Page images

The Lord Bishop of Cloyne, in a catechism, *printed under his direction, (as 1 am told,) impresses the tender and uncautious minds of foundlings with a notion that violation of faith with and extirpation of heretics, indulgences for committing sins in the ensuing course of a man's life, and license for guilt, are articles of the Catholic faith. The compiler of such a catechism may misrepresent the regular clergy with every freedom. He must then certainly mean the regular clergy in foreign countries, of whose state he is as incompetent a judge as I am of the regulations of · Westminster School, which I have never seen.

The regular clergy have no interest distinct from the general weal. They are as much interested in the preservation of the state, from which they have got their lands and monasteries, as the Lord Bishop of Cloyne is interested in the preservation of Ireland, where he has very good livings. He would have, I suppose, the regular clergy of the church of Rome to shoulder a firelock, sound horns, and shoot Whiteboys. In every age since their institution, they have been engaged in a more glorious warfare, civilizing barbarous nations, diffusing the light of the gospel into remote regions, whither the Alexanders and Cæsars had never carried their arms, contributing extensively to the culture of the sciences, and swelling the deep and majestic rivers of European literature, with their tribute of the knowledge of the histories, laws, customs and manners of the most remote

and distant nations. I do not talk here of the Jesuits alone, än who in the very centre of barbarism, amongst cannibals,

feeding on each other's flesh, realize the sublime ideas of a Plato, a Sir Thomas More, or a Fenelon. Those great men only dreamt of those political institutions under which

* In that Catechism there is not one word of the commandments of God, nor er. planation of any moral duty. The honour of the nation cries aloud to the right honourable and honourable the Trustees of the Protestant Schools, to order some un. prejudiced person to compose another Catechism ; for besides the borrid, and unchristian doctrines falsely imputed to the Catholics, in that Christian doctrine there are two historical untruths. First, that a hundred thousand Protestants were massacred in Ireland. Secondly, that Protestants are not tolerated in Catholic States. If that Catechism were seen in foreigo countries, what an opinion would be formed of our early education !

man could live happy, without the canker of envy or the stings of poverty. A branch of the regular clergy of the church of Rome raised the fabric, which procured them the compliments of Montesquieu, and the admiration of the world. Civilized and, christian Paraguay, from a nation of Cannibals, became the only spot on earth where vice and want were equally unknown.

To this very day the Catholic religion is maintained in Turkey land, Abyssinia, and the remotest regions, by the labours of men whom their vows and a generous contempt of the pleasures of this world naturalize to every nation and climate. Their method is quite different from that prescribed by the Lord Bishop of Cloyne for the propagation of the Gospel; a method which exposes religion to the deri. sion of infidels, and renders the proposer vulnerable to every arrow which can be taken from the quivers of the learned. His Lordship informs us gravely that his religion will extend in proportion to agriculture. Bravo! this is literally planting the Gospel, and making it the religion of the land, in every sense of the word : Saint Paul says that godliness is great gain. The Lord Bishop writes as if gain were great godliness: he sanctifies the soil before he sanctifies the soul; pity that crows and pigeons have not the use of speech as they had in Æsop's time! His clergy would have a great number of fellow-labourers in the Lord's vineyard.

The feathered tribe would cry out to the peasant, my good man, sow the corn, and I will be with you next year to reclaim you from the errors of Popery..

The next method bis Lordship proposes is an effort on the part of Government to bring the Irish language into disuse, in order to save his clergy the trouble of learning it. This method is an insult to the natives, and cannot come with any propriety from a prelate, who if I be well informed) is indebted for his promotion to the descendant of Irish princes, in whose hospitable halls the tuneful lyre was strung up to Irish melody, so varied and harmonious that the lying Giraldus Cambrensis was forced to speak of it with rapture and ecstasy. But now, at the awful summons of an English prelate, the Irish harp must be suspended on the branch of some weeping willow, as the Israelites hung up

ple. A mail: whilst the Tope: thus

their musical instruments on the 'mulberry-trees that grew on the banks of the rivers of Babylon. How can we sing (used they to say) the canticles of the Lord in a strange tand? And the Irishman can say, How can I. speak the language of my fathers in the land of my nativity? His language must be abolished at the recommendation of the Right Reverend Doctor Woodward ; this language, the study of which the learned Leibnitz and Lhuid so warmly recommended to the curious inquirers into the monunents of antiquity; this language, studied by a learned stranger,* who has reconciled Mars with Minerva, in uniting the sword with the pen, military skill with literary powers, and by his learned labours has rescued from obscurity the history of a misrepresented nation, formerly the Athens of western Europe: thus Cæsar studied astronomy in the camp, whilst the priests of Apollo snored in the temple. A military gentleman studies the Irish language, to increase the store of the literary public. The prelate, whose function it is to sanctify the souls of the natives, recommends the growth of their grain for the food of the clergyman's body, and the abolition of their language for the good of their souls.

Thus the Irish peasant must work double tides to sail for heaven. He must grow corn for an English pastor's body, and study this English parson's language for the good of his own soul, lest a pair of brogues would be too uncourtly a dress to appear in the antichamber of heaven. Badinage : apart. Such a recommendation for the abolition of languages should rather come from a leader of Goths and Vandals, whose glory it was to destroy monuments of literature, than from the Bishop of a large diocese, in a philosophical age, when curiosity is on the wing, and the mind active in the pursuit of knowledge. The Lord Bishop's method then of propagating his gospel is the most extraordinary that I ever read of; to sow corn and extend agriculture for the conveniency of the clergyman, and to oblige the peasant, after the toils of the day, to learn the clergyman's language, in order to know the way to heaven, which the clergyman would not

* Colonel Vallareey.


take the pains of telling him in Irish. A true repetition of Erasmus's echo, Quid est sacerdotiam ? Echo. Otium. .

I have read of a Saracen emperor, who, from hatred to literature, burnt the Alexandrian library; but I never read of a Christian prelate intent upon the conversion of people by whom he was fed, who, instead of learning their language, recommended its disuse, until I read the pamphlet of the Lord Bishop of Cloyne. The present Bishop of Llandaff could not speak a word of Welch when he came to Wales. Instead of recommending to the English government to abolish the Welch language, he made the knowledge of it his peculiar study. But it is the unhappy and singular fate of the Catholics of Ireland to see their names held up as barbarous, their creed misrepresented, and the language of their ancestors threatened with entire disuse, for the gratification of a foreign prelate, who proposes, as the means of their sanctification, commodious houses and cultivated spots for the ease and con. venience of persons whom his Lordship dispenses with the trouble of even learning the language of the people who support them.

This was not the manner in which the regular clergy of the church of Rome planted religion in all the nations on earth where they preached the gospel. Neither was it the method which those who separated from the church of Eng. land, adopted to establish their own doctrine, and formed separate communions. They learned the language of the people, and brought them over to their way of thinking, be. fore they insisted upon commodious houses and glebe lands. Hence they became ministers of the world; whereas, according to the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's plan, making re- ; ligion and agriculture keep pace with each other, he gives his readers to understand that the minister of religion is more the minister of the soil than of the soul: and that the old adage, which is become so current to the disgrace of the priesthood, is verified, no penny no paternoster.

.. But leaving the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's method of propagating his doctrine by tithes, glebe-houses, and the annihilation of languages, exposed to the shafts of christian criticism ; 'let us return to his charge against the regular clergy. '

His Lordship says, that they claim an exemption from public taxes, and from the civil jurisdiction of their own country, and avow a subjection to a foreign power. * .;

I am surprised that his Lordship would advance such charges in my neighbourhood. He cannot mean the regular clergy of Ireland. As to the regular clergy in Catholic countries; they enjoy no exemption but what the state grants, as the Bishop of Cloyne enjoys no exemption but what the state grants to himself. Does he pretend to prescribe laws to Catholic states; or to controul their power to grant what exemptions they think fit to the children, not only of noblemen and gentlemen, but to the children of princes? For the annals of religion and the history of religious orders can inform him, that from the days of Saint Basil to this very day, the regular clergy can mark numbers of such a description in their calendar. The regular clergy then plead no exemption but what he pleads himself; the exemption granted by the state wherein they live. He should not envy in others what he himself enjoys; for I suppose it is from the state he enjoys the privilege of pleading the scan. dalum magnatum, when Richard Woodward, now my Lord Bishop of Cloyne, gives such a provocation to Arthur O'Leary, as to become the eulogist and apologist of a Theo. philus, who calls him a Friar with a barbarous sirname, and to recommend the disuse of the language of his ances. tors. .

The regular clergy, whether here or elsewhere, ayow no subjection to a foreign power: they live as corporate societies, under their peculiar institutions confirmed by church and state ; the boundaries are kept distinct: they give God what belongs to God, and to Cæsar his due: whilst they live as a corporated society, they will plead their charter. Thence, the Pope himself, cannot in an arbitrary manner, either elect or depose their superiors, or interfere in their religious polity: he may annul their charter, but whilst they live as cor. porate societies, they will maintain their institutions which contain nothing obnoxious either to church or state: other. wise neither would give them a sanction. When they make their vows, it is not to become vassals to the Pope. It is to

* Page 48.

« PreviousContinue »