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frequently in small settlements gathered round the church and the glebe) was the greatest sufferer. Her members were of the very class on which the pressure of poverty bore most keenly. The higher were any man's wants, the more independent his spirit, the better his hopes for his family, the more difficult would be his lot. He could not resist the contagion of example. He must either undertake to pay the rent to which his neighbour's competition has forced up the land,—and that he may be able to do this must consent to give up everything which has distinguished him from them, or he must leave the country altogether. Whichever alternative the Protestant chose, he was lost to the Irish Church. If he gave up his independent spirit, his higher wants, and his hopes of doing better for his family, he sank to the level of the Roman Catholic population, and probably joined the ranks of the Church's enemies. If he emigrated, the number of Irish Churchmen was diminished by his withdrawal.
soil of Ireland was sufficiently fertile to give the bare necessaries of life at the cost of a very small amount of labour and self-denial. There is no inhabited country in which the land is so barren or the climate so unfavourable that the inhabitants are compelled to labour systematically and without intermission for the commonest necessaries of life. A sufficient quantity of the plainest food and the commonest clothing can be obtained by occasional intervals of labour, and very slight efforts of self-denial in abstaining from present enjoyment for the sake of future production. But so long as men are satisfied with these, wealth cannot be accumulated, and progress is impossible. Until they have seen the value
of a higher standard of living, and learned to appreciate it so much as to think it worth more strenuous and continued efforts of labour, and a higher degree of self-denying abstinence than they have been accustomed to put forth when nothing better than the plainest articles of consumption were within their reach, there can be little savings, very little division of labour, no demand for the higher articles of manufacture or commerce, still less can there be any cultivation of the arts which humanize and adorn, and which are the essential conditions of a progressive state of civilization.
30. The wealth of any country, and all the material and social blessings which flow from wealth, are derived from the well-directed and systematic industry of its inhabitants, not from its climate, nor soil, nor any other gifts of inanimate nature. The most fertile countries were, no doubt, the seats of the earliest civilization, but they soon sank into barbarism, or were gradually outstripped by other lands in which the bounty of nature was more liberally aided by the industry of man. And that which gives the chief stimulus to industry, and urges men most powerfully to overcome the natural repugnance to labour and the love of present enjoyment, is the wish to obtain the decencies, comforts, and luxuries as opposed to the mere necessaries of life. Uncivilized or half-civilized people are always indolent and destitute of forethought, because their wants are few and easily satisfied. They have no desire to live in better houses, to wear better clothes, to hold a better social position than their fathers, and they care not that their children should be any better than themselves. Why should they be systematically industrious ? They can
get everything they want by a little labour at certain times in the year.
No people can be prosperous with whom the standard of living is habitually low; not so much because the keeping of it up is an evidence of prosperity, as because the determination to retain it for themselves, or to raise it for their children, is the most powerful incentive to labour and self-denial, as well as the prudential check on the increase of population beyond the means of comfortable subsistence.
31. The disastrous effect in an economic and social point of view of the low standard of living which has been from the earliest times habitual to the Irish peasantry can scarcely be overrated. Mr. M*Callough says that nothing can be so disadvantageous to any people as a decline in the opinion of the labouring class as to the articles necessary for subsistence. Mr. Mill says, “ Unless either by their general improvement in intellectual and moral culture, or at least by raising their habitual standard of comfortable living, they can be taught to make a better use of favourable circumstances, nothing permanent can be done for them. Unless comfort can be made as habitual to a whole generation as indigence is now, nothing is accomplished.”
32. When it was determined to regard the Irish Church rather as an institution for introducing civilization into a semi-barbarous country than for converting the native Irish to the Protestant religion, there was a confident expectation that the example of the colonists, to whom this higher standard of living was habitual, would be the most effectual means of winning over the native Irish to imitate their industry and frugality. The experiment was
not successful. It was not the least of the many evils which her association with higher social position, and a better standard of living inflicted on the Church, that she became the chief object of the jealousy and discontent which these advantages were sure to provoke.
It would be a grave error to suppose that the semi-barbarous people who seemed to submit so patiently to their less fortunate condition were really contented with the inferiority from which their own want of industry and prudence forbade them to emerge.
The Irish peasantry are not, and never have been, contented. Every person who has had the opportunity of observing their character will recognise at once the accuracy of the following description given by Mr. Mill in his “Essay on Representative Government,” and the present condition of Ireland will furnish the most striking illustration of the truth of his remarks : -"Where there exists a desire for advantages not possessed, the mind which does not potentially possess them by means of its own energies, is apt to look with hatred and malice on those who do.... The great mass of seeming contentment is real discontent, combined with indolence or self-indulgence, which while taking no legitimate means of raising itself, delights in bringing others down to its own level. The person bestirring himself with hopeful prospects to improve his circumstances, is the one who feels good-will towards others engaged in or who have succeeded in the same pursuit. And where the majority are so engaged, those who do not attain the object have had the tone given to their feelings by the general habit of the country, and ascribe their failure to want of effort or opportunity, or to their personal ill-luck. But those who, while desiring what others possess, put no energy into striving for it, are either incessantly grumbling that fortune does not do for them what they do not attempt to do for themselves, or overflowing with envy and ill-will towards those who possess what they would like to have b."
To all this jealousy and ill-will the Irish Church · has been constantly exposed. It was the Church of the Government, of the highest officers of the Crown, of the courts of law, and of the nobility and gentry. The Irish Church was regarded as the institution which would present to the native population the most perfect illustration of the benefits of English civilization. The territorial dignity and social position of the clergy were chiefly regarded as the means of presenting to the country the example of these benefits. In other parts of the world as well as in Ireland the higher standard of comfort enjoyed by Protestants has been observed. Nowhere else has this distinction been exalted into so great a prominence as in Ireland, by the political antecedents of the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches respectively, as well as by the original differences of race.
33. To the Church in Ireland the association with higher comfort was unfortunate as directing against her the largest share of that floating discontent, which must always exist in such a country as Ireland. Those very qualifications which rendered her most useful to England politically, and to Ireland socially and economically, have seriously hindered her in the discharge of her proper function. They have also impaired her
o Chap. iii.