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letter to have seen, if it were the one which I just recollect to have seen in some magazine which I chanced to open in some house where I had occasion to call. There could have been no authority for putting it there ; and it appeared to me a paltry imitation, with very little likeness, of a larger engraving made from a drawing for which I very reluctantly, at the request of some friends hereabouts, consented to sit to a painter here; which drawing was very true to the subject about a dozen (or perhaps more) years since.
But as to character, feelings, opinions,-perhaps I may not be fai wrong in presuming that an uniform tenor of life, in an unchanged locality of residence, has prevented any other great change than what is inevitable from the effect of passing through so long a course of time and experience. As to myself, I can hardly tell whether I am much like what the young man was, or not. In truth, I have a strangely imperfect recollection of what I was in early life; nor could I, whatever effort I might deliberately make, draw out any clear account of what progressive time, though through a life of few incidents, and little change of external circumstances, has wrought upon me. Indeed, I should have difficulty enough to describe what I am now. The thing I have the strongest impression of is, that I am far different from what I wish I were; that my improvement through so long a life has been miserably deficient; that, in the review, I have a profound conviction of the need of pardoning mercy over it all; and that I earnestly hope the remainder of life, of whatever duration, may be much more faithfully devoted to the great purpose of preparing for another—that mysterious, unveiled, and awful hereafter, on which both of us shall make the grand experiment, at no very distant time at the furthest.
You, I believe, rather frequently preach, and I hope you will long be able to do so; though in your letter, so long since, you call yourself an “old man,” too old to journey hither; and I think I am too old to journey your distance northward. And what should I find if I did, in all the circuit with which I was acquainted? Perhaps five or six, at most, surviving of my ancient coevals! Happy, those of them who are gone whither may the God of all grace
prepare us to follow them! I know not whether I should superscribe you Reverend. I thank no one for so designating me.
CLXXXIII. TO JOHN EASTHOPE, ESQ.
August 26, 1835. The plot thickens rarely in its progress ;-but for the what, how, and when, of the denouement ?
Though chagrined in the immediate view of the matter, there is another larger view in which I am extremely gratified. This great lumpish nation, so long and willingly gulled with a stupid superstition for what it calls its “venerable institutions” of constitution ... admirably adjusted balance in the legislature, and all that, has needed and still needs, all that is now and latterly exhibiting, in order to bring it to its senses. But now that it is fumbling up those senses at last, how is it to make a practical use of them? Tell me that. It is like a man who having, during a long fit of drunkenness, been bamboozled into surrenders, pledges, signatures, and so forth, and recovering his sense at length, stares round in disınay at what he has done, and is utterly at a loss for a remedy.* In your paper just now brought me, you say, “But they" (the Lords]" will see, to their mortification, with what ease a great nation will do itself justice.” Now, my good friend, they will see no such thing. This is one of those idle bravados which you journalists think it good policy to sport, for the purpose of keeping up the spirits of the party. When you are asked how? how? how ? you are discreetly silent. As to the effect of the popular manifestation of opinion, by meetings, resolutions, speeches, petitions, and so forth, why it is in the full view and easy defiance of all this that their Lordships are going on without the least demur or wavering, to do
* “ The English nation are like a man in a lethargy; they are never roused from conservatism till mustard poultices are put to their feet. Had it not been for the fires of Smithfield, they would have remained hostile to the Reformation. Had it not been for the butcheries of Jeffries they would have opposed the Revolution.”—DR. ARNOLD (in 1836). See his Life and Correspondence, Vol. II. p. 63.
just all that the people are protesting and clamouring against. This that the people are doing is of no avail — what else, what more are they to do ?
CLXXXIV. TO JOHN EASTHOPE, ESQ.
November 20, 1835. The Morning Chronicle has shown a signal and progressive improvement in execution, in clearness, force, point, happy illustration, range of allusion, and-quantity.
There is one thing I should have been disposed to make a remark on now and then, if I had been sitting quietly with you as at Cheltenham, or walking as at Malvern,-I mean the mode, sometimes, of referring to the Catholic (i. e. Popish) religion ;-a slight tinge of that which makes the antithesis to the Rodens, O'Sullivans, and Co.,—something like an implication, or negative admission, at the least, that Popery is not so bad a thing, that it is a religion of charity as well as any Protestant mode of religion-something that seems to assert or assume that those furious and mischievous declaimers are in the wrong in toto,-in their reprobation of popery itself, as well as their violence of temper and language, and perhaps the base principle and motive of some of them. Now surely we are not coming round to a virtual disavowal of the Reformation, by a discovery, at last that Popery is not a most execrable and pernicious imposture, a deadly corruption of Christianity, and a system essentially intolerant, tyrannical, and malignant. No doubt it has, as a practical system, come under some degree of compelled modification in countries where liberty and knowledge have acquired the ascendant. But let it not take the credit of that. It is in itself (as indeed itself awows) unchangeable. Let these compelling influences (which it has always done all it could to resist) have the credit, and not Popery itself, of whatever mitigation has practically taken place. The modern Catholics, in this country, such as the late Butler and Eustace, the present Murray, O'Connell, &c., are protesting against the imputa
tion to them and their church of the persecuting spirit and the noxious principles. They, and their religion too, are all charity, candour, and benevolence-if you will believe them. But I cannot believe them. How should I, while they at the same time avow and swear a firm fidelity to a church which by the unalterable laws of its institute makes intolerance—the extirpation of heretics-a duty ? When they come talking or canting in this strain, I would say to them, Your Church, your sovereign authority, to which, on peril of your souls, you must maintain an inviolable fidelity,
-has it ever revoked its sanguinary decrees and injunctions ?—but indeed the very idea is foolish, since an infallible and unalterable authority cannot revoke its decrees. I would say, Ꭰo
you disown the grand and final standard of your church, the Council of Trent? Answer, like honest, plain-spoken men, Yes, or No; and don't be playing fast and loose with us. you say No, it is then in vain for you to pretend to charity, liberality, and all that; in vain that you charge us with bigotry and injustice in imputing to you the odious principles which are essentially inherent in your institution. If you say Yes, and yet profess to adhere firmly to your Church, what becomes of your fidelity, your consistency, your honesty? If you can thus, just as it serves your purpose, be off and on with your adored Churchyour very religion itself-how can we depend on your integrity in any thing else? What, at this rate, really are your principles ? and what is your unalterable, infallible Church? Do not palter and mystify; but either explicitly declare that you abjure the intolerant and murderous maxims which that Church binds you to maintain, and thus bravely incur its anathema, or, distinctly avow that you maintain those maxims,—and then we shall know on what ground to meet you, and on what terms to give you that toleration which you virtually tell us you could not in conscience grant to us, if, as in Italy or Spain, you were powerful enough to withhold it. Tell us you approve that exercise of the Church authority under which, in Italy, &c., a man (not having the rights and exemptions of a foreigner) could not publicly avow himself a Protestant but at the cost of his property, liberty, and probably his life. This would be honestly telling us that if only you had the power, you
would do the same here and every where. It is only on this sanguinary and exterminating, but essential, principle of the Romish church that I am commenting. As to the many fooleries and corruptions of what may be called simply religious doctrine and institution, let them pass, as not directly interfering with the civil peace of society. Between these, however, and the bloody maxims of the Popish church, the O'Sullivans, Boytons, &c., are furnished with weapons which, vilely as they use them, there is no fairly getting out of their hands. And little less to be condemned than their fanaticism on the ore hand, is, on the other, that sort of cant of liberalism, now in vogue in some of our journals and speechmakings, which deprecates all zeal against Popery, assuming, by implication at least, that one mode of religion is just as good as another, that is, that none of them has any real basis in truth and Divine authority. ....
There has been expressed a great deal of contempt for the handle made by the fanatics of Den's Theology; and some of the Irish Catholic prelacy have affected to consider that as but a sort of obsolete thing, and to wonder it should have been brought from some musty recess against them. Now it did, I recollect, appear to me, that the Bishop of Exeter, in one of his speeches, decisively saddled those ecclesiastics with that book, as a work authorized by them both formerly and at the present time.—Those Irish Catholics have been most infamously treated, all along, by the Government and the Protestant Ascendency; but at the same time their leading ecclesiastics are evasive, equivocating, disingenuous men—not to use a harsher epithet.
CLXXXV. TO B. STOKES, ESQ.
Stapleton, March 24, 1836. . I feel a very significant intimation of old age in extreme reluctance to any journeying and visiting movement, even when it is to see persons and things that I cannot but be gratified to see.
One thing is, that I have grown into a great reluctance to meet strangers—strangers of any order whatever. I acknowledged this to E., who kindly