Page images

recommend them to their rulers. If this be a crime, may it be the only crime of which I may be found guilty.

I recommend them to their rulers; it would have been more becoming in the Lord Bishop of Cloyne to have done the same, than to censure me for the feelings of piety. I still indulge the hope, that the legislators of Ireland will redress the grievances of the wretched, at the period which their wisdom will appoint.' And I am very confident that they will glory in feelings congenial to those of Francis the First, who, on hearing that a nobleman had killed a peasant, dressed himself in mourning, bound up his arm in a scarf, sent for the murderer, to whom he said, Rebel, you have wounded your king in the right arm, in depriving him of one of the props of the state. For without the peasantry, who will feed my armies, or supply my treasury? ;

The plough, the spade and reaping-hook, handled by vigorous, healthy, and well-fed peasants, are of more benefit to the state, than a thousand goose-quills, brandished by so many controvertists, puzzling the minds and dividing the hearts of men and citizens, who in the interests of society, and the feelings of humanity, would soon extinguish the flames of discord, if the sacred fire were not continually fed by the very hands that should preserve the ternple of peace from the conflagration. It is the peasant's labour, and not his catechism, that should be the object' of legislative attention, says Voltaire. · The Lord Bishop of Cloyné censures me for pointing out to the insurgents the dangers that threatened them from the severity of the law, the eloquence of Crown-lawyers, the perjuries of witnesses, and the prejudices of juries. What was the purport of this enumeration, but to make a deeper impression on the minds of the deluded people, by a greater variety of images? And thus to attain my end, by preventing them from disturbing the peace of the public, and rushing to their own destruction. :-The Lord Bishop of Cloyne's remark on the above passage is curious, and descriptive of his ingenuity and candour. I shall give it in his own words, • After expatiating on the • severity of the laws, as not being fit for a christian country and warning them that they could not expect a fair

national clergy fellow-subjects. vith the Lord

• execution, even of those cruel ordinances, from the law. • officers of the crown, the witnesses or jury, I think one may say with justice, of his address to the common people of Ireland, particularly to such of them as are called Whiteboys, (printed in Dublin, 1786, and revised and cor.

rected by himself,) that it is calculated to raise discontent 6 and indignation in the Roman Catholic peasantry, against • the national clergy, the legislature, the executive power, 6 and their Protestant fellow-subjects.

Let the reader compare my letters with the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's commentary. Had I said in plain terms to the insurgents, • Do not put yourselves in the power either of

Judge or Jury, King or Parliament, Lawyer or Witness, what would it amount to ?'. No more than if I had said, behave as peaceable subjects, and do not put yourselves in the power of any person. I say it now; I give the same advice, and will the Lord Bishop of Cloyne say that for giving this advice, I am seditious ? It well behoves the Lord Bishop of Cloyne, who calls the verdict of the Jury in the county of Monaghan, infamous; and who becomes the eulogist of Theophilus, who has the effrontery to compare the Irish House of Commons to plunderers, for passing a vote against the tithes of agistment; to carp at my words about witnesses and juries.

His Lordship's letter verifies the words of Saint Paul, Wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself.

In order to expose me to the detestation of the clergy of the established religion, he attributes the following words to me: These disturbances originate in the dues of the clergy.*

I never wrote, nor made use of such words : I am sorry that the Lord Bishop of Cloyne has put it in my power to anwer the charge with a flat contradiction : the Lord Bishop of Cloyne dates his pamphlet in 1787, and remarks that I think it expedient to inform the Whiteboys, that the Whiteboy act will be in force till next June. The remark is shrewd, and of a very charitable tendency, My first address to the Whiteboys was in March eighty,

Lord Bishop of Cloyne's Pamphlet, page 106, third Edition."

six--a rumour was propagated amongst the insurgents, that the Whiteboy act would be no longer in force after the ensuing June. To guard a deluded multitude against every danger to which they might be exposed, from an expectation of impunity in consequence of their ignorance of the law, I informed them that the Whiteboy act would be in force until the month of June eighty-seven: this was a long warning of fifteen months. What means then the Lord Bishop of Cloyne by his remark? It impresses the minds of his readers with the notion that this is Mr. O'Leary's meaning, viz. the Whiteboy act will be at an end next • June; after that time you have nothing to dread, you may 6 go on.' His Lordship means this, or means nothing.

What an opinion must not strangers to my principles and conduct, form of me when they read the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's pamphlet!

About twenty years ago, when the Whiteboys first rose up in the South, a person of consequence (who is since dead) contributed to the insurrection, in order to defeat a plan that was then intended by Parliament for the relief of the Catholics, whom by this diabolical stratagem, worthy of another Cecil, he intended to render obnoxious to their rulers. I intended to reclaim the Whiteboys by every argument which prudence, as well as religion could suggest: and as the report of the expiration of the Whiteboy act in the month of the ensuing June, was propagated amongst the people, I know not by whom, (but I knew that the motive was such) I thought it incumbent on me to guard the deluded multitude against the snare, and to shelter the honour of the Catholic body, by defeating the designs, and disappointing the hopes of such artful politicians. I would be an enemy to the peace of society, the Catholic body, and to myself, if I had written in the sense which the Lord Bishop of Cloyne would fain convey to his readers. Far from encouraging the insurgents to proclaim a truce of three months to concert their plan in the interim, and renew the war with fresh vigour, at the expiration of the term, (for such must be the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's meaning, I applied for information to a Protestant gentleman, who is married to the daughter of a clergyman in the diocese of Cloyne, and who wrote to the Whiteboys under the signa. ture of a Dublin Shopkeeper. If I intended to encourage them in their proceedings, by marking out the time beyond which they had nothing to dread, I would have abridged the term, and pleaded ignorance of the laws.

To examine further into the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's cominentaries on my texts, would be not only a kos of time, but childish. Or what must the public think of the ingenuity of a Prelate, who construes the way of the cross is the road to the crown, into sedition.

I am surprised that his Lordship has not adverted to those words of my last address to the Whiteboys, “ Multitudes are easily misled, and incapable of drawing the delicate line, to which common sense points out, and of which it says, thus far you shall go, and no farther.”

Tam surprised that he has not made the following comments on them, You have done very well in disturbing

the peace of society, cropping cattle and burning corn; but stop now, and wait for a while.' This would have opened a field for criticism, though he should know that the giddy populace, let their complaints be ever so well founded, is easily misled; when once in motion never knows where to stop, and can never draw the delicate line which common sense points out, and of which it says, thus far you shall go; if you have complaints lay them before your rulers ; but go no further. And no further shall I go in explaining letters which may be read in the Appendix. His query then to me about the Emperor of Germany is not in point. But I shall take the liberty of proposing a query very applicable to the present circumstances.

Quere. What would the Emperor of Germany, who has granted free toleration of all religions with a conjunction to their teachers, not to divide his subjects, or distract his dominions with the jarings of controversy, but to enforce the principles of morality. What would that tolerating prince think of a Catholic Prelate, who in a pamphlet, would ring the alarm all over his dominions, and inform his Majesty, that none but his subjects of the established religion were entitled to national confidence, and thus inspire his subjects, not with mutual confidence, but with mutual jealousy,

fear, and distrust? I leave the Lord Bishop of Cloyne to judge.

When the Lord Bishop of Cloyne begins his query, with these words, if there were an insurrection of Protestants

in Bohemia, for the purpose of robbing the established Ro• man Catholic clergy, and there might have been Protes* tants enough if the perfidious Cruelty of the late Empress

had not nearly rooted them out.** · When his Lordship begins his query with such words, I must take the liberty of reminding him, that in his short query there are two fallacies. The first fallacy is in these words, if there were an insurrection of Protestants in Bohemia. For the insurgents, in the South of Ireland, were merely Catholics, as I have proved in my narrative : they were a motley group of different religions, complaining both of tithes and tithe-jobbers. Our readers will be surprised that in the course of our controversy, we have been so sparing of latin words; this fallacy then is called by the logicians a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid; when we confine to a few what is common to many, and vice versa. The second fallacy consists in supposing that my writings have a tendency to rob the Protestant Clergy; and this fallacy is called by the logicians de falso supponente-a false supposition, which the respondent answers with a flat denial, by saying nego suppositum.

When the Lord Bishop of Cloyne calls the late Empress Queen, cruel and perfidious, I wish he were a little more courtly and flattering in his epithets; rudeness to the fair sex, from an ascetick or hermit like me, who by the obligations of celibacy had not an opportunity of polishing and refining my manners by a more frequent and friendly intercourse with the softest and fairest part of the creation; rudeness in me would have some excuse to plead, but in his attack on the illustrious fair, little or no excuse can be pleaded for the Lord Bishop, who from his early days was at liberty to court and pray; to repeat the Penitential · Psalms with David, and to compliment with Otway :

O Woman, lovely woman! nature form’d thee
To temper man ; we had been brutes without thee.

* See the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's Pamphlet, page 111; fifth Edition..

« PreviousContinue »