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pire at the time, and gave rise to the it in the largest divisions they could, to celebrated Parliamentary investigation bona fide farmers. Thus, a numerous of 1825. These disturbances were of host of cottiers, who had occupied very the Agrarian class, and did not partake small holdings under middlemen, were of a general system of revolt against turned adrift by the altered disposition the constituted authority of the go- of property, and many of them were vernment; and though we have pla- rendered desperate by destitution. ced this species of disturbance last in In the year 1820, an almost general our classification, we take leave to con- failure of the Country Banks in the sider it first, according to the approved province of Munster took place; their method in Irish disquisition.

small notes had constituted almost The period which we are considere exclusively the circulating medium ing was one of extreme public depres amongst the poor people, whose whole sion. Even Great Britain had not yet worldly stock seldom amounted to so recovered from the stagnation of her large a sum as five pounds. Whatcommerce, which followed upon the ever little they had, was, however, enpacification of Europe; and in Ireland, tirely swept away by this misfortune, the staple trade of which consisted in and even the pains-taking and saving the supply of provisions to our armies, man was instantly beggared. It may the reaction had been yet more distress- be easily supposed, that this calamity ing in its consequences. During the was the cause of many being obliged war, a class of persons called Middle- “ to take to the hill-side, and become men had grown into existence in that broken men.” country, who held an important po- For several years previous to 1823 sition between the immediate occu- the crops had been scanty, particularly piers of the soil, aud the possessors of those of potatoes. In 1821 the potatoe the landed property. The returns of crop was a complete failure; and in agricultural produce had been so great 1822 it is impossible to tell, and dreadas to afford, in addition to the reser- ful to think, of what might have been ved rent of the land, and the requisite the consequence, had not the English remuneration to the farmer, a consi- people come forward, and by the most derable revenue to such persons as stupendous act of national generosity were deemed eligible tenants for ex- which the world ever saw, and which tensive farms, or tracts of land ; and none but a country so rich as England who, instead of farming themselves, could afford, arrested the “plague of subdivided and reset their holdings in hunger,” which must otherwise have small portions, and at an acreable rent desolated the country. The suffermuch higher than that which they had ings, however, from absolute, unmi. themselves covenanted to pay. This tigated hunger, were very great, notdifference of rent they found sufficient withstanding the assistance which was to compensate them, both for their received, and no doubt contributed to trouble in managing, like agents, the the desperation of the people. immediate tenants of the soil, and also One of the most savage and lawless for the additional risk of loss by the districts of Ireland, was the Sea and insolvency of any of these tenants. River coast of Kerry." This rugged When, with peace, prices fell, land and dangerous coast, which is open to would no longer pay these two out- the full sweep of the Atlantic storms, goings, and, in many instauces, would was the frequent scene of shipwrecks, yield no more from the occupying ten, and was infested by gangs of smug. ant than the rent paid by the middle- glers and wreckers, who, seizing their man. The interest of the latter was plunder upon the shore, retreated therefore annihilated, and he, of course, with it to their inaccessible haunts in endeavoured, whenever it was practi- the gorges of the mountains. A powe cable, to extricate himself altogether. erful preventive water-guard was plaBy these means, a large extent of land ced here, to put a stop to this nefarie was thrown into the hands of the ous traffic, and to check the extensive proprietors, who, naturally averse to contraband trade of the smugglers. crowding their estates with paupers, set These desperadoes, thus driven from

• For the honour of the kingdom of Kerry be it spoken, this description does not apply generally to its territory. The Kerry mon are rather a peaceable race, who talk Latin, and till their ground in considerable peace and quietness.

their fastnesses, retreated inland to father, and that consequently the venthe hills of Kerry, Cork, and Lime geance derived from his murder would rick, where they found willing asso- · be the greater. They met the lad in ciates in the hordes of houseless wan- the broad day-light; and though he dering wretches, who had lost home threw himself from his horse, and on and livelihood in the manner we have his knees implored their mercy, he described.

found none from these relentless sa. While things were in this state, a vages. A shower of balls struck him system of severe and inhuman rigour in every part of the body, and he was upon a very large estate in the county left upon the road dead, and all disfiof Limerick drove the people to mad- gured with needless wounds. ness, and set the torch to all these in- This was the commencement-the flammable elements of outrage. An firing of the train, which rapidly English agent was sent over to Lord spread along extensive districts of LiCourtenay's estate, who refused to be merick, Tipperary, Cork, and Kerry. bound by the promises of abatement The houseless people we have descriof rent made to the poor tenants by bed, forming themselves into powerthe former agent, but without mercy ful bands, skulked in hiding places resorted to the last extremities of the among the hills by day, and stealing law to enforce the uttermost farthing out by night to some appointed renthat was due, both of the current rent, dezvous, they swept the open country and the arrears which the tenants sup- in bodies, carrying off such booty as posed would never have been demand- was portable, and burning or destroyed of them. We have been assured, ing what they could not take away ; that the scenes of misery occasioned by often, too, inflicting savage vengeance this conduct were beyond all descripe on their successors in the tenancy of tion shocking. Every day miserable the farms of which they deemed them creatures were left with their families selves unjustly deprived. Not content of little children, without a stick, or with their own atrocities, they forced a rag, or a potatoe in their wretched the miserable victims of their violence dwelling, and forth they were obliged to swear compliance and assistance to to go, as wandering beggars along the their machinations ; and in a short road, praying with all the vehemence time the inhabitants of almost half which despair lends to the most em- the island were influenced by the terphatic of languages,* that the heavie rors of a system of slaughter and deest of curses might fall on their op- vastation personified under the singupressor. The

people decreed a terrible lar soubriquet of Captain Rock. vengeance. It was resolved among This state of things, so anomalous them, that the agent should be put to and so terrific, was deemed to call not death; and nothing but the extremest only for the special interposition of caution on his part prevented them the legislature to put it down, but also from accomplishing their purpose. for a national inquiry into its cause. There were many men sworn solemn. But whilst this stupendous investigaly to kill him whenever he came tion into all the countless grievances of within their reach, no matter what Ireland dragged its slow length along, might be the occasion, or where the necessarily tedious from the vastness place ; but his extreme vigilance elu- of its extent, combined with the mided them, and he continued to lire, nuteness of its detail, the alarm in and to be execrated. Baffled in the which it originated had been graduamain object of their pursuit, and cho- ally dissipated, the commercial and king with unquenched revenge, they agricultural difficulties with which we came to the dreadful determination, were beset, had given way before the that the punishment of the father returning tide of industry and prospeshould be accomplished by the mur- rity, peace and order were restored by der of his son. He was a very young the strong arm of the law, and by the lad, of gentle unoffending manners ; return of employment, and abundant but this had no effect upon these men, crops ; and the Irish Inquiry, to the whose terrible excitement thirsted for remedial issue of which men had blood. If they thought of it at all, it looked forward with an eagerness and was bul to recollect that he was pro- anxiety proportioned to the magnitude bably on that account dearer to his of the evil to be corrected, and the

• In this part of the country the common people all spcak the native Irish.

good to be obtained, sunk into neglect, the events which followed from the and terminated, as the manner of Irish disturbances of 1823, it will not apInquiries is, in a conclusion, wherein pear surprising that those best acnothing was concluded.

quainted with Ireland should have We do not mean, however, to im- witnessed to her improvement. pute any censure to the committee for The disturbances of 1823 acted like the manner in which they brought a violent fever, which, carrying off the the result of their labours before the collected bad humours of the body, public, by a simple detail of the evi- leaves it in a healthier state than it dence elicited on the subject, without was before. They turned the attennote or comment. On the contrary, tion of a considerable number of exwe are persuaded they pursued the ceedingly able men to a consideration wisest plan they could adopt, in thus of the evils which affected Ireland. A furnishing us with the largest induc- spirit of investigation was aroused, the tion of particulars they could procure, magistracy was put more upon the and leaving the public to judge for it- alert, and institutions were adopted, self, unburdened by a mass of crude of which the benefit is felt now, when opinions, under the name of a re- a disposition to insurrection with a port.

different object has been evinced. As the committee sought for infor. Even now, notwithstanding the frightmation from men of all parties, and fully excited state of political feeling various conditions in life, they, as was which seems to portend a national naturally to be expected, obtained storm, the minor details, which, in a much conflicting testimony, not only state of peace, contribute to a nation's as to matters of opinion, but as to strength and prosperity, are in a state facts, which had been viewed differ- of improvement to which Ireland, unently, according to the means of in- til within a very few years, has been formation, or the pre-existing senti- a stranger. There is at present more ments, of the witnesses ; but however judicious farming, more rational comdiffering on other points, in this one mercial enterprise, more exactness in thing they seemed unanimous,—that the administration of justice, and more Ireland was improving. *

careful attention to the duties of pubIt may seem strange that we should lic and private life, than have been at bring in this piece of evidence as a any preceding time, notwithstanding suitable commentary upon the details the abundant epithets of a miserable, of outrage which we have just given; wretched, savage, degraded country, but when we consider that this evie which are every day showered upon dence was taken in 1825, and look at poor Ireland.

CHAP. IV.

We now proceed to say something the country, and terrifying it into an of the alarming assemblages of the important alteration of the Constitupeople which so very lately took place, tion. and which, in the opinion of many, These assemblages are, in short, but have only submitted to a very tempo- a part of the system of the Roman rary dispersion. These assemblages Catholic Association. They have, to were purely political in their object; be sure, gone a little farther than the and, unlike the insurgents of 1823, Association wished, and struck some they seek not to disturb the regular terror into the minds of the agitators proceedings of these potent and im- themselves, who began to feel that portant legal phantoms, Messrs John their troops were getting unmanageDoe and Richard Roe. They trouble able, and that they were very near the not their heads for the present about alternative of having to disband their rents, tithes, and ejectments, but af- forces at once, or, by heading, put fect to have a higher game in view, their own heads in very serious jeopar--that of dictating to the legislature of dy; but it is the Association which has

See Evidence, D. O'Connell, Commons' Report on State of Ireland, 1825, p. 85. Evidence of J. L. Foster, Lords' Report, 23, fol. 1825. Mr A. R. Blake, Lords' Report, 2d March 1825, &c. &c.

organized” these bodies of men, and hamlet throughout the country. For it is the Association which, in the eyes some time after its institution, this of the country and of Government, society struggled on in contemptible ought to be responsible for all the mis- obscurity, holding its meetings in a chief which these assemblages have dark room over a small bookseller's created, or may hereafter occasion. shop in Dublin. It used to meet at

The Catholic Association is a socie- night ; and we recollect, that upon one ty, whose avowed purpose was "pube occasion we felt a curiosity to be prelic exasperation."* In this it has been sent at the meeting of a society which eminently successful; and for some even then occasionally occupied the time its manifest, but not yet avowed, attention of the newspapers, and we purpose has been “ Protestant intimis ventured into the assembly. It only dation.” There is no man of ordinary wanted a few pewter pots upon the sanity, and who has the least notion table to be the very counterpart of a of the rational liberty, and the pro- club of discontented mechanics comtection, of the legitimate system under bining for a rise of wages. We only which men live in these kingdoms, that poked our head in, and then made a does not consider this Association as precipitate retreat, under the influence one of the greatest public nuisances that of a mixed sensation, which we believe ever was permitted to exist under a was compounded of a dread of treason regularly established government. It and of pickpockets. But as the proverb, is chiefly composed of fieree and coarse- that “ill weeds thrive apace,” is nominded men, excessively illiterate and where so true as in Ireland, the Assoextremely bigoted, who, having made ciation soon rose into such notoriety, some money in their respective trades, that, even from the Throne itself, it are thereby raised a little above the was deemed necessary to reprobate its condition of the 'lowest of the people, existence. In the King's speech at the and are vain of belonging to a politi- opening of the session of 1825, in cal society, the proceedings of which speaking of Ireland, his Majesty inare noticed in the newspapers. Along formed his Parliament, that « induswith these are a considerable number try and commercial enterprise were of rank young Papists, who have been extending themselves in that part of lately called to the bar, and have the United Kingdom ; it was therefore put on the gown, when they should, the more to be regretted that Associswith much more propriety, have put tions should exist in Ireland which on the apron behind their fathers' had adopted proceedings irreconcilable counters. These young men, not ha- with the spirit of the Constitution, ving sufficient sense or discretion to and calculated, by exciting alarm, and be trusted with a guinea brief, in the by exasperating animosities, to endanmost trifling legal dispute, yet consie ger the peace of society, and to retard der themselves well qualified to dise the course of national improvement.” cuss the affairs of the nation in a pub- Never were truer words put into lic assembly ; and they form the light the mouth of a sovereign ; and yet, phalanx of the Association's oratorical strange to say, the Government which force, and are permitted to make an used these words never took the trouunskilful noise, when the leaders are ble of seeing that the evil which they away. The leaders, Mr O'Connell, perceived so clearly, and described so Mr Shiel, and two or three others, accurately, was abolished. who do not appear so frequently, are An act of Parliament was passed in able men in their pernicious vocation, pursuance of the recommendation in who understand well the art of rou- the King's speech ; but either from sing the passions of an Irish mob, and ignorance in the construction of the who can wield at will the fierce demo- bill, or because the executive officer of cracy of their society. The Associa- the Crown in Ireland did not particition is in regular correspondence with pate in the sentiments of the Throne, the Roman Catholic priests through- the act has remained a dead letter; out the whole kingdom, who serve as and this Association, so truly described conduits from the chief reservoir of as endangering the peace of society, political violence in Dublin, and carry and retarding the course of national its noxious streams from house to improvement, continued to exist, inhouse, in every town, village, and creasing every day in the virulence

• We quote the words of Mr Shiel.

and the extent of its mischief, until it read such audacious language, said, now appears a portentous thing, prege that it would not be borne by the Goa nant with rebellion, which we know vernment except through fear ; and not the hour it may bring forth. that if Goveroment did not put a stop · This body has been all along at once to it, it was because they dared not. despicable and dangerous. When we The fruit of these opinions, and the first looked at the throng of which it continued forbearance of the Governa was composed, we felt disposed to ment, has been the immense assemtreat it with contempt; but when we blages in the south, appearing in micontemplated it as a body incessantly litary array, and in all but open reemployed in stirring up the ignorant bellion. population to mutiny, levying a heavy At the time at which we write, a tax on the people for political purposes, temporary tranquillity has been reand preaching to them the efficacy of stored in Ireland; but every one feels exerting their combined numerical that it is only a smothering of the flame strength, we felt inclined to exclaim which must soon burst out anew, with with Didius, when he looked upon the increased violence, unless the Catholic superstitious ceremonies of the Druids, Association, which supplies the ma. “ I scorn them, yet they awe me.”

terial of the fire, be crushed utterly, It is in vain to mince the matter, or

and at once. It will not do to delay.

The awakened spirit of the Protesttry to disguise the fact. The Govern- ants--the front of determined resistment are much to blame in this bu- ance shewn by the Brunswick clubs siness of the Roman Catholic Asso, the co-operation of the Government by ciation. They should have crushed its proclamation, and the instantaneous it in 1825, when they saw the mis- movement of the British troops tochief it was doing; and it is but a wards the scene of agitation, bave. poor excuse to say, that, they were warned the Association, that the time misled by an Irish Attorney-general. is not yet come for the successful exThey were warned over and over again ertion of the physical strength of the of the mischief which was brewing. rabble ; and therefore it exerts its inThey were told, that this Association Auence to keep them quiet. But it is was proceeding fast upon the road to manifest that the Association only waits irremediable mischief-that the Agi- its time, and therefore it is the duty of tators should be curbed in time,

the Government to destroy it before “ Injurioso ne pede proruant

that time arrives. England may not Stantem columnam : neu populus fre always have troops to spare for the quens,

Irish service; or even if not engaged Ad arma cessantes, ad arma

in foreign war, she may not always Concitet, Imperiumque frangat." have a Prime Minister, who, by an But they did not listen, or, if they did, exertion of military skill, which is not they did not attend ; and now the Aso the less admirable, because it has resociation itself can hardly control the mained unnoticed, has been able on whirlwind of wild and disaffected spie the present occasion, within two days, rit which it has raised.

and without any noise, or “ note of Mr Shiel now comes down to the preparation,” to cover the shore most Association, and with all the appeare convenient for transport to Ireland, ance of alarm, affects to deplore the with soldiers and artillery. excited state of the peasantry. Hypo- We, however, willingly quit this crite! Who was it that excited them? subject, with the hope that, the vigiWho was it that said, in the Associa- lance of the Protestants and of the tion, “ We will not let the people be Government having been aroused to quiet?” Who was it that said, “ the the political state of Ireland, someCatholic Question was nearly forgot thing may speedily be done to avert ten until the Association began its the danger which seems to threaten “ work of excitement ?" Who was it that portion of the empire. The abthat called the peaceable behaviour of surdity of attempting to steer a middle the people “ a degrading and unwhole- or “ conciliatory” course, is now sufsome tranquillity ?

ficiently evident-it only makes mate The common people in Ireland, (we ters worse ; and Government must despeak not from conjecture, but from cide either to abandon Ireland to the knowledge of the fact,) when they wild tyranny of the Roman Catholic

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