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discontent in the other. A Roman Catholic's power of acquiring land, of disposing of or even bequeathing any that he did possess, was carefully limited and hampered by the most vexatious restrictions. The law even invaded the peace of families by enacting that if the son of a Roman Catholic landowner became a Protestant he might claim a portion of his father's estate even in his lifetime. A Roman Catholic might not possess arms. In some towns even the number of Roman Catholics who might own or rent houses was limited. Against the clergy the code was still more oppressive. No bishop, or priest, or member of a monastic order was allowed to come into the island without a licence, nor to remain there without a registration which required periodical renewal. Large rewards were held out to any informer who should procure the conviction of any violator of the statute. Such a state of affairs was fatal to the permanent tranquillity of any country; and we may believe that some of the efforts which in the last decade of the reign of George II. were made to organise a Parliamentary opposition to the Government, were inspired by the perception of a general discontent which was favourable to any kind of resistance. They did not at first produce any direct fruit, though they were led by men of no less weight than Mr. Boyle, the Speaker, and the Prime Sergeant, Mr. Malone, whom Mr. Lecky describes as 'a man of great genius, and by far the foremost lawyer and orator in the assembly' (ii. 431). For it was not easy to resist the power of the Castle while the Parliament only met every second year, and while the same Parliament might be continued through an entire reign. But the disposition thus shown to question the conduct of both the English and the Irish administration may probably have prompted the gradual relaxation of the penal laws during the ministry of the Duke of Newcastle, and under the viceroyalty of the Duke of Bedford. Encouraged by his lenity, the Roman Catholics themselves
began to organise and take measures for obtaining a removal of their disabilities. Three men of considerable ability, Curry, O'Conor, and Wyse, appeared in their ranks,' and though there were occasional menacing symptoms of reviving persecution,. .. on the whole, the position of the Catholics in the last years of George II. was evidently improving. Religious fanaticism had greatly subsided. A new line of party division was forming. ...a spirit of nationality had arisen, which, though as yet very feeble, and deeply impregnated with baser motives, could not fail, sooner or later, to be advantageous to the great majority of the people' (L. ii. 437).
1 In a law case in 1759 a Roman Catholic was reminded from the Bench that the laws did not presume a Papist to exist in the kingdom, nor could they breathe without the connivance of the Government.
Here for the present Mr. Lecky leaves us. His two volumes end with the accession of George III. And, though Mr. Froude's work carries on the story to the end of the century, it is so plain that his view of the transactions of 1782, of 1798, and of those connected with the accomplishment of the Legislative Union, and still more his estimate of the characters of some of the leading Irishmen of the period, and especially of Grattan and Flood, are widely different from that which will be put forth by the more recent writers, that it seems better to abstain from considering his last two volumes by themselves, and to pass on to the proceedings of the present century and of the present reign.
The Union had removed one difficulty from the path of the governors of Ireland ; but the religious differences, which were in a great degree the cause of all other difficulties, still subsisted with all their old animosity; if it may not even be said that the ill-feeling was increased by the partial relaxation of the restrictions imposed on the Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholics were stimulated to greater efforts by the hope of obtaining more, the Protestants by their zeal to prevent any additional indulgence. We need not repeat the story of the statesmanlike attempt of Pitt to place the two religions on an equal footing. The cunning of an unscrupulous Scotch lawyer, whose sole religion, like that of Nanty Ewart, consisted in a Presbyterian hatred of Popery, working on the over-tender conscience of the King, contrived to defeat it for a time. But it was plain that a victory so won could not be lasting, and the Catholic question continued for nearly thirty years to be the chief difficulty of every administration. It broke up a second ministry, it impeded the arrangements of every Cabinet by which that Government was successively replaced, and, what was worst of all, when at last the question was settled by what is commonly known as the Emancipation Act, the Minister who carried the abolition of the restrictions yielded to necessity so reluctantly, and was so perplexed by the vehemence of the opposition which he had to encounter, not only in Parliament, but in the Royal closet also, that he left the Act incomplete ; and, though the measure which he originally proposed to the King had embraced a clause for rendering the Roman Catholic clergy State stipendiaries, he was prevailed on to omit it with the result that Emancipation has only added to the difficulties of governing Ireland, instead of terminating them.
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The endowment of their clergy had not only been a prominent part of Pitt's intended policy towards the Roman Catholics, but it was an arrangement which, if not overtly desired by the priests themselves, was one which they had repeatedly intimated their willingness to accept, if it were coupled with the removal of their disabilities. And it might have been thought that the proposed abolition of the existing restrictions made such a step more desirable than ever. If political power were to be given to the Roman Catholics, the first great object of every statesman should surely have been to obtain some security for power being used for the support of legitimate authority, not for the disturbance of the Imperial Government which had given it. And no such guarantee could have been found equal to that which would have been furnished by the State itself becoming the paymaster of the body, whose influence over their flocks, or, at all events, over the more numerous portion of them, was known to be as predominant in civil as in spiritual matters. The Duke of Wellington certainly saw this, but, as we have seen, he disliked the measure altogether, never, perhaps, more than when he was compelled to adopt it, and was, therefore, comparatively indifferent about making it complete, if by leaving it incomplete he could disarm a portion of the opposition by which he was more irritated than might have been expected of one generally so calm and magnanimous.
The consequence was not only that it failed to pacify Ireland, but that it did not even conciliate the very class who had received the benefit. On the contrary, their leader, as if anticipating the doctrine of Mr. Froude that lenity and indulgence are always to be ascribed to fear, almost from the first proclaimed that he and those of his sect owed no gratitude to the English Government or the English Parliament, and began to agitate for further concessions, even for such as were incompatible with the prosperity, if not with the safety of the empire.
Still, the English Ministers felt that they were bound to labour for the prosperity of Ireland. The maxim, as foolish as it was wicked, of Anne's time, that it was for the interest of England to keep Ireland down, had long been repudiated, and replaced by the wiser doctrine that the interests of the two principal component parts of a great empire were necessarily identical and inseparable. This had been Pitt's interpretation of his celebrated quotation :
paribus se legibus ambæ Invictæ gentes æterna in fodera mittant.'
that this catholic idea...e steadily
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But the failure of the Emancipation Act to extinguish agitation had taught them one thing : that the road to the prosperity of Ireland was not to be found in making the Roman Catholics the masters of it. Mr. Froude, in a vigorous denunciation of the weak 'enthusiasm which believes that Ireland can be governed upon Irish ideas' (i. 165), has shown that this phrase, in the view of those who use it means Roman Catholic ideas, and Roman Catholic ideas mean those of the priesthood, whose steadily pursued object is to prevent the laity from having any ideas at all. On all matters connected with religion they require implicit obedience, and few indeed are the subjects which they do not contrive to connect with their notions of religion. But, in 1832, the Ministry which had just carried the Reform Bill, flushed with their success, conceived that they were in a position to grapple with this difficulty ; that the improvement of the condition of Ireland was to be sought in measures which should not benefit the Roman Catholics exclusively, but which should give all sects throughout the country an equal share of their advantages. And of all such measures the first seemed to be the establishment of an improved system of education.
It was no new idea. As far back as the reign of Henry VIII. the English Parliament had made a law that every incumbent in Ireland should maintain a school in his parish. As the enactment was at first but little regarded, it was repeated by the Parliaments of Elizabeth, of William III., and of George I., the latter of which gave the schools a better chance of success, by endowing the schoolmasters with a small portion of land. But the schools did not succeed ; partly, in the opinion of judges neither incompetent nor uncandid, because they were under the sole direction of the Protestant clergymen, who avowedly used them as instruments of proselytism; partly because among their objects was the discountenancing of the Irish language, to which the lower orders of Irish were greatly attached. And the failure of the existing schools was so notorious that in 1733 the Primate, the benevolent Archbishop Boulter, of whom we have previously spoken, headed a numerous body of prelates and lay nobles in a petition to the reigning Sovereign that he would incorporate a fresh Society for the purposes of education. By Walpole's advice the petition was graciously listened to, a chartered Society was incorporated, by which schools were established in every county. But they failed also, it may be said even more conspicuously than the parish schools. Again, one cause of failure clearly was that by the very intention of those who had petitioned for their
VOL. VII.--NO. XIII.
foundation they also were proselytising institutions. The very words of the petition had mentioned 'the education of Popish and other natives ;' and the education to be given was such as, in the words of one of the archbishop's letters, should bring the children of the Papists over to our Church.'
But the working of these schools contributed far more to ensure their failure than even the original vice of the principle on which they were founded. The first inquiry made into their condition was carried on by the illustrious philanthropist, Howard, who, in the course of his travels to investigate the state of the prisons of the country, was not unnaturally led to examine into that great feeder of all prisons, the ignorance of the people and its causes. A report which he made to a Parliamentary Committee in 1784 was a strong and sweeping condemnation of the schools in every respect; and a whole series of Commissions of Inquiry, appointed at intervals during the next forty years, only confirmed his statements, with even an aggravation of their worst features. With very few exceptions, the schoolmasters were incompetent, dishonest, and entirely neglectful of their duty. In some schools the pupils, instead of being taught even their letters, were employed in tilling plots of land for the master. In others the master never came near the pupils at all, but, devoting his whole time to the care of his farm or his shop, left the children to an usher, often a man destitute, not only of the knowledge requisite for a teacher, but of common humanity. The examiners, though, we are ashamed to say, clergymen of the Established Church, were as indifferent to their duties as the masters. They were required to make a monthly return of the state of the schools under their inspection. Probably they held no examinations : certainly they made no such returns. At last, in 1824, the report of a new commission, the fifteenth report presented to Parliament since the Union, was so condemnatory of the schools in every particular, that the Parliamentary grants for their support were reduced to a very small sum, and presently discontinued altogether.
They were not, indeed, the only schools in Ireland. James I. has sometimes been described as having the soul of a schoolmaster; and so far as it is an accusation (it would be well for him if he had no heavier misdeed to answer for), it may seem in some degree borne out by the care which he took, while peopling Ulster with agriculturists, to provide for the education of generations to come by founding schools, known from their patron as Royal Schools, at five cities or towns in Ulster--Armagh, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Cavan,