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Rome became to you an object of distrust, dread, and execration. On the 17th of May, 1814 (I wish not to make useless repetition), you alarmed the House, as to the important points*, of the interference of the Crown in the nomination of Bishops, and the supervisións of rescripts from the Papal See, and also to a point of perhaps a graver nature, the society of Jesuits : And that the prelates described their meeting on February 23, 1810, as being held at Dublin in the 10th year of the Pontificate of the Holy Father Pius Vil.
On that same day you also contended (1), that « according to the
bull of Pope Ganganelli, all Christian countries, « whether Catholic or Protestant, must feel it their « interest to discountenance such institutions. All « Christian States had indeed manifested their sense « of this interest: and it behoved the Government « to look with peculiar care to the institution under « discussion. The Jesuits had always been found « a powerful means of influence, a formidable band « of intriguers, and he therefore would wish to « protect his country against the fiat of any Pope, « for the resurrection and re-organization of such « an order.»
You are frantic, and desperate, now that his Holiness has revived the order of Jesuits. On the 22d of November last, you called the attention of the House to the (2) « Papal rescript or bull for the « restoration of the Jesuits. A subject, which when « noticed by you, only by prospective on a former
occasion, had been treated with considerable le.« vity, though at the same time a Right Honorable « Gentleman now, absent on a diplomatic mission,
* Courier newspaper for 18th of May, 1814.
for same date.
« admitted, that the revival of the order in England « after its abolition in every Catholic State, would
be of a very alarming nature, if substantiated. « The presumed impossibility therefore of such a « revival, could be the only ground of its being so
lightly treated on a former occasion. The fact « however was no longer to be controverted. A « bull had appeared, authorizing the revival of the « order in every state, in the plenitude of its origi« nal institute. And you, Sir John, wished to draw « the attention of the House to this fact more parti« cularly in consequence of the misrepresentations, « that had gone forth on the subject.» Mr. F. Plowden, etc. Here you take occasion, of attempting, as far as in you lies, to set the auditors of your speech, and the readers of the reports of it in the newspapers, against purchasing and reading my History of Ireland. Your words, whose historic pages were more known by their bulk, than their accuracy, need no comment: every indifferent reader must necessarily understand by them, that in my history I had not only been generally incorrect, but that I had unfairly written a very diffused eulogy of the order, in which I had been educated. Now it has so happened, that in the three ponderous quarto volumes of my Historical Review of the State of Ireland, or in the five octavo volumes of my History of Ireland, from the reign of Henry II. to the Regency under George III. there is not a single word concerning the Jesuits. You cautiously refrain from informing the public, that the work, which contains a very diffused eulogy of the order, as you are pleased to denominate the loose observations upon the fathers of the society, which your
Catholic fears of them forced from me, contains a much more diffused detail of the manoeuvres of you, your instructors, and co-operators in the
great measure. It may be the wish and policy of each of you, gently to smother, and effectually to check the circulation of the Historical Letter to Sir John Cox Hippisley, no less, than the historic pages, which in many doubtful, dark, and important points, it settles, illustrates, and confirms. I give you moreover, Sir John, large credit for not being ambitious, that this portrait of you should be in the hands of many.
There must be something more, than meets the eye, at the bottom of your severe and repeated attacks upon me in the House of Commons. Although not spoken of me, I beg leave to claim the benefit of what fell from Sir John Newport, in the debate of the 17th of May. *It was wrong,
that persons, who had no means of defending themselves, should be animadverted upon in the consideration of a different topic. But I am to presume, that you, Sir, have not acted wrong in your place and duty in the House of Commons, or Mr. Speaker Abbott would have called you to order. This presumption leads to the obvious conclusion, that your animadversions upon me were not in consideration of a different topic. You really force me, Sir, malgré moi, to fancy myself of some consequence, when I find, that in the important debates upon
the great measure (the religious freedom or emancipation of above six millions of his Majesty's subjects), you have thrice selected me out of the whole population of the British empire (take it at eighteen millions), on whose devoted head you poured out a vial of your wrath. Now as your animadversions are confined to two topics only, I am driven to discover what parts of your motions they are connected with, in order to prove them not to be in
* Courier newspaper for May 19, 1914
consideration of different topics. First
take offence at, and as far as the thunderbolts of St. Stephen's vatican can reach, you anathematize the doctrines I have maintained concerning the construction of oaths (the old Jesuitical maximas your first bull of excommunication on the 17th of May announced; and finding, that it had been either misunderstood or misrepresented to the faithful by different publishers, you deemed the matter of such high import, as to issue a rider or supplementary observation, or explanation, on the 24th of that same month *. «In stating the circumstance « of the construction of an oath, as avowed by Mr. « Plowden (not Brown, as erroneously stated,) in « his History of Ireland, Sir John had also been
equally misrepresented. Mr. Plowden's con« struction was, that oaths were to be considered « as obligatory secundum intentionem jurantis et « non secundum intentionem imponentis. This « was represented also in many of the public
prints, to have applied generally as a Catholic
principle : whereas he expressly stated, that it « was opposed to the recorded opinions of the « soundest Roman Catholic Theologians, and their « most accredited Jurists, particularly naming St. « Isidore and Justinian, as well as Dr. Paley, and ri other writers of the Establishment.» or rather the principal ground of offence was, that I had written largely in praise of the society of the Jesuits (1), and that I had written a very diffused eulogy of the order, in which I had been educated (2). There needs no very subtle commentary to point out the intended, though fruitless
* Courier newspaper for 25th of May, 1814.
attempt to fix the whole body (in which I was educated with holding doctrines opposed to the recorded opinions of the soundest Roman Catholic Theologians, and their most accredited Jurists. What can this charge be relevant to, unless it be to the rescript or letter of Monsignor Quarantotti, which contains a comment upon oaths, as unintelligible to me as Sterne's Chapter on Noses ? I have already perhaps tired Sir John, and some other readers, with what I long since wished to have conveyed to the public thro' the columns of the Morning Chronicle, with reference to my differing upon this subject from Mr. Paley. This singular production now liés upon the table of the House of Commons under your motion, and as you have connected me with that motion, you will not think it extravagant or impertinent of me, to submit to you some loose thoughts upon its origin, composition, and effects*. Your inexorable offence at what little I have said about the society, from which I received my education, in my first Historical Letter to you, I unhesitatingly place to the account of those, from whom you received your Catholic fears of that body. Neither they, nor you, I fear, will ever cordially forgive me for having said to you
my first Historical Letter (1): « I merely infer, from a the progress
of the virus, with which I perceive « you infected ( since you have been pleased to « make yourself one of us ), that what a Richerist, « what a Jansenist, what a Quesnellist once was, « that you now are.» And-« Having detailed
* For the conveniency of the English readers, it is to be found with the authentic translation of it into English, in the Appendix No. II. (1) Page 99