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from the county of Armagh, practised there some twelve years ago ; as likewise the flaying and strangling, tortures so universally exercised upon men, not convicted even by a military tribunal of any crime, for the purpose of extorting confessions of guilt; a practice as contrary to British law as it is to natural justice: all which horrors, with others still more flagitious, were afterwards hushed up by a general Act of Indemnity †. Such immoralities on the part of men in power, were the chief cause of the crimes committed by the people engaged in the subsequent rebellion. I must add, that the penal laws, as they existed till of late years, had a direct tendency to undermine every principle of religion, justice, and humanity, "By these,” says a late writer," the entails of the estates of "Catholics were broken, and they gavelled amongst their children. If one child abjured, he inherited, though he were the youngest: if

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* See the Address of Governor Lord Gosford to the assembled magistrates of Armagh, Dec. 26, 1795, in the Dublin Journal, and in Mr. Hay's Insurrection of Wexford, Appen. No. VII.-An outrage of a similar nature to those mentioned above is said to have happened in the same county within this twelvemonth, and that only one magistrate would receive the information of the man whose house was burned down. See a pamphlet called the Correspondence of R. Wilson, Esq. &c.-If the facts contained in that pamphlet be true, we may subscribe to the proverb which Mr. Parnel ascribes to the common people of Ireland, that "there is no law for a Ca tholic."

This Act was passed immediately after a Mr. Wright had recovered 500l. damages of Sheriff Judkin Fitzgerald for a most unjust as well as barbarous flaying of him.

"the son abjured the catholic religion, the fa"ther, though a purchaser, became a tenant for "life, whilst the son was tenant in fee. Children were encouraged to betray parents and rebel "against them; brothers were opposed to bro



thers, and even the ordinary duties of family "affection were prohibited as public crimes." Even now these unnatural laws are in full force against persons, who have once abandoned the catholic religion; though an unexceptionable judge in these matters assures us, that such conversions of Catholics are insincere, and made against their conscience. "Notwithstanding," he says, "the pains which persons, the best qualified, have taken with persons, bred Ro"manists, but conforming to the established religion, and notwithstanding the honourable, "confidential, and lucrative appointments which they have attained by this conformity; still "the leaven of popery remains, and at the un"equivocal symptoms of approaching death, a "few half smothered symptoms of Christianity



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were kindled in their breasts, and they have "uniformly died in the Romish persuasion*." In

* See a Representation of the State of Ireland, &c. by Pat. Duigenan, LL. D. M P. &c. pp. 8, 9. There are few persons acquainted with the history of this gentleman and his family, namely, that his father and mother returned to the catholic communion in the awful circumstances he has described, and that he himself was a Catholic. Who then will hesitate to pronounce that the Doctor is preparing a retreat for himself" when the half smothered sparks of Chris. "tianity will be kindled in his breast" also! But the learned gentleman may carry the jest too far; and he ought to recollect,

the same spirit of immorality, priests are still encouraged by legal rewards to disobey their bishops and abandon their religion; who when they afterwards perform unlawful marriages, or commit other acts of immorality, the blame is uniformly thrown, not upon the law which cherishes them, but upon their church which censures them.


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But to make an end of this inexhaustible matter, I ask what has been the conduct of government, and what is it still with respect to the poor Irish Catholics who engage and spend their lives in its service? Heretofore, they were cajoled to enlist into certain catholic regiments, so called, under promise of being allowed to practise their own religion, and not being required to attend any other. To render the deception more plausible, priests were hired as chaplains to these supposed catholic regiments; but no sooner were these compleated, than the priests were dismissed, and the soldiers drafted into different regiments, mostly in those stationed in the West Indies, where it was equally impossible for the poor men to practise their religion, or to claim the contract under which they enlisted. At present Irish soldiers are indulged in a certain degree of religious freedom in their own country; this, however, is far from being the universal case

what he learnt in his catholic catechism, not to place his confidence in acts of piety which are to be performed when "unequivocal symptoms of approaching death" shall appear.

even there; for no sooner are they removed thence, to defend some other part of the empire, than they are required, under pain of military punishment, (for that is the convincing argument) to lay aside their own religion, and to take up that of the establishment. But, Sir, when you have thus forced an Irishman to go to church, have you made a Protestant of him?To satisfy yourself on this head, wait till the situation described by Dr. Duigenan arrives, namely, till "unequivocal symptoms of approaching "death" shew themselves. You will then uniformly, and without exception, find these selfconvicted conformists tortured with guilty horrors, and impatient for the presence of a priest, who may receive them back into the bosom of their native Church. What, then, have you effected by your intolerant laws and articles of war? You have not made Protestants, you have only made hypocrites! You have not promoted the cause of morality and religion in any point of view whatsoever, but you have essentially injured it! You have caused men to stifle the voice of their consciences, and you expect them to be examples of strict morality! You have induced them in their own full persuasion to abandon their God, and you expect them to be faithful to you! I have run to a much greater, length than I intended upon this subject; not, Sir, by way of recrimination or reproach, but to point out in the laws and governing powers of Ireland incitements and provocations to immo

rality, which cannot but have produced their effect upon a considerable number of its inhabitants. Still these examples are by no means sufficiently numerous to affect the character of the Irish in general, and it is still, thank God, true to say of them, that they are at the same time a religious and a moral people.


I take no notice of the ancient calumnies of Silvester Giraldus, the most peevish and prejudiced of all our original writers*; first, because these were evidently intended as an apology for the invasion of Ireland by the first Plantagenet, to whom he was a retainer; secondly, because these have been refuted by former writers t; thirdly, because they have been in a great measure retracted by the calumniator himself; and lastly, because they are, in their own nature, monstrous and incredible. To mention, then, later charges: "The Irish have been accused of perfidy," says Newenham, who, however, rejects the accusation. Carr adds: “In no country in the world "is treachery held in greater detestation than in Ireland, because in no region can be found a higher spirit of frankness and generosity §."


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As a proof of this disposition, he begins his account of Ireland with an apology for taking up a subject which he pretends is so con temptible, applying to it a scriptural text concerning Nazareth: "Ab "Hiberniâ potest aliquid esse boni ?”

See Sir James Ware's Hist. and Antiquit. c. 23. also Lynch in his Cambrensis Eversus.

+ Essays, &c.

Stranger in Ireland, p. 149,

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