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The Rev. Thomas William Dixon,
again examined The students at Maynooth
were instructed to consider the Protestants as separated from the pale of the church by their heresy, and consequently as no sharers of the blessings which religion had brought into the world. The priests considered the Protestant hierarchy as having no claim whatever to apostolic origin, and that the Protestant bishops were intruders into the situations and offices of the Roman Catholics. The priests were much opposed to education, which, he was sure, was because they were apprehensive that its effects oo the human mind would be to counteract in • great measure the implicit belief that Roman Catholics were taught to repose in the tradi. lions of the church. It did not appear to him that the lower class of the Irish attached any great interest to the question of Roman Catholic emancipation. The idea that the priests attached to it was ascendancy in church and state. He did not think that the discontents which had prevailed so much in Ireland were chiefiy attributable to the want of what was called Catholic emancipation; but he thought that tie general distress which pervaded the country subsequent to the peace was their main cause. If the mass of the people could obtain employment to detach them from contraband traffic and other idle pursuits, it would have a most powerful effect in restoring the country to tranquillity. When he was a Roman Catholic priest, he did not oppose the spread of education; but he alone was perhaps of that opinion in the diocese in which he lived. When he was a Roman Catholic priest, he had the same respect for the sanctity of an oath as he had now; but he was satisfied, that if a Roman Catholic were confident he was acting under the express or implied command of the Pope, or of any power who he believed had power to absolve him from an oath, he would consider himself justified in carrying into effect what he would consider the interests of his religion or church, at the expense of the oath which he had before taken. He had presented a petition to the House of Lords, stating his knowledge of the oangerous principles of the Catholics, and his conviction, that a departure from the restrictions at present attached by law to the profession of Popery within these realms must tend to the downfall of the constitution. The petition •as read, and he now stated upon his oath that he believed all which it stated. If a Roman Catholic were to assert the contrary upon his oath, he would not believe him.
Joseph Morgan Daly, Esq. — Resided on lis own property in Westmeath. Had been a ""pstrate for nineteen years. Detailed various **•*» of great outrage, in which the persons tried were acquitted in consequence of the intimidation under which the witnesses laboured, sad which prevented their giving evidence. In one instance, a witness died before the trial, in
consequence of the blows he received from the friends of the prisoners.
James Redmond Barry, Esq—Was a Roman Catholic magistrate, and an officer under the Fishery Board, who had resided in the barony of Ibawne and Barrygroe, in the county of Cork, from his birth. In 1820, the general condition of the maritime population of Minister was very miserable, but he thought it had improved: it was still, however, capable of much further improvement. He recommended separating the occupations of fishery and farming upon the coast, by congregating the maritime peasantry into small towns and villages upon the coast. He conceived the restoration of perfect tranquillity in the country one of the strongest, and almost a sufficient inducement to obtain the investment of capital in the Irish fisheries. Every possible means had been adopted by the officers of the fisheries to afford every possible information, and every inducement to persons to invest capital in the fisheries. There was a ready market for all the fish caught; but as yet no exportation, the home consumption not being supplied. The town of Dungarvan had exceedingly improved of late, which he attributed to the fact, that the fisheries there were the exclusive pursuit of the working classes. In his opinion, the two occupations of taking and curing fish ought to be divided. Thanks to the late act, they had salt in abundance, of which the English market afforded the largest supply. The general conduct of the population engaged in fishing along the coast of Ireland, during the late disturbances, was uninterruptedly tranquil and peaceable, under the severest privations. Persons who embarked their capital in the Irish fisheries should look for their profit, not to any fishery exclusively, but to all goneraUy, and to the very large migratory shoals of fish that occasionally visited the coast; being principally herrings, mackarel, and a description of fish called scad. About six years ago, when the fishery commenced, the price of herrings per Scotch barrel was about 21.; the present price was about 1/. 5s. He recommended a reduction of the duties on the articles which were necessary for the outfit of vessels; namely, hemp, foreign timber, and iron. The people in the district to which he alluded were intensely anxious for employment; and he was firmly convinced that there was at that moment as much security for the investment of capital there as in the city of London. To insure the continuance, however, of the tranquillity that at present existed, he was persuaded that the removal of the disqualifications under which so large a portion of the people laboured was essential. He should.consider the destitute poor to form about one-third of the population in the district of which he had been speaking. There was a very kindly feeling towards them on the part of their poor neighbours; and although they were a burden upon the latter, he should view with great apprehension the introduction of any compulsory measures for their relief. Enforced charity might destroy the real feelings of charity, and hold forth an inducement to mendicancy.
The Honourable Robert Day Was one
of the Puisne Judges of the Court of King's Bench in Ireland for twenty-one years, and had travelled every circuit. His confident opinion was, that it was expedient to separate the different functions now carried on by the Irish grand juries; and he detailed various improvements that he thought might be made with reference to grand jury presentments. He thought that the tenant should have credit against his landlord for every charge upon the land liquidated by the tenant. The power of laying on the assessments, and auditing the accounts, he would have transferred from the grand juries to thu magistrates assembled in quarter session. It would be an inducement to the gentlemen of the country to accept the commission of the peace. Most disgusting jobbing had, to his knowledge, taken place in moneymatters on the grand juries, which, he thought, would be prevented by removing the power of taxing to the quarter sessions. The survey of land was at present very unequal, and required amendment. The magistracy in towns corporate was certainly inferior to the magistracy of the county. He recommended an enlargement of the number of magistrates in towns corporate, by giving the crown a power of appointing co-ordinate magistrates, which had been done in the city of Limerick with the best effect imaginable. He thought it would be very advantageous if the business of each county in Ireland was in the hands of one lord-lieutenant, rather than, as at present, in the bunds of several governors; although it might be difficult in some counties to find a person qualified for the situation. The sub-sheriffs ought, in his opinion, to be appointed otherwise than at present. Let the sheriff nominate three individuals to the judge of assize, and the judge select one of the three for sub-sheriff. He thought it would lie extremely desirable that the assistant barristers should have an opportunity of selecting, at some period of the year, the county they would choose to go to, according to seniority, as the judges did their circuits. In his opinion, the assistant barristers ought not to be the chairmen of the quarter sessions. The mingling of the criminal and the civil business Wok very improper. The criminal business ought to be first disposed of. It had been his constant persuasion that Catholic emancipation, or rather equalisation, as it ought to be called, would have the best effect in securing Irish tranquillity. In the abstract, no one could deny that the Catholics were entitled to it. It would be an act of justice, and his maxim was, " lie just, "and leave the rest to Providence." He could not conceive it possible that the admissibility of
Komau Catholics to civil offices, and to the houses of parliament, would endanger the existing establishment in church and state. He wis persuaded that the Catholics would feel bound by their oaths not to endanger that establish. inent. The crown, however, ought, in his opinion, to be invested with a controlling power in the nomination of the Roman Catholic dignitaries. A veto would answer every desirable purpose. He had not the remotest idea that the appointment of a Roman Catholic to I* » judge would afford any just apprehension to the Protestant that the law would not be impartially administered. The recent disturbances in Ireland had nothing to do with religion; they originated in the poverty of the people, which exposed them to the seduction of every felonious or turbulent leader; the want of employment; the non-residence of landlords; the want of education; and the unconscionalde rents (tat offspring of subfeudation, thank Gad, diminishing) that were too often exacted from the peasantry. The Tithe Composition Act was s measure which had proved beneficial in the highest degree. He recommended a moderate provision for the Roman Catholic clergy, thereby relieving the peasantry from the priest's dues. He recommended also a limitation of the legal right of distraining under all future IsasM to the head-landlord, and a discontinuance of a practice, common in Munster, of advertising lands to be let to the highest bidder, the consequence of which was a competition productive of the most mischievous effects. Raising the qualifications of the freeholds from 40*. to 20/. would also. In his opinion, he very beneficial.
Robert De La Corn, Esq Was a banker
at Mallow, and had been high sheriff for the county of Cork. He attributed the disturbances that took place two years ago, not to any political or religious cause, but to distress. When he left Ireland (the 20th of April) it was as tranquil as he had ever known it; and although the rejection of the bill for the relief of the Catholics would, he had no doubt, be severer) felt by Roman Catholics of all denominations and ranks, he hoped that the present good prices and agricultural prosperity in Ireland would prevent the peace of the country from being disturbed. The present condition of the labouring poor of the south of Ireland was very miserable, arising from want of permanent employment. In his opinion, there was sufficient security for the investment of capital in that country. Subletting was one of the greatest evils affecting Ireland; but the landlords were doing all i* their power to abate it. The law, as it now stood, between landlord and tenant, was more than equitably favourable to the former: and especially in the process called Civil BUI Ejectments, there were defects which he thought ought to be remedied. The grand jury system was also, in his opinion, susceptible of much improvement; but he did not think tint the power of assessing for public county pupates Cimm be placed in better hands. (The witness delivered in several papers, containing detailed plans and suggestions for the amendment of the laws respecting presentments, the allotments, and collections of county levies, &c.) It had long been his opinion, that it would tend to the improvement of moral order and the Mate of society in the country, if the right of qualification for freeholds were raised. He thought it ought not to be less than 20/. a year. It was also a very decided opinion of his, that the removal of Roman Catholic disabilities would be of advantage to Ireland; and that Ireland would not see peace until it was effected. He had no apprehension that such a meature would endanger the interests of the Pro. testant establishment, or he would be the last man to advocate it. Itinerant mendicancy in Ireland went to an enormous and lamentable extent; and he thought some establishment for the relief of the destitute, old, and infirm, would I be very desirable.
The Rev. William PnELAx.—Was a rfergyman of the Established Church, who had been resident in the counties of Armagh and Tyrone. Adverting to the oath of the Roman Catholic priest, he thought there were two declarations ink; the one a declaration that the Pope wis the vicar or vicegerent of Christ; the other, a pledge that the priest would maintain, and cause to be maintained, all the canons, containing matter objectionable, perhaps to, all Bates, but more especially to Protestant states. With regard to the former, in early times, under •he title of " vicar of Christ," a regal, as well as a sacerdotal power, had been expressly claimed. With regard to the latter, the temporal power of the Pope, the claim of ecclesiastics to he exempted from lay jurisdiction, and intolerance swards those who differed from them in religion, were all distinctly and broadly asserted in 'he canons. Instances had occurred, in the reigns of Elizabeth and Charles I., of the ecclesiastics of Ireland having shewn a determined disposition to maintain their right of exemption from lay jurisdiction. In every reign since that of Elisabeth, there had been some negotiation •boot taking the oath of allegiance: the Roman Catholic laity were in general well disposed to the measure, but some opposition always arose from the priesthood. The witness here detailed the various occurrences on which his last statement was founded. He considered the answer of the six universities to Mr. Pitt's questions "by no means making a full and absolute disrhu'mer of the doctrines which it was professed 10 disclaim; and described his reasons for so ibmking.
The Rev. Mobtimeh O'sullivan.— AVas 'clergyman of the Established Church, who had Ma" a great deal of intercourse with the Roman Cubolks in Ireland, principally in the county * Tipperary. The Roman Catholic priests w ere
taken, generally Speaking, from the lower or. ders. They exercised great influence over their flocks, and estranged them from Protestants by exciting in their minds a horror of what they called heresy. They frequently inflicted very severe personal chastisement on their parish, ioners. They regarded Rome as the place where their religion was triumphant; and looked upon their Iwdy in Ireland as forming a part of a universal community, with the Pope as its head; and their conversations with the people were calculated to inspire them with the same feelings. It appeared to him, that the system of auricular confession rendered the obtaining of evidence, and the discovery of crimes in Ireland much more difficult. In his opinion, the priests had great power in exciting disorder, but very little in allaying it. Having been treated almost with disdain by the gentry, the priests had united with the people, and formed a party that defied the power of the gentry. He by no means thought that the cause of the disturbances which had taken place would be removed by political concession. The interference of the legislature in granting concessions had invariably been productive of increased misery to the poorer classes. The worst effect of the Roman Catholic Association was, that it had brought into political consequence a number of persons who were not, from their property or habits, of any consequence before, and that had strengthened the party of which he had before spoken. In many cases the payment of the Catholic rent had been occasioned by terror. It appeared to him that the hostility of the Roman Catholics to the Established Church was greater than it used to be; which he attributed in a great measure to tiie influence of the Jesuit schools. The recent disturbances and outrages in Ireland he attributed principally to distress, proceeding from want of employment.
James Redmond Barry, Esq., again examined.—Described the nature and extent of the encouragement at present afforded to the Irish fisheries. He certainly did not think it either necessary or reasonable that the bounty system should be perpetuated, or even continued longer than the period fixed by the existing acts; although he did not think that the fisheries of Ireland were in a condition sufficiently well established to subsist and improve without some system of legislative regulation. He had no doubt that the fisheries would afford ample employment for the whole of the maritime population, if the means could be created of enabling the people to avail themselves of the advantage. He regretted to say, that he had not observed a disposition generally, on the part of the landed proprietors and others, to cherish and encourage the fisheries. "With reference to the opinion which he had given on his former examination, that the removal of the disqualifications under which a large proportion of the community laboured was essential to the re-establishment of the prosperity of the country, he repeated that opinion, and disclaimed on oath, for himself, as a Catholic, and for his countrymen of the same persuasion, any design of desiring emancipation from civil disabilities principally with a view to ulterior objects, affecting the Protestant establishment in church and state.
His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin
again examined Explained the reasons which
had induced him to correct, in the printed evidence, several answers which he had given in a former examination respecting the Athanasian Creed and the Articles of the Church.
Dominick Browne, Esq. M. P Resided in the south-eastern part of the county of Mayo. Had not observed during the last twenty years any material improvement in the condition of the peasantry. Among the principal causes which, in his opinion, continued to keep the lower orders in their present miserable situation, were,—the excessive and increasing population, the insufficient supply of employment, the creation, for the sake of political influence, of 40s. leasehold freeholders, the low state of the temporalities of the Roman Catholic church, the dissatisfaction of the lower orders in consequence of paying out of the three taxes to which they were subject (the county cess, the parish cess, and the tithes) two for the maintenance of a church of a small minority, protesting against their own, for which there was no legal provision; and other causes, producing a sense of their own degradation and want of importance in the community, and consequent despondency and want of exertion. The Tithe Composition Act, and the Act to limit the voting for joint freeholds at elections, had been beneficial, although the latter had been much evaded. The laxity with respect to oaths occasioned by the present law, produced the very worst effects on the morals of the population. He believed that forty-nine fiftieths of the fee-simple property of the county of Mayo belonged to Protestants, but he believed that forty-nine fiftieths of the people were Roman Catholics. An extremely good effect had, in his opinion, arisen from the esta- ] hlishment of petty sessions; but the greatest defects existed in the quarter sessions system, as far as the recovery of small debts was concerned. The greatest difficulty also existed in trying the validity of wills in the case of the lower orders, where small properties were concerned.
Retort from the Select Committee of the' /louse of Commons appointed to inquire into the State of Ireland, more particularly tpith Reference to the Circumstances trhich may hare led to Disturbances in that Part of the I'nited Kinprlom. I N prt-cnting to the House the last portion of
the evidence taken by than, your Committee
are unable, at this advanced period of the Session, to accompany it with such observation* in detail as they might Irave been desirous of submitting, if their examination of the numerous witnesses whom they have called bad closed at an earlier time.
Their inquiries have been continued up to the present moment. The voluminous and important evidence received by them comprehends a very wide range; and much of that evidence has not yet been delivered to them in print.
The operation and tendency of the laws which affect his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjeru formed, as might have been expected, the leading topic of examination; Init the great question to which these inquiries referred having been repeatedly subjected to the judgment of the House, your Committee think, that they hare pursued the most useful and fitting course, by collecting full information upon every branch of that subject, and by submitting that infonnsuon for the consideration of the House.
Your Committee have acted upon the same principle with respect to the creation and registry of freeholds for the purpose of exercising the elective franchise; and with respect to the expediency and practicability of allotting a provision from the public funds for the maintenance of the Roman Catholic priesthood.
Another subject of urgent and pressing importance, from its high concern to the state, is that of the education of the people; but in emsequence of an address of the House to his Majesty, this subject has been specially referred to the consideration of Commissioners, and those Commissioners having made considerable progress in their inquiry, and their power of local inspection affording them superior means o> information, your Committee limited their own examinations into this subject, and consequently are not prepared to offer to the House any observations with respect to it.
For similar reasons, your Committee forbore from undertaking any detailed investigation into the subject of the revenue, or into thus* matters connected with the superior courts of justice, which either have been the subject "* the former Reports of the Commissioners of judicial inquiry, or are now under their consideration.
The inquiries which arc still pending with respect to the office of sheriff, and which Par. liament has recently been called upon to assist iu forwarding, induce your Committee to suspend any observations upon that otHce\ although a subject of the deepest interest, as it relates w the administration of the law.
The evidence, however, which your Committee have taken upon other subjects presrut» much valuable information, affecting many of the most important interests of Ireland: and although, even with respect to some of these matters, measures have already hevn taken *■» Parliament, or the Government, which apfsrar