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them competent to determine. I heard moreover in my very recent recollection, the false alarm rung all over Ireland and Great Britain, on the occasion o£ Mr. O'Connor, whose lineal descent from Roderick O'Connor, the last Monarch of the Milesian race, in the reign of Henry the Second, was published in the papers: the formidable forces of that claimant to the royalties of his ancestors, forces which a member in the House of Commons affirmed to amount to a thousand, but which, soon after, in the English papers, were increased to eighteen thousand, well disciplined men—another mem. ber's declaration in the Senate, that the Protestant interest was now at stake, and that he would stand forth its champion; and the consequent challenge made on the Minister of State to know if government had marched the army against King O'Connor. When I recollected a private gentleman, at the head of few servants, armed with spades and clubs, keeping possession of a litigated spot of land, confirmed to him afterwards by a decree of the Courts of Justice; when I recoU lected this gentleman enlarged into a mighty monarch, through the magnifying glass of misrepresentation, I had every room to apprehend that the enemies ot the Catholics would misrepresent them to government, according to their usual custom, and that the quarrel between the peasant and the proctor for a basket of potatos, would be misconstrued into a struggle between the king and the subject, for the jewels of the crown. The nobility and gentry of Ireland are now convinced that my conjectures and apprehensions were groundless, when they read the slanders of Theophilus, and the pamphlet published by Doctor Woodward.
If I were allowed the liberty of using a metaphor, wild and extravagant indeed as to the manner of the expression, but natural enough as far as it may convey my meaning, I could say, that my apprehensions on similar occasions were1 not the fruit of fancy. They are the natural growth of the county of Cork, and vegetate in that soil. In that county Machiavel's maxim, divide and govern, has been followed for many years, and the plan for changing the pretended dangers of Popery into so many steps of the political ladder whereby to ascend to power and consequence, had been for many years invariably pursued. The Catholics, excluded from the senate and councils of the nation, could not be known to every English nobleman who came here to manage the reins of administration, during a temporary residence. Chance may bring him acquainted with some individuals, but he must be a stranger to the real state and principles of the body at large. The Catholics, then, could not be known to government but in the colours in which those persons painted them. And from such political limners, a just resemblance between the picture and the original, could not be expected.
Hence, in the county of Cork, scarce could Catholics breathe until the administration of the Earl of Halifax and Lord Townsend, who, upon a closer investigation into their case, removed the film with which the misrepresentations of interested men had overspread the eyes of the former rulers. I had then just grounds to apprehend that the disorders of a motley group of insurgents would be made out a Popish confederacy; and I know that the silence of a man who stood for his country, in the sight, 1 may say of the enemy, and who has as much influence as any individual in his station, would give a colourable sanction to the accusation. Nor (however plain and simple in other respects) was I so unexperienced in life, or ignorant of the events which had happened in this kingdom, as to put myself in the power of my enemies, or expose myself to the rigour of the law, by a seditious conduct. I learned wisdom from the folly of others; and if I were inclined to be seditious, I knew that it was not my interest to give my inclinations their exertion or energy. In foreign countries 1 had read much about the White-boys in Ireland, and on my arrival in the kingdom, I collected every information in my power, in order to be acquainted with the history of my country.
The first paper I read after landing in Cork, was the dying speech of Burk Sheehy and others, who had been executed for Whiteboyism at Cloheen. In their speech they declared that their lives were offered them on condition that they would swear against several Catholic gentlemen as confederates and abettors of Whiteboys. And who would not pass for a Whiteboy at that time, when one of the most inoffensive men on earth, Doctor M'Kenna, the present Titular Bishop of Cloyne, was escorted under a strong guard, on a pretended suspicion of an insurgent' i read of Nicholas Sheehy's fate, with which the illiberal Theophilus threatens me, and learned that a Catholic clergyman in all places, but especially here, should confine himself to the line of his duty, by enforcing morality and subordination to the laws. That unfortunate man was tried before the Court of King's Bench, for Whiteboyism, and was acquitted. Sheehy, whose blood his enemies thirsted for, is at last indicted for the murder of one Bridges, a man of no good character, whose dead body could not be found, but whose living body (if report be true, was afterwards seen in Newfoundland. 1 he dead bodies of rogues who had been murdered in one kingdom, had been afterwards seen living bodies in another, as so many enchanted dragons, watching the Hesperian Gardens of the temple of Venus, alias bullies to a brothel. That this was 'Bridges's case I cannot affirm, but for the rest, the history of the kingdom is my voucher.* Sheehy, on hearing that a proclamation was issued against, and a reward offered for apprehending him, wrote to the Secretary of the Chief Governor, that to spare Government the expense, he would give himself up, on condition that he would not be tried in Clonmel, where he said his enemies were too powerful. A promise founded on justice was made, though it was never performed. He was sent to take his trial at Clonmel, where he was found guilty upon the evidence of the same identical witnesses whose testimony had been rejected before by the Court of King's Bench, viz. a naughty boy, a lewd woman, and an impeached thief, taken out of Clonmel jail. Hence Sheehy's jury is become as proverbial in Ireland, as the ancient justiciaries of Donfront, in Normandy, who used to hang regularly at the hour of one, every prisoner who had been tried at twelve.
Allez a Donfront, juste ville de malheur.
Ou ban est accuse a inidi, et pendu u une heure.
Under the impressions which such singular events must make on the mind, and in the delicacy of the clerical situa
* See the continuation of Curry's Memoirs of the Civil Wars of Ireland.
tion, who could suspect that any Catholic clergymen would blow the trumpet of sedition in the ears of a deluded peasantry? Or has the Bishop, like Socrates, a similar spirit to give his information which no mortal besides himself can pretend to? But reserving the discussion of such an accusation for its proper place, I must proceed in the course of my narrative.
The associations were now extending, and a notice posted up against the gates of the parish churches and chapels was a kind of standard to which all parties, without distinction of religion, flocked, and entered into a general confederacy. For the public are not to form their judgment of the disturbances from the mad declamation ofa Theophilus, nor the imperfect one given by the Bishop of Cloyne. The first is a bare-faced slanderer. The Bishop gives the profile of the picture, in entirely shadowing the other side of the face, by making out the insurgents a popish mob, connived at by some Protestants, without mentioning the effectual and active concurrences of any. The unprovoked and unmerited attack made on Mr. O'Leary, by the right reverend prelate and his less reverend confederate, has forced the pencil into his hand, and now compels him to draw the picture with a full face. The notice alluded to is to the following purport. 'You are hereby cautioned not to pay « ministers' tithes, only in the following manner, viz. potatos *4s. per acre; wheat and barley Is. 6rf. per acre; oats and 'meadows Is. per acre. Roman Catholic clergy to receive 'for marriage 5s.; for baptism Is. 6d.; for anointing and ♦visiting the sick Is.; for mass Is.: for confession 6e£ You 'are hereby warned not to pay parish priests' clerks money, 'nor any other dues concerning marriages. Be all sure not 'to go to any expenses at your confession terms, but let 'them partake of your own fare.'
This notice which I censured, as may be seen in my letters, seemed moderate however to many acquainted with the distresses of the poor. In vain has the Bishop of Cloyne attempted to justify proctors, tithe-canters, tithe-jobbers, &c. by declaring them to be agents to the clergy, equally necessary as receivers to lay-gentlemen. The general voice