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with it the sternest condemnation of past procrastination ; no reason which sober and conscientious politicians, worthy of the name of statesmen, must not blush to allege. Public opinion, we are told, has ripened at St. Stephen's with unexampled rapidity of late, and an achievement has thus become feasible now which it would have been simple lunacy to attempt two years ago. True enough: but what has been the stimulating climate and the ripening force if not the cold shade' of Opposition? Those are suspicious fruits which mature fastest and surest when screened from the sunshine of office and responsibility. Fenianism, some inconsiderate persons say, has come up to startle us from our apathy and rouse us to our duty; but surely, of all disreputable pleas this is the most undignified and mischievous, as well as the most irrelevant. Fenianism, as far as it is indigenous, and either springs out of or derives its strength from Irish discontent, is no fresh or renovated phenomenon ; it has long been chronic, notorious, and noisy. Fenianism, as an imported and organised movement, it is clear has nothing whatever to do with the Protestant Church; that Establishment does not even come within the purview of its seditious manifestoes. Fenianism is boldly denounced by the official rivals of that Church; and summarily to condemn, surrender, and abolish one of the most rooted, and by many cherished, institutions of the kingdom, because a feeble and reckless outbreak has frightened Parliament into reflection, cleared their vision, and invigorated and purified their patriotism, is to encourage, sanction, and justify Irish violence and disaffection as they have never been warranted before. If we do this great thing now at once, in hot haste, and ostensibly at the bidding of sedition, which for generations we have pertinaciously refused to do at the bidding of justice and respect for the feelings of our fellow citizens, it is scarcely possible to conceive a more unseemly spectacle, a more fatal lesson, a more dangerous, impolitic, and illogical immorality. The phenomenon of Fenianism, rightly estimated, ought not to weigh in the controversy to the extent of a single vote; yet Fenianism is the only new feature imported into the controversy which was not there five, ten, twenty years ago.
And we are urged to resolve upon and inaugurate this significant and prolific measure-prolific, inasmuch as it will assuredly bear fruits little dreamed of now-with the object of contenting and loyalising the Irish people. Do it if you willwe would say to the miscellaneous mass which now constitutes the Opposition;—do it if you must; but do it under the influence of no such delusive hopes; do it from motives that will better bear the scrutiny of reason, and on a more sagacious calculation
of probable results. Do it, if you please, for the liberation of your own consciences, so grievously burdened with the manifold oppressions of the past; do it as a tardy and imperfect atonement for a long series of undeniable blunders, mismanagement, and neglect in times now happily gone by; but do not do it in the idle expectation that you can thereby win over a reconciled and satisfied population to your side.
We doubt whether any one who really knows Ireland anticipates any tranquillising consequences
from the measure; on the contrary, at first, at least, it may be expected to produce rather a recandescence and exacerbation of disturbance. It will irritate the North far more than it will pacify the South. It will exasperate and alarm the Protestants greatly, but will scarcely touch the mass of the Catholics at all. The main body of the peasantry, except where influenced for special purposes by their priests, think little of religious differences.* The Protestant clergyman is their friend, and often their banker and adviser. He never interferes in their arrangements; they pay him no dues or marriage fees; since the great healing measure, a generation ago, by which tithes were converted into a rent-charge — eight-ninths of which, by the way, it must be remembered, is paid by Protestant proprietors -- the tenants and occupiers of the soil are wholly unconscious of the Establishment as an institution affecting or burdening themselves. They never ask or consider the religion of their landlord ; they know and care greatly whether he be an “improver,' or an easy and indulgent man; they know and care a little whether he is an Englishman, or one of the old Milesian stock; they neither know nor care at all whether he be a Roman or an Anglican in faith. When the project of the Liberal party is consummated—if its consummation is ever to be reached by the surrender and disendowment of the State Establishment, the adherents of the two Churches, which have too often stood towards one another in the attitude of foes
* Mr. Senior asked his guide at Killarney what was his religion :
"I am a Roman,' he answered. "I do not think that there is sufficient difference between the religions to require me to quit the faith that I have been brought up in; but when there is not a chapel at hand, I join in the prayers of the Protestants, or of the Presbyterians.
• Does the priest,' I said, “allow that?' ' I think,” he answered, that at my age I have a right to an opinion of my own. There are no religious dissensions here,' he added ; ' no one asks whether a man is a Roman or a Protestant. We have been at peace ever since tithes were commuted, and church-cess abolished.' --Journal of 1852.
rather than of rivals, will be brought face to face under new conditions,—one body under the excitement of a triumph won, the other under the irritating mortifications of defeat and spoliation. Nor is this all : the spirit of proselytism, whenever it breaks out, has always proved the surest enemy to peace and goodwill in Ireland ;* and proselytism, in its more zealous and
* . The missionaries,' said Captain H., “are violent and indiscreet. They treat the Virgin with disrespect, call the cross an idolatrous emblem, and accuse the priests of brutal ignorance. A year ago a Roman Catholic station was held at Dhu Lough. The missionaries distributed, over all the roads leading to it, printed papers abusing and insulting all that Roman Catholics love or respect. I asked one of my people what the Roman Catholics did with them. “ Trod them under foot,” he answered; “ your Honour does not suppose we would demane ourselves to read such things.” But the priests read them ; and the result was to injure seriously the national school, and indeed our Roman Catholic children, who were all withdrawn. I went to our priest to expostulate, “ You know (I said) that there is no other school, and that if you take the children away they will grow up in perfect ignorance. You know, too, that we do not proselytise, and that I disapprove of the conduct of the missionaries as much as you can do. I think it intolerant, illiberal, and stupid. But why, merely to spite them, punish the poor children?”
'I cannot help it (he answered). I have supported your schools for a couple of years against the orders of my bishop. "But this is too bad; I should be disgraced before my flock if I were not to resent it; and how can I show my resentment except by taking the children from a school under a Protestant patron?'—Journal of 1862.
The following is a specimen of the way in which the proselyting attempts of indiscreet missionaries are met by less temperate Roman Catholic priests. It is an extract from a printed address to the jurors of Rathkeale, in the county of Limerick, by Mr. Fitzgerald, the Roman Catholic Archdeacon :
There are for trial at the Quarter Sessions this week some persons charged with breaking the peace towards the spiritual traders who have lately made Pallas Kenry the scene of their attempt at religious ruin-I may say spiritual murder; for every sincere Catholic must and does hold that without faith it is impossible to please God, and this “ saving" faith, the sine quâ non of escape from eternal fire, he believes to be that true Catholic faith without which no one can be saved. In the eyes of every Catholic these Pallas Kenry mountebanks are persons who seek to poison to death (the second death in the lake of fire) the souls of all whom they can induce to swallow their doses. If a person were indicted for an assault on a spiritual poisoner, if I were a juryman I would, without leaving the box, acquit the prisoner.
aggressive form, is always more rife among voluntary than among established churches, and will experience a singular revival from the proposed measure; nor shall we be in a position fully to recognise the moderating influence which has hitherto been exercised-half unconsciously perhaps, but as it were through instinct and temperament-by the State connexion and the good sense of the Protestant hierarchy, over its more fiery and militant votaries, till that influence has been withdrawn.
But this is by no means the whole case. The Roman Catholic hierarchy, there are abundant indications, has its own schemes and hopes--schemes and hopes reaching further and deeper than we know or think-schemes and hopes which the disendowment of the Protestant Establishment may possibly facilitate, but assuredly will not induce them to forego, or to pause for one moment in pursuing. There are subjects and occasions which make it advisable to speak without periphrases and without disguise, even at the risk of giving offence and incurring misconstruction; and this is one of them. We should be grieved to say one word to swell or to revive the 'No Popery' sentiment, which in past times, and even recently, has led to such discreditable and deplorable manifestations. We express no objection to Roman
If an intruder had come for the purpose of robbery, no jury would condemn his slayer; and in the eyes of every Catholic, life ought to be of less value than the eternal salvation of his soul, and the faith without which that salvation is impossible to be obtained.'—Journal, 1862.
See also “Journal of 1858' passim, for corroboration of the sad effects of proselytism :
' It poisons all our social relations,' said more than one interlocutor. • The inisery of this country' (said another), “is the proselytising system. If the different sects would let one another alone, or if each would look rather at what is good than at what is bad in other denominations, they would find that Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Presby. terians, and Methodists, may all be good men, good subjects, and good friends. But in Ireland, every sect is polemnical ; every sect attaches more importance to the doctrines in which it differs from the others, than to those in which it agrees. Every sect does all that it can to oppose, to insult, and to revile the opinions and the members of every other sect. The united education of the national schools tends to soften these mutual asperities, but unfortunately it is given only to a small minority, and only to the lower classes. The middle and higher classes do not frequent the national schools; the priests always receive a separate education, and now we have a Roman Catholic university, which I fear will withdraw the higher Roman Catholios from Trinity College.
Catholicism as a creed or faith ; it is the form of Christian doctrine still most widely spread over the earth; it has been the form cherished by many of the noblest and purest of men ; it has proved the solace, and support, and inspiration of countless thousands in all ages. But nothing can be more indisputable or notorious than that Roman Catholicism, whether we consider it as a creed or an organisation, assumes very different forms and aspects, according to the people among whom, and the political conditions under which it lives. It is one thing among cultivated Englishmen, and a totally alien and irrecognisable thing among ignorant Spaniards or Neapolitans. It is wholly different, again, in France and Prussia, where it is more or less under State control, and in Belgium, where, under a Parliamentary Government, it is striving for the mastery, and in the United States, where it is one of many sects, and where ascendancy is hopeless, from the guise in which it appears in Rome or the Peninsula, where it is rampant and supreme. It differs, too, enormously, according as the National or the Ultramontane spirit prevails among its prelates. Now, we fear it must be said and the book we are reviewing contains many remarkable confirmations of this view—that scarcely in any country does it assume a more degraded, unenlightened, unelevating type than that it now shows in Ireland; nowhere is its teaching more systematically hostile to social improvement, to national prosperity, to law, order, or the established government.* It is this fact-which moderate and peace-loving men are loath to recognise and unwilling to declare—that constitutes one of our greatest difficulties in dealing with Ireland. The religion of the mass of the people is, in its actual form and character, distinctly inimical to the best interests of the people, as well as to our rule over them.†
* Our readers cannot have forgotten the deliberate manifesto of 'the calm men of Limerick,-i.e., the dean and his brethren-declaring that the repeal of the Union, and the re-establishment of a native Parliament, are the absolutely needful and indispensable conditions of peace and justice in Ireland.
† The population is about equally divided into Roman Catholic and Protestant. The Protestants are far the more cleanly and comfortable. This my brother attributes to the influence of their respective clergy. “The Anglican and Presbyterian ministers," he said " enforce the virtues which produce prosperity in this world-thrift, diligence, and carefulness. The Roman Catholic priest, an ascetic by his faith, and still more by his profession, preaches contempt of worldly goods and worldly pleasures, and dwells on the austerities, the observances, and the contributions which are to be rewarded by happiness hereafter.” ? ---Senior's Journal, 1858.