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CHARLES BLUNDELL, ESQ.
IN THE COUNTY OF LANCASTER.
I REQUEST your acceptance of my REPLY TO DR SOUTHEY's “Book OF THE Church;”—a work with which you probably are not unacquainted.
It abounds with the strongest criminations of the roman-catholic religion, and of the conduct of our roman-catholic ancestors. I do not recollect that a publication more offensive, either to the understandings or the feelings of the roman-catholics, has appeared within our memory.
(iv) I willingly admit, that, to produce against our creed or conduct, all that research or fair argument can supply, is legitimate controversy; but surely, to conceal our merits, or to represent them very briefly and imperfectly, and to display our defects at length, and with the highest colouring; to impute to our general body what, in justice, is only chargeable on individuals; or to estimate the writings or actions of our ancestors in the dark ages, by the notions and manners of the present age,—is a crying injustice.
Does not Dr. Southey too often fall into all these errors ? Is he sufficiently aware, – that the roman-catholics have sustained a defamation of three hundred years !--That, in consequence of it, an immense mass of prejudice was raised against them? That it yet retains its place in many uninstructed minds; and that it is not wholly eradicated from all the liberal and the informed ? None of these believe that London was set on fire by the roman-catholics, or in the truth of Oates's revelations : But the prejudice originally created by these fictions, has not entirely lost its effect: it still influences some respectable persons, in their opinions of the roman-catholic religion, much more than they are aware of.
This prejudice, “ the Book of the Church” is admirably calculated both to keep alive and increase:-To counteract its tendency is the object of the present pages. If Dr. Milner had framed “ his Strictures” upon the “ Book of the Church” on a more extensive plan, it would have made this or any other answer to it unnecessary.
Such as my pages are,-I INSCRIBE THEM to you: I hope they do not contain a word, at which the very learned, elegant and eloquent author of the work, to which they are addressed, can take just offence. My publications are numerous,-perhaps too numerous: --but I trust they do not contain one harsh