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The Irish Clergy.-The Duel that was and the Duel that was not.-Theatrical Revolutions.-The Shakespeare Memorials.

THE IRISH CLERGY.-The persecutions to which this body has been subject have no parallel. The history of other times presents us with much violence and cruelty; but they were perpetrated under the colour of law, and sanctioned by the State. When the Roman emperors determined to extirpate Christianity, they issued decrees, making the profession of the religion penal, and the ministers of it legal objects of persecution; and so it has been in all ages. When the Protestants were the objects, and the Roman popes determined to extirpate the heresy of the Reformation, as the Roman emperors had done that of Christianity, bulls and edicts were published, and they were put out of the protection of the State before they were burnt by the Inquisition. But the Irish clergy are not yet proscribed by Act of Parliament: their existence is still acknowledged as a body, and they have done nothing to forfeit those rights; yet they are the objects of the most relentless persecution that ever was directed against any body of even offending men. Their means of subsistence are withheld their legal demands resisted with violence-their persons pursued-and they are murdered with circumstances of ferocity and brutality, such as savages alone exercise on their victims. Not content with ordinary assassinations, their pursuers express their hatred by mutilating their persons; and the distressed clergyman, who only asks for his legal dues, is found the next hour with his skull shattered, and his brains strewed about the road. If these were merely the outrages of the low and ignorant, they might be attributed to the half-savage state in which the lower orders in Ireland are kept, and the excesses of a barbarous people; but they are first encouraged and then applauded by priests and bishops of the Romish church; and one of the latter is distinguished by the brutal triumph with which he exults in them. The Government of the country, whose bounden duty it is to watch over the safety and secure the rights of all its subjects, not only leave the Established Church in Ireland to neglect and suffering, but sacrifice it to the base object of personal power, and barter its existence for the support of a few Popish Members in Parlia


But we ask the people of England, will they suffer this? Will they allow the Reformed Church, which for four centuries they and their ancestors have been building, to enlighten an ignorant and reclaim a ferocious people, to be now totally destroyed, and the edifice of exploded superstition to be erected on its ruins? Will they see the Pope once more usurp the authority of the King in that unhappy country, and the influence of a bigoted priesthood entirely supersede the law of the land? In fine, will they see the moral and social improvements which the Reformation was everywhere spreading as it advanced through the country, trampled out by the foot of ignorance and barbarism, and two millions of their fellow Protestants driven from their native soil in 1835 by the descendants of those barbarians who massacred their forefathers in 1641? We do not speak as prejudiced men, who have been hostile to toleration and reform; but we appeal as known and tried advocates of civil and religious liberty, and therefore we have a right to hope that our voice will be at

tended to; and we do say, after the fullest consideration of the subject, and from the deepest conviction of our minds, if the people of England do not interfere, the Protestant church is extirpated in Ireland.

Already have meetings been held on this momentous subject in various places, and the results have proved how strongly it is felt. The details of the distress and persecution of the Irish clergy are sent from such undoubted authorities, as leave no pretext for a charge of their being misrepresented or exaggerated. The system is known to be, first to compel the clergy, by outrage and robbery, to abandon their congregations; and when the shepherds are driven away, to compel their scattered flocks to follow them. This has been done, and the Romish priests boast of it at the altar. It was stated, on the oath of a respectable witness before a Committee of the House of Commons, that one man congratulated his congregation, in a chapel in the county of Kilkenny, that six parsons had been driven out of the country, and a number more would speedily follow. The clergy of the Established Church are ready now, as they ever have been, to suffer for the cause of the Reformation. Graves have been dug under their windows, yet they have remained in their houses ;-they have not abandoned their church, though a guard was necessary to protect them thither;-their brethren have been assassinated before their eyes, yet they have not fled. But no man can see his educated daughters in the garb of beggars, gathering sticks from a hedge to boil a few potatoes which charity had sent them! Persecution they can bear, and have borne; but a father used to the decencies of life cannot, and ought not, see his children starving about him, when he can procure them bread in any other country. The first and immediate duty of their fellow Protestants in England is to supply them with pecuniary aid, and two funds are established for this purpose one to relieve the pressing necessities of their starving families, the other to enable them legally to prosecute their rights. But the great and paramount duty of the people of England is to pronounce that the Reformation shall not be extinguished in Ireland, and no ministry, however desperate, will dare to attempt it.

THE DUEL THAT WAS, AND THE DUEL THAT WAS NOT.-We have this month had a war and a rumour of a war. Mr. Rotch, the Chairman of the Middlesex Bench, has challenged the Chief Magistrate of the City of London to mortal combat, without obtaining an assent; and Mr. John Black, Editor of the " Morning Chronicle," has thrown down the gauntlet in a similar fashion to Mr. J. A. Roebuck, the renowned M.P. for Bath-the challenge in this case being accepted.

Far more sermons upon duelling are annually preached than are ever listened to-far more written than are ever read; we have occasionally a pleasant burlesque on the stage, which is something much better; and indeed Liston and Keeley, in the "Affair of Honour," may be pronounced to be the most successful moralists, as regards anti-duelling, that the age has produced. But these lively satirists, however excellent their aim and effective their shots, cannot of themselves bring a custom so long established and deeply rooted into immediate contempt. We want a few Keeleys and Listons in real life-a few practical burlesques of "affairs of honour," not merely to expose the immorality of the custom, that is of little use; nor simply to exhibit its absurdity in the most ludicrous light, that has been often done; but to render it-this is what should be aimed at-decidedly and demonstrably vulgar. It may be immoral, it may be barbarous, it may be absurd-most people will admit it to be all these, and the rest will have their doubts; yet all, in the present constitution of society, resort to it, in deference not to the opinions but the practice of "honourable gentlemen," until the thing shall be voted low, vul

gar, infra dig. And really with a little management this might easily be done. Now and then a little salutary ridicule is thrown upon the practice by a solemn farcical meeting between an apothecary and a billiard-marker-a tax-collector and an accomptant; and for a time the ineffective shots of the parties seem to promise a capital hit at the custom. But the wound thus inflicted by the ridicule attending on a meeting in middle life is soon healed by the romance which is thrown around a duel in high life; and the practice is again re-established in all its original sanctity, as though every body had concurred in thinking it the most wise and honourable mode of settling a silly disagreement. We must make the satire much stronger if we would succeed. We must increase the circle of duelling if we would really put an end to it. We must carry the custom down into low life. Let us see. What are so common as disputes between cab-drivers? The "conductors" of omnibuses are too genteel for our purposes; for to the elegance of their designation they now add, in some instances, a refinement of costume in the assumption of "white kid gloves." A duel in this direction would be quite a fashionable event, and might be quoted as a precedent. But the cab-driver, the donkey-driver, the pig-driver, are decidedly vulgar; and as nothing, happily, is more abundant than quarrel in this quarter; moreover as the ceremonies of the prize-ring seem to be almost trampled under foot in the march of mind, what is there to interfere with the getting-up of a duel or two among these mettlesome mud-throwers, that might have the effect, after a single season, of exterminating the practice in polite and educated society? The instant the thing ceased to be exclusively noble and gentlemanly, it would be put down by our noblemen and gentlemen legislators. Fifty good remedies, applicable to every dispute that can be conceived, would immediately present themselves. Men would not the more readily call each other "liars' and "blackguards" because they were prohibited from shooting each other, and thereby prove nothing but their skill, or want of skill, in the grand moral art of discharging a pistol!

With regard to the recent cases-the first has become the subject of proceedings in the King's Bench, and we are therefore silent respecting it. Of the last, we shall only say, that the responsible situation of the respective parties in their public characters renders their conduct scarcely less remarkable than that of the Middlesex moralist who challenged the late Lord Mayor. Mr. Black and Mr. Roebuck were mutually bound in honour to keep the peace. The latter gentleman however seems to have trusted too much to the "philosophy" of the former; and really Mr. Black has exhibited a singular and very modest ignorance of the estimation in which himself and his antagonist were relatively held by the public. What human being would have thought the honour of Mr. Black disparaged by any aspersions that a person like Mr. Roebuck might have chosen to cast upon his character? Why, Mr. Black never called out Cobbett! and surely the Member for Bath is something resembling Cobbett in every thing but genius-and has therefore the less claim to the honour of being fired at by a philosopher. To have challenged Cobbett would scarcely have seemed to us a more ridiculous step than that which Mr. Black has, with so much modesty, thought it incumbent upon him to take.

THEATRICAL REVOLUTIONS.-While guardians of public morals are seen as above to be ready, at any suggestion of temper or passion, to shift characters as though mankind were indeed but players, it cannot reasonably be expected that theatrical managers should be over-nice in their observance of public decency; still less that they should hold themselves bound to become patterns of morality, and to inculcate the cardinal virtues in the

conduct of their establishments. But there is a limit beyond which they have no excuse in trespassing; if they consider themselves in no wise called upon to make the drama a "moral lesson," they can have no justification in rendering it a means of fostering vice of the grossest kind, and essentially corrupting those who repair to the theatre for harmless amusement. If the legislature so far abandon its duty as to leave the theatres of the metropolis, comparatively, to their own regulation, it is the duty of journalists-of all theatrical critics-of every man who yet hopes that that Drama with which England's greatest name is associated may yet be sustained to its legitimate ends and purposes-to watch closely and to expose fearlessly the system of management in force at the leading theatres. In two or three instances-the "Times" and the "Literary Gazette" for example— this has recently been done, with respect to an exposition of the supposed character of the new management at the "Adelphi," a theatre which is almost openly proclaimed to be at present only as a vestibule to the gaminghouse and places that may be nameless. This may to some extent be true. But certain it is, that the course now adopted there is only a continuation "with additions" of that which has long been in vogue there and elsewhere; the array of "splendid women," the collection of a "bevy of beauties," and all the other arts by which, in most theatres, the stage has been rendered little better than a copy of the lobbies, and the public performances scarcely more than an image and representation of the private vices and grossnesses which they at once foster and are supported by. We would not be too hard upon the present conductors of the theatre in question; they can boast their precedents, and point to their rivals, in justification; but this only shows that the complaint, instead of being frivolous, is merely partial; and should embrace several managements instead of one. The aspect of the theatres at present is revolting to persons of sober reflection and decent feeling; to such, however, it is consoling that the system is in a bad way, and that with bankruptcy staring so many of the violaters of decency in the face, "poverty" promises to effect that, ere long, which "will" obstinately denies.

THE SHAKSPEARE MEMORIALS.-A Metropolitan Committee has been formed to assist in the promotion of the objects of the Committee at Stratford (which were noticed in this Magazine some months ago), towards renovating the celebrated monument of Shakspeare, the chancel of Stratford Church which contains it, and the gravestones and sepulchres of the Shakspeare family, which also lie there. We call upon every one with the slightest pretensions to a love of letters, or to a love of country, to exert himself in helping forward this great work. The poorest and humblest of us can do something, and nothing should be left undone. It is a national undertaking. If any incentive to the most active personal exertion were needed, it would be furnished by the very sources of the difficulty which has rendered the present fresh appeal necessary. The Stratford Committee, anxious to give as many of their countrymen as possible the opportunity of taking a part in this delightful task of honouring the memory of the greatest genius of the world, have limited each subscription to a guinea. While this is not to be exceeded, the smallest portion of it is gratefully welcomed. Hence the delay of getting together the sum required, and the demand for more active exertion. That demand will surely be responded to with the heartiest and most universal sympathy.


The Book of Gems: The Poets and Artists of Great Britain. Edited by S. C. Hall.

The plan of this work is such as to secure for it the patronage of men of taste, the lovers of the liberal arts. For the rest, its splendour of appearance is sure to excite curiosity, and to satisfy that feeling will be to learn to admire. It embraces specimens of fifty English poets, from Chaucer to Prior, illustrated by fifty English artists. Of the artists we may speak hereafter. Of the poets people have been speaking, consciously and unconsciously admiring, for hundreds of years, yet what we have to say of them is as fresh now as ever, and they are themselves as young as they were in their mortal lifetime, because what a true poet writes never grows old or inapplicable, since he who describes human nature once describes it for good and all. The face of nature three hundred years ago was the same wonderful and beautiful object that it is now; and then, as now, there was grief as well as joy in the world, remorse, love, sympathy, and shame-mortal and immortal desires.

We trust, therefore, that no one will turn from this book in alarm because it is chiefly occupied with very old poets, no more than that he will admire them superstitiously because they are very old. The right way to admire, no less than admiration, is taught by Mr. Hall's labours. Poetry grows not good because it is old, but old because it is good. This exquisite volume, crammed "from top to toe" with strength, depth, and richness-with passion, imagination, thought, and language-is equally addressed to the young and to the old, to the learned and to those who desire to learn, to the simple, to the subtle, to all mankind. We can conceive no book so fitted for universal popularity. In being taught to appreciate poetry justly, we are taught also this. It extends its delights to all who can receive pleasure, and looks for its reward from all who can join in applause. Poetry has been termed the flower of any sort of experience, and, wide and various as experiences are, is its domain. But more than this. For while it addresses itself in distinct ways to distinct classes-its never-ceasing tendency is to bring all within one round of sentiment of beauty. It shows us nature divested of the medium of our prejudices, or it subdues those prejudices to some quality of nature. The spirit of humanity presides over the works of poets, whether they exert command over our laughter or our tears, whether they call in the resources of wit, or of thought, or of observation, or passion; whether they open for us new worlds of imagination, or exhibit to us more clearly the old worlds of reality.

Mr. Hall's book, then, essentially popular as we see in its character, and set off by every extrinsic advantage to recommend it to a wide popularity, will, we have no doubt, do a great service to the best interests of true literature. We are sure that it is extremely well calculated to do so. It is with pride we contemplate and enjoy the immortal contents of a volume presenting, as this unquestionably does, such evidences of a boundless and unrivalled magnificence and variety of genius, as English literature could alone have furnished.

We have only to add that the specimens are, on the whole, excellently chosen; and that where the necessities of confined space precluded the possibility of conveying all the characteristics of any single poet, Mr. Hall has obviated the difficulty in the page of biography and criticism which is prefixed to the specimens of each. These are very


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