Page images

calculated to render peculiarly obnoxious to the reigning powers.

After having committed himself with the Dissenters and Catholics, he makes a peculiar attack on the regular clergy by an innuendo, that agitating friars and Romish missionaries may be sent here to sow sedition. I challenged his Lordship in the public papers, and in the course of my defence, to produce one : he cannot: he hints that Theophilus may have some information of such. Let Theophilus appear, and he shall be branded as a lying witness. I am extremely sorry that bis Lordship should mention such a slanderer in his pamphlet; as for my part, my landlord, Mr. Augustus Warren, a Member of Parliament, and a gentleman, who, at the very beginning of the disorders, took an active and honourable part in suppressing them, is now in town; he would not honour me with his friendship, nor give me free access to his house and library, whenever I chose to retire from the bustle of cities, if he discovered in me a seditious tenant. The regular clergy of this kingdom are a part of the Catholic body, whom they instruct and edify under the directions of the Catholic Prelates.

Does the Lord Bishop of Cloyne intend to raise a perse- . cution against them, and thus, through their sides, to wound the Catholics at large, with whom they are so closely connected by the ties of blood, and the mutual interchange of good offices ? They have not those fine gardens and rich monasteries which could excite the Lord Bishop of Cloyne's jealousy; and which the Emperor of Germany would sell to increase his treasury, as he has curtailed the revenues of such Bishops as are not foreign princes. The stricter their vow, the less cumbersome they are to society, as they are literally content with what Saint Paul was satisfied, food and raiment; many of them have left good fortunes to their younger brothers: all have renounced their share of the inheritance ; and such of them as had but a small dividend to share, made a generous sacrifice, when they renounced all earthly prospects. Should the contempt of the vanities of the world, and a disinterested heart, be deemed objects of censure in ecclesiastics, they should not be held in such a view by a Bishop, who finds them recommended in the Scrip

tures. Neither will they ever be deemed such by the laitý, who will esteem the clergy the more in proportion as they practise what they preach. I write here of the regular" clergy of Ireland, who run the same career with the rest of the Catholic clergy of the kingdom, and whose common ancestors fell prostrate in the promiscuous ruing occasioned by confiscations and forfeitures. If a revival of claims, so often mentioned in the senate, and bandied about in flying pamphlets, can tend to render them obnoxious, there is no doubt, but that they should be objects of jealousy with the rest of the Catholics, should those claims be ever asserted. For the Catholic clergy, both secular and regular, are descended from the same stock with the Catholic laity, and from ancestors who in their days were neither hewers of wood nor drawers of water. But those claims I have done away by scripture, canon and civil law, and reason, in my address to the common people, when the combined fleets were on our coasts, and a revival most likely to ensue. For. at that time, the unprotected Catholic had nothing to lose and on each Catholic clergyman's head hung the naked sword of proscription. I had some time before confirmed the throne in his Majesty's family, against the claims of Stuarts, Bourbons, and the House of Sardinia. This I have done in my Loyalty asserted, as far as a writer possessed of abilities, which have nothing to recommend them but the sincerity of the author, could confirm the throne of a prince, whose Catholic subjects are compared to a pack of hounds, impatient to run down the Royal Game. :.

The only reward I expect for my labour, is not to be in kulted by any oblique insinuation, that I am sent here to sow sedition. The Lord Bishop of Cloyne softens the innuende in these words, I do not say that Mr. O'Leary is sent here to Sow sedition ; but, &c. If he did not say it, why mention my name as a dessert, after having regaled his reader with so many courses? Sent here! I imagined that St. Paul recommends hospitality to Bishops, and that a Prelate would be more generous than to envy an Irisliman the liberty of breathe ing his native air. If Swift were alive, he would not be very thankful to the Lord Bishop of Cloyne; but Swift would be at liberty to indulge his thoughts in their ful latitude ; I

must be cautious, under the heaviest provocation. The Lord knows that it is hard for me! I was not sent here! I came here, after having been forced in my early days into foreign countries, for a small portion of education, which was re- : fused me in the land of my fathers, because I would not couple Tully's Orations with a Charter-School Catechism.

I was not sent here to sow sedition : I returned here, not as a fellon from transportation, but as an honourable exile, who returns to his native land, after having preferred a voluntary banishment, to ignorance and the abjuration of the creed of his fathers.

I appeal to Richard Longfield, Esq. Member of Parlia. ment, whether, at the very beginning of the disturbances in the diocese of Cloyne, I have not given the sincerest proof of the most unfeigned determination to co-operate in the restortion of peace and tranquillity. That gentleman soon suppressed the tumults in his own district: because the humanity of the landlord gave an additional weight of respect and love to the authority of the magistrate. I say it not from flattery, to which I am an utter stranger: had all the gentlemen of consequence in the county of Cork, exerted themselves as Mr. Richard Longfield and Mr. Augustus Warren have done ; had they, in imita. tion of the above-mentioned gentlemen, rendered their allthority as amiable from benevolence to their tenants, as it was formidable from the powers invested in them by the laws, the disturbances would not have outlived the space of six weeks. Wherever the landlords were active and generous, and advised the people, either no disorders appeared, or were soon suppressed; and had the Lord Bishop of Cloyne been as active in visiting his dio. cese, and publishing pastoral letters, as he was intent upon collecting materials for a pamphlet, to surprise the public on the eve of the meeting of Parliament, he would have contributed to the prevention or suppression of the tumults in concurrence with Mr. O'Leary.

But the Lord Bishop of Cloyne was secure in the protection of the state. The peace of society was left to the other guardians : the people were wretched, miserable, and mad :


several gentlemen were not much concerned for the injuries offered to the clergy of either religion ; policy, which often expects benefits from popular.commotions so destructive to the simple, might have induced others to remain silent and inactive in the prospect of providing for their adherents, under the extension of a general police bill; a bill, which was then expected in consequence of popular tumults, which adepts in political, wisdom, were more active in magnifying than preventing. It was reported in the city of Cork, that a certain 'Reverend Gentleman in the diocese of Cloyne* used to go in the night-time with armed men to sound a horn near a cluster of cabins, in order to make prisoners of such as would appear to gratify their curiosity; an expedient well becoming a minister of the Gospel ! But with some persons every expedient is justifiable, when Popish plots are to be contrived to give it a sanction : but every idea of such plots is done away, by the very resolves of the Gentlemen and Freeholders of the county of Cork : resolves wherein they censure the inactivity and inexertions of many magistrates and gentlemen of property, on the breaking out of the disturbances, and on the continuance ! of them.t

It would have been no difficult matter to have smothered them in their birth, as I remarked in my narrative. Firmness and humanity would have prevented the disorder. I recommended it in the beginning. For were I a man in power, I never would take for my guides, Rehoboam counsellors; My father whipped you with rods, I will whip your with scorpions. I recommended it in presence of the present Earl of Carhampton, then Lord Lutterell. It was happy for the ill-fated Catholics that such a nobleman of his character, for honour and impartiality, was on the distracted spot. It was happy for them that the Representatives in Parliament for the County and City, and other members who reside in the South of Ireland, are acquainted with local circumstances, . and well known for honour, justice and humanity. Other

** Perhaps the Aathor of the Letter found on the road from Cork to Clonaghkilty, and addressed to Doctor O'Leary, by William O'Driscoll.

+ County of Cork meeting, 7th December, 1786. ,

wise Government would have been imposed on, and the Catholics of Ireland would be in a worse state in the year eighty-seven, than they had been in the year forty-five.

The county of Cork meeting agreed to a resolution, which may serve as a rule well adapted to the times of commotions arising from distress. Resolved, that as we are determined to punish all violators of the public peace, so we are equally desirous to aid in redressing any persons who shall appear to us to be really aggrieved. Both wisdom and humanity penned that resolution. Had it been entered into, and carried into execution in the month of September or October eighty-five, instead of the seventh of December, in the year eighty-six, the county would have been quieted a long time before. Do not strike until you listen, was a maxim with an Athenian General. It is better to listen in time, than to strike when the mischief is done : it was my maxim from the beginning. The Lord Bishop of Cloybe would have acted in a manner more consistent with his character, in enforcing that maxim than in publishing a pamphlet, every page of which can be controverted by the Dissenters and Catholics of Ireland. Nay, his favourite plan about tithes and commutations is found defective by the most sensible writers of his own communion. From the beginning to the last line of his pamphlet, he cannot support an argument without forcing the Catholics into his subjects. In the forty-seventh page, he describes the regular clergy in the following manner: “the regular clergy s of the church of Rome, indeed, belong to a separate body, • with an interest distinct from the general weal; claiming 6 an exemption from the public taxes, and the civil jurisdic• tion of their own country; and avowing a subjection to a o foreign power, were and are a natural object of jealousy 6 and apprehension.' Mr. Standish, the Hearth-money collector in Cork, can refute the assertion; if I had his receipts in Dublin, I would place them in my appendix, with those of my landlord's and my tailor's bill; for the money I get circulates amongst the public.

« PreviousContinue »