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No, he was a common man; it was in consequence of the connivance of the magistrate.
“ When you speak of factions, do you mean religious factions?-No; two armed parties of the country people; but they disturbed the public peace; they would be, from these habits, ready for any insurrection.
“ Does that practice of fighting at fairs, and at places where they meet, prevail to as great an extent as it did ?—No, the new system of police has put an end to that in a great measure."-H. C., 1824, p. 373.
John O'Drischol, Esq.:
“ There have also been mayistrates who have certain parties and clans in the county whom they support upon various occasions, whether they be right or wrong.
“Do you mean factions, the leaders of factions ?-Factions.
“What is meant by the word factions?—Factions are numerous families who act together.
" Of what part of the county do you speak ?—The part of the county of Cork to the south of Dunmanaway.
" The word factions does not imply any political association ? -Not at all.
“ Families forming into bodies ?-Families forming into bodies ; some of those fight at the fairs, in what they call parties or factions, and who often commit great enormities, relying upon the strength of their party.
“ Are the people in the habit of giving those magistrates presents ?—Yes; those people give presents, and perform various services.”—H. C., 1824, p. 383.
The Rev. John Keily, parish priest of Mitchelstown, having stated that the people had formerly no confidence in the magistracy, is asked,
“ Were there any particular practices that justified the people in forming those opinions ?-A great many; a magistrate sometimes took part with one faction, and another magistrate took part with another faction, and those clans or
factions were in the habit of depending upon the interest of the partizan magistrate, more than upon the law of the land.
“ Did the people put themselves under the protection of particular magistrates ? –They did formerly.
“ Did they make any return to the magistrates for that protection ?–Most certainly they did ; they gave them labour sometimes, sometimes presents, but those things have not fallen much under my observation within the last six or seven years.
“ Have you ever known any leaders of factions to produce a great many labourers ?-Very often.
“ Do not those evils arise rather from the division of the country into a kind of clans than from other motives ?-Most certainly; the spirit of clanship was carried to a very great extent in Ireland, I mean by clanship factions for fighting and carrying the objects of a particular family or a particular set of persons in the country. I do not know whether this originated in the expectation that they could act with impunity, or whether the favour of the magistrates was subsequent to the formation of the clans, I cannot sufficiently distinguish.
“ Do not you think that the principle upon which clans are formed, is that the lower orders owe service for the protection which the head of the clan gives them ?—No, I do not think it is carried to that extent in Ireland; I do not think any magistrate is the head of a clan, I have not known it within my knowledge.”—H. C., 1825, p. 397-8.
Since the institution of the police in Ireland*, the
* The following is an account of the strength of the police in Ireland, in March, 1835.
Number of Constables
and Sub-Constables. Constabulary
7123 Peace Preservation
Total 7720 The number of the military in Ireland at the same time was under 20,000. The standing army of France is certainly not over-rated at 400,000 men: so if the population of France is taken in round numbers at 32,000,000, and of Ireland at 8,000,000, there would be 1 soldier to
faction-fights have been a good deal checked, though they still prevail to a considerable extent; and in many parts of Munster the opposite parties fight not with sticks but with stones, a far deadlier weapon, and one often used with fatal effect. The policy which led the magistrates formerly to countenance faction-fighting was not only unprincipled, but also short-sighted; it is clear that this practice trains up a set of lawless and violent persons, accustomed to deeds of bloodshed, and priding themselves on their acts of brutal ferocity. Such men as these would only want the opportunity afforded by a season of disturbance to signalize themselves in more organized violence, and to be the leaders or actors in every outrage which the Whiteboy spirit might suggest.
“ The habit of fighting at fairs and of fighting under the command of captains (says Mr. Blackburne) have produced on the minds of the lower orders the most mischievous notions of their own power. It gives them discipline, and it gives them leaders, and it certainly habituates them to acts of the most atrocious cruelty.”—H. C., 1824, p. 18.
The manner in which factions pass into Whiteboy associations is explained as follows by Mr. John Bray: :
What, in your opinion, is it they seek to obtain by this system of violation of the law and outrage ?—I imagine that the association comes into existence in this way: the Irish are a revengeful people, and they have private quarrels as well as other people; they gratify their passions for revenge generally at public fairs and meetings, they fight there, and decide their differences; and some evil-disposed persons joining them to make a faction, they then feel that there is an obligation upon
every 80 persons in France, and to every 400 persons in Ireland: that is, the number of soldiers in France is proportionally five times greater than in Ireland.
them to join with this faction that has taken their part at the fairs, and having once formed themselves into a body, they feel they have the power to be mischievous, and under the pretence of regulating wages and all those things, they go on to do what they please.”—H. C., 1832, No. 3462.
At the same time it is to be observed that, although factions minister to disturbances, the two evils are not co-extensive. The King's and Queen's Counties have been seriously disturbed during the last five years; but the faction-spirit does not prevail to any great degree in these comparatively civilized parts of the country. On the other hand, Kerry, a wilder and ruder district, has been, on the whole, very free from outrage; but the clannish spirit which belongs to an uncivilized state of society exists in it to a great extent. About two years ago, there was a fight between two rival factions in the neighbourhood of Listowel in Kerry, in which large numbers were engaged, and in which several persons, including some women, were killed with circumstances of great atrocity.
It may, however, be added that the existence of factions has contributed to favour the crime of abduction of unmarried women, which is viewed by the peasantry as a kind of Whiteboy offence. This crime is usually committed as follows: a party of men go by night to the house of the young woman, who is generally a farmer's daughter, with a small fortune, and somewhat above the rank of the intended husband; carry her away by force, and on horseback; and lodge her in some hiding place with the man who intends that she should be his wife. Sometimes the parties are married forth with ; sometimes a communication is made to the father that the man is willing to marry the girl, if her fortune is paid. The father, therefore, finding himself
compelled either to sanction the marriage, or to take back his daughter in an impaired state, usually adopts the former alternative. In every case these abductions, which are sometimes collusive, arise from an interested motive. Their frequency was at one time so great in parts of Ireland as to affect the marrying habits of the population.
Rev. M. Duggan, P.P. of Moyferta, county of Clare.
“ Have you known any instances of abduction where the women had no property ?-I have not.
“ Then if that be so, how do you account for the system of abduction increasing the numbers of marriages among the lower orders of people ?--All those under my observation are of the lower orders, with few exceptions, and who in general had a little money in former years; the facility with which the crime of abduction and an attempt at it, escaped punishment, created apprehension in the body of the people for their daughters, and induced them to dispose of them in marriage before they were hardly arrived at the age of puberty; the practice of marrying young became general, and a subject of imitation, and settled into a fashion, so much so, that it was a reproach on a young girl to exceed twenty before she was married.”-H. C., 1824, p. 210.
. Abductions of this kind, which in Ireland were at one time not unknown among a higher class than the peasants, have, however, become less frequent of late years*.
* The following description of the condition of the State of the church, at the end of the sixteenth century, affords an example of a state of society in which the clannish spirit is still prevalent among the peasantry. The Scottish clans offer a less precise parallel, as they included the highest as well as the lowest.
“ There were still, in some places, especially in Romagna, independent communities of peasants. These were large clans, supposed to be descended from a common stock; lords in their own villages, all armed, well-trained in the use of the arquebuss, for the most part halfsavage. They connected themselves with the different factions in