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attachment to the Roman Catholic religion was often proved by their endurance of the persecution which, for a long period, afflicted the members of their persuasion in Ireland. My grandfather was the eldest of three brothers, whose voluntary banishment from their native land, rooted out my family from the county of Waterford. A considerable fortune enabled my ancestor to settle at Seville, where he was inscribed on the roll of the privileged gentry, and carried on extensive business as a merchant. But the love of his native land could not be impaired by his foreign residence; and as his eldest son (my father) could not but grow attached to Spain, by reason of his birth, he sent him in his childhood to Ireland, that he might also cling to that country by early feelings of kindness. It was thus that my father combined in his person the two most powerful and genuine elements of a religionist—the unhesitating faith of persecuting Spain; the impassioned belief of persecuted Ireland. My father was the first of his kindred that married into a Spanish family; and his early habits of exalted piety made him choose a wife whom few can equal in religious sincerity. I have hallowed the pages of another work” with the character of my parents: yet affection would readily furnish me with new portraits, were I not anxious to get over this preliminary egotism. It is enough to say that such were the purity, the benevolence, the angelic piety of my father's life, that, at his death, multitudes of people thronged the house to indulge a last view of the dead body. Nor was the wife of his bosom. at all behind him, either in fulness of faith or sanctity of manners. The endeavours of such parents to bring up their children in conformity with their religious notions may, therefore, be fully conceived without the help of description. No waywardness of disposition appeared in me to defeat or obstruct their labours. At the age of fourteen all the seeds of devotion, which had been assiduously sown in my heart, sprung up as it were spontaneously. The pious practices, which had hitherto been a task, were now the effect of my own choice. I became a constant attendant

at the Congregation of the Oratory, where pious

* Letters from Spain, by Don Leucadio Doblado.

young men, intended for the Church, generally had their spiritual directors. Dividing my time between study and devotion, I went through a course of philosophy and divinity at the University of Seville; at the end of which I received the Roman Catholic order of sub-deacon. By that time I had obtained the degrees of Master of Arts and Bachelor of Divinity. Being elected a Fellow of the College of St. Mary a Jesu of Seville, when I was not of sufficient standing for the superior degree of Licentiate of Divinity”, which the Fellowship required, I took that degree at Osuna, where the statutes demand no interval between these academical honours. A year had scarcely elapsed since I had received priest's orders, when, after a public examination, in competition with other candidates, I obtained the stall of Magistral or Preacher, in the chapter of king's chaplains, at Seville. Placed, so young, in a situation which my predecessor had obtained

* Previous to the degree of Doctor of Divinity a severe examination takes place, which gives to the Licentiate all the rights, though not the honours of Doctorship. These may be

obtained by a Licentiate, at any time, by the payment of some fees.

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after many years' service as a vicar, in the same town, I conceived myself bound to devote my whole leisure to the study of religion. I need not say that I was fully conversant with the system of catholic divinity; for I owed my preferment to a public display of theological knowledge; yet I wished to become acquainted with all kinds of works which might increase and perfect that knowledge. My religious belief had hitherto been undisturbed; but light clouds of doubt began now to pass over my mind, which the warmth of devotion soon dissipated. Yet they would gather again and again, with an increased darkness, which prayer could scarcely dispel.—That immorality and levity are always the source of unbelief, the experience of my own case, and my intimate acquaintance with many others, enable me most positively to deny. As to myself, I declare most solemnly that my rejection of Christianity took place at a period when my conscience could not reproach me with any open breach of duty, but those committed several years before: that during the transition from religious belief

to incredulity, the horror of sins against the

faith, deeply implanted by education in my soul, haunted me night and day; and that I exerted all the powers of my mind to counteract the involuntary doubts which were daily acquiring an irresistible strength. In this distress I brought to remembrance all the arguments for the truth of the Christian religion, which I had studied in the French apologists. I read other works of the same kind; and having to preach, in the execution of my office, to the royal brigade of carabineers, who came to worship the body of Saint Ferdinand preserved in the king’s chapel, I chose the subject of infidelity, on which I delivered an elaborate discourse *. But the fatal crisis was at hand. At the end of a year from the preaching of this sermon—the confession is painful, indeed, yet due to religion itself—I was bordering on atheism. If my case were singular, if my knowledge of the most enlightened classes of Spain did not furnish me with a multitude of sudden transitions from sincere faith and piety to the most outrageous infidelity, I would submit to the humbling con

* This sermon was published at Seville, at the expense of the brigade. .*

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