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THE THREE KINGDOMS.

THE second half of the Nineteenth Century having at length begun, men are very prone to ask themselves
what new or hopeful prospect it opens with. What with the daily advances of science, and the applications
of the arts to the purposes of life, in all that relates to material progress the answer can hardly be
doubtful. We have built up two great empires during that part of the century which has passed away, in
compensation for the empire we lost at the close of the century preceding: but a range of far wider dominion
stretches out for days that are to come, in the triumphs of future acquisition held forth by scientific discovery;
in the steamboat, the railway, the telegraph, the telescope; in the steady march of astronomy, chemistry,
electricity, and steam; in the wondrous development of practical energy in every department of practical
utility. It is neither possible nor desirable that politics and morals should keep pace with the consummation of
physical change thus altering the face of the earth: but even in this direction the world does not seem
likely to come to any sudden stand. If no very new discoveries have been made of late, several very ancient
fallacies have at least been exploded. The period may hereafter be emphatically remembered as that in
which a great many valuable things were found out. It has been found out, for instance that a King Mob
enthroned by street barricades may be quite as egregious an imposture as a King Louis Philippe crowned by
the same process. It has been found out that when a people lose their wits, the best form of government is
a military bedlam; but that when they recover their senses in the smallest degree, soldiers are worse than
useless in the business of governing them. The abominable absurdity of such phrases as German unity
and American equality has been found out. Mr. Hudson and Mr. Feargus O'Connor have been found out.
The general unwholesomeness of dirt (marvellous to say) has been found out. Puseyism has been found out.
And, to conclude, it has been found out that what Popery was in the fourteenth it would fain claim to be in
the nineteenth century; and free states have been put upon their guard against it.

Nevertheless his Holiness Pio Nono exhibits certainly no sign of retreat at the approach of our British
parliament. He has issued a fresh brief under the seal of the Fisherman, severing the united sees of Cloyne
and Ross into two separate sees of Ross and Cloyne, and appointing one of the worst of the Irish bigots to
rule over the new see. He has also clapped poor harmless Mr. de Vericour into the Index Expurgatorius.
Contemporaneously with which events the Irish Protestant bishops have been loudly complaining of their
brother bishops in England for not having invited them to take part in the recent Episcopal protest against
such papal aggression. They declare that the Church of the United Kingdom being one and indivisible,
no separate branch of it ought to move alone; they insinuate broadly the suspicion that it is the fact of the
Irish branch being the most exposed to danger which had thus impelled the English prelates to get out of its
company; and they avow, for the same reason, their own resolve of cleaving all the more closely to the main
trunk, "with which it is our happiness and we hope our safety to be identified." This is frank; and very
accommodating, as well as soothing, was his grace of Canterbury's answer; but nevertheless an impression
prevails that the omission was not wholly accidental, and that in protesting against the Roman Catholic
Church for its insolent encroachment on Protestant England, it was best to keep out of sight that
Protestant Church which has so long been a grievance and unjust burthen on Roman Catholic Ireland. If
the Protestant faith could have been diffused by the maintenance of such an establishment, it might have
been well to keep it up even exclusively as a fortress militant for the gradual subjection of Rome. But the direct
contrary has been the result. It has long been useless, even as a barrack. Gold and iron may be, as Milton
calls them, the nerves of war; but, plentifully applied as they have been in the case of the Irish Church,
they have certainly not proved to be the sinews of religion. Protestantism has constantly dwindled
under the evil auspices of a system which has spoken less from the altar in accents of peace and charity
than in powder and shot out of mouths of iron. Such an eternal trouble, indeed, has this Establishment
been to the state; so fatal to the religion it was meant to promote; so much has its manifest injustice
scandalised Christianity, scared away tranquillity, and wasted and consumed its own congregations; that,
viewing all these effects, and seeing how nothing so much as Popery has been promoted by such so-called
enthusiastic Protestantism, it would have taxed the serpentine cunning of the school of Loyola to devise
a more subtle or successful scheme for retaining Ireland within the pale of Rome. A more effective
imprecation under cover of a pious aspiration could not have been invented by the Reverend Doctor
Biber himself, who curses so readily and zealously; and who has just given fresh proof of the quality of
his Christianity by denouncing every form of worship but that of the Protestant communion, and declaring
his utter abhorrence of all religious sentiments except those of the Church of England.

This curious sample of Protestant Popery was exhibited on the occasion of a meeting of the highflyers at
Freemasons' Hall, when the Church of England was declared to be in such a condition of "torpid paralysis,''
so "deserted and crippled," so "degraded and impotent," that nothing but Convocation could restore her;
and a very pretty sample of the sort of Debating Club so invoked for the salvation of the Church was this
meeting of its advocates. The means were noisy discussion, bitter altercation, unscrupulous banning and
proscribing; and all for ends no better than the erection of a sort of Protestant Holy Office and Index
Expurgatorius. The "censuring of books and persons," and the enforcement of "spiritual discipline," are alone,
forsooth, according to these orators, what will save the Church. It is the vulgar cry for powermore power;
when the remedy sorely needed is peacemore peace. The struggle has been long enough in progress

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