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Rome, Passing Events in, 563
tion at, 633.
Quick, H., 86.
Williams, T. D., 870.
ings in, 621.
America, 88, 163, 242, 475,638,1011.
720, 800, 872, 1012.
Schools in Rural Districts, 305.
Church at, 718.
Church at, 719.
Roafe, Rev. J., Letter from, 389.
NAMES AND SIGNATURES.
Achill Herald, 356.
M., 405, 733.
PROVISION FOR THE PRIESTHOOD OF IRELAND. It is a plain historical fact, that the Puritan party of England have been the consistent expositors and most stanch defenders of the principles and interests of the Protestant reformation.
During their minority through the long reigns of Elizabeth and James the First, they opposed the growth of ceremonies and arbitrary power, at the expense, not only of time and money, but of liberty and life itself ; and when they gained the ascendency in this country, on the election of the Long Parliament, amidst all their grand mistakes, they never swerved from their fidelity to the interests of Protestantism. The eloquence of Milton's pen and the terror of Cromwell's name were felt in the courts of popish despots; and Protestant victims were rescued from the gory fangs of their destroyers by the Puritan government of England.
On the return of the Stuarts to power, the struggles for religious liberty were resumed; and the efforts of the Covenanters in Scotland, and of the Nonconformists in England, originated that party which, since 1680, have been known in this country by the name of Whigs.
On their principles, and mainly by their influence, the bloodless revolution of 1688 was achieved ; and while the throne and government of William and Mary were surrounded and sustained by liberal Episcopalians and decided Nonconformists, the advocates of civil and religious freedom, the high-church party was again found in virtual alliance with the popish faction to maintain the doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance which they held in common, and to intrigue with their common hope, the exiled princes of the House of Stuart, and, if possible, to effect their restoration. The insane and disastrous rebellions of 1715 and 1745 were got up by these parties on behalf of the Chevalier de St. George and his son, the second
pretender, and were mainly put down by the thorough Protestant feelings of the Whig interest and their Nonconformist allies.
But the vicissitudes of party, like those of private life, are unexpected and surprising; for, strange to say, a century had not elapsed before that party which, from a deep abhorrence of popery, had banded to drive back into exile a Romish prince, and to bring to the scaffold his noble but infatuated adherents, this same old Protestant party were found amongst the warmest advocates and most stedfast allies of the Roman Catholics of the empire.
It was in the session of 1828 that the Sacramental Test was abolished by Parliament; and on the 18th of June in that year many noblemen and other members of Parliament, with the late Duke of Sussex as their chairman, were entertained at a public dinner given by the dissenters to commemorate that auspicious event. On that remarkable occasion the royal chairman undertook, on his own responsibility, and without the advice of the Committee, to propose a toast, Speedy and effectual relief to all His Majesty's subjects who still labour under any legal disabilities on account of their religion. The names of the Roman Catholic peers, Lords Stourton, Clifford, and Stafford, who were present by the personal invitation of Mr. William Smith, M. P. for Norwich, being associated with this righteous sentiment, made it specially applicable to the question of their emancipation. It was a trying moment, for up to that hour the dissenters had not declared themselves; but as soon as the sentence had fallen from the duke's lips, it was responded to by the enthusiastic cheers of four hundred of the most influential ministers and gentlemen belonging to the Nonconformist body. This was no wine-kindled enthusiasm. His royal highness knew his men, and found, after the excitement of that splendid commemoration had passed away, that the ardent love of religious freedom which inspired it, led the body of the dissenting ministers of the three denominations, and the dissenting deputies of London, cordially to advocate, by petitions and the press, the claims of the Roman Catholics to all the equal rights of citizens.
While the love of religious liberty thus prompted the Protestant dissenters of England, although the natural antagonists of the principles and policy of Rome, to plead that her sons should no longer be held in vassalage, strange to say, the University of Oxford-herself the advocate of passive obedience and non-resistance—and the alma mater of Laud and Montague, of Pusey and Newman, stood forth as the representative and champion of Protestant ascendency; resolved, if possible, to bar for ever the halls of legislature and the high places of the state against the men who might, with little scruple, have used the ceremonies and subscribed the doctrines taught in her colleges and schools.
The existence of a church established by law, with articles and formularies stereotyped in lead for ever, is the fact which explains
these anomalies in the proceedings of parties; and while it continues to exist as an establishment, these inconsistencies will recur again and again. Semi-popish Oxford will continue very zealous against popish agitators, while Protestant dissenters of the Geneva school will sympathise with the wrongs, if not allied in the struggles, of Irish repealers and Catholic bishops. These said struggles are now felt by statesmen to be inconvenient and alarming, and certain hints were thrown out during the last session of Parliament by members of both the great parties in the state, that some material provision should be made for the maintenance of the Romish priesthood of Ireland.
To meet this project the Romish bishops of Ireland have, at their annual conference, held in Dublin, on the 15th of November, 1843, passed and published the following protest against such a scheme :
" At a general meeting of the archbishops and bishops of Ireland, held in the Parochial-house, Marlborough-street, on the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th of January, 1837, the Most Rev. Dr. Murray in the chair, the following resolution was proposed and adopted :
" Resolved, that, alarmed at the report that an attempt is likely to be made, during the approaching session of parliament, to make a state provision for the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, we deem it our imperative duty not to separate without recording the expression of our strongest reprobation of any such attempt, and of our unalterable determination to resist, by every means in our power, a measure so fraught with mischief to the independence and purity of the Catholic religion in Ireland.
“ At a general meeting of the archbishops and bishops of Ireland, held in the Presbytery House, Marlborough-street, on the 9th day of November, 1841, the Most Rev. Dr. M'Hale in the chair, the following resolation was unanimously adopted :
“ That his Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Murray be requested to call a special general meeting of the prelates of all Ireland, in case that he shall have clear proof or well. grounded apprehension that the odious and alarming scheme of a state provision for the Catholic clergy of this portion of the empire be contemplated by the government before our next general meeting.
“At a meeting of the Catholic archbishops and bishops of Ireland, held in Dublin on the 15th of November, 1843, the Most Rev. Dr. M`Hale in the chair, it was proposed by the Most Rev. Dr. Murray, and seconded by the Most Rev. Dr. Slattery, and unanimously resolved :
" That the preceding resolutions be now republished, in order to make known to our faithful clergy and people, and to all others concerned, that our firm determination on this subject remains unchanged; and that we unanimously pledge ourselves to resist, by every influence we possess, every attempt that may be made to make any state provision for the Catholic clergy, in whatever shape or form it may be offered.”
To show that the laity agree with the prelates on this subject, Mr. O'Connell moved, in the Repeal Association shortly after, a vote of thanks to the prelates for their resolution ; and in doing so, he said that “ there was authentic information that some attempt of the kind would be made.” He expressed his conviction that “the clergy of the second order” would support the determination of their prelates. The