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ment shall settle that doubt, I can assure my honourable friend and the House, that no step will be taken by her Majesty's Government which can by possibility be impugned as contravening the law.'-Debates, 10th December.
This profound respect for the laws against Popery, and for even a doubt about those laws, is no doubt very edifying; but it seems to us a somewhat strange instance of forgetfulness in Lord Palmerston, of what his two principal colleagues—and we suppose with his concurrence—had been doing for the last three months. Is the law prohibiting intercourse with the Court of Rome more clear than that which excluded Jews from Parliament? and yet Lord John Russell did not wait for the repeal before he had committed himself to a flagrant breach of it. Is the law against holding diplomatic intercourse with Rome so clear, so strong, or so recent, as that domestic law-part of the emancipation bargain—which prohibits Popish prelates from assuming the titles of Protestant sees? Yet the respect of Lord Clarendon and Lord John for the existing law, did not prevent them from sanctioning -the first with compliments, and the latter by acquiescencethe illegal usurpation of these titles. Thus, a law, plain, clear, not twenty years old, is a cobweb—while another, obsolete, of doubtful, and, as Lord Palmerston believes, of mistaken construction, is an adamantine chain. How can a Government that exhibits such laxity, both of statement and principle, expect to receive credit or to command respect ?
As to the difficulty stated by Lord Palmerston to have been raised on the legal meaning of the word communion,' in the Bill of Rights, we presume that his Lordship, who of course has carefully considered every part of this important case, must be correct in saying that there are grave doubts about it; but we are at loss to guess how or from whom they could have arisen. The word communion,' and the corresponding expression of being 'reconciled to the see of Rome,' obviously do and can mean nothing but religious communion and religious reconcilement. We ourselves know of nothing to interfere with a diplomatic communication to Rome : there are obsolete statutes, 5 Eliz. c. 1, and 13 Eliz. c. 5, which make it high treason to receive any bulls, writings, or instruments whatsoever; but none of those early Acts had or could have any view or intention of limiting the royal authority in diplomatic relations, and even with respect to the object they really had, to prevent spiritual intercourse between the Pope and the English papists, they are notoriously a dead letter. And if it be said that the long lapse of time during which we have not had diplomatic relations with Rome is a proof of its illegality, we have to observe, that from the beginning of the modern system of diplomacy throughout Europe till the death of Cardinal York the Court of
Rome bad not ceased to acknowledge a Pretender; and that therefore such intercourse was impossible. The impeachment of Lord Castlemaine in 1689 for having, in the reign of James II., 1683, gone as ambassador to Rome, is relied on as authority of the state of the law even before the Revolution; but that case goes clearly, and indeed irresistibly, the other way: for, in the first place, impeachment is no conviction; but secondly, it is evident the impeachment on that score was abandoned. When Lord Castlemaine was brought to the bar of the House of Commons, the Speaker addressed him in these words :
"My Lord,—The House having understood that you went ambassador to Rome, and also took your place at the Board as a Privy Councillor, without taking the oaths—which are great crimes and against law-they have sent for you to know what you have to say for yourself.'
Lord Castlemaine made a long speech on many topics, which we need not notice; but to the point of the embassy he replies that he never heard of any law against, nor knew of any to this very day.' He then proceeded
Besides, Mr. Speaker, as I know no law that forbad my obedience, 80 I must needs say (and this without cramping or putting any bounds to the legislative power) that no such law can be made; for, Sir, the Pope is a very considerable temporal prince, whose territories border on two seas, the Mediterranean and Adriatic. If, then, our merchants should be by storm or other necessities driven into his ports, if Englishmen should be surprised by any Roman party as they travel in a neighbouring country, shall our Government (not to mention a hundred greater accidents) want power to send a messenger to ransom or compound for them? What law, therefore, was ever yet framed or can be enacted by which the commerce and intercourse between nations be never so much broken and prohibited, but that a commander-in-chief, a general, and much more a king, may beat a parley, dispatch a trumpet, may send and receive letters as often as occasion does require ? - State Trials, xii. 609.
Neither to Lord Castlemaine's direct allegation that there was no such law, nor to his argument that there never could be such a law, does it appear that any reply was made; and, in fact, both questions seem to have been given up--for after a long debate, the House resolved -
"That the Earl of Castlemaine stand committed to the Tower, by a warrant of this House, for high treason, for endeavouring to reconcile this kingdom to the see of Rome, and for other high crimes and misdemeanours.'-State Trials, xii. 618. -thus omitting the charge as to the embassy, which had stood most prominent in the accusation. Hume states generally, and Mackintosh in reference to Castlemaine, that such an embassy was forbidden by law : but they give no authority, and our memory does not furnish one. But if there be any such doubt,
and Lord Palmerston, without sharing, acquiesces in it, it would surely have been better that, until the doubt was cleared up, Lord Minto should not have been sent with a roving commission to all the minor states of Italy, with the one exception of Rome; and above all, that he should not have made the only place where he bad no business his most remarkable abode.
For all the contradictions involved in this affair, we cannotknowing that some of the Cabinet are men of sense, and others men of talent—arrive at any other explanation than one; and that certainly an imperfect one. It is, we think, not inconsistent with the strict terms of Lord Palmerston's declaration that the Ministers may have determined on the expediency of establishing diplomatic relations with Rome, and that Lord Minto may be employed in that object, though without any direct official mission to the Court of Rome. To such an arrangement there must be two parties, and it would be prudent, before we took any public step towards such an intercourse, to ascertain privately on what reciprocal terms such an arrangement might be admissible. Lord Minto may have been requested by his colleagues to spend a little time at Rome, and to inform himself, through any channel to which his rank and character should give him access, of the disposition with which such a proposition was likely to be received. If the feeling should be considered as favourable, it would be then thought time enough to avow the public design, and to obtain-if it should be really necessary—(which we have no doubt it would not) — the sanction of the Legislature to the recognition of the Pope as a temporal prince-a fact, the denial of which, by any kind of legal fiction, would be as disparaging to our character for common sense, as injurious, we venture to think, to our public interests. On what plea can we pretend to exclude the Sovereign of Rome from the Congress of European powers? We were ready to battle for him against Buonaparte, and we had no small share in restoring him to the throne of which the King of Rome had dispossessed him; and yet we will not hold diplomatic intercourse with him.
Let us, in addition to the general views of international policy stated by Lord Castlemaine, suppose an actual case, not at all improbable: Rome has, 'every year, a large British population; suppose that population were to be subjected to some degrading interference from which other strangers were free--nay, suppose some special violence to British persons or property,—we should be of necessity forced to seek either amicable or hostile redress from the Government of Rome. If amicable, there would be envoys, negotiations, inutual recognitions, explanations, and some kind, at least, of convention. Jf hostile, we should probably remind Rome of Lord Castlemaine's hint, that she is a maritime
VOL. LXXXII. NO. CLXIII.
state though not a maritime power-it might be suggested that Admiral Napier could find his way to Civita Vecchia even more speedily than Lord Minto found his to the Piazza di Spagna : But every war has an end (except that against Irish landlords), and we should sooner or later have to conclude with recognition and treaty.
It is said that we should open a wide door to Roman interference in our domestic affairs; we think quite the contrary, and at all events are more afraid of the postern than of the gate -of the trap-door than the hall-door. Would the accredited and responsible Roman minister at our Court have, supposing him the wiliest of Jesuits, more opportunities of mischief than the hundreds of clerical agents whose service his Holiness may now command without incurring any responsibility for their behaviour ? Does any one believe that, if we had relations with the Pope as a temporal sovereign, he would for a moment have thought of, or we have permitted, his creating a diocese, or a province, in Great Britain—a Bishopric of Birmingham-an Archbishopric of Westminster? How would he like, if, by way of reciprocity, the Queen of England, as supreme Head of the Anglican Church, should, of her own mere motion, erect a Protestant bishopric of Rome, and, instead of paying him a visit of civility by her Lord Privy Seal, should send some suffragan of the province of Canterbury to exhibit in Rome itself, in a cathedral dedicated to St. Paul or St. Peter, all the severe state and sober grandeur of our Anglican worship?* We, slight as our influence can be in such weighty matters, are so unwilling to say anything that might create jealousies and tend to embarrass any such negotiation-which, if not already in some stage of progress, can, we are satisfied, not long be delayed—that we abstain from urging more particularly the various and important advantages that would arise from establishing between us and the Sovereign of Rome the same kind of international arrangements which he and we possess with the other countries of Europe.
But there is one result which it would be foolish as well as uncandid in us to attempt to conceal-we mean, that it would facilitate the first and only hope that we have ever entertained for the redemption of Ireland from the bloody tyranny under which she now groans and bleeds--a State provision for the Roman Catholic clergy. •What!'—we are well aware some of our readers, our oldest and most valued friends, will exclaim,- What! pension, reward, honour that very class of persons to a considerable portion of whom you have, in the earlier part of your paper, attributed so
* That silly low-church germanizing scheme of a Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem can, we hope, be no precedent for the papal encroachmentfor it was settled with the Sovereign of the State.
large instrumentality in all the horrors described ?' Yes, and for that reason among many others. We have no means, as we have already said, of knowing anything of the relative numbers of the turbulent and the pacific clergy: we are willing to believe that the former may be much-very much-the smaller; but we rest no part of our reasoning on that distinction, for it is undeniable that a majority show a most culpable neutrality or acquiescence in the disturbances which their more active and less scrupulous brethren excite. We take higher ground, both of public policy and human nature. It would really be a miracle, and contrary to all the principles which govern human affairs, that the Roman Catholic priesthood should be loyal and affectionate to a Government which has forced them to press on their starving flocks for a precarious subsistence. We will not repeat such obvious commonplaces as that nothing can justify the suggestion or even the tolerance of crime; 'tis true, a thousand times true—but it is not less true that human passions and feelings, whether of vengeance or gratitude, will, in despite of reason, and even of conscience, operate on the masses of mankind; and if you will mark any caste of men for discountenance, you will inevitably taint them with disaffection. We have sufficiently shown that we are no favourers of the Priesthood, and approve of their personal conduct as little as we do of their tenets; nor would we invest prelates made by a foreign authority. with domestic dignities ;-but we would feed them, for charity-for policy-for justice. For our own parts, if we were Irish landlords, we should think ourselves happy if, by paying as it were blackmail to some clerical Fergus, we could protect ourselves from the vengeance of Captain Rock.*
We have so often and so fully argued this point, that we feel that we ought not on this occasion to pursue it further, but we would humbly venture to request any dissatisfied reader (and we fear there will be such even amongst those who think with us on everything else) to reconsider the arguments that we have laid
* We have before us a Report, ordered to be published on the 26th of October last by the Relief Committee of the district of Drumespal, county of Armagh, in the last paragraph of which it is stated that within that district is a townland consisting of two nearly equal portions. The one portion is entirely the property of a resident landlord, whose tenants all hold directly under him, and all at will; from this portion there was not an applicant for relief, nor one claim for admission into the workhouse. The other portion has a non-resident landlord, and 32 families holding land on lease, of whom only 5 hold directly from the landlord-in-chief, the other 27 rent under middlemen : the claimants for relief from this portion were 164 persons. The Reporters asld that they offer no comment on the injustice of applying the principle of Rateare under the Irish Poor Law to a district so cumbered as the Electoral division of Drumes; al.' The benefits conferred in every way by resident landlords are incalculable, but how can you anticipate resident landlords in such a state of things as we have described ? It is no surprise to us to hear every day of fresh instances of Protestant landlords and clergymen, who had hitherto clung to their perilous duties, being at last forced to fly.