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Establishment, to be ascertained by this Act, must be corrected. Religion must be rescued from the plague of riches, her ministers must divest themselves of all characters but their own; the absurd fiction, by which they are compared to proprietors, must cease, or the real proprietors themselves must become vassals of the Church. For the commencement of this godly work we are indebted to the Irish government, and though it were their only merit, it should endear them to the people." P. 33.
The Orange party are conciliated in the following terms :"This party would be even stronger than it is, and more than able to cope with either of the other two, if it were not overbearing, haughty, insolent, and cruel. Monopoly and injustice are written on its standards, oppression is its watchword, falsehood and slander are its heralds; it has no reason or justice with it, but it is so clamorous, and so menacing, and so unblushing, as to overwhelm or confound whomsoever would approach it with argument, or seek to treat with it on a basis just, useful or honourable. It has suffered occasional defeats, but it has also gained advantages, and though every person can see how its resources are wasting away, though we every day hear of the defection of its friends, and see the straits to which the entire body is reduced, though confusion sometimes enters its ranks, yet it has not lowered a jot of its pretensions. The uti possidetis is the only ground on which it will treat; it insists not only on the recovery of its ancient possessions, but requires an indemnity for the losses it has sustained, and security against all future encroachments. Like Napoleon at Chatillon, it looks only to the extent and beauty of its former empire; it is not satisfied with the boundaries which even its friends would fix for it, and does not consider either the fraud, cruelty and injustice, by which it acquired power, or that the whole earth is leagued against it, lest princes, during its exiscence, should have no security, or the people no repose. This party, like Catiline and Cethegus, has collected into its ranks every spendthrift, every idler, every punished or unpunished malefactor, every public robber, and private delinquent, all the gamblers, all those whom gluttony or extravagance has reduced to want; in fine, all who love commotion, and who hope to live by corruption, or to rebuild their broken fortunes on the ruins of their country. The violence and insolence of this party, as well as their open hostility to the Government, has alienated many persons from them; it has neutralized others; but there is still a numerous class, who, though silent, are cordially interested for its success; a class which assists it privately by their money, their conversations, their inuendos, or by withholding their aid from the measures pursued by the administration." P. 41.
The Catholics are admitted to be restless and agitated. "The Catholics then, under the fostering care of penal statutes, and quite unnoticed by the laws made to protect and foster the faithful subjects of this part of the realm, have grown at least into
a party; a party so numerous and strong, that the dupes of Pastorini imagine they are to arise by some sign in the moon or in the stars, and cut the throats of all who have not been lately at confession, without even allowing them the benefit of clergy. The more sane part of the community view the Catholics in another light; they consider them as a mighty living mass, restless and agitated, capable of being reduced to perfect order, but also liable to be precipitated into some gulf, carrying with them in their fall the whole edifice of society." P.45•
But the inferior Irish gentry are the bishop's peculiar favourites.
But the great mass of our little squires, who are called gentry, are men of much pride and little property, possessing a few hundred pounds a year, God knows how acquired; labouring perhaps to keep a carriage, if not, to have at least a dog, a horse, and a gun. They are made up of every possible description of persons. I could' delineate them accurately and minutely, but I think it better to state generally, that a great portion of these men are the very curse and scourge of Ireland. They are numerous, they are very ignorant, they are extremely bigoted, they are exceedingly dishonest, they tell all manner of falsehoods, and so frequently, as to assume with themselves the appearance of truth. In a word, they could not be intrusted with your honour or your purse, and multitudes of them have no regard for the sanctity of an oath; they are these men who often obtain the commission of the peace, and trade by it; who get all the little perquisites arising from grand jury jobs, who foment discontent, who promote religious animosity, who are most zealous with the saints in distributing tracts and Bibles, who are ever ready to attend vestries, to impose taxes, to share in their expenditure, to forward addresses, to pray for the Insurrection Act, or any other act which might serve to oppress the people, and render permanent their own iniquitous sway.
"These personages have been brought up under the exclusive system, and their very existence seems to them to hang upon it; they sometimes go upon their travels, as far perhaps as London, and viewing from the top of a mail coach the surface of England, they talk most profoundly of that country, of her customs and institutions; they compare them with those of Ireland, and sigh so heavily at the distance in civilization and improvements which separate ús from our neighbours " at the other side.”
These men oppress, and aggrieve, and insult the people; they affect to look upon them as of inferior condition, a conquered race, and whose righful inheritance is slavery. They see the poor starving, but they see it unmoved; they behold them naked without a feeling of compassion; never having seen a peasantry enjoying comfort or independence, they have no idea of what their condition ought to be. Without exaggeration, they are the slave-drivers in Ireland, and very much resemble the beings of that description in Barbadoes or Jamaica.". P. 52.
VOL. XXIII. MARCH 1825.
The established church is improving.
"The Methodists, with the several sub-denominations of dis senters, might be said, in a certain sense, to be falling into disrepute the cry of Church in Danger, which has been incessantly rung through the country for the last two or three years; the several attacks made from the high places, and by the profane, upon the wealth and indolence of the parsons; the charges of their prelates, the example of the other religionists, particularly of the Catholic clergy, has not only awakened the dormant energies of the Establishment, but it has brought back from the conventicle many a strayed sheep." P. 67.
But this admission is immediately qualified by the following charitable accusation :
"When indulged she is indolent; when rebuked, she becomes åttentive; she draws tight, or relaxes her discipline, as it may please, or be permitted by her masters; her eye is ever fixed upon her own interests, and she deems nothing forbidden or unhallowed which can serve to promote them. As these who do an injury never can forgive, she is implacable in her hostility to the Church which she supplanted; and at this day she appears indifferent to all things else, but to the concealment of her riches and the persecution of Popery." P. 69.
We make no comment upon those passages. We merely ask whether they tend to establish Mr. Plunkett's theory respecting the moderation of the Popish hierarchy? Do they prove that there is no danger to be apprehended to the Protestant church? Do they show that the lay-deputy, Mr. O'Connell, is an authorised expounder of the sentiments of his clerical superiors?
Many other declarations of a similar tendency to the preceding, may be produced. At page 104, when he is treating of population and poor-rates, for the latter of which Bishop Doyle is an advocate, he expresses himself in the following
"The rack rents are an intolerable evil, and will be so whilst the laws continue to render the landlord a tyrant, and the tenant a slave; whilst fear and distrust, hatred and oppression, are the links which connect the peasantry and gentry of Ireland, the land must wither and the people starve, whether they be few or many. But the most heart-rending curse which Providence has permitted to fall on the land occupier in Ireland, is the Church Establishment; this, like the scorpion's tail, is armed at all points, and scourges the peasant through tithes and church-rates, till it draws his very blood. This Establishment not only strips him of food and raiment, but it also insults him by the monstrous injustice of obliging him to give his sweat and labour, and the bread of his children, to build or repair waste houses, whilst he himself is left to pray in the open air;
to feed the parson and his rapacious family and followers, who go about, not doing good, but to vilify and calumniate the religion which this peasant reveres it compels him to purchase bread, and wine, and stoves, and music, for the Church which he deems profane; to pay the glazier, and the mason, and the sexton, and the gravedigger, who divide his clothes between them, and cast lots, like the Deicide Jews, upon his cloak. Whilst these oppressions are suffered to continué, how can the men, who are made to the image and likeness of God, and for whose use the earth yields all its produce, how can they be fed, or in any way provided for? They must either be sacrificed in hecatombs to the furious passions which brood over this country, or these passions must be restrained, and the laws altered which gave them birth. I should rather, with Hobbes, suppose that society is not congenial to man; or desire, with Rousseau, to return to a state of nature, than cease protesting against the system in Ireland which has rendered population a curse, which has dried up every source of industry and profit, not only in the inhabitants of the country, but in the earth itself, and which has condemned, by an inversion of the ordinance of God, a people to live only for the sake of institutions." P. 104.
But let us hear what the bishop thinks of Mr. O'Connell's plan for disfranchising the forty shillings freeholders ;—
"This subject has been so frequently mentioned, the evils arising from the subdivision of lands so closely connected with it are now so familiar, and almost so fashionable a topic, and the prevailing system of looking superficially at every political question is so much in vogue, that I would not be surprised if it were proposed to reduce again the peasantry of Ireland to the condition of serfs; that is, of serfs without hope of manumission, for serfs they are at present; but every man who does not despair of Ireland expects to see them one day converted into freemen. There are other reasons why this measure might be dreaded; the influence of the Catholics in returning members to parliament from the southern and western counties and cities; the successful struggle made by them on different occasions in the County Wexford and Queen's County, and more recently in Sligo and Dublin; these things have excited all the bile of the Orangemen, who, not presuming to speak in parliament of the re-enactment of the penal code, would wish to introduce it covertly, by taking from the Catholic peasant even the semblance of political power, and depriving him of his chief claim to the protection and favour of his landlord. So strong is this feeling amongst the orange party, that I doubt not the aristocracy which is connectedwith them would sacrifice the last remnant of their rank and power, which consists in the number of their freeholders, to the base passion of wreaking vengeance on the Catholic name. But there is a still stronger reason for being filled with apprehensions on this subject, and it arises from the English aristocracy, and their powerful agent in the House of Commons being opposed to the extension of the elective franchise in England, as to some agrarian law; such a feeling
necessarily obliges them to look with displeasure and apprehension to the extent of this right in Ireland, lest its existence here might act as an incentive upon the English people in seeking a similar right for themselves. They would, therefore, without avowing the true motives of their conduct, gladly avail themselves of the outcry raised against forty shilling freeholders in Ireland, in order to abolish what in their opinion is a great encroachment on their own hereditary rights. But if there be one measure more than another calculated to seal the doom of Ireland, to eradicate from her soil the very seeds of freedom, and to insure for ever her degradation, that measure is, in my opinion, the disfranchisement of the forty shilling freeholders !
"It is the natural right of a man-a right interwoven with the essence of our constitution, and producing, as its necessary effect, the House of Commons, that a man who has life, liberty, and property, should have some share or influence in the disposal of them by law. Take the elective franchise from the Irish peasant, and you not only strip him of the present reality, or appearance of this right, but you disable him and his posterity ever to acquire it. He is now poor and oppressed, you then make him vile and contemptible; he; is now the image of a freeman, he will be then the very essence of a slave; he has now a hope that, should his country improve, he may one day raise his voice on the hustings, and plead the cause of all who belong to his class in life, whilst he proclaims the virtue of the candidate whom he supports, or upbraids the recreant who betrays the public trust: but take from him his freehold, and you cast him out of the constitution. Like the Helot at Athens he may go to the forum and gaze at the election, and then return to hew his wood or fetch his water to the freeman; an inhabitant, but not a citizen, of the country which gave him birth." P. 293.
To make this more entertaining, the bishop has said in a preceding part of the volume ;
"And the law of election, what does it bring to the Catholic? If he perchance be opulent, it brings to him a deeper sense of his fallen honour, of his degradation, of his shame; if he be very poor, it brings him to the hustings to proclaim to the world a public lie, towit, that he is a freeholder; having first steeped his soul in perjury, lest he, and his wife, and his child, and his father, should be driven from their hut, without food, shelter, or hope. To him the election law, in its operation, is like the wind from the desert, bringing with it a sort of moral pestilence, against which no human remedy can; prevail." P. 86.
These are sufficient specimens of Bishop Doyle's manner. He writes, and we presume that he speaks, with the intolerance of a Jesuit, and the violence of a Radical; and whatever softening he may now wish to give to his declarations, the book before us is an authentic record, out of which it will be easy to contradict the trimming evidence which he,