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system is becoming more general ; the system of turning off the surplus population is becoming quite prevalent.
Are you of opinion that any plan can be devised for giving relief to the poor in cases of emergency ?-I think that the tendency, on the part of landlords, to turn off, in that unmerciful way, their surplus stock, as they call it, of men, would be considerably checked, if there was some legal obligation imposed upon them to provide for those poor people till they could provide for themselves, or to do as I heard was done in Scotland by the Marchioness of Stafford, when she lessened the population upon her estates. She procured temporary accommodation for the deprived tenants, shipped them at her own cost for America, and settled them there; I have heard that she did so ; and those people are much better off than they would have been had they continued in the Highlands.
Do you think that any plan of emigration, carried on at the expense of government, would prove effectual ?-I think that a plan of emigration might answer very well for the present, but unless some other plan was adopted to check the progressive disproportion between employment and population, the evil would be of constant recurrence ; and then the system of emigration should be kept up perpetually.
Do you think any part of the principle of the English poor laws could be introduced ?-I think so; under the existing circumstances, and under certain modifications, I think that the principle ought to be adopted in some way applicable to the state of the country. .
Would you carry that principle further than the support of the aged and infirm ?-I would carry it as far as is necessary to protect the poor, and to produce a community of feeling between the proprietors of the land and the population ; so that it would be the interest and duty of the proprietors to provide employment for the population; and so that the people would feel they had some tie upon the land, and that mutual good feeling would be the result; then they would feel an interest in the continuance of the existing order of things. · Do you think any measure would be useful in Ireland, the effect of which was to render the increase of population still more rapid in that country than it is now is ? That is a very abstract question ; but I should say, certainly not, if other circumstances did not render such a measure absolutely necessary.
Then supposing that the tendency of poor laws elsewhere. has been found to lead to an increase of population, do you think the introduction of the poor laws in Ireland would do
good ?-If the tendency of the poor laws elsewhere has been found to produce an increase of population disproportioned to the means of employment, I should think that it would not be a useful measure, except existing necessity authorized it; what I mean by an existing necessity is this ; that the people at present are in so destitute a state, that if some legal provision is not made for them, they must perish, either by famine or by pestilence, or by the sword, for disturbance must continue.
Supposing a system of parochial rates to be introduced into Ireland, would not the effect of it be to tax the property of landlords who might by possibility have improved the condition of their tenants, for the benefit of adjoining estates where such care had not been shewn ?-I think a qualification might be introduced in the bill that would meet that evil.
Do you think that any law which has a tendency of securing people's support, independent of their own exertions, can be favourable to the condition of the lower orders in Ireland ?I think that there exists in human nature a principle which will always induce men to prefer acquiring their subsistence from their own exertions rather than in an eleemosynary way; that men will always prefer deriving their support from their own labour to deriving it from a system of alms and charity.
Will not those feelings exist in a very different degree in different persons ?--A great deal will depend upon good edu. cation, and habits derived from comfort; I know that the people in general in my country would prefer working for their hire than procuring subsistence by begging.
Do you not think there are a great number of an opposite feeling, and who would become idle from a certainty of being provided for by the poor laws ?--Many instances perhaps may be found, but in laying down a general rule, we must advert to the greater number of cases.
Do you not think, in other words, that it would increase the number of paupers ?-Indeed I do not think it would, if checked by other circumstances ; for instance, in Scotland, Mr. M-Culloch tells us the same law exists as in England for the relief of the poor, yet from the system that I understand exists there, both as to education of the people and providing for them employment, and preventing the progress of popula. tion from exceeding the means of employment, these poor laws are, in a manner, inoperative there; they are not carried into effect as in this country, though the poor laws are the same as here.
Have you found any difference of late years in the disposition of your parishioners to come to confession ; have they
been more or less disposed than they formerly were ?-Inomy immediate district, I find in general that they are as well disposed, with this qualification, a great many of them are not so well instructed as we wish. It appears to me that they are not instructed, from the want of an adequate number of teachers and clergymen, and I fear many are falling off on that account.
Do you find any difference in the disposition of your parishioners to confess, in consequence of a more tranquil or a more disturbed state of the country ?-I should think that if the country were disturbed, they would not come to confession at all. I have heard, and I believe that in the parts of the country that were disturbed, it formed a part of their confederacy not to go to confess to the priest.
That where illegal oaths were administered, it formed part of the obligation not to go to confession !—To abstain altogether from confession : first, lest the consciences of those going to confession would be acted upon by the priest ; secondly, as it would be altogether useless to them whilst they were in that state. •
So that the obligation of this secret oath was paramount. to the conscientious influence of the priest?-Yes, upon such as took the oaths ; but wlien they were stimulated by the priest to come to confession, they were told, that the first thing necessary to enable them to make a good confession, was to withdraw from illegal associations, and to consider themselves bound to violate that oath ; that illegal oaths were not binding on the conscience.
Has the priest any moral power of compelling his flock to come to confession-is there any spiritual censure consequent upon the neglect of that duty ?-There is a general law of the church which renders it obligatory on persons to confess at least once a year, and there is a censure annexed to their not doing so ; but the influence of this censure upon the minds of people depends upon the influence of public opinion; and when they are more under the influence of their bad feelings or dispositions, they set at nought our menaces.
It is not followed by any interdiction from the rites of the church _They will apply for no rites of the church until they come to confession, with the exception of marriage alone.
Suppose a person was to apply to you to be married who had not confessed within a proper period, would any objection be taken ?-We would exhort him to come to confession, and he might come to confession; but I should apprehend that it would be a matter of form on his part ; he will bend his knee
to the priest, and if he be disposed to make a frank and free confession, he would disclose his sins ; but if he chooses to comply only with the letter of the law, we cannot take notice of it, because we cannot take notice of any thing that is done in confession out of the tribunal.
Do you apprehend that the force of those sacred oaths ever extends to this point, that it should not merely keep an individual away from confession, but that it should induce him, when at confession, to make only a partial confession ?-I should fear it would, and particularly among the uninstructed, for there are a great many of the people very ignorant. I should think it would; I cannot speak from my own knowledge.
It has been stated to the Committee by several witnesses, that the lower orders are very much in the habit of taking false oaths in courts of justice and elsewhere ?-I am afraid they are.
Can you explain to the Committee from what cause that arises ?-The poverty of the people in a great measure, their 'extreme poverty and their ignorance, and above all, the influence of immoral men in comparatively a high station of life, such as their landlords, who want to get their votes at elections, or the agents of those landlords, men who, though they rank as gentlemen, probably have no more regard for the morality of an oath than those poor people theniselves.
Do you mean the influence of their example ? — Their example, their authority, the influence of wealth over poverty, and all those causes put together.
Does any part of it arise from the want of a sufficient number of religious instructors ?-I should take that to be the great cause of their not being sufficiently instructed ; but they all generally know more or less the nature of an oath.
Have you and your assistant in your parish sufficient opportunities of attending to all the religious duties of the numerous people living in it ?-We endeavour to instruct them, but many of them cannot hear our instructions from the smallness of the places of worship'; and then our duties are very labo. rious, our number being small.' We have two chapels to attend to, and each of us celebrates two masses on Sundays and holidays, in each of those chapels.
What other laborious duties have you to perform in the course of a week ?-The sick are very numerous, and they must be attended. • Do you attend all the sick that apply ?-Certainly; and the confessional is a labour that must be likewise attended to, though, from the fewness of our numbers, we are not able to hear the whole of those who apply; and in a wide district of country, the priest on horseback loses a great deal of time in going froin place to place.
It has been stated to the Committee, that a person guilty of perjury can get absolution; is that true?-I should be glad to know what is understood by absolution ; perhaps the person that made that statement did not know the Catholic meaning of the word absolution. It might be true or false in his sense.
Is it in point of fact true that a person being guilty of perjury can get from the priest absolution, under any circumstances, understanding, by the term absolution, a full pardon given by the priest for the sin of perjury ?-Undoubtedly there is no sin for which pardon cannot be procured by repentance, but it must be a sincere repentance; there is no sin that cannot be absolved by sincere repentance.
Will you explain freely your view of the nature of absolution ?-By absolution is meant, that when a person comes, and discloses the state of his conscience to a priest having authority to hear him, with the necessary accompanying dispositions, such as sincere sorrow and contrition for his sins, and forms a resolution to sin no more, and a resolution to make adequate atonement both to God and his neighbour for his sins; to God by penance imposed upon himself, to the neighbour by the satisfaction enjoined by the duties of justice and charity ;---a person coming with these dispositions, resolved to forsake sin, never to return to it, and to make restitution in the way I have described, may get pardon and absolution ; but the condition of that absolution is, that he shall promise, in the most sincere manner, never again to commit those or any other crimes, never to resort to the occasion of them. If he belong to an illegal society, if he resort to improper com. pany, if he frequent improper places, he must promise to avoid these occasions of sin; in fact, he must promise to bebome a new man; and on those conditions, if they be sincere on the penitent's part, we think the priest empowered to pronounce a sentence of absolution..
Does this doctrine differ at all from the doctrine of the established church?-There is something analogous to it in the established church, I believe; in the Liturgy there is a form of absolution given, but it is more a form of prayer than the judicial act of a confessor, empowered, as we conceive, to absolve, « whose sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto them;" and we believe they have this power when the penitents bring the necessary conditions, but without those conditions, it is not in the power of a bishop, or even the Pope, to absolve even for a venial sin.