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Hæc à quovis alio quàm à me, scribi velim; à me, potiùs quàm à nemine.
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE-STREET.
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
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 (v) 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 56 his Strictures
66 his Strictures ” upon the Book of the Church” on a more extensive plan, it would have made this
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