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termined never to go inside the door of a chapel.' The Irish Evangelical Society is an association, still more formidable than that which has just been described. The parent Society is in London; and auxiliaries have been formed in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Sligo, and Youghall. The Magazine of this Society is full of descriptions of the favourable reception which their Missionaries have met from the poorer Catholics in all parts of the country. In one of the late Numbers, the following summary is given of a Report read at a meeting of the Society in London.
We partook of the surprise and pleasure which pervaded the room; for, until we heard the Report, we had not imagined that a society, so infantine and unassuming, had been able to accomplish so much, and to have so widely extended its exertions. It appears, indeed, as though God had prepared the population of Ireland for the reception of the Gospel. We learnt with satisfaction, that besides supporting and assisting ministers in nearly twenty counties, and in each of the four provinces, Mr Loader had under his care, in the Academical Institution founded in Dublin, eight students preparing to devote themselves to the works of the Christian ministry in Ireland.'
The Socinians also have been encouraged, by the present aspect of the Catholic religion in Ireland, to undertake the work of proselytism.
The efforts of this sect,' Mr Phelaw says, are aided by all the machinery of a policy, at once the most profound and the least scrupulous. They have commenced in the scuth, and have numerous and zealous wellwishers in various other parts of the island. '
There is also the Hibernian Society, the centre of which is in London, and which has made a greater progress than any other in extending itself in the most Catholic counties. It has been actively employed since 1814 in establishing schools for the religious education of the children of the poor, more espe cially of those of Roman Catholic parents. The number of their scholars, in the month of May last, was 32,516, besides 1250 adults who are taught to read. New schools are about to be opened in various parts of the country, as fast as the funds of the Society are increased by additional subscriptions. The system is one of the greatest economy-as the Society build no houses, and make no payments, except at the rate of five pounds for every twenty scholars who are taught in compliance with their regulations, and who must pass a regular inspection. The Reports of this Society are full of instances of Catholics resisting their priests. In one of them, it is related that the people say, it is not now with them as formerly; and that they are not afraid of the priest or bishop, and will not obey them in keeping their children from reading the Word of God.' The fol
lowing extracts, from letters written by the Inspectors of the Society, will serve to show how great a change is already produced in the minds of the Catholic poor.
The people hold the schools in great estimation. When they are forced, by public proclamation after mass, or when it is required of them privately at confession, to take away their children from the school, they soon relapse, and send them again.' (p. 19.)- Priest B.'s endeavours to keep the Scriptures out of the hands of the laity, have had as little effect as his opposition school. Applications are almost daily made to me for Bibles and Testaments by his parishioners.' (p. 37.) The more the priest forbids the parishioners' letting their children go to any of our schools, the more they see the necessity of sending them, contrary to his orders. I understand that the people are not now much in dread of Priest B.'-' I heard many say, that they did not think much of his thunders and threatenings; that the noble and well-meaning people of England gave their children books and education gratis; and that they would receive them thankfully." (p. 19.) The priest threatened vengeance against any of his parishioners that should send their children to the school; but the people, with one accord, refused to pay obedience to the priest in this matter, and continue their children at the school.' (p. 60.)
These few facts speak volumes as to the intellectual improvement of the Catholics; at the same time that they place beyond doubt their disposition to rebel against such of their clergy as still endeavour to keep them in ignorance,-whatever may be thought of them as evidence of their being generally on the eve of conversion. Besides these several Societies, which are of English origin, there is a very active and powerful one in Dublin, called the Sunday School Society, which is making great strides in extending education among the Catholic poor. The number of their scholars is stated, in their Report of this year, to be 59,888.
There are other institutions,' Mr Phelaw says,' of minor importance; but whichever of them we consider, the result is invariably the same; the people every where ready to throw off Popery, and the sectaries every where taking advantage of the opportunity. But, ' adds our reverend author, it is not merely from a view of the more humble ranks that we are justified in anticipating the fall of Popery in Ireland. In whatever attitude we contemplate the Romanists, whether we consider the religious or political aspect of that body, the sentiments of the higher classes, or dispositions of the lower, the probabilities of this change will appear equally striking. With respect to those who are of most importance for wealth, and influence, and education, the continuance of the name of Popery is to be ascribed to causes altogether distinct from religious considerations. The party leaders avail themselves of the prevalent superstition, and urge it to the utmost extremity their occasions require. They affect,
it is true, a profound reverence for the titular Hierarchy; but these professions are not entitled to much consideration. It is but justice, however, to say, that the attempt at deception is mutual, and mutual, ly understood. The leaders,.in reality, scoff at the bishops; and the bishops inwardly shrink from the leaders. These latter gentlemen have seduced their Right Reverend associates into measures which utterly overturn the foundations of Popery. The Pope's supremacy is now practically abjured by the Romish clergy, in the only sense in which the King's supremacy is admitted by the Established Church. They assemble in synods without his permission, and they reject his authority in determining the mode of ecclesiastical appointment. To complete the causes of misunderstanding, the bishops are aware that the temporal aggrandizement of the Romish clergy is no part of the system which the leaders are pursuing. They are well assured, that if the designs of these men were successful, even to the satisfaction of the most imaginative amongst them, Popery would never be erected into the Established religion in Ireland.
He then goes on to show that the Catholic country gentlemen are satiated with the absurdities of their religion;' that the more opulent inhabitants of the towns are rapidly losing the religion they had, and acquiring no other in its place; that the influence of the priests is notoriously on the decline amongst the lower orders; and that there occur, frequently and without remark, instances of sturdy opposition to their will, which, but a few years ago, would have been regarded by the whole parish as most awful indications of an abandoned 'castaway.'
It is curious to see in what opposite ways a subject is sometimes treated by persons professing the same general principles, and having the same objects in view. In England, the great theme of the High-Church party is, that the Catholic leaders are a parcel of fanatics, ready to sacrifice everything to the will of their bishops; that the bishops are governed in all things by the Pope; and that the body at large will never be satisfied until the temporal authority of their clergy is secured, and the Catholic religion erected into the Established religion of Ireland. In Ireland, however, all these things are flatly denied by a vehcment High-Church man,-as zealous for Protestant ascendancy as any of his fellows on this side of the water,and only differing from them in this-that his opinion is founded upon actual observation and personal experience, while theirs rests entirely on certain ancient documents, showing how Catholics thought and felt in former ages. The result of all our inquiries has accordingly been conformable to Mr Phelaw's allegations;-and the sum of the matter seems to be, on the one hand, that the Irish Catholics, both clergy and laity, are every day becoming more
reasonable, and more desirous of improvement; and, on the other, that the influence of the bigotted part of their priests, and of superstition in general, is every day diminishing. They are less blindly attached to their religion; and their religion itself is more worthy of their attachment. All this, indeed, is no more than was to have been expected from the recent history of the country. The removal of the restrictions on the trade of Ireland in 1776; the reformation of her constitution in 1782; the repeal of those laws which were made, and made successfully, to keep the Catholics in poverty and in ignorance; the progress of discussion at public meetings, and by the public press, toge ther with the extension of education, have all had a wonderful influence in enlarging the conceptions of a people peculiarly gifted with intellect, and every day advancing, from a state of pure barbarism, into one of comparative enjoyment and civili zation.
Obvious as these things are, we are persuaded that the only conscientious opposition that is still made to the Catholic claims, is founded on ignorance, or inattention to them; and proceeds from men who take their notions of Popery from such books as Fox's Lives of the Martyrs, rather than through the actual existing principles, and the daily conduct of the Catholics themselves. In point of fact, the true state of the ease as to the Catholic religion, is this, that while the name and externals are retained, which serve to waken up a traditional repugnance against it, it has been gradually purified, in most of its essential doctrines, to a near accordance with the standards of a reformed faith:-And the knowledge of this fact has already made the great majority of Irish Protestants favourable to emancipation. The divisions in Parliament of the Irish members, have, on the late discussions, been in the proportion of three to one in favour of the measure. The opinion of the country gentlemen is still more favourable; and the only virulent opposition that remains, is now confined to some Orange Lodges in the North, and to a remnant, of no consequence certainly either for numbers or talents, of the ridiculous party in the Dublin Corporation, who still delight in exposing their vulgar ignorance, by toasting King William as the champion of Slavery and Intolerance!
With this natural extinction of all reasonable opposition in Ireland, every circumstance in the actual position of the country seems to concur, in recommending the immediate abolition of those unjust restrictions under which our Catholic population have so long suffered and complained. Those who urged the war as a reason for postponing Emancipation, must allow the present setled state of peace to be peculiarly fit for that great work of amity.
The recent behaviour of the Catholics may be urged as another reason. There have been no violent speeches, or angry resolutions, since 1813; no meetings of Catholic Boards; no menacing petitions; no proceeding of any kind which could offend the most sensitive loyalty. The Catholics very properly abstained from urging their claims in the last session of Parliament, in order not to embarrass their friends with any inconvenience on their account, when they should seek to be reelected. Throughout the numerous contested elections which took place in Ireland, nothing could be more exemplary than the conduct of the Catholic freeholders: And if a wholesome and discreet exercise of one great constitutional franchise, can strengthen their claim to be entrusted with another, their recent conduct entitles them to this advantage in the highest and most emphatic degree. But the circumstance that augurs most conclusively for their success in the approaching session, is the temper in which the late elections were universally conducted. From the total absence of the No-Popery cry, and the returns of persons, in so many instances, of liberal principles, in preference to men avowedly devoted to exclusion, there is just reason to conclude, that a majority of the new House of Commons will be in favour of the Catholics. The appointment of Mr Robinson to the Cabinet, and of Mr Grant to the Chief Secretaryship of Ireland, are occurrences which justify the same expectations.
Many of those who are loudest in their expressions of horror at the Catholic religion, are apparently ignorant of the close resemblance which it bears to that of the Church of England; for, though the Established Church has renounced the errors of Popery, it has departed much less from the Church of Rome than any other Protestant communion. We, as well as the Catholics, belong to an Athanasian, Episcopal Church; we, too, boast of an uninterrupted apostolical succession; we condemn heresy and schism as in themselves offences; and we recognise the first four Councils as explanatory of the essential articles of belief. A great part of the Roman faith,' says Archbishop Tillotson, is the same with ours,-as, namely, the articles of the Apostles' Creed, as explained by the first four General Councils; and these make up our whole faith, so far as concerns matters of mere and simple belief, that are of absolute necessity to salvation......And thus far our faith, and theirs of the Romish Church, are undoubtedly of equal authority, that is, as ancient as Christianity itself..... And as for the negative articles of the Protestant religion, in opposition to the errors and corruptions of the Romish faith, these are by accident become