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set apart for the students of various ecclesiastical bodies and those for the foundation of theological lectureships, are somewhat complicated, and may lead to inconvenience and difficulty hereafter. These enactments, however, were necessary, in order to neutralize the cry raised by the ultra-Protestants, and re-echoed by the ultra-Catholics -both of whom denounced the measure as "a gigantic scheme of godless education.” If the clauses in question be found to interfere with the successful working of the act, the same wisdom which dictated the insertion of the glorious proviso of the fourteenth Section will doubtless induce Parliament to set aside

others that

may ascertained, by experience, to lead to an infringement of its spirit, or a frustration of its object. Taking the act as it stands, it is a glorious measure,-an omen of coming good, fraught, we trust, with blessings to generations yet unborn.

It has been decided by the Irish Government that three colleges shall be constituted under this act; one of which is to be placed at Cork, another at Galway, and a third at Belfast. At one time, it seemed to be the intention of the Lord Lieutenant, to fix the Northern College at Armagh, in compliance with the wishes of the Lord Primate, and of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, both of whom were desirous of having the new seminary placed in their neighbourhood, and, in some degree, under their influence; but, as the announcement of this purpose raised an indignant outcry from the people at large, for whose benefit the college was designed, and whose interests would have been sacrificed by placing it in a situation where it would necessarily have been comparatively useless, his Excellency felt himself constrained to send down a commission to collect evidence respecting the site; and on its report it has been settled that Belfast shall be the seat of the New Northern College.

Tbis having been determined, it would have appeared almost a matter of course, that the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (the proprietors of which have, with a praiseworthy zeal for the advancement of learning, and a generous disregard for their own patronage and prerogatives, placed their property at the disposal of Government for the purposes of the new act), would have been adopted as the college for the Province of Ulster; the present buildings—which are in excellent repair-being enlarged and improved, as necessity might require. This seminary has spacious grounds, consisting of seven statute acres, well situated, adjoining to the town, convenient of access both for the inhabitants and for students coming from a distance; while its valuable library, its excellent collection of scientific apparatus, and requisites for the illustration of lectures, &c. would have enabled the Northern College to be put at once into operation: so that its experience might serve as a guide, in some respects, to the Cork and Galway seminaries, in which a certain delay-probably of considerable duration—must necessarily occur, before the buildings and collections can be got completely ready. This arrangement would, besides, have saved upwards of £30,000 of the public money. But, notwithstanding these considerations, it has been officially announced that the Belfast Academical Institution is not to be the seat of the Northern College; and it is rumoured, and generally believed, that it is the intention of the Irish Government—as at present advised to erect it at the distance of one or two miles from the town of Belfast. For many important purposes, it might as well be placed at Fair Head or the Giants’ Causeway. We are not without hopes that this unhappy purpose may be altered before the close of the present session of Parliament.

We write in no desire to find fault with the Government, whose motives, in proposing and carrying this act through Parliament, we believe to be most laudable. But truth requires us to declare that we believe the responsible ministers of the crown in Ireland to have been badly advised, in almost everything that they have done and determined, with reference to this act, since it became law. We are afraid the members of Government, in the Castle of Dublin, are surrounded by persons undeserving of their confidence, and who abuse the trust reposed in them. We cannot, on any other principle, explain the many serious errors that have been committed with respect to this most important measure.

How else can the selection of individuals chosen to some of the most responsible situations in the new colleges, be accounted for? The appointment of Dr. Kane to be President, and that of Dr. Ryall to be Vice-president, of the Cork College, we do not mean to impugn: these gentlemen, though not so extensively known to be men of general eminence in science, and of academic experience, as might have been desirable in the heads of a seminary about to be organized and put into operation under their auspices, are well spoken of by some who have had intercourse with them. Although, therefore, their names may not command that large amount of public confidence, or be attended with that assured hope of future suceess, which would have resulted from the selection of other individuals, whose services, it is understood, could have been obtained, yet there is hope that they will not disappoint those expectations which the public have a right to form of gentlemen filling situations like theirs. But when we look to the manner in which the similar offices in the Galway and Belfast Colleges have been jobbed away, we feel astounded and humiliated at the manner in which the vital interests of the rising generation, and the solid reputation of the Government, have been sacrificed. The Rev. Dr. Kirwan has been appointed President at Galway, in deference, as the letter of Sir Thomas Freemantle, Chief Secretary for Ireland, avows, to respectable testimonials in his favour, and to his connexion with the neighbourhood as Roman Catholic priest of an extensive and populous parish. The latter consideration is directly in the teeth of the spirit of the act, which guarantees that students shall not be brought under the exclusive influence of any particular church ; and in allowing it to have any weight, the Irish Government have broken faith with both the Tories and the Liberals who supported the Bill in Parliament. The Tories would never have voted in its favour, had they believed that any man would have been preferred, in the allotment of offices, more especially those of President or Vice-president, on the ground of his being a Roman Catholic priest ;-the latter would never have assented to the measure had they believed that any clergyman, of any sect or church, would have been, as such, viewed with peculiar favour in the distribution of patronage. Both expressed some apprehension on this score ; both were assured that their fears were groundless ; and both have been deceived. What may be the exact nature of Dr. Kirwan's testimonials, on which his appointment is partly grounded, we have no means of knowing; but we do know, that those who are acquainted with Dr. Kirwan regard him as an indifferent scholar, totally unacquainted with the sciences which ought to be taught in the college under his direction ; destitute of experience in the management of any department whatever in any similar institution; and except in point of moral character, which we have never heard impeached, destitute of almost every qualification for the high office with which it has pleased the Government to invest him. Ilis coadjutor, as Vice-president, is Mr. Berwick, a barrister, of whom nothing appears to be generally known. He may be useful in solving a legal question, should any such arise; but we are unable to say what other benefit his appointment may confer on the Galway College.

The Rev. Dr. Henry, at present Presbyterian minister of Armagh, has been selected as President of the new college at (or near) Belfast. There is even less doubt respecting his unfitness than there is of Dr. Kirwan’s. Dr. Henry is well known to possess barely such an amount of knowledge of language, literature, and science, as would suffice to enable a student to take a degree, upon the lowest scale of qualification, at any college or university. He could not undertake to discharge the duties of professor in any one class of the whole that are to be under his superintendence. To regulate a system of education, to direct the method to be observed in communicating instruction in the different branches of learning, to judge of the proficiency of the students, or to test their comparative merit, is obviously out of his power. His decisions, therefore, can carry no weight, either with the public, the students, or the professors. This is no disgrace to Dr. Henry, if, as is commonly reported and believed, he candidly stated to the Government his deficiency in these respects before he received his appointment; but it certainly reflects discredit on the ministers of the crown

who have made the most splendid academic rewards which they have it in their power to bestow, the prizes of ignorance and mediocrity. In this case, the same is doubled by the fact that—at the earnest solicitation of many friends to the new system—the eminently learned, able, and experienced Dr. Thomson, Professor of Mathematics in the University of Glasgow, had offered himself as a candidate. Of his varied scholarship, extensive experience, and well-tried judgment in academic affairs, it is needless to speak; but these are qualifications on which it appears the Irish executive rest no weight, or none in comparison with those superior recommendations which they have been able to find in Dr. Henry. It ought, indeed, to be recorded that, having placed Dr. Henry in the principal office, they offered to Dr. Thompson that of Vice-president, but as they could not suppose that such a man would consent to rank himself beneath Dr. Henry, we can hardly understand their motive in so doing. The office thus placed at their disposal they have conferred on Dr. Andrews, Professor of Chemistry in the Medical School of Belfast Academical Institution, who is understood to be eminent in his own department; but whose youth, inexperience in the business of general education, and moderate acquaintance with several of its essential branches, render him totally unfit to supply the many and great deficiencies of his superior officer. We take it for granted, that both these appointments have been bestowed, not on the ground of superior merit or pre-eminent fitness, but in order to gratify political friends or other influen

The Irish Government also violated the common decencies of political life, in appointing Dr. Andrews to his situation on the very day when they sent off their own resignation of their places to Sir Robert Peel, and when they were themselves virtually out of office. It has been stated, and not contradicted, that in the patents drawn up for the three gentlemani nominated as Presidents, an attempt was made to insert a clause, conferring upon each of them (Dr. Kirwan and Dr. Henry included) the power of appointing the Professors of their different colleges ; but that this plan was defeated by the Lord Chancellor, Sugden, who refused to affix the Great Seal to documents expressly contrary to the act of Parliament.

The whole of this subject will probably undergo discussion in the approaching session of Parliament. Miscarriages so manifest—so injurious to the interests of Ireland—so calculated to defeat the benevolent intentions of the legislature that corruption itself could scarcely

farther-so likely to damage the fair fame and to neutralize the great services of the Queen's ministers in reference to this very measure-can scarcely escape the reprehension of independent members of Parliament, and perhaps may call down the censure of the legislative body itself upon their authors. It may be too late, perhaps, to rectify all the mistakes and errors that have been committed,

tial persons.

have gone

but enough will probably be done to prevent ignorance and incapacity from wishing to thrust themselves hereafter, into the seats of learning, and to deter persons in power from admitting them, if they should.

We cannot close these remarks without declaring that, in our opi. nion, the General Government is not culpable in these transactions. The whole blame, we believe, attaches to the Lord Lieutenant and the other authorities in Ireland; and even they, we conceive, are chiefly in fault by following the pernicious counsel of selfish men, who have found it their own interest to lead them astray. We cannot otherwise account for the great diversity which appears between the principles avowed by her majesty's ministers in the houses of lords and commons, in Westminster, and the official acts of the same individuals in her Majesty's Castle of Dublin.




The desire of becoming acquainted with the past transactions of the world is one of the strongest mental propensitios of human nature. With regard to those objects of pursuit which tend to increase the comforts, and ornament the walks of social life, the opinions and the tastes of men are infinitely diversified. One pursues, with ardour, that upon which another looks with indifference; but there are none whe do not receive pleasure from the study of history and biography. The young and the old, the rich and the poor, all, indeed, who have access to books, derive from such studies a large amount both of recreation and instruction; for, assuredly, no man can read the history of the world, and contemplate the characters of those that have been mainly engaged in carrying forward its great concerns, without becoming both wiser and better. But although even general history and biography are always interesting, there is something connected with those studies, when they relate to our own country, which excites a deeper interest in our hearts. We rejoice in the diffusion of knowledge, and liberty, and truth, whithersoever they may have gone forth, and we venerate the names of the wise and virtuous men that have laboured to extend their empire: but when we consider that many of those illustrious individuals were our countrymen, and reflect that our native land was the scene of their noble exertions, we experience an exaltation of spirit, which no general views or distant objects could possibly inspire. Hence it is, that we all desire to know something of the occurrences which have taken place amidst the scenes which we now inhabit--to know something of those who, before we were born, looked


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