, with the expen- 
penditure of a little money, than to preserve 
enough of the ostensible appointment in the 
hands of the Pope to satisfy the scruples of 
the Catholics, while the real nomination re- 
mained with the Crown. But, as I have 
before said, the moment the very name of 
Ireland is mentioned, the English seem to bid 
adieu to common feeling, common prudence, 
and to common sense, and to act with the 
barbarity of tyrants, and the fatuity of idiots. 

Whatever your opinion may be of the follies 
of the Roman Catholic religion, remember 
they are the follies of four millions of human 
beings, increasing rapidly in numbers, wealth, 
and intelligence, who, if firmly united with 
this country, would set at defiance the power 
of France, and if once wrested from their 
alliance with England, would in three years 


render its existence as an independent nation 
absolutely impossible. You speak of danger 
to the establishment : I request to know when 
the establishment was ever so much in dan- 
ger as when Hoche was in Bantry Bay, and 
whether all the books of Bossuet, or the arts 
of the Jesuits, were half so terrible ? Mr. 
Perceval and his parsons forgot all this, in 
their horror lest twelve or fourteen old women 
may be converted to holy water, and Catholic 
nonsense. They never see that, while they 
are saving these venerable ladies from per- 
dition, Ireland may be lost, England broken 
down, and the Protestant Church, with all its 
deans, prebends, Percevals and Rennels, be 
swept into the vortex of oblivion. 

Do not, I beseech you, ever mention to me 
again the name of Dr. Duigenan. I have 
been in every corner of Ireland, and have 
studied its present strength and condition with 
no common labour. Be assured Ireland does 
not contain at this moment less than five 
millions of people. There were returned in 
the year 1791 to the hearth tax 701,000 


houses, and there is no kind of question that 
there were about 50,000 houses omitted in that 
return. Taking, however, only the number 
returned for the tax, and allowing the average 
of six to a house (a very small average for a 
potatoe-fed people), this brings the population 
to 4,200,000 people in the year 1791 : and it 
can be shown from the clearest evidence (and 
Mr. Newenham in his book shows it), that 
Ireland for the last fifty years has increased in 
its population at the rate of 50 or 60,000 per 
annum ; which leaves the present population 
of Ireland at about five millions, after every 
possible deduction for existing circumstances, 
just and necessary wars, monstrous and un- 
natural rebellions, and all other sources of 
human destruction. Of this population, two 
out of ten are Protestants ; and the half of 
the Protestant population are Dissenters, and 
as inimical to the church as the Catholics 
themselves. In this state of things, thumb- 
screws and whipping admirable engines of 
policy, as they must be considered to be 
will not ultimately avail. The Catholics will 


hang over you ; they will watch for the mo- 
ment ; and compel you hereafter to give them 
ten times as much, against your will, as they 
would now be contented with, if it was vo- 
luntarily surrendered. Remember what hap- 
pened in the American war : when Ireland 
compelled you to give her every thing she 
asked, and to renounce, in the most explicit 
manner, your claim of sovereignty over her. 
God Almighty grant the folly of these present 
men may not bring on such another crisis of 
public affairs ! 

What are your dangers which threaten the 
establishment ? Reduce this declamation to 
a point, and let us understand what you 
mean. The most ample allowance does not 
calculate that there would be more than 
twenty members who were Roman Catholics 
in one house, and ten in the other, if the 
Catholic emancipation were carried into effect. 
Do you mean that these thirty members would 
bring in a bill to take away the tithes from 
the Protestant, and to pay them to the 
Catholic clergy? Do you mean that a 


Catholic general would march his army into 
the House of Commons, and purge it of Mr. 
Perceval and Mr. Duigenan? or, that the 
theological writers would become all of a 
sudden more acute and more learned, if the 
present civil incapacities were removed ? 
Do you fear for your tithes, or your doctrines, 
or your person, or the English constitution ? 
Every fear, taken separately, is so glaringly 
absurd, that no man has the folly or the bold- 
ness to state rt Every one conceals his ig- 
norance, or his baseness, in a stupid general 
panic, which, when called on, he is utterly 
incapable of explaining. Whatever you think 
of the Catholics, there they are you cannot 
get rid of them ; your alternative is, to give 
them a lawful place for stating their grievances, 
or an unlawful one : if you do not admit them 
to the House of Commons, they will hold 
their parliament in Potatoe-place, Dublin, and 
be ten times as violent and inflammatory as 
as they would be in. Westminster. Nothing 
would give me such an idea of security, as to 
see twenty or thirty Catholic gentlemen in 



Parliament, looked upon by all the Catholics 
as the fair and proper organ of their party. I 
should have thought it the height of good 
fortune that such a wish existed on their part, 
and the very essence of madness and ignorance 
to reject it. Can you murder the Catholics ? 
Can you neglect them ? They are too 
numerous for both these expedients. What 
remains to be done is obvious to every human 
being but to that man who, instead of 
being a Methodist preacher, is, for the curse 
of us, and our children, and for the ruin of 
Troy, and the misery of good old Priam and 
his sons, become a legislator and a politician. 

A distinction, I perceive, is taken, by one 
of the most feeble noblemen in Great Britain, 
between persecution and the deprivation of 
political power ; whereas there is no more 
distinction between these two things than 
there is between him who makes the distinc- 
tion and a booby. If I strip off the relic- 
covered jacket of a Catholic, and give him 
twenty stripes .... I persecute : if I say, 
Every body in the town where you live shall 


be a candidate for lucrative and honourable 
offices, but you, who are a Catholic .... I do 
not persecute! What barbarous nonsense is 
this ! as if degradation was not as great an 
evil as bodily pain, or as severe poverty : as 
if I could not be as great a tyrant by saying, 
You shall not enjoy as by saying, You shall 
suffer. The English, I believe, are as truly 
religious as any nation in Europe ; I know 
no greater blessing : but it carries with it this 
evil in its train, that any villain who will bawl 
out " The Church is in danger I" may get a 
place, and a good pension ; and that any 
administration who will do the same thing 
may bring a set of men into power 'who, at a 
moment of stationary and passive piety, 
would be hooted by the very boys in the 
streets. But it is not all religion ; it is, in 
great part, that narrow and exclusive spirit 
which delights to keep the common blessings 
of sun, and air, and freedom from other human 
beings. " Your religion has always been 
" degraded ; you are in the dust, and I will 
" take care you never rise again. I should 
c 2 


" enjoy less the possession of an earthly good, 
" by every additional person to whom it was 
M extended." You may not be aware of it 
yourself, most reverend Abraham, but you 
deny their freedom to the Catholics upon the 
same principle that Sarah your wife refuses to 
give the receipt for a ham or a gooseberry 
dumpling : she values her receipts, not because 
they secure to her a certain flavour, but 
because they remind her that her neighbours 
want it : a feeling laughable in a priestess, 
shameful in a priest ; venial when it with- 
holds the blessings of a ham, tyrannical and 
execrable when it narrows the boon of reli- 
gious freedom. 

You spend a great deal of ink about the 
character of the present prime-minister. 
Grant you all that you write; I say, I fear 
he will ruin Ireland, and pursue a line of 
policy destructive to the true interest of his 
country : and then you tell me, he is faithful 
to Mrs. Perceval, and kind to the master 
Percevals! These are, undoubtedly, the first 
qualifications to be looked to in a time of the 


most serious public danger ; but somehow or 
another (if public and private virtues must 
always be incompatible), I should prefer that 
he destroyed the domestic happiness of Wood 
or Cockrell, owed for the veal of the pre- 
ceding year, whipped his boys, and saved his 

The late administration did not do right ; 
they did not build their measures upon the 
solid basis of facts. They should have caused 
several Catholics to have been dissected after 
death by surgeons of either religion ; and 
the report to have b*een published with ac- 
companying plates. If the viscera, and other 
organs of life, had been found to be the same 
as in Protestant bodies ; if the provisions of 
nerves, arteries, cerebum and cerebellum, 
had been the same as we are provided with, 
or as the Dissenters are now known to possess ; 
then, indeed, they might have met Mr. Per- 
ceval upon a proud eminence, and convinced 
the country at large of the strong probability 
that the Catholics are really human creatures, 
endowed with the feelings of men, and entitled 
c 3 


to all their rights. But instead of this wise 
and prudent measure, Lord Howick, with his 
usual precipitation, brings forward a bill in 
their favour, without offering the slightest 
proof to the country that they were any thing 
more than horses and oxen. The person 
who shows the lama at the corner of Piccadilly 
has the precaution to write up Allowed by 
Sir Joseph Banks to be a real quadruped : 
so his lordship might have said Allowed by 
the Bench of Bishops to be real human crea- 
tures. ... I could write you twenty letters 
upon this subject: but I am tired, and so I 
suppose are you. Our friendship is now of 
forty years' standing : you know me to be a 
truly religious man ; but I shudder to see 
religion treated like a cockade, or a pint of 
beer, and made the instrument of a party. I 
love the King, but I love the people as well 
as the King ; and if I am sorry to see his old 
age molested, I am much more sorry to see 
four millions of Catholics baffled in their just 
expectations. If I love Lord Grenville, 
and Lord Howick, it is because they love 


their country : if I abhor ******, it is because 
I know there is but one man among them 
who is not laughing at the enormous folly 
and credulity of the country, and that he is 
an ignorant and mischievous bigot. As for 
the light and frivolous jester, of whom it is 
your misfortune to think so highly, learn, my 
dear Abraham, that this political Killigrew, 
just before the breaking-up of the last admi- 
nistration, was in actual treaty with them for a 
place ; and if they had survived twenty-four 
hours longer, he would have been now de- 
claiming against the cry of No Popery! instead 
of inflaming it. With this practical comment 
on the baseness of human nature, I bid you 
adieu 1 



ALL that I have so often told you, Mr. Abra- 
ham Plymley, is now come to pass. The 
Scythians, in whom you and the neighbouring 
country gentlemen placed such confidence, 
are smitten hip and thigh ; their Benningsen 
put to open shame ; their magazines of train- 
oil intercepted, and we are waking from our 
disgraceful drunkenness to all the horrors of 
Mr. Perceval and Mr. Canning .... We shall 
now see if a nation is to be saved by school- 
boy jokes and doggerel rhymes, by affronting 
petulance, and by the tones and gesticulations 
of Mr. Pitt. But these are not all the aux- 
iliaries on which we have to depend; to 
these his colleague will add the strictest at- 
tention to the smaller parts of ecclesiastical 
government, to hassocks, to psalters, and to 
surplices ; in the last agonies of England, he 
will bring in a bill to regulate Easter-offerings ; 


and he will adjust the stipends of curates*, 
when the flag of France is unfurled on the 
hills of Kent. Whatever can be done by very 
mistaken notions of the piety of a Christian, 
and by very wretched imitation of the elo- 
quence of Mr. Pitt, will be done by these two 
gentlemen. After all, if they both really 
were what they both either wish to be, or 
wish to be thought ; if the one were an en- 
lightened Christian, who drew from the Gos- 
pel the toleration, the charity, and the sweet- 
ness which it contains ; and if the other really 
possessed any portion of the great understand- 
ing of his Nisus who guarded him from the 
weapons of the Whigs, I should still doubt if 
they could save us. But I am sure we are 
not to be saved by religious hatred, and by re- 
ligous trifling ; by any psalmody, however 
sweet ; or by any persecution, however sharp : 
I am certain the sounds of Mr. Pitt's voice, 
and the measure of his tones, and the move- 

* The Reverend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has, 
since this was written, found time in the heat of the 
session to write a book on the Stipends of Curates. 

c 5 


ment of his arms, will do nothing for us ; when 
these tones, and movements, and voice bring 
us always declamation without sense or know- 
ledge, and ridicule without good humour or 
conciliation. Oh, Mr. Plymley, Mr. Plymley, 
this never will do. Mrs. Abraham Plymley, 
my sister, will be led away captive by an 
amorous Gaul ; and Joel Plymley, your first- 
born, will be a French drummer. 

Out of sight, out of mind, seems to be a 
proverb which applies to enemies as well as 
friends. Because the French army was no 
longer seen from the cliffs of Dover ; because 
the sound of cannon was no longer heard by 
the debauched London bathers on the Sussex 
coast ; because the Morning Post no longer 
fixed the invasion sometimes for Monday, 
sometimes for Tuesday, sometimes (positively 
for the last time of invading) on Saturday ; 
because all these causes of terror were sus- 
pended, you conceive the power of Bonaparte 
to be at an end, and were setting off for Paris, 
with Lord Hawkesbury the conqueror. 
This is precisely the method in which the 


English have acted during the whole of the 
revolutionary war. If Austria or Prussia 
armed, doctors of divinity immediately printed 
those passages out of Habakkuk, in which the 
destruction of the Usurper by General Mack, 
and the Duke of Brunswick, are so clearly 
predicted. If Bonaparte halted, there was a 
mutiny, or a dysentery. If any one of his 
generals were eaten up by the light troops of 
Russia, and picked (as their manner is) to the 
bone, the sanguine spirit of this country dis- 
played itself in all its glory. What scenes of 
infamy did the Society for the Suppression of 
Vice lay open to our astonished eyes : trades- 
men's daughters dancing ; pots of beer carried 
out between the first and second lesson j and 
dark and distant rumours of indecent prints. 
Clouds of Mr. Canning's cousins arrived by 
the waggons ; all the contractors left their 
cards with Mr. Rose ; and every plunderer of 
the public crawled out of his hole, like slugs, 
and grubs, and worms, after a shower of rain. 
If my voice could have been heard at the 
late changes, I should have said, " Gently ; 
c 6 


patience ; stop a little ; the time is not yet 
come ; the mud of Poland will harden, and 
the bowels of the French grenadiers will 
recover their tone. When honesty, good 
sense, and liberality have extricated you out 
of your present embarrassment, then dismiss 
them as a matter of course ; but you cannot 
spare them just now ; don't be in too great 
an hurry, or there will be no Monarch to 
flatter, and no country to pillage ; only sub- 
mit for a little time to be respected abroad ; 
overlook the painful absence of the tax- 
gatherer for a few years ; bear up nobly 
under the increase of freedom and of liberal 
policy for a little time, and I promise you, at 
the expiration of that period, you shall be 
plundered, insulted, disgraced, and restrained 
to your heart's content. Do not imagine I 
have any intention of putting servility and 
canting hypocrisy permanently out of place, 
or of filling up with courage and sense those 
offices which naturally devolve upon decorous 
imbecility and flexible cunning : give us 
only a little time to keep off the hussars of 


France, and then the jobbers and jesters 
shall return to their birthright, and public 
virtue be called by its old name of fanati- 
cism."* Such is the advice I would have 
offered to my infatuated countrymen ; but it 
rained very hard in November, Brother 
Abraham, and the bowels of our enemies 
were loosened, and we put our trust in white 
fluxes, and wet mud ; and there is nothing 
now to oppose to the conqueror of the world, 
but a small table of wit, and the sallow Sur- 
veyor of the Meltings. 

You ask me, if I think it possible for this 
country to survive the recent misfortunes of 
Europe ? I answer you, without the slight- 
est degree of hesitation : that if Bonaparte 

* This is Mr. Canning's term for the detection of pub- 
lic abuses ; a term invented by him, and adopted by that 
sinuous parasite who is always grinning at his heels. 
Nature descends down to infinite smallness. Mr. Canning 
has his parasites ; and if you take a large buzzing blue- 
bottle fly, and look at it in a microscope, you may see 20 
or 30 little ugly insects crawling about it, which doubtless 
think their fly to be the bluest, grandest, merriest, most 
important animal in the universe, and are convinced the 
world would be at an end if it ceased to buzz. 


lives, and a great deal is not immediately 
done for the conciliation of the Catholics, it 
does seem to me absolutely impossible but 
that we must perish ; and take this with you, 
that we shall perish without exciting the 
slightest feeling of present or future com- 
passion, but fall amidst the hootings and 
revilings of Europe, as a nation of blockheads, 
Methodists, and old women. If there were 
any great scenery, any heroic feelings, any 
blaze of ancient virtue, any exalted death, 
any termination of England that would be 
ever remembered, ever honoured in that 
western world, where liberty is now retiring, 
conquest would be more tolerable, and ruin 
more sweet ; but it is doubly miserable to 
become slaves abroad, because we would be 
tyrants at home ; to persecute, when we are 
contending against persecution ; and to 
perish, because we have raised up worse 
enemies within, from our own bigotry, than 
we are exposed to without from the unprin- 
cipled ambition of France. It is, indeed, a 
most silly and afflicting spectacle to rage at 


such a moment against our own kindred and 
our own blood ; to tell them they cannot be 
honourable in war, because they are con- 
scientious in religion ; to stipulate (at the 
very moment when we should buy their 
hearts and swords at any price) that they 
must hold up the right hand in prayer, and 
not the left ; and adore one common God, 
by turning to the east rather than to the 

What is it the Catholics ask of you ? Do 
not exclude us from the honours and emolu- 
ments of the state, because we worship God 
in one way, and you worship him in another, 
in a period of the deepest peace, and the 
fattest prosperity, this would be a fair re- 
quest ; it should be granted, if Lord Hawkes- 
bury had reached Paris, if Mr. Canning's 
interpreter had threatened the Senate in an 
opening speech, or Mr. Perceval explained to 
them the improvements he meant to in- 
troduce into the Catholic religion; but to 
deny the Irish this justice now, in the present 
state of Europe, and in the summer months, 


just as the season for destroying kingdoms is 
coming on, is (beloved Abraham), whatever 
you may think of it, little short of positive 

Here is a frigate attacked by a corsair of 
immense strength and size, rigging cut, masts 
in danger of coming by the board, four foot 
water in the hold, men dropping off very 
fast ; in this dreadful situation, how do you 
think the Captain acts (whose name shall be 
Perceval) ? , He calls all hands upon deck ; 
talks to them of King, country, glory, sweet- 
hearts, gin, French prison, wooden shoes, Old 
England, and hearts of oak : they give three 
cheers, rush to their guns, and, after a tre- 
mendous conflict, succeed in beating off the 
enemy. Not a syllable of all this ; this is not 
the manner in which the honourable Com- 
mander goes to work : the first thing he does 
is to secure 20 or 30 of his prime sailors who 
happen to be Catholics, to clap them in irons, 
and set over them a guard of as many Pro- 
testants ; having taking this admirable method 
of defending himself against his infidel oppo- 


nents, he goes upon deck, reminds the sailors, 
in a very bitter harangue, that they are of 
different religions; exhorts the Episcopal 
gunner not to trust to the Presbyterian quar- 
ter-master; issues positive orders that the 
Catholics should be fired at upon the first 
appearance of discontent; rushes through 
blood and brains, examining his men in the 
Catechism and 39 Articles, and positively 
forbids every one to spunge or ram who has 
not taken the Sacrament according to the 
Church of England. Was it right to take 
out a captain made of excellent British stuff, 
and to put in such a man as this ? Is not he 
more like a parson, or a talking lawyer, than 
a thorough-bred seaman ? And built as she 
is of heart of oak, and admirably manned, is 
it possible with such a captain to save this 
ship from going to the bottom ? 

You have an argument, I perceive, in com- 
mon with many others, against the Catholics, 
that their demands complied with would only 
lead to farther exactions, and that it is better 
to resist them now, before any thing is con- 


ceded, than hereafter, when it is found that all 
concessions are in vain. I wish the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, who uses this reason- 
ing to exclude others from their just rights, 
had tried its efficacy, not by his understanding 
but by (what are full of much better things) 
his pockets. Suppose the person to whom 
he applied for the Meltings had withstood 
every plea of wife and fourteen children, no 
business and good character, and refused him 
this paltry little office, because he might 
hereafter attempt to get hold of the revenues 
of the Duchy of Lancaster for life ; would 
not Mr. Perceval have contended eagerly 
against the injustice of refusing moderate 
requests, because immoderate ones may here- 
after be made? Would he not have said 
(and said truly), Leave such exorbitant at- 
tempts as these to the general indignation of 
the Commons, who will take care to defeat 
them when they do occur ; but do not refuse 
me the Irons, and the Meltings now, because 
I may totally lose sight of all moderation 
hereafter. Leave hereafter to the spirit and 
the wisdom of hereafter ; and do not be nig- 


gardly now, from the apprehension that men 
as wise as you should be profuse in times to 

You forget, Brother Abraham, that it is a 
vast art (where quarrels cannot be avoided) to 
turn the public opinion in your favour and to 
the prejudice of your enemy j a vast privilege 
to feel that you are in the right, and to make 
him feel that he is in the wrong : a privilege 
which makes you more than a man, and your 
antagonist less ; and often secures victory, by 
convincing him who contends, that he must 
submit to injustice if he submits to defeat. 
Open every rank in the army and the navy 
to the Catholic ; let him purchase at the 
same price as the Protestant (if either Ca- 
tholic or Protestant can purchase such refined 
pleasures) the privilege of hearing Lord Cas- 
tlereagh speak for three hours ; keep his 
clergy from starving, soften some of the most 
odious powers of the ty thing-man, and you 
will for ever lay this formidable question to 
rest. But if I am wrong, and you must 
quarrel at last, quarrel upon just rather than 
unjust grounds ; divide the Catholic, and 


unite the Protestant; be just, and your own 
exertions will be more formidable, and their 
exertions less formidable ; be just, and you 
will take away from their party all the best 
and wisest understandings of both persuasions, 
and knit them firmly to your own cause. 
" Thrice is he armed, who has his quarrel 
just;" and ten times as much may he be 
taxed. In the beginning of any war, how- 
ever destitute of common sense, every mob 
will roar, and every Lord of the Bedchamber 
address ; but if you are engaged in a war that 
is to last for years, and to require important 
sacrifices, take care to make the justice of 
your case so clear and so obvious, that it 
cannot be mistaken by the most illiterate 
country gentleman who rides the earth. No- 
thing, in fact, can be so grossly absurd as the 
argument which says, I will deny justice to 
you now, because I suspect future injustice 
from you. At this rate, you may lock a man 
up in your stable, and refuse to let him out 
because you suspect that he has an intention, 
at some future period, of robbing your hen- 


roost. You may horsewhip him at Lady-day, 
because you believe he will affront you at 
Midsummer. You may commit a greater 
evil, to guard against a less, which is merely 
contingent, and may never happen. You 
may do what you have done a century ago 
in Ireland, made the Catholics worse than 
Helots, because you suspected that they 
might hereafter aspire to be more than fellow- 
citizens ; rendering their sufferings certain 
from your jealousy, while yours were only 
doubtful from their ambition ; an ambition 
sure to be excited by the very measures 
which were taken to prevent it. 

The physical strength of the Catholics will 
not be greater because you give them a share 
of political power. You may by these means 
turn rebels into friends ; but I do not see 
how you make rebels more formidable. If 
they taste of the honey of lawful power, they 
will love the hive from whence they procure 
it ; if they will struggle with us like men in 
the same state for civil influence, we are safe. 
All that I dread is, the physical strength of 


four millions of men combined with an in- 
vading French army. If you are to quarrel 
at last with this enormous population, still put 
it off as long as you can ; you must gain, and 
cannot lose, by the delay. The state of Eu- 
rope cannot be worse ; the conviction which 
the Catholics entertain of your tyranny and 
injustice cannot be more alarming, nor the 
opinions of your own people more divided. 
Time, which produces such effect upon brass 
and marble, may inspire one Minister with 
modesty, and another with compassion ; 
every circumstance may be better ; some cer- 
tainly will be so, none can be worse ; and, 
after all, the evil may never happen. 

You have got hold, I perceive, of all the 
vulgar English stories respecting the heredi- 
tary transmission of forfeited property, and 
seriously believe that every Catholic beggar 
wears the terriers of his father's land next his 
skin, and is only waiting for better times to 
cut the throat of the Protestant possessor, and 
get drunk in the hall of his ancestors. There 
is one irresistible answer to this mistake, and 


that is, that the forfeited lands are purchased 
indiscriminately by Catholic and Protestant, 
and that the Catholic purchaser never objects 
to such a title. Now the land (so purchased 
by a Catholic) is either his own family estate, 
or it is not. If it is, you suppose him so de- 
sirous of coming into possession, that he re- 
sorts to the double method of rebellion and 
purchase ; if it is not his own family estate of 
which he becomes the purchaser, you suppose 
him first to purchase, then to rebel, in order 
to defeat the purchase. These things may 
happen in Ireland ; but it is totally impossible 
they can happen any where else. In fact, 
what land can any man of any sect purchase 
in Ireland, but forfeited property? In all 
other oppressed countries which I have ever 
heard of, the rapacity of the conqueror was 
bounded by the territorial limits in which the 
objects of his avarice were contained ; but 
Ireland has been actually confiscated twice 
over, as a cat is twice killed by a wicked 

I admit there is a vast luxury in selecting 


a particular set of Christians, and in worrying 
them as a boy worries a puppy dog ; it is an 
amusement in which all the young English 
are brought up from their earliest days. I 
like the idea of saying to men who use a 
different hassock from me, that till they 
change their hassock, they shall never be 
Colonels, Aldermen, or Parliament-men. 
While I am gratifying my personal insolence 
respecting religious forms, I fondle myself 
into an idea that I am religious, and that I 
am doing my duty in the most exemplary (as 
I certainly am in the most easy) way. But 
then, my good Abraham, this sport, admirable 
as it is, is become, with respect to the Ca- 
tholics, a little dangerous ; and if we are not 
extremely careful in taking the amusement, 
we shall tumble into the holy water, and be 
drowned. As it seems necessary to your idea 
of an established church to have somebody 
to worry and torment, suppose we were to 
select for this purpose William Wilberforce, 
Esq., and the patent Christians of Clapham. 
We shall by this expedient enjoy the same 


opportunity for cruelty and injustice, without 
being exposed to the same risks : we will 
compel them to abjure vital clergymen by a 
public test, to deny that the said William 
Wilberforce has any power of working 
miracles, touching for barrenness or any 
other infirmity, or that he is endowed with 
any preternatural gift whatever. We will 
swear them to the doctrine of good works, 
compel them to preach common sense, and 
to hear it ; to frequent Bishops, Deans, and 
other high Churchmen ; and to appear (once 
in the quarter at the least) at some melo- 
drame, opera, pantomime, or other light 
scenical representation ; in short, we will 
gratify the love of insolence and power ; we 
will enjoy the old orthodox sport of witness- 
ing the impotent anger of men compelled to 
submit to civil degradation, or to sacrifice 
their notions of truth to ours. And all this 
we may do without the slightest risk, because 
their numbers are (as yet) not very consider- 
able. Cruelty and injustice must, of course, 
exist; but why connect them with danger? 



Why torture a bull- dog, when you can get a 
frog or a rabbit ? I am sure my proposal will 
meet with the most universal approbation. 
Do not be apprehensive of any opposition 
from ministers. If it is a case of hatred, we 
are sure that one man will defend it by the 
Gospel ; if it abridges human freedom, we 
know that another will find precedents for it 
in the Revolution. 

In the name of heaven, what are we to 
gain by suffering Ireland to be rode by that 
faction which now predominates over it? 
Why are we to endanger our own Church 
and State, not for 500,000 Episcopalians, but 
for ten or twelve great Orange families, who 
have been sucking the blood of that country 
for these hundred years last past? and the 
folly of the Orangemen * in playing this game 
themselves, is almost as absurd as ours in 
playing it for them. They ought to have the 
sense to see that their business now is to keep 

* This remark begins to be sensibly felt in Ireland. 
The Protestants in Ireland are fast coming over to the 
Catholic cause. 


quietly the lands and beeves of which the 
fathers of the Catholics were robbed in days 
of yore ; they must give to their descendants 
the sop of political power : by contending 
with them for names, they will lose realities, 
and be compelled to beg their potatoes in a 
foreign land, abhorred equally by the English, 
who have witnessed their oppression, and by 
the Catholic Irish, who have smarted under 




THEN comes Mr. Isaac Hawkins Brown (the 
gentleman who danced* so badly at the Court 
of Naples), and asks, if it is not an anomaly 
to educate men in another religion than your 
own ? It certainly is our duty to get rid of 
error, and above all of religious error ; but 
this is not to be done per saltum, or the 
measure will miscarry, like the Queen. It 
may be very easy to dance away the royal 
embryo of a great kingdom ; but Mr. 
Hawkins Brown must look before he leaps, 

* In the third year of his present Majesty, and in the 
30th of his own age, Mr. Isaac Hawkins Brown, then upon 
his travels, danced one evening at the Court of Naples. 
His dress was a volcano silk with lava buttons. Whether 
(as the Neapolitan wits said) he had studied dancing un- 
der St. Vitus, or whether David, dancing in a linen vest, 
was his model, is not known ; but Mr. Brown danced with 
such inconceivable alacrity and vigour, that he threw the 
Queen of Naples into convulsions of laughter, which ter- 
minated in a miscarriage, and changed the dynasty of the 
Neapolitan throne. 


when his object is to crush an opposite sect 
in religion ; false steps aid the one effect, as 
much as they are fatal to the other : it will 
require not only the lapse of Mr. Hawkins 
Brown, but the lapse of centuries, before the 
absurdities of the Catholic religion are 
laughed at as much as they deserve to be ; 
but surely, in the mean time, the Catholic 
religion is better than none ; four millions of 
Catholics are better than four millions of wild 
beasts ; two hundred priests educated by our 
own government are better than the same 
number educated by the man who means to 
destroy us. 

The whole sum now appropriated by Go- 
vernment to the religious education of four 
millions of Christians is 13,000/. ; a sum about 
one hundred times as large being appropriated 
in the same country to about one eighth part 
of this number of Protestants. When it was 
proposed to raise this grant from SOOO/. to 
1 3,000/., its present amount, this sum was ob- 
jected to by that most indulgent of Christians, 
Mr. Spencer Perceval, as enormous ; he him- 
D 3 


self having secured for his own eating and 
drinking, and the eating and drinking of the 
Master and Miss Percevals, the reversionary 
sum of 21,000/. a year of the public money, 
and having just failed in a desperate and 
rapacious attempt to secure to himself for life 
the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster : and 
the best of it is, that this Minister, after 
abusing his predecessors for their impious 
bounty to the Catholics, has found himself 
compelled, from the apprehension of imme- 
diate danger, to grant the sum in question ; 
thus dissolving his pearl* in vinegar, and 
destroying all the value of the gift by the 
virulence and reluctance with which it was 

I hear from some persons in Parliament, 
and from others in the sixpenny societies for 
debate, a great deal about unalterable laws 
passed at the Revolution. When I hear any 
any man talk of an unalterable law, the only 

* Perfectly ready at the same time to follow the other 
half of Cleopatra's example, and to swallow the solution 


effect it produces upon me is to convince me 
that he is an unalterable fool. A law passed 
when there was Germany, Spain, Russia, 
Sweden, Holland, Portugal, and Turkey ; 
when there was a disputed succession ; when 
four or five hundred acres were won and lost 
after ten years' hard fighting; when armies 
were commanded by the sons of kings, and 
campaigns passed in an interchange of civil 
letters and ripe fruit ; and for these laws, when 
the whole state of the world is completely 
changed, we are now, according to my Lord 
Hawkesbury, to hold ourselves ready to perish. 
It is no mean misfortune, in times like these, 
to be forced to say any thing about such men 
as Lord Hawkesbury, and to be reminded that 
we are governed by them ; but as I am driven 
to it, I must take the liberty of observing, that 
the wisdom and liberality of my Lord Hawkes- 
bury are of that complexion which always 
shrinks from the present exercise of these 
virtues, by praising the splendid examples of 
them in ages past. If he had lived at such 
periods, he would have opposed the Revolution 
D 4 


by praising the Reformation, and the Reform- 
ation by speaking handsomely of the Crusades. 
He gratifies his natural antipathy to great 
and courageous measures, by playing off the 
wisdom and courage which have ceased to in- 
fluence human affairs against that wisdom and 
courage which living men would employ for 
present happiness. Besides, it happens unfor- 
tunately for the Wardens of the Cinque Ports, 
that to the principal incapacities under which 
the Irish suffer, they were subjected after 
that great and glorious Revolution, to which 
we are indebted for so many blessings, and his 
Lordship for the termination of so many 
periods. The Catholics were not excluded 
from the Irish House of Commons, or military 
commands, before the 3d and 4th of William 
and Mary, and the 1st and 2nd of Queen 

If the great mass of the people, environed 
as they are on every side with Jenkinsons, 
Percevals, Melvilles, and other perils, were to 
pray for divine illumination and aid, what 
more could Providence in its mercy do than 


send them the example of Scotland ? , For 
what a length of years was it attempted to 
compel the Scotch to change their religion : 
horse, foot, artillery, and armed Prebendaries 
were sent out after the Presbyterian parsons 
and their congregations. The Percevals of 
those days called for blood : this call is never 
made in vain, and blood was shed ; but, to the 
astonishment and horror of the Percevals of 
those days, they could not introduce the book 
of common prayer, nor prevent that metaphy- 
sical people from going to heaven their true 
way, instead of our true way. With a little 
oatmeal for food, and a little sulphur for 
friction, allaying cutaneous irritation with the 
one hand, and holding his Calvinistical creed 
in the other, Sawney ran away to his flinty 
hills, sung his psalm out of tune his own way, 
and listened to his sermon of two hours long, 
amid the rough and imposing melancholy of 
the tallest thistles. But Sawney brought up 
his unbreeched offspring in a cordial hatred of 
his oppressors ; and Scotland was as much a 
part of the weakness of England then, as 
D 5 


Ireland is at this moment. The true and the 
only remedy was applied; the Scotch were 
suffered to worship God after their own 
tiresome manner, without pain, penalty, and 
privation. No lightnings descended from 
heaven ; the country was not ruined ; the 
world is not yet come to an end ; the digni- 
taries, who foretold all these consequences, 
are utterly forgotten ; and Scotland has ever 
since been an increasing source of strength to 
Great Britain. In the six hundredth year of 
our empire over Ireland, we are making laws 
to transport a man, if he is found out of his 
house after eight o'clock at night. That this 
is necessary, I know too well ; but tell me why 
is it necessary ? It is not necessary in Greece, 
where the Turks are masters. 

Are you aware, that there is at this mo- 
ment an universal clamour throughout the 
whole of Ireland against the Union ? It is 
now one month since I returned from that 
country : I have never seen so extraordinary, 
so alarming, and so rapid a change in the 
sentiments of any people. Those who dis- 


liked the Union before are quite furious 
against it now ; those who doubted doubt no 
more ; those who were friendly to it have ex- 
changed that friendship for the most rooted 
aversion ; in the midst of all this (which is 
by far the most alarming symptom), there is 
the strongest disposition on the part of the 
Northern Dissenters to unite with the Ca- 
tholics, irritated by the faithless injustice with 
which they have been treated. If this com- 
bination does take place (mark what I say to 
you), you will have meetings all over Ireland 
for the cry of No Union ; that cry will 
spread like wild-fire, and blaze over every 
opposition ; and if this is the case, there is no 
use in mincing the matter, Ireland is gone, 
and the death-blow of England is struck ; and 
this event may happen instantly before 
Mr. Canning and Mr. Hookham Frere have 
turned Lord Howick's last speech into 
doggerel rhyme ; before " the near and dear 
relations" have received another quarter of 
their pension, or Mr. Perceval conducted the 
Curates' Salary Bill safely to a third reading. 
D 6 


If the mind of the English people, cursed 
as they now are with that madness of religious 
dissension which has been breathed into 
them for the purposes of private ambition, 
can be alarmed by any remembrances, and 
warned by any events, they should never 
forget how nearly Ireland was lost to this 
country during the American war ; that it 
was saved merely by the jealousy of the Pro- 
testant Irish towards the Catholics, then a 
much more insignificant and powerless body 
than they now are. The Catholic and the Dis- 
senter have since combined together against 
you. Last war, the winds, those ancient and 
unsubsidized allies of England; the winds, 
upon which English ministers depend as 
much for saving kingdoms as washerwomen 
do for drying clothes ; the winds stood you 
friends; the French could only get into 
Ireland in small numbers, and the rebels were 
defeated. Since then, all the remaining king- 
doms of Europe have been destroyed ; and 
the Irish see that their national independence 
is gone, without having received any 'single 


one of those advantages which they were 
taught to expect from the sacrifice. All 
good things were to flow from the Union ; 
they have none of them gained any thing. 
Every man's pride is wounded by it ; no 
man's interest is promoted. In the seventh 
year of that Union, four million Catholics, 
lured by all kinds of promises to yield up the 
separate dignity and sovereignty of their 
country, are forced to squabble with such a 
man as Mr. Spencer Perceval for five thousand 
pounds with which to educate their children 
in their own mode of worship ; he, the same 
Mr. Spencer, having secured to his own 
Protestant self a reversionary portion of the 
public money amounting to four times that 
sum. A senior Proctor of the University of 
Oxford, the head of a house, or the ex- 
amining Chaplain to a Bishop, may believe 
these things can last ; but every man of the 
world, whose understanding has been exer- 
cised in the business of life, must see (and 
see with a breaking heart) that they will soon 
come to a fearful termination. 


Our conduct to Ireland, during the whole 
of this war, has been that of a man who sub- 
scribes to hospitals, weeps at charity sermons, 
carries out broth and blankets to beggars, and 
then comes home and beats his wife and 
children. We had compassion for the victims 
of all other oppression and injustice, except 
our own. If Switzerland was threatened, 
away went a Treasury Clerk with a hundred 
thousand pounds for Switzerland ; large bags 
of money were kept constantly under sailing 
orders ; upon the slightest demonstration 
towards Naples, down went Sir William 
Hamilton upon his knees, and begged for the 
love of St. Januarius they would help us off 
with a little money ; all the arts of Machiavel 
were resorted to, to persuade Europe to 
borrow ; troops were sent off in all directions 
to save the Catholic and Protestant world ; 
the Pope himself was guarded by a regiment 
of English dragoons ; if the Grand Lama had 
been at hand, he would have had another ; 
every Catholic Clergyman, who had the good 
fortune to be neither English nor Irish, was 


immediately provided with lodging, soup, 
crucifix, missal, chapel-beads, relics, and holy 
water j if Turks had landed, Turks would 
have received an order from the Treasury for 
coffee, opium, korans, and seraglios. In the 
midst of all this fury of saving and defending, 
this crusade for conscience and Christianity, 
there was an universal agreement among all 
descriptions of people to continue every 
species of internal persecution ; to deny at 
home every just right that had been denied 
before ; to pummel poor Dr. Abraham Rees 
and his Dissenters ; and to treat the unhappy 
Catholics of Ireland as if their tongues were 
mute, their heels cloven, their nature brutal, 
and designedly subjected by Providence to 
their Orange masters. 

How would my admirable brother, the 
Rev. Abraham Plymley, like to be marched 
to a Catholic chapel, to be sprinkled with the 
sanctified contents of a pump, to hear a 
number of false quantities in the Latin 
tongue, and to see a number of persons oc- 
cupied in making right angles upon the breast 


and forehead? And if all this would give 
you so much pain, what right have you to 
march Catholic soldiers to a place of worship, 
where there is no aspersion, no rectangular 
gestures, and where they understand every 
word they hear, having first, in order to get 
him to enlist, made a solemn promise to the 
contrary? Can you wonder, after this, that 
the Catholic priest stops the recruiting in 
Ireland, as he is now doing to a most alarm- 
ing degree ? 

The late question concerning military rank 
did not individually affect the lowest persons 
of the Catholic persuasion ; but do you 
imagine they do not sympathise with the 
honour and disgrace of their superiors ? Do 
you think that satisfaction and disaffection do 
not travel down from Lord Fingal to the 
most potatoeless Catholic in Ireland, and that 
the glory or shame of the sect is not felt by 
many more than these conditions personally 
and corporeally affect ? Do you suppose that 
the detection of Sir Henry Mildmay, and the 
disappointment of Mr. Perceval in the matter 


of the Duchy of Lancaster, did not affect 
every dabbler in public property? Depend 
upon it these things were felt through all the 
gradations of small plunderers, down to him 
who filches a pound df tobacco from the 
King's warehouses ; while, on the contrary, 
the acquittal of any noble and official thief 
would not fail to diffuse the most heartfelt 
satisfaction over the larcenous and burgla- 
rious world. Observe, I do not say because 
the lower Catholics are affected by what con- 
cerns their superiors, that they are not affect- 
ed by what concerns themselves. There is 
no disguising the horrid truth ; there must be 
some relaxation with respect to tithe : this is 
the cruel and heart-rending price which must 
be paid for national preservation. I feel how 
little existence will be worth having, if any 
alteration, however slight, is made in the 
property of Irish Rectors ; I am conscious 
how much such changes must affect the daily 
and hourly comforts of every Englishman j I 
shall feel too happy if they leave Europe un- 
touched, and are not ultimately fatal to the 


destinies of America; but I am madly bent 
upon keeping foreign enemies out of the 
British Empire, and my limited understanding 
presents me with no other means of effecting 
my object. 

You talk of waiting till another reign, be- 
fore any alteration is made ; a proposal full of 
good sense and good-nature, if the measure 
in question were to pull down St. James's 
Palace, or to alter Kew Gardens. Will Bona- 
parte agree to put off his intrigues, and his 
invasion of Ireland ? If so, I will overlook 
the question of justice, and, finding the danger 
suspended, agree to the delay. I sincerely 
hope this reign may last many years, yet the 
delay of a single session of Parliament may 
be fatal ; but If another year elapses without 
some serious concession made to the Ca- 
tholics, I believe, before God, that all future 
pledges and concessions will be made in vain. 
I do not think that peace will do you any 
good under such circumstances : if Bonaparte 
gives you a respite, it will only be to get 
ready the gallows on which he means to hang 


you. The Catholic and the Dissenter can 
unite in peace as well as war. If they do, 
the gallows is ready ; and your executioner, 
in spite of the most solemn promises, will turn 
you off the next hour. 

With every disposition to please (where to 
please within fair and rational limits is an high 
duty), it is impossible for public men to be 
long silent about the Catholics : pressing evils 
are not got rid of, because they are not talked 
of. A man may command his family to say 
nothing more about the stone, and surgical 
operations ; but the ponderous malice still 
lies upon the nerve, and gets so big, that the 
patient breaks his own law of silence, 
clamours for the knife, and expires under its 
late operation. Believe me, you talk folly, 
when you speak of suppressing the Catholic 
question. I wish to God the case admitted 
of such a remedy : bad as it is, it does not 
admit of it. If the wants of the Catholics are 
not heard in the manly tones of Lord Gren- 
ville, or the servile drawl of Lord Castlereagh, 


they will be heard ere long in the madness of 
mobs, and the conflicts of armed men. 

I observe, it is now universally the fashion 
to speak of the first personage in the state as 
the great obstacle to the measure. In the 
first place, I am not bound to believe such 
rumours because I hear them ; and in the 
next place, I object to such language, as un- 
constitutional. Whoever retains his situation 
in the ministry, while the incapacities of the 
Catholics remain, is the advocate for those 
incapacities; and to him, and to him only, 
am I to look for responsibility. But waive 
this question of the Catholics, and put a ge- 
neral case : How is a minister of this country 
to act when the conscientious scruples of his 
Sovereign prevent the execution of a measure 
deemed by him absolutely necessary to the 
safety of the country ? His conduct is quite 
clear he should resign. But what is his 
successor to do ? Resign. But is the King 
to be left without ministers, and is he in this 
manner to be compelled to act against his 
own conscience ? Before I answer this, pray 


tell me in my turn, what better defence is 
there against the machinations of a wicked, 
or the errors of a weak monarch, than the 
impossibility of finding a minister who will 
lend himself to vice and folly ? Every En- 
glish Monarch, in such a predicament, would 
sacrifice his opinions and views to such a clear 
expression of the public will ; and it is one 
method in which the Constitution aims at 
bringing about such a sacrifice. You may 
say, if you please, the ruler of a state is forced 
to give up his object, when the natural love 
of place and power will tempt no one to assist 
him in its attainment. This may be force ; 
but it is force without injury, and therefore 
without blame. I am not to be beat out of 
these obvious reasonings, and ancient consti- 
tutional provisions, by the term conscience. 
There is no fantasy, however wild, that a 
man may not persuade himself that he che- 
rishes from motives of conscience; eternal 
war against impious France, or rebellious 
America, or Catholic Spain, may in times to 
come be scruples of conscience. One En- 


glish Monarch may, from scruples of conscience, 
wish to abolish every trait of religious perse- 
cution ; another Monarch may deem it his 
absolute and indispensable duty to make a 
slight provision for Dissenters out of the 
revenues of the Church of England. So that 
you see, Brother Abraham, there are cases 
where it would be the duty of the best and 
most loyal subjects to oppose the concientious 
scruples of their Sovereign, still taking care 
that their actions were constitutional, and 
their modes respectful. Then you come upon 
me with personal questions, and say, that no 
such dangers are to be apprehended now 
under our present gracious Sovereign, of 
whose good qualities we must be all so well 
convinced. All these sort of discussions I beg 
leave to decline ; what I have said upon con- 
stitutional topics, I mean of course for ge- 
neral, not for particular, application. I agree 
with you in all the good you have said of the 
powers that be, and I avail myself of the 
opportunity of pointing out general dangers 
to the Constitution, at a moment when we 


are so completely exempted from their present 
influence. I cannot finish this letter, without 
expressing my surprise and pleasure at your 
abuse of the servile addresses poured in upon 
the Throne ; nor can I conceive a greater 
disgust to a Monarch, with a true English 
heart, than to see such a question as that of 
Catholic Emancipation argued, not with a 
reference to its justice or its importance, but 
universally considered to be of no farther 
consequence than as it affects his own private 
feelings. That these sentiments should be 
mine, is not wonderful ; but how they came 
to be yours, does, I confess, fill me with sur- 
prise. Are you moved by the arrival of the 
Irish Brigade at Antwerp, and the amorous 
violence which awaits Mrs. Plymley ? 




I NEVER met a parson in my life, who did not 
consider the Corporation and Test Acts as 
the great bulwarks of the Church ; and yet it 
is now just sixty-four years since bills of 
indemnity to destroy their penal effects, or, in 
other words, to repeal them, have been passed 
annually as a matter of course. Heu vatum 
ignarce mentes. These bulwarks, without which 
no clergyman thinks he could sleep with his 
accustomed soundness, have actually not been 
in existence since any man now living has 
taken holy orders. Every year the Indemnity 
Act pardons past breaches of these two laws, 
and prevents any fresh actions of informers 
from coming to a conclusion before the period 
for the next indemnity bill arrives ; so that 
these penalties, by which alone the Church 
remains in existence, have not had one 


moment's operation for sixty-four years. You 
will say the legislature, during the whole of this 
period, has reserved to itself the discretion of 
suspending, or not suspending. But had not 
the legislature the right of re-enacting, if it 
was necessary? And now when you have 
kept the rod over these people (with the most 
scandalous abuse of all principle) for sixty-four 
years, and not found it necessary to strike once, 
is not that the best of all reasons why the rod 
should be laid aside ? You talk to me of a 
very valuable hedge running across your fields 
which you would not part with on any account. 
I go down, expecting to find a limit imper- 
vious to cattle, and highly useful for the pre- 
servation of property; but, to my utter 
astonishment, I find that the hedge was cut 
down half a century ago,, and that every year 
the shoots are clipped the moment they appear 
above ground : it appears, upon farther inquiry, 
that the hedge never ought to have existed at 
all ; that it originated in the malice of 
antiquated quarrels, and was cut down because 
it subjected you to vast inconvenience, and 



broke up your intercourse with a country 
absolutely necessary to your existence. If the 
remains of this hedge serve only to keep up an 
irritation in your neighbours, and to remind 
them of the feuds of former times, good nature 
and good sense teach you that you ought to 
grub it up, and cast it into the oven. This is 
the exact state of these two laws ; and yet it 
is made a great argument against concession to 
the Catholics, that it involves their repeal ; 
which is to say, Do not make me relinquish a 
folly that will lead to my ruin ; because, if 
you do, I must give up other follies ten times 
greater than this. 

I confess, with all our bulwarks and hedges, 
it mortifies me to the very quick, to contrast 
with our matchless stupidity, and inimitable 
folly, the conduct of Bonaparte upon the 
subject of religious persecution. At the mo- 
ment when we are tearing the crucifixes from 
the necks of the Catholics, and washing pious 
mud from the foreheads of the Hindoos ; at 
that moment this man is assembling the very 
Jews at Paris, and endeavouring to give them 


stability and importance. I shall never be 
reconciled to mending shoes in America ; but 
I see it must be my lot, and I will then take a 
dreadful revenge upon Mr. Perceval, if I catch 
him preaching within ten miles of me. I 
cannot for the soul of me conceive whence 
this man has gained his notions of Christianity : 
he has the most evangelical charity for errors 
in arithmetic, and the most inveterate malice 
against errors in conscience. While he rages 
against those whom in the true spirit of the 
Gospel he ought to indulge, he forgets the 
only instance of severity which that Gospel 
contains, and leaves the jobbers, and con- 
tractors, and money-changers at their seats, 
without a single stripe. 

You cannot imagine, you say, that England 
will ever be ruined and conquered ; and for 
no other reason that I can find, but because it 
seems so very odd it should be ruined and 
conquered. Alas ! so reasoned, in their time, 
the Austrian, Russian, and Prussian Plymleys, 
But the English are brave : so were all 
these nations. You might get together an 


hundred thousand men individually brave; 
but without generals capable of commanding 
such a machine, it would be as useless as a 
first-rate man of war manned by Oxford clergy- 
men, or Parisian shopkeepers. I do not say 
this to the disparagement of English officers : 
they have had no means of acquiring ex- 
perience ; but I do say it to create alarm ; for 
we do not appear to me to be half alarmed 
enough, or to entertain that sense of our 
danger which leads to the most obvious means 
of self-defence. As for the spirit of the pea- 
santry, in making a gallant defence behind 
hedge-rows, and through plate racks and hen- 
coops, highly as I think of their bravery, I do 
not know any nation in Europe so likely to be 
struck with panic as the English ; and this 
from their total unacquaintance with sciences 
of war. Old wheat and beans blazing for 
twenty miles round ; cart mares shot ; sows 
of Lord Somerville's breed running wild over 
the country ; the minister of the parish wound- 
ed sorely in his hinder parts ; Mrs. Plymley 
in fits ; all these scenes of war an Austrian or 


a Russian has seen three or four times over ; 
but it is now three centuries since an English 
pig has fallen in a fair battle upon English 
ground, or a farm-house been rifled, or a 
clergyman's wife been subjected to any other 
proposals of love than the connubial endear- 
ments of her sleek and orthodox mate. The 
old edition of Plutarch's Lives, which lies in 
the corner of your parlour window, has con- 
tributed to work you up to the most romantic 
expectations of our Roman behaviour. You 
are persuaded that Lord Amherst .will defend 
Kew-Bridge like Codes ; that some maid of 
honour will break away from her captivity, 
and swim over the Thames ; that the Duke 
of York will burn his capitulating hand ; and 
little Mr. Sturges Bourne give forty years' 
purchase for Moulsham-Hall, while the French 
are encamped upon it. I hope we shall 
witness all this, if the French do come ; but 
in the meantime I am so enchanted with the 
ordinary English behaviour of these invaluable 
persons, that I earnestly pray no opportunity 
may be given them for Roman valour, and for 
E 3 


those very un- Roman pensions which they 
would all, of course, take especial care to 
claim in consequence. But whatever was our 
conduct, if every ploughman was as great a 
hero as he who was called from his oxen to 
save Rome from her enemies, I should still 
say, that at such a crisis you want the af- 
fections of all your subjects in both islands : 
there is no spirit which you must alienate, no 
heart you must avert ; every man must feel he 
has a country, and that there is an urgent 
and pressing cause why he should expose 
himself to death. 

The effects of penal laws, in matters of 
religion, are never confined to those limits in 
which the .legislature intended they should 
be placed : it is not only that I am excluded 
from certain offices and dignities because I 
am a Catholic, but the exclusion carries with 
it a certain stigma, which degrades me in the 
eyes of the monopolising sect, and the very 
name of my religion becomes odious. These 
effects are so very striking in England, that I 
solemnly believe blue and red baboons to be 


more popular here than Catholics and Pres- 
byterians ; they are more understood, and 
there is a greater disposition to do something 
for them. When a country squire hears of 
an ape, his first feeling is to give it nuts and 
apples ; when he hears of a Dissenter, his 
immediate impulse is to commit it to the 
county jail, to shave its head, to alter its cus- 
tomary food, and to have it privately whipped. 
This is no caricature, but an accurate picture 
of national feelings, as they degrade and en- 
danger us at this very moment. The Irish 
Catholic gentleman would bear his legal dis- 
abilities with greater temper, if these were all 
he had to bear if they did not enable every 
Protestant cheesemonger and tide-waiter to 
treat him with contempt. He is branded on 
the forehead with a red-hot iron, and treated 

like a spiritual felon, because, in the highest 
of all considerations, he is led by the noblest 
of all guides, his own disinterested conscience. 
Why are nonsense and cruelty a bit the 
better because they are enacted ? If Provi- 
dence, which gives wine and oil, had blest us 
E 4 


with that tolerant spirit which makes the 
countenance more pleasant and the heart more 
glad than these can do ; if our Statute Book 
had never been defiled with such infamous 
laws, the sepulchral Spencer Perceval would 
have been hauled through the dirtiest horse-pond 
in Hampstead, had he ventured to propose 
them. But now persecution is good, because 
it exists y every law which originated in igno- 
rance and malice, and gratifies the passions 
from whence it sprang, we call the wisdom of 
our ancestors : when such laws are repealed, 
they will be cruelty and madness ; till they are 
repealed, they are policy and caution. 

I was somewhat amused with the impu- 
tation brought against the Catholics by the 
University of Oxford, that they are enemies 
to liberty. I immediately turned to my 
History of England, and marked as an histo- 
rical error that passage in which it is recorded 
that, in the reign of Queen Anne, the famous 
decree of the University of Oxford, respecting 
passive obedience, was ordered, by the House 
of Lords, to be burnt by the hands of the 


common hangman, as contrary to the liberty 
of the subject, and the law of the land. 
Nevertheless, I wish, whatever be the modesty 
of those who impute, that the imputation was 
a little more true, the Catholic cause would 
not be quite so desperate with the present 
Administration. I fear, however, that the 
hatred to liberty in these poor devoted 
wretches may ere long appear more doubtful 
than it is at present to the Vice-Chancellor 
and his clergy, inflamed, as they doubtless 
are, with classical examples of republican 
virtue, and panting, as they always have been, 
to reduce the power of the Crown within 
narrower and safer limits. What mistaken 
zeal, to attempt to connect one religion with 
freedom, and another with slavery. Who 
laid the foundations of English liberty? 
What was the mixed religion of Switzerland ? 
What has the Protestant religion done for 
liberty in Denmark, in Sweden, throughout 
the North of Germany, and in Prussia ? The 
purest religion in the world, in my humble 
opinion, is the religion of the Church of 
E 5 


England : for its preservation (so far as it is 
exercised without intruding upon the liberties 
of others), I am ready at this moment to ven- 
ture my present life, and but through that 
religion I have no hopes of any other ; yet I 
am not forced to be silly because I am pious ; 
nor will I ever join in eulogiums on my faith, 
which every man of common reading and 
common sense can so easily refute. 

You have either done too much for the 
Catholics (worthy Abraham), or too little ; if 
you had intended to refuse them political 
power, you should have refused them civil 
rights. After you had enabled them to 
acquire property, after you had conceded to 
them all that you did concede in 78 and 93, 
the rest is wholly out of your power : you 
may choose whether you will give the rest in 
an honourable or a disgraceful mode, but it 
is utterly out of your power to withhold it. 

In the last year, land to the amount of 
eight hundred thousand pounds was purchased 
by the Catholics in Ireland. Do you think 
it possible to be-Perceval, and be-Canning, 


and be-Castlereagh such a body of men as 
this out of their common rights, and their 
common sense ? Mr. George Canning may 
laugh and joke at the idea of Protestant bailiffs 
ravishing Catholic ladies, under the 9th clause 
of the Sun-set Bill ; but if some better remedy 
is not applied to the distractions of Ireland 
than the jocularity of Mr. Canning, they will 
soon put an end to his pension, and to the 
pension of those "near and dear relatives," 
for whose eating, drinking, washing, and 
clothing, every man in the United Kingdoms 
now pays his two-pence or three-pence a year. 
You may call these observations coarse, if you 
please ; but I have no idea that the Sophias 
and Carolines of any man breathing are to eat 
national veal, to drink public tea, to wear 
Treasury ribbons, and then that we are to be 
told that it is coarse to animadvert upon this 
pitiful and eleemosynary splendour. If this 
is right, why not mention it ? If it is wrong, 
why should not he who enjoys the ease of 
supporting his sisters in this manner bear the 
shame of it? Every body seems hitherto to 
E 6 


have spared a man who never spares any 

As for the enormous wax candles, and su- 
perstitious mummeries, and painted jackets of 
the Catholic priests, I fear them not. Tell 
me that the world will return again under the 
influence of the small-pox ; that Lord Castle- 
reagh will hereafter oppose the power of the 
Court ; that Lord Ho wick and Mr. G rattan 
will do each of them a mean and dishonour- 
able action ; that any body who has heard 
Lord Redesdale speak once will knowingly 
and willingly hear him again ; that Lord 
Eldon has assented to the fact of two and two 
making four, without shedding tears, or ex- 
pressing the smallest doubt or scruple ; tell 
me any other thing absurd or incredible, but, 
for the love of common sense, let me hear no 
more of the danger to be apprehended from 
the general diffusion of popery. It is too 
absurd to be reasoned upon ; every man feels 
it is nonsense when he hears it stated, and so 
does every man while he is stating it. 

I cannot imagine why the friends to the 


Church Establishment should entertain such 
an horror of seeing the doors of Parliament 
flung open to the Catholics, and view so 
passively the enjoyment of that right by the 
Presbyterians, and by every other species of 
Dissenter. In their tenets, in their church 
government, in the nature of their endow- 
ments, the Dissenters are infinitely more 
distant from the Church of England than the 
Catholics are ; yet the Dissenters have never 
been excluded from Parliament. There are 
45 members in one house, and 16 in the 
other, who always are Dissenters. There is 
no law which would prevent every member 
of the Lords and Commons from being 
Dissenters. The Catholics could not bring 
into Parliament half the number of the Scotch 
members ; and yet one exclusion is of such 
immense importance, because it has taken 
place ; and the other no human being thinks 
of, because no one is accustomed to it. I 
have often thought, if the wisdom of our an- 
cestors had excluded all persons with red 
hair from the House of Commons, of the 


throes and convulsions it would occasion to 
restore them to their natural rights. What 
mobs and riots would it produce ? To what 
infinite abuse and obloquy would the capillary 
patriot be exposed ; what wormwood would 
distil from Mr. Perceval, what froth would 
drop from Mr. Canning -, how (I will not say 
my, but our Lord Hawkesbury, for he belongs 
to us all) how our Lord Hawkesbury would 
work away about the hair of King William, 
and Lord Somers, and the authors of the 
great and glorious Revolution ; how Lord 
Eldon would appeal to the Deity and his 
own virtues, and to the hair of his children : 
some would say that red-haired men were 
superstitious ; some would prove they were 
atheists ; they would be petitioned against as 
the friends of slavery, and the advocates for 
revolt; in short, such a corrupter of the 
heart and the understanding is the spirit of 
persecution, that these unfortunate people 
(conspired against by their fellow-subjects of 
every complexion), if they did not emigrate 
to countries where hair of another colour was 


persecuted, would be driven to the falsehood 
of perukes, or the hypocrisy of the Tricosian 

As for the dangers of the Church (in spite 
of the staggering events which have lately 
taken place) I have not yet entirely lost my 
confidence in the power of common sense, 
and I believe the Church to be in no danger 
at all ; but if it is, that danger is not from the 
Catholics, but from the Methodists, and from 
that patent Christianity which has been for 
some time manufacturing at Clapham, to the 
prejudice of the old and admirable article 
prepared by the Church. I would counsel 
my Lords the Bishops to keep their eyes 
upon that holy village, and its hallowed 
vicinity : they will find there a zeal in making 
converts, far superior to any thing which 
exists among the Catholics ; a contempt for 
the great mass of English clergy, much more 
rooted and profound ; and a regular fund to 
purchase livings for those groaning and 
garrulous gentlemen, whom they denominate 
(by a standing sarcasm against the regular 


church) Gospel preachers, and vital clergy- 
men. I am too firm a believer in the general 
propriety and respectability of the English 
clergy, to believe they have much to fear 
either from old nonsense, or from new; but 
if the Church must be supposed to be in 
danger, I prefer that nonsense which is grown 
half venerable from time, the force of which 
I have already tried and baffled, which at 
least has some excuse in the dark and 
ignorant ages in which it originated. The 
religious enthusiasm manufactured by living 
men before my own eyes disgusts my under- 
standing as much, influences my imagination 
not at all, and excites my apprehensions 
much more. 

I may have seemed to you to treat the 
situation of public affairs with some degree 
of levity ; but I feel it deeply, and with 
nightly and daily anguish ; because I know 
Ireland ; I have known it all my life j I love 
it, and I foresee the crisis to which it will 
soon be exposed. Who can doubt but that 
Ireland will experience ultimately from 


France a treatment to which the conduct 
they have experienced from England is the 
love of a parent, or a brother ? Who can 
doubt but that five years after he has got 
hold of the country, Ireland will be tossed 
away by Bonaparte as a present to some one 
of his ruffian generals, who will knock the 
head of Mr. Keogh against the head of Cardinal 
Troy, shoot twenty of the most noisy block- 
heads of the Roman persuasion, wash his pug- 
dogs in holy water, and confiscate the salt 
butter of the Milesian Republic to the last 
tub ? But what matters this ? or who is wise 
enough in Ireland to heed it ? or when had 
common sense much influence with the poor 
dear Irish' ? Mr. Perceval does not know 
the Irish 5 but I know them, and I know that, 
at every rash and mad hazard, they will break 
the Union, revenge their wounded pride and 
their insulted religion, and fling themselves 
into the open arms of France, sure of dying 
in the embrace. And now what means have 
you of guarding against this coming evil, upon 
which the future happiness or misery of every 


Englishman depends ? Have you a single ally 
in the whole world? Is there a vulnerable 
point in the French Empire where the as- 
tonishing resources of that people can be 
attracted and employed ? Have you a ministry 
wise enough to comprehend the danger, manly 
enough to believe unpleasant intelligence, 
honest enough to state their apprehensions at 
the peril of their places ? Is there any where 
the slightest disposition to join any measure 
of love, or conciliation, or hope, with that 
dreadful bill which the distractions of Ireland 
have rendered necessary ? At the very mo- 
ment that the last Monarchy in Europe has 
fallen, are we not governed by a man of 
pleasantry, and a man of theology ? In the 
six hundredth year of our empire over Ireland, 
have we any memorial of ancient kindness to 
refer to ? Any people, any zeal, any country 
on which we can depend? Have we any 
hope, but in the winds of heaven, and the 
tides of the sea ? any prayer to prefer to the 
Irish, but that they should forget and forgive 
their oppressors, who, in the very moment 


that they are calling upon them for their ex- 
ertions, solemnly assure them that the op- 
pression shall still remain ? 

Abraham, farewell! If I have tired you, 
remember how often you have tired me and 
others. I do not think we really differ in 
politics so much as you suppose ; or at least, 
if we do, that difference is in the means, and 
not in the end. We both love the Constitu- 
tion, respect the King, and abhor the French. 
But though you love the Constitution, you 
would perpetuate the abuses which have been 
ingrafted upon it ; though you respect the 
King, you would confirm his scruples against 
the Catholics j though you abhor the French, 
you would open to them the conquest of Ire- 
land. My method of respecting my Sovereign 
is by protecting his honour, his empire, and 
his lasting happiness ; I evince my love of 
the Constitution, by making it the guardian 
of all men's rights and the source of their 
freedom ; and I prove my abhorrence of the 
French, by uniting against them the disciples 
of every Church in the only remaining nation 


in Europe. As for the men of whom I have 
been compelled in this age of mediocrity to 
say so much, they cannot of themselves be 
worth a moment's consideration, to you, to 
me, or to any body. In a year after their 
death, they will be forgotten as completely as 
if they had never been ; and are now of no 
farther importance, than as they are the mere 
vehicles of carrying into effect the common- 
place and mischievous prejudices of the times 
in which they live. 




WHAT amuses me the most is, to hear of the 
indulgences which the Catholics have re- 
ceived, and their exorbitance in not being 
satisfied with those indulgences : now if you 
complain to me that a man is obtrusive, and 
shameless in his requests, and that it is im- 
possible to bring him to reason, I must first 
of all hear the whole of your conduct towards 
him ; for you may have taken from him so 
much in the first instance, that, in spite of a 
long series of restitution, a vast latitude for 
petition may still remain behind. 

There is a village (no matter where) in 
which the inhabitants, on one day in the year, 
sit down to a dinner prepared at the com- 
mon expence : by an extraordinary piece of 
tyranny (which Lord Hawkesbury would 
call the wisdom of the village ancestors), 


the inhabitants of three of the streets, about 
an hundred years ago, seized upon the in- 
habitants of the fourth street, bound them 
hand and foot, laid them upon their backs, 
and compelled them to look on while the 
rest were stuffing themselves with beef and 
beer : the next year, the inhabitants of the 
persecuted street (though they contributed 
an equal quota of the expence) were treated 
precisely in the same manner. The tyranny 
grew into a custom ; and (as the manner of 
our nature is) it was considered as the most 
sacred of all duties to keep these poor 
fellows without their annual dinner : the 
village was so tenacious of this practice, that 
nothing could induce them to resign it; 
every enemy to it was looked upon as a dis- 
believer in divine providence, and any nefa- 
rious churchwarden who wished to succeed 
in his election had nothing to do but to re- 
present his antagonist as an abolitionist, in 
order to frustrate his ambition, endanger his 
life, and throw the village into a state of the 
most dreadful commotion. By degrees, how- 


ever, the obnoxious street grew to be so well 
peopled, and its inhabitants so firmly united, 
that their oppressors, more afraid of injustice, 
were more disposed to be just At the next 
dinner they are unbound, the year after al- 
lowed to sit upright, then a bid of bread 
and a glass of water ; till at last, after a long 
series of concessions, they are emboldened to 
ask, in pretty plain terms, that they may .be 
allowed to sit down at the bottom of the 
table, and to fill their bellies as well as the 
rest. Forthwith, a general cry of shame and 
scandal : " Ten years ago, were you not 
laid upon your backs ? Don't you remember 
what a great thing you thought it to get a 
piece of bread ? How thankful you were 
for cheese-parings ? Have you forgotten 
that memorable aera, when the lord of the 
manor interfered to obtain for you a slice of 
the public pudding? And now, with an au- 
dacity only equalled by your ingratitude, you 
have the impudence to ask for knives and 
forks, and to request, in terms too plain to 
be mistaken, that you may sit down to table 


with the rest, and be indulged even with beef 
and beer : there are not more than half a 
dozen dishes which we have reserved for our* 
selves ; the rest has been thrown open to 
you in the utmost profusion ; you have po- 
tatoes, and carrots, suet dumplings, sops in 
the pan, and delicious toast and water, in 
incredible quantities. Beef, mutton, lamb, 
pork, and veal are ours ; and if you were 
not the most restless and dissatisfied of hu- 
man beings, you would never think of aspiring 
to enjoy them." 

Is not this, my dainty Abraham, the very 
nonsense and the very insult which is talked 
to and practised upon the Catholics ? You 
are surprised that men who have tasted 
of partial justice should ask for perfect jus- 
tice ; that he who has been robbed of coat 
and cloak will not be contented with the 
restitution of one of his garments. He 
would be a very lazy blockhead if he were 
content, and I (who, though an inhabitant 
of the village, have preserved, thank God, 
some sense of justice) most earnestly counsel 


these half-fed claimants to persevere in their 
just demands, till they are admitted to a more 
complete share of a dinner for which they 
pay as much as the others ; and if they see 
a little attenuated lawyer squahbling at the 
head of their opponents, let them desire him 
to empty his pockets, and to pull out all 
the pieces of duck, fowl, and pudding, which 
he has filched from the public feast, to carry 
home to his wife and children. 

You parade a great deal upon the vast con- 
cessions made by this country to the Irish 
before the Union. I deny that any voluntary 
concession was ever made by England to Ire- 
land. What did Ireland ever ask that was 
granted ? What did she ever demand that 
was refused ? How did she get her mutiny 
bill a limited parliament a repeal of Poyn- 
ing's Law a constitution ? Not by the 
concessions of England, but by her fears. 
When Ireland asked for all these things upon 
her knees, her petitions were rejected with 
Percevalism and contempt : when she de- 
manded them with the voice of 60,000 armed 


men, they were granted with every mark of 
consternation and dismay. Ask of Lord 
Auckland the fatal consequences of trifling 
with such a people as the Irish. He himself 
was the organ of these refusals. As secretary 
to the Lord Lieutenant, tfce insolence and 
the tyranny of this . country passed through 
his hands. Ask him if he remembers the 
consequences. Ask him if he has forgotten 
that memorable evening, when he came down 
booted and mantled to the House of Com- 
mons, when he told the House he was about 
to set off for Ireland that night, and declared 
before God, if he did not carry with him a 
compliance with all their demands, Ireland 
was for ever lost to this country. The present 
generation have forgotten this ; but I have 
not forgotten it ; and I know, hasty and un- 
dignified as the submission of England then 
was, that Lord Auckland was right, that the 
delay of a single day might very probably have 
separated the two people for ever. The terms 
submission and fear are galling terms, when 
applied from the lesser nation to the greater ; 


but it is the plain historical truth, it is the 
natural consequence of injustice, it is the pre- 
dicament in which every country places itself 
which leaves such a mass of hatred and dis- 
content by its side. No empire is powerful 
enough to endure it; it would exhaust the 
strength of China, and sink it with all its 
mandarins and tea-kettles to the bottom of 
the deep. By refusing them justice, now 
when you are strong enough to refuse them 
any thing more than justice, you will act over 
again, with the Catholics, the same scene of 
mean and precipitate submission which dis- 
graced you before America, and before the 
volunteers of Ireland. We shall live to hear 
the Hampstead Protestant pronouncing such 
extravagant panegyrics upon holy water, and 
paying such fulsome compliments to the 
thumbs and offals of departed saints, that 
parties will change sentiments, and Lord 
Henry Petty and Sam Whitbread take a spell 
at No Popery. The wisdom of Mr. Fox was 
alike employed in teaching his country justice 
when Ireland was weak, and dignity when 
F 2 


Ireland was strong. We are fast pacing round 
the same miserable circle of ruin and imbe- 
cility. Alas ! where is our guide ? 

You say that Ireland is a mill-stone about 
our necks ; that it would be better for us if 
Ireland were sunk at the bottom of the sea ; 
that the Irish are a nation of irreclaimable 
savages and barbarians. How often have I 
heard these sentiments fall from the plump 
and thoughtless squire, and from the thriving 
English shop-keeper, who has never felt the 
rod of an Orange master upon his back. Ire- 
land a mill- stone about your neck ! Why is it 
not a stone of Ajax in your hand ? I agree 
with you most cordially, that, governed as 
Ireland now is, it would be a vast accession of 
strength if the waves of the sea were to rise 
and ingulph her to-morrow. At this moment, 
opposed as we are to all the world, the annihi- 
lation of one of the most fertile islands on the 
face of the globe, containing five millions of 
human creatures, would be one of the most 
solid advantages which could happen to this 
country. I doubt very much, in spite of all 



the just abuse which has been lavished upon 
Bonaparte, whether there is any one of his 
conquered countries the blotting out of which 
would be as beneficial to him as the destruction 
of Ireland would be to us : of countries I 
speak differing in language from the French, 
little habituated to their intercourse, and in- 
flamed with all the resentments of a recently 
conquered people. Why will you attribute 
the turbulence of our people to any cause but 
the right to any cause but your own scan- 
dalous oppression ? If you tie your horse up 
to a gate, and beat him cruelly, is he vicious 
because he kicks you ? If you have plagued 
and worried a mastiff dog for years, is he mad 
because he flies at you whenever he sees you ? 
Hatred is an active, troublesome passion. 
Depend upon it, whole nations have always 
some reason for their hatred. Before you 
refer the turbulence of the Irish to incurable 
defects in their character, tell me if you have 
treated them as friends and equals? Have 
you protected their commerce ? Have you 
respected their religion ? Have you been as 
F 3 



anxious for their freedom as your own ? No- 
thing of all this. What then ? Why you 
have confiscated the territorial surface of the 
country twice over : you have massacred and 
exported her inhabitants : you have deprived 
four-fifths of them of every civil privilege : 
you have at every period made her commerce 
and manufactures slavishly subordinate to 
your own : and yet the hatred which the 
Irish bear to you is the result of an original 
turbulence of character, and of a primitive, 
obdurate wildness, utterly incapable of civil- 
ization. The embroidered inanities and the 
sixth-form effusions of Mr. Canning are really 
not powerful enough to make me believe this ; 
nor is there any authority on earth (always 
excepting the Dean of Christ-Church) which 
could make it credible to me. I am sick of 
Mr. Canning. There is not a happ'orth of 
bread to all his sugar and sack. I love not 
the cretaceous and incredible countenance of 
his colleague. The only opinion in which I 
agree with these two gentlemen, is that which 
they entertain of each other ; I am sure that 


the insolence of Mr. Pitt, and the unbalanced 
accounts of Melville, were far better than the 
perils of this new ignorance : 

Nonne fuit satius tristes Amaryllidis iras 

Atque superba pati fastidia, nonne Menalcam, 

Quamvis ille niger ? 

In the midst of the most profound peace, 
the secret articles of the Treaty of Tilsit, in 
which the destruction of Ireland is resolved 
upon, induce you to rob the Danes of their 
fleet. After the expedition sailed comes the 
Treaty of Tilsit, containing no article*, public 
or private, alluding to Ireland. The state of 
the world, you tell me, justified us in doing 
this. Just God ! do we think only of the 
state of the world when there is an oppor- 
tunity for robbery, for murder, and for plun- 
der ; and do we forget the state of the world 
when we are called upon to be wise, and 
good, and just ? Does the state of the world 
never remind us, that we have four millions of 
subjects whose injuries we ought to atone for, 

* This is now completely confessed to be the case by 

F 4 


and whose affections we ought to conciliate? 
Does the state of the world never warn us to 
lay aside our infernal bigotry, and to arm every 
man who acknowledges a God and can grasp 
a sword ? Did it never occur to this adminis- 
tration, that they might virtuously get hold of 
a force ten times greater than the force of the 
Danish fleet? Was there no other way of 
protecting Ireland, but by bringing eternal 
shame upon Great Britain, and by making 
the earth a den of robbers? See what the 
men whom you have supplanted would have 
done. They would have rendered the inva- 
sion of Ireland impossible, by restoring to the 
Catholics their long-lost rights : they would 
have acted in such a manner that the French 
would neither have wished for invasion, nor 
dared to attempt it : they would have in- 
creased the permanent strength of the country 
while they preserved its reputation unsullied* 
Nothing of this kind your friends have done, 
because they are solemnly pledged to do no- 
thing of this kind ; because to tolerate all 
religions, and to equalise civil rights to all 


sects, is to oppose some of the worst passions 
of our nature, to plunder and to oppress is 
to gratify them all. They wanted the huzzas 
of mobs, and they have for ever blasted the 
fame of England to obtain them. Were the 
fleets of Holland, France, and Spain destroyed 
by larceny? You resisted the power of 150 
sail of the line by sheer courage, and violated 
every principle of morals from the dread of 15 
hulks, while the expedition itself cost you 
three times more than the value of the lar- 
cenous matter brought away. The French 
trample upon the laws of God and man, not 
for old cordage, but for kingdoms, and always 
take care to be well paid for their crimes. We 
contrive, under the present administration, to 
unite moral with intellectual deficiency, and 
to grow weaker and worse by the same action. 
If they had any evidence of the intended hos- 
tility of the Danes, why was it not produced? 
Why have the nations of Europe been allowed 
to feel an indignation against this country be- 
yond the reach of all subsequent information ? 
Are these times, do you imagine, when we 
F 5 


can trifle with a year of universal hatred, dally 
with the curses of Europe, and then regain a 
lost character at pleasure, by the parliamentary 
perspirations of the foreign secretary, or the 
solemn asseverations of the pecuniary Rose ? 
believe me, Abraham, it is not under such 
ministers as these that the dexterity of honest 
Englishmen will ever equal the dexterity 
of French knaves ; it is not in their presence 
that the serpent of Moses will ever swallow up 
the serpents of the magicians. 

Lord Hawkesbury says, that nothing is to 
be granted to the Catholics from fear. What ! 
not even justice ? Why not ? There are four 
millions of disaffected people within twenty 
miles of your own coast. I fairly confess, 
that the dread which I have of their physical 
power, is with me a very strong motive for 
listening to their claims. To talk of not 
acting from fear is mere parliamentary cant. 
From what motive but fear, I should be glad 
to know, have all the improvements in our 
constitution proceeded ? I question if any 
justice has ever been done to large masses of 


mankind from any other motive. By what 
other motives can the plunderers of the Baltic 
suppose nations to be governed in their inter- 
course with each other? If I say, give this 
people what they ask because it is just, do 
you think I should get ten people to listen to 
me ? Would not the lesser of the two Jen- 
kinsons be the first to treat me with con- 
tempt? The only true way to make the 
mass of mankind see the beauty of justice is 
by showing to them in .pretty plain terms 
the consequences of injustice. If any body 
of French troops land in Ireland, the whole 
population of that country will rise against 
you to a man, and you could not possibly 
survive such an event three years. Such, 
from the bottom of my soul, do I believe to 
be the present state of that country ; and so 
far does it appear to me to be impolitic and 
unstatesman-like to concede any thing to 
such a danger, that if the Catholics, in ad- 
dition to their present just demands, were to 
petition for the perpetual removal of the 
said Lord Hawkesbury from his Majesty's 
F 6 


councils, I think, whatever might be the 
effect upon the destinies of Europe, and how- 
ever it might retard our own individual de- 
struction, that the prayer of the petition 
should be instantly complied with. Canning's 
crocodile tears should not move me ; the 
hoops of the maids of honour should not hide 
him. I would tear him from the banisters of 
the back stairs, and plunge him in the fishy 
fumes of the dirtiest of all his Cinque Ports. 




IN the correspondence which is passing be- 
tween us, you are perpetually alluding to the 
Foreign Secretary ; arid in answer to the 
dangers of Ireland, which I am pressing upon 
your notice, you have nothing to urge but the 
confidence which you repose in the dis- 
cretion and sound sense of this gentleman.* 
I can only say, that I have listened to him 
long and often, with the greatest attention ; 
I have used every exertion in my power to 
take a fair measure of him, and it appears to 

* The attack upon virtue and morals in the debate 
upon Copenhagen, is brought forward with great osten- 
tation by this gentleman's friends. But is harlequin less 
harlequin, because he acts well ? I was present : he 
leaped about, touched facts with his wand, turned yes 
into no, and no into yes ; it was a pantomime well played, 
but a pantomime : Harlequin deserves higher wages than 
he did two years ago ; is he therefore fit for serious 
parts ? 


me impossible to hear him upon any arduous 
topic without perceiving that he is eminently 
deficient in those solid and serious qualities 
upon which, and upon which alone, the con- 
fidence of a great country can properly re- 
pose. He sweats, and labours, and works for 
sense, and Mr. Ellis seems always to think it 
is coming, but it does not come ; the machine 
can't draw up what is not to be found in the 
spring ; Providence has made him a light, 
jesting, paragraph-writing man, and that he 
will remain to his dying day. When he 
is jocular he is strong, when he is serious 
he is like Sampson in a wig ; any or- 
dinary person is a match for him ; a song, 
an ironical letter, a burlesque ode, an attack 
in the newspaper upon Nicoll's eye, a smart 
speech of twenty minutes, full of gross mis- 
representations and clever turns, excellent 
language, a spirited manner, lucky quotation, 
success in provoking dull men, some half 
information picked up in Pall Mall in the 
morning: these are your friend's natural 
weapons ; all these things he can do ; here 


I allow him to be truly great : nay, I will be 
just, and go still farther, if he would confine 
himself to these things, and consider the 
facets and the playful to be the basis of his 
character, he would, for that species of man, 
be universally regarded as a person of a very 
good understanding ; call him a legislator, a 
reasoner, and the conductor of the affairs of a 
great nation, and it seems to me as absurd as 
if a butterfly were to teach bees to make 
honey. That he is an extraordinary writer of 
small poetry, and a diner out of the highest 
lustre, I do most readily admit. After George 
Selwyn, and perhaps Tickell, there has been 
no such man for this half century. The 
Foreign Secretary is a gentleman, a respectable 
as well as an highly agreeable man in private 
life ; but you may as well feed me with 
decayed potatoes as console me for the 
miseries of Ireland by the resources of his 
sense and his discretion. It is only the public 
situation which this gentleman holds which 
entitles me or induces me to say so much 
about him. He is a fly in amber, nobody 


cares about the fly : the only question is, 
How the devil did it get there ? Nor do I 
attack him from the love of glory, but from the 
love of utility, as a burgomaster hunts a rat in a 
Dutch dyke, for fear it should flood a province. 
The friends of the Catholic question are, I 
observe, extremely embarrassed in arguing 
when they come to the loyalty of the Irish 
Catholics. As for me, I shall go straight 
forward to my object, and state what I have 
no manner of doubt, from an intimate know- 
ledge of Ireland, to be the plain truth. Of 
the great Roman Catholic proprietors, and of 
the Catholic prelates, there may be a few, and 
but a few, who would follow the fortunes of 
England at all events : there is another set of 
men who, thoroughly detesting this country, 
have too much property and too much 
character to lose, not to wait for some very 
favourable event before they show themselves ; 
but the great mass of Catholic population, 
upon the slightest appearance of a French 
force in that country, would rise upon you to 
a man. It is the most mistaken policy to 


conceal the plain truth. There is no loyalty 
among the Catholics ; they detest you as 
their worst oppressors, and they will continue 
to detest you till you remove the cause of 
their hatred. It is in your power in six 
months' time to produce a total revolution of 
opinions among this people ; and in some 
future letter I will show you that this is 
clearly the case. At present, see what a 
dreadful state Ireland is in. The common 
toast among the low Irish is, the feast of the 
passover. Some allusion to Bonaparte, in a 
play lately acted at Dublin, produced thun- 
ders of applause from the pit and the galleries ; 
and a politician should not be inattentive to 
the public feelings expressed in theatres. 
Mr. Perceval thinks he has disarmed the 
Irish : he has no more disarmed the Irish 
than he has resigned a shilling of his own 
public emoluments. An Irish* peasant fills 

* No man who is not intimately acquainted with the 
Irish, can tell to what a curious extent this concealment 
of arms is carried. I have stated the exact mode in which 
it is done. 


the barrel of his gun full of tow dipped in oil, 
butters up the lock, buries it in a bog, and 
allows the Orange bloodhound to ransack his 
cottage at pleasure. Be just and kind to the 
Irish, and you will indeed disarm them ; 
rescue them from the degraded servitude in 
which they are held by an handful of their 
own countrymen, and you will add four 
millions of brave and affectionate men to your 
strength. Nightly visits, Protestant inspec- 
tors, licences to possess a pistol, or a knife 
and fork, the odious vigour of the evangelical 
Perceval acts of Parliament, drawn up by 
some English attorney, to save you from the 
hatred of four million people the guarding 
yourselves from universal disaffection by a 
police; a confidence in the little cunning of 
Bow-street, when you might rest your security 
upon the eternal basis of the best feelings : 
this is the meanness and madness to which 
nations are reduced when they lose sight of 
the first elements of justice, without which a 
country can be no more secure than it can be 
healthy without air. I sicken at such policy 


and such men. The fact is, the ministers 
know nothing about the present state of 
Ireland ; Mr. Perceval sees a few clergymen, 
Lord Castlereagh a few general officers, who 
take care, of course, to report what is 
pleasant rather than what is true. As for 
the joyous and lepid consul, he jokes upon 
neutral flags and frauds, jokes upon Irish 
rebels, jokes upon northern, and western, and 
southern foes, and gives himself no trouble 
upon any subject: nor is the mediocrity of 
the idolatrous deputy of the slightest use. 
Dissolved in grins, he reads no memorials 
upon the state of Ireland, listens to no reports, 
asks no questions, and is the 

"JBourn from whom no traveller returns." 

The danger of an immediate insurrection 
is now, I believe*, blown over. You have 
so strong an army in Ireland, and the 
Irish are become so much more cunning 
from the last insurrection, that you may 

* I know too much, however, of the state of Ireland, 
not to speak tremblingly about this. I hope to God I am 


perhaps be tolerably secure just at present 
from that evil : but are you secure from 
the efforts which the French may make 
to throw a body of troops into Ireland? 
and do you consider that event to be difficult 
and improbable ? From Brest Harbour to 
Cape St. Vincent, you have above three 
thousand miles of hostile sea coast, and 
twelve or fourteen harbours quite capable 
of containing a sufficient force for the power- 
ful invasion of Ireland. The nearest of these 
harbours is not two days' sail from the 
southern coast of Ireland, with a fair leading 
wind ; and the farthest not ten. Five ships 
of the line, for so very short a passage, 
might carry five or six thousand troops with 
cannon and ammunition ; and Ireland presents 
to their attack a southern coast of more 
than 500 miles, abounding in deep bays, 
admirable harbours, and disaffected inha- 
bitants. Your blockading ships may be 
forced to come home for provisions and 
repairs, or they may be blown off in a gale 
of wind and compelled to bear away for their 


own coast : and you will observe that the 
very same wind which locks you up in the 
British Channel when you are got there ; 
is evidently favourable for the invasion of 
Ireland. And yet this is called Government, 
and the people huzza Friar Perceval for 
continuing, to expose his country day after 
day to such tremendous perils as these j 
cursing the men who would have given up 
a question in theology to have saved us 
from such a risk. The British Empire 
at this moment is in the state of a peach- 
blossom, if the wind blows gently from one 
quarter it survives, if furiously from the other 
it perishes. A stiff breeze may set in from 
the north, the Rochefort squadron will be 
taken, and the friar will be the most holy of 
men ; if it comes from some other point, 
Ireland is gone, we curse ourselves as a set 
of monastic madmen, and caU out for the 
unavailing satisfaction of Mr. Perceval's head. 
Such a state of political existence is scarcely 
credible ; it is the action of a mad young 
fool standing upon one foot, and peeping 


down the crater of Mount ^Etna, not the 
conduct of a wise and a sober people de- 
ciding upon their best and dearest interests : 
and in the name, the much injured name of 
Heaven, what is it all for that we expose 
ourselves to these dangers ? Is it that we may 
sell more muslin ? Is it that we may acquire 
more territory ? Is it that we may strengthen 
what we have already acquired ? No : nothing 
of all this 5 but that one set of Irishmen may 
torture another set of Irishmen, that Sir 
Phelim O'Callagan may continue to whip Sir 
Toby M'Tackle, his next-door neighbour, and 
continue to ravish his Catholic daughters ; 
and these are the measures which the honest 
and consistent Secretary supports ; and this 
is the Secretary whose genius, in the esti- 
timation of brother Abraham, is to extinguish 
the genius of Bonaparte. Pompey was killed 
by a slave, Goliah smitten by a stripling, 
Pyrrhus died by the hand of a woman ; 
tremble, thou great Gaul, from whose head an 
armed Minerva leaps forth in the hour of dan- 
ger 5 tremble, thou scourge of God, a pleasant 


man is come out against thee, and thou 
shalt be laid low by a joker of jokes, and 
he shall talk his pleasant talk against thee, 
and thou shalt be no more I 

You tell me, in spite of all this parade of 
sea coast, Bonaparte has neither ships nor 
sailors : but this is a mistake. He has not 
ships and sailors to contest the empire of 
the seas with Great Britain, but there re- 
mains quite sufficient of the navies of France, 
Spain, Holland, and Denmark, for these short 
excursions and invasions. Do you think 
too that Bonaparte does not add to his navy 
every year ? Do you suppose, with all 
Europe at his feet, that he can find any 
difficulty in obtaining timber ? and that 
money will not procure for him any quantity 
of naval stores he may want? The mere 
machine, the empty ship, he can build as 
well, and as quickly as you can ; and though 
he may not find enough of practised sailors 
to man large fighting fleets, it is not 
possible to conceive that he can want sailors 
for such sort of purposes as I have stated. 


He is at present the despotic monarch of 
above twenty thousand miles of sea coast, and 
yet you suppose he cannot procure sailors for 
the invasion of Ireland. Believe, if you 
please, that such a fleet met at sea by any 
number of our ships at all comparable to them 
in point of force, would be immediately 
taken, let it be so ; I count nothing upon 
their power of resistance, only upon their 
power of escaping unobserved. If expe- 
rience has taught us any thing, it is the 
impossibility of perpetual blockades. The 
instances are innumerable, during the course 
of this war, where whole fleets have sailed in 
and out of harbour in spite of every vigilance 
used to prevent it. I shall only mention 
those cases where Ireland is concerned. In 
December, 1796, seven ships of the line, and 
ten transports, reached Bantry Bay from 
Brest, without having seen an English ship 
in their passage. It blew a storm when 
they were off shore, and therefore England 
still continues to be an independent kingdom. 
You will observe that at the very time the 


French fleet sailed out of Brest harbour, 
Admiral Colpoys was cruizing off there 
with a powerful squadron, and still, from 
the particular circumstances of the weather, 
found it impossible to prevent the French 
from coming out. During the time that 
Admiral Colpoys was cruising off Brest, 
Admiral Richery, with six ships of the line, 
passed him, and got safe into the harbour. 
At the very moment when the French 
squadron was lying in Bantry Bay, Lord 
Bridport with his fleet was locked up by a 
foul wind in the Channel, and for several 
days could not stir to the assistance of 
Ireland. Admiral Colpoys, totally unable 
to find the French fleet, came home. Lord 
Bridport, at the change of the wind, cruised 
for them in vain, and they got safe back 
to Brest, without having seen a single one 
of those floating bulwarks, the possession of 
which we believe will enable us with impu- 
nity to set justice and common sense at 
defiance. Such is the miserable and pre- 
carious state of an anemocracy, of a people 



who put their trust in hurricanes, and are 
governed by wind. In August, 1798, three 
forty-gun frigates landed 1100 me n under 
Humbert, making the passage from Rochelle 
to Killala without seeing any English ship. 
In October of the same year, four French 
frigates anchored in Killala Bay with 2000 
troops ; and though they did not land their 
troops, they returned to France in safety. 
In the same month, a line-of-battle ship, 
eight stout frigates, and a brig, all full of 
troops and stores, J 5 reached the coast of 
Ireland, and were fortunately, in sight of 
land, destroyed, after an obstinate engage- 
ment, by Sir John Warren. 

If you despise the little troop which, in 

these numerous experiments, did make good 

its landing, take with you, if you please, this 

precis of its exploits : eleven hundred men, 

commanded by a soldier raised from the ranks, 

put to rout a select army of 6000 men, 

commanded by General Lake, seized their 

ordnance, ammunition, and stores, advanced 

150 miles into a country containing an armed 


force of 150,000 men, and at last surren- 
dered to the viceroy, an experienced general, 
gravely and cautiously advancing at the head 
of all his chivalry and of an immense army 
to oppose him. You must excuse these details 
about Ireland, but it appears to me to be of 
all other subjects the most important. If we 
conciliate Ireland, we can do nothing amiss ; 
if we do not, we can do nothing well. If 
Ireland was friendly, we might equally set at 
defiance the talents of Bonaparte and the 
blunders of his rival Mr. Canning ; we could 
then support the ruinous and silly bustle of 
our useless expeditions, and the almost in- 
credible ignorance of our commercial orders 
in council. Let the present administration 
give up but this one point, and there is 
nothing which I would not consent to grant 
them. Mr. Perceval shall have full liberty 
to insult the tomb of Mr. Fox, and to tor- 
ment every eminent Dissenter in Great Bri- 
tain ; Lord Cam den shall have large boxes 
of plums ; Mr. Rose receive permission to 
prefix to his name the appellative of virtuous ; 


and to the Viscount Castlereagh a round sum 
of ready money shall be well and truly paid 
into his hand. Lastly, what remains to Mr. 
George Canning, but that he ride up and 
down Pall Mall glorious upon a white horse, 
and that they cry out before him, Thus shall 
it be done to the statesman who hath written 
" The Needy Knife- Grinder, " and the Ger- 
man play ? Adieu only for the present ; you 
shall soon hear from me again ; it is a subject 
upon which I cannot long be silent. 



NOTHING can be more erroneous than to 
suppose that Ireland is not bigger than the 
Isle of Wight, or of more consequence than 
Guernsey or Jersey ; and yet I am almost in- 
clined to believe, from the general supineness 
which prevails here respecting the dangerous 
state of that country, that such is the rank 
which it holds in our statistical tables. I have 
been writing to you a great deal about Ire- 
land, and perhaps it may be of some use to state 
to you concisely the nature and resources of 
the country which has been the subject of 
our long and strange correspondence. There 
were returned, as I have before observed, to 
the hearth tax, in 1791, 701,132* houses, 
which Mr. Newenham shows from unques- 

* The checks to population were very trifling from the 
rebellion. It lasted two months : of His Majesty's Irish 
forces there perished about 1600; of the rebels 11,000 
were killed in the field, and 2000 hanged or exported : 
400 loyal persons were assassinated. 

G 3 


tionable documents to be nearly 80,000 
below the real number of houses in that 
country. There are 27,457 square English 
miles in Ireland*, and more than five millions 
of people. 

By the last survey it appears that the in- 
habited houses in England and Wales amount 
1,574,902, and the population to 9,343,578, 
which gives an average of 5 ^ to each house, 
in a country where the density of population 
is certainly less considerable than in Ireland. 
It is commonly supposed that two-fifths of the 
army and navy are Irishmen, at periods when 
political disaffection does not avert the Ca- 
tholics from the service. The current value of 
Irish exports in 1807 was 9,314,854/. 17$. Jd.; 
a state of commerce about equal to the 
commerce of England in the middle of the 
reign of George the Second. The tonnage 
of ships entered inward and cleared outward 
in the trade of Ireland, in 1807, amounted to 
1 ,567,430 tons. The quantity of home spirits 
exported amounted to 10,284 gallons in 1796, 
and to 930,800 gallons in 1804. Of the ex- 
* In England 49,450. 


ports which I have stated, provisions amounted 
to four millions, and linen to about four millions 
and a half. There was exported from Ireland, 
upon an average of two years ending in 
January, 1804, 591,274 barrels of barley, oats, 
and wheat; and by weight 910,848 cwts. of 
flour, oatmeal, barley, oats, and wheat. The 
amount of butter exported in 1804, from Ire- 
land, was worth, in money, 1,704,680/. sterling. 
The importation of ale and beer, from the im- 
mense manufactures now carrying on of these 
articles,*- was diminished to 3209 barrels, in the 
year 1804, from 11 1,920 barrels, which was the 
average importation per annum, taken from 
three years ending in 1792; and at present there 
is an export trade of porter. On an average 
of three years, ending March, 1783, there were 
imported in to Ireland, of cotton wool3326 cwts., 
of cotton yarn 5405 Ibs.; but on an average 
of three years, ending January, 1803, there 
were imported, of the first article, 13,159 
cwts., and of the latter 628,406 Ibs. It is 
impossible to conceive any manufacture more 
flourishing. The export of linen has in- 
G 4 


creased in Ireland from 17,776,862 yards, the 
average in 1770, to 43,534,971 yards, the 
amount in 1805. The tillage of Ireland has 
more than trebled within the last twenty- one 
years. The importation of coals has increased 
from 230,000 tons in 1783, to 417,030 in 
1804 ; of tobacco, from 3,459,861 Ibs. in 
1783, to 6,611,543 in 1804; of tea, from 
1,703,855 Ibs. in 1783, to 3,358,256, in 
1804 ; of sugar, from 143,117 cwts. in 1782, 
to 309,076 in 1804. Ireland now supports 
a funded debt of above 64 millions, and it is 
computed that more than three millions of 
money are annually remitted to Irish ab- 
sentees resident in this country. In Mr. 
Foster's report, of 100 folio pages, presented 
to the House of Commons in the year 1806, 
the total expenditure of Ireland is stated at 
9,760,013/. Ireland has increased about two 
thirds in its population within twenty-five years, 
and yet, and in about the same space of time, its 
exports of beef, bullocks, cows, pork, swine, 
butter, wheat, barley, and oats, collectively 
taken, have doubled ; and this in spite of 


two years' famine, and the presence of an 
immense army, that is always at hand to 
guard the most valuable appanage of our 
empire from joining our most inveterate 
enemies. Ireland has the greatest possible 
facilities for carrying on commerce with the 
whole of Europe. It contains, within a 
circuit of 7^0 miles, 66 secure harbours, and 
presents a western frontier against Great 
Britain, reaching from the Firth of Clyde 
north to the Bristol Channel south, and 
varying in distance from 20 to 100 miles ; so 
that the subjugation of Ireland would compel 
us to guard with ships and soldiers a new 
line of coast, certainly amounting, with all 
its sinuosities, to more than 700 miles an 
addition of polemics, in our present state of 
hostility with all the world, which must 
highly gratify the vigorists, and give them 
an ample opportunity of displaying that 
foolish energy upon which their claims to 
distinction are founded. Such is the country 
which the Right Reverend the Chancellor of 
the Exchequer would drive into the arms of 
G 5 


France, and for the conciliation of which we 
are requested to wait, as if it were one of 
those sinecure place's which were given to 
Mr. Perceval snarling at the breast, and 
which cannot be abolished till his decease. 

How sincerely and fervently have I often 
wished that the Emperor of the French had 
thought as Mr. Spencer Perceval does upon 
the subject of government ; that he had 
entertained doubts and scruples upon the 
propriety of admitting the Protestants to an 
equality of rights with the Catholics, and that 
he had left in the middle of this empire these 
vigorous seeds of hatred and disaffection : 
but the world was never yet conquered by a 
blockhead. One of the very first measures 
we saw him recurring to was the complete 
establishment of religious liberty ; if his sub- 
jects fought and paid as he pleased, he allowed 
them to believe as they pleased : the moment 
I saw this, my best hopes were lost. I per- 
ceived in a moment the kind of man we had 
to do with. I was well aware of the mise- 
rable ignorance and folly of this country upon 


the subject of toleration ; and every year has 
been adding to the success of that game which 
it was clear he had the will and the ability to 
play against us. 

You say Bonaparte is not in earnest upon 
the subject of religion, and that this is the 
cause of his tolerant spirit : but is it possible 
you can intend to give us such dreadful and 
unamiable notions of religion ? Are we to 
understand that the moment a man is sincere 
he is narrow-minded ; that persecution is the 
child of belief ; and that a desire to leave all 
men in the quiet and unpunished exercise of 
their own creed can only exist in the mind of 
an infidel ? Thank God ! I know many 
men whose principles are as firm as they are 
expanded, who cling tenaciously to their own 
modification of the Christian faith, without 
the slightest disposition to force that modifica- 
tion upon other people. If Bonaparte is 
liberal in subjects of religion because he has 
no religion, is this a reason why we should be 
illiberal because we are Christians? If he 
owes this excellent quality to a vice, is that 
G 6 


any reason why we may not owe it to a 
virtue ? Toleration is a great good, and a 
good to be imitated, let it come from whom 
it will. If a sceptic is tolerant, it only shows 
that he is not foolish in practice as well as 
erroneous in theory. If a religious man is 
tolerant, it evinces that he is religious from 
thought and inquiry, because he exhibits in 
his conduct one of the most beautiful and im- 
portant consequences of a religious mind, 
an inviolable charity to all the honest varieties 
of human opinion. 

Lord Sidmouth, and all the anti-catholic 
people, little foresee that they will hereafter 
be the sport of the antiquarian ; that their 
prophecies of ruin and destruction from 
Catholic emancipation will be clapped into 
the notes of some quaint history, and be 
matter of pleasantry even to the sedulous 
housewife and the rural dean. There is 
always a copious supply of Lord Sidmouths in 
the world ; nor is there one single source of 
human happiness, against which they have 
not uttered the most lugubrious predictions. 


Turnpike roads, navigable canals, inoculation, 
hops, tobacco, the Reformation, the Revolution, 
there are always a set of worthy and 
moderately-gifted men, who bawl out death 
and ruin upon every valuable change which 
the varying aspect of human affairs absolutely 
and imperiously requires. I have often 
thought that it would be extremely useful to 
make a collection of the hatred and abuse 
that all those changes have experienced, 
which are now admitted to be marked im- 
provements in our condition. Such an 
history might make folly a little more modest, 
and suspicious of its own decisions. 

Ireland, you say, since the Union, is to be 
considered as a part of the whole kingdom ; 
and therefore, however Catholics may pre- 
dominate in that particular spot, yet, taking 
the whole empire together, they are to be 
considered as a much more insignificant quota 
of the population. Consider them in what 
light you please, as part of the whole, or by 
themselves, or in what manner may be most 
consentaneous to the devices of your holy 


mind I say in a very few words, if you do 
not relieve these people from the civil incapa- 
cities to which they are exposed, you will 
lose them ; or you must employ great 
strength and much treasure in watching 
over them. In the present state of the world, 
you can afford to do neither the one, nor the 
other. Having stated this, I shall leave you 
to be ruined, Puffendorf in hand (as Mr. 
Secretary Canning says), and to lose Ireland, 
just as you have found out what proportion 
the aggrieved people should bear to the 
whole population, before their calamities 
meet with redress. As for your parallel 
cases, I am no more afraid of deciding upon 
them than I am upon their prototype. If 
ever any one heresy should so far spread itself 
over the principality of Wales that the esta- 
blished church were left in a minority of one 
to four ; if you had subjected these heretics 
to very severe civil privations ; if the conse- 
quence of such privations were an universal 
state of disaffection among that caseous and 
wrathful people ; and if at the same time you 


were at war with all the world, how can you 
doubt for a moment that I would instantly 
restore them to a state of the most complete 
civil liberty? What matters it under what 
name you put the same case? Common 
sense is not changed by appellations. I have 
said how I would act to Ireland, and I would 
act so to all the world. 

I admit that, to a certain degree, the 
government will lose the affections of the 
Orangemen by emancipating the Catholics ; 
much less, however, at present, than three 
years past. The few men, who have ill 
treated the whole crew, live in constant terror 
that the oppressed people will rise upon them 
and carry the ship into Brest : they begin 
to find that it is a very tiresome thing to 
sleep every night with cocked pistols under 
their pillows, and to breakfast, dine, and sup 
with drawn hangers. They suspect that the 
privilege of beating and kicking the rest of 
the sailors is hardly worth all this anxiety, 
and that if the ship does ever fall into the 
hands of the disaffected, all the cruelties 


which they have experienced will be tho- 
roughly remembered and amply repaid. To 
a short period of disaffection among the 
Orangemen, I confess I should not much 
object : my love of poetical justice does carry 
me as far as that j one summer's whipping, 
only one : the thumb-screw for a short sea- 
son ; a little light easy torturing between 
Lady-day and Michaelmas ; a short specimen 
of Mr. Perceval's rigour. I have malice 
enough to ask this slight atonement for the 
groans and shrieks of the poor Catholics, 
unheard by any human tribunal, but regis- 
tered by the Angel of God against their Pro- 
testant and enlightened oppressors. 

Besides, if you who count ten so often can 
count five, you must perceive that it is better 
to have four friends and one enemy than 
four enemies and one friend ; and the more 
violent the hatred of the Orangemen, the 
more certain the reconciliation of the Ca- 
tholics. The disaffection of J:he Orangemen 
will be the Irish rainbow ; when I see it, I 
shall be sure that the storm is over. 



If those incapacities, from which the Ca- 
tholics ask to be relieved, were to the mass of 
them only a mere feeling of pride, and if the 
question were respecting the attainment of 
privileges which could be of importance only 
to the highest of the sect, I should still say, 
that the pride of the mass was very naturally 
wounded by the degradation of their superiors. 
Indignity to George Rose would be felt by 
the smallest nummary gentleman in the king's 
employ ; and Mr. John Bannister could not 
be indifferent to any thing which happened 
to Mr. Canning. But the truth is, it is a 
most egregious mistake to suppose that the 
Catholics are contending merely for the 
fringes and feathers of their chiefs. I will 
give you a list, in my next Letter, of those 
privations which are represented to be of no 
consequence to any body but Lord Fingal, 
and some twenty or thirty of the principal 
persons of their sect. In the meantime, 
adieu, and be wise. 




No Catholic can be Chief Governor or Go- 
vernor of this Kingdom, Chancellor or 
Keeper of the Great Seal, Lord High Trea- 
surer, Chief of any of the Courts of Justice, 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Puisne Judge, 
Judge in the Admiralty, Master of the Rolls, 
Secretary of State, Keeper of the Privy Seal, 
Vice Treasurer or his Deputy, Teller or 
Cashier of Exchequer, Auditor or General, 
Governor or Custos Rotulorum of Counties, 
Chief Governor's Secretary, Privy Councillor, 
King's Counsel, Sergeant, Attorney, Solicitor 
General, Master in Chancery, Provost or 
Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, Postmas- 
ter-General, Master and Lieutenant General 
of Ordnance, Commander in Chief, General 
on the Staff, Sheriff, Sub-Sheriff, Mayor, 


Bailiff, Recorder, Burgess, or any other offi- 
cer in a City, or a Corporation. No Catholic 
can be a guardian to a Protestant, and no 
priest guardian at all : no Catholic can be a 
game-keeper, or have for sale, or otherwise, 
any arms or warlike stores : no Catholic can 
present to a living, unless he choose to turn 
Jew in order to obtain that privilege ; the 
pecuniary qualification of Catholic jurors is 
made higher than that of Protestants, and no 
relaxation of the ancient rigorous code is per- 
mitted, unless to those who shall take an oath 
prescribed by 13 and 14 Geo. III. Now if 
this is not picking the plums out of the 
pudding, and leaving the mere batter to the 
Catholics, I know not what is. If it were 
merely the Privy Council, it would be (I 
allow) nothing but a point of honour for which 
the mass of Catholics were contending, the 
honour of being chief-mourners or pall- 
bearers to the country : but surely no man 
will contend that every barrister may not 
speculate upon the possibility of being a 
puisne judge j and that every shopkeeper 


must not feel himself injured by his exclusion 
from borough offices. 

One of the greatest practical evils which 
the Catholics suffer in Ireland is their exclu- 
sion from the offices of Sheriff and Deputy 
Sheriff. Nobody who is unacquainted with 
Ireland can conceive the obstacles which this 
opposes to the fair administration of justice. 
The formation of juries is now' entirely in 
the hands of the Protestants ; the lives, liber- 
ties, and properties of the Catholics in the 
hands of the juries : and this is the arrange- 
ment for the administration of justice in a 
country where religious prejudices are in- 
flamed to the greatest degree of animosity ! 
In this country, if a man is a foreigner, if he 
seUs slippers, and sealing wax, and artificial 
flowers, we are so tender of human life that 
we take care half the number of persons who 
are to decide upon his fate should be men of 
similar prejudices and feelings with himself: 
but a poor Catholic in Ireland may be tried 
by twelve Percevals, and destroyed according 
to the manner of that gentleman in the name 


of the Lord, and with all the insulting forms 
of justice. I do not go the length of saying 
that deliberate and wilful injustice is done. 
I have no doubt that the Orange Deputy- 
Sheriff thinks it would be a most unpardonable 
breach of his duty if he did not summon a 
Protestant pannel. I can easily believe that 
the Protestant pannel may conduct themselves 
very conscientiously in hanging the gentle- 
men of the crucifix; but I blame the law 
which does not guard the Catholic against the 
probable tenour of those feelings which must 
unconsciously influence the judgments of 
mankind. I detest that state of society which 
extends unequal degrees of protection to dif- 
ferent creeds and persuasions ; and I cannot 
describe to you the contempt I feel for a man 
who, calling himself a statesman, defends a 
system which fills the heart of every Irishman 
with treason, and makes his allegiance pru- 
dence, not choice. 

I request to know if the vestry taxes in Ire- 
land are a mere matter of romantic feeling, 
which can affect only the Earl of Fingal ? In 


a parish where there are four thousand Ca- 
tholics and fifty Protestants, the Protestants 
may meet together in a vestry meeting, at 
which no Catholic has the right to vote, and 
tax all the lands in the parish Is. 6d. per acre, 
or in the pound, I forget which, for the re- 
pairs of the church, and how has the ne- 
cessity of these repairs been ascertained ? A 
Protestant plumber has discovered that it 
wants new leading ; a Protestant carpenter is 
convinced the timbers are not sound, and a 
glazier who hates holy water (as an accoucheur 
hates celibacy because he gets nothing by it) 
is employed to put in new sashes. 

The grand juries in Ireland are the great 
scene of jobbing. They have a power of 
making a county rate to a considerable extent 
for roads, bridges, and other objects of general 
accommodation. "You suffer the road to be 
brought through my park, and I will have the 
bridge constructed in a situation where it will 
make a beautiful object to your house. You 
do my job, and I will do yours." These are 
the sweet and interesting subjects which oc- 


casionally occupy Milesian gentlemen while 
they are attendant upon this grand inquest of 
justice. But there is a religion, it seems, even 
in jobs; and it will be highly gratifying to 
Mr. Perceval to learn that no man in Ireland 
who believes in seven sacraments can carry a 
public road, or bridge, one yard out of the 
direction most beneficial to the public, and 
that nobody can cheat that public who does 
not expound the scriptures in the purest and 
most orthodox manner. This will give plea- 
sure to Mr. Perceval : but, from his unfairness 
upon these topics, I appeal to the justice and 
the proper feelings of Mr. Huskisson. I ask 
him if the human mind can experience a 
more dreadful sensation than to see its own 
jobs refused, and the jobs of another religion 
perpetually succeeding ? I ask him his opi- 
nion of a jobless faith, of a creed which dooms 
a man through life to a lean and plunderless 
integrity. He knows that human nature can- 
not and will not bear it ; and if we were to 
paint a political Tartarus, it would be an end- 
less series of snug expectations and cruel 


disappointments. These are a few of many 
dreadful inconveniences which the Catholics 
of all ranks suffer from the laws by which they 
are at present oppressed. Besides, look at 
human nature : what is the history of all 
professions ? Joel is to be brought up to the 
bar : has Mrs. Plymley the slightest doubt of 
his being chancellor ? Do not his two shrivelled 
aunts live in the certainty of seeing him in 
that situation, and of cutting out with their 
own hands his equity habiliments ? And I 
could name a certain minister of the Gospel 
who does not, in the bottom of his heart, 
much differ from these opinions. Do you 
think that the fathers and mothers of the holy 
Catholic church are not as absurd as Protestant 
papas and mammas ? The probability I admit 
to be, in each particular case, that the sweet 
little blockhead will in fact never get a brief: 
but I will venture to say there is not a 
parent from the Giant's Causeway to Bantry 
Bay who does not conceive that his child is 
the unfortunate victim of the exclusion, and 
that nothing short of positive law.could pre- 


vent his own dear pre-eminent Paddy from 
rising to the highest honours of the state. So 
with the army, and parliament ; in fact, few 
are excluded ; but, in imagination, all : you 
keep twenty or thirty Catholics out, and you 
lose the affections of four millions ; and, let 
me tell you, that recent circumstances have 
by no means tended to diminish in the minds 
of men that hope of elevation beyond their 
own rank which is so congenial to our nature : 
from pleading for John Roe to taxing John 
Bull, from jesting for Mr. Pitt and writing in 
the Anti-Jacobin, to managing the affairs of 
Europe, these are leaps which seem to 
justify the fondest dreams of mothers and of 

I do not say that the disabilities to which 
the Catholics are exposed amount to such 
intolerable grievances, that the strength and 
industry of a nation are overwhelmed by 
them : the increasing prosperity of Ireland 
fully demonstrates the contrary. But I repeat 
again, what I have often stated in the course 
of our correspondence, that your laws against 


the Catholics are exactly in that state in which 
you have neither the benefits of rigour nor of 
liberality : every law which prevented the 
Catholic from gaining strength and wealth 
is repealed ; every law which can irritate re- 
mains : if you were determined to insult the 
Catholics, you should have kept them weak ; 
if you resolved to give them strength, you 
should have ceased to insult them ; at 
present your conduct is pure unadulterated 

Lord Hawkesbury says, we heard nothing 
about the Catholics till we began to mitigate 
the laws against them ; when we relieved them 
in part from this oppression they began to be 
disaffected. This is very true : but it proves 
just what I have said, that you have either 
done too much, or too little ; and as there 
lives not, I hope, upon earth, so depraved a 
courtier that he would load the Catholics with 
their ancient chains, what absurdity it is then 
not to render their dispositions friendly, when 
you leave their arms and legs free ! 

You know, and many Englishmen know, 


what passes in China ; but nobody knows or 
cares what passes in Ireland. At the be- 
ginning of the present reign, no Catholic could 
realise property, or carry on any business ; 
they were absolutely annihilated, and had no 
more agency in the country than so many 
trees. They were like Lord Mulgrave's elo- 
quence, and Lord Cambden's wit ; the legis- 
lative bodies did not know of their existence. 
For these twenty-five " years last past, the 
Catholics have been engaged in commerce : 
within that period the commerce of Ireland 
has doubled: there are four Catholics at 
work for one Protestant, and eight Catholics 
at work for one Episcopalian ; of course, the 
proportion which Catholic wealth bears to 
Protestant wealth is every year altering ra- 
pidly in favour of the Catholics. I have 
already told you what their purchases of land 
were the last year : since that period, I have 
been at some pains to find out the actual state 
of the Catholic wealth : it is impossible, upon 
such a subject, to arrive at complete accuracy; 
but I have good reason to believe that there 
H 2 


are at present 2000 Catholics in Ireland, 
possessing an income from 500/. upwards, many 
of these with incomes of one, two, three, and 
four thousand, and some amounting to fifteen 
and twenty thousand, per annum : and this 
is the kingdom and these the people, for 
whose conciliation we are to wait Heaven 
knows when, and Lord Hawkesbury why! 
As for me, I never think of the situation of 
Ireland, without feeling the same necessity 
for immediate interference as I should do if I 
saw blood flowing from a great artery. I rush 
towards it with the instinctive rapidity of a 
man desirous of preventing death, and have 
no other feeling but that in a few seconds the 
patient may be no more. 

I could not help smiling, in the times of 
No Popery, to witness the loyal' indignation of 
many persons at the attempt made by the last 
ministry to do something for the relief of 
Ireland. The general cry in the country was, 
that they would not see their beloved monarch 
used ill in his old age, and that they would 
stand b} him to the last drop of their blood : 


I respect good feelings, however erroneous be 
the occasions on which they display them- 
selves ; and, therefore I saw in all this as much 
to admire as to blame. It was a species of 
affection, however, which reminded me very 
forcibly of the attachment displayed by the 
servants of the Russian ambassador, at the 
beginning of the last century. His Excellency 
happened to fall down in a kind of apoplectic 
fit, when he was paying a morning visit in the 
house of an acquaintance. The confusion 
was of course very great, and messengers were 
despatched, in every direction, to find a sur- 
geon, who, upon his arrival, declared that his 
Excellency must be immediately blooded, and 
prepared himself forthwith to perform the 
operation : the barbarous servants of the em- 
bassy, who were there in great numbers, no 
sooner saw the surgeon prepared to wound 
the arm of their master with a sharp shining 
instrument, than they drew their swords, put 
themselves in an attitude of defence, and 
swore in pure Sclavonic, "that they would 
murder any man who attempted to do him the 
H 3 


slightest injury: he had been a very good 
master -to them, and they would not desert 
him in his misfortunes, or suffer his blood to 
be shed while he was off his guard, and in- 
capable of defending himself." By good 
fortune, the secretary arrived about this period 
of the dispute, and his Excellency, relieved 
from superfluous blood and perilous affection, 
was, after much difficulty, restored to life. 

There is an argument brought forward with 
some appearance of plausibility in the House 
of Commons which certainly merits an answer : 
you know that the Catholics now vote for 
members of parliament in Ireland, and that 
they outnumber the Protestants in a very 
great proportion ; if you allow Catholics to sit 
in parliament, religion will be found to in- 
fluence votes more than property, and the 
greater part of the 100 Irish members who 
are returned to parliament will be Catholics. 
Add to these the Catholic members who 
are returned in England, and you will have a 
phalanx of heretical strength which every 
minister will be compelled to respect, and oc- 


casionally to conciliate by concessions incom- 
patible with the interests of the Protestant 
church. The fact is, however, that you are 
at this moment subjected to every danger of 
this kind which you can possibly apprehend 
hereafter. If the spiritual interests of the 
voters are more powerful than their temporal 
interests, they can bind down their represen- 
tatives to support any measures favourable to 
the Catholic religion, and they can change the 
objects of their choice till they have found 
Protestant members (as they easily may do) 
perfectly obedient to their wishes. If the su- 
perior possessions of the Protestants prevent 
the Catholics from uniting for a common 
political object, then the danger you fear 
cannot exist : if zeal, on the contrary, gets the 
better of acres, then the danger at present 
exists, from the right of voting already given 
to the Catholics, and it will not be increased 
by allowing them to sit in parliament. There 
are, as nearly as I can recollect, thirty seats in 
Ireland for cities and counties, where the Pro- 
testants are the most numerous, and where the 
H 4 


members returned must of course be Protes- 
tants. In the other seventy representations, 
the wealth of the Protestants is opposed to the 
number of the Catholics ; and if all the seventy 
members returned were of the Catholic per- 
suasion, they must still plot the destruction of 
our religion in the midst of 588 Protestants. 
Such terrors would disgrace a cook-maid, or a 
toothless aunt, when they fall from the 
lips of bearded and senatorial men, they are 
nauseous, antiperistaltic, and emetical. 

How can you for a moment doubt of the 
rapid effects which would be produced by the 
emancipation? In the first place, to my 
certain knowledge, the Catholics have long 
since expressed to his Majesty's ministers 
their perfect readiness to vest in his Majesty, 
either with the consent of the Pope, or without 
iifit cannot be obtained, the nomination of 
the Catholic prelacy. The Catholic prelacy 
in Ireland consists of twenty-six bishops and 
the warden Galway, a dignitary enjoying Ca- 
tholic jurisdiction. The number of Roman 
Catholic priests in Ireland exceeds one 

LETTER IX. 1.53 

thousand. The expenses of his peculiar 
worship are, to a substantial farmer or 
mechanic, five shillings per annum ; to a 
labourer (where he is not entirely excused) 
one shilling per annum : this includes the con- 
tribution of the whole family, and for this the 
priest is bound to attend them when sick, and 
to confess them when they apply to him : he 
is also to keep his chapel in order, to celebrate 
divine service, and to preach on Sundays and 
holidays. In the northern district a priest 
gains from 30/. to 50/. ; in the other parts of 
Ireland from 60/. to 90/. per ann. The best 
paid Catholic bishops receive about 400/. per 
ann. ; the others from 300/. to 3501. My 
plan is very simple ; I would have 300 
Catholic parishes at WOL per ann., 300 at 200/. 
per ann., and 400 at 300/. per ann. ; this, for 
the whole thousand parishes, would amount to 
190,000/. To the prelacy I would allot 
20,000/. in unequal proportions, from one 
thousand to 500/. : and I would appropriate 
40,000/. more for the support of Catholic 
schools, and the repairs of Catholic churches ; 
H 5 


the whole amount of which sums is 50,000/., 
about the expence of three days of one of our 
genuine, good, English, just and necessary 
wars. The clergy should all receive their 
salaries at the Bank of Ireland, and I would 
place the whole patronage in the hands of the 
Crown. Now, I appeal to any human being, 
except Spencer Perceval, Esq. of the parish 
of Hampstead, what the disaffection of a clergy 
would amount to, gaping after this graduated 
bounty of the Crown, and whether Ignatius 
Loyala himself, if he were a living blockhead 
instead of a dead saint, could withstand the 
temptation of bouncing from 100/. a year 
in Sligo, to 300/. in Tipperary? This is 
the miserable sum of money for which the 
merchants, and land-owners, and nobility of 
England are exposing themselves to the tre- 
mendous peril of losing Ireland. The sinecure 
places of the Roses and the Percevals, and 
the " dear and near relations," put up to 
auction at thirty years' purchase, would almost 
amount to the money. 

I admit that nothing can be more reason- 


able than to expect that a Catholic priest should 
starve to death, genteelly and pleasantly, for 
the good of the Protestant religion ; but is it 
equally reasonable to expect that he should 
do so for the Protestant pews, and Protestant 
brick and mortar? On an Irish sabbath, the 
bell of a neat parish church often summons 
to church only the parson and an occasion- 
ally conforming clerk ; while, two hundred 
yards off, a thousand Catholics are huddled 
together in a miserable hovel, and pelted by all 
the storms of heaven. Can anything be more 
distressing than to see a venerable man 
pouring forth sublime truths in tattered 
breeches, and depending for his food upon 
the little offal he gets from his parishioners ? I 
venerate a human being who starves for his 
principles, let them be what they may ; but 
starving for any thing is not at all to the 
taste of the honourable flagellents : strict 
principles, and good pay, is the motto of 
Mr. Perceval : the one he keeps in great 
measure for the faults of his enemies, the 
other for himself. 

H 6 


There are parishes in Connaught in which 
a Protestant was never settled, nor even 
seen : in that province, in Munster, and in 
parts of Leinster, the entire peasantry for 
sixty miles are Catholics ; in these tracts, 
the churches are frequently shut for want 
of a congregation, or opened to an assem- 
blage of from six to twenty persons. Of 
what Protestants there are in Ireland, the 
greatest part are gathered together in Ulster, 
or they live in towns. In the country of 
the other three provinces the Catholics see 
no other religion but their own, and are at 
the least as fifteen to one Protestant. In 
the diocese of Tuam they are sixty to one ; 
in the parish of St. Mullins, diocese of 
Leghlin, there are four thousand Catholics 
and one Protestant; in the town of Gras- 
genamana, in the county of Kilkenny, there 
are between four and five hundred Catholic 
houses, and three Protestant houses. In the 
parish of Allen, county Kildare, there is no 
Protestant, though it is very populous. In 
the parish of Arlesin, Queen's County, the 


proportion is one hundred to one. In the 
whole county of Kilkenny, by actual enu- 
meration, it is seventeen to one : in the 
diocese of Kilmacduagh, in the province of 
Connaught, fifty-two to one, by ditto. These 
I give you as a few specimens of the present 
state of Ireland ; and yet there are men 
impudent and ignorant enough to contend 
that such evils require no remedy, and that 
mild family man who dwelleth in Hampstead 
can find none but the cautery and the knife, 

omne per ignem 

Excoquitur vitium. 

I cannot describe the horror and disgust 
which I felt at hearing Mr. Perceval call upon 
the then ministry for measures of vigour in 
Ireland. If I lived at Hampstead upon 
stewed meats and claret ; if I walked to 
church every Sunday before eleven young 
gentlemen of my own begetting, with their 
faces washed, and their hair pleasingly 
combed ; if the Almighty had blessed me 
with every earthly comfort, how awfully 


would I pause before I sent forth the flame 
and the sword over the cabins of the poor, 
brave, generous, open-hearted peasants of 
of Ireland ! How easy it is to shed human 
blood how easy it is to persuade ourselves 
that it is our duty to do so and that the 
the decision has cost us a severe struggle 
how much in all ages have wounds and 
shrieks and tears been the cheap and vulgar 
resources of the rulers of mankind how 
difficult and how noble it is to govern in 
kindness, and to found an empire upon the 
everlasting basis of justice and affection ! 
But what do men call vigour ? To let loose 
hussars and to bring up artillery, to govern with 
lighted matches, and to cut, and push, and 
prime I call this, not vigour, but the sloth of 
cruelty and ignorance. The vigour I love, 
consists in finding out wherein subjects are 
aggrieved, in relieving them, in studying the 
temper and genius of a people, in consulting 
their prejudices, in selecting proper persons 
to lead and manage them, in the laborious, 
watchful, and difficult task of increasing 


public happiness by allaying each particular 
discontent. In this way Hoche pacified La 
Vendee and in this way only will Ireland 
ever be subdued. But this, in the eyes of 
Mr. Perceval, is imbecility and meanness : 
houses are not broke open women are not 
insulted the people seem all to be happy; 
they are not rode over by horses, and cut by 
whips. Do you call this vigour? Is this 
government ? 



You must observe that all I have said 
of the effects which will be produced by 
giving salaries to the Catholic Clergy only 
proceeds upon the supposition that the 
emancipation of the laity is effected : 
without that, I am sure there is not a clergy, 
man in Ireland who would receive a shilling 
from Government; he could not do so, 
without an entire loss of credit among the 
members of his own persuasion. 

What you say of the moderation of the 
Irish Protestant Clergy in collecting tithes, 
is, I believe, strictly true. Instead of collect- 
ing what the law enables them to collect, I 
believe they seldom or ever collect more 
than two thirds ; and I entirely agree with 
you, that the abolition of agistment tithe in 
Ireland by a vote of the Irish House of 

LETTER X. 161 

Commons, and without any remuneration to 
the church, was a most scandalous and 
Jacobinical measure. I do not blame the 
Irish Clergy ; but I submit to your common 
sense, if it is possible to explain to an Irish 
peasant upon what principle of justice, or 
common sense, he his to pay every tenth 
potatoe in his little garden to a clergyman 
in whose religion nobody believes for twenty 
miles around him, and who has nothing to 
preach 'to but bare walls. It is true, if 
the tithes are bought up, the cottager must 
pay more rent to his landlord ; but the same 
thing, done in the shape of rent, is less 
odious than when it is done in the shape of 
tithe : I do not want to take a shilling out of 
the pockets of the clergy, but to leave the 
substance of things, and to change their 
names. I cannot see the slightest reason why 
the Irish labourer is to be relieved from the 
real onus, or from any thing eke but the 
name of tithe. At present, he rents only 
nine tenths of the produce of the land, which 
is all that belongs to the owner ; this he has 


at the market price ; if the land-owner pur- 
chases the other tenth of the church, of course 
he has a right to make a correspondent ad- 
vance upon his tenant. 

I very much doubt, if you were to lay open 
all civil offices to the Catholics and to grant 
salaries to their clergy, in the manner I have 
stated, if the Catholic laity would give them- 
selves much trouble about the advance of their 
church ; for they would pay the same tithes 
under one system that they do under another. 
If you were to bring the Catholics into the 
daylight of the world, to the high situations of 
the army, the navy, and the bar, numbers of 
them would come over to the established 
church, and do as other people do : instead of 
that, you set a mark of infamy upon them, 
rouse every passion of our nature in favour 
of their creed, and then wonder that men are 
blind to the follies of the Catholic religion. 
There are hardly any instances of old and 
rich families among the Protestant Dissent- 
ers : when a man keeps a coach, and lives 
in good company, he comes to church, and 

LETTER X. 163 

gets ashamed of the meeting-house ; if this 
is not the case with the father, it is almost 
always the case with the son. These things 
would never be so, if the Dissenters were, in 
practice, as much excluded from all the 
concerns of civil life, as the Catholics are. 
If a rich young Catholic were in parliament, 
he would belong to White's and to Brookes's, 
would keep race-horses, would walk up and 
down Pall Mall, be exonerated of his ready 
money and his constitution, become as totally 
devoid of morality, honesty, knowledge, and 
civility as Protestant loungers in Pall Mall, 
and return home with a supreme contempt 
for Father O'Leary and Father O'Callaghan. 
I* am astonished at the madness of the Catholic 
clergy, in not perceiving that Catholic emanci- 
pation is Catholic infidelity ; that to entangle 
their people in the intrigues of a Protestant par- 
liament, and a Protestant court, is to insure the 
loss of every man of fashion and consequence 
in their community. The true receipt for 
preserving their religion is Mr. Perceval's 
receipt for destroying it : it is to deprive every 


rich Catholic of all the objects of secular 
ambition, to separate him from the Protestant, 
and to shut him up in his castle with priests 
and relics. 

We are told, in answer to all our arguments, 
that this is not a fit period, that a period of 
universal war is not the proper time for dan- 
gerous innovations in the constitution : this is 
as much as to say, that the worst time for 
making friends is the period when you have 
made many enemies ; that it is the greatest of 
all errors to stop when you are breathless, and 
to lie down when you are fatigued. Of one 
thing I am quite certain : if the safety of 
Europe is once completely restored, the Catho- 
lics may for ever bid adieu to the slightest pro- 
bability of effecting their object. Such men 
as hang about a court not only are deaf to the 
suggestions of mere justice, but they despise 
justice ; they detest the word right ; the only 
word which rouses them is peril ; where they 
can oppress with impunity, they oppress for 
ever, and call it loyalty and wisdom. 

I am so far from conceiving the legitimate 

LETTER X. 165 

strength of the crown would be diminished by 
these abolitions of civil incapacities in conse- 
quence of religious opinions, that my only ob- 
jection to the increase of religious freedom is 
that it would operate as a diminution of poli- 
tical freedom : the power of the Crown is so 
overbearing at this period, that almost the only 
steady opposers of its fatal influence are men 
disgusted by religious intolerance. Our esta- 
blishments are so enormous, and so utterly 
disproportioned to our population, that every 
second or third man you meet in society gains 
something from the public : my brother the 
commissioner, my nephew the police justice, 
> purveyor of small beer to the army in Ire- 
land, clerk of the mouth, yeoman to the 
left hand, these are the obstacles which 
common sense and justice have now to over- 
come. Add to this, that the King, old and 
infirm, excites a principle of very amiable 
generosity in his favour ; that he has led a 
good, moral, and religious life, equally re- 
moved from profligacy and methodistical 
hypocrisy ; that he has been a good husband, 


a good father, and a good master; that he 
dresses plain, loves hunting and farming, 
hates the French, and is, in all his opinions 
and habits, quite English : these feelings are 
heightened by the present situation of the 
world, and the yet unexploded clamour of 
Jacobinism. In short, from the various sources 
of interest, personal regard, and national taste, 
such a tempest of loyalty has set in upon the 
people, that the 47th proposition in Euclid 
might now be voted down with as much ease 
as any proposition in politics ; and therefore, 
if Lord Hawkesbury hates the abstract truths 
of science as much as he hates concrete truth 
in human affairs, now is his time for getting 
rid of the multiplication table, and passing a 
vote of censure upon the pretensions of the 
hypotheneuse. Such is the history of English 
parties at this moment : you cannot seriously 
suppose that the people care for such men as 
Lord Hawkesbury, Mr. Canning, and Mr. 
Perceval, on their own account ; you cannot 
really believe them to be so degraded as to 
look to their safety from a man who proposes 

LETTER X. 167 

to subdue Europe by keeping it without 
Jesuit's Bark. The people, at present, have 
one passion, and but one 

A Jove principium, Jovis omnia plena. 

They care no more for the ministers I have 
mentioned than they do for those sturdy 
royalists who for 60/. per annum stand behind 
his Majesty's carriage, arrayed in scarlet and 
in gold. If the present ministers opposed the 
Court instead of flattering it, they would not 
command twenty votes. 

Do not imagine by these observations that 
I am not loyal : without joining in the com- 
mon cant of the best of kings, I respect the King 
most sincerely as a good man. His religion is 
better than the religion of Mr. Perceval, his 
old morality very superior to the old morality 
of Mr. Canning, and I am quite certain he has 
a safer understanding than both of them put to- 
gether. Loyalty, within the bounds of reason 
and moderation, is one of the great instruments 
of English happiness ; but the love of the 
King may easily become more strong than the 
love of the kingdom, and we may lose sight 


of the public welfare in our exaggerated ad- 
miration of him who is appointed to reign only 
for its promotion and support. I detest 
Jacobinism ; and if I am doomed to be a slave 
at all, I would rather be the slave of a king 
than a cobbler. God save the King, you say, 
warms your heart like the sound of a trumpet. 
I cannot make use of so violent a metaphor ; 
but I am delighted to hear it, when it is the 
cry of genuine affection ; I am delighted 
to hear it when they hail not only the in- 
dividual man, but the outward and living sign 
of all English blessings. These are noble 
feelings, and the heart of every good man 
must go with them ; but God save the King, 
in these times, too often means God save my 
pension and my place, God give my sisters an 
allowance out of the privy purse, make me 
clerk of the irons, let me survey the meltings, 
let me live upon the fruits of other men's in- 
dustry, and fatten upon the plunder of the public. 
What is it possible to say to such a man as 
the Gentleman of Hampstead, who really be- 
lieves it feasible to convert the four million 

LETTER X. 169 

Irish Catholics to the Protestant religion, and 
considers this as the best remedy for the dis- 
turbed state of Ireland ? It is not possible to 
answer such a man with arguments ; we must 
come out against him with beads, and a cowl, 
and push him into a hermitage. It is really 
such trash, that it is an abuse of the privilege 
of reasoning to reply to it. Such a project is 
well worthy the statesman who would bring 
the French to reason by keeping them with- 
out rhubarb, and exhibit to mankind the awful 
spectacle of a nation deprived of neutral salts. 
This is not the dream of a wild apothecary in- 
dulging in his own opium ; this is not the dis- 
tempered fancy of a pounder of drugs, deli- 
rious from smallness of profits : but it is the 
sober, deliberate, and systematic scheme of a 
man to whom the public safety is entrusted, and 
whose appointment is considered by many as a 
masterpiece of political sagacity. What a sub- 
lime thought, that no purge can now be taken 
between the Weser and the Garonne ; that 
the bustling pestle is still, the canorous mortar 
mute, and the bowels of mankind locked up 



for fourteen degrees of latitude! When, I 
should be curious to know, were all the powers 
of crudity and flatulence fully explained to 
his Majesty's ministers ? At what period was 
this great plan of conquest and constipation 
fully developed ? In whose mind was the idea 
of destroying the pride, and the plaisters of 
France first engendered ? Without castor-oil 
they might, for some months, to be sure, have 
carried on a lingering war ; but can they do 
without bark? Will the people live under a 
government where antimonial powders cannot 
be procured? Will they bear the loss of 
mercury ? " There's the rub." Depend upon 
it, the absence of themateria medica will soon 
bring them to their senses, and the cry of 
Bourbon and bolus burst forth from the Baltic 
to the Mediterranean. 

You ask me for any precedent in our 
history where the oath of supremacy has 
been dispensed with. It was dispensed with 
to the Catholics of Canada in 1774. They 
are only required to take a simple oath 
of allegiance. The same, I believe, was the 
ase in Corsica. The reason of such exemp- 

LETTER X. 171 

tionwas obvious ; you could not possibly have 
retained either of these countries without it. 
And what did it signify whether you retained 
them or not ? In cases where you might have 
been foolish without peril, you were wise ; 
when nonsense and bigotry threaten you with 
destruction, it is impossible to bring you back 
to the alphabet of justice and common sense : 
if men are to be fools, I would rather they 
were fools in little matters than in great; 
dulness turned up with temerity, is a livery 
all the worse for the facings ; and the most 
tremendous of all things is the magnanimity 
of a dunce. 

It is not by any means necessary, as you 
contend, to repeal the Test Act if you give re- 
lief to the Catholic; what the Catholics ask 
for is to be put on a footing with the Protes- 
tant Dissenters, which would be done by re- 
pealing that part of the law which compels 
them to take the oath of supremacy and to 
make the declaration against transubstantiation : 
they would then come into parliament as all 
other Dissenters are allowed to do, and the 
i 2 


penal laws to which they were exposed for 
taking office would be suspended every year, 
as they have been for this half century past to- 
wards Protestant Dissenters. Perhaps, after 
all, this is the best method, to continue the 
persecuting law, and to suspend it every year, 
a method, which, while it effectually de- 
stroys the persecution itself, leaves to the 
great mass of mankind the exquisite gratifica- 
tion of supposing that they are enjoying some 
advantage from which a particular class of their 
fellow-creatures are excluded. We manage the 
Corporation and Test Acts at present much 
in the same manner as if we were to persuade 
parish boys who had been in the habit of 
beating an ass to spare the animal, and beat 
the skin of an ass stuffed with straw ; this 
would preserve the semblance of tormenting 
without the reality, and keep boy and beast in 
good humour. 

How can you imagine that a provision for 
the Catholic clergy affects the 5th article of 
the Union ? Surely I am preserving the Pro- 
testant church in Ireland if I put it in a 


better condition than that in which it now is. 
A tithe proctor in Ireland collects his tithes 
with a blunderbuss, and carries his tenth hay- 
cock by storm, sword in hand : to give him 
equal value in a more pacific shape cannot, I 
should imagine, be considered as injurious to 
the church of Ireland ; and what right has 
that church to complain, if parliament chooses 
to fix upon the empire the burthen of sup- 
porting a double ecclesiastical establishment ? 
Are the revenues of the Irish Protestant 
clergy in the slightest degree injured by such 
provision ? On the contrary, is it possible to 
confer a more serious benefit upon that 
church, than by quieting and contenting 
those who are at work for its destruction ? 

It is impossible to think of the affairs of 
Ireland without being forcibly struck with 
the parallel of Hungary, Of her seven 
millions of inhabitants, one half were Protes- 
tants, Calvinists, and Lutherans, many of the 
Greek Church, and many Jews : such was 
the state of their religious dissensions, that 
Mahomet had often been called in to the aid 
i 3 


of Calvin, and the crescent often glittered on 
the walls of Buda and of Presburg. At last, 
in 1791, during the most violent crisis of dis- 
turbance, a diet was called, and by a great 
majority of voices a decree was passed, which 
secured to all the contending sects the fullest 
and freest exercise of religious worship and 
education ; ordained (let it be heard in 
Hampstead) that churches and chapels 
should be erected for all on the most perfectly 
equal terms, that the Protestants of both con- 
fessions should depend upon their spiritual 
superiors alone, liberated them from swearing 
by the usual oath, " the holy Virgin Mary, 
the saints, and chosen of God ; " and then, 
the decree adds, " that public offices and 
honours, high or low, great or small, shall be 
given to natural-born Hungarians who deserve 
well of their country, and possess the other 
qualifications, let their religion be what it 
may. " Such was the line of policy pursued 
in a diet consisting of four hundred members, 
in a state whose form of government ap- 
proaches nearer to our own than any other, 


having a Roman Catholic establishment of 
great wealth, and power, and under the 
influence of one of the most bigoted Catholic 
courts in Europe. This measure has now 
the experience of eighteen years in its favour; 
it has undergone a trial of fourteen years of 
revolution such as the world never witnessed, 
and more than equal to a century less con- 
vulsed: what have been its effects? When 
the French advanced like a torrent within a 
few days' march of Vienna, the Hungarians 
rose in a mass ; they formed what they call 
the sacred insurrection, to defend their sove- 
reign, their rights, and liberties, now common 
to all ; and the apprehension of their approach 
dictated to the reluctant Bonaparte the im- 
mediate signature of the treaty of JLeoben? 
the Romish hierarchy of Hungary exists in 
all its former splendour and opulence ; never 
has the slightest attempt been made to 
diminish it; and those revolutionary prin- 
ciples, to which so large a portion of civilised 
Europe has been sacrificed, have here failed 
in making the smallest successful inroad. 


The whole history of this proceeding of the 
Hungarian Diet is so extraordinary, and such 
an admirable comment upon the Protestantism 
of Mr. Spencer Perceval, that I must compel 
you to read a few short extracts from the law; 
itself: "The Protestants of both confessions 
shall, in religious matters, depend upon their 
own spiritual superiors alone. The Protes- 
tants may likewise retain their trivial and 
grammar schools. The church dues which 
the Protestants have hitherto paid to the 
Catholic parish priests, school-masters, or other 
such officers, either in money, productions, or 
labour, shall in future entirely cease, and after- 
three months from the publishing of this law 
be no more any where demanded. In the 
building or repairing of churches, parsonage 
houses, and schools, the Protestants are not 
obliged to assist the Catholics with labour, nor. 
the Catholics the Protestants. The pious 
foundations and donations of the Protestants 
which already exist, or which in future may be 
made for their churches, ministers, schools and 
students, hospitals, orphan-houses and poor, 

LETTER X. 177 

cannot be taken from them under any pretext, 
nor yet the care of them ; but rather the un- 
impeded administration shall be intrusted to 
those from among them to whom it legally 
belongs, and those foundations which may 
have been taken from them under the last go- 
verment shall be returned to them without 
delay. All affairs of marriage of the Protes- 
tants are left to their own consistories ; all 
landlords and masters of families, under the 
penalty of public prosecution, are ordered not 
to prevent their subjects and servants, 
whether they be Catholic or Protestant, from 
the observance of the festivals and ceremonies 
of their religion," &c. &c. &c. By what 
strange chances are mankind influenced ! A 
little Catholic barrister of Vienna might have 
raised the cry of No Protestantism, and Hun- 
gary would have panted for the arrival of a 
French army as much as Ireland does at this 
moment ; arms would have been searched for ; 
Lutheran and Calvinist houses entered in the 
dead of the night ; and the strength of Austria 
exhausted in guarding a country from which, 
i 5 


under the present liberal system, she may 
expect, in a moment of danger, the most 
powerful aid : and let it be remembered that 
this memorable example of political wisdom 
took place at a period when many great 
monarchies were yet unconquered in Europe ; 
in a country where the two religious parties 
were equal in number ; and where it is impos- 
sible to suppose indifference in the party which 
relinquished its exclusive privileges. Under 
all these circumstances, the measure was 
carried in the Hungarian Diet by a majority 
of 280 to 120. In a few weeks, we shall see 
every concession denied to the Catholics by a 
much larger majority of Protestants, at a 
moment when every other power is subjugated 
but ourselves, and in a country where the op- 
pressed are four times as numerous as their 
oppressors. So much for the wisdom of our 
ancestors so much for the nineteenth cen- 
tury so much for the superiority of the 
English over all the nations of the Continent ! 
Are you not sensible, let me ask you, of 
the absurdity of trusting the lowest Catholics 

LETTER X. 179 

with offices correspondent to their situation 
in life, and of denying such privilege to the 
higher ? A Catholic may serve in the mi- 
litia, but a Catholic cannot come into par- 
liament ; in the latter case you suspect 
combination, and in the former case you 
suspect no combination ; you deliberately 
arm ten or twenty thousand of the lowest of 
the Catholic people ; and the moment you 
come to a class of men whose education, 
honour, and talents seem to render all mis- 
chief less probable, then you see the danger 
of employing a Catholic, and cling to your 
investigating tests and disabling laws. If you 
tell me you have enough of members of par- 
liament, and not enough of militia, without 
the Catholics, I beg leave to remind you, 
that, by employing the physical force of any 
sect, at the same time when you leave them 
in a state of utter disaffection, you are not 
adding strength to your armies, but weakness 

and ruin : if you want the vigour of their 
common people, you must not disgrace their 

nobility, and insult their priesthood. 

i 6 


I thought that the terror of the Pope had 
been confined to the limits of the nursery, 
and merely employed as a means to induce 
young master to enter into his small-clothes 
with greater speed, and to eat his breakfast 
with greater attention to decorum. For these 
purposes, the name of the Pope is admirable ; 
but why push it beyond ? Why not leave to 
Lord Hawkesbury all farther enumeration of 
the Pope's powers ? For a whole century, 
you have been exposed to the enmity of 
France, and your succession was disputed 
in two rebellions ; what could the Pope 
do at the period when there was a serious 
struggle whether England should be Pro- 
testant or Catholic, and when the issue 
was completely doubtful ? Could the Pope 
induce the Irish to rise in 1715 ? Could he 
induce them to rise in 1745 ? You had no 
Catholic enemy when half this island was in 
arms ; and what did the Pope attempt in the 
last rebellion in Ireland ? But if he had as 
much power over the minds of the Irish as 
Mr. Wilberforce has over the mind of a 

LETTER X. 181 

young Methodist converted the preceding 
quarter, is this a reason why we are to disgust 
men who may be acted upon in such a 
manner by a foreign power ? or is it not an 
additional reason why we should raise up 
every barrier of affection and kindness against 
the mischief of foreign influence ? But the 
true answer is, the mischief does not exist. 
Gog and Magog have produced as much 
influence upon human affairs as the Pope 
has done for this half century past ; and by 
spoiling him of his possessions, and degrading 
him in the eyes of all Europe, Bonaparte 
has not taken quite the proper method of 
increasing his influence. 

But why not a Catholic king, as well as a 
Catholic member of parliament, or of the 
cabinet ? Because it is probable that the 
one would be mischievous, and the other not. 
A Catholic king might struggle against the 
Protestantism of the country, and if the 
struggle was not successful, it would at least 
be dangerous ; but the efforts of any other 


Catholic would be quite insignificant, and his 
hope of success so small that it is quite im- 
probable the effort would ever be made : my 
argument is, that in so Protestant a country 
as Great Britain, the character of her par- 
liaments and her cabinet could not be changed 
by the few Catholics who would ever find their 
way to the one, or the other ; but the 
power of the crown is immeasureably greater 
than the power which the Catholics could 
obtain from any other species of authority in 
the state ; and it does not follow, because the 
lesser degree of power is innocent, that the 
greater should be so too. As for the stress 
you lay upon the danger of a Catholic chan- 
cellor, I have not the least hesitation in 
saying, that his appointment would not do a 
ten- thousandth part of the mischief to the 
English church that r t might be done by a 
methodistical chancellor of the true Clapham 
breed ; and I request to know, if it is really 
so very necessary that a chancellor should be 
of the religion of the Church of England, 
how many chancellors you have had within 

LETTER X. 183 

the last century who have been bred up in 
the Presbyterian religion ? And again, how 
many you have had who notoriously have 
been without any religion at all ? 

Why are you to suppose that eligibility 
and election are the same thing, and that all 
the cabinet will be Catholics whenever all 
the cabinet may be Catholics ? You have a 
right, you say, to suppose an extreme case, 
and to argue upon it - so have I : and I will 
suppose that the hundred Irish members will 
one day come down in a body, and pass a law 
compelling the king to reside in Dublin. I 
will suppose that the Scotch members, by a 
similar stratagem, will lay England under a 
large contribution of meal and sulphur : no 
measure is without objection if you sweep 
the whole horizon for danger ; it is not suf- 
ficient to tell me of what may happen, but 
you must show me a rational probability that 
it will happen : after all, I might, contrary to 
my real opinion, admit all your dangers to 
exist ; it is enough for me to contend that 
all other dangers taken together are not equal 


to the danger of losing Ireland from dis- 
affection and invasion. 

I am astonished to see you, and many 
good and well-meaning clergymen beside you, 
painting the Catholics in such detestable co- 
lours ; two thirds, at least, of Europe are 
Catholics, they are Christians, though mis- 
taken Christians ; how can I possibly admit 
that any sect of Christians, and above all that 
the oldest and the most numerous sect of 
Christians, are incapable of fulfilling the com- 
mon duties and relations of life : though I do 
differ from them in many particulars, God 
forbid I should give such an handle to infi- 
delity, and subscribe to such a blasphemy 
against our common religion I 

Do you think mankind never change their 
opinions without formally expressing and 
confessing that change? When you quote 
the decisions of ancient Catholic councils, are 
you prepared to defend all the decrees of En- 
glish convocations and universities since the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth ? I could soon 
make you sick of your uncandid industry 

LETTER X. 185, 

against the Catholics, and bring you to allow 
that it is better to forget times past, and to 
judge and be judged by present opinions and 
present practice. 

I must beg to be excused from explaining 
and refuting all the mistakes about the Ca- 
tholics made by my Lord Redesdale ; and I 
must do that nobleman the justice to say, that 
he has been treated with great disrespect. 
Could any thing be more indecent than to 
make it a morning lounge in Dublin to call 
upon his lordship, and to cram him with Ara- 
bian-night stories about the Catholics ? Is 
this proper behaviour to the representative of 
Majesty, the child of Themis, and the keeper 
of the conscience in West Britain? Who- 
ever reads the Letters of the Catholic Bishops, 
in the Appendix to Sir John Hippesly's very 
sensible book, will see to what an excess this 
practice must have been carried with the 
pleasing and Protesant nobleman whose name 
I have mentioned, and from thence I wish 
you to receive your answer about excommu- 


nication, and all the trash which is talked 
against the Catholics, 

A sort of notion has, by some means or 
another, crept into the world, that difference 
of religion would render men unfit to perform 
together the offices of common and civil life : 
that Brother Wood and Brother Grose could 
not travel together the same circuit if they 
differed in creed, nor Cockell and Mingay be 
engaged in the same cause if Cockell was a 
Catholic and Mingay a Muggletonian. It is 
supposed that Huskisson and Sir Harry En- 
glefield would squabble behind the Speaker's 
chair about the Council of Lateran, and many 
a turnpike bill miscarry by the -sarcastical 
controversies of Mr. Hawkins Brown and Sir 
John Throckmorton upon the real presence. 
I wish I could see some of these symptoms of 
earnestness upon the subject of religion ; but 
it really seems to me that, in the present state 
of society, men no more think about inquiring 
concerning each other's faith than they do 
concerning the colour of each other's skins. 
There may have been times in England when 

LETTER X. 187 

the quarter sessions would have been disturbed 
by theological polemics: but now, after a 
Catholic justice had once been seen on the 
bench, and it had been clearly ascertained 
that he spoke English, had no tail, only a 
single row of teeth, and that he loved port 
wine, after all the scandalous and infamous 
reports of his physical conformation had been 
clearly proved to be false, he would be 
reckoned a jolly fellow, and very superior in 
flavour to a sly Presbyterian. Nothing, in 
fact, can be more uncandid and unphiloso- 
phical* than to say that a man has a tail,, 
because you cannot agree with him upon reli- 
gious subjects : it appears to be ludicrous, but 
I am convinced it has done infinite mischief 
to the Catholics, and made a very serious im- 
pression upon the minds of many gentlemen 
of large landed property. 

In talking of the impossibility of Catholic 
and Protestant living together with equal pri- 
vilege under the same government, do you 

* Vide Lord Bacon, Locke, and Descartes. 


forget the Cantons of Switzerland ? You 
might have seen there a Protestant congrega- 
tion going into a church which had just been 
quitted by a Catholic congregation : and I will 
venture to say that the Swiss Catholics were 
more bigoted to their religion than any people 
in the whole world. Did the kings of Prussia 
ever refuse to employ a Catholic ? Would 
Frederick the Great have rejected an able 
man on this account ? We have seen Prince 
Czartorinski a Catholic secretary of state in 
Russia : in former times, a Greek patriarch 
and an apostolic vicar acted together in the 
most perfect harmony in Venice ; and we have 
seen the Emperor of Germany in modern 
times entrusting the care of his person and 
the command of his guard to a Protestant 
Prince, Ferdinand of Wirtemberg. But what 
are all these things to Mr. Perceval ? He has 
looked at human nature from the top of 
Hampstead Hill, and has not a thought be- 
yond the little sphere of his own vision. 
" The snail," say the Hindoos, " sees nothing 

LETTER X. 189 

but its own shell, and thinks it the grandest 
palace in the universe." 

I now take a final leave of this subject of 
Ireland j the only difficulty in discussing it 
is a want of resistance, a want of something 
difficult to unravel, and something dark to 
illumine ; to agitate such a question is to beat 
the air with a club, and cut down gnats with 
a scimitar ; it is a prostitution of industry, 
and a waste of strength. If a man says I have 
a good place, and I do not choose to lose it, 
this mode of arguing upon the Catholic ques- 
tion I can well understand ; but that any 
human being with an understanding two de- 
grees elevated above that of an Anabaptist 
preacher, should conscientiously contend for 
the expediency and propriety of leaving the 
Irish Catholics in their present state, and of 
subjecting us to such tremendous peril in the 
present condition of the world, it is utterly 
out of my power to conceive. Such a mea- 
sure as the Catholic question is entirely beyond 
the common game of politics ; it is a measure 
in which all parties ought to acquiesce, in 


order to preserve the place where^ and the 
stake for which they play. If Ireland is gone, 
where are jobs ? where are reversions ? where 
is my brother, Lord Arden ? where are ray 
,dear and near relations? The game is up, 
and the Speaker of the House of Commons 
will be sent as a present to the menagerie at 
Paris. We talk of waiting from particular 
considerations, as if centuries of joy and pros- 
perity were before us : in the next ten years 
our fate must be decided; we shall know, 
long before that period, whether we ean bear 
,up against the miseries by which we are 
threatened, or not : and yet, in the very midst 
of our crisis, we are enjoined to abstain from 
the most certain means of increasing our 
strength, and advised to wait for the remedy 
till the disease is removed by death or health. 
And now, instead of the plain and manly 
policy of increasing unanimity at home, by 
equalising rights and privileges, what is the 
ignorant, arrogant, and wicked system which 
has been pursued ? Such a career of madness 
and of folly was, I believe, never run in so 

LETTER X. 191 

short a period. The vigour of the ministry is 
like the vigour of a grave-digger, the tomb 
becomes more ready and more wide for every 
effort which they make. There is nothing 
which it is worth while either to take or to 
retain, and a constant train of ruinous expe- 
ditions have been kept up. Every English- 
man felt proud of the integrity of his country : 
the character of the country is lost for ever. 
It is of the utmost consequence to a com- 
mercial people at war with the greatest part 
of Europe, that there should be a free entry 
of neutrals into the enemy's ports ; the neu- 
trals who carried our manufactures we have 
not only excluded, but we have compelled 
them to declare war against us. It was our 
interest to make a good peace, or convince 
our own people that it could not be obtained ; 
we have not made a peace, and we have con- 
vinced the people of nothing but of the arro- 
gance of the Foreign Secretary : and all this 
has taken place in the short space of a year, 
because a King's Bench barrister and a writer 
of epigrams, turned into ministers of state, 


were determined to show country gen- 
tlemen that the late administration had no 
vigour. In the mean time commerce stands 
still, manufactures perish, Ireland is more 
and more irritated, India is threatened, fresh 
taxes are accumulated upon the wretched 
people, the war is carried on without it being 
possible to conceive any one single object 
which a rational being can propose to himself 
by its continuation ; and in the midst of this 
unparalleled insanity we are told that the 
Continent is to be reconquered by the want 
of rhubarb and plums.* A better spirit 
than exists in the English people never existed 
in any people in the world ; it has been misdi- 
rected, and squandered upon party purposes 
in the most degrading and scandalous man- 
ner ; they have been led to believe that they 
were benefiting the commerce of England by 
destroying the commerce of America, that they 

* Even Allen Park Caccustomed as he has always been 
to be delighted by all administrations) says it is too bad ; 
and Hall and Morris are said to have actually blushed in 
one of the divisions. 

LETTER X. 193 

were defending their sovereign by perpe- 
tuating the bigoted oppression of their fellow- 
subject ; their rulers and their guides have 
told them that they would equal the vigour of 
France by equalling her atrocity; and they 
have gone on wasting that opulence, patience, 
and courage, which, if husbanded by prudent 
and moderate counsels, might have proved 
the salvation of mankind. The same policy 
of turning the good qualities of Englishmen 
to their own destruction, which made Mr. Pitt 
omnipotent, continues his power to those who 
resemble him only in his vices : advantage is 
taken of the loyalty of Englishmen to make 
them meanly submissive ; their piety is turned 
into persecution, their courage into useless 
and obstinate contention ; they are plundered 
because they are ready to pay, and soothed 
into asinine stupidity because they are full of 
virtuous patience. If England must perish at 
last, so let it be : that event is in the hands of 
God ; we must dry up our tears and submit. 
But that England should perish swindling and 
stealing ; that it should perish waging war 


against lazar-houses and hospitals j that it 
should perish persecuting with monastic bi- 
gotry ; that it should calmly give itself up to be 
ruined by the" flashy arrogance of one man, 
and the narrow fanaticism of another ; these 
events are within the power of human beings, 
and I did not think that the magnanimity of 
Englishmen would ever stoop to such degra- 

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