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Catholics of England and Ireland

Brownson’s Quarterly Review for January, 1853

As far as we can judge, at this distance and with our very limited information, England is rapidly verifying the old saying, Quem Deus vult perdere, pius dementat. (Whom God wishes to destroy, he first dements.) She received from God, with the Catholic religion, a most excellent political and civil constitution; but she seems to be resolved on doing her best to destroy it. The so-called reformation in the sixteenth century, which followed close upon the destruction of the old nobility in the wars of the Roses, by uniting in the king both the temporal and spiritual sovereignty, disturbed the proper balance of the estates of the kingdom, and made once free and merry England, under the Tudors and the Stuarts, virtually an absolute monarchy; the rebellion in the seventeenth century, which beheaded Charles I, and the revolution which placed Dutch William on the throne, and more lately the elector of Hanover, unduly depressed the authority of the crown, threw too much power into the hands of the aristocracy, and converted the government into an oligarchy; the reform bill of 1832, and kindred measures which have since followed, have in turn broken the power of the aristocracy, given predominance to the commons, and subjected the government to the fluctuating interests and passions of the business population. A further change, which shall clear away both monarchy and aristocracy, and favor the British empire with a Jacobinical reign of terror, would seem to be only a question of time.

The reform bill established the supremacy of the commons, and introduced the elementary principle of democracy; the free trade policy, which Sir Robert Peel found himself unable to resist, places the nation under the control of the trading and manufacturing classes, to the serious detriment of the agricultural interests, and to the ruin or emigration of the rural population. To remedy the evils which necessarily follow, new political reforms are demanded, and these, if obtained, will demand others still, and thus on to the end of the chapter, because each new political reform will only aggravate the evil it was intended to cure. English statesmen have been applauded, and have applauded themselves, for the wisdom with which, during the convulsions of continental Europe, they have staved off revolution and civil war by well-timed concessions to popular demands; but concession to popular demands is a more temporizing policy, and a temporizing policy seldom fails in the end to be ruinous to every government that adopts it. It deprives it of the moral strength which is derived from fixed and determined principles, and reduces it to a mere creature of expediency. A struggle immediately commences between it and its subjects, - they to get all they can, and it to concede as little as possible,- in which they are sure to come off victorious at last. The fact that the government yields at all, is a concession that it holds its power rather by sufferance than right, and gives an air of justice to the popular demands against it.

The effects of the past policy of the British government may be seen in the uncertain movements of the present nominally conservative ministry. It is a ministry without any mind of its own. It lacks morality, it lacks principle, and seems to have no other plan of government than to keep itself in place. It has no high and commanding policy, no comprehensive or far-seeing statesmanship; and, in fact, does not rise above the lowest forms of mere temporary expediency. It sinks to the common Whig level, and even below it, and stands on par with our own Whig party, who seem long since to have abandoned all principle in order to be able to triumph over their democratic opponents. It seems prepared to accept with hardly a wry face, the free trade policy of Sir Robert Peel, which its members, when out of power, denounced as ruinous to the country. Whether the ministry could do otherwise and retain its place, may be a question; but they ought to be aware, that the adoption of that policy commits the government to a series of measures which cannot fail to subvert the British constitution, and they should leave to others the sad privilege of consummating the revolution. If they accept that policy, they must go further, grant a new reform bill involving the principle of universal suffrage, and change the commons from an estate to the people, or give way to the accession to power of Messrs. Cobden, Bright and Co.; and in either case they can only prepare the way for a democratic revolution, and consequently anarchy and military despotism.

Ministry seem to us to be hastening on this deplorable result,- deplorable for England, and of no advantage to us,- by their madness in renewing the old Protestant persecution of Catholics. Henry and his daughter Elizabeth, unhappily for their own country and the world, made England a Protestant state. The most shameful and barbarous persecution of Catholics preserved her as such down to 1829, when the Catholic relief bill, reluctantly conceded by Wellington and Peel, in order to avoid the horrors of a threatened civil war, changed her in principle from an exclusively Protestant state to a state professing no religion in particular, and leaving its subjects free to be of any religion they choose, providing it be nominally Christian. Great Britain then threw open the imperial parliament to Catholics, as she had already done to Dissenters, and recognized them as subjects and free citizens of the empire. In so doing, she made her Protestant church a monstrous anomaly on her constitution, and really committed herself to its annihilation as a state religion. A party resolutely opposed to it, strong enough in spite of its influence to recover their liberties as electors and senators, could have no disposition to sustain it, and could hardly prove unable, in the long run, to withdraw from it the support of the state. C’est le premier pas qui coute. They could more easily, after having gained admission into parliament, go further, and overthrow the establishment, than they could gain that admission itself. They could not be expected to stop with that achievement. Logical consistency, if nothing else, would require them to go further, and eliminate the anomaly from the constitution. The necessity of logical consistency might not, indeed, be strongly felt by the adherents of the establishment, who generally contrive to dispense with logic, and to utter much solemn cant about media via, or the middle way between truth and falsehood; but the party opposed, and whom this solemn cant only insults and disgusts, could not be stayed by so feeble a barrier. They must have consistency; either the consistency of dissent with the non-conformists, or the consistency of truth with the Catholic. In opening her parliament to Dissenters, and in signing the Catholic relief bill, Great Britain, whether she intended it or not, gave the death blow to the Anglican establishment. She committed herself to what was for her a new policy, and from whence she cannot henceforth retreat without shame and ruin. The Anglican establishment, or Church of England, it is well known, is a creature of the state. It was made by the crown and parliament; and now that the crown counts for little, and the royal prerogative yields to the majority of the house of commons, it is idle to suppose that a parliament in which Catholics and Dissenters have seats will not, sooner or later, exert its power to unmake it, especially since it is no longer in harmony with the other parts of the constitution.

The late ministry, probably for the purpose of breaking up the tenant league that was forming in Ireland and boding on good to Irish landlords, made a show in its ecclesiastical titles bill, of reestablishing Protestantism, and governing as if the state were still a Protestant state. Its successes threw it from place, and secured it the contempt of the Christian world. The Derby ministry, seeing the embarrassment the English and Irish Catholics might cause in carrying out such policy as they have, seem to be in earnest to restore deposed Protestantism, and to administer the government as if the Catholic relief bill had never been granted. This we regard as a proof of its madness. It is too late to threaten the disenfranchisement of Catholics, or to hope any thing from the state from the persecution of the church. Statutes may be passed against Catholics of the most oppressive nature, the old penal codes of England and Ireland may be revived in all their satanic rigor, but all in vain. England can never become again an exclusively Protestant state. The Catholic element in both England and Ireland is stronger than it was in 1829, when it was strong enough to force Wellington and Peel to concede emancipation, and graver consequences would follow the repeal of the Catholic relief bill than were apprehended from a refusal to grant it. Neither English or Irish Catholics are now the timid and depressed body they were then; they have a firmer and a bolder spirit, a higher and a more thoroughly Catholic tone; and are, in England at least, more numerous and better organized. They are cheered now with visible tokens of God’s grace. The Lord seems to have withdrawn the rod of chastisement for the present, and to permit his countenance once more to shine upon them. In the light of his countenance they rejoice and are strengthened. The day of their deliverance, and of his vengeance of their oppressors, is apparently nigh at hand. Persecution cannot now break their spirit; it will serve only to give them fresh courage and zeal, and to add daily to their numbers and influence; for the present seems to be one of those seasons when in the divine providence judgments are not delayed, and punishment follows close on the heels of the offence. This may be seen in the results of the late red-republican revolutions. They were got up and directed primarily against the church, the only solid basis of society, and they swept as a tornado over more than half of Europe. They have all failed, and their only notable result ahs been that of breaking the bonds with which infidel governments and paganized statesmen had bound the church, and giving her a freedom and independence of action she has hardly enjoyed before since the breaking out of the Protestant reformation. Even the republic of France, with General Cavaignac at its head, found itself obliged to send troops to restore the Holy Father, compelled by the very party that made that republic to fly from Rome.

It seems to us that the time for reviving the old persecution of Catholics is exceedingly ill chosen. Such persecution will naturally force Catholics to seek the means of self-defense. The ecclesiastical titles bill has destroyed their confidence in the Whigs, who can never again count on their support as a body. They never had much confidence in the Tories, and will certainly have less if the Tory ministry continues to persecute them. They will be driven, then, to unite with such as are opposed to both the Whigs and the Tories, and therefore with the Manchester politicians; that is, with a republican party. If you turn both crown and aristocracy against them, they will, however reluctantly, combine their force with the party from whom crown and aristocracy have nothing to hope, but much to fear. The accession to power of the Manchester school, commanding as it does the sympathies of both the people and government of this country, would be virtually the accession of democracy; and Great Britain cannot become a democracy without descending from her present proud eminence to the rank of a third or forth rate European power. Catholics are loyal and patriotic, and would not join with the party whose views are so hostile to the temporal interests of their country, without a severe struggle; but they do and must place their religion before their politics, and they know perfectly well that the prince who persecutes their church forfeits his right to their allegiance. Our obligation to obey the temporal ruler is restricted to obedience in those things which are not repugnant to the law of God, as interpreted by the Catholic Church. When the prince commands that which is contrary to that law, so interpreted, we are released from the obligation of obedience; for we must obey God rather than man. How, then, count on the support of Catholics for a government that persecutes them? Or not expect them to oppose such government by all means in their power not in themselves unjust? If the temporal interests of their country suffer by the course they adopt, let it be so. The church of God is more to them than country, and they can never hesitate to sacrifice the interests of the latter rather than the rights of the former, when you place them in a position in which they must sacrifice one or the other. You have no right to seek the temporal interests of the state at the expense of the interests of religion. If you do not, you will find Catholics among your most loyal and patriotic subjects; if you do, you must expect them to oppose you. You have no right to complain of them, for you, not they, are the party in the wrong. It seems to us, then, a very mad policy, in a professedly conservative British ministry, to force the Catholics of the empire into a union with radicals or democrats as the only means of securing the freedom of conscience.

Great Britain is, at the present moment, not only threatened with a democratic revolution, but also with a formidable foreign invasion. We have no doubt that Napoleon III wishes for peace, and will seek it, if by it he can effect his purposes; but we cannot suppose him afraid of war, placed, as he just has been, at the head of an empire whose chief recollections are of military glory. He not unlikely wishes to repair the defeat of Waterloo, and we cannot presume him unwilling to return at London the visit paid by the British troops to Paris in 1815. He appears to be preparing to return that visit, and the attempt to do so we can well believe would not be at all distasteful to the French army, or to the French people. Appearances certainly indicate that at no distant day the haughty island queen will be visited by a French army, and that she will have to fight, - not to annex new kingdoms to her Indian empire, not merely to save her distant colonies in Africa or America, but in defense of her own fireside, - against an enemy her equal in bravery, her superior in military science, and urged on by the enthusiasm of a new dynasty, the memories and rivalries, the victories and defeats, of seven hundred years. England’s insular position has saved her from being the theatre of the principal foreign wars in which she has been engaged; but we recollect no instance in her history, from Julius Caesar down to William Prince of Orange, in which she has been invaded, without being obliged to succumb to the invader. If the new French emperor should effect a landing on her shores, as it is thought he may without serious difficulty, she will find it no child’s play to prevent it from becoming another Norman conquest. She is strong, we grant, but she is also weak; strong abroad, in a war carried on at a distance, but weak at home, for her possessions are so scattered over the world, and require for their preservation such a dispersion of her forces, that she cannot concentrate her strength there in defense of herself. All commercial and manufacturing nations, however strong they may be abroad, when they can subsidize other powers, are always weak when attacked in their own center.

In this no improbable struggle is England to find friends and allies? Not with us, though allied to her by blood and language; for the great body of our people would far more willingly fight against than for her. And are only waiting a fair opportunity of measuring their strength with hers. Moreover, we have certain designs on Central America which she is the only power likely to thwart. She is also our most formidable rival in the markets of the world, and we shall be quite willing to find ourselves able to supplant her. We have now no secretary of state disposed to form an "Anglo-Saxon alliance," and are not likely to have one again for some time to come. Our cotton, and California gold mines, render us in the main independent of her money power, and able to withstand the shock of a conflict with her. She can find no friends or allies on the continent, if Napoleon takes ordinary care not to excite the apprehensions of his neighbors, and abandons the old French policy, so long and so fatally pursued, of humbling Austria. She has by her pride, her arrogance, her intermeddling with the affairs of her neighbors, her support of revolutionists, and her readiness to stir up rebellions in all the continental states, alienated from her all these states, unless perchance Sardinia; and there is not one of them that would not willingly see her fall, and utterly ruined, providing that it could be done without rendering France too formidable. If the new French emperor takes pains to give ample security on this head, he may count, in a war with Great Britain, on the sympathy of very nearly the whole world.

We do not say that Great Britain, in such a contest as we suppose, would be beaten, but we do say, that to sustain herself she would need the cordial and loyal support of her subjects. The Catholics constitute about one-third of the population of the United Kingdom. Can she afford, in the present juncture of affairs, to alienate the affections of so large a portion of her population? Can she dispense with their aid? Or can she, if she disfranchises and persecutes them for conscience’ sake, count on their support? Will Catholic Ireland, whom she hardly keeps tranquil by one-half of her regular army at home, consent to shed her blood in defense of her tyrant and persecutor? Ireland is indeed somewhat apt to disappoint the calculations of her friends, and by her internal divisions, or by often deceived hopes of conciliating a hostile government, to secure the triumph of her aggressors; but we can hardly believe that she will support in peace or war any ministry mad enough to attempt to deprive her of her religious freedom. The church is all that she has left of her ancient national greatness, and it is only in the independence of her church that she retains any vestige of her former national independence. Destroy the independence of her church, by subjecting it to the state, or even to the Catholic hierarchy of England, and you extinguish the last spark of her national life, annihilate the Irish as a distinct people, and absorb them in the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman population of the empire. That conquest, which you have in vain been trying for seven hundred years to complete, would then be consummated. Ireland lives only in the freedom and independence of her church of all authority save that of the Holy See. Her faith and piety, her strong national feeling, and her deep sense of wrong and insult, of unheard-of oppression, and unrelenting persecution continued for centuries, with all the malice, the cruelty, and cunning of hell, - as well as all her old Celtic memories, associations, and affections, - must indispose her to support a government that makes war on her church, and the most that you can hope the influence of her clergy will be able to effect will be to restrain her from acts of open hostility. There are, also, the Irish settled in England, to the number, it has been said, though we can hardly believe it, of three hundred thousand men able to bear arms. Can a ministry hostile to their religion, and determined to deprive them of the rights of conscience, count on their support, or even their neutrality? Will they shed their blood for the power that is gorged with the spoils of their church, that oppresses the land of their fathers, and deprives them of their dearest rights?

Great Britain is the main stay of the enemies of God and his Christ; she is drunk with the blood of martyrs; and in the approaching contest the prayers of two hundred millions of Catholics throughout the world will daily and hourly ascend for their defeat. Of English descent, a warm admirer of many traits in the character of Englishmen, speaking the English language for our mother tongue, and nurtured from early childhood in English literature, we have personally no hostility to England, and certainly should regret to see her become a French province; but we cannot deny that we should not grieve to see her humbled, for till she is humbled we cannot hope to see her return to the bosom of Catholic unity. She is and has been the bulwark of the Protestant rebellion against the church, and of all the nations that broke the unity of faith and discipline in the sixteenth century she has been the most cruel and barbarous in her treatment of Catholics. How, then, should we grieve to see her weeping in sackcloth and ashes her apostasy and cruelty to the people of God? Sorry are we that she needs punishment, but since need it she does, we cannot be sorry to see it inflicted, and warmer sympathy than ours she need expect from no Catholic heart. These prayers of Catholics she may, indeed, make light of, but they will not ascend in vain. They will be heard in heaven. Not nations any more than individuals can always go on sinning with impunity. They must at length fill up the measure of their iniquity, and when they have done it, vengeance is sure to overtake them, and they fall, to rise no more for ever.

Considering, therefore, the present temper and strength of the Catholics of the United Kingdom; considering that the country is threatened with a democratic revolution on the one hand, and with formidable foreign invasion on the other, we cannot but wonder at what seems to us the folly and madness, even in a political point of view, of the British ministry, in attempting to reestablish effete Protestantism, and to revive the old policy of penal enactments against the faithful members of the Catholic Church. We can account for such folly and madness only on the ground that the term of indulgence granted to this haughty island power has well-nigh expired, and that the day of her exemplary chastisement is at hand. To us the statesmen of England seem struck with a preternatural blindness.

The Quarterly Review for last October, in its article on Parliamentary Prospects, shows even more alarm than virulence. It appears to be fully conscious of the critical state of the ministry, if not of the empire. It sees very clearly the embarrassment the Catholics of England, and especially of Ireland, may produce by their determination, partially carried into effect in the recent elections, to use their political power as electors and senators to force the government to repeal the acts repugnant to their religious freedom, and it seeks to arrest their action, well knowing their scrupulous fidelity to their oaths and engagements, by pretending that in so using their power they are violating the declaration and oaths on the strength of which the Catholic relief bill was granted. It assumes that their determination is an act of aggression on the Protestant constitution and the church as by law established, which they had sworn not to disturb, and makes out what appears at first sight rather an awkward case against them. But who cannot make out a strong case when he is free to invent premises to suit a foregone conclusion?

It is not our province to criticize the declarations and oaths cited by the reviewer. We presume them to be such as a Catholic can take without heresy or schism, otherwise they would have been condemned by authority; but, we say ourselves, personally, that we should be hung, drawn, and quartered before we would subscribe to them. Our Catholic friends, no doubt, deemed them not only allowable, but also prudent; and they may have judged wisely. We, however, are no friend to liberal concessions of what is not our own, and we regard it always as highly imprudent even to appear to restrict the power or province of the papacy in favor of the secular government. The arguments of our London contemporary only confirm us in this opinion. When hard pressed, men naturally concede every thing that they can in conscience, and if we cannot approve, we can at least excuse them; but the concessions they make seldom fail in the long run to return to their serious embarrassment. They narrow the ground we stand on, and if they leave us less to defend, they leave us less with which to defend it. When the question is an open one, we always prefer the higher and more comprehensive view as the more politic. It is sure to prove so in the end, whatever it may be for the moment. We have an invincible love for freedom, for that freedom which none but a Catholic can enjoy, or even understand; and we can never consent to give up one iota of it to Caesar, let him storm and threaten as he may. His storming and threatening never frighten us, for we know that he has no power to harm us. He may bind or torture our body; he may hang, behead, burn, or cast it to the wild beasts to be torn and devoured; but that is no injury to us. It is rather a benefit, nay, the greatest possible favor to us, if we remain steadfast in the faith and charity of the Gospel. So we always make it a point to defend even to the last the most distant outworks of the church, sure that we have yielded too much of we have permitted the enemy to attack us in the citadel, although we know that to be impregnable.

The tendency of English Catholics, as well before as at the period of the so-called reformation, was to regard the pope as an Italian potentate, rather than as their own chief, and to restrict, as much as possible without falling into absolute heresy or schism, the papal authority in favor of the temporal sovereign. Indeed, what is termed Gallicanism might with far more propriety be called Anglicanism, for France borrowed it from England, as she subsequently borrowed from her her deism, incredulity, and sensist or sensualistic philosophy. This tendency prepared the way for Protestantism in England, as it did subsequently for infidelity and Jacobinism in France. The English Catholics cherished it, after the reformation, not only as in accordance with their national traditions, but as likely to render them less offensive to a Protestant government. Protestantism, is simply the assertion of the supremacy of the temporal over the spiritual; consequently, Catholicity, which asserts, the precise contrary, must be regarded by the Protestant sovereign as high treason. It necessarily denies the royal supremacy, and Catholics in England, for a long series of years, were charged with treason, arrested and executed as traitors, simply because they were Catholics. It is not strange, then, that English Catholics should have sought to stay the hand of persecution by professions of loyalty, by disclaiming as far as they could their obligation to obey the sovereign pontiff, and asserting in very strong terms their subjection to the temporal prince. They seem to have imagined, that all that was needed to put a stop to the persecution they suffered was to prove that they could, as Catholics, be loyal subjects of a non-Catholic sovereign; and they went so far in the way of proving this as to support their prince against their spiritual father, as, for instance, under St. Pius V and Sixtus Quintus. Hence we find, even down to the period of the Catholic emancipation, English Catholics generally asserted the independence of temporal sovereigns; and in the spirit of a miserable Gallicanism, which, as we have elsewhere shown, conceals the germs of political atheism, they drew up or accepted the declaration and oaths cited by the Quarterly Review as the condition on which the Catholic relief bill was conceded.

But the concessions of the English Catholics to the temporal prince did not save them from persecution; they were still fined, imprisoned, exiled, outlawed, beheaded, or hung, drawn, and quartered, and their concessions seem to have served no other purpose than to deprive them of the merit of confessors and martyrs. They were left with such a weak and sickly Catholicity as could not sustain them, and persecution, instead of strengthening them, as in the primitive ages, well-nigh exterminated them. The church is built on Peter, and those who love not Peter always wilt away before persecution. Latterly, English and Irish Catholics – for even Irish Catholics, after the establishment of Maynooth College, became infected with the same spirit – appear to have discovered this, and a striking change has come over them, which gives them fresh life and vigor. There are propositions in the illustrious Dr. Doyle’s evidence before parliament, which few Catholics in England or Ireland today would accept without important modifications. English and Irish Catholics have returned with renewed affection to Rome, and have drawn closer the bands which bind them to the chair of Peter. The pope is not for them now a foreign potentate; he is their chief, their loving father, to whom they wish to comport themselves as dutiful, submissive, and loving children. Hence their recent prosperity, and the great accession which has been made to their strength. The curse of leanness with which the English Catholics seem for so many ages to have been struck for their distrust of the papacy, their coldness to Peter, and their servility to the temporal power, seems to have been at length revoked, and we know no country in which Catholicity is more healthy, vigorous, or flourishing, than the noble old land of our forefathers. The secret of this change is, we firmly believe, in the fact that British Catholics are becoming hearty, uncompromising papists. Hence the alarm of Protestants.

The Protestant ascendancy, after the extinction of the house of Stuart, and of all pretenders to the crown to the prejudice of the present reigning family, came to the conclusion, that it had no longer any plausible pretext for maintaining the disabilities of Catholics, as it could have no fears of such Catholics as were content to subscribe to the four articles accepted by the French clergy in 1682. protestants know precisely well that Catholics of that stamp are quite harmless to them, that they make few converts, have no dangerous zeal, and will seldom, in case of conflict, hesitate to support the temporal authority against the spiritual. They may think them very silly, from a mere point of honor, to adhere to an old and proscribed religion, wholly incompatible with the light and spirit of the modern world; but upon the whole they think them, though a fantastic, a very good sort of people, not much inferior to Protestants themselves, at least not at all more dangerous to the state. But their feelings are very different toward the bold, energetic, and uncompromising papist, who asserts, without any reticence or circumlocution, that the spiritual order is supreme in all things, and that princes as well as subjects are bound to obey the law of God, and, if Catholics, are bound to obey that law as interpreted by the Roman Catholic Church, especially as interpreted by the pope, her supreme pastor. Catholics of this stamp they respect, indeed, but dread, because they are evidently in earnest, and present Catholicity in the sense in which it is the precise contradictory of the essential principle of Protestantism.

The pretence of the reviewer, that Catholics violated the conditions on which emancipation was conceded, is unfounded. It is a mere pretext. The real thing that he wishes to oppose is this free, fearless, hearty, and vigorous Catholicity; for he knows that this is a Catholicity that does and will march from victory to victory, and that wherever it plants its foot Protestantism must disappear. The real aim of the Quarterly is to weaken the power of Catholics, by sowing divisions in their ranks, and frightening them out of this high-toned papal Catholicity. What it means to tell us is, that it was the low-toned Gallicanism which the relief bill emancipated, not the high and uncompromising ultramontanism in which English and Irish Catholics now glory, and therefore that in exchanging the former for the latter they have broken their engagements. He will not succeed. There are, no doubt, in England and Ireland, as well as in this country, some timid Catholics who retain their old prejudices, and who would feel themselves insulted if called papists. These may think such Catholics as Cardinal Wiseman and the archbishop of Dublin, with their true Roman spirit, are pushing matters too fast and too far; but though at times seemingly half prepared to give up Peter for Caesar, they are after all Catholics, and will follow those whom they would never have the pluck to lead. They may grumble a little, but they will remain united with their brethren. As for frightening the others back into the Catholicity of the Gallican school, that is simply out of the question. They love, as well as obey, Rome. They know she is the center of unity, and that the closer their union with her, and the deeper and more unreserved their submission to the Holy Father, the fresher, the more vigorous, and the more inexhaustible their Catholic life. They are and will be Roman Catholics. Both the English and Irish hierarchies are strongly attached to Rome, and will remain so, both from principle and affection; and all the more firmly attached, the more violent the persecution they have to suffer from the ministry. The pastors will follow Peter and the flocks their pastors. There are not many Norfolks, Beaumonts, and Ansteys, thank God, remaining in the British Isles, and the few there may be are of no account, for they can find sympathy only in the ranks of Anglicans, where, after all, they are despised.

This change, on which we congratulate our transatlantic brethren, does not in the least violate the conditions on which the Catholic relief bill was granted, for it must be presumed to have been a contingency foreseen and accepted by the government. The government may have hoped, and even believed, that English and Irish Catholics would, as a matter of fact, remain Gallican, but it knew that neither it nor any declarations of English or Irish bishops could bind them to remain so, because it knew that the ultimate authority in the case is Rome, not the national bishops, and that no declarations of the latter could bind, against the approbation, or even permission, of the Roman pontiff. Ultramontanism, as it is called, if not precisely of faith, is yet, as all the world knows, not only permitted, but favored by Rome, as the very name implies, and no Catholic can be forbidden to hold it, or censured for insisting on it. The government could not, therefore, grant Catholic emancipation without conceding to every Catholic the right to hold and insist on it if he chose. The whole question is a domestic question, with which those outside have nothing to do. To them ultramontanes and Gallicans are alike Catholics, and Catholic relief necessarily implies the relief of the one class as much as of the other. The attempt of the Quarterly to prove that Catholics have violated the conditions on which the relief bill was granted, because they do not in all respects coincide with the views set forth in certain declarations made at the time the question was under discussion, fails, because those declarations were not put forth by the highest Catholic authority, and because, if they were put forth by any authority, it was by an authority which the government knew was subordinate to another, which might at any moment reverse its decisions.

But passing over this we meet the Quarterly Review on its own ground. Even supposing the Catholics of England are not acting now in accordance with the conditions on which the relief bill was granted, they cannot be censured. Suppose they are using the political power accorded them by that bill to disturb the Protestant establishment, the government has not a word to say against them; because, sine that establishment is only a creature of the civil government, they are only exercising their rights as freemen and British subjects in disturbing it, and because the government has been the first to violate its engagements towards them. The conditions on which the relief bill was granted contained reciprocal engagements, and bound the government to Catholics, as well as Catholics to the government. It promised them the free profession and exercise of their religion, and they in turn promised it, by oath if you will, in consideration of this freedom, to use no political power which they might acquire by emancipation to disturb either the Protestant settlement or the Protestant establishment. We need not tell the reviewer, that the breach of the contract with the one party releases the other; for he assumes it throughout his argument, and on the strength of it seeks to justify the government in reenacting the civil disabilities of Catholics. Now the government has been the first to break its faith, and in its ecclesiastical titles bill it has violated the promise of freedom to Catholics; for that act is incompatible with the free exercise of their religion. The act of Catholics which called forth that bill was no violation of their engagements, declarations, or oaths; for it was authorized by the act of 1829, which granted them religious freedom, and it was in contravention of no law of the realm, as is evident from the fact, that it was necessary to pass a new law to meet the case. The government, having by this act broken the compact, by its own act released Catholics from their obligation to keep it, and threw them back on their rights as freemen and British subjects, and left them necessarily the same right to use their political power against the establishment, that others have to use theirs in its favor. No party can stand on its own wrong. The wrong of the government released the Catholics from all their special; obligations, and however they may use their power against the establishment, it cannot complain.

The truth of the case, however, is, that Catholics are not doing what they are accused of doing, or any thing really incompatible with their declarations and oaths. The government in the ecclesiastical tiles bill has declared the profession and exercise of their religion illegal in the United Kingdom, and they have merely combined, in their own defense, to use what political power they have, in a legal way, to get that bill repealed, and the freedom of their religion acknowledged. That is, they seek by legal means to defend and secure the freedom understood to be conceded by the relief bill of 1829. This is the simple fact in the case, and we should like to know what there is in this which conflicts with any engagement they have entered into. No Catholic in the realm dreams of disturbing the Protestant settlement, or disputing the right of the present reigning family to the crown; and no one, as far as we have seen, proposes by any political or legislative action to destroy the Anglican Church, if church it can be called. The oath taken by Catholic electors and senators binds them to be loyal subjects of the queen, but it does not bind them to use their political power to uphold the church establishment, or forbid them to withdraw from it the patronage of the state. Catholics as members of parliament have the same rights as any other members have; they sit there on terms of perfect equality with the rest, and nobody can pretend that it is not competent for parliament, if it sees fit, to withdraw all support from the establishment, and sever all connection between it and the state. There is a difference between not using a power to disturb, and using it to sustain, the Anglican Church. To the former a Catholic might, perhaps, under peculiar circumstances, lawfully pledge himself; to the latter he could not, for he can never pledge himself to sustain a false church without forswearing his own.

In any light, therefore, that we choose to consider it, the complaint brought against English or Irish Catholics are unfounded, and they are made only for the purpose of diverting attention from the just complaints which Catholics themselves make. The Quarterly only renews the old Protestant trick, that of wronging Catholics, and pretending that it is Catholics who have wronged Protestants; of provoking Catholics by gross injustice to acts of self-defense, and then turning round and accusing them of breaking the peace. The trick has been repeated too often and has become rather stale. As far as we can see, our English and Irish brethren are only using their political power in their own defense, and we are right thankful that they have the spirit and the energy to do it. They and we are one body; their lot is our lot, and their victory or defeat is victory or defeat for us. One of the members cannot suffer but the whole body suffers with it. They have their "Irish Brigrade" in parliament, and we trust it will lack neither courage nor firmness, neither ardor nor unanimity, and that it will steadily and unitedly oppose every ministry that refuses to repeal the ecclesiastical titles bill, and to guarantee to Catholics full and unrestricted freedom to profess and practice their religion, in all fidelity and submission to their spiritual chief. We expect this from the "Irish Brigade," for their sakes and our own. This much they owe to the Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland and of the world. We hope they will make the Catholic question their first object, to be postponed or subordinated to no other, for the rights and interests of the church, though politicians are apt to forget it, are paramount to all others, and in securing them all others are virtually secured. These secured, it will be easy to carry such measures of temporal relief as may be necessary; for the merit of securing these will secure the blessing of God, and his assistance. The children of this world are wiser in their day and generation than the children of light; but this need not discourage us, for the folly of the children of light is wiser than the wisdom of the world. God has a voice in human affairs, and takes care that it shall always be seen that his cause does not stand in human wisdom or in human virtue. Whoever would wish to prosper in that cause must rely on him, and not on himself. Prayer is better than numbers or strength. We presume our friends of the "Brigade" know this, and therefore we count on their success.

The prospect for England is not bright, but what is to be her fate we know not. We owe her no personal enmity, and we wish her well. But she has sinned greatly, and has a long account to settle. There are many in heaven and on earth that cry out, "How long, O Lord, how long?" her ages of misrule in Ireland, and the multiplied wrongs which she has inflicted upon the worm-hearted Irish people, her long-continued persecution of Catholics, and the blood of the saints red yet on her hand, all are registered against her, and demand vengeance, and, if there be justice in heaven, will obtain it. She did a noble deed in receiving and cherishing the exiled French clergy, and in reward she ahs had the offer of returning to the bosom of the Catholic unity. Many of her choicest children have heard the offer, and have returned. The Catholic world is praying for her conversion. If she listens to the offer, and returns to her old faith, once her glory, and to which she is indebted for all that is noble or useful in her institutions, she may hope for pardon; but if she remains obstinate and deaf, if she continues to be puffed up with pride, trusting in her own wisdom and strength, in the multitude of her ships, her merchandise, and her riches, let her reflect on the fate of Tyre, the haughty Island Queen of antiquity, or at least of the once brilliant spouse of the Adriatic, now the humble slave of the Austrian Kaiser.