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they were assured, that they should be subjected to the most horrid despotism, yet, with their eyes open, and with the choice fairly before them, they preferred an open despotism, however severe, to a base and cowardly, undermining and hypocritical system of bribery, by which they would have been as cruelly oppressed as by an undisguised despotism, and would, at the same time, have been deprived of the sympathy, which is always felt for those who suffer under the hand of an open and acknowledged despot. This is a remarkable instance of the horror in which the crime of bribery was held in those times; and, indeed, it is a crime which, in every part of the Scripture, where it is mentioned or alluded to, is, as far as I recollect, numbered amongst the most atrocious of offences. “Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men, in whose bands is mischief, and whose right hand is full of bribes.”
- Psalms xxvi. v. 9 and 10. And, really, there can be little doubt, that he who will deliberately tender or take a bribe, being well aware of all the consequences, is capable of any crime. How many crimes has bribery actually created! Isaiah charges the Israelites with being cor. tupters, and tells them that their burnt-offerings and sacrifices are a base and insolent mockery of God, while they are guilty of such things. “Learn to do well,” says he (chap. 1), and do not rely upon the formal. ities of your religion. JEREMIA compares “corrupters" to brass and iron; and, indeed, as we well know, they are the most impudent, the most profligate of all mankind. He calls them “grievous revolters" also (chap. vi., v. 28); but if he had lived in our day, he would have been called a revolter, that is to say, a rerolulionist himself! For this is the name given to us, who are labouring to put down corrupters and bribers by destroying the sources of corruption and bribery. Is it thus that we ought to be treated ? From any of your Order ought we to expect such treatment? And, will any of you still persist in opposing the circulation of this work, the plain and obvious tendency of which is to drive from the land the abominations against which both Scripture and Reason cry aloud ? Despitefully as some of you have treated me; great and unjust as is the hatred which some of you have shown towards me; yet I will not apply eren to these my most bitter enemies the description given by Amos (chap. V., 10, 11, and 12 v.); but, if they persevere in their foul hostility, I shall leave the people to make the application. “They hate “him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor bim that speaketh " uprightly. Forasmuch, therefore, as your treading is upon the poor, " and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn “stone, but ye shall not dwell in them ; ye have planted pleasant vine" yards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. For I know your manifold “ iransgressions and your mighty sins : they afflict the just, they take a “ bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.” If this serve to show, that there were bribery and corruption in times of old, it also serves to show, that there were men to reprobate such crimes, and to uiter denunciations against those who committed them. The civil and political institutions of the Israelites were different from ours ; but, the principles of morality and of justice have always been, and must always be, the same ; and, without speaking profanely, what was Amos more or less than a Reformer, and a political Reformer too, of his day? He found the people in a state of oppression, he saw the poor trodden down, he saw them heavily burdened with taxes, he saw a large part of the produce of their labours taken from them, he saw those who took the
taxes building splendid mansions and living in luxury, he saw the work of partiality and bribery going on, he saw the lower orders in society turned out of their rights, and he complained, that whoever rebuked any of the persons guilty of these things, whoever spoke uprightly, was hated and abhorred by those who had an interest in the continuance of the oppressions.
As to the crime of false-swearing, it is notoriously one of the heaviest of those sins against which the wrath of God has been denounced; but, it becomes of much more than ordinary importance, and much more than ordinary enormity, when it affects the well-being of a whole community. You know as well as I, that if any man gives a vote, either in the Parliament or at an election, from any motive of self-interest, he is guilty of false-swearing. You know, that the Peers are strictly forbidden by law, and it is a breach of their honour and their oaths as Peers, to exert any sort of influence in the returning of Members to the People's House, or Commons' House of Parliament. And well knowing these things, how can you, as clergymen bound by solemn vows to God to watch vigilantly over the morals, and earnestly to labour for the safety of the souls of the people ; how can you, possessing this knowledge, and bound by these obligations, hold your tongues as to these scenes, which relative to these matters, are almost constantly before your eyes ? And, do you think, that your silence will be justified by the plea, that the Re. formers are seditious men ? Do you think, that, if asked why you have not endeavoured to put an end to the scenes exhibited at elections, it will be sufficient for you to say, that you feared worse might come? Do you suppose, that the bare plea of the apprehension of a possible evil will be a sufficient justification for a neglect to endeavour to put an end to a notoriously existing evil? If so, you must believe, that to suffer a puor creature to starve by the road side will be justified, upon the plea of its being possible, that, if relieved, he might do harm in the world. This, however, you cannot believe. We are not to do evil that good may come of it; but we are not to refrain from doing good from the fear that evil may possibly be the ultimate consequence. The old Norman proverb : Fait ce qu'il faut, arrive ce qu'il pourra : Do what you ought tu do, let the consequence be what it may: This is a rule of conduct worthy of men of honour and of true religion, and this is the maxim of our able and virtuous leader, MAJOR CarTWRIGHT, whose answer to all the forebodings of the timid and the insincere, has always been : “Let “us, keeping the laws and constitution for our guides, do all that we “ are able to do, and leave the rest to God” And, indeed, this is the language of common sense and is conformable to the common practice of mankind in all the concerns of life, public as well as private. Not to act upon this principle would be effectually to prevent every species of enterprise ; nothing could ever be undertaken even for the preservation of the independence of a country. No improvement could ever be adopted ; no difficulty could ever be overcome; nothing good could ever be undertaken, and, of course, could ever be accomplished.
" Where much is given, much is required;" and thongh this applies to all men, in their several degrees, it applies more especially to you, whose very profession calls upon you to exert yourselves against such detestable wickedness, and who receive such very large sums for your services. The annual income of the Church, arising from tithes and other sources, which are destined by the law for the purpose of insuring Teachers of the people, is not less, I believe, than five millions of pounds
a year, exclusive of the immense Church Property in Ireland. It is impossible to reconcile to reason, that this property ought to be suffered to be enjoyed by you but as a reward for public duties. It was originally so intended, as the endowments and the early laws clearly show. That it is not private property in you is certain, for you can neither give it away in your life-times nor bequeath it at your deaths. If, then, it is to be looked upon as the compensation for services, how great ought those services to be! And, it will not be denied, I believe, that the poor as well as the rich, bave a claim to a share in those services. Have not the people, then, the great mass of the nation, a right to call on you to come forth to their assistance upon this occasion ? If you post yourselves up as the clergy only of the rich and powerful, on what do you ground your claim to any attention on the part of the people ? Besides you ought to bear in mind, that the tithes were not granted to clergymen and their families; that they were granted to a clergy who necer had wives; that the income of each living was to be divided into four equal parts, one part for the poor, one for the repairing of the church and church-yard and for the furnishing of the sacramental elements, &c., one part for keeping hospitality for travellers and pilgrims, and the remaining part for the support of the priest. The poor are now maintained by the parish, the churches, &c, are provided for by parish-rates, you keep no hospitality for travellers, and you and your families consume the whole of the income! I know that modern laws allow of this ; but, pray, then, do not object to the people's obtaining a modern law to insure to them their political rights.
Even if public duty were out of the question, and if you could divest yourselves of all considerations of a religious nature, your interest, it seems to me, would naturally push you forward in the people's cause, which, if rightly viewed, is your own cause too. You can hardly believe, that things can proceed long without a great change of some sort, and nothing short of downright infatuation can induce you to hope that you can do any thing to prevent such change. And, I would ask you seri. ously, whether, under such circumstances, it is prudent, leaving justice out of the question, for you to kemp aloof from the people? However, this will now be your own affiir ; and, if you resolve, after this remonstrance, to convince the people, that you will be the very last to afford them support, the people will with the less reluctance leave you to your friends the agricultural gentry and the yeomanry cavalry, who will probably dispose of your affair even before the question of Parliamentary Reform shall have been finally settled.
I now come to the second part of my subject, and I call upon you to deny, if you can, the cruellies of the House of Bourbon and the horrors of the Inquisition. And, why do I thus call upon you ? Because it is notorious, that, in every stage, you were for war against the French people; and because, at the peace, there was a Thanhsgiving in the Church of England, which last took place after the restoration of the Pope and the Bourbons.
As to the cruelties of the House of Bourbon, previous to the Revolution in France, the bare enumeration of them would fill volumes. I shall, therefore, only assert here, that it is notorious, that they were the most cruel tyrants that Europe ever saw, and that this I am able to prove when any one of you shall dare deny the fact. But, as to the INQUISITION, I have something more particular to say, and, though I have said the same things upon a former occasion, this is a proper time to say them again. We are now feeling the weight of a war that cost more than a thousand millions; the miserable people of this country are now sinking under the consequences of that war. That war put down Napoleon ; that war sent the brave and generous Napoleon into captivity; that war restored the Bourbons in France, Spain and Naples; it restored the Pope and the Inquisition, all which Bonaparte had put down. This is the price of our taxes, debts, and misery; and, let us see, then, how it agrees with the religious opinions you have taught, to rejoice at this restoration,
If there was one trait, above all others, by which your sermons and prayers, until of late years, were characterised, it was by your zealous, your violent, not to say foul-mouthed, attacks on the Romish Pontiff, faith, and worship. You had no scruple to represent the Pope as Antichrist, and as the Scarlet Whore of Babylon, covered with abominations. How clearly did you prove that he was the Beast of the Revelations ; that he had made the world drunk with his fornications; that his seven heads were the seven hills on which Rome is situated ; his ten horns the ten principal Catholic Sovereigns of Europe ; and that his colour was scarlet, because it was dyed in the blood of the Saints ? Was there scarcely a sermon, was there a prayer, that issued from your lips, in which you did not call on the Lord for vengeance on this “ Man of Sin," and in wbich you did not describe the Catholic religion as idolatrous, blusphemous, diabolical, and as evidently tending to the eternal damnation of millions and millions of precious souls?
Every one, who shall read what I am now writing,' must acknowledge, that this description of your conduct, in regard to the Romish Church, is far short of the mark. What, then, have you now to say in justification of your recent conduct ? Where is your jus\ification for your violent attacks on Napoleon and his family, to say no'hing, at present, of your thanksgivings for the restoration of the ancient order of things, or, in your own language, " the ancient and venerable institutions ?” Where is your justification for your attacks on the Bonapartes ? Others, indeed, might consi-tently attack them. Such as thought that the Church of Rome and her power were good things; or, such as regarded one religion as good as another, might consistently attack Bonaparte. But, you ! you, who professed the opinions above described; how can you apologize to the world, and to your flocks, for the part which you have taken against him?
The case, with regard to you, stands thus : There was, before Bonaparte's power commenced. existing in Europe a system of religion, or, as you called it, irreligion, having at the head of it a Sovereign Poniiff, with innumerable Cardinals, Bishops, Vicars General, Abbots, Priors, Monks, Friars, Secular Priests, &c. &c. under him. To this body you ascribed false doctrines, tricks, frauds and cruelties with ut end. You charged them with the propagation of idolatry and blasphemy; with keeping the people in ignorance; with nourishing superstition ; with blowing the games of persecution; with daily murdering, in the most horrid manner, the martyrs to the true faith. The Sovereign Pontiff himself, the corner-stone of the whole body, you constantly called Antichrist, the Scarlet Whore, the Beust, and the Man of Sin. And you prayed most vehemently for his overthrow, in.
sisting that the system, of which he was the foundation, manifestly tended to the eternal damnation of the souls of the far greater part of the people of Europe.
Well! Napoleon arose. He hurled down the Pope ; he overthrew the Antichrist, the Scarlet Whore, the Beast, the Man of Sin, and with him all the long list of Persecutors of the Saints. Napoleon and his associates did, in three years, what your prayers and preachings had not been able to effect in three centuries. The Pope was stripped of all temporal power; the Cardinals and Bishops were reduced to mere ciphers; the Monks were driven from their dens of laziness and debauchery; the tricks and frauds were exposed; the adored images were turned into fire-wood; the holy relics were laughed at; the light of truth was suffered freely to beam upon the minds of the people ; religious persecution was put an end to; and all men were not only permitted, but also encouraged, openly to profess, pursue and enjoy, whatever species of religious faith and worship they chose. Every man became eligible to offices, trusts, and honours; and, throughout the domains of Italy and France, where a Church-of-England man would have been tied to a stake and roasted, rather than be suffered to fill an office of trust, or to preach to a congregation, religious liberty was, under Napoleon, made as perfect as in America.
These are facts, which none of you will dare openly to deny. They are as notorious as they will be, and ought to be, memorable.
Ought you not, therefore, to have rejoiced at this wonderful change in favour of religious liberty ? How could you see 50 millions of souls set free without feeling it impossible to suppress an expression of your pleasure? How could you see the fall of Antichrist without putting up thanksgiving to that God, to whom you had so long been praying, whom you had so long been worrying with your importunities, for the accomplishment of that object ? Was not this an event calculated to call forth your gratitude to Heaven ? Ought it not to have been expected from you, that you should speak very cautiously in disapprobation of Napoleon and the French Republicans, who had effected what you had so long been praying for apparently in vain ? Ought you not, if you had spoken at all of the sins of his ambition; if you had blamed him as an invader, a conqueror, to have touched him with a tender hand, considering the immense benefits which religious liberty had received in consequence of his invasions and conquests ? Ought he not to have found in you, above all men living, if not merciful judges, at least, mild and moderate censors ?
If this was what might naturally and justly have been expected from you, what must have been the surprise and indignation of those who saw you amongst the very fiercest of Napoleon's foes; amongst the foulest of his calumniators; amongst the first and loudest of those who rejoiced at his fall; who heard you hail with rapture the return of “the ancient order of things," and the re-establishment of the “venerable institutions” of Europe ; who heard you joining in the Hosannas of the Monks, and styling the Cossacks and their associates “ Deliverers !”
What was that “ ancient order of things,” the return of which you hailed with such rapture? What were those “ venerable institutions," of which you thanked the Lord for the re-establishment ? The Holy see of Rome was one, and the Inquisition was another. Thousands of subaltern “venerable institutions " naturally followed in the train of these ; such