THE IRISH CHURCII : CLERICAL AGITATION.
PUBLIC attention will not be withdrawn from the enormities of the Irish Church Establishment (luring the Parliamentary recess. Even if Mr. O'CONNELL and the Reformers were disposed (which they are not,) to let the subject rest, the infatuated bigots of the ' Orange-Tory stamp would take care, by the aid of their etnissaries, Messrs. O'SULLIVAN and MGHEE, to prevent the subsidence of agitation. These persons have been reenacting the "tomfoolery" of Exeter Hall at Worcester and Hereford. To show the spirit , by which they are actuated, we quote the following passage from the speech of Mr. M'GnEE, who, in allusion to Mr. O'Cose- NELL, is reported to have said— "lie trembles more at the exposure at Exeter Hall, than at all the talent that could be arrayed against him in the House of Commons; for there he has to encounter but a collision of opinions, and he takes the Liberal and popular side : here he has to encounter incontrovertible facts, which place him and his Church in their deserved position of abharreace. For well he knOws, that if once the People of England are thoroughly possessed of the truth of those tremendous facts—if once the People ot England rise up with the mere prin- ciple and energy of a free and Christian nation, to protest against the crimes against which their forefathers have protested—if once the People of England cry out no intolerance, no persecution, no cruelly, no murder, no treachery, nu
perjury, in ont single emphotie trrm thot comprehends them Popery,
he knows his domination in England is at an end for ever. Theretbre-I say, and he knows I speak the truth, he .trembles at Exeter Han."
This is the style in which a clergyman of the Protestant Church speaks of the religious tenets of at least half the Christian world —of the religion of FENELON awl PsseaL, and of all the good and great men who lived in our own country from the conversion of the natives to Christianity to the Reformation. Ile calls it a religion of cruelty, murder. treachery, and pedury. Yet this fire- brand, this wholesale illilier of the faith of so many millions of his Majesty's subjects, is actually a pretender to supereminent godliness, a missionary of that religion whose founder preached to his disciples the charit that " thinketh no evil."
The whole country will presently resound with similar strains. Mr. O'SULLIVAN is scull to proceed to Glasgow, where he is ex- pected hold forth like a zealous Orangeman ; and on the 4th of October all the Orange parsons in the land are to beat the " drum. ecclesiastic" from their pulpits, not in honour of their patron saint, the " illustrii;us" CustnEa LAND, but under the pretence of commemorating the translation of the Bible by MIME; COVER- DALE, ill 1535. The real object in view is transparently factious; and the conduct of these men and their abettors, who under the pretext of religion seek to stimulate party zeal in the cause of Toryism and Orangeism, is inefllibly disgusting. It is symp- tomatic of the rotten conditi ,n of the Tory party, that it is forced to lean for support on the No Popery cry, and make a prop of the tottering Church of Ireland. Yet so it is : and hence the yelling in behalf of ecclesiastical abuses in lrelaud, and the infu- riate denunciation of the Catholics.
The time '..i•as when the Tories could muster the physical force of the nation on their side by raising the No Popery cry. But Englishmen are neither so bigoted nor so ignorant as they were in 1806. The masses understand now well enough what these self-styled friends of Protestantism would be about. There is no longer any chance of raising a riot in Birmingham or Manches- ter by denouncing Papists. The Exeter Hall missionaries would act discreetly in confining their exertions to Cathedral towns— such as Worcester and Hereford; and if Mr. 0SuLLivsst is a prudent man, lie will abstain from his projected visit to Glasgow. The past history and actual state of the Irish Church is every day becoming more familiar to the People ; and the consequence is, that every day the opinion gains ground that it is too bad to be mended. Presently, the rejection of Lord MORPETII'S bill will be hailed as a blessing by all but those interested personally in the maintenance of ecclesiastical abuses, inasmuch as the wiser policy will appear to be that whieh would utterly dissever the connexion of the State with the Church of one fifteenth of the people.
The means by which that connexion was funned and has been maintained, are clearly and truly explained in a very seasonable pamphlet* published by the Reform Association, and which we hope will be extensively circulated. It is therein shown, that from the conquest of Ireland, in 1168, up to 1546, the whJle
itiflu- ence of the Crown was employed to enhance the authority of the Papal see,—the title by which the English Sovereigns claimed dominion in Ireland being fiarntled on a Papal bull; that the Irish People were treated like wild beasts, whom it was pardon- able if not praiseworthy to murder, but with whom it was treason- able to intermarry ; that when the day of the Reformation arrived, " the war of Races was converted into a war of Creeds," and the distinction of Protestant and Catholic was substituted for that of Englishry and Irishry. The Liturgy never was translated into the Irish language. The clergy who displaced the Catholic priesthood were vicious and lazy. There were no such men as LATIMER, RIDLEY, CALVIN, or KNOX, employed in the work of converting the Irish to Protestantism.
" In Ireland (we quote the pa:19,11kt alluded to) penal enactments took the I lace of that rational conviction ohich oas all-powerfid amongst ourselves. Without taking one single step for the conversion of the People, the Irish Legislature proceeded to lay the f 1sf f that system of coercion which has since been worked out with cruel, though fruitless, perseverance. The country was treated as a Protestant country. though Catholic in all hut the mune. The finals id' the Catholic Church were transferred bv Act of Parlia- ment to the ministers of the new creed, and an establishment founded upon a scale befitting a nation, although but a fraction of that nation was included within its pale." This system has been upheld to the present day. "It has cost," in the words of Mr. SHEIL, " England millions of her treasure and Ireland torrents of her blood:" and what as respects the comparative numbers of Catholics and Protestants has been the restillsof this enormous political wickedness ? The result is, that in the year 183-1, out of a population of 7,943,910 souls, there are, after deducting the Methodists, 752,972 Churchmen! Miller pretence of providing for the spiritual consolation of this fraction of the people, there are two Archbishops and ten Bishops appsinted, with revenues now amounting to 151,127/., and which will soon be considerably increased; there are Prebends and other Cathedral dignitaries, with incomes of 40,323/.—seventy-five of them, having, according to their own statement, " no duties what- "The Irish Church. The Reform AssGeiation to the.; Reformers of England. Scotland, and Wales." ever to perform :" there is tithe property worth annually 531,7811.; and there are also considerable sums paid annually to the clergy under the name of ministers' money. In addition to all this, Parliament has voted 930,0001. for the building of glebe- houses and churches, and 1,378,369/. for Protestant schools, since 1801. There have been loans to the amount of 321,623/. for glebes and churches, which loans will never be repaid, any more than the 640,000/. lately Aokil for arrears of tithes. Immense sums have been expended in the maintenance of an army and police, rendered necessary by the infatuated policy of keeping up this gigantic nuisance; and all such expenditure is fairly charge- able to its account.
In spite of the bribes held out to the People to become Pro- testants, there has been a construe ly decreasing Protestant popu- lation; and yet we are told that to touch the system on which the Chung' is maintained is to injure the Protestant religion, and nothing short of absolute saerilege. It is with the view of per- suading the People of England into the belief of this amazing absurdity and gross falsehood that the O'S IT I. LIV ANs a MI M'ClIEES are hired to traverse t it. lama For an attempt, honest, but really feeble and inadequate, to improve the state of crelesiastieal aihil vs in Irelaml, Lord INIssiawe NE and his colleagues are to be everywhere denounced as promoters of laipery, as if facts (lid not prove beyond dispute that l'oprry had thriven under the existing system. The right of the Legielature to interfere with the application of the Church revenues is denied, het a majority of thb National Representatives have affirmed that right ; and it is matter of his- tory that those revenues were transferred from the Catholics to the Protestants by Act of Parliament. It follows, (lien, either that the Protestant Establishment has no right to the property which it holds, and which ought, therefore, to revert to the Ca- tholics, or that Parliament has the right as well as the power to deal with such property, as public property, for the public weal.
It is asserted, that in at to net on this principle, Lord MELimoultNE provided 6w the extinction of Protestantism in Ire- land. This is disproved by the provisions-of the bill ; whose " first, undisguised, undeniable object (we again quote the pamphlet) is to make a provision, not a superabundant, but a competent and even an ample provision fir the religious instruction of the members of the Established Church in Ireland; nor is it until this is provided for that any surplus, or any claims on the part of the Catholics upon that surplus, will be admitted to exist.- By the Gist clause of the bill it was provided, that in every parish where there is now a church or chapel and a resident officiating minister, how small soccer the intinber ql Protestants may he, a separate curate, with a stipend of from 75l. to 150/. rer annum, should be appointed. In parishes where there is no resident minister, and no church, and fewer than 30 Protestants:, the cure of souls was to be committed to the minister of an adjoining parish, who was to receive extra pay fir the additional trouble; and where there was no resident minister in the neighbourhood, a separate curate was to be appointed there also. Even in parodies where there is no Protestant, the clergyman of the adjoining parish was to receive 5/. a year merely in teken of his spiritual authority, in order that there might be " no portion of the State's dominions without the pale of the State's religion."
It thus appears, that the bill which the Orange Tories have thrown out under the pretence that it would extinguish Protest- antism in Ireland, provided most scrupulously and far more effec- tually than the present system for the preservation of Protest- antism.
Let the " most thinking People" of England look to the bill itself, and disregard the false interpretation put upon it by the Orange conspirators. They will then discern who are the real friends to the Protestant religion ; they will be enabled to decide between the claims of those who would have provided for the reli- gious instruction not only of the existing but of the prospective members of the Establishment, and those who, with the infatua- tion of party rage, have in ellixt swamped that Establishment, and left its ministers in debt and in penury-, by rejecting the only means of securing to it half a million sterling per annum in lieu of the tithes which can no longer be levied.