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tient, under a deprivation of all the rights of human nature, everything which could give them a knowledge or feeling of those rights was rationally forbidden. To render humanity fit to be insulted, it was fit that it should be degraded. But when we profess to restore men to the capacity for property, it is equally irrational and unjust to deny then
the power of | improving their minds as well as their fortunes. Indeed, I
have ever thought the prohibition of the means of improving our rational nature, to be the worst species of tyranny that the insolence and perverseness of mankind ever dared to exercise. This goes to all men, in all situations, to whom education can be denied.
Your Lordship mentions a proposal which came from my friend the provost, whose benevolence and enlarged spirit I am perfectly convinced of; which is, the proposal of erecting a few sizerships in the college, for the education (I suppose) of Roman Catholic clergymen. He certainly meant it well ; but, coming from such a man as he is, it is a strong instance of the danger of suffering any description of men to fall into entire contempt.—The charities intended for them are not perceived to be fresh insults; and the true nature of their wants and necessities being unknown, remedies, wholly unsuitable to the nature of their complaint, are provided for them. It is to feed a sick Gentoo with beef broth, and to foment his wounds with brandy. If the other parts of the university were open to them, as well on the foundation as otherwise, the offering of sizerships would be a proportioned part of a general kindness. But when everything liberal is withheld, and only that which is servile is permitted, it is easy to conceive upon what footing they must be in such a place.
Mr. Hutchinson must well know the regard and honour I have for him ; and he cannot think my dissenting from him in this particular arises from a disregard of his opinion: it only shows that I think he has lived in Ireland. To have any respect for the character and person of a Popish priest there -oh! 'tis an uphill work indeed. . But until we come to respect what stands in a respectable light with others, we are very deficient in the temper which qualifies us
It appears that Mr. Hutchinson meant this only as one of the means for their relief in point of education.
to make any laws and regulations about them. It even disqualifies us from being charitable to them with
effect or judgment.
When we are to provide for the education of any body of men, we ought seriously to consider the particular functions they are to perform in life. A Roman Catholic clergyman is the minister of a very ritual religion; and by his profession subject to many restraints. His life is a life full of strict observances, and his duties are of a laborious nature towards himself, and of the highest possible trust towards others. The duty of confession alone is sufficient to set in the strongest light the necessity of his having an appropriated mode of education. The theological opinions and peculiar rights of one religion never can be properly taught in universities, founded for the purposes and on the principles of another, which in many points are directly opposite. If a Roman Catholic clergyman, intended for celibacy, and the function of confession, is not strictly bred in a seminary where these things are respected, inculcated, and enforced, as sacred, and not made the subject of derision and obloquy, he will be ill fitted for the former, and the latter will be indeed in his hands a terrible instrument.
There is a great resemblance between the whole frame and constitution of the Greek and Latin churches. The secular clergy, in the former, by being married, living under little restraint, and having no particular education suited to their function, are universally fallen into such contempt, that they are never permitted to aspire to the dignities of their own church. It is not held respectful to call them papas,
their true and ancient appellation, but those who wish to address them with civility always call them hieromonachi. In consequence of this disrespect, which I venture to say, in such a church, must be the consequence of a secular life, a very great degeneracy from reputable Christian manners has taken place throughout almost the whole of that great member of the Christian church.
It was so_with the Latin church, before the restraint on marriage. Even that restraint gave rise to the greatest disorders before the council of Trent, which, together with the emulation raised, and the good examples given by the reformed churches, wherever they were in view of each other.
has brought on that happy amendment, which we see in the Latin communion, both at home and abroad.
The council of Trent has wisely introduced the discipline of seminaries, by which priests are not trusted for a clerical institution, even to the severe discipline of their colleges ; but, after they pass through them, are frequently, if not for the greater part, obliged to pass through peculiar methods, having their particular ritual function in view. It is in a great measure to this, and to similar methods used in foreign education, that the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, miserably provided for, living among low and ill-regulated people, without any discipline of sufficient force to secure good manners, have been prevented from becoming an intolerable nuisance to the country, instead of being, as I conceive they generally are, a very great service to it.
The ministers of Protestant churches require a different mode of education, more liberal, and more fit for the ordinary intercourse of life. That religion having little hold on the minds of people by external ceremonies, and extraordinary observances, or separate habits of living, the clergy make up the deficiency by cultivating their minds with all
kinds of ornamental learning, which the liberal provision made in England and Ireland for the parochial clergy, (to say nothing of the ample church preferments, with little or no duties annexed) and the comparative lightness of parochial duties, enables the greater part of them in some considerable degree to accomplish.
This learning, which I believe to be pretty general, together with a higher situation, and more chastened by the opinion of mankind, forms a sufficient security for the morals of the established clergy, and for their sustaining their clerical character with dignity. It is not necessary to observe, that all these things are, however, collateral to their function, and that except in preaching, which may be and is supplied, and often best supplied, out of printed books, little else is necessary for a Protestant minister, than to be able to read the English language; I mean for the exercise of his function, not to the qualification of his admission to it. But a Popish parson in Ireland may
well without any considerable classical erudition, or any proficiency in pure or mixed mathematics, or any knowledge of civil history. Even if the Catholic clergy should possess those acquisitions, as at first many of them do, they soon lose them in the painful course of professional and parochial duties; but they must Lave all the knowledge, and, what is to them more important than the knowledge, the discipline, necessary to those duties. All modes of education, conducted by those whose minds are cast in another mould, as I may say, and whose original ways of thinking are formed upon the reverse pattern, must be to them not only useless, but mischievous. Just as I should suppose the education in a Popish ecclesiastical seminary would be ill fitted for a Protestant clergyman. To educate a Catholic priest in a Protestant seminary would be much worse. The Protestant educated amongst Catholics has only something to reject: what he keeps may be useful. But a Catholic parish priest learns little for his peculiar purpose and duty in a Protestant college.
All this, my Lord, I know very well, will pass for nothing with those who wish that the Popish clergy should be illiterate, and in a situation to produce contempt and detestation. Their minds are wholly taken up with party squabbles, and I have neither leisure nor inclination to apply any part of what I have to say, to those who never think of religion, or of the commonwealth, in any other light, than as they tend to the prevalence of some faction in either
. I speak on a supposition, that there is a disposition to take the state in the condition in which it is found, and to improve
it in that state to the best advantage. Hitherto the plan for the government of Ireland has been, to sacrifice the civil prosperity of the nation to its religious improvement. But if people in power there are at length come to entertain other ideas, they will consider the good order, decorum, virtue, and morality of every description of men among them, as of infinitely greater importance than the struggle (for it is nothing better) to change those descriptions by means, which put to hazard objects, which, in my poor opinion, are of more importance to religion and to the state, than all the polemical matter which has been agitated among men from the beginning of the world to this
hour. On this idea, an education fitted to each order and division af men, such as they are found, will be thought an affair mather to be encouraged than discountenanced: and until institutions at home, suitable to the occasions and necessities of the people, are established, and which are armed, as they are abroad, with authority to coerce the young men to be formed in them, by a strict and severe discipline,-the means they have, at present, of a cheap and effectual education in other countries, should not continue to be prohibited by penalties and modes of inquisition, not fit to be mentioned to ears that are organized to the chaste sounds of equity and justice.
Before I had written thus far, I heard of a scheme of giving to the Castle the patronage of the presiding members of the Catholic clergy. At first I could scarcely credit it: for I believe it is the first time that the presentation to other people’s alms has been desired in any country. If the state provides a suitable maintenance and temporality for the governing members of the Irish Roman Catholic church, and for the clergy under them, I should think the project, however improper in other respects, to be by no means unjust. But to deprive a poor people, who maintain a second set of clergy, out of the miserable remains of what is left after taxing and tithing—to deprive them of the disposition of their own charities among their own communion, would, in my opinion, be an intolerable hardship. Never were the members of one religious sect fit to appoint the pastors to another. Those who have no regard for their welfare, reputation, or internal quiet, will not appoint such as are proper. The seraglio of Constantinople is as equitable as we are, whether Catholics or Protestants; and where their own sect is concerned, full as religious. But the sport which they make of the miserable dignities of the Greek church, the little factions of the harem, to which they make them subservient, the continual sale to which they expose and reexpose the same dignity, and by which they squeeze all the inferior orders of the clergy, is (for I have had particular means of being acquainted with it) nearly equal to all the other oppressions together, exercised by Mussulmen over the unhappy members of the Oriental church. It is a great deal to suppose that even the present Castle would nominate bishops for the Roman church of Ireland, with a religious regard for its welfare. Perhaps they cannot, perhaps they dare not, do it.