« PreviousContinue »
THE IRISH CHURCH.* 'NGLISHMEN have been now which is content to live on from year
for more than thirty years to year with an ever increasing debt, familiar with the various topics by for outraged justice and common which the one glaring anomaly of sense, some day, unless all the their constitution can be defended teachings of history are in vain, to or assailed. Weak, paralyzed, and be paid, to the last farthing, in the apparently moribund, the Irish shape of some calamity, grievous and Church has, at any rate, not suc- humiliating, in proportion as it has cumbed under a storm of argument, been long-delayed. ridicule, and invective, which for a It is, perhaps, upon this phase whole generation has been putting of the matter that there is just her crumbling battlements and rot- now most need to insist. ten foundations to the test. Every champions of the Irish Establishstatesman of the least standing on ment are accustomed to omit from either side of the House has swelled their calculations one of the parties the chorus of indignation, and joined to the arrangement, and the most with speakers and writers out of grievously injured of all, namely doors in condemning an abuse which, themselves. To do wrong is a far day by day, becomes more glaringly greater misfortune than to endure it. indefensible. Her apologists, with No mån enjoys a wrongful privilege, pardonable inconsistency,
tramples on his fellow-citizens, or ground their defence on her position violates fair play, without forthwith as a 'Missionary Church,' now ac- incurring a moral loss, compared knowledge the uselessness of prosely with which any external advantage tism, and ask only for the mainte- is a bauble indeed. The Irish nance of the religious status quo. Church is a melancholy example of Still she stands on, the butt of wits, the fact. Her defenders have gone the pet theme of political skirmish- on, shutting their eyes to the maniers, and the despair and shame of fest justice of the case, entrenching all who look at a political grievance themselves behind the safe barriers not merely in its results on those which national bigotry has raised for who endure it, but as it affects the their protection-filling the air with character of the nation which allows the noisy cries which are always to it to exist; whose indolence, indif- be got out of a mob when wrong is ference, or want of principle throw to be defended or selfishness init as a sort of sop to the greedy dulged, -until the very ideas of fanaticism of a mob of bigots; and justice, humanity, , nay, common
* The Census of Ireland for the Year 1861. Part IV.
The Church Establishment in Ireland, Past and Present. Illustrated exclusively from Protestant Authorities. Dublin: Warren, 1863.
Etudes sur l'Irlande Contemporaine. Par le K. P. Adolphe Perraud. 1862.
honour, seem to be hopelessly lost in houses having one chimney and sight of; and the State Church, when upward, not one-eighth belonged its day of doom arrives, will fall, 'to other than Protestants;' and of self-condemned, from its utter inca- the same class of property in walled pacity to rally in its defence any and corporate towns, one-tenth at feelings but those which have in all most was in the hands of Catholics. ages and countries been the anima- Of the 800,000 Catholics, 75,000 were ting motives of the most ignoble beyond the necessity of bodily portions of society. As it is, the labour; while of the remaining arguments of her apologists are-to 725,000, 700,000 were the inhabitany thoughtful mind, not already ants of the 'wretched nasty cabins, committed to a theory on the sub- without chimney, window, or door ject ---the most emphatic of all pos- shut, and worse than those of the sible condemnations; and the mere savage Americans.' facts that these afford us, demon- Another calculation, still less restrate with irresistible conclusive- liable, the Commissioners think, ness, that the Irish Church, as at than Sir W. Petty's, was made in present established, is a gratuitous 1736, in connexion with the returns outrage upon those principles of of the Hearth Money Collectors. By political equality which are the very this it appeared that Protestants of life-blood of sound and rational all denominations were rather more government; and, so far
from than half a million, and the Cathoserving any useful end, has the lics rather less than a million and a one result of training a gentle and half,-a proportion which the Comsubmissive population into a law- missioners find it difficult, both from less mood, and rearing at our very internal evidence and from the doors a system of Ultramontane ob- existing state of the country, to acstruction, which must hinder every cept as even approximating to the scheme of social improvement, and truth. The Commissioners of Pubmay at any difficult crisis bring the lic Instruction, in 1834, though machinery of the State to an absolute working with a somewhat complistand-still.
cated machinery, and leaving room The figures of the case are gene- for considerable inaccuracies in the rally known; but it may be worth returns, present us with the first while to state once more in a succint really satisfactory account of the form, the unquestioned results of the relative numbers and condition of last official investigation.
the two creeds. In this, Protestants The Census Commissioners of 1861 are numbered at a million and a half enliven the statistics of their own -850,000 of these belonging to the report by a summary of the results Established Church, and 640,000 of previous inquiries of a similar being Presbyterians. Catholics are character. There are, however, no set down at 6,4 30,000. To come to figures of any satisfactory reliability the present day, on the 7th of compared with the minute and care- April, 1861, the resident population fully-arranged tables by which the were taken, in round numbers, as religious status of Ireland is now follows: Catholics, four and a half precisely ascertained. The first es- millions; Protestants, of all denomtimate to which they refer is that of inations, rather more than one and Sir William Petty, in the Political a quarter millions; and these totals, Anatomy of Ireland, and referring when analyzed, brought out as a apparently to the year 1672. Putting per centage, resultdown the inhabitants at 1,100,000, he reckons the English Protestants
Members of the Established of all denominations at 200,000,
I1.9 per cent, Roman Catholics
77.7 Irish Papists at 800,000, Scotch
9.0 Presbyterians at 100,000.
Methodists commerce, and the practice of the mechanical arts seem to have been Independents, Baptists, and Quapretty nearly usurped by the kers, each o.1 per cent.; all other Protestant minority; for of property persuasions-amongst the rest 393
Jews, one ' saint of no sect,' eight diocese of Dromore, 2000; and the sinners saved by grace,' seven 'old diocese of Down, 840. lights,' and one self-opinion or the The Roman Catholic population Church of God,'—were reckoned at has decreased by very nearly two 0.3 per cent.; making in all a popu- millions, from 6,430,000 to 4,500,000. lation of 5,798,900. Taken by provin- The dioceses where the loss has ces, in Connaught the Catholics are been greatest have been those of 94.8 per cent. of the inhabitants; Tuan, Killaloe, Meath, Elphin, in Munster, 93; in Leinster, 85; and Cloyne; each of which have while in Ulster they sink to 50 per lost something more than one-third cent. The entire strength of the of their Catholic inhabitants. Presbyterians lies in Ulster, where Achonry has escaped with the loss they are numbered at 26.3 of the of one-thirtieth, Waterford with entire population-in none of the that of one-eleventh, while the two other provinces do they reach one dioceses of Dublin and Connor have per cent.
the honourable distinction of showThe Established Church ranges ing a slight increase at present. from 38.4 per cent. in the county of In nine dioceses Roman Catholics are Fermanagh, its highest level, to 2 between 95 and 99 per cent. of the per cent. in Clare. In Armagh it total population; in ten they range numbers 30 per cent., in the suburbs between 90 and in four, between of Dublin 35 per cent., in the coun- 85 and 90; in one, between 8o and 85; ties of Dublin, Wicklow, Antrim, in two, between 75 and 80; while in and Londonderry, between 15 and 20 three their numbers fall as low as per cent: in King's and Queen's between 26 and 35 per cent. Counties, Cavan, Carlow, Kildare, As to the causes of the decline Donegal, Monaghan, and the city of the Commissioners bear an emphaCork, between 10 and 15; in the tic testimony, which though sufficounties of Longford, Louth, Meath, ciently obvious, it may be worth Westmeath, Wexford, Cork, Tippe- while putting on record. "The rary (North Riding), Leitrim, and two powerful denominations, they Sligo, and in the cities of Kilkenny say, ‘‘ Roman Catholic and ProLimerick, and Waterford, members testant, contained each a certain of the Establishment are between 5 portion of the struggling of the and 10 per cent.; in the counties of poor, and of the destitute, as well Kilkenny, Limerick, the South Ri- as of those who, not ranging under ding of Tipperary, Kerry, Roscom- any of the above heads, were yet mon, and the town of Galway, the so dependent on the general prospercentage is between 3 and 5; perity of the country, from the while in the counties of Waterford, nature of their employment or the Galway, and Mayo it is between 2 precariousness of their resources, and 3, sinking at last to 2 per
as to be unable to resist the prescent, in Clare.
sure of so terrible a visitation as The distresses of the last thirty the failure of the potato. There years have of course fallen with can be no doubt whatever that the most severity on the poorest class; proportion of the classes just menand we find accordingly that, while tioned was smallest among members the total decrease has been 27.1 of the Established Church, to which per cent., the Catholic population also belonged, in a greatly preponhas fallen off by 30 per cent., the derating number, all those classes Protestants generally by 14.8 per of society whose affluence, employcent. only. The Establishment, how- ment, and resources generally, would ever, has suffered more than other best qualify them to struggle sucProtestant communities, and has cessfully against the difficulties of lost 18.7 per cent., sinking from the time.' 853,000 in 1834, to 693,000 in 1861. Turning to the classification of In five dioceses only, out of 62, has parishes, we find that there are at it increased, and the only import- present 199 parishes--5 less than ant additions to its ranks have been in 1834-containing no member in the town of Belfast, 13,000; the
of the Established Church; 575–