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perfection in the general system by which the country is gov. erned, and it is necessary to ascertain what the extent and root of the evil is, before any effectual remedy can be discorered for its cure.
This is a subject of paramount interest, and its importance will justify the writer of this article, after a detail of the extraordinary incidents which he has narrated, in taking a rapid retrospect of antecedent events, of which recent transactions may be reasonably accounted the perpetuation. In doing so, some coincidence may be found with what the writer may have observed elsewhere, but the fear of incurring the imputation of either tediousness or self-citation shall not deter him from references to what he conceives to be of great and momentous materiality.
The first and leading feature in the disturbances and atroci. ties of Tipperary is, that they are of an old date, and have been for much more than half a century of uninterrupted continuance. Arthur Young* travelled in Ireland in the years 1776, 1777, and 1778. His excellent book is entitled "A Tour in Ireland, with General Observations on the Present State of that Kingdom." Although the professed object of Arthur Young in visiting Ireland was to ascertain the condition of its agriculture, and a great portion of his work turns upon that subject, yet he has also investigated its political condition, and pointed out what he conceived to be the chief evils by which the country was afflicted, and the mode of removing them. He adverts particularly to the state of the peasantry in the south
* Arthur Young was one of the very few men who studied Agriculture, as a science, in the eighteenth century. That he might master it, he traversed the British islands, and extended his observations over France, Italy, and Spain. He was a great experimentalist. He published the Farmer's Calendar and the Annals of Agriculture, both of which were very popular, and among his contributors was George III., who aspired to be considered a country gentleman, by virtue of having a farm of his own, at Windsur. When Sir John Sinclair got the Government to establish the Board of Agriculture, he obtained the secretaryship for Mr. Young, who retained it until his death, in 1820. His Agricultural tours in England, Ireland, and France, were full of information, care fully collected and impartially communicated. His statements respecting the fallen condition of Ireland, and the causes of her decadence, were startlingbecause, from the writer's character, their truth was undoubted. - M.
of Ireland, and it is well worthy of remark that the outrages which are now in daily commission were of exactly the samo character as the atrocities which were perpetrated by the Whiteboys (as the insurgents were called) in 1760.
" The Whiteboys," says Arthur Young, in page 75 of the quarto edition, “ began in Tipperary. It was a common practice with them to go in parties about the country, swearing many to be true to them, and forcing them to join by menaces, which they very often carried into execution. At last they set up to be general redressers of grievances— punished all obnoxious persons who advanced the value of lands, or held farms over their head; and, having taken the administration of justice into their own hands, were not very exact in the distribution of it. They forced masters to release apprentices; carried off the daughters of rich farmers-ravished them into marriages; they levied sums of money on the middling and lower farmers, in order to support their cause, in defending prosecutions against them; and many of them subsisted without work, supported by these prosecutions. Sometimes they committed considerable robberies, breaking into houses and taking money under pretence of redressing grievances. In the course of these outrages they burnt several houses, and destroyed the whole substance of those obnoxious to them. The barbarities they committed were shocking. One of their usual punishments, and by no means the most severe, was taking people out of their beds, carrying them naked in winter on horseback for some distance, and burying them up to their chin in a hole with briers, not forgetting to cut off one of their ears." Arthur Young goes on to say that the Government had not succeeded in discovering any radical cure.
It will scarcely be disputed that the Whiteboyism of 1760 corresponds with that of 1828; and if, when Arthur Young wrote his valuable book, the Government had not discovered any "radical cure," it will scarcely be suggested that any remedy has since that time been devised. From the period at which these outrages commenced, the evil has continued in a rapidly-progressive augmentation. Every expedient which legislative ingenuity could invent has been tried. All that
the terrors of the law could accomplish has been put into ex. periment without avail. Special commissioners and special delegations of counsel have been almost annually despatched into the disturbed districts, and crime appears to have only undergone a pruning, while its roots remained untouched.
Mr. Doherty is not the first Solicitor-General of great abili. ties who has been despatched by Government for the purpose of awing the peasantry into their duty. The present ChiefJustice of the King's Bench (Bushe), upon filling Mr. Doherty's office, was sent upon the same painful errand, and, after having been equally successful in procuring the conviction of malefactors, and brandished the naked sword of justice with as puissant an arm, new atrocities have almost immediately afterward broken forth, and furnished new occasions for the exercise of his commanding eloquence.
It is reasonable to presume that the recent executions at Clonmel will not be attended with any more permanently useful consequences; and symptoms are already beginning to reappear, v nich, independently of the admonitions of experience, may well induce an apprehension that, before much time shall go by, the law officers of the Crown will have to go througb the same terrible routine of prosecution. It is said, indeed, by many sanguine speculators on the public peace, that now, indeed, something effectual has been done, and that the jail and the gibbet there have given a lesson that will not be speedily forgotten. How often has the same thing been said when the scaffold was strewed with the same heaps of the dead! How often have the prophets of tranquillity been falsified by the event! If the crimes which, ever since the year 1760, have been uninterruptedly committed, and have followed in such a rapid and tumultuous succession, had been of only occasional occurrence, it would be reasonable to conclude that the terrors of the law could repress them.
But it is manifest that the system of atrocity doos not depend upon causes merely ephemeral, and can not therefore be under the operation of temporary checks. We have not merely witnessed sudden inundations which, after a rapid desolation, have buddenly subsided : we behold a stream as deep as it is dark,
OPERATION OF THE PENAL CODE.
which indicates, by its continuous current, that it is derived from an unfailing fountain, and which, however augmented by the contribution of other springs of bitterness, must be indebted for its main supply to some abundant and distant source. Where, then, is the well-head to be found? Where are we to seek for the origin of evils, which are of such a character that they carry with them the clearest evidence that their causes must be as enduring as themselves? It may at first view, and to any man who is not well acquainted with the moral feelings and habits of the great body of the population of Ireland, seem a paradoxical proposition that the laws which affect the Roman Catholics furnish a clew by which, however complicated the mazes may be which constitute the labyrinth of calamity, it will not be difficult to trace our way.
It may be asked, with a great appearance of plausibility (and indeed it is often inquired), what possible effect the exclusion of a few Roman Catholic gentlemen from Parliament, and of still fewer Roman Catholic barristers from the bench, can produce in deteriorating the moral habits of the people ? This, however, is not the true view of the matter. The exclusion of Roman Catholics from office is one of the results of the penal code, but it is a sophism to suggest that it is the sum total of the law itself, and that the whole of it might be resolved into that single proposition. The just mode of presenting the question would be this: " What effect does the penal code produce by separating the higher and the lower orders from each other ?"
Before I suggest any reasons of my own, it may be judicious to refer to the same writer, from whom I have extracted a description of the state of the peasantry, with which its present condition singularly corresponds. The authority of Arthur Young is of great value, because his opinions were not in the least degree influenced by those passions which are almost inseparable from every native of Ireland. He was an Englishman-had no share in the factious animosities by which this country is divided — he had a cool, deliberate, and scientific mind — was a sober thinker, and a deep scrutinizer into the frame and constitution of society, and was entirely free from all tendency to extravagance in speculation, either political or religious. Arthur Young's book consists of two parts. In the first he gives a minute account of what he saw in Ireland, and in the second, under a series of chapters, one of which is appropriately entitled “ Oppression," he states what he conceives to be the causes of the lamentable condition of the people. Having prefixed this title of “oppression” to the 29th page of the second part of his book, he says: “The landlord of an Irish estate inhabited by Roman Catholics, is a sort of despot, who yields obedience in whatever concerns the poor to no law but his own will. To discover what the liberty of a people is, we must live among them, and not look for it in the statutes of the realm : the language of written law may be that of liberty, but the situation of the poor may speak no language but that of slavery. There is too much of this contradiction in Ireland ; a long series of oppression, aided by many very ill-judged laws, has brought landlords into a habit of exerting a very lofty superiority, and their vassals into that of a most unlimited submission : speaking a language that is despised, professing a religion that is abhorred, and being disarmed, the poor find themselves, in many cases, slaves, even in the bosom of written liberty! ... The abominable distinction of religion, united with the oppressive conduct of the little country-gentlemen, or rather vermin of the kingdom, who were never out of it, altogether bear still very heavy on the poor people, and subject them to situations more mortifying than we ever behold in England.”
In the next page. after these preliminary observations, this able writer (who said in vain fifty years ago what since that time so many eminent men have been in vain repeating) points out more immediately the causes of the crimes committed by the peasantry, which he distinctly refers to the distinctions of religion. “The proper distinction in all the discontents of the people is into Protestant and Catholic. The Whiteboys, being laboring Catholics, met with all those oppressions I have described, and would probably have continued in full submission, had not very severe treatment blown up the flame of resistance. The atrocious acts they were guilty of made them the objects of general indignation : acts were passed for