« PreviousContinue »
Burke obliged to quit his parish, the same day that Archdeacon Tisdal quitted his? Were not balls fired at one Father Sheehy? Were not two clergymen, one a Secular, and the other Regular, robbed the same night of their wearing apparel? Another parish Priest, a venerable old man, who was never charged with any extortions, and who, in my own presence, challenged his congregation to bring forward any charge against him, was robbed of what little lie had to support him in his old age, even of his very bed.—Another on suspicion of having brought the army to his congregation to prevent the deluded people from swearing, was on the point of being torn lirab by limb at his altar, had not a gentleman stepped forward and said, that he himself was the person who had applied to the magistrate for the purpose. The gentleman himself narrowly escaped with his life, through the interposition of the Vicar-general, who had the presence of mind to step with the Crucifix in his hand between the gentleman and the en» raged multitude, crying out to them with a loud voice, / conjure you in the name of the God whose image I hold, not to pollute his altar with murder.
Is it possible that a man could be so callous to the feelings of honour, and so impenetrable to the impressions of truth, as to obtrude on the public such barefaced slanders as Theophilus has done? Could not his zeal against Popery, and that unprovoked vengeance, the offspring of the Demons of night, be sufficiently glutted with the persecution which defenceless men suffer from their own, without blackening their character? Or could the Bishop of Cloyae, who is presumed not to be ignorant of transactions which happened both to his own and the other diocese committed to his care, excuse a Theophilus in saying with such sangfroid, than an apprehension for the safety of religion will naturally excite a warmth? Will zeal for religion justify what nature and religion condemn? Or did the Bishop of Cloyne imagine that I would be so divested of honour, or such an enemy to my character, as not to cast a light upon the subject, when once his pamphlet in which I am so cruelly treated, would fall into my hands f The insurgents then were of every description of the lower orders. They made no distinction between the clergy of either religion, when once they became obnoxious to them* Their creeds Were different, but they all equally complained of tithes and tithe-jobbers, whom the Bishop in his
freat charity, calls the agents and servants of the clergy, could add to the number of the persecuted Roman Catholic clergymen of this county, several against whom their parishioners swore, and whose masses they have not heard, in the long space of fourteen months.
There are powerful Protestant peers in the county of Cork: the Bishop of Cloyne by las profession is of the Dumber.—And those persecuted, defenceless Roman Ca* tholic clergymen had it not in their power to vote a grateful and well penned address to the most powerful of the noblemen of the county, for their favourable aiijd timely interposition, as the Protestant clergy had voted one to the Catholic nobleman. No: the county of Cork is the only county in Ireland, where the temporal peer attacked a secular priest with the cane; and where the spiritual peer has made so extraordinary and unprovoked an attack on a regular clergyman with the pen.
Glorious triumphs indeed! and battles worthy to be recorded in histories, written in golden characters, in paper preserved with cedar juice. Historic^ vere aurece cearoque dignee.
How far the Bishop of Cloyne's history would deserve such an honour, may be conjectured by his account of the insurrections, in which he enlarges on the persecutions of the Protestant clergy, without mentioning a word of the sufferings of the Catholic Pastors. He speaks of a Popish mob.-—Bat why does he not speak out, and unfold the historical page, from one margin to the other ?—Why does he leave so many blanks (or me to fill up? Or as he attempted the tragedy of Orestes: when he placed the Protestant sufferers in the front, why did not he place the Catholic sufferers on the back of the page, and finish the piece? Scriptus et intergo nectum. finittts Orestes. Did not the Catholic priest suffer as well as the Protestant minister, only that he had not so much to lose, nor the same expectation of being reimbursed? Was not the Catholic farmer as-ill treated as the Protestant? Or were there two different sounds in Captain Right's horn? arms were taken out of the hands of Protestants by the Bishop's account— and I ask him by whom? Is he sure that the hand that wrested them from the Protestants, had ever made the sign of the cross? Beds, clothes and money were taken from the Catholic clergy.—Who took them from those men to whom (according to the Bishop's favourite Theophilus,) the Catholic laity are slaves? 1 must however, do the Bishop the justice that he assigns as a partial cause of the insurrections 'the connivance of some members of the 'established church, the supineness of more, the timidity 'of the generality of magistrates, a corrupt encouragement 'of those lawless acts is not a few.' I am extremely thankful to him for this figure of rhetoric, called a climax. It is an evident confession on his part, that the gentlemen of the established church were under no apprehensioi|j$jf its danger, much less of the overthrow of the state by a Popish mob. But I am doubtful whether they will be so thankful to him for bringing them forward as confederates in the insurrections, by connivance and encouragement.— I entertain a better opinion of them. Their supineness then must have originated in a conviction that the poor cottagers and the griping tithe-jobbers did not stand upon favourable terms with each other: and that in the conflict for a potato or sheaf of corn, the Protestant gentlemen would not regret *if the latter were worsted. They had their properties and consequence to hazard in case of a revolution.—And had their imaginations been haunted with the gloomy spectres which Doctor Woodward now raises all over the kingdom, they would have been more active and vigilant; though they have not read the Roman Pontifical with that attention which Doctor Woodward has bestowed on it, to find out the Catholic Bishop's consecration oath; yet common sense and the knowledge of the world informed them, that there was no danger of the Protestant ascendancy, from a Popish mob, assisted by a foreign power. i . ... t
When Doctor Woodward promised in the title-page of his pamphlet, a General account of the Insurrections in Munstcr, we little expected a short martyrology of two or three pages, announcing threats to burn new churches, which are still standing, and have no elements to resist but wind arid rain: old churches to be changed into inass-houses, which have not yet been sprinkled with holy water; the tongues of clergymen to be cut out, which tongues have not yet lost their spring; and other alarming menaces, for which he acknow- > ledges to have no other voucher, but a paper he received from Cork. Thus the boasting poet in Horace promised a mighty description of the feats and achievements performed before the walls of Troy. Fortunam Priami cantabo et nobele bellum.
The mountain was in labour (saith the Poet) and was delivered of a mouse.—From great promises of a General Account of the Rise and Progress of the Insurrections in Munster, we expected mighty matters. We expected that the dignified historian, would not be content with moistening the nib of his pen with a small drop of ink, without going deeper into his standish. We had room to expect that he would lay open the sources of information, do justice to all parties, and be religiously accurate in his descriptions. He talks of a Popish mob. taking arms out of the hands of Protectants.— A Church nailed up.—A new Church threatened to be burnt, if an old Church was not left for the purpose of being changed into a mass-house, 1 and vestries controuled in such a manner as
* not to afford elements for the Communion, though the Ca
* tholics are excluded from having votes when these vestries
* are held.'—Those facts and the threats already mentioned, make up this interesting and 'general account of the rise
* and progress of the Insurrections in Munster.'—And from such facts who would not infer that the overthrow of the established religion was meditated by the Catholics It must be the author's meaning and drift to create such a belief in the minds of his readers, or there is no meaning in what he writes.—Why does he not mention the chapels that were nailed up; the Catholic clergy who suffered; the reduction of their accustomed dues; the Protestants who headed the Insurgents; his own churches resorted to as so many asylums in order to elude the laws; the motives and springs of their different transactions; the rise of the evil, and the application of the remedy.
He informs us that Donovghmore church was nailed up: and leaves his readers to look at the nails without pointing out the hand that fastened them; after having so deeply impressed his mind with the terrors of Popery, as to make -him guess that a Popish hand had raised the hammer.
The Bishop could not be ignorant of the circumstances which gave rise to this transaction. He knows that the Protestant clergyman of that parish was beloved in the place, and had a great number of powerful friends. The Bishop of Cloyne appointed another clergyman to officiate in his room. This was not agreeable to the parishioners: when the strange clergyman came on a Sunday morning to the church he found it nailed up. Let the reader draw the inference. The Bishop of Cloyne should have either not mentioned the Church of Donovghmore, or not omitted this circumstance, which would either lead bis reader into * 'knowledge that either the Protestant parishioners nailed up the church, or if there were any Catholics amongst them, that it was not from a design to invade the church, but from a love for the Clergyman who was to quit the parish. But this manner of relating facts would not answer Doctor Woodward's end: he mentions a clergyman at whom stones were thrown whilst he was officiating, and who would have been murdered by a neighbouring Popish Congregation, but for a messenger who was dispatched from the same congregation to inform him of the danger. I am not a person of such a cavilling disposition as to deny facts, except when I have sufficient evidence to disprove them. But if the Bishop had related all the circumstances relative to the above transactions, the reader would attribute it to some cause different from the design bf a popish confederacy to overturn the established church. \
In relating this transaction, which a Catholic would hold in the same detestation in which a Protestant would hold it, has the Lord Bishop, as a candid historian, informed, his readers that previous to this insult there had been an unhappy affray? A warrant which the parishioners of both religions deemed illegal, had been issued in order to levy church rates, after a manner to which the parishioners had not been accustomed. As far as I have been informed, the