« PreviousContinue »
making the most strenuous exertions to promote its own views and interests. But I believe that our Protestant faith and Protestant institutions are so deeply rooted in the hearts and understandings of the people, that this very circumstance will have the effect of strengthening instead of impairing them. .“ While, however, such is my own deliberate conviction and firm assurance, I can see and understand the alarm which pervades the public mind, and I think the Legislature is bound to defer to the conscientious fears and scruples of so large a portion of the community.*
“ The purpose of placing the Roman Catholic people of Ireland under the influence of an educated, rather than of an ignorant priesthood, † is widely different from establishing that priesthood as the paid and recognised organs of religious instruction. The Protestant Church is the Church established by law in these realms, on the grounds both of religious truth and civil liberty. Its revenues cannot be alienated -its efficiency must not be impaired; and, whilst we most sincerely desire to concede the largest amount of religious liberty, and to circumscribe, within the narrowest limits, civil disabilities, as far as may be consistent with our own security, we cannot constitutionally permit that any other form of religion should be established and endowed by the State.
“On the same principle, any system of education to be national must be Protestant. The Bible, f with sufficient education to read and understand it, is the only sure foundation of religious instruction, and the only legitimate weapon of Christian warfare. No system of education can be national in these Protestant realms of which the Bible is not made the basis.
"These are briefly and frankly my opinions on the subject to which your Declaration refers. During the long period that I have sat in Parliament I am not conscious of having, in a single instance, departed from the principles of which I offered myself as the representative, and I feel confident you will not now mistrust the sincerity of those opinions. · I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,
6Your obedient Servant, “ To the Rev. J. C. Grainger, foc.”
“C. Russell. [Here follow the names of the other gentlemen who signed the letter to Mr. Russell.]
This was not deemed satisfactory, and the following was therefore written :
“ Reading, May 18th, 1847. “Sir,—We beg to express our united thanks for your kind and prompt attention to our communication of the 6th instant, and are much gratified to find that the whole tenour of your letter implies your desire to satisfy our minds on the important subject on which we have written ; but we feel bound to state, in justice to ourselves, and the
* This is making it a question of expediency, rather than a matter of principle. 't Is not this a misapprehension ? There is no provision in the late May- . nooth Endowment Act to secure a more liberal-minded priesthood. | The authorized version.
large and daily increasing numbers for whom we act, that such satisfaction is not yet given.
“ We therefore request the favour of an early and distinct reply to the question,—Will you assure us that if returned to Parliament as our representative, your votes shall be given in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Declaration, a copy of which we had the honour of transmitting to you? We have the honour to remain, Sir,
“ Your obedient humble Servants.
[Here follow the signatures.] “ To Charles Russell, Esq., M.P.”
“Gentlemen,-It was my sincere and earnest desire to give you a full and explicit explanation of my opinions on the important questions to which your Declaration refers, in my letter of the 14th instant.
“ It seems to me that letter does, as was intended, distinctly express my determination to oppose any attempt to establish or endow the Church of Rome within these realms, or to grant any portion of the public funds to any institution for educational or other purposes unfavourable to the Protestant faith.
“On these principles it is my intention to act in Parliament, if I should again be sent there ; on these principles I shall offer myself to the suffrages of the electors of Reading, and I do not believe they will feel any want of confidence in one who has never deceived them; and who, above all things, would most anxiously desire to preserve the United Church of England and Ireland in its integrity and efficiency. "I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,
“ Your obedient Servant,
“ C. RUSSELL. “27, Charles-street, St. James's, May 21, 1847. “ To the Rev. Messrs. Grainger, Ball, Trench, Goodhart, &c.”
“ Reading, May 24th, 1847. “Sir,—We have received your second letter, in which you adopt the words of our own Declaration. This being the case, we have no desire to protract the correspondence, and we rest assured that your Parliamentary conduct, in the event of your becoming again our representative, will be in full accordance with your letter, in other words, with that Declaration. It only remains that we ask your consent to the publication of this correspondence, and we have the honour to remain, “Sir, your obedient humble Servants.
[Here follow the signatures.] “ Charles Russell, Esq., M.P.”. [The desired assent was then given to the publication as above.]
A similar letter with the Declaration was sent likewise to Lord Chelsea, M.P. The following is Lord Chelsea's reply :
“Putney Heath, 17th May, 1847. “Gentlemen, -I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of a letter, dated the 6th instant, and signed by you on behalf of a considerable number of the electors of the borough of Reading, in
which you request me to declare what my views and intentions are with respect to certain questions involving important religious and moral considerations, and which now greatly pre-occupy the public mind.
“In the event of my having the honour a second time to represent you in Parliament, I shall be prepared to resist any measure which in my judgment might prove unfavourable to the maintenance of the Established Church, and of the principles which constitute the basis of the Protestant religion.
“With particular reference to the State endowment of the Roman Catholic priesthood, I do not contemplate that any attempt to establish or endow the Church of Rome in Ireland, whatever may be the politics of the Administration, will be made during the ensuing Parliament, but should any measure of that nature be brought forward, it will have my unqualified opposition.
“ The latter clause of your letter appears to refer to an avowed intention on the part of the Committee of Council on Education to frame some new Minutes, by virtue of which the managers of schools established for educating the children of Roman Catholic parents, will be admitted, to share in the annual Parliamentary grant.
“On this point I would observe, that if it be the intention of Her Majesty's Government, either now or at any future time, to entitle a Roman Catholic minister of religion, in the capacity of school teacher, to share in such grant of public money, I shall give my vote against such a proposition; and my objection would extend to granting any portion of such funds to schools connected with monastic institutions, or conducted by persons as schoolmasters belonging to any organized fraternity of the Church of Rome. At the same time I am bound in justice to my own views and feelings to declare that I consider it a sacred duty of the Legislature, if possible, to devise some measures in the present state of our social economy, for imparting instruction to every class of our fellow-subjects; and perhaps there is no class more helpless and destitute in this respect than the children of Roman Catholic parents, chiefly Irish, 'residing in some of our manufacturing towns and districts.
“You will not, I am confident, expect me to pledge myself as your representative, to oppose every measure that may be devised to remedy the evils which are acknowledged on all hands to flow from the want of national education ; but I shall always endeavour to make my votes on this subject consistent with the maintenance, in all their integrity and efficiency, of those great principles which were restored to us at the Reformation, and which in the present times, I consider it should be the special care of the Legislature to uphold. “I have the honour to be, Gentlemen, - Your faithful Servant,
“CHELSEA. “ To the Rev. J. Cecil Grainger, and the other Gentlemen who signed the letter."
“ Reading, May 19, 1847. “My Lord, We beg to offer you our best thanks for your letter of the 17th instant. We are glad to be assured from that communica
tion that in the event of your Lordship being returned to the ensuing Parliament, you would give your unqualified opposition to any attempt to establish or endow the Church of Rome in Ireland.
“It is also gratifying to us to know your Lordship's determination to resist any grants of public money to Roman Catholic priests, as teachers of schools, or to schools connected with monastic institutions, or conducted by persons as schoolmasters belonging to any organized fraternity of the Church of Rome.
“But your Lordship goes on to observe, At the same time I am bound in justice to my own views and feelings to declare, that I consider it a sacred duty of the Legislature, if possible, to devise some measures in the present state of our social economy, for imparting instruction to every class of our fellow-subjects; and perhaps there is no class more helpless and destitute in this respect than the children of Roman Catholic parents, chiefly Irish, residing in some of our manufacturing towns and districts.
"You will not, I am confident, expect me to pledge myself as your representative, to oppose every measure that may be devised to remedy the evils which are acknowledged on all hands to flow from the want of national education; but I shall always endeavour to make my votes on this subject consistent with the maintenance, in all their integrity and efficiency, of those great principles which were restored to us at the Reformation, and which in the present times, I consider it should be the special care of the Legislature to uphold.'
“ On this latter part of your Lordship's letter we are anxious to ask, whether your Lordship is prepared to oppose any grant to schools in which the Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures is not freely used, and in which the errors of the Roman Catholic Church form any part of the education of the children. ,
“We have the honour to remain,
"Your Lordship's most obedient servants.” [Signed by all the parties to whom Lord Chelsea's letter was addressed.]
“ Carlton Club, 22d May, 1847. “Gentlemen,- It is gratifying to me to learn from your letter of the 19th of May, that the general principles on which I am prepared to act with reference to questions affecting the religious and moral interests of the community at large, have met with your approbation.
“ As regards the particular point upon which you request a further expression of opinion from me, I have only to add, that with the utmost willingness to give you every assurance consistent with that freedom which you yourselves would, I am sure, wish your representatives in Parliament to enjoy, I am not able to pledge myself to a specified course, which would effectually prevent me, under any circumstances, from endeavouring to remove those very errors and evils which you, in common with myself, are desirous of removing. “I have the honour to remain, Gentlemen,
“Your faithful servant, [Addressed as before.] “ Chelsea."
“Reading, 24th May, 1847. “ My Lord,—It would have been more gratifying to us if the specific question proposed by us to your Lordship had received the precise reply, which we earnestly hoped. But your Lordship's sentiments, as expressed in your former letter, are so far in accordance with our own that we are unwilling to close the correspondence unsatisfactorily.
“In order therefore to bring the matter to a final issue, we will propose one and one only question more. Will your Lordship adopt our original Declaration and embody it in a letter to us ?
“We have the honour to remain,
“ Your Lordship's obedient Servants." [Signed by all the parties to whom Lord Chelsea's letter was addressed.]
“ Strathfieldsaye, May 26th, 1847. “ Gentlemen,I can have no hesitation in availing myself of the method suggested by you of bringing our correspondence to a satisfactory close, inasmuch as the sentiments contained in your original declaration appear to me to be in no way inconsistent with the views expressed in my former letters.
“I shall therefore at once declare myself opposed to every attempt that may be made to establish or endow the Church of Rome within these realms : and prepared to resist the grant of any portion of the public funds to any institution for educational or other purposes unfavourable to the maintenance of the Protestant faith; and I will use my utmost efforts to preserve the United Church of England and Ireland in its integrity and efficiency.
“I have the honour to remain, Gentlemen,
“ Your faithful servant, “ Chelsea." [Addressed as before.]
MONTMORENCY.-A ROMAN CATHOLIC TALE.
(Continued from p. 149.) FRANCES rose two hours earlier than usual, on the day after she had heard of the death of Ernest Willoughby, which hours she devoted to extra forms of devotion as an atonement for the culpable weakness she had been guilty of in feeling any compassion for an obstinate heretic; pale and exhausted, she joined the breakfast party, and though evidently far from well, not all her mother's entreaties could prevent her from departing on her daily office of washing the feet and dressing the wounds of twelve old women, which was one of her accustomed acts of voluntary humility ; revolting in itself, yet rendered endurable by the hope of its obtaining for her a place in the Romish calendar of canonized saints.
Father Adrian, contrary to custom, lingered in the room, casting an eye of gentle approbation on Frances, as she departed, and saying in