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church, that there is no right of private interpretation of the holy scriptures, and that, therefore, it is an objectionable thing to put the scriptures without comment into the hands of uninformed children, does that apply to the doctrinal parts of the scriptures only, or does it embrace every part of the Bible, moral as well as doctrinal ?-It does, because there have been misinterpretations of the moral parts as well as the doctrinal. · Do not you think there are parts of the Bible of which there cannot be misinterpretations, and do not you think, that if there are such parts, they might be extracted and put into the hands of the children without comment, and without any interference on the part of the schoolmaster ?-I do think, that if there was a frank and open communication between both parties, that books might be selected that would be unobjectionable to both parties ; I do think that an accommodation might take place if it were deemed necessary.
Have not many prelates of the Protestant church objected to reading the scriptures without note or comment ?-Yes ; I have heard of Dr. Marsh for instance, and I have heard that the presbytery of Scotland object to the introduction of scripture into the schools without note or comment. I have heard that Bishop Marsh has objected to the Bible societies, and the Archbishop of Armagh withdrew himself from the Bible association, on the grounds that the tendency was to produce an indefinite propagation of different religious sects.
That is precisely the opinion of the Catholic church, is it not ?-It is.
As far as your observation goes, do you conceive that the lower classes are most likely to be made anxious for education for their children, when their instruction is given entirely gratuitously, or where they make some small payment on their own part for it, in which case do you think they attach the greatest value to the instruction conferred ?-Those that are able to pay have an objection to merely charitable education; but there are few of that description in Ireland; but it would be desirable that a system should be established that would as much as possible throw into the shade the character of a charitable institution ; that is, that the people should pay something, so that they would not have the name of charity schools. · The question refers to schools established by private proprietors upon their own estates ; you think that a school to which the parent should make some small contribution would be more gratifying to their feelings ?-It would ; but then a school altogether established upon that principle would exclude a great proportionofthepopulation who areunable to pay anything.
How is the fact with regard to the school you have established ?-A great part of the children are mere paupers ; those that are able to pay any thing prefer going to other schools, instead of going to the poor schools.
Are any of the children prevented attending the school on the ground of not having decent clothing ?-A great many. I often ask ragged children in the streets, why they do not come to school, and they say they have not clothes, besides that they have no food.
Their estimate of the necessary degree of clothing is not very high?—No; they would be content with very little..,
It has been stated to the Committee, that lives of thieves and other improper books have been found in schools in the county of Cork ; what information can you give the Committee with respect to the use of that sort of books ?-In consequence of a statement to that effect made in the House of Commons by a member of the House, the report of which made a great sensation in Ireland, a correspondence on that subject was commenced, and is now carrying on between the Catholic Association and Catholic priesthood, in the south. The priesthood have made returns of the state of education in their several parishes ; the books used in these schools, and the number of schools and scholars in each parish, and they all concur in declaring, in the most solemn manner, that those books have not been read in the schools as school books, nor found there at all. There may be instances in which books of that kind have found their way into a school, but they were never countenanced by the Catholic clergy, nor by schoolmasters; nor is it fair to say, that because an improper book happens to be found in some few schools, it is the school book of the country. For I doubt very much whether in the highest places of education some objectionable books may not have been surreptitiously brought in now and then ; but characterizing the education of the Irish peasantry as being contined to books of that description, is a very unfair imputation, and a very unfounded one.
You stated the other day, very clearly and distinctly, what you conceived to be the feelings of the people upon the subject of what is commonly called Catholic emancipation ; you were questioned as to the effect the enactments of 1793 have had upon the minds of the people, and you seem to think that they have not had much permanent effect in doing away the sore feelings that had prevailed previously to that; and you seem to think that the cause of that was, that in point of fact, in many respects, those enactments have riot been operative; it is your opinion then, that they conceive that although that relaxation has taken place, that an exclusive system still prevails ?-Yes.
You seem to think that if the remaining disabilities were done away, even though there were a reservation of certain great offices of state which it might be deemed expedient, for the security of the Protestant establishment, to keep in Protestants hands, that the Catholic population would in that case be satisfied ?-Yes, they would be so far satisfied, that the existing discontent would cease.
Do you think they would consider that as a proof, that the exclusive system was abandoned ?-Undoubtedly they would. Allow me to say, that when I was questioned as to certain great offices of state, I explained that I meant only two offices, that is the chancellorship and the royal authority.
Even if the progress of the operation of any such removal of the disabilities were slow, if Catholics were only to be gradually admitted, do you still think that the feelings under which they now labour would be done away, from their notion that ultimately they would be admitted practically as well as theoretically to the full benefits of the constitution ?-I am convinced that the existing soreness and irritation would be considerably diminished by that hope.
Have not several parish priests been exposed to great hardship from being prosecuted for marrying Catholics and Pro. testants ?-Yes, I have heard of many being exposed to hardship, either from actual prosecution, or from apprehension of being prosecuted, and many have been threatened ; in that case we act with very great caution.
Were there not some prosecutions, within the last year or two, of this kind !--I heard of some.
To what punishment are you subject for marrying a Catholic and a Protestant ?-The law is rather strange; there are two punishments, first, we are liable to be hanged, and then to a fine of 5001.
Is it not matter of difficulty, sometimes, to be quite certain of the religion of the parties ?-Certainly; any person that wished to lay a snare for my life might do it, by pretending to be a Catholic.
Was a priest of the name of Blake prosecuted, within the last two years, at the assizes at Galway ?-I do not know whether I read that trial, but I recollect to have read a trial, I believe in the diocese of Tuam, of a priest prosecuted within these two years; he was nevertheless acquitted, because the testimony was not conclusive, but there were other priests that were found guilty
Does any law afford you protection during the administration of service in your chapels, from disturbance and riot ? No, except the common law of the land, when an actual assault takes place, or where a riot takes place ; but there is no law such as exists in England, for I consulted a lawyer on one occasion, and he told me, that the law that existed in England for that protection did not apply to Ireland. · Are not all dissenting houses of worship, Catholics and Protestants, and the clergy belonging to them, protected by special Act of Parliament ?-I understand they are in England.
Do you conceive that a magistrate can with iinpunity interrupt you in the performance of your sacred functions, on a Sunday?-Any common man can do it that chooses to do it, unless he commits a riot; I consulted a lawyer, and he told me that any man might do it, unless an actual riot were committed ; and it was my intention to petition the legislature on that point, for some protection for the Catholic priests. .
Is it not in the power of any magistrate to come to your chapel on a Sunday, when you are performing mass, and to turn you and your congregation out, for no other reason than that you are performing mass ?-He can be punished under the common law, as an intruder and breaker of the peace, but if he were to make a noise in the chapel, and sing a song during mass, I cannot prevent him.
A magistrate has no greater power than any other person ? -No greater power.
In point of fact, does such interruption take place ?-Very often; even some of the Whiteboys interrupted a priest who remonstrated against the Whiteboy system. .
So that that interruption takes place as frequently with Catholics as Protestants ?-Yes ; Protestants never interfere with us at all, indeed they dare not do it, the people would fall upon them.
Speaking generally, without particularizing the individual instances, has it more than once happened to you to be interrupted in the performance of your religious functions in your chapel, by the disorderly conduct of individuals ?. It has.
And in those cases what means of redress have you felt to be within your power?-I have had no legal means of redress, except the moral influence of having the great bulk of people on my side, might deter people from doing an act that might bring summary punishment on them.
In the cases to which you allude has the performance of service been interrupted or prevented ?--Interrupted, and prevented in one or two instances.
In those cases of disturbance to which you allude, were the disturbing parties of your own communion or not?-They were of my own communion ;, the truth is, a Protestant could not come there unless he had a military power to support him, because he would bring the whole rage of the populace upon him immediately.
Have you known the collection of church rates, of rates for building and repairing churches, produce disturbance in the parts of Ireland with which you are acquainted !-Yes ; very recently.
Will you explain the circumstances ?-The island of Innisherkin is a small island, forming part of the parish of Tullah, and being off the harbour of Baltimore. The island is not in my district, but the main part of the parish is ; it is separated from the main land by a distance of about a mile. The inhabitants are about a thousand, having about 200 houses. They are very poor ; so much so, that when the attempt was made by the priest residing there, not long since, to levy an assessment of threepence-halfpenny per house for the repair of their old chapel, which was in utter ruin, (it was a mere hovel, partly covered with ragged straw, and without door or window) he failed in raising that sum, from their inability to pay it; and shortly after the churchwarden, residing on the main land, came in with his assistants, to levy a tax of 4s. 6d. in the gneeve, imposed by the church vestry, for the repayment of a sum of money, advanced by the Board of First Fruits for the building of a church on the main land, to which they were liable. The common people thought it hard and unnatural, that whereas they could not contribute any thing to shelter themselves from the wind and rain in their chapel, they should be obliged to pay a heavy tax for a church not in the island, but far from them; and particularly when they recollected that that church was built more for ornament than for use ; inasmuch as a good church had previously existed in another part of the parish, which might have been kept in good repair, at a moderate expense. But it was deemed more ornamental, and more picturesque to transfer the site of the church to a prominent point at the opening of the harbour, where ić would have a pretty effect of landscape. The church was built there, and a tax has been these five years annually levied upon the small and poor popu. lation for the building of that church, unnecessary, both in the minds of Catholics and Protestants, for the Protestant clergyman was, as I heard, against the building of that church; but the people resisted the payment of the tax, though the priest and I, who had occasion to go there, remonstrated with them upon the folly of their attempting