Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. V. Nineteenth Century
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Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. V. Nineteenth Century
 
A Parody of Popular Anti-Roman Rhetoric
By John Henry Newman (1801–1890)
 
From Catholics in England

GENTLEMEN, can it surprise you to be told, after such an exposition of the blasphemies of England, that, astonishing to say, Queen Victoria is distinctly pointed out in the Book of Revelation as having the number of the beast! You may recollect that number is 666; now, she came to the throne in the year thirty-seven, at which date she was eighteen years old. Multiply then 37 by 18, and you have the very number 666, which is the mystical emblem of the lawless King!!!
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  No wonder, then, with such monstrous pretensions, and such awful auguries, that John-Bullism is in act and deed, as savage and profligate, as in profession it is saintly and innocent. Its annals are marked with blood and corruption. The historian Hallam, though one of the ultra-bullist party, in his Constitutional History admits that the English tribunals are “disgraced by the brutal manners and the iniquitous partiality of the bench.” “The general behaviour of the bench,” he says elsewhere, “had covered it with infamy.” Soon after, he tells us that the dominant faction inflicted on the High Church Clergy “the disgrace and remorse of perjury!” The English kings have been the curse and shame of human nature. Richard the First boasted that the evil spirit was the father of his family; of Henry the Second St. Bernard said, “From the devil he came, and to the devil he will go;” William the Second was killed by the enemy of man, to whom he had sold himself, while hunting in one of his forests; Henry the First died of eating lampreys; John died of eating peaches; Clarence, a king’s brother, was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine; Richard the Third put to death his sovereign, his sovereign’s son, his two brothers, his wife, two nephews, and half a dozen friends. Henry the Eighth successively married and murdered no less than 600 women. I quote the words of the Edinburgh Review, that according to Hollinshed, no less than 70,000 persons died under the hand of the executioner in his reign. Sir John Fortescue tells us that in his day there were more persons executed for robbery in England in one year than in France in seven. Four hundred persons a year were executed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Even so late as the last century, in spite of the continued protests of foreign nations, in the course of seven years there were 428 capital convictions in London alone. Burning of children, too, is a favourite punishment with John Bull, as may be seen in this same Blackstone, who notices the burning of a girl of thirteen given by Sir Matthew Hale. The valets always assassinate their masters; lovers uniformly strangle their sweethearts; the farmers and the farmers’ wives universally beat their apprentices to death; and their lawyers in the Inns of Court strip and starve their servants, as has appeared from remarkable investigations in the law courts during the last year. Husbands sell their wives by public auction with a rope round their necks. An intelligent Frenchman, M. Pellet, who visited London in 1815, deposes that he saw a number of sculls on each side of the river Thames, and he was told they were found especially thick at the landing-places among the watermen. But why multiply instances when the names of those two-legged tigers Rush, Thistlewood, Thurtell, the Mannings, Colonel Kirke, Claverhouse, Simon de Montforte, Strafford, the Duke of Cumberland, Warren Hastings, and Judge Jeffries, are household words all over the earth? John-Bullism, through a space of 800 years, is semper idem, unchangeable in evil. One hundred and sixty offences are punishable with death. It is death to live with gipsies for a month; and Lord Hale mentions thirteen persons as having, in his day, suffered death thereon at one assize. It is death to steal a sheep, death to rob a warren, death to steal a letter, death to steal a handkerchief, death to cut down a cherry-tree. And, after all, the excesses of John-Bullism at home are mere child’s play to the oceans of blood it has shed abroad. It has been the origin of all the wars which have desolated Europe; it has fomented national jealousy, and the antipathy of castes in every part of the world; it has plunged flourishing states into the abyss of revolution. The Crusades, the Sicilian Vespers, the wars of the Reformation, the thirty years’ war, the war of succession, the seven years’ war, the American war, the French Revolution, all are simply owing to John-Bull ideas; and to take one definite instance in the course of the last war, the deaths of two millions of the human race lie at his door: for the Whigs themselves, from first to last, and down to this day, admit and proclaim without any hesitation or limitation, that that war was simply and entirely the work of John-Bullism, and needed not, and would not have been, but for its influence, and its alone.
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  And, now, gentlemen, your destiny is in your own hands. If you are willing to succumb to a power which has never been contented with what she was, but has been for centuries extending her conquests in both hemispheres, then the humble individual who has addressed you will submit to the necessary consequence; will resume his military dress, and return to the Caucasus; but if, on the other hand, as I believe, you are resolved to resist unflinchingly this flood of satanical imposture and foul ambition, and force it back into the ocean; if, not from hatred to the English—far from it—from love to them for a distinction must ever be drawn between the nation and its dominant John-Bullism); if, I say, from love to them as brothers, from a generous determination to fight their battles, from an intimate consciousness that they are in their secret hearts Russians, that they are champing the bit of their iron lot, and are longing for you as their deliverers: if, from these lofty notions, as well as from a burning patriotism, you will form the high resolve to annihilate this dishonour of humanity; if you loathe its sophisms De minimis non curat lex, and Malitia supplet ætatem, and Tres faciunt collegium, and Impotentia excusat legem, and “Possession is nine points of the law,” and “The greater the truth, the greater the libel”—principles which sap the very foundations of morals; if you wage war to the knife with its blighting superstitions of primogeniture, gavelkind, mortmain, and contingent remainders; if you detest, abhor, and abjure the tortuous maxims and perfidious provisions of its habeas corpus, quare impedit, and qui tam (hear, hear); if you scorn the mummeries of its wigs, and bands, and coifs, and ermine (vehement cheering); if you trample and spit upon its accursed fee simple and fee tail, villanage, and free soccage, fiefs, heriots, seizins, feuds (a burst of cheers, the whole meeting in commotion); its shares, its premiums, its post-obits, its percentages, its tariffs, its broad and narrow gauge—Here the cheers became frantic, and drowned the speaker’s voice, and a most extraordinary scene of enthusiasm followed. One half the meeting was seen embracing the other half; till as if by the force of a sudden resolution, they all poured out of the square, and proceeded to break the windows of all the British residents. They then formed into procession, and directed their course to the great square before the Kremlin, they dragged through the mud, and then solemnly burnt, an effigy of John Bull which had been provided beforehand by the managing committee, a lion and unicorn, and a Queen Victoria. These being fully consumed, they dispersed quietly; and by ten o’clock at night the streets were profoundly still, and the silver moon looked down in untroubled lustre on the city of the Czars.  3
 
 
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