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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 1

Note M

Note M.

We give the following extract from a journal already named, the "Tablet," to shew what are the opinions of even English Papists as to the degree of submission due to an Act of Parliament, till it has been endorsed by the Pope. The subject is, the New Colleges, which Pius IX. has condemned, and the writer, in his tone of insulting and triumphant derision, probably says more than he at first intended, or than he afterwards approved of:—

"Calm your perturbations, ye excellent individuals, and submit with decent page 42 dignity to the inevitable. It is even so. It must be so. It will be so yet more and more. You are only at the beginning of your perplexity. The Pope will speak more loudly than ever, and, what is more, he will be listened to. He will turn over your musty Acts of Parliament with finger and thumb, scrutinizing them with a most irreverent audacity; examining those which concern him, and when he has found these, rejecting some and tolerating others, with as much freedom as you use when you handle oranges in a shop, selecting the soft and sweet, and contemptuously rejecting the sour and rotten. And then, oh, dreadful thought! he will insist upon being obeyed. The very slates at Exeter Hall must erect themselves in horror at the bare thought of such a thing. What! the Bill was read three times in each House of Parliament—it was twice passed—engrossed on parchment—garnished with a waxen appendage by way of seal, and had over it pronounced, by Royal lips, the mysterious and creative fiat, La Reine le vent. The Queen wills it: her Lords will it: the Commons will it. What does it want to complete the perfect fashion of a law? Nothing of solemnity—nothing of force—which the Imperial sceptre of this kingdom could give is wanting to it. Bur, truly, it may want the sanction of religion. The Pope disdainfully snuffs at it: an Italian priest will have none of it: it trenches upon his rights, or rather upon his duties; it violates the integrity of those interests which he is set to guard: and therefore, Commons, Lords, Queen, wax, parchment and all, avail it very little. You may call it law, if you please; you may enter it on your roll; you may print it in the yearly volume of your statutes. But before long you will have to repeal or alter it, in order to procure the sanction of a foreign potentate, without which it has not in the end the value of a tenpenny nail."

After this a liberal Dissenter may well say, "Such language would really lead one to question whether any Roman Catholic deserves to be called a subject of Queen victoria, or can be a loyal citizen of any nation upon earth. The man who refuses to obey a law of his country, till a foreign potentate has had leisure to look over it, and is pleased to accord it his sanction, is manifestly an alien in the land where he resides."

With such evidence before their eyes, politicians still wonder that conciliation fails, and that the Roman Catholic Irish are turbulent and rebellious. If Oliver Cromwell were now alive, how would he treat such a missive as the above?

Macintosh, Printer, Great New-street, London.