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a previous friendly notice to the clergyman; I am going to curse the children to-morrow, but just never mind it a bit; go on your own way, and, after a day or two, they will all come to school again.'

P. 90.

The influence and general conduct of the Catholic priests are described in plain language:


"What will you say if, after having already disputed so many the positions generally laid down with respect to the state of this country, I proceed even to doubt whether the influence of the priests is, by any means, so overwhelming and irresistible as you have been led to imagine? As they are supported by the voluntary contributions of their flocks, you naturally enough suppose the case to be somewhat parallel with that of the dissenters in England; whereas it is, in fact, altogether different. Regularly appointed by the titular bishop of the diocese, and removable at his pleasure, the people have no voice in the appointment of their pastors; but, like dutiful sons of the church, must submit to superior authorities, and, instead of contributing merely in what proportions they please, must pay the dues which are demanded of every householder, year by year, besides the fees upon the administration of the sacraments. The former here are at the rate of 20d. from the head of each family; the latter (varying however in different parts of the country) are 2 s. 6d. for anointing, i. e. the sacrament of extreme unction, 38. 4d. for churching, and from a guinea to 30s. for the celebration of marriage. As it is upon the payment of these that the priest depends for his stipend, they are exacted from the very poorest of the people; sometimes, in cases truly distressing, even to the uttermost farthing. There being no separate fee for the performance of baptism, this more essential ceremony is often very long delayed, until the fee for the less important one of churching the mother can be ready prepared. An instance lately occurred, where the priest, on going into a house in which the woman had been confined, and finding that no money was forthcoming, merely looked at the infant, said that it was likely to do well, and, although living himself at the distance of six or seven miles, declined christening it until he could also church the mother. At another time, the priest refused to christen a child, although he was offered within twopence of the stipulated sum; even, when this was afterwards procured, grumbling, because tea and sugar had not been provided for his breakfast. In the case of another poor woman, it was not until after the birth of a second child that she was churched, although the superstitious notion, that if a woman leave the house before the ceremony is performed the grass will never grow where she treads, might seem to ensure their utmost exertions.' P. 96.

"Nor would it, I believe, be going too far to say, that the influence of private character is as much felt by the one, in the collection of these supposed voluntary offerings, as by the other, in the legal receipt of tithes; and I have heard our poor neighbours comH


pare the disposition of their present priest with that of his predecessor, much in the same way that they are accustomed to speak of the Protestant incumbent. "Oh! sure it wasn't that way with Father Tom at all: it isn't he that would be taking the bit out of the poor widdee and orphan's mouth; but Father Dennis says, that where he comes from, the widdees were always the best rent; and he's a good warrant sure to take it from them. Didn't I go supperless the last time I carried him a tenpenny? so because I had got the money with me, I felt quite bold like; and, Father Dennis,' says I, 'you'd be having some pity of the poor cratur, who has six weak childer, and no father to help them with his little earnings:' with that he just beckons me to hand him the money." As the woman concluded with the account of her reluctant compliance, her countenance assumed very much the same expression which it would have done, under similar circumstances, with a tithe proctor.


"Nor are these regular demands their only, or even their worst grievance. They consider as a heavy additional tax the necessity of providing luxuries, which they never taste themselves, in order to regale his reverence, when he performs mass, or any other ceremony, in a private house. Perhaps you are not aware, that the rites of the Roman Catholic church, in Ireland at least, are all performed at home; except indeed the marriage ceremony, which occasionally takes place in the priest's house. Twice a year he comes round the parish, for the purpose of confession; and, in the different villages, takes up his station in some snug cabin, where he expects to be treated with white bread, tea, sugar and whiskey. Those who, in more prosperous times, probably esteemed the entertainment of this reverend guest as an honour, now frequently complain of it as a burden. A poor woman who, on the last of these occasions, walked four miles in search of a teapot, gave as her reason, that neither bread, butter, nor milk, would be considered acceptable, without the addition of tea and spirits. Nay, it is a fact, that a priest, on the Sunday previous to commencing his rounds, gave public notice after mass, that as tea, sugar, and flour were to be had in the neighbourhood, there would be no excuse for those who were not prepared.

"It is however certain, that nothing of affluence or luxury is to be remarked, either in the dwellings or manner of living, among the priests in this part of the country. The poverty of their flocks must render their income both low and uncertain; and the extent of their parishes obliges them to make frequent journeys over bog and mountain, at all hours of the day and night, exposed to the changes of this most changeable climate, besides the contagion of many a fatal disease. In fact, although my experience will by no means justify the representations which have been held out, and which I had myself, at one time, been led to believe, of their being a most laborious, zealous, self-denying body of men; yet, I will readily acknowledge them to be (some gross instances of drunkenness excepted) of decent, moral character; ignorant and bigotted, indeed, but apparently bent rather on preserving inviolate the pale of


their own communion, than on bringing over any large accession of converts from the outposts of heresy." P. 99.

"The magnitude of the dues of the church, and the severity with which they are exacted, is a topic on which they do not scruple to express their sentiments. The difficulty of paying these is still further increased, as no credit is generally allowed. The money must be collected to the utmost farthing before the service is performed. It is scarcely possible to blame the priest, who depends on these fees for his maintenance, and who is too well acquainted with the character of his flock to put any faith in their mises of future payment; yet, the consequences of such severity are sometimes very distressing. An instance of this has lately occurred on the borders of Cunnemarra.


"The son of a man, who had once known better days, being on his death-bed, the priest of the parish was requested to administer the holy viaticum; but his last dues were unpaid, and he positively refused. The anxious father spread the contents of his purse upon the table, and-Plaze your reverence, take what you will; but in vain-the priest was inexorable, and the poor young man died without the last important sacrament, indispensably necessary, as every true Catholic believes, to the salvation of the parting soul.

"Three years ago, when ribandism flourished in the county of Galway, these dues formed the subject of a clause in the petition of grievances; and to reduce them one half was reported to be the intention of the insurgents. They remain, however, in full force, even in the present times of distress."

P. 103.

These, be it remembered, are not our statements. They are made by men who have no predilection for the established church, and say little in her favour. Such statements must be received, at least, as primâ facie evidence; and what opinion will they induce us to form of the Irish Catholic priests? Are they men whom Government ought to trust? Have they either the disposition or the ability to instruct and humanize their flocks? What results may be expected from the triumph of a party, which is governed by O'Connell and a radical parliament, and contains, among its active subaltern members, such men as are described in the Letters from the Highlands?

Mr. Dominic Browne made a serious proposal to Parliament to establish the Roman Catholic religion, and gave notice of his intention to renew the subject this session. The scheme was of itself absurd; but the quarter from which it proceeds renders it entertaining and instructive. Mr. Browne is only an under conjuror in the business; his prompter is an avowed and notorious infidel, who shews his contempt for Christianity by patronizing the worst description of it. The example has been nobly imitated by Cobbett;

and the Papists, many of whom, both in this country and in Ireland, are men of the best intentions, have the mortification to find that their most zealous supporters are the open enemies of religion. The respectable Catholics disown the connection; but, after what has passed in Dublin, Cobbett cannot be disowned by the Catholic Association or its friends. And the circumstance of enlisting such a man in its service, is a proof that the club will hesitate at nothing which may increase its popularity and power. What avails it to disavow the circulation of Pastorini's prophecies, the work of a respectable Irish bishop, highly esteemed by Catholic theologians, while Cobbett is openly patronized? To believe that Pastorini has been distributed by the Protestants, is to believe them guilty of diabolical wickedness, without a shadow of proof. To believe that he has been distributed by the factious incendiaries of Rome, by the men who engage an English radical to abuse the Reformation, and assure him that he shall reap the full reward of his labours, what is there unreasonable or uncharitable in this ? It is merely supposing, that those who stimulate the Papists by an historical lye, will stimulate them also by a prophetical dream. While Cobbett persuades the Irish peasant that Cranmer was a villain, and Bonner a saint, Pastorini keeps up the chaunt, and tells him, that in the year 1825 Magee, and Mant shall be swept with the locusts into the pit, and the Pope and Bishop Doyle be exalted. There is no inconsistency here. The prophecies, which fix upon the year 1825 as the time at which Protestantism shall fall, are in the hands of the Irish peasantry. Superstitious men, believers in Prince Hohenlohe, believers in the Pope, believers in their own ignorant and bigotted priests, are believers in Pastorini. Thus much is certain. The point in dispute is, how did they become so ? If we attribute the event to Protestant interference, we are bound to substantiate so extraordinary a fact. If we attribute it to Papists, the presumption is strongly in our favour. The circumstance tallies with other parts of their conduct. It explains why they have so long kept the people in darkness, and particularly why they prohibit the general reading of the Bible. In a word, we may not be able to bring the fact home; it may be impossible to prove that the Association incendiaries are the men who have printed and circulated the Prophecies; but, until they have renounced their alliance with Cobbett, and proved that it never existed, they cannot complain of such as feel strong suspicions respecting Pastorini, the guilt, the disgrace, are at the door of his admirers; and if a rebellion

breaks out, upon them should the pains and penalties of treason be visited.

The question is an important one, and must not be lost sight of. Parliament will soon be engaged in discussing the state of Ireland; and the Catholic priesthood, the fanatical societies, and the opposition, will be exposed to an extent for which few persons are prepared. Government has merely to do its duty, and the senate and the nation will easily be persuaded to do theirs. Let the farce of affecting a moderation which is not felt be exchanged for decided measures; let all attempts at concealment be abandoned; and truth, however unpalateable, told boldly to the country; and not only may the public safety be secured, but the Wellesleys and Plunketts, to the surprise of friends as well as enemies, may redeem their tottering credit.

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ART. VIII. 1.-A Sermon on the Duty of Family Prayer: preached in the Church of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, on Saturday, February 22, 1824. By C. J. Blomfield, D.D. (now Bishop of Chester,) Rector. And printed at the Request of several of his Parishioners. Second Edition. 8vo. 23 pp. 18. Rivington, London. 1824.

2.-A Sermon preached in the Cathedral Church of Chester, on Sunday, October 31, 1824, before the Mayor and Corporation of that City, by Charles James Blomfield, D.D. Lord Bishop of the Diocese. And printed at their request. 4to. 19 pp. Rivington, London; Poole & Co. Chester. 1824.

3-A Manual of Family Prayers, for the use of the Parishioners of St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate. 12mo. 87 pp. Rivington, London. 1824.

THE remarkable feature in both these discourses, is the plainness with which they are written. There is no rhetorical finery or flourishing; no softening or exaggeration. The preacher is convinced of the goodness of his cause, and under that conviction advances manfully to the conflict, and carries his point at once. Take for instance the following passages, in the Sermon upon Family Prayer, they will be found to place the duty in a variety of striking lights, and that in a very few words, and without the least appearance of effort:

"There are two very obvious and natural divisions of the duty of

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