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sixteenth century. The natural advantages, however, of Kilkenny are of such a nature as to bid defiance to the vicious taste and perversity of modern ages: for you must certainly, Sir, have heard the vulgar but true saying with respect to this city: "At Kilkenny they have earth without "bog, air without fog, water without mud, and "marble pavement that is good."—I have visited here the small but learned seminary of ecclesiastics, and the edifying convent of the Presentation, instituted by a pious citizen of Dublin for the education, in continued succession, of some hundreds of poor female children.
Having, in my last letter, treated of the religion of the Irish Catholics, my subject now leads me to say something of their morality; vulgar prejudices and obloquy, running still stronger against them on the latter than upon the former subject. The generality of our countrymen imagine that Ireland is a country in which it is not safe either to travel or to reside, and that its catholic population consists of robbers, assassins, and other wretches, dead to every sentiment of moral honesty and humanity. This prejudice of the nursery has been confirmed by the misrepresentations and fabrications of news writers, and other writers of Sir Richard Musgrave's description. These men frequently publish downright falsehoods against the Irish, as I myself have ascertained, and on all occasions they aggravate the real offences of this people, and suppress the injuries or grievances which have led to the com
mission of them. Thus much, Sir, you may depend upon, and the records of the courts of justice will prove. That the number of capital convictions throughout Ireland, and more especially throughout the counties in which the Catholics are the most numerous, those of Kerry and Galway, during the last year, or the last three years, have not borne the least proportion with those throughout an equal extent of population in any part of England.
With such characteristical dispositions as the Irish are proved to possess, it is not in the nature of things that they should be, upon the whole, an immoral people; and yet I am prepared to meet with a great number of villains, and those of the most hardened class, amongst them, for these two reasons. First, experiences shews that there are a great many wretches of this description in every nation under the sun, no advantage of disposition or education being at all times able to stem the tide of human passions. Secondly, the example which the Irish have seen amongst our countrymen for ages past, the treatment which they have experienced at their hands, and the laws to which they have been subjected by them, have all been calculated to eradicate every moral and humane feeling from their breasts, and cannot but have produced a bad effect upon a certain number of them.
"Pudét hæc opprobria nobis
"Et dici potuisse et non non potuisse refelli *.”
To mount upwards two centuries, "Sir John "Davies relates," says the last historical writer on the affairs of Ireland, "that in his time it "was held no crime to kill a mere Irishman †." "Whenever the Irish were mentioned in Acts of "Parliament, it was to mark them out, noť merely as enemies, but as being wholly out of "the common rules of law and morality -The "Irish were considered as a sort of rebel savages, "excluded from the contemplation of the laws "of God and man §. The same intelligent and liberal writer agrees with former writers ||, in exposing and execrating the acts of alternate frauds and violence practised by government upon its Irish subjects for dispossessing them of their property, and which prevailed from the reign of Elizabeth, down to that last and neverto-be-forgotten act of public perfidy, the in
Historical Apology for the Catholics of Ireland, by Henry Parnel, Esq. p. 53.
+ lbid. p. 54.
Ibid. p. 98. This writer brings authority to prove, that during Lord Mountjoy's administration, "No Irishman was par
doned unless he undertook to murder his nearest friend or relation," p. 91.
See Dr. Curry's invaluable Review of the Civil Wars in Ire. land, 2 vols. 8vo.
The Apologist shews that the landholders in Connaught, after being obliged to purchase from the crown titles to their own estates, twice over, were at last dispossessed of them by Lord Strafford, under the pretext of defective titles.
fraction of the treaty of Limerick *. "treaty," say the Irish Catholics, "ratified and "exemplified as it was by King William and "Queen Mary under the Great Seal of England, "and confirmed by Act of Parliament †, was our "BILL OF RIGHTS, on the faith of which we "surrendered, not only the city of Limerick, "from which we had the year before driven King "William, but likewise all the southern and 66 western counties of Ireland; THE BILL OF RIGHTS, on the faith of which we renounced our allegiance to King James, till then our king de jure and de facto, and swore fidelity "to King William. By the first article of "this treaty, it was stipulated that, "The "Roman Catholics of this kingdom (Ireland), "shall enjoy such privileges in the exercise of their religion as are consistent with the laws of Ire"land, or as they did enjoy in the reign of King "Charles II. and their Majesties as soon as their affairs would permit them to summons a Parlia"ment in this kingdom, will endeavour to procure "the said Roman Catholics such farther security in that particular as may preserve them from any disturbance upon account of their
* «That_treaty," says the Apologist, "remains a monument of "the most flagrant perfidy that ever disgraced a nation: upon the "faith of it the Irish Catholics gave up that power and influence, "which you neither will nor can restore to them. And till that 16 treaty is fulfilled in its most liberal sense, no ingenuity can re
move the stain of deliberate perjury from the character of the
English nation." Hist. Apol. p. 132.
+ Viz. of the Irish Parliament in 1695.
"said religion." Yet no sooner were these articles thus ratified, than the bishops began to preach up, that " peace ought not to be kept "with a people so perfidious," as they calumniously described us to be*, the doors of both Houses of Parliament were shut against us, which were open to us under Charles II. and more grinding laws were enacted against our religion than we had ever before experienced.
Not unlike these complaints respecting the treaty of Limerick are those relating to the Union. "Do not quibble with us," the Irish Catholics say, "concerning terms and formalities, it was clearly understood between us "that if we co-operated to bring about the Union, as we actually did, you would effect "the emancipation. To give a colouring to this engagement, you inserted in the Articles of "the Union an intimation of a proposed change
of the oaths in our favour t: when, behold! "now you roundly tell us, that this alteration "never shall take place, and that we must make up our minds to wear our shackles till the end "of time."-Of a still more immoral tendency was the conduct of men in power, in their notorious connivance at the burning innumerable houses, and the banishing of their Catholic inhabitants
* Dr. Dopping, Bishop of Meath, preached this before the Jus tices in Christ Church, Dublin. Harris's Life of King William.
In the fourth article of the Union it is is enacted, that the qua lifying bath shall remain, TILL PARLIAMENT SHALL OTHERWISE ORDAIN.