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their communion publicly convened, the celebrated Daniel O'Connell commenced his political career by moving an adverse resolution, which was triumphantly carried. From other important cities and towns in the south and west of the kingdom, in which Romanists formed the bulk of the population, addresses in favour of the measure were forwarded to the Lord Lieutenant. In the town of Galway an address was voted, asserting its necessity in very emphatic language.? At a general meeting of the Roman Catholics of Waterford, held in their great chapel on the 28th of June, 1799, a resolution was adopted to the effect that "a complete and entire union between Great Britain and Ireland, founded on equal and liberal principles, would effectually promote the strength and prosperity of both countries." The Roman Catholics of Cork concurred in hailing the "salutary measure" as the most effectual means of securing the happiness of the Empire ;4 and an address of the Roman Catholics of Wexford-agreed upon at a meeting held in their chapel on the 22nd of September, 1799, and signed by upwards of three thousand persons-states that the subscribers look forward with cordial approval to “the happy completion of the great and useful measure of a legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland.”5 Similar addresses were forwarded by the Romanists from the counties of Leitrim, Longford, and Kilkenny ; from the inhabitants of Tipperary and Cahir; from the diocese of Elphin; and from many other places.6
These addresses in favour of Union were cordially promoted and signed by the Roman Catholic priests and bishops. It would appear that not one Roman Catholic prelate in all Ireland objected to the proposal. The members of the Church of Rome had special reasons for approving of it; as they had been led to hope that, immediately after the passing of the Act, their remaining disabilities would be removed ; and that provision would be made by the State for the support of their clergy. The Roman Catholic hierarchy have since repudiated the idea of any such public subsidy ; but they then listened to the overture with pleasure ; and were even prepared to make very important concessions to secure what they regarded as a boon. At a meeting held by them in Dublin, in January, 1799, to deliberate on an offer made by the Administration, all the prelates present—including the four Archbishops-agreed that“ a provision, through Government, for the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, competent and secured, ought to be thankfully accepted ;” and that, “in the appointment of the prelates of the Roman Catholic religion to vacant sees within the kingdom, such interference of Government as may enable it to be satisfied of the loyalty of the person appointed, is just, and ought to be agreed to.” 1
* In these addresses the priests cordially concurred. ? Plowden, ii., ii. appendix, p. 919.
3 Plowden, ii., ii. appen lix, p. 318. 4 Ibit. p. 323. 5 Ibid. p. 321.
6 Ibid. p. 323, note. ? Sir Richard Musgrave, in his Strictures on Plowden (p. 173), expressly asserts that “ all the Roman Catholic bishops and priests of the kingdom voluntarily signed the addresses in favour of the Union ; and the latter got their flocks to do so.” Sir Jonah Barrington says :-“Dr. Troy (R. C. Archbishop of Dublin) was consecrated a decided Unionist, and was directed to send pastoral letters to his colleagues to promote it. Naer yet dit any clergy se retrograde as the Catholic hierarchy, &c., on that occasion.”—Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation, pp. 436-7. Paris, 1833. See also Mitchel's Hist. of Ireland, ii. 71-72; and Plowden's Hist. of Ireland from the Union, vol. ii. 120, nole.
After a bitter struggle-during which bribery and corruption in many forms were largely employed on the part of Government—the Union Bill passed through both Houses of the Irish Parliament. According to the 5th Article, the Churches of England and Ireland, as by law established, were united into one Protestant Episcopal Church, to be called “The United Church of England and Ireland ;” and “the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of the said United Church,” were to “remain in full force for ever." Four Irish spiritual Peers were to sit, according to a prescribed order of rotation, in the Upper House of the Imperial Parliament. It was agreed that "the continuance and preservation of the United Church, as the Established Church of England and Ireland, was to be deemed and taken to be an essential and fundamental part of the union." 1
1 Brenan, p. 591. Brenan states that only ten R. C. prelates were present at the meeting ; but he admits that it included the four archbishops. The prelates also agreed that "the nomination of parish priests, with a certificate of their haring taken the oath of allegiance, be certified to the Government.”— BRENAN, p. 592. The resolutions of the prelates are given in full by Plowden in his Hist. of Ireland from the Union, vol. iii., appendix, p. 9. Though only ten prelates were present at the meeting it can be proved that they all concurred in the resolutions. See Plowden's Ireland from the Union, vol. iii., p. 651, where the fact is expressly admitted by their accredited agent, the R. C. Bishop Milner.
On the ist of August, 1800, the bill received the royal assent; and on the ist of January, 1801, the two islands became a “United Kingdom."
1 For the articles of Union see Plowden, ii., ii. appendix, 323-333 ; Gordon's Hist. of Ireland, ii., appendix No. iv.
FROM THE UNION TO THE DEATH OF GEORGE III.
1 800 TO A.D. 1820.
IMMEDIATELY after the Union with Great Britain an unwonted stillness for some time pervaded the political atmosphere. At first all parties seemed disposed to watch in silence the development of the new arrangements. Religion certainly did not suffer by the abolition of the national Legislature. The sentimentalist might lament its extinction ; but most of its members were notoriously corrupt ; and its last days were spent amidst shameless scenes of venality and jobbery.
When making arrangements for the Union, the Irish Methodists were deemed of too little political significance to be consulted by statesmen ; and yet, as a religious element, they were already of considerable importance. Going out into the streets and highways, they preached to the poor ; the influence of their labours was felt all over the country; and many
of the middle, as well as of the lower classes, were awakened by their ministrations. In the year immediately following the Rebellion of 1798, Messrs. Gideon Ouseley, James McQuigg, and Charles Graham, were appointed by the Conference to preach in Irish to their Roman Catholic fellowcountrymen. The health of McQuigg soon failed; and, after a few years, he was obliged to withdraw from the more
1 The Irish Conference met long before the death of Wesley. He refers to it again and again in his yournal. See before, p. 269, note (3).
active .duties of the mission ;but the two other brethren continued during life to itinerate throughout Ireland. Ouseley was a gentleman by birth ; ? he had enjoyed the advantages of a good education; he had a ready command of the native tongue; and he laboured about forty years with all the zeal and self-denial of a primitive evangelist. Travelling on horseback, he explored almost every corner of the island. In these journeys he often had the most miserable lodging and the poorest fare; but he cheerfully subinitted to such privations; and, though his life was frequently endangered by the ferocity of Romish mobs, he proved to be as dauntless as he was indefatigable. His presence of mind and his ready wit never failed hiin. When he entered a popish town--where the rabble had before attempted to put an end to his preaching by pelting him with turf, mud, or more dangerous missiles-he sometimes adroitly contrived to secure himself from annoyance. Mounted on his sober steed—the position which he occupied when preaching in the open air—he planted himself in front of the well-furnished shop window of the resident Roman Catholic dispenser of medicines; and no one then ventured to assail him; for, if the projectile missed its aim, it was sure to break the glass, and smash the bottles of the apothecary general. Mr. Ouseley often preached, on an average, twice or thrice every day for weeks together; 3 and, notwithstanding the frequent inclemency of the weather in a very variable climate, he contrived to accomplish his circuits with wonderful regularity. He was well acquainted with the popish controversy ; and, on various occasions, through the medium of the press, he sought to convince his countrymen of the errors of Romanism.
The intense carnestness and unwearied assiduity of the
i He was subsequently employed in editing the Irish Bible, under the direction of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Ministerial Life of the Rev. Gideon Ouseley, by Reilly, p. 99.
Major-General Sir Ralph Ouseley was his younger brother. 3 Life, by Reilly, pp. 287, 313.
4 He wrote a work entitled Old Christianity, which had a very extensive circulation, and was frequently reprinted.