Near the close of the chapter in The Warden dominated by Trollope's mocking observations about the modern power of The Jupiter, his satiric representation of The Times and its rivals, he introduces a far more heavy-handed, though wonderfully effective, satirical view of British anti-catholicism:
Sir Abraham Haphazard was deeply engaged in preparing a bill for the mortification of papists, to be called the "Convent Custody Bill," the purport of which was to enable any protestant clergyman over fifty years of age to search any nun whom he suspected of being in posses- sion of treasonable papers, or jesuitical symbols: and as there were to be a hundred and thirty-seven clauses in the bill, each clause containing a separate thorn for the side of the papist, and as it was known the bill would be fought inch by inch, by fifty maddened Irishmen, the due construction and adequate dovetailing of it did consume much of Sir Abraham's time. The bill had all its desired effect. Of course it never passed into law; but it so completely divided the ranks of the Irish members, who had bound themselves together to force on the ministry a bill for compelling all men to drink Irish whisky, and all women to wear Irish poplins, that for the remainder of the session the Great Pop- lin and Whisky League was utterly harmless. (Chapter 7, "The Jupiter")
What does Trollope imply by having the great legal defender of the established Church such a bigotted schemer? Moreoever, how does the preceding passage's last sentence make the reader doubt Haphazard's sincerity?
By this last sentence does Trollope imply that the roots of anti-Catholicism largely lie in economic conflict, or that the establishment just uses prejudice to protect certain markets?
Finally, in this passage is the novelist just making a political point in passing, or does this satiric attack relate more centrally to The Warden?
Last modified 2000