Obrazy na stronie

street, on which he supported a wife and family. I knew not how the inhibition of his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin affected him; but I am afraid there was nothing left to embarrass his choice,--for the sacrifice of his curacy was already made. He was an excellent scholar, and known in Dublin as a literary man. He published several works, and, among the rest, one which, at this moment, ought to be of considerable interest. You know that James I., like Henry VIII., was a great theologian; but, unlike his predecessor, he did not exécute every person who differed with him in opinion: on the contrary, in order to form a fair estimate of the several arguments that might be adduced in favour of the respective doctrines of Catholics and Protestants, he directed that each party should select a man to manage the disputation; collect, digest, and arrange the tenets of their respective churches; and support their own or subvert their opponents, by argument or authority. The acute and learned Jesuit Fisher was selected by the Catholics; Dr. Francis White, Dean of Carlisle, by the Protestants; and these men pleaded their cause before James, like Paul and Tertullius before Felix. The arguments were handed in writing to the King, who caused them to be published, by royal authority, in one volume folio, in 1624. This book, so curious and important, and once so celebrated, had become exceedingly scarce, and was rarely to be met with; but by the industry and zeal of the Rev. Andrew Staunton, a copy of it was procured, and a new edition published in a more agreeable form, divested of the superfluity with which the heavy and syllogistic mode of argument had encumbered the original. It is managed in the form of a catechism. James proposes the questions,-Fisher replies,—and White rejoins. In the course of the dialogue, the learned and pious pedantry of the King, the smooth and specious polish of the Jesuit, and the downright and impatient rudeness of the Reformer, are exactly suited to the real characters of the drama;

and so the book is a literary curiosity, displaying traits of character and peculiarity of manner that gave the very “ body of the time its form and pressure.” The motive of the worthy man to republish this work is best given in his own words. “ It is divested," said he,“ of acrimonious bitterness and bigoted animosity; and exhibits the purest picture of the various articles of faith wherein both Churches essentially differ; and thus the sincere admirers of each distinct system of religious worship may approxi, mate to cherish a cordial reconciliation of Christian amity and mutual concord, founded upon an accurate knowledge, and discriminating the precise causes which separate and divide the Churches." Whether the tolerant and Christian sentiments contained in the above passage were altogether at variance with the angry and pugnacious spirit of modern disputants, and so gave offence, I know not; but certain it is, that a work which should have recommended him to his superiors has been consigned with himself to neglect and obscurity. It is highly probable the greater part of the edition which was published in Dublin, about thirteen years ago, is still lying on the shelf of the bookseller; and you will render a good and learned man, or, if he be dead, his impoverished family, a service, by directing public attention to this work. It is infinitely more important and curious than the recent controversy between Pope and Macguire, which, after all, was but a faint and imperfect copy of the other.

That nothing might be wanting to complete the series of injustice which a Dublin curate has to complain of, the injury does not cease with the dead, but seems to be visited, as it were, on the surviving families of those devoted men. In almost every other department, provision is made for the widow of a public servant whose income dies with him, and she has either some house or asylum provided for her, or the means of procuring it; but there is no such thing for the widow of an Irish curate: indeed it was naturally supposed that the immense revenues of the Church would be sufficient for every such purpose, and that its guardians would take care that å competent part of it should be so applied. In the diocese of Dublin there

are about 70 unbeneficed clergymen. The repeal of the ecclesiastical law enjoining celibacy, being one of the supposed great improvements of the Reformation, the curates think they are not only permitted, but enjoined to marry, and so they do, unwarily entangle themselves with a family they are not allowed the means of providing for, die in indigence, and leave the survivors in deep distress. A subscription had been tried among themselves to provide some asylum to shelter their widows, but the of the subscribers rendered this project hopeless, and it was soon abandoned. For a long time there was no place for these forlorn persons, till a beneficent lady, whose name deserves to be recorded, did that for strangers, out of her limited income, which the dignitaries of the church would not do for their own, out of their abundant means. Lady Anne Hume built an asylum for six clergymen's widows of the diocese of Dublin, and endowed it with an income of 60l. per annum. This bequest, highly creditable to the amiable donor, is the sole dependence for the widows of the clergy of the Established Church. The house, however, is a meagre little edifice, close by the walls of Mercer's Hospital, and the relief afforded is a very small naked room, and 101. a year, for each person's support! Yet for the accommodations of this place, more dismal than a parish alms-house, the applications of the desolate and distressed, on every vacancy, are so numerous as to make the choice exceedingly embarrassing.

Thus then with a revenue exceeding two millions per annum, adequate, and more than adequate, to all the wants which an establishment could feel, the most numerous and respectable part,-because its real and efficient strength,-is left in extreme indigence while they live, and their families denied the common protection of a pauper asylum when they die.

But it may be said that the Church in England is chargeable with the same inequality in its remuneration of services, and that of Ireland has no exclusive right to complain. This is very true; yet it does not at all lessen the grievance because another is equally afflicted with it. But besides this, there is an infinite difference in many respects in the state of both Ecclesiastical establishments. That of England is the religion of the people; it has grown up with their habits and is interwoven with all their feelings; and if any part of their pastors receive too large a remuneration, they have at least a numerous flock to attend to, and an apparent duty as extensive as their income. Besides, the character of their dignitaries is of that high tone, that it ensures veneration and respect; and, except in the collision of politics, they never commit it, nor is there any other standing beside it to lessen it by invidious contrast. In the Church of Ireland, there have been also many excellent and learned men of exalted rank, and there are some now who would do honour to any profession; but, unfortunately, there have been others who do not stand so high in public opinion, who have devoted. their whole attention to the acquisition of wealth, and stamped upon the Church that mercenary character which its enemies delight to attach to it; and whose immense accumulation formed not only a strong contrast with the poverty of their own humble curates, but with persons of correspondent standing with themselves in other persuasious. As it is not safe to meddle with the living, we will advert to those that are gone, as mere matter of historical record.

The Rev. Dr. Moody, the Rev. Dr. Troy, and his Grace the Rev. Dr. Eager, were lately the contemporary heads of the Presbyterian, the Catholic, and the Protestant Church in Dublin, and for many years were well and personally known to every inhabitant in the city. Dr. Moody was a tall, thin man, with long grey hair. He had an income of about 400l. per ann., on which he lived in a plain, hospitable manner, and had besides something for acts of kindness and charity. He was never absent from his duties in his church, or among his congregation. All his leisure hours were devoted to literary labours connected with his sacred profession; and he was not less distinguished as an author than as a pastor. After a most useful life of 80 years he was called away, leaving behind him nothing but his writsings and the memory of his good works, which is still cherished by people

of every persuasion. - The Rev. Dr. Troy was a short, fat man, of an exceedingly kind disposition, and an active and useful clergyman. Without compromising the interest of the Church over which he presided, he was distinguished by his attachment to the government of the country; and his various addresses and exhortations to his flock, in times of peril and commotion, are a proof of his zeal and utility at a trying period. The whole income of this Archbishop. who presided over the spiritual concerns of five millions of people, did not exceed 8001. per ann., the voluntary contributions of his Rock, and this sum he immediately returned to those who gave it. He was never known to have a shilling in his pocket; he was so liberal to others and so careless of himself, that he would have wanted common necessaries if his friends did not take care of him; and when he died, at the age of 85, it was well known that he did not leave enough to bury him. 1. Of Dr. Eager's services to his Church L'am unable to speak, not being acquainted with them. I know, however, that he was neither so tall as Dr. Moody, nor so fat as Dr. Troy, nor so liberal or charitable as either of them. He had an income of about 12,0001. per ann., which he endeavoured to in: crease by every allowable means. He sold the venerable archiepiscopal residence in Kevin-street to government for 70001., and the Bishop's Palace is now a soldier's barracks. But there was one expedient for increasing his income which the curates of his diocese, at least, will never forget. It was once upon a time a practice in the Church, as the curate of our parish tells me, for bishops, as emioKO701, or overseers, to visit their clergy in person, and inspect their parishes; on which occasion certain among the clergy were appointed procuratores to provide a suitable dinner for the bishop when he came. But when prelates fell into that love of ease, which too much wealth naturally brings into it, instead of visiting their clergy, they enjoined their clergy to visit them; and as they came from different distances to a strange place, the bishop always provided for them the same kind of dinner which they were accustomed to provide for him. But in order that this should be attended with no expense to the prelate, they were still obliged to pay for it under the form of fees, called, in their visitation ticket, proxies (quasi procuratores) and exhibits, which every clergyman is obliged to pay when he visits his bishop on this occasion. During the prelacy of Dr. E. the dinner was omitted, though the proxies or price of it was regularly exacted. This was really a severe privation to the curates, some of whom looked forward to the periodical enjoyment of a good dinner, wine, and the society of friends, as indulgences which their own scanty means never allowed. Many of them came from distant

its of the country, and had no friends in the metropolis who would give them a dinner. On this occasion the worthy curate of our parish always sent out into the highways to collect stragglers. He could not well afford it, but he could not see his brethren hungry in the streets while he could procure any thing to give them to eat. Dr. Eager died, like his contemporaries, at the advanced age of 80, but left behind hiin rather more money: his properly sworn to, I think, amounted to 200,0001.

It is to this mercenary character of the Church here, to which the conduct of some of its dignitaries gives too much cause, that is to be attributed much of that disrepute into which it has fallen, and from which all the excellence of its pure and tolerant doctrines, and apostolic and becoming discipline, cannot rescue it; for that it has fallen, and is falling, in public estimation, its real friends' at once admit and deplore. In fact, what part of the community have any feeling of interest or sympathy in its prosperity, out of the seven millions of people among whom it is established ? Five millions of Catholics hate it as an usurpation on their own, refuse to pay its tithes, and loudly complain of the misapplication of those immense


funds, which they say were much more equally and usefully applied by themselves. One million of Dissenters prcfess to despise it

, as a mere worldly establishment, whose ministers, they say, sacrifice not to God but to Mammon. Even the half million of its own members think of it without affection and talk of it without respect; while two-thirds of the ministers who officiate within its wails have reason to repine at its injustice, and to wish that their lot had been cast in any other establishment. It is quite idle to talk of its numerous conversions of late from the Catholic Church, and of the “ mass of Papists which," the Warder says, “ had melted down before the light and heat of Protestantism." The mass, I am sorry to say, remains unchanged, and the only real and efficient conversions have been from the Established Church to the Dissenters. To be convinced of this, it is only necessary to visit a Dublin church, where the people are not attracted by fashion, or some temporary cause. Let any stranger, for example, enter the Church of St. Nicholas Within or St. Nicholas Without, or St.-, of which I am myself a Churchwarden, and contemplate their empty pews on a Sunday morning. Should he wish to know what has become of their congregations, let him go to meeting-houses in Plunketstreet, Whitefriar-street, York-street, &c., and there he will see them in crowds.

The projected reform, therefore, in the temporalities of the Church of Ireland is what every well-wisher to its character and stability have long and ardently wished for. In this reformation it is to be hoped that the deserving curates will not be forgotten, and that we shall no longer see that bitter satire on its conduct exhibited by the late Archbishop, a beggingbox set up in a bookseller's shop to collect charity for the unprovided for and deserving clergy of the Established Church in Dublin.".




APPROACH! thou visitant of gorgeous tombs,

And costly mausoleums, whose august

And sculptured massiveness bespeaks the dust
Beneath once noble,—here no statue glooms
Rebuke from its dark niche, nor earth resumes

Her own with ghastly pageantry; nor bust,

Nor aught of grandeur's dim heraldic trust,
Here flatters the poor clay that clay consumes.

Approach, and mark where last the sod hath heaved,

And trace one record of the lowly dead, -
“ He lived-he died." What sculptor e'er achieved

More on rich marble, trusted not when read?

This simple stone speaks truth, and is believed. Bishop Wearmouth.



MR. SMITH. I died on the 1st of April, 1823; and if the reader will go to the parish-church of Smithton, ask the sexton for the key, and, having gained admission, if he will walk up the left-hand side aisle, he will perceive my family pew, beneath which is my family vault, where my murtal remains are now reposing; and against the wall, over the very spot where I used to sit every Sunday, he will see a very handsome white marble monument: a female figure is represented in an attitude of despair, weeping over an urn, and on that urn is the following inscription :

“ Sacred
to the Memory


of Smithton Hall,
who departed this life

on the 1st of April, 1823.
The integrity of his conduct and the amiability of his temper

endeared him
to a wide circle of friends :
he has left an inconsolable Widow,

and by her
this Monument is erected."

The gentle reader may now pretty well understand my position when alive; popularity had always been my aim, and my wealth and situation in society enabled me to attain what I so ardently desired. At county meetings—at the head of my own table-among the poor of the parishI was decidedly popular, and the name of Smith

was always breathed with a blessing or a commendation. My wife adored me; no wonder, therefore, that at my

demise she erected a monument to my memory, and designated herself, in all the lasting durability of marble, my “inconsolable widow." I had a presentiment that I should not be long-lived, but this rather increased my thirst for popularity; and, feeling the improbability of my living very long in the sight of Mrs. Smith and my many dear friends, Í was the more anxious to live in their hearts. Nothing could exceed my amiability,--

my life was one smile, my sayings were conciliatory, my doings benevolent, my questions endearing, my answers affirmative. Í was determined that my will, unlike most wills, should be satisfactory to everybody. I silently studied the wants and wishes of those around me, and endeavoured to arrange my leavings so that each legatee should hereafter breathe my name with a blessing, and talk of “that dear good fellow Smith,” always at the same time having recourse to a pockethandkerchief. I perpetually sat for my picture, and I gave my resemblances to all the dear friends who were hereafter to receive “the benefit of my dying."

So far I have confined my narrative to the humdrum probabilities of every-day life; what I have now to relate may strike some of my

« PoprzedniaDalej »