reform take effect, how can the monarchy stand?-and with the monarchy must go the Church of England. And who, in truth, are the reformers? None other than the intolerants, whose hatred of the Duke for what they called his base desertion of them in bringing in the Catholic bill, caused them to help the Whigs to the possession of power; which sooner than relinquish, these children of sordid emolument and sedition are prepared to plunge the country into civil war.

The interest which this great question excites at the present moment is not to be described. The King has been induced to declare himself in favour of reform; and this has made even the loyalty of England take part with those who, under other circumstances, would be denounced as public enemies. The name of royalty has on this occasion been made use of for the purpose of undermining the throne; as the name of religion has been used on other occasions for the purpose of overturning the altar!


These providential arrangements, (for such they assuredly are) will become the more manifest when it is considered, that not only if Canning had remained in power, emancipation would not have been granted, but, had he not died, reform could not have taken place. His removal from office was not more necessary for the one purpose, than his removal from existence was for the other. And for both, God bless them, we are indebted to the precious Tories! Had Canning lived, the very Whigs who are now endeavouring to retain office by means of reform, (surely they have been visited with " a strong delusion" by which they have been made "to believe a lie,") WOULD HAVE COME WITH POWER PLEDGED AGAINST

IT! His death, therefore, was absolutely essential to the acceleration of more coming events which are to herald the re-establishment of true religion. The Whigs have now attained office, but it is morally certain that they cannot retain it one hour

after the floodgates of democracy have been opened upon the constitution. Whoever may succeed them will be the creatures of the mob, and must conform in all things to the supreme will and pleasure of what is in mockery termed the majesty of the people. In a word, Old England, the mother and the protectrix of heresies, will have come to an end,

and new England, reformed England, will commence a career of revolution and anarchy, which, if any human penalties could atone for inexpiable offences, would serve as a propitiation for the guilt of her damnable apostasy, and her cruel persecution of the Church of God, with which the Inquisition itself might be satisfied.

These, my friend, are a few of "the signs of the times" in this coun try. Upon the continent I am compelled to believe that things wear a different aspect. But, be comforted. You may rest assured that if we are enabled, by the divine assistance, to accomplish the objects upon which our hearts are set, the Catholic Church will receive a reinforcement, by the aid of which she will be enabled to defy all her adversaries. She may be persecuted; but she is not forsaken;-she may be cast down, but she is not destroyed. She may be deserted by hollow friends; she may be beleaguered by insulting ene mies; the Evil One may storm and rage, and hell enlarge itself beyond measure against her; but faith must be dead within us if we abandon the belief that she is still under His providential care who can convert stumbling-blocks into stepping-stones, and cause the very hostility which is directed against his holy religion to contribute more directly and more effectually to its establishment, than any plans of merely human contrivance. From what has been already said, I think the truth is tolerably evident; it will be more so when you are more particularly instructed in the internal condition of Ireland. For the present, farewell.


MY DEAR FRIEND, You are now instructed respecting those external arrangements, as I


may call them, relating to the Church in this country, by which serious obstacles to its extension and establish

ment have been removed. You have seen that it was redeemed from a state of bondage; and that in such a manner, that what has been already done for it only opens a vista to what may yet be expected. Catholic emancipation, instead of a final settlement, was but the foundation for new claims, and the earnest of new concessions, which shall, please God, only terminate in the triumphant establishment of our religion in all the plenitude of its ancient glory. The events that I have already sketched may show you that my expectations are not altogether visionary; still less will they be so considered when we come to view the internal arrangements, which will, I trust, be perceived to be the exact counterparts of what have been described, and that the former do not more completely afford facilities for the attainment of that ecclesiastical aggrandizement which is in prospect, than the latter enable our Church to profit by them.

[ocr errors]

In the first place, hold it in mind, that the government of this Protestant empire bears almost the whole expense of the maintenance and education of our candidates for holy orders. Just imagine how a proposition of that kind, on the part of heretics, would be received at Rome, and you will have some idea of the stuff that our “liberality” is made of! But do not, I pray you, abuse a term, which, in this instance at least, is of such immense importance to the interests of true religion. The college of Maynooth, where our young men are educated, is a purely eleemosynary institution. It is supported by an annual parliamentary grant; and was established at a time when Bonaparte was master of the continent, and when it was apprehended such of our people as went abroad for education might return infected by French principles. It was also hoped, that by being educated at home, a feeling of gratitude and loyalty would be produced, which would more than compensate for the expense which was thus saddled upon the country.

When you remember the creed of England, and the laws which were at that time in force, you may judge of the consistency of the government in thus giving a positive establishment (for our religion was, from that mo

ment, subordinately established) to a Church which was believed to maintain errors that were damnable and idolatrous. They thus deliberately sacrificed what they affected to believe to be the spiritual interests of the people, to considerations of state policy. If they were right in their opinion, we were wrong in ours; and if we were wrong, however we may have been tolerated, we should not have been encouraged in our errors; much less, furnished with the only means of disseminating them amongst the people! But thus it was that the Lord blinded the understandings of his enemies And I can promise you that there was in this case no departure from the usual result of such unhallowed policy,-for in them it was unhallowed. I never yet knew an instance where religion was sacrificed to the exigencies of state, and where the exigencies of state were really answered by such a sacrifice. I need not tell you that the principles inculcated at Maynooth are not more favourable to the British government than those which are taught on the continent. I need not tell you that the attachment of our clergy to their own religion is not less strong, or that their hatred of an heretical and intrusive establishment is not less inveterate, because they are subsisted upon an eleemosynary fund, extorted from mistaken liberality, and furnished in the foolish hope of making their civil conflict with their spiritual allegiance. No, my friend," your brethren in Ireland have not so learned to put off Christ. Nor have→ we, for one moment, by any act or declaration for which we are responsible, suffered the government of the country to be deceived upon this subject.

We have uniformly professed, and uniformly acted upon the profession, that our civil is subordinate to our spiritual allegiance. Such is their stolidity, that they have saved us the trouble of any mental reservation. And if that were the case in the day of our humiliation, what may not be expected, when, to use the language of the fanatic regicide, "The Lord has delivered them into our hands ?"

The period, too, at which this establishment was founded is worthy of being held in mind. The penal disabilities had been relaxed to a

[ocr errors]

From what has been said you may well imagine the better classes furnished but few candidates for holy orders. Indeed, my friend, with grief I speak it, a Roman Catholic gentleman, at the period to which I allude, would as soon have thought of bringing up his son to be a conjurer as to be a priest! Formerly the ranks of our ministry were well supplied from the gentle blood of Catholic Ireland! and there was no family in the country, not even the highest, who would not have felt proud of having given a son to the service of the sanctuary. At that time no one could be educated for our ministry who was not in circumstances which permitted him to visit the continent as a gentleman, and to receive a liberal education. But, such was the decay either of zeal, or of orthodoxy, or of inclination to be set apart for the service of God, at the time to which I have particularly directed your attention, that, if Providence had not interfered in an extraordinary way on our behalf, the services of religion must have been altogether neglected; there could not, humanly speaking have been found a body of clergy by whom its holy rites might be duly and efficiently administered in the land. Was it not, then, especially important, that in proportion as the supply of regularly educated ecclesiastics was withheld on one side, it should be furnished on another; that, in proportion as our own gentry deserted us, Protestant liberality should have afforded us the means and the opportunity of making our lower orders supply their place;-of preventing, in fact, a dearth of Catholic ministers, without whose aid the Catholic religion would have become extinct in Ireland? Indeed, my friend, it was. Herein I recognise a peculiar providence. Had things been suffered to take their natural course, our gentry and traders would have been absorbed by the acquisition of wealth and the pursuit of honour; and the bulk of the people would have been ill disposed to tax themselves for the cost of an establishment such as that at Maynooth. It was then most important, that at this critical period we should have been enabled, by the bounty of an heretical Parlia

degree that permitted our people to
enjoy all the substantial blessings of
the constitution. The fields of trade
and commerce were thrown open to
them, as were also’the liberal pro-
fessions, the army, the navy, the
practice of medicine and the bar.
At this particular period, a spurious
liberality and a profane hardihood
of enquiry led many, who had, pre-
viously been dutifully submissive
to the commands of the church, to
doubt of her divine authority, and
even to have recourse to Holy Scrip-
ture for the purpose of ascertaining
how far her pretensions were sanc-
tioned by the word of God. Pro-
fane and absurd temerity! As if
that which would not have been
received unless she bore witness to
it, was to be erected into a standard
by which she herself was to be
judged As if while it was acknow-
ledged that upon her testimony
alone the Scriptures were received,
it could with any shew of reason be
pretended, that, upon their testi-
mony alone, she should be rejected!
But so it was. Our people began
to exhibit symptoms of heretical
pravity, such as in more favoured
Countries, would have caused them
to be handed over to the secular
power. It was no uncommon thing
to see Catholics of the better class
frequent attendants upon Protest-
ant places of worship. Not a few
of that description made a formal
renunciation of what they blasphe-
mously called "the errors of the
Church of Rome;"-and, had the
penal laws been at that time com-
pletely repealed, I should have trem-
bled for the consequences! But,
thank God, they remained in force
just sufficient to make it a point of
honour with numbers not to desert
what was still reputed to be a per-
secuted sect, who in no one respect
paid the slightest regard to any of.
its sacred ordinances. Truly, my
friend, if the disabilities and perse-
cutions, when at their height, were
wellnigh crushing us, the slender
remnants of them which then sub-
sisted were our only preservatives
against annihilation. They were the
plank, as it were, which saved us
from being overwhelmed in the
ocean of liberalism by which we
were surrounded. Well-but I must
not digress from the point in hand.

ment, to do what we either could not or would not have done for ourselves. When our Church was being deserted by her own unnatural children, her continuity and permanency were effectually provided for by those whom she has ever considered outcasts and aliens! The same liberalism which caused the defection of our friends, enabled us to obtain as sistance from our enemies! In a word,-we were visited by a drought, under the influence of which we must have perished, had not our considerate Protestant Government presented us with a royal patent filter ing machine, which enabled us to obtain, even from the sewers and the puddles, water enough to supply our necessities! But is their heresy less a heresy, because it has thus, unwit tingly, contributed to the preservation of the Church of God? Assuredly not. If we profit by the errors, we know the motives of our enemies; -and we will, when the opportunity presents itself, requite them, as in duty bound, not according to their acts, but according to their intentions. Should the Israelites have been very grateful to Balaam for the benediction which he pronounced upon them? Did they not know that he came forth to curse, and that he was under an overruling influence, "when, lo! he blessed them altogether ?"

Thus were we saved not only from our enemies, but by our enemies! Our Church was preserved to contend against Irish heresy ;-how ? By the heresy of Ireland. This is, indeed, the Lord's doing, andit should be marvellous in our eyes! But you may, perhaps, imagine, that the supply of clergy, which was thus obtained, however sufficient in point of numbers, was inferior in point of education and condition to those who used formerly to officiate in our ministry. You are right. They are inferior in these respects;-but, I am prepared to shew you, that that very circumstance peculiarly qualifies them for the services which they have at present to perform. In fact, no gentleman could act or feel, as they are required to feel and to act. A sympathy with the lower orders, from whom they spring, almost approaching to an antipathy to the upper classes, is an indispensable requisite

[ocr errors]

in the character of a Catholic priest in Ireland. A most important part of the business of our clergy is, to keep alive in the minds of the people a keen sense of insults which are no longer endured, and of injuries which are no longer inflicted. We must fill them with a resentful jealousy and distrust, as the only means of guarding them against heretical contamination. The Irish are naturally affectionate and warm-hearted; and their very virtues would dispose them to entertain favourable impressions of those who so plausibly profess to be solicitous both for their temporal and eternal welfare, and who come, as the Apostle prophetically describes them, seeking, "with all manner of deceiveableness," "to pervert the right ways of the Lord." To encounter antagonists such as these, the old gentlemanly priests were no more fitted, than spaniel dogs are fitted to contend against wolves or tigers. They were a kindly, easy, good-natured, peace-loving race, who did very well for the time in which they lived, when the great object was to lull suspicion, and to live, as far as in them lay, peaceably with all men. The Church was then in the attitude of a supplicant, and nothing better became it "than modest stillness and humility;"-and when these qualities were accompanied by manners which ". were touchingly simple, and an education and condition which claimed, if not reverence, at least respect, every thing practicable in the then state of things was accomplished. A political or even a polemical priest would be regarded as a nuisance, or denounced as a traitor. But a different class of men is now required. The Church is no longer a supplicant. She has been enabled to take a lofty attitude, and stands erect in the empire. She has, besides, a political as well as a religious part to support; and her future prospects depend as much upon the skill and the ability » with which she acts in the one character, as upon the integrity with which she perseveres in the other. were, therefore, furnished with a mild and inoffensive priesthood, as long as it suited our policy to appear unobtrusive and meek;-we are furnished with a bold and intrepid priesthood, now that it is expedient that we should appear formi


dable. Our priesthood consisted of gentlemen, when the Protestant clergy and gentry were to be conciliated;-now that intimidation is the order of the day, they are formed of rougher materials. They were thankful, retiring, most submissive to the governing authorities, as long as these authorities seemed resolutely bent upon the support of an intrusive Church, and acted towards us upon a principle which recognised the broad destruction between establishment and toleration; -they are craving, forward, turbulent, and ambitious, and lose no opportunity of exhibiting their contempt for the powers that be, now that that destruction has been abandoned, and that we are treated as though we were already established, and that the Church of England is treated as though she were already deposed. Do you not see in these things a providential adjustment of a priesthood to circumstances, such as surpasses merely human wisdom? To me it would seem as absurd to say that the liver or the heart were placed by accident in the human body, as that accident governed that combination of events to which we owe the establishment of Maynooth in Ireland!

charitable, or foolishly conciliatory, we have only either to threaten or to send a curate from Carlow or Maynooth, to act as viceroy over him.

You are, perhaps, startled at the wildness of our proceedings. Recollect that we have already a majority of Irish members, who, as they value their seats, must be our obedient servants in the Imperial Par liament. Believe me that we know what we are about, and the ground upon which we stand. Let the Minister who dares to speak of us in any other language than that of respect, beware how he provokes our indignation. As a proof (for I know your caution and timidity, and that you will not be easy without one) that we have not gone too far, I need only mention that the Bishop of Kildare and Loughlin, Dr Doyle, lately published a pamphlet in which the tithe system is denounced, and in which he expresses a hope that the hatred of the people towards it "will be as eternal as their love of justice." The consequence of this was manifest in resistance even to blood, to the demands of the heretical clergy. But was this blood visited upon him? Did he incur any blame for the massacres which occurred, when the peasantry, in pursuance of his advice, opposed themselves, with violence, to the execution of the law? such thing. The whole odium was cast upon those who sought to enforce the execution of the law: nothing seemed farther from the government than the intention of imputing any blame to Dr Doyle; and the Secretary for Ireland, in his place in Parliament, took occasion to pronounce a public panegyric upon his genius and his virtues! This will, I hope, satisfy you that we have not as yet gone too far. When you are farther informed respecting our actual condition, you will be abundantly satisfied that discretion presides over our affairs, and that we only adopt a vigorous policy when the wisest measures are the boldest


How unfitted the old priests would be for the peculiar circumstances of this country at present, may appear from the examples of the few of them who still survive, and are employed as parish ministers. They are almost all, invariably, on good terms with the Protestant clergymen, and not unfrequent visitants in the houses of their Protestant neighbours! Verily, their talk is, peace, peace, when there should be no peace. Peace, in order to prevent, I suppose, the unconditional submission of our heretical enemies! What a state we should be in if we were abandoned to their aid or their counsels! No. A different sort of men are now required, and a different sort of men we have. And we know how to manage these gentry too; wherever we discover any of them weakly and most decisive. Adieu. T. K.


MY DEAR FRIEND, FROM what I have already written, you must have seen reason to believe

that circumstances have hitherto miraculously favoured the progress of our divine religion in this country;

« ElőzőTovább »