THE EXETER HALL IMPOSTORS.
[The following Letter, from an able Irish Barrister, residing in Lon- don, and practising in the Courts at Westminster, was received last week, but not in time for insertion.]
TO THE EDITOR OF TilK SPECTATOR.
SIP—As an Irishman and a Roman Catholic, I beg leave to tender you the expression of my gratitude for your very manly and able defence of that body, against what you very properly eall the " Tomfoolery " which has lately been exhibited at Exeter Hall ; and I feel a particular pleasure.in being in a condition to bear testimony to the singular sagacity- by which you have been enabled (in the absence of any actual information upon the point) to faint an extremely cor- rect estimate of the degree in which DOMINOS DENS has been accepted as the standard of orthodoxy in the Irish Roman Catholic Church. In the aitiele contained in your paper of Saturday last, you observe, that it was " not very necessary to point out the absurdity of concluding, that because a book is directed to lie studied, all its contents are to be taken by the students for gospel; though that is bit trifling compared with the enormous folly and impudence of the assumption that the packed meeting at Exeter Hall could determine what was the mule of faith of the Catholic hierarchy." And you then go on to ask---"Sup- pose Dr. Murray and Dr. Mliale were to deny that Dens capounded the
correctly ; and to assert that the book was pat into the hands of the Ca-
tholic priesthood ONLY AS AN EXCELLENT STVDY IN TIIE ART OE THEOLO- GICAL DIA LEcrics, and astr storehouse of all the arguments that could be lend in defiaice of all the decisions of Councils and Popes—what, we say, could be I-tidied to this?" 1 know not what reply the reasonable and cha- ritable elm gymen of Exeter Hall can „wive to this interrogatory ; but as a reply which goes to the foundation of the whole controversy, and which in a remark- able degree confirms your speculations upon the point, I beg leave to transmit to you the substance of a le ry able article upon this subject, which appeared in the Dublin Freeman's Journal of Saturday, June the 27th. In this article it is stated, that the very first resolution of the meeting at Exeter Hall is a false- hood. That restitution, it will be recollected, was expressed in the following words- " 'chat it appars to the satisfitefion or this meeting, that Dr r:s's Complete Body if The- otegg has bee it adopted by the Itomatt.Catholic Hislaps of Ireland as containing those principles ohiell they approve for the guidance of the Homan Catholic priesthood since the year USCH, and set op fur tire CUllfi'relleeS of the priests in the prorruccr of Leinster singe the year 1:^31.."
Having inserted the resolution, the Freeman goes on to say—" On what au- thority is all this demonstrated?—One the AUTHORITY of a publisher's puff to get rid ql his wares. Just that, and no more. The publisher no doubt men- tioned an unanimous resolution that DENs's was the best work on the subject. The publisher does not give the words of the resolution, but his own— honest it may be—conception of its meaning. Had the words Leen as strong a recom- mendation of the work as he has described it, he would at once have seen the obvious advantage of giving the ipsissima verba of the Prelates." Further on the writer observes--" Even &Wu:Prelates had so resolved, they would have re- solved WHAT WOULD HAVE MET WITH VERY GENERAL DISSENT AMONGST THE CLERGY. But we challenge them (theorators of Exeter Hall) to the proof that the Bishops of Ireland EVER eassen sum' A REsoLcrioN. Let them name the Chairman of tine meeting, and the mover and seconder by whom the resolution was proposed or supported." The writer, leaving the gentlemen of Exeter Hall to furnish an answer to this question, goes on to dispose of some other assertions of Mr. 31‘GIIIEE. Many of these assertions, which are shown to be utterly destitute of foundation, are treated at too great a length in the Freeman's Journal, and are perhaps too unimportant in themselves, to justify Inc in trespassing upon your space by inserting in this place the passages in the Freeman which relate to those matters. I Isbell therefore conclude by extracting the following statement, which in my humble judgment most completely removes the whole foundation upon which the proceedings of the Exeter Hall meeting have been constructed. "For the accuracy of the following fact, we (says the Freeman) pledge ourselves upon unquestionable authorities. In the year 1831, at a public conference of all the secular clergy of the city of Dublin, held at the Presbytery in Lower Exchange Street, a clergyman of great respectability asked the complier of the Directory, why HE had selected THAT OBSOLETE AND EXPLODED THEOLOGIAN DENS for a coufirence Zook ; and added, jocularly, that he supposed it was for the purpose of assibting Mr. COYNE (the publisher) in the sale of the work. The Archbishop, Dr. Murray, who was present, prthwith interposed, and desired it to be DISTINCTLY UNDERSTOOD, THAT Dens WAS BY NO MEANS TO BE MADE A CLASS-BOOK FOR THE CONFERENCES; THAT THEY WERE MERELY TO FOLLOW HIS ORDER OF ARRANGEMENT IN DISCUSSING THE QUESTIONS, AND TO TAKE THE ANSWERS FROM ANY OTHER WORK WHICH THEY PLEASED TO PREFER!"
The whole amount, therefore, of Dom/NUS DENS'S authority as a standard of orthodoxy amongst the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland is this : That in the province of Leinster the Dominus is recommended as a conference-book by the compiler of the Directory of that province, which compiler is himself a private priest, and which Directory is neither more nor less than a sort of Clerical Alma- neck; that in the other provinces of Ireland—in Armagh, Cashel, and Tuam (the diocese of Dr. WHALE), the Dominus is possessed of no "jurisdiction, superiority, power, preeminence, or authority whatever ;" that his reign as even a conference-disquisitor in the only province where he is admitted to that dig- nity may be put an end to whenever the present "compiler of the Directory " shall be succeeded by another compiler, or shall change his own opinion of the utility of adhering to the method of the Dominos ; that even within the very narrow limits to which the Dominus is confined, nothing except Iris questions are extracted front his book ; that the answers to these questions are to be sought, as Dr. Mut:RAY directs, "in any other work which the clergy may please to prefer ;"and that, after all," this wondercul disciple of THOMAS AQUINAS, this infallible and authoritative expounder of the Roman Catholic religion, this great budge doctor of the Popish fur," whose book has been brought to the assistance of Dr. AVG tiEE's countenance, fur the purpose of terrifying the matrons of Exeter Hall, is neither more nor less than what you, Mr. Editor, have called a very cunning master of fence in the " art of theological dialectics," and that even in that character he is admitted only in one province, and ou the au- thority of one priest, and only for one particular and perhaps not very impor- tant purpose. As the Bishop of EXETER has been pleased to express his adherence to the very respectable party which assembled at Exeter Hall, and as his Lordship has upon this and upon several other late occasions holden himself forward as the peculiar patron of the Protestants of Ireland and of the Irish Protestant Church Establishment, I shall take the present opportunity of asking his Lordship whether, upon entering his present diocese, he did not form a resolution that be would license no clergyman as a curate WHO HAD BEEN ORDAINED BY AN IRISH BISHOP, OR WHO HAD GRADUATED AT THE IRISH UNIVERSITIES ONLY, or whose accent was in any degree contaminated by the Irish brogue? And whether he did not, in the year 1831, act upon that resolution in the case of the Reverend Mr. B--, who was appointed to the curacy of L—, and to whom the Bishop refused a licence, upon one or all of the grounds which I have mentioned above ? The subject was, I believe, at that time brought under the notice of the present Earl of MUNSTER, of Mr. GEORGE ROBERT DAWSON, and of Lord Pau NIKETT, with a view to an application to the Legislature: but it is unnecessary to state that the Bishop was triumphant in the controversy, and that the clergyman was under the necessity of eeeking for a mission elsewhere. That there neither was nor could be any objection to the clergyman in question upon religious, moral, or intellectual grounds, will be taken for granted, not only from the fact th it the Bishop assigned no such ohjemait n at the time, but that this identical clergyman is at present in the enjoyment of a living which he has received in the archdiocese of Canterbury, through the influence and kind- ness of the Archdeact n of that province.
I hat e the honour to remain, Sir, your ob client servant,