Page images

then treated the constable in the manner described; he was intoxicated.

The peculiar ferocity of some Irish Romanists, not alone when intoxicated, appears to me to arise in no small measure from the lessons of hatred inculcated by their religion. Any nation which has been exposed for centuries to the influences of a system, which curses at the altar in the most horrible manner, curses which one would not wish our bitterest enemy-for we are taught to bless and not to curse *--such a religion caunot fail to add greatly to that enmity, which always exists (whatever the creed be) in the unconverted heart.

The Roman Catholic portion of the poor population of London, is estimated at one-seventh of the whole. I should have felt very happy to have given some of those many remarkable cases of usefulness amongst Papists, which abound in the records of our Mission, especially from the journals of the Irish missionaries to the Irish Romanists, and of the Italian missionaries to the Italian Romanists, but such details would occupy volumes. All that can be well done in a work like the present, relating to personal effort, for

* Matt. v. 44; Rom. xii. 14, 20; etc.

poor men have

the full detail of which I have very far from sufficient space, is to direct the reader to the Magazines and Reports of the Society, which abound in the most deeply interesting details of labour and success.

The following are some particulars of a very interesting case of a Polish refugee :

The Hungarian, Polish, and Italian refugees have a loft upon my district, which is converted into a barrack. Berths, three deep, are fitted up against the wall, and here they live, eat, and sleep. The


which to exist, and that little is supplied by the Chartists, and some have a little from the Polish Association. A Colonel in the Roman army lives at a beershop in

Street. Their manner of living is very simple; some cheap meat curried with much rice in the middle of the day, and perhaps a cup of coffee and a little bread in the evening; but they get very little, and have to ease hunger by smoking. A pipe is many a poor man's dinner-learn, ye sons of ease and opulence, and learn therefore to pity. The Chartists hold balls" here for the benefit of the refugees, which are a source of great temptation and evil, and I have reproved them respecting such practices, to which they reply that it is done for the benefit of the refugees, who would starve if they did not thus assist them. “ All men have not faith," 2 Thess. iii. 2.

The balls are justified, also, on the plea that the people must have amusements; and the Sunday evening political discussions are justified, also, by the assertion that " Jesus Christ was a democrat.'


They have of course been directed by me to attend the house of God on the Sabbath. The number of these refugees lessens; some emigrate to America, some obtain employment at their various trades. All have been soldiers ; in Italy and Hungary, and some were in France during the revolution of 1848, but were driven from that country after the election of Louis Napoleon as President, and fled to England. I have met with one death amongst them, that of a Pole, Lieut. - This accomplished and interesting young officer was a Roman Catholic as a Pole, and had served in the Polish revolution. After being exiled, he obtained a living in several continental countries as a civil engineer and teacher of the mathematics and lan. guages. He took part in the Italian revolution of 1848 in Tuscany, and afterwards went to France, where he was in good employment, he informed me, until the President expelled refugees from France, when he of course had to flee, and came to England. The cold, and the hardships of a soldier's life, and the wounds he had received, seem to have fostered the pulmonary disease from which he died. I found Lieut. in a miserable back garret in T-- Street, destitute of either furniture or a bed. A broken chair or two, and a wooden table, comprised the comforts of this humble habitation; and this destitution of furniture, with the dirty walls, the whitewash of which was yellow and decayed, and the place almost in ruins, formed a strange contrast with the politeness and elegant manners of the occupants, who were the lieutenant and a comrade, who remained with his officer in his extremity. The manners of armies, depraved though in many instances they be, are frequently the heroism of philanthropy, deserving a better trade than manslaying:

“ The knight in the pride of chivalry,
Clad in armour of silver or steel,-
Such vision of glory must pass away,
Beneath the mild and healing ray,
Which Christ will cause the nations to feel.
“ And the world shall learn glory to be

Not in a reeking sword,
Bathed in the blood of the enemy,
And blazoned for ever in heraldry,

But in spreading the truth abroad.
“ And the warrior of Christ shall be honoured and sung,

And the herald shall tell what the Cross has won," He had been removed from the barrack, as in his diseased condition, the agglomeration of breaths in the night almost suffocated him; he was ordered nourishment by the parish doctor who attended him, which he could not obtain; and the female who rents the rag shop and parlour below, declared to me she believed he was being starved to death. His English being very imperfect, I conversed with him in French, and he appeared very anxious for spiritual instruction. He had read the Bible, and appeared to possess a very retentive memory, and could repeat portions of Scripture when prompted by me; this knowledge he had acquired since being driven from Poland by the arms of the Russ. In his own country he was a landed proprietor, but when once exised, no letter from or to RussiaPoland could pass the frontier. One he sent was opened and returned; so, after a long lapse of years, he was unable even to communicate with his friends; there was no friendly frontier near, to which a letter could be clandestinely conveyed.

I have reason to believe this child of misfortune was in a hopeful condition of mind; the instruction he received appeared to produce much impression upon him. No priest came to visit him, nor did he wish for one; ħe called me mon père, and listened reverently to the enunciation of Divine truth. Fragments of Romish superstition, however, hung about him to the last-remnants of

“The Papal web." He did not believe that a priest could forgive sins absolutely; I am of opinion he was too enlightened; but he believed I could absolve him, on repentance and faith in Christ on his part. Upon the great subject---man's redemption, I of course had much conversation with him, and catechised him continually, and he firmly avowed his conviction that he was a sinner by nature and a sinner by practice, that no works of his own could save him, and respecting the person and work of our one Saviour, he could give very correct account; but the fragments of Romish error hung around him to the last, although I have good reason to hope they were shattered fragments, and that saving faith had penetrated between them to his soul; but it was smoking flax,' a feeble flame.

As he approached death, he became very anxious I should hear his confession. In reply to this request, I said, “Do you feel you are a sinner?” He emphatically declared, “I do.” “ Are you, ” said I,“ truly sorry for all your

sins ?'

He replied fervently, that he was. “Do you," said I,

renounce and forsake them all?" He declared very solemnly, “I do.” He lay on his humble pallet of straw, which charity had procured him, and the pallor of death, which I have seen too

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »