Gambar halaman

for the supporting of the prince's estate and the affairs of the commonwealth.

At the time this form of church policy was presented, episcopacy lau not been abolished, but the assembly of the church passed an ordinance, that

“Bishops should not take up, for maintaining their ambition, tlie rents, which might maintain many pastors, schools, and poor; but content themselves with a reasonable portion for discharging their office.” --Spottiswood, p. 303.

The efforts which were made to force upon Scotland an establishment at variance with the feelings of the people, are too familiar for expatiation, they terminated as we all know; and in 1689 that famous act was passed, which in a few words does such great things. The act is this-mark it, Englishmen, mark it; it is full of wisdom, and in the briefest cous pass includes the largest policy :

“ Act abolishing prelacy, July 22, 1689. Whereas the estates of this kingdom, in their claim of riglıt, declared that prelacy-(1 leave out were verbiage) is and hath been a great and insupportable grievance Bo the nation, and contrary to the inclinations of the people, &c.; and the King and Queen's Majesties do declare that they will settle thas church government in this kingdom which is most agreeable to the incli. nations of the people," &c.

“Most agreeable to the inclinations of the people !” In those words a solution of the happiness of Scotland is to be found. Noble and enviable country! She has won victories in civilisation. Her agriculture has climbed to the summit of those hills whose heather was once real with her martyrs' blood; the palaces of her industry ascend on the banks of every frith ; her estuaries are covered with native-owned vesels, which bear the produce of her labour to the remotest marts ; in every science that exalts and expands the mind, in every art that cheers and embellishes existence, Scotland has made the most important contributions to the happiness of mankind. But, alas! when from the contemplation of the splendid spectacle which Scotland exhibits, I turn io my own unfortunate country, my heart sinks, I confess, within me, under a melancholy consciousness in which every Irishman, no mat•er what may be his creed, ought to participate. But if Ireland do exhibit this fatal contrast—if, in a country that ought to teem with abundance, there prevails wretchedness without example—if millions oí paupers are there without employment, and often without food or raiment—where is the fault? Is it in the sky, which showers verdure: -is it in the soil, which is surprisingly fertile :—or is it in tlie fatal course which you, the arbiters of her destiny, have adopted ? She has for centuries belonged to England; England ha's used her for centuries as she has pleased. How has she used her, and what has been the result? A code of laws was in the first place established, to which iu the annals of legislative atrocity there is not a parallel; and of thai vde-those institutes of unnatural ascendancy—the Irish Church is a emnant. But although that detestable policy was then without example it has since been chosen as a model. Well did Nicholas exclain, wie

ke perused the debates (as I have heard) in this house, ou luis own fright. sul tyranny to Poland—well did he exclaim, “Poland is Russia's Ire band.” He confiscates, as your fathers did; he banishes as they did; ne debases, as they did; he violates the instincts of human nature, and from the parent tears the child, as they uid ; and he inflicts upon a Catholic people a church alien to their national habits, feelings, and belief, as you do. And think you not that there are men to be found in the senate of St. Petersburgh, who exclaim that the Greek Church must be maintained in all its ascendancy in Poland—that it is the bond of connexion between Poland and Russia—that a Greek priest dispensing hospitality, and holding out a salutary example by the excellence of his moral conduct, must in every Polish village be the source of improveinent?* And can you doubt that some Tartar secretary for Poland is sufficiently prompt to furnislı the materials for a Warsaw speech, and to exclaim that a lesson must be given to Poland, and that she must be taught to fear, before she can learn how to love? You all exclaim, the Russian policy is not only wicked but insane. Is English policy commendable and wise? In Heaven's name what useful



your gorgeous establishment ever promoted ? Last night the member for Weymouth, who represents and expresses the feeling of so large a portion of the religious and moral community of this country--who does pot love Popery, but who abhors tyranny-told you that liis conviction was that the abuses of the Protestant Church had been the greatest impediment to the progress of the Protestant religion. You cannot hope to proselytise us through the means of the establishment. You nave put the experiment to the test of three centuries. If the truth be with you it may be great, but in this instance it does not sustain the aphorism—for it does not prevail

. You have tried everything. I'enai codes, foundling hospitals, charter schools (those nurseries for corporations), Kildare-street societies ; but these you have abandoned ; and even the noble lord opposite, with all his scripturai addictions and although lie be the author of a work on the parables (I wonder what he says about the Pharisee)-still, so convinced was he of the futility of all attempts at our conversion, that he himself introduced that system which is su erroneously designated by his present auxiliaries, as the “mutilation” of the Word of God. But who that reflects on the subject for a moment can believe that the abuses of the church can have any other effect than (0 array the country against the system with which it is connected ? How can religion advance—with police, process servers, and commissioners of rebellion for its missionaries: Recollect what arguments, or, if you please, what sophisms these abuses supply to its opponents. Have not the rival clergy an opportunity of asking whether it is in an Aceldama that the vineyard of the Lord should be planted? Whether they cre indeed the ministers of Christ who, while they inculcate the reading of his Word, enter the field of massacre with the Gospel, as an impleBent for swearing a distracted mother over the body of her child that

• luis aluces 10 2: exrrassicn used by Lord Stanley with regard to Ireland

bies dead and stark before lier.* But if in a religicus point of view tbs establishment cannot conduce to the interests of religion—in a political view, what purpose does it answer? It is said that it cements the Union -cements the Union! It furnishes the great argument against the Union—it is the most degrading incident of all the incidents of degradation by which that measure was accompanied—it is the yoke, the brand, the shame, and the exasperation of Ireland—it arrays millions of Irishmen against you, and marshals them in opposition to the measure, of which you avail yourselves for the sustainment of a monstrous army's and which you plead in bar to that requisition for redress, which, it is not wwe, because it will not be safe to withhold.

* Tak Wludes to an incident in oue of the tithe musicres in Ireland,



How few there are who look beyond to-day and have a political to-morrow, who believe it possible that the abuses of the Irish Church can be song maintained? The right honourable baronet, the member for Taworth, does not labour under so signal a delusion. His speech to-night was an intimation of despair : he said that if the blow must be struck, it should not be struck by him; he spoke of the prostration of those pillars, which he declared that he, for one, would not contribute to overthrow. What did he mean but to tell us, that upon this question he would not play the part which, in reference to the great measure of Catholic aggrandizement, he was driven by that high necessity wliich results from a sense of duty to perform ?—that he would leave it to others to do what he foresees to be ultimately inevitablo_that he had already made sufficient sacrifices, and that a second martyrdom to fame could not be endured! A man endowed with the sagacity of the right honourable gentleman must needs feel that the continued sustainment of the church in the enjoyment of its gorgeous superfluities is impossible. The only chance of preserving whatever there is of any value in the church, intinitesimal as it may be, is the speedy application of a bold process of reform. In time—take down in time the splendid pinnacles which the right honourable baronet mistakes for “the pillars” of the churchtake down the golden dome, which has become too ponderous and has begun to totter-take down thạt gorgeous mass which does not belong to the Christian order, if you would serve the edifice, which it endangers far more than it adorns :—in the first political concussion, it will Trot only fall, but overwhelm the altar in its ruins.

The proposition which I mean briefly to assume in this debate is as simple as it old. Instead of entering into half-forensic and demischolastic disquisitions upon the nature of church property, I frankly and fearlessly tell you, that with the power which Catholic Ireland has acquired, and is rapidly acquiring, your sacerdotal predominance is incompatible. Have you observed the development of Catholic Ireland ? It is the fashion to say that the property of Ireland is almost exclusively Protestant, and I acknowledge that, when you revert to the military spoliations inflicted on us by your ancestors, you should arrive at the conclusion that you have left us bare. It was a biting sarcasın of him who said that the history of Ireland was a continuation of rapine. * But while I admit that the fee-simple of Ireland is in a great measure Cromwellian, I asseverate that the mass of property to which political influence is attached is in the hands of the Catholic middle classes.The Reform Bill has been attended in Ireland with one niost important result, which has not been the subject of as much attention as it deserve

• Sir Hercules Largrislio was asked where was the lest history of Ireland to be fora, He said: In the continuation of Rapin."-ED.

Before that cvent the ciose boroughs of Ireland were in the hands of a few Protestant nominators, who deputeủ their representatives, the guar. dians of ecclesiastical opulence to this house; a large transfer of power in this essential particular has taken place: it is now vested in the Roman Catholic inhabitants of the towns of Ireland which send memhers here. I do not think that I can present the extraordinary change which has taken place in this most essential regard, in a more striking light, than by giving a kind of ocular demonstration, and bidding you! fix your eyes on two very remarkable and exceedingly interesting geztlemen, who are sitting this moment immediately opposite to each other —the one is the member for the University of Oxford, and the other the member for Dundalk. But although the member for Dundalk (Mr. Sharman Crawford) never was and never will be member for the University of Oxford, the other (Sir Robert Inglis), the member for the University of Oxford was once member for Dundalk. My Lord Roden, influenced of course by no sublunary considerations, the patron before thie Reform Bill of the borough of Dundalk, selected the honourable baronet as the most appropriate representative of his own ecclesiastica. attachments in the house. Since the Reform Bill my honourable friend behind me has been chosen by the people of Dundalk as the sentinel of their interests, and as the mirror in which their feelings and opinions will be most faithfully reflected. Look at them both-Look at the incarnation of plenteous Toryism upon one side, and the exemplification of somewhat spare and stern Republicanism on the other, and of the effects of the Reform Bill you will behold the most striking illustration. The house, I perceive, tind in the contrast of the two honourable gentlemen a subject of merriment, which they, who themselves participate in it, do not take in bad part: but though there may be matter for mirth in the outward and visible signs of the old system and of the new, you will see, upon reflection, that from the type of Conservatism and the symbol of Democracy thus offered to you in this exhibition of the honourable gentlemen, most important inferences are to be deducerl The boroughs of Ireland have been delivered to the majority of the people ;-the influence exercised a few years ago by individual Protestant patricians has been handed over to the merchants, and traders, and mechanics, located in the towns, by whom their representatives are delegated to the House of Commons. You must be sensible that the consequences of this great alteration are most prejudicial to the ecclesiastical establishment of Ireland, and that in the particular to which I have alluded, Catholic power has gained an extraordinary augmentation.

In the Irish counties again a great preponderance of Catholic influonce will be found, and it may be stated, without dread of contradiction that the rery great majority of the representatives of Ireland are returnea by that community which not very long since was considered to be deslitute of parliamentary influence. It is worth your while to look a littk further into the circumstances which ought to convince you that every day the Church of Ireland—that structure of ascendancy which cannot long survive its parent–is becoming more and more enfeebled, and losing the sustainment on which it formerly relied. The greater the

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »