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information as to the real state of the country, and the causes of distress and discontents that exist.
You have stated on a former day, that a leading cause of disturbance was the discontent felt by the people in consequence of the laws that deprive them of certain political privileges ?-Yes; it appears to me that that is the root of all the discontents. · Does that keep their minds in a state susceptible of any insurrectionary contagion in the neighbourhood, coming from the neighbouring counties ?-They look upon themselves as disfavoured, almost as aliens in the country, having no cominon interest with the more favoured part of the community.
Any neighbouring disturbance spreads rapidly amongst them? I am satisfied, that notwithstanding the influence of the priests and the exertions of the gentry, and the remonstrances used to the people in our part of the country, which I think contributed to keep them quiet, that the flame of insurrection, which was arrested by the suppression of the explosion, if I may so call the open attack made by the popu. lace upon the military near Macroom, had it reached our part of the country, would have been caught and have spread through it; I am convinced of it.
Have they any definite notions of the manner in which the penal laws affect them !--No, I do not think they have any definite notions upon that point; they look upon themselves as contrasted with the Protestants of their own rank, and as degraded compared with them. They feel themselves insulted, and are sensible of what they consider the insolence which the Protestant peasantry feel on account of the privileges they enjoy.
Do they fancy they are more degraded than they really are? -I think they do, for they are not fully aware of the extent of the repeal of the penal code.
They fancy the Protestants are more protected than they really are ?-They fancy that whenever there is a competition and contest between them and the Protestants, the Protestants would be always the favoured party.
Does this feeling contribute to counteract the good effect of measures that are intended for their good ? I am satisfied it does. It perpetuates jealousy and distrust.
In cases where landlords act with great kindness towards them, is not that benevolent disposition considerably counteracted by the general feeling of the people in regard to their political condition ?-It is; they are sensible of the kind. ness of individuals, but they are still discontented with the system.
Are there any recollections prevalent in the county, with regard to the old times, the conquest of Ireland by the English:
There are those recollections ; they appear to me to be upheld and perpetuated by the distinction created by the law. 1
Have they traditions in the country of what happened in those times ?-_They have traditions and tales about the mas. sacre and execution of priests, the priest-hunters, and the difficulty they had heretofore in hearing mass; they were obliged to resort to bogs and morasses for that purpose. They have also recollections of the liberty, and what they conceive the privileges they enjoyed formerly, compared with their present degraded state.
Do they feel that their religion was persecuted in former times ?--They know it was ; and there are many people living still, that will tell you tales of persécution, and tales of próx tection afforded by individual Protestants.
Do they refer to periods during the reigns of Queen Anne and George the First ?- They have not those distinct historical recollections; they talk of Elizabeth frequently, they talk of the invasion of the Spaniards in 1601, and of Lord Tyrone coming down to assist them, of Lord Mountjoy and the massacres of that period.
Do they recollect any thing about Cromwell, or know any thing from tradition !.They have Cromwell's Bridge, and there are many places that are pointed out by the name of Cromwell; they know even the individuals that are descended from the soldiers of Cromwell. .
Is there such an expression as, “ The Curse of Cromwell”? -Yes, I have heard that expression.
What does it mean?-I do not know what definite meaning it has; I think it means, that such a calamity as Cromwell brought upon the country may fall upon you.
How is the expression used !---It is used as a curse.
At what period in the last century, between 1700 and 1800, did the persecution of the priests cease to exist ?-I believe no practical persecution existed beyond the year 1779, nor for some time before that, I believe, because there was a law passed, that enabled priests to register themselves as parish priests, or as priests of particular districts, and allowed them to officiate.
In the reign of George the First and George the Se. cond, was there not a good deal of persecution ?-Yes ; it is frequently recollected; I recollect myself hearing my father tell a story of an uncle of his who was á priest, having been met, by a gentleman of influence in the country at a funeral, it was the old Sir John, or Sir Richard Cox, the son of the Chancellor of that name ; at this funeral a number of priests attended, but they did not accompany the funeral in any badges that would designate them as clergymen, they were all dressed as farmers; he supposed them to be priests, and came up to them, and asked one of them what he was ; one said that he was a farmer, and another said that he was a shoemaker, or something of that kind, endeavouring to elude his inquiries, because they knew they should be taken up ; this old gentleman said he was a farmer ; he was recognised about ten or twenty years afterwards, in different parts of the county, by the said Sir Richard Cox, and saluted as a farmer by Sir Richard, though he knew he was a priest under the protection of the law.
What effect have these penal laws, with regard to the Catholics, upon the lower classes of Protestants, with respect to their treatment of Catholics ?--It gives them a sort of contidence to commit crimes against the Roman Catholics in many instances; it produces insolence in their demeanour and in their conduct, and, on the other hand it produces, in the Ca. tholics, irritation and something like indignation ; however, those feelings are often superseded by the more natural feelings of good neighbourhood and social affection ; it is only when distinctions are generally encouraged in the country, by a political party, that the bonds of society are broken asunder, and then they range themselves under their several banners.
Is the same kind of influence discovered working amongst the upper orders of Protestants ? -I do think that a sort of politeness, the effect of a good education, restrains in a great measure the expression of such feelings, where they exist; but, however, there is, amongst the upper order of Catholics, a certain humble feeling, which prevents them from feeling that they are upon a level with Protestants of the same rank, except in places where the superior numbers of the Catholics more or less counterbalances the effect of the penal code. ' . · Do vou allude to a habit of submission ?-Yes; and even a Catholic gentleman, should he get the commission of the peace, or any other situation, or any other office of honour or of emolument, does not rely upon his tenure as confidently as a Protestant of the same rank does ; he thinks it is more or less precarious; that he is not sure of holding his place; that he is Jiable to be removed, he knows not how or why. .
Will you explain what you mean by the penal code ? -Those disqualifying laws, that deprive the Catholics of certain privileges which Protestants of the same rank in life enjoy.
Having described the effect of the penal code upon the body
of Catholics, will you explain to the Committee in what way you conceive the removal of that penal code would operate, in producing a better feeling and better disposition ?-I think the removal of those artificial distinctions created by law between Protestants and Catholics, as they affect the social and civil relations, would tend to obliterate those unpleasant recollections and feelings that are perpetuated by the penal code; that the Catholic would feel himself elevated, and the Protestant sunk to his proper rank; that there would be no distinctions between Catholics and Protestants, except the distinctions which the natural relations of society would produce; the Catholic peasant and the Protestant peasant would be upon a common level; the Catholic gentleman and the Protestant gentleman would be upon a common level ; and the Catholic peasant would respect the Protestant gentleman, not because he is a Protestant, but because he is a gentleman; the Protestant peasant would respect the Catholic gentleman, or would cease to despise him; and in fact, the interference of religious feelings with social and political duties or relations would be altogether removed.
Would it contribute practically and extensively to quell the spirit of insurrection !- I am convinced it would; and that by the extinction of the undue superiority on the one hand, and the undue humiliation on the other, the inhabitants of all de. nominations would all soon fall into one cordial feeling with respect to civil and political matters, and that there would be no religious distinctions between Protestants and Catholics, except their going on days of worship to their several places of worship.
Do you think it would produce immediate tranquillity in the country ?-Not that single measure.
Would it prepare their minds to become more tranquil !-I think it would prepare their minds in that way ; nor do I think that in all cases the irritations that have been provoked, by the long continuance of that code, would be effaced from the minds of the present generation instantly ; but I am sure, that, in ten or twenty years, no traces of religious differences, connected with political matters, would exist in the country.,
It would lay a foundation for all measures calculated to improve their condition, having their proper and full effect !--It would ; it would produce a moral revolution in the country, or rather a moral reformation.
Without the repeal of this penal code, do you think that the various measures that have been suggested, if carried into effect for their improvement, will have the effect they ought to have ?-I do not think they would.
- What effect do you conceive the removal of this penal code would have, in respect to strengthening the connexion between Ireland and England ? I think that the connexion between Ireland and England would, in that case, be consolidated and indissoluble'; for in spite of the operation of that code, it is every day strengthening, from the confidence which the Irish people generally have, that it is to England alone they are to look for justice and relief ; from the sense they have of the equity and magnanimity of the English people. They think that England has hitherto done much for them, and is likely to do more; this impression has been particularly made upon, the minds of the peasantry; and notwithstanding the prejudices that existed against the English heretofore, arising from the recollections of former persecutions, they have latterly attached themselves to England, especially since the year 1822, they looked to England, and to England alone for relief, both from what they conceived their present grievances, and for future improvement and prosperity. Every reflecting man in the country considers the destinies of Ireland are bound up with England.
Do you find a feeling growing generally through that part of the country you are acquainted with, in favour of England ?-Universally; when the agents of the relief committee came over, they were hailed as deliverers by the people. Men carried bonfires on their heads through the streets, saluting them; men carried pitch barrels on their heads, the upper parts of them on fire ; and this joy and gratitude were testified not only in the town, but in the country, wherever Mr. Waddington and Mr. Warmington went. I myself witnessed the gentlemen shedding 'tears, so much were they affected by the gratitude of the people.
Are they acquainted with the proceedings in Parliament, sufficiently to know that their condition is matter of considerable attention ?-Those that can read are very anxious to get political information, and they diffuse that information among their uninformed neighbours...
And they have some acquaintance in this way, with what is going forward in Parliament in respect to their condition ? They have a great anxiety to get information on these points.
Supposing that those political distinctions were abolished, do you think the minds of the well informed portion of the Roman Catholic clergy and laity would thereupon become perfectly satisfied ?-As Roman Catholics they would, certainly.
Do you think, with respect to the establishments of the country, with respect to the existing Protestant church esta. blishments, that that would not remain a 'cause of complaint