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Limerick Firm's Subscription Controversy Sparks Dispute Over Proselytism | Limerick Gazette Archives

Limerick Firm’s Subscription Controversy Sparks Dispute Over Proselytism

Messrs. Cannock and Co., prominent businessmen hailing from Limerick, find themselves entangled in a dispute concerning their subscription to the infamous Irish Church Missions, an issue that we previously highlighted in our August 20th edition. A letter, published in a Limerick paper, has recently emerged, shedding light on this matter of proselytism in the city. The missive, bearing the title “Proselytising In Limerick. City Firm’s Disclaimer,” serves as Cannock and Co.’s response to accusations of supporting Dr Long’s society.

In their written statement, Cannock and Co. adamantly deny ever subscribing to Dr Long or endorsing his activities. They affirm their long-standing contributions to various charitable causes encompassing all religious denominations within the city. Their steadfast stance against any form of proselytism, both for the sake of their Catholic and Protestant acquaintances, is evident, they assert.

However, the veracity of Cannock and Co.’s “disclaimer” warrants examination. While they contest subscribing to Dr Long specifically, it is essential to note that our previous reporting never attributed such a subscription to them. Instead, our focus remained on their official subscription, in their capacity as Messrs. Cannock and Co., of Limerick, to the Society for Irish Church Missions to Roman Catholics—a society closely affiliated with Dr Long’s work. Thus, their denial seems to miss the mark.

Indeed, the Annual Report for 1903-4 of the Irish Church Missions duly acknowledges Messrs. Cannock and Co.’s subscription to their organization. Moreover, the report allocates two paragraphs to Dr Long, providing insight into his work. One excerpt from the report reads as follows: “The Committee review the year’s work in Limerick with feelings of gratification and humiliation. Humiliation that Dr Long and his family should still be denied, in a professedly Christian community and under British rule, the means of locomotion provided and licensed for the use of every citizen. The Committee again protest in the strongest manner against the attitude of the authorities towards the Romish persecution to which Dr Long and his family are exposed in this matter.”

Despite any attempts by Messrs. Cannock and Co. to evade responsibility, their subscription to the notorious Irish Church Missions remains irrefutable, as evidenced by the aforementioned report. Their claimed disassociation from Dr Long rings hollow when confronted with these documented facts.

Furthermore, the report highlights the Society’s gratitude for Dr Long’s benevolent and forgiving spirit, while also commending the Society’s Mission Nurse and Scripture Readers for their instrumental role in disseminating Scriptural teachings among the populace. Cannock and Co.’s assertion that they would not “knowingly subscribe” to any proselytizing endeavour raises doubts. Can they genuinely claim innocence regarding the nature of the Irish Church Missions? Did they mistake it for the Gaelic League, the United Irish League, or the Town Tenants? Such questions cast uncertainty on their position.

In light of these circumstances, the letter from Messrs. Cannock and Co. appears feeble, a weak attempt to navigate their way out of a predicament that has come to light. Their discomfort with being exposed is evident. Conversely, we have found no evidence to suggest that another Limerick firm, Messrs. Todd and Co., made any efforts to distance themselves from their own subscription of 10s. to the controversial Irish Church Missions fund.

The unfolding controversy surrounding the Limerick firm’s subscription serves as a reminder of the divisive nature of proselytism within the community. As the dispute continues, the city awaits further developments in this ongoing controversy.