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party or the other. They must speak the language of the 'No Popery' faction, or denounce the principle of state grants for religious purposes ; they must recognise the title of the legislature to decide on the truth or falsehood of religious creeds, or must wholly repudiate its interference with the
conscience and worship of the people. Into whatever compact individuals may enter, the public will judge of such organizations by their adopted resolutions. Let this rule then be applied to the resolutions of Exeter Hall and Covent Garden, and to the addresses and circulars which have been issued from the London Coffee House, and we defy any candid man to say, that an uniformed byestander could draw any other conclusion than that, the Central Anti-Maynooth Committee was an embodiment of the same evil spirit which has so frequently disgraced and cursed our country. We perceive, indeed, that at the meeting held on the 22nd of April, an attempt was made to guard against the danger to which we advert; but the circumstances which marked the effort were suspicious, and the ground of opposition recognised was insufficient, and, so far as the dissenting members of the committee are concerned, wanting, to say the least, in candour. It is within our knowledge, that the documents issued by this committee have seriously damaged our cause. They have been taken by many senators—and we do not wonder at it—as evidence of our sharing in the intolerance and bigotry of the clergy. Knowing little of dissenters, they not unnaturally infer from the furious rancour of speakers, with whom some of our men are publicly associated, that we are renegades from the cause of liberty, and strangely indifferent to the rights of the Irish people. We confess, therefore, that we greatly prefer a separate course of action, in which each section of opponents to the ministerial Bill may speak the language of an honest and intelligible consistency. Dr. Payne's admirable letter to Sir Culling Eardley Smith, has set the duty of dissenters in its true light. It is at once clear and compact, temperate and decided, just such an exposition of the case, as the interests of truth required. The following concluding passage sums up and applies his argument :
Now, you, Sir Culling, call upon Sir Robert Peel to act as a minister—to decide what is true and false in religiou as a ministerand to give support (for I imagine that your principle implies this), or withhold support, as a minister. By requiring us not to petition against the grant, on dissenting principles, you take from us the only consistent ground on which, as dissenters, we can petition—the only ground on which, even churchmen are now beginning to see, any consistent petition can rest. So strongly do I feel the inconsistency and the danger of the course you recommend, that, if I did not know you to be a friend—an able, warm-hearted friend—I should mistake you for an enemy. Greatly do I marvel to find, in your letter, a reference to the constitution of our country, and to hear you saying that it pronounces a certain system of faith to be false and dangerous ! What, if it does ? Is that, to a dissenter, a sufficient reason even for personal action against it? And yet you seem to plead it as a reason for government action !'
The course advocated by Dr. Payne is happily that which, in the main, has been pursued by protestant dissenters. There may have been exceptions, but they are only few, and where they have occurred, it has been from want of consideration rather than any intentional deviation from the course generally adopted. The character of dissenting opposition will be best learnt from the resolutions in which our various bodies have publicly recorded their sentiments. Some few of these we shall adduce in illustration of the case, and as matters of historical importance.
The British Anti-State Church Society is unquestionably one of the most potent organizations amongst us. Its Council of 500, comprises many of the most distinguished members of the several dissenting bodies of the empire, whilst the simplicity of its constitution, and the directness of its labours, are steadily working it into the confidence of the most enlightened and zealous portion of the community. The views recorded by this society are therefore an important element for consideration in the estimate of dissenting feeling, and these will sufficiently appear by the second and fourth of the resolutions adopted on the 26th of March. These resolutions are as follows :
• That this committee cordially admit the claim of their Roman catholic fellow-countrymen, irrespectively of their religious views, to the enjoyment of every right to which the citizens of a free community are entitled ; and they protest, with equal earnestness, against the outrage done to the feelings of the Roman catholic population of Ireland by the establishment of the protestant episcopal church, as they do against the wrong sought to be inflicted upon protestants by giving state support to the diffusion of Romanism.
• That, therefore, this committee, while they record their decided objection to the appropriation of any portion of the national funds, whether in the shape of parliamentary grants, or otherwise, to nonconforming communities, or to the support of the existing protestant establishments, and are engaged in seeking, by all constitutional means, the dissolution of the alliance between the church and the state, in all its forms, emphatically protest against the endowment of the Roman catholic ecclesiastical institutions, as an uncalled for and impolitic extension of a principle which they repudiate as inimical to the civil and religious interests of the empire."
The second resolution of the Committee of the Congregational Union, the most powerful organization existing in the Congregational body, expresses the same sentiment, and faithfully represents the views of that denomination. This resolution is as follows:
That this committee looks back, with indignation, upon the wrongs under which the Roman catholic population of Ireland so long groaned, and rejoicing that many of them have been redressed, would have every remnant of them removed by equitable and enlightened legislation ;-but this committee protests, with equal and decisive earnestness, against every employment of the resources or power of the state, either to sustain, or to suppress, the Roman catholic religion, or any other religion whatever; and feels entirely consistent in opposing with double energy, grants of public money, in aid of what it deems deadly error, while it steadfastly resists the granting of state-assistance for what it regards as the highest truth.'
The Committee of the Baptist Union, standing in the same relation to the Baptist denomination, as the former committee does to the Congregational, is equally explicit in the statement of its views, which are specially set forth in the following resolutions, being the second and fourth of those adopted on the 26th of March.
That this Committee, objecting, on principle, to the application of the resources of the state to ecclesiastical purposes of every kind, and having, consequently, disapproved the annual grant to the seminary at Maynooth heretofore made, regard with determined hostility the proposition now announced by the first minister of the crown, to increase the grant, to triple its customary amount, and to secure it in perpetuity by an act of Parliament.
That, in offering this resistance to the further endowment of the Roman catholic church in Ireland, this committee are not actu. ated by any wish to deprive their fellow-subjects of that persuasion of any equitable privilege, civil or religious; that, in point of religion, this committee, in contending for the dependence of Roman catholic teachers upon voluntary support, are desirous of placing them in the position which, in their judgment, ought to be occupied by every religious community, and which is, without complaint, occupied by themselves; and that, in point of general education, this Committee claim for the Roman catholics, as for all classes, a free and equal admission to the literary institutions of the country.'
Two other organizations exist amongst us which may fairly be taken to represent the opinions and feelings of no inconsiderable number. There are the General Body of protestant dissenting ministers of the three Denominations, in and about London, and the Deputies constituting a lay representation of the congregations in the same locality. Both these bodies have recorded their sentiments, and it is of importance to note in what terms they have done so. The first two resolutions of the former are as follows:
• That this body has heard with the deepest anxiety and alarm of the proposal of Her Majesty's government greatly to augment the parliamentary grant to the Roman catholic college of Maynooth, in Ireland, and of the intended introduction to the legislature of a Bill to remove that grant from the annual votes of the House of Commons, and so to make the endowment permanent; which, if allowed to become law, will, in the opinion of this body, virtually establish popery in that country by act of Parliament.
* That in the judgment of this body, it is in principle unjust, and in its tendency most mischievous, to appropriate the resources of the state to the endowment of any religious institution whatsoever; and that it is neither unjust nor uncharitable toward the Roman catholics of Ireland, to demand that the education of their priesthood be left to the same voluntary support, by which the seminaries and colleges of the nonconformist ministers of England and Wales have been founded, and are sustained.'
The latter body, that of the Deputies, has recorded its sentiments with equal explicitness in the following, amongst other resolutions, wherein, whilst avowing its opposition to the government measure, it carefully guards against the misconstruction to which its procedure might otherwise be liable.
• That this deputation, entertaining the conviction that state Endowments for religious purposes are equally at variance with the legitimate ends of government, and the true interests of religion, view with settled aversion the Bill now before Parliament for the
permanent endowment of the Roman catholic coilege of Maynooth, and for placing the college and buildings under the supervision of the Commissioners of public works in Ireland.
• That in opposing the proposed perpetuation and extension of the grant to Maynooth college, this deputation are but carrying out the principle on which they have heretofore opposed, and do now again firmly protest against, the annual grant made by Parliament to the presbyterians in Ireland, and poor protestant dissenting ministers in England; and they distinctly deny the assertion that has been publicly made, to the effect that the protestant dissenters have never, until now, opposed the grant to Maynooth college, nor any of those numerous measures in Ireland and in the colonies, involving payments to Roman catholic priests for services performed as chaplains to prisons and workhouses, or otherwise—the fact being that this deputation have embraced every suitable opportunity of expressing their entire disapprobation of the principle of such payments.'
It is due, in candour, that we admit—and we do it unhesitatingly—that two of the bodies from whose resolutions we quote, have recorded other reasons than those adduced, in sur
port of their views. We refer to the Committee of the Congregational Union, and to the Ministers of the Three Denominations. These resolutions, however, were adopted as supplemental only, and not as superseding the others--as expressive of the views entertained of popery, and not as constituting the main ground of opposition. They are expressly stated by the latter body to be special reasons' additional to the general principle on which its opposition to the endowment of religious institutions by the state' is based, and cannot be read in connexion with their associates without being so understood. Nevertheless, we regret their adoption as ill-timed and injurious, tending to obscure the truth, to impair the force of the testimony borne, to alienate friends, and to excite and irritate opponents. The terms employed in the third resolution of the Committee of the Congregational Union cannot fail, in the case of men uninformed respecting our sentiments, to make an impression vastly different from that which was designed. They mislead rather than inform, and thus subserve the purpose of error, instead of advancing the interests of truth. It is within our knowledge that this resolution was handed about amongst the liberal members of the House, as proof of the bitterness and rancour by which dissenters are actuated.
The resolutions we have quoted are in strict accordance with the sentiments expressed by dissenters in all parts of the country. This might be established by overwhelming evidence, but we have adduced enough to satisfy every candid man. What, then, must we think, what must every impartial and reflecting man think of the gross slanders and passionate vituperations of Mr. Sheil, who, in defiance of all evidence, in utter scorn of facts which glared upon him, could speak of the Church of England as looking down from her serene elevation with cold neutrality on this great sectarian affray,' and on the dissenters of Great Britain, 'the three denominations, as he designated them, as the bitterest and the most rancourous enemies to Ireland ? We leave the member for Dungarvon to the satisfaction which his calmer moments must yield, assured that such slanders are injurious only to the man who utters them. One or two reflec. tions force themselves upon us before we close.
How comes it to pass, we naturally inquire, that such a measure should, in the year 1845, have been submitted to the British legislature, and have obtained the support of so large a majority of the Commons' House ? The full discussion of this question requires much more space than we have now at our command. We can merely indicate what we deem the true solution, and must wait some future opportunity to examine the matter at large. The discussions and votes of the House,- for