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Affairs of Ireland. Conspiracy for extirpating Heretics and dissolving the

Union. Charges made against the Irish Government. Reasons assigned for bringing forward the Catholic Question, and the Discussion of the State of Ireland at an early Period of the Session of Parliament. Result of the Par. liamentary Proceedings on the State of Ireland. Mr Parnell's Motion on the Subject of Irish Tithes.

It is a circumstance no less singular Irish nation, that while the more ambithan unfortunate, that Ireland, with tious and intriguing of the middle the great capacity which she unques- ranks are perpetually engaged in fotionably has for improvements of every menting discord, the lower orders, who kind, and the ample means which she are without wealth or education, bepossesses of adding to the power and

come an easy prey to all classes of ad. prosperity of the empire, should hi- venturers ; their ignorance and credutherto, on almost every occasion, when lity are easily imposed on, and their the energies of the country were to be ardent spirits and ill-regulated minds called forth, have proved an obstacle are seduced without difficulty into ad. in many respects to their vigorous de ventures the most hazardous, and even velopement. With a luxuriant and fer. into projects the most atrocious. It tile soil, considerable wealth and a nu may seem strange, that, situated in the merous population, at once adventu. immediate neighbourhood of a great rous and brave, instead of contributing and enlightened country, enjoying all much to the general strength in the the advantages of an easy and intimate greatest exigencies of the empire, she intercourse with it, and possessing, as has too often presented the most seri- Ireland now does, all the benefits of a ous obstructions to the proceedings of political union with a people far adgovernment. The truth is, that Ire- vanced in wealth and knowledge, she land has never yet been without much should still exhibit so many deplorable deep and alarming discontent; that symptoms of a barbarism, which, under her citizens have been incessantly ur, her present system, seems to be nearly ging, claims upon the government, incurable. Great faults have no doubt which have given rise to much intem- been committed by the people, and perate discussion, and that so far from great crimes by the demagogues, who considering her alliance with England are always at work to agitate the as an advantage, many of the most da- public mind; but the very success of ring and active of her people have been such attempts, and the disposition busily employed in devising means by shewn by the people to second them, which a separation might be accom afford

a strong presumption that plished. It is the misfortune of the there is something in the political state

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of Ireland which demands a remedy. markable than some of those which The manifold errors of the govers. preceded it for the display of shat sament of Ireland, committed in past temperate sperit which has been the times

, have left in the present age parent of so many miseries to Ireland. evils so difficult to be corrected, that If mary real conspiracies it Ire. those who are most ardent in the lead have been sušered to attain an cause of improvement, have been often alarming magaitade before attracting deterred by the difficulty of the task, public notice, we have to record a and scared away by that violence and curious instance which happened due

malignity which centuries of misgovers- ring this year of a very foolsh plot cientment have produced among the Irish that excited much agitation. About

people. It is no very easy task to es- the beginning of the rear a meeting

lighten andameliorate a people to sbom was held of the trustees of the chao ih discord and violence have become so ritg-school, belonging to the catholic

familiar ; to remove the barriers which chapel in Churcb-street. The schoolan ancient tyranny had established in master neglected to attend at the 259. its own support, and of which it has al hour; but when the trustees were almost ensured the perpetuation by de- about to disperse, be made his apgrading the habits and character of its pearance in a state of intoxication,

victims. It is manifest that a very rio- for which he was severely reprimanddes lent change could not, in such circum- ed, and required to state the reasons letje stances, be justified by the principles of of his absence. He endeavoured to

a wise policy, and it is no less clear, excuse himself by alleging that he that

great difficulties must occur to had been detained by important busiobstruct the progress even of those Dess; but as his duty required that all who should attempt a more gradual his time should be devoted to the and therefore a more reasonable im- school, the trustees refused to admit

provement on the state of this unhap- his apology. He was at last preunit py country. To add to the other mis- vailed on to give a more satisfactory

fortunes of Ireland, a great propor- account of himself, when he declared tion of her people profess a religion that he had been engaged in the busiwhich is not the religion of the state; ness of the New Association, to one a religion, which, for its ancient crimes division of which he described himself and enormities, has become odious to as being the secretary. He then told all the professors of the reformed a very whimsical story as to the nature faith ; which has an undoubted ten. and objects of this association. He dency to keep down in ignorance and said it had been instituted for the pur. servility those who profess its tenets, pose of separating Ireland from Eng; and thus to counteract all plans of land by force of arms; that it had political amelioration. It cannot be another great object in view the ex. wonderful that, in a country thus tirpation of heresy; that, however, the situated, frequent symptoms of dis. most active person connected with it, affection to government, numerous was a Mr Fisher, a protestant; and and atrocious crimes, and a general that he, the schoolmaster, had been spirit of distrust and discord, should assured by this person, and the others prevail; and although the period, engaged in the conspiracy, that it had of which a short account is now to the sanction of the catholic committee: be given, was not marked by any oc. That he himself had been supplied with currences of great constitutional im. a blunderbuss; that many others were portance, yet was it scarcely less re- armed, as it was easy to procure arins

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from the stores of the Castle ; and that fession of the schoolmaster, and delian attack was shortly to be made on vered some printed papers belonging Dublin, as the garrison was known at to the association. Although Mr that time to be very weak. The trus- Grattan yielded so far to the anxiety tees, on hearing this story from their and alarm of the catholic board, as to schoolmaster, adjourned till next day, come to town on purpose to make this and called him again before them. He marvellous communication, it is pro. was now sober, and wished to deny or bable that he viewed it from the be. retract his former statement ; but be. ginning much in the same light as the ing closely pressed, he admitted that attorney-general did, with whom he he had become a member of the asso concurred in declaring, that the matciation, and repeated the account which ter was not pressing, and that the he had given on the preceding even- communication might have been de ing. The trustees instantly dismissed ferred without inconvenience. The him from his employment, and admo. members of the catholic board, hownished him as to the enormity of his ever, who affected great alarm lest the crime, and the folly of the project in ministers might profit by this conspiwhich he had embarked. The facts racy to injure their reputation, went were communicated to some members through the whole of these proceed. of the catholic committee, who re- ings with the most solemn gravity, and solved to make the whole transaction with a zeal which did not well correknown to the attorney-general, in the spond with the general tenor of their presence of Mr Grattan,

or the Knight conduct. of Kerry. Neither of these gentlemen Among the

papers

connected with was in Dublin at the time; but ex. this absurd association, was the folpresses were sent to bring them, as lowing advertisement, addressed to well as Lord Fingal, to town without the Roman catholics of Ireland:delay. These gentlemen (Messrs “ Advertisement. Roman catholics of Grattan and Fitzgerald) were request. Ireland, for Christ's sake and for the ed to wait on the attorney-general tender mercies of God, do not take and apprise him that a communication up arms in your own defence, or any of importance would soon be made by one else, on any account whatsoever ; some members of the catholic board; in that respect act exactly like the they accordingly did so. The attor. quakers, bear and forbear, suffer ney-general acted in the manner which wrongs patiently for Christ's sake, and became him. He saw at once the true the Lord in time will relieve character of the conspiracy; and as

not foolishly be led away by shew of he was desirous of avoiding all concern fair promises to leave your poor pa in an affair so ridiculous, he recom rents, wives, or families, breaking their mended to the gentlemen who waited hearts after you, forfeiting your reli

, on him to go before a magistrate and gion or duty to God, the church, and communicate their information. As your neighbour. the propriety of seeing the catholic lives by the sword must die by the gentlemen, however, was much press- sword; therefore, for the Lord's sake ed upon him, he fixed an early day for enter not into combination or private meeting them at Mr Wellesley Pole's meetings of any sort that may give the office in the castle to receive their least offence to government. Be

thou communication. A committee of them roughly resigned to the will of God

; accordingly waited on the attorney- and God will bless

you general, recapitulated to him the con. This was, no doubt, intended as an

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success

invitation to the people to do the very supposed weakness of a body of troops things from which they were thus iro. sufficient, in point of force, to have nically dissuaded ; it was a clumsy de- razed the city to its foundation, there vice to evade the operation of the law, is no great wonder that he was not while the imaginations and passions of thrown into a panic unbecoming the the people were inflamed by a picture dignity of his office, and unworthy of of the grievances under which they any government, not conscious of utwere said to labour ; but persons who ter imbecillity. It was manifest, that could resort to artifices so clumsy, no dangerous association existed ; but could never be the objects of reasona it was no less clear, that a few deluded ble apprehension to the government. wretches really indulged hopes of the It was justly remarked, that if ever most extravagant kind, and might have there was an association of which folly been tempted to commit, in a moment was the active principle, this was one ; of infatuation, some breach of the puband that no person could hear the ac- lic peace. The schoolmaster, and one count given by the secretary of the or two of his associates, were therefore nature and objects of the conspiracy, apprehended and underwent examinawithout being convinced that its imbe- tions at the Castle ; and as this encillity was such, as to render any de; quiry fully satisfied the government gree of alarm on the part of govern- as to the true nature of the associament incompatible with a due sense of tion, no attempt was made, as the cadignity. In this light the attorney- tholics affected to fear, to profit at general wisely considered the subject. their expense by these foolish transacThe conspirators rested their hopes of tions.

on three assumptions which Charges such as these were, however, were palpably false.-It was assumed reiterated by the members of the cathoby them, that the design had the sanc. lic board, although they were manifesto tion of the catholic committee, that it ly founded on the grossest delusion, and would be easy to procure arms from calculated to render the government the stores of the Castle, and that the odious in the eyes of a credulous mul. garrison of Dublin was at that time titude. The late proceedings were de. very weak. For the falsehood of the scribed by them as symptoms of a confirst of these positions, the attorney. spiracy against the Irish people; and general had the evidence of his senses ; the catholics and protestants in every of the facility of procuring arms for part of Ireland were warned, as they the purposes

of rebellion out of the had the welfare of the country at heart, stores of the Castle, he was a very and as they wished to defeat the macompetent judge ; and as to the weak. chinations of their deadliest foes, to be ness of the garrison of Dublin, it is on their guard against the attempts of difficult to imagine, how even the most government to seduce the lower orders stupid member of the association could into unlawful associations, for the purhave given credit to such a statement. pose of blasting the reputation of the Thus, then, while the attorney-general great advocates of Irish independsaw the alleged heads of the conspirac ence. The party which had cherished cy giving him information of its exist. orangism was accused of generating ence; when he knew, also, that the the infernal association, as it was de. arsenal from which they were to be scribed, of which Mr Keegan the armed was within the very precincts schoolmaster was the leader ; and the of the Castle, and that their ultimate more respectable classes were called hopes of success rested chiefly on the on to warn the peasantry and lower

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orders of every description against the mitted, under pretence of regulating seduction of these ministerial agents the price of land ; and, but for the who sought new pretences for the sus- prompt interference of government, pension of the Habeas Corpus Act, the the vicinity of the capital itself might introduction of martial law, and the have been involved in bloodshed and repetition of all the enormities of which confusion. The miscreants who were Ireland had long been the victim. In the authors of these disturbances, calla strain of eloquence, peculiar to them- ed themselves carders, from the instruselves, they declared, “ that the infer- ment of torture which they used for nal engine had been ingeniously con the purpose of forcing the honest and trived, and was secretly receiving the industrious proprietors of the soil to combustible materials ; but that it relinquish their property. The time would recoil on its inventors to their chosen for the execution of their disgrace and ruin.”—These envious designs, the dead of night, perfectly declaimers did not stop to explain in suited and characterised their prowhat manner a conspiracy against a ceedings ; and although their associalarge portion of his majesty's subjects tions had no object immediately po. could be useful to the administration ; litical, yet it was easy to perceive with they did not recollect that the exist- what facility they might have been ence of discord, from what source so converted to such an end. This spirit ever it may proceed, uniformly em of outrage appeared, at an early period barrasses the government, and tends of the year, under various forms and deto destroy its popularity. Yet the nominations in different parts of the greatest praise of an administration, country; but, by a vigorous and particularly of an Irish administration, steady administration of justice, it was, is, that it can govern the country so in almost every instance, effectually as to ensure its tranquillity ; while the put down. The associations had all progress of conspiracies could be en

one common object-the dominion of couraged only by the most egregious the mob over property. Sometimes and contemptible folly, of which they the rent of land was the subject of did not even pretend to suspect the their legislation ; at others, the tithes Irish ministers. They knew, however, of the protestant and the dues of the that by disseminating such sentiments catholic clergy were regulated by their among the mob, a chance was afford- arbitrary decrees — These outrages, ed of exciting discontent against the which so frequently occur in Ireland, government ; and as their lives are en must, in some measure, be ascribed to tirely devoted to so laudable an ob- the conduct of the Irish proprietors, ject, they gladly seized the opportuni. but chiefly to the shameful state of ty which the late occurrences seemed ignorance in which the people are al. to offer, in the full confidence that few lowed to remain. It is not because the of those to whom their declamations lower orders in Ireland pay heavy were addressed, would detect the so taxes, or because they are in other rephistry and malice with which they spects oppressed, that at regular in. abounded.

tervals their untamed spirits seek an An attempt of a different kind to outlet in acts of violence and rebellion; disturb the peace of Ireland was at it is because their conduct is not tended with more serious consequences watched over by their superiors ; bethan this mock conspiracy. In some cause a mistaken lenity is too often counties the most detestable outrages shewn in the execution of the laws ; were, during part of the year, com- and, above all, because the example of

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