Imágenes de página

theory, and in a country where there is yet no sufficient opportunity for seeing it in practice! And this, in order that it should not be learned where the living tragedy of its actual horrors would have caused men to renounce it as the eldest born of Hell! Was there ever such infatua tion! But such is the fact! Jacobinism has been adopted and matricula-"| ted amongst ourselves, under circum stances which do not suffer it to revolt the feelings of our young men and which render it impossible for a supine and impious community of heretics to discover, under its specious generalities, and its glozing 1 plausibilities, the mine that is pre pared for their destruction! This is a bold perspective picture. You wil say, perhaps, it is too bold. But be not alarmed. Be faithful and fear not. The principles which they them selves have sown will ripen to the ruin of our adversaries-the horrors to which they will give rise, will operati for the preservation of faithful be lievers. They have sown the wind and they will reap the whirlwind.” Their Church and State have long" cherished within them the seeds of decay, and must fall, a reaction wil then take place in our favour; and · the very miseries of the country wil lead to the consolidation and secu rity of our once more triumphan Church, which, as was said by the poet of the city from which she takes her name,

and that we are almost equally indebted to the infatuation of the Government, the favour of our friends, and the hatred of our enemies. To what do we owe the establishment of Maynooth? To the hope that, by giving us a domestic education, dangerous prejudices would be removed; and that we might not, during the prevalence of Jacobin principles, have any intercourse with the continental universities. Such was the profundity of British statesmen! They gave us a domestic education, just then when we could not afford to get a foreign one; and thus recruited the deserted ranks of our ministers by a supply of able ecclesiastics, just when they were most wanted, and precisely of the kind that were at that most critical period indispensable for the vineyard of the Lord! As to the wise precaution against Jacobin principles, it is a notorious matter of fact, that they have never been so prevalent as since the establishment of Maynooth; and that the only portion of our clergy who are perfectly free from them, are the clergy who have been educated abroad, and who have had an opportunity of seeing their fruits! It might, one should have thought, have occur red to our rulers here, that Jacobinism is only plausible upon paper that it is in its principles it is attractive; in its wild and delusive theory of the rights of man; but that the instant it becomes operative and practical, its most infatuated votaries can be no longer blinded. The horrors to which it leads are so appalling, that many of its thorough-going disciples have been driven, by a kind of recoil, from the precipice to which it conducted them, and become, for the remainder of their lives, the stanchest friends of social order. Now this was the case with many of our old priests, who, I assure you, were the best friends the Government had during the late rebellion. There are some of them still living, who, to this day, receive pensions for the services which, on that occasion, they were considered to have performed for the country! But, in the teeth of these facts, what do the Government ? Why, they establish a seminary where Jacobinism (just of that character, and to that degree which may answer our purposes) may be learned in

nn) ་ ་ ་ ་་་་་

- ́“ Per damna, per cædes, ut ipsa

Ducit opes animumque ferro."

[ocr errors]

To what have we been indebted for Emancipation? To a foolish expectation on the part of our adversaries that our civil would lead to what was called our religious liberty!— that by becoming free citizens, we should cease to be faithful Christians!. Has this expectation been answered? Verily no, nor ever. will be. Our Church will, for the future, be preserved as effectually from the crafts as it has hitherto been, from the assaults of the Devil. Our guarantee secures us not less against fraud than against violence. And our designing enemies may yet find, to their cost, "that in the snare that they had laid for others, were they themselves taken." Our system, my reverend brother, works well. Witness the recent


conversion of that most erudite young by indulgence in a little violence,-
nobleman, Lord Mount-Stewart-as and the more zealous of the priest-
also, of that richly beneficed English hood by conniving at a little seditious
clergyman, a near relation of one of vehemence, as well as impose upon
the present Cabinet Ministers. But the Government by that plausible
we are not desirous to blazon these exterior of dutiful acquiescence in
things abroad. It is enough that they their wishes, which has hitherto ser-
occur now and then to excite thell ved our purposes so well, and con-
wonder of the public and fill their verted them into our slaves, while
imagination of the vulgar. We are they supposed that we were their
not as yet in a condition to profit by servants Besides, how should we
them as we may profit by them herese exhibit our power if there was not
after. The dever has not as yet been occasionally an outbreak of sedition
securely fixed, by which we may bes which gave us an opportunity of
enabled to move the world Depende
upon it, however, that the Crescent
must yield to the Cross The king
dom of Satan is coming to an endjo
and the time is not far distant when
"the knowledge of the Lord shall
cover the earth as the waters covers
the sea." luis à bemile to
And not the least important of the
circumstances that at present favour
us, is this, that the Protestants them
selves are so divided that we are ala
ways, and under any circumstances,
able to calculate upon a powerful
party as our steadfast friends; even
over and above the number who conT
sider themselves specially retained
by us in the Imperial Pabllamentab
The liberals, who ridiculed, as ant
antiquated folly, unworthy of serious
refutation, the notion that we should
ever again lift up our heads tas vai
prosperous sect, or sevince the least
degree of intolerance feel theme
selves bound, in common consise
tency, to defend us from any charges
of that kind, as often as they are
made; and, when facts of a startling
nature are alleged against us, au-
thenticated by evidence that cannot
be gainsaid, they are sure of carrying
the audience along with them by
saying, that "for one such instance
in which our influence is abused,
there are ten in which it is used for
the good of the country."

magnifying our office, by appearing
as the pacificators of Ireland? Rest
assured, therefore, that no indiscre-
tion, with which we have as yet been
chargeable, has been without its use.
You will find, upon enquiry, in every
instance, that it has either increased
our power, by giving confidence to
our followers, or diminished our dif-
ficulties, by scattering amongst our
enemies dismay of delusion.

[ocr errors]

But, methinks I hear you say, "Why should your influence be abused in any instance? Why excite suspicions which may not be easily allayed, or provoke resentment which may not be speedily relinquished? Is it not better to go on cautiously and quietly until" My friend, I understand you; but you do not yet understand us. We have a very complicated game to play in this country. We must bribe the people

[ocr errors]

Maynooth; as I told you, is the seed-bed of our ministry. Without it we could not have got on. It was established at a period when there was not zeal enough, either religious or political, to raise the contributions by which it might be supported. There was then no Catholic rent. Indeed if it were not for the kind of influence exercised by the description of clergy which it has sent into the country, the Catholic rent never could have been collected. It was, therefore, most important as an organ for furnishing Ireland with a political priesthood-a priesthood separated from the gentry by a wide line of demarcation, and identified with the bulk of the people. In feelings, in principles, in manners, in habits, in sympathies, in antipathies, in the precise character and extent of their erudition, in their acquisitions, in their deficiencies, they are, to a nicety, the very description of persons, without whose aid nothing important could, at present, be done for the regeneration of our apostolical Church, and the re-establishment of our holy religion. But that is not all. Maynooth contributes largely to the supply of the North American priesthood. The Yankees are not a religious people. With all their liberality, they never would have done for the faithful amongst us, what our Protestant Government has done for

the faithful amongst them. Indeed, England. America has contribute Catholics in America seem at present to enkindle amongst us a love c infected with the same latitudina- freedom. We have supplied the rianism which prevailed in this coun- with the means of keeping up tru try about the period of the French religion; they will yet supply revolution. It is difficult to raise with the means of accomplishing n amongst them a sufficient sum of tional independence. I fancy_th money to keep our chapels in repair, I see you lift up your eyes with a or enable our clergy to subsist in tonishment. N'importe. All will y comfort. The thing could scarcely be plain. exler de nai intins you. be done at all if it were not for the annual supply of our emigrants. As long as that was large, it more than compensated for the numbers whom we lost by perversion. I begin, how ever, now to have some fears for the state of transatlantic Catholicity; or, indeed, I should rather say, for the fate of the unhappy country which may, through its folly or for its sins, be deprived of its blessed influence. The character of the Irish emigrations has of late years considerably altered. The Protestants are now going in shoals from us, while the Catholics are clinging to their native soil. Now this is good for us;-it confirms all that I have been hitherto telling you respecting our prospects at home;-but I need not add, it is bad for America. That country will not, as usual, be supplied with true believers, whose new zeal served to counteract the encroachments of heresy, and to keep up the temperature of true religion. I would, therefore, beg leave to recommend it most especially to your care. And while you rejoice, as you must rejoice, at what is doing here, leave nothing, I beseech you, undone by which the evil to be apprehended there may be averted.

In thus calling your attention to the state of religion in America, I am not, be assured, intermeddling in a matter that does not very intimately concern ourselves. You know that if we have given that country many priests, we have got from it some bishops;-and you can easily understand how important it is that we should have amongst us a few dignitaries who have received a republican education. We are then enabled to keep up a connexion with America, which, if I am not greatly deceived in my prognosis of coming events, will not appear the least curious or beautiful of the divine arrangements. We have contributed to keep alive in America a hatred of

While I write, the Reform B has been rejected by the House Lords. So much the better. W are not as yet in a condition fully avail ourselves of all its advantage As matters stand at present, we ha quite as much power in the Hou of Commons as is necessary for t purposes in hand. We make th Government feel our importance ;-and will cause them to solicit o acceptance of a stipend, which w almost entirely relieve us from d pendence upon the voluntary obl tions of the people. Not until v have got from them every thin which they can possibly give, w that change be expedient for which the late project of refor meditated, and by which, if it shou be adopted, the constitution must? essentially changed. England is this moment agitated by a turbule democracy, which has encroach upon the province both of the nol lity and the crown. What will the case when Boreas shall have, good earnest, snatched his tride from the hand of Neptune? Will Bi tannia any longer " rule the waves She will scarcely be visible among the breakers!

Meanwhile, under cover of th confusion that prevails, we pursu our systematic designs without m lestation. The Government are abo to intrust to us what amounts to th exclusive patronage and control a system of national education. The have already enabled us to educat our clergy; and it will go hard wit us if we do not now raise up fc them suitable congregations. Bi the plan is not as yet fully matured and it would be idle to speak of it effects until we have it in actual ope ration.

It is, of course, absurd to suppos that a body of clergy who possess th means of influencing the return of majority of Irish members, should not command great consideration in

the Imperial Parliament. We look, therefore, ultimately, to establishment as the religion of the state in this country; but we are not anxious to precipitate a measure which might in some degree deprive us of the confidence of the people. Until they have obtained every thing which they can reasonably look for, we will not put forward our claims. They will then be put forward for us in a man

ner which cannot be resisted.

Ministers, I have reason to think, feel the obligations which they owe us. At their instance we forbore, on the late elections, to make our people demand from the candidate a pledge to support the repeal of the Union. Such a pledge the Ministers would have found in the highest degree inconvenient; and, I believe, there is no reasonable length to which they are not ready to go, in order to evince their sense of our forbearance, You will yourself see, that it would be imprudent, in the present state of our affairs, to make any stipulations which might appear to be of a selfish character. This we scrupulously avoid. But we have no objection to suffer them to shew their gratitude, by measures for the discountenance and depression of our adversaries.

And herein we found in them a readiness even to go beyond what we should have required. I will, in a future letter, enter more at large into the actual condition of the Protestant Clergy but the Church, as a Church, may be considered as absolutely repudiated by the state. Her condition is pitiable in the extreme. We are quiet lookers on ; while she is condemned, sentenced, and about to be executed by her own children!

But can the thinking people of England, you will say, be blind to what must be the necessary consequences of OUR ASCENDENCY in Ireland? The people of England, my dear friend, are this moment occupied by concerns of more pressing importance. Illuminated by the blazing edifices of their nobility, they are, with all philosophic earnestness, discussing the merits of the Reform Bill ! A new light has, indeed, broken in upon this wise and reflecting people; and, if we fail to profit by it, we shall deserve to wear, for the rest of our lives, the jangling ornament that at present adorns the brows of our and which he took in exchange for his diadem at the late coronation. Adieu. T. K.

LETTER IV. .....

MY DEAR FRIEND, You are, I trust, by this time, sufficiently convinced of the prosperity of the Catholic cause in Ireland; and feel satisfied that the intrusive Church must be built upon a foundation of adamant if she can withstand the combined attack which we are preparing for her. But, in truth, she is as feeble as we are formidable;

and the circumstances to which we owe our strength are not more remarkable than those in which she must recognise her weakness. Both are equally indicative of that overruling Providence which has assigned its date to error, and ordained that truth, and truth alone, shall be eternal. Proceed we now to this branch of our lofty argument.

The first seed of decay which I notice in the system of the Church of England is, that no sufficient provision has been made for the professional education of its ecclesias tics. The heretic Cranmer intended

that the spoil of the monasteries should be appropriated, in part, to the endowment of diocesan colleges, which should be peculiarly dedicated to the cultivation of church learning, and which might also serve to encourage those professional habitudes of thought and feeling without which there can be no real incorporation of the clergy, such as should cause them to feel as different members of the same body. The necessity for this Cranmer foresaw ;-but it was beyond his power to accomplish a project which might, had it taken effect, have given a permanency to error that might have rendered heresy inveterate. Fraud and violence were, accordingly, suffered to prevail; and religion, or what was called religion, was starved, that the rapacity of the King and his nobles might be pampered. The consequence of this is, that there is no standard of theology amongst the clergy of the Church of England. Able divines, no doubt,

are to be occasionally found amongst them; but the theology of the clergy as a body is just that which each individual picks up for himself; and is determined more by taste, or feeling, or fancy, or accident, than by the steady prosecution of an universally recognised and well-digested system. Hence, various opinions, under the same denomination; almost opposite heresies, within the same church,—and all, with seemingly equal plausibility, claiming the authority of her canons and articles on behalf of their incompatible pretensions! "If Satan, therefore, be divided against Satan, how shall his kingdom stand!"

The next point worthy of attention is, that no provision whatever has been made for the religious education of the gentry in the universities. I do not, of course, mean to say that they are not required to attend church. But I do say, and I would be judged by any twelve candid Englishmen whose opinions derive weight from experience, that the religious formalities of the Protestant colleges in the country are far from being effective for training the rising generation" in the way they should go," or impressing upon them any peculiar veneration for the Church by law established. Indeed I am prepared to shew, if necessary, that some of the strongest prejudices with which the Church of England has to contend, have been imbibed in those very seats of learning, one of the most important objects of which should be to furnish her with able defenders. The youth are not duly instructed in her peculiar doctrines. Her peculiar character is not held before them. They are not sufficiently informed of those grounds of preference by reason of which she claims a superiority over other sects. She is held forth to their veneration merely because she is the handmaid of the state, instead of its being impressed upon them that she is the handmaid of the state because she is pre-eminently worthy of their veneration. Studies of a character altogether different engross the chief part of their attention; that is, when they do attend to any serious studies at all-and when dogs and horses, cards and dice, are not their sole or principal occupation. Now, what

attachment can a laity thus brought up have to their national Church? None whatever. They look upon it merely as one among the many sects of Protestantism to which England, the fruitful mother of heresies, has given birth; and would consider it unworthy the liberality of their age and country to make any marked distinction between them.

I need not tell you that such is not the case with us, either as regards our clergy or laity. The first are scarcely instructed in any thing beyond their profession, in order that all their time and thoughts may be devoted to "the one thing needful." And we make it a point, as far as we have the power of so doing, that our laity shall be just so far interested in matters pertaining to our Church, as may cause them to feel that " nostra res agitur," whenever its privileges become matter of discussion, or its doctrines topics of argument.

Our clergy, as I have mentioned, are chiefly drawn from the lower orders. But they are the best of the lower orders. Has any poor man a child, who is distinguished beyond his other children, for sobriety, piety, love of learning, &c.-he is set apart for the ministry. It is not difficult for him in this country to obtain the requisite instruction in classical learn ing which may qualify him for admission into the institutions at Maynooth or Carlow, and which may be obtained upon due application to the bishop or some of the principal clergy, who thus exercise a species of patronage which gives them no small consideration in the eyes of the people.

Into these seminaries they enter with the single view of becoming priests; and they pursue the studies requisite for that purpose with a concentrated earnestness of attention, which cannot be even conceived by those who contrive to make their qualification for the ministry incidental merely to the pursuit of some other more engrossing object. How many of the clergy of the Church of England, at present, are individuals who betook themselves to the sacred profession, after they had failed in, or were tired of, some secular calling, and with no greater preparation for holy orders, than they had contrived, by a thrifty economy, to

« AnteriorContinuar »