« EelmineJätka »
Some of them must beg; it is a sore trial to his feelings, but how can he help it? The utmost that he earns will barely satisfy the landlord, and avert an ejectment, and those whom he cannot feed must cater for themselves, by appealing to casual charity.
To remedy these evils requires not only the adoption of a system of poor laws, but also the introduction of scriptural education; and the destruction of the existing system of Romish tyranny and oppression. But our conduct towards Ireland has been marked by a melancholy disregard of the lessons of experience. The rebellion of 1798 was for the most part a religious conflict; the Romish priests were the ring leaders, in many cases the actual commanders, and excited and urged on their wretched slaves to the murderous conflict, Yet to this day no measures have been adopted to check and restrain the tremendous power of the Romish priesthood, which has on the contrary been exceedingly increased by the establishment of Maynooth College, by the concessions of 1829; and the infatuated policy of the existing administration,
With reference to the Irish rebellion of 1798, our author ob
interests made the prevalence of utter darkness indispensable; but experience had shewn that in the breast of an Irish peasant one feeling could prevail over the otherwise insurmountable habit of subjection to the priest. Despite of all that the latter could do, wherever a scriptural school was opened, thither the children flocked; and if by the force of intimida. tion, or, as it often happened, by the vigorous application of a stout horsewhip, the little ones were for a time arrested in their path, an instance was never known where they did not soon contrive to surmount the barrier, and to return-flying like doyes to their windows. By this means, a tie the most endearing was gradually forming between the poor Romanist population and their Protestant landlords and neighbours. That precious book, the message of which is,
Glory to God in the highest ; on earth peace, good-will towards men,
was prevailing where nothing else could prevail, to remove the mists of prejudice, and to cement a band, indissoluble by all the craft and subtlety of the devil or man. The Irish are a most affectionate people; win their hearts, and they are wholly yours. What sight calculated to awaken the strongest emotions of grateful attachment as that of their children carefully tended and taught under the direction of their more affluent neighbours, receiving at their hands the reward of diligence and obedience, while the fruits of those habits, and of the higher princi. ple instilled through God's holy word, shed a light and a comfort at home to which the miserable cabin had before been a stranger.
Neither was this a mere theory; the experiment had been a trial for some years, and the effects were beginning to manifest themselves in a way calculated to make the kingdom of darkness tremble for the foundations of its throne. Dear friend, my heart sickens over the sad re. verse presented to my view. Many a delightful hour have I passed in schools conducted under the different plans that, however varying in detail, all met in one common centre and that centre the Holy Bible. Now, if I see a Romish chapel, I look in its immediate vicinitywithin the very precincts of its boundary -for some new, spruce building, bearing the inscription National School ;' and what is the system of instruction adopted there? The Bible is excluded; a mutilated extract, unfaithful even in its mutilations, is substituted nominally ; but even that is scarcely ever used; while all the debasing fables of monkish superstition, all the contaminating licentiousness of the lowest class of immoral and indecent publications, are placed in the hands of the poor children; and in a multitude of in.
A lesson of wisdom was derivable from the event, which has been read backwards and transformed into a lesson of fatuity. The vital principle of that rebellion has been nourished, and fostered, and nursed into more portentous growth and energy ; the means of our former deliverance have been rejected, broken, scattered to the winds. At best, the hope was faint and the probabilities of success doubtful and contracted, as regarded the infusion of a better spirit into the adult race of Irish Romanists, but a noble field lay before us in the rising generation; while the anxiety of the poor parents to see their chil. dren taught, opened a vista of brightness and beauty, to fill the Christian heart with joy, We approached them with the boon, of all gifts most prized by them-a fair system of education, combining useful knowledge in the affairs of this life with the far more precious instruction that maketh wise unto salvation. The priesto hood of Rome would necessarily array themselves in opposition to the latter; because it was letting in light where their
stances the person appointed to the office of master, is a furious zealot in popery and sedition. These, you will say, are strong statements : challenge me to the proof; and proofs you shall have, too conclusive as to the fact.
The character of the National Education system in Ireland, is strikingly pourtrayed in a subsequent page.
But, alas ! the bright picture of Christian zeal and diligence in Newry is deeply shadowed with that ominous, unwelcome appendage,—the new National Education system. I have not, as yet, fallen in with a single individual of either sex, from Waterford to Newry, who does not denounce it as a curse to the land. In Dublin I saw the immense building, or rather palace, that they are preparing for the Central Board ; but I had neither leisure nor inclination to turn my attention from better things to that mischievous institution. In Newry the plan is vigorously pursued, under the special patronage of priests and nuns : and a few plain facts in reference to this place may give you an idea of the reasonableness of the hope indulged by some, that Popery will be undermined by such a system. You know the ostensible purpose of these schools is to provide a strictly neutral ground, on which the children of both parties can meet, without any danger of either being influenced in a way contrary to the wishes of their parents. The necessity for such a plan is stated to have arisen from the abjections raised by the poor people against having their little ones taught to read the word of God; and, the notable device agreed upon was, that religious instruc. tion of all descriptions should be excluded from the schools, except at particular hours, on a stated day in the week, when a separation was to be carefully made, the children of the Romanists to be taught according to the doctrines of Popery by their peculiar guides, and those of Protestants allowed to receive scriptural instruction from any clergyman who might choose to give it. Well, this looked plausible in the eyes of that class called liberal, and even deceived some really good people. How do you suppose it is carried into effect here? The National School for girls adjoins the convent,—the usual entrance being through that building, with another door on a line with the nunnery hall-door, and within its precincts. The teachers are all nuns, habited in the most remarkable and extreme dress of a monastic order, robes, rosaries, and all the awful paraphernalia of the black sisters. No Protestant visitor can enter this public school, without being previously examined, and kept waiting suf
ficiently long to put aside objectionable books; but in spite of every precaution it has been ascertained, and proved too upon oath, that at all hours bigoted catechisms of the Romish church are in use, being regularly taught by the nuns; and books of the most pernicious tendency have been found in the hands of the children. Attempts are continually made to induce the Protestant pupils to join in these exercises; by introducing them during the period avowedly set apart for secular study; and the consequence is that all their parents who do not value a little paltry and most miserably inferior educa. tion for their children before the salvation of their souls, are obliged to withdraw them. Consequently the national grant, with all the vast and costly machinery of this deceitful system are employed in rivetting the fetters of spiritual bondage on these poor little creatures by the hands of male and female ecclesiastics of the Romish creed. What renders the whole thing most inexcusable is, that by a rule of the board, the regular daily teachers must belong to the laity, while here, as in Galway, and innumerable other places, pro. fessed nuns are the sole and exclusive conductors of the whole business of the girl's school; as monks, regularly habited, and belonging to the various orders, Dominican, Franciscan, Carmelite, black, grey, and so forth, are of the boys. It is common to have a small sliding pannel in the doors, which are kept locked: when a visitor knocks, the master partially withdraws the slide, takes a survey, asks questions, then re-fastens his pannel, and puts away whatever books he does not wish to expose to the prying gaze of a heretic, before the door is opened. I will give you an extract from a book studied by the children in the nun's National School here in Newry, that you may duly appreciate the ' useful knowledge' instilled into the minds of the pupils, and admire the strict adberence of the Board to its first great principles of total abstinence from all that can offend the consciences of any class. Here it is the work is entitled 'Indulgences granted by the sovereign Pontiffs to the faithful who perform the devotions and pious works prescribed.' Printed by and for the Catholic Book Society;' and it was found among the books for united instruction—that is, for instruction totally unconnected with any thing religious, during the hours when, on the faith of this exclusion of all that could bias the minds of the children either way, all are mingled together. As a specimen of the valuable information contained in the volume, and its freedom from all obnoxious subjects, take the following: ‘By a plenary indulgence we gain the remission of all the punishment which remains due to sins forgiven, provided we have the proper
disposition, and comply with the condi- isting Scriptural Schools, take the tions required.' These conditions are
following statement. thus explained, 'It is enjoined to visit a church, and pray according to the pious I have just been feasting on that most intentions of the sovereign pontiff.' cheering of all spectacles, a scriptural Now, not to mention the importance school. The history of this may furnish of communicating such knowledge to a specimen of what might be done, if the Protestant children ; what think you Protestants would act up to their obligaof a plan that supplies the monks and nuns tions, in regard to the children of their with means to diffuse it among the little poor neighbours. Some years ago, the ones of their own flock ?
boy's school here was built and establishCan we wonder that the Irish
ed on Erasmus Smith's foundation; and
Mr. E. anxious to extend the blessing, at Protestant ministers of all denomi
his own private cost added to the buildnations set themselves decidedly ing one for girls. The support that he against such a system as this? Is might naturally have looked for in such it not their duty by every means
an undertaking, was not given ; and with
the exception of eight pounds a year in their power, to resist such subtle
afforded for the mistress's salary by the and dangerous devices against the London Ladies' Hibernian School Society, souls of their poor innocents ? and a small allowance paid by the Dublin Some clergy in the county of
Foundling Hospital, for each foundling Down have endeavoured to obtain
admitted, the whole burden of expence
falls on the clergyman, who has not for certain modifications of the national
years received a shilling of tithe from scheme; and our friend, Arch- those whom he is thus benefiting. The deacon Hoare of Limerick, has trifle granted to the mistress, of course, intimated the propriety of the pa
will scarcely find her in clothing, and she
is maintained at the glebe. A very large rochial clergy endeavouring to proportion of the children in both schools moderate and regulate a system are Romanists. They have frequently whose introduction they cannot
been forbidden to attend, and for a time prevent. We are however com
prevented; but so fully alive are the poor
of this country to the value of education, pelled to join with CHARLOTTE
that in every case they have returned to ELIZABETH in protesting against their teachers. Opposition in some form any participation in this is invariably offered to the good work : holy alliance, and in calling upon
but its adversaries cannot prevail. He British christians to step forwards
who when on earth said, " Suffer little
children to come unto me, and forbid with increasing liberality in sup- them not,” has power to enforce his own port of those institutions, whose command. If we be willing, he will open object is to promote Scriptural
a door for us which no man can shut. education. It is at this moment
But what a humbling spectacle is this
to us! We are living at ease, and enjoyin the power of British Protes
ing a thousand superfluities, while the tants, to make known the word
public purse amply provides for general of life in every part of Ireland. education, and wealthy societies unite in No new institutions are necessary;
supplying spiritual aid. Here is a clergy
man, the incumbent of a large parish, deall that is requisite is the supply
frauded by an unprincipled conspiracy of of additional funds to the valuable the income assigned to him by the laws institutions already in existence. of the land ; himself the father of a nuThe London Hibernian Society,
merous family, thrown entirely on his the Lady's Hibernian Society, the
private resources for their support and
education; and maintaining that ungrudg. Sunday School Society for Ireland,
ing hospitality which Scripture and his the Irish Society, and the Scrip- own benevolent mind alike direct him to ture Reader's Society, have all use: yet voluntarily adding to all other
burdens the heavy expences of a school, abundant opportunities of useful
established almost exclusively for the ness, but are all checked in their
advantage of children whose parents are operations for want of funds. This
taught to regard him with animosity, to is at present the only serious im- harass, annoy, and if they may, to injure pediment to the cause of Scriptural
him. Such an instance of patient conInstitutions in Ireland.
tinuance in well doing, in returning good
for evil, and blessing, yea multiplying Of the beneficial results of ex- blessings where the curse causeless
perpetually assails him, speaks eloquently. your very work-houses will become barWould that it might speak effectively, racks for a rebel army, and all the money and bring forward some who could not saved, all the energies redeemed from the only commend his work but substantially debasing habits of intoxication, will be aid in it. Eight pounds a year towards devoted to the manufacture and the apsuch an outlay, in such a place, and for plication of pikes. As to the political such a purpose, is all that England can remedy--the Justice-to-Ireland municipal give, and that too by the hand of private plan-it may very well be adopted if the beneficence. If Mr. E. would apply to the resolution is come to of colonizing some Board, admit the priest, banish the Bible, distant settlement with the exiled Prolay the 'Extracts' on a shelf, and put testants of Ireland ; and making over the into the children's hands the legends, the other portion of her inhabitants to the catechisms, the inflammatory denuncia- powers of darkness for ever. tions of Rome, he might command any measure of government patronage: but
Our author has inserted some no, Mr. E. is a Protestant clergyman, he very judicious remarks on Mr. desires to feed the poor lambs of his flock
Inglis and Mr. Noel's Tours in Irewith the sincere milk of the word ; and so he may, provided he does it at his own
land, for which however we must cost, and that of his own family.
refer to her volume. We
e are also The spectacle of the poor children compelled to pass over the aniassembled in their respective rooms, mated and interesting statements and diligently engaged in learning from
of the moral reformation produce anxious teachers, was indeed most interesting. The situation of the school- by the divine blessing on the pious house is quite a contrast to the flaunting and liberal exertions of Lords Farnpublicity of those under the ‘Board.' The ham, Roden, Mandeville, and other latter are sure to stare you in the face
patriotic Irish noblemen, and large by the road side, in naked newness of stone and mortar. This is shaded by proprietors. These are indeed Iretrees, which also overshadow the approach land's best friends; would that to the church, the hallowed fold of a small their number were exceedingly inand scattered flock, standing in the rustic
creased. They may be taunted and grave-yard, with a fringe of trees, and an occasional yew or hawthorn marking
insulted with vague and groundsome endeared ręsting-place of mortality.
The enemies of reRoses and other sweet climbers embower ligion and of peace may lay to the modest school-house ; and for a back
their charge things which they ground the noble mountains rise in dark magniticence. A little garden parts it
know not; and the wretched defrom the narrow, rugged road, which pendents of an Irish agitator may separates both it and the church from at his bidding erase the names of the glebe. There is somethiug very touch
those noble patriots from the roll ing in the retired loneliness of the place ;
of honourable and trustworthy emsurrounded, as it is well known to be, by a most formidable hostile neighbourhood;
ployment; but their record is on banded against tithes, and tainted by an high, and thousands yet unborn hereditary enmity that only the healing shall bless the names of Lorton, stream of gospel love can ever wash away.
Roden, Farnham, Powerscourt, Oh, what a field is this fair, ruined land ! White to the harvest, but where are the
Mandeville, and others, who inlabourers to gather it in ?
stead of expending their almost mocked, befooled by projects of ameliora- princely revenues in inglorious setion; one man proposing to regenerate
curity and fashionable amusements, Ireland by building work-houses another
peril' their lives by sojourning by establishing temperance societies—a third by giving up all political and local
within the assassin's range, and authority to the demagogues who clamour employ their time, their talents, for it—and carrying on the spiritual work and their property in promoting without visible means. All are alike
the real interests of those who are futile. The first indispensable step is, indeed, to relieve the wretched poor from
compelled by the priestly mandate their intolerable destitution; therefore to withhold every customary token build workhouses. The evils of wide- of civility and respect. spread intemperance must be checked ;
Charlotte Elizabeth is peculiarly therefore declare war against the whiskeyshops; but unless you unloose the fetters zealous in advocating the instrucof bigotry by means of religious instruction, tion of the native Irish by means
of their own language. She forms to establish a regular service in the indeed a more correct estimate of vernacular Irish has failed. Mr. the number of the Irish speaking Beamish, Mr. Gregg, and sundry people than is common, observing others, have tried at West Street that they amount to about two in London, and in other places. millions, of whom one fourth, or Large and overflowing congregafive hundred thousand speak ex- tions have been collected in the clusively Irish, and the remaining first instance, but they have infifteen hundred thousand speak variably wasted away; and in English as well as Irish. In her
consequence, Mr. Beamish and Mr. zeal, however, for the Irish speak- Gregg, instead of spending their ing population, she seems almost strength on few vernacular to lose sight of the immense ma- speaking Irish, have deemed themjority who are accustomed to the selves justified in employing their English tongue; and while speaking time and talents in the larger and of the Irish classes, Irish preachers, more encouraging field which has and Irish Scripture readers, passes opened before them in the highest by in silen
the immense exer- circles of London and of Dublin. tions which have been made and On this point, however, we will are making on behalf of the Eng- not enlarge. We most cordially lish speaking population. If Ire- wish that every inhabitant of Ireland contains seven or eight mil- land should hear the word of lions, whilst those who exclusively God in that language wbich he speak Irish are not more than half best understands, be it Irish or a million, an enlightened benevo- English. At the same time, lence, while it prohibits us from it is unquestionable, that in very neglecting the smaller number, will many cases where English and stimulate us to proportionate exer
Irish bibles are gratuitously offered tions on behalf of the vast majority. to the Irish speaking population,
At Bethesda, on Sunday morning, we they have preferred the gift of the had a valuable discourse from the Rev. English. Nor is this choice to be John Gregg ; in return for which, I most
wondered at. Valuable as the ungratefully gave him a scolding in the vestry. I never before saw him exercis
Irish version is, it is not generally ing his gifts any where but among the intelligible; the different provinces native Irish, hundreds of whom I have
of Ireland speak different Irish assisted to collect about him in the suburbs of London, to hear the story o'
dialects, and the dialect of the Irish paace' in their own tongue. It made me
Bible differs more or less from jealous on behalf of the perishing Irish, them all. By reading the English that one so surpassingly eloquent in that
Bible, the poor Irishman hopes to language should even for a day wrap his talent in a napkin, and preach to an Eng
improve his knowledge of the English-speaking congregation. I told him
lish language, and he well knows so; and obtained the only redress I could that acquaintance with the Engget, a promise that in his circuits on the lish language is indispensable to home mission, he would always select the
his present interests. most Irish district, and devote himself as much as possible to the native race. I
We take our leave, however, of cannot bear to see any servant of God,
Charlotte Elizabeth, with many possessed of that incalculably precious acknowledgments for the pleasure gift--the power of addressing these lost
she has afforded us; with the arsheep of an ancient fold, and calling them to return to the good Shepherd-employed in
dent hope that her work may
meet any other work; and little as the con
with extensive circulation, and gregation of Bethesda might thank me, I that many may be raised up to would silence for ever, if I could, their co-operate with her in communidear pastor's English tongue, and lay him under a bond to speak Irish only to the
cating scriptural education, whether end of his days.
in English or Irish, we care not, Now the fact is, that every at- to the perishing multitude of our tempt which has yet been made fellow subjects in Ireland.