« VorigeDoorgaan »
their opposition to the English government. Of their present education and principles, take an account from a letter of Dr. Doyle to Mr. Robertson, quoted by the editors, p. 122.
The minister of England (he says) cannot look to the exertions of the Catholic priesthood; they have been ill-treated, and they may yield for a moment to the influence of nature, though it be opposed to grace. This clergy, with few exceptions, are from the poorer ranks of the people ; they inherit their feelings; they are not, as formerly, brought up under despotic governments; and they bave imbibed the doctrines of Locke and Paley more deeply than those of Bellarmine, or even of Bossuet, on the divine right of kings; they know much more of the principles of the constitution, than they do of passive obedience. If a rebellion were raging from Carrickfergus to Cape Clear, no sentence of excommunication would ever be fulminated by a Catholic prelate, or, if fulminated, it would fall, as Grattan once said of British supremacy, like a spent thunder-bolt; some gazed at it, the people were fond to touch it.
We beg our readers to consider this passage with attention, for it gives the substance of the evidence produced on the character and feeling of the Romish priesthood in Ireland with reference to the English government. We subjoin a remark of the editors, which comprizes all that need be said in a way of comment.
Upon the whole, from a comparison of Doctor Doyle's letter with his own evidence and that of Mr. O'Connell, this conclusion appears to be the truth, whatever the explanation of it may be, that, so long as there existed a Pretender to the throne of England, the Roman Catholic priesthood in Ireland maintained the doctrine on which his claims were founded—the divine right of kings : and when, on the extinction of the Stuart family, that doctrine became harmless, and a licentious democracy at home was more to be guarded against, than any foreign claimant or invader, then the inoffensive, or (as had been before thought) the salutary doctrine was given up, and the Romish clergy, allying their religion with democratical principles, maintained “the rights of the people.” p. 124.
It is necessary, however, to observe, that when Dr. Doyle was under examination before the committee of the House of Lords, he knew, or could say, very little about the early education of the priesthood, about which he speaks plainly enough in his letter !!
But while the Romish priests in Ireland are taught liberal notions in politics, they are taught unquestioning submission to the authority of the church. Their democratical principles are therefore subservient to that authority; parts of a system, by which, under present circumstances, they are seeking to reestablish the power and influence of their church. It appears that the plan of making such principles subservient to the interests of the Romish church, was first conceived and proposed by Dr. Hussey, R.C. bishop of Waterford and Lismore, who was president of the college at Maynooth in 1795. This man, it seems, was cut out for a Roman Catholic bishop. According to the testimony of “Mr. Cumberland, who knew him long and well," he did not exactly want to stir up petty insurrections in his native country of Ireland; but to head a revolution that should overturn the church established, and enthrone himself primate in the cathedral of Armagh, would have been his highest glory and supreme felicity, and, in truth, he was a man, by talents, nerves, ambition, and intrepidity, fiited for the boldest enterprize." p. 313.
And the system upon which the Roman Catholics in Ireland have been acting ever since was of his devising. This is proclaimed by themselves, (see the quotations from a speech of Mr. Shiell
, pp. 487–489 of the Digest); and every thing they do will be best understood when considered as a part of the same plan, marked out by this spiritual politician. The principle upon which they act, is a principle of determined opposition to the English Protestant constitution and government, both in church and state: and whether they are acting, in connection with a deceived and foolishly confiding government, in the establishment of the college at Maynooth; or writing and declaiming against its measures in a libellous and treasonable manner; or publishing spurious pastoral addresses, advising their over-hasty and incautious people to be more quiet; or giving evidence before the houses of parliament; they are all along, by fair means and by foul, by violence and by deceit, driving at the same end, -the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic church in Ireland, in all its power and glory. And many gross outrages, which alarm the public mind, are to be considered only as tricks and artifices to distract attention from the more silent and sure methods by which they are working to that end ; and which are steadily pursued, when those outrages are repressed, as well as when they are taking place. One part of the system is, the general adoption of democratical principles by the Romish priests; and, in connection with this, an associating much with the lower orders, in order to exercise a more peculiar influence upon them. Another part is (of which the children of the evil one have always seen the vast importance), to get the education of children and youth of all classes under their direction and controul.-The second section of the Digest concludes with the following important passage, which indeed sums up the whole of the evidence as to the political conduct and character of the Romish priesthood in Ireland.
The editor .....cannot shut out from his mind the conviction, that, if the ministers of the church of Rome in Ireland confederated together for the overthrow of the Protestant government in church and state, they could not have advanced upon their end with greater steadiness, or (consistent with their personal safety) more rapidly, than by acting according to Dr. Hussey's plans, and adopting the measures and the habits which he recommended.
The reader has an opportunity of comparing this remark with the statements on which it is founded; and the editor will take leave here to recapitulate the heads of evidence already given in the Digest, and indicating the progress which the Roman Catholic church in Ireland has been making :
1. In the year 1795, “ the Treatise on Theology" was published for the use of Maynooth students, under the presidency of Dr. Hussey; of this treatise it is unnecessary here to give any account.
2. In the year 1797, appeared the Pastoral Address of Dr. Hussey, then Roman Catholic bishop of Waterford.
3. In the year 1800 or 1804, societies of humble persons for the education of the Roman Catholic poor, were instituted, and taken under the protection of the Pope. The nature of the education which these societies imparted, may be inferred from Mr. Dunphy's evidence.
4. In 1814, the Jesuit college of Clongowes was established for the instruction of the gentry ;--and thus the education of the Irish Roman Catholics of the higher and poorer classes, was to become subservient to the designs or wishes of the Pope.
5. In 1816, tracts exciting to sedition, and containing sentiments of religious bigotry and superstition, were widely circulated, and the Rheimish Testament was published with Doctor Troy's approbation.
6. In the year 1822, friar Hayes was permitted to preach and publish " bis incentives to blood;" and when the nature and extent of the Ribbon conspiracy had been fully disclosed to government, Dr. Doyle published a pastoral address, advising the discovered conspirators to desist from their attempts, not threatening them with an anathema if they persevered, and concluding with wishing them, whatever their determination may be,“ peace and benediction:" -and in 1824, the same Dr. Doyle informed Mr. Robertson, in a published letter, that the government ought not to depend on the Roman Catholic prelates or clergy, because, if a rebellion “ were raging from Carrickfergus to Cape Clear, no prelate would fulminate an excommunication.”
Thus has the Church of Rome been proceeding for the space of thirty years, silently and unostentatiously working its way, implanting principles in the minds of the Irish people, which are growing “ occulto velut arbor ævo," and are guarded against the liberal culture which might alter their nature, and against the too rapid developement, which might cause them to fade away suddenly like the grass; and while this guarded and secret progress is made by the unobtrusive energies of the church, the attention of the government is forcibly drawn away from the real source of danger by the clamours idly raised, and the colours idly spread, of men, who, while they serve their own private ends by violence and noise, effect for mightier and wiser spirits a secure calm, in which they can forward with all their energies the cause to which they are devoted. pp. 314, 315.
Here, then, we see a systematic opposition against the British government carried on by the Roman Catholic priesthood in Ireland ; a vast and organized conspiracy at work through a long series of years, and steadily keeping one object in view : and the Roman Catholic laity are nothing else buť blind instruments in the hands of these crafty politicians. What, then, can exceed the blindness and folly of the British government in granting to such a body one degree of power and influence after another; in making concession after concession; and now at last in putting every office of power and influence within their reach? What is this but giving power to an enemy, who has never had it without abusing it, and whose inveterate hatred is only equalled by his craft and cunning? How the government has been duped and gulled by this cunning enemy we have a remarkable example in the college at Naymouth; which we mention the rather, because it is a marvellous instance of the manner in which Providence punishes those who sacrifice principle and duty to political expediency, and takes the wise in their own craftiness. It was supposed that the circumstance of being educated abroad tended to alienate the minds of the Romish clergy in Ireland from the British constitution and government; and it was thought, that if they were educated at home, under the care and patronage and at the expense of our government, they would become attached to it by ties of gratitude, and prove more loyal subjects. Under this specious idea an English Protestant Government entered into negociation with the Irish Roman Catholic bishops; and a college was established under the direction and controul of those prelates, to the support of which that Protestant government has contributed 10,0001. a-year !!—that is to say, for training up a set of men to rivet upon the necks of the miserable people of Ireland the iron yoke of antichristian superstition and bigotry, and to maintain, to the utmost of their power, a system of “ blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits” (see Article XXXI. of our Church). This direct support of the abominable idolatries of Popery has indeed brought its own curse and punishment along with it, in a manner which we could not read without admiring the wonderful justice of God. The evidence adduced in the Digest fully proves, that in this college there have been systematically trained up a priesthood much more hostile to the English government than their predecessors educated on the continent; with hearts full of rancour against the government which supported and educated them, and with minds full of radicalism in politics, and of all the iniquities and deceits of Romanism in religion ; and thus prepared, with full purpose of heart and mind, to join that awful conspiracy of which we have already spoken! So that all this worldly policy, in using which the government acted in such impious opposition to Christian principles, served only to nurse a viper in its bosom, which now has stung it to the quick.
This is one specimen of that Roman Catholic gratitude, from which such wonders were expected when the system of concession began. Let any one, who has heretofore been beguiled with that notion, trace the whole history, from the repeal of the penal statutes till this hour. What proofs of gratitude can he adduce? What have so many favours and concessions wrought, but to make the Papists more insolent in their demands, more bold and determined in their enmity, more persevering in their systematic endeavours to overthrow, by force or guile, our Protestant constitution ?--till now, alas ! they have succeeded; and we have to look forward, with fearful expectation, to the proceedings of that Popish constitution, which their gratitude will now proceed to build up in its stead and on its ruins, unless God in his mercy prevent them.
The consideration of that part of the evidence which relates to the political principles and conduct of the Roman Catholics in Ireland, has indeed convinced us that the penal statutes ought never to have been repealed. We were long ago inclined to suspect that the repeal of those statutes was impolitic and unjustifiable; that, indeed, with that repeal the evil began : and all the mischiefs which have followed have been only the natural consequences of the weak and foolish kindness which was then shewn to men whose principles called for an exercise of such strong coercion and restraint, as would indeed have been cruel to any other body of men in the world, and was doubtless painful to those who imposed it. That, under the altered circumstances, those statutes might with propriety have been modified, we do not deny. They might have been in a manner suspended : but they should never have been abolished. It became us, as the great Protestant kingdom, and as having had more experience of the dangerous attempts and plots of Popery than any other state in the Protestant world ever had, to take high ground, and to answer every petition for the repeal of those statutes with declaring, “ Your church maintains such principles, and we have had such reiterated proofs of its disposition to act upon them, that, while you remain members of that church, we cannot admit you to that toleration which we rejoice to extend to all our Protestant brethren. We consider your petition only as a suitable occasion to renew our calm but decided protest against the principles of your church; which we find to be so abominable and deceitful, as to impose upon us the necessity of treating you, in some respects, as suspected aliens, even in your native land. We shall endeavour to convince you by other means, that to yourselves, as individuals, we have no feelings but those of kindness. While you remain quiet and peaceable, we shall not enforce those statutes, but rather shall seek to promote, by every means in our power, your real welfare. The fault will be indeed entirely your own, if ever we do enforce them. But we cannot and will not repeal them, while Popery continues to exist, and remains, as your own writers assure us it must remain, unchanged and