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and idolatry, the other so closely resembling the Catholic faith, that it requires the most delicate discernment to draw the line; and yet the authority to which they each refer is the same; and this authority is so managed, either by multiplying and concealing the original decrees, or by constructing ambiguous expressions, or by complicating a number of conflicting authorities, or by framing outward actions, which leave the internal sentiment free, or by admitting a latitude of thought, so long as general obedience is preserved, that no party can convict the other of error, or of a breach of allegiance to the church, or the church of asserting what he would himself pronounce absurd. Many good men, when they censure Popery, know very little of its nature; they think it is a coarse, debased, palpable congeries of absurdities, which any hand may hold up to scorn: on the contrary, it is the most subtle, wonderful, profound machine that ever was created for subduing man to man under pretence of subjecting him to God.
This is the principal cause of the incredulity of Englishmen respecting Ireland. They know and see among Roman Catholics around them men of piety, honour, intelligence, purity, selfdenial, religious zeal,—worthy of being classed with the Fenelons, and Pascals, and Borromeos, and the many sainted characters who lived under the papal system, but as Catholics more than Papists. They look at the noble works, which such men achieved in days of old,—works of learning, of charity, of art, of social wisdom, of private holiness, under the shade of which we are now living, and for which we owe to their memories the deepest gratitude. They see the misery and distraction, which Dissent has introduced into the world, and the cold, heartless, self-willed, self-indulgent spirit, which has sheltered itself under the mask of Protestantism, as if to be a Christian it were sufficient not to be a Romanist; and though the act be mixed with error, they think it a noble error, which prefers unity to discord, obedience to rebellion, piety to infidelity, self-denial to voluptuousness.
Moreover, the English are a calin and thoughtful people. As they dislike violent expressions of feelings, and statements which appear exaggerated, so they are very slow to generalise from a few insulated facts. They do not like to proscribe whole classes of men, to condemn a whole system for the faults of some of its supporters. They distrust everything which comes from a party, or what scems to be a party : they apply to political conclusions the same maxims of evidence, which their Constitution has enforced as just and reasonable in judicial cases, and hold every man innocent until he is proved to be guilty; and they will not hold him guilty except on the oath of an eye-witness. Wherever, therefore, a system is to be laid bare, which works in secret, over a
large extent of country, in the midst of avowed opponents, and under peculiar difficulties in obtaining information, the English people must be very prone to incredulity. This is peculiarly the case with Popery in Ireland.
There is still another reason. One great cause of the mistakes, which are sometimes made at present in Ireland, even by the best intentioned Government, and also by writers and hearers, is an ignorance of the change, which has taken place there within the last twenty or thirty years, in the character of landlords, of priests, and of the clergy. In Ireland, as well as in England, the clergy felt, for years after the Revolution of 1688, the fatal influence of Whig principles, and of government purely political. It is not wise nor good to cavil at the errors of those from whom we sprung--and whatever coldness, or neglect, or indolence, or incapacity (an incapacity, remember, arising in no small degree from the want of means) prevailed in the Church, they are now in the course of redemption-and let the virtues of the present generation prove that all could not have been wrong in the past. The same may be said of the landlords: they are no longer (we speak of them generally as a body) the embarrassed spendthrifts, thoughtless absentees, jobbers, political partisans, partial magistrates, and plunderers of the Church, which they are charged with being in a past age of Castle Rackrents.* They
* Having before us the description given by M. Gustave de Beaumont, of the careless, hard-hearted, extortionate Irish landlords, and speeches to the same effect at the Com Exchange in Dublin, and opinions derived from these sources in England, we had the curiosity to examine, if there were any solitary traces of an opposite description of character among this obnoxious class of persons. With this view we turned over the pages of Mr. Inglis' “ Tour,' not a very partial observer of Irish landlords, and Mr. Fraser's Guide through Ireland ;' and where we found either of these expressly alluding to gentlemen as showing an interest in their tenants, and studying their comfort and improrement, we took down the names, with the addition of five or six from our own knowledge. We give a specimen:
The Duke of Devonshire, Lord Stanley, Lord Palmerstou, Lord Roden, Lord Kenmare, Lord Duncammon, Lord Mandeville, Lord Duusany, Lord Lorton, the Marquis of Waterford, Sir Robert Gore Booth, Col. Bruen, Lord Devon, Lord Dunraven, Mr. John Wynne, of Sligo, Mr. Cooper, M.P. for Sligo, Lord Courtown, Mr. Fortescue, M.P. for Louth, Mr. Shirley, Lord' Powerscourt, Major O'Hara, Mr. Godley, Lord Headley, Sir James Bruce, Mr. Waller, of Castletown, Lord Bandon, Mr. D'Arcy, the Marquis of Downshire, Lord Arden, Lord Glengall, Lord Ormond, Mr. Tiglie, Dir. Power, of Thomastown, Mr. Lane Fox, Lord Hawarden, Sir Aubrey de Vere, Lord Bantry, Mr. Smith Barry, the Marquis of Lansdown, Lord Shannon, Mr. Villiers Stuart, Lord Gosford, Colonel Close, Lord Caledon, Lord Charlemont, Col. Packenham, Col. Conolly, Lord Southwell, Lord Enniskillen, Lord Lucan, the Marquis of Sligo, Lord Clancarty, Lord Dufferin, Lady Annesley, Lord Ventry, Mr. Monsell, of Limerick, Sir Francis M.Naghten, Lord Mount Cashel, Lord Garvaglı, the London Companies in the North of Ireland, the landlords generally in Tipperary (see Report on Crime), Sir Patrick and Mr. Bellew, Sir William Somerville, Lord Cremorne, Mr. Foxall, the Marquis of Abercorn, Mr. Farrell, Lord Darnley, the Duke of Buckingham, Mr. A Court Holmes, Lord Longford, Mr. Edgeworth, Lord Farnham, Mr. Naper, Mr. Creighton, the Marquis of Headfort, Lord Mountsandford, Lord Croston, Lord
are, we really believe, in a very fair proportion, whether absentees or not, sincerely interested in the welfare of Ireland, willing to make sacrifices, and to adopt sound measures, and convinced at last that their duty and their interest are both entwined with the Church. Of course there are exceptions; but we do sincerely believe that this is no partial picture of a much maligned body of men, who are placed in a position of pain, difficulty, and peril, with no one to support them, looked on by England with censure, and by their own government with distrust, and requiring as much as the Clergy, the sympathy of their English brethren.
While a change has thus been taking place in the landlords and clergy, a change of a totally different character has been working in the priests. The fact is so notorious that we really do not think it necessary to bring any attestation to it. Whatever is the character of the present body, their predecessors, for whom they have been very artfully and carefully substituted, were a very different class. The old priests had generally been educated abroad, with the advantages of foreign society, of communication with the Gallican clergy (the most favourable specimen of a Romanist priesthood), and of fair classical and literary attainments. As gentlemen themselves, they were admitted to gentlemen's society when they returned to Ireland. They were located permanently in their parishes, and thus possessed a proper independence. Their incomes seem to have been not only much smaller than at present, but to have been derived from a less distressed population-for the war prices were higher and the land, perhaps as a whole, less subdivided. There was far less political excitement—and, above all, they were left free from that dark, mysterieus, agitating influence, which is now goading on the priests themselves, and employing them as goads upon the
Clements, Mr. St. George, Lord Gort, Lord Charleville, the late Lord Norbury, Mr. Fetherstonehaugh, Colonel Wyndham, Lord Donoughmore, Sir Edward Denny, the Knight of Kerry, Baron Pennefather, Judge Moore, Mr. Herbert, of Muckruss, Mr. Barrington, Lord Bloomfield, Mr. Wandesford, Lord Lismore, the late Lord Kingston, Viscount di l'esci, Sir Edward Walsh, Lord Middleton, Sir Arthur Brooke, the Marquis of Londonderry, the Earl of Besborough, Mr. Curry, Lord Fortescue, Lord Berestord, Mr. Kavanagh, Mr. Bagnell Newton, Mr. Borrowes, Lord Mayo, Lord Aldborough, the late Lady Rosse, Mr. Maxwell, Lord Lifford, Lord Fitzwilliam. We have not space for more, though many might be added.
Will the inquirers examine into not merely what these and many other Irish landlords are doing, but what they cannot do, either from the existence of old leases, or from want of capital, or from the inveterate habits of the peasantry, or the interference of priests and agitators ? If a common tourist went through England, would he be likely to find many more landlords, in proportion, who, in defiance of obloquy, and at the risk of life in many cases, and without adequate retum of gratitude in all, would so devote themselves to their tenantry as thus to excite observation in the mere traveller? Is it not to exertions like these that the improvements now acknowledged in Ireland are to be attributed ? How would these improvements advance if the country were only tranquillised !
people, people, but which is felt rather than discerned, and does indeed require all the power and ingenuity of Government to trace it to its source. They lived on friendly and courteous terms with the clergy as well as with the gentry,*--for if neither party were very zealous in their spiritual functions, both were gentlemen, and both Christians. If the advantage was on either side it was, perhaps, on the side of the priest. His education had probably been more clerical—his small means offered fewer temptations to indulgence-his celibacy kept him freer from secular engagements—and the discipline of his Church, maintained with more vigour, was an additional security for the respectability of his conduct. And we should be inclined to think that the priests of the last century were not merely, though this may sound invidious, a higher order of men than the Protestant clergy of that period, but that they were positively, as men of pure dispositions usually are even under the influence of Romanism, good menmore Catholics than Papists—charitable, benevolent, loyal, quiet, gentlemanly, and pious. Such, at least, is the testimony borne to them very generally by the Protestant gentry and clergy, with whom they were in the habit of associating. (It is well known that immediately after the passing of that healing measure, the Relief Bill, the Romish Clergy were ordered to withdraw from the society of Protestants.) What they are now, as we said before, we do not propose to describe, but to insist on the duty of ascertaining by other more suitable means. But if a great and mischievous change has been effected in this body, and that recently, and the opinions and feelings are transferred to the new priests, which were formed respecting the old, the error must be great and ruinous.* Lastly, the English people, firm in the security of England against any machinations from Popery, rejoicing in their own liberty of conscience, looking back on all religious persecution as a frightful dream, which will never again be revived; condemning, as impartial spectators, everything which bordered on it—not merely the Inquisition of Rome, but the penal laws of Protestants, and the religious associations of Orangeism-have, by a natural revulsion, transferred all their sympathies from their own brethren to the parties whom they suppose their brethren had been in the habit of oppressing. Compassion for the Roman Catholics of Ireland we believe to be a very prevalent feeling in this country; and above all, dislike to the name of Orangemen. We must plead guilty to a similar feeling. But it ought not to be forgotten that the penal laws, fearful as they once were, were enforced from political necessity as upon subjects who refused allegiance to their sovereign, not for theological differences—that had they been accompanied by as energetic efforts to extend and invigorate the true spirit of the Church as to repress Popery, Ireland in all probability would now be Protestant and happy—that they were the work mostly of a Whig government—that when the State in Ireland was incompetent to protect its Protestant subjects they were obliged to combine in their own defence, and to combine under a religious bond, because it was a religious bond which held their adversaries together—that Orange societies have now dissolved themselves in obedience to the laws, and that in no part of Ireland will there be found a disposition to revive them ; nor, we will add most confidently, a disposition to triumph or tyrannise over their fellow countrymen of a different religion—though it is possible that self defence and the incapacity of the government may once more compel Protestants to rally round some other point of union. But Englishmen do not understand these things, and cannot understand them, except on the spot, and they naturally listen with suspicion to a Protestant as an Orangeman, and to an Orangeman as a persecutor. If they would understand the truth, this opinion must, we assure them, be abandoned.
* Dr. Doyle states this in his evidence on the Tithe Committee, and it will be confirmed by every inquiry in Ireland. One pleasing trait is to be found in the delicacy with which, as numerous witnesses there stated, the clergy never allowed the priests to pay them tithes, till the Maynooth priests appeared in the new character of farmers.
+ This mistake respecting priests, clergy, and landlords, is precisely that into which, by some strange hallucination arising from a presumed theory, or from ignorance and want of observation, or from misinformation by others, M. Gustave de Beaumont has fallen, and fallen so completely, that his account of Ireland, clever as it is in some parts, when read on the spot is absolutely ludicrous. What is to be thought of a tourist who, having been in Ireland within these few years, and having, if nothing else, the evidence of Parliamentary Committees before him, publishes to Europe in a grave philosophical dissertation, that the Protestants of Ireland are enemies to education; that they abandon the poor man to ignorance ; that the worst clad pauper in England is better off than the most flourishing farmer in Ireland ; that the system of middlemen is now encouraged by the landlords; that the rich and the clergy have no feeling for the poor; that it is the custom now to let land to the highest bidder; that the Protestant magistrate is full of hatred for the Irish population, and dwells on the proofs of their guilt when they appear before him; that he favours the Protestant culprit; that the
Such then are some of the circumstances which must predispose English readers to receive with great suspicion and dislike, and
Protestant challenges the Romish jurors; that when the Romanist culprit sees that the judge of assize is a Protestant, he can expect no impartiality from him; that when the solemn trial is held, on a le sentiment intérieur que ce n'est point un jugement qui se délibère, mais une vengeance qui se propose and other statements of the kind ?It is very obvious where M. de Beaumont might have picked up such information as this—and we can understand that he might venture to circulate it in France without any further inquiry. But it is rather bazardous for a writer's credit to have such things translated into English, and placed where they must fall into the hands of persons really familiar with the present state of Ireland. We fear it is only a specimen of the mode in which French travellers write books in general.