« PreviousContinue »
When the prophet Jeremiah wrote his Lamentations, it was a long time before the destruction of Jerusalem, in order to caution the people, and induce them to guard against the impending calamity. When the prophet Ezekiel had eaten a book in which were written lamentations, and a song, and woe, it was to forewarn an obstinate people. But when the Bishop of Cloyne cries aloud from the walls of Jerusalem, the church of Ireland is at this present moment in imminent danger of subversion, it is after the Chaldeans had raised the siege and retired to their country; fifteen months after the disturbances had broken out; after Lord Kenmare, a Catholic peer had suppressed them in Kerry; after the Lord Chief Baron Yelverton had decreed an atonement to violated justice, by the punishment of such criminals as were found guilty of a breach of the laws; and after the Earl of Carhampton (then Lord Luttrell) had pacified the entire province, a few stragglers excepted. If in the long space of fifteen months he was really convinced that the vessel, of the established religion, of which he is one of the pilots, was in danger, why has he slept at the helm? "When the storm is over and the sea exhibits a smooth surface, he sings the doleful ditty of the shipwrecked mariner all over the three kingdoms; but where was he when the ship was on the point of sinking? Where was the pastoral letter? Where was the pathetic address? Where was the publication replete with those figures and images which would work on the passions of the Protestant nobility and gentry of the province, and awaken them to a sense of their-danger? It is no great hardship for a bishop to publish a pamphlet in eighty-seven, which he had all the leisure to write in the year eighty-six. But where were the exertions of the pastoral care? Where was the shepherd's whistle heard, when the wolf was devouring the flock? The Bishop of Cloyne acknowledges that the diocese of Cork wa,s committed to his care in the absence of Doctor Mann. This additional charge to that of his own diocese should naturally have redoubled his vigilance: he then should have made it his business as superintendant of such extensive dioceses, to get every information relative to the disorders which distracted the places committed to his care, to endeavour t» stifle the evil in its birth, and to prevent its spreading any further. . -.J t
I shall make no further comments, but leave my readers
However the learned may admire Tacitus for his art in raising a rich work from poor materials, his judicious reflections, and concise (though obscure) manner of impressing his sentiments; yet he shall never take him for my guide, because he is too malignant, and ascribes the most casual events to a dark policy. If Augustus names Tiberius for his successor, it is according to Tacitus, with a design that the vices of that tyrant should serve as a foil to set off his own qualities. If Piso is appointed governor of such a province, it is in order to be a spy over Germanicus, whom Tiberius envied. If Sejanius is elected prime minister, it is in order to glut the vengeance of the gods: he ascribes the offspring of chance to a gloomy destiny: his characters generally bear the same features: it is not the man whom he describes, but the historian's heart I read: for this very reason I do not like him, because he distorts the objects. Had the same events happened in his time at Rome which have happened within those fifteen months in the county where I reside, what a. political picture would not Tacitus have left to future ages! The plebians all up in arms, and the supreme Augur asleep without consulting the Omens! The temples of the gods threatened with destruction, and the Pontiff silent! And when the danger is over, the empire in commotion, and the Pontiff offering propitiatory sacrifices and inviting the people to burn incense, in order to avert those calamities from which the gods had delivered them, during his security and somnolence! Reflections of the kind I leave to such historians as Tacitus or to the Lord Bishop of Cloyne himself, who is so ingenious as to metamorphose me into a being to which I bear no resemblance, and to cast me in a mould so ill fitted to my frame.
Can any person in his senses presume that the Catholics of Ireland, after the late indulgence extended to them by the reigning powers, would be so divested of gratitude and common sense as to expose their necks to the chain with which rigorous laws had bound them for so many years.—When their ancestors signed the capitulation of Limerick, and submitted to the son-in-law of their former fugitive and cowardly king, sooner than violate the laws of nations, afterwards so basely violated by the last of the Stuarts, they declined availing themselves of the succours sent by Lewis the Fourteenth. When Alberoni sent the son of James the Second to Scotland, the Irish Catholics remained quiet and peaceful, though they had every reason to expect the assistance of Spain ii they joined the son of their former king, when the present family was not sufficiently settled on a throne threatened by foreign foes, and an aspiring candidate who had his father's title to plead, and numbers of his partizans, each to join him in support of his pretensions. When the plains of Pontenoy were dyed with English blood, and George the Second threatened with expulsion from the » British dominions, by a young pretender marching to the 9eat of empire, where was any commotion amongst the Catholics of Ireland? When 1 hurot landed at Carrickfergus where were the Catholics who flocked to his banners in the North? Where were the Catholics who caused a diver* sion in his favour in the South? When England was surrounded by a warring world; one of her strongest limbs torn from her body, by the loss of America; her fleets pursued by a victorious enemy, displaying their flag on her coasts; and Ireland, destitute of any assistance but the loyalty and courage of her sons, who forgot their unhappy and fatal prejudices in the common danger, did the Irish Catholics stand by as neutral spectators, in expectation of the event? Did not they flock to the standard of their Protestant neighbours, and march at the signal, either to defend their common country, or to mingle their blood in the same trenches with their fellow-subjects? Are those the men whose loyalty should be suspected, and character traduced? Or must the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's clamour about tithes become now a wakeful trump to thunder division amongst three bodies of men, who in time of danger were consolidated into one? He alarms the members of the established church with the danger wherewith they are threatened from the Dissenters inclined to pull it down. He alarms
them with the danger wherewith they are threatened from the Catholics ready to set up their own. He excludes both from national confidence; then shifts the ground, and after having discarded the Dissenters as hostile to his establishment, he invites them to his standard, to join him in his attack upon the Catholics, by reminding them of the lenient usage they met with from his church, when compared with the severe usage they would meet with from the church of Rome.
The Lion invited one day the beasts to a hunting party, and promised to divide the spoils: the ass with his loud notes roused the game, which was soon run down: the division of the spoil commenced—this belongs to me said the Lion, according to compact; and this because my name is Lion, and this for such a reason; and who would dare to touch the rest? One would imagine that iEsop had read the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's pamphlet. 'Come Dissenters to my 'assistance, though 1 nave excluded you before from national 'confidence, enemies to my establishment, which from prin'ciple you are inclined to pull down, become my auxiliaries 'in chaining your fellow-subjects of the Catholic persuasion, 4 lest they reach their hands to 'he sacred sheaf. But, as for 'you, you dare not touch it, for my name is Lion.' The Lord Bishop of Cloyne would have some colourable pretence for alarming the fears of Irish Dissenters, and prejudicing them against their Catholic fellow-subjects, if he had the generosity to divide the spoils. But will he divide the tithes with their clergy? His invitation then and his compliments are equally unmeaning.
Heavens forbid, that the natives of this kingdom (let their religion be what it may) should ever relapse into the frenzy of destructive and unchristian dissensions.
The Dissenters then will say to the Lord Bishop of Cloyne,
• we will support the State, not in compliance with your cha'ritable admonition, but because it is our duty and interest. 'Be we will not make war upon our neighbours for tithes
* and mitres; we shall not efface from the pannels of the Lord 'Bishop of Cloyne's carriage, that emblem - of ecclesiastical 'pre-eminence he-has borrowed from the Church of Rome, 'which he is now exposing to public detestationnor diminish the number of his dishes, which the Catholic clergy bad dressed for him, ages before they imagined that Bishops, instead of praying far them and their successors, would disturb the dead in their graves, by attributing to them doctrines they never taught, and exciting the jealousy and resentment of the reigning powers against the living, by casting at their thresholds abortives they disclaim. We shall not engage, my Lord Bishop of Cloyne, in a Crusade to make war upon infidels who are not in possession of your Holy Land.
It is extraordinary in you to alarm the public, with the dangers of Popery, when you retain the most oppressive part of a religion, from which you are sprung, tithes that are oppressive to the poor, and pre-eminence which in all ages nas not been well relished by the rich. We cannot in reason hate a Catholic for his speculative creed. His belief of the real presence affects us no more than if he believed that Berenices tresses were changed into a comet: nor are we much concerned whether in that immensity beyond the grave, there may be an intermediate place between the two extremes of complete happiness and com
}>lete misery. A place where the soul attones for venial apses, and pays off a part of the debts it has contracted here. It is equal to us where a man pays his debts, whether here or in purgatory, provided he pays ourselves what he owes us. And however clamourous a mitred divine may be about a Popish purgatory, he may perhaps go further, and speed worse. i . r
The proctor's pound where the cottager's cow or calf is imprisoned, is a greater nuisance to the living, than thousands of subterraneous caverns beyond the grave. When you call upon us then to your assistance against our Catholic neighbours, we shall not obey the summons, until you divide with us the spoils of piety which have been transmitted to you by the Catholic clergy, whom you are now attacking. When they were groaning under the yoke of penal laws, we published at Dunganuon those resolutions which Europe read with admiration; in them we declared, that as we held freedom of conscience sacred in ourselves, so we held it sacred in others, and gloried in the