Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

funded property, and an annual grant of parliament, yielding an annual income of about 34,000l. The children admitted into the schools, are those of the indigent poor, and five sixths of these being catholics, the schools are almost entirely filled with the children of catholic parents : but this circumstance is entirely disregarded; the religion of the established church being exclusively taught in them. The charter for the incorporation of the society, mentions expressly that the schools were formed “ for the " conversion of these children." -The act of the nineteenth

year

of this reign annulled all marriages between protestants and catholics.

The conduct of the catholics during the Scottish rebellion, in 1745, is admitted to have been most loyal and exemplary. Doctor Stone, the primate, published a letter in which, after mentioning the ample means of information, which he possessed, he declared, that, “ he could not discover the least “ trace, hint or intimation of any disloyal inter“ course or correspondence among the catholics, or “ their having favoured or abetted, or having been “ so much as acquainted with the designs or prò

ceedings of the rebels *.”

Lord Chesterfield † mentions, that “the catholic clergy co-operated with their protestant brethren to maintain order and tranquillity. Their pastoral “ letters, public discourses from the pulpit, and

private admonitions, were equally directed for the “ service of government.”

* Curry's Review, vol. ii. p. 261. + Chesterfield's works, vol. i. p. 150. Irish edition.

some

It is painful to state, that in return for these meritorious services, the protestant clergy excited public animosity against the catholics by their sermons*; and that the earl of Chesterfield t, the lord lieutenant, recommended in his speech to parliament their taking into consideration, whether “ “ thing further might not yet be done for repressing

popery, either by new laws, or by the more “ effectual execution of those in being.'

“ The Irish administration under George the “second is stained,” says Mr. O'Conor F, by

desolating famines, by the encouragement of in“ formers, the transportation of priests $, the decay “ of every branch of industry, and a great decrease “ of population, new penal statutes were enacted, “ and the last spark of catholic freedom was extinguished.”

The famine mentioned by Mr. O'Conor is described by him in terms, which it would shock the humanity of our readers to peruse, and which, on this account, we omit. He declares ll, that “the “ sufferings of the Irish under it surpass all that

history has recorded or imagination can repre“ sent.”

* Curry's Review, vol. ii. p. 259.
+ Maty's Life of Lord Chesterfield.
| History, p. 200.

The average annual amount of premiums for transporting priests for sixteen years preceding 1745, was 1271. 178. 4 d. The premiums ceased after 1745. Newnham's View of Ireland, p. 195.

|| Page 223

“ ment.

This was the fifth or sixth famine, that in the

course of twenty years, desolated a country gifted “ with the most luxuriant soil, indented with in“numerable bays and harbours, presenting unri“ valled advantages for trade and manufactures, “ and capable of maintaining treble the number of “ its people under any tolerable system of govern

All orders were struck with horror at “ this fatal calamity, but neither the Irish govern

ment, nor rich individuals, were able to relieve the “ public distress. Immense drains to absentees, and “ annual remittances to Poland for corn, restric“ tions on the woollen trade, and an embargo on “ beef, the staple commodity of the kingdom, left “ the country destitute of specie, disabled the better “ orders from relieving the lower classes, whose “miseries were aggravated by the immense stores “ of beef then in the country, but heaped up for “ the foreign markets, and denied to them by the “ inhuman avarice of mercantile speculation. · The

English people remained insensible to the miseries “ of their fellow christiáns, and fellow subjects, who " adored the same omnipotence, and recognised the “ same sovereignty. Their philanthropy would “ not embrace men, whom they considered as rivals « and idolators.

“ The visitation of famine and pestilence dis“ armed the rancour of religious intolerance, and “ humanity shuddered at the wide prospect of de“ solation. After the reduction of one fifth of the

population, a productive harvest put an end “ to these distresses. The system of persecution

.

“ revived with the reviving strength and growing “ property of the country. The catholics were “every where disarmed, domiciliary visits were

made in quest of priests and friars, the chapels “ were shut up, and a cruel persecution commenced “ in every quarter of the kingdom. From the “ interior, many fled to the metropolis, as afford“ing by its extent and population great facility of “ concealment, others fled to caverns and mountains, “ to elude the pursuit of priest catchers. The “ Irish catholics were thus, by a wicked adminis“tration under the mild sway of the house of “ Hanover, deprived of the enjoyment of the private “ exercise of their religion, a privilege not denied “to them by the worst of the Stuarts.

In the country parts, the catholics frequented “ on Sundays and festivals the retreats of their “ clergy, and in the metropolis the citizens attended “ the celebration of divine service in stable-yards, “ or warehouses, garrets, and such obscure places

as sheltered them from the pursuit of the magis“ trates. On one of these occasions, when the

congregation was rising to receive the benediction, “the floor gave way, and all were buried in the “ ruins, the priest and several others were killed, “ and most of the rest were so bruised and maimed “as to remain for years living monuments of the “ cruelty of that administration. The dead, the

dying, and the wounded were conveyed on cars

through the streets amidst the deep anguish, and “solemn silence of an horror-struck multitude. “ The sad spectacle excited the sympathy of the

[ocr errors]

protestants, and relaxed the obduracy of the

government; leave was given to open the chapels, " and the private exercise of the catholic worship

was again restored.”

The year 1757 may be considered as the era, from which the amelioration of the condition of the Irish catholics and their successful exertions to obtain a repeal of the penal code may be dated. The duke of Bedford was sworn in that year into the office of lord lieutenant. Ten days after his arrival, the catholic clergy in Dublin read a loyal exhortation to their respective congregations. It obtained no regard from persons in power ; but it was received by the public so favourably, that, on the recommendation of doctor O'Keefe, the titular bishop of Kildare, the chiefs of the catholic body signed a declaration of the principles of their church in respect to allegiance and civil duty, and transmitted it to Rome as the act and deed of the romancatholics *.

In 1759, when the French force under the command of Conflans was collected to invade Ireland, the catholics presented to the lord lieutenant an address, expressing their attachment to his majesty's person and government. Some wealthy individuals offered to assist the state with large sums of money, and the catholics of Cork in a body, presented an address professing their indignation at the invasion, by an enemy flattering himself with an imaginary co-operation on their part; they assured his grace

* Both documents are inserted in sir Henry Parnell's History, p. 52 and 55.

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »