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ministers. Accordingly the Irish Catholics are, and always have been, remarkable for this behaviour towards their clergy. I have observed it, with pleasure, in the opulent and noble as well as in the lowly and the indigent. But then to speak the truth, the clergy, in general, support the credit of their station, and perform their duty, which, in fact, is to render themselves worthy of such treatment. It is impossible, Sir, for you to form a judgment of the labours of a vigilant priest in Ireland, who has to attend, perhaps, five thousand parishioners, spread over a district of probably nine or ten miles in circumference, unless you were acquainted with all the several duties of our ministry: still you may easily conceive that the whole life of such a pastor must be devoted to them. The first of these is to wait on the sick. Every priest then must be at all times ready to attend to each sick person in his parish, however poor and abject, and however loathsome and infectious the disorder may be under which the patient labours. He must be ready to set off in all weathers, and at all hours of the night as well as of the day, to administer the comforts and benefits of our religion in question and it is a fact that very few Catholics. die without such consolation and assistance. In a word, the people who are accustomed to call their priest by the endearing name of father, know and feel that they have a true father in him, one who is ready to render them every service in his power,
temporal as well as eternal, and to face death itself in the discharge of his spiritual duties towards them. No wonder then they should experience the reverence and affection of children towards him. It appears that certain members of the legislature are determined upon obliging the established clergy of Ireland to reside on their benefices, and to read prayers in their empty churches, with the view of bringing over the people to their religion. Depend upon it, Sir, the catholic clergy laugh at this proposal. They say: "We shall be glad if the dignitaries were "to come amongst us, because then our poor people would get rid of the tithe-proctors. On "the other hand, unless these gentlemen should "take more pains and shew more disinterested"ness than we do; unless they should be willing "to meet us in the smoaky and poisonous cabin, "no less than in controversial debate, our congregations will never be the thinner for their presence."
This good understanding and natural union between the catholic clergy and laity of Ireland, has happily been such as to baffle those attempts of a learned Lord, the old and unrelenting enemy of the catholic name, which heretofore had too much success amongst us Catholics of England. Accordingly he reproaches, in severe terms, the catholic nobility and gentry of Ireland with being less enlightened, less liberal, and less I know not what, than Catholics of the same rank
in England*. Happily the Irish are not disposed to be guided by this nobleman in any matter whatever regarding their religion. And, thank God! the English likewise have lately so behaved themselves, as to merit his equal censure, if, what we are told is true, that he has pronounced "the English Catholics (all, except a few) to be
as bad as the Irish t." You will be surprised, Sir, that I should describe a personage who is supposed to have procured for us the important advantages of the law of 1791, as "the old and "unrelenting enemy of the catholic name." To this I answer, first, that the Act of Parliament made Mr. M. not Mr. M. the Act of Parliament. The important change which had just taken place in France, where Catholics, and Catholics alone, were slaughtered in thousands by the implacable enemies of England, the increas ing liberality and political wisdom of the nation, joined to its experience of the spirit of their enemies in the riots of 1780, imperiously called for the relaxation of the penal laws, and things were already in such a train for the success of the bill, previously to its being put into the hands of Mr. M. that any Yea and Nay man in either house could have carried it with as much ease as he did,
* See the printed Correspondence between Lord Redesdale and the Earl of Fingal.
+ See the Report of the late Speeches n the House of Lords on the affairs of Ireland.
Secondly, I say, that however most Catholics,* on both sides of the channel, have changed their opinion concerning this nobleman, I never have had occasion to change mine. I heard his speech in March 1791, and I heard that which he delivered in May 1805 (to say nothing of his speeches, publications, and conduct at other times), and I assure you, Sir, I relished the latter speech better than I did the former, on the principle which makes every sensible man prefer an open enemy to a false friend. His object was the same on both occasions, to divide the Catholics into two parties, and particularly to set the laity against the clergy, for their mutual destruction. He was far, however, from having the same means of success, after he had thrown aside the visor as when he wore it. The advice which Lord R. gives the Catholics to join with him in pulling down their clergy, reminds us of the proposed treaty between the wolves and the sheep. "No"thing would be more easy," said the wolves, ?? than to keep peace with you, good sheep, if you would but turn out of your service those "ill-bred barking dogs of yours."
I am, &c.
Kilkenny, July 12, 1807. .
LEAVING Tullow about noon,
I proceeded to the county town of Carlow, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Barrow. Here I visited the spacious well built chapel, and the neat well regulated seminary adjoining to it; and I was much pleased and edified with what I observed at both places.. My next stage was the city of Kilkenny, so called from St. Canicius, by contraction Kenny, a holy abbot of the sixth century, whose cell, or oratory, originally at Achadbho, in Queen's county, was afterwards removed hither *. This was heretofore one of the most splendid and important places in Ireland. Its artificial beauties have decayed; the ancient monasteries and most of the other public buildings having been reduced to ruins, except the castle of the Ormond family, finely situated, but built in the Vandalic style, which supplanted the enchanting pointed order in the
* A late writer, who on various occasions opposes his unfounded conjectures to the authority of all ancient records, and the judgment of all other modern authors, boldly advances that no such man as St. Canicius ever existed! Such is the latest fashion of attacking the original faith.