Page images
[ocr errors]


Prot. I adduce it chiefly to ite among your people. The illustrate (believing as I do the rosary,' says Mr. O'Croly, 'which authenticity of the narrative) the should be called their devotion to readiness with which the mind of the Virgin, forms the sum total of the ignorant worshipper seizes hold their religious worship.' And, of the object presented to it by placed in this elevated rank, as your church, and thus avoids the

hiding the Saviour almost wholly necessity which the Bible lays from the sinner's view, it could upon him, of seeking God, who is not be otherwise than dreadfully a Spirit, and must be worshipped offensive to God, even were it less in spirit and in truth, through the sinful and unscriptural in itself. alone mediation and intercession of But when we remember that this Christ. You may define what worship, which, it is thus admityou call latria and what you call ted, absorbs and swallows up the dulia ; but the poor mechanic, or whole soul of devotion among your the simple child knows only one people, is in itself altogether opthing, which is worship. This wor- posed to the word of God, to ship he pays to a piece of wafer, reason, and to common sense, and when uplifted by the priest at what can rank no higher, with any rightly you call the altar.'' He pays it judging man, than the worship of again before the image of the Vir- Juno or of Minerva among the gin, so soon as the mass' is over. ancient heathen, how frightful does He then returns home, and before the view become ! The whole he sleeps, he says his rosary, which church, falsely called “Catholic," includes a vain and senseless repe- bowing down with consent tition of the Lord's Prayer ten before the effigy of a poor human times; but a still more senseless creature ! Men and women called address to the Virgin of fifty Christians, addressing, from the prayers. All that is really accom- four quarters of the globe, prayers plished by this idle ceremony, to one who cannot hear them ! And the offering an insult to God, by as the result of the whole, that elevating Mary to greater honour result which is Satan's grand aim, than her Creator and Redeemer ! the Saviour disregarded; scarcely But ask this

deluded votary

ever addressed in prayer, or when touching the difference between his so addressed, insulted with the prayers to God and to the Virgin. petition, that he will do so and so, What can he tell you, beyond the in respect to the merits of Saint verbal distinction, that one is Clementina, or St. Carlino, or some latria and the other dulia?

Prac- other poor creature, whose salvation, tically, however, there is no real if achieved at all, was solely his difference; or if there be any, it own work, and the reward of his consists in a greater degree of faith own sufferings! No! it is imporand hope, exercised with respect sible for any calm and unbiassed to his addresses to Mary, than with mind, to contemplate seriously the reference to those to God or to habitual worship of your people, Christ. He believes, he is taught without being convinced, that the to believe, that Mary's ears are worship of God has been supermore open to his cry, that her seded and pushed aside among heart more readily sympathizes them; and that it is replaced by with his wants and his sorrows, than another worship, the worship of does the heart of his Saviour. dead men and women, which is And therefore it is that this idol

neither more

or less than IDOworship is so universally a favour- LATRY.

[blocks in formation]

Review of Books,


ELIZABETI!. Pp. vi. and 436. Seeleys. 1838.

IRELAND is favoured with few warmerand more industrious friends than CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH. Her pen is incessantly employed, and her numerous tracts and essays appear to have been eminently useful. We took up therefore the present volume with pleasing anticipations, and those anticipations have been realized. These Letters contain much that is instructive and interesting, and they justly deserve an extensive circulation.

Our Author landed at Waterford in June 1837. From that city she proceeded to New Ross, Wexford, Enniscorthy, Vinegar Hill, Dublin, Mullingar, Trim, Drogheda, Newry, Tollymore Park, Tandragee Castle, Belfast, Coleraine, and Londonderry, from which city she returned by steamer to Liverpool in August, having spent eight weeks in Ireland. Her route lay through many of the most interesting spots in a moral point of view in Ireland; and she explored with unwearied activity the natural beauties with which the country abounds. Her work abounds with lively narrative, and description; but our notice of it must be chiefly confined to those parts especially relating to the moral and religious state of Ireland.

One of the first and most important inquiries with respect to Ireland is, To what is its destitute and degraded state especially owing ?

I have looked around me with an earnest desire to obtain clear views on that stiffly-contested point, the origin of Irish evils. Their existence is not disputed, neither can any person actually on the spot, who has had previous opportunities of investigation, deny that they have alarmingly increased. I have no hesitation in declaring that, trunk and branch, they spring

and thrive from one plain root, culpable neglect of the poor ; and that one remedy alone can reach the seat of disease, a competent provision for that neglected class. You will not suppose that in these words I include only bodily relief: I do indeed believe, and am perfectly certain, that without a permanent, legalized, sufficient provision, on the plan of a poor-law enactment, nothing whatever will be done to improve the state of Ireland ; but I am equally sure that the most ample supply of all their temporal need will be alike inefficacious, while their minds remain under the baneful influence of popery. It is idle to argue the contrary, from the fact of some continental nations presenting a picture of tranquil industry and comparative prosperity, while still in bondage to the See of Rome: they are not subjects of an essentially Protestant state : nor is it the interest of their priests to encourage disaffection to their respective governments. If it were so, the history of the world, from the first rise of the Papal kingdom to this time, furnishes proof that they would speedily find a pretext for exciting the people. The cruel, shameful neglect, that allows the Irish peasant to perish in utter destitution, is indeed a powerful weapon in the hands of his misleaders : but, were that removed, so long as the high places in the state, the revenues of the church, the magisterial and military power, are not lodged exclusively with themselves, so long will those whose influence governs the popular mass, both of mind and matter, in this country, be movers of sedi. tion. Trust me, while Mordecai sits in the gate, his ancient enemy, Haman, who abhors his race, will disregard with sullen unthankfulness all the favours, all the privileges that can be heaped upon him, and go to his house heavy and displeased.

How far the recent enactments of our legislature are calculated to meet the exigency of the case may admit of considerable doubt. The opposition of O'Connell is indeed a strong presumption in favour of any measure ; for as his wealth is intimately connected with the miseries of Ireland, whatever is really beneficial to his country, interferes with his own narrow and selfish

views, and therefore provokes his and floor of earth. Chimney it has proindignation. There are however

bably none, the window is merely an

aperture in the side ; the door a few practical difficulties in the way of

broken boards patched together, and the the

Poor Law Commissioners fire-place a stone laid on the bare ground. which can only be surmounted_by For furniture, there is a straw palliasse, great acuteness and dexterity. The

or very likely only a litter of straw shaken extent of Irish pauperism is beyond perhaps a blanket or so.

down in one corner, to form the bed, and

A thick block, all calculation, and the scarcity of hewed from a tree, serves as the table; intelligent and trustworthy agents the householder, if ingenious, may have to supply the place of guardians,

fashioned out a couple of stools; or some

wealthy friend may present him with a overseers, relieving officers, &c.

wooden chair. An iron pot to boil potamay well excite apprehensions as toes, and a mug of any material, complete to the final result, especially as the the necessary furniture of this abode. introduction of English agents

Plates, knives, and such appendages, are would doubtless excite considerable

unthought of. Whatever surplus may

remain after satisfying the priest, must hostility and opposition.

go towards treating the friends of the The state of the English and family. Irish peasantry is strikingly con


But the rent-such a cabin is rated as trasted by our author.

high as the Englishman's cottage. I do

not remember to have known less than The English labourer, she ob

thirty shillings charged on any one in a long street of these dwellings, where I was

intimately conversant with all the details. Has his tenement at a fair valuation :

How is the young tenant to pay this rent, so long as his rent is forthcoming he may entering on the holding as he does, pennysafely calculate on the continuance of less, and with the hopeful prospect of a these comforts ; and when all fails, a re- growing family to enliven it ? As the source is left, and he is under no appre- English cottager does. No-there is no hension of perishing by the road side. parallel here.

The Irish cottier, or But the poor Irish cottier, or labourer, labourer, knows nothing of bread as an knows nothing of this independence. article of food; his scanty wages would You must imagine, first, a state of society not purchase enough of it to satisfy the where the individual past work has no cravings of his own hunger, much less public asylum, no gratuitous provision would they extend to the wants of his of any sort whatever in store: the only family, and the payment of his rent. The prospect is that of having children grown potatoe is his only dependence, and the up, who, through the powerful influence first necessary of life is to procure a plot of natural feelings, cherished as most of ground for the cultivation of the root. sacred among these people, will be con- Two alternatives alone appear; either he strained to shelter and sustain an infirm must agree with his landlord to work out parent. Go where you will among the in day-labour the amount of his holding, Irish poor, you may hear this motive ex- or else he must make the ground attached pressly assigned for the very early mar- to it yield a sufficiency for all demands. riages that they contract. If they defer- The latter he can rarely, if ever do: for red the engagement until they might ground to be at all productive demands have realized some little matter to begin frequent dressing; and this again requires the world with, their children would not an outlay of money, and money he has be sufficiently grown to take charge of

If he reserves to himself so much them, on the approach of the premature of the produce as will feed his household, old age induced by their severe privations the remainder will never for any time and over-work. Accordingly, they hasten suffice to cover the landlord's claim. On to form an alliance. The mere boy, the other hand, if he undertakes to work anticipating the period when he shall no out the value of his possession, a rate of longer be able to labour for himself, deter- wages is invariably fixed that leaves him mines to provide betimes against the evil far behind hand; and the arrear accumuday, and looks about for a girl to suit lating as he goes on, increases his difficulhim, when, in all probability, the connex. ties, depresses his mind, and paralyses ions of both parties can scarcely muster the main-spring of industry-honest inamong them the means for paying the dependence. Children are born, unavoidexorbitant marriage fee which the priest able expences are incurred, and for the never omits to demand. They must have supply of all these pressing wants he has a habitation, and the youthful settler is the little potatoe plot, which, in a bad not long in finding a cabin with its single season, will not furnish his own family apartment, mud walls, ceiling of thatch, with a daily meal throughout the year,


[ocr errors]


Some of them must beg; it is a sore trial interests made the prevalence of utter to his feelings, but how can he help it? darkness indispensable; but experience The utmost that he earns will barely satis- had shewn that in the breast of an Irish fy the landlord, and avert an ejectment, peasant one feeling could prevail over the and those whom he cannot feed must cater otherwise insurmountable habit of subfor themselves, by appealing to casual jection to the priest. Despite of all that charity.

the latter could do, wherever a scriptural To remedy these evils requires

school was opened, thither the children

flocked; and if by the force of intimida. not only the adoption of a system

tion, or, as it often happened, by the of poor laws, but also the introduc

vigorous application of a stout horsetion of scriptural education; and whip, the little ones were for a time arthe destruction of the existing sys

rested in their path, an instance was tem of Romish tyranny and op

never known where they did not soon

contrive to surmount the barrier, and to pression. But our conduct towards

return--flying like doves to their winIreland has been marked by a dows. By this means, a tie the most en. melancholy disregard of the lessons dearing was gradually forming between of experience. The rebellion of

the poor Romanist population and their

Protestant landlords and neighbours. That 1798 was for the most part a reli

precious book, the message of which is, gious conflict; the Romish priests Glory to God in the highest ; on earth were the ring leaders, in many

peace, good-will towards men,

was precases the actual commanders, and

vailing where nothing else could prevail,

to remove the mists of prejudice, and to excited and urged on their wretched

cement a band, indissoluble by all the slaves to the murderous conflict, craft and subtlety of the devil or man. Yet to this day no measures have The Irish are a most affectionate people; been adopted to check and restrain

win their hearts, and they are wholly

yours. What sight the tremendous power of the Rom

calculated to

awaken the strongest emotions of grateful ish priesthood, which has on the

attachment as that of their children contrary been exceedingly increas- carefully tended and taught under the ed by the establishment of May

direction of their more affluent neighnooth College, by the concessions

bours, receiving at their hands the reward

of diligence and obedience, while the fruits of 1829; and the infatuated policy of those habits, and of the higher princiof the existing administration. ple instilled through God's holy word,

With reference to the Irish shed a light and a comfort at home to rebellion of 1798, our author ob

which the miserable cabin had before been

a stranger. serves

Neither was this a mere theory ; the A lesson of wisdom was derivable from experiment had been a trial for some the event, which has been read backwards years, and the effects were beginning to and transformed into a lesson of fatuity. manifest themselves in a way calculated The vital principle of that rebellion has to make the kingdom of darkness tremble been nourished, and fostered, and nursed

for foundations its throne, Dear into more portentous growth and energy ; friend, my heart sickens over the sad rethe means of our former deliverance have verse presented to my view. Many a debeen rejected, broken, scattered to the lightful hour have I passed in schools winds. At best, the hope was faint and conducted under the different plans that, the probabilities of success doubtful and however varying in detail, all met in one contracted, as regarded the infusion of a common centre and that centre the better spirit into the adult race of Irish Holy Bible. Now, if I see a Romish chaRomanists, but a noble field lay before us pel, I look in its immediate vicinityin the rising generation; while the anxi- within the very precincts of its boundary ety of the poor parents to see their chil. -for some new, spruce building, bearing dren taught, opened a vista of brightness the inscription National School;' and and beauty, to fill the Christian heart with what is the system of instruction adopted joy. We approached them with the boon, there? The Bible is excluded; a mutiof all gifts most prized by them—a fair lated extract, unfaithful even in its muti. system of education, combining useful lations, is substituted nominally; but even knowledge in the affairs of this life with that is scarcely ever used; while all the the far more precious instruction that debasing fables of monkish superstition, maketh wise unto salvation. The priesto all the contaminating licentiousness of hood of Rome would necessarily array the lowest class of immoral and indecent themselves in opposition to the latter ; publications, are placed in the hands of the because it was letting in light where their poor children; and in a multitude of in.

stances the person appointed to the office ficiently long to put aside objectionable of master, is a furious zealot in popery Books; but in spite of every precaution it and sedition. These, you will say, are has been ascertained, and proved too upon strong statements : challenge me to the oath, that at all hours bigoted catechisms proof; and proofs you shall have, too of the Romish church are in use, being conclusive as to the fact.

regularly taught by the nuns; and books

of the most pernicious tendency have The character of the National

been found in the hands of the children. Education system in Ireland, is Attempts are continually made to induce strikingly pourtrayed in a subse- the Protestant pupils to join in these ex

ercises; by introducing them during the quent page.

period avowedly set apart for secular But, alas ! the bright picture of Chris- study; and the consequence is that all tian zeal and diligence in Newry is deeply their parents who do not value a little shadowed with that ominous, unwelcome paltry and most miserably inferior educaappendage,-the new National Education tion for their children before the salvation system. I have not, as yet, fallen in with of their souls, are obliged to withdraw a single individual of either sex, from them. Consequently the national grant, Waterford to Newry, who does not de- with all the vast and costly machinery of nounce it as a curse to the land. In Dub

this deceitful system are employed in lin I saw the immense building, or rather rivetting the fetters of spiritual bondage palace, that they are preparing for the on these poor little creatures by the hands Central Board ; but I had neither leisure of male and female ecclesiastics of the nor inclination to turn my attention from Romish creed. What renders the whole better things to that mischievous institu- thing most inexcusable is, that by a rule of tion. In Newry the plan is vigorously the board, the regular daily teachers must pursued, under the special patronage of belong to the laity, while here, as in Galpriests and nuns: and a few plain facts in way, and innumerable other places, pro. reference to this place may give you an fessed nuns are the sole and exclusive idea of the reasonableness of the hope in- conductors of the whole business of the dulged by some, that Popery will be un. girl's school; as monks, regularly habidermined by such a system.

You know

ted, and belonging to the various orders, the ostensible purpose of these schools is Dominican, Franciscan, Carmelite, black, to provide a strictly neutral ground, on grey, and so forth, are of the boys. It is which the children of both parties can common to have a small sliding pannel in meet, without any danger of either being the doors, which are kept locked: when a influenced in a way contrary to the wishes visitor knocks, the master partially withof their parents. The necessity for such a draws the slide, takes a survey, asks quesplan is stated to have arisen from the ob- tions, then re-fastens his pannel, and puts jections raised by the poor people against away whatever books he does not wish to having their little ones taught to read the expose to the prying gaze of a heretic, word of God; and, the notable device before the door is opened. I will give you agreed upon was, that religious instruc. an extract from a book studied by the tion of all descriptions should be excluded children in the nun's National School here from the schools, except at particular in Newry, that you may duly appreciate hours, on a stated day in the week, when the 'useful knowledge' instilled into the a separation was to be carefully made, the minds of the pupils, and admire the strict children of the Romanists to be taught adberence of the Board to its first great according to the doctrines of Popery by principles of total abstinence from all that their peculiar guides, and those of Pro- can offend the consciences of any class. testants allowed to receive scriptural in- Here it is the work is entitled 'Indulstruction from any clergyman who might gences granted by the sovereign Pontiffs choose to give it. Well, this looked to the faithful who perform the devotions plausible in the eyes of that class called and pious works prescribed.' Printed by liberal, and even deceived some really and for “the Catholic Book Society;' and good people. How do you suppose it is it was found among the books for united carried into effect here? The National instruction—that is, for instruction totally School for girls adjoins the convent,--the unconnected with any thing religious, duusual entrance being through that build- ring the hours when, on the faith of this ing, with another door on a line with the exclusion of all that could bias the minds nunnery hall-door, and within its pre- of the children either way, all are mingled cincts. The teachers are all nuns, habited together. As a specimen of the valuable in the most remarkable and extreme dress information contained in the volume, and of a monastic order, robes, rosaries, and its freedom from all obnoxious subjects, all the awful paraphernalia of the black take the following: 'By a plenary sisters. No Protestant visitor can enter indulgence we gain the remission of this ‘ public school, without being pre- all the punishment which remains due to viously examined, and kept waiting suf- sins forgiven, provided we have the proper

« EelmineJätka »