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way in which rent supports the Protestant church is not so obvious as that in which tithe does, but it is equally real; and if we prove true prophets, and the Papist get rid of his tithe, the same force which proves efficient against tithe, will prove equally so against rent. Already the domineering faction will not allow their creatures to pay more than half rent, and very soon landlords may whistle even for this. Suppose tithe abolished, still the rental exacted from the tenant is unaltered, and the rent becomes proportionably increased. The rent is locked up in certain families; it is in most cases entailed, and must be paid to father and son in one undeviating line: not so with tithe, this is open to all who can earn it by good education. Abolish it, and you lock up the whole rental of a nation in the power of the few. Preserve it, and you throw open a part of this rental to the educated and the industrious of every class. But how does this benefit the Papist? In this way: by securing the residence of country gentlemen among them, who are of infinite use to their poor neighbours of all sects. As you cripple the incomes of the clergy, you diminish their power of benefiting their dependent neighbours. This principle was felt when our modern wisdom abolished ten sees, and made a plurality of bishoprics. The Roman Catholic peasantry in the vicinity of every see now vacant, have felt grievously the loss of the Protestant bishop. The poor of Killala, Mr. Page tells us, petitioned strongly against being thus suddenly reduced, by the loss of a resident bishop, from comparative comfort to certain ruin. It often happens, that the bishop is the only resident nobleman for many miles; and, without his superintending care, thousands would every winter perish through lack of necessaries. The many are shrewd enough, for once, to see that they had better follow themselves than their leaders. The mob orators fume and declaim, and escape harmless; the needy, the starving, and the houseless find their only friend in the " overgrown" Protestant prelate. Remove him, and you snatch away the only garment which can cover the peasant, when the cold blasts of winter blow piteously around him. We appeal to the facts detailed in Mr. Page's book ;* we appeal to facts which are familiar to every man who has visited Ireland, and we assert, for the information of honest John Bull at his own fire-side, that the Romish farmers, as well as the poorer labourers, experience in many ways the advantage of the resident clergy; that when they want loans or charity, they never ASK THEIR PRIESTS TO CONFER
We strongly recommend this work to the public. We have heard, from the highest authority, that it has already converted one, who before was violently opposed to the Establishment, and would no doubt convert many more, were it to be read with sincerity and impartiality.
UPON THEM A SINGLE
They dare not. They look upon them as all get, get; not as give, give. They will permit themselves to be stirred up to deny the dues of the clergy in the morning, and in the evening they will beg a loan from the parsons whom they have just been impoverishing. Besides, " the
enormity," the monstrosity, the every other four-syllabled word wherewith the Church is abused-of the incomes of the clergy-is all in favour, not of the priests, but of the peasantry. For instance, let the parson enjoy a benefice of 1000l. per annum. Can he not and does he not spend double the sum among his parishioners, which he could do if his income were but 5001. ? Diminish it still less, and his power of exercising charity is still further diminished. Clergy of the Protestant “ Church," says Mr. Page, “ have been ruined, by thus reliev
ing Roman Catholics. I know an instance of an aged curate's “ things having been seized for payment of a debt, incurred for “ medicines for the poor.”
Looking, then, at the Irish Church, both temporally and spiritually, we contend that it is highly benefieial to the country. Who would be the gainers, supposing the Establishment annihilated to-morrow ? Not the peasant-not the farmer—not the loyal, peaceable and industrious Protestant; but the seditious priest and the turbulent agitator. What then is the secret of all this opposition and irritation on the subject ? We will tell our friends, roundly and stoutly. As yet our arrows have been, in the expressive language of Shakspeare,
“ Too slightly timbered for so loud a wind.”
The wind doth blow a heavy gale against the towers and battlements of the holy fanes; but, thank Heaven! they tremble not as yet before the blast. Let us search our quivers for a dart of such stern stuff, that it may cleave the boisterous air and point direct to truth.
There is in Ireland a power and an authority above and beyond all law. It is a power which bids defiance to acts of parliament, and laughs to scorn proclamations of lords lieutenant. It is a power wielded by a crafty, and clever, and well-compacted combination of men, who are rich in every resource which ingenuity can devise, and appalled by no difficulty which torture, tyranny, and murder can overcome. Their bond of union is hatred to the British government, and sworn hostility to the Protestant faith and the heretics who profess it. Their plans for aggrandisement, and for sway over the minds and movements of their abject slaves, are judiciously laid, carefully executed, and universally applied. This power, thus organized and thus operating, is The Romish CHURCH. It aims at the moral, the political, and the social sway over the whole island. Its agents
are numerous in every department of civil life, as well as throughout the whole of its clerical fraternity. In former times the law of the land was in tone and in spirit universally opposed to this mighty combination; but since the fatal measure of 1829– the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill—the law of the land has permitted, and the executive have promoted the bestowment of political power on this domineering party. The wellknown leader of the popish faction in the House of Commons is but the nominee of the priesthood. They could unmake him to-morrow if they chose. They collect his rent, they furnish him with credentials to act in their name, and woe unto the popish member who dares oppose their dictates delivered through him. The government at home shakes hands with him most cordially-nay, bows down to him most submissively, whenever he holds up the finger of command. Hence, the influence of the Romish party becomes stronger and stronger
; the rights of the Protestant are trampled on and scorned. The clergy are attacked first, because they are a defenceless body; because the experiment of detaching them from the protection of the landlords and of the laws is worth trying; and, if it succeed, as in all probability it may, the same force will be effective for any ulterior purposes of insurrection and plunder. The rebellion, therefore, against tithe is but a part of an extended system. The clergy are, through their practical benevolence and their charitable dispositions, the poor man's friends, and therefore their influence counteracts the empire of force and delusion; they are the most defenceless class of the community; and should the supports of the law sink from under them, and the landlords be influenced to desert them, they may easily be borne down by violence, be robbed with impunity, and assassinated without a friend to save them. Here is an instance of the shelter which the law affords them. A short time since, a clergyman was shot in open daylight; the lord-lieutenant offered a reward of fifty pounds, on conviction of the offender ; the crime had become so common, that the life of a clergyman is thus cheap in the market! A few days afterwards, a priest's dog was stolen; the lord lieutenant's reward now rose in proportion to the influence of the party injured ; one hundred pounds was the price at which government valued the offence! and this, remember, at the instigation of a party who stun us with the shout of “ Justice to Ireland.” Of all the hypocritical watchwords ever assumed by a party,
“ Justice to Ireland" is the most delusive. It means in reality, “ Give us all we ask, without expecting our thanks ; we will be as ungrateful as we please to our benefactors; as rapacious as we please in demanding places and offices of trust for ourselves and our creatures ; as haughty as we please to the multitude, who are ground down by our rapacity; and as bitter as we please towards those who dare propagate a holier creed, and expose our glaring inconsistency.” This is the sum and substance of "the justice" of the domineering faction. All that the Romanist has a right to ask is eligibility to civil offices: this has been obtained; and this is the utmost that justice can grant: he has no right whatsoever to the actual possession of power and place; from this justice demands that, in the present state of things, he be strictly excluded.
But how are the two other classes of society affected by the existence of this colossal tyranny; namely, the poor Romish peasant, and the wealthier Protestant landlord? Now, it is a striking peculiarity, that the poor of Ireland--the millions, of whose support and sympathy demagogues boast, most cordially hate the priesthood, under whose extortions they writhe. They look upon their priests as hard task-masters; and they use their utmost ingenuity to escape their notice, and disobey their orders. When they must submit, they do so with all becoming subservience; but when they dare oppose, they whisper with the lion's roar. Mr. Page has detailed many remarkable instances of this; and having ourselves met with many similar cases, we are prepared to corroborate every statement which he makes. The grand point on which the poor stand their ground nobly, is that of scriptural education for their children. They will send them to the bible-schools if they can. They will run all risks; they will defy his reverence's curse; they will submit to his horsewhip, and pay willingly the most exorbitant exactions for the rites of the church: but no threats, no terrors, can induce them permanently to withdraw their children from those schools wherein the bible-faith is practically and efficiently taught. The dues which the priests exact for every religious ceremony are most oppressive; and, contrasting the two systems by which the Protestant and Romish churches are supported, we are utterly surprised that Ireland's peasantry do not rise as one man, and abolish the dues of the priests. The landlord pays for the Protestant establisment: it is emphatically the poor man's church, for he has free access at all times to its advantages, without bearing any of the burden of its support; while it is a fundamental position of the Romish heresy, that the very virtue of the rite consists in its being paid for; and, that as the intention of the officiating priest is necessary to its validity, he must be appeased by a sufficient offering, otherwise the outward ceremony is valueless. This doctrine of the priest's intention being necessary, gives him the additional power of exacting what he pleases from every individual, and leaves all at the mercy of the rapacious and the tyrannical. The peasantry see this and feel this, and would hail with delight any measures by which they might be freed from such arbitrary power. We are convinced, from long and minute examination, that the interest of the Roman Catholic people is at variance with that of their priests. The boast of the
agitators—that they are pleading the cause of the millions, is false and hypocritical. They know that it is so. They know that they are seeking their own ends; that the priesthood are using them to promote their interests; and that both parties are making tools and cat’s-paws of the many who abhor them. All this is well known to the sensible and educated Protestants of Ireland: and would that honest John Bull believednot those who combine to deceive and ridicule him, but those who have experienced the bitter fruits of priestly domination and democratic hardihood! Hence the Irish peasantry are rendered “ aliens” in thought, in feeling, in social habits, in moral character, and in religious prejudices, from their brethren in England. The policy of the Romish church is the sole cause of this. The agitators know it, and feel it whenever they attempt to "alienate” the minds of Englishmen. That memorable sentence of the second lawyer in the kingdom, stings them to the quick. They well know that what he uttered is truth; they well know that the only cause which can be assigned why the sons of Erin are "aliens," is the degrading superstition of Rome. The greatest boon which Ireland could receive, and one which " the people” would enjoy with overflowing gratitude, would be that of shipping all their priests to some balmy settlement of the West. The thought is, alas! Utopian: but could it be accomplished, the green isle would flourish once more, a model of beauty to the nations.
But how are the Protestants affected by this domineering spirit of Popery, so rampant around and about them? In various ways. In Ulster, and in different counties of the south and west, there dwells a staunch and loyal yeomanry, who are politically attached to the Church and State, and who are bold and brave adherents to all that is sound in faith and salutary in government. Landlord and tenant, they are all one-all thorough Protestants to the back bone. They are alive to the subtleties of their cunning antagonists; they utterly detest their pernicious system; they are ever active every scheme which can promote the real welfare of their Romish neighbours; and they may always be reckoned upon as steady friends when the hour of danger is at hand. Thanks be to Heaven! there is a goodly band of such straightforward, honest-hearted Protestants as these, who are ready, if called upon, to govern the country on firm and consistent principles; who are ready to suffer any indignities, rather than betray their trust; but who will not tamely submit to see the principles for which their forefathers bled and died, bartered away for paltry pelf, by a vacillating government. This goodly band consists of some of the most influential nobles, of the most wealthy gentry, of the most substantial landowners, of the most worthy merchants, and of the most industrious labourers. These form The IRISH CHURCH; they feel the power