Billeder på siden

for promoting the spiritual enlightenment of Irish Roman Catholics; it was placed at the disposal of a Committee appointed by the Irish Society; and Mr. Dallas was one of the agents who superintended its management. In two years a sum of ten thousand pounds was collected. The attention of Mr. Dallas was soon turned to a large district in the western part of County Galway where, according to the Blue Book of the preceding census, the proportion of those who could read was very small, and where only three Protestant churches were to be seen in a journey of sixty miles. He here commenced operations; and he was in a short time able to report that Protestant worship, in the Irish language, was celebrated at Errislanon, Ballyconree, Sellerna, Glan, and Rooveagh attended by increasing congregations of converts and inquirers. It was soon found that a new machinery was required to meet the demand for additional agency and enlarged expenditure. In March, 1849, the Society of "Irish Church Missions to the Roman Catholics" was accordingly instituted 4

Mr. Dallas was chosen honorary secretary of this new association; and, during the remainder of his life, he laboured with untiring energy to promote its efficiency. He was well fitted to advance its interests, and to guide its operations. He had wonderful activity, united with a special aptitude for the arrangement of details. He could at once see the right order to be observed in regulating the proceedings of agents, and in managing the business of committees. As he was connected by birth with persons of distinction, and as he had a dignified presence and polished manners, he could readily obtain access into the highest circles of society, to plead for the support of his favourite scheme. He was thoroughly in earnest; he was a ready and telling speaker; and fully assured, as well of the truth of the doctrines he propounded, as of the dangerous character of Romanism, he announced his convictions plainly and fearlessly. In cases of emergency, he could display tact, promptitude, and self-possession; and he

1 Incidents in the Life and Ministry of Dallas, p. 351.

2 Ibid. p. 352.

3 Ibid. p. 370.

4 Ibid. p. 371.

was not to be intimidated, either by opposition from the mob, or by denunciations from the altar. He had been already in private correspondence with several of the Romish clergy; and one of his earliest missionaries was a converted priest. Mr. Dallas set in motion agencies in Dublin which, in due time, produced important results; and it would appear that the latter days of Dr. Murray, the Roman Catholic archbishop, were saddened by the intelligence which reached him, relating to numerous defections from his Church in his immediate neighbourhood. In the district of Connemara, in County Galway, the Irish Church Missions also made a deep impression. In October, 1849, the Protestant Bishop of Tuam, administered confirmation to upwards of 400 converts. In 1851 the same prelate dispensed the same rite in seven places to 712 converts.3 The missionaries were at work all over Ireland ; and in many districts the Church of Rome lost a number of its adherents. By its partizans these conversions were attributed to various forms of bribery ; but it was proved, on investigation, that this representation was

a baseless calumny. “Instead of being bribed,” said a most competent authority," the converts, until they are numerous enough in any district to protect one another, are oppressed by all the persecution that can be inflicted, in a lawless country, by an unscrupulous priesthood, hounding on a ferocious peasantry.” So notorious was the harsh treatment now experienced by

1 Incidents in the Life and Ministry of Dallas, pp. 355-7.

? Notices of the Life and Character of his Grace the Rev. Daniel Murray, by Rev. William Meagher, P.P., p. 122. Dublin, 1853. Mr. Meagher is disposed to make light of the affair ; but he cannot altogether deny the facts. See p. 127. See also Whately's Life and Correspondence, ii. pp. 240, 256-7; and Incidents in the Life and Ministry of Dallas, pp. 391, 400, 411. 3 Incidents in the Life and Ministry of Dallas, pp. 378, 399, 400.

In 1831 there were, according to the First Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction (34d.), in Ballinakill ninety Protestants ; in the same place, according to the census of 1861, there were 278 Protestants. According to the same authorities, there were in Moyrus, in 1831, 108 Protestants; and, in 1861, 205 Protestants. In Umma, or Omey, including Clifden, in 1831 there were 179 Protestants; and in 1861 there were 841 Protestants. In 1831 there were six Protestants in Ballindown, or Ballindoon ; and in 1861 there were 306 Protestants.

4 This is the testimony of Archbishop Whately. See his Life and Correspond. ence, vol. ii., p. 241.


those who renounced the yoke of the papacy, that it was found necessary in 1850 to establish "The Society for Protecting the Rights of Conscience in Ireland.”l Dr. Whately, the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, had a great share in the formation of this association. Its object was to save from utter ruin persons of approved honesty who, convinced of the falsity of Romanism, had openly seceded from its communion. The existence of such an institute was in itself an evidence of the extent of the conversions. Before his death, in December, 1869, and in connexion with the Society for Irish Church Missions, Mr. Dallas had been the means of erecting twenty-one churches, forty-nine schoolhouses, twelve parsonages, and four orphanages. 2

Ever since the passing of the Emancipation Act in 1829, Irish Romanism had been assuming a bolder tone, and had been making a very unscrupulous use of its political influence; but it is obvious, from the preceding statements, that Irish Protestantism had meanwhile lost nothing of its vitality and strength. Never before had it made such efforts for the enlightenment of a superstitious people, and never before had its exertions been crowned with such success. The Roman Catholic prelates soon began to forbid controversy; for, in almost every instance, their champions had been defeated on the fair field of public discussion. They interdicted the reading of Protestant books; and denounced even the occasional presence of any member of their communion, at any form of Protestant worship, either public or domestic, as a crime of enormous magnitude. The po

power of the Church of Rome in Ireland was often sustained by intimidation, battery, and bloodshed ; and it was notorious that, in many instances, the priests, either covertly or openly, instigated their supporters to acts of violence.

1 Whately's Life and Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 229.
? Incidents in the Life and Ministry of Dallas, p. 554.

3 In the Diocesan Statutes adopted by the R. C. prelates of Leinster in 1831, holding communion in worship with those who do not belong to the Romish Church is classed among the “reserved cases " for which an ordained priest cannot grant absolution. See Cap. xvi., De cas. reserv.






The progress of Protestant missions, in various parts of Ireland, has been detailed in the preceding chapter. But in many quarters, where there was no actual secession from the ranks of Romanism, it was evident that priestly influence had considerably declined. This change in the state of national sentiment may be easily explained. The national schools had been diffusing the light of education ; and those who could read, and who had access to the Holy Scriptures, could judge for themselves. And the policy at this time inaugurated, by the Pope and his Irish hierarchy, was well fitted to awaken deep dissatisfaction. At the beginning of the century, as we have seen the appointments to bishoprics were often carried by intrigue; and, to remove this scandal, it had been arranged that henceforth, on the death of a prelate, the clergy of the diocese were to have the right of recommending such candidates, as they deemed most suitable for the vacant dignity. It soon appeared that the court of Rome was disposed to treat such recommendations with very little ceremony. In April, 1847, Dr. Murphy, Roman Catholic bishop of Cork, died; and the parish priests of the diocese nominated Father Mathew as the most worthy to be appointed his successor. This decision was hailed with the highest approbation by the laity; and in an address from the inhabitants

1 Pp. 405 and 442 of this volume.


Maguire's Father Matheui', p. 40.4.

of the city and county of Cork, with one thousand signatures attached, the good friar was congratulated on the selection. Had ecclesiastical Home Rule been the order of the day, the choice would have been final. The churchmen who flourished when Ireland was known as the Isle of Saints would, in such a case, have spurned the idea of applying to any foreign bishop for his confirmation. But times were changed; Romanism had robbed both the clergy and people of their rights; and both were now so servile as to submit to Italian dictation. The Apostle of Temperance—the man who had rendered more substantial service to his country than all the Roman Catholic prelates of Ireland put together—was passed over ; and Dr. Delany was placed in the see of Cork. In the list of candidates submitted to the Pope, the name of Priest Delany stood next to that of Father Mathew, so that here the Roman arbiter did not entirely ignore the nomination of the parochial clergy; but more recently, and in a case of greater consequence, he ventured upon this bold course. Dr. Crolly, the Roman Catholic primate of Armagh, died in the spring of 1849 ;3 and in due time, as usual, the names of three approved candidates were forwarded to Italy. But, to the astonishment of the clergy, all the three were set aside; and the Rev. Paul Cullen, rector of the Irish College in Rome, was advanced to the archiepiscopal chair. Men who consent to give up their freedom deserve to be humiliated. The voters saw that their election was a mockery; but they had sworn to obey the Pope; and they were obliged to submit, as they best could, to the indignity.

i Maguire, p. 408.

? Father Mathew died in 1856. He became greatly embarrassed in consequence of his inconsiderate liberality; and, on one occasion, when in Dublin, was actually arrested for debt. In 1847 Government came to his relief by granting him a pension of £300 per annum. By the aid of this endowment he insured his life, and was thus able, in the end, to meet the demands of his creditors. Maguire, pp. 427, 430.

3 Dr. Crolly, a native of County Down, was consecrated Roman Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor in 1825. He was a supporter of the National System of Education. He became Primate in 1835. He laid the foundation of the splendid Roman Catholic Cathedral at Armagh, which was opened for worship on the 24th August, 1873.

4 He was also agent to the Irish R. C. Bishops at Rome. Fitzpatrick, ii. 489.

« ForrigeFortsæt »