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potent and merciful Creator of heaven and earth. Writings that have reached us from the fifth century, prove that the Irish language was in full perfection before the introduction of christiany. The more barbarous a nation the more difficult was the work of their conversion; the short time that was employed in the conversion of the Irish and the glorious fruits that immediatel yresulted, gives a flat contradiction to the assertion that it " had ever been buried in the most profound barbarism.”

This narrative of the fileas, has been laughed at by many modern authors of extensive learning and great acuteness ; whether a fable or not I shall not presume to say,

66 who shall decide when doctors disagree?” But if allowed an opinion, I should ask if the literature and consequent refinement of the ancient Irish are bugbears, when were those treatises written that have been preserved ? When the classics deluged Ireland, Latin was the language of the schools ; in it the students addressed their masters; in it the professors delivered their lectures and penned their treatises. A professor would have thought it a tacit confession of his ignorance, had his instructions met the eye of his pupil in the vernacular tongue. Every Irishman of any talent endeavoured to gain a knowledge of Latin, and what a clever Irishman exerts himself to acquire he seldom misses possessing. These treatises that have reached us, are from internal evidence, the work of some acute and powerful pen ; they must then have been written before the 5th century. It may be asked, how can you account for the evident allusions to scripture history and christianity that frequently occur in these Irish manuscripts, if they were written before the introduction of christianity ? To that I have one reply, although the general conversion of the Irish did not take place before the fifth century under St. Patrick, yet it is evident the Christian religion was preached there before his time. Dr. Lingard says “ Though the gospel had been preached in Ireland at a more early period, the general conversion of the natives had been reserved for the zeal of St. Patrick.” Henry 2nd, ch. 5th. Is it improbable, impossible, that the allusions referred to, were not gleaned from the first preachers: are they not evidences to prove the labours of missionaries in Ireland prior to St. Patrick ?

That the Irish, after the light of christianity had dispersed the darknes of idolatry, laboured with fervour in the science of the gospel, and were distinguished for the true spirit of devotion, is evident fron every antient writer: and that the sciences and literature were not forgotten, but assiduously cultivated is equally certain. The foundation of the great monasteries of Raithen, in West Meath, of Cluain Fearta, or solitude of wonders on the borders of Munster, between Ossory and Queen's county : of Cluain Fearta, now Clonfert in Connaught, of Achadhbho, or Field of oxen, the first see of the bishops of Ossory : of Inisfallen in Desmond, of Ard-fenan in the county of Tipperary, of Glandaloch in the county of Dublin, and of Len-alli, in King's county, sufficiently demonstrate their fervour in the cause of religion. Marianus Scotus, in 674, writes in his Chronicle, " that Ireland was filled with saints or holy men." Cambden says, that the disciples of St. Patrick had made such a rapid progress in Christianity, that in the following age Ireland was surnamed the land of saints, Ut-in subsequentia ætate. Hibernia Sanctorum Patria dice-, retur."

(To be continued.)

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Copy of a Letter

from Sir Charles Wolseley to the Editor of the Litchfield Mercury."

Wolseley Hall, October 7th, 1823. Sir, I could wish through your paper, to put the public in possession of a fact to which it is desirable to call their attention, and to add a few remarks that seem to me to arise materially from it. Last Tuesday I went to Wolseley Bridge to qualify myself to act as commissioner of taxes, when to my surprise I found I was incapacitated from performing the functions of such an office, unless I made oath that to believe in transubstantiation and the invocation of saints is damnable and idolatrous, in other words, that every believer in them is consigned to eternal damnation. Now sir, though I am not a believer in transubstantiation, I know many honourable men who

are, and quite as fit for commissioners of taxes and as unfit for dampation as either you or I. Nor will I be a party to so gross an injustice as their exclusion and insulting humiliation. Besides, can any one declare on oath that the whole Catholic world is buried in idolatry, and that his own ancestors, to the reformation, were idolaters and are all damned ? We who so loudly reprobate the doctrine of exclusive salvation, are worse exclusionists than our opponents : they only deal damnation on pertinacious perseverance in known errors ; we damo all Catholics in the lump, without one redeeming clause.

In no part of Europe, not where French ultras hold arbitrary rule, nor under the autocrat of Russia, nor in Germany, nor the papal states of Italy, nor in any part of the enslaved continent, is there a man required to swear that the 39 articles are an abomination in the sight of God. Such a sweeping arrogation of the power of the divinity of judging the consciences of men is reserved for Protestant England.-I need hardly add, that I threw the oath from me with disgust and left the room. I had rather my tongue were torn from my mouth, than pronounce an oath so abominable and intolerant and so repugnant to the benevolent principles of genuine christianity. In the name of common sense is the national character to be for ever stained, and our statute-book disgraced with enactments subversive of the just principles of justice and natural right? Are laws that were made (whether justly or unjustly matters not) to put down religious intolerance, to be kept in cruel force to perpetuate it? The oppressed are become the oppressors, and a sweeping sentence of interminable proscription is pronounced, in the name of liberality and toleration against six-sevenths of the people of Ireland and one-fourth of the members of the united kingdom. I am Sir, your's, &c.

CHARLES WOLSELEY.

Encyclical Letter of the Right Rev. Dr. Poynter, V. A.

L. announcing the Canonical Election of Leo XII. as the Successor of Pius VII.

TO THE CATHOLIC CLERGY AND EAITHFUL OF THE LONDON

DISTRICT,

Dearly Beloved Brethren in Jesus Christ,—We lately performed a painful duty in announcing to you the sorrowful event of the death of his late holiness, pope Pius VII. We have now the satisfaction to inform you, that on the 28th of September, a new successor of St. Peter was canonically elected, as head of the holy Catholic church, in the person of his eminence, cardinal Annibal della Genga, who has taken the name of Leo the Twelfth.

The supreme pastoral authority which was given to Peter for the government of the one fold, the church of Christ on earth, has been perpetually transmitted through an illustrious and unbroken succession of supreme pastors down to the present time. In this sacred line, from St. Peter to Leo XII, we count 256 pontiffs, who have succeeded to the exercise of the supreme spiritual authority, attached to this sublime and extensive charge.

What a singular and astonishing event in the annals of history, is the stability and perpetuity of this pontifical throne, which Peter established in the city of Rome! Amidst the revolutions of the world and fluctuations of political events, which in the course of ages have changed the dynasties and constitutions of the states, kingdoms, and empires of Europe, we see this spiritual throne ever unmoved, and ever filled by succeeding sovereign pontiffs, who, through all ages, have governed the whole church of Christ, with the same supreme spiritual authority as was exercised by those who sat thereon in the first ages of christianity. This throne has stood as a firm rock, against which adverse winds and waves have spent their fury in vain. The authority of Peter, which ever lives in his successor, is, in effect, that rock on which Christ built his church, ever superior to the powers of hell, and on which he erected the Pillar of Truth, exhibiting to all nations, in all ages, the unextinguishable light of divine faith.

THIS supreme spiritual authority is not of this world. It was given by Christ to St. Peter and his successors, for the purpose of holding together all the parts of his universal church in that unity of faith, communion and government, on which the whole was founded. It is the authority of a father over his children, of a pastor over his flock. It calls for the perfection of every virtue in him who is charged with the exercise of it. Animated with the spirit of Jesus Christ, whose vicar he is on earth, his views and desires must ali tend purely to the glory of God and the eternal salvation of all men. His charge requires that his charity be as extensive as his authority.

We must rejoice, dearly beloved brethren, that a person of such distinguished talents and eminent virtues as Leo XII has been raised to the dignity of the supreme apostolic and pastoral charge. His tried abilities in affairs of ecclesiastical government; his firmness and mildness of character; his sincere piety and universal charity, claim our confidence and attachment; whilst his supreme spiritual authority claims our obedience, in all matters of a purely spiritual nature.

To return thanks to the supernatural providence of God, for the blessing which he has bestowed on his church, by the speedy and happy election of such a supreme pastor, we ordain that the hymn “ Te Deum Landamus” be sung, er recited, in every chapel in the London district, after the ligh mass, or principal mass for the congregation, on the first Sunday after the receipt of the present notice.

We also direct that the name of Leo be inserted in the canon of the mass, and in all approved Catholic prayers, which are offered to God for the chief pastor of the holy Catholic church.

We exhort all, clergy and faithful, earnestly to implore the gifts of the Holy Ghost on our holy father pope Leo XII, that he may be enlightened and assisted to perform the sublime and important duties of his awful charge in the true spirit of Christ; and that he may long live to govern the church, in the unity of the spirit and in the bond of peace. London, 27th Oct.

WILLIAM, Bishop of Halia, 1823

Vicar Apostolic of the London district.

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