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that this expedient had not been resorted to for ages? What is there in the language of a mother country that should make it the exclusive medium of the circulation of the most important kinds of knowledge? There is nothing sacred in a language: the only thing that recommends it is its being intelligible. No doubt the Irish language is quite equal to the communication of thought.
3000 scholars. That it employs eleven | most important subjects. Why was it readers of the Irish Scriptures: three of whom are itinerants. Four new Societies have been formed: and five itinerant preachers are constantly employed. Mr. Cox, rose and said, the Report we have heard, Mr. Chairman, must be recorded in every heart; it must be written in the book of remembrance of all who have heard it. I wish it were carried on the wings of angels to the extremities of the earth. Sir, I am apprehensive that the 19th century will eclipse the glory of the sixteenth. I confess that I have some strong feeling towards the sixteenth century, in which so much good was effected: that century is characterised as the era of the reformation, a period during which great things were done for the advancement of the religion of the Cross. The nineteenth century may be characterized as the era of the second reformation. Under Henry the Eighth the first reformation commenced, but under a more glorious name, and under brighter auspices, the second reformation has commenced-the reign of George the Third.
I shall only read the motion put into my hand, that the Report now read, be approved adopted, and circulated at the discretion of the Committee.
Mr. ROGERS, one of the missionaries to Ireland, thus addressed the audience. Ladies and Gentlemen, I mean to relate a few facts, or rather, to confirm the facts, as far as I can, which are in your Report. I have not only heard of these things, but I have seen them. Many in performing penance have lost their lives. I can tell you an instance on good authority; not long ago, a certain woman, with a little child in her arms, was sent to the top of Brogh Patrick, to perform stations, (to do penance,) and I heard it was in conse quence of her going to hear one of the Methodist preachers. A shower of snow fell, and she perished with the child at the top of the mountain! Say you, 'Iwonder they should do so.' O! when we consi der, we cannot wonder at all. How was it with the ancient inhabitants of this kingdom? You remember their idolatrous practices; and since then it has been overwhelmed with popery. What has made us to differ? The Scriptures. British Christians have neglected Ireland in a shameful manner. They have been sympa. thizing with the Hindoo, with the African, but the peasant of Ireland has been left neglected, lying at our very doors, weeping over his lack of knowledge: exclaim
in our ears, "Hast thou but one blessing, O my father! Bless-me, even me also, O my father!"
Dr. STEADMAN felt considerable diffidence in addressing the meeting. The worthy Chairman last year condescended to request me to visit Ireland. My mind, my inclinations, my strong desires have carried me over the Channel; and it would be one of the high gratifications of my life to preach to the Irish in their cabins, or any where else. Every individual in this large meeting, of any meet-ing ing that has the feelings of a Briton and a Christian, must be convinced, that it is his imperious duty to assist to the utmost of his power in promoting the objects of this society. To rescue our fellowcreatures from ignorance and vice; to teach the untutored to peruse the oracles of God, that book which has been written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, is an object nearly allied to that which is pursued by the Divine Being himself, who has condescended to put that volume into our hands; an object that perfectly coincides with the great design of our Redeemer himself in coming into the world. When I stand and survey this respectable meeting, when I realize the object it has in view, I congratulate my country upon its vast improvements. Could the kingdom have furnished such a meeting as this twenty-five or six years ago; a meeting convened on any special benevolent purpose? Were I to go to Ireland, I would congratulate those parts of Ireland where the native language is exclusively spoken and understood; yes, I would congratulate them on the means of information which they possess on the
You have heard of the children in Ireland; of their committing the scriptures to memory; and I have heard them repeating the scriptures. You have heard of a young woman about fifteen years of age; I have heard her repeat 79 chapters of the New Testament. Another, six years of age has committed seven chapters to memory in six weeks and three days. Indeed, the priests are well aware, that when these children grow up to maturity, it will be in vain for them to request their attendance at confession. One of the priests told me, that he felt it his duty to oppose our schools; that he thought the children would know the scriptures as well as the clergy. I agreed with him, the priest and myself never quarrel. I think they are perfectly correct in their notions about circulating the scriptures: they think popery will be ruined; and so it will: they oppose the Testament in the most violent manner; call it the heretic's book; cursing from the very altar those families that have the heretic's book among them, saying they will be damned
for ever. I heard one of the priests had said, in a congregation of about 1200, "I should not be surprised if the earth were to swallow up the cabins, families, testaments, and all together."
to promote the great cause of intellectual emancipation.
Under the influence of these feelings, though I have not the honour of personally knowing the gentleman, I have There are many who seem determined much pleasure in moving the thanks of to wipe out the disgrace that has long se- this meeting to William Burls, Esq. the mained on British Christians, in conse- Treasurer, and that he be requested to quence of their neglect of Ireland. Col-continue his valuable services for the enlections are making in Scotland, and we suing year. have only to send for them. I was in Wales last year. The poor Welch people seem determined to do what they can. I preached there, and mentioned some circumstances respecting the ignorance of the people in Ireland, and collected some money in Wales. After I had been preaching on one occasion, and pointing out some instances of the ignorance of the Irish people, a poor woman came out of the meeting-house much affected. She said, "I wish I had enough money to give to buy a Testament; I have only two-pence in the world; but I will give it to have that verse printed-In that day a fountain shall be opened for sin and for uncleanness.'—If (said she) they knew the efficacy of that fountain as I have known it, I am sure they would not go to Crogh Patrick any more.'
Dr. RYLAND moved the grateful thanks of the Meeting to the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Bible Societies in Scotland, and the Auxiliary Bible Society in Liverpool, for their liberal donations of Bibles in aid of this Institution, and was happy to add, that he had received from that country within a week past, £300 for the Baptist Missionary Society. Mr. SAFFERY, of Salisbury, seconded the motion.
GRIERSON, Esq. a native of Ireland, unexpectedly introduced himself to the meeting. His speech chiefly bore upon one point: he disapproved of the Irish having the Scriptures in their own lan guage. Many of the audience expressed strong disapprobation and impatience: but through the interference of the Secretary, who said, "he hoped the gentleman would not be interrupted, as he was quite certain the Society would be willing to alter its plans, if the gentleman could prove they were acting wrong," he was then permitted to proceed.
I rise, Sir, to congratulate the meeting on the luminous confirmation they have heard of their own opinions. Your speakers have all been eloquent, or I had been less anxious to address you. You have acted upon the presumption that Wales and Ireland are in similar circumstances. Wales is a country of patriotic renown, isolated and united by an ancient language; you accommodated your mea sures to her prejudices; you knew that she had an hereditary aversion to your language; that she had an unconquerable blindness to her interest-you acted wisely: but yours is narrow policy to my country; she well inclines to your language; she is not jealous of you. proud to say, that she is ambitious of English education. She is well disposed to that language which her posterity must inherit-the language spoken by the higher classes, and which is ultimately to lead her to intellectual and moral improvement. Compare then Ireland and Wales, and the comparison will shew you a broad contrast indeed. It was wise, it was liberal, it was fortunate to give their own language to the nations o the East. If Ireland were bigotted to her native tongue, and yours were unknown to her, in such case it would be Give her useful to apply your measure. therefore the Bible in English, not in ȧ barren language, which thousands cannot read, and which at all events she must exchange; because, when she is taught religion in Irish, she must come to British intelligence for morality.
B. SHAW, Esq. M.P. moved the thanks of the Society to the ministers, who during the past year, had made collections, in aid of the funds of the institution; and was seconded by Mr. WILKINSON, who in passing a just tribute of praise on Mr. ROGERS, congratulated himself in being his countryman, an ancient Briton. C.B. SMYTH, Esq. of the Inner Temple. -I shall not apologize for presenting myself before you, upon a subject like that which now engages your attention, though I may be incompetent adequately to impress upon your minds the feelings that urge me to address you; yet I cannot resist an occasion which, though it may not inspire me with the eloquence desirable for its support, will not allow me to give it only my silent advocacy; as an Irishman, who has long witnessed with deep regret the mental wretchedness of thousands of my countrymen, I catch at any, the faintest hope of rescuing them from a bondage the most degrading and ruinous under which humanity ever suffered; and as one who sympathises with whatever does honour to our species, present meeting, so I exult in beholding the impressive spec-respectable, has an undiminished zeal for tacle which presents itself, in your union the advancement of a cause, that proš
JOHN SYDNEY TAYLOR, Esq. (of the Middle Temple.)-Mr. Chairman, Two years ago I had the honour of addressing the friends of this Society. I trust the numerous and so
mises to give a happier direction to the energies of my country. But I have a painful task now to undertake. In that meeting there was but one sentiment of generous unanimity-one conviction of the justness of the means, and the utility of the end, which the Society was so benevolently interested to accomplish. To the former, one individual has now stated objections; and though it is easy to show their insufficiency, I am sorry that the sentiments of any one among us should require refutation. However, before I reply to the arguments of that gentleman, my countryman, who has preceded me, I wish to say a few words on the general nature of the Institution. This is a subject that must be important to every one whose heart is human-but peculiarly interesting to an Irishman, as it is one of the strongest principles of our nature, where not warped by wrong habits, to feel incitement and animation in whatever is conducive to the welfare of that spot of earth we call by the sacred name of country! But why is my country different from yours? Are they not encircled by the ramparts of the same constitution? Do they not swear allegiance to the same Sovereign-shed their blood in the same ranks-for the same objects -with a like devotion-and has not our combined legislature pronounced them one and the same, united in interest identified in policy? Why then is my country different from yours? But I will not flatter myself; there is a difference; and one, which, while it exists, must render union but a political fiction-or at least but the smile of mutual compliment -barren and delusive; having nothing of the core of friendship to assimilate sentiment and produce esteem,
But what is this separating influence? You will read it in the history of a people more generous than circumspect, more unfortunate than criminal,-Tossed for ages upon seas of calamity, fearfully destructive of political rectitude-oppressed by a superstition that frets away the moral virtues, and obscured by the shade of its attendant ignorance-Is it strange that our countries are so unlike; or is it not rather astonishing, that they are not more decidedly contrasted? yet still the difference is manifest; and to dissipate the obstacles to a sincere coalition, the voice of the legislature must of itself
be as vain and ineffectual as the com
mand of Canute, to repel the waves roll, ing beneath the immutable impulse of na ture. No, you must first tranquillize and conciliate before you can reform, and when you have done this, the British Empire, as far as regards Ireland, will be no longer an ill-consorted alliance of discordant elements and jarring propensities, but similar tastes, habits, and acquirements must blend into a communion of sympathies, and beget congenial association.
That this has not been achieved before is not so much a reproach to Ireland as a disgrace to the land that has held the rod of dominion over her; and when neglect or bad policy had long abandoned her to ignorance and its degrading circumstances, you boast, and justly, of your liberal habits, your civilizing institutions, and the solid principles of your national character. But consider what have been your advantages, and contrast them with the picture of Ireland-look through your history for the causes why you are exalted, and she is abased! When you were a land of naked and wild barbarians, whose only dwelling was the forest, and food the precarious acquisition of the chase, a people then the most civilized and polished in the world descended upon your shores. It is true, they came as conquerors; but they conquered you by more than the force of arms: the dominion which the wea pons of war had imperfectly attained, the energies of mind accomplished; and they subdued you by benefits, and disarmed you by liberality. They did not treat you with the harsh and jealous spirit of a gloomy policy, which, building its dominion on the weakness of man, dare not impart to those over whom it presides any share in the knowledge which confers superiority. It is true, they took from your ancestors their savage independence; but, in place of its dangerous freedom, they taught them the construction of the social state-encouraged in them a love of civil improvement, and though possessing no pure religion themselves (not like you in possession of the light of the gospel) they had the spirit and the feeling to unbind the human sacrifice from the altar of superstition. Thus was England, when a land of savage darkness, visited by the arts and information of a great community; and thus did she receive from a power beyond herself, the impulse which first carried her towards a sublime desti«
nation. Happy would it have been for Of all the plans which have been Ireland, if this lesson of generous policy adopted for this great purpose, yours apwhich the Romans taught your ancestors, pears to me the best calculated, not only had instructed them to use their con- for the speediest but the most permanent quest over her in the same spirit of intel- success. The Gentleman who last adligent mercy; and taught them to excite dressed you has said that the Irish are not in the Irish, a feeling emulous of their disinclined towards the English language; improvements, instead of inspiring vulgar but that gentleman has not had all the awe and conscious humiliation! But when experience of his countrymen which should a brighter prospect presents itself in the give his opinion the requisite authority. future, I look not to the melancholy past This is a matter of fact. I impeach not for subject of reproach, or gloomy reflec- the accuracy of his personal observation, tion. I ask experience for the light that but the extent of it. His residence has serves to retrieve the errors of former con- been in the neighbourhood of Dublin, duct, not to perpetuate the bitter feelings within the pale of an English colony, it has excited. Remember that a people where Irish is spoken by very few-He with the sensibilities of the Irish, cannot has indeed been in the north of Ireland, be your slaves without being dangerous; among the descendants of Scotch settlers; or your free-brethren without being af- but he has never been, as I have, in the fectionate; and they can hardly be free south and west. He would have there till instruction has made them appreciate found the posterity of a people the first the value of the blessing, and taught possessors of the Island, inheriting a them its genuine enjoyment and best se- strong animosity to the English namecurity. I know that there are many who full of a cherished antipathy to your lanthink that there is something radically de- guage, your manners, and their dreaded fective in the Irish character, something innovation. Is it strange that such a that sets it at variance with the regular people, influenced as they are by the habits of well-ordered society, and rentraditions of ancient times, should love a ders it averse from the aspect even of the language which bears with it the endearwisest legislation; but let them remember, ing memory of their independencethat it is but lately my countrymen have breathes the spirit of their bards-celehad reason to learn the docility, which a brates the achievements of their heroesjudiciously mild and conciliating treat- contains the names which embellish their ment produces in the human soul-it is romantic History; and in their legendary but lately that they have been taught, songs, like the voice of departed days, is that there is a virtue in obedience because full of a mournful fascination.? That the authority has shewn itself virtuous, and Irish should be attached to this their nathat there is wisdom in submission because tive language, when it has been endeademanded by an intelligent controul. Yes, voured to drive them out of it by perseI perceive that the British people, ad- cution, is not a curious singularity in the vised by the examples of the past, coun-history of mankind. All nations, so cirsel better for the future interests of Ireland: they now perceive that it is an intellectual authority which must mould the mind of Ireland in conformity to British sentiment, and the interests of an united empire; and they have discovered, that the first great instrument of this must be Education.
I believe all enlightened minds agree upon this subject. I believe my eloquent friend who last addressed you, and who, I am sorry to say, objected to the main feature of the institution, is of the same opinion-we only differ with regard to No doubt human nature is stubbornly tenacious of its first received opinions, when it has carried them unmolested from childhood to maturity; but it is on the plastic and unconfirmed disposition that education is to manifest its finest power, in counteracting the bias of wrong prepossession. Convinced of this truth, many and strenuous exertions are making by various societies to pour out upon the young mind of Ireland the liberalizing spirit of instruction, that future times may never witness the horrors whose recital is so afflicting, or weep for the degradations over which we have lamented!
cumstanced, have been fond of the relics of their former freedom, however barbarous, and have clung to whatever reminds them of departed glories, however dimly seen through the fables and mist of antiquity. I know other persons, besides this Gentleman, possessing more benevolence than penetration, who are alarmed at this way of attempting to inform the Irish. They suppose that by thus countenancing their love for their native language, you will roll back upon them, in tenfold darkness, that cloud of barbarism which they say is beginning to break, and that you will finally shut out every ray of civilization. But I conceive that the imagination of such persons is stronger than the reasoning faculty. They dont consider, that when knowledge is introduced in any way, it will work its own effects; that morality will not be less moral, nor religion less pure, nor its civilizing spirit less corrective of impetuous passions, and erratic sensibilities, because conveyed through the medium of the Irish language. And when such information is conveyed to the mind of man, what matters it in what language he speaks? Is not his heart right is not his understand
ing strong-is not the voice of the Christian in his actions-does he not do his duty to his God and his neighbour, and I would like to know, what language could fix on such a mind the stain of barbarism, or make him undeserving of the most glorious community. I should be glad to know what nation would wish to expel him from its bosom, because he loved the language of his forefathers, and the words which were the first his infancy had uttered! No--let the mind be rightly informed, and the habits well-directed, and men's language will accommodate itself to their moral advancement-it will become polished and pleasing, or if it be inflexibly barbarous, they will take advantage of a language already formed, for the expression of their new wants, and fitted to the extent of the intellectual attainments which result from civilization.
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sume it from its presence tolerates it for a time only to try the charitable energies of man to man! these energies are now put to the test of a great struggle-and this is an era in which that agency is greatly operative-and you are instru ments to aid in the grand design which is to be consummated in the ascendancy of truth. Direct your efforts then to a country too long neglected, and too well deserving of your most active attention. I repeat it, the most effectual means of introducing to the Irish peasant a salutary influence, which must correct a vicious and hereditary feeling, is to make the language of truth address him-in what? in his own tongue. Yes, let him have the advantage which was given to the Capadocian and the Phrygian of old, and the Indian of the present day. Let not him alone be an exception to the rule of an But my friend has told you of a formi- intelligent philanthrophy. Vigorous indable power in Ireland hostile to the deed must be the natural understanding scriptures, and all information that exalts of that Irish peasant, who would dare to the human mind. I know it too well-read the scriptures in defiance of a penal and my country knows it too well, and it injunction; and when they accost him in is on the fact of there being such a power a language for which, neither from nature that the strongest argument against his or argument, has he any affection. But opinion is founded. That authority having when you introduce the gospel to him in commenced its dominion in dark and bar- his own beloved language, there is somebarous times, has through a series of ages thing too congenial to his feelings, too established over the Irish population a agreeable to the patriot-passion in its terrible ascendency! It has reduced them, aspect, to allow him to refuse its invitaI am sorry to say, almost to a state of sa- tion, no matter what sentiment he may tisfied servitude that kind of habitual be told it contains! it has at least a charm slavery in which chains and darkness are capable of counteracting the charm that so familiar that we have no remembrance has enslaved him-it will at least induce of liberty and light! and in which we enquiry, and when the subject of that look upon them who would beckon us enquiry is the gospel, hesitate not to put from our dungeons, as tormentors that it in his hands; man's duty will then be would betray us beyond the bounds of our performed, and heaven will not let it be security. To this infatuating influence, in vain. under which reason must be either silent or rebellious, nothing so effective can be opposed as the Gospel conveyed through the medium of the Irish language. For you know, and the gentleman has told you, that that authority has forbidden the book of life as something whose contact is dangerous to the soul of man and its immortal hopes-yes, it rejoices in having rendered the human heart proof against the eloquence with which its God addresses it. Awful violation! to enact laws against God's law-to tear down the proclamation of his pardon to repentant men, and to prefix to his published ordinances, penalties against reading them! An insult like this to an earthly sovereign, would provoke extermination: but God, in his wisdom, is of long endurance-He has allowed human agency to have the merit under his providence of dissipating the obstacles which man raises to his power; and when any human system obtrudes itself, like an opaque body between the light of heaven and the earth on which it would shine, covering human minds with the gloom of an eclipsing superstition, that light which could con
Once received, it will soon inprove his moral perceptions, till he becomes sensible of the odious deformity of that gothic superstructure, whose gloomy and fantastic battlements have so long thrown their shadow over his country, chilling its moral bloom, and causing its virtues to perish untimely!
I must add a few words more particu larly in reference to my friend who preceded me. I have I trust already replied to the main objects of his discourse. There is an argument on which he has laid great stress-he has said there is no analogy between Ireland and Wales. I am sorry for it, I am sorry they are not more alike. There never was an analogy; and because there is not one, our argument is stronger, and his is less convincing. In Wales, there is no authority that interdicts the gospel to the humble peasant-that ba nishes its consolation from his hours of trial, and its pleasant voice from the felicities of his fire-side! Yet because he loved and understood his native tongue better than yours, you gratified that natu ral feeling, and gave him the Bible in Welch. And when the Irish have not only one power operating against the re