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informed me that from hearing it read so often, she has committed the passage faithfully to memory; I find the following entry in his journal of that date:-' I had like to forget H- Sclarations of the impression the words your Reverence read for her at Keamaneigh last summer, made on her; she says, that going along, or on her bed, she is pausing on them!"
The above is an instance of the value of the Irish Scriptures which has come immediately under my own notice. If I could have hoped in reporting it to have awakened an hundredth part of the interest excited while it was occurring, I would have mentioned it to the Committee long before; but I feared from its length that it Iwould be tedious. I can only answer for its truth, and if Mr. Daly can make any use of it, it is at his service. Mr. Leslie and I wished much at the time for his presence-I also send you the Inspector's journal: Mr. Daly will find in it, particularly towards the latter part, several notices of importance and interest. There is an under-current in motion, even in this remote and uneducated part of Ireland. which must issue (when the friends of God are more zealous and liberal) in scriptural information, and Protestant liberty and privilege.
I remain, dear Sir,
Yours very faithfully,
Sea Lodge, near Bantry, Jan. 17, 1828.
E. J. ALCOCK.
ON THE EARLY MARRIAGES OF THE IRISH PEASANTRY.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.
SIR-Although I am not an admirer of either the religion or the philosophy which prompted the persecution of Galileo, because his system of astronomy was apparently inconsistent with some expressions in Scripture, I yet think that professing Christians should be very slow in adopting any opinion, either in natural or moral philosophy, which even appears to contradict the sacred volume. I am fully aware that the object of the book of grace is not to supersede the study of the book of nature, or to reveal to us truths which we have faculties for ascertaining without its assistance; and therefore we find a verbal accordance with the opinions of the day in astronomy and natural history, rather than with what we now know to be the truth. But this being granted, it yet remains I think undeniable, that the simple fact of a new opinion in any of the sciences being apparently contradictory to one single expression in the Bible, ought to make the Christian slow and cautious in receiving it; and if this be true in natural philosophy, much more fully does it hold good in a science so closely connected with ethics as political economy; and it appears but reasonable to expect, that its deductions should be weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, and carefully
compared with the inspired declarations of the sacred volume, before they are admitted or acted on by a Christian public.
It is a hard thing to follow any science through all its points and bearings, and to carry along with us the whole of the reasonings and deductions, but it is an easy thing to seize on some one point that appears new or striking, and persuade ourselves we are learned because we are able to talk of this; and thus multitudes who really know little or nothing of political economy yet think they earn to themselves the name of political economists, while they ascribe the evils of Ireland to excessive population, and join in the cry now raging, to use Dr. Doyle's expression, from Carrickfergus to Cape Clear, against early marriages. Without then attempting to impugn any part of the science of political economy, will you allow me to make a few remarks on the popular and practical view of this particular branch of it taken among us?
There can be no question that in Scripture, marriage and a numerous offspring are spoken of as blessings of the very highest order, without any reference to the wealth or station of the individual on whom the blessing is conferred; and this, I think, affords a prima facie evidence against a system which adopts as its text the language that marked the day of Jerusalem's visitation-" Blessed are the barren, and the womb that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck." It was wisely said by Solon, that he gave the Athenians not the best laws that it was possible to frame, but the best they were capable of receiving; and viewing man as he is—a corrupt fallen creatureit is our duty to consider by what system of moral arrangement his vicious propensities may most be checked, and his virtuous feelings most excited and encouraged, rather than how it would be best for him to act, supposing him perfect master of his passions and propensities. In considering this subject, two things must be premised-1st, That but a very small portion of the community is under the influence of divine truths-and 2dly, That even that small portion are men not angels, and must be dealt with and deal with themselves as subject to infirmity.
Let it be granted that what is called the moral check to population is of all other things the most desirable, and that the happiest results would follow if men and women were to live single for ten or fifteen years of their mature life with industry and self-denial, labouring and saving for each other's sake. I ask is it probable or almost possible that this will generally be the case; or is it safe to press such a line of conduct on our demoralized population? If the result to one couple would be increase of comfort, might it not to nine bring desertion and disappointment, if not worse, to the female, and fix habits of selfishness and dissipation on the man? Is it probable that distant good, however great, will be found a sufficient motive not merely for exertion, but for constant, daily, unchanging selfdenial ?
Passing over considerations which must press themselves on the mind of every one who considers the subject, as to the dangers and temptations which must wait on unmarried youth, I
would ask, will there exist the same stimulus to industry, and more particularly to economy in the mind of the unmarried as the married youth? Is it not probable that habits of not positively vicious indulgence may be acquired, which may tend to impoverish and embitter after life? A regular habit of smoking or of drinking, short of intoxication, a taste for dress or for good living, will prove much more expensive pensioners than a wife and family, and will be much more likely to lead to a dependent and wretched old age. And yet how rarely does a man uninfluenced by religious truth attain, unmarried, to middle life without having acquired some, if not all, of these propensities! The heart naturally looks for, and will if possible attain enjoyment, and this the world offers in two shapes either in the comforts of the domestic circle, or in what is called a life of pleasure; it rarely happens that a young man in the lower ranks of society can, without marriage, enjoy domestic life after four or five and twenty, and what can at that period of first-felt independence of pride, passion, and self-will,-what can so much bind him to all that is desirable for man, and draw him from all he ought to shun, as those high and holy ties which the God of nature has formed, and the God of revelation blessed.
It may be said that we are not merely to regard individual good, but to look to future generations, and that though the person who marries early and devotes himself to honest and economical industry may be a happier and even a richer man than he who lives long or altogether unmarried, yet the children of the former will sooner arrive at maturity, and on the same principle marry, and raise up a third generation in fearfully rapid succession; but has not experience shewn us, that as men multiply, means of provision for them multiply also, while where population diminishes, want and misery crowd more closely around their thinning ranks? It is from an immoral, not an increasing population that we have to look for danger, and it is from immorality, which of course includes indolence and extravagance, that want and misery spring.
We are very apt to overrate the prudence of the English poor, while we underrate that of our own; yet how does it happen that when one newspaper tells us that by a reverse of trade the manufacturers are thrown out of their enormous wages, the very next informs us that these persons are starving. Is it, I would simply ask, because the provision for their families necessarily drew on their resources to the utmost, or is it that their wages were spent as fast as earned, in, to say the best, regular, sober, daily luxury? When the Irish day-labourer, on the contrary, is thrown out of employment it will be found in a great majority of instances, that out of his wretched pittance he has laid by enough, in goods if not in money, to carry him on for several months. Why is this? because the one early learns that he is to live for himself the other that he is to live for his family.. Uninstructed-with worse than no religion-taught sedition from the very altars of God, and urged to vengeance by professing ministers of peace, what has restrained the Irish peasantry from deeds of blood more horrible than those which yet have
stained our history, and preserved for him a place, however low, among civilized nations? What but this-that as he rises into manhood he is bound by the tenderest ties to all the softer feelings of our nature; in the wretched hovel, from which the eye of the refined beholder turns with disgust, his heart has found a home, his best affections a resting-place; and the husband and the father shrinks from deeds in which the man, and, horrible to utter! the so called Christian, would glory. So far, then, from regarding early marriages, as many do, as one of the chief sources of my country's misery, I do believe that, under Providence, they have been one of the most influential means of keeping its jarring elements together.
It must be confessed, however, that the Irish frequently marry unnaturally early and imprudently. There are many causes in this country, on which it is unnecessary now to enter, which make marriage desirable to the youth of both sexes, independent of that which ought to be the only motive of union-mutual and rational affection; and these should be searched out by every well-wisher of his country, and as far as possible removed; the vast importance of the subject should be set before the people, and caution and examination with respect to character urged; and we may be assured that as the people advance in civilization, they will see, as they appear to be beginning to see, the folly of rushing into matrimony without a reasonable prospect of provision. Let the people be civilized, and they will become more rational on the subject of marriage. But it is beginning at the wrong end, to endeavour to take from them what, in their present state, is almost the only safeguard that remains for their moral character. Let any landlord or clergyman who cares for his tenants or parishioners, examine their actual condition, and I think he will find, cæteris paribus, that those who married latest in life are not either the most moral or the most thriving among them.
In conclusion: it appears to me that for man, such as we might imagine him to be, the system which would postpone marriage till it might take place accompanied with every circumstance of present comfort, would be unquestionably the wisest; but that for man, such as he is, headstrong, unstable, uncertain, the safest and happiest course will be that pointed out by Him who knew what was in man, "Rejoice with the wife of thy youth, and be thou always ravished with her love." Whatever we consider the importance attached to the subject of marriage in Scripture, or the vast influence which it must have on the moral state of mankind, I am sure you will agree with me, that it is a subject on which opinions ought not to be lightly formed, nor formed without regard to the counsel of God, and, therefore, that the consideration of it is not inconsistent with the designs of a religious magazine.
I am, Sir,
TOUR TO THE GIANT'S CAUSEWAY.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.
MR. EXAMINER-I have seldom undertaken any thing in the descriptive way, concerning which I feel so repentant, as this tour to the Giant's Causeway. În Donegal, Cape Clear, or Glengariff, I felt as it were treading on fresh ground; I had the range to myself like an Australian explorer after passing the Blue Mountains; I could roam free and unquestioned on wide unoccupied plains; but this Causeway that every tourist has trampled on, that has been sketched, etched, and lithographed, described by antiquarians, geologists, and poets, system-builders and book-makers, and what not-why, the pillars and promontories of this far-famed curiosity are--they must be, just as familiar to the mind's acquaintance of my readers, as the ballustrades of Carlisle-bridge; and really C. O. in a luckless hour you ventured in this common field. As an experienced farmer, you ought to have considered that this has borne crop after crop, and has been tilled until it was tired,-you had no business to drive your plough into such exhausted ground.
But still the penalty of my promise, the dunning question of Mr. Examiner tingles in my ear, why do you not finish your tour in Antrim-where is your week, the whole week you pledged us to? Indeed we cannot allow you to escape-you must not blink your engagement-sit down at once like a good fellow, you know controversy is not palatable with the Parson's children-poor little things, their appetites are not made up YET for the stern stuff we generally deal in. Do, like a good-natured and brave fellow as you are, sit down to your work, says Mr. Examiner. So be it then.
It was as fine a morning as ever fell from Heaven when we landed at Dunluce, not a cloud in the sky, not a wave on the water; the brown basaltic rock, with the towers of the ancient fortress that capped and covered it-all its grey bastions and pointed gables lay pictured on the incumbent mirror of the ocean-every thing was reposing-every thing so still, that nothing was heard but the flash of our oars and the song of Alick M'Mullen, to break the silence of the sea. * We rowed round this peninsular fortress, and then entered the fine cavern that so curiously perforates the rock, and opens its dark arch to admit our boat. He must, indeed, have a mind cased up in all the common-place of dull existence, who would not, while within this cavern and under this fortress, enter into the associations connected with the scene; who could not hold communings with the "Genius Loci." Fancy I know called up for me the war-boats and the foemen, who either issued from, or took shelter in this sea-cave-1 imagined as the tide was growling amidst the far recesses, that I heard the moanings of chained captives, and the huge rocks around must be bales of plunder landed and lodged here and I took an interest and supposed myself a sharer
* "C. O." in conveying to his readers his' conversations with Alick M'Mullen, desires them to consider that the matter alone is correct; he draws upon an imperfect memory for the words.