The million-peopled city
The Irish of London require 100 Missionaries or Scripture- readers, in order that the Gospel may be brought to their Abodes.
A more important field than is presented by the Irish in London for missionary effort, it is difficult to conceive. So far as numbers are concerned, they present a larger claim than many of the entire stations of our . The Irish in London, of the poorer classes alone, amount to 200,000. But the entire of the " in , was no more, and of the natives there were but 123,719. is computed at but from 120,000 to 180,000, and the entire colony of Sierra Leone in was only 41,551, or scarcely more than one- fifth of the population of the poor Irish of London; while Greenland, that field of successful missionary enterprise by the Moravians is less than a twentieth part of the number. Is it then consistent to send missionaries to those afar off, at a necessarily great cost, and to pass by those who are dwelling in the midst of our own metropolis? The one ought to be done, but the other ought still more not to be left undone. As 500 families, consisting of about 2,000 individuals, are as many as one lay visitor can take charge of with any advantage, there are actually one hundred such faithful men wanted for the Irish alone of London.
|The Remarkable Success of Recent Effortsfor the Conversion of the Irish to the Protestant Faith in their own Country.|
Great encouragement exists for such efforts among the Irish from the circumstance of the truly marvellous effects which have within the last few years been accomplished in the West of . They probably exceed what have been witnessed in any part of England within the memory of man, if not since the days of the Reformation. The last Paper of the , issued in the Autumn of , states:-
"This Society was instituted, under its present form and constitution, in the year . . . . The success which has attended it is almost without a parallel. With a few agents, and limited funds, it commenced its labours in the West of , soon afterwards in the East, and has since embraced a large portion of that country ...
" The Society's Missions in have, under God's blessing, been the means of rendering a district, extend- ing 50 miles in length and 30 in breadth, characteristically Protestant, which but a few years ago was characteristically Romish. In that district, until lately, there were not more than 500 Protestants; there are now nearly 6,000 converts attending Church services. 5,000 children are taught in the Scriptural schools ....
" Although there has been much opposition and persecu- tion exercised by the , yet enemies and friends testify to the peaceable fruits of righteousness that are to be found amongst the converts, and to the social improvement and industry that abounds wherever the principles of the Reformation have spread."
A statement inserted in the "Times" newspaper for March 17, , gives the following particulars:- " The work of the Society is carried on in 23 Missions,
|which extend into 22 counties. There are besides, 39 Local Committees for Missions, composed of parochial clergy, assisted by the Society, and established in 25 counties in .|
" The Society is now allied with the Irish Society (), which latter is to confine its instructions to the province of , into which the operations of the Irish Church Missions are not to extend.
" has confirmed 1,948 converts from Romanism since . Eight new churches and several school-rooms have been erected, and are in progress of erection by the individual efforts of Christian friends, for the accommodation of the converts. Over 5,000 children are taught in Scriptural schools.
"In alone, the agents of the Society made 33,980 visits to Roman Catholic families within the year , whilst large numbers of Romanists attend the controversial sermons in different churches, and the inquiring classes are crowded to inconvenience.
" The Society at present employs 37 missionary clergy- men, 21 lay agents, 229 Scripture-readers, and 98 school- masters and mistresses. In all 388 agents, besides some hundreds of Irish teachers. This number does not include those employed by 39 Local Committees, whose salaries are paid by the Society."
It is stated by the , in the small volume published by him, entitled "The Reformation in ," and written immediately after a personal investigation of the results on the spot,-
" The results which have followed these missionary efforts have fully justified the opinion which I always held, that nothing could really benefit our wretched country  by improving the character of our people, but the diffusion of Scriptural knowledge amongst them. Surely the
|success of this work is a cause for gratitude and praise to God, to whom alone the glory is due. A total change takes place, not only in the appearance of the people, but in their habits and conduct; even those most opposed to the Missions are obliged to confess that no Jumpers (as the converts are called) have been convicted by the magistrates at sessions for theft or other crimes; some may have been maliciously accused, but I am told no instance of conviction has taken place. There are various Societies engaged in this great work, each occupying different localities, none interfering one with the other. The object is so great, and the work so extensive, that all these Societies are most useful. The schools that we have visited in and are under the; those in and the islands adjoining are under the Irish Society, and the Island and Coast Society; those I visited last year at and , in , are under a separate Mission of their own. . . . I must not omit to mention our Presbyterian brethren, who have also a Mission in the West, where they are not less zealous and active, under the , of . We had not time to visit them .... I would say to any one who may doubt these details, Decide not till you have seen the work yourselves. It is very easy of access, . . . and the scenery itself would well repay the trouble and fatigue of the journey.... Sure I am that the is the great remedy for the ills of , the knowledge of which the people themselves value above all other knowledge, and . . . they are thirsting for it, and anxious to be acquainted with its contents."  .|
In another part of the book, states:-" The told me to-day ( ), that he thought upwards of 10,000 Roman Catholics, including
|the children, had left the within his diocese. Hitherto I have had little to tell you of violent persecution, the extent of conversion in the district through which we have passed having nearly overcome it." |
His Lordship, in another part, thus describes a confirma- tion he happened to witness-one only of a series held throughout the country:--" A missionary arrived with a number of converts, who had left their locality, 20 miles distant, at 12 o'clock the night before, and had traversed the mountains all night, in order to be present at the confirma- tion. We met them in the morning, greatly fatigued .... The morning service was read, and 99 persons, the great majority of them being adults, were waiting in the aisle of the church, and in the pews, for confirmation. The Bishop preached an excellent sermon, warning the converts of all they might have to endure, and pointing them to the true source of strength and power, which was to be found only by looking unto Jesus. He received the converts by 12 at a time, and laid his hands upon them, pronouncing the usual blessing. After this most interesting sight, I spoke to several of the adults, some of them aged men, who confessed them- selves relieved from a burden on their consciences, which they had borne for many years; indeed, their countenances, I am told, were quite changed, and a cheerfulness visible, unseen in them before." 
Writing from a third town (), his Lordship observes :-" Among a population of 6,000 and upwards, no instance, I have been told, has been found of admittance being refused to the Scripture-readers, or attention withheld from the reading of the Word of God. There are upwards of 400 convinced of the errors of Popery, who discuss its tenets among themselves, and crowd the houses entered by
|the readers and the rector, to listen to the exposition of Gospel truth. . . . There are 4 Scripture schools, attended by 230 Roman Catholic children." |
In the interesting volume recently published by , Bart., descriptive of his tour in , in the autumn of , he states:-
It is difficult to say what may have led to results so truly
|remarkable of late years. Nor ought we to look too much to second causes. But it has been ordinarily supposed that they have, in the wonderful order of God's providence, resulted from the famine. The immense sums of money so freely and generously raised in England at that time did much apparently to open the Irish heart. Mr. O'Connell and his party had previously persuaded the Irish that the Saxons hated them, would do nothing for their help under any cir- cumstances, and almost desired their blood. The priests also had generally confirmed the truth of these assertions. The common people were simple enough to believe them. But when it was found that in almost every parish in England a larger collection on their behalf was made than had been known to be obtained for any other object, and that there was manifestly a general zeal shown here to save them from starvation, they saw that the demagogues and the priests in whom they had trusted had deceived them, and that the English, in spite of difference of creed, were truly their friends.|
 Pp. 84-87
 P. 33
 Pp. 79-80.
 P. 54.
 " Fortnight in Ireland," pp. 154-5.