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belief and practice in the name of their catholic fellow subjects, and of introducing them into the boxes of absent people, and into the pockets of drunken or dead people, in order to gain them credit, what are not those men up to! What will not they do, in other respects, against the poor devoted Papists, especially if they happen to be magistrates, or connected with government! Is not such a set of men capable of accusing PaIpists unjustly, of crimes against the state and the peace of society, and of treating them as if they were actually guilty? Is it not capable of ordering them to quit certain counties, and of burning down their cottages, in case they continue to remain in them? Is it not likely, by suppressing information, packing juries, and intimidating witnesses, to pervert the course of justice, where the point at issue lies between an Orangeman and a Catholic? Again, Sir, if there is a people against whom such infernal artifices of calumny and forgery are employed by a prevailing party, how wretched must be their situation ! Can we be surprised that desperation should some times have driven them to the commission of those very crimes, which they are falsely accused of being habitually addicted to? Lastly, Sir, (but here again I can indulge a smile), if Sir Richard Musgrave is capable of publishing to the world a document so glaringly absurd, so revolting to common sense as this Confession of Faith is, and of even appealing to witnesses for its authenticity, there needs nothing
more to stamp the character of the historian, and to consign the ponderous history itself to the class of fabrications.
I remain, &c.
Thurles, July 15, 1807.
FROM the variegated beauties
of Kilkenny I arrived, after a tedious journey westward, at the dull uniform plains and dreary bogs, in the midst of which this populous town is situated. But the endearing kindness and rare virtues of so amiable and valuable a friend, as my present host, are capable of rendering the most gloomy situation pleasant and agreeable. With respect, however, to the bogs, dark as they are to the eye, they are yet a source of comfort and of wealth to an industrious people, who have little or no other fuel. Amongst other objects of their industry at present, one of them is the rebuilding of their noble and spacious chapel in the name
of their peculiar patron, as well as national Apostle, THE GREAT SAINT PATRICK.
Nothing could equal my surprise, at coming into this island and dipping into the works of history and antiquity, which have lately appeared here, than to find that it is becoming the fashion to deny the very existence of this renowned saint; and to class him with the tutelary deities of pagan nations. This opinion, which was first broached upon a principle of hostility to the religion preached by St. Patrick, has been taken up by the ignorant, the bigotted, and the irreligious. To the last mentioned class in particular, nothing is so precious as a pretext for laughing at the presumed darkness and superIstition of their pious ancestors, whilst, in fact, they themselves are the deserved object of pity to men of sound judgment and real learning. After all, Sir, we must allow, it is not so very extraordinary that the existence of the Apostle of Ireland should be called in question, since upon the self same principle, pretenders to philosophy have, in our days, denied there ever were such beings as Abraham, the father of God's people, Moses, the prophet and legislator of the Jews, and even Jesus Christ, the founder of the Christian religion.
The author of the system in question is the Rev. Edward Ledwich, LL. D. *, a writer who,
This writer informs us, from Harris, that Ryves, as Master in Chancery, in the reign of James I. started some doubts concerning
warped by religious prejudices, takes as much pains to depreciate the character of his ancestors, and to obscure their history, upon almost every subject he treats of, as a genuine antiquary would take to illustrate them. I can forgive the Irish for not giving a complete answer to Sir Richard Musgrave's History of the different Rebellions, on the grounds which I have elsewhere stated; but really I cannot excuse their neglecting to refute Dr. Ledwich's History and Antiquities of Ireland. Whenever this task shall be undertaken by a writer of ordinary talents, learning, and industry, I pledge myself that the said work will be seen to contain more errors, both as to facts and as to reasoning, than any other work of equal bulk, bearing the name of a man of letters, The authority of Dr. Ledwich has seduced the Rev. Mr. Gordon, and Sir John Carr t, who give blindly into all his errors concerning St. Patrick, the original faith of Ireland, and a variety of other religious subjects. It is hardly worth while mentioning that Sir Richard Mus
the existence of St. Patrick, by way of answering a certain libel, and that he tried in vain to get them confirmed by the learned Camden and Usher, lamenting, as he does, heavily, that they could not be induced to do this, and that in consequence of the * decisions of these men hagiography," (as he calls ancient history), triumphed over criticism and erudition,” p. 59.——The fact is, Camden and Usher had a reputation for learning to lose, which Ryves had not.
See his late History of Ireland.
The Stranger in Ireland. It is proper to mention that this ingenious and otherwise liberal writer, professes not to bę versed in subjects of antiquity, but to be guided by Dr. Ledwich.
grave has thought proper to insert these at the beginning of his ponderous History, where also he condescends to lecture the Irish Catholics on the religion of their ancestors, and to give them his spiritual advice in a variety of particulars.
Let us now see what force we have to draw up in defence of the patron Saint of Ireland against this new formed battalion which opposes him. In the first place we have amongst our cotempories, General Vallancey, Rev. Mr. Whitaker, Charles O'Connor, Esq. Rev. Alban Butler, &c. each of whom is a host of literature compared with Dr. Ledwich and his followers. To go higher up, we have Fleury, Mosheim, Tillemont, Cave, Nicholson, Harris, Ware, Usher, Camden, Spelman, Bóllandus, Baronius, Bellarmin, Godwin, Parker, Bale, and, in short, every other writer of distinguished learning in modern times, Protestant as well as Catholic, who has had occasion to speak of the conversion of Ireland. Are authors of their character to be reproached with being inferior to Dr. Ledwich and Dr. Ryves in criticism and. erudition ?” * To proceed now to ancient authors in behalf of St. Patrick. There is the great light of the twelfth century, St. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux in Burgundy, who mentions the saint by name, as "the apostle who converted the whole Irish na"tion to the faith of Christ." Another writer
* See Ledwich's Antiq. p. 59.
+ In Vita S. Malach. c. x.