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Newspaper Articles
1904 Part 1
Revised June 11, 2018

Newspaper Articles for 1904 (Part 1)

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The Church Without a Name, The Truth, Two By Twos, 2x2s


THE IMPARTIAL REPORTER:

June 02, 1904

June 09, 1904

THE NEWTOWNARDS CHRONICLE:

May 28, 1904


June 04, 1904, p. 3


June 11, 1904, p. 3



June 2, 1904
THE IMPARTIAL REPORTER
Established 1808.
Newspaper for Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
_________
THE TRAMP PILGRIMS
DIP DUPES IN THE SEA
_________
MR. COONEY AND THE CHURCHES
MORE ATTACKS ON CHURCHES AND MINISTERS.
EXTRAORDINARY SCENE AT NEWTOWNARDS.
THE POLICE HAVE TO INTERVENE.

 We take the following account of some proceedings of the Tramp Pilgrims at Newtownards from Newtownards Chronicle of Saturday last.  It appears the ‘chosen few’ had also a bad time in Ballinahinch:—

TRAMP PREACHERS IN NEWTOWNARDS
NEWTOWNARDS INNOCENTS CARRIED AWAY.
DISORDERLY SCENE ON THE SHORE ROAD.
17 BAPTISED IN STRANGFORD LOUGH.
EXTRAORDINARY SCENES

 Not since King Edward VII, the mightiest ruler in this world, visited Newtownards, was there seen such a vast concourse of people as that which was on the Shore Road on Sunday last, all going to hear and see a Mr. Edward Cooney, a tramp preacher, hailing from Enniskillen, who has visited this town, and has created not a little strife by his religio-maniacal doctrines.  We have heard much of this fanatic, and have treated him with the silent contempt such a person deserves, but one cannot fail to take notice of the performance that took place on last Sabbath day.

Mr. Cooney believes in total immersion, and it was rumoured that many, throughout the week—both males and females—were baptised in the waters of Strangford Lough.  We made inquiries and found this to be true, and that the process was carried out early in the morning, especially when the ladies were to be ‘dipped.’  We did not think that there were so many innocents in Newtownards as to be baptised by Mr. Cooney or anybody else, who has no ecclesiastical standing.  His followers in Newtownards are not very many, but the large crowds that attend his meetings, attend more from curiosity than anything else.  He is under the impression that he can do nothing wrong, and so innocents are deluded, bathed by Mr. Cooney or his ‘apprentices,’ and then become his disciple, some of whom have, we are told been laid up with severe illness after their folly.

From the commencement, Mr. Cooney’s tactics have been outlandish in the extreme.  Claiming to be a Divinely appointed apostle, he expects the community at large to honour that claim, on no other ground than that of his own naked assertion.  His general deportment is equally arrogant.  It is no doubt true that he and his assistant preachers have donned the plainest tweeds, discarding, in some instances, the collar and tie, and in every case cuffs.  But everyone knows that peculiarity in dress, even if that dress were a sackcloth, does not necessarily betoken a regeneration of the inner life.  One man may be quite as proud of his assumed humility of habit as another would be of the costliest broadcloth, topped by the ‘much condemned,’ as Mr. Cooney would say ‘two-storeyed.’

Spite, therefore, of tweed outfit, there is much to indicate that Mr. Cooney’s opinion of himself is greatly over-estimated.  As is usual with men of his mental calibre, the ‘I’ and the ‘me’ of a very important self, bulk in the most extraordinary degree.

In the unwarrantable attacks upon church organisations in general, and upon ministers of the gospel in particular, he makes a hobby of our Lord’s forbidding the Apostles to provide either gold or silver or brass in their purses.  The passage that contains the prohibition is, he contends the permanent commission for all preachers.  But that view of the matter is obviously an inexcusable misrepresentation of the Saviour’s words.  For apart altogether from the fact that totally different instructions were subsequently issued, the most cursory glance at the chapter in which this commission appears, is sufficient to show that it was never intended to be other than a temporary one, else every preacher, Mr. Cooney included, is doing wrong in bringing the Gospel message to Gentiles.

Another instance of his perversion of the general teaching of the Word of God presents itself in connection with the views he inculcates respecting the young ruler of whom we read in the Gospels.  Christ saw that that young man was trusting in his riches, and that he must therefore part with them before he could follow Him.  That, however, is a totally different thing from the idea that under ordinary circumstances every man whom God has blessed with an abundant store of this world’s goods must sell all that he has in order to obtain eternal life.  ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’  This is emphatic enough, but according to Mr. Cooney it ought to read, ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever ‘selleth all that he hath’ should not perish but have everlasting life.’  Such a message might satisfy Mr. Cooney, but for ourselves we certainly prefer that upon which so many of our fellow-men all down the ages have been led to rest their souls for eternity.

But we are going away from our subject somewhat.  Let us come back to Sunday last.  One would have thought on looking at the Shore Road that the Newtownards Flower Show was being held and that new quarters had been taken up, or that Ballyhaft races were in full swing, all proceeding thereto on foot.  But no, all were going to see and hear Cooney, and as the day was fine and very hot, it enticed the vast number that were full of curiousity, to visit the shore.

The ‘dipping’ was to take place at the White Pillar, about one mile and a half from Newtownards.  Sure enough Mr. Cooney and his disciples left Mr. Kelly’s hall in Francis Street, about 3-15 o’clock p.m., and proceeded in procession, sisters first and brothers last.  No doubt the procession was a large one being greatly augmented by strangers.  The processionists wended their way to the White Pillar singing hymns, while under some of their arms, parcels were carried, which contained their bathing apparel.  A large crowd followed them.

Arriving at the White Pillar a ring was formed, and proceedings began, with the singing of a hymn, after which Mr. Cooney began and told little stories in a disconnected way, although at times he had a good flow of language.  He continued in his usual strain, stating that although Newtownards was almost against him, but they knew that when Jesus came upon this earth that He was despised.  He advised them to pull down their barns, sell all they had, and insinuated that they should follow him.  He also said that a woman was a fraud who married twice, which created laughter, but he was glad to say he had been married to Jesus Christ twenty years ago, and had not been divorced yet.  Having continued for some time, he called upon some around him to give their testimony, which calling was obeyed.  More "Songs of Victory" were then sung.

By this time the tide was well in, and a large number left him and proceeded to an oblong tent that was erected on the grass not far from the water, in which they were to undress.  Excitement now ran high, and eager faces scanned the opening of the tent.  Cooney in the meantime still conducted his meeting.  From the bank to the water’s edge the sea stones were covered by the more venturesome males.  At last ten males emerged from the tent, and forced their way through the crowd clad in their semmets, and an old pair of trousers, while one of them thought it was a good tip to go in his underclothes.  As they marched down over the stones, they

EVOKED GREAT LAUGHTER
from the onlookers.  Their leader waded up till nearly waist deep, and stopped, facing the shore.  After a few preliminaries, and some words of comfort from their leader, they were thrown on their back and completely immersed, one by one, while the onlookers derisively cheered and screamed with laughter as each one was ‘ducked.’

One poor fellow had his mouth open, and as he disappeared, he swallowed more water than he bargained for.  When he got up the water ran out of him as it would from a bung hole, in a barrel, causing great merriment amongst the vast audience.  After this eight others got the same dose, and came back like their former chums, with dripping hair, resembling something half drowned.  The fun was at its height when all had got into the tent to change their clothes.  The

CROWD MADE A SORTIE
on the tent, and the pegs were pulled up, and a general uproar took place.  One of the brethren, who could not follow Cooney so far as to believe when he got smote on one cheek to turn the other, struck one of the pressing crowd, and it looked after that as if the Cooneyites were going to be driven into the sea; but, owing to the large number of police that were present, under charge of Head-Constable Newman, nothing serious happened.  The crowd obeyed the local officers of the law, and the ‘raising’ was quelled.

When the attack was made on the tent those inside could be heard above the din shouting hysterically at the top of their voices ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Praise the Lord for the persecution’.  After matters had quieted down, Cooney mustered his clan and sang ‘Though the fight may be tough, go on, go on to victory.’  By this time the Cooneyites had emerged from the tent, looking cooler but cleaner men.  After this they formed in procession and proceeded up the road, followed by the police and a large crowd, and so ended Sunday’s performance.

We do not object to those who think they should be immersed, but if people, after they have professed their faith in Christ, think they should be immersed, then certainly it should be done in a decent and proper manner.  That of Sunday, we hold, was not decently carried out, and only brought disgrace on Newtownards people.  If the Cooneyites continue in the way they are doing we anticipate they will be hunted out of Newtownards in a similar way as they were hunted out of Ballynahinch.  If Mr. Cooney takes our advice he will abstain from indulging in personalities in any of his addresses, and throw overboard his questionable theological ideas.



TID - BITS OF ‘COONEYISM’

THE PRIDE OF NEWTOWNARDS

During the week the Rev. W. L. T. Whatham held services at which he denounced Mr. Cooney and his ways.  The meetings were largely attended.

On Monday evening, after Mr. Whatham’s meeting, Mr. S. C. Kelly (who lends his hall in Francis Street to Mr. Cooney), on account of what Mr. Whatham had said, attempted to hold a meeting near the church, with the result that he was ‘boohed’ home, and some eggs were thrown.

Mr. Kelly at a meeting of Mr. Cooney’s on Tuesday evening said the reason why he was ‘boohed home’ was because it was thought he was against Cooney.

‘Jeering, mocking, and scoffing,’ said Mr. Cooney on Tuesday, was the motto of Newtownards, and any man who wanted to follow Jesus must be prepared to meet that.  Few tried the narrow way that led unto life; but many on the broad road that led to the pit.  Jesus said, ‘I am the Way,’ but Jesus’ way was not popular in Newtownards.  The majority of the people of Newtownards was as full of pride as an egg was full of meat.  When he came to Newtownards and saw the flounces, and the cuffs, and frock coats, he was glad to know he was in such a place in order to strike a blow at their pride.  Mr. Kelly had been mobbed the night before.  That was honourable; was it?  Sam was in bad company because he was with him (the speaker).  (Laughter.)  But they were never to mind, as since the days of Jesus it seemed right to be in the majority and wrong to be with the few.  Their sins were forgiven and they were on their way to Heaven.  Looking around him, he said some of them were good advertisements for the devil.  (Loud laughter.)

At the same meeting a large number gave their testimonies.  A Mrs. Carroll said when she went to her pastor (mentioning the name), he ordered her out like a dog, because she associated with Mr. Cooney.  Several little school boys gave their testimony, who, we would say, did not know the seriousness of what they were talking about.

‘Come on to the hall,’ said Mr. Cooney, at the conclusion of the meeting; ‘you with your dirty faces, and you with your mufflers on.’

At a vast open-air meeting in Conway Square on Wednesday there was great ‘boohing’ when Mr. Cooney and Mr. Kelly spoke.  Mr. Cooney praised God that the Devil in Newtownards was roused against him.

He characterised the Rev. Mr. Whatham’s remarks regarding him (the speaker) as ‘horrible filthy lies,’ so much that he would not repeat them.  He also denounced the methods of the Episcopal Church, particularly in refusing to allow a layman to preach in the pulpit.  In this connection he related that a certain Church-man was defending that position, and he (Cooney) asked him ‘If the Lord Jesus Christ came down would you not allow Him to preach in the pulpit?’  Well,’ said the clergyman ‘I would allow him to read the lessons.’  A partially intoxicated individual in the crowd told Mr. Cooney he was mistaken, when Mr. Cooney retorted that...


SCENES AT AUGNACLOY

POLICE CALLED ON
EXTRAVAGANT LANGUAGE USED

A contingent of the tramp pilgrims created an ugly scene in Aughnacloy on Monday night.  Opposite Mr. Fair’s hotel a Mr. Breen proceeded to address a few spectators—all of whom, apparently, were actuated by curiosity.  Mr. Breen indulged in offensive and violent language, some of which was grossly personal—so much so that a local police sergeant told the writer that the language was calculated to lead to a breach of the peace.  Mr. Breen consigned all who differed from him to warmer regions than all ‘the faithful’ hope to enjoy in the world to come.  Strenuously—and with much physical exertion—for he moved his arms so much that one would imagine he would soon become tired—Mr. Breen said he was ‘a messenger from God’ (?)  Earnestly, and with a solemnity worthy of a tragedy in a comic opera, he informed his audience there would be a dreadful Judgment Day, when the saints will be on the one side and the sinners on the other.  'Where,' he asked, 'would the people of Aughnacloy be?’

Joe Sherry—Go to the slums of Belfast, ye —— and not be talking to the educated people in Aughnacloy.  (Cheers.)

Mr. Breen continued repeating that he was like Jesus—he had not where to lay his head.  The same ridicule had been, he said, cast on the Apostles, but he warned them that there was a day of reckoning.  So repugnant did his language become that the interruptions from the crowd became frequent.  Really, one would blush to hear the name of the Great Saviour of all used so frequently, and open to such ridicule.  Eventually, Mr. Fair said he could not have the business of his place interrupted by the crowd, and, as he had listened for three quarters of an hour to the speaker, he asked him to kindly move to the opposite side of the street or a little to the one side.

Mr. Breen paid no attention to Mr. Fair and the police were then called on, Mr. Fair remarking that he had listened long enough to the address and that the street opposite his place should not be blocked up.  He really had his business to attend to, and requested the police to remove the people if they would not go themselves.

Mr. Breen—(apparently shocked)—Business before God!
Mr. Fair—I have listened to you for three quarters of an hour.
Mr. Breen—Would you not listen to Jesus?
Mr. Fair—There is a proper place for that—not here.
Several Voices—There are places enough to worship in the town.
Joe Sherry—Go to the slums of Belfast.  Be —— I’ll put ye out of town.
Voices—Get a barrel, Joe.  (Cheers.)
Joe—And would too.  What do they know?  (Loud laughter and cheers.)

The police now approached the pilgrims, and Mr. Breen very reluctantly moved a few paces away.  His companions, however, willingly complied with the request, and acted as any law-abiding citizens should when requested to not obstruct the thoroughfare.  Several times Mr. Breen returned in the direction of Mr. Fair’s, and at one time it looked as if something more serious than Mr. Breen’s harangue would engage the attention of the crowd.  Frequently the police had to interfere.  There were cries to pelt the preachers with rotten oranges, but the good offices of friends prevailed and prevented violence.  The writer was present and he is prepared to vouch that the language used by Mr. Breen was the most offensive and personal towards a respectable community which he has ever heard.


June 9, 1904
THE IMPARTIAL REPORTER
Established 1808.
Newspaper for Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
_____________
MORE ABOUT THE TRAMPS.
THE DRUMS AND MR. E. COONEY.
COMPARES HIMSELF TO OUR LORD.
WHAT HE FANCIES GOD SAID TO HIM.
_____________
 
THE TRAMPS IN NEWTOWNARDS.
THE ORANGE DRUMMERS TRY TO DROWN THE VOICE.
INTERVENTION OF THE POLICE.
‘THE DEVIL WAS IN THE DRUMS.’
NO BALL DRESSES IN HELL.
WHAT HE IMAGINES THE ALMIGHTY SAID TO HIM.
_____________
.
MR. E. COONEY AND THE POLICE.
SAID HE WAS WILLING TO DIE.
HE DENOUNCED LADIES’ DRESSES.
MR. E. COONEY AND THE METHODISTS

The Newtownards Chronicle has further particulars respecting to the Tramp Pilgrims in Newtownards, from which we take the following extract:—

After the Chronicle had circulated around Newtownards on Friday evening, large crowds gathered at the different corners convenient to Conway Square, waiting for Mr. Edward Cooney and his disciples. Excitement ran high when it was thought Mr. Cooney was on his way to The Square; but no, Mr. Cooney did not make an appearance that evening, much to the disappointment of the eager crowds. On Saturday evening, however, the ‘Apostle’ made his appearance, marching from Mr. Kelly’s hall down Frances Street with his converts. A meeting was held in The Square, which was largely attended.

The usual routine of singing and giving testimonies was gone through. Everything went well until two Orange drummers and a fifer made their way down Mill Street and along the Square, belabouring the musical sheepskins, if they can be called such, for all they were worth. A large crowd of sympathisers followed them. Mr. Cooney’s meeting was held close to the Town Hall, and the drummers evidently intended to drum the eccentric religious preacher down. The Rev. Thomas McIlwrath, B.A., noticing their movements, promptly went from his own house and remonstrated with the drummers. This drew a large crowd, and after much persuasion he got them to turn and proceed down High-street. The action of Mr. McIlwrath was highly commendable, and nothing but words of praise could be heard on all sides for the prudent action of our young and respected townsman. But, after all, Mr. McIlwrath’s words of wisdom were soon forgotten, and the drums found their way into Frances Street, and attempted to enter the Square at the east corner. District-Inspector S. Hanna and Head-Constable Newman got the men turned from this corner. Meanwhile, Mr. Cooney conducted his meeting. However, the drums entered The Square at the west corner, and followed by a tremendous crowd, proceeded down The Square, completely ‘drowning’ Mr. Cooney’s meeting. Some one protested against the drums, and a disorderly scene took place. The crowd swayed, and it looked as if Cooney’s meeting was going to be swept out of The Square. Another

DISORDERLY SCENE
now took place at Messrs. Newell’s corner, but nothing serious resulted. We estimate there were about three thousand people in The Square. By the 
INTERVENTION OF THE POLICE
and some civilians the drummers left The Square. We may say in passing that we do not approve, by any means, of the action of the Orange drummers, whose antagonism to Mr. Cooney made them resort to such means, and we would venture to say they did not get the sanction of any official of the Order. The Orange Order is famed for its toleration, and we are sorry that these persons who were, no doubt, carried away by their enthusiasm, showed the spirit they did. In the meantime District-Inspector Hanna and Head-Constable Newman pushed their way through the crowd and spoke to Mr. Cooney and warned him, if he continued his meeting to a late hour, that it would probably lead to a breach of the peace, and if the bad feeling developed, they would be obliged to force him out of The Square. Cooney replied that he was

NOT BREAKING THE LAW
or causing any obstruction, and he did not see why he should be interfered with. He also stated he was doing his Master’s will, and that he was willing to shed his blood for Him. Head-Constable Newman said they would be compelled to remove the cause, to which Mr. Cooney replied ‘I am not the cause, the devil is the cause.’ The Head-Constable wittingly replied ‘I am sorry I cannot put my hand on him.’ The original remark caused much laughter.

Cooney persisted in holding his meeting, and began his usual oration by a comparison of himself to our Saviour, stating that Jesus was wounded because he was not afraid of men. He (Jesus) did not go about asking this man or that man what he thought, but went straight through the world and pleased God, and because he did that, he displeased everybody else. The District-Inspector had told the speaker that it was dangerous for him to be in the Square that night, and he told him he was willing to shed his blood.  His death would mean more than all the works he ever did. Stephen was put to death, and the warm blood of him did more good than any eloquent sermon that was ever preached. Some of them had howled and boohed at him; he had been called a liar, a hypocritic blasphemer, a fanatic, and a false prophet. He wondered what the next thing would be. He must be an awful character, but they could not lay a charge against him, nor bring him to the court. The howling mob might put him to death, but he feared them not, and cared not a snap of his finger for them. The drums were out beating, but it was the devil that was in those who were beating them. What use would the beating of drums do to them in the last five minutes of their dying moments? He could say that the powers of the devil himself could not overthrow him. He had stood up for Jesus and if he did not believe in Him he would not be there that night. Jesus preached without a salary, and poured out His life for all. He (Cooney) stood a conqueror in Newtownards, and they could do nothing to him.

‘SELL ALL THEY HAD’
On Monday night another very large meeting was held in The Square, at which Cooney again advised his hearers to sell all they had.

‘Sell all you have and give it to the poor,’ says Cooney. If every person did this, what would Cooney and everybody else do? It would be hard for all to find free lodging and free food.

The ‘swells,’ or the well-dressed women and men, were denounced by Cooney, and especially the ladies, with their ‘Tomfoolery,’ as Cooney says, ‘on their heads. Why’ he continued, ‘the worst woman in Paris dress in great finery.’ How does Cooney know?

The Methodists for a long time have held open-air meetings in The Square every Sabbath evening, about 8:30 o’clock. Cooney also has held one, but earlier, and dispersed before the Methodists commenced, or, in other words, the Methodists patiently waited until Cooney’s meeting was over. Last Sunday Cooney held a meeting, but instead of all going away to Mr. Kelley’s hall at the usual time, a section remained in The Square and carried on Cooney’s meeting. Is this a sample of the Christian spirit you preach, Mr. Cooney? The Methodists began their meeting, notwithstanding, and it was largely attended, only a small number remaining at Cooney’s apprentices’ meeting. The singing and preaching going on at the same time at both these meetings gave one a somewhat ridiculous impression of the whole affair.

‘If I could get you a good situation you might join this sect,’ said Cooney on Monday night, ‘but perhaps it would be as much as your job is worth to be associated with Cooney. If you want to keep the smile of the ‘goodie’ people you should have nothing to do with the awful people that assemble in Sam Kelly’s hall. Notwithstanding the big swells, the victory is with us, and you will have to acknowledge that there is some unseen power behind us.’

Referring to the disorderly scenes, he said, they could not draw his blood unless it was the Lord’s will. The devils in Newtownards had not the courage to draw his blood, and he had not got cut yet. He had enjoyed the battle against the Devil in Newtownards more than the Lord Roberts enjoyed the war against the Boers.

‘If anyone of you want a line to get you ‘out’ of a situation, come to Cooney, and he will give it to you,’ so said the wise (?) preacher on Monday.

Cooney acknowledged that people were losing trade because they had anything to do with him. We hope it will not go so far as to necessitate them to pawn all they have to keep Cooney for a time.

‘Why do people go to church?’ says Cooney. ‘Because they follow their mothers’ tails, their fathers’ tails, and their grandfather’s tails.’ Some took the front pews dressed in great style, making others green with envy.

‘Clericalism has reeled under the blow I have given it,’ shouted Cooney;
‘Thank God, it may never return.’
‘Think of the drunkard when he rises up in hell, with a terrible thirst on him, and no public-house to go to. Think on the lustful women in hell, who cannot get their desires gratified. There are no ‘pubs’ in hell, no ball-dresses in hell, no curling pins in hell, no card-playing in hell, no dancing in hell.’ This is a sample of the beautiful (?) oratory of the new Apostle.

It was ten o’clock on Monday night when Cooney got his disciples to give their testimony. Cooney threatened them if they did not give their testimony, they were damning their souls.

The meeting began at about eight o’clock and lasted till twenty minutes to eleven. Is this a respectable hour? Perhaps Cooney does not think so, as he informed those present at a period of the meeting that if they were shut out they were to go and sleep on the straw at Russell Court. For the information of our readers this court, we are told, is the head-quarters of the travelling Cooneyites.

Talking about baptism on Wednesday, he said since he had been sprinkled in the Episcopal Church he had been a child of the devil. Sprinkling was no good, ‘You must be born again.’

‘If there had been newspapers in the days of Jesus, He would have been reported, and would have had a hot time of it,’ says the versatile Cooney.

‘Three years ago,’ said Cooney, ‘the Lord said to me, ‘Go, Edward Cooney, without scrip, and go into all nations, baptising them in the name of the father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and teach them to observe, ‘all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’ Then he gave me His promise, ‘Lo, I am with you until the end of the world,’ and he has kept it.’

On Wednesday afternoon four women converts were dipped in Strangford Lough, and on Thursday a number of male converts.


May 28, 1904
THE NEWTOWNARDS CHRONICLE
______________

TRAMP PREACHERS IN NEWTOWNARDS
NEWTOWNARDS INNOCENTS CARRIED AWAY
DISORDERLY SCENE ON THE SHORE ROAD LAST SUNDAY
______________
17 BAPTISED IN STRANGFORD LOUGH
EXTRAORDINARY SCENES

Not since King Edward VII, the mightiest ruler in this world, visited Newtownards, was there seen such a vast concourse of people as that which was on the Shore Road on Sunday last, all going to hear and see a Mr. Edward Cooney, a tramp preacher, hailing from Enniskillen, who has visited this town, and has created not a little strife by his religio-maniacal doctrines.  We have heard much of this fanatic, and have treated him with the silent contempt such a person deserves, but one cannot fail to take notice of the performance that took place on last Sabbath day.  Mr. Cooney believes in total immersion, and it was rumoured that many, throughout the week—both males and females—were baptised in the waters of Strangford Lough.  We made inquiries and found this to be true, and that the process was carried out early in the morning, especially when the ladies were to be "dipped."  We did not think there were so many innocents in Newtownards as to be baptised by Mr. Cooney or anybody else, who has no ecclesiastical standing. 

His followers in Newtownards are not very many, but the large crowds that attend his meetings, attend more from curiosity than anything else.  He is under the impression that he can do nothing wrong, and so innocents are deluded, bathed by Mr. Cooney or his "apprentices," and then become his disciples, some of whom have, we are told, been laid up with severe illness after their folly. 

From the commencement, Mr. Cooney’s tactics have been outlandish in the extreme.  Claiming to be a Divinely-appointed apostle, he expects the community at large to honour that claim on no other ground than that of his own naked assertion.  His general deportment is equally arrogant.  It is no doubt true that he and his assistant preachers have donned the plainest tweeds, discarding, in some instances, the collar and tie, and in every case cuffs.  But everyone knows that peculiarity in dress, even if that dress were a sackcloth, does not necessarily betoken a regeneration of the inner life.  One man may be quite as proud of his assumed humility of habit as another would be of the costliest broadcloth, topped by the "much condemned," as Mr. Cooney would say "two-storeyed" hat.  In spite, therefore, of tweed outfit, there is much to indicate that Mr. Cooney’s opinion of himself is greatly over-estimated. 

As is usual with men of his mental calibre, the "I" and the "me" of a very important self, bulk in a most extraordinary degree.  It can even be proved that with a view to impress his audiences with a sense of superiority over ordinary mortals, he does not hesitate to cut a corner off the ninth commandment, when by doing so he can glorify himself.  As we write we are almost tempted to cite two well known examples of the manner in which he seeks to magnify number one by bearing false witness against those who disallowed his presumptuous claims.  As far as Scripture subjects are concerned, his "ipse dixit" on any question is given with an authority bordering on infallibility.

Notwithstanding this, however, it is exceedingly doubtful whether the expositions of Holy Writ which are peculiarly his own, are in any sense in accordance with the general teaching of the inspired penmen.  In his unwarrantable attacks upon church organisations in general, and upon ministers of the gospel in particular, he makes a hobby of our Lord’s forbidding the Apostles to provide either gold or silver or brass in their purses.  The passage that contains the prohibition is, he contends the permanent commission for all preachers.  But that view of the matter is obviously an inexcusable misrepresentation of the Saviour’s words.  For apart altogether from the fact that totally different instructions were subsequently issued, the most cursory glance at the chapter in which this commission appears, is sufficient to show that it was never intended to be other than a temporary one, else every preacher, Mr. Cooney included, is doing wrong in bringing the Gospel message to Gentiles. 

Another instance of his perversion of the general teaching of the Word of God presents itself in connection with the views he inculcates respecting the young ruler of whom we read in the Gospels.  Christ saw that that young man was trusting in his riches, and that he must therefore part with them before he could follow Him.  That, however, is a totally different thing from the idea that under ordinary circumstances every man whom God has blessed with an abundant store of this world’s goods must sell all that he has in order to obtain eternal life.  "God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever ‘believeth’ in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  That is emphatic enough, but according to Mr. Cooney it ought to read, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever ‘selleth all that he hath’ should not perish but have everlasting life."  Such a message might satisfy Mr. Cooney, but for ourselves we certainly prefer that upon which so many of our fellow-men all down the ages have been led to rest their souls for eternity.  But we are going away from our subject somewhat. 

Let us come back to Sunday last.  One would have thought on looking at the Shore Road that the Newtownards Flower Show was being held and that new quarters had been taken up, or that Ballyhaft races were in full swing, all proceeding thereto on foot.  But no, all were going to see and hear Cooney, and as the day was fine and very hot, it enticed the vast number that were full of curiosity, to visit the shore.  The "dipping" was to take place at the White Pillar, about one mile and a half from Newtownards.  Sure enough Mr. Cooney and his disciples left Mr. Kelly’s hall in Frances Street, about 3:15 o’clock p.m., and proceeded in procession, sisters........


June 4, 1904
THE NEWTOWNARDS CHRONICLE
___________

THE VAGRANT ‘APOSTLE’ IN NEWTOWNARDS
MORE DISORDERLY SCENES.
THE "SELL-ALL-YOU-HAVE" DOCTRINE.

STINGING EFFECT OF "THE CHRONICLE’S" ARTICLE.
COONEY SAYS OUR JOURNAL IS A PACK OF LIES.
WE ISSUE A CHALLENGE TO HIM.

HEAD-CONSTABLE NEWMAN’S ORIGINAL REMARK.

After the "Chronicle" had circulated around Newtownards on Friday evening, large crowds gathered at the different corners convenient to Conway Square, waiting for Mr. Edward Cooney and his disciples.  Excitement ran high when it was thought Mr. Cooney was on his way to The Square; but no, Mr. Cooney did not make an appearance that evening, much to the disappointment of the eager crowds.  On Saturday evening, however, the "Apostle" made his appearance, marching from Mr. Kelly’s hall down Frances Street with his converts.  A meeting was held in The Square, which was largely attended.

The usual routine of singing and giving testimonies was gone through.  Everything went well until two Orange drummers and a fifer made their way down Mill Street and along The Square, belabouring the musical sheepskins, if they can be called such, for all they were worth.  A large crowd of sympathisers followed them, Mr. Cooney’s meeting was held close to the Town Hall, and the drummers evidently intended to drum the eccentric religious preacher down. 

The Re. Thomas McIlwrath, B.A., noticing their movements, promptly went from his own house and remonstrated with the drummers.  This drew a large crowd, and after much persuasion he got them to turn and proceed down High Street.  The action of Mr. McIlwrath was highly commendable, and nothing but words of praise could be heard on all sides for the prudent action of our young and respected townsman.  But, after all, Mr. McIlwrath’s words of wisdom were soon forgotten, and the drums found their way into Frances Street, and attempted to enter The Square at the east corner. 

District-Inspector S. Hanna and Head-Constable Newman got the men turned from this corner.  Meanwhile, Mr. Cooney conducted his meeting.  However, the drums entered The Square at the west corner, and, followed by a tremendous crowd, proceeded down The Square, completely "drowning" Mr. Cooney’s meeting.  Someone protested against the drums, and a disorderly scene took place.  The crowd swayed, and it looked as if Cooney’s meeting was going to be swept out of The Square.  Another

DISORDERLY SCENE
now took place at Messrs. Newell’s corner, but nothing serious resulted.  We estimate there were about three thousand people in The Square.  By the
INTERVENTION OF THE POLICE
and some civilians the drummers left The Square.  We may say in passing that we do not approve, by any means, of the action of the Orange drummers, whose antagonism to Mr. Cooney made them resort to such means, and we would venture to say they did not get the sanction of any official of the Order.  The Orange Order is famed for its toleration, and we are sorry that these persons who were, no doubt, carried away by their enthusiasm, showed the spirit they did. 

In the meantime District-Inspector Hanna and Head-Constable Newman pushed their way through the crowd and spoke to Mr. Cooney and warned him, if he continued his meeting to a late hour, that it would probably lead to a breach of the peace, and if the feeling developed, they would be obliged to force him out of The Square.  Cooney replied that he was

NOT BREAKING THE LAW
or causing any obstruction, and he did not see why he should be interfered with.  He also stated he was doing his Master’s work, and that he was willing to shed his blood for Him.  Head Constable Newman said they would be compelled to remove the cause, to which Mr.Cooney replied "I am not the cause, the devil is the cause."  The Head-Constable wittingly replied "I am sorry I cannot put my hand on him."  The original remark caused much laughter.
 

June 11, 1904
 
THE NEWTOWNARDS CHRONICLE
____________
 
THE VAGRANT "APOSTLE" IN NEWTOWNARDS
 
COONEY AND "THE CHRONICLE."
REFUSES TO ACCEPT OUR CHALLENGE.
HAVE WE "CORNERED" HIM?  HIS PRINCIPLES?
 
CAUGHT A "TARTAR" ON MONDAY.

During the week Mr. Cooney’s meetings have been of a quiet nature. There has been nothing new in his harangues. He still harps on the same string, constantly, patiently, and persistently. His blatant oratory is becoming more jarring to the ear; nothing can be heard but ridicule, blasphemy, and egotism. His disconnected addresses are "as a tale told by one full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." It is well he selected Newtownards to talk such humbug in, as the people of our town have a tolerant spirit, or else he would have been mobbed long ago. But if he still persists, we anticipate that the ire of our townsmen

WILL BE ROUSED,
and that Cooney will wish he never had entered the district. The people of the Co. Down are a level-headed people, and cannot be swayed about by such an impostor. They are possessed of too keen a sense not to see into Cooney’s game. But to come to Cooney’s doings, nothing of much ‘consequence took place during the beginning of the week, except that Cooney caught a "tartar" on Monday evening, which we will show.

We challenged Cooney, but our versatile friend carefully evaded the point at issue. One of our challenges was for him to deny that he did not bear false witness, in two instances, to those who differed from him. Our respected townsman, Mr. Thomas Doggart, was the subject of one of Cooney’s lies. As is well known, Mr. Doggart has to attend to his duties of collecting letters from the various boxes in the town, so as to have them in time to catch the mails.

On one occasion Cooney wanted to open a discussion with Mr. Doggart while that gentleman was on duty. Mr. Doggart very properly suggested he had no time to discuss matters, as he could not delay the depositing of his letters, and so he proceeded to the post office. At a meeting of Cooney’s held later, he (Cooney) stated to the audience that Mr. Doggart ran away from him like a Redshank. Now, would any person with the spirit of manliness, or, better still, the spirit of a true Christian, in him publicly state such a baseless and

COWARDLY LIE?
You have not to be in Mr. Doggart’s company long to know him. His reputation as a straightforward, conscientious, and upright man is too well known. There is, by no means, any trace of cowardice in him; rather the opposite when he has a cause to champion. On Monday evening, a little before eight o’clock, one of Cooney’s sympathisers went up to Mr. Doggart in the street, and began to make arrangements for a public discussion between Mr. Cooney and Mr. Doggart. Mr. Doggart rightly intimated he did not consider it expedient to enter into negotiations of a second-hand nature, and so both parted without any conclusion being arrived at.

About twenty minutes later Mr. Cooney appeared in Frances Street, and met Mr. Doggart, whom he invited to a discussion with him (Cooney) in Conway Square. By this time a large crowd had gathered. Mr. Doggart did not consider it fair either to the hearers or the speakers to have a discussion in the Square, but manfully proposed to

MEET HIM IN ANY HALL,
where a chairman would be appointed, and other necessary arrangements made, so that the meeting would be conducted properly, and that everyone could hear, but on condition that the lies told about him would be satisfactorily cleared up. If that were not done, he (Mr. Doggart) would refuse to hear a single word from Mr. Cooney, and in this Mr. Doggart was perfectly right. Cooney appeared unwilling to agree to this fair suggestion, and walked away. The crowd was in entire sympathy with Mr. Doggart, and appreciating his manliness, they resented Cooney’s action by loud shouts of  "Coward, coward," as the tramp walked away. Cooney had met a "Tartar."

It is rumoured Cooney is about to leave the town, and so it would be useless to make arrangements for a hall meeting, but we have it from Mr. Doggart that he is prepared to enter into the controversy with Mr. Cooney (only in accordance with the above-mentioned terms, remember) if we would allow his and Mr. Cooney’s letters to appear from week to week in "The Chronicle." This we readily consent to, but we fear Cooney will sulk this challenge, as he did the one we issued him.

Our own relationship with Mr. Cooney has not undergone any material change since our last issue appeared. On two successive weeks we commented upon and conclusively exposed the unscripturalness of his doctrines, and up till the present moment our arguments stand untouched. We are aware, it is true, that some of his followers have been dropping hints to the effect that their leader would not defile himself by coming into contact with anything that emanated from our pen. But a moment’s reflection ought to show the fabrity of that inanimation. If Mr. Cooney had not perused "The Chronicle," how could he possibly have sought on two occasions during the week to break the force of some of the remarks which appeared in our "Tit-bits" column? Obviously, then, he both saw and read the paper, and if our argumentative matter has escaped censure it is not because it was beneath his notice, but because our

CITADEL WAS IMPREGNABLE
Meanwhile, of course, with his eyes willfully closed against the truth to which we have directed attention, Mr. Cooney continues to challenge all and sundry to public discussion in Conway Square, and to piously assure his audience that as soon as anyone convinces him that he is wrong, he will drop on his knees on the spot on which he stands and ask God’s forgiveness. Now, whilst all this may be very pleasing to the majority of those who have taken sides with him, it entirely fails to satisfy the dispassionate spectator. It is worse than absurd for a man to make the remotest reference to his convictions when every Scriptural argument which does not fit in with his own peculiar fads is treated as if it never had been written.

If one saw any good ground for supposing that Mr. Cooney was an honest, earnest truthseeker, one could see the force of some one embracing any reasonable opportunity of enlightening him. But having regard to the fact that our columns are at his disposal, and that he is at liberty to state briefly through them wherein we have erred in anything which we have already advanced, we cannot but appreciate the wisdom of those who, whilst willing to defend the truth, yet, nevertheless, refuse to give him additional notoriety by degrading the sacred things of our common Christianity in the presence of a noisy multitude in the Square.

Turning once more to the question of what Mr. Cooney teaches, it would be interesting to know what Scripture he could cite in support of the theory that men can be converted to God without being disciples of Jesus. In accordance with what Divine precept, for example, in the statement that it is good to know of sinners being converted, but that it is better to know of them being made disciples? Presumably such an idea goes hand in hand with the fallacious notion that the "sell-all-that-you-have" principle is the door by which men enter into possession of eternal life. But be that as it may, it is certain that its existence in Cooney’s mind has a great deal to do with the fact that throughout his entire twelve or thirteen weeks’ preaching, the momentous themes of conversion, of the finishing work of Christ as the sinner’s substitute, have been rarely ever alluded to.

As we dwelt upon this point at some length last week, we need not enter upon it now, further than to say that to determine to launch out and take Jesus as one’s model, as Mr. Cooney professes to have done, is not obeying the Gospel. It is as a SAVIOUR that GOD offers His Son to the guilty children of men, and until He is received as such there is no deliverance either from sin or from its consequences. But let us come back to Cooney’s meetings. On Tuesday he held one in the Square, and with the aid of his disciples made himself

A  LIAR  ONCE  MORE.

Cooney's tongue has been so loose lately that afterwards he began to think he did not say what bubbled out of him.  When words as his are uttered and are taken down in shorthand, it is held to contradict them after they have left their impression on paper.  Memory is a treacherous thing; and hence Cooney thought he could talk with maddening recklessness to his crowds, but when "a chiel's amang ye takin' notes," it makes a vast difference.  One has to be careful what he says. 

In last week's "Chronicle" we stated that Cooney coerced His disciples to give their testimony, as he threatened them if they did not they would be damning their souls.  Cooney at a meeting on Tuesday denied this, and began his childish methods by asking those present to hold up their hands in proof that he did not utter those words.  Immediately his satellites obeyed, and put up their hands like school children.  But what proof is this?  Why, Cooney's disciples cannot remember everything he says, as we believe his words to them go in by one ear and out by the other. 

He then asked "hands up" if he had coerced his disciples in the way mentioned, and, of course, sensible people did not want to make fools of themselves, and consequently no hands were put up, although many in the crowd had distinct recollection that he said what we have referred to.  Several gentlemen whose name are synonymous with the best reputation, after the meeting was over, told us they remembered him distinctly saying what he had denied.  Several also called at our office the next day who could swear he used the words. Apart from these gentlemen, who voluntarily came to us to support the truth, we have his words on stronger evidence than that of memory itself.  We have it in shorthand on paper

AS HE UTTERED THEM.


And if it went to a test of infallibility, the balance would lie heavily on the shorthand writer's notes  This coercion took place on more nights than one, until we thought he had gone far enough, and so we recorded the very words that were uttered out of the eccentric's mouth, with the surprising effect that took place when they appeared in print.  If we wished, we could mention another way he coerced his disciples, but our notes have fallen on good ground, and he has ceased his threatening. 

Cooney said it was a rare opportunity for anyone to step into the ring and say that they were misled by him.  He invited the Editor of this journal, but that gentlemen thought it more prudent to let him and his idols alone, as he could reply through a medium that would give more publicity to his words than a hundred times as large a meeting as ever Cooney addressed in Newtownards.  It would then be in black and white, and could not flinched from. 

Cooney also said it was a pity that the Editor of "The Chronicle" was not saved, as he could do a lot of good.  The Editor feels deeply touched, and his heart is filled with emotion, while with bowed head and tearful eyes he thanks Mr. Cooney for his compliment.  However, he considers he has done a lasting good to the community by the exposure of Mr. Cooney's doctrines and tactics.  The newspapers all over the kingdom have taken an extract from "The Chronicle" so that wherever Cooney goes the people will know the sort of character he is.  This alone is worth the Editor's labour.



TID-BITS OF COONEYISM
Cooney, we hear, has not denied the rumour that he has £1,000 in the bank.

"When you go before the Lord," said Cooney on Saturday, "He will not ask you how many scones you sold at the bazaar held in the Town Hall.  He will not ask you how many antimacamers you sold, nor will He ask you what the Rev. Mr. Whatham thought of you."  This is a sample of Cooney's rubbish.

"The Lord keep me away from the doors with the big brass knockers on.  When I see them, I slink away and go round to the back and talk with the butler or the slavery."  This is a choice tit-bit of Cooney's decency in talk, but it pleases the gulls, and they devour it with a glutton's appetite.  Poor things, they will find out what indigestion means yet.

"I hear the Church people and the Presbyterians are hugging one another over Cooney.  Before he came, politically, they would hardly speak to one another."  Another sample of how Cooney preaches the Gospel.

Throughout the week Cooney was a little more careful in what he said.  He has realized he cannot "spout" so freely as he would like to, as already he has woven a net around himself by uttering his unweighed words.

One of our most respected fellow-townsmen who happened to attend Cooney's meeting on Sunday last, was made the subject of attack, because he showed his good manners and refinement by being well dressed.  Had Cooney been in any other town and did this, we venture to say, he would be roughly handled, and richly would he deserve it.  Probably he will bring that upon himself yet, and he will only have himself to blame.

If Cooney is fond of persecution, he should visit Armenia and begin his "spouting" there.  In a short time he would soon have "his head in his hand" by the order of the Sultan.  Cooney would then be a martyr!  But isn't this what he wants?  There's a chance now, Cooney!

"May the Lord God save everybody," said Cooney on Tuesday, "even a newspaper editor."  We are much obliged to him for the prayer.

Five female Cooneyites, after smiling at our representative on Sunday last, sat down on the grass at the Floodgates, and producing their hymn books, treated him to a musical selection.  Although our representative has a good ear for harmonious sounds, and is exceedingly fond of music, he did not see his way to join in.



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