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case, was wound up by a pleasant laugh. 'Oh, B—, you are incor rigible; I can make no hand of you,' was all that Father Mathew could say to his good-humoured friend.
The advocates of social reforms and humane ameliorations of the law found a ready and influential supporter in Father Mathew, who sympathised in whatever tended to render their hard lot in this life more tolerable to the poor and the afflicted. In like manner did he hold in abhorrence the idea that one man could possess property in his fellow-man; and the expression of this feeling, which he did not conceal, was to him, as the reader will see in time, the source of much anxiety, and no small embarrassment, during his tour in the United States.
Frederick Douglas, known as the Fugitive Slave,' describes in a letter to the Boston Liberator' his reception by Father Mathew, whom he visited in Cork, in October 1845. Men of the highest rank and greatest eminence constantly visited at that humble house in Cove Street; but neither to noble nor to statesman, to poet nor to orator, to painter nor to sculptor, did Father Mathew offer a heartier welcome than to the Fugitive Slave, who thus records his impressions of that reception :
On the 21st inst., Father Mathew gave a splendid soirée, as a token of his sympathy and regard for friend Buffum and myself. There were 250 persons present. It was decidedly the brightest and happiest company, I think, I ever saw anywhere.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying himself in the fullest manner. It was enough to delight any heart not totally bereft of feeling, to look upon such a company of happy faces. Among them all, I saw no one that seemed to be shocked or disturbed at my dark presence. No one seemed to feel himself contaminated by contact with me. I think it would be difficult to get the same number of persons together in any one of our New England cities without some Democratic nose growing deformed at my approach.
On the morning after the soirée, Father Mathew invited us to breakfast with him at his own house-an honour quite unexpected, and one for which I felt myself unprepared. I however accepted his kind invitation, and went. I found him living in a very humble dwelling, and in an obscure street. As I approached he came out of his house, and met me about thirty yards from his door, and with uplifted hands, in a manner altogether peculiar to himself, and with a face beaming with benevolent expression, he exclaimed, 'Welcome! welcome! my dear sir, to my humble abode;' at the same time taking me cordially by the hand, he conducted me through a rough uncarpeted passage to a green door leading to an uncarpeted stairway; on ascending one flight of which, I found myself abruptly ushered into what appeared to be both drawing and dining-room. There was no carpet on the floor, and very little furniture of any kind in the room; an oldfashioned sideboard, a few chairs, three or four pictures hung carelessly around the walls, comprising nearly the whole furniture of the room. The breakfast was set when I went in. A large urn stood in the middle, surrounded by cups, saucers, plates, knives and forks, spoons, &c. &c., all of a very plain orderrather too plain, I thought, for so great a man. His greatness, however, was not dependent on outward show; nor was it obscured from me by his plainness,
. HIS RECEPTION OF THE
Upon entering the room, Father Mathew introduced me to Mr. William O'Connor, an invited guest; though not a teetotaller, an ardent admirer of Father Mathew.*
This gentleman complained a little of his severity towards the distillers of Cork, who had a large amount invested in distilleries, and who could not be expected to give their business up to their ruin. To which Father Mathew replied, in the natural way, that such men had no right to prosper by the ruin of others. He said he was once met by a very rich distiller, who asked him, rather imploringly, how he could deliberately plot the ruin of so many unoffending people, who had their all invested in distilleries? In reply, Father Mathew then told with good spirit the following excellent anecdote: A very fat old duck went out early one morning in pursuit of worms, and after being out all day, she succeeded in filling her crop, and on her return home at night with her crop full of worms, she had the misfortune to be met by a fox, who at once proposed to take her life to satisfy his hunger. The old duck appealed, argued, implored, and remonstrated. She said to the fox-You cannot be so wicked and hard-hearted as to take the life of a harmless duck, merely to satisfy your hunger. She exhorted him against the commission of so great a sin, and begged him not to stain his soul with her innocent blood. When the fox could stand her cant no longer, he said-Out upon you, madam, with all your fine feathers; you are a pretty thing to lecture me about taking life to satisfy my hunger. Is not your own crop now full of worms? You destroy more lives in one day, to satisfy your hunger, than I do in a whole month!'
Capital Punishment - The Oriental's Question-His distinguished Visitors-Innocent Festivities-Protestant Sympathy-- Sacredness of the Pledge.
Ar a meeting held in Cork, in 1845, Father Mathew expressed his views on the question of Capital Punishment, which the promoters of the meeting sought to abolish. It will be seen that he availed himself of the opportunity thus afforded him to urge upon his fellowcitizens the wisdom and humanity of arresting crime by the protection and reformation of the young. In proposing the resolution which he had been solicited to propose, he said :
I have been for nearly thirty years a ealm observer of passing events. in all its various gradations has appeared before me; and I have very seldom found a case where, by kindness and winning his confidence, I did not succeed in the reformation of the criminal, by holding out to him a pardon through Christ. It is my conviction, and I have long studied the subject, that even the crime of murder should not be punished with death. I do not now wish to enter into the discussion of the permission given by the Almighty in the words that he who sheds man's blood by man shall his blood be shed;' but from the consequences
The merchant-tailor who erected the Mathew Tower in commemoration of his reverend friend's reception in London in 1843.
that have followed the punishment of murder by death, I am convinced that the amount of crime is increased, because the public mind becomes brutalised by the frequent repetition of executions; and I am further convinced that if the punishment of death were done away with, we would have no murders at all. I never found that the apprehension of punishment by death held back the murderer's hand; and it has often occurred that the person punished was considered the person murdered, and his punishment therefore produced the contrary effect to that intended. I have strayed from the subject of the resolution, to implore your sympathy and compassion for the juvenile offenders of this city. I do it with all my heart, for I mourn over them; and I should say that it is your own neglect of the youthful culprits that is the unhappy cause of the frequency of the perpetration of such crime. They are wretched beings, the offspring of poverty, who learned nothing save the low artifices of thieves: they are sent to jail and confined; but so far from being reformed, they become worse, and as they grow up they advance from the petty thief to the blood-stained murderer. I would therefore suggest the necessity of having moral and spiritual training for the juvenile classes, instead of jails and prisons. It is not my wish that murderers should escape with impunity. I think they should be confined, and brought up to useful trades, and kept in prison until, by their labour, they paid not alone for their own maintenance, but also repaid those to the last farthing whom they robbed or injured. I would not give the culprit a bonus, and send him back upon the world; I would make him pay the penalty to the last farthing.
Among the visitors attracted to Cove Street by the fame of the Apostle of Temperance, was a genuine Oriental, rejoicing in the name of Meer Shamet Alli, a descendant of the original Mogul race. He was a grand-looking Mussulman, highly accomplished, and spoke more than one European language with facility. Father Mathew, to whom he had a letter of introduction, invited him to breakfast, and— that the stranger might have the pleasure of hearing his own language spoken in a place so far from his own country-he also asked his friend Captain (now Colonel) Gamble to join the party. Father Mathew took the illustrious stranger to various places, and showed him several institutions-among others the Ursuline Convent at Blackrock, within some two miles of Cork. The institution is a very noble one, and eminent for its success as a school for young girls of the middle and higher classes. Meer Alli was received with distinction by the ladies of the community, and shown everything of interest. Father Mathew's presence acted as an 'open sesame,' and every door flew open before the approach of the stranger, who examined and admired with the quiet gravity peculiar to his race. While Father Mathew's
attention was otherwise engaged, the Meer asked confidentially of a gentleman near him, who formed one of the party- Are all these ladies his wives?' The rather Eastern idea had arisen in his mind, chiefly from the air of mingled respect and affection with which the good nuns treated their spiritual superior-which office Father Mathew then held. When Father Mathew was afterwards told of the
HIS DISTINGUISHED VISITORS.
Oriental's query, he was considerably amused at its strange proposition.
Father Mathew did not altogether confine his attentions to visitors and strangers of the male sex; he occasionally displayed great courtesy to the gentler sex, and even afforded them hospitality, either at his own house, or at Lehenagh-arranging of course, in case his own house was the scene of the entertainment, that members of his family should join the party. The Countess Ida Hahn-Hahn thus acknowledges the kindness and hospitality which she had received at his hands:
London, Octbr. 17, 1846.
DEAR SIR,——I am about to leave England, and feel compelled, before doing so, to express to you my best thanks for your kindness and hospitality. The hours which I did spend with you shall not be forgotten. I was prevented from accepting your invitation at Killarney by a want of full-dress, and I thought myself not fit to appear in an evening party, and amongst ladies, in my travelling dress; so I lost the opportunity of seeing you once more. But I saw you in moments of higher importance to my feelings, and they are perhaps the most gratifying in my whole journey,
God bless you, dear sir, in the grand and noble work you carry on, and God bless your people with wisdom in the stormy trials hovering just now over them. Yours with true and warm admiration,
IDA CTSS. HAHN-HAHN.
Mrs. Asenath Nicholson, a lady from New York, made a pedestrian tour through Ireland in 1844-45, for the purpose of becoming personally acquainted with the condition and character of its people. She generally lodged in the cabins of the peasantry, and distributed tracts among them as she went on. In a work which she published on her return, entitled 'Welcome to the Stranger,' Mrs. Nicholson gave a description of her interesting tour. Her impressions of Father Mathew-whom she first saw at Roscrea, and whom she afterwards visited at Cork—are admirably given in the book.
Father Mathew's visits to the Blackrock and other convents, both in Cork and Dublin, were the occasion of much rejoicing to the young ladies, who generally enjoyed a holiday and a feast in consequence. He delighted in witnessing their innocent merriment, and received with the utmost gratification their graceful tributes of affectionusually in the form of a pretty poem, descriptive of his triumph as the great moral regenerator of his country. He treasured up these poetical effusions with care; and many a mildewed poem, written carefully, and in the neatest hand, on embossed card or satin paper, were found in the recesses of his ink-spattered desk. But a little drama, in which the mission of the Apostle was illustrated by its influence upon the life and fortune of a family, and which was admirably played by the pupils of the Convent of Loretto, Dublin, was a testimony of which he was especially proud. It was written
by one of the nuns, and was assisted in its general effect by the introduction of national music and graceful dances, in which the younger children took a conspicuous part. No one could appreciate better than Father Mathew the efforts of these innocent young people to please and do him honour; and they, in their turn, were proud of his praise.
Between Father Mathew and several dignitaries of the Established Church a strong feeling of friendship existed. Even where prejudice was entertained against his creed, it was disarmed by the charm of his manner, and the conviction of his real goodness of heart; but where genuine liberality took the place of prejudice, and he became known to a man of his own stamp in the Protestant Church, the acquaintance soon ripened into friendship, and esteem invariably warmed into enduring affection. That this sentiment was felt towards him by the late Venerable Tighe Gregory, Rector of Kilmore, the words of that liberal-minded man will attest :
Paget Priory, Post Town, Kilcock:
MY VERY REVD. FRIEND,-By the merest accident I have this moment heard that you are to be in Maynooth to-morrow. An additional weight of duty, consequent on the day, renders me unable to drive over and wait on you; but I trust your arrangements will not clash with your favouring me by naming a day, before your return to the south, on which I shall have the pleasure of welcoming you to Paget Priory, where there cannot, I assure you, be a more valued or welcome guest. Polemics and politics are forgotten in the good ship Harmony, as she placidly sails in the bay of Concord; 'tis the vessel which Jesus pilots-may it never be wrecked.
Every day gives evidence of the blessings of temperance; and I never saw it more fully exemplified than last Easter Monday in my own churchyard, where an ill-conducted terrorist of the Clarendon Lodge found his safety (and impunity, too) in the exemplary sobriety which caused the meritorious forbearance of the numerous Roman Catholics present, whom, in drunken bigotry, he audaciously stigmatised and insulted, in spite of his pastor's stern reproof.
They talk of panaceas for Ireland's ills, and say 'all attempts to find one are utopian.' I deny it. Temperance is the panacea-on it domestic peace, public order, morality, industry, meekness, mildness, and Christian charity are reared; and family broils, riot, tumult, violence, dissipation, idleness, intolerance, and bigotry are crushed beneath it.
The instance I have just recounted-almost at the time, and but six miles from the place where you will probably be administering the pledge when you receive this forms a great and striking proof that in temperance this panacea is to be found; and with heart and hand ALL should therefore promote its growth. I was charmed to find my son, and my friend the Bishop of Norwich, acting the noble part they did, in presenting you at the Shire Hall. Persevere and prosper.
Accept, very reverend and dear friend, the assurance of the enduring esteem of, yours faithfully and truly,
E. TIGHE GREGORY, D.D. and LL.D., Rector and Vicar of Kilmore. The Very Revd. Theobald Mathew, &c.