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" I know," says counsellor O'Connell, “ I know that by introducing the mention of the scriptures, I am treading on delicate and danger ous ground, and shall meet with censure, abuse, and calumny; but conscious of but one motive, I invite such censure, and court such calumny. My motive is pure, though my opinion may be mistaken. By means of this part of your resolution, you have already co menced to impede, and, as your plan goes along and attracts attention, you will still more and more impede, the progress of your society among a numerous class.
I shall now clearly demonstrate that you do so, from actual facts. You do not grant the means of education to that class to which I belong. Let me not be mistaken: I shall always be ready to speak my own conviction, that my profession is the best ; if I did not feel it to be .so, I would not adhere to it for one hour. Every one here, I will allow, may feel the same. When I do therefore speak on the subject, I must protest against being supposed to infer disparagement to another's belief. I respect human freedom in opinion, and think every created being has a right to worship God according to his conscience: no human dignities would induce me to alter my opinion, whether I uttered it among the senators of England or the inquisitors of Spain.
" Allow me now to revert to the question, Whether making it a preliminary to give the Bible, without note or comment, does not affect the principle? I say it does :-as long as you insist on its being a school-book, you do not afford equal facilities to Catholics. I prove it thus. I begin with the lowest and humblest of my proofs ; I begin with myself. I have, in a remote county, some property; not worth speaking of in any other way, than as it imposes on me the duty of assisting in the education of the poor who have claims upon me. I gave a school-house, at a low rent and tax-free, and contributed also; still, however, we wanted assistance, and looked for it to your society; but you
would not afford it. I could not let the Bible be a schoolbook, and you insisted that I should. You, therefore, do not give equal facilities.
The next proof is from the schools in Tralee, under the Rev. Mr. Egan, supported by the voluntary contributions of tradesmen, containing 440 children. There are in it about seventeen or eighteen Protestants—no interference is used—the Catholics are not even taught in the presence of the Protestants.
" There is another school, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Denny, a very amiable and liberal man. The number in his school is twenty. The Catholic clergyman made this proposal : Let us unite five days out of six-let us teach them indifferently without introducing religious instruction; let them separate then, and each teach his own; let us go to the society and apply for a grant.' Mr. Denuy would have done so, but that from your resolution he found he could not succeed in such application. “ I state these facts,—for what purpose ? Not that you
should decide upon them now, but to call on every honest man to pause and say, whether education is not the assertion of truth? Whether the man who asserts one thing and means another, be an honest man? or whether he does not himself most want education, who refuses a committee to inquire whether he may not have been mistaken?
"Since last meeting, matters have occurred with respect to the Catholic persuasion, which may be matters of ridicule to others, but are not so to us. The spiritual head of our church has issued what may not perhaps be obligatory on our consciences, even in spiritual matters, and it is well known that we often oppose him in temporals; but it is at least his advice, ex cathedra.—This excludes from Catholic schools the Testament, even with note and comment, even though these might be acceptable to the Catholics. It is, in fact, a bull of the This, therefore, has caused an additional difficulty; see, then, how you proceed: you say that you will afford equal facilities to each persuasion, and on the other hand comes the bull of the pope, refusing such aid. Can you now find any one with such powers of face, as to tell me that you give equal facilities ? Nothing but religious delusion can account for this.
“ To be sure, when I last had the honour of addressing you, my friend Mr. Burrowes answered me, and went near to persuade me that I knew nothing of the Catholic persuasion, and made a speech to prove it so; and a liberal and wealthy merchant, whom I see before me, did the same. I know that I shall have the same to encounter to-day. I did not wish to enter further into such controversies, and therefore applied to some of the heads of the Catholic persuasion in Ireland. On the Most Reverend Dr. Murray I shall make no eulogium, I applied also to the Most Reverend Dr. Troy, and, in consequence, a meeting was held of the principal parish priests in Dublin, in order that I might have an authentic document to read to this meeting, to express their sentiments; and they have resolved that. The scriptures, with or without note or comment, are not fit to be used as a school-book'— To be thumbed by every child in the school.
" I end with a proof that is irrefragable; this document has been sent to me for the very purpose of being read to this meeting. The meeting was held, and this resolution framed, for this very purpose.
“Now, my lord duke, see how this document calls on you to accede to my humble motion, to afford a committee to see if really equal facilities are granted. This document says, “either with or without comment, it is not to be a school-book ;' your resolution says it shall; put these together, and see how you can say .equal facilities. On the one hand, the determination of the prelates, that it shall not be a schoolbook; on the other, yours, that you will not give assistance unless it is; yet you still say, that you cannot see any thing in this document to require at least the decency of a committee,—the decorum of an investigation. As the only thing that is objected to, is the circulation of the holy scriptures, I will tell you the course you ought to pursue, as honest men : -You ought to come forward to new model your resolution, and also to give aid to such as refuse to use the scriptures without note or comment. I well know that I shall hear to-day, as I did last year, something like prose run mad, something like half sermons about the value and the origin of this book, the Bible. (Applause, mired with louder hisses.) If I have trod on the tail of the serpent of bigotry, let it hiss. Oh it was a good hiss ! a noble hiss! an excellent hiss! and I thank you for the hiss. Those who hissed may suppose they are acting for the service of God; but they serve God by a falsehood. But there is more honesty in the hiss, than in those gentlemen who
assert one thing and then say and do another. I have stated to you my own opinion, and shall re-state it, notwithstanding the peril of the hiss. The Bible never can be received without note or comment by the Catholic persuasion. Gentlemen hissers, we believe that the entire word of God has not been preserved in writing: we believe that a portion has been preserved in the church which preserved that writing, and this being our tenet, you cannot expect to have the Catholic clergy submit, when their attention is roused, to have the Bible used without note or comment, because they must have tradition, which we also call the word of God. Every Catholic is bound in life and in death to assert this; -you assert the opposite in your resolution.”
The reader will see that the pleadings of Counsellor O'Connell proceed upon the ground that the rules of the society are not consistent with themselves. The leading principle of the society, “ to afford the same facilities for education to all classes of professing Christians, without any attempt to interfere with the peculiar religious opinions of any," is not consistent with the other rule, which requires that the scriptures, without note or comment, should be read in the schools. At firsi, Protestants and Papists met on this, which both, in their simplicity, considered common ground. The Protestant knew that the Bible alone was the foundation of his religion; and the Papist, without considering consequences, agreed to admit the Bible alone (that is, without note or comment) into the schools which were supported by the contributions of both parties. But O'Connell has found out that the Bible alone is not the foundation of his religion ; and that, therefore, the requiring of it to be read in the schools, is inconsistent with the professed object of the society, which is, to afford equal facilities for education to both Protestants and Papists. This is a declaration as plain as words can make it, that, in the opinion of Papists themselves, the Bible is against them. They will rather that their children shall go without education, than that they should have access to the Bible. This, however, is by no means the general feeling among the Irish Papists. Thousands of the peasantry are eagerly craving to have their children taught; but since the pope issued his bull, which O'Connell admits to be, “in fact, a bull of the pope," the clergy have taken the alarm, and he appears as their agent, in the School Society, in order, if possible, to get the Bible expelled from the schools.
This eloquent counsellor uses a somewhat curious argument. “ The Bible," says he, “never can be received without note or comment by the Catholic persuasion. Gentlemen hissers, we believe that the entire word of God has not been preserved in writing: we believe that a portion has been preserved in the church which preserved that writing; and this being our tenet, you cannot expect to have the Catholic clergy submit, when their attention is roused, to have the Bible used without note or comment, because they must have tradition, which we also call the word of God.”
Now, suppose we grant that what they call tradition is also the word of God, it must be consistent with the written word: if it contain any thing of an opposite character, it cannot possibly have proceeded from the same source; but if it be the word of God, there can be no harm in giving other portions of the same word without it, or it without the other portions. Protestants admit that the Old Testament without the New, and that the New with
out the Old, is not the whole word of God; but we never suspect danger in giving the one without the other, though we prefer giving both together, when we can. Nay, I venture to aflirm that there is not one book in either of the Testaments, which may not be safely given and profitably read, though the reader should never see another page of the Bible. It is, in fact, to libel the inspired penmen, to say that the writings of any of them would be productive of mischief without the guardianship of the rest. How much greater the libel, when all of them taken together are declared to be dangerous, unless they be subjected to the control of an imaginary being, to whom they give the name of tradition, whose authority, in the church of Christ, is of no more value than that of the traditions of the elders
the Jews, which we are assured, by an infallible witness, made void the law.
Besides, if it be dangerous to give the Bible without tradition, it must be also dangerous to give it with tradition, unless you give the whole mass of it. If the written word must not be given without the unwritten, much less must a part of the latter be given without the whole. I defy the church of Rome to say how big a book this would make; but I apprehend the stoutest dray-horse in the kingdom would not be able to move it. And would the grave Counsellor O'Connell really propose to give such a primer to the poor popish children at school? I apprehend he has no such intention. His object, and that of his reverend fathers, is merely to get quit of the Bible altogether; and for his exertions in this behalf, the clergy are puffing him up to the skies.
The counsellor insinuates that the Protestant part of the society are guilty of duplicity, in professing to give equal facilities for education to all parties, without interfering with the religious opinions of any; and, at the same time, persisting in giving the Bible to the children. This is plainly admitting, that to give the Bible to a Papist, is interfering with his religious opinions. It is not pretended that any Protestant gentleman of the society, or any of their Protestant teachers, attempted to expound the scriptures to the scholars, or to show their conformity with one system more than another. There has, therefore, been no interference with the religious opinions of any, in the sense in which they understood the word; and it is extremely unjust in the orator to bring such a charge against gentlemen who had done no more than what he and his popish brethren had agreed should be done; namely, giving the Bible without note or comment. If the Pa. pist believed the Bible to contain his religion, the giving of it was as much an interference with the religion of Protestant children, as the Protestant giving it, was with that of popish children: and if there was any duplicity in the matter, it must attach to one party as well as the other.
O'Connell's speech received an able reply from Richard B. Warren, Esq., in which, among other things, he proved, that to withhold the word of God from children, would be disobedience to the command of God. In answer to the objection founded on the alleged profanation of the Bible, “to be thumbed by every child in the school,” Mr. Warren stated that it was not used as a spelling-book; or used at all, but by those children who had made such proficiency in reading, as to be
able to derive instruction from it; and this, I suppose, is the case in every well regulated school in which the Bible is read.
It appears farther, from Mr. Warren's speech, that many individuals and public bodies had contributed large sums; that a legacy had been bequeathed; and that even parliament had granted pecuniary aid to the society, on the express understanding that the rules were to be adhered to; that is, that the Bible, without note or comment, was to be used in the schools. It is presumable that many of the donors would not have given a shilling to support schools from which the Bible was excluded. The measure, therefore, which Mr. O'Connell desired to carry, would have been a breach of faith with both the living and the dead. But as these were only heretics, the thing might, perhaps, in the opinion of Papists, be lawfully done.
PERVERSION PY PAPISTS OF A SCHOOL ESTABLISHED BY PROTESTANTS. REMARKS OX
BISHOP COPINGER'S ADDRESS. EXAMPLES OF ABSURD INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE. NOTE ON THE WORSHIP OF THE TRINITY.
SATURDAY, May 20th, 1820. The reader is requested to connect what follows with the conclusion of my last number.
The following striking fact, stated by Mr. Warren, shows how Papists do when they get schools, even supported partly by Protestants, under their own management. “The learned gentleman has triumphantly referred to the Friars' School, in Cork, as a proof of the anxiety, on the part of the Roman Catholic clergy, to promote the education of the poor :- I thank the learned gentleman for making mention of that school in particular, as I happen to be acquainted with the circumstances which led to its formation. About the time at which this society was formed, the presence of Joseph Lancaster, in this country, excited a very general anxiety on the subject of the education of the poor. A meeting was held in the city of Cork, at which a very large sum was subscribed by all religious persuasions, for the purpose of establishing a school, on such a liberal plan as should be unobjectionable to every denomination of Christians; and after much discussion, it was resolved that the scriptures should be excluded, lest the children of Roman Catholics might be otherwise prevented from attending. A noble school-house was erected, capable of accommodating (as the learned gentleman has told us,) seven hundred children; and a committee was immediately formed; but although many Protestants became subscribers to its funds, few (if any) could be found, who would devote their time to the superintendence of such a school; the management of its affairs consequently fell into the hands of persons of a different persuasion. No statement (as I believe) has ever been published of the system of instruction adopted in this school; but I know, from the testimony of gentlemen who visited it during the last summer, that this institution, which commenced its career by excluding the scriptures without note or comment, lest it should be offensive to Roman Catholics, has now become a Roman Catholic seminary, in which the Douay version of the scriptures,