The Protestant Reformation by William Cobbett -- LETTER XIII.



Kensington, 31st Oct., 1825.


376. AT the close of the last Letter, we saw a Dutchman invited over with an army to "settle" the kingdom; we saw the Dutch guards come to London and thrust out the English guards; we saw the King of England flee for his life, and take refuge in France, after his own army had been seduced to abandon him. The stage being now clear for the actors in this affair, we have now to see how they went to work, the manner of which we shall find as summary and as unceremonious as heart, however Protestant, could have possibly wished.

377. The King being gone, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London with a parcel of Common Councilmen, and such Lords and members of the late King Charles's Parliaments as chose to join them, went, in February 1688, without any authority from King, Parliament or people, and forming themselves into "a Convention," at Westminster, gave the Crown to William (who was a Dutchman) and his wife (who was a daughter of James, but who had a brother alive), and their posterity FOR EVER; made new oaths of allegiance for the people to take; enabled the new King to imprison, at pleasure, all whom he might suspect; banished, to ten miles from London, all Papists, or reputed Papists, and disarmed them all over the kingdom; gave the advowsons of Papists to the Universities; granted to their new Majesties excise duties, land-taxes and poll-taxes for the "necessary defence of the realm"; declared themselves to be the "Two Houses of Parliament as legally as if they had been summoned according to the usual form:" and this they called a "glorious Revolution," as we Protestants call it to this present day. After "Reformation" the second, and upon the restoration of CHARLES, the palaces and livings and other indestructible plunder, was restored to those from whom the "thorough godly" had taken it, except, however, to the Catholic Irish, who had fought for this King's father, who had suffered most cruelly for this King himself, and who were left still to be plundered by the "thorough godly," which is an instance of ingratitude such as, in no other case, has been witnessed in the world. However, there were, after the restoration, men enough to contend, that the episcopal palaces and other property, confiscated and granted away by the "'thorough godly," ought not to he touched; for that, if those grants were resumed, why not resume those of Henry VIII? Ay, why not indeed! Here was a question to put to the Church Clergy, and to the abbey-land owners! If nine hundred years of quiet possession, and Magna Charta at the back of it; if it were right to set these at nought for the sake of making only "a godly Reformation," why should not one hundred years of unquiet possession be set at nought for the sake of making "a thorough godly Reformation"? How did the Church Clergy answer this question? Why, Dr. HEYLIN, who was Rector of Alresford in Hampshire, and afterwards Dean of Westminster, who was a great enemy of the "thorough godly," though not much less an enemy of the Catholics, meets the question in this way, in the Address, at the head of his History of Reformation the First, where he says, "that there certainly must needs be a vast disproportion between such contracts, as were founded upon acts of Parliament, legally passed by the King's authority, with the consent and approbation of the three estates, and those which have no other ground but the bare votes, and orders, of both Houses only. By the same logic it might be contended, that the two Houses alone have authority to depose a king."

378. This Church Doctor died a little too soon; or, he would have seen, not two Houses of Parliament, but a Lord Mayor of London, a parcel of Common Councilmen, and such other persons as chose to join them, actually setting aside one King and putting another upon the throne, and without any authority from King, Parliament, or people; he would have heard this called "a glorious" thing; and, if he had lived to our day, he would have seen other equally "glorious" things grow directly out of it; and, that notwithstanding BLACKSTONE had told the Americans, that a "glorious" revolution was a thing never to be repeated, Doctor Heylin would have heard them repeating, as applied to George III., almost word for word, the charges which the "glorious" people preferred against James II., though. they, naughty Yankees, knew perfectly well, that, after the "glorious" affair, a King of England (being a Protestant) could "do no wrong!" The Doctor's book, written to justify the "Reformation," did, as PIERRE ORLEANS tells us, convert James II. and his first wife to the Catholic religion; but his preface, above quoted, did not succeed so well with Protestants.

879. We shall, in due time, see something of the COST of this "glorious" revolution to the people; but, first, seeing that this revolution and the exclusion acts which followed it were founded upon the principle, that the Catholic religion was incompatible with public freedom and justice, let us see what things this Catholic King had really done, and in what degree they were worse than things that had been and that have been done under Protestant sovereigns. As William and his Dutch army have been called our deliverers, let us see what it really was, after all, that they delivered the people from; and, here, happily, we have the statute-book to refer to, in which there still stands the list of charges, drawn up against this Catholic King. However, before we examine these charges, we ought, in common justice, to notice certain things that James did not do. He did not, as PROTESTANT EDWARD VI. had done, bring German troops into the country to enforce a change of religion; nor did he, like that young Saint, burn his starving subjects with a hot iron on the breast or on the forehead and make them wear chains as slaves, as a punishment for endeavouring to relieve their hunger by begging. He did not, as PROTESTANT BETSY had done, make use of whips, boring-irons, racks, gibbets, and ripping-knives to convert people to his faith; nor did he impose even any fines for this purpose but, on the contrary, put, as far as he was able, an end to all persecution on account of religion: oh! but, I am forgetting: for this we shall find amongst his Catholic crimes: yes, amongst the proofs of his being a determined and intolerant Popish tyrant! He did not as PROTESTANT BETSY had done, give monopolies to his court-minions, so as to make salt, for instance, which, in his day, was about fourpence a bushel, fourteen pounds a bushel, and thus go on, till, at last, the Parliament feared, as they did in the time of "good Bess," that there would be a monopoly even of bread. These were amongst the things which, being purely of Protestant birth, James, no doubt from "Catholic bigotry," did not do. And, now, let us come to the things which he really did, or, at least, which he was charged with having done.

380. Indictments do not generally come after judgment and execution; but, for some cause or other, the charges against James were postponed until the next year, when the crown had been actually given to the Dutchman and his wife. No matter: they came out at last; and there they stand, 12 in number, in Act 2, Sess. Wm. and M. chap. 2. We will take them one by one, bearing in mind, that they contained all that could even be said against this Popish King.

CHARGE I. "That he assumed and exercised a power of dispensing with and suspending laws, and the execution of laws, without consent of Parliament."-- That is to say, he did not enforce those cruel laws against conscientious Catholics, which had been enacted in former reigns. But, did not Betsy and her successor James I. dispense with, or suspend, laws, when they took a composition from recusants? Again, have we ourselves never seen any suspension of or dispensing with laws without consent of Parliament! Was there, and is there, no dispensing with the law, in employing foreign officers in the English army, and in granting pensions from the Crown to foreigners? And was there no suspension of the law, when the Bank stopped payment in 1797? And, did the Parliament give its assent to the causing of that stoppage? And, has it ever given its assent to the putting of foreigners in offices of trust, civil, or military, or to the granting of pensions from the Crown to foreigners? But, did James ever suspend the Habeas Corpus Act? Did his Secretaries of State ever imprison whom they pleased, in any gaol or dungeon that they pleased; let the captives out when they pleased? Ah! but what he and his Ministers did in this way (if they did any thing) was all done "without consent of Parliament;" and who is so destitute of discrimination as not to perceive the astonishing difference between a dungeon with consent of Parliament, and a dungeon without consent of Parliament!

CHARGE II. "That he committed and prosecuted divers worthy prelates, for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed powers." He prosecuted them as libellers, and they were acquitted. But he committed them before trial and conviction; and, why? because they refused to give bail. And they contended that it was tyranny in him to demand such bail! Oh, heavens! How many scores of persons have been imprisoned for a similar refusal, or for want of ability to give bail on a charge of libel, during the last eight years! Would not Mr. CLEMENT have been imprisoned, the other day only, if he had refused to give bail, not on a charge of libel on a King upon his throne, but on a Protestant professor of humanity? And, do not six ACTS, passed by a Parliament, from which tyrannical Catholics are so effectually excluded, declare to us free Protestants, that this has always been the law of the land! And, is that all? Oh, no! For we may now be banished for life not only for libelling a King on his throne, but for uttering anything that has a TENDENCY to bring either House of Parliament into contempt!

CHARGE III. "That he issued a commission for erecting a Court, called the Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes." Bless us! What! was this worse than "good Betsy's" real inquisition, under the same name? And, good God! have we no court of this sort now? And was not (no longer than about nine months ago) SARAH WALLIS (a labourer's wife of Hargrave in Norfolk), for having "brawled" in the churchyard, sentenced by this Court to pay 24l. 0s. 5d. costs; and was she not sent to gaol, for non-payment; and must she not have rotted in gaol, having not a shilling in the world, if humane persons had not stepped forward to enable her to get out by the Insolvent Act? And, cannot this Court now, agreeably to those of young Protestant Saint Edward's Acts, in virtue of which the above sentence was passed, condemn any one who attempts to fight in a church-yard, to have one ear cut off, and, if the offender "have no ears" (which speaks volumes as to the state of the people under PROTESTANT EDWARD) , then to be burnt with a hot iron in the cheek, and to be excommunicated besides? And, did not the revolution Protestants, who drew up the charges against James, leave this law in full force for our benefit?

CHARGE IV. "That he levied money for and to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, for other time, and in other manner, than was granted by Parliament.." It is not pretended that he levied more money than was granted; but he was not exact as to the time and manner. Did the Parliament grant Betsy the right to raise money by the sale of monopolies, by compositions with offenders, and by various other of her means? But did we not lately hear of the hop-duty payment being shifted from one year to an other? Doubtless, with wisdom and mercy; but I very much doubt of James's ever having, in this respect, deviated from strict law to a greater amount, seeing that his whole revenue did not exceed (taking the difference in the value of money into account) much above sixteen times the amount of a good year's hop duty.

CHARGE V. "That he kept a standing army, in time of peace, without consent of Parliament." Ah! without consent of Parliament, indeed! That was very wicked. There were only seven or eight thousand men, to be sure, and such a thing as a barrack had never been heard of. But, without consent of Parliament! Think of the vast difference between the prick of a bayonet coming without consent of Parliament, and that of one coming with such consent! This King's father had been dethroned and his head had been cut off by an army kept up with consent of Parliament, mind that, however. Whether there were, in the time of James, any such affairs as that at Manchester, on the memorable 16th of August, 1819, history is quite silent; nor are we told, whether any of James's priests enjoyed military half-pay; nor are we informed, whether he gave half-pay, or took it away, at his pleasure, and without any "consent of Parliament": so that, as to these matters, we have no means of making a comparison. We are in the same situation with regard to foreign armies; for we do not find any account whatever of James's having brought any into England, and especially of his having caused foreign generals to command even the English troops, militia and all, in whole districts of England.

CHARGE VI. "That he caused several good subjects," being Protestants, to be disarmed, at the same time that papists were both armed and employed contrary to law." SIX ACTS disarmed enough of the King's subjects: ay, but, then, these were not "good" ones; they wanted a reform of the House of Commons. And besides, there was "law" for this. And, if people will not see what a surprising difference there is between being disarmed by law and disarmed by proclamation, it really is useless to spend valuable Protestant breath upon them.

CHARGE VII, "That he violated the freedom of election of Members to serve in Parliament." Oh, monstrous! Ay, and "notorious as the sun at noonday!" Come up, shades of sainted Perceval and Castlereagh; come, voters of Sarum and Gatton; assemble, ye sons of purity of election, living and dead, and condemn this wicked King for having "violated the freedom of elections"! But, come, we must not suffer this matter to pass off in the way of joke. Protestant reader, do you think that this violating of "the freedom of elections for Members to serve in Parliament" was a crime in King James? He is not accused of having done all these things with his own tongue, pen, or hands; but with having done them with the aid of "divers wicked ministers and councillors." Well; but do you, my Protestant readers, think that this violation of the freedom of elections was a bad thing, and a proof of the wicked principles of Popery? If you do, take the following facts, which ought to have a place in a work like this, which truth and honour and justice demand to be recorded, and which I state as briefly as I possibly can. Know, then, and be it for ever remembered, THAT Catholics have been excluded from the throne for more than a hundred years: THAT they have been excluded from the English Parliament ever since the reign of Charles II., and from the Irish Parliament ever since the 22d year of George III.: THAT therefore, the throne and the Parliament were filled exclusively with Protestants in the year 1809: THAT in 1779, long and long after Catholics had been shut out of the English Parliament, the House of Commons resolved, "That it is HIGHLY CRIMINAL for any Minister or Ministers, or any other servant of the Crown in Great Britain, directly or indirectly, to make use of the power of his office, in order to influence the election of Members of Parliament, and that an attempt to exercise that influence is an attack upon the dignity, the honour, and the independence of Parliament, an infringement of the rights and the liberties of the people, and an attempt to sap the basis of our free and happy constitution."-- THAT, in 1809, Lord Castlereagh, a Minister and a Privy Councillor, having been charged before the House with having had something to do about bartering a seat in the House, the House on the 25th of April of that year, resolved, "That while it was the bounden duty of that House to maintain at all times a jealous guard upon its purity, and not to suffer any attempt upon its privileges to pass unnoticed, the attempt, in the present instance (that of Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Reding), not having been carried into effect, that House did not think it then necessary to proceed to any criminating resolutions respecting the same." -- THAT on the 11th of May, 1809 (only sixteen days after this last resolution was passed), WILLIAM MADOCKS, Member for Boston, made a charge in the following words, to wit: "I affirm, then, that Mr. DICK purchased a seat in the House of Commons, for the Borough of Cashel, through the agency of the Honourable Henry Wellesley, who acted for, and on behalf of, the Treasury; that, upon a recent question of the last importance, when Mr. DICK had determined to vote according to his conscience, the noble Lord, CASTLEREAGH, did intimate to that gentleman the necessity of either his voting with the Government, or resigning his seat in that House; and that Mr. DICK, sooner than vote against his principles, did make choice of the latter alternative, and vacate his seat accordingly; and that to this transaction, I charge the right honourable gentleman, Mr. PERCEVAL, as being privy, and having connived at it. This I engage to prove by witnesses at your bar, if the House will give me leave to call them." -- THAT, having made his charge, Mr. MADOCKS made a motion for INQUIRY into the matter;-- THAT, after a debate, the question was put to the vote: -- THAT there were three hundred and ninety-five Members in the House, all Protestants, mind:-- THAT (come up and hear it, you accusers of James and the Catholic religion!) there were EIGHTY-FIVE for an inquiry, and THREE HUNDRED AND TEN against it! -- THAT, this same PROTESTANT Parliament, did, in 1819, on the MOTION OF THAT VERY SAME LORD CASTLEREAGH, pass a law by which any of us may now be BANISHED FOR LIFE for publishing anything having a TENDENCY to bring THAT VERY HOUSE into CONTEMPT! -- THAT this LORD CASTLEREAGH was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.-- THAT he continued to be the leading Minister in the House of Commons (exclusively Protestant) until the close of the session of 1822, which took place on the 6th of August of that year.-- THAT, on the 12th of that same month of August, he cut his own throat, and killed himself, at North Cray, in Kent; that a coroner's jury declared him to have been insane, and that the evidence showed, that he had been insane for several weeks, though he had been the leader of the House up to the 6th of August, and though he was, at the moment when he killed himself, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and also temporary Secretary for the Home Department and that of the Colonies! -- THAT his body was buried in Westminster Abbey-church, mourned over by his colleagues, and that, as it was taken out of the hearse, a great assemblage of the people gave loud and long-continued cheers of exultation.

CHARGE VIII. "That he promoted prosecutions in the Court of King's Bench for matters and things cognizable only in Parliament; and that he did divers other arbitrary and unlawful things." That is to say, that he brought before a jury matters which the Parliament wished to keep to itself! Oh, naughty and arbitrary King! to have jury-trial for the deeds of Parliament-men instead of letting them try, themselves! As to the divers other such arbitrary things, they not being specified, we cannot say what they were.

CHARGE IX. "That he caused juries to be composed of partial, corrupt, and unqualified persons, who were not freeholders." Very bad, if true, of which, however, no proof, and no instance, is attempted to be given. One thing, at any rate, there were no special juries in those days. They, which are "appointed" by the Master of the Crown-office, came after Catholic Kings were abolished. But, not to mention that Protestant Betsy dispensed with juries altogether, when she pleased, and tried and punished even vagabonds and rioters by martial law, do we not now, in our own free and enlightened and liberal Protestant days, see many men transported for seven years WITHOUT ANY JURY AT ALL? Ay, and that, too, in numerous cases, only for being more than 15 minutes at a time out of their houses (which the law calls their castles) between sunset and sunrise? Ah! but this is with consent of Parliament! Oh! I had for gotten that. That's an answer.

CHARGE X. "That excessive bail hath" (by the Judges of course) "been required of persons committed in criminal cases, to elude the benefit of the laws made for the liberty of the subject."

CHARGE XI. "That excessive fines have been imposed, and illegal and cruel punishments inflicted."

CHARGE XII. "That he had made promises and grants of fines before conviction and judgment on the party."

381. I take these three charges together. As to fines and bail, look at Protestant Betsy's and Protestant James I.'s reigns. But, coming to our own times; I, for having expressed my indignation at the flogging of English local- militia men, in the heart of England, under a guard of German troops, was two years imprisoned in a felon's gaol, and, at the expiration of the time, had to pay a fine of a thousand pounds, and to give bail for SEVEN YEARS, myself in three thousand pounds, with two sureties in two thousand pounds each. The" Convention," who gave us the "Protestant Deliverer" does not cite any instances; but, while we cannot but allow, that the amiable lenity of our Protestant bail- works appeared most conspicuously, in 1822, in the 500l. bail taken of the Protestant Right Reverend Father in God, Percy Jocelyn, Bishop of Clogher, brother of the late and uncle of the present Earl of RODEN, which Protestant Bishop stood, on the oaths of seven witnesses, accused of (in conjunction with JOHN MOVELLY, a soldier of the Foot Guards in London) an unnatural offence, and which Protestant Bishop finally fled from trial; though our Protestant bail- works appeared so gentle and so amiable here, and exacted only a bail of five hundred pounds, with two sureties in two hundred pounds each, from a PROTESTANT BISHOP (charged, on the oaths of seven witnesses, with such an enormous offence), whose income had, for many years, been about twelve or fifteen thousand a year; though our Protestant bail-works appeared so amiable, so dove- like in this case, and also in the case of the Soldier (partner of the Bishop), from whom bail of 200l. with two sureties in 100l. each was taken, and the Soldier, who was at once let out of prison, did, in imitation of the Bishop, flee from trial, though he was an enlisted soldier, and though his regiment was stationed in London: -- That, while we cannot but allow, that our Protestant bail-works were characterised by gentleness and mildness in these memorable cases; yet they have not always been in the same dove-like mood; for, THAT, in the year 1811 , JAMES BYRNE, a Catholic, who had been. a coachman in the Jocelyn family, having asserted that this same Protestant Bishop attempted to commit an unnatural offence on him, the said James Byrne was imprisoned at once, before indictment, and was, from his prison, brought to trial as a criminal: -- THAT, at this trial, the Protestant Bishop aforesaid, declared on his OATH, that Byrne had charged him FALSELY: -- THAT Byrne was sentenced, for this alleged libel, proved on the oath of this Protestant Bishop, to be imprisoned in a felon's gaol for two years, to be three times publicly whipped, and, at the end of the two years, to give bail for life, in 500l. himself, with two sureties in 200l. each: -- THAT James Byrne was carried into the gaol, having been first flogged half to death: -- THAT, at the end of two years, Byrne lay several months more in gaol for want of sureties: -- THAT this Protestant Bishop was, at this time, Bishop of FERNS, and that he was, after this, promoted to be Bishop of CLOGHER, and made a Commissioner of the Board of Education. So that our Protestant bail-works have not always been so very gentle. Nay, if we were to look into our gaols, even at this moment, we might find a man who has hardly a penny in the world, whose crime was libel, who has a fine of 600l. to pay, who has more than 500l. bail to find, with two sureties FOR LIFE, whose period of imprisonment has expired years ago, and who may, not only possibly but probably, end his life in that gaol from inability to pay his fine and to find the requisite bail. Until, therefore, some zealous admirer of the "glorious Revolution" will be pleased to furnish us with something specific as to the bail and fines in James's reign, we ought, in prudence, to abstain from even any mention of this charge against the unfortunate King; for, to talk of them in too censorious a strain, may possibly receive a no very charitable interpretation. -- But there had been illegal and cruel punishments in his reign. What punishments? There had been no people burnt, there had been no racks, as there had been in the reigns of Protestants Betsy and James 1. Why, Sir John Cox Hippesley, in a petition to Parliament, a year or two ago, asserted that the tread-mill was "cruel and illegal." Yet it stands, and that, too, for very trifling offences. Sir John might be wrong; but this shows that there might also be two opinions about punishments in the time of James; and we have to lament that those who brought in "the deliverer" were so careless as to specify none of those instances, which might have enabled us to make, as to this matter, a comparison between a Catholic King and a Protestant one. -- But, he granted away fines before the conviction of the party. Indeed! What, then, we have, in our happy day, under a Protestant King, no fines granted before-hand to informers of any sort? Ah! but this is with consent of Parliament! I had forgotten that again. I am silenced!

382. These were the offences of King James; these were the grounds, as recorded in the statute-book of the "glorious Revolution," made, as" the same Act expresses, to "deliver this kingdom from Popery and arbitrary power, and to prevent the Protestant religion from being subverted;" and, seeing that this was immediately followed by a perpetual exclusion of Catholics, and those who should marry with Catholics, from the throne, it is clear that this was a revolution entirely Protestant, and that it was an event directly proceeding from the "Reformation." This being the case, I should now proceed to take a view of the consequences, and particularly of the costs of this grand change, which was "Reformation" the third. But there are still to notice some things, which lying history and vulgar prejudice urge against this unfortunate Catholic King, who has been asserted to have been the adviser of his late brother, in all those deeds which have been deemed wicked, and especially in the putting of Lord RUSSELL and ALGERNON SIDNEY to death for high treason.

383. Alas! how have we been deluded upon this subject! I used to look upon these as two murdered men. A compulsion to look into realities, and discard romance, has taught me the contrary. The Protestants were, in the reign of Charles II., continually hatching Popish plots, and, by contrivances the most diabolical, bringing innocent Catholics to the scaffold and the gibbet; and, in the course of these their proceedings, they were constantly denying the prerogative of the King to pardon, or to mitigate the punishment of, their victims. But, at last, the King got real proof of a Protestant plot! The King was ill, and a conspiracy was formed for setting aside his brother by force of arms, if the King should die. The King recovered, but the Protestant plot went on, The scheme was, to rise in arms against the Government, to pay and bring in an army of Protestants from Scotland, and, in short, to make now that sort of "Reformation" the third, which did not take place till, as we have seen, some years afterwards. In this Protestant plot, RUSSELL and SIDNEY were two great leaders. Russell did not attempt to deny that he had had a part in the conspiracy; his only complaint was, that the indictment was not agreeable to law; but, he was told, which was true, that it was perfectly agreeable to numerous precedents in cases of trials of Popish plotters! When brought to the place of execution, Russell did not deny his guilt, but did not explicitly confess it. That part of his sentence, which ordered his bowels to be ripped out, while he was yet alive, and his body to he quartered, was, at the intercession of his family, remitted by the King, who, in yielding to their prayer, cuttingly said, "My Lord Russell shall find, that I am possessed "of that prerogative, which, in the case of Lord Stafford, "he thought fit to deny me."

384. As to SIDNEY, he had been one of the leading men in the "thorough godly" work of the last reign, and had even been one of the Commissioners for trying Charles I. and bringing him to the block, though, it is said by his friends, he did not actually sit at the trial. At the restoration of Charles II., he had taken refuge abroad. But, having confessed the errors of his younger years, and promised to be loyal in future, this King, under the guidance of a Popish brother, pardoned him, great as his offences had been. Yet, after this, he conspired to destroy the Government of that King, or, at the very least, to set aside that brother, and this, too, observe, by force of arms, by open rebellion against the King who had pardoned him, and by plunging into all the horrors of another civil war of that country, which he had before assisted to desolate. If any man ever deserved an ignominious death, this SIDNEY deserved his. He did not deny, he could not deny, that the conspiracy had existed, and that he was one of its chiefs. He had no complaint but one, and that related to the evidence against him. There was only one parole witness, to his acts, and, in cases of high treason, the law of England required two. And, here it was that a blush might (if it were possible) have been raised upon the cheeks of these revilers of Popery; for, this very law, this law, which has saved the lives of so many innocent persons; this law which ought to engrave gratitude to its author on the heart of every Englishman; this law came from that very Popish QUEEN MARY, whom artful knaves have taught generations of thoughtless people to call "the bloody," while, too, she was the wife of, and had for coadjutor, that PHILIP II. whom to hold up as a sanguinary Popish tyrant has been a great object with all our base deluders.

385. Seeing, however, that SIDNEY had such a strong attachment to this Popish law, and that there really was but one witness against him; seeing that he could not bear the thought of dying without two witnesses against him, the Crown lawyers (all Protestants, mind, who had abjured the "damnable errors of Popery") contrived to accommodate him with a couple, by searching his drawers and making up a second witness out of his own papers! It was in vain, that he rested upon this flaw in the proceedings; all men knew that hundreds of Catholics had suffered death upon evidence slight, indeed, compared with that against him: men were not to be amused with this miserable special plea; and all men of sense and justice concurred in the opinion, that he received substantial justice, and no more.

386. So much for the "good old cause, for which Hampden died in the field and Sidney on the scaffold." What credulous creatures we have been; and who more so than myself! Ay, but these Protestant patriots on]y contemplated insurrection and the introduction of foreign armies. And with what more was O'QUIGLY charged, only about twenty seven years ago? With what more were the SHEARSES and Lord EDWARD FITZGERALD and WATT and DOWNIE and DESPARD, and scores of others charged? And were THISTLEWOOD, INGS, BRUNT and TIDD charged with more? Oh, no: but with a great deal less; and they suffered, not for compassing the death of the King, but of his Ministers, a crime made high treason, for the first time, in our own Protestant days, and by a Parliament from which tyrannical Popish people are wholly excluded. There was one KEILING, who, from a Protestant plotter, became an informer, and he, in order to fortify his own evidence, introduced his brother-in-law to the conspirators, in order to betray them, and bring them to justice. Well, but have we not had our CASTLESES, our OLIVERS and our EDWARDSES, and has not Mr. BROUGHAM said in the House of Commons, that while "there are such men as INGS in the world, there must be such men as EDWARDS "? However, no historian, Protestant as he may have been, enemy as he may have been of Charles's and James's memory, ever had the impudence to impute to either of them the having employed people to instigate others to commit acts of high treason, and then bringing those others to the block, while they rewarded the instigators.

387. It is said, and I think truly, that Charles II. was, at one time, in pecuniary treaty with the King of France, for the purpose of re-establishing the Catholic Church in England. Well, had he not as much right to do this, as Edward VI. had to bring over German troops to root out that ancient Church which had been established for 900 years, and which was guaranteed to the people by Magna Charta? And, if doing this by means of French troops were, intended by Charles, can that be complained of by those who approve of the bringing in of Dutch troops to "settle" the kingdom? After all, however, if it were such a deadly sin for a popishly-advised King of England to be in a pecuniary treaty with the King of France, which treaty neither King nor Catholics ever acted upon, what was it in the Protestant and Catholic-hating Sidney, and the younger Hampden and Armstrong and others to be real and bonâ fide and money-touching pensioners of that same King of France, which fact has become unquestionable from Dalrymple's Memoirs, page 315 of Appendix?

388. But, now, if James be to be loaded with all those which have been called the bad deeds of his brother's reign, we cannot, with common justice, refuse him the merit of the good deeds of that reign. This reign gave us, then, the Act of Habeas Corpus, which Blackstone calls "the second great charter of English liberty." There are many other acts of this reign, tending to secure the liberties and all the rights of the people; but, if there had been only this one Act, ought it not alone to have satisfied the people, that they had nothing to apprehend from a popishly-inclined King on the throne? Here these "Popish tyrants," Charles and James, gave up, at one stroke of the pen, at a single writing of Charles's name, all prerogatives enabling them, as their predecessors had been enabled, to put people into prison, and to keep them there in virtue of a mere warrant, or order, from a Minister. And, was this a proof of that arbitrary disposition, of which we hear them incessantly accused? We are always boasting about this famous act of Habeas Corpus: but, never have we the gratitude to observe, that it came from those against whom Russell and Sidney conspired, and the last of whom was finally driven from his palace by the Dutch guards, in 1688.

389. Then, again, was this act ever suspended during the reigns of these Popish kings? Never; not even for a single day. But, the moment the "glorious Revolution," or Reformation the third came, the Dutch "deliverer" was, by the Protestant "Convention," whose grand business it was to get rid of "arbitrary power"; the moment that this "glorious" affair had taken place, that moment was the Dutch "deliverer" authorised to put in prison, and to keep there, any Englishman that he or his Ministers might suspect! But, why talk of this? We ourselves have seen this "second great charter of English liberty" suspended for seven years at a time; and, besides this, we have seen the King and his Ministers authorised to imprison any one whom they chose to imprison, in any gaol that they chose, in any dungeon that they chose; to keep the imprisoned person from all communication with friends, wives, husbands, fathers, mothers and children; to prevent them from the use of pen, ink, paper and books; to deny them the right of being confronted with their accusers; to refuse them a specification of their offence and the names of their accusers; to put them out of prison (if alive) when they pleased, without any trial; and, at last, to hold them to bail for good behaviour, and that too, mind, still without stating to them the names of the witnesses against them, or even the nature of their offence! All this we have seen done in our own dear Protestant times, while our Parliament House and our pulpits ring with praises of the "glorious Revolution" that "delivered us from Popery and slavery."

390. There was another great thing, too, done in the reigns of these Popish kings; namely, the settling of the Provinces (now States) of America. Virginia had been attempted to be settled under "good Bess," by that unprincipled minion, Sir WALTER RALEIGH, who, in the next reign, lost, on the scaffold, that life which he ought to have lost thirty years before; but the attempt wholly failed. A little, and very little, was done, in the two succeeding reigns. It was not until that of Charles II. that charters and patents were granted, that property became real, and that consequent population and prosperity came. This was a great event; great in itself, and greater in its consequences, some of which consequences we have already felt, others we are now feeling, but others, and by far of greater moment, we have yet to feel.

391. All these fine colonies were made by this popishly-inclined King, and by his really Popish brother. Two of them, the Carolinas, take their name from the King himself; another, and now the greatest of all, New York, from the King's brother, who was duke of the city of that name in Old England. These were the men who planted these the finest and happiest colonies that the sun ever lighted and warmed. They were planted by these Popish people; from them, from their "mere motion," as the law calls it, came those charters and patents, without which those countries might, to this hour, have been little better than a wilderness. From these Popish kings the colonies came. By whom were they lost? Not by abused and calumniated Papists, at any rate. Our Popish ancestors had, at different times, made England mistress of different parts of France. Protestant Edward VI. lost Boulogne, and Protestant Betsy bartered away Calais and the county of Oye for 100,000 crowns, and thus put her Protestant seal to England's ever lasting expulsion from the Continent of Europe! After one more Protestant reign, inglorious beyond all example, came these two Popish kings, who planted countries which were more than a compensation for the European loss. Then came that " lorious" affair, and it furnished all those principles, by which, at the end of only about seventy years, this compensation was wrested from us; and not only this, but by which was created a power, a great maritime power, at the very name of which, affect what they may, Englishmen, once so high and daring, now grow pale.

392. We shall, before the close of the next Letter, and after we have taken a view of the torments inflicted on the Catholics (Irish and English) in the reigns of William, Anne, and the Georges, trace this "Reformation" the fourth, directly back to "Reformation" the third; we shall show, that, in spite of the fine reasoning of BLACKSTONE, the deeds of the "Convention" were things to be imitated; we shall find that the List of Charges against James, drawn up by the "Lord Mayor of London, Aldermen, Common-Councilmen, and others," was as handy in 1776 as it had. been in 1688; we shall find this Reformation the third producing, in its progress, that monster in legislation, that new and heretofore unheard-of species of tyranny, called Bills of Pains and Penalties, which are of pure Protestant origin; and we shall finally see, that this famous and "glorious" affair, all Protestant as it was, did, at last, bring, though it crossed the Atlantic to fetch it, that dawn of liberty, which the Catholics began to behold at the end of a night of cruel slavery, which had lasted for more than two hundred years. But, I must not even here, lest it should not occur to my mind again, omit to notice, and to request the reader to notice, that, of the above mentioned colonies, the only ones that wholly abstained from religious persecution, the only ones that, from the first settling, proclaimed complete religious liberty, were those granted by patent to the Duke of YORK (afterwards the Catholic James II.) to Lord BALTIMORE, a Catholic nobleman, and to WILLIAM PENN, who suffered long imprisonment for his adherence to this Popish King. We shall, by-and-by, find all the colonies cordially united in declaring the character of a Protestant King to be "marked by every act that may define a tyrant;" but, this much we know, at any rate, that the colonies granted to and settled by Catholics, and by PENN, an adherent of James, were the only ones that had, from first to last, proclaimed and strictly adhered to, complete freedom as to matters of religion; and that, too, after the Protestants, at home, had, for more than a hundred years, been most cruelly and unremittingly persecuting the Catholics.


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