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of Ireland. Its professors were suddenly disarmed, and deprived of all political power. Lawyers were employed to discover defects in the title-deeds of their lands; they were exposed to countless annoyances and hardships; popish magistrates turned a deaf ear to their complaints; and even the tories or robbers, who infested the country, were permitted to spoil them with impunity. As was to be expected, many of them in the north, as well as elsewhere, fled from a land in which they met with such discouragement. In the beginning of the reign of James, Ireland was in the enjoyment of comparative prosperity; but before the close of his wretched rule, it presented a quite different aspect. Its trade was injured; its fountains of justice were polluted; and its whole social machinery was disorganized. Even the public revenue declined with such rapidity as to alarm the best friends of the Government.
Meanwhile the Romish prelates were busily engaged in endeavouring to impart increased vigour to their ecclesiastical machinery. Talbot, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, who died in prison in 1680, was succeeded, after a vacancy of a few years, by Patrick Russell. This prelate filled the Primatial chair of Leinster from 1683 to 1692; and during his official career witnessed some of the most exciting scenes in the history of Ireland. For the greater part of this period, Romanism was virtually restored to its ancient supremacy. Russell held two Provincial, and three Diocesan Synods. Some of the canons promulgated at these meetings are curious specimens of ecclesiastical legislation. Every priest who had the care of souls for five years in the diocese of Dublin was "to present to it a silver chalice and pixis; and in case he had spent ten years on its mission," he must give, "in addition, a missal and a set of appropriate ornaments for the altar."1 "Piping and dancing" were forbidden "on Sundays and festivals throughout the year until after vespers, or
1 Meagher's Notices of the Life and Character of his Grace the Most Reverend Daniel Murray, p. 125. Dublin, 1853.
In the old Irish church the regulations relative to the observance of the Lord's Day were much more stringent. See vol. i., p. 66, note (1).
of doctrines, were ill fitted for the religious instruction of the population. The Independents and Baptists, who now figured so conspicuously, seem never to have obtained any very solid footing in the country; and, shortly after the Restoration, they nearly vanish from the ecclesiastical census.
Though so many priests were driven out of the island, a considerable number remained. Among these, one of the most noted was James Finaghty,' an ignorant and knavish fanatic, who pretended to the power of working miracles. Multitudes followed him through the bogs and mountains, in the hope of deliverance from their maladies; and it was boastfully proclaimed that he had been raised up, in this time of trial, to prove that the Roman Catholic Church still enjoyed the favour of Heaven. His fame survived the Restoration: and on one occasion a Portuguese Countess, who was afflicted with blindness, applied to him for cure. He was taken to London; and, as he travelled back from the metropolis, a coach and six conveyed the great man to Holyhead. When the Roman Catholic bishopric of Elphin was vacant, he aspired to the dignity. But his career only illustrated the besotted superstition of his followers. Discerning men never had any confidence in his pretensions; all his miracles were of a very equivocal character; his signal failures often exposed him to scorn; it was discovered that several of his incantations were taken from a book of necromancy; and he eventually sank
1 An account of him may be found in Walsh's History of the Remonstrance, pp. 710-35. According to his own story his first miracle was the recovery of a pair of breeches stolen by the devil from his brother! Walsh, p. 722. Finaghty often received large presents from his dupes. Ibid. p. 718.
2 Walsh, p. 717. On this occasion Finaghty was taken to the Palace in London by direction of the Queen of Charles II. He totally failed in his attempt to heal this Portuguese lady. Ibid.
3 Ibid. p. 717; Columbanus ad Hibernos, vi. 170, 171.
4 Walsh, p. 717. Though not made bishop, it appears he was appointed vicargeneral of the diocese of Elphin. See Moran's Persecution of the Irish Catholics, p. 124.
5 Sir Wm. Petty, who was himself a Doctor of Medicine, offered to forfeit one hundred pounds if he would not, out of a given number of sick persons, and by the employment of the very same means, cure as many as this priest. Finaghty declined the challenge. Subsequently he resiled from a challenge, as to a trial of his gifts given by himself, when he found that it was accepted. Ibid. pp. 731, 734. Walsh, p. 729.
into contempt. Other priests, who remained in Ireland during the days of the Protectorate, continued, under sundry disguises, to dispense the rites of their Church to those who sought their ministrations. In the dead of night, in a secluded glen, or under a tree, they assembled their adherents, and celebrated their worship. Sometimes a priest might be seen walking along the streets of Dublin or Galway in the dress of a cavalry officer; sometimes he assumed the more humble garb of a porter or a gardener; sometimes he arrayed himself as a beggar; and sometimes he entered the service of a Protestant gentleman, acted as butler, passed off as a Puritan, joined in family worship, and commended himself to his master by his grave and devout deportment.1 If he escaped detection, he was not very scrupulous as to the amount of conformity to which he submitted. But, during this reign of terror, many of the priests signalized themselves by their zeal and courage. They were ready to compass sea and land to gain a proselyte, and they often faced death with heroic fortitude.
Though the Cromwellian settlement of the country was fraught with so much misery to the Roman Catholic nobility and gentry, it must be remembered that no one was removed to Connaught who had not forfeited his life by rebellion. Though the Popish mass was suppressed, no visible mark of the divine displeasure rested on the island; for meanwhile it enjoyed an unwonted measure of material prosperity. During the Protectorate it was blessed with unbroken peace; its agriculture flourished; and its trade experienced a wonderful revival. Had Cromwell lived for another quarter of a century, and had the policy which he inaugurated been maintained, Ireland might have escaped the Revolution and all its bitter accompaniments and consequences. But he never succeeded in establishing a stable government. When his own firm hand was withdrawn from its regulation, the whole ma
1 See Prendergast's account of Father Nugent. Cromwellian Settlement, pp. 316, 318.
2 "All testimony agrees that Ireland never prospered as she prospered in the years of the Protectorate."-FROUDE's English in Ireland, vol. i. 137. Cromwell placed Ireland on a level with England in regard to imports and exports.
chinery speedily went to pieces. He sought supremacy, as well in the Church as in the State; and he left both in sad confusion. He wanted the single-mindedness of a true patriot. His regard to personal interests would not permit him, even for the sake of the people of England, to part with the authority which he had once grasped. Neither can he be considered as a fair specimen of a Puritan. He was essentially a fanatic-though singular wit and wisdom pervaded his He confounded his own impressions with the dictates of heaven; and thus laboured under sundry delusions. Those who had the best opportunities of knowing him did not entertain any high idea of his spiritual character.1 He was a staunch Protestant; and in him High Churchmen found a determined foe. He possessed not a few noble qualities, and he exhibited remarkable ability in various departments of administration; but he was not one of those great characters such as the American Washington-whose integrity is so far above suspicion that not even the breath of calumny has been able to dim its lustre. His whole course, as a ruler, was tortuous and tyrannical. At an early period of his career he was under deep spiritual convictions; he continued throughout life to use the language of one who had experienced the power of godliness; and he was, no doubt, to the last more or less under the influence of religion. But, when success placed him at the head of the army, he permitted his ambition to override all his better principles; and he was pre
1 The Rev. Robert Blair, who was acquainted with him, had no confidence in his veracity. Baxter complains of his duplicity; and he evidently did not stand very high in the estimation of John Howe, though that celebrated man was his chaplain. See The Life and Character of John Howe, by Henry Rogers, p. 95. London, 1836; and Baxter's Narrative of his Life and Times, part i., pp. 59, 99. London, 1696.
2 There seems no reason to doubt the substantial accuracy of what is stated as one of his dying utterances. "Tell me," said he to one of his chaplains, "is it possible to fall from grace?" "It is not possible," replied the minister. “Then,” exclaimed the dying man, “I am safe: for I know that I was once in grace.” -GUIZOT's Life of Oliver Cromwell, p. 449. London, 1860. Stoughton (Ecc. Hist. of England, ii. 516) attempts to discredit this story. There may be a mistake as to the name of the chaplain concerned; but it bears internal marks of truth.
pared to sacrifice almost everything to his lust for power.1 It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he frequently made the profession of piety a cloak for the concealment of very mundane aspirations; and that he was miserably deficient in truthfulness and candour. He was a daring soldier, a skilful general, and an able diplomatist; and he had the merit of conceiving the idea of uniting the Three Kingdoms under one imperial legislature. But he was false to the cause of constitutional liberty, and he certainly did not improve the state of his country when he supplanted monarchy by a military despotism. Instead of reforming the Church of England, by removing its abuses and improving its organization, he ignored it altogether; and made Christianity itself almost contemptible by encouraging the most grotesque sectarianism. The religious Establishment which he set up in Ireland must have fallen, sooner or later, under the weight of its own contradictions. He had a noble opportunity of commending the Gospel to the people of this island, and of exhibiting its holy and genial influence as compared with the tyranny and superstitions of the priesthood; but he was known to them as a man of blood, as a canting hypocrite, and as a heartless spoiler. Irishmen never will forget "the curse of Cromwell." They will repeat his name with horror to the latest generations; and he perhaps did more than any other ruler who ever possessed authority among them to make Protestantism detested.2
1 Guizot has truly said of him :-"He was an ambitious and selfish, though really great man, who had narrow-minded and hard-hearted fanatics for his instruments." Life, p. 59. This account of him is much more correct than the estimate formed of his character by such a blind admirer as Carlyle. An incident related by Guizot illustrates the unscrupulous spirit of Cromwell :-"One night he went to confer secretly with Thurloe (his Secretary) on a matter of great importance, and all at once he perceived Thurloe's clerk, Samuel Morland, sleeping on a desk in a corner of the room. Fearing that he might have overheard them, Cromwell drew a dagger and was about to despatch him, if Thurloe had not, with great entreaties, prevailed on him to desist, assuring him that Morland had sat up two nights together, and was certainly fast asleep."—Life, p. 433. See also, p. 443. 2 Mr. Hardinge in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy (vol. xxiv. Antiq., part iv. 325, 326) has given what he considers the census of Ireland in 1659. It was found among the MSS. of Sir Wm. Petty in the possession of the