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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 1

Reasons Against the Endowment of the Romish Priesthood in Ireland

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Reasons Against the Endowment of the Romish Priesthood in Ireland.

In that portion of the prophetic writings of the Bible which is most remarkable for minute detail and startling power of description,—that portion which contains the visions vouchsafed in Patmos to him, who, the best beloved by the Saviour while on earth, had given to him the farthest glance into the shadowy future—it is written, that the kings of the earth shall "give their power and strength unto the beast." That this term applies to the Papal dominion we shall not now attempt to question; but shall accept the interpretation given by the most eminent Protestant writers on this interesting subject, and consider that the phrase simply means, that the rulers in the Christian world, or at least the most powerful and influential of them, shall vie with each other in shewing respect and deference to the Papacy, obeying its commands, soliciting its protection, or espousing and defending its claims.

In exact accordance with the remarkable prediction has been the not less striking accomplishment. For the last twelve hundred years, the rulers of the civilized earth have made themselves the puppets and slaves of a monstrous spiritual usurpation, with an infatuation so great, that the only comparison the inspired writer thinks sufficiently striking, is, that of men intoxicated with the wine of sorcery. By a word, by a nod, from the spiritual ruler enthroned on the Seven Hills, empires have been overturned, thrones and sceptres tossed to and fro, kings robbed of the allegiance of their subjects and trampled under foot in a vain attempt at resistance,—the bonds of society loosened by an arbitrary mandate, while the wretched individual whose hard fate brought him under the ban of the "Saviour's Vicegerent" on earth was driven from the society of his fellows,—repulsed, loathed, as if covered with a foul leprosy,—and made, in his utter abandonment and wretchedness, to consider the wild beasts of the forest more merciful than his brother man. The days of excommunication and anathema are, to a certain degree, past; but not the less truth is there still in the expression, That the earth's rulers give their strength unto the Beast. The mode may differ, the disposition is still the same.

Since the temporary abasement of the Papacy in the beginning page 4 of this century, there has been a gradual increase of the power and influence of the Pope, so that, at the present moment—fallen as may be his temporal authority—probably his spiritual pretensions were never more widely or readily acknowledged. Without taking into account the actual increase in the number of his followers all over the world, the kings and rulers of the earth seem, at this moment, engaged in a competition to do him honour. A fugitive from the Eternal City—obliged to flee in a menial disguise from the fickle and brutal populace, whose debasement and ignorance are now recoiling on the heads of those who encouraged both—can this be the terrible potentate, at whose nod kingdoms were shaken, and whose fiat slavish millions adored and obeyed as the dictate of infallibility? It is even so. And yet two of the most powerful and enlightened empires on the earth are conspiring to render him homage. Republican France would gladly bow the knee before this, the worst of tyrannies, and add another to the many proofs already given, that, while she worships a name—a cold abstraction—she knows not the meaning, understands not the language, of liberty. And England,—what is the attitude taken by her, the fairest child of the Reformation—the country in which the rays of Gospel truth are diffused with clearest and purest lustre—the home of peace and liberty, to which the captive in every land turns his eyes with longing and with hope? Alas! that it should be said of the land in which lived, and spoke, and worked, Wickliffe, and Cranmer, Knox, and Melville; and in which, from thousands of temples, the worship of pure hearts is daily ascending, like incense, to the throne of God;—in this land, for the last twenty years, one concession after another has been made to Popery, one sacrifice after another offered to the Beast. Beginning with the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, our rulers and statesmen, as if intoxicated, possessed with but one idea, have, year by year, sought to draw closer the bonds of union between Protestant England and idolatrous Rome. Instead of protesting against, and endeavouring to counteract, the destructive and debasing tendencies and results of the teaching of that religion, they lay hold of these results, melancholy as they are in themselves, as a desirable instrument for accomplishing their purposes. They find the people of Ireland sunk in ignorance, poverty, idleness, and semi-barbarism, all the effects of the pernicious teachings of Popery: how do they act? They do not attempt to dispel their ignorance, amend their morals, and improve their condition, mentally and physically; they do not attempt to reduce the influence and weaken the power of that which has been the fruitful source of the evil; but, taking, to aid them, that very principle—destructive and pernicious as it is—they seek, by its means, to keep within bounds the evil which itself alone has produced.

A wide-spread feeling of disaffection exists among the Irish population; it has been aided, or even produced, by the priests, who in the main are traitors; it breaks out into open rebellion—after a short struggle the rebellion is suppressed—the leaders apprehended and punished—at least the laity are; but though proofs abound, amply sufficient to shew the guilt of many of the priests, they are allowed to page 5 escape; nay, petted, courted, caressed, by the rulers of this realm! Why? Because our rulers will not do, what justice and common sense alike demand: govern Ireland in spite of the priests, giving to all, where due, their just punishment; they must, forsooth, govern that country through the priests, employing as the cure the very treatment which produces the disease! Instead of attempting to stay the progress of the conflagration, and arresting the incendiary, they leave him his liberty, and give him materials to feed the flame if he will I An attempt was made to establish colleges for general secular education—so far the object was good. But, true to their subservient and cowardly policy, our rulers approached the Papal throne, kneeling humbly, and requesting that a foreign potentate would be graciously pleased to approve what the Queen of England had done within her own dominions!* Well, indeed, might a Liberal politician exclaim, "Who rules in Ireland, the Queen of England or the Pope of Rome?" And our rulers, by their actions, answer, "The Pope!" What was the consequence? Could it be imagined for a moment that darkness would tolerate light, evil encourage good? The result might have been foreseen. The colleges were placed under ban, and the youth of Ireland forbidden to seek instruction there. This is the last insult received; but, true to the instinct which prompts them to kiss the hand that smites them, our Government and our leading statesmen are now notoriously contemplating a further concession to Popery—taking a step beyond which we can hardly go, and which may be considered the last and crowning abasement—the brimming over of the cup of shame and apostasy. This is the endowment, in one form or other, of the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland; their formal recognition by and identification with this Protestant State.

We have sadly miscalculated the spirit of our countrymen, if this infamous proposal should ever become the law of the land. We are sure that the heart of England is still sound, that the nation at large is as warmly attached as ever to the great and eternal principles of Bible truth. And again we say, we do not fear the result.

It is our intention now to state a few of the arguments which seem to us the most prominent and striking, in opposition to any plan for endowing or supporting the Church of Rome.

The darling argument with our statesmen is, Expediency—worldly policy. We shall therefore devote some time to the consideration of this part of the subject, and divide our train of argument into two portions; the first, to a consideration of the principle involved; the second will be occupied entirely by an examination of the expediency, and to the soundness of policy of any such measure.

Our leading Reformers, after throwing off the yoke of Popery, taking the Word of God for their guide, reformed the Church of England, and stated the Articles of faith which were to be the guide of that Church, in concise and simple language, so that none of the people could have any doubt what they were. In these Articles, they allude to the distinguishing features of the Church of Rome,

* See Note A.

page 6 terming many of her doctrines "blasphemous fables and dangerous conceits;" than which it is impossible to use more emphatic language. This Church, therefore,—the government and the principles of which are derived directly from the Word of God, and not from vain traditions or inventions of man,—is pre-eminently founded on truth, having its origin direct from the fountain of all truth, the inspired Scripture itself.

By the English Constitution, a solemn national assent is given to the principles of Protestantism; the right to ascend the throne is limited to individuals holding those principles, and certain high offices in the State can be held by Protestants only. In addition, the higher dignitaries of the Church take their places in the Upper Legislative chamber by right of their office, and have a voice directly in the making of the laws. The State, therefore, is indissolubly united with the one Protestant Church of England; the whole structure is so cemented, that, were one portion to abdicate its functions, or to be forcibly pulled down, the rest would speedily follow; the Throne, the Church, the legislative authority, cannot exist separately, but will stand or fall together. And the vast and complicated machinery of this structure has been kept in harmonious and continuous operation from the Revolution of 1688 to this day.

We do not intend here to enter into a close examination of the nature of the agreement subsisting between the Church and State, as it concerns the privileges of the former and the powers of the latter; we simply take the fact as we find it.

A Church, therefore, teaching, and intended to teach, certain principles of faith and practice, exists in this country, and in Ireland, in most intimate alliance with the State. It will at once be seen, therefore, that to establish another Church, teaching diametrically opposite principles, is absurdly inconsistent, to say nothing of higher and holier views. It is absurd and inconsistent to establish a society or community with one object, and afterwards establish another association, avowedly to counteract the ends of the first. And here it seems necessary that we should very shortly glance at the leading characteristics of the two systems of religion, to shew that, in principle, they are opposed to each other in grand and essential points, and that they cannot approximate, unless one or other surrender the very essentials of their creed.

What is Protestantism? A distinguished Member of the House of Commons, and a member of the Church of England, but one who loudly disclaims the name of Protestant, said once in that House, that Protestantism was a negative thing, rather a negation of certain active principles of another Church, than an assertion of leading principles originated by itself. It might be sufficient, in reply to this, to shew the doctrines held and inculcated by the early Church till the third century; or to point to the pure faith so very wonderfully kept alive among the Vaudois during the thickest gloom of the middle ages. But we shall do more than this—we shall state what were the characteristic principles originated, or rather, revived, by the first Reformers, when the tyranny of Rome had been shaken page 7 off, and men searched the Scriptures, thought, and decided for themselves. To define in two words the leading ideas of Protestantism, we should say they were—first, the supremacy of the Bible, and its sufficiency, as a rule of faith; and, secondly, the right of every believer to exercise his judgment, and examine the Bible for himself. From these two grand and eternal principles proceed all the others. Protestantism selects the leading doctrines contained in the Bible, so clearly inculcated in that book that they would strike any illiterate savage on a first reading, and places them in all their purity and force before the people, along with the book whence they were taken It adds nothing to these doctrines—takes nothing from them. It publishes them to the world, and endeavours to gain proselytes by argument, not by force, appealing to the heart and the intellect, not to the imagination, or the senses. It does not aim at the elevation of the priesthood to a rank above their fellow-men, making them occupy an intermediate place between man and God; but it devotes them to the work of preaching and conversion, making them still active, though sanctified, citizens of the world. It does not ask a blind unreasoning obedience from its followers, but a faith founded on the cheerful, assent of each man's private judgment. In all transactions of life, it inculcates the strictest and loftiest moral purity; makes each man put to himself this question,—What do the Word of God and my own sense of justice tell me to do? and, never looking to the consequences, but only to the act, he goes on in rectitude, loathing the execrable doctrine, that the end justifies the means. God alone is to be the object of worship; no inferior creature is to occupy his place. And, finally, man's inherent sinfulness and unworthiness, and his justification in the sight of God by faith, not by his own merits, always occupy the front rank among the doctrines inculcated by Protestants.

The effect of the revival of these great principles, and their diffusion over Europe, is matter of history. But for their operation on the monastic gloom of the middle ages, we would now have been dreaming in the depth of its midnight. From the Reformation dates the awakening of human intellect after its long slumber; and from that time the advance of mankind in literature, science, and morality was one of giant rapidity. The world arose from barbarism, and marched onwards towards civilization with invincible speed. With improvement of manners went purity of morals; and on every land, blessed with the light of the Reformation, a better day seemed to have dawned. And still, over all the earth, the position of a nation in comfort, prosperity, intelligence, may be seen by its adherence to, or denial of, the great principles of the Protestant religion; its freedom, or otherwise, from the yoke of Popery. In our own country, the truth of this statement is painfully evident to us daily; the condition of Popish Ireland is the one drawback on our otherwise unmatched prosperity—our headship among nations.

Such is a hasty sketch of the principles of Protestantism. Let us now see what are those of the Church of Rome.

We might use Mr. Gladstone's language and say, it is an exact negation of all the principles we have attributed to Protestantism, page 8 But its principles of evil are fearfully active, as much so as ever, and Protestants should never forget what those principles really are. It appears to us, then, that the principles of the Church of Rome, from their nature, must necessarily produce, and always have produced, the four following evils, chiefly superstition, spiritual tyranny, hypocrisy, immorality. This we shall shortly endeavour to prove.

First; the tenets of the Church of Rome in a pre-eminent degree induce superstition. The worship is essentially that of idolatry. It is so in theory; so is it also in practice. The adoration of crucifixes, images, pictures, relics; the worship paid to the Virgin Mary, the apostles, and early Fathers; the raising to a rank worthy Divine honours, of celebrated saints, and devout men in all ages, and the worship ostentatiously rendered to the consecrated wafer—are the principal sources of superstitious feeling of the most slavish kind, and are, with their numberless ramifications, abundantly sufficient to perpetuate the most abject and credulous superstition among the adherents of that religion. The votaries of this system of idolatry have not, in the great majority of cases, a true idea of the Supreme Being; we maybe called fanatic and illiberal for making the assertion: but any one who has mingled freely, as we have, with the poorer and more ignorant Papists (the latter constituting an immense majority of the whole), can see at once, and in the plainest manner, that the conception they form of God, is that of a Being, mysterious and unknown, seldom concerning himself about the existence or well-being of this world and his creatures who inhabit it, but one who leaves to a crowd of angels, saints, &c., among whom the Virgin Mary holds a prominent place, the unchallenged superintendence of it and its inhabitants. The mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation have never been explained to them, and they class Jesus Christ among the saints, not much above the Virgin Mary,* while the one sacrifice made by him for the sins of all mankind is shewn to them by their priests, as a sacrifice made by themselves (the priests) by their own supernatural power, to be worshipped by the people as an emanation of divinity. A Papist is never told of the necessity of justification through an exercise of belief in the all-sufficient merits of Christ, and by that means alone; he is ignorant of such a thing as the absolute necessity of a change of heart—that change so entire and complete that, in the graphic language of inspired writ, it is called a new birth; he knows nothing of the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, because that would interfere with the sanctifying dispensations granted by the priest. With such corrupted and distorted notions of Christianity, can it be wondered that wherever Popery has long existed in a country, the people should, almost literally, be "wholly given to idolatry?" Is there anything surprising in the accounts that reach us of the success of Popish missionaries among savages and idolaters abroad? The heathen are not startled by any violent changes, they are not sternly ordered to throw away their idols, as hateful in the sight of God, and worship instead something which they do not see; the

* See Note B.

page 9 image of Christ on the cross, or the Virgin, takes the place of that of Marriataly or Vishnu, and the Hindoo mother consecrates her babe in another stream, though not the mighty Ganges. Does the votary of Juggernaut wish to silence the stings of conscience by the torture of his body, or by a violent death; he has only to lacerate his back with the lash, and deny himself food till nature sinks exhausted. Thus, while among the heathen, one form of idolatry is simply substituted for another, among nations professedly Christian, the most lamentable results are to be seen. The people are always in practice earnest idolaters. It may suit the purpose of well-educated men like Mr. Wyse,* to deny that Roman Catholics worship the image, the relic, or the crucifix; and unfortunately, in the British House of Commons, too ready an ear is lent to such disclaimers, but how notoriously is the reverse the case? Enter a Popish chapel, either in Ireland or England; look at those creatures grovelling in the dust about your feet, miserable specimens of the most abject and crouching superstition, in whom the squalidness of physical is not more evident than the depth of mental debasement; see with what intense and almost idiotic enthusiasm they gaze on the crucifix, or the image, or the uplifted host; mark them narrowly, nay, ask them afterwards, and you will find that what they worship is not a representation of something higher, of something Divine—it is the thing itself which they adore, a piece of wood, or stone, or bread! The poor devotee is told nothing of the God who inhabits eternity, who will have no other god beside him, who will suffer no representation of anything in heaven above, or the earth beneath, to be used in his honour; and so stunted is his intellect, so utter his mental darkness, that at first the full blaze of revelation almost blinds him; like the poor captive, he has become accustomed to the gloom of his cell, and prefers it to the free air and the bright sunshine. And the credulity, which is convinced that a fellow-man can give absolution,—can pardon a sin committed, or that another man can, by a decree, grant an indulgence for any sin for a certain time, or a relief to a particular extent, to the tortured soul, from the flames of purgatory, is equally degrading and demands our pity for the dupe, while it excites our indignation against the deceiver and his blasphemy.

We think, therefore, it will not be denied that the teachings of Popery produce superstition among all its votaries.

Secondly; in a greater degree than almost any other of the known systems of religion, has it produced spiritual tyranny.

The existence of this system depends on the degree of submission with which the people regard it. Everything, therefore, whether in doctrine or in worship, which tends to exalt the priesthood, and give them a sacred and distinctive character, increases that feeling among the people, and makes them regard their spiritual leaders with admiring awe and veneration. Here the difference between the Popish priest and the Protestant clergyman is at once manifest. The object

* Member for Waterford in the late Parliament, and an upright and honourable man.

See the "Times" of 16th December, 1848. Letter of Correspondent from Madrid, relative to indulgences granted by the Cardinal Legate.

page 10 of the former is to rule, of the latter to convince—of the former to enslave, of the latter to convert. Hence the solemn and mysterious grandeur which surrounds the one, glittering with strange garments before the altar, or shrouded in the dim confessional; and the comparatively familiar ease and gentleness with which the others perform their duties, mingling in life with its every-day concerns, cares, and relaxations, making their way by love, not by fear. By the stern law of celibacy the former are cut off from all human feelings and sympathies; they are unable, and often unwilling, to advise, even if they had the power, and too often, truth compels us to say, they use this power to trample ruthlessly on the tenderest ties. But while the Protestant clergyman does everything openly, and is exposed to the wholesome control of public opinion, the Popish priest, secure within his entrenchments of sanctity and privilege, does what he will almost with impunity, and rarely finds in his superior an impartial judge or a stern censor. Thus, in all those countries where Popery is paramount, Ireland not excepted, the priesthood are regarded with reverence and awe, and more frequently obeyed through the operation of fear than love. By the possession of the secrets of the confessional, the priest wields a terrible power, a power dangerous to society and to the commonwealth, a power which in a free country should not be allowed, and which every good citizen is directly interested in abolishing. How many crimes, which have stricken terror into a whole province, might be detected and punished, if the recesses of that priest's bosom were laid bare, and its secrets dragged forth into the daylight! And the guilty perpetrator of these deeds of blood ranges the earth as before with seared and untroubling conscience, feeling safe, because he knows well his secret will never be dislodged, but in his own person adding another to the list of those who, having confided all to that holy man, have become the passive and humble slaves to his will! The priest knows not only family, but individual secrets; the son confides to him what he will not to his parents; nay, more unnatural still, the wife, the mother, she who ought to have no feelings, thoughts, desires, unknown to the partner of her lot, whose mind ought to be a reflex of his own, the throbs of one heart agitating both alike,—she buries in the bosom of this stranger, thoughts which belong to her husband, and of which she robs him to bestow on another.*
Take another instance; look at the operation of the curse of excommunication. We have glanced at this already, but it may be amplified to any extent. It is now only about ten years ago, since an honest, industrious miller, in the north of Ireland, in Protestant Antrim, incurred the displeasure of his priest, and he was solemnly excommunicated, cursed from the altar, the anathema being accompanied by the usual imposing mummeries. What was the cause of this—of what awful crime had the man been guilty? Hear it, ye slumbering Protestants, ye liberal politicians, who persist in assuring us, contrary to the evidence of all our senses, that Popery is not what

* See Michelet, "Priests, Women, and Families," passim.

page 11 it once was;—his crime was, that he read the Bible and allowed a prayer-meeting to be held in his house! For this did he receive the priest's curse; and the consequences were of the most serious kind. His neighbours, his own family, shrank from and avoided him, as if he had been a leper, or had committed some heinous crime, for which earth had no pardon, and heaven could hold out no hope; he was abused, hooted, pointed at, and loathed; no one would have any dealings with the excommunicated criminal. Fortunately, however, upright men and honest Protestants are to be found in Ulster; they espoused the cause of this proscribed and ruined Roman Catholic, and carried him to a court of law, demanding justice on his priestly tyrant. Justice is to be had yet, even though a Popish priest is the accused, and in this instance the result was gratifying in the highest degree, and the cause of the Bible triumphed. Heavy damages were awarded to the oppressed individual, and the priests received a lesson, the beneficial effects of which it is impossible to overrate.*

The tyranny of the system is shown in a multitude of ways besides the above, but we can only allude to them. From this root sprung all the aids and engines of despotism—the Inquisition, the persecutions and crusades to exterminate heretics, which are matter of history, and the wielding the power and armies of kingdoms in support of the Popedom. All these and countless minor points are so many exemplifications of our argument. The history of the whole of the Christian world for the last thousand years forms the evidence we adduce.

The above, we think, will be sufficient to explain our meaning when we state spiritual tyranny to be a result of Popery.

The third result named, is hypocrisy. A single glance at the system makes this evident.

Christianity, the religion of the Bible, proclaims in the strongest manner that repentance for sin must be of the most genuine and ardent character, proceeding from the heart, and influencing man's thoughts, language, and actions. The fount being pure, so are the waters which well forth; the tree will bear corresponding fruit. No truth can be clearer, in the moral, as in the physical, world. But how teaches Popery? Nothing, or next to nothing, is said of heart-felt repentance; nothing of the motives which actuate man; but the language and the deeds, not the thoughts—what is seen outwardly, not the inner man—the character assumed, not the genuine one, are to be looked at and judged. Jesus Christ, who is our model of purity, as well as faith and devotion, calls the crime conceived and meditated, as bad as the crime accomplished. Profound and searching morality, which stands alone and unapproached among the systems of ancient philosophy or modern imposture! But Popery tells authoritatively, that even a crime committed is sometimes excusable, when the object to be gained is in itself good and desirable. And, no matter how hideous the crime, the stains must be washed away, and the criminal resume his wonted position, as an innocent, because absolved, man—by a course of penance or compulsory charity, ostentatiously undergone

* See a small pamphlet, entitled "The Priest's Curse." M'Comb. Belfast.

Matt. v. 28.

Delahogue, vol. i., p. 292.

page 12 and pompously announced to the world. And thus the man, who, in his heart, if not in his actions, is daily conceiving, and therefore committing, awful and desperate crimes, walks before the eyes of the world, a good and upright man and a charitable Christian. He believes so himself, because he has never been taught anything else; and he dies in the delusion. Has he filled the land with wailing, with the tears of the widow, or the cries of the orphan—has he robbed the fatherless of their inheritance, or the virgin of her honour—a few more temples rear aloft their domes and fretted roofs and pointed spires; a few more altars smoke with the fragrant incense; a few more masses are chanted by the sacred band; and the absolution is granted, the sin is forgiven. The man who has destroyed the peace of perhaps thousands, scatters right and left his largesses and his bounty, and loudly extols the merits of charity! "When thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward."

The effect of this principle on the priests themselves, as well as the laity, brings us to the next particular.

Fourthly; the tenets of the Church of Rome have, in all ages, produced wide-spread immorality.

Among the laity, the operation of the doctrine of absolution and indulgences would account for the extent to which immorality has always prevailed in Roman Catholic countries, on exactly the same principle as other crimes to which we have already alluded. But, above all, is the conduct of the Popish clergy to be laid bare and reprehended on this head. In all ages, since this iniquitous system attained its full development, the licentiousness of the priesthood has disgraced their holy calling. It has passed into a proverb in those countries where Popery prevails, has formed the subject of romances, and been the burden of many a ballad. In truth, if the end proposed had been to make the priests as lewd and immoral as possible, a belter plan could not have been devised than this system, as it has always worked. Men, in most instances, young and healthy, brought up in strict seclusion, studying, as a part of their education, works, the contents of which reveal to them physical facts and moral crimes, of which otherwise they might have remained quite ignorant all their lives—thrown suddenly into spheres of labour, while their minds are curious and inquiring, and their bodies full of the hot blood and vigour of youth—and with those dispositions and desires, possessing at the same time the consciousness, that, by the stern laws of their religion they are debarred from gratifying innocently those desires—knowing, that, for them, love and beauty, and social enjoyment, are not; and that lover, husband, father, are empty names—then undergoing, day by day, such an ordeal as the confessional,—obliged to ask questions and to call up thoughts,* which at any time would too readily come:—what is to be expected of such men in such circumstances—what invari-

* Bailly, vol. vii., p. 366. Paris Edit. No words can convoy an idea of the horrid and disgusting ideas and language with which this book is filled. When first published, it excited a shudder, wherever known.

page 13 ably happens? In a multitude of instances—it is to be feared in many more than the world knows of, for the secrets are well kept within the prison-house—human nature, never strong, yields to a temptation, the strength of which those only can conceive who have undergone the trial. The priest falls—he has been placed in a position, and exposed to a danger, greater and more singular than the generality of mankind; and why should he, equally human, triumph where others fail? The God of nature, He who created man, the founder of Christianity, never intended that his creatures should, by the exercise of their own invention, add to the trials, common to their lot as mortals, a refinement of torture such as this. Not to enlarge, it may be safely affirmed, that the institution of celibacy has been a main cause in producing that wide-spread immorality among the Popish priesthood, which is now a matter of history. And then comes the crowning iniquity, the damning doctrine of total absolution from a sin. No matter of how deep a dye, any man, be he priest or layman, can obtain a full pardon for that sin, from a fellow-man, with liberty to begin anew. A priest, who has possibly only himself obtained absolution for the crime of adultery, grants to another, for a sum of money, the same absolution in his turn. And so the waters of the unclean fountain, flowing on throughout the land, spread taint, and pestilence, and pollution, as they go.*
It is no answer to the objection we have made to the tenets of Popery, particularly the last, to say that Ireland forms a singular example to the contrary, and that the conduct of the priesthood there is, morally, above all blame. We, in the first place, deny the fact. But, had we taken it for granted, it would be easy to account for this singular exception to the rule on the simplest grounds. The Roman Catholic priests in Ireland are exposed to that, which, more than anything else, will always prove a most effectual check to their natural propensities, viz., the scrutinizing notice and supervision of hostile religionists. Were the clergy in Spain or Italy surrounded by Protestants in every town and village, and engaged with them in a continual warfare of creed and practice, they would doubtless exercise a most vigilant control over all their sayings and their deeds. Thus is it in Ireland; the priesthood know that they are in an enemy's country, that any flagrant act on the part of a member of their order would be eagerly taken hold of by their active and numerous foes. This applies to all the Popish clergy in Ulster and in those parts of Ireland where they are, on all sides, surrounded by Protestants; but in the west, where the control is less strict, the morals are less strict too. Again, in Ireland, the priesthood have been all along very much engaged in political strife; this has engrossed their minds, to the exclusion of other matters, and all their superfluous vigour and acrimony thus find vent. But, still more, we believe it is not so true as is alleged, that in Ireland there is that higher tone of morality, which is so much boasted of. This is not the place to enter into details; we would simply remind our readers, that, from their

* See Note C., Immorality of the clergy at this day.

page 14 nature, such crimes can be easily concealed, with care on the part of the accomplices, and, of course, in Ireland, very unusual care is taken. Besides, it is matter of notoriety, how numerous marriages in early youth are in that country, and, if credible witnesses are to be believed, this is intimately connected with the morals of the priests. However, on this part of the subject we do not enlarge.

Again, it is equally certain that monasteries and convents during the middle ages were hot-beds of crime; and in the Inquisition lust and cruelty held divided sway. Many of the Popes were distinguished for their open and unblushing profligacy; and in a multitude of cases, the crime was justified by this argument: "That the transgressions committed by a person, blinded by the seduction of lust, agitated by the impulse of tumultuous passions, and destitute of all sense and impression of religion, however detestable they may be in themselves, are not imputable to the transgressors before the tribunal of God; and that such transgressions may often be as involuntary as the actions of a madman." To the Jesuits belong the merit of originating this exquisite morality.

Sufficient has now been said to illustrate our meaning, when we stated immorality to be a consequence of Popery.

We have now glanced at the leading characteristics of the Roman Catholic, as compared with the Protestant faith, and, as it is impossible to go into the subject within the short limits of this treatise, must be contented with this mere outline. We think, however, we have said quite enough to shew that there is a vast difference between the two religions, and that, while one may be called Christian truth, the other must be called Antichristian error. The history of all past time, and the world-wide experience of the present, tell us, that Popery, wherever prevalent, has engendered and perpetuated superstition, spiritual tyranny, hypocrisy, immorality—we may add, ignorance, and mental debasement; while the fruits of Protestantism, wherever professed in purity, have been, the strictest morality, intelligence, mental elevation, manly independence of character, widespread philanthropy, and civil as well as religious liberty. The latter religion has made England and Scotland what they now are—the envy and admiration of the world; the former has been the curse of Ireland, and has made her a by-word and reproach among the nations of Europe.

The point from which we started is now brought under our notice; viz., that it is impious, as well as absurdly inconsistent, to endow Popery as well as Protestantism.

We hold it to be impious. It is impious to form any alliance with that which has been so plainly condemned of God, and against which his most fearful judgments have been pronounced. We believe, as we think every impartial student of the Bible must believe, that Popery is that "mystery of iniquity" described by St. Paul; and "Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the earth," described in Apocalyptic vision; and we know that if we "partake in her sins," we shall "receive of her plagues." We believe it to be the "great Apostasy" described by another apostle; and we know page 15 that it "the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming." We know it is because of our pure and reformed faith, that England has been so blessed among nations; and that if we partake of the unclean thing, if we enter into alliance with the Beast, we shall receive (have we not received a portion already?) of her plagues, "death, and mourning, and famine." It is also impious to ally ourselves with that tyrant superstition, whose history is written in the blood of the faithful followers of Jesus Christ for the last thousand years; which has so often crushed the professors of Bible truth; that truth so proudly inscribed by Great Britain on the portal of her Constitution—that truculent system, in fine, which is "drunk with the blood of the saints, with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." It is impious to sustain or propagate that which God has so manifestly condemned in the sufferings and degradation of those who receive it. Finally, it is impious to support or endow that against which our noble reforming ancestors protested even unto death, and in resisting which they gave their bodies to the flames.

But it is also inconsistent, grossly, absurdly inconsistent, to endow Popery in Great Britain. As was remarked before, a Church is established here, the object of which is to teach certain doctrines, as stated in her Articles, and to bring those doctrines under the notice of all the people. That the Church of England, though not perfect, has accomplished this object well, none, except her very bitter enemies, will deny. But the statesmen of the present day, largely penetrated with that latitudinarian Liberalism, so banefully extended over the Continent of Europe, have, in their wisdom, resolved to endow a Church teaching doctrines exactly the reverse;—so much the reverse, that they cannot be reconciled either by Infidel Liberalism, or semi-Popish Tractarianism, because they represent principles diametrically at variance with one another, and which will ever remain so; for the Word of God assures us of the fact: "What communion hath light with darkness? what concord hath Christ with Belial?" One Church is set up for a certain purpose, and then another is set up to counteract it. The nation pledges itself to the support of truth, and then to the support of error. How absurd is this! What would be thought of the same State founding a colony somewhere, and then soon after establishing an opposition colony, whose necessary and sole occupation would be, to be always at war with the first, till one were exterminated? How great would be the folly of that man, who, after sowing his wheat, proceeds with diligent impartiality to sow tares, with the end and object of destroying the wheat? It would be justly said, either that he was mad, or that he did not care whether he got a crop of tares or wheat, or neither; that he simply sowed them because he wished to get quit of his seed. Somewhat analogous would be our conduct in endowing Popery as well as Protestantism—it would seem that we cared for neither. Then our inconsistency is further manifest in this, if we carry out our principle, borrowed from Infidel France, of endowing all religions, we cannot stop at Popery. Unitarianism, in all its shades, to that one verging on Deism; the Greek Church; Mahommedanism; nay, more, all the page 16 systems of idolatry which abound in our colonies, from the brute worship of the Hottentot, to the abominable, cruel, and super-eminently absurd idolatry of the Hindoos;—all must be taken under the protection of Protestant Britain. Some of our legislators have hinted, or said, as much. Shall it ever be said that such legislation as this will be carried into practice? We cannot believe it. The principle being once conceded, of endowing any religion, simply because it has followers, the nation may be truly said to profess Infidelity, because through its rulers it allows this to be done. It sets on high this doctrine,—that nothing is certainly known to be true; that the Bible is not necessarily the source whence truth is to be drawn; but that any system of superstition may be right, while all that is necessary is to profess something. He who professes no faith, the Atheist, fares but ill in this scramble; he would get no endowment; if he worshipped a stone, he would. To such extreme absurdity and godlessness do these principles, if carried out, lead; yet they have been avowed, over and over again, and by statesmen too! Truly, if a higher power did not defend Protestantism, it could not long survive the friendship of such statesmen.

We have now concluded that part of the argument which is founded on religious principle; and we come to the question of justice, as the measure affects the numerous bodies of Dissenters in this country. Distinct altogether from the multitude of arguments drawn from other quarters, this one in itself we consider sufficient to decide the matter. When we say Dissenters, we mean all bodies of Protestants, whether Baptists, Wesleyan or other Methodists, Independents, and Presbyterians, here and in Scotland. We include those who object to all Church Establishments, as well as those who are in favour of Protestant Church Establishments. These Dissenters include a large proportion of the wealth, intelligence, piety, and benevolence to be found in the middle classes of this country. They are never backward in any good work, and to them the history of missions is indebted for some of its most brilliant pages. Generally speaking, they preach the truth in its purity and fulness, and, amidst discouragements, contempt, and reproach, pursue their labours with devoted zeal. They are not to be found among the disturbers of the public peace, the stirrers-up of sedition; disloyalty and treason have no encouragement from them. Yet these men get no reward for their meritorious conduct and self-denial; on the contrary, they see it proposed to make stipendiaries of the Roman Catholic priesthood, the most numerous body of Dissenters in the kingdom,—men, too, whose religion is Popery; who have retained their flocks in a state of deplorable ignorance and wretchedness; who have themselves been notoriously turbulent and disaffected—nay, whose evil conduct it is which has brought them this substantial reward I Can these Dissenters feel otherwise than justly indignant at such monstrous iniquity as this? Not only do they support their own ministers, sometimes with considerable effort on their own part, but from their hard-earned incomes something more is to be taken to support the priesthood of another religion, which they are sworn to oppose; and that religion—Popery! Can injustice go further? They page 17 saw the wealth of this country—the taxes wrung from its peaceable and industrious inhabitants—poured out, like water, on the neighbouring country in the hour of her distress, and, in too many cases, insolence and abuse were all the thanks rendered for their noble generosity. And now, while themselves in anything but a state of prosperity, they are to be called on to maintain that very priesthood, whose behaviour was so thankless, so execrable, and to support a religion whose whole tendency they consider bad, and which they are bound to oppose! And just as they fondly hope their assaults on the entrenchments of the Man of Sin are beginning to be crowned with success, their rulers step in, and take from their pockets that which will give this Man of Sin fresh vitality.

Let not Dissenters forget, that, in whatever shape this measure shall be proposed, it will, directly or indirectly, fall on the people of England and Scotland. If a tax be levied on Ireland for the endowment, the people of that country will be relieved of a share of that taxation under which we in England groan. If, as is currently reported, the plan be, to divert the repayment of a loan made by England, to the endowment of the priesthood, it will be a robbery of our Exchequer, and of money that it can ill spare. The confiscation of part of the property of the Church in Ireland, even if attempted, will be insufficient; and we trust the great body of Dissenters will not be in favour even of that. However it may be the fashion to abuse that Church, we do not hesitate to assert, that, in a position of unexampled difficulty, it has lately done its duty nobly. Surrounded by vindictive foes in Ireland, who literally thirst for its destruction, it has not only kept its ground and upheld the cause of Protestantism, but has made, and is still making, effective assaults on the bulwarks of its foes. The last three years have made a vast change in the relative positions of the two religions, and the priests know that the change is not in their favour. Hence their desperate efforts—their insidious and wide-spread machinations. They would gladly see the Church in Ireland overthrown, whether the spoil be to them or not. But in this they will be disappointed. The people of England, Dissenters included, will not allow Popery to be supplemented and endowed, even though the money should come from the confiscation of the Protestant Church in Ireland.

We have thus concluded the arguments which properly belong to the first part of this subject; viz., those which are founded on religious principle, and on a sense of justice. They are addressed to those individuals who allow religious conviction to be their ruling motive, and to others, who may be insensible to religion, but who are generally actuated by a spirit of fairness and equity. There is still another and a very numerous class, to whom we must address ourselves, who, though not the most estimable body in the community, yet possess great influence; and who in this case, as in many others, will probably have it in their power to decide the question at issue. We mean those who look on the question as one of mere political expediency, and will not consent to look at it through the medium of religious, or any other, principle. These individuals include among page 18 their ranks the leading statesmen belonging to, at least, two of the parties now existing in the Legislature; they also include many people who are the mere hangers-on of factions,—many who may be called waverers, till it is seen which side will most likely win, men who always side with the strongest; and, in fine, some respectable men among the middle and upper classes, who are possessed with the idea, that the priests have vast influence in Ireland, and that that influence may be bought over to the side of loyalty and order. Now, it shall be our business to prove by a variety of arguments, that, even on the lowest grounds, the scheme will not stand examination, common sense, as well as religious principle, being totally at variance with it. We shall enumerate our arguments seriatim, keeping each distinct from its fellow.

I. The first argument we shall present, is, that no endowment from Government would attach the priesthood in Ireland to that Government, because, by their spiritual submission to Rome, they are still bound to seek the overthrow of a Protestant State.

The rashness and clumsiness of the scheme for endowing the Popish clergy in Ireland, is in nothing more manifest than in this,—that the whole affair is conceived on the supposition that they are in the same position as other ministers of religion in Great Britain or elsewhere, being at liberty to enter into engagements, or bind themselves to obligations, on their own responsibility. But the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland are not in this situation, any more than they are in other states.* Indeed they are even more implicit and unhesitating in their obedience to Papal authority there than almost anywhere else. We hear of German and even Italian clergy calling for the abolition of the inhuman practice of celibacy, but not the faintest murmur of disobedience ever escapes from the priests in Ireland. Their slavish and crouching subserviency is indeed evident to any one who notices events, and they themselves would be the last to deny it. Indeed, they boast of it. It would be out of place here, and we have not room, to enlarge on the abundant evidence existing to shew the complete subjection in which the priesthood are held by the Pope, as their only and infallible head and ruler. This evidence is within the reach of any one desirous to obtain information on the subject. The fact is notorious, and no Roman Catholic will deny, that the Pope, as head of the Church, has a claim on every Catholic, and wields an authority paramount to any on earth, because, by the very nature of his office, he assumes power over not only things of time, but those of eternity. And no honest Romanist will deny, that in his eyes the fiat of the Pope has an importance and authority far superior to any of the powers of earth. This being so, how can payments from the coffers of the English Government, and that an heretical one too, have any influence over men who owe allegiance, primarily and chiefly, to a

* Take Prussia for instance. The late Archbishop of Cologne acted as if he were an independent potentate within the King's dominions, and for a long time kept the kingdom in a state of turbulence and disorder. The Pope had a prior claim on his allegiance.

See Note D.

page 19 foreign potentate, the sacred head of their Church.* Will 150l. per annum to parish priests, and 100l. per annum to curates, tempt them from the side of Christ's Vicegerent on earth to that of an heretical and usurping power? Nay more—whatever might be promised by some of their wily and Jesuit leaders, the vast majority would hold themselves at perfect liberty to serve the cause of the Popedom in preference to any other, either openly or secretly, fortified by the encouragement of his Holiness himself, who would, as a matter of course, smile approbation on those who preferred the interests of the Holy See to those of an heretic power. And it is not too much to say, that, on the principles of Jesuitry, avowed and professed by a multitude, if not the majority, of the Irish priesthood, they would, even while solemnly engaging to obey the authority of the Sovereign of these realms, hold themselves quite at liberty to break that engagement when the interests of the Church demanded it should be done. With a body of priests, therefore, who on their own showing (for they proudly avow it) owe a submission to the Pope and the authority of the Church, which is to come before everything else, how absurd to suppose, for a moment, that payments of a greater or less amount will induce that priesthood to disobey their spiritual head on any occasion, and obey, in preference, him, who may be Prime Minister for the time in Great Britain! All experience tells us the contrary. We have already alluded to Prussia. Let us take a thoroughly Popish country—Spain. In 1841, the Pope pronounced an allocution, or address, on the affairs of that country: Espartero, then at the head of affairs there, had alienated from the Church a small portion of its enormous revenues for the use of the State; this allocution was to the effect, that the acts of the Government were null and void; § that the authors of those acts had, by incurring the displeasure of the Holy See, rendered themselves liable to everlasting punishment, unless they retraced their steps. It was openly published by the Romanist bishops in Ireland: the faithful were commanded to pray for Spain,—and a release of their souls from purgatory was held out as the reward. This actually occurred in 1842. Now mark the result in Spain. Espartero lost that hold over the people he formerly possessed; and the priests were the most active in fomenting the various plots and insurrections which ultimately drove him from the country. For some time the Pope refused to recognise the Queen of Spain; and it was only on the restitution of the whole, or greater part, of the alienated Church property, that he relented so far. This is an affair of yesterday; so is the conduct of the Archbishop of Paris, in reference to the University; all shewing, that, even where Popery is in close alliance with the State, the authority of the Pope is considered by the priesthood supreme.
Not only, however, do the priesthood in Ireland, as elsewhere, owe a more implicit submission to the See of Rome than to any other Government or authority—but they are, besides, by the nature of their office, and from the education they receive, bound to aim at the

* See Note E.

See Note F.

See Note G.

§ See Note H.

page 20 overthrow of heretical powers everywhere, Great Britain among the rest. This assertion, Roman Catholics will not be so ready to admit as the fact of their submission to the Pope, but it is capable of equally clear proof. That bulls and edicts have been, and still are, published or revived, the purport of which is to anathematize all Protestants and Protestant States, to assert the Pope's spiritual power over all the subjects of these States, and to declare the right of the Church of Rome to resume the possession of all alienated Church property, by whomsoever held, whether layman or ecclesiastic, is, we think, admitted by almost every one. That they have been published in Ireland under the sanction and with the approval of the Roman Catholic bishops there, can be proved.* And that, wherever published, they are to be held solemnly binding on the faithful, under pain of eternal punishment, was admitted by those bishops themselves in the evidence they gave before the Committees of Parliament, previous to the passing of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act. This admission is of great importance.

If, then, coupled with the well-known deference and obedience paid to the Pope by Roman Catholics, lay and clerical, we find that edicts claiming that obedience are published in Ireland, the actual meaning of which is to counteract the proceedings of the Government of the day, and to establish an authority, nominally under, but really superior to, the reigning Monarch and the Houses of Parliament, we are amply warranted in saying that no bribe of such a moderate amount as anything we can offer, will, in this country, more than elsewhere, attach the Roman Catholic priesthood in subservience to the Government of this or any Protestant country.

II. Only part of the clergy would take the pay offered them, and the necessary consequence would be that these would lose all influence over their flocks, while the influence of the recusant and independent portion would increase.

If the above premise is granted, the conclusion will follow inevitably. What is the cause of that influence over their flocks, wielded by the priests, which the Government are so anxious to buy from the latter? The foundation of that envied and coveted influence exists in the real or supposed independence of the priests, their uncorrupted integrity, their love for their people, their identity of feeling and sympathy with them in all their wrongs, sufferings, and struggles, and hence the preference they always show for their wishes and objects, to those of any other class or power in the country. The people feel a pride in supporting them, though in distress themselves, because they know that they are rewarded by the devoted attention and advocacy of these clergy in their turn. But get these priests to take pay, in any shape, from the English rulers, and how is it possible that the people can continue to repose in them the same devoted, unshrinking confidence? The Irish are peculiarly sensitive, it is well known, and no declarations of attachment on the part of the priests themselves would persuade them to look on the endowment as anything else than a betrayal of

* See Note I.

See Note K.

page 21 their trust by the priests for a sum of money. And from whom do they see their spiritual guides accepting this bribe? who are their seducers from the side of their trusting and deluded flocks? The English Government—that Government which political agitators, openly assisted or connived at by the immense majority of these very priests, have, with most indefatigable diligence, laboured to exhibit to the Irish, as a foreign, usurping, and tyrannical power. The priests in Ireland have sapped the foundations of loyalty and allegiance in the hearts of the people, sometimes by open and violent political harangues, sometimes by denunciations from the altar, sometimes by siding with the criminal, as if he were an injured man, and also very frequently by paying homage, and offering congratulations, to those of their prelates who distinguish themselves by their violent hostility to the Imperial Government.* Thus turbulence and disloyalty on the part of the priests went hand in hand with disaffection among the people. Well, you buy the priests—grant, in the literal sense of the word, that you get from them for gold that duty to their Sovereign and her government which neither honesty, religion, nor a sense of decency, would induce them to perform—bribe them, and proclaim it to all the world—have you bribed the people? Are they of no account in the question? Is it not with a view to gain them, you have bribed their clergy? And does it follow, as a matter of course, that they will now do what their clergy bid them, with as much readiness as they showed before that clergy enlisted themselves among the paid servants of the Government? Certainly not—you have done them no good; you leave them, the common people, the Irish peasantry, still sunk in wretchedness—still pining under disease, nakedness, and famine—still trodden down, or fancying themselves so, at least, by their overbearing landlords—but still, amidst it all, nourishing in their bosoms that hatred to English rule, to their landlords, to their Protestant fellow-countrymen, which they have been led to think it their duty to cherish, and with this additional ingredient to give it bitterness, intensity, and stability, that they have been deserted by those in whom they placed unbounded confidence, who made them what they were, and then abandoned them to their fate.
And this brings us to the assertion, that some of the clergy would refuse the endowment, if only to increase their own influence over the minds of the people, who, if betrayed by some of their spiritual leaders, would place more confidence in, and cling more strongly to, such of them as refused the pay and livery of the State, and preferred to cast in their lot amidst the people as of old. We do not feel inclined to place overmuch reliance on the loud protestations of many of the priesthood, that they will not accept an endowment; but still there is no doubt that some would follow out their declarations. The more indolent, peaceable, and well-affected of them would probably accept State pay, if only to obtain a settled and comfortable income. But there are two classes of priests in Ireland, each represented by

* See all the London papers of the 28th December, 1848, for an account of the rejoicings at Tuam, on the return of Dr. M'Hale from Rome, after his triumph over the Government here.

page 22 prelates of distinctive character,—one, though devoted to their religious system, yet inclined to advance its interests by the quiet performance of their duties, and men who look more to comfort in life than anything else—these include the oldest of the clergy, all over Ireland, and are represented by Dr. Croly, the Romanist Archbishop of Armagh, and one or two other prelates. But there is another, and a very numerous body, whose zeal for the interests of Popery is glowing, whose bigotry is intense, and whose darling object is, not comfort in this life, but unbounded spiritual domination. To these men, the pleasure of wielding a priestly sceptre, moulding the desires, and influencing the actions of thousands, is so great as to cast every other into the shade. These priests are represented by the notorious Dr. M'Hale, Archbishop of Tuam, Dr. Higgins, Bishop of Ardagh, and Dr. Maginn, Bishop of Derry,* the latter the champion of the confessional. Now, the former class would, almost to a man, accept the endowment, but even in their case, still subject to the objection named under our last head, of obedience to the Pope, as head over all on earth. The latter class, however, would, at least most of them, refuse it, simply because it would be better for their own interests, and the interests of their Church, that they should not take it. Deserted by the others, the attachment of the people would be centred entirely in themselves, the incorruptible few—in purse even, the latter would be gainers, but how immensely in influence! A people not half so sensitive, grateful, and romantic as the Irish, would be struck by the moral grandeur of the contrast, and act as we have supposed. Still would his priest be to the Irish Papist his comfort and support, his advocate where wronged, and the only one who stood in the breach between him and the banded tyranny of the Saxon statesman, landlord, and soldier. And it will not do for the advocates of the endowment to take it for granted that the whole of the priesthood will accept the pay offered them. We say, irrespective altogether of their own repeated assertions, they will not take it unanimously, because, if susceptible to mercenary considerations at all, they will find refusal more advantageous to them than acceptance. Knowing the Irish well, they would know that their emoluments would be better, if they retained their turbulent independence, and that their influence would be very much greater, so that their interest would dispose them to refuse it. And if, of the three thousand curates, and two thousand parish priests in Ireland, a tenth only were to refuse the endowment, their object would be gained, and the design of the measure most effectually frustrated.
Besides, there is a large, active, and influential order of clergy, or rather of individuals under vow, as monks, friars, &c., whom it is not even proposed to endow. All these, to the number of some thousands spread over Ireland, go under the name of Regulars. They are the irregular soldiers of the Holy See, but most devoted, zealous, and efficient auxiliaries. No one talks of buying them over, and if pay and obedience are to go together, then, not being paid, they are at

* Since defeased.

"Freeman's Journal."

page 23 perfect liberty, even in the view of a Protestant, to do what they choose. And if there is a desire among the Romanist clergy to retain an influence over the people, (without which of course they are not worth purchasing,) can they find better assistants than the various bodies of regulars? and how will these regulars obtain this influence, unless by a full sympathy for, and co-operation with, the people, in these same objects, which, thanks to pernicious teachings, the people have been induced to believe essential to their comfort and prosperity? By doing that, they at once attach them to their side, but not otherwise, for the Irish cannot be expected to come all at once to the conclusion, that because their priests have taken pay from the British Government, they, the people, are now happy and not miserable—elevated, and not oppressed. They have been too long tutored in one direction to change their feelings and opinions all at once because their priests happen to have changed theirs. Bribe them, and the case might be different. They are also quick-witted enough to perceive without difficulty, that the priests must be expected to give something on their part, as their share of the contract, and that something being evidently their supposed influence over the people, it would naturally follow, in the opinion of the latter, that their demands were just, because the Government acknowledged them to be so, and at the same time feared their power, by buying from their side those whose co-operation rendered them formidable.

Thus the very course pursued would neutralize the result aimed at; the fact of the endowment being offered and taken would at once diminish that influence, for the purchase of which the endowment is to be given. It would be so, too, even if it were accepted by all the priesthood, which we have shown would not be the case, for the most obvious reasons, and moreover could not be the case, as there would still remain a large, number of ecclesiastics and others connected with the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, whom it is not even proposed to endow. Thus, if the priesthood retain a hold over the minds of the Irish, it can only be through the regulars; but these men are not to be endowed, and by making an exception in their case, we in fact say, that we do not expect allegiance from them, because they do not get that, which is the price of loyalty and allegiance. And if a shoal of expatriated priests from Italy or elsewhere were to enter Ireland, for the purpose of securing a hold on the affections of the people, they, not being bound to allegiance or good behaviour, would, as a matter of course, gain their end, by adopting the course named above, and pandering to the turbulent and disaffected feelings of the degraded peasantry.

Again, there is another view of this part of the subject yet to be named—they throng on us as we advance. Granting that every priest, curate, friar, and monk in Ireland, was offered and accepted payment, we are literally as far from our object as ever. Why? Simply for this reason. These ecclesiastics all know well that they are indebted for this endowment, as for every other concession, not to love, but to fear, and that what we now consent to bestow on them, we cannot, and indeed dare not, afterwards withdraw, whatever be their conduct! page 24 To take it away after giving it, is, in point of fact, equivalent to our giving an open assent to their withdrawal from allegiance to the State, for, after announcing our reasons for paying them, the transaction assumes the character of a bargain, in which an infraction on one side releases the other party from all obligation, and nullifies the contract. If, therefore, the priests, in order to retain their influence over their flocks, agitated with them as before, and pandered again to their vicious and turbulent propensities, we could not, and would not withdraw their stipends, being afraid that they would then become more formidable than ever! It comes to this, then, that the priest might, even with the pay in his pocket, still feel it his interest to make himself dangerous as an agitator, to secure his continuance as a stipendiary of the State! How hollow, therefore, will an alliance be—how insecure a system—by which a State depends for its support on the purchased neutrality of its inveterate foes!

III. Our third argument is, that this endowment, even if unanimously accepted by the priesthood, would not satisfy them, any more than previous concessions have done, inasmuch as they aim at complete ascendancy in Ireland.

The whole course of our legislation in that country for the last twenty years has been a series of concessions to Popery, and not of remedial measures affecting the mass of the people. Hence they have year by year become worse and more wretched, while the priesthood have become more arrogant and audacious. Within the period named how few have been the measures proposed at all affecting the comfort, the happiness, and the social condition of the great mass of the population; while how numerous have been the Acts passed connected with religious questions, with political rights, with education of one particular kind, as if even the latter at all touched the seat of the disease! Beginning with the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, we pass on to the establishment of the National Schools, which would have done well enough if they had not become mere engines in the hands of the priests; then the proposed Appropriation Clause; the studied coolness shown towards all the Protestant part of the population; the Municipal Corporation Act; the tacit understanding, if not the distinct agreement, subsisting between the late Mr. O'Connell, the avowed ally and advocate of the priesthood, and Lord Melbourne's Government, the result of which agreement was the monopoly of patronage in Ireland by the former; the playing fast and loose with the Repeal agitation, which was powerfully supported and encouraged by the priests; the increased grant to Maynooth; the further attempts in the last as well as in the present Parliament, to repeal the few remaining restrictions on Popery and its practices; the Bill for establishing Diplomatic Relations with the Court of Rome; the cringing servility expressed in the letter of Lord Clarendon, Her Majesty's representative in Ireland, when addressing the Popish Archbishop of Dublin, begging that "his Grace" will be "pleased to submit the statutes of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland to the consideration of his Holiness;"* and, above all, the fact, too evident from the strong

* For extracts from the letter, see Note A.

page 25 and general suspicion entertained, that the Government are screening from justice many priests who were notoriously implicated in the late attempt at rebellion—all these circumstances, and many others of less public importance, have been so many acts of concession intended to propitiate the priesthood. Have they done so? Are not the priests at this moment more insolent and implacable than ever? They have found out the source of their own power and of the weakness of the Government—they know by experience that they have only to agitate widely and clamour noisily, and fill the whole land with tumult and complaint, to induce the British Government to come eagerly forward and offer them something as a bribe to hold their peace. Just on the principle that an injudicious parent adopts, of giving a child sweetmeats as an inducement to be quiet, instead of the wholesome discipline of the rod. And so, on the plainest principles of human nature, the Romanist priesthood in Ireland adopt the plan of incessantly clamouring for further favours from the State, and accepting every concession as an instalment only of what is due.
Some objector will say, "What do the priesthood consider their due—what will really satisfy them?" We will tell this innocent Protestant, if such there be, what will really please the Irish priesthood—what undoubtedly will pacify them. Restore to them the whole of the Church property, whether now held by the Protestant Establishment, or by individuals; remove all such restrictions on their worship or practice in any particular as prevents their being on a level with their brethren in Italy or Spain; let them not be amenable in any way to the civil law, but subject solely to their ecclesiastical superiors; allow them, in fact, to revive in Ireland the spiritual despotism and the priestly glory of the middle ages; and we will take it upon us to say, they will ask no more. But, do what you will, with nothing less will they be contented. A paltry endowment, such as you propose, will not satisfy them, because it is not one-half, nay, not one-tenth of what they really desire. Your very proposal is a confession of weakness, and tells them what is their real power; they will, therefore, inevitably continue to demand more. That they look on the restitution of all Church property as only common justice, is evident from their own oft-repeated assertions, and that this opinion of theirs is actively disseminated throughout Ireland, is evident from the authoritative publication there of bulls and rescripts, which assert the necessary restitution of all forfeited Church property, and the possession of it by Protestants to be rapine.* In connexion with this part of the subject let us remind the reader of the prayers which the late Archbishop of Paris, and we think also the Archbishop of Malines, directed the faithful to offer up for the conversion of heretical England to the true faith. And truly it forms a splendid prospect—the restoration of the ancient Church's unchallenged pre-eminence in Ireland, and the consequent influence thereby exercised on England, whose apostate children might yet return to that holy Church, from whose pale they have wandered. That is the bright day-dream which Romanists love to contemplate, the golden sunset which is to follow on the troubled

* See Note H and I.

page 26 and cloudy day. More than any other of the empires of earth—more than the Republic throned in the west—more than the mighty Potentate of eastern Europe, much more than any of the idolatrous climes of the gorgeous south—would Great Britain be a jewel of richest lustre in the tiara of the Pontiff.

But that, with which we have to do, is neither the wishes nor the hopes of Popery. The results of our legislation in Ireland ought to convince our statesmen that anything like a conciliation of Popery is hopeless. Popery is naturally antagonistic to all civil Governments, and cannot work in harmony with them; it has always been so,* and will be so, unless some of the principal tenets of the system are annulled. A system which commands its followers to obey no civil law, without its sanction to that law, is evidently hostile to the fundamental principle of all government, which is, that a law, when passed, is to be obeyed by all classes of the people, and enforced by the civil magistrate on all. Hence in Ireland there is no medium course between the entire subjection of Papists to the law of the land, and their complete and acknowledged pre-eminence. And to produce this subjection, to make it as easy for the civil law to enforce its sanctions on them as on others, certain regulations and restrictions must be put in force, applying to their case. For instance, altar denunciation should be prohibited as dangerous to the social welfare, and when any crime committed against an individual has had its origin in an anathema from the altar, the instigator should be visited with a severer punishment than his wretched instrument. The confessional should not be allowed to remain what it is at present, a mere shelter to the criminal. And, above all, the administration of the law should be sternly and without hesitation enforced, no priest being allowed to escape, who has done things at least as bad as those for the commission of which laymen have been imprisoned, banished, or executed. Mere concessions will not do; subjection or superiority must be the treatment of the Roman Catholic priesthood in Ireland.

IV. The measure would embitter religious feeling in Ireland, and divide the country into two hostile camps, thus protracting the period of improvement among the great mass of the population.

This assertion follows naturally on our last argument. The Roman Catholic priesthood would be as hostile and discontented as before, because, though the most numerous body, they receive only a small part of that wealth, all of which they consider their own; the Protestant clergy would, as a matter of course, be hostile and indignant, that what they justly consider error and idolatry should be endowed by the State, which thus supports one body of clergy to counteract, by their teaching, the efforts of the other. And the various adherents of both Establishments would share in the same feelings. The one body considers, that by the British Government offering payments to their priests, the right of that priesthood to ecclesiastical revenue is conceded, while at the same time they perceive by far the greater part of this ecclesiastical property is still held by a Protestant Establishment

* See Note L.

See Note M.

page 27 as firmly as ever. And, instead of being pleased, they will very naturally become indignant at the unfairness of the division. For it must not be lost sight of, that, by a proposal to pay the Roman Catholic clergy, you at once introduce a new element into public opinion in Ireland among Papists, viz., this, that they see a right acknowledged to claim provision for their clergy. And if you once allow that right, we do not see how it is possible to refuse the further demand of the restoration of all ecclesiastical property which the Roman Catholics would then undoubtedly make. Yet this demand would be refused by English statesmen, and by the English people, who would not allow a Protestant Church to be levelled; and the whole revenues of that Church conferred on Papists. But till this were done, the latter would be more discontented than ever, their appetites being whetted by the share of booty they had already tasted. Again, the Protestants of Ireland, already keenly opposed to the errors of Popery, would not be at all likely to regard it with more favour, if they and their Protestant brethren in Great Britain were to be compelled to pay for its support, which they would certainly have to do, in some shape or other, if the priests were to be endowed at all. Now there is no possibility of anything like great improvement taking place in Ireland so long as estrangements of this character subsist between the great masses of the population.

The primary curse of Ireland—the main cause of its present low and degraded position, and of the general demoralization of its people, has undoubtedly been Popery. To prove this, we have only to look at the results of Popery, wherever extensively prevalent, in contradistinction to Protestantism. Compare Connaught with Ulster, Lucerne with Zurich, Bavaria with Prussia, Spain with Holland, Italy with our own beloved land, Cuba with Jamaica, the Brazils or Peru with the United States of America. Take any Popish country over the world, we care not which, and, without exception, it will be found that the inhabitants of that country are ignorant, immoral, indolent, superstitious, and utterly void of that freedom of tone and energy of thought and action which makes able and independent citizens, and prosperous and happy states.* Now the Protestants of Ireland know very well, by bitter experience, that so long as Popery exists there, so long will their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects be sunk in misery and vice, a heavy drag-weight on their own progress, and a very mill-stone round the neck of the whole nation. This, therefore, is a most powerful inducement with them to oppose any measure which tends to support, or in any way perpetuate, Popery in Ireland.

Another of the curses of that unhappy island has been agitation—avowedly for political reforms. It is the agitation, fanned and encouraged by the priesthood in many cases, which has filled the minds of the peasantry with the wildest notions of their own rights, and has led them to visit the slightest infraction of these fancied rights with sanguinary and fierce retaliation. This has been unfortunately

* Belgium is no exception to this rule; the commercial activity and independence of that kingdom being almost wholly owing to its long connexion with Holland and its intimate relations with England in various ways.

page 28 too much facilitated by the accommodating principles and practices of their religion. And the consequence has just been to prevent the growth of that sound and intelligent public opinion which is in England and Scotland the grand bulwark of the social edifice. And men of enterprise and capital will not engage either in a country where civilization appears only nominally to exist, whilst the practice so often approaches that of the most turbulent periods of the middle ages. Now there is a positive certainty that this agitation and turbulence will increase and not diminish, if the priesthood are endowed—first, because the people will be in all respects as miserable as ever, and not be improved, though some of their priests happen to be so; secondly, because, the priests themselves will not be contented, as they will yet want something more; thirdly, because the Protestants, clergy and people, will dislike Popery more than ever, when they find that its baneful sway is likely to be rendered perpetual, and by the help of their money; and we may add, finally, because the possession of large additional funds by the Popish priesthood will give them facilities they are the least likely to neglect for an aggressive war on Protestantism.

Thus, then, one of the curses of Ireland will be kept in full activity by the aid of funds from the State: the other will also retain all its pernicious vigour by the results which follow on the operation and continuance of the first; and both thriving in rank luxuriance, and overspreading the whole land, will, as hitherto, effectually prevent the germination of any useful plant or lovely flower in the encumbered and tainted soil.

V. The endowment of Popery would also produce agitation of a very serious kind among all classes of Dissenters, and amongst the people generally in Great Britain, who would not cease to agitate till they brought about the downfall of all Church Establishments.

The discontent would not be confined to Ireland. The people in England and Scotland are not so lightly taxed as to bear without a murmur the imposition of another burden, in the shape of an endowment to Popery. It is a trite but expressive saying, "it is the last straw which breaks the camel's back." Taxation in this country has now reached such an intensity, so to speak, of oppressiveness, that it would be unsafe to go any further in the same direction. The last attempt to increase the burden of direct taxation was met with such a hurricane of popular indignation that it was at once abandoned. And now the effect of the grinding taxation imposed on the middle classes is being seen in the almost universal outcry for retrenchment and reform in the whole system. It is difficult to believe that any Ministry will have the hardihood, in the face of these facts, to propose such a measure as the payment of the Irish priests. We must recollect, however, that there are many other modes of doing this than by the direct conveyance of money from the Consolidated Fund. Our present rulers are quite the men to seek to reach their goal by very sinuous paths, and great care will be taken to make it appear that the burden will not fall heavily on the people of England. But let not the people be deceived I They must recollect, that though the tax may fall primarily on Ireland, it will fall on England indirectly. It is well page 29 known that the Irish are, at present, altogether relieved from both the income and assessed taxes, two of those imposts under which Englishmen literally groan. The excuse for not imposing them upon Ireland has been the poverty and distress of that country. How much more powerful will this argument become, if, by a rate or contribution of any kind from land, the burden of the support of the priesthood is thrown on Ireland! Then indeed the excuse will have some weight. And the consequence would be, that all the wealthy in Ireland, thriving Ulster included, would be relieved from a contribution to the amount of two millions or so per annum to the exchequer, an amount which would enable us to dispense with the window-tax. Thus the question comes home directly to the pockets of the English people. As it is, our expenditure in Ireland is two or three millions more than our receipts from that country;* and yet, as if we had more money than we knew what to do with, we would spend another million or so on the Popish priests! Folly and recklessness could scarcely go further. And so, on the pounds, shillings, and pence view of the question—the lowest of all—the proposal is dangerously rash, foolish, and impolitic.

But among the people of England there is a very numerous body, who, besides the money view of the matter, would take another, which more seriously concerns the members of the Established Churches. We allude to the Dissenters. Now, of this numerous and active body there is already a considerable proportion hostile to the Churches of England, Ireland, and Scotland, and bent on accomplishing their over-throw. They are not the most numerous and influential portion, and as yet all their efforts have fallen pointless and harmless. By far the most influential and pious body—the Wesleyan Methodists—are avowedly favourable to the Established Church, and would not raise a hand to harm her. But the instant we endow Popery, matters change. The first-named body will be of course more loud in their opposition than ever, and now they will find themselves joined by all who have hitherto held aloof; because, though the latter are favourable to endowment, when only Christian truth and purity are so treated, they will oppose it, when idolatry and positive error are taken into connexion with the State. To endow a Church for the teaching of Protestant principles they may consider good and necessary, but when you endow another Church for the spread of Popery, you do what is impious, wicked, and dangerous, sufficiently so to bring down the judgments of Heaven on the country, as one given to idolatry; and therefore you are to be resisted to the very uttermost. And if the one cannot be overthrown without the other, then down let them come, one and all! This will be the language of these sincere Protestant Dissenters. How can it be otherwise? If they really believe what they profess, they must consider the downfall of all Church Establishments a much less serious evil than the endowment of a faith so antagonistic to the Bible as Popery. And hence this will most assuredly be their language, if the measure is carried. So well is this known, that a leading Voluntary, one of the most stern and

* See Mr. M'Gregor's Letter to the Electors of Glasgow. "Times," of Dec. 30, 1848.

page 30 uncompromising of the opponents of Establishments, the Editor of the principal organ on that side, has avowed, that he would be in favour of the endowment of the Popish priesthood, because it is the sure way to bring down all Establishments; the monstrous nature of the project would, in his opinion, raise a tempest before which every Church Establishment would be rooted up. And those who are of this opinion would hail, with fierce delight, the acquisition of the vast bodies of Dissenters of all classes and grades, who would then join an Anti-State-Church crusade. A movement such as this would be really formidable; and how languid would be the opposition made by many members of the Church of England, how listless and desultory would be their efforts, when they reflected that every blow struck in defence of their own beloved Church, was just as much in defence of the Popish Church of Ireland! What pride could her members take in defending these venerable and hitherto impregnable battlements, when they saw their time-honoured fortress was only serving as a buttress to support—an outwork to cover, the gloomy and bloodstained citadel of the Man of Sin!

We need scarcely ask any sincere member of the Church of England if he can look with indifference on the prospect of her destruction. Yet, in all probability, the passing of an Act to endow Popery would sound her death-knell, and with her fall would vanish from our land the chief bulwark against the tide of Infidelity, licentiousness, and crime, which would then advance with unchecked impetuosity.

VI. The endowment of Popery would produce a most pernicious influence on the minds of the working and lower classes all over the country, who see men paid simply for having done mischief.

Dispassionately examined, the scheme is absurd to a most ludicrous degree. State policy is in favour of the payment of the priests, because it will prevent their doing evil.* If this is to be a principle of legislation, we do not see how the Government can refuse to pension pickpockets, housebreakers, and thieves of all grades. In both cases they commit crimes, and endanger the peace, property, and comfort of the community; in both cases they are foes to social order, for, from confusion and turbulence are derived their chief gains; in both cases the object is to place them beyond the reach of temptation, and in both cases money would be the means employed. The numerous fraternity of thieves may with some reason complain, that, while their offences are punished with the gaol or the hulks, those of the priests are rewarded by smooth and courteous language, and substantial and lasting emolument. And there is this to be said in favour of the thieves, that they would most thankfully accept the boon and be contented with it, while, judging from all past experience, the priests would take it with grumbling and abuse, and employ it as a means of getting more. Some one may say, "You cannot believe the word of a professed thief;" in reply to this, we say, that the most sagacious observers of passing events have exactly that opinion of an Irish priest. In the case of rewards to thieves, the orderly, and well-behaved, and virtuous

* See "Quarterly Review," for September, 1848.

"No rational man in this island believes a statement on the unsupported authority of an Irish Roman Catholic priest. . . . . It is only the language of passion."—"Times," leading article, 8th Jan., 1849.

page 31 members of the community would say, that not only was it a wicked thing to do, and opposed to the usual ideas of right and wrong, entertained from time immemorial, but that it was rather unjust that those who had done them mischief should be rewarded for it, and to crown all, that they should have to pay for these rewards. They would truly say, that, not only was it quite opposed to everything inculcated in that old-fashioned book the Bible, but that it offered a premium to the naturally vicious to go on in vice, and would tempt those to indulge in vice that never thought of it before. Now very much in this strain, and with perfect truth, would the working-classes talk of the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy. The money is given to keep them quiet; they have been disloyal, seditious, quarrelsome, and abusive, therefore, they are to be bought over to the side of loyalty, allegiance, peace, and good-will. Had they originally been well behaved and peaceable they would not have been offered this pay; but because they have worked mischief, and to prevent them working any more, they are purchased, as it were, by the Government, for a consideration. This is the plain English and common-sense view of the matter, and so will the people take it. Now, if the working-classes were endowed to superfluity with comforts and happiness, and did not know how to throw away the surplus, they would not perhaps say much, though even in this case they would complain of the selection of objects for their charity. But how stands the case? Thousands of the labouring classes are out of employment, and in a state of severest destitution; and the vast majority of the remainder are in the receipt of but scanty wages, and reduced to a hard struggle to keep the wolf from the door. Private benevolence is largely called forth for their relief, but the Legislature does little, and the poor owe it little thanks. But at a time when they are ground down by taxation to replenish an exhausted Treasury, and an absolute want of means is pleaded as an excuse for not remitting any impost whatever, the people,—the hardworking, peaceable, intelligent, industrious, and religious sons of toil, who ask no favour, but simply the opportunity of earning their bread by the labour of their hands,—see the money in the national Treasury lavishly thrown away on the payment of priests, and these, the Irish Roman Catholic priests, who, they well know, have mainly contributed to make and to keep Ireland what it is—a continual source of alarm, trouble, and expense to them—the people of England. They did not grumble when the wealth of the country was poured in millions into Ireland, to feed her in the hour of famine, although they suffered for it and suffer for it still. But if, in spite of their indignant remonstrances, one or two millions annually are thrown away on the payment of the priests, they will more than grumble—the act will not soon be either forgotten or forgiven. They will naturally ask themselves why they continue to slave day by day, always on the verge of want, for a Government or a country which does not reward them by one mark of approval, but reserves all its rewards for the discontented and the seditious? They will see that there are different modes of page 32 treatment for sedition according to the class of the offender; the poor man is imprisoned or banished, while the criminal in a priestly garb, with means and influence, gets a pension for life from the State. If this do not breed sullen discontent among them, all history has been written in vain. It will be all the more dangerous that it may be concealed; the smoothness of the current is a sign of its depth. All who are interested in the preservation of our institutions may depend on this, that it is a dangerous thing, in the present state of this country, and of the world, to furnish our working-men with another and a glaring instance of what they call class legislation.

VII. To govern Ireland through her priesthood is an acknowledgment that the ordinary laws of the land are insufficient for that purpose.

This is truly a humiliating confession for a British statesman to make. Our code of laws, increased or modified year by year—the fruit of the most profound and experienced intellects, under which our country has prospered, and attained such a grand pre-eminence among nations—is yet found insufficient to rule Ireland, and priestcraft must be called in to our aid. This is bringing back some of the worst characteristics of the middle ages. It is not pretended that the influence of the priests would do more, even if generally exerted, than deter the people from crime, and contribute to social order. Now, the question is, is the civil law, if properly enforced, really insufficient to effect this object? Has it been repeatedly tried and found wanting? No; when vigorously enforced, it has always succeeded in its objects; it is only because it is not kept in vigorous operation, not enforced with continuous energy, that the progress of crime has not been checked. We must not suppose that the same kind of machinery for prosecuting the ends of justice, will do in Ireland, which is found effective enough in England. This is a grand mistake, which for the last twenty years has pervaded the whole course of our legislation towards that country. In dealing with hundreds of criminals, with confederated bands, in Ireland, we have done just what we would do in England, where cases of murder and robbery are few and isolated. Hence we have failed, for what was sufficiently stringent in the one case, was not so in the other. But whenever we attempted to suit the remedy to the disease, and the means to the occasion, we have been entirely successful. Earl Grey's celebrated Coercion Bill of 1834 crushed and almost annihilated the bandits and assassins of that period. But it was only a temporary measure, the State physicians believing that to be merely an attack of madness, which was chronic disease, and by-and-by the patient was relieved from restraint. The councils of conciliation being in the ascendant for many years afterwards, no such measure was again tried. At length, in 1847, crime had attained such an unexampled vigour and audacity, that it was found absolutely necessary to pass another Coercion Bill. This was done. The law was vigorously enforced, and by one or two stringent measures, the people were made to respect it. Had this been continued—had the cowardly assassins, who established a reign of terror among the peasantry, been convinced that there would be no breathing-time for them, but that this severe measure page 33 was part of the regular law of the land, robbery and murder would have quitted the scene. But they knew it was only temporary, only partial in its operation, and they took courage and waited their time. And now, while we write, at the commencement of the year 1849, we are again horrified by the almost daily repetition of such crimes, as have made Ireland a very Aceldama. Again must we say, no half-measures will do, no measures intended for a time only. Ireland must be ruled, and ruled in such a way, that her whole population shall respect the law, and fear to infringe it; call it a rod of iron, if you will,—all the peaceable and industrious members of society there will call it a rod of mercy. The frightful peculiarity about Ireland is, that the peasantry are more afraid to obey the law than to break it, and they almost universally connive at the escape of the criminal. Now this is altogether owing to the tenour of our legislation, by which they are not led to fear the law, inasmuch as they so often see the criminal escape unpunished; and when we are incited to a violent effort to enforce that law, it assumes in their eyes too much the appearance of the mere prompting of revenge and passion. Were very severe measures, such as martial law, the law all over Ireland, they would fear it for its vengeance, and respect it for its power. This applies to the whole population,—the priesthood included.

It does certainly seem supremely absurd that we should treat Ireland, which is in a state of turbulence and demoralization, in the same way as we deal with England and Scotland,—countries that have attained the highest pitch of intelligence and refinement. The results of this grand mistake meet us everywhere in Ireland, in the appearance of an ignorant and unbridled population, favored with privileges that they do not know how to use, and institutions that they cannot appreciate.

We repeat it, the law of the land, when properly enforced in Ireland, is sufficient to preserve order, without the purchase of the priesthood. And this is one, and a most effectual, mean for regenerating that unhappy country. Are there no others, altogether independent of the claims made by the friends of the priesthood, to gain this desirable object?

VIII. The real evils of Ireland are of quite a different nature, and would not be affected by such a measure as the endowment of the priesthood.

That Ireland is very miserable, is of course universally allowed. Nor is there much difference of opinion among sensible and intelligent Englishmen as to the causes of her misery. In the first place, there are defects among the people themselves, who, though they have many excellent and amiable qualities, are deficient in well-directed and well-sustained enterprise and intelligence,—two qualities which, combined, produce a habit of steady industry. Of course there are exceptions, but we speak of the nation generally. Again, they are credulous to a lamentable degree, the result of their ignorance and their superstition; and are ready to run after any fluent demagogue or mendacious agitator, who propounds some political reform as the cure for all their misery. It is this, apparently invincible, habit of indolence,—never working till page 34 they are driven to it by want, and deserting the sober and steady paths of industry on the slightest pretext, to follow any babbling impostor, who for his own ends attempts to delude them,—it is this worst of all habits which has hitherto prevented the native Irish from rising much above the level of poverty. And this habit has been only strengthened by a system, which we have to name as one of the most fruitful sources of crime in Ireland. This is the tenure of land. Three classes of people altogether unknown in England, are, by the operation of this mischievous system, produced, viz., extravagant and absentee landlords, extortionate middlemen, and indolent and wretched cottiers, or peasantry. The first are generally in debt, because they live up to a nominal income which they do not receive; the second, having to look for their profits to the difference between the rent they pay the landowner, and what they are able to squeeze from those who cultivate the land, so minutely subdivided, grind down those beneath them by a rapacious system of extortion, profiting by the competition for land; the third, having no claim on the owner of the soil, but being at the mercy of the middlemen, and therefore liable at any moment to be turned adrift, care only for raising enough to pay their rent and maintain themselves in food—here again their natural improvidence shews itself, and they cultivate only potatoes, and just enough to keep them existing from year to year. Hence the terrible distress among them when a failure occurs—hence the hostility of the people towards the landowner, in whom they so rarely find a present protector or liberal friend; hence the evictions that so often take place; hence, too, the quarrels and heartburnings which so generally prevail, and which are so often ended by a bloody revenge. And from this grand evil—the tenure of land, minor evils branch off in all directions. Capitalists will not invest money in a country which is continually agitated; a man of enterprise will not go to live in a country where all his actions will be misconstrued, himself called an alien and enemy, and at last assassinated. They both see that the ordinary course of law is insufficient to protect them. The Irishman, again, listening to popular agitators, has been told, that the land should belong to the Irish only, that these men are only intruders, who will help to crush their independence. Now, without capital, managed and directed by Englishmen, Ireland never can flourish. Irishmen themselves have not the capital, and few of them, have experience to manage it if it were given them; but if it were managed by English colonists, it would produce prosperity there as elsewhere. The example of Ulster is before us; let us make Ireland a country fit for Englishmen to inhabit and labour in, and her regeneration will soon begin.

Thus, it may be said that the national character is one cause of the misery of Ireland; the tenure of land another, and the supremacy of lawless crime over peace and order the result of both. The first, it must be recollected, is partly or chiefly owing to that religion which we are called on to establish; the influx of capital and industry which would follow on the enforcement of law, would serve to neutralize the evils of the second. Let us try both these measures— page 35 that is, no encouragement to Popery, and a vigorous administration of the laws, before we talk of rearing in Ireland such a monster abuse as an Established Popish Church, and the handing over the government of that country to an army of priestly stipendiaries.

There are other evils in Ireland demanding removal, but all connected, more or less, with those named above. Absenteeism, over-population, want of employment, with large tracts of land waste and unreclaimed, vast natural resources undeveloped, and natural advantages left unheeded—pauperism, destitution, discontent, want and nakedness, the fruitful progeny of a monstrous alliance between original defect and created deformity! Let us take them in turn—a landlord will not live where his life is not safe, and we cannot blame him; youthful marriages would not be so abundant, if there were not such disastrous facilities for obtaining a temporary subsistence, on a deceitful basis, an apparent settlement in life; there would be no want of employment, if those were encouraged to come, who were able and willing to employ; land would not be out of cultivation, if those who had means were invited to reclaim it, and cheered instead of being discouraged in their work; and natural resources would not be undeveloped, if those, who had it in their power to ransack the secrets of the earth, and gather in the treasures of the sea, were convinced that the usual gratitude would follow the benefit conferred, and the usual reward attend their efforts. And all the ills that are engendered by poverty, indolence, and crime, would vanish with the authors of their being, leaving a country happy, contented, and prosperous, as (the boasting of her enemies notwithstanding) rich and smiling England.

We have thus gone over most of the arguments that present themselves against any plan for the endowment of the Irish Romanist clergy, but very imperfectly, as our space is limited. The arguments in favour of the measure have only to be named, as all we have written already has anticipated and, we trust, answered them. All the advocates of the measure rest their support of it on the three grounds of policy, charity, justice. As to the policy of the measure, we have, we think, shewn conclusively, that it would fail in attaching the priesthood to the Government; as to the charity, we answer, that all the Roman Catholic priesthood are in comfortable circumstances compared with many of the clergy of the Churches of England and Ireland, and with most Protestant Dissenters, and if the contributions levied on the people fall off, from their unwillingness to submit to the extortionate demands of the priests, that must be considered a sign of the times bright with promise for Ireland; as to justice, on the ground that the Church property was all once the heritage of the Popish Church, what Protestant is there silly enough to require to be told that the Romanists only require that admission to make their claim to the whole of the property of the Church of Ireland, clear, just, and irresistible?

On glancing over what we have written, we find two distinct lines of argument addressed to two classes of individuals, comprising all page 36 who will think and decide for themselves on the matter. To Protestants we addressed ourselves, to prove that there are vast and irreconcileable differences between their religion and Popery, and that they are not, as latitudinarian statesmen, or semi-Popish ecclesiastics would have us to believe, branches of one system, divided for a time, but ere long to be united. We showed that Protestantism was derived from the pure Word of God, and that, like its inspired original, it is distinguished for simplicity, purity, and earnestness; the means it employed being conviction and persuasion; its end—the purest morality and sanctity in this life, associated with a complete change of heart, to prepare the believer for the next. On the other hand, we showed that Popery was a gigantic apostasy from the doctrines of the Bible, and derived principally from traditions of men, distinguished by the grossest superstitions and by blasphemous and dangerous doctrines, using force or fraud to gain converts, and only maintaining its ground by holding the minds and wills of those converts in the most abject slavery, producing also in every country where it prevails grovelling superstition, a yoke of spiritual bondage, glaring hypocrisy, and wide-spread immorality. Hence we averred that it was impious to endow such a system of error, and moreover inconsistent to support a religion directly the opposite of that which has been so long established in this land, and with which the security of the Throne is inseparably connected. We then referred to the question of justice, as affecting all the Protestants of the empire, Dissenters chiefly—indeed all of every persuasion who dissented from the doctrines of Rome—maintaining that it was grossly unjust that any should be made to pay for the support of a Church whose principles they believed, on such strong evidence, to be pernicious and destructive. And we then proceeded to enumerate some of the arguments that seemed conclusive even as to the impolicy of the measure, taking the very lowest ground—asserting that no pay of any amount would bind the Popish priesthood in this or any country to the Government, as they owed a prior allegiance to their spiritual head, the Pope; that only a portion of the clergy would accept an endowment, and that those who refused it would obtain all the popular sympathy, and consequently be more hostile and more dangerous to the Government than ever; that even if accepted unanimously, it would not satisfy the priests, as they would not be contented with less than ascendancy and the restitution of all Church property; that it would embitter religious feeling in Ireland, and still further protract the period of her improvement; that it would also lead to great agitation and dissatisfaction all over the empire, leading inevitably to the downfall of all Establishments; that it would have a most pernicious effect on the minds of the working-classes, who would see priests rewarded for the same conduct that, in their case, is punished with imprisonment or transportation; that the attempt to govern Ireland through her priesthood is an acknowledgment that the laws of the land are insufficient, which facts prove to be an untrue assertion; and finally, that the real evils of Ireland would not be in the least affected by this measure, and demand a far different remedy.

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And now we entreat all classes of our countrymen to ponder over what we have said, hasty and imperfect as many of our arguments have been. All are interested in a measure of such importance as the endowment of the Popish clergy of Ireland. To Protestants, we say, are you prepared to see taken into alliance with the State, a system of baleful superstition and dark ungodliness, opposed to the Word of God, and productive of degradation and iniquity, wherever prevalent? Will you submit to see our constitution sullied, and placed in jeopardy by such an unnatural union? Will you consent to pay for the support of a religion which the Bible tells you is hateful to God, and which all experience proves to be degrading to man?

To Dissenters, we say, will you, opposed as you are to all Establishments, allow a third to be reared—and that the Establishment of Popery? Are you more likely to succeed in your warfare against the system, when you find the whole might of the Popedom leagued against you? If you cannot overthrow any existing Establishments, surely the next best thing is, to prevent the erection of more! And will you allow part of the money, wrung from you by taxation to be devoted to the support of Popish priests, merely because certain Liberal statesmen, in pursuance of their mischievous policy of concession, are in favour of that measure? Have you forgotten what Popery is—and do you not see, that, wherever it is able, it is carrying out its boast of immutability, by the profession and practice of those principles which have disgraced humanity, and brought scandal on the religion of Christ? Is not Protestantism a living, blessed reality, that to which you owe your civil liberty, your power of speech and action—is not it more precious, something more worth defending than Voluntaryism, which is a mere abstraction, a thing that may not be realized for ages, if indeed at all? And will you not resist the compulsory infliction on Ireland of that priesthood, who have, as you know well, been the principal cause of her continued degradation and abasement?

To all our countrymen, we would say—do not hastily, without the most careful consideration, give your consent to such a measure as the endowment of Popery. Events of much greater moment than you perhaps suppose, are staked on the issue of this question. It is big with the fate, not only of this country, but of others, many of which are throwing off the yoke of priestcraft, and assuming the attitude and the garb of freedom. That Popery, which is actually now losing its hold upon many of its hitherto subject realms, should be adopted, fostered, enriched by that kingdom which has all along been the champion of Protestantism, the guardian of civil and religious liberty, and the defender of the oppressed in every clime, would be an event of such momentous importance as to nerve the energies of the Papacy for more widely destructive efforts, and to quench the aspirations after freedom of many a struggling but ardent heart. The wealth lavished on the priests in Ireland would not affect them, would not attach them to us, but would be simply so much money poured annually into the coffers of a Church, whose already vigorous efforts for the spread of their idolatry, our missionaries all over the world dread more than the wavering resistance of the crumbling entrench page 38 ments of Heathenism. Our money, therefore, in so far as the object aimed at is concerned, would be thrown away, and thrown away on those whom it would not satisfy, but only incite to such further measures as would change their equality into complete and despotic ascendancy. This is what Rome aims at; no observer of passing events can doubt it, and if we would prevent her success, we must not surrender without a struggle our few remaining defences.

Endow Popery?—monstrous and unnatural project! Is it not enough to startle from their slumber the scattered remains of the sainted martyrs? Can the thousand victims of the savage tyranny of the Papacy—the victims of the Alpine valleys, of "Seine's empurpled flood," of Prague, of Smithfield—can the Christian patriots, who languished in the dungeons of the Inquisition, who were stretched on the rack, and gave their bodies to the flames with serene and lofty composure—can they have seen, without the most joyful hope, the result of their devoted heroism, and the blessings attending it in this, the land of Protestant freedom? And if still permitted to look on that earth, on whose soil they once trod, and which was the scene of their agony and death, what must be their feelings now, when they behold the inhabitants of that island, which has chiefly prospered because she has adhered to those principles which they died in maintaining—wilfully submitting to the yoke of the Popedom, and so far forgetting their peculiar privileges and their lofty destiny, as to ally themselves with that tyrant superstition, whose footsteps are traced in blood, and over whose head, as over Pagan Rome, the avenging thunderbolt is poised? Tears may not enter into the blessed abodes of the sainted dead, but those abodes will re-echo the cry, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?"

But neither allusions to the past, nor boding reference to the future will have any influence on statesmen, who are blinded by prejudice, and possessed with but one idea,—concession to Popery. To the nation we appeal, whether with or without their spiritual leaders; we appeal to them as Christians, as citizens, as men, to declare with a voice of thunder, that the thing shall not be. If a certain faction desire to bring about an unholy alliance between our country and Popery, then, in the name of pure religion, of liberty, of morality, of justice, and of common sense, forbid the banns I What can result from such a consummation, but evils without number for generations yet unborn? You can, if you will, prevent it. If you should not—if you allow this iniquity to be perpetrated—if, despising the solemn warnings of the past, shutting your eyes on the experience of the present, you rush headlong on the shadowy future, without one ray of light to guide your footsteps through the gloom, heavy will be the punishment on you and your children, and those who shall come after them—and keen will be the anguish, poignant the grief, bitter the remorse when too lute, to avert the inevitable and dark catastrophe!