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earlier Numbers, relative to the History of Ireland, must at once be apparent. In those debates, it will be recollected, that again and again the measure was denominated a mere res ilution to the Church of Rome of a portion of the property which had been taken from her. In our second number, we presume to think an answer, will be found to this assertion, more satisfactory, more conclusive, and more plainly laid down, than any answer given to the argument by any member who addressed the House in reply. In that article * we showed, from historic proofs, that the Church of Rome has no more right to any property or possessions in Ireland, than a highwayman would have to a horse which he had stolen from the right owner, and of which, by force, he held possession for a time. No doubt, by the assistance of Henry II., the Pope of Rome was enabled to compel the Irish, much against their inclination, to pay tithes and “ Peter's pence,” neither of which had they ever paid before. No doubt very extensive properties were afterwards wrested from the right owners, and allocated to the use of the Church of Rome, by those who were its emissaries and advocates : but, did this give that Church a right to those properties, or a claim now to demand restitution? Should it not rather stimulate to the greater abhorrence of a system which could thus, by fraud and violence, under pretence of religion, not only despoil the rightful owners of their property, but light up a flame of religious rancour and hatred which has over and over again caused the island which she conquered to flow with blood and crime.
But, again, several of the speakers in advocating the grant to Maynooth, eulogised the conduct of the Romish priests in many parts of the country. In reference to this point again, our readers have been enabled to form an opinion for themselves, from the facts which we have month after month, laid before them, from the north and south, the east and the west, of Ireland. The persecution now raging at Dingle, and of which, in our very last number we afforded a specimen, shows, but too plainly, the fallacy of the arguments adduced by the supporters of the measure, and indicates, too clearly to be mistaken, that if the present state of things be allowed to progress, without an effort to repress the insolence of Rome and the Romish priesthood, the Protestants of Ireland, aye, and the Protestants of England, may very soon prepare for treatment still more nearly resembling that which their forefathers experienced, when “ the man of sin,” in the plenitude of his power, was wont to lay his iron, blood-stained hand, on any who dared to think for themselves, or to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience.
* If possible, we shall resume this article in our next or following Number.
And yet, with such facts as those to which we have alluded, staring them in the face ; while the priests of Rome, especially those of them who were educated at Maynooth, evince the most determined hostility to the Bible and every thing bearing the name of Protestant; the senators of our land seem determined on giving to Popery greater power and-influence in Ireland, than she has possessed for centuries—the education of the people has been completely thrown into the hands of the priests; who have been recently honored with titles and immunities, which they possessed not since the Reformation; the system is in future to be supported by large grants of the public money—and the priests themselves paid out of the public pursé. Such is the plan proposed by the present Premier of Great Britain ; and although it is not our wish to meddle with party or politics, still we feel that in a juncture like the present, silence on our part would be an actual sin. If, indeed, there were no reality in the Christian system, if we were at liberty to believe or reject the statements contained in the book of Revelationif we might consider all religions alike, and there were no fundamental difference between the doctrines taught by the Protestant and the Romish churches--then might the Premier and the Protestant members of Parliament argue as many of them have done, and vainly endeavour to pacify the clamours of an overbearing and domineering priesthood, by allowing the Romish church to be established in Ireland, while Scotland was allocated to the Presbyterian body, and England should remain Protestant. But, while even these unwise senators, who would introduce such measures, will not dare to say that no vital difference exists; surely those men should tremble, who, from mere worldly policy, would do what they well know in their liearts and souls to be contrary to the direct precepts of the revealed wilt of heaven.* The Premier, and the other Protestant members of the House of Commons, have solemnly sworn that they believe the religion of the church of Rome to be idolatrous, and to contain damnable and fatal errors; and yet these very men, by their present attempt would not only maintain, but perpetuate, that idolatry and error in the country whose interests are committed to their trust.
*The following remarks, made by Sir Robert Peel, on Saturday, the 24th of March, 1838, will show that he is perfectly aware of the danger of encouraging the Romish religion, as he is now doing :
· "It is impossible, I think,” said Sir Robert, “to look at the progress Popery is now making, and the efforts it is putting forth, without anxiety and alarm. The establishment of the order of Jesuits in most of the countries of Europe, the movements in Prussia and Belgium, the increase of Popish chapels and seminaries in our country, show us clearly what we have to dread, and I am persuaded, we shall, ere long, see a struggle arise, in which we shall have again to determine the question, whether Popery or Protestantism is to have the ascendancy."
So said Sir Robert Peel, in 1838 ; what has since occurred to induce him to alter his opinion, we leave to our readers to determine."
We have before expressed our belief, that Ireland is the battle-field on which the great conflict with the Papacy is to take place; and if the people of England do not stand forward at the present moment, and render every assistance in their power, the Lord will raise up help from other quarters; but let not the people of England think that they themselves shall escape. It is, indeed, gratifying to find that the “ English Dissenters” have already earned for themselves a name in the present holy warfare against error and superstition; of this Mr. O'Connell is aware. In a speech delivered by him in Dublin, on Saturday, the 29th ult., he observes, “ the English Dissenters had led the van in the late attack on the Catholics, and Mr. Sheil had most properly talked of the bitter acrimony, and the savage delight, with which they opposed everything useful to the Catholics of Ireland.”
“The policy by which our country is to be governed,” said Mr. Sheil, “is not to be dictated by the nobles, the statesmen, and the great proprietors of the land, but by the Baptists, the Moravians, the Independents, and by the Wesleyan Methodists—(hear, hear). I have no hesitation in saying, that this is a debasement which we ought not to, and which we will not, bear (cheers). And I will add that, if there should be a minister sufficiently lost to all sense of the interests of his country, and to his own honor, as to succumb to the conventicle, and make the cabinet an appurtenance to the conventicle, there will be in Ireland those who will take as bold a course as that recommended by the honorable member for Finsbury, and who will tell their countrymen that, at every hazard, the restoration of their parliament is to be recovered ; that Ireland is not to be kept at the expense of fanaticism; and that in such a case it were better to perish than submit to such degradation."
Such is the threat held out to the British Minister, by Mr. Sheil, the avowed organ of the Romish priesthood of Ireland; whose description of the same said priesthood, our readers should be acquainted (with.. " It is,” said Mr. Sheil, “because there is no man in the house who deprecates with more sincerity than I do the frightful possibilities to which I have adverted, that I implore you in time to adopt measures for the conciliation of the Catholic clergy. That clergy is a body invested with vast powers. It is a great intellectual corporation. It consists of three thousand men, energetic, bold, courageous. Power is centralized in its hierarchy, and descends through all its ramifications. It is omnipotent for good or for evil. It has been your antagonist; it can be made your firmest and your fastest friend (hear, hear.) I will show you where it has been your antagonist. In 1826 it was by the Catholic priesthood that the Beresfords, the upholders of Protestant ascendancy, were overthrown. By the Catholic priesthood the triumph of the Clare election was obtained by the Catholic priesthood the tithe excitement was raised, and by the Catholic priesthood the machinery of the repeal agitation had been put in action. Twenty of these priests, and not a layman, signed the requisition for the great Clontarf meeting.”
Such are the men, and such is the corporation," as Mr. Shiel calls them, to whom, Protestants of England, you are to give £30,000. per annum, as an instalment ; whose numbers you are to multiply—whose powers you are to augment—whose ungodly system you are called upon to perpetuate in Ireland. Beware! we intreat you, to beware! of the sophistries of its advocates; stand firm-acquit yourselves like men; and use every legal and constitutional means placed within your power, to prevent such a fatal measure as an increased and permanent grant to Maynooth from being finally carried by the British Legislature.
THE WOES AND WANTS OF IRELAND. Whatever difference of opinion may exist as to the cause, there is none as to the fact, that the state of the Sister country is one which is very distressing to every pbilanthropic heart. The physical condition of a large portion of the population is such as every one possessed of any kindly feeling for suffering humanity must deplore. Placed in a position by their unhappy circumstances, in which they feel no interest in the welfare of those who possess the luxuries or comforts of life, they are frequently reckless and lawless, and too often wreak their vengeance upon those who either are, or are supposed to be, the instruments of inflicting the evils they endure. Though nothing can justify the barbarous deeds, which, under the influence of revenge and desperation are committed, yet, knowing the depravity of human nature, and the advantage which the enemy of souls takes of our evil propensities, we cease to wonder that the physical ills they suffer, should produce such baneful and fearful results. It is hard to be upon the verge of starvation when all around us are involved in the same calamity ; but it appears a far greater trial of patience when surrounded by plenty, of which we are not allowed to participate. Now this has often been the case of thousands in the Sister land. It is true that modern legislation has sought to mitigate the evil, by the introduction of poor-laws into that country; but administered as those laws are in the present day, their introduction has neither excited gratitude, nor inspired hope. They are only viewed as the offspring of necessity, arising from the legal oppressions which have driven thousands of the unhappy peasantry from their cabins, and their small holdings of land ; and compelled them, as houseless and homeless wanderers, to find a refuge either in the charity of their poor neighbours, or in the poorhouse, wbich is regarded by them as the vortex in which the last vestige of liberty is swallowed up. But the physical woes of many of the population are but typical or illustrative of their intellectual. How deplorable is it to find minds in which genius and wit are so frequently exhibited, debased by the most grovelling superstition-superstition, so degrading, as to rival that of the most untutored of the human race. It is true, that it may not, from advancing knowledge, which even the subtlety and power of Rome cannot wholly exclude from them, be so gross as it was in former periods; but still, to a vast extent, they are under its baneful influence; and, like the Gods described so graphically in the sacred page, intellectually they have eyes, and they see not; ears have they, and hear not; mouths have they, and speak not. They only move as they are moved by others; the mere automatons to perform a part prescribed by those who rule over them with despotic sway. They are dragged at the chariot wheels of spiritual despotism; and, alas, such is their infatuation that they love their thraldom, and fancy music in their chains.' Whatever subject their most talented men may touch, there is one which is tabooed, and the moment they approach it their thinking powers fall prostrate : and if they speak, it is only to express their devotion to a system which reason and Scripture alike condemn. Thus the powers of the Irish mind, like the scared tenants of the forest, are confined as in a circle of fire; through which they dare not pass to enjoy their native freedom, in the fearless and unshackled pursuit of truth. But the physical and intellectual woes of Ireland are only emblematical of her deeper sorrows—the sorrows connected with her spiritual condition. If the system under which millions are placed in that land be as opposed to the truth, as it is in Jesus, as we believe it is if it be as hostile to the oracles of God, as even its advocates admit, by their careful exclusion from the people if it take away the spiritual liberty wherewith Christ has made his people free, and bring them into worse than Egyptian bondage, the slavery of the soul-if it substitute the most degrading superstition for spiritual and elevated devotion, and make void the law of God, through human traditions, then how sad and fearful must be the spiritual state of those who are its abject slaves, and its devoted adherents. Now this is the condition of millions in the Sister country: they are feeding on ashes-a deceived heart hath turned them aside, that they cannot deliver their souls; nor say, is there not a lie in our right hand; their priests bear rule by these means, and through ignorance they “ love to have it so." But, as if the spiritual thraldom already endured by millions in Ireland, who are its unhappy victims, had not sufficiently debased them, (tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon !)—the professedly Protestant Prime Minister of Protestant England has proposed (not to remove the yoke from their shoulders) which was not in his power, but to provide increased means for perpetuating the domination of a priesthood to whose baneful influence the sister country owes so much of her physical, moral, and spiritual degradation. Such a proposition proves that another of the woes of Ireland is the want of firm, enlightened, and really Protestant senators in the British Legislature; who, while they would be ready to grant full protection, and perfect religious liberty to Roman Catholics, would not patronize the destructive errors they have embraced, by voting public money for the support of such seminaries as Maynooth. Against such a grant, all real Protestants should protest and petition, and though their voice may not be heard now, the period may soon arrive, when its supporters may quail before the indignant, but lawful, expression of their sentiments.
Such is a brief, and imperfect, sketch of the woes of Ireland: but brief as it is, it is sufficient to indicate what are its wants. It wants breadfor its almost starving ill-paid millions. They ask for it; and, alas, too often those who should do what they can to give it,“ have given them stones.” They have had no sympathy with their abject condition ; but only anxious to get rid of the piercing cry of their distress which offended their ears, but touched not their hearts-only solicitous to get rid of their unsightly cabins, which marred the beauty of their landscapes, they have forcibly driven them