Page images

the death of the young Lord Dunboyne, his nephew, before the disturbances broke out in the diocese of Cork. The ti. tular Bishop of Cloyne, Doctor M'Kenna, was sinking under the weight of years, and ignorant of what happened in his district. And Doctor Woodward, who had the administra. tion of the two dioceses, was taken up with rummaging pon. tificals and other old books, in order to collect materials for his pamphlet, whilst the Catholic peasantry were flocking to his churches, and the lower orders of the Protestants going on Sundays to meet the Catholic congregations in his diocese, in order to swear the people, and give solidity to the confederacy in support of the regulations of Captain Right; the head pastor being either absent or infirm, or inactive, and the flocks daily maddening, who was to be applied to ? Or will the Bishop of Cloyne controvert the maxim, that in dan. ger every person is a soldier. The Catholic gentlemen, instead of thinking of a confederacy against either church or state, with the assistance of a foreign power, which so often haunts the Bishop's imagination, dreaded that it was rather a confederacy against themselves, by affording such politicians as are hostile to their interest, an opportunity of misrepresenting them to Government. In consequence, after wri. ting to Lord Dunboyne, pressing his return as soon as conveniently possible, they deputed five or six gentlemen to the Catholic Bishop of Cloyne, earnestly requesting of him to enquire into the complaints alleged by some parishes in his diocese, to use his efforts with the people of his persuasion, in order to reclaim them to their duty, and to remove every pretext for aspersing the Catholic body, as far as his influence could extend.

Unable from age and infirmity to go in person, he requested of me to take an excursion into the discontented parishes. I set off in order to allay the tumults in the dio. cese of Cloyne, the first in the county where they broke out. Here an extraordinary sight was exhibited. The common people deluded into a belief that by going to Church for a few Sundays they would be less liable to punishment, if not entirely exempt from it; and authorised to carry arms in conjunction with the lower classes of Protestants, to whom

Proctors, Tithe-jobbers, and the Tithes themselves had become equally obnoxious, under this delusion they flocked in several places to the Churches, and as they had not David's Psalms in metre, they chose the old ballad of Patrick's Day in the Morning, for an Anthem, and got a piper to play it as a voluntary on his favourite organ, as a preparation for divine service, in approaching the house of worship. The marriage of Figaro represented on the French Stage did not raise more humour, nor attract more spectators, than did their extraordinary marriage of the Paddereen and the common Prayer-book, in the diocese of Cloyne. Irish wives are remarkably attached to their husbands, and follow them wherever they go. Upon this occasion they gave signal proofs of the constancy of their attachment. Joan followed Darby, and Judy followed Paddy to Church, where the gay and unthinking were highly diverted with the novel spectacle of hands thrust into the Baptismal font, in order to sprinkle about the holy water, and beads drawn out near the Communion-table to reckon the Ave Marias. To the gay and unthinking it was like an after-piece which creates humour, in order to relieve the mind from the impressions of terror and pity, which it had received during the representation of some serious drama. To me it appeared as a prelude to a tragedy.-t struck the serious and sensible gentlemen of both religions in the same light.

I was happy in an extensive acquaintance, and still more happy that the Protestant gentlemen were convinced of the uprightness of my intentions. My situation was delicate, and without their concurrence my endeavours would have proved abortive.

They had previous notice of my arrival in their respective districts through which I intended to pass; and I was happy in the full assurance of their co-operation. On a Sunday I arrived in a parish of Doctor Woodward's diocese. The parish Chapel was quite deserted. The Priest was * aban. i doned by his flock, and the deluded multitude, lulled into a false security, had crowded to the Protestant Church as to an asylum of impunity. Thus in former times when the privilege of the sanctuary was pleaded, malefactors flocked to the temples as a shelter against the pursuits of violated justice. I considered a crowd of peasants actuated by rex sentment, brooding over some wild scheme, preparing for nightly excursions; yet saying their beads up near the communion-table, I considered them as the abomination of desolation in the holy place, as mentioned by the prophet Daniel. In every bead I figured to myself the warhoop of a Mexican, ready to sound the nocturnal charge, or the massy club of an Indian, soon to be ornamented with a Proctor's scalp.

I must do this justice to the Protestant clergy, in whose churches this religious farce was carried on, that they did not like such proceeding. They in reality could have said with the Psalmist, you have multiplied the people ; but you have not encreased our joy. Multiplicasti gentem sed non magnificasti lætitiam. But what could they have done ? They had no directions from Doctor Woodward to shut the doors of the churches against people who had shaken off every subordination to their own pastors. But that was the time for the Bishop himself to appear in my poor opinion, and 6 which was however the opinion of every rational man, 6 with whom I have conversed on the subject,' and which will be the opinion of every rational man who shall read this narrative, he should have published a pastoral letter upon the occasion, and recommended to his clergy not to permit their houses of worship to be changed into the upper galleries, crowded with a mobility, assembled for the purpose of making a farce of religion.

Had I been in his situation at the time, instead of tali auxilio nec defensoribus istis, I would have thought it no dishonour to stand at the door of the church, on the right hand of Mr. O'Leary, and to harangue a deluded multitude in the following manner :

[ocr errors]

My good people, "I am a Protestant Bishop, and you (as it appears) are • Roman Catholics. It would be my glory, my comfort, and .my joy to bring all strayed sheep into my fold, to enlighten

them with the rays of the Gospel, to dispel the clouds of 6 error, and to enlarge the kingdom of truth. It is my wish,

and my sincere wish-it is the wish of every honest man

[ocr errors]

"who thinks himself in the right way, to wish the same happiness to his fellow-creature. It was the wish of St. Paul that his hearers were not almost Christians, but altogether Christians. And it is my wish that you were not only almost Protestants of the High-church, but altogether Protestants of the High-church. It is the wish of charity, and if charity were banished from the hearts of 6 all other mortals, it should find its last retreat in the heart 6 of a Bishop. Were I then convinced of the sincerity of your motives, I would be not only the first to unlock the

gates of this Church, in order to give you admittance, 6 but I would be the first to go to meet you at a distance. • But as a bad motive pollutes the best of actions, and • as it is not from conviction of truth, nor a desire to as-, • pire to a higher degree of perfection, that you crowd about my house of worship, but from a sinister design to seek impunity for licentiousness; and under the cloak of a religion, which you do not believe, to conceal the out

rages you are intent on committing; I cannot, in con• sequence, profane the house of God by the admission of

persons who, perhaps to-morrow night, will be disturb•ing the peace of the public, and eluding laws in the dark,

which, in all likelihood, will hereafter punish them in 6 the open day: and remind thern when too late of the

admonition which I now give from the best of intentions. • It is not the chime of my bells, but the sound of Captain Right's horn, that has kindled in your breasts this flame * of extraordinary devotion, which, perhaps hereafter,

may be extinguished with your blood. Will you have me change the house of God into a barrack of sedition ? o I see in that crowd an old man, with a pair of beads in his hands. My good man, where are you bringing your beads ? Do you intend to expose yourself and me, re• ligion and its temples, to the derision of the pablic? If • you come, come from conviction, and leave your beads at

home, or bestow them to another. It reminds me of a o history that I read in the Scriptures. Assyrian colopists "were 'transplanted to Samaria; they worshipped their idols and the God of Israel by turns in the same temple. It is not then a house of worship, but a good life, that will "sanctify you. Instil this truth in the minds of the young


people in your neighbourhood, and caution them against

the practices of those who may engage them in outrages. • If you are not submissive to your own pastors, but ob

stinate to their advice, what good can I expect from you? • You are, I believe, now too old to learn, and the gene• rality of you all, are not much inclined to alter your • creeds. I give you then the advice suggested by an amia. •ble Protestant prelate, my brother Bishop of Clonfert, in his letter on Sunday Schools. I cannot expect to make

good Protestants of you, therefore I advise you to be good Catholics. If you have any complaints against your own • clergy, your Bishops will redress them ; but I cannot, nor

will I permit you to come to my churches to erect the • standard of sedition, when I have every room to believe

that you have no other motive in view. Nor can youróselves reap any benefit from a conduct which, in the eyes • of God, is a prevarication. That God who unfolds the

recesses of the soul; who rejects a spotted victim; and accepts of no sacrifice, but such as a sincere, honest, and • pure heart offers upon his altars. Nor would my churches

grant you any security against the rigour of the laws. * The hand of justice stretches into the inmost part of the 6 sanctuary. In vain did Joah, a mighty man, grasp the 6 corner of the altar: he was slain by the sword of justice. • And much more, in vain would you seek for impunity in • my house of worship, for the sanctuary itself is no sanc• tion or shelter for crimes. Follow the advice of Mr. • O'Leary, who is here on my left hand, as you followed his . advice when you imagined that you had more to expect, 6 and were convinced that you had less to lose...;

And you, my dearly beloved brethren, of my own communion, how am I to address you! I address you with that

confidence which my zeal for the peace of society, the preóservation of good order, and the purity of good morals

should inspire. Recollect the maxim of the heathen Sage; <a maxim to which the blessed St. Paul has given his sanc• tion, evil communications corrupt good morals. These poor • people are wild olive branches going to ingraft themselves on the stock of the Protestant religion in appearance. But

alas! as they intend to use it only as a cloak for temporary s outrages, they will be soon disjoined without taking suffi

sanctuart. of justice stry against the would my sist, and

« PreviousContinue »