Newspaper Articles for September-December, 1908
The Church Without a Name, The Truth, Two By Twos, 2x2s
September 3, 1908,
September 3, 1908
September 5, 1908 p9 - Guardian, London, England - "Cooneyites" and the Burial Rite
1908, p. 5
September 16, 1908, p. 1 Washington Times, Maryland, USA - Brooklyn MD conv. tents turned; also printed in: September 16, 1908, p. 2 Alexandria Gazette (Virginia)
September 17, 1908, p. 2 Washington Post - Irvinites Pull up Stakes - Brooklyn MD conv. tents burned
September 17, 1908, p. 12 Altoona Tribune (Altoona, PA) - What a Mob did - set fire to Irvinites' tents
October 17, 1908 - The Irish Independent
October 22, 1908
GETTING INSIDE A CHURCH FOR SERVICE
REFUSAL TO REMOVE THEIR CAPS
TO THE EDITOR OF THE IMPARTIAL REPORTER
Dear Sir:—I would wish to bring under notice a very strange procedure in connection with the newly founded sect (Cooneyites,) during the burial of a member of the Church of Ireland (John McDonald of Killenabery) in his family burying-ground at Newtownsaville, Omagh. Members of this sect, endeavoured to bear away the coffin to burial without the usual burial service; and in the general row at the church door, the covering of the coffin was torn off. However, the deceased’s sympathetic friends were able after a fierce struggle to have the body borne to the church and afterwards to the grave. These desperadoes then followed into the church and sat with sullen faces, having their hats and caps on in contempt of the church and its service.
They were heard say that he had gone to the pit anyhow, and it did not matter. The officiating minister of the church had attended him regularly during his illness, as had also the Cooneyites.
I am merely stating the facts for you of this audacious sacrilege by these fanatics, so that you can comment on or report as you think best.—Yours very sincerely,
Thos. McCartney, N.S.T.
MORE OF WHAT THE TRAMP PREACHERS BELIEVE.
From Within the Camp
29th August, 1908.
DEAR SIR:— Will you kindly give me permission to answer some of the criticisms you made in your last issue on my letter of 20th? I did not complain, nor did I magnify, the dismissal of the school teachers into a martyrdom; ‘on the contrary, I said we greatly rejoiced in the fact that there were men and women today willing to lose their means of living for Christ’s sake and the Gospel.’ I pointed out the great need of a change in the law of the land that permits a priest-ridden system of secular education in this free country. We do not even complain when the IMPARTIAL REPORTER brands us as the scum of society; we expect nothing better. In my last, I endeavoured to show from Scripture the kind of preacher sent by the God of Heaven, and the kind sent by the god of this world, and the marks whereby we may know them in the world today. Your refer to my arguments as my own interpretation of the scriptures. This I deny, and I hold that the passages I quoted only bear the one interpretation I gave them, and they just mean what they say.
You freely comment on our ignorance, and want of education, and our consequent inability to preach the Gospel. Let us glance back for a moment and find what kind of material Jesus chose to deliver the most momentous and far-reaching message the world has ever heard. We find the two leaders, Peter and John, described as both ‘unlearned’ men ‘ignorant’ (Acts iv. 13), and what must the others have been, for these two were the best of them. They even found fault with our Lord himself for having never learned. The worldly-wise would have sent Jesus to the Colleges at Jerusalem to choose the most learned M.A.’s and LL.D.’s of that day to deliver this message to humanity. But no; the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and God has always made the weak things of the world to confound the might, and the things that are not to bring to naught the things that are (1 Cor. 1. 27, 29). After our Lord had sent them and told them they would be hated of all men for His name’s sake, He was so pleased with this perfect plan that he thanked his Heavenly Father that he had hid these things from the wise and learned people of the world and revealed them unto babes which was good in His sight.—Matt. xi. 25. Paul the educated tramp preacher does not speak of any change in this heavenly plan, for he tells us he spoke not in the words which man’s wisdom teach but which the spirit teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual, for the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him, neither can He know them because they are spiritually discerned. Doubtless, the scribes at Jerusalem sneered at those unlearned and ignorant fellows attempting to preach the gospel, and, I presume told them they did not know the meaning of Alpha and Omega, &c, &c. The grand secret of their success, however, lay in the fact that they had been with Jesus (Act iv. 13), which is the one indispensible qualification for every preacher in every age, and not the college and university degree, as the worldly wise would have us believe. If those who sneer at the tramp preachers’ ignorance today would read their Bibles, they would be thoroughly ashamed of their own ignorance of the scriptures.
Referring to your remarks about Sunday Schools, not alone do we object to them on the grounds that they are not mentioned in scripture, but because God in His wisdom has enjoined upon parents the great responsibility of teaching their own children the things concerning Him. Moses just before leaving the Israelites for ever, told them ‘to diligently teach the words that he had commanded them to their children, to teach to them by the way, when they sat in their homes, when they lay down, and when they rose up’ (Deut. 6. 7; Psalm 78, 4-6) in order that they might bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6, 4). This is God’s plan of teaching children the way to heaven. The Sunday Schools are man’s plan; we most joyfully accept the former and reject the latter.
I notice lately you have been trying to patch up the old garment of clericalism by showing them how to put life into the dry bones. But it never occurs to you that an unsaved man cannot worship God because the carnal mind is at enmity with Him, and is not subject to his law (Romans viii-7).
Therefore, how could such a man worship Him, with whom he is at enmity and whom he hath not known and who knoweth the thoughts and intents of the hearts of man. It is nothing short of mockery for an unsaved man or woman to attempt to worship God. Peter’s message to such people would be, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins, &c. (Acts 2.38). It has always been the desire of the natural man to satisfy the craving of his unregenerate nature without fulfilling God’s conditions for worship. A true church founded on a scriptural foundation, consists only of those that are truly born again and who are ‘sanctified in Christ Jesus,’ ‘called to be saints,’ in whom the testimony of Jesus is confirmed, and who are ‘waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Cor. i. 17). It is this kind of church we have in the New Testament, and which always met in the home of a Saint (Roman xvi.5, 1 Cor. 16, 17, Phil i. 2), and was presided over by the kind of overseer Elder or Bishop mentioned in 1 Tim iii. 2-3, one who gave his services free, apt to teach and not greedy of filthy lucre, &c.
How different is all this to what we find in
the so-called churches of today. We have the unregenerate multitude
meeting in a fashionable building, of course ‘consecrated,’ the monied
aristocratic folks in the front seats, the second grade coming next, and
aping the style and fashion of the select above them, and the poor behind
the door. The latest thing in hats and bonnets are on show, and those
that cannot dress to the mark are wise enough to remain at home.
You have the dry formal prayers, the fashionable choir, the 15 minutes
essay or sermon by the man who is
Paid to smooth the stubborn text
To ears polite,
And snugly keep damnation
Out of sight.
The plate is passed round, and the congregation is invited to let their light ‘So Shine,’ which they do by putting on a copper. Everybody knows there is something amiss somehow in this business. It never occurs to them that God has nothing to do nor never had with a parade of the kind. You catechise us for speaking against the clergy, and you say we got the Scriptures through them.
Everybody who knows anything of the history of the middle ages knows we got the Scriptures in spite of the clergy. When the first translation was attempted we know the terrible persecution and opposition that the clergy of that time gave the translators. Besides, there is a marked difference between translating and interpreting the Scriptures; the former can be done by anybody with sufficient education and ability. The latter can be done only by those whom God has revealed himself to. The Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time knew them so well they could repeat most of them verbatim. Yet out of these same scriptures Jesus condemned them; just in the same way the New Testament translation condemns the clericalism of today, and is the best witness against their love of money, pride in their seeking the greeting in the market place, and their love to be called Rev., Re., &c.
You say although the Tramp Preacher does not ask money he gets it somehow. There is the greatest difference in the world between asking or begging money in His name, and waiting until God would move the hearts of man to give it. The former is the worldly way and the other is the Jesus way. We reiterate that no man has any right to ask money in the name of Jesus. Such begging is simply denying Him the place He wants in the hearts of men. What right, I ask, has any man to preach a free Gospel to a sinner and then solicit alms from him. I say it is an abomination, and is under the condemnation of God. The whole scriptures testify against it. Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city, for without are dogs and sorcerers and whoremongers, and murders, and idolatorers, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
—I am, dear sir, yours faithfully, Within.
Owing to the various demands on our space, we cannot find room for the discussion of this subject in this issue of the IMPARTIAL REPORTER, and will reserve our comments thereon for our next.—ED. I.R.
The Guardian (London, England) NEW
September 5, 1908, page 9
A CHURCH-DOOR SCUFFLE
"COONEYITES" AND THE BURIAL RITE.
The sect known as the Cooneyites continue to create a stir in Fermanagh. The local papers yesterday contained a letter from Mr. M'Cartney, a school teacher, who states that during a funeral some members of this sect endeavoured to bear away the coffin to burial without the usual service, and in the scuffle that occurred at the church door, the covering of the coffin was torn off.
The friends of the dead man were, however, able, after a struggle, to have the body borne into the church, and then to the grave. The, Cooneyites followed into the church, keeping their hats and caps on in contempt of the service and they had to be expelled by force.
September 10, 1908, p. 5
The letter of ‘Within’ in our last is so moderate in tone that if his leaders copied their proselyte’s manner it would be to their advantage.
We need not delay over the matter of an educated ministry. The doctrine of the Tramps is this, as we have already pointed out, that any zealot, however ignorant, may safely expound the Scriptures according as he thinks right. All the Churches,—all religions,—even the heathen—have set apart a special teaching order. the Tramps lay down a different role. They do not go to a blacksmith for harness; nor to a watchmaker for clothes; nor to a plumber for carpentry. In the things of life they go to the skilled man, who has devoted many years to learning his business, for the product of his experience; but in holy things, which demand the exercise of the highest education, skill, and insight, they think that any Tom, Dick, or Harry, who can spin a yarn about ‘having been with Jesus,’ and can imagine that he can interpret Scripture, is at liberty to do so, though he does not possess any qualification, and has not given any study to it. To merely sew clothes, requires an apprenticeship of five years; to expound the Scriptures requires only a glib tongue, a strong imagination to lead some poor creature to conceive that he is ‘called,’ and—presto!—the thing is done. Is not all this grotesquely absurd?
But they do not themselves know when they are ‘called.’ One notable and leading figure amongst the Tramps, who cannot speak correctly, was led from a sinful life through Methodist agency to a better one; and no one could say a harder word of him than he has spoken of himself. He obtained the use of Methodist platforms and pulpits, and ‘testified’—that is the correct phrase—of all that the Lord had done for him in leading him from the ways of hell into the glory of His marvellous light.
After three years, this Tramp discovered by some species of mental intuition, that during the very period in which he had imagined himself safely sheltered by God Himself, that he was really on the way to hell, and his only safety lay in joining the Tramps. He is ‘safe’ now, no doubt (!); but having regard to all his addresses from Methodist platforms, the public may well be excused—if they attach no importance whatever to what an impulsive man of this sort thinks on any subject—even when he denounces the very Methodist agency which saved him from the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.’
Yet this man is one of the best educated of these poor deluded people. Would one of them travel on a railway train tomorrow when a novice was allowed to drive the locomotive? Not one. Or travel in a steamboat where an amateur was allowed to look after the engines? Not one of them. And the very care and circumspection which they apply to the simple affairs of life they will not apply to the most sacred and exacting of all things—the interpretation of Holy Scripture. Indeed, if we are to judge by themselves,—apparently, the more ignorant a man is, the better qualified he is to discourse on the things of God. The disciples, we know, were with Jesus, called and qualified by Him. But the public are not such fools as to believe for one moment that every religious zealot is also ‘called’ and 'qualified,' because he imagine it.
In our article of July 23 we pointed out Divine authority for the creation and maintenance of an order of teachers, leaders, or pastors, and that as ‘the labourer was worthy of his hire,’ that those who preached the Gospel should live by the Gospel. The very people who deny to ministers a salary are the very people who often take very good care that they receive one themselves; and if one of them, like the school-teacher referred to, lose the salary, there is an outcry. The Roman Catholic priest does not receive a fixed salary. Other clergy do not receive fixed salaries. We do not know that even all the Baptist ministers, who believe in immersion like the Tramps, have fixed salaries. But that does not satisfy the Tramps—they want their sneer and jeer—(we refer now to observations made in public at Crocknacrieve by the leaders) at particular clergy or ministers who, in this matter of fact age, are promised a particular sum or a minimum sum, instead of being dependent on the collections authorized by Paul, or on the givings in the bag fixed for that purpose by the Tramps in the houses which they visit. Ministers have wives and families, like other people, and the most of clergy or ministers have small salaries, lower than some of their critics; and they are expected to be educated, to read the literature of the day, so as to be abreast of modern thought, to entertain, and to be given to hospitality, and maintain their families decently—on as low wages as are offered to any skilled worker!
The Tramps do not ask education, but the Christian community do. We certainly could not content ourselves listening to bunkum the Tramp himself, if in want of medical treatment, would not go to the long-haired quack who makes a show of bottles and roots on the Diamond, but goes to a properly qualified medical man. In things of heaven though, he expects well-informed people to put all reason behind them and take counsel from the spiritual quack.
Tramps do not favour Sunday Schools, because it is not mentioned in the Scriptures. We are not aware that National Schools are mentioned in Holy Writ, or District Councils, or County Councils, or Hospitals, or Sanatoria, or Asylums, or the hundred and one christian agencies for the alleviation of human suffering, and for the spread of the Gospel. All these are likewise anathema maranatha, because not specially mentioned in Scripture. Nor is a railway train, as we have already pointed out; and our modern Tramp does not tramp, nor use sandals nor bare feet, nor use the ass, but he cycles and travels by train,—when it suit him.
‘Within’ clearly feels the awkward point of Mr. Irwin denouncing the clergy for ‘devilry’ and yet being indebted to the clergy for the Scriptures and the translation of the Scriptures. One section of the clergy did oppose the translation and circulation of the Scriptures, and even today it is not circulated by the same section of Christian clergy; but another section of the clergy, not only translated it into the common tongue, but had it read in public and circulated, and all the great Bible-circulating agencies of today are conducted by ministers, one of whose forms of ‘devilry’ is to circulate the word of God!
We had hoped our correspondent would not have made any defence of the pretence—for it is, in truth, pretence, about collections. The difference only lies between lifting donations and giving donations into a prepared receptacle. Collecting alms for the poor is not ‘begging.’ It is as much ‘begging’ to place a bag—which tells its own tale—as to send round a plate. People give only as they will; and the alms taken up, as our correspondent must know, is not for the preaching of the Gospel, but to distribute among the poor and to maintain the fabric of the church building. Donations are given for the maintenance of the minister.
A building, we may be told, is an abomination to the Lord. The Tramps did not think so when they provided one at Edenderry and another at Derrygonnelly. But their heaven-sent leader subsequently discovered that while God Himself prescribed a Temple for his own worship, and that while His people are commanded not to forget the assembling of themselves together, yet they are only to meet in small rooms or kitchens, in parties of ten or 20, after the manner of the days when the early Christians were persecuted, and when they dare not have a church of their own! How many rooms or kitchens would be required to accommodate 500 or 1,000 people? The idea is too absurd for consideration—utterly, contemptibly absurd, and in keeping with all the rest.
Yet we quarrel not with the Tramps for all their foibles. They are entitled to think as they like, or delude themselves as they like, as long as they do not interfere with their neighbours; but here is one thing they are not entitled to do, and it is well that their rank and file should know it as well as their leaders. They are not entitled to describe those with whom they disagree, as that they are going to hell; that clergy are going to hell; that their lives and actions are full of ‘devilry;’ and if they do give vent to such expressions on a public road or public place they may not feel surprised if those who disagree with them give them a little local ‘hell’ in return. That sort of vile abuse may be permitted in private grounds at Crocknacrieve; but not in any public place, without a risk of the natural consequences of disturbing the public peace.
September 16, 1908, Page 1
The Washington Times
MOB BURNS TENTS; WORSHIPERS ASLEEP
“Irvinites” Driven From Baltimore Suburb by Enraged Citizens
REFUSAL TO LEAVE MET WITH PISTOLS
So-Called Followers of Apostles Forced to Abdicate Camp Meeting in Early Morning
BALTIMORE, Sept 16.– The anger of the people of Brooklyn, near Baltimore, with the religious sect known as the “Irvinites” whose members profess to follow the teachings of the Apostles Peter and Paul, reached a climax early today, when about thirty male residents of the little town applied the torch to the tents which have been the place of worship of the strange sect, and burned them to the ground.
The populace of Brooklyn has been much wrought up over the sect, and it had been rumored through the day that the residents had planned a mid-night attack upon the camping grounds, but this had been laughed at by members of the denomination.
When the torch was applied the tents were deserted, for the members of the sect were sleeping soundly in nearby houses, and only two men acted as sentinels.
Within a minute after the arrival of the destroyers, the two large tents were a mass of flames. The two guards of the sect retreated to the houses on the approach of the mob and raised the alarm. While they were arousing the “Irvinites”, the most energetic of the antagonists had been busy with kerosene.
Hardly had the flames appeared when four of the “Irvinites” dashed up to the place, and were met by the attacking party with pistols. The members of the sect say they will get away from the place as hurriedly as possible.
All Leave Today
The camping grounds were a scene of great animation this morning.; Some of the disciples were removing foodstuffs from a shanty which they had near the camp. Others were figuring connections of railway and steamboat, and still others were on their way to board cars preparatory to going away.
A few minutes before midnight there was not a sign of a demonstration, and the last policeman had left the grounds.
Shortly after 12 several men went to the corner of Fourth and Patapsco streets, lowered the arc light and put it out by destroying the carbon. A few minutes later between thirty and seventy-five men – masked, some think – advanced toward the camp.
Five members of the sect who were on watch saw the proceeding, it is said, and without making an effort to save the tent they retired to the house near by. The mob fired three shots, and without more ado set the tents on fire and departed.
The neighbors were aroused, and surrounded the tents. One woman appeared on the scene, and she, it is said was remarkably calm.
The Washington Post
Irvinites Pull Up Stakes
Sect Whose Tents were Burned Near Baltimore Predicts Dire Things
Are Going Away, as Requested, but Feel Sure Their Enemies Will Howl in Hereafter
Special to The Washington Post.
Baltimore, Sept 16—The camping grounds of the “Disciples of Peter and Paul” known as the “Irvinites,” whose two tents at Brooklyn, Anne Arundel county, were burned by some of the villagers shortly after last midnight, were a scene of animation this morning. Some of the “disciples” were removing the foodstuffs from a shanty which they had near the camps; others were figuring connections of railways and steamboats.
It is evident that the attack made last night was prearranged. A few minutes before midnight there was not the slightest sign of a demonstration, and the last policeman left the grounds. At about a quarter past 12 several men went to the corner of Fourth and Patapasco streets, lowered the arc light and put it out by destroying the carbon. A few minutes later between 60 and 75 men, masked some think, advanced toward the tents, and set them on fire.
The founder of the sect is W. Irvine, who is said to have traveled extensively, endeavoring to gain recruits to his doctrine. The principal cause of the trouble it is thought was the vigorous preaching of the “Irvinites,” in which they denounced the people of the town generally, although they have been having trouble ever since their convention opened last Wednesday. Founder Irvine, it is alleged, used some offensive language toward the women of Brooklyn.
When asked what they intend to do, a member of the sect said today: “Some of our members left Monday. More left yesterday, and it was the intention of most of us to leave Brooklyn in a day or two. As it is, we shall do as Christ did. We did not weep last night when our tents were destroyed. We rejoiced rather than wept. The weeping and howling will be done by those who set the tents on fire. They will weep and howl in hell for what they have done. We will now flee as Jesus did, and we shall go on with our work.”
September 17, 1908, p12
Altoona Tribune (Altoona, PA)
What a Mob Did
Set Fire to two Tents Used by a Religious Sect.
Contained same information as above article.
October 22, 1908
WINDOW SMASHING, BANDS, DISORDER, AND ‘RELIGION’
The village of Swords, Co. Dublin, has been the scene of turmoil which
is quite foreign to it, since Sunday night, 11th last. Windows have
been smashed; crowds, headed by bands, have paraded the streets in a more
or less disorderly manner; and extra police have been drafted in to cope
with the disturbance.
The circumstances which have led to this unfortunate condition of things had their origin in what occurred in the village on Sunday evening in connection with a meeting of a religious sect held in an unoccupied house at ‘The Turnpike.’ The house was rented from a Malahide gentleman by a Mr. Henry Rook, a leading merchant in Swords, and is in a quarter mostly inhabited by working-class people.
Several young ladies and gentlemen, most of whom are said to have come from Dublin, arrived in Swords and proceeded to the meeting house. The singing of hymns, shortly after 8 p.m. attracted a curious crowd, composed mostly of children. The meeting or religious service, was at the time being carried on in an upper room.
The invitation to those outside to enter appeared to arouse the ire of a large section of the population at that end of the village, and the house was soon surrounded by a
LARGE AND ANGRY CROWD.
One or two stones were thrown, and then there was a fusilade which resulted
in the demolition of all the glass in the front windows.
Nobody inside, however, was struck, and those who participated in the meeting went away without sustaining any injuries. There have been statements that parties were waylaid on their homeward journey, but exhaustive inquiries failed to discover any corroboration of these statements.
On Monday evening there was a demonstration through the village, headed by two local bands, and some stones were thrown, resulting in slight injuries to members of the Constabulary, who were present in large numbers. There was no actual conflict, however, thanks to the intervention of Rev. Father Russell, C.C. (in the absence of Rev. Father Mulochy, P.P.) and Rev. Mr. Whelan, the Protestant Vicar of Swords. Similar demonstrations have been taking place each night during the week, but it is satisfactory to learn that neither Mr. Rock, his family, nor his dwelling-house has in any way been interfered with.
The latter fact was elicited in the course of an interview with Mrs. Rock, who explained that her husband was absent in Dublin, adding that the
HEADQUARTERS OF THE SECT
he is attached to is in Upper Baggott Street. [TTT Editor's Note: probably meant the Weirs, who had a store on Baggott Street] There was no name, she
said, for the sect to which she and her husband belonged, but they believed
that infants should not be baptised, and that adults should be—‘completely
immersed in baptism,’ was her idea.
While our representative was speaking to Mrs. Rock in her husband’s shop a young man, who said his name was ROBERT MILLER, OF COUNTY FERMANAGH, came forward and proclaimed that he was a believer in the principles enunciated at Sunday evening’s meeting. He told how he was at the door on the occasion and emphatically denied that he invited the crowd outside to enter. ‘Some of them,’ he said, ‘asked me might they come in, and I said they might if they remained quiet.’ He then related how a Mr. Richard Correll, of Wicklow, who was speaking upstairs, came down to the hall and told the crowd that if they were not quiet they would have to go away. After this, Mr. Correll said, people forced their way into the premises, and the stone-throwing began shortly afterwards.
In answer to some questions Mr. Correll said that prior to the meeting people, who were thought likely to attend were approached, but he denied that any Catholics were invited.
THE VICAR’S STATEMENT.
Rev. Mr. Whelan, the Vicar of Swords, when seen by our representative, was emphatic in expressing how much he appreciated the good feeling which has always hitherto existed between Catholics and members of his Church in the parish, while at the same time he expressed the fear that what had occurred during the past week may tend to more or less estrange the two peoples. His desire for a continuance of the friendly relations which have existed between Catholic and Protestant was warmly expressed, ‘but,’ he added, ‘while I have the strongest desire and anxiety for peace, I cannot refrain from saying that, in my opinion, there has been
NO JUSTIFICATION FOR THE INTOLERANCE DISPLAYED.
In the meantime the police establishment at Swords, has been increased by four constables, and each night 30 extra men are sent in from adjoining stations. It is generally believed that the regrettable business is now practically at an end, but the opinion is also expressed that should a further meeting of the same be held—as it is said is contemplated, serious rioting may take place.
—From the Irish Daily Independent, October 17th.
WINDOW SMASHING, BANDS, DISORDER, AND "RELIGION"
The village of Swords, Co. Dublin, has been the scene of turmoil which is quite foreign to it, since Sunday night last. Windows have been smashed: crowds, headed by bands, have paraded the streets in a more or less disorderly manner; and extra police have been drafted in to cope with the disturbance.
The circumstances which have led to this unfortunate condition of things had their origin in what occurred in the village on Sunday evening in connection with a meeting of a religious sect held in an unoccupied house at "The Turnpike." The house was rented from a Malahide gentleman by a Mr. Henry Rock, a leading merchant in Swords, and is in a quarter mostly inhabited by working-class people.
Several young ladies and gentlemen, most of whom are said to have come from Dublin, arrived in Swords that afternoon and proceeded to the meeting house. The singing of hymns shortly after 8 p.m. attracted a curious crowd, composed mostly of children. The meeting, or religious service, was at the time being carried on in an upper room.
The invitation to those outside to enter appeared to rouse the ire of a large section of the population at that end of the village, and the house was soon surrounded by a large and angry crowd. One or two stones were thrown, and then there was a fusillade which resulted in the demolition of all the glass in the front windows.
Nobody inside, however, was struck, and those who participated in the meeting went away without sustaining any injuries. There have been statements that parties were waylaid on their homeward journeys, but exhaustive inquiries made yesterday by an "Irish Independent" representative failed to discover any corroboration of these statements.
On Monday evening there was a demonstration through the village, headed by two local bands, and some stones were thrown, resulting in slight injuries to members of the Constabulary who were present in large numbers. There was no actual conflict, however, thanks to the intervention of Rev. Father Russell, C. C. (in the absence of Rev. Father Mulcahy, P. P.) and Rev. Mr. Whelan, the Protestant Vicar of Swords. Similar demonstrations have been taking place each night during the week, but it is satisfactory to learn that neither Mr. Rock, his family, nor his dwelling-house has in any way been interfered with.
The latter fact was elicited last afternoon in the course of an interview which an "Irish Independent" representative had with Mrs. Rock, who explained that her husband was absent in Dublin, adding that the headquarters of the sect he is attached to is in Upper Baggott street. There was no name, she said, for the sect to which she and her husband belonged, but they believed that infants should not be baptised, and that adults should—"completely immersed in baptism," was her idea.
While our representative was speaking to Mrs. Rock in her husband’s shop a young man, who said his name was Robert Miller, of Co. Fermanagh, came forward and proclaimed that he was a believer in the principles enunciated at Sunday evening’s meeting. He told how he was at the door on the occasion and emphatically denied that he invited the crowd outside to enter. "Some of them," he said, "asked me might they come in, and I said they might if they remained quiet." He then related how a Mr. Richard Correll, of Wicklow, who was speaking upstairs, came down to the hall and told the crowd that if they were not quiet they would have to go away. After this, Mr. Correll said, people forced their way into the premises, and the stone-throwing began shortly afterwards.
In answer to some questions Mr. Correll said that prior to the meeting, people who were thought likely to attend were approached, but he denied that any Catholics were invited.
Rev. Mr. Whelan, the Vicar of Swords, when seen by our representative, was sympathetic in expressing how much he appreciated the good feeling which has always hitherto obtained between Catholics and members of his Church in the parish, while at the same time he expressed the fear that what had occurred during the past week may tend to more or less estrange the two peoples. His desire for a continuance of the friendly relations which have existed between Catholic and Protestant was warmly expressed, "but," he added, "while I have the strongest desire and anxiety for peace, I cannot refrain from saying that, in my opinion, there has been no justification whatever for the intolerance displayed. I think that people should be allowed to carry out their religious services, no matter what they are, without interference."
The Rev. gentleman further told our representative that, so far as he could gather, only four members of his Church attended the gathering which has caused the present trouble. He spoke in the highest terms of Mr. Rock and his wife, both of whom, he said, were kindly and charitable people.
Father Russell, C. C., the Rev. Mr. Whelan, and Colonel Forster, a prominent local Catholic gentleman, have been exerting their combined influence to keep any ebullitions of sectarian bitterness in check.
In the meantime the police establishment at Swords has been increased by four constables, and each night 30 extra men are sent in from adjoining stations. It is generally believed that the regrettable business is now practically at an end, but the opinion is also expressed that should a further meeting of the sect be held tomorrow—as it is said is contemplated—serious rioting may take place.
October 22, 1908
Peace has been restored at Swords, and quiet now reigns in the little town after the turmoil and trouble of the past week. A recurrence of the disturbances was feared in the event of another meeting of the sect to which Mr. Rock belongs being held on Sunday evening, but no attempt was made to hold any further services.
Owing to representations made to him by some of the magistrates in the district, it is said that Mr. Rock has agreed not to have further religious gatherings of the sort in the town.
ROMAN CATHOLIC VIEW.
Reference was made at the last Mass on Sunday at Swords by the Rev. Nicholas Russell, C.C., to the disturbance which occurred during the week. ‘There is nobody, I am sure,’ he said, ‘no matter what their way of thinking may be, but what regret the disturbances that took place in the early part of the week here on each night. Whoever is to blame, I am not going to say, but this I do say, that whatever may happen, we should, as Catholics at all events, not earn for ourselves the name of being intolerant or bigots. Bigotry and intolerance are the curse of every country. You know the spirit of every Irish Catholic is a spirit of toleration, though our enemies may say otherwise, unless the spirit is disturbed by either the souper or the proselytised. So now for the future I ask you to abide by the law, to let every man live and do as he likes so long as he does not meddle openly and publicly with your religious feelings and attempt either souperism or proselytism. By doing so you will be not only acting in a Christian-like manner, but you will be redirecting credit on your town, you will be redirecting credit on yourself, and you will be upholding the peaceable and charitable and Catholic name of this old town of St. Columboille.’
At service the Vicar, Rev. Mr. Whelan, also referred to the matter. A man of their town, he said, who did not belong to their congregation, but who worshipped the same God, had used the right which he and every other Christian possesses of holding a Christian meeting in one of the houses of the town. This man and those with him had met with the most violent intolerance from their Catholic neighbours, who had ruthlessly stoned the house of meeting, and had for the past week destroyed the peace of the town and made night hideous with senseless yellings and ribaldry. For this
FOOLISH AND IGNORANT BIGOTRY
here had been no adequate cause, no proselytising or street preaching.
If there were any grievance of any sort, it would be a grievance of his
Church people for the tendency of such missions, unauthorised by the Church,
had always been to withdraw people from their attendance at the services
of the Church. He had no fear, he said, that any mission of dissenters
held in that town would diminish that congregation. Even if he was
afraid of such a result, he would still condemn the violent intolerance
which in a free country had rudely and senselessly molested and insulted
God fearing men.
‘But that is the way all over Ireland,’ said the preacher. ‘The lower classes of the Catholics in this country are very ignorant, and consequently they are a ready prey to any bad leading and bad passions—and, without wishing to be uncharitable, I feel that they are very often led wrong by those whose duty it is before God and man to lead them aright. Another result of their ignorance is that they
CAN’T BEAR CONTRADICTION IN POLITICS OR RELIGION,
or can they brook even reasonable fair argument on these two subjects. So sensitive are they about religion that they will hardly even mention the subject to you, and the least suspicion of proselytising on our part, which I am glad to say, we, as a Church never attempt—but the least suspicion of it is quite enough to drive our Catholic neighbours of the less educated class into paroxyms of senseless intolerance, such as we have experienced here last week.
Considering the prejudices, it was not a discreet thing to introduce a novel form of Protestantism and spring it on a very Catholic town like Swords. Anyone who knew the distinctive character of the people of Swords would have told them beforehand that to attempt any form of public religious novelty was dangerous and doubtful. But that did not in the least condole the violent intolerance which hooted and ill-treated Christian people in the exercise of their right to worship God as they choose. He was not there to uphold this novel mission, for he did not know what their creed was. For the sake of peace and goodwill he trusted they would not continue their mission, as it would be most undesirable and productive of further bitter strife and ill-feeling. They should show their disgust with the senseless bigotry, otherwise it might be supposed that they approved of the violent conduct. ‘They must be made to see,’ said the preacher, ‘that though they did not persecute us of the Church of Ireland, yet they persecuted the cause of freedom and of charity and of common decency—things which we hold in such high regard that we cannot or will not overlook their violation.’