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For JUN E, 1781.
ART. I. The State and Behaviour of English Catholics, from the Reformation to the Year 1780; with a View of their prefent Number, Wealth, Character, &c. 8vo. 2s. 6d. Faulder.
HE Author of this liberal and well-written Pamphlet, is an English Catholic. He poffeffes a very confiderable fhare of information; and where he only states facts, or quotes authorities, we think he deferves credit. We are far from efpoufing that bigotted maxim of fome narrow-minded Proteftants, that a Papift, upon principle, is peculiarly difpofed to tell lies for the good of the church. But fuppofing we had adopted this ungenerous pofition, we should have authority fuperior to the mere word of this Author, and totally independent of it, to prove the facts to which he appeals. We speak not of those which lie open in the pages of hiftory; but of those which are fubjected to the evidence of our fenses. Here the. Author goes on fure ground; and if he were inclined, he would find himself unable, to deceive the Reader.
The first part of this fenfible and animated Tract, confifts of an hiftorical review of the state and behaviour of the Catholics, from the reign of Hen. VIII. to the year 1780-that memorable æra of faction, frenzy, and outrage!
From the following quotations, the difcerning Reader may be able to form a complete idea of the Author's political lentiments; in other words, his fyftem of civil convenience and accommodation.
Speaking of the conduct of the Catholics under the Ufurpation of Cromwell, he fays:
In the general body of the people, there ever remained a ftern fpirit of loyalty, which no threats or allurements could vanquish. Yet, by fome writers, the Catholics have been reprefented as defertVOL, LXIV.
ers from the caufe. It has been faid, they made their court to the Ufurper. It was the wifh, perhaps, of these men, to screen, if poffible, what they thought the wrong behaviour of fome of their own friends, by criminating the innocent. Even Clarendon very roundly infinuates the fame charge against the Catholics. I am confident he knew it was not fo; at least in an extenfive application: but it should feem, as if the noble Author were jealous that the praife of loyalty, of which himself had fo ample a fhare, fhould be given to a party whom he never liked. It is not from any romantic iteas of the virtues of loyalty that I fay this; for I really think, that Catholics, as matters then ftood, would have done well to have joined the Protector, had he given them certain affurances of fupport. They had experienced how little was to be expected from the bounty of kings: and befides, with the approbation of the major part of the nation, the Form of Government was altered; confequently the criminality of rebellion was done away. My views then in reprefenting the uniform adhesion of Catholics to King Charles, refts folely on the conviction of its truth. In other refpects, I am not afhamed to say, that the Government which is best inclined to give us protection, has the only right to demand our allegiance.'
The Author's fentiments of the Revolution are noble and generous; and fufficiently fhew, that his religious profeffion hath not leffened his veneration for the conftitution of his country.
Father Petre, a weak, but defigning Jefuit, appeared at the court of James the Second, and was fometime after fworn member of the Privy Council. An ambaffador extraordinary was fent to Rome, to lay at his Holiness's feet the King's fubmiffion, and to folicit a mitre and a Cardinal's hat for the brows of Petre Romans faw the folly of this precipitate condu&t: "Your King, faid they, should be excommunicated for thus attempting to overturn the small remains of Popery in England." A Nuncio was however fent; and he was received at Windfor with folemn pageantry. He then attempted to obtrude his Catholic minions on the Universities: This was oppofed with becoming refolution. A fecond declaration for liberty of confcience was iffued, with this particular injunction, that it should be read in all the churches. The bishops remontrated; they were fummoned before the Council; were fent to the Tower; were foon after tried-and acquitted. The resentment of the people was now raised to the utmost. The King began to fee the folly of his proceedings: he wished to call a parliament, and to effect that by conftitutional means, which he had vainly attempted by every stretch of his difpenfing power. It was now too late News was brought him, that William Prince of Oange was preparing a strong force to invade his territories. Difmayed and terrified, he now faw there was no redrefs, for he had forfeited all claim to the love of his fubjects. The Prince landed; and James for fook a throne, which he was unfit, and I think, unworthy to govern. When he first retired from London, the mob rofe, and destroyed every Catholic chapel in the city; nor was there a city in England in which they did not leave fome marks of their indignation.
Every attempt of James to fubvert the established religion, or rather to give toleration to Catholics (for this was all he then aimed
at), was attended with the moft glaring violation of the laws; and the powers he affumed of difpenfing with them without the confent of Parliament, broke afunder that facred compact by which the people are bound to their fovereign. He was no longer entitled to their allegiance. Every patriot fhould have voted for his expulfion. Kings are made for the people, and the laws of the realm are their only rule of conduct. When they violate these (it matters not under what pretence), they become tyrants. It was unfortunate for James to have been fo ill advised. The inclinations of his own mind, would not, I think, have hurried him on fo far. But wicked and defigning minifters, leagued with weak and infatuated priests, must at any time prove an over match for greater abilities than ever fell to the lot of a Stuart. The Catholics, as a body, merited not the reprehenfion I give to Petre and his affociates. They faw the wretched folly and the weak views of those bad advisers; and they condemned the precipitancy of measures which they knew could only terminate in their ruin. As must ever be the cafe with all men in a fimilar fituation; they wished to be relieved from oppreffion; but the undisturbed practice of their religion, with the enjoyment of fome few civil liberties, would have fatisfied their most fanguine defires. This I know from certain information: but, unhappily for them and for their defcendents, the voice of prudence and of cool religion was not attended to, whilft wild zeal and romantic piety were called in to fuggeft fchemes of folly, and to precipitate their
After a brief and general view of the state of Popery in this kingdom, from the Reformation to the present times, the Author just touches on the riots of the laft year, and after flightly contrafting the behaviour of the Catholics with that of their enemies, concludes the first part of this publication with obferving, that it matters not what all or any of that body (viz. of the Catholics) may have thought or practised in former times; nor does it regard us, what may now be the fentiments of Catholics in other countries; we with information with regard to thofe few only who actually live among us. The clamours of
a mob, or the declamatory difcourfes of ignorant, selfish, and bigotted men, deferve no attention; they muft ever deceive us : but in a cool and difpaffionate temper, we defire to receive fuch inftructions, as can only be fupplied by thofe who are themfelves Catholics, and who are thoroughly acquainted with the real state of that body now in England.'
The Author of these theets flatters himself he can give this information he was educated in an English college abroad; he has fince that, lived and converfed with people of all ranks in that perfuafion at home: he is himfelf a Catholic, and has long made the ftudy of their principles a ferious occupation; and from what hath been already delivered in the foregoing pages, he prefumes, his readers will not think him too much biaffed to his own party, or improperly warm in his reprefentation of men and things."
The fecond part of this work is entitled, a View of Eng lifh Catholics, Laity and Clergy; their Number, Wealth, Character, &c. in the prefent Year 1780.' This Part is both interesting and entertaining. The View, it contains, extends, not only to the objects specified in the Title, but to the abilities and talents; the political fentiments, religion, and rule of faith, of the English Catholics. It contains an examination of the various charges brought against them, particularly those which tend to affect their characters in a moral and civil light. It gives an account of the number and circumftances of the Catholic priests in this kingdom, and the conftitution of their religious focieties; their schools, both in England and in foreign countries; and their nunneries, in France and the Low Countries.
With respect to the number of Catholics in this kingdom, the Author declares, that from the best information that he was able to procure, it doth not at this day exceed 60,000; and even this number he fufpects to be beyond the mark. He obferves, that fome of the great trading towns are known to contain more inhabitants than the whole collective body of the English Catholics amounts to. In many counties (fays he) and particularly in the weft, in South Wales, and in fome of the mid-land counties there is fcarcely a Catholic to be found. This is eafily known, from the refidence of priests. After London, by far the greatest number is in Lancashire. In Staffordshire are a good many; as alfo in the northern counties of York, Durham, and Northumberland. Some of the manufacturing and trading towns, as Norwich, Manchefter, Liverpool, Wolverhampton, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, have chapels, which are rather crowded; but thefe conftitute the greatest part of the number I have just given to their respective counties. In a few towns, particularly at Coventry, their number, I find, is increased; but this by no means in proportion to the general increase of population in the fame places. Excepting in the towns, and out of Lancashire, the chief fituation of Catholics, is in the neighbourhood of the old families of that perfuafion. They are the fervants, or the children of fervants, who have married from thofe families, and who chufe to remain round the old manfion, for the conveniency of prayers, and because they hope to receive favour and affistance from their former mafters.'
Under the article of wealth the Author obferves, We have at this day, but eight peers, nineteen baronets, and about a hundred and fifty gentlemen of landed property. Among the first, the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Shrewsbury, and the Lords Arundel and Petre are in poffeffion of confiderable eftates. But the Earl of Surrey, the eldest and only fon of the Duke, having lately conformed, the large poffeffions of that ancient and noble family, will foon fall into Proteftant hands. The eldest fon* of Lord Tyneham hath also left
*Now Lord Tyneham, by the death of his father.
the religion of his father. Among the baronets are not more than three great eftates. Sir Thomas Gafcoigne has this year alfo taken the oath. Of the remaining commoners, with an exception of four or five, the greater part have not, on an average, more than one thoufand pounds per annum in landed property. Within this year alone we have loft more by the defection of the two mentioned Gentlemen, than we have gained by profelytes fince the Reformation. In trade very few fortunes have been made; and at this hour, there are not more than two Catholics of any note who are even engaged in mercantile business. The eldeft fons of our gentry never think of trade; and the younger children have feldom a fufficient fortune on which to ground any profpect of fuccefs. They, therefore, generally chufe to remain ufelefs and dependent beings among their relations and friends, or to eat a hardly earned bread in the service of fome foreign Prince. England, like a cruel ftep-mother, refuses to give them nourishment. Should America win the great ftake fhe now fo unjustly contends for [cautiously and artfully faid!] good policy will doubtless teach her to open her ports to all religions. Some few gain a decent livelihood by the profeffion of medicine, though in ftrictness of penal justice, they may not even be apothecaries: and others in the low walks of the Law.'
Under the article of Character, the ingenious Author sketches a ftrong outline of that of the Earl of S. Though truth might hold the pencil, yet we plainly perceive that refentment hath tinged the colour. From Nature (fays this Writer) he had received talents adequate to the greateft defigns; and to these talents he had given fome cultivation. But there is in him a caft, and a bizarreric, which must ever give a tinge to the faireft endowments. With abilities equal to the management of great public business, his best ambition mif-fpends itself in vain declamation against men and measures. He was always fond of oppofition: I knew him when a boy; and at that time, to thwart, if poffible, by petty controverfies, the views of his matters; to complain of undue influence; to magnify grievances; and to head a little band of malcontents were objects truly congenial with his humour. With a lefs reftlefs, lefs inconfiftent, and lefs diffipated mind (for diffipation has now greatly added to his native character), he would have mounted with ardor to the first place, at the head of a body of men to which his birth and his abilities called him. Here was a wide field for the difplay of the greatest talents. He might have given fplendor to the Catholic caufe; would have poffeffed their warmest affections, and might have asked relief for himself and for them, in a ftyle that would have commanded attention. If his foul was not large enough to have grafped at this high pre-eminence, and if from infenfibility to the impreffions of religion, his confcience is fincere, I blame him not that he has deferted the cause of his ancestors; but I pity an Earl of Surrey who can fink down to the paltry service of a party-declaimer in the Lower Houfe of Parliament.' The following reflection is no lefs juft than fevere and pointed: