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power, that we would, on every occasion, set aside any three of the most deserving priests, candidates for the episcopacy, wholaboured under that disadvantage, and we would choose some other good and learned man, but of inferior qualifications, if we could only, by this means, preserve a good understanding with government. Instead, however, of guessing (as we have hitherto done) at this circumstance, namely, whether his Majesty's Ministers have heurd any thing disadvantageous of the political character of the priest we approve of, we will, henceforward, since we are permitted and desired to do so! immediately ask them the question. If they answer in the affirmative, it is a hundred to one that we shall be able to vindicate the priest's character; and thus, instead of being more shackled, we shall be less shackled than we have heretofore been in the choice of candidates ; and instead of that real, and extensive, though silent power which government has hitherto exercised over us in the choice of our prelates, this power will in future be confined within very narrow, because avowed, just, and rational bounds !!!"
Fifthly, the great and signal advantages which the Catholic religion, and its prelates in particular, would derive from the realizing the proposal which they made in 1799, are so obvious, that they hardly stand in need of being pointed out! In the first place, one of the chief obstacles to the emancipation would be removed, and thereby the affection of the Catholic laity for the bishops and clergy would be increased.-Next, the character of a Catholic bishop, which, we are assured is not now recognized by the law, would be incontrovertibly established.-The bishop elect, having gone through his political purgation! would be far less exposed to suspicion and obloquy than is the case with Catholic prelates at present. Finally, a thorough good understanding and mutual confidence would be established between the civil and ecclesiastical power ; in consequence of which the Irish Catholic prelate would acquire his proper weight and influence in the scale of the empire. This weight and influence he would not fail to employ a thousand ways for the benefit of the Catholic religion, and particularly of his poor people, in protecting them from the oppression of their most powerful enemies.
“ I have heard but of two objections to the proposals in question : the first of which is the outcry of the lower order of Catholics; and I am sory to say (for I had formed a higher idea of their abilities and learning) of some of the clergy, as if the rights of their Church were about to be surrendered, and as if the King's ecclesiastical supremacy over it were about to be acknowledged. But since this opinion is founded on the grossest error, as I have demonstrated, nothing is so easy as to dissipate it, by exposing the true state of facts, in opposition to newspaper falsehoods, and by explaining, in its several parts, the true system of canonical elections. The other objection has appeared in point, and stands thus: “It is a great detriment that a priest of eminent merit, an O'Leary, for example, should be liable to be excluded from the prelacy, in consequence of government's unfounded prejudices against him."
I grant that this is a great detriment to the Church as well as an injury to the individual. But then I have shewn that this inconveniency exists already, in as much as the prelates will not recommend even an O'Leary, whilst any violent prejudice of government exists against him, whether well or ill founded ; and I have also shewn, that there is a much better chance of such prejudice being done away, by means of a free communication between the electors and government, than if no such communication were to take place. I must add that the Holy See, during the existence of such prejudice, 'would refuse spiritual powers to the candidate, as she professes in the above-mentioned paper, not only to reject candidates who are disagreeable to government, but also to promote those exclusively who are agreeable to it.
“ But you propose, it seems, to satisfy the legislature and the nation (that the public enemy shall not be able to influence the election of your prelates in favour of disaffected subjects,) by means of an oath of allegiance to be taken by the electors and the person elected. -I wish, sir, you may succeed; but I am not aware that you or any other person can devise a form of oath more solemn, express, or comprehensive, as to the duty of allegiance, than that which we have already taken, Should any new oath be required of us, I greatly fear it shall go to that mischief with which we have already been threatened by Catholics no less than Protestants, (see Considerations, &c. by Sir J. Throckmorton, &c.) and which otherwise, I apprehend, it will require great efforts to ward of-I mean an obligation on the part of the prelates, never to 'correspond with the Holy See, but through the Secretary of State's office!!!
“ Your zealous and enlightened prelates (one half of whom I have. the honour of knowing personally, and the other half by character) will, at the ensuing assembly, weigh and decide upon the whole of this important matter. It has been said that I deprecate that assembly: I can prove directly the contrary; and I am, on all occasions, the decided and warm advocate for canonical councils and synods of every kind, as the grand specific against all spiritual and ecclesiastical disorders. There are only three things which I deprecate; first, the degradation, in the eyes of the public, of that episcopal order to which I myself have the honour of belonging, and particularly of the illustrious prelacy which I have so highly extolled. Secondly, an opposition of the leading Catholic laity against their prelates, under an idea that the latter refused to adopt such means as are in their power for promoting their emancipation. Thirdly, a disunion of heart and co-operation among the prelates themselves.--I would suffer every calamity myself, rather than any one of these three mischiefs were to ensue.
« Should the prelates recede from the resolutions they entered into at Dublin in 1799, (which resolutions, observe, are before the public, as well as the leading men of the legislature, having been mentioned in the newspapers, I hope they will be able to vindicate their proceedings and character, against the numerous and able opponents of
each communion, who will not fail to attack them on the subject,
« The head of
" and that if
“ Such are the objections in part, which, I am confident, will be thus
, and shew them how grossly they have been imposed upon, both as to facts and reasoning.
“ I answer, 1st, as far as our English Catholic prelacies are concerned, (und that these are, or will be, concerned, whenever this business is to be concluded, I have very good reason to believe,) I acted as the Vicar Apostolic of fifteen counties in the centre of England, and as Deputy for the Western Prelacies : I acted as the ' Agent of the Catholic prelates and clergy of Ireland, at the seat of government, in such concerns as I had been, or might be, instructed by them to transact on this account; having been authorised to this effect at
Maynooth, July 1st, 1807, under the hands and seals of the four
Sir, your humble servant, “ Wolverhampton, Aug. 1, 1803.
" 3. MILNER.
" P.S. I must add here, that in my communication with certain members of the legislature, equally powerful and friendly, I contend so strongly and so repeatedly for the necessity of even the negative power being restricted to a certain number of times, to be afierwards determined upon by the prelates themselves, (for on this delicate point I could not so much as hazard an opinion,) that I conceived myself to run the greatest risk of losing their friendship !!!"
AS it is our wish to do justice to the impetuous Bishop Milner, however he may continue to misrepresent our sentiments, and to furnish our readers with data for a history of the Popish machinations of the present day, we insert the following exculpatory letter, addressed by him to the Editor of the Dublin Herald, and alluded to in p. 505 of the letters of A. B. published in our last Appendix.
" Sir,-I hope it will not be understood that I acquiesce in the imputation of a crime too bad to be named : of sacrificing the principles, tenets, and rights, of the Episcopacy; if I still decline answering the queries put to me by your correspondents, Sarsfield and Laicus, .concerning my late communications with our advocates in parliament, and concerning the conduct of Dr. Troy, Dr. OʻReilly, and other Catholic prelates, in 1799. (See the Herald for August 31, and September 2.)
“ I have always understood, Şir, that it is highly indecorous to commit to the press any account of a conversation held with another gentleman concerning business of importance, without the revision or consent of that gentleman. Certain it is that I have lately experienced such to be the sense of the higher ranks of society in an instance relative to the matter in question. Now, it is not in my power to communicate at all with the illustrious personages aluded to at the present time, and I have great doubt whether at any future time I could obtain their consent to the desired publication. It would evidently be still more indecorous, it would even be a crime too bad to be named, were I to betray the confidence of the venerable prelates whose business I so lately transacted. Laicus complains that they themselves have thought proper to keep him in the dark with respect to it, and he applies to me, their confidential agent, to inform him of it!
“ Independently of this, how can it be expected of me, who write, as I always have written, for the public under my own name, ta answer the interrogatories put to me in the newspapers by writers who think proper to observe the strictest incognito themselves, and who question me upon points of the utmost delicacy and importance. They may be Catholics of the most exemplary piety who are actuated by the purest zeal for their religion, or they may be mere nominal Catholics, a disgrace by their principles and conduct to the religion they profess; they may even be wolves in sheeps' clothing, who come only to kill and destroy, for any thing I can know of them. The disclosure of their real names would probably settle my opinions upon these points, and enable me to decide how far they are deserving of my respect and regard. It is true they profess to interrogate me in the name of the Catholic body: but where are their credentials for the high character they assume ?-Indeed the very idea of an anonymous representative or agent, is perfectly ridiculous.
*** Another reason for my refusing to answer them is, that this would evidently lead to an exceedingly long and unprofitable controversy. For I find, Sir, that they and I do not agree in first principles, concerning the constitution and government of the Catholic Church.